Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year ...

Hey. This is Ryan. Have you seen that Staples commercial with the dad zipping around on the shopping cart while his children trudge behind in realization that school will be starting? I am a combination of the dad and the children. While I enjoyed my summer, I'm anxious to get back to work. Paying work. Because being a mom is work. Don't let anybody tell you differently!

I'm of mixed emotions because I won't be around Clark full-time anymore. Like Lish said, the kids have definitely grown this summer and it's been fun to witness it. Clark and I are pretty tight, I guess. Last night, even though Lish was home, he laid on my chest and fell asleep while we watched a movie. I know I can still have that, but he's dependent on me a little more. I guess I'll have to hug him right when I get home.

I've also enjoyed being around the older kids. Darn right I let Ally babysit for short bursts of time and about once a week. Clark was asleep, Luke was playing Wii, so I figured she could handle it. She did really well. We're starting to see her as a more mature child. I think she knows we trust her more and responds to that in a positive manner. (Plus, our neighbor two houses down checks in every once in a while, so she's not completely alone.)

Emma has learned to do so much left-handed. It's been good for her. She's done things without Ally's approval, too. Her independence has doubled this summer.

And Luke is an athlete. His soccer practice yesterday amazed me as well as the coaches. He did not stop running the length of the field and made two "scores." As we walked back to the car, he said, "Dad, I only made two scores. I'm pretty bad at soccer, I guess."

I had to tell him that two scores in soccer was great! Sometimes teams never made one score.

So, for the other part of my mixed emotions ... while I am sad I won't be as near to my children as the summer, the other part of me welcomes the escape. When it came time for me to leave, I think I shouted, "Byeeee," as I skipped down the sidewalk to the car. I dragged a little on the return trip from school after nearly eight hours of meetings. It was good seeing the kids after talking about the kids at high school and all their special needs.
Well, dear readers, I'll check in occasionally. I always have a story or two from my school day, so look forward to that. I also have many mission stories to tell you now that I've recovered my journal.

Have a great fall.

Hey I am back

Hi. It's Lisha. Ryan went to his first "official" day of school today so I am back to being mom. Technically I guess I never stopped being the mom, but I guess now I will be in the house in that capacity during the day rather than Ryan so the role switch has gone back to "normal". I have a flood of mixed feelings about school starting/summer coming to an end. I thought I would share a few of my thoughts with you in no particular order. Pardon the randomness.

Being a mom and working full time is hard. I admire those of you who do it. I don't think I could do it all the time. I am tired just thinking about it. My schedule was a bit random that is for sure, but I was working 35-40 hours a week and only had one or two days off at a time so I think I kind of got the gist of what it would be like. I felt so disconnected from my family. One big realization came last night when I sat down to feed Clark dinner and realized I didn't know what he could and could not eat at this point in his life. I know he can digest most anything now that he is almost a year old, but he only has a couple teeth and I didn't know how easy it was for him to chew or even if he could yet. That was eye opening to me. I have not been around to watch the past few months of him growing up. Now he is turning 1 in less than a week and I missed a lot.

On that same note, my other kids have "grown up" in my absence as well. Did you know that Ry may or may not have left Ally to babysit once or twice while he ran an errand or two? Me either. The thought makes me a little scared, but she is getting older and becoming a lot more responsible. I am sure I did the same thing when I was her age, but we lived in the country.

Emma's cast is starting to smell. Thank goodness she onlly has to wear it 2 more days. We have been prepping her by letting her know that her arm is going to look like a snake when it comes off so don't freak out. Which of course she is.

Luke grew like 3 inches. All his pants are floods. His hair is some crazy walmart version of a hair cut so he looks like an orphan these days. We hit the Old Navy $10 sale but I think he still needs a few more pair. Oh and he is not allowed to wear them before school starts so he still looks neglected for another week. We did get some hand me downs from Langton which is always nice, but no pants.

The kids all have specific jobs now and are earning money for keeping up with their work $5 a week. We went to Claire's yesterday so Ally could buy new school earrings. She spent $23 and still has money in her wallet. Emma bought some sticker earrings. Luke is saving his money for Lego Indiana Jones 2 for the Wii when it comes out.

I have never looked forward to staying home with my kids more than I have this week. It feels like there is always something to go do though, so being home for a day has yet to happen. And if you know me at all you know that is something I usually would not say.

I got my hair cut yesterday. It is shorter than I have ever had it. Well since I have been an adult anyway. I like it. I think. I will let you know when I wash it and have to actually do it. I am lazy about doing my hair. But after a summer of pony tails I am tired of always wearing it up. I know you never thought you would hear that from me!

I am not ready for everything to come. Luke started soccer last night which officially makes me a soccer mom. Not sure how I feel about that one. Tonight is dance registration for IDS. We are doing a show again this year and I am always the "in charge" person for those. Not to mention that Emma will be competing this year as well. I will still be working at the OG a few nights a week. Super Saturday is fast approaching and I am in charge. The fair is in less than 2 weeks and I get to make the schedule this year. I think my unusually small mouth is a little full right now. Try not to make fun of it. My sisters do.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Insects Suck

Hey. This is Ryan. Anyone who knows me well, knows I am not a fan of insects. I hate them. I don't touch them. They are gross.

And I'm from Arizona! The desert part of Arizona. That means I grew up with cockroaches, tarantulas, scorpions, vinegaroons, crickets and other creepy crawlies invading our home. But we did not have earwigs. I hate earwigs, did I mention that?

Our camping trip/Smith Family Reunion was great, except for the hundreds of uninvited guests that invaded our family's tent. Luckily, our tent was pretty bug-proof. But, they were everywhere. Worse was my poor inlaws. They had two tents and in the morning, were full of earwigs. It was gross. I've referenced "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" before, but this was like that. (I had/have nightmares because of that movie. I still love it, though.)

The camping trip was filled with lots of screaming. The little girls screamed a lot, but most of it was from me. The family thinks my phobia is hilarious, so they like to exacerbate the situation most times. I jumped several times because I had the heeby-jeebies, which led to fits of laughter from the on-lookers. We are still fishing dead earwigs out of the washer. Gross.

I have many bug stories, but here are three that come to mind. Judge my neurosis for yourself:

Story 1: This happened when we lived on Kansas Settlement Road in Willcox, Arizona. We were about 15 miles from town on the edge of a bird sanctuary/desert. We had lots of bugs. I was "tramping on the tramp" (that's what Luke calls it) for a bit and I put my watch in the planter on the porch to keep it safe. It was a fancy calculator watch and I wanted to take care of it. I also took off my glasses, which makes me about as useful as Velma Dinkley on Scooby Doo when she loses her glasses. When I decided to go back inside, I went to put on my watch and my glasses, in that order. I reached into the planter and pulled out what I thought was my watch. It was black and hard all right, but it moved in my hands. I screamed and threw a large vinegaroon to the ground. Nightmares, I tell ya! Nightmares.

Story 2: On my mission in Brazil, I met many tropical jungle bugs. The worst were the flying/hissing cockroaches. I hate cockroaches. I hate gigantic cockroaches worse. And the cockroaches in Brazil scream or hiss or something. Terrifying. I woke up twice staring a cockroach in the face while it was perched on my face. I have nightmares of cockroaches laying eggs in my ears. My companion thought my fear was funny, too, because he tossed one of the bugs at me one time. Not knowing it had wings, he threw it to watch me scream in horror only to watch it spread its wings and land on my mouth. I punched him in the face and went to bed.

Story 3: We went to Hawaii with Lisha's family. We were all in the living room in this beautiful beach house when a cockroach scampered by. I jumped up and backed against the wall as it came towards me. My brother-in-law caught it and cupped his hands around it. He made a move toward me and I bolted out the door onto the front lawn. They still laugh that they have never seen me move so fast.

Hey Lisha here to amend the story...he forgot to add that he SCREAMED like a girl as he was running fast out the door. I know because the "boys" all scream at him and laugh their heads off whenever they talk about me, it comes up a lot.

Yup. I hate bugs. We all have our phobias, so don't laugh at mine. I want to know: What is your relationship with insects? Do you have a bug story? Gross me out. I dare ya.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Michael Jackson is tearing our family apart

Hey. This is Ryan. The King of Pop may have passed on from this world, but he is alive and well at our house. And it's causing rifts the size of the Grand Canyon between my children and me.

On the day Michael Jackson died, we were on our way to the zoo. We love the zoo - especially because we bought a year pass and so it offers something "free" to do in the summer. It gives me some time of silence while the kids are entertained for two minutes. Nothing is better than spending a hot day, walking around and smelling heated animal waste, but it's something to do. I don't even have to chase them out of the goat pens anymore.

So, we were on the way to the zoo and we heard on the radio station that Jacko was in the hospital. "Daddy, Michael Jackson is in the hospital!" Ally said, alarmed.

"Good!" I replied sarcastically. "I hope he dies."

Watching Ally's face fall a little in the rearview mirror made me wish I hadn't said that. "Why do you hope he dies, Daddy?" she asked. Her voice was a mixture of concern and wonder that made my heart sink a little. Plus, don't forget the fact that he actually did die later on that day! I felt horrible.

"Look, I don't hope he dies," I said. I wondered why I had said that. I actually liked Michael Jackson in the 80's. I really liked his music, at least. It wasn't fair that I had judged and sentenced him based on what the media had "reported" in recent years. I mean, we don't really know any confirmed truths about the guy. We will one day, but I try to make it a point not to wish death on anyone.

I tried to dig myself out of the hole I had gotten myself into as my daughter met my eyes in the mirror. "You don't even know who Michael Jackson is," I shot at her, hoping this would deflect any more questions.

"Uh, duh. He sings, 'Thriller,'" she answered. Damn that "13 Going on 30" movie. That's the only reason she knew about "Thriller."

"OK, you know that one, but do you know 'Beat It' or 'Black or White' or 'Billie Jean'?" Whap. I stumped her.

"You could show us on iTunes when we get home," she said.

"OK, we'll do that when we get home," I said, hoping the zoo would make her forget about Michael Jackson.

It didn't. When we got home, our neighbor - he's from California and talks like a gangster even though he's white as paper - was blaring Michael Jackson music out his front door. "Let me guess," I said as I caught his eye. "Michael Jackson died, didn't he?"

He actually choked on his words and I had to turn away to hide my smile like the insensitive jerk I am. "Yes, the King of Pop is dead. He's in heaven now, doing the Moonwalk."

Seriously? Ally dragged me inside to look for more Michael music. We listened to 30-second clips and that seemed to satisfy her. She went out to play with the neighbor's twin boys. Apparently though, it turned out to be a "Discover-Michael-Jackson" play date. She came by several minutes later with a compilation CD and asked if she could rip it on iTunes. I said yes and we rigged an homage to the King with "Billie Jean," "Black or White," "ABC," and of course, "Thriller."

In the following weeks, Ally has become quite proficient in searching YouTube for clips and videos as well as singing snippets of songs (usually it's "Hey pretty baby with the high heels on ..." and that's it. She never finishes it). Which leads me to how it is tearing the family apart.

One night, as Ally searched for different videos, I told her to watch "Thriller," which led Lisha to throw her body over the keyboard like she was taking a bullet for the president. "That will scare the crap outta them!" she yelled. I think that scared them more than "Thriller" would have.

So I told Ally to watch different things, but she was already running out the door to play with friends. She was actually running to another neighbor's house, we found out later, to watch the banned "Thriller." Emma went with her, too.

They came back a little while later, singing, "Thriiill-er, Thriller now ..." and reporting that they loved the music video. Lish was already at work, so I couldn't gloat. But when she got home, I told her the kids had seen every Michael Jackson - even "Thriller" - and they loved them.

The next day, we went to Hastings and found the DVD of his greatest video hits. I was tired of waiting for the videos to load on YouTube and having to respond to, "Why is it so slooooow?" Ally was ecstatic. Now it's an argument almost every day about what video is the best. For the record, Luke loves "Black or White" while Emma's favorite is "Do You Remember." Ally sticks with "Thriller" most days, upon which everyone starts yelling that they have changed their minds and "Thriller" is their favorite - because you can't share a favorite video apparently.

Just one more Michael Jackson-related item that made Lisha and I almost die laughing: While the kids were talking with their neighbor friends on the trampoline, they were discussing which video they liked. Again, they all staked claims in their various videos. But the neighbor girl said, "My favorite is 'Dirty Diana.'" We had to stifle our laughter so she wouldn't be too embarrased. Really? "Dirty Diana?" Who likes that song? I guess our dirty little neighbor.

One more thing: my girls think that Michael Jackson is "cute." Emma constantly tells me that she thinks he is, "So cute, Dad. The Black Michael Jackson, though," she is quick to add. "Not the White Michael Jackson. Ally likes the medium White Michael Jackson."

Here's your chance to declare your remorse and love for the deceased King of Pop. Tell us your favorite video and why, as well. My favorite MJ song is a tie between "Man in the Mirror" and "Black or White." I'm including some YouTube links for nostalgic reasons. Hoo!

This is the official Michael Jackson YouTube channel:

You can access most of his videos here, if not all.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Clark is 11 months old!

Hey. This is Ryan. Oh, our little Clarkus! We love him so much. The poor kid endures being poked, prodded, dressed up, wiped, rolled around like a Roly Poly - and that's just by Lish and I. Imagine what the kids do.

Here is a Top 11 Things I love about Clark:

11. I love the way he eats the scraps from under the table. Less sweeping and feeding. Two birds, one stone.

10. I love that he's in "Discovery Mode." His motto: "Leave no trash can unturned."

9. I love his reaction when he sees his brother and sisters. He gets all bouncy and starts grunting.

8. I love the way he talks. He grunts primarily. For example, he sees "Aaah, aaah, oooooh" for "peek a boo" and chimpanzee shrieks when he's hungry.

7. I love his overconfidence in his ability to chew. He doesn't really chew and his two snaggle teet are primarily used for ripping and tearing. I do the "finger sweep" about five times a day.

6. I love every person's reaction when they see him: "He looks just like his Daddy. Except with more hair." I can't tell if they're insulting him or me.

5. I love the way he says, "Dadada" when he's happy and "Mommah" when he's upset.

4. I love how fast he crawls. The kid is a speed demon on four legs.

3. I love his name. Yes, it is for Clark Kent. Let's just admit it. And Luke is named after Luke Skywalker. Get over it. But when my kids are in the news for saving lives and defeating evil warlords, you'll say, "Luke and Clark? Aptly named, aptly named."

2. I love his ability to clear a room with his "Diaper Alert System." Trust me, that kid lets you know when he needs a changin'.

1. Finally, I love Clark. It's hard to think our baby is getting so big. I miss baby things, I really do. But, I'm pretty sure he's our last, so we need to savor every second of our Baby Clarky.

Here are some other milestones, just for posterity and not to make you laugh: He's getting more and more confident when it comes to standing. He has stood for about two minutes on his own before finally falling on his bum.

He knows when Lish is going to work. He recognizes the white shirt, black pants, etc. and starts whining immediately. He is eating more and more on his own and less milk. He empties whatever he can find. Recent discoveries include the DVD drawer, the waste baskets, the pan cupboard, etc.

He also gives kisses. These are Hollywood, open-mouthed, full-on, lickery (as the kid on "Goonies" says) tongue kisses. Pretty gross, but sweet at the same time, too. He does this when we make kissing sounds.

He can "walk" when someone holds his hands.

I think that's about it. We love our little baby so much. Here's to more milestones just around the corner.

Emma's falling apart

Hey. This is Ryan. Emma lost a tooth in the middle of the Walmart Automotive Department. Actually, I pulled it out. Actually, I yanked it out while holding her in a headlock.

It was just floppin' there, so I told her I could get it out for her. If you know Emma, she's kind of a spazzy freak when she has something wrong with her. She won't hold still when getting her nose blown, she squirms when she's getting a bandaid, etc. So, this wasn't much different. Except I'm pretty sure if there had been someone other than the two greasy guys next to me buying hubcaps, I'd be dealing with Child Protective Services right now. It looked worse than it really was.

But, mission accomplished. Tooth is out, Tooth Fairy has been notified and hopefully she won't sleep through her mission and forget Emma. Now, if she would just let me get to the loose tooth next to her missing tooth!


Hey. This is Ryan. Here are a few "nuggets" (pun intended) from the children recently:

Luke: "Dad, I'm bored. I don't like Sundays. Sundays are boring." I didn't respond, so he looked at me and said, "Well, I'm going out to tramp on the tramp." Love that saying. Unfortunately, I envision him bouncing on some poor hobo's tummy by the train tracks.

Ally: She flew into a little rage this morning as we picked her up from Ballet Camp and took her to breakfast. She had been moaning about how hungry she was and then went quiet. Suddenly, she yelled, "I'm hungry!"

We both looked around and said, "We know, honey. We're getting something for you right across the street!"

"No," she replied. "This two are looking at me like I'm gross."

It was true; Luke and Emma had this disgusted look on their faces. "They're looking at me because I'm hungry and I'm eating my boogers. That's how hungry I am."

Lish turned and said, "Now I'm looking at you like you're gross."

"Wow, you must be hungry all the time," I added. That earned me a punch in the arm. I steadied myself for one more and said, "This is definitely a story that will be told to your boyfriend someday." Whap.

Emma: As we walked into the restaurant this morning, I glanced over at Emma and whispered, "Try not to barf today, OK?"

She nodded, but when the waitress (who got fired today, I'm pretty sure) brought our water, her lid wasn't on tight. "Um, Mom?" she started.

I looked at Lisha and said, "Something bad is going to happen." Sure enough, Emma tried to use her one hand to tighten the lid and spilled her water all over the table. The poor waitress was so slammed, she didn't pay any attention to us the entire time we were there, plus we didn't get our food for about 45 minutes. They ended up comping a portion of our meal and apologizing. Lisha had left to get to work on time and the manager was concerned. "Tell your wife I'm sorry," he said.

"Oh, we understand. The poor lady was slammed, that's all."

"Well, she's done."


I am trying to convince myself it wasn't us who got her fired.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Living Guide to Life

Hey. This is Ryan. I've bragged before on the group of men and boys with whom I work at church. They are a great bunch of guys and our class time seems better than anything I've been a part of before. After some confusion, though, I realized no one had prepared the lesson so I had to improvise. It turned out to be one of the better ones I've taught, if I do say so myself.

I've been trying to write any thoughts or inspirational epiphanies I've had while at church due to the fact I'm mostly concentrating on calculating the volume of Life cereal my children have ground into the chapel carpet. I figure if I can come out of the three-hour block with just one good spiritual "a ha" moment, then I've succeeded in feeling the Spirit.

Today's lesson was entitled, "Scripture Study," so instead of stumbling through the manual and reading different stories, I came up with the idea to have the men and boys go through their scriptures and find their favorite. Then, when they had found their scripture, they wrote it on the chalkboard. I called on each person to read their scripture aloud and comment why they liked it. I also asked under what circumstances this scripture became their favorite. It went pretty well. Here's what I learned:

1. Men tend to have favorite scriptures that talk about strength or advice on how to be "men." The majority of the scriptures dealt with being examples, understanding their fellow men and making weak things strong if they humble themselves before the Lord.

2. The scriptures are personal. No two boys or men had the same favorite scripture. No one even claimed that the other boy had "stolen" theirs. I supposed that because all of our backgrounds and experiences varied, the lessons learned from the scriptures varied as well. The boys and men truly "liken the scriptures" and derive personal meaning, which is the truest form of scripture study.

3. They all had a scripture by which they felt the Spirit at one point in their lives. I mean, if the Holy Spirit testified that the words could help them in their lives, they had to believe it was true at one point. Isn't the Holy Ghost the testifier of truth? Then, ergo, if that one verse is true, so is the one after it, and the one after that, etc. The scriptures are true words of God and they know it.

4. Finally, not one of the boys were afraid to get up, read and then share their feelings in front of the class. That means the scriptures unify the hearts of men. They are truly brothers in the gospel and their lack of fear proved it.

Just some things to ponder this Sunday afternoon. I want to know your favorite scripture. I'll go first: Ether 12:27 ... "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

I love this scripture because I know Heavenly Father will help us be strong only when we admit and show Him we are ready for Him to make us that way. I was having a hard time on my mission; I was prideful and it impeded my progress. This scripture hit me pretty hard and I prayed to be humble. Oh boy. Never pray to be humbled. Anyway, I feel like my mission shaped my life only because I allowed Heavenly Father to mold me.

So, have you a favorite scripture? What is it, why is it your favorite and what were the circumstances by which it became your favorite? Post here. I'd be interested to know how you liken the scriptures unto yourself.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Chili Reception

Hey. This is Ryan. First off, isn't my wife awesome? I had a great birthday and now know why it's important for "girls night out" every once in a while. It's to regain what little piece of sanity you have left and have grown-up conversations that don't contain the words, "diaper" and "juice" in them.

So add one more restaurant to the "Hansens Are Barred For Life" list. The Ryan Hansen family is no longer welcome at the Idaho Falls Chili's located near the Green Belt. Look for a printed digital photo of me holding Clark on my waist, pulling Luke by the arm and scooting Emma out with my foot while Ally holds up "bunny ears." It's probably located next to the reception area so as to alert any personnel to immediately shoo us out if we are to show our faces.

Because Lisha is making tips every night, this has given us a little more spending cash on hand to treat the kids every now and then. She gave me about $50 today to use at my discretion. I felt like a king. She then added one guideline: Do not see the new Disney movie "G Force." "I will not be pay money to watch hamsters for an hour and a half," she advised.

With that in mind, I tried to figure out what to do with my loot. I saved some for later, but around 2 p.m., I was getting a hankerin' for chicken fingers so I loaded the children and went to Chili's.

We shared a "Triple Play" appetizer (we chose mini hamburgers and chicken fingers with wings for me), chips and queso dip and I ordered a seperate thing of chicken fingers and fries. We all were just going to share. The kids chose drinks as well with Emma getting milk. This is where foreshadowing should be kicking in.

Have you ever heard of the gallon challenge? Basically frat boys and stupid boys challenge each other to drink a gallon of milk because supposedly you can't finish it without barfing. Emma decided she would run her own version by seeing how many times the waitress could refill her plastic cup.

We ate our meal, leaving plenty for dinner. Emma was giving me a look and I asked if she was OK. "Um, Daddy? I think I'm going to be sick."

This means man the barf stations for imminent attack in less than 10 seconds. We've come to know that when Emma says she's sick, barf isn't too far behind. I had forgotten this or something because I told Ally to help her get to the bathroom quick and that it was right around the corner. You see, the server had just given us our bill, Clark was still strapped in the seat and I didn't want her to think I had stiffed her and left the baby as a tip. I should have followed my gut, because as I was getting Clark out, Ally tore around the corner and said, "Uh, she didn't make it."

"Did she throw up?" Ally nodded and I tried looking through the booths as if I had X-ray vision. I didn't. I gathered up the baby, told Luke to stay put and went around the corner. She was near the reception area, standing in a puddle of her lunch/dinner. "Daddy ..." she tried to say as another wave came pouring out of her mouth. Amazingly, the two little receptionists did not see, hear nor smell what was going on.

"Stay there! No, go outside to the car!" I commanded, not really knowing what the protocal was. She left, sort of crying, sort of gagging and I braced myself to do the grown-up thing: run like hell. Just joking! I told the girls that my daughter had just deposited her lunch on the floor and it was, like, a gallon and a half and do you have a mop because I am so embarassed!

"Oh, sir, don't worry about it," the Receptionist Twins said in chorus. The smile melted off their faces when the wave of stench hit them and I saw it happen.

"Really, I am so sorry!" But my apologies were no good anymore. I hurried to collect Luke, the leftovers (I'm such a cheapskate!) and the to-go drinks. We scooted out, all the while dodging anyone's furtive glances. I have never been so embarassed in my life! And we're not talking a little bit of gag throw up. It was buckets.

When I got to the car, I had to start laughing. Probably to keep from crying. Chili's was my favorite restaurant. Was. And to make matters worse, I saw a student of mine dining with his parents. Luckily, he didn't see me or my hasty exit. I left the girl about $12 of a tip on the $24 bill. If there's one thing I've learned this summer is, tip your server well. It might pay for a trip to puke at your favorite restaurant.

Find More Free Custom Color Layouts at April Showers