Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sib Series Presents: Sibling #8

Meet Larissa.


The Grand Exclamation Point.

I like to think of her as God's finishing touch on the Hansen's contribution to overpopulation.

A message to all the naysayers.

Just look at that wittle itty bitty face.

What I would give to go back and squoosh and squeeze that munchkin.

The funniest, naughtiest little squirt you ever did meet.

Oh the stories I could tell.

One of my particular favorites was when she was a wee one, and over at the Stake President's house (Mormon lingo for division leader of an area of the church membership). Apparently, as related to my mother from another {horrified} mother....Larissa was among fellow itty tots and was trying to open a particular jar. Finding herself unable to open it she muttered:

"Awww, shit."

Oh my, the story is still funny, even after a decade.
Teenagers in the household (myself included...what...me? swear?) took the blame for that one.

What gives me hope in my darkest moments of frustration with my own little pipsqueeks is Larissa. She has turned out so marvelously really, despite her early indoctrination with foul language from rebellious teenage siblings/quasi-parents. My girlfriends in high school adored her, and would occassionally join us in a girls' night. We would slather Rissa and Mallory in green avocado masks and put their hair in curlers. A trip to Scolaris for piles of chocolate and candy was a must, along with rockin' out to the latest Hillary Duff single. It was so fun.

I remember a particular summer night my senior year of high school. I planned to meet up with Tyler and a group of friends for a regular night of fun/mischief/nogood. My Dad gave permission for me to leave but also gave me a curfew that night of 9:30pm.

that is no typo.


He might as well have sent me with a brown paper bag filled with a PB&J and a napkin scribbled with:

I love you.
Enjoy your social demise.

Hearts, Daddy.

9:30pm is like a lunch period for a 17 year-old. The day is just beginning. How could he?!!! I screamed and shrieked and freaked. He wouldn't budge. In fact, after his usual lecture on "the absurdity of teenagers believing they are entitled to 5 nights out a week during the summer", he told me I must "return by 9:30pm or not come home at all."

I spent a total of five minutes of social recreation and informed my friends that I had to return home. I pouted the entire drive. Stormed into the house and promptly tucked myself in bed. Only......two minutes later...............I thought..............SCREW THIS.


He thinks he can just tell me what to do, he thinks he can just walk all over me, he thinks he is the be all end all.....well just wait!! I'm outta here! You'll be sorry...you fool!! I threw open my closet and shoved every last article of clothing into the back seat of my Toyota Turcel and drove away.

I arrived back at the scene to see Tyler's shocked (yet pleasantly surprised) face, and informed him that I planned to survive on my lush minimum wage salary at TCBY Yogurt. Then I collapsed on the nearest smoke infested sofa and cried myself to pieces. Hardly a party.

I spent the night at my best friend's house. The next morning, after scribbling a projected budget and self-sustaining grocery list on a notepad (mainly comprised of dried lentils smuggled from friend's garage and 24 ounces of free frozen yogurt during daily shifts), I remembered I had promised to take Larissa for ice cream. I stoicly called home and professionally informed my Dad that I would be by to pick up my sister in a few hours and would return her later safely. His response:

"Nope. You said you're moving out. You will not be taking your sister anywhere."

That b&#*TSOf*$&#(OSHG. That cruel  &(UTIHSI&%(#*&# ^%(#Y%(UYSNIks conniving curfew doling oppressive manipulator!!!!!!!!

It seems dictator possessed the ultimate trump card, and he knew it. I returned home and unpacked my bags three hours later. He wins! I surrender for Larissa!


Larissa is about to entire her middle school years. Crazy.
She is sassy, athletic, funny, and oh so darn cute.
And as if her smokin' looks weren't killer enough, check out this girl in a hat:

This rip roarin' cowgirl happens to be an excellent horsewoman. She has been rodeo-ing her way around the State with her cousin Leah.

I worry about her so, this poor little eighth child......

Growing up under the rule of so many others.
It probably makes it hard for her to take control of her destiny......

I worry she'll be unable to defend herself......

To really take life by the horns......

and act independently from the herd......


Rissaroo, describe yourself in three words.

Athletic, Crazy, and Lovable

What is your happiest memory, and what makes it so special?
My happiest memory is when Dad took Mallory, Ian, Forrest and I to go fishing. And this is special because Dad always loved to take us on adventures.

What do you love that you do not openly express?

 Horses but i kinda express that and all the kinds of Animals.

What are you most grateful for? What are you least grateful for?

 I am most grateful for Mom and Dad and i am least grateful for horse poop because there is so much of it.

What do you fear? What makes you sad?

I fear of losing my family and when Mom or Dad are upset i am upset

If the Biebs (Justin Bieber) came up to you and said "Larissa, you are my dream girl. Will you marry me?" Would you accept?

 No because i am not as pretty as Mallory so i would tell him to marry Mallory.

List five reasons why you can - and will - do better than marrying the Biebs:

I have a life other than Justin Bieber, I am too young to marry, I'd rather take care of my horse, a wedding is too stressful for Mom and Dad, and I don't really like him that much

If the whole world were listening to you and you only had two minutes to speak, what would you say?

 Everyone needs to exercise more and animal rights people are babies.

{*insert editor's note. LOL. WHAT!!?!?? I think you mean animal rights 'activists' my dear. }

Why were you such a naughty toddler? Any advice for me dealing with my girls?

Well i was naughty because my older sister Rae didn't do such a great job of making me a good sweet girl as she did to Mallory and just let the kids be naughty now because later in life they will be good.

What do you love doing that makes you the most happy?

Horses and rodeos make me really happy because i feel like i am a super star.

What is your life motto?

Live life well. I don't really have one but just live your life and have fun because you don't know when the end will be.

A genie appears and grants you three wishes, what are they?

Well i would like a trillon dollars, to be the world fastest goat tier, and all of my family to be safe from everything dangerous in the world.


Rissa, you may not be the fastest goat tier (yet), but you are certainly the cutest.

Love you so. much.

Monday, June 27, 2011


We've been out of town.

Be back shortly.

And for the record, Sib #8  has not sent me the pictures necessary for the post...

Waiting waiting waiting.....

Life has been WAY TOO BUSY.



Thursday, June 16, 2011

You know better than to trust me...

I haven't forgotten about our latest DIY project and reveal.

It's about 90% finished. As is everything else in my home.

We're 90% people.

It is a source of extreme, and yet complacent anxiety in my life. I will stare endlessly at the unfinished painted corner in my office, dating back to 2008? I hate that corner. Hate. It!
And yet, do I  pull out the bucket of paint, tape the edges and get to work?


This 90% rule is the source of some pretty interesting friction in our marriage too. Tyler, bless his dear heart, will clean the kitchen and never wipe down the counters. (?!) I will vaccuum my car incessantly and ignore getting the oil changed. (?!!) Tyler mows the lawn and leaves the old grass in a bag spilling over the sidewalk. (???!!!) I custom order a million pictures and still have yet to frame them. (????!!!!)

ad infinitum. Where are my meds?...I feel a panic attack coming on....followed by an argument with Tyler... followed by makeup sex.

Don't be offended: This is how good marriages are made. Didn't you know that? You're welcome.

The unit is 90% complete, 90% functional, with finish yet to be nailed on, sitting in my girls' bedroom. I'm glad I've held myself accountable to a standard though, I must post the finished product on this blog by next week or ELSE. (Or else what?)


Sib series coming up next: Sibling #8!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Sweet Life Presents:

We are happy.

Enjoying the sudden jump into warm weather....

Of particular note today: Ellie Jane in the back yard this evening, playing on a blanket in the grass while the girls were on the trampoline.
I was inside watching from the kitchen, tidying things up. It was a lovely summer scene.

Until the sprinklers came shooting on.

Enter me, Lily and London screaming and running to save our poor baby.
{Mighty fine parenting.}

Ellie was fine, 
London ran to her room crying and shouting at all of us (typical), 
and Lils and I promptly dried her off. 

All's well that ends well.

Welcome Summer!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sib series Presents: Sibling #7

Here we go again, 7 weeks in and still going strong!! Apologies again for the delay.
 My excuse #94758: The sun was finally shining. 
I didn't step within more than 50 ft of this here computer screen unless it was to check the weather report to reconfirm that it had indeed exceeded the 75 degree mark and I wasn't just dreaming.


Hoolllaaaaa! Like totally jk love you hunny lol lol lol
this is like my totally awesome little sister MALLORY!!!


Mallory is like totally 15 years old, and a varsity cheerleader! 
Like hoooollllaaaaa!
Whatwhat wooooooo! Hold uuuuuup! I say whaaaaaaaaa!!???!!

jk jk jk.

luv u ;):):) 4ever.

Okay fine.

I couldn't help myself. 
I just swell with pride, my emotions take over.

I taught this kid everything she knows.


I will never forget the voicemail we finally received in the wee hours of morning. For two days Daniel and I took care of the little ones, pacing back and forth, waiting for the news of the pending arrival of our newest sibling (apparently uterus's just don't run like they used to after six kids). I remember praying over and over for it to be a girl. A little sister. And I also remember working on a good fake expression of excitement if given the disappointing news of another booger-y brother {oh! super...another boy. bleh}. The anxiety ended with my Grandmother's voice over the answering machine:

"Hello kids! I'm so happy to let you know you have a healthy and beautiful new little SISTER...Mom and Dad are doing well and we'll talk to you soon!!!"


That child was brought home in triumph and sported freshly painted pink fingernails at her two week checkup.
Nobody was more excited to shower attention and love on a real live babydoll than Sarah and I. And I lived it up with Miss Mal. Oh boy did I.
In fact, that is what is entirely to blame for how she's turned out.

lol lol lol lol lol jk jk jk luv you mal cutie 4ever BFF 

And though I may tease a bit about her awesome text-language, Mallory is smart as a whip (word on the street has it that she finished off her freshman year with a 4.0!). She is beautiful, goofy, and strong willed.
In an ironic twist of life cycles, just as I was once dubbed her "second mother", now she is the second mother to my girls. WEIRD. As repayment for her endless hours of free babysitting, when she someday marries and has sprouts of her own I have officially bequeathed Lily to her when Lils reaches the age of 13. {Mallory may retain full parental custody until Lily safely surpasses the age of 22: unharmed, unpierced, untattoo'd, and unpregnant.)


* Describe YOURSELF in three words.
Spunky, Loud, and Motherly

*What is your happiest memory, and what makes it so special?

I actually can pick one unlike the other siblings!! It is not super specific but my memory is.. At the old house when everyone was living at home, and our summer family dinners out on the porch and hearing the cotton wood's leaves rustle in the wind. Then going and playing on the trampoline with Ian, Forrest, and Rissa!! And Dad's compliments as we would subtly show off for him!  What makes it so special is that it was the prime of my childhood. 

* Please list five reasons why waiting to date until 
you're 25 is a great idea.

1. If you want to be an old maid yes it is a good idea.
2. Because boys suck
3. I dont like this question
4. I guess if you like cats.
5. I really do hate this question. a lot.

*What do you love that you may not openly express?

    1. My mom and dad. I have issues expressing my love for them but i do love them an appreciate them a lot!
 2. Good Music! I love music especially music I am not ashamed to have on my Ipod! You know the kind with a great beat and absolutely NO sexual innuendo or foul language! AKA Justin Bieber.

*Please list the five most recent texts you've deleted in order to avoid Mom reading them.

1. I have nothing to hide.
2. I have nothing to be ashamed of.
3. i agree with Forrest you are nosy.
4. I am flattered you think i am talking to boys( which i do)
5. I am glad you are trying to sabotage  me!!

*What are you most grateful for? What are you LEAST grateful for?

Well besides the usual answers like family and the gospel(which I am grateful for). I am grateful for the sun. That is pretty self explanatory! I am also thankful that we live so close to Tahoe!! I mean we live only an hour away from one of the prettiest lakes, but after you go there every other lake SUCKS! I am also grateful for Kate Marshall. The other day Rachel had said to me, "I am glad you have such a good friend like Kate." I realized I am so lucky! We get along so well, and she always makes me laugh, she understands our crazy family and not only that but she fits in! 

 I am least grateful for the complete and utter incompetence of boys! Seriously they are retarded. :)

*What do you fear? What makes you sad?

I fear divorce. Ha you are probably thinking, "you are 15." which is true. I am lucky enough though to have parents who have been happily married for a long time and are happy together. But i have seen the damaging affects divorce has on families and those around them and it terrifies me.  

What makes me sad is.............(thinking).........(still thinking)......Oh!... seeing those girls at the dances who never get asked to dance. This sounds like I'm kidding but I am serious, it is so sad that these girls want to be asked so sadly but boys are so selfish and rude that they don't ask (this leads back to my "boys are incompetent comment)
. I am not saying I always get asked but I don't rely on boys to make me happy. 

*What characteristic do you most seek in the opposite sex? What quality does the 'boy of your dreams' possess that would really hook you?

He has to be intelligent. You know those guys you can't even have a conversation with because they don't know what is going on in the world today? yea...dud.

The quality that would hook me is... He has to be good with kids, and like them. Not the guy who brings his little sister to basketball games to suck in girls like me but the guy who is genuinely  good with kids. 

 *What is your definition of success? Who is your biggest role model and why?
 Success to me is being able to look back on your life  knowing you lived with satisfaction and being able to say you are proud of yourself.

To be honest i don't actually have one role model...  I have many because everyone has qualities I want to possess but I want to be my own person.

If the whole world were listening to you and you only had two minutes to speak, what would you say?

I would tell them to be nice! Mom is always right and she always tells me," it is nice to be important but more important to be nice"

*What does your "happy place" look like?

My happy place looks a lot like sarah's. I see my kids playing in the bath tub as I am cooking dinner in our small but cozy, quaint home, then hearing the front door open then shut and as my husband walks in after a long day at work, then the kids suddenly want to jump out of the bath because they want to see him. Then sitting down to a home cooked meal and talking about our days.

 *What is your life motto?

Ha I don't know if it is a motto but: Classy, Confident, Superior, Lovely. I tell myself that in any situation when I have no one to give me advice! 

* A genie appears and grants you three wishes, what are they? (and no, you cannot wish for three more wishes)

1. I wish for all my loved ones to be protected! always!
2. I wish for a hot Spaniard to come home to!
3. I wish to always be successful and for my loved ones to be too!





4COL that was like so cute.


*w* *w* *w*

{Love you Mal}.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bundle up: It's JUNE (?!!).

Only in this schizophrenic state will you find weather so bizarre.
Friday afternoon we decided come rain or shine, we were getting out.
My girls kept begging for us to go hunting. Which by hunting, they really meant hiking. And by hiking, we mean walking in the largely horizontal landscape of sagebrush behind our house.

City slickers.

What is my world coming to?

I actually find the rather barren terrain of my homeland beautiful. In fact, no one was more surprised than I, when a few months into traveling the magically lush countryside of England and Scotland, I found myself having random fits of homesickness for the ranges of NV.

Have you ever sniffed the fresh scent of moistened sage after a rainshower?

It really is lovely. The open sky and the huge quantities of space, it all feels so uncluttered.
This is what a mother of three young children needs: space and no clutter!

I frequently lament to Tyler the gaping difference between our girls' upbringing and my own. 
All these neighborhood children roaming the street.
Lily begging constantly to puuuuhlease go to her friend (so and so) or (so and so)'s house.
I love her interacting with others, but have seen one too many Oprah's to allow my children to simply enter into neighborhood homes without a thorough inspection of the domain.

'Um, hello, allow me to introduce myself: I'm Lily and London's mother. Before my girls come in to play, may I please enter your home, inspect your dark corners and assess whether or not I think your husband is the closet pedophile on the street ? It will just take a moment (and the hard drive on your computer)."
Thanks so much.

I much prefer the childhood I had, miles outside of any normal neighborhood. My mother could simply swing open the door and leave us with two direct commands:

"Get out."


"Run if you see a mountain lion."

Twas a golden era. I would so love that for my children.
Yet while I fantasize about a life tucked away from the ho-hem of a more modern paced society, I know it has its drawbacks. Dirt roads, dusty footprints, muddy winters, longer commutes.

{Lily's desert treasure finds}

It felt good to roam and talk as a family. You would have thought the girls were in Disneyland. They ran and jumped and raced and sang. We made up stories about Indians and building a giant fort we would all have to live in. Lily requested a swingset at the fort. Of course, duh. All desert Indian forts 300 yards from suburbia must have swingsets.

I was {yet again} reminded of the fun of having kids.
They really make me feel like one again.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sib Series Presents: Sibling #6

Meet Forrest.

A.K.A. The orphan Hawaiian baby whose mother fell into a volcano.

Or at least that's what we told him as a child. booooohaaaahaaaaa.

The most important thing you should know about Forrest is that he is naturally tan.
Bizarrely Bronzed. 
After five toe-headed-pale-faced children, out popped this handsome devil with a golden hue. 

So naturally, as the loving older siblings that we were, he was taunted with stories of his long lost Hawaiian mother.
We did it for his own good. As you can see, it has made him tough:
(That's my boy.)
(2nd most important thing you should know about Forrest: he plays Rugby with old men.)

{and makes weird friends} {wink}

He was given the name Lloyd Forrest, and called Forrest long before any freak celebrity names were the mainstream thing to do. We claimed Forrest long before Forrest Gump, Bronx, Kal-el, Apple, Kyd, and Sage Moonblood.
And he's lived up to the name, but can hardly be described as anything mainstream. This kid walks to the beat of his own drum, and I love him for it. He is hilarious in more ways than one, smart, and as adventurous as they can possibly come (he regularly has my Mom in a nervous prayerful frenzy when he's off on his latest rock scaling, winter mountain climbing, midnight lake diving expeditions).
Occasionally we bump heads, such as when i ask a completely simple question:

"Hey Forrest, is (so and so) a good person?"

"What do you mean a 'good person'?"

"You know, just a good person? Is he a good person?"

"Well, the way you might define good and the way I might define good are completely different. So I can't answer your question."

"Forrest! For the love of all things *(#%#*@&! Answer the *$&@%&#) &%(#&(@ question!"


* Describe YOURSELF in three words.
Swank, Adventurous, in-tune 

 *What is your happiest memory, and what makes it so special?

    I agree with all of my fellow siblings on this... THERE IS NO POSSIBLE WAY A PERSON CAN ANSWER THIS (except maybe Harry Potter because we all know his favorite memory). I hope you will be satisfied with a simple happy memory.  I remember as a kid I loved army and, lucky for me, I was born with the enemy at my grasps so we could battle at any moment. I have been through battles with the mighty mud flinging armies of Jacob, where I had to move from the "bunker" (aka the fort we made in the hay) to the "pipelines" (dad's old pile of pipes) and plant the explosives. I remember taking some pretty bad wounds on these missions, like the time I took a mud clod to the eye and broke a blood vessel... After that, Dad ordered a cease fire on Jacob for a while. 

Once I was a little older Jacob was no longer the enemy but my Commander-in-Chief. He made missions for me from planting fake pipe bombs in strategic locations all over the Berry's yard to stealing golf balls from the Redhawk driving range in the cover of darkness (probably because he had been in his golfing stage ever since uncle Keith came into town and so he needed some balls to hit). To me these memories are priceless and although not all "touchy feely" "happy" they still put a grin on my face whenever I remember them. (i apologize for the Jacob worship)

*What do you love that you may not openly express?
This is the kind of question that should be asked to women only... 

{Insert editor note to audience: you see what I have to deal with here?}

*Why are you so secretive about your girl interests?...and who was that chick at Yogurt Beach with you the other day? Why did you ask me to leave so abruptly before she arrived? Are you embarrassed of your older sister? Did you notice us lurking in the parking lot watching you through the glass? 

    I am secretive because whenever ole Forrest mentions a woman, you all do two annoying things: 1) You all have to stalk her and "approve" and 2) For the next five years of my life I will hear "hows so and so" and "oh you're going on a date? I bet its with so and so"  not to mention, this is just plain insulting because you all assume I am incapable of wooing multiple women at a time. I also tend to see myself like James Bond... Did he go telling his family whenever he kissed one of his women? I don't think so. There's more style and mystery in not telling. If I have learned one thing from this family, it is that it is never a good idea to have family around when I am with a member of the opposite sex. The girl at yogurt beach is named Beth.  I did not notice you lurking thank goodness, but i did run into The Whites, The Beltons and best of all the Stoddards (my bishop!).

*What are you most grateful for? What are you LEAST grateful for?

I am most grateful for my mind and my height. I once heard a wise man say "I am thankful for being fat because it made me develop my personality to compensate for my looks and personality is much more important than looks". I see my height in the same respects. This is the same concept as blind people with exceptional hearing and vise-versa. The body compensates for survival. So I give my height credit for making me who I am today and for that I am thankful. 

I am least grateful for anything or anyone that restricts me from doing what I want. Unless its done with protection in mind.

*What do you fear? What makes you sad?

I fear falling. I think it's because you have time to realize what is going on and no way to change it. In almost every scenario you're in, you have a chance to make it turn out different. You have at least some control, but not with falling. 

What makes me sad? psh, not much. No I'm kidding, I get sad. I just don't like/let myself show it because I see no use in sadness. Seeing loved ones hurt, that makes me sad. 

*What characteristic do you most seek in the opposite sex? What quality does the 'girl of your dreams' possess that would really hook you?

I want a girl with depth. I don't want a girl that is superficial and materialistic. She needs to "get it". I am tired of these fake girls that are so basic and predictable. They need to be real people, not the modern robot girl that is being manufactured today. 

 *What is your definition of success? Who is your biggest role model and why?
 Success is simple- the creation of happiness for yourself and others. 
 It's hard for me to choose role models because I don't want to "model" anyone's "roles", but I would have to say my brother Danny because he is the first! We all have had someone blazing the trails for us, except him. He made his own life not because he had someone doing it all right in front of him but because that's who he is, the Trail blazer. 

If the whole world were listening to you and you only had two minutes to speak, what would you say?

    ... are you kidding? By far the hardest question of the night. I would have to speak about kindness, toughness, and I would tell them to not fear living. 

*What does your "happy place" look like?

 My happy place changes every day. In fact I have many happy places, but I might just have to choose Pig Rock. It is my little oasis in the desert. It is the best place around when there is a small drizzle of rain and sunlight hitting the rocks. I already know that I am going camping there with my future woman. 

 *What is your life motto?

  Life motto... um... as my small cowboy friend once said (although in very different context) "Reach for the sky" 

(Insert editor's note: If you're not familiar with Disney's Toy Story, I cannot help you.)

* A genie appears and grants you three wishes, what are they? (and no, you cannot wish for three more wishes)

    1. I wish I could remove stress from the world
    2. I wish I could kno
w the truth about God and the afterlife 
    3. I wish to be remembered


Well, wish 3 is granted, we certainly won't forget this interview.
Thanks for participating.....

and for not asking me to define "happy, love, fear, sadness, or life motto" before you would answer the questions. You're a real peach Forrest. I'm so glad your mother was dissolved in lava.