Saturday, May 31, 2014

Lake Louise


The month of May was a woosh. From Brooklyn's birthday, my birthday, mother's day, a visit from my parents, and a trip to Canada to see Scott's family and celebrate 100 years of Grandma Cleo... whoosh. A wonderful whoosh. 

I have a lot of gushing to do of the whooshing. But I'll start with this. 

In 2009, Scott and I visited Lake Louise in Canada for the first time together. It is a dreamy piece of nature for which I had swooned long before my visit. It did not disappoint that July. The Rocky-top glacier and the wild poppies were enough to fix the spot of Lake Louise pretty deep into me. We had been married just six months, and couldn't wait for a second visit someday.

Five years later we were able to make our second trip. Beautiful Lake Louise in May did not disappoint, though snow surrounded us and Spring had yet to wake the poppies. It was a different kind of beautiful that endears Lake Louise to me further and still. 

I took a moment to breathe in the Rocky Mountain air, filling and sustaining me for who-knows-how-long until we stood in that natural V again. Five years ago, I couldn't imagine how my family would grow before our next visit. I left feeling full. Grateful for coming full circle with full arms and a very full heart. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Kid in Cath Kidston

Seriously, though.

Thank you to my mom and dad for this darling little hoodie and (not pictured) wellies. 

Peter, thank you for taking adorable to an inhuman level. 

Rain and fog, thank you for making our little jaunt to the mailbox especially dreamy.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

May is the Best Month.

Then sings my soul. 

Mother's Day, for me, is about these beautiful little people who made me a mom. It's about the husband who loves me and the family we have together. They are the most important gifts I've been given. I am humbled to be the mom of sweet Pete and joyful Brooky.

I am also blessed to be surrounded and inspired by outstanding pillars of womanhood. I am astounded by the examples, legacy, and love of the aunts, great-aunts, grandmas, great-grandmas, sisters, cousins, friends, and one very special birthmom that contribute to my understanding of womanhood. I am grateful for my mom. The one and only. I love you. 

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Birthmother's Day

Mother's Day weekend is not complete without thanking the amazing woman who made it possible for me to be Brooklyn's mother. Krista is strong, courageous, and filled with a powerful force of love. I can't imagine the love it would take to step forward in the journey of placing a child for adoption. 

Only those who have been involved in the adoption process in some way can really comprehend the miracles that take place. Hypotheticals, situations that would seem uncomfortable, concepts that may be difficult to understand, relationships that might be complicated... all this comes into its own simple beauty that is orchestrated by God. Or at least it has for us. At the heart of it all is love. It was love that brought us Brooklyn. It is love we feel for her birthfamily. It is the love of our Heavenly Father that we all feel and that enables everything. When I became a mother, I remember the strong understanding that the reason I could never comprehend the love I would have for my child until my child was actually born was because I had not the capability for it until God loved through me. That emotion and connection is not within my own power to feel; it is the love of Heavenly Father that he enables me to feel, and blesses me to feel, so that I may love His child while that child is in my care. My heart continues to expand and stretch. God has performed miracle upon miracle and opened the necessary doors to bring our family together. It has not been an easy road, and we have been tested in very real ways. But, even those tests were miracles too. 

Krista is one of our extraordinary miracles. Our hearts are tied to her, and we are filled with the most sincere admiration and gratitude to her for helping Brooklyn find her way to us. Our understanding of "family" is enhanced, and we are blessed to be family with her (and her family too!). We are blessed to have her in our corner, cheering for our family, and supporting us. Brooklyn is so loved, by so many, and the love of her birthmom is significant. 

The day before Mother's Day is set aside to honor birthmothers who have chosen adoption plans for their babies. Last year, Birthmother's Day was two days after Brooklyn's birth. It was the day Krista selflessly sent us home to start our life with our baby girl. I woke up the next morning to celebrate Mother's Day with the greatest gift from Heaven.  

We want to express our gratitude to Krista for the precious gift she gave us that day, and for the love we have felt from her and for her every day since. We are truly blessed to have her in our lives, and we are thrilled that Brooklyn will always know her birthmom--and know the love her birthmom has for her. Because of Krista's strength, love, and perspective, Brooklyn Rose is eternally ours, and our family can be together forever. Krista chose this for Brooklyn, and we are in awe of her.

To our Krista,
Happy month of May, and all the celebrations of Brooklyn, motherhood, and you!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday Brooky!

My baby girl is ONE today.

My heart is so full when I reflect on this weekend last year, and all that occurred. I think about her birth, her placement day, and the day in between. I think about the day, seven months later, when we went to court to finalize her adoption. I think about the next day at the Salt Lake City Temple when we became eternally each other's. I think about the blessing Scott was able to give her from her Father in Heaven. We are so filled with wonder and awe of Brooklyn that every day feels a little like her birthday. We celebrate her every day!   

Two and a half years ago, when Peter was born, Scott stood by my bedside with the knowledge that my first pregnancy was my last. I was in critical condition, with many complications and an uncertain forecast for recovery. Fearing the anxiety and sadness it would cause, Scott and my parents were nervous to tell me about this great change for our family until I was well and strong. 

But I already knew, thanks to my Heavenly Father and the errand of angels.
I told them I knew after a number of sacred experiences while in the OR and the ICU.

Brooklyn came to our family by divine design. There was no element of accident or coincident. No part of her story leaves us feeling lucky. It leaves us feeling blessed. 

We have witnessed miracle upon miracle, for longer than we had been aware. The Lord opened doors and prepared the way and hearts of many so that Brooklyn could find her way to us, and so that we could find our way to her. Our family was meant to progress in the way we are now. He blessed us with knowledge and comfort and peace. He strengthened us for the journey through trials guided by His understanding and perspective. 

I wasn't scared. I wasn't confused. At a time when the promise of my own life seemed uncertain, God was preparing me in His way for the lives that would come into mine. I knew that God would provide me everything I needed to be the mother I needed to be for my children, both my newborn son on earth and the strong spirits smiling us on from heaven. I recognized those spirits in our very room.

I knew, I was very literally told, that I would know all my children in that same way that I knew Peter. I wasn't bonding with his physical appearance; my spirit knew his spirit. This was not our first meeting. I love to tell Brooklyn about the first time I held her, how my spirit knew her spirit and I was filled with peace, warmth, and perfect assurance. The angels that attend us every day wrapped their arms around our family, and we felt secure, joyful, whole, and the feeling of coming home to ourselves. Brooklyn was our daughter. She was meant to be in our family. After a long parting from each other, she was here.

Those feelings of recognition and remembrance, of pure understanding, were perfectly shown in our Peter when he saw his baby sister for the first time since parting with her in heaven 20 months before.

We are grateful every day for Brooklyn's birthmom and birthdad for the strength they had to help her find her way to us. We are blessed to have them as part of our family, and all the selfless love they bring with them. Brooklyn is a bright spot in our lives and a perfect reminder of pure joy. She is an extraordinary miracle and a brave soul. She came to this earth with a heightened capacity to love. She is happy. She is eager. She is active. She is social. She smiles all the time. She is so filled with character and spunk. She has the sweetest disposition with the most animated personality. We cannot imagine our family without her in it. 

Brooklyn Rose
Booky (Peter's name for her)
Booky Boo
Baby Grill (Girls are "grills" to Peter)
Angel Girl
Angel Baby

Happy First Birthday Brooklyn Rose!
We love your guts.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Oh, There you are Muffin!

Oh, There you are Muffin!

When my mom comes to town, we always go visit the little bundt cake shop. Yes. bundt cakes. It's the only way I can tolerate living so far from a Sweet Tooth Fairy store. I'm not even a cake person! But my mom and I get kind of ridiculous about the white chocolate raspberry tiny bundt cakes, and we always make a stop when she's in town. So we popped into the store before going to dinner to grab some dessert to take home for later. I ran into the store and returned to the car with a little peanut butter chocolate chip bundt cake sample. Neither of us wanted it, so I put it on the center console, and we drove to dinner. After dinner, we got back in the car to head home and get the kids all set for bed. Peter was a little slap-happy and silly that night, and the first think I hear from him after buckling him in his seat,

"Oh, there you are muffin! I came back! I always come back!"

I turned to look at my adorable two-year old and saw him talking to the little piece of cake on the center console. I closed my eyes and took a moment to soak up how hilarious and darling it was. My son was talking to the cake, calling it a muffin, and reassuring it.

I did a little follow up with Peter to get him to talk to the cake a little more. My mom and I died of laughter and cuteness. He didn't even want to eat the thing! He was just so aware of it like a member of the family.

The next day he was really concerned with the "muffin" was no longer there.

Fluffing the Book

Brooklyn is very into touch-and-feel books lately. She is into book in general lately. She LOVES reading time in Peter's room when Peter sits in his bed, and she stand by his bedside, where I am kneeling, while we read our bedtime books. She loves when we sit down together during Peter's nap and read her little board books. She loves to point to everything and say, "Dis? Dis? (This? This?)." Peter used to say "Dat? (That)," so I am loving hearing Brooklyn do something similar. Her favorite books are touch-and-feel board books, so of course Peter is interested in them all over again. So he selected every touch-and-feel book he could find in the house, made a big stack, and requested we read them for bed. Since they are so much shorter than his normal bedtime books, I decided we could get through the stack. Boy, was I wrong. They took five times as long for each book because Peter insisted on "fluffing" all the pages. "Fluffing." We'd read a page and he'd say, "Wait! I want to fluff it. Booky want to fluff it? Mommy want to fluff it?"

I love the term of "fluffing" the book.


 Peter's dance moves have been well-documented, but Brooklyn has some pretty fantastic dance moves as well! She loves to dance! She loves to dance with her mama in the kitchen. I take one of her hands in mine, and we zhroom around the kitchen like we're dancing, and she beams and smiles the whole time. I love it. But she'll also dance on her own when she hears music or sees her brother boogying. She'll get up on her knees and start bouncing up and down. It's the most adorable thing. Today we were listening to a song called, "Happy." I swear, it's her theme song, because she is the embodiment of happy. She was crawling around, and I pulled our my camera and asked, "Brooky, can you dance?" She turned her head to look at me and started dancing with the biggest smile on her face. Oh, she is a joy!

Bedtime Story

On the subject of bedtime stories, I had to get this one down. We were in Chicago for a week, and I had only packed three little books for the plane. We bought one little Peter Rabbit book for a buck at a used book store we found in Chicago, but between those four, he became very bored with the same stories all week long. He is a major reader, and goes through fifteen books a day, so the same four for over a week was rough on the kiddo. I have about a dozen kids' books memorized. Peter can say about half a dozen of them with me. But even that got old. So I asked him if he wanted a story from my head. I won't go into detail about the story that ended up being so exciting to him (something about an explorer named Peter who goes off into the jungle and ends up getting back home with the help of all the animals he meets), but I will never forget the excitement in his face. The next night he asked for the story again, and when I varied slightly from the original, he corrected me. His memory!


We listen to Pandora at our house in the mornings during breakfast. Peter loves the Disney station. He has seen maybe two of the movies, but he is learning to recognize and sing along with a lot of the songs. I am truly in awe with his natural ability with music. He has incredible intonation for a little guy, he can pick up on a beat or rhythm before any of us even know there's music in the background, and he is just like me in the sense that he can hear a song one time and nearly have it memorized. Today a song from the Sound of Music came on. During the part of the farewell song, when Kurt sings his high-pitched, "Goodbyyyyyyyyyeeee," Peter starts giggling, and sings, "Goodbyyyyyyyyyeee," perfectly in pitch. During the song where Maria is teaching the kids to sing and says, "Do-re-mi-fa-so-la-tea....." and then stops before competing the scale, Peter, drawing at his easel sings, "Do," the final note in the scale in perfect pitch. I was amazed. He is really starting to sing a lot more lately, and learning so many songs. I adore his little voice.


I could tell I was doing something seriously wrong by letting my son walk around Minnesota with a Yankee's cap on his head. We've been guilty in the past of having him wear a Yankee's cap at the same time as a Red Sox t-shirt (gasp!). We've never worried much about it. But I have gotten so many comments from people since we've been here, "Get that boy a TWINS cap!" 

Nick shed some light on the subject (we're a baseball inept), and told me it was the equivalent of wearing a Laker's jersey to a Jazz game. 

Message recieved. Loud and Clear.

So, when Scott's office hosted their employees and families at the Twins/Orioles game last weekend, we decided we'd get Peter a new summer baseball cap. Twins, it is! We weren't expecting the sunshine as we sat up at the deck (it is Minnesota, afterall), so Brooklyn got a full-brim Twins cap as well. 

We had a fun time at the game. Peter was in awe, cheering every time the batter hit (we prepped him for the game with a little tee-ball that morning). Peter refused a hot dog when we offered one (smart boy), and has yet to ever eat one. Are we sure he's related to his cousin Ben? All I can think of is, "You lucky man..." in Bodega Bay.

Brooklyn was Miss Social, smiling, waving, and saying "Aye (hi)" to everyone around her. And I do mean everyone because she gets all the adoring looks and comments whenever we go anywhere. 

It was wonderful, badly needed family time. Wonderful, badly needed sunshine time. Wonderful get-to-know downtown and bond a bit with this city. After the game we drove through the Lake Harriet neighborhood (the other neighborhood we considered when searching for housing). Now that the snow is gone, we are more in love with it than ever. I'm still happy we made the decision to live in Eden Prairie. It is a really good fit for us for a lot of reasons. But we are excited to explore Lake Harriet too. It is such a fun neighborhood; it reminds us a lot of our neighborhood in Salt Lake. We are ready to embrace the lakes and spend a lot of time at all these parks! We made our way home from Lake Harriet and busted out the BBQ for the first time this year. It was the greatest weekend. What a difference good weather makes :) 

Grandma Teri

Last month, before Easter, we jumped on FaceTime to chat with my parents, Johnny, and Alyssa. They were all together for a little Sunday dinner. We miss them so much, all of our Hannay and Petersen family, and are so grateful for FaceTime. It eases the difficulty of being away from the people we love.

I was having a particularly difficult week. More often than not I can embrace this new stage in our lives. My kiddos keep me very busy and physically active. But I was having a hard time finding perspective. Heavenly Father answers prayers, and my parents are His most willing workers when it comes to showering me with love :) Not only did I receive some beautiful, sunny tulips and pussy willow in the mail to brighten up my spring-less world in Minnesota, but while FaceTiming that Sunday, my mom announced that she had booked a flight the next day to come hang out with us for a few days!!! She does not do love and concern half-way. It absolutely recharged and refreshed me, and the kids were in HEAVEN! Mom, I love you like crazy, and your visits are such a bright spot for us! Thanks, dad, for sending my mom to me! Next time, you should come with her :) 

We had a blast preparing for Easter...dying eggs, making rice krispy nests, and planting some sunflowers in our kitchen. Grandma brought Peter and Brooklyn a fun Easter present too, a Calico Critter treehouse and little family of bunnies. Peter plays with it every day! Brooklyn and Peter adore their grandma, and we miss her when she goes back home. Peter felt the farewell even more acutely this time. Scott and I just looked each other, sadly, as we drove home from the airport hearing Peter in his carseat, "I wanna go with Gramma. I wanna go with Gramma!" 

That same week, we received more mail than we have ever gotten in such a short period of time. Thanks to Easter and our amazing family! We received surprises in the mail from Grandma Sue and Grandpa Thayer, Aunt Brooke, Gramma Lynne and Grampa Rick, Kirsten and Nick & family (including a homemade Easter skirt from Aunt Kirsten for Brooklyn!), Grandma Teri and Papa, Grandma Joan and Grandpa George, and Brooklyn's birthmom Krista. All this AND a surprise visit!

One bad day, and the Lord sent a deluge of love.

We are so grateful!   

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Where We Bean

The kids and I decided to jump on a plan and see what their dad's been up to during his work trips to Chicago. Scott and I have the greatest respect for each other's jobs, and I was happy to get a window into his. He is a smart, creative, hard worker. I love his guts.

We loved Chicago, or "A-cado," as Peter calls it. He also called the hotel the "show and tell." Oh, I love him!

The flight there went smoothly. It was just over an hour, so that helped. I was over-prepared with snacks and distractions, and we barely had to get into any of the stuff I brought. We got through security great, handled the airport situation really well. I have wonderful kids, and they were both excellent little travelers. I am so lucky, especially since it was well passed bedtime. 

Brooklyn got a cold on the flight to Chicago and was under the weather the whole time, poor girl. But she was such a trooper! Between napping on the go and living in a hotel, our little champ was still happy and content, only a little mellow. We had a fun few days over the weekend where we explored with Scott, and then four days where I explored with my kiddos while Scott worked. We went to the children's museum, aquarium, pier, Lincoln Park zoo, explored shops and snacks, and walked along the river. We had a great time and wonderful weather. It was just the greatest week all together in a new city. Peter and Brooklyn were awesome travelers! But by the end of the week, we were exhausted (especially the mama who carried kids on back and front all around the city) and ready to get home to our little routine. It's nice to get back into the swing of things, but we might be making another trip to Chicago. It is a really fun city. We were so impressed with it and have a lot more exploring to do!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Spring. Please, Oh Please...

We had a gorgeous 60 degree day today, and it felt fantastic to get a little bit of sun at the park and with a quick bike ride/walk around the lake. We are really hoping to see more of this gorgeous weather in Eden Prairie! 

This park is just up the street, and right next to a lake with long, winding-wooded trails. While still bare, we can imagine these trees in full bloom. We can't wait! We may be missing the mountains, but we having green, rolling hills, a LOT of water all around, and some really fun parks and "beaches" to explore. We are itching to get to know this new home of ours and get moving outside!

This is the best way to swing! I am crazy for these two (and their daddy!)