Happy Monday!


My sister is back.

She was so far away for such a long time. Sometimes I think it’s best just having one sister. It simplifies things. She’s my favorite -no contest.
There’s less of her now… I guess giving up a heavy beef/dairy diet can somehow trim inches. Someone should alert the experts.

She was on a plane for roughly 18 hours! She had a layover in Tokyo which somehow makes her my hero. Also, my children are my Tokyo.
You know what I mean… I mean, if you have a baby and no money, you know what I mean.
She ended up arriving a few minutes early, so I wasn’t able to get some really good pictures of the first moment her eyes met the gigantic group of loud country bumpkins in the lobby.

These are the times the Hansen Family will actually hug. And if you’ve got a quick trigger finger, you can capture it. Luckily, my Dad raised my right.
And this is me blowing my smoking gun.

Julianne’s English is slightly accented and returning very well! We ate at the Sizzler afterward, and she could not believe how much food there was.
The kids couldn’t get enough of her -I mean, she had celebrity status with them when she left. Now that’s she home from halfway across the world? Just you try to knock their JuJu… I DARE you.
My daughter asked me the night before we went to pick her up, “Mom, where did you serve your mission?”
“I didn’t serve a mission, honey.”
The scoff I got back was like a warm hug.
As IF Mom could not get ANY LESS COOL. Yuck.

Julianne spoke yesterday, and it was really great. At one point, the entire chapel was silent as she bore her testimony. The Spirit she carries with her is insanely strong and powerful. She’s soft-spoken, and it’s amazing to watch her work.
After Sacrament meeting, we met up at great-grandma’s for lunch. Tacos all around!

And people all around!

—-UPDATE: I started this post weeks ago, and gosh darn it all if I’m not bound and determined to FINISH it! So hold on to this minor bump in the flow of the post while I pick up and finish. —–

My brother came and took some pictures with his awesome camera. And again: allow me to put in a plug, though it is FAR from needed since their business has taken off like crazy (so proud of them!) for Brushfire Photography.
And I just have to say -I helped them title their company. I wouldn’t mention it except they’re doing so well, and I want to be a part of their coolness.
Here’s the picture he took of me and my sister.

And the picture he took of my daughter:


And last but not least -and forgive the abrupt ending to the post, it’s just that I’m not dressed or bathed and I just found the kids in the neighbor’s yard. a-freakin-gain… here’s a picture of ALL of us. It just warms my heart to see a complete picture!
I can only hope that it will soon be outdated -there’s nothing sweeter than adding new members to a family.
We love all of our inlaws and new babies!


Oil Cleanse Update

I’ve been doing the Oil Cleanse (correctly this time) for a good, solid while now.
And I have to say that I love it. Why do I love it?
Because my skin feels natural.
Because my skin is no longer dependent on product… When I miss a cleanse, I’m fine to just rinse my face with water. I’ve always known that the pioneers and cave ladies got along without Noxema, Mary Kay, and Clinique, but I never quite knew how.

Using the oil cleanse has changed my way of thinking about a few things, and it’s saving me quite a hunk of money.
I know exactly what’s going on my face, and I feel good about it. I still get zits, I don’t suddenly have flawless skin, but I FEEL so good about what I’m doing. It’s got me rethinking the lotion I use, my shampoo and things like that. I haven’t made any changes in other departments yet, but I will.  Gradually, I will.

I’ve been using essential oils on a daily basis, and it’s improved my quality of living. It’s making me a better mother, and I appreciate them so much. I always have… and not in a trendy sort of “what’s cool now” kind of way, but in a simply, back-to-basics, self-reliance kind of way.

I use lavender in my oil cleanse.
I put drops in my tea.
I rub my baby’s feet with them.
I rub my older kids down as well.

I’m able to add them not only to my oil cleanse, but to my detox baths and my homemade laundry detergent as well. Next I plan on using them to try the no-poo method on my hair.

The thing is, I read the news and I hear the news and my husband talks about the news, and I’m not panicky about it. I’m not depressed or failing or upset… but I have a strong urge to buy a farm. I want to be able to go more natural: to eat better food, to not put so much crap in and on my body.
I mean, I can’t control the spit-up situation. I can only control what I CAN control, and that means I’m going to grow my own food! I’m also very interested in making my own soap. Finding a way to take care of my hair that doesn’t involve Tres emme! I’d love to make my own salves, balms and things like that. To sell? Hardly. To use on my friends and family? More likely.

In short? I’m not fanatical about the oil cleanse. I’m not going to insist on it, urge you to try it, or stand fist-in-air on a milk crate in the middle of downtown London in 1870.
I’m simply going to say: I feel good about what I’m doing.
And here’s my face -obviously not photoshopped. I haven’t showered yet today. So it’s 3:30 and I haven’t done a thing to my face today.
It doesn’t look amazing, but it obviously isn’t starved for face wash, astringent, moisturizer, a mask or any other bloody invention created to make women feel like they’re taking control of their own beauty.
You’re beautiful, okay? You don’t need all that shtuff.

The less dependent I am on the store, the better I feel about me.
And that’s all. That’s all I have to say about that.

The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done

Lately, I’ve been suspicious that I’m Eeyore.
I’m not TRYING to be, and I’m making a conscious effort NOT to be. But when my husband comes home and asks me how my day was and I have to tell him about the burnt mattress or the baby powder on my piano or the sweet-smelling toilet bowl that’s wearing the entire bottle of my favorite body spray… I sound like a downer.
It turns out it doesn’t matter if you’re sporting a tone the likes of which Snow White would be proud… when you say, “He burned a hole in the mattress” it STILL sounds awful.

I went shopping on Friday with all three of my kids and my older brother. As my brother and I visited, I confessed something to him:

Having three kids is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

The kids are over the newness of their little sister. The official adjustment phase has begun. Do you know what that means? They’re begging for attention in all the wrong ways: disobeying, breaking promises, arguing with me and each other.
I know this is a phase. I know it will pass.
But when you’re in the thick of doing something hard and you’re running on little to no sleep, you’re dealing with a body who thinks it’s a gas to cycle every two weeks, and you have people both small and large looking at you and asking, “What’s for breakfast/lunch/dinner?”
It feels like a minor travesty.

I’m a happy person.
My husband married me in part because of my natural happy attitude.
When I was in high school, a coworker accused me of using crack, “because NO ONE is naturally that happy.” (She took it up to my boss and not to my face which I appreciate. I think.)

I’m trying to see the good in all of this, and there has been a lot of good.
But the facts remain: life is just hard, especially hard, right now. I believe that life is supposed to be hard and my goal isn’t HAPPINESS. It isn’t. My goal is faithfulness and joy.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. During that time, my daughter argued with me (because she suddenly knows more than I do on account of her having nearly completed her Kindergarten year). My son took a fork to my piano bench and made me cry.
Both of them broke promises they made to me, and rounded the day out with a few lies and a lot of disrespect to my personal bubble.

And today I’m supposed to clean my house.
But you know what?

My husband bought me a used but in good condition iPad for Mother’s Day. He knows that I wouldn’t appreciate a new one (you shouldn’t spend that much money!) but a good, solid USED one? FUN!
I immediately downloaded “Anne of Green Gables” for free, and I cracked it open this morning. Can you believe I’ve never read it?

My house needs cleaning in the worst way, but I’m SO TIRED of feeling like I can’t LIVE until the house is clean. I can’t keep up with everything on my plate right now, so I’m figuratively BREAKING that plate, putting on sweats (because my pants don’t fit anyway) and reading a book.

The un-Eeyore side to all of this is the evening we spent making s’mores as a family, the new-to-me iPad waiting for me on my burnt mattress, the fresh spring days, the garden soil waiting to be turned, cultivated, planted and watered, the new-found love of a show called “Foyle’s War” on Netflix, and this picture which brings me much joy. Probably because the subject in it isn’t arguing with me or punching holes in my precious piano bench:

Yet, anyway.

Happy Mother’s Day

Lacy gave me a Mother’s Day booklet full of drawings of us. The first of which is:

Looking at that felt good.
–feeling sarcastic.

But no, really. It made me laugh really hard, and every time I think of it, I smile.
Speaking of things that make me smile:




It’s a DEAD mouse! My kitten has officially earned her little keep. Living next to a barn is no joke. And it ain’t for no bloomer-wearin’ sissies neither.
(This is the part where I spit my tobaccy on the ground for intimidation purposes.)
And finally?

Thanks, babies, for making me a mother.
A mother with an old $15 yard sale (8 year old) couch piled with clean laundry and smiling faces.
I love you muskrats!

Mixing Motherhood with Inappropriate Language

I once had a Bishop who said, “Alicia, there’s two types of men who I believe are allowed swear. The first is mechanics. The second is men who deal with cows. Your dad is both.”
Okay, fine. Bishop, that’s fine.
But what about WOMEN?! I’m no feminist, but I still say I believe mothers are allowed to swear ONCE in a while.
We do yoga. *%&$
We find baby powder on our piano keys. ^*(%
We burn the last batch of cookies. Every. @#$# time.

But I digress. I’m not here to defend a mother’s right to use foul language.
I’m here to use inappropriate language.

The other day, I found a note my niece had written my daughter. And aside from it being an absolute treasure of awesomeness, it had a hand-written emoticon on the top of it.

A frown face. :(

My golly goodness. And then I logged onto facebook and saw that they’ve added this new thing where you can insert a feeling next to your post. I scrolled through the available feelings facebook has to offer, and I laughed so hard I cried.
First, what the what is MEH?
Is that like the new, awful substitution for “apathetic”? Do people not WANT to go through the trouble of saying, “apathetic?” Or is it a new emotion completely that’s taken hold with this new surge of technology that allows us to communicate with our thumbs and caveman grunts?

I began composing status updates in my head that I could attach the allotted facebook feelings to.
“Tornado howling outside. Luckily I have this closet. -feeling safe.”

And why do we have to limit our feelings to the small range of emotions facebook says we can have? I began texting my brother and insterting my own feelings.

“Trenton dumped a full bottle of my favorite body spray down the crapper and [insert the rest of my crazy day here]. –feeling battered.”

Isn’t the worst part about technological relationships the fact that we can’t SEE what they’re feeling as they type? Well, the problem just got more complicated.
Because now we SEE their feelings, and there IS NO OPTION to feel sarcastic.

Seriously, facebook. How did that get overlooked?
The emoticon, the hashtag -it’s an entirely different language that makes my 6th grade journals indeed seem archaic.

So in hopes of helping Those Who Come After Me, I’m going to dedicate this post to hashtagging and emotion-listing.


–feeling bemused


–listening to “Hey, Hey Good Lookin’, Whatcha Got Cookin'”
–feeling lazy


–feeling pastoral


–feeling like a number in a feed lot, and don’t we all feel somewhat that way in a waiting room?

Oh, forgive me, that was our of context.


— feeling a theme going on

— feeling fear


— feeling inspired


— feeling panic


— feeling American


–feeling anxiety for the future and the grandchildren in it. Child, go buy a book for yourself, okay?

Half Full IS Half Empty


I haven’t posted in a while, and now I’m posting twice in one day… like when I use sheer WILL POWER to stop eating sugar and then I spend one day wallowing in Little Debbie Snacks and molasses.
It’s like that.

You would not believe my day.
I need to vent it out -and I realize that the fact that I’m complaining about such trivial nonsense is just flat-out amazing. I am SO blessed to live the life I do. I’m SO SATISFIED with it. I love my life and my kids and I even love my bigger-than-ever body.

But even the guy who works his dream job has days where he’s like, “I want to pull what’s left of my hair out.”

Today, I was going to clean my house.
I woke up on my own at 6 in the morning. Everyone else was fast asleep. It was glorious.
I spent some alone time on the computer, and then I did yoga.
The yoga I do is less the “feel your abs TIGHTEN” kind of yoga and more the, “breathe in light… exhale stress” kind of yoga.  And the instructor on my video has a heavy foreign accent which I’m pretty sure makes the yoga 48% more effective. And I should also say that I like to say that I do “yo-gerr” which is more country western and proves that yoga is still effective even if you white-trash the poses out.
“Bend down, press your head to your knees… breathe…”
And there’s Alicia with her hands on her calves, all red in the face and forcing herself to RELAX DAMMIT!
*pardon the swear*

After yo-gerr, I knelt to say my prayers and was shaken -literally -out of them by a six year old girl who had barreled out of bed just SURE she had missed the bus.
“Mom! It just went by and it didn’t even STOP!”
“Lacy, your bus comes after lunch.”
“But I SAW IT!”
“Lacy. No… don’t worry about it. Go make a mother’s day card for Grammy.”

I hopped in the shower-and was wrenched therefrom by the sound of my baby screaming in pain.
“I thought she might catch the book,” my shaking daughter said to me.
Because six year olds don’t realize that four-month olds don’t play catch.

“Didn’t I tell you to make a Mother’s Day card? You need to obey!”
Naked Mom.
Hot water running out.
Screaming baby.


I began cleaning the house only to be met with the meanest little six year old I’ve ever had. She was throwing down gift offerings from the four year old, doing whatever she could to make him cry, and constantly begging for attention in every negative way.

So I left the dishes stacked and the Comet sprinkled in the sink and I tended to my daughter. I wrote about that in my post below. There was soft music and candles and french braids, and I did my best to have mother perspective. And it actually WORKED. Were it not for:

I had a meeting to host at my house, and I didn’t have time for hair or make-up or even cleaning up the Comet in the sink. But oh well. I put my child first, and that was something to be proud of, wasn’t it? I wasn’t uncomfortable in my skin, and the meeting went along fine right up until my son came waltzing out of the hallway wearing a guilty face and what I swear was half a bottle of what I quickly recognized as my favorite body spray.
The fancy kind.
From Bath & Body.

Bath & Body is pretty much LUXURY line for us country folk.

“I’m sorry,” he said, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
This “I’m sorry,” folks, is EXACTLY THE SAME “I’m sorry” he used last week when he threw a piece of the blinds on top of the roof and dropped a LIT match on our year-old mattress.
Yes, there was a small fire.
Yes, I put it out.
Yes, the baby has been sick.
No, I’m not sleeping at night.
Yes, in the past two weeks I’ve aged considerably.


“What happened?” I asked.
“I will show you,” he said.

He walked me to the bathroom and presented me with a toilet bowl full of my favorite body spray.
I believe my Dad would call it “Plush flush.”
My once-full bottle was in the trash can.
“Why?” I asked, not raising my voice in the least thanks to my morning yo-gerr.
“Because I didn’t like it, Mom.”


I spanked per prior agreement (when the mattress fire struck he told him if he came into our room and got into stuff he would be spanked in the future).
And then I fed the baby, who -by the by, had been cranking up a storm the likes of which reminded me of Lacy’s colic days.

I fed her.
I tossed my hair up and applied some make-up and put jeans on just in time for my piano lessons to come over.
That was when I found baby powder all over my piano pedals.

“It was me,” the six year old raised her hand.
“Thank you for being honest. You are grounded from the piano for seven days.”
(We have grounded her from the piano before on the grounds of disrespect.)
And then I proceeded to actually SAY it, “Baby powder does NOT GO on pianos.”
“I know…”

Then WHY? It’s the eternal, unanswered question.
At this point, while the sun was starting to go down… I finally scrubbed the Comet out of the sink. Remember the Comet? yeah. me either.

I filled the freshly-scrubbed sink with soap and began to wash dishes.
“Can I help, Mom?” my daughter asked. My son was standing nearby.
He was hungry.
She was bored.
The baby wanted attention.
And for ninety-million time since I birthed The Third One, I wondered WHY the church did away with polygamy. I need a Sister Wife.


When my husband got home, he watched over the flock while I took a long walk by myself.
“Can I come?” my daughter asked.
“Mom needs some time alone because if she doesn’t get alone time, she goes…”
“loco,” the kids answered in unison.

I train them in the little things.

I left the dishes in the soapy water and took a walk at sundown. I stopped to pick up trash and take pictures of a new calf. I wrote a little cowboy poetry in my head, and somehow got the song, “Sunrise, Sunset” stuck in my head from Fiddler on the Roof.
I wondered why I don’t watch musicals more often, especially since I own so many great ones (not dumb ones) (you know the ones I mean).

I came home to find that my six year old had DONE the dishes and wiped the counters and sink down.

The rest of the night, the house fell apart. A visitor stopped by RIGHT exactly when I took off my sweater (undies only underneath, of course) and my husband yelled full-voice at the kids.
And yes, the front door was wide-open because the house was hot.
So yes, the neighbor girl that stopped by SAW it all.
The Deets Family -in all their wonderful, real GLORY!


I thought it would be nice to put on an hour-long comedy show.
But that’s when my son threw his cape, his llama, and a sheet of newspaper (respectively) in my face and then cried when I took the newspaper away.
And that’s when my daughter wanted attention too.
And my baby cried for attention.

At this very moment, my kids are sitting together.
Quietly reading a book together.
My husband is working out.
The baby is asleep.
And me? I just managed to burn the last batch of cookies while I sat down to type.


Jam Circles and French Braids

I have over 2,600 spam comments that I need to sift through.
I have over 50 posts to write.
Despite hiring cleaning help only 13 days ago and having one successful cleaning day between then and now… my house is once again dirty.
And for some reason, the food still isn’t making itself.
The baby is continuing to outgrow her clothes faster than I can wash them let alone put them in storage.
My children are beginning to eat like real, contributing members to society and less like toddlers and my husband’s pay has not increased to make necessary provisions for their growing appetites and stomachs.

I remember seeing my mom cry once.

She was sitting in my Dad’s spot at the table (doesn’t every dad have “his” spot?) and her head was cradled in her hands.
“What’s wrong, Mom?” I asked… generally if I saw my mother crying, I high tailed it out of the room. Even as a small child, I liked to bury my head in the sand and pretend that no one ever cried or felt bad, ever ever ever. But this time, I was too curious to run away.
“Every morning,” she said, “I put the jam on the table. I put the honey on the table. I put the salt and pepper on the table. I put the milk on the table. I put the juice on the table. I make breakfast. I put breakfast on the table. Everyone sits down and eats in one hurried mess. And then? I put the jam in the cupboard. I put the honey in the cupboard. I put the salt and pepper in the cupboard…”
And then she broke down again and cried.

I couldn’t understand it. As a child, I thought, ‘Yes, I know! I watch you do that every morning. I know that’s why you do. WHY are you crying about it?’

I think of that often -probably because I find myself going, “Should I even put dinner in a pretty dish to serve it? Do we really NEED a ladle? Can’t we all just dip our paper cups right in the pot and get our dinner that way?”

I first and foremost need to say that growing up, my mother always made sure we had breakfast together. We had a lot of dinners together, sure. But breakfast? I have so many memories of that breakfast table: the sugar, the jam, the salt and pepper. I knew my family would eat breakfast together. I knew Dad would be at the head of the table. I knew we would pray, and I knew I was safe.
Those breakfasts meant more to me that Mom will ever know.
Her sacrifices to make it happen set the groundwork for her daughter and her daughter’s kids. I now insist that we WILL eat dinner around the table -not in front of the TV. We WILL talk about the highlights and lowlights of our day. Dad will be at the head of the table, and Mom will be in the background somewhere making it all happen at the sacrifice of her very sanity because somewhere deep, deep down she knows… IT IS WORTH IT.
(I don’t actually sacrifice my sanity because I know my limits, but I do push myself to make it happen more often than not, even when it would be easier to NOT make it happen which, as we all know, is every night.)
How do I know it?

Because I’ve been a direct recipient, thanks in full to my angel mother and her relentless jam-running circles.

This morning, my daughter thought her little sister might be capable of catching a book.

(I know, I know)

I got after my oldest daughter -more than I should have. One of my good friends called it something like “Mother Bear Confusion” -that feeling you get when The Someone hurting your child IS actually another one of your own children.
It wasn’t my finest moment.
I tried talking it out with her, but the rest of the morning followed suit. She was mean to her brother, taking any and all opportunities to make him cry. She didn’t obey me.
“What’s going on with you? This isn’t like my regular girl,” I said, looking her in the eyes, “What are you feeling?”
“Sad,” her bottom lip quivered.
“About what?”
“I didn’t mean to hurt Alice,” she said, and Lacy began to cry.
“What else are you feeling?”
“Scared that you are so mad at me.”
“It is okay to feel that. It’s okay to feel sad and bad and angry. It’s okay to mess up. It’s okay to make a bad choice. We ALL do it. Just know that when you make a bad choice, you will get a CONSEQUENCE. If you CHOOSE to make Trent cry, that’s fine. But the CONSEQUENCE is that you will get in trouble. It’s okay to feel bad about that. It doesn’t make YOU bad. But it is NOT okay to make Trenton feel bad just because YOU feel bad.”
And suddenly I remembered something else.

I can’t quite be sure if I dreamed this, or if Mom actually told me about it. I have no idea.
The point is this:
My mother’s mother has had more than her fair share of daughters. Daughters tend to fight, you know, on rare occasions :)

When the daughters would get to fighting and crying, Granny would take them, one-by-one, and french braid their hair.

So I dunked my daughter in a bubble bath, lit a few candles, put on some nice music… I hoped it would calm the stress that six year olds just shouldn’t have.
After her bath, I applied some homemade hair detangler (about two tablespoons of conditioner mixed in with water in a spray bottle -magic). I let her pick out some of my fancy lotion. I brushed her hair (she calls her rats “Templetons” since we’ve been reading Charlotte’s Web). I rubbed lavender on her chest.
And then I french braided her hair.

Did you know that today is cleaning day? It was supposed to be yesterday, but I ended up in the city for the day.
I have over 2,600 spam comments that I need to sift through.
I have over 50 posts to write.
Despite hiring cleaning help only 13 days ago and having one successful cleaning day between then and now… my house is once again dirty.
And for some reason, the food still isn’t making itself.

But I know what’s important.
I know for what cause came I into this life. I came to make jam-running circles and french braids. I came not to orbit clean children in a clean house, but to teach, love, and embrace important people in a holy place.
I KNOW that. I KNOW.
Because I was lucky enough to have a mother who knew it first.
Because she was lucky enough to have a mother who knew it first.
And YES! SHE was lucky enough to have a Namina who knew it first.

What a wonderful chain. What a sacred, precious chain.
A chain of Sisterhood and undying, eternal love.

My Mother’s Day gift to my Mothers who aren’t here to hold their chain of daughters is simply this:
A sweet assurance that I know you’re here. I can feel you with me now, and I know you can SEE the happy girl who left my arms this morning and bounded out the door with two wet french braids flapping behind her.

Thank you for your knowledge.
How sweet it is.
I love you, Mom. Thank you for your sacrifices. They are not for naught. Your link in the chain has been -by far and away -pivotal to this link.