Friday, June 27, 2008

Funny Story

Since Aaron starts work at 5am, he usually has to get to bed around 9:30pm in order to wake up at 4am each morning. Most mornings, he's so delirious when he wakes up that he rolls out of bed, hits the shower, throws on some clothes, and heads to work half asleep. Last night Aaron went to bed around 9:30 as usual and I stayed up awhile later blogging and reading because I can't fall asleep that early. So, I creep into bed at 11pm and as I'm getting into bed, Aaron throws off the blankets and heads for the bathroom. A few minutes later, I hear the shower running and wonder what Aaron is up to. I go into the bathroom and find that Aaron has turned on the shower and is getting ready to get in. Confused, I asked Aaron if he was going somewhere and he said he had to go to work. I asked him if he knew what time it was (11pm) and he looked at the clock, snapped out of his semi-zombie state, and said "YES!" Poor guy. I must have woken him up when I got into bed and he was so tired that he just went into auto-pilot mode and started getting ready for work, no complaining, on an hour and a half of sleep. I laughed at Aaron's obvious nightwalking, but I gave him a big hug too because I was so grateful that he was ready to silently go to work at 11pm to provide for our family. I am so proud of Aaron for the hard work that he does everyday to support our family and I'm grateful for the sacrifice that he makes to wake up at the crack of dawn each morning to make sure that we're taken care of. I love you, Aaron!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Growing Like Weeds

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Things I've Learned From My Dad:

1. Attitude matters. One of my dad's favorite quotes says that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you make of it. My dad has taught me that I can't control what others say or do, but I can control how I react to it. I can't tell you how irritating this motto made me when my dad would reprimand me for fighting with my brother, but I have come to understand its truth in later years.

2. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. My dad makes casual conversation with everyone from the gas station attendant to the cashier at the grocery store. I've learned that if you treat people nicely, most people will be nice in return.

3. Laugh. I've always appreciated my dad's quick wit and unique sense of humor. My dad tries to give me a hard time because he wants me to learn not to take myself so seriously.

4. Its only money. Obviously, those who have more money can say this with more ease than those of us who have less, but my dad has taught me that objects are just objects. Shortly after getting my driver's license, I totalled my car. I was really nerveous to call my dad, who was out of town at the time, because I was sure that he would scold me for being reckless. After I told my dad what had happened, the first thing he said was, "its just a car." He only cared that I was safe.

5. By the same token, I've learned from my dad how to take care of the things that I do own. My dad told me that he may not have had the nicest or newest things growing up, but his things were always clean and well-cared for. I watched my dad shine his church shoes most Saturday evenings and learned the importance of taking care of what we had. I think my dad coined the word "dung-out" and it became a standard word in our family vocabulary as we would 'dung-out' our house each Saturday morning to make our house as nice as it could be.

6. My dad doesn't live the gospel in a flashy or pushy way, but he is unwavering in his commitment to living the gospel daily. It isn't unusual for acquantainces of my dad's to approach him and ask him about the gospel because they envy the "light" he carries. I think my dad defines integrity.

7. Think outside the box. We've always teased my dad about his obsession with buying and selling. One of his favorite pastimes involves the classified section of the newspaper and a good 'marking pen.' My dad seems to always be able to profit from taking a risk, thinking outside the box, and being creative. My dad is constantly coming up with new programs or incentives for his ward or job. Sometimes Aaron tells me that I'm just like my dad because I'm always trying to think of 'the next big thing.' I would be proud if I had inherited that trait.

8. Work hard/Play hard. I never had to be told to do my homework or study for an exam. I knew from watching how hard my dad worked that it was just expected. My dad always provided for our family. He often travelled during the week or worked on weekends so that we would have enough for our needs. When my dad wasn't working, he was having fun.

9. Ain't nobody happy unless mom is happy. Watching the way that my dad prizes my mom, I've learned how I want to model my marriage. My parents just like spending time together whether its pulling weeds in the yard or going for a Sunday drive, they just enjoy each other's company. When Aaron and I first got married, my dad counselled with Aaron and shared with him a story of when he and my mom were first married. My dad told Aaron that after a silly fight, my mom had started to cry and my dad decided right then that no argument was worth ever making her cry. My dad told Aaron that if Aaron ever makes me cry, its Aaron's fault. period.

10. Ask Dad. Growing up, whenever we wanted something (pizza for dinner, a puppy, etc) our strategy was always to ask dad. We knew that dad was the softy. My dad gives me a hard time because whenever I call home I usually ask to talk to my mom since we just gab about this or that. When I really need help, have a serious question, or need advice, I still ask dad.

This list is certainly not exhaustive. I could make a list a mile long and not be able to write down all of the lessons that I've learned from my dad. I probably don't tell him often enough, but I wanted to honor him this Father's Day by telling him that I love him and that I'm grateful for all of the things that he's taught me. I love you dad!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Old McDebbie

We decided to save the zoo for another year and chose to take Hank to a nearby petting zoo, Old McDebbie's Farm, where Hank could interact with the animals up close and personal. Hank loved petting the bunnies and kittens and couldn't stop feeding the goats, llamas, donkeys, and ponies pellets out of his hand. We even got to feed a camel! The goats were quite clever. We would give Hank a quarter to retrieve pellets from the vending machine and the goats would jump up like dogs and steal the pellets directly from the machine. Hank didn't seem afraid of the animals at all. He stuck his hand right out to feed a hungry pony with teeth that made me a little nervous. Hank had a blast. Aaron was not being cooperative with having his picture taken but I warned him that all pictures are fair game....I think Aaron will really appreciate the one of him mimicking the emu.

Gifts Galore

Its official, Hank is a spoiled rotten 2 year old. Hank's Nanas and Papas and Uncle Adam and Aunt Brittany helped Hank celebrate his birthday with a second party on Saturday. Hank absolutely loved all the attention that he got from his Nanas and Papas. He didn't mind the load of presents either. Hank is a lucky boy to have such great grandparents and uncles and aunts.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Happy 2nd Birthday Hanky Boy!

Its hard to believe that Hank is 2 years old! I woke Hank up this morning by singing him Happy Birthday and he replied by making a blowing sound (practicing to blow out his candle). On Saturday we're going to celebrate Hank's birthday by visiting the petting zoo (please pray for decent weather) with both Nanas and Papas, but we still wanted to make his official birthday special as well. Hank enjoyed spending the day playing with his buddy Ethan, who stayed at our house today. We took Hank to a cupcake shop to pick out a fancy cupcake and then played at an indoor playground. Afterwards, we came home to eat our cupcakes and open presents. Hank actually licked the frosting on the cupcake this year (major improvement over last year) but was more interested in blowing out his candle. We let him blow out the candle over and over since he'd been practicing so hard for it all day. Then we let Hank tear into his presents. Aaron and I got him a workbench with millions of power tools and equipment. Hank was so serious about it. He opened up the gifts and immediately carried the screwdrivers off to work on the dining room table. The comedy of the night was the irony of watching Aaron struggle to assemble Hank's play workbench. I guess the presents were a hit because Hank insisted on going to bed with two screwdrivers and a wrench. I love that kid! Happy Birthday Hanky!

To My Baby...

I'm sure every mom loves her baby. Its a rule--you have to love your baby. I love Hank, not just because he's my baby, but because he is an incredible, sweet, bright, thoughtful, energetic little person. I really love Hank for the person that he is and for the amazing little personality that he's developed. I truly feel fortunate to have been given such a special son. I don't know how I got so lucky because I really feel like I got the very best one! Hank is a gift. He has brought our family so much joy and happiness and we are grateful for each day that we get to spend together. On the day that Hank was born, I wrote in the journal that I keep for Hank, "I love you more than I can ever put into words. I loved you before you were even born and I will love you forever and ever. You will always be my baby and I will always love you." I love you Hank!

How Does Your Garden Grow?

The garden is growing! We're having so much fun tending our little garden and watching the vegetables grow right before our eyes. Aaron is turning into such an attentive gardener. Very first thing when he gets home from work, he heads out back to check on the garden growth. Yesterday he staked the tomatoes and built a little support fence for the peas. We added a few strawberry starts and are thinking about squeezing in some squash. I harvested our mesclum for a little salad straight from the garden. Yum! Everything tastes better when its fresh and home-grown.

The Grover Army

After our roadtrip, we came home to a house completely void of any food whatsoever. We desperately needed to do our grocery shopping on Monday but with Aaron and I both working and having church commitments in the evening, we didn't have any time to shop. Finally yesterday I got the job done. BY MYSELF! This might not seem like a monumental accomplishment, but let me tell you, the way that we shop, it is an enormous feat. To really maximize the dollar, we shop at Walmart and we buy our groceries for the entire month all at once. I plan our menus a month in advance and this way I can take advantage of using leftovers or common ingredients. Anyways, grocery shopping is usually a two-man job that leaves both Aaron and I exhausted but yesterday I took on the task solo. Just try and imagine me carrying Hank in one hand (26lb kid who refuses to sit in the shopping cart for more than 2 minutes), my three-foot long shopping list in the other, all the while pushing two shopping carts (yes, 2!) brimming full of food. My strategy was to stock up at the bakery on cookies to keep Hank happy and then power through the grocery list with as much speed as possible. I just ignored all the stares from fellow shoppers. I mean, people have to eat, right? It literally took a full half-hour at the checkout line and people were giving me the stink-eye left and right. The lady behind me asked, "are you buying food for a whole army?" I said, "no, just me, why?"Rude. After the checkout was done, I had to haul the load to my car at the end of the parking lot in the rain. So now maybe you can appreciate why I took the picture and felt like I deserved a little pat on the back.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Grover Family Roadtrip


Please be advised that you are about to be inundated with a deluge of pictures. We spent the past 10 days travelling between the Oregon Coast and Canada on our first family roadtrip and I was determined to photo-document the entire adventure. I really have tried to be selective about the pictures I posted but there are just too many that I couldn't help it.

Despite the fact that I posted a million pictures, it is impossible to capture the memories that we created on our roadtrip on film. The time we spent together as a family was truly precious. The things that I don't have pictures of, are what are most meaningful and memorable to me: the songs we sang together in the car, splashing in the pool at the hotel each night, Hank riding in the luggage cart at the hotel, Aaron and I fighting over the music decibels in the car, waking up together each morning, and on and on. Our roadtrip was a different kind of vacation. It wasn't the kind of vacation Aaron and I are accustomed to where we relax all day and spend our leisure time pursuing our own hobbies. We learned that vacations with kids are different but even more special. Our joy was in watching Hank laugh and play. It was so worth it!

Day 1: Our Journey Begins

Friday morning we packed up and headed out on our roadtrip adventure.

Day 2: Let the Good Times Roll!

We began the day by visiting the farmer's market in Seattle and letting Hank expend some energy at the park. Then we headed to the Oregon coast, making 2 stops along the way. First, we stopped in McMinnville to see the Spruce Goose, the gigantic wooden airplane. We checked out the museum of flight and Aaron toured the B-17. Hank pointed to the ceiling of the museum where a small, 2 foot wide model airplane was suspended, and said "Bebe.....Ank," meaning that the baby airplane was for Hank. So then I asked Hank which airplane was for Daddy, and he pointed to the Spruce Goose. For the rest of the day, Hank would wave his arms around like an airplance, say "zoom-zoom....bebe.....Ank!" Our second stop was at the dairy factory in Tillamook. We got to see where our favorite cheese comes from and sample some delicious icecream!

Day 3: Just Beachy

On Sunday we travelled from Tillamook, to Seaside, on to Astoria, and finally back to my parent's house. Hank had an absolute blast at the beach. Considering the fact that the water was somewhere near negative 30 degrees, it was surprising that Hank was so adventurous. He loved splashing in the tide and dancing on the sand. Aaron had to hold him back from charging the waves because he was enjoying the water so much. Later, we visited the sad little aquarium in Seaside. One of the poor seals was missing an eye and the feature-attraction octopus stuck to the wall of the cage like a pile of goo. On a positive note, we treated ourselves to salt water taffy and stopped in Astoria to visit the lighthouse.

Day 4 and 5: Pit Stop

We spent the Memorial Day holiday with Aaron's parents, enjoying a little time to relax and rest up for the next leg of our trip. I had to go to work on Tuesday (bummer) so Aaron and Hank had some quality daddy/son time together.

Day 6: Oh Canada!

We were too busy exploring Vancouver on Wednesday to get any pictures taken. So much to see and so little time! Its crazy that such a humongous city exists just a few hours north of us. Although we were only a few hours from home, it really felt like we were in a foreign place. Once we arrived, we headed to Stanley Park, then to Gastown, then on to the largest mall in B.C., and finally to Granville Island. I'm sure we could have spent a full week just touring Vancouver, but I felt like we were successful at cramming in all the must-sees in a single day.
Top 5 Weird/Annoying Things about Canada:
1. I am already leary of public restrooms but Canada's failure to provide toilet seat covers made for some uncomfortable drives.
2. No turn lanes. Annoying. At any given moment, the car in front of you may decide to flip on their blinker and you get stuck waiting behind them trying to negotiate the oncoming traffic to make a turn.
3. They put gravy on their french fries, but, ironically, refer to them as 'New York' fries.
4. Its just irritating to covert miles to kilometers and liters to gallons. At first glance, we thought we were getting our gas for dirt cheap because the sign said $1.38. It turns out they measure their gas in liters and it wasn't such a good deal...equivalent of $6 a gallon!
5. Driving in the city of Vancouver, we couldn't figure out why the green traffic lights blinked and assumed that it must mean that the light would soon turn yellow. We learned from our hotel clerk the next morning, that a blinking green light means that the signal is controlled by a crossing pedestrian. I guess it wasn't a good idea to hit the gas everytime we approached the blinking light.

Day 7: On the Road Again

We spent Thursday exploring Whistler. I loved the quaint little village and all the boutique shops and eateries. Unfortunately, we chose the off season to visit and many of the shops were closed for annual cleaning. We were also a little disappointed to find that many of the activities available were super expensive and not so family-friendly. We walked the trails and visited a water park at Meadow Lake. Someday Aaron and I would like to go back to Whistler together and take more advantage of all the activities and rental toys that Whistler has to offer.

Day 8: Bye-Bye Bus

Friday was a commute day. We travelled from Whistler, back to Vancouver, where we caught the evening ferry to Victoria. We broke up the driving time by stopping to take a Gondola ride to the top of Grouse Mountain. Hank LOVED the gondola. While we were buying our tickets, I pointed out the incoming gondola to Hank and explained that we were going to go 'bye-bye in the sky.' Hank was so enthralled by the gondola that he immediately coined it the 'bye-bye bus.' Its the cutest thing ever to hear him say it. He could not stop talking about the 'bye-bye bus.' At the top of the mountain, we visited a wild bear refuge and went to a lumberjack show. That night, as Hank was laying in his crib, he kept whispering over and over 'bye-bye bus.'

Day 9: Bon Voyage

On Friday night we took the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria and spent the day on Saturday exploring Victoria. On the way there, Aaron let Hank "drive" the car onto the ferry. For the rest of the trip, Hank kept saying "Ank" (saying his name when he wants to do something himself)everytime we got in the car. Once in Victoria, we walked up and down the city streets, treated ourselves to 'real' gelato, toured the parliament building, and visited a petting zoo on Beacon Hill. Hank got to pet and brush the baby goats. I think the family picture on the ferry is disgusting but Aaron insists that its necessary for posterity.