Monday, December 27, 2010

Living Large

Nana Z. sewed this pair of custom jammies for Ben using a 2T sleeper, shortening the sleeves, and removing the feet to accomodate his oximeter sensor.

It would take the jaws of life to get Ben shimmied into a pair of jeans--so I found this awesome pair of denim-printed sweat pants!

This was Ben's Sunday Christmas outfit--I call these his "dress sweats."
What mom doesn't enjoy getting her baby all dolled up now and then? Well, when your eight-month old baby weighs nearly 27lbs, finding baby clothes that fit can be a problem. If I looked as cute as Ben, I'd wear my jammies and sweats every day, too!

Merry CHRIST-mas!

No Christmas cards this year. My excuses: 1) mass distribution of the above family photos would have defeated a covert Christmas gift operation; and 2) it would take a pair of extremely rose-colored glasses (which I definately don't have right now) to be able to reflect back on the past year with any kind of positivity. Excuses aside, I do want to express the special feeling of peace and love that I feel in my heart during this Christmas time as I reflect on the birth of baby Jesus. I feel a greater appreciation, and maybe even a tiny bit of understanding, for the great pain that our Father in Heaven must have felt as he sent His beloved Son to the earth to be sacrificed for the sins of the world. In a year that has brought our family great trial, we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, in whom we find our greatest source of strength and comfort. We wish you all a very Merry (late) Christmas and wish for a much, MUCH better New Year!


Christmas Day morning was a present-opening marathon and Hank and Max were in toy heaven. Santa brought Hank the firetruck he asked for, but, interestingly, Hank was most excited about the garbage truck that Santa brought for Max instead. I won the best-wife-in-the-world prize by getting Aaron and his best buddy, Hank, tickets to the Monster Jam. As for me, I'm just thrilled with my rice cooker (note sarcasm)! For a family that has already been generously blessed with everything we need, Santa was good to us this year.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

What began as a no-fuss, cheese-and-crackers, Christmas Eve snack, has evolved into a gourmet appetizer grand buffet....and what a delicious tradition it is!

We were joined this Christmas by my parents, Aaron's parents, my brother Adam and sister-in-law Brittany, my sister Amy and fiance Eric, and nephew Jasper. The company made for a full house, but it was great to spend the holiday together. Aside from the fabulous feast, we had an old-school family slide show, a Christmas sing-along, watched a few movies, had a little nativity program, and, of course, opened a mountain of gifts.

Our Slumber-less Slumber Party

Toss the air mattress in the family room, pop some popcorn, put on a good movie, throw in an obscene amount of candy, and you've got yourself a Grover-style slumber party! I just wish there was a little more sleeping and a little less candy-binging at our "slumber" party.

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Christmas Wish List

At the risk of being struck down for being so bold and ungrateful, I've decided to make a Christmas List of my own. Sadly, what I really want can't be purchased in a department store or wrapped up with a pretty bow. Keep you furry slippers, Santa, this is what I really want:

- I want a full night of sleep that doesn't involve chasing monsters out of Max's closet, getting medicine for Hank's cough, or feeding a hungry baby in the middle of the night. Sleeping in? No such thing.

- I want a warm home-cooked meal that we can enjoy as a family without Max throwing bits on the floor and Hank negotiating the number of bites he has to eat before he can get a treat.

- I want a few more hours in the day, preferably after the kids' 8pm bedtime and my 10pm bedtime, to enjoy a little "me time"--read a book, watch TV....maybe even take up a hobby??

- I really don't need new clothes, but it sure would be nice to own something that a) wasn't from my high school wardrobe collection; b) wasn't bought off the clearance rack; or c) doesn't already have dried spit-up stains on the shoulder.

- I'd like to spend some quality time with my husband--and I don't mean while grocery shopping at Walmart.

-  I'd like to have the type of girlfriend who understood that somedays I need a pint of icecream and a good listening ear and somedays I need a firm peptalk and to be told to shape up.

- And, finally, if I can only have one thing, I just want my baby to be happy. I want him to grow up to reach his full potential. I want him to experience life, set goals and accomplish them, enjoy friendships and relationships, learn, love others. I want him to have it all. I want to be able to give it all to him.

Thats all. Thats not too much to ask for, is it? 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Jolly Old St. Nick

Santa's photographer really earned his paycheck taking the boys' picture today. Hank was very excited to see Santa and willingly told Santa that he wanted a firetruck for Christmas. Max was in tears before we even set him on Santa's lap and we had to bribe him with a quarter and gum to keep him sitting still. The cameraman made all kinds of noises and crazy gestures to get Max to make this semi-pleasant expression. Ben had fallen asleep shortly before we got in line, but he woke up in a good mood and smiled right on cue!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tree Trimming

Maybe not a good idea to have the boys "Say, 'ho-ho-ho'" when I'm trying to take a picture.
 We're learning. Every year it seems like we get all excited to decorate our Christmas tree, we dig up the lights and ornaments, we start trimming the tree....and then we remember that decorating the Christmas tree is actually a lot of work--and a few hours later we're tired and grumpy. This year, Aaron and I prepped the tree ahead of time (adjusting the base, centering it and getting it level just right, stringing the lights and garland) while the boys watched a movie. Aaron and I got to take our sweet time (we only got into one fight after Aaron hit me in the head while trying to throw the string of lights over the tree!), and then when the movie was over the boys got to help with the fun part: hanging the ornaments! I think our tree looks great and I'm mostly just proud that after a few years of such a hassle we finally figured our how to make the tree decorating experience more pleasant. Note for next year: don't let Max hold glass ornaments in each hand:)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

New to Us

One man's trash is another man's treasure! Yesterday we happened to notice a post on facebook that a family in our ward was looking for a new home for their piano, and the price was right (free!), so we snapped it up! So, after a day  of listening to the beautiful compositions of our budding little musicians, I wonder how much it would cost to get that family to take it back! Just kidding. I love the piano and can't wait to get the boys into piano lessons--I can almost hear the boys' practicing their scales up and down now:)

Red Barn Tree Farm

We Grovers are rugged outdoorsmen. We laugh at rain. Ha-ha-ha! We throw on our boots and tromp through the mud, even splashing in puddles. We brave the cold and elements and we hunt for our Christmas tree like tough lumbermen. And then we spot the perfect tree in the pre-cut section, snap a quick pic, run back to the car for cover, and cheer Aaron on as he hauls it back. Yessiree! We're real outdoorsmen :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Before & After

Ben's hair was beginning to look a little scraggley with wispy long bangs in front, so Nana Z gave Ben his very first haircut and trimmed him up a little. Ben looks so sharp with his big-boy haircut! Love it.

What We've Been Up To...

No time to blog--we've been busy! Each day we get to open a box on our Christmas advent calendar and discover what fun Christmas activity we will do together that day. So much to do! So much fun!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Just Me

Since I'm usually the family cameraman, pictures of of the kids and I together are rare. After looking at these pictures that I took of myself and the boys, I'm thinking maybe its a good idea for me to stay behind the camera. Oh well. It's me, it's real, it's my life.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Some of my favorite Thanksgivings in past years took place at our house, where I spent days slaving over the kitchen, preparing a giant meal. This year, we joined Aaron's parents at their house for the holiday...and boy!, it was really nice not to do the cooking! We just showed up, a delicious dinner was all ready to go, and we ATE! I feel a little guilty for not making more of a contribution--thank you Grovers for the wonderful feast:)
 I guess it was poor timing on my part, but would you believe that just as the meal was being put on the table, my baby insists that he was hungry too? Feeling impatient, I tried at first to just eat my dinner really fast, but it was clear that Ben wasn't going to let me enjoy my meal before he got his. So, I excused myself and, as everyone was partaking of those first few bites of the Thanksgiving meal--the pinacle of the Thanksgiving holiday--I was sharing a quiet moment, snuggling my baby--a very fitting reminder of what I am most thankful for this special season.

After dinner, while the men snoozed on the couch watching a sporting event, we ladies carried our post-Thanksgiving tradition on and made this cute little craft:
When we were living at the hospital during our ordeal with Ben, my mom would ask me every afternoon before she joined us for her shift in the evening if there was anything we'd like her to bring us...a snack? a pair of slippers? a magazine? I found it so strange that in the five years that we have owned our home and worked every day to fill it with the nice comforts of life, that I couldn't for the life of me think of a single thing that I needed. With an entire houseful of things, there was not one single thing in that house that mattered. Thats not to say that I'm not grateful for the many nice things that we have, but I learned a very valuable lesson at that time about the things that really do matter. The things that matter aren't things. I won't even try to begin a "What I am Thankful For" list, because I wouldn't have enough paper or ink, but here are the things that I couldn't survive without:

- I have never found as much strength, hope, and comfort as I have found in the past few months in the gospel through prayer, scripture study, and personal revelation. I am so grateful for my Savior, His gift of the Atonement, and the chance that I am given everyday to do a little better. I am so thankful for my relationship with my Heavenly Father. He knows me, He loves me, He hears me, and He answers me. God is good. Miracles happen.

- I am thankful for Aaron, my partner. It is an invaluable blessing to be able to walk this journey with my best friend.

- I can't describe how grateful I am to have been given the three most precious boys in the world. I honestly can't figure out why Heavenly Father has entrusted these special boys to me. Me! They are my most prized possessions and I love them dearly.

- At 28, I feel like I lean on my parents (and in-laws) more than ever. I am oh so thankful to have a mom that I can call (and call her I do!) when I am feeling low and receive words of encouragement, friendship, and support. I truly believe that many of the tender mercies of the Lord have come to me in conversations with my mom. I am ever so thankful to have such involved parents-in-law who take such good care of us: babysitting the boys so that I can take Ben to therapy, giving Aaron and I much-needed date nights, taking the boys on dates and making them feel special, and just being a part of our family.

What a lucky girl I am!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow Day!

Snow in November may as well be like Christmas in July--its an exciting event! The schools close, work stops, and everyone stays warm indoors in jammies and watching movies...with occasional trips outside to play in the snow. The boys had bunches of fun bundling up in their coats, boots, and gloves and making a snowman at Nana Grovers' house yesterday.