Monday, August 30, 2010

Go Fish

I have fond memories as a little girl of going fishing with my grandpa and feeling that little thrill each time there was a tug on the other end of my fishing pole and then excitedly reeling in my line to discover what I had caught. Hmmm. I must have blocked from my memory the less idyllic parts of the fishing experience: the slimey fish bait, the dinky rainbow trout that aren't much of a prize to even meat-eaters, and the graphic lesson in the circle of life when your 4-year-old innocently questions why dad is "hurting the fish." I guess our boys aren't destined to be rough and tough outdoorsmen because when we took them to a petting zoo/u-fish pond, Max was petrified of the animals (even the "meows") and Hank was more interested in the sand box/playground area.

After instant success in catching fish on the first few casts, I think the boys were actually starting to have fun fishing. Unfortunately, when the pond is stocked with bazillions of tiny, hungry trout that cost $5/fish, the fun (or funds, more accurately) runs out really fast.

On our way back home from the pond, we stopped at the park in our town to check out Summer Fest where Hank got to take a horse ride.

Movie Madness

The one item on our summer "to-do" list that I have been less than excited about is our slumber party because if there is one thing that is high on MY list, its sleep. Not to fail our summer mission, we blew up the air mattress in the family room, cozied up with our pillows and blankets, munched on our treats, and kicked back to watch a fun family movie. The slumber party was a great idea on paper, but within fifteen minutes the kids' lost interest in the movie and decided to use the air mattress as a wrestling ring instead.

Breakfast of Champions

Since I devoured a thick slice of chocolate zucchini cake for breakfast the other day I guess its a little bit like the pot calling the kettle black, but Aaron and the boys definately stretched the definition of breakfast this weekend.

While Hank and Max enjoyed their chocolate chip pancakes ("more chocolate syrup, please") Aaron whipped up his version of a "fruit smoothie" by simply blending fresh strawberries, whole milk (!), sugar, vanilla, and a orange creamcicle for a little "citrus" flavor. I would certainly never call myself a healthnut, but even I have to draw the line somewhere...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

All Aboard!

For the past few weeks the boys have been waking up and, very first thing, removing a link off of their choo-choo countdown chains, waiting in anticipation for this special day--the day they got to take a ride aboard the Mt. Rainier scenic railroad. Boy oh boy was Hank ever excited! The entire 26 mile drive from our house to the train depot, I got to listen to a non-stop chorus of "choo-choo!"s and "ba-ba-ba! (Max's version of "all aboard!)"

When we arrived at the train depot, the boys were very curious about the workings of the train and watched closely as the engine pulled into the station, hooked up with the train cars, turned on its lights, blew smoke, and, much to the boys' delight, blew its loud whistle.

Hank thought he was pretty cool when he got to wear the engineer's hat!

Hank hung his head out of the window the entire trip, waving to the cars at every crossing.

At the midpoint in the ride, the train stopped at a lake to allow the passengers to view the scenery and eat a snack. Max was not happy to be getting off of the train and said in his stern little voice, "Mo (more) choo-choo!" Later, when our ride was over and we were loading into the car to go back home, again Max complained and said, "No choo-choo bye-bye!" Needless to say, the boys had a blast. Thank you Nana and Papa Grover for the great ride:)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Happy Place

It would be an understatement to say that a vacation was loooong overdue.

On Thursday, we took a quick trip to the Oregon coast and stayed in this cozy little cottage on the beach.

A funny thing happened while we were on our little beach getaway. One morning, I woke up to the sounds of the ocean waves crashing onto the shore, the smell of hot breakfast cooking downstairs, and the sweet little sounds of my baby squealing in his crib beside my bed, and I had a strange feeling. I felt a lightness in my spirit, a little flutter in my heart, and a hop-skip in my step. It was very unusual. I felt so taken off guard by this unknown feeling that I described it to Aaron and he said, "I know. I feel it too. I'm happy" A-hah! So thats what it feels like to be happy! So sad that I had lost that feeling for so long, but so glad to have that wonderful feeling back.

The boys had so much fun playing on the beach. Max basically stuck to Dad like glue and was happy as long as he was being held, but Hank kicked off his shoes, dipped his toes in the water, and ran along the beach, happy as can be.

On Friday, Amy, Eric, and Jasper joined us at the beach house. Eric was a great sport and dug the boys a giant hole in the sand to play inside and spent hours playing Go Fish with Hank.

Aaron gave up on building a sand castle and decided to just relax in his sand chair instead.

After a freezing cold stroll along the beach, we warmed up in the little hot tub.

As we started to pack up this morning to head back home, back to life, that old familiar heavy feeling started to settle back in its place in my chest. Stress. I can't stay on vacation forever (I wish!) so I will have to learn to find my own happy place again, here, in real life.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I Can't Help It

Yes, I know. I post an excessive amount of pictures of this little boy. I can't help it. There was a time in the not-so-distant-past, that I held Ben's tiny little hand, stared at his sweet face, and tried with all of my might to commit the image to my case that was all that I had. Ben IS here. He is a living miracle. So, I have no shame in posting endless photos of this boy because I will never get tired of seeing those bright blue eyes, those sweet little dimples, and that killer smile. Ever.

Lions, and Tigers, and Bears! Oh My!

Today was too beautiful of a day to waste, so we packed it full of family fun. First, we visited the zoo! Ben was just a doll the entire day, Max was happy until his snacks ran out, and Hank thoroughly enjoyed the exhibits and the scenery. Hank's favorite animals were the sea animals that could be seen from an underwater viewing area: the sharks, the polor bears, and the sea horses. ??

After the zoo, we needed to cool off, so we stopped at a little wading pool at a local park and let the kiddos splash and play. Since we worked up an appetite with all of the sunshine and playing, we came home and barbequed hamburgers, ate watermelon, and made homemade milkshakes for dessert. Now its almost time to tuck the boys in bed...ahh! let the real fun begin!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bon Appetit, Ben

With Ben's size and appetite, I expected his first taste of rice cereal to be a big hit, but he was actually not very impressed. I tried to get him to take a few bites, but after a few gags, he wasn't having it. I think Ben might just be trying to work the system, because when the rice cereal failed, I experimented with some applesauce and he didn't seem to have any problems sucking that off the spoon. Smart boy!

Spot Light

Since Hank and Ben both had their little blog "spot lights" I wanted to add a few fun things about Max, too.

Max's vocabulary is exploding and he is learning fun new words everyday. A few examples:

- Whenever I get out the kids' cups or plates, Max declares "blue one!" even if there aren't any blue ones being offered. Apparently he's just heard Hank claim the blue cup/plate and thinks its the customary response at mealtime, because he's actually content with any color that he ends up with.

- We retired the high chair (just in time for Ben to get his turn) and now Max prefers to eat dinner on Dad's lap. Since I don't eat meat, I don't usually prepare it for the kids. I guess Max is a true carnivore because he's discovered that he can find meat on his Dad's plate. His favorites are steak, meatballs, and sometimes chicken.

- Every morning, Ben gets super excited to help give Ben his bottle (medicine). He likes to hold Ben on his lap and pets Ben's head as he feeds him.

Max is a sweetie! I'll be honest, he hasn't escaped the terrible twos (a little early) but, 99% of the time, he is smiling, laughing, and such a joy. I love you Mattsy-boy!

Hello, Old Friend!

Today I introduced Ben to the exersaucer and they became fast friends together. Ben liked being able to put his feet on the floor and was entertained as Hank and Max circled around and around him on their push cars.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

4 Months Old!

Oh Ben! You are so squishably chubby and I love every single ounce of you...and there are a lot of ounces of you to love!
4 Month Stats:

Weight: 19 lbs!!! (95%)
Length: 26.5 in (95%)
Head 41.5 cm (25%)

4 Things About Ben:

- I lovingly refer to Ben as Pepe (as in Pepe Le Pew) because the boy has some stinky toots! Whew! He must take after his Daddy!

- Ben is an awesome sleeper! He usually goes to sleep at 9pm, I top him off around 10pm, and then he's good to go until about 5am. I feed him at 5am and he goes back to sleep until Hank wakes us up at 7am.

- Ben loves to swing, is very tolerant of his rowdy brothers, loves to listen to music, likes to be held, is doing really well holding up his head and working on sitting.

- Ben is a very, very special little boy and has taught me lessons about faith, prayer, healing, the atonement, and the plan of salvation in his short little 4 months of life.

Ben is my heart. I am so proud of that courageous little boy. I love you to bits and bits, Benjamin!

Little Rascal

Sometimes it feels like all day long I am saying the same things over and over: "Hank, stop it!", "Hank, leave your brother alone!" or "Hank! Calm down!" I think I need ease up on Hank a little. Sure, he can be a rascal at times and he knows how to push my buttons, but he is the brightest, most thoughtful, and caring little boy. Just a few examples:

- On our way out of the Supermall, Hank sees a teenaged kid smoking a cigarette. Completely unprompted, Hank points and the kid and says, "you spit that cigarette out right now!" The kid felt guilty and immediately spit out his cigarette. In an embarassed kind of way, Aaron and I were so proud of Hank for honoring his standards.

- The other day I put a pot of water on the stove to boil to make pasta for the kids' lunch. I left Hank and Max in the kitchen for a minute while I ran upstairs to grab a diaper for Ben. From upstairs, I hear Hank yelling at Max and Max crying. When I get back to the kitchen, I find that Max had tried to pull a chair up to the stove (trying to get a capri sun on the counter) and Hank had pulled him off of the chair and scooted the chair away from the stove. Thank goodness for Hank and his awesome big brother instincts!

- Hank has been taking short naps lately so I got him a couple workbooks to keep him busy while Max and Ben are still sleeping. Its been really fun to spend some one on one time with Hank and I am so impressed with what a great learner he is.

I love you, little rascal!

Change of Plans

As per our annual tradition, on Saturday we packed up our lawn chairs, our blanket, and a picnic lunch and headed out to see the spectaclular Blue Angels air show in Seattle. Call us un-patriotic or un-Washingtonion, but when the weather changed to gray and rainy, we changed plans.

Blue Angels out, Pacific Science Center in. The kids thoroughly enjoyed all of the cool exhibits: dinosaurs, percussion instruments, and machines were the favorites. We even saw a "physics of bubbles" demonstration in which Hank got called up on stage and had to use a straw to blow bubbles into a cup of soapy water. Hank was adorable.

After we had our fill of the museum, we loaded everything back into the van and headed home. Unfortunately, the camera fell out of the stroller when Aaron was collapsing it into the car, and Aaron left the camera in the parking garage. Bye-bye camera. Sad. No pictures of our fun day.

Thanks to Aaron, we had to replace my camera--so now I'm back in business!