Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day

We're going to pretend its sunny and warm....even if this crummy weather won't work with us for our Memorial Day plans.

After we had slept in (is that an oxymoron when you have kids?), we packed up and headed to the lake at the park for a picnic, nature walk, and some fishing.

1st Admission: We didn't catch a single fish. 2nd Admission: I don't mind one bit. Stinky, slimely pond trout? No thanks!

The boys had fun casting their fishing line into the lake and taking turns realing it back in.

We couldn't leave the park without burning off a little extra energy at the playground.
At home, Aaron refilled the sandbox with more sand (it seems all the sand has somehow found its way onto my kitchen floor) and the boys enjoyed some backyard time.

Aaron filled the position of Grill-Master and set to work grilling up our Memorial Day feast.

....and it was delicious!

We capped off the evening with a round of smores roasted over the firepit.
We sure didn't let the cloudy skies stop us--Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Family Garden Project

The weather has not cooperated with planting our garden this year, so we finally decided today was the day to plant, whether the weather is ready or not. Planting the garden turned out to be a great family activity--we all took part and had lots of fun in the process.

Aaron weeded the garden beds, raked in fresh soil, and helped the boys plant our beautiful veggie starts.

Boys and dirt go together like, well....boys and dirt. Hank and Max used their little shovels to dig holes, count out and fill the holes with seeds, and smooth out the soil.

While Hank was digging through the garden, he found a worm and asked me if he could touch it. I told him that I thought worms were icky and I probably wouldn't touch it, but I didn't mind if he wanted to touch it. He asked if the worm had germs, and I told him I thought they probably did. He weighed the pros and cons for a minute and then decided to pick up the worm. After less than a second, he dropped the worm back into the dirt and said he was going to go back inside to wash his hands. Thats my kind of kid!

For his part, Ben entertained himself nicely sitting on a blanket on the grass and playing with a few toys.
My contribution to the group effort? I did what I do best: I did the overseeing.

Now we get to tend our little garden and hopefully soon we'll get to harvest our yummy veggies!

Binky Addict

No, I'm not proud of the fact that my two-and-a-half year-old is a binky addict....but what am I to do when I insist that the binky stays in his bed for bedtime-usage only (I know, changes are a-coming) and I find him hiding in the corner between my nightstand and the wall, sneaking sucks on that binky?? Enjoy that binky while it lasts, Max, enjoy it while it lasts.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Little Monkey

Proof that Hank is in fact a little monkey:

Hank made up his mind that he wanted to learn to climb the monkey bars.....and so he did! Over the past week, Hank practiced and practiced. At first he was only able to make it to the first bar, then then next, and then the next, until finally he made it all the way across those monkey bars. Though just a simple task, it was very rewarding to witness Hank working hard and then accomplishing his goal. Way to go, Hank!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Just Me and The Boys

Aaron left us on Friday night to go camping with the scouts, so I got to spend some special time with the boys....just mom and the boys. We kicked off our fun date together with a trip to Baskin Robbins.

Out of the 31+ flavors to choose from (and I did hold them both up to the counter so that they could see each flavor), Hank chose the ever-popular chocolate icecream with Mike 'N Ikes on top and Max went with the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough icecream, again with the Mike 'N Ikes on top. Mmmm!

After Max finished his last bite, he tipped up the little cup and slurped up the melted icecream. I guess he liked it?!

Ben got a little taste of chocolate icecream, too!

After our icecream outing, we went home and snuggled up together and watched Yogi Bear. Thanks for being my Friday night date, boys!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fieldtrip Fun

We picked the perfect day to visit NW Trek for Hank's last Joyschool fieldtrip. The sun was shining and the boys chased each other through the trails and animal exhibits, climbed rocks and hunted for sticks, rode the tram, and had a picnic. Hank and Max love playing with their buddies--its craziness at times, but always lots of fun.

s'more please!

Just because I'm not much of a camper doesn't mean I don't like sitting around a campfire and roasting marshmallows and eating s'mores. Yesterday we enjoyed the best of both worlds: Aaron built a little quickie fire pit in the backyard and we pulled up our camping chairs and introduced the boys to the deliciousness that is s'mores--without all of the bugs and dirt of real camping! Win, win!

And so my only question is, "why didn't I think of this idea a long time ago?"

Friday, May 13, 2011

Look How Far We've Come!

As painful as it is to remember, today I reflect on how far our family has travelled on our journey since bacterial meningitis threatened my baby's life one year ago today...

My Facebook entries documenting our experience that began one year ago today:

May 15, 2010 at 6:28pm:
Please pray for my sick baby boy. My heart is dying. We need a miracle.

May 16, 2010 at 7:26am
My heart aches, holding my son's teeny hand as he fights for his life. But he is fighting! I have faith that the Lord hears our prayers and I will continue to plead for a miracle. Please pray for Ben.

May 16, 2010 at 11:13am
Ben's evaluation from the picu doctor this morning: "I think he will survive." We have hope. Fresh courage take.

May 16, 2010 at 10:26 pm
In my worst nightmares I never imagined my five week old son would be in a battle for his life. As his mother, I feel pain and anguish that can't be described. But, I choose to have faith. I know the Lord is mindful of our family and I will continue to pray for our miracle. Please pray for my baby. Pray hard.

May 17, 2010 at 2:39 pm
My body is exhausted, my mind is numb, my heart is drained, but my spirit is strong. Ben needs a perfect miracle so I am determined to have perfect faith. Please pray as Ben is in his MRI now--please let there be good news.

May 18, 2010 at 7:05 am
My goal for today: breathe. My heart is heavy. I am praying for the faith and courage to stand before this aweful trial for one more day.

May 19, 2010 at 9:17 am
Happy 6 weeks Ben. It is a priviledge to be your mother. I love you infinitely and unconditionally.

May 19, 2010 at 9:27 am
The only light in this awful darkness and despair is my faith in the Lord. Please pray that we might be able to put our trust in His will and find peace in our hearts.

May 20, 2010 at 10:55 am
Each day is a rollercoaster of events and emotions. I cannot return to the past, the present is misery, and the future itself is uncertain. The only thing I can trust is that, come what may, the Lord's will be done. My faith in His plan is the only thing that lightens my heavy burden. I CAN do this.

May 20, 2010 at 11:05 pm
We are closely monitoring Ben's breathing as the slightest stimulation causes his respirations to crash. He is unable to tolerate nutrition at this time. He has coughed, cried, and yawned on his own--but he is yet to "wake up." We must now wait...nothing is certain at this time. We are continuing to pray for a healing, but are determined to submit to the will of the Lord.

May 21, 2010 at 7:20 pm
Best moment of the day: holding my precious son and comforting him with primary songs. Second best: Hank and Max visiting at the hospital and Hank telling me out of the blue that my tummy isn't big anymore. ..... Praying to find joy in my journey.

May 22, 2010 at 11:36 pm
Ben is like a little leaky boat and the doctors try their best to bail him out with teaspoons. Today was a good day--no new holes to plug. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Words can't express the gratitude we feel for the countless small kindnesses we have received. Please continue to pray for my son.

May 23, 2010 at 7:15 pm
Ben sucks! Literally. Ben demonstrated huge steps in his recovery by sucking on his binky this afternoon. Sucking = swallowing = eating....hopefully. Thank you so much for remembering our family in your prayers.

May 24, 2010 at 7:39 pm
Let's see...wake up, eat breakfast, hang out, watch my baby's brain surgery....yep, average Monday. CT scan today showed excessive fluid in Ben's head and a blood clot in a vein in his brain. Bad news. It's a good thing Ben is a fighter. I'm so proud of him. Praying for Ben to hang in there.

May 25, 2010 at 7:18 pm
Just a little icing on the cake: doctors are thinking Ben has pnuemonia. More medication, back on oxygen, another CT tomorrow, and new picc line. We will not give up.....we have never felt the hand of the Lord in our lives more strongly.

May 26, 2010 at 8:44 pm
This rollercoaster is making me feel sick and I think I want to get off. Highs: today's ct scan was nuetral and Ben opened his eyes for nearly an hour. Lows: Ben is having heart issues after receiving sedation for his picc line.... EKG today and an echo tomorrow. Ben is so tired--hopefully tomorrow's ride will be smooth.

May 27, 2010 at 7:16 pm
Today was just what we needed--slow, quiet, boring....no new bad news! I am hopeful that we may have finally bottomed out and can start recovery mode now. Praying for a speedy, full recovery and trusting in the Lord and His plan for us. Thank you, thank you for your prayers--it means the world to us.

May 28, 2010 at 6:54 am
Disturbing events this a.m.: twice Ben "forgot to breathe" and had to be revived. Absolutely terrifying. Doctors don't have any explanations yet. Today is not off to a good start. Please, please keep a prayer in your heart for Ben.

May 28, 2010 at 8:49 am
Back to ICU....

May 28, 2010 at 7:16 pm
After an intense day in the PICU in which Ben repeatedly stopped breathing until he was gray in the face, it was determined that his apneaic spells were the result of seizures. Hopefully we'll be able to adjust his anti-convulsant meds and patch this little hole in the leaky boat. Aaron and I are exhausted after a high drama day, but so relieved that Ben is hanging on. So proud of that boy.

May 29, 2010 at 9:36 pm
For the first time in weeks, it felt like the old baby Ben was back. Although we can't be sure, we think Ben can hear and possibly see! Best of all, Ben gave me a great big dimpled smile today! Yesterday we weren't sure Ben was going to make it and today was his best day yet! What a difference one day can make. So, so, so grateful for the many prayers offered on behalf of little Ben. Keep them coming--it's working!

May 30, 2010 at 6:55 pm
It's a record! Two good days in a row! I'm liking this new trend. In order for Ben to come home, he needs to work really hard this week. Please pray that Ben will have the strength and ability to pass some very important tests. He's come so far already...you can do it Ben!!!

May 31, 2010 at 7:41 pm
One more day down and one more day closer to bringing our baby home and bringing our family back together. Today was a slow day at the hospital--hopefully Ben got enough rest to pass his skills tests later this week. We've come so far but we still have so far left to go. Saying my prayers of thanks and living one day at a time.

June 1, 2010 at 12:48 pm
At 4, Ben will be taking a swallow test to determine if he is able to feed orally, or have to continue receiving nutrition through a tube. I wouldn't be any more nerveous for this test than I would be if he were taking the LSATs. This morning Ben was given his first bottle ever, and his first oral feeding in over 2 weeks (to qualify for the test)...he drained it! Yes! Please keep Ben in your prayers this afternoon:)

June 1, 2010 at 7:17 pm
Cheers to Ben! Ben is about to get his grub on....we got the go ahead to start feeding Ben with a bottle! This boy continues to amaze me. I can't thank you enough for your prayers.

June 1, 2010 at 8:58 pm
I don't have the words to express my appreciation for the outpouring of prayers, love, and service rendered on my family's behalf. I will never be able to repay all of the acts of kindness that we have received...but I will do my best to pay it forward. Love to you all.

June 2, 2010 at 8:57 am
Ben just finished his morning bottle--not sure if he was more happy to drink it or if I was more happy to be able to feed him. Hearing test this afternoon.....praying constantly.

June 2, 2010 at 6:24 pm
Miracles happen: my baby can HEAR!

June 5, 2010 at 3:01pm
Two very exciting things to celebrate today: Hank's 4th birthday and the news that Ben will be coming home in a few days!

June 7, 2010 at 12:07 pm
Waiting for a few more of Ben's doctors to give us the green light to be discharged....then it'll be home sweet home tomorrow!

June 9, 2010 at 7:43 pm
After 4 weeks in the hospital, my head is spinning from playing nurse to Ben, but I won't complain because it feels so good to be back home.

If I had the choice, I'd give back this trial in a heartbeat. But, I can't deny the profound impact that Ben's illness and subsequent road to recovery has had in drawing our family closer together, deepening my appreciation for our friends and family, increasing my faith in the Lord and His tender mercies, sewing my testimony of my Savior to the walls of my soul, solidifying my testimony of the power of prayer and priesthood blessings, and confirming my unconditional love for my sweet children.

I am so proud of how far Ben has come in just one year and I'm excited to see what amazing miracles are in store for this boy in the journey ahead!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Wow. A girl could really get used to this royal treatment! From the breakfast in bed to the special musical number, the extra "I love you"s and special pampering--my boys treated me like a queen! Oh that every day could be Mother's Day! Thank you, boys, for making me feel so loved.

Nothing makes me feel more content and satisfied, stimulated and challenged, and just plain happy than being a mom. I am so deeply grateful for each of my children and for the great opportunity and responsibility that I have been given to be their mother. I love my special boys and pray every single day for the added guidance and wisdom to carry out my special role as their mother in a way that would be pleasing to my Heavenly Father.

Dear Mom,

Thank you for being my very best girlfriend. I call you often, sometimes for a needed recipe, sometimes to share a peice of happy news, sometimes to glean some mommy advice about a minor medical issue or a problematic behavior, sometimes to just complain and vent about life in general, and sometimes just because--and you always know EXACTLY what to say. You know when I just need an ear to listen, you know when I need a pep talk to build me up, you know when I need a soft reminder to consider the greater perspective, you know when I need comfort and reassurance. Your words have often been the precise answer to prayer that I was searching for, the extra bit of boost that I needed to keep going. Thank you for being my friend, keeping my company, sharing my burden, as I try to walk this path of motherhood in your footsteps. Happy Mother's Day.

I love you,

Friday, May 6, 2011

Tough Guy

When I grow up, I hope I can be as tough as Hank. That kid = tough as nails. This morning during his pre-kinder physical, Hank got four shots--didn't even flinch.

Look at that tough guy face! Don't mess with Hank. He'll mess you up.

And the bribe for Hank's bravery? A sweeper truck and an airport firetruck.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ouch...that hurt a little bit

Yes, I know that Hank will have a blast at kindergarten next year. And I know that he will make tons of new friends and learn lots of new and exciting things. And I even believe that sending him to school is what is best for his overall development. But if my heart hurt just taking him to Kinder Round-up this morning, how will I possibly survive sending him off to kindergarten full-time in the fall? I honest to goodness don't know if I will be able to bear it--I will just miss my sweet Hanky so much!

As the children arrived at the round-up, the kids enjoyed cookies and juice in the cafeteria. The principal's welcome speach wasn't nearly as exciting as the garbage truck that stopped right outside the window....which of course Hank plastered his face to in order to get a good look.

On the school tour, we stopped into a kindergarten class and the kids listened to a story and colored a butterfly. Hank seemed a little timid and nervous, but I was happy to see him listen attentively to the story and then raise his hand and make a comment at the end.

Its no surprise that Hank's favorite part of the Round-up was getting to tour the school bus.
I know that when school starts in four months Hank will be ready--but will I??

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Weight Watchers

As much as I love Ben's squishy belly, his rolly-polly thighs, and each and every pudgy finger and toe, his doctor said that Ben needs to go on a diet (for real!) in order to support healthy bowels, encourage mobility, and meet his nutrition requirements. Poor baby. No more Big Macs for you, Ben! Until Ben's oral feeding skills improve, this what Ben will be feasting on:

Mmmm, mmm!

Super Heroes

It put a giant smile on my face when the boys asked if they could wear these to the park this afternoon:

Don't the frog rainboots just complete the look?

If you could see their faces, there would be smiles from ear to ear!

This little boy will always be my hero.
How is that for celebrating the ordinary moments?

**Thanks so much Erin for the awesome capes!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Presenting a new Grover Family Blog column to celebrate life's ordinary and extraordinary moments every single day:

* My intuitive little Hank has learned that Mom turns into a crazy woman in the morning when we're trying to throw breakfast together, locate shoes, pack diaper bags, and get out of the house before school/therapy. Sensing my stress the other morning, Hank stopped me and gave me a hug and a kiss, told me that he loved me, and said that I was the best mom in the whole world. Then he said, "Do you know why I said that? Because I seen that you were having a hard time so I said that." So sweet. Thank you, Hank, for the much needed reminder to slow down and take a deep breath.

* Like most siblings, Hank and Max fight like dogs....over favorite toys, the prized pink plate/spoon, the movie selection, who gets in the bathtub first, etc. To address this problem, I decided to implement a morning family prayer time where we would focus our prayers on developing kindness and patience towards each other. Its working! I have seen dramatic changes in the boys' behavior--so much less fighting! Starting our day with a family prayer has made such a difference in the spirit in our home.

* My good friend Jean has undertaken a very thoughtful service project in making Ben a few pairs of Sunday pants, summer shorts, and rompers so that he can be comfy in clothes that fit his pudgy little body and look snappy, too! So grateful for the kindness of friends.

* After being blacklisted from the library for a time, the boys have recently rediscovered the fun of checking out books and movies. Sitting between Hank and Max, with Ben on my lap, and reading together--a favorite activity of mine--has been a very special treat.

I'll be looking for more ordinary/extraordinary moments to celebrate throughout the week....report back next week!

Soccer Stud

Tell me you wouldn't be scared if you came up against this soccer stud (doing his "karate" pose) on the soccer field:

If Hank's first soccer practice yesterday is any indication, this is going to be another awesome (and comical!) soccer season! Can't wait!