Monday, February 27, 2012

Meant to Be

Since moving to Utah, we've experienced several "meant-to-be" moments, some very small and others near miraculous, that have confirmed our feelings that this move was "meant to be." One of the most difficult things about leaving Washington was leaving behind a treatment team of specialists and professionals who knew Ben, who took a sincere interest in Ben, and who really helped him make advancements in his recovery. One of the most important people on Ben's Washington treatment team was his vision therapest, who, through some very unconventional techniques, helped Ben's vision immensely. So, moving to Utah, I was concerned about whether or not we would be able to find the same level of care, especially in the very niche field of vision therapy. Well, a very small "meant-to-be" moment occurred the other day when I had a consultation with a vision therapest, whom I had found through internet research, and who just happened to train with our very own Washington vision therapest! I knew immediately that Ben would be in good hands.

Our new vision therapest recommended continuing Ben's previous therapy glasses treatment and prescribed new glasses for Ben. Unfortunately, judging from the way that Ben instantly starts to cry and immediately rips the glasses off, I'd say Ben isn't a big fan of his new glasses.

This was the best I could do at trying to coax a smile our of Ben whilst wearing his glasses--wouldn't even give me a grin for a Cheeto!

Hopefully Ben will come to appreciate the improved vision with his glasses on and put up less of a fight about wearing them. All I know is that kid is stinking cute in those glasses!

Monster Truck Jam

We try to raise our boys to be cultured, well-rounded, and refined so we make it a priority to expose them to the real high-society events like The Monster Truck Show. Or not. Greasy, loud trucks and a giant mud-filled arena? Yep, sounds more like the boys' idea of a good time.

Max is scowling in this picture because he didn't want to turn away from all the action long enough to have his photo snapped.

The Monster Truck Show isn't exactly my cup of tea, but I will admit that when Aaron, Hank, and Max left me behind (Ben opted for a nap over the much too loud trucks), I felt a little pang of jealousy. Aaaannnnnd then I downloaded a book onto the ipad, served myself up some chocolate cake, and crawled back into bed and got over it in 2.5 seconds. Now THAT is what I call a good time.
How handy that my gi-normous belly doubles for a book shelf!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

He Went Big

My appreciation, and, well, pride, towards Aaron has grown immensely over the past few months as I have watched him rise to the mountainous challenge of opening, operating, and growing our business. I distinctly remember a conversation that Aaron and I had together, sitting outside the library at BYUH, just dating at the time, when Aaron told me that it was his dream was to own a business. Fast forward ten years and a lot of life experience later, and Aaron's dream has come true! I am just brimming with pride for Aaron for taking big chances, going for his goals, stretching himself and testing his limits everyday, working so hard to provide for our family, and, most importantly of all, at the end of a looong day, coming home and patiently showering the boys with love and attention.


I have no doubt that you have the creativity, personality, intelligence, and determination to be successful at whatever you put you choose to pursue, but, I want you to know that I love you, support you, and am proud of you just for being you.

Your partner always,

Mischief Maker

This little guy is getting into all kinds of trouble these days....and I couldn't be more thrilled! He roams the house, stopping to empty out the contents of my tupperware drawer, pull the tablecloth off of the table, plunk a few notes on the piano, tip over any knick-knacks within reach, and dismantle the pantry. It can be tiring to clean up behind this little whirlwind, but I never complain because I am so amused watching him play, explore, and learn. He's a troublemaker and I love it!

Just recently Ben learned to pull up against and cruise along walls. You know what that won't be long! I can't hardly stand the building excitement!

I mean, really, how can you get upset at him with a face like that??

Oldies But Goodies

One perk of living in Utah is getting to reunite with these amazing ladies--two of my bestest roommates from my college days at BYU-Hawaii. Love these girls! Kelli and I treated Nicole to a birthday Teppanyaki dinner and afterwards we took a mini-trip back to the islands playing black-light "Hawaiian" mini-golf.

Discovery Center

Over the weekend, Maria brought cousins Katelynn, Claire, and Brianne to visit and together with Nana Grover we all rode the Trax to the Discovery Science Center in Salt Lake. The train ride is always a big hit with the boys, and they had so much fun exploring all of the exhibits at the museum, we ran out of time (and good moods) before we'd even seen all there was to see. Next time!

Can't get enough of that little face!

One of the boys' favorite exhibits was this construction site area. While Max operated the crane, Hank acted as the project foreman (a nicer way to say he bossed all the other kids around).

I'm excited to discover what other fun activities and adventures our new city has to offer!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Daddy Withdrawals

We all got so spoiled having Aaron home over the past few months as he prepared to set up the business, that I think we've all been going through withdrawals now that he's back to working long days. What can I say? We kinda like him and miss having him all to ourselves. So, we decided it would be nice if Aaron got to take turns spending a little one-on-one time with each of the boys, giving them that extra daddy attention that they've been missing. Yesterday surprised Max and treated him to a one-on-one breakfast. Nothing fancy, but I know Max enjoyed the special time with Dad. Hank can't wait for his turn next!

Soup's On!

It is a long held tradition in Aaron's family to host a soup party each year at Christmas-time. Since we were essentially homeless this past Christmas, we decided to have a do-over and invited our Utah family for a make-up soup party this weekend, minus the Christmas carrolling part of the tradition.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Heart Day

"Life Changes. Love Stays."

It is mind-blowing that what began over nine Valentine's Days ago as two, young, college-kids, on the verge of falling in love, has evolved into a deep, eternal, growing, and lasting love that has created three (nearly four) beautiful children and many, many tender memories.

Funny story: I made a Valentine's breakfast for the boys of pink, heart-shaped pancakes. When Hank saw the festive pancakes, he said, "Mom! Thats silly! Pancakes for breakfast?!" We eat breakfast for dinner so often that the part of the meal that Hank found silly wasn't the color or shape, but the fact that we were eating pancakes in the a.m.

I sent Hank to school with the adorable homemade Valentine's to deliver to his classmates that he and Nana Grover made together--a little paper gun that pulls out of a paper holster, with a stick of gum attached, and the saying, "stick 'em up, Valentine!" Hank tells me his Valentine's were a hit with his friends. While he was at school, Max helped me make Valentine's sugar cookies, which we all delivered, along with a family lunch, to Aaron at the office. Later, Aaron and I got to go on a date, just the two of us.

I hope my boys already know how much I love them, but I don't mind taking the extra opportunity on Valentine's Day to express to each of them how special they are and how much they are loved.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Happiest Place on Earth!

The past few months have been a whirlwind of major life changes for our family, and feeling like our lives were about to become a whole lot more fixed and routine with the grand opening of our new business just yesterday, Aaron and I decided we needed to soak up our last week of family time and enjoy one last hurrah. So, we literally packed our bags while the kids were asleep, and headed for Disneyland the next morning!

Wouldn't you know, with tickets purchased, reservations made, and bags packed, one of the kids was bound to get sick? Ben barely slept the night before the trip, had a fever that morning, and was one sick little dude. So, we made pit stop #1 at the urgent care clinic to get Ben all checked out and doctored up. Poor guy. He got a shot of anitbiotic for tonsilitis and ear infections, anti-nasea medicine for stomach flu, and an enema for intestinal blockage. We said a prayer, gave Ben a blessing, and decided to proceed with our trip, giving Ben LOTS of rest and plenty of love. Ben was miserable for the first day or two, but, luckily, he was good as new within a couple days.

Pit stop #2:

When we finally arrived in California, ten-and-a-half hours later, we had a sick baby and crummy weather. So, we decided to push our plans out a day, give Ben time to recover, and spent an indoor day at LaBrea Tar Pits. The kids thought the dinosour bones were cool, but lets just say they were more than ready to move along and get to Disneyland already.

4 Things I Learned About Taking Kids to Disneyland:

* Sometimes even having fun can be a lot of work. Just thinking about our week at Disneyland makes me tired. Picture pushing a lug of a double stroller, stocked full with a cooler and diaper bag, carrying two heavy kiddos, with a third kid riding on your shoulders, around an enormous, crowded park. That was Aaron. Oh ya, and then there was me, the waddling pregnant lady walk-jogging thirty steps behind, trying to keep up. And, of course, the kids complaining they were too hot, too cold, tired, and/or hungry.

* Disneyland is a HUGE ripoff. Aside from the ridiculous price of admission, feeding a family at Disneyland costs a small fortune! And then there is the cotton candy, the icecream cones, the souvenirs--its absurd!

* There must be some law of physics that says that children will insist on going to the bathroom once you have finally reached the front of a long line. Because thats what happened to us. Every single time!

* IT WILL BE TOTALLY WORTH IT. I wouldn't trade the week we spent together at Disneyland for anything. We had a blast! We made memories that will stay with me forever--it was priceless.

As soon as we entered the park, we were dying to take the kids on the rides. First up, Hank and I rode Indiana Jones together. Hank hated it! Cried through the whole ride! Lesson learned. We stuck to the kiddie rides for the rest of the day. Little by little, the boys became more adventurous and by the end of the week, they were riding the rollercoasters with dad--with their hands straight in the air!
Aaron was such a good sport--taking the boys on their favorite rides, Autopia, Toystory, and Buzz Lightyear, over and over...and over.

Max loved the rides, throwing his hands in the air and smiling from ear to ear on all of the drops.

While Hank was a little timid about the rides at first, he warmed right up to all of the characters and had to give each of them a giant hug. Meanwhile, Max was terrified of the characters! He would hide behind our legs if he spotted any of the characters.

One of the highlights was the Disney parade:

A few more of my favorite memories:

We rounded off our trip with a day at Universal Studios and a day at Seaworld: