Monday, March 26, 2012

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

I don't think there are many people who can say that they would willingly opt to live with their in-laws...but, then again, I don't think there are many people who have in-laws like mine.

When Aaron's parents decided to join us in our migration to Utah, we were all surprised when their home sold so quickly; the subsequent decision to live together in our home while they began a house hunt was unanimous. I know that they are anxious to get the building of their new home underway, spread out, and have a place to call their own again, but I just have to say--this arrangement has been such a blessing to our family! I am just so so so grateful for all of the help and support that I/we receive from our downstairs neighbors: Nana and Papa are always willing to watch the boys when I need to take Ben to a doctor's appointment, they are available to pick up Hank from school if I'm running late with an errand, they provide on-site handy-man services when needed, they babysit so that Aaron and I can go on a date or just have a little peace and quiet on a crazy evening, and they make the boys feel loved and special every single day. I am certain that we are getting the better end of the deal in this housing arrangement and I just want them to know how blessed we feel to have them as housemates for this short season of time.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cashing In

Sometimes getting Hank ready for school in the morning (getting dressed, eating breakfast, combing hair, brushing teeth, locating shoes and socks, and packing his backpack) can be a lot like herding cats, often leaving him feeling hassled and harassed and me feeling harried and haggared. So, a month or so ago, I devised an incentive program whereby Hank would earn a quarter each morning that he completed his responsibilities in a timely and obedient manner. Yesterday, Hank was able to exchange his $5 worth of quarters for a game of bowling. I think we've both enjoyed having more peaceful morning-times since we began our incentive plan--great job, Hanky!


With all of the awkward, uncomfortable, and just plain undignified aspects of child birth, one thing that I insist upon is at least having well-groomed tootsies to look at if I have to stare at them in those horrid stirrrups during labor.

When I informed Aaron that I wanted to get pedicures with my best friend (referring to him, of course), he feigned a slight objection to save face, but, truth be told, it didn't take much arm-twisting to talk him into a joining me for a little pampering.

Pictures Don't Lie

After the fact, I always wish I had taken more pictures to capture our fun family memories, but in this case, I think my single picture taken with our Idaho cousins (Macie, Hailey, and Benson) and our Arkansas cousins (Adi, Seth, Luke, and Gisele), who visited us for a week, is pretty representative of the experience as a whole: one big clan of crazy cousins. Really, the picture doesn't lie. Ben and Max were more grumpy than normal, still recovering from a nasty bug, while Hank was happy as a clam to be right in the middle of all of the cousin action, waking up early to squeeze in cousin-time before school and waiting like an anxious puppy at the door for his cousins to return home from their daytrip excursions so he could join them in play.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

First Ever Tooth Fairy Visit

I didn't shed any tears when my baby graduated from the crib to the big boy bed, I didn't flinch when he went off to kindergarten all by himself, but losing his first tooth?? That was a toughie. I'm just not ready for my Hanky boy to be all grown up!

We noticed a week or two ago that Hank had a wiggly botton tooth, but Hank wasn't in any hurry to work it loose so we just waited. Looking closer, I noticed that his permanent tooth was already poking through behind his baby tooth, so we got busy twisting that little toofer until Dad finally just pulled it right out. Hank gladly gave up his tooth, putting it inside the special tooth-fairy pocket pillow, in exchange for $1. Sweet Max was so scared about the tooth fairy visiting during the night that he refused to sleep in his bedroom (dragging his blanky out into the hallway) until I promised him that I would tell the tooth-fairy to leave the payment with me in my bedroom instead.

Monday, March 12, 2012

FHE Celebration

For FHE tonight we celebrated two major achievements: Max giving up his binky and Hank's excellent report card.

As a parent, you learn to choose your battles. Since Max is such a fantastic sleeper, and since I value my sleep as well, I have really, really procrastinated the binky battle. To my surprise, Max decided to just surrender the battle today! With new baby on the way, I decided we really needed to do away with Max's binky, but couldn't muster the nerve to commit, so I merely asked Max how he felt about trading me his binky for a new toy. Without even a second thought, Max agreed to the deal, and even decided he wanted to throw away his binky right then and there! He gathered up his binky himself and tossed it unceremoniously in the garbage can all by himself!

I was a little intrigued about how Max would handle naptime without his binky, but he eagerly told me to watch as he turned over, closed his eyes, and said, "See? I can sleep without my binky!" And he did! Bedtime required an extra back scratch and a few primary songs, but my little Maxy-boy is officially binky-free! And it was about time!

Hank has been working so hard over the past few months to recognize by sight the top 100 high-frequency reading words. Each day, we run through his reading list, read his take-home reading books, work on his handwriting/spelling, and drill with flash cards. His hard work paid off! Today Hank passed off all 100 of his sight words and came home with a perfect report card of straight 4's (fully mastered) in all areas! I know it's not time to start sending out our college applications, but I couldn't be more pleased with Hank's awesome start to his academic career.

The boys decided that they wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese as a reward for their accomplishments. For $10 worth of tokens, the boys got to ride all the rides and play all the games they wanted.

They cashed in their 158 tickets to redeem a pair of whistles and some glow-in-the dark vampire teeth--they were both pretty happy with the deal.
Way to go Hank and Max! Mom and Dad are super proud of you boys!

His and Her Vacation

Aaron and I both enjoyed our mini-getaway to Arizona this weekend...even though we didn't go with each other! I had been itching to meet my newest nephew who was born just a few weeks ago and was being blessed on Sunday, and Aaron couldn't pass up the chance to meet up with his brothers and watch his beloved baseball team during spring training--so we took his and her vacations! We flew to Phoenix together and then literally parted ways at the airport, Aaron joining up with his brothers and me spending the weekend with my sister and her family. It was a bit of an odd arrangement, but we both had a great time.

"His" Vacation:

Aaron tells me that he had some good clean fun on his brother's weekend with Danny, Andy, and Tim, squeezing in three baseball games, a sunburn, a couple movies, a few dinners out on the town...and the rest I guess I'll never know.

"Her" Vacation:
Baby Levitticus ("Levi") William Morgan Cook is just as cute as he can be. So tiny! Holding him made me start to long to hold my own little baby boy who may be arriving in as early as three more weeks!

What a great bunch of kiddos! I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with this sweet little family, getting breakfast ready in the morning, playing at the park, reading books, planning a scavenger hunt, playing family games in the evening, and just getting to know each of their unique little personalities.
I doubt we're going to be making it a habit to vacation separately, but we both sure had a great time!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Real Spiderman

Hank decided to use his face as his canvas during naptime yesterday, using red marker (thankfully not the permanent variety) to draw a "spiderman mask" on his face. I really don't condone mixing ink and skin, so I took soap and water to his face after we had a great conversation together about showing respect for our bodies....but, I couldn't help smiling when he ran up to me, with a great big grin, so innocently proud of his self-tattooed face.

Humble Beginnings

Hard to believe that just six years ago Aaron and I called this semi-dilapidated, polynesian-hut-looking, 70's split-level duplex our very own home-sweet-home. As unimpressive as it may look from the outside, we made some very special memories in that home and remember it with fondness.

We took the boys on a brief Sunday drive to revisit a few places of historical significance to our family: our first little home, the BYU campus and lawschool, and the MTC. We promised the boys that we'd return on another day when we had more time to explore, but it was very surreal to imagine our own children living, learning, and training in the same town, same university, and same training center that is so near and dear to us.