Friday, October 26, 2012

Reflections on the past year...

It was one year ago this past weekend that Aaron and I took a weekend trip to Utah, scouting out potential homes to purchases and finalizing the contracts on our business. Shortly after returning home from that trip, Aaron quit his employment, we rented out our house, Aaron got himself licensed to sell insurance, we packed up our life, and left! Its been a whirlwind of events ever since! The idea and decision to uproot our family, change careers, move states, and purchase a home and business was based purely on a very unexpected spiritual prompting--we really had no idea what was in store for our family once we arrived in Utah. It has been such a pleasant, and testimony affirming, experience to reflect over the past year on how the Lord has been mindful of our very specific needs, provided for our family, and poured out unbeleivable blessings upon us--too many to count, and some too personal even to share. Aaron has a position that affords him an infinite potential for growth, provides financially for our needs, and offers the flexibility to be available for week-day family lunches at work, in-a-pinch babysitting for needed therapy, and a few surprise early evenings or late mornings. He is also blessed to be serving as the first counselor in the bishopric where he is exersizing his priesthood, setting an example of service for our children, and growing his own testimony. Hank and Max, as rambunctious and high-energy boys, are loving the climate that allows them to enjoy the outdoors so much more of the year. I couldn't be any happier with our elementary school. The school is within walking distance just a block from our house, brand-new and super clean. Hank is making friends in his class (who are also his friends at church!) and his teacher is awesome. Most especially, we have access to amazing programs and services that have had such a major impact on Ben's development. Ben receives all of his therapy services, from extremely qualified and loving therapests, in our home. I love that I don't have to arrange for alternative childcare in order to provide Ben with the therapy that he needs. We are also super conveniently located near Ben's hippotherapy center, intensive program, therapy groups, and specialists. I would be lying if I said that I didn't miss my dear friends in Washington, our close-knit ward, and my family, but I could not be any more sure that the Lord has a plan for our family, that this is where He wants us to be at this time, and that He is guiding us along on this journey. A year ago, I never would have believed that we could be happy here, let alone grow to call this place our home. And yet, we're here, and I most definately feel perfectly at home.

First Snow

October 25th and there is snow on the ground! Max wasted no time throwing his snow gear on and going outside to "work," raking up the fallen snow.

I really hate to be a stick in the mud. Yes, the snow is beautiful and I do love wearing a cozy sweater and sipping an occasional cup of hot cocoa, but, honestly, I think snow is overrated. We've had snow on the ground for one day and I'm already over it: the tiresome exersize of outfitting the boys in the their snow gear, getting the mittens just right and the pant legs tucked into the boots just so, only to have them come right back inside to go potty. Yep, I'd trade my knee-high winter boots and mug of hot cocoa for my flip-flops and iced lemonade anyday.

That Does It!

This little video is just too cute not to share. Another HUGE miracle: Benny's speech has just exploded in the last few weeks! He is picking up new words every single day and his vocabulary is growing and growing. I am constantly amazed at what a smart little boys Benny is. He loves to hum primary songs, especially "I Am a Child of God." He also likes to sing, "ashes, ashes, all fall DOWN!" and learned to hum "trick-or-treat, smell my feet..." thanks to his brothers. Benny is a little walking sponge and often repeats the most random, funny things, like this little video, for example:

FHE: pumpkin-carving night

They're not going to win any beauty contests or prizes for creativity, but the boys' pumpkins look exactly the way they wanted them to and they're happy, so that's all that really matters.

This may have been the first year that the boys rolled up their sleeves and got in there, scraping out the pumpkin guts themselves.

Aaron showed off his mad artistic skillz with some super creepy pumpkin faces.

This is Hank modeling how he wanted his pumpkin face to look.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Family Photos - October, 2012

Pretend it was your birthday, and that it fell on Christmas Day, and that you hold the winning jackpot lottery ticket, discovered a four-leaf clover, and found a lucky penny....that's kind of how ridiculously and absurdly lucky I feel to be in a family with these five handsome boys.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Shut-out, not Shut-down

Except for the fact that we didn't catch a single fish, this was our most successful fishing trip yet! We managed to load up all our fishing poles and gear, camping chairs, two strollers, snacks/bottles, and four little people and safely "fish" at a local pond without any major meltdowns or temper tantrums. Forget the fish, that, my friends, is a huge victory!

Weekend Do-Over

When we learned that Hank's school had a fall break in the middle of October, we brainstormed all of the fun things that we could do together as a family to capitalize on the five-day vacation. We tossed around the idea of taking a quick trip to Disneyland or San Diego, thought about spending the weekend in Park City, but, in the end, decided, "nah...let's just stay home and share the flu, instead." Worst. Weekend. Ever. After we had all recovered from the stomach bug, we decided that we deserved a weekend-do-over. Aaron took Monday off of work and we took the boys to the pumpkin patch. Actually, Cornbelly's is less of a pumpkin patch and more of a pumpkin amusement park. Anyways, it was fun and helped us feel like the fall break wasn't a total loss.

No, these are not the boys' costumes...these are the "fighter pilot" hoodies that they wear every day. Pretty cool, right?

The boys climbed in, on, and around a plethora of farm vehicles.

Quite often, I will call Aaron on my way to or from some appointment, half-lost and confused, asking for directions to my destination. Impatiently, Aaron will direct me to "take the exit north, head west, then turn east five blocks south of center street." I admit, I have zero directional sense whatsoever, which is why I found it so amusing that Aaron couldn't find his way out of a corn maze! After walking in circles and only getting ourselves deeper into the maze, Aaron decided to just charge the stroller and plow through the corn stalks back the way we came.

My Little Punkin'