Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Daddy Dear

Sometimes I get grumpy when Aaron puts his shoes in front of the couch for me to put away later or lets the garbage pile up until I finally have to take it out myself (how dare he!), but when it comes down to it, I really can't sing his praises loud or often enough. To put it simply, he is just a good man. I could go on and on about how hard he works to provide a living for our family, how he pitches in around the house with anything I ask him to do, how he gives each of the boys attention and affection, and how he serves the Lord with willingness and worthiness, but that doesn't really do justice to describe his honest, good-natured, genuine...goodness. I'm proud to have him for my partner and best friend and the boys are so lucky to have him for their Daddy. We love you, Aaron.

Quickie Trip

Last weekend we took a down-and-back trip to St. George to celebrate the marriage of Uncle Adam and Aunt Heather. It was such a quick trip I blew it on the picture taking. We had fun playing at the hotel pool with our new cousins, spending a little time with Adam and Heather, and exploring St. George. With movies and junk food, Hank and Max didn't mind the 4 hour car ride much at all...but I can't say the same for Jobot. I had to pull out all the stops, extra bottles and snacks, lots of toys and peek-a-boo games, and finally resorted to desperate measures and gave Joey a sucker (which produced 30 blissful minutes of silence), in order to keep Joey happy in his car seat.

Little Sluggers

When one season ends, another begins...and so it's on to T-ball! Hank and Max are having great fun playing T-ball and I'm loving spending a few weeknights at the park, rooting on my little sluggers!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Too Much Play

My Mom's motto for raising my brother growing up was always, "a tired boy is a good boy." Sorry Mom, I'm going to have to prove you wrong--a tired boy is not a good boy, a tired boy is a very grouchy, very naughty boy!

Summer has only just begun, but these boys have been playing non-stop....it's nothing but bike rides in the morning, picnics at the park, and lots of playing outside with friends all afternoon. So much playing can be a lot of work! The other day, Hank and Max came inside after playing basketball outside with friends, and I tried to transition them from play time to homework time (yep, it's summer but their brains need exercise, too!), and it was not a well-received idea. Max called names, talked back, and threw a little fit. I knew he was acting up because he was tired, but couldn't convince him to lay down to rest. Finally, I had no choice but to send him to time out. Three minutes later, I go to his timeout spot to recap the episode with him, and find him laying on the floor, asleep! After I carried him to bed and he slept for an hour or two, he was good as new!

Partying Like Rockstars

I'm not going to lie, when Hank decided that he'd rather spend his birthday celebrating with our family overnight at a hotel instead of throwing a silly friend party, I was a little bit, okay a lot a bit, relieved. No work for me! We partied like rockstars: we trashed our hotel room with pop cans and candy-wrappers, left our wet pool towels on the floor, messed up the beds watching a late movie...and let someone else clean up the mess! Best. Idea. Ever!

Aaron and I couldn't resist and spoiled Hank with a surprise day at Cowabunga Bay before heading to the hotel for a night of junk food, movie watching, and more swimming. The boys LOVED the water park. As in, couldn't get enough, never slowed down, and had to be dragged out of the water when it was time to go. So much fun! Such a perfect day!

Sidenote: I bake after-school cookies, I kick the soccer ball and play catch with the baseball, I'm pretty good at hide and seek, and I'll even participate in a nerf gun fight now and then. I'd say I'm a pretty fun mom. So, I refuse to feel guilty about not being a water-slide mom. Sorry. It's not my thing. I went down a couple of slides with the boys to be a good sport but when I nearly lost my swimsuit bottoms in the process, I decided I'd leave the boys to the slides and stick to what I do best: soaking up the sun from my beach chair. Luckily they have a water-slide Dad. Go Aaron! 

After a full day at the water park, we checked in at the hotel, cleaned up, and then had dinner at In 'N Out. The boys picked out a few treats at the grocery store to enjoy with our movie, and then it was lights out.
The end!

Birthday Boy

Hank started planning his birthday party about 11 months ago and boy did he come up with some very creative, and expensive, celebration ideas. I hate to be the party-pooper, but I had to dash some of Hank's birthday delusions--both for budgetary reasons and simply to keep things at an appropriate scale--and made him choose between having a birthday party with friends or having our own family celebration. Hank considered both options, and decided he'd like to have a family birthday party. Yes! I just might be doing something right--my kid chose to spend quality time with his family over a silly, useless friend party! I would gladly spend a little money in order to create a lasting memory with our family instead of blowing a bunch of money on junky goody bags and frivolous decorations that just end up in the trash. Don't worry, just because I didn't sculpt a giant Ninjago figure made from cake or decorate my themed dessert bar with origami tissue paper, I made sure that Hank felt extra special and extra loved on his birthday.

Hank woke up on his birthday to a door decorated with  7 handwritten birthday notes from Dad. 

If I think about how much junk Hank ate on his birthday I feel a little queezy. For breakfast, Hank ate this entire donut!

Aaron and I really didn't buy Hank any toys this year, just one bigger gift. So, I thought it would be fun for Hank to use a giftcard to pick out a toy of his choice at Target. I think half of the fun was in shopping and considering his choices. In the end, he chose a Hot Wheels wall track race track. 
Hank's choice for lunch? Where else? Mickey D's, of course. 
After lunch, it was popcorn, icecream, and candy with Nana Grover at the  movie theater.
The birthday boy chose a dinner of macaroni  and french bread....mmmm! He helped decorate a giant cookie dessert. 

It took Dad awhile to get Hank's birthday present assembled, but  I think it was a hit--Hank , and the rest of the neighborhood kids, are having lots of fun shooting hoops on Hank's new basketball hoop. 

7 Things I Love About My Hanky-Boy:

* He can be super sweet with his little brothers. Hank was given the assignment of being Ben's "buddy" and is super helpful. Hank helps Ben get buckled in his carseat, helps Ben put on his shoes, and holds Ben's hand in the parking lot. Best of all, Hank uses the sweetest voice while he's helping Benny and is very loving and patient with his little brothers.

* Hank is smart. He has an unbelievable memory....not so much at remembering where he left his baseball glove type memory, but awesome at remembering small details and parts of conversations. He picks up on things super quick and is great at math and reading. It's no secret that I stink at directions--luckily Hank inherited his dad's sense of directions and usually knows how to get me un-lost.

* Hank is a clone of his dad. If Dad likes the Mariners, Hank likes the Mariners. If Dad likes BYU, Hank likes BYU. If Dad thinks it's cool, Hank thinks it's cool. Often, Hank will ask Aaron a question that begins with, "Dad, do we like...?"

* Hank is a natural leader. Aside from being the big brother to almost 4 little brothers, Hank is usually the kid that is heading up a game or organizing the group together. Other kids seem to be drawn to Hank and he makes friends easily.

* Hank is very affectionate. He still likes to cuddle together, gives sweet hugs and kisses, will hold my hand and tells me at random that he loves me. I love you too, Hanky!

* Hank is a planner. That's my boy! First thing in the morning, Hank likes to know what is on the agenda for the day. He likes it when I write his chores down in a list so that he knows exactly what he has to do. Often, when I explain something that needs to take place, he will tell me each step of what we need to do: "okay, first we need to..."

* Hank is full of energy, always ready to play. If I didn't give him an alarm clock and instruct him not to come out of his room before 7, Hank would be up with the sun, dressed and ready to play. He never naps or slows down, and never really seems affected by tiring activities. Hank can stay up late without much grumpiness, and would doesn't seem to require much sleep. In the morning, Hank is ready to go, up for more play!

Happy Birthday, Hank! I love you bunches and bunches!

Thursday, June 6, 2013


It's hard to believe that this moment happened seven years ago, when I remember it as though it was yesterday:

A Birthday Interview with my 7 Year-Old Hanky-boy:

1. Who do you love the most in the whole world? Everyone in my family.
2. What is your favorite color? Blue.
3. What is your favorite T.V. show? Billy the Exterminator
4. What is your favorite outfit? My camo shorts and my "Extremely Awesome" shirt.
5. What are you really good at? Basketball.
6. What is your favorite song? Buddy-ana-na-na (aka "We Will Rock You").
7. What is your favorite cereal? Chocolate Frosted Flakes
8. Who is your best friend? Max.
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? Allstate Worker
10. What is your favorite book? Army books
11. What is your favorite thing to do? Basketball.
12. Where would you like to go on vacation? Disneyworld
13. What would you do with $1,000.00? Buy a limousine.
14. What is your least favorite thing to eat? "Russell sprouts."
15. What is your favorite thing to eat? Apples.
16. What would you do if you had one wish? "I would own the world. I could show everyone my badge, and they would say, 'yessir."
17. What is your favorite icecream flavor? Vanilla.
18. What is your favorite thing to do with your friends? Squirt gun fight.

Shaved Ice Nostalgia

If it were up to me, we'd cap off every summer night with a stop at the shaved ice shack. I remember being about Hank's age and saving all of my hard-earned chore allowance (dusting = $.10, folding laundry = $.10) for enough money to buy a Tiger's Blood (I still haven't figured out what flavor that actually is, but it's still my favorite) shaved ice. One childhood summer, under my sister's direction, a few of us neighborhood kids put on an off-Broadway backyard patio performance of Cinderella. I was given the prestigious role of playing the servant who fits the step-sisters and Cinderella with the glass slipper (one guess who played Cinderella?), as well as the stage crew person who announced the scene changes (complete with a borrowed from Dad, 20 sizes too big, suit coat and tie). After many rehearsals, the illustration and distribution of flyers all over the neighborhood, and the selling of admission tickets and intermission snacks, I remember feeling very surprised that our theatre production only netted enough profits to buy each cast member a shaved ice (I now realize my mom likely contributed the majority of the necessary funds) after we had all fantasized about what we would each do with our portion of our earnings. My theatre career was brief, but I never lost that inclination to blow all my hard-earned chore allowance on shaved ice.

Pony Express Parade

We didn't waste any time getting cracking on our Summer List and checked off our first item last Saturday: "watch a parade." Sometimes I think the small town parades are even more fun than the big city ones--you don't have to camp out all night to reserve your seats, there's nothing more down home than the local highschool band, and, best of all, at the small town parades they throw candy!

Summer List 2013

It's not summertime unless we draw up our bucket list! Holding our annual summertime Family Meeting and creating our traditional Summer List is the perfect kick-off to our summer. This years' Summer List includes some of our old favorite standbys, like camping, fishing, and toasting smores, but also includes a few newbys, sure to be summer favorites in years to come like, "hiking the Y," burying a family time capsule, and making homemade icecream in a bag. It's going to be hard to squeeze this much fun into a single summer, but we're up for the challenge!

Incidental Blessings

We have been inching our way through the scriptures--ten verses each night--for the past I don't know how long now. Whether our scripture reading has created blessings and benefits for our family--the development of a love of scripture reading, a peaceful spirit within our home, a tradition of family unity and cohesion--I don't know. But there is one miraculous blessing that I am sure has come as the direct result of our nightly family scripture study. Just by repeating out loud a single verse whispered into his ear each night, Ben's speech has grown immeasurably. I've noticed a direct correlation between the nights we consistently hold family scripture study and Ben's sudden acquisition of two and three word phrases, like "my turn," and "yes, Mom (a favorite of mine to hear)." I'm just blown away by the new words and phrases that Ben is using each day, pointing to saying, "bus," and "bird" and I'm certain these new developments are the result of our efforts each night to read, learn, and study the scriptures together.

The Simple Life

These photos pretty much capture everything that I'm loving about summertime...and life in general...right now: outdoors, sunshine, playing, and being together. These particular photos were taken last week when we brought a picnic and met Aaron at the park for a lunch break, but they could just have easily been taken any day of the week....our days all look a lot like this:

Project: Build Twin Beds

Saturday-time is a precious commodity, hence the reason Project:Build-Twin-Beds has been on hold for several months. Last weekend we found a pocket of time to spend working in Papa Grover's shop and look what Aaron cranked out:

One down, one more to go!