Sunday, October 27, 2013

Family Halloween Party

I think we paid our dues with our early tradition-building years, and now we're beginning to reap the rewards of established family traditions. After several years of Aaron and I (and by "Aaron and I" I mean mostly Aaron) cleaning out the pumpkin guts long after the boys' attention spans faded, we've finally reached the point where the boys are old enough to remember our traditions from previous years, look forward to participating, and the activity is actually fun! Success!

This year, our Family Halloween Party started with pizza for dinner, followed by pumpkin carving, and eating our "white trash" snack mix while watching Alvin and the Chipmunks Halloween movie.

Sadly, one of the pumpkins was knocked off the table and smashed before I could get a picture of the final pumpkin masterpiece.

2 Weeks Old!

"A grateful person is rich in contentment." -- Elder David A. Bednar

The past two weeks, spending time with and getting to know Baby Rocky, have been some of the sweetest, most tender days of my entire life. I literally spend hours at a time, holding this precious little boy, staring at his sweet face, and reflecting on how blessed I am to be a mother and how perfectly happy I feel at this stage in life.


I'm going to toot my own horn here for a minute and boast that Aaron and I are the cool parents who do things like take our kids out of school to go on a family field trip to the pumpkin patch. Ok, fine. Actually, we're just the kind of parents who pull their kids out of school in order to avoid waiting in ridiculously long lines. In any event, our morning at Cornbelly's was fun across the board. Cornbelly's is not so much a pumpkin patch as it is a pumpkin mini-amusement park with various activities and attractions...hay rides, corn mazes, duck races, bouncy houses, slides, etc. In fact, this year we got smart and went to Cornbelly's for the entertainment and then went to Walmart where we price-matched our pumpkins for .12/lb. Boom!

I'm considering this photo for our Christmas card.....or not!

I admit to having no directional sense whatsoever, yet it was still a hit to my ego when I couldn't find my way out of the "kiddie" level corn maze. After getting ourselves completely turned around, we ended up ditching out through an emergency exit. What did people do before GPS??

Love this sweet little punkin' !

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wide Awake

Shh! Don't tell!

I thought it was amusing that while Hank and Max were at church on Sunday with Dad, Ben and Joey didn't waste any time getting into big brothers' beloved garbage truck collection. Normally, Ben and Joey would be shooed away or the trucks would be taken out of reach, so it was a treat for these two to get to play with the big boy toys, if only for an hour or two. It must be rough to be the little brother sometimes.

Team work

Who knew simply getting the kids ready for school in the morning could be so much work? Aside from throwing on my sweats, pulling my hair into a pony tail, and slapping on a little makeup, my daily a.m. routine entails changing diapers, running baths, nursing the baby, getting the boys dressed, preparing breakfast, cleaning up after breakfast, getting five heads of hair combed and five sets of teeth brushed, packing school lunch, administering last minute spelling/math quizzes, getting homework and projects packed, locating shoes and coats, and getting everyone loaded into the car before 9 a.m. It was really sweet when Hank observed that I was busy feeding the baby, it was getting late and we still had several things to get done before school, and offered to get Benny dressed by himself. That kind of brotherly teamwork is precious!

Bumps and Bruises

I guess when you're raising five boys you have to expect a couple bumps and bruises along the way, but I sure hope our injuries this week are not an indication of things to come.

Hank scored this shiner walking in front of a swing while passing the soccer ball with his buddies.

This little gash occurred when Max had the bright idea to throw rocks outside.

Poor Rocky got his first (of many, I'm sure) little war wounds when Benny decided to maul him on the car ride home from preschool. Rocky barely made a peep when his little face was scratched, but I think I shed a few tears seeing my babe's perfect face marred with claw marks. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013


I am presently sitting at my computer (while simultaneously nursing, if you must know the truth. In fact, it seems like I do every activity while simultaneously nursing, come to think of it...), catching our family journal/blog up on the happenings of the past week, enjoying a moment of quiet while Aaron and the two olders (because we now have "olders" and "youngers") are at church, and the youngers are at home with me napping, and I can't help but reflect on my many blessings. Each time I start to type a list of the things I am most thankful for, I feel overwhelmed by my abundance and erase the list, too many blessings--large and small--to number. My heart is full. I am experiencing one of those moments that seem to happen only rarely, where life makes complete sense, my purpose seems clear, and I feel at total peace with where I am, right now. I wouldn't mind a few more hours of sleep, a little sprucing up in my wardrobe, or some extra spending money...but the things that really matter, the things that make me truly happy--the people that make me happy--I have! As we loaded up our minivan with our five kids yesterday to go about our Saturday errands, we realized that, for the first time, we were all together as a complete family. The feeling was indescribable. That little minivan full of my favorite people--sometimes whiny, sometimes noisy--is all I need. Most especially, I am thankful for my partner with whom I share this crazy, beautiful life. Aaron, you are my best friend and my heart.

Rocky's Photo Shoot

I am completely and utterly smitten with this wee babe. If my heart was any more full it would burst!

Retakes? No way!

Every time I see my third-grade class photo I cringe. It's horrendous. I can overlook the purple jumper on hot pink turtle-neck ensemble, and my facial expression (complete with gigantic chiclet-esque front teeth) is passable, but my hair is out of control! Think triangular Christmas tree and you'll have an idea of the hairstyle I had going on. When I see my hair in that picture, I think, "Really, Mom?! You let me go out of the house looking like I stuck my finger in a light socket?!" Despite how terrible that photo turned out, I'm glad my Mom didn't get retakes (they probably wouldn't have turned out any differently anyways) because that gawky, awkward third-grade picture is authentic and captures a real moment in time, albeit a very goofy-looking one.

Clearly this wasn't our most photogenic school picture year, but I think these pictures are perfect...perfect and goofy, just like in real life and no way am I getting retakes!

Rocky is 1 Week Old!

Being so darn cute all of the time must be exhausting because Rocky has spent the majority of his first week of life asleep! And how lucky am I that I get to hold him and stare at his precious little face all day (and night) long? He is just an angel!

With one week already passed since Rocky was born, and already so much growth taking place, I am consciously resisting the urge to feel sad about the passage of time and instead celebrate each passing milestone. As my last baby, it is impossible not to feel a little twinge of sentimentality as he grows and we begin to close chapters...really sweet and special chapters...but, I want to enjoy these little moments and not mourn them. Rocky will never be one week old again. He will never be this tiny, this scrawny-limbed, this soft-skinned and newborn-needy. But he will always be mine and I will love every new stage we enter as we both learn and grow together.