Monday, May 26, 2014

No More Preschool!

It's hard to believe how much Max and Ben have each learned in preschool this year. At the beginning of preschool last fall, Ben was just beginning to speak and he was very tentative outside our home. In just one school year, Ben is now talking in full sentences, counts to about 23, knows his colors, days of the week, and months of the year, and is becoming independent and more and more confident in new environments. Max really surprised me by deciding he was ready to read! Max just breezed through preschool and went straight to sight words and then on to reading real books! He is definitely ready for kindergarten in the fall.

Benny was acting a bit sensitive on the morning of his preschool program, so he didn't participate much in the songs and felt more comfortable snuggling with Dad, but he loved having his brothers and Nana Grover come to visit his classroom. I'm thrilled with Ben's progress in preschool this year and look forward to having Ben all to myself this summer before he goes back again for another year of preschool.

Max was basically the star of his preschool program. Each student was assigned a small part in the program (counting to 30 or signing the days of the week song, etc), but the teacher saved Max's part for the very end and had him read a book to the whole audience! Max stood up on the little stool/podium, not even nervous at all, and read his book like a champ! So proud of that boy! Kindergarten will be a piece of cake!

Quickie Picnic

We're in the home stretch, just one week left of school, but I couldn't wait to break out my picnic tablecloth and eat lunch outdoors. After spending the better part of the morning getting my kitchen sparkling clean, from shining up the appliances to mopping the floor, I thought my idea to eat lunch outdoors was a stroke of brilliance--if I had to sweep the floor one more time I thought I'd freak out! Alas, I must have forgotten that my children are like magnets to messes. There can be no escaping the mess. We weren't three minutes into our picnic before Joey dumped out his gogurt onto the table cloth and Rocky rolled into it. But at least the mess was outside and not on my kitchen floor! Ha, ha!

Hidden Treasure

Thanksgiving Point Gardens....what a pleasant surprise! We drive by the gardens on a daily basis and often comment, "we should go check out the gardens sometime," but then I imagine my five rowdy boys in a hoity-toity rose garden and I think, "boring!" I couldn't have been more wrong! We loved the gardens! We only had an hour to wonder around the trails and explore the water features before the gates closed, which wasn't enough time to even cover a fraction of the gardens. We will definitely be returning soon to see everything else that the gardens has to offer.

Photo credit: Hank

If you look closely, you'll see Joey's binky that was tragically dropped into the koi pond.

"Wook, Mom!"

As we were cleaning up dinner one evening, and Joey had just accused me of being rude for some perceived offence, Aaron asked me in complete seriousness if there was any way that Joey could have been switched at the hospital. The funny thing is, I had asked myself the same thing a time or two and so instead of laughing off such an absurd question, I actually contemplated it for a moment! Don't get me wrong, we love Joey to bits and bits but in some ways he doesn't seem to fit the cookie cutter mold of our family: 1. his blond hair sticks out like a sore thumb in our family of brown locks, and 2. he is so verbal and precocious that, at 2, I'm pretty sure he is already smarter than I am. Joey is constantly getting himself into mischief (see photo below) or demanding that I "Wa-shis, Mom. Wa-shis!" I love my little one of a kind, fair-haired, smarty-pants boy.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mom's Day

Growing up, I remember a drawer in my mom's bedside table filled with what seemed to be odds and ends and random junk: sloppy homemade cards with scribbledy crayon handwriting, polaroids of us glued onto construction paper "frames," and school projects rescued from crammed backpacks. For Mother's Day this year, as my own children presented me with their scribbledy handmade cards and fingerprint stamped keychains, I felt like those odds and ends may as well be the crown jewels. I treasure those sweet (yet comically honest and insightful) notes, cards, and's my mom treasure.

Max invited me to brunch at his preschool where he escorted me to our table where he had handmade a special placemat just for me. Then he served me mini-muffins and lemon water. Fancy! For the program, the class recited a poem and sang two songs. Finally, Max presented me with several gifts, including a salt-dough keychain with his fingerprint stamped in it, a game we played together, and a survey all about me.

The boys woke up enthusiastically on Sunday morning at 6:30 with optimistic plans to make cinnamon rolls. When Aaron determined that they didn't have the time nor the skills to whip up fresh cinnamon rolls, they settled for serving me a gourmet breakfast in bed of peanut butter and jelly. Nothing but the finest!

The Gifts:

The boys showered me with sweet gifts:

Yes sirree, I make a mean Top Ramen!

Aaron even surprised me with a thoughtful gift: a new bike to cruise in this summer!

I didn't need a special occasion, these boys make me feel pretty special to be their mom everyday.

I have no recollection of such a conversation, but Aaron remembers a time when we were dating, holding hands and walking along the beach, and I shared with him that I was unsure whether I wanted to have children. I don't remember saying those exact words, but I do remember, at age 20, foolishly thinking that if I had a family, I would be held back from following my dreams. I wanted to be a big deal. I wanted to help people and make a difference. I didn't want to be a insignificant it seemed to me then to change diapers and wipe noses all day.

I cringe to realize how very little I understood then about the sacred role of motherhood. Yes, I change diapers and wipe noses. No, it's not glamorous and prestigious. I don't wear a power suit to the office and lead presentations in the conference room. But don't be mistaken. I AM changing the world. With every bedtime story I read, with every family home evening I prepare, with every family dinner I put on the table, with every soccer game I support from the sidelines, I am most definitely changing the world.

"What happens in cradles and kitchens will prove to be more effective than what goes on in Congress." --Neal A. Maxwell

I am so grateful that Aaron took a chance on me and married me despite my foolish aspirations. I am thankful that my Father in Heaven, though prayer and life experience, has helped me to understand the value and essentialness of my calling and responsibility as a mother. I'm thankful that He saw fit to bless me with five sons...five handsome, sweet, loving, righteous sons. I'm especially thankful that He accepts my very best (when it is hardly much at all), and allows me to start over each day fresh, as I continue to learn what it means to be a mom.

Lastly, no matter how long it's been since I've left the next, no Mother's Day would be complete without an acknowledgement of my own mother's role in my development as a mother. It has been said that "life doesn't come with an instruction manual, it comes with a mother." Isn't that the truth? I would still be wondering aimlessly in life without the direction, support, guidance, and friendship of my mom. I'm also blessed to have the example of a mother-in-law who I look to in raising my own sons as she raised the finest man I know:)

Happy Mother's Day!

New Museum

The new museum of curiosity just opened at Thanksgiving Point and it's safe to say that we'll be living there from now on. It's a kids museum, but I think I had as much fun as the kids! I kept saying, "Hank, come here, come see this," and "Benny, check this out!" Next time we'll have to smuggle in food because I seriously didn't want to leave. Until next time...

7 Months

Seven months old...and life is good!

He eats real food! Forget the baby food, Rocky is sitting in his high chair and eating soft foods straight from the table. Tonight he demolished a quesodilla. I'm not sure how much of the quesodilla was successfully swallowed, but he sure enjoyed smashing it, sucking on it, and ripping it to bits.

He sits! I can plop Rocky on the floor with a box of toys and he is endlessly entertained picking up each one and examining it, turning it over in his hands, and sucking on it. Fun!

He sleeps through the night! Rocky goes down to sleep at 7:30 and sleeps a blessed 12 hours until 7:30 in the morning!

Track Star

Hank started track earlier this month and has been working so hard in practice, running sprints and relays, working on his fosberry flop form on the high jump, and practicing his distance in the long jump. As I watched Hank from the stands during his first two track meets, I couldn't help but feel pride when he raced through the finish line in first place in each of his races. He's fast! But honestly, I would have been just as proud of him if he had finished dead last because I saw in Hank something far more admirable than speed. When the official shot the starting gun, Hank took off and I noticed a look in his eye...focus, determination, EFFORT...that filled my heart with pride, to the point that I almost felt a little teary. He pushed himself. He ran his little heart out when I know he was fatigued. He tried his very, very best. And those are the qualities that make me so proud of that little boy. Whether or not he ever runs another track event, I know that those hard working traits will carry him far in anything he chooses to pursue.


Call me cheesy, but I take every chance I can get to dress my boys up in matching clothes. Unfortunately for me, they never stay the same size long enough to get all five of them in the same outfit for long!

Single Mom

A few weekends ago, Aaron and several of his buddies went on their annual golf vacation to St. George. In general, my idea of a good weekend does not involve being a single mom around-the-clock, but I was determined to make the most out of the weekend, with or without Aaron. As soon as the RV pulled up and Aaron took off, the boys and I didn't waste any time feeling left behind, we headed out for pizza! That night we rode bikes and took a mini-hike up our hill until it got dark outside. The next day, I picked up the boys from the school and we hit up the farm for pony rides and cow milking. Afterwards, I treated the boys to dinner, a movie, and games. We capped off the night with an sleep-over in my bed. It was hard to feel lonely when I had so much company in my bed! The next morning I cheered Hank and Max on at the soccer games and then we enjoyed the sunshine and worked on the yard a bit until Aaron finally came home. I don't kid myself--I know my boys basically worship the ground that Aaron walks on--but I hope after our weekend together they know that mom can be fun, too...sometimes.