Thursday, June 12, 2014

Florida Vacation

I'd wear a blind fold and hop on a plane to anywhere if the trip was on the house, so I really wasn't complaining about the trip to Marco Island, Florida that Aaron won for us through his company. It was five lovely days of sleeping in late, reading to my heart's content poolside, splurging on fancy food, soaking up the warmth of the sunshine, and spending quality time with my best friend--at times taking adventures together and other times just connecting over shared conversation. In other words, it was perfect. If I didn't love my kids so stinking much (and I didn't worry that Nana Grover would give out from exhaustion (thank you!)), I think I might stay on that beach forever.

Oh the trials...

Aaron and I took an excursion to the everglades to ride an air boat and check out the gators. The air boat ride was actually both exhilarating and serene at the same time, but I can't say I have much fondness for the gators.

I wasn't able to document our guided waverunner tour through the 10,000 islands, but the manatee sightings were definitely a highlight.

Our outing to South Beach fulfilled our goal to cross the destination off our travel list, but really didn't impress much...the streets were jammed with people who for the most part felt that clothing was optional (regardless of age or body type), women (again, scantily-clad) danced provocatively at outdoor restaurants and on tour buses blaring loud music, and people openly smoked an unknown substance through some type of apparatus. It would be an understatement to say that South Beach was a shock to my Utah residing sensitivities. Different strokes for different folks...

Family Portraits 2014

It feels so good to finally have a photo of our family...with EVERYONE in it! No one is missing, we're all here! I love that. I love that our family is complete and we have these precious pictures to record this beautiful moment in our journey.

Either the kids are starting to learn the routine: 1, 2, 3, smile, or some twilight-zone-like intervention took place because, believe it or not, our photo shoot was actually not terribly painful! Towards the end the smiles started to fade, as is to be expected, but shockingly the kids were all fairly cooperative and I think the results are fantastic!

Hank is 8!

I think I blinked and my precious little baby boy grew into a handsome, clever, sweet young man. It has been a joy to have Hank in our family--he holds a special place as the oldest and the leader of our pack of boys.

Hank is an early riser and likes to wake up and get himself dressed first thing in the morning. He is full of energy--I don't think I can remember a time that he went to bed willingly. Hank is a picky eater but has come along ways from his babyhood days and will cooperate with most vegetables, but he prefers the basics like french bread, plain pasta, and pancakes. Hank is smart as a whip. He seems to understand concepts with ease, breezes through his homework, and has always been at the top of his class in math, reading, and spelling. Hank is very social and loves to play with his friends, but sometimes his friends complain that he is bossy (typical first child trait) and sometimes Hank can get frustrated when others don't do what he wants them to do. Hank is used to telling his younger brothers what to do and has learned to be a great leader; most kids just gravitate towards Hank. Like his Dad, Hank is assertive and has no compunction about asking a waitress for a refill of his rootbeer, or asking a salesperson how much something costs. Hank is a true boy and loves all things sports. He is loyal to all of his Dad's teams; once even proclaiming that the color "red" was a bad color because it belongs to a rival football team. Of all the sports he plays (golf, soccer, basketball, T-ball, track), Hank enjoys playing basketball the most but has also shown an aptitude for track. Hank can be very affectionate and still enjoys holding my hand, snuggling with me on the couch in the evening, and will even give me a kiss on the lips before bed.

I can't begin to express how proud I am of the great little person that Hank is becoming and the privilege that I feel to call him my son. Hank, you are loved more than you'll ever the moon and stars and back! Happy Birthday, Hank!

The Birthday Boy!

For as many things as I do wrong as a mother, I feel like I'm really doing something right with our family birthday tradition. Instead of all of the ridiculous, keeping-up-with-the-jones' kids birthday parties with junky treat bags and themed decorations that are entirely lost on the guest of honor, we have created a birthday tradition that creates a lasting, family-centered half the cost and zero clean-up no less! So, as per tradition, we packed our bags (or laundry baskets as the case may be) and stocked up on pizza and junk food and headed to a hotel for a night of swimming and late night movie watching.

After another round of swimming at the hotel pool, we went to Cowabunga Bay for more swimming fun! We really could stay at that place all day...and we did! I had to drag the boys out of the water after spending six hours at the water park so we could make it back home for cake and ice cream.

I guess it's a small step up from last year's birthday request of boxed Macaroni...this year Hank requested pancakes for his birthday dinner.

In addition to the Legos and baseball cards Hank asked for, Hank was also given his own set of scriptures engraved with his name on the cover, a scout manual and scout uniform, and a skateboard.

Happy Birthday to my sweet Hanky-boy!