Thursday, July 31, 2014

Rocky is 9 Months!

I can't believe my good fortune to have lucked out with such an even tempered, all around happy, laid back little dude. Rocky loves to be outside and roll around on the grass and try to sneak blades of grass into his mouth when I'm not looking. He is very tolerant of his brothers and neighbor friends who like to carry him around and wave things in his face. No surprise, Rocky measured in at the 98% across the board--98% in height, weight, and head circumference! Rocky is super smiley and will babble when he's in the mood, but he's not super talkative and doesn't give up his belly laughs easily. For now, rolling is his primary mode of transportation, but he's getting himself on all fours and could be crawling any day (look out!). I'm just completely and totally smitten with this sweet babe--they just don't come any better than this little guy!

Mommy Muscles

I won't be competing in any body building competitions anytime soon, but I am absolutely loving this new non-pregnancy, non-lactating, non-human-being-incubating season of life that I have entered and the chance to, finally, spend a little bit of time getting this mom-to-five body of mine in shape and hitting up a few workout sessions each week. It turns out that carrying heavy babies and keeping up with active kids has it's benefits--Boom!


We took the boys to visit the new fancy aquarium the other night when Ben's early intervention program hosted an alumni party. As cool as it was to see penguins, sharks, sting reys, jelly fish, snakes and lots of other sea life creatures, the aquarium is a pretty low-intensity activity that we'll likely file under the "been there, done that" category.

the "Y"

I've been wanting to hike the "Y" for the past two summers, but didn't feel up to backpacking our little guys on the climb up the mountain. So, Hank, Max, and I invited our friends to join us early one morning before Aaron left for work. The trail is very well worn, but it consists of 11 switch backs and an almost vertical climb, so I was a little worried about Hank and Max giving up on me. Ya right! The kids took off right out of the gate and I literally didn't see another trace of them until I made it to the top, where they were waiting at the Y. I think we may have to make the "Y" hike a summer tradition!


At our last company function in Scottsdale, a photographer took this photo of Aaron and I on the "red carpet" after his celebratory dinner and ring ceremony. I think I feel more at home in my fuzzy pink sweat pants than I do on the "red carpet," but it was a treat for us to pretend to be part of the upper crust, if just for a night.

Cub Scouts

Since I'm basically the antithesis of a scouter, the whole scouting program has always felt so intimidating to me. Now that Hank is 8 and officially a cub scout, I decided that I better get on board or get left I got on board! Although I would much rather bond over something more my style, like cooking or reading, I have actually really enjoyed spending some quality time with Hank as we've worked together on his Wolf achievements. One of his requirements was to learn about tools and build something useful--enter Papa Grover. Papa Grover gave Hank a little woodworking 101 lesson, let Hank practice hammering nails, and showed him how to build a birdhouse (no kit for this guy!). If the scouting program teaches Hank to be respectful, be honest, and learn useful skills, I think I just might hop on the scouting bandwagon yet!

Cowabunga Bay

I've mentioned it before, but our season passes to Cowabunga Bay have been such a fun splurge. With their life jackets on, Hank and Max are trustworthy enough to run free, racing down the water slides and tubing in the lazy river, while the little guys and I stick to the toddler area and play with the sprinklers and fountains. I don't think I could manage supervising five little swimmers in a pool, so I feel lucky to have a waterpark so close that is a little more our speed.

There really isn't anything extraordinary about this picture, but, to me, it captures the essence of our summer together: spending all day together and soaking up as much sunshine as possible. This summer could possibly be my favorite summer since my own childhood. I have felt that magical quality about summertime that I remember from my own youth--late nights spent playing games outside with neighbor kids, hot afternoons spent indoors playing long board games, beating the heat at the pool, the waterpark, or just a hose, and every single day holding an endless opportunity for the creation of fun. I love it. I love these kids. I love the sunshine. I love playing outside. It's magical! I love it all!

Picnic at the Canyon

We had such a good weekend when Adam, Heather, Ethan, and Malakai came to visit. We picked up a few things for a picnic at the canyon and then let the boys loose to explore the creek, hike the mountain, and toss rocks from the bridge. The canyon is like nature's own playground just right for little boys.

Benny enjoyed lots of attention from "Feather."

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hank's Special Baptism Day

I remember a Sunday, about eight years ago, when I sang the primary song, "I hope they call me on a mission," to my newborn baby son as I sponge bathed him and then dressed him in his tiny little white satin tuxedo for his special blessing day, his first ordinance, thinking about the all the special milestones and ordinances that my little babe, with his thick, dark hair and full pink lips and floppy ears would someday experience. And then I blinked and that little babe was putting on his own white button-down shirt under his black pressed suit on his special baptism day, just as sweet and smiling and pure as he was on that Sunday eight years earlier.

Hank was ready to be baptized. No nerves, no reservations, no questions. In the past few months, we've attended several baptisms of friends and family members, so Hank was familiar with the process. Hank and I read articles from the Friend magazine each night before bed in the weeks preceding his baptism to help him understand the covenants that he would be making. He was interviewed by the bishop to determine his worthiness to be baptized and he met with the primary president to discuss some of the practicalities and logistics. We held a special Family Home Evening on the Monday night before his special day to talk about Hank's accountability for his sins after his baptism and the role of the Atonement as he continues to make mistakes in life, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and did a dry run of the actual immersion process. On the morning of Hank's baptism, he and I read a special book together and shared our testimonies. When the time finally came to change into his white jumpsuit and enter the waters in the font, Hank was sure.

As Hank begins to prepare now for his next special day four years from now (when he will receive the priesthood), I hope that Hank will always remember his baptism and the feelings he felt on his special day. I hope Hank will remember all of the family members that gathered with him around the font to support him in his decision to become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, especially the faces of his four little brothers who peered over the edge of the font, with admiration and adoration, as their big brother set a righteous example for them to follow. I hope he remembers the testimony shared by his Nana Grover that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers and the counsel given by his Papa Z to be a follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I hope that Hank remembers that, through the Atonement, he can always feel as pure and clean as he felt when he came up out of the water. I hope Hank will always have the same confidence and firm knowledge of the truthfulness of the gospel as he felt when he shared his own testimony after his baptism and at church the following day. I hope Hank will always know that he is loved immeasurably and unconditionally by his earthly parents and by his Heavenly parents.

I am brimming with pride in the incredible young man that my little babe is growing into and I'm so blessed to have nurtured and guided him through his journey from blessing to baptism. Well done, my son.

Independence Day

You see this face right here (below)? That is the face of a guy that wakes up at 4am on his day off to reserve space along the parade route for the rest of us lazy folks who like to stroll up to the parade as it's starting to find our chairs all lined up and waiting for us. He wasn't happy about his assignment, but he did it anyways, and I love him for it. We do love the Provo Freedom Festival parade, but I think next year we may break from tradition and find a parade that doesn't require quite as much advance preparation.

I am hereby suggesting that the Freedom Festival needs to increase it's budget to buy a few boxes of tootsie rolls to throw out to all the kids (and their hot, exhausted moms) lining the parade route. We loved the bands and the horses and the BYU teams, but we could have really used some candy to combat the beating sun and the wait time between floats.

I love you, too, Benny!

It's just not Independence Day if there isn't some sort of picnic or barbeque. We congregated at the Grovers' house (I like to call it the "homestead") for Papa Grover's grilled steak and Nana Grover's scones. Benny just ate up all the attention from his Nanas and Papas and aunts and uncles, but really seemed to favor his Aunt "Feather."

We finished the night watching the fireworks display from our back deck.

Of all the generations of time and places around the globe that I could have been born into, I feel pretty lucky to live in a time and place where my family is safe, we have plenty of food to eat, we are able to worship according to our own conscience, and our future is bright. God bless the U.S.A.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Arizona Weekend

Aaron and I got the spend the weekend in sunny Scottsdale, AZ for an awards recognition with Allstate.

Arizona was H-O-T! I didn't mind it so much being that I shaded myself under an umbrella and sipped cold drinks beside the pool, but I can't imagine how people live in 110+ degree heat.

Aaron played a round of golf while I read a book from the hotel balcony. We were both so exhausted from such a tiring morning, that we relaxed for the rest of the day at the pool.

This fancy late-night room service treat cost $28! Yikes!

Besides just enjoying the retreat, the real purpose for the trip was to honor Aaron's business success with a fancy dinner and reception where he was presented with this bling ring:
I think I'm beginning to get used to this cushy jet set life style, so you better keep up the hard work, Aaron, so we can send ourselves on more fancy excursions next year! This is the life!