Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Student of the Month

Yesterday Max came home from school and announced that he had been named the Student of the Month! That's right, he's been a student for all of one month and he already claimed the Student of the Month award! I know we're talking about Kindergarten here, the Ivy Leagues haven't called yet, but, darn, I'm just so proud of that boy! I'm not even exaggerating when I say that Max truly is just a really GOOD little boy. He didn't do anything extraordinary to earn his award, he was just acting the way he always does--obedient, friendly, and awesome! To celebrate, Max got to choose the ice cream flavor (moose tracks) and topping (Reese's) for our FHE treat last night. 

This is my first handwritten little love note from Max. So precious!

Competitive Soccer

I'm feeling a little guilty about blogging from my warm car while poor Hank is outside playing in the cold, dark, and wet outside. That's soccer for you. When we decided to put Hank on a "competitive" level team we weren't entirely sure what we were getting into. I mean, the kids are eight, how "competitive" could it be?! Overall, the experience has been great--Hank's coach is great, he's made some good friends on his team, and his skills have developed a lot--but, after driving Hank to and fro to practices three times a week and scrambling to feed everyone before weeknight games and watching him play in the dark, I'm glad that this is the final game of the season. There has been a few times I've had to spring from my chair to offer Hank a little constructive feedback, but I'm proud of Hank for working his very hardest. I remember trying out as a freshmen for the high school soccer team and surprising myself by being able to walk on to the varsity team with very little skills or experience. Over the course of four years of varsity soccer, I'm not really sure I was ever that great of a player, but I know for certain that no one out worked me. I know that Hank will continue to be successful at whatever sport--or anything else, for that matter--if he gives it his very best and works hard. Great job, Hankie! On to basketball...

Robyn's Birthday Adventure

Technically, we were celebrating Robyn's 30th birthday, but I think Mindy and I had just as much fun taking a night off from Mom duty, going out on a little adventure, and enjoying some girl time. 

We surprised Robyn with a zip line adventure! I'm not usually much of a risk-taker, but zip lining to me didn't feel very risky. Sure we were suspended a few hundred feet up in the air by two thin cables as we flew 45-50 mph towards a small platform, but instead of feeling scary, it was really just serene and breathtaking to soar above the trees and feel a little wind rush against your face. I love it and I'm proud of us chickens for doing it!

After our zip line adventure, we treated ourselves to a yummy dinner and dessert. 
Happy 30th, Robyn! This one is going to be pretty hard to beat!

Pinewood Derby

Having zero outdoors/camping background whatsoever, I've been nervous about entering the intimidating world of scouting. It's hardcore! Pack meeting, den meetings, camps, badges, pins, uniforms, etc. I decided that when Hank turned 8, I may as well make the investment in figuring it out since scouting will inevitably be a big part of our lives for the foreseeable future. I'm pretty proud to say that Hank and I have been working together every Sunday afternoon to pass of achievements towards his wolf ranking and, only two months into the program, and we're nearly finished! I did defer to Aaron when it came to building Hank's pinewood derby car, though. Hank and Aaron designed, fabricated, and painted Hank's little muscle car. Unfortunately, there were 37 other racers and Hank did not place in the top 4. Poor Hank, these are our experimental years--by the time Joey and Rocky are scouts, we're going to OWN the pinewood derby (you would think, since we'll have at least one car in the race for the next eleven straight years, right?!)!


Sometimes I get caught up in the daily tedium of life--the never ending "to-do" list, the battle to just keep my sanity amid the voices of five little people all fighting and fussing at once, and the millions of different directions I feel pulled in trying to take care of everyone--that I forget to be grateful for this life that I've created. Benny always helps me remember. He reminds me that a smile really can make everything better. He reminds me that it's ok to slow down a little; I don't have to rush through everything. He reminds me that doing my very best is enough. I love this little boy for so many reasons, but especially for his constant reminder to me that what matters most usually isn't on my "to do" list at all.

Benny got to participate in his first primary program on Sunday. He was nervous, but he did great! His line was, "John the Baptist was baptized."

Sunday, September 21, 2014


For all of the fighting and wrestling, bugging and annoying, these brief little moments of loving, teaching, learning, and sharing make me feel like maybe these boys really do love each other.

Max is 6!!!

I love this boy to bits. Max is a really special kid. One of the reasons that I love Max so much is that he naturally possesses many of the qualities that I have worked by entire life to develop without much success. Max is very generous. If his teacher gives him a snack at kindergarten or a treat in primary, he always asks for a second to give to his brother. He will use his own allowance money to buy a treat for someone else. He will happily share his last skittle or sip of pop. Max is very slow to anger and quick to forgive. It makes my heart break a little when, out of frustration about something, Ben will hit or push Max, and instead of react, Max will just turn away. If I ever become upset with Max, he will apologize with sincerity and then ask me to forgive him. Max is fun to be around. Whenever I feel like taking a walk or need to run an errand in the evening, Max is my go-to buddy because I just like his companionship. He's always upbeat, always easy-going, always happy. See what I mean? Max is just a genuinely good kid. I am so proud of this little boy and so blessed to call him mine.

After our Mom Date and learning how passionate Max is about golf, Aaron got busy finding a new set of clubs (his old set was too short) for Max to use while he played a birthday round of golf with Aaron.

Of all the places he could have chosen, Max picked to have his birthday dinner at Chuck-a-Rama. I recall eating at Chuck-a-Rama 20+ years ago when we'd go visit my grandparents--they loved the tapioca and the senior discount and I liked to serve myself soft serve ice cream. My memory didn't fail--we were the only diners under 60. Max sampled a piece of pizza and a few french fries, but was most excited about the all-you-can-drink chocolate milk and the slurpee machine. If I don't eat at Chuck-a-Rama for another 20 years, it'll be too soon.

I think Max is saying, "awwwwesome!"

Birthday Eve

One of my favorite family traditions is taking the birthday boy out for a Mom Date the night before their birthday to share some one-on-one time and talk about the upcoming year. For Max's Mom Date, he chose to go to a do-it-yourself frozen yogurt place. He topped his frozen yogurt with gummy bears, cookie dough, gumballs, dots, M&Ms, and hot fudge--and I didn't even say anything! While he was spoiled with treats, I just enjoyed spoiling him even more with all of my love and attention.

An Interview With Max:

1. What about turning 6 are you most excited about? "I could help my brothers out."
2. What is something that you're really good at? "I'm good at golfing."
3. What is your favorite thing to eat? "Steak."
4. What is your favorite treat? "Icecream and peanut butter cups."
5. What do you want to be when you grow up? "Allstate worker."
6. Where would you go if you could go anywhere in the world? "Every golf course there is in the whole wide world."
7. What would you like for your birthday? "Lots of golf stuff, thousands of nerf guns and Legos and baseball cards."
8. What is your favorite cereal? "Cap'n Crunch peanut butter."
9. What makes you special? "I'm really good at sharing."
10. What is your least favorite food? "Brussel sprouts."
11. What is your favorite color? "Blue and white."
12. What is your favorite movie? "Mr. Peabody and Sherman."
13. If you could have one wish, what would it be? "A real gun."
14. Who is your best friend? "Everyone."

Last Summer Getaway

We're going to have to scale back our birthday tradition because things are beginning to get out of control. Now we're doing destination water park parties for our six-year-old?! Max is a lucky, lucky boy. The truth is, I was itching to visit my new niece in St. George, we had a hotel certificate that needed to be used before it expired, our season passes to Cowabunga bay get us free admission to the sister park in Las Vegas, we felt like squeezing in one more summer getaway before saying goodbye to the heat, and so we decided to make a quick visit to St. George/Las Vegas and score some extra "parent points" by dubbing it Max's birthday party.

I've never understood it when people say it is, "too hot" outside. I love the sun! As a rule, I say the more sun the better. I think after our trip to Las Vegas, I may have to make an exception to my rule. When the pavement is so hot that your feet blister, it takes 15-20 minutes to wait in line for each slide, and it's two hours past nap time...it's too dang hot. We all had a great time, but after several hours of swimming, splashing, and sliding, we were wasted. The water park kicked our butts.

New Tricks

This little boy is learning all kinds of new tricks.

He cut his very first tooth:

He's climbing stairs:

And he's even beginning to stand all by himself:

Labor Day

When we pulled into the deserted parking lot of This is the Place on the morning of Labor Day, I started to feel worried that the park was closed and regretted that we hadn't called ahead to check the hours of operation. Turns out that we picked the perfect day to visit the park--the weather was beautiful and we had the place to ourselves!

Sometimes I like to think about returning to a simpler life...it seems so wholesome and quaint. But then I remember how much I like my dishwasher and my temperpedic cloud lux breeze king size bed and I thank my lucky stars for all the comforts of home.

Benny was amused by the little baby chicks, but didn't love holding it...immediately after this picture, he tossed the little chick in an excited flutter (don't worry, the chick was unharmed).

I guess people must have been really short back in the day...