Friday, March 27, 2015


When your child's third grade teacher sends home an assignment to use household materials to create an invention to insulate an egg from breaking when dropped off the roof, the teacher has to know that the completion of the project falls squarely on the shoulders of the parent, right?! Because it does. It's mom homework! The running around to gather necessary materials, the conception of the idea, and the construction of the project itself is all taken care of behind the scenes on my free time so that I can facilitate this great, immediate gratification learning experience. Such is motherhood for you. Anywho, I happen to love these kinds of things so it was actually really fun to work together with Hank to come up with a bubble-wrapped egg inside a formula canister, attached to a tablecloth parachute. 

My advice for the future would be to remove the parachute from the canister prior to dropping it from the roof:/
While Hank and I worked on Project Egg Drop, Aaron and Max built a homemade kite for Max's class project. Kindergarten "wind day" didn't turn out to be very windy, so the kite didn't exactly get airborne, but it fluttered around a little and looked pretty cool! 

A Grover Family First!

It seems like every time we have company visit, we chase our kids around a bouncy place and try to yell back and forth over the din of screaming kids and never really get the chance to chat and catch up. So this time when Andy and Robyn's families came to visit, we decided to hire a babysitter (gasp!) and have an adult-only date! Just for the heck of it I decided to keep the details of the date a surprise--and when I revealed that I was taking Aaron to a gun range (a first for us both), he was surprised!

Aaron loved shooting and is now on a big gun kick (not sure how I feel about that). I didn't love felt unnatural and uncomfortable. But, I do love trying new and different things so I did enjoy doing something a little "out of the box."
After our target practice, we went out to dinner. It was a first for us all to eat together without any high chair between us, toddlers to entertain/distract, or chicken nuggets ordered. Needless to say, it was lovely! We need to make this happen more often!

Spring Has Sprung!

For us, Spring isn't signified by blossoming trees and sprouting tulips; springtime means digging in the sandbox and playing in the backyard! I know better than to think cold temperatures and wet weather is behind us for good, but these few glimpses of warm sunshine make me feel positively giddy for summertime hiding just around the corner. Crisp spring afternoons are our reward for surviving a long and dreary winter. And, boy, we are SO ready to return outdoors! 

A Kid and a Cone

It's the simple things...

St. Paddy's Day

When I was a kid, St. Patrick's Day consisted of wearing green and pinching those who forgot. That's it. Somehow the holiday has evolved into not just wearing a token piece of green clothing, but drinking green-dyed milk with Lucky Charms for breakfast, painting green leprechaun footprints around the house, engineering a device to trap said leprechaun, and planting gold coins left by the evasive leprechaun. I guess since I have a hard time buying the whole leprechaun bit, and it doesn't seem to correspond to any religious/historical significance, I have a hard time conjuring up hype for St. Patrick's Day. I'm not a total dead-beat. I did spend a fair amount of time helping Hank create his trap for a school assignment, but when Nana Grover offered to ring-and-run a pot of gold for the boys, I let myself off the hook and called it good.

Our Rock

On a brighter note, Rocky is developing into such a playful, verbal, happy, sweet little boy. He is the darling of our family, loved and protected by all. His recent health scares have only made us love and appreciate his place in our family even more.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Rollercoaster named Rocky

My mommy heart has been feeling extra tender lately as Rocky has undergone some stressful testing for a couple seizures. To rewind, just before Christmas, Rocky spontaneously had a seizure while I was at the church building for an exercise class. It was a very traumatic experience: Rocky was convulsing and unconscious, 911 was called and dispatched an ambulance and fire truck, and we anxiously waited results of the CT scan at the emergency room. When everything checked out, we said our prayers of thanks and put the whole ordeal behind us. Then, about six weeks later, Rocky had a second seizure episode. This time we bypassed the emergency room and got fast tracked to the neurologist. I'm grateful that the doctor has been so thorough, ordering an immediate EEG and scheduling an MRI for added measure, but it's heart wrenching to watch my poor baby get poked with IVs and get put under sedation. After running the full gammit of tests, we don't have any answers about what caused Rocky's seizures, but I'm feeling very relieved and grateful that there weren't any negative findings--we'll just cross our fingers his seizures don't return. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I Got This!

Did you say no school? We're outta here! I'm not one to pass up the chance to play, so we joined a few friends at a new rec center for some swimming.

I like to think I have everything under control and can handle anything, but five kids in a large aquatic facility tests even my capacity to keep cool. Even with the help of my good friend and a few life jackets, I still felt constant paranioa about letting anyone out of my sight. And so I ended up floating around the lazy river, literally towing three little bodies, one under each arm and one in front, around and around for hours. They don't call me "muscles" for nothin'!

Girl's Weekend

I have the best husband. You know how I know? He took off work early, stuffed $100 cash in my purse, and kissed me goodbye so that I could enjoy a weekend in the city with my girlfriends. And in just a short time apart, I realized how amazing it feels to have a partner who just GETS me. 

The seven of us kicked off the weekend with pedicures, and then checked into our adjoining hotel rooms. After dinner and shopping, it was an official, throwback to junior high, old-school slumber party...junk food, pajamas, and lots of laughs and tears until the wee hours. The rest of the trip was filled with gym time, yummy food, more shopping, makeovers (for real), and girl talk. I didn't realize how much my life is lacking in the girl-hood department, living with a household of boys, so it was quite refreshing and enlightening to connect with my sweet friends and reconnect with my own girly side.

Little Linebacker

The principal of our elementary school accidentally mixed up her laptop with a professional football player while going through airport security. The football player, Kyle Van Noy, was nice enough to make a personal appearance in each classroom when he came to exchange computers. The story is cute, but the picture is what makes me laugh...Max looks like HE could be the football player!

"The Talk"

For the sake of sparing Hank future embarrassment, I won't go into too great of detail, but I just want to record that a big milestone occurred a few weeks ago when Aaron and I took Hank on a solo date and gave him "the talk." Yep, THAT talk. With so many conflicting, negative, and just down right wrong messages floating around on media and playgrounds, I felt it was important to preempt that misinformation with the pure, beautiful truth. I don't know how much Hank actually comprehended from that talk, but I hope he'll remember that he can always talk to his mom and dad about anything, anytime. 

After our dinner date with Hank, we lightened the mood by picking up Max and watching a movie together. Fun night!

Happy Report Card Day!

You know me and traditions...pretty soon we're going to have so many traditions in force that we'll be celebrating "Day That Ends in '-day' Day!" And I think I'm ok with that! I'll take any excuse I can think of to eat treats and play;) 

As per tradition, when the boys brought home their report cards, we cashed in their As at Boondocks and Krispy Kreme.

I'm pretty sure if we stayed at Boondocks any longer Aaron would have been escorted out and blacklisted from returning because he beat the house big time! When does THAT ever happen?! Aaron hit back to back jackpots. Typically, you'd have to spend $20 in tokens to earn 50 tickets that are redeemable for half a tootsie roll. This time we cleaned up! We took our free report card tokens and ran them up for 2000 tickets and redeemed two ping pong shooters, two tootsie roll banks, and a handful of smarties and skittles. Booya! 

We were feeling so good after our big haul at Boomdocks that we just kept the fun rolling and grabbed free donuts at Krispy Kreme. If that doesn't motivate the boys to work hard and earn good grades I don't know what will.

Day of Love

If there was a fire and I only had time to grab one thing, I'd grab my blog books (after my children were all taken to safety, of course). Our blog books are our family photo album and family journal all in one. So you can imagine my sorrow at losing a month's worth of pictures that were stored on my phone when Rocky gave my phone a bath in the sink and all of my saved phones died a watery death. Thankfully, we had backed up my pictures in January and I've imported the few photos that Aaron had taken to fill in the missing gaps, but I'm still very heartbroken about those memories that I have no way to get back or preserve.

So, because my photos of Valentine's Day drowned, I don't have a picture of our sweet Valentine's Day morning: red table cloth, heart goblets, window clings, a box of chocolates at each place setting, and a breakfast of cinnamon rolls. 

Nothing says romance quite like Monster Trucks and pizza, right? I mean, if you're going to celebrate a day of love with your five boys, you may as well go all in and do boy stuff...the pink flowers and hearts seem a little out of place on this crowd. So, while Aaron took Hank, Max, and Joey to the Monster Trucks, I took Ben (and his sensitive ears) and Rocky to the farm for pony rides. Afterwards we all met up for pizza and called it good. It wasn't the most conventional Valentine's Day, but we definitely have and celebrated love so that's what matters most. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Take Me Back!

If I didn't have the pictures to prove it, I wouldn't believe that we really did go on a fabulous Caribbean cruise. Our tans have faded, those extra pounds packed on at the late-night buffet have been burned back off, and we've sunk back into our daily grind so that the memory of warm sunshine, swim suits, and alone time feels like a very distant memory. Besides the snow globe and twisty straw sippy cups that we brought home for the boys, these photos are our only souvenir of our once in a lifetime experience. So please excuse me for a minute while I revisit our pictures and take a little mental trip back to that great big boat, that beautiful blue water, and that week where I fell even deeper in love with my sweetheart...................ahhhh.

Bon Voyage!

It's always a little bittersweet to take a vacation without the kids because, although there is no one I'd rather be with than Aaron and our time alone is a treasure, I feel like I'm leaving a piece of my heart back home. Our trip simply wouldn't have been possible without the help of Nana and Papa Grover who generously stepped in for us and showered the boys with lots of love and attention--I don't even think the boys noticed we were gone!

The day that our ship set sail, Aaron's beloved Seahawks battled in a playoff game for a spot in the Super Bowl. While I sipped virgin pina coladas on the dockside, Aaron was down below, gripping the edge of his seat in anxiety over the outcome of the game. As the clock on the game wound down, Aaron and I met in our room to watch the conclusion of the game. The Seahawks won the game in a buzzer-beater play; to say that Aaron was ecstatic would be an understatement. I whispered a silent prayer of thanks--not because I care one bit about the silly ball game, but because I knew that the fate of our entire vacation rested on the outcome of that playoff game. 

Day 2: Princess Cays
Our boat docked at Princess Cays and we were taxied to a manmade version of heaven: a fine white sandy beach with crystal clear blue water, palm trees that swayed gently in the breeze, a blazing sunshine enjoyed from under the protection of a clamshell umbrella, and an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. After reading, napping, and sunbathing, Aaron and I kayaked but decided it felt a little too much like work and went back to relaxing under our umbrella.

Day 3: At Sea
Just because we weren't on shore doesn't mean we ran out of ways to entertain ourselves. In fact, Aaron contends that our "at sea" days were even more pleasant than our on shore days.
If you see me running, you can safely assume I'm chasing the ice-cream truck because I can't think of any other good reason to do something so monotonous and exhausting. Buuuut, I think I could get a little more enthusiastic about running if I had the amazing equipment that was in the ship's gym and I had this view to distract me. Aaron and I actually really enjoyed starting our mornings (I use the term "morning" loosely...we didn't actually rise until around 9) with a good workout. More proof that anything can be made fun if done together!
 It kind of goes without saying, but I'll mention it just for the sake of authenticity in my documentation...Aaron and I ate like kings. Kings who were training for a competitive food eating event. It is not an exaggeration to say that we consumed upwards of 20 plates of food per day....each! And we weren't even hungry--we just ate because we could!
I'm not much of a critic when it comes to movies or shows--I guess I'm easily entertained--but, honestly, the on-board performances were quite spectacular. It was such a treat to get ourselves cleaned up after spending the afternoon sunbathing by the pool and get dressed up fancy and have someplace to be...pretty fancy for us homebody folk!

Day 5: St. Thomas

Day 6: St. Maarten:
We probably should have done a little more homework before we set off exploring an unknown island in the middle of the Caribbean. If we had done some research, we would have learned that people in St. Maarten (at least the French people in St. Maarten) don't like to wear clothes. Like, any clothes. Naively, Aaron and I thought that if we parked ourselves on the Dutch side of the beach, we'd avoid the injury to our retinas when the age-ed, leather-y, flabby French nudists strolled down the beach sans swimsuit. Wow. That was a cultural education alright.
 My first macaron!

Aside from the French nudists, St. Maarten was exquisitely beautiful and Aaron and I could have chilled on that beach for days. Or years.

I hope Aaron won't be embarrassed by my effusive expressions of love, but I can't help it. I am just head over heals, madly in love with this man.

If you've made it through my travelogue this far, then I will reward you with a good laugh. During the formal night, I insisted that Aaron and I get our pictures taken professionally. He was very reluctant, but I thought the prints would make a great keepsake of our vacation together. I am not sure if our heads stretched or our bodies shrunk, but I don't think I'll be hanging these circus-mirror pictures above my mantel anytime soon:

When Aaron texted me a few months ago to announce that he'd booked a cruise--without any discussion or consultation whatsoever--I immediately felt reckless and guilty. How can we justify spending the money for something so frivolous when we could use the money on so many practical things instead? When I look at these pictures, I quickly realize that there is nothing at the store that we could buy that would be more valuable than the memories that we created together that week that we spent together cruising in the Caribbean. When it's all said and done, will I wish I had bought a new sofa, or will I wish that I had spent time and built new experiences with the one I love most. No question.