Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Spring Break

On our way home from our weekend trip to Cowabunga Bay in Las Vegas, Aaron and I exchanged "high 5s" because it actually felt like the pleasure received nearly outweighed the effort expent--a direction the scales rarely tip at this stage in our lives. We spent the next few minutes getting lost thinking about all the possibilities that are beginning to open up to our family as our babies gain a little more self-sufficience and ability. It's lovely to think that this is just the beginning of the family fun that lies ahead! 

...back to the trip at hand. While it was blizzard-ing in Utah, it was a sunny 82 in Las Vegas. We're not quite to the point yet that we can sit at the side of the pool and watch detachedly--it's definitely an all-hands-on-deck, keep-your-eyes-peeled situation, but being able to enjoy something together was truly joyful. 

Besides our trip to the waterpark, we met up with Adam and Heather for a picnic at the park, we treated ourselves to breakfast at a favorite place, we swam in the hotel pool, and we rocked out to tunes in the car.

The kids were so wiped out they fell fast asleep at bedtime...which ordinarily we would have been able to enjoy had Aaron and I not been sharing a DOUBLE bed! That was comical. 

Hopefully this trip will ride us over until the temperatures warm up enough here to visit our own waterpark:

Ben is 5!

Even as I type it, I can hardly believe that my Benny is FIVE years old! My heart just fills to the brim with love and pride when I think back on the path we've travelled together in his five years. Ben is and will always be my inspiration and my living reminder of God's power and grace.

To know Ben is to love him. It's impossibly really to NOT be smitten with him. He has an infectious smile and a delightful personality. Ben is a lover of all things shapes and patterns (he continues to build complex Lego masterpieces and loves to sort anything and everything). His favorite treats are M&Ms (or "brown M&Ms" as he calls them to specify the plain variety in the brown packaging). He doesn't branch out far with new foods, but he likes chicken nuggets and French fries and pizza. More often than not, Ben is singing/humming as he plays and has a remarkably pitch-perfect little voice. Ben is easily self-entertained and happily plays at one activity for hours at a time. While I consider him to be low maintenance in some respects, Ben can be very persistent when he wants something and will act like a broken record set to repeat until he gets what he wants. Ben has the sweetest giggle and loves to be tickled and wrestled. Ben knows his colors, shapes, numbers and he is working hard on his sight words--he's memorized 32 so far! He is the squishiest, most lovable, happiest little boy I know and I'm so glad he's mine!

Ben gets a big thrill out of riding the Ferris wheel at Scheels. He squeals in delight the entire time.

Ben is STILL teasing me about beating me at bowling;) He gets a big kick out of rolling the ball down the lane and knocking over the pins.

After bowling, we ate dinner at Red Robin. 

Ben didn't appreciate being sung to at all. The following day, I overheard Hank ask Max why he thought Ben started to cry when he was sung to. Max responded that "Ben has really strong emotions." I tend to think Max is right. Ben has always been very sensitive and in tune to the Spirit. Such a tender hearted boy!

Once we broke out the birthday cookies and presents, Ben was back to his happy self. 

Happy Birthday, Ben! xo

Joey is 3!

That face. I can't even. Joey has the sweetest, most angelic, cute-as-a-button little face....which is ironic because he can be quite mischievous! Joey is just the epitome of a little boy: he has a million and one questions to ask about everything ("but WHY, Mom?"), his goal in life is to keep up with his brothers, he skips over every crack in the sidewalk and stops to check out every bug, he doesn't have an "off" button and goes a mile a minute from morning until night, his curiousity gets him into lots of trouble exploring/destroying to figure out how things work, he's a daddy's boy, loves to play with anything that bounces or has wheels, and melts his mom's heart with his big puppy eyes. Joey is definitely a one in a million kid--he's bursting with personality. If I ever find myself getting too caught up in the rigors of daily life, all I have to do is stop and watch Joey for a minute and I'm reminded that life is for living! He is our precocious, outgoing, smart as a whip, playful, stubborn, and oh so darling little boy. 

Joey requested a trip to the dinosaur museum, so that's what we did!

Joey received lots of extra love and attention from his brothers on his special day...everyone wanted to sit next to him, hold his hand, and give him birthday hugs. Very sweet. 

I'm not proud of it, but, yes, I served hot dogs for Joey's birthday dinner. The birthday boy gets what the birthday boy wants!

After dinner we celebrated at the trampoline place. 

Then it was time for cupcakes and presents. 

Joey was really excited about his playdoh and new big wheels bike. 

I love every bit of this little boy and I'm so glad that he joined our family three years ago--he adds so much flavor to our family. Happy Birthday Joey! xo


I love everything about Easter. I know that the Easter bunny and pastel dyed eggs really don't have anything to do with the actual celebration of Easter, but I like to think that we can have it all! We can sing Hosanas AND we can bite the ears right off the chocolate bunny. We can rejoice in His victory over the tomb and we can hunt for plastic eggs strewn about the yard. It doesn't have to make sense--it's just fun! 

We joined our Arkansas and Rexburg cousins for an early egg hunt in Nana Grover's backyard. All of the eggs were color coded so that the speedy older ones, the toddling little ones, and everyone in between all got the same amount of eggs. 

We refilled our baskets a second time at a city egg hunt ("egg race" would be more accurate). It was so miserably windy that we huddled in the car until just before the starting whistle was blown. Even so, Benny was in tears and begging to go home before the hunt even started. We pushed through and it was all smiles on the warm car ride back home as everyone examined the contents of their baskets. 

While Aaron and Papa Grover attended the priesthood session, Nana Grover invited us over to make peep houses using graham cracker coops, marshmallow peeps, and Easter candy decorations--so clever! 

On Easter Eve we dyed eggs. 

The boys woke up on Easter morning to find their baskets filled with lots of treats and surprises. 

Silliness aside, Easter is a special time to reflect on the Savior. I have come to know Christ through personal scripture study and prayer--I love Him, I worship Him, and I live my life to follow Him. Everyday, but especially on Easter, I rejoice in the blessing of eternal life and eternal families made possible in His atonement and triumph over death.

General Conference

I call the first week in April our "Spring Mega-event." The week begins with two days of General Conference, overlapping with Easter Sunday. Then, we go straight into back-to-back birthdays for Ben and Joey, all taking place during Spring Break. Whew! It's a fun-filled, action-packed, quality family time week. 

This is what General Conference looked like at our house:

The bi-annual conference weekend is about the only weekend of the entire year that I indulge in a breakfast of homemade cinnamon rolls, wear my pajamas all day long, and do nothing but watch TV. Most importantly, while we take a break from our usual weekend routine of sports/activities, lawn care, and DIY projects, we try to charge our spiritual batteries by tuning in to the messages of the prophet and apostles. In that sense, that weekend that we spend lounging lazily in front of the TV may be the most productive of all!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hankie the Great!

The Great Hank-oudini amazed his third grade audience with his magic and allusions at his class talent show this morning. I know he was nervous about performing in front of his peers, but he nailed it! First, he used his telepathic powers to read the mind of a volunteer and guess the selected number. Then he used his magic wand to make a silk scarf disappear. Poof! 


This sweet boy is turning into a big kid!