Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Grover Family Vacation: Mormon Battalion

When it comes to honoring the Sabbath while on vacation, we try our best to avoid purchasing things or eating out, but do give ourselves a little wiggle room to enjoy our family time. When we discussed our plans for Sunday with the kids, Hank immediately expressed his concern about breaking the Sabbath and was very unwilling to participate. I very much appreciate and respect Hank's commitment to honor the Sabbath, so we explained that visiting the Mormon Battalion Museum and learning about the early pioneers would be a good activity to do on Sunday. After a little family devotional in our hotel room, we learned about the service, sacrifice, and faith of the 500 Mormon Battalion members. We didn't physically attend church, but I felt like our cups were filled.

Answered Prayers

For the better part of a year, we've been home-researching, visiting specialists, waiting for second opinions, drawing tests, battling insurance, and fasting and praying to get answers to some issues that Ben has been dealing with. I feel impressed to document this experience because today we learned that after a very lengthy medical road, Ben will get the treatment he needs! I am certain that we were lead and guided to ask certain questions, schedule appointments with specialists, insist on second opinions, demand testing, and appeal the insurance company so that Ben can receive treatment. I thank my Heavenly Father for helping me advocate for my son, enlightening me with the ability to discern his needs, and guiding me to finding answers. I feel that my prayers have been answered and my Father in Heaven has shown his mindfulness of our needs. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Grover Family Vacation: Take Off!

Going in to our family vacation, I knew that traveling with young kids was going to be a lot of work, but boy was I wrong! Traveling with kids was a TON of work! Cleaning, packing, feeding, riding, waiting, peeing, walking, carrying, entertaining, fussying, not-napping, stressing, shushing, flying, and finally, landing. We made it! Barely.

This little boy was stressed out! I don't think he fully understood what was taking place, so when we parked our car in long term parking, he got nervous. We had to reassure him many, many times that we would pick up our car when we got back home, we would buy almond milk as soon as we got to California, and we'd unpack his blankie at the hotel. Ben enjoys his schedule and routine, so traveling and embracing some unknowns really pushed his flexibility. As soon as we got to our hotel room, the kids all checked out the room and features; Ben immediately found the refrigerator, threw the door open, and exclaimed, "ok, this will work!" As soon as he realized that we'd be able to refrigerate his beloved almond milk, he noticeably decompressed and relaxed. 

Joey squealed--loud, high pitched, shrill--every time he saw an airplane at the airport....which was often, obviously. 

Since Rocky chose to spend the majority of the flight on Aaron's lap instead of my own, I'm able to document the hour and a half plane ride with humor, but I doubt Aaron would find anything amusing about it. Just imagine all 6'7" of Aaron crammed into a middle seat of a compact airplane, and then picture an extremely active and wiggly toddler crawling all over, under, and around him. I have no idea how Aaron did it--and kept his sanity partially in tact--but he deserved big 'high 5s' when that flight was over!

Who is this kid?!

When I got home from the splash pad and swiped through my camera roll, I could hardly believe the authentic expressions of real happiness on Ben's face! He is usually more of a spectator when it comes to things like cold water, but he got brave and had a great time splashing in the sprinklers and running creek. It makes me so happy to see him join in on the fun, instead of watch from the sidelines. 

Friday, June 26, 2015


We were invited over to our neighbor's home to join them for an FHE lesson and play some games. Aaron felt like the tug of war teams were unfair, so he jumped in to even things up a bit. The fifteen kids on the other side didn't stand a chance, but what I thought was so cute was how Hank and Max refused to be on the other side and insisted on standing loyal to their dad. #teamGrover

So Much to Do, So Little Summer

We wandered over to Liberty Park in SLC for a picnic, dip in the creek, paddle around the lake, and spin around the rides. I wish I would have carved out more time to stay longer because there was so much to do!

Daddy's Day

We know just how to make Aaron feel pampered: we let him sleep in until we can hardly stand it anymore, and then we surprise him with his favorite breakfast, eggs benedict.

Since I'm trying to get on board with the camping idea, I decided to buy Aaron a big 10-person tent for Father's Day. I must have had a really good idea, because Aaron decided to buy the tent himself the week before Father's Day. So, we decided to invest in a camping stove instead. I couldn't tell whether or not Aaron liked his gift because when I asked him if he liked it, he said, "now all we need is a Dutch oven for Mother's Day and we'll be all set." 

After church, we joined Nana and Papa Grover for a steak and scones dinner and Aaron got to watch an obscene amount of golf with only very little nagging from me. 

It takes a special kind of dad to raise 5 sons. I have complete faith that Aaron is the perfect man for the job. Happy Father's Day Aaron! We love and adore you:)

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Growing up in the northwest, I always loved the lush greenery and forested mountains, but after living in Utah for several years, I've come to appreciate Utah's own beauty. Maybe the reason I've been enjoying our excursions to the canyon and nearby lakes is because it reminds me a little bit of my northwest landscape. 

Summer in a Nutshell

I promised the boys that if they would pose for me for just one picture I wouldn't bother them about taking pictures for the rest of our visits to cowabunga bay. So this picture is representational of the majority of our summer so far. Hank and Max have full reign to run loose and float in the lazy river and go down the slides as long as they stay together and check in with me. The three little guys hang pretty close to me (thank goodness!), but are beginning to be a little more adventurous with a few of the kiddie slides. Our strategy is to make frequent, short visits--a couple hours at the waterpark and we're all wiped out (success!)!

Summer Nights

The hour just before the sun goes down is my favorite time of day. The temperature cools off just right and the kids are mellowed a bit after a full day of playing, and I feel a slight mood of nostalgia thinking about summers past. I love to watch the sunset from the back deck while I read a few chapters in a book or water my plants in the front yard while the boys push trucks around the sidewalk. Makes me feel like all is right in the world just thinking about it. 

Keeping Cool

The photos don't really do it justice, but it really is a good time to throw the sprinkler under the tramp and make a bouncing slip and slide. Easy, free, and fun. 

Parking It

One of our favorite ways to stay busy in the summertime is to visit all of our favorite parks, and even explore some new ones, too! We love to pack a picnic, meet up with some buddies, and spend the afternoon chilling at the park.

shave some for me!

Most of the time, the boys beg me for treats, "mom, can we make cookies?" or, "mom, can I have another brownie?" and I try to be the responsible parent and tell them, "no, boys, you already had a treat today. That's enough." But when it comes to shaved ice, I'm usually the one trying to rally support for a trip to get a treat, "come on guys, who wants some shaved ice?" I mean, it's just ice, (plus a teensy bit of sugary syrup) so that doesn't even really count as a treat, right?!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Birthday Boy!

Hank is 9! Nine is a wonderful age. Hank is old enough to cross the street by himself, help his little brother put on a shoe, read independently, express a clever sense of humor, and provide enjoyable companionship but yet still young enough that he will hold my hand and even let me kiss him in public! Hank is very bright, is a fast learner, and was pretty proud to have been given the "class clown" award at school for his witty sense of humor. Hank has great self-esteem without being arrogant; he doesn't need to impress others and is happy with who he is. While he just recently started to key into brand name clothes and loves anything Nike, he still has to be reminded to wash his face and wear matching socks. Hank is good at lots of things, but hasn't narrowed down yet on the thing he's most passionate about--and maybe it's ok if he is just well balanced and dabbles in many interests. So far, he enjoys soccer, baseball, basketball, track, tennis, and golf. Hank is a natural leader, but he also gets along well with others and is well liked. It's crazy to think that in only nine more years, my little boy will be a full grown adult. I'm loving this season with Hank and I hope he always feels as loved, as special, and as good about himself as he does now.

Neat Things About Hank:

* Hank is an early bird and is usually dressed and ready before anyone else wakes up.
* Hank is becoming quite the sports aficionado and has amassed all kinds of random facts about his favorite team, the Mariners.
* Hank isn't very adventurous when it comes to food and eats the same few things everyday: cereal (krave is the favorite right now), Nutella sandwich, gogurt, apples, and plain pasta.
* Besides sports, Hank likes to play Legos, trucks, and board games.
* Hank is a proud lefty, and has the poor penmanship to prove it.
* Hank and I love to take evening walks together...we have some of our best chats just walking around the neighborhood he and I.
* Hank says he wants to work at Allstate like his dad when he grows up.

Hank deviated from tradition and chose to have a friend party this year. He invited several of his buddies to celebrate with pizza and games at a family fun center. 

After the party, Aaron and I took Hank to see a movie in the theatre and then it was a ravioli dinner (birthday boy's choice) with Nana and Papa. Hank capped off his birthday with a championship winning baseball game.

I love you, Hanky-boy! Happy Birthday.