Wednesday, August 19, 2015

First Day of School!

The first day of school calls for a breakfast of cinnamon rolls served on the Special Day Plate! The boys rolled out of bed all dressed and ready to in, Hank literally slept in his school clothes. 

I usually roll my eyes at moms who do things like this, but I made first-day-of-school banana bread gifts for the boys' teachers because I guess I'm feeling grateful that they've prepared and worked so hard to make this year special for my kids.
No nerves for these two. They were all smiles to return to school and catch up with their friends. Aaron reprimanded me for allowing them to dress themselves as they wished, but I am ok with it--if wearing all their favorite clothes all at once makes them feel confident, then so be it. They looked...colorful! 

It feels bittersweet to me because I genuinely do miss their company when they're gone, but I'm also excited for all the fun things they'll get to do at school this year. 
Happy First Day of 4th and 1st grade to my handsome boys!

Updated: Hank and Max came home from school feeling tired, but happy. Max was excited to have found some of his baseball buddies on the playground but was a little flummoxed about buying his milk in the cafeteria. Hank felt pretty pleased with being an "upperclassmen" and enjoyed seeing friends from past grades. It was a good first day! 

Big Leagues

I'm sure this won't be the last post on this topic, but I can't hold it in any longer. A few weeks ago, Max tried out for a U-8 super league competition baseball team. He was the youngest kid there, competing against 8 year olds with much more experience, but Max made the team! Since then, we were hit with the team fees and practice schedules and questioned for a minute what we were thinking, but we're so excited for Max and this opportunity for him to develop his natural talents and do something he loves. Isn't he the cutest little baseball player there ever was?!

When We're Helping We're Happy!

I love to catch my boys in the act of serving one another. In practical terms, I appreciate their help as it lightens my load, but, more than that, I know that their hearts will be filled with love for their brothers as they render service towards them and our hoouse will become a more peace-filled, spirit-filled home.


Sunday was stake conference, but we had too many germs, so we sent Aaron to represent us. Even though we couldn't make it to church, I still wanted to set an example to the boys about observing the Sabbath, so we shared a snack and a lesson on a blanket at the temple. 

No matter how hard I try to maintain reverence, the boys seem to instinctively break into a wrestling match.

Boys Will Be Boys

I was outside, enjoying a summer afternoon, when Rocky approached me with his arms outstretched and something in his hand that he was offering me. When I asked him what he had, he opened up his little first to reveal a squirmy beetle! I squealed and told him to drop it, which he did, and promptly stepped on it with his bare foot! A moment later, Joey joined him to examine the now-dead bug up close...I had to remind Rocky several times not to eat it! Eek!

Triple Tub Trouble

The fun only last for a minute before the splashing and kicking gets too out of control and we have to pull the plug on the bath time fun, but it sure is cute to throw these three in the tub together while it lasts.

Happy Campers

I was finally initiated into full-fledged camper status when our family joined our good friends for our first ever family overnighter! As excited as we were about the much anticipated adventure, we got off to a rough start from the get-go. The weather was threatening to storm and we couldn't make up our minds if we should reschedule or risk spending the night camping in the rain. At the very last minute we decided to make a go of it and threw all our gear in the pickup in a frenzy. Once we got to the campsite, Aaron was all business. I just tried to steer clear while he got camp set up. Moments after he staked up the tent, the rain came. We took cover and fed the kids a dinner of cereal (Aaron was too paranoid about the safety factor of clumsy little ones + fire to build a fire pit) and hunkered down under our canopy. Awhile later, the rain let up enough to join our friends for s'mores and visiting around their campfire. We called it a night just as the rain really began to pour. Just short of drugging him, we tried everything we could think of to get Rocky to go to sleep. At 3am, we couldn't take the screaming anymore and Aaron took Rocky back home. By the time we awoke, Aaron was already back and getting a breakfast feast grilled up. While Aaron deconstructed the camp, I took our combined 12 kids to the field area for a couple rounds of kickball. When it's all said and done, I can see how camping could be fun in theory, but I think we may wait until Rocky becomes more of a "happy camper" before we attempt camping again. 

Ben's First Story

It may be summer break, but it's not all play for Ben. Ben kept his skills sharp and gained new learnings with his summer tutor and literacy class. Ben is working on proper pencil grip and letter formation and creative thinking. Here is a sample of some of Ben's most recent work.:

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Great Grandpa

We made a quick pit stop along our way home to visit Grandpa in Twin Falls. Grandpa is 92; his memory is fading, but he was happy to see us and have our company. I'm not sure what the boys thought of the experience--it was pretty low key and maybe a little foreign--but it was important to me for my kids to meet their great-grandpa and to visit my grandparents' home that holds so many childhood memories for me. Joey warmed up to grandpa very quickly and kept asking if he could tell Grandpa a secret in his ear (overheard secret: "can you come with us to Legoland, Grandpa?"). As we were loading up the kids into the car and saying goodbye, Grandpa recalled how much he loved and missed his wife. I felt tears welling up to think of how much I miss my Grandma and how much my Grandpa must miss his sweetheart of 50 years. It will be a tender reunion when they meet again. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Friends Forever

It isn't often that your paths cross with a person in such a way that your hearts are inseparably connected. I am blessed to have a dear friendship with someone so Christ-centered and beautiful inside and out. When we planned our trip to Oregon, I was thrilled at the prospect of meeting up again with a friend I've missed since moving to Utah. It was lovely to spend a little time with Danielle, visit, and see her family. 


Looking back over our week spent in Sunriver, Oregon, I can understand why Hank proclaimed it was as much fun as Disneyland. We swam, golfed, miniature golfed, bowled, sled, biked, played pickleball, picnicked, shopped, and had lots of cousin time. 

I have fond memories of vacationing in Sunriver growing up. I remember it being a charming wooded village with miles of interconnected bike trails, parks and rivers to satisfy any outdoor interest, and wildlife so friendly deer and critters would eat out of your hand. It's been several years since I've visited Sunriver, but the resort did not disappoint. While the area has grown in size and popularity considerably, it still has a very quaint, family-friendly feel. Moments after stepping out of our car upon our arrival, I was struck by the woodsy/pine scent that permeates Sunriver. The scent just took me straight back to my childhood days in Sunriver and I was excited to pass on the experience with my kids. 

While the resort was everything I had remembered, our vacation was a little soured when I caught pneumonia the week before our trip and couldn't muster up my usual energy level to participate in everything Sunriver has to offer. I was sidelined for a good part of the trip while poor Aaron was working double duty to make up for my slack. We did our very best to enjoy our vacation and provide the kids with an experience they'll remember....but it was HARD (and I was mostly a spectator!). 

Sunriver has expanded its amenities to include a fun waterpark: 

Between spitting up in our sheets, waking up every single night with a meltdown, and sleeping horizontally between Aaron and I, Rocky was a real treat to sleep with each night.

Aaron and I were pickleball rookies, but had so much fun learning to play! We're ordering our own paddles to take up the sport at home!

Aaron took Hank and Max golfing while I took the little guys for a picnic at the park.

The boys couldn't quite get the hang of being calm and still enough to allow the chipmunks to eat peanuts out of our hands--they'd jump and squeal (and scare the chipmunks away) anytime the critters came close. 

Aaron was too nervous about our adult to kid ratio to do any rafting on this trip, but we did get to walk and bike along the river.

We loved getting to spend time with our cousins. 

Bowling: one of the few activities that work for all of the ages and stages in our family.

Ben thought he was being a goose to roll the ball with his head.

While I went shopping with the girls, Aaron took on the challenge of fishing with the boys. No fish were caught in the fishing trip, but the boys enjoyed the outdoors with Dad. Aaron was rewarded with a boys golf trip the following day.

My most, most favorite part of the trip was biking through the woods with Hank and Max. I'm so glad that towards the end of the trip I felt well enough to ride through the trails and take in the scenery. It's such a simple activity, but so exhilerating at the same time. 

I was sick, Aaron worked like a dog, we didn't sleep much, and the car ride was not the most pleasant...but we can't wait to go back next time. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015


What can I say about Joey? It's hard to put that kid into words. He is playful, fiesty, stubborn, smart, darling, and oh so lovable. I couldn't help smiling when this little rascal comes outside to play dressed in nothing but his underwear, two pairs to be exact. One pair right side and the other backward. Not a care in the world. I love Joey's free spirit and hope he never loses his zest for life.

Independence Day

We took a break from our typical 4th of July parade tradition, and instead participated in our neighborhood bike parade. Not quite as spectacular as the grand parade, but the kids probably enjoyed it just as much (and Aaron was much happier not having to spend the night out in the street to secure our seats!). 

We took advantage of some free food, music, and entertainment at our neighborhood party.

At dusk, we invited our good friends to join us for a home fireworks display. We had brownies and root beer floats and let the kids throw millions of pop-its, light sparklers, and throw smoke bombs and ground flowers for hours. It was a simple celebration, but good friends and good food are always a winning combination.