Friday, November 27, 2015

'Tis the Season!

Aaron has been such a stickler about banning all things Christmas until after Thanksgiving (me, I've been rocking out to Christmas music since Halloween!), but we finally wore him down and he let us enjoy an early Tim Tam Slam. Now that Thanksgiving is over, we can dunk away guilt-free! Let Christmas begin!


Last Thanksgiving we had lots of extended family join us for a fabulous, and labor-intensive home-cooked feast....and all the kids ate was a few rolls and some pop. This year, with it just being our own family to feed, I couldn't get excited about cooking up green bean casseroles and candied sweet potatoes that no one but me would enjoy, so we opted to eat out! It's not quite as intimate to eat Thanksgiving dinner in a ginormous banquet hall filled with strangers, but the food was over the top...and I skipped the grocery shopping, the slaving in the kitchen, and the mountain of dishes! Fair trade! I don't think any of us even had a piece of turkey: Aaron chose the prime rib and crab legs, Hank picked macaroni and cheese, Max went for the chocolate dipped strawberries, Ben had his favorite chicken fingers and French fries, and Joey and Rocky gobbled down corn dogs and cookies.....non-traditional, but everyone was happy! 

I do love spending time in the kitchen with my loved ones, preparing food from the heart and enjoying the fruits of our labors, but I actually think I was more able to focus on taking personal inventory of my blessings and reflecting on the things (or people) I'm most grateful for without all the kitchen work to keep me busy. My heart is full of love and appreciation for my sweet family and the sweet life we share together. 

After dinner we rested our full tummies while we watched a Christmas movie together.

Benny's play date

Ben loves to have play dates, but he's still working on learning to interact together with his buddies, so I thought it'd be fun to invite a few of his friends over for a Thanksgiving party. After a few rounds of Thanksgiving bingo, a pin the gobble on the turkey game, and decorating cookies, kids are going to be begging to come play with Ben. 

Potty Talk

The boys have picked up a few 'potty words' that I'm not happy about them using. To help them break this habit, they've been giving me 10 push-ups every time they use a naughty word. I'm not sure if there has been a decrease in potty talk, but they're going to have good biceps before long!

Donut Day

When the boys came home from school with report cards in hand, they hit me up first thing for donuts and the fun center (both places offer freebies for good grades). This celebration was particularly sweet because Ben earned his first report card--ALL 4s. A few free donuts doesn't seem adequate to acknowledge such a major accomplishment for this little boy, but he seemed pretty pleased with his reward. 

My turkeys

Cold weather means indoor play, so I've been keeping these two busy with lots of "projects." Anytime they get to smear paint around and get their fingers dirty they're pretty happy. 

The Derby

Hank was very specific about his pinewood derby car design and color scheme this year. He knew exactly the way he wanted it to look and took over the creation of it himself. I think the car definitely took first place in the aesthetic department, but not so much in the speed department. Trial and error. He's already got plans for modifications for next year.


After we made it back home from St. George, I promptly fell victim to the stomach flu. It really shouldn't be allowed for the mom to get sick. As much as I appreciated Aaron's help, it was so overwhelming to have him leave for work and be left to take care of the kids, sanitize the house from top to bottom, and make order of things after returning from out of town. This pretty much sums up how I was feeling:

Go Falcons!

Two weekends ago Max finished up his baseball season with a tournament in St. George. It was awesome to watch Max pull himself out of his hitting slump (he seems to have had some confusion and thought getting walked was the safe bet) and crack a few hits. His team played in an older division and came away with 3rd place, so it was a great team experience. Max has so much natural talent; I'm excited to watch him continue to develop over the next few years with this team. 

This trip was a little (or a lot) tainted by a mass stomach flu outbreak. I spent much of the trip babysitting sickies at the hotel room--scrubbing the carpet, washing laundry, and bathing sick babies. As soon as Max's last game ended, we hit the road and couldn't have been more happy to leave that hotel room behind.

Take 2

For such a good looking kid, Hank sure is awkward in front of the camera. Here are the results of the retakes:


I thought Aaron was pretty cool way back when...thirteen years later, he's still rocking his Oakley sunglasses, but he just seems to get better with time. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Happy Halloween!

One ward party, one trick or treat at the outlets, one trunk or treat at Nana's house, and one trick or treat around the neighborhood, times five trick or treaters, equals an obscene amount of candy!

In one night of trick or treating we lost any ground that we'd made over the last two years in teaching Rocky manners. I think a better way to describe Rocky's understanding of trick or treating would be to call it, "take-other-people's-candy-day." Once he discovered that everyone was carrying a bag full of candy, and it was beyond him to differentiate who was passing it out and who was a fellow trick or treater, he just started putting his hand into any bag he could reach. My instruction to "just take one," had no effect on his fixation with filling his little hands with candy. 

Ben really enjoyed the trick or treating experience this year, too. Thankfully, the weather cooperated so he didn't have rain and wind to contend with. Whereas last year Ben could take or leave the candy, this year Ben made it his mission to gather as many m&ms as possible. 

My little Seattle Mariner and Seahawk could have stayed out all night, but I assured them we'd collected plenty. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Soccer Fail

I had no idea that Joey was bi-polar until I signed him up for his first season of soccer. He'd wake up and put on all his soccer gear first thing in the morning in anticipation for practice that afternoon and then refused to get out of the car when practice time came. He'd jog around the field aimlessly until he was told to "kick the ball!", which would send him into a sour mood and he'd spend the rest of the quarter sulking in the middle of the field. I don't even know what to say about it...he's just a funny one, that kid. He didn't get his foot on the ball more than a handful of times all season, but he seemed pretty pleased with getting post-game treats. At the end of the day, he looked cute, and that's really all that matters;)

Mom and Dad for the win!

Oh Aaron! He actually thought that this would be the year that the boys would carve their own pumpkins. Not this year, babe. I cut out the stem, Hank and Max made a few token scrapes with their spoons before they gave up and passed their spoons to Aaron to make quick work of the gutting. But don't worry, because the boys claimed full credit for the work since they sketched the face design while Aaron tediously carved out the little shapes. The things we do for our kids, facilitating the entire activity so they can get that instant gratification of the final product. It's all worth it though to create those family memories, right?! Ben and Joey opted to paint their pumpkins (Joey painted his pepto pink and Ben chose blue). For my contribution, I helped the boys assemble bats made from peanut butter cups and Oreos. 

Student of the Month

I really have to check myself because I could brag about Max all day long. He dominates on the field/court, he is one of those kids that makes being 'cool' just look effortless, and he's a gem in the classroom. Last week Max was recognized as the Student of the Month and I couldn't be more proud of the great kid that Max is. Great job, Maxie!

My Van Gogh

If he can get his hands on it, he WILL scatter it, eat it, write with it, rub it on anything and everything, and smear it in his hair....and he seems pretty proud of himself for his artistic expression.


Aaron has a lot of positive qualities, but he will be the first to admit that he is a Halloween stick-in-the-mud. He hit an all time low this year when he propositioned me with housework service and back massages if I would take the kids to Cornbellies without him. Well, the joke is on him because the boys and I (+ Nana Grover, bless her) had a really fun time at Cornbellies AND I now have a housework credit to redeem!

I thought we were being so clever to go to Cornbellies first thing in the morning on the first day of fall break, but evidently the rest of Utah had the same idea. We spent four hours climbing on tractor equipment, watching a dog show, and playing on giant slides and still didn't hit all of the attractions before we ran out of steam. 

We'll be back next year...maybe Aaron will see what he missed out on.

One-on-one time

One of the things that I struggle with most in having 5 kids so close together in age is feeling spread so thin. One-on-one time is a rare commodity. I think back on the type of mother that I was when I only had Hank and Max--taking them to the local nursery to learn about different plant species, and using leaves we'd gathered to create craft projects--and feel a little guilty that I've had to streamline many of those 'extras' out of pure necessity. I don't have time to read morning stories in bed with Joey because I've got lunches to pack and kids to get dressed. I can't push Ben on the swings at the park because I've got to shuttle Max to baseball practice and pick up Hank from scouts. So, I savor any opportunity to have one-on-one time, do an enriching activity together, or simply spend time with the boys without having to watch the clock and rush to the next scheduled item on the calendar. When Aaron took the 4 oldest to run an errand one evening, I let Rocky splash and play in the bathtub (poor kid never gets the bathtub all to himself) as long as his little heart desired and just showered him with undivided attention. Having three boys in school this year has been bittersweet: I miss being all together, but I'm also really eager to return to that mom that I used to be.