Friday, September 9, 2016

Mini Golf

One putt in and I realized that miniature golfing had been a mistake. As soon as I realized that Hank and Max couldn't NOT give the ball a few extra taps and take a few do-overs, I tossed out the scorecard and focused my attention on just trying not to let them hurt each other with their golf clubs rather than actually play any kind of an organized game. So much work! When Hank and Max weren't whacking balls left and right, Ben was complaining about the heat and Joey and Rocky were racing ahead to splash in the water features. Someday we'll be able to do civilized activities and participate in a game together. But it wasn't this time. 

Best Buds

Just one of those random moments that I had to capture of my kids showing voluntary and spontaneous affection towards one another. Whereas Rocky has always filled the role of the baby in our family, he's growing into a great little playmate and Joey is enjoying playing with him more and more.

Giant Sundae

Are you seeing this?? One of our fun neighbors organized a water balloon fight followed by a thirty-foot long ice cream sundae. Several rain gutters were taped together and the adults scooped a dozen gallons of icecream into the "dish" while the kids poured on the toppings. I tried not to think about all of the double dipping that took place and ignore the obscene amount of sugar consumed to enjoy allowing kids to be kids. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Conquering Fears

For as long as Hank has been looking forward to moving into Rocky's old room and having a bedroom all to himself, we didn't anticipate him getting so nervous and fearful about sleeping alone. It was like we had a newborn all over again: he refused to go to sleep, came out of his room crying every few hours that he couldn't fall asleep, and eventually ended up in a sleeping bag on the floor in our room. After a week of this nonsense (we tried night lights and leaving the door open, we suggested he go back to his old room shared with Ben, we prayed about it....nothing) I devised a new strategy: I bribed Hank with a special mom/son date if he could sleep in his room for one week without coming out. With some difficulty, Hank was able to sleep in his room alone and so it was fitting that, to celebrate, he and I overcame another fear together and went indoor rock climbing. It was ridiculously fun to participate in a physical activity together, full on compete, and mostly just enjoy each other. Hank is still struggling a bit with sleeping alone, but he's making good progress and I think in time he'll appreciate having his own space. 

Pioneer Day in Rexburg

We visited Aunt Robyn and Uncle D in Rexburg over the 24th of July (Pioneer Day!) and had an absolute blast. As soon as we arrived, we changed into our swim suits and boarded our rafts and tubes to float the snake river. The water was calm enough to relax without any safety concerns and the cousins had fun hooking their tubes together and spinning around the river. Afterwards, Robyn treated us to a durch oven feast. I felt so guilty just being a lazy guest and not getting put to work! The boys had fun playing in the backyard and running was a quintessential summer night. In the morning we met up for an old-timey small-town parade that was charming and entertaining. Our trip was capped off with a barbecue and party for Jax's birthday. So fun. The boys are already asking when we're planning our next trip.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Cowabunga Bay

In years' past, we watched for early discounts and bought our water park passes on sale. This year the water park never discounted the memberships and, with five kids, we got priced out. When the tickets were finally marked down mid-season we grabbed them, although I'm still annoyed about the outrageous cost for a family admission. We recouped our tickets by visiting frequently, particularly on the 'kids eat free' day;) I do love spending a hot summer day cooling off in the water and I love that swimming is an activity we can all enjoy together.

Found our Groove

With baseball taking over our lives for the better part of the spring and into June, we didn't really settle into a solid summer routine until mid-July. Once we finally found our groove--sleep in, work on chores, plan a picnic and afternoon outing, then relax and play outside in the afternoon--it was smooth sailing. Some of the boys' most requested outings were swimming at the resevoir and playing at Liberty park in SLC.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Hawaii Vacation, Day 8

On Day 8, we checked out of the hotel and made our way back to town, stopping to say goodbye to our favorite spots along the way. 

We had the best time on our Hawaii vacation. It was like the best of both worlds because Aaron and I got to relax, rejuvenate, and do the things that we wanted to do, all the while spending time and creating memories with Hank and Max. I wish that we could have the same experience with all of our boys, but it felt really special to have such concentrated one on one time with our oldest. A piece of my heart will always be in Hawaii, but I feel so lucky to have reconnected with this place on our vacation. 

Hawaii Vacation, Day 7

We saved the best for last. On Day 7, we toured the Laie temple grounds and visitors center and then headed to the PCC. I just can't say enough good things about what a great time we had at the PCC. When we described the attraction to the boys, they were a little skeptical, and, honestly, I wasn't sure we'd get our money's worth out of the ticket price, either. But, we had such a blast! The boys laughed and loved the village demonstrations, the luau was fun, and the night show was very quality and entertaining. So glad we went. 

Hawaii Vacation, Day 6

After warming up on the small waves in town, the boys were ready to graduate to some slightly bigger waves on the north shore. We rented a couple boogie boards and let them get pummeled at sunset beach for a couple hours. 

In the afternoon, we rented jet skis in Haleiwa. While Aaron and Max charged the waves and got air off the wake, Hank got nervous anytime I sped up and begged me to slow down. I don't think the jet skis were his favorite part of the trip, but I'm proud of him for giving it a try.

Our beloved Matsumotos hadbeen completely remodeled since our last visit. The shave ice was good, but it just wasn't the same in the new, fancy shop.  

We ended the day at Waimea bay with more boogie boarding and swimming.

Hawaii Vacation, Day 5

Staying in town at the resort felt like a fun vacation, but when we relocated on Day 5 to a hotel in Laie, it felt like coming home. Along the way, we stopped at the Dole Plantation and competed (righties vs. lefties) in the pineapple maze, rode the train through the pineapple fields, and treated ourselves to a Dole Whip. 

The tour of BYUH brought mixed emotions: many of the buildings were new or remodeled and didn't look anything like I remembered, but, some things, like that indescribable 'spirit of aloha' that can be felt on campus will never change. I loved revisiting the place where Aaron and I met and sharing those memories with our kids. It feels like a lifetime ago now, but that little campus holds lots of good memories. 

We timed our drive along the north shore just right to enjoy a spectacular sunset along sunset beach. Truly, this just made my entire trip. It was stunning. We soaked up every last minute of the colorful display until it was dark.

Hawaii Vacation, Day 4

I was such a treat to be able to enjoy a physical activity together with Hank and Max without all of the accommodations that are usually required when we bring the whole family. The multiple flights of stairs were worth the climb when we ascended the top of Diamond Head and enjoyed the panoramic views. 

After our morning hike up, we hiked down into haunama bay for some snorkeling. It took Max a little while to get acclimated to the snorkel equipment, but both boys had a great time exploring the bay and checking out the sea life. 

That night, we cleaned up and ate dinner at one of Aaron's very favorite Italian restaurants. More than the food or scenery, what I remember most about this day was just thoroughly enjoying the company that I was with. 

Hawaii Vacation, Day 3

As much as I love to relax, by Day 3 I was beginning to feel antsy and ready to leave the resort and explore the island. So, we ventured out to the swap meet where we scoured the market for treasures and souvenirs. Hank knew exactly what he was looking for and bought himself a Hawaiian print suitcase, a bracelet with his name on it, a snow globe for his collection, and a tiki statue. The only thing that I found that I couldn't live without was a couple jars of coconut peanut butter. After our shopping trip, we squeezed in a rest at the beach and a spin around the lagoon on a water bike before Aaron and I attended his company gala that night. 

Hawaii Vacation Day 2

Day 2 started off with a lazy morning at the beach. Aaron and I rented a couple beach chairs and parked ourselves under an umbrella to watch the boys entertain themselves in the sand and tide for a couple hours. Hank and Max were enthralled with the small waves that broke along the shore and wore themselves out chasing the waves. That afternoon, we cleaned ourselves up and walked the short distance to the Waikiki strip where we refueled at the Cheesecake Factory. We splurged for dessert of maladadas at Leonard's Bakery. 

One thing that I don't want to forget about this trip was how sweet and affectionate the boys were towards me, especially Max. I was treated like a queen. They held my hand everywhere we went and opened doors for me and Max always took special care to find a plumeria for me to wear behind my ear. It's amazing how a little one on one time affected their personality and behavior--they were so charming and delightful!

Hawaii Vacation, Day 1

This day was long awaited and much anticipated. Max had literally written down in his notebook a minute by minute itinerary for our vacation, including each detail like passing through airport security, picking out our treats at the gift shop, and checking in at the gate. To say that the boys were excited would be an understatement. 

Our first order of business upon our arrival was hitting up one of our favorite food spots near the airport. Honestly, I scarfed it down too fast to even enjoy it much. Now that it's over, I'm wishing I would have savored it a bit longer. Next time. 

We didn't waste much time before heading to the pool--a swim for the boys and a nap under the palm trees for Aaron. 

We officially went off the clock and lost track of all time while relaxing at the pool. It was heavenly. As the sun began to set, we wondered out of the pool area to explore the beach. The sunset was spectacular--the depth of the colors as the sun touched down on the horizon was simply stunning. To share the scenery with three of my favorite people was bliss. 

Hank and Max couldn't get enough of the ocean. The rolled in it, jumped in it, dived into it and ran away from it. I loved being able to watch their first experience with a warm beach. 

The boys would have played in the water all night, but we finally pulled them out at dark to watch the hotel's firework show--a fancy way to celebrate our arrival to the island and the conclusion of a pretty amazing first day of our vacation.