Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Little Cubby

To say that we've been living and breathing baseball the past few months would be a major understatement. There were very few nights that we didn't have at least one game to attend, and most nights we had to pack up right after school, bring snacks and dinner on the road, split up to support games in different places, and watch back to back games all night long. Joey's t-ball games, though contributing to our hectic schedule, added a little comedic relief to our baseball season. It's unclear just yet whether or not Joey has any natural talent for the sport, but he sure has lots of enthusiasm! He dove for every ball and made rolling catches for every ball...often tackling his own teammates in an attempt to get the ball. Besides that, he looks so darn cute in his little baseball uniform. 

Holding Down the Fort

As happy as I was that Hank got to have a birthday he'll never forget, I was just a smidge jealous that Aaron and Hank got to have an incredible vacation while I held down the fort at home. I was determined to show the younger boys a good time and play so hard that we wouldn't even miss not going to Denver. We did our best: play dates with friends, a visit to the museum, dinner out, movies at the theater and at home, shaved ice, slumber parties in my room, and I think I was pretty successful...we wore ourselves out!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Double Digits!

I My baby boy turned double digits! I am in disbelief that my tiny, dark-haired, sweet faced baby grew into a handsome young man seemingly overnight. Ten is a fun age because at times I'll see that playful, innocent, child-like little boy side of Hank that still likes to hold my hand, race me up the stairs, and snuggle during cartoons, and at other times I'll glimpse the young man that he's becoming as he offers me a heartfelt apology, engages me in conversation on a walk together, or helps with a younger brother instinctively. Hank is very bright, but values speed and completion of a task over workmanship. Hank is a natural leader and likes to take charge, but is learning how to compromise and be a peacemaker. Hank can be goofy and silly, he seems to have endless energy and no need for sleep, and he loves all things baseball. He likes pasta and cheese and still makes a funny face when forced to eat vegetables. Hank is assertive, social, and affectionate. Hank is a one in a million kind of kid and I'm so lucky he's mine!

For his birthday, Aaron took Hank on a trip to Denver, just the two of them. Aaron had won the trip through Allstate, but after considering all of our options, we decided it made the most sense for Aaron to take Hank while I tended the younger boys at home...and a new tradition was born! 

Hank was basically treated like a king and spoiled rotten for five days, soaking in all the one-on-one time with Dad while being treated to a fancy hotel, swimming at the pool, upscale dinners, a tour of the stadium and the U.S. Mint, the theater and even a special concert! To say Hank had the time of his life would be an understatement. I missed being able to spend his birthday with him, but I love that Hank had a tenth birthday that he'll never forget. Happy Birthday, Hank!

Misc. Memorial Day Happenings

Our Memorial Day weekend was kind of a blur of baseball and projects. I actually had to pull the kids out of school on their very last day (school was only 1.5 hours...what's the point, anyway?) to get Max to a baseball tournament. On Saturday we returned to the ballpark for a couple more games...we enjoyed some pizza in the outfield while watching this sunset:

We just recently bought a new office space, but it was in dire need of some renovations, so we spent our Memorial Day ripping up carpet and painting walls while the kids "helped." It wasn't the most exciting holiday we've ever had, but in the long run, we're pretty pumped to be the proud owners of a new office!

Having my grandpa closer in proximity has made me really appreciate my ancestors and my heritage. On one visit to see my grandpa, I came across this photo of my handsome looking grandpa in his military uniform: 

Thursday, June 2, 2016


On the field, Max can hold his own: he's somewhat aggressive, he's fairly fast, and he can kick the ball around pretty well, but I wouldn't say he's a huge stand out. That all changed when Max was put in goal. Without any training or coaching, he threw himself on the ball, he dove to make a save, and he booted it three-quarters down the field. I'm not exaggerating when I say that parents ON THE OTHER TEAM will approach me after the game to remark about what a great goalie Max is. It stresses me out to watch him play in that position, but he LOVES it. At his request, we've moved him up to play on a competitive team in a higher age level next year. Yikes!

Preschool Graduation

Joey graduated from (his first year of) preschool! This was the perfect preschool for Joey this year: right next door so that he could walk to school, just a few hours a week, and classmates from around the neighborhood. Joey is very bright and a fast learner, so I'm sure he learned lots this year, but mostly I'm just happy that he got to have his own little activity and felt special being a big kid. Joey has such a bright future ahead: he has a charismatic little personality, he's smart, and he's cute as a button!


Hank and Max were really looking forward to their school's annual 5k, but I had no idea that they were feeling so much pressure to win. I waited for them at the finish line and greeted them as they sprinted to the end--Hank finishing 3rd in his grade and Max 2nd in his--and then had to hold them upright as they were both white-mouthed, light-headed, and nearly collapsed! Poor kids! I'm so proud of them for trying so hard and for showing so much determination, but I feel so bad that they nearly killed themselves in the process.


I think I jinxed myself by taking this photo. When I found Rocky laying in his crib one morning with his arms tucked in and his little bum up in the air--his favorite sleep position--I felt like I may be capturing one of his last 'babyhood' moments. Sure enough, just a few days later he figured out how to climb out of his crib...and thus escape his much-needed afternoon nap. He's two and a half, so it was bound to happen sooner or later, but I'm still a little emotional that I don't have any more babies in my crib! We're going to need to do some room rearranging--which will be a major undertaking--but for the time being, Joey just inherited a new bed-mate!

I can do hard things

May marked six years since Ben contracted meningitis, and while my heart felt a little more tender remembering that experience and the road we've travelled since then, the anniversary passed with most of the pain (maybe it will always hurt a little bit?) replaced with gratitude for how far we've come and the lessons we've learned along the way, love and pride for the boy who has changed our hearts, our family, and our world, and a deepened testimony of the atonement and the reality of miracles. 

I can hardly believe that Ben did so well in kindergarten this year. At the start of the year, we had a lot of misgivings and anxiety about whether or not he'd be able to handle both the social and academic aspects of the mainstream classroom. With lots of hard work and supports, Ben passed all of his benchmarks and is moving forward to first grade. One afternoon while we were working on homework together (he never complains that I make him practice his writing, time test his sight words, do flash cards, finish math worksheets, and read books every single day), he was having a hard time reading a very advanced level book and said, "this is really hard." I encouraged him to keep working at it and told him that I knew that he could do hard things. He wrote this message--all by himself--in his journal that day and I'm not sure who taught who that day:

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Checker board smile

This smile cracks me up!

Deja Vu

We thought these fireman raincoats were just right for an afternoon outdoors on a blustery spring day. I couldn't help feeling a little deja vu thinking of another set of little firemen that used to love wearing these very same jackets. 

Running on Fumes

It is a mean trick to assign massive homework projects during the last month of school. Don't the teachers know we're just running on fumes here coming into the final stretch before summer vacation?! For his Millard county report--which, I might add, is not exactly an exciting destination--Hank made trilobites out of plaster, created a diarama of a famous Mormon/Indian battle, and sculpted a rock formation of Joseph Smith's profile out of salt dough. Oh, and then just a tiny ten page research report and this display we just threw together (are you picking up the sarcasm? Hours! Hours and hours of labor went into this silly assignment!). If I was a smarter woman I'd save the project for our next blasted county report. 

For his assignment, Ben was to create a habitat for his animal of choice. After giving him several ideas of possible animals, it was Ben's very own idea to make a mouse house. I'm pretty proud of the way his first project turned out:

Mother's Day

My boys really do know how to make a girl feel special. I was awakened to hugs, kisses, and a "happy Mother's Day song" and then treated to a breakfast in bed. Perhaps my favorite moment of the day was when they sang "you are so beautiful to me" from the stand during sacrament meeting. They presented me with many homemade treasures and lots of treats they'd picked out for me. I really did feel very loved and celebrated. 

I'm grateful that despite all of my flaws and shortcomings my boys still love me and know that I love them. I know haven't mastered motherhood--and it's unlikely that I ever will--but I'm grateful for each day that I get to try anew, learn from one another, and figure it all out together.

Going Home

It is very surreal to witness the aging process and to experience a role-reversal. My once sharp, orderly, practical, kind grandfather who always valued his independence, kept his home spic and span, maintained a blue-ribbon garden, and fished every chance he had has lost his memory to Alzheimer's and is now very confused, forgetful, sometimes discontent, but still sweet and kind. It's difficult to watch my Grandpa lose his memory and decline in awareness and it makes me sad that he's had to be removed from his home--the world he controlled--and placed in a care center. I know the move was necessary for his safety, and I've enjoyed the opportunity to spend more time with him as he now lives closer, but it's painful to watch his mental faculties slip away. On my first visit to Grandpa, just days after he'd arrived at the care center--against his will--he repeated over and over again that be needed to get back home. He was pleasant in conversation and I think he enjoyed the company--although he had no idea who I was--but he was very homesick and lonely and it broke my heart. After numerous attempts to distract him and divert his attention with various topics of conversation, I had the impression that we should offer a prayer. I intended to say the prayer, but while I paused to collect my thoughts, Grandpa began to call upon the Lord in prayer. He couldn't tell you my name, what year it is, what year it is, or what he ate for breakfast, but he offered the most reverent, sacred, lucid, and heartfelt prayer my ears have ever heard. He thanked his Father in Heaven for His mindfulness and blessings, he prayed to understand his present circumstances, and he prayed to be able to go home with his eternal companion. I'm unsure whether the "home" he referenced was the physical dwelling he'd just left in Idaho or the heavenly resting place where Grandma awaits, but I silently added my prayers to his that he would be reunited with his sweetheart at home soon. Though his 93 year old mind is feeble, I felt the strength of his spirit and was overcome with emotion as he poured out his heart to the Lord. I'm so grateful to have had this sweet experience with my Grandpa and will always treasure the moment we shared together that day.

4th Grade Field Trip

I had such a fun morning chaperoning Hank's class field trip to This is the Place Monument. It's so interesting how my own children who I know so well can behave completely differently in a different setting. At school, Hank likes to be a little bit of a class clown and a show off, which isn't the kid that I see at home at all. Aside from being a little goofy, Hank was really happy to have me there--he sat by me at lunch time and even held my hand while we walked through the park.