Sunday, April 29, 2012

Life in General

So it's been a pretty average week around here. Some bigger news may be brewing on the back burner, but we will hold off on that for now. Instead, here are a few random pictures of our life for your enjoyment. Because we are exciting people like that.

As mentioned in previous posts, Bennett has decided to try his hand at growing strawberries this year...with a little help from us. A few days ago he was able to reap the first fruits of his labor with a nice, plump strawberry. Bennett was so proud of himself. He kept saying, "I'm just like a farmer." He has very good self-esteem.

Last Monday, Matt called to ask us to bring his Kevlar helmet and vest to his work (something he normally doesn't need). Bennett and I were a little bummed we had to make the drive at first, since we were on our way to the gym, but it ended up being way worth it. Turns out, Matt was on his way up in a black hawk for training purposes, and Bennett and I got to stand right across the street and watch as the helicopters landed and took off with Matt and his team. Before they loaded up, Matt told Bennett he was going to go up in a "big bird" (what they call helicopters in the Army). So the rest of the time we were there, Bennett was looking and looking for giant flying yellow birds from Sesame Street to come and take his daddy away. It took some explaining, but he finally figured it out.

Here's a view of Fort Hood from the "big bird". B-E-A-Utiful...ugh...

Most nights Bennett and I get out and walk around our street with friends. Lately, Bennett has wanted to take his bike, and since he is pretty good at staying close, I usually let him. One night while Bennett was riding his bike, Matt revved up his motorcycle and they took a ride together. It was pretty dang cute.

The boys, revving their bikes and looking tough.

One more story about Mr. Bennett and his bike. The other night Matt was out working in the garage, and I was cleaning up from dinner in the kitchen. Bennett wanted to be outside, so I sent him to Matt to watch him while he did his thing. Matt heard me tell him Bennett was outside. We made eye contact. We both understood what was going to happen...ten minutes later Matt came into the house and asked where Bennett was. I told him he was outside with him. Matt told me he was inside with me. We began to worry just a little.

I began to walk the circle in one direction, and Matt drove his truck in the other direction. Neighbors who were out joined in the search party. Friends homes who we thought Bennett might go to were called. He was nowhere. After walking almost the entire circle, we found him on the other side, riding his bike like he was Miss Daisy. Very proud of himself for getting so far. 

The entire adventure probably lasted only about five minutes, so there was no time for real, intense panic on our part. However, we felt it would be appropriate to make this a teaching moment. So we had a talk about bike and neighborhood safety, and Bennett was "grounded" and sent to bed for the night a little early. Matt and I also had a talk about childcare safety once he was tucked away. We will all be more careful in the future. 

So that's about it. This weekend we are going to Oklahoma to celebrate Griffin and Ashland's respective graduations, so there will be mucho to blog about then. But for now, so long!

Monday, April 23, 2012

It's a...

That's right! We are so excited to be welcoming another little boy into our family! And on top of that, I actually used my Bachelors Degree to create these super cute announcements. I knew those four years and thousands of dollars would pay off sometime. :)

Because we already have a little boy, there was really no need for a shower. However, Matt is probably the best guy I know, and he thought I should at least have some kind of a party just to celebrate our new addition. So I made the announcements (because I wanted to) and he did the rest. What a lucky girl I am.

Mary and Bekah both came up for the shower. Bekah actually came up the day before and stayed for a few days after. We had so much fun hanging out, catching up, and working on making this new baby's room incredibly awesome. (More on that later.) And while Matt threw the shower for me, we decided it would be a little awkward for him to hang out with all my girl friends. So Bekah and Mary were a HUGE help in running the actual show. Thank you to them!

It was a very simple party, meant mostly to just have an excuse to get together and eat yummy food. We didn't play any baby shower games or give out prizes, but we did have a great time just talking and laughing. Here are a few of my good friends who were able to make it.

And this is the delicious chocolate cake we served at the end of the meal. Chocolate is an essential food group lately...OK always...

Even though everybody I gave an invitation to was told not to bring any presents, I was (very happily) shocked to receive SO MANY gifts! I mean, between Bennett's old stuff, and all of the new stuff we just got, we are set! I have such wonderful friends and family!

 One very happy pregnant lady.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Doing It All, All At Once

Last week was crazy. It's like, we don't do anything really worth mentioning for days and days, and then in one week we do it all. Matt was awesome and put all the pictures on here for me, so all I need to do is caption them with the coordinating stories.

After Conference weekend we got busy planning for Bennett's third birthday party, held on a random Thursday night. We are cool and do a very generic "birthday" theme every year, usually with a text message invitation. This year we got balloons, streamers, and party hats (a must-have on Bennett's list) and invited over a "few" friends (like, 30). We had a great time playing in the backyard, opening presents, and eating ice cream, popsicles, and Matt's special birthday bunt cake (but Bennett got to blow out the candles). It was very simple and very fun, and Bennett talked about it for days afterward. Matt didn't really have a party this year, but we did go shopping at the mall a few days ago and got him some nice things. And the cookie store messed up and gave us a bunch of free cookies that were really, really good, so it all panned out in the end.

Bennett's third birthday party.

Blowing out the candles (he is really good at doing this, since Bennett has a thing for birthdays and he is always practicing his happy birthday singing and candle blowing.)

Just a few of the friends that were there. Apparently Bennett is a very popular guy
(especially with the ladies)

When we were preparing to have the party earlier in the afternoon, I was inside putting up the streamers and Matt was outside mowing the lawn when he suddenly came in the house and told me not to let Bennett in the backyard because there was a snake. Since Bennett was napping, I wasn't very concerned...until Matt showed me the 4'' tail he had cut off with the lawnmower, and then described to me how the other 3 feet of snake had climbed up into our tree house. I thought surely he must be exaggerating, until he climbed up into the tree (talk about an adrenaline rush!) and found the poor guy to finish him off.

Bennett woke up before we got the snake, and he was very involved in the entire process of catching and killing it...from a safe distance.

We don't know really what kind of snake it was, but it looked a lot like a Water Moccasin...which would make no sense...

The weekend after Bennett's birthday we made a day trip down to San Antonio to celebrate Easter with Matt's family. Only two of the nine kids (and their families) were missing from the group, so there was plenty of food, games, candy (candy, and more candy) and cousins for Bennett to play with. We all had a great time hanging out and catching up with each other, and of course, eating candy.

Starting the day out with some face paint. Bennett thought a spider would be most appropriate for the Easter holiday.

Gearing up for the big Easter egg hunt. Bennett did very well for himself, without any help at all from me, thank you very much. A champion has been born. (p.s- please note that pink is Bennett's new favorite color. Matt is hoping this phase passes quickly.)

Bennett and his cousin Walker looking for eggs. They were a good team.

Showing Pop our spoils.

The boy cousins...with bows in their hair from an Easter basket. Nice touch.

After the festivities at the house, we all trekked down to do a little zip-lining over the pond. I really wanted to go, but resisted on the part of fetal safety. As it turned out it was a good thing I did, since on one of the times Matt went down the entire zip line broke and he fell straight into the pond, boots and all. Bennett and I were in the paddle boat at the time, so we helped rescue him (at extreme risk to our own lives, as the boat almost sunk dragging him out) but it was worth it just for the laugh factor. Poor Matt.

After that people started stripping down or just jumping into the pond fully clothed, and suddenly we had a full-out swimming party in Maimie and Pop's pond.

Since swimming in the pond was a very spontaneous decision, nobody was really very prepared. There were a lot of little underweared bodies in the water on this day.

"Hanging out" with dad.

After a make-shift wardrobe change, we ended the day with the traditional shotgun shoot. I even shot a few rounds and scared myself to death. I am not winning any marksmen competitions in the near future, but I will at least pull the trigger (which is a huge improvement over my shooting skills in the past).

The Monday after Easter weekend Matt had off work (because of Easter) and he surprised me with a fantastic date night to dinner and The Hunger Games. If you will remember, I totally neglected Bennett for three days while I read this book series, and Matt was able to read them during the down time at his Hospital Administration Course in San Antonio this last month. I was a little hesitant to see the movie though, because I loved the books so much and didn't want the movie to ruin that for me, but I was not disappointed. I thought they did a really good job on everything and stayed right with the basic plot of the book...except that Peta was supposed to be way cuter. Luckily for me I was already with a cute boy, so I didn't mind too much. It was a very fun night.

We also got to/were required to, attend a very fancy schmancy military ball the following Thursday evening, complete with live band, fireworks, dancing, and Miss Texas herself. The guest list was impressive with governors and high-ranking officials, and we were seated at one of the VIP tables (oddly enough). Usually military balls are not something I necessarily look forward to entertainment wise, but this one was actually really fun, and we even got to hang out with one of my good friends the whole night. Matt and I both agreed this was easily the best ball we'd been to in our military career. Thank goodness, it's about time!

At a gas station on the way to the ball, waiting for Matt to return with my salted potato chips. I really needed them right then.

This is why. Matt should get an award after this pregnancy.

Mattie and me at our table. It was all outdoors with big covered tents and Japanese lanterns. Like a fancy wedding reception. Very nice.

Me and my good friend Sarah. She is due in July as well, and apparently modest formal maternity dresses only come in one color. Oh well. We made those dresses look good.

And since Matt uploaded most of these photos, here is one of him fishing with his Army buddy this last weekend.

I don't think they caught anything, but it was more for the company than the fish anyway.

All in all it has been a little crazy trying to keep things straight around here, but it sure has been fun. Summer has almost officially started, and we are gearing up for swimming and three o'clock ice cream time. Life is so good.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Conference and Competitive Egg Hunting

This morning we ordered the third edition of our blog, "The Hargrave Clan" in hardback cover. It covers from Bennett's second birthday to this last Christmas, and is 86 pages long. We are good writers...excluding the months of November 2011 until about February 2012, during which we focused solely on survival. I am back and re-motivated now though, and I have about fifteen minutes before the second session of Sunday afternoon Conference starts. So Let's see how much I can write before then.

This week was birthday week at our house. Mattie turned 31 on Tuesday, and Bennett-Boo turned 3 yesterday. However, since Matt was still in San Antonio Tuesday, and Conference and Priesthood sessions took over pretty much all of yesterday, neither one of these birthday boys have had their parties yet. We are planning on doing a semi-combined party sometime this coming week. Probably just with a few friends and some cake and party hats (we HAVE to have party hats) but still something to make it feel official. You know us, never celebrate on the actual day.

Matt got home from his Hospital Administration course Friday afternoon and we are all SO happy! Bennett ran out to meet him as soon as he got out of his truck, and just kept saying, "I am so happy my friend Daddy is home! I missed you! I am so happy!" It was pretty cute and just about melted my heart. Matt and Bennett have a special bond. Since then they have spent a lot of time together playing with his trains, his color blocks (he got more for his birthday), and doing "man things" in the garage. I have spent a lot of time enjoying the fact that I am no longer Bennett's only source of entertainment. And, of course, I am also very happy that Matt is home. I sort of like him.

Yesterday before conference started we went to an Easter egg hunt at the park, although I use the term "hunt" loosely. It was more like a, dash-to-the-pile-of-30-eggs-spread-out-in-front-of-you-and-pick-them-up hunt, but Bennett was still very into it. We got there one minute too late to participate in the 0-3 age group category though, so we blended in with the 4-7 age group (they said it was OK). However, this meant Bennett went from the top of the food chain to the bottom, so I felt the need to help him out a little. I wasn't allowed to actually touch any of the eggs, but by George I sure helped Bennett get to those eggs faster than any other largely pregnant mother out there. Thanks to my expert coaching, Bennett got quite the haul and a good feel for the competitive nature of Easter egg hunting. We are serious about our eggs.

After the "hunt" we headed over to the Wal-Mart gardening section and picked up a plethora of vegetables for our garden, which we planted between conference sessions. This year we will have the usual tomatoes, green beans, peas, yellow squash, bell peppers, cucumbers, onions, jalapeno peppers, and carrots. But we are also trying our hand at jack-o-lantern pumpkins, okra, and strawberries (at Bennett's request). Hopefully everything turns out yummy. Matt is happy as a clam to be back in his beloved garden after last year where all he saw grow was sand. Gardening is Matt's zen. Bennett and I are happy to get to eat whatever Matt grows.

Last night Matt went to Priesthood session and Bennett and I went to a friends house with a bunch of other women and children and ate great food, frosted sugar cookies, and talked until it was time for our kids to be in bed. We are so lucky to have so many friends here who are always up for trips to the park, bike rides, walks, movie nights, dinner parties, craft projects, playgroups, library Story Time, etc. There is rarely a day we don't see at least one of our friends, which keeps us very busy and very happy.

Well, I can hear conference starting, so I guess I'll leave you with a picture of the Easter Egg hunt. If you will notice, my high school running skills came into play as I was literally the first one off the starting line. Bennett was lucky to keep up...