Monday, June 9, 2008

Our Boating Memories

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Aaron and Leslie - Lake Powell 2003

Aaron grew up going boating with his family and LOVED it. One of his lifelong dreams was to own his own boat someday. While we were dating, Aaron bought this boat and fulfilled one of his dreams in life. We have so many memories with this boat, on this boat, around this boat, and because of this boat. Here are a few of them...

Aaron - 2004 - Aaron took me on a Mexican cruise earlier that year. One of the waiters we had each night for dinner wore this hat on one of the last nights we were there. After dinner, Aaron asked him if he could have his hat. He gave it to him. He wore it a bunch that summer. It was made out of felt... but he enjoyed it. I love it.

We only have a few photos taken OF US TOGETHER on the boat. Thanks to Sue. This is one of them. Aaron often stood up like this when he was needing to see what was right in front of them boat while he drove.

Aaron LOVED wakeboarding. He often told me about how he used wakeboarding as an outlet. He wakeboarded A LOT before he went on his mission to Brazil to keep his mind focused on something enjoyable and good. He talked about how it was very therapeutic for him. He was amazing on a wakeboard. I saw him do lots of back flips and land them... but then let go of the rope... which made it so they 'didn't count'... I saw him land two with my own eyes where he kept hold of the rope. He was so excited when he did it. I got one on video and was ecstatic to have it, but it got erased somehow... which makes me so sad.

Here are a few video clips of him...

I was SO amazed at his skills. I have SO many photos of Aaron wakeboarding. I couldn't ever get enough.

One funny memory I will always have is when we would be sitting there after someone had wiped out, he would get out his screw driver and start tightening all of the screws on the boat. I have such a perfect and clear memory in my mind of him doing this SO often. I love it. He always took such good care of the boat.

Here he is floating in the water after a wipe out.

Aaron taught me how to wakeboard. I grew to love it so much. I was always so excited when I learned something new. I was always hoping Aaron had been watching from his rear view mirror on the boat while he drove. Sometimes he would ask someone else to drive while I wakeboarded so he could watch me. I always loved that. I always wanted to try harder when he was watching. I haven't quite decided if I will ever be able to wakeboard again without Aaron here.

One of my FAVORITE memories from this first trip to Lake Powell with Aaron is when he would be driving and I would be in the other captains's chair and he would look at me, pat his leg, and signal for me to come over and sit on his lap. THAT was my favorite place to be on the boat, of course. I LOVED it when he did that.

This is me after a wipe out. This was on the first trip going wakeboarding. When Aaron would circle the boat around to pick me up on this particular trip, he would mouth words to me that only he and I knew what he was saying. He kept mouthing the date of our wedding. No one else knew we were discussing that, so it was our little inside joke. He was so cute. This was in early May 2002.

Aaron and Leslie

Aaron's black Ford truck and boat are behind us in this photo. I have to sell his truck and that will be a very sad day. He loved his truck.

The only photo that I know of where we are sitting together in the back seat of the boat. I was always wanting to relax with Aaron like this while the boat was moving. It rarely happened because he was always driving people. :) And he ALWAYS went last on the wakeboard to make sure that other people got their turns for as long as they wanted.

This one is in a huge storm that came upon us at Utah Lake. The wind was making the rain pelt us in the faces really hard. It was hurting so bad. Everyone had their faces covered, but Aaron was so set on getting us all to shore safely that he was standing most of the time letting the rain hit him. I love this man.

I was more than five months pregnant here. We are kneeling on the back of the boat. I love this photo.

Aaron LOVED fishing. He always found time to take the boat out to a great fishing spot to catch some fish.

And here is our first trip to Lake Powell with Aaron Jr.

The ONLY 'family' photo of us on the boat... that I know of. Aaron is up front with his back to the photo. :( I wish we had more.

One of my favorite photos.

One thing that will always make me sad is that Aaron never got around to naming the boat. He always talked about how his grandpa named his boat after his grandma... so Aaron had wanted to name his boat after me. We talked about it, but of course, we always thought we had more time. He just never settled on a nickname of mine to call it. I wish he had gotten around to it... when he would talk about doing it, I was always so anxious to see what he would come up with. Too late now...

Relaxing at the end of the trip.

Last month, Aaron Jr and I went to where the boat is being stored at Nick's work (Sadie's husband). I wanted to go through things on the boat before it gets used again. I wanted to take some of our things off of it and just spend a little time on there. Here is Aaron's empty seat. I shed some tears staring at that seat remembering how much Aaron loved to drive the boat. He found such joy doing this.
You can see some dirty socks in the left of the photo. Aaron must have gotten them wet and then just taken them off there. They are a treasure now... can you believe it? Dirty socks... a treasure.

Aaron Jr taking his place in the drivers' seat. :) He got to sit on Daddy's lap lots of times while he drove.

This is my empty seat. This was always my seat when we were on the boat. Most of the time, Aaron would make sure that I was sitting there next to him. I loved having 'my own spot' on the boat next to Aaron. That was my second favorite place to be on the boat (first place being on his lap). It will never be my seat again. It would never feel right without Aaron being in the driver's seat.

Aaron Jr got a little dirty playing around on the boat. :)

Aaron and I talked a lot about when Aaron Jr would be able to start learning how to wakeboard. He wasn't old enough yet, but I am just so sad that Aaron won't be here to teach him. He would have loved to teach Aaron Jr how to do something he loved to do... like wakeboarding.
One of my main reasons for going to clean / be on the boat that day... was to say goodbye. The boat hadn't yet been used by anyone else as 'new owners'... so I wanted to go spend some time on it while it was still the way Aaron had left it.
Now, the reason I did this post...

This is the only photo I could find in my photos of Steve and Christa together ON the boat. I wanted to post this to show who is taking over the boat. When Aaron passed away, it never felt right when I thought of the boat being sold to a total stranger and watching it drive away. Aaron's brother had told me that he might be interested in buying the boat. I knew that Aaron would have wanted the boat to stay in his family so that there could be more memories made. There was still some money owed on the boat and I knew I wouldn't be able to afford to make the rest of the payments, so I called his brother Steve and told him that if he could take over the rest of the payments on the boat, he could just have it. He agreed to it and now it will stay in Aaron's family. Thanks Steve and Christa for being willing to take over the boat. I hope your family makes as many wonderful memories with that boat as we have made. I am sure Aaron is glad you are the ones to have it. Thank you SO much. I am so very grateful. Aaron always took pride in how he took care of it and I know that you guys will as well. ENJOY!

One last photo of Aaron on the boat. This is one of my favorite boating photos of Aaron. He is so handsome.

I love you, Menino... thanks for the priceless memories...
Love always, Menina *

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Joann said...

Leslie, this post made me feel really sad. I just kept thinking about all of the missed opportunities to go boating with you guys. I never got a chance to go with you. We would talk about how we needed to go out together, but never did it. I didn't know that we really "needed" to do that before we all lost Aaron! I really enjoyed the pictures. You can tell he was just completely in his element on that boat and in the water. I just wish that WE had some memories with you and Aaron on this boat. I hope you find the strength to somehow, sometime go out on it again with Steve and Christa. Love you!

Anonymous said...


A friend directed me to your blog today...I think you are inspiring a lot of people by the way you are carrying on, and I'm sure Aaron is very proud of you.

My friend attached the words from "Sunday Will Come" in her email...she said got it off your blog - she didn't know I have that talk with me everyday. I believe it too; Sunday will come.

Thanks for your blog, it's cool, and I'm glad I've spent some time reading it today. My wife and I lost a little girl one year and 9 months ago (and 13 days). Her name is Elle. If you want to read about her you can visit I know what it's like to miss someone you love and try to be patient until you see them again, but I don't have words to describe it.

But I don't want you to think I'm comparing my family's trials to yours. But I do want to tell you I've been lifted today by your courage and faith. Keep it up!

And if you decide to wakeboard again, I'll bet you Aaron will be watching!

dani said...

thank GOD your memories are so sweet and so clear and that you have all the photos you do of aaron. it has to be so sad letting "pieces of aaron" go. but, at least with the boat, it will stay in your family:) hopefully aaron jr. will soon be able to learn to wakeboard behind his daddy's boat just like aaron would have wanted.
aaron will have a front-row-seat, you know...
i continue to keep you and aaron jr in my thoughts and prayers... you are so blessed to have so many people close to you to help you through this horrible tragedy. i know you and aaron jr are blessings to them as well.

Tammy said...

You are amazing. Your endurance and your strength is so amazing to me. I know that nothing I say will ease your pain, but know that you are being thought of. I am glad to learn about Aaron and about your life togather. Hang in there and stay strong even when you don't think you can go any further.

Karlyn said...

Leslie, I LOVE this post. I love that you have so many photos of you and Aaron. It seems like my husband or myself always have the camera so we have hardly any pictures of the two of us. I am now going to make it a point to get pictures of he and I.

My favorite photo is the one of Aaron Jr. on Aaron's sweet.

You really are an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Leslie, please please wake board again. And horse ride again. And hike again. Aaron would have wanted you to LIVE and HONOUR him by continuing to do the things that you both loved to do.

I think of you often.

With love,


Amber said...

You are simply amazing. I am so glad you take as pictures as you do, they are a great way to store memories. You make me want to take WAY more pictures (especially of me and Dave, it seems like it is always one of us with the kids).
I also love how you are sharing your thoughts and memories of Aaron with us via your blog.
Thank you and I love you.

Jyl said...

I love it! Leslie, you and I will have to do some wake boarding together some time! its one of my favorite pastimes! You rock!

Emma-Kate Castricum said...

Hi Leslie,

another beautiful post. Yes your Aaron was a very handsome man, you both shine in your photos together. You know who else will grow up to be a handsome man just like his daddy? Aaron jn looks more like Aaron in every picture, that's lovely.

sending you love and best wishes as always from across the oceans,


Kristi said...

I know Spencer was anxious to show Aaron how he had improved with the little bit of wakeboarding that he had done up here. I am glad that the boat will stay in the family. Of course you will want to wake board again. Aaron would still be proud of you and your progress.
Thanks for sharing some of your memories.

dani said...

hey, les...
me again:) i just wanted you to know i was thinking about you as i know this weekend has to be a very difficult one for you.
sending you love and prayers,

Brooke said...

Hi Leslie,
I came across your blog via Sasha Fishers. I was so grateful as I have thought of you often in the last 6 months wondering how you and Aaron Jr. have been doing since Aaron's passing. There are no words to express the sorrow I feel in my heart for your and Aaron Jr.'s loss. As I have read through your blog, I have been so incredibly touched at the pictures and the journaling you have done to honor Aaron's life. I know that many hearts are touched by your blog and many lives will be changed because of it. Thank you for sharing. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Brooke Holman

LL said...

i'm amazed by the number of beautiful pictures you have.
I'm thinking about you this weekend, sending my love!

Joann said...

Leslie, I love the revisions. I enjoyed the videos and wish I could have seen him attempt his backflip in person. I hope this weekend is a good one for you. Love you!

K&K&kids said...

I am constantly amazed at how great you are at documenting your lives with photos. You have so many great ones. I am sure they make your memories all that more vivid. You make me want to take more pictures. Thanks for sharing with all of us! Love ya.

Matchbox Mom said...

Good post, Leslie! I'm glad you have so many pictures of memories!!!
Thinking of you and praying for you still!!!


Harkness Fam said...

Hey, I really do hope that you'll feel able to go on the boat again. I agree, I think he'd want you too, especially for little Aaron's sake. We'll just keep asking and hopefully one day you'll say yes!!

By the way, nice picture. I'd have to say, it's one of my best:) I really could've given you a better one!!!!

Brenda said...

Leslie, I loved all your pictures and memories! It sounds like you both lived life to the fullest, so that you have lots of wonderful memories. We could all learn a lesson from that!