Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Eight Months...

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Wow! I can't believe it. I know I say it every month, but I still can't believe that Aaron is really gone. And if he really IS gone, then how on earth has it been EIGHT months?
I can't say it enough... I miss Aaron more every single day that passes. And my love for him grows with each moment that passes and every memory of him that passes through my mind.
The month that is approaching will bring with it very painful days because of the meaning of those days. I am going to need to feel Aaron closer than ever. He is always in my thoughts and in my heart, I hope and pray that I am in his. I love you Aaron.

On to something a little lighter...


Aaron’s family has a tradition of going up to the Snake River in Wyoming near Jackson Hole every year. They always go with Aaron’s Dad’s family and they always go around the 24th of July in celebration of Utah’s Pioneer Heritage.

Here are some photos from the time we were engaged at that time of each year…


Aaron and I started our own little tradition each year... on our way home from the Snake River, we would stop in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho and we would tube down the river, then sit in the hot springs. I loved this tradition.


Aaron decided that it might be fun to wear just his life jacket and go down these rapids. I was worried, but took lots of photos of him so he could see what he looked like doing it. In the first photo above, he is inside that green circle in the top leftg corner. The photos below are the ones of him going through the rapids. He was safe.



I am five months pregnant in this photo.
Aaron started a new job working at the ranch for troubled youth that month, so we couldn't go to the river that month. We did, however, take a couple of days on a weekend and go to Wyoming to see Toby Keith sing at the Cheyenne Frontier Days. He was going to give a concert and then he was going to play with The Western Underground. That is the band that always played with Chris LeDoux. Aaron LOVES Chris LeDoux, he looked up to him and always wished he could have met him. Chris LeDoux had passed away earlier that year, so Aaron wanted to go to this concert to hear some of his songs and see his band play. We were so lucky to see Chris LeDoux sing one time together the year before that in Colorado at Country Jam.

The top left photo is a photo of Chris LeDoux that was up on a huge screen in front of us. The bottom right photo is also of Chris LeDoux walking down a road and his signature on it. It was also on the huge screen. The top right photo is of Aaron with Chris LeDoux's son. He is a drummer in the band. The bottom left photo is of Mark Sissel. He plays the guitar in the band. Aaron used to communicate with him via email sometimes.
The hat Aaron is wearing in these photos is the same brand and model of hat that Chris LeDoux wore. He asked his mom and dad specifically for that for his birthday the year before he passed away. He loved that hat and took great care of it. I could go into how much Chris LeDoux memorabilia Aaron collected over the years, but that is a posting all by itself.


Our first year with our precious little Aaron Jr.

Our last time on this trip while Aaron was still here with us.


This particular year, Aaron Jr. broke his arm. The river trip was only about a week away, so Aaron made the decision that we shouldn't go. The break was in Aaron Jr's upper arm just below the shoulder, so they couldn't cast it. Aaron was concerned that Aaron Jr might fall and hurt it worse, so we stayed home. We took Aaron Jr to a county fair instead and rode on a few rides together. He had a blast and so did we.


This year, I just couldn't bring myself to go. Aaron's parents invited us, but this was one 'first' that was going to be too hard for me. So we stayed home. Aaron's parents went, but none of the other kids went either. So they were there with extended family. Part of me wanted to go so that they weren't going alone, but I had to do what felt right for me. I couldn't imagine going this year without Aaron.
In this photo, Aaron Jr is feeding Sheila and then taking a bath in the sink. Doesn't he look relaxed?

This is me giving Ode a haircut. Aaron always would buzz Ode's fur for the summer to keep him a little cooler, so I took my turn for the first time this year. Ode sat there and was so good for me the whole time.

This is Aaron Jr and me giving Ode a bath. He is such a great dog. He just sat there again. I am sure it feels nice to be clean. We love him.

We really miss Aaron. Our little family feels so empty and lonely without him here. Aaron Jr. continues to bring joy to my days. I love him so much.

One last photo I took of Aaron in Jackson Hole in 2003.

We love and miss you every day, Aaron...

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Daddy, Mommy, Aaron Jr.

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Aaron, Aaron Jr, Leslie - AGE 2

I have been going through some photo albums a lot lately and I thought it would be fun to post a photo of Aaron at age 2, me at age 2, and Aaron Jr at age 2. I hear from some people how much Aaron Jr looks like Aaron, then others tell me how much they think he looks like me. I actually think that Aaron Jr looks SO much like the adult version of Aaron and doesn't look that much like the adult version of me. I also think that Aaron Jr looks a lot like both of us when we were little. I wish I had a better one of Aaron Jr. This was the best one I could find at the right angle and everything, but it was chilly outside so the coloring isn't quite up to par. Anyhow, I just thought I would post this for fun.

I am reminded so often by Aaron Jr that his daddy isn't here. Anytime we are around a family, any family, and he hears the kids saying 'Daddy' to their dad, Aaron will join in with them and call their dad 'Daddy' right along with them. He knows who HIS daddy is, but whenever this happens, it just breaks my heart. When I ask Aaron Jr about HIS daddy, he always points to Aaron in a photo, or else he will say, 'Daddy's home'. He ALWAYS says, 'Daddy's home' when I ask him where daddy is. I still hope and pray that he is having very vivid dreams about Aaron. I think if he is, he will have a better recollection of his daddy as he gets older. I pray for this.

We miss you, Aaron...

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Michael Richards Hinckley

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Michael Richards Hinckley 1935 ~ 2008 Michael Richards Hinckley, age 72, passed away on Monday, July 7, 2008 at his home in Holladay after a long battle with cancer. He was born December 21, 1935, in Salt Lake City to Frederick R. Hinckley and Lois Richards Hinckley. He attended Granite High School and was in the first graduating class of Olympus High School. He went to BYU, graduated from the U of U and received his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1962. He married Jean Folsom March 20, 1958, in the Salt Lake Temple. He was a missionary in England from 1956-1958. He returned to England as Mission President of the England Birmingham Mission from 1999-2002. He served as Bishop in Rochester, MN. He loved the outdoors, hunting, and guns and had special friends who shared this love. He loved sports, especially football. He was High School All-American at Olympus, played for BYU and was forever a fan. After his MBA, he joined his father's business at American Paper and Supply in Salt Lake. He became the Head of Strategic Planning for Saxon Industries. He moved to Chicago to become Treasurer of Americana Hotels and worked for Kahler Hotels as Head of Marketing in Rochester, MN. Mike and wife Jean celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year. Mike is survived by his wife, Jean and their children: M. Russell (Susan), Apple Valley, MN; Mary Thatcher (Blake), Lake Forest, IL; Stephen, Sandy, UT; Ted (Libbie), South Jordan, UT; Jeanie Rennie (Paul), Issaquah, WA; Patrick (April), Manchester, CT; Ann Stucki (Brian), Holladay, UT; brother Frederick R. Hinckley, Kaysville, UT; and 24 grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents and two grandchildren. Services will be Saturday, July 12 at 1 p.m. at the Holladay 18th and 28th Wards, 2625 E. Milo Way in Holladay, UT. The family will receive friends Friday, July 11 at Wasatch Lawn, 3401 S. Highland Drive from 6-8 p.m. and beginning at 11:30 on Saturday at the ward. Interment will be at Wasatch Lawn. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Bennion Center at the U of U or the Edwin Smith Hinckley Scholarship at BYU. Many thanks for the services of the wonderful doctors and staff at Huntsman Cancer Institute and the Millcreek Home Health Care and Hospice.

President and Sister Hinckley and Leslie in the middle. This was at Christmas time 1999 in England.

President and Sister Hinckley with Leslie in the middle. This was the day I was going home from England. May 30, 2000

This is my mission president and his wife. Anyone who has served a mission for our church understands the importance of a mission president and his wife. They are the Dad and Mom while you are away from home and they are there to guide, love and support you in the hard times and the great times while you serve the Lord. I am truly grateful for President and Sister Hinckley. I am grateful for their examples in my life and for the love and support they have shown to me over the years. I love you both.
I just heard this evening about President Hinckley passing away this week. It was a difficult thing to hear. My thoughts keep going to Sister Hinckley and the loss she is experiencing at this time. I know the devastation and the pain she must be feeling, I still feel it now. I hope and pray she can be shown the love and support that I have been shown by so many loving people near and far. I hope and pray she will feel the peace and comfort that comes from our loving Savior. Sister Hinckley and her family will be in my prayers.
Thank you to the Hinckleys for sharing President and Sister Hinckley with us.

I love you, Aaron...

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Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day

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Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth. -George Washington

I am so grateful for our nation and the freedoms we are blessed with. I am grateful for those who have fought for the freedoms we are able to enjoy. I am grateful our nation's founding fathers and that they followed the inspiration they were given from God. We are blessed.


After Aaron and I got engaged, his brother Steve called him and asked him to come out to California to fix his car. So, Aaron and his friend Rob flew to California to fix Steve's car and to visit. They were there over the 4th of July. Here are a few photos from his trip. I don't know what I did. I don't have any photos from what I did. I am sure I did something with my family, but was most likely missing Aaron more than anything else. Aaron wrote me an extremely lovely letter from this trip telling me how he feels about me and that he was missing me. It is something I treasure.

We went to the Bees baseball game with Aaron's family.

We went to watch fireworks with my family.

We drove with Rob and Kaily out to San Francisco, California. We were in Aaron's truck pulling a huge trailer full of their stuff. They were moving out there to go to dental school.

Also 2005. I was 4 months pregnant on this trip. :)

Aaron was working at Discovery Ranch during this 4th of July. He worked a double shift on Thursdays and because the kids had to be there, the supervisors and mentors had to be there as well... so he didn't get to be with us at all that day. Aaron Jr and I went to a parade with Aaron's family that morning, then went to watch fireworks with my family in the evening. We missed Aaron that day.

Our final 4th of July with Aaron here. We are at the Bees baseball game again here. Aaron Jr spilled water all over himself and he was soaking wet, so Aaron and his dad went up and bought a little Bees t-shirt for him to wear the rest of the game. We had a barbeque with Aaron's family earlier in the day, then came to the game. It was a nice day.

The night before the 4th, we went with some of my family up to Eaglewood Golf Course to watch some fireworks. The kids played in a sand trap while we waited. They had a great time.

Stella and Aaron Jr in the sand trap. John, Lisa, and Angus.
Robert and Teresa in the car on the way home.
Caroline, Zachary, Hannah, and Elise. (or is it Elise and Hannah?)

Aaron Jr and Leslie
Sadie invited us to come and watch the Kaysville parade with them. It was a lot of fun. Thank you Sadie for the invitation. The kids all got a lot of candy and we all got wet at the end when they were shooting water at the crowds. :)
Note: Aaron Jr is wearing the Bees t-shirt that Aaron bought for him last year. I am so glad it still fits him.

Grace, Aaron Jr, Pearl having a great time together. Steve (Aaron's Dad) and Aaron Jr.
Sue (Aaron's Mom) and Sophia. Sadie and Pearl.

That evening Robert and Teresa brought food over and barbequed for us and my parents. Aaron Jr is in the top left corner with an olive on his thumb. I don't like olives, but Aaron loved them and he taught Aaron Jr how to eat them this way. To this day, I have never seen him eat and olive without placing it on his finger first. I love it.
My Dad and Mom are in the right top corner.
After dinner, we all went out and played a little bit of soccer on the lawn. Aaron Jr and I are at the bottom of the photo.

Zachary defending his goal from Aaron Jr. Teresa kicking the ball.
Aaron Jr and Robert after just kicking the ball.
Dad and Aaron Jr ready to score. Aaron Jr defending Mom as she is bringing it down the field.

I thought I would end with this photo. These are some of the fireworks we saw. Aaron Jr is in the right corner standing there watching them.

I wasn't going to take Aaron Jr and go to the fireworks that night, but decided to at the very last minute. It is just so hard doing all of these 'firsts' without Aaron here. Sometimes I just choose not to do anything when a 'first' comes at me, but this night... there would have been so little effort involved, I finally said that I should go just so Aaron Jr can experience things like he would have if Aaron were still here. I am trying not to deprive him of having certain experiences if I think that I can handle them. I know there are certain things that I will for sure not be able to do, but the things that aren't too difficult, I am trying to give him the chance to have fun. Going to the fireworks and the parade... Aaron was missed the whole time, but I am glad we went anyway.
Happy 4th of July everyone!

Loving and missing you, Aaron...

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