Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Eleven Months...

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Well, I thought this photo was appropriate this month since Aaron Jr. has been talking about how his Daddy is fishing lately.

Eleven months, WHAT?!?!?! As the year anniversary approaches, I am getting more and more emotional again. I have been able to go days without showing much emotion about the everything, but as the one year mark approaches, I am crying more and feeling much more like I did in the beginning after Aaron first passed away. The original emotions are coming out a little more knowing we are approaching the time when Aaron will have been gone a full year. We are approaching the time of year again when our final memories with Aaron happened a year ago. All year long, I have been able to show photos of what we were doing last year, or a couple years ago... but after November 29th, we will no longer be able to look back a year ago and have any memories of us with Aaron. I hate that.

I was talking to my sister in law, April, yesterday and I told her that I wished I could have FIVE do overs with Aaron. I wish I could choose FIVE experiences I had with Aaron and do them again. At first, I thought I would want to do over the greatest of our experiences together. Maybe take our honeymoon again and have it be the same as it was and just be able to relive it again. But, then I thought about it for a moment and I realized that those memories of our good times together were already great to look back on. So, I decided that I would actually choose FIVE of our worst experiences together and do them over. There are so many regrets I have that come with the passing of Aaron, I would want to go back and redo those times when things could have been better if we had known what we know now. Those bad memories could be changed into wonderful memories. I would love to have FIVE do overs. BUT, since I can't, all I can do is decide now to learn from those regrets and not have those regrets with anyone else in my life. Life is precious and how we choose to live it is precious. We don't know how long our loved ones will be with us... no matter what... it will always feel like they were taken WAY too soon.

We love you, Aaron... truly...

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lila Anne...

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On Sunday, my sister in law (the family we were staying with in Oregon), gave birth to their 4th child, but first girl. They named her Lila Anne. Lila was my mom's baby sister who passed away as a baby. It is a beautiful name for a beautiful little baby. Kristi is a trooper. She had Lila at 7:00 in the morning and was home that evening at 6:00. She said she was bored. :) We love her already and can't wait to meet her hopefully sooner than later. Congrats to Spencer and Kristi and their three boys. She is BEAUTIFUL! We love your family and are grateful for you all.

Yet another 'good news experience' we are missing you through, Aaron. We love you...

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* thanks to Lisa for the photo.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fifth Annual Girls' Overnighter

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Kerianne, Carrie,Rori, Leslie, Kaylynn, Marilee, Andrea

Welcome to a glimpse of our Fifth Annual Girls' Overnighter. Every year, around this time, we go up to Park City and shop at the outlets there, then we get dinner. This year was no different. My goal at the outlets this year was to find a pair of jeans that could become my favorite pair of jeans. I have lots of jeans, but most of which I have just been tolerating until I could find a pair of jeans that actually fit me well and that I love. Well, the very last outlet I was going to look in was the very outlet that I found my new favorite pair of jeans. So far, so good. They were even on sale and I want to kick myself for not buying two pair of them so that I can tuck one pair away for when these are getting old. Oh well.

Rori, Kerianne, Carrie, Kaylynn, Marilee, Leslie
(Andrea couldn't stay over, so she isn't in these two photos)
Sorry about the rays of sun coming right in through the middle. Luckily, you can still see Carrie's face in this one.
This year was a little more relaxed than last year. (you can check out last year's overnighter here, we were a little more hyper and energetic last year). This year, two of the girls were pregnant and could not have possibly done the crazy and immature things we did last year. We did, however, manage to stay up laughing and talking until the wee hours of the morning. I think the last of us finally went to sleep a little after 5:00 in the morning. Fun times.

Kaylynn, Carrie, Marilee, Kerianne, Rori, Leslie

There is just something about getting together with your girl friends who you have known for SO long. You know so much about each other and each other's past that you can get together only a few times a year and be able to pick up right where you left off. There is something wonderful about laughing with friends, crying with friends, asking the advice of friends and eating junk food with friends as you talk into the night.
We had so much fun. We had one of the best turnouts this year than most years and it was a blast. We definitely missed you girls who couldn't make it. Hopefully next time. Thanks to Kaylynn for driving us and thanks again to Marilee for the use of your family's cabin.

Last year when we had this overnighter, Aaron was watching Aaron Jr while I was away. In the wee hours of the morning before I got home, he left Aaron Jr with his mom and headed up to go hunting. This would come to be his final hunting trip he ever went on. How I wish he was just gone hunting right now and would be coming home to us soon.

Thanks to my friends who bring me love and support through these passing days. I just know we will always be friends. I owe you all a 'GIGANTIC' thank you. I love you girls.

Loving and missing you always, Aaron...

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oregon {Part II}

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Actually, ALL of these photos in this posting are from northern California. We took a day trip there while we were in Oregon to go to a beautiful beach and also to see some redwoods.
This is a lighthouse in Crescent City, California. I believe the beach we went to was called Bullards Beach. If I am wrong, then let me know Spencer or Kristi.
There are a lot of photos, so I will keep the commentary to a minimum. I took approximately 300 photos that day and it took me forever to narrow them down this far. I might as well have my camera surgically connected to my hand. As Kristi put it when I said that to her, 'Go Go Gadget Camera'.
Enjoy... if you have time. :)

My sweet boy and Me.

When we got to the beach, all of the boys IMMEDIATELY went to work building a sand fort. Spencer, who majored in civil engineering, is all about constructing things to see how 'sound' he can make them. There were even sticks and twigs inside the walls to try to help keep them stabilized. Those were the first things young Spencer started to look for when we got there... and took them to dad Spencer. The young boys had a hard time not taking sand from the walls he had just built up, but it eventually all worked out.

Aaron Jr. had a blast running to and from the waves. He ADORES the beach and ocean. Like father, like son. Aaron LOVED any beach and any ocean he could get to.

Cute Kristi, ready to have her baby girl any time now.

Okay, and here is what the sand fort was built for...
Here are all of the boys inside the fort waiting for a wave to come so that the fortifications can be tested. Ready, Set, GO!

It was so exciting watching the water surround them on every side... and the walls still stood.

Once the fort stood the blows of the water, the flagpole was hoisted...

...and the flag was raised. Nice, Spence.

Spencer the younger, Luke, Aaron Jr, Benjamin
These four have had so much fun together over these past weeks. It is very sad to leave. Aaron Jr will go through withdrawals not being able to have three boys to wrestle with at all hours of the day. They are his buds.

And here I am... again... I could not get a good shot of Aaron Jr with the sun shining on his face because he couldn't look toward the sun. So, I stood him there for so long trying to get him to look up at me... and there he was, wondering why he couldn't go and join in on the fun down by the water with all of the guys. I finally had to just let him go. :) Perfect shot Kristi.

Simpson-Reed Grove trail at the Jedidiah Smith State park Redwood Forest.

Aaron Jr and an enormous tree.

Same child, same tree.

Aaron Jr, Luke, Spencer the younger, Spencer and mushroom

Spencer and Kristi's family with a tree that has fallen over... these are the roots. While I am on this photo of their family, I want to thank them for letting us come and visit again. We always have such a great time when we come. Thank you guys for the great time and the energy spent to help us feel welcome and have a great time. We love you guys SO much. We are sad to leave.

Aaron Jr walked up to Spencer and reached out to hold his hand. I thought it was so sweet. Aaron Jr knows who his Daddy is, what he looks like, and he calls him Daddy when he sees his photo or when he talks about him. But, he is young, so when other kids are constantly calling someone Daddy, something happens with Aaron Jr and he will start to call that person Daddy as well, until corrected.
He pointed to my brother Spencer several times while we were visiting and said "that's my Dad". This has happened often with multiple people since Aaron passed away.
When it happens, my heart breaks again and again. I wish I could give him his Daddy back so that he can have HIS daddy here to run to. All I can do is just tell him who the person is and then ask him where his Daddy is.
He usually says, "Daddy's home". On this trip to Oregon, several times when I asked him where his Daddy is, he said, "Daddy's fishing". Once he said, "Daddy's at work". One time, while I was laying by him on the bed, I asked him that question, and he said, "Daddy's fishing shark".
I don't think Aaron Jr even knows how true that statement actually has been in the past. The adventurous person that Aaron always was, there are photos of him holding a reef shark in his hands after catching it in the ocean. Just one more photo that Aaron Jr will love to look at and brag about.

Walking through these trees that day, and going to the beach and seeing the ocean before that... I was reminded more than usual how small we are in this gigantic world. The ocean and these trees are so huge, they just make you feel so tiny. But as I look at these trees again in these photos, and see how big they are, it reminds me of the chapter in the Book of Mormon (Alma 32) that talks about faith and compares faith to a seed. Each of these trees started out as a tiny seed small enough to hold in my hand, and they have grown for so long into these trees that tower over everything around them. They are majestic and ancient.
These past months, I have tried to work on my faith. Faith in myself, faith in other people, faith in my choices, and especially faith in Jesus Christ and in my Father in Heaven. It is impossible for us to see the big picture when we are so mortal, but when we have faith in our Savior, that is when we are promised that He will light our way and guide us to where we need to be.
Just like these redwood trees have been grown from a tiny seed being planted, we can plant a seed of faith in our hearts. If we nourish that seed of faith in our hearts by trusting in the promises that have been made to us and by praying and learning the words of God, then our faith can grow and grow.
I love that chapter in the Book of Mormon. It is just so simple to understand and yet it is one of the most important things we are asked to do here on this earth... to have faith in our Savior.

As Aaron Jr and I continue to press forward through this journey of life, I hope and pray that we can both have the faith necessary to help us reach our destination.

We love you, Aaron / Daddy. You are missed and thought about every moment...

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Oregon {Part I}

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This is our view out of the airplane on our way to visit my brother, Spencer and his wife, Kristi, and their family in Oregon. And there is Aaron Jr. on the plane with his bag of sugar products on hand to try to keep him happy throughout the flight. Thanks to Mark and Suzy for the buddy passes. Love you guys.

Spencer, Luke, Aaron Jr, Benjamin (the four boys)
Just like we have done most times that I have come up to visit, we hit lots of different parks when the kids needed an outing. Here are lots of photos of playing at the park.

Aaron Jr.

I didn't know this was being taken, I was turning to laugh toward Kristi, who was taking a photo. I look like a mad woman.

Spencer, Luke, Aaron Jr, Benjamin

Luke & Aaron Jr

Kristi and Baby #4 due in just a couple of weeks. They have three boys and this one will be a girl.
Kristi with Benny in the other photo.

This photo absolutely cracks me up. Spencer wanted to jump onto this bridge with Kristi standing on it and see if he could get her to go flying into the air. Well, Kristi played along and this is how high she managed to get. Spencer thought he got her flying that high. Kristi doesn't let pregnancy get in the way of having a good time at the park with the kids. Plus I am sure she would have been okay if this had sent her into labor.

Kristi, Benny, Spencer, Luke, Aaron Jr

Aaron Jr and some rotten fruit he found and picked up with a stick. Mmmm...

Me, Aaron Jr, and Spencer
I wanted to join in on the action with the kids, so I decided to be a magic carpet that they could ride down the slide. I tried it on my stomach first, but it hurt my hip bones that way, so...

I decided to get all four boys on my lap and try it sitting down. Well, I was so worried about the kids shoes catching on the slide and twisting their legs back, I was horrified the whole time for their sakes... so I look completely crazy in these photos as I worry myself sick.
At the bottom, Benny went flying because Spencer couldn't hold on through the momentum. He is doing fine. :)

Me with Aaron Jr. I had to include all of these because I loved the expressions on Aaron Jr's face in every single one.

Spencer, Kristi, Benny, Leslie, Luke

The kids all took turns trying to scare me.

At the local farm feeding the goats.

Aaron Jr, Benjamin, Luke, Spencer... time to get clean.

We drove out to this place where there is a gigantic statue of Paul Bunyon and Babe.

The kids are all walking around at the bottom.

Later we went to a river and Spencer built a fire to roast hot dogs and marshmallows. Here Spencer is showing Luke, Spencer, and Aaron Jr a little frog that we found.

Then, out of nowhere... Spencer decided to show his skills and he wrestled this fish out of the water with his bare hands. Well, it was dead when he found it, but he still brought it out of the water with his bare hands. Don't worry, with this fish... he practiced the catch and release method.

Benny, Spencer, Luke, Aaron Jr... throwing rocks into the river.

Luke is involved in a 'Joy School' group. It was Kristi's turn to teach this week, so Aaron Jr got to join in and go to school for his first time. He had fun. Here are all the kids that were there.

Just some sweet close ups of my baby.

The other day, Aaron Jr was playing with a toy dinosaur. Well, he started crying really bad and was holding his eye. He had caught his eye on the pointed tail. He wouldn't let me see, but cried himself to sleep. Later, I looked at his eye and it made me nervous. So we took him to the eye doctor to make sure it wasn't anything threatening to his sight. He is fine, but his eye doesn't look very fine. Here is what it looked like yesterday... and believe it or not, it looks a little worse today. They said the red should go away within about a week. Poor thing.

Today, we went to a wildlife rescue place. We went with some of Spencer and Kristi's friends from their ward. We saw some neat animals. In order of appearance: Wolf, Badger, Grizzly Bear, Cougar
I had to take the cougar one even though you can't see it very well... GO BYU!

In order: some kind of bird, squirrel, some kind of bird (hawk ?), another kind of bird
I didn't listen to their names very well.

Here is the group we went with. I wouldn't be able to name everyone, so I won't try. They know who they are. :)

This is only {Part I} because I have a bunch of photos from the coast and I haven't finished going through them yet... so stay tuned for the photos from the beautiful coast.

As always, Aaron... you are missed. I love you...

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