Friday, February 27, 2009

Popsicles for Poop ?

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We had an experience today that was exciting. Aaron Jr. went poop for his first time ON the toilet. I swear he had been holding it in for the past four days not wanting to go poop on the toilet. But today, he kept begging for a popsicle, but I kept telling him that he couldn't have one until he went poop on the toilet. He tried several times with no luck. But then, in the middle of the afternoon, he went into the bathroom again and ran downstairs to excitedly scream, 'I did it!'
I said, 'You did? Show me.'
So he led me to the bathroom and presented his accomplishment. He was so happy. I WAS SO HAPPY! I let him have TWO popsicles.

Later on in the afternoon, as I was putting my Christmas decorations away and cleaning up the living room, Aaron Jr. found a binder that I made to keep memories in of Aaron. The photo at the end of this posting is on the front of that binder and also has another copy of that photo inside the binder. Aaron Jr. took that copy out of the binder and was carrying it around with him for a while. As I was going about my business cleaning, Aaron Jr. said something that caught my attention.
I looked back to see him and he was holding the photo up in front of himself and he was looking at it. While he looked at it, he said, 'Dad, I went poop. Dad, I went poop. Dad, I went poop.'
I think he said it a few times, if I am not mistaken. As he continued talking to Daddy in the photo, I walked over to him to listen to him. That is when he said, 'Daddy, wake up. Daddy, wake up. Daddy, wake up.' He said that a few times and kept shaking the photo after each time to try to wake up his daddy.
I have to say... hearing him telling his Daddy the exciting news that he had gone poop put a smile on my face, but at the same time... it broke my heart again. As I was telling this story later, I sobbed as I thought about this sweet little boy who only has a photo of his Daddy to talk to. I am sure Aaron is around us... I bet Aaron Jr. even has interactions with him... even if just in his dreams. But, it is heartbreaking and unfair for this sweet little boy who doesn't understand why his Daddy is not here. The way he told his Daddy that he went poop was just as though he was sitting on Aaron's lap after he got home from work and was telling him the exciting events of the day. In his sweet little Aaron Jr. voice...
I love this little boy. He is my joy.

Having hope and faith that you are here with us, Aaron... especially during these milestones...
We love you...

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Merry Christmas

I just thought I would share a secret. Today, February 26th... I took down our Christmas decorations.

These photos show what our living room looked like until this afternoon. It might have been laziness that kept me from taking them down, but I didn't get to decorate for Christmas with our decorations last year, so I guess I was enjoying them too much as well.

This is the Nativity that Aaron bought for me for our first Christmas together. I love it.

Some of Aaron's family cut this tree for us. I am grateful to them. It held up pretty nicely. The ornaments are extras from the ones we used on the tree for Aaron for the festival of trees. Aaron's mom gave these to us to use on our tree. It was beautiful.

Top left: something I stitched to go into a frame that Aaron built.
Top right: The stockings that my mom and my sister cross stitched / made for us.
Bottom left: another ornament from Aaron's mom.
Bottom right: a wall hanging that my mom made for us a couple of years ago.

Has anyone else ever left their Christmas decorations out for this long?

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Thank You For Being Mine

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To love is to receive a glimpse of heaven.
-Karen Sunde


All about my Valentine: Aaron Jr.

I had a date for Valentines Day this year. I took my Valentine, Aaron Jr. to Chili's for dinner. It was just the two of us and he was so cute sitting there like he was all grown up. He and the waiter had quite the conversation. It was really fun.

Here is when we were waiting for a table. Aaron Jr. was being so funny. I am not sure what he is doing here... maybe throwing some gang signs. :)

I took Aaron Jr. to the movie 'The Tale of Despereaux'. Afterwards, he wanted to paint, so... I let him paint. I tried to make it all about him. I kept asking him if he is my Valentine and he would say yes.

Before bedtime, I was upstairs working on something and I couldn't hear Aaron Jr. playing anymore, so I went partway down the stairs to see what he was doing. I ran to get my camera because he had our wedding photo in his hands. Once he saw me with the camera, he stood up and I told him to hold it for me. What a sweetheart.

The other day, I was at my sister's house and before I went up her stairs, I took my shoes off right here. When I came back downstairs, Aaron Jr. had put his shoes right next to them like this. I have to say... Aaron Jr. is a blessing in my life. I cannot express the love I have for him. He is the sweetest little boy I have ever known. He is also the happiest child I have ever known. It is this little boy who has kept me going this past year. Someday he will know the impact he had on my life. Someday he will know the joy he brought to me even in the darkest time of my life. Someday he will know that if it weren't for him, I would have had a more difficult time surviving this past year. He has given me more meaning and more purpose and I will be eternally grateful that I was blessed to be his mother. I love you, Aaron Jr. Thank you for being my Valentine this year.


All about my Valentine: Aaron

Valentines Day has never been a big deal to me. When I was single, I wasn't a girl who pretended that Valentines Day was lame just because I was sad that I was single on a holiday that celebrated LOVE. When I was married and I finally had someone to celebrate the holiday with, it was still not a big deal to me, but I was so grateful that I did have someone that I love to share it with. Last year, Valentines Day came so soon after Aaron passed away, I didn't really let it affect me too much. I just tried to treat it as any other day. This year, it was a little more difficult. It was a little more difficult for Valentines Day to come and go without being able to have my husband here to celebrate it with. It was on my mind a lot more this year than probably any other year... ever. As the day approached, I decided that instead of sulking on Valentines Day, I was going to take the other man in my life out on a date. Aaron Jr. and I had so much fun. It made it a little easier to keep my mind focused on something fun.
Once Aaron Jr. went to bed, that is when the loneliness started to set in. There really are certain days that it is more apparent that Aaron is gone. I am grateful that I was able to share that day with Aaron Jr. though. It helped a lot.
I am grateful for Aaron. I miss him more than words will ever be able to express, but I will forever be grateful for the man that he is.
On Valentines Day, I was listening to Dr. Laura, and she was doing a special program where she wanted people to call in with special Valentines Day stories or questions. Well, I tried for the better part of an hour to call in. I had no luck. Here is the story I wanted to tell...
As I reflected on our first Valentines Day together 6 years ago, I remembered what we did that day. My sister's husband had called Aaron sometime before Valentines Day to ask him if he could pay him to build a coffee table for my sister for Valentines Day. Aaron agreed. Aaron procrastinated sometimes when it came to building things... he worked better when he was up against a deadline. Anyhow, he put it off mostly until that day to work on the coffee table. So, he was in his shop for most of the day, then as the evening went on... it was getting later and later and we still hadn't celebrated Valentines Day together. John would have understood and been fine to give it to Lisa another day, but Aaron just wanted to finish this coffee table for John to give to Lisa that night, so he worked diligently on it until it was done. Then, we loaded it into the back of his truck and we headed to their house. If I remember correctly, we got to their house around 10:30 or 11:00 at night. Lisa was finishing getting kids to bed and John and Aaron carried the coffee table into the house and put it in the living room. When Lisa came upstairs, she was really confused about why we were there, but when she saw the coffee table, you could tell she was really excited. After visiting with them for a little while, we headed to Aaron's parents house to sleep over for the night instead of driving home. That was our first Valentines Day together. Of course, there were gifts exchanged, but as far as spending quality time together... nope.
What I wanted to say to Dr. Laura once I had told that story was how grateful I was for a husband who was so very service oriented. Of course, I wanted to spend the evening being together and showing each other how much we love each other and being kissy and huggy and all that Valentines Day stuff... but Aaron wanted to make sure John was able to give Lisa the Valentines gift he had wanted to give to her. I love this about Aaron. He was always serving other people and always trying to put other people before himself. It wasn't the most romantic Valentines Day, but my love for Aaron grew.

I miss Aaron. I miss seeing him walk through the door after work every day. The other day, while I was doing the dishes, and I actually daydreamed him coming through the door after work and coming up behind me and giving me a hug from behind. I daydreamed it. I imagined him walking through the door and just standing there and me knowing he was gone, but him telling me that he was able to come and see us so we could see him one more time. When I am in bed at night watching TV, I sometimes daydream that he is in the bathroom brushing his teeth and getting ready for bed. I could always see him doing that in a reflection in the mirror. When I walk up the stairs and past the office, I sometimes daydream that he is sitting there on the computer and I will picture myself walking up behind him and giving him a hug and a kiss from behind. I can't even tell you how many times each day I daydream just the random everyday interactions that we would have as a little family and my wish that we could have a routine day one more time.

I want to hear Aaron's truck coming down the street and the garage door open at about 5:00 pm and have Aaron Jr. run to the kitchen door to greet Aaron while I am making dinner.
I want to pick up Aaron's dirty clothes off the floor.
I want to clean his whiskers out of the sink.
I want to be watching TV with Aaron and have his feet on my lap.
I want to hear his deep gut laugh as he laughs at a joke.
I want to race him to the mailbox to get the mail.
I want to look out the kitchen window into his shop and see him working.

I want one more kiss and one more hug and one more hand hold.
I want to look over right now and see him laying next to me in bed.
I want to hear the words 'I love you' just one more time.
I just want him back... here... with us...

I miss you and I love you, Aaron...

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Birthday, Bruce !

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This is my brother, Bruce. He passed away in a car accident when he was 16. Bruce was such a special person. He was a good example to those around him and he was loved by all who knew him.
We all still miss him every single day. We love you, Bruce...

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Be Comforted

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Aaron Jr. has been obsessed with SpiderMan lately. It has been fun to see him get excited about so many new things. His cousin, Joe, has a spiderman hat and gloves and Aaron Jr. was always wanting to wear them at their house... so I finally got these ones for him. He has been having a blast with them. He points his finger and pretends he is shooting web and everything. It is so sweet. He is developing a really fun personality. He has pulled some faces lately that remind me SO much of Aaron as well. Seriously, there have been a few faces that he has pulled that were TOTALLY Aaron. It really takes me back when he does that and it brings back some great memories. It also makes me realize how much Aaron Jr. is growing up to be like his Daddy in many ways.

Aaron Jr. just lounging on Mommy and Daddy's bed watching some TV. SO cute.

I was chasing Aaron Jr. and he ran downstairs and hid in this little cubby hole behind his toy octopus. He thought he was so clever. I had to take a photo. I LOVE him.

Here are a few photos of us at the cemetery. We love to go and visit Daddy there. It is really peaceful. Aaron Jr. knows we are visiting Daddy there. I am sure he doesn't understand yet that Aaron is buried there, but each time we go, we talk about Daddy and we talk to Daddy, then before we leave, we always kneel down and have a family prayer there. It always brings a nice feeling for us.

Aaron Jr. and Mommy.

Aaron Jr.

I have been having a tough time lately. I am still trying to be strong and figure out life again, but lately, the tears are streaming more freely again. In the first year after Aaron passed away, I looked at photos of our life together so often and it seemed to help. The past few months, I haven't been looking at photos as often because it has become more difficult to look at photos without completely breaking down. Last night, I was going through Aaron's mission photos and it was very difficult for me. Aaron loved Brazil and he was so happy in the service of the Lord. Those two years were the years that we wrote to each other from our missions and got to know each other. Those photos represent the man that I first got to know and fell in love with through letters. So, looking through those photos brings a lot of sorrow right now.

Aaron Jr. & Me. We miss you SO much, Aaron.

Over the years, when I heard a quote that seemed to have significance, I would type it up, print it out and hang it in our kitchen on our magnet board. I believe this quote is the one that was hanging there before Aaron passed away and has been there ever since:

"Commune with the Lord, He is your best friend! He knows your pain because He has felt it for you already. He is ready to carry that burden. Trust Him enough to place it at His feet and allow Him to carry it for you. Then you can have your anguish replaced with His peace, in the very depths of your soul." - Elder Dallin H. Oaks

A scripture that meant a lot to me when I was serving my mission in England was Alma 17:10.
This is where Alma and the sons of Mosiah are in the midst of years and years of preaching the word of God. It says in the verses prior to this one that they had many afflictions and had suffered much. Then it says that they were preparing to depart again to preach the word of God. Then it comes to this verse:
'And it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with his Spirit,
and said unto them: Be comforted. And they were comforted.'

The reason this verse had significance to me at that time was that I had been praying for comfort at a difficult time of my mission and I didn't feel like I was receiving the comfort that I was hoping for. But at the time when I read that verse, the wording of it struck me a different way than it ever had before. Then, in my scripture study recently, I read this verse again and it struck me again. Here is why... I find it interesting that once they heard the words 'be comforted', they ALLOWED themselves to be comforted. At times in my life, there have been experiences I have gone through that were SO painful I didn't want to be comforted. Since Aaron passed away, there have been many times when I was so attached to the pain of it all, receiving comfort was the last thing I wanted. Even when I have prayed for comfort, I wasn't allowing the comfort from the Lord to help take away the pain. It is almost like pain becomes a friend to us. It is familiar, so we keep it around. There have been times when I have felt completely numb since Aaron passed away, so at least feeling the pain makes it so you can feel SOMETHING.
Anyhow, when I read this verse recently, it made me realize what I need to do. When the Lord is trying to comfort me and give me peace, I need to ALLOW Him to comfort me instead of selfishly disregarding it and ungratefully pushing it away. Like it says in the quote I typed above... the Lord has already felt this pain for me... I need to 'trust Him enough to place it at His feet and allow Him to carry it for' me. No matter how used to the pain we get... the longer we hold on to it, the longer it will take for us to reach our potential and become more like our Savior.

So, when the Spirit of the Lord is there to comfort us in our pain, heartache, sorrow, grief, struggles, or dark times... then let us all allow ourselves to BE COMFORTED. The Lord is there... always. We are blessed.

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Parable of the Popcorn

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'Behold at the time of harvest, the ears of corn did bring forth kernels which were dried and prepared for the Popper's hand. And then it was that the Popper did take the kernels, all that did appear alike unto Him, and applied the oil and the heat.

And it came to pass that when the heat was on, some did explode with promise and did magnify themselves an hundred fold. And some did burst forth with whiteness which did both gladden the eye and satisfy the taste of the Popper. And likewise some did pop, but not too much. Behold, there were some that did lie there, and even through the Popper's heat was alike unto all, some did just bask in the oil and keep everything that they had unto themselves.

And so it came to pass that those which had given of themselves did bring forth much joy and delight to many munchers. But those which kept of the warmth and did not bring forth were only cast into the pail and thought of with hardness and disgust.

And thus we see that in the beginning all appear alike, but when the heat is on, some come forth and give all, while others fail their purpose as chaff, so as to be discarded and forgotten.'

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This was given to us at church last Sunday and it really inspired me. It goes along with what I have talked about in the past couple of postings. When 'the heat is on' in our lives, we can choose to learn from it and magnify ourselves and by doing so let the experience of our trial help us to bless the lives of ourselves and others ... OR when 'the heat is on', we can choose to be upset or angry and just keep 'basking in the oil' and by doing so continue to pity ourselves and wallow in the trial. We all know which one the Lord is hoping we choose. He wants us to learn from our pain and experiences so that we can be stronger and be better able to serve Him with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength. The past couple of days have been tough. I usually have tough moments every day, but the past couple of days have been mostly tough. I know the days will continue to have the tough moments, but I do truly want to just be grateful for what I have had, what I now have, and what there is yet to be had. I am blessed. Aaron and Aaron Jr. continue to bless my life just be them being a part of me. I am blessed.

The past couple of weeks at church, Aaron Jr. hasn't wanted to go to Primary. So, I sat with him in sharing time today and he was clinging to my arm like he was holding on for dear life. When I would tell him that I was going to go to my class and I would see him in a few minutes, he would start to cry and hold on tighter. So, I finally got a photo out of my bag of Aaron and Aaron Jr. and asked him if he wanted to hold a photo of Daddy? He said he did and he took it from me. I then told him that I was going to go to my class and that Daddy would stay there with him. He said 'okay' as he held the photo and stared at it. I quickly slipped out of the room and he was fine for the rest of his class. He is such a sweetheart.

I try to talk to him about his Daddy often so that he stays in his mind. He has a shirt that says 'My Dad is the Man'. He loves wearing that shirt and he tells everyone now what that shirt says when he wears it. A couple of weeks ago, he wore the shirt that I made last year for Aaron's birthday. It is the one with Aaron and Aaron Jr. on the front of it. When he woke up the next morning for church, I tried to change his shirt to his church shirt, but Aaron Jr. wouldn't hear of it. He insisted on wearing his Daddy shirt to church. That was just fine with me. He wore it proudly that day. He is so proud of his Daddy. You can tell when he talks about him. We talk about him in the car and when we are going to sleep at night. He will know his Daddy. We miss him so very much.

Each day is a step in this process we call life... as they say in the movie 'What About Bob?'... Baby Steps. :)

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