Sunday, November 29, 2009

Two Years ... Seriously ?

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Aaron Jr and his amazing eyes at the cemetery.
It has now been two years since Aaron passed away. I will say it again... time is a strange thing. It feels like it was just yesterday that we lost Aaron, but it also feels like it has been an eternity since we have seen him. Time is strange indeed.

We all met at the cemetery again this year. Thanks to Sue and Steve for bringing the balloons. I had been trying to figure out how many balloons to do this year. So far at the funeral and last year, there was no rhyme or reason to the number of balloons we released, but I have been wanting to settle on a number so that we could have a meaning behind it... so I asked them to get 30 red and white balloons... one for each year that Aaron lived. That is how many we will do each year.

Once again... sending our hearts to heaven...

I asked that once the balloons were released for everyone to join in singing 'God Be With You Til We Meet Again'. So as we watched the balloons disappear, we were singing that song. I couldn't sing all of it because it was too overwhelming, but it is a very special song.
After the balloons were out of sight, I asked Aaron's brother Steve to offer a family prayer. It was a beautiful prayer and it brought me to tears.

After the prayer, I told everyone about something I wanted to do. I had bought a bag of sunflower seeds. When Aaron was here with us, he ate sunflower seeds all the time. He always had a bag in the car with us and would eat them whenever we were driving. He would also eat them when he was working in the shop on furniture. Aaron Jr also loved them, but he couldn't shell them in his mouth like Aaron did... so Aaron would shell them and then hand the seed back to Aaron Jr. So much work for just a little seed.

Top: Aaron Jr scattering sunflower seeds.
Bottom: Aaron Jr showing off the gifts that Sadie made for us. Ornaments for the tree with photos in them. Photos of Aaron with Aaron Jr and photo of Aaron with me. We love them. Thank you Sadie. She also made a necklace one for me.

Anyhow, ever since Aaron passed away, whenever Aaron Jr sees sunflower seeds, he always says, 'Daddy's'. So, I know it is a true memory of his. He doesn't have many specific memories like that, so I thought it would be fun to start a tradition of putting sunflower seeds on his grave. So I handed some out to all the kids and they put them on the headstone, I scattered some on the grass where he is buried, and Aaron Jr scattered some on the grass on the other side of the headstone. It was a special thing we can do each year to celebrate Aaron Jr's memories of Aaron.

Leslie and Aaron Jr.

It has been a pretty emotional month for me for loads of reasons, not the least of those being the anniversary of Aaron's death. There is just a feeling to this month that brings emotions now. It is a month to be grateful and a month for us to remember. I have to admit, I am so grateful for the comfort and peace that the Lord continues to bring to us as we continue to try to move forward in life while remembering Aaron. We hope and pray that all of Aaron's family and friends are also accepting the peace and comfort that the Lord offers to us if we are willing to accept it. I haven't always been willing to accept it, but I am learning each day to be better about that.
I want to thank everyone who came to join us in remembering. We appreciate it.
We miss Aaron. His life is one to be celebrated and we will continue to do so...
We love you Aaron / Daddy...

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy THANKSgiving !!!

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For the past... I don't know how many years, I have been in charge of making all of the pumpkin pies for my family's side for Thanksgiving. I actually really enjoy it. Aaron Jr helped me make them this year, so this is a photo of us showing one of them off... but before the photo was taken, Aaron Jr took his fingers to the top of the pie... he LOVES it.

Here we are adding all of the ingredients and mixing it all up. We had so much fun together. He helped with every step of making the mixture.

Here is Aaron Jr with the HUGE bowl of pumpkin pie mixture. Now we are ready to start filling the pie shells.

While I was rolling out the crust for the apple pie, Aaron Jr got his playdough out and started creating his own 'pie crust'.

And here they are... LOTS of ingredients, SIX hours, and FIFTEEN pies later... YUM !

Aaron Jr enjoying the pumpkin pie the way pumpkin pie was meant to be enjoyed... with lots of whipped cream. Mmm...

Dad, Mom, Karey, Richard, Kara... showing off some of their contributions to the feast.

Maria, Teresa, Lorianne, Robert, Tawnie, John... also showing off some of their contributions to the feast.

Lisa and me showing off some of our contributions to the feast. Aaron Jr at top right. Lisa and John's new little one, Henry, at bottom left.

Right before lining up to get our plates of food.

Lining up.

This is one of the kids tables...

Another kids table... I wish I had taken a photo of the other kids tables.

Top left... kids enjoying dessert.
Top right... Sarah being sweet to Aaron Jr.
Bottom left... Angus with his new baby brother Henry.
Bottom right... my dad with a huge bucket on his head and Lori laughing.
A family gathering just isn't a family gathering without SOMEONE using some sort of prop to do something funny... usually putting it on their head somehow.

Some of the kids prepared some Christmas songs to perform for us.

I wish I had gotten photos of everyone on both sides of our families, but I guess this is better than nothing. This year, those we love who were missing were: my brother Bruce, Aaron, Spencer and Kristi and their family, Mark and Suzy and their family, Dave and April and their family, and my nephew Nate...

A week before Thanksgiving, my nephew Nathan left on his mission. He will be serving as a missionary for our church for the next two years in Helsinki Finland. His brother Richard got home just two months ago from his two year mission in Tacoma Washington. So it is a blessing that they got to spend a couple of months together before Nate left. He was missed. We love you Nate.

Sue carved these pumpkins, so walking up the steps at the Harkness home was very sweet.

Thanksgiving was a good day. As evening approached, it got a bit tougher. We went over to the Harkness home later in the evening to enjoy some time with them. It was the first time they have all been together for Thanksgiving since Aaron passed away. So, it was a little overwhelming. We have much to be thankful for this year. We are healthy. We have been blessed to be able to pay all of our bills this year... Heavenly Father has watched over us financially to be able to do that. We have families who love us and who do so much for us. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. I have Aaron Jr in my life. He is a blessing that I hope I deserve. He brings joy to my life and life to my days. It has been a tough few weeks... I will tell more about why in a posting that I will do soon. Thanksgiving will always come close to the anniversary of Aaron's death. It will always be the last holiday we spent together. Even with the tragedy that occured two years ago in our lives... we are still so blessed. We are blessed to live. We are blessed to laugh. We are blessed to love. We still have joy in life... some days it is difficult to find the joy... but we truly do have so much joy in our lives. We are blessed.

Last family photo taken on Thanksgiving 2007.

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p.s. I am also grateful for convection ovens. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Laughter IS the Best Medicine

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Okay, so Aaron has been a busy little boy lately. This is a photo of him posing with my hat on and asking 'what do you think?' And every time he asked that he had to fold his arms like a poser. He is so funny. He makes me laugh.

Before I get to the busy things... I wanted to share this photo. A sweet lady named Rita from Texas sent these gifts to Aaron Jr. This is the second time she has sent him fun things from this Rainforest Cafe. Thank you Rita and thank you to everyone else (family, friends, and strangers who have become friends) who have done so much for us. He is pretty obsessed with this stuff right now. :) He gets so attached to things... and it makes me laugh.

So, getting started on Aaron's busy ness. A few weeks ago, Sue (Aaron's mom) came down to help me paint the bead board on the bottom half of our master bedroom. Aaron had put the bead board up several years ago, but had never gotten around to painting it and I finally wanted to do it. So Sue helped me. I am grateful for that. The next day, I still had the paint can and painting stuff sitting in my bedroom and Aaron used one of those little prying tools to get the lid of the paint off. He even set these newspapers around just like we had done. He had a paintbrush in the paint ready to go... luckily I figured out what he was up to right before he was about to start painting the closet doors. WHEW!!! But once I got the lid back on... I had a good laugh.

Aaron saw me washing my hair in the bathtub and the next thing I knew, I heard the water turn on in HIS bathtub. I got done and went in there and found him washing his own hair. I had to laugh.

Then the next thing I knew he had plugged in my hair dryer and was drying his hair, then he would go check in the mirror to see how it was coming and use my brush. What a character. He makes me laugh.

THIS is the finished product. Isn't he handsome?

Aaron shows off his drawings of Spongebob Squarepants. His little drawing contraction there has Spongebob all over it. He actually drew him really well.

So, Aaron got up in the cupboard and got three boxes of fruit snacks down and had been eating them when I came downstairs to check on him. When I got down there, all I saw were three empty boxes of fruit snacks, so I asked him if he had eaten all of them. He then layed across the middle cushion of the couch and said, 'They aren't under here.' So I moved the cushion and there was a stash... it was all that was left anyway. I had to laugh.
Then can you tell a difference between these two door hinges? Well, let me tell you... Aaron has been obsessed with the screwdriver lately. So he likes to unscrew the screws in the hinges then put the screws back in. Well a few nights ago, I was going to bed and went to close my door while I got ready for bed. But the door would not close. I knew Aaron had been messing with it earlier, so I did an inspection. The hinge on the left is correct, the hinge on the right had been completely removed and reinstalled BACKWARDS, so the door could not close. Again, I had to laugh... then reinstall it correctly.

This past month, Aaron Jr has felt the need to tell me he needs to go potty, then run out to the front yard, FACING THE STREET, and pull down his pants and go potty. Most of the times he has done this, his pants and briefs are around his ankles, but this time when I happened to grab the camera, he had taken them completely off. Aaron Jr wouldn't know this, but in this case 'like father, like son'. (But Aaron wouldn't go in the front yard. Is that too much information?:) I keep telling him that he needs to go potty in the toilet... but whatever... again... it makes me laugh.

Aaron Jr found the box of garbage bags in the pantry and before I knew it, I started to walk down the stairs and this is what I found. I think he was trying to recarpet the whole house with these bags. I had him help me clean them all up, but, OF COURSE, only after grabbing the camera, taking some photos... and laughing all the while.

Aaron has a bad habit of telling me he wants to ride his bike, then before I even have time to put on my shoes and a jacket, he is out the door and almost all the way at the end of the street. So this day I was running after him calling his name and when I round the corner, he was already at the next corner, so I called his name again was still running towards him. When he saw me, he got off of his bike (can you see his bike at the corner behind him?) and started running towards me. I snapped a photo just before he jumped into my arms for a huge hug. Again, he made me laugh.

He uses the bike pump and says he is putting gas in his bike. He was riding towards me and eventually went off of the sidewalk on purpose and pretended that he was dead. Then when I started to laugh, he looked up and he was laughing as well.

This has been a full month of busy ness, messes, but most of all... of Aaron trying his hardest to make me laugh. He tells me he loves me more than ever, I tell him I love him more than ever, he gets my attention when I am doing stuff and once he has my attention, he smiles as big as he can or tells me that he loves me. He will say things to get a laugh and then ask me if it was funny. He will start walking like a penguin just to get me to laugh. He is so full of love and joy... he wants others around him to feel it as well. Several times since that night with the harmonica, if I am seeming stressed or whatever, he will say 'hold on, let me get my music'... then he will run to his room and come back playing his harmonica. This little boy is the light of my life. The joy of my days. The miracle in my life. He truly is a tender mercy sent to me by a loving Father in Heaven. It has been quite the busy month for us... just laughing together.

My angel.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

The Sweetest Thing

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Okay, so I had a rough day today.
It wasn't ALL bad... of course just bits of it were difficult so at one point this evening, I finally let it all go. I cried really hard for the first time in a while. Aaron Jr was downstairs watching a movie and I was sobbing upstairs because of my difficult day finally breaking through my emotional wall I try to carry around. The floodgates opened and I just let my emotions out. This month is difficult anyway with the anniversary of Aaron's death approaching very quickly. There were several things today that tried to set me off, but the thing that finally did set me off was when some things that need done around the house were brought to my attention. Things that wouldn't be a big deal if Aaron were here... he would have been able to take care of them without any problems. So I was missing him a lot because it was just another thing that brings his absence to the forefront of my mind.

Anyhow, (I know I have at least one reader that has issues with me crying in front of my child even if it doesn't happen very often, so that reader or readers might want to stop reading here) Anyhow, Aaron Jr came upstairs while I was crying and he asked why I was crying. I told him that I miss Daddy. He asked me to stop crying and then he left for a bit. He came back in holding something up to his mouth and stood in front of me like this...

...and he played a few notes on his harmonica. IMMEDIATELY, I started laughing and I pulled him over for a hug. I asked him if he was trying to make me happy and he said yes. I told him that it worked and that he made me SO happy. Suddenly the issues I had been crying about did not seem to matter at all. All that mattered was standing right in front of me with a harmonica in his hand.
(of course this is a reenacted photo... and don't mind how dirty his shirt is :)

He and I had a great laugh together after he played it a second and a third time. I just don't know if there is another kid that is as sweet as my son. I hope I deserve this precious boy. I do try to deserve having him in my life. He has been extra loving and extra sweet lately. He has always been sweet, so saying he is extra sweet is saying a lot. He tells me he loves me out of the blue ALL the time. He gives me hugs and kisses even when I haven't asked for one at that moment. He is such a blessing to me. I am so blessed. He truly is The Sweetest Thing.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Henry John

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Henry John was born last week and is baby # 6 for my sister, Lisa and my brother in law, John. He is perfect and we love him so much. He was about 18 hours old in this photo... so fresh from heaven.

Congrats! We love you guys.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

He IS My Hero

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Aaron Jr and I were watching Sleeping Beauty together the other night. He has really loved that movie lately. In the middle of it, I asked him for a kiss. He gave me a kiss, then said:

"Mom, you're a princess and I'm your hero."

I loved that and he is right. He is my hero and I love him.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Random October

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This is Aaron Jr all dressed up for church. This was the day of the Primary Program at church. Aaron had a speaking part and everything. He said: 'I know that Heavenly Father loves me because my mom loves me. They gave him the first part and he was supposed to come up with the because part... I loved that he came up with 'because my mom loves me' as a way of knowing that Heavenly Father loves him. It was so sweet.

Isaac, Christa, Malia, Steve (Aaron's brother)
In October, Christa asked me to take their family photos. Actually she asked me months ago, but it never seemed to work out. So, we went to Wheeler Farm in Salt Lake and I took some family photos for them. This one is my favorite of the family photos. It is so sweet.

Aaron Jr, Leslie, Laura
This is my friend Laura. She was in town for a few days and I was so grateful to her for sharing some of her limited time with us. Laura is the friend who invited Aaron Jr and me to stay in her hotel with her in Hawaii when she was there on business last year. We had a blast. She is a great friend.

Leslie, Chandra
This is my friend Chandra. This was her last trip to Utah before moving from Colorado to Hawaii. I will miss having her come visit in Utah as often as she has in the past. I guess I will have to plan a trip to Hawaii. :) She is a great friend.

This is Aaron Jr asleep in bed. Each night before bed, he take the things he has been somewhat obsessed with that day and puts it safely in his room somewhere. In the photo below, you will see an example of just one night. He may look peaceful in the sleeping photo, but he stresses and worries over his 'stuff'. And it is not always the same things that he obsesses over each day... some things might change daily, some weekly.

He even took a water bottle that had lots of water in it and then took other empty water bottles and filled them each up just a little with the fuller water bottle then lined them up in his room. He cracks me up.



Poor Aaron, I forgot to put a towel around him to catch the falling hair, so towards the end of me cutting his hair, he was so itchy... it was driving him crazy. I can imagine.


My sweet and handsome boy.

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