* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * So, back in July, I wrote a posting about my sister's first book that was being published. Since then, she has been working on revisions and other stuff that the publisher has told her to do which has kept her busy getting the book ready for publishing. It is so exciting.
Well, last week, she got an email with an attached copy of what the cover is going to look like. Karey didn't have anything to do with the cover. I guess there are people for that job who work for the publisher, but she got it and sent it on to all of us to show us and we are all very happy with how it turned out. Isn't it beautiful?
I was lucky enough to read Karey's book after she had her first draft written... then again after she made some revisions to it before sending it on to the publishing company to see if they wanted to publish it. I love this book. I am so excited to read it again when it has been published and has a cover and I can go to a book store and buy a copy of my very own.
The book will be released early in February 2011. Watch for it! :)
To visit Karey's writing blog, click HERE. She is a fun writer and writes about a lot of true experiences from life... funny ones and ones that are uplifting and good life lessons.
* * * * * * This is my friend, Lisa, with me in this photo. Lisa is a widow friend of mine who lost her husband a little over two years ago... just 9 short months after I lost Aaron. We are both heartbroken and devastated women who miss our husbands dearly, but who are trying to pick up the shattered pieces of our lives and move forward in life the best we know how... kind of making it up as we go along. I feel blessed to have met her and all the other widows I have met since this difficult journey began. Lisa is the cousin of a friend of mine. One day last year, he asked me to contact her. He felt like she was having a hard time and wondered if it might help for me to reach out to her. So, I did and we have become great friends. The first time we actually met in person, was last October. I invited her to go with me to a gathering for widows and widowers at someone's house. We were both slightly apprehensive about going, but we figured we might as well. Neither of us had been in a social setting like that since becoming 'single' again. We were grateful to be going together, but at the same time, we were both nervous about being in a group of other single people, no matter how they became single again.
When we got there, we scanned the room, which was full... then we gravitated over to the food tables, got some food and then sat down together and talked. We were both still uncomfortable, and were kind of wanting to leave. About an hour after we got to the gathering, my sister called me and told me that Aaron Jr had begun throwing up after I left and had thrown up a few times since, and that he was wanting me. Horrible to say, but I was glad I had a good excuse for us to leave. I told Lisa what was going on... and she wasn't disappointed either. As we made our escape, we shared our regrets with people as we passed by them on our way out the door.
Whew! We had survived our first social gathering. I am sure the people there were so kind and we would have been fine being outgoing and socializing, but neither of us were ready for that.
Since then, Lisa and I have gotten together on our own or with small groups of friends to go to dinner or a movie or just hang out at her house... and she has become a dear and treasured friend. We both try to find humor in our situations while suffering on the inside.
That said, let me share what Lisa and I did last Friday night, which will let you in on the reason for my posting title. We did something that I never imagined doing again... no matter how long I might have stayed single. We went to a Halloween Party / Dance for singles age 30 to 45 years old. Hmmm...
Lisa told me that she feels like she has no right to complain about being alone if she is not willing to put forth any effort in meeting someone. I agreed, and off we went to this shindig. Let me begin by saying... it wasn't that bad. Its just not my forte. I don't love dressing up for Halloween, but Lisa really thought we should, so we did. She dressed up as Katniss Everdeen in the book The Hunger Games. I tried to think of something very simple and came up with dressing up as a black widow. I REALLY would have only needed to wear all black in order to pull off this costume... but I didn't want to have to try to explain my 'costume' to anyone... so I wore a red hourglass shape cut from fabric taped to my shirt and a black spider hat to complete the look. I also wore some black framed glasses without lenses just to try to be a little more inconspicuous...
Besides the widow / widower gathering we went to a year before, this was the first major singles activity either of us had attended since becoming widows. We met up and then drove together over to the 'castle' reception center where it was being held. As we drove into the parking lot, I asked Lisa 'What on earth are we doing here? How is THIS our life now?' As we walked in, I just felt completely out of place... like I just didn't belong there. My stomach was nervous and I wanted to turn around and leave, but we continued in anyway. I just kept saying to Lisa over and over, 'Help me. Help me. Help me.' It was awkward, to say the least.
Having Lisa with me made it more fun though. We walked around for a bit... taking in the scene. After walking through the whole place, we eventually ended up in the restroom. Sadly, it was one of the more comfortable places we went that night. If it had been up to me, we would have stayed in there, but we eventually came out and went to the refreshment area. I say... when in doubt, move over to the food. At least you know the food won't reject you, right? :)
After we drank our water and watched people for a while, Lisa finally convinced me to go into the room with the dance floor. I will say this, she is a way more natural looking dancer than I am. I couldn't believe she was dancing. So, as I stood there trying to decide whether to dance or just stand there next to her while she danced, I decided I better groove just a bit so that she didn't feel uncomfortable. :)
Let me pause and tell you about me as a dancer. I am not a dancer at all. Even in high school and after, any dance I went to, all I ever did on the dance floor was make up my own moves and try to make sure they were really funny so that I could at least get a laugh. I needed for people to know I was kidding just to make sure they couldn't possibly think I was seriously that bad of a dancer. I just could never take dancing seriously.
So, I decided to take that same approach on Friday night as well. I couldn't stop laughing at myself and Lisa couldn't stop laughing either. So, I was definitely doing my job. I couldn't believe I was in a setting where I was actually dancing around people... it took every ounce of my strength to keep moving and grooving when all I wanted to do was stand as close to the wall as possible without looking like a loser wall flower.
As the night progressed, more people came and we were able to blend in a bit better. Another widow friend of mine, Jami, showed up with a friend of hers. She is young and a lot more outgoing than I am in my old age, so she had no problem finding people she knows and having a great time. I had fun with Lisa, we kept each other laughing, but we were not as outgoing as Jami was. :) I have to give Lisa credit though, because she did talk to a few people... I did not. It was really hard for me. I think I held Lisa back. Sorry Lisa. :) I will admit, I did not try to talk to anyone besides my two widow friends... not even one... and the only guy who came up to us and talked to us was a little odd, shorter than me, and had really bad breath. Not to be rude... it was very kind of him to talk to us... Bless his heart.
I did mention a time or two to Lisa, 'I do NOT expect to meet the man I am going to marry here.'Lisa mentioned to me that her husband would never have gone to something like that, and I agreed. Aaron NEVER would have gone to a party like that... EVER. Neither of us really got into singles stuff like that. I never felt comfortable in super large groups like that... if I ever went to any, I didn't meet anyone there... I was always too shy to make myself known.
We were there a couple of hours before we finally made our exit. There were some guys worth looking at, but neither of us were ready this time around to see if any of the guys there were also worth talking to. Maybe next time. Baby steps, right?
After we left there, we went across the street to Chili's and got chips and salsa and some dessert and just talked. We needed to unwind from our social anxiety ridden evening (I guess I should speak for myself... Lisa seemed a little more comfortable than I felt). :)
Thanks for the good times, Lisa. You made it fun and bearable. (yearbook signing entry)
I will say this... if you have never been thrown back into the single life again after being married and having kids and having to try to figure out how to date again... you just cannot possibly understand how difficult it is and how different it is from the first time around. I'm not going to lie... IT SUCKS! I have to laugh about it or else I would probably cry about it. It is a TOUGH road... one that I don't wish on anyone.
All the widows I have talked to are very open about wanting to someday get married again... but as far as putting forth the effort to actually meet people... it sure is difficult. The question of how to meet eligible single guys who are worth spending time with... I still haven't figured that one out yet.
I have been out on dates. Some were boring, some were awkward, some were so-so, some were great. The way I choose to measure whether or not someone is worth going out with is if I am willing to get a babysitter for Aaron Jr. If I would rather spend my Friday night with Aaron Jr. than a specific guy, then that means I am not that into that specific guy. I don't want to waste my time or his. And I definitely don't want to get a babysitter in order to go on an awkward date that I know is not going to progress further than that. As I navigate through this process, I become more and more aware of what I want in a guy and what I do not want in a guy. I don't want to waste my time with little flings where I am putting up with red flags just because I am lonely. I need someone who is going to treat me right, someone who is going to treat Aaron Jr. right (most important), someone who respects me, loves me, loves Aaron Jr. The list could go on and on... but I will save that for another posting.
Obviously, I haven't met the one who is going to bring me that joy that I am so anxious to feel again. I know I am not doing all I can to put forth the effort to find him, but at the same time... I don't know any great ways of meeting wonderful single guys. If anyone has any great ideas out there... I am all ears.
I think that's about it for this posting... I just wanted to share our experience around other single people. I wasn't that great at dating the first time around, so it was a blessing when Aaron and I dated and we both just knew how each other felt... it just seemed so much easier. My friend Lisa wrote a posting recently where she mentioned her husband on the other side helping her to meet the man who will be the right guy for her and their kids... I have thought a lot about this since Aaron passed away. I have talked to Aaron many times about needing his help to bring the right man into our lives.
So, dating... this time around? I have to say... its for the birds, but a necessary evil if I want to find happiness in marriage again. And I do. Time will tell... (hopefully sooner than later).
Last month, I was having a hard time and was surfing around on facebook, when I came to a status update of a fellow widow friend of mine, Jami. I don't even remember what it said, but what it said told me that she was going through a tough time as well... so I wrote to her and told her we should get together. I had never actually MET Jami in person before, I 'met' her through the world of blogging after I had a couple of people wrote to me asking me to contact her after her husband passed away last year. She had since moved to Utah and we had still never met up in person. So... after that facebook exchange, we set a day to meet up in Salt Lake with her son and my son.
We met at a park in Salt Lake and as we approached Jami and her son, I just knew we were going to have a lot to talk about. The first words out of our mouths were regarding the tough time we were both going through and while our sons played on the playground, Jami and I were able to talk for more than two hours about everything. About how we feel, about our experiences, about being widows, about how it affects the day to day life, about how alone we feel in a world FULL of people... even people who care about us and who love us.
This has been my experience with every widow I have met. It is amazing the connection and bond that is there when someone shares heartache for the same reason you are feeling it.
The reason for the photo above is this: as Jami and I talked, I asked her if she ever still wears her wedding ring or when she stopped wearing it? As I asked her this question, I held up my left hand and showed her that I was wearing my wedding ring at that time. Once I showed her, I was able to tell her that I wore my wedding ring for the whole first year, then for the second year, only really took it off when I was going on a date.
After that, I stopped wearing it as often, but I ALWAYS end up putting it back on when I am going through a really tough time. I told Jami that, for some reason, it helps. I don't know why, but it does. Wearing my wedding ring makes me feel more connected to Aaron. Wearing my wedding ring helps me to feel like I belong in certain places and in certain situations of life. When I am wearing my ring in public as Aaron Jr walks next to me, I feel a certain confidence that I don't feel when I am not wearing it. Of course, wearing the ring makes it so I don't appear to be single... BUT, when I am going through a tough time, I have a need to wear my ring.
Later that day, I got a text from Jami, and she wrote to me that she put on her wedding ring and I was right, it was totally helping her to feel better. I was so glad.
Recently I read an article that my sister in law Tawnie sent to me. I loved reading the words of this widower and his feelings about losing his wife.READ HERE. I was amazed at how perfectly his thoughts and feelings went along with mine. He shares what you SHOULD do and what you SHOULDN'T do when dealing with someone who is grieving the death of a spouse. His words are so true. I want to share some of the thoughts from this article. His name is Kevin Fitzwater.
One of my favorite things that he wrote was: "Tell me that she loved me. Although it hurts to hear it, it is so important. Tell me that I was a good husband. Tell the kids that their mother loved them and still does."
One thing that I remember that I really appreciated, was when Aaron's brother, Steve, called me one day soon after Aaron passed away. Ever since his death, I had been struggling because I wanted to hear from Aaron that he loves me. I needed to know for sure. I needed to hear it one more time from his lips. But I couldn't get that... so it was on my mind all the time. Well, on the phone, Steve told me that he felt like he should tell me how much Aaron loves me. He wanted to tell me that he knows Aaron loved me and felt like he needed to tell me. That has stuck with me... and I don't even know if he realizes how much I did need to hear that. I still wish I could hear it from Aaron one more time, but I was so grateful to Steve for calling me that day to tell me that. Kevin Fitzwater also wrote: "People react individually to the death of a loved one. My experience taught me that adjusting to the death of your spouse is a lonely process. The support you need may not come, even from trusted friends, because talking about death is something most people avoid. Talking to a widowed person can be frustrating for people who don’t know what to say and who fear that they may say something harmful."
Just as he wrote, this IS a very lonely process. Even when I am surrounded by people who love me, I still feel so alone. No matter how loved I feel, I still feel a great lack of the love that will make me feel more complete. I still feel like only half of me is here. Like there is something missing. I feel incomplete. It is tough trying to move forward in life when you are so often feeling like you shouldn't be moving forward alone, but that you should be moving forward with the person you thought would be there by your side throughout your life.
I don't remember where, but I think it was on TV the other day and I heard someone talking about the loss of a loved one... and what they said rang true to me. They said: "...the whole world moves on... but the family is left to suffer in obscurity." How true this is.
I still feel like I don't fit in in so many places or groups. In my own mind, I just don't fit in. Into what, I am not sure... but I don't feel like I belong in most atmospheres.
I don't expect anyone to change what they talk about around me or pretend they don't have a husband in order to make me feel comfortable, but so many things people talk about affects me. All it takes to feel out of place or uncomfortable is to have people start talking about their family life. Something as simple as them needing to get home to make dinner before their husband gets home from work. Yes, something as simple as that brings my painful reality back to the forefront of my mind and I sit in pain until I am able to push it away.
Like I said, I don't expect or want people to stop talking about their husbands around me... I am just trying to share how it may affect someone in my situation... or why they may react a certain way. I still WANT to hear about our family and friends lives and even about their family lives and marriages, and we are happy if they are happy and sad if they are sad... but hearing about those things that I cannot have in my life currently DOES bring on a certain pain and anguish inside. Feelings that I do try to hide in most cases, but sometimes I let it show or accidentally say something that makes the situation awkward. Oops. :) Sometimes I am just too honest. But I AM truly interested in hearing about my loved one's lives... no matter what. Because I love and care about them. I want them to be happy.
I am continuing to go through such tough times regularly.Almost everything still reminds me of Aaron. So many things continue to bring to mind the memories I shared with Aaron... sometimes I will talk about them, but most of the time, I keep them to myself so that I don't make other people uncomfortable... or so they don't think I am 'dwelling' too long.
I still have a hard time watching wives with their husbands, kids with their dads... living normal life and enjoying their time together as a complete family. I have a hard time hearing about the day to day events of the lives of my family and friends... watching them live life the way I always dreamed of living it... in a complete family... mom, dad, kids... a growing family. Living the dream... my dream. My only true desire in life... gone from my grasp. No matter how happy I am for other people and seeing them happy, it is still tough to know I don't have it. But I also still feel joy for them when they are feeling joy... even if I am feeling sorrow for me.
I am continuing to have those moments of complete and total SHOCK where, for a few moments, I feel the horror and the shock once again as though I am hearing the news of Aaron's death for the first time. I don't know why this phenomenon happens... but for some reason, every few days, I will be going about my business living life and trying to stay busy, when all of a sudden, something will happen or I will see something that affects me in just such a way. It will bring on that shock and I will start to panic and seriously wonder...
How did I get HERE? Am I seriously a widow? Is Aaron seriously gone? Am I really here raising Aaron Jr on my own? Is THIS seriously MY reality? NO, this is someone ELSE'S reality... not MINE.
Serious panic takes hold as my mind tries, but cannot comprehend the notion of the reality of these thoughts running through my head. Then once my brain KIND OF gets a grasp on what life has been like for nearly 3 years now... I try to push the thoughts out of my head so that I don't feel so paralyzed, so that I can breathe, and so I can function on like business as 'usual'.
One thing I will say for being able to associate with other widows is this:For some reason, when I am talking to a widow about the loss we have both experienced, I don't feel quite as alone on this path. When I am with another widow or talking to another widow, we can talk about how we feel, how life is now, and our wants and desires and heartaches and pain... and the other person just knows exactly what we are talking about. They just know. They can understand how a loss of this magnitude affects pretty much EVERY aspect of our lives. How everything said, every experience always brings our thoughts back to what is missing in our own lives... the person who should be there with us. It is so hard to explain in words, but for some reason... other widows just GET IT... they get what I mean when I am stumbling with my words like this.
In no way am I discounting all the other amazing people who have offered words of comfort or a listening ear... they have been so kind and thoughtful to listen and to be patient with me through so many break downs. They have been so willing to show patience as I continue to grieve, even though they haven't been through it. I love them all and I am so grateful for them all. They are all so important to me and I know they want me to be happy just as I want them to be happy.
The old saying about walking a mile in someone else's shoes to truly see what they are going through... it sure has merit to it. There are trials that other people go through that I would never be able to truly understand what they may be feeling, but if I talk to another woman who has lost her husband, I am able to understand exactly what she is talking about when she tells me what she is feeling... because whatever she is saying could be coming straight from my own lips... and vice versa. A word that has been on my mind a lot lately is:
When I am talking to other widows, I feel validated in the feelings of pain, feelings of sorrow, feelings of displacement, feelings of loneliness, feelings of heartache...
When I read the words that widower wrote in the article I shared above, that is exactly how I felt... Validated.
There is something to be said about feeling validated. No matter who we are, no matter what we have experienced in life, no matter if things are great... or if things could be better, feeling validated is something we all need and desire... and we, as humans, will always gravitate to where we feel comfortable... validated.
I always manage to bring my postings back to this, but it is because He is such an important person in my life. The Savior. Jesus Christ. He is someone Who will ALWAYS make us feel validated when we come unto Him with sincere hearts. He will always lift us up when we are down... if we come until Him.
* * * I want to share a video that someone sent to me a while back titled 'Validation'. It is a short film and it is so good. When you have time, please watch it... it is worth watching.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Back in February, Aaron Jr and I were living in my parents basement after selling our home in Lehi. (We have since then moved out and into our own place.) One night, after doing laundry, I was watching TV with my parents upstairs while I folded the laundry. Once it was all folded, I neatly put it all into the laundry basket for easy carrying down to the basement to put it away. On my way down the stairs with the laundry basket, my foot slipped off of one of the steps and my feet both started to come out of from under me. I had enough of my wits about me to know that I should not try to save the folded laundry, maybe causing me to hurt myself worse, so I let go of the laundry basket and let it go down the stairs. Since my feet came out from under me, I landed really hard on my rear end and bounced down a couple of steps on it. It really hurt my lower back and rear end. As I was sitting there in pain, my parents rushed over to see what had happened and to make sure I was okay. I sat there in pain, staring down the stairs at my once folded, but now unfolded laundry and basket sitting at the bottom of the stairs. I was bummed that I had to fold it all again, but I know now that the unfolded laundry was going to be the least of the problems that came out of that fall.
Since then, I have had back pain. I have always gotten the normal aches and pains in my back from a lousy night sleep, or from the beginnings of another exercise goal, or from a long car ride, or from pregnancy... but chronic back pain, never. Aaron had chronic back pain (degenerative discs). I had to watch him for nearly 6 years as he painfully tried to endure back pain that kept him awake at night and kept him adjusting in bed to try to find comfort to be able to sleep. This back pain of mine is a small taste of what he endured with his back for so many years. BUT, my back pain does not keep me from being able to sleep. It hasn't really interfered much as far as day to day activity, but the pain is just always there now. Some days are worse than others. It has even begun to affect my left hip joint and my left leg a bit. I think something is going on with the sciatic nerve now.
Anyhow, enough about the back pain and now to the reason why I was telling about the back pain in the first place.
Last week, I woke up one morning and my back was hurting more than usual. I was being lazy on a Sunday morning before church and I was laying on my bed with Aaron and we were watching a movie called 'The Best Two Years'. I love that movie. Anyhow, I finally decided to go in and take a hot bath to loosen the muscles in my back so that I could try to stretch it out. As I layed there in the tub, I knew I had made it a little hotter water than usual, so I was getting really hot and thought I should get out sooner than usual. So, I did. As I stood up, I pulled the plug and grabbed my towel off the hook as I stepped out onto the bath mat. As I wrapped the towel around me, I was feeling light headed (which is not completely unusual after standing up too fast from one of my baths), so I leaned against the sink to stable myself as I waited for the lightheadedness to pass.
Well, all of a sudden I was either watching the movie 'The Best Two Years' again, OR I was in the movie. I don't remember which. :) Then as that movie was playing, I began wondering why my head was hurting so much. Then I opened my eyes. At that point, I was really confused. I looked around for a bit to assess the situation and finally asked myself a question...
How did I get here, and why does my head hurt?
I couldn't for the life of me figure out when I had gotten back into the bath tub. I couldn't figure out why I was in such a strange position in the bath tub. I was sitting / laying back in the tub sideways. My bum was in the tub, while my legs were dangling over the edge and out of the tub, and my back was propped up at the back side of the tub with my head leaning back against the tile. Then, as I layed there, my brain was beginning to piece together what must have just happened. I hadn't been watching that movie again, I had been dreaming about it. I realized that the last thing I remembered was leaning against the sink waiting for the lightheadedness to pass by. But it hadn't passed by and then I was asleep in the tub.
I had totally passed out! What on earth?
When I finally felt like I had figured everything out and was awake enough to stand up, I stood up and grabbed my towel, this time from off of the floor. I looked into the tub and the last remaining bit of water was draining, so I guess I was only out for almost as long as it takes the tub to drain. As I walked out of the bathroom in my towel, I had to be really careful not to slip because there was a HUGE puddle of water all over the floor. Wow, I hit the water hard enough to make a huge splash? Anyhow, I went and layed back down on my bed. My head was hurting so much. My whole head. Aching badly.
As I layed there on my bed, I realized how blessed I was that nothing worse had happened. I kept going over and over in my mind what had happened and how badly it could have gone, but didn't. I was going through the scenarios where I could have cut my head open and been bleeding into the tub, or where I could have fallen back, but then fallen OVER sideways into the water as it drained and then drowned. I felt so blessed that neither of those scenarios had taken place because Aaron Jr would have been here alone. If he had come into the bathroom and had found me like that, I don't know if he would have known what to do. My brother's family, who live next door to us, were out of town. We don't know our neighbors yet, we haven't lived here that long. I was getting sick thinking about the 'what ifs' and 'what could have beens'. (I am good at that.) And also thinking about how grateful I am to Heavenly Father for the blessing that nothing worse happened. I have heard of people falling in their bathrooms and actually dying. But not me.
I had fallen back into the water, hit my head on the way down, and had layed there asleep until I came to. That's it. I know better than to look at things like this as just a lucky happenstance. I know that our Father in Heaven was protecting me. He loves us. He knows us. He is aware of us and what is going on it our lives, our needs, our desires, our hopes, our fears, everything. As I sit here typing this, I am crying as I think about if I had fallen a different way and had died. It scares me to think about Aaron Jr's life at that point. He already lost his dad, what if he had lost me as well? It makes me sick to think about it, BUT those thoughts help me to be more grateful for what did and what didn't happen. I am grateful to Heavenly Father, not only for His love... but also for His protection and for the precious time I still am blessed to have here with Aaron Jr.
Another tender mercy from a loving Father in Heaven.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * My sister has been trying to get my to change my background on my blog for a long time. She said it looks depressing to always have the black. I agreed with her to a point, but I never wanted to change it from the black because that is how my blog has been ever since I started it just over three years ago. I have liked how the photos seem to stand out against a black background. Well, the other night as I was reading on a blog with white background and then I went to my blog and was reading back through some of the postings on mine, I realized that the words against a black background are a lot more difficult to read and I decided to give the change some more thought.
So, I finally decided to go ahead with the change... and I love it.
My parents' birthdays are about a month and a half apart and they were born the same year. So, this year they both are turning 70 years old.
Thanks for hosting cake and ice cream, John and Tawnie.
Tawnie and John put together a surprise birthday party for our parents at Texas Roadhouse for all of the adults in the family. They were truly surprised and it was fun to see how happy they were to have us all together to celebrate their birthdays.
This is Mom and Dad. It is hard for me to believe they turn 70 years old this year. To me, they still seem so young and like they can still do anything and everything. I feel like they still have more energy than I do. I look to my parents as 'the strong ones' in the family. They are the glue that holds our family together. The accomplishments they have had throughout their lives are many, but they still don't seem old enough to have lived long enough to have all of those accomplishments. Parents are supposed to live forever, right? I cannot imagine the day coming when one or both of my parents will be gone. The thought makes me sick, so I won't dwell on that for too long. But it does seem like that day will never come because I cannot imagine life without my parents around.
They have 11 children, 10 sons and daughters in law, 43 grandchildren and counting, 48 years of marriage, 70 years of age. These are just some of the extraordinary things that they have lived to see in their lives. They are also extremely loyal and loving to their family. They have been strong through many trials in their lives, which include but are not limited to: the death of siblings, parents, and even one of their own sons when he was just 16 years old. They have endured these trials with faith and have been a strength to those around them through these hardships. They continue to worry about and cheer on all of us in our family as we all now face the challenges and hardships of mortality. They help to strengthen us all and they are always there to offer help and support when needed. The do so much for all of us. They both love the Lord with all of their hearts and serve Him in whatever capacity they can with all their hearts, might, minds and strength. They have been brilliant examples to all of us.I am truly grateful to be blessed to have them as my parents, and as the grandparents of my son.
Happy Birthday, Mom and Dad! Thanks for everything! We love you so much.
Bruce got his mission call and opened it with a huge crowd of our family around him. He has been called to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He has been called to labor in the:TAIWAN, TAIPEI Mission. He will learn the Mandarin Chinese language. He is so excited. He jumped up from his seat as he read where he was going and could hardly talk he was so excited. It was so much fun to watch him open his call.That is the same mission my brother John served in. He is happy to have someone else serve there who will be able to speak that language with him.CONGRATS BRUCE!!! We love you!
Bruce with his parents, Travis and Karey.
Colin, son of Nairn and Maria was given a name and a blessing in September. He is such a sweet and handsome boy.
Dad holding Henry. Mom holding Evelyn at a dinner for Colin's blessing and a good bye dinner for Nathan returning to his mission in Finland.
Aaron Jr eat a crepe.
Gus and his CHEESY SMILE.Gus and his small smile.What a character he is.
Jack, Ethan, Daniel, Thomas, Aaron, Samuel
Leah and her big eyes in a really over exposed photo.
This is Nathan on the morning he was flying back to serve the rest of his mission in Finland. He came home on a medical release because of a problem he was having with his knees. He was so happy he was able to go back to Finland to finish his mission. We miss him, but he is where he needs to be right now... serving the Lord and the people in Finland.
Richard and Aaron playing soccer.
David playing soccer.
Matthew playing soccer.
Richard playing soccer.
Grace and Aaron getting ready to ride the go carts. Cute Sophia with her BIG ice cream cone.
Susie, April, Lillie Pearl, Aaron, Sadie, Sophia, Grace, Nick
Aaron and his bike. I took him out one day to see if he might be ready to ride without training wheels. NOPE, he is not ready yet. :) hahaha. What a cutie pie though, right?
Greta, daughter of Mark and Suzanne was given a name and a blessing in September. What a sweet and beautiful girl.
Stella, Lily, Aaron
Grace, daughter of Nick and Sadie got baptized in Septmeber. She is a sweet and beautiful girl and we just love her so much. Congrats Grace.
We met up with a widow friend of mine, Jami, out at Sugarhouse park. Our sons played while we talked. It was fun and nice to get together to chat.
Caroline playing soccer.
Julia came to watch the game with all of us. So here she is with her clown hair and hat on helping Hannah and Elise come out of their shells to make a spectacle of themselves. It was hysterical. They were the unpaid halftime show. :)
My handsome boy.
Us. Leslie and Aaron Jr. Aaron Jr. took this photo. He is learning the self portrait skills. :)
* * * * * * * * * * I bought this desk for Aaron last year at a thrift shop. It was four or five dollars. I felt like it was a bargain. I gave it to Aaron Jr and he has LOVED using that desk to put his treasures in and using it to draw on and paint on and play with his play dough on.
Well, a month and a half ago, we started using this desk for something else... Our school time together.
All of Aaron Jr's cousins that were born in the same year as him (2005) all started kindergarten this year... except he and one cousin, Lily.
I have been asked about a million times (give or take ;) in the last few years if I am going to put Aaron in pre school. For a long time, I would tell people that I hadn't decided yet because I didn't really want to think about it or discuss it. I had already decided that I would not put Aaron in pre school, but I have a different opinion about pre school than some people and I didn't want anyone to feel like I was judging them for doing something different than I planned to do. But then, I heard a call on Dr Laura about pre school and the advice Dr Laura gave made me feel better and ever since then, I have had no problem answering that question. I guess I was just being silly, but now I have no problem telling people that I am not sending Aaron Jr to pre school. I think I was just always skeptical of the question because I didn't want people to try to convince me of the reasons why they think it is a good idea. I have just always planned to work with my kids on my own the year before kindergarten and let them learn some of the basics the same way I did when I was young... learning from the things around me and from my own mom.
The reasons for me keeping Aaron home with me for one more year are simple for me. And by writing these down, I am in no way judging other people for what they choose to do with their kids... it is just what I feel about what I want to do.
Aaron Jr will only be young once. I already feel like kindergarten is coming WAY too soon when I will be required to send him to school. I love having him at home. I enjoy our time together so much. Having him home with me during the day is such a gift and I feel like the sand in the hourglass (time) is depleting faster than I want it to. It scares me. :) I am enjoying every moment that I can with him while he is still young and while he still wants to spend time with ME. These moments, days, and months are priceless to me. Plus, he is my only one... who knows if I will ever get to have this time with another child. So I am trying to treasure these moments with Aaron Jr NOW. The time is going to come in about 11 months where I will be required to send him out into the world. AT FIVE YEARS OLD!!! SCARY!!! After that, there is no turning the clock back... I will never get this time back. I know it is a necessary part of life for him and for me... but I will miss him so much during that time. I hate the thought. It is coming so quickly. Anyhow, what I chose to do was to have our own little 'school' together. So, we have our own school at home for 30 minutes a day on the same days when the other kids are in school. We are really enjoying it. He is like a little sponge right now. He is soaking in all that he can and is enjoying learning new things. Once we started working on his letters, he began seeing letters EVERYWHERE. It is like a new world has opened up to him. They have always been around, but because he didn't know what the letters were called, they would just blend into the scenery around us. But now, he is calling out to me when he sees a certain letter on a road sign. He has learned them so much faster than I thought he would. I am excited for this year and our 30 minutes per day where I get to watch him learn and be excited about it all.
This photo is of Aaron Jr on our front porch of his first day of 'school' at Aunt Lori's house. My sister, Lori, is mom to Lily. Lily is the other 2005 child who didn't start kindergarten this year. In fact, Lily was born exactly 2 weeks before Aaron. So, Lori and I decided that we should get Aaron and Lily together once a week for an hour for 'school'. We trade off going to each other's houses for school and the kids are SO excited to have that one hour per week together where we take turns being the teacher.
Lily and Aaron Jr. ~ First day of 'school'.
And here is my cute boy sitting at his desk practicing writing his letters and sitting in the chair that was mine when I was little. The story with that chair is this: I believe it was the year before Aaron passed away, I found my little chair in a load of stuff that Aaron was going to take to the dump. When I pulled it out, I asked what it was doing in there. He told me that it was broken, so he was taking it to the dump. The wooden part on the seat had been broken for many years. I had still used it, but it had been broken for a long time. When I told Aaron that it was mine from when I was little, he said he hadn't know that and he said he would fix it for me. So he put it in his shop and I forgot all about it until Christmas that year. He brought it in from his shop and had it sitting with the Christmas gifts. He replaced all of the wood parts of the chair and had antiqued them to make them look old. I LOVED it. I was so grateful to him. It was so thoughtful of him. So, now that chair belongs to Aaron Jr and he loves it.
One more story... last week Aaron Jr (out of the blue) said to me, 'I wish Daddy could make me a pretty desk.'
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * Andrew Nairn ~ about a week old Aaron and I tagged along when my parents drove up to Oregon last month. They were going up because my Spencer and Kristi's 5th child was born a few days before. This is him. They named him Andrew Nairn. The middle name, Nairn, is the same as one of my brother's, a nephew, and also a great grandfather of ours. It is actually a town in Scotland and we have some Scottish ancestry. Anyhow, he is such a sweet little baby. We love him so much.So, here are some photos from our week.
Kristi, Spencer, Dad, Mom... all holding Andrew.
Spencer, Luke, Benjamin, Lila... all with Andrew.
Me, Aaron, and Luke... with Andrew.
I got a kick out of Spencer laying on Dad's lap. This is how Spencer has to brush Lila's teeth or else she won't hold still and he can't brush them. :) Lila and Mom
Spencer and Luke ~ the big school kids.
Luke getting on the bus. Aaron waving to him. Our crowd watching Luke get on his bus.
Grandpa putting Aaron and Benny in one of his famous TRAPS. The kids all ask him for traps and he obliges. I remember when he would always put us kids in traps when we were little as well. A fun memory of Dad.
Aaron put on the Iron Man costume and it was way too small. I was laughing so hard. Just look at him. :) The rest are random.
Aaron with his potato bugs that he found. So proud.
Trip to Costco. These boys are great friends.
Okay, here are a couple of the DELICIOUS things we ate while we were there. Kristi and I made caramel apples one night. They were so ridiculously yummy. Then Kristi made bread twice the week we were there. We couldn't get enough. I ate so much of it with butter and the SPLENDID Oregon Marionberry jam that they have there. It is SO scrumptious. Thanks Kristi.
We went to the Library one of the first days we were there and the kids picked out some Where's Waldo books. They were a favorite all week with the kids AND adults.
The kids. Lila, Benny, Aaron, Luke, Spencer
Kristi, Lila, Spencer, Benny, Luke, Andrew, Spencer ~ their family
Aaron, Leslie, AndrewWe loved holding this sweet little bundle of joy. He is precious and we just love him.
The morning we left, we pulled out of the driveway at 6 a.m. It was so sad. We are always so sad to leave their house. They live so far away and we miss them so very much. I thought I would be able to pull Aaron out of bed and put him in the car sleeping, but he woke up. After we all gave hugs good bye, we were in the car and the kids came to give Aaron another hug. Aaron was fighting, and I do mean FIGHTING back tears. His face was distorted and his lips and chin were quivering... he did not want to leave. Little Spencer ran into the house, then came back out with a hat he wanted to give to Aaron as a gift. It was so sweet. Aaron wore that hat most of the way home. Thanks Spence.It was so hard to leave this time. We weren't there as long, but every time we see them, Aaron is a little older and he realizes what he is missing out on when we are not with them. Luke and Benny are the closest boy cousins in age to Aaron. He gets along with them and Spencer so well. So when we leave, we are leaving a few of his best friends behind. He misses them so much. This photo is of Spencer, Spencer, Luke, and Benny waving good bye at the end of their driveway. After we were down the road a few minutes, I looked over and Aaron was fighting the tears again. He was so sad. We all were.
Some wild donkeys we saw along the freeway in Nevada. Really fun to see them.
Aaron watching a movie on the way home. AND wearing the hat that Spencer gave to him.
It was a really fun week. Thank you to Dad and Mom for letting us ride up with you. Thank you to Spencer and Kristi for your hospitality and for the fun week. We love all of you. We miss you.