Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Recipe Society

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The Recipe Society

I have loads of friends who love to cook / bake, so I thought I would share this link. Just click on The Recipe Society blog button above.
This is a blog that my sisters / sisters in law and a couple of friends have started and contribute recipes to. They are recipes that are tried and true. The only recipes that get contributed to the blog are ones that we have made for our families and they go in if they were a hit. It is a really fun blog and I wanted to share it. It has amazing recipes and will continue to have more amazing recipes as time goes on.

If anyone is interested in taking a button for their own blog... you can take one from the sidebar on The Recipe Society blog. Please take one so that you can share our blog with your friends and family. All you have to do is copy the HTML code underneath the blog button in the sidebar and paste the HTML code to your sidebar.

And if anyone tries any of the recipes OR if you have any questions about any of the recipes, please feel free to comment on The Recipe Society blog. Your questions will be answered as soon as possible and you can let us all know how you enjoyed it.

Happy Cooking !

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Evan Aaron

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I would like to welcome this sweet little boy into the world. This is Steve and Christa's new baby boy. Steve is Aaron's brother. I am so happy that Aaron has another name sake. Congrats Steve and Christa. He is so beautiful.

I just loved these photos, so I had to include them in here.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

goodbye 2009 * hello 2010

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Happy New Year everyone.

So, our New Years Eve was not the most fun one we have had. Aaron Jr and I were both sick... both on antibiotics. :) So, we spent the evening alone and watched movies and played with Aaron's lincoln logs.

This is the ornament I gave to Aaron for Christmas this year. I got this one because he mastered the tricycle this past year. I think I will make a new years resolution FOR Aaron and say that by the end of next year, he will be riding his bike without training wheels. Here's hoping. :)

Peek A Boo

Here is one of Aaron's creations out of the lincoln logs. He has been so obsessed with these since he got them for Christmas. Every night when it is time for bed, he asks if he can play with them when he wakes up. His creations are becoming so good. I am amazed and impressed by the buildings he is building. And without fail, whenever he finishes a structure, he wants anyone who is there to see it, then he immediately takes one of his toy animals and destroys it. :) Then starts over. I love that he is loving these so much.

More creations from the lincoln logs... and some photos of us. I LOVE all the different faces of Aaron in these photos.

Aaron showing off and opening our sparkling cider. This was our celebration at midnight after watching the ball drop in New York City on TV.

Aaron Jr and I beginning the New Year...

It is strange... there are people all over the world who are suffering in one way or another. Whether it be physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually... whatever... so I never want to portray myself as thinking that my trials are worse than someone elses trials... each person's trials are difficult for them.

I have been having a really hard time lately. I have been trying to hide it... sometimes I feel a little numb as I try to avoid the emotions and grief I am feeling. This is how it has been lately. I want to share some thoughts and feelings of mine lately. Sometimes I feel like people are expecting more out of me than where I am right now in this process. This process of continuing life without Aaron. I miss Aaron SO much. SO SO much. Lately, I have been feeling extra alone and I have been overwhelmed with the tasks at hand. I am trying to make sure I am giving Aaron Jr what he needs... trying. And I am trying to still live the dream of being Aaron's mom and not worry about what else I could or should be doing. I LOVE being with him.

It has been just over two years now and I don't know where I should be in this process of 'picking up the pieces' of what feels like a shattered life and a shattered dream. My dream of being a wife and a mother to a growing family. It has been extra difficult for me lately to see families who are complete... with both parents and kids... living normal lives. I want that life that consists of me getting my husband and kids off to school, staying home with the young kids, housework, picking the kids up from school, helping them with their homework, making dinner and eating dinner as a family, getting the kids ready for bed, getting them in bed, then having some time with my husband. This is the life I have always dreamed of. This is the life that I knew would be fulfilling for me. I have never ever wanted anything else. So it has been difficult watching families together... talking about their plans... talking about regular things that they are doing... regular everyday conversation or interaction. Watching husbands and wives together... and watching fathers with their kids... THAT is so tough. It makes me wonder what Aaron Jr. thinks when he sees his cousins interacting with their Dads. I know it is painful for me. It doesn't mean I don't want others to have that, it is just difficult to watch knowing we can't have it. So, now that I don't have my husband here, and a growing family... I am struggling to figure out what I am supposed to do now. The dream I have had my whole life ended the night Aaron passed away. I am still living the dream of being Aaron's mom... but I want to be a wife as well. And I want to be a mom to more kids. I want Aaron Jr to have brothers and sisters. It doesn't mean I won't have that dream again someday... but I don't know when and I don't know for sure that I will. So... now what? I know that life doesn't always go as planned. Believe me... I know. I know that things happen and it shifts what could have been into what it actually has become. Should I be to the point where I am putting those pieces back together? Or is it okay for me to still feel like I am just picking up the pieces?

Once the house sold, I knew that was a huge step for us. It was a big obstacle to us feeling financially free... and it was also something I could use as an excuse to not move forward. I kept saying things like 'as soon as the house sells... i will...'. Or, 'once the house sells, I will go through our things'. Well, the house is sold... and with the sale of the house, it brought on pain of not having the house, other stresses in trying to get settled into a new place, the huge task of finally having to start going through all of our stuff and figure out what to do with it all. So... yes, I still feel like I am in the 'picking up the pieces' stage... not necessarily the 'putting the pieces back together' stage.

Before I go on, I have to share my gratitude for my son. In this photo, he picked up this phone and was having a full blown conversation with Daddy. It was precious. I know I would not have the amount of joy I have in my life right now if it were not for this little boy. He is a gem. He is a treasure. He is a hero. I love you, Aaron Jr.

I heard from many other widows that the second year after their husband's death was more difficult than the first. I was so set on making sure our second year was not more difficult than the first. I think I may have succeeded... I am not sure... they were just so different. But the beginning of the third year so far... it has been so very tough. It has been more tough than the beginning of the second year from what I remember. I did not expect that at all. I didn't have many expectations about how it would be, but I know I didn't expect to be having SUCH a difficult time.

SO... in the year 2010, I HOPE to reach a point where the pieces of a shattered life are being put back together... for my sake and for Aaron Jr's sake. I have HOPE in this.
It is a very difficult trial to endure. I go through roller coasters of emotions. I don't know how people survive loss to this magnitude without having the Lord in their lives. I swear there are times when I feel like I can NOT survive the despair I feel... but then the Lord steps in and helps carry the burden. So, I know He is helping me pick up those pieces. And He is the one who will help me put them back together.

I really HOPE this new year holds a lot of amazing and wonderful things for Aaron Jr. and me. Mostly, this year I want to have HOPE. I want HOPE to be my main resolution for this year.

HOPE for a brighter future... HOPE for a JOY filled year.

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ

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Happy CHRISTmas !

We started off the Christmas festivities with my family's Christmas party the Saturday evening before Christmas. The kids dressed up in costume and while my dad recited the Christmas story from Luke ll in the New Testament, the kids acted it out. This is the cast... Aaron Jr and most of my nieces and nephews on my side of the family.

The Nativity... and Aaron Jr in his shepherd costume.

I was on the decorating committee with a few others and this was what it looked like when everyone arrived.

And this is all of the tables filled with family. My parents, my siblings and their families. We had dinner first. It was yummy.
We were missing three people this year... my brother Bruce who passed away, my husband Aaron who passed away, and my nephew Nathan who is on his mission for our church. We missed them all so much... they were thought about all evening.

Aaron Jr and Me.

After dinner, there was a program and then we all sang Christmas carols. A bunch of my nieces got up to help lead us in song.

After we sang Christmas carols, all of the grandchildren of my parents got to open their special gifts from Grandpa and Grandma. My mom had been working on making quilts for all 39 of their grandkids for the past two years. She had all of the quilt tops done by Christmas last year, but this year... she and my dad spent using their quilting machine to quilt them and then my mom would bind the edges. Each quilt represented something that the child was interested in.

Aaron Jr's quilt was a cowboy / horse quilt. He LOVES it.

Here is a photo of my parents with 38 of the 39 grandkids and their quilts. Nathan got his before he left on his mission, so he is not in the photo. Pretty special and amazing for each of them to receive a personalized quilt from Grandma and Grandpa. They are beautiful. Thank you!!!

The next week, Aaron started having a bad cough and so we spent some time at the doctor's office trying to get him feeling better before Christmas came. He thought it was fun to wear this mask at the doctor's office.

This is Christmas Eve at the Harkness home. This is Aaron Jr and all of the nieces and nephews also acting out the Nativity while I read from Luke ll.

Aaron was a shepherd again.

Then Santa (Uncle Dave) came to bring each of the grandkids a gift. Aaron got a book.

Here are some of the other kids getting their giifts. The funniest one was Robert Lennon in the bottom right corner. It is his own dad in the Santa suit and he screamed and screamed. It was so funny.

Grandma Harkness made each family a quilt for Christmas. It is so beautiful and so soft and warm. We LOVE it. Thank you!!!

Here are the candles being burned for our loved ones who have passed away. Aaron, Bruce, and Heather.

Christmas morning was interesting. When I told Aaron Jr it was Christmas and asked if he wanted to get up and open presents, he jumped right out of bed. But then once we went upstairs, all he wanted to do was sit and watch TV. But, like any good mother would, I told him no. I wanted to watch him open the gifts I had bought for him!!! :) He was still not feeling the greatest... but once he started opening gifts, he was ok.

Here is Bruce the shark from the movie Finding Nemo. Aaron bought this for Aaron Jr several years ago. I think he bought it was Aaron Jr was just ONE or so. So, I put it away because it was supposed to be for kids 5 and older. Well, since Aaron passed away, I have wrapped it up each Christmas for Aaron Jr to open a gift from his Daddy. The funny thing is... throughout the year, it has been floating around the house, so he sees it... but never questions why he is getting it for Christmas again. He never even asks to open it. So, next year when he opens it again... we will see what happens. :)
If Aaron looks like he is in pain in the bottom right photo, it is quite possible. :) He was still not feeling great. It was the best photo I could get with his shark.

Here is Aaron opening a few other gifts and opening the gifts from his stocking and the overflow in Daddy's stocking. My main gift to him this year was a work bench with tools. Thanks again Christa for picking it up for me.

Uncle Spencer and Aaron and a couple of cousins helped to assemble it.

Aaron Jr with Uncle Spencer and the work bench. Thanks Uncle Spencer for your help.

Later in the day, more family showed up at my parents house to visit. When my brother John and his family showed up... they called Aaron Jr and me into the living room and presented Aaron Jr with this little red stool / bench. Several years ago, John made some of these little stools for his kids for Christmas with their names in the top. He made them in Aaron's shop, using Aaron's tools, with Aaron's help. This little stool for Aaron Jr was made the same way as the other stools, with some of Aaron's scraps of wood from the shop (John had taken some of the scraps when he was helping move our stuff), and painted with some of the paint from Aaron's shop. You can tell Aaron is still not feeling well. But later that night and the next day... he was very proud of his bench and was very protective of it. He LOVES it. Thank you so much John. It means a lot.

Me with Aaron Jr on Christmas morning.

This is our trip to the cemetery for Christmas to visit Aaron's grave.

Spencer and Kristi had still never seen the headstone in person since they live out of state, so they came with us this year. I will try not to embarrass Spencer by mentioning the fact that he is very emotional in this photo. Love you Spencer... thanks for missing Aaron. We all do.

Me and Aaron Jr.

Spencer wanted some time by himself... and after he was done, he stomped down the snow from the headstone to the car so there was a path to Aaron's site. Sue had sent a candle with us to light there in case the other one had gone out. It was still going, so we decided to light the second candle at President and Sister Hinckley's graves. (top right photo)

This is part of the little Christmas tree that Steve and Sue left at Aaron's grave. At church the Sunday before Christmas, I was showing Aaron Jr some pictures of Jesus that were in my scriptures. He was holding one and asked if we could put it on Daddy's rock. I told him we would take it for Christmas. So, we went to the store and got this one to leave. We wrote a message on the back and Aaron drew something on it for Daddy. They didn't have the one that he wanted to leave, so we left a different one that he had been holding at church. Aaron asked which child in the photo was him, and the one in the top left of the photo was the one that we determined was Aaron Jr standing next to the Savior. He was a blond boy. I thought it was so sweet that he wanted to take a photo of Jesus and leave it on Daddy's rock.

This was our alone time at the grave. Our family feels so incomplete without him here. Because he passed away just before Christmas in 2007, this is our third Christmas without Aaron. He is sorely missed. As we stood there by the headstone, Spencer was explaining to his son that it is Uncle Aaron buried there and that Aaron Jr doesn't get to have his Daddy here with him. It was difficult for Spencer to explain that because he was so emotional about it. As I stood there thinking about the fact that we were visiting the grave of my husband and Aaron Jr's Dad on Christmas Day... it just felt wrong. It felt so surreal all over again. How could this be? How can the universe be right if my son's Daddy was gone and not able to be here with us for Christmas? It is so difficult to explain, but things just felt so wrong standing there on Christmas looking over the grave where the missing part of our family rests. We miss him so much.

I have to write about my gratitude for the Christmas season. I am grateful for this time to remember the birth of our Savior. It is very humbling to think about the humble circumstances of the birth of the babe in Bethlehem... the birth of the Kind of Kings... the birth of the Savior of the world... the birth of the Son of God. I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and the sacrifices He made for each of us... and the burdens He carries in order to make my burdens lighter. I am grateful.

Merry Christmas to you all...

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Forgotten Photos

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Here are some photos from November and December that I forgot about because they were on my phone. I downloaded them this week, so here they are...

My new nephew Henry John... this is at church the day he was blessed. My sister Lisa stayed up really late the night before making that hat for him. She did it while learning from a 'how to' video on youtube. It cracks me up. Good job Lisa. John gave Henry a beautiful blessing.

Aaron in the car. He sleeps more in the car than any child I have ever known.

A few photos from a ride at Disneyland. There are a couple of photos that are skewed... they look pretty funny.

Haak and Aaron. This is Aaron's friend from our neighborhood where we had our home. He misses him. He misses all of his friends from there. We both do.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Random November & December

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This is my friend Christie and her kids. She asked me to take some photos of them as a Christmas gift for her husband, Bjorn. I had so much fun taking photos of them.
Christie, Breeze, Axel, Haak

Aaron Jr and Ode. This is my newest nephew, Henry in one of our little hutches. My sisters came to help me pack and we were being silly. He is so precious.

My brothers, brother in laws, one of my nephews, my dad, and my father in law all came to help move our stuff out of the house. It left us in our home with only a cushion on the floor, a TV, and a VCR. Anyhow, later that night, my sister called and said they were on their way to see us. It is a 45 minute drive and they were coming because she said my brother in law (her husband) Scott had been thinking about us all day after helping us move and wanted to come and see us. So they brought us some flowers and treats and came to see us. It was so much fun having them there for a bit. Aaron Jr LOVED when visitors came to our home... so he couldn't get enough of wrestling with Scott and playing with their kids. It was so nice of them. Thank you Scott and Lori and your kids.

That night, Aaron Jr kept drawing pictures of Daddy on his little drawing thing. He kept wanting to show me.

Here are a few little celebrations of Aaron Jr's birthday. Here he is with some of the Harkness cousins. Sadie brought this cute cake for him.

Then the kids all helped him dig in... so cute.

In the top photos, Aaron Jr is having cupcakes with a few of his friends from the neighborhood.

The bottom photos are of Aaron Jr wearing the hat he got from our neighbor and friend Corinne, and her daughter Calleigh. Aaron was always wanting to wear that hat when he went to play at their house. So nice of them. In the bottom photo, he is with my nephew Joseph. We went to their house on Aaron's actual birthday because I didn't have the baking supplies to bake him a cake at my house anymore. :)

Top photo is of Aaron with Calleigh and Haak. His two best friends from our neighborhood in Lehi.
Bottom photo is of my friend Christie's kids and Aaron.

Christie, Leslie, Corinne
These two have been such great friends to me. Thank you girls... I love you and I miss you.

Aaron Jr with his cousin Evelyn. She just turned one... can you believe her amazing hair? Aaron Jr LOVES playing with Evelyn. He treats her like a little sister.

Aaron was watching TV and I went downstairs to do something and when I came back upstairs... this is how I found him. SO funny.

When my brother and his family were here from Oregon for Christmas, Aaron went out with their kids to play in the snow. I love when he has kids to play with in the snow... I hate the snow. :)

Luke and Aaron painting at the counter.
Benny in his make shift snow pants... plastic with paper clippy things holding his coat and the plastic together. :)
Lily playing on the floor, with Angus and Michael wearing my cowboy hats very... interestingly.

Luke and Aaron painting at the counter. These are the paints that Aaron got from his cousin Isaac.

Aaron Jr loves the attention he gets from uncles and older boy cousins... he seems to crave attention from male figures. So here he is getting attention from Uncle Spencer, my brother the night before they went back to Oregon.
Little Spencer playing with a Christmas toy in the bottom left.
My brother Nairn and the cake I made for his birthday. :)

It was a very busy couple of months... these are some of our random times. These past couple of months have been full of ups, downs, this way, and that way... it has been a roller coaster, to say the least.
Thank you to everyone who has made things seem a little easier and a little lighter for us. We love you all.

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