Monday, June 18, 2012

How To Miss A Childhood

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Here is something else that my brother emailed to our family. It really hit home and I have been trying extra hard to make sure I am not missing Aaron's childhood. I do know where these words came from. They are from THIS BLOG POSTING:

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How to Miss a Childhood
By sharing my own painful truths when it comes to the distractions of the modern age, I have gained an unexpected insight. In the 18 months this blog has existed, I have been privy to a new distraction confession every single day.
Up until now, I never knew what to do with this unusual collection of painful admissions from an overly connected society. But today, in a moment of clarity, I knew. And a woman with 35 years experience as a day care provider held the key.
It came as a message in my inbox after the woman read my post “The Children Have Spoken which included heart-breaking observations from children themselves about their parents’ excessive phone use.
As soon as I read the first sentence of the caregiver’s email, I knew this message was different than any I had ever received. The hairs on my arms stood up as I absorbed each word that came uncomfortably close to home.
It was a voice of heartache, wisdom, and urgency speaking directly to the parents of the 21st century:
“I can recall a time when you were out with your children you were really with them. You engaged in a back and forth dialog even if they were pre-verbal. You said, ‘Look at the bus, see the doggie, etc.’ Now I see you on the phone, pushing your kids on the swings while distracted by your devices. You think you are spending time with them but you are not present really. When I see you pick up your kids at day care while you’re on the phone, it breaks my heart. They hear your adult conversations. What do they overhear? What is the message they receive? I am not important; I am not important.”
In a 100-word paragraph this concerned woman who has cared for babies since 1977 revealed a disturbing recipe … How to Miss a Childhood.
And because I possess hundreds of distraction confessions, including stories from my own former highly distracted life, I have all the damaging ingredients.
All it takes is one child and one phone and this tragic recipe can be yours.
How to Miss a Childhood

*Keep your phone turned on at all times of the day. Allow the rings, beeps, and buzzes to interrupt your child mid sentence; always let the caller take priority.
*Carry your phone around so much that when you happen to leave it in one room your child will come running with it proudly in hand—treating it more like a much needed breathing apparatus than a communication device.
*Decide the app you’re playing is more important than throwing the ball in the yard with your kids. Even better, yell at them to leave you alone while you play your game.
*Take your children to the zoo and spend so much time on your phone that your child looks longingly at the mother who is engaged with her children and wishes she was with her instead.
*While you wait for the server to bring your food or the movie to start, get out your phone and stare at it despite the fact your child sits inches away longing for you talk to him.
*Go to your child’s sporting event and look up periodically from your phone thinking she won’t notice that you are not fully focused on her game.
*Check your phone first thing in the morning … even before you kiss, hug, or greet the people in your family.
*Neglect daily rituals like tucking your child into bed or nightly dinner conversation because you are too busy with your online activity.
*Don’t look up from your phone when your child speaks to you or just reply with an “uh huh” so she thinks you were listening.
*Lose your temper with your child when he “bothers” you while you are interacting with your hand-held electronic device.
*Give an exasperated sigh when your child asks you to push her on the swing. Can’t she see you’re busy?
*Use drive time to call other people regardless of the fact you could be talking to your kids about their day—or about their worries, their fears, or their dreams.
*Read email and text messages at stoplights. Then tell yourself that when your kids are old enough to drive they won’t remember you did this all the time.
*Have the phone to your ear when she gets in or out of the car. Convince yourself a loving hello or goodbye is highly overrated.
Follow this recipe and you will have:
• Missed opportunities for human connection
• Fewer chances to create beautiful memories
• Lack of connection to the people most precious to you
• Inability to really know your children and them unable to know you
• Overwhelming regret
If you find this recipe difficult to read—if you find that you have tears in your eyes, I thank you, and your child thanks you.

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These words inspire me.
Aaron only gets one childhood... I hope to be PRESENT for all of it.
I need for him to BE and to KNOW that he is my priority.
Tell your kids that you love them.
BE there WITH them.
Enjoy them.

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Child's Self Esteem

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I am not sure where my brother got this, but it seems like it was from some sort of seminar.
My brother emailed this to our family and I really loved all of the advice in it.

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  • Children value themselves to the degree they feel valued.
  • Of course we love our children and we assume they know that. But there is a difference between being loved and feeling loved. 
  • You are a psychological mirror that your children use to build their identity.
  • Be aware of giving technology more attention than we give our children.  Do our eyes light up when our children enter a room?  They should!
  • Sometimes as mothers we habitually attend to what is missing or what is wrong instead of building up the good stuff.  She told a story of when she got so frustrated with her son for forgetting things and missing the bus.  She dropped him off at the school with all the weight of her lecture weighing him down.  As she was about to take off, her younger son rolled down the window and called out to his older brother: "I love you!!"  Oh the way she told that story made me so motivated to ease up a little on those lectures!
  • Kids are such a work in progress...we should put ourselves in their shoes.
  • Find the goodness in each child and build that up.  Reinforce the good parts of the day and how they made you feel.  We all need positive feedback, right?
  • Compliment kids in front of the other kids...pray about how grateful you are for them with them at your side.
  • Undivided attention with each child is so important!
  • We are all encumbered and frazzled by so many things.  We need to be sure that we acknowledge that those sweet children are so much more important than a phone call, email, blog post, etc.
  • Show love through service.  The mundane (helping them clean a room, a sincere compliment) can become monumental.

She ended with this quote that I adore from Elder Jeffrey Holland years ago:

"Mothers, cherish that role that is so uniquely yours and for which heaven itself sends angels to watch over you and your little ones. Yours is the work of salvation, and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are, better than you are, and better than you have ever been. And if, for whatever reason, you are making this courageous effort alone, without your husband at your side, then our prayers will be all the greater for you. Know that in faith things will be made right in spite of you, or more correctly, because of you. We thank all of you, and tell you there is nothing more important in this world than participating so directly in the work and glory of God." 


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I love love love that quote by Elder Holland.
I sincerely hope that I am already doing most of these things, but I definitely plan to work on all of these and make sure I am doing my part to help Aaron grow up not only feeling loved, but also KNOWING he is loved.

Hug your kids.
TELL them you love them.
Aaron hears those words many many many times a day. THAT I do know.


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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hazel

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Hazel ***** died peacefully in her home of natural causes Saturday, June 9. She was surrounded by her loving family. Hazel was 91.

Hazel was born on February 27, 1921, to Ruben ******* ********* and Blonda ****** ***** ********* in Scipio, UT. She was preceded in death by both of her parents and five of her siblings.

Hazel married Ronald **** ********* October 28, 1939. They had three beautiful daughters. Ronald died in August 1977. She married Gordon ***** in November 1978. He died in October 1997.

Hazel worked hard all her life. She especially enjoyed taking care of the newborn babies at South Davis Hospital. She also labored in her gardens, cultivating hundreds of beautiful flowers.

She was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose greatest joy was her children and grandchildren. She loved exchanging cards and letters with them and never missed a birthday.

Hazel is survived by Colleen (Larry) ****** of Bountiful; Jill (Joe) ***** of Layton; Kosann (Larry) ******* of Orem; 12 grandchildren, 23 great grandchildren; one sister and four brothers.

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Our dear friend and neighbor, Hazel, passed away last Saturday.
We had taken over my Mom's weekly visits to her when my parents left on their mission.
We loved our visits to see Hazel and we are so grateful for the time we had with her.
She was so sweet to us and always told us that she loves us... and we would tell her how much we love her.
When we would go and visit her, Aaron loved to play with her dog named Lady.
Lady really loves Aaron as well. Lady was a great friend to Hazel for many years.

These flowers above are some flowers she gave to my mom from her yard so my mom could plant them in her yard, they now grow beautifully each year next to my parents house.


 Speaking of flowers, a couple of weeks before Hazel passed away, we took my camera over to take some photos of Hazel's beautiful flowers in her yard. She loved her flowers and she was so proud of them. Here are some of her flowers.



 Aaron had become very thoughtful of her...
the week of Mother's Day, he asked if we could get Hazel a Mother's Day gift.
Of course that was a great idea, so we went and picked out something beautiful for her.
I wish this wasn't so blurry, but this is the Mother's Day gift we gave to Hazel.
It was a beautiful butterfly on a pole that was to put in a flower pot and the butterfly wings are on springs which make it so the butterfly wings look like they are fluttering.
Haze loved it. She kept it in a vase on her kitchen table.

The day before Hazel passed away, Aaron was making a bracelet out of beads with his cousin, when he finished his, he asked if he could make a bracelet for Hazel.
So he made one for Hazel and he was able to give it to her the day before she passed away.


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Hazel had asked my mom to speak at her funeral and had wanted my dad to sing...
since they are gone, they asked that my mom write some things down and for me to read it at the service. They also had some of my family sing the song "Each Life That Touches Ours For Good".
It went well and it was an honor to participate in the service.

I wanted to put my Mom's words about Hazel here:


Thoughts and memories of my dear friend, Hazel Diehl. By Karen Higginson June 11, 2012
In August of 2007, Lynn and I returned home from serving a mission in Canada. It seems that it was my very first Sunday back, when I was approached by a very inspired Relief Society President. She asked me if I would be willing to visit Sister Hazel Diehl each Sunday and share the Relief Society lessons with her. I accepted, and this began a long and wonderful friendship with Hazel. Except for my family, Hazel is the dearest friend I have and I love her dearly. I cannot imagine her not being next door to us. We have been neighbors for 25 years. Lynn has been her Home Teacher for 15 years, with 3 or 4 of our sons as his companion. We were there to support her when Gordon passed away. We loved having Gordon and Hazel as our neighbors. They were friendly and kind and neighborly in the old fashioned sense of the word. We didn’t have to make an appointment to visit. And we enjoyed visiting “over the fence” if we were outside. Each time one of our children left to serve a mission, there was always a card with some money to help them prepare. They were our friends.
Hazel was a little cautious when we first started our weekly meetings together, but before long we were both looking forward to our visits. I have been her teacher/friend/student every week for nearly 5 years. She taught me so much as we talked about the gospel. She asked me questions that I often had to research to give her the answer. She was a deep thinker and she knew the gospel so well. We shared so much of our life with each other. We shared laughter, tears, lessons, health concerns, news of families, and so much more. Sometimes we just talked. She was always interested in my family and how they were doing, and she was anxious to share news of her family; her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Whenever she got a new photo of a family member, she quickly pointed it out to me. Her family was the smartest and the best and the cutest. She was a typical mother and grandmother. Proud of her posterity.
Hazel loved her flowers. She was a “master gardener.” I loved to look across the fence and see all of the beautiful flowers she had nurtured. I was always excited when some of them spilled across the fence into our yard. I would say to her, “Hazel, do you care if I cut some of your flowers that are on my side of the fence?” Her response would be, “Take all you want and then if you need more, come over here and get them.” I know she thought I was a little strange for asking. But to me, they were Hazel’s beautiful flowers. She had a green thumb like my Mom had. They could both get any kind of flower to grow and they loved them.
Every time we visited, Sundays or on other days, we always hugged and said “I love you” when we parted. I know Hazel appreciated me for coming, I just hope she knew how much I enjoyed our visits. I always told her it was my pleasure. She never wanted to impose on anybody, and I assured her that it was not an imposition on me. I was there most Sundays when the priests brought her the Sacrament. I knew it was a sacred time for her. She always placed a beautiful white cloth on the table on which the priests would place the sacrament. And she always thanked them and told them how much she appreciated them for bringing it to her. At times she would give them a little gift.
When I made gifts for my children and grandchildren, I always took them over to show Hazel. I wanted to share them with her and she would tell me about the days when she had been able to sew for her family and also donate to good causes. She lamented that she couldn’t do that anymore. I tried to remind her that “there is a time and a season” for everything in our lives. But she wished she could do more. Just be my friend and take care of yourself, I would say to her.
She loved her dog and her birds. She always insisted that Lady go in a different room when we visited, so she wouldn’t jump up on me. But, I didn't mind Lady and what a wonderful friend and comfort she was to Hazel. Many times she told me that when her birds saw me coming to the door, they would say, “Mrs. Higginson, Mrs. Higginson, over and over.” She was very thrilled about that. It was so cute.
We talked about politics and history. I had received a book called “Seven Miracles That Saved America.” It was so interesting and I knew Hazel would love it. So, whenever I had read a new chapter, I went would go next door to share it with Hazel. She enjoyed it so much that she bought the book. Sadly, we never finished our discussions of the book before we left on this mission, but the plan was to finish it when I returned.
I was privileged to drive Hazel to the stake center a couple of times so she could get her temple recommend renewed. She knew the importance of having a current temple recommend, even if her health wouldn’t allow her to attend the temple. One Sunday, in the fall of 2009, as I was giving Hazel the Relief Society lesson about temple sealings, something prompted me to ask Hazel if her family had been sealed in the temple. I was kind of surprised at myself because I knew she had a recommend. Hazel told me she had not been sealed to her family and it was her deepest desire to have her daughters sealed to her. We talked about this a few times and then it was arranged. It was a great privilege for Lynn and me to attend the temple with Hazel and her family as they were sealed together, January 8, 2010. Hazel was so happy and many times she talked about that wonderful day and the feeling of peace that she now felt. THE GOSPEL DOES NOT PRODUCE IT’S POTENTIAL FOR HAPPINESS UNTIL FAMILIES ARE SEALED. WE ARE SO THANKFUL THAT HAZEL REALIZED HER DREAM OF HAVING HER DAUGHTERS SEALED TO HER BEFORE SHE PASSED AWAY.
At 2:32 p.m. Utah time, on Saturday, June 9, 2012, we received a phone call from Leslie letting us know that Hazel passed away about 50 minutes earlier. We were heartbroken. We didn’t want her to suffer, and at the same time we are so sad to think of her not being there when we return home from this mission. But, I had a “tender mercy” from Heavenly Father. I called Hazel and I am grateful that when I talked to her that week before she passed away, she was totally coherent and we had a very nice conversation. In part, I told her we were very worried about her. In her usual Hazel way, she said, “I don’t want you worrying about me; you just take care of the things you are there to do and I will see you when you get home.” She told me how much she loved and appreciated Leslie and Aaron for their constant visits after we left. She said she loves them very much. We expressed love to each other and said we missed each other. It was so nice to hear her voice and she sounded so strong and well, that we were shocked that she lost ground so fast after that. I am so grateful Leslie and Aaron were so faithful in visiting with her. Each day, as we checked in with Leslie, our hearts grew heavier as the news was less and less hopeful. There is a quote that says, The best of friends must part.” Fortunately, we know that this parting is for a short time. I know we will see our friend, Hazel, again. For that knowledge, I am truly grateful. So, God be with you, Hazel, until we meet again, on the other side of the veil. We love you.

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Aaron and Hazel on her birthday at the end of February 2012.
She turned 91 years old that day.

A couple of days ago, I was in the kitchen and I said, "I miss Hazel".
Then Aaron got serious and somber and said, "Me too, she's the best old person I have ever met. Its heartbroken. I wish her son could bring her to my game."

When he said 'its heartbroken', I am pretty sure he meant that he is heartbroken... he has heard me say that about sad things and he said it in his cute child like way. What a sweet boy.


We will miss Hazel.
We had some special visits with her.
She is a very special and loving person.
We love her and we are grateful for the blessing of her friendship.
We really really really miss her.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Last Day of Kindergarten

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Aaron with Mrs S.
What a great teacher Aaron had this year.
We both really loved her.


video


 
This is the Thank You card that Aaron wrote for his teacher.
As a 'thank you', we gave Mrs S. a little wooden sign decoration that said "Teachers who love teaching teach children to love learning".
It was really cute and I hope she liked it.
I forgot to get a photo of it.

 I am so proud of Aaron.
I loved volunteering in his class this year.
It was so much fun spending time at school around his class.
 
I am very sad that he starts first grade next year... all day school... how will I survive?

Summer break... here we come! Yay!


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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

May Days ~ 2012

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I love this face.

 A Walrus.



 
 Fun at the zoo for Grandpa's birthday.

 
 More fun at the zoo.

 
 Happy Birthday Grandpa.

 
 That bottom tooth looks SO loose and wiggly.

 
Tooth #2 GONE!
On Mother's Day.

 My brother in law, John, took Aaron to the store the night before Mother's Day.
He had him pick out a gift for me for Mother's Day.
It was so thoughtful of him to do that.
When he dropped Aaron off at home, he told him to make sure he wrote me a card for Mother's Day.
So everything in this box is what Aaron picked out for me...
and that night after he got home, he sat down on the couch and wrote this card for me.
It was so cute watching him across the room sounding out each word and then writing it out.
This is my favorite gift I have ever received.
I love my son.
Thanks for helping him, John.

We went with John's family to walk on main street to see all of the chalk art.

 
This was our favorite.

The moon was full and beautiful this one night.
I made this heart with the moon by leaving the shutter open.
I love the moon.

Stella's birthday party.

 
Aaron got invited to his cousin's birthday party.
Lisa asked me to take photos for her at the party.

Here is Aaron writing on her big birthday poster for her.


 Then they colored shrinky dinks.


 Then they got to paint on a poster outside.

 It was a really fun party.
Good job Lisa.

 
Kara was the PTA president this past year and she was in charge of getting some thank you gifts for some of the board members.
So she asked me to put together 30 packets each containing 5 of my photo cards.
It is my first major order of my photo cards. I was excited to do this.
Thanks for the opportunity Kara.

 Aaron took some photos of a few things they made at school.


Kindergarten field day.
We walked to the park and then we all got to play for a couple of hours.
It was a really fun day.

video
I was filming this to send to my parents on their mission.
That is why he says hello to them.
He knows how to pump on the swing now! YAY!

video
Interesting way to use his dump truck.
Weeeee!


What a busy month we had.

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend ~ 2012 / Blood Drive

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First, I want to remind people to get out and donate blood.
The Red Cross called me and asked me to come in on Memorial Day
for a special Pediatric Blood Drive they were having.

John and Tawnie invited us up to the cabin for a couple of days over Memorial Day weekend.
We were so excited because we have so much fun with them up there.
They brought a four wheeler this time and Aaron just couldn't get enough rides on it.
He is a natural at driving it, I was very impressed.
This is Aaron, my brother John, and Jack.

The young kids started a movie and then ended up playing outside. I snuck a photo of John and Emily watching the kids show very intently. I thought it was funny how into it they were.

 Me with Aaron.

Sam and Aaron

Sam, Aaron, and Thomas
It rained or snowed most of the time we were there, but it sure was beautiful anyway.

This is the view from the cabin.
Camera...

 
 vs. Phone

Breathtaking.

Smith and Morehouse Reservoir
Camera...

vs. Phone.


I think my phone does pretty good. :)

The sun was finally showing as we were packing up to leave.

Jack and Aaron are great friends.
We had so much fun.
Thank you John and Tawnie.
I missed getting photos of Tawnie and Leah.

We stopped at the cemetery to remember Aaron.

When we got to the cemetery, there were a lot of roses spread across Aaron's headstone.
They were beautiful. They were left by family members who had been there earlier.
I am grateful so many came to visit there.
Aaron took this photo. 

While we were sitting by the headstone, a lady walked over and said that she and her husband had seen the headstone and come over to see it before we got there and that they were very touched by it. It was sure sweet for her to come over and tell us that.

I am so grateful to those who have given their lives for our freedoms.

 We also stopped at this cemetery to remember my brother Bruce as well.



Later in the afternoon, a lot of my family got together to play a game of softball.
It was a lot of fun.

Good job Aaron.

After the softball game, we all got together for an ice cream social and visiting on the front lawn. It was yummy and fun and wonderful to be with family.

It was a good Memorial Day Weekend.

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