Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Raising Grandma Harris

I don't believe in reincarnation. But if I did I would swear that Lauren was my Grandma Harris. I have no doubt that the two of them were great pals between the time Grandma died in 2002 and Lauren was born in 2005. Sometimes the similarities between these two amaze me.

First off, they have the same eye color and they look similar. See the photos above and below.
Second - Grandma Harris would always say "Suuuuure" when we asked her something like "do you want a little ice cream?" Lauren often answers "Suuure" and in the same tone.

Third - for better or worse, Grandma Harris had favorites. She just favored some grandkids over others. It wasn't that she was mean to the others but it certainly seemed that she just really LOVED some of her grandkids especially a lot. I think I was one of her favorites. For better or worse, Lauren definitely has favorites. Now her favorites do change frequently, which is saving us, but she definitely will prefer one sister over another or one parent over another or one cousin over another on any given day.

Third - Grandma Harris knew how to do everything the "right" way. When my mom married my dad and went to his parents home for the first time she learned that she was stirring the Jello the wrong way. You get my drift?

Lauren also knows the "right" way to do everything and her sisters, dad and I get corrected all the time. This is far more tolerable from a three year old than from a mother in law. Still, I am wondering how to effectively teach or train this trait out of her. We are working on it.

Perhaps the best way Lauren is like Grandma Harris is in her humor. She is the giggliest girl I have ever known. She is the one baby I have ever known to wake up laughing in the morning. Also in the middle of the night if she woke up when she was little, Jon would go rock her back to sleep in his arms. He said that often he would get her almost totally out and then out of no where she would just crack up laughing and wake herself up. She loves to make jokes and be funny. We can almost always get her into a good mood with a little teasing.

Grandma Harris had the most marvelous sense of humor. My mom tells the story of going up to be with my Aunt Shelba when she was in the final stages of ovarian cancer and dying. My mom walked into Aunt Shelba's room and Grandma was in there with her and some others and they were all laughing up a storm. Grandma had the whole room in stitches. My mom resolved then that if she ever found out she was dying, Grandma Harris was the woman she wanted to sit by her side.

I often can almost hear Grandma Harris laughing at me or with me from the other side. She had four girls and then my dad and then 10 years later my uncle. All the time when she was older we would hear her say in exasperation "FOUR girls!!! Four girls I had. Then I got my boy." The 14 months when I was raising my four girls I could hear her voice in my head all the time when I was frustrated or thought I might be going crazy, which was often. Suddenly her words "FOUR girls..." took on a new meaning.

Now I can often hear her saying "then I got my boy." The reason we gave Noble the first name of Morgan is because he is that boy. The boy that came after the FOUR girls. Morgan is my father's name. I wanted Noble always to remember that he has FOUR older sisters just like his Grandfather does.

I love this photo of my grandparents. I love that grandad's arm is around my grandmother. I love that they are both laughing so naturally. This photo shows their real personalities once you strip away the worries and stresses of farming and raising kids and sewing petticoats and baking bread and cleaning house. This is how I imagine them now. Only I imagine Camille laughing along with them. Happy, well kept, free of worry, full of joy.

I hope my little version of Grandma Harris can keep this joy and let her humor continually buoy her up through life. I love my little Lauren. She has cuteness all over her face and she always lights up mine.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Getting back to Life

I feel like I am finally starting to emerge from the newborn cocoon. Noble still is up 3 times a night to eat but at least not I know pretty well how to get him down to sleep. I feel like we are starting to form a schedule. It is nice.

So today I put him down after his morning awake time and headed to Pilates. It is my first time back since about 2 months before having him. Too long. It was pretty sad how much strength I have lost in those 4 months. I did alright - I mean I was sweating and panting and working my bootie off but at least I COULD do the exercises. At least until we got to the abs. hmmm. yeah...

I couldn't even do 1 sit up. Not even 1. It was so sad. But my muscles did get worked out and I am feeling it tonight. I will be working on those abs big time so I can once again do the ab exercises.

I feel worked tonight. It is a good feeling. Work really is a blessing. We don't always like doing it but it makes us feel good to do it and get it done. It is a part of life and a good part. I am glad to be back at it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Not Alone

In the dimmed light coming from the hall I can faintly see what looks like tears welling in Sabrina's eight year old eyes. We are sitting in the nursery with the lights off. I am rocking seven week old Noble to sleep. He has been fussing and Sabrina and I have been singing to him.

We sang "I Wonder When He Comes Again." I added a verse that I made up on the spot. "I wonder when He comes again will Cami be with him? Will we know her when we see her face? Will we know her by her grin? Will she be small like she once was or will she seem all grown? Will she laugh and smile to see us then and know us as her own. I am sure she'll know we love her so when we see her once again. Because of all the fun we had while she lived with us here at home."

Sabrina tells me she misses Camille. I can hear the tears she is choking back in her throat. It is the second time this week she has been hit by the wave. It has been months - many months - since a wave of grief has hit her before this. I wonder if she can sense the year mark we have just passed.

I ask her if she is okay. She nods. Still the tears threaten to fall. I tell her it is okay if she is not okay. She touches her throat and chokes out in a broken voice, "it hurts." I tell her I know. I miss her too. She is not alone. I have felt everything she is feeling. I feel it now with her. She is not alone.

How can it be that my little girl so tender hearted and young must feel such grief and be familiar enough with it that she, like me, is reluctant to let it out whenever it rushes over her? Isn't she too young for that?

How can it be that I must go to the cemetery to visit my child? Aren't I too young for that?

I ask Sabrina if she has just been thinking more about Camille lately. She says baby Noble reminds her of Camille. Seeing him is like having Camille here but not. I ask her if she wants me to let her cry (I can tell she is on the verge and fighting it) or if she wants me to make her laugh. She giggles a little. I tell her Noble does look somewhat like Camille but Camille was much cuter. She laughs. Noble -- he is too boy looking to be as cute as little Cami. Plus, I tell her, he toots and burps WAY more. He is all boy. She laughs again.

The wave passes and I am left deep in thought with Noble asleep at last in my arms. I feel pained that my child must know such sadness. At the same time, I am grateful that I am not alone in missing my sweet little angel girl. I am sad that Sabrina carries this ache and at the same time happy that she knew her little sister well enough and was old enough to remember her enough to miss her. I wouldn't take that away from her. It is hard now to bear, but it is a pain borne of love that I would not erase if I could.

I think of the times I have been hit by waves over the last year. I see now how I have not been alone. The Savior felt it all before. He feels it with me in the moment. I am not alone -- never alone. I have been carried. I am still often carried.

I hate having to be carried. At the same time I cherish the "knowing" I have gained through this experience. I hate the pain but I would not erase it if I could. It is a pain borne of love. It reminds me of the empty room in my heart that will only be filled when I am with her again. No, it is hard to bear now but I would not erase it. If I must live without her I would not erase the pain. It drives me to live worthy. It makes me more able to fulfill the promise I made at baptism to mourn with those that mourn. It literally makes me more like the Savior. It allows me to let others know that they too are not alone.

None of us, in our diverse aches and pains, in the depths of our forsaken feeling, is alone. He has felt it all before. He feels it with us know. We are not alone.

Ann Marie's Primary Talk

Little children in our church get the opportunity to give talks in front of all the children every once in a while. It is a great experience for them to get used to public speaking and to be able to learn how to think through a church topic and put together a talk on it.

Ann Marie got the assignment to speak today on how repentance and forgiveness strengthen us and our families. She is six years old and a bright kid. So I made her write her own talk. I wanted to see what she would come up with on her own.

At first she just made up a fictional story about repentance and forgiveness. I asked her to add a scripture story in there too. She did the rest and I typed as she dictated. I did help her tie her talk back to the given topic in the second to last sentence but other than that ... here is repentance and forgiveness through the eyes of a six year old:

One day there was a girl named Martha she had a brother named Andrew. And that day she was writing an email to her friend and Andrew came in and messed it up and left the room. Later that day, Andrew felt bad so he went to apologize to Martha. Martha apologized too and she forgave her brother. So she got to finish her email. So every time you a mistake you should apologize too.

Once in the scriptures there was a man named Alma he was wicked. Every time they told him to be nice he would be mean and tell people the church wasn’t true. Then one day while they were on the way to tell people the church wasn’t true an angel appeared. He said that Alma’s father had been praying for Alma to not be wicked. And while the angel was talking Alma fainted. So they took Alma home to his father and put a wet cloth on him. Two days later Alma woke up. He didn’t feel wicked anymore. He had a change of heart from hard to soft. Then he went to the church and apologized because he had been telling people that were in the church that the church was not true. He repented for all his sins and he always always always teached people about the church. He soon grew up to be a prophet.

So every time we do something wrong try to repent like Alma did. To repent you have to pray and ask Heavenly Father to forgive you. After you pray you will have a change of heart and you will not want to do bad things anymore. You should also apologize to the person you were mean to. Then you should be extra nice to try to make up for being mean. When we repent we are following the example of Alma and we set a good example for our little brothers or sisters. Repenting and forgiving makes our family stronger and happier. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ AMEN.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sunny June

Sunny fun filled days with family and visitors - that is how this June has shaped up for our family. We have been enjoying the taste of summer we are cramming into this month off of school. With trips to California and Utah and Idaho, cousins and friends staying over with us as they travel on their vacations, and fun times with friends and neighbors there has been little time to write it all down. It is good to be busy in such wonderful ways.

I was holding Noble tonight as he fell asleep in my arms and felt that mother love rush through me. You know the kind where you just want to squish the little one but don't because they are so little so you grit your teeth instead? Yeah that. It was my fourth grit of the night (I had already put the other 3 down) but it still seems one too few. I suppose it always will now.

I have started so many posts these last few days only to be interrupted by motherhood. :) And alas the little son has woken for his midnight snack. Still I will post because if I don't I may never finish a post. Such is the nature of this most important calling of love.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance

I went to the taping of tonight's So You Think You Can Dance show yesterday. It was so much fun! I got to tell Mia Michaels that I love her. She is my favorite choreographer. She does one of tonight's numbers and Evan and Randi dance it. It is in my top 2 of tonight's performances (at least from my view at the live taping.) The other one I just loved was a Dave Scott hip hop routine with Brandon and Janette. Brandon is a pretty incredible dancer.

I loved watching all the dances. I was in the back row standing right next to the bottom stair to the judges platform. This let me see the judges and choreographers really well. The dances ... well I could see them from the knee up. I am not that tall. I needed some serious platform shoes to see over the 5 rows of heads in front of me. I am pretty sure you will not be able to see me in any of the crowd shots. But I am wearing a bright orange shirt if you want to look anyway.

You probably will be able to see my friend Catherine. She and my sister in law Nikki and my friend Carrie went with me. Catherine is pregnant so she got a seat in the stands with the contestants families. She right behind all of Randi's family with the signs. She is wearing a gray shirt. And she confirmed that yes, Randi is LDS.

I will be watching tonight to catch all the below the knee action. :) Feel free to come join me if you like. Party starts promptly at 8:45.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Story by Ann Marie

Ann Marie hand wrote a story for her dad for Father's day. It was one of an assortment of handmade gifts the girls and I gave to Jonathan for Father's day. She worked really hard to write all of this story out and then she read it to me and I typed it up so Dad could read it easier.

Jonathan is always encouraging the girls to make up their own stories and write them down and illustrate them. It is one of his staple babysitting activities. They always come up with something creative.

Here is "The Father's Day Gift" in Annie's own words:


Father’s Day Gift

By Ann Marie Waite

June 21, 2009

Once upon a time on a regular day there was a dad with eight kids and seven animals. Let me tell you the names of the pets and the kids. First are the kids. The first kid was a girl named Aliza. The second one was Tanner. Third was Isa. Fourth was Andrew. Fifth was Noble. Sixth was Lewie. Seventh was Sarah. Eighth was Noah.

Next are the pets. The first pet was a hamster. Second was a gerbil. Third was a dog. The fourth was a cat. The fifth was a snake. Sixth was a lizard. Seventh was a turtle.

Well everything was not going very well. Well their dad (or should I say sick dad) dad was sick for good. He threw up on his sheets ten times and his clothes and had diarrhea for twenty days.

So that day Aliza thought since their father was sick she started a new holiday. She named it Father’s Day. So she got ingredients and made a new medicine. She gave it to the little kids and they gave it to their dad and he was cured from Aliza. She was the best kid he had ever had.

Soon she had kids. And every Father’s Day she would help them set up stuff for their dad and every Dad’s day he would love it sooooooooooooo much that he finally signed them up for school. They were excited for the first day of school sooooooooooo much that they would buy everything that he always wanted. That is how much they loved him. Ssoooooooooooooooooooooooooo much.

Sunday was the day that Dad’s day was brought to Earth. That’s what Father’s Day feels like – Happiness. It feels so good to be loved soooooooooooooooooo much. I love Father’s Day.

The End

Sunday, June 21, 2009

One in a Million

My blog counter hit the 1,000,000 mark yesterday. A million visits by who knows how many people. What an amazing thing it is that so many people have shown love, concern, and interest in Camille, her story, her mission, and her family.

All this in one year. A year ago today we held her funeral. I have a CD recording of it. I have not listened to it yet. But I think perhaps today I will. Jon and I talked today about how important it is to remember Camille. It is not important to remember the pain and suffering we have and sometimes still do feel. It is not important to remember the tragedy of her death. But there are so many good things I do want to remember.

I want always to remember how our family rallied around us in our darkest hours. They went to amazing lengths to comfort, console, and help us. All this while feeling their own sense of loss. We have been richly blessed with an amazing family. They literally held me up when I could not get up on my own. No matter what difficulties, disagreements, or divides we may face in the future, the love they showed me after Camille's accident will not be forgotten. It ties me to them even more deeply than I thought possible.

I also want to remember the feeling in our home just after Camille's passing. I needed it to be a place of love and peace so that I could feel her near. Time has worn down that NEED and our home is not always a place of peace and love. But I want to remember how it was in the beginning because that is how I want it to be always. That is now the goal for which I daily strive.

I want to remember all the kindness of friends and strangers, the powerful feeling on being prayed for by so many, the goodness of mankind. These memories give me hope in a seemingly morally deteriorating world.

I want to remember the way I saw my children through Camille's eyes that first day after she died. I want always to see them for the glorious spirit children of God that they are. Even when they are being naughty, I want to see the light that they innately carry as spiritual offspring of divinity.

I want to remember our drive to live clean and worthy lives, continually repenting and relying on the Saviors atonement to make us so. I want to remember to repent every day so that I can be as clean and pure as Camille is and so that if my time should come tomorrow I would be worthy to be with her. I want this memory to drive me not to screw up so often in the first place.

And I want to remember Camille. I want to remember our family as a family of four little girls. I want to remember that now there are 7 of us, not just the 6 I can see. I want to remember her sounds and smells and snuggles. I want to remember her enough for her sisters to lean on my memory when their own fades. This is the hard part of remembering. It brings with it such acute missing, longing, and heartache. Still, I want to remember because memories are all I have left of her.

And so this Father's day we will remember the little girl who last Father's day we held as she passed from our arms to her Father in Heaven's arms.
And this Father's day we will rejoice in the new little son with whom our family has been blessed. This Father's day we will be grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who has trusted us with 5 of his choice children. This Father's day we will give the Father of our little family all the love, joy, and pampering that was overlooked in the shadow of grief last Father's day.

Happy Father's day Jonathan.
To us 6 you are one in a million.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Angel Ann Marie

Every once in a while one of my children magically transforms to become an angel child. Today was one of those days for Ann Marie. I want to record her day so that someday when the two of us are having a harder time, we both can remember how wonderful today was. It was so good it deserves its own post.

The day started tired for me. Not much sleep from the little guy last night and Jon took the baby downstairs around 7 to give me a couple hours of sleep. He paid the girls with jellybeans (thanks Ed and Megeann) that our friends gave us to bounce the baby in his bouncy seat.

When I came down the TV was on and the baby was happy bouncing. I casually mentioned that we would need to empty the dishwasher so I could get the dishes done. I expected to have to wait till the show ended and then force kids to get to it like usual. But as soon as I closed my mouth Ann Marie hopped up and went and unloaded the dishwasher. She didn't complain that no one else was working. She just did it.

Then she helped me load the dishwasher and clean off the counters. All while her sisters watched the rest of the show. Later while I was bathing the baby Sabrina told me that Ann Marie was advancing the laundry for me. I didn't even ask her to do that. She just saw the need and did it.

That seemed to continue through the day. She was picking up the house as she went. Tonight she came down because she was lonesome and unable to sleep and I told her she could read a book for a few minutes while I did the dishes (again). She came over to load with me first and then read her poem book for a few minutes before going up to bed without being asked.

Have I mentioned that I LOVE this girl??? And on days like today I feel like the luckiest mom in the world to have her in my home! She has the potential for such incredible greatness in so many respects. She is highly intelligent. She is incredibly agile. She is naturally talented in music. She loves BIG. She is always up for a challenge.

But of all the ways she can be great, I hope most of all she becomes great in being obedient and helpful like she was today. All her many talents will serve her so much better if she uses them to serve others. Thank you Ann Marie, for serving me so well today. I love you!
I took this photo the other day because Ann Marie asked me to. After I took it she said, "Hey Mom, maybe you could use that photo to send out to people for the card that we send out to people with the pictures on it to tell them baby Noble is born. You know like the photos we took where we had to wear those clothes you bought for Aunt Elizabeth to take our photos?"

I am not going to be using this photo for Noble's birth announcement but wanted to share it with you here because it is a cute photo of a cute girl who REALLY loves her little baby brother.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dance Review 2

Okay it is week 2 of the competition. Last week was pretty incredible. There weren't too many I didn't like last week. But probably my favorites were the Many Moore piece danced by Melissa and Ade and the Fox Trot and the first hip hop with Phillip and the one with Evan and Randi. Okay I know. I liked a lot of them.

This week was less stellar. My favorite by a long shot was the contemporary with Jonathan and Karla. I loved that piece. I also really enjoyed the disco. It was like disco on speed. I am finding the costuming a bit distracting in several of the numbers. Come on wardrobe people! Don't make the outfit steal the attention from the dance.

I was sad for the people sent home. They seemed sad. But someone must go and they were not on my top favorite list so it was a good choice. Every cut is going to be hard this year because the dancers are all really good.

Also I was very glad Evan's brother is going to Vegas for season 6. Good luck to you Ryan!

I am excited to go see the show live this next week and am hopeful that Mia Michaels will choreograph at least one of the routines. I think it is about her turn to do that. I love her work.

I will let you know what it is like to attend a taping!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Baptism/Blessing Photos

I got the photos of the baptism and blessing day from my sister in law Elizabeth. Here are a few of my favorites:
Here are the two little loveys all dressed in white.

I just LOVE this photo with the blue pillow in the background.
This one I love because you can see the necklace of Camille on my neck so close to her little brother about to be blessed.

Super sweet, super traditional photo of dad with daughter about to be baptized by immersion.

Here is dad with his rather unhappy son just after his blessing. Little son got woken up to have this blessing gown put on him. He was none too happy about that but it was necessary because of the story of the dress. ann marie was cuter.

Okay so I was in the middle of typing this entry and got interrupted by life. It happens. So I left the computer and am just now getting back to finish it. In the meantime It seems someone found my computer and added to my entry. You can see the sentence above this paragraph in a different font. I did not write that. I will give you all three guesses on who did. Hmmm....

Back to the dress story. This blessing gown was handmade for the blessing of Jonathan's maternal grandfather, McKay Christensen. It was made by Ann Marie Peterson, Jon's grandfather's maternal grandmother. This grandmother was the only mother McKay ever really remembered because his mother died when he was only 2 years old. His father died when he was 5 and grandma Ann Marie moved in to raise him and his 4 older siblings. She passed away when McKay was 15.

My mother in law told us the story of Ann Marie Peterson's life when I was newly pregnant with our second child. I told Jon that if we had a girl I wanted to name her after this remarkable woman who had great faith and lived a life of service and sacrifice. Obviously we did have a girl and that is why her name is Ann Marie. And yes, she is pretty darn cute.

All of our kids have worn this gown to be blessed. Jonathan also wore the gown on his blessing day. It is a special heirloom and we hope the kids will feel the tie to their faithful ancestors as they look back at the pictures of their blessing day.
The family after the blessing and baptism.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Party tonight!

Tonight is my first official So You Think You Can Dance Party! 8:30 at my house. If you know me well enough to know where I live you are welcome to come watch with me. Hopefully Noble will be a happy or sleepy little guy through it so I can enjoy the dancing on the screen and avoid having to do the baby dance with him. :)

Next week I am going to the taping of the performance show. I am excited. It will be a quick trip but with a super sister in law to watch Noble, I am going to make it happen.

Hope to see some SYTYCD fans tonight!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

In Response to a Comment

Little Man showing off his dimples.
He is my only child with dimples. So cute.

There was a comment when I got back from vacation that suggested that it seemed I loved Noble less than my other children because he apparently got shafted by not getting a post about his blessing. I wanted to clear things up a bit.

First - I hope that none of my children will ever look back at this blog and try to gauge my love for them based upon the number or types of posts I do about them. If the number of baby pictures each of us has of ourselves were the judge of who was most loved, I am sure all oldest children would win that contest.

The number of posts I do about each child is in no way a reflection of the amount I love them. I love all my children equally and uniquely. That is why each has a flower. No flower is better than the other. I love all the flowers equally but for different reasons.

Now I know many have asked if Noble will have a flower. The answer is probably not. But he will have something. I am not sure what yet. I don't know him well enough to pick out what he reminds me of yet. I am sure as we get to know each other better I will choose something. Maybe a tree or some other kind of plant or animal.

Back to posts = love. Actually, I felt like I had done many posts on Noble as of late. I actually have been thinking I need to highlight Ann Marie and Lauren more since they seem less "represented" here. I do try to be sensitive to highlighting each child because I am a classic middle child who had identical twin younger brothers. (translation -- I was attention starved as a child.)

I do have a couple of posts brewing in my head about those two girls. But they are not time sensitive. I will get to them.

Second, to answer the question about why Sabrina's baptism got such the spotlight and Noble's blessing was more of a footnote.

Baptism is a big deal. It is an essential step that an individual must choose to take for herself in order to return to live with our Heavenly Father again. By choosing to be baptized we make promises or covenants with our Heavenly Father to keep His commandments and take the name of Jesus Christ upon us (or live a Christ like life). In return Heavenly Father promises us that we will be forgiven of our sins and have the Holy Ghost to be our constant companion as long as we live worthy. We mess up all the time, but we can renew these promises weekly by attending church and taking the sacrament.

Baptism is the first step we take in our lives toward returning Home. When Sabrina choose to be baptized she was taking a step closer to Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and to being with her sister Camille again. I want her to remember her baptism day. I want personally to remember the feelings I felt as I watched my little girl take that step and be "reborn." I felt a strong witness of the Spirit that day. As I saw her baptized I felt powerfully the reality of what a significant GIANT step she was taking closer to Home. I want to share my feelings with her now and as she grows older and understands this more fully.

As for baby blessings, they are spiritual experiences and the blessing given is inspired. The blessing is not prepared ahead. It is literally what the priesthood holder giving the blessing feels inspired by the Lord to say in that moment. Sabrina was also given a blessing as part of her confirmation. (After she was baptized, her father put his hands on her head and confirmed her a member of the LDS church and by the priesthood authority he holds gave her the gift of the Holy Ghost. He then gave her an inspired blessing. The things he told her were things the Lord would have her know. Things she was doing well and counsel to help her in her life.)

Blessings are very personal. I wrote as much of them down as I could so my children could have a record of them, but they are not the kind of thing I feel comfortable sharing on the internet. They aren't MY blessings to share.

So there was not much to report on Noble's blessing other than he was blessed. I would certainly have shared a photo of him in his cute blessing outfit (and I still will) except that my sister in law took all the photos that day and has them on her camera. When she sends them to me I will be posting one of the little man with a story about the outfit he is wearing. That is a good story to share.

In the mean time I took a couple of photos of the little man on the way home. I was trying to capture on film the blueness of his eyes and how big he has gotten. Somehow I never can capture the beauty I see through the lens of a camera. Still I will share what I did get.
He has grown so much! Now if he would just think about sleeping through the night ;)

The Blue Eyes.

I wish you could see how blue they really are. This photo still doesn't do them justice. They remind me of Camille's eyes. But it is often hard to see the blue for all the light that is continually in his eyes whenever they are open. His beautiful blues are ALWAYS filled with light. Even when he is crying.

Monday, June 15, 2009


I am back from a lovely vacation in Southern California. Running away proved to be a fabulous idea and the time away has left me feeling relaxed though sleep deprived. But then most of us mothers of newborns are sleep deprived. There are some jobs from which there are no vacations.

I also took what has been my longest vacation from blogging. I actually didn't even take my computer on my trip. I wanted to just be disconnected from the world for a bit. It was lovely to forget which day it was and wonder what to do with each day.

And now today I am back. Back to my home. Back to my own bed. Back to my own schedule.

Today I am not marking the one year mark. Physically my body knows what day it is, what weekend it has been. I have been fighting off migraines since Saturday evening. I get these only when I am going through something stressful. But luckily I am able to nip them in the bud with Excedrin or Ibuprofin.

Emotionally I am SOOOO much better than I was a year ago ... well it just makes me feel grateful to be where I am today instead of where I was.

A year ago this day marked the end of one journey and the beginning of another. The 13th is the day I feel like we really lost Camille. I knew she was gone when I got to the hospital and saw Jon's face. That day was the worst day. The 15th was the day we said goodbye and resigned ourselves to the fact that miracle of her recovering was not in the Lord's plan.

This day marked the end of the terrible unknown in the hospital and the beginning of the certainty of a life without Camille. A year ago that was a life I didn't know how I could live. It was a life without joy, without hope, without the sun to shine on me.

Today I have learned that it is not a life without Camille. The sun still shines on me. There is still joy, hope and happiness. Camille is still very much a part of our family and I feel her light often in our home. There are still waves of sorrow and grief and pain but today I know that life is so much more than I thought it could ever again be a year ago.

Today I feel like I am turning a new page, starting a new chapter in this journey. I have passed all the firsts. Today I am writing new scripts, making new memories. Today Camille is well and happy and so am I. I am grateful for today.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A New Favorite Treat

We went to the Bouchon the other night to enjoy great food with good company and the incredible hospitality of the staff there and our friend Chris who is the pastry chef. As always we had amazing food. But the real treat here is always the dessert course. 

Chris has been working on an idea he had a couple of years ago. Remember push up pops? The sherbet pops that you push up and eat? I loved those things growing up. Well Chris wanted to make his own version of it. It took 2 years to perfect the production but what we ate last Friday night was pretty much perfection in my book. 
These are made with homemade frozen yogurt made from homemade yogurt and blackberry sorbet. The yogurt was better than most ice creams I have had and I am kind of a connoisseur of ice cream. ;) The berry sorbet brought the right pop of flavor and the whole thing ate clean. 

It was such a fun dessert and incredibly tasty. I have been craving one since that night. Seriously I wish I could pick these up in my grocery store. I think I may have to add them to my favorite desserts list. Chris's creations keep adding to the list. 

Sunday, June 7, 2009

June 6, 2009 - WonderFULL!

I want to mark the date for such a wonderful day. Yesterday was a day FULL of wonderful things. The schedule was full with treat making, cleaning, swim lessons, family dinners, incredible food, amazing friends, and it was all topped off with spiritual events that filled my heart. During the baptism I was filled with peace and that amazing feeling of being lifted up to a higher plane of consciousness where somehow the world fades away and life - with all the good and the bad - seems to come together and make sense. I felt a few moments of pure clarity devoid of the confusion and tumult of life. These are the moment we live for. They are beautiful.

We started the day early cleaning the house. My awesome friend Stephanie showed up unexpectedly ready to help. I want to be like her when I grow up. She saw the need when she was over the day before and just came over to help. She is awesome! Thanks again Stephanie.

When the cleaning was done we spent some sorely needed time with the cousins from California who drove up for the baptism. Later more cousins came and we played with all of them over a meal before heading to the church.

Attending Sabrina's baptism and Noble's blessing were: the Martin family whose daughter Alexis was also baptized; Grandad Harris and Nana; Grandad and Grandma Waite; Morgan and Elizabeth Harris with Berkeley, Stella, Charlotte and baby in the belly; Brad and Julene Ballard with Joshua, Allyse, Joseph, Angelina, and Benjamin; Aaron and Carolyn Waite with Eden and Ava (in from Tennessee); Darleen Meier with Stella, Lucas, and Jackson (in from Connecticut); Spencer and Marleen Gunnerson with Nora, Aubrey and baby in the belly; David Waite and Stephen Waite; Chesley and Mary Davies; Justin and Sarah Striblen with Abigail and Madeline; Kathy and Lauren Fairchild; Jason and Stephanie Morris with Jameson, Susanna, Abigail, and Carson; Catherine Noorda with Cooper, Brennan, and baby in the belly; Shelli Bryan with Conner, Ryder, Ainsley and nephew Ryan LaBarbara; Lisa Bench, Carolyn Crockett, Reed Howe; Jonathan and Stephanie Waite with Sabrina, Ann Marie, Lauren, Noble, ... Camille, and many others the eye cannot see.

Yes, at one point in the program at the end of the baptism talk I felt distinctly that Camille was next to me. Moments later her sisters Sabrina and Ann Marie got up to sing a special musical number and I felt she was with them on at the podium. This was one of the highlights of the event for me.

The second came as I watched in the wings with a towel while Sabrina was baptized by her father. It was very much like watching a birth for me. It felt renewing, like the start of a new phase, and I felt the Spirit witness to me more than at any other baptism before that this ordinance is a new birth. Sabrina walked up the steps of the baptismal font to me after and as I wrapped the towel around her I said "Happy Birthday." This was truly a new birthday for her.

She walked into the bathroom to change and said to Alexis "your turn." Later they were confirmed. And after the closing song and prayer we blessed baby Noble. Between my furious note taking I saw all the little children there singing together the closing song and again I had a moment of instruction from heaven. Little children - they are our examples. It is all about becoming meek, submissive, innocent and humble as a little child. That is my goal. 

I am grateful for a family so filled with little children to remind me of that and who daily lead the way. 

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cake Balls

I spent the morning and early afternoon making THESE:
And in the process I gained a whole new appreciation for those who make any sort of chocolates. These little balls of chocolate covered cake are pure heaven. I am giving them out as favors to thank those who are coming to support Sabrina at her baptism tomorrow. 

It is late. I have had a busy day. I will have a busy and wonderful day tomorrow. So for now I must rest my little head.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dance Review

I just finished watching the results announcing the top 20 and I am very excited for this season. I am so glad that Brandon and Evan made it through. I was bummed that the Miami Ballet guy couldn't get out of his contract. I hope he comes back. 

I liked so many of the people chosen. I was sad to have the brothers have to be split and hope that the older brother will come back for the fall season. They seem to have a pretty good mix in this season and I am excited to see how they partner up. That always makes a BIG difference. A good chemistry can help so much to sell a partnership.

There will be no party this next week as I will be in California but the parties will start the following week. I am looking forward to it! It is great to have something to look forward to.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


June has always been a month filled with plans. Family vacations, graduations, swim lessons, recitals -- they all seem to cluster to June. Last year we had lots of June plans. We made it half way through them before our world came crumbling down and all our plans changed.

This year I am making plans again. I am happy to be mentally and emotionally able to make plans. I have come a long way since Camille's accident when my head turned into a strainer (unable to hold anything in it except my grief). The grief is still a prominent feature in my head. It still takes its place on the stage of my mind. But it is no longer featured as the starring role. 

This June I am planning Sabrina's baptism and Noble's baby blessing. We are doing them both the same night. I am looking forward to that this weekend. It is great to have such happy things to fill this time and keep me focused on the living wonders before me. 

Next week I am running away. :) I know many other mothers of angels do some sort of celebration or commemoration on the day their child left this life. We all find our own path through grief. Personally, I wish so much that the middle of June was in no way significant to me or my family. I do not want to do anything to celebrate that day in any way. It was the worst day of my life (or at least half of it was.)

So I am planning to run away with my family - away from home where it happened, away from everyone who was around us, away from every place Camille ever set eyes on -- away. We have decided to go to San Diego with the Kunz family. Their son Daxton died the same week as Camille and we have been good friend this last year.

I hope some time at the beach and some theme parks and in beautiful nature with beautiful weather will "take me away" from the thoughts and events of last year. I guess we will see how it goes. My only way to "commemorate" our one year mark will be taking "family" pictures with my sister in law (and perhaps I will blog that day.)

Thank you for your prayers and support as we approach this mile marker. I appreciate them. I do alright as long as I stay busy and out and about. But in quiet moments when I am alone or with just Noble, I can feel the barometer of grief rising. I know so many think it should be easy by now. But living this reality, it just isn't easy, I don't know if or when it ever will be. So thanks for the support.