Friday, August 28, 2009

Pictures Worth A Thousand Words

One of my greatest heartaches after Camille's death was the thought of taking family pictures. I was aching at the thought that I would never have a picture of my complete family. I was so grateful for the family pictures we had just taken 6 days before Camille's accident. They are priceless treasures to me. But I knew we would have more children and the thought of our next family pictures with the new addition(s) in them and no Camille ... well it was hard for me to even verbalize that thought.

I did mention that heartache once just weeks after Camille's death to my sister in law Elizabeth. (She is a photographer.) I broke down as I told her how sad I was to think I would never have a complete family picture.

Well on the one year anniversary of Camille's accident, at about the same time of day that our family forever changed, we went with Elizabeth to Balboa Park in San Diego to take our first "family pictures" with Noble. She sent me the slide show of the pictures last night late. I watched this morning and broke down again. Only this time my tears were not tears of heartache and sorrow. They were tears of gratitude and love.

I watched the slideshow and it felt... complete. It highlighted every member of our family, Camille included. I am grateful for such a beautiful family. I am grateful for the ties that bind us together beyond the realm of this mortal life. And I am grateful beyond words for Elizabeth and her hard work and talent that brought these photos to life.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Announcing the Arrival

The back of the announcement

I just got our announcements done for Noble. We took photos with my sister in law when we were in California mid June. I love the photos and only wish I were not so post pregnancy plump in them. But hey, it was only 5 weeks after Noble was born.

I love the photo of the girls with Noble because it is a true representation of what life around our house is like these days. I am excited to get more of the photos from our session with Elizabeth and see how they all turned out.
The front reads: "Mogan Noble Waite
Welcome to the new life of the Waite family!
Farewell kissed by his sister Camille in heaven,
our little Noble enters the loving embrace of his family on earth
Lauren (4), Ann Marie (6), Sabrina (8)
Jonathan and Stephanie
May 10, 2009 at 10:01 p.m. 8 lbs. 12 ozs. 21 inches

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Weight Update

A few months ago I did a post on losing the baby weight. I wrote about my "write out what I am going to eat tomorrow" tactic. I did do that for a couple of weeks but I seemed to have a major problem with know how much to eat while breast feeding. It seemed I never felt full. So finally I decided to take the plunge and sign up for an actual diet program.

I have been doing Weight Watchers for about 7 weeks now. I have lost a little over 11.2 lbs. I am liking their program and it has taught me a lot about portion sizes and how much I should be eating as a nursing mom. I feel it is a completely livable program and I still enjoy my favorite foods, just less of them or less often.

I still have another 14 lbs. to lose but I will post about it when I get there with before and after photos.

Personal Thoughts on Preschool

Someone asked about what I think about preschool. Those who know my thoughts on preschool may be surprised to find that I am putting Lauren in preschool this year. So I thought I would put my personal thoughts out there on the subject to answer both versions of the question.

Generally I am anti preschool. I haven't ever put a child in a preschool before. Well I did do a couple months of a co op preschool with Ann Marie before she started kindergarten but she was older for her grade and my normal concerns about preschool were not present in that situation.

I debated long and hard about whether to do preschool with Sabrina or not when she was 4. I did the research and visited a very nice school. She wanted to go. Ultimately I decided not to put her in. My reasons were as follows:

1) I was pregnant would have had a new born and Annie at home all that year. Who was Ann Marie going to play with if Sabrina wasn't home? How was I going to entertain Annie and take care of a newborn? Sabrina was so helpful. If there was a child I needed "help" with it was Annie or the baby. Why would I want to send off my big helper?

2) $$$$ Let's face it. I am just cheap. Half the reason I nurse if because I can't bring myself to pay for something I can get for free.

3) Sabrina is smart and social. I didn't feel like she "needed" the extra lessons or socialization.

4) Sabrina was young and often would come home from play dates sounding like her friends. I don't mean to say her friends said bad things. They didn't. But she adopted their tone of voice and their little sayings. I didn't want her to sound like Jane or Kate. I wanted her to sound like my Sabrina. I think she just needed a bit more time to solidify her own identity. Having the extra year at home helped and she didn't have a problem with this when she did start kindergarten.

5) I enjoyed doing preschool activities with Sabrina at home and loved watching her learn.

6) If I was going to send my child to preschool I wanted to KNOW the person teaching and the kids in the class. I was just freaked out about sending my little girl to a bunch of strangers.

7) After I decided based on the above reasons, I prayed about my decision and felt good about it.

I felt pretty much the same way when Annie got to that age except that I was less worried about #4 because Annie is Annie no matter what. I also knew people the people in the co op I did with Ann Marie really well and trusted all of them.

Now to Lauren. My first reason is pretty much turned upside down. If I keep Lauren at home all day I will be fending her off the baby most of that time. Let's face it, if Camille were still alive I would not be sending Lauren to preschool. She would be Camille's playmate. But Camille is not here.

I have a friend who runs a preschool and I trust her. I know many of the kids in her small class of 8. And most importantly I have prayed about sending her and feel good about it.

So the moral of the story is that while I am generally personally anti preschool, different situations, kids and families may make preschool a good thing worth the money. In my family and our situation right now I think that is the case for us. I guess we will see.

Good Luck in finding what is right for your family, child, and situation.

Monday, August 24, 2009

An Update

I just got this update from my friend on her boss's wife Kat. I thought some of you may be interested to know how she is doing.

Kat is doing really well. They took her off life support last Thursday, which has brought her family a new sense of hope and a belief that she will really make it through this. She was fairly loopy from being medicated and on life support for a week and a half - but this is already starting to wear off, her memory is coming back as each day progresses, and she continues to take needed baby steps forward. She is welcoming sitting in a chair for extended periods of time, eating small portions of real food, and getting sleep. In fact, Matt just got back from the hospital and let me know that they have moved her out of ICU and into a regular hospital room. This is great news as they couldn't start rehab until she got out of ICU. She took 11 steps on her own today - and is even using a little humor as they start rehab! Rehab is going to be a long road, but she'll keep fighting. There's no reason for her to stop.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bone Tired

I am feeling this quite literally tonight ... bone tired. I feel like I ran a really long race today. I didn't. I mean I haven't run a long way in a really long time but my bones hurt from going and doing all day.

I spent the first 6 hours of my day cleaning with the girls. With school starting I wanted to have a fresh start. So we did a much deeper clean than usual. I still have spaces that need organizing but that can happen after school starts. I am glad to have a very clean bathroom and clean sheets on my bed because now I need a soak in the tub and a bed to rest my tired bones.

From cleaning I took the girls to swimming lessons. We have been going everyday and I think we all taste and smell permanently of pool water. The highlight of the day for me was teaching Ann Marie how to dive. I had her do a couple kneeling and then I helped her with a few standing where I helped lift her feet up as she went in. Then I told her to give a little jump and kick her feet up behind her on her own. She did a perfect dive on her first attempt. The next few were a bit belly flopish and then she did another perfect one at the end. It was just awesome.

Back at home I made dinner and tended Noble and bathed people and then went to meet the teacher night for Lauren's preschool. I had the four little people all with me and Noble was not too happy about being awake. But we managed. Still Noble is getting a bit more weight on him and after an hour of holding him and walking and bouncing ... well did I mention I am tired tonight?

From there we rushed to the cemetery to put Camille's flower arrangement in her vase before they locked up the mausoleum. We got there just in time and the flowers looked great in her vase. My mom and a friend of hers put them together. We went with 7 Tulips, one for each member of our family. There are two green ones for Dad and Noble, a red one for Ann Marie, two mauve ones for Lauren and Sabrina and a deep pink one for me. In the center is a white one for Camille. The girls all picked which flower they wanted to represent them. They all chose the flowers closest to Camille's. I got a photo with my cell phone. If I can figure how to get in on here I will post it later.

Now I have taken a couple motrin to ease the pain of my achey bones and have decompressed from my day by watching a little Top Chef Las Vegas and I am ready to feel the comfort of clean cotton sheets on my skin. Good night to you all!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Once in a while I get hit with a brief but powerful wave of grief and longing. Usually this happens at night. Tonight it hit a few minutes ago.

Lauren took an extra long and late nap so she was having trouble sleeping. I was rocking with her downstairs when I heard Noble crying for a midnight snack. I sent Lauren to bed to wait for me and took care of Noble. The feeling started as I was nursing Noble. It just wasn't so long ago that I was nursing Camille. 15 months just isn't that long ago.

Then when I had him asleep, I went to snuggle Lauren. Lying in bed with her surrounded by her big sisters, the absence of the fourth sister hits me. Here are all my girls in one room. Well, all but one. Somehow the absence of that one little sleeping girl seems so huge.

I talk to Lauren as we snuggle. I tell her that I love Sabrina and Annie and Camille and her. She says, "I love Camille too." She then tells me that she misses Camille only when she sees her on a video and just sometimes when she doesn't see the video too. I tell her I miss Camille every day and a lot.

"And every night?" she asks. "Yes, and every night too." I reply. Then I ask "Is it okay if I miss Camille?" I want to know what she thinks about this. All this while I am not crying. I feel the tears threatening but my voice is even and calm.

"No," she responds. "I don't want you to miss Camille because I don't want you to be sad."

I have no response to that. She gives me a hug and I hug her back.

Permission denied.

A few minutes later in my own room getting ready for bed I think deeper about the words from my four year old. I have heard similar responses from my other kids and other people who love me and don't like to see me sad. I wonder how Camille would respond to the same question if I had posed it to her.

Immediately I feel as though Lauren had spoken for her. Camille would have said the same thing. Sometimes I have to remind myself that this is just a temporary separation. It is as if she is away on a mission or at a really long camp and while we miss each other it is just easier to forget the missing and get to work making the best of the day in front of you. We will have eternity to spend together someday but today we are better off making the most of the present.

It is a hard pill to swallow. But for Camille's sake I am going to renew my efforts to miss less, be sad less, and try to maximize my today while it is still here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I am idea hunting for a good fireside I need plan for September. We just had the bishop talk on dating and have done one on education. Has anyone planned or been to a great fireside for youth lately? I have a couple of ideas that I got from sugardoodle but nothing has really hit me yet.

Please share if you have any good ideas! Thanks

Monday, August 17, 2009

Squeezing the Juice Out of Summer

We have spent the last week in the pool, with cousins, sleeping in, and doing as few chores as possible. Usually I make the girls do lots of chores in their time off school. But I really wanted them to have a "break" between school years. Since we only have 2 weeks off between grades we are trying to make our "summer vacation" as full of fun as possible.

This weekend we headed to see our Southern California cousins and just play. There were no agendas. We hit the pool a couple of times and roasted marshmallows around the fire pit. Best of all we got to see family. We miss California. We lived there for about 7 years before we moved here and we miss the weather, our friends, and our family down there.

This week we have more pool time scheduled. We are cramming in some daily swimming lessons. We also have play dates to go on and bikes to ride in the evening. Who knows maybe we will even make some ice cream.

So if I am not on here blogging, I am probably holding Noble or trying to maximize our summer fun.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Book

I have been working on turning my blog into a book. It has been an addicting and emotional journey. I am using Blurb. I have been going through and editing which entries I want to include and which layouts I want to use.

I have done up through the funeral. There are so many gaps in my story that I want to write up and fill in to complete this book. It is going to be an emotional process but one that I think will be well worth the effort.

So if my posts are sparse lately, it is because I am working on the book and trying to cram a summer's worth of fun into the two weeks that my kids have off school before they start the new year. It is kind of a tall order.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I have changed the way my archives are shown to try to make it easier to go back and find certain posts. I hope it is helpful to you.

Monday, August 10, 2009

There Just Isn't Enough Chocolate in the World

You know those days when you just feel down for no particular reason? I am having one of those days. I have been keeping myself busy to try to kick myself out of this funk. Still it doesn't seem to be working. I probably need to go exercise. That would probably do it. I would rather try to drown my depression in chocolate. Maybe hook myself up to an IV of it. :) But really I know there isn't enough chocolate in the world to really make this bum feeling go away.

I guess that leaves me with exercising. Did I mention I am not in the mood to exercise? All the more reason to do it. I know. It is even more important for my mental health than my physical health and frankly my body could use it too.

Maybe if I just go put the clothes on... That is usually the hardest part right? Noble and Lauren are both asleep. Now is my chance. Come on Steph! Get your bootie up and go get dressed and take Nike's advice and JUST DO IT!

Okay. I am going to publish this post and go do it. If you are reading this and feeling the same way go put your tennis shoes on and join me ok? I'll add to this post after I am done to let you know if my exercise did the trick of pulling me out of my funk and clearing my head. Maybe if I can get my head clear I can even make some decisions to answer questions that are currently wrestling around in my mind.

Added at 7:00 p.m.

Okay I did it and I do feel so much better. Endorphins are great. The blah is temporarily gone. Hopefully the high will last me for a while. Or at least until tomorrow. Getting started really is the hardest part. Once I got on the treadmill, my planned 20 minute leisurely walk turned into a 40 minute power walk. Now I need to go shower before the little people wake.

Go make yourself sweat today! You will thank yourself later!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My Favorite Blog Post This Week

My friend Shanan wrote the following post this week about an experience she had with her boss and his very very ill wife. I love it because it illustrates so well that priesthood blessings are available for all people. I hope you will love it too. Here it is in full. I'll be watching for updates on Kat's condition.

Priesthood Power

This post has actually been a work in progress – in my mind – for months now. However, I’ve never been able to find a way to write what I want to say. But, this week proved to be my opportunity. It has been an emotionally and mentally trying week – as well as a spiritually uplifting week. One that has evoked feelings of true gratitude for the very gift of life, for being a member of the LDS church, for my faith, for the presence of Heavenly Father in my life …

For the Priesthood.

I have often thought to myself that my life would be so very different if I didn’t have the gospel in it. I have never been able to understand how I could actually live without the church – which often leads to me asking myself the very simple question, ‘How do people live without the church?’ But, that’s not for me to answer. I know – and like – a lot of people that live without it. Many of these friends are devout in their own religion. And they are very happy.

My boss is one of these very people.

I currently work as the Sr. Executive Assistant for the GM of some company based here in Austin. His name is Matt – and his wife’s name is Katina. Two weeks ago, Matt & Kat were celebrating their 20th anniversary at a ritzy hotel in downtown Austin. They were woken up Sunday morning by their middle child, Jackie, who was attending a cheer camp at UT, asking them to come pick her up as she was not feeling well. It ended up that Jackie had caught the H1N1 virus (Swine Flu) while at cheer camp – and brought it home. As the next few days passed by, and due to some very unfortunate circumstances, Kat caught the flu from her daughter. To say this flu is nasty is a complete understatement. Although it has been said that youth and children can typically rebound from this illness and regain their strength quickly, adults do not have this same luck. Kat continued to get worse and, unfortunately, by the end of the week this flu had turned into viral pneumonia.

This puts us at this past Monday (Aug 3rd).

Kat was admitted to a local hospital on Saturday (Aug 1st) and I first found out the Sunday following. While talking to Matt on Monday, it was obvious that he was worried and had been forced into a position he had never been in – and truly never wanted to be in. He had no answers of what was in store for Kat or how/when she would even recover. All he knew was that he couldn’t live without her. My immediate thoughts turned to the Priesthood – more specifically, the chance to give Kat a Priesthood blessing. If it were me in this situation, a Priesthood blessing would be a no-brainer. Matt & Kat, however, are not of our faith – and a Priesthood blessing is completely foreign to them. Understandable. But, as I was talking to Matt, I remember thinking that Priesthood blessings are available for all who need them – even if they are not of the LDS faith – and I felt prompted to explain a little about the Priesthood to him and offer for Aaron (and another Priesthood holder from church) to administer a blessing to Kat.

But I chickened out. I didn’t know how to say what I wanted to say. I knew I would mess up the explanation and the offer.

I didn’t say a word.

When I got off the phone, I was overcome with the Spirit and felt the need to call Matt back and offer this to him. I asked Aaron to help me determine what I should say and how I should approach this topic with Matt. With a little prayer in my heart (and Aaron’s words typed out in front of me!), I called him back. And, whadayaknow, it wasn’t that scary. I briefly explained what the Priesthood is, more specifically what Priesthood blessings are, and offered for Aaron to give Kat a blessing. Matt was sincerely grateful for my offer, but respectfully declined. And I was fine with his response. My purpose in calling back was to offer it – not force it upon him.

Kat was transferred to a bigger hospital with more specialized doctors the day after I spoke to Matt the first time. The pneumonia quickly spread into Kat’s other lung and was joined by bacterial pneumonia. Kat fought as hard as she could all week to simply breath – something I now realize I take for granted. The body is truly an amazing machine. Unfortunately, this just wasn’t enough and did not give her body the opportunity to rest and rejuvenate – as it so desperately needed. Kat was sedated and put on life support this past Friday morning and will probably need to be put on dialysis before too long as her kidneys are already starting to fail.

Fast forward to yesterday.

It was yesterday that I got this call.

‘Shanan, I would like to take you up on that offer,’ Matt humbly asked.

‘Absolutely!’ I so eagerly responded. ’… No, it is not critical that you be there … I understand your want for her to have this sooner rather than later … No, no, you’re not putting us out … We will make it happen … Don’t you worry.’

We asked Aaron’s home-teaching companion to come with us to help administer the blessing. We were all humbled as we gathered in Kat’s ICU room around 5:30pm last night. Life is so fragile. It is not easy seeing somebody lie so helpless, dependent on modern technology to keep them breathing. However, she still had life. She still had a will to live. She had proved that. All of our eyes discovered at once the picture of Jesus Christ she had resting behind her bed. She may not be a member of my faith – but she has faith in the very same Jesus Christ that I have faith in.

Aaron and Jason gently laid their hands on Kat’s head.

There is so much power in the administering of a Priesthood blessing.

There was so much power in the administering of this Priesthood blessing.

“My word … shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same … If a servant of the Lord speaks as he is moved upon by the Holy Ghost, his words are ‘the will of the Lord, … the mind of the Lord, … the word of the Lord ,… [and] the voice of the Lord.’” (D&C 1:38, 68:4)

My testimony of the power of the Priesthood was strengthened yesterday as I listened to the words the Lord had prepared for Kat. I am in awe at how giving the Lord is of miracles in my life – and in the lives of others – no matter what form they come in. I am humbled to know that I have this very power within my home – that my husband holds and honors the Priesthood. The Lord loves each of us – regardless of whether or not we have accepted His gospel here on this earth. He knows, so intimately, what we need. The Lord allows miracles to happen in our lives to teach and comfort us on our journey back to Him. I only hope that my faith continues to grow so that I can be worthy of the many miracles the Lord has promised – and will promise – me in my life. I have come to understand more fully that not only does the Lord ask for faith in receiving a blessing – but faith in trusting His promises will be granted.

I pray that Kat keeps her will to fight – keeps her will to live – keeps her faith.

For the Lord has great promises to fulfill in her life.

For those of you who may be reading this who are not of the LDS faith, visit to find answers to what the Priesthood is and what Priesthood blessings are – and answers to any other questions you may have about our faith.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


It is the Finale of So You Think You Can Dance tonight, or at least the last performance show. Party at my house and I am making the above pictured Chocolate Chip Mascarpone Cupcakes by Giada off Food Network. Get the recipe HERE.

Come watch with us and have a cupcake if you know me well enough to know where I live.

Till tonight then...

(hmmm yummmm ... I smell the chocolate baking!)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Don't Be Shy

I have always loved meeting new people. My husband teases me that I can hold a better conversation with a new person that I do with him. I love getting to know people. In college I moved 8 times in 4 years with new roommates each time. My whole goal in this was to meet and really get to know as many people as possible. And I collected a lot of really great friends along the way.

Meeting new people now, however, is a bit daunting. I am fine meeting someone for 5 minutes that I will never see again. But meeting someone I know I will see again and again gets a bit tricky. I never know if or what they know about Camille and it is almost always hard to tell someone about her.

It isn't so much that I have a hard time getting the words out. It is their reaction and often their follow up questions that make it so difficult. It is kind of a pretty big and devastating bomb to drop on to someone. They are often shocked and almost always want to know how she died. When I say she drowned they want to know more about exactly how that happened. The first time someone asked this I was unprepared and started to answer.

That little conversation set me back to day one for about two weeks. Just telling her about that day made me live it all over again. It was awful. The next time I was more prepared. I told the person I don't like to talk about it and if she wanted to know more she could go read my blog. That worked out much better. I still worry in the back of my mind that people will think I am at fault because I do not discuss the exact "how" that led to Camille being in the spa. But that is just the way it will have to be. It was nobody's fault. It was just a tragic and fatal and unforeseen cumulation of circumstances mixed with a bit of unbelievable determination and terrible luck on Camille's part. Sometimes I think there had to be an army of angels in our house that day making sure all these circumstances would fall into place and helping her get to the spa because it was her time to go.

Here I go again, reliving that day. This is why I don't discuss it. It is too hard to keep my mind off the events.

But I digress... The point is that it is really a sticky point of meeting new people now. So can you imagine how relieving and wonderful it is when I meet someone and they tell me, "Yes, I know who you are. I read your blog." Instantly I feel like I have a new friend. They not only know lots about me personally, they know the hardest part of my life and I don't have to tell them.

I had this happen a couple of times in the last few weeks and it made me so happy to meet new friends. With the ward boundary changes we had last year at church I don't see many of my friends each week anymore. I feel I hardly know anyone at church anymore except for the young women (they rock!) When I meet someone at church I never know if they know anything about Camille or not. So it is just such a nice thing when someone comes up to me and "outs" themselves as a blog reader. I feel like we have an instant connection.

So if you are a reader and you see me in real life, don't be shy. Come on over and say "HI! I read your blog." I always LOVE to meet a new friend.

Monday, August 3, 2009

It Happens to us All at Least Once

If you have little girls or if you ever were a little girl, chances are you have at some point seen the effects of playing beauty shop with real scissors. The other night Jon brought Lauren downstairs. In his hand were kid school scissors and the hair above.

She had cut all the hair in front of her ear on one side of her head to about ear length. Pretty sad for a girl who has been begging me to make her hair long like Annie's so she can have a big braid. This is the second time we have had unauthorized hair cutting in this family. The last time was before Lauren had hair.

Last time Sabrina put a dish towel around Annie, who was then about 3 and gave her a nightmare hair cut with a few random one inch long pieces. Then she cut her own hair to her chin in the front. That time I lost it. I cried and cried. I was so sad to see my little girls with their lovely hair so butchered and have to be cut so short.

This time I was far less devastated. The girls hair cuts before ended up being really cute thanks to the magic of Aunt Carolyn's wonderful hair cutting skills. I hoped Lauren's would be equally as fixable.

But in an effort to scare her enough not to have her cut any more hair, I did lay on the "how sad, now we will have to cut off all your hair" drama pretty thick. I think it did the trick. Lauren spent much of the 2 days before we actually got her hair cut locking herself in Noble's room hiding. She didn't want me to find her and take her to get her hair cut.

We did eventually get it cut and I think we ALL are pleased with the outcome. Thanks to my friend Cairen for coming to our rescue with her expert hair cutting skills.
Here is the after picture. I forgot to take the photo of her before. Whoops.
I just love this pose.
My little Lauren is a cute girl with long or short hair. Though she will have to wait some time before we are going to be able to do any big braids for her. Till then she will just have to look cute with her short hair cut.