Sunday, February 21, 2010

Swimming Lessons

Tonight I am preparing. Tomorrow my children and I will pile in the car and drive to our swimming lessons .... in California.  :)

When we lived in California we had such a great swimming teacher. Sabrina and Ann Marie took from him for a long time. Then we moved. I tried a few other swimming teachers here and the one thing I have learned is how good I had it back there. 

I love the way this teacher in California teaches. Not only is he excellent with the children, but he has a wonderful method of teaching. He teaches kids to swim 4 strokes and then flip onto their backs and rest for 4 breaths. Then they flip back over and swim another 4 strokes. They repeat this process across the pool.

Every time I have gotten to the summer and tried to get swimming instruction for my kids I have thought, "Hmm. I just wish I could go to Cali for a week or two so we could take from Jason." So last month when Jon had a conference in California for a week and I had nothing planned to do while we were down there with him, I called up Jason and scheduled as many lessons as I could for that week.

It was a huge success. The first day after Lauren's first lesson she let go of her kicker board near the steps. The teacher was way across the pool and she kept going under. I didn't wait. I just walked fully clothed with Noble in arms down the steps of the pool to pull her up and out. I was wet but she was safe. Four days later she was independently swimming the length of the pool flipping on her back to breathe.

I figured I better reinforce the lessons by returning for another week. So track break started and we are off to get more lessons. Jon is staying here to work. It will be an adventure for me to have all 4 kids by myself on this "vacation." I love California. My kids love California. We are excited to see family and spend time swimming every day.

I won't be blogging while I am gone. I think my hands will be too full for that. So have a great week and I will let you know how it goes when I get back.

For those curious, the swim place I am going to is Aquadic Explorations in Los Alamitos. It is an indoor swim school and Jason Castner is the teacher we love. We also love his brother Jesse who also teaches there. For those in the area - or within a 5 hour drive :) -- they are worth checking out. Tell them Stephanie Waite sent you!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Look Who's...


Mr. Noble is 9 months and 10 days today. I was in the middle of cooking dinner for my dinner group. (Once a week I cook dinner for my family plus 2 other families. Then on two other days of the week those families bring dinner to us.) I had nearly every pot on the burners and the oven going as well. My older kids had friends over to play and then I heard Mr. Noble wake up cranky from his nap just wanting to be held. 

Just then my parents showed up to save the day. Their timing for this surprise visit couldn't have been better. Mom helped me cook and clean up some to make more room to cook and Dad was set to the task of keeping an eye on the little guy. So there I am cooking away and mom is washing dishes and I hear my dad saying, "Yeah that's it Noble. Step Step Step." I look over and there is Noble WALKING.

I have known he has been close for a while. He loves to stand and is steady enough to walk when someone holds his hands. But here he was taking multiple unassisted steps. Jon came running in and got out the video camera and we used the remote to entice him to walk over to me. The kid likes the buttons. He took 4 or 5 steps all by himself before getting scared and sitting down to crawl. 

This kid is going to be just like Annie. She was taking steps at 9 months and walking well by 10. Only she was tiny and looked like a 6 month old. It was so odd to see. All my others took longer to walk. I think Sabrina started around her first birthday. Lauren was just after her first birthday. Actually, at 9 months Lauren wasn't even crawling yet. And Camille ... well Noble may be about 5 months younger than she ever got but he is the same size and weight and this is right where she was in the walking thing. She had been crawling for months though. She just was so fast at crawling she didn't see much of a need to get all upright.

Noble, on the other hand, is not so fond of crawling. He doesn't like his knees to be on the ground. He even crawls on hands and feet sometimes. I am sure it won't be long now till he isn't even crawling at all anymore. Oh boy am I in for it now.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Sometimes in my mothering my charges all demand my services at once. Each need is critical in each child's eyes. I am left to prioritize the "triage" of their needs. I can only fix so many problems at one time. I can only hold so many bodies or wipe so many cheeks. I only have two arms, two legs, one heart and one head to work this magic I call motherhood. 

And so I put one child down to pick another up. One cheek is left dirty while the messier is wiped. One burden is set down so another can be carried.

Sometimes in my life all my responsibilities seem to pile up at once. Each duty calls with urgency. Often my heart is tied to so many of these that it feels the heaviness of so much weight. I want to do so much. I want to fix each problem and make each plan perfect and guide each path I cross in a better way. But alas, I am only one person. I have only two arms, two legs, one brain, and one heart to do all I can do for good.

And so I set to prioritizing again. I set down the burdens that weigh on me and step back to see what I CAN do. I refocus on making sure things are straight in my own soul and in my home. Then I fold my two arms and kneel on my two knees and use my one brain and one heart to call for help. I put my burdens down there at the feet of one greater than I. And I rest my heart knowing ... I am not alone. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

To My Little Valentine

Dear Camille,
Today I wrote love notes to each of your sisters and made them heart shaped chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. I whispered sweet love secrets in your brothers ear and held him close to me before putting him to bed. I gave each of your siblings a little Valentine gift. Your Dado and I made a delicious Beef Wellington together for our Valentine's dinner. It was super tasty. 

But what am I to do for you? How am I to tell you of my love for you? I wore my necklace with your picture on it today. I wanted to feel you with me even if it was just in that little way. Tonight I will write this love note to you and send it off into cyberspace. Somehow it just feels more "sent" this way than if I just write it down on a piece of paper that will just get stored away in my house somewhere.

So on this Valentine's Day, my sweet angel girl, I want to thank you. Thank you for all you have taught me. Thank you for allowing me to be your mother and to love you here on Earth for the time you were here. Thank you for creating a Celestial room in my heart where you will forever reside and where my love for you can blossom safely. 

I love you. I loved you because you were mine. I loved you because you made me smile. I loved your adventurous spirit. I loved your tactile curiosity. I loved you because you were simply the most beautiful little treasure of a girl. And now you are gone. And I love you all the more. 

I love you now for the work you are doing. I love you for the spirit you bring into our lives and our home. I love you for showing me, your dad, your brother and your sisters how important it is for us to follow Heavenly Father's plan for us to return home to Him. I love you for loving me despite all my imperfections and shortcomings. 

I miss you. You must know how I miss you. 

I miss you, but I am going to be okay. I am going to be patient as I wait for the day when I can hold you and kiss you and love you in person again. I am going to be happy and joyful and serviceable to others in honor of you my dear. I am going to feel all the textures of life for you. 

You are my heavenly Valentine and I pray you will know of this note to you this day and all the love that is sent in it. I love you my little Cami!
Your Mama

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Omniscient Fashionista

"Mom, when I am a grown up I am going to get a motorcycle," says Lauren on our way to pick the kids up from school. We have just turned right after being at a 4 way stop next to a motorcycle policeman.
"Really?" I reply. "Why do you want a motorcycle?"
"Because they go really fast." (I wish I could type her little girl voice.) 
"Cars go fast too you know."
"But not all cars do."
"Motorcycles are kinda dangerous though you know."
"MoooMMM!?!? What do you mean?" She says this in a disgusted exasperated way.
"Well if you get in a car wreck the car is all around you to protect you. If you crash on a motor cycle there is nothing there to protect you."
"Well I just saw a guy back there on motorcycle."
"Oh, you mean that police man?"
"How do you know he was a police man??? You don't even KNOW that guy!"
"Well I saw his motorcycle and it said police on it."
"Well the one I saw was not a police one. It was white." Pause for about 5 seconds here. "And it had a letter P on it."
"Yes Lauren. That is "P" for POLICE."
Insert disgusted shock look glaring at me from the back seat. 
"Well the one that I saw didn't have a L next after the P."
"No it had an "O" for POOOOOOlice. PO PO PO lice."
"HMMMPFT. Well the one I saw was a different one." By this time Annie and the other kids are getting in the car. 
Annie asks which what did Lauren see. Lauren says a motorcycle. I tell her we saw a motorcycle cop. Annie says, "Oh yeah I saw that one with the kid riding on it and the helmet? It wasn't a police motorcycle mom! It had a kid on it."
"Yeah mom!" says Lauren.

Why do I even try? There is no reasoning with an "omniscient" 4 year old. Especially not when her big smarty pants sister is there to back her up.

And while I am on the subject of Lauren and Annie. Annie was having trouble picking out her socks today. She asked for Lauren's help. The brown pair or the pink pair? After she left for school I saw Lauren getting her own socks on for preschool. This is what she looked like:

Do you need a closer look?

"How did you choose those socks Lauren?" 
"I choose them so they could match with Annie. Annie asked me which socks she should wear to school and I said she should wear both so I could match her." 
"So Annie is wearing the other brown sock and the other pink sock?"
"Yes." Of course she is.
Meanwhile she tells me I am wearing these shoes to take her to preschool:

A step up from my normal Crocs.

At least she didn't pull out my black 4 inch high heels that she insisted I wear to take her to preschool last time.  

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

And the Rains Fell

The house is quiet. Everyone is asleep. I am finishing up a few last minute details before retiring to bed. I like to have a few quiet moments to myself at the end of the day to reflect and gather myself. Tonight my there is the gentle accompaniment of falling rain to underscore my thoughts. 

Earlier today I looked out the window. Beyond my backyard fence I saw only one thing -- Gray. All the world was a big gray cloud. There were no mountains or houses or sky. There was only gray moisture. I thought to myself then, "We could be in heaven." Now I expect heaven to be more "light" and pure light than "gray" but the fact that I couldn't see "the world" out my window for that moment took me to another place.

I love the rain. I loved it when it came so often after Camille died. It was as if the heavens were mourning with me. When the storms came so violently that winter and pounded our house with torrential rains, I felt it was an outward expression of how I was feeling inside. 

Now the rains seem to drizzle. We have had weeks of scattered showers. It seems most of the time when I am outside the rain is so fine and light it is just more of a mist. And yet it lingers. Sometimes it seems it is done. I saw blue skies peaking though just beyond the gray this evening. But alas the pitter patter of the falling drops tells me we are not quite finished yet.

Rain is good. We all need rain. The earth needs the rain. We need the rain. We need it to feed our plants and fill our rivers and lakes. We need it to drink and work and live. Rain is essential for life. And rain also tempers our souls. It turns us inward to our homes and our families and our hearts. It gives us a down time so we can mark the new highs we will have when the sun is once more shining. It reminds us to be grateful for the sun and all its light and warmth.

I am grateful for the rains. 

Monday, February 8, 2010


Sometime the job of Mom can be a bit ... monotonous. Even with the perspective I have now of appreciating even the stinky parts of motherhood, there are times when the days run together like a seemingly endless chain or repeated chores, messes, homework assignments, diapers, meals, bedtimes etc...

The other day I was thinking about this as I was driving. I was thinking about how often my mind is elsewhere as I perform my daily mothering tasks. It is planning the weekend or thinking about my young women or lingering in the past. As I thought about this I had a moment where I felt 100% in the present and felt a rush of gratitude.

I feel I need to spend more time disciplining my mind to live more presently. My most treasured motherhood moments have been ones where I was 100% in the moment and present with my children. All my focus was on what we were doing right then. And they have been simple things like teaching the kids a lesson or drawing pictures with them or watching them learn something new.

I really want to be as present as I can for my kids. That isn't always easy for me. But I know the returns on this kind of invested time are what makes motherhood worth it. One day at at time I am going to work on that. Tomorrow's goals: spend some time present 100% in the moment with each kid, keep a loving tone (still working on that one), get my "do" list done. If I am going to be successful at that I better get some sleep. Wish me luck. :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010


It is late. I want to be asleep. I am in bed ... awake. I tried for an hour to go to sleep. No luck.

2 hours ago Ann Marie came and knocked at our bedroom door for about the 4th time complaining that she couldn't sleep. I don't know what her problem is :).

I thought reading some legal definitions would quiet my mind. I read through the Federal Rules of Evidence. Still not feeling very sleepy.

I have not posted for a few days. I haven't been ready to have Camille's picture not be the first thing I see on my blog again yet. I have been thinking about her quite a bit this week. Today I read some of a blog someone put in one of my comments about a little boy who drowned in the tub. I can't read that. It brings it all back too fresh for me. I've spent the day trying to train my thoughts away from it. Just too close to home. I hope that mom can find a way to keep her mind in the now and move forward from that awful day. It is a hard thing to do.

Now for a happy thought to end the night (hopefully) and this post on. Tonight Jon and I laid in the girls room and we all shared stories of our favorite vacations. Each of my girls shared a memory of our family trip to Mexico last year. I was happy they remembered their experiences and felt that was money well spent. Now my mind is dreaming up our next family vacation.

Where has been your favorite family vacation with little kids? I could use some suggestions.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


This is one of the pictures I have blown up big of Camille. We got it blown up for the funeral. Now it is in Lauren's room. Only Lauren doesn't sleep in Lauren's room anymore. She doesn't like to be alone so she sleeps on Sabrina's trundle bed between Sabrina's bed and Annie's bed. So we don't go into Lauren's room so often.

Yesterday I walked by and looked in and saw this picture. Camille is life sized in it, hanging on the wall. Then I walked into the girls room and started getting them ready for bed. I sat on Sabrina's bed as the girls were brushing their teeth and saw this picture, which is also life sized and hanging in Sabrina and Annie's room on Annie's half of the room.

"She was real." That was the thought that hit me. And with it came that feeling that was so familiar 18 months ago every time I saw a picture of her. It was the overwhelming desire to jump into the picture and be there with her and touch her and hold her again.

She was real and tangible and lovable just as much as Mr. Noble is to me now. She IS real now. And she is just as much a part of our family as she ever was. We just can't see her now. But we can still feel her influence and at times we can even feel the presence of her spirit visiting us.

These thoughts and feelings made me reflect last night as I knelt beside my bed to say my prayers. He is REAL. He is my Father. I am His daughter. I want to feel of His spirit. I want to KNOW Him.

My prayers last night were ... focused. My heart this morning is soft and a little homesick for Heaven. It can feel what is Real even if I can't see it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sick Day

Today Ann Marie is home sick. She wrote an email to her teacher to let her know why she wasn't in school. 

Here is what she wrote:

Dear Mrs , 

I am at home with a fever and a sore throat and a runny nose that makes me cough. it hurts really bad when I cough. I miss you. 

Today my mom taught me about the Letters ugh in words. In words like cough, rough, tough and laugh, ugh makes the F sound. In word like taught, fought, and bought when ugh has a T at the end it makes the short O sound. That is my school for today.

Sabrina will be by to pick up my home work.

Ann Marie Waite

Ann Marie doesn't like being sick. Here is her best "sick" face for you.
Ann Marie is very good at mastering her emotions most of the time. She thought it was pretty silly to try to look sick in her picture. Her smile kept creeping up on her face.

But the coughs keep coming and that helps her channel her sick face for you.

Hopefully she will be better soon and back to school. Till then we will enjoy some one on one time with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory while baby Noble sleeps.

Sick Ann Marie Quote of the Day:
Mom: "Here is some Tylenol for your fever."
Annie: "I don't like this kind of medicine. I don't like its taste."
Mom: "It is grape. You like grape."
Annie: "Well I do like grape when it doesn't taste like poison grape. This tastes like poison grape. I like regular grape."

Mama: Distinction noted.