Thursday, April 29, 2010


Last week my brother Darren and his wife Nikki had twins. A boy named Henry Robert Harris and a little girl named Lillian Harris. Today Henry is supposed to be released from the NICU and join his family at home. They look so adorable in the pictures I have seen of them.

A couple of weeks before that, Jon's brother Aaron and his wife Carolyn also had twins. They named their two little girls Aspen and Emery Waite. It has been so fun to see the photos of them in all their pinkness. 

These two sets of twins in our family make 5 sets of twins in 3 generations of Jon and my immediate family. I have twin brothers and my sister also had twins. Plus Jon's mother has twin brothers. 

Whenever I tell people about all these new twins they ask me if I ever worry about or want to have twins. The truth is that I did used to want twins. I used to think twice the baby for only one pregnancy? Count me in! Then my sister had her twins. I packed up my kids and went to go help her. 

I was still nursing Annie but she was sleeping through the night. So I left her and Sabrina with my mother in law and I drove across town to Lesli's. I helped during the days and then one night I told her to leave it to me. I would do the night shift and she could get a full night's rest. 

That night I think I logged in a total of 1.5 hours of sleep. I haven't wanted twins since then. Having multiples is one of those things that you really don't fully understand unless you have lived it. Even with so many twins in my life, I know I don't really come close to understanding fully how it feels to have twins. Lucky for my brother that he has had my sister able to come help show him the ropes. 

Go visit their blogs from my blog rolls to see all these cute new twins and the handsome 6 year old ones too. I think being the Aunt to so many twins is the best job in town.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Last night it was my turn to put girls to bed. Jon and I usually split up bedtime duties. One of us puts Noble down and the other is in charge of getting the girls down.

The girls had played hard and were filthy so I made them take baths or showers. I helped Sabrina and Lauren wash, rinse, and condition their hair in the bath. Annie took a shower and was the first out. I combed through her hair and started drying it.

Meanwhile I was getting Lauren out of the tub and instructing Sabrina to wash her body so she could get out as well. It is tiring bathing the girls. 

As I was blowing Annie's hair I wondered when my kids would ever be doing this chore by themselves. "Someday my kids will blow their own hair dry," I thought to reassure myself. "And I won't have to anymore."

I remembered how often my mother would blow my hair dry as a girl so that I wouldn't go to bed with a wet head. Sometimes, even when I was older, if I was really tired or sick she would still blow my hair dry for me. It was so comforting to have her fingers running through my hair, the warm air of the hair dryer blowing on my cold wet back.

"Someday my kids will blow their own hair dry," I thought with a tinge of sadness. "And I won't get to anymore."

The ache in my back melted away and I was glad to have my fingers in the cold wet hair of my little Ann. Someday she and her sisters will be grown and won't need or want me to do their hair anymore. So I will treasure the task till then.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Barren Beauty

Desert bloom so solitary in your beauty
Surrounded on every side by 
Rough, hard, dry, cracked earth. 

How is it that you bloom so freely?
Without tending and care and planning?
How did you come to be in so barren a land as this?

Your vibrant colors should be backed by a curtain of green
Lush, living, and moist with heaven's dew.
You should be one of thousands there - in those more fertile lands.

Ah, perhaps there was planning in your sowing after all.
Perhaps it was His plan that planted you here.
He knowing how you could grow in barren lands.

You add beauty where else there was none.
You bloom despite the adversity that surrounds
 Or perhaps, Beauty in the Barren land, you bloom because of it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


For as long as I can remember I have always hated the emotion of jealousy. I hate how it makes people do things they normally wouldn't. I hate the wall it erects between two people. And I really hate the way it makes me feel when I experience it first hand. 

Someone asked me about my thoughts on the subject of jealousy. I thought I would share them more widely here. 

For the most part, I am not a very jealous person. I have never been jealous when it comes to my love life. Maybe because I feel pretty secure there. I mean even in my dating years when a guy I liked liked one of my friends I was fine with that. I guess I just figured that if he didn't like me, that was reason enough not to like him. And I wanted my friends to be happy. I was happy for them that a guy awesome enough to have caught my eye was into them. But even this assumes the underlying emotion that all of this stems from... charity.

If we have true charity, we do not feel jealousy. I love my friends and am happy for their successes and joys. It is much harder to combat jealousy when the person of whom we are jealous is not someone for whom we feel that charitable love. I am still working on how to rid my heart of all jealousy there. It is not always easy to hold onto true charitable love for people we feel we are competing with for a valuable  and seemingly essential prize.

In these cases, I think the key to getting rid of the jealousy and feeling the love is stepping out of the competition. In the case where the prize is the attention or affection of a person, parental or otherwise, we either need to feel secure enough in the love of that person to not feel a need to compete or we need to not care or need that attention or affection. 

Things get super difficult here when we are rightfully insecure in the affection that should have (spousal, parental, familial.) In such cases, our souls are wounded and thus more prone to jealousy. It seems to me the only real remedy for jealousy here (and for the wounds that allow it to fester) is a miracle wrought by the atonement of Jesus Christ. 

I am still working out in my mind and heart how this all works. But I believe that there is power in the atonement to heal all of our wounds. I know I have felt its healing effects over the last two years. I also believe He can fill us up so much with the love of the Savior as to compensate for any love lost or never offered by any other human being.

Last night Ann Marie was a bit miffed at bed time. She began a very dramatic speech about how all her friends get to play all day and she just has to work and clean all day and how sad her life is. (Note this was just after the two of us got home from our neighbors where she had played with their kids for at least an hour.) She said she was jealous of her friends.

So I started listing her "privileges" to her. Someone once said that if life was fair we would all live in a grass hut in China. I pointed out one by one all the blessings she is privy to for a good 5 minutes. By the time I finished, I think she felt a little less jealous of her friends and a little more grateful for her life. (Though she was pretty sure I was wrong about how one day she would be grateful she learned to work from an early age.)

If you are still reading, thanks for putting up with my stream of consciousness style on this subject. To sum up: if we want to get rid of jealousy in our lives we need to turn to the Lord. We need to seek to feel charity for those of whom we are jealous. We need to ask to be filled with the love of the Savior to overcome and obliterate our insecurities. And we need to focus on all the blessings we have been given in their own light and not in comparison to others.

Now I think I better start following that recipe for the one or two people I of whom I often feel jealous. Anyone out there got any other suggestions on overcoming jealousy? What has worked for you?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spoon Anyone?

Each child has his or her own little quirks that endear them to us all the more. One I have come to note about Noble is his love of spoons. This kid will not suck on a binki, a bottle, or a sippy cup. But he loves to walk around the house with a spoon either in his hand or his mouth. I think it is kind of funny so I decided to get a photo of him with his spoon in his mouth. I tried to get a photo of him for about 10 minutes. Here is what I got:
Do you see a pattern here? Every time I pointed the camera at this kid he turned and took off in the opposite direction. How in the world was I going to get this picture? Then I had a thought. I went and got the phone. Here he is below reaching for the thing with buttons that calls people.
And here he is with his treasured phone.
In the end I did manage to get a couple of shots with him facing forward. He has a spoon either in his mouth or his hand in every picture but it is hard to see it in some of them.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Camille's Birthday

April 19, 2010 has been a wonderful day. A day of births and insights, good feelings and kindness. Jon took this picture of Noble this morning. It is the first time Noble has ever climbed in to the cup drawer. He usually just likes to take the cups all out and toss them all over the floor. 
I was still sorting through all my emotions this morning. We had our oatmeal and got the kids off to school. But it was not as sweet a feeling as it was last year. It is harder to find that sweetness when you have to hurry and get ready for school. Still the kids were being extra kind to each other in honor of Camille's birthday.

After dropping the kids to school and putting Noble down for a nap, I went on a long walk with some friends. I did my first act of kindness in helping my friend push her two boys in the double stroller (a total of about 100 lbs.) up the steepest parts of the hills. 

Coming home Noble was already up from what turned out to be a VERY short nap. (That kid! He needs to like napping more.) So he kept me company for the morning. I heard from my family that Nikki and Darren had their babies and that they were all healthy for the most part. That was good to hear. 

I sat watching Noble bopping to his musical toy and smiling at me. And I just felt a wave of wholeness and happiness rush over me. He is a joy to me. I am so grateful to have him. Babies are a great joy and I am felt so happy in that moment to have my little niece and nephew born into the world.

I went to check my Google reader page and saw that my friend Rach had her little baby girl Ellie this morning too. Rach was the first mother I found on the internet who had also lost a child. Her daughter Hannah drowned the summer before Camille. I found strength in how positive she was and how she was coping with her grief. I have tried to model my path through grief after her example. So to see that she had her baby girl on Camille's birthday... well it just seemed like a full circle moment.

From then on the day has been great. I have had several friends do acts of kindness for me. I made a great cake for Camille's birthday. (Dang! I forgot to get a photo of it.) Well, here is what is left of it. I covered a yummy chocolate cake with chocolate ganache filling in homemade whip cream and topped with our family made of fruit. It was supposed to be all of us up in the clouds together.  :)

I went to get ice cream with Lauren and tipped the ice cream scooper with a HUGE tip that stopped her in her tracks. That was really fun! Wish I had a photo of her face when I handed it to her and told her it was her tip and to have a super day.

Then after dinner and before we ate the cake we went on a hike as a family. There is a crack in the mountain that we see as we drive down our street. I have been wanting to hike up to it since we moved here and I just never have. Today Sabrina, Annie, and I reached the summit of it. Jon, Noble, and Lauren waited a few hundred yards below for us. We got some great photos on our hike. There were lots of wild flowers blooming all over the mountains. 

After our hike we came home and cleaned up the dinner mess and decorated the birthday cake. Some friends came over to have cake and ice cream with us. It was a good time. Now I have read all my comments of Cami Kindness acts and that has just rounded out a wonderful day. Thank you all so much from spreading kindness today and sharing it with me. I love you all! Enjoy the photos of our hike!
Leaving our neighborhood
Sabrina by some of the wildflowers
The family taking in the site from the first summit
Annie -- Queen of the mountain!
Family Photo on top of the Mountain
Cute Lauren on top of the world.
The girls sitting in "the cavity of the rock"
Me looking up through a hole in the ceiling of a rock to see the girls above.
The girls headed down to our street. Jon, Noble and Lauren way small ahead of them.
The crack in the rock to which we climbed. We stood on the top of the right hand cliff.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cami's Kindness Day - April 19th

Tomorrow, April 19, is Camille's birthday. I have just finished the blog book as her present. I have ordered copies for my each of my children and all the people who contacted me to pre order a book. Anyone else who wants one can order one now from Blurb. I know they are pricey, but they may make a good gift to someone who has lost a child. 

I have been ... emotional the last couple of days. I was pretty weepy most of yesterday. I feel a little more "lost" in what to do for Camille's birthday this year than I did last year.

My sister-in-law Nikki is having twins by C-Section tomorrow morning at 7:15. My parents and sister and her kids have all headed down to welcome the new baby cousins. My kids will have school tomorrow. I considered pulling them out for the day but Sabrina is in the middle of state standardized testing. She really needs to be in school this week. 

So I will likely be much more alone this April 19th than I was last year going to church and having a big family party. I don't know how I feel about that. At least there are some thing I do know. I know I want to eat cake and ice cream. I know we will have oatmeal (Camille's favorite) for breakfast. I know we will all wear some blue. And I did get the blog book done for her birthday. Still, I feel I want to do something more to celebrate and remember her. 

I was reading through the blog book as I was editing. I saw that last year I asked my blog followers to join me in doing "random acts of kindness" as gifts for Camille's birthday. I remember last year how nice it was to read those at night when my mind got tired and my emotions weepy. I would love to invite any who read this to join me again this year in spreading kindness and happiness tomorrow in honor of Camille. 

Please spread the word. Tell your friends and family that it is "Cami's Kindness" day tomorrow and then, if you don't mind, leave me a comment here on this post to let me know what you did to spread kindness. It can be simple and small - sharing a smile, giving someone a hug who needs one, extra snuggle time with your child even when you are tired. Or it can be bigger - a donation to a charity, forgiving someone and letting them know you forgive them, over-tipping a server. 

Thank you all so much who read this humble blog of a borderline computer literate, design challenged, forgetful photo taker. I know my blog isn't the "cutest blog on the block" or the most tech savvy either. But I appreciate you all reading anyway. You give me strength through the weepy times when I feel otherwise alone.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Remembering Levi-Signs of Healing

Today I went to "Levi's Lemonade Stand," a fundraiser for Primary Children's Hospital in Honor of Levi Nance who was born a year ago today. He passed away the next day from unknown causes. His parents are friends of mine. His mother and I were in the Relief Society Presidency together when I was pregnant and having Camille. She made Camille's favorite soft blanket. 

She set up the room for the luncheon that followed Camille's funeral. She came to my shower for Noble. She was 9 months pregnant with Levi at the time. Just days later I got a call from my friend, a nurse who attended to me after I had Camille and who was with me when I gave birth to Noble. She had been my friend's labor and delivery nurse with Levi. She told me about Levi's birth and his unexplainable trouble breathing shortly after delivery. She told me how he was flown to Primary Children's in Salt Lake for treatment and how he passed away there.

Tonight I went to the Lemonade Stand and remembered Levi and enjoyed a bit of time with his family. The one year mark seems so long ago to me now. I was still fighting for joy back then. I remember how difficult the months were just after the one year mark for me. And in that I saw how far I have come in my healing this second year. I no longer have to fight for joy. It is all around me. 

I think Noble has played a big role in this healing. He has now surpassed Camille in weight and height and developmental milestones. He has not and never will replace Camille. But he has replenished our family emotionally in so many ways. He helps us remember Camille and the love we have for her. So many times I feel as if I am loving twins when I love on him. I may only be holding one baby in my arms but there are two in my heart. I am loving him for both of them.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Blog Book Birthday Gift

I have finally forced myself to start editing my Blog Book. It was so emotional for me to go through and put it together. I just haven't wanted to revisit it to make the corrections my 3 fabulous editors made to it. It has been sitting on my desk for about 4 months now. 

But in one week it will be Camille's birthday. And I want to get it done and publish it for her birthday. My goal is to send an order out for my book and make it available to the public on her birthday, April 19th. It is  my birthday present of sorts to her.

It has been hard even to go through and do these simple edits. It is like revisiting the day of each post I edit. I hurt for my former self knowing how much pain I was in when I wrote some of those entries. And yet, there are other entries that buoy me up and remind me of how strong the Spirit was around us in those early months. In some of the entries I almost envy my former self for how sure I felt. But then I remember, "That is exactly why you wrote these things down." I wrote so that I could remember now how I felt then and KNOW that all is right as it is now. 

The book is, to me, a treasure. It is a reminder of the multiple witnesses of the Spirit that came to me in the days surrounding and the many weeks after Camille's accident. I hope it will help my children remember and learn more about this time in their lives as well.

To anyone who may want a copy. Please email me and if you can get me the money for it by the 19th I will order a copy for you with my order. There is a discount if you order in bulk so we may as well order together. I think the book will end up being between $60-$80 depending on if you want softcover or hardcover. But I will let anyone who emails me know the exact price we can get with the volume discount. My email is stephaniewaite @ gmail . com

Saturday, April 10, 2010

When the Cat's Away

What do your kids do with your baby sitter when you are out? Yesterday I downloaded the photos on my camera and found a few clues as to what my kids do.

What started as "towers" turned into something more.

From the heights of the towers to the small details of lids carefully stacked in perfect harmony or kissing inhalers, this work of art was all cleaned up by the time we got home. But this evidence explained a lot about my kids talk of building cities with that night's babysitter. I love great babysitters. I love when they play with my kids. And I love when they clean up so the only evidence of the fun is on my SD card. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

the quiet

With a husband who works from home and works nearly every waking hour, I have become accustomed to having someone here with me in the house all the time. Personally, I love this. I inherited from my father a gene that hates to do things solo. I just enjoy the company of others. I love having my husband just in the other room even if we are working independent of each other. 

Lately, however, some of my husband's business has taken him "off site." He has had some meetings and lunches and even a business trip or two that have taken him out of the home. He just was at a meeting tonight. And it is so ... quiet when he is out. I don't mean really that there is less noise. But I feel the absence of him. And even if he is only out for a couple of hours ... I miss him.

I know. Pathetic. I sound like a newly married woman who is sad at the first time she has to spend a night away from her husband. But it is just the way it is.

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. He took me to a nice restaurant. We sat on the patio over looking the famous local dancing fountains at one the nice hotels here. It was one of the most romantic dinners we have ever had. The waters danced and my heart sang. 

I love my husband. He is my best friend. These short times he goes away only remind me how much I love him. Sometimes we need to feel the quiet to appreciate the background music that fills our everyday lives. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Month

Tonight Jon came in the Family Room and announced it was time for Family Home Evening. We did not have a plan for what we were were going to do yet, but that never stops us. So I asked him what we wanted to do for FHE? Ann Marie was sitting on my lap. She said, "It is a new month. We have to pick a new theme for the month."

I am so glad my 7 year old is here to keep me on track. I am so good at coming up with great ideas and so not good at following all the way through with them. But we have had a new theme for every month so far this year and with her reminder we are going to keep on going. Annie is a finisher. She will be a blessing and inspiration to me all my life.

So to recap, January was "clean up after yourself" month. February was "Love" month. March was "Just Do It" month. I must admit I did NOT do that one well at all. Going to have to try to improve in that still. But then all of these monthly goals are intended to live on after the month is over. And just today I had Lauren tell me that I needed to "clean up after myself month" with something I left out. So little by little I guess it is working.

With Ann Marie's reminder we decided to discuss possible themes and choose one. Ann Marie burst right out with her first suggestion -- "Be Happy" month. Now it is April. April is Camille's birthday month. So we really wanted to pick a theme that Camille would want. We discussed several other options that we thought would be appropriate. But in the end we are going with "Happiness" month. Our goal is to Be Happy ourselves and to make others happy by serving them. We are out to create happiness this month.

Last year I asked everyone to do random acts of kindness as a gift to Camille for her birthday. This year I ask that you join our family in Happiness Month and try to BE Happy and create Happiness for others. This can be done just by smiling more and sharing your smile with others or by asking someone who is down what you can do to help them be happy. Sometimes a little act of service can brighten someone's day.

I am going to work really hard to make this goal successful for me. I will admit that it is going to take some serious work. I can't say I have been feeling very happy the past little bit. When I go back to my recipe for happiness I see that I am lacking in the "do something physical everyday" category and the "learn something new everyday" category. So I am going to start learning an new word and running or doing pilates everyday ... again.

I hope this will help me feel happy so I can share that happiness with those around me more fully. I can't think of anything Camille would want more for her birthday than to have me, her family, and all those who know of her to feel a bit more happiness in their life.

Annie almost 3 years ago holding Camille

Thanks Ann Marie for the reminder and the idea and thanks to Camille for the inspiration.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Early Warning Signals

Today I listened to Elder Bednar speak about how we as parents can get "early warning signals" that will tell us how our children are doing. It is well worth the listen no matter what religion you are. You can find it HERE. The principles of how to raise a strong family taught in that talk are not specific to the LDS faith I think. If you are in the process of raising kids I would highly recommend giving it a listen. In today's world we all need any help we can to see the signs that our children may be struggling with any given issue. 

So this talk made me think of an "early warning sign" that I heard from the mouth of my little Ann Marie this week. Here is how it unfolded itself.

We were in the car driving and Sabrina was talking about chewing tobacco because there are some boys in the book she just read (Where the Red Fern Grows) that chew some. Annie asked what tobacco was. So I explained what it is and that some people chew it and spit out the juice and other people roll it up into cigarettes and smoke it. We talked a bit about how gross all that tobacco spit would be. 

Then I hear Ann Marie say, "You know why I don't smoke Mom?"

"Why don't you smoke Annie?" I replied. I was expecting something like the fact that it can give you cancer or it is gross smelling or that Heavenly Father doesn't want us to. We have talked about why we don't smoke to our kids several times before. No. Those were not her reasons.

"Because I don't know how." That was her answer. 

Geez. I guess I better be careful what I teach that girl. Early Warning Sign noted. ;)

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Different Sort of Spring Cleaning

This has been a busy week. I have been keeping the kids busy having fun and meanwhile I have been doing some serious Spring Cleaning. I don't mean the kind that makes my house shiny. I mean the kind that makes my soul feel calm and clean and ordered.

Sometimes humanity's frailties and failings overwhelm me. This week I felt so utterly helpless to overcome my own human frailties. I try and try and try and still every time in one way or another I fail in my feeble attempts. Sometimes I feel like I am losing my mind. I forget things -- appointments and classes -- that I have just been reminded about minutes before. I over schedule. I get tired of the constant daily routine. I get tired ... period. My mind gets weary of the worry -- the anxiety -- the stress of being responsible for the lives and happiness of these beautiful children with which I have been entrusted. 

This week I had a breaking point. It was culmination of things that just made me question almost everything I have believed these last two years. In many ways I have felt like I have been Peter walking on the water these last two years and this last week ... well I started to sink. 

So I spent a night crying till there were no more tears. And then I got an early morning migraine. And I fasted. And I prayed... lots. And I went to the temple. And I talked to my every faithful husband. He is so good. I have never loved him more than when he held my hand as I suffered with my migraine in the tub at 5 a.m.

I wanted a great miracle. I wanted a vision or to hear the voice of a heavenly being. I wanted something undeniable to tell me all that I have believed regarding Camille was in fact true - that it WAS her time and that the Lord would have taken her one way or another. I wanted a more sure witness of these beliefs. 

What I got instead was peace -- simple quietude of mind and spirit. The tempest of my mind was stilled and my questions left. Their urgency was lost. I was left with the quiet spirit of peace telling me that I was in fact accepted of the Lord. The message instilled in my soul was that it is more important that I focus my energy on trying my best to do all I can to create and feel love and joy with my family NOW ... today, than to worry about a thing in the past. 

In the end of this process, I guess I came to see that living in that Peace is all I really need. Because I know that He is the Author of the Peace and that is answer enough.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Contest Winner

The contest winner is Just A Mom (just call me JAM for short).  CONGRATS. Email me your address and your favorite store and I will send you a $15 GC to use there.

The answer was that I didn't know that the people who work at the Humanitarian Center are refugees and are given free English classes and taught a trade. That was the totally "new" information to me. I had heard all the stats before on membership.

Thanks for playing everyone!

Spring Break with the kids has been keeping me busy. Since we didn't go on vacation I have been trying to spend the week being the director of our "Staycation." It is hard work being an entertainment director. We have activities and playdates planned for today and then it is time to CLEAN UP! Our vacation is nearing an end and I want a clean house for Conference and Easter.

Hope all of you are enjoying your week before Easter. loves-- Stephanie