Wednesday, June 30, 2010

She Passed!

Ann Marie passed her Suzuki violin book 1 test today and earned her very first trophy! Way to go Ann Marie. She had to play the last song in the book perfectly from memory. Then she had to pick a number out of a hat and play the song that is that number in the book by memory. Then she got to pick her favorite song in the book to play also from memory. So basically she had to have all the songs memorized and performance ready. She worked really hard to earn that trophy and we are so glad she passed and got to see the fruit of all that hard work.

I like this totally spur of the moment photo I took about 3 minutes ago. I think you can see how pleased Annie is in her eyes. I also love that it has Lauren at the piano. She is learning the flute and her first song will eventually be Hot Cross Buns. We have been singing it to her so she will know the tune when she is ready to start playing it on the flute. Here she is figuring out how to play the tune on the piano. Currently she is playing it in a mock concert in the background for her sisters. 

I also love that Sabrina is at the blue table engaged in some art. She is coloring I think. I love the background of the photo because it is a true representation of our house. It is busy and almost always a bit messy but it is full of learning, growing and expressions of one kind or another. I am happiest when the expressions are artistic or loving as in this picture. 

It is also Wednesday -- my favorite day of the week because I get to watch some great artistic expression on So You Think You Can Dance tonight. Come watch with me and taste my newest tasty expression in the creation of "peanut butter cookie topped triple chocolate fudge brownies."

Monday, June 28, 2010


Yesterday our bishop spoke in church. He gave the same message he always gives. It is a good one. And I always need to hear it. He tells us to pray and study the scriptures. He challenged us to read 10 pages of scriptures a day. That is a tall order for me. But I decided to try to do it. It took me 30 minutes this morning and about that long last night. 

I guess I will see how many days in a row I can keep up with his challenge. I am currently in Alma chapter 5. I am hoping to at least stick to the challenge till I complete the Book of Mormon. I have never read it that quickly before and I think it will be a good experience for me and help me see the story in a new way by reading it fast for a change. 

Daily scripture study is a hard habit to establish. I had an incredible seminary teacher named Garth Tesch that helped me set that habit really firmly as a 14 year old. Now as I work with 14 year olds, I want so much to teach them to turn to their scriptures as they seek answers and direction for their life. It has helped me so much. But I find it is often a hard habit to get them to pick up.

So I have been trying with my own children to start it much earlier. I have felt a few times that I need to have my girls reading scriptures every night. I tried months ago to have them read their own scriptures for 5 minutes at night as part of their nightly reading. That didn't last because they forgot to take their scriptures back up to their room after church or couldn't find them. And it was hard for them to read for 5 minutes by themselves without me explaining everything. 

So we had just been reading as a family in the morning during breakfast. (We have had that habit for a couple of years now.) After our last stake conference (the same time I introduce a TV limit) I had a new idea for independent scripture study for the girls. The most important thing to me now is that they get in the habit of reading scriptures. I am not concerned with how much they understand or how long they read. So I thought I would have them read as many verses as they are old.

That has worked out so well. It is the perfect amount for each of their ages. Often they will excitedly tell me they read a few extra verses too. We have an inexpensive Book of Mormon in their room that never leaves and they each take a turn reading their verses at night. I read Lauren's to her for now. Hopefully she will be reading them herself next year.

What do you do to teach your kids to turn to the scriptures for answers and direction? How have you tried or successfully established a habit of daily scripture study in your home? 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Noble's first "word?"

Me and Noble looking out my bedroom window down below at the girls in the backyard taking photos of the butterfly they released on Camille's birthday.

I am often asked if I can tell a difference between having a boy and having girls. Most of the time my answer is, "not so far." I mean yes diaper changing -- well there are obstacles to wipe around there. That is different. But he is a baby. My girls were babies. He has not been my most "adventurous" baby. That was between Camille and Annie. He eats a ton. But so did several of my girls. 

I always tell people, "I am sure I will see more differences as he gets older." Well I now have one difference that is fairly stark. My son doesn't say Mama or Dada on cue or when he sees us. He will babble "mamamama" or "dadadadad" but it isn't in relation to us yet. He will, on the other hand, make the sound of a car every time he picks up one of his little toy cars. That is not something girls do. At least not any of mine. 

My girls - they all spoke English first -- Not CAR. 

Having grown up surrounded by brothers, I spent countless hours making hot wheel tracks through my parents shag carpet with my little brothers. I loved the process of "picking our cars" before we would play. I had to make sure I got one of every kind for every need. A sports car, a van for when we go on trips, a truck in case I need to haul something, a car to take to work... 

I love seeing hot wheels in my home again and look forward to my years playing them with Noble. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Answer for Lee

You asked if women go on missions or just the men and how long a mission is:

All worthy young men should serve a mission. By "worthy" I mean that they have to be living the commandments and going to church and have a testimony (a personal witness to share) that the church is true. They are able to go as soon as they turn 19. Most "elders," as we call young male missionaries, go when they are 19. But sometimes people go a little later. Sometimes a young man is not prepared to go when he turns 19 for one reason or another. He may still go as long as he is unmarried and worthy until he is 26. After that he is supposed to work on the mission of finding a wife and being a good husband and father.

Young male missionaries serve for 2 years. So the overwhelming majority of them are between the ages of 19 and 21.

Young women may serve missions if they choose to. It is not expected or required of them like it is the young men. But many young women do serve missions and they have wonderful experiences and can be very powerful missionaries.

Young women are allowed to go on missions when they are 21. They serve 18 month missions. I don't think there is an age limit for young women. They must be unmarried as marriage and family is our most important "mission" in life. We try to keep that priority first.

Most "Sisters" as we call our young women missionaries are 21 and 22 years old. It is very rare to find older sister missionaries. However sometimes older widows will go on missions. My aunt went on a mission to Brazil after her husband passed away. She is so brave!

Older couples can go on missions once their children are on their own and they can afford to give up their jobs and pay for their own mission. They have lots of leeway on how long they serve and where they serve and what kind of mission they serve. They can do service or office work or proselyte or a bunch of other things. Their missions can be as short as a few weeks or as long as 3 years. Typically they are 18 months or 2 years though.

Hope that answered your question. Let me know if you have more.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Conversation with a Butterfly

Hello Mr. Butterfly, newly emerged from your cocoon.
I am happy to see you survived your metamorphosis.
I have a few questions for you.

Was it scary there alone in the dark as you felt yourself changing day by day?
Did you know what you would one day become?
Did you wish you could have always stayed the same?
Or did you know one day you would grow wings all your own?
And that you would explore gardens in a whole new light?
Did you know the beauty that would emerge from your caterpillar's casket?
You are a brave little soul my butterfly friend. 
You went into the dark, dying as one thing and emerging reborn as another.
The new you is a thing of beauty. 
Now go be brave my little friend.
Go share what you have become with all the world around you.
Have faith in those beautiful new wings of yours.


Party my house 8:30 Wed night! Come watch with me!!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Welcome to the World Baby John Jones!

Remember about 7 months ago when I did that big silent auction for Emily Jones, the young widow of John Jones who died in the Nutty Puddy Caves in Utah during the Thanksgiving vacation from Medical School? She was then just 2 months pregnant with their second child. Her due date was June 13th. Two days later on June 15th 2010 Emily Jones delivered into the world John Edward Jones II. 
Emily was surrounded by family for the joyful event. She had a photo of she and John on the side table and I have no doubt she had her husband by her side the entire time.
Her daughter Lizzie is so excited for the arrival of her baby brother. 
We are so happy for you Emily. What a blessed day. Someday we will get to see how such days look from the other side of the veil. I will not be surprised if we learn that our angel family members are there preparing our new babies to enter this world through the whole labor and delivery. 

May little John be a joy and healing balm to you Emily! We love you!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Track Break Here We Come

A couple of days ago Jon was in his home office on a business call. The woman he was talking to said, "What is that music you are listening to? Is that jazz? I could listen to that all day!" Jon then told her it was his 7 year old playing the violin. Annie is headed to violin camp next week. I hope she will learn lots as she takes lessons from various instructors and plays in group and orchestra classes.

Yesterday picking her up from school she presented me with this beautiful art project showing the anatomy of a flower. She gave it to me and said in her most dramatic form, "The petals are the love and the stem is where all the love flows up to be spread to all around and the leaves, they are the kind acts that we do to show the love. The roots are where all the love is gathered to flow up to the plant. And the dirt," here her flowing voice goes flat and she says, "well it is the kitchen where we all eat." That cracked me up. Love in the home - at least in my home - does often center in the kitchen but I am not sure how I feel about mine being compared to dirt.

Today is the last day of school before track break and since Annie will be spending all day everyday next week at violin camp I have set up a mini summer camp for Sabrina. She and 5 girl friends will rotate to a different girls house each of 6 days next week. Each mom will teach some kind of lesson and have some activities planned for the girls. They will be learning to roller skate, swim strokes, do hair, sew, do crafts, make a full dinner, scrapbook, and put together a fashionable outfit. I hope it is fun for them.

Hopefully the girls will feel like they have a "summer" before we head back for 9 month school next year.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Big News

There have been some big changes around our house this week. I haven't been able to go to Pilates or go volunteer at the school in the middle of the day. Jon has not been home. And while it has been an adjustment for me, I am so excited about the new adventure that has taken him away from home.

Jonathan and I made a rather large purchase last week. We bought a company and a store. Perhaps those of you in the Las Vegas area have heard of it -- Laptop Xchange? Here is the press release I wrote up about it:

---------------------FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE--------------- 

LaptopXchange is Acquired by Investor Group 

HENDERSON, Nevada (June 14, 2010) – Laptop Xchange 
Franchising, LLC, franchisor of the popular LaptopXchange 
concept announces it has been acquired. Jonathan M. Waite and a 
small group of passive investors acquired the franchisor and its 
corporate store located at 1381 W. Sunset Rd. in Henderson in a 
deal that officially closed on June 14. Waite holds a majority 
interest in the company and will be operating as the Chief 
Executive Officer and President. 

Co-founder Timothy Smith will remain as the Chief Operating 
Officer of the franchisor and retains a minority interest in the 
company. Co-founder Michael Smith was retained as a consultant 
for the next year and a half to train new franchisees.  Waite and 
Smith are excited about their plans to grow the business 
nationwide and enhance the support provided to current 

"We will be working with new marketing partners including a 
nationally renowned franchise development partner to roll the 
LaptopXchange concept out across the country," said Waite. "We 
will also build a new website and commence a brand new franchise 
marketing campaign. Having a well capitalized franchisor like we 
do now opens so many possibilities to us.”   

Waite plans to leverage the already strong brand recognition in the 
Las Vegas market to surrounding areas and nationwide.  That 
process includes working on ways to improve the lending process 
for franchisees and seeking a listing on the National SBA 
Franchise Registry.   

"We plan on new and exciting news for LaptopXchange in the 
ensuing months and years," said Waite.  

About LaptopXchange: 
LaptopXchange is a premier retailer of quality used, off-lease and 
factory refurbished laptop computers and laptop accessories.  
LaptopXchange is also a premier service center for all brands of 
laptop and desktop computers.  The first LaptopXchange opened in 
2001 and has been committed to providing each customer with 
superior service.   

About Jonathan Waite: 
Jonathan M. Waite, is the founder of McKay Capital Management, 
LLC, an asset management company, and Precipio Research, LLC, 
an investment consulting firm catering to institutional investors.  
McKay Capital managed an investment fund that beat the S&P 500 
by 45 percentage points during a four-year period.   

Before McKay and Precipio, Jonathan was twice recognized by the 
Wall Street Journal’s “Best on the Street” for stock picking as a 
senior equity analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets.  

Media Contact: Stephanie Waite, public relations 


We are very excited about this new adventure. My girls keep asking how old they have to be to work in the store. Jon is still doing his Precipio Research Company so he still researches restaurants and works stock market hours for that. The hedge fund, however, he closed in April so he no longer has the stress of managing other peoples money. And it looks like I am now the VP over Public Relations. I just made that title up for myself. You get to do that if you are the boss right? :)

Some may wonder if I am nervous about such a major change. Job changes can be scary especially when you put your life's savings into an investment. I, however, am not nervous about this at all. The store is already established and both it and the parent company are profitable. We hope to use the capital we bring to the company to grow it by selling franchises nationwide. I have full confidence in my husband's ability and his plans to make this happen. 

So if you have an old laptop sitting around your house and you live in Vegas or Henderson, come sell it to us and take home some CASH. We take Apple or PC laptops. And if you need a new laptop, come see what we have in the store. You may just save yourself a bundle of cash!

*** If you have already used Laptop Xchange and been satisfied with your service we would love for you to go put a positive comment on any of the websites that do reviews for it. Thanks ***

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


June 16th - And so we begin year three. Thanks for all the prayers, thoughts and support. I had an fine few days. I want these days eventually to become just another day. I will celebrate Camille on her birthday. The June days... those I would rather just forget. So we did nothing special to mark the day and I tried to think about it as little as possible and that worked for me.

SO You Think You Can DANCE?!!- It is the first voting show of So You Think You Can Dance tonight! PARTY time! Come watch with me at 8:30 ish. I have really yummy cookie dough!

Where in the World is my Book? - I think I lent my copy of "Hunger Games" the first book in the Hunger Games series to someone and I can't remember who. If whoever it is reads this, please let me know so I can get it back. My sister in law wants to borrow it.

A Great Summer Read - I just finished another really good book last night called "Mistborn" by Brandon Sanderson. It reminded me of the Hunger Games with a bit of magic in it kinda Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings ish. I would highly recommend it for a summer read.

New Talents Explored - Yesterday at Mutual I learned that I am really rather good at keeping an M&M attached to a straw by sucking it in while running halfway across a gym. I am not so good at getting an Oreo from resting on my forehead to inside my mouth without using any hands/arms/legs etc. These are good things to know about yourself.

A New Look -- I have been wanting to change the look of my blog recently. But I am not design or computer savvy enough to do what I really want. So I picked this new design from Blogger for now. How do you like it?

Big Announcement Coming Tomorrow - I do have another announcement to make but it is so big that I think it deserves its own post... so check back for big news about changes here at the Waite house tomorrow...

Monday, June 14, 2010


I have been thinking about missions lately. We have a nephew serving in Florida. He hasn't been out that long. We have written him as a family. Then we recently had a Young Women's Sunday lesson on supporting missionaries through letter writing. I wrote several missionaries back in the day. All but one of them were purely platonic. I enjoyed writing them then and have enjoyed supporting our nephew now.

The first weekend on this month we had lots of family events as Jon's youngest brother Stephen got married. At the rehearsal dinner each family was introduced by one of the parents. Jon's family went in order of age with his oldest two sisters introducing their families. Jon is the fourth kid of nine. He was in the house trying to put Noble down as this was happening. 

My heart began racing as I realized he would likely not be back in time to introduce our family. I have no fear of public speaking but introducing my family... at a wedding... in front of a lot of people who don't all KNOW me... well that presents new challenges for me these days. And my mind was racing and my heart thumping and my fingers shaking. How do I introduce my family? It is still one of the hardest parts of this for me. Do I include Camille? How can I not? She is so much a part of our family? She is one of my children. How can I include her without bringing the whole party down or putting pity focus on me and without opening myself up for questions later about where that 5th kid is? Man, where is Jon when I need him?

Jon's first sister finished pointing out each of her kids by name and his second sister - the one with the son on a mission started. I thought I would see whether she included her absent son. She did. She said she had a son on a mission. Before I knew it she was done and Jon's older brother had introduced his wife and two kids. Our turn. Jon is no where to be found and the family looks to me to do the introductions. 

I stand and mumble something about not having had to introduce my family in a few years. It is true. At least in front of a large gathering this is the first time I have had to do this. I introduce myself and Jon and then search for Sabrina. I find her and point her out and introduce her following the pattern others have set. Ann Marie is off playing so I just say her name and age. I introduce Lauren as well. Here is the moment of truth. In a blur the words fall out of my mouth. "I have a daughter named Camille who is on a mission in Heaven and my youngest is Noble who is a year and is being put down to bed by his father I hope." I pass the mike and let my nerves settle. Ten minutes later my heart beat finally is back to normal. I feel good about how I introduced her. I told the truth and I was upbeat and positive and quick so as not to dwell on it. 

Then this weekend we went to visit my friend Britt in Arizona. Her youngest brother is leaving on a mission and all her family was in town for his farewell. On Sunday we went to a ward in Mesa where an older couple talked about their recent mission to Uruguay. Missionaries typically serve 2 year missions. 

So on this two year mark of my separation from my daughter I have thought about earthly missions vs. heavenly missions. If Camille were on an earthly mission she would be home or coming home by now. She would have stories of unfamiliar people she helped and new customs she learned in strange lands. Her life for the past two years would be full of experiences and people I had never known. She would be a different girl from the one who left. I would have to get to know her again. I would listen to her stories but never really feel what she did for those she served because I was not with her. I would not know them. 

But she isn't on an earthly mission. There is no coming back from her current assignment. But when I am reunited with her again I do not think there will be the unfamiliar getting to know you again stage there is with newly returned missionaries here. I believe there will be an immediate sense of reunited love and I will get to listen to her tell me of all the ways she served and helped all of us in her family through our trials and difficulties. It will be wonderful and fascinating and at the end of it I believe I will see one thing -- she was closer to her family on her heavenly mission than she ever could have been on any earthly mission. 

What do I do in honor of her 2 year mark? Burn my funeral dress or something? If it weren't so cute I would. Thanks to all of you have been thinking of me and praying for me and who have sent me texts, cards or emails. I am holding in there and I feel of your moral support. Love you all! Stephanie

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Happy Tools

There are a few things in this life that make me just wonderfully happy. Fun times with my family and friends, incredible food, a great chocolate chip cookie or just the dough, a page-turning book, dancing, watching incredible dancing, happy music, sharing my beliefs with someone who is really interested in them, helping others, feeding super yummy food to hungry people, the sound of Lauren's laugh, a snuggle from Noble, a surprise cleaning spree or concert from Annie, a beautiful piece of artwork or song sung by Sabrina, Jonathan working along side me doing just about anything, exploring new places, meeting new people (especially those who already know me through my blog), good ice cream on a hot day.  Okay you get the idea. These things are like tools I can use to lift my spirits when they are feeling low.

Well as we are approaching the 2nd anniversary of the worst day of my life, I have been preparing myself for how to spend the time. Last year I ran away with my friend Britt and our families. Her son Daxton died two years ago today. We spent our anniversary week in San Diego together doing lots of fun things. It was a great vacation. 

This year we had planned to go to my parents cabin. Well, then my parents sent these pictures of the river outside the cabin.

Just to give a reference, this next picture is what the river by the cabin NORMALLY looks like:

The place Sabrina and Lauren are standing in this picture is all underwater now. The river would be over their heads in fact. Can you imagine me spending my weekend up there trying to make sure my kids never left the house. Yeah, we decided not to go to the cabin this weekend. And that made me very sad because I really wanted to get away this weekend and I really wanted to see Britt and Doug and their family.

I talked to Britt about other options but she has a brother who is leaving on a mission and has to be to church on Sunday to hear him speak before he leaves. We tossed out other dates we could get together. Nothing seemed to pan out. Finally I asked her if we could just come to her house. If you know me well, you know I am prone to invite myself over. :) She said that would be perfect. 

As soon as we made that decision, all the gloominess I had been feeling about what to do about this weekend went away. It feels so good to have the plan to be going down to Arizona to spend the weekend down there. I have never really visited Arizona so we will be on a new adventure. Plus we have old friends down there in Britt and Shanan (are there others I am forgetting? Let me know if so!) And there will be lots of new old friends to meet. I have always loved people from Arizona. Maybe it is because they are from this hot dessert land like me but they always feel like Vegas people to me. 

I know there will be amazing food because I have eaten with Britt a few times. :) The girl can bake and cook. We share our love of food. Basically, I think there will be a bit of most of my favorite happy things in this weekend. So I am excited for it. Just make sure you DVR my So You Think You Can Dance on Thursday night Britt! I gotta find out who the top 10 will be! 

Watch out Mesa. Here I come with all my happy tools!

For those of you local. Come watch So You Think You Can Dance with me tonight at 8:30 if you know where I live. I am making chocolate filled croissants. They are fabulously yummy. See you tonight I hope.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Whisperings Become Reality

A couple of weeks ago we had a stake conference for church. We have these typically twice a year where about 10 or so congregations meet together in one big conference. There is an adult meeting on Saturday night and on Sunday the whole family goes to the meeting instead of their normal church services. 

So during these meetings, Jon and I felt inspired during several of the talks that we needed to turn off the screens in our home more to allow less distraction from the Spirit. I am sure different people got different messages from the talks but that is the one we felt was meant for us. Jon and I talked about putting a limit on how much screen time our kids had and we came to the decision to limit them to 90 minutes a day and only 60 of those minutes could be television.

I was a little worried about the big fight I anticipated getting our kids to limit their screen time. So I decided to call a family meeting to discuss the matter. It went FAR better than I expected. Here is what happened:

Mom: So kids, how does Heavenly Father talk to us?
Sabrina: Through the prophet.
Annie: Through the scriptures.
Lauren: When we pray.
Mom: Yes that is very good and when we pray, how do we HEAR Heavenly Father's responses?
Sabrina: Through the Holy Ghost.
Mom: Yes. Exactly. So what about when you are reading the scriptures? Can Heavenly Father use the Holy Ghost to whisper what the scriptures mean to you?
Kids: Yes.
Mom: What about when you are listening to the prophet speak? Can the Holy Ghost tell you which thing the prophet says you need to do better at?
Kids: Yes
Mom: Well what about at church? Can the Holy Ghost tell you when you are at church that you should be doing what the bishop or the speaker is talking about?
Kids: Yes.
Mom: How important is it to do what the Holy Ghost says when He whispers something to you?
Kids: VERY important.
Mom: Yes it is very important. We just all went to stake conference today and while we were there Dad and I heard the Holy Ghost whispering some things we needed to do in our family. How important do you think it is that we follow those whisperings?
Kids: VERY VERY important.
Mom: Yes. That is what Dad and I think too. One of the things we heard at conference was about how important it is to have the Spirit in our home. The speaker talked about what the missionaries do when the go to home to teach a lesson and they want the Spirit to be there. Do any of you know what they do?
Kids: Pray?
Mom: Yes they do pray but even before they pray they go into the house and they ask that the television or radio or video games be turned off. Then they say their prayers. In fact, missionaries do not watch any television and only get to be on the computer for a little bit of time each week to send letters to their families. So while Dad and I were listening to this we both felt that the Holy Ghost was telling us that we need to turn off some of the screens in our home that can distract us from feeling the Spirit. How do you think we can do this?
Sabrina: Maybe we could put a limit on how much screen time we have.
Mom: That is a great idea Sabrina! Kids what do you think would be a fair amount of screen time everyday?
Sabrina: How about one hour.
Mom: That is very good Sabrina. Dad and I both thought that an hour of television would be a good limit and the fact that you also came up with that number seems to suggest maybe the Spirit is whispering it to you too. We thought we could do an hour of TV and maybe 30 extra minutes of any other kind of screen or 90 minutes of screen a day and only and hour of that can be TV. Does that sound good to all of you?
Kids: Yeah.
Mom: Great. I will put a tally for each of you on the fridge and when you want to watch TV or play a Wii Game or computer game just let me know and I will turn on a timer to keep track of your time. If you don't use all your minutes in a day you can carry them over to the next day. That way if you want to watch a movie on the weekend you can save enough minutes during the week to do that. We will start fresh at 0 minutes accumulated every Monday. Also flash cards online or other school/work related screen time doesn't count. Mom and Dad will be doing this too.
Kids: Okay!

I was shocked at how well this went. I really feel like the Spirit was there helping me direct the discussion and helping inspire Sabrina along the way. But I still wondered how hard the implementation would be. The next day I tried to plan lots of activities to keep myself busy so I wouldn't be tempted to turn on the TV. 

When Lauren wanted to play the computer I told her that was fine but that it would count towards her 90 minutes of the day. She said that was okay. Then I asked her how many minutes she wanted to use. She said 15. I turned the kitchen timer on for 15 minutes. She played and when the timer dinged she closed the computer.

When Annie did the same thing she was in the middle of a game when the timer went off. I said that was fine and turned the timer on for another 5 minutes. She closed the computer before the 5 minutes were up. I made a sort of checkbook like sheet for each kid to track their running screen time tally. There was no fighting, arguing, begging, or whining. I couldn't believe it. The kids began to evaluate how badly they really wanted to watch any given show or play any given game. It has been great.

The best part has been the feeling in our home. I noticed a marked different even the first day. I really could feel so much more peace in our home. I felt the Spirit more. It has been a really good change for our family.

Now all that being said I have to throw out some disclaimers. I have not been as good about keeping the "checkbook" up since. After a week I started doing a more mental tally and we have kept pretty well under the limits. EXCEPT for when Sabrina and I went to California. We didn't have screen time too much but I am fairly certain there was an abundance of Daddy/daughter Wii time here at the house. 

I am leaving myself flexible for road trips and times when kids get sick or other out of the norm circumstances. And I don't count my blogging time because I justify that as doing my own personal history and journal writing. 

I know that at different seasons of our lives different things are important or right for us to do in our families and personal lives. Our priorities shift with our circumstances. I am sure this would be FAR more difficult to do if I were in the middle of morning sickness or if all my kids were younger and needed more constant entertainment. But for now, for us, this has been an incredible blessing. Who knows, maybe there are a few who are reading this now and feeling those "whisperings" that this might be something they need to do. If that is you -- I say Go For It! Making those Whisperings a Reality may be easier than you think.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Enjoying life is so dependent on perspective. The other day I was talking to my husband while driving. I asked him if he thought of himself as an optimist, a realist, or a pessimist. I already knew what I thought he was but I was curious to see what he thought he was. My sweet husband said decidedly that he is an optimist. I burst out laughing. Then I saw that he was serious. 

You see my husband, bless his heart, is not by nature an optimist. He is more of a realist with a bit of pessimism thrown in there. So I was stunned to hear him so confidently proclaim himself an optimist. When he heard me laughing he explained that he could be whatever he wanted to be and that he was choosing to be an optimist ... right now ... from now on. He has the goal to be an optimist. I think it is a noble goal. 

He conceded that previous to that moment in time he had been a realist and a pessimist. I then asked him what he thought I was. He said I was an optimist and realist. I agreed with him. As such I wished him success on his new vow to be an optimist but realistically I think it is going to be more of a process than a decision. 

I think my realistic optimism has been a great asset to me in finding joy and hope again after losing Camille. Perhaps a more pessimistic view would have me expecting loss all around me and seeing my loss in every day and every joyful moment. But those are not the lenses I choose to view my life. 

This weekend we had a joy filled 3 days. Jonathan's youngest brother Stephen got married to his lovely new bride Diana in the temple Saturday. We had a big rehearsal dinner on Friday night and the reception on Saturday night. It was such a wonderful event with so much family all around to enjoy. This morning all the Waites (minus Stephen and Diana who are honeymooning) gathered to bless Aaron and Carolyn's  twin baby girls Aspen and Emory Waite. They are two months old now. 

I was getting paper and pens together to take notes during the blessing and Jonathan was at the piano to play an opening hymn. Noble was ... exploring. It was so nice to have so many family members around to watch him. I watched as he went from one cousin, aunt, or uncle to another. I could see the love that each of them had for him. My husband was playing "Families Can Be Together Forever" on the piano and we were all singing along. 

"I have a family here on earth. They are so good to me. I want to share my life with them through all eternity. Families can be together forever, through Heavenly Father's plan. I always want to be with my own family. And the Lord has shown me how I can. The Lord has shown me how I can. While I am in my early years. I'll prepare most carefully. So I can marry in God's temple for eternity. Families can be together forever ..."

I had to stop singing. In that moment I felt how incredibly lucky I am ... or blessed rather ... to be sealed to all these wonderful people. I love ALL my in-laws. How many people can honestly say that? Well I can. I love them and I know they all love me and they love my children and they all are with me in my tender feelings of love for Camille. 

The week before Camille died we spent a weekend up at Aspen Grove with all the Waite family. Camille spent lots of time with all her cousins. I am so glad that all of them got a chance to know her a bit in this life. She LOVED people. She was most happy when she was in public interacting with people. Noble is just the opposite. He only likes people he knows really well. But Camille would go to anyone and was happy to meet new people. 

I feel blessed beyond measure by my own temple marriage. And I am so incredibly lucky that my siblings have married such incredible people and that all of Jon's eight siblings and all their spouses are also such wonderful people. 

Maybe the key to become an optimist is to spend some time each day counting blessings. This weekend there were lots to count for me.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Holding Him, Holding Her, Holding Me

Tonight Noble fell and bumped his head on the tile. It wasn't a very bad bonk. He kept his head up enough to cushion the blow. But it scared him and he wanted his mom to hold him afterward. So I picked him up and after his initial cries he settled down. But he still just wanted me to hold him. I was ever so happy to oblige. 

I sat on our green rocking chair. Someone had taken Noble's clothes off after dinner so he was only wearing a diaper. I sat rocking on the chair with him sitting in my lap facing me. He laid his head down on my chest and I sat with my arms around him rocking his little body.

He is so white. His skin is like my husbands. There is no "olive undertone" there. It is just as fair as can be. I laid my cheek down on his soft hair. He was totally still except I could feel him breathing.

And I was taken back to holding her, that last time, when she stopped breathing in my arms. She was the same size and felt the same weight. Her skin was so white and soft against mine. And she was totally still. And I felt the last breaths go out of her.

Noble has been so healing for me in so many ways. But there are moments like this when he takes me back to another time and another child and my heart lives again some other life that was. Perhaps there is healing in the reliving as well. Perhaps we must learn to sip from the cup of our bitter memories to truly say we have become accustomed to their taste in our mouth. Or perhaps it is tasting them again that helps us see how far we have come.

I looked at the pictures my sister-in-law Elizabeth took in that moment when I last held her. It was so like my moment today only so filled with pain and sorrow instead of the sweetness and joy of today. I marveled as I looked at myself in that image. How did I do that? How am I still here? How did I ever let anyone take her out of my arms? How did I get up and use my legs again?

People talk about miracles where loved ones are healed and the sick are made well. Looking at that picture tonight I could see that there was a miracle happening in that room and in that very frame. I had prayed so hard for a miracle for her but the Lord intended to show His miracle by helping me. How else could I have kept breathing when she stopped? And how else could I be where I am today - feeling whole and peaceful and hopeful and joyful despite my bitter cup. Yes there was a miracle happening. But it has taken time to see and realize that all the while He has been holding Me.


I will be watching tonight and would love some company if anyone is feeling up to it. We are still in the auditions and I wasn't sure how it would be to watch those in a group as I haven't ever had a party for this part before. But last week I laughed harder than I ever have at any auditions for any show. All I have to say is 1 2 3 Party guy stole all my stake dance moves from my teenage years! We had a great laugh at him.

Tomorrow I will be busy with a ward dinner and auction to raise money for camp but I will be watching after 9 then too. Stop by to laugh with me either night if you like!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Girls Weekend, and a little boy

This weekend Sabrina and I took our first Mother/Daughter alone trip to California in honor of her ninth birthday. We stayed with Aunt Nikki and Lily and Hank and helped Aunt Nikki take care of those cute little bundles of love. Sabrina and I couldn't get enough of those babies. We had a hard time putting them down because we just wanted to hold them the whole time.
Sabrina holding Lily

Sabrina was so good with those little babies. She helped feed and burp and calm them when they cried. She has grown up so much in the last year. She had presents to open up periodically throughout the whole weekend. We also had cake and ice cream with all the cousins and we went to dinner with some of our best friends at Downtown Disney. The whole weekend was so fun and relaxed. It was great one on one time with my sweet daughter before she turns into a teenager or at least a preteen double digit person.

We both missed out family here at home though. Annie and Lauren made cards for Sabrina to let her know she was missed. They picked flowers for her and gave her candy when she got home. I think they missed her more than me. Sabrina said it was the first memory she had without Ann Marie. She was only 19 months when Annie was born and they haven't ever been separated for more than a day before. I am so glad they are so close. They love each other so much.
Sabrina with sisters and presents.

Sabrina also really missed Lauren and Noble. She loves to nurture and love them. She has a mothering soul. I am grateful for her kind and loving spirit. And I so enjoyed spending the weekend with her. Happy Birthday Sabrina