Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Magical Motherhood Moments

As the last day of January is upon us, it is time to prepare for my February goal--no screens. I have to admit that this is likely to be harder for me than anyone else in my family. But I know it will be good for all of us and I am looking forward to the challenge.

I hope that being in front of screens so much less will make more magical motherhood moments happen, or at least help me see them better. I had one this morning as I dropped the girls off at school. After the doors closed I heard Noble say, "I wanna go to school with my girlie friends."

He calls his sisters his "girlies." So when they come home it is, "My Girlies! My Girlies are home!" Or yesterday we were playing outside and a neighbor walked by. Noble went up to her and said. "I'm Noble. These are my girlies. (pointing to where the girls were playing with a friend. then pointing to the friend--) Well not that one. But those ones. That is my Ina girlie, my Annie girlie, and my Lauren girlie." Noble has his own little harem.

Or another one came the other day as Lauren got creative with some diapers. She decided to have a diaper party. Here was the result:
Diapers hats and pants for everyone. What fun!

But one of my very favorite moments I captured on my phone with great stealth the other day. It was just one of those quiet moments where the kids were playing so nicely together. I absolutely love seeing my children play well together. I see it often with the older girls. It is thrilling to see the start of it with the little boys.
Noble and Harrison (and Lauren) got lots of trains for Christmas. The whole family has been having fun making new configurations of tracks.

Lastly, someone left this family's blog in my comments a few days ago. I went over and read this mother's "Anatomy of a Car Crash" series. It echoed so many things I have thought or written. I will be praying for her and her family. I hope you will join me in that. Might be nice to go leave them a comment or a donation too.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Thank you to whomever it was out there praying for me today. I made it through both presentations without my mascara running. :) I did get emotional in parts but not so much so that I couldn't speak. I think the workshops went well overall. I hope so at least. I hope those in attendance felt inspired to write their own stories and use blogs to help them do that.

One thing I did that helped me keep my composure was to have the audience silently read a "post" I wrote specifically for the workshop that gave a summary of the life of my blog. I figured that reading silently gave them a true view of how it feels to know me from my blog. They could feel what my readers feel by reading. Plus it saved me from having to tell them about Camille's accident while trying to maintain my composure.

I thought maybe some of you may be interested in reading the post I wrote for the workshop. So here it is. Thanks again for the prayers!

The story of Stephanie Waite’s blog “A Daily Scoop” in Summary

I began my blog in April of 2008. In the first weeks of my blogging I wrote a post about each of my four little girls. My life was happy and my future looked bright. I had just moved into a new, permanent home big enough for us to grow into. I was in the midst of home decorating and backyard designing.
My youngest daughter Camille was about to turn one and her sisters were 2, 5 and 6. It had been a hard year having essentially two babies to look after. But I was finally starting to see some of the benefits and joy of having kids close in age as my two youngest were beginning to play together more. My girls were all beautiful, happy and healthy. Life was just wonderful and I was ready to write all about it.
Little did I know how drastically a Friday afternoon in June would change my life and my blog forever….
It was his face that told me. Walking down that long third floor corridor, adrenaline still coursing through my veins, I saw him at the far end. He was pacing, helplessly. Then he turned my direction. And I saw his face.
            Until that point, the only news I had heard from my husband was in a quick phone call, “They got her heart beating and she is taking spontaneous breaths on her own!” He had phoned from the ambulance carrying our youngest daughter to the hospital. I was still at home. I was the one who had found her in the brand new spa. I was not allowed to go with her, the police said. I had to stay and answer questions.
            But I had found hope in this one report my husband Jonathan had found time to phone in to me. Breathing on her own was good. A beating heart was good. That meant she was still with us. She was alive. There was still hope. She would be okay.
            Jonathan’s face told me a different story. His was not a face of hope or faith. His was the face of loss, great, unendurable loss. His was a face of agony.
Family quickly gathered around us as we waited and watched and prayed. I had recently started a blog and my sister logged on and put up a post requesting prayers on behalf of my 14 month old Camille. We needed a miracle. We needed prayers of faith.
The prognosis was very poor for our little girl. Doctors told us the best-case scenario was a long term vegetative state. As the hours passed, even that seemed unlikely. Camille’s organs were failing.
Through a grueling process of time and pleading and acceptance and prayer, Jonathan and I came to understand the Lord’s will for our daughter. We saw the miracle that we would be seeing would not be one to improve our daughter’s health. We shifted out prayers to plead for a miracle in our hearts. We pleaded for strength to accept this heavy heartache.
Meanwhile, word of our plight spread and hundreds of people went to our blog to leave comments of support and prayers. I updated our blog to indicate our decision to remove life support and ask people to pray for us: that we might have the strength to keep breathing when our daughter stopped.
The hundreds of people reading along with our plight and praying and supporting us turned to thousands. I felt a great strength come from the thousands of prayers being lifted up to heaven on our behalf. They were prayers from friends old and new, family near and far, and strangers of all different faiths from many varied countries.
Our daughter passed away on June 15, 2008, 48 hours after I found her. And my blog became a tool for me to update those concerned about me, to process my pain and keep a grip on eternal perspective. And so I wrote. I wrote everyday. I wrote the words I could not say. I put my heart, broken, humbled, and yet still believing out onto the Internet. I wrote my pain, the lessons I was learning, and my testimony.
And people read what I wrote. Some found their own pain reflected in my writing. My words expressed what they couldn’t. Some learned right along with me. They came to read the inspiration I had gleaned from my trial. And they read my testimony and beliefs along the way. And the miracles we all prayed for eventually came.
I have seen and felt the miraculous healing of broken and shattered hearts, hopes, and spirits. I have seen the miracle of repentance and growth of testimony. I have seen the miracle of one little angel spreading her influence across the world through the simple writings of her grieving mother.
The tides of grief still ebb and flow but the good days far out number the bad. I am grateful for that. I am grateful for the peace the truths of the gospel bring. I am grateful for Jesus Christ and his redeeming sacrifice. In Him there is hope. I am grateful for temple covenants that bind me to my family forever. I am grateful that I will never have to worry about Camille staying true to the Faith. I am grateful to have one child sealed up in heaven and guaranteed to be mine as long as I live worthy of her.
I am grateful for the miracle that I can still be grateful. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Public Crying

So I have been preparing for this workshop I am giving on Saturday. In it I am going to try to read one of my old posts ... out loud. It is the "Inside the Heart" post. It isn't one of my saddest posts. It just illustrates something I want to point out really well. The problem is the whole public sobbing thing.

I still can't read most of my old posts or many of the comments any of you left in those early days without the flood of all that emotion rushing right over me. I can talk about Camille without crying--just not for very long or too in-depth.

I have never heard Stephanie Nielson speak. Have any of you? I mean I guess I have seen her on TV speak but not in person. She seems to hold it together pretty well when she talks about her plane crash and subsequent trials. I am not sure I will be able to do that.

I know I totally lost it the last time I spoke publicly about Camille. I had to stop speaking for what seemed like a full minute or two. I don't mind having emotion in my voice but I really prefer not to get to that level of emotion where my voice goes all high and squeaking and it is difficult to understand what I am saying. You know?

You know the funny thing is that I feel like I did better at the funeral than I do now. Maybe it is because back then I was crying about it all the time so it was a more even flow. Now when I talk about Camille, it is usually after a long time of not having talked about her and the emotion has been storing up in there somewhere.

I am always a little nervous to touch on a subject related to Camille in a public setting. The lessons in church when I bring her up are a little more nerve racking than normal. But those I know will be short points or brief comments in a larger otherwise less emotional subject.

By contrast, this workshop on Saturday, talking about blogging - well my world of blogging is pretty inseparably intertwined with my baby girl. She is the driving force of why I have blogged so faithfully and why anyone outside my family reads my blog.

I just hope I am able to hold it together for most of the two 40 minute workshops I present. Is that too much to ask?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Walking Down Memory Lane

I am speaking at a women's conference across town this Saturday. I will be doing a 40 minute workshop on the positive use of social media. 40 minutes is a long time. Since I will not be going into the technical "how to" part of the subject, I have been looking to fill out the "inspire people to want to use social media in a positive way" side of my own experience.

In so doing I have been reading many of my old posts. I also decided to look for some of the comments that illustrated how this blog has impacted others. 11556 Comments. That is how many total comments I have been looking over. That is the total for the entire 3 years and 9 months I have had this blog going. I have previously read every one of them. But as I have reread some, I have come to realize how hazy my mind was in the early days of my grief.

There are comments from people I didn't remember commenting. I didn't know they knew or I guess I just didn't remember they knew. I have been struck once again by how far reaching a story like mine can travel. It runs down cracks and reaches old forgotten loved ones and new and undiscovered friends.

Raw grief has a way of changing relationships. It destroys some. It creates some. And many it just fundamentally shifts. It has been interesting reading back and seeing some of the early comments from people I didn't not know before all this and who are now some of my closest friends.

Doing all this reading has left tracks of tears down my cheeks as I remember just what was lost on June 13, 2008 and also what I have lost since then. I knew it would happen. I knew that ... "heaven in my home" feeling would not always be so tangible. I knew the day would come when I would get mad at my kids again. But I didn't want it to.

Reading my old posts and many of the comments makes me want to recapture that. I mean, I still do have a greater appreciation for my children than I did before. I absolutely do love and cherish them even when they are naughty or I am having to do one of the dirty jobs of motherhood (diapers, vomit, nasal treasures). It isn't like it was before. But it also isn't the "heaven is right here" feeling I had in the weeks of my raw grief.

I want that back, minus all the searing pain that accompanied it. But then I guess that is one of the main benefits for me personally of having this blog. I can read back and remember. As I do, I can feel it again. And I can recommit to keep it here, now.

I Like Bread and Butter

I took all the kids to breakfast at Bread and Butter this morning. I had a amazing braised short rib and egg sandwich. It was one of the cork board specials. Harrison shared it with me. The meat was so melt in your mouth that even he could eat some.

I also got one of the raspberry donuts to try. It was big. I only expected to take a bite. Yeah. Then I took a bite. Let's just say there wasn't much sharing going on with that donut. I love raspberry and the raspberry filling was the perfect degree of sweet.

Seriously, Chris Herrin is a magic man. I am feeling so fully satisfied by my delicious breakfast I just had to blog about it and tell everyone that I love Bread and Butter!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


One of Annie's Christmas wishes was for donuts. So Sabrina gave her a donut recipe book and a donut cutter. Last week we busted it out and made some baked raised donuts. They were delicious. I thought I would share the recipe since it was fairly simple.

These are best eaten while still hot.

Baked Raised Donuts:
1 egg
1/4 cup super fine sugar
1 cup whole milk, heated to 115 degrees F
1 T active dry yeast
1 t salt
2 t vanilla extract
2 1/2 -3 1/2 cups flour divided plus more for kneading
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into 1 inch cubes

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium speed till blended (about a minute). Add the milk yeast salt and vanilla and stir to blend. With the machine on low speed, add 2 cups of flour about 1/2 a cup at a time and beat till the dough is thick and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Switch to the dough hook. With the machine on medium speed add the butter one piece at a time. Beat until no large chunks of butter are left in the bottom of the bowl (3-5 mins). Reduce speed to low and add additional flour until the dough gathers around the hook and cleans the sides of the bowl. It will be soft and moist but not overly sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a flour surface and knead the dough gently till it no longer sticks to your hands. Lightly grease a large mixing bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise till doubled in volume (about an hour.)

Punch down the dough and roll to half an in inch thick. Use a doughnut or cookie cutter to cut out 3 inch diameter rounds with 1 inch diameter holes.

Preheat the over to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the donuts at least an inch apart on the baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot till nearly doubled (about 20 mins).

Bake till donuts are light golden brown (5-8 mins) being careful not to over bake them. Immediately brush with butter and sugar or glaze (sugar coated was best). Eat while still warm.
 We had this little bowl full of donut holes. They were SOOO good.
 Just moments later see how much emptier the bowl is?
 I barely got a photo of them before they were gone. I coated them in butter and tossed them in a paper bag with some ultra fine sugar. Seriously these were heavenly little bites.
 Here are our donuts baking in the oven.
 Here are the spoils. We made some glazed - though I thought the glaze was a bit too sugary.
And we did some chocolate. But Sabrina, who took the photos, says they were too chocolatey. Is that even possible? I used dark chocolate powder to make the glaze. Probably why she didn't like it. Well they all got eaten in a matter of hours too.

Let me know what you think if you try these. It makes for a fairly easy and very fun family activity to make them together. Maybe a good FHE activity?

Blessings and Anxiety

I have had a sense of foreboding today. I am not sure why. Sometimes I just feel this unsettled anxiety in the pit of my stomach that makes me a bit nauseas and reminds me of the feeling of the floor being pulled out from under me. It is a recognition of the genuinely fragility of so many routine parts of my life.

I sat in a bath as the hot water filled the tub. I thought about my bathroom and looked at it through the eyes of someone like rich and famous. It is a fairly standard bathroom. We have made no upgrades. It isn't the "spa like" luxury you might find in other homes. It pales in comparison to so many other bathrooms I have seen. It is nothing special.

Then I shifted my paradigm. I sat in that oversized tub and felt the hot water creep up around me. How privileged am I? I am sitting in this overly large comfortable tub. I have running water that comes into it with the turn of a lever -- and the water is hot. I wonder what percent of the worlds population has running water. I wonder of those how many have hot water. I wonder of those how many have tubs. Then I wonder how many of those tubs with hot running water are deep enough to cover an adult with water. I guess there are a very small percentage of the world's population who are so lucky.

At the same time, this foreboding feeling underscores how easily any given blessing can be erased from my life. It stirs my stomach and steals my appetite.

Jonathan and I went to the temple tonight. There I was reminded once again of the ultimate failsafe to this anxiety. In all the worst case scenarios my mind can imagine, somethings stay constant and ultimately bring me peace. No matter what happens or what trials I must face, Jesus is still the Christ. He will still be my Savior. My faith in Him and His gospel will still be sure. That is all that really matters. As long as I am good in my relationship with Him, the rest of this life is just an obstacle course designed to provide me opportunities to become more like Him.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

iPad Giveaway! Utah readers take note!

Hello my Utah readers. Remember when I posted about our Phoenix LaptopXchange grand opening when they gave away an iPad? (By the way, the woman who won the drawing happened to be a recently divorced woman who wasn't going to be able to give her kids any kind a Christmas. Seems that iPad answered someones prayer.)

Well it is Utah's turn now. A new LaptopXchange just opened in Salt Lake City. They will be doing a "Grand Opening Event" on January 28th where they will give away an iPad. Go check them out and let me know what you think of the SLC store. Make it your first stop for all your mobile computing needs. It will save you money!

Here is the store's location, hours, and phone number for details on the giveaway:
Salt Lake City, UT
2236 So. 1300 E. Suite D3A

Salt Lake City, UT 84106
Monday - Friday: 10:00am - 7:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am - 6:00pm
Sunday: Closed
Phone: 801-467-4500

Sunday, January 15, 2012

New Friends

Remember last year when my Dad picked up a bunch of Chinese men at Walmart and became their Mormon taxi driver? See this post HERE. Well the CES conference was last week again and the Chinese guys were back in town for it. Jonathan and I went with my Dad to meet them for Chinese food on Thursday. We used an application on Jonathan's phone to translate for us as we don't speak Chinese and they speak limited English.

It was fun. They brought us some lovely gifts from China--tea and a lovely tea set, a beautiful fan and a cool drawing pad that erases when you push a button. Two of them, YY and Cao, had a free day after the conference ended and before they flew back to China so my dad picked them up from their hotel took them to see the Hoover Dam and then we met up with them at Bread and Butter to give them a great American meal.
YY is the one next to Lauren and Cao is by Sabrina.

I ordered one of almost everything on the menu. Their favorite item was the ham and cheese on pretzel roll. :) My favorite too. What can I say? These guys have great taste. Someday I need to get to China to visit them in the city across the river from Hong Kong.

But for now, Jon and I are dreaming and scheming to go to the UK and Denmark this fall. We want to see where our families originate. Any readers out there want to give me some must sees in those areas? I kinda want to drive from London to Denmark. I know it is like a 14 hour drive but I haven't ever been to Belgium or Holland and I would love to spend a day or two seeing the countryside there. Am I crazy? Jon thinks so. He wants to fly or take a train. Anyone been there and done it? Suggestions?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

5th Grade Essay Contest

Every year American Mother's Inc. sponsors a national essay contest for 5th graders. I am heading up the effort to collect essays from the wonderful 5th graders from the great state of Nevada. Do you live in Nevada? Do you have a 5th grader? If so, listen up ... or read on.

The topic of the essay is "What my Mother Means to me." 150 words about Mom. What could be sweeter? If you want your child to enter this essay contest, the full rules are found HERE. Email me for my address if you want to submit your child's essay at stephaniewaite at gmail dot com.

The difficulty I have run into in trying to get this essay contest going here is that public schools are preparing for their writing proficiency exams. Somehow this essay contest seems to be ... low priority for the schools. But I have a 5th grader. I want her to write this essay. :) I think it is important for children to reflect on all their mothers do for them.

If you also would like to have your child to have this "opportunity for reflection," whether they are in 5th grade or not :), check out the details and have your child sit down to write his or her 150 words. You may find great treasure in what they write.

Entries need to be to me by Feb. 10th and will be judged by an independent education professional. Prizes will be awarded to both state and national winners.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Super Best Friends

Last night I was giving Noble a bath and Harrison, who had already had a bath yesterday, was crawling around the bathroom. Well, Noble was mostly just playing in the bath. He would make a big splash and Harrison, who had pulled himself up to stand next to the tub, would laugh and scream in delight. Harrison was up on tip toes.

I wish I had an internal video camera. I sat there watching in pure mother delight. My sweet baby and little boy, enjoying each other to the fullest, made my heart so full. These two boys love each other so much. I know they will be such good friends.

Then my mind turned to a conversation I had earlier that day with my sister in law. We were talking about our kids and she asked if my girls had best friends. I gave her the reply that Sabrina recently gave me when I asked her. "Annie is Sabrina's super best friend and Sabrina is Annie's Super best friend. They tell each other EVERYTHING. Even things they won't tell me."

Then my heart got that old familiar stab of pain from the plan going terribly wrong. Who is going to be Lauren's super best friend? Can I possibly fill that spot as her mother without throwing off the delicate balance of showing all my children equal love? Will she feel that missing or am I just feeling it for her? They are old and never ending questions.

I see Camille so often in my little Harrison as he grows. His joys are doubly fulfilling for me; his sorrows doubly painful to me. I miss her. I watch her Waite cousins, one girl 4 months younger and one girl 4 months older than Camille would have been. I see them holding hands, their friendship growing. I miss her being with them. They should have another member of their crew.

Then again maybe my little missing one can be more of a "super best friend" to all of us-- Lauren, her cousins, me -- just the way things are. She will always listen and never be angry or jealous or mean. She is close when we are sad and her silent presence is a comfort. Maybe one day, when we meet again, we will find she shared in all our joys, laughed with us in our jokes, delighted in our triumphs and was a more constant and close friend as an angel than she ever could be here on Earth. Maybe she is now more able than ever to be the "super bestest" friend ever.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A New Word

Noble is at one of my favorite stages. His speech expands daily with new words and phrases. Today he displayed his new skills in a little phrase I wanted to record for the ages.

We were in the car. I was telling the girls we were going to our cousin's house after swimming lessons so I could get my hair cut. The girls were discussing how they liked me hair long or short. "Your hair is great long mom. Why are you cutting it?" That sort of discussion.

Then from the far back seat Noble pipes up his "humble" opinion. "MY hair is AMAZING!" Yes my son it is.

Here is Noble at the cabin this fall with his Amazing "white" hair shining in the sun.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Glasses

When I was about 14 I got glasses for the first time. I found out I needed them when I tried a pair of my friends glasses on for fun and realized I could see so much better with them on. That was ... a few years ago. Since then I have had 1 other pair of frames. I have never lost my glasses... until a couple weeks ago.

The last 2 weeks I have been searching for my glasses. Finally my husband told me to go get a new pair. The old pair were falling apart anyway seeing as how they were like 15 years old. So yesterday I went to the eye doctor and got a new Rx and then got new glasses. Here I am tonight in my pjs with my glasses on display for you:

I know kinda washed out due to the bright flash and the fact that I am sitting in the dark writing this. Sorry. 

Anyway, I learned yesterday that losing your glasses seems to be a rather costly mistake. I guess that is why these will have to last me for the next 15 years. 

On a separate note: my exercising goal is going well. I have been waking up to an alarm every morning and going running. My legs are killing me but my spirits are up. How are you doing on your resolutions?

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

I make New Year's Resolutions every year. But I don't have the staying power to keep at them for a whole year most of the time. So this year I have decided to do monthly goals for our family like I did a couple of years ago. But instead of picking a new goal at the first of each month we laid them all out in advance.

The good thing about this is that I can focus on one thing and hopefully REALLY do it for the month. My hope is that some of it will continue through the year as well. At the same time it lets me pick 12 goals for the year. Considering the very extensive list of ways I would like to improve myself, this is good for me.

I had a hard time actually narrowing my list down to the 12. And to be completely honest I have a few "changes" that I am making for 2012 that I am not counting as resolutions. They are just going to be changes. They are things I already do faithfully but am going to increase my amount.

For our 12 Family Resolutions I had us focus on "well being" in the areas of physical activity, diet, spiritual, and emotional. Some months will be harder for some of us than others. But hopefully we will all grow through working on these resolutions.

Here is our list for 2012:
January: Exercise for at least 15 minutes everyday (this is a sweating workout)
February: No screens (except for checking email once a day and dad for work and maybe a weekly blog post)
March: No getting angry
April: Be Cheerful
May: Read the Scriptures individually (for mom and dad this will be 10 pages a day as our bishop suggests, for the kids it will be a verse for every year of their age.)
June: No processed Food
July: Exercise everyday for 30 mins.
Aug: Limit Sugar intake to one small treat a day or less
Sept: Whole Grains only
Oct: No complaining
Nov: Gratitude Journal daily and Grateful personal prayers
Dec: Serve others daily in a big way

What are you doing for your resolutions?