Monday, August 27, 2012

Fresh Starts

It is our first day of school again. Today I am feeling grateful for fresh starts. I feel the first day of school is a "fresh start" day for me as well as my kids. It is like New Years Day and the first day of summer vacation that way.

Today I had fresh new routines listed out for the girls which went so smoothly this morning. Then after getting them off to school I went over and joined the gym for my own fresh start.

I feel a bit more organized than usual and my body is feeling awake and alive from my workout. It is a great fresh start for the school year.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Changes have been taking place around the Waite home lately. We are about to embark on the new adventure of having a child in middle school. This has brought some pretty significant changes to our home for me, and for the kids.

Personally, I have found this transition to be going far more smoothly than I could have imagined. I put together a week long, 3 hour per day, day camp for 17 girls all starting middle school together from 4 different elementary schools last week. I had 3 moms be in charge of each day and it gave the girls a chance to get to make new friends and get to know a few people better before that socially intimidating first day of school. Plus they had fun. :0)

We did get to know you games and team building exercises the first day. The second and fourth days they swam. The third day they went roller skating. The last day they made matching necklaces and did other crafty things together. Then a few of the moms and daughters went over to Bread and Butter for a cooking class for the girls. Chef Chris was so great!

I feel very good about Sabrina's schedule and her teachers. She has friends in every class and some friends in 3 or 4 classes. She also has been doing more babysitting at home. I have trained her all summer and she can now change diapers (both wet and stinky), bathe and get boys dressed, put boys to bed, make a few simple meals and handle the boys for limited amounts of time. It has been HUGE to be able to leave her babysitting so I can run errands without little boys.

In light of these new responsibilities, the fact that she will have textbooks at home that need to be out of the reach of little boys' hands, and the fact that she will be waking up an hour earlier than the other kids, we felt it was time for Sabrina to get her own space in our home. So last weekend we dismantled the playroom and created a bedroom specifically for Sabrina. 

Here are some photos she took of it. Note that we haven't decorated. I figure a room makeover budget might be a great birthday present. :)

She is thrilled with the new space and has been working to keep it clean. 

As I drove to the elementary school open house today I noted that we will never have 3 kids at a school again. This year Camille would have started Kindergarten. In her absence there will never be 3 Waites at that school again. By the time Noble starts Annie will be in 6th grade. I had a plan for everyone to have a buddy 2 years ahead of them in school. But life happens and changes happen-some good some bad. And so we play the hand we are dealt and make the new plan beautiful.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

For Collin

I just walked into the house after a 16 hour trip to California. We left this morning at 4 a.m. to drive to our old neighborhood in Long Beach. We had a funeral to attend. A bit of back story is in order I think.

About 6 months after Jon and I were married, we moved to Long Beach. We were one of two very newly married couples in our new church congregation there. The other couple was Jason and Julie Presley. We both got pregnant around the same time. 10 weeks into my pregnancy I miscarried. Julie carried her baby to about 32 weeks (if I remember correctly) and then delivered a little 3 lb. boy that they named Collin Matthew.

Collin had many problems from his first days of life. After years of testing and searching, he was diagnosed with TTD, a rare disease that fewer than 100 people in the world have. It causes many issues including skin sensitivity to light, pain, seizures, deafness, blindness, premature aging, and many more.

Last month Collin celebrated his 12 birthday. For a child who doctors said wasn't supposed to even see his first birthday, Collin was a living miracle. Last Thursday, Collin died unexpectedly in his sleep.

And so Jon and I, knowing how much it meant to us that people came to Camille's funeral, determined to make the drive down to Collin's funeral.

We arrived just shortly before the end of the viewing prior to the funeral. So I went in to give Julie and Jason a hug. It has been a long time since I have been to a child's funeral. And it has been a long time since I have been in the physical presence of another mother so fresh in the raw grief of losing her child.

As soon as I hugged Julie, her strongholds fell. I held her, told her I loved her and that I knew. And I told her that she could do this. As we hugged, to me it felt as if there were a matching part of our hearts. Julie and I have known each other all these 13 years but we have never been really close. But there is a connection between mothers who have lost children that runs deeper than one can imagine.

We know the deepest, most tender, most precious part of each others hearts. We are connected. And I felt that in a real way today.

Being at the funeral brought back so many memories for me. Collin's grandfather gave a wonderful eulogy that aptly portrayed Collin's true self as he lived on this earth. There were tears and laughter involved.

As he was giving the eulogy, I had an impression. It was an impression of Collins presence as he is now. We are often told that those with special challenges and handicaps here on earth are spirits that are exceptional in their lives before this world. Today, as I felt this impression of Collin I felt just how exceptional they are. There was incredible majesty in his presence. I think if we could see Collin today as he is in heaven we would be amazed at his glory and at just how very like the Savior he is.

It has been a long day. We went to the beach for a little while after the funeral and then headed home. Julie and Jason are no doubt overwhelmed by this new chapter of grief into which their lives have entered. I remember being there. I remember how hard it was to have mothering be so easy without my baby. She was most of my work. Julie is no doubt facing that now. She has been nurse, mother, advocate, and so much more for Collin and his little sister Regan all these years. Now there are no more doctor appointments or procedures or middle of the night wakings or pill schedules or diapers or feedings. So much easier can sometimes feel so much harder.

But Julie and Jason are strong and they will make their way through this chapter of grief.  One way or another we all are forced to find our way through it. I hope they will be gentle with themselves and each other as they do. And one day I hope they will come to a more hopeful and happy chapter as I feel we have.

Until then, I pray that they who have carried and cared so faithfully for little Collin all these years will now be able to feel his now mighty arms carrying and caring for them.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Portland Tips

Jon and I are planning a short get away to Portland next month. We are hoping a few days away will remind us we are Jonathan and Stephanie not just Dad and Mom. :) I thought I would reach out to my favorite people for some tips on where to go, what to do, where to stay, etc.

We are thinking that if we stay in downtown Portland we won't have to rent a car for more than maybe a day to go see the natural beauty. What do you think? I hear public transportation is pretty good there.

You know I love good food. Anybody got some MUST EATS from the Portland area?

Give me the good info people. :)

Monday, August 6, 2012


2008 was a stormy year. Camille died that summer and my soul raged with uncontrollable emotions. It seemed Nature mourned with me as great summer storms and crazy winter weather displayed their fury. There were an uncanny number of storms that year. I noticed them. I appreciated them. They seemed to mirror my emotions. I even took some photos of them.

They always start with a lovely cloudy sky. Then after a while, the downpour would begin.

The wind would howl and we could feel the raw power of Mother Natures. That winter it even snowed here. That doesn't happen very often and it had been about 25 years since it had happened before.

I remember one Sunday driving home from church with cloudy skies and as we drove up the mountain to our home it was as if there was a storm cloud sitting only on our little community. We drove home into the storm. I thought it very fitting.

I have noticed each each since 2008 there seem to be fewer or less violent storms. I mean we have a good one now and then. But in 2008 these monster storms were frequent. It seems like it has been months and months since we have had a good downpour here. We have been threatened with rain several times these last few weeks but only a little rain burst has shown up now and then. Light rain for 5 minutes and then it is gone.

I feel the desire for a great downpour. It is cloudy today. But there is only a 20% chance of rain. Seems there will be no storm today. I am grateful the Lord sent His storms so powerfully in 2008. I hope sometime soon he will favor us with another.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Turkey lollipops

I saw a food network show the other day featuring some turkey meatballs that looked delicious. Today I made them for dinner. They were even better than I had imagined and everyone in my family liked them! Noble ate 4 without any prompting!

I found the recipe at

I did substitute a few things for ingredients I didn't have on hand. I used green onions and some onion powder instead of a white onion. I used fresh oregano instead of parsley. And I used regular bread crumbs instead of Panko. Also I omitted the cayenne pepper from the glaze so it wouldn't be too spicy for the kids.

These were so easy and yummy. I think I will make them for my dinner club sometime soon.