Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"That Conversation"

A month or so ago we were invited to the March of Dimes fundraiser in Salt Lake. Several chefs from around the area came and cooked a small sampling of their best and we tried lots of wonderful new dishes. The food was great, hands down had the best caramel apple ever there! We had been asked previously if a few of Aaron's pictures from our blog could be used for the event. We consented and were ready to hunt him down when we arrived. We did not have to look far, his picture was pretty much on every other table there. In the ballroom there was a large screen showing other pictures of him and the kids visiting the NICU. We ran into a few of his doctor's and nurses and NICU friends there and met several new people. I think because we knew a little of what to expect we were prepared for the emotions the night would bring.

This last weekend I ran into one of Aaron's nurses at Target. She literally jumped in front of me to say hello. It was nice to see her and meet her boys she had told us about. We had a nice conversation and she wanted to know how we were doing. Its these times when I'm not quite prepared for "that conversation" that I come home and need to have a "time out" to get myself put back together.

"That conversation" goes like this:
Them: Denise, how are you doing? Me: Fine or Good and you?, depending on the mood I'm in. Them: "How are the kids doing?" Me: They are doing good.
Then the big stuff comes.....
Them: "We/I were/was so sorry to hear of Aaron's loss." Me: "Thank you", because really, what are you supposed to say to that???
Them: "How are the kids dealing with their brother being gone?" Me: cringe, sigh, Just fine, thank you for asking (and me thinking, why do people ask these questions?)
Them: "How are you and Ronny doing since Aaron died?" Me: cringe again, "We're good or We're surviving."
At this point if I can find an out I take it (like having to chase down one of the boys or needing to get somewhere in a hurry). If not I do what I can to smile and get through it (like when someone you've never met in a very loud voice for the entire building to hear starts with those questions and you are totally cornered by your primary class waiting to get into the primary room, yeah it happens at the most awkward places).

My emotions as of late seem to be a little on the full side. Much more in the last few weeks. I don't know if its because the holidays are here and I had so hoped to have Aaron home for Christmas, or if its because I feel like I'm getting blind sided by something or someone every other day, or if its because the adrenaline from having to plan and prepare things for Aaron is finally gone, or large family events that seem to be going on every weekend. Maybe its a combination of all of it, who knows.

Ronny and I are planning to go visit his parents this next month. His Mom asked what we want to do while we are there. My response: Nothing! She laughed, and I told her I was serious, Nothing! I don't want to have a schedule, I don't want to be busy, I just want to have a place the kids can entertain themselves and I can just sit and watch them, or sleep, or read. I told Ronny I wasn't in the mood to go visit a million people or to have big family gatherings while we are there (as inevitably "that conversation" will be ongoing). He looked at me and said, "You are going to have to do that at some point." I told him I agreed, but NOW is not that "point" and that Aaron has only been gone 2 months, don't I get more time? He hugged me and told me I could have as much time as I wanted. What a smart guy!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 5K

This year we decided to run a 5k. My sister and her family ran too. Even my brother-in-law's mother walked with us, she was my Young Women's President growing up. She did a great job!!! Just after the start of the race Ben decided he wanted to run with Ronny and the boys who took off from the start. There was no way he would catch up to them, but there was no convincing him. I ran the first mile with him trying to explain this right up until we caught up with my nephew Nathan. The three of us stuck together for the rest of the race. We walked another mile and then I carried Ben the last mile. He whined the entire race! It took us about an hour to finish and other than the whining, we had a great time! The race benefited the Utah Food Bank and they earned aver $100,000 so we were happy to walk for a purpose.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Day of Work is Good for the Soul

Today has been a busy day. Got the kids off to school, had some much needed play time with Ben, headed to the store for the last bits of ingredients for tomorrow's feast, finished off Aaron's photo book, had a neighborhood full of kids in the basement again, finally got our bulbs planted (we'll see if I got them in too late this spring), and now its time to get dinner started. I still need to make an apple pie and cranberry sauce tonight. I think Ronny's Aunt and Uncle are also supposed to be stopping by at some point but I haven't heard from them. Its been a busy day but its been good.

I've been working on Aaron's book for several weeks now and every time I sit down to work on it memories flood my mind and its hard to control the tears sometimes. For the last few days I've had to set it aside just to get a little bit of peace. Having other work to do today helped with getting the book pretty much finished (other than one last edit) and allowed me to push through the emotions to get the other stuff done.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dragon Award #2

Sam earned the Dragon Award this month at school. He has an awesome teacher this year, she is doing wonders for Sam!

These photos are taken from my phone, I still haven't figured out all the settings I need to do to make it focus better. Ronny will have to show me how, he takes much better pictures with his phone. That or I can hunt down my camera I can't seem to find as of late.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

We were first told of this wonderful organization of photographers when I was admitted to the hospital for my first stay. This organization has a team of photographers on call at the hospital to come at a moments notice when a little angel passes. They volunteer their time to come and document the life of one so small to allow the families to have a memory of their little ones. The night Aaron left this Earth a kind member of this organization was called in. The ring that is shown in a few of these photos was given to me by the photographer along with a hand made blanket and bracelet. I now wear the ring around my neck replacing my wedding ring that hung there while Aaron was with us. Some of the photos are too personal even for this blog and will remain with our family. Here are a few photos of our last memories with our son.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sam's Big Day

Sam was baptized yesterday. We were all very excited, but no one as excited as him I would say. We had close to 40 people join us for his big day, unfortunately I didn't get a picture of everyone together. Once again the stake primary rep called me less than a week before the baptism and asked us to sing a musical number, this time I said no but volunteered to give a talk or prayer, seriously we don't sing!!!! She relented and assigned us a talk, she then said they knew we had a "youth" in our home and asked if she would be willing to give the talk. I laughed and said the "youth" in our home became a "youth" just the day before and that I didn't think she would be comfortable giving the talk just yet. She said she understood and would put me on the program.

Yesterday as I took my seat on the stand there was a woman already there and she turned to me and said, "I know you". I smiled and said that she did not look familiar to me but that I am a bit disconnected as of late. She then said, "I know that I know you, I have seen your face recently". Then she exclaimed, "I have taken your picture"! We quickly figured out she was the photographer that came to Ronny's family reunion this past summer. I obviously wasn't paying that much attention at the time. Her sister-in-law also was the photographer who took the photos at Aaron's funeral and she had been the one who edited them before sending them to us. (Ronny's mom and sister had arranged the photographer for the two events so her name wasn't even familiar.) We chatted for a few minutes and discovered her daughter and Sam were in the same class at school along with another child being baptized that day.

Although the winter weather rolled in it was a wonderful day. We are so grateful for those who took time out of their schedules to travel to be with Sam yesterday. Thank you also to all those who stood in the circle to confirm Sam, we are grateful for your examples and lending your priesthood power to his blessing.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Reason To Be Thankful

Last night we made our way over to the boy's school for parent teacher conferences. I had prepared myself for the "your child is not working to their potential" assessments and I was ready for the "cut us some slack" reply I was going to give. To my complete surprise the boys all had essentially straight A's (or 4's in our grade books). They also had excellent behavior marks, which is saying something considering where Ben started this year. (We had to have the "raise your hand before you answer" talks, the "don't throw things during centers" , and my favorite; "no kissing the girls in the assembly" talks! I have a feeling we'll have to have that talk more than once during his adolescent life.) Charley's conference is tonight and I expect much of the same as she is a our most studious child. I had to bite my cheek to hold off the tears.

I have been worried about them falling behind in school these last months and knowing I just couldn't help them more than what we were doing. They rose to the challenge and have worked hard. I know the Lord has picked up the pieces and has watched over them and given them strength and encouragement when I couldn't. I know many of those who have watched over my kids have helped them as well, thank you. In each conference I looked to each boy and told them how proud we were of them, each had that little sparkle in their eye and I knew they were just as excited to show us their hard work. I love my kids!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

A Little More San Diego

I just realized I didn't finish out our San Diego Trip photos from last month. We did do other things besides the zoo, and Sea World. We made a quick stop to visit my grandmother in St. George. I only remember one of my great-grandmothers and we always visited her in a nursing home. Our kids are lucky enough to still have one great-grandparent on each side of our families. These are trees just outside her home, they are great for climbing. I can't believe I didn't snap a photo of Grandma Joan though. What was I thinking??? (We hope to see both of our great-grandparents again in December and I will do my best to snap a picture of both of them).

On our way out of San Diego we decided to take the kids to where everything for our family started. The San Diego Temple was where Ronny and I were married. It was a little chilly and a little foggy but its still one of my most favorite places to be!
The Mormon Battalion Museum was fabulous! The kids loved the presentation and absolutely loved panning for gold and pumping the old water pump. In the story of the men leaving for war one 9 year old boy chased after his father, wanting to go with him. It took him 3 days to catch up and he walked all the way to California. That is the same age of my son Joseph. I can't believe the terror he caused his mother after she discovered he was gone.

We also did the USS Midway tour. This was amazing. We highly recommend this tour. The kids were about done half way through (which is saying something as the boat was massive!). I would really like to go and finish the tour out. We didn't even make it to the tower, grrrrr.

In the engine room were two veterans who had once worked on the ship. The boys had lots of questions for them and they were great to answer all of them. I think they were excited to see the boys so enthralled with the equipment. The kids took notes and answered questions along the way and in the end earned their "wings". Joseph also ventured onto a flight simulator which both Ronny and I were a little surprised at. He is does not like roller-coaster type rides.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

A Young Woman In Our Midst

Charley turned 12 on Friday. Can you believe it!?! She entered Young Women for the first time this morning, we all said goodbye to her in primary and off she went. She was so very excited to dc primary and head to YW with her friends. She has grown up so fast and I wish I could slow the clock down.

Friday was a pretty busy day here and she had to share her special day with her Dad having another scope done on his throat, one crazy day of school, and a ward party. With all the craziness she was willing to hold off the birthday cake until Sunday evening although she was able to open her gifts before we headed out for the ward party. We were also able to make it to the mall to have her ears pierced in the late afternoon. She is soooooo excited for earrings. It took a good year to talk Dad into assuring him she was old enough to have it done.

We are so lucky to have Charley in our family! The boys do not yet realize how great a big sister she is, hopefully they will figure that out soon and give her a little more respect and privacy. She is an amazing daughter as well and we could not be more proud of her. We love Charley!!!!!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Cleopatra Presentation

Charley has been working on a Cleopatra project since the start of school in July. Each student chose an important person from history to do their "Images of Greatness" project on. With all that was going on with Aaron, Ronny and I were only able to give her minimal help at best. Last night was the presentation of projects from their class. Part of the project was to write, memorize, and perform a bio poem and also display a project board similar to a science fair project. Pretty much the only help we gave her was to help print out things on the computer, cut, paste, and buy her costume. I was absolutely amazed at her performance last night. She was amazing, I know I'm a little biased but really she was! (however we need to work on Roman Numerals, it was Cleopatra the VII and not the XII I think.)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Halloween 2011

(Her hair was all black when she left, I guess the hair dye doesn't last very long.)

This year we let Charley go trick or treating with her friends. After she left one of my friends asked me if I gave her a cell phone. Oops, next year I won't make that mistake again. (I'm still getting used to this new age of independence!) To say the boys got a good load of candy would be an understatement. When Ronny came back with them he looked at me and said "I NEVER got this much candy as a kid" Half way through the boys came in dumped their first pumpkin of candy out and went for another, they succeeded. I guess having our houses so close together and having several town homes around the corner is a major plus on Halloween! I'm glad they enjoy getting it as much as eating it because it will magically disappear long before they will eat enough to make a dent in the amount they have!