Thursday, July 03, 2014

Blog Giveaway!

Any takers?? Seriously... I think I'm about ready to give this blog away.

It comes with cute pictures of babies and kids, lots of griping and romancing about a busy mom's schedule, and fun travel logs and outing details from the last seven years or so. Going once, going twice...

Ah... I wish I had more time to sit down in front of a screen and type things. Really. I confess I have spent much more time "consuming" internet time, rather than "creating" -- now that I have Wade's iPhone. I scroll through facebook and read all the dumb articles everyone is posting that no one really needs or cares about. (i.e. why we're not supposed to order lemons in restaurants because they have so much bacteria; what time of day is best to drink our 8 glasses of water; how to make homemade donuts; why some people favor the Hobby Lobby decision and others don't, etc. etc. etc....) But it's not easy to type from the phone, especially something lengthy like a blog post.

So, I just read. And say "hmmm" after I've read enough junk. And I turn it off and go to bed and wonder why it is so late. And I wonder when I will ever resurrect this blog again?!

Brian is partly to blame. Actually, maybe just barely to blame. But he was "iffy" about a draft I wrote regarding his political campaign. And he still hasn't weighed in on whether it was postable or whether he could edit parts and make it something I could put up here. And I mentally took that to mean my blog was "on hold" until I could get that post up. Ya with me here?

Well, I better just scrap it and move on, if I'm ever going to move on, right?

That's what this post right here is for: Blog Giveaway.

Yes, there really is a giveaway, and no it is NOT the blog itself, as much as I'm sure you were all dying to take over for me. But really, here are the details:

If you want to be part of my giveaway, leave me a comment... preferably with some kind words of encouragement or something thoughtful for me. I need it, and I'm not kidding. I could share details -- and WILL in my next post, promise. But for now I'll just say, I need a little loving "push" here, if anyone cares to help a wilting blogger regain some momentum. I love to write, and I NEED to write because it is therapy to my soul. And I need therapy right now... understand?? So, please leave me a comment here, if you're reading this, and you're a human, and I have some kind of personal relationship with you. :) Okay?

If you DO leave me a comment (which may require that you get off your iPhone and actually type something on the computer, ahem,) in the next 10 days or so (that's how long I let comments build before I have to manually moderate them to avoid the spam), I'll send you something. In the mail. (And it won't be toenail clippings or the dried-out end of a ballpoint pen, like my cousin once sent to me, I promise.) I'm not sure what I'll send yet, and it may take me awhile (since I anticipate an overwhelming response here -- ha!, and we're going on vacation next week to the coast)... but, well... whatever I eventually send, I'll try to make sure you'll like it. Aren't you intrigued?! Oh yeah, be excited. I am! :)

And... that's it for now, folks. Happy July! I'm off to bed, hoping Brian will eventually make it here too, even though he hasn't for the past several nights. Hope is better than frustration, right? So let's hope for him, k? :)

Good night! and here's a picture for you. It's me and Camille, 10 days after she was born. I'm actually not a huge fan of nakey babies, but this one was sweet enough, and I sure do love this little girlie! Enjoy...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dear Wade

I think of you every. single. day.
Probably every. single. hour, actually.
I put your picture on our fridge, and I talk to you sometimes when I'm getting a drink or something to eat.
Every now and then, I stop what I'm doing to remember your voice in my head -- especially to remember your laugh, and your thoughtful way of saying "hmmmm...." when you have a deep thought that's hard to express tactfully.

This morning Natalie noticed I was sniffling (I have a cold), and she asked if I was still so very sad about Uncle Wade. I told her yes, I am still sad, but actually the sniffle was because of my cold this time. Then I looked at her little face and remembered that she won't remember you, and it hurt a lot so I tried to think of something else really quickly.

Sometime I want to push away the hurt -- hurry and dismiss the thoughts before they become real and painful.
Sometimes I just want to let it out -- cry, scream, throw myself down for a good meltdown about how it all happened too quickly and we didn't get to say goodbye.
Other times I really just feel a sweet gratitude for being so blessed to have you for a brother.
And lots of times I just miss you -- like you're on a trip and we haven't talked in awhile.

I signed in to my account on a few weeks ago. Yeah, I was thinking of trying to get some of this baby weight back under control. You are my only "buddy" on myfitnesspal. It said you haven't logged in for 7 months or something like that. It hasn't been quite that long that you've been gone. That little reminder was painful enough that I decided to wait a little longer on the fight against the baby weight. :)

I wonder what you're doing, what it's like where you are. I wonder if you miss us, or if life is just so peaceful and exciting for you, that you don't really think so much about us right now. Night before last, I felt like I dreamed about you. I mean, I really felt like you must have been nearby, because I woke up feeling like we'd just had a nice long phone chat or something... but I don't remember a single detail of the dream, other than that feeling, which was nice.

I keep wishing you'd go to Dad in his dreams. He seems to take it all very hard still, like the wound is so very slow to heal. He wants us all to be sure to talk about you and remember all the fun memories with you. But then, when your name is mentioned, it's easy to see he's really, really hurt. I wish there was some way for you to just help us all understand what it's like and how we're supposed to process things here.

My mind doesn't want to accept it. Every few days, I jump right back to that moment when Brian first told me, and it's like I'm hearing it for the first time all over again. I feel a painful lurch in my heart, and my mind tries again to deny that it actually happened, just like I did that first day. I wonder to myself how you would handle it and what you would do to cope, if situations were reversed or different... if you were dealing with this kind of loss.

One thing I hope you know, for sure, is that you are missed. Not just by me, but by everyone who knew and loved you here. There's no "replacement" for you, Wade. You are one person, and only one person. But there's no filling up the hole you left. There's a noticeable absence, especially every time we get together as a family. There is a different feeling, like we're all waiting for you to pull in the driveway or call and say you're caught up with friends in a game and will be later than you planned. It's a palpable presence... this feeling of missing you. I don't even know how to describe it well, but at times, it seems like it's almost as tangible as your physical presence would be, if you were still here.

There's no real reason for this, but I want to know what happened in those last moments. It makes no difference, really, does it? But in my mind, I can hear you rehashing the story, telling us all how freaky it was, how your heart was pounding so fast and you could see that the car was going out of control but you weren't sure what to do. I imagine it all in your words, your voice, for some reason. Was it a deer? Or did you just look down for a minute or something? You weren't asleep, I'm sure. But maybe distracted momentarily for some reason? Or just started to go off the road for a second then over-corrected? I suppose everyone will have their final story once this life is over, huh? Do you retell them to each other up there, and talk about how it was a "close call"... and then it was TOO close? hmm...

Well, these are all weird, random thoughts I have about you all the time. I miss you so much, Brother. I hope you miss me too.

I wrote all that last week, then we went to The Parents' place for Memorial Day weekend, and just got back last night. Now I'm missing you even more. That bit that I wrote about your absence being so much a "presence"... so true; I felt it more than ever this weekend, just this feeling of missing you. We went to the cemetery all together, to see your awesome Monument. It's pretty sweet, Wade. I'll put up a picture of it here, once I upload my pics from the camera. You would like it. We left you lots of colorful flowers, and Dad and Mom said they're putting in a few extra vases so we can always keep bouquets there.

The kids seemed to have a hard time seeing your Monument -- (we've all decided that's a better name for it than a headstone.) Ryan, Tristan and Brandon especially seem to be taking this all quite hard. Ryan didn't want to get out of the car for a long time, until Lance talked to him for awhile. Brandon stood hugging his mom for a long time, just letting the tears flow.There was a can of RedBull someone left for you, not sure who it was, maybe Danny? And the Robinson boy who died in a motorcycle crash is buried nearby. His parents put in a huge bench that faces the back of your Monument. The little kids kept climbing on it and "owning it" for you, even though his parents were there sitting on it while we were there.:)

We spent a long time on Saturday going through the last of your things again. It was hard again and we all felt the hurt and emptiness again. Dad has the hardest time with that part, and can hardly part with any of your things, which breaks my heart for him. Trent seems to have found some peace or closeness by sorting and organizing things over these past months. The rest of us have been reluctant to revisit those memories, knowing you're gone.

No one appreciates all your gaming pieces and equipment nearly like you would like us too, I'm afraid. That's always been the case, eh? But we tried to be respectful and take some mementos to remember you and your hobbies and interests, and I think Trent plans to offer some of the software to your gaming friends. Trent's kids were excited to get your Infinity set. :) Samantha picked out a big ceramic wolf clock that she is eager to hang in her room. She picked some cute wizards for Natalie and Camille (who were asleep during the picking time.) And she picked that nasty, white pewter spider from Lord of the Rings for Spencer to have. Where did you even get that thing? It looks pretty real... and creepy!

On the way home last night, Spencer told us he wished we would take turns on the iPad like you did... where each person would get just one round of one game, and then pass it on to the next player. I thought it was cute that he remembered that, and I told him we'll try taking turns that way next time they get iPad time. :)

I think I could keep typing forever here, because when I'm writing, I feel like I'm talking to you, even though it's a very one-sided conversation. It feels comfortable, and it helps me deal with the grief. But I better sign off, so I can make time to write about other things, too. Kay? I'll write to you another time, soon. Promise. Miss you and love you, Wade.

Good night.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Camille's Baby Blessing -- and other cute pics of this girl!

We had some glamour newborn pics taken of Camille a long time ago. Here is my favorite one...

Ah, Camille's Blessing Day... This was one of my favorite days. Ever. The sun was shining, the day was warm and bright, our house was clean, we were surrounded by so many people that we love. It was truly one of those days that will always make me smile whenever I think of it.

First, some cute pictures of the day, then details.
Here are cute girls adoring the blessing baby...

 Her "Welcome" cake. (Chocolate inside, and those little booties are plastic, supposed to be a keepsake.)...

Grandma and Grandpa Hone with Camille...

Four adoring Grandparents -- Grandpa Dennis, Grandma Karen, Grandma Susan, Grandpa Dale...

Tired parents and sleeping baby girl...
 I tried to get a few pics of her that afternoon, but she wasn't really thrilled. And, I can't get this one rotated, sorry...
 Instead, you get some cuter pictures I took of her the next week, when she was happy and ready to "perform" for the camera...

And one funny one of Natalie, who also wanted a photo shoot...

I decided to take some more of her in her dress this morning, before she grows out of it...

Isn't she just a dolly?! She got to wear the same gorgeous dress that Natalie and Samantha wore -- Aunt Lar made it, and it is now a family treasure!

 Camille's blessing was very special. Brian gave the blessing, and the priesthood holders who stood in the circle included: her Dad, Grandpa Dale, Grandpa Dennis, Uncles Lance, Blaine, Trent and Mark. She was blessed to recognize her great potential as she grows, to be a blessing to her parents and siblings, to have faith in Heavenly Father in her life, to have a desire to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, to have firm and steadfast righteous desires, to aspire to the blessings Heavenly Father has in store for her and for all of His children, that her family will be a guide and protection to her and that they will be able to help her as she progresses on her path to return to our Father in Heaven.

So, here are my specific memories of the day, with no pictures (unless I can get them uploaded from my phone... later?)

My parents called a few weeks before Camille's blessing day, and told us they were going to come, but they planned to stay in a hotel this time. Then, my mom said they had tons of Marriott points, so they were going to offer to "pay" for any of my brothers' families to come stay in the hotel with them. And then... she invited us to also stay in the hotel with them, and make it a family party! So, that's what we did. And, it was a really fun family party. 

All the kids got in the pool when we first got there and swam for a nice long time. (We won't mention the annoying birthday party with 19 10-year-old girls splashing around in the tiny pool and hot tub, making our time a little less desirable, ahem.) Then we all got dressed and went to dinner at Pizza Hut. Not the most glamorous place for dinner, I know. But when you have 16 little rowdies along, options are limited. ;) After dinner we went up to my parents' room and chatted and had goodies together... chocolate bars, mint brownies, banana bread, cake, etc. 

Afterward, the older cousins went swimming again with Lance and Jen, and Samantha got to join. Then she had a sleepover with Anna and Sara in Lance and Jen's hotel room. The rooms were very nice, spacious suites, actually, with king-size beds in the bedroom, and queen pull-out couches in a large living room/kitchen area. Fun! Our kids were exhausted and slept like champs all night. Even Camille gave me some pretty good sleep, only waking once, around 5 a.m. to eat. Brian had to leave early to go to church meetings, so we had separate cars. I stayed with the kids and went to breakfast in the lobby with everyone -- waffles, hard-boiled eggs, toast, yogurt, cereal, fresh fruit... the kids thought it was heaven, especially Samantha who LOVES hard-boiled eggs. :)

Then we came home, put lasagnas in the oven, got ready for church, and headed over for our 1p.m. Sacrament meeting. It was sweet to me to watch grandpas and grandmas hold Camille most of the meeting... she slept and slept all the way through. yay! Afterward, everyone came back to our house for a fun dinner of lasagna, french bread and rolls, and fun salads that everyone brought -- Dalana's grape/cream cheese salad, Susan's broccoli salad, a creamy jello salad, and a big lettuce salad with homemade ranch (made by my mom). Cake and Melissa"s homemade cookies for dessert, and punch in the fountain punch bowl. The kids ate outside on blankets and played in the back yard. And there was actually room for the adults to sit around the table or at stools pulled up to the breakfast bar.

Everyone visited for a nice long while before they all headed home later in the evening. It was just such a pleasant, fun time to be together with family I missed Wade, of course. I hope he was there for a bit, maybe? (He would have taken some better pictures than I was able to get, I'm sure.) :) I just felt very loved and at peace all day that day... so grateful to welcome our new little Camille baby. We are so blessed to have her in our life!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Happy Birthday to our Spencer!

It's been awhile, and I've had several things I'd like to write about. I guess I better start catching up, so I can move onnn....

So, Spencer's birthday was the third weekend in February. If we remember back to then, I was just recovering from that dumb surgery, and Camilley baby was just three weeks old. I felt so cooped up and stir-crazy, and Brian did too. So, we decided to take a spontaneous trip to my parents' house for the weekend. Fun!

And, we got to celebrate Spencer's big day while we were there. Our boy turned SIX this year! What a handsome kid...

He was a very lucky boy, who got to celebrate his birthday with chocolate cake, a huge chocolate chip cookie, and cupcakes! Wow!! He was sure to sample all three desserts, of course!

We decorated the house for his special day, with lots of balloons and some flags and banners. He was smiling very shyly as we put up different decorations, but then he kind of "froze" when I pulled out the camera...

We invited all the cousins from the Hone side, since everyone was in town for the weekend. These girls could hardly wait for the party!

I love this one of Spence, studying his cake and candles while everyone sang to him. So cute!

Time to make a wish and blow...

Let the sugar fest begin!!!

Funny thing about those Curious George cupcakes -- the frosting was VERY bright, and DID NOT come off easily! Here's M, displaying a very red mouth...
 We played one game. (Yes, only one -- keep in mind the party thrower had a newborn and a sore tummy!) We'll just call the game "pop the balloon race..." you know, they raced to sit on a balloon and pop it? It was a hit!!

Even the "big boy" cousins who first claimed to be "too old" for silly games really got into it. Looks to me like BT won, heheh...

Aunt Jen held baby Camille and covered her ears during all the balloon popping and rowdiness. She seemed unfazed...

And the guys sat back at the table, snitching at cake leftovers (see my Dad cutting himself one more little slice in this one? ha!)...

PRESENTS!?!?! It was mad chaos, watching all the kids watch Spencer open his gifts. He got some new clothes, Legos, a "money" set, a Hotwheels race track, and a very cool dinosaur dig set...
 Here are the boys, checking out his dinosaur dig set. Cousin Bryson also got a dinosaur dig set, since his birthday was the week before. Thanks, Grandma Karen and Grandpa Dennis!!
 Little did we know,the dinosaur bones are buried in something similar to graphite. And it smears and smudges EVERYWHERE! Grandma's counter was filthy, and so were the digger boys. Here's B, modeling his safety goggles, so funny...
 And Spence, performing "delicate surgery" on his bones..

It was a fun trip and a great birthday party for our boy. He seemed to really enjoy all the attention. And then, he got ANOTHER party the next week with Seth, his Bishop cousin. Lucky kid! I'll have to upload some of those fun pics and add them here. More presents, a pinata, a fruit pizza with kiwi (his favorite fruit), etc. Too much fun!

And last but not least, a sweet picture of our darling Camille baby...
Don't be too fooled by that super innocent little precious face. Yes, she was super cute and very adored that weekend. BUT... she gave us the two VERY WORST nights of sleep while we were there, back to back. I'm talking about 1-2 hrs of sleep one of the nights, maybe 3 1/2 hrs the other night. ROUGH, baby!! Brian and I took turns rocking her, holding her in awkward positions, changing her, singing, feeding her (well, Brian didn't take a turn on that, actually). It was especially hard being in a house with lots of people trying to sleep -- finding a place to let her fuss and cry, etc. Whew! Glad we made it! And, she made up for it with super cute cuddly afternoons and a nice car ride there and back. :)

Anyway, just wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our Spencer boy! He's our sweet, wonderful six-year-old and we really love his so much. He is kind and gentle and speaks with such a soft little voice. He is very thoughtful and loves to figure out how things work. He likes Hotwheels cars and building "Lego creations." And he loves "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" on Netflix. When we go to the library, he picks out books about geography, space, and science. But he also loves to be read to -- any kind of story. He loves to go places with his dad, and he really loves riding his bike. He is taking piano lessons and has a beautiful singing voice. He is Natalie's best friend and playmate, and also enjoys planning adventures with Samantha. And, he LOVES holding baby Camille and giving her kisses. Most days after school he quickly washes his hand so he can hold her or touch her face. We sure do love our boy!!

Happy Birthday, dear Spencer boy! Have a wonderful year ahead!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Our littlest Sweetheart

When Brian and I were dating, close to being engaged, he called me his sweetheart sometimes, and I thought it was a little too mushy or cheesy... maybe just too old-fashioned? But now I love it. And I call him and all our kids sweetheart from time to time. It's cute to me when I hear him say it to our kids, or when I hear his parents say it to each other, or to the grandkids. Lots of sweethearts around here these days.

Funny how love changes things, eh? Kind of like how I used to not like heart jewelry... same as the "sweetheart" thing, I thought it was a little too cheesy or something. But now I have several heart jewelry necklaces that I love -- one from Aunt Kathy that she brought me from Hawaii years ago, a silver one from Jen for Christmas one year that Spencer left a tooth mark in when he was little (makes it even more precious, of course), and a gold one with real rubies from Wade when he traded one of his engagement rings for store credit.

Anyway, this post wasn't supposed to be about me and my "cheesy" hangups. It's actually just a chance to post some cute pictures of Camill-ie baby, our newest little sweetheart...

One of her biggest fans, Spencer boy! He washes his hands every day as soon as he comes home from school so he can hold her and touch her.

Another adoring sister..

Congratulatory flowers from her daddy (to me, mainly, of course) when she was born. Aren't they gorgeous?!!

He had them delivered to the hospital, then we brought them home with us. They lasted a full two weeks! So beautiful and such a thoughtful gift!

Nap time with Dad on a Sunday evening...

More adoring visitors -- Aunt Dalana and Cole, Seth and Ella...

Her little travel suit for going out to her first doctor visit. Ha! She looks so funny and cute to me in this suit. I love it!

First bath at home. When Samantha was a newborn, a sweet lady from church taught me to wrap the babe in a clean, dry towel before putting them in the bath. Then the towel keeps the baby from getting cold shock as she gets in and out of the water. Plus, you can use the towel as a wash cloth, and it keeps the baby from being so slippery in the water. Genius! All four of our kids have always loved their bath and rarely cried.

Great Grandma Eva came for a special visit. So fun, and I just think they're both so pretty in this one...

A little photo shoot on a Sunday afternoon. I caught part of a little smile here...

Our friend Ann made this adorable little hat for her. So so cute!

Here's her little jeans Daddy bought for her during that first week after she was born. She liked them so well she wore them for half an hour before blowing them out!

 Trying on Samantha's glasses...

And Natalie's "pretend" glasses...

Snoozing in the chair with Grandpa Dennis this past weekend...

Anna Lynn couldn't wait to have her turn to hold Camille, and was especially excited because they have the same middle name.

That's our little sweetheart. We love this Camille baby girl so much already!! Can hardly get enough of her Newborn Bliss.