Monday, February 15, 2016

Winter Festivities 2016

Hi pretty sister,

This past weekend we celebrated President's Day weekend with the annual, "winter festivities" after Ashlee, Mom, and I put our heads together (because it literally took all 3 of us) we figured out that this was our TENTH year! Crazy huh?! It was cool because while we were having our winter festivities in UT, Dad and the Harrisons were having theirs in Texas! We kept sending each other pictures and we were definitely together in spirit.

I can't believe it was 10 years ago that I was a sullen teenager being forced to spend an entire weekend with my family :P! Now of course, I wouldn't trade spending time with family for anything in the world. It was such a fun, relaxed weekend together. I've been getting to know Amanda more and she really is such a sweet person, very patient and loving-very willing and desirous to help in any way. The boys really love her, Ben has been talking about "Amana" since we got home Sunday. The more people to love my boys the better right? My arm still feels like it's been cut off since you've been's bearable now though and I often feel guilty for feeling happiness again. I know that's not the way you or Heavenly Father wants it to be, but I'm working through and still trying to find my "new normal". It amazes me how much you influenced my life while you were here (you still do sis) and I'm probably smothering several members of the family with my constant texting and calling, but I talked to you everyday sis, you were always the one most excited for EVERY LITTLE THING, every little project, every little idea and I never felt dumb or obnoxious showing you all my finished projects and pictures. Thank you for being so good to me Heather. You have always been cheering me on and you are still finding ways to show me how much you love me and support me. 

Friday: Okay, Friday we met at The Old Spaghetti Factory the boys were so keyed up from sitting in the car for a good majority of the day while I ran errands and also the hour and a half drive from Brigham. Chris is super exhausted after work and it had been a particularly taxing day for him so the crazy boys were kind of upsetting him. Luckily Jack sat next to mom and Ben, well he basically hung out under the table :P. We chatted about Amanda's bizarre job interview and their trip to the Provo Temple open house and generally had a really good time. Afterwards everyone watched me while I puked up my entire dinner in the parking lot and then headed to JoAnn's for some paint supplies. Chris let me run into The Wood Connection before we met everyone at The Old Spaghetti Factory. I got Mom and Amanda a really cute craft with these three little birds and a quote that says "First Comes Love" and I got the 3 Pack of chubby bird blocks you bought to make our last "baby girl" that ended up not being a girl and being Ben haha. We then went back to Mom and Dad's and watched The Minion Shorts with the boys, they thought it was HILARIOUS. We put the boys down to bed with several bargaining attempts from Jack and the adults watched half of Spectre because you know Kyle and his "IT'S PAST 9 O'CLOCK lol! I snuggled mom in her bed and Chris crashed with Benny in one of the bunk-beds. I felt bad because he totally jacked up his back that night…

Saturday: I woke up at 6 to vomit like I do every morning…I couldn't get back to sleep so I made myself some toast and showered and got ready for the day. The rest of the crew woke up between 8:30 and 9am and we all ate breakfast and got dressed so we could go see Kung Fu Panda 3. The movie was really funny and the boys were pretty much angels throughout the entire movie. After the movie we decided to go the The Museum of Natural Curiosity at Thanksgiving Point. It was seriously a REALLY cool place. The boys would have EASILY stayed there the entire day. We played for almost 3 hours and then headed back to Mom and Dad's to make dinner. Chris stopped at Firehouse sub and got me half a sub because he loves me and because it sounded so good! When we got to the house the boys were FAST asleep, Ben had actually fallen asleep eating potato chips and I happened to catch it on film. I've watched it seriously everyday since it's way too adorable. Mom had already started dinner and Kyle and Amanda were sitting on the couch ready to watch the second half of Spectre so we laid the boys down (which didn't last more than 5 minutes for Jack) and started the movie. I crashed pretty quickly into the 2nd half of the movie until dinner was ready. Momma is so sweet and made one of my favorite meals Chicken Curry…YUMMMM it was delicious (and wasn't too bad coming back up..) After dinner I laid down for a bit because I couldn't calm down my stomach and just kept throwing up over and over again. (This baby girl is SOOOO worth it though!) After about 30 minutes had passed Mom, Amanda, and I started our craft project. It was so fun I painted the three little birds Pink, Gold, & Purple for Ruby's room, they turned out SO cute! We are naming baby girl Ruby Heather Kenner. I am in LOVE with it! Chris and I have been talking about baby names for probably the past 3 years because we REALLY thought Ben was a girl bahaha. NOPE just a naughty little red head, wouldn't change a thing. We've generally always picked out our kids names before they were born (which is odd to a lot of people-oh well), but they just felt right and we've also had spiritual experiences that led us to finalizing each one of their names. Ruby is no exception and we are SO incredibly excited to add her to our family! A little over a year ago Chris was on Hill Air fForce Base getting something (I can't remember what) at the PX. He called me explaining his amazing experience where out of the blue he got this strong feeling there was a little girl waiting to join our family. He was so giddy and ever since he points out practically EVERY little girl or baby girl we see. He's adorable and I am so happy he gets to have the "Daddy's Girl" he's always wanted. I'm also excited for me :) Heather it should be illegal to be this happy, I am SO excited and happy and emotional and grateful and in love with little Ruby and I can't believe I get to have my very own daughter. The boys are also just giddy over the whole thing, hearing ben say "bee-bee wooby-heada" is about the cutest thing I've ever heard. Jack just gushes over every little girl thing we receive, from headbands, to clothes, to shoes, he thinks,"We are going to have THE CUTEST BABY GIRL EVER MOMMA! I'm gonna kiss her and hold her so so much and I'm just really going to love her the most." Jack did pray nearly every night for his "baby sister" before we even knew it was a girl. He obviously knew something I didn't ;)…….

After we finished the first coat of our crafts we headed to Leatherby's for some ice cream (we know how to pack in the fun! And the FOOD!) After ice cream I ran to JoAnn's AGAIN because I really wanted to use my 10 coupons before they expired on the fabric for Ruby's bedding. We got there at 8:30 and I was feeling too much pressure and decided to put everything back because come on-this is probably my ONLY baby girl and most likely our last baby and I didn't want to rush just picking something. Chris then chauffeured be around once more to Target so I could get a refill of face make-up. And I may or may not have bought THE cutest swimsuit for Ruby to wear next year! (Squeal!!) Once we were back at the house Chris offered to stay up with me while I finished a talk I was going to give…the next day. I could tell he was beyond exhausted though so I sent him to bed (Kyle was already asleep). Mom, Amanda, and I ended up doing facials together before they went to bed. Mom is seriously adorable and really went all out and planned so many fun activities for our weekend together. After facials we decided to finish our crafts because we were worried we wouldn't be able to the next day. After that everyone went to bed, besides me. I was once again vomiting…once it stopped I was able to really focus on my talk. It was such a spiritual experience preparing this talk sis. You must've known I'd be giving this talk because you were so prepared to help me with it, every step of the way. I love you "Ree-Ree" I am so proud of you and I am so HAPPY for you that you are in Heaven taking care of my little ones there and that you are free of your illness, free of the pain, and doing the work God planned for you. You are amazing and inspire me everyday to be just a little better, just a little nicer. I've been really ill this pregnancy, I have Hypermesis Gravidarum; it's diagnosed if you are throwing up more than 3 times a day after your 14th week of pregnancy and not able to keep most meals down, even liquids. Because of you I've reallllly tried to push through and just be positive and not wallow. Some days I can hardly get off the couch though, but I do try and I am not letting dampen my excitement for sweet Ruby or my love for our boys. Jack and Ben really love you sis, and I know they miss you. Jack has so many questions about death and heaven and how we get there and when we get to go there. He said just today, "I really miss my Ree-Ree and Papa Cake, when can we go see them in heaven." The other day Chris and I listened/watched the video Phil made for your funeral on the way to Salt Lake. We were both just bawling! When the song "I did it all" came on Ben got so excited and said, "it's Ree-Ree's song" and him and Jack took turns watching the entire video. Hearing Ben say, "Awwww it's my Ree-Ree I love her!" just melted my heart. He wasn't even two when you passed away, but he still has your love stamped on his heart forever. When it was Jack's turn he watched the video over and over again, I think 3 times total and he just stared at every picture with so much love and made such sweet comments in a very gentle sad voice like, "Ree-Ree really loved me mom." My heart still breaks for that boy, you and him were so close and he has taken your death very hard. He carries Humphy (that's what he named your camel stuffed animal) everywhere and he treats him and talks to him as if he's alive and I wonder if it's his way of keeping you alive in a magical world only you and him can be. 

Sunday: I DID finish my talk, mom was a great help, we both cried while I wrote it. I was so nervous to give it though because of how tender the subject was. Kyle and Amanda were very sweet and wanted to come hear my talk so they drove all the way to Brigham in the snow to meet us at our ward building. I sat next to a super funny brother in our ward Brother Owen's who kept me laughing and helped loosen me up before I gave my talk. I was first and that made me even more nervous. I prayed and prayed that through me Heavenly Father's message would be heard, that it would enlighten the hearts and be a source of help to those who heard me speak, I also prayed that I wouldn't throw up…It's funny the wave of nausea disappeared right as I stood up to give my talk, I was on FIRE with the spirit as I stood there pouring my heart out, and basically bawling through every other word. I felt warm all over and my head was so clear, I don't think I've ever felt so sure of what I was saying ever in my life. I definitely felt you there with me helping me spread the message the people in the chapel needed to hear.  I would be a hypocrite if I wasn't writing this blog entry, recording my life for my children and grandchildren after promising to in front of so many people. I am so grateful for that opportunity to speak and learn about a subject that was so important to you and that you dedicated so much of your time to here on earth. I am forever grateful for your example and the ways you show love for me through the acts of others. I'm grateful for the amazing weekend with people I love so much and that love me so much. I am grateful for the relationship Kyle and I have built, I am grateful for my pretty mommy and all the love she gives my family and I, I am grateful I have one more sister to love in Amanda and I am grateful families are forever and that sisters are forever. I love you Heather Marie. 

P.S Kyle has started calling baby girl Ruby-Ree and it makes me tear up every time.

I can't recreate the exact word for word talk I gave because much of what I embellished on and my testimony was lead by the spirit, but this is the outline of my talk, so I have it recored forever.
*Introduce yourself*
I was pretty nervous when Brother Reeder asked me to give a talk last week. I felt the subject of “family history” was something I knew little to nothing about. I mean when I think of family history I think of indexing names, family trees, and using websites like “family search” to record your lineage. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the subject of family history while I prepared for this talk because I learned that “family history” is SO MUCH more than recording your ancestors in sequential order. We make “history” with our families every single day. We date and fall in love with our future spouses, we get married, start a family, and maybe we even buy our first house. We see one of our children take their first steps, learn to ride a bike, go on THEIR first date. As time passes we go through life’s ups and downs. We endure through hard trials, maybe the loss of a loved one, being laid off, maybe divorce or bankruptcy. Through all these joyful and sorrow filled times we are making memories with our families and essentially making our own families history. But while we are making these memories it’s only history if we record it.
My sister Heather was the prime example of “getting the job done” when it came to family history. Not only did she record dozens of our family’s lineage, but she kept a detailed record of her own life. She felt a strong urgency to do the family history work for our deceased relatives due to her patriarchal blessing and volumes of printed history that spanned over 20 years of her short 30 years of life on this earth. Her blogs and journals, the pictures she posted bring such comfort to our family. I never realized how easy it is to forget the little details of big moments, like what I cooked for my son Jack’s baby blessing or what Ben weighed when he was born. I know most moms know the weights and times of birth of all their children (basically engraved in their mind) but my brain must be overloaded or due for an “update” because I just can’t remember those types of details. I am SO happy I can look up those things on my blog and see the pictures I’ve taken and remember what JOY I felt in those times. I even like reading about past trials, it gives me confidence to know I CAN do hard things.  How would you feel to have a love letter from your spouse after they passed? How do you think your children would feel to see on paper how much their parents love them and the specific traits they are proud of? But where do we start? Do we backlog and try to remember what we did or felt last month of even last week? No, we start today by doing the small things like writing down what we love about each member of our family, taking pictures, and highlighting special occasions. You can write it down in a spiral notebook, start a family blog, and use a tape recorder if you feel like it. Many of my sister’s HUNDREDS of blog entries didn’t get read until after she had passed away, but she wasn’t writing them for admiration she was writing them to be recorded. Once past is past it’s really hard to recreate unless you record the emotions when you are still feeling them and they are fresh in your mind. That’s what resonates with the people that might read your journal or blog entry’s they feel your spirit and they feel the truth in your words. A couple years ago my older sister and her husband Kyle wrote each other Love letter’s with intimate details to help each other in their grief in the event of one of them passing before the other. They sealed them and locked them away for safe keeping without any knowledge of the content of each other’s letters and without knowing that in a few short years after they were written that Heather would pass away. This letter brings great comfort to my brother and I know he’s read it hundreds of times wishing it was thousands of pages long, I’m sure he even has it memorized. There are so many things I can learn from my sister’s passing. She was a great example in so many ways and I’ve learned and keep learning new things about her to this day. Most importantly I learned from her example that I want my family to know how important they are to me and record our life on paper. I’ve started by writing down all the funny things my boys say and do and I am working on having weekly blog posts to keep a record of my family’s day to day life. All things are spiritual to our father in heaven, keeping a record of our family’s lives for the sole purpose of remembering the feelings and emotions, the promptings of the spirit, will help our children in their lives and when they are old enough to understand it will help them to get to know us better and grow closer to us. About a year ago I was griping to Heather over the phone about my woes in life and she grew very quiet and just gently encouraged me to write 1 thing I was grateful every single day. I shrugged off her advice and got busy with life and SO wish I could look in my journal today and see 365 things that I was grateful for over the past year. Heather had 999 things that were difficult about her life and none of them were in her history. She must have known I’d be writing this talk and that I needed a little push because she still had dozens of ideas of ways to connect through family history saved on her iPad. One of those ideas included a list of ways to do this.
1.     Keep a record of your life
2.     Find your ancestors graves
3.     Visit places that are important to your family-Candy shop
4.     Learn more about your ancestors celebrations-“green dinner”
5.     Preserve Photos-“chat books”
6.     Hold and indexing party
7.     Act out a family history story-This could be a FHE activity
8.     Record about yourself and what you wish you knew about your great-grandparents-think of questions you’d like to ask them and then answer those same questions on a recorder so YOUR great-grandchildren know what your answers would have been
9.     Research your name-Find out where your last name came from
10.  Find and share journal entries
11.  Film a documentary about your ancestors
12.  Create a family tree-online or on paper
13.  Use your talents-Dance, write, craft, play an instrument; it’s very likely you share the same talents as many of your ancestors
14.  Find advice-talk with living relatives i.e. Grandparents
15.  Track your ancestors
16.  Record the stories behind heirlooms
17.  Practice a new language
18.  Talk to living family members-ask your grandmother questions while recording with a video camera
19.  Celebrate an ancestor’s birthday
20.  Preserve your social media posts-blog books
21.  Search immigration and military documents-find out where your ancestors came from and who was in the armed forces
22.  Make a recipe book
23.  Dive into history
24.  Prepare for missionary service
25.  Help others-volunteer

Genealogy is only one small part to recording family history if we don’t know anything besides the names of our ancestors on a chart we haven’t really recorded our family history.

Make GOOD memories, live every day for your family. Serve your family selflessly. Love like crazy.

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