Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Favorite movie of the season?

Charlie Brown Christmas. Got my kids all set up on Saturday so I could get in the shower, then I couldn't resist snapping a few pictures.

I love that they both love their blankies and bears. Bennett loved the binky, too, but of course his is long gone. Before we know it, so will Mylie's (my fingers are crossed).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I'm here, but...

I really haven't had much to post lately. Life is so great and we are so excited for the holidays. However, I am already regretting putting up the Christmas tree. I spend most of my days removing a certain toddler from hitting, kicking, grabbing, and climbing the tree. I don't think I will wrap any presents any time soon. So I just have a few sessions left to edit for the year, before taking a little break, then maybe I'll blog some of my own family happenings. But until then,
Check out this cute family on my photo blog!

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Previews

I have a few new previews on my photography blog. That's what I've mostly been up to lately(besides spending money on Christmas), so you can check them out if you want to :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Michael Bublé & The Flapper

I am being completely honest when I say Bennett 100% chose his own Halloween costume this year. There was absolutely no swaying from the parents. He loves Michael Bublé and has said that he was going to be him for Halloween probably since August. In fact there are many days when he says he isn't Bennett; he is Micheal Bublé and will only answer to that name.
Mylie was the most adorable flapper. My choice 100%. Every parent has to savor the few short years in which they get to choose the costume. When I saw eggplant fringe on clearance at JoAnn, I suddenly had a vision. I made her costume just from my imagination, and I think it turned out pretty darn cute. It just fit her and her personality so well.

I love the picture on the right (below) because Bennett is totally getting into character and Mylie is not digging it.

My handsome little MB.

Just some fun edits of Mylie in her Flapper attire.


This Halloween, Grandma H. was in the hospital so she got permission to come down to the lobby to see the grandkids in costume (since kids aren't allowed in the hospital because of flu season). Well, this is my Bennett... I mean Michael Bublé...putting on a concert in the hospital lobby. Yes, that is a half-eaten string cheese microphone. He was singing "Fever" at the top of his lungs for all those passing by.

Love my kids...Love being a mom. Definitely the best job EVER!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bennett is 4!!!

So I was thinking it was about time I had a happier post on this blog! Last week was Bennett's 4th birthday! I can't believe how much he has grown! The day he was born and I became a mother was the best day of his life!

Isn't he a stud?

He is and always has been so smart. He has a knack for learning and memorizing things. Right now he loves counting 100 and can sound out and read simple words. He loves to sing and runs around in circles singing Michael Buble all day. You should hear this kid belt out "Fever!" Not to mention he's got Mylie singing them, too! (More about that to come!)

I couldn't help put a few of his newborn pictures on here. How I wish I had the photography skills and camera back then! I will definitely be ready next baby. Looking at these pictures is making me baby hungry!

Bennett loves Toy Story and has been asking for Woody and Buzz for his birthday since the spring! He was pretty excited and had so much fun playing with them all morning.

One of the first things he checked after opening them was the bottom of their feet. He looked at Buzz's and said, "It's the wrong Buzz!" (see Toy Story 2). So we explained to him that this is his Buzz. Then he insisted on me writing his name on each of their feet.

Bennett got some new ties for his Birthday, too (thank you Peanut Posh!) He really wanted to wear one with his Birthday outfit. He wore it all day. I thought it looked pretty cute.

Mylie posed for some pics too. These two kids get along so well. They love to play together. They give each other lots of hugs and kisses and just play, play, play! My favorite sound is their laughter. (Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of crying, too, which I don't love so much!)

Bennett picked a blue guitar cake this year. It looks OK, as long as you don't see the picture of what it was supposed to look like. do you even frost a cake that has been cut out? It crumbs everywhere and is such a mess. I tried freezing it this time before frosting it, which helped a little, but seriously, are those cakes in those pictures even cakes underneath the frosting? Oh well, all the kids thought the cake was great.

Okay here it is. The gift that surpassed Woody and Buzz. Grandma and Grandpa Harkness got Bennett the latest Michael Buble CD. It hasn't even been a week and this kid is belting out Cry Me a River (Track 1) now. Any guesses on what he was for Halloween? That will come in the next post! (Love the red cheeks. The kids were having a major Halloween music dance at his birthday party.)

We brought Bennett home from the hospital on Halloween day, so we decided to have a Halloween Party in conjuction with his birthday. Really only the older cousins appreciated my food naming, but it was fun for me as well...even if Bennett didn't really get it!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How am I?

Today I feel empty. I still have a knot in my stomach that I just can't get rid of. I feel sick. I now know the true meaning of a heavy heart. I feel like there is a brick in my chest. I feel sorrow. I feel like weeping. I feel like sobbing. Today I have wandered around my house wondering what to do. I don't have motivation. I miss my sister. I wonder how I will go through the rest of my life without her here. I wonder how my family will continue with this huge hole. Amber made our family complete. She brought balance and peace. She brought light and happiness. There is no one like her. I feel like I can't breathe. My heart is breaking.

Here is what does make me happy: My kids. They keep me going. They make me happy. They sense my pain and give me hugs and kisses when I need them. My husband. He is patient with me. He stays away when I need him to, but is there when I want him near. Amber is no longer suffering. There is no more pain for her. She is happy. She is home. She is now our angel. And I will see her again. I have a testimony. I have knowledge of the great plan of salvation. I know my Father in Heaven loves me. I know that I have friends and family that love me and are crying with me.

Russ's aunt and uncle sent me flowers today. I have never been sent flowers. It made me cry. Thank you. My little brother called to check on me. It meant so much. People have brought in meals. It is so nice when you don't feel like cooking or cleaning up. And those of you who came to the viewing and/or funeral to support me, you can't imagine how much I appreciated that. Thank you!

Yesterday was the hardest day of my life. I have never been this close to death. I have never been one of the people on the front row. It was so surreal. I kept asking myself, Can this really be happening? When we pulled up to the church, I broke down. Was I really coming to my own sisters funeral??? Was that hearse in the parking lot really for my sister? Was this really the last time I'd see her face--even if it was lifeless?

This post will be huge. You do not have to read it if you don't want to. But I don't know what else to do. I feel like writing down my feelings and sharing my pictures just because it might make me feel a little bit better right now.

My sister and sister-in-law and I were asked to decorate for the viewing and funeral. It was nice to have something to keep me going. Here is a table that shows a little about Amber. She played the piano, loved to scrapbook, loved Tinkerbell, was very creative, loved to make cards and craft, loved stamps. If you look very close, the picture of her on the far right was right before she got sick. This is the Amber we know. I am so glad to know that this is probably about how she looks now on the other side!
We thought this stamp seemed very appropriate. I must say I have been living by this lately. I've been eating whatever I want. And I am not the only one in my family to agree that right now, the desserts taste the best. (comfort food I guess).

This is the motto Amber lived by. If you haven't yet PLEASE visit her blog and read her story You are missing out if you don't!!!

This is the cover page I made for her blog book. I also had it made in a large board to be displayed. I had it overnighted so that it would be here by Saturday, but of course didn't make it here in time for the viewing on Sunday. Luckily it was here in time for the funeral and viewing yesterday. I then gave it to my mom.

Her picture on the left is wrapped with her favorite pink silk pillow case. The binder on the right is her blog. My dad would copy the text and pictures everytime she blogged and then print it out. He would put it in sheet protectors and add it to this binder. She truly wrote a book! It is so beautiful. Her words are such a treasure to all of us.

This table showed Amber through the years. Some people from Dan and Amber's Ward pitched in and got this picture for Dan's family. They set it up on this table. We just loved how it looks as if Jesus was watching over Amber's life with concern and love. Late last night after we took down the decorations from the church, we went to Dan's house and hung this center on his wall in his front room.

I love this little board "I Can Do Hard Things." Someone gave it to Amber and it really says it all!


My sister, Heather, gave this to Amber the day she had her masectomy. Amber truly lived by this one as well. She made the most of the life she was given!



I didn't take any pictures at the viewing or the church on Monday. I just didn't want to. I didn't even bring my camera up at the cemetery at first, but later my mom asked me to please take some pictures, and I am so glad that I did.
Amber's Family. I often am asked, How are they doing? They really are doing well. I think they are so relieved to not see mom suffering anymore. I am sure hard times are to come, but for the time being, they are doing pretty well! They have many prayers going out to them, and I am sure that helps. The funeral service was beautiful. Dan gave a beautiful talk, and each of the children shared a memory. Blake talked about how his mom would play video games with him and how even if she would scold him about his homework, she would always end it with an I love you! Bekah talked about how her mom loved to scrapbook and how she would let her use her supplies, even when she was little. She would have scrapbook parties with her. Abby talked about how her mom was a "sucker" for getting a great picture, and how they tramped through the mud to try to get a good picture of a buffalo. Also, her mom was the greatest "room mother" at school. Caleb talked about how he was jumping on her bed because he was excited for his birthday. She kept asking him to stop but he didn't. He hit his mouth and his tooth went through his lip, but she didn't get mad and say "I told you so." She just helped comfort him and gave him soda pop.


Her casket was beautiful. I think Abby picked it out. It had beautiful pink carnations on it.

We all laid beautiful daisies on the casket at the end of the services. It was so hard...a final goodbye. If you look closely, I also laid my "Run for Amber" bracelet down as well to signify that she has won her race! She has reached the finish line!

This picture wasn't quite planned, but I love how it turned out. You can see both Dan and my Mom in the background. They were on either side of her throughout her entire battle. Even in the end, they each were able to hold one of her hands. I am so thankful for the wonderful support they each were to my beloved sister.

This is one of my favorite pictures. I just like it.

Amber's favorite flower is a sunflower. They just fit her. When she was little, my dad nicknamed her sunshine. Even her scrapbook business was called sunny day (or something like that). Amber truly was always the sunshine in everyone's life!

The flowers from Dan said Mother and Sweetheart.
Amber is the best mother I know. She made her children the center of her life. She always went out her way to make life fun for them. She always planned fun activities and spent so much time with them. I remember her saying once, "I may not be the best housekeeper, but I sure try to be a good mom!"

Amber and Dan were truly able to become "sweethearts" in this life, sooner than most couples. I guess when I think of the word "sweetheart" I usually think of older couples. Dan once wrote that he was thankful he was able to be able to care for Amber in ways that couples usually do in their older years. They made the most of their last two years together. I think they really fell in love over again while going through this trial. Once again, I am so thankful for Dan and all he has done for my sister.

I think one of the hardest things for me is seeing my own parents lose a daughter. It is heartbreaking! So, so hard. I can't imagine how I would feel to lose one of my children. I am so grateful for my loving parents and for all they do for all of us. My mom has spent so much time being there for Amber the past 29 months. Even though we all knew this would be the way it would turn out, I still can't believe this is how it ends!

Amber was able to be buried right next to my Grandpa Monson. He passed away 22 years ago this very month, also from cancer. It makes it hard to know this was the last family member we have lost, and that it was from the same monstrous disease. I am just glad to know that her body will rest in the same hallowed ground. I am sure my Grandpa was there in her room that night when she passed away. I am sure he was the first one to hold her and welcome her home. I am so glad he was there for her!


See the leaves on the ground? The moment we walked out of the church after the funeral, and as Amber's casket was being lifted into the hearse, the wind started blowing viciously! Prior to this, there really weren't many leaves on the ground. I felt that it was so symbolic. It was as if the leaves were ready to enter their final resting place as well at the end of their season. When we got to the cemetery, the wind was still blowing hard, and it was so cold. The ground was covered in beautiful fallen leaves. As soon as the dedicatory prayer began, the wind stopped and it was so still. It remained still the rest of the time we were there. It was a little tender mercy from heaven. I am sure that fall will forever more always remind me of Amber. It was her favorite season, after all. Even the leaves paid their respect to my dear sister that day!

I took some pictures of the surroundings so that I would always remember what it was like that day. So beautiful! So symbolic! Gloomy yet bright. Cold yet peaceful.Photobucket




I would like to share the memory that I shared at Amber's funeral. One last thing before I end this post.
My Tribute (Memory) for Amber
If two things could be said about Amber, they would definitely be:
· She always was thinking of others rather than herself, and
· She just loved children and babies. She was a mother to all!

Shortly after Amber was diagnosed with cancer, I found out I was pregnant with my second baby; my little Mylie Amber. I would call Amber periodically to see how she was doing. She would hardly let me ask before she would ask me how I was doing and make a big deal out of me! She would want to know how tired I was or be empathetic about how nauseous you can get when you’re pregnant. Amber never wanted any of the attention on her! She was always thinking about others! If I ever tried to turn the conversation to her she would always turn it back to me. (I am sure anyone that knows Amber can relate!)
Later on when I was in the hospital to deliver Mylie, Amber insisted on being the one to take my son, Bennett, for the day! She wanted so badly to help me out. So she took Bennett that day and made it such a fun day for him. She even took him shopping to buy a new toy just for him.

Amber always loved kids and babies and made them the center of her life. She was constantly doing things to serve them. Every holiday, especially Halloween or Easter, or other special times such as the Saturday evenings when the men would go to Priesthood meeting and the moms and kids would get together, she would go out of her way to make a special treat bag, goodie, or craft for all of the nieces and nephews. She continued to do this even when she was extremely sick! I never could help thinking that I didn’t think to do those things even though I was completely well! But that was just how Amber was!

She IS the best mother I know. As I sat by her bed on one of those last few days, I had a very strong impression that mothers are needed in heaven, too. And what better mother could be called than Amber Rosella Monson Chase? I will miss her laugh and especially her smile, but I know that she is now sharing her joyful spirit with others that need her, too.