Friday, March 7, 2014

A Look Back at 2013 - FEBRUARY Part 1

FEBRUARY - Jaren lost a tooth, we took a trip to California to visit Ed's brother and honor Oliver over his 1st Angelversary, stopped by to stay with our good friends in DeKalb, Illinois and went to the University of Iowa Dance Marathon.  A VERY packed February.

A candle wax Ollie heart.

Ed took all the kids down as I just was too depressed to go.  I watched the family introductions online and heard them read all the children's names that have passed.  I just cried and cried.  My mom and I went down the next morning and spent the rest of the day there.  Rachel was our family rep. and she was so sweet.  She danced with Eden as my heart just wasn't in it.  It was the first DM that we'd gone to since Oliver's death and it just wasn't the same.  The joy of the event was gone.  They had a Dancing in Our Hearts luncheon for the families that have lost a child to cancer.  It was difficult to hear everyone's story.  The kids also met Sam, whose brother, Ben had passed 10 years earlier.  He was a sweet 13 year old that the boys clung to.  He reminded me a lot of Oliver.  It was hard to see Oliver's name on the quilt.  Just unreal really.  I'm glad we went, but it's a lot more difficult to be there now.  We are truly grateful for all that these students do in order to raise money and support the families and children that have to deal with cancer.  They have such big hearts.  We will ALWAYS be grateful for them.

We planned a trip to California to see one of Ed's older brothers over Oliver's first angelversary -- the anniversary of his death.  It was nice to actually have something to look forward to rather than dread.  We planned some things to honor him as well as some fun family outings.  I'm so glad that we went.  It was nice to keep busy and continue to make memories.  I KNOW that is what he would want us to do.

Some randoms from our trip - Finn on the bed in the hotel before our flight to CA - Ed's brother's dogs - Phineas on a pink scooter - the boys on the balcony of the hotel we stayed in on the beach - Eden with Jared's dog, Chloe - Eden and Finn in a near empty airport - Ed, Eden and cousin Aubrey with their sweet mustache hats.

Valentine's day celebrations.  The girls were at their mom's on Valentine's day so Jared and our family went to Mimi's Cafe on the actual holiday.  We got a little crazy with the chocolate syrup!  Jaren was pooped and conked out on the floor.  Good thing the restaurant was pretty barren.  The center picture is our Valentine's family candlelit dinner with Jared and the girls.  It is a tradition that we have always done since Ollie and Eden were little and just because we weren't home doesn't mean we don't do it!  It was nice to spend it with them this year.

Sunrise and sunset.  We splurged and stayed the night of Ollie's one year angelversary on the beach in the Hilton.  We had a corner room with a beautiful view of the beach and the pool.  I set my alarm so I could see the sun rise (lower left corner) as it is something I rarely see when looking over the ocean.  So beautiful.  I'm a sucker for nature's beauty.  I secretly wish I lived near a beach.  I'm sure it will never happen though.  It's a treat to get to visit them every so often.

I wanted to go to the beach and send up some lanterns to Ollie on his day.  We went near sunset and got some beautiful pictures.  Eden and Aubrey wrote Oliver's name really big in the sand.  It was Finn's very first time at the beach.  I wish we would have gotten there sooner, but it was fun to have the beach to ourselves for a bit.  We forgot the lanterns in the hotel room and ventured back only to realize that the gates to the beach were locked!  We had to pull a picnic table over and hoist ourselves over the tall chain link fence.  I about biffed it.  I could just imagine Oliver laughing at the sight.  We then got the lanterns and drove up the beach to a campground and found a staircase leading down to the beach.  We stopped about halfway up and let Eden, Jaren and Finn send up lantern and then Ed and I tried... yes... tried.  Mine went up without a hitch, but Ed's wasn't filled with enough air so down it went.  It fell onto some dry shrubs on the bluff overlooking the beach.  We panicked as we imagined the beach going up in flames!  I took my shoe off in a frenzy and threw it down toward the lantern trying to dislodge it before it started the brush on fire.  One of the guys went down and climbed up to rescue it and sent it on its way.  I wanted a nice way to honor Oliver and everything just went awry, however it was the perfect way to honor him as I'm sure he loved all the crazy hijinks that came along the way!  I could seriously just imagine him either laughing or rolling his eyes... probably a little of both! 

After the craziness on the beach, we went back and ate at the hotel restaurant.  It was so good!  We got a bunch of appetizers to sample and I had to take a picture of the beautiful desserts we ordered.  I didn't want to eat it and destroy the masterpiece!  Jaren was conked out under the table of the restaurant and then on the lobby sofa.  That kid can sleep anywhere!  It was a good day.  It was nice to do something for him that we wouldn't normally do.

The following day we went to Tamarack beach in Carlsbad, CA.  I think that is where it was located.  We've been to this beach before in 2007 when Oliver and Eden saw the ocean for the first time.  We got family pictures there again in the same spot.  It was Phineas' first time at the ocean this time.  We made messages in bottles with Oliver's picture inside and each kid got to throw one into the ocean.  I wonder if anyone found them.  I would have liked to have spent more time at the beach this trip.

More photos from the hour we spent at the beach.  The kids are all pointing up to Oliver in the bottom photo.  I could have spent all day there, but we were going to Disneyland that afternoon as well so we had to cut it short.  It was such a beautiful day.

 2007 -- the kids' first trip to the ocean.  It was in the 50's that day, but they swam anyways!  So grateful for our memories!

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