Monday, April 26, 2010

Hannibal, Missouri

Hayden has decided he wants to be a photographer. He is actually getting pretty good. He took lots of pictures while on the trip. Great hobby!

Thomas loves steamboats. I booked him tickets on the Mark Twain steamboat in Hannibal. We drove down and road the steamboat. Hayden and Thomas were in heaven as they snapped pictures, felt the breeze in their faces and were able to find geodes and all incredibly cool rocks and gems. They were boys that day and it was so much fun to watch and be apart of.

We got lost on our way back to Nauvoo. Julie laughed as we called to see if she could help us locate our way back. Problem was: we weren't sure which state we were in. Missouri or Illinois. No worries, we figured it out and had tons of fun while we were driving around these gorgeous states, being lost!

Nauvoo Temple

Attending a session in the Nauvoo Temple was one of the neatest experiences in my life. I wasn't prepared for the events and emotions that would come inside that sacred place. I have been in a lot of temples, but the Nauvoo Temple holds sacred feelings and emotions.
Thomas and I were chosen to be the witness couple and were given the opportunity to go back in a room for about 20 minutes and just talk one with another. During that time, the temple president came in and talked with us, explained some significant points about the Nauvoo Temple and gave us some great advice.
During the session, so many things ran through my mind. Most importantly, I knew that the Lord knew that I was in the walls of that sacred temple that day and blessed me with some unique opportunities to feel his presence and feel his love.
I left the temple with an incredible reassurance that I am his daughter, he loves me and has put people and events in my life to help me on my journey here. It was a moment of a lifetime. There within those sacred walls, the direction of my life was changed and realized. Many prayers were answered that sacred day!
I am so grateful for my Savior and his presence in my life. I know he lives. I know he is aware of me and my needs. The Nauvoo Temple will always hold a special place in my heart!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Carthage Jail

Our first day in Nauvoo we went to Carthage Jail to see where the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed.
Being at Carthage Jail was an experience that has touched my heart. We were able to tour the jail and hear about the martyrdom of the Prophet.
We had the neatest experience in Carthage. We asked if we could stay behind and just talk to Hayden. Standing on the spot where Joseph was killed, I was able to bear testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, his life, his vision, and his death. I explained to Hayden the significance of these events in Hayden's life. The feelings and the Spirit were so strong. The Spirit witnessed to each of us the true divinity and life of the Prophet. The feelings in that room cannot be expressed other than it was such a touching experience. I pray that Hayden will always remember the sacred feelings he felt that day!

We lingered on the grounds at Carthage for quite awhile and discussed the First Vision with Hayden. We talked of the restored gospel to the earth. We testified to Hayden that the Lord still calls prophets to lead and guide us. Joseph Smith was true and faithful to the Savior and the gospel all the days of his life. What an example and life he led. I am very grateful for the opportunity we had to stand where he stood and to feel the events that took place. I will never forget those sacred moments.

Beautiful Nauvoo

Nauvoo was absolutely beautiful! The greenery, the beautiful grass, the amazing Mississippi River, the peace, the farm lands.... I sure loved every minute in this beautiful city!


We decided to leave a note for the Easter bunny and tell him to hide Hayden's eggs at Aunt Suzi's house so he could have an egg hunt with Cooper and Ollie. He did love the Easter basket full of goodies that we left him. It included all his favorites including How to Train a Dragon DS game, puzzles, Alvin and the Chipmunks DVD, coloring books, posters and a new sand bucket. He is rotten!
Cooper and Hayden are ready for the egg hunt!
Suzi's brother's family, Mike, Jill, Cooper and Ollie came down for Easter. Hayden absolutely loves spending time with them.
Ann and I just had fun sitting back and watching the excitement. She was great and took the kids to the park while we got dinner ready.

Hayden adores Aunt Suzi and she made Easter so much fun! Thanks, Suzi!
After the egg hunt, we went to Julie's house to spend some time with her on Easter. We loved being over there. We had fun sitting and talking and enjoying the day together! It was the most relaxing Easter ever. I loved it!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Uncle Jake

Spaz Jake is the life of the Simonton parties. He is energetic, fun and such a tease. He kept putting his feet all over Jodi and just poking at her. He sure hasn't changed since he was a kid!
Jake and Thomas both love to play and have fun! I think they get into ever bit as much trouble as the kiddos.

Jake is the life of the party. The kids all love him. He sure plays with all of them. I don't know what he was thinking starting a plastic egg war with the kids. They were all throwing the eggs at him. He is crazy but he had so much fun! Everyone needs an Uncle Jake. Hayden sure adores him, so does Ariyona and Ann.

Simonton Easter Party

Ann and Talmage. He is such a little doll. I so enjoy being with him and although he won't smile for the camera, he always smiles when he sees me. Smart kid!

Hayden loves spending time with all of his Simonton cousins. They had so much fun dying Easte eggs. The kids were a mess but had fun!

What a spaz! He cracked most of the eggs that he colored to see which colors were most likely to soak through the shell and color the egg. Everything with him has turned into a science experiment. He even tried coloring the actual eggs without the shells. Silly boy!

We had our traditional Easter party on Friday night because of conference. We ate dinner, colored eggs and the kids had their egg hunt. Me, I sat in one spot on the couch and didn't move. I still wasn't up yet from surgery. Hayden had fun, so that was all that mattered. I loved being with everyone, even if I enjoyed only part of the festivities.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My sweet boy

Grandma Julie sent Hayden a hundred dollar bill for Easter. Hayden was estatic! It was magical to him, as it was his first hundred dollar bill!

Hayden was talking to me and Thomas tonight about what he should spend his money on. He said, "Mom, I have been thinking about how I want to spend my money. I could use the money for the kids in the hospital or I could use the money to buy people food. Should I spend all of it on other people or could I use a little bit on me too!"

He decided the best thing to do was to call Julie and discuss it with her. They decided that half should be spent on others and half on himself, after coaxing from Julie that it was okay for him to buy himself something.

I am so proud of my boy! He is always putting the needs of others first. He has decided that he wants to buy food with half of it and then will probably buy himself a DS game.

Julie runs an organization, Heart to Heart, which provides food to those struggling to make it. Hayden has decided to go down to SCC with Julie and take his food donations. He will get to ride in the golf cart, help her pick up other donations, and then help stock the shelves of the food pantry. He is really excited!

I am so happy that he has a tender spirit that he immediately thinks how he can help instead of just thinking of himself. I am very proud of my little guy and the steps he is taking to make a difference in this world. Thanks, Julie, for helping to turn this into an incredible experience for Hayden!

Hayden-Character/ Citizenship Award

Hayden received an award today. I had Suzi drive me down to the school so I could see him receive it. Mrs. Crawford got up and said that the entire class voted and hands down that Hayden won for the Citizenship Award and Character Award.

The school has bake sales once a month, Hayden brings money but before purchasing anything, he checks to see if anyone in the class didn't bring money. He will then take them and make sure that everyone in the class receives a treat. He is always giving things away and helping others. He lets people in front of him in line and just watches out for all the students in his class. He is an amazing boy! I am so proud of him and his willingness to see other's needs and then try and meet them. He is a GREAT kiddo! I am so proud of you, Hayden.


I am so proud of Julie. She just won Professor of the Year for Scottsdale Community College. She is amazing. She received it for a couple of reasons, but the two biggest being the following:

First Ammendment fight: SCC district was trying to censor free speech of college students. Julie worked to keep the first ammendment and newspaper rights available to college students. This was a huge case and she risked everything to defend the first ammendment. When she won, the school painted an entire wall with the words to the first ammendment.

Heart to Heart: Julie started a group to feed college students. With the economic downturn, a lot of the college students at SCC were homeless but still trying to go to school. Julie headed up the Heart to Heart foundation to help feed college students that are struggling to just make it and stay in school.

Julie has been such a huge influence on me in trying to get involved in the community and in community service. She always taught me to give back and to think outside of just family and church groups and really serve and give back in the community. She is incredible and is involved in all kinds of community causes.

I am so impressed with Julie and so happy that she is being recognized for the great person and leader that she is.