Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve

Having pneumonia for the past week and still being completely down put a hault on all of our New Years Eve plans. Bummer!

I had an interesting week of just being down. I had so much I wanted to do, so much I needed to do, but it didn't happen... instead, other than going to the Dr. and urgent care, I stayed on the couch or in my bed. I felt so bad that Hayden didn't have a fun week. Reality is, he did. He spent time playing with his new toys, watching his new movies, coloring and cuddling with mommy. He loved it. He loved that we didn't have to leave the house. Who would have known that while I was feeling guilty for being sick, that Hayden thought we were having a great week.

Hayden did love that Logan came and had a New Year's Eve Party with him. They watched movies, played Hero Factory toys, legos, DS games and ate junk food. They loved the slumber party that Thomas put together for them.

Me, I ushered in the new year sound asleep before 10pm.

I am excited for a new year and all the new changes that 2011 will bring. 2010 was a good year with cherished memories and huge challenges overcome. It brought wonderful people into my life, we dealt with some health challenges, and helped me put my life back into balance. I am so thankful for the lessons learned, adventures experienced and especially for the tender moments when Heaven felt like it was here on earth with me. Looking back on 2010, I am in awe of how many times I was able to see the Lord's hand in my life. Our family was very blessed in 2010. We are hoping for a wonderful 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Julie's moving day/Grandpa and Hayden

Grandma Julie has officially bought a house and moved into our neighborhood! Hooray! Hayden is already looking forward to being able to be dropped off over there instead of having to go grocery shopping or run errands with me. He hates stores.

He is excited for the toy room, the Wii and all the games and cooking lessons with Grandma.

I am going to love her being so close. We love you, Grandma Julie. Thanks for wanting to be close to us, too!

Hayden had the best day with Grandpa. All he wanted for Christmas was a "Grandpa day". Grandpa did not disappoint. He took Hayden to IMAX to see Tron on the huge screen. They ate treats and laughed. Hayden told Grandpa, "I am not going to be like you when I get big, I am going to be good." Grandpa asked what he meant. Hayden told Grandpa, "You snuck treats and hamburgers in and that isn't ok. I want to choose to always do what is right and that wasn't a good choice, Grandpa."

Regardless, Hayden LOVED the treats and especially the time with Grandpa. He idolizes his Grandpa. After the movies, they went to Peter Piper Pizza and won over a thousand tickets. Thomas met them there and they had a GREAT time! Thanks, Grandpa! Hayden sure loved every minute he spent with you and can't wait to do it again!

Christmas with the Murphy's

The Murphy clan all came over the in the afternoon and spent the rest of Christmas with us. It was wonderful having them here. I do love Thomas' mom and sister and am so thankful for them in our lives.

Grandma Joyce LOVED her blanket with pictures of the grandkids. She really loved the picture of her and Hayden together.
Grandma made Hayden his own nativity set. He will not be getting it until he is old enough to take care of because I know how much he will treasure this someday. I cherish it now and am so grateful for this wonderful gift. It means so much.
I think once I realized what it was, I took over opening the present from Hayden. Oops.
Hayden picked his own presents out this year. He bought a Harkins gift card and movie cup for him and Grandma to go to the movies together. They love watching movies.
Victoria loved her presents... she always does and she is so much fun to buy for.
Logan is such a sweetie. He and Hayden had a ton of fun together and I couldn't get enough of little Lily in the background. Too cute.
Hayden was thrilled when Trevor walked into the door. He is such a fan and misses not seeing him as often now that Ann doesn't live with us. Trevor is so good to Hayden and I am so thankful.
We were so blessed on such a wonderful Christmas day. We are so thankful for the loved ones we have been blessed with and the joy and happiness that they bring into our lives. We will always cherish this blessed Christmas day.

Our gift

Dad and Bonnie don't do anything in a small way....

My dad loves giving trips and is a firm believer of it is the memories that we create that bond us together, keep us close and make life worth living. He tries hard to create wonderful moments that we each can treasure.

That being said, he gave us a unique gift... a trip of our choice outlined with 4 different possibilities. The first being Branson and all the shows, the second a week cruise to Hawaii, the third a week cruise to Alaska with a balcony or fourth a Disney Alaskan cruise with me, Thomas and Hayden. He just couldn't decide if we wanted to go with or without Hayden.

Thomas and I discussed back and forth the wonderful opportunities of each of these wonderful trips and have settled on the Disney Alaska Cruise. We are going to do a late night dinner and take Hayden to the play center and therefore can get some wonderful family time in as well as some alone time. We are SO VERY EXCITED!!!!

Thomas and Hayden have been watching Sarah Palin's Alaska and they were talking about wanting to go there. I have two nature and animal lovers in my house, so this should be a fantastic trip! We can't wait.

Thanks, Dad and Bonnie for this amazing opportunity. We can't wait!

Christmas with Dad & Bonnie

My Dad and Bonnie came over Christmas mid-day. I love that they come around now to spend time with each of us individually. It is so nice to get one on one time with them. They spoiled us rotten, as always.
Hayden and Thomas received a Wii duck hunt game and were so excited.
Bonnie loved her serving buffet and even laughed that Jodi wasn't in trouble anymore for stealing hers during the Grinch game. The perfume was a hit too.
I bought my dad the Fathers of Faith book that had all different people talking about life lessons they learned from their dads. In the front of the book, I wrote out to him all the life lessons and things I learned from him. Most importantly, I learned about my Savior, the gospel and its truthfulness and service. I am grateful for all the lessons he taught and the example he was to me during my childhood. I am thankful for the foundation I was given and it has made all the difference.
Thomas and I spent the last couple of months scanning in pictures and remade the video of my mom. The VHS copies were so bad so we decided to recreate it. I gave it to my dad and we watched it together. It was very meaningful. We also included all the pictures we had scanned. We gave a copy to each of my brothers and Jodi. It was a great Christmas gift and one that was done with much love. I know that I will always cherish it and all the stories I was able to share with Hayden while our family worked on this project. I was very blessed with a wonderful, loving mother that I learned so much from.

Christmas with the Knapp's

After presents, the Knapp boys came over for Christmas breakfast. Julie spoiled us with stuffed french toast, bacon and eggs. Delicious. I definitely want to make stuffed french toast a Christmas morning tradition. YUM!
Sean and Jan - Hayden thinks they are definitely some of the funnest people to play video games with. Hayden is looking forward to them coming to stay once the game room is complete.
Todd- for Brody's sake, he got a huge monster truck. I guess my philosophy with the dads is things they can do with their boys.

Christmas Morning

Christmas Morning when Hayden walked out, he saw his presents from Santa and his reaction was priceless. I couldn't wish for a greater joy Christmas morning that have Hayden so surprised, filled with joy and happy.

Hayden received everything on his list from Santa and was so very excited. He really wanted to change the toy room to a game room. He really wanted a TV on the wall and the Wii to be set up in there. He was also living for Christmas morning to see if he got the Nerf Stampede gun. He has talked about that nerf gun for months and was elated when he opened it.
We were lucky enough for Grandma Julie, Aunt Suzi and Ann to spend Christmas morning with us. We love having so many people that are family to us and were so glad to spend it together.

Aunt Suzi and Hayden had similar items on their wish list. Suzi wanted a scooter so that when all the nieces and nephews come over that she can go ride with them. How appropriate that we got her a Spiderman one. She loved it and laughed.
We loved loved loved having Grandma Julie over Christmas morning. Grandma received a blanket with photos of all of us. She absolutely loved it. Hayden was so excited to give it to her.
All Ann wanted was a bike. She was thrilled that it wasn't pink. I hope her and Trevor put good use and have a ton of fun with their new found love of bike riding to keep in shape.
Aunt Suzi spoiled Hayden and bought him his own I-touch. Since his dad downloaded Angry Birds on his, Hayden had completely taken it over. He was so excited for his own I-tunes gift cards and all the games and movies that he can put on it. (Seriously, he wanted a TV, I-touch, paper jams, a cell phone and a Stampede- we are headed to pre-teen years WAY too early.)
Grandma spoiled Hayden like crazy. He received his bug habitat and nano bugs in which to terrorizer the mommy. He also received his prized Paper Jamz guitar and drums. What a spoiled little guy.
Suzi loved her Disney book of pictures of our trips to Disneyland. I think it just made her want to go again, putting it together definitely made me want to go back.
I made Ann a book of all the fun things we did together while she lived with us. I also told her that we love her and consider her as another member of our family. She actually loved it more than her bike.
I made Julie a book of this last year and thanked her for all that she has done and continues to do for our family. I am so grateful she was able to spend Christmas with us.
Thomas just loves Christmas. He loves everything about it from passing out the presents to having lots of yummy food for everyone and loves loves loves when everyone is smiling and enjoying themselves. I am so thankful for this incredible husband of mine. As I look at his eyes on Christmas morning, there is no greater gift to me than to see in his eyes how very much he loves me.
And, Thomas is probably the biggest kid ever. Hayden loved all of Thomas' presents... Wii games, Leventhumps book series for them to read, a magic set, Tron shooters and tons of little toys. I love my boys so much!
The stockings did not disappoint. A Green Lantern movie, DS game, skitterbots, tron gadgets and lots of gadgets.
We were so blessed by everyone's generosity and love. It was such a special Christmas morning. One that will be cherished always.

Christmas Letter from Santa

Hayden received a very special letter from Santa this year. Hayden was so impressed that Santa's letterhead was that of Santa kneeling down to baby Jesus. The letter told him that both Santa and the Savior were proud of Hayden and the great choices he made this Christmas season to help others. Santa told Hayden that he appreciated Hayden's help and it made Christmas better for so many children and it also helped Santa knowing that Hayden did so much for the children at the hospital that he was able to do more for different children. Santa also expressed that because of Hayden's true concern, care and love of the other children, that he left him a "bonus" present for being one of his helpers.

I can't express the joy in Hayden's eyes or smile as he realized that he was apart of making Christmas miracles happen. He was now on the same team as Santa and the Savior in trying to help people out, make them smile and cheer their hearts.

Hayden is such a good boy that really looks out for others and their needs. I am so happy that he cares so much. I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for sending me such a sweet spirit of his, to look after, care for and love. I feel so blessed.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Last Straw

Christmas Eve, right before bed, brings my favorite Christmas tradition. Right when we come home from Grandpa's house, we come in and put baby Jesus in his manger. All month we have been softening Jesus' bed by doing kind deeds and secret acts of service for one another. I have loved watching all month as Hayden walks by and feels how soft the bed is becoming for the baby Jesus. I love the Spirit of service, giving and sacrificing that is done in the name of serving and giving gifts to the Savior.

This year, as Hayden felt the straws that were collected, we recounted some of the individual straws and the deeds that were done and services rendered. We discussed which ones were of particular importance to the Savior and our family. I loved hearing some of the things that Hayden did that I was unaware of. Hayden was most proud of the mornings that he fed the dogs before his dad could so that it would save his dad from having to do it. He recounted a straw of sharing his toy with Brooklyn when he really didn't want to. He told how he gave the last sucker to Brigham. He talked to me about some acts he provided to other students at school.

As we laid the baby Jesus in his manger, we each gave our 2011 gift to the Savior and talked of the gifts of service that we would render in his name.

I love this traditon in our home. I love the Spirit that it brings and I love that before we wake up with all the Santa gifts and presents that we take the time to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. As a mom, it is my very favorite part of Christmas.

What I wasn't ready for, was the question that Hayden asked me. He asked me how Jesus felt about most people focusing on Santa and if Santa really was a bad thing that took away from Jesus and his birth. We had the BEST discussion. We talked of all the ways that Santa does help people to focus on the Savior, service, giving and love. We spoke of how Christmas is the Savior and Santa, hand in hand, teaching us to be better people. We talked of Santa and how because that Santa gives, it encourages the Spirit of giving in us. It encourages us to be kinder, nicer and better people. I then asked Hayden what he thought and how he now thought that Jesus viewed Santa. His response was one of true understanding. He said, The Savior must love Santa. Jesus loves that Santa focuses on giving to others and helps us want to give and do more for others. I told him that was exactly right.

I received my greatest gift on Christmas Eve. My son, my sweet, sweet son, understood the meaning of Christmas and understood that the magic and excitement helps us to remember that the Savior was born to bring peace, happiness and goodwill unto the world. I am so grateful. And, I very much believe in Santa and Jesus and that both of them help us at Christmas to focus on the true importance and meaning of Christmas.

Simonton's with Santa

I love this picture of all the little kiddos with Santa. I look at these little faces and could tell amazing stories about how much my heart loves each of these kiddos. I am so lucky to have each of them in my life.
Hayden absolutely adores Chase. I love that he is hugging him in this picture.
Murphy family with Santa.
Jodi's kiddos with Santa... Talmage was NOT a fan. Brigham told me that it was okay for the REAL Santa to hold him, that is why he didn't cry. Too cute, Briggy.
Josh & Steph's gang with Santa.
Jake and Rosie's gang with Santa.
Bonnie and Dad with Santa.
We missed you, JD, Cassie, Bryson, Coby and Tanner.

Hayden with Santa

Hayden loves Santa. He really does. He was so excited for his gift and immediately hugged Santa and thanked him for his gift.
What a priceless expression on his face as he opened up a Tron Remote Control motorcycle. It is an amazing little toy that can go up walls. He was so very excited.
I love Hayden's cute little expression and his true excitement for Santa and receiving his first gift of Christmas. What a precious moment.
I love the excitement in all the kids eyes as Santa comes in the room and talks with the kids. It is a magical moment that I relish.
Hayden kept giving Santa five and knuckles.. he was talking to him non-stop and so excited to see Santa.


Christmas Eve would just not be Christmas Eve without the "Grinch" game. We read the book "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and each time you hear Grinch, you pass the present. Then they are all numbered. The person with #1 opens first then #2 can take a gift or open their own and so it continues thru all 30 plus people.

Bonnie opened a buffet server and Jodi took it. Bonnie does NOT like when you take her gift. She fought Jodi for it and Jodi laughed and laughed as she took it. (Secretly, Jodi knew that I had already bought one for Bonnie for Christmas the next day.)
Josh LOVED opening up lotion sets. He is so funny and such a comedian laughing about how great he was going to smell. He makes me laugh so hard.
Me and Thomas received some great gifts... I got $60 in I-tunes, Thomas received a flip video camera and Hayden received spy gear night vision goggles.
We all sit and just laugh and laugh as people open presents and try trading.
Hayden and Thomas as they passed gifts. Hayden tries to guess what is in each package.
Dallin felt so grown up as he was chosen to read "The Grinch" story. He did a great job!

Christmas Eve

The Simonton Christmas Eve party is my favorite event of the year. I love Christmas Eve. I love Christmas. I love everything about the build up and this event. I love that we have been carrying on some of the same traditions since I was a child. I especially love sharing those traditions with Thomas and Hayden. This year was great and we had such a wonderful time.

Hayden sure loves his Grandpa. When Grandpa asked him what he wanted for his birthday and Christmas, Hayden's reponse was quick... a play day with Grandpa, preferrably at Amazing Jake's.
Grandma Bonnie with Hayden. Bonnie always tries really hard to put all the finishing touches on all the events and make everything extra special. I do appreciate the time she puts in to try and help us create wonderful memories together as a family.
The kiddos all wrestling and playing together. Cousin time is definitely Hayden's favorite way to spend his time.
Little miss Brinley is my shadow at family events. I absolutely love it. I had to get her a little princess barbie and she thought it was the greatest thing ever and carried it around all night.
I have decided that all of us Simonton's definitely spend a lot of time in the kitchen... have I mentioned the amazingly yummy food at all the parties. Yum!
My guys! Oh how I love my boys!
We started Christmas eve by each family sharing a favorite moment, favorite Christmas day or a special event of Christmas. Thomas talked about Dallin when he was 5 years old and was more concerned about Hayden being in the hospital than he was about receiving presents. The room was silent as Thomas expressed his love for Dallin and awe that a 5 year old wouldn't care what they get but for the welfare of his cousin. Josh and Steph have done such a great job in raising him. I loved that Hayden came over and cuddled with me while Thomas spoke of our Christmas miracle. It will always be my favorite and best Christmas... 2001. Christmas Eve was rough and we didn't know if Hayden would make it... Christmas morning, we witnessed our own Christmas miracle... Hayden started breathing and eating. What a great miraculous day!
Me and Talmage. Oh, there are not words to express how much I love this little guy. He warms my heart. I absolutely love that if he wants me, he says, "Jer, Jer, Jer, Jer" over and over.
I love this face. It is his, I am so happy and just enjoying the moment face. I love how his eyes sparkle and light up when he is happy.
We had an incredible time together with lots of memories made. I cherish this evening that we celebrate the birth of our Savior. I love all the quality family time that December provides.