Thursday, March 31, 2011

Diet Coke...Goodbye

Today is day one on my new adventure of no more soda. It is 9:00 am and I am telling you that I am already missing my 32oz diet coke. Instead, I have a wonderful bottle of water on my desk.

I went to a Naturopathic doctor yesterday. I had heard wonderful reviews and decided that since I continue to keep getting sick, I am going to try a different route. I did receive some answers that I didn't want to hear but am hopeful that at least someone has an answer for me.

I know it will take time to adjust but, we are getting rid of diet cokes, sugar, junk food and going to begin eating completely organically. I know that is what we should be doing. I know it will improve our health but it will take a lot more effort. I have felt for a couple of months that I should try the gluten free diet with Hayden. I am determined to get all of us on a better track for health.

Step 1: Remove diet coke and sugar from the house.

Step 2: I am reading Clean, Green and Lean: Getting Rid of the Toxins that Make you Fat.

Step 3: Date at Whole Foods tonight to grocery shop for organic fruits, veggies and meats.

I still am going back to, if I can get off diet cokes, the rest should come a little easier. Hayden is on board completely. Thomas is willing to do it for mine and Hayden's health. 10 weeks to Alaska cruise.... I am hoping by then that we will all be feeling much better and the thought of new clothes for the cruise... Yep, motivating to NOT walk into the kitchen and get a soda of any kind!

Girls Night Out

Tuesday night, Jodi and I were able to go out to dinner with our two wonderful aunts, Faye and Carolyn. These two are so much like Jodi and I. We have so much in common. They are best friends and love to go to lunch, bargain shopping, garage sale shopping, out for ice cream and just laugh and talk. Listening to them and seeing their incredible relationship, made me even more thankful for Jodi and the wonderful friendship that we share. I was amazed at how much Jodi and I are so much like Faye and Carolyn.

We went to Olive Garden and sat and laughed and talked. At one point, I looked across the table at both of them discussing something and I smiled. I pray that Jodi and I are that close, that good of friends and are that happy when we are in our 70's.

After stuffing ourselves at Olive Garden, we went to Baskin Robbins and sat there for hours. I need to get copies of Faye's photos... of all of us laughing and eating ice cream cones.

It was such a needed and wonderful evening. I am so thankful that Jodi and I had the opportunity to just spend time with them. They are such wonderful women that I really admire. Life is always happy and joyous to them. I love their positive attitudes.

Jodi and I talked on the way home and then had a great conversation sitting in her driveway about our mom and how the Lord answers each of our prayers and sends tender mercies in the way that each of us need.

One of my greatest blessings in life is my sister. I couldn't imagine my life without her. She is my friend, my support, my strength and someone that knows how to pick me up when I am down. I do consider her one of the kindest blessing my Heavenly Father could have given me.

What an incredible evening with more laughter and smiles than I believed possible!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Faith-Miracles-Hayden's Birth

Last night for FHE we discussed faith and needing faith for miracles to happen. We discussed Hayden's birth which was quite miraculous. We told him about the day we found out we were pregnant and the amazing blessing that I received that basically said that my body would be blessed to sustain the pregnancy. We explained to him that he is the only baby that I was able to carry and what a miracle it was that the Lord intervened and allowed that to happen. We then again explained all the miraculous events that went into his delivery.

Recap: I went into labor at 8pm at night, went to the hospital where my water broke. After that the labor stopped, pitocin, walking, nothing helped as I would not dialate. At 1:45pm the doctor gave up and went to prepare a room for me to have Hayden via c-section. At 2pm, I told Thomas that Hayden was coming and the nurse told him it was impossible. After about 5 minutes I made them check and sure enough Hayden's little head was crowning. Furiously people ran in and out with them trying to locate my doctor. At 2:15, my nurse, felt like something was wrong and called the NICU team without the doctor's approval. At 2:20, the NICU team, my doctor and others were in the room and Hayden came out at 2:21, blue, not breathing and lifeless. As the NICU team worked to stabilize Hayden, we quickly rushed to get my Dad and JD in the room to administer a quick blessing. As the doctors put oxygen on Hayden they told Thomas he had 2 minutes. He quickly gave Hayden a priesthood blessing, I kissed my son and Thomas and Hayden, the team of doctors and nurses quickly rushed to the NICU.

My dad and JD stayed back and gave me a blessing. I will NEVER forget the words as they were spoke, I was clinging for any hope that my sweet son would live. In the blessing it stated that, "The Lord has orchestrated Hayden's birth and you will be able to see his timing and wisdom in his birth." Those words lingered in my mind.... orchestrated. As the hours turned into days and weeks, I was blessed to see how the Lord did, in fact, ORCHESTRATE, Hayden's birth. If Hayden would have been born during the night, the specialists would not have been on hand. In fact, that day, there was a conference and the NICU team of doctors were all walked into the hospital together at 2pm. The head of the NICU team was in my delivery room when Hayden was born, at no other time would have that happened. My nurse became sick and they switched nurses around 1pm. My new nurse was LDS and when questioned why she called the NICU team with no evidence that they were needed, she said she felt a prompting and new there was a problem, that the Holy Ghost had inspired her to call and she followed that prompting.

While Hayden was in the NICU, Dr. Peoples, a cardiologist, was transporting another patient to Phoenix Children's hospital and came in the back way. When he did, the doctors had Hayden's x-rays up trying to figure out what was going on. He overheard the NICU head doctor saying he just couldn't figure it out. Dr. People's asked to look and said that Hayden had a rare heart condition with less than 10 cases a year, and performed an echo cardiogram and sure enough, Hayden had Transposition of the Greater Arteries. Moreover, if his valve closed, there was no repairing his heart. Upon further examination, that value was starting to close and they had less than 2 hours before it would have been too late.

We were blessed to start seeing how Hayden's birth was like an orchestra with each person being in exactly the right place to make sure that they could put in their instrument to complete his miraculous delivery, birth and first year of his life. The blessings continued to come, we continued to see the Lord's hand guiding the doctors, orchestrating the timing and continuing to see through that this little boy lived.

As we really discussed each detail with Hayden, his eyes got bigger, his spirit was in deep thought and we asked what he was thinking. My son, in the softest, sweetest voice said, "Wow, Heavenly Father did all of that to make sure that I lived.... I must need to do something pretty special on this earth. I wonder what MY mission truly is?" As tears fell, Thomas and I both testified to him that yes, the Lord did intervene in his behalf and that there must be something pretty special for him to do here. I was so grateful that Hayden was starting to understand how blessed we are to have him here and why we try so hard to teach him, so that he can understand and be ready for whatever it is that the Lord has in store for him. Thomas looked at Hayden and said, "Son, do you believe in miracles? Do you believe that it was all coincedence the timing of your birth or do you believe it was a miracle?"

Hayden jumped up, put his hands on hips and emphatically stated, "Dad, how could anyone or anything happen like that without the Lord making it happen. I know that Heavenly Father letting me live was a miracle! I also know that I need to try hard to do what Jesus tells me to do because I wouldn't be here without him." It was a truly special night in our home. It is a moment I will always cherish as Hayden is beginning to realize that him being here is a miracle and not only is it a miracle and testifies of Jesus' hand in his life but the responsibility that comes with that. Luke 12:48 "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required."

Sunday, March 27, 2011


The lesson in Relief Society today was on Trusting the Lord. It was a wonderful lesson and really caused me to think of ways that I could better put my heart in a position to really trust my Savior.

The story was told of the Lord telling this man that he needed to push with all of his strength against this boulder. Each day the man would do his best and pushed with all of his might against the boulder but was never able to even budge it. Time went on and Satan brought doubt into the man's mind with questions such as "I am failing, I am giving it my all, but I can't budge the boulder... and why is the Lord asking me to do this? This is hard. I am not making a difference, why should I keep trying."

The man takes the problem to the Lord and expresses his frustrations and concerns. He also, expresses his inability to do the thing that the Lord commanded him to do. The Lord answers with, "I didn't ask you to move the boulder. I only told you to push against it with all your might."

The Lord then pointed out the strength the man had gained, the way it built the muscles in his arm, how it strengthened his torso and built strong legs. It wasn't about moving the boulder, it was about shaping the man.

As I have walked some of my own trials and have tried to figure them out, this story has been so inspirational to me. So often, I find myself trying to achieve the end result, I think my only success is judged entirely in whether or not I was able to move the boulder.

As this story was shared today, I felt the sweet peace of the Holy Ghost comforting my heart and mind. It was as if I was being told that I am too hard on myself and judge myself based on the outcome, not in just the doing.

I am more resolved to only focus on this question, "Am I doing what the Lord is asking of me?" If I am, then I am going to try to be at peace and try to know that the Lord is happy with me. I can see how in my life that some of the things the Lord has asked me to do hasn't had the outcome that I wanted or expected. When he lets me see his plan, his way, I do see that the trial or obstacle was for my good and regardless if it helped others, I was strengthened by the task.

I am so grateful for wonderful teachers that help bring the spirit when they teach and the time they spend to help inspire me and encourage me to be better. I am so grateful.

And, although, I didn't have the courage to get up in sacrament meeting today and bear my testimony. I will here. I know that the Lord lives. I know he knows me, Jerlyn. I know that he is aware of what I do, the things I try to do and especially that he knows my heart and my true intentions. I also know that he loves me, even when I falter, even when I make mistakes and he is my biggest cheerleader when I try to make positive changes in my life. I am so grateful for Him and all the wonderful ways he blesses my life each and every day. I do not know how to adequately express my love and appreciation and sheer gratitude for him and his gentleness with me.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Sister

Today was such a great day! Thomas had to work, so Hayden and I were on our own. Jodi, Brooklyn and Talmage came and picked up me and Hayden. We garage sale shopped for a while.... then one by one, the kiddos kept leaving. Brigham went to practice with Troy, Brooklyn went to the movies with Suzi, Tyson called and had Hayden go to Seville swimming. All of a sudden it was just, Jodi, Talmage and me. We went to Designer Blvd and tried on clothes and then had Troy pick up Talmage. Jodi and I were able to eat lunch, shop and talk without any kids. It is such a rare occasion but one that is truly cherished whenever we are lucky enough to get some time alone.

I do have the world's greatest sister! I so enjoy her and the wonderful sister and friend that she is! I feel so extremely blessed!

Simonton family party

Since my Dad's sisters were in town, we all got together at my dad's house last night. We had such a great time! We had tons of food, lots of laughter, some good chats and everyone just enjoyed being together!
I love this picture of Hayden, Brooklyn and Katelyn. Hayden sure loves his cousins! I can't believe how much Brooklyn and Katelyn look alike with the same haircut! Amazing!
It finally happened, Dallin is officially taller than me. He was so proud to have passed me up.
My boys---I sure love these two!
Grandpa and Brinley. Brinley was my shadow all night. She is such a doll and I love that she sticks to me like glue!
Dad said wonderful, kind things about his sisters... how good they were to him growing up, how much he enjoys spending time with them now and how very much he loves them! I sure hope my brothers say such nice things about me!
Here is cute little Ma'Kayla that is a little miracle. She is back to her spunky, smiley self!
Faye, Steph, Jodi and I all watching the kiddos play the Kinect sports and dance central. They had so much fun!
Hayden loved the dance central game. I am thinking we should get it for the Wii. Too fun!
All the cousins loved standing and dancing, regardless if they were on tv or not! They are so cute!
We had such a fun night. I love any chance I get to hang out with my siblings and nieces and nephews. Having my aunts there was such a bonus and I loved every minute of it!

My fun aunts

I absolutely love my dad's sisters. They are the happiest, smiliest, fun ladies to be around. I sure wish they lived closer. As long as I can remember, we have referred to Aunt Faye and Aunt Carolyn, never as Faye and John or Carolyn and Buddy. My two aunts are always together and have so much fun. Their relationship reminds me so much of me and Jodi. They take every chance they get to be together.

I don't think I have ever seen either of them without smiles. They laugh, they enjoy life, they just spread sunshine and happiness wherever they go. They are positive and have the best outlook on life. They are so much fun to be around. They inspire me to look at all the good, wonderful things that life has to offer.
After the Simonton get-together last night, I had the wonderful opportunity to drive them to my Uncle's house. We talked, laughed and just chatted the entire way there. They sincerely asked how I was doing and what was going on. I was so touched by their gentleness and care for me. As I talked of some things I was doing, they told me stories of my mom and how talking to me, reminded them of talking with my mom. That I have the same ideals that I can change the world, one person at a time and make a difference. They said that my mom didn't know if she was having influence over people when she took them into her home, tried to be an example and tried to make a difference, but she did and eventually I will see it, too.

I am so grateful for those precious moments and to these two wonderful, incredible women that I adore. After spending time with them, I am more determined to spread smiles. I know what a gift their true laughter and smiles are to me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Last night I was making up treats for my visiting teaching people. Thomas dipped strawberries in chocolate and I had them wrapped cute with ribbon, ready to deliver to my sisters. Hayden comes bouncing in the kitchen and says, "Wow, Mom, what did Jodi bring us?" I told him I made the plates up. He looked at me and said, "I'm impressed, Mom! I thought Jodi made them. Hey, you are learning from your sister." I wasn't sure if I should be offended that my boy only thinks the cute things come from Jodi or just thrilled that I pulled something off that could be considered in Jodi's class. I will take it as a compliment. Who can resist a chocolate covered strawberries regardless of their presentation? Yummy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Moments to Remember

Yesterday was a busy, busy day. I absolutely loved the rain. As Hayden and I were driving home from school, we were talking about our favorite smells. I told him that I just loved the feeling and smell of rain. I love when the earth feels refreshed and clean right after a good rainstorm. He asked what my favorite smell was and I told him the smell of the ocean and the feel of the breeze on my face. So cute was he as he added, "Me too, mom!"

Jodi had made homemade snickerdoodle cupcakes and I was dying to try one. Jodi outdid herself again and they were delicious! Hayden and I had to swing by after school for a quick treat. I loved being able to spend the few minutes with my sister and just talking about our days. I am so grateful for her.

Hayden had a ton of homework and we had to get started, so we headed home. But, it was cold and rainy and it felt wonderful... we decided to attempt homemade chicken noodle soup. It was yummy and I loved all the fresh veggies in it. Thankfully, we had left over grilled chicken breasts so it went together so quickly. I am beginning to love to cook with Hayden. I love our conversations and how he opens up while we are working together.

We then attacked homework. I love watching Hayden as he is trying to figure out problems. When it comes to sequences, patterns and story problems, man is that kid a whiz and I am amazed at how quickly he just sees the patterns. His vocabulary is amazing and I loved listening to his sentences for his vocab words. Usually, I dread homework. Yesterday, I did it right and tried to find all the positives of just the time with Hayden. It was amazing that with me having a positive attitude, how much better homework time went.

We discussed Christ being in the center of our lives at family home evening, just like the Sun is the center of the solar system. We asked what things we were doing that puts Christ at the center of our lives and what things we could do better. We decided as a family we were going to try to listen harder when the Holy Ghost speaks to us. Then, when we asked Hayden what game he wanted to play, he opted for more scripture study. Really? We asked if he was sure and he said, "I can't wait to find out who kills each other next. These people never learn." Thomas and I laughed and we continued to read... and sure enough more people were killed and the cycled continued.

It was a good day. I went to bed grateful that some days I do get it right. Some days I am able to push the day to day stuff aside and focus on what really matters. I went to bed committed to try harder, be better and try to do more to keep the focus in our family on our Savior. And, as we do, I am hoping for a lot more good days, like yesterday.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Thursday night, we were all over at Suzi's house. I was picking up Hayden, Katie was picking up Chase, Jodi stopped by with her kiddos to drop off St. Patrick's day treats.... All of the kids were wanting to play. Brigham was wanting Aunt Jer time, Brooklyn was wanting Suzi, Talmage always wants Thomas. After playing "shuffle the kids", Suzi ended up with Hayden, Brooklyn and Brigham and Thomas and I ended up with Talmage.

Suzi took the kids off to play and we brought Talmage back to our house. I can't even begin to express how much fun we had. Thomas and I just stopped what we were doing and spent the entire night on the hammock chairs just talking and listening to music. Talmage absolutely LOVED it and just chilled and sat on the swings with us. The weather was perfect! It caused us to just stop, relax and enjoy the weather and our time together.

We decided... we are going to LOVE being grandparents...spoil them and send them home. We already do this with Jodi's kiddos and love it. We need to slow down more. It didn't matter that things didn't get crossed off of our "to do" list. We so enjoyed just talking and being together. I am thinking we need more Talmage days to just cuddle and relax.

Plus, Hayden had a GREAT time with Aunt Suzi and his cousins. Jodi is all for another one of these nights where she just gets a couple of hours to herself. I am ready to schedule another one... who can convince Suzi?

Spring Break

Once again we have had a successful and fun spring break. Thanks to all of those who made it such a special week for Hayden. I do have the BEST and GREATEST family and friends.

Monday- Hayden loved spending the day with Grandma Julie. They had to take me to a doctor's appointment but had fun playing the Wii, going to IHOP for breakfast and shopping at Home Depot for new garden equipment.

Tuesday - Hayden played with Jodi and gang. Jodi was a fun aunt and took the kids to Target to buy art projects, the park, they created playdough monsters and made shamrock sugar cookies!

Wednesday - Grandma Julie took Hayden and Brody to IHOP for breakfast, Barnes and Noble for new books, then off to the movies to see Rango. The boys then had to of course go back to her house to play Wii and with the racecars.

Thursday - Aunt Suzi took the day. She went and got Chase to play, too. They played tennis, went to Jump Street and jumped and jumped on the trampolines. Burger King for lunch and then to Suzi's for swimming, digging and exploring like boys.

Friday - Hayden and I went garage sale shopping (his request) and then to Toys R Us. He had one of his best buddies' birthday parties and had to find the "perfect" gift. We laughed, talked and had some of the best conversations. As we walked into the house, Hayden said, "Mom, I had a great spring break but today was the absolute best because I got to spend it with just you and me." What a sweetie! I sure love my boy! I am sure it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he had been saving his money for the Samauri Power Rangers Megazoid that we finally went and bought. Absolutely not... I know it was the time with me.

I am so incredibly grateful for all of the wonderful people in our lives. We have been so blessed to have so many people who love us and are so willing to make our lives better by helping us out so much! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for helping Hayden to have a memorable and fun spring break!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Priesthood Power

I was in a lot of pain tonight and was in need of a priesthood blessing. Thomas called to see if we came over, if Troy could help him administer a priesthood blessing to me. After we got there, Jodi mentioned that we needed another priesthood holder, so that Troy could also receive a blessing.

Troy and Thomas gave me a blessing. In the blessing, my body was commanded to heal and release the pain. I was amazed that as those words were spoken, the most calming feeling came across and I could feel the pain sweep from my body. I was so grateful.

After the blessing, the four of us sat and spoke for a few minutes. Then, we heard a knock on the door. A member of their bishopric stood at the door. Jodi invited him in, and told him that we were just wishing we could have another priesthood holder, so that Troy could also receive a priesthood blessing.

As we drove off, I felt such a sweet Spirit. Not only was I blessed to have my pain subside, but the Lord knew that he needed to get another worthy priesthood holder to Jodi and Troy's house to administer the same blessing unto Troy.

I know the Lord does answer and sees to our needs. He knew we needed to go to Jodi's house and he provided the other priesthood holder. I do have a testimony of the priesthood and do have faith that my Heavenly Father knows my needs and grants them to me. I feel very grateful tonight for yet another witness of my Heavenly Father's love for each of us.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Book Of Mormon

We needed to get back to reading the Book of Mormon as a family on a more regular, consistent basis. I couldn't bring myself to start over in Nephi again. So, for the first week, I just randomly opened the scriptures and started reading. Then, we settled in on Ether and the Brother of Jared. It has now been 2 weeks and we are STILL studying the scriptures and this story. Hayden has asked so many questions and sent me and Thomas searching to find them for him. Our 10 minutes of scripture study has turned into an hour on a few nights. Hayden is LOVING the scriptures and this is exactly where we need to be. The scriptures have finally come to life for him.

I have loved listening to him, watching his eyes as he intently listens to every word but most of all, I have LOVED that he is figuring out how to apply the scriptures in his life. He has started asking WHY this is important for us to know and HOW this can help us.

I listened to him explain the scriptures to Grandma Julie the other day and was in awe of what he has picked up on. He was explaining the parables and how the water trying to beat up the barges with the Brother of Jared was like unto Satan trying to break us down. I asked him what our "promised land" is and he quickly responded... "The Celestial Kingdom, Mom!".

In addition, I love the sweet Spirit that has been brought into our home, the deeper our prayers have become and the more time that we have taken to focus on the scriptures and their true meaning. I have never enjoyed scripture study as much as I have in the past two weeks with Hayden's excitement. I pray he can keep this love of the scriptures! I am thankful for the wonderful compassion of a Heavenly Father that would give us such wonderful direction and guidance and that when we do what he asks, that I have been blessed to see the positive changes that are coming into our lives.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Our trip to Hawaii would not be complete without a boat ride filled with whale watching, dolphin spotting and snorkeling. I can honestly say I think that Thomas would rather do this than anything on earth. And, he LOVED every minute of it!
Bonus: we were able to see the ship from the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Hayden and Thomas were both impressed.
Thomas was so happy that he actually got me into the water to snorkel. When I jumped in, it was so cold it absolutely took my breath away. But, the thought of swimming with a sea turtle was well worth it!
That is me with the sea turtle, up close. It was an amazing experience to see the turtle and how amazing of a creature. I loved that we also saw a mom with a baby. Too sweet!
Here are all of us on the boat watching a whale jump. He swam right up near the boat. I was in awe with the size of the whale.
We had a great time seeing all of the dolphins, as well. I just love the feel of the wind on my face. So relaxing. What a great way to end a wonderful trip to Hawaii. It is definitely one that we will always cherish and always remember!

Polynesian Cultural Center

We absolutely LOVED Polynesian Cultural Center. When we got there they quickly switched us groups and we were delighted to have a Korean tour guide. He was a funny guy and so fun to be able to talk to him about Korea.
We visited most of the lands, made fish out of leaves, LOVED the Tonga drummers, and were in awe of the Samoan tree climbers.
We absolutely loved the people in our group, especially the Chavez family from Alaska. We made great friends with them and they were so funny that they kept us laughing the entire day! My Korean buddy is in the back by Thomas.
We laughed so hard while learning to do the hula.
I still can't believe how much fun we had.

This Samoan guy was hilarious and was so great with fire. I was in awe.
The day was amazing. I have never before seen such an amazing performance as they did of "Ha, the breath of Life". It was a beautiful play and representation of life, why we are here and how those that have gone on before us, help us out on this life, especially when we feel we can no longer go on. I felt the Spirit so strongly during this play. I received a witness that those that have gone before us, including my mom, still do have such an impact on our lives here. When we feel that we are at the end of our rope that they are allowed to help us keep going. I believe that and I felt as if the Lord were telling me that I am not alone. Such a tender mercy when I needed it.

And, all day I kept having feelings that I knew this Korea guy but couldn't figure it out. That night, I was able to place him. Yes, he would have been 4 years old when I was in Korea, but oh how I remember that little boy climbing on my lap and teaching him, his sister and his mother about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I was blessed to remember the sweet Spirit that I felt when I showed him a picture of Christ and the tender testimony of his sweet mother.

*I never knew if she joined the church, as I was transferred after she took the 5th discussion. She ended up moving to Pusan and I have thought about her but didn't know the outcome. What a tender mercy from my Savior to let me see a glimpse into what little part I had in helping this boy. He was a student at BYU Hawaii and is getting ready to turn his papers in for a mission.

The Lord, in a way only I would have recognized that day, let me know that He IS a part of my life. He is in control and I don't have to have all the answers, always know what to do or how to help people. All that I have to do is be where he needs me, when he needs me. He has always and will continue to take care of all the details. I am thankful for the wonderful witness and his carefully orchestrated plan so that I could be reassured that my Savior is in control and he does love me and watches out for me.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


We had such a great time and stayed at an amazing place the Ilihani Resort in Ko Olina. It was beautiful and we had a breathtaking view overlooking the pool and the ocean. There was a recliner on the porch with a breeze and I loved every minute of it!
The grounds were beautiful, peaceful and so relaxing. It was so nice to just spend time with Thomas and talk and relax.
We took long drives all around the island. We visited Waikiki, Pearl Harbor, many beaches and saw some of the most beautiful spots on the island. I decided my personal favorite was the north shore. I loved the sea turtle preserve and thought Thomas could live there permanently. It was beautiful and serene. I loved the little shops and the simplicity of all the little towns.
Thomas was in awe of the sea turtles. He was meant to live by the ocean and absolutely loves being in the water. I think he went snorkeling almost everyday, while I preferred to lay on the beach with a book. My favorite was definitely listening to the waves breaking as they hit the shore. To me, that is the ultimate sound of relaxation.
Good thing that this was suggested as the number one place to eat on the island or I would have NEVER stopped. They were right and Giovanni's definitely had the best shrimp and fresh cut pineapple. Yummy!
Thomas is always up for an adventure and we loved driving the island and stopping at random places and making sure that we hit almost every beach. It was a fabulous week!

Grateful..... Verry Verry Grateful

It is true... over the past couple of weeks and months, I have been struggling. There has been a lot going on and I have felt very overwhelmed and discouraged. Thoughts of no matter how hard I tried, it never seemed to be enough in any area. No matter what I did, the sheer hopelessness of the situation seemed to be my dominant emotion. The anxiety I have felt had completely knocked the wind out of me.

I hit about rock bottom a couple of weeks ago and just didn't know how to keep trying when my emotions and hormones felt like I could never get back in control. On Wednesday, I will admit I had a total meltdown. The next thing I knew, Suzi was booking Thomas and I for a vacation to Hawaii. She told me a week on the beach away from everything may just be the break I needed. I laughed and told her there was no way that Thomas and I could both take off the following week from work, Hayden and life. Well, by 8:15am on Thursday morning, both Thomas and I had the following week scheduled off of work. Suzi figured out the plane tickets, hotel and had our entire vacation planned and handed us the itinerary on Thursday night. We were scheduled to leave early Monday morning and come back on Sunday morning.

I cannot express my gratitude and thanks. The sheer generosity of Suzi being willing to plan, pay for and book us a trip was beyond any gratitude I can express.

She was right, a week on the beach relaxing did do wonders for me. And, since I have been back, I am amazed at the clarity and the answers that the Lord has lead me to. Hopefully, I am now on the right hormone dosages and medications and we can get past this.

During my quiet, reflective time on the beach, I was able to see the Lord's hand in my life. That he hasn't been far from me and most importantly that he does love me. He heard and answered all of my prayers. I cannot express adequately my gratitude for the wonderful people in my life. I am very blessed.
Thanks, Suzi! It was a trip of a lifetime and one that will always be remembered and cherished. Not just for the time I had with Thomas but for the love and generosity that went into this trip.

Blue & Gold Banquet

Hayden loved the Blue and Gold Banquet. He loved that he was receiving so many awards. He is loving going to scouts now that there are only four other boys in the den. Best of all, he has terrific leaders!
Hayden received his Bobcat, Wolf, a gold arrow, 4 silver arrows and several belt loops and pins. He loves cub scouts and is working hard to achieve the cool beltloops and pins.
When Hayden advanced to Wolf, he had to drink "Wolf's blood" aka cranberry juice. He was so funny, he finished the entire glass and then started howling. Everyone was cracking up. That's my boy and I love him!
We were so impressed that Hayden even stood up and participated in the skit. He loves scouts and I am so thankful for incredible leaders!