Friday, April 29, 2011


We had quite the group over at our house for Easter.... Suzi, Julie, TJ, Brody, Joyce, Scott, Kelli, Logan, Victoria, Kassandra, Trent and Lily! We loved every moment of it.

Julie and Joyce in the kitchen. Julie made Strawberry Chantilly, Easter dream cake and cookies!
Hayden going thru his eggs.
TJ and Brody
The boys
Brody, Logan, Hayden and Victoria - ready to go for round 2 outside.
Suzi trying to help them find the last of the eggs.
Silly easter bunny must have run out of eggs because not only were there a couple hundred eggs, there was also random treats, candy and surprises hidden around the yard.
Lily led the pack and loved the candy in the eggs.
Joyce, Julie, me, Suzi and Kassandra sitting around talking before our yummy meal!
It was a great Easter celebration. Lots of family, lots of food, lots of treats and we felt so much love! It was a great weekend with lasting memories made.

It happened.....

I had my own Easter blessing. I remember sitting in church listening to the Primary children sing and thinking that someday Hayden would be old enough to be on the stand and sing in Primary. We tried to have him participate a couple of times, only to end in a fiasco each time. Most times we couldn't get him up to the pulpit, when we did, screaming, crying and yelling, "Mom".

But, this year was different. I talked to Hayden and tried consoling him as he wiggled and squirmed throught he sacrament. He wrestled and struggled with his desire to do "hard things" and staying comfortably sitting by me. I wanted him to go up but honestly didn't think he ever would. I was struggling with how much to push or was this just something I needed.

When they announced for the Primary children to get up, Hayden took a really deep breath and stood up. My heart felt like it would stop. As I watched him walk up on the stand, Thomas grabbed my hand and I think both of us were scared to even breathe. We didn't know if he would stay, face his fears or run back defeated. I was praying so hard for my son that he would have the courage to do this hard thing so that I could teach him the joy that comes from overcoming something that we fear so much.

As Hayden stayed on the stand and the music started, I saw my dear sweet son, open his mouth and he sang. He sang the entire song. He stood up straight. He stood and even smiled when it was over.

I looked over at Thomas and he had tears in his eyes. He gripped my hand tighter and tighter as Hayden sang and relaxed.

I was so proud of Hayden! He overcame one of his greatest fears. I was such a proud mom sitting by a very touched and proud dad. And, yes, all three of us had an amazing talk about overcoming "hard things".

And, all those years of imagining what it would be like having my own son up there singing... it was even better than I ever imagined! It was my own Easter blessing!

Easter Morning

Easter Morning was wonderful. The Easter Bunny came and had a special egg hunt for Hayden, since he would have to wait for his cousins in the afternoon. Lucky boy received an Easter basket from the Easter bunny and one from mom and dad. His favorite gift was a statue of the Nauvoo temple and his scripture hero cards. He also got 2 kites, silly straws, whoppie cushion, Nerf guns, shovels for the beach and new summer clothes.
Hayden loved finding the "big eggs" and ones he could tell had money in them.

The Easter bunny did not disappoint... gold dollars, dollar bills, change, golden coins and airheads. $19.81 in all. It was an early, good morning!

Swimming... Crazy Kids

I love this shot of Hayden. He loves being in the water and could care a less if it is cold. Definitely my water boy! The rope swing is always a hit. I sure love all these girls... Brigham, too!

Austin has no fear and the kids love him climbing to the top of the tope swing and jumping off!

All of us adults sitting and chatting and relaxing. It was so much fun! I am a lucky girl to be related to all these incredible people!

Jodi, Jake and me! (Don't know where Josh was) Happy Easter! And, another successful and fun Simonton Easter!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Hunt

The line up: youngest to oldest.
The kids so excited to start the hunt.

Hayden and Katelyn
Thomas and Hayden with the loot!

I had a hard time keeping up with Hayden to even get a picture.

Josh's house is the perfect backyard for a wonderful egg hunt!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Coloring Eggs

What would Easter be without messy hands and colored eggs? The kiddos had a ball coloring eggs. Hayden's were all camouflage eggs.
Kiley & Hayden
Brigham's cute green Hulk hands!
Katelyn, Layla, Brinley
All the kiddos
Me and my bug!

Simonton Easter Party

Saturday, we had our annual Simonton Easter Party. We went to Josh's and ate dinner, colored eggs, had an egg hunt and then the crazy kiddos went swimming. We sure love getting together with everyone and Hayden sure loves his cousins.

Hayden with Grandpa.
Dinner by the pool- Katie came and played and we had a great time with her, too!

Easter Dinner---Yummy!

Dad and Bonnie

Jodi and Troy

Jake & Rosie

Jodi Lewis, Jerlyn & Talmage

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Kiley Marie Simonton

While I was in the hospital, I missed the baptism of this sweet little girl. I was so sad that I wasn't there... I sure love my little Miss Kiley.

Kiley and I had the best talk about her baptism, her feelings and her amazing confirmation blessing she received. She is such a special little girl and I am so proud of her and the person she is becoming. Kiley has really come around this last year and now loves church.

Not even six months ago, she would only come to my house if we guaranteed we weren't taking her to church. Now, she is up and ready to go and absolutely loves going. She has made such progress.

I sure love Kiley and am so proud of the wonderful choices she is making in her life.

Christ's last week

For Family Home Evening this past week, we studied the last week of Christ's life, day by day. It was an amazing experience. I couldn't believe how much Hayden picked up on it....

Wednesday morning we have this conversation:

First-Thomas asked Hayden what he was doing and his response, "Chatting with Jesus". Thomas smiled and came and told me and we just talked about Hayden's openness and relationship with the Savior.

Then Hayden comes in and asks, "Mom, you know how you taught me that Jesus and the Holy Ghost answer our prayers with a feeling or a good feeling in your heart?"
Me: Yes
Hayden: "Can he also answer us by telling something directly to our minds? You know, like we all of a sudden know an answer that we didn't know before?"
Me: Yes, why Hayden?
Hayden: "That just happened to me. I was talking to Jesus about Judas betraying him for 30 pieces of silver and told him that I would never have done that. I told him I needed to invent a time machine and go back and be his disciple instead and then he wouldn't have had to die."
He continued, "And, all of a sudden in my mind, I could hear Jesus say, 'It had to happen. It was part of the plan. Go ask your mom, she will explain it to you.'".
Me: (After a tear and a deep breath). "Absolutely Hayden. People refer to it as 'Enlightening your mind'".
Hayden: "Why didn't you teach me that? And, more importantly, what is the plan that Jesus is talking about?"
For the next 20 minutes we discussed the Atonement and why that it was necessary.

I am so amazed with Hayden and each day I feel the weight of the responsibility of teaching him the truth. I am not sure why Heavenly Father entrusted me with such a sweet boy that just hungers for righteousness and just thirsts to be taught all the gospel truths he can take in. I love the stage he is at and that he is like a little sponge right now soaking it all in. I just keep praying that I will be able to keep one step ahead of him. I sure love my boy!

Hospital again

Last week, I was again admitted into the hospital. Same stuff.... and boy is this getting old. After 4 days in the hospital, I was ready to climb the walls. The first three days, I felt bad enough that I didn't care so much, but by day 4, I was begging them to let me out. I feel so bad for anyone that has to stay in any longer..... it is not a happy place to be.

However, I did have some wonderful visits with some wonderful people. My entire family came to visit. We laughed. We cried. We talked. We learned a lot.

I received an amazing and powerful priesthood blessing.

I am grateful for:

The knowledge that I am a loved daughter of God.
The blessing of a wonderful husband that loves me and would do anything for me.
Family members that are amazing and just pick up and help out doing anything and everything.
Great people that make the not so fun things in life... bearable.
Laughter.... and I do think it is the best medicine.
The divine power of the priesthood.
Pain medicine and more than that... anti-nausea medicine.
My sweet son that missed me so much.
My faith.
All those that love me.

Through these experiences, I am learning so, so much! For that I am grateful! And, I am feeling much better.

Movie Night

We had Jodi's kiddos over for a movie theater night and watched Cars. I sure love these 4 kiddos.
These are MY boys! These two boys are so cute! They sure love their Aunt Jer. They are good boys and the fact that they both adore me.... oh that makes them even that much cuter! I am so thankful that Jodi is willing to share them with us!
Talmage LOVED that he had his own popcorn container, just like the big kids. He finished his off first and then went and put everyone else's leftovers in his container and climbed back up on Thomas' lap. Too cute!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My boy

Hayden has been saying funny, funny things this past week.... some I really don't want to forget.

Most importantly, every prayer, asking forgiveness that he is not following the prophet by not having a picture of the temple in his room. Nevermind that we have 11 (yes we counted) in our house, and we even put one in his room but it wasn't "his own" so it didn't count. (Proud to say, we are a new owner of a temple picture bought especially for his room.)

Monday, he asked me how much money he needed for an apartment. Confused, I asked why and he said, "You said when I was 12 years old, I could stay on my own. I was thinking that is only 2 1/2 years away and I better start saving for rent for my apartment." Trying not to die laughing, we sat and I explained that he would still live with us, only he would be able to stay at our house if I was running to the grocery store. He smiled and said, "What a relief. I knew I hadn't learned everything you needed to teach me yet. And, I'm not sure I will be able to do my homework without you." Silly boy.

I overheard Hayden down on his knees praying and it went something like this...."Heavenly Father, don't let my mommy die. I still need her to teach me a lot of things. I still need her." I am so glad that I could hear his sweet little prayer to reassure him that I will be around for a long time.

H:"Mom, doesn't Grandma or Jodi or someone need your help?"
Me: "I don't know, why, do you think I need to be doing something for someone?"
H? Smiling, "No, I just need some daddy time and was hoping I could get you to go somewhere without hurting your feelings."
Translation: I want to play my DS but you have a strict no video games rule during the week and if I can get you out of the house, I can convince Daddy to play with me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

11.5 hours

It is true, I officially slept 11 1/2 hours last night. I can't believe it. This detox that they are putting my body thru is KILLING me. Not sure if I am going to survive it, but it is DEFINITELY better than any other alternative they have given me.

I am just so VERY VERY tired all of the time. I guess one needs sleep in order for the liver to heal but really, 11.5 hours????

So, needless to say, we are very unexciting at our house and I feel blessed if I can make it thru work, Hayden's tutoring, horseback riding lessons and scouts each week.

It is taking me back to the basics and making me focus on the truly important things in life.... I guess if we fit in scripture study, prayers, work and Hayden's homework, all else will still be there when I feel better. It is 9:43am and honestly, I could go take a nap.... now, how to make it until 4:30pm, when I will be able to go home and start dinner????

Monday, April 11, 2011


Hayden was presented with a decision this past week.... and his response was priceless. "Jesus makes it really easy for us. He doesn't say, sometimes do it this way and other times that way. He says, 'In this situation, always do this. In this one over here, always do that.'" Then he added, "I don't get what is so hard about living the way Jesus tells us. He ALWAYS does it the same."

Have I mentioned how much this boy teaches me?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Thomas' Birthday

My wonderful, sweet husband celebrated another year this past week. He is such an amazing husband and father. I could list for hours all the wonderful things that he does for both of us. He is such a blessing in my life and I am so incredibly grateful for him.

For his birthday on Thursday, we went to Outback Steakhouse. He was so happy with his prime rib, then Hayden decided to bail on his kids meal cheeseburger and he was all about his dad's prime rib. Pretty funny. He wants so badly to be just like Thomas and he always gets people telling him how much is looks like and acts like me. We had a great time just spending time together and focusing on telling Thomas all the great things we love about him.

Friday night, my Dad and Bonnie took all three of us to Broadway Palm's Dinner Theater. We saw Sound of Music and it was fabulous. Hayden loved the buffet and turned away from the kids food and loved the roast beef, fish and green beans. For dessert, a huge bowl of maraschino cherries... crazy kid. The play was fabulous and we all had a GREAT time!

Yesterday, Thomas was able to go to Best Buy, alone, and spend all the gift certificates he so generously received for his birthday. We found rewards certificates and coupons and Thomas set out to purchase the camera of his dreams... I hope I am getting this right but the Canon G series. He is absolutely loving it and played with it all night. He was so excited to show it to Jodi! He is all set for Alaska and the beach now with his dream camera in hand. Happy Birthday to the greatest guy! He definitely deserved to be spoiled and enjoy a wonderful week of well wishes! I love you, Thomas!


I remember fondly as I child, whenever it rained, coming home to warm chocolate chip cookies. With the wonderful rain we received yesterday, I had to have the smell of rain and choc. chip cookies coming out of the oven. Two of my very favorite smells, coming together to remind me of the perfect childhood that I had. For all the love, laughter, fun times and great memories, I am truly grateful! I hope to pass along some of those same wonderful traditions and great moments to Hayden!

Friday, April 1, 2011

That's My Boy

Hayden had a book exchange at school. For each book they brought in, they received a ticket to choose another book. Hayden was so excited at the possibility of lots of new books and carefully chose 20 that he wanted to exchange. The book exchange came and Hayden was ready with 20 tickets in hand. He carefully chose one for himself and realized that there were a lot of students without tickets. He gave one ticket to each child in his class that did not have a ticket for the book exchange. He then shared with other students at the school.

When I asked him why he only came home with one book, he replied, "Mom, some students didn't even have a book they could exchange. I couldn't be selfish and take 20, when so many were going without any. Mom, you know what is crazy? I had enough extra so that everyone got one book. Isn't that crazy how that worked out?"

I couldn't be prouder of my son. He is so tender hearted and really tries to look out for others around him. I sure am proud of you, Hayden!