Tuesday, August 30, 2011


The other day, Hayden came home from school and wanted popcorn. I was great with that as his afternoon snack. Bummer when he realized we didn't have any.

About an hour later, a member in our ward brought in dinner. It was a wonderful meal of roast, hashbrown casserole, rolls and fruit salad. What was the highlight was she also brought a box of microwave popcorn and three different kinds of movie theater candy. She told Hayden that since his mom was on bedrest, maybe we could watch a movie together and pretend we were at the movie theater. He loved the idea.

That night when Hayden was saying his prayers, he said, "Heavenly Father thanks for taking care of us, all the way including making sure we had popcorn."

When he finished his prayer, I asked him about the popcorn. He said, "Mom, I had been asking for popcorn. Jesus is REALLY watching out for our family. Not only is He taking care of the big things like making sure you get well. He is even taking care of the little things like having the relief society bringing me in popcorn."

We talked. I cried. It is true. The Lord is taking care of everything, even down to my son wanting popcorn. Although this is a trial, we definitely are being very, very blessed.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Baby Weeks

A great couple in our ward just received a call last week and were told that there was a baby boy born the day before and told them that they could pick him up from the hospital the next day. They were THRILLED! They have been trying to adopt and were so very excited!

Lucky Me! They brought sweet little Ty over to meet me two days later. I loved holding a newborn. I cannot express how good that was for my soul. This little guy was so fresh from heaven. As I held him, I could feel his sweet spirit. Only 4 days previously, he was with our Father in Heaven. I cannot express the joy I felt holding him.

When he got hungry, I was able to feed him. Oh, how I love everything about newborns; their cries, sweet noises, the moment they open their eyes, their smell, soft skin, and sweet spirit. I felt such joy and love that only a newborn can bring. It is true, I fell in love instantly!
I loved watching Hayden with baby Ty. He was in awe and had all kinds of questions. Hayden kept wanting him to open his eyes and play. Too cute! I loved that Hayden sat there for over an hour just staring and asking questions and telling us stories. I was even sad when Hayden went to bed. He sure kept us all laughing with his take on newborns. I wish the video camera was going.
This is Ty's mom and dad. Aren't they the most beautiful family? I am in love with Ty and am hoping for lots of visits with him. I sure love his mom and dad and am so very grateful they brought him to see me.
In fact, I think I need to go call Sarah. I need another visit from this family, and soon!


When Grandma Julie was moving into the neighborhood, she really wanted to have a garden and have the Hayden and Brody learn how to garden and what it takes to grow your own food. Her backyard is so cool with raised gardens and fruit and nut trees.

Hayden and Brody both picked what food they wanted and they helped plant it. Although Grandma has done most of the work, Hayden sure is proud of "his" cucumber. This one got missed under one of the huge leaves. Imagine the surprise to find this huge cucumber.
This has been Hayden's absolutely favorite toy this week. He has carried it around, measured it against everything and shows everyone!
He even took these into class to show the comparison between the two huge ones he grew vs. a normal size cucumber that was bought at the store. The kids at school oooh'd and aaah'd over it and he was a happy boy!
I have to say that I am amazed myself. Fun entertainment at our house!

Monday, August 22, 2011


After a long day of over 5 hours in doctor's offices I came home to this! I was shocked and amazed at the thoughtfulness. I couldn't wait to read the card and see who these wonderful cookie flowers were from.
The card was signed, Love your friends at LAA
The principal, office staff and Hayden's previous teachers all sent me this yummy and adorable cookie bouquet! I can't express how loved I feel. Have I mentioned lately how much I absolutely love Liberty Arts Academy! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Amazing Ward

I have to send a wonderful shout out to the incredible sisters in my ward. I am in awe at their true goodness and willingness to serve.

I have learned a lot about myself lately. #1, it takes a VERY humble person to accept service. It takes even more humility to accept service gracefully. The Lord knew how much I was lacking in this area.

Sure, ask me to serve and for the most part, I will try to be there and do whatever I can. I have learned that whatever service I impart, the Lord always blesses me in greater ways. I have also learned that when I serve, my problems and trials seem so much lighter.

Back to the being the servee. Not my best attribute, but the one the Lord is choosing for me to work on at this time. When first knowing that I would be in the situation that I would NEED help, I tried to do all I could to minimize that need.... ie: prepare Hayden in advance for anything he would need for school, try to organize my house as much as possible, try to set up everything I could in advance.

My plan has been shot out the window. I am down longer than expected and am having to behave much more than I ever planned on.

I am learning the blessings from being served. It has been so humbling. Each day, Hayden asks me, "Are those good tears or bad ones, Mom?". Oh, Good ones Hayden, good ones. As each sister has brought in a meal that has been made with love, I tear up. As each goodie is placed in Hayden's arms, I say a quiet prayer. As each wonderful woman utters that she and her family have been praying for mine, I try not to cry.

You see, I have never allowed anyone else the opportunity to serve me and do for me in the ways I have in the past month. I have allowed those I haven't known well, to completely see my weaknesses.

With tears streaming down my face, I think I have finally learned what the Savior has been trying to teach me. It isn't until we are served, that we understand the true importance of giving service. I thought I knew..... oh how much more my Savior has to teach me.

If the symptoms I am having lately are any indication of where things are headed, I think that I still have much to learn on this topic and oh so much more for the Savior to teach me. All I can say is, I think I am ready to learn more and allow others to continue carrying for, serving and showing unconditional and Christlike love for my family.

I am so lucky to have such a wonderful and amazing sisters to teach me these concepts and I think I am finally to a point that I can look at my Savior and say, "Ok, I will let more of my pride go and allow more of my dear sisters to see my weaknesses. Go ahead Lord, teach me in any way that you still need to."

This road is not one I was planning on walking....

However, I am willing to go where the Lord asks me to go. This time, I am trying to not only go, but to go willingly, even if that means to a path where I am not very comfortable. As I embark on this next wave of being served, I hope to even learn more from these incredible daughters of God that are so willingly hearing the Savior's call and are coming to my rescue.

Friday, August 19, 2011

My Current Joys!

  • Morning cuddles with Hayden
  • Sitting on the couch and reading the Friend to Hayden BEFORE school
  • No dishes or any cleaning
  • My morning call from Jodi as she drops the kids off at school and heads over
  • Diet Coke runs for me by my loved ones
  • Julie doing my laundry - every day
  • Meaningful deep conversations
  • Feeling the Holy Ghost
  • Noting my blessings
  • Staying in comfy pj's all day
  • Not caring about my hair or makeup
  • Nightly foot rubs
  • Stillness and Quiet
  • Walking on Water by Wilcox - fabulous books
  • Remembering
  • Reading
  • Hayden's sweet prayers for me
  • Teaching Hayden
  • The game of Life
  • Coloring
  • Meals being brought in
  • Ward members stopping by
  • Counting my blessings
  • Great friends
  • Wonderful family
  • Hugs from Thomas
  • Yummy treats being brought in daily
  • Flowers
  • Cards
  • Re-focusing and re-evaluating
  • Laughter
  • The GIFTS of the Spirit this trial is bringing
  • Jodi's kids
  • Friend's kindness
  • Talking with Julie about the gospel
  • The added LOVE that has come to our home

Monday, August 15, 2011

Precious prayer

Tonight, Hayden asked if he could say the blessing on the food. Thomas said, "sure". As Hayden prayed, he prayed for the normal Hayden things.... then he said, "Heavenly Father, please bless that it will only take this one last surgery for my mom to be healed."

I about jumped out of my chair. I hadn't told Hayden. He didn't know that I was going in first thing in the morning to the surgeon's office to determine if the internal bleeding had now coagulated and needed to be surgically removed and the blood source stopped and surgically repaired. I looked at Thomas and then Suzi to see if either of them were as shocked as I was. They both stayed focused. I tried to eat dinner but couldn't get that sentence uttered by my son out of my mind. Who had told him? Did he know something I didn't? He definitely is closer to the Holy Ghost these days....

Later we asked him. He said, "I'm not sure mom. Didn't you tell me you needed another surgery?" I assured him I only found out a couple of hours previously that it was even a possibility. He said Suzi didn't tell him. I believed him. He smiled and said, "I don't know mom, maybe the Holy Ghost told me again. He also said that you would be fine so I didn't need to worry." He continued, "Have you been scared to tell me mom?" I confessed that I was a little nervous because I wasn't sure if it was going to happen but wanted him prepared in case it did.

My boy says, "Well, if it was the Holy Ghost and I am pretty sure it was, I would be prepared for surgery, it is probably going to happen on Wednesday or some time this week. Don't worry mom, he already assured me you will be fine. Don't worry about it!"

So, I am keeping my fingers crossed that my dear boy is right and there is no real risk and I will be better off after another surgery. I really am rooting for Hayden on this one.

More to Endure

After I was discharged from the hospital two weeks ago, Saturday, I was sure that all was well, sure I would have some pain and recovery to go through, but the scariness of the situation was behind us. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case. On Sunday, I started feeling sick, not terrible but like I had the flu. By evening time, I was running a fever, not good after surgery and internal bleeding. I contacted the surgeon and was told to take tylenol and as long as I could keep the fever down to get in the office on Monday morning. By midnight, I had been vomiting for hours and started vomiting blood. That was it, Thomas and I headed to the hospital, I was too sick to make it far, so we went to Banner Ironwood. They were wonderful and nice and so helpful. However, they found more internal bleeding along with some hematomas. They released me on Monday and told me to go to my surgeons office in the next couple of days.
In the meantime, my Dad hired an Internist to take my case. I can tell that this has really scared him. I have had all types of doctors trying to figure out what to do and how to help me.

On August 3rd, I didn't get home until really late from the surgeons office. Thomas and I both were very scared. No one seemed to have any answers and my health was deteriorating quickly. Our sweet bishopric came over at 9pm. Not just the Bishop, but all three of them. They asked questions, tried helping us find solutions and gave us some of the best council I have ever received. I will always be touched by Brother Epps and him looking at me and telling me that he was personally driving me back to the hospital. I cried. Thomas cried. Each member of the Bishopric cried. Julie cried. Suzi cried. For each of us, different emotions and feelings were going on, yet we all were there for a similar goal, to call upon our Father in Heaven to guide us into knowing which path I needed to take and where the Lord wanted me to turn.

As I write this post, the feelings of that evening are again filling this room. Heaven and earth met that night in our home. Tears were shed out of sheer fear, pain, gratitude and some for the overwhelming feeling of our Savior's love. After 2 hours of sharing scriptures, discussing medical questions, trying to determine who to turn to for help, prayers and testimonies borne. These three men, along with Thomas proceeded to give me such a tender blessing. As words were spoken, I could feel my Savior. I felt Him. I heard Him. He wrapped me in the arms of his love. He allowed the heavens to be opened and us to learn from this incredible night. Bishop Call was the mouthpiece for our Savior that night. As he spoke, such precious truths were enlightened to me, promises were made from my Savior to me.

The Lord did not promise this trial to go away, in fact, quite the opposite was true. The Lord expressed the multitude of things I would learn while facing this trial. I would learn to trust my Savior in more than I do today. I was promised that although the Lord would not take this trial from me, he would help me grow through this trial and would help guide me. He promised me that new friendships would be kindled and that my ward would become a second family to me. Thru tears streaming, I hugged each of these great men and Thomas held me especially tight as we cried together, knowing that the next couple of weeks would be long, painful and ones of uncertainty. But, we also knew we were not alone. We had the Lord, our wonderful bishopric, relief society members, family, friends, doctors, and the legions of heaven to help sustain us through these trying times. I felt such gratitude. Such peace. Such a pure love. I felt as if we were all being allowed to stand in the midst of our Savior, to give us solace, peace and a calm before we were thrust back out into the storm.

At some point in my life, I would have probably questioned why I was able to have such a miraculous experience, but the Lord has taught me so much. For today, I know who I am. As much as I am Hayden's mother, I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father. He knows me. He loves me. He doesn't like seeing me hurt and in pain any more than I like seeing Hayden struggle and cope with pain.

I have also come to realize that the Lord has not and will not leave me. He has been by my side during this entire ordeal. He has held me when I felt I could no longer go on, he has guided me in which doctors to trust, he has given me the gift of discernment, he has let me utilize his strength when my strength was no longer sufficient. Most of all, He has loved me.

And, although I am back in the midst of the storm trying to get well, I hear my Savior cheering me on, encouraging me, teaching me and as always, loving me.

Blessings beyond measure

This last several weeks have been a real struggle for me. As I fought my way through the internal bleeding, there were moments when I felt I was slipping from this world. I was doing all I could to hang on but the overwhelming battle to fight for a breath and then the excruciating pain that would follow that breath was really taking a toll on me and my body. After hours and hours had passed, a picture came to my mind, one of my Savior kneeling in the Garden of Gethsemane. Here I was with some internally bleeding, sure it was intense and hurting but it in no way compared to that of my Savior and what he dealt with when he took upon himself all of our sins. As I watched that moment play out in my mind, I noticed something that I had thought of before but hadn't given as much time to....

My Savior, while in Gethsemane, suffered all of our pains. Not just my sins, not just my heartaches or moments when others hurt me, but he also had lived this moment of pain for me. He had suffered my pain of bleeding, so when I felt I could no longer hold on, I knew the Lord had gone before me and had already suffered this for me. My tears of pain changed to tears of gratitude. Some how in that moment, the pain seemed to ease as I felt my Savior reach inside and take some of the pain from me.

The Savior took my pain away, not all of it, but enough that I was able to bear the rest. I am grateful for those precious moments. In my weakness and hurting, my Lord, my Savior, my Redeemer and my friend eased my burden so it wouldn't hurt so bad. He made it into a burden that I could carry and cope with.

As I have endured these last couple of weeks, I have seen over and over again the ways the Savior has taken my burden, my pain and found ways to send tender mercies my way to help me stay strong and endure what was being asked of me. Gratitude? More than I can even express.

The Child is now the Teacher

Hayden's Prayer
The other day Hayden was upset that since I had a doctors appointment that I would be going back to the hospital. I tried to reassure him but he was still upset. Of course, he was right, the last 3 or 4 doctors appointments had landed me back into the hospital. Unsure of how to convince him that I would be okay, I asked him a question, "Hayden, where do we go when we need answers?" He immediately ran into the bedroom and shut the door. Of course, I had to peak to see what was going on. Sure enough, my son was down on his knees speaking with his Father in Heaven. We he got up, he came out with a smile and said, "It's ok if you go to the doctor today, mom. Heavenly Father assured me you are coming home today." And, I did.

Holy Ghost and Hayden
Another night, Hayden was already asleep but was on our bed. Thomas ran to Jodi's and was going to be gone less than 10 minutes. I started vomiting, choking, and couldn't breathe. Hayden came into the bathroom, I was on the ground and couldn't talk and was struggling to breathe. Hayden calmly reached in my pocket and took out my phone as he asked me if he should call Daddy or Grandma Julie. I couldn't talk. He dialed and said, "Grandma, Mommy is on the ground, throwing up and turning white and blue? What do I do?" Julie rushed to the house and made it there right behind Thomas. Thomas didn't know what was going on but was met at the garage with the door open and Hayden saying, "Dad, Mommy is in your bathroom and isn't talking or breathing very well." Thomas rushed, did the Heimlich maneuver on me and I basically just collapsed with no energy. Thomas got me up and to the couch and asked what happened. I explained but told Thomas I was fine and was more worried about how Hayden was coping with this. This was the conversation that took place:
Thomas: "Hayden, how are you doing? You did such a good job with Mommy."
Hayden: "Dad, I was asleep and the Holy Ghost woke me up and said, your mom is in trouble, go into the bathroom and help her. I did that and then he told me to get her phone out. I wasn't sure who to call and the Holy Ghost said to call Grandma Julie. Then, he told me to go open the garage door and tell either you or Grandma where mommy was and that she needed help."
Thomas: Reassured Hayden of what a good boy he was and how he saved his mom. And, expressed how grateful he was that Hayden had learned how to listen to the Holy Ghost.
Hayden: "Dad, I only did what the Holy Ghost told me to do. Isn't that what are supposed to do all the time?" Then he added, "Dad, as I listened and did each of the things that the Holy Ghost told me to do, he kept hugging and squeezing me tighter and tighter. I could feel how much he was saying, Hayden you are doing a very good job and I am very proud of you."
Thomas just held Hayden. When they related the story to me, I cried and cried. I knew how much trouble I was in and that had Hayden not been there, things could have become very scary, very quickly. I am so blessed to have such a great son!

Hayden: "Mom, I get it, Yoda and President Monson are the same."
Me: "How's that Hayden?"
Hayden: "They both use the forces of good to fight off the forces of evil."
He looks at me and then continues, "Yoda call it 'The Force' and the Prophet just know it is really the priesthood power."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

4th Grade

How did that happen? How did he grow so quickly and turn into a 4th grader? Where have the years gone? Did I just blink and he is 9 1/2 years old? I am not sure but I do know how much we love him.
In our front yard getting ready to get in the car. And, those flame shoes were the biggest hit. We have searched for those in his size for the last 18 months. With me being sick, we did all of his school shopping in one afternoon. When we saw one pair of these at Kohl's and they were in his size, I felt so blessed and so looked after. I didn't have the energy to keep searching and here these beloved shoes were at the first store we stopped at. I immediately said a prayer of gratitude in the store for these shoes. And, Yes, he does love them so very much!
Transformers backpack... we did so much shopping on line this year...heavenly!
Hayden walking through the front doors to the school. This is his seventh year through this door, considering he went to pre-school for two years here before starting kindergarten. So, in his seventh year at this school, he is getting so comfortable and really loves it. It was our smoothest transition yet!
His 3rd grade class with Mrs. Fett, created this entry poster for reading. They all loved reading the Magic Treehouse series. Good books.
I think it helped that he spent so much time with Mr. Arius, his 4th grade teacher, getting ready for the Summer Toy Drive and Hayden helped him work his booth during the carnival. So far, so good! He loves his teacher, school and all the kids in his class. It was a great day!

Happy Birthday to Me!

Not long after I got out of the hospital was my birthday. My family had a party for me at Jake's house on Sunday night. I was still quite down and swollen. But, I appreciate them thinking about me and caring about me.
Cute little, Kaylee with me.
Jer, Suzi, Steph, Jake, Austin, Rosie, Dallin, Dad, Kaylee. We are all just chatting. That's what we do! Sit around and tell stories.
Jodi, Jer, Suzi.... we still need to go get pedicures as soon as I am up and can sit there. They are great sisters/friends.
I love that all of my nieces want around to sing and the boys are just off doing their thing. Such different little personalities. I felt loved.
And a Kathy's Rum Cake.... yummy!
Thanks for a wonderful birthday!


Tuesday, July 26th was the big surgery date. I am a wreck before surgery. I try to get everything I can done and I get so uptight. I was nervous for this surgery but had had so many blessings telling me that the Lord had led me to these doctors and this was the answer to me healing. The priesthood blessing the night before I went in was very comforting but there were two things that struck me off a little. One, the Lord will help strengthen your body and two, this will be a great trial for you, but you will get through with the help of the Lord.

Great trial? Body strengthened? Not sure what those meant but was comforted in the rest of the blessing.

Tuesday morning, bright and early, Thomas and I show up at the hospital and Julie and Joyce were waiting for us. I checked in and was prepped for surgery. I sure was apprehensive.

I was to have robotics surgery and they were going to completely re-structure my abdomen and lower pelvic area. I had a neuroma that had to be removed, bladder surgery, intestinal surgery, etc. etc. It was extensive. The surgery took four hours but they said I woke up begging for a priesthood blessing from my husband, so they let him come back to recovery after an hour, give me a blessing and then he had to leave.

Next thing I remember is being in my room and hurting. Wednesday afternoon the doctors released me to go home. On my way homes, something didn't feel right. I couldn't figure it out... yes I was hurting but it was more than that. I kept praying. I kept feeling like I should go home. As we pulled into the driveway, I knew I was in trouble. I needed a blessing immediately, Thomas got home, right as Brother Epps pulled up. They administered a blessing and at the end of the blessing, Brother Epps told Thomas that they needed to get me to the closest trauma hospital, I was in serious trouble.

We tried to go back to St. Joe's but I couldn't make it. The pain was too bad and I was struggling to breathe. As I walked in to Banner Desert Hospital, I walked to the counter, tried telling them the problem and the next thing I know, there are about 7 doctors/nurses around me yelling orders and rushing me to a room. One did an ekg while another pulled blood, another put in an iv and they were all rushing around. I was rushed to get a CT scan. I have had quite a few and none hurt before. They had to strap me to the board because of the intensity of the pain as I just cried. The pain was so bad.

As I got back in the room, Brother Epps and Bishop were waiting with Julie and Thomas. They tried to talk to me while we waited for results. The doctors came in and said an ambulance was on its way to come get me and take me to St. Joe's. I was bleeding internally and they were going to rush me back to do emergency surgery there. I was NOT excited. Thomas was going to drive and meet me there so we had a car on the way home. The doctor told him to ride with me, he wasn't sure if I would make it into surgery before he got there and I was not in stable condition.

At St. Joe's they did all the tests but could not figure out where exactly I was bleeding from other than internally. My oxygen was dropping, I was losing a ton of blood. They talked to Thomas and opted for blood transfusions first to stabilize me. I was re-admitted into the hospital and given 4 blood transfusions. The CT scans could not pinpoint where the bleeding was coming from. Quite scary but my blood levels came up and I was feeling better, so 4 days later, I was able to leave.

I saw so many blessings during my time in the hospital. It was a blessing that so many people came to see me. It was a blessing that I had such great doctors at Banner that they knew I couldn't wait in an er long and was immediately treated. Most of all, I felt my Savior close. I knew he walked every minute of that time with me. I felt his loving embrace. I felt his arms around me. I knew that he wasn't going to leave me. He is my Father. And, although, not on this earth, he loves me, like my earthly father does and wants to be there for me when I need him. I so needed Him at that time. I am so grateful for his tender mercy in saving my life and allowing me to stay here and continue to raise my son and be a wife to Thomas and a friend to so many others. My gratitude is so full!


Hayden is going to be a mentor to this sweet little boy, Keegan. He came to the toy drive with his mom because she wanted more information on the toy drive. We talked and our boys have both had open heart surgery with similar heart defects. I wish I would have caught it on camera, but both boys were raising their shirts and showing each other their battle wounds. It was so cute.

Keegan is going into kindergarten this coming year and his mom was still debating what school to but him in to. Hayden took them both on a tour of the school and Hayden told them how it worked, how he got special privileges if his heart was hurting, etc.

Hayden asked Keegan's mom if he could be his mentor. He said, I know the ropes of the school and I want to help him make friends and help him not to be so scared of the heart doctors.

His mom enrolled him in the school and Hayden told the principal the deal he made. The principal was so excited that Hayden wanted to mentor Keegan and help him make friends. If Keegan is scared, he gets to ask for Hayden. Just precious.

So many good moments came from that fundraiser, this being one of the greatest blessings. We are looking forward to spending more time with Keegan.

Hayden's Summer Toy Drive

Our first annual HAYDEN'S Summer Toy Drive went off with a huge success.
Hayden was able to meet with KNIX guys and actually be on the radio promoting the toy drive and why we collect toys for the children that are in Phoenix Children's Hospital.
I was in charge of the entrance. If a donation was given to the toy drive, then we gave away free backpacks, passport cards and raffle tickets. Extra raffle tickets could be purchased for a donation to the toy drive, as well. It was very busy, yet Hayden and I found time to sneak in a Hawaiian shaved ice... yummy!
Of course, I recruited tons of help. We collected more toys than I thought possible, and so Julie and Suzi were decorating more boxes for toys to be collected in.
Hayden was tired and wouldn't get out of his chair for Suzi, so she solved the problem by just sitting on him. He re-thought about being a gentleman and let her sit so he could sit on her lap. Crazy boy!
I am so thankful for all the family support that I get at these events. Rosie and girls were there early, Jodi and gang came, Kelli, Joyce and family came and of course Suzi and Julie were there every minute helping me set up and get things ready for the carnival.
The raffle items... boy were there some good ones... gift cards to Target, Toys R Us, Barnes and Noble, school kits, backpacks, haircuts, games, and tons of neat prizes!
There were so many carnival events. I was able to rent two bounce houses, we had obstacle courses, face painting, clowns, balloon guy, KNIX, cake walks, and more that I can't remember.
If you filled out your passport by visiting all the vendors, you could go outside and tie dye your own t-shirt. The kids loved that!
The bouncy houses and tires were a hit but I think the balloon guy was the #1 best person the kids loved!
Scott and Thomas! Thomas worked his tail off trying to make sure that everything ran smoothly while I was handling money and tickets and the collection of toys.
Even Hayden loved getting a sword balloon. It is amazing how popular those are with the kids.
Grandma Julie and Hayden towards the end of our 4 hour event. We were all getting tired.
It was such a successful event. We raised over 200 toys, $240 to purchase more toys and over 100 school supplies for the children at the hospital. Not only that but about 15 vendors/organizations and people that want to help with the toy drive this coming winter.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I cannot express the hard work that went into this. Hayden is at an amazing school that Ms. Waisel, Mrs. Fett, Ms. Panetta and so many others that took the time to make this event so successful! I want to do it again next year but I think we need to cut it to 3 hours, 4 hours was a lot of work but a lot of fun!

It will be an event that we always remember! And a special shout out to my family for always supporting me and being there for me!

Busy Busy Week

We got back from the beach on July 18th. It was one of the craziest, busiest weeks of my life. I had to catch up at work from being gone for a week. I had to prepare for being out for being out for the next 6 weeks for surgery, and I had a huge fundraiser on Saturday, July 23rd, at the school for Hayden's Toy Drive.

Also, during the week, I had a pre-op appointment at St. Joe's hospital, Hayden had to make up a ton of scouting assignments to get his next awards, I had to meet with his teachers and do the back to school thing all in advance. I was so very busy that I felt like I never slept.

It was such a blessing I was so busy, as to keep my mind off the next week and impending surgery that was headed my way. I accomplished more in that week than I thought was humanly possible. But, with lots of help we did it! I am grateful for all those that stepped in to help.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Our Family

This is it... our only family picture from our beach trip to Oceanside! But, I am glad we have at least one to document the funnest family vacation.
This year had so many wonderful memories that we will always cherish. I am grateful for my husband and son. I am also grateful for the time spent with my brothers, sister and their families. It isn't often that we are all together. The moments with Grandpa and Grandma, are ones the kids cherish. I cherish talking with my sister and brothers and catching up on their lives. I love the time I get to play with each of my precious nieces and nephews. Yep, I have a great life. I feel so blessed! Goodbye, Oceanside! I am already looking forward to visiting you next July!

Me and Thomas

Thomas was digging a huge hole for all the kiddos. It is amazing to me how long a big hole can keep the kiddos entertained. Thomas had been working on this hole for almost an hour and it was coming along great. That is, until I decided it would be nice to get a picture with Thomas inside the hole. I handed Jodi my camera and as I walked over, I fell down and brought about 1/2 of the dirt he had dug out back into the hole with me. Oops. Instead of getting mad at me... this is the sequence of pictures that occurred.

First, a little bit of a disgusted smile but then he just shook his head.
Next a smile that I was okay and he had to laugh because I was laughing so hard I was almost in tears.
Then our discussion of why I was even trying to climb in the hole.
Then, he hugged me... wrapped his arms around me. He told me how very much he loved me and how thankful he was to be at the beach with me.
Who wouldn't have wanted to kiss this amazing guy after his true concern for me, more than his hard work of re-building the hole would take.
To me, this just shows how much love my dear husband has for me. It speaks volumes. There are so many days when without trying, my actions or stumbles cause him more work. Yet, he doesn't complain. I may get a raised eyebrow, but other than that, instead of getting upset with me, he chooses to put his arms around me, pull my close and just love me. I am in awe of him and his ability to overlook my shortcomings and just love me completely. I am one lucky girl! And for the record, I would choose this guy over and over and over again!

My Boys

Hayden could NOT wait for his dad to get to the beach! He could hardly sleep the night before his dad arrived. He sure loves his dad and his favorite place with his dad is definitely the beach. Once his dad arrived, he had an entire list of things they needed to accomplish on the beach. I loved every minute of watching my boys play together.
I would consider this pure torture but Hayden loved it! Thomas buried Hayden and then proceeded to sit and tickle him. Hayden laughed hysterically. When he had had enough of his dad teasing him and tickling him, I hear a scream, "MOM, Help". Of course, after I took a picture, I made Thomas stop. :-)
They built huge sand holes which became forts, caves, a pirate cove and a transformer hangout.
What would life be without a water fight between them. Hayden grabbed a bucket and ran at Thomas and soaked him. Thomas got him back. The water fight, laughter, running, screeching, and taunting when on until I think Thomas was finished. He picked up Hayden, walked out into the ocean and just dunked Hayden. Hayden came up laughing and the boys called truce.

I love, love, love the friendship these two share. I watch them and my heart melts. Thomas is such a wonderful dad to Hayden. I love that for now, Hayden's best friend is still his Daddy. I hope these two continue to love to laugh, play practical jokes and enjoy each other. It is one of my favorite parts of the beach, watching the love these two share!

Dad made it to the beach

We all laugh. My dad sits on his balcony the entire time at the beach. He says he loves to listen to the waves, sit and do nothing and watch the grandkids from his balcony. He does make it down to touch the sand at least once during the week. We think it is only for picture sake, but he came down twice spending almost an hour total on the beach this week.

Here is a picture of us 5 kids and Dad. JD, Josh, Dad, Jake, in front Jodi and Me! I sure love my family!
Grandpa did make it out a ways into the water to jump waves with Hayden.
And, I love this picture of Grandpa and Brooklyn!
Thanks, Dad for coming down and enjoying a few minutes with us. We did love that time with you on the beach.

Deep Sea Fishing

Thomas was not able to spend the entire week in Cali with us. So, when the annual deep sea fishing trip came around, I just figured I would do a fun mother/son activity with Hayden and that Thomas could take Hayden next year.

Boy was I wrong:
Jake, JD, Josh and Grandpa all talked to Hayden and convinced him that he needed to teach his mom to fish. Rule on the boat is a parent has to come for a child to go. Hayden decided he did want to go, so that meant me sacrificing my complete dislike for fishing to make Hayden happy.
above: Me and Hayden as we are getting ready to get on the boat. I am smiling and trying to be a good sport.
Below: Hayden and Chase. Chase being on the boat is definitely why Hayden wanted to be out on the water. I must say, they are cute together and do have a good time playing together.
I hope you can see Suzi's face here. It says so very much. I was about that excited to be on the boat and was really ready to jump off when we started to back out for our 5 1/2 hour excursion.
I mellowed a little when I saw Hayden's face. I knew that his happiness definitely meant more to me than my own comfort.
Hayden was so proud that I was on the boat and loved that we were there together, so much so, that he even told me that we could get a picture together so everyone would know that I loved him and was even willing to go fishing. What a keeper!
Notice...we have lots of moms on board. Josh and Jodi both get sea sick so Stephanie brought her boys and Suzi brought Brooklyn. Rosie loves fishing.
Hayden loved putting the pole in the water. However, he did not like baiting the hook. These fish baits were the size of actual fish. I was so scared to bait them.
I tried and tried, but JD had to teach Hayden and I how to actually put the hook through the fishes mouth and gill. Hayden would have much rather fished with Uncle JD, but he had Bryson, Coby and Tanner to help.
Hayden loved the first 3 hours of fishing! Problem was, the mackeral fish would eat our bait fish on the way down and so I must have had to bait 100 fish.
Brooklyn caught a fish and then boy was Hayden determined to catch one. She would not touch it and said she didn't want to smell like fish rest of the day. Such a girl!
Hayden was thrilled when he caught this sea bass. So proud of himself. But, when he saw the teeth, there was no way he was going to hold him.
This one was too little to keep, so the deck hand had to help Hayden throw him back.
All in all, it was a good trip. I hope Hayden looks back on this and knows my extreme love for him. I can say I went once, fished, caught some and I hope that I am never in the situation to have to go with him again. I do love how happy he was and how excited he was to tell his dad that mommy is a lot braver than he thought she was!