Saturday, December 31, 2011

Family Pictures-2011

Jodi did an amazing job, as always, in our family pictures. They were so important to me this year. We thought I may be headed into brain surgery and I wanted pictures before they shaved my head. Luckily, it didn't happen, but regardless, the next morning, bright and early, Jodi took us out to a field and we had our pictures done. I am so glad we did. I have to say these may be my favorites. I love them all! Thanks, Jodi! I will always cherish these. Probably these more than any others because of the situation in which they were taken. I so love my family. I love that I get to not only spend this life with them, but I get to share the eternities with these incredible guys. They are my protectors, guards, and they love me!

There are no words to express the love that we share! I am so glad that thru photos Jodi was able to capture what I can not express. Love... that is all that matters.

Always, forever, and no matter what.... you guys are always mine, sealed for time and all eternity. How grateful I am for that. I love you Thomas and Hayden. Wherever this journey may take us... rest assured, I will always be loving you and missing you! You are the joy in my lives. I am so grateful that I get to share this journey with the two of you!

Playing Games

Family pictures 2011 included some fun family moments. I love that Jodi came over and captured us doing some things that we do ALL the time as a family. I would love if she could shadow us on a Saturday or Sunday and just get us being us.

We play games all the time. The game of Life happens to be a favorite right now. He loves it, he loves figuring out how many kids he is going to have and gets so frustrated if I do not have a boy first in the game. We laugh, as if I have any control over that point in the game.
We get very animated... he loves anytime that he can tease his dad.
Hayden definitely has Simonton blood running through his veins... he loves games and that competitive Simonton gene is starting to seep through his sweet inner core. He definitely has a milder version of the genes with the Murphy mellowness also flowing through him. I love his little smack talk, that makes me laugh so hard.
Another family constant activity... reading together. Especially, Thomas and Hayden. Hayden loves books, he loves the Percy Jackson series, Fablehaven, Leventhumps, How to train your dragon and so many more. He also loves reading his scriptures, especially the version with pictures. He loves gaining a deeper insight and I am in awe at the questions he asks and the deep level of his understanding.
Thanks, Jodi! I LOVE these photos. They make me so happy. Thanks for making sure I had these priceless photographs of our family. Love you! Love, love, love these pictures!

New Years Eve

For New Years Eve we headed to Jake and Rosie's for our annual party. I LOVE the fun party that they throw every year. It is filled with all kinds of yummy food.... and treats and goodies galore. We eat ourselves almost into a sugar comma. We play games, play the Wii, talk, laugh and end the evening with our own fireworks show. Jake bought enough fireworks this year that we had a great finale with each child lighting a firecracker at the same time. It was so cold outside, but the kids didn't seem to mind. They were mesmerized by being able to light firecrackers and put them in the middle of the street.

I love spending the evening with Jake & Rosie, Jodi & Troy, Suzi and all of the kids. I love bringing in the New Year with those I love. I love the moment that 2012 struck. I feel a sense of newness and a fresh start. I feel the magic of Thomas' kiss and know that we have survived another year. We have conquered so much and made a ton of memories. I am glad that 2011 is over and looking forward to many great moments in 2012!

Insight.Com Bowl Game

Thomas received a ticket to the Insight.Com Bowl Game to go with my Dad, brothers and brother-in-law. They were able to sit in the disabled seating with Troy right on the field. Thomas LOVED every moment of it. Especially when he was on ESPN and interviewed. He loved that we saw him on T.V., too.

I absolutely loved seeing the relaxed and happy face that Thomas had. He seemed so genuinely happy. It was so good for him to have a night out with the guys away from all the stresses and realities of life.

Thanks, Troy and Jodi! You definitely made Thomas' night. He loved every moment of that evening.

Us girls and kiddos, we had fun, too. We watched "The Help" while the kids had their own movie night in the game room, filled with popcorn and mnm's. Yum!

Secret Santa

Two of my favorite Christmas traditions growing up were #1 My mom and dad lined up our presents from under the tree and made us choose one with our name on it to give up and take to someone else. We didn't know what it was, we just gave up a gift that would have been ours. #2 I loved taking presents to a family in need, dropping them on the doorstep, ringing the door bell and then running so we wouldn't get caught.

This was the year and I wanted Hayden to experience both! We found out about a family that would not be having Christmas. They had two boys that were 10 and 12 years old. I lined up all of Hayden's presents that were under the tree and had him choose one to give away. He shook them, felt them and picked a box to give to the boy. Hayden then stood up and walked out of the room. He came back a couple of minutes later with a remote control helicopter in a box that he had just won at the school auction. He had been so excited that he had this new toy and was looking forward to playing with it. As he walked in the room, he walked over, handed me the toy and said, "Mom, didn't you say there were two boys? We can't just give something to one of them, I love this helicopter and I am sure that one of these boys will like it, too. Why don't you give them both of these things?"

I had tears in my eyes. My son has caught the true meaning of Christmas. It is giving of one's self and sacrificing so that others can have. I was so proud of him.

#2 We also accomplished. Hayden was given $20 by a friend for his birthday to either buy something for himself, for someone he loved or for someone in need. Hayden read the card and then sat the $20 bill on the counter and went into his room. He came out a couple of minutes later and told me. Mom, we need to do Christmas for Kimberly and her daughters. The Holy Ghost prompted that was who needed Christmas. I made a couple of calls and sure enough, they could have used the help. I found some items, Hayden went to the store and purchased Barbies and some stocking stuffers, I picked up some Princess pj's, he called Jodi and Suzi and they picked up items, as well.

After the presents were wrapped, we piled in the car, carefully and quietly sat all the presents on the doorstep, rang the doorbell and oh boy howdy did we all run.

I loved the Spirit in the car. I loved that on the way to drop off the gifts that Hayden, Brooklyn and Brigham were talking excitedly about Christmas and Santa coming. However, on the way home, it was about how they felt, the Spirit testifying of their good acts and talking of serving, giving and the Holy Ghost. The kids were bubbled over with excitement of not having been caught and the good feelings they had.

I felt Christmas was a huge success because Hayden was able to understand the true joy that comes from giving service.... For as ye have done it unto the least of these my bretheren, ye have done it unto me.

Hall of Flame

Grandma Joyce took Hayden, Kelli, Logan, Victoria and I to the Hall of Flame firefighters museum in Phoenix. It was really cool. I didn't even know it existed. Hayden loved seeing all of the old firetrucks and the cool firefighters gear.
There was even one firetruck that the kids could climb on. They climbed up and down and all over that firetruck. Terrible pictures from my phone, but lots of fun for the kiddos.
Afterwards, Grandma, Hayden and I went to Sonic. I have gotten so attached to Sonic diet cokes... boy are they the best!

Forgotten Carols

Jodi, Suzi and I went to Forgotten Carols again this year. We love this tradition and treasure it as one of the best parts of the Christmas season. I love going and listening and feeling the Spirit as each of the songs are sung. I remember Christmases past and different obstacles and trials overcome. I remember the real reason for this Christmas season. I leave with so much gratitude for all the gifts my Savior has given me. I find renewed strength to be better, do better and try harder. I find myself re-committing to my goals and finding so much joy in the good parts of my life.

This year, at the end, everyone links arms and sings Together Fovever. Jodi and I started coming not long after my mom died. I know my mom sits with me and Jodi each year at Forgotten Carols and "links arms" with us. I sing to her. I sing for my Savior. This year, I had tears as I realized how lucky I was to just be here. Just be at the play and being with Jodi was such a special experience. It was a night that we celebrated this journey that I have been overcoming. I feel so grateful for nights like this that help me to hold on to the hope and to place so much determination into my soul of vowing to fight a good fight.

It was such an amazing night and I loved spending it together!

Thursday, December 29, 2011


I found a new doctor. He is an all natural homeopathic doctor. He has been a life saver. The doctors are not being able to completely figure out what to do.... they know I had a stroke of some sort. They know that my automatic response system and endocrine systems have shut down. My thyroid has been taken out. My organs are extremely sluggish. They organs themselves are not damaged, but the brain is not signaling to them to work correctly. It is causing havoc on my body. Problem is.... the doctors don't know how to fix it as everything they do, takes something else out. It is very frustrating.

However.... this new homeopathic doctor is amazing! He is teaching my brain to go around the damaged portion and re-training it to work correctly. For the past three days, I have actually felt like myself again. I feel like I might actually beat this and be able to get my life back.

My walking is better. I am getting a little stronger. I had no idea that a surgery could take me down the way that this has.

I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for helping open doors and windows in finding treatments. I have been blessed to be able to "hold on" until treatments could start coming together. I have been blessed to have had priesthood blessings, so even when the doctors were not giving me a lot of hope, that the Lord was promising me I would get better. I am grateful for my Savior, his love, his peace, his reassurance and his guidance. I don't know how I would function without it.

I am hopeful that 2012 is going to be the year of answers, improving and getting my life to a place that I want it. I am grateful for the lessons learned, helpful friends and an amazing husband. I am grateful for all those that have stood beside me on this long journey and have sacrificed for me.

I am hoping that this new year is filled with the fulfillment of my biggest dream... my health back and re-gaining my strength. I am also looking forward to making more wonderful memories with those I love and care about!

Murphy Christmas

When we got back from my Dad's house, the Murphy clan had all shown up at our house along with Rilla. Hayden scored this cool Mario outfit along with some church gifts that he was wanting. Logan and Victoria loved their gifts and the kids had the best time playing together until way late into the night.
Lily LOVED her doll house and kept hugging me for it! She is so sweet. I love 2 year olds.
Kelli was ecstatic with her picture of Christ! I love seeing Kelli that happy!
We were so glad that Rilla decided to come over to see us. We love it when she comes to visit!
It was an incredibly fun Christmas day filled with lots of love and wonderful family and friends. I felt so loved and so blessed all day! Most importantly, we remembered to spend time celebrating the true reason for this special Christmas season, the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is because of Him and his love that we celebrate this special time of year. I love my Savior and felt the very best when we presented Him with our gifts of service and acts of kindness this year. I know he was pleased with our efforts and gifts we choose for Him. It was a very Merry Christmas!

Christmas at Dad's

After Dad got home from church, we headed to his house to do Christmas with Dad and Bonnie. Hayden continued to be spoiled as the day went on. He received more lego sets and skylander guys. His favorite was a Real Steel toy from Grandpa. They went and saw the movie together and so Grandpa wanted Hayden to remember the time they spent together. It was very thoughtful!
Hayden has loved his Real Steel toy and talks about him and Grandpa going to see it. He idolizes Grandpa and wishes he could spend even more time with him!
My Dad did it again... he is taking all the Simonton's, including the grandkids on a Nickelodean cruise to the Caribbean. We leave in a couple of weeks and will be taking a 7 day cruise to the Bahamas, St. Thomas, St. Martin and other places in the Caribbean. I am such a lucky girl that he is my dad and loves helping us to create special family memories. I can't wait! I am so excited to go!
Thanks, Dad and Bonnie! You spoiled us rotten. We are so looking forward to a week at sea with all the Simonton's. Hayden is counting down the days until all the cousins are together! It will be a trip of a lifetime!

Christmas Day 2011

After church, we all quickly changed and jumped right into opening presents. We loved having so many people around us that we love dearly.

I got Julie a Mickey Mouse stacking Russian doll. It was really cute with Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy. She loved it!
Present after present, Hayden was spoiled rotten by so many people. He loved everything and felt very loved!
Suzi and I with our matching Fila shirts.
Hayden liked sitting right with whoever was opening his present that he picked out. It was so fun that he was excited to give special things to those he loves.
Thomas loved loved loved his new Kindle. He has wanted one and hasn't put it down since Christmas. He is constantly reading and this will be so great for him.
Julie photographed a beautiful rainbow and had a poem put on it. Rainbows are so special to me. They remind me of my mom. She even wrote a story for me and attached it to the back that talked about the storm that I have walked through this year and the Lord sending rainbows and tender mercies to help me through the storm. I loved it! So very thoughtful!
And, I definitely loved my boy and how many presents he got me. He had his dad take him to get me stuff for my Disney village and also an angry birds game. He got Suzi to take him shopping and bought me the movie, The Help. And, then got Grandma Julie to take him and he bought me sock monkey pjs. My little boy loves his mom so much! I am so lucky that he is mine.Thomas loves everything. He is such a big kid and I love him with all of my heart.
Joyce loved being with us and loved the picture of the Mesa Temple that we bought her.
Suzi spoiled us rotten and bought the Murphy family an Ipad for Christmas. Hayden was a little excited, if you could tell. I see his face and can still hear him yellings, "Aaaawwweeeeesome!"
We had a great Christmas day with one adventure after the next. I love how many people there are that love us!

Christmas Morning

Merry Christmas!
With Christmas being on Sunday this year, we did something we have never done before. We woke up on Christmas morning with just the three of us. Usually, we have a house full of people but decided this year to keep it simple until after church. We woke up to stockings packed with goodies, surprises and fun toys. They were a hit and held all kinds of treasures. We laughed and talked as we pulled each item and had the best time, laid back, just enjoying each other by the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree's glow.
Hayden saw his big presents that were out unwrapped. He squealed with delight as he ran over to his art desk. We told him that mom and dad weren't sure how to wrap it, so we just left it out for him to see. He loved it. Loved that it tilted to different angles for optimum drawing and artistic expression. He cannot wait to tell his art teacher about his new professional art desk. He is sure this is going to make his drawings and artwork even better.
I love Hayden and his enthusiasm over everything. He loves what he is doing, always. He sure enjoys life and I love the excitement that he always portrays.
We did let him open his Santa presents as well. He was thrilled when he received everything he asked for and a few surprises. Skylanders Wii game, Lego Ninjago dragon sets and even a spiderman 3D-DS game was a bonus for helping Santa with Hayden's toy drive. Santa amazed us all this year and left some fun family gifts for all of us to do together. There were a couple of games and even some beyblades for the entire family. Hayden LOVED that mom and dad received some presents from Santa, as well. He requested that Santa bring him less and bring his mom something since she had such a rough year. He was thrilled that Santa filled his request.
My favorite moment of Christmas was how excited he was to give his dad his present. He wanted to do that even more than opening his presents from Santa. I love watching his focus change from getting to having more fun in giving a present. He did rock and designed his own custom hero factory guy for him. He named it Thomas the King. Hayden loved designing it and creating it and waited each day for the mail to come so that he could surprise his dad. It was definitely one of my favorite moments.
Hayden loves everything. He is so easy to please. Each item out of the stocking was a yelled, "Thank you, Santa!"
Thomas is a big kid, just like Hayden. He loved everything and was all smiles!
Santa spoiled me rotten, too. I loved my new earrings and necklace in my stocking, as well as some fun games.
Thomas was spoiled with gift cards to purchase books for his kindle from Julie.
Hayden loves my Mickey Santa hat and has officially taken it over.
I cannot express my love for this man. I love how happy he makes me and how much he is my world.
I sure love my boy! He is the best present ever.
Hayden was so excited to get me Disney Universe so there would be a Wii game that I wanted to play with him. He was so proud of himself.
I love my new Department 56 Mickey Village that Thomas started for me. I love most of all that he came up with it himself and new how much I would love it. Good guy!
It was such a relaxing Christmas morning with just the three of us sitting and talking and laughing. I love my little family and love being with my boys. Our Christmas morning wasn't long because we had to be at church before 8am to meet up with Grandma Joyce, Grandma Julie and Suzi. But, I will always cherish those quiet family moments enjoying the magic of this beautiful Christmas season.