Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Morning

What a beautiful Easter morning. Hayden awoke to a new backpack instead of an Easter basket. (I decided to be very practical this year and getting useful and needed items. New back....definite, boy's backpacks do not last all year.) Inside he found a new swimsuit and swim shirt for all of our summer adventures, a new summer outfit, a new shirt, summer jammies and his prized two new Skylander giants. The little lamb was a joke since I had been teasing him about buying him a pink Easter bunny for his Easter gift. I also threw in three token eggs since there was not going to be an egg hunt. He scored one candy egg with mnm's and skittles and two eggs with change in them.  He was a very happy and excited boy.

I wanted to keep Easter Sunday about the Savior and the Resurrection, so we had a low key morning with only the minimal Easter basket. The rest of the day was about the Savior and family.

Hayden snapped a quick picture of me and Thomas just relaxing on the couch.
*Note: If you haven't shopped at 6pm, watch their clearance section. It is amazing and I have found fantastic deals. Fox backpack $14, swimshorts $9, hurley t-shirt $6, Kenneth Cole men's church shoes for $19.99. Definitely one of my favorite on-line stores for shoes and Hayden's clothes.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Got "Egged"!

Hayden was "Egged" on Saturday night. As Thomas, Hayden, Suzi and I sat on the couch talking about the fun we had at the Simonton Easter Party, the doorbell rang and Hayden found this note. It said, "Happy Easter, you have been Egged. There are 16 eggs in the yard for you to find."

Hayden took off outside, flashlight in hand to go on his very own egg hunt. He loved every minute of it. Egg hunts with flashlights in the dark are much more challenging and funner.
This boy was all smiles as he chased around the yard.
He squealed with delight when his flashlight caught a glimpse of this huge beauty of an egg.
He loved the huge eggs and got more excited with the find of each and every one.
I can honestly say I have never seen such big eggs but what a great find.
Hayden and Aunt Suzi.
Smiling because he could tell this precious egg held coins....cha cha ching!
Hayden and his Dad helping him search around and under the car in inside the bushes.
Hayden couldn't wait to get inside and find out what was in those big eggs.
Look at that massive score. I cannot imagine who would have done this amazing gift for Hayden. But, he sure is thankful.
Of course, he loves his picture taken so much that he was being goofy!
All in all he scored more than we could imagine. Two new outfits, one which is Phoenix Suns with Ironman. Two pairs of flip flops, swim goggles, a couple of Spiderman art projects, and an aloe vera plant.  Hayden was trying to figure out who would know to give him an aloe vera plant because we have him drink aloe vera juice. I think it was just a little plant to grow but he is sure that item holds the key to figuring out our secret "Egger".
To whomever did this amazingly kind gesture for my boy, thank you! He loved it! He loved the night time egg hunt. He loved each and every thoughtful item. He loved the huge eggs. He loved making a list and figuring out all the people that love him and would do something so kind for him.

Not only did he receive this wonderfully kind list, he also realized with so many people that love him and are so caring, that we cannot determine the "egger".  What a great blessing to be surrounded by so many that we cannot even narrow down who would do such a wonderful act of kindness.

Happy Easter, Hayden! I know you will forever remember being "Egged" on the beautiful eve of Easter morning! Always remember how very LOVED you are by so many!

Easter with the Simonton's

Saturday afternoon we all got together for our annual Simonton Easter party at Josh and Steph's house. We had lots of yummy food, good conversations, kids running, laughter, giggling, catching up, playing in the game room, digging in the sand, jumping on the trampoline, egg hunts, cousins playing, teasing with aunts and uncles, and overall fun!
As always, it was absolutely a great time by all. Love the fun cousins that Hayden is lucky enough to have.  I sure love my family.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thank you IPhone

Life via iPhone is a crazy thing. Random moments are captured that would have usually passed with the moment. I love the little things in life. They are the moments that a life is made up of. The ordinary day to day moments that are interrupted with holidays and big events. The little moments, for me, is where the sweet joy of life is captured.

Someday I will look back on this time in my life and be so grateful for all the lessons learned and experiences gained. I will remember the big moments that entailed healing, priesthood blessings, hospital stays, little miracles, tender mercies, love shown, family moments and prayers answered. But because of our little iPhone, I will be able to laugh that a wet rag wrapped on my head kept me from passing out. I look lovely all the time with this beauty on my head but it makes life much more tolerable. And I am positive when I look back on this picture, I will laugh and be grateful that this time in my life has past. Okay, who are we kidding, we are getting a good kick out of this picture now. Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

My sweet little niece Brooklyn had to list her favorite activities of the year for her activity day recognition. Her very favorite activity was Cupcakes for a Cure. Brooklyn and Kiley went door to door selling cupcakes and raising money for my medical bills. She melts my heart. I love her dearly. What a sweet girl to willingly serve me and then to last it as her favorite moment of the year. She is such a precious daughter of God. She has such a deep desire to serve and give and love. She is a sweetheart. I adore her. I love her. I cherish her. I am so grateful that this little sweetheart is apart of my life. I always tell her that she is my girl. If I had been blessed with a daughter, she is exactly the one I would have dreamed of. She is a light and joy. I love you, Missy Brooklyn!

Talmage loves his Papa Thomas. He squeals with excitement each time Thomas walks in the door. The other night, Talmage ran to the freezer, grabbed two ice cream sandwiches, and came and jumped on Thomas' lap. I had to capture the moment. Love their sweet relationship.

Last Friday, Thomas had the day off. For some crazy reason Hayden had school. We decided to let him have a ditch day. He wanted so badly to go have a play day. He wanted to have a normal day like we used to. I was miserable but determined to do something. I dragged myself out of bed, grabbed a hat and got in the car. We went to a new restaurant we hadn't tried before. Hayden's delight was evident when Apple Dumpling Cafe brought out a huge cheeseburger. He grinned ear to ear. He enjoyed every single moment we were at the cafe. I realized how much that meant to him. Us doing something normal, like we used to brought him so much joy. He felt like life was back on track. A huge hamburger, a few French fries and a family eating together, talking and laughing was the best medicine for all of us.

He didn't even care that I came home and fell asleep on the couch right when we got home. Nope. His life was back to normal, if only for an hour, but it was enough. Simple but perfect.

To the makers of the iPhone, thanks for putting on a camera, I'm so glad these sweet and precious moments are captured.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

IEP goals achieved

Hayden came bounding in the door, envelope in hand, a huge smile stretched across his face, and enthusiastically lunged at me for me to read the letter addressed, to the parents of Hayden Murphy.

As I asked what the letter contained, he kept saying just read it. As I opened the letter, Hayden beamed with excitement, anxiously telling me what part of it said, quicker than I could read aloud the IEP progress report.

"Hayden has far exceeded all expectations....he is a hard worker.....he gives his all......he does his best to stay on task.......he is polite.......he is kind and caring....he gives his best effort.....he smiles.....he is always happy.....,he sees the positive.....he is such a joy!"

Imagine my astonishment when the actual achievement of the goals themselves, and the effort to accomplish them, far exceeded the glowing personality review in the first paragraph.

Goal after goal was outlined. Laid out clearly as to the expectation, current ability as of August 2012, November 2012, followed by the current progress calculated at the beginning of March. Each goal listed as "Hayden will be able to transition topic, using three transition words, within a three minute conversation, unprompted, four times out of five. Current ability zero out of five. March ability five out of five. 100% accomplished."

Goal after goal, Hayden's outstanding progress was listed. As I read each one, I probably would have broken down in tears out of joy, but Hayden's jumping up and down and huge smile just brought overwhelming joy and gratitude to my heart.

There are definitely areas to work on but I am absolutely in awe at the extreme progress he has made this year. He has given his all. He has tried and tried. I couldn't be more proud. I only ask for his best efforts. I love seeing him gain confidence in himself, tasting the sweet joy of success and learning that he can do hard things.

(He was so excited with his accomplishments and the effort and hard work paying off that he totally forgot about the "reward". What a great place we are at that he no longer needs rewards. He has tasted the sweet joy of accomplishing a goal.)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Most important week in history

I love Easter. It is a time for welcoming the new. Fresh starts and new beginning. Spring is in the air and the earth had reawakened after a winter slumber. I find myself drawn to tasks like decluterring my house, making and redefining new goals, love the smell of springtime and love the rebirth that it brings to the earth.

Most of all, my heart turns to my Savior. I study more fervently the life of my Savior and his ultimate act of love in his gifts of the atonement and resurrection.

Our family has many Easter traditions because of my love of new beginnings, fresh starts and most importantly the loving act of the atonement.

Our celebrations and studying go full force on Palm a sunday and commence on Easter evening. Each day we relive the last week of the Savior's life. We start by reading in Matthew 21: 1-11 about Jesus' triumphant return to Jerusalem and riding in on a donkey, while beloved followers shouted praises of Hosanna and waved palm branches for their Lord and Savior. Each night we watch short video clips from Mormon Messages or little snippets on YouTube regarding the Savior.

Monday night our family home evening is on the atonement and how Jesus overcame death and sin for us. We read where Jesus cleansed the temple and blessed the sick.

Tonight we will continue to read and follow in his footsteps, walking where he walked to try to better understand the significance of the last week the Savior walked this earth. We will continue to do this through Sunday. We are trying to gain a better appreciation and love for our Savior and his sacrifices for us.

I have some special new activities planned to try to help Hayden grasp the atonement and how hard it was, for even the Savior, in the Garden of Gethsemanee. I hope it helps him to understand.

The peace that has been in our home as we have discussed the sacred and important events of this week has been amazing. I love the sweet peace the Spirit bring when testifying of our beloved Savior.

Monday morning

I have a hard time each and every Monday morning saying goodbye to these two and sending them off to work and school. I love our weekends together. I especially have a hard time letting Hayden go back to school after a long break. Oh how I missed him today.

I was so happy when Jodi called and asked if I wanted to get out of the house and ride to QT. the silence in my house was deafening. I welcomed the reprieve from the quiet of being alone. Better yet, I kidnapped Talmage and we had a movie morning. I loved hearing him play cars at my fee and having him come cuddle up next to me. What a blessing this little guy is in my life.

Donnie came over to chat for a little bit, too, since she knows how hard mornings after breaks are for me. I sure enjoyed the company. I love talking to her about life and figuring out what the Savior wants of our lives, lessons taught and experiences shared. She is such a great friend.

Jodi came back with lunch and we sat and talked. I miss her when I don't see her too often. I miss our chats. I miss sitting and just being with her. I relax. I feel like I contribute back to this world in some small way. Most days it is just two sisters talking and leaning on one another for advice and to listen. I love that she trusts me. I love the incredible person she is. I love watching her become better and more amazing with each passing week and month. One of the greatest blessings in my life is her constant and I changing friendship.

Time passed quickly from when Jodi leaving until I hear my favorite words of the day, "Moooommmmm!" "Mom, where are you?" As Hayden bounds into the house looking for me. For the next twenty minutes or so, I do a lot of nodding and smiling and listening. I love the days when he talks and will share with me. I light up with joy when he lets me into his world.

Today, he was especially excited. His third quarter IEP goal status was in his hand. Wow has my Bubba improved this year. He has tackled hard things and has tasted the sweet reward of hard work. He has mastered nine out of the ten IEP goals set for this year. More than even that, I was so proud of the comments that were written. "Hayden is a joy....he works hard....he tries......he pays attention.....he gives his all....he is enthusiastic about his work....he is kind and positive....he is overall an amazing kid". I know this but it sure is great to hear. Hayden was so so so proud of himself and the skill sets he has mastered. I told him I was happy for the end result but proud of the progress and hard work he put in to achieving his goals.

Homework was done, cheese crisps were made for dinner. Hayden stuck like me to glue. I knew he missed me, as I did him. It was an ordinary day. That was the best part about it. I love ordinary days. For in the ordinary and simple is where true joy and peace are found.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Grandma Day

Hayden was so excited for his Grandma day. He and Grandma Joyce went to the movies, to Village Inn for lunch and then back home to help Grandma assemble her lesson handouts for Relief Society.

Hayden was so excited and called her Friday morning to make sure she remembered. When she asked what he wanted to do, he said he wanted to hear stories about his daddy growing up. He loved listening to her and learning more about his dad growing up, his grandma and grandpa. His dad had a lot of adventures, being born in England and being raised as an Air Force brat.

I love the tender relationship that Hayden has with his Grandma. They have been buds for a lot of years. I am so glad Hayden has her.

It was a great day. Hayden came home out of this world happy and smiling.

Grandma dates are definitely the best!

Life of Pi

Suzi had wanted me to watch this movie with her for so long. Since it came out, I have been down, in bed. We were very excited to get to see it on Saturday. Suzi brought dinner over and we rented the movie. We all curled up on the couches and watched this amazing movie.

I loved the lessons it taught. I loved the images it brought to mind. I loved how the movie showed a belief in God. That God loves us and listens to us and answers our prayers.

I saw myself so many times in that movie.

I love the scene of Pi having been on the island, having found reprieve, but knowing that wasn't where he was meant to stay or what he was meant to become. With what must have taken unbelievable faith and self control, Pi willingly set out in the boat again to face the fierce winds and turbulence of the ocean. He knew the trials awaiting him back out on that ocean, but he willingly went because he knew that is what he needed to do.

I thought of my life. Where I am. The path of hailing winds and the unrelentless amount of turbulence that I must face. I had tears in my eyes as Pi pushed his boat back out off the shore. I know that feeling. I always say that facing something once is doable. The outcome and difficulty of the situation, unknown. As it comes p, it is dealt with and conquered. When repeating or reliving the same trial, the pain, horror, fear, it all is known. The hardest thing survived must be repeated. Steps must be taken knowing the grimness of the situation to be conquered.

I myself feel as if I just climbed back on my own boat. That I just pushed back of the safe shore of peace and comfort and am heading back into the rocky waves and turbulence of the storm.

What I do know, like Pi learned, is that The Lord would strengthen him, give him experiences to keep him strong. That God stands by his children in their trials. Things may seem desolate and at the brink of despair, but God has promised that all these experiences will be for us good. That he will not leave us comfortless.

As I have started back on the open waters, The Lord is securely on the boat next to me. He is guiding me through these open waters. And like Pi, and his trial of the tiger kept him alive. I am acutely aware that the pain, although sometimes excruciating, is the thing that keeps my alive and fighting. The pain awakes me when my breathing becomes shallow. Where if the pain was taken, I may circum to endless slumber and quietly go in my sleep. Because of the pain, I awake and continue my fight to breathe through the pain.

Now, I in no way am I comparing the trials I face with those deep trials that Pi faced. Yet, as I face my trials, like Pi, God will guide me, comfort me and help me. I have walked this trial long enough to know that it is in the hardest moments of life that we walk the closest with our Savior and those moments have been the tenderest of my life.

Garage Sale

Saturday morning we held another garage sale. Thomas, Hayden and Julie lovingly worked their hardest to make it a successful sale. Many people lovingly donated items, for which we are humbly grateful. So many loving people have opened their hearts, their homes, their wallets and generously donated and shared with us. We are overwhelmed at the kindness of so many.

I was exhausted and so grateful that I have so many wonderful people to help and support me.

While I slept, I hear people came and bought. When I awoke, I tried to sit outside and talk to people. I made it for a little while. I was so incredibly happy as I watched some of the big items sell such as the table and coffee table and crib.

We were raising money for medical bills and to purchase a blender that I needed to make the high potency green smoothies each morning. I knew the dollar amount needed to accomplish both of these needs. I prayed for days that people in need of items we had, would be led to our sale. I also prayed that we could raise enough money to purchase all the items we needed to start my healing through nutrition.

I can honestly say The Lord answered my prayers. He led those to the garage sale that were in need of items we had. We met our goal. We are able to purchase the blender we need and the required natural treatments.

I am in awe of the Lord's hand in our lives. He has continued to watch out for me and bless us at each turn and each fork in the road. He guides me and points me in the direction I need to go. I have learned to pick up my foot and start to step. Most days I don't know where I am headed until my feet start to walk.

I read that a lot of times The Lord requires us to walk past the light and into the darkness before He gives us answers. He requires complete faith. He requires us to trust him past the point of our comfort level. Past the point of our security. Past the point of our reasoning and understanding. And then, and only then, is each step placed. He will then lead as I walk in darkness. As I no longer can trust my senses or my abilities but strictly have to lean on him and trust him.

I am happy to say that not only did we raise the money, but when we went to purchase the blender, the one we really wanted, but could never have afforded, was on a one day sale and was less expensive than the one we were going to purchase. Another added blessing. Not asked for. Not expected. But very appreciated and a great reminder that with the Savior at our side, my side, all things are possible.

Whether it is garage sales, knowing how to help my son, finding doctors to treat or knowing how to prioritize our lives, the Savior is in all the details. And, I can't think of anything more comforting.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


I really try not to complain here (or anywhere) for that matter. I chose this. I made a conscious decision to stay here and be with my loved ones. Therefore, I feel like my ability to complain has been taken from me. How do I express frustration when I have my life? I am here with my loved ones, for which I am extremely grateful.

However, there are days this weak body of mine really frustrates me. Today is one of those days. The pain is almost more than I can bear. I am definitely at the complete top of my threshold for pain tolerance. Each breath I take in, sends streaks of stabbing pain throughout my body. Its as if each breath sends shocking pain, as the oxygen circulates throughout my body. The only thing more painful than breathing is moving. To move. To breathe. Almost more than I can bear.

On top of that, I am so weak. My endurance physical is so minimal.

Right now, my loving husband, amazing son and amazing friend, sit outside, working their tails off, holding a garage sale. Where am I? After trying for quite some time to help, my body gave in. I do not even have the strength to hold myself up on the couch. The bed will be my resting place for today. It takes much less effort to lay down.

Guilt racks my soul that they are laboring as I lay down. My heart breaks that I cannot work. That I cannot contribute.

I watch so many lovingly serve me. Take such great care of me. I feel so loved.

Oh how I long to be the caregiver again. My heart longs to serve others. To be the one to provide service and care.

I realize that there is a time and season for everything.

This is my season to be taken care of and I understand that.

I just wish it didn't have to be in quite so painful. Quite so lonely. Quite so much long-suffering required. Quite so many burdens placed on those around me.

Don't get me wrong. I'd chose this lot everyday because pain lets me know I am definitely alive. And that, regardless of the excruciating pain today, is well worth it.

(Thanks for all being my sounding board. I needed to express my frustration without Thomas or Hayden catching the sheer depth of the pain and discomfort. Although I know they see the pain as I wince with movement, I try not to vocalize the depth of the constant and never-ending misery. Thank you!)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cardiac electrophysiologist

I spoke with the cardiac electrophysiologist this week. Decisions were made to keep trying to conquer this on my own. When I say on my own, I mean with nutrition, natural supplements, building strength and my body, and doing all the natural treatments along with current medications.

She stated that doctors, for the most part, are able to do two things. 1) prescribe medications and 2) preform surgery. And, although, the rest of the cardiac team wanted to do surgery now, it would be better to wait until my body is stronger. I agree.

Three weeks ago, I was getting sicker each day. Now, each week I get a little stronger. Progress is slow but it is still progress.

I love that this doctor will admit that there is a place for western, eastern and herbal medications. She believes in all natural treatments.. I feel a incredibly blessed to have her on my team.

That same day, my mission president's wife emailed me. She is a part owner in a wellness company. She wanted all the details so that she can help me. I am so excited for this opportunity.

I'm starting some new herbal treatments and am excited to see where this new path leads me. I know it will help me make progress. I'm so hopeful. Good things are starting to happen. Good opportunities.

Crazy day

I can honestly say that Tuesday was one of the absolutely most exhausting and crazy days of my life. All the kids were out on Spring break. Jodi had doctor appointments for Brigham and the dentist appointments for both Brig and Talmage. Suzi had a meeting and couldn't take Cooper and Ollie. Therefore, party at my house. Technically, Brooklyn, Hayden and Cooper were supposed to babysit. I was going to do my usual supervising but staying put on the couch. Oh was I terribly mistaken.

Brooklyn did a great job and really tried with mr O. But, Ollie man was way overwhelmed with all the noise, completely overstimulated and a quite exhausted from all the stimulation the previous day and complete lack of routine. Add two tired boys in the mix, a little spaz man Talmage and it was quite the day. Hayden was exhausted and put himself in time out in my room to escape the noise and chaos about two hours into the day. He too was completely out of control and done with the chaos and noise.

I curled up in the chair out front and tried to stay put. That was my intention. However, kids don't always cooperate with the plan.

Poor Suzi, when she got here, I just wanted everyone to leave. Jodi laughed that she can tell when I am done. I tell whomever that I don't need anything but to just hurry home.

Such relief swept over me when that door closed. I looked and Hayden and called mandatory nap time. Of course, that elicited tears. Many tears. Hayden sobbed at me and I back at him. We both cried ourselves to sleep.

I cannot believe that a mere three hours could take me down that bad. Not to mention, Jodi helped me for an hour and a half. So in 1.5 hours, I about killed myself.

I cried and cried that night. I thought I was literally going to die. I guess this body of mine is still so weak that anything and everything takes me right down.

It has been three days since that day, yet I still hurt so bad and am so sore. I cannot believe how quickly my body shuts down. How badly I hurt. How miserable I still am.

I want to record these feelings so I know where I am at physically today. To know how weak my body is so that I can joy in the progress from here on out.

I also want to record the overwhelming and completely exhausting days when tasks that should be easy aren't. That bad days occur. Some moments feel like an eternity. But they pass. The hardest challenges become more bearable.

And although my body is extremely weak, struggling to do even the most basic of tasks, I am still grateful to be here. The pain helps me know that I'm alive, still here and still fighting.

As I look at this picture, I smile. Because even amongst all the chaos, pain and struggles, I absolutely adore these cute kids. And although overwhelming, there were some precious moments that I cherish.

And who wouldn't love Ollie repeating, "I love Jer." And expressing over and over that I was bright like an angel. Good times even amongst the struggles.

Adventure time

When Suzi has the boys it is always time for an adventure. She spoils the rotten and plays and plays with them.

With Cooper and Ollie in town, Suzi promised them tons of fun.

Hayden was able to join them on Monday for a day of marathon adventures. First up, Suzi took the boys for laughter and thrilling adventures at Amazing Jakes where they ate pizza, rode bumper cards, played video games, yelled, laughed and ate ice cream until they were sick.

Then they were off to the Lego store. Possibly one of Hayden's favorite places on earth. Of course, in true Suzi fashion, the spoiling continued. What lucky boys! The boys got huge lego sets. Hayden called his dad to tell him he got a set that was expert level for ages 16 and up. Thomas was just elated to have another project to work on. He teased Hayden that he was going to super glue it as he went, to make sure he only had to spend one weekend working on the lego skyscraper. Hayden laughed and giggled that his dad was going to get to help him build Legos. It is something they had done together for years until lately Hayden can build them in no time flat. (I see a Sunday afternoon nap for me while the boys tackle the Legos). All kidding aside, Thomas loves working with Hayden on projects and will have so much fun conquering this with Hayden.

The boys came home exhausted but with humongous smiles on their faces.

No surprise at all when Hayden was fast asleep by 7:30pm. Great day for the boys. I bet an exhausting day for Aunt Suzi! Thanks Suzi! Hayden had a great time!

Boys boys and more boys

Saturday night the Weeks and Suzi's gang came over to hang out. Talmage was over and when he heard Rex was coming over, he refused to leave. He kept saying, "Rex is my friend. I want to play with him."

With boys ranging from 11, 10, 8, 3, 2 , 9 months and 4 months, our house was a zoo. Toy cars, motorcycles, blocks and tools covered he floor. With each passing moment, the noise decibels seemed to increase. The laughter was contagious. The air was exhilarating.

I loved sitting and talking with Sarah and cuddling with baby Ace and T.J. I loved that Rex tells me he loves me. I loved that Talmage came over while I was holding the babies and tried climbing on my lap. I asked what he was doing and he said, "I'm not a big boy anymore. I am a little baby. Wah. Wah. I am your baby boy. You need to put that baby down and hold YOUR baby boy. Me!"

I died laughing. Talmage usually wants to be big. He keeps up with the older ones just great. But, I guess Aunt Jer holding other babies was just not ok. I love that I am that important to him.

I loved watching Thomas and Jordan wrestle with all the boys on the ground. I love that when they wrestle, all the boys together gang up on the dads. I love hearing giggling and laughter in our home. I love hearing Hayden's cry of "Dad, Dad, I surrender." For Thomas to let go and stop tickling him and Hayden jumping right back in for more.

I love the smiles. I love the joy. I love having dear dear friends that feel welcome in our home and come to visit.

And I absolutely LOVE having cute little babies to hold and cuddle. I love when they smile up at me and their eyes sparkle. I love it all.

Who could resist any of these cute little faces. Too precious!

Yard work

Best part of doing yard work for my Bubba....finding worms.

When Hayden arrived home from scout camp, Thomas was out working in the yard. It was in need of quite a bit of tender loving care. So many plants had died over the winter. The HOA was not happy with our dead plants. Thomas spent most of the day pulling up dead plants and planting lantana into the missing spots. Love lantana... It is inexpensive, has flowers, spreads out quickly and is easy to maintain and hard to kill.

Thomas told Hayden to drop his bags in the garage and he needed his help.

Hayden told us stories while he helped his dad.

I loved watching the two of them in the yard working together, talking, laughing and telling stories. Hayden relayed the events of the weekend while Thomas told Hayden stories of his day at camp. As Thomas told stories, Hayden became more and more excited for upcoming trips and adventures. They collected worms while they worked and laughed as they threw them on one another and relocated them to the uprooted ground that was just replanted.

As they both came in, they were excited for me to go see the yard and the fruits of their labors.

I watched my sweet husband as he worked with Hayden, teaching him, helping him and listening to him. It's these moments that I am reminded at how great my life is. I'm married to a good man that loves me and Hayden and wants to help us. He wanted me to feel good when I lay in the grass or sit on the rocker outside, seeing that the yard is maintained and beautiful flowers beautify our yard. He loves Hayden and is willing to take the time to help him learn important skills. He is willing to work hard for our family. What a gift to me and a great example to Hayden.

He survived... And loved it

Hayden came home Saturday afternoon with a huge grin on his face and stories to tell.

*rock climbing
*falling down a cliff
*sleeping in his tent by himself
*playing capture the flag
*service project - cleaning up trash
*Israelite brown shirt
*new friends
*more self confidence
*fireside around the campfire
*spirit during campfire
*help putting up his tent
*pancakes for breakfast
*great leaders
*laughing and playing
*being absolutely filthy dirty

Hayden has smiled big while talking about his camp out. He loved the freedom and opportunity that scouts provided. His self confidence grew. He learned he could conquer fears and do hard things.

I was so very proud of him.

So many leaders commented on how great Hayden was, how much he was always smiling, his great attitude, his willingness to try hard, and the great attributes he has including: kindness, great attitude, helpful and caring.

Whew! I am so happy that it went well. I am so grateful for incredible leaders that sacrifice their time and talents for my son. I'm so happy that Hayden had his Father in Heaven's help to conquer his fears and have a great time.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief when he was home and safely back in my arms. But, I am so happy he loved scouting and he will look forward to upcoming outings and enjoy the time with his friends at scouts. It couldn't have turned out any better.

Now, I just need to learn to let go a little more. He really is growing up.