We love when Scott, Shelly, Megan and Jazzy come to visit. Hayden absolutely loves his cousins. Thomas loves spending time with his brother and Shelly and I have a great time talking and catching up. I also adore Megan and hanging out with her.
Megan is a great sport and plays video games, Legos and entertains Hayden and Jazz.
We loved watching movies, eating homemade ice cream and jello cake. Yum!
The kids had slumber parties. We talked. We had fun. We laughed. We shared stories. We caught up. We relished and enjoyed each and every moment together.
We will miss them terribly. Even Max loved having them here.
Hurry back to visit again soon! We love you and miss you already!
Imagine Hayden's surprise when in the mailbox was a package with his name on it. When he opened the box, there was a wrapped gift. Thomas and I were trying to figure out what it was and who it was from. Luckily, a little card had fallen off in the bottom.
It was a cute note from Hayden's 5th grade math teacher, Ms. Little. She told Hayden to keep practicing his math facts and to have a great summer keeping his math skills sharp.
Ms. Little played many games of Yahtzee with Hayden during 5th grade. He loved every minute of it.
Hayden was thrilled with his incredible gift, especially since it was from his favorite teacher, Ms. Little.
People come into our lives and leave footprints and we are never again the same. Ms. Little will be one of those people always for Hayden. She was a teacher that inspired Hayden, helped him gain confidence and taught him to believe in himself and his capabilities. She was more than a teacher. She was his friend, his mentor, his cheerleader and his motivator. She inspired him to be better, reach higher and conquer hard things.
I couldn't be more grateful for her loving example. Hayden adores her.
This gift was so above and beyond the call of her position, but she knew Hayden well enough to know the impact that tis kind gesture would have.
We have spent hours and hours playing Yahtzee over the past week. I know there will be countless hours ahead playing this game. With each one, I will say a silent prayer of gratitude for a wonderful teacher that cared and made a huge difference in my sweet son's life.
Our lives are filled with simple and wonderful moments. I love the carefree days of summer. Sleep in, lay around in pajamas, play with Max and Hayden and lots of lego building moments. This pretty much sums up our lazy summer days, but we are loving each and every one of them.
The smile on Hayden's face, especially when it stretches from ear to ear, brings an inexpressible joy to my heart.
Little Max, yes, he has completely and utterly worked his way into my heat. I love him to pieces. He is spoiled rotten but becoming a very special member of our family.
I am trying to soak up each and every moment, hold it tight and put as many of these special moments into my long term memory as possible. I don't want to forget how really wonderful this summer has been with my boys.
I love that a single picture can elicit so many emotions, stir feelings, and bring back so many wonderful moments.
Last week, there was a super moon or the brightest and biggest moon of 2013. Thomas kept Hayden up late so they could experience this beautiful moon together. Hayden loved it and was in awe of its beauty.
He ran inside to get me to come and see. By the time I hobbled out to the driveway, Hayden was cuddled right back up to his dad enjoying this beautiful phenomenon.
I am so glad I used what little energy I had to walk outside and be able to capture this precious moment.
I took a deep breath as I saw Hayden cuddled up to his dad. His eyes were bright, full of awe and love. He cherished this precious moment with his beloved dad.
I stood back and just watched them interact, talk and enjoy one of the beautiful earthly creations.
In that moment, all was perfect in my world, our world.
I was reminded how perfect life is. My son has a wonderful father that loves and cherishes him. In turn, Hayden loves and adores his dad. They both treasure me. And I couldn't love the two of them more.
In this single moment, I was gently reminded that life is much simpler than I make it. I have all I need right beside me. Life really is wonderful!
I live in the Valley of the Sun. Each and every summer the heat makes me hot and miserable. I had become accustom to being hot, dreading the car when it had been sitting in the sun and avoiding extra trips during the scorching summer afternoons. However, I have never experienced a summer quite like this one.
This summer is killing me, literally.
Of all things to be a trigger for my "episodes" of going unconscious and having my body pool blood in my heart, is the sun.
Today, the temperature should be around 117 degrees.
It is hot.
I am struggling to maintain consciousness.
I am downright miserable.
This has been one of the most difficult weeks of my life, physically and emotionally.
I became so sick at the beginning of this year and almost lost my fight for life. Since then, my body has gained strength and overcome so many obstacles. Since March, my body has fought and improved and literally accomplished the impossible. The last couple of weeks, the trend of getting better has turned to one of digression, week by week, day by day. With each passing day, I am so grateful that I have survived, but I have had to have a priesthood blessing each and every day for the past four days, just to live. Each day has brought major problems, extreme complications and life threatening obstacles.
It has been exhausting both physically and emotionally.
Fear has crept back into spaces that I had long ago cleared out. I have struggled to not fall apart completely. Each day, I find myself reaching and clinging for faith and comfort. I am searching for the peace that was so readily accessible just weeks ago.
I know that my Father in Heaven is in charge. I know he is with me and is ultimately sparing my life each and every day. I cling to him for reassurance and guidance and hope and healing. I pull close to him when the daily episodes of losing consciousness and feelings of impending doom encompass my body. I know he is the source of all blessings, all miracles and all hope. I am clinging to the promises that I have been made. I am holding tight to my Savior. I know this to shall pass. I know that eventually another "and it came to pass" moment will come and I will be able to look back on this time as another learning experience and another obstacle overcome.
For today, I am grateful for all of those that have gone back to daily interaction with me. Those that give of their busy lives to sit with me and comfort me. Those that understand that someone just sitting in the room with me gives me hope, lifts my spirit and calms my fears.
I am so very thankful that my sweet son sits with me and helps me. It is so much responsibility for an eleven year old boy but he has such a great attitude about it all. Even reassuring me that this is the best summer of his life getting to spend so much time with me. I love his sweet example of faith and finding the good.
I will survive this. I will prove the doctors wrong. I will still be here to see another Christmas, another new year and experience my son receiving the priesthood power.
Great memories still are awaiting their turn to be made. I have hope in the future. My future.
Yes. That is how Thomas and I view Jodi's kids. They are our precious niece and cute nephews but we have always loved them and felt like they are our bonus kids. We cherish each of them and love their unique little personalities and their incredible spirits.
We rejoiced and longed for each of these kids right along with Jodi and Troy. With Brooklyn, we prayed for her and couldn't wait to meet her. As soon as I could, I drove to Cali to meet her. I consider her "my girl" and she is Thomas' little miss. She holds a very special place in our hearts.
Brigham is my sweetheart. He helped to heal my broken heart. The day I found out about Brigham, was one of the greatest day of my life. No, things didn't work out for me and Thomas and our baby but they did with Brigham and I couldn't be more grateful. He is my little cuddler. He loves dogs like I do. He loves repairing things with Thomas. His smile melts my heart.
Talmage is my little buddy. He has been my comfort and strength on the days I could do no more than just cuddle and watch movies. He has always accepted me and my limitations as "enough". He saved me when my boys would go to school and work so I wasn't alone. Love and cherish him. He is Thomas' little buddy and follows him everywhere like a little shadow. His favorite place to talk Thomas into going is to Dunkin' Donuts.
So the fact that we were able to have them celebrate Father's Day with us was such a treat.
We had a fun weekend with them. Friday night we had our movie night with blanket forts, pizza, popcorn, ice cream sandwiches and cuddles. Saturday morning Thomas took e kids to McDonalds play land to play. Saturday evening the three oldest were spoiled by Aunt Suzi with the movies and a trip to Toys R Us. While Talmage played with Thomas and Max, wrestling and having tickle wars. Talmage and I then cuddled on the couch and watch a movie.
Sunday was Father's Day activities and all kids were fantastic during church. I wish I would have taken a picture but we all got to church on time which was a feat in and of itself. Sunday evening we hung out and relaxed and played together as a family.
We are so grateful that these kiddos are in our lives. They are cute and precious and sweet and just down right great kids. Love them.
Wrestling with Thomas and the boys.
We tired out Talmage as he fell asleep sitting up. So cute.
Max did not let Thomas tickle Talmage. He definitely is on the kids' teams.
No pics of Brooklyn and Hayden because if they were here and not in a structured activity, they played Minecraft on XBOX. Hayden loved having so much video game time.
Great weekend. Tiring. But fun! I love you kids, all of you!
Happy Father's Day to the world's greatest dad ever! We are so lucky to have this guy be apart of our lives. He is incredible. This great guy of ours loves us and cares for us and makes sure all is wonderful for us.
Thomas works and works and works to provide for us temporally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
He gets up each morning before 5:00 am. He gets ready. He takes Max out to the bathroom. He runs to Circle K to get me my morning Diet Coke. He comes home and makes eggs and toast or breakfast burritos for Hayden and me. He lovingly wakes us up with my medicine in hand. He helps me up. He helps me to get ready and do all the morning tasks that I need help conquering. He gets his stuff together and before leaving for work, he gathers us together and offers morning prayers. He gives Hayden a pep talk or list of chores or advice before he leaves. He makes sure that I am taken care of and have everything close by that I need before he leaves.
He works all day. On Tuesdays and Thursdays he works until almost 10:00pm at night. Wednesday night he has Elders Quorum meetings and church visits.
Yet, he still finds time to grocery shop, clean around the house, run errands, keep up on his "honey to do" lists and makes sure that Hayden and I have all we need. He helps with family home evening and scripture study each night. He always finds time to play with Hayden and read with him.
We are so lucky that he is ours. We love this guy with all of our hearts.
So for Father's Day we wanted to do some thing special to show him we loved him.
Not only that but he willingly and happily watched our cute niece and nephews over the Father's Day weekend. He adores Brooklyn, Brigham and Talmage like they were his own. And they LOVE and ADORE him!
Hayden wrote this adorable candy bar poster.
Dad, we wanted to give you a Whopping100Grand for Father's Day but the money slipped through our Butterfingers. We didn't have any ExtraWhatchamacalits hanging around and it wasn't Payday. We didn't think you wanted a pet Turtle or a trip to New York or Orbit around the MilkyWay. Instead, we want you to Take5, Relax and watch a Movie while eating your favorite MikeandIke's. we wish you Mounds and Mounds of AlmondJoy. We really Skored with you in our lives. You are M&M (marvelous and magnificent). We love you! Hugs and Kisses, you Jer Bear (cinnamonbears), your Rockin Son Hayden (PopRocks), your HotTamale Dog Max and your Special three extra musketeers Brooklyn, Brigham and Talmage.
Hayden was so proud of himself and Thomas loved how happy Hayden was to shower his dad with gifts. Including a coupon book for breakfast in bed, extra chores, a lunch date, video game night and many more.
Yep, we are lucky to have is guy. Happy Father's Day, Thomas! We love and adore you with all of our hearts! Thanks for being so wonderful!!!
Aunt Suzi bought Hayden and Brooklyn summer passes to Big Surf. They went for the first time this season. They were so excited to get to to to the water park with Suzi. They were on Cloud 9 waiting for Suzi to get there. They played Minecraft and laughed and giggled and eagerly awaited the fun and excitement that were to be had. I loved listening to them talk and hear the anticipation in their voices and the big plans of being brave that were being hatched. I love their friendship. I am so so so grateful that Hayden has such a close relationship with Brooklyn.
Of course, Aunt Suzi even made it more special by driving thru Freddy's on the way to Big Surf for chocolate shakes, fries and burgers.
The kids had a great time, as I guessed they would. They are excited to go back with Aunt Suzi. I think they had equal amounts of fun just being with Aunt Suzi as they did actually playing in the water at Big Surf. I love that Suzi makes them feel like the coolest kids on the earth when they are with her. Lucky kids that is for sure. I hope they realized how fortunate they are to have an Aunt Suzi in their lives.
Hayden has loved that I am home from work all summer. I may sleep a lot during the days but I try to be fun when I can.
Gunter has come over and the boys have played some funny games. They put pillows in their shirts and pretended to be Sumo Wrestlers for hours on end. They laughed and laughed and had the best time.
Thomas set a tent up for Hayden in the toy room and the boys watched movies, ate smores and camped all night in the tent. They absolutely loved it and keep begging Thomas to put the tent back up.
I love that Hayden enjoys life. He finds the fun and excitement in all he does. I love that even the smallest gesture for an adventure is met with full childhood imagination and turn into grand adventures for him. I hope he always keeps his zest for life.
I awoke this morning to a house full of munchkins. Everywhere I walked there were kiddos laying in all sorts of funny positions. One laying on the bed cuddling with me on my bed, one sprawled out across the arm chair, one laying side ways on the pile of blankets on the family room floor and one curled up in a ball, mummified in a blanket. As I saw this scene this morning, a huge smile spread across my face.
Life is funny. Had someone asked me to picture my life 20 years ago, it would look much like the scene in my house this morning. Four kids sprawled out all over the family room and in my bed. A dog that was a part of the family, frantically trying to lick all the kids to wake them up to play. And a husband that loves us all and is ready on Saturday morning to watch cartoons, make breakfast and relish in the joys of playing and wrestling with a bunch of our children.
I may not have the entire picture every day but I do get occasionally. It makes me realize that there isn't just one happy picture. A perfect life can take on many different scenarios.
Yes, I would have been happy with four kids, a dog and a wonderful husband. I love the chaos. I love kids talking a million miles a minute and laughing with one another. I love that there is always one that wants cuddles.
I also absolutely love that I can devote all my time to one. I love that I do not feel as pulled between trying to meet the needs of so many at the same time.
There are pros and cons to every situation in life. With the good comes the bad and with the joy comes heartbreak. I am so glad that I learned early on to cherish what I do have and not always look to what I wish would have happened or longed for the impossible.
As I see it now, I have the best of both worlds. I have a son that means the world to me, that I cherish and love and absolutely adore. I am able to be there for him most of the time and meet his needs because he is the only one.
When I long for more and the craziness that comes with a house full of kids, I get Jodi's kids. I get to experience the joy of a house full of munchkins. In those moments, I cherish the chaos, soak in cuddles from more than one child at a time, and relish in the laughter that comes with a bunch of kids in the house.
So for today and the rest of the weekend, I will enjoy being a busy mom that come from having four kids in our home. I will enjoy the craziness and noise and messes and busyness. For all too soon our lives will go back to the calmness and rhythm of one boy, one dad, one mom and one dog.
No, this wasn't my picture or my goal or my dream but it is my perfection. It is my joy. It is my life and my happy place. I love the life that I have been given. I cherish the joys and package that it has turned out to be. Lucky for me, I get to experience both. I really do have the best of all worlds.
Max is such a great little dog. I have always had big dogs, so this is an entirely new experience for me. Max is cuddly, small, playful, loving, curious, funny and has a huge personality. He does not like being disciplined and will pout. He turns his head and tears will stream down his face. He smiles. Yes, completely and entirely. If he is happy, he will smile from ear to ear. The puppy is a bouncing machine. He can jump on my high bed, he can leap from couch to couch, he walks along the back of the couch like a cat, he is full of energy. He loves to play ball, get his toy and fetch. He absolutely loves bones and baby carrots are his favorite snack or treat even above bacon.
Max is like a baby. He gets rocked to sleep. He cuddles. He will come get me and then go to my bedroom door when it is nap time. He knows we sleep right after lunch and boy when he gets tired does he let me know. He wants his momma to lay down with him to take a nap.
Max loves to play. He loves to swing with Hayden. He loves to get Hayden when he is under the blanket. He loves to play fetch. He loves to find his toys around my back or under the blanket with Hayden.
Max has to sleep cuddled into one of the three of us. He moves many times during the night to make sure he gets sufficient cuddles in with each of us.
Hayden is training Max. They are working on sitting, lay down and most importantly, go potty outside. He has learned that potty outside equals a small piece of puppy bacon. It is a training period for Hayden too, to understand what Max wants and is asking for. Hayden wants to teach Max to dance and do all types of jumping through hoops. Max isn't so sure of Hayden's request right now.
Max does love playing ball with Hayden and loves his light up ball. He chases it through the house. We laugh when he is done, he will hide the ball behind the couch saying that he is all done but wants to end up victorious. Funny dog.
Hayden spends endless hours playing with Max. I love that I have a napping buddy. I love holding a little buddy on my lap and cuddling with him. He is therapeutic for both me and Hayden. Thomas is great with him because he is fairly little work for Thomas, as most of the responsibility for feeding, watering, dog poop, going outside and cleaning up after Max is Hayden's responsibility. So far, so good. Hayden doesn't complain but willingly and happily takes care of his dog.
Yes, we are in love with our little Maxi poo over here. He has quickly warmed his way into our hearts. We consider him a vital and wonderful part of our family. We cannot get enough of him or his cute little personality. We love you, Max!
Hayden is one loved boy. He has so many people that come around and do special things for him. It melts my heart at all the kindness he is surrounded by.
Grandma Joyce spends every Wednesday with Hayden. They do different fun activities. This Wednesday, they painted Christmas ornaments in both ceramics and wood. Grandma also gave Hayden an art lesson in chalk drawings. I was amazed at how good Joyce is at art. Hayden definitely gets his artistic abilities from the Murphy side. I love that he loves to create and is talented in the arts.
Not only is Grandma doing fun activities with Hayden, she is also teaching him to cook. He is loving cooking lessons and loves planning the menu for Grandma to help teach him such important skills.
He did a GREAT job on his teddy bear bell Christmas ornament. He cannot wait to hang it on his tree with the rest of the ornaments that Grandma has made him. Hayden is going to have an entire ornament collection when he gets married and moves out. Each year I buy him an ornament that represents his year. He also receives a handmade ornament from Grandma Joyce with the year on it. I love the tradition and we have fun putting all the ornaments on his tree while discussing when he received the ornaments and the stories behind them. He was excited to add to his collection by creating some of his own masterpieces.
Thanksgiving Day 2006 was a sad day in our lives. We went to the hospital to pick up our baby girl and the birth mom had changed her mind. On the same phone call that we found out we were not getting our baby girl, we were notified that our dogs, Toby and Bear had been hit by a car and died. We were devastated.
The next day, inconsolable, we went to Petsmart to a dog rescue event and came home with Princess and Spanky. These two little puppies eased my empty arms at not having a newborn baby to hold. They eased the pain of a five year old boy who had just lost both his dogs and a baby sister. Their cuddles and love eased the blow of a pink baby room empty and arms that should have held a fresh from heaven baby girl. Instead we had puppies.
Spanky and Princess eased the pain of that horrific day and the earth shattering events that unfolded in our lives that year of miscarriages, failed adoptions, death of our beloved pets and many other hard things.
These two had warmed their way into our hearts and family. We loved and cherished them.
As I have been sick, Princess also became ill. With my ever growing medical bills, we could not care for Princess in the way that she needed. When we are struggling to get doctors to treat me due to such high medical bills, there is no way to use our precious resources to pay for vet bills and expensive treatments for our dog. Many tears were shed over what to do. I tried helping to heal Princess all naturally but with how sick I have been, it was hit and miss. Thomas is burning the candle at all ends trying to work and take care of me and Hayden. Add on all the responsibilities of a mom and dad and he is at his complete max for taking on any additional responsibilities.
Princess began yelping in pain and the pain meds were no longer working. We knew the end was getting close and were devastated as what needed to be done.
As we were trying to figure out how to put Princess down without Hayden completely losing it, we received a call about Max. I had literally just stood from kneeling in prayer when we found out about Max. Hayden had just cried that he almost lost his mom and now was going to lose his dogs. Max was the answer to our prayers. We were given a thousand dollar companion dog at the time that Princess needed to be taken from our home.
After much prayer and consideration, we found out that Princess had an infection that was possibly contributing to my health problems. If indeed Spanky was a carrier, as well, then they both needed to go. Heartbroken, Thomas and I tried to figure out a plan.
Just as with Max falling into our laps, so did a solution for what we needed to do with our big dogs. A rescue shelter was willing to take both dogs and nurse Princess back to health.
Sadly, Thomas got up the next morning and took Spanky and Princess to a rescue facility so that Princess could get the medical help she so desperately needed and deserved. Spanky was with her to help nurse her back to health. Both of them together would be placed for adoption.
Thomas said that dropping them off was one of the hardest things he has ever had to do. Without him wanting to, the tears fell down his cheeks as he said goodbye. He said that the look in Spanky's eyes of trust and love is something he will always remember. The only good thing about the day was that the rescue intake workers fell so in love with the dogs that they were adopted right then and there.
Just as Max is better off with us and is home, I pray that Spanky and Princess are getting the help they need and have found a loving family to call their people.
The backyard is quiet. There are no dogs barking when rabbits venture into our backyard. There isn't anyone to jump against the door alerting me that someone is walking up to our front door. There is no one watching out for me as I walk along the back yard. I find myself having to shut the windows as the emptiness of the dogs being gone breaks my heart.
I know that this was the best for all of us. I couldn't risk the dogs causing me to get sicker. We couldn't afford medical treatments for me and Princess. Spanky and Princess are hopefully in a much better environment but I wish I could have expressed the feelings in mine and Thomas' hearts how much we loved those "mutts" as Thomas lovingly called them. Life is quieter and filled with more silence.
Thankfully, the Lord once again sent us a tender mercy and prepared Hayden for the loss of his dogs. He sent Max. I am in awe continually at the workings of our Savior. He knew that we would struggle, especially Hayden, at losing his friends. Yet, before we even realized how close the end was with us and our big dogs, the Lord knew and he put his plan in place for our family. His tender mercies are real. His gentleness and love is perfect. I pray each day for Spanky and Princess and that they will be comforted. I also thank my Savior for healing Hayden's heart by sending us Max. Yes, the Savior's plan is perfect. Whether it is performing miracles in behalf of my health or preparing the way for a young boy's heart to be healed, the Savior is constantly in the details of our lives.
Hayden came home from school one day all excited because Nerf was having a contest. If you signed up and were chosen, you could be one of the lucky families across the nation picked to host a Nerf Water Gun Wars house party. He just knew we would get picked. After much pleading, I went and signed up. After all, thousands of people would enter and only a handful would be picked. What were the chances that we would be chosen to receive a box full of Nerf water guns and Cheetos for a party. I was the world's best mom for trying so I figured it was a win-win.
Imagine my complete surprise when we were chosen to be one of the house party recipients for Arizona. I panicked at first and figured that I would have help pulling it off and the boys would have a great time. The day that two huge boxes showed up at our door was like hitting the lottery for Hayden. The bigger box contained a dozen bags of Cheetos. The second box held the beloved treasures of five brand new Nerf water guns and stickers, coupons and other goodies for the party. We were on count down to the big day and with each day the excitement and anticipation grew.
When Lisa called and said that they were coming to town, it was the icing on the cake. Not only would Hayden have this incredible Nerf party but Chad would be there. Life was turning out pretty much perfect for Hayden.
The big day arrived and Hayden was filled with excitement. Poor Chad was woken up very early by an excited Hayden. As Gunter and Landon were dropped off, Hayden just bounced from room to room with excitement.
Once at Jodi's the Nerf water gun war party began. The party turned out to be even better than his imagination and exceeded all expectations. Pretty much a picture perfect day when an 11 year old boy, his friends, cousins, and the dads all jump in the pool together with water guns. There was laughter and squealing all over the place. The pictures say it all. I think that Thomas, Robert and Chad had ever bit as much fun as the younger boys. The all loved it.
Top that off with a great barbecue of hamburgers and hot dogs and of course as many Cheetos as you could eat. Watermelon, dipped caramel apples and soda topped off the yummy barbecue. Life was great.
Hayden loved each and every moment. The boys swam from early in the morning and spent the entire day in the pool. Hayden is still talking about how much fun they had and is looking forward to our next Nerf water gun wars party.
I have to admit. I am glad we won. Lucky for me, we have so many wonderful people that are willing to pitch in and help to pull off such fun events for Hayden and our family. It turned out perfect in Jodi's pool and was the perfect addition that Lisa, Robert and Chad were able to celebrate with us. Definitely a perfect day in Hayden's eyes. And when it all comes down to it, any day that is perfect for Hayden, is pretty much perfect in my eyes, too.