Friday, August 23, 2013

Everyday Life

Love these kiddos. 

I love Talmage whispering to Hayden and telling him stories. I love that Talmage idolizes Hayden and wants to be around him, share secrets and get his opinions. 

Hayden and Brooklyn have become best of friends. They act just like brother and sister. Love the giggles and laughter that abounds when they get together. They have turned into each others great supports and biggest fans. 
Love my boy! I still get up at night to watch him sleep. To sit by him and whisper how much I love him while he sleeps. I tell him how important he is and all of his wonderful qualities. I hope it sinks in so he knows how incredible he is. I hope while he sleeps, he dreams and inspires to become and achieve all the wonderful things he is capable of. He will move mountains. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Poor little Max!

Poor Max!

Max had to have three surgeries in one day. He finally hit six pounds and went in for his neuter, have two teeth removed and have his third eyelid surgically repaired. Poor baby. 

He came out of the surgery absolutely miserable and in pain. He looked awful! 

Worst yet, he had to sport the "cone of shame". 

The day after surgery, Max cried and wimpered. He wouldn't walk or eat at all. I felt horrible as he just cried, yelped and felt horrible. I finally called the vet and brought him in, explaining all that was going on. 

As the vet came out, she handed Max back to me with a smile on her face. She said he was fine but had turned into a drama queen. She said that Max is so spoiled rotten that he realizes if he moans and whimpers that I will pick him up, cuddle him and baby him. She said that yes, he hurt, but not to the point he was being vocal about it. 
I laughed. He definitely is the little baby at our house. He is spoiled and we love and adore him!
We had to go run and pick up something the other night and didn't want to leave Max at home, even though we were only going to be gone for a few minutes. 

We stopped by McDonalds and got ice cream cones. Thomas bought Max a little toddler cone. He LOVED it! He ate his and then whined because I wouldn't give him mine. Ok. So maybe he is a little spoiled.
Max has absolutely despised the dreaded cone of shame. He is miserable and keeps running into everything. Plus it has to be very uncomfortable. 
After his follow up yesterday, Julie bought him this long fluffy bunny. He loves it. He wrapped it around his neck bit it do no one would take it. He slept with it around his neck last night. It must have been comfy because he brought it to me today to wrap around his neck before he fell asleep. Too funny. 

Drama King or not, we sure do love and adore this pup and all the joy and happiness he brings to our lives. 

Hopefully he will only have to keep the dreaded come of shame for another week. U til then, we will gladly indulge him JD wrap his soft little bunny around his neck to make the days with the cone more bearable. 

We love you, Max! (Maximum, Maxwell, snack attack, drama king, and all the other nicknames we have for this dear puppy)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Total Score

I joined an online garage sale forum. I saw a brand new pair of jeans, in Hayden's size, for a great price. I contacted the lady selling them and arranged a time for Thomas to come pick them up. She texted me and told me that she had other clothes, if I was interested. I asked her to text me pictures. Instead, when Thomas showed up, she handed him a huge bag of clothes, told him to go home, figure out what we wanted, bring back what we didn't want and the money for what we did want to buy. 

I was shocked that she was willing and trusting to do that. 

We woke up Hayden. We had a fashion show. He loved every minute trying on clothes and modeling them. He is starting to care what he looks like and has a pretty good eye for what looks good together. 

I absolutely loved sitting on the couch and Hayden coming out with a new outfit on and laughing and modeling. I loved that at $2 a shirt, I could say yes to everything that looked good on him. I enjoyed listening to him decide what looked good on him and why he felt that way. 

All three of us laughed and had a great time picking our clothes and deciding what to buy and keep and what to send back. 

I loved being apart of the process rather than sending him with someone else to pick clothes. Better yet, was that I was able to purchase ALL of Hayden's clothes for this fall/winter in one evening. And the cost was unbeatable. 5 pairs of jeans and 10 shirts, which is everything he needs besides his school uniform shirts, for a total of $60. Some of the items even had tags on them. 

Blessings come in all shapes and sizes, if we are really look for them. Prayers are answered all the time although sometimes in very different ways than we expect the blessings to come. 

I prayed for the "extra" money to buy Hayden the things he needed. I prayed for the energy and strength to shop for the clothes with him. I expected the blessings to come in the form of extra cash and increased energy. Instead, The Lord met my needs and answered my prayers in his own unique ways. 1) He provided clothes for Hayden at a discounted cost that didn't require us receiving additional money. 2) Instead of miraculously giving me more strength, I was provided an opportunity to have the fun experience with Hayden and Thomas picking clothes from the comfort of my own home and without leaving the couch. 

Does The Lord hear and  answer my prayers? Absolutely! All the time even if I do not immediately see the answer. 

Dear Hayden, if I can teach you anything, please know that your mom has a testimony of the power of prayer! The Lord answers. He always answers. Sometimes we have to search harder to see the blessings, but they are there. The Lord hears our pleas, regardless of the size. He blesses us with all things we stand in need of... look for his blessings and the tender mercies he sends. They are there, they are sometimes just packaged much differently than we expect. However, they come. They always come. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Korean food adventure

We love Jackson. All of us. He is a joy to be around and is such a great friend to Hayden. 

He was spending the big last Friday night when my kimchi craving kicked in. Thomas told the boys he was going to go pick up kimchi and Kimbab. They wanted to go. Jackson loves Japanese and Chinese food and wanted to try Korean food. Thomas agreed and we all took off to go. 

Luckily it was almost empty so we received our food quickly. It was so fun watching Jackson try all the foods. He tried it all and loved it. We even taught him to use chopsticks. 

He was funny and we loved just listening to the boys talk about school, life and their plans. 

On the way home, the boys had has cracking up laughing. They are getting so funny. So witty. So much fun to just joke with and be with. I have to admit, it was one of my best nights in a long long time. I actually felt okay and was able to get out for a little bit. Spending time with my boys, absolutely makes my heart smile. 

Life. Is. Good. So. Very. Good.

Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday to me!

I survived to make it to another birthday! This year I celebrated that I survived the past year and so looked forward to a day of celebration. 

I was lucky enough to get to go to breakfast with this cute boy and his momma. I loved Talmage cuddling up to me while we awaited our apple stuffed French toast to cook. I loved being out of the house and enjoying time with my sister and sweet nephew. 

We laughed. We talked. We discussed parenting. How to help our kiddos. Jodi's remodeling project and anything and everything else. Talmage cuddled and told me a lot of knock knock jokes. Such a fun age. 

We headed home to watch a movie at my house. I think. Made Jodi a little uptight that our outing caused me to go into seizures. I came to with her pointing the laser at my head and giving me frankincense to take. It was worth going out and having those precious moments even if a seizure occurred. 
At lunch time, Julie picked Hayden up from school, grabbed my favorite macadamia nut chicken from Kona Grill and spent the afternoon with me. Hayden even had Grandma Julie go to Baskin Robbins and get me an ice cream cake. So yummy! 

Ann and Toni Call stopped by in the late afternoon ad brought me these gorgeous coral roses. We chatted and talked and had a great time. I sure love and adore them! 

Suzi picked up Iceberg yummy fries and shakes for dinner and came over. Hayden was so worried that I wasn't going to have a cake and begged Suzi to help him make one. Thomas had to work late so he was so bummed. Ann came over, too and spent time just hanging out. 

When Thomas came home, he arrived with these pink and purple roses. So pretty. I loved how they all looked together. I was thrilled that we were able to spend some time together. 
Haydn enjoyed making and decorating my cake. It sure was yummy! He did a fantastic job!
I honestly felt encircled in love. So many people sent wonderful texts, Facebook messages, called and stopped by. I felt such love. 

I am grateful for all the wonderful people in my life that make me feel like a million bucks. Most of all, I am grateful to be a mom to my sweet Hayden and a wife to my beloved husband. They fill my world with joy and love. What a pretty perfect day! 

I am ready for the new adventures, lessons ready to be learned and the blessings this year will bring. Let the journey begin!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Goodbye 42. Welcome 43.

For anyone that has kept up on my life at all, it won't surprise you that I am glad to have my forty-secondth year behind me. I have mixed emotions when I look back on this past year. Don't get me wrong, I am most grateful that I survived this year and am still alive. But it has tried me and tested me, strengthened my faith, brought miracles and at moments I would have gladly succumbed to death to escape the horrific depths of pain I faced. 

So as I turn another year older today, my heart is full of gratitude as I reminisce about the past year. 

My 42nd year started with an immune system transplant, brought bouts with seizures, short lived comas, four different battles of meningitis, hundreds of doctors visits, had a half of dozen different doctors give me less than a week to live, took what I thought were some of my final breaths, spent months in excruciating pain and have survived against all odds. 

Along with the challenges I have faced, my 42nd year brought more miracles and love than I could have ever imagined. I was the recipient of genuine Christlike service from more people than I can count. Heart touching moments were numerous and I have never felt more love. Cupcakes for a Cure touched my heart in ways I could never express. I felt surrounded in love. I have had the life altering experience of being taught by my Savior. I have felt his loving arms around me as I struggled to breathe. I have be encircled in the arms of love of those on this earth and those that have gone before. My testimony has been strengthened. My gratitude has grown exponentially. My love for my Savior, family and friends is without express able words. 

I have been surrounded by incredible family and friends. I have had the support and care of genuinely Christlike people. I have never loved my husband more. He has served and loved me every single day. I have been wrapped in the arms of my loving son. He has made me smile and brought incredible joy to my heart and soul. They have given me the strength to survive beyond all earthly abilities. Along with my amazing extended family and friends, they have all buoyed me up and brought strength well beyond my own. 

Most of all, my Savior has loved me, brought beautiful priesthood blessings and worked amazing miracles in my life. I am still on this earth because of the love of my Savior. My heart has never felt such gratitude, love or complete thanksgiving for all I have been blessed with and given. 

So, as I close this year and start a new one, I am hoping for healing. Praying for answers. Pleading for the strength of my body to heal itself. I know all of these blessings will come only at the mercy and love of my Savior. But I know if it is his will, I will survive and against all odds find healing. If it is not our Savior's will, I will be forever grateful for these moments I spent in the refiners fire so that I could be sanctified to know my Savior. To have the blessing of his companionship, the recipient of his tender mercies and to have spent the beautiful moments with my loved ones. 

Yes. 42 was a crazy year. The most painful, most trying, most compassionate, most heartfelt, loving and incredible year anyone could ever experience. I am grateful my Savior loved me enough to allow me to experience a lifetime of learning in a single year. 

I pray that my 43rd year brings healing and joy and love. 

Regardless. I am so grateful for the incredible group of earthly angels that have surrounded me and loved me every single day. I am forever grateful!

Aug 7th

Having my mom's birthday the day before mine always brings lots of joy and longing. Longing for my mom to be with me. Longing for the unknown. Longing for what life wold be like if my mom would have lived. 

I know I am who I am because I had her for a dear mother. I also know her death and having to grow up quickly had a huge impact on who I am. I gained strength. I learned to rely on my Savior. I learned to trust myself. I learned to rely on what I had learned and strength beyond my own.

This year I awoke to a beautiful text from my brother, Josh. He said he was remembering mom and how lucky we were to all have her in our lives. 

I responded with a note to each of my brothers individually and my sister. I wrote them how I felt my mom sees them today and tried to note the things she would admire and be proud of them for. I tried to see each of them as my mom and our Savior sees them. 

When I looked at each of them from that perspective, I was amazed at the incredible people I saw. I saw leaders, great parents, loyal spouses, true disciples of our Savior and people who love and care about those around them. As I expressed my joy and love of each of them, my love for each one grew. My admiration at each of them and their lives, brought added love and even more respect and feelings of gratitude. 

Lucky for me, each responded with gentle words of kindness and respect and love back. The notes will be ones I always cherish. 

Josh expressed his love for me. That mom is proud of me. That he would do anything for me. 

Jake expressed his love for me as a sister and friend. I told me of the example I was to him. He told me that he has always strived to be more like me as he has lived his life. I expressed his desire for me to get better and have great times again like before I got sick. Swimming, BBQ's and playing cards are all missed. He expressed he loved me more than the world. 

JD was touched by my text. He expressed feeling mom close and how much she loves and misses each of us. He said that my loving ways, kindness and consideration were qualities from mom. Of course expressed his love for me and gratitude for me being his sister. 

Jodi, of course, took me to breakfast and we talked and shared stories and all the things that best friends and sisters do. She has my back like almost no one else. Her constant support and sacrifice for me is inexpressible. 

The messages touched my heart. They made my day. They caused me to really sit and evaluate the quality and impact of one life. I am so grateful that I was chosen to be apart of this family. That I was lucky enough to be chosen as the eldest sibling to these incredible people. They have each touched my heart in very unique and special ways. 

I am grateful for a mom that taught me to love. That encouraged us siblings to be close and develop relationships with one another. For a father that kept traditions and took us on trips together and did all he could to help us to build everlasting relationships and friendships. That knew we would need each other long after he and my mom left this earth. 

Happy birthday, Mom! You are loved and missed more than you could ever imagine. I am grateful to be your daughter and have the privilege to be apart of the Simonton family. Thank you for showing me the way to be sick. For teaching me endurance and perseverance, patience in trials, enduring to the end, trusting the Savior and so many more important truths. 

Most of all, because I have had to live without you. Thank you for encouraging me to hold,on and fight and continue to live. 

I am so very grateful! 


My sweet mother-in-law, Joyce, made me a beautiful birthday dinner of fried chicken and mashed potatoes and gravy, the night before my birthday. She also brought me some cute new charms for my bracelet. Love it. 

Joyce has been a wonderful mom to Thomas, a great support and friend to me and a wonderful Grandma to Hayden. We are so grateful for her in our lives. She lovingly would do anything for us. She makes us dinner once a week and does something fun with Hayden. 

Hayden is lucky to have such an incredible grandma that wants to spend time with h. And do fun things with him. They make all kind of arts and crafts, paint, go to movies, cook and experiment together. 

How lucky are we to have her wonderful love and concern in our lives. 

Preschool bound

How did my baby nephew grow up so stinking fast? How did this precious little one that has learned to walk, talk, tease, play and cuddle with me, to and get so big? Talmage has been my little buddy ever since I became ill. He was only a year and a half old when I got sick. So he has been by my side with his incredible momma, all during my illness. We have watched movies and cuddled. Jodi potty trained him here. He learned to talk. He learned his love of all things Disney. He learned to be gentle and quiet and has become so independent. He has brought more love in my heart and home. 

Oh little buddy. You have been one of my greatest tender mercies during this trial. You have been a bright spot and brought so much comfort and hope when all felt lost and out of control. Your smile could melt away the pain, your laughter has eased my troubled heart and one hug could turn heartache into joy. You have magical hugs, my little boy. 

I hope you have so much fun in preschool. But don't grow up too fast. Stay little. I want you to stay my little buddy forever and ever. I love you. Always have. Always will. 


Hayden's dream is to be a rocking guitar player. He wants to start a band. He loves music. He has a great voice. He has amazing music understanding. 

When we found an electric guitar on Craigslist, well, we bit the bullet, paid the $30 and decided to break down and purchase him his guitar. Suzi is going to put Hayden I guitar lessons. 

I am guessing that I will grow to have a love/hate relationship with this guitar.  All love Hysen living his dreams and developing a talent. I am not sure about all the practice reminders I will have to give and the "do I have to practice now" statements that inevitably will come. And I am not sure if my ears are ready for loud guitar sounds. 

Ready or not, my mom and dad let me live my dreams. They encouraged my interests. They put up with my banging on the piano when I didn't want to practice, the tears when the cello hurt my fingers and made callouses, the high pitched squeaks of a flute and unending pounding from dancing my way through the house and everywhere I went. Oh yes. I tortured my parents. My mom always wished she would be around for my kids to,whine and complain at me for being, "the meanest mom in the world," for making them practice like I lovingly told my mother when I had to practice instead of play. 

Here we go. Let the music adventure begin!

Best friends

These two missed each other like crazy whole Brooklyn was at Lake Powell and Hayden started school. They have become best of friends and I love it! 

Hayden couldn't wait ormBrooklyn to get back and they could play Minecraft and Legos. 

Love love love these two and the incredible friendship they share. 

First big project

First week of school and the projects have already begun. 

Science - invent and create a new invention for a cure/solution that means a lot to you. 

Assigned on Tuesday. Due on Wednesday. 

Thank heavens for he following things: 1) it was Suzi's pick up and help complete homework day. 2) I keep a lot of extra art supplies around 3) Hayden had been making recycled robots and inventions over the summer so we had items like egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, died ramen and all types of glue all in one place. 

It is going to be a very busy homework year. 

Hayden invented an electronic/nano/information bug that can climb into your skin, find its way to your heart, take pictures, diagnose issues and climb back out withou iv sedation, no surgery required, no hospital stays and immediate diagnosis. 

Yes. This kid has definitely grown up around way too many doctor visits and health issues. I really think he will go into some type of scientific and medical research and development. He has amazing ideas and is extremely creative and a complete out of the box thinker. He amazes me every single day!

Hidden pineapple

Hayden found a hidden pineapple at Target and had to take a picture to send I to the Psych TV show. He is a huge fan Shawn and Gus and Psych. Funny boy!

My TT boy

Love my Talmage Troy boy. The laughter this kid brings into my life is inexpressible. Seriously the luckiest aunt ever! Look at this cute boy, who wouldn't absolutely adore and cherish him. 

Talmage has always called Julie, "Grammie". The other day he just said, "Julie". I think it literally shattered her heart into pieces. He laughed, as all little independent three year olds would do. However, she quickly reminded him of the "grandma drawer" filled with hot wheels, motorcycles and other little toys. In true Talmage fashion, he chimed in, "I will call you Grammie and Grammie Julie. And you will be my Grammie forever. I love my Grammie Julie." Oh boy. He certainly knows how to work every single one of us. Of course, he loved getting a toy from the Grandma drawer, too, soon after he chanted, "Grammie" over and over throughout the house. 


A couple of weeks ago, I was blessed to meet with Dr. Hill, while he was teaching a convention in Mesa. I was so grateful for the time I was able to spend with him talking to me, teaching me, helping me and giving me guidance and direction. 

As we spoke  my heart was overcome with inexpressible peace. Dr. Hill is an amazing man. Words cannot express the overwhelming goodness that can be felt while in his presence. As he spoke, I felt the Holy Ghost teaching me, guiding me, and bearing witness of the truthfulness of Dr. Hill's advice and inspired words. Understanding came upon my mind, as I understood more what was taking place in my brain. I understood the swelling, how the infection was wreaking havoc on my body, how the seizures play in and the toll all of these things are taking on my body. 

Most of all, when Dr. Hill wrapped me in a hug, I felt hope. 

After we met, Jodi and I stayed at the conference to try and learn more about the brain, neurology and how amazing our bodies are and how we can help our bodies to heal themselves. 

Most of all, I was in awe if the events that conspired to be able to lead me to this place of healing and learning. 

Hours prior to needing to leave to meet with Dr. Hill and attend the conference, I couldn't walk and or see. I awoke in excruciating pain that morning. My legs were stiff, wouldn't move and the pain shooting out was horrendous. My brain must have had extreme swelling because I was struggling to see and words were all blurred together, as well as images on the tv and around me. I could not see clearly, gut only in a very blurry and muted sort of way. I was vomiting because of the sheer pain I was in. 

I was devastated. Here I needed to meet with Dr. Hill and I couldn't walk or see. To calm me down, Thomas placed his hands in my head and through the power of the priesthood, called down the powers of heaven. The Savior lovingly helped bring peace, relief, comfort and strength. In the blessing, I was told that I needed to see the power of the Savior. I had to know that the strength and energy to go meet with Dr. Hill and attend the conference ONLY came as a gift from the Savior. The strength I would receive would not be my own, but His! I felt temporary healing shoot throughout my body. Relief came in forms of pain relief, ability to move more freely, my sight returned and I felt a calmness and love and peace encircle me. Gratitude enfolded me. 

As I look back, I am still in awe of the gifts and tender mercies that The Lord gives each day. I was able to sit and be taught about my body. Interestingly enough, when the things I needed to learn were done, so was my body. I struggled to walk to the car and the drive home brought out the exhaustion, unimaginable pains and the return of my body's frailties. I fell onto the couch and didn't move for the next several days. 

I again experienced the power and miracles of the Savior. He continues to give me what I need. He teaches me and guides me to health. He is always with me and walks this journey with me. Words cannot express my love and devotion to my sweet Savior. I do stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me. Today and every day. I love him. I bear witness of him. He lives!

Me and Max

After going to see Dr. Hill, I was so so so tired. Absolutely exhausted. I came home and fell on the couch and went right to sleep. 

Hayden was happy that I was home but just as happy that I was sleeping so he and his dad could get in a guy movie instead of a movie that mom likes, too. 

I love my little Max buddy! He cuddles, sleeps with me and keeps me company. I'd be completely lost without him. With Hayden in school and Thomas at work, Max is becoming my dog! I love him!

Meet Kenzie

Julie's son, Sean and wife, Jan, had a baby girl, Kenzie a couple of weeks ago. She is a sweetie and a little doll. So cute! I love sweet little babies. So tender from heaven. I hold them and wish they could talk. I want to just hold them and love their sweet little spirits. 

I am excited for Sean and Jan and of course, Grandma Julie. She is thrilled to have a granddaughter. This little girl is going to be spoiled rotten with being the only girl. 

Congrats! I am excited to have a new little niece! (I love that so many people let me claim the cherished Aunt Jer role!) I can never have too many babies and little ones to love. 

Fun filled weekend

With school back in full force, so are boys coming and going from our house. Last weekend, Jackson and Gunter spent the weekend with us. Suzi took them all to see the Wolverine and they had a great time. 

The boys stayed up late. They couldn't quit talking and laughing. 

Never fear, Hayden and Jackson were up at the crack of dawn. They played video games, Legos, ate breakfast and jumped on the tramp all before Gunter even stirred. 

I laughed so hard since I've known Gunter since prior to kindergarten. He was always a get up early kid with Hayden. Apparently the preteen years have hit. I'm guessing that Hayden won't be far behind. 

Lots of changes at our house. I love every minute of the joy that comes with a preteen boy. Lots of laughs. Lots of funny comments and sayings. I think I hear "snap!" More than anything. I am loving this stage. So fun. Wish I could keep him this age forever. 

Welcome home Josh!

My sweet cousin, Josh, just returned from serving a mission in Alaska. 

I can't believe that Josh is a returned missionary, the little boy that was only a year old when I came home from Korea off my mission. The little boy that tagged along by my side, was my little buddy while I was in college, and the boy that always made me want to be a mom. 

As I spoke with Josh, his love for our Savior, the people he served with and those he lovingly taught, I was in awe. He served an honorable and faithful mission. He worked hard. He sacrificed. He pent the time to develop a personal relationship with our Savior. He studied the scriptures. He learned to serve and love and give. He developed amazing qualities. 

I have always loved Lisa's kids like they were my own. They helped me learn how to parent and mother when they opened their home to me and let me live with them. 

I couldn't be prouder of Josh! He was amazing when he left but is absolutely an incredible disciple of Christ. 

I love you, Josh! I am so proud of you. I cannot wait to see you and sit and visit more with you. Welcome Home!

Self motivated

As we were driving down the road to the doctor, Hayden was telling me about school and the hard requirements this year. He said, "Mom, this is a challenging school year. So you can't just pull me out any time you are missing me. I really need to be in school so I don't miss anything important."

I laughed as I hadn't talked about pulling him out. He knows me and how much I am missing him being gone all day. I love that he is taking responsibility for himself. I find joy in the days that he self regulates and I don't have to do it all for him. He is understanding so much more and becoming a responsible preteen. 

I couldn't love you more, Hayden! I am so proud of who you are and the person you are so wonderfully developing into. With your hard dedication, you are going to do great in sixth grade!