Friday, July 25, 2014

Grandpa and Bubba

Grandpa was incredible this year. He tried so hard to make each of the grandkids feel special and loved. They took each group of kids wherever they wanted to go.
JD's kids chose Legoland. Jodi's chose walking down the pier and eating at Ruby's. Dallin and Austin picked Chicken and Waffles restaurant. Hayden's choice....Movies and lunch.

So, Grandpa and Hayden spent one afternoon seing the new Tom Cruise movie, "Edge of Tomorrow". He loved the movie and loved spending time with Grandpa.

I love that Grandpa tried so hard to make it such a special week for each of the kids. I know that wasn't relaxing for him but it was wonderful for building memories with his grandkids. It was definitely one of Hayden's highlights of the week.

Thanks, Dad! That was exactly what Hayden wanted and needed. I couldn't ask for a better gift than you spending time with my son.

Not only that, my Dad was around a lot more all week. Each night he would come visit. He spent more time on the beach. He went to fish with all of us. All of the Simonton kids and spouses and Dad and Bonnie went and ate at Chicken and Waffles one night. We saw him more this year than I think I have in the past five years combined. It was a fun week. One I will always remember and cherish.

I'm a lucky one. I have been blessed with an amazing family and people I cherish and love.

Childhood Dreams

I love the beach for so many reasons....

Of course, the vacations and time together. Cool weather. Listening to the wave. Spending time with family. I love the cousins binding and spending time together. 

With Hayden being an only child, I worry about him. I always pictured Thomas and I with a big family. Lots of kids. Hayden the oldest of five or six younger ones. Instead. With it just us and him, I love the chance for 2 weeks with cousins. Kids around constantly. Laughing. Interacting. Having a great time. 

To me, snow cones on the beach, ultimate childhood dream. Yummy and fun. 

I love that I get to take Hayden and one or two others off. Bonding time with each of my nieces and nephews. 

This day on the beach, eating snow cones, playing in the water is one I will always cherish. I love Katelyn. Her and Hayden are the closest in age. Best of buddies. 

Life really is great. I love the smiles. The friendship. The love. 

Legoland Take Two

What do you do when you have three free tickets to Legoland? 

Thomas took Hayden and Chase to Legoland's Waterpark and Sealife Aquarium. 

They rode rides, got wet, visited the aquarium and had a great time! Got to love free entertainment. 

Legoland with Suzi

Suzi, Mike, Jill, Cooper, Ollie, Lucy, Kiley and Hayden went to Legoland and Seaworld courtesy of Mike's friend. 
The kids had a great time! Ollie, who isn't a big fan of anyone, loved Jake. So funny. 

The kids rode rides, played with Legos, visited the movie set of the new Lego Movie. 

They had the time of their lives!!!

Sea World

A fun filled day at Seaworld!

Just Us and the Waves

Our family enjoying the beach. 

We had a great time. One morning just the three of us went down to the beach. We read. We collected seashells. We walked. We talked. We just enjoyed the time together. 

I love my family. I love the joy we have when we get together. We love talking and being together. This year at the beach .... We loved it.  Our family experienced a miracle. I was more me than I have been in years. Our dream. This year, as we sat on the beach, we realized the Lord's hand in our lives. We witnessed His miracles and His love. We gave thanks. We celebrated. 

So much has changed in our lives in the past year......
We moved, we lost money, we endured unbearable heartache, we suffered excruciating pain, we felt the presence of our Savior, we felt miserably alone, Jodi moved, Hayden became homeschooled, we conquered unbelievably hard health challenges, we endured financial ruin, we struggled with health challenges, we felt wrapped in the arms of our Savior, we learned to have greater faith, more trust in our Savior, and loved one another with all of our hearts. 

We have conquered, endured, been strengthened, learned to trust and love. 

This year at the beach, we felt the triumph. 

We were triumphant over our lives. We conquered. We endured and we triumphed. 

Not because of our strength, or love or abilities but because our Savior is kind and compassionate. Our Savior has taken our weaknesses and helped us. He has strengthened us beyond measure. He has used our weaknesses and helped them become strengths for His purposes. 

This year at the beach, our family celebrated all that we have learned and been blessed with. We relished in the goodness of our Savior and all that He gives. He is the giver of life, the one who loves us and lifts us and gives us strength when we have no more left. 

Because of Him, we enjoyed a magnificent time together on the beach. 
Because of Him, we laughed and talked and played and loved with all of our hearts. 
Because of Him, we had the week of our lives. 
Because of him, we give many many prayers of gratitude, to Him. 

We smiled and talked. We laughed and played. We played games. We collected seashells. We soaked in the sun. We relaxed in the comfort of the waves. We found rejuvenation in the sounds of the oceans rhythmic waves. We took in all the joy that a family vacation had to offer. 
I gave thanks for this amazing husband of mine. Who has stood by my side. Who has helped me to walk. Who has given me his strength. Who has served and done for me. The one who had believed in me and loved me unconditionally. He is my strength and joy and love. The love of my life!
I gave thanks for this amazing son of mine. For his laughter and smile. For his shoulder to lean on. For his unconditional love. For his willingness to help out. For his belief that his mom would get better. For his undying faith in the Savior. For his faith. For his love. For his ability to help me fight and conquer. Because being his mom has given me strength and endurance and the ability to keep fighting. Because I wanted to see him grow and learn to see him serve his Savior and find a companion to marry. To see his amazing children and spoil my grand kids. Hayden gave me the inner fight to keep going. To see that tomorrow was worth fighting for, no matter how painful and miserable today is. Hayden is my joy and strength and love. 
This smile warms and melts my heart. He is a keeper. A joy. Oh how I love him. 
The three of us together.... We are worth fighting for. We are worth enduring for. We are worth the journey. Together, we have learned to enjoy the journey. When you know the destination...the next life together is our goal, then the journey here becomes the joy and fun and gives the strength for endurance. I love my family! 
Oh Hayden! I will continue to fight for you and dad. I will continue to endure and get stronger for you. I will plead with my Savior each day for more days like this day. For more love, more precious moments, more days together and more tomorrows. 

You, my son, are my strength. You, your dad and our Savior. You each bring me peace and joy and hope. You give me love and strength to continue. Each day with you I my life is a miracle. 

This year at the beach, I celebrated you. I celebrated that I was here to spend another year with you. I celebrated that me and dad together were favored of our Savior. That our loving Savior, chose to spare my life and allow us to stay together here on this earth. And someday, when this journey is complete, we will again be together in the next life. Because we have learned to take care of one another. We have learned that alone the journey is hard. But together, with our Savior, we can endure and succeed. 

It has been a year we will look back on and be in awe that we just endured. But in addition to enduring, we thrived! Our Savior took our best and made it incredible. He took our weaknesses and taught us how to soar. We conquered. We endured. We have been oh so blessed. And I am oh so grateful!!!

The Oceanside Gang



Talmage. The youngest of the Simonton's. The joy and spark of life. This little boy brings joy wherever he goes. Joy. Happiness. Energy. Love. 

We love this little guy to death. He is filled with all things boy and fun. 

Uncle Jake took Talmage out into the ocean. Talmage was terrified. He didn't want to be eaten by a shark. He yelled out for Uncle Thomas to save him. Of course, Thomas did. 

The last two pictures are of the rescue and cuddles afterwards. Talmage smiled that adorable smile. We all melted. 

We loved our time with this precious little guy that we all love and adore!


Each year Hayden looks forward to spending time with Chase. They hang together in the ocean, find sand crabs, jump waves, play Minecraft and laugh  and talk. They get along great. They can play for endless hours. They have no idea what "too long on the beach" could even mean. They could go from sun up to sun down, refusing to eat or drink. All takes too much away from the play time. 

Sand Crabs

Hayden. Loves. Finding. Sand crabs. Every. Year. 

Hayden found some massive sand crabs this year. Big guys. 
Brooklyn and Hayden found out if they dug deep, the big guys were hiding way down deep in the ground. 
I loved watching Hayden with some of his younger cousins this year, teaching the art and mastery of finding sand crabs. I love the smiles and joy. I love the comradery of the cousins as they work on a common goal. So sweet. So fun. 

Hayden and Brooklyn

Hayden and Brooklyn have become the best of cousins and friends.

I love watching them play together. They boogie board, jumped waves, played in the sand, caught sand crabs, played minecraft and ball together. I have loved watching their friendship bloom. I pray they will always be close. I find joy in their friendship.