Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Love

Some of my favorite pictures of the beautiful Christmas season!

The day after

I love Christmas and all of the parties, family get togethers, all of the love shared and memories made.

Sometimes I must dearly pay for the joy and excitement and outings. Such was the case on Christmas night and December 26th and 27th.

My Christmas evening was spent in bed battling seizures. Luckily, they held off as long as possible and came right before dinner and the missionaries. The rest of the evening I battled the effects of a huge seizure. The night brought more seizures, passing out, collapsing and oh the horrible nerve shocking pain. I admit. I over did it. But it was so worth it. I was able to experience so much joy.

Dec 26th brought the worst of it. I experienced seven seizures, all with lights and dots, burning smells and metallic tastes in my mouth. I even vomitted and collapsed on the way to the bathroom. Luckily Thomas was home from work and Hayden was in the room and could get him to help me by administering a priesthood blessing immediately. The blessing commanded my body to start working again and to stop choking. Thomas was able to help me back to bed. The pain was intense and the health problems severe.

I spent the day counting my blessings that the major health issues held off until most of the festivities were done. I know there was a cloud of protection around me as I went thru the days before and Christmas day. I could feel my Savior shielding me and protecting me from my own disease. That was one of my favorite and most cherished gifts. I was given almost 48 hours of freedom and relief from my disease. What a truly remarkable and loving gift.

My illness continues in its own way. I have learned to battle it and live with the effects of it better. The Savior lovingly gives me moments of relief. I can feel the words, "Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden and I will give thee rest. For my yoke is easy and my burdens light." I feel these words. The Savior can make the weight of our burdens lighter. He doesn't take them away but He picks up the yoke and helps carry it for us. He takes on the weight leaving my portion much easier to carry.

Hard trials come, illnesses can plague our mortal bodies, we are susceptible to all manor of diseases, aches, pains, trials, heartaches, problems and illnesses. But, we do not walk these trials and hard times alone. Our Savior lovingly stands ready to help, ready to help carry the burden so it is not so heavy, and that we can be surrounded in His love. I am grateful He loves me and is concerned about me. He eases my pains when I can no longer bear the intensity. He eases my suffering. He calms my troubled heart. He brings peace to a world filled with uncertainty, struggles and heartache. His peace and love can conquer all. He stands waiting. He wants to answer our prayers, help us fulfill our dreams, and discover the divinity inside us. It is up to us to ask for His help, His guidance, His comfort and His love.

The Marvel Experience

Thomas and Hayden went to the Marvel Experience yesterday. They loved it. Although they had a hard time explaining it and said it had to be experienced. It was an interactive event where they were recruited as the newest Shield field agents. They went thru training in a virtual reality. They were transported into events and were able to wear the iron man suit in an augmented reality. There were 4D rides and experiences. The animation and technology was great. They were able to experience the Marvel world and join forces with Shield.

Hayden and Thomas love the Marvel world watching Agents of Shield weekly and Flash when new episodes are loaded on Hulu or Netflix. Some of his favorite movies are Avengers, Captain America, Spiderman, Hulk, and the list goes on. So he was definitely in his element as he was able to view some of the sets and props from each of the films. The top were the Iron Man suits.

I loved that they were able to spend the day together doing something they both enjoy. Hayden is growing up so fast and Thomas and I are trying to soak in as much time, love and joy as possible while he is still with us. I can't believe how fast the teenage years came upon us. In no time, we will be letting go, saying goodbye and sending him on a mission.

 So for now, we are going to take every chance we get to experience life with him. This was definitely a wonderful gift for my guys. They loved the experience and loved spending a day together. Perfect gift for my perfect guys. Thanks Grandpa/Dad. 

When we look back on life, the precious moments become lasting memories. Those memories keep us going thru the rough times. I know this will be a day they look back on and remember fondly. 

Christmas at Grandpa's house

After we opened gifts, we went to Grandpa Simonton's to exchange gifts. Hayden received two tickets to the Marvel Experience in Scottsdale. VIP tickets in fact. He also received some engineering Little Cloud Bits to make all hints into a smart device attached to the internet.

My dad had a dream. In it, all of my siblings were at JD's house for Ashlyn's baby blessing and Tanner's baptism. Me and Thomas, Josh and Steph, Jake and Rosie and Jodi and Troy will go with Dad and Bonnie to JD and Cassie's house. I'm so excited to hold my sweet niece, see my nephews and my brother and his sweet wife. 

My Dad and Bonnie loved their gifts of their own healing and pain salve, a gift of gold, frankincense sugar scrub, myrrh bath salts and a timeline book of Mormonism. I know that book will come in handy for their church callings and family home evening nights with the Bair's.

I am grateful for a loving dad that tries so hard to bring the family closer together with family memories and joy. He is a good man filled with a generous and loving heart. He loves his family and cherishes them. He finds joy in bringing smiles on his loved ones faces. He didn't disappoint. I loved watching the smiles stretch across Thomas and Hayden's faces when receiving the Marvel experience and the joy in my heart when I knew all of my siblings get to be together. 

Christmas Joy

Merry Christmas from the Murphy clan!
Christmas morning was as fun and as magical, as always. Hayden awoke extra early, as did Aunt Suzi and Ann. We had to call Grandma Julie to make sure she was on her way over. I told Hayden stories of waiting for my own grandparents to drive to our home before we could open presents and it feeling like an eternity. But I have fond memories of my grandparents at our home every Christmas morning.

This year, we had Max and Maya excited about all of the hoopla. They had no idea what was going on but loved all of the people and attention so early in the morning.

Santa definitely came this year and in a big way. Hayden absolutely LOVED the two scooters left by him and was thrilled to ride them. Luckily Santa knows how to budget shop and got a killer deal on these, cleaned them up, washed them and they looked almost like new. First gift equals major score and approval. Hayden was chopping at the bit to open the rest of Santa's bounty but knew he had to patiently wait stockings to be looked at while he anticipated the gifts awaiting under the tree.

The stockings were great and Hayden was lucky Santa found some $1.99 movies and $5 video games to fill his stocking. I have never believed in a Santa as much as I have this year. He is alive and well in the generosity and good will of others. He also works for our Savior and delivers His miracles and goodness on this beautiful day.
Santa delivered and brought Hayden Infinity for Christmas, much to Hayden's delight, as he yelled, "Yeeeesss!"
When Grandma Julie showed Hayden the monster RC truck she was giving his dad for Christmas, Hayden's response was, "Are you sure you don't want that to say to Thomas and Hayden?" As apparent on Thomas' face, he absolutely loved it and I foresee hours of entertainment for Thomas and Hayden. Grandma Julie also spoiled Hayden with his dreams of beginning to build a computer. He received the coolest black and orange shell and some of the skeleton and brain pieces to begin his adventure. From here on out, Hayden is responsible to purchase all of the rest of the supplies to begin to learn how to build computers. He is so excited and can hardly wait.

And my shirt expresses my life now with my illness perfectly. It says, "I have OCD & ADD so everything has to be completely clean and orderly but only for a short time". Thomas out did himself. Definitely my life.
Hayden was a perfect gift giver this year. In fact, he made all of his gifts. He carefully planned what he would make and for whom and set to creating well loved and cherished pieces of art. Not only that, right after Santa gifts, Hayden searched the entire pile for the gift he made me. He couldn't wait to give it to me. He made me a little box with a picture of us in it. On the outside it said, "Team Mom". On the inside was a huge painted heart with a rock painted red. Oh how I love him and his sweet and loving soul. He made me such a happy mom. That boy loves his mom and is definitely on "Team Mom"!

He created beautiful picture frames for everyone. Grandma Julie was a frame painted green and black with the word Laugh attached and a picture of Hayden and the pups playing and laughing. Grandma Joyce contained a picture of the two of the baking in reds and blues and yellows. Rilla received a picture of Hayden in a purple and pink polka dot two-toned frame. While Aunt Suzi received a frame with two shades of blue representing the ocean, with yellow and orange highlights and flip flops and sand buckets. He also gave Aunt Suzi a bunch of painted rocks he collected on the Oceanside beach. They had different chinese symbols for faith, hope, love, endure to the end, and more. All gifts were loved by their receivers.
Thomas and I also handmade our gifts for others this year. I was the proud recipient of two of Thomas' custom necklaces, both unique and beautiful. He made Hayden dog tags that said, "Be awesome today". Together, we made healing and aches and pain salves for everyone, along with custom bath bombs for different ailments and headache blends.
The puppies had a wonderful Christmas, as well. They were spoiled by everyone. They loved anytime we told them it was their turn and they would put their noses in the bags and Maya even jumped in to pick the best selection. Suzi bought them new collars complete with a bowtie for Max and a bow for Maya. Both Grandmas bought new toys and treats. Santa delivered a 3 month supply of dog food and a bag of their favorite treats and Hayden spoiled them with new bones.
Later in the day, both Grandma Joyce and Rilla came to see us. They both loved their picture frames from Hayden. We loved having them eat Christmas dinner with us and spend time with us. Hayden scored on more gifts. Rilla bought Beats and Grandma gave him a new puzzle to play together and a gift card to Barnes and Noble. Hooray for new books. 

That night the missionaries came over to celebrate the beautiful Christmas Day with us. They loved their stockings and had smiles stretched across their faces. We kept it simple with tons of appetizers, goodies galore, baked potato bar and soup bar for dinner. Yummy and warm just like our hearts. 

Christmas Day finished in Thomas, Hayden and I kneeling down in gratitude for a wonderful Christmas season. We recognize the greatest reason for the peace in our hearts and love we felt surrounded by because we knew we were celebrating the greatest gift ever given. Our Father in Heaven sacrificed His son, so that we could return to Him. 

As we celebrated the sacred Christmas season, we are reminded of all the gifts we are so freely given. Our Savior has walked our road. He has guided us. He has blessed us. He has provided ways for us to return home to Him as well as a path to continue on here on earth. He provides in all ways. He has given us so much from the gospel of Jesus Christ to His atonement and overcoming death and sin for us. He also has provided much needed health and sustained breath as Thomas, Hayden and I have at all needed His life saving for our lives to be spared. And He lovingly makes sure that we are able to have gifts on Christmas for one another and those that we love. He then provides a blanket of peace and a comforter to wrap us in His love. We love our Savior, our older brother Jesus Christ and our Redeemer. It is for Him and because of Him that we celebrate this beautiful day and wonderful time of year. Jesus is the reason for the season and the guiding light of love and hope and peace. 

Merry Christmas! May you always remember Him as we strive to do each and every day. We love our Savior and our gifts to Him are given. Written down and will be reflected on time and time again as we strive to draw closer to Him in desire, will, obedience and actions in the coming year. After all, He is the ultimate source of joy, hope, peace and love. All of the beautiful and wonderful gifts of Christmas.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Eve with the Simonton's

My favorite night of the year is Christmas Eve. I love the anticipation of Christmas. I love being together with family. I love watching Hayden with his cousins, grandparents and aunts and uncles. 

I love the traditions. Getting together, laughing, excitement in the eyes of all the kids, the yummy food, grinch game, the joy and sparkle when Santa comes, the anticipation of all great things. The love in the room is amazing. I love when we talk of blessings and favorite Christmas memories. I love the spirit. 
I look around and take note of all those I love and why I love them. I think,of each niece, nephew, sister, brother and my dad. I look at how they have each blessed my life for good. I feel my mom's presence as she sits with us and finds joy in each of her children and grandchildren. She reassures me of her love and it's as if she tells me the things I did good this year and reassures me I'm on track. I feel my Savior's love. I feel His presence and peace. 
When Santa comes, the kids smile with joy and excitement. Even the big kids get into it. They are thrilled with their grinch gifts and love the joy of Santa bringing the first gift of Christmas. It makes them all the more excited for Santa to deliver the gifts after they sleep. The joy of Santa and all things great and wonderful. 
I love looking over at my husband and son and feeling my heart almost explode with love for them both. No matter what happens in life, they love me and have my back. They bring so much joy to my life. I'm so lucky they are mine. 

I'm grateful for a sister that loves and adores me. She loves me and treats me wonderfully. Jodi is absolutely one of the most Christlike people I have ever met. Her children are like my bonus kids. I love them. I'm so grateful I get to spend such a precious day of the year with them. 

My dad. He tries so hard to make us happy. Him and Bonnie always throw a fantastic party. I'm so grateful they try so hard to make such a memorable evening. 

As we drive home, my heart could explode with joy and happiness and gratitude for the life I have. I love my husband. He is my rock. He is my joy. He is my reason for living. He helps me and encourages me in all I do. My precious and amazing son is my world. I love his great heart. I love his smile and sparkle in his eyes. I love how good he is to the absolute core. He is as precious as they come. 

On the way home, I say a silent prayer of thanks for my life. For those that I love. For those that walk this journey with me. I'm so blessed. And what a better time to feel surrounded in love than at Christmas. Merry Christmas. 

Christmas Eve Breakfast

We had Christmas Eve breakfast with the Etherington's. Kneaders French toast, eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns and lots of fun company. 

We did a Christmas gift exchange. My favorite was Thomas giving Robert a snuggie. We laughed and laughed. Robert is such a great sport. Oh how he makes me laugh. 

Hayden loves his cousins. Tyler played the slapping hands game with him. Hayden was laughing and soaking in every minute. Josh and Chad were spinning him in a chair, choking him, teasing him and had a great time. Hayden absolutely loves them. One of our greatest gifts this year was Etherington gang moving down the street from us. We adore them. 

Hayden loves Lisa and Katie too. Lisa is his buddy. We all love them being so close. We have so much fun playing games, sitting and laughing and talking and just hanging out. So they were the perfect people to begin the Christmas festivities with. I love them tons. 

Chad was spoiled. We bought him a chair for his room. Suzi got him a small fridge. She wanted to get him depends so he never would have to leave the room anymore. Too funny. We absolutely love and adore him. He is a spaz but so much fun. 

Merry Christmas to those who have become to mean so much. They are family and so very loved.  

Forgotten carols

Julie gave me an early Christmas gift. She bought tickets for Jodi and Me to go to Forgotten Carols. We all went to Mexican food before the event. Jodi and I talked and laughed. We visited and reminisced. We recalled all the years we have been starting with just after my mom passed away. Over 20 years of memories. I sure love time with my sweet sister. She is my best friend and I adore her. 

We talked of years past. How different songs brought joy to heart and helped us to cope with our journey of the year. We talked of obstacles and trials overcome. We shared in gratitude for the blessings. We were grateful for another year. 

This year the same song meant the most to both of us. "I've been given what I need". The song talks of praying for all these things and instead of getting what was prayed for, we were given what we need. It is a reminder that God is in charge. He gives the best gifts. Not necessarily what we want but what we need. We needed time together. I'm glad Julie saw that. 

Other years when miscarriages and failed adoptions were apart of our year or health trials or sick kids plagued our hearts, different songs touched us. This year, we talked of gratitude and how The Lord gave us much different gifts than we would have asked for but we recognize it was exactly what we needed. 

My sister is such a strength to me. She is my soft place to fall. She builds me up. She encourages me. She helps me. She accepts me for who I am. She sees the best in me. She recognizes my efforts. She sees the good. I'm so grateful for Jodi. I know she is a gift for my heart and my life. She is the best sister I could have ever been given and exactly what I need. 

Gingerbread houses

Grandma Julie had a grandma day with Hayden and Brody. She took the boys to see Santa. Hayden humored her since Brody wanted to get his request in to Santa. The boys then went to lunch with Grandma and the. Came over to build gingerbread houses and play. Brody made a cite little house. Hayden, in true artistic fashion, made a zombie apocalypse invaded house. Blood and half eaten bodies adorned his home. Oh my boy. He cracks me up and is so creative. Love how his mind works. 

I'm so grateful for Grandma Julie and all of the fun Grandma days she has with these boys. She is a wonderful grandma. Hayden is a lucky boy. 

Money Secret Santa

Right when Thomas and Julie returned from urgent care, the doorbell rang. By the time we got to the door, no one was there. There was a bottle of sprite at the door and a card filled with $100. It exactly covered the coat of the urgent care visit and medicines Thomas needed. It was our own tender mercy and very own Christmas blessing. 

Our Savior didn't forget us. We were remembered. He knew our situation and had someone help us. 

Hayden asked us if this is how the people in Glendale felt as we delivered gifts to them. Did their hearts feel so happy, did they feel so blessed? Did they feel hugged by the Holy Ghost? We talked of how The Lord blesses us. We talked of miracles and tender mercies and Christmas joy. 

We knelt down in gratitude for all the blessings that we have been given this year. Hayden's safety from a car crash and a blow out. Thomas being protected from the burns. Me receiving support from our Savior until I could get surgery. And the list goes on. I'm just so grateful. We are loved by our Savior and are so grateful for all the miracles we have been blessed with. We know our Savior knows us and recognizes our needs. We are never forgotten.  

Baking mishap

After church on Sunday, Thomas was going to go visit some cousins in town for Christmas. He thought he would make up a quick batch of peanut brittle before heading out. Oops. He burnt the peanut brittle and poured the hot candy all over his hands. Then we couldn't get it off. I tried putting oils on his hands but I could tell he was still in tons of pain. It wasn't calming down like Hayden's had before. We decided he needed to go in.

Julie came over and took him. Good thing we did. He had really bad second degree burns. Blistering and painful. He was prescribed pain meds, ointments and we have to wrap and apply meds a couple of times a day. Poor guy. He's a  good sport. Although he decided he was done with Christmas baking. 

Good news- he was able to get a couple extra days off for Christmas with Hayden and me. And we loved that. It's so great to have him home.

Murphy Christmas

The Sunday before Christmas is the Murphy family Christmas party. This year we went to grandma Joyce's house. We ate yummy food, read Luke 2, watched share the gift, listened to Christmas carols and enjoy one another's company. 

I do love these people. My mother on law, Grandma Joyce, is amazing. She loves her children and grandchildren. She loves our Savior. She wants her family to walk in the ways of our Savior. She has a great love for her family.  
The cousins. Logan, Hayden holding Lily and Victoria. 
The kids were cute. Two teenagers, a preteen and a five year old. They grew up. They enjoy one another's company. I was in awe at how well Hayden let Lily sit on his lap and play with her. Good thing you can let yourself be real when you are with family. 

It was a great Christmas season. 

Playing Santa

Jodi moved from Queen Creek and plenty to a ward in Glemdale filled with amazing people who are financially struggling. Jodi asked the bishop how many members needed help. Almost all was his reply. As she was talking to,the bishop, the Holy Ghost was prompting others to help. The relief society president in her old ward called and asked if they could adopt her new ward for Christmas. Within 24 hours, 2 wards had signed on to help and had identified 22 families that could use some Christmas joy. 

Jodi coordinated with the Bishop and the two other wards. Presents for about 150 people were bought, wrapped and organized. Jodi didn't stop there. She coordinated others and received gift cards and cash. She provided each family with two gifts each, and $100 to $300 each in gift cards. 

Thomas, Hayden, Suzi, Chad and I were lucky enough to get to help. We wrapped and coordinated and organized gifts. Wrapped them in bags and boxes and then put them in black trash bags. 

Thomas, Hayden, Chad and I were able to drop off the gifts. Some we dropped off and ran. Others were delivered directly to the people. I was lucky enough to deliver to one family who were so grateful. Another had been praying for help when the secret Santa's came to her door. 

Jodi is such an example to me of Christlike love and service. She looks beyond herself, sees need and fills it. She doesn't wait for someone else. She takes the call of the Savior on and does unto others. She gave up so much to pull this off. 

The Christmas spirit is alive and well. The Savior weaves us in and out of one another's lives. He meets our needs and answers our prayers. He usually uses his earthly angels to take care of those children in need that he loves. 

I am so grateful that Jodi chose to let us be apart of it. We felt the Christmas spirit. We felt the love of our Savior. We knew we were on His errand and doing His work. He loves every single one of His children. All of them. Whether we are in Queen creek or Glendale, Hawaii or Alaska, He loves us. 

Davis Christmas

We had a great Christmas party with the Davis gang. I was so excited to give Jodi her gift. I spent hours and hours and countless hours making her gift. I first collected every recipe I could find and researched every oil. I tried different combinations. I then figured out which oils were best for each ailment and made a book with all of the recipes and lists of what to do for which ailment. I also gave her a custom aches and pain salve that I have been working on to relieve symptoms. Thomas and I also made eucalyptus, peppermint and citrus bliss bath bombs for her. She loved it.
I love being able to make her happy. My sweet sister continually does kind things for me. She makes cupcakes and does fundraisers and and is always doing something for me. I just wanted to make her smile and let her know how very much I love and appreciate her and her goodness.
I also love her little ones like crazy! My Talmag and my Briggy Boy are such joys. I also adore my little miss. The kids loved their games and stuffed animals.

Hayden loves his Telestations game and lots of treats and a gift card to Burger King. He was in Heaven.
Jodi spoiled me and Suzi rotten. We are going on a girls trip next November to Time Out for Women.  I am so excited.
Thomas scored a gift certificate to Culvers. 

We had a great time together. We laughed, we smiled, we had a fantastic time. 

Merry Christmas from all of us.

Who's taller

It finally happened...a day that will live on forever... A day Hayden has been dreaming of for the past three or so years. He grew. He is getting taller. He passed Aunt Jodi up and is only inches away from catching me. 

He loved being at Jodi's and following her around with his arm around Jodi. Although pictures don't do it justice, I think they may be about dead even in height but Hayden didn't care. It's his first time he is catching an adult and he is one happy boy. 

Oh how he loves his Aunt Jodi. Or Aunt Jo-Jo, as he refers to her. He loves poking at her, teasing her and talking to her. Thanks Jodi for being so wonderful to my boy!!!nhe absolutely loves and adores you. 

Gold. Frankincense. Myrrh.

What do you give the person who has everything? After long and hard search, I ran across my sugar scrub recipe.

The idea for frankincense sugar scrubs, myrrh bath salts and gold chocolate came about. Add to that a old crate box, a quote about the Savior and a big bow and the wise man gift set was born. 

I've tweaked the recipes and designs but will be offering these for sale next year on my etsy site. I will be taking custom orders, as well. 

Christmas baking

Grandma Joyce asked Hayden what he wanted for Christmas. He wanted Grandma to teach him how to make cinnamon rolls from scratch. Thomas had the day off of work, I'm homeschooling Hayden, and I couldn't think of a better activity for all three of them. 

Grandma came over early with tons of baking supplies. Hayden and Garnema began the task of making dough and then kneading it. Thomas jumped in and was in his element. When he was debating between being a chef or an IT computer technician for work, I still wonder if he shouldn't have gone with chef because of his love for food and how well he cooks. 

The smiles continued throughout the day as yummy goodies were made. What started out as a batch of cinnamon rolls quickly turned into an all day goodie baking event. 
The cinnamon rolls were delicious. Here is something about the wonderful smell of yummy goodies in the oven. It makes a house feel,like home and brings the Christmas spirit out in all. 

They were all having so much fun together that they started planning what else to make. Of course, I quickly suggested banana bread and that I had frozen ripe bananas in the freezer. If you are baking for Christmas, sugar cookies are a must, so they were next on the list. Thomas has always wanted to learn how to make homemade peanut brittle and if you are making peanut brittle, why not make English toffee, as well. 
I loved the laughter coming from the kitchen, the wonderful smells from the oven and the Christmas spirit that was tangible in our home. It was the perfect day. 

We love you Grandma Joyce. We are so grateful for the joy and love you bring to our lives. 

Terrifying Call

Car accident miracle!!!

After Hayden opened gifts, the night before his birthday, he was going to run with Aunt Suzi to Jake's house. Moments after he left, I got a phone call from Suzi. They were in a car accident. I was terrified and although Suzi said they were ok, I was terrified. 

As we pulled up to the scene, the officers were not happy as we kept coming instead of turning around. I jumped out of the car and told the office my baby was in the accident. As I walked past the first car in the accident, paramedics and fireman were working to cut the people out of the car, my heart dropped. With each passing car, my heart sunk farther into my chest. I have never been so relieved to hug my boy. I shed tears of relief and joy. 

Suzi was stopped at a red light. As were the two cars behind her. A distracted driver texting hit the back car at full speed, 55 mph. There were 7 ambulances who rushed to the hospital, 5 fire engines, paramedics and dozens of cops. It took the paramedics over an hour to even check out Suzi and Hayden because there were so many serious injuries. Hayden had pulled ligaments, a seatbelt burn, and severe headache. The paramedics thought he was fine. Suzi looked awful. 

The next day we took them to Dr. Shiflet. Hayden had severe whiplash, pulled ligaments and muscles, and headaches. Suzi had torn ligaments and neck muscles. Both hurt. 

It was a miracle that Hayden and Suzi walked away from the accident. No one else did. All others were seriously hurt. And although they were bounced around and their bodies took impact, it could have been so much worse. I am so grateful they walked away from this accident. The outcome could have been very different. It could have been so much worse. 

It was our own Christmas miracle. We felt the protection of our Savior. We felt the arms of love around us. The Savior continues to bless us. He takes care if us. He keeps us safe. 

I am grateful for my miracle. I'm grateful my son is ok.mim so grateful Suzi and Hayden walked away from the accident. They were so so so blessed. We were so blessed. We feel our Savior's love. Greatest Christmas gift I could have been given. 

Teenager life begins!

How is it possible I have a teenager ? How did the time fly by so fast? I wish I could freeze him in time right now. He is so sweet. Hayden is such a good boy. He is so kind, thoughtful, respectful, obedient, funny, silly, teasing, hard working, fun to be with, grateful, and every day is the very best day of his life. He sees the glass half full or better yet, he is grateful If the glass has anything in it. His smile brightens his face, he is grateful I am home schooling him, he loves and cares for his puppies and takes care of me. Like I said, I wish I could freeze him in time. He brightens my world and adds light and happiness to my life. He is a sheer joy!

I feel like the luckiest mom alive. This boy is just simply amazing!

Birthday morning was all smiles and gratitude, a few jumps up and down because he couldn't contain his containment. He was such a great boy this year and I was so lucky to grab some awesome deals to make his dreams come true. 

He loved his "zombies hate fast food" tshirt. He loves electronics and we were able to get him a score of a deal. 75% off in Amazon's lightening deals. Side note- those saved me this year. I also scored him Call of Duty Ghosts hardened edition. The cost is $119 but I bought it on a sale for $24.99. I bought a couple and sold them and basically got his for free. I loved finding sales and batting things that bring smiles to my boys face.
This boy....oh how it warms my heart. That smile....why I keep going. Those eyes ... A light to his beautiful soul. His hugs....the comfort of my life. They give me strength to keep moving forward. 
After the birthday morning celebration, we went to Ipic movie theater. The recliners were so fun. The food delicious. aunt Suzi spoiled us rotten. Hayden loved it. Definitely a once in a lifetime event. 
Afterwards, we took pictures by the Christmas trees outside. Just beautiful. 
That night, Chad, Gunter, Thomas and Hayden had a great time playing video games. My favorite moment of the night was when Hayden and Gunter were talking, Gunter asked Hayden if his dad played with him often. Hayden replied, "Oh yeah, my dad plays video games with me a lot. He's my best friend."  I loved it. Hayden loves his dad and his dad loves and adores him. Such perfect friends. 

Happy birthday Bubba. I hope the next decade is as fun as the first. I pray you continue to be the kind great boy that you are today. You are my world, my heart, my joy! I am definitely the luckiest mom in the world because you are definitely the greatest boy ever. You are a joy. We love and absolutely adore you. We love you. Always, forever and no matter what. 

Birthday celebrations begin

Hayden started his birthday celebrations a couple days early with a day with Grandma. Hayden loves his Grandma and they have a sweet relationship. He makes her laugh and she adores him. He loved the gift card and ornament. I love the laughter and smiles. He's a lucky boy to have a Grandma that loves him so much. 
The day before his birthday, Aunt Suzi celebrated with Red Lobster and presents. He was spoiled rotten, as always. Of course, he talked us into opening others gifts... Grandpa and Grandma Bonnie's gift, Tayrien's, cousins and more. He just couldn't wait. 
Hayden scored a paintball gun, a game, video games and Aunt Suzi gave him a ticket to Nickleback concert with his cousins. The smile on his face says it all. Sheer joy. And a very grateful boy. 

His last night of being a preteen was rememberable and quite the celebration.