Saturday, September 27, 2008

We are heading out tomorrow around 1:30ish (that is when we will officially be on the road and have Lee with us!) We will stop and see the Smiths and then journey on to Johnson City. We will have internet connection but might not be able to use it as we aren't tech enough to have a wireless card. (Well, we got one, but it wasn't compatible with Windows XP even though it read on the box that it was.) may be awhile before you hear from us. I've got everything packed up except for some clean clothes and the bathroom stuff. I'm glad I starting pack last Saturday night. Sheldon and Dad helped me wrap up my bed. I am glad we saved the plastic covering from when we bought it!

Take care everyone and there'll be lots of entries the beginning of October!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happy 6th Anniversary Lee & Ruth!

Six years ago, we were married and sealed in the Provo, Utah Temple at about 11:00 am. Through our journey we've laughed, been scared out of our wits, been surprised--Haley was one of them!, cried--of course, and felt Heavenly Father's love for us as he blessed and blesses us and our family. One thing that Lee and I are both grateful for is that we each married our best friend! Thanks for a wonderful son Mom and Dad R; and Mom and Dad B, I am sure Lee thanks you too!

Lee, you are the best: best friend, best husband, best father!

In the past 6 years...
We've moved six times, (seven this coming Saturday!)
We've had five major events, well more, but for the sake of the pose, I'll just mention five: three guys in masks with guns, one ultrasound revealing two babies instead of one, and one smart cookie (Lee) finishing optometry school graduating Magna Cum Laude!
We've had four kids (last year when the girls were born we were married four years at that point, so it was fun to say that we had four kids in four years of marriage and their ages were four and under.)
We've had three different vehicles: a 1991 Plymouth Sundance, a 1998 Nissan Sentra, and presently a 1997 Mercury Villager GS.
We've had two flat tires (one was on the way to the airport at 5 about stressful. Thanks Don! You were a great hometeacher!)
We've had one digital camera that was purchased in 2002 and still works great!

In celebration of the big day and our last Sunday in North Carolina, I thought I would make a fattening, delicious dessert; though sadly, Lee isn't here to partake.

I made homemade caramel, and mixed it with pecans from Uncle Lee and Aunt Anna Lee and drizzled melted milk chocolate chocolate chips on top. YUM! I could only eat two. Hope you're jealous Lois!

Lee has a hard time surprising me. I am a fairly curious person and not that I try to find stuff out, little things happen that lead me to conclusions that Lee tries to keep secret. Despite Lee being gone, he has made it an awesome anniversary! I would say the best, but he isn't here, so I'll wait till next year to write that statement in my blog. On Friday I received a sweet card, along with some yummy Godiva dark chocolate mint pearls and some play money. With using technology while he's been gone--the cell phone and email and blogs, it was such a treat to get a card with a handwritten note in it from my best friend. (And I didn't mind the other things in the package either!)

Did he stop there? No! He got me the COOLEST present EVER! For years, yes six years, I've had my bridal pictures and wedding pictures in a box, or some sort of container. My friend Sara showed me her wedding album a few years back and I really liked it. I just never got around to buying a nice album like that. And never really had the funds to get the album and get extra prints of photos. Plus I found out last summer that the guy who took my bridal pictures no longer was doing that and my negatives were long gone to the dumpster. RATS! I still have my wedding negatives, but I would have liked to get some enlargements of some of my bridal pictures.

So, guessed what he got me? He secretly found my bridal pictures, our wedding photos, wedding announcement and newspaper clipping of our engagement. Then, he hired the best scrapbook lady on the PLANET: Ruth Whitemarsh. She made a GORGEOUS scrapbook of our wedding! WOW! I was SO surprised! I really thought Lee was building me a bike at first! Lee told me there are more pages to come and I am so excited to see them! Thanks Ruth! You have an amazing talent (should people send you orders Ruth?) Lee, this was such a sweet and thoughtful and very SURPRISING gift! THANK YOU!

Look how cute the packaging is!!! You are awesome Ruth W! I need to take pictures of the pages, but better yet, come and visit me in Missouri and see them yourself!

Clark was looking through the book with me and while looking at the group photos in the back of the Provo Temple, he asked me where he was. I told him he was in heaven. He doesn't seem to like that when we say that to him.

Yesterday afternoon after a primary activity on being missionaries, we went fishing. We've found a great place to fish just a couple of miles from Daniel, the Durant Nature Park. I've mentioned it earlier. Yesterday was really nice out and we had a fun time.

My dad is so nice to keep everyone fishing. He untangles lines, adds worms to the hooks and make sure everyone gets a chance at fishing.

So, I had been casting the line of the fishing pole and set the it down. Clark came over and was holding the pole not more than a minute or so and he got a bite! Yeah!

On Monday for FHE I did a lesson about Jonah and the whale. I think the kids liked it.

If I feed the girls a late lunch, Shanna tends to fall asleep. We tried to get a picture of Haley kissing Shanna, but no luck.

I also forgot to mention that the week before last I made some chair covers for Clark's classroom. Eighteen of them, actually. To describe them, they are shaped almost like a squared shaped S. So the top part of the cover covers the back of the chair, and then the lower opposite side is a pocket. I was going to take a picture of them but then I didn't. I wish I would have. I think they turned out pretty well. Also, since Sheldon is back in town, dad and Sheldon took the girls for me last week during Relief Society and also today and it was great!

To end my long post, I need to give out an award: The Best Grandpa in the Clayton Ward Award to Darrell Bartholomew. I went to my friend's house the other day with some other ladies and some of their kiddos, and some of them commented on how sweet my dad was to take the babies and help me out. I totally agree! My mom and dad have been great to take the girls on walks with them. It's also been nice being here because if the girls are napping I sometimes will leave and get errands done because my mom or dad are at home. We'll miss these perks!

Okay, I'm done. Sweet dreams!

So...I really want to do a post right now with pictures and all, but the internet is being so SLOW! It won't upload my pictures. I'll shut down the computer and try, try again!

P.S. It's mine and Lee's 6 year anniversary today! Happy 6 Lee!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Good Tuesday Everyone!

We had a good week last week. We are SO excited to see Lee next week! YEAH! He is almost done in Texas. We are preparing to move. Right now I am acquiring stuff that we will need, like a washer and dryer. I bought a used pair last night. Our neighbor, Charles Antley and my dad came with me. President Antley was kind enough to drive us in his truck. I got a good deal on them...well, I think I did and I guess I'll find out when Lee hooks them up in Missouri! I also got two twin beds for Clark and Cal. Each bed has three drawers underneath them.

Haley with Uncle Sheldon's hat. My kids have sure enjoyed having Uncle Sheldon around. He is so sweet with them.

Saturday we went to Wrightsville Beach. We brought Anthon along and had a nice time. It would've been better for everyone if Lee could have come, but I am glad we went. I love the ocean!

Grandma and the girls cuddling that night after the beach. It was a LONG day!

Haley and Shanna sure look beat. Clark looks ready to go!

If any of you live in an area where there is a Zaxby's (a fast-food place similar to Chick-Fil-A) you should sign up for their kids' club. Right before school started they sent all four of my kids certificates to get free kids meals. We used them on Saturday after we went to the beach. Thanks Zaxby's! They have good chicken too!

Girl stuff: It's been cute hearing Haley say "hello" and imitate a dog barking. Shanna tends to fall alseep while eating if I feed them lunch too late. Yesterday and today Shanna was falling asleep and Haley was being so sweet and patting her head and leaned over and gave her a kiss. And for Shanna, the other day I gave her a mini box of raisins. When she was all done, she walked over to where the garbage is kept, opened the cupboard door, and threw away her box! I tested her out again the other night and had her throw something away. I told her to throw it away in the garbage and I spied on her as she walked over to the correct place and threw it away. Nice...ahhh, isn't parenting easy?!

A Dave Ramsey Thought (I know you've been dying to hear more!)

I have been driving Clark to and from school. He could ride the bus, but with him being my first kid going to school and since we're here for such a short time, I just take him. With taking him to school, I of course see other moms driving their cool minivans, or nice SUVs. In the afternoons when I pick him up I get to listen to Dave Ramsey, and I love his radio show! A few days ago, a lady called in saying she was expecting child #3, and that they would have to get a van because three car seats wouldn't fit in her car. She presented the idea of selling either her or her husband's car--which they both owned-- and put that money towards a new van. Of course Dave asked how much her cars were worth (one was about $7,000) and how much debt they had. They had over $50,000 in debt. Dave of course said to sell the one car and get a $7,000 mini-van. Yes, I admit it: I was disappointed that she couldn't get the new van. (She of course can get what she wants, but if she were a smart, money savvy, responsible adult, she would get a $7,000 van that was paid for instead of a $30,000 van!) I can imagine the excitement of expecting another child, and the fun of getting a new vehicle to accommodate everyone. Plus with Lee done with school and seeing other people with expensive vehicles, it would be fun to join in (and not feel like a poor student anymore!) Really though, it's SO SO SO nice having a van that is OURS and we hope we can drive it for at least 5 more years! Plus, our van is famous. Money can't buy a Lee-being-held-up-by-gun-point-while-three-thugs-steal-your-vehicle-and-you-get-it-back-in-24-hours Mercury minivan!!! Come visit us when our last kid goes to college. We have some fun plans for vehicles then.

Since listening to Dave Ramsey, I have been curious about people and their vehicles and if they own them or are paying on them. Normally I didn't give it a second thought as to whether someone owns their vehicle, or is making payments on it. Indulge me with my little survey on the sidebar. It is anonymous of course.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Happy Birthday!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


This was an eventful day for me. I was serving as a missionary in the Los Angeles, California mission. My district leader contacted me that morning and let us know what was going on. It all was very weird and unreal to me as I didn't have access to the media. I may have seen a little bit at a lady's home we visited that morning. It was sad that this tragedy happened.

But, a wonderful thing happened that same evening. I had my first baptism! Ashley Simmons was baptized that evening. He then recieved the priesthood and then baptized his daughter Erin. I enjoyed getting to know him and his wife Debbie and their kids. Ashley was a faithful member and actually went through the temple and received his endowments the same day Lee and I were married! Sept 21, 2002!

I found out last fall that he passed away from cancer. I just have to tell you both, Mike and Diana West, for all of your love and fellowship you gave to the Simmons. You are both so generous and kind.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I heard the water running today, but I thought Cal was rinsing off the potato that I had given him. Good thing I finally went and checked. Look how full the sink is! He dumped LOTS of spices and dried herbs in there. Probably at least 2 cups worth, if not 1 cup!

Do we have a chef in the making?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hello everyone! I hope you are doing well, and if you are married that you are completely enjoying your spouse and their help! We had a pretty good week. As you can tell from a previous post, Clark started school and is really enjoying it. He isn't so thrilled to practice his letter sounds and writing, but the sticker reward system seems to work great!

Monday morning I did some grocery shopping and errands. One errand was to go to Kohl's and return a shirt I bought the beginning of June. Yes, it was only $5, and I've worn it a lot, but it started getting holes in it by the hem! I would expect a shirt to fall apart in MAYBE a couple years, but not a couple months! So after a confusing transaction, and probably ruffling the cashier, I was able to exchange it for another one. I washed it on Thursday and when I pulled it out of the dryer, I noticed a hole in it! I hadn't even worn it. I'll try one more time and get another one. I probably shouldn't mess with it, but with still trying to live like "students" it will be worth it.

Thursday afternoon I decided last minute to go to Fayetteville and attend a briefing at Ft. Bragg about a Do It Yourself move. (DITY Move) My friend Nicole was great taking Clark and Cal last minute.

Friday we went to Maren's house and I enjoyed talking while the kids played and wandered. Another friend was there, Shannon, that has (about 6 months old?) twins--a boy and a girl. Lee got back to his hotel that afternoon from Camp Bullis.

This happened Friday night.

As with any mess, I did not want this to happen. I made potato soup and should have put the flour away, but Shanna wasn't feeling good and was really wanting me. Cal dumped some on the floor. But it was good timing in a sense. Dinner was already cooking and I was just waiting.

Saturday was Lizzy's baptism. I am glad we were able to go!

My brother Daniel, Lizzy and Daniel's wife Amy--we try and go to Daniel and Amy's once a week. Amy and I have a great time talking and Clark loves playing Lego Star Wars with Anthon.

In our church, children aren't baptized until the age of eight. From The Book of Mormon, the book of Moroni, Chapter 8 and parts from verse 8, 10 and 12: "Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin...Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach--repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin...little children are alive in Christ..." The age of accountability is age eight, thus the time when they are baptized. Just a little tidbit of background info for anyone wondering.

My dad with Shanna and Haley at the baptism

Today at church went fine today. My dad and mom helped me out in Sacrament meeting, and then my dad helped me in Sunday School. I was on my own for Relief Society as Dad was teaching a lesson. I lasted about 5 minutes and then left because Shanna got mad and wasn't calming down quickly. Sister Durrant was in the hall the same time I was out with Shanna and she helped me keep tabs on the girls in the hallways.

After dinner we had a treat and watched two conference talks. We are WAY behind. Hopefully we can get caught up because General Conference is just under four weeks away! Enjoy your week. This will be Clark's first full week.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Happy Birthday Lois!!!

Have a wonderful day and enjoy moving!

Image from:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Happy Birthday Lee!

I was able to get the word to fellow officers that it is his birthday today, so he's had lots of "Happy Birthdays".

I took this picture today in honor of Lee and his 28th birthday. It didn't turn out, but on Robertson Street in Clayton, there are at least 3 businesses that have the name Lee in them. The sign above the white car has Lee written on it, and the little white square sign to the right of the barn roof also bears the name Lee.

A little story for those of you still reading. Lee and I met our freshman year of college. At one point he asked me to go to a dance with him. I got his picture and made a bunch of signs and hung them on several doors around campus. The sign read "Happy Birthday Lee!" And in very small print on the very bottom of the paper, it read "Yes, I will go with you." Several people wished him happy birthday for several days. It was funny.

First day of school...

Cal has been going for awhile to preschool, but I thought I would get a picture of him this morning since I had the camera with me.

Clark's first day was today. He did great leaving me and going to his class. He was very excited to go. On my way out I couldn't believe that my own kid was going to school! It's only the beginning, right? When Clark got home I looked through his folder. Boy, lots of paper work! I will have to keep up on this or I will have a mess. (I tried to think of something clever--other than mess--but at 11 pm at night, nothing came to mind.)

Clark is happy to use this army backpack. It's several years old, but he likes it and knows his dad is in the army. I don't mind! He's saving me moola! I really like his teacher and the teacher's aid. Also, I love the fact that there is a boy and a girl restroom in his classroom. I just think that's the greatest thing.

Happy Labor Day!

Did anyone do any labors? It was a fairly good day, aside from seeing Lee off at the airport and missing him.

We went to the Durant Nature Park for the afternoon. It's just a couple of miles from Daniel and Amy's. There are no admission fees and it's a great park. We had lunch, talked, went to the playground, and went fishing.

Lizzy, Shanna, Ila, Haley, Clark, Cal, Anthon, Rachel

The fishing wasn't very successful. Lizzy caught a turtle. After she caught the turtle (which was thrown into the lake after Daniel performed hook removal surgery) we had to keep reeling our lines in because the turtles were trying to eat the worms.

Shanna liked this little chair

Rachel and Cal have been having a lot of fun together lately. (Thanks Haley for hanging out in the stroller for awhile!)

What do you think?

Daniel having an angelic glow

Clark fishing

The best for last! If you are still reading, you'll get the full scoop. As we were loading up to go home, the kids were playing on some big rocks. After a little while I heard some screaming. I probably figured someone was bugging someone else. On arrival to the scene, I saw bees/wasps on my boys!!! I flipped out. I yelled to my kids to get further away from the rocks and I viciously started swatting those bugs. I tore off their clothes and kept swatting. We were very blessed as Clark and Anthon were stung only 3 times, and Cal only once. I thought they would have a lot more stings because those wasps were on their heads and started getting into their clothes. Ahhh.....the wish to have a husband two feet away from me crossed my mind at that moment!

We had a wonderful weekend. Because of Labor Day, Lee had a four day weekend and was able to get leave and fly back to North Carolina on Friday. It was worth every penny. (And we got a great deal on a plane ticket!) It has been a different experience being separated for so long, but in the long run the pain is worth it. (We hope!) One huge blessing, it is saving us a lot of money. Lee had an Army scholarship for 3 of the 4 years of optometry school. The Army paid well over $100,000 for those three years, and this 2 month officer training is one of the paybacks. Also, it is good for Lee to have this training (plus it's required) as he will be working for the Army and should know something about it.

We thought about Mom and Dad R on Friday as they ended their family history mission in Salt Lake City. We hope their adjustment and move back to Ely is going smoothly!

After pizza for Friday's lunch with Amy, Anthon and Rachel, we went swimming with Amy, Anthon and Rachel

Clark and Anthon had loads of fun at the pool. It was so cute to see them having a blast!

Cal, the buff little cutie

It is so cute to hear Haley say her version of "Cheese!"

She is a camera girl

She is not

Almost got a full smile

Saturday we hung out at home, went shopping at the outlet mall while the girls slept, and went to the park that evening.

Cal eating Yum-Yums (aka, cherry tomatoes)

Sunday we celebrated Lee's birthday. His present so far consists of two candy bars, which may have been eaten by now. Per his request, I made him chocolate chip dream bars for his "cake". And I made sure he had 28 candles to blow out.

Again, it was a great weekend and a nice refresher for all of us. Clark seemed to choke up a little after we picked up Lee from the airport--they didn't know that he was coming. Clark and Cal loved having their daddy here. The girls seemed shy in the van when they first saw him, but it ended once they got out. They pretty much wanted only him the rest of the weekend! It was nice to have Lee at church too! We were really late for church on Sunday because I tried to contact someone I visit teach beforehand. She lives 24 miles from the church, and I didn't plan that out well. Lucky for us, there were two baby blessings so we didn't miss out on the sacrament! Sunday night Sheldon received the Melchizedek Priesthood. It was neat to be there for that. Sheldon should be back from his travels this weekend or next, and that will be fun. Lee and I were hoping we could play a game with him this past weekend, but it didn't work out. We miss you Lee!

Shanna and Haley eating fish Aug 25th. It's so cute seeing them do things at the same time. I've started them on spoons. We're going all out now. They're getting the hang of it. They like food!

And since you reached the end, I'll throw in another little story. I think it would be fair to say that Lee is a car buff. He loves cars and enjoys his Christmas present every month from my mom by getting Car and Driver. We've been to a few car shows together, so I've been exposed to some sweet vehicles too. Now, I definitely don't know as much as Lee does about cars, but I can read the little signs/decals/stickers on the back of vehicles and figure out what they are if I am not quite sure of their make and model. My point of my rambling: we were headed to Daniel and Amy's for Lizzy's birthday party and I saw a VW Phaeton. It was quite obvious from the little signs on the back of the car. Well, this car owner must be a Phaeton freak! Guess what was on his license plate? "VWPHATON". Very original.