Saturday, April 30, 2011


The week after we got back from Las Vegas, we headed to my hometown, Apple Valley, Ca for Easter week. It's always fun to go back, eat at our favorite places, remember growing up there and seeing our families.
The week consisted of:

Playing robots and aliens with Abuela & Grandpa

Playing drums

Riding on Papa's longboard (oh and getting a haircut from Vinnie)

'Meeting' his cousin, Max.

Visiting Lake Greggory and Arrowhead

Then came the weekend. We decided to celebrate Easter the way one of my friends mentioned on her blog last year, which is to do all the bunny business on Saturday and leave Sunday to remember the ultimate meaning of Christ's triumph over death.

Saturday's surprise from the bunny. He made out well this year. Probably due to being in CA where there are three grandparents.

Since my mom was a kindergarten teacher for a while, she had all these fun Easter games to pull out and play. Henry loved throwing eggs in the blow-up bunny's basket.

Johann's parents came out to Apple Valley and we all dyed Easter Eggs. Henry's had a robot on it.

The finished products.

We went to my mom's ward's Easter picnic and egg hunt that evening. Henry loved running to look for the eggs.

Off he goes!!!

Happy to have found some eggs.

Sunday morning Henry got to put on his new easter duds thanks to Grammy Goodwin.

We went to my mom's ward and enjoyed a good sacrament meeting as well as good lessons. We talked with Henry about what resurrection means and how we can live again and our bodies will never be sick. He still is grappling with understanding coming back to life, he would usually say, "He died, but then he wasn't really dead." =)
We had a quiet day at home and had a family dinner that evening.

I'm so grateful for the resurrection. To me the blessings of the resurrection mean the joy of health, the lack of worry and sadness over illness and loss; the mercy of God and His Son made manifest and the knowledge that we'll be able to live again with those we love and miss. It is the triumphant Christ who has overcome sin and death and who will again come to bring an end to all sin and sadness in the world.


In addition to having lots of visitors these past few months, we've done a couple visits. The first was a long weekend visit (Thurs-Sat) to Las Vegas/Henderson for an internship interview with Clark County School District.
My cousin Nancy and her family were gracious enough to let us stay with them and to feed us. Thank you again, Nancy! Johann's parents also made the three and a half hour drive to come visit us for the day on Saturday and we got to go to the birthday party for the son (Raiden) of my other cousin George.

Friday consisted of lots of nerves waiting for the interview for Johann and myself, but Henry enjoyed having a backyard and new toys to play with. We also got to do a group date with my cousins which was lots of fun. Rare to have a calm dinner out with other adults!

Henry hangin' with Sully

Sliding with Nancy's daughter, Ariana


Saturday we met up with Johann's parents and ventured to see the Hoover Dam and Boulder City.

On our way to the Hoover Dam with Grandpa and Abuela

Bridge over the Hoover Dam

Boulder City Diner, "Mel's". "Never trust a skinny cook." Amen.

Henry's giant pancakes.

They had DELICIOUS fries. The burger was way good too.

Cute Raiden on his first birthday.

Aunt Janice & Henry passed out on the couch at the party.
This picture pretty much sums up how we were feeling by the end of our fun quick trip.


I've been bad about posting what has been happening this year. I've mostly been indulging my own strain of thoughts here. What a narcissist. So, I'm attempting to catch up with what has been going on and add some pictures. Here we go:

From the beginning of March through the beginning of April we had lots of visits. It was a lot of fun to have family around especially since winter here is long and sometimes a little lonely because we don't get out of the house as much. So here are some pictures from the visits of three uncles and one Grammy.

Uncle Derek came for about a week and painted some masterpieces with Henry. My favorite part is when Derek painted a pig and Henry asked what it was. When Derek replied, "It's a pig," Henry laughed and said, "OH I thought it was a DOG," in a 'wow that's a horrible pig' type of way.

Practicing good hygiene.

Then came uncle Jacob for his spring break to play superheroes. Can you imagine leaving sunny LA for snow plastered Utah for SPRING break. He must be crazy! ;-)

Then came Grammy to do lots of reading...

and lots of toy buying. Henry was definitely good with this aspect of the visit.

Trying to copy Grammy in the car, and happy to have a backseat companion.

Then came uncle Aaron. Henry was really excited to show him he had a hat 'just like his.'

My favorite portion of Aaron's visit. Aaron bought Henry this giant foam sword. I told Henry it's called an 'Uncle stick' and only to be used on Uncles. He made sure to get his fill of using the uncle stick on all three but I think he was most vigorous with the giver of the uncle stick. HA!
1 point mom, 0 points uncles!

And the final picture is of my attempt to be a good LDS mom during conference. The coloring packets worked for a while but the whole, pick the candy with the apostle's face that is the same as the one speaking, was a HORRIBLE idea. After just two of those mini candies Henry went bonkers and could not hold still. Needless to say, we won't be doing that one again.

Thanks to the fam for coming out to visit us. It really is fun!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

"Does this make my liver look fat?"

I've been thinking about my liver lately. No, really. I had a weird dream about it a while ago and when I mentioned it to my brother, he referenced an article about sugar ruining your liver and causing diabetes as well as cancer.

You can read the article here.

The simpleton summation is this: too much sugar (both sucrose — beet and cane sugar, whether white or brown — and high-fructose corn syrup) gives you a fatty liver which has been connected with diabetes and cancer. This is true across the board for skinny to obese people which is what makes it even more compelling to show it is environmental rather than genetic. It also means that even if you exercise your butt off or are naturally skinny, health-wise it does you no good if you keep filling your body with sugar.

The main thing that stuck with me from the article was this:

"How much do we have to consume (of sugar) before this happens?"

When Glinsmann and his F.D.A. co-authors decided no conclusive evidence demonstrated harm at the levels of sugar then being consumed, they estimated those levels at 40 pounds per person per year beyond what we might get naturally in fruits and vegetables (note this does not mention/include things like bread, pastas etc)— 40 pounds per person per year of “added sugars” as nutritionists now call them. This is 200 calories per day of sugar, which is less than the amount in a can and a half of Coca-Cola or two cups of apple juice. If that’s indeed all we consume, most nutritionists today would be delighted...

But 40 pounds per year happened to be 35 pounds less than what Department of Agriculture analysts said we were consuming at the time — 75 pounds per person per year — and the U.S.D.A. estimates are typically considered to be the most reliable. By the early 2000s, according to the U.S.D.A., we had increased our consumption to more than 90 pounds per person per year.

Another point of reference for understanding what 200 calories of sugar is, 1 gram of sugar=4 calories. That means you should only be consuming 50 grams of sugar a day aside from fruits and vegetables. Now go look at your cereal box. Yikes, right?

Now I don't want to freak out and believe my liver is going keel over any day now but I definitely think it's cause to be much more cautious. I'm already happy that I kicked soda in middle school and I drink only water and milk so I don't have to worry about liquid sugar. I think my problem is with things like cereal and baked goods. So, I am definitely working to pare down the amount of sugar our family eats. Even if the studies turn out to show it not causing cancer, I doubt our bodies will really suffer for want of excess sugar.

So, wish me luck. It's going to be a process weening ourselves from so much of the food that contains too much sugar but I think it will be worth it.

Boot List

I don't like the way, "Bucket List" sounds. I also didn't like the movie. So I looked up synonyms for the phrase and found a list of titles in foreign countries for the above mentioned film. Apparently in Hungarian the title "Bakancslista" translates to "Boot List," which I find sufficiently more pleasing and therefore our list of things to do before we leave Utah will be called our "BOOT LIST."

We are still not positive where we will be but all signs point out of Utah since the districts here are crowded already with interns. Enough of that, this isn't time to whine about not knowing our future, that'll be for another post. Now some of these are silly or may seem stupid but they are things we've thought of that we can't do or do again outside UT so why not do 'em now.
So, without further adieu:

Simonds' family Utah Boot List:

1. Attend a session at the Salt Lake Temple
2. Go to the Gateway Discovery Children's Museum
3. Go to the Springville MOA
4. Go to the BYU MOA and eat at the MOA Cafe. yumm...
5. Visit Logan and/or Ogden. (We've never been north of SLC so we thought we should give it a whirl)
6. Visit one of those fancy SLC bakeries
7. Go to a BYU performance
8. Attend the SLC symphony or opera
9. Go to Seven Peaks
10. Eat at Diegos
11. Go bowling at BYU or FatCats
12. Hike the Y
13. Drive the Alpine loop
14. Ride the Heber Creeper
15. Ride one of the city buses
16. Visit Manti and see the temple
17. Go to the Spiral Jetty (I doubt we'll be able to do this one since we don't have a truck...sigh)
18. Go to the Cathedral of the Madeline
19. Attend a UofU symphony or Opera performance
20. Visit Magna (I know...but Johann's grandma was born or grew up there so he wants to see it)

Well, there we go. If we can even do half of these with the little time we have left I will be pretty happy. If you can think of any more that are ridiculously important for us to include, please leave a comment.
Here's to the boot list!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Johann has now had 2 interviews for a 2011-2012 school year internship. One was for Clark County which covers Henderson, NV all the way to Mesquite, NV-it's the 5th largest district in the nation. He was subsequently offered a position there. As we were considering accepting the position, a district in Escondido, Ca called to set up an interview with him. That took place Thursday and they will let him know early on in May. That is the basic run down.

The Clark County experience was really laid back and Johann enjoyed interviewing there. The Escondido experience was quite different. It is the only paid Southern California internship we've seen so they were running quite the interview factory, every 20-30 minutes a new student was being interviewed and Johann interviewed on day 2 so you can imagine just how many people are going for that position. Johann feels like he did the best he could in the interview though they seemed somewhat disinterested and he is ridiculously qualified so we will just wait and see.

Escondido is, well, Escondido. It's beautiful. It pays about 10,o00 more. It is an hour closer to family. And it's beautiful.
Henderson/Las Vegas area is where some of my extended family live. The district is huge and Johann has a lot of say about what kind of experiences he wants to have while there. He was offered the position. It's cheaper to live there than Escondido. We really enjoyed visiting there.

Hopefully Escondido will let us know very soon what their decision is. If they say they want him we'll have to pray and think about it all some more, if not, I am pretty sure that we can plan on heading to Henderson, NV come this August. It will just be so nice to know where we will be!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Birds

I am afraid of birds. Really. I don't like being near them, touching them or even looking at them for too long. My phobia isn't limited to just birds but anything of the foul class. They just plain worry and scare me.
1. They feel hollow. Hence my fear that at the slightest touch they will pop. Those things were just not created to be touched. Period.
2. They have sharp mouths that are meant to be used for pecking. Need I say more?
3. They have claws that are meant for...clawing.
4. I had three parakeets as a girl. The first one I inadvertently killed by feeding it the wrong thing. The second was really nice and I trained it to do all kinds of cool stuff within a week. Then it died too-this time NOT at my doing or misdoing. The Third was a mean little cuss and lived for years.Birds are spiteful creatures.
5.They are major carriers of major disease.
6. In Home Alone 2, why do you think they made the scary lady a BIRD lady?! Everyone knows that anyone who has an intense affinity for birds is at least a bit scary.

This brings me to the story I planned to tell all along.
Recently we discovered that birds were building a nest in our dryer duct. The opening of the duct is right by our kitchen window and attached to the cupboards over our refrigerator. Every morning for about a month now I've had the nervous displeasure of hearing them building, scratching, chirping and hearing it as though it were happening in my cupboard. Then within the past week, it got worse. They started going through the duct and I could hear them in the washer/dryer closet with their nasty little talons scraping against the metallic dryer duct. It was unnerving eating breakfast at the table then hearing that awful noise right over my shoulder. I know it sounds silly but was I was feeling completely frazzled by it. I mean-I HATE BIRDS!

Additionally my 2 year old son thought it was hilarious to taunt me with, "Mommy, hear the birdies? Do you like birdies?" To which I of course said, "NO." He responds, "Oh I love birdies mommy. Birdies, birdies!"

Well, to put an end to a post about all this ridiculousness, the complex caretakers finally came yesterday to take care of the birds. I told the main fellow how far it sounded like they had built and he told me he doubted it, blah blah. Well, sir, when they got in there I was quite right. They were building a freakin' bird metropolis in my dryer duct! They couldn't believe how much it was.

Now it is all gone and a metal basket has been placed over the opening so no more birds can get it. I, however, doubt this is the end of it between me and the birds: they keep clawing onto the basket and pecking at it then flying to the power line across from my kitchen window to ruffle their feathers, fume and stare with their beady little eyes my way. I just hope they don't organize. I don't want to end up living a Hitchcock film.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It's time to talk

It's been a while since I've updated. I'm a little annoyed at myself but at the same time, I feel it has been excusable. We've had multiple visits as well as gone on a quick weekend trip to Las Vegas for an internship interview-more on that later.

The main reason however, I haven't had much to say is because I really haven't been sure what to say. Once all the action of the past weeks ended this weekend, I was left to process and I haven't really enjoyed it too much. It's been painful and depressing. I'm tired and don't feel right.

I've tried not to make it a secret of late that Johann and I had been trying to bring an addition to our family for 13 months. I got sick of people asking us when we were going to have kids again, if we want to have anymore kids, telling us that Henry needed a sibling and my favorite, that I would understand such and such better once I had more than just one kid. I realize none of it was meant unkindly but it just wasn't pleasant to hear when we were very conscious of those things and trying as best we could to make it happen.

After making some discoveries of what could be holding us up, I had a treatment and sure enough, March brought the news that I was pregnant. I was so grateful. Finally, finally!
I was due November 13th and November seemed perfect. If we moved for an internship, I'd be in the 2nd trimester and feeling up to it, we'd be settled long enough wherever we were that the baby wouldn't come too soon. We found out the same day we had another loss of sorts happen in our family and it felt very right and even necessary to keep our spirits up. A number of family members were also expecting within a month or two of the due date and we were so excited thinking about the little cousins and cousins once removed all being able to play together and be friends. It really felt perfect.

The sweetest thing though, was telling family and a few friends who had known about what was going on and hearing multiple times, "Oh we're so happy! We have been praying for you!" I was so touched to be remembered by them and also to see we were remembered and blessed by the Lord.

Soon after finding out though, I got nervous when I wasn't feeling very sick. I was exhausted but with Henry I was down for the count kind of sick as well as exhausted. The sight and smell of all food made me sick. I could eat almost anything this time without feeling the slightest bit ill. I told myself it was because the last time I was in school full time and working and not sleeping enough that I felt that way. Always in the back of my mind though I worried and worried. I read a lot about miscarriage. Over a bit of time through some things I can't and shouldn't exactly express, I came as close to knowing as possible that I was going to miscarry. I tried to do things to avoid it and I felt like one of those tragic Greek characters trying to avoid their fate and thereby bringing it about.

I told myself if I cleared 6 or 7 weeks I would be fine because it seemed a lot of people miscarried then. I was just about 8 weeks and then it happened. I didn't know for sure at once and I will forever be annoyed at the doctors/nurses who made me go through all kinds of tests and poking and follow-ups just for the inevitable. They kept giving these little assurances it could be this or that and not a miscarriage when I knew that they knew it was. It was pretty obvious.

I know it's their job, but I'm still annoyed. I'm annoyed they made me go to a follow-up appointment and said nothing helpful or informative about the miscarriage after waiting an hour and forty-five minutes, but only said that actually what we were told and believed was causing the infertility really isn't, in their opinion. So great. 13 more months, huh? Thanks. Way to switch the appropriate times for being cautious and optimistic. Really.

The worst part is feeling like it's never ending. Still blood tests for yet another week. I hate the smell of the tape they use over the injection site. It reminds me of the NICU when Henry was there and makes me think about how terrifying it was thinking we didn't know what was wrong with him and he could stop breathing and be no more. I don't really want that kind of reminder presently.

I don't want to be small or petty. I realize I need to be grateful just to know that it is possible for me to get pregnant again when I was at the point of almost believing it would never be. I understand and am grateful it happened much earlier on so that no operations were involved. I know there are many people who have suffered far more in losing a child and I know I should in no way think my loss as difficult to bear as theirs. I certainly do not. I just felt like it was time to talk about it.

I want to be 'right' but at the moment, with the hormone changes and lack of things I have to do, I find myself more dispirited and down than before. I am trying, but please forgive me if I'm not as sunshiny as I ought. I'll get there, but I suppose this is something I have to go through to get back to there in a more real sense, first.

I don't want to leave on a glum and faithless sounding note. I know that what I once heard spoken is true: 'Trials teach us compassion and when we can remember that, we are no longer victims.' I feel like my compassion has increased and that I feel more than intellectualize this sorrow when others express it. I'm trying to remember that a broken heart is a sacred offering and that the 'new creature' I am to become begins with such a heart. So I am grateful for the atonement and grateful and hopeful that He can heal and make me better than I would have been otherwise. He isn't late, He hasn't forgotten.