Response to Last Post

I had so much fun reading all of those memories! Thank you, ladies, for sharing those with me. And, for the ego boost! I should do this more often - you were all so kind. I think I need to set the record straight, though. It isn't true that all the guys wanted to marry me! Not at all! In fact, I think Cletus was the only one standing in that line. He did ask me twice, so maybe that's where the confusion was. And Heather, I still have that black dress.

Memory Blog

Do you remember the time.... I saw this on a blog that I stumbled across and thought it looked fun.
1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!
2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. I think it will be pretty fun to see the responses.

Todd's visit ...

My nephew Todd is visiting for a few weeks from Texas. We've had a lot of fun so far. Aaron and Lynda, here are some pictures just for you!
(Above: Todd and Hayden posing by the Andy Griffith statue at Pullen Park. Hayden makes a pretty good Opie, but Todd doesn't really pass for Andy.)
(Below: We did the paddle boats at Pullen Park. It was hard work! Todd said that his legs were sore the next day. We had fun chsing down ducks and taking turns pedaling. It was a beautiful day, but it felt hot out in the middle of the lake!)
Hayden and Todd surfing at Ft Fisher beach. It was a PERFECT day at the beach - not too hot, breezy, and sunny. The water was even warm. We had a great day!
So, I don't know that I think Todd and I look that much alike, but we've gotten comments since he's been there. Someone at church turned around and said to me, "That has to be your brother! He looks so much like you". Interesting. I hope Todd takes it as a compliment. He was smiling kind of weird in this picture because he has a Slim Jim in his mouth, his snack of choice.
Jumping on the trampoline in the rain at Grandma Cunningham's. Is there a face under all that hair?
This is a huge dirt mound at the back of our neighborhood. We like to go out there and climb up. When we really want to have some fun, we roll old tires up to the top and then roll them off to see whose can go farthest .... "you know you're a redneck if ..."
This is suppose to be a 4 generations picture. Aaron, we are just mentally picturing you here as well.
Todd worked on this puzzle for over an hour and then finally conquered!
Aaron and Lynda, thanks for letting us borrow him for a couple weeks. It's been fun. Wish you could all be here!

Old Man Simpson

Cletus is 33 years old today!! Happy Birthday to the handsome, crazy and wacky, sweet, determined, hard-working, creative, and fun person who makes our world go 'round. Here are 17 things that you might not know about Cletus:

1. His middle name is Helms, his mother's maiden name. She (and he) are distantly related to the late Jesse Helms.
2. He has a webbed toe.
3. He ran for Junior Student Body President at Garner High and won with a MC Hammer dance. (He ran again for Senior President singing, "We believe the children are the future" by Whitney Houston, but surprisingly, he lost)
4. He has had 6 years of piano lessons.
5. He went on a mission to Equador for 2 years and one time was so poor that he had to eat bananas (every meal!) for a week. He actually gained weight. He still likes bananas.
6. He has run 3 marathons and done 1 triathalon. (The marathons were: Deseret News marathon in Salt Lake, Richmond Marathon, and the Grandfather Mountain Marathon in Boone)
7. He wakes up at 5 am every morning so that he can have time to read. He is a determined reader and read the unabridged version of Les Miserables with a dictionary in hand. He also loves reading Revolutionary War books and President's biographies.
8. He is a talented woodworker and has made an entertainment center, a coffee table, 7 side tables out of his grandpa's old barn wood, and a beautiful cedar chest.
9. He chooses a patriotic song to sing every week at Family Home Evening.
10. His goal is to hike the Appalachian trail with Hayden at his side. (He wanted to do it for our honeymoon, but I wasn't game)
11. He asked me to marry him twice, with about a year in between the proposals.
12. He recently won the Simpson Family Putt-Putt Tournament: the first time in 10 years!
13. He is a bocce fanatic.
14. He thinks that Sonic's Happy Hour is the best thing ever invented (at a fast food restaurant, at least).
15. He has his contractor's license and has formed an LLC (Liahona Construction). His dream is to build houses one day.
16. He took a tap dancing class at NC State with me.
17. His favorite candy bar is Butterfinger.

Happy Birthday, Cletus. We love you!

Daily Guffaws

Here are just a few of the things that have made us smile lately:

Today I found Kate alternately dipping her banana in the toilet and then taking bites. Yum!

Conversation with Hayden in the sandbox the other day:
Me: Hayden - don't throw sand! We don't do that.
Hayden: Yes, mom. People up north do that.
Me: What??
Hayden: Yeah. In North Virginia. It's a tradition.
(he was totally serious. crazy kid.)

My nephew Todd (my brother Aaron's son) is coming Tuesday and will be staying here for two weeks. Hayden is beside himself with excitement. Hooray for older and cooler cousins!

Our garden is producing large amounts of zuchinni and squash. However, our huge and beautiful tomato plants refuse to produce anything. Cletus has a pet watermelon plant that he checks on daily. Just between us, I think he's going to love it to death - literally. (Does anyone have any tips on killing pesky garden insects without using something that would be harmful to children? We are under attack.)

Cletus and Hayden went on the Raleigh Stake Pioneer Trek. They had a great time and came home alive and pretty much unharmed. Hayden proved his pioneer skills by eating a grasshopper (he then threw up, but we'll leave that part out). He said that it "squirted in his mouth and tasted like blood". How lovely. But, don't feel bad for him! He earned 11 pioneer dollars (??) for doing it. It was totally worth it. I actually enjoyed seeing Cletus at the end of the trek with his mountain man beard and a bandana tied around his head. What a good-lookin' pioneer!

Kate got her cast off. This was celebrated by us all. Hooray for baths without a plastic bag! Hooray for sprinklers and pools! Hooray for a right arm that doesn't smell moldy!

I got a wheat grinder and have started grinding the buckets and buckets of wheat that we have. I love it! I'm trying to make all of the bread that we eat, but we'll see how that goes. I'm turning into a food storage nerd, but that's okay. I'll embrace it.

We went to a cabin in Boone a little while ago and enjoyed the 40-50 degree weather in the morning and in the evenings. It was so nice! While we were there, we lit the wood furnace, then went outside to play in the creek. After awhile, we heard a beeping and looked up to see smoke billowing out of the cabin and to realize that the fire alarm was going off. We rushed inside and found that Cletus had left the bellows on top of the furnace. It was a mess! Everything turned out okay, except that the owners charged us $60 out of our security deposit to replace it (and, I got a stomach virus and was miserably sick for 2 out of our 4 days there).

Cletus and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary last month! I can't believe it's been that long. Man, we're old.

We finally installed a celieng fan downstairs in our living room. It is so wonderful! I love it! It makes such a big difference in the air temp downstairs.

Hayden (with the help of my mom's musical talent) has memorized the first 20 presidents of the US. He's pretty awesome.

And, finally, we enjoyed a fun 3rd of July in Garner with the Simpsons and the NC Symphony with an amazing fireworks show.

That's it for now. Life is sure fun. And hard, but mostly fun.