Our summer California trip.

California2016 from Kara Simmons on Vimeo.


Disneyland in the spring.

In the end of February into the first week of March we took our girls on a trip to Disneyland! We had perfect weather and a absolute blast. Besides Hazel getting crazy sick on the way there and then miraculously recovering as soon as we were at Disneyland the first day, everything about this trip was awesome.  Greg was adamant about the girls meeting the characters and I was so happy he was.  The girls were star struck with every character we saw.  Pretty adorable.
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Lydia turns six.

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Lydia’s birthday has come and gone. Her birthday was the day after we came home from quick trip to Lake Powell with friends so I was kind of putting things together for her as the day went along! I felt bad I didn’t wake her up with her traditional balloons all over her room and leading down the stairs, but she was a good sport about it and didn’t even think twice about it until I bought balloons to do it for her another day. We went and saw a new movie she wanted to see and then it was time to meet family at a pizza place for dinner. Then it was off to a park to sing to her with her barbie cake. I have seen barbie cakes made by my friend for years and I knew Lydia would love one, I surprised her this year with her barbie cake and she of course was delighted. Lighting the candles was a bit tricky as you see in pictures because of the wind, but Lydia was happy nonetheless.  Lydia is lucky to have many family members around us.  She was surrounded by cousins galore, which she was pretty happy about.  Lydia is now about to start first grade in just two weeks!  It feels a bit surreal to have a six year old and have her going to school all day long, but time moves along, and I have to be okay with it!  Even though I don’t feel ready to her to leave all day, I know she’s ready.  Lydia is a social and loving girl and can’t wait to be around friends all day.  I think Hazel and I are going to be pretty lonely without our Lydia around.  We love her so.  Happy sixth birthday Lydia Denise!

Kindergarten graduate.

Kindergarten graduation happened. It’s amazing to see watch Lydia grow and develop. I am proud to be her parent. She exudes happiness and goodness.  This translated into how she viewed her first year of school.  This first year of school has been very rewarding for her in many aspects.  It makes me excited to see what is in store for the years to come!  I am dreading her being at school starting in August when she goes into first grade.    But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves!  We still have summer!

Lydia’s program was adorable.  Singing and dance was involved!  Lydia even had a speaking part.  I would ask her almost daily what her part was.  She would roll her eyes and say, “Mom, I already know my part!  You don’t need to ask me.”  She gets her confidence from her daddy. 😉  She received a diploma and Greg brought her a flower lei.  Lydia loved it except she wanted to keep taking it off to keep it safe.  I don’t know what her plans with it are.  But she was quite serious about keeping it safe.

I love this girl.  Greg and I had to both keep choking back the tears 90% of the time.  We couldn’t even talk to each other much because we both were on the verge of tears!  Ha.  Thank goodness we have a fun summer ahead of us because I don’t want to even think about her leaving me all day next year.
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Easter 2015.

Just thought I would share a few memories from our Easter. It was a good one.  The girls found their Easter baskets by following their string of yarn around the yard once again.  Lydia got new church shoes with heels and Hazel received new color wonder markers so she can’t draw over our walls or doors in the house anymore.  We went to Grandma Nana’s for brunch between conference sessions and then on to Grandma Miller’s for dinner with the extended family.  The girls had plenty of Easter egg hunts for the day.  Hazel was especially cute trying to find her eggs.  She just loved the game of finding the eggs!  She didn’t even care to open her eggs.  Just the thrill of spotting those yellow eggs of hers was enough.  I love watching our girls discovering traditions and how happy it makes them.  Greg and I loved hearing the words from our Prophet and Apostles through general conference.  Very fitting to hear so much about Christ on Easter.  I am thankful and forever in debt to Him.  Because He lives I can live with this little family of mine forever.
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Christmas odds and ends.

I need to fill in the spaces of Christmas with some pictures the week of Christmas. We finally paid Santa an official visit a few days before Christmas. Lydia was pretty anxious on telling the big guy what she wanted, the reason being she was so nervous she didn’t have anything specific to ask for. She thought she needed a long list to rattle off to Santa. I explained that Santa knows what she would enjoy and he will bring her presents she will like. She felt much better about the situation once an explanation was given. 🙂
Hazel surprised me and didn’t cry, but didn’t smile either while visiting Santa. She kind of pointed towards her cousins off to the side, looked at the camera, and that was that.  But hey!  I will take it!

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I just love this random picture of the girls on Christmas Eve! The way Hazel is holding that Anna doll melts my heart. I was video recording mostly on Christmas Eve and Christmas, but I had to stop and snap the cute interaction between these two sisters on Christmas Eve.  Those dolls were the girls’ presents to each other.   photo Dec252014_KaraSimmons_5_zps9bf9d959.jpg
Every year on Christmas, all the family on my side gathers to my Mom’s house in the early afternoon and stay until we are stuffed on too many treats and tired. And of course we gather to each have a family picture on Mom’s front steps and then a group picture all together in front of the fireplace. Traditions! Got to have traditions! I kind of love picture traditions to see how each family changes and/or grows each year.  photo Dec252014_KaraSimmons_6_zps84d4f6bc.jpg photo Dec252014_KaraSimmons_8_zps40003776.jpg photo Dec252014_KaraSimmons_10_zps81f462e1.jpg photo Dec252014_KaraSimmons_13_zps24c5660d.jpg photo Dec252014_KaraSimmons_14_zpsfd0df330.jpg photo Dec252014_KaraSimmons_15_zps6ebf9e0b.jpg
Every year I am reminded how blessed we are. So much good around us. I especially love having that focus of celebrating the birth and life of Christ throughout the month. And knowing that everything good around us is because of Him. Christmas always goes much too fast, I already miss it.

Summing up 2014.

 photo StGeorge2_KaraSimmons_18_zpsdbd13cb3.jpgYears never go exactly how I plan them, and 2014 was no exception.  We had a lot of hopes, dreams, and goals for this year.  Some came true and some didn’t.  And that’s okay!  Because we are pretty happy with 2014.  We are lucky ducks for what we do have! I am always excited for our future and I have learned to be grateful for our past too.  Happy New Years everyone!

Christmas girls.

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Here are my girls are gussied up in their Christmas Sunday best. And as you can see, these were taken with studio lights! I have taken a leap and have myself a little studio set up in my home. Much more to come on that soon with the new year. But for now, I just couldn’t wait to share these cute Christmas girls. Hope you all had a great Christmas! We certainly had a good one.