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Preview: The Simmons Crew

The Simmons Crew

Brittany, Derek, Jack & Teddy

Updated: 2018-03-08T07:17:14.822-08:00


Disney Cruise


So it's been a WHILE since my last post. But I'm not giving up. You see, our desktop computer crashed and we had to back it up and I finally got a new computer. But, all of our photos are on an external hard-drive that I still haven't quite figured out yet. Basically, I didn't want to post out of order. So, here are some Disney Cruise photos that my Father-in-law took. Once I can get my photos, I'll add those in too....but this will be a good start! My in-laws celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary last year, and what they wanted more than any big party was to take us all on a Disney Cruise. It was our first time 'cruising'. This particular cruise went from LA down to Mexico and back. There was a lot to do, it was really fun stopping off and exploring different towns, but the last day at sea was a rough one (Derek and I both got sea sick....ugh...). But it was a lot of great memories and the kids had a BLAST! Seriously, Jack still talks about it. He even refers to a cruise as a place where people live (like an apartment, a house, etc...). There were tons of activities for families on board the ship. We had daily dance parties, pool time, kid slide, arcade room, sports deck, workout room, shuffle board, live 'Disney' shows, character greetings and of course the food. **Jack LOVED meeting Captain Jack. Definitely one of the highlights! Our first stop was in Puerto Vallarta. We hopped in a cab and headed straight for the beach. Pretty much everyone, except for myself, had been there. We walked through 'old town', walked through the market and over to a beachfront restaurant and had a canopy/lounge area to hang out at and eat delicious Mexican food. The kids were in heaven digging in the sand and swimming in the ocean. I loved it too because we rented jet skis and I was PARASAILING! I was a little sketched out trying it in Mexico, but it was awesome....and I survived! **"Curtain's Up..." -from Modern Family ....was Jack's quote of the week The next day we went to Cabo San Lucus. After some back and forth, we got a ride in a glass bottom boat (The boys loved looking down into the ocean and seeing the fish!) over to a beautiful beach to hang out, snorkel and cliff jump. We didn't have much time there....I could've stayed forever! We had a lot of fun and were so thankful to Bill and Nina for making this trip happen! [...]

New Years Eve


To celebrate New Years Eve, we attended the annual Lundquist-Divine minute to win it party. As always, its full of good food, good games, good costumes and lots of fun. We were excited that Dallin and Kayla lived close enough to come with us....and together we made the Swiss Ski Team. Derek's boots (actually his Dad's) were the envy of the night!We played all sorts of games....Around the world ping-pong, blow the egg, gummi bear toss, pass the M&M, vaseline/cotton ball, pop the balloon, human fire hose (mouth), and more. The night ended with, food, toasting the ball drop and a hilarious mustache serenade. A good time was had by all....can't wait for next year![...]

Jack Turns 4!


On Dec. 28 this little guy turned 4. I couldn't be more amazed and in love with him. His enthusiasm for life is contagious, just as his smile and laugh. He is such a great example for Teddy in being sweet, kind to others, making friends, sharing, a zest for learning, and polite. He just loves people, especially family and close friends. He is such a sweetheart, still picking me flowers, asking for snuggles, and always wanting to play. He idolizes his Dad and will do anything he is doing (including finding him in the bathtub with my razor trying to shave his head like Dad does too). As much as I am sad to see him get bigger, I am loving it at the same time. I am loving each new stage he grows into and am excited for what is in store this next year. As usual, we were away for his birthday. Luckily we were in Utah where his little cousins and some good friends were as well. To celebrate, he and his cousin Sophia had a joint party at Jumping Jacks. Who wouldn't love to climb, bounce and eat junk food? Per request, Derek and I tried our hand at creating a spiderman cake. We are pretty proud of how it turned out :)We also had a little celebration with Derek's family in Park City. More food, treats, food and fun! It was a fun day and appreciate everyone joining in on the fun![...]

Christmas in Utah


Life as a student is pretty sweet....considering we get over a month off of school! As soon as Derek finished his finals, we packed up and drove out to Utah. Certainly not the shortest drive in the world, but we survived. First on the agenda to hit was a horrible stomach flu epidemic. It was a rough and horrible way to start out the vacation...We also had the pleasure of watching my brothers' kids. They were kind enough to let us stay with them a few days, so it was the least we could do. We lucked out with the only snowfall while watching them, so we suited up all the kids and ran outside to play. Jack was so excited and the first thing he did was make a snow angel. One of the main events of break was that my little brother got married. I am SO happy for him and just love his wife Kayla. It was so special be a part of the endowments, the wedding party, the ceremony and everything. Despite a few hiccups (i.e. horrible traffic on the way to the temple ceremony and literally running to our seats) it was a beautiful wedding and so fun to see how in love they are. It was a walk down memory lane staying in Provo for the majority of our time in Utah. We hit up lots of great places to eat, a visit to the Bean museum, BYU basketball game, lots of swimming at the hotel, played at the Provo Beach Resort, caroled at the nursing home......and of course we saw Santa. It was chaos with all the cousins, but made the wait worth it (everytime we passed a Santa in a mall Jack begged to see him, but then remembered all his cousins were waiting to go together). What a classic picture, thanks to Teddy :)Christmas Eve with my family is not one to miss! Sugar cookie decorating, manger re-enactment, and of course a legendary talent show. Jack showed off his whistling skills this year, by whistling "twinkle twinkle little star". We all then participated in a family shuffle party to "I'm 'sixty' and I know it" followed by the "Party Rock Anthem". Never a dull moment with the Bills family.We were also able to spend a few days in Park City with Derek's family. I just love Park City. ....if only Utah had gotten more snow!.....We also celebrated Jack's 4th birthday! Can you believe this sweet little guy is 4 years old? I can.....he is more like 4 going on 14 these days. But we had a fun birthday party and family celebrations....more on that to come....[...]

Three years old and skis?


For the last couple of months Jack has been dying to go skiing or snowboarding. ...he even asked Santa for his own pair of skis and snowboard....I hope he wasn't too disappointed. So while we were in Utah over the break, we were so excited to get Jack up on the slopes.

Derek and Tyson took Jack and Landon up to Sundance for their first ski run.

Doesn't he look so cute all suited up?!?

Here is a snippet of his first run....

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A few days later, I got to join in the fun when we took Jack up to Parley's Summit where we could ski with him. It was awesome! We were the only ones to go from the top of the 'ski hill'.

By the end, Jack was a total pro! I am so proud of the little 3 year old and how dedicated and brave he was! What a stud.

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Thanksgiving in San Clemente


This Thanksgiving was spent in Southern California with Derek's family. We had lots of family time, and even got to meet up at a park with some other cousins as well. Of course we were able to squeeze in a few beach days!While there, we also celebrated Bill and Nina's 50th Wedding Anniversary. We prepared a nice family dinner and told memories and stories of the two of them. They are great grandparents and we look forward to 50 more years![...]

San Francisco Half Marathon


After 2 months off from blogging (and a still broken computer) I'm back. A few months ago, my friend Megan and I ran the San Francisco Half Marathon. It was a gorgeous day in SF, lots of beautiful views, and of course a few hills in between.


My personal cheering crown made the trek to congratulate me....just what I needed when my legs felt like noodles.


Thanks Megan for signing up with me!

Discovery Bay Museum


A week or so ago (finally catching up!), some friends and I decided to check out the Discovery Bay Museum.....and it may be my new favorite 'discovery' in the Bay area. First of all, it is right at the base of the Golden Gate bridge, housed inside of and old US Army post, Fort Baker. It was a really different museum, because there were separate buildinsg with different play and learning areas, as well as lots of outside discovery areas in between. Teddy especially loved the stream....any excuse to splash and get wet!They had a really cool stage/puppet theater area! Lots of fun indoors too...But I think we loved it outdoors more....We had a GREAT time, and will definitely be back very soon![...]



Winter is coming.....and that means so is the rain. we've had a few rainy days as of late, so we are trying to enjoy them. Luckily my boys LOVE any excuse to be outside, get wet, and dirty.



oh, and don't let this sweet little face fool you....

he is a crazy maniac and always on the go. But I love him for it.


And this guy rides his bike any chance he gets....even with big clunky rain boots.

The Sweetest



At least a couple of times a week when I pick up Jack from preschool, he gives me one of these. He picks it at outside playtime and either sticks it in his drawer or his pocket. How precious. Even the tiniest little flower he will keep safe for over an hour. I don't know how long this sweet gesture will last, but I hope it lasts forever!



Halloween night felt like it was never going to arrive, and we were all excited when it finally did. Attempting to catch these two little rascals to hold still for a moment....they were just could not wait to go trick-or-treating already. We even tried to lure Teddy with a lollipop. After handing out a few candies of our own, we hopped in our car and were on our way. We went back to the same neighborhood spot as last year. Jack was an old pro, and Teddy was a quick learner! After a while, Teddy was getting a bit tired so we stuck him in the stroller with yes another lollipop. We also bumped into some friends....and Jack was pretty excited to have some big boys to walk up to the door with. One of my favorite things about the night was being able to see the unique Berkeley homes up close. The end of the night....this pretty much sums it up. [...]

Halloween at Jack's Preschool


Jack just loves preschool....and so do I! He is such a big boy and I just love seeing all that he's learning, and how independent he is getting, and hearing about all the fun activities they do. It was pretty fun to see him in action with all of his buddies at school. All the kids looked so cute all dressed up. Getting all lined up for the parade around the block.Teddy dressed up in his skeleton jammies and loved being able to participate. After the parade they all sat down with their handmade 'trick or treat pumpkins', and waited for some goodies. Jack got put in between all the girls at first....but then he went and squeezed in by his other buddies Nahji, Julian and Ian. And finally one last pic with the best preschool teacher ever....Teacher Nelly :)[...]

Annual Pumpkin Carving Party


We had our annual pumpkin carving party, filled with chili and other yummy food, good company and of course pumpkin carving! I can't wait to have a bigger place to host and be able to invite anyone and everyone! Jack was excited to actually participate this year. Look at that concentration!The final productsUntil next year!....[...]

No More Training Wheels


Jack has been dying to get his training wheels off the last few months. He sees his dad go on bike rides, and REALLY wants to be able to go on bike rides too. So sweet. Finally, one weekend that we were all home and didn't have much going on, his wish came true.

We took off the training wheels

Went out to the parking lot

Gave him a few pushes


And he was off.

We are SO proud of him! And he was so proud of himself. The whole time, he kept asking, "Dad, now can I go on a bike ride with you?" and he'd say, "Almost, but you need to be able to start and stop by himself". So he just kept on going. And every person that came outside he'd proudly exclaim, "look no training wheels!".

A few little falls, but no tears. And they haven't been on since.....and now he is even faster than he was before......oh no.....

First Day of School



Jack is officially enrolled in Pre-school this year, and as you can tell from his face, he LOVES IT! Seriously. I hope this enthusiasm never leaves (and now 2 months in he still loves it just as much or more).

(indulge me for a second...this is for journaling purposes too...)He is growing up so fast. I know I am a bit biased, but I think he is just the most handsome, sweet, fun, kid around. He loves learning new things, visiting new places, reading, playing sports, doing crafts, the list goes on. He loves talking and telling stories. I guess he is quite the participant in primary and in school...and I just love that about him. He is my little sweetheart. He always gives me kisses, he'll always say sorry if he accidentally bumps me or someone/something else, he's great at cleaning up (primary at other people's houses oddly enough), obedient,he's really good at his please and thank yous, and has a genuine love for his family (he does have his moments with Teddy though). I love how quickly he makes friends no matter where we go. And I just love his enthusiasm for just about everything he does.

The other day in the car he turns to Derek and says "Dad I just want to be like you....let's take our shirts off". The first half of that phrase really sums up how much he adores his Dad...and the second part, apparently Derek is shirtless around the house quite a bit???

I just want to freeze this moment forever.

New York, New York


After a few weeks at my parents house, we joined Derek in NYC for the rest of the summer. It was such a fun adventure and one I will never forget! We explored the entire city and took full advantage of the short time period...and it is also where Teddy took his first steps! We sublet a one bedroom apartment and learned we can all sleep in the same bedroom if necessary. The apartment was a decent size (minus the non-existent kitchen...tiny even for NY standards). But we had fun keeping each other entertained. The location was great, on the upper west side. Central Park was our backyard playground and we would explore it almost everyday! There are so many great things to see and do there! Belvedere CastleOld people dancingTurtle PondImprov performancesModel Boat Sailing I would so look forward to my Saturday runs where I could enjoy moments in the park like this:It was awesome not having a car and being able to just walk everywhere! The kids were great in the stroller and they loved taking public transit. Jack became quite the know-it-all with hailing taxis and navigating the subway system. Of course, if it rained that made it a bit more difficult... Also while there, Jack got obsessed with the "Everyday I'm Shufflin" song and video. He loved the breakdance and the dancing robot; so that became our summer theme song :) I also took him to a 'real' NYC barber shop. He felt like such a big kid there!We kept ourselves really busy going exploring and seeing all of the sights! (Warning: Picture Overload...)Lincoln CenterChelsea/Meatpacking DistrictThe NYC Transit MuseumSeaport VillageWater Taxi RideBrooklynNY Fire MuseumBoat Basin Cafe - a fun spot on the Hudson. Fun people watching and very child friendly. We even had some visitors during the short period we were there!I just loved discovering all the wonderful things there were too see![...]



One afternoon my Dad took us exploring in the back forest. We got our hiking gear on, insect repellent sprayed and were off on quite the adventure! We traversed across a log, Hiked through tall grasses, Forged the river (Gpa fell in) and even found a great fishing spot along the way!I have always loved exploring in the backyard, and it was a memorable adventure to share with Derek, Jack and my Dad.[...]

Happy Birthday D-Rock



Happy Birthday Derek! It was hard to hold a big extravaganza for Derek's birthday with him being in NYC, traveling back and forth, celebrating Teddy's birthday and fathers day, oh and our anniversary. But, we loved having him for a day or two to celebrate early and enjoy his favorite homemade ice-cream pies! Our niece was so cute and made a card for everyone to sign to make him feel extra special.


You are the best Dad/big kid/husband I could ask for. The kids admire you and so do I. I love you sweetheart and we sure loved having you all to ourselves!

4th of July


Fourth of July weekend the whole fam was in town (minus Dallin). It was filled with slip n' slide, a parade, golf, runs, BBQs with friends and family, fireworks and fun!


The kids held their own special 4th of July parade the day before to include Landon and Chloe. There was some fierce competition and lots of creativity!



Of course the 4th of July wouldn't be complete without the ward breakfast. Shane was in charge and did a great job! The kids swam, listened to patriotic speeches and of course yummy food.


This year, because of the babies (and the fact that Derek was in NYC for the actual day of), we opted to have our own fireworks show. My Dad had a huge stash of fireworks he picked up in Pennsylvania and boy were they a hit! We made regular and carmel popcorn, sat out on lawnchairs in our PJ's, enjoyed great music, held umbrellas, and had great company:) Plus, the fireworks did not disappoint either!

Remembering 9/11



I can hardly believe a decade has gone by since this tragic day in history.


It seem just yesterday I was woken up in my freshman dorm room by roommates with the I am sure you remember the exact spot you were.



May we all take a moment to remember those who passed and look towards a brighter future.


Teddy turns 1


While at my parent's house, Teddy had his first birthday! I can't believe my little guy is one year old already! He has grown into being the biggest ham, the silliest kid, full of smiles, loves other people but also will just roam and explore and play on his own, is incredibly wiggly, a little chatterbox, and we just LOVE our little Teddy Bear to pieces!! It has been so fun reliving all the little baby moments and watching each milestone along the way (and not being stressed about it!) The Classic "I Hate My Hat"We kept his party super low key (I mean, why stress and overdo something he isn't even going to remember?) but just had fun keeping him as the center of attention. My whole family minus Dallin was there to celebrate. It was fun having other cousins to celebrate with! I also figured this was the only year to have a 'Teddy Bear' theme while he doesn't have a choice. So we had presents and cake and enjoyed almost every bit of it.Just as I thought, Teddy loved the frosting but not so much the cake part. He didn't like eating a ton of table food yet.Please don't make me eat another bite![...]



With all the heat and humidity, the kids loved cooling off in the sprinkler. It was their go-to activity! They would run through it in the grass, spray it on the tramp, and even added bubbles to make 'snow angels'. What a goofy group of kids! (And please not Oliver's broken arm. The poor kid broke his arm playing at the park- isn't it just the saddest thing ever?!?)And a lot of times it was just too hot and buggy to let these two little rascals out. Sad.[...]

Slip N' Slide


For the 4th of July instead of heading to a pool, the Dads went and bought a monster tarp and made a slip n' slide. A couple of different locations and bottles of soap later, it was a big hit!




Homestead Farm


One of the perks of my parents living out in the boondocks is that there are lots of farms nearby. Homestead Farm is our go-to. It's a great place to let the kids run, feed the animals and pick fresh fruit. The other perk is that the farm has two beautiful golden retrievers. Both Jack and Teddy LOVE dogs so they were in heaven whenever one wanted to tag along with us for the day. Every time we went, it made me want to live on a farm. Life is just so simple and beautiful and it truly is a little boys playground. [...]

Summertime in DC


For part of the summer we got to spend hanging out at my parent's house. It is always great to be back in the DC area and take advantage of all the things there are to do. One of those being all the great museums! They keep up the highest standards and never disappoint. Did I mention they are always free?!? So here's to our museum tour. I limited which museums we went to being it tourist season and the fact that I have 2 little boys on the loose.... National Zoo "baby lion cubs" aren't so baby Nat'l Postal Museum Natural History Museum Air and Space Museum [...]