Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Two LONG weeks

How did only two weeks pass since our last blog? So much has happened, it feels like it's been 2 months! As Danny said on our anniversary Sunday ("it's been six LONG years"), these have been "two LONG weeks". But both have been "LONG" in a good way. :) I think. With the Bean Museum, the carnival (the kids had their first roller coaster rides!), the Children's Museum with the Bairds, bowling, and the library -- the kids and I kept very busy! We managed to enjoy ourselves during Spring break, even without our favorite person (Daddy) around. He actually ended up flying to Denver early Wednesday morning, and made it back at 1:30 AM Saturday -- just in time to cheer me on for the Salt Lake City Half Marthon. I ran together with Mike Baird and his brothers -- and although the training took me on a different path than the triathalon program I've been on, it was a fun time! Angela, who got us all pumped to run in the first place, cheered us on with baby Cassidy. Amy and David drove down early from Logan to celebrate at the finish line, and we all had an awesome day together! And, after the "big kids" had finished our 13.1 miles, the little kids took on the "kids marathon" (a couple of blocks around the Gateway) with Danny and Amy. Sunday rounded out the week with baby Brody's blessing (he had the most adorable white and baby blue tux with TAILS!) and celebration with Brad and Cass. We are going to really miss them!
Then last week we enjoyed FHE at the Tulip Festival with Daddy, the Utah County Republican Convention, book club, stake conference, Tyler's graduation from BYU and visits with Katie, Sarah, Grams and Grampy! It was so much fun having my family around, and even though the visit was not nearly long enough, it was still wonderful. We've missed Katie and Tyler soooo much, and really were glad to have them stay with us for a few days! Hopefully we'll get to see them in a couple of weeks at the ranch?!
The Republican Convention kept me busy all Saturday morning, but it was fun for me to be invloved and talk with all of the Senators and Congressmen. If only we could get better people to run for office... It's frustrating, because even when you do find a genuinely good candidate (which is once in a blue moon), then enough people don't vote for them to get the nomination. It's a mystery to me how to solve this problem....
Well, as I was at the convention Danny was helping Brad and Cass load the moving van. We were able to go out to lunch with them and Angela and her girls before they left, and then we headed off to Stake Conference for the night. It was all about being good parents and having reverence for the sacrament, and it was really quite good. But by the time it was over, I was feeling terribly sick. Soon my voice was completely gone and I had THE WORST COUGH EVER. SERIOUSLY. THE WORST COUGH YOU'VE EVER HEARD. Well, maybe not the worst one ever. But it was pretty bad. And it REALLY REALLY HURT. I couldn't sleep all night and I kind-of wanted to slit my throat, it hurt so bad. Luckily, I'm married to a wonderful man who could give me a priesthood blessing, and I've been gradually getting better since then. Poor Danny got sick on Sunday too, although his was some yucky GI trouble and not the nastly flu/cold thing I've got. So, Sunday was quite the "Happy Anniversary" for us -- laying around moaning in our sick house. Next year will be better, no doubt. :).
Here are some pictures from the past two weeks of fun -- there were so many I just put them into a slide show!

We haven't stopped our FHE lessons and accomplishments (even though I haven't blogged them), so I'll play catch-up now and consolidate:
DAVIS- The teeth finally broke through! He went on his first roller coaster and ate his first mud pie (while helping Danny with sprinkers).
REID- He went hot-tubbing! Petted a king snake, turtle, and chameleon. Hated his first roller-coaster. Did the "kids marathon" with Danny.
MACIE- Loved her first roller-coaster. Got Strep throat, but recovered quickly. Played with lots of friends. Sang baby Sarah to sleep.
MARY- 1/2 marathon. Republican delegate to convention. Finished putting blinds up and re-caulked bathroom. Braved a BLIZZARD (seriously, and I was 2 miles away from BYU) with three little kids to get to graduation. Celebrated 6 years of wedded bliss.
DANNY- Ran "kids marathon" with Reid. Batted 8 out of 9 in his softball games. Closed BIG deal with Fidelity (Finally! Huge Hip-Hip-Hooray for this partnership and for all of his hard work!) Celebrated "six LONG years" with me. :) Fixed the sprinklers.

The conference talks we studied the past two weeks have been the talks from the sisters: Last week was "My Soul Delighteth in the Things of the Lord" by Susan W. Tanner, and this week was "Righteous Traditions" by Cheryl C. Lant. Here are the fave quotes (respectively):
*" 'My soul delighteth in the things of the Lord' -- His law, His life, His love. To delight in Him is to acknowledge His hand in our lives. Our gospel duty is to do what is right and to love and delight in what is right. When we delight to serve Him, our Father in Heaven delights to bless us."
*"Our traditions of Sabbath day observance, family prayer, family scripture study, service and activity in the Church, as well as patterns of respect and loyalty in the home, will have a great effect on our children and on their future. If our parenting is based on the teachings of the scriptures and of the latter-day prophets, we cannot go wrong.... If our children know where we stand and we always stand on the Lord’s side, we know we are where we need to be."

Monday, April 14, 2008

"Spring (Break)" in our step...

I'm happy to say that my mood is much improved from last week's blog! Danny is home for a few days (Hooray!) before he has to go back to Woodbadge, and we've had a fun and active weekend! I'm planning on having a super-fun week as well -- it is "Spring Break" at Macie's school and dance, so we are going to live it up! Today was the beginning of our Utah Spring Break Adventure. We hit the Farm Country at Thanksgiving Point, and the kids had a blast, as always. We've been several times before, and as usual, the pony rides were the highlight. Macie's favorite animal was a peacock. Reid's favorite was a cow -- the fake one that he could "milk" in the barn. I think he would've made a pretty cute cowboy. In the car on the way there, he and Macie were both practicing saying "Yee-haw!" It was adorable. I never thought I would be pleased to say that my children were acting like hicks, but it really was the cutest thing. I guess I am finally assimilating into Utah culture. Oh dear.

The rest of the week we plan on hitting the Bean Museum and library, Kangaroo Zoo, the Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point (with Daddy), maybe a movie or bowling, and the Discovery Gateway Children's Museum (in SLC). Hopefully we'll have as much fun as we did today!
Tonight we enjoyed FHE with our good friends and neighbors, the Taylors, so we didn't do Gunnell Family Accomplishments. Here's a brief summary of our week, though:
DAVIS: Cute as ever. Still has a huge gap between his teeth. Would win the Piston Cup of crawling. Who needs to walk when you can crawl that fast? Starting to sleep through the night (finally!).
REID: Mommy's big helper. Played lots of soccer and basketball this week! Very competetive in our FHE soccer game tonight. I stopped his potty-training and put him back in diapers. But I still love him.
MACIE: Wrote her very first book, coming up with the story and writing it all by herself. The only thing I did to help was assist with spelling words such as "however" and "mysterious" and "mermaid". She is so smart, I can't get over it. I'm sure that I couldn't have written a book when I was 4 years old.
ME: Met and discussed issues with several candidates for Legislature and Congress. Ran 12 miles (it's been a while since I've run that far!). Read a fair number of books. Cooked some yummy new recipes. Managed to make it through a week without seeing much of my hubby. Worked in the yard.
DANNY: Traveled to Colorado to negotiate oil deals. Excelled in Woodbadge (the hard-core scouting leadership deal that claimed him Thursday - Saturday, and that will take him away again this week.) Won his first 2 softball games of the year (a double-header late Thursday night that he got special permission to leave Woodbadge for). Set apart as YM president.
And that's about it. We also enjoyed seeing my parents for lunch and Macie's soccer game on Saturday afternoon, while they were in town for just a few short hours! We can't wait to see them and Katie and Tyler again in just 1 1/2 weeks for BYU graduation!
For our lesson tonight, we were plesantly surprised that the Taylor's also enjoy conference talk lessons. Tonight we read from Elder Bednar's talk on prayer, "Ask in Faith". Here are the winning quotes (I picked two):
"I long have been impressed with the truth that meaningful prayer requires both holy communication and consecrated work. Blessings require some effort on our part before we can obtain them, and prayer, as “a form of work, . . . is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings”. We press forward and persevere in the consecrated work of prayer,... by acting upon the things we have expressed to Heavenly Father."
"... A common element in many of our prayers is a request that the missionaries will be led to individuals and families who are prepared to receive the message of the Restoration. But ultimately it is my responsibility and your responsibility to find people for the missionaries to teach. Missionaries are full-time teachers; you and I are full-time finders. And you and I as lifelong missionaries should not be praying for the full-time missionaries to do our work!
If you and I would truly pray and ask in faith, ...—if we would pray with the expectation to act and not just to express—then the work of proclaiming the gospel would move forward in a remarkable way. "

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

My pity party...

I am depressed tonight. Should I be depressed? Of course not. Yet, I am. Do you ever just feel low, even when everything is really actually pretty great in your life? If you do, then you can relate to exactly how I feel. This is not a very smart mood in which to write the weekly family blog. It makes it seem like our whole family is depressed, or depressing, when the family as a whole is actually quite happy. However, I made a goal to blog today, so here I am typing ...
I will start by getting all of my whining and complaining over with, so that I can focus on the happy things. Here is my miserable pity party:
Danny is gone. The whole week. Today and tomorrow he is in Colorado for work, and Thursday through Saturday he is gone to Woodbadge. He will be gone next week for Woodbadge too. He is missing the dinner date we had planned for Wednesday night, and I can't even go by myself because the babysitter just called and cancelled. The window people left my house REALLY DIRTY. I cannot stand a dirty house. My back hurts because I had to move some VERY HEAVY furniture that was displaced by the same window people that left my house dirty. I just ate a bowl of ice cream because I am depressed, and now I am feeling fat because I ate a WHOLE BOWL of ICE CREAM at 11 PM. Macie yelled at me today and said that I am not a nice mom. I am quitting potty-training Reid FOREVER because he likes to wet his pants. And my kids did not get to bed until 10 PM tonight.
That's it. Not really so bad, when I take a step back. It is easy to see all the blessings in-between the not-so-good things. Danny's gone? Well, at least he's working hard to support our family and magnify his calling. It could definitely be worse. He's not in Iraq, or anything, after all. He's missing our fancy date? Well, at least we had the money to buy tickets for the charity dinner in the first place. And we'll save money now by not paying for a babysitter. Plus, after eating that bowl of ice cream, the last thing I need is a big dinner anyway. Speaking of the ice cream, I am grateful for food -- extra food, at that. Considering how much of the world lives in poverty, what a blessing it is to be living at this time and in this place. Now, onto those "window people". I am definitely happy about getting new windows. Even if my house did get dirty. It is worth it to have beautiful, clear, clean, fresh windows! And I probaby needed the exercise that lifting the furniture gave me. Maybe I'll build some muscle out of it? Finally, my kids. I am so grateful to be a mother, even on the rough days. And, I guess it's OK that we stayed up so late, because we did enjoy watching American Idol together, reading lots of good books, and snuggling close together in one big bed!
Thanks for indulging my little pity party. Now I'll get to the good stuff. Last week my mom visited for a few days, we enjoyed General Conference, and we had a fun get-together with the siblings and cousins as a "farewell" event for Brad and Cass (leaving for Baylor Law School April 26th). Last night for FHE we enjoyed some melt-in-your-mouth steaks that Kimball and Rebecca Hodges grilled up for us, and the kids had a blast playing with Emma and Edison. Here are some pictures of the week:
Grams and Davis at Kangaroo Zoo -- she treated the kids to an evening of fun!
Macie and Reid enjoy jumpin' at the Zoo too!

What a good daddy! Reading books to the kidlets in-between conference sessions.
Taking my conference notes with a smile - Elder Ballard was talking to me!
Reid violently interrupted conference Sunday afternoon. Davis looks scared, doesn't he? :)
Davis holds hands with cousin Cade. They could totally be brothers ... almost twins, by their coloring!
All of the Gunnell cousins get together for a photo-op: Reid, Walker, Cade, Jackson, Davis, Macie, Katelyn, Cassidy, Elizabeth, Brylie, and Brody. Who knows when this will happen next? And will the couch be long enough?
Grandma Gunnell graciously hosted this crew for the goodbye get-together. Amazingly, I think EVERYONE is smiling (and I didn't even photo-shop!).
Since we joined FHE forces with the Hodges we decided to forego the Gunnell Family Accomplishments this week, but I will list our weekly conference quote. Our lesson was on Elder M. Russell Ballard's talk, written specifically for young mothers (Gee, I wonder why I liked it?). Since it is only available in mp3 format, I just wrote it down as I heard it. Hopefully, it is not off too much.
"Let us remember that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children. The scriptures and the teachings of the prophets and apostles help all family members to prepare together now to be together through all eternity. I pray that God will continually bless the women of the church to find joy and happiness in their sacred roles as daughters of God."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Yes, we have been slacking on the blogging for a few weeks. But we do have some clever excuses. First, last Monday we hosted an evening of hot-tubbing for Katelyn Baird's 3rd birthday, sooooo we considered the family party our FHE for last week. We would have updated after that, but we were also busy with Easter (and I spoke in church Easter Sunday), egg hunts, soccer games (Danny coaches Macie's pre-K team on Thursdays and Saturdays), Eagle courts of honor, baptisms, an 100-mile bike ride through Moab (go Danny!), the Republican caucus and training (I ran our caucus, and I'm the precinct chair once again), work trips (Danny flew to Denver & Houston to seal some deals), book club (I hosted a very yummy dinner party at our house -- while Danny was gone!), more church talks (Danny taught the combined adults & youth on Sunday), a visit from Amy and David (now living in Logan), a new calling (Danny is now the Young Men's President), and just the general busyness of everyday life! It's amazing how much stuff can happen in just a few short weeks! Here are the photos documenting all of the fun we've had:

And for this week's FHE installment:
DAVIS: Has successfully boycotted naps for one whole week (this is not a happy accomplishment for me, but Davis seems quite pleased with himself.). I think he is getting new teeth.
REID: He turned three! (old news, but still his favorite news.) He played basketball and soccer with his new hoop and goal!
MACIE: Created a beautiful book at preschool that describes her five senses. She gave lots and lots of her Easter eggs away to little kids that didn't find many. (I was really proud of her!)
ME: Hosted a delicious book club, hosted a great Republican caucus, and was elected Precinct chair and delegate again. Gave a good church talk.
DANNY: Plans to partner his huge Twilight oil deal with Fidelity. Sold another 7 1/2% of the Keystone oil deal! Rode his bike 100 miles through Moab! Traveled to Houston and Denver. Called as Young Men's President. Gave a wonderful combined lesson.

(President Eyring Gratitude Moment)
*One of the highlights of the past two weeks was arriving home from Las Vegas and finding that our favorite neighbors, the Judkins, had taken all of our remodeling garbage to the dump for us! Whoo-hoo! We love them and are grateful for the friendship they've given our family!

Quote of the Week: (From Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin's talk, "The Great Commandment")
"The most cherished and sacred moments of our lives are those filled with the spirit of love. The greater the measure of our love, the greater is our joy. . . . consider your sacred duty to teach others to love the Lord and their fellowman. This is the central object of our existence. Without charity—or the pure love of Christ—whatever else we accomplish matters little. With it, all else becomes vibrant and alive."