Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Grass Is Always Greener...

....when it's planted in our yard. Yep. That's right. Although we'd grown AWFULLY fond of our weeds and rocks, we finally made the transition to grass and flower beds. Hooray! It was a spectacular birthday present last Thursday, and we can't wait for another week to pass so that we can walk on it!
We've had so much family fun to update on from the past few months, but this post is just to celebrate our yard. That's it. Whoo-hoo -- we really are celebrating! This yard deserves the coveted pig trophy. After living in a construction zone since May (Hah! Never believe it when your contractor tells you it'll be done in 2 weeks! Try 6 months...), we feel so blessed to be able to dine on our gorgeous wrap-around deck and admire our plants and green grass. Every time I look out the back window I have to do a double-take... green seems so strange! But we love it!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


July 24th is a holiday in the Gunnell household -- not for Pioneer Day, but because it is Miss Macie's birthday! We've told her for years that the whole state throws a party just for her -- parades, fireworks, carnivals, rodeos -- we'll pull out the stops for our little girl's big day.

This year we celebrated with a special birthday breakfast (cinnamon rolls), a day at Seven Peaks (with Uncle John/Alex/Elizabeth/Katelyn too!), sno-cones for everyone, a princess movie, a fruit snack "tea party," Macie's favorite crock-pot gravy dinner, a Barbie Mermaid Tale birthday cake, and a cousins sleep-over. It was a blast!!

Look at that beautiful toothless grin!

Macie models a gift from Aunt Amy and Uncle David. I really like this shirt!

The kids really enjoyed their "tea party" out on the deck. Davis was serving fruit snacks on a tray while Macie was pouring water into the goblets and tea cups. Reid sipped his drink with his baby finger in the air. It was quite an elegant affair.

We feel so blessed to have such a beautiful daughter -- on the inside and the outside. Macie is such a sweet big sister, a super smart reader, mommy's special helper, a lovely dancer, a talented artist/musician/swimmer, and she has such a sweet and strong little testimony. We love her tons and tons and couldn't ask for a better daughter!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Danny's Number One!

Here is our sweet little one year old guy. Before he got to his football cake ....

...and here is the messy man post-cake. Watch-out Dad! Danny's going to slime you! (although our camera man got away just in the nick of time, Danny managed to get chocolate cake just about everywhere else -- all over his new shirt, high-chair, bib, floor, Mommy, in his hair, eyes, ears, etc. -- Way to go, dude!)

We celebrated this little stud-muffin's big B-day with Aunt Amy and Uncle David, who joined us for an impromptu sleepover Friday night after the Bees Game. Danny was excited to get some handsome new threads, new baby books, a toy cell phone, a snazzy kid drum, and a deluxe Radio Flyer Wagon. This boy is easy to please! We had a lazy morning breakfast of scrambled eggs (his favorite), and then pigged out on McDonald's fries for lunch. Lots of books, a wagon ride, swimming at the neighbors, and plenty of playtime made for many happy kids. Later, of course, came the chocolate football cake. It was a great day.

"A present for me?? Yipee!"
"Rollin' in my new ride -- thanks, Grams and Grampy! This is one cool wagon!"
"Didn't you know I have mad hops? The Jazz have tried to recruit me, but mom says I have to stop breast-feeding before I'm eligible for the draft. I thought I'd show off my dunking skills to Amy and David while we were at McDonalds."

Danny is such a joy to have in our family. Although he rarely gets the attention he deserves, he is such a happy and sweet little guy. He loves to snuggle, especially with Mommy. He really does give the BEST baby hugs and kisses. Reading books is another one of his favorite pastimes -- and although he is a man of few words ("Mama" and "Gaga"), I swear he says "again" ("A-Gee") after I read his favorite books. Danny loves to give high-fives, mess up the DVD cupboard, brush his teeth, bite toes/fingers/rocks/mommy -- HARD, pinch my arms, pull Macie's hair, climb in the dishwasher, go up and down the stairs, throw balls, play basketball (no joke), dance to the music, play tickle-monster and peek-a-boo, laugh and roughhouse with his big brothers and sister, take baths, and crawl in the dirt so he can eat mud. He is such a joy (especially when he's not teething!), and I can't imagine our family without him. We are blessed to have you, baby Danny!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wild Weekend

This past weekend was a wild one -- Mom(me) hosted a fabulous book-club retreat at our home Friday and Saturday (hereafter referred to as "Books Gone Wild"), whilst Danny and the kids went camping and exploring at Goblin Valley. I've been forbidden to post pictures of the retreat, but we had a great time shopping, watching movies, playing games, boating at the Lake (wakeboarding and tubing), and eating YUMMY food! I have awesome friends!
Danny and the kiddos had an awesome time too (as you can see in all of the pics). They made the trek down to Goblin Valley where they camped out, told scary stories about "Gobby" the toenail-eating Goblin, ate smores and hot dogs, climbed and played in the valley of the Goblins, and visited the geyser. My family is soooo great! The kids came home happy/dirty and were proud to present me with several "very cool" rocks.
Two bad things happened this weekend: (1) Danny got a speeding ticket coming home - which also happened to be his second ticket in 3 days! ... and (2) Poor baby Danny spent a good portion of Saturday without Mommy (maybe I should say "poor babysitter"?!) I love that little guy and will have to give him some extra Mommy-time this week!
Our past few weekends have been equally wild and fabulous:
-Lake Powell with the Davis family was incredible, as always. I could live permanently on that houseboat. Thanks to my parents for a great time!
-Reid learned to wakeboard like a pro, and Danny practiced some high jumps.
-We enjoyed a sleepover with the Halladays and a day out on the lake. We are grateful for such awesome friends!
-Our yard has been progressing. It is going to be SUPER COOL. We just really wish it was already done!
-We celebrated the Fourth with an impromptu party at our home. Our view is so great that people couldn't resist hanging out at our house.
-We met my parents in Cedar City for the Shakespeare Festival and finally found a Shakespeare play that Danny enjoyed ("Much Ado About Nothing").

Life is good for the Gunnells.

***For all of you wondering about Davis and his health since the near-drowning, I'm happy to report that he seems to be almost back to normal. Not the fearless, brave and daring Davis that we used to love, but healthy and strong and just as lovable. This morning he and Reid spent twenty minutes in the playroom shooting with their bows and arrows -- while completely naked. :)
Tomorrow we are attempting a second swimming lesson for Davis. Danny will remain with him during the lesson -- as I, unfortunately, can hardly bear to think of it. Pray for the sweet boy, and for his mommy too!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

All is Well

Davis is obviously back to his little 3 year old self, as you can see above. Yep -- he's got his mud boots on (the shoe of choice these days), pajamas, a warm-up jacket, Reid's T-ball helmet, and a blue bat -- and he wants me to pitch to him in our MESS of a yard. We've lost 3 balls and a plastic bat to the track-hoe and dump truck this week. All is well. :) The only real set-back we've noticed is that Davis is now only "semi potty-trained". The doctor said it is quite normal, considering all of the trauma that he's just experienced. Oh well. So much for having only one child in diapers -- back to two we go. I'll take it.

Here are some pictures of the "little project" we began several weeks ago -- our back deck, covered patio, pergola, and west-side yard as it SLOWLY progresses. As most construction projects go (so I've heard) -- it is taking much longer than expected, and of course costing more money than we wanted to spend. Good thing I've got a master negotiator for a husband who is good at getting prices down and workers to move! Sadly, it won't be done by the Fourth of July so that we can have a rockin' party. At least we will have a rockin' yard when it's all said and done. :)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Davis's swimming/drowning lesson

Some of you know that our sweet little Davis had a serious accident yesterday afternoon. We just brought him home from the hospital and hope that he will continue to show signs of full recovery.
Yesterday afternoon Davis was in a private one-on-one swimming lesson at our neighbor's pool. It was his first swimming lesson, which I'd scheduled with the same girl who has taught Macie and Reid for the past 2 1/2 years. The first few lessons are usually difficult for the child, as Robin teaches them to swim with their face underwater, and it is more successful/less traumatic if the parent is not there. So I dropped him off (he was soooo excited) and walked back home to put baby Danny to sleep and to fold some laundry. When I walked back half-an-hour later to pick Davis up, I was greeted at the edge of the driveway by Macie, who was running and shouted that Davis was not breathing and his lips were blue. I looked toward the pool to see Robin setting his limp body on the deck. His belly was distended, his skin was completely white and his lips were blue. His eyes were rolled back in his head, he was motionless. I quickly assessed him and noted that he was not breathing and he did not have a pulse. He was gone.
I immediately began CPR, as Robin spoke to the 911 operator. After 1 1/2 to 2 minutes of emergency CPR and about one million silent prayers as I tried to save my baby's life, Davis regained consciousness. He could not speak or move, but I could tell he was alive. He gradually started screaming/moaning. I picked him up and tried to get him to respond to me, to come back to me. He could not answer my questions, could not move to show me if he hurt -- he was floppy and unresponsive. It felt like eternity watching the ambulance drive up the street to the Heaton's home. The paramedics immediately put him on oxygen and gave him an IV. I sprinted home to grab baby Danny (who I'd left sleeping in his crib, assuming I'd be back in 2 minutes). God was hearing my prayers -- as I sprinted home my visiting teacher Janene Green drove by, and stopped to help. And as I grabbed baby Danny and ran out the door, Patty Monson called and offered to watch all of my children while I went to the hospital. I am so grateful for their help and support, and thankful that they were in the right place at the right time. It made the rest of the day more bearable, knowing that my other children were in good hands.
In the ambulance Davis was still unresponsive as the paramedics tried to get his vitals. We were unable to get a SpO2, he was tachycardic and resps were high. He was half-awake, half-asleep. I called Danny and told him to meet me at the ER. By the time we arrived at the hospital, Davis was not really all there, but was able to verbalize his name when asked. He recognized me and could hold my hand. When the doctor asked him if he was scared, he said "no." He was coming back to us.
At the hospital we ran lots of blood tests, did a chest xray, ran a CT scan. We were trying to figure out what had happened. My kids verified the swimming teacher's story, but Davis's test results seem to indicate that he was not breathing or perfusing for much longer than add up with our story. We are "very lucky that he is alive" and "that [I] knew what to do and performed CPR", according to the doctors. We weren't "lucky" in my opinion -- we were blessed. I am so thankful that God let us keep our sweet little Davis; so thankful that he is alive and strong still. I never imagined that I would have to perform CPR on my own child. I pray that I never will have to again.
We are not sure if he had a seizure (he had high sugar and high lactate, but that also might have been from the swimming lesson and stress response) or if he had a severe bronchospasm or if he was under for longer than Robin said or what exactly caused it all. All we know is that he was gone, and we are very blessed to have him back with us.
Davis was in a deep sleep until about 7:45, when he briefly woke up and vomitted A TON of what appeared to be water. He was awake for a few minutes, and able to talk with us. He was not his normal self -- very lethargic and it was difficult to get him to talk -- but he was coherent. He recognized us and had an awareness of where he was. His chest x-ray was clear. His CT scan showed water in his sinuses, but no visible brain damage. The blood results showed extremely high levels of lactate in his brain, meaning that he had been without oxygen to the brain for a long time. He vomited some more and fell back into a deep sleep.
He awoke late in the night after soaking his bed and seemed to be our good ol' Davis again. He asked for chocolate milk. He wanted to watch Robin Hood. He was sweet and happy. The doctors discharged him this afternoon and he is home with us now. He appears to be healthy and normal -- as if nothing had happened. We are so grateful for his miraculous recovery, and we pray that he will suffer no lasting effects from this incident.
For those who have been "in-the-loop" the past two days, thank you so much for your prayers and help. I feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends and neighbors and family to support us. We love you all. Thank you for your prayers and faith.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

We are a HAPPY family

One of our family resolutions in January was to "be happy" -- and the past few months have been just that! With a few exceptions, (the cow-herding experience and getting run over by a car) we've been a very HAPPY family. Here is our journey in pictures:

Here is Reid, grinning at his sports themed birthday party. We had to play football, golf, bowling, soccer, baseball, and basketball (can you tell that he loves sports?!). We hit McDonald's playplace for lunchtime hamburgers, and pigged out on the BIGGEST PIZZA EVER at Pirate Island that night! Arrrrggghh!

Macie smiles with Isabella, her 8 year old cousin, at a fun cousins dinner at our home in March. Toothless twins!

Danny holds up in bike on his annual Moab 100 miler. He had a great time, even though it was FREEZING cold, because he was surrounded by such cool company (Mike, Bryant, Cory, and Kimball -- you rock!). Instead of coming home with a sunburn (which happens every year), he came home with frostbite! Yikes.

Not really. Do you think I would let my children drink tea? Haha! My fabulous friend Raquel (who is an amazing photographer) was doing an artsy themed photoshoot in our backyard and took some pics of our kids for free. Raquel, you are the best!

The kiddos pose at a fun friends/family Easter egg hunt with Danny's old MTC buddies. We had a really neat conference weekend -- my parents visited from Las Vegas, we hosted an MTC supervisor reunion at our home, and we helped award a special MTC scholarship (the Jason Dean Hoyt Memorial Scholarship). Next year the Gunnells are finding "the golden egg".

We got all of our kids passports so we could head to Argentina for Spring break, but after we looked at flight schedules and prices, Argentina wasn't looking so hot anymore. Visiting Grammie and Pops in Oregon looked much better! So we packed up the fam and headed up for an awesome week. Here are some highlights -- the tulip festival, clamming on the coast (which was like a snipe hunt -- no clams were found), flying gliders from the lighthouse, date nights, shopping, and spending time with Grammie/Pops/Lisa. It was a blast!

Once again, Macie won the Arbor Day Poster Contest for the whole state of Utah. Yep, she's a good little artist (she gets it from her mom!). Here we are at the Red Butte Gardens, where she got out of school for the day to receive her award and plant a flowering pear tree with Smoky the Bear, Woody the Owl, and a bunch of guys from the Forrest Service. Brrr! Are you supposed to plant trees in the snow?

Ole! Brad and Cass were in town for a week, and we celebrated the 5th with some delish Cafe Rio style burritos, quesadillas, rice, and flan. And, of course, a wild dance party after dinner. Reid was really feeling groovy! We love you, Texas Gunnells!

Davis shared his birthday with Mother's Day, so we let him celebrate three days in a row. On Saturday, he got his new Jeep, which he shares with his brothers and sister. As you can see from the pics, he is a WILD and CRAZY driver! Sunday he received his number one birthday request, a bow and arrow. He LOVES it, and carries it with him wherever he goes. And, amazingly for a 3 year old, he is a really good shot. He even requested a bow and arrow cake, which presented a challenge, but eventually turned out. Monday night we celebrated at Chuck-E-Cheese with our Baird cousins, Emmy, and Davis's hero -- Paul Monson. Happy Birthday to our little archer!

Reid began T-ball this year with Daddy as coach, and he's an awesome little baller. We love cheering Reid and Macie on at their games, and we think they have the best coach in town! Buzz-ing Bees! Buzz-ing Bees! BUZZ-ING BEEEEES!

The first four months of his life were super happy, but more recently -- well, UN-happy might be a better word to describe baby Danny. I think it's because he's been getting all those teeth you can see in his cute smile here. And with teething comes ear-aches. We sure love it when he grins and giggles!

Thanks to our friends Faiver and Andrea for the yummy Columbian food! They came over and prepared a dinner that we will never forget... complete with ketchup smiley faces on the arroz con pollo.

Macie's dancing feet have been at it again -- with ballet recitals and Company showcase performances. Our girl's got MOVES! Her company team is undefeated in competition -- taking first place in every category, as well as winning best of show and the showmanship award!

Reid smiles at his last day of preschool, posing with his sweet teacher Mrs. Linford. I can't believe that he'll be in kindergarten next year! Macie also enjoyed her last day of first grade, shown here performing a Chinese ribbon dance. Our bilingual babe is happy that summer has arrived.

This is one HUGE trackhoe in our backyard...
We are building a deck, basement patio, and putting grass in the backyard. Whoo-hoo! Let's hope they can get it done quickly!

Don't worry. The train wasn't really going to run over my family. It's just a great pose at the Golden spike monument at Promontory Point. It was freezing, and the two grumpiest men in Utah happen to work there, but we tried to make it fun. And we have a super cool golden spike of our own now. Check out our next post of the Spiral Jetty to see the other cool things we did on our weekend excursion...


I could write five pages about this heading, but I'll try to be brief.
I met the cow at Cory's house in Alpine. I thought I was going to take a fun weekend trip to Brigham City, where I would watch Danny and his partners pretend to be cowboys. Instead, I found out it was just me and Danny -- and I was supposed to be a cowgirl. Not my idea of a good time.
It started with me trying to feed the cow hay, so Danny could loop a rope around her neck. She hates hay, I guess, because she wouldn't come near me. Instead, her two bull brothers tried to eat the hay. Bad idea. So, we dropped the hay and Danny headed into the pen. I was not dressed for cow-wrangling, but in I went with my black capris and sandals -- into the cow-pies and mud. I was getting happier by the minute.
Danny started running after the cow, trying to lasso her. She was pretty fast. So I got to run through the muck and try and herd her toward the trailer. She hates the trailer even more than she hates hay. She hates it so much that she ran face first into some barbed wire and cut her nose and was bleeding everywhere. I don't like cows, and I was feeling bad for this stupid girl. I was feeling sorry for her for the whole half-an-hour it took for us to finally get the rope around her neck.
Then, my compassion stopped. Because this stupid cow hates me even more than she hates hay and the trailer. After dragging us around in the muck (crack-the-whip style) for another 20 minutes, Danny was choking her with the rope and realized that our tactics were not working. So he told me to get a stick and whip her in the butt to move her towards the trailer. This was a dumb idea. Imagine me trying to hit a cow with a twig in the butt (there were no big sticks in the field). The cow didn't move one single inch. Danny was yelling at me to hit her harder. I WAS hitting her as hard as I could. And instead of moving toward the trailer, the cow was having diarrhea. And she was flicking the diarrhea all over me, because I was hitting her butt with a twig. So I'm covered in cow poop, and Danny tells me to start pushing her. Great. So, I start pushing her from behind. She doesn't budge, and she's still flipping me with her diarrhea tail. So I try the running/jump/karate kick to the butt move. Doesn't work.
So Danny decides that I should hold the rope and he should push her. I told him that I wasn't strong enough to hold the rope. I'd seen this dumb cow move (not when I was trying to get her to move, of course). I finally take the rope and wrap it around my hand, and sure enough -- she takes off running. Next thing I know I'm being drug through cow patties (some fresh), and my hand/hip/knee/clothes are all damaged. I look at my left hand and see that it is swelling up because the dumb cow broke a large blood vessel, and I start to cry. I hate cows.
Well, eventually we got this stupid heifer into the trailer and headed up to Brigham City. Danny has been pushing me to let him bring a cow to our home in Provo, to teach our kids to work. This experience has ensured that we will only have a cow in Provo over my dead body.
This is a picture of Davis at the round-up on Saturday, with the herd that our cows have joined. The morning was spent branding and "fixing" the new babies, and we had a real chuck wagon dinner after the REAL cowboys were done.

This is what happens when you let the kids put their own bubbles in the bathtub. They get very happy. And VERY soapy. At least they got all the muck from the round-up off. :)