Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The 10th Annual Ceremony of the Lights

My boys, greeting the large crowd gathered for the special occasion!
 Ten years ago, on my second date with Danny, we visited his Grandma and Grandpa Korth and decorated their patio and deck with Christmas lights. You see, their neighbors went all-out on the Christmas light displays (the Ogren's house used to rival the Thanksgiving Point light show!) -- and Danny and I felt like Grandma and Grandpa needed some lights too. When we'd completed the lights, we held a special lighting ceremony, where we welcomed the thousands of imaginary guests who'd come to see Grandma and Grandpa's spectacular lights. Grandma sang a solo (O Holy Night), I performed an impromptu Christmas dance (it must've won Danny's heart...), Grandpa gave a Christmas speech, and Danny stood on a chair and was a booming loud master of ceremonies. 
Well, a marriage, 4.5 kids, and ten years later -- we've kept the lighting ceremony tradition alive. I'm pretty sure that we've never missed a year of decorating Grandma and Grandpa's deck. And we still have huge crowds who come to see our special lighting program! :) This year was an especially cold one, but we still managed to make it happen. Look how festive their deck is now!
Macie and Reid sang a lovely Chinese song as part of the program.

Every year Grandma Korth delights us with her operatic solo of "O Holy Night"

This year Davis was the lucky one who got the flip the light switch on and illuminate the night!
We finished off the evening with Grandma's dream bars and rootbeer floats, which were served at that very first lighting ceremony in 2001! We love this Christmas tradition, and hope to keep it alive for a LONG time!
Here's a clip of Grandpa's speech (very short, but sweet) this year! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

I once was blind, but now I see..

Danny with his snazzy eye guards, right after the surgery. He gets to tape these babies on every night for a week or two!
 Congrats to Danny on his contact implant surgery last week! At first, we were a little scared (he woke up in the middle of the night after the operation and was unable to see out of his left eye!)... in the morning his right eye was perfect but his left eye was extremely dialated and vision was blurry. Danny described it as if he was looking through a balloon, or thick/dark sunglasses. Luckily, when he went it to get it examined early Wednesday morning, the doctor (our wonderful Bishop Scott Lohner) said that his eye pressure was doing great and that the problems should resolve themselves. Well, after a few more days of perfect right eye and bad left eye, Danny is now seeing pretty clearly with both eyes! His left eye still feels "scratchy" -- like he has a dirty contact lens in it -- but we are hoping that it will continue to improve with time as well. Hooray! My handsome hubby LOOKS SO GOOD without his glasses!
Can you see why we were a little worried? These eyes do not match!

Good lookin', even with his crazy eye!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gunnell Family Christmas Nativity 2011

Per tradition (for the past 7 years) -- we enjoyed a Gunnell cousins get together Saturday night, and a kids Christmas nativity! This year we decided to be satisfied with a single take... so it was by far the shortest filming time we've ever had. You can kind-of tell by our finished product... not super professional ... but at least we had fun! It was great to get together with the Bairds and Allreds, even though my kids were over-tired and still recovering from a week-long of being sick (Unintentionally, I spread my fever/cough/headache thing to Macie and Davis and Danny...). But everyone is back to school and work today, and hopefully we will continue to feel better so that we can enjoy this wonderful holiday season!
Hope you enjoy our Christmas nativity video! "Baby Jesus" (sweet little Trevor!) is my favorite part of the show. You've never seen a happier little guy in swaddling clothes!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

I Love To See the Temple

Look at these cute kids! Someday we'll all be able to go inside together!
Saturday we enjoyed a BYU Basketball game at the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake (Go Cougs! We actually beat Oregon, despite a rough start for BYU!) and then, since we were in the neighborhood, we made our annual visit to see the Temple Square lights. It was freezing cold, but beautiful -- and it seemed like the crowds were not a thick as they have been in previous years. Maybe that's just because we ditched our stroller this year, so we didn't have the difficultly of pushing it around! :)  
We watched the nativity, visited the Christus, oohed-and-ahhed at the lights and the multicultural Christmas displays, listened to some interesting Christmas songs in the visitor's center (one of the songs was about a jilted lover who destroyed her 12 days of Christmas gifts, yikes!), and had a fun time running around in the cold. And, of course, we took lots and lots of fun pictures of the kids in front of the temple -- what a blessing it is to live so close to so many marvelous temples! Even thought I wasn't feeling too hot (it's been a kind-of sad, sick weekend for me) -- we all managed to have a good time!

Okay, so this is a less reverent pose... but at least the kids were having fun!

We took this picture without thinking, right in front of a walkway. Oops! We were definite traffic blockers.

Love the nativity in the reflection pool!

Our happy family!

This was our favorite tree. There were tons of little trees lit up this year, but not so many big ones, like this one. I imagine that it took a full week to get the lights on this baby! So much fun to stand underneath and look upward...

Danny spotted these fun berries on the ground, underneath one of the lighted Christmas tree displays. And he got his picture of them just in time, because it snowed later that night!

Visiting the Christus

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I love these Turkeys!

This weekend has been awesome! The kids got out of school early on Tuesday, and then I had the rest of the week with them at home! Whoo-hoo! Then Danny took the Thanksgiving weekend off too, so life was doubly good. I sure am thankful for my wonderful family!
Tuesday afternoon was full of friends, so Wednesday I planned a day of family fun. We started out at Sweet's candy factory in Salt Lake City, where I had scheduled a family tour of the candy making plant. Have you ever been there? If not, it is a definite must visit with your kids. We put on our hair nets, watched a short video about Sweet's, and then toured the factory for the next 40 minutes. It was a blast! At every stop we saw a different stage of the candy making process, and tried a different candy sample. The kids and I loved it! At the end, we each voted on our top candy sample. Mine was definitely the chocolate covered orange sticks, which are my mom's favorite. Macie, Davis, and Reid liked the taffy, and Danny liked the jelly beans the best. Did I mention that my kids were perfect angels during the entire 45 minute tour? It was a dream. Maybe it had something to do with the free candy every couple of minutes....? :) Anyway, we will be going back to visit Sweet's again for sure!
Next, we decided to hit the Tracy Aviary for the free winter Wednesdays. We visited with Sally Monson earlier in the summer and really enjoyed ourselves, so it was fun to go back and see the birds again -- this time for FREE! All of the kids posed in front of the wall of birds -- aren't my little turkeys and owls and penguins cute? It was a fun time and fabulous November weather.
We finished off our day of fun with a movie night at home -- watching Secretariat in the theatre with Andrea and Faiver Gonzales. It was a hit all around, and my favorite part was Davis cheering out loud, "Come on! Come on! I know you can do it!"
   On Thursday we enjoyed a fun family Thanksgiving get together at Grandma and Grandpa Korth's, and then we were blessed to have Amy and David as houseguests for a few days. It was a wonderful weekend, and I can't believe how very blessed we've been! Truly, we are grateful to God for his many marvelous gifts!

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

This is Noah. We love him. :)
Noah is one of Danny's young men.

Noah had a hair problem, as you can see. Until last Saturday. He called Danny up and asked how much Danny would pay him to cut his hair. Danny offered Noah a Whopper (we are big spenders around here! hehe ). Danny and I (and half of our ward) have been bugging Noah to cut his hair for ages, but to no avail. But Saturday happened to be Noah's mom's 40th birthday, so the Whopper was just enough to seal the deal. Happy day!
Danny grabbed the clippers and raced to Noah's house before he could change his mind. What do you think of the finished haircut? Doesn't he look cute now?!
Way to go on the haircut, Noah!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Gunnell Pianists

Tonight we enjoyed listening to Macie and Reid at their winter piano recital. Macie performed Minuet in G, by J.S. Bach, and Reid performed French Children's Song, from the Suzuki collection. Reid has only been taking piano for 6 months now, but he has been doing awesome and already finished off his first set of books! Macie also received a special award tonight for making it into the "60 Second Club" -- memorizing all of her note flashcards and passing them off in under 60 seconds! It was really fun to see Macie and Reid bravely perform in front of a crowd -- I'm so proud of my little musicians. Thanks for practicing with me!
We celebrated after the recital with In-N-Out and a BYU Basketball game! It was a great night.


We've been celebrating birthdays here this week -- first, on Monday we hosted a small birthday party for Danny's partner, Harvey. It was a lot of fun getting together with Harvey and the Hodges family: we ate yummy food, played creative games, and even presented the birthday boy with the coveted pig trophy! Happy Birthday, Harvey!

 Then, yesterday we celebrated another big birthday event -- Danny's birthday! It started off with breakfast in bed (French toast, complete with candles and song!), a morning treasure hunt for presents, lunch with his partners at Molly's (yum!), a LONG day at work (so sad...), a Gunnell traditional favorites birthday dinner (tatertot casserole, pop, and cheesecake, as requested), family fun games, and finally "the treatment" (head, back, arm, leg, and foot massages) from the kids. I think that Danny had a good day, and we sure had fun planning and sharing it with him. I know he enjoyed all of the fun messages, cards, and gifts from our family and friends. I am especially excited for his biggest birthday present -- eye surgery (NO MORE GLASSES!!) -- which is scheduled to take place in a couple of weeks! Happy Birthday, Sweetheart! Hope you live to be 100 and many more!

Surprise! I made the french toast without any salt this time.

Danny was persuaded to stay in bed until 7 AM (he was working at 6 AM, of course!), so that I had time to get the kids ready and the french toast, bacon, and juice prepared!

Rah-rah, rah-rah-rah! Gooooooooo Daddy!

If you look closely, you'll notice that everyone in this picture is blowing the candles out -- except for the birthday boy! I hope he gets his wish anyway!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Who are these kids?


Grammie and Pops gave us some silly stick-on mustaches for Halloween, and this is what happened when I let the kids open them up! My collection of mystery men paraded downstairs and posed for the camera. And, as is typical these days, Davis is not happy for the photo. Should I call him "Groucho?"
I think He and Danny had been fighting over mustaches. Or maybe he was angry at me for putting his mustache on upside down? Oops. Sorry, Davis! Reid must also have my talents when it comes to applying mustaches, because he obviously got it upside down too!

Clever disguise, Danny J!

WAY too pretty to be wearing a mustache....

Intriguing, Reid!

Finally, a sweet smile from my grouchy Groucho!


My "robot" buddy
 I was folding laundry in the laundry room, listening (and only mildly watching) Danny play with his Legos in the playroom. Those boring morning hours when Davis is at preschool, and Danny is stuck at home with just me for company. Suddenly, I heard his little voice chanting "Robot, Robot, Robot...." I peeked my head around the corner to get a better look, and spied this munchkin with the empty Lego box on his head, walking stiffly around the room. I wasn't even aware that he knew what robots were -- but there he was, creatively using his toys to imagine that he was one! It was so funny that I abandoned the laundry and let him chase me around, robot style, for quite a while -- and then I ran to get the camera before he lost interest. Danny loves to be the center of attention, so mom snapping photos with the camera made his morning! Here's a little video clip of the crazy little robot that invaded my house this week!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

The Rebel "Gunnell" Alliance hopes your Halloween 
was "out of this world!"

Ewok Davis, Yoda Reid, Leia Macie, and Jedi Danny
Our clan of Star Wars characters enjoyed a fabulous Halloween -- perfect WARM weather, matching costumes, and WAY-TOO-MANY treats! What a fabulous October night!

These kids were soooo much fun, and so adorable! And I am soooo glad that I am done sewing their costumes!

Check out their snazzy pumpkin carvings on the sides!

Preggo Padme and Pretty Princess Leia

Padme and Anakin -- it was fun to dress up with the kiddos for the night!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Festive Family Fun

Look at these "corny" kids!
This weekend we enjoyed a fun fall break from school, and an even more fun visit from Grams and Grampy! They treated us to Krispy "Screams" donuts, McDonalds happy meals, Cornbellys Corn Maze and Fall Festival, Tucanos, 17 Miracles, an Ultimate Frisbee victory, and a huge BYU win! We had such a great time visiting with them and only wish that their trip could've been longer. We love you, Grams and Grampy! 

Smiling pretty on the royal horse at the Pumpkin Princess Playland

Grams and Grampy helping the kiddos with the duck races. The kids were pretty into it. :)

Buried alive in corn!

Can you tell that Danny was excited when he reached the top of the hay bale mountain?

Our group of crazy Gunnells had a fabulous time at Cornbellys!

After several hours of playing and exploring, we decided to get one last picture of the kids, smiling in the middle of a pumpkin patch. I thought it would be fun to send a picture to my brother Brian. This (above) is the edited photo I ended up with. Doesn't it look cute? Now look below. That is what Davis really looked like in this photo. It was time to go home. :)

Classic. Is everybody having fun? :)
Cornbelly's was better than the Utah State Fair, in my opinion. Activities every 20 feet, and lots of varied, active stuff to keep the kids excited. My favorite line from the day came when we were waiting in line for the "cow train" -- the little cars that are pulled around the farm by a four-wheeler. Reid obviously didn't understand exactly what we were waiting in line for, because he asked "Mom, how do we train the cows?" Hmmm. I definitely was not the expert on that one. :)  Luckily, it was a different kind of" cow train"!
We had such a fun weekend! Thanks, Grams and Grampy!