Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Best/Worst Christmas Pageant Ever!

Once again, for your viewing pleasure, I am proud to present the Gunnell Family Christmas Nativity Pageant! It is a little rougher than it was in past years... but that just makes it even better, right? :)
(I spent two-thirds of the filming time upstairs with Danny J throwing a tantrum about his soldier costume, and the other third holding a fussy baby Luke...)
Thanks to Danny for putting the video together this morning! He's awesome!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Kids Bop

Introducing the newest game at the Gunnell household - Kids Bop. Created from a giant inflatable  "Thor" hammer Danny won playing Turtle Dice with Grammie and Pops. Enjoy!
*I do not take any responsibility for children who may or may not have been injured in the making of this video. :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Our Little St. Nick
Have you ever heard the Beach Boys song, "Little St. Nick"? It's this corny Christmas song that my parents and siblings once danced to together for a holiday talent show (We were so horrible that I am still in therapy dealing with the embarrassment... j/k). Anyway... that song has been stuck in my head since last Saturday, when we ran the "Provo Santa Run" as a family, and that song was playing in front of the City Offices as we ran by. The chorus sings "Run, run reindeer," -- and as I ran by the city buildings I remembered running in a circle on a stage with my brothers and sisters, with my hands spread out by my head like antlers. And I realized that I am no longer forced to do silly things by my parents... NOW I AM THE PARENT FORCING MY CHILDREN TO DO SILLY THINGS!
And it made me smile. ;)

Ever since I found out that Provo had a Santa Run (a short holiday race where all of the runners are dressed up like Santa Claus) I wanted to do it as a family. It is only a 5K (3.1 miles -- a cake run!), you get to wear fun costumes, it is not too hot (and luckily, wasn't too cold!), and you have elves serving you milk and cookies while you run (I knew the kids would like that). So, I signed Danny and myself up, and the kids were provided with free hats and beards so that they could run along with us.
We were running late that day (we'd lost track of time decorating the Christmas tree), and just so happened to be the very last Santas to start the race. But the kids were pumped and we quickly made up for lost time. The first mile was awesome. The cookies made for especially happy kids. Reid was racing so fast that he kept on having to backtrack and wait for us. Life was good for the Gunnell Santas. 

The Runnin' Gunnells - Daddy Santa, Mommy Santa, Speedy Santa, Dancing Santa, Builder Santa, and the two cookie munching baby Santas.

One mile down and all is well!

Yum! Milk and cookies from the elves.

But after about a mile and a half, Macie decided that she wasn't having much fun anymore. Her Santa costume was quickly shed. And the complaining began. "I don't want to run." "This is not fun." "I want to quit." -- You get the idea. She was miserable, and the Santa Run was NOT her idea of FUN.
Well, I was so proud of the way our little family rallied around Macie. Reid and Davis and DJ became her personal cheerleaders. They were shouting "You can do it, Macie!" "Good job!" "Keep on running, Macie! I believe in you!" Even though they were smaller and younger, they were tough and were doing all that they could to try and help their big sister make it all the way. Dad helped her along by taking her hand and running together with her, pulling her along when she needed it. And, even though her attitude never got better, she finished the race with the help of her family.

When we had crossed the finish line and were heading to the car, Macie told me that even though she didn't think the race was fun (and she doesn't want to do it again next year!), she was so glad that she finished it. And she never would've finished it if it weren't for the help of her family.
I am so grateful for God's plan for families in His plan of happiness. When we need help and encouragement, our family is there to give us the boost of strength that we need to make it all the way. We can help each other to the finish together. The race wasn't/isn't about time -- it was about reaching the goal together as a family. And I am so proud of my little family, for the strength and support they gave Macie. And even though it was hard to make it to the finish, it was worth it! I hope that my little family keeps on working together, to help each other reach our eternal goals and live together as a family forever!

The Santas that run together, stay together!
Although Macie probably won't repeat the Santa Run next year, all of my boys loved it and are ready to sign up again (even Dad said he wanted to do it again next year!)! Despite the itchy beard and cheap felt pants! I think I might even have some future running partners in Speedy Reidy ("my legs never get tired") and Davis (who is the fastest kindergartener I've ever seen).  Run, run reindeer!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I've always thought of 11:11 as a magical time on the clock. Whenever I see it, I make a wish. Eleven was my lucky volleyball number my Junior year of High School, and it is also Danny's lucky number. AND... ELEVEN years ago today, December 11th, Danny and I met! Crazy how time has flown by, and here we are 11 years later -- living and loving our life in Provo with our 5 awesome kids!
Every year since we met, we've always celebrated this special day with a visit to the places we went together that first night...

IHOP and Belmont Hot-tubbing!

Yuck. IHOP. Why did we even go there 11 years ago? I'm pretty sure that it was Jared Hoyt's fault.

The kiddos LOVE hot-tubbing, just like their Dad. And I still pass the swimsuit test (which really just means that I wear a one-piece!).
 It's a little different now, with 5 kids, but still good. :) I actually hate IHOP, and so does Danny -- and I just cringe at spending any of our "eating-out money" to eat the stuff they call "food" there -- but we had to keep the tradition alive. So, tonight we just ordered hot chocolate and ice cream. :) Then we crashed the BYU student apartments to warm up from the cold (and, Brrrr! ... it finally is cold here in Utah!). It was a good night, and I'm sure thankful for that freezing cold night 11 years ago when I first met my hubby. Eleven is a magical number!

Monday, December 03, 2012

A Great-Full Holiday

Pops, Grammie, Lisa, Danny, Me, Macie, Reid, Davis, DJ, and Luke all enjoy a "Sunbreak" (15 minutes of sun in a day full of rain!) in downtown Portland.
I know, it's a miracle that I'm actually blogging, but we've had so much fun lately and the kids have been BEGGING me to update and post some of our recent activities -- so here we go! An update complete with all of our *great* going-ons, *full* of fun activities and family, and of course -- written with a *grateful* heart for the many blessings we enjoy.

Fun Family Travels

How! Davis donned his handmade Thanksgiving Indian apparel.
 I'll start with our Thanksgiving trip to Oregon, which involved a *great* drive ("great" as in VERY VERY LONG for our 5 kids, not "great" as in enjoyable!) -- so thank goodness our week there was a truly *great* (wonderful!) one. Although it rained every day, Grammie/Pops/Lisa made our stay pleasant and warm. We enjoyed Danny's birthday, bowling, laser tag, arcade games, the library, the playground, basketball, OMSI, the temple, turtle dice, dinner dates, chick flicks, football, the Wii (the kids are still talking about the Wii!) , and of course -- a Thanksgiving feast! It truly was a blast and we are so thankful that Grammie and Pops and Lisa were so generous and entertaining!

My handsome hubby turned the big 37!
Luke loved Aunt Lisa!
Enjoying the sunbreak with my sweetheart
OMSI had an exhibit called "Grossology" -- which taught us all about boogers and throw-up and gas and urine... you get the "gross" picture. Of course my kids (and Danny) all loved it! :/
Our Thanksgiving Feast -- we ate tons of delicious food, and everyone helped!

My Indian brave and his papoose.
Playing Turtle Dice, a fun gift giving game that Grammie introduced us to. Danny (big Danny, not DJ) jokingly threw a tantrum when he got stuck with the girl's lotion as his present.


A Great Basketball Player

Reid, taking it down to the hoop
Backing up a bit, we have a *great* little basketball player in Speedy Reidy. He is a real shooter, although he is one of the smallest kids on his Junior Jazz team. This October he had another stellar season, scoring a season high of 23 points in at least 2 of his games! We are proud of him and happy that he enjoys basketball so much.

Sinking a shot at the net
And another score for mini-Jimmer


A Terrible Day

Even the kids knew that the election results were bad
A *great and terrible* day for the Gunnell family was Tuesday, November 6th -- Election Day. Danny is our Republican precinct chairman, and he was so confident in Mitt Romney's victory that we planned a Romney "Victory Party" at our home on election night (we've watched Bill O'Reilly non-stop for the past 6 months, made Romney donations, put-up signs, volunteered in the call center, etc.). We even prepared Romney's favorite "Cheesecake Factory" mini cheesecakes, Romney's Massachusetts Cranberry Punch, and Ryan's Wisconsin Cheese-its! And tons of our neighbors and friends came to celebrate with us. But instead of feeling the elation of a victory, we went to bed depressed and disheartened that Romney lost. :( So sad. Thank goodness we have faith in God and his plan for us... 'cause otherwise I would be truly depressed! Davis and DJ have since cheered me up by remembering to "please bless our enemies, even Obama!" in their daily prayers.

 A Head *Full* of Stitches

She wasn't smiling like this until we got the camera out, let's just say that!
Macie got a head *full* of stitches (well, not really *full*... but plenty enough) Halloween week, after she was injured in a tragic golf accident. :( Danny had been promising for months to take the kids golfing, and after they had worked hard to clean Danny's office on Saturday, he decided to reward them by taking them to the East Bay Executive Golf Course. Sure enough, on the first hole, Davis's backswing collided with Macie's forehead. Danny told me hours later that he could still remember the sound of the "crack" when it hit her. Yikes! Luckily, we have a GREAT Bishop (who is also a MD), who took Macie to his office after hours and stitched her up personally. It was a sad day, but she is back to her beautiful self and now we have a voucher for a future golf date...

We love Bishop


Snow Much Fun

We had a *great* snow a few weeks ago, (so heavy that broken tree branches were in the streets for weeks!) and Danny took the kids to enjoy some sledding on the fun hills of Rock Canyon Park. What an awesome Dad! They all had a fun-*full* day!
Macie, Brylie, DJ, Reid, and Davis enjoy the snow


Super Baby

How can you not love this baby?!
 Luke is a *great* baby, and I feel like he really is a tender mercy in my life. He is definitely one of the happiest babies to ever join the Gunnell family. He loves to laugh and smile and talk (Dada) and cruise around the house. And he loves to eat! So, often when I am cooking or cleaning or helping other kiddos, I will pop Luke in his high chair and give him some yummy type of finger food to occupy himself with. Last week I had to laugh when I looked up from cleaning the kitchen and found that Luke had taken his bib and twisted it behind him, so he was wearing it more like a cape. It did a great job protecting the back of his shirt from his snack, but his super-bib cape did little to keep the front of his shirt clean! He was pretty proud of his little bib trick...and glad to have momma's attention all on him for a moment!

Super Luke, in his backwards bib cape. Bibs don't work too well this way...


Tall Tail

On Wednesday, we had a special family breakfast at BYU -- where we purchased slices of the world's longest CougarTail (a super long, delicious maple bar, made by the CougarEat) to support the holiday food drive. This record-breaking CougarTail was 1/4 mile long and snaked back and forth across the Wilk Garden Court -- it was awesome!  We waited for Cosmo to show up, and enjoyed watching DJ and Cosmo race towards each other and enjoy a giant hug. Yum...  It was a happy morning, and we all left feeling very *full*!
The whole crew hangin' with Cosmo. Since Wednesday, DJ has pretended to be Cosmo every day!

Yum. Enough said.

And that's it for November's update! We are so grateful for our wonderful friends and family, and for all of the fun times we've had! And hopefully my kids will be "grateful" that I blogged for them!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


Another Halloween, another family theme! This year we were the "Tangled Family" from Disney's Rapunzel.  Danny = Flynn Rider, Mary = Mother Gothel; Macie = Rapunzel; Reid = Snuggly Duckling Mime; Davis = Snuggly Duckling Warrior Baker; DJ = Knight riding Maximus


It is truly scary that I haven't blogged since May, and now it is past Halloween! It is scary that we have 13 people (9 of whom are 9 and younger!) living in our home! It is scary that Barack Obama won the election (truly, truly scary.). Yep, scary. That's my theme, and I'm sticking to it. I may or may not post again sometime in the near future. :) And if/when I do, I am soooo far behind in chronicling the Gunnell family's going-ons that my future post(s) may be scarily long!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Happy Everything!

We've been busy here at the Gunnell home -- with lots of happy events and celebrations.
Of course, I'm super behind in blogging it all, so here is a brief (and mostly pictoral) update!

Smiling before we headed to the temple for sealings!
 Danny and I celebrated ten LONG :) years of marriage last month, and finally had our first real date since Luke has been born. John and Jaime (thank you!) came over to hold down the fort while Danny and I did temple sealings and enjoyed a fancy dinner out on the town. The sealer was super sweet and let us be proxy for extra marriages, so that we could really focus on the words of the covenant. It was a neat way to celebrate -- Danny and I were both in tears as we knelt at the altar. Thanks for 10 great years, Danny!

Danny J loved his "Happy Everything" Ninja Turtle cake!
I promised Danny J that if he did all his pee-pee and poo-poo on the potty that I would make him a cake for a "potty party." It was the only thing that seemed to motivate him to use the toilet. Thank goodness something did! :) So, true to my promise, I made him a fancy Ninja Turtle cake, and we brought it to the Bairds to share in the potty party. We put A TON of candles on top and took turns singing to everyone -- happy potty party to Danny, happy birthday to Cassidy, happy birthday to Davis, happy birthday to Mike, happy anniversary to Danny and me, happy 2 months old to Luke, happy 5 days old to Lucy, etc, etc. Good thing I had super tall candles, because each of the kids took a couple of turns blowing them out! I was worried we were going to set off the smoke alarm!

Two month old Luke with his newest cuz', Lucy
We finally got a picture of Luke and Grammie!
We had fun visiting the Bairds, eating Danny's cake, and meeting our newest cousin -- Lucy. Angela and Melanie were induced on the same day -- April 25th -- so Luke has two cute little girlie cousins that are just 2 months younger.
If you look at the picture below, you will see a really sweet older brother. Whenever we drive somewhere, Davis has the job of holding the pacifier in Luke's mouth. It's his special job to "make Luke happy." And he does a good job of it too! :) This cutie-pie fell asleep doing his job when we were driving home from our visit to the Bairds.
What a good big brother!

Macie's got a green thumb!
We've done lots of planting in our yard, and with the church as well. Here is Macie Ann, helping the young men and young women of the ward as they planted flowers around Provo.

Davis was "King" for the day!
Our birthday boy woke up to a yummy breakfast in bed of crepes and bacon, and his day just got better from then! :) Dad took the day off of work to celebrate with our VERY EXCITED five year old, and we made it a day never to be forgotten. Davis said many times throughout the day "This is the best birthday ever, huh?!"
The sweet crew of brothers and sister prepared a yummy surprise breakfast!
Following the breakfast in bed, Davis went on a scavenger hunt to find his presents. He was thrilled to get a baseball bat, baseball tee, BYU hat, scooter, dartboard, ladybug land, slip-n-slide inflatables, and especially a kid fishing pole and magnetic fish. Since then he has spent HOURS and HOURS playing baseball, scootering around, and fishing from the landing on the stairs!
Future baseball MVP!
Davis has been anxiously watching the ladybug larvae grow this week -- and  today he drew a diagram of the ladybug life cycle! What a cutie-pie!
Davis's specially requested Ninja cake. His Ninja party is coming soon!
What happened here? See the black lips? See the holes poked in the black Ninja frosting?
More Danny J antics, of course. While I was outside putting Davis's scooter together and Dad was teaching Davis how to cast his fishing line -- DJ was inside poking his fingers into Davis's birthday cake and licking them. Yum (for him!). Yuck (for us!). Luckily I was able to perform cosmetic surgery on the Ninja so that Davis could blow out his candles...

Make a wish
We headed to McDonald's for lunch, and then Trafalga for dinner and laser tag/race cars/bumper boats! It was so much fun! We love you Davis and we are glad that your birthday was a blast!
Davis tried rock climbing for the first time! Brave boy!
Speeding around the track with Dad. Dad "never loses" -- or so he claims!
Getting hosed in the bumper boats!
Reid loved squirting his brothers and Dad!

Danny tried to squirt the camera lady (me!). That stinker!


I enjoyed a fabulous mother's day, complete with breakfast in bed, dinner cooked by Dad and Macie, and "the treatment." Look at what a lucky mom I am -- I have the best family in the world! And I am so grateful for the wonderful mothers and grandmothers I have as well! What a happy happy day!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Party Animals

 Well, another crazy month has come and gone -- full of fun, family, & friends. Time continues to fly -- and we've been busy partying here in Provo! Here's some of the April highlights:

Cosmo's Easter Egg Hunt
Danny and Harlin (a little friend from our ward) smile in eager anticipation! Candy!
Danny J grabs some yummy sugary goodness down on the field. LaVell Edwards Stadium was PACKED!
 We took the whole family down to LaVell Edwards Stadium for Cosmo's first annual Easter Egg Hunt, and despite the LARGE crowd, the kids had a blast. The stadium was full of candy-craving kiddos and their parents. Kind-of a madhouse, but we still left happy. I think everyone from Provo came -- and I even saw some Ute fans there. :)

Davis collected the most candy of all the Gunnell kids, because he was smart and started collecting candy before Cosmo blew the whistle to start.  I wasn't sure whether I should be embarassed or proud?! Anyway, thanks to his fast fingers (and all of the quick candy collecting from the other kids) we amassed a huge bowl full of Easter candy, which was, of course, gone in 3 days. :)
I guess you could say that my kids inherited my sweet tooth.
The fam with Cosmo, the candy man!

Party Hearty
The CRAZY kid, blowing out his third set of birthday candles!
 It took me a while, but I finally gave Reid the birthday party he was begging for. We scored a deal at Trafalga and hosted a laser tag birthday party for Reid and his 12 buddies. Danny led the troops into the laser tag arena, where the wild bunch of seven-year olds chanted "Green Smash! Green Smash!" and attacked the much older and bigger teenagers in the arena. Amazingly, these little guys got second place against the teens and adults they competed against! Way to go!
Make a wish!

 A Screaming Good Time
Check out the emotions on the Frog Hopper!
We had such a fun time at Reid's birthday party that we were back at Trafalga the next week, with Spring Break as our excuse. The whole family enjoyed the Frog Hopper, Laser Tag, and Rock Climbing! Can't beat that Pass of All Passes...
Macie REALLY LOVED the rock climbing. She scaled the walls in no time!

Reidy, almost to the top of the giant rock climbing wall

 Danny J Antics
Does anyone want some caramel?
 Danny J is still up to some silliness, as you can see in the picture above. We celebrated Easter dinner with some families in our ward (Danielle and Nancy Tracy, and the Gunters), and enjoyed the lovely weather while eating dessert on the deck. Meanwhile, Danny J was inside the kitchen, serving up a special dessert of his own! We came inside to find caramel on every single paper plate!

Our future missionary proudly poses in his tie and church shoes!
In the picture above, you can see how he got himself ready for church on Sunday. Danny was so proud and adorable -- I sure love this little guy! He is definitely the easiest of the kids to get ready for church... While Davis and Reid hide from me and beg to wear their BYU clothes, Danny is always eager to put on his suit and tie and get his hair done. He loves it when we tell him that he is handsome like a missionary! And he is getting so big, I'm afraid he will be on a mission before I know it!

 Dance Party
Check out these stylin dancers!
So, our little Gunnell family has been known to have regular dance parties. This month was no exception...we just got the camera out this time.  :) I'll spare you the video footage (it may, or may not show my husband twirling his shirt around in the air and throwing it across the room), but we had a blast as always. These kids know how to groove. They must've gotten it from me. (heehee) :)

Reid looks like a pretty tough guy in this pose
Cute, just like his brothers!
My little hip hop pair!
Macie was struttin her stuff
This "big boy" has his own solo dance party every day!

 Family Time
Smiling with my snuggle bug.
 Although that's it for the pictures, we had so much more going on this month. Visiting with the Korth family for Ashlee Ridge's wedding, two all-day Republican conventions, a goodbye weekend for Clayton and Erika Cravath (we miss you! Come back from Tennessee!), spring break and all of it's adventures, a week long visit with Stephanie Kearl and her adorable boys, and a visit from my parents as we celebrated John and Jaime Davis's BYU graduations. Life has been good and we have been blessed. And we like to party! :) (As you can see below!)

My five boys scrub-a-dub-dub in the bathtub