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!

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