Saturday, November 28, 2009

What a busy Autumn!!

I can't believe it has been 2 months since I have posted anything at all. It has been a busy time for us, but not a lot to post about. We have just been busy with work, school and extra curricular activities, church and also putting in our time helping out with Michael's dad.
October was General Conference time again. It was so nice to sit and listen to the leaders of our church counsel and teach us the things that they feel are important for us at this time. Michael's brother was here visiting and helping out with his dad for a few days as well. It was great to see him and have him here. We all thought that Bruce was at the end of his earthly journey, but miraculously he turned the corner and has been doing really well since the beginning of October. He is up and out of bed every day, eating 3 meals a day, sleeping good at night and we are all looking forward to having him around to enjoy the holidays with his family. What a blessing it has been to have him around longer and for each of us to spend time with him and Sally in service and love.
During October Break from school Michael was able to take some time off and we spent a day taking the kids and their cousins to a fun train park in Scottsdale. It was a beautiful day and fun was had by all!!

We got a new kitten and are enjoying the energy of an 8 week old kitten in the house. Spooky is very cuddly and very spastic. Austin loves that there is a creature little enough for him to pick up and carry around, although we don't let that happen very often.

Halloween came and went very quickly this year. Our ward normally does a Trunk or Treat in the church parking lot, but this year we were asked to be good neighbors and stay at home to pass out candy and Trick or Treat in our neighborhoods. My kids had a really hard time deciding what they wanted to dress as this year. The boys couldn't decide so I suggested zombies and they both loved that idea. Ashleigh wanted to be a cheerleader, but was pretty specific on what she wanted to look like. I couldn't find what she wanted so she went as Alex Russo (Selena Gomez, Wizard's of Waverly Place) from the Disney Channel. The day before Halloween Jordan decided that he didn't want his face painted so he wasn't going to be a zombie. He wanted to be a spy, but didn't really want to dress in a costume. We went around and around with many different ideas for him, but he wasn't changing his mind. We finally told him that if he didn't dress up as something then he could stay home and miss out on all of the candy. Can you believe that at 8 1/2 years old he actually refused to dress up and stayed home with Michael handing out candy. What a party pooper!! Austin was cute little lion and the kids had a great time around the neighborhood.

Also in October a friend from church took some pictures of the kids while on the temple grounds. We got some really good ones of the three older kids, Austin was really tired and didn't cooperate very well for group pictures. She did get some really cute candids of him though!!

November brought Cub Scout Scout-o-rama, the kids school Fall Festival, Thanksgiving and Jordan's 9th Birthday(that will be another post). Ashleigh started playing the clarinet in band this year and her first performance was at the fall festival. She did a great job and she loves playing an instrument other than the piano. The festival was a lot of fun. It was the first time in 5 years that we haven't suffered from a heat wave on the same weekend as the festival. It was in the 70's and even had a few sprinkles of rain every once in a while. Much better than the 90's and going home with a sun burn like years past.

Thanksgiving was very nice. We had it with the extended Gunnell family this year, there were about 35 people. It was a beautiful day so we were both in and outside. The kids had a great time playing with cousins. We have much to be thankful for this year, topping the list are our amazing families, friends, jobs and good health!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ward Family Campout

This past weekend was our Ward (Church Congregation) Family Campout. We have lived in the ward for 5 years now and haven't made it to a single campout. Ashleigh wanted to go last year, but there was no way I was going camping with a newborn baby. So we decided that this would be the year we would go. Michael and I would be in Chicago the weekend before the trip so we figured it would all work out, until Michael found out that he had to be on call that week. The kids were really disappointed so I thought it over and decided that if my dear friend Lori was going with her kids (her husband had to work as well) that I would go with my kids. I got the kids out of school early on Friday and we were at the campsite by late afternoon. We had a great time, it's always nice to escape the heat for a little while. I owe a great big Thank You to Lori, Kendall and Isaac for helping put the tent up and Ashleigh was a HUGE help keeping an extra eye on Austin. Jordan got to work on some of his Cub Scout requirements by helping cook dinner and learned how to start a campfire. We roasted hot dogs over the fire and had s'mores later in the evening. It got pretty cold during the night, but we were all fine in the tent and Austin even slept through the night!!

The next morning we had breakfast and the kids went off to play games and explore the area. The kids had fun playing kickball, football and shooting air soft BB guns. The adults visited and we eventually started playing a really fun game of Bowling ball Croquette. I also owe a big Thank You to Taleen Vezina and Rondal Jones for trying to keep Austin preoccupied while I played.

While we were playing the clouds started to roll in and we could hear it thundering off in the distance. My thought was that I would go pack up the sleeping bags and blankets when our game was over, NOT!! Half way through our game the heavens opened up and we all went running for our cars and tents. The boys and I hunkered down in the tent and Ashleigh went into her friend's car to play games. I got as many blankets and sleeping bags rolled up and folded as I could with 3 boys in the tent with me. After about 20 minutes the hail stopped and the rain let up enough that I took the boys to the car and put a movie on for them so that I could finish cleaning everything up. Before long the rains had returned and I was scrambling...yet again I owe a huge Thank You to Lori and Kendall for helping me get all of the wet everything into my car and for helping me get the tent down in record time!! Even though our camping trip was cut short we had a great time, so much fun in fact that we are going to try to go camping as a family a few times a year, only next time we will make sure Michael can come with us!!

This was my first time camping as an adult and I did learn a few things...1. Don't forget flashlights!! 2. Hobo dinners Rule!! 3. Bring all parts of the tent!! I forgot the tarp that goes over the top of the tent, Thank You Brother Harmon for having an extra one for us to use. 4. Can never have too many blankets!! 5. If you see rain clouds and hear thunder, don't wait till later to clean up!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What we've been up to lately!

WOW!! It's been a long time since I have posted anything! Summer was very busy and fun and we are all glad that school has started back up again. I have a hard time with summer, I love my kids, but I have a hard time finding things to keep them busy and Arizona is just too darn hot so the last place they want to be is outside. We love the month of July when we can spend most of it at the cabin in the mountains. Needless to say the kids were excited to get back to school and see there friends and I was excited for them to go back so they weren't complaining about how bored they were. Now that school has started we are busy as ever!!

Ashleigh is now in the 5th grade and she is playing the piano still and is also playing the clarinet in the school band. Now that she knows how to blow into it she is really enjoying her new instrument.
Jordan is in the 3rd grade and is looking forward to basketball starting up this winter. He also loves Cub Scouts and is always looking for something to do that will get him closer to earning his Wolf Badge.
Jared was the most excited of everyone for school to start. He is going to preschool this year and he LOVES it!! He is up and dressed before everyone else on the days that he has school. He is learning the sounds that the letters make and lots of words that start with each letter. He loves learning and playing with all of his friends.

Austin isn't quite ready for school yet, but he is growing so fast. He is walking everywhere and he LOVES to be outside. He enjoys "helping" mommy in the kitchen as well, although his "help" usually requires added clean up time.

Michael is very busy at work and when he came home one night in July saying he had to go to Chicago for work in September I was very excited. I wanted to go, you see, my brother, sister-in-law and nephew live in Chicago and Brayden is only a week older than Austin. What a perfect opportunity to visit them!! We were so lucky to have many things fall into place so that Austin and I could go with Michael. My wonderful and amazing mom was able to get time off from work to come stay with the older kids, my awesome grandmother gave my mom a free airline ticket, I was able to get the time off from work and Michael's company was paying for his airline ticket and the hotel room and Austin is under 2 so we only had to purchase my ticket!! Brian took a day off from work so we could hang out with the little boys and we were able to have dinner all together the night we arrived. The weather was amazing the entire time we were there and Austin was so good. He spent a lot of time in his stroller and never fussed about it at all. I think he was just so excited to be outside and not roasting in the AZ heat. The most fun we had was just watching the boys interact with each other. Thanks to Brian and Peggy for your hospitality!! We had a great time!
Cousins meeting for the very first time!!

Downtown Chicago from Navy Pier

Playing in the park

Austin and Mommy in Millennium Park

Boys chasing each other

Austin, Aunt Peggy and Brayden

While we were in Chicago, my mom was here taking care of the older kids and they had so much fun with Grammie. She took them Goofy Golfing and they went to the mountains to spend some time with my uncle and aunt. They had so much fun. They got quad rides, picked veggies from the garden, built and painted a bird house and went swimming at Fossil Creek. They couldn't stop talking about how much fun they had with John and Elizabeth...thank you guys for giving my kids some great memories!! Pictures from grammie to be posted at a later date.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gunnell Family Pictures

When Glen and Rachel were here we had a family picture done on the Temple Grounds. It turned out really well, none of us was pregnant and even with 15 grandkids we were done within 25 minutes.
Adults only

Entire family

Fun in the summer heat!!

Every July our church does Primary Softball, it's for the kids ages 9-11 and because of the heat the games are at 6am. This is Ashleigh's 2nd year and she really enjoys it, she doesn't even complain about getting up before 6 every morning. She was actually kind of disappointed because she missed the first week of games while we were at the cabin. Jordan is looking forward to being old enough next summer.

We also use the canal water to irrigate our yard every 2 weeks and if it's not in the middle of the night the kids love to play in the water. It's not the cleanest water in the world, but they have fun. Besides, they're not drinking it anyway. They have water fights and turn the toddler slide into a water slide. They also like to line up lawn chairs and pretend they are boats on a river. It's really nice when they can have fun all together. It's one way to stay cool!!

Austin and his Birthday Cake!!

Finally a smile with his teeth showing!!

These pictures are too funny not to post. Austin had fun opening his presents, but way more fun getting into the cake. We all had a pretty good laugh and he went straight to the bathtub when it was over.
It's a really messy face, but look at those cute curls!!

More photos from the cabin

After the 4th was over the kids and I were able to stay another week and so did Natalie and her kids. The kids all had a great time. They found creatures...Ashleigh found a snake and Cade found a Horny Toad.
We went to pottery hill in search of some cool Indian pottery and the kids found a stash of bones while out riding quads.

Austin had fun playing in the rocks and on the porch. He was always checking out what the other kids were up too.

My kids also love it when they get quality time with dad while at the cabin because it usually means a pretty long ride, he didn't disappoint. They all had a great time. We are hoping that next time we can do a family ride.

It was a great week and we are looking forward to getting back to the mountains in another week, one last time before school starts.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

4th of July Weekend

Well it's that time of year again...the annual Gunnell Gathering at the ranch. We all had a blast. Glen and Rachel and their family was here from Oklahoma and we were all gathered together in the mountains enjoy the cooler air and spending time with family. There was lots to do or nothing at all to do, whichever you preferred. Granny had treasure hunts planned for the kids, one for the younger kids and then it was the older kids turn. Marie (Gunnell)Wood was there with her parents and kids and her kids had a blast being apart of what was going on. The kids had fun playing in their clubs(forts) that they have been working on, doing crafts, hanging out with cousins and they always are up for quad rides around the ranch. We were lucky enough to get rain every afternoon leading up to the 4th of July, but once the 4th arrived it was warm and dry.
Tanner, Zach, Jared and Max finding their treasure
Heading out on a hunt for treasure
The older kids finding their treasure

On the 4th we started with a family flag ceremony and short devotional, then it was a big family breakfast. What a great way to start the day. Later on there was a family parade around the ranch, which included singing Patriotic songs and waving to all. The kids had a blast.

Then it was time for the big boys (grown men) to head out on their own ride for a while and then they came back to the Annual Horseshoe Tournament. JJ Martinez was the winner this year and family friend Cory Tucker had a trophy ready for the event.

After a BBQ dinner it was time for the Pinata. The kids all lined up, youngest to oldest, and each had 3 swings at it. Fun was had by all and when it still wasn't cracked open Papa took the last swing and broke it open for the kids to have at the candy and toys.

Then it was off to the fireworks!! It was a great day, I am so proud to live in this wonderful country!!
Sunday was church and then we had a really nice adult testimony meeting. It was so sweet to sit out on the lawn and be spiritually uplifted by each persons testimony of the gospel and the importance of family. Monday rounded out the holiday weekend with a Family Home Evening lesson about Patriotism and our country's flag. After the lesson the kids all gathered around to color patriotic pictures and have treats.

It was a great weekend, it was so fun to have the entire family together. I want to extend a huge Thank You to Arlene and Dennis for the use of their cabin, you guys are great and we really appreciated it!!