Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year 2013 in Review

I've been doing this kind of post for 3 years now and it's one of my favorite posts to write. (the other two can be found here and here) I love going back and reminiscing about the year and being reminded of what we did and what happened. But it is really hard to keep it to one picture for the month. This year I really notice how my boys have changed. People keep telling me, but looking back I can really see it. The two oldest boys went from being toddlers to little boys! I can't believe how much they've grown. It was also a year marked by lots of change.
This month was boring. The biggest thing that happened was I started
watching a baby 4 days a week. She fit right in and we loved her. But it took me all month to adjust to a new routine.
We celebrated Valentines day with heart quesadillas, breakfast out, and a date night
We went from  beautiful weather to snow and sledding. This picture
cracks me up from that month.

This one I chose 2 pictures. Our firstborn turned 4!!!! And we took a family Easter Picture. 
We also found out we were pregnant with our 4th baby (3rd living one) so that was exciting, but
I was sick the whole month.

This month is only marked by a wonderful trip to MN. 
My younger sister and her family was "commissioned" to head as missionaries
to serve in Spain. All original 6 Mayfields were able to be together
and we had a great time. So thankful for being able to take this trip

In May we celebrated Mother's day and Memorial Day
This picture is from Boulder on Memorial Day. I've wanted to go for a while
and this year we finally made it. Maybe one day I'll actually run in the big race there!

The boys learned how to fly a kite! We also were able to spend a long weekend
in the mountains with our Life group at a cabin! This group of people
have become like family to us. We are so thankful for them and blessed by them.
It's cool to see that "Community", the way God intended us to live, 
really does bless us, challenge us and draw us close to Him.
Richard and I were also able to get away for a night to reflect
on our precious baby that we lost at the end of the year. June 13th marked the
due date I had and it was really nice to be able to get away during that time.
This also marked the month when Richard got promoted at work to Project Manager.
Which you would think would be a good thing, but has been
stressful, and not a lot in return. But hey, trying to not focus on the negative.

We were able to take a really fun camping trip with Family this month. We drove over the mountains and camped with cousins and grandparents. It was REALLY fun. 
The boys went fishing with Grandpa, saw 2 bears, and ran around endlessly in the woods. They got super dirty and ate only junk food. And they were in heaven. :) 
p.s. I also chopped my hair off for the first time in my life. YIKES!

I had to put two pictures on here as well. B/c we did two exciting things this month. We
Spontaneously made it to a Broncos scrimmage at the stadium
with the boys. And although it got rained out (hail, wind, and rain) we had a really
fun time as a family and it was cool to do that with the boys.
We also took a camping trip with our Life group! It was so much fun once again to spend
time together with them. We love camping!!!

(ok, so maybe 2 pictures per month would be appropriate :) )
This month started out with a big move to a different condo in town. I a was like 32 weeks pregnant or something so as you can imagine - not the most fun. But very very thankful for this new place to call our home. It suits us much better.
Also our middle son turned 3!!!!
And on that same day we were prayed over to become a pastor of our church. There is so much to say about this. But I don't know how to quite say it. we are blessed beyond measure
by this church body. We have grown so much and our desire is to be helping in this way. It was
a huge answer to God's calling on our lives. We are still trying to figure out
what it looks like to be bi-vocational and how we will function and what our responsibilities
will officially be, but we are so thrilled with this.
The rest of the month I basically tried to survive and unpack our house!
This month was survival. The end of my pregnancy was rough and hard on me. I had a lot of uncomfortableness, tiredness, and pain. I had two showers for my baby which we were totally blessed by. We visited the Zoo (which turns out to be a yearly October thing for us to do). My mom came at the end of the month, and we had fun with a transformer and wolverine for
This month was clearly marked by introducing our 3rd boy into the world.
Peyton was born on November 6th and everything after that is a blur. :) 
The boys love him to death and he fits right into our family.
We had a quiet thanksgiving weekend. But other than that we just tried to figure out life as a family of 5. Richard and I also celebrated our 7th wedding Anniversary! 
Honestly I don't really know what happened this month. It flew by. We celebrated Christmas early as our own family entity for the first time ever. That was wonderful and simple and so sweet. 
We also traveled to Grand Junction for a big Christmas celebration and a family wedding. 
Richard also preached this month which is always "all-consuming". So we made it to the end of the year.

My word for this past year was "SERVE". As I look back on the year I can't say I did this well. In the last 6 months Richard has received a lot of responsibility outside the home with work and church. Which has in a way "forced" me to serve my husband and family in many more ways that sometimes I don't feel I can handle or always have the best attitude. Most of the year I felt physically weak and tired (from pregnancy) which deterred me from serving much outside my home!
So in looking to this new year the word I have prayed about and chosen is "GIVE". I want to give unconditionally. I want to NOT hold back. Give of my time, my energy, my resources and my possessions. Give to my children, give to my husband, my friends, my neighbors, my church. Give unreservedly, how Christ gave to us. Give knowing I leave this earth with nothing. Give knowing all I have (energy, time, possessions) all are a gift to me, I don't deserve them. 

I can't wait to see what this new year brings.
How our lives will change. This past year (really only 6 months)
was filled with many changes, housing, job responsibility,
new child, and church/pastor. What will this
new year bring???!!!?!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

We have made it to the coveted 6 Week Mark!!!!

I always tell new moms (trying to be an encouragement) to just make it to the 6 weeks mark and things will seem so much easier and better! It was something I have had to remind myself of lately too. And you know what! I still think it's true. I feel so much more myself now, we are settling into a routine, and I feel like going out for errands or play dates or responsibilities isn't so overwhelming and tiring. My new goal to make it to is 3 months!!! Half way there!!

I have put down all expectations for anything this Christmas season. I have tried to simply enjoy being SIMPLE - we barely got a tree up or Christmas cards ordered and mailed out. And you know what? -I'm totally fine with that. My goal is to Enjoy my bigger family and not put pressure on myself and let the boys enjoy simple things about the season. B/c we all know next year at this time will be totally different and I will be able to accomplish a lot more with more energy. I tried making homemade caramels this year! Something I've done every year of my entire life!!!! Something that in 7 years of marriage I have never messed up. And this year - I can't believe it but I must admit that I tried it 3 times and every time I messed it up!!! It's a delicate process but something I prided myself in mastering! Now I can no longer say that and cannot believe I wasted all those ingredients and time!!!! I'll chalk it up to having a newborn! That's it for my traditions this year. Now concentrate on wrapping presents - I hope I don't mess that up!

Things here at home are really starting to become enjoyable. I feel so much better and capable of handling life. :) Peyton has truly been a joy to our family. He is as easy as newborns can be and we all adore him. I am truly thankful for this little life. Since my last post we have started experiencing his smiles which is the best part of a newborn.

Watching his face light up with pure joy in seeing our faces. It only gets better from here on out. He is growing tons.
Life has been really busy around here with responsibilities to fulfill and every day life. (especially for Richard, which in turn makes me busier to keep up with more around the house) But we are a few days away from Christmas vacation and fun trip with family. We will make it. I'm happy to be able to say now that I'm excited about celebrating this simple Christmas with my family of boys.
Merry Christmas to you all!!!!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Musings from our First Month as Family of 5

I wanted to write a tiny update on our first month as a family of 5.
My labor was everything a labor should be, but in my experience rarely is. I labored at home for a good part of it, in fact all the beginning labor.  I only had to be in the hospital laboring for about 5 hrs which is very ideal. And despite my pleadings for a c-section to end it all or my begging for an epidural I managed to push him out with no medication. Richard kept telling me during the labor that I would feel so much better without that stuff. And he was right. Although if labor lasted any longer I don't know that I would've agreed with him. Nothing can describe the feeling of pushing a baby out and your wonderful baby being placed on you immediately for you to ENJOY!!!! and for as much time as you like. (You see I never experienced this with my other two children). That moment that you have with your baby and your husband is magical and indescribable.
Peyton is truly my gift from God. I know that about my other two - but after the last 2 years I understand and really "KNOW" that Peyton is exactly who God chose for our family and for me as my son!!!!!! and we love him to pieces

Our first month as a family of 5 has been really good. My mom was here for 2 and half weeks with baby Peyton, a blessing I do not take likely or for granted. She helped us out so much in so many areas. After she left we had Thanksgiving to enjoy and revel in a slow weekend as a family adjusting to things. Life is busy for everyone and we are no exception. The other older boys love him to death and really the adjustment to 3 has not been too difficult. Peyton seem to just fit right into the chaos and noise.
There is one thing that I've hesitated sharing here b/c I don't want to be labeled or start a debate or be judged (quite frankly) But I want to remember what affected me most this past month. My perspective really has changed regarding expectations and decisions we make and judgments made about others. You see - Peyton was not thriving with my breastmilk and despite doing everything I knew how to do he was losing weight. (and yes, I felt like I tried everything) I had to make a very hard decision and put him on formula and I have stopped nursing all together. It was hard b/c I was able to nurse my other two boys just fine (it's never come easy, but my babies have always thrived with it) and I believe breastmilk is better for my child. And before you make judgments in your head or in the comment section let me just remind you that you don't know what all is behind my decision and I truly am trying to do what is best for my children.
You see God has taught me more than I can even begin to type here in this blog post. I have experienced an array of things when it comes to child-bearing. I have had an emergency c-section. I have experienced a preemie baby and the "joys" of a NICU stay, not being able to hold your baby, or feed your baby for days and leaving the hospital without your baby. I have gone through the terribly horrifying news that my baby died inside my body and God chose to take my baby before I got to meet him/her. I have also experienced the wonderful joy of a "perfect" labor and delivery peaceful and calm. I have nursed two perfectly healthy babies and also had the stress and helplessness of not being able to provide what your baby needs and then giving him formula. Now I'm not saying I have been through it all, or that I understand everyone's situations or emotions, or even come remotely close to knowing everything - I'm saying quite the opposite. These few experiences have taught me that we are not in control of life. That God is directing each of our lives even in these things. Some things for people go so smoothly and how they want -others have to face reality that "ideal" isn't very common. And the thing I have learned most in my measly 4 1/2 yrs of motherhood is that motherhood is hard and confusing and very intricate. We are trying our best in our situation at that stage of life to chose and do what is best for our family b/c we love them more than words can say and more than we ever imagined possible. We don't know other's situations/emotions or everything that played into how their life is - so we cannot judge. Let's instead encourage and uplift each other even in all of our differences and variations of this whole thing called LIFE!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

7th Anniversary

November 25th, 2006 Richard and I were married.
It was a late Saturday morning after Thanksgiving.
We were married in Boston in the Fall and it was a perfect Fall day.
We have a great engagement story, we have a lot of fun trips we've taken, and romantic stories to tell.
But we also have the "boring", the mundane parts of our life. We have the going to work every day, kids around us all the time, busy with church things and maintaining life.
We have the difficult. We have the hard and the choosing to love. We have the grief, loneliness from moves, financial difficulties.

As we celebrated 7 years of life together we were able to get away from the 3 kiddos and enjoy a great meal and some quiet conversation. (thanks to my mom who took care of the 3 boys) In our talking and reflecting I am just so amazed at how things turn out. There are things about Richard that I love and am so thankful for that when I married him I had no idea was a part of him. There were things that bugged me so much when we were first married that now I love b/c it is a part of who he is. We have lived enough time together and established our lives and family enough now that I love who we are as a couple.
I love how committed Richard is to me. Right now we are in the thick of "emotional wife". And he makes an effort to say "goodbye Beautiful" to me when he leaves for work each morning. And let me tell you - 3 weeks out from having a baby, in the throes of trying to figure out nursing - I am not looking my best. But I know that he is by my side - that he cherishes me.
I wonder what joys and sorrows and trials and fun times the next 7 years will bring.
Love you Richard!

 A very good friend of mine took a bunch of photos of us 6 days after Peyton was born. I love these two b/c it shows my sweet family of 5 and then all of us laughing! It was so much fun taking the pictures
And this is what 7 years of marriage has produced :)
(p.s. I love being the mother of  boys!!!!)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Meet Peyton Glenn Gardner

November 6th, 2013 at 7:17pm Peyton Glenn came into the world weighing 7lbs 4oz, 20.5 inches long. He is absolutely perfect and we are ecstatic.

3:30am Wednesday morning my water broke (as it has with all my babies) and labor kicked in right away. I labored at home until about 10am. Went into my midwives office and was checked. At that time was about 2 centimeters dilated. Decided to kill some time so we went to a park and dilly- dallied doing things to keep my mind off labor as much as possible. We decided to head to hospital around 2:30ish pm. At the hospital I labored for about 5hrs. There was plenty of talk of starting pitocin to get labor moving faster along, since I already had ruptured membranes, and plenty of talk about how I couldn't do it anymore wanting an epidural. In the end thankfully the last 4 centimeters to dilate went pretty fast and I made it through without needing that medicine.
I am feeling great and very relieved and so thankful for God's help and strength and Grace. But mostly that all of that is behind me.
For now I'm enjoying my precious baby and loving him so much

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 16th - a day of reflection and healing

October 16 is a date I will forever remember. Many will not - but it will always be etched in my mind. This early stages of fall have been a big time of reflection for me. Fall (as it is with most people) has always been my favorite time of year. Last year I feel like the happiness that comes with Fall was ripped from me. As I go about our lives and events this year I am constantly thinking that last year I was pregnant at this time, with a child I would not be able to carry for long and never be able to meet. A part of Richard and I that we will never get to meet on this earth. There is a dark cloud over most of the memories from last fall.
A year ago tomorrow I found out that God had different plans than I would ever choose for one of my children and despite how I was torn into pieces it was for My good and His Glory. This blog has been a place for me to be open and share our story as a family and I have been honest with how going through losing a child has affected me.

As I stand back and evaluate things I can only say that I am blessed. I distinctly remember in the early stages of grieving those first few months wondering if I would ever feel the healing, longing to be at this stage now; knowing I would feel better about it and not be as shaken by this reality. And now I'm standing here and for all of you who are in the depths of this tragedy I want to encourage you and say that the LORD does bring healing and joy and peace in Him. It feels good to finally have made it to "the year mark" and I once again feel strong and myself.
When I say "I am myself" I more adequately mean that I feel human again. Because the "Self" that I once was has been completely changed. Where once I boasted in my non-emotionalism to things, now I find myself hardly making it through a worship service without tears streaming down my face. I am emotional about my God and his holiness and his love towards me after experiencing these characteristics in such a deep way, and worship has a way of making that clearer than ever. I care about other's emotions so much more. I am so much more aware of other's situations and hurts and cares and I am moved inside to be a comfort to them.

Another huge thing I've learned is to value life, especially life given to me whether my own or my children's, so much more. I don't take for granted these things. God ultimately has a plan and path for each one of us, especially regarding our own families. I have learned that we do not deserve it. He works according to his perfect plan advancing his Kingdom. Even the gender of babies that we desire is His ultimate choice. I love my boy's more deeply and strive to be a good mother more than I did before I lost my precious child.

And so this week as I stand in reflection I want people to know what God has taught me, how I've changed, and for those of you in the midst of it to have hope that God can heal your heart.
I am weeks away from giving birth to another child and this is the path that God has chosen for me. I am more than thankful for this new life after losing a child. I am thankful, grateful and humbled He allowed me to get pregnant and have a baby around the same time of year to sort of "redeem" the fall again for me, to bring new happiness to a time when I was saddened to the core. I will always long for the day I can meet my child, and I will always remember. My child is forever a part of who I am but my heart has healed so much.  I still cry and grieve but ultimately God has taken me under his wings and shown me His Great Love.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Soon there will be 5

I've been talking about doing something like this weekend for a while. And then Richard's work blew up with the Floods here and I wondered if it would happen this year.
Like everyone life is busy and it's hard to set time apart to do something as a family. But I think it's a crucial part of reclaiming sanity for me and my family. 
We finally had a weekend where Richard was not on call and we had no other commitments. 
First I wanted to go to Casa Bonita. A very well known restaurant/landmark if you've been living in Colorado for any length of time. It's a timeless place. Technically it's a Mexican restaurant. Although the food is AWFUL!!! And the ambiance is less than desired (to an adult). But it's an awesome time for kids. It's so hard to explain. The restaurant has a small diving pool that has divers doing little skits and cool dives from high above. There is a "scary" cave to walk through and oodles of other things for the kids to take in. While Richard and I tried to swallow a little bit of food to make the outrageous price seem a little worth it, and while we laughed at how our perspective changes so much from when you're a kid - our own children were in heaven. So much to look at and watch and see. They of course ate nothing but just watched everything! If you're ever in Denver and you have children - you need to visit Casa Bonita. A classic Landmark

Then we spent the night with Richard's brother who lives in Denver. And on Saturday woke up to a beautiful day for heading to the zoo. I've figured out since we moved to Colorado we have been to the Zoo each October. It's so fun to see children in awe at all the different animals. The zoo is one of my favorite places to take the children. Of course it's always nice to go with family too!! :) 

I wanted amidst all the crazy busy-ness of life to have one last special weekend before life officially gets crazier. We are only a family of 4 for a little while longer and I wanted the boys to enjoy this time. I think we succeeded. We all had a really good weekend.

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