Thursday, April 10, 2014

Staying Together

Richard and I married for life! It's a choice and we work at it every single day. Life keeps getting fuller/heavier/busier. (and from watching slightly older families this trend will continue) We've always made it a point to put our marriage first. We fight for time together, whether it's a Friday night date night out on the town, in home date night after kids go to bed, or a weekend away we fight to have regular time together for just the two of us. Despite how busy we are, how chaotic life with 3 boys is, despite the demands of jobs, church and family we always make it a priority to "get away". I would recommend this to anyone. We've just entered a pretty busy season - actually busier than we've ever been before, with a lot bigger demands of our time and energy.
So beginning of last week Richard came to me with a wonderful surprise. He had planned a night getaway in Denver at a hotel downtown. He had planned the hotel and also coordinated with a couple to watch the kiddos for us. I know better than anyone what a huge responsibility it is and the work it takes to come to our house and take care of our 3 boys, and they gladly and willingly served us in that way! Some amazing friends for life they are!!!

This time away was so refreshing. It was perfect. I love downtown Denver so it was fun to walk around with the young life of Denver late into the night like we had no cares in the world. To wake up and stay in bed!!!! without anyone asking you for cereal and milk and cleaning up spilled cereal and milk. :) We had a wonderful breakfast at an awesome breakfast place downtown. Then did a little shopping. (Although I'm pretty sure I totally skipped a season of the whole shopping industry - man, prices are outrageous and clothes crazy! I feel old and weird saying that but this whole having kids and shopping so little has really put me behind the times!).
We came back rested, relaxed and refreshed to happy boys who did great while we were away.

Here's to hoping that night away keeps us going for a few more months!!!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A little update!

As you may have noticed I've been a little MIA on this ol' blog site! It makes me a little sad especially when I scroll through older posts and I love having those memories to look back on. I don't really know why I've been not posting either. Just not feeling too inspired lately I guess. We have had tons going on and I guess a lot of it I just didn't know how to write about and put it out for everyone to see. WE are going through so much change and full of life lived here. I would love to say I will be posting more and that I will post a certain amount per month but I don't want to put those stipulations on myself b/c I feel the words have to just come and flow and I can't force it!!! So here's to hoping inspiration comes back to me so I will have more memories all recorded! :)

Peyton will be 5 months this weekend! He is such a fun baby for me. He is so chill about things. Always happy. Doesn't seem to be as good or consistent of a sleeper but still nothing to really complain about. I love watching his amazement at his brother's antics. I've started cereal and a few other foods. This guy loves to eat!!! He gets so excited when he sees his bottle or when you're feeding him food, and he can really throw that bottle or food down. I hope he stays that way!!!! He is starting to show such personality.

Carson is now 5 yrs old! He had a blast at his party. We did our traditional donut breakfasts on their actual birthday. We all look forward to that. WE had a little lego themed party, although it was very low key. I basically just wanted him to have a bunch of friends over and play and have fun. And he did just that. I think we had about 30 ppl here and our house is not big! But the kids just had a blast. I just did hot dogs, pretzels, chips, pasta salad and veggies/fruit! Nothing big. Richard made the lego cake and it looked so cool. I am a firm believer that you don't need to do a huge production b/c I'm the personality that gets so stressed out about that. I don't do good with huge decorations that I've made and things like that. Some mothers love doing that, and I get stressed out, so I just do simple and mostly try to show my kids how special they are in other ways. I've decided that I love the 5yr old stage. He is so interactive and fun to spend time with. He is independent with everything but loves to have company in doing anything. His little mind is processing things and he's learning about life. It's so fun to watch and interact with that.
This cracks me up b/c he had a following of all his friends the whole party

Just some of the people at our party to celebrate the fun loving boy Carson is

The boy who changed our lives forever
and made us parents
Landon is talking so much. He was always the quieter shy one, but lately he will talk your ear off, even to a stranger or in public. I think he starting to realize the attention he can get that way. Still so goofy and adores his brother. 

I love watching Carson and Landon be best friends and play together so much. And now Peyton will sit in the room and just watch and follow them and laugh at all their funny antics towards him (which just eggs the boys on more which could get dangerous). They care for him so much and we're just one big happy family of 5 now. :)

There is lots of change at the church. Richard is taking on a lot more responsibility with being an elder now, but he still also has his full time job. We're really praying through and learning a balance of work, study, church, family, community and discipling. Feels really busy but it's all a good busy. Hopefully there are still some changes coming up as far as making a living goes, but I'm just trying to be patient.
God is ripping my heart apart and teaching me so much about my sinfulness and selfishness in my heart with our new roles. I am humbled so much lately, but then amazed by his Grace that he forgives and loves me the same. And I pray that my heart will be changed to give myself freely and to trust God to provide for my needs both emotional and physical. My challenge word for the year was GIVE and mostly I feel like I am needing to give my time and energy completely serving little kids. Or giving up expectations I have for Richard to free him up to be what he needs to be in the church. Not how I expected to be "giving" this year.

I hope to be back on this more but you never know. Life is exciting and fun and joyful, but there are hard things too. So I need this outlet to process things and then keep memories.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Wow - It's been a while . . . But that's for a different day. Life has been fuller than full. I haven't blogged very much for  various reason one not being lack of things to write about. But I hope to get back asap!!!

Tonight I'm writing to honor my sweet firstborn, Carson!!!

Tomorrow March 23rd at 4:20 pm he will turn 5 years old!!!!!

There is so much to say about this guy. There is something very unique in the relationship with your firstborn, the child that made you a mother, the oldest in the family. My life was completely changed as most mothers can attest. No longer was my life or heart my own. My heart loved in a way I didn't know possible. I questioned myself more than ever before. I experienced fear of losing this tiny person and I was totally taken off guard by the worry that overtook my thoughts. Tired doesn't even describe the way those first few months were, and I was wondering if I would ever "live" again. But at the same time that joy and love grows so much its indescribable. He made me realize I don't know everything. I have learned to give a huge bucket of Grace to moms, to support moms, and to show love and concern for moms b/c it's a hard road and we need to help each other, not judge. Being his mother has taught me that!

Carson has always been extreme. I have said since the beginning - he is extremely happy, or he is extremely sad, mad, tired etc, never complacent. What I love about him and what I try to nurture and encourage is his love for people. He is so friendly and so caring and thoughtful. He is aware of those around him. He has tons of friends and loves being social. Through the years I've seen this grow and grow. Every day he learns more self control of his emotions and actions. Every day I see that little tender heart soften more and more to the gospel and what Jesus did for him. Every day he talks about his friends. He is a leader and people follow him. His laugh is still so contagious. I've always said "when he walks in the room smiling, the whole room lights up". He will make you feel like his most special person when you're with him. He is active and coordinated and always full of life and energy.
Something he told me today about his party (that is tomorrrow by the way) - "I want to invite the whole city!!!" That's how much he is a people person. We're having a huge, but very low key, party for him tomorrow. He kept asking if more and more people are coming. He just loves to hang with all his friends.
It is a joy, privelege, and gift to be called his mother. 

It was so fun to look through all the pictures of him. There was so many to choose from and so many good ones. He is such a joy to our family and we are so excited to celebrate his life tomorrow and thank God for giving us this gift!!!!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Kindergarten Orientation!

Last week started a whole new era for the Gardner Clan! Our first born, Carson, had orientation for kindergarten. We have decided to send him to the local neighborhood public school for now. (we plan to always be evaluating our children, the school and situations surrounding their whole schooling and we are willing to change if necessary).
Deciding what to do for schooling for my children has always been really overwhelming to me. It seems like a huge unknown world to me full of many choices and strong opinions by people. (I don't do well when other people have really strong educated opinions and I don't).
We chose our local public school for many reasons. I am happy to comment on them, but don't want this post to be about that.
I want to capture for remembrance sake the feelings that I have experienced lately with this new transition, that I'm sure as we get closer to the fall will only get more intense.

First of all, the Parent Orientation night was so helpful and good. We loved hearing from the Principal and she "impressed" us with how she presented things.
I am mostly so excited for this new season. Watching Carson walk into that room to play with other new kindergartners and their teachers while we went to the presentation was so emotional. (ha, I know, its not even school year yet). Watching him walk in confidently and excitedly and very competent made my heart skip a beat. I mean isn't that what I've been doing for almost 5 years now. Preparing him to be a confident person but also humble, who is capable of interacting with other children and other adults.
My fear as a first time kindergartner mom, who never sent her kids to day care or preschool was that my child wouldn't understand what's happening and going on in the day and that he would get lost in the shuffle of tons of kids who already know what to expect. I mean lets face it - I've been the biggest part, probably all but 5 days of his entire life!!!!!! I know every minute detail about this child. What makes him laugh, what makes him cry, and what sets off his sensory fits and how to calm him down. In the principal's talk she was very good at calming those fears and verbalizing how much they understand about 5 year old children and how much the 5 year olds need to learn about school and that they really work with them. I was afraid he wouldn't understand it's time to eat his lunch without me telling him and then be starving all day. But there was a lot of little things like that the principal really made me feel better about.
I was so excited about hearing things that he will learn this first year about our world, and mostly that it's not completely up to me to teach him about the world, math concepts, and how to write sentences. Because I'll just be honest - that really overwhelms me and I have no idea how to help him learn that best.
I think he will thrive in that social setting and that learning will be so fun for him.
I sat in that room trying to hold back tears listening to how his first few months of school will be and I felt sad and really happy at the same time. Excited and Nervous. Ready and completely not ready.
Carson has never been into learning his letters. But looking at the check lists of things they "should know" before kindergarten made me feel so much better. He is pretty much where the average kid is his age and he will do awesome.
I can't believe that my first baby is getting ready to head to Kindergarten, where he will have many friends, have a kind teacher, learn how to write his name and the world his lives in. As we walked back to the classroom to pick him up mostly what I felt was EXCITED! I can't wait for this new phase of life to begin.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Dedicated to my mother for her Birthday

I love this quote. I'm thinking about writing something specail like this for mom on her next birthday. Or maybe I might save it for mothers day.

January 14th is my mom's birthday and I wanted to 
write a little something about her.

Mum, I look up to you so much. In the years that I have become a mother
I have learned how much you sacrificed.
I realize how much you laid down your life for your family, without recognition.
You left the comfort of your home and surroundings, you gave up everything
to live in a country where you knew no one, and couldn't speak to anyone. And you served your
husband and children beyond measure and without complaint. I don't know how you did it - leaving your friends and being so isolated in a country with three small children. And you
raised us with love beyond measure. I never heard you complain about
missing the States. I never heard you complain about the loneliness I know you felt.
I watched you serve others, trust God through many difficulties that most people can't even fathom and you did so with such faith and trust in God. 
You taught what it meant to believe in the God of Salvation. You lived out the gospel
daily and taught us that we were sinners, needing a savior. And 
taught us to live life the seeks to know a God who loves us.
You taught us to trust Him in all times no matter the circumstance and to not let circumstances
determine our actions towards others, that it's always right to treat others with 
respect and love, no matter what!
You continue to bless our family and sacrifice for us.
Helping us financially and with your time. You bless your grandchildren
and make them feel special all while sacrificing your own time and finances.
Now that I'm an adult and realize the seriousness of life and the difficulties
I realize and recognize how much Faith and Love and Trust it took to live
a life of honesty, humbleness and service.
I realize how blessed I am to be loved by you. How blessed I am that
God placed me in your life as your daughter.
I hope today on your birthday you realize how much I love you, how much 
I appreciate you, and how much I recognize what you did for me.
And I admire you, look up to and only hope to be able be the
mother you were to me.

Happy Birthday Mum.
I Love You!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Beginning of the year thoughts

I've been thinking a lot lately about how to make the most of life, enjoy the little things. Life for us just keeps getting busier and I don't see it slowing down any in the future. And I feel as though my life is fleeting away and I'm "missing" it.
From June-November of 2013 we have had a series of BIG things happen. Richard was promoted to a manager position at work which brought a lot of added stress. We moved to a different apartment. Richard was made a lay elder at our church, The Crossing. And we added a third boy to our clan. I'd say in 6 months time that's a lot of transition.

I feel like I've been in a weird season. I don't think I can describe late pregnancy and early newborn stage effectively. My body and hormones have gone through many changes and are still changing. My sleep patterns have been completely altered and energy level shows it. Basically I've been trying to just "get through" each day. Get as much accomplished as I can, clean and maintain as much as I can but not having very many expectations. Maintain my boy's behavior and try to survive as best I can as far as entertaining them goes. But I haven't really been "present" for them. I've made excuses for myself.
But I'm tired of living like this. Maybe it's the new year, maybe it's the thought that Carson goes off to Kindergarten this fall and wondering if I've done enough, maybe it's the "starting to feel semi-normal" that's occurring in my body, maybe it's the thought that Peyton is my last baby - but I need to break out of this daily cycle and realign my purpose as a mother, child of the King.
There is LIFE to start! Activities to plan for church and life group, watching the little girl again, figuring out registration for Carson, a race to train for, weight to lose, and getting my newborn baby past the newborn stage in every sense of the word! (if you know what I mean!!!)

Life is busy! Life is tiring! and Life is stressful!  And we are still trying to figure out what all these new changes will look like for our family. We are still trying to get our house organized, figure out our new baby, and figure out responsibilities at church.

But in the midst of all of LIFE - there is the beautiful. The children who have a secret to tell you right this very minute of "I love you!" Full of cuddles and hugs with warm blankets on the couch. The hug from your husband who has worked a stressful day but comes home to help with the kiddos. The first smiles and coos from the baby, watching them learn to roll over. Beautiful is watching your newborn be calmed down in your arms laying against your chest.
So I choose to show up every day. A midst the tiredness and feelings of "I have no idea what I'm doing and if I'm doing enough" I choose to claim God's truth. He loves me unconditionally, he gives me hope, he is making me new and gives me a fresh start. Step out of the "funk" and really be there. Take time with the boys and do activities. Teach Carson as best I know how the skills needed for kindergarten. I need to really slow down and concentrate on the little moments. Be thankful for them. And really trust the God, who created the heavens, to care enough about me, my strength and family that he will carry me through. That he gives me exactly the rest that I need for that day whether it's the amount I want or not, and I can trust Him and rely on Him. Rest in him that already knows what 2014 will look like for me.
Life is fleeting by! and I want to live shining Christ through the mundane. I want my boys to see God's love in the daily things and it's my responsibility to show them that. I want to enjoy the moments. I want to GIVE of myself daily to my husband, my boys, and my community without reservations fully trusting my care to God who promises to keep me and who loves me.

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