Monday, December 20, 2010

2010- An Amazing End to an Amazing Year!

I'm preparing my lesson for Young Women's this Sunday and I took a minute to look back over this year. What an amazing year 2010 has been. It's been full of ups and downs and I'm happy to look back and say.... every single minute has been worth it all. (Totally choking back tears as I type this) Our family has been so blessed, I want to take a minute to reflect over each month and how it's made our family and myself so much stronger.

January- With little Tanner B having just joined our family, it became crystal clear that something was missing in our little family. We had been inactive members of the LDS church for almost the entire time we had been married and knew that we could not raise another child that doesn't know his Father in Heaven. Just two weeks after Tanner was born we made it back to church and have only missed a few Sunday's as we traveled or kids were sick. It feels amazing. We have such an amazing ward family who has made our transition so much easier and our lives have been infinitely blessed by doing the things that we are supposed to.

February - With the passing of my Grandma's husband it became even more clear how important it was for our family to get our ducks in a row. In a meeting with our bishop we were able to set a goal for Jon to be ordained an Elder and have a rough goal set for becoming an Eternal family.

March- Jon and I received our first callings since we went back to church. I was called to be a Relief Society teacher which has blessed me in so many ways. I learned so much through the calling and I loved every minute of it. Jon was called to be a Sunday school teacher for the youth. Even though his class is very small, often with only one young man that attends, Jon loves his calling. The mom of the young man has told me how much she appreciates and how much he looks up to Jon. It means the world to us!

April- One of the best months out of the whole year! My dad has struggled with his activity in the church for most of my life. He had not been to church in over ten years. With Jon preparing to receive the Melchizedek priesthood, my Dad had agreed to let us watch General Conference in his home. While we were watching he pulled Jon aside and said "I feel like this conference was written for me. I need to get my act together." Two weeks later Jon was ordained to the office of an Elder. A miracle that I cannot thank my Father in Heaven enough for occurred that day.... for the first time in over ten years my ENTIRE family attended church together. What an amazing feeling to look down the pew and see my two sisters, my nephews, and my parents. Jon's family came down from Roosevelt and his brother ordained him an Elder. I will NEVER forget that Sunday. One of the many reasons my husband is my hero.

May- The most amazing Birthday present and Mother's Day present I could ever ask for: watching my husband bless my two sons. We were not active when Gavin was born so he was never blessed in Sacrament meeting. To watch my husband bless my 3 year old and listen to the words of the blessing still brings tears to my eyes. Yet another moment I will NEVER forget.

June- We took our first official family vacation! We picked up Trevor and took all the kids to Jon's sister's house in Lincoln, NE. where we had a mini family reunion. Jon's mom and step dad came down from New York and we spent the week playing and catching up. It was so great for my kids to get to renew their relationships with their Grandparents.

July- Jon was able to step back from his Vacation Relief position at work and into a regular route. This meant a little less pay but meant much more time with his family. It was an amazing blessing.

August- We hit a little bump on our happy little road. The trial that we were faced with changed EVERYTHING... while it seemed at first like everything changed for the worse... we are beginning to see how Heavenly Father has his hand in all things. We've been able to grow closer to each other and to our Father in Heaven because of it. Always look for the silver lining I guess. We began taking Temple classes to prepare our family to become an eternal family.

September- Jon and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary!

October- Gavin turned 4! Jon hit "mud season" and we began using our money in savings to help cover the bills. Jon and I begin to work on tying up some loose ends in our marriage. What an amazing opportunity this has been for us. As I said earlier... through our struggles we are made stronger. We have been able to use our struggles to become closer to each other and even closer to our Heavenly Father.

November- Zoey turns 7! Jon tears his ACL while playing basketball at the church. We are DEVASTATED as he is the sole provider for our family. He receives a blessing from the Elders in which he is told that this is did not happen to teach him a lesson....that this will be an experience that will grow his testimony and faith. BOY WAS THAT AN ACCURATE STATEMENT! We continue to work on our relationship and do the things we know we are supposed to do (pay our tithing/read our scriptures/say our prayers)....... miracles begin to occur..... we get a card from one of Jon's dear family members with just enough money to help us cover our bills.

December- this month has been completely amazing. Again with the tears. On the 13th of December I was sitting in my living room flipping through the phone book looking for a number to follow up on a job interview I had a few days before. The house was very noisy so I grabbed my phone and stepped outside to make a call. I pretty much trip over a huge box filled to the brim with gift bags. Each bag was labeled with a number and a small poem. Every night we open a bag that has something to do with the 12 days of Christmas. There were also a few small gifts in the bottom of the bag for my kids as well as my husband and I. We felt amazingly blessed. A few nights later while attending a church meeting I was handed an "anonymous" Christmas card with a substantial amount of money inside. We again are amazed at the kindness and charity of the people we know and love. On Saturday I had an opportunity to serve along side the Young Women and Young Men of our ward. During a fireside our Bishop and previous Bishop shared amazing stories of how their lives have been touched by service. I could not hold back the tears. We have been so blessed this year by so many people. That night I came home and my husband and I decided that this week, the one before Christmas, we were going to dedicate each day to help someone any way that we could. We volunteered some of our time today to help at the Bishop's Storehouse that provides food to members of the church during times of need. When we came home we found a small envelope taped to our front door. Inside was a LARGE amount of cash with a small note telling us how much we are loved. Tears poured down our cheeks as we said a prayer of thanks. These amazing miracles that have happened over and over again make me view every person I know in a different light. My husband and I can guess or speculate over who did what... but we will never know for sure. And because of that I love everyone so much more and cannot wait for the opportunity to pay it forward and provide a miracle for someone next year.

I love you all and hope you know how much your kind words and support have helped us through the tough times. Jon is going back to work tomorrow (yay!) on light duty and we are going to make it. We always will.

Merry Christmas to you all!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

October and November

Holy Moly! It's time for another update! Geez. Where does the time go?

So things have been completely NUTSO in the Stanley household. Our life has been dumped upside down and inside out... but we're still hanging in there!

Jon has been going through a lot lately. We hit the start of "mud season" in the middle of October. We had stocked up our savings account and thought that we would be okay until things picked up after Thanksgiving. On November 2nd Jon went to his usual Tuesday night basketball game at the church. He called me at about 10pm and said that he had hurt his knee and couldn't walk. I have to admit I totally down played his injury when he called. I figured maybe he sprained it or twisted it and would be back to work in a few days. The next day he went to a sports injury specialist to find the extent of the damage.... almost immediately the doctor said he was 99% sure he had torn his ACL. A few days later they confirmed by MRI that Jon has completely obliterated his ACL. In order to repair it they would need to do surgery and this meant he would spend about 3 months out of work. MAJOR PANIC ATTACK! He is the SOLE provider for this family... I don't work at all. Not one penny comes into this house because of me. We do have short term disability insurance, however, it pays us 55% of his wages over the last 9 weeks (remember we were in mud season... the checks were not pretty), we still have to pay our insurance out of each check, and they still take out his 401k and stock plan. Not to mention we had to "eat" the first two weeks after the injury so we wouldn't receive any money at all for at least a month. YIKES!

Admission #2: Financial struggles make me come UNGLUED! I lose it. If we even seem to be low in funds I freak out. This frustrates the heck out of Jon and we normally end up getting into very heated arguments and one of us mad in the other room LOL. BUT this time has been different. Not a SINGLE argument about money. We knew that we had been doing everything we were supposed to be doing.... and that we couldn't do it alone... and our Heavenly Father has provided us with some AMAZING miracles. Everything is going to be okay.

Jon has been to two sessions of physical therapy and his PT has assured us that Jon can be walking without a limp in 1 to 2 weeks! This means he can be released to light duty and get back to work with a helper or running shuttles to Salt Lake. His PT is pretty much amazing. He came in on his day off to work with Jon, offered to work his lunch breaks so that Jon can get in 2 to 3 sessions in a week. That's so awesome to me! We're going to be working super hard to get Jon walking.

Zoey is doing amazing things every day. We are so incredibly proud of her. It completely blows me away that someone so small can have such an amazing testimony. Our ward had a primary program a few weeks ago and Zoey was asked to retell the story of the first vision in her own words. It took a little prompting (she didn't know that the story of Joseph Smith was called the first vision) but she was able to retell the story of the first vision in amazing detail. We've also started letting her take a turn reading verses in our family scripture study at night. Words that she would normally have a problem with she breezes through. We've talked a little to her about next year she will be ready to be baptized and we want her to know that she is making the right choice (her mom is not a member of the church and occasionally takes her to a different church). We encouraged her to pray to her Heavenly Father, just like Joseph Smith, to know that she is making the right choice. She told us that she already knew which church was the true church and that she wants to be baptized next year. We told her to keep praying anyway so that she knows for sure. We are so proud of her testimony!

Gavin is also blowing us away with his grasp of gospel principals. We have him sit on our lap during scripture study and have him repeat two or three words at a time to get through a verse. For the first time ever he has been able to tell us in his own words what we're reading. What a gift for a 4 year old to have! He still has his crazy little personality that makes us laugh every single day. The other day the kids had asked Jon if they could have a piece of candy. The kids came up eating a small piece of chocolate and Jon teased them "Hey! I said you could have candy not chocolate!" Smarty pants Zoey says "Chocolate IS candy". Jon teases them again and says "Chocolate isn't candy, it's a drug!" Without skipping a beat Gavin goes "Mmmmm! We like drugs!" LOL that took some explaining!

Tanner is getting so big! He is crawling over every inch of this house... and he's fast too! He can make it up the stairs almost as fast as the other kids. He is starting to eat like a giant. Yesterday for breakfast he ate a whole pancake by himself. Then for dinner he consumed FOUR jars of baby food. Tanner is so good at mimicking sounds. If someone says "Ow!" or "Hey!" or "What?" he makes the same sound almost immediately. It's pretty funny to watch. He loves music and pats his hands on his lap whenever you sing to him. I can't believe he will be 1 next month! Where did this year go?

Things have been pretty nutso for me as well. Having Jon home every day has been nice for the company but has completely killed my routine. All I want to do is lay in bed with him all day... my house is greatly suffering because of this. Before Jon even got hurt we decided I may need to head back to work. This feeling INTENSIFIED when he got hurt. I've had some really exciting opportunities present themselves. The one I am probably the most excited about is working as a dental assistant for Dr. Jolley's office. I've had one interview so far and waiting to hear back after the Thanksgiving holiday about the second and third. It seems to be a great office to worked for and I feel really good about it! We'll see how it turns out. In October I was released from my calling as a Relief Society teacher and asked to be a counselor in the Young Women's. It's been a lot of fun getting to know the girls and the other leaders as well. I was really scared to accept the calling at first but my husband reminded me of the amazing leaders I had growing up and their lasting effect on me. My life would not be the same without their amazing influence. I hope that I can have half the impact on these girls as my amazing leaders had on me.

Thanksgiving was just not the same this year. We always have dinner with my family at my mom and dad's. The night before Thanksgiving my dad had been having some dizzy spells. Three or four throughout the day but nothing that had kept him from going to work. That night he was walking into their living room and passed out. Luckily he didn't hurt himself when he fell. Now my dad is not exactly the picture of health. He's over 250 pounds, diabetic with high blood pressure. So when he passes out it sort of freaks us out a bit. Mom called the doctor and they advised her to take him to the ER. Everything seemed to check out okay.... blood sugar, heart rates, everything normal. The doctor still wanted to keep him overnight just to be sure. Because of this, Dad was stuck in the hospital while we were preparing Thanksgiving dinner. He called mom around noon to come get him but when she arrived they wanted to do more tests on dad which could take up to 2 to 3 more hours. They called us and demanded that we eat without them... it just wasn't the same. He came home as we were finishing our meal and seemed to be okay just a little tired. He will be on a heart monitor for the next 30 days and has been instructed to hit the record button whenever he has a dizzy spell. Scary stuff for us Johnson girls. We lost our Grandpa very suddenly in 1998 and now whenever someone tells us that "everything will be just fine" we can't help but second guess.

That about sums it up. I want to post some more about Jon's birthday present but my children are ripping apart my living room as I type.... I will post more hopefully today!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thankful for my life

I have so much that I want to blog about. The last month has been a whirl wind of craziness but I just want to take a quick second to write a message of gratitude.

I stumbled across a blog today of a family who lost their little girl over the summer. While they were vacationing, their little girl drowned in a swimming pool. The blog is a way for them to sort through their emotions and feelings and press forward with faith. They write little letters to their daughter who has passed about how much they miss her and what they're doing to help themselves heal. I couldn't get past the first post. I was a wreck and I have never even met these people. I cannot begin to imagine how terrifying and soul altering it would be to lose a child. I know that I could not be strong enough to go through what these amazing parents(and so many more who have lost their children) have gone through.

My life is so blessed. I have three amazing, beautiful, healthy children who are the light of my life. They make me laugh, smile, and I enjoy my life so much more because they are in it. They are selfless and give love to everyone so freely. They are innocent and compassionate without being judgemental. They are quick to forgive and are so understanding. They are loyal servants of their Father in Heaven and they were sent here to bless my life. They are everything I want to be. I am so proud of them, everyday they surprise me even more. Mommy loves you, Tanner, Gavin and Zoey. Thank you for making me want to be a better person.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

September update- Anniversary, Temple Date, Conference and more!

September has been a pretty busy month for us Stanley's! Jonathan and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary on the 24th. We are in "mud season" right now with his job and so we had to have a pretty low key Anniversary. It was still pretty wonderful! We made a picnic dinner and took it and the kids to Eagle Rim park. We played around and took a few pictures then went to the mall to get some much needed clothes for the two boys. Picnic dinner and shopping?! I loved every minute of it.

The next morning we met my Mom, Grandma Noorlander, and Jen and Kelly out at the Fruita Fall Festival and spent the day with them. It was a fun day. Jon and Zoey climbed the Army rock wall until they got scared and let go. Gavin tried too but didn't weigh enough to keep the rope from pulling him up the wall. It was so cute to see him try.

Then the kids rode the carousel and we looked at a few more booths and listened to some music in the shade. I went to my mom's house Saturday night and enjoyed the Relief Society General Broadcast with her. Can I just say that I love President Monson? His facial expressions and little jokes he cracked melted my heart! What great messages were shared at this meeting. I loved the story about the family who saved all their money and traveled for over 24hours for their family to be sealed in the temple. On the way home both of their small children passed away. What a HUGE test of faith. It made me want to be that much more faithful, especially while we prepare to attend the temple.

The kids are doing great!

Tanner Royce just turned 9 months and is officially crawling! He is in to EVERYTHING! He has also cut his 3rd tooth this week. We were having some major problems with him waking up 5-6 times a night until he spent the night with my sister. Ever since that night he has been sleeping through the night. Not sure HOW that happened but I'm cool with it! He can pull himself up onto the bottom stair and can side step along it pretty good. He loves to "talk" and is still such a happy baby. So far he can say "Da da, Ma ma ma, and Hi" I don't know if he is aware of what he is saying but they come out pretty clear. He also does this really cute thing when he wants something or wants you to pick him up. He will open and close his hand really fast. It looks like he's waving and it's pretty stinkin cute!

Gavin is about to turn 4! I can't believe it! He still loves music and dancing and as always loves to make us laugh. The other morning we were getting ready to head out with some family and he wanted us to come and dance to the radio. We went into his room and danced for a few minutes and when we left he goes "You're welcome for that awesome dance party!" LOL Yes, Gavin. It was an AWESOME dance party! Gavin wants to be a robot for Halloween and I'm soooo excited to make his costume. It's going to be SWEEEEEEEET!

Zoey is doing great in first grade! What a change from last year! She loves her teacher and is doing really great with her reading. We read 20-30 minutes a night before bed. She can pretty much handle all of our level 1 books and is starting to work on some level 2 books. She does get a little discouraged when she gets stuck on a word and occasionally will have a meltdown. But for the most part she's a great reader! We took her out last night and got her hair done and picked out a new dress for school pictures. She looked so cute this morning! I'll have to post a pic later today.

We had a great time watching conference this last weekend. I had read on a few LDS blogs some ideas on how to make conference more enjoyable with kids. We tried out one of these ideas and had a little success with Gavin. I took two large blankets and pinned them up to our ceiling in the living room to make a tent. We talked a little to Gavin about how a really long time ago people would pitch their tents to face the Prophet to hear him speak. He was more excited about the tent than listening to the significance but it was kind of fun. We got him to sit quietly through one session of conference with the help of doughnuts and toy cars.

We definitely learned a lot this weekend. Probably one of the biggest things that I walked away with was that I need to give up two of the shows that I watch pretty regularly. I've felt this way for awhile but I'm pretty much addicted to them. Sad, I know. We have just basic cable here at the house and so I'm pretty limited on entertainment choices throughout the day. Lifetime shows back to back episodes of Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy. So after this weekend I am determined to eliminate these shows from my house. They don't send a good message to me and I need to set the example to my children. Aslo, I learned that I need to spend much less time goofing off on Facebook and spend more time on my other priorities.

How lucky we are to have a modern day Prophet to help us keep ourselves in check! I love President Monson's facial expressions. I first noticed them at the Relief Society General broadcast but this weekend he made me giggle with them as well. His genuine tears melted my heart and undeniably brought the spirit into our living room.

Our original goal was to be able to attend the temple on our anniversary. We started taking temple classes and had the most amazing teachers. They taught us so much and brought such a sweet spirit every time they came into our home. We learned so much. As September 25th got closer we realized that we had a few more things to work on and we probably would not make our goal. It was really hard and disappointing to tell all of our friends and family that we weren't quite ready. BUT we have amazing people routing us on and encouraging us. We are so lucky to have so many people who love us.

These last few months have been a real struggle for us. I've always felt like Jon and I had a great relationship and that we could talk through anything. But these last two months have really been a test for us and our communication skills, which luckily I feel like we've passed. We are communicating better than ever and have been able to use these trials to grow closer to each other and to our Heavenly Father.

This is my promise to all of you who have been so great and supportive to us: YES we are still diligently working on making it to the temple. We're getting so close! We will be there... and soon I hope! Thank you for loving us!

That's pretty much it for now! I'll have to update more often so that my posts aren't so dang long!
Thanks for hanging in there!

Friday, September 10, 2010

(A More Real) Love Story

I love love love and this morning they posted this video to Facebook. Have to admit it made me tear up at the end. Still very funny and VERY true. Hope it makes you laugh like it did me.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Desiderata- a poem from my mom

A few years ago when I was going through a really hard time my mom wrote me a letter and inside the letter she attached this poem.

Whenever I get the sad feeling that I just can't kick and I feel down, I pull it out and read it again. I pulled it out this morning and made it into a page. Just thought I would share it with all of you. It's brought my lots of support over the last few years, maybe it can do the same for some of you.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Vacation Pictures

So I've been busy digitally scrapbooking some of the pictures from our vacation. I have found some AMAZING websites to get freebies from. I'll include links at the bottom of my post so that you can grab some too (if you're into that sort of thing.) I don't claim to be an artist.... and certainly not a scrapbooking guru so bare with my pages.

We left Grand Junction on Sunday afternoon and drove to Denver assuming it would be a good half way point to stop. It wasn't. Holy cow! Who knew that Colorado drug on for so long after Denver? I sure didn't. The kids were troopers. All of them, Tanner included, hung in there and did soooo great.

The second day of our trip we went to this cute little park that's called a "Sprayground", completely free. The city of Lincoln pays for the water to run it. It was PERFECT for our kids! They're still young and none of them know how to swim so a playground set inside sprinklers was a great way for them to cool off. I vote for Grand Junction to get one of these.

So I just now realized that I made another page with the same background... oops. Oh well. Sorry for boredom here, I'm still new at this! These are just a few pics from the most epic water fight I have ever seen. What started with Jon picking on the kids and Frank trying to save the day, soon turned into everyone vs. Frank. The kids had a great time and so did Jon and Frank. Notice you will find no pictures of myself, Kami, or Diana. (We strategically equipped ourselves with cameras so we wouldn't get wet.)

MORE PAGES TO COME SOON.... as soon as I whip them out.
If you like some of the stuff I have, I found some great places for freebies! Check them out below and show them some love!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Playing a little catch up

Okay so it's been a really long time since I've blogged.... again. It seems like I always sit down to do it and then something pops up and I don't think about it again for a really long time and then I have too much to type in just a few minutes so I don't.

Lots and lots of stuff happening in the Stanley family household! We took our first official family vacation in June and had such a great time! Jon has been on the advisory council for his work for the last year and June 12th they held an end of year banquet in Heber City, Utah. They put us up in this ADORABLE little condo with a fireplace and kitchen and a cut little package of homemade fudge. I loved it! It rained all weekend so we weren't able to catch a round of golf like we were hoping but we still enjoyed the time to ourselves, even though we were quick to head back to the kids.

On the way back to Junction we stopped in Roosevelt and picked up Jon's son Trevor so that we could take him with us on our trip. Sunday afternoon we loaded up the van and headed off towards Lincoln, Nebraska to see Jon's sister, Kami. This was quite the exciting adventure because I have never been East of Denver. Seriously. I always expected that Colorado stopped on the outskirts of Denver..... it doesn't.... it goes on FOR-EV-ER. Anyway, we stayed overnight in Denver on Sunday then headed the rest of the way into Lincoln on Monday morning. We got in around 3pm and were happy to see Kami, her son Thomas, daughter Jazmine (whom we had not yet met!) and her boyfriend, Milton. Not only did we get to see Jon's sister, but his mom and step dad drove down from New York as well. We hadn't seen them since Gavin was about Tanner's age. It was soooo good to see them all again.
We spent the next few days visitng the children's museum, sprayground, the Omaha Zoo, and Mahoney state park. Not to mention lots and lots of time visiting with family and catching up. I plan to scrapbook the pictures soon and will post them as soon as I manage to find a cute enough page for it.

After our awesome vacation we came home to recuperate for awhile. Jon had to work on the 4th of July (seems like he's missed it the last 3 years or so) but luckily the city of Fruita puts on a show on the 3rd, so we were able to get some time together. I saw these adorable Captain America t-shirts on a blog and insisted on making them for my boys. My sister and I spent ALL DAY LONG on the 3rd making shirts to wear for that night. When I say ALL DAY LONG.... I really mean it. She got to my house at 8am. We went to the store to get supplies then came back to finish them.... 9 hours. Not even exaggerating.... 9 hours to make the stupid shirts. They ended up looking fabulous, but I can easily say I will most likely never do that again. The 4th of July, after Jon had gone to work, I went up with my sister and her hubby and kids to Delta to watch the fireworks they set off around a little lake up there. It was sooo cool, puts the dinky ones they set off in Fruita to shame. I made a scrap booking page with some of the pictures-

1. Do not mock my photoshop abilities.... twas my first attempt and a sad one at that.....

2. I don't really like pictures of fireworks. They never come out as pretty as the actual firework and I get a little disappointed.....

So here's what has been going on with each of us so far this summer:

JON: A lot has been going on with Jon's work lately. A few months ago we played with the idea of Jon switching companies. He was offered a position with a similar company that would pay him just about the same, but he would have a 4 day work week and would be home every Saturday and Sunday. This sounded like a dream to us, but the more we prayed about it, the more we felt like something wasn't right. So Jon decided to stick it out with Sysco. He was able to approach his local manager as well as the director of transportation (his manager's manager) and say that he really needed to resign from the vacation relief position. They were willing to let him do this with no problems! So starting this week Jon is no longer a vacation relief driver, he has a local route and will be home EVERY night. No more traveling (other than for his advisory council and leadership training) I think he's a little nervous to step back from this position, it may feel like they don't need him as bad now, but I really feel like it's a good move for us. The director of transportation also mentioned that as soon as a manager's position opens (wherever it may be) they are most likely going to offer it to Jon. This may mean that we have to leave Grand Junction for the Salt Lake Valley. I don't know how I feel about it.... let's cross that bridge when we get there I suppose.
Zoey: Zoey has been through a lot this summer. She suffered her first big loss on Father's Day this year, her great grandma passed away. She was very close to her and was heartbroken when we told her, but it gave us an opportunity to explain our beliefs to her and that she will see her again someday. Her schedule has changed a little bit and she spends the weekdays with her mom and the weekends with us. With some minor exceptions of course. She's staying busy reading and is really excited to be a first grader!! She started swim lessons tonight and did such a great job listening to her teacher and being brave.
Gavin: This little boy is trying to stay busy and not drive his mom crazy! He loves his sister so much and when she's with her mom he goes nuts. He begs me to go get her every chance he can and when I tell him that she needs to spend time with her mom he sobs "BUT I MISS HER!" It really is one of the saddest things ever. We started a marble jar with both of our kids this past month. For every time they do something great they get to put a marble in their jar. Anytime they do something naughty they get one taken away. Once they get to 10 marbles they get a special treat from the store. This has been working so great with Gav. He is so afraid of losing a marble that he straightens up right away and has been trying really hard to be a good boy to earn those marbles. He also had his first swim lesson tonight, got right in and didn't even cry! He's so brave!
Tanner: Little man is already almost 7 months old. It's going by way too fast. He's eating rice cereal, squash, green beans, peas, carrots, and sweet potatoes. He is such a good eater! Just this week he's started sitting up pretty much on his own. At his last doctor's appointment he weight 17 lbs and is in the 95th percentile for height. He's gonna be a tall boy!!!
I wish I had more to write about me. There's really not much going on in my life. My Grandma is moving back to Grand Junction at the end of the week and I'm really excited to have her back. I'm sure she'll help me fill up my time with a few more exciting details.
As a family we are getting super close to being sealed for time and all eternity. We met with the bishop on Sunday and have set a tentative date for September 24th (maybe 25th) of this year!!! That will be our 5 year anniversary. We are so excited and can't wait to be able to post more details. We love you all and hope you're all well!
-The Stanleys

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Moral of the Story

ha ha I just took in the biggest breath and let it out really slowly, like I was getting ready to do something that required a lot of breath. Sometimes I get a little dramatic and have to stop myself and say "Is it really that bad?"

Sometimes I really feel like the closer I get to my Father in Heaven, the harder the adversary works on me. Over the last 6 months we have worked really hard at getting our testimonies strong and have started doing the things we need to in order to enter into the Temple. Jon was ordained to the office of an Elder at Stake Conference and last Sunday was able to bless both of our children. It was such an amazing experience. I cannot even think of words that could begin to describe the feeling I had as he laid his hands upon their heads and let the spirit take over. Speechless.... and that does not happen often for me.

This weekend was not so easy for me. It's not even like something happened that set me over the top emotionally. There was no straw that broke the camel's back or a big argument that pushed me over the edge. I'm just emotional this weekend. Jon left to Roosevelt last night to see his dad and ordain him to the office of a Priest (pretty cool if you ask me how Jon has had such an amazing impact on his family and mine.) I had agreed to watch my sister's children for their anniversary and couldn't go with him. So as he left last night, a huge wave of emotion hit me. It didn't help that he called me from the road to inform me that he got a speeding ticket - a quite expensive one I might add. I went to bed last night totally drained emotionally with NO intention of waking up early to go to church. But at 4:30am when Tanner woke up to eat, I had a change of heart. I knew that I needed to be at church today, that when I feel like I'm struggling that's when I need to be there the most.

So I got up and got myself and the two boys ready for church. Amazingly enough I made it there on time. I get us all situated and ready to absorb the things that I needed to hear.... and Gavin has to go potty. I get the baby out of his car seat and take Gavin to the potty. Get back into my seat just as they finish the opening hymn. After the opening prayer Gavin decides that he needs his cup of juice but is unable to get any juice out of it because he has bit the mouthpiece and clamped it shut. So he violently shakes his cup of fruit punch in an effort to free the juice from the cup. After arguing with him about the juice for a good 5 minutes he is finally distracted and gives up the cup. THANK YOU! I made it though the passing of the sacrament and part way into the first talk when Gavin decides he needs to go to the bathroom again. I say "You just went potty" and he announces quite loudly that he doesn't need to potty... he needs to "GO POOP!" Oy! Tanner was fast asleep in his seat and I was not about to wake him up. Thankfully, one of the great sisters in my ward offered to keep an eye on Tanner while I took Gavin out. We get to the bathroom and Gavin sits down and immediately says "I'm done!" I tell him that he has no more trips to the potty so if he needs to go he better do it now. He insists that he doesn't need to go now and we head back to the chapel. He asks if he can color so I set him up with the tin of crayons and a coloring book. Whose brilliant idea was it to put the crayons in a tin??? Oh yeah... mine. "SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE" he cannot be any louder with the stupid crayon tin. I finally get him quieted down with the crayons and we've got about 10 minutes left in Sacrament when he announces yet again that he has to "GO POOP!" I need to teach him to whisper. Seriously. I try to get him to wait the remaining ten minutes but he begins to scream... so out we go again... again ditching Tanner with the sister sitting behind us. You can imagine the scene in the bathroom again... gets in there.... pants down... and magically he doesn't have to go anymore. OY! Get back to the chapel in the middle of the closing hymn.

Finally I get him dropped off in primary and I'm sooo looking forward to being able to sit in Sunday school and Relief Society ready to hear the great message that they had prepared JUST for me. As I sat in Sunday school I could not focus. Tanner got a little fussy so I had to excuse myself long enough to get him a bottle. Normally I would feed him in the hallway but I was so intent on feeling the spirit and getting SOMETHING out of my meeting that I fed him in class. With about 15 minutes left in Sunday school the door opens and here comes the Sunbeam teacher carrying my little Gavin. "He said he doesn't feel good." I just smiled at her and took Gavin. He sat in the chair next to me and started commenting on the basketball hoop on the ceiling and wanted to know where his toy was and then he says "I missed you, can I go back to my class now?" Knowing that it was going to be a lot of back and forth I loaded up the boys and went out into the hallway. I asked Gavin if he was ready to go back to class and he insisted that he was sick and needed to go home.

I cried the entire way to the car. WHY did I even come to church today??? What was so important for me to learn... did I miss it? Was I too wrapped up in keeping my kid quiet that I missed the thing that I needed to hear today?? I went home feeling so discouraged and frustrated, fed Gavin lunch and sent him to bed. Tanner was sleeping peacefully so I took a few minutes to myself and cried. Sometimes crying can be so cleansing. I cried for a solid 10 minutes as I pleaded with my Heavenly Father to teach me something from this. I hopped online not really feeling any better and checked an old friend's blog.

In her blog she expressed how much she appreciated how the spirit can speak to us in different ways, specifically through music. In the past she has described her challenges in raising a son who battles with Autism. While it may not always be easy for her, she always smiles and has such a positive outlook on life. It really made me realize that I have taken so much for granted. All of the times where I had my husband beside me to help with noisy fighting kids and a crying baby. All of the times that my children have played quietly instead of causing a scene. All of the times that my kids have crawled into my lap and told me that they love me.

In all things there is a balance. We need the hard times to make the good times so much sweeter. We need the horrible Sunday's where we battle with out children to appreciate the ones where they sit quietly and come home excited to tell you what they learned about in primary. I love my kids. I love my husband. I love my friends who inspire me when they don't even realize it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Flirty Aprons GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Flirty Aprons GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Ward Conference, 53 tiny wooden letters, and projectile vomit

What a crazy few days it has been in the Stanley household!

First of all, I spent all morning finishing up my Daisy Girl Scouts "self-esteem picture frames" from our last meeting two weeks ago. I know, nothing like waiting until the last minute. That's how I roll. My Daisy scouts are currently working on their Respect Myself and Others petal. We spent a lot of time talking about self-esteem and how it's okay to say nice things about yourself. So at our last meeting I had the girls paint some picture frames and tell me some things that they like about themselves. I took those nice things that they said and hand wrote them around the picture frames. I took their pictures and put them into the frames. I had gone to Michael's and found these little wooden letters that I thought would be a GREAT addition to the girls frames. So I spent ALL morning long, hand painting 53 tiny wooden letters (to spell each girls name) and then hot gluing them to the frames. The frames look adorable, I just wish that the girls names weren't so long.... I have 3 different Makenzie's in my troop... and they all spell their names differently. They deserve it though. I love my Daisy scouts!

Last Sunday the bishop asked to meet me with and Jon on Tuesday night. When we showed up, he was not able to make the appointment but we met with one of his counselors. He asked me if I would be willing to speak in church on Sunday. Normally I would be okay with speaking in church, but this particular Sunday was Ward Conference.... and the topic that I was given to speak on is one that's pretty embarrassing for me. Jon and I had struggled with our activity in the church since we have been married and recently became more active in our ward. So I was asked to speak on Reactivation. It was really humbling to me to not only share my own reactivation experience but also talk about why it's important to be diligent in our visiting teaching and home teaching. I shared a lot from my heart and cried like a baby through most of my talk. After church I had a lot of people come up to me and tell me that they had enjoyed my talk but I had two members whose comments really gave me a lot of hope for my family. One sister told me that she had been inactive for a very long time and that she didn't feel like she had the strength or even desire to come back to the church, and now she serves in the Stake Relief Society. Another brother told me that he was inactive for over 40 years and that coming back to church was the best thing that ever happened to him. These two stories gave me so much hope. My dad has struggled with his testimony since I was young. And while he was going to try to make it to church on Sunday to see me speak, he got really sick and wasn't able to make it. I got really discouraged before I was supposed to speak because I had prayed so hard that he would make it. But now I have faith that someday, he'll be back. And I really feel like Jon and I will set an example for the rest of my family members who have not been active themselves.

Another exciting part of Ward conference was that Jon and I were given callings. Jon has been called to be a Sunday school teacher for the 16-17 year olds. He is sooo excited! I know that it will be a challenge, only two active kids in that class, but Jon will be great at it. I was called to be a Relief Society Teacher. I'm pretty excited myself! I get to teach on the 4th Sunday, which means I get to teach on topics out of the Ensign rather than out of the Gospel Principals manual (nothing against the manual, I just think the topics are a little dry sometimes.)

Even more exciting that me speaking in church and our new callings is..... Jon has been found worthy to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood!!!!! I am sooo proud of him! He will be ordained at Stake Conference which is April 11th. His brother will be coming down from Roosevelt to ordain him as well as some of his really good friends. One step closer to becoming an Eternal family! The bishop told Jonathan "I don't think you realize how close you guys are." WOW!!! SOOOOO EXCITING!!!

Not to take away from the seriousness of the above topics... but Sunday was also one of the most humiliating experiences of my entire life. Almost as humiliating as running down North Avenue dressed as a giant slice of pizza to avoid being tackled by a pack of teenage boys (I'll share this story some other time.) So my mom came to see me speak in Ward conference on Sunday and stayed with me through Sunday school and Relief Society. Sunday school ran a little over so by the time we made it into Relief Society the only open seats that would accommodate Tanner's car seat were right up front. Seated directly behind me was the Stake President and his wife. I made it through most of Relief Society with Tanner sleeping peacefully. All of a sudden Tanner began to get fussy... and not his normal fussy... angry and loud fussy. So I grabbed him and the diaper bag and ran out to make a quick bottle. I fed Tanner the first half of his bottle in the hallway and then tried to get him to burp. I patted his back for about 5 minutes and no burps. I figured he was good and so I walked back into Relief Society and took my seat. I put Tanner across my lap and let him continue to eat from his bottle. This was all good for about a minute and a half and all of a sudden... one massive burp... and an eruption of vomit. Seriously... the most puke I have ever seen come out of a child. Everybody got really quiet, the teacher even stopped mid-sentence with her mouth wide open, and all I could say was "I'm sooo sorry." I thought for a moment that he had managed to spew so far that he hit her. I think he managed to get a good two and a half feet in front of him. Luckily he hadn't managed to hit the teacher. I quickly grabbed Tanner and took off into the bathroom. His entire face, my entire front side, and the diaper bag were soaked in spit up. The Stake President's wife followed me into the bathroom to help me get cleaned up. I was completely humiliated but so grateful that she is such a nice lady. All I could do is laugh. And luckily it happened in Relief Society where almost every other mother had been in a similar situation.
Here's to hoping for a little less eventful week!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Families can be together forever!

Time to update the family blog! So much to blog about right now! We just got back from a quick trip down to St. George, Utah. My step grandpa, Jim, has been ill for awhile now and finally lost his battle with cancer last week. Jim had been sick for quite some time and my Grandma had been struggling to take care of him and herself for the last few years. We were sad to see Jim go, but know that its all for the best and that he's in a much better place where he no longer has to suffer in pain.

On a lighter note, it was great to be able to see my family that I don't get to see that often. My Grandma and Jim moved from Grand Junction about 6 or 7 years ago and our visits have been few and far between since then. It was so nice to sit and visit with my Grandma and see my Uncle and Aunt and cousins. We also had a chance to stop by the St. George Temple before we left which was so great and set the mood for a peaceful and safe drive home.

Besides that quick trip to St. George we've been in and out of town with Jon's work. Everywhere from Moab to Price to Salt Lake. It's been a busy few weeks. We're glad to finally be home for a while.
I went back to work at the very end of January, just working one day a week to get me out of the house and give my co-worker a break. Even though it was only one day a week, it was still hard to pull myself away from the kids and still manage to get everything else done. That's why it came as a major blessing when Dr. Adams called me and said he had hired an employee whose hours of availability was more fitting for his office. I knew when I left for maternity leave that he was looking for a 3rd employee and that my time in the office was limited. Like I said, it came at the perfect time and it was nice to walk away with both of us feeling happy about the choice. LOL. So now I get to do what I love to do best, be at home with my kids! I couldn't be happier!

Zoey just finished up her cookie sales for Girl Scouts and we are sooo proud of her! She set a personal goal to sell 150 boxes of cookies. She went out and sold 247 boxes! Almost 100 boxes over her goal. The whole troop did an amazing job and we reached out troop goal to be able to go and do a few fun activities around the valley. Not only did Zoey do such a great job on reaching her goal, she outsold every other girl in our troop. She was the top seller! Way to go, Zoey! She's really doing a great job at Girl Scouts and has earned the center of her daisy and 3 petals! We are so proud of her.

Gavin is doing as great as ever. Everyday he finds a new way to make us all smile or laugh. Most recently he's started singing just about every song that he hears on the radio. My personal favorite is his interpretation of Lady Ga Ga's poker face. I'm going to have to get a video of him singing this song. It's impossible to not smile. What makes his singing even MORE entertaining is that he'll often change the words to the song based on what he hears. For instance, I was playing the song Funky Town the other day. The real lyrics are "Wont you take me to, Funky Town" Gavin's rendition is a little more hilarious "Won't you take me to Pumpkin town..." or just this morning as I was taking Zoey to school an old favorite from Tom Petty- Free Falling. Gavin's rendition "Now it's a Green, Green Forrest." LOL like I said, it's hard not to smile when he's around.

Tanner is getting so big so fast! It's hard to believe that he's already two months old. At his last appointment he weighed in at 9lbs 6oz. He's lost the newborn look and is starting to get chunky little cheeks. Jon and I love to try to get him to smile. There have only been a few instances when we can guarantee that he's smiling at us and not just because he's "cutting muffins" as we like to say. But still, even if he is just smiling at me because he's got a little gas, I'll take that any day!

Probably the most exciting news is that in visiting with our Bishop about getting Tanner blessed, we were able to set a firm goal for Jonathan to be ordained an Elder and also for our family to be sealed in the Temple. We are so excited and have begun working hard to be able to reach this goal soon. Last Sunday, our Bishop told Jon that he sees our family going to the Temple before the year is over!!! I wanted to cry when Jon told me that. We have been working so hard this year and I cannot wait to see our hard work pay off. Thank you to all of you who have been such a driving force for us and setting such a wonderful example for us to follow. We love you all and can't wait to have you there with us when we become an eternal family! YAY!!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

A New Year and New Beginnings

2010.... can you believe it? I remember when I was in Elementary school talking about the year 2000 and thinking that it seemed so far away and that it would never be here, now here we are in 2010. Holy cow.
We hope that everyone had an absolutely awesome Christmas/New Years. Ours was great and full of lots of exciting news! We spent Christmas here in Grand Junction with my family. Jon was able to get Trevor for a few days during their Winter break. It was a lot of fun, kind of stressful on the kids and the parents but we all had a great time and we're happy that he had a chance to visit with us! We spent Christmas Eve at my sister Jenny's house. The kids had fun playing together and looked sooo cute in their Christmas pj's. (Sort of a Johnson family tradition we've started)

This year for Christmas, Jon and I did something a little different. Instead of buying eachother presents we decided to buy one present for the whole family. I was cruising Craigslist and found an ad for a 1 year old Dachshund who needed a good home. So our Christmas present this year was one of the newest members of our family, Odie. He's such a good boy! He's protective of our family and sometimes gets a little anxious when he meets new people, but he's such a good addition to our family. The kids LOVE him!

Christmas day was great, we spent the day relaxing at my mom and dad's snacking on good food and enjoying their HUGE new tv. I had braxton hicks contractions all morning but they went away that evening. The next day, the contractions started again, but went away later in the afternoon. This kept happening on and off for the week until Wednesday morning.

Jon had gone to work at 2:30 that morning and I had the bed to myself. I woke up about 5:45 and felt like maybe I needed to use the bathroom... all of a sudden I realized..."OH MY GOSH, MY WATER JUST BROKE." No warning whatsoever... no contractions or pains... just....water....and blood. TMI?? I grabbed my phone and quickly called Jon. Thank goodness he was working in town that day and was able to call his boss and get to me quickly. We made it to Saint Mary's around 6:30am. By this time I was having contractions about 2 minutes apart. They got me all situated in a room and checked to see how I was progressing. The nurse was really great, the same nurse who delivered Gavin. Turns out we're kind of related. Her dad is my dad's cousin?? I think. Anyway, she was really great. By 7:00 I was dialated to 4cm. They called my midwife and started an IV. This time around I had much more freedom than my delivery with Gavin. I was able to sit in the hot tub for awhile as I waited for Anita. She showed up around 9:00am and checked me again. Wow... I was up to 8cm. At 9:39 Anita told me to start pushing and at 9:43 our little boy was born!

Tanner Royce Stanley was born 12/30/09 at 9:43am. 7 pounds 4.7 ounces and 20in long. He's such a sweet spirit, you can just feel the love he has when you hold him. We were able to come home from the hospital the very next night. It took us a few days, but he's starting to get on a schedule and sleeping for 3-4 hours at a time throughout the night. We're so lucky!
Jon had to go to work the very next morning due to some scheduling mix ups which was kind of a bummer, but it was better that he had to be there when I was in the hospital than at home by myself. It's going to take some time to get used to the fact that we have 3 kids now. We learned really quick that we needed a bigger vehicle. Jon went out on New Year's day and found us a 2000 Dodge Durango that has 3 rows of seating. It's nice to be able to fit comfortably and safely into the car now.
So we've had a great start to the New Year and can't wait for all the exciting adventures and challenges that 2010 may send our way. Happy New Year!

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