Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

When a year begins, you never anticipate what you'll go through.  I think 2011 has been a great year, but I'm excited to have a fresh start.  I feel like 2012 will be a good year.  I've learned many things throughout this past year:
  • My children are the most frustrating, but most rewarding thing in my life
  • Death is bittersweet - wonderful for those who've moved on, but sad for those left behind
  • Refinancing your home doesn't mean you're bad with money - it means you want to have more of it
  • Mr Clean Magic Erasers are one of the best things ever invented
  • 10 years of marriage doesn't seem long when you're in love
  • Nothing is more important than family
  • Teaching - there truly is no greater call
  • A clean house is impossible with two small children and 12-hour work days

I look forward to the experiences that 2012 will bring and I hope that I'll escape yet another year with my sanity.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Temple Square (A Little Late)

I wanted to go see the lights up at Temple Square so badly, but December is a very difficult month.  It's hard enough with Christmas, but when you add a death and 3 birthday parties, it's nearly impossible.  Fortunately, Mother Nature was kind to us this winter and the highs have stayed in the 40s even this late in the year.  It made for an enjoyable visit to see the lights.  We didn't spend a lot of time there, but Kyson and Kodi just loved looking around and seeing so many colors all around them.  On Main Street, they had a beautiful nativity set up with Joseph, Mary, and Jesus in the middle of the water floating.  The entire display was right in front of the temple and simply gorgeous.  Not only was it beautiful, and inspiring, but it gave us a chance to be together.  I'm so grateful for the time that those workers must put in to make the Temple Grounds so wonderful at Christmas time.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

We Love you Grandpa

Joseph William Gunn
December 17, 1918 - December 17, 2011

A few years ago, my grand- father's health started fading when he tripped and broke his back.  Since that time he has been in a few different care facilities and taken care of day and night.  Even during the past few years when he hasn't been feeling well, he'd kept that sense of humor that no one understands, and adored his great-grandchildren.  A short time ago, he started having problems with his gallbladder and needed it removed, but because of his age and weak health, the surgery would kill him.  He was told he'd get a secondary infection and that infection would kill him, and was placed on Hospice.  On Thursday, the 15, my sister called me to tell me that it wasn't looking good.  I spent all my available time with him from that day until he passed away 2 days later. On Saturday, December 17, there was a birthday party planned for him.  He passed away about a half hour before his birthday party.

His funeral was beautiful.  I learned a lot of things about him, but the thing that stuck out t me most was his participation in World War II.  I knew he was in WWII, and I knew he was in the Air Force in England.  That was all I knew.  I learned a lot more.  After hearing his stories, I decided he followed the rule of 4.  When my grandpa returned from his mission, he married my grandmother on Dec 3, 1941, 4 days before Pearl Harbor was attacked.  He was married for 4 months when he left for England to be a bomber pilot in the War.  He was away for 4 years fighting in the War, and didn't see my grandmother at all during that time.  What a marvelous love they had for one another to endure such hardships.  His Battalion had a little over 150 people in it, but only 30-something returned home alive.  Apparently, once a pilot did 25 missions, he wouldn't do any more.  The reason was many didn't survive that many.  My grandfather did more than 25 missions and lived to tell his stories.

At the burial site, he had a bagpipe player and the full 21-gun salute for military honors.  As the bagpipe player walked in front of the casket to lead it to its burial plot, the granddaughters were all together in the corner, silently sobbing at the loss of such a wonderful man.  He then played "Amazing Grace," and walked away.  We listened and cried as the music faded.  My grandfather was a good person who truly loved and cared about everyone he knew.  His legacy will not be forgotten, and I'm grateful and honored to be a part of it.

Joseph W. Gunn 

1918 ~ 2011

Our beloved husband, brother, grandfather, and great-grandfather, Joseph William Gunn, at age 93, passed away on December 17, 2011 after a long and prosperous life.
He was born December 17, 1918 in South Salt Lake, the first of five children of Roy and Mary Ellen Gunn. He enjoyed reading, traveling, singing, and spending time with his family. He attended Granite High School and later the University of Utah, earning his Bachelor degree in education. He taught school in a range of grade levels, from 4th through 9th in Davis School District. He started a commercial garbage company in high school called Utah Waste Paper. He was a member of the Sons of Pioneers. He served for four years during World War II in the 305th Bombardment Group of the 8th Air Force.
Joseph married Carrol Marinda Bringhurst, December 3, 1941 in the Salt Lake Temple, after returning from his first mission. They were a couple for 70 years. He served four LDS church missions, and served in many positions within the church. He was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints his entire life.
Joseph is survived by his four children: Dennis (Gretchen) Gunn, Carrolyn (William) Tinsch, Lynda Lee (Kent) Andersen, and Jolene (Scott) Pruyt, Italian foreign exchange son Guido Ramazio, sister Helen Layton, and brother Raymond Gunn. He is survived also by eleven grandchildren and nineteen great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Carrol; parents; brother Hyrum Gunn and sister Barbara Cook; two still born children and grandson Jason Tinsch. 
Joseph has experienced many things and visited many countries throughout the world making many friends. He had a unique sense of humor that was felt by many. He never spoke ill of anyone and maintained a positive attitude about everything. He enriched many lives as a teacher, a friend, an acquaintance, and as a confidant. He will be deeply missed.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, December 27, 2011 at11:00 a.m. at the Ensign Peak Ward Chapel, 125 E. North Sandrun Road. Friends and family may call Monday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Wasatch Lawn Mortuary, 3401 South Highland Drive and Tuesday 10:00 to 10:45 a.m. at the church prior to services. Interment: Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


This is the first year that Kyson has complete- ly and totally, 100% under- stood the whole concept of Santa and presents and "you have to be good for Santa to come."    It's been a lot of fun to talk about Santa so much - Kyson's been talking about him since October.  Well this year, Santa didn't disappoint.  Christmas morning we came downstairs to see what was under the tree, but I went first so I could video tape their reaction.  The big present they got was a battery-operated Jeep.  When they came down and started admiring what they had, Kyson had to pause for a moment and pose for the camera - he's such a ham!

After initial reactions, we opened all the presents, but Kodi didn't want to open her presents.  She wouldn't get out of the Jeep.  I ended up opening a  lot of her presents for her while she sat in the car.  It's funny how a two-year-old girl doesn't like dolls.  She likes cars and wrestling.  We got a lot of fun things from Santa, and some practical things as well.  Then came cinnamon rolls.

We decided to start a tradition of eating cinnamon rolls in the morning so I don't have to make a big breakfast to hold us all over.  Apparently everyone does that too because a couple of days before Christmas, I went to buy some, and all of the quick ones were gone.  I had to make the long version of them starting the night before - but it was worth it - they were delicious!

After the presents and cinnamon rolls, we went to church.  The kids were getting restless because the 1 hour meeting that it was supposed to be turned into an hour and 45 minutes.  It was a great program, just way too long for a holiday when people had things to do and places to be.  I figures - it's Christmas and the day of the Lord's birth.  We can sacrifice an extra hour of church for Him.

Before the day was out, Kyson was very anxious to drive his new Jeep around and Kodi was the perfect date.  She sat quietly in the passenger side, and never attempted to be a backseat driver, even though he was giving her whiplash and seemed drunk.  His maiden voyage was a trip around the block.  He ran into two fences, the garage, a car, and ran off the sidewalk many times.  I understand he's only 4, but isn't some driving ability innate?  Thankfully, he didn't total his Jeep on the first day and I hope he'll want to play with it for many days to come.

Another hit present was the Aqua Doodle.  Jen, Bill and Josh came over later that evening to see what the kids got and this particular present they liked so much that Jen and Bill filled the entire thing with their drawings.  It was so funny.  I kept coming back every so often and taking a picture of their progress.  I only included the last picture, but it was so cute to see them drawing on the floor like little kids.  I guess Christmas brings out the child in all of us.

Kyson's Christmas (the Jeep was for both of them)
Kodi's Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

So much has happened just before Christmas this year.  My grand- father passed away on Dec 17, my mom had a hip replacement on Dec. 20, and we're all just running around trying to get Christmas ready.  Because my mom had surgery so close to Christmas, we thought we'd have to bring the party her - in her bedroom.  Amazingly enough, by Christmas Eve she was walking, doing stairs, and even driving.  I couldn't believe the progress she had made in only 4 days.  We still took the party to her by going to my parents house for some Christmas Eve festivities.  We ate some food, chatted a bunch, played around, and then we did presents.

Normally presents for my mom is a big deal, but my father is retiring this year and she said she had to "scale back."  Her generosity was still amazing, and we didn't even notice a decrease in anything.  It's always so fun to sit together int he family room, open presents, and laugh.  It takes me back to my childhood where we had Christmas in the same room and we still opened presents and laughed together.  The most precious gift that we received from my parents was a statue of an iguana.  in March of 2009, our sweet iguana, Komodo, passed away of old age and I can honestly say, we think about her regularly.  That statue looked just like Komodo and even Kyson recognized her right away.  Kodi was the funniest because she never got to meet Komodo, but immediately she latched onto the statue and loved it.  Maybe they met in passing or something.

I love Christmas time.  While I'm not too keen on the work required to put up and take down decorations, I love what Christmas represents.  Not only is it to celebrate the birth of our Savior, but to enjoy the wonderful gifts we have in this life - each other.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Preschool Christmas Program

This is the first year that Kyson has been in a Christmas program.  I was so excited about it, I took the day off of work to be there.  It was adorable.  Kris and I got there extra early to get a good seat and I brought my flip digital recorder as well as our regular camera, but when I tried to film, the batteries were dead on my flip camera.  I was sad, but I recorded a couple of songs from the program.  

The whole thing was adorable!  The kids came out with little reindeer face things, and sang a whole bunch of songs.  There were two parts that stuck out to me, because of Kyson's idiosyncrasies.  The first was when they sang "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."  Everyone knows the little things that people yell out between the lines, but Kyson decided to do a little improv.   There is on line in the song that says, "Then on foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say..."  Many people yell out "Ho, ho ho" at this point, but Kyson decided to yell out "Trick-or-Treat!"  Not everyone heard, but Kris and I recognized Kyson's voice immediately, and busted up laughing, along with the front row that was sitting in front of him.  I love the innocence of little kids.  They don't try to be funny- they just are.

The second highlight of the program was when they did a number with bells.  I was shocked that they would be so ambitious to have 4-year-olds do a bell song, but they did a really good job.  Kyson had a pretty big part in one of the songs and he was getting so into it.  About half way through the song, rather than quietly ringing his bell, he was so involved he was grunting with each ring of his bell.  I was fortunate enough to get that one on video and it still makes me smile.

It is so obvious that the teachers at his school have worked so hard to make these programs to help these kids feel successful, not be shy, and of course to please the parents.  I was thoroughly pleased and look forward to their program at the end of the school-year.

Kyson and his teacher, Miss Amber

Kyson with his good friend, Sadie

Monday, December 12, 2011

Night Lights

Every year we try to see the lights downtown at Christmas.  Some- times it works out, sometimes it doesn't.  We planned a night of lights, but it wasn't exactly how I had planned it in my head.  We went to Thanksgiving Point instead of the temple grounds and it was beautiful.  We went with Kris's brother and parents.  The line to get in to their Christmas light extravaganza was backed up at least a mile.  Fortunately, it went very fast, unfortunately, we decided to pile into Rusty and Amy's 12-passenger van and Kodi cried non-stop for a good 45 minutes.  It wasn't until I pulled out the camera and showed her pictures that she calmed down.  Once we started driving through the lights, it was cool.  They did a lot of work, that's for sure.  It's impressive what can be done with lights.

After the lights, we decided to go to Arctic Circle and play in the playland and get some icecream.  Before seeing the lights, the kids played in the Carl's Jr playland for a while.  I think this is the kind of night kids love: playlands and fries, Christmas lights, and playland and icecream.  All the kids were so cute together.  I'm so grateful Kyson has some cousins his age to play with.  He adores his older cousins, but it's nice to have some your own age as well.  Kodi has cousins her age, but she is the only girl.  It'll be interesting as she gets older.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ward Christmas Party

Our ward chose the perfect night to have a party - we had two other engage- ments that we should have attended as well.  The reason I chose the ward party was for Santa.  I know it seems trivial, but 4-year-olds dig Santa, and when there is an opportunity to see him, I don't want to pass it up.  We sat with Kyson's favorite people, as usual, the Holts.  At one point in the party, Kyson noticed some mistletoe hanging in the doorway and asked me what it was for.  I told him you kiss someone under the mistletoe, so I took him under the mistletoe and gave him a kiss on the cheek.  He then went and got Nikki Holt, who is twelve, and took her under the mistletoe.  He also kissed her on the cheek.

There was food, singing, cookies, and story- telling.  In the end, though, I think the biggest hit of the evening was when Santa dropped inf or a visit.  Kyson was so anxious to see him that he butt in line and I had to go grab him.  While we waited, I was a little concerned about Kodi.  You know how little kids are afraid of Santa, well Kodi had been exceptionally clingy all evening.  She wouldn't even sit next to me with my arm around her.  She had to be held at all times.  it was ridiculous.  I figured if I could get a quick shot before she started crying, I'd be good. I couldn't have been more wrong.  I put her on Santa's lap first hoping to get a shot, and she loved him.  She just looked at him and chatted with him in her nonsensical jibberish.  When her turn was over, I tried to get a picture with Kyson and Santa, but Kodi wouldn't leave.  Even after both Kyson and Kodi had had a turn, she kept running back and ruining other kids' talks with Santa.  I truly wouldn't have believed it unless I saw it.

Santa is such a magical being and I love the spirit of Santa.  Santa gives gifts to all the good boys and girls.  Heavenly Father gave everyone a gift - even those that weren't too good.  I love the Christmas season and spirit of giving.