Saturday, July 23, 2016

June 2016

We played a fun game for mutual about Divine Nature where you threw a ball of yarn to someone (while still holding onto it yourself) and whomever you threw it to you said something you liked about them.  By the end there was a big web created.  It was a fun night and sweet to hear the girls' comments about each other.

One of the biggest miracles I've ever experienced...
My good friend Monica and long time visiting teaching partner (who moved out of state last year 😭) is pregnant!!!!  

For mutual we made these cute Father's Day gifts

On June 19, 2016, my sweet Uncle Spencer passed away from a brain tumor.  :(  Our testimonies of the Plan of Salvation have truly increased.  I know without a doubt, there is life after death.  He was such an amazing man.  He was always so full of sincerity and love.  He endured so many physical trials (Type 1 diabetes, had his foot amputated, brain tumor) and I am so glad he is peacefully resting now, but undoubtedly busily performing important work on the other side of the veil.

His children: Stephen, Christy, Julie, wife Pam, Melanie, Ryan

Aunt Pam's siblings (my dad wasn't able to come due to work :( )
Sharon, Cathy, Bob, Pam, Mark, Scott

Love these quotes from Mikele

My mom found this old Christmas letter and it was so fun to read it!
Pretty funny that 5 of those 7 highlights my mom listed are some of my main childhood memories 😂

Ollie loves watching daddy mow the lawn.
In fact tonight, Jared was still at work and our neighbor was mowing their lawn, and Ollie kept going over to the window saying, "Dadda?  Dadda?"

I found this awesome resource on  Basically you ask a family member one question  about their life each week for 52 weeks/one year, and by the end of the year you have a mini life history about them.  It seems really do-able because they are only answering a question a week.  I'm doing it with my Grandma JoAnn, mom, and dad and am just saving their responses in a document.  Then if they want to add more later in life, they can, and they already have a great platform on which to add.

And...the day finally came...we have a mini van!

Friday, July 22, 2016

May/June 2016 SLC visit home

We were able to visit our families in SLC the end of May.  We flew in Friday, May 27th and while we were at baggage claim we had the fun surprise of Jared’s brother Loren, his wife Britney, and their son Tate surprising us!  They are really good at this whole “surprising” game…a year and a half ago they showed up on our doorstep in Orlando!

We were really worried about the flights because Ollie is an active little thing and the thought of entertaining him for four hours/having him sit on our laps for that long was quite daunting, but to our surprise (and answer to prayers), Jared and I both had empty rows!


I had read this idea online and it was treats in each of these little things and it takes up lots of time while baby tries to open them :)

Saturday was my cousin Ben’s wedding.  He married Grace Jackson, whose family is in our home ward and she and Mikele were good friends while growing up.  We are so thrilled that Ben & Grace found each other!  It was so fun to see so many family members at the temple and at the beautiful reception that night.  Their reception was in the Garff’s backyard and it was gorgeous.

Me, sister Mikele, cousin Becca, cousin Stephanie, Aunt Cathy, sister Aly, mom, 
Aunt Cindy, Aunt Sharon

Seth & Mikele, Grace & Ben, and mom & dad are all "home teaching success stories"!!!

Sunday we attended church and then flew to San Francisco!  (See other blog post)

After flying back to SLC from SF, we were able to spend a few days in SLC together before Jared had to fly back to FL to work for a week and a half, and then he would fly back out for his brother Ryan's wedding.  Then the three of us would fly back to FL together a few days after the wedding.

A few things we were able to do together in SLC before Jared left:

-Visited the amazing Reid Ranch
-Went on a walk with Loren, Britney & Tate through Sugarhouse Park and had dinner at Chick fil A
-Attended Jared’s best cousin Jason’s sealing in the Provo City Center temple and Elder Christofferson sealed him and his wife, Jaclyn.  Jared said it was so incredible to be taught at the feet of an apostle.
-Visited with grandparents
-Jared played basketball with his brothers and cousins
-Attended Jared’s home ward, the 6th ward.  A few of my favorite quotes from attending their fast & testimony meeting were:
     "You have every right to ask for a miracle"
     "Let Him shape and mold you throughout life" 
     "We will stay in focus by daily reading scriptures and praying. Or else events in the world will      become foggy and unclear."
     "What you focus on you will give more of."
     A young boy bore testimony and was crying because they were going to have to move but he was crying tears of gratitude and joy because ward members bought their home so they could stay. Wow.
     "Good always comes from trials"
     "Faith precedes the miracles"
-Had a family dinner with Jared’s siblings and parents

-Attended wedding showers for Ryan & Melinda

Reid Ranch

Three generations!
Gardner, Jared, Oliver

Sweet Grandma Ruth
I love how much she adores her grandkids.

Ollie thought the bread for the ducks was for him 😂

Tate & Loren, Jared & Ollie

Grandma Ethna & Grandpa Mervin

Jaclyn & Jason at their wedding reception


Grandma Ruth loved taking the grandchildren over to the neighbors' to see the chicken

This beautiful sight of Mt. Olympus never gets old

It was sad saying bye to Jared at the airport.  We were going to be apart for 11 days which was our longest time yet!  But he told me to party it up and he would be back soon.  A few things I was able to do with my family during that time:

-Performed baptisms at the Bountiful Temple with mom, dad, and Jace
-Had a few doctor and physical therapy appointments for my jaw which have helped the pain and tension decrease tremendously.
-Ate at lost of my favorite eats, such as Shivers (the greasiest and happiest mom and pop burger joint.  Pumpkin Reeses shakes forever!), Zupas, In N Out, Greek food…
-Visited This is the Place monument park with Heidi and her kids.  I had such an overwhelming sense of gratitude as we walked around the park, which is at the base of the mountain pass that my ancestors crossed over to get into the Salt Lake Valley, and I pondered the sacrifice my ancestors made walking across the plains and enduring such hardships, and settling in SLC and raising their families in the gospel.  I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and live in the USA, all because of them. 
-Watched lots of Cupcake Wars with Jace, TLC wedding shows with my sissys, and Call the Midwife with my momma
-Went on a morning walk around Sugarhouse Park with Britney, Tate, Ollie and Jace
-Visited graves of my loved ones and learned more about their life history
-Had lots of sibling time!
-Went on beautiful walks around Millcreek
-Attended the YSA stake’s musical production of “Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat” directed by my good friend Mary-Martha Jackson.  It was so incredible.  The singing, dancing, costumes, everything…I was in awe the entire time and my face hurt from smiling so long!
-Attended the blessed 9th ward!  Oh how I love those people.
-Had a Germany reunion with many of the families we lived with over there.  That is what heaven will be like!!!
-Visited with my friend Emily Erickson from high school and her adorable baby boy, Cobi (he is two months older than Ollie)
-Visited BYU!!!!!!!  Ate at the Cannon Center and visited my old dorm.
-Had a fun playdate with Britney & Heidi and their kids at a water park. 
-Had a get together with the Bryans!!!  
-Had a “Last Supper” night with Ryan before he got married.  Laughed SO hard at the awesome video Haley and her siblings put together for Ryan!  I loved the spirit that was felt that night during our family discussion. 
-Ryan & Melinda’s wedding!!!
-Cousin Daniel Ehlert’s homecoming talk
-Celebrated Father’s Day
-Flew home June 20th.  Endured the longest flight of our lives home…Jared swore he’d never fly with Ollie again. 😂

Ollie loved the trampoline

Working in the garden

Ollie + Bella = besties

Seth was always playing with Ollie.
He is so sweet with kids


How we baby-proofed mom & dad's house :)

Ollie is here!

Love summer nights in SLC

Love that boy!!

This Is The Place Park

I miss those mountains while in flat Florida :)

Tatey & Ollie

The gated deck was like an outdoor playpen for Ollie.  
It was awesome!

While looking through photos to put in a Father's Day book for dad, we came across 
a lot of oldies & goodies.

The Germany reunion was at the Haws' house in Mountain Green, Utah and their backyard was at the foot of the mountains!  So beautiful.

The cute dads
Dad, Kerry, Greg, Tandy
Missing Brother Bryan :(

They had so many fun games in their backyard.
This was an awesome dart game

This game was SO fun
It's a newish game called Spikeball
A mix between volleyball and four square

The cute moms!!
Cherri, Debbi, Kathy, Kelly, Melinda
Missing Sister Bryan :(

Bestie Macy!

Love all these girls!
Me, Macy, Haley, McKenna, Mikele, Leah

Ollie loved their dog and kept giving him "hugs" by laying his face down in his fur :)

This was hilarious 😂

Eternal friendships

Mom & Ollie in front of house my Grandma JoAnn grew up in.
My mom has so many fond memories of playing kick the can on their gravel driveway and 
eating fruit out of their mulberry trees (tree on the right)

Emily, me, Lauren
Cobi, Ollie
So fun catching up with her!

So serious!! 😂

Visited BYU
Ate at the Cannon Center

Ollie at my dorm room, eight years later.
So many great memories of Taylor Hall!

Aly is so sweet with Ollie

Lauren & Ollie with their matching Birks :)

Ollie has an attachment to the tall males in our family 😂

Visiting Great-Grandma Marjorie Carlsen's grave

A two-sucker haircut :)

Lewis, Florence, Tate, Ollie

My great-uncle Richard Whitehead (Grandpa Steve's brother)

My great-aunt Maxine (Grandpa Steve's sister)

Me & mom at Great-Grandma Elaine Kramer's grave

Me & Mikele at Evan & Emily's baby Bruce's grave ❤️

Dinner w/ the Bryans!

Sister Bryan with an awesome shot :)

Love these two best friends

Mikele texted these: "The levitating baby" 😂

Best friends

She will be an amazing mother some day.

Visited Heidi & her kids at their beautiful new place.
I look up to Heidi a lot!

Ate at my favorite place

My beloved scripture pen of six years gave up the ghost :(

Watching Haley's video during our family night with Ryan the night before he and Melinda got married.

The happy groom-to-be

My handsome boys


The bros
Loren, Ryan, Jared

Aly came to watch Ollie while we were in the sealing.
It was so windy at the Draper temple!

Uncle Bud & Ollie

Mary-Martha & me
So happy she is engaged to an amazing man!

We got these glasses for my dad for Father's Day as a gag gift, and Jace loved them :)

Love my people!!

Jared tells me fond memories of his dad making a boxed white cake mix and eating it while watching movies with his boys.  Jared has often asked for a white cake and I always ask "Why?" and he says, "It's just so good!" and so I finally obliged on Father's Day and he got his wish. :) 

Aunt Haley excited about the NBA championship game :)

No words are adequate enough to express my love and gratitude for these two angels!

Three cheers for eternal families!!!!