Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thanksgiving fun!

We started off the Thanksgiving season with . . . carving pumpkins! Yes, our poor little pumpkin never got carved in time for Halloween and I couldn't bear to waste it. Pumpkins are fun to carve no matter when you do it! Braelyn was definitely not a fan of the ooey gooeyness of it. It took her a while to warm up, which is kind of a habit nowadays. She is a lot more weary of things at first glance and then she slowly decides to be more friendly, hence the Santa Claus picture and the bounce house picture.

 This poor little face just cracks me up. "How could you put me in this bounce house mom?!"

We had our yearly "Feed the Homeless" lunch at my school this year. We fed close to 50 homeless people in our school parking lot. I love seeing our students have a change of attitude for a day by thinking outside of themselves and their own needs. This group right here really pulled together in the kitchen to provide all the food for the occasion. They deserve a round of applause!

Grandma Kaye, aunt Lauren and uncle Josh all came to spend Thanksgiving with us. Grandma took us to the zoo lights and Braelyn was mesmerized. We loved sharing this special time with our family.

If I actually got around to sending out Christmas cards this year, this would have been the shot. So, just close your eyes and imagine that this card came in the mail from the Gundersens. Happy Holidays with all our love. There you go, sending out Christmas cards = check!

Braleyn is just such a happy little stinker. I can't get enough of her. I'm proud to say that my little poopers finally has enough hair to put into pigtails. It's fun to play with the new dos.

What a ham bone! She loves her baths and now cries when you take her out. It used to be the opposite. She has to wear this little bowl on her head in the tub. She also plays peek a boo by putting her little hands on her cheeks. I hope she never learns the right way to play peek a boo because this is just too darn cute!

That smile just cracks me up!

We went to see the Mesa Temple lights with some good friends of ours and their adorable little boy. I think there is an arranged marriage in the works!

 Two little cuties!

I woke up to this sight one morning. I thought that someone had broken in and tried to steal presents from under the tree (which we don't have any) but come to find out our ghetto little tree just couldn't hold up to the weight of the ornaments. Who knows, I still bet some money on the fact that the Grinch is real and decided to pay a little visit to us before Christmas. Needless to say, the first time that I decide to put up a Christmas tree in five years it comes crashing down. Back to no tree . . .

We hope that everyone is enjoying the upcoming holidays. I truly love this time of year. It's a time to reflect on the blessings that I have and to acknowledge the people that I love and care about. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful little family. Ben is an amazing husband and father that works so hard to provide for our family. Our parents are so wonderful to have supported us in our choices and decisions these last few years together. Ben and I are coming up on our seven year anniversary, and I can't think of anyone else that I would have rather spent this time with. Most of all we are so thankful for Braelyn. She has enriched our lives so much. She has truly taught us how to love and be loved. I will never be able to show enough gratitude to Jana for bringing this heavenly spirit into our lives. We love you Jana and everything that you are. Braelyn loves you too. She will always know how much you love her!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fall Festivities!

 Fall has been a blast in the Gundersen household. We've done nothing but play and have fun! Okay, maybe we occasionally work . . . not by choice! It has been so beautiful down here in the desert that we can't help but spend most of our time outside. Here are some highlights from the last month.

Braelyn had a little baby photo shoot thanks to Jen Ryan. Amazing photographer!!!

 The girls at work had a night out for Erin's birthday. Dinner and a movie is the best idea ever, especially when you have girlfriends to share it with.

We had open house at the high school. I got to meet all the parents of our wonderful students and convince them that I really do care about their kids. I do! I promise!

Ben, Braelyn, Jana, and I all went to Autumn Fest at our park. They put up this adorable carnival and I just had to ride the ferris wheel. Ben appeased me by going even though he is afraid of heights. In fact right before this photo he was freaking out because we were supposed to be on opposite sides of the cart to make the weight even. He thought we were going to topple over when I switched sides to take the photo. Needless to say, he was not amused.

Ben tried to win a prize for Braelyn and failed . . .

. . . so Jana came to the rescue and . . .

. . . wahoo! She won a cute little stuffed pig for Braelyn. Girls rule! Sorry dad.

After the carnival we had some fun at home and tried on Braelyn's Halloween costume. She makes the cutest darn flower ever, if I may say so myself. Thank you Jana!

Braelyn got to go trick or treating for the first time at her school party. She was so excited. Every time she passed my office in the hallway, I could hear her laughing. She was clapping and pointing and bouncing around the whole time. That girl has such a personality. We love her! She got to eat cupcakes and cheese puffs at her party too! I think she's been on a sugar high for the past week now.

 Then we got to go to Jojo's first birthday party. It was a jungle theme, so we dressed Braelyn up as an owl. Yes, I know what you are thinking, "where to owls live in the jungle?" I don't know! It was the only animal outfit we had on hand, so we made do.

Of course we couldn't miss the church trunk or treat party. Plus, Drew and Braelyn were scheduled for another date together. We just can't keep the lovebirds away for too long.

Grandma and grandpa came to visit and to spend Halloween with us. Braelyn just adores her grandpa. She cries when I take her away from him. If she weren't so cute, it would probably hurt my feelings.

And what is Halloween without gnawing on some candy. Look at these two ham bones. They are just two peas in a pod!

Now we just can't wait for the other holidays to come. Bring on Thanksgiving and Christmas! I just love the holiday season and spending time with family. Having a wonderful family of our own just makes the holidays that much better. Happy holidays!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

We're Alive!

Okay, this is a long time coming. In my defense, I couldn't figure out this new blogger for the life of me! I am not one that does well with change. For about a month I couldn't figure out how to upload photos. And since I know that no one cares about blogs without photos, what was the point of blogging! Yeah, all I had to do was upgrade my formatting. Haha! I'm definitely not a techie.

Well here is our life, over the last few months, in a nutshell of photos. Everyone is happy and healthy. We couldn't ask for more. 

This was Braelyn's baby blessing. Jana was so amazing to come up for it. We had a blast! Braelyn didn't last very long in her white dress, hence the pictures in her normal church clothes. What can you do?! I wouldn't want to wear a poofy dress that long either! Ben did a beautiful job on the blessing. She's a lucky girl to have such a great daddy that loves her to pieces. 

Jana and her roomie Kim. They are probably the two funniest people you will ever meet!


She is such a ham. I can't get enough of this smile. I get this look each time I drop her off in her little daycare in the mornings. Geez, it makes it even harder to leave her when she's this cute!

More haminess!

I can't get enough of kissing those cheeks. How adorable.

After a long day of shopping with mom and DAD. Yes, I wasn't the only one torturing her. Although Ben felt this way afterward too!

Labor Day fun at Erin's! What a blast. I think it needs to be an annual event.

Waving "hi" like she always does.

Finally big enough for a high chair. Is she really growing up that fast?!

This picture makes me laugh so hard! Where did she even come up with that expression. The owl hat is thanks to grandpa Cal. He always brings the cutest gifts. Ben's parents visited last week and we had so much fun. They took us to dinner, bought us a carseat, gave Braelyn tons of books and toys, and BABYSAT!

Reading with daddy.

She loves her grandpa. Braelyn couldn't get enough of Cal. She was always crawling over to him. Yes, she is CRAWLING like a madwoman. Watch out! She is everywhere and in everything!

Mid squeal. She is always yelling. This one loves to hear her own voice. I'm telling you, she's the LOUDEST baby I know . . . and I'm her proud, yet sometimes embarrassed, mamma!

Ben calls this the baby jacuzzi. It is usually the follow up to dinner thanks to our messy eater.

Braelyn and I were chosen to be part of a Littly Gym photo shoot. Braelyn even got paid! Show me the money! She was the best little model. They were supposed to use her for an hour, but the photographer loved her so much that we stayed for FOUR hours! She is going to be in a magazine that is distributed to obgyn offices next month. Hmmm, maybe I need to schedule an appointment to pick up a copy. Haha!

Such a cheeseball!

Some other updates that we don't have photos for:

1. Ben is studying to take the GMAT so he can start an MBA program next fall. He hopes to get into the evening program at ASU.

2. I am starting tutoring sessions after school for junior high  and high school students. So, if there is anyone you know that needs some help, pass on the word.

3. We are selling our house, but not moving out of Anthem. Don't worry!

4. My mom is coming to visit over Halloween! This will be fun. Some definite shopping and eating out. =)

5. My school finally opened! Wait, did I already blog about that? I can't even remember. Anyway, it's finally open and we have about 250 crazed teenagers. Help me!

So all in all, life is just a bundle of fun. It's been way busy, but hopefully things will slow down in the next few months. Yeah right! Who am I kidding?! I don't think life ever slows down once you have kids. We are loving every moment, though. It's totally worth it.

Friday, July 30, 2010

What?! School already???

I can't believe that it is actually here again. Yep, I'm talking about the dreaded end of the summer/beginning of the school year. It's so crazy how summer comes and you're totally stoked that you have two entire months off. You think, "what am I going to do for an entire 9 weeks?!" Then the universe shifts, time recreates itself so that weeks equal hours, and before you know it you're asking yourself a totally new question, "what have I done for 9 weeks?!"

So, you can see where I'm going with this post. I have already started staff meetings this week and students enter the doors on Monday . . . that is unless I can come up with some conniving plan as to how I can keep them away. Hmmm. Oh let's face it, they're coming!

Meetings actually weren't that bad. I was excited to see old faces along with some newbies. I really am excited to be transitioning from science teacher to guidance counselor. I have been doing schedules all week, and I actually love it.

Braelyn is enjoying her time at school as well. I think she's the valedictorian of her baby class of two. Haha! Just kidding. Her and Neiya are both geniuses. She really is adapting to all the fun that is going on around her. In fact, she is probably safer in the day care than she is with her own mommy! I was giving Braelyn what Ben calls a "baby jacuzzi" the other day. That's where I stick her in the sink to play/get a bath after eating. She was chilling on the right side of the sink and I was doing the dishes on the left side. I decided to be even more productive and organize the freezer. What?! I know, I'm on this productive kick right now. Anyway, I was two feet away from her and constantly looking back. I turned for 2 seconds to put the ice cream back in the freezer and I hear a squeal. I spin around to find Braelyn's little bum and legs sticking straight up in the air, and her face smooshed face down in the empty sink. Holy cow! I grabbed her right out and her face was covered with leftover bubbles from me doing the dishes. Her face was bright red and she was definitely screaming at me, but she was okay . . . thankfully. Now I know, never turn your back on a rambunctious 7 month old. I have to say, when I first saw her stuck I debated, "save the baby or save the Blue Bell ice cream?" Yeah right! Just kidding. Baby wins hands down!!! =)

In all seriousness, the last few months have been amazing. I still can't believe how lucky we are to have such a perfect little angel in our home. I am so grateful for her sweet spirit. I joke about not being able to go anywhere because people stop me and talk to me about how adorable she is, but it's true. I have a stinking cute baby! She is always babbling, laughing, screaming (in a happy way, I know . . . weird, but cute), hitting things, reaching for stuff, etc. She is one active child . . . exactly what I hoped for. And to make things better, I have the most amazing husband. Ben does so much to help us. He is such a loving father. He is always happy and excited to help with anything that needs to be done. How can life be so wonderful? All I can say is thank you Jana. You are amazing and we love you!

Wow, this is long. And no pictures. Sorry to those that read through this just to see pictures. They're not here. Ha ha, I fooled you!

Oh yeah, and our awesome friends are starting the process to adopt. Please look or pass along their blog. They are such and amazing family. Here is the link:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Family Pictures!

Can I just say that Cortney Clegg ( is my favorite photographer?! She is amazing! We had so much fun just enjoying Braelyn while Cortney was shooting away. Utah is beautiful, much better than the 115 degree weather we're having here in Phoenix.

It was nice to have the whole family get together before my little brother Weston left on his mission to Argentina. I'm so proud of him. I am so blessed to have such an amazing family that loves and supports us. I was sad to leave after my practically month and a half stay in Utah.