Sterling's Official

Last week Sterling turned in his last paper, earlier this week he passed his state exam, and yesterday he graduated—the final hurrah! After seven months, he’s an official massage therapist!

His graduation ceremony yesterday was short and sweet, exactly the way we all like events like that to be. His class was small, a couple dozen or so. And Sterling even spoke. He was the class ambassador, which they explained was the person who “held the class together like glue.” That sounds like something he would definitely do!

Not everyone could make it, but it was great to have those who could be there with us. The twins had their first “official” outing—they didn’t wake up or leave their car seats, but they were there. And after the ceremony, we headed back home and had a BBQ with family and friends, celebrating Sterling’s exciting accomplishment.

It was a good day. . . and one we’ve been waiting for! And now that it’s here, I’ll enjoy having Sterling around a little bit more . . . but not for another week. I’m off to Australia tomorrow for our South Pacific convention. But what’s another week, right? And I will definitely enjoy being with our Australia and New Zealand demonstrators this next week. I’ll let you know how that goes when I get back!


I Enjoy Funerals

I went to a funeral yesterday and was reminded how much I enjoy them. I know that’s kind of strange, and it’s certainly not that I love it when people die! But funerals inspire me. The music is uplifting, and I enjoy learning about the people who have passed on, hearing about the legacy they left behind and feeling the love that people feel for them.

I definitely experienced that yesterday! We went to the funeral of the grandfather of a dear friend. We’d only met him once, but our friend talked about him often and was very close to him. So we went to support her.

As I listened to his loved ones talk about him, it was clear he had made a difference in the lives of people who surrounded him. I was reminded what a powerful influence one person can have, and I determined to be a better person and make sure that the influence I have on those around me is a positive one.

So, that’s why I enjoy funerals—they make me a better person!


A Grandpa and Grandma Date with Stella

Last night Sterling and I were heading out on a date when we got a text from Sara asking, “What are you doing?”

I texted back (I’m quite the texter, you know!), “We’re going out on a date. Why?”

We waited a few minutes, then I texted again, “Hello? What’s going on?”

Sara finally replied, “It’s Stella’s dance recital, and I forgot to tell you. Oops.”

“When and where?” we sent back.

Well, the recital happened to be just a few blocks away from where we were originally heading, so we made a last-minute change in our date plans and went to a dance recital instead. We arrived just as the performance began . . . perfect timing.

The recital was only an hour long, and at the end, Stella received a little plastic trophy with her name engraved on it. Her first trophy EVER! She was jumping up and down with excitement. We were so glad we’d been a part of it.

Afterwards, her very thoughtful Grandpa asked Stella if she’d like to join us on our date. Of course! She even got to choose where she wanted to eat. So we had a tasty little dinner at Wendy’s (Stella wanted a Frosty), and we made some wonderful memories that I know we’ll treasure—and I hope Stella will too!


A Hectic Week

Lots going on this week but not a lot worth mentioning.

Of course, the most exciting thing I do is spend time with our new babies. I tell each girl when they have a baby that I’m completely theirs for a week; because Shanna had twins, I told her she could have me for two!

So the Bridegan family has been a priority for me. I haven’t spent as much time there as I had expected, because Jared is between quarters at school, so he’s home quite a bit. But when they call, I go!

The problem is that I’m so excited to get my cuddles and change diapers and hold babies that I forget to take pictures; I know you’re probably all anxious to see pictures of these cuties! I’ll try to remember to take a picture of a proud grandma holding her newest grandchildren, but in the meantime, Shanna has posted some photos on her blog, so check them out!

Shalae also had her monthly stamping class, which was a huge hit! People loved the project, a patriotic banner that was just complicated enough to take a little time but just easy enough that everybody could do it. I’m proud of Shalae and her commitment to this class, and I’m enjoying the experience we’re sharing of having regular events. I do love to visit with our friends, stamp together, and have a great excuse for a night out with the neighborhood (and beyond!) girls.

And there are lots of meetings, lots of decisions, lots of other small important but not very interesting things going on. What matters most, I guess, is that I’m enjoying almost all of it!

I hope you’re enjoying what you’re doing too!


A New Tradition

We started a new tradition today—a few weeks ago Megan suggested that we (the Gardner girls) get together every week for lunch. We all thought the idea was brilliant, so we had our first Gardner Girls Lunch today.

Megan hosted it (we’ll take turns each week), so she got to choose the place and the menu. She invited us to her house, and she treated us to some delicious homemade Mexican food. We all told her she’d set the bar way too high, and we made sure everyone knew not to expect such delicious food every week!

The company, however, will be wonderful every week! It was fun to get together, and I’m already looking forward to next week. We know that not everyone will make it every week, but we’re going to plan it every week and have fun with whoever shows up.

Many of the grandchildren came this week, which meant that the lunch wasn’t quite as long and leisurely as it might have been otherwise. But that’s OK. Some weeks it will just be the girls, other weeks children will be welcome. Regardless, every week we’ll enjoy good food and great company!

And the good food and great company didn’t end there! Today Sterling finished his last class, and we had to celebrate tonight! While he still has his final clinic on Saturday and the state exams on Monday, this was certainly a milestone. So we ate at Tsunami tonight, a great little Japanese restaurant. It was the perfect ending to a fun day—I’m looking forward to celebrating the rest of his school milestones in the coming days!

Happy Mother's Day!

I woke up this morning, thinking that this was a perfect day to blog. I know there are a lot of women who dread Mother’s Day because they focus on the mothers they aren’t. Either they haven’t ever married and don’t have children, or they married and weren’t able to have children, or they aren’t a good enough mother. . . whatever the reason, today is a day that is sometimes hard for us women.

Throughout today, as I listened to inspirational radio stations and talks, and went to church, and visited with all our girls and their families, I came away with one overriding feeling—If we’re doing our best, we’re good enough.

I know that our children, our husbands, our loved ones, our Father in Heaven. . all they need from us is our determination to do our best. And our best doesn’t mean we’re perfect, or that we don’t make mistakes. It just means we keep on trying and don’t give up.

My hope for each of you today is that you just love yourselves for who you are!

Exciting News in the Gardner Family

You probably noticed my new blog header—love it! I had planned to blog about it tonight, but something has come up that is much more exciting, so while I hope you notice (and like) the new header, I also hope you check out Shanna’s blog.

We’ve had new additions to the Gardner family! They actually arrived almost three weeks ago, but Shanna and Jared wanted to wait to make the announcement until they were all home together as a family. That happened today, so for the next several days, you know where my focus will be—on little Liam and Abigail!

Home from Florida. . .

I’m back from Florida, and I have to admit, the trip didn’t go as I had anticipated.

For starters, I was more than a little disappointed that Sterling wouldn’t be going with me on this trip—it’s the first incentive trip he’s ever missed! So I knew going into it I would be missing him. On top of that, I wasn’t certain how much time I’d be spending with our girls who went; some were taking their children, some weren’t, and I didn’t want them to have to worry about dragging Grandma along. Finally, because it was a land-based incentive trip, I didn’t think I’d be seeing as much of the demonstrators as I see on a cruise, so I was bummed about that as well. So I packed a lot of work and decided I’d make the most of my time sitting in the hotel or by the pool and get caught up.

Well, I’m happy to report that, while I didn’t get nearly as much work done as I’d expected, I had much more fun than I expected!

I went to the parks almost every day with at last one of the girls; it was fun to spend some time at Disney with family! Although I didn’t end up riding a lot of rides, seeing It’s a Small World and the Peter Pan ride through the eyes of Kona and Makai was wonderful, and simply walking around with some of the kids was thoroughly enjoyable.

And I got to see lots of demonstrators, along with their family and friends, as well as our home office family members. We had breakfast together every morning, and while it was come-and-go, I enjoyed chatting with these amazing people and meeting those who had come with them on the trip.

In addition, I saw demonstrators at every park we visited, in the elevators at the hotel, and just walking along the Boardwalk.

We also had two formal Stampin’ Up! events, and of course, I spent as much time as I could with demonstrators at those events. During our Share Night on Wednesday we handed out new catalogs—that was an unexpected surprise for those in attendance, and it was so fun to see them all looking through the new catalog! Judging from their reactions, I think we’re in for another great year of Stampin’ Up! product and creativity!

And our closing event on Thursday night was fabulous! We enjoyed dinner and entertainment on the Indiana Jones stage at Hollywood Studios. There was music, a DJ, belly dancing, great food, and a wonderful atmosphere.

We even granted a few wishes, something that seems to happen frequently at Disney. Earlier in the week we’d told demonstrators that we wanted to grant a few wishes, and we invited them to post their wishes on a wall in the hospitality room. Wishes could be product related or donation related.

On Thursday, we announced the wish winners. I won’t list them all here, but I will say I wish we could have granted all the wishes. . . and I’m grateful that we could help out where we did!

So many demonstrators, along with their guests, came up and thanked us for such a great week!

And I have to admit, it was an enjoyable week. I loved seeing grown-ups act like kids. . . Disney has a way of doing that to us! And I loved seeing parents and grandparents and children spending valuable time together and creating memories that I know will last a lifetime! I’m so thrilled that Stampin’ Up! can be part of making that possible. . .

And now I’m thrilled to be back home. I did miss Sterling and the children and grandchildren who didn’t go, so I’m looking forward to spending time with them!

Thanks to all those who made the trip possible, as well as all those who went. It was a wonderful week!