Friday, December 2, 2016

Festival Of Trees

Salt Lake has a really beautiful tradition every year called the Festival of Trees.  It is a fundraiser for Primary Children's Hospital, a place that we have found warm and welcoming through several surgeries and office visits for our kids.  For this festival, individuals, families, businesses and other groups donate beautiful Christmas items for people to bid on.  These include Christmas trees, wreaths, playhouses, centerpieces, and other festive items.  The first year the festival was held was around 1970.  They raised $47,000 and were extremely pleased.  Last year, the festival raised close to 2.5 million!  What a blessing for the special kids at Primary Children's.

A wonderful family we go to church with, the Weavers, have decorated and donated a tree as a family tradition every year for many years.  This year they decided to theme their tree to highlight adoption generally and our family specifically.  Our kids and their kids have become great friends over the past two years and their family has heard many of our adoption stories.  As they were thinking of their tree theme for the year, they thought of the experiences we have had with ladybugs during our adoption journeys.  (Here are a few examples from our blog.)  They decided to do a ladybug tree.  It turned out absolutely amazing!

We took our entire family last night - even Elli.  (We hadn't taken Elli on a family outing for quite some time, and we quickly remembered why.  Within about 2 minutes of entering the loud and bustling crowd, she had a complete meltdown.  That's why Christi and Elli aren't in the family picture below.  They were back in the van with Elli nursing a milkshake.  Ice cream is a cure-all, no?)  It was our first visit to the Festival of Trees and what a treat it was.  Such a beautiful assortment of Christmas cheer!  The kids really enjoyed looking at the decorations and smelling the holiday smells.

When we found the Weavers' tree, we were amazed and overwhelmed with several things:  They did such a beautiful job decorating it.  It was considerably more elaborate than we had imagined, including not just a decorated tree, but many toys and holiday items surrounding it.  We were so happy to have the beauty and joy of adoption shared in such subtle and joyful way.  And we were humbled that someone loved us enough to do something like this.  What a tribute to our amazing kids!  

The picture isn't ideal because the crowd was so large it made it difficult to pose and frame a shot.  But I think it captures the essence.  

Thank you, Weavers!!!

PS.  If anyone knows the cute couple that decided to so tastefully photobomb us, please forward this on to them ;)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Throwback Thursday... a time when Sophi lived in a country far, far away...

...and Elli lived in a galaxy far, far away!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

So Much To Be Thankful For!

First of all, thank you so much to all of you who voted in our contest with SoFi!  We were one of the 5 runners up and won $10,000!  What a fantastic prize and amazing blessing!  We are so grateful to all of you who voted and shared :).

We had a great Thanksgiving weekend staying with Christi's parents in Ferron, UT.  It's about a two and a half hour drive for us.  We headed down there Thanksgiving morning and joined up with many siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles and friends.  Her parents hosted about 35 people for Thanksgiving Dinner in their home!  Great sports :).  About 20 of those family members stayed overnight the next two nights as well.  It's so great to get together with family.  It's particularly fun to see the young cousins having so much fun together.

As I reflect on Thanksgiving, there are so many things I'm thankful for.  Here's a short list of some of the things that come to mind off of the top of my head:

Christi, Cali, Conner, Elli, Graci, Jesi, Lexi, Sophi, Parker, Taylor, Xander (Xander, if you're reading this, I listed our kids alphabetically ;), the gospel, our home, extended family, college football, hammocks, mountains, good physical health, a good job, a great country to live in, adoption, good doctors, and so much more.  I'm grateful to have my wonderful family surrounding me during this holiday season.  They're the best!

Here are some pics from our weekend in Ferron.  I kind of got into hammocks this summer during some off our campouts.  With some guidance from a friend, I even learned how to make them a cozy place to sleep in 20 degree weather!  Christi and I slept in them while we were in Ferron:).

Parker and Christi accidentally dressed as twins!

Parker's hair is long enough for braids?!?

And the aftermath...

Sophi and Lexi loved taking care of baby Harmony

Sophia's ready to take off on a 4-wheeler!  Thanks uncle Danny:)

Conner and Dad

That's Christi tucked in snug as a bug in a rug!

Two peas in a pod:)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fantastic Beasts

Thanks to Jon Hasebi and the team at Citywide Mortgage, our family was able to go see Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them...for free!  Taylor, Parker, Lexi, Jesi, Xander, Cali, Conner, Christi and I went.  It was a fun show for all of these Harry Potter fans :).  (Notice that Parker positioned himself next to the cutie in the pink coat in the first pic.  We made him take up a close up after.  You can see from his face he wasn't too distraught at the prospect ;)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Help needed! (:

LAST DAY TO VOTE!!! So... we've been checking out the page views for the other videos in the Social Finance Inc, contest and we are about 600 behind first place. That's a lot of views! And yet, if we could find 100 people to each get 10 people to vote, that's 1,000 votes! We could do this-- we could win $150,000! Remember, voting only takes 1-2 minutes, and if everyone in your family votes that makes it so much better!!! It's crazy to be just a few hundred votes away from such an amazing prize!  (:

:Again, our goal for today is 1,000 votes-- can you help us reach it? One of the best ways is to have everyone in your family vote and then share! Or perhaps you know someone with a big following that would share this for us. We'd love if you comment here after you vote so we can show our kids. They have been having so much fun with this! We are so grateful for such great friends and that tomorrow, we can stop bugging you.!  (: (: (: 

Click HERE  to vote.  After you vote, they will send you a confirmation email and you have to verify it in order for your vote to count.  But no worries, you will not be on their email list unless you check the box to do so.  


Friday, November 4, 2016

Parental Evaluation

Christi is out of town for the weekend so I got the kids off to school on my own this morning.  Well, I did have some very valuable help!  Jessica did Sophi's and Lexi's hair :).  (Thank heavens!)  As I was getting the little girls' shoes and socks on before driving them to the elementary, Sophi asked for me to pack her a snack "like mom always does."  Lexi wanted one, too.

Me: "What do you want."
Lexi:  "Some of the mint oreos."
Me: "Those are all gone."
Lexi:  "But you said you would pack them for my snack yesterday and you forgot!"
Me:  "Sorry.  I'm a terrible father."
Lexi:  "But you're not like Snape, though."

So what exactly does that mean?  Yes, Dad, you're a terrible father, but you could be worse if you wore a black dress, had greasy hair and intentionally made my life as miserable as possible at every opportunity.  Thanks for the vote of confidence, Lex ;)


Monday, October 31, 2016

Update: Voting is back on!

After I posted last night, the voting function on the website turned off for awhile.  It is now up and running and hopefully will be ok going forward.  Vote, share, share share!



We need your help!!!

To make a long story short, our family is one of 25 finalists for a $150,000 prize, and we need people to vote for our entry!  A few weeks ago we entered a contest through SoFi.  SoFi is a lending institution that helped us refinance some high-interest credit card debt.  We made a 60-second video that explained how SoFi had changed our lives. Out of thousands of entries, we are one of  25 finalists.  The winner ($150,000 prize) and 5 runners up ($10,000 each) will be determined by how many votes their entry gets.  If you can take a couple of minutes for us, it would be awesome!!!  This could really be an amazing blessing for our family.

To vote, go to  Look for the entry with a picture of our family and my name and city (Jeremy G., Herriman, UT) under the video.  Click on “View my Story.”  To vote, put your email address in the box on the next page and click on “Vote Now”.  You’ll receive an email and will need to confirm your vote.  This is to keep people from voting multiple times.

We would sure appreciate your help.  And this is obviously dependent on getting the word out.  So share on Facebook, share on Instagram, tweet it, tell everyone you know:)!  If you know someone with lots of followers, having them share it could make a huge difference for us.  The voting deadline is November 11.  Hopefully this is one vote you can feel good about this year ;)
#WhyISofi #Contest



Monday, October 3, 2016

Homecoming Queen! (updated)

Providence Hall Homecoming was two weekends ago.  Graci and Taylor both went and had a great time.  Taylor went with Senah, a long-time friend.  Graci went with Bryant, a young man from our neighborhood.  While both of them had a lot of fun, Graci had the unforgettable experience of being crowned homecoming queen.  Way to go, Grace!  It was fun to have Grandma Rose and Aunt Jenny down for the weekend, so they could help with buying Graci's dress, doing her hair and just overall enjoying the experience.  Love these fun teenage years:)  Oh, and Graci's date picked her up in the COOLEST CAR EVER!!!


PS.  This is Christianne.  I couldn't let Jeremy get by with such a short description of this day!  Graci being crowned Homecoming queen was an unforgettable experience.  Not because it was important to us, but because it meant so much to her.  When she found out she was one of the ten finalists earlier that week, she became a different person.  She was extra bubbly and fun and you could tell it just really boosted her self-image.  On Friday, she found out she was one of the five finalists.  I don't think she stopped smiling all day and evening.  In the meantime, Taylor was pulled aside by a teacher and told that Graci had won and that she needed to be sure to be at the dance.  So of course, Taylor told us and we got to revel in the excitement, knowing how happy her Saturday evening was going to be.  I took her shopping and she was the most giddy she has ever been.  She tried on dress after dress and we even bought FIVE to bring home and model for everyone in order to pick her final before returning the others.  She went with the most casual and fun of all of them, which is the most HER.  Aunt Jenny did her nails while I worked on her hair and she just sparkled throughout it.  It was just such a special experience to watch her, the girl who normally acts as if boys have cooties, be an excited teenage girl when it came to a dance.  She kept saying, "Mom, I only have a 20% chance of winning, so I shouldn't get my hopes up."  (;  That night when she came home, she walked in the door and very calmly said, "Guys, I didn't win.  But it was ok.  I had fun."  For just a moment, I was a little confused.  Her acting was spot on.  But then she exclaimed, "Just kidding!" and pulled her sash and crown out of her purse.  We loved getting a play-by-play of the night, and I even enjoyed more reading her journal account (she let me) of the whole experience.  She kept saying how much she loved her Heavenly Father and how it would have been ok not to win, but how He knew that she really wanted it.  I love that girl!

Also, since Jeremy blogged about homecoming, I needed to add Parker's homecoming experience!  Parker is 15.  He will be 16 in November.  In our family, we have a "don't date until you're 16" rule, which many of his friends have as well.  It's guidance given in our church and we have stuck to it.  Well, a couple of weeks ago I got a call from my close friend, Mary.  She has been our neighbor for years but moved to Lehi a few years ago.  Her darling daughter, Daisy, has always been super good friends with Parker.  They adore each other, in a good way, and have always stayed in touch.  (:  Mary had just found out that Daisy had been nominated and chosen as Homecoming Duchess for Lone Peak High.  It was a super big honor, being as how her sophomore class has almost 1,000 kids.   The problem was, Daisy is also 15 and therefore didn't have a date and hadn't planned on going to Homecoming.  Now she needed to go, and of course she didn't want to go alone when everyone else would have a date!  We saw this as an exception to our rule, and decided that it was a "spirit of the law" instance.  I must say, Parker was not at all sad to help out a friend. (;  We called it a "practice date."  Her mom drove them and they had a great time together.  I can't think of anyone else I would have liked more for Parker to "practice date."  (:  I'll include their pictures at the bottom and also add a few more of Graci.  Sorry to overtake your post, sweetheart!  (: