Saturday, November 29, 2014

Utah Living

Bonjour Bloggers! It's Megan.  Happy Holidays to all! As most of you know, I am now living in Utah. I was always that person who swore up and down I would never become "one of those Utah'ns" and yet..... here I am. All in all it hasn't been as bad as I thought!

I am a transfer student to Utah Valley University, a school I had never even heard of until this past April, and let's just say, it has been an answer to my prayers. After EAC, as much as I loved being there, I really needed a new adventure. Something I had never done before. So I picked living in a big city all by myself, in an area that is notoriously snowy and freezing cold.

I am living with three other girls, all fresh out of high school and living on their own for the first time. That has definitely been an experience for me. For the first time, I am the oldest and wisest in my home. They have started calling me Mama Megan, because I am always cleaning or helping them with homework, or all sorts of motherly activities. But I love these girls, and we have a lot of fun together.

At EAC I got my Associates Degree in Elementary Education so when I got to UVU I kept going with that. But about half way through the semester it just wasn't very fun and I wasn't really feeling a passion for it anymore so I switched to Secondary Education with an emphasis in Theater. I am so excited for my new path!!! Being a theater teacher is what I have always wanted to do, but I didn't really have the confidence to pursue it. Now with the support of my loving and wonderful family and friends, I am off! :)

Overall life is grand. Adjusting to not living in Arizona with my family has been hard, but with the beauty of modern day technology we are able to stay in constant communication. And hey, if anyone reading this ever ends up in Utah, let me know! It's always fun to see familiar faces!

Hope everyone stays safe and happy and healthy this season! FĂ©liz Navidad!

Life is Good

This is Cameron.  Freshman year has been grand so far! I am taking choir this year and I really love it. I had the chance to accompany my choir on a song called Dona Nobis. It was really pretty and my first time playing on a big stage like DV's with a full choir.

I am also really diggin' piano. My mom told me that I can sight read really well. I like being able to sit down and play any song. Its fun! I also am self-teaching myself how to fake book. Fake Booking is where you take a simple piece of music and you sort of improvise your way through the song. It's really fun!

Lately, I have been on a photography kick. I have used all my friends as models and even some of my Young Women's leader's kids. I also enjoy bugging my parents and make them model for me too!  For more pictures check out my blog:

Monday, November 17, 2014

Catching up for Fall

We have not posted much this fall, but since this blog kind of serves as our Family Christmas Letter, we wanted to catch everyone up on the latest Gardner happenings.

Mike and Trish headed back to Jamaica this summer.  It was another lovely visit to our favorite place to go. 

In July, we took a family cruise to the Eastern Caribbean.  We stayed one night in Miami and then headed out for St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico and Grand Turk. 

Cameron's 14th birthday was the day we were in St. Maarten.  We went to Maho Beach on the Dutch side where the planes fly very low overhead, and then up to Orient Beach on the French side.

 We took a Catamaran trip in St. Kitts and did some fun snorkeling.  Puerto Rico was beautiful and we explored the city and one of the Forts.  Cameron took some beautiful pictures.  We went scuba diving as a family in Grand Turk and snorkeled with sharks.  All in all a great family trip!

The end of July brought the beginning of Ryan's mission.  We drove him up to the MTC in Provo, UT.  It was very difficult watching him walk away, but his cousin, Calvin, was waiting inside the MTC to greet him, and Ryan hasn't missed us since. 

He arrived in Russia October 1, and is loving every minute.  We put his letters on a mission blog if you want to read them.

Megan left to go up to Utah Valley University in Orem.  She has quite a few friends from EAC and some close cousins in the Provo/Orem area, so she's had people to hang out with in between studying.  We've missed having her be able to come home on weekends like she could while at EAC.   Cameron flew up and stayed with Megan for a long weekend.  Both girls had a blast.   All of us are looking forward to Thanksgiving.  Megan will fly home for a few days to spend the holiday.

Cameron is in her Freshman year at Desert Vista High School.  We were very proud to have her accompany her choir on the piano for one number in their fall concert.  She is taking Spanish, and enjoys knowing more espanol than her mom and dad.  She loves to craft, play the piano, take photos and plan parties!

Trish is still teaching in the school library!  It's a great job.  Mike is enjoying another year as a partner in the #1 Lobbying Firm in Arizona. 

We hope this holiday season finds each of you happy, and healthy!  We think of you all frequently.  Social media has made it easier to keep in touch with many of you, and we are grateful. 

All our love,  The Gardners

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Howdy y'all, It's Ryan here. This is going to be my last blog post on this blog for a while (2 years)! This summer I have been running around trying to fit the last bits of vacation in where I can!

For our Young Men High Adventure we went up to Moab, Utah for some off-roading and camping. We towed the jeep behind our Explorer for 500 miles, just me and dad! it was a great bonding experience for us before I get to leave for mother Russia. We went up and camped, went off-roading, mountain biked, did some hiking and repelling, then we went white water rafting, and met some really cute tour guides!

One of the trails available to us was called "Hells Revenge."  It featured a narrow winding path that was not much wider than the jeeps, and the drop off on either side of it is about 50 feet down... Needless to say we did not attempt that one, I still value my life somewhat! The repelling was really cool, I've done it before so I seemed really professional when everyone else was a little scaredy cat.

The best part for me would probably be the white water rafting, because I have never done it but always wanted to! We went through category 3 rapids (I think) on a big 7 person raft. Even though the boat was huge we still got thrown all around and I had a blast! Overall it was a great vacation in a warm climate before I freeze my tail off in Vladivostok. I will miss you all!

Monday, July 21, 2014

EFY // Cameron Edition

Hello! This summer has been absolutely amazing. I started off the first week of it by going to EFY in Provo. We stayed on BYU campus and in the dorms. I went alone, and it was kind of scary the first day because I didn't know anyone in my company. But by the end of the week we were all so close!  I really enjoyed my week. Throughout the week we had classes, and devotionals, family home evening, and my favorite... the DANCES!!

At EFY you do a lot of walking.On the second day we had a dance and I had danced too hard and woke up the next day with a swollen foot. I had to spend my week hobbling across campus. But I guess it wasn't all to bad because the boys carried me most places.  I really enjoyed being able to spend a week in cool weather doing nothing but learning more and coming to love the gospel even more than I already do.