Welcome to my personal blog!

Just as I share some of my personal thoughts and views, I invite you to share yours. All I ask is that you keep your comments appropriate. I won’t feel badly about removing comments that are offensive. That doesn’t mean you can’t be honest—I want honest feedback—but I like to fill my life with positive people and positive things. I guess that means that if you have to say something negative, say it nicely!

More than anything, I want you to leave here feeling inspired and valued—and like we've had a nice visit!



A Shower for Shalae (and Phoebe)

I planned to have a baby shower for Shalae, but since she had nearly everything she needed, we decided against it. When she found out there would be no shower, Phoebe was heart-broken. Then some women in our church had a surprise baby shower for Shalae, and Phoebe wasn’t invited. Again, she was heart-broken. So we decided to have a small shower with just us girls.

Three generations of Gardner girls (except Shanna and Abbie) gathered at Dear Lizzie for sandwiches, chips, and cupcakes. We played a guessing game, wrote wishes for “baby,” and named the baby (well, we gave lots of ideas!). It was a simple and nice evening together.

I guess that means “baby” can come any day now!



It was a normal day… and then it wasn’t.

I asked Sara to guest blog today so that she could tell you about Sean’s and her experience this week:

Tuesday October 11th started out like any other day; school, work, running kids around, that kind of thing. We even decided to eat dinner at our favorite sushi restaurant. Yum! After saying goodnight to the kids, I found Sean in our room with a weird look on his face. When I asked him what was wrong, (pulling up Google at the same time—gotta love Google!) he said he was experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, his neck was hurting, and his arms were feeling heavy. As I listened to him talk, all of the color drained from his face and a sheen of sweat appeared on his forehead. He was experiencing all of the symptoms of a heart attack!

So…we got into the car and headed to the ER. Vitals were taken, EKG and chest X-rays done, along with a myriad of other things, and all we could do was wait. About an hour after that, the doctor came in and let us know that things looked fairly normal but they were going to keep him for another 5 hours so that they could take another blood test. Apparently it takes about 6 hours after pain starts to see irregularities in the blood. At that point we had pretty much convinced ourselves that it was something else like Pericarditis causing the pain, but around 5am they came to take Sean’s blood again and 45 minutes later another doctor came in and informed us that they would be taking Sean to a different hospital with a cardiology department because it looked like he was suffering from a heart attack.

I couldn’t quite process what the doctor was saying… how could Sean (at 41 and fairly healthy) be having a heart attack?! I proceeded to ask a million questions and they got him ready for an ambulance transfer.

To make a long story short, Sean went in for a coronary angioplasty and stent procedure where they went in through an artery in his wrist and were able to clear blood clots from his right coronary artery and put in two stents. Less than 48 hours after this whole ordeal started we were sent home. Sean is doing well and we are so grateful for modern technology, excellent doctors and nurses, and the love, support and prayers of countless family, friends and neighbors. Thank you!

Life is fragile, so as Sean says, “Live every day as if it was your last. No regrets!”




Congratulations to Connie

Connie Fitzgerald (our recent one million sales achiever) and her husband Kerry arrived in Utah just in time for a Lindsey Stirling concert. The next morning they were greeted in Riverton by the Stampin’ Up! family before working on a stamp set, touring the facility, and spending time with employees in different departments.

Then Kerry went golfing with corporate team members while Connie stamped with Sara and me. We loved getting to know Connie and wish we could clone her humble and grateful heart. One of the things she talked about was that in nearly twenty years of being a demonstrator she has never thought negatively about doing an event…not once! Then finished with, “Who gets to say that?” Connie is an amazing person who truly loves what she does!

That evening was spent with other corporate team members at Red Iguana for dinner. The next day Connie and Kerry relaxed and walked around Salt Lake City, and Sara, Sean, Sterling and I were honored to have dinner with them at Copper Onion.

I think if you asked Connie what the highlight of her trip was, she would probably say it was her Dig This Experience, where she actually operated an excavator—complete with her very own Stampin’ Up! hard hat. Kerry helped plan this special surprise that had been a dream of Connie’s for years.

Connie and Kerry are two of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and we thoroughly enjoyed surprising and delighting them as well as visiting with them! Congratulations to Connie!


Family Time in Florida

It was general conference weekend, but it was also the only time for a trip to see Shanna and the twins, so we headed to Florida for a fast few days, and we’ll watch conference this week…a little delayed.

An overnight trip to Legoland was a fun adventure that hopefully Liam and Abbie will remember for years. It was amazing to see all the Lego creations, and these two four-year olds were troopers, even with sweat rolling down their red faces!

I think Liam and Abbie will have happy memories of our trip, except for their first (and probably last!) rollercoaster ride Grandma decided to take them on when Sterling went to get Shanna after her Strongman training. Amidst tears, I bought a small magnet so we could prove to Shanna that we had done it. Notice the happy before photo and the blurry one taken during the first drop. I felt horrible!

Helping with family photos was the other main event. Again, the twins were troopers while the photographer snapped dozens of photos of them with their mom and playing together. We even got a few with Sterling and me. Our girls remind us every year how inconvenient family photos are for the Stampin’ Up! catalog, but they’re always worth it!

As usual, I wasn’t ready to leave my baby and hers. I already miss Liam’s and Abbie’s constant jabbering and their hugs and kisses. And I’m always incredibly inspired by Shanna’s dedication to her jobs, especially her responsibility as mom of these two busy and adorable twins.


Dinosaurs are Cool

Makai turned six this week. He’s such a funny boy (kind of reminds Sterling and me of his mom!) and a little stubborn and very independent. Dinosaurs are one of the many things Makai likes these days. I’m guessing the money inside will probably be used to buy another one of his favorite things…Legos, which has been the theme of a couple gift packages for our grandsons. Dinosaurs are cool too, so that’s the focus of Makai’s packaging…just to mix it up.