End of Summer 2016

Posted by Paul and Jenny Stoker

This summer has been pretty good if I do say so myself. It is the first summer in our new home here in Utah and I have to say it is a lot better than last summer. Last summer consisted of packing, saying goodbye, moving across the country and living in a small apartment that we all hated.

This summer was vastly different because we were in a house again. This home has been amazing. It sits on a cul-de-sac with lots of other kids and we have made so many friends and found so many fun things to do here in Utah.

The kids will be starting school next week. I always have mixed feelings about them going to school but it's the circle of life. Paul and I will get back to home improvment mode and enjoying our lives together for better or worse.

Paul and I went on our first vacation without kids in over 10 years. 

 We met our good friends, the Days, from Georgia in Las Vages.
Me and Aundrea posing with the flamingo leg.

Paul and Tony at a shop filed with a whole lot of bourbon.

Ethan turned 3 and is becoming such a little man. He is so funny and the best snuggle bug. 

We were able to spend the fourth of July with our oldest couple friends. The Hyers, minus 
Christian. We will excuse him since he was deployed in Korea.

This is the Treehouse museum were we will be spending a lot of our time. The kids love it.

 Historic ranch house on Antelope Island.

We made several trips to the water park.

Explored and discovered the outdoors.

These are at a small amusement park and the Treehouse museum again.

We found Bear Lake is one of our favorite spots to spend a Sunday.

So the majority of our summer was spent together as a family and making great summer memories with our kids. I love my family and I have found in this last year that when we have challenges it means at the end we will be closer and stronger than ever.


Posted by Paul and Jenny Stoker

Ok so it has been a year since I last posted a blog. But I have a pretty good reason.

Shortly after last years spring break, Paul received a job offer in Utah. The whole thing was such a blur. We had talked about him looking for jobs and trying to move closer to our families in Arizona for two years. But then when the opportunity was finally there in front of us it was really scary. We had lived in Georgia for close to six years, 3 of our 4 kids were born there, we had amazing friends that are as close to us as our family and we loved our home. Our lives had changed so much since moving to Georgia, now it was hard to imagine living anywhere else.

But we pulled the trigger and it was not an easy choice but we decided that it was what was best for our family. Since the choice was made things have been insane to put it mildly. We put our home up for sale, but we were unable to do so in the time we had to move. We were fortunate though. We had recently become friends with a family that was looking to move to the area and wanted to rent our home. So far it has worked out really well. So with that settled we went to work packing up six people and six years worth of memories. It was not easy but the hardest thing of all was saying goodbye to our very close friends, the Days and Cooks. These are families that we almost never went more than a few days without seeing each other. There were a lot of tears as we hugged and our kids who had grown up together said their goodbyes. I still really miss seeing those amazing people everyday.

The day came and with a lot of help from my mom and our friends, we got the very large moving truck loaded up and we left Georgia. The trip across the country with our entire lives in tow was long and very stressful. All along the way I was on  and off the phone with the apartment management in Utah and found out that things were not going to go very smooth. But we made it to Arizona were we took a few days to rest and drop off my mom. Then we were off for Utah. When we got there it was a long day of unloading the truck into the apartment and storage unit. At the end we were all very tired and dirty.

Over the next several months we lived in that apartment waiting and counting the days until we found a home and could finally settle down. But looking for a home was not as fun as I thought it would be. The homes in Utah are more expensive and designed in a way that it made it hard to see ourselves being able to live in any of them. But after looking at about 30 homes we finally found the one for us. But the icing on the cake was that it happened to be in the same school zone my kids were in and so they would not have to change schools again.

We are now mostly moved in and really enjoying the space, yard and neighborhood. My kids go to bed exhausted every night from all the playing they do here.

I don't know if we will love it here in Utah as much as Georgia or if we will make life long friends either but I do know that our family has gotten through some tough times in this last year and we are stronger than ever. As long as we love each other all is well.

Brynn had her fourth birthday

The girls started a tumbling class

We had their first Halloween without the Cooks

We had their first Christmas with a little apartment tree

We made it through our first winter with snow

Gavin turned ten

Sidney turned six

Now we are about to have our first Easter and spring break here in Utah. I am hoping to get back into posting on my families blog. I feel like it is my families little diary and I hope my kids can look at it one day and remember all these times together.

Springbreak 2015

Posted by Paul and Jenny Stoker

This last week was a lot of fun. One big family and friend week of spring break.

 Gavin has convinced himself that he is now an animal whisperer.
He gets very serious, as he pets them, and will say, "I'm real good with
animals, real good."

Sidney and her friend Clair just want to run and be silly.

I don't even know what to say about Brynn. Accept that she 
is crazy.

It has taken some getting use to but four running around
instead of three is hard and nerve racking. Ethan is a wrecking ball/tank
but he crashes with a smile.

 My friend Jana took this picture as she walked behind us. It is 
now one of my favorite.

Ethan is a miniature of Paul, if you couldn't tell.

Gavin is chair dancing.

Our kids are really good kids, if I do say so myself. They can all be 
big stink pots at times but we love them with all the fibers of our beings.

Being so far from any extended family has been hard at time over the last five years.
Mostly during some holiday or other special occasions.
We have now gotten to a point where our little family unit can rock any holiday or
birthday on our own and have the time of our lives. These kids make everything
good and great. I love being their mom more than anything. I love being married
to Paul, who works hard to make these days fun for our family. Sometimes
it feels strange being able to look at a picture and say to yourself, "Here
is my life and world."

My world looks pretty good to me.

Birthday Fun

Posted by Paul and Jenny Stoker

Both Gavin and Sidney have had their birthdays come and go. Every year
that goes by is very bitter sweet. My babies are gone and have been replaced
by some pretty cool kids.
Gavin is 9, a black belt and top in math for his class. He loves to learn and
one of his presents was a board game were you have to answer questions
about the plants in our solar system. When Gavin opened it, one of his friends
said, "That's boring. What's in the next present?" Gavin looked at him like
he was nuts and proceeded to tell him why he was so wrong about the
game being boring.

Sidney is 5 and still my emotional flower child. She loves to laugh and play
pretend anything. She has a very bubbly personality that others are
drawn to. She even received a flower, just for her, from a boy in her class,
for Valentines Day.
We love our Sidney girl so much and all the sunshine she brings to our home.

Holidays 2014

Posted by Paul and Jenny Stoker

So it has been a few months so here are a few pictures from November and December.
Gavin was nominated for his class to run for 3rd grade Duke of
the Snowball dance.

Uncle Jake was able to come visit for Thanksgiving. It was the first
time in five years that we had Thanksgiving with family.

This was also the first year we had Christmas in Arizona, since
moving to Georgia.
Gavin and Mikey are still best cousins after not seeing
each other for two years. Lets just say there was a lot of
Pokémon playing going on.

The girls with Cali.

Gavin was so excited to see Branson. He is the best big cousin. Branson
is always ready with a project or activity.




Stoker cousins to the rescue.






Ethan was more concerned with the giant bucket of cars, than opening
Christmas presents.

Yes, Brynn was a mega princess for Christmas.

We spent an afternoon at the mall that I would go to often with
Gavin when he was 2.



This is a fountain outside the movie theatre that Gavin and I
spent many an afternoon at also.

Popsicles are definitely an acceptable treat on an warm December day
in Arizona.