Wednesday, October 21, 2015
A Miracle Unfolding ~ Gardner Quad Squad ~ Interview
One year ago, I saw the cutest picture on facebook, shared by a friend. It featured a cute couple who were announcing their pregnancy. Here is the pic :
Isn't it the cutest pregnancy announcement ever ? :) I love their shocked faces! Turns out, this couple had been praying for a child for more than 8 years. When they finally received an answer to their prayers, like the picture says, they wondered if maybe they prayed too hard ! All in good fun of course, for Ashley and Tyson Gardner, these four blessings are the ultimate answer to prayers, and they are loving every second of it!
I was blessed with the opportunity to interview Ashley and Tyson, the proud parents of Indie Mae, Esme Jane ( pronounced Ez-Me), Scarlett Elizabeth, and Evangeline Faith and I was so impressed with their faith and their joy in their children. You can follow them HERE on facebook or go to their website HERE. Ashley will be speaking at A REASON TO STAND CONFERENCE which is linked. Follow them somehow, because their story is one of courage and endurance and those babies are the cutest things ever! Here is the interview :)
JL~ How did the Gospel help you through infertility, all of the shots, medicines, emotions, bills, sickness, heartache, and joy ?
Tyson~ The Gospel is the cornerstone of our marriage. Without the Gospel, our faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and our family, I don't know if we would have made it. There is something special about knowing that Jesus Christ understands and knows our struggles even better than we do. Having that knowledge, and putting our faith in Him and our Father in Heavens plan, we knew someday we would be blessed. That doesn't mean the shots, medicines, years of struggle didn't hurt; it just meant we learned more than we could have without those struggles.
JL~ Ashley, you wanted to be a mommy so badly,you put yourself through some awful medical procedures and meds and feeling pretty crappy for a long time- what was it that kept you going.... what was it about wanting to be a mommy that kept you strong ? How did you get through the hard days and then what did you do to celebrate the blessing of four babies ?? Did you dance ? Scream ? Eat lots of ice cream ? ;)
Ashley~ Going through infertility was so hard and there were days that I didn't know if it would ever happen for me. But I put my faith and trust in the Lord and kept pushing toward something. I didn't know what it was at the time, but I knew that He did have a plan for me and I needed to keep pushing forward to find out what it was that He wanted me to do. Faith without works is dead- I was going to do all the work I possibly could. I knew that somehow I would be a mommy. I knew that I had babies waiting for me on the other side. That is what kept me going. I wanted to be strong for these babies. I wanted to do everything I possibly could for them, even if it was painful and hard. Honestly, I would do it all over again for these babies.
Sometimes there were days that were so hard , I just couldn't hold strong any longer. I just fell to my knees and let the Lord take it from there. Sometimes I think you really have to be at the bottom to really learn how to give it all to Him. And once you do, He takes care of it all
When I found out I was being blessed with the blessing that I never knew I wanted, I was scared and happy all at once. I fell to my knees again, to thank the Lord and to also ask Him for His help thought this next part of carrying quadruplets, and He did.
JL~ What is your favorite quote or Scripture on parenting ? Tyson? Ashley ?
Tyson~ "A fathers calling is eternal, and its importance transcends time. It is a calling for both time and eternity." Ezra Taft Benson
Ashley~ "The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has for you." Jeffrey R. Holland
JL~ Tyson, your blog post titled : BEING A FATHER IN TODAYS WORLD really hit it out of the ballpark! It was fantastic. What a great way of telling people what being a father means to you. Was there anything you wish you had added ?
Tyson~ Those were my simple thoughts, and they remain the same. Keeping a steadfastness on Christ's teachings, and faith in our Heavenly Father's plan will bless our homes beyond any other method. Keeping these two practices burning and our examples will allow our children to reach their fullest potential.
JL~ Do you feel like Heavenly Father is using you in a big amazing way to spread the Gospel through your story and experiences? What do you hope people get from your experiences ?
Tyson~ Absolutely. We know that our story is a miracle, and we have seen God's hand too many times to name. He has always had a plan for us, we just didn't know what it was. Through our trials and long battles, we learned valuable lessons that wouldn't have come otherwise. We are grateful for them. Looking back, we know exactly why our Father in Heaven gave them to us. We are here today with our family and joy as a result of Faith. Faith in the Father, and Faith in His Son Jesus Christ. We have already seen a window opened that allowed us to share and help others. We are not alone in our struggles. Many share our trials, and relate with our path. We only hope that by opening up and sharing our trials and our triumphs, that we can inspire and give people the hope and faith they need. We are simply instruments and examples in the Lords hands. We give all glory to them.
One other thought is that our Heavenly Father is using these 4 miracles. Yes we are the parents and we take care of them, but they have a purpose of their own as well. We have seen it. Simply from them being here, we have been given missionary opportunities. Them being here has given many people who we have never met before, hope and inspiration. Through these tiny miracles that are only 9 months old, God has been able to reach out His hand and soften peoples hearts and focus them on something bigger than ourselves. The miracle that is our story, these babies, has everything to do with our Father in Heaven's plan.
JL~ What kinds of things do you do for FHE ? Do you still just do it as a couple or are you starting to incorporate the girls in with songs and stories ?
Tyson ~ We try and do things as a family, even though its early and the girls might not understand everything, we know they catch on to the little things. They love when Ashley reads to them. This is a special bonding moment between parent and children and also allows us to tell them things we want them to know. I am amazed at how well they respond to story time.
We also love family outings, although we don't take the girls out a ton, when we do it is such a delight. We recently visited Temple Square on a beautiful fall morning. We visited with the Sister missionaries and watched a video on the family. I couldn't help but cry through the short 15 minute movie as I realized just how blessed we were. As Scarlett and Evie squeezed my fingers, I felt God's love for Ashley and I. I knew that what we were doing that moment was perfect and right for us. The Spirit is so strong in family moments like those. I know I'm not the only one who feels that!
Both of our families come over often and help with bath time and feedings. These nights make for great family visiting and stories from those who have gone before us, and for those coming behind us looking for clues. We all enjoy sharing each others experiences.
JL~ What is your bedtime routine like ? Any sweet traditions that you are starting or continuing for your family ?
Tyson~ We have a pretty strict schedule for bedtime, as we like the girls to stay on the same schedule which makes life easier for all of us! Around 6:30-7 pm we start the feeding/bathing/pajama process. It usually takes the two of us 45 minutes to get through that. After that, Mom usually reads the girls a book as they expend their last bits of energy lighting up to her words. We then make their bottles, put them in their sleep sacks and get them tucked into bed. After they're fed, we take turns kissing them goodnight and telling them how much we love them. I don't think we've missed one night doing this that we've been home with them! My favorite tradition so far!
JL~ Where do you get all of your energy ?? ( This question is mostly for me hahaha! I only have three kids and I'm pooped out most of the time! ;)
Tyson~ Honestly, we don't even know! We say our prayers that everything will work out, and every day we seem to make it. Another truth is we've waited so long to have our family, I don't think anything could keep either one of us from simply enjoying the day taking care of our sweet miracles. They are honestly the sweetest babies and we know our Father in Heaven sent us 4 perfect angels.
JL~ Last question ! Any good laundry tips ? Us mamas need to know!
Tyson~ HAHAHAHA! Don't miss a cycle, that could be deadly! Other than that, keeping it going daily so we have fresh clothes, we don't really think too much further than that!
Aren't they amazing ? I have really enjoyed corresponding back and forth with them, I hope to meet them some day, maybe when they decide to come to Nauvoo and visit ;) One thing I want to add, is you can find lots of great vlogs and videos of them on their youtube channel HERE and the videos are just darling! They answer lots more questions, show you what daily life is like, and you get to ooooh and aaaah at the babies! :)
Happy Parenting! Love, JL~ www.ldsparenting.blogspot.com