Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Today Luke was in the back of the car watching the Incredibles...out of the blue he said, "Can God make tools?" Before I could answer...he came out with..."or do the angels make them and bring them down to earth?" Not exactly sure how to answer, I said, "God can make tools...I think the angels can bring them down?" Totally unsure...I mean, why didn't I just say "Yes"? Impatiently he said, "Well does he make them or not?" In the meantime, Henry is sitting next to Luke, saying, "Henry no like tools! Henry no like angels!" (we are in Henry's talking in 3rd person phase), I was about to blurt out a very simple answer... God makes the people with the ability to make tools, which I knew would stop this line of questioning because he would have absolutely no idea what I was talking about...but then he blurted out..."I know...God makes the tools and hands them to the angels who bring them down from the sky to Home Depot. Is that right mommy?" I hesitated..."Yes! That's exactly what happens..." Just a small glimpse of the questions to come to a mommy that does not have all the answers...interesting and exciting...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I wonder what I am doing...

I was contemplating one of my many lists of "to dos"...this one being the "Holiday List" while browsing through Crate and Barrel. I was there to pick up a few small, inexpensive items for friends. I was rather ashamed when I left with $50 worth of things and only $10 of that was spent on friends...can only justify this by the fact that Jon and I aren't exchanging gifts this year...I mean, I need SOMETHING for myself, right? Back to the list....on my list of "to dos" this holiday season I have accomplished most everything but I do have a "Put up lights outside", I am not good at putting up any type of decoration outside. I put up Halloween decorations and the spiderwebs looked like smushed up cotton growing out of our trees...people made some really nice comments like, "The kids did a good job with the's so cute you let them do it." Jon laughed. Anyway, so, I THOUGHT that we had an understanding that I would take care of the inside decor (because I'm good at it) and he would take care of the outside (because he's male)...apparently Jon doesn't know about this arrangement because until lights outside. Granted, we usually don't do outside lights...but our four year old has begged us to put out lights and what can I's an "easy" thing to do to make the kids happy and joyful. So...I decided that today was the day that lights needed to happen. Now, my journey began with a totally tangled extension cord that was about 1000 feet long...I untangled it (twice) and began trying to "hide" the bright orange cord under the bushes. I was on my knees in the driveway under wet bushes that would sprinkle water all over me when any part of the cord or myself would touch the leaves. After some scraped fingers and a head butt to the brick wall when I tipped over...I made my way through the bushes...untangled the cord yet again. The wondering what I am doing has begun...seriously, no wonder Jon doesn't want to do this...I don't want to do it wonder people keep their lights on all year round...I mean, I would not wish this on anyone! I think of the kids...wonder what Frodo would do...and keep going. I got the lights twirled around the "columns"...this is when I realize that I am not a perfectionist, because at this point I could care less if the lights are straight or even. I have pinched my fingers twice with the staple gun. I can't reach the top or get leverage to staple the things onto the house so I almost stapled my finger to the house. The stool tipped at one point and I almost fell into the already smushed azaleas...I was sweating profusely...then I remembered the baby upstairs in his crib who had probably woken up enraged that the mobile had stopped! I panic and race to finish the strand I had know what happens when you just sweat more and more! Raced in the was fine. My excuse to stop this madness slept peacefully in his crib. Back out to put the Santa sidewalk lights about 50 electric cords later I wonder if the house will catch fire at some point....It is also misting outside...will I get electrocuted? Regardless, the Santa's went up without a hitch...I plug it all in and absolutely nothing...ggggrrrr. What is wrong...plug in, unplug, plug in, unplug...nothing...ah...I forgot the coolest part about the whole thing...the extension cord has a remote...IT WORKS! Lights on, lights off, lights back on...very cool. Jon came home early and said, "You put out, eh". Undaunted..I patiently waited for the kids to get home...Luke came flying in the house..."We have lights! We have lights!"...I used my handy dandy remote to turn them on and he had a total look of wonder in his eyes and said, "It's just amazing Mommy!" All worth it! Next year...colored lights! Hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas...Isaiah 9:6

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

10 Things I am Thankful For...

It's really hard to list all the things we are thankful for...I mean in the grand scheme...there is really just so much. I absolutely love it when my 2 and a half year old, Henry, prays for the things he's thankful goes like this: "Ga Bwess Daddy, Lukee, Mer-Mer [for whatever reason, I am always left out of his prayers...go figure]...thank you for milk, monsters, da wain, ketchup, waffles, tigers, bwess baths, birdees..." The list goes on and on which I love. He really just picks things at random which is so sweet because that's really how it is...there are just so many random things to be wonderfully thankful's very hard to narrow it down when you really start looking around. I have a much longer list then 10...but here are the highlights for 2008:
1) Wonderful Husband - really the most patient person I know and very engaged father.
2) Fantastic kids - love em so much! We are especially thankful for our new addition, Jonah. For me it completes thankfulness to come. For instance, Jon now has an instant "foursome" for golf...which translates into more shopping and spa days for me in the years ahead. Hooray!
3) The rest of the "normal" things - job, family, home, car, food in the refrigerator (including some cold beers)...
4) this is probably one of the greatest inventions especially when you have kids and you have no idea what is to come hour to hour from temper tantrums to projectile really is glorious!
5) The automatic doors on the mini-van. Now, I never took myself for a mini-van kinda girl. But I will never, ever forget when I saw those automatic doors...I thought that I would lose it if I didn't get some and I am thankful every day when I am carrying my coffee, Luke's book bag, a few jackets, a diaper bag, my purse, sippy cups and the baby that I can press a button and drop it all in! Now, I need an automatic front door opener for when I am trying to make it into the house in one trip during the pouring down rain with the 2 poky kids in tow, a baby, the diaper bag, Luke's book bag (now full with school stuff), empty sippy cups, empty coffee cup, my purse, loads of trash, a few groceries and the mail....
6) Friends - We really have one of the greatest network of friends ever...both Jon and I are so blessed in this area...when you have three kids, it's hard to get people to come over or invite you over...I mean the smell of our house alone is, we are very grateful for our friends that continuously reach out to us. Oh yeah, most importantly...all that free baby sitting. For that we are forever grateful and indebted.
7) Wachovia's maternity leave program...I have had the most fantastic time with baby Jonah the last few months. I recognize that some people don't have the opportunity to spend a lot of time with their babies and have to go straight back to I am appreciative that I work for a great company...even if it won't be Wachovia for long...
8) Ringing in Christmas early! I know that people get so tired of Christmas coming earlier and earlier, but I personally think that Christmas comes entirely to slow and goes by too fast. So...our house has been decorated (minus the tree only because I couldn't find one) since the day after Halloween. It just makes me happy...
9) Dunkin Donuts Coffee. I am so happy I have discovered Dunkin...I am a complete convert from Starbucks. What "got me" was that you can get your cream and sugar put in for you! No getting out of the car and dragging the kids in to the store or trying to put in your cream and sugar...spilling it all over the car and burning myself. They see our van in the store camera and get it ready! They also have the EXTRA LARGE coffee...which really works for me at this point in my life.
10) Being 39 years old...I have absolutely adored my 30's. About 3 weeks after I turned 30, a light bulb just went off and I realized that things weren't really as hard as I was making them out to be and heart break was not all it was cracked up to be. Since then I have met a wonderful man, gotten married, and have had 3 gorgeous kids that have taught me what it really means to love. So, I am sad to leave my 30's on a lot of levels...but I have no doubt that my 40's will be just as exciting as the last 10 years! (I'm really praying that my 40's will bring the gift of patience on a very dramatic level because I'm going to need it).
Hope everyone has a fantastic Thanksgiving....Psalm 118:1 "O, Give thanks to the Lord; for he is good."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


What an amazing few weeks...I have a job, I don't have a job, I have a job, I don't have a job. Wachovia is Citibank, Wachovia is Wells Fargo, Wachovia is no longer, Wachovia has hope...good grief! What a wide range of emotions the Barnes family has felt these last few weeks. We have the absolute joy of a tiny baby in our house yet the world seems to be in total turmoil. I have tiny moments where I think..."What in the world have I brought these sweet children into?" My hope is that we will feel the brunt of this and they will receive the joy and peace that comes after "times" such as these...because you have to know that peace always comes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Zoo!

I had the delight to take my kids to the Columbia Zoo with my mom this past week. It was so fun. I took ALL three kids to the zoo...I'm good! It's going to be OK, we will get through's doable. Now, I did ship Luke and Henry off to daycare today, because, well...face it, I'm tired from our adventure and I want a pajama day for myself and baby Jonah because I'm that good of a mother.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I love my husband...

...I really do...he's such a good guy. We will be celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary on Sunday. Wow...seems like a long time ago, could be the three kids we now have...all under the age of five. Jon is such a trooper...he really is...I mean, I have been hormonal for about four years if that tells you anything. Poor guy. There's seems to be something about a new baby that makes women (at least me) feel like their husbands know not one thing. The mean looks whenever he opens his mouth...the very exaggerated eye roll whenever he makes an attempt to do anything's like an involuntary response. So weird. Anyway, so a few weeks ago when the baby was finally home and the kids were crazed and out of their routine...I was especially irritated with my husband that seems to know nothing (but really does know something)...we passed each other on the stairs with me in a huff and he as good natured as ever...I scowled at him but he stopped me and let me know that he understood that I would be mad at him for a good month and that it was OK. I must say I was absolutely, my have we come a long way. I felt so free when he said let me know that he knew me a little bit better then I thought and that he's manly enough to take a few hits here and there while I recover from surgery and release some of these crazy hormones! Cheers to you Jon for being a fantastic husband, father and friend...Happy Anniversary. I love you!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

He's finally arrived...

Yup! He's finally here. I sit here holding a new baby yet still surprised that I am not pregnant anymore, which is a very weird sensation. When I drink a coke or coffee, I keep thinking...oh yeah, I can do this without's totally OK now even though you did it anyway! Hooray. Anyway...
Jonah Andrews Barnes came into this world on Friday, September 12th at 3:27 p.m. He is gorgeous! He even has some hair which is new for both our other kids have been bald for the most part. He was 9 lbs and 11 oz and 22 inches long...which came as a total shock to me since he was only 39 weeks (Let's just say a quick thank you prayer for scheduled c-sections!). All went really well...he's very laid back and easy (another quick prayer that this will continue). Luke and Henry are hanging in there and warming up to him slowly but surely. More pictures to come....

Friday, September 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Sassy! are wonderful. We hope you had a fantastic 65th birthday!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Beach Blues and Henry Happiness

It's labor day weekend and I am spending the weekend with my 2 year old, Henry. Long story short, we planned our annual beach trip in December before I knew I was pregnant...a very nice house on the water with a pool! We look forward to this trip all involves several families with kids our same age and it's just so fun! I thought for some reason (maybe it was just a mental pregnancy block) that I would be fine at the beach at 37 weeks! I probably would have been fine as I was only going to go half the week and then I would come back with Henry. But, as we all have experienced the wonder of Murphy's Law...if I went the headlines would read, "North Carolina mother has baby in sand while small kids watch." The subtext would say something like, "Drunk dads playing Cornhole did not even notice; children scarred for life". So, I am staying home and poor Henry had to stay with me this go around. One of Henry's greatest attributes is one of his greatest downfalls...he's fearless! He will jump into the pool no matter if anyone is standing there to catch him or not (he does not know how to swim by the way). He tries to run in the road because it's funny to be chased. He will try anything you give him...I love this about him as it's completely opposite of myself and I think it's a great quality. BUT, not a good place when there's only one parent watching two kids in a house with a pool a few steps away. Not to mention, I would be a wreck if they were all down there and I was here. I don't think that Jon would be able to have fun because he would be on the phone with me the entire time! So, it's all for the best. I blubbered when they backed out of the driveway and still feel a little weepy here and there. Everyone I would normally be with if Jon was away is out of town's been kind of a lonely weekend as far as adult conversation goes...but, it's been good in a lot of ways. However, it is Monday (Labor Day and not my "labor day" thank the Lord) and I made it! Hooray for me and Henry.
The time I have spent with Henry has been awesome. He's such a sweet, tender hearted smart kid...I just love him! Some of the things I have learned about Henry...
1) He's great can drag this kid anywhere.
2) He's open to bribery...I bribed him to sit in the cart at Target and Sam's with popcorn and hand sanitizer (totally worked).
3) He's so affectionate. He loves to touch my hair, kiss, hug, snuggle and hold hands.
4) He loves to dance...we know this about him, but he was in full affect all weekend!
5) He misses and loves his brother...every time he wakes up he says, "Where Luke?" I say, "At the beach." and he says, "Oh, I sad." It's so sweet.
6) He's much, much smarter then I probably ever gave him credit for. He works for very hard at manipulating a situation...fake crying, fake sleeping,'s funny, except when he screams. He's catching on quickly that he won't get his way...which is smart too!
7) He's got more facial expressions per emotion then I originally thought.
8) He's mischievous...which is not a new thing for him, but I noticed that it's just enough and not too much.
9) He's got a fantastic sense of humor. At times you really feel like "he gets it".
10) He absolutely loves to laugh.
Great weekend! I really did miss the trip, but the time spent with my "baby" Henry was awesome! I think it was great for us both...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Swinging Bridge's and Bright Ideas

Maybe it's just the guilt of working parents that send their kids to daycare all day every day...but we are constantly on the look out for fun things to do with our kids to fill the weekends with something other then t.v. I mean, we are constantly on the's a little ridiculous. It's a little more ridiculous because I am 9 months pregnant and with the exception of a nap or two over the weekend...we just keep moving. This past weekend was no exception. We decide (rephrase: I decide) that it would be good to get out of the heat of the city and ride up to Grandfather Mountain. Aren't we so fun and spontaneous! About 20 minutes in to the seat belt is too tight, I have to pee, biscuits have been thrown all across the car, the whining, whining and more whining...I am totally exasperated and wondering, "WHY!?, Why do I continue to try filling my children's lives with fun and adventure?" I get the, "You really need to relax look" from I breathe and do my best to enjoy our day. As we wind up the mountain things definitely get better...there's just something so peaceful about the mountain effects me. Maybe I just feel closer to God? Whatever it was working. About 5 miles outside of the Grandfather entrance, Henry says through his paci, "Ma tumy hur", "Ma tumy hur" the time I get this deciphered, I realize his tummy hurts...I ignore it. I mean, I'm sure he will be fine. I give him a banana, (yes, I am that fabulous that I packed an amazing cooler of fruit, healthy snacks and bottled water. No one has noticed my fabulousness though because they are way too full from eating sausage biscuits). Not even a half a mile later I turn my head to see Henry vomit banana all over the car...Grand! I will say this dampened my mountain air buzz I had going on (not to mention it's the only buzz that I've had going on in 9 months). We rushed to park, got him all cleaned up...Luke was pretty much focused on the Lion King and missed the entire episode...Henry seemed to find the whole thing amusing...Jon and I were weary and it was only 10:00 (I don't think either of us were sure about what to do) might as well just keep going...I mean, what would Frodo do...Onward!
We started with the animals, which was great! The kids were able to feed the bears and watch them chase each other around (they are very fast by the way!). We saw cougars, deer (reindeer if you ask Henry), sea otters, and eagles. It was fun, but Grandfather Mountain is just that...a mountain...when you are 9 months pregnant the word "hilly" is not your friend and the animal park, though small, is rather hilly (equals...not my friend!). It's definitely not fun when you have to run while 9 months pregnant after a 2 year old that does not seem to understand what the word "stop" means. Overall, the animal park gets a thumbs up, but not when pregnant.
On to yet another brilliant idea of mine...the Mile High Swinging Bridge! What fun...especially for very young rambunctious boys who are only try to fulfill their total need for adventure...even at 4 and 2. They were thrilled at the sight of it all...who can blame them. I, on the other hand, get closer the bridge...just a talking to myself..."be normal...just keep walking across...just go. YOU CAN do are a mommy and can do anything." Jon breaks my train of thought and says, "I think Henry should walk b/c if we hold him he will be over the rail line and if he squirms...well, you know..." Uh...the supermom had not thought of this...I respond, "Oh yeah, good....OK." I take Henry's hand noticing that Henry could totally fit through the rails on the bridge if he really wanted to! Not sure which is better here. OK..."Just keep are not afraid...take the boys hand and keep moving." And I did just that...walk, walk, walk, stop...I looked around...there were so many people, Jon and Luke got ahead of us and I freaked...told Henry I was sorry and we turned around. Henry was devastated...I of course promised that Daddy would come back and take him across...which appeased him for a minute. I could not take my eyes off Luke and Jon as they got across, took some pictures and came back. Poor Jon...the minute he got back, I told him that he had to take Henry over...always good natured...Jon agreed and grabbed his hand. Of course, Luke was not about to stay with Mommy...he wanted to go to...he ran after Jon...onto the heart raced...Jon took his hand and off they went. Me...very pregnant...watching. Now the worry really started...I began sweating profusely. I couldn't hide it either because I chose to wear a grey t-shirt which loves to expose wet underarms! I then started pacing and talking to myself, "Jon...hurry up! Why is it taking you so long...come on, come on...please come back." Not sure what was going on with me, but I know I was totally crazed. A mild panic attack ensued. After what seemed like a total eternity...they started back...they were so happy and pleased with themselves and I was so proud of them all! I learned a few things on this day trip to Grandfather...1) Even though our kids are small...the whole process of learning to let go comes hard, fast and very early! It would have been easier to hover and not trust that it was going to be OK...but I really think that letting go and watching was the best thing I could have done no matter how afraid I actually was... 2) I need to really think through my bright spontaneous really something I have to be?! I don't think so! :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

How Do YOU Know My Mommy is Pregnant?!

I picked the kids up from daycare yesterday and as I was getting the kids situated in the car...a car pulled up into a space close to ours. So, our car, then empty space, then new car. It was one of the father's picking up in the car...he got out, looked at me, smiled and said "Hi". He went on to fix the car seat in his car and I went on to get Henry buckled in. Both the doors of the mini van were wide open as I usually get Henry in first and then buckle Luke in. So, the man asks, "So, when are you due?" I told him September and he smiled and said, "Congratulations". He went on to fix the car seat in his car. Meanwhile, Luke gives me a completely puzzled look and in the lowest voice that a 4 year can possible reach (this would be "normal" voice but you could tell he was trying to whisper), he asks, " does that man know that you are having a baby?" I stared at him for a second, reminded myself that he was four and said, "Son, do you see mommy's belly sticking out?" He nodded, yes. "Well, he sees it too and that's how he knows mommy is pregnant." He looks at me in complete disbelief...cups his hands around his mouth and shouts to the man very loudly, who is now almost at the daycare door, "HEY!...Hey!" The man turns around, Luke screams, "How did you know my mommy is having a baby?!" It all happened so fast. I said, "Luke!" The man opened the door, smiled really big, laughed and yelled back, "Because your mommy looks like she's having a baby." He scurries into the building...horrified, I'm sure. I am standing there with my mouth wide open...horrified, for sure. Luke looks me right in the eyes and says in complete astonishment, "You were right mommy." I said, "Son, I'm the mommy and I'm always right."

Monday, August 11, 2008

34 Weeks and Counting....

So, I guess I haven't come right out and said on the blog, "Hey, I'm pregnant!" but I am saying it now. 34 weeks to be exact...which would be why I have not blogged 30 of those 34 weeks. Barnes Baby Boy number 3! So the family dynamic shifts once again...the poor dogs...I'm sure they feel like they are hanging on to their place in the family by a single claw. You can just see it in their eyes...wondering if they will be fed again after yet another baby comes into their world and tries to eat their food or tries to feed them one juicy morsel of dog food at a time. The bright side is they have another face they can lick and more food to steal from the chubby little hands full of food at their eye level but they are clearly not seeing the bright side to all of this...such sad faces! The boys are taking it all in stride and seem to be dealing with it all very well. Henry has no idea what's coming so....he does still get upset if I pick up another child. He frantically screams, "MY Mommy!"I hate to see him suffer when I do that but gosh it makes me feel great when he stakes his mommy claim! Luke seems to have a firm grasp that he will be "in charge" of yet another small human that needs all the wisdom he has to offer from his last four years of life. Jon and I are the ones that are a bit of a's as if we have no idea a baby is even coming...what baby!? I'm sure we are being over confident since we already have two...I mean, what is one more in the midst of all the chaos. Does a third baby even need a crib? A dresser draw will suffice...HA! We are slowly but surely getting ready....but it's sssssllllooooowwwww. It's funny how you become seasoned in it all. I talk to first moms to be and find myself trying to impart that same peace that my good friends gave to me..."you will know what to do" or "you don't really need the wiper warmer " or "love grows" (my personal favorite bit of advice given to me ever!). Maybe that's the beauty of having more then one or two. You find the peace that having one doesn't bring as much just know that through each stage it's going to be just fine...or maybe it's just the numbness that comes with sleep deprivation! Who knows...either way...we are thrilled about our new to come soon!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Update: Pureed Veggies

Ok so, it's been 6 months since I blogged. Shameful, I know! But I have a very good excuse, I swear! Now, for all you moms out there that were suffering mentally because you were thinking that I was such a fantastic "get your kids to each veggies mom" will be glad to know that I have not thawed one bag of pureed veggies for my kids in six months. As a matter of fact, I had to throw all those fantastic bags of pureed veggies away because I had to make room for the boxes of Eggo's and huge bags Freezee Pops! You can all breathe a collective sigh of relief...I too, have lost the war on the vegetable battle ground! It is a war...don't fool yourself. I did, however, find out that my four year old absolutely loves barbecue chicken. I had no idea until we went to our friend Traci's house...turns out that he loves it and has been eating it for years at daycare. **sigh** I do remain hopeful! I'm resting up to jump back into battle once the baby comes...but for now, it's hot dogs with mac and cheese...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Michon!

We hope you have a fantastic day and Birthday weekend!

Cupid...where are you?!

Valentine's Day...crazy holiday of racing I like to call it. I know, I's about love! Maybe it's just that we have had a crazy two weeks and believe me, it's not been "fun crazy". Everyone in the family has been sick with a nasty's been going on for two weeks now...the kids were out of daycare for 5 days! EEK! Of course, Superstar Mom that I am...did not get it! What's even more amazing is that my kids coughed right in my face no less then 100 times and I STILL didn't get it! Believe me, I am grateful...but this is why sick sympathy is not my strong point as my very good friends know. When boys of all ages (and I do mean, all ages) are sick...they are pitiful and they whine. It's just a fact of life and I am learning to accept it. It doesn't help my lack of sympathy though!, we are trying to get back to normal this week and here comes Valentine's just snuck up on me! I realized on Wednesday that I needed to make cupcakes, address cards for the kids classmates and get something for Jon! Needless to say, I had to cut out Jon's gift and tell him to go ahead to Home Depot to buy something and I just wouldn't say anything when the money came ouf of the account. He said, "That's fine, because I didn't get you anything either." So, that's our attitude this Valentine's day...there's always next year. All that matters is that the kids had fun anyway and they did!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Cauliflower is just plain stinky!'s been so long since I have blogged anything for a variety of reasons (which you will eventually hear about)...but I've lost all my momentum about why my house smells like cauliflower...especially, since all the other odors in my house have taken back over and choked the cauliflower down. I know it is, however, still stirring in the far corners of my house only to rear it's ugly head when we have a party or the type of people over that make me actually care about the smell of my house! Anyway, so, I'll try to get back on task with this particular subject. A friend told me about the book "Deceptively Delicious" by Jessica's basically a cookbook to teach you how to trick your kids into eating's really not a "trick" pretty much just puree the veggies and match them to the color food you are making...for instance, you would put in a half cup of pureed cauliflower into say...mac and cheese...they are none the wiser. The big catch here is that there is ALOT of prep work that needs to be done...unless of course, you are the person that happens to have fresh veggies of all types in your refrigerator at all times. Which is not us....when I go out on limb and decide we need to cook vegetables...they are usually found underneath a half eaten plate of chicken nuggets...and let's just say...they've been there a WHILE and usually unopened. I mean, my kids don't like vegetables because we don't really eat a lot of cooked vegetables...salad, all day long...but mushed up carrots...not for me. Could be those long hours I spent after dinner sitting alone at the kitchen table after everyone but my father had gone to bed...just staring at my now cold, wilted greenbean...defiant as ever, refusing to eat a single nibble. I pretty much would wear my Dad down and he would send me off to bed only to do it all over again the next night. Try as they might, my pallat was never "properly trained" when it comes to vegetables.
This would be the reason I must "trick" my kids into eating vegetables...not to mention it's added work, because I am certainly not eating anything with pureed cauliflower in it, so now I have to make two meals., I get all the stuff I need and start "mad scientist" like pureeing the veggies until all hours of the night. It was kinda fun! However, once I was house wreaked...because you also have to either steam or roast the vegetables before pureeing. (Quick tip if you buy this book...get a steamer, don't rely on yourself and a saucepan to get the job done). Needless to say, I burnt the cauliflower...which leads to the real reason that kids don't eat vegetables...they are just plain stinky!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Cheers to the Circus!

I'm sure you are all on pins and needles waiting to hear about our circus adventures!
Let's just let some of the pictures speak for themselves...
Preshow...a little stressful, but we did not let it faze us!

At the sight of the first elephant, he came right out of it! It was fantastic!

We really did have so much fun...both Jake and Luke were fantastic. We had perfect seats...we were far enough away from the clowns and close enough to see what was going on. It really could not have been better...I am so glad we did it!
Very short commentary on the unbelievably high cost of the food (yet another clue that I am getting older). Jon went out to get some drinks...I texted him quickly and asked him to get some cotton candy...after a few minutes the only response I got was "NO!" I was a little irritated, but figured I would see what he came back with...let's just say when he got back he had the look of complete astonishment on his face..."They wanted $12 for cotton candy!" It was shocking to say the least, now, I probably would have gone ahead and purchased as it's the circus and it's once a year...but since he was there, obviously, I couldn't...(sorry Jon, it's just the truth)...regardless, $12.00 for air, sugar and a cardboard stick...ridiculous!
Enough of that...we will definitely be going back no matter what the cost and we can't wait for Henry to see it all...he was missed! Thanks to Mer for watching the littler booger. Definitely getting floor tickets next year along with the Stickels!
Stay tuned for "Why my entire house smells like cauliflower!...yuck!"

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Greatest Show on Earth!

Ah...the Circus...the Greatest Show on Earth! I made a secret vow at a young age that when I grew up and had kids I would take them to the circus every year of their life until they were at least 8 (which is what I think I was at the time). Now, I think I will take my kids every year of their life until they can figure out how to jump from the car on the way. It's a classic event in every child's life...I cannot wait!
However, as the carrying out of my promise to myself begins, I have been very uncertain on how this little adventure will go...the life and perspective of a three year old is so unpredictable! My good friend Christina has a son, Jake, who is Luke's age. Christina and I share the same thoughts on exposing our kids to fun, entertaining events and experiences. We have either separately or together tried all of the following...The Wiggles, The Doodlebops, Sesame Street Live, Santa Train, and Go! Dog! Go! Now, these go well for the most part, but we usually always leave early wondering why we just didn't go to the park for free rather then spending all the money to end up in the "Quiet Room" during the show or enduring the screams of a three year old, "That doggie is scaring me!", at the top of his lungs during the "silent" part of the show or trying to pry your child (Luke) with his fingers in his ears and eyes shut out of a curled up ball. Not sure if we are over ambitious parents or just plain dumb...but here we go again to the circus and what's funny about it is we are SO excited about matter what is to come. That, I think, is the beauty of it all. Will we leave early? Probably. Will our kids get upset? Maybe...but that's OK because it's as much of an adventure for us as it is for them. Maybe this will be the show they "get" and love and remember forever and ever! That's the hope, which is why we keep enduring...
I will say that we have gotten smarter...opening night is half price and we got the cheapest tickets we could...hooray! I have also assured Luke over and over that we are as "far away from the clowns as humanly possible"! He also wanted me to make sure that all the animals will be in, I said they would be for the "most part". Hopefully, no lions will get loose and coming running into the audience as he will be scarred for life. He also informed me that we should probably bring a flashlight for when the lights go out..see, he's learning too....
So keep tuning in to find out how it all turns out!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Wii had a Wii party!

We decided that it wasn't enough to just have a Wii...we needed to celebrate it and share it with our friends. Now, if you don't have really should be a must on your things to get. I am a recovered video game could not keep me away from the pacman's, galaga, mario brothers, etc...then they all went 3-D and I couldn't really make heads or tails of it all try as I might. The WII, however, is fantastic! It is so fun and easy, not to mention it gave us a good reason to have people over. Thanks to everyone who came over and enjoyed the night...

Luke's First Job

So, we decided that it was probably time for Luke to have his first family chore.
He was very excited about the whole idea, little does he know that this will be the first of MANY! We said he was "allowed" to pick one of the following: Feed the dogs, Clean the toys in the tub up every night, "Make" his bed or take the plates to the sink and wipe the table.
After much discussion, he decided to do the plates and wipe the table. I was very proud of his decision and excitement. We took out some paper, drew a picture of him and what he would be doing. He meticulously taped it to the door...
As we went over each point of his new job, he looked at me completely serious and said, "What are you going to do now?" HMMMMM? I can think of a few things I can do now that you are taking care of this...
It's been about a month now and he is doing pretty good. When there's something fun going on, he literally throws his stuff in the sink usually splattering ketchup or syrup everywhere (must be his way of giving me "something" to do). Then swipes the table with a towel and runs off. At bath time, he takes a solid 30 minutes to get the job done...after a snails paced walk to the sink, he wipes every nook and cranny of the table...typical, I'm sure.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Brian!

Happy Birthday to my brother-in-law Brian (or "Brownie" if you are talking to Luke)! You're an oldie but a goodie! We know you have not been feeling we hope your "make up birthday party" is a good one! Enjoy....We love you!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Being "That Crazy Family"

Yup, we had a moment today when we were totally "that crazed family" with kids screaming in the middle of the Bagel store. know it well. I was thinking..."what a wonderful picture this is of us all out to eat. We just love each other so's so fantastic!" And it was! We had cream cheese all over...just enjoying the moment. It was quiet...all the people around us enjoying their bagels and newspapers...and then it happened...a three and a half year old realizes that he does not have what his brother has...the dreaded sippy cup battle ensues. He grabs it out of Henry's hand and insists that it's his sippy cup. Henry cuts loose as he probably should at his age...we jump in and try to reason with Luke. Maybe that was the big mistake...trying to reason with a 3 year old. Not sure why we never seem to learn this lesson...maybe we just don't know what will cause the implosion which must be because we think we are reasonably smart people. Jon tries to explain to Luke that he left his cup in the car and he would literally have a drink in two minutes. The screaming continues...Jon actually goes to the car to get the sippy cup in question, but even when he comes back in...the screaming continues as Luke insists that Henry's sippy cup is his. Looking back, we wonder why we just didn't say, "OK, it's yours." That would probably have been much to easy and besides it felt like Luke needed to "learn" something in this situation.
Screaming, crying, screaming...major punisment embarressment as people are LOOKING! I'm imagining that most people are thinking, "Been there done that..." but, then I see the looks on their faces and think, No, they are thinking..."Who is this crazed family and why can't they control their kids? I wish they would leave....". The wonderfulness ends....dern.

Needless to say, we left...but not without a the end I was carrying screaming kids out of the restaurant like possessed sacks of potatoes. As I went, I was mouthing the words, "I'm so sorry, so sorry" to all the people enjoying their most fantastic quiet breakfast and Sunday paper. I had to put Henry down at the front of the restaurant...which gave Luke his opportunity to wriggle free. He ran back through the restaurant screaming, "I DON'T WANT TO LEAVE!"...upside, at least he wasn't screaming "HELP ME!" So, we wrangled the kids in the car...literally. Started down the road...the crying stopped as if nothing happened. We went home and made pirate hats...all is well, but what in the world?
Of course, I wonder what type of parent I am...where is all the wisdom I have been praying for? What just happened here? Of course, I realize it's all normal for the most part. But I can't help but wonder what God is showing me in all of this, because there has to be a lesson. The only thing that comes to mind is that I once was a toddler Christian. I've come a long way...He had to drag me kicking and screaming from situations, relationships and much more and thank God he did. So maybe that's the wisdom parents we need to model our parenting skills from Him. Which is why we have to drag our kids out of situations like that no matter how judged or embarressed we may's the best for everyone. They may not know for a very long time the benefit of it all, but it's there and they will know...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Who Let the Dogs Out?!

Our "other" dog...

ROAR! scary.

Merriwether's 40th Birthday at the Rock Barn

"At twenty we worry about what others think of us; at forty we don't care about what others think of us; at sixty we discover they haven't been thinking about us at all."
I'm not really sure who to give credit for this quote, but it really is true. That's the beauty of 40 and getting older in general. Ok, do you hear me? Trying to make "aging" fantastic and it is of course...although, I wouldn't go so far as to say, I miss my 20's...I just wish I was "older" in my 20's. Anyway...we spent Merriwether's 40th birthday at the Rock Barn spa. It was a fantastic day. We spent it with Kathlene, her sister, and our two best friends from jr high/high school, Candy and Traci. We had great conversation and tons of laughter which is how it is no matter where we are when we are together.
As most of you know, I think that Merriwether is the most wonderful person I have ever met. She has been my best friend more years then not, if that makes sense...some of my favorite things about her is that she just knows how to be a great friend, she listens with her heart and never judges, she tells great stories and laughs at the drop of a hat (cries to, but we won't go there). She had a great day and I'm so happy I could be apart of it!

Here she is getting not only ONE blue box (and you all know the one) but TWO!

Remember that thing I said about crying....that would be what's going on here. For those of you that wrote cards, verses, memories and'll be happy to know she was so happy, she cried...she was extremely touched as you can see.

Me and Mer...BFF (HA!)

A word about the cake...not was it one of the more beautiful cakes I have seen, it was delicious. It was made by Traci's (shown above) personal chef (as I like to think of the person that made it)...It was the perfect topper to a perfect day!
Happy Birthday Mer...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Luke's First Gymnastics Class

So we convinced Luke that since "Daniel Cook" tried gymnastics that maybe he should try it too. Tonight was the first class and he LOVED it. He told me last night that he would absolutely not be jumping into the foam pool like Daniel did, but he did it and it turned out to be his favorite part. His teacher is "Miss Boo" and we thought she was great...

I don't think that Jon and I quite understand what exactly we have begun here...I'm sure this will be the first of many times we stand and cheer on the sidelines...

Monday, January 7, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Hooray for 39...not to much going on here, just a normal birthday. With the exception, of course, that my husband ever so tactfully reminded me that in just 365 days, I will be 40. Nice.
Actually, I am looking forward to's going to be a great year.

Ringing in 2008, I must be getting ready to turn 39 (or 80) because we definitely did not "ring in the new year" nor did we even see the ball drop...Jon and I were both in bed around, say...9:30. Sad, but true. However, we did enjoy a late afternoon with the kids along with some very good pizza and our favorite Dean and Deluca salad. Not to mention, the 136 times we "got" to watch the Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious section of Mary Poppins as the kids danced and sang to their hearts content. Not too bad, but not explosive by any stretch of the imagination.

As I think about our 2008 resolutions it's impossible for me not to reflect on 2007...what a fantastic year. Not sure how many people know this but 2007, from a Christian perspective, was known as the "Year of the Open Door". My first thought had been...what wonderful things will happen to us...I can't wait til the end of the year to look back on all the "big bangs" that happened. I must say, we did not have a lot of "big bangs", but the doors have been flung wide open in so many ways. We are poised and set for all the "big bangs" in years to come. I don't want to bore anyone with specifics, but let's just say, it's been a great year not only for me, but for so many people that I know!

2008 resolutions have not come easy for me this year...maybe because our resolution as a family is to slow down and just "be". Enjoy the moment rather then rushing to create the moment. I could recite some really random one's like, "buy a carpet for the green room" or "make sure the toys are organized in their specific bins all year long" but what good would that do. I believe that our biggest goal is to learn to truly pray as a family...part of the slowing down is allowing ourselves to do that...

Cheers to 2007...Happy 2008!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Christmas 2007

Welcome to our blog and our first posting.
Christmas 2007 was absolutely wonderful. A great way to end a fantastic year! We had several Christmas' this year. We, hopefully, started a new tradition with the Barnes family by celebrating Christmas the weekend before the 25th. Jon, Luke, Henry and I spent the night and woke up to a fantastic "early visit from Santa!" So fun! Then we spent Christmas Eve with the Gordon's...Kerry and her family were up from Florida for the first time in several years! We had the first full family picture in 6 years. It was wonderful!

Luke and Henry think they had the greatest Christmas ever, but really, Jon and I had the greatest Christmas ever just watching them do their thing. It's amazing how the 'believing' comes completely back to you when you watch through the eyes of your children.

Lastly, I want to comment about something I heard on the radio in regard to the commercialization of Christmas. Every year, I get more and more upset about how early the Christmas decorations come out and how "Christ" seems to be removed from Christmas. But, I happened to be listening to the radio early one morning and one of the radio guests, Ace Collins, said the most profound words I think I have ever heard in regard to the matter and I paraphrase..."the greatest evangelical witnessing tool is the commercialization of Christmas, because if you barely scratch the surface, you find Jesus..." Wow! So, when you get upset, just remember that everything that "seems" off, He will make it right.