Monday, December 15, 2014

Barnes Christmas Letter

Hello Friends and Family -  - last year I didn't get the chance to send out cards and barely managed to this year - and even so only a few were printed because yikes! that is expensive! i usually DIY them but decided to check one item off my list without a big production involved. I am saving my energies mainly this advent on our Jesse Tree lessons. Every day in advent we read a story in the Bible and by the end of Advent we will have gone through the story of the Bible up to Jesus' resurrection. We try to do every day, but in reality it is more like every other day - so I like to make it special and have an activity that corresponds, or a coloring page. This year some highlights have been...a rainbow pillow the boys made by cutting felt rainbow pieces and pinning them on a background (Bryson helped sew his!)...the boys re-enacted the story of Joseph getting sold by his brothers (complete with sword fight) and then Joseph forgiving them later...we made gingerbread Jerichos after learning about Joshua and Jericho (they used their halloween candy to decorate, ha!). I really enjoy doing this for them because I am hoping it counter-acts all the shiny stuff and remains the consistent background to their Christmas. So that is where a lot of my energies go during the holidays and I am very satisfied with that...however, some of the other little things get left behind. I love sending out cards and newsletters - it is great for me to re-cap our year - and I love the chance to reach out to people that maybe I don't get the chance to as often as I would like. So - here is a little recap of our year by the people in our family:

Bryan - Bryan has been keeping busy as the main coach in the family - he helps out with all the sports activity in this house (which is a BIG job) - he has helped with all the team sports for Bodie and Bryson - basketball, baseball, soccer and golf. He spent a lot of his time working with Bryson and getting him ready for Pinehurst. Being a caddy to Bryson is not an easy job...and Bryan handles it so well - I admire his patience and his love for his son. His main goal is to make sure the boys LOVE golf - I am sure it is partially selfish because he wants to be able to play with them when they are older - ha! Bryan also booked a GM/Credit card commercial (you can see it here if you haven't yet) - it has been a while since he booked one that actually aired - so we are of course thrilled about it!

Carlee - For me, I decided to stop doing Zoodies this year. I have been trying to sew other things and also to not do anything unless the creative bug hits me and that has been nice. I also decided to home school Bryson so for the past 4 months that is where a lot of my effort has been going. I had to shift my work schedule and it has been challenging - i went from 3 days in the office to needing to make up those extra hours kind of has me constantly behind. Things are a little easier now that the winter has hit finally here...but I am consistently playing catch up. I felt the shift this year in raising kids go from baby/toddler to carpool stage. We traded in our stroller for a wagon...which you can find filled with either beach stuff or sports equipment. I find myself in that paradigm shift and trying to find my new normal. Trying to be okay with not having babies anymore and trying to find the joy in the team sports practices and games. I did not grow up doing sports so this is a new experience for me and I am learning how to love it. I recently had a conversation with a mom who expressed her sadness of her 17 year old possibly moving out and one thing she was going to miss the most was the conversation in the I have been trying to be intentional about turning off my radio in the car and start talking. I also took some golf lessons with Bryson to try to get better because I know this is a way to hang out with my boys when they get older.

Bryson - Bryson had quite an amazing year in golf. He scored high enough to be accepted to the Pinehurst Jr. World Championship and came in at T63. He has worked tirelessly this year to prepare for the tournament...on top of everything else too. He is a very competitive person and also has the drive and focus to do what it takes to get there...not to mention the raw talent that doesn't hurt either. I never had that passion or that is exciting to see it in him. Right now he is taking a break from golf - he says that he wants to do it in the spring, but we will see. He is also enjoying homeschool. I think he likes that it doesn't take as long and that we do a lot of stuff outdoors. This kid needs to be moving ALL the TIME.

Bodie - Bodie did T-ball for the first time this year and just finished soccer. He has his first basketball game next week. He also has been golfing with Dad at Heartwell and made 2 birdies!! He is such an athlete and he loves every sport. Whatever one his is in is his favorite. He started Kindergarten and has the same teacher Bryson did and we love her. He has been struggling a little...but every time there is something that needs to improve- he works extra hard. I am so proud of him.

Bobby - Bobby is wanting so bad to join his brothers on their teams. He will be on Bodie's T-ball team next year and we are excited that he is able to do that! His thing right now is skateboarding and Grandpa and Grandma got him a skateboard for Christmas and he learned how to do an ollie yesterday and he is just giving me heart attacks right and left. He is such a silly sweet boy and still just exudes joy to everyone around him.

We also experienced tremendous loss this year. My Grandpa Wally went to be with the Lord - as did Bryan's Grandma Pearl and his Auntie Tang. They are in our hearts every day.

I have been trying to update on the boys in this blog - you can see the rest of the year in more detail if you scroll down. I hope you are well and you can find joy and peace in this Advent season. Here is to the year to come!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Barnes Boys - Where They At?

Dern it! I was doing so good...alas...the last time we were together in this space it was is it already DECEMBER??? so insane. so let's see...

In October we spent a weekend in San Diego and had a bit of a family reunion - so much fun! Here is a coveted picture of the boys and the Waffle King - the restaurant was in a Travel Lodge and it was so packed they put us in the overflow restaurant, which was the Mexican Restaurant also in the travel lodge - so not only were we eating waffles in a travel lodge...we also had the lingering smells of nacho cheese in the air...classic. The family went on a sailboat ride and then later had a bonfire with pizza and s'mores. The next day we all met up with my Grandma June at Jolly Rogers. It was so great being able to connect with everyone over the course of a couple of days - not the pressure of an evening like we normally would on a holiday. Big fan of those family reunions...especially ones that include a waffle king and a bonfire!!

Halloween - gone are the cute costume days - now everyone wants to either be scary or dangerous. So we had a zombie, Karate Kid and a bat - i was a little under-inspired this year. I dont know if it is from making zoodies for so long, or what it is, but Halloween does not thrill me anymore! i think my problem is that i start thinking about it too late...get all these great ideas...with no time to see it through...then go through their costume bin last minute and see what i can find! it is more important to me that my boys dress up on a regular basis than on that ONE DAY of the year...i dunno. that was kinda debbie downer on Halloween...but it's where i am at. so there you go.

My birthday! In November I turned an age I had so long ago thought meant you were "old" and "uncool" - look at how i proved myself wrong! I successfully stretched my birthday out this year - threw a fabulous party with my friend Becky, went on an amazing horseback ride up and around the Los Angeles mountains and also happened to land my book club meeting on my birthday and so i happened to have around 10 amazing women in my home on my birthday - so much fun! I am mostly bummed it is December because that means i can't milk my birthday anymore.

Bryson's Birthday - we spent Bryson's birthday in Monterey for his very last golf tournament of the year. He didn't play as well as he hoped (we were insanely proud of him) so that was a bit of a bummer- he placed 13th of 23 kids - but this was an invitational - so it was a huge thing to just be invited! Monterey was so gorgeous and Bob and Kathy joined us and made it extra special. We went to the most amazing sea food place...Phil's? Nick's? it is in the docks and you order and then sit down and you have to get there before 5 because the line is bananas...i think its Phil's...ill have to ask Bob for you. either way - just go there to that place. bryson had clams, clam chowder, crab meat - insanely good - all of it! 

Bryson's homeschooling is going well too! we have been trying to explore as much as possible and i can already see such a change in him on what learning is and opportunities to learn. i never thought i would get such a kick out of watching him learn...i was too scared about how i would do teaching. I do have plans to get him assessed though at the mid-mark- i want to know if i am "doing it right" - I can't help but be a little nervous that this is too easy? 

Bodie Bear! Bodie is so funny - he is such a different learner/student than Bryson - he is sounding out words and sounds all the time - he really gets serious about his homework - he is done with his homework homework in like 5 minutes, but it is not enough, so almost every day i make up stuff...which is like the exact opposite of bryson i could just laugh. he is loving his teacher and has made quite a few friends in the class. 

Oh Bobby - just as sweet as ever. This kid LOVES his mama! he is going through a major mommy phase right now...which of course i am loving every bit of it - the narcissist i am...but also it really breaks my heart when he cries when i go in the office...i don't suffer mom guilt all that much (yet i am sure) but for sure when that happens...ugh...i feel like i am harming my child and psychologically torturing them....then i remember bodie and bryson both did this too and they arent all too damaged (yet i am sure) - anyway - i think that about wraps it up for this go round- hoping to pop in here a little more regularly - i do so love documenting these guys and their shenanigans!  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Barnes Boys - Where They At?

Hiya September! Where did you go? This month has been such a transitional month - full of amazing good changes and also very challenging difficult changes. I am starting to finally find my new rhythm and it feels good. It takes a while to get there, doesn't it? Yesterday I found myself without kids...without work...and went to the El Dorado Nature Center by myself and walked around. I had a full hour to think and dream and process through some things - trying to find out what that nagging inner voice is trying to say. Sometimes for me finding the stillness to allow that voice to be heard is the hardest. I think I found that I have been missing that peace and that thinking time and that QUIET. I am starting to try to find ways to find that every day. I crave it in a house full of boisterous beings. Anyway...enough of me...onto the Barnes Boys...

Bobby! Bobby transitioned back to pre-school. He has Miss Lizzy - which makes her the first official teacher to have had the whole set! All 3 Barnes boys. She was so happy to have him and keeps exclaiming how different they all are...i know it! She said every time they talk about love in class Bobby talks about how he loves God and his mama! oh my heart...Bobby also turned 4 this month! He was super excited...but not quite clear on the whole your birthday is just 1 day - he keeps expecting people to give him presents. His favorite present has been the plasma car - he is on that thing every day - it makes his brothers jealous because their plasma cars are all banged up, so that makes him especially happy :) Bobby is also transitioning out of his paci and therefore, out of naps. He is doing great - he cried the first few nights, but is good now and thinks he is all big boy now that he doesn't need a nap!

Bodie Bear - Bodie transitioned into Kindergarten and also into Soccer sesason. He is an amazing little player - he is pretty aggressive and goes after that ball scoring mad goals- helps having to always keep up with big brother! Bodie is really enjoying Kindergarten so far. He has the same teacher Bryson had (whom we love) and is loving homework - i keep having to make up homework for him because he has already done all the homework for September! What a different kid than Bryson, ha! I failed taking him on a date in August - our August was nuts!  So I got to take him last week. We went to the trampoline place and then to Chik-fil-A - he loved it! he made me copy everything he did at the bounce place and boy! that boy is always on the move - i was a big sweaty old lady mess at the end! Love chasing after these guys - it fills my heart!

Bryson - Bryson had a big transition - into 3rd grade, into being home-schooled and the start of socccer and his fall golf season. A lot of people have been checking up with me on home schooling and so far it is amazing. I really feel like this is the perfect fit for both of us. It is challenging - like I expected it to be - to get him to do the challenging bits - but it has been growth for both of us. I think the hardest thing for him is that he can't get away with not doing his best. He can't turn in something rushed and that is what he has done for 3 years. We are navigating through it...but we are doing it together and he has been super receptive to that. Every time I read with him he puts his head on my shoulder and that is RARE for this kid. I know he is enjoying this time together and that is something I can't feel anything but gratitude about. I really am loving the curriculum/style of learning we are doing - I feel like it is a good fit for both of us. I am just excited to see how he will grow.

Me and the monkeys on our way to Bryan's sisters's wedding! It was such an amazing weekend and I have not a single picture of it! so sad...but when both you and your husband are in the wedding party - it kinda takes you out of the spectator crowd. We are so happy for Kimmy and Kirk! 

So this is our September so far...Looking forward to the fall and its hopefully cooler weather - Come on Fall - bring it!!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Barnes Boys - Where They At?

In the third month of it and I both LOOOOVE summer and HAAAATE the unstructured days, late nights, lots of good weather and having all 3 of my boys with me all day with no where to be...and then there is the busy side of summer- of weekends completely being crazy...that stuff. So far this summer has been really good to us. I am shocked I have been able to keep up. I know my future self is going to thank me for carving out some time to do this!

Bryson -

Since I last udpated he traveled to North Carolina to compete in the Pinehurst U.S. Kids Jr Golf World Tournament. He was amazing! He had a rough first day and shot 11 over...but the greens were rolling fast and not too many kids shot under, so it was still a good score. He got progressively better - shot a 43 the next day and then a 40 on the last day. He ended the tournament at T63 on the leaderboard out of 140. My dad went with Bryan and Bryson and couldn't stop remarking on how incredible BOTH of my boys are. He went on and on about Bryan and how patient he is with Bryson and couldn't believe how well he handled Bryson's EMOSHUNZ. Bryson can be a little golf diva! he is working on controlling his temper and trying not to go into the next hole with a bad attitude. I am so incredible proud of him. Not just how well he did at this tournament - i truly wouldn't have minded if he came in's just that he has worked so hard. and has sacrificed so much - and at eight years old I don't know if he knows just how remarkable all that is. Bryson has been filling his time since being back by FISHING!!!! he is probably as passionate about fishing as he is about golf...if that can be possible. He keeps track of all the fish he catches and has been keeping a tally all summer...i think he is in the forties now...crazy kid.

Bodie -

Bodie and Bobby both went to VBS while Bryson and Bryan were at Pinehurst. He really enjoyed the music and the VBS in general. That boy is so musical. He likes to listen to a song over and over and over until he gets the words down and is constantly singing/dancing and making up raps. "Cold 9" and "Now I'm Doing This, Now I'm Doing That" are his top 2 songs of the summer. Bodie was super happy to have Bryson back. he was also super sensitive to all the positive feedback he got and cried at one point when Auntie came over and told him how proud she was of me, he melodramatically cried, "Why is no one proud of me?" oh Bodie Bear! I get it...I'm a middle child too. I hugged him extra close and told him how insanely proud of him I am for he has the biggest bestest heart I know. Poor bug. He has been really trying to help me out around the house too. He recently discovered that earning $2 will earn him a Popsicle at farmer's market, so it is on!

Bobby -

 He said, " Take a picture of me mom! I'm the cutest!" well...don't tell him but its true :) this kid is just all kinds of cute. little cheeseball! He also enjoyed VBS. i was pretty excited to find one that took 3 and older. I needed childcare that week because bryan was going to be gone and i needed to work. With the help of friends I was able to get completely caught up at work, which is no small feat in the heat of summer! I got a letter home from VBS that bobby had accepted Jesus into his heart...i asked him if he knew what that meant "It means Jesus is in your heart. And God. And the Bible" Ha! He was just thrilled to finally go and was all smiles every day and told everyone, "I get to go to VBS!" so cute! Soccer is starting up for Bodie and Bryson and this guy doesnt understand why he can't do it too. It is so hard...he stood on the corner of the field watching Bodie with such yearning it made my mama heart sad...but then again - 3 kids in organized sports??? that is just bananas. both bodie and bryson practice 2 nights a would you even do that with 3? i guess we will find out soon enough, huh?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Barnes Boys - Where They At?

Summer - I love you, but please slooooooow down! We have been so busy this month! Some family updates since the last post - we went on our annual camping trip to the Sierras (which was awesome...and i won!)  then Bryson left for San Jose as soon as we got back, which he spent the next 2 weeks doing tennis camp with meema (among a million other things with both his meema and papa - hopefully this makes it into his summer journal that he is a month behind on). Having only Bodie and Bobby felt oddly like a mini vacation - but it also made me realize how much i rely on Bryson to keep his brothers at peace. He gets them breakfast in the morning and he really helps with them both in general. We also commented how much we missed Bryson's enthusiasm for life - it was a total different vibe when he wasnt felt right to have him back. And as soon as he got back - tournament then another tournament then another...its been golf month for sure with Pinehurst next week! Eek! While Bryson was gone we celebrated 4th of July and my niece Riley turning 2, then 2 days later our anniversary, then 2 days later our dear friends from Portland came to town and we were able to have a night out and adult conversation (what?) and then a couple days later we camped for Bryan's birthday in Avila and met up with his folks. The next week the boys had VBS then it was off to La Quinta for a golf tournament. We have been putting the miles on the cars this summer!

Bryson - so...golfing and fishing have pretty much been bryson's world this month. It is rare that a day goes by that he hasnt done one or both of these things! right now he is fishing with his dad at crystal cove and as of last report he had caught about 12 little sharks! all weekend he fished at the pond in back of my dad's house and caught about 30 fish over 3 days- catfish and sunfish and small mouth bass. it was nuts! one catfish was probably close to 7 pounds. As good as he did fishing, he also did golfing! he got his best score ever on day 1 of the tournament - 35 - 1 under par!!! both bryan and my dad said this was the most difficult course he has played too, which made me even more proud! he had a tougher time the second day with a 43 but pulled it together on the third day with a 39 to finish in 3rd place at a World Championship! The boy who won was from Thailand and won the Jr. World previously - he gave bryson a little elephant magnet that said "Thailand" on it- so cute! Also this month I was able to take Bryson on a date- tennis, then golf at little rec and a clam dinner - so fun! 

Bodie - i got to spend a lot of time with bodie when bryson was gone - and boy that kid took full advantage of being the older brother! he got super bossy pants. more and more he is really trying to defend the rules - but really only when it is someone else...he still struggles with following direction himself...sigh...those middle kids! He loved having his brother back too. Bodie is really sensitive to everything you say and I need to remember to choose my words wisely because they go a long way with him. When you pour words of encouragement into him you can see his entire countenance change. Also when you are cross with him, it takes him to a different place. I am really working on my sensitivity with this boy - he is a good teacher for someone like me who has a hard time filtering!

Bobby has also had a lot of attention - both bryan and i got to spend mornings alone with him while his older brothers were at VBS and we both had so much fun! i took him one day to a trampoline place and jumped with him for an hour and a half and one day bryan bought him a special outfit and took him mini golfing - bobby is so easy to spoil! he is too fun! 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Barnes Boys - Where They At?

How is it June already? Every summer I just feel like I need to buckle up and hold on- everything seems such a crazy pace - packed weekends, SUPER busy work days, balancing our schedule and over-planning. I never feel caught up - I never feel like I have done enough in one day. This summer I really want to schedule out peaceful simple days to counter balance the super paced work days. Also - I want to be present in these amazing times where I get to adventure with all 3 of them all the day long! It truly feels like such a precious fleeting time and I am doing my best to stay present minded and grateful.

Bobby!! I took Bobby on a date this month to a putt putt place (his choice) and he was so funny. I honestly didnt know how he would do since some times he can not be held to "rules" and "doing things in order" but this he did really really well! i think it has something to do with all the golf mornings with daddy - so thanks bryan! On our date he confided that "I dont like when daddy calls me other names - like Bob" - which is funny because i am the one who usually calls him that when he is being mischievous :) and then we went to CPK and he told me how he is sad school is over. It is so fun to get to spend time with him by himself - he is such a different person when he isn't trying to defend himself :) 

Bodie O! Bodie finished baseball. He played so great. Watching him play kept me thinking about how different bryson and bodie are. Bryson at this age/stage was super serious about baseball. he asked anyone to play catch with him and practiced all the time. he loved his games and would talk about them all day. Bodie is like...hmmmm....when i asked him what he liked best about t-ball his response was "the snack bags" so...there is that. But at the same time - he is so good! its think he will get out there and just zone out, but he makes plays and hits home runs...oh bodie. Bodie also graduated from pre-school. Pretty cute stuff right there. I am getting pretty worried about bodie in kindergarten - he is just so different than bryson was at this age and I just worry that kindergarten would be overwhelming for him. I filled out an application for Bodie to bryson's home-school charter school just in i am feeling better about that - we can always pull him out if the struggles aren't good struggles. Also - we have been down to visit my dad in La Quinta a few times over the past couple months and it has been great for practicing swimming. Bodie did so great last time! We went down to watch Bryan's mom play tennis - and win her doubles match - and she helped bodie learn to float and improve his dog-paddling/swimming thing he does. I am pretty confident he will be a little fish by the end of the season! 

Bryson - Bryson is still golfing like a mad-man. He was in a tournament for Long Beach Jr Kids Golf and got a 36 at little rec, which turned out to be a 3 way tie. There was a putt off for the win and Bryson won! He was so super pumped - so proud of himself. he slept with his trophy and kept staring at it all day long. It turned out they had the best scores of all the kids - about 25 kids ages 7-16! I walked with them, but didn't club him - he did it all on his own and I couldn't be prouder of him! 

Bryson is getting excited about home-schooling. We got him a little chromebook to keep his summer journal in and found all kinds of educational sites that will help aid our homeschooling and he is already so excited about being able to research things he is interested in...which right now is golf and lizards. We started his summer journal - you can follow it by clicking here

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Being Intentional - An Update

Something I struggle with is being intentional. I am a pretty fly by the pants type of gal - so planning and thinking ahead are a struggle for me - it is also something I wanted to work on personally since last year I found so much satisfaction in meal planning and summer planning. It really made a difference on the entire family dynamic and flow when i took the time out to be thoughtful in my planning. So - I wanted to take it a step further this year and commit to dating every boy in my family. What this looked like was every month of of the kiddos got to have special time with me alone. The first time I picked what we did and the second time I let them choose. With Bryan - we have been taking turns once a month doing a more planned date than dinner or a movie...something different or new or special to be intentional and discover new things. We will be celebrating 13 years in a little over a month, so it can be difficult to stretch out of your comfort zone - but it has been so so fun. I wanted to recap everything so far for posterity and inspiration!

Bryson: I took Bryson in January to Bower's Kids Museum. It was kind of a bust. I had never been before and thought it was bigger than it was. We only spent like an hour there and we were both over it. We did every room and every activity and were like, bleh. I felt bad the museum was such a dud that I took him to the $2 theater in Santa Ana and let him pick Panda Express at the food court for dinner. So I think it made up for it. On our second date in April, Bryson really wanted me to golf with him. So we played Little Rec and then went to Sushi Studio for dinner. I am really enjoying going with Bryson golfing. It is something I have future goals for since this is a way I will be able to spend time with all my boys when they get older. I have learned that boys desire shoulder to shoulder friendship and golf is a great game that allows that type of non-pressure conversation and friendship to happen and it is making me fall in love with it...even though i am awful...even though it is a frustrating game...even though i still find it pretty high on the boring scale.

Bodie: In February I took Bodie to a putt putt place (my choice) and then we ate pizza - in May I took Bodie to a putt putt place (his choice) and we ate at Islands. Bodie is hilarious on a date. He is so different one on one than with his brothers. He is very reserved and quiet, but when you are still and let him have a long time to think he will surprise you with his thoughtfulness and what is on his mind (much like his father!)

Bobby: In March I took Bobby to Pretend City in Irvine. Bobby destroyed that place! I realized that Bobby indoors is kind of insane (unless maybe a bounce house type place?) He was all over the place - I wanted him to discover each station and take his time playing at each one and NOOOO....he was like - look a store - whiz, bang everything off the shelf, run for the door - onto the farm - take out all the fruit on the trees, try to dig a million holes, and zoom onto the plumbing part...etc etc - i was EXHAUSTED at the end. Like exhausted. I forget where we had dinner. i was pooped! I am supposed to take him somewhere in June - he wants to go to a putt putt place, but I can not imagine him being able to do mini golf...maybe the bouncing place would be better?

Bryan: We have had fun! There have been intentional dates just the two of us, but some of our most fun and memorable times has been for birthdays. In January we went roller skating. In February I got a groupon for a clay wheel class. In March we had an evening in the most amazing house in LB for a 30th birthday. In April Bryan took me overnight to a fancy dinner movie theater and hotel on the beach. In May we went to Groundlings in LA for a night of comedy improv and to our total shock of awesomeness Kristen Wiig was in the cast! Such a blast - we laughed the entire time! Other memorable dates include a birthday for Julie at the Monarch Bay Beach Club - dinner and smore's under the sky in front of the ocean in the sand - such a fun and wonderful night. A Clippers game where we sat in the Second Row!! thank you to his cousin for that! A night out in Palm Springs where we could take our time and enjoy conversation. We have been blessed with a lot of wonderful occasions and great friends- who throw great parties!