Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Barnes Boys - Where They At?

We are right in the thick of the Holidays...actually I think we may have left the thick behind with this weekend and look forward to a relaxing rest of the year...at least that is the "plan" anyway. After coming back from an amazing Thanksgiving holiday, we got swept right back into non-stop guests and parties. This last weekend we celebrated St. Lucia day with my brother, sister and dad and all the people associated with those people, then on Saturday we went up to Sierra Madre to celebrate a traditional Swedish Christmas that my lovely cousin Henrik and his wife Anna were so gracious to host, then on Sunday we watched Bodie perform in the church choir and went straight from there to the SWEA St. Lucia Festival in LA. I did not take nearly enough pictures - I don't feel like there was much down time and I definitely need a weekend for my weekend, but it was all good fun...all good Swedish fun, ja sure! 

Bryson - Bryson finished up golf for the year at Heartwell - we went to their annual Awards party and were surprised to find he placed 1st in the beginner flight of a 3 day tournament they played back in September! He was so pumped. He slept with it and carried it with him and kept saying "This is my second 1st place trophy I ever got. I just can't believe it" and he also said, "Mom, 1st place is like sooooo much better than 2nd place and all the other places". His front teeth have yet to come in, which has amassed quite the attention of joke time in our family, as well as several renditions of "All I want for Christmas are my two front teeth". Bryson is about to start basketball (practices start next week....what?) and thanks to his Auntie Mandie giving them a basketball hoop for Christmas- that is all that is on the boys mind lately. Bryson's letter to Santa includes the following:
"A rainbow loom kit (the big one that has thos clear rubber bands) and a mini go cart, and a bike because i did knot get one for my birthday with was Nov' 8, and can i have 4 bey wheels and 4 bey blades. and can I have super maryo galexy number two. for Bryson"

Bodie - this is of Bodie singing in his choir - his face looked like this the whole time - and every time I looked at him I giggled. He is just the sweetest little soul! He asked to practice every day. He was given a verse to recite also and asked me to ask him every day. He took the whole thing very seriously! Bryson couldn't be a part of it this year because practices were on Sundays, when Bryson had his golf tournaments and Bobby was too young, so this was a special thing just for Bodie - probably the first time to happen in his little life and he was just beaming - so proud. It was pretty awesome to watch! Bodie has no organized anything now until baseball season - of which I am a little grateful - because i could use a month of just 1 sport :) 

This is what Bryson wrote to Santa on Bodie's behalf:
"for Bodie. Bodie would like 6 bey blades and 6 bey wheels. and just a rainbow loom tini kit. thank you" (please note the length difference of bryson's list and bodie's)

Bobby - oops...i am so bad and do not have a recent picture of Bobby...Bobby - we love you sooo much and are too busy kissing your sweet face to take your picture :) So I am including this pic of all the cousins and I just love how excited Bobby is to be holding his sweet little niece. Bobby is so much fun this Christmas! It is his first Christmas really starting to understand everything and every time he sees a house all lit up with lights something fancy he breaks out into "jingle bells" - it is pretty stinking cute! he is just an absolute joy and an absolute terror at the same time. That boy just thinks to destroy everything! i am shocked our ornaments are still on the tree and the presents are still wrapped - first time ever leaving presents under the tree since bryson was a baby! 
This is what Bryson wrote to Santa on Bobby's behalf:
"for Bobby. My Brother Bobby would like just 1 bey wheel. 3 bey blades. and a bike. a two wheeler. and he wants a stuft anamle monkey that has a big baby on its tummy"

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving in Tahoe

The boys look absolutely thrilled their mom made them get in a fake canoe thing

Following Meema around the lake

All the boys on a Thanksgiving walk

At the lake on a hike

On a hike with Bodie and Bryson - Bodie led the way back and was soooo proud of himself!

Teaching Bryson to crochet. Here you can see the beginning of the scarf he made for Riley!

Bodie in Bodie!

So picturesque!

The Barnes family got together in Tahoe this year for Thanksgiving. We took Bryson out of school for the whole week and it was so nice to have such extended quality time with each other and family. We came up to San Jose early and celebrated Bob's birthday by playing 9 holes with the WHOLE family. Yup - the Griffins and Kimmy and Kirk and all the grandkids. So fun! i even played! bryan took a picture, but he took one of me missing the ball, so we just won't show that here for posterity sake. I actually played okay and Bryson was sincerely shocked that I could hit the ball. I also remembered why I haven't played in 10 years - that game is SO hard!

We enjoyed the weekend with the family and headed up to Tahoe on Tuesday. Bryan's maternal grandfather has a cabin up there that he has had since Bryan was a kid, so it is pretty special to have our children creating memories in that same cabin. We did not have a single plan or place to go, except for to eat a Thanksgiving meal on Thanksgiving, so that was so amazingly amazing. We watched a lot of movies, caught up on some reading, did puzzles, drank lots of hot chocolate and apple cider, went on lots of hikes, bryson raked up pine needles (for about 3 hours), we found a hill to sled, i taught bryson to crochet and bryan and i even got to hit the casinos!

The only bummer is that I forgot the good camera, so all I have to document are silly phone pictures. I also did not take nearly enough photos, which has been a thing lately - but when it feels forced or I'm not excited about it, I think its a good sign to just be in the moment. And I definitely had a desire to be in the moment. To slow down. We do not get to take much time off in the summer, so in the winter holidays we try to take advantage and really take a vacation, and I can honestly say it was a restful one.

On the way home we took the back way (395) down and one of our stops we wanted to make was Bodie - so we finally got to take Bodie to Bodie! It was so much fun and he was sooooo excited and felt so special. On the way in Bryan thought I paid and I had thought he paid, so on our way back to the car we saw the ranger writing tickets and so we booked it back- bryan threw bodie in the car and went to grab a payment envelope - the ranger asked him if we just had gotten there and Bodie said yes and then offered up to him that his name is Bodie, like the town Bodie...so he saved us a ticket (unknowingly) and bragged- way to go! It was neat to take them to one of my favorite spots. You always see something new and I always leave with a yearning to learn more about the town. I love learning about that time in our history...maybe because it is the only real history California has...but its interesting to me.

So happy we were able to spend that time with Bryan's parents and family - they are very dear to us and our children, so getting a good chunk of quality time is good for everyone's soul. Plus I am pretty lucky to have a mother in law who enjoys waking up with my children :)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Barnes Boys - Where They At?

November - Also known as "Crazy Birthday Month"- I feel like October, November and December are pretty whirlwind months as far as the year goes. Just as we come down from our sugar high on Halloween, there goes my birthday and Brysons and approximately every other child we know. I swear, we have like the entire month of November covered with someone we know having a birthday - so the whole month just turns into PARTY month. Which is just fine, really...usually i make myself very sick...and its usually this weekend that it happens - because i plan too much, say "yes" to everything - i dont typically schedule a weekend at home...so i was a little more intentional this year. maybe i am growing up? Nah - i am sure i will forget it all and do the exact opposite next year...just wait...But seriously, I will...Seriously though - i am enjoying my November very much so far and look forward to our trip to Tahoe later this month. Nothing sounds better to me than being in the woods with a cozy fire and (snow?) and NO computer! yay! I have also been enjoying co-leading a life group with some other mamas at my church - it has truly been life giving and i have thought about Grace more than I ever have in my life and it has proven powerful, who knew? uh, God i guess. 
Enough on my udpate... 

Bobby - fresh up from a nap - this kid kills me with his big ol eyes and big ol teeth! Just in the last couple of weeks he has been wearing underwear WITH NO ACCIDENTS. this is exciting you guys, because before this he would have at least 4 accidents a day and i was doing laundry basically all day. so - mama is very grateful that he learned the body cues and applied them to making it to the toilet. The only problem with this kid is that he sees absolutely no reason to get me involved in the potty process any longer. He will run into ANY park public bathroom without telling me to poop or pee and it FUH-REAKS me out. He has been punished, scolded, i even told him there were ghosts in public bathrooms and zero effect. this kid is a walking liability. But - aside from that, he is doing amazing and then in the same week he demanded to buckle himself in the car seat...and he can! so my life just got a teensy bit easier overnight...next...dressing yourself. what will i do in the morning when i dont have to get them all dressed and brush their teeth? love it the first week and then get all nostalgic circa week two as is my norm.

Bodie - he is such a snuggle bug and i eat it up! he always asks me to carry him - either in my arms or the ergo. he is about 45 pounds, so this is not an easy feat, but i cave every time because - look at him! you try to tell that curly haired face no! anyway - its nice to have at least one that likes to cuddle - i am a lucky mama. The bottom picture is of him and a soccer friend after a game. They played like 7 year olds that game- they were passing to each other - bodie would get in front of the goal and the other boy would pass to him and SCORE! they did this like champs and scored about a million goals and i dont think the other team scored at all, which is always so awkward to me and i usually handle that by walking away. 
He got his very first trophy for soccer and to say he was excited would be an understatement. he also got this book of all the teams and their pictures and he sleeps with that book and the trophy every night. Then he puts it on the shelf next to Bryson's trophies and ogles it dramatically. Its so stinking cute! Soccer is over though, so now his sights are turning to baseball...oy...

Bryson's fishing obsession is back in full swing. His birthday request was deep sea fishing, last night at farmer's market he brought his pole and fished the whole time and has asked me about a hundred times to take him to the beach. He somehow managed to get these very nice people to fix his line that was tangled and they gave him all new line...he could sell ice to an eskimo that kid. 
Soccer is over and golf season is over for the year...but basketball is up next for Bryson. He dribbles the basketball to school every day and stays for an hour after school playing. We talked about doing baseball next year and he shocked bryan and i by saying he wanted to golf instead. So i am excited he is doing basketball so he gets some variety. plus that is my favorite sport, so...although...i dont know how i will be able to watch any of the game because as i type i am picturing bobby getting under the bleachers and finding "candy" and eating it and i'm already anticipating bryan coaching and me in the stands herding cats. which, i guess, is like, our thing.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


My goodness Bryson is EIGHT YEARS OLD!!! Let me just tell you a little about this crazy kid. For the past 3 weeks he got up every morning at 5:45 - set his own alarm, got dressed and his clubs ready - woke his dad up to hit some balls or play a practice round before school. Then he would come home from school and practice sometimes too! All in preparation for the Monterey Challenge. He got invited and spent his birthday weekend in Monterey with his dad and grandparents (and his aunt and Don and Don's parents went too!) and got to play all kinds of golf and eat all kinds of seafood (his favorite- the kid ordered mussels(!) what? ) and play with his new bey blades and basically have an awesome time.
His birthday celebrations actually lasted almost a week starting last Wednesday at Farmer's Market with our other November baby friends - cupcakes and snacks and plenty of friends to kick soccer balls around with, or hunt for crabs on the rocks with - we live in a pretty amazing little community and what a special time it ws to be with other awesome November babies!
Then on Thursday I took my baby out to (his pick) Sushi for a birthday lunch. I was feeling a little sad that I would not be with him on his actual birthday (first time EVER) and wanted to have a little alone time with him. I gave him an Angry Birds watch and he was sooooo excited. he tells me what time it is now approximately every 10 minutes.
Then he left early Friday morning to drive up to Monterey to play a practice round before the big tournament. He played really well - placed 10th (out of 16), which earned him an invite to Pinehurst, which before Monterey Bryson told us was his "life's dream" to be invited to Pinehurst. I think a lot of people may think my husband is driving this crazy golf train, but let me just point to exhibit A - his bedroom wall. The boy is obsessed. He is so self motivated and has worked so hard - I am beyond proud...I know I complain a lot about golf, but really - what a great sport for Bryson - it teaches integrity, patience, self-composure, good sportsmanship...really just a good fit for his temperament I believe. 
The party didn't stop there - since Bryson had a party last year, this year he got to go somewhere special with a friend, so on Monday Bryan took Asher and Bryson deep sea fishing! Again - bryson's idea. He caught a big surf perch and ate it up as soon as they got home. I had a bite and it was delicious! So fresh - not fishy at all! And now...exhale...and listen to the boys fight over the bey blades...I overheard Bryan saying something anti-bey blades and I just reminded him, "This too shall pass"...hopefully sooner rather than later! 

Happy Eighth Birthday Bryson! I have big hopes for you this year! And I can't wait to see what new thing you dive head first into next! Your spirit is contagious and your ambition is inspiring - we love you to pieces!
Love, Mom and Dad


I am not one of those moms who plan for Halloween far in advance. I can not keep up with the evolving list of costume desires. I saw the cutest little lumberjack on a blog and thought the boys could all wear the flannels in the coming holiday season, so i had lumberjack costumes for them. Bryson had the hardest time deciding...first he told me he wanted to be Peter Pan, so I made him that costume, he poo-pooed it and told me he meant Harry Potter...we located a Harry Potter costume (next door - free!) and then he changed his mind again...the night before Halloween Bryson still hadn't landed on a costume and my mummy idea failed, so he decided to be a "miner" not a lumberjack, the difference being he sported camo pants instead of jeans (?) and carried a "bag of gold" and a plastic canteen. For Halloween night he wanted to be something scarier, so he dug through the costume box and found this red cape and wore some fake vampire teeth and voila - vampire.

Bodie was a ninja at a birthday party and the lumberjack for both his school and Halloween night. Originally he also wanted to be a "golf guy" but i guess he liked the beard.

Bobby would have nothing to do with the beard and insisted on being a lion, so i made his mane (isn't that obvious?) and tail and found this cute vest at Old Navy

Bryan and I threw on some flannels, and Bryan for some reason threw on this gross wig...and we spent the evening walking around our neighborhood trick-or-treating - running into all kinds of Fremont friends. It was a fun evening and we fell even more in love with our neighborhood. so fun!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Birthday Month

I had to document this weekend because it really was an amazing birthday weekend, especially since none of it was too "planned". I had a big birthday party last year that was amazing and very planned and so this year i just kept it on the down low. Also, my cousin Melissa was getting married the day before my birthday, so there was already a party that someone else was planning that involved all kinds of people I love, so who could top that? certainly not I! So Friday night found me and 7 other close friends at dinner. 3 of us all celebrate birthdays the first week of November. Not only that, but our kids all celebrate birthdays late Oct/early November as well...so you can see how November can be a busy month for all! I loved celebrating with these ladies. Truly blessed to know such amazing good people. Just solid, good, drama free women...my favorite kind. I left dinner feeling encouraged and warm inside, and I think that is how good friendships should make you feel - don't you agree? 

On Saturday we had our soccer games and grocery shopping, then headed out to the wedding. The wedding was amazing and my cousin (and her mama) did an absolutely phenomenal job. Every little detail was considered - I can't wait for the pictures to come out for you all to see. Just simply perfect. So happy for her and Justin and so much fun to spend time with that side of my family. I got me some amazing cousins! 

Sunday was my actual birthday and Bryan told me to get dressed because we were leaving, but didn't tell me where. We ended up going to Santa Barbara for the day and hanging out with our dear friends and just no plans, which is sometimes the best plan, which happened to be the case on Sunday. We walked along State St with the kids and pointed out significant places to them (that is the coffee shop where mommy and daddy first met each other) and them not caring AT ALL. ha! and we played a bit of soccer and then an early dinner and headed home since we had planned a Bad Movie Night like the night before...again going with the hardly planned theme. Our movie was Garbage Pail Kids: The Movie, which was truly terrible. After the movie we got to play this horrible game I got for my birthday (thanks Mom!) and luckily the people we played with had good senses of humors and didn't get (too) offended. Man - that game is amazingly offensive - it was pretty epic...i may have snorted at least 12 times. 

A big thank you to my husband for making the whole weekend so special and another big thank you to everyone who celebrated with me. I think in the course of the weekend I was able to see so many people who are instrumental in my life - from old friends to new friends to family to friends from far away - humbled and blessed to be connected to all these amazing people and starting my Monday with a big smile plastered on my face! And if I didn't get to see you this weekend, don't worry - there is a month long expiration on birthday celebrations, so you have until the end of November to celebrate with me...and seriously not kidding...its a true thing...

Monday, October 21, 2013

Barnes Boys - Where They At?

October - Fall and our yearly tradition of apple picking happened this month...although we got there late in the season (usually we go mid-september) and there were no apples to be picked...it was still so fun - they boys picked the last remaining raspberries and we made it through a corn maze (bryson led us astray too many times, so we put bodie in charge and he led us out and was sooooo proud of himself - really cute stuff) and we picked pumpkins from the vine and of course brought back some yummy apple cider and apples. Bryan and I talked about how fun it is to be creating our own family traditions and how every year it is going to be more fun than work ;) this year was especially fun with their ages. I just love 3 years old. I could leave the tantrums, but this is just so fun!

Bodie - our little soccer star! it is so fun to watch him play a sport finally! he is also in a children's choir at church and every day he asks me 1. do i have school today mom? and then 2. do i have soccer today mom? and then 3. do i have my singing class mom? this boy is very much like his dad and likes to know "the plan" and what is expected of him. He gets very sad if the answer to all three questions isnt "today" - we listen to his choir music in the car and he practices his little hand motions and it is really the cutest thing. We are trying to work on singing louder...but that may take a while -he whisper sings right now. I think it is so good for Bodie to be involved in things a part from his brothers - he gets such a sense of pride and confidence - he just beams! (p.s. being a fellow middle child, i get it!!!)

Bobby - oh man - this kid is so full of charm and spit and vinegar and all that. He melts your heart one minute and makes you want to just lock him up in a kennel (i would never) the next minute. He is still amazingly destructive and energetic - the other day he rode his scooter 5 miles with Bryan. and then once they got where they were going he ran around for another hour or so. This kid could power a city. He is talking up a storm too - he cracks us up. Having two older brothers he just thinks whatever they like is cool - which right now happens to be these things called Bey Blades (they are like plastic tops you launch with a launcher) so you hear him and Bodie "battle" their bey blades (which they dont have any - they just find random things and call them bey blades) and you can hear bobby yell "let it rrrrrriiiiippppp" all day. Bodie and Bobby spend a lot of time together these days while bryson is at school and they are learning to play better together...and by that i mean they only fight like 50 times a day now. 

Bryson - A few weeks back Bryan took Bryson to see this movie/documentary called The Short Game and ever since then Bryson has been OB-sessed with golf. He is doing really well too and we recently found out he was invited to play in the Monterey Championships. It is a 2 day tournament in Monterey and he will have some stiff competition and he is stoked! This picture is of Bryson on picture day at school and let me have you know i had zero to do with both the outfit and the paper towel handkerchief in his pocket. This kid has his own style and no one can tell him what is cool. i love it! I feel like bryson is never really ho-hum about anything - he goes from one obsession to the next and right now it is his praying mantis and also his lizard pets. He wants a bearded dragon something awful, but right now is taking very good (daily) care of his bug and reptile.

Things are settling into a routine and it feels nice to have a rhythm again. We are working on ever-changing Halloween costumes and tackling homework and right now I am reading them the Chronicles of Narnia before bed. We are on book #2 and it is so fun. I love that Bryson is enjoying them as much as I did!  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Barnes Boys - Where They At?

September - the weather is cooling down, school has started (for all three!!) and dinners are being cooked during breakfast (my favorite). We are still adjusting to the new schedule of weekday school/sporting practices and weekend sporting games. I am enjoying the (somewhat) cooler weather, the earlier mornings and the two mornings the little ones are in school- i get soooooooo much done- its amazing!

Bodie O - Soccer star! I missed his first game, but the second one last weekend - he played so well! 4 goals!!! he was unstoppable - i asked him how he got so good, he replied,"because i was zigging and zagging" and bryson walked over and said, "yeah - i taught him how to do that" -so stinkin cute! and bryson was cheering him on the sidelines...it was so sweet - ah brothers...my brother would never have gone to a dance competition and cheered for me...but maybe that is just my brother and not indicative of sibling relationships as a whole...at any rate - bryson was super proud of bodie too - and bodie is just LOVING soccer. he asks me every day if he has practice (he doesn't during the week) but wishes it were every night. Bodie is also playing with Bobby more...which is the good thing...the bad thing is that if Bobby does not wish to play whatever game with Bodie it turns ugly...Bodie feels strong emotions about that.
Bodie also started pre-school again. This is his third (and final) year. He and Bobby go 2 mornings a week for 3 hours. He has Bryson's old teacher and she is finding out how different the two boys are first hand. It's cute!  

Bryson - here he is with his golf coach - Mr. Mike Krantz - eyeing his putting line...or something...Krantz is great for Bryson - very patient and only tells him a couple of things at a time. We have noticed a lot of improvement. Bryson is in soccer and golf - in fact last weekend and this weekend is soccer games on Saturdays, golf tournament on Sunday. Bryan has been super patient with him as well - I don't know how he does it so well - 5 minutes with Bryson and homework and I'm ready to lose it! But Bryson has been doing great in both sports. He wrote in his class little introduce yourself project that when he grows up he wants to be a professional golfer. Speaking of which, he started the second grade...which is weird for me to even write that down. His teacher seems really great - and although he had a rough few weeks in the beginning -he told me the other day that he is actually starting to like school - so yay! that made me happy because my heart was breaking to see him so defeated every morning. 
Every night before bed I have been reading The Magician's Nephew to the boys. Bryson is at the perfect age for this. He gets mad every single night when I finish the chapter because C.S. Lewis does a great job at ending every chapter in some cliff hanger fashion. It has been great to see the correlations he is making on his own about the Bible and the story and it is a great springboard for conversations about big moral questions, biblical questions and also literary devices (i.e. cliff hangers). The last time I read this was 5 years ago and I only know that because I remembered blogging about it way back when. It is just as much fun for me to read it as it is for him to listen, I'm sure!

Bobby - First day of pre-school. He has Bodie's teacher from a few years ago and she is seeing what how different the last two are - ha! understatement of the year. She told us this morning, wow...that Bobby...he can sure...play! i think she was trying to find a nice way to say how exhausting he is? We are in the throes of potty training right now. yesterday he wore underwear out for the first time. I had to change him 4 times, then just put a pull up on him before his nap and never changed him out of it. He pooped in the potty 3 different times that morning and then pooped in his pull up before bed. It seems like every step forward we make, we take a step back...I know he will get there - just wasn't expecting him to be our toughest to potty train! I mean...come on...he has 3 teachers! It is hard to stay mad at that face for long. Its pretty pointless actually...he lights up our world!

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Shift, A Shower, A Seedling

Photo from Missie's shower this weekend, Me, Missie and my sister - photo stolen from FB - taken by Jennifer Johnson

I had a really wonderful weekend. I came to sit down to work today and read some blogs and had my coffee, which i like to do before i start my day - puts me in a creative/working mode i find...anyway - there were quite a few blogs that had sweeping realizations and lots of reflective posts, which was odd because i have had some thoughts swirling in my head from this weekend that i felt compelled to share here. I have been reflecting on my summer and what was different about this summer- because when i look back at the summer as a whole - it felt really balanced. this is not normal for me - usually i never say no to anything - i overpack my schedule and overcommit my time, but this summer i was super mindful of only traveling a couple weekends per month. of planning on "catch up" days around the house. i did not have a lot of community this summer- not nearly enough play dates and catch up time with girlfriends that i had every intention on doing. But we did have some great camping vacations with friends and a wonderful long weekend with bryan's family, so i suppose there was that, but of course the extrovert in me would always be down for more! I have found my thoughts shifting more and more toward simplicity. There was a big shift last year when we realized that all the material "things" and "stuff" in our house was causing fights, rather than encouraging play - so we downsized on stuff....a lot. Got rid of about 75% of their toys. The things we kept were their scooters, bikes, etc, a few board games and puzzles, and their hot wheels and monster trucks. These are the things that most often get played with, so everything else went to the goodwill. this had an amazing effect on our kids...and seeing that and witnessing how much better they play when there isn't "stuff" made me think about my own relationship with "stuff". i narrowed down too. I took a step back and realized that I have a problem with "stuff". I am not healed of that problem - i have a long ways to go, but there has been a small seedling planted and is now growing - of being mindful with things and cautious and deliberate.

I think my seedling of "simplicity" that started a while ago is really starting to flourish, when i think about my days and weeks and months. I have realized that although i am not a planner by nature, planning has really helped create balance in our home. Being thoughtful and intentional with planning ahead - meals, car pools, etc. has been my saving grace.

I have also noticed a shift in my attitude. The other day I was making these bracelets with bryson and he started getting really frustrated. i told him, "you know bryson, i got you these things because i thought you would have fun making them. i thought you enjoyed a challenge. things aren't always easy when we first start, but part of the fun is learning how to do it and how to do it better each time. It's why i like to sew and knit." and then i realized i was talking to myself because i haven't had that joy each time. I then started thinking about my own attitude and perspective on other "chores" like cleaning and making dinner. I started to desire to not just do it, but to do it and love it and enjoy it. can i tell you what an amazing "aha" moment this was. I took my own advice i was giving to my son and what do you know? i probably needed it more than he did! It has been really powerful to not just get through cleaning the kitchen, but changing my attitude about the whole thing has become a really empowering idea (having uplifting music helps this attitude!).

anyway...i am not always grinning ear to ear picking up the millionth hot wheel on the ground, or trying to pick granola out of a shag rug...or cleaning pee from the umpteenth sheet this week...so please don't let me give you the wrong impression - i am still a small seedling in this area, but my desire is to nourish and grow that little seedling into a beautiful tree - bearing fruit and all...if i can take the metaphor even further, please.

this weekend my sister and i had the pleasure of throwing a bridal shower for our cousin Melissa. It was such a joy to do and i truly loved making each little thing - partly because i enjoy that, but also I knew Melissa would appreciate it since she enjoys the same sort of thing. It was a small family shower and it was such a joy to just sit and chat with all the amazing women in our family. I wasn't the one getting married, but left it feeling so blessed to be from such good stock. to have such support within our family. to feel like no matter what kind of time has passed you can pick up wherever you left off. it was beautiful and wonderful and none of the decorations or food or anything else mattered nearly as much as that.  i am still basking in that love from that day and hope the bride to be feels the same!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Barnes boys...where they at?

We are approaching the end of Summer. This has been seriously one of the best summers ever and I am so thankful that Bryson has documented all his experiences. Let's be honest though...he did NOT always want to do it..like never...he was cool with it the first few times and then it was like homework. Speaking of which, I am sooooo not looking forward to the homework battle. I'm trying to figure out ways to not make it a battle...basically I am always trying to figure out ways not to battle Bryson, but I will save that for his update...but back to reflecting on Summer. I feel like our business is in a much better place - I feel like our kids are a little older and (a teensy) bit easier to be out and about on your own with and dare I say it...even enjoyable...I am really going to miss our lazy mornings and sleeping past 7 and no homework battles and no schedules except the ones I made and being all together and eating lunch together almost every day. So long summer of 2013 - you were good to us! 

The Awesome - Bobby has been talking sooo much this summer and just about everything that comes out of his mouth is adorable (except when he tourretically shouts butt and poo poo and pee-nee because he thinks it's funny) He is such a trooper - you can take him anywhere and it is just all awesome to him. He is on the brink of turning 3 and at the age where nap times can be skipped so bed time is easier, and this summer we were about whatever the day held and not so much his napping schedule and he was a trooper. Yesterday as I was changing his diaper he looked at me and said, "Mom - you are superman" - in the sweetest way. I  can't really describe how awesome this was - but I could tell it was his way of telling me he loves me. it was super sweet.

The Not-So-Awesome - Bobby is such a little sneak! and a destructive sneak. I came out to the living room this morning to find piles of granola in our shag rug...then in his room and look - there is another pile of granola all over the floor...its like he went around the house throwing granola everywhere. I have never owned a monkey, but I suspect having a pet monkey would be very similar to living with Bobby - let's throw this over here because why not? His level of destruction is like unbelievable. I have put off even thinking about buying any piece of furniture or anything nice for our house until Bobby is like 14 and maybe capable of being able to not destroy something.


The Awesome - Bryson placed #6 in his age division in his region for golf. The scores were calculated over the course of the tournaments he played this summer. The kids who play these tournaments are super serious - practicing every day...seriously like little PGA players - so the fact that Bryson, who plays other sports and practices not too often (1-2x week) is pretty incredible. He is a natural and we hope he continues to love the sport and not get caught up taking it too seriously. He lost his other front tooth and now sports a new smile and the cutest lisp and instead of calling him "straw hole" Bryan calls him "spoon hole" and we all laugh. 

The Not-So-Awesome - Bryson is struggling big time right now controlling his emotions. He cries almost every day about something. I am seriously losing all compassion when he cries - its a problem. We have talked with him every day about self-control about self-discipline and about his selfishness. I oscillate between freaking out that we are doing something horribly wrong and assuring myself this is just his battle and every child has a battle and this is his. and then i freak out all over again. He is not excited about school starting at all. He told me he wants to be homeschooled (because his best friend Asher is homeschooled and told him he only has school for 3 hours a day)  I told Bryson if he didn't argue/whine/cry about homework for 2 months I would consider it...not holding my breath though...

Bodie O!!!
The Awesome - Bodie is my little cuddle bug. Although he usually picks times right after I punish Bryson for something to come cuddle me (stinker) He is always trying to show affection. He has such a great heart. I love having at least one kid that lets me love on them and can hang out and not squirm everywhere - hugging bryson and bobby is akin to hugging an eel...true story. 

The No-So-Awesome - Bodie is lying. Like lying lying. Like all day long lying. I remember my mom telling me that this is a totally normal thing for 4/5 but I can't remember Bryson doing it to this extent...but maybe that is also selective amnesia...but the lying and the not listening are really wearing on me. It is super hard for me to stay mad at this kid - but these days he is successfully doing that to me. We will get through this. This too shall pass...repeat that phrase 100x and you have the mantra playing in my head on a daily basis.

The day I lost my stuff...

Yesterday I just lost it. I did. Let me just recount part of my day which included trying to get the boys to pick up after themselves before we left for the day...simultaneously trying to make sure they are all quiet while picking up (read: impossible) because we have someone who works for our business in our house and requires a peaceful work environment...trying to pack lunches and clean the house while they are running through the house screaming. Trying to get them outside while I pack lunches and freaking out when they are trying to do some skateboard trick off the kitchen door steps.

Then we head to the park where I hoped to run them around and get their energy out before I ran errands...then fast forward to the thrift store where I had to tell them 4 times not to run and not to touch EVERYTHING and when we leave Bodie tells me the lady gave her a car...which I know was not the truth since I was at the counter. I told him if he told me the truth he wouldn't be in trouble, but if he lied to me he would be punished...he then confessed that he found it on the floor and I made him go back into the store to return it (after we were all 4 already in the car and buckled can I add?) then I ran to my friend's store to pick up something I had ordered and they were basically totally out of control - but especially Bryson - causing fights and taking things and pushing his brothers around and not listening to me, so they lost out on getting a cake pop. when bryson heard that due to the way he behaved in the store he and his brothers would not be getting cake pops he collapsed in the middle of the driveway and started screaming/bawling. Can I pause here to tell you Bryson is almost 8 years old? Also bodie was whining and bobby was literally screaming because they just found out they wouldn't be getting their treat they were looking so forward to. So in the car I just lost it. I was embarrassed, frustrated, frazzled, you name whatever intense emotion and I was feeling it. I laid into Bryson for 10 minutes about how his actions affect everyone around him. His punishment for not listening and not staying still was that he had to lay on my bed for 1 hour - no talking - no getting up. When the hour was over he had to do chores all afternoon until dad got home.

That hour when he was in the bed and bobby was also napping was the only hour in my day I felt like I could hear thoughts in my brain and where I didn't feel like running away. Then the hour was over and all that remorse he felt in the car just went away and getting him to do the chores was like pulling teeth...I just couldn't anymore. I just felt like all the fight and all the no, no, no, no and all the punishing and all the correction for all three of them was just weighing on me like a huge damp smelly dank blanket and I couldn't take it.

When Bryan got home I was just a mess. Almost in tears...fighting back tears...i knew I would be no good and Bryan could just see me defeated he told me to just go and he would take care of them. and can i tell you how much I love that man - I could have chosen to lay into him about what a horrible day I had and take it out on him, but instead i just showed the broken-ness and because he loves me immensely (for some reason) - he took care of me. I packed a bag and headed to the gym and I worked out for 2 hours. I did my usual 45 minutes on the elliptical, but at the end, I just said - nope- not done - I worked out harder than I have since I broke my ankle. I made sure to sweat out all that rage and frustration and guilt I was feeling about my day. When I finished and went to a room to do my core work, i had to fight back tears again. There is something super cleansing about physical exercise - the endorphins your body releases...the cleansing act of just sweating out toxins in your body - it releases a lot. I have had my most eye opening talks with God while running - personal breakthroughs. So then I finished and went and sat in the jacuzzi by myself and reflected by myself. I can't remember the last time I have been able to do that. My mind started drifting all over the place, like - what? we can think? lets think about EVERYTHING. ALL AT ONCE. so i took a deep breath and started praying and focusing my thoughts and God started showing me things.

The first image that came into mind was of a girl that we had met at the park that day. A 14 year old girl who was severely developmentally disabled - she couldnt speak but came up to me and grabbed my hand and led me over to the swings because she wanted me to push her...so I did...and God showed me this girl during my prayer and the tears started flowing. Here I was frustrated because I have three crazy boys. Three very healthy, very normal crazy boys. I just felt like the smallest person on the planet at that point. My prayers of "I can't do this" "I don't know what I am doing" started turning to prayers of "Thank you God for blessing us with three healthy crazy boys. Thank you for thinking I am capable of doing this. Please help me to be capable." The second thing he showed me was my husband. I'm not in this alone. I have a partner. God showed this same thing to me right before I had Bobby and it filled me with immediate peace and I had the same reaction last night. No matter what happens...I have a partner. God designed it that way for a reason!

I came home with a renewed spirit. This parenting business is fo reals. I feel like its both the most amazing slash scariest thing I have ever done. I think the toughest thing is the constant putting yourself last business. This is great for anyone who needs to get over themselves (read: me) but is also not so good for people who need time alone to self-reflect and find peace. That balance of maintaining your spirtual/emotional/physical health and at the same time caring for your family to the best of your ability. I won't try to tell you I know how to do this, because...hello...did I tell you about my day yesterday? but it's slowly learning how to navigate in this business of parenting.

A girlfriend and I are leading a life group this fall and we will be discussing the book Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel. I am excited to read this book (I have read a little so far and love it) and even more excited to have girl time and even more excited than that to have discussions with other mamas in the trenches of parenting. It is so nice to hear other war stories because you feel a little more sane...a little more like you aren't destroying your children...a little more like kids everywhere just are sucky for a while. and that is normal! and you are normal! Anwyay - I will end my rant now, I really wanted to flush all of this out while it was fresh for documenting sake and for future reference....and perhaps encouragement for anyone else who might be in the trenches needing a little reminder they aren't alone. YOU AREN'T ALONE!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Barnes Boys - Where They At?

We have been having quite the summer so far! I have been really thankful for my (completely out of character) summer planning. It has really helped me look forward to my time with the boys and also make things less stressful in the morning by planning for it the day before. I think its easy for me to feel like I am kicked out of my own house sometimes...because I kinda am...but lately I have been really grateful that I have this time with them to explore. It was hitting me the other day that some day they might not want to hang out with me all day...then i told myself...that is ridiculous...then i said...oh okay maybe...then i got really sad. So I am thankful for this time - truly. these three boys are so much fun - never a dull (or clean or quiet) moment! I am also thankful I am having Bryson do his summer journal because it has been forcing me to be more intentional documenting and taking pictures. I have not been so good taking pictures with the good camera, so my little phone camera and instagram have been my medium of choice! Enough of me...on to the update!

Bobby Barnes! I found him sitting in this chair in the corner looking sooooo guilty. It was a day I was in the office and when I found him he said "shhh don't tell daddy" - such a little sneak. he cracks me up though...i would always get so mad that my little sister got away with everything...now i get it! If I am working in the office and come out for whatever reason and the boys are there, every single time, bobby will say "yay! you not wooking today!" Every time. so cute. He is doing exactly what bodie and bryson both did around 3 - be obsessed every day on who is watching them...he asks me about a million times. He turns 3 in about 6 weeks...i would love to have this little man potty trained by then, but he might have a different plan. He has used the potty a few different times, but no real desire to make it a habit. 

I think the thing I have noticed more about Bobby lately is that I don't think I have met a kid at 3 who is so confident and calm in their skin. He just is so content usually (counting out over-tired states and states of hunger) and independent and self-entertaining. It's like he knows he can do everything - he knows no other way - like doing an ollie on a skateboard for example...playing golf...riding a 2 wheeler (which he hasnt dont yet, but tries on bodie's bike all the time) My other boys are to an extent, but not at Bobby level. It is pretty extraordinary. His spirit is contagiously joyous.

Bryson! Green Lightening! Golf season started up. Actually golf season is year round (11 months), but he plays soccer in the fall and baseball in the spring and since those things are already 2-3x a week, it can get over-kill. He has played 3 tournaments so far - 2nd place, 5th place and 6th place. He has shown a lot of growth and his attitude is getting so much better! He is not super competitive, of which I am grateful, but I can tell he wants to win. I could tell this last tournament he was kinda bummed not to get a medal. These kids he plays against are just crazy good. It blows me away that 7 year olds are playing like this. It isn't something I can even describe with words since I don't know golf that well...but they are making Eagle shots...and the 1st place winners are usually under par. 

Bryson is also way into fishing right now. He won our TMAFI title this year and now it is ALL he wants to do. for instance, bryan is at the beach right now with the boys and bryson had to take along a rod. we went camping this weekend and it was all he wanted to do. I am not complaining by the way - I would be ever so happy if all my boys take to fishing - Sierras here we come! I don't know what it is about this age - but it seems like he is such a different kid than last summer. He is starting to make his own sense of things and process things a little more maturely. I am excited to see how he continues to grow. He is trying hard right now and I can tell...and try to tell him every day that I notice and I appreciate it.  

Bodie O! Isn't this the saddest picture? 4 years old can be rough sometimes. 

Dear Bodie, You are getting older to understand things, but lack the patience when adults tell you (all the time) to WAIT. when you are hungry that means you need to eat RIGHT NOW. when you have to pee (what is up with your small bladder by the way?) you have to do it RIGHT NOW. when you want a glass of water, better make it RIGHT NOW. the hardest part of your life is waiting. mom is always busy...its rough. i get it. This waiting business will serve you bodie...its good not to expect everything RIGHT NOW. we are not ignoring you....we are teaching valuable life lessons here...for free! you are welcome. Love, mom

Bodie has also been actively trying to be a better big brother to Bobby. I praise him whenever I can and if he shares with Bobby or gets something for him, I make sure to tell Bobby "Bodie shared that piece of bread with you because he loves you". I believe it helps associate actions with loving...maybe? it makes them feel good when I say it anyway...I am trying to be more intentional on the praising...on the details. I am not a "praiser" by nature...i kind of expect people to do the right thing the right way, so I am not wired like that - but I want to be different in that. I recently read this blog post and it was a little convicting. I want my kids to remember their mom praising them...not criticizing all the time. I feel like I am constantly correcting...constantly saying no...so it feels good to my soul to encourage when i can. so there is an update for me too, i guess! 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Barnes Boys - Where They At!

What About Me?
Let Me See Your Guns!

ohmigosh...i love this first picture...so how it is right now. Bryson and Bodie -sitting in the back-est seat of the car, singing their made-up songs...bobby in the row ahead trying to sing too and them both yelling at him to be quiet...or bryson and bodie on their bike/scooter and bobby several feet behind yelling "Way Up!"...bryson and bodie playing catch and bobby running in the middle and them yelling at him to go away. Its tough being the youngest. 

Bryan and I always wanted three since we both come from families with three kids and its the chaos we know, but i kinda think that if we had a fourth there wouldn't be as many fights, since there would be even numbers? is that ridiculous? there is just so much ganging up on over here. luckily the fights are loud and quick...they dont fester over anything. a quick "i'm sorry" usually stops the tears...for that i am grateful. we are working on the whole slow to anger bit...myself included (big time)

Bodie. Man Bodie - This last week you were such a stinker! Bryson wasn't around and you took the opportunity to become master tormentor of Bobby. Sneaky things like going up to him and whispering "You're not my friend" for no apparent reason. Splashing him when you thought i wasn't looking (and looking around before you did it because you knew it was wrong). Taking anything he might have in his hands because you can. Telling him to do naughty things for a quarter. I think you spent most of your time in time out or crying about being in time out when you weren't terrorizing Bobby. We had lots of talks about what a special role a big brother is - and how you need to protect your little brother. You are the only one who is both a little brother and a big brother...cool stuff! 

Even so...every day I see you learning. You are the quickest to say "okay mom" and the first one to want to help. You have a big giant heart and your smile melts me! 

Bobby Barnes - You are such a hoot! You manage to get so dirty every day. It is natural to always carry an extra change of clothes with me whenever I leave the house for you and 9 out of 10 times you come home in that extra outfit. You love mud puddles and any type of fountain. I love your little zest for adventure and your natural curiosity! you are a pretty rad kid. 

Like the first picture though- you are always trying so hard...to keep up...to play with your brothers...to do things you really shouldn't be able to do yet...to run faster....climb higher...and i know that is so natural for the youngest, but please stop! you are my baby...do you know what that means? that means you need to stay a little baby-ish a little while longer. i know this is an impossible request...but a mama can hope!

Bryson - we had a rough beginning of the month, but you have been trying so so hard to change your attitude and I see that! I am so proud of you for making such an effort to control your emotions. This last week I took you out on a date and we had so much fun. I was trying to teach you how to be a gentleman (we have had lots of talks lately about how a gentleman acts) and told you about what to do on a date. We talked about asking people questions to get to know each other and I asked you to think of some questions to ask me. You asked "How did you and daddy meet?" and "When did you and daddy first date?" and "How did LA Pool Guys get started?" You blew me away by your thoughtful questions...i thought you would ask my favorite food or something...I think you are going to be quite a fun date for some lucky lady one day!