Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Secret Agent Man

I love that my boys are best friends, and come up with the darnedest games to play, like this...







Sunday, November 22, 2009

Buddies

Last week we had some good friends over to play. My friend Chelsea has 2 girls and a boy, we have 2 boys and a girl, and I realized as they were playing that they are all just within 6 months in age of their respective "playmate". So of course, I had to take some pictures. Plus, they all 6 are just such stinkin' cute kids!

Jacob (6) and Ashleigh (5+). Ashleigh was Jake's first kiss, on the way home from a temple trip no less.
Hailey (3+) and Austin (3). Have you ever seen a cuter pair of smiles?


Kai (1) and Leah (8 mos).
Chelsea and I have joked that these two are "intended" for each other and call them boyfriend and girlfriend. This was their first real playdate, however, and they hated each other! Ok, hated may be a strong word for such cute little bugs, but there was a lot of glaring and toy stealing and bottle slapping going on. I guess we will need to give it a few years.
Thanks Rivas' for such a fun afternoon!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Before and After

When we first bought our house almost 3 years ago, we were excited at the prospect of having hardwood floors throughout the living and bedroom areas. Unfortunately, when we actually got into the house and started moving in, we realized that the floors had never been treated or sealed and were disgustingly dirty. With no time or money left to carpet before moving in, we bought a piece off the roll at Home Depot and threw it down, never realizing it would be there as long as it was.

So, this fall we finally decided that enough was enough. The carpet had gotten stained and flattened from having no pad under, it and was an embarrassment and an eyesore. With the arrival of Leah, we really wanted to get something better down for her to start crawling on.

Luckily our neighbor and friend Joel installs carpet for a living, and worked us out a sweet deal to do the install and provide the pad. He was also willing to give up the better part of a Saturday with his family to do it - thank you Joel! We got a great deal as well on the carpet, so today was the day! The pictures below show our before and after. I only wish I could capture on film how wonderful it feels to have pad under your carpet and to feel like you are walking on silk. I think I am in love!

BEFORE


AFTER












Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween 2009

Austin the Rhino-Man

All the little cousins trunk-or-treated together this year:

Leah, Isaiah, Austin, Jake, Skaidy, Caden, Jojo, Syd, Hannah, Tyler, and Sadie (in front)

Jojo, Caden and Isaiah

Jake the vampire


Professor Trelawney aka Hannah
(I hope I spelled this right...apparently I am not hip enough to the Harry Potter stuff to know who she was without being told)

Princess Skaidy

Jake and his first victim - Syd the fairy

Sadie ladybug

Sleeping Beauty and her Pudgy Pumpkin








Friday, October 23, 2009

Wedding Dress

I was laying down on my bed the other day staring into my closet, looking at the bag that holds my wedding dress. Even though it has been 7+ years since I wore it down the aisle, it still hangs in the bag I brought it home from the dress store in. It has long been on my mind to find a better way to store it, but as with many other non-urgent matters, it long ago fell off my to-do list, giving way to things like kids and work and laundry and life.

Today, instead of staring at the bag thinking "Oh yeah, gotta get that thing stored", I took it out of the closet, out of the bag and off the hanger, and attempted to try it on. I did not go into this thinking I would get it totally zipped up the back - come on, 7 years, 3 kids, 30 plus pounds, I'm no fool! - but its an empire waist A-line style, and I was hoping for the best. And I wanted to see my older self in my younger self's dress.

Except I couldn't get the sleeves all the way over my elbows. Really, of all places, MY ELBOWS? The sheer gauzy fabric would not s-t-r-e-t-c-h over my elbows and therefore the shoulders would not go over MY shoulders. So I clutched the dress to my front modestly and wandered into the living. Brian looked up in sheer amazement and asked with a smile "What are you doing in that?", Jacob looked and me and with a worried look asked "Mom, why are you wearing that?" and Austin wanted to know what I was doing wearing a "marriage-thing". After explaining to my three boys that I just wanted to see what I looked like in it now (thank heaven for my new darling daughter... someday she will appreciate moments like this with me!) my sweet husband told me I still looked beautiful in it and I headed back into my room to change.

I don't look - or feel - much like the girl who wore that beautiful dress 7 years ago. Over the last few months, I have been realizing that for too long I have put myself second place to everything and everyone else in my life. I think (KNOW) that as mothers - and especially working mothers - we tend to put our needs on the back burner behind kids, husbands, jobs, household stuff, church callings etc., and I have been no exception. And really, it's just silly because as my mother always tells me, a healthy, happy mom is a better mom.

So, I have been slowly giving myself permission to make it all about me every once in a while! And believe me, it's a hard thing to do. There is still a huge part of me that feels guilty (almost like I'm skipping school or playing hooky from work), when I do things like spend my evenings scrapbooking instead of doing that last load of dishes. But I am doing it because I have realized IT'S OKAY! It's okay for mothers to have hobbies, it's okay to spend money on a hair dresser you LOVE (something else I've recently started) and it's okay to have items in your wardrobe that were bought in this decade and not stained with baby spit-up. I can love my family and try to give them everything they need, and at the same time try to do the same for myself. At the very least, I can find more of a balance between the two.

I long ago swore off New Years resolutions (mostly because I have no will power) but this fall I am going to make some New Mom Resolutions. I am committed to this new way of living and a big part of that is going to include losing some weight. I haven't quite figured out where in my crazy days I am going to fit in time to exercise, but I am going to start somewhere, even if it's just walking to the mini-mart for my Diet Coke instead driving. Maybe by this time next year I will get that dress over my elbows!

To all my other mom friends out there that relate to this, take care of yourselves as much as you take care of everyone else! You are worth it!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Words To Live By

"Dear Heavenly Father..... thank you for everything that happens, except the naughty stuff... even the naughty stuff, 'cuz that helps us learn"

----- Jacob Barnhart, age 6

Friday, September 11, 2009

1st Grade

"I can't believe I'm 6 years old!" This is what my son tells me at the end of his first week of 1st grade. If he could only imagine how strange it is for me as well that my 1st born is in 1st grade... riding the bus to and from school, lunch with his friends, not getting home until 4:00! He loves school and tells me that his teacher, Mrs. Beckley, gets prettier everyday. I hope we can continue to foster this love of education! Maybe when he is 16 I will make him read my blog and remember how much he loved school at 6!
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Saturday, August 29, 2009

6 years old!


Happy Birthday to my Jake - tomorrow he will be 6 years old! It is so hard to believe it was 6 years ago that I became a mother for the first time. He has been such a joy and he makes me proud every day to be his mom. He has the biggest heart and is a fierce protector of the people he loves. He loves to help, and wants to make us happy. He is so smart, and loves to learn! In a week and a half he will head off to 1st grade. It will be so strange this year to be home from work for almost 2 hours before he gets home from school. He of course is excited by the idea of a full day of school, eating lunch at school, and - FINALLY - riding the bus to school in the morning! He continues to be the best big brother, especially to Leah. They have formed such a bond, I love to watch him take care of her.

Leah is growing way too fast. She is quickly approaching her 6 month birthday and is ready to be on the move! She graduated to her hi-chair this week, and has the appetite of a BIG girl! She still sleeps through the night, and is slowly learning to drink formula (thank heavens!). She also has been making attempts to move herself around, either by rolling to get where she's going or kick-scooting on her tummy. I am not ready for her to be crawling yet!

Austin continues to be Austin, crazy and lovable. I thought I would include some pictures explaining why we call him "Austin the Destroyer"


Some people read while in the bathroom, Austin likes to peel paint


A little art work for the fridge...

and his toes... (notice how each toe has a stripe)

and the rest of his body ......

Luckily it was a dry erase marker and came off him and the fridge pretty easily!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Summer and boys

So this it what it looks like when your son discovers the joy of mud, head to toe: and when there have been one too many hot days and late nights in a row:

Friday, July 17, 2009

Too Soon

"Our family is just going to get bigger and bigger. Pretty soon I am going to have kids, then they will grow up......Mom, can you teach me how to be a parent?"

Jacob Barnhart, age 5 3/4

Saturday, July 11, 2009

4 months old!

Our Lil' Blossom is 4 months old already! It never seems possible that their baby-hood will fly so fast but it always does. One of her first big milestones came about a month ago when she started sleeping through the night - God bless her she will do 12 hours at a stretch most nights. You may all drool with jealousy now :)
The last couple of weeks have held some pretty big milestones, baby-wise. On the 29th, I had her laying on her blanket while I tidied the house. I had just left the room for a moment and when I came back... she was on her stomach! Since then she has nearly perfected the art, if she can just get her darn arm out of the way. She has gone from hating tummy-time to loving it, now that she can get there by herself. A few days later she rolled from front to back, but I'm not sure it really counts. It was more of a falling backwards as she pushed up, so I'm waiting for a more definitive show.
We also tried some "food" this week. She just doesn't seem to be getting satisfied anymore on breast milk alone. First we tried a little oatmeal, which she did alright with. Then we tried some diluted apple juice, which she did not like! We moved onto pear, which she likes much better. Hallelujah, at least there willbe another option for her since she HATES formula!

after her first cereal - not too messy!

Today we brought out the exersaucer. Lately, she hates to lay down! She tries to sit straight up out of her car seat, bouncy seat, off your lap, etc. Even when she's nursing she will try to sit up when she is done (and sometimes before she is done, OUCH!) She wants to be sitting up, or even better, standing up. So out came the exersaucer. She really liked it for about 15 minutes, which I figure is a good start. Rome wasn't built in a day.

first time in the saucer

We are so blessed to have Leah as part of our family! The last 4 months have been such a wonderful experience -her brothers are so in love with her, and she has her dad wrapped around her tiny finger. And I of course, adore her! Her smiles and laugh brighten my day and I love to see her with the boys - she is really starting to interact with them, especially Jacob. They take such good care of her, and have even made up a song to soothe her when she gets fussy. It started out in the car one day as just a sing-songy way to say her name, and now it's a full blown song they both know the words to, and sing in unison. And it works EVERY time. I have even found myself singing it at bed time to settle her down. It goes like this:

Leah Rae Barnhart
Leah Rae Barnhart
Leah Rae, Lea Rae
Leah Rae Barnhart
Leah's our best sister
And we love her so much
Leah Rae, Lea Rae
Leah Rae Barnhart

I know, it seems a little repetitive (especially when you're typing it!) but when you hear two sweet little voices singing it to calm their baby sister, it's the most beautiful song in the world!







Wednesday, July 1, 2009

One Step Closer


In the fall of 2007 when Brandon lived with us, we started converting the storage area on the back porch to a spare room for him. He left before it ever got completed, and Brian promised me that when it was finally done, it could be my craft room (when it wasn't serving as a guest room). So, it was finished (at least to a usable stage) in November, and I haven't spent any more time in it other than to throw stuff out there when I don't have anywhere else to store it. Today, however, I decided I would never scrapbook/sew/mend/etc, if I never got it organized, so I finally dove in. I still have to go through all my scrap stuff and organize/toss, but it's a start. After all, I have only scrapped Jake's book through coming home from the hospital, and he will be 6 in two months. I have work to do!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Nudity and JIF peanut butter

Today when I got home from work, Austin was sitting on the couch watching TV. This is where I usually find him at that time - he is either winding down for, or waking up from a nap. Today he was alone, as Brian was putting Leah down and Jake was already dozing. Austin apparently had decided he was hungry........ and over dressed. He was sitting on the couch stark raving naked with the peanut butter jar between his knees, his hand covered to his wrist in peanutty goodness. It appeared he also didn't feel the need for a utensil of any kind, as he was just scooping it out fingerfuls at a time. Brian walked into the room at the same time, just as Austin looked up and said "Me like peanut butter".

Some of you will laugh at this. Those of you who truly know my darling child will just shake your heads, not terribly surprised at all... :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Eternity


What a fabulous, beautiful, glorious, amazing, wonderful, exciting, thrilling, awe inspiring, grateful, incredible weekend! The little family I never thought I could love more is now mine for forever and eternity and I love them more today than I ever thought possible...

Thank you to my amazing parents for their love and support, and to everyone who shared in making this the incredible experience it has been. We love you all!

PS...
A special thank you to my wonderful father, who even on his own holiday continued his lifelong service to me and my family by cleaning my house while we were at church... what a blessing to come home after a long day and not have to lift a finger to get ready for the week! I love you Dad!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

From my childhood to theirs...


The Fort


When I was young, my siblings and I would make great forts in the living room with the dining room table, chairs, blankets and sheets. They would be our secret hideouts, with nooks and tunnels and we loved them. Sometimes we even built them outside with the picnic table and old quilts and slept outside. One rainy day this winter, I introduced this past time to my boys. Their first attempts were simple, with two chairs and a throw blanket over the top, and they thought this was great fun. So last weekend they wanted to build them again, and this time Brian got involved. He took their two chairs, stretched a fitted sheet from the chair backs around the back corners of the love seat, and then covered the openings with blankets. The boys loved it so much they slept in it all weekend long!





Best slumber party yet...

Yes, Austin is in his underwear, as usual....

Who needs a Wii or X-Box when you have furniture and linens???

Friday, June 12, 2009

Random Musings...

Last night was kindergarten graduation. It seems it was just yesterday I was blogging about how emotional I was for my baby to start school and now I can't believe he is done with his first year. They had an adorable program where they all stood up and sang the songs they have been learning all year. At the end, they each walked across the stage to receive a "Certificate of Graduation" as Mrs. Fauth announced what they want to be when they grow up. Jacob apparently wants to be a teacher (news to us - it usually changes on a daily basis. Mostly he says he wants to be a dad).

After graduation, we treated the student to dinner at McDonald's, and then we went for a walk at "The Running Place", more commonly known as the Chemeketa Community College track. Brian and I walked for several laps while the kiddies ran, walked, laid in the grass, rolled down the hill and tackled each other in the middle of the soccer field. All the while our Blossom slept like a good girl in the front pack. It was a wonderful evening full of picture worthy moments.

If I had my camera.


Which I never do.


Not at graduation.


Not at the hospital when Leah was born (okay, that one doesn't count, I was at work in labor for an hour and a half before I actually went to the hospital...)


Not at birthday parties.


Not at Family Game Night.


Pretty much never.

I have the best of intentions, really. I usually have it on the list to take places like camping or visits to Grandma's, but I rarely remember to take it out once we get there. More often I just plain forget to pack it. I think it is due to all the years I lived with or near Jennifer, who is a fabulous photographer and always captured everything I would have wanted to and better than I ever would have. My mother has also become a wonderful picture taker, and scrapbooks the pics so beautifully, so you can understand why my motivation is lagging.

So I got to beating myself up over not having captured pictures of one of my first born's rites of passage. Anyone who knows me well knows that I hate having to work and be away from my kids, and I constantly worry about how I am failing them. Today, however, I took the advice my mother so often gives me and when I started beating myself up over my shortcomings, I also made a list of my successes as a mother.

My Downfalls

  • My kids love soda TOO MUCH, mostly because I let them have it too young and too often (Jacob called it sauce for years)

  • My boys always need haircuts sooner than I ever get around to getting them

  • Jacob may very well be made out of equal parts white bread and peanut butter. He loves it, always has and I serve it too often for dinner when I am too pooped to do better.

  • Both of my boys love movies like Transformers and Spider Man. Probably (definitely) too old for them but they love them so I let them watch them.

  • If Jake is made of peanut butter, Austin is chocolate milk. He could live on that alone if you let him, and I have more than once.
  • I put sunscreen on my kids - usually - , but somehow they are still ridiculously tan all the time!

  • I'm not good at getting down on the floor and playing -- TIME!


My Strengths

  • I love my kids fiercely, almost to distraction. Sometimes I think it's unhealthy - (no not THAT kind of unhealthy, I just spend too much time dithering...)

  • My kids love books and reading, because I have read to them since they could listen. It has always been a part of quiet time and bed time routines. Brian and I both love to read and have had a lifelong love of books and want the same for our kids.

  • I foster their imagination. The boys and I spent many nights in the recliner ( when I was soooo pregnant tired) looking at the texture in the ceiling and imagining what we could see up there. Works great with a cloudy sky as well.

  • I am so ok with them getting filthy! We are so grateful to have a big yard where they can run and play and in my book, the dirtier they are, the more fun they are having.

  • I try to have one on one dates with the boys, and will do it with Leah when she is old enough. They need time where my attention is theirs and theirs alone, even if it's just on a trip to WinCo.

  • I take my kids to church. I didn't for a long time and I regret that. It has been the most amazing thing to watch their little testimonies of Jesus Christ grow as they learn about Him. Going to the temple next weekend to be sealed as a family is really a culmination of my desire to get Jacob to primary, and our family has been so blessed by it!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Kids say the darndest part two...

Jake: Dad, I have good news for you!

Brian: What's that bud?

Jake: Someday, if you want to take us to the park, I will let you!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

So I'm trying to be grateful.....

for the changes in our lives. As most of you probably know, Brian was laid off work 2 weeks before our little sunshine baby was born. And I had to go back to work when she was only 6 weeks old. So needless to say, the joyful arrival of our baby girl has been surrounded by some pretty stressful times in the Barnhart house. But, amidst all of that, we have seen some amazing blessings, so I am going to list them out in case some time in the (near) future I need reminding of why life could be worse...

Top 5 blessings of Brian being the stay-at-home- parent
1. He cooks alot more. I am not a good cook and even less talented at getting dinner on the table at the same time (or even close) every night. He is a very good cook and also good at reminding me that it is 6:30 and we have no idea what's for dinner.
2. He fosters the kids independence far more than I do, and they thrive on doing things themselves. Jacob and Austin can do things on their own that I never knew they could, simply because I never stopped doing it for them.
3. We finally have the opportunity to spend quality family time together, something sorely lacking all the years we have worked opposite schedules.
4. More time for house projects, too...
5. The revelation that Brian does know how to fold laundry after all. :)

Top 5 blessings of me being back at work
1. I have a job to go to, which in this economy is blessing enough in itself.
2. I work with one of my best friends, who has been an enormous amount of emotional support on those days when I just don't feel like I can make the whole balance thing work.
3. My management team has been extremely supportive as well. I can do what I want when I want and/or need to and no one questions me.
4. My kids will one day (I hope) recognize the value of my work ethic.
5. There's nothing like the feeling of being greeted at the door every day by two little boys so happy to see me they fall over themselves to get to me. (At this age Leah is only excited to see parts of me.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Pics

This was about the happiest Leah was all day...

Austin's wardrobe is never complete without a peanut butter mustache!



I have to brag...


at least just a little. For Valentine's Day we got the boys puzzles, which they loved. They were each 24 pieces, which Jake pretty much blew through and Austin did really well with (with no help from M&D for either of them). So for Easter, The Bunny brought them each another one, this time a 60 piece one for Jake and another 24 piece one for Austin. First of all, I have to say puzzle time is the only time when I go looking for them because it's too quiet, and they AREN'T in trouble. But the thing I was most amazed with, was Austin. He finished his 24 piece one in about 10 minutes, and decided he would do his brother's. It took him a little longer, but he finished a 60 piece puzzle, all by himself, at 2 1/2 years old!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My email sucks and won't let me attach any photos to send out, so for all the people I have tried to email pics to, here you go!
Austin loves to hold his sister... for about 45 seconds at a time! "Mom I'm done!"
Jake would hold her all day if I let him, and has successfully soothed her with his rendition of "M-O-M spells Mom, D-A-D spells Dad" song.

Relaxing with Dad
Sleeping in her bassinette
She loves to sleep with her back arched and her head thrown back

Leah today

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Introducing...


Baby Leah! She is here, happy and healthy. She arrived on March 12th, at 1:30 pm, weighed in at just 7 lbs and 4 oz, and is 19 inches long. She has a full head of very dark hair and we think she is the most beautiful thing ever!