Saturday, February 16, 2013

Our love is rock steady

Chris and I are on the road home after a very relaxing and enjoyable 10-year anniversary trip. We ate (too much), slept (made up for recent nights up with kids), and skied (oh how I love thee...). We were rather nervous as we donned the skies and mounted the lift. But we survived and realized it's just like riding a bike- a bike you haven't ridden in 10 years. You get really sore and can't do it for very long. But we had a blast.

I am inspired to ponder the way a relationship can develop over time. You hear about the couples who love each other more and more over the years, but you also see some of the opposite going on. I see my own marriage developing from what was once a naive but trusting love when we got married. Now our love is founded more on experience and really coming to know and love one another. Like once this trip we actually said the exact same thing at the same time. Woah! And we consider each other's feelings more carefully. And when we don't, we have gotten better (not perfect, but better) at fixing things.

And then there's the kids! They sure offer the fast track for character development. With endless opportunities for building patience and learning charity, I can pinpoint our parenthood as the core of our growth as individuals and a couple. I love them so much! Everywhere we went on this trip I thought of them and how they would have loved the adventures of skiing and hotel-staying. But then we saw a kid melting down on the slopes and I thought instead--shall I soak in the hot tub tonight or read a book? Or both?

I have to do a little "ode to my mother." She sure got to know the kids well while we've been gone (and that's based solely on the bits of info she's willingly shared-I'm sure I'll hear more soon). I never worried about the kids being well taken care of! Only about my mother getting run ragged! Thank you Mama, for the valentine making, chauffeuring, cooking, cleaning, and comforting.

One fun thing we did on the trip while driving was answer some of these questions:
It opened up the conversation and led to some interesting revelations (like how else would I have found out that if Chris were an animal, he'd be a white tiger). We also did the love language quiz. That was fun. And I only had to twist his arm a little bit- he was a good sport and I think we both learned something about each other. Take it here:

And hey Courtney and Greg- thanks for hanging out with us the last night when we really had run out of topics to discuss...we feel like we got to know you both better. Courtney got a little too comfortable. But we love you guys and will keep our eyes peeled for homes for you in the Inland Empire. After all, Dex seems more like a warm weather animal.

BTW- the post title is a throwback to our first date- a No Doubt concert and dinner at Applebee's. And yes- our love is so rock steady. Thanks, Gwen, for putting it to music.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My future linguist and tight-rope walker

I thought I'd share a few vignettes about our family lately. I'll start with Ben. He understands just enough about certain concepts to make some wonderfully creative conclusions. Sometimes I tell them how to say things in Spanish or Russian.I'm sure they'll make fun of me for it when they grow up, but it's fun for me. Now Ben likes to explain things to me about how things are done in other languages. At the breakfast table he said, "Mom, this is how they dwink in Chinese." He carefully sipped his milk through a straw. Later, while going to the bathroom (he's a social bathroom kid) he says "Mom, this is how they pee in Spanish!" I'll spare you further detail but it was a bit different than how they pee here in America.

Ben really likes to explain the world to me beyond what happens in different languages. Today we took a little scooter ride and got to pet a neighbor's dog. After that, he said "Mom, in the spwing, chihuahuas get weally mad. And when they're weally weally mad, then they go in a egg." "Really Ben?" "Yah, and when you cwack the egg, there's a chihuahua inside." "So what makes them so mad, Ben?" "They're mad at gwass (grass)!" I have no explanation. He seemd to think it should be obvious.

Mark, our furniture scaling, head-banging, barking/hissing kid has now developed the talent of walking backwards. He thinks he's quite clever. He'll grin and point and hiss (that's his favorite sound to make) as he shuffles backward until he runs into something or gets his fill and heads forward again. But back to the hiss- at the doctors office this week he hissed at a woman. It's not like a snake hiss, it sounds more like an angry cat. I knew that he meant it as a greeting but she asked "does he have a cold?" "Yes he does," I didn't bother explaining. At church His babysitters across the aisle say hi to him when we get there by echoing his sound. They have really got it down. We sit down and he spots Chris on the stand and his hiss amps up to a downright cat-fight! Their mom (they are sisters) said they hiss at each other at home even. None of my kids have been early talkers. I'm expecting more animal sounds than human sounds from this one. Maybe I should have named him Frank after my father like we had planned! But the chicken we named Frank ended up being a rooster so just more proof that Franks will do as they please no matter what.

Blogger won't let me update pics right now. Maybe later. Happy New Year!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Barney Family--the Musical

I love musicals. I grew up watching Hello Dolly and Fiddler on the Roof. At 10 years old I got to dress up like a princess and attend Phantom of the Opera. I only remember Grandpa snoring through the loud, intense organ solo part. Later my Dad introduced me to Les Miserable. And now it seems like everything is being put into the form of a musical nowadays, right? From great literary works (Les Mis, and even greater works!) to historical happenings (1776), music helps us learn and remember and feel as a group. Sometimes our home becomes a little bit of a musical.

Our day: We wake up. I sing Marky a song they used to sing to us at girls camp to wake us up"Good morning to you, good morning to you. You look kind of sleepy, in fact you look creepy, is that any way to start a new day." It sounds mean, but it's got a nice tune so he thinks I'm saying nice things.

The kids get off to school and Ben helps with the chores as I tra-la-la a little motivation -- by the way, what mother wrote this song and do kids really believe it? I hope mine do! "When we're helping we're happy and we sing as we go, for we love to help Mother for we all love her so." Then my favorite part: "Tra la la la la la la, tra la la la la la!"

At lunch I sing "There are two little magic words, that will open any door with ease!
                         The first little word is "Thanks" and the other little word is "Please."
                         When you want the butter, say "Please, pass the butter,"
                         and do it with a great big happy smile!
                        And when you get the butter, say "Thanks for the butter."
                          Manners never go out of style!"
My neighbor caught Ben and I jumping on the trampoline singing "I like to move it, move it!" a few days ago.

After school I sing "We are all enlisted til the homework is o'er, happy are we, happy are we." I imagine they would sing "We don't need no education" if they knew it.

A few minutes later I sing "There is beauty all around, when there's love at home (and I might interject -- when we're not poking our sister or calling our brother doo doo breath)."

Mark will only let me rinse his hair in the tub if I sing "If all the raindrops were lemon drops and gumdrops, oh what a world it would be! I would go outside with my mouth open wide. Ah ah ahh ahh ahh ahh ah!" He still looks a little scared -- he doesn't like water on his head -- but he closes his eyes and smiles a little if I sing. Mostly he just wanders around saving the world (poor 4th kid gets his big brothers undies for a Halloween costume!).

Cousins came to visit and sang "Yo ho, yo ho a pirate's life for me."

Chris comes home from work sometimes and sings Nessun Dorma (an Italian opera piece) in the fashion of his newest favorite British singer Alfie Boe -- Nessun Dorma. It's even his new ring tone.

Bedtime brings a slew of traditional tunes -- "Let us gather in a circle and kneel in family prayer"...we used to sing "I love to see the temple" every night. Sometimes Chris and I would sing it together, taking turns saying each word. It's a funny little challenge and harder than it sounds. Try it. Now the kids can do it with us.

Often and overarchingly, I sing "I need thee every hour!"

 We sang Happy birthday to Mark on this day:
 And here's Lucy singing "Walk like an egyptian"

 I hope your day is filled with song!

Sunday, April 1, 2012


We watched this video together as a family one Sunday evening:
Lucy LOVED it! She decided we needed to do the marshmallow challenge. Why was she so excited about it? I think it's because she knew she could hang. She knew she could sit there and stare at a tantalizing treat and withstand the temptation to eat it. She knew she could win the prize of double treats after a few minutes of patience. I think she also knew it would just about kill her brothers. She was right on all accounts.

For our family home evening activity, per Lucy's request, we chopped our brownies into little pieces. Each child received one single piece. We instructed them that for every minute they could sit there and wait without eating it, they would receive another small piece of brownie, maxing out at 4 pieces.

The timer starts. Ben starts squirming immediatlely. "Can I eat it now?" He looks at us hopefully. "Not if you want more. If you wait you can have another piece!" "OK." He grins and goes back to staring at his little morsel of sugar. Lucy sits like a rock, unphased. Sam's doing OK, laughing a little at how Ben seems to be struggling.

One minute -- we pass out another piece to each kid. Ben promptly pops both pieces in his mouth, hops down from the table and skips away. He's satisfied with himself. After all, he held out a whole minute! Lucy's still doing fine. Sam's the one who's squirming now. He wants to eat it badly. "Why can't I just eat it? It's not fair!" "You can eat it, Sam. You just won't get any more!"

Two minutes -- they each get another piece and have just one more minute until they've gone the distance. Lucy's still stalwart and strong -- a hint of a smile showing as she stares down the brownie in front of her. Sam's crumbling at the challenge now. He's pleading, nearly in tears. "This is so dumb! Why did we have to do this?" With only 30 seconds to go he's about to cave.

Three minutes -- he makes it and whines as we pass the last piece, the fruits of his labor. Lucy reaps her reward and shows a content smile as she slowly eats each piece.

Try it -- watch your children's personalities come out with this little challenge in patience. Maybe they won't make the top 30% like in the video, but you'll find out a bit about their tolerance levels and at the least have a good laugh.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

How did your day begin?

This is how mine began yesterday:

6:37 am (mind you -- it's a holiday and the kids have school off so I was banking on a few extra minutes in bed this morning). Lucy magically appears in front of me. I never hear her approach. She likes to be sneaky and then wake me up with various methods (patting the bed loudly until I wake up, tapping the bedside table -- she doesn't like to speak for some reason. I guess that seems too intrusive). This morning she chose the "poke on the forehead" technique to rouse me. A few pokes and I'm wide-eyed.

"Ben peed frew." that enough reason to get up? He can dress himself. "OK" I say and she seems satisfies and skips out. Back to dreamland.

6:44 am. Ben doesn't concern himself with stealth as he enters out room. "Moooommy (rising voice with long vowel the kind you use when you're about to tell on someone-- not the cow sound- .)" By the way, he's wearing only undies but that means he's working on getting dressed. I'm worried he's going to wake Mark up and then I'll really have to get out of bed, but Mark's out cold. "Sam told the troof on me."

Hmm...I don't know what that means but it's pretty cute. That's worth waking my better half up to share.

"Daddy--did you hear that?" Chris -- groggily -- "Yes" he chuckles "Sam told the truth on you, huh?"

Ben feels vindicated already and runs out of the room and I'm snoring in 30 seconds.

6:54 am. Lucy ninjas up again, but has more of an agenda this time. "Mooom" (same rise in her voice as Ben earlier). "Sam thinks he's the boss of us. He -- he--he (she stutturs sometimes when she's worked up) won't let us have ceweal (cereal) unless we eat the stwawberries!"

Hmmm...well, I don't know what that means either but the baby's stirring by now and it looks like Mom's plan to sleep on the job won't work this morning. The day promises to be a good one. Here I come laundry, troof-tellers, and stwawberry haters!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Old post -- finally posted!

I've had issues adding pics so this blog has been sitting as a draft for a long long while. I wanted to add a lot more, but it would probably be March before I get everything perfect, so here it is! I'll post more soon.
New Year's at cousins house -- the kids had a ball! Ben's driving (can't you tell by the direction he's looking? There's a reason 3-yr olds don't have licenses) and Tommy is trustfully accompanying him on a rough and wild ride through the dirt and hills of the backyard.

Oh the fun that we had during our "summer-winterbreak." We enjoyed crazy warm weather (our peach tree is in full bloom -- even the trees believed spring had sprung). We enjoyed crazy amounts of family concentrated in a few days time and into a small space. The glory of the whole experience: almost everyone left wanting more (I just left that open for those who may not have admitted they were ready to flee the Barney household --cough, Courtney, cough). I loved it. I love my family and having them around made Christmas extra wonderful. Some highlights:

  • getting to know my newest brother and sister in law who I hadn't hung out with much before and realizing how great of choices my siblings have made in their companions. Love you Greg and Em!!!

  • Working out 'til someone puked - that's what we get for allowing a marine sargeant to lead the group (cough, Danny, cough). The whole thing felt strangely similar to the scene in the movie "Dan in Real Life" where the whole family is doing aerobics on the lawn during their reunion. Our workout was different -- we were doing sets of 30 push-ups and maxing out sets of dead-hang pull-ups.

  • Shooting rockets off.

  • Hiking with Bubba and Emily.

  • Eating See's candy -- or at least picking through the carnage of a See's candy box after many a thumb had poked in the bottom to test the flavor.

  • Playing the games "Things." Was it just because we were all tired or were there some really funny moments?

  • Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    Happy Halloween!

    Coming to you from SO-Cal it's Hannah Montana and her trusty sidekicks Sam the Vam (Pire) and Magic Mickey.

    Mark spent the evening sleeping on Nellie's couch.

    Here are some individual shots. I love how their poses show their personalities!