Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Are you the Biggest Loser???

Alright family, friends, and random readers, it's time for a little challenge. Are you up for it? Can you handle it? Have you seen Tyler's truck? (Sorry, inside joke.)

While spending another wonderful weekend away at the Batt cabin where we ate and snacked and feasted and then ate some more, it was the general consensus that the diet would DEFINITELY be starting in 2009. Could we just do it for our well-being? Maybe. But would it be more fun if we added a little competition and smack-talking into the mix? ALWAYS. And perhaps a little wager to really make it interesting. Ahhh, yeah. No we're talkin'.

So here's the skinny (or the soon-to-be skinny). IF you want to join me and my family in a little friendly biggest loser competition, here's what you have to do.
1. Weigh yourself on January 1st. YES. You have to step on the scale and look at it. You can choose to be in the buff or fully-clothed. Own the number. Don't be afraid.
2. Email me at with your name, phone #, and your secret number (ie. your weight). I'm banking that everyone will be honest. Seriously. We're serious. Tell the truth. I won't share the number with anyone.
3. When you email me it means that you agree to put in $20.00 to the weight loss pot. That's right. It's a guarantee that you'll participate OR try, drop out, but still put in your moo-lah for the one who goes the distance.
4. On WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15th (yes, it's tax day), at 6:00pm meet at the Barlows' home for a final weigh-in (in private, of course) and where we'll have some healthy comfort food (is that an oxymoron?). We'll calculate the % of weight loss for each individual and whoever wins gets the entire pot. [Example if someone who weighs 110 loses 10 lbs. they will have lost 9.09% whereas someone who weighs 400 lbs. at the beginning loses 40 lbs. by April 15th will have lost 10% and will win the pot.] We all know we could lose a few pounds here and there, so whether it be 10 or 40 or 100 pounds you want to lose, consider joining us.


We've already got 6 people confirmed, so that's already a pot of $120.00. Talk about a great refund?! I know, right?! And there's nothing off limits: exercise, healthy eating, pills, shakes, fads, and even surgery (try not to starve or purge). Just do whatever works for you. We're trying to get healthy people!

So, tell your friends.
Sleep on it.
Bite the bullet and weigh yourself tomorrow.
Then email me by midnight.
What do you have to lose?
$20 bucks and a bunch of weight :)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Today has been one of those still-not-showered-and-dressed days. It's 2:27pm. My kids have quit asking if they could have a friend over because I repeated my "No, because then we'd all have to be presentable" answer over and over again. I had big plans last night to get a lot done today, but since we haven't ventured outside (except to get a package of pop tarts from the garage) my "things accomplished" have pretty much consisted of watching 2.5 episodes of Law and Order: SVU and doing the kids' laundry. And I have picked up and re-picked-up the kitchen, family room, and living room three times so far. And I undecorated one tree (out of 4). And LEST you think I'm being lazy and haven't accomplished enough, I'll share what I am really jazzed about working on today.

Last night for family night we pulled in our honkin' garbage can/72 hr. kit to take some inventory and make a final shopping list. Last year one of our goals was to finish that preparedness-dead-chicken-around-the-neck project in 2008 and since we have only a couple more days left we needed to make a final list. [It was funny working on it and talking to the kids ambiguously about if we had to leave what we would do. EVERY time we'd mention leaving Brock would get all excited and say, "Where we go? I go get my shoes on?" Heaven forbid the kid get left at home.] So when were all done with that job and before Tyler went to peruse the ebay camping trailer section (one of his nightly rituals) I asked Tyler what other organizational projects he would like to work on for the beginning of the '09 year. He laughed at me. He didn't even know how to make up an organizational project, he said.

But, of course, I had a list of projects. One of the things I put on my list last night was to keep our 2009 Family Home Evenings more organized. We do pretty well (knock on wood, and thanks to a supportive husband) to have family night each Monday night. I really have begun to look forward to one night a week when I know we'll be home together, where the kids fight to stand up in front of the rest of us to lead the music, and when I KNOW the TV and computer and phone will be off limits for everyone. And I also know that when I'm organized enough to help the kids prepare for FHE, it goes more smoothly, so that was one of my organizational projects. I got it almost completely finished today!

We already hold a "bank night" on some FHEs where the kids get their allowance for completing their chores and we review their tithing, saving, and spending. I also knew I wanted to include in 2009 some family history FHEs to learn more about their ancestors. And I also thought that we should include some House of Order nights, or HOO nights, to work on family projects or 72 hr. kits or using our food storage or anything that would give me an excuse to work on some organizational projects. Once I looked at the calendar, spaced out bank night, HOO night, and family history nights, I added in some birthday celebrations, some holiday celebrations and finished filling in the calendar with some other gospel-centered lessons that I found in a FHE already-prepped lesson book complete with games and treat ideas (thank you, no thinking for me!) Anyway, I am totally stoked to have all 52 weeks filled in for 2009. All the lessons are easily swapped or could be combined or even post-poned until 2010. Seriously, isn't that awesome!? C'Mon! If you're a frustrated teacher who yearns for lesson-planning you probably are feelin' me about right now. I know. I'm a nerd to be so thrilled about this.

Anyway, so now I'm gonna type it all up since my kids are actually playing together (no choice since I made them turn the TV off). I love having a HOO!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Greetings

Today I went to my mailbox to pull out my cache of cards and greetings that I hadn't collected since the day before Christmas. It was the motherload. And I LOVED it! I know in a couple days there probably won't be any fun mail because I'm sure everyone sending out cards this year already sent them out. I literally put our cards in the mail on Christmas Eve night. Yes, I know they sat there for a day and then most of the local folk picked them up Friday and then you out of towners who warranted a stamp probably got yours Saturday or today. But I am having a minor Christmas card guilt right now because I had to cut back on our holiday mailings this year. Blame it on the economy or my freakishly-long list (last year I sent over 135), but Tyler actually gave me a card budget this year. Since I wasn't going to get my homemade cards done by Christmas (grrrr!) I opted for the Sam's club photo card (love the 24 hr. turn around), but that cut into my postage budget (double grrrr!) I probably wouldn't feel so bad, BUT Tyler once again wrote a doosey of a letter. For those of you who don't know, I dumped that responsibility in his lap a couple years ago and he totally rose to the challenge. And even though he says he isn't going to do it every year, he does. Cuz he's that kind of guy. And I love 'em and his mad Christmas-update skillz. So, without further ado, here's the cyber version of our good tidings.

Please enjoy this year’s recap to the tune of
Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby”

Yo! VIP let’s kick it

All right stop
Collaborate and listen
We are back with a brand new edition.
Something grabs a hold of me tightly
Brocks a-grabbin’ my legs, daily and nightly
“Can I have some juice?”
“YO -- I don’t know.
Here’s your sippy cup, now go.”
To the extreme I change diapers like a vandal
One more kid to potty train’s all I can handle.

Weekly in the girls’ class that booms
But first Mackenzie, 9, needs to clean her room!
Flashy, when she moves with dope melody
Anything less than jazz is a felony.
Violin or dancin’,
You better not hate
Homework and chores- done
Or she don’t play.
If there is a problem, Yo! Sarah solves it
Check out our full year while Tyler recaps it.

Busy, Busy Barlows (x4)

Now that the ‘08 is ending
With Briggs nearly crawlin’, Sarah is pumpin’
Quick to the wean, yeah! the bottle he’s takin’
He’s eating real food, but not yet bacon.
Cuttin’ em teeth, comin’ in quick and nimble
I go crazy when I hear his simple
Cryin’ in the middle of the night
I fetch him for his momma cuz she do it right.

Rollin’ in our big white truck
Preschool for the boys is bang for our buck
The kiddies one standby, always askin’ me “why”
Do I stop? No! I just close m’eyes
Kept on pursuing to the home field
I bust a left and Brev, 5, downs the soccer hill
The game is over
Yo so I continue to 809 Bachman Avenue
Girls are hot, complainin’ ‘bout the A/C
Brock, 3, loves to ride watchin’ movies
Jealous ‘cause I’m not getting mine
Sarah with 5 kids means Tyler is denied

Reading, what Caylee learned to do
This year she turned 6, but acts more like 22
Her screams ring out like a bell
I grab my hair and Sarah says, “Hell!?”
Falling, on the carpet real fast,
Jumped in my truck, slammed on the gas,
Fighting and hitting the kids don’t stop,
We love them anyways and offer them pop.
Parents on the scene, you know what I mean?
What are we going to do when they become teens?
If there is a problem,
Yo! Sarah solves it
Check out our big year while Tyler recaps it

Busy Busy Barlows (x4)

Take heed ‘cause I’m a lyrical poet
3 boys on the scene in case you didn’t know it
Brock likes to climb and make loud sounds
Enough to put both of us in the ground
‘Cause these kids are like a super pill
You can hear, see, and feel
Healthy and happy
This is a heck of concept
We make it hype and Sarah blogs it
She posts our life just like a ninja
So many details, other bloggers say, “Man!
If her blog was a drug, I’d buy it by the gram.”
Keep our composure when 5 kids all get loose
Magnetized by a fishing trip is my juice.
If there is a problem yo Sarah solves it,
Check out our crazy year while Tyler recaps it

Merry, Merry Christmas (x4)
Yo! Sarah we can’t get out of here?
Word to your mother
Happy, Happy New Year (x4)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

December, December a Month to Remember!

So, this month has OBVIOUSLY flown by without too much time to sit and blog. I know, bummer, huh. Before I know it I’ll be taking down all my Christmas decorations, cursing all the new stuff I have to find a place to keep, and wishing I had spent more time not stressing. As I type this I am riding in the car with Tyler and el kiddos as we head to bustling Williams, Arizona to ride the “Polar Express.” More about that later, I am sure.

I have to first and foremost thank Daniel for making this blog possible. I hate feeling incompetent and there is nothing like computer issues to humble myself. I told Daniel I hated having to use him for his computer skills. I felt like I was his cyber-pimp and he was sooo willing to answer my every freaking-out-over-my-computer phone call. And he came over twice. AND even did some at-home labor. But more than his computer talent, I have been grateful several times this month that we are friends after all these years. Daniel’s mom, Monica, came over with Daniel this past Wednesday. After they left I had a lot of time to think about all the memories I have with Daniel and Monica and their home back in the ‘hood. If I had to identify my longest relationship with a friend it would be (after my family) Daniel. Anyhow. I’m glad we reconnected after so many years . . . and not just because Daniel knows his computers (I’d feel the same if he had a profession of no consequence to me), but because he’s one of my people.

This month has been filled with the normal Christmas fluff and stuff. I thought I'd share here some of the good times so far. Just click on the mosaic and you can see the pictures closer up. Yes, I am sure you'll want to be studying them and making comments on many of them :)
First, there was the annual cousin's Christmas hosted by Dustin and Leah (and hosted oh-so well!) Every year we have a good time and this year was no different. However, I do have to admit when they announced it would be a "dirty Santa" gift exchange, we upped the game a bit. The dinner was delish, the games were fun (and telling), and woo-hoo! the gifts were hilarious. My favorites were the re-appearing gifts from last year (WHOA Horsey hitch and a fabulous legal-sized ream of mint green paper) and the "naughty" toys for adults only. I couldn't help but also enjoy Erin's super great DI find and my dad was thrilled to get the decoupaged toilet seat (that I ended up with last year, but this year has pictures of cousins' parties of the past). Perhaps the best gift to make the rounds was my grandma's old, brown, L-shaped couch. We've had the couch for a while and my brother and cousin have housed it since Grandma's passing. Tyler hates it. HA-ATES it. He's been trying to give it away for forever and he finally decided the cousin's party would be THE best way to "keep it in the family." Well, the long story ends up with Christina picking the couch and scheduling a delivery (a condition of knowing what the gift was) and somehow Darin got it in the "dirty" part, WHICH he promptly re-gifted VERY last BACK to Tyler. It was CLASSIC.

Here's some pictures of our decking of the halls!

The girls also had their dance recitals. It's just one more mark that we're getting closer to Christmas when we gather for a night (or two) to watch the girls strut their stuff and [Kenzie especially] swish their hair. Ms. Lori is a saint to do this year after year and my girls LOVE them. In addition to my 2 girls, 4 of their cousins also take from Ms. Lori and every recital is like a reunion with all the friends who are also there raising another generation of dancers.

And what do we all need in the midst of the hustle and bustle? A little R&R to the Batt's cabin in Duck Creek, for sure. Right after the cousin's party we took off to spend the weekend DOING NOTHING! That's right. Despite my Christmas list being a mile long, we took the kids to play in the snow, watch movies in the home theater, and relax. On Saturday I did not even get dressed until 6pm and that was only because I showered and put on different pjs. Thanks SOO much for the invite, Jamie. Jared and Mindie are some of our bestest friends, so spending time with them and the Batt family is always an extra sweet treat.

And of course, what would this post be without a recap of the snowstorm that took over Vegas. Last Wednesday it started coming down and didn't stop until around 9pm-ish. I kept my kids inside to help me prep for my book club that I was hosting that night. Well, thank you, snowstorm, but only 2 people braved the storm to come and eat (with such small numbers we didn't really discuss the book.) Since I had gads of soup leftover, some of the extended family came over to eat and then the kids went out to play. And by kids I mean my husband and his 29 year old brother. They went to play in their trucks in parking lots and to have a snowfight and all that other juvenile, 1st snow kind of games. About 8pm I had the kids aLL ready for bed when Uncle Brandon came in asking if the kids could come out too. I was already to say no when he started saying stuff like, "You know they'll cancel school tomorrow," "This is a once in every 30 years kind of thing," and "They'll only be kids for a while, let them play before they get old." So I had a momentary argument with myself and then relented. Out to the garage we went to dress them all and once they were all snow-bibbed, booted, coated, and gloved I informed Tyler and Brandon that this play session was a guaranteed 30 minute commitment before the kids could come back in and re-dress. I swear! That would be THE worst part about living in the snow; the dressing and undressing. They had a ball and we still have our snowman on the driveway even today! (Although his shrunken head is a bit disturbing and one of his stick arms fell off.) It was pretty amazing and I am glad the kids could dress and undress and redress on Thursday when school was cancelled. (I know! How funny to cancel school for 6 inches of snow in only PART of the valley. Oh well.)

And finally, here are some of the other random photos I found on my camera when I downloaded them to the computer. I told you how much I am loving the nativity-playing that happens and it's gotten tons better since both my mom and Dodie (MIL) gave me my Christmas presents early, the Little People Nativity. I love to set them all up and let the kids' imaginations go wild (well, not too wild since we're talking about Jesus' birth and all.) And since we missed church today, last Sunday was our big Christmas outfit day. You know I love me some color-coordination, so it's nice to know once a year we can come all together and share our Christmas spirit at the same time. We also dressed up for the ward party which was a "Night in Bethlehem" theme and thanks to Grandma Dodie's stellar costume supply we were all dressed to the hilt . . . or whatever they wore back then if it wasn't a "hilt." (And yes, Brevin totally looks like a shiek or something.)

I'm hoping to get another post done tomorrow about our AWESOME trip to Arizona. It was so much fun and having all our family together (except Grandpa Bruce *sniff*) was a real blessing for us. Ho Ho Ho!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oh I am so Christmas freaking out!

I am so stinkin' stressed out right now about Christmas and I have decided it's my virus-ed up computer that is bah-humbugging me these days. Seriously! I normally love this time of year and it seems like trying to fix my computer has taken my happy, cozy, Christmas-y image of the happiest season of all and wiped a big 'ol smudge of goo all over it. It probably sounds a little over-dramatic, but it IS! (Well, traumatic anyway.)

Santa needs to get his act together and finish purchasing some Christmas gifts. I'm struggling with the "keeping it equal" aspect of Christmas since my 9 yr. old has her heart on a couple of pricey things, my 6 yr. old has a mile-long list of crap, er, I mean, cheap treasures, and my baby really only needs diapers and baby food to have a merry Christmas. But, am I going to totally ruin my older kids when they put it all together that Briggs must have been a naughty boy since all he got was wipes and formula? I'm beginning to get why my dad says "I hate Christmas."

But I don't. I'm trying to remember the joy in the shopping and returning and shopping and re-returning for a better deal, etc. I'm trying not to complain that the weather has dropped to below 50 degrees here (even though it is a little nippy I can concede since it IS almost Christmas.) I'm trying not to focus on the money part that is soooo tied to Santa's plans (even though Tyler the Budget ELF reminds me constantly . . . thanks, dear) cuz his budget is going way too fast. And I'm trying to take a lot of time to remember the reason for the season. I love seeing my kids play with one of the nativity sets (okay, well, the plastic ones . . . I about bit Caylee's head off when she dropped Mary and shattered her on the tile floor last week . . . but c'mon, "What's baby Jesus gonna do without his momma?" [and yes, I yelled that at her in the heat of the moment.]) The kids were all asked to pick a service to perform during the holiday season and so far Caylee made treats to send to the people she misses most (Grandpa Bruce who's still working in California, Uncle Mike serving his mission in Virginia, and her teacher . . . whom she missed since she was at home and Mrs. McMurtrey was at her home that Tuesday night.) I'm loving every night when the kids pick one of our Christmas stories and we read it together while lying flat-bellied on the floor. I loved Kenzie's hair-flipping during the Christmas recital last night and look forward to Caylee's show tonight. I can't wait to check my mail to see what cards I get and LOVE the goodies that get dropped off (hint! hint! J/K) And did I mention how excited I am for holiday parties. Everything from the cousin party to book club to ward parties and even Tyler's work party give me something else to look forward to and keep me from thinking about my doomed laptop. Have I mentioned the laptop was a Christmas gift? Somehow there's some irony in how that Christmas gift is causing me so much stress this year.

When I start to think about my to-do list I DO get all angst-y and stress-y. Which, totally keeps me from remembering the happy spirit I am striving for. Mostly I am worried about my pictures and having access to my word-processing stuff (to print the Christmas letter and tags and cards, etc.) I would like to post some of my cute pictures of our halls all decked, but I can't get them off the 'ol laptop. And I'd really like to have everything done in an orderly fashion so I don't have to hustle and bustle unless I want to. I am hopeful that Daniel can fix all things viral and I can resume my holiday timeline. UGH, I'm off to drink some hot cocoa!

Friday, December 5, 2008


Just a warning to all my friend, families, and strangers out there! Yesterday in checking my email I got a message in my inbox from what looked like my sister-in-law that she had posted a video for me in facebook. So, I clicked on the link (half paying attention) and then I get a notice that I needed to update my "flash media player" which I totally clicked on to update (again, not really paying attention.) Yeah, I pretty much downloaded a honkin' ol virus onto my laptop. So, now, I am nursing a bug on my computer which will hopefully be remedied soon thanks to my stellar computer geeks, Daniel and Doug.

Doug told me that the same thing happened to him not too long ago and they're finding that this particular virus (which bypasses your security software) allows these pop-ups for anti-virus protection programs. When the owner of the viral computer gets fed up enough with all the pop-ups and "buys" the anti- stuff, these hackers take your credit card info and sell it and badda-bing we got us some bona fide fraud. It's a major pain and I am just hoping to get my system to the point that I can back up all my pictures on DVDs and print off some valuable docs. Yuck. I hate this stuff.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My new best friend

I thought I'd post to let you know me and Harry went to the movies together on Saturday. Cuz, that's how we Democrats roll. It's Thanksgiving weekend; what else should you do but support the economy? So, yeah. Even IF we weren't seeing the same movie and even IF he was walking in while we were walking out, it doesn't mean we aren't BFFs. We did chit chat. Well, I talked and he and his security detail were very gracious. If I would have had my camera you know I would have taken a picture. And then we both went to the bathroom (not together, duh.) [I could make some wise crack right here about thats how Republicans roll considering Senator Craig from Idaho's tryst in a public bathrooms, but I won't . . . oops.]

Monday, December 1, 2008

Oh the Glorious Turkey CampOut!

I am totally dubbing the camp out this past weekend, "The Turkey CampOut" for these reasons:
1. It is the weekend of Thanksgiving
2. A bunch of turkeys go and the big, men Tom turkeys pretty much let the little, rowdy turkeys act like, well, TURKEYS!
Here's a couple pictures I pulled of Tyler's camera:
Brevin's accident 2 minutes after they arrived at Boulder Beach. (YEah, gnarly, huh. He re-split his chin open last night, too, while rough-housing with his brother. So far Brevin is our most accident prone kid!)

Sure enough, in Southern Nevada style, the weather was glorious Friday and Saturday. (We don't have to talk about the big rain storm that was going on when I practically kicked them out of the house after lunch on Thursday. I didn't care; I had limited time to get a lot done.) Mackenzie told me she loved this campout because, and I quote, "The number one rule of camping is there are no rules. I didn't have to eat dinner last night and I could eat whatever I wanted for breakfast. Dad said he did not care!" When I reminded her how they didn't really want me on the campout since I could not follow rule number one, she said, "YEah, you are kinda the rule-maker." Like, I would have totally been screaming at the kids to stay away from the cold water." But these turkeys are right by it, and some are even in it! AGH! I'm thinking wet shoes, muddy clothes . . . I get nervous just blogging about it. (Do notice Kenzie is a good distance back . . . I wonder if she'll grow up to be a rule-maker too?! Ya think?!)

I love that Brock was such a tuckered turkey that he fell asleep, bun in hand, light on his head, right in his chair. This NEVER happens.

And here's two of my favorite turkeys celebrating their campout victory with a fresh can of Caffeine-free Mountain Dew. Ahh, the life that these turkeys lead!

And here's what I accomplished:
Thanksgiving clean up (seriously!? it took me forever!)
Christmas crap bins moved in
Snowmen niches decorated
Black Friday shopping at Wal-Mart at 5am (CRAZY!) and Target at 6:30am
Pie for breakfast
A nap
Lunch with my Aunt Randy, Mom, Dad, Erin, Jer & her girls at Zabbas
Home Goods run (got THE cutest big-butt-ed Santa)
Santa niche decorated
More pie
Play time with Briggs
Clean up of Christmas crap bins
Dinner with the Beagles family at Metro Pizza (so yummy and fun!)
More decorating, organizing, and cleaning
More pie
Returns to Wal-Mart and Target
Washed Tyler's truck
Sent Uncle Mike a package
Mail/paper service for my in-laws
Movie to see "4 Christmases"
I'll post some pics of the decorating completed (record time for el Barlows!) after family night. We'll be trimming the tree and decking the halls! WOO HOO!