Monday, June 30, 2008

Still Here, Thankfully!

You know it's been a while in blog world when friends actually start calling to make sure you're okay. Yes, yes I'm alive and kickin', but thanks for checkin' on me Chris! Tyler and I actually had a little getaway last week, so I'm thinking I'm okay since it's only been a couple days since I blogged, when in reality it's been more like a week. And this post will be short cuz I am blogging on the sly while the rest of my family is outside having family night. Even Briggs is passed out in his swing while the radio blares and the kids splash in the pool.
I don't know if anyone else's relationship is like mine and Tyler's, but we start a project together and quickly I get irritated. So, tonight, after we washed the patio furniture (in anticipation of the family Olympics we're hosting on Friday) we start spraying down our decking. Oh, I realize how it is so filthy when the dry dirt becomes dark, muddy water. Tyler's spraying and I'm pushing the water off the deck into the rock bed and planters, etc. But, in my opinion, Tyler is doing it ALL WRONG! And I try "suggesting" different ways to do it, which he (IN ALL FAIRNESS) ignores, and then I'm annoyed. I have to give myself credit, though, for letting it go and removing myself from the situation instead of getting overly bugged and being snotty to him (which is my first reaction.) So, I'm blessing the entire family by blogging :)
So, what's been going on? Nothing abnormally exciting. The girls are on track break and, like always, it seems to throw the whole world off kilter. I'm REALLY trying to be a better mom full of patience and love, but it's gonna have to be a process. I cannot get it through Brock's head that he can't climb and hang on ALL our furniture and fixtures or he might get hurt. It's the might that he wants to argue about, which, to 2 yr. old "might" is like an empty threat. But I hate the "See, I told you moments!" He was literally hanging off my shelf in my dining room that is about 5 feet from the ground and holds some candle thing-a-ma-jigs trying to get one of them in his hands. Crazy! And for breakfast he cannot understand why dum dum suckers and apple juice won't cut it. Anyhow, it's normal stuff, right? Honestly, the past few weeks my perspective about being a mom has changed a ton since reading Stephanie Waite's blog. My sister-in-law told me about her family a few weeks ago and I have devoutly checked to see what Stephanie has posted every day since she lost her one year old daughter in a drowning accident. Sometimes a tragedy like their family experienced is morbid and overwhelmingly devestating. While I am sure there are some powerful moments of sadness (she's very candid in her blog), I have been so inspired by her inner strength, faith, and understanding. If y'all want to be similarly affected, I highly recommend it. I'll warn you, though, being a parent will not be the same experience once you thing about what she has to share.
*Deep breath* Okay, before I head to Erin's for the Bachelorette par-tay, I'll leave ya with some pics. (For lame posts, pictures always help.) I took the girls (and Briggs) to Spring Mountain Ranch with my sister's ward a couple weeks ago and we had a great time seeing Beauty and the Beast. The girls had a blast and a huge thanks to Angela for commanding the blanket brigade so we'd have a place to sit! *AND* for always being so great to help with Briggs.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Why blog???

So, I've been thinking a bit about why people blog. Why do we take time to set up these web pages and throw out information or thoughts or pictures out into the wide world? Some people are private and some people aren't; some share music; some only share recipes or use the blogs for business purposes. And so, in thinking about it all, I've decided why I blog, but I'm curious why some of y'all blog . . . and why the rest of you that I KNOW are reading don't blog???

I blog because I like to talk (yes, about myself and my family.) I would like to have uber-intelligent things to share about my life, but right now I don't feel like there's a lot of depth going on over her, so I try to keep it real. I'm not very good about sensoring. In fact, I've called my sister or cousin on a couple posts to find out if it's a bit much to post publicly. Luckily, they've talked me down or everyone would've been treated to a few extra doosies. Here are some of my other thoughts on blogging. The English teacher in me REALLY appreciates the writing outlet, but I don't feel like my blog has to be all creative and grammatically correct. HOWEVER, I have stumbled across some blogs that are really hard to understand because they are poorly written and I have to remind myself NOT to be a blog-snob. Are you a blog snob? I really don't care about how many comments I get, or even if people comment at all, BUT I do get a kick out of seeing how many people have checked my blog each week when sitemeter sends me a report. And when people have those little maps with the red dots on them to show where people live and someone in Africa has found their site, I am a little intrigued. I haven't set out to blog a post that will inspire others. I don't think I have that power and I don't seek that talent. However, I do hope when I share about my life that people will be able to relate. I use my blog as MY outlet. I don't worry about offending people (not that I set out to offend or anything, but it's just that it's MY blog and so I am writing how I feel.) I assume people will want to read about me, but I'm not offended if people don't and just scroll to find a story about how naughty my kids are or whatever.

And what about my reading of blogs? Oh, it's pert-near reality TV on it's fun factor to me. For the people I am kinda friends with, or haven't really been close to for some time, or the complete strangers I have lurked upon, I am enough of a voyeur that I like to look into thier lives. Granted it's usually only the parts they want to share with THE ENTIRE WORLD, and some may present a different reality on their blog than the real deal, but I still get a kick out of it. And reading my close friends' blogs helps me to feel like a better friend because I totally know what's going on with them {Right Moana!?}. Sometimes, when I read peoples' blogs that I know (especially my families' posts), I wonder if they're being passive aggressive and telling me things they can't tell me to my face. Why would I think that? I think I am guilty of a post or two like that. I think I am able to say things to people through my blog that I don't care to say in person. But again, I get to do that on my blog. Another part of my release.

So, why DO you blog or why DON'T you blog. If you do blog, are you a Pollyanna or Debbie Downer? Is it peer pressure? a release? C'mon out of that blog world and fess up. I'm totally curious. And I have my theories, so I am curious if my perception is right. And I was totally lying earlier, I do want some comments.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Snatches of the week

I just downloaded some pictures from the past couple weeks, and thought I'd share a few.
How do you know you're getting closer to potty training your 2 year old?

When he is getting confused about where to put his wet diaper. He knows the pee goes into the toilet somehow. *Side note* I don't know if you can click on the picture or zoom it to be bigger, but you can see how "BRIGGS" is printed on all our toilets, center and square.

These next pictures are some of my faves because you can see Briggs' favorite thing to do with Tyler. He loves to look around and Dad is just the right height to lean on, and still look around. He's getting a lot more neck strength and will hang out like this for a while.

I'm totally grateful for Tyler being home. That seems like such an understatement, but it's the simple truth. I spent my morning at the DMV today trying to get my new driver's license. Nice how I waited in the 25 minute line to get my number only to be told the computer/camera was down and I'd have to come back. Gotta LOVE the DMV. Has anyone been interested in the people who work there. I think they all look alike, somehow. Not, like, related, but similar in their, "You could be on fire and I would not react with more than a blink" demeanor. It's probably a defense mechanism to protect them from the rude people they probably deal with, so they probably include some sort of a question on the job application. AND I think they are twisted enough to enjoy bringing people bad news. The lady practically danced a jig when I told her I was there to get a license. But, I foiled her plan when I told her I also needed to transfer a title to my brother, so she would have to provide a service after all. Oh well. It's more interesting than anything. And, OH, the people watching! If I weren't trying to finish my book, I would have been in crazy heaven. Which, by the way, I highly recommend The Book Thief.
This afternoon Tyler took the four bigger kids to hit golf balls and then they did some shopping for my birthday tomorrow. I'm feeling kinda blah about the whole birthday thing as my real birthday list includes things such as a boob job, a letter from my brother on his mission, and/or my father-in-law to get a job. Neither of which are happening any time soon. Oh well. Tonight we have a hot date night (with the Stewarts) to go see Tim McGraw (*THANKS, Derrick!*), which will be way fun. {Thanks} to Erin and Angela who are tag-team babysitting Briggs and my mom who got stuck with the other crazies. We'll have a nice date sans children which seems like another unattainable birthday gift, but it really is going to happen. Nice.
Next time I write I'll be an old woman of 31. Woo hoo! Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lessons from on High

“… You were taught and prepared for the circumstances you would personally encounter in mortality. … Your memory of premortal life would be kept from you to assure that it would be a valid test, but there would be guidance given to show you how to live." - Richard G. Scott

I found this quote this week as I was doing my visiting teaching. Sometimes I find the monthly messages to be trite or so basic that it seems silly to tell the sisters something they obviously already know and understand. However, this month the topic is on the premortal life and I found the above quote especially poignant at this exact moment in my life.

Why, you ask? Well, I believe this quote to be true. And if I believe it, I would really like to remember that day when the Lord taught and prepared me to survive a week with five small kids while my husband was off to Scout Camp. What kind of tips would the Lord have given me? What kind of guidance? Surely it would have been something like, "Sarah, I would exhort you to eat out each night so you won't have to stress about cooking and the clean-up associated with it." OR "Thou shalt arrange your days so your children will have a nap ensuring thou will have the much needed mental break you need so thou wouldst not to want to murder them by the end of the day." OR, maybe it would be just a basic review of the 10 standard commandments,

1.Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.
Easy enough . . . but is the TV a God? Cuz I'm thinking of how quickly each morning I ask the boys if they want to watch a movie to occupy themselves?

2. Thou shalt not bow down to any graven image.
Yeah, that's a good reminder since I have literally fantacized about my beloved Coke and how it would REALLY get me through this week if I would just partake of its power.

3. Thou shalt not take the Lords' name in vain.
I will not say that, but can I slide by with a few "$#i&"s or "d@m*"s? I mean c'mon, it's a lot of LONG days with my sweet try-ers-of-my-patience. I'm not saying it's right, but I may slip every now and then, like when the boys dump half the bath water on the floor.

4. Keep the Sabbath day holy.
Hey, no prob since I know that once I make it through sacrament meeting someone else will be responsible for 4 out of 5 of my kids!

5. Honor thy mother and father.
I bet this advice was so I could focus on the fact that my mom has survived having 5 kids and she had her fair share of long days while my dad worked multiple jobs or was going to school. It was a lesson, for me, that must have stuck well with me, but bounces right off my kids as I plead for them to be more obedient this week!

6. Thou shalt not kill.
K. Got it. Keep reminding myself of it. Haven't forgotten it . . . yet.

7. No adultery.
Seriously? Who would have me this week? Showering is a treat, make-up's a luxery and how hot is it to have an overweight nursing mom of five as your liason lover? I'm definitely not in the market as I realize every day how much more I love Tyler and how much he contributes to our family, but also, who'd have me and my entourage?

8. Thou shalt not steal.
Cat naps, extra sleep, or alone time. CHECK!

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness.

I would not lie about how wonderfully energetic my kids are whilst sucking the energy and patience right out of me. I mean, it's kinda amazing, considering how blasted hot it's been this week (today's 108). Ick.

10. Thou shalt not covet.
I know this one will be a challenge since I know Tyler's nights are uninterrupted ones (hopefully) and he's been diaper-duty free for a week. BUT, he has also been missing us and has missed some good times this week, like pool time with the kids, Beauty and the Beast last night with the girls (at Spring Mountain Ranch), and the Camp Rock party we're throwing tonight. [See, I'm trying to focus on the positive!]

Anyhow, I know I'll survive and I do believe I was prepared to face the trials and challenges and super-spunky kids I am raising. After all, we're not given more than we can handle. AND, if we try our best, I believe, we're blessed. THAT is why Tyler texted last night that he'll be home late tonight instead of tomorrow afternoon. Halle-freakin'-lu-jah!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Oh Blessed Day

A couple weeks ago Briggs was blessed. For ALL my favorite, non-Mormon readers, a blessing is when a baby is formally given a name and then the priesthood holder who's giving the blessing has a chance to invoke a blessing for the baby's future. It's very sweet and something I look forward to with each of my kids. Mostly because I love that it's a special moment between the kids and their dad. And, let's face it, it's a PRIME photo oportunity to color-coordinate our outfits for church!

Oh yeah Baby! Can you believe how good that all turned out?! Now I know that's not SUCH a big deal to some of you, but it's my thing. I noticed a few years ago that I was constantly looking for a theme in what all of us were wearing. And Sundays were THE worst (or best) opportunity to all look our best and to match. It started small with the girls wearing matching colors or outfits and then I'd pull something out of my closet that matched. Once the boys came along it was a matter of picking the right color shirt (no biggie, right?) But when I was packing for our last Disneyland trip and ended up telling Tyler what colors he should pack for the week, I knew it was an issue. And it's not just colors. If we're not matching color-wise I will notice little things like, "Oh good, we're all wearing jeans" or "Everyone has a collared shirt." I know. It's wierd. And in the big scheme of things it's not important, but I do it unconsciously now. UNLESS it's an "occasion" like Briggs' blessing. So, Caylee and I hit up Kohls for new dresses for the girls, grabbed a couple shirts for the boys, a tie for Tyler, and a shirt for me (WHICH, upon looking at the pictures I have determined was NOT a good buy since my ba-zoobs look even more jumanji in the "shimmery" material. But hey! It matched.)

The kids have all been so great with Briggs from day one. They're all very patient with the time it takes away from their attention and they've been very willing to help. The only problem we've found is they argue over who gets to hold him. (Caylee won on his blessing day.)

We've played the "who does Briggs look like?" game and I think he looks more like his dad at this point. Really, he still looks like a little old man, but he's getting smushier as he chubs out.

Here's shots of Briggs' with the other kids.

I really debated about who all to invite to Briggs' blessing. In the past we've let our extended family know and invited friends from out of town, etc. but this year I wasn't really feeling up to having SO many people. Afterward we were having everyone over for lunch and I didn't know how much I could handle with little kids, people, chaos, noise, etc. AND it was a good thing I was a little cautious because I was totally sick the day of Briggs' blessing. The night before I awoke a couple times feeling all sick to my stomach, but I thought it was nerves. Oh no, by the time I woke up on Sunday I totally puked! UGH. I couldn't believe it. And then I felt like I'd been hit by a mack truck so getting everyone to church on time was really hard. I guess it even made the bishop nervous that we didn't breeze in until five minutes before church started. By the time the lunch was over after church I had to go take a nap before everyone even left; you know I was tired if I missed out on conversation.

I do want to say (again) that I do love my family. All of them. In-laws, out-laws, etc. (Missed you Lane, Amy & co. and Uncle/Elder Mike!) Here's some action shots at lunch.

Right after church I took some pictures of Briggs on the baby afghan my mom made for Briggs. He's wearing a blessing suit that Grandma Dodie made for our boys. I had framed that sucker in a shadow box frame after we had Brevin and we got to pull it out for use one more time :) on Sunday morning. We'll do pictures of Briggs in it and then re-frame it for the last time (SERIOUS!)

Anyhow, it was a good day and I'm hoping I'll remember it in the years to come. I'm beginning to recognize how bad my memory is and how important it is to write this kind of stuff down. I want to share a little of my testimony that I bore on Sunday since I thought a lot about it the week before Briggs' blessing (well, actually, since Briggs' pregnancy.) I would consider myself a planner and when we found out we were expecting #5, I was not pleased at something I had not planned or expected. But I can bear testimony that He knows us better and what we can handle (or not handle.) I know that the sweet baby boy that was sent to our family is part of an incredible plan for me EVEN THOUGH I didn't plan on it. I shared that my mom had given me a card right when I found out I was pregnant and how much the words meant to me. I couldn't remember what it said exactly when I stood at the pulpit, but this is the actual quote: "Willing sacrifice of deeply held personal desires in favor of the will of God is very hard to do. And yet when you pray 'May thy will be done,' you are in the strongest position to receive the maximum help from your loving Father." - Elder Richard G. Scott. And I'll just say Amen and Amen.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Boom chicka wow wow

Went to the doctor.
6 weeks have passed since Briggs' birth.
Oh Joy. For Tyler.

(Yes, that's a haiku.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Charleston Campout 2008

This post is taking me forever to get done, so the commentary will be short and sweet. Campout was fun. Parts were beyond hilarious. Campfire chats are always a highlight. I love my family. Briggs' first campout was a success. Felt like I nursed him the whole time. Thank heavens for the hooter hider. Weather was way better than September's campout. Still grateful for a trailer. Tyler's pulled pork was awesome. Again, I love all my family! Enjoy the montage after these pictures of Briggs.

"Hey, it's me nursing Briggs again. I know, big shocker!"

C'mon, admit it, he's a cute camper!

Click below for WAY more pictures.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance?!

I know I'm quite behind in my blogging, or my, share the cute things my kids did blogs, anyhow. There were a couple weeks in May that were pretty much a wash for me as far as even remembering they existed. Thankfully there are photos to document that yes, they did happen, and yes, we even participated in life those weeks. We had dance recitals that week, so I thought I'd share some photos that Mindie and Chris took for me. Why wouldn't I take the pics? Uh that would be because I left the battery for my camera on the charger. It doesn't get much better than Chris' mad photo skills, though, AND she had good seats, which means she was able to actually capture some good photos without random peoples' heads in the picture, too. Thanks for savin' my bacon friend!

So, picture #1 is of my girls that I took with Mindie's camera. You can't really tell how COOL Kenzie's hair was on night #1, but it was really pretty cool if I say so myself. It's always a ba-dillion degrees at their recitals since it's at the outdoor pavilion, so I try to put the girls' hair up in some sort of a do. But after 6 years with Mackenzie I'm lookin for new ways to make it look cool. Anyway, I might be biased, but I thought this was a great photo of my beauties.
Picture #2 is of Mackenzie and Sydney. They are such the bestest friends and I am so grateful they have each other. I watch Kenz interact with others sometimes and honestly think, "Reign it in a bit, girl!" but Sydney is a good compliment for Mackenzie's overbearing-ness as she is patient and kind. They love having dance class together as they know they'll see each other once a week, at least. And driving them in carpool is always entertaining to listen to them giggle and chat and discuss the serious and silly things of their life.
Picture #3 is the family affair photo. This year all four Barlow granddaughters took from Miss Lori and next year we'll have even one more with Caitlyn participating. I must brag a bit that our girls know their stuff and put on a good show. It was fun to have so much family support, too, on the night that all the girls danced. (Lizzie, Kenzie, Caylee, and Courtnie.) OH, and Caylee's denim skirt was NOT her costume, but the drama around her costume could be a long post that's summed up by us paying $30 for a costume and then having to play swap-the-costume parts for pictures and the recital and not even ending up with a costume for the dress up bin. Blah on that whole issue.
And the rest of the pictures are the ones Chris took of the girls. Kenzie was ca-racking me up with her show-stopping smile, er, pucker. Yeah, she's got some serious performance pout action going on. And Caylee kept asking if we were going to get her flowers for when she was done, but we told her it depending on how well she danced (including the smiling for the audience), so she was all grins.
Anyway, the shows (Yeah, that would be two nights of 30+ dances each night) were a success and it does my heart proud to see my girls, too, were born to dance!
PS. Note the title of this post is a complete tribute to my FAVE summer show. Thank you Fox television for providing me something to love each summer.

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Disturbing foliage

Okay. I don't know if this is an appropriate post, so if you offend easily, scroll down and read something a little more wholesome and sweet. I am disturbed by our desert landscaping. Very disturbed, actually, and I know it's only my sick lil mind that would notice this kind of thing. However, I see it every day and I hate it all the more. Firstly, we have desert landscaping which is not my favorite, but it came with the house and we love the house. When we moved in there was an array of cacti in the front that we have speculated was lifted from some BLM illegally by the previous owner due to the maturity of the cacti. Now, I'm not a stickler for the law against taking protected plantlife from government land, but WHY would anyone choose these plant to put in their front yard??? I would like to say it's the safety of my children that I'm worried about, and yes, when Brock stuck his hand on the barrel cactus last week I was a little preturbed, but more than anything I am totally disturbed by the phallic nature of our cacti. Yes, I just said phallic. We have these cacti that each summer "bloom" by sprouting these ginormous stamen-looking rods from the center of the plant. Okay, bad enough, right, but then at the tip top of the rods all these white flowers sprout and bloom. It is pert-near pornographic plantlife, I swear! JUST SO YOU KNOW, we paid to have these babies removed when we redid our back yard a couple years ago. Apparantly they're so mature that the roots grew brand new cacti in their place that are bigger and stronger and still sporting the plant penis. So, basically every year these rods appear and I roll my eyes and try to be grateful for desert landscaping (which is useless because, let's face it, it's UGLY), but THIS year, our barrel cactus totally hit puberty and has all these buds that bloom with these white flowers (which are kinda pretty) at the very top, too. I guess we should feel lucky to have happy plants, but I feel a little guilty that I have a naughty enough mind to think "stupid penis cactus" when I drive up to my home (or is that "stupid peni cacti" since there are more than one of them?) Oh well. I have taken some pictures so you can witness the inappropriateness of our front yard but some of the blooming rods are masked by the normal non-sexual trees that grow behind them. See if you feel as violated as me.
The barrel cactus has closed it's blooms by the time I took these pictures at sunset; apparantly it's partial to morning blossoms.

And just so you know, sometimes these plants bloom with TWO rods that shoot straight up in the air with even more buds. Totally. In. Appropriate. Plants. YUCK!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Briggs at one month

I thought I would update you on our little munchkin because he is growing so fast. Really, I can tell he's been filling out this first month, but nobody seemed to believe me. Well, once he had his check-up last Wednesday, I believe I know why. Although he has put on some weight, little man has also grown almost two inches. Basically all that nursing is making him long and lean. We did bump up from the 20% bracket (thank you 2 1/2 week-early delivery) to the 33rd percentile. My prediction is that by next month we'll be average and then it's game on for month 4's well check. At the rate this kid eats he'll be our biggest yet. I thought I'd do a monthly photo op-a-la-Jenn Stanworth and Becky Higgins to track his growth by always taking the picture in the same chair with the same bear.
So, here's some of the pics of Mr. Briggs
9 lbs. and 21 1/4 inches