Thursday, December 23, 2010


(hair courtesy of "Who-ville" day at the high school. I was one of 5 people to actually dress up. Yeah, no shame, my people!)

Holy moly! I haven't posted a blog since August. Fail. Actually, it'd be an epic fail (as the kids these days say.) It isn't that I haven't wanted to blog, I have. It's just that there's been too much to write about and not enough time to give it all justice. So, basically, you've missed a lot of garbage AND a lot of good since I didn't record it on the 'ol bloggity blog, but we'll pretend we're all on the same page and if I can remember the details later on I'll mention them... maybe.

I'm trying not to stress that my Christmas vacation is pert-near half over. Christmas Eve day tomorrow will mean I am scrambling to do all the things I have procrasti-santa'd all week. I did finally get the kids' present wrapped last night and hopefully tomorrow Christmas cards will hit the post office (only to sit there until after Christmas, right!?), but at least it'll be off my to-do list.

One of the things we had on our to-do list tonight was to clean our chapel with several other families from our ward. Now, y'all could call me a big fat liar if I told you I was super amped to go to the clean the church when I have baking to finish. Cuz, I really wasn't. I wasn't very positive and in this season of giving, I wasn't being very seasonal.

When we got to the church, we split the duties. As Tyler was taking out the trash to the outside recepticle that's enclosed in a brick fence and gate, he discovered there was a homeless man hiding out next to the trash can. Tyler was stunned a bit and the timid man kept the conversation short so Tyler'd leave. Now, if you've been in Vegas, you know we've had several days of non-stop rain and drizzle, so I'm sure this man was appreciating that the skies (at least at that point) were clear. Once Tyler got over his surprise, the man told Tyler that being in the enclosure meant he was doing better than being out in the open. I couldn't even imagine calling camping out next to a (STINKY/DIRTY!) trash can "better," but I guess perspective is important no matter what's going on in our lives, right?

Anyhow, Tyler came back to the church and nobody really knew what we should do, or how to handle the situation. Tyler went back out before we left to see if he needed anything to get through the night, to find out if he was hungry, and the man was very gentle and humble and assured Tyler he has food stamps so he wasn't hungry, and he would be okay through the night. He was wrapped in a thick comforter and Tyler surmised that he was trying to just go to sleep. Of course, by that point, I got pretty grateful that I had the opportunity to clean the church. I mean, there are places that don't have chapels to meet in each week. And I was feeling pretty spoiled with my unbaked goodies that were sitting in my house (yeah, the same goodies I was cursing since I really DO hate baking). Yeah, in my house that is warm and furnished with comfortable furniture and beds. And, of course, I was thinking about how sad and devestating homelessness is, but at Christmas? It's painful.
So, here was what was awkward about the whole thing: taking that moment to teach our kids. Because we don't know much about the random homeless man, Tyler told the kids to stay inside, which then piqued their interests. Tyler tried to explain there was homeless man out by the trash can and, I swear, you'd have thought they thought he was a zoo animal! I was a little mortified when we were leaving they wanted to go drive by to see him "living in the trash can." I mean, a live, real, human homeless man? They were all over it. To them, it's what stories are made of and they wanted to see him in the flesh . . . to do what? Stare at him? I kinda lost it on them to let them know he was just a normal man who was struggling. He didn't have a home or a bed or warm clothes to wear and that it was really, really, really sad. He was more than the "guy living in the trash can." I guess we need to teach our priviledged kids a little more perspective.
As we left the parking lot, we did what many other people who really had no clue how to make this tragic reality any better, we stopped at 7-11 and bought a hot dog and some hot chocolate to take back to him. When we returned, I asked Tyler to ask him his name. His name is Doug. I just kept thinking, this is a man with a name. I didn't want my kids calling him the "trash guy" or the "homeless man." He's someone's son/brother/maybe a father and for whatever reason, he's spending tonight sleeping in a comforter on the ground of trash enclosure. Maybe we should have done more... I dunno. Usually just dropping my change into the Salvation Army bucket suffices my "charity" to-do's for the holidays. I hope he knows we care. A hot dog and hot chocolate says that, right? I hope he knows we prayed for him by name tonight...

As we drove home, at Christmas, I thought about Michael McLean's song from "The Forgotten Carols."

Homeless, Homeless
Like the Christ child was
Homeless, Homeless
But there is hope because
He came down to earth to lead us
He vowed He'd never leave us
Homeless, Homeless
For in His love there is a home

Oh so Homeless, Homeless
Was His humble birth
He was Homeless, Homeless
And still He changed the earth
Nothing kept His heart from giving
Most of His life was living
Homeless, Homeless
He showed it's how we live,
Not where

When His homeless days on earth were done
(When His homeless days were done)
He went home to where we all came from

And He went to prepare
(He went to prepare)
A mansion for us there
(A mansion for us there)

He gave His whole life to lead us
And I know He'll never leave us
Homeless, Homeless
For in His love there is a home

(We are not Homeless, Homeless)
For in His love there is a home
(Like the Christ child was)
[repeat to end]

There is a home.


On a different note.

Because I am teaching high school, and those hooligans can google like no other, I have decided it will be prudent for me to take my blog private. I don't want to presume you've been all devestated that I haven't blogged in 4 months, so if you wanna invite to my private blog party, leave a comment with your email. And then you'll have to log-on to see if I've written anything exciting... I know. Sorry for requiring effort to see my ramblings.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

ScrapFest Registration up for Auction

Hey ladies (and gents, if the gents are feeling particularly crafty),
There's a new blog on the block that y'all should check out. It's an auction blog (there's different auctions for each week) that supports the wonderful Crampton family's fight against Kolby's cancer [insert "booooooo cancer" sound effect here]. You should really check it out each week and bid on some of the super cool items because you score some choice stuff WHILE helping out a wonderful family with their medical expenses.

I donated a registration to the 2011 ScrapFest on this week's auction, and it'd be cool if that money went to them and YOU know you'd already be in before anyone else can even register :) It's almost like a backstage pass. Almost. So, click RIGHT HERE to go to the auction..

AND if you want to read more about Kolby's kick-butt fight against cancer, click RIGHT HERE. Really, she's like a ninja. You should become her fan :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

V-I-O-L-A-T-E-D for 15 points

So, LAAAATE last night I was having trouble sleeping, so I busted out my itouch and downloaded "Words with Friends." Ya know, it's like Scrabble online. And at 1:30am after a rousing family game of Settlers of Catan and then my sister and I sit in the car working out all life's issues, that's what I do to put myself to sleep. Since I didn't know my mother-in-law's or brother-in-law's screen names (Oh! and since it was the middle of the night), I went ahead and clicked the button to create a new game with someone random.

I get all these tiles on my screen and the scrabble board when I realize I am not sure how to really play this game. I was swapping tiles and trying to figure out a word, but none of my tiles would drag onto the board when I see the little chat bubble in the top. "Oh, bonus," I think, "conversation with the stranger. I can ask him how to play." So, this was my next 3-ish minutes:

DylanThomas123456: "Hey"
me (Momma Barlow): "Hi. I'm still trying to figure this out, so be patient with me." LEAPT shows up on the board.
DylanThomas123456: "Where you from"
me: I post something. Can't remember what. "Las Vegas," I answered. "You?" I swapped tiles again because really? 2 Y's and 2 C's!?
DylanThomas123456: posts LOOSER
me: "So, if I swap tiles is that a turn?" "How do I get the tiles on the board"
Dylan Thomas123456: "Click and drag the tiles. Do you have MSN?"
me: Put some word down (can't remember now what it was), answer, "No."


DylanThomas123456: "I want to see your vagina."

I felt SO disgusted and violated and I am sure I gasped out loud.

Quickly I went back to try and resign from the game, but I couldn't because it was the perv's turn to play. And the game continues, even if I logged off the stupid game. So, I wrote back, "Does that mean you can't make up a word?" and then added, "and no."

oh, and I was so grossed out. I mean WHO DOES THAT? Why? Oh, man. Maybe I am just too naive to think there's some decency in the world. And who's the nast who tries to pick up on people playing SCRABBLE?!!! LAME. Grody. {{shiver}}

So, since I wasn't playing his dirty game, DylanThomas123456 posts "POX"and I immediately resigned.

But here's what else bugs me, I get a notification that HE WON because I resigned the game. Dumb game will be deleted and I'll be writing a R-E-V-I-E-W.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Calling out

Just another quick post.

The other day I posted on facebook that Lori Day was in great need of prayers. And several people commented that they would pray for her. That was really wonderful.

And, I kid you not, Lori is making a miraculous recovery.

Despite having had a brain aneurysm burst at the end of one of her dance classes, she never lost consciousness, survived a harrowing surgery, and is literally marching and tap dancing down the hallways with the physical therapist. Lori has taught my daughters dance for the past 9 years(and upteen thousands of other girls for 31 years.) She is a wonderful example of strength and love and patience (have YOU ever tried to teach 20 3 year olds a dance routine?!). I have admired her for as long as I know her; Kenz inadvertantly calls her "Grandma" all the time; and I have no doubt that all the prayers uttered for her benefit last week have helped her make this miraculous recovery.

SO, since that worked out so well, I hope those of you that read this will keep sweet Kolby Crampton in your prayers. Her mom, Dana, has really taken to the blogosphere like a champ and is chronicling their story on their blog, . Please go to their blog and read about their fight and send them some support by a comment. Even if you don't know them, I know they appreciate the motions of love. And pray for them. I cannot comprehend a fraction of what they're going through, but man, if my prayers are being heard, it's for more good days and less bad ones for all of them. Thanks y'all.

That Age of Accountability

Later today, Caylee will be baptized. She's 8 and thus deemed "accountable" in the the eyes of the Lord. And I am sitting here at 2am wondering if she's really ready for the whole process of making real choices. Real choices means asking for forgiveness when she makes the wrong ones. Wrong choices means heartache or pain or [ew!] consequences, and it's been much easier on me to think of her as my baby girl and absolve her from all that reality. I guess, up until today, that it. Real choices also mean she'll learn from her choices and start to walk her own path. As a her mom, it pretty much scares the bejeebies out of me. While I was all gung-ho for Kenzie to grow up, I think I may want to keep my Caylee Bug little for a bit longer. Like this:

Caylee announced to us tonight that she had a "most awesome, wonderful day." To end on that note is quite a feat with Caylee since she goes up and down the scale throughout, and most times ends in a tired slumped state. For weeks she's been looking forward to lunch with sweet Natalie Roach in our ward. She and Caylee have a birthday just a day apart and when Caylee pointed that out to Natalie, Natalie offered a lunch date to celebrate the occasion. It. Made. Caylee's. Month. To even steep the deal, Natalie took Caylee out to get a bona fide pedicure. At lunch Natalie spoke of a kindred spirit with Caylee [and others] who are 2nd borns. It was like she just "got" Caylee and all her passion and sensitivity. I'm really grateful to her for taking the time to make Caylee feel loved and special. Natalie will have a special place in my little girl's heart forever. And boy oh boy are her toes darling.
Caylee has always been full of fire and spit. She's a lover and a fighter, a leader AND a follower. As a baby, Caylee was hard. [Honestly, her being a baby and Brevin being a baby are all kind of a blur and I don't remember it being THAT bad, but others (like Tyler) assure me she was a toughie.] Even now I have a hard time with her stubborn streak and the range of emotions. While I joke about her being bipolar, I am proud of the way she has learned to identify what the real issue is. She can tell us if her incoherent ranting and raving is because she's tired, or because she needs some attention, or because she's frustrated. Of all my kids, I'd say Caylee's emotions are right on her sleeve. Because of that, she's also my most generous of spirit. When Caylee greets you with happiness, it's genuine. When she loves, she gives it all to you. I'm blessed to see her in action with other people.

As I think about how quickly the time has passed since she was born, I really marvel at the way she has grown into a little lady. She loves all things girl, but doesn't fuss about it as much as her older sister. Before I know it she'll be going into Young Women, starting high school, dating and graduating. All Caylee has really ever wanted was to grow up to be a mom. I NEVER realized that could be an be-all-end-all ambition as a little girl, and I thank Tyler for instilling that honor in my girls. I push my girls to dream up a college degree they want and Tyler reminds them there'd be nothing to make him prouder than if one day (when they're in their 30s) they were good moms. Who knows where her life will take her, but I have NO DOUBT she'll keep us holding our breath and crossing our fingers as we follow her. And I am sure she'll be dancing a long the way, because as she told Natalie today at lunch, "I think Kenzie is a better singer, but I got the moves."

I just love this little girl. She gets the idea of family and solidarity and commitment to each other like none of my other kids. She'd just assume play with her cousins and siblings than any of her friends from church or school. I already appreciate Caylee's loyalty and passion. I think that will bring her so many blessings in her life.

So, yeah. In a few hours I'll be all a hoot and a fluff trying to make sure I've got the house all cleaned and everyone will enjoy the dinner after her baptism. We'll talk about what it means to be accountable and then she'll take her dad's hand and be taken into the waters of baptism. I feel a great happiness that she'd want to eximplify the Savior in this way and that she is ready to commit to being a member of our church. I feel the responsibility on my shoulders. It's time for me to be accountable too. I sure hope I've taught her enough so far.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


The story for today is about how I had Caylee's thermos of 4 week old mashed potatoes literally explode all over me and my kitchen when I pried it open to clean it. I couldn't, for the life of me, figure why the thermos wasn't opening that easily, but a few short seconds later and covered with vomit-smelling curds, I realized there was probably some serious gas built into that small thermos to have it explode all over the room. As I stood there totally stunned, I thought how if I were a stellar mom I could swiftly convert that into a science lesson for my stay at home boys, or I should grab my camera to document the nastiness, er, I mean beauty of being a SAHM, BUT instead I totally made gagging noises while my boys whined about the stench. Have I explained enough that it EXPLODED? Like, BAM? or BOOM? It was crazy. I'd call it the highlight, but that wouldn't be fair to my girls' dance recitals that came AFTER I washed the putrid sludge off my clothes, face, walls, cupboards, furniture, counters . . . seriously it sprayed everywhere. UGH. It was nast. Trust me. {{shiver.}}

So, since I have been all up in my blog-ness the past few days, I figured I should continue to dump my swirling thoughts here and there. Otherwise they swirl out of my mind and I have NO clue what to write when I sit down and look at my computer. And when I don't have anything to write about I then end up on facebook or watching a Netflix documentary (it's kinda my new addiction). Neither of those options are interesting to my posterity or the world wide internet (and by that I mean the very few of you who actually still read this blog. Oh, as an extra bonus for those of you that do read this and want to read something more interesting AND bizarro, click on this link -->This is a crazy story)

But since I mentioned you who do read my blog. I like knowing someone out there is reading, however, I don't really mind if you don't make comments. Don't get me wrong, I like comments and it's nice to know something struck your fancy enough that you'd want to give me a LOL or even a FLOL (fake LOL), or comment your thoughts on my thoughts. It's kinda like we're having a passerby conversation, and you know me. I just love any kind of a conversation. BUT, I am also a really poor commentor. I read several blogs and have far too many to confess linked to my google reader, but rarely do I actually branch to their real site to leave a comment. So, I am not throwing any lack-o-comment stones or anything. In fact, I don't really know where I am going with all this, but basically, my lack of commenting on others' blogs does not mean I am giving their blogs the 'ol high school hallway cold shoulder or anything, it's just that I am really focused on zoning out and being lazy. Oh bother. Why am I blogging this?

BUT since I mentioned blogs, let me share a little somethin' somethin' with y'all. There is a wonderful family in our Las Vegas Warm Springs LDS stake named the Cramptons. I first came to love them when I was serving in the stake young women presidency and their cute daughter, Kylie, was one of the young women that we got to work with (for youth conferences, camp, dances, etc.) and Dana (Kylie's mom) was serving as one of the ward's young women presidents within the stake. Any conversation with Kylie and/or Dana was a great one in my book and they oozed love and fun and goodness. Dana is married to John and when I say he's a super-star seminary teacher I am not just trying to make them sound even more wonderful than they really are (they just really are THAT wonderful.) John has taught for several years and I personally know of kids who would refuse to register for seminary unless they could be in Bro. Crampton's class. Now, for as long as I have known the Cramptons, Kylie and I have been close, [She's a doll and totally married now and having a baby boy in 9 short weeks and has even started a blog that you need to go read because now the secret's out about how much I love her!] but Kylie is just the innards of a delish Crampton girl sandwich. Her older sister Kristie and little sister Kolby have always felt, to me, completely familiar and comfortable from the first day I met them. Example: I happen to stop by the stake center to drop something off the day Kristie was being released at the stake center from her mission, and I was totally gushing about how excited I was for her. We'd never met and she was super sweet and kind and probably totally overwhelmed at the spaz who was all up in her business. And Kolby, well, I've always known Kolby's every young woman move since she turned 12 and was the new Beehive on the block. ANYWAY. I love their guts. The whole lot of them and they are super cool. If this paragraph hasn't convinced you, you'll have to just take my word for it.

So, a couple Saturdays ago I found out some very sad news. Sweet Kolby had been officially diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma. I knew she'd been sick and had fb chatted with Kylie earlier in the week about what tests were being run, etc., but the news of Kolby's cancer left me feeling very sad and humbled and emotional and helpless. Pretty deep for just an outside friend, huh?! I can't even imagine the depths of emotions the entire Crampton family and their close friends were experiencing. Anyhow, I just prayed and thought all day long about the family and Kolby and what, if anything, I could do to help. I chatted with her YW president and asked her to just let me know if anything came up that I could help with, etc. Later that Saturday afternoon I went to the temple. Of course, the family was on my mind a lot and I was very overcome with emotions throughout the whole session [just a whole bunch of stuff going on, not just them.] I was praying very intently for the inspiration to come about what I could do for a family who has had such a positive influence in my own life and clear as a bell, I thought, "I should start Kolby a blog. She can tell her stories and they can write it all down for posterity and then people will know how's she's doing without completely invading their lives..." and then I began to think about how ABSURD that line of thought was, "Really Lord? THAT's what I get? A blog is my answer?!" 1) I wasn't THAT close with the family. 2) Sure, I love the blogosphere, but I'm not sure everyone else has my same testimony of it all 3) How in the world would THAT come up in conversation. It was just a wacko thought and I hestitated to share it with Tyler on the way home. However, when I did, he didn't poo poo it or anything. I figured then that I'd just have to see if it ever came up with the Cramptons; then I'd offer.

The next day, Sunday, I knew I wanted to visit Kolby. She was still in the hospital finishing up some tests in preparation for her chemo, and so I snagged my bestie Barb and we met Kylie and the other Cramptons up at Sunrise hospital for a liesurely visit. Now. It's pretty much without hesitancy that I tell y'all what a rockstar Kolby is. Beyond her physical darling-ness and serious cute-batooty-ness, she has a steely resolve and strength I have hardly ever seen in someone so young. It was wonderful (for me) to see two girls (Danielle Richards and Becca Mohler) there chatting with Kolby, Kristie, and her folks. On our way up we passed the Dows and Natalie Roach, friends from the stake and it made me realize even more the love that we are all blessed to share with one another. Kolby was wearing a cute "Slam Dunk Cancer" shirt that she had from a school charity event and I was not surprised she had that in her cache of stylish clothes. I told her she ALWAYS knew how to dress for the occasion. And then we all visited. I talked mostly with Dana (and man, what an inspiration are the parents of a daugher THAT wonderful, right) and they were all laughing and in great spirits. And of course, they're going to fight that cancer. Pretty much the plan is to kick it's butt. As I was talking with Dana, the conversation came so easily to me talking to her about a blog. It was easier than buttering a warm muffin. I thought it would be so awkward and weird, but Dana was interested and easy about it. So, I offered to set one up for Kolby. And I did. Last night I went to their house and we visited. I showed Kolby and Dana the ins and outs of the basic blog and I am sure before I know it, Dana will be the blog extordinaire. They were excited. I felt grateful. I think they could use all the love and support they can get, whether they know who's supporting them or not. So, I hope you all will click HERE and check out their blog. (P.S. I know MANY of you have way cuter blogs. Pa-lease offer to help Dana be more savvy. My knowledge is small in that arena, but she's super anxious to learn more and make it super cool.)

Furthermore, this week, we found out that my girls' dance teacher, Lori Day had a brain aneurysm. In dance class last Thursday. But a SERIOUS miracle and tons of prayer, I believe, she survived surgery and is recovering beyond expectations. Lori's daughter, Natalie, took over tonight for the girls' dance show and it was MARVELOUS. Tomorrow will be another recital, and Lori will continue to heal. It just really puts my whole life into perspective when I think about Lori shuffle stepping one minute and being life flighted to second hospital the next. Or thinking about Kolby cheering at football games in the fall and now self-talking herself into taking all her meds every day. I am blessed. I am grateful for those blessings. And to witness tender mercies on a regular basis makes me know how loved I am by God.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

No filter

This morning as I am getting my gym clothes on, Caylee says, "Good Mom. Go work out that belly of yours."

Indignantly I reply, "Where d'you think I got this belly, Caylee?"

Her response, "Food!"


***Tyler during this whole exchange? Giggling while brushing his teeth.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What? Where'd May go!

Tonight I stopped by a friend's house to pay my entrance into her Summer Scrapbook Challenge contest. Since I rarely have cash on me, I had to bust out the ancient checkbook and write it out by hand and everything. I know, poor me, right?! Nah, but in doing so, I had to mentally check into the date. Today is May 26. May freakin 26. How is time flying by SO fast?

And yes. I know that when I ask questions like that, it does indeed prove that time is going by because that's what old people say, (old, creaky voice) "Where'd the time go?"

I had honestly thought that I'd be totally on the ball and call my visiting teaching ladies tomorrow, because I didn't want to wait til the end of the month. Uh, guess I blew that since there are only 5 more days in the month and 3 of them are a long weekend. I stink at visiting teaching, which is really too bad, because I have THE best partner and ladies to visit teach AND *Sigh* I can't bake, so it's just an all-around bad scenario.

What really perplexes me is how I can get so little physically accomplished in a day where I am completely busy and the day seems so long, yet it all goes so fast. About a month ago I decided we were going to surrender the toy room, seperate my girls into their own rooms, de-junk the garage, and get rid of the crib so all three boys could be in one room. {Yes, I know, my brother-in-law already pointed out the unfairness of the situation, "So, each of the girls get their own room and the boys all 3 have to share one? Sounds fair." While my sister pointed out the obvious, "They're just going to get messier and stinkier, so leave them all in one room."} Part of all that rearranging was moving all the junk/clutter/treasures into the middle of our living room so I could "go through" it and trash/D.I./re-organize it all before finding a new home for it. It was a beautiful plan, and for the most part, I can claim success in the rearranging and the garage. However, my living room has two long church tables set up and stuff piled all over it. And by stuff I mean old mission letters from Tyler, our school memorabilia, fly-tying stuff, scrapbook/craft goodies amongst so many other unfinished-totally-good-intentions gems. Blech. It has started to goad me when I walk into the room. "Hey Sarah! Look at all this stuff you hoard and can't part with, yet can't muster the strength to toss or pack back away. mwuuuaaaahhhhahahaha!" Too, there's nothing like having people walk into my modge-podge front room and feel like I need to explain the inner garage sale look I have oh-so-deftly designed for our home. Maybe if time stood still I could take care of all it. Maybe.

p.s. I did manage to go through 3 years of magazine subscriptions and pull out the things that I wanted to be able to refer back to in upcoming years . . . so, that is one miniscule pile pulled off the tables. And here's the after product of the boys' room. I think my other pictures are all still on my camera(s).

And to close this totally random (and yes, probably uncool post) here's another way I know time is slipping through my fingers. Tyler just got home from an Elder's Quorum party (which, is also what they call, in our ward, getting together to watch the basketball game and ultimate fighting for 2 hours on a Wednesday night) and was telling me that his youngest [and arguably the most hip] brother, Brandon, was ordering him some kind of knock-off fashion jean. But Tyler couldn't remember the name of them. "Jesus jeans?" he tried. I had NOT heard of those. "Wait, maybe they're called 'Lord' brand or something?" Still hadn't heard of it. And it was then I realized neither of us are young, hip, and savvy enough to know what to even offer as the real name. He finally did remember it was TRUE RELIGION jeans, but you'd think, if we weren't so out of touch, we'd have known that right off the bat. And does that ruin someone's cool factor if they wear knock off jeans? Time will tell, I s'pose.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Where You been all my life. . . or at least the past couple months?

Rewind a couple years ago and envision me HUGE pregnant with Briggs. The Anthem stake (neighboring church zone) was putting on a play called Savior of the World and my high school choir teacher was directing the choir, so I figured there wasn't a better way to gestate than to go sit in an orchestra pit for a couple weeks and sing pretty songs. There were some very lovely people down in the hole and some super talented musicians and by the time it was all said and done, I had checked off another month of my pregnancy.

My kids came to visit rehearsals and peered down at me in the alto section and then watched snatches of the show. Mackenzie, especially, was taken by the whole process and I told her (flippantly) that she could audition the next year. BUT that was last year and we would have missed the way fun Coral Pink trip with the Mohler family, so I was pretty much a liar to my daughter and told her THIS year would be the year for auditions. Annnd, of course, she remembered that was deal, so she tried out.

There are only a couple speaking parts for young girls and Kenzie got a call back with about 15 other pre-teen girls. I figured since adults had to be with the kids, I'd audition for an angel role (which ended up to be fabulously embarrassing and humiliating and a whole 'nother post all together. But does anyone even want to hear that story?). Basically, the night of postings I was a nervous wreck for Kenzie trying to figure how I'd break bad news vs. how we'd properly celebrate good news. [Tyler totally asked for her first autograph when we got the official word she'd been cast as Rebekah . . . sweet daddy!]

So, the past couple months we've been to lots of rehearsals, me and Kenz, and many nights it's been good just to go and sit, waiting for my bit parts (because, yeah, I got pulled onto stage for a couple scenes . . . it was a real pull, too. You know me and the spotlight . . . just dug my heels in ;)) Here's us on the way to our first rehearsal:

The whole experience has been SUPER interesting to me. I've always admired show of the stage, but had NO clue what was involved with "blocking" and preparing a show. One of the most mind boggling aspects is the freakin' LINES and LINES and LINES the actors and actresses memorize. Really. Mad props to them for that work, because not only can they sing and move in the right spots on stage and emote and all that jazz, but they do it well.

First we had rehearsals at a warehouse in Green Valley and then we moved to the Henderson Pavilion (by the multi-gen) to rehearse.

Kenzie's scene is in Act II (she's an angel with me in Act I . . . somewhere in this there's a joke about her calling herself a "perfect angel," but it'd take too long to explain without her sounding completely conceited.)

There's been a lot of ongoing conversation about Savior of the World, especially since it's the 3rd year the show's been produced. There's a lot of angles to look at the play, but I have REALLY learned to appreciate a lot of the show's messages. Tyler said one night (and it kinda hurt my feelings, but it also might be the case), "Savior of the World is only good for the people who are actually IN the show." Because, here's the deal. It's about Christ's birth and then about his resurrection and EVERYONE knows that story (for the most part) and the rest of it's just theatrical interpretations and a lot of blah de blah blah blah with some songs in between. What I've noticed is I have REALLY gotten a lot out of the blah de blah blah blah parts.

Here's a one of my favorite messages: The show starts with the story of Elizabeth and Zacharias (John the Baptist's parents) and there's a song that has the line, "I'll give God forever and then give one day more." Both of them are singing about their particular trial in life [not having children] and it's made me think about my expectations for God's timing. Really, I shouldn't HAVE expectations, but faith. If I trust in HIM, I will be provided for, EVEN when I feel like I've had "enough" faith. It's not like God doesn't know my heart. He does. And I believe whole heartedly that he cares. He wants me to be happy, I believe, and so the trials I face aren't to make me weaker or sadder or less than. It's the continuing faith that will bring me solace through those trials, and my opportunity to continue the faith for 'one day more.' I tend to be a little more impatient with it all. I want Tyler's job to be firm and secure once again without so much effort and so little payback. Have I felt right on the brink a few times of feeling like the past several months have taken 'forever?' Yes. BUT, I can give one day more. I am pressing forward with the faith that the blessings and joys I will have will be equal to that of childless years being blessed with an infant son. (However, I do feel like I should clarify, the Lord's blessing I seek is not in the form of a baby boy. Thanks. I'm set on that. We'll be all good with something a little more appropote to our fam and our trials.)

Here's a couple more pictures of dress rehearsal (mostly of Kenzie's scene):

So, all the rehearsals and practices and conversations about Savior of the World will come to a climax tonight for opening night. IF you'd like to come and watch me and Mackenzie and hear some pretty good talent, go to the website HERE and purchase tickets for $5.00 or you can come sit on the grass for free. The show runs tonight and tomorrow and then next Tuesday through Saturday. I do, too, want to thank (blogly, which is pretty publicly, for all the support that Tyler has given to Mackenzie [and me] while we've been rehearsing. Also part of our entourage has been Grandpa Bruce who's filled in many a nights of babysitting while Mackenzie and I rehearse and Tyler's busy doing church stuff or recovering from his shoulder surgery. It's an inordinate amount of time to be part of a production like this and the families of those on stage really are unsung stars of the whole experience.
P.S. There's no real program for the play with actors' names or anything, so know that my mother-in-law, Dodie, is in the choir (as well as several friends of mine) and a couple friends (holla Jeannie and Shannon) are in the orchestra. Kenz is an angel throughout and in Act II's "apple scene" with some of the apostles. I am making brief appearances here and there as a shopping townsperson, a wedding walker, Tirzah (an Alleluia girl in Act II) and an angel in between. We'll be breakin' a leg, so, again, please come. Let me know if you're coming because you know I'd love to visit with you :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring Break

Why is it that MY Spring Break seriously looks like this:
Clean bathroom cupboards and drawers
Organize coat closet
Scrub kitchen drawers and cupboards
Clean car
Text tball parents about practice
Finish 4th yr. prep for meetings/get out invites
Yard work
Shift wardrobes
Install attic access in garage/rearrange garage
Lunch out without kids
Clean grout
Recaulk shower and kids' tub

And my kids' list looks like this:
No cleaning
Swimming (what?!)
Play with cousins

And my husbands' looks like this:


Monday, March 22, 2010

The open-backed medical gown

It's getting hot in here,
So take off all your clothes . . . and look to the left and cough.
Because now more of you can go get annual check-ups as part of your government-semi-mandated insurance coverage! :)

Ok. So, I have a total personal commentary blog about the health care debate, but I am going to post this one JUST in as simple terms as possible for my sister-in-law, Stacy, a self-proclaimed "not really into the political thing" person, for now, and then post my thoughts afterward. I'm going to type this like I was talking with Stacy.

Alright. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the numbers guys, there are approximately 32 million people living in America without health insurance (that's a little more than 10% of our population). With this new bill 25 million people will be required, by law, to carry some sort of minimal health insurance by the year 2014. By 2016, if you have elected to NOT have medical insurance, you will be fined ($2,085 or no more than 2.5% of your household income as your family's fee.) It's very similar to the idea of auto insurance. The money that the younger, healthier, haven't-really-needed-it-and-never-wanted-to-pay-for-it-unless-I-have-to-and-now-I-have-to generation of medical insured will help offset the costs for those who, under this new bill, CANNOT be denied health insurance because of pre-existing conditions, amongst other things.

So, out of those 25 million people who HAVE to have medical insurance, 19 MILLION of them will qualify for government subsidies (or financial aid). They figure whether you need a subsidy based on your family size and income (similar to how they figure your taxes.) If you make less money, you get more of a subsidy to help pay for your health insurance. If you make more money, you will get less of a subsidy. It's kinda like a sliding scale. As your income goes up, your help from the government to cover your medical insurance goes down. Now, if you make a bunch of money (over $250,000/year per couple) or are collecting interest and dividends on monies you have, you will pay more taxes on that sitting money AND you will have to pay more for Medicare (Part A [the hospital Medicare]). That's one reason people don't like the plan. If they make more money, they are definitely paying more money into the system for those who DON't make as much money.

The extra taxes and cutting of their Medicare for the wealthy, along with a bunch of other taxes and fees that have been enacted (i.e., new tax on expensive health insurance plans, drug manufacturers, insurance companies, and other smaller fee collections [like a 10% increase on indoor tanning tax. . . lol]) AND government monies that have been cut (like the Medicare Advantage, Home Health cuts, and certain payments to hospitals) will be where they get some of the monies they need to get this health care plan moving. IF you work full time for a company (that is over 50 employees) they must provide health insurance to you. If they don't they will be fined and if they do, but it's not enough and you qualify for a subsidy, then they have to pay into the government system $2000.00/employee for the year (first 30 employees they don't have to pay into the government system, but every full time employee after those 30, it's $2000 bucks into the system.) If they DO pay for some insurance, but it's more than 8% but less than 9.8%, this new bill would require businesses to give their employees insurance vouchers so they could go out into the marketplace to get their own insurance.

OK. SO. The marketplace is probably one of the more radical ideas of this whole concept. Shopping for medical insurance will take place in state-run EXCHANGES where individuals can shop for their family, and become part of a group (kinda like a co-op) that gets a better rate. If I understand right, it's how most of the government officials have gotten their insurance, because they have banded together and made their own bigger group. So, if you're self-employeed, or not making a ton of money, or work for a company with less than 50 employees, you can take your employer voucher or your government subsidy and check out the plans in the exchange and opt for a plan. At least a minimal plan, but each state will have 4 levels to choose from. (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum). The insurance companies are now (well, in 2014) to allow the same rates for people inside a plan and for outside a plan and all plans must be "in the interest" of the people. The theory is this bill will inject competition into the medical insurance field, so even the average guy who's been paying for his own insurance can get a better deal on the exchange. The bill also expands the coverage of Medicaid so they can cover more people in the government's program if it's necessary. ALL of the subsidies and appeals about qualification as well as oversight of the state exchanges will be part of the Department of Health and Human Services. It's already a government department, they just got a whole bunch more responsibilities in their laps.

So, when is all this going to happen? Like, SHAZAM? No. The bill was passed by the House, and now the Senate and the House will go back and forth working out the terms. Plus, there's 2 more elections before it's supposed to go into action. One of the reasons people have been upset that this was being "pushed" through was because there's a Democratic majority and so, the chances of it passing were REALLY good, especially since, in these times, most all major decisions are decided by party lines [which I will get more into when I have my say on the next post.] Another reason for people getting more upset is that they're mandating that we HAVE to have insurance . . . [again, later I can talk about that.] There has been some issues (quite a lot, actually) about this new bill allowing money from the federal government to be used to fund abortions. It's one of the reasons why they weren't sure the bill would pass because several of the Democrat representatives wouldn't vote for it UNTIL President Obama signed an executive order specifically stating that no federal monies would be used to fund abortions. What we have now is that there canNOT be any lifetime caps OR annual caps on existing health coverage. SO, if you get really sick, you can't be kicked off your insurance for using up too much money. Children cannot be excluded from insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions and can stay on their parents insurance until they're 26, guaranteed by this bill. Until the "exchange" program is available (in 2014) there will be a temporary "high risk" National plan that's available for some, and a credit available to senior who fell into the "gap" of the Medicare prescription plans. Also, effective immediately, businesses that already offer insurance to their employees will recieve tax credits of up to 50% of their premium costs (that's a big plus to businesses.)

Is this the answer? I do not think it's the complete answer. I can see where there is a lot of wiggle room for the plan to work one way for the good of the people and another for the tighter control by government . . . but that gets all too personally motivated for me, to keep it simple, so I will have to talk about that next.

Hope this helps, Stac.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Clover Clever

I know, right! SHE BLOGS . . . and it's a lousy hair do blog. However, those hairdo's are NOT lousy (nor are the African-ish, as my friend Jennie called them . . . she's just jealous of my mad hair-do skills!) and were completely inspired by my friend Rachel Burnham who is REALLY amazing with the art of doing hair. Really, check out her blog if you're looking to be inspired. These four-leaf clovers (that's the visual you should be getting here, peeps!) took us a bit to complete this morning and once Caylee bemoaned not having her hair all did like Kenzie's, I succombed to the pressure (uh, ok, the thought of both my girls being fawned over for their cuteness is what REALLY got me) and we were a whopping ten minutes late for school. It was a sacrifice considering our stellar on-time record [honestly, no sarcasm in that . . . especially compared to last year], but both girls were happy. Brevin really got the shaft, though. He didn't think his teacher would care that it was his mom's fault because she was doing fancy hair do's on his sisters. Oh well. Get used to it now, buddy.
So, clearly I have not blogged too much. I have had a ton of things to blog about and have REALLY thought of some doosies when I am driving around, but, frankly, when I have time to sit on the computer, I usually watch some dumb reality show on hulu that I have missed since we got rid of the DVR. I know. I am a deep and meaningful person who is making a difference in society. Instead of sharing pearls of wisdom, I am busy catching up on the Real Housewives of New York. I mean, really, do you want to read about my diatribe on the beauty of a car blinker OR know that I am watching the ladies of New York scamper about the Hamptons. I'm sure you understand. In fact, I imagine many of you aren't even READING this anymore because you've gone to to watch an episode or 2. ;)
So, I will let you be. Enjoy your St. Patty's day ladies, gents, and leprauchans!
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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Re-directing Your Course

So, I am sure the 7 of you that still check in on my blog came to find posts of New Year's resolutions, holiday happenings, or funny musings on the life o the Barlows. Sorry to say this post is probably neither, but I do have something to share.

I was a freshman at Chaparral High School in 1991 and my best friend Tiffany Davison and I had lockers a few rows apart from each other on the upper deck of the English/History Hall. It was a prime location (which we probably didn't fully appreciate at the time), but we could easily meet around there and pass notes between class and do a little upper classmen gawking as they walked by to their respective "older" Government or Composition classes. Many a male Cowboy we swooned over from our orange-fenced perch there. It's where I was first introduced to a tall red-head kid named John Abbott. Tiff had a crush on him for a second, but at that stage of soaking-it-all in, I was placing names with faces like crazy.

And that was pretty much the beginning of my introduction to the Abbott family. The Abbotts lived in our stake and as my world expanded in high school, I realized John Abbott had a really big family and wonderful parents. Garth Abbott, his dad, was gregarious and fun and loving and LOVED his family. Sister Abbott, was SO kind and jovial and loving and busy (again, big family!) Those are my impressions and remembrances of my interactions with the two of them. They were one of the couples of periphery influence on me. They were ALWAYS a good example to me. Later in high school, my senior year boyfriend was best friends with another Abbott boy, Jason, who was a good friend to me and my sister. Many a memory I have with Jason, and his good-natured, fun-loving self is also a testament to his parents' love and example, I think.

Over Christmas break, I got word that Garth was diagnosed with a really aggressive form of male breast cancer and the prognosis was bleak. The Abbott family's scope of influence has been wide and abundently good, and before long, their daughter-in-law (Rachelle, who interestingly enough, I got to know a little bit as our paths would cross as new Clark County English teachers and at the office of the OB/GYN while we were always pregnant at the same time together) began a fund-raising blog to help raise funds to start Garth on the much-needed chemotherapy that he needs.

See, (and this is the part, where, since it's my blog, I can speak freely) Garth Abbott has no health insurance. Because of that, they won't treat him. In THIS country??? Really? Well, yeah. [I'll leave it at that.] Rachelle speaks about this issue on her blog (as well as a really good description of Garth's situation) and it's summed up with he will not receive treatment until they can cash pay some of his expensive treatments. Since I can relate with the don't-really-have-that-kind-of-money-sitting-around predicament, I have been really touched at the outpouring of support and auction items up for bid (at last count I saw there was almost 100). This auction is short and it's really all about helping Garth and his family. And I can relate with that too. Who wouldn't want to help a brother, dad, son, husband, grandpa?

I have added a ScrapFest registration to the auction and hope that will be a small help. And I have made a bid on a Valentine's basket (because y'all know I'm not a good baker!), but there is a great need for a lot more traffic onto the blog. I'm hoping some of you who read this and can, will go pay a visit and find something that strikes your fancy. Then bid, or donate to the bank account. EVERY bit will help.

Here's your next stop on the internet: HELP SAVE GARTH ABBOTT!!!

Thanks peeps . . . this is what makes the internet such a blessing!