Monday, January 22, 2018

Reflecting on 2017

  2017 was a year of many surprises  and learning. And the biggest surprise was that we were pregnant with our 5th baby, our little girl Morgan.  After having 4 precious little boys I thought I was done having children. I felt pretty comfortable with 4, life was good and we were almost out of diapers with our youngest son. But just when you lay out all your cards and you make a million plans about how you will spend  your "free" time the Lord throws you a curve ball. My pregnancy with this last baby was definitly something I did not have in mind for 2017. Not only was it a surprise but it was very hard on me. I felt old, overweight, sick, tired, frustrated and flat out not happy. I am a creature of habit and change is very hard for me. I start kicked the year with plenty of morning, midday, night, and anytime sickness. I had never had a pregnancy where I was so sick all of the time. Smells had never really bothered me until this last pregnancy. We have a leather couch and I swear I could smell it a mile away. I think I did not sit on that couch for like what seemed an eternity. I was always in bed and it was just depressing. Luckily my visiting teacher who happens to be an ER doctor came to see me and she realized how sick I was. She made me promise I would call my doctor to have a new perscription for my nausea. The new perscription was like magic. I did not how sick I was until I took the new medication. Everything seemed to be new again. Just washing dishes made me happy. Doing daily chores made me happy. It felt so good to feel good. I had heard stories of how sick women get with pregnancy and I got a taste of it and I completely empathize with women who have rough pregancies. Here we are doing a noble thing, creating life, and it is almost as if we are punished for it. But I guess it just shows how much work and effort it takes to make life come, and how worth it is at the end.

    Even though I was very sick and uncomfortable for almost a year, life just kept on moving. Its funny how life does that to you. We did not go anywhere on vacation this year but we made our home a staycation place. Brad spent a lot of the summer working on our backyard to make it a kid mecca place. He added an above the ground pool in our backyard with a massive deck. The pool was the highlight for a while until he decided that we needed something else, like a full size basketball court. So now we have a pool and a basketball court. He also rented a huge bulldozer to "level" the backyard and add a trail for our go carts and motorbikes.. He calls it work, and I call it playing on  his mega size playground.  I have learned that when it comes to projects with Brad its always go big or go home.

Our boys grew a lot this year. With me being sick Bradley took up on a lot of responsibilities. He would help his brothers get lunches and breakfast ready. Because he is the oldest he noticed how sick I was and wanted to help. This year was his last year in primary and he was so very excited to move up to the deacons quorum. I totally wished he did not want to grow up so fast. He also grew almost 6 inches in one year. He was very proud to pass mom.  He also crossed the bridge from being in Cub Scouts to Scouts. It was bittersweet to see him move on, but he did it with flying colors by earning his Arrow of Light. Bradley has loved his 11 year old Patrol. He had great leaders in his Patrol and I am so grateful for that since I am no longer his leader.  This year at school life just got a little busier with band. He plays percurssion and has loved being part of band. 

Sammy had a great 2nd grade year. I was sad when school ended because he had a magnificent 2nd grade teacher who helped him so much in so many levels of his development. He made so many friends that year in school and it he developed a love for writing and reading, but mostly writing. He is currently writing a book about dinosaurs. It is so cute! He has such an active imagination! I just love that and I hope he never stops writing. 3rd grade has been a good year too he is such a smarty pants and gets bored quickly so writing a story keeps him busy. This year he has a great year in Cub Scouts too. He earned his Bobcat and Wolf Rank. He had some pretty awesome leaders in Cub Scouts and he made lots of friends in Cub Scouts too. 

Carter had a great Kindergarten year too. He had an abosolutely adorable teacher who was born to be a Kindergarten teacher. He loved school so much! He never wanted to miss school and he loved all his friends. He continues to learn and grow this year and had developed a great work ethic. His 1st grade teacher is a gem and teaches them to do good work and be proud of their work.  He is a little Mr. Perfectionist when it comes to school work so when he can't get things right the first time he gets frustrated. This year we learned Carter is the Math Whiz. He has scored 100 in every timed math test he gets tested on.  He also started taking piano lessons this year after seeing how much candy his brothers get from the piano teacher. He is my sweet tooth! 

Lincoln continues to do Speech Therapy at our local elementary and he just complete his first year in Primary as a Sunbeam. Both being in Sunbeams and going to therapy have helped him prepared for classroom setting.We enrolled him to preschool this last fall because we thought it would help with his speech and it has really helped him. I did not want to send him 3 days to preschool but that is all the preschool had available so we did it. He has loved preschool so much and has made lots of little friends there. I was worried about his developement because his speech needed improvement but he is doing great. He can identify some letters but he certainly knows his numbers and colors. I am so glad he is making progress. This summer we will be working on letters to help him catch up a little. He sees that all his brothers have to do reading so he pretends to read all the time. He now sleeps in his own bed and he loves to be tucked and read a book before he goes to bed. He is such a chatter box and shares so many stories with us. He has an asnwer for everything even if he does not know the answer he will find one for you.

  Our sweet baby Morgan has been such a blessing in our lives. I feel that before I was pregnant my life was moving at 100 miles per hour and we were always on the go.. Well pregnancy fixed that problem. We had to slow to snail pace and I am glad we did. After the delivery it has been great to be at a slower pace. I feel like we are moving up to speed but I kind of have loved moving slow. Having a baby certainly helps us do that. I love hanging out with my little girl at the end of the day. Just her and I. Some days get busy and I know I have not spent enough time with her so I just swoop her up and love her. Our baby girl has been so good since she came home. She sleeps well, eats well and is just pure joy to have. Everyone loves her. The boys always want to carry her and play with her. She quicky became the princess of this home!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Choices and Consequences

Image result for lds quotes on choicesI think that one of the hardest things to teach our children is that life always has consquences either by our own doing or just by nature, a consequence will always follow. This morning my oldest had to learn that omitting the truth is just as bad a lying. Lying in our house has serious consequences.  Of course, I did not go all reptile on him but I taught him a tough lesson. Every week his math teacher sends home a packet of math drills (100 math problems to be solved in 3 min). These packets don't count as a grade but she is really trying to teach kids to keep up the practrice. I think her goal is much like any coach's goal, to practice to get better, correct any bad habit, and whatever other reasons people practice for. So in my book, its good to do these packets to develop good study habits and to not loose the skills he has learned by doing these drills and they also prepare him for a easy math quiz he will take on Friday. Of course at the beginning of the school year he was very consistant because they were part of a grade but now he just stuffs the sheets in his backpack and forgets about then. Well, once a month we treat our boys to eat out, and we told them finish your homework and we will take you out. My oldest said he finished everything. Of course this morning I asked him about his sheet and he said he did not need to do them. I was of course not happy about his response and reminded him that yesterday he told me he had finished all his homework and he failed to mentioned that he did not do the math packet. So instead of arriving to school first he was the last one to be dropped off and he had to do the packets as well. In the past I have let it slide so he can see how spending 12 minutes of his life a week helps him get a better grade when he practices, but obviously the natural consequence lesson did not sink in. My son is a huge fan of Micheal Phelps and I asked him if he thought Micheal Phelps questioned his coaches about the practice drills he had to do for the Olympics. I also asked him if he thought Micheal Phelps always felt like practicing. Of course, no one always wants to practice or work hard, but we understand the essence of why we must do it even when we don't want to. I hope he learns this lesson before he grows too old, I think this is a much harder lesson to learn as an adult, the consequences are much harsher than arriving to school late or getting grilled by your parents. I remeber as a young adult how I wished I had learned some lesson as a kid instead as an adult. Learn your lessons early  little ones.  
Image result for lds quotes on choices

" O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God." Alma 37:35

Monday, March 27, 2017


This past summer we decided to adopt a new dog. Our family was finally ready to get a dog after the death of Bella our beloved Labradoodle. Our new dog is Layla, and she is mix dog, we think Lab and doberman or something else. She is pretty good looking dog and she loves to play. She came from a home with other smaller dogs so it is a bit lonely here with just her. Anyhow, since we have had her she has felt right at home, although she sometimes has a few set back like when we get those spectacular Texas lightning thunderstorms. For about a month now I have fallen very sick. Like I am going to vomit at the smell of anything. Just a few perks of pregnancy. Yes, I AM Preggers and I have been bed bound. I have never been this sick, EVER!! It is kind of depressing! I have had the nausea and heart burn before , but the thought of opening my fridge, washer or dryer makes me cringe. I have all my favorite food aversions and pretty much any food aversion. Anyhow, since I have been sick my dog won't leave my room. I love her to pieces but she would just lay on the floor at the bottom of my bed. Of course, despite all her efforts to be super quiet I knew she was there because I could smell her. I would ask her to leave and to go to her bed which is in another room and she would reluctantly leave but would managed to sneak back in my room when I was napping. Today, was the first day in weeks I have felt better, and she must have sensed I felt better too because I found her sleeping in her own bed in the middle of the day, which is very unlike her. I think she was guarding me while I was sick and didn't rest much as I spent a lot of time being uncomfortable. Animals have such a great instinct and know when we are out of sorts emotionally and physically. Although I don't love to vacuum her hair everyday I love her for loving us like she does.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Where have we been?

I have been a bit quiet since last year and for a good reason. We built a house, we moved out to the sticks and we started with the projects again. Because having a brand new house does not mean the project are over, it is just a fresh canvas to start a new piece of art, or to make our new house our new home. Most people avoid this step but we are not most people. We like to make dents and holes in our walls, and then like to patch them up and call it our home. In only one year of living in our new home I have a fresh honey do list for my sweet husband, and that is in the new house not the 3 acres of raw land we have. Yes, raw, because my sweet husband decided we did not need another cedar tree in our property so all the trees were pulled out. So landscaping will also be on our repair list. I think in about 5 yeas we will be right at home. We are still feeling things out. After moving 3 times and fixing three houses , I have come to the conclusion that 5-6 years is just about the right time to start feeling at home. We left our old home (which by the way makes me sad to talk about) right after our 6 year mark and we left it the way we always wanted to be cozy and beautiful. I think that what makes me sad about leaving about that home was not the new granite counter tops nor the most beautiful walk in shower nor the built in cabinets nor our first sucessful garden(okay, maybe the garden),  but the memories we built in that home. We also had amazing neighbors who loved our kids. Our first year in Liberty Hill was an adjusting year. Some of my kids did well while others struggle and I just couldn't cut ties to Round Rock, but after this last summer we officially became Liberty Hillians. This quaint little town is definitly growing on me, I especially love their cute little library and their locally own shoppes. Yes, the distances are far for everything, but I love it anyway.  This is a picture of our house on the day it was finished, a little over a year ago. Since then we have added a little more love, but I have not taken a new picture.
Hello 120 Gray's Circle!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Living Country

As I get older moving is not as easy as it used it to be. I really don't care much about the square footage of my house or the aesthetics (ok, I do care a little bit about how my house feels) of our  home as much as the relationships we have built while living in our home. When we first moved to this house we thought we would not have to move again. Little did we know we would fall in love with our  new neighbors and ward. I think what makes it harder now is that we have made our network of friends even larger,our children now have more friends and we have had some incredible teachers be part of our children's lives. Moving is hard both emotionally and physically. Our new adventure will take us a little farther away both from family and beloved friends but I think in the long run this will be a good move for our family. I clearly remember having to fight for this house we live in now, I had to haunt down the realtor who had to put this house on the market, it was a great reward to finally get this house.  Now we are leaving hoping we made a good difference in some peoples lives while we lived here. I know that while I have lived in this house I have learned and grown a lot. My hope is that I can continue to grow and learn more as we move to the next phase in our lives in our new place. I hope my children can also learn, grow, and make a difference if its only for one person. I have no doubt that we are placed in difference places in our lives because we have work to do for the Lord. I can't wait to see what kind of work lies ahead of us. Good by 1101 Spring Breeze Cove.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

History Lesson Fail!

Parenting has definitely been one of those great adventures I have had in my life. There have been many rewarding experiences and some minor heartaches. I have loved seeing my children grow. Recently we have been reading stories of the Old Testament. We do our reading just before we go to bed, I love to see how all of my boys sit at the edge of the bed to see what happens next. We have learned together a lot from these great stories, but the truth is that I have learned more. I don't remember ever knowing who half the people in the scriptures were much less the lessons one can take from these stories. Anyhow, we started to read this summer a short chapter book, then another, and then I thought why not the scriptures. I wanted to learn as much as they did. So we embarked on that train and now we are almost done with the Old Testament and on to the New Testament. My idea of reading was to do something together as a family, well, it has been a great experience and a great night routine as well. I have tried to teach my children life lesson from books we read, at family home evening, and from the scriptures, but I don't think any of these will ever take the place of a real life experience. This summer we read Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales Big Bad Iron Clad, based on the Civil War, and my oldest son wanted to know why there were slavery and how slavery was abolished. I gave him a little history lesson on that and then we got on talking about how having the opportunity to choose is  having freedom. He then asked if the slaves were angry for being mistreated. I told him that  that forgiveness is not always easy for everyone and that some may be upset about the past even though it didn't happen to them. My explanation was immediately misunderstood and he said I told him that the modern day African Americans were trying to get even. Not what I meant at all! So this week at his Cub Scout den meeting they were talking about freedom and  he told his den that I said that modern African Americans were trying to get revenge for their slave ancestors. Talk about the biggest parenting lesson fail! We had to go over this subject again this morning and   I had to explain  to him that people will make choices, and they can choose to be angry over something that happened long ago, or they can move forward, but ultimately, people can choose and that is what matters. I hope next den meeting goes a little better!! I sometimes forget that my children are growing and hear everything one says, so as a parent I have to be very careful what I say and how I say it, then make sure they don't misunderstand what I said. 

"The moral of Pete's story is: No matter what you step in, keep walking along and singing your song....because its all good."-Eric Litwin

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Everything I Needed to Learn I Learned In Nursery

About a year ago I was officially called to be the Jr. Nursery Leader, I volunteered there long enough through my last pregnancy and through my baby's first year that I think they figured I was a perfect fit for the nursery. Some people may feel like I got demoted after serving almost 3 years in the Stake Relief Society Presidency, but the truth was that I got the best promotion. Initially, I have to admit that I had alterior motives for serving in nursery (my 3rd son was in there), my reason for serving change quite a bit by the end. While at first I focused on my child by the end I could not go to bed without planning my lesson for 28 little ones. 

I learned that to be a good nursery leader we have to teach our little ones in tiny doses. These little ones are watching and how we behave and our attitudes will reflect on 
I learned that children don't judge
I have learned that children love consistency. Children need reassurance. At one of our Primary trainings one of our Primary leaders mentioned that she was so thankful for the leaders who prepared and planned for their class because she felt that when she could not teach her children they would be able to gain some gospel knowledge from those prepared and consistent teachers. Nursery is a great place to learn how the Savior loves us. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


About a month ago we were driving behind a garbage truck on our way to school. Sammy jumped with excitement to see the garbage truck and declared that he wanted to be a Garbage man. Bradley my oldest quickly responded by snickering, "YUK! That is a STINKY JOB!". Sammy said no more, but I interrupted and I told Sammy that if he wanted to be a Garbage man that he could be whatever he wanted, as long as he was honest, hard working, and could support his future family.  I told him I would be honored to be the mother of a righteous garbageman. I think I have learned what President Uchtdorf taught in this last Priesthood session when he said, "When I was younger, I was impressed by those who were educated, accomplished, successful, and applauded by the world. But over the years, I have come to the realization that I am far more impressed by those wonderful and blessed souls who are truly good and without guile."
After my boys were dropped off at school I could not shake off my mind what my oldest son had said. I wasn't so concern with Sammy being hurt by his brother's remarks because Sammy knows what he wants and does not get bothered by what others think of him. However, my concern turned quickly to my oldest. I wondered what had I done as a parent to make him think that any job is less or more than any other job. I quickly thought of how I could make a correction. Recently we have been focusing on hard work, last night we had a lesson working hard in our home. I don't want my boys to ever look down on a job that can earn them an honest living. When I was in college I learned too quickly that many of my college mates were fixing to be thieves in suits. I could barely pull a A in Calculus and some of these college kids who had not ever stepped a foot on campus suddenly Aced a test!! I wanted to give these same students the benefit of the doubt, I would tell myself that maybe they were geniuses but that was not always the case.  I saw so much dishonesty and disregard for hard work that it was disappointing. I have come to the conclusion as a parent that I would rather have an honest, hard working garbage man as a son than a thief in a suit. I tell my kids that the key to success is not always being a genius, because there are geniuses who are lazy, the key to success is being honest, and working hard, being smart is just a bonus. I don't know if all my kids will enjoy hard work as much as Sammy does, but I sure do hope that they can see the blessings that come from being and honest hard worker. These days I am not impressed easily by those with wealth or are accomplished, but I am impressed by those who try to do good. Recently a friend of mine took a new job, really his dream job where he could do what he always wanted to do with his career. His previous employer was willing to increase his pay substantially to keep my friend in his old job. My friend did not budge, he explained to his old employer that it was not about the money. The previous employer could not believe my friend was willing to leave such a great offer, the truth is that it was never about the money, my friend was scouted by a family friendly company who was giving him more than money could give him, time with his family and a dream job. In fact, the bonus part of his job is that they will now be closer to their extended family. People like this friend are the ones who really impress me!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Rookie Moms

I have no doubt that people cross our lives for a reason. A few years ago I met another young mom (younger mom) whose family looked a lot like mine. She had three children all under the age of five, she stayed home with the kids while her husband was hard at work.  I knew we share some similarities but I NEVER knew that our differences would make us such good friends.  As a creature of habit I did not get out much, AND the thought of spending more than $10.00 at a fast food restaurant was riveting. I was an extremely cautious mom( still am but a bit more relax now, I hope), never taking my kids anywhere that I could not control the environment. As kindergarten approached for our oldest child our friendship also became closer. We were both rookie mom's of kindergartens and we helped each other  she helped along the way. That first year was especially difficult for me and for my son, but I was happy to have a friend who could empathy with me. During the first two years of our kids academic path we saw each other every morning and every afternoon. We would catch up when we dropped the kids off to school, and then we would meet at Sonic for Happy Hour after school with the rest of the troop. We would meet at Ikea on Tuesdays, and just to change it up we would go to McD's to count box tops. My dear friend introduced me to processed food and to one of the best times of my life and my kids life. Thanks to this dear friend our Christmas' will never be the same, she introduced me to the Elf on the Shelf. She also showed our family how to be secret agents while we secretly served a family from the ward. My friend introduced me to books, yes, kids books. She got me hooked on Scholastics. I never thought I would love to read kids books so much. She especially taught me how to love to serve my children without being compelled to. I learned so much from this friend, especially to be a better mom, and a kinder wife. Recently we learned that our friends are moving and they are making a big move, one where we will not be able to meet at Ikea or go and get shaved ice on a hot summer day, or meet at the pool. Our dear friends are moving far but no matter how far they go we will always cherish our great adventures together and we will miss the looks we both got from people when they saw two moms with 8 kids. My heart aches to see our friends go, but I also couldn't be happier for them.  Texas will not be same without the Barlows.
Thank you for letting us tag along  with you all for the last 3 years. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

10 Wonderful Years Downs, and Eternity to Go..............

Almost 11 years ago I met a wonderful young man, who I thought was an investigator of our faith. I thought he was someone who needed help, and as a sympathy dater, I was going to help him and fix him (like a project). We met at a friends party and then we saw each other again at church on Sunday. He asked me out on a date and I accepted. Our first date...well, lets just say  that I thought our date unforgettable and regrettable. In retrospect, it actually was very comical. 
It all started with two people in love.......
My future husband thought it would be funny to take me to Esthers Follies comedy club. I should have caught on a little sooner that my date was a jokester, but instead I took offense and I slammed the door when he dropped me off at home. I swore I would never see him again. I called those days The Mormon Zealous days, those lasted roughly 6 years. Knowing that I was not the only fish in the sea, so I gave Brad another chance, and the rest well, it is history. We got engaged two months after our fist date and we got married 9 months later. Like I mentioned earlier I thought I needed to help him, but as it turns out it was I who needed help fixing. Brad has been the most wonderful person in my life. He never forced me to do anything I never wanted. He grew up knowing something I never really did until we were married, he knew Heavenly Father loved him and he wanted me to know that Heavenly Father Loved me the same way too. 
The wedding day
Somehow, he always knew that I could do more with my life with the help of my Heavenly Father than I could on my own. A month after we got married he gave me a digital camera, and then for our first Christmas he bought me a sewing machine, our second Christmas he gave me a laptop. Some mother's day he made me a craft area in our office, he built a pot rack for me, bought me awesome car mats. As I go down the list of things he gives me, they are things that help my life be easier with four boys. My husband is practical not so much romantic, but he also is always thinking of me and the boys. 

Our latest investment was our motor home, and  we can't wait to put so many miles of happiness on it. He is always thinking of what can make our lives easier and happier. Years later, these are the gifts I treasure most. I have sewn curtains for my home, made church bags for the kids, and bibs for the babies. My mini van's carpet never look filthy  thanks to my awesome mats. I have also developed a sense of creativity that I never knew I had. Brad gives me all I need to be the best mother for our children, and I could never ask for anything more. Thank you honey for the last 10 years, thank you for being the jokester in the family who makes me smile and relax a little, for helping me find solutions, and never giving up on me. Thank you for having strong convictions on marriage and on families. Thank you for our four boys, one dog, and two tortoises. Thank you for choosing me. 

Me and Bradley 1-17-2006
Brad and Sammy 9-19-2008
Me and Carter 3-08-2011
Baby Lincoln 9-24-2013