Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!! Happy Holidays!!

From the Barrett house to your home, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a most prosperous 2008! Enjoy your family, friends, health and well-being this holiday season. We treasure all of you, whether you are family or friends. And we pray God's best for you this season. Be safe and healthy.

We will be home for Christmas day to spend it with my dad. Then we head out to Lake of the Ozarks on the 26th-31st to see Matt's parents. Home just in time to ring in 2008! And no better place to do that than the place we have called home and loved for 2 years now!

If you missed the mass email or don't visit Matt's blog, we also have a video Christmas card for you to enjoy! Just go to

Again, have a blessed holiday season! And remember why we really celebrate!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Making a list and checking it twice!

Well, we are one step closer to it being Christmas. I love Christmas. I have my list of things to do and it is getting smaller, which is a good thing.

Making Christmas cookies - DONE
Christmas cards in the mail- DONE
Christmas shopping complete- DONE
Toys bought for the Angel tree- DONE
All parties for the season- DONE
Grocery shopping for food for the big day and night before- DONE
Having snow for a white Christmas- DONE

What is left:
wrapping presents
cookie trays to neighbors
Jake's Christmas concert
both boys' holiday school parties

So I am thrilled that what is left is the fun things. I love to put in a Christmas movie and wrap presents. I think I have it worked out to where I can just take the next 10 days and be home to enjoy the holidays. I am so glad I got things done early.

Enjoy the holidays! And all that goes with them!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Best Christmas Present

What is the best Christmas gift of all? I am sure everyone has their own opinion on this topic. World peace is always a standard, no more sickness (I can relate to this because of dad), and many others. But I wanted to take a moment and share with you what I believe is one of the best gifts of 2007!

Our friends Shannon and Adam in Oklahoma have been in the adoption process for almost 10 months. They have a little girl in Guatemala, Analise, waiting for all of the processes to be done so she can come home with her mommy and daddy. Shannon has been to Guatemala once and got to spend time with Analise. Adam has never seen her in person, UNTIL NOW!!!

They just heard yesterday that they are all approved and get to go pick her up on the 11th!!! A week from now, Analise will be home, in Oklahoma with her mommy and daddy! What a long process this has been for Adam and Shannon. But Shannon's faith in the Lord to be in control of this process has been a testimony to me and lots of others. She never doubted that God was in control, had His hand in this and would be faithful to them.

So I cannot think of a more special couple to have such a wonderful Christmas present. Being able to be mom and dad to this special little girl, after waiting for so long to become parents. God is so good!! Congrats Adam and Shannon! You deserve this happiness. And MERRY CHRISTMAS EARLY!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Do I Have Your Address???

I know it seems early, but I am getting ready to write, print and address my Christmas cards. Now that postage is so high, it can be frustrating to get a card back due to an incorrect address. So this is my plea to all of you: could you please email me or Matt with your latest address? Matt has suggested just making the Christmas letter and picture available online on our blogs, but I think that is a bit impersonal. I want to keep up the Christmas card and letter tradition, but do not want to be sending them to the wrong addresses. So PLEASE let us know your current address, or where I should send your card.

We are on the countdown to Christmas. The movie Santa Claus was on tonight on Disney, which really made me start to get into the Christmas mood. Tyler wants to decorate the tree tomorrow, which is NOT happening since it is not even up. I have a good portion of my shopping done. My mom and I have already started talking about a day of baking. The neighbors were putting up their Christmas lights this afternoon in the nice weather. It is close.

So please help me out. And start getting ready!!!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Happy Birthday to Matt!!

Sunday, November 11th is Matt's 34th birthday.

It is hard to believe we started dating when he was 17! That means we have now been together for 1/2 of his life. WOW! This will be my 17th birthday celebration with him.

His celebration won't be any big deal, because he never wants it to be. We will hit the golf course, I will make a carrot cake that only he and Tyler will eat (that's the joy of it being your birthday, you can pick whatever cake you want no matter how many people like it) and we will give him his presents. Once you have kids there has to be at least a mini-celebration.

So happy birthday honey. You deserve a wonderful birthday for being such a great dad and hubby. You work so hard. You take such good care of us.

Happy birthday my love!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Christmas and Snow

Sunday morning we woke to our first snow of the season. It was fluffy not deep but more than a dusting. Tyler could not figure out why we were going to church since it was snowing. So we loaded into the van and listened to Christmas music on the way to Walmart to pick out the boys' pumpkins to carve for Halloween.

I have never cared much for Halloween. But Christmas is a whole different ball game. I love it! I love the decorations. I love the feel everywhere. I love shopping. I love giving gifts to people. I love spending time with family. I love the music. I love sitting by the tree at night with no other lights on but the tree lights, drinking hot coco and snuggling up to my honey. I just love it.

So I have started my list of things to purchase in the next 2 months. I already have a good start for the boys, but am not done. It is a hard balance for Matt and I, since I like to shop EARLY and he loves the thrill of shopping on the 23rd, or better yet the 24th.

The first snow always puts me in the mood for the holidays. I cannot believe they are almost here, already. It seems like we just put everything away from last year. But I am gearing up and getting ready. And remember, Christmas is 2 months from this Thursday! So get your lists ready and let the shopping begin!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Big News!

I just had to blog about my youngest son. He just learned an important milestone in life last night. I wish I had taken a picture to show you, but I didn't. Sorry.

Last night I went outside to see my youngest son Tyler riding his bike, all by himself with no training wheels!! The smile on his face said it all. We have tried off and on to work with him, with no results. So last night something clicked and off he went. I think he feels like he is finally a "big boy". He is thrilled he can ride with Jake and the other neighbor kids and not have to tag along way behind on his scooter.

Another few things:
1) showed me yesterday at a park that he can now do the monkey bars
2) asked me the other night, "Mommy, if you died would daddy get a new girl?"
3) told me this afternoon that going down the driveway and hitting a bump on his bike was a "nutcracker", which I later informed him (after I went inside and laughed my head off) that we should not call his "parts" "nuts".

My question is why I am always the one to have to deal with everything? Where is Matt when I need him? So the best is when I called Matt to tell him about the "nutcracker", to which he says "that is awesome!" Maybe there is a reason I deal with it all!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How do I give this a title?

In the last few weeks life has been crazy, hectic, busy...but I am still here, smiling most days, appreciating life.

My dad got out of the hospital last Tuesday night. At 8pm, Matt and I and Mark and Teri went over to dad's house for a "meeting". The good news was that dad was feeling well enough to go home. The stent they put in his liver was working, so the immediate threat due to the failing liver was over.

The bad news: the biopsy showed that the remaining cancer is pancreatic cancer which had metastasized to other areas. There areas are not confirmed, but doctors think it has spread to the liver, adrenal gland and around his aorta. One doctor gave him 6-12 months. Another doctor told him if he got 6 good months he would be a blessed man.

While I have thought since January that this whole situation really wasn't good, for some reason I had a hard time with this news. It was finally real. And now the process begins of helping him live life and then helping him let go when the time comes. He specifically asked us if we could do those two things. And while logic says "yes", it was very hard to process.

I am very sad, for multiple reasons. How do you say goodbye to someone you love, forever? How do I prepare my heart to let him go? How will life be without knowing I can pick up the phone to call him? How weird will it be on my birthday not to hear from him? Or any of the holidays? Will my boys remember him? Will he be scared to die? The list goes on.

The one thing I can always count on and rest in is that God is with me. The joy of the Lord is my strength. He is the best comforter there is. He brings me peace when I feel none. And the best news of all is that I do know my dad will be in heaven when it's his time. And while that is not necessarily comforting right now, I know it will be at the right time.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


I must say that the last week of my life has not been fun. When I think about it all I am surprised at how we handle stress. So here was my last week in bullet points:

* Last Thursday I had 2 wisdom teeth out. That went great, no problems.

* Friday my dad takes a turn for the worse. He really starts not feeling well. His liver seems to be slowly shutting down.

* Saturday I head over to dad's house. I walked out on his deck to say hi, as he is sitting in the sun due to his jaundice, and am literally shocked at how he looks. He looked like he was 75 and about to die! WOW! While I am there hanging out, the reality of him dying hits me- HARD! I have been keeping a realistic outcome since January about him, but for some reason this day I could barely handle it. I had emotions I didn't know I would have. I will post another day about those. So while I am there I start feeling like I am getting a fever, which prompts me to leave.

* The next 3 days I am home in bed with a fever, shivering, every ounce of my body aching to the point that I can barely walk.

* Tuesday went over and hung out with dad in the afternoon. He had a procedure done on Monday, so I thought I would go spend time with him. I left at 2pm, by 5'ish he was going downhill fast. By 8pm he was in the ER with his blood pressure 70/40 and in horrible pain.

*Thursday I had one kid home due to no 1/2 day kindergarten. The other came home with the flu by 9:30 that morning. I had one of the worst headaches I have ever had, which sent me to the chiropractor 2 times in one day. I cooked a bunch of Mexican food for a get together Matt was having Friday night at our house for one of the classes he is teaching.

* Friday I met with my trainer. We did weigh in and measurements. It has been 3 1/2 weeks since we started meeting. I lost 10 lbs and 1 1/2 inches off of my waist and hips! I also got another awful headache. Matt had 10 freshman over for dinner.

* Dad is still in the hospital. Everything is taking a turn for the worse. More and more problems are occurring. I honestly don't know if he will get out. I am heading there this afternoon.

* We have our church life group here tomorrow night. The boys leave Monday to go be with Matt's parents for a week. The timing really couldn't be more perfect for them to be gone. It will free me up to see dad as much as I want, and will also give me some time to try and rest and recuperate.

Thanks for listening. I am believing that next week will be better. Maybe not all aspects, but there are some I could do without. Dad will still be sick, but I don't have to be. Have a good weekend!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Taking a Break

Things in my life have been unpredictable and busy. I am not sure if I will be blogging much anymore, or at least for a while.

Things with Matt and the boys are great. The boys are loving school and are getting ready for their fall break in a week. They are flying to join Matt's parents for a week, which they will love!

I had my wisdom teeth out yesterday. Surprisingly I have had very little to no pain at all. Other than repeating myself 5 times about my IV on the way home and not remembering hardly anything, things went great.

The real reason the blogging may be sporatic is that my dad is not doing well and I am not sure how much longer he will be with us. Things since July have been iffy with no help from any doctors. He has gone downhill this week, rapidly. His liver is not working and the cancer is still around the heart and the pancreas and growing. His heart is so weak they don't think they could do anymore chemo if they knew what to do. So right now things aren't looking good at all and I have a feeling that the next few weeks will be busy with him. I will try to keep you updated on him, or at least have Matt keep you updated. We will know around noon today if he is going to be hospitalized today.

We would appreciate your prayers. My prayers lately have been for honesty from the doctors, even if it is not good news, and that his pain can be managed so no matter how long he lives he is not miserable.

Processing the thought of losing a parent is different and new to me. I don't feel like it has truly hit me yet, but I am sure it will. Thank you all for your support, love and prayers.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

One Week Down!

Well, I have survived my first week of training with my trainer, working out 6 days of the week, changing how I eat, and drinking more water than I ever imagined. I actually was surprised at how good I felt 24 hours after my first workout with Steve. I truly had anticipated crawling around on my hands and knees the day after and I was in pretty good shape. Sure I felt like I had worked out, but nothing horrible.

So I met with Steve again today. WOW! First of all, I made the comment that I should be able to handle my session better today b/c I have been doing cardio all week. He then reminds me that he wants it always to push me and that he will just have to push me harder. HUH? He trained me hard, I was more sweaty than I care to be, and then went over my food for the week. Let me just say I did well, really well. Let us all remember that I am paying Steve to work me hard and hold me accountable. I was trying to remember that when he questioned why I ate 1/4 cup of m&m's when I was hundreds of calories shy of my daily calorie goal, instead of making better food choices to fill those calories. SMILE! He had a point, and b/c he wasn't my husband I couldn't roll my eyes and ignore him. So I left and realized I was a hazard on the road b/c my arms could barely stay on the steering wheel due to muscle exhaustion! YIKES!

In all seriousness, Steve is a great guy who is doing his job. He keeps showing me I can be pushed more than I ever thought. Matt is in Denver this week on business. He is staying at a hotel, eating out daily....can't wait until he meets up with Steve Thursday night!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Oh My!

So I just walked in the door from my first workout with my new trainer Steve. He truly is a nice guy. But I honestly don't know if I have ever worked out so hard in my life. And the most amazing thing is that I did no cardio! By the end of our session he said he could see it in my eyes I was nearing the end, I felt slightly sick and light headed. No pain, no gain??!?

What I found amazing was I knew when I was doing certain things, that if I would have been on my own or with Matt, I would have quit. But with Steve looking over me I dug deep and found my inner strength to finish up, all the while my body was screaming "NO!! QUIT!!" But I am too strong willed and proud to look like a wimp on my first day. So I made it. I did all of the exercises and weights, and then on my own did an additional 25 minutes of cardio. And now that I have a clear head, I am proud I did it I am amazed that I did it, and then I laugh that I am paying for this!

I was nervous and a little scared to go today. My perception is that others would see me and think all sorts of things. Then I realized a few things:
1) Most people look at me working out and are glad I am doing something about it.
2) If they think awful things, I don't know it, so what do I care?
3) My trainer thinks it's awesome I am working hard towards my goals.
4) My family supports me 100%
5) It's really about me and no one else.
6) It seems that every aspect of my life is better when my diet and exercise are in control.

I am excited about this new part of my life. Even if I can't walk or move my arms tomorrow!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Steve's My Man

Don't worry, I am still happily married to Matt!! :)

But today I met a new man who is going to help me change my life. Steve.

Steve is my new personal trainer. I just spent and hour with him. He is kind, knowledgeable, driven...and he plans on kicking my hind end into shape. The funny thing is that when I signed Matt and I up for personal training sessions, I told the guys there to give Matt someone who will really work him HARD. Steve. I thought it was great when they were telling me stories about Steve and how hard he works people. Perfect for Matt, I thought. But the joke was on me, because not only is Steve training Matt, but he is my trainer as well.

In all seriousness, even though losing weight and getting into shape seems like something I should be able to do on my own, I am just not getting it done. Someone told me today I should not feel guilty about it, if in the end I achieve my goals. So I am not feeling guilty and Steve is going to work for his money! Already he has shown me a lot of things, and we didn't even have a "real" session. He took measurements, weight, body fat (that is fun!) and then told me very confidently that if I am serious about this that I can accomplish my goals. Sometime it is good to have someone who isn't related to you tell you you can do it.

I will keep everyone updated on my progress. I just wish the sessions weren't so expensive. I would use him until I met my goals. But even if he gives me a good start, it is better than where I am at! So here is to the start of my new journey to the new me!!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

So Many Things in 2 Months

So it has been 2 months since I last posted. As I predicted, I was too busy with kids and summer to post. So I will sum up the important events that went on over the last 2 months:

1) Jake made it through his week at church camp and loved every minute of it. However, we did have to endure the 45 minute ride home listening to every camp song known to man! I think it brought back fond memories to Matt. Not to mention hearing stories of what the girls did to the boys and vice versa! I do think the girls won!
2) We went on a 5 day family camping trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. We had a wonderful time and loved it! Vacations are getting more fun now that the boys are getting older, which brings me to #3.
3) Tyler started kindergarten!! ( I will post a picture later) I got a little choked up, only b/c it marks the end of a time in our lives with no more babies at home, but he was ready and so was I!
4) Jake started 4th grade!! UGH!! I am feeling so old!
5) We have remodeled the family room and basement. Matt has custom built shelves for the family room. I am happy to say it looks great and is ALMOST done!
6) Jake ran for student council and won! I am thinking lawyer or politician...have you heard him talk? :)
7) Matt climbed his first 14'ers with my brother Mark. They had a good time, got sick and sun burned but now have that sense of accomplishment that men have to achieve through physical pain. I can feel a sense of accomplishment when I am at a spa relaxing!! I don't know why they have to make it so hard.
8) Matt is now teaching 2 classes for UCCS and loving it. His small group is the sought after group that everyone wants to be in!
9) We had an uneventful, yet wonderful, labor day weekend.
10) We watched a great movie that I recommend to all: The Ultimate Gift
11) We are getting ready to embark on a new journey. We have hired personal trainers for a limited number of sessions, hoping that this will get us going in the right direction! We haven't started yet. I will keep you updated.

I have a lot of stories to tell, but thought I would do the summed up version today. I plan on posting more regularly so I can tell some of those stories! All in all, we had a great summer. I survived! The boys are alive and well! And it is time to get back into a routine and schedule. Hope you are back to read about our wacky and crazy life!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Little Boy No More!

Jake is off to church camp for the week. Tyler and I took him up to Camp Golden Bell yesterday, which is up in Divide, CO. He was so excited to go!! He went to a shorter version of church camp 2 summers ago and loved it.

Jake has always been my jet setter. He has flown out to NYC by himself to meet up with family. He has gone to a 3 day camp at the age of 7. He doesn't know a stranger. So imagine my surprise when I got choked up leaving him at camp yesterday! I wasn't upset about leaving him. He has been away from me for days at a time since he was little. And while this will be the longest he will be away without being with family, I think what got to me was how amazing he is! I was leaving him at camp for a week where he did not know a soul, and he was just fine. He did not have any friends or other kids from our church going with him. He stood there and smiled and waved as I left, and was by himself with nobody he knew! How many of us adults would or could want to do that?

This time seemed like a milestone in Jake's life. He is no longer a little boy. I find myself asking "when did he leave the little boy behind?" Both of my boys have a stuffed Eeyore that has been their "blankie", so to speak. I don't know if Jake has been without it for more than 1 night at a time. He decided, when we were packing Sunday night, that he was at the age where Eeyore did not need to go everywhere with him, and that he would be just fine. GULP! While I am glad he reached that conclusion, it also supports my conclusion he is not a little boy anymore. Did I sleep well last night? I found myself, for the first time in years, waking up in the night praying for Jake and wondering if he was sleeping well.

I am sure we will have stories to tell you all. I know he is having fun and probably not missing me. Today he gets to ride a horse! But oddly enough, leaving him at camp this time felt more like leaving him at school for the first time. I sent him with stamped envelopes to send letters to his family. We'll see if we get one!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

My Dad

I have not updated lately on the status of my dad. Most of you know that in January he was diagnosed with Lymphoma. It was pretty severe, throughout his body. He has had 6 rounds of chemo and was hoping his latest PET scan would show he was in remission and he would need only 2 more rounds of chemo. Sadly, this was not the case today.

My dad had his scan last week and went in for results today. The chemo got rid of most of the cancer. However, there are still 2 big spots, one around the pancreas and one in the aorta/diaphragm region, that the chemo has had little to no effect on. Obviously this is not the result the doctors were hoping for.

My dad's current dr. does not know what to do from here, so he is going to send him to an even more specialized cancer doctor in Denver. Things are up in the air right now. We don't know if anything can be done. If there is a possible treatment, we know it will be the hardest out there. The road ahead is not going to be easy, whether there is or is not anything that can be done. There is talk of some sort of stem cell treatment, where he would have all of his white blood cells completely obliterated in hopes to kill off the cancer. He would be quarantined for several weeks. Not fun. At this stage we don't even know if that is an option.

Needless to say, it is a hard day for my dad. Naturally he is disappointed and sad. But I hold fast to the knowledge that God is the healer and that with God nothing is impossible. My prayers are not only for full restored health for my dad, but also for his heart and mind to be healthy as well. That discouragement will not set it and that he will keep up the positive attitude. I would appreciate your prayers as well. Thanks!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Miss Potter

Matt and I watched a wonderful movie last night. Miss Potter with Renee Zellweger. It was PG (nice for a change) and absolutely wonderful. If any of you have seen and enjoyed "Finding Neverland" with Johnny Depp, which is about the creator of Peter Pan, then you will also enjoy "Miss Potter". It is about Beatrix Potter, the author and illustrator for Peter Rabbit, along with hundreds of other children's stories. She is the best selling author of children's books of all time.

It was clean, sweet, magical, interesting and true. When it was over Matt and I both commented on how wonderful it was and how much we enjoyed it. Will it win any awards? Probably not. As always, Renee Z. did a great job. What is amazing is how ahead of the times Beatrix Potter was for her time.

So if you are wanting to see a clean, sweet movie this is it. Thoroughly enjoyable. I think Jake would have enjoyed it as well. Tyler is too young to, but older kids could really like it. It is nice to see family movies. This was even more fascinating as it was true.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Vacations and Summer

It has officially been one month since my last post. My father-in-law pointed out to me this past week that my last post was about school being out. My point exactly! School is out, which means I don't have much time. I also realize that there is a chance no one even reads this anymore. HA!

It is hard to believe that the first month of summer is pretty much over. Time has flown by and we have had fun. We spent quite a few days at the pool, had 2 weeks of swim lessons and then went on vacation last week to the Lake of the Ozarks. We were gone for 9 days, and it was great. We had a great time. Spent some time with Matt's parents in their new home, which is beyond beautiful. Then some friends from Iowa came down and spent a few days. It was a fun vacation and much needed.

The rest of the summer includes Jake at Nana and Papa's house until this Thursday, July 4th, Jake's church camp for a week, camping in the mountains for 4 days, the boys going to Nana and Papa's for a few days and then the week countdown to the start of school happens! It is crazy! We also want to head to Denver for a quick 2 day trip to go to Six Flags and a few other things there.

It has already been fun. The boys have had fun so far. Mom and dad have had fun and are still as sane as they were when school was in session. And it is 1/2 over. Who knows, it might be another month before I post again! Hopefully not. I will try to put up some pics of our vacation. What are you doing this summer?

Friday, May 25, 2007

School's Out!!

Well, it is officially the start of summer around here. Tyler finished his preschool career this morning and Jake should be home any minute finishing out his 3rd grade year! Time just seems to go by so fast. It is so weird to think that I basically have a 4th grader and a kindergarten child!

So we are off...we have a fun filled summer planned. Swimming, swim lessons, a trip to the Lake of the Ozarks, camping in the Rocky Mountains, $1 movies on Tuesdays when they are 1/2 off, library times, Elitch Gardens and the children's museum in Denver, church camp for Jake...we should be busy enough I won't go insane, but should also have enough down time they feel like they had a good break from school.

It is that time of year again! I am sure I should be able to entertain you this summer with stories I can guarantee will make you laugh. They might not be funny to me, but isn't there a word that describes taking pleasure from someone else's pain? :) No, it should be fun. And it will be nice to not be on as much of a schedule as we are during the school year.

What are your plans for the summer?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms!

I had a great day today with the boys and Matt. They brought me a breakfast of waffles, strawberries and orange juice into bed! They were more excited than I was, I think. They got me the pedicure I had asked for, as well as new measuring spoons and cups. I know, not very exciting, but it was exactly what I was wanting. We went to church where I won the drawing for the free professional house cleaning!! WOW!! What a day! Then we went and had a BBQ at my mom's house. All in all, a nice and uneventful day, which is just how I like it. Both boys made me cards at school, which is so much nicer than a $4 Hallmark card. I like Hallmark, don't get me wrong, but with the ages the boys are, the handprint card from Tyler and the puppy pop-up card Jake drew were much more special and meaningful.

We came home. Matt took Jake out on his first run. And Tyler proceeded to demolish a small matchbox truck he found in the yard with a HUGE rock. It was one of the funniest things I have seen in a while. He worked and worked on smashing this truck. It entertained him for at least 20 minutes. Then he came in, with a HUGE smile on his face, and showed off all of the smashed parts and proclaimed with such pride that he had used a big rock to do the deed. A moment I will remember forever.

The night ended with the movie "Because I Said So" with Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore. I found it a funny movie. No award winner, but I don't think they all need to be. Honey, you did a good job this year!! Thanks!!

And thank you to all of the moms out there, who brought us all into the world, and swore up and down they would take us out!!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Smoking, drinking, sex and R ratings!

I was watching Good Morning America this morning and heard some interesting information about how they are going to make changes to the rating of movies. Right now, R ratings are based on sex, drugs and violence (and adult content). They are now going to include smoking to that list. I am pleased to see this. I think we have all gotten so accustomed to seeing people smoking in movies that we probably don't even think much about it. This does not mean that mentality is good.

As a mother of 2 boys, I try to monitor what they watch. It seems natural to say no to a movie that will have sex or drugs in it. But honestly, I don't know that smoking is something I thought of very much. The boys are hilarious when we are out in public. They will, in their not-so-quiet voices, point and say "that person has a smoker". They call cigarettes "smokers".

I am so happy to see this tightening down on the standards. I think there needs to be more. And I think television should definitely follow suit. I am tired of not being able to turn on the TV at 7pm with my kids in the room because even the sitcoms that air at that time are unacceptable for my kids. I remember when it was television programming for the family until 9pm. There are very few shows on now, on the major channels, that I feel my boys can watch. That is one of the reasons why we have cable. It is a huge frustration with me, but I think society has just accepted the changes and we just move on and deal with it.

Kudos to the people who changed the movie rating system to include smoking!!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Are mom's made for video games???

Tyler is our "gamer". That kid LOVES to play video games. He loves to rent new games. And I have never played with him, or even with Matt and Jake...until today. Matt and Tyler decided last night that I would be able to play Tyler's latest rental "Over the Hedge". So this afternoon I headed to the basement with my 5 year old....

I am not made for video games. I have a headache. I am frustrated. I got beat by my 5 year old. I had no idea what I was doing. I felt like I had not control. Tyler had to tell me what buttons to push. Tyler yelled at me because I wasn't helping him out! UGH!!

But I will say this- he was SO happy I played with him. He smiled the whole time. He laughed and laughed at me. The first words out of his mouth when Jake got home from school were "mom played video games with me!" It might not have been my first choice of how I would spend my afternoon...but then again, once you have kids their first choice often becomes yours.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

An Honor and Priviledge!

Since moving to Colorado Matt and I have developed several new friendships. One has been with someone who is actually from Iowa, and whose family actually started going to Matt's home church about 11 years ago. Caydee and Jason Bell moved here in August. We had never met them, but one day in church we turn around and Caydee and her sister Cayla are sitting a few rows behind us. From that day forward a friendship was forged. It would be a great story for me to say that the 2 couples have become amazing friends, BUT- in October Jason was deployed to Iraq. He is JAG, and is there on his 2nd tour. So, while Caydee has become one of my closest friends, Jason has not been here. They have 2 boys. Caydee and I just clicked like we had known each other forever. Matt and Jason are similar, and have emailed back and forth some, but once home we have no doubt the friendship there will grow. But Sunday night our friendship took a turn. We went to a new level...

Caydee found out in September she was pregnant with their 3rd child. (not planned) Matt and I, along with our church and life group, have been her support here. Her sister Cayla lives here too, so she has been there also. A while ago Caydee asked me if I would be in the delivery room with her, to help take pics and video of the birth for Jason. WOW! I consider this an honor. So Sunday night my phone rang and we were ready to go! I spent Sunday night and the wee hours of Monday morning with Caydee, and at 3:39 am Monday May 7th, Olivia Jane Bell was born! And I got to be there!! Matt was integral in emailing Jason updates and phone numbers. Mom and baby are great! And the good news is Jason will be home Friday or Saturday for a 2 week leave. I am so glad God gives us friends. While some are for times and seasons, some are for forever!!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

A date and new things!

So Jake and I have had a great weekend! Friday night he had a friend over, which was fun for him since Tyler wasn't here. He is always so good to let Tyler hang out with him and his friends, but I think he enjoyed it just being him and his friend. Saturday we went to Olive Garden for lunch. He kept talking about this dessert he thought would be good, so I surprised him at the end and ordered it for the two fo us to share. I wish I would have had a camera to snap a pic of his face when he realized we were getting dessert! We then went and saw "Meet the Robinsons" 3D. It has been nice, although we both admitted that while it has been nice, we both miss Matt and Tyler and can't wait for them to get home. It was nice to hear those words out of Jake's mouth. He almost sounded shocked when he said he missed Tyler! :) We talked about how our family isn't complete until we are all together, the 4 of us. So it has been nice, enjoyable, and now it is time to get back to normal.

The other exciting news is that Mark and Teri have added to their family, and I now have a niece!! She is a 3 year old Akita dog! This might be their only contribution to me, as far as being an aunt. So we are headed over there today to meet Daisy Mae. I will snap a picture and be the proud aunt!!! HA!

The other thing I am so excited about is our friends Adam and Shannon from our Tulsa days are in the process of adopting a baby girl from Guatemala. This week Shannon is in Guatemala spending time with Analise. She doesn't get to bring her home yet, but she did get to be "mommy" for the week. I am so excited for them both! Analise is beautiful and the look on Shannon's face says it all. Pictures say a thousand words! Congrats!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Another snow day and a great movie!

Yes, another snow day for the boys!! Only this morning I woke up to completely clear roads, a lot of sun, and a lot of the snow already melting. I have quit trying to figure out why they call snow days and why they don't.

In light of the fact I was home with the boys again, we ventured to the $1 movies. We went and saw "Arthur and the Invisibles". I went into this movie thinking I would go because the boys wanted to see it, but found myself really enjoying it. I thought it would be all cartoon and it wasn't. We left, and Jake immediately said how great it was. It was excellent, and I highly recommend it as a family movie. It is so nice to be able to take the kids to a movie and not worry about what they are going to hear or see, or even what is being implied.

Now they are anticipating Shrek 3 and Spiderman 3! Spidey is one where Matt and I will have to go see it first. They have watched the first two, and seemed to be fine with the intense good vs. evil, but we still need to make sure there are no major things in it that we won't want to them to see.

Summer is a great time for movies!! I am anxious to see what else will be out!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Who gets snow days at the end of April?

As some of you may have read on Matt's blog, today we had a snow storm! Over on our side of town we had white out conditions for most of the day. It is just now letting up and it is near 7pm. They say there is usually a good snow in March, but May 1 is in one week! It actually was pretty and would have been great in Jan or Feb!

Matt and Tyler are headed out on Thursday until Sunday. Matt is dropping Tyler off at his parents house for a few days and Matt is headed to Lincoln for his fraternity's annual alumni weekend. Many of you probably don't know that Matt started a Christian frat when we were at school at Nebraska Wesleyan. When he started it there were just a handful of guys, but now there are 20+ every year, some years more than that. They have a house they rent, where some of the guys live. This was a God-given idea to Matt and it has since been used to build college men's walk with God as well as occasionally getting some guys to start a relationship with Jesus for the first time. It is something Matt doesn't ever talk about, as far as his involvement in starting it, but I am so proud of him for doing it.

With 2 of the boys gone, that leaves Jake and I home for the weekend. He already has one date night planned. I am looking forward to some one-on-one time with him. Especially since he is getting older, and I am aware there will come a time when he really doesn't want to have a date with me. As he is getting older I am trying to figure out a way to make sure our relationship stays strong. I don't want him leaving home to go to college and never caring if he comes home again and sees me or not. I think open communication is important. Any ideas, thoughts or suggestions? Granted, I have some time to think this through, but the last 9 years have gone by quickly.

Anyway, not much else going on here, other than SNOW! I also heard there were tornadoes in parts of CO and then in the tornado belt of TX, OK and MO. Hmm.....

Happy Things

So a few posts ago I listed out some of the things that annoy me. Matt and I have joked about how he is behind a lot of them! HA! So I thought I would focus my efforts this time on things that make me happy, in no particular order!

1) Being with Matt and the boys
2) Reading a good book
3) Having lunch or dinner with friends
4) Hearing the boys laugh
5) Hitting golf balls
6) Going out with my honey!
7) Playing cards- especially Pinochle
8) Family night
9) Going to a movie
10) Praising God!!
11) Getting good sleep
12) Finding a good bargain!
13) Having a clean house
14) Going on vacation with Matt
15) Going on vacation with Matt and the boys
16) Getting emails from friends
17) Christmas time
18) Skiing
19) Baking
20) Entertaining good friends

There they are!! I told you I would have a happier post!!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Finally a Normal Weekend?

It is Sunday night and I am happy to report that we were home all weekend!! I threw a baby shower for a friend, but other than that it was a normal weekend of being home. I just don't know what to do with myself!!

Okay, okay...maybe not totally normal! Thursday night we sold our 4Runner to a couple who called that afternoon, came and drove it and then paid us cash for it! While this was great news for us, it also left us with the issue of being a one car family. I think for a minute Matt thought that might be okay for a while until I reminded him that Tyler needs to be picked up from preschool every day at 11:15, and that he is driving back to Lincoln for a fraternity alumni weekend this coming Thursday. Oh- maybe we should buy a new car. So Friday was spent car looking./shopping, and at the last place we just drove through for the heck of it we found a van we were wanting with everything we wanted in it (except a dvd player which we will have installed tomorrow) for a great price! Friday night we headed out to our pastor's house for a get-together with Jake in the back of the new van. We pulled into their yard to park and all of the sudden we heard the noise that all parents dread hearing- the sound of puke everywhere!!!! IN MY NEW VAN WE HAVE ONLY HAD FOR 2 HOURS!!!! I have since repented that my attitude was so wrong, but that was my reaction! Jake was sick Friday night and Saturday...but I had a baby shower to give for my dear friend Caydee!

After the baby shower we spent the afternoon watching a movie, watching UFC that night and writing some songs with my brother and SIL. And today was great with the family going to hit golf balls and teaching Tyler to ride a bike without training wheels, while Jake was riding his new bike! I know it all seems so boring, but for us, after being busy for months on end, it felt so good. We need more of this kind of life I have decided. Everyone seems so much more content, mom and dad included!! That was my weekend. How was yours?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I have realized lately how blessed Matt and I are here in Colorado. We are very close to my brother and sister-in-law (Mark and Teri), I am able to be here with my dad through his cancer battle, I see my mom and she has been going to church with us, we have an unbelievable church, even more amazing friends, Matt has a good job, the kids are well adjusted and happy- those are my blessings. (not to mention our latest "fraud" story, which you will have to read Matt's blog to find out about)

The last few months I have done a lot of soul searching. I have decided to cut out the things in my life I no longer need nor want. I have decided I need to come to grips with the fact that I don't need other people thinking highly of me to feel good about myself. I have decided that some relationships are one sided and I don't need that. I have decided that sometimes it is better to cut losses and be done. I have decided that I should surround myself with people who appreciate me. I need to be in relationships that are both giving and receiving, not one-sided. I just don't have the energy any more to give and give with nothing in return. I think I am growing old and it is starting to show up in areas like these.

I have also decided that sometimes coming to realizations is not fun or easy, yet necessary. It is especially hard for me, being a people pleaser. Some people you can never please, no matter what you do or what your intentions are. That is hard for me to understand, yet Matt doesn't see what is so hard about it. There are times when I wish I could compartmentalize like Matt does. It would be very helpful, but I just can't do it very well. I went to a conference once and attended a workshop called "Men are like waffles, women are like spaghetti". This is so true. Matt can be upset with someone, yet it doesn't affect any other areas of his life (compartmentalizing). I can be upset and it runs into everything else in my life, not even related to the upsetting issue (spaghetti). So I think it is because I am spaghetti and not a waffle that I have chosen to cut things back or out of my life. I don't know any better way to handle it, and frankly I don't want to anyway.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Annoying Things

There are just some things in life I cannot stand, and I am out of patience with. These are some of mine, what are yours?

1. People smacking their gum or food.
2. People constantly popping their knuckles.
3. People who are self centered and don't own up to any responsibility.
4. Waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to sleep for a few hours.
5. School cancellations when there is no reason.
6. High gas prices.
7. People who are rude and insensitive.
8. Messy house.
9. Cleaning the messy house and having no one respect the work that was done, and make more messes!
10. The high cost of going out for an evening: sitter, dinner and movie!!
11. Laundry that never ends.
12. Ironing.
13. People who know something is wrong but act like nothing is wrong!
14. Children not obeying and then arguing on top of it.
15. People who talk about you behind your back, yet think you'll never know they did.

Next time I'll do my blessings!! It will be a happier post!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Life in a Nutshell

Life since I last blogged:

1) Vacation to Cancun for a week- an amazing time!
2) Day before vacation Jake had a bday party and Tyler ended up throwing up.
3) Jake turned 9! Had a family party.
4) My grandpa died at the age of 95, so we had to head to Iowa for the funeral.
5) In between trips we have still had our life group.
6) Dental appointments for all!
7) Tyler had strep.
8) Matt's sister was here for a few weeks.
9) We leave for Washington DC this Thursday.
10) Next Thursday we head up to the mountains to have a family ski trip.
11) Tyler turns 5 on the 25th.
12) Maybe after the 26th, and we are finally home, I will be able to start blogging again.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Birthday Parties Are How Much?

So Jake turns 9 the 25th of this month. Tyler turns 5 the 25th of March. This means we have birthday party planning to do. So I started pricing out parties-let me just say I am shocked! I had no idea that parties were so expensive. The cheapest party I could find, excluding creating our own, was over $100. That is just too expensive! When did parties become so involved and overindulgent?

So I gave Jake his choice of an expensive party or planning a small party where we would take them to a movie, go to dinner at Olive Garden (his favorite) and coming back to the house for cake, presents and playing. He thought long and hard about it and decided the smaller party is what he wants. I must say that I am proud of his choice. Why is it necessary to invite 10-12 people, whom you rarely talk about or play with, just to celebrate? I think when he thought about it, the smaller more intimate party was what interested him.

Tyler, on the other hand, really wants to have his at Mr. Biggs, the fun center here in town. He can have a pirate party and they can play for 2 hours and do everything they want to do. It is a little more expensive than what Jake's will be, but it will also be his first birthday party, outside of family celebrating with him. He is thrilled he can invite his new friends from school! He also is unable to really think through the process like Jake did. I am also thinking having his party outside my home might be easier, considering we are talking about 4-5 year olds and it is cold here.

Oh the choices! When is enough enough? If you go big the first year, what do you do to top it? We had friends in Oklahoma give us the best idea: one year they can have a big party and the next year just something small with 1-2 friends, alternating yearly. That way they get that dose of reality that everything does not have to big and bigger!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Football is over!

Have I ever told you that I am a football addict? I love football!! I truly love most sports, but football is my passion, when it comes to sports. I love college football...every Saturday from Labor Day thru the beginning of January is booked for me. I love it so much that Matt actually will leave me watching football and go to the garage because he is sick of it. :) I don't know exactly what it is, but it just gets my blood pumping! Now that we live in an area where there is a pro team nearby, I have really gotten into the NFL. I play on a fantasy football league, and usually do better than most of the guys on the team!

Naturally, we watched the Superbowl last night. It is the first time in a while where I was excited for the big game, and actually liked both teams. However, I really am a fan of Peyton Manning and Tony Dungee. I was very happy that the Colts won, and was more proud this morning when I watched an interview on tv with Tony Dungee. He was asked about being the first black coach to win, and about his coaching style. For those of you who don't know about him, he is known for having a gentle coaching style, and does not yell or use scare tactics. He basically said that he hopes he has proven to people that you can be a great coach with a gentle style. And he hopes he has shown the attitude of Christ in his coaching. His team prays after each game, and last night was no exception. He gave all of the honor and glory to God. His players respect him. Is this not a man to follow? So while I am happy for the Colts, it also makes me sad that I now have to wait until August for football again...

Note of interest: 2 former Iowa Hawkeye players played for the Colts last night! Dallas Clark and Bob Sanders!! And both played well!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

My son the future politician!

I officially have a child who is in politics. Jake was chosen to be his class rep for the student council. We are so excited for him, and he is thrilled. His teacher thinks very highly of him, and thought he would be the perfect choice. He was so adorable when we were discussing the commitment, which is twice a month 7:30am meeting on Mondays. He looked at me and said, "I'll just have to set my alarm for a 1/2 hour earlier and get my things ready the night before." Smart thinking! He has great ideas, and I am sure he will be very valuable to the student council. I think this also will show him some responsibility in something other than cleaning his room!

I have also decided that I now feel old! I have a son on student council! AHH!

Anyway, I needed to brag about my oldest. I am so proud of him. I am hoping this will be a great opportunity for him to experience leadership firsthand. It is interesting how some people, when given the opportunity, make great leaders. But without that opportunity might never have known they were a leader.

Good job Jake!!

Monday, January 29, 2007

I Am A Priority

I have started a new (revisited) journey in my life. I am on a weight loss journey. I know, everyone is this time of year, and I am one of them. I have been at it a week. I went to the gym 6 out of 7 days and worked out an hour a day. I found a great internet tool to help me track my food and exercise. My first week I lost 3.5 lbs!

This post is actually not about my weight loss, although I am proud of it. What it has taken for me to do this has been putting myself above a lot of other things. I go to the gym the minute all 3 boys head out to school and work. By the time I am home and showered, it is almost time to get Tyler from preschool, which means my mornings are pretty much shot due to working out. I have thought about all of the things I could be getting done in the time I am spending working out, and they are numerous. Laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, organizing my home-especially my kitchen. There are actually some of those things I like to do and there is a huge part of me that would prefer to take the time to get things around the house done so I feel better about my life. Then I realized that working out and losing weight does make me feel better about my life. Being in control of me feels great. It is okay if the house doesn't look as good as I would like, if it means I am working out, getting in shape and losing weight.

When do we, especially women, quit being so self-centered and start putting ourselves in last place on the priority chart? This is something I have put on myself. Matt has always supported me in anything I have wanted to try and do, even if it means he helps out more around the house, etc.. I have realized there will always be clothes to wash, dry, iron and put away. There will inevitably be dirt in my home. There will always be something I can organize or reorganize or clean. But who will I be if I can't take a little time to be me, and to take care of me? I have found in the last week that I am a better mom and wife because I have taken time for me, amongst the chaos in my life. I recommend everyone tries it, just once!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Eavsdropping and Laughing

Okay, since my blog has been so boring lately, I thought I would relay a story from this weekend that had me laughing and laughing and laughing.

Jake is in karate. For Christmas we got him a beginners kit that included several of the "weapons" they use, as well as a DVD on karate and a cup. I, being the wonderful mother that I am, did not address the fact that the kit included a cup or what it was for.

Saturday afternoon I am in the office cleaning. Matt is in Jake's room cleaning out the fish aquarium. Jake comes up and is having a casual conversation with Matt. I am not even sure how they started talking about it, but I overhear Matt telling Jake he needs to start wearing his cup to karate. He says he does not have one, and Matt tells him that he does and that it came with his kit. He goes and gets it and then proceeds to tell Matt "Oh, I thought that was for my elbow!" The conversation then continues on with a lesson on how to use it, which was rather comical to listen to. Boxers, briefs or wearing it without...AHHH!!

Once Jake went downstairs I came out of the office, took one look at Matt and laughed until I was crying. These are definitely life lessons, and necessary, but boy did Jake make it funny without even knowing it. And it made me more thankful for my husband.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Prognosis: Better Than I Expected

Well, we finally have a diagnosis and prognosis for my dad. He does have large cell non hodgkins lymphoma. It has spread throughout his body and into his spleen. The good news is that they are starting chemo treatments next week. They say with the first treatment sometimes it can shrink enough to relieve the pain, which would be wonderful for him. He will have one day of chemo each month for 6 months. He has about a 50% chance of making it through this and living for 5+ years. This prognosis has given him hope again, which is vitally important. We also don't feel quite so frantic with how long he will be here. The likelihood is that if the chemo doesn't put him in remission that he at least has a year if not longer. This is a relief as we were thinking it could have been months. I appreciate your prayers. It will be a long road ahead of us, but the road is looking better than what we thought it could have been.

Thanks again for your kind words and prayers. Maybe now I can get back to blogging normal things!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tomorrow is the big day!

Just a quick update on my dad for those of you wondering where we are with all of it:

He has had a PET scan done and had a biopsy done Monday. Tomorrow we will find out the whole diagnosis and what treatment options are available. It has been 2 weeks ago today that we all found out, but it sure seems like a lot longer. And while this is what we have all waited for, real results, we almost don't want them. It is a weird feeling.

He is in pain most of the time. The pain moving around between his chest, back and stomach.

It has been an interesting roller coaster to be on, as I have no idea what to do or how to do this. I am not even sure what "this" is, other than I know part of it is grief, part of it is fear and the rest is????

Most days I do well and go at the whole thought of this all very logically. And a few days, one in particular, I lost it and the sadness took over.

I will let everyone know what Thursday brings. Sorry for the lack of posting, but right now I just don't know what else to blog about.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Time Apart

This weekend Matt headed to Arizona to see his grandparents as well as a group of great friends from Tulsa. I stayed home this trip. Matt's mom came to see the boys.

By the time Friday rolled around I was really ready for Matt to get out of town for a few days. I am not saying I wanted him to stay there forever, but I did realize that it was good for me, as well as him, that we had a break from each other. I think this is good for a marriage, at least one where you are together a lot adn enjoy being together a lot.

I spent Friday night at my dad's just hanging out and talking. It was nice. As much as I love Matt being there and as much as my family loves Matt, I treasured my time with my dad and stepmom alone, with no one else. Saturday I went and got a massage and had lunch with my SIL Teri. We had a great time. Saturday night I went to dinner with 2 great friends and talked until they kicked us out of the restaurant.

Could I have done all of these things if Matt would have been home? Yes. Would I have felt as free and enjoyed them as much? No. I feel refreshed and was more than anxious for Matt to get home last night. I think he felt the same way.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder! Right?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Eggs and Family Time

Sorry for the delayed posting. My life has been turned on end as of late and blogging didn't interest me, nor did I feel like I had much to blog about. However, I am hoping it will become a nice distraction!

Last night Matt and I started a new "experience". We have now dubbed Wednesday nights "Family Night". We brought the boys in from playing outside and informed them of this. They seemed unsure but excited. We then topped off our take and bake pizza and popped it in the oven so it could cook while we did our devotional. I found 2 really neat family devotionals from Focus on the Family that are fun and very kid friendly. One of them is all science experiments! So last night we started with eggs and the theme "God's protection".

The boys got to try to break the egg (over a bowl) with their bare hands. Of course they could not do it, but loved the whole process of trying. We then talked about God'd protection and how he protects us like the egg protects the baby chick. Tyler response was priceless when he tried to wrap his brain around the fact the inside of an egg a chick is being "cooked" to be born! Jake read a Bible passage and we talked about that. It is amazing his comprehension!! WOW! We opened up with prayer, ended with prayer and then dug into our pizza. After that we played Big Trouble for about 45 minutes.

The boys had a great time. Matt and I really truly enjoyed ourselves. We did this because life just seems to get busier and busier. And while I love the fact that they self-entertain very well, and will play outside for hours, that does not mean that we shouldn't take time out to just be together as a family, with no one else around, no phone calls and no tv. The whole process was not quite 2 hours, but for their hearts it was much more than that. They even were asking what next week's lesson would be and what they would get to do. So if your kids are old enough, I really recommend doing this. As they get older it will only be harder to do something like this, so do it now and make it a pattern for your family while they want to and they look forward to it.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

An unexpected Start to 2007

Well, we made it through Christmas. We made it to 2007! My holiday decorations are down and I am trying to get organized for the upcoming year. I have a huge list of what things to do, which sometimes can be overwhelming. I was thinking of getting paint on walls, organizing my kitchen, getting the boys' rooms clean and organized, and then it was all put into perspective for me:

My dad was diagnosed today with malignant lymphoma. Basically cancer in his lymph nodes. WHOA!! A shock to say the least. My head hurts from the tears. I hurt seeing the rest of my family hurt. And then I crawled into the bathtub tonight and gave it to God. He is the healer. He gives us the peace and strength to get through this. I have never been more thankful to be in Colorado and close to my family. Not only to be here for dad, but to be here for my brother and sister-in-law. Right now I have an amazing calm about me.

Will my walls get painted? Will my kitchen get organized? If it does- GREAT- and if not, it only means there are bigger and better things I am investing my time in. Family. Isn't that what life is truly about anyway?

We don't have a lot of details yet. But I will continually keep you all posted. Hopefully we will know something this week, regarding stages it's in and treatment options. But we would all appreciate your prayers, and I thank you for them in advance.