This past month has sure been a difficult one for our family.  My father was diagnosed with a brain tumor of the 4th of July weekend and although part of it was operable, part of it wasn’t.  And it’s cancerous to boot.  Dad has chosen not to have chemo and radiation.  His remaining time with us will be short.  So, we all got together as a family (all his children and their spouses and children) and had a family meeting.  Dad, was then taken to Kansas to spend his remaining days with my mom, sister, older brother Gene and his wonderful family. 

Then, this past Sunday, we got a call that my younger brother’s oldest daughter Lili passed away.  My heart is broken for my brother and his wife.  Lili was one of the sweetest little angels in the world!   To my brother and his sweet wife – we love you so much!!  Lili – we love and miss you!  I know Dad will be happy to see you in a few months when he joins you on the other side! 

Becky’s fish, Mystery, died this morning.  Becky was very sad!  =(  We had it for 3 years.  Richard brought it home from work one day (and I don’t know how long it had been there) and I figured it would die within a few days – a few weeks at most.  But three years later…

So we will be burrying it this evening.  Poor little fish.  Maybe we’ll get another one or a frog or turtle or something.  The kids really liked having something.  Especially Becky.  I wonder what will be next.

Summer has started – hooray!! 

It has been a busy school year!  I am looking forward to summer vacation with my kiddos at home!!

Becky won a free bike for perfect attendance this year in school.  She didn’t miss a day!!  Go Becky!!

Jared finally got team pictures with his little league team – and for the sake of privacy, I won’t be posting that picture  – he also got individual ones.  They turned out so cute!

Becky has been working on a project lately that has been a lot of fun.  She is learning about story telling in school and chose to find out about 4 members of the family and learn some of their stories.  She was sent so much information that she will not be able to present it all in her little report.  Instead, she is showing it all, but only sharing some of the highlights with the class. 

Jared is graduating from Kindergarten this year – so excited about that!  And Emma can’t wait until she gets to have her brother and sister home all day with her.  I just can’t wait until the very first morning I get to sleep in!  Oh, it will be wonderful!!

Yesterday was Mother’s Day.  Such a lovely day!  I spoke in church and then taught a lesson later so I was very nervous most of the day.  But it all turned out well.  All the ladies at church were given little potted flowers that I am excited to add to my yard to add more color!!  (It’s sadly lacking in color right now.)  After getting home, my family took over and let me have a nap.  They cleaned up the house, made dinner and made me a cake!  It was SO nice!!  I really have the most wonderful little family!!  It was a great day!

Saturday, we visited the FitExpo in Boise and enjoyed meeting some of Richard’s job-related friends.  Some neat people!   Andy Haman liked Jared’s Charlie Brown shirt so we got a picture of them together – as much as Jared would allow.  He was a little overwhelmed by all the people!

After that, Jared had his Little League game and that went wonderfully well!  He had a lot of fun and really did most of the things himself without a whole lot of prompting! So nice.

We had a really strong wind here the other day that tore up a bunch of trees around town.  One of our neighbors, that has many huge trees around their house, had one fall on their house during the wind.  The house is still in tact but the roof is damaged pretty bad.  Someone went over yesterday and cut the tree into a number of pieces so that it could be removed from the yard and away from the house.  It was a big tree.  The cemetary on the hill also had a number of trees that were uprooted during the wind!  The weather sure has been bizarre this spring!  Today it is quite rainy!  We haven’t had many sunny days.  I can’t wait until they come more often!!

Emma’s favorite movie the last little while has been Blue’s Clues!  She loves it and has even learned the little song at the beginning – well, the actions anyway, and a few of the words.  It is so cute to watch!!  She has also taken to coloring on herself!  No matter how hard we try, she just won’t keep it on the paper…

School is almost out – I can’t wait!  I know Rebecca will miss her class because she really loves it, but I think Jared will be very happy that it’s over.  Emma and I will be the most excited.  I won’t be making 15 trips around town a day, and Emma will have her brother and sister home with her all day.  What could be better than that!

He's #1

I have decided I need to blog more often so I can remember what we do on a weekly basis.

Jared in his White Sox uniform.

We signed Jared up for Little League this past month (April) with a team of children like him.  Everyone on the team has special needs – be they physical or mental.  And they are all close to Jared’s age.  Each game only lasts about two innings before they kids have all lost interest and are playing in the dirt and running around the field.  It is SO FUN to watch!!  Jared’s team is called the White Sox. 

Jared hated his first game so much!!!  He cried and was angry for almost the whole game.  We took him to the playground afterwards and that helped.  The next game, we didn’t tell him about until we got there.  He was crying at the beginning but was happy by the end.  He was given his uniform at this game but wouldn’t wear it.  Game three – he was happy the whole time and wore his uniform – Yay!!  Success!!   And just the other day we passed a park and Jared saw some kids playing softball.  He asked if it was his turn to play and I said not yet.  He was disappointed!  I am so excited that he likes the game now!!   Hopefully we will be getting video footage of it next week.  This past week it rained so we didn’t bring the camera.

Crossing the finish line

Last Saturday, May 1st, Richard and I ran in our first 5K run/walk.  I was so nervous!!  It was wonderful, though!!  I hope I get to do another one!   At the beginning of the year, I was quite overweight and my good cholesterol was too low.  It’s supposed to be between 40 and 60.  Mine was at 27.  I was told I needed to lose some weight, exercise 30 minutes a day, change my diet, and take some supplements to help get it corrected.  So far, I have lost 30 pounds, I have changed my diet, exercised 30 minutes a day pretty regularly and am doing much better.  I had my blood tested again and my good cholesterol is at 44!  Yay me!!  I am so excited!  I still have some weight to go, but I’m getting there.  Setting the goal of the 5K race was to help me keep motivated for exercising each day.  And it helped a lot!  Richard and I ran it in 33 min and 40 seconds.  We finished 35th and 36th out of a hundred or so runners!  Not bad for a half-cripple!  The doctor who did my broken ankle surgery a couple years ago was there.  It was good to see him.  All in all, it was fun to run and I’m so glad Richard was with me!  I love running with him.  I love doing anything with him – he’s just a wonderfully fun person!!

On the day of the race, it was freezing outside!  I was afraid it was going to rain, but it didn’t.  It was just cold.  The weather stayed dry for our race.  Then, later that evening we went to Jared’s baseball game and it was raining as we arrived but then it let up, the sun came out, and it was beautiful through his whole game.  Then, as soon as his game was over, it went right back to overcast and rainy!   We were so blessed!!

One of the ladies I used to serve with in the Primary Presidency has been in the hospital for almost 4 weeks now with one of her little daughters.  My heart aches for them!  Kayelee, their little daughter is believed to have HUS – which is quite dangerous!  Her kidneys are not fully working and her body is having trouble producing red blood cells amongst other things.  It has been a tough road for their family but they are so strong!!  Kayelee is one of the strongest spirited children I have ever met!!  If anyone can make it through all the blood transfusions and such that she has had to have, it would be her!!  She is such a trooper!!  She is doing better but still not able to come home yet.  Hopefully soon!  They are such a wonderful family!!  We just love them so much!!

Tonight we are going out to the church orchard to thin apricots.  Lots of work to do.  I’m excited.  And the weather is nice enough to go!  That’s even more exciting.  It has been freezing lately!  It’s still cold but the sun is shining and one of our neighbors is even outside in shorts!  Looks like summer might come afterall.

Rebecca is almost done with her 3rd grade year and she hasn’t missed a single day!  If she can make it through the rest of this month until the end of school, with out a day missed, she will win a brand new bike for having perfect attendance!  I hope she makes it!

Emma is learning all kinds of new words – right along with Jared!  It is so fun to listen to the two of them talk!  Jared asked me the other day, “Mom, can we go to the moon?  I need a rocket!”  I love that he knows he needs a rocket to get to the moon!  If I had  had one on hand I would have taken him to the moon immediately!  Loved it!

We were watching the Princess and the Frog a while back and the beignets that they make in the movie looked yummy so we decided to try and make them.  We got all the ingredients together and were set to make them after church.  Rebecca walked up and told her daddy – “Hey Dad – Mom’s gonna make some man-catchin’ beignets today.”  I heard Richard say, “Oh really?”  I about died laughing.  I didn’t know I was doing that!  My intentions were just to learn to make beignets – I wasn’t trying to catch a man.  But, Richard liked them, so, I guess the “man-catchin’” part worked.  =)

That’s all I can remember for today about our family happenings over the last little while.  As I blog more often, the posts will be shorter.  =)

Fun

The kids were given free tickets to the Idaho Junior Steelheads hockey game last week so Richard took the day off yesterday and we made a day of it. Hockey is the best sport for our family to go see. Jared can be as loud as he wants and no one cares; Becky thinks it’s hilarious when the guys get smashed up against the glass; the baby can freely move around without obstructing anyone’s view; and we all enjoy cheering, clapping, stomping and making noise for our team. It was a lot of fun! Idaho won so it was even better. They played against the Fresno Monster Junior Hockey team from Fresno, California. I have to say, even though Fresno lost, they put up a good fight! The score was 3-2. The Fresno goaly, Peter Megariotis (#31), was really good! I was quite impressed! It was a good game to watch. During half time, they had this tiny little team come out called the Mighty Mites and they played for about 5 minutes on half of the court. It was the cutest thing! They were all between the ages of 3 and 6 years old completely decked out in hockey gear. So cute!

Hockey Game

After the game we went out to eat, ran some errands and I went and got a haircut. It’s up to my shoulders now. I don’t like it this short, but the last time I got a haircut, the lady really didn’t do what I asked for so it needed some help. Now it’s almost all the same length and will grow out long and thick. So, it’s short again. =(

All in all, it was a really nice day!! I love spending time with my kids and it makes the day perfect when we get to have Richard all to ourselves! It was wonderful!

On Saturday – Feb 13th – Richard and Rebecca had a Daddy Daughter date at the Nampa Rec Center. They had face painting, cookie making, games, dancing, crafts and all kinds of stuff! Becky made me a necklace and one for herself to match – along with a bracelet. Becky had a great time with Daddy for their Valentine’s date!

Becca-saurus

I went to a long meeting this afternoon for Jared so that we could go over goals and things for the upcoming year for him. This is the second or third time I’ve been told I am a ‘supermom’ because of what I do for Jared. I think I’m sadly lacking and I have a lot to do. Which means that a lot of other mothers must really not do much with their special needs children! How sad! I feel sorry for those children. I love my Jared!!

I did, however, get a lot of great ideas about how to work with him here at home to help him in his daily progress. I am very excited!! I really think this is going to be a great year!! I can feel it! =)

We had such an eventful weekend – Wow! The beginning of Spring Break started for the kids on Friday so Richard took the day off so we could spend it together as a family. We took the kids to the zoo – which was so much fun! The kids really had a great time and I got the coolest tiger shirt. I love tigers!

tiger shirt

We spent the rest of the day together going to all kinds of different places and were worn out when we got home.

On Saturday we went and looked at a minivan as we have desperately needed a second car for quite some time. It was so nice! We bought it, yeah!! It is a beautiful blue – my favorite color – and we drove it home that day! The kids absolutely love the extra leg room! It’s a great van!

As soon as we got home with the van on Saturday, I had arranged for a babysitter to come by to watch Becky and Jared so Richard and I could go out for our anniversary. We drove to the the Boise Art Museum to see the AnselAdams display (one of Richard’s favorite photographers), and then out to dinner at Ono’s Hawaiian Cafe. So Good!! The food was delicious! We both felt much heavier on the drive home! After we got home, we shared a German chocolate cake I had made by Chef Dwayne Horikami of The Chocolate Bluebird. It was also VERY yummy!

And to top things off, since everything went so well on Friday and Saturday, I fell down the stairs on Sunday. No broken bones or anything – thank goodness – but so embarrassing! Aaah the joys of life!

On Friday night, when I was getting the kids ready for bed, I was dressing Emma in her PJ’s and asked Jared to go lay down with his pillow and blanket. He, however, wanted to play on the computer so he compromised by bringing his pillow and blanket to the computer. We all had a good laugh.

Halloween this year was fun! We enjoyed the company of family and celebrated Jared’s birthday along with Halloween. The kids dressed up as: Becky – a cheetah, Jared – Lightning McQueen, and Emma – a bumblebee.
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We had fun decorating the front of our house with spiderwebs and Jack-o-Lanterns. We even made a mini-scarecrow that had Jared confused for a minute. And, of course, the kids had fun getting candy. We went to two trunk-or-treats – the second of which had games for the kids to play to earn their candy. It was a fun weekend

General Conference
http://www.lds.org/conference/languages/0,6353,310-1,00.html

2008 Olympia Weekend in Las Vegas
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/2008_olympia_main.htm

Stephen King, The Green Mile (Part 1) – “The Two Dead Girls”
http://www.stephenking.com/library/novel/green_mile:_the_two_dead_girls_the.html

1) I Am Legend
http://iamlegend.warnerbros.com/

2) Horton Hears A Who
http://www.hortonmovie.com/site/index.html

3) Fathers Day

4) Fuze Sportswater – starfruit flavor, drinkfuze.com
http://drinkfuze.com/

5) Emma baby blessing, family up for visit

Flying kites

XP SP3
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=68c48dad-bc34-40be-8d85-6bb4f56f5110&displaylang=en

Powerade Zero
http://www.astrolime.com/katie/?p=64

Balto
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balto_(film)

testament
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testament_(band)

Rocky Balboa

Dragon Tears

Book reviews – work ones

A while back we were given the game, Super Monkey Ball II, which we have all enjoyed playing at some point. However, Jared is just learning and mastering the techniques of playing. Now that he has learned to navigate the little monkey around the screen, he has mastered many levels and tried many different games.

His favorite, though, is Monkey DogFight (which he pronounces – “Monkey Don’t Bite”). He really has no idea how to play the game but loves that there is a sun, and moon, in the surrounding background of the game. He plays it just for those! Here’s a shot of the sun:

Monkey DogFight

Today while he was playing, I was working in the kitchen and every few minutes he would pause the game, run up to the screen, put his hands over the sun, or moon, and say “gotcha”. Then he would run into the kitchen holding it in his hands, say “here you go”, and drop it into mine. I now have a pocket full of suns and moons! I’m set!

Emma has found her tongue!! Either that or she likes making faces at the camera.


Jared started school last week, by himself, for the first time. He cried so hard the first day because he didn’t understand why his mommy had left him. He didn’t understand the concept of “Mommy comes back”. When his first day of school was over and he saw me in the hall, he cried and laughed at the same time. When I dropped him off that first day I cried all the way home because I knew he didn’t understand what was going on. But, the next few days were better and he is not afraid any more. This week he made a huge step and started riding the bus on his own. I am so proud of him! He is making such wonderful progress!

Emma rolls all over the place and tries so hard to crawl! She often gets high-centered on her belly and tries to swim through the air but soon realizes she’s not going anywhere and puts her hands back down on the floor.

She’ll be into everything in no time!

Rebecca is learning how to play the guitar and type, although she can’t decide which she likes to do more! She is loving the second grade and is so ambitious! She has decided that she wants to be a lab scientist when she grows up.

Oh the joys of motherhood!

On Saturday night, we went to the Boise Hawks vs. Spokane Indians baseball game in Garden City. Boise won, of course (1-0), and the kids got free baseball caps and Misti even scored a free moose in the parking lot, LOL.

We also recently attended the Twin Falls Temple open house and visited Shoshone Falls while we were there. In an interesting twist, I was able to catch up with Eric and April Brügger, whom I hadn’t seen for a decade.

Becky planted some sunflowers outside a few weeks ago, and they’re huge now! A couple more feet, and they’ll reach the roof! Speaking of tall plants, we filled our bellies at the Ward Corn Feed last week, with not only some great ears of corn, but with classic barbeque staples such as hamburgers, potato salad, and jiggley jello concoctions.   :)

The ZooCube game we got was never a big hit like I thought it would be, but the recently acquired Flushed Away game has caught Becca’s special interest.

We also caught the free outdoor movie again in Meridian at Settler’s Park. This time it was “The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep” (2007) – not the greatest movie ever, but worth seeing for free, LOL.

The 2008 Europa Super Show was held on August 15th & 16th in Dallas, Texas. I enjoyed blogging the event during the live webcast.

2008 Europa Pro Webcast

If you missed seeing the live webcast, you can view the webcast replays for free, available at Bodybuilding.com.

Just testing out a new video search widget that someone created for us:

I feel it’s still got a ways to go until it’s ready for widespread usage, but it’s still pretty cool.   :)

Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged here on our personal site, and I’ve hopelessly fallen behind, since so much as happened since May (our previous post).

It’s now mid-August, and the past 3 months have been fun. Baby Emma is now quite chubby and a ton of fun. She’s learned to roll over from her back to her stomach, and now does the “turtle”, lifting her head up and looking around. She loves to “eat” her toes, but only on her right foot, not her left. She laughs quite frequently, especially when we’re being goofy with her, and her cute dimples are simply adorable.

Here’s a family photo of us from the Fourth of July this year, which we spent in Chester, CA and Reno, NV this year with family:

4th of July, 2008

During the end of May and early June we watched a whole slew of Jane Austen films, including:

which we previously hadn’t seen. Some are part of the BBC Jane Austen Collection:

BBC Jane Austen Collection

We had, of course, seen all the ‘popular’ Jane Austen films (Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma), but hadn’t found these lesser-known ones before. All were good except for Northanger Abbey, which seems dark and oddly out-of-place in her works (in my opinion).

Becky celebrated her 7th birthday party at Water Tower Park in Caldwell. She had a small party with friends from school, and it was refreshing on a nice, sunny, summer day. The party featured water balloon tossing, pin the tail on the donkey, croquet ball racing, and more! Her grammy and grandpa came up from Reno for the occasion, and everyone had a lot of fun.

I recently watched “ABC Wide World of Sports: 40 Years of Glory” on fullscreen DVD, featuring some great footage and commentary on Muhammad Ali and a tribute to recently deceased Jim McKay. I’m not normally a huge sports fan, but this particular title was only 50¢ on clearance at Wal*Mart. And for Father’s day, I got a copy of “Transformers” on widescreen DVD, and it was a great film, too. Shia LaBeouf is hilarious, as usual! :)

Jared has been enjoying things on the computer more and more these days, and is mesmerized by some of the looping Flash animations such as BadgerBadgerBadger and Brazil.

Incidentally, the original BadgerBadgerBadger has been redone with 3-D images and a real snake video in the new version. Compare the two, here:

BBB snake 1BBB snake 2
BBB1 (original version)                   BBB2 (new version)    

Whilst perusing groceries recently, I spotted an Earth Day version of Campbell’s tomato soup. The packaging, however, plays tricks on the mind. For instance, who wants to eat green tomato soup? Bleck! LOL

green tomato soup

With the recent advent of Windows XP SP3 (service pack 3), I naturally have had the opportunity to upgrade a couple of computers, and sadly, I’ve had mixed results. On our home computer (XP Home), the install went smoothly, no problems at all. On another XP Pro machine, however, the service pack won’t even download. Bizarre. I’ve hesitated trying the install on my main work machine until I can learn how to troubleshoot it better. Bleh.

Emma’s got some wild hair, no matter what we do with it, it just sticks up all over the place, it’s quite hilarious, actually. Observe:

Emma's wild hairdo

We’ve all likely seen those white iPodesque earbud headphones that come free in selected packs of Duracell batteries. What many don’t know, however, is that they SUCK. LOL, they’re actually the worst headphones I’ve ever heard, no joke. I know they’re free, but don’t waste your money! And a quick Google search confirms that I’m not alone in this assessment!

I recently finished reading “Tom Clancy’s EndWar” by David Michaels. Great book, and I’m sure it would make a great movie!

Due to popular demand, here are some more updated photos of Baby Emma. Enjoy! As always, find these photos and more in my MySpace family album.

Emma loves the rocker swing

Emma loves the rocker swing

Sleeping hands

Round cheek

Double chin

In other random stuff, we’ve recently seen a couple more films:

The MuscleTech $50,000 transformation content is fully underway. Are you fat? Want to win 50 grand? Join the contest, it’s not too late to enter! =)

“And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.” – Luke 2:6

Becky and Jared’s new baby sister is finally here! Emma Marie Barnet was born on Thursday, April 9, 2008 at 2:27 a.m. She was 8 pounds, 0 ounces, and was 21½ inches long. For more photos of her, check out my MySpace family album.

Proud Daddy and Snugly Baby

This delivery went remarkably fast compared to the other kids. Becky and Jared both were over 10+ hours of labor, but Emma was a quick 4. With the other kids, there was much pacing and timing contractions to be had. Not so this time. Misti’s water broke, and that was the sign. In we went. Misti dialated from a 3 to a 6 in about an hour, then from 6 to 8 in about another hour, then 8 to a 10 & 100% effaced in about another hour! After only about 20 minutes of pushing, Emma was here. =)

Becky’s birth was all natural (no epidural), while Jared’s was with an epidural. In hindsight, that first epidural was magical, because as soon as it was in, the pain immediately stopped, and Misti was instantly relaxed. It was shockingly hilarious, actually, and the tension level dropped to the floor in about 3 seconds.

With Emma, however, the epidural didn’t immediately kill the pain. Apparently, it worked a little better on one side than the other, so when the contractions hit, she could still feel them on one side. She had to lay on her side to allow the numbing agent to filter down to that other side. About 15 minutes later, the pain finally was gone. Interesting.

Other random stuff: I’ve been listening to a fair amount of AM talk radio over the past few months, which is highly untypical of me, since I heretofore have not had any interest in politics.

Now, however, I’ve been interested in the 2008 Presidential Election coverage since about January, when all the rukus over John McCain, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Fred Thompson, Rudolph Giuliani, Bill Richardson and the rest took the center stage.

The short list of talk shows I’ve heard on my commutes to and from work have been primarily on AM 670 KBOI in Boise:

We enjoyed General Conference last weekend, and are blessed to live in Idaho where it is broadcast on public television. If anyone missed the live webcasts, the webcast replays are still available. =)

I perused with interest two great websites I found today sponsored by the Idaho Statesman, Sacajawea and MP3Idaho. Lots of free music at the latter one. Cool!