Reincarnated As A Mother

Monday, December 29, 2008

Yo Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho

Santa Claus came through big-time for the Barker's. Look at what he somehow got in and out of his sleigh! Big Red left a note for the girls: Hey my good little Barker girls... to find your present, follow the ribbon curls.
He then left a trail of curly ribbon winding through the house and leading to a Piano. Whhooohheee. It was pretty exciting... especially after the night of many awakenings. Reese was up first at 3a.m. She kept repeating "Santa come?" Who knew a 2 year old would be so clued in! Then Holland and Greer were up an hour later (and stayed up for another hour before exhaustion set in). Thank heavens for naps.

My mom and dad brought all the grandkids pajamas back from their trip to China. Cute, eh?
Here they are opening some of the mother-lode from Grandma and Grandpa Barker. So much
for taking it easy this year.
Grammy and Grandpa Leavitt got all three girls new bedding. Reese moved up to a "big girl" bed. (Sorry, pictures to come).
And here's some of what Grandma and Grandpa Klingler spoiled the family with... we've played
the "bear hunt" game at least 17 times. Oh, and the Barbie cookbook Reese is holding is mine from my beginning years as a chef (thanks mom)!

Finally, the piece de resistance: Byron spent many a late night making the girls their own jewelry/treasure boxes. We call them treasure boxes-- 'cause if any of you have kids.. you know that everything and I mean everything is a treasure (receipts, the stickers that come on the newspaper, gum wrappers etc). Byron hand dove-tailed them and built an insert with compartments for their jewelry. We're hoping they'll last forever. They turned out beautiful. MacGyver strikes again!
I just couldn't resist-- you understand. Nope, this isn't cross dressing 101-- Byron won the first ever Princess game playoff. Next time you see him, remember it's "Your Highness". By the way, he did other more manly things during our snow days-- like taking the kids snowmobiling all over the property-- I just failed to take pictures of that.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Old MacBarker had a farm...

Since we've moved to Idaho we've had more company than you can imagine. Well, imagine my suprise when Byron and the girls brought home our latest guest-- a full grown Canadian Goose.
Let me introduce Isabella Goosey Goose Barker -- newly adopted into our little family.

Before I go on, I had nothing to do with Reese's outfit. Little miss fashionista came up with it on her own. Now back to the goose. The kids found her trying and failing to fly-- she'd been shot in the wing and side. She came to our place to recover and spent a stint in the garage. However, she wasn't the best of guests and I must admit I resorted to calling her Hissy Fit behind her back. So what did all that complainin' get her? An upgrade to the girl's play house.

Alas, we said our fond farewells and handed her over to more capable hands-- a Vet who works with a water fowl rescue agency. If she can't be rehabilitated back into the wild-- she'll go to live with a wingless goose on some lady's pond near Boise. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree...

We have a little family tradition here in Idaho - on the day after Thanksgiving, we head up in the mountains for a little snowmobiling, sledding and Christmas Tree gettin'. This year we had to wait a few weeks for the snow to come. But lookey here, we found a gorgeous tree (and we only got stuck once)!

After we found "the one" the girls went sledding. Reese giggled and screamed for joy on her maiden voyage. When we asked her if she was ready to go again-- we got a big Nope! Maybe next year.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

More Company

Since it's Christmas time, the visits never stop. We all woke up early one morning to this little guy. He came with a note--- his name is Eli and he's been assigned to our house by Mr. S. Claus to keep an eye on the girls and report back. It's been great. Each time they start quarreling (what? the Barker girls argue???) we gently remind them that Eli's watching and voila... happy times!

It has backfired a bit though, to be honest. First off, Byron told the girls the real Eli is probably hanging out up in the attic, 'cause Elves like the cold. So we've already made way too many trips up the attic. And second, Holland woke us up in the middle of the night last night to tell us she is positive she heard Eli walking around. UG-- I'm tired and I'm almost tempted to tell Eli to find another house. Almost....

Ho... Ho... Ho...

Suprise, suprise. Guess who showed up at our back door? None other than the big guy himself. The girls shrieked, screamed, giggled and gawked. Reese wouldn't sit on his lap-- so Momma had to sit in on the pic. (By the way, now that he's safely gone... she won't stop talking about him)! And guess what she wants Santa to bring her? Candy! She is definitely her father's child. Holland wants some Hannah Montana doll that sings Rockin' around the Christmas Tree and Greer would like Barbie's Christmas Carol DVD. Being the ever thoughtful guy that Santa is... he brought the girls a kid's Christmas treat cookbook. We're already having fun with it!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Cup Runneth Over

I went with my friends Joannah, Ali (their children) and our friend Inge who was visiting from Holland to hear Greg Mortenson speak at BSU. He's the author who wrote Three Cups of Tea, a book that's been on the best seller list for something like 97 weeks straight.

In short, his attempt to summit K-2 failed just short of the top. He nearly froze to death, was seperated from his team and wandered into a remote village in Northern Pakistan. While the villagers nursed him back to health, he fell in love with the people and found his calling. He left with a mission to come back and build the children a school-- a real school. The children were doing their lessons with sticks in the dirt.

That was something like 15 years ago. He has since built 70-something schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan-- and many of them girls schools (something unheard of in the past). (Read the book-- it will inspire you).

Anyway, it was a real treat to hear him speak. Two of my girls have spent the past month, along with their schoolmates raising money for Mortenson's Pennies for Peace program. I even helped out with drumming up a bit of media coverage. We're hoping to do this every year. It was a great experience for the kids and a little brain food for this mom.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hangin' Onto Halloween

Holland came home from a playdate the other night with this little surprise. Guess she and her friend got into the markers. With the two little red horns on her forehead... we figured she was going for the always popular "Satan" look. But she corrected us and explained she is a jaguar.

The girls told all the parents that the markers they used were Sharpies. After I got out the acetone and cotton balls, she decided to "fess" and tell us it was all washable. After that, I say, forget jaguars. Definitely, our little devil.

Candy, Candy Here We Come!

As if being treated like rock stars at the Nursing Home (kids with all kinds of Grandpas and Grandmas-- need I say more?) and a Halloween Party in the afternoon weren't enough... we took the girls out for a little candy grab. Ug.

My mom gets all the credit for Greer's costume. It was beautiful and GiGi felt like a true princess.
And Reese... well let's just say she really got into the knocking on doors and getting candy gig. She kept saying more, more, more. Did I tell you, she totally takes after her daddy?!?!

All Treat and No Trick

The girls were out of school on Halloween, so I thought we'd try a tradition my mom started when I was a little girl. (In Vegas, Halloween was always on Nevada Day-- so we never had school). My mom would dress us up in our costumes and we'd take treats to the Elderly and shut-ins.

Fast forward to 2008. Holland dressed as a pirate, Greer as Mulan (a Chinese princess) and Reese was the old stand-by Little Red Riding Hood. We took cookies to the nursing home where our next door neighbor's wife is a resident. The girls loved going around and sharing treats with the residents and staff. We had so much fun!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Great Pumpkin

Ahhh, the yearly ritual of pumpkin guts all over the kitchen. Gotta love it. The kids sure do.
Three girls couldn't be prouder (even though dad did the heavy carving).
How much longer 'til Halloween? I'd be rich if I got money for every time that was said.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

ARRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH (to quote Charlie Brown)

My Gentle Readers--
I have not forgotten you. The Halloween pictures etc. are coming. I've just had a slight (not a true representation of the word I should use) snafu. My laptop gave up the ghost. I've gone through all the stages of grieving, am getting over my severe depression of this loss-- and am now trying to get my act together and blog once again.
So be patient with me....

P.S. Anyone want to join me in my new career boycotting H.P.? My baby was only a year and a half old. Don't get me started.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

On The Road Again....

We left the farm and headed down what's known as "the Swan" to the prettiest little lake named none other than Lake Holland. May I say, Miss Holland was thrilled. We found a place to camp and headed out for a hike. This was just one of many pit stops.

The "easy" 1 1/2 mile hike wasn't so easy when you're carrying Reese most of the way. But we were rewarded with these water falls. Holland Lake makes our highly recommends list.

Holland (our budding photographer) snapped this one of her Poppa with Greer. Did I mention how beautiful Holland Lake is? We named our little whipper snapper quite well, eh?

After dinner, we sat on the shore of the lake and watched trees go up in flames during a controlled burn. They looked like Roman Candles... the trees just imploded. It was pretty amazing. (Click on the picture to get the full effect-- I promise, it's worth it).

And here's a little closing shot to put a smile on your face. Hopefully, you won't turn me in for Internet Porn. We're having a little issue lately with Reese and nakedness. We hope it's just a phase she's going through. Anyway, this is Reese's version of a victory dance after she stole Holland's most treasured pets: Daisy and Chewey. Bedtime in the camp trailer--- we're talking pure entertainment!

Montana... How we love thee!

Every September, we pull the kids out of school and trek on over to Montana to see Grandpa and Grandma Barker. We stopped halfway up near LoLo Pass to camp. It was in the 40's when we went hiking. Notice Zoe's breath fogging up the shot.

At the end of the trail, we found these amazing hot springs. Holland and Greer stripped down to their skivvies (yes we have blackmail photos for when they are dating) and pretended they were mermaids.

Here's the view we woke up to the first day on the farm. This is where Byron grew up-- and pictures don't do it justice.

Meet Grandpa Fred. He's a hair shy of 90 and we joke too onery to die. Byron spent a good chunk of our vacation working around the farm with his dad. The girls just run wild and love every minute.

And here are the girls with Grandma Kay. We had the best time. We visited Grandma at her store, went to lunch, met our favorite Montana cousins-- the Burtsfield's to play at a park (where Holland fell in a duck pond-- I'm not kidding), then went back to their house for a sumptious dinner and lots of playing.

Finally, here we are back on the farm with the star of the trip-- Sprocket. We rescued Sprocket last year on our trip to Glacier National Park. She was as skinny as a Greyhound and looked as if she had battled with a bobcat. We took the abandoned, starving, injured little pup to Grandpa's farm-- where he has fattened her up and renamed her Sweetie.

**Trip factoid: On our way to Montana this year we had another close encounter with a lost dog. We found a hunting dog wandering the highway up near the border. We took it to the nearest neighbor and called it's owner. This was only after Greer said and I quote "Holy Cow! Are we the royal dog catchers or what?"

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ice, Ice Baby

There's no better way to escape the heat then to hit the ice rink. Especially when the cousins are in town. Byron took the day off to take his sister Korri and her girls-- Addison and CeCe skating with our girls.

Reese and I watched from the sidelines... sigh....

The girls all did great!! No ice packs for the Barkers. In fact, Holland was doing shaky spins by the end of the session.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Our Last Hurrah (with a little pain thrown in...)

Every Labor Day we go camping with our good friends-- the Moomey's and this year, the
Hoffman's. We went up near Lake Cascade and camped along the Payette River.

We hiked into Blue Lake for fishing and a picnic.

Here's "Destructo" mugging for the camera. Look at that smile... it's all part of her M.O.... to make you think she's an angel.

We had a fabulous weekend until the very end. Our friends had headed home, Reese and Greer were napping and Byron decided to take Holland fishing for a few minutes. They headed down to the river and, well, there's no way to make this any more exciting--- Byron slipped and fell. He landed on his side on top of a log and heard a loud crack!
Let's just say broken ribs are right up there with childbirth (at least that what it seems). By the way, this picture was taken before the great accident of 2008.

The Lazy Days of Summer are Long Gone...

No more sleeping in, lounging about in our pajamas and eating bonbons! I swear that's what Byron thinks we do. Anyway, Holland started 2nd grade. Her teacher is our much-loved neighbor. And Greer is a big kindergartener. Wow.

Reese actually cried that she couldn't go to school. Guess this is the closest she'll get for a while.

The girls ride the bus home together. Yeah. They survived day one. Now onto day two....

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Yellowstone Escape

Here we all are "before dirt". Our first full day on our Yellowstone vacation. Byron is standing with his hand on my shoulder. Reese is in front. My mom and dad are sitting. Mom is holding Ellery (Marc's). My dad is holding Greer, then Holland. Katie, then Dana, Derek, Lindsey and Doug are in the middle back. Rachel, holding baby Soren, Marc and their daughter Addison are in the back on the right.
One of the many beautiful geysers at Yellowstone.
Aunt Rachel had shirts made up for all of us. This is one of my favorite pictures... showing the birth order of the grandchildren. Clever, eh?