Reincarnated As A Mother

Friday, January 31, 2014


Well, our string of bad luck continues I guess.
Byron went up snowmobiling for the weekend and hit a tree.
He said he got to the top of a mountain, headed over the crest and went uh, oh.
I guess there were all kinds of ruts.  He hit one pretty hard and was tossed up and off
his sled.  He pulled himself out of the snow just in time to see his snowmobile
hurtling down the mountain, gathering speed and then.....
crashing into a tree.
 He sent me this picture tonight to tell me he is drowning
his sorrows in Prime Rib.
 The three girls are spending the night with one of our best friends Mary Kay.
When I dropped them off, they were headed out for ribs. Mmmm.
Kean and I weren't left to forage for leftovers.
Grandpa and Grandma Bodily (my neighbors) invited the two of us over for dinner.
Kean made himself right at home.
He surprised us all by taking off his pants...
 ditching them in the kitchen
 and then heading back to the table for more food.
He's still not feeling great
but he ate a decent amount of dinner tonight.
I figure that's a good sign.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Ball and Chain

Today marks our 15th wedding anniversary.
I won't sugar coat it and say it's been fifteen years of wedded bliss.
In fact, the past few years have been really quite hard on both of us.
But I will say, I am blessed beyond words to me married to my best friend.
Byron works harder than anyone I know to provide for our family.
He is a man of integrity, incredible mental and moral strength and still just as cute
as the day we said our vows.
My friend, Pam Brown is coming over to watch the kiddos while Byron and I
head out on the town and get some us time.
Kean is still holding steady.  He looks and acts somewhat miserable
but thankfully, not miserable enough for a trip to the E.R.
I had the realization today that this is the first time he's had this severe of a cold
that we haven't ended up in the E.R.  So YES, we are making progress!!!
Plus, it doesn't hurt to stop over at Grammy's house for a little hugging and snuggling.
There's no better medicine.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Pinup

We survived today and really, it wasn't too bad.
Unlike the last time he got Vincristine, he didn't wake up this morning
in pain and refuse to put any weight on his legs.
In fact, we had somewhat decent PT and OT therapy sessions today.
Don't get me wrong, he was quite whiny, often teary and overall grouchy
but so far, its been nothing like the last round.
And for that we are thankful.
I'm also thankful for big sisters who adore their brother.
While I made dinner tonight, Greer made a little music video 
starring Kean.
And even though Holland did this the other night, is shows
how much these girls love to play with the boy.
 Holland has been on a makeover kick-- and Kean's an easy target.
 Please notice the little details... the earrings...
 and the rosy cheeks.
I drew the line and vetoed mascara and eye shadow.
I don't know who loves the other more... Kean loving his "sissies"
or the girls loving Kean.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Boxing Match

Can you say bone tired?
Kean had a stuffy nose that started yesterday.
He went to bed just fine but woke up a little before 2 a.m.
sounding like a seal barking.
Unfortunately, we are all to familiar with "Stridor" in our house.
At least this time instead of rushing him to the E.R., we both bundled up
and sat out on the front porch (in the 20 degree temperature)
for half an hour.
It did the trick-- well, helped enough we stayed home and he finally went back to sleep.
 I, of course, kept listening for the "barking" to get worse.  Ug.
I keep trying to tell everyone that I'm too old for this
but clearly, no one believes me.
One of the reasons I wasn't too thrilled about going for a middle of the night run
to the E.R. is because we were scheduled for an early morning run to the hospital
for Chemo.
Thankfully, we had a double date today-- my friend (and fabulous photographer)
Fabiana and her son Jacob.
 Between vitals, getting the vampire draws,  
 meeting with the doctor,
waiting and waiting for the lab to make his chemo
and then administering the chemo... we had a lot of down time and playing time.
Jacob and Fabiana were sure cute with Kean-- even though he was quite 
grouchy by the time we got home.
I sure wouldn't be nearly as sane as I am without my friends
taking turns spending days at the hospital with us.
Kean is sleeping now... I got a short nap and am ready
for round two of Stidor vs. Momma Bear.
Keep those fingers crossed the Steroids the boy started today
will be enough to kick his breathing into the healthy zone.

Monday, January 27, 2014


I have a new nickname for Byron around the house:
Father of the Year.
Kean worships the guy.
And who wouldn't?  
 It may be below freezing here but that doesn't stop 
ride after ride around the property.
And you know at our house ride = happiness.
We owe a huge thanks to Shane Harris for keeping his
fancy, heated cab tractor here at our place
just to keep Keanut happy.
Now I wish it was as simple to keep Holland happy.
She dropped her ipod tonight and we fear it is quite dead.
I hate that thing... but am so sad to see her so sad.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Love Letter

Dear Clair,
We have decided we have the best runner in the world.
When you signed up on the Internet to run for a child who cannot run,
we were so blessed to be paired with you.
We love your daily emails telling us how many miles you've already put 
behind you on behalf of the Keanut man.
What a fun surprise to get your package in the mail--
a ribbon and medal that says "Clair Runs For Kean"
 And the "Cars" sun catcher your daughter made is wonderful.
We are in awe of you-- 200 miles already-- just since
we've been a paired.
Someday we hope to be more than virtual pals!
Thank you for all you do.
Much love,
The Barker's 
especially Kean.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Indoor Snowflakes.

This is really stretching it out since my birthday was a few weeks ago,
but last night the girls got together for dinner and games at one of my
dearest friend's-- Mary K's house.
 The food was out of this world and we all had so much fun
just hanging out and talking.  I-- of course -- forgot to take any pictures
until the very end.  Go figure.
 We also got a special delivery in the mail today-- the perfect
thing to brighten up these dreary winter (inversion) days in Idaho...
 My brother Marc, his wife, Rachel and their kids
sent us a big envelope full of gorgeous homemade snowflakes.
I don't know if you remember but a few weeks ago, Rachel
sent us the coolest box-- a box full of monthly challenges 
to keep the cousins in Idaho in contact with their cousins in Texas.
We sent off our snowflakes last week 
and got theirs today.
Can't wait to see what we both do for February.

Friday, January 24, 2014

All Glamour

Too bad mom's don't have Scout uniforms.
You know, the ones where you earn a patch for all the brave
and complicated things you learn?
I'd get my "World Series Incredible and Most Amazing Catch" patch today for sure.
At the table this morning, I was trying once again to get Kean "everything tastes metallic from the chemo" Barker to at least try and eat something... when he up and threw up.
Slap me on the back next time you see me-- because I caught every drop.
Yep, every drop in my little hands!!!
I know.
Not quite the life I had dreamed of...
But trust me, it was one for the record books.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Papa Bear

It has come to my attention that I never gave you guys an update on my dad.
Kean and I were over at my parents house today.
Kean was in heaven, he watched Cars, played in his "Lightning McKean" Car,
and snuck up the stairs to visit Grandpa on the computer-- to get jelly beans!
My dad looks great.
His scars aren't angry and red, they almost look like lines of distinction.
The scar on his cheek looks like a backward G... going from his ear, up along the smile of his cheek
and around down to his eye.  It's quite huge.
But as the doctor told my folks, they are pretty sure they got all that nasty cancer.
So now he will just have to go in every three months for check-ups.
I should have taken a picture... this one will have to do.
It's one of my favorites-- obviously from a few months back
when Kean was sporting his bowling ball look
Okay, and for all of you I'm driving crazy, this will be my last
plea for votes.
Please go to the following link, scroll over to page four,
look for the picture of the hand with the writing on it and the title:
You can't access it from your mobile phone 
but you can vote ten times.
You'll be helping us get a grant for Baldapalooza.
Voting ends Friday.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Order's Up.

I have officially turned into a short order cook.
I swore I'd never be one.
I've always been one of those moms who made their kids "eat what we are eating" 
or they could have dog food.   (No joke).
But geez, Kean is killing me.
I wish, wish, wish he could just talk and tell me what he wants.
Of course, that would probably be bacon.
Tonight, he wasn't having anything with the dinner I made or
the other food items I tried.
Brownies, however, were given a thumbs up 
or at least an open mouth.
 That and ice chips.
He and Reese are notorious crushed ice eaters.
Please don't forget to vote for us to get a Baldapalooza grant.
We only signed up for it last week-- but the rules make it
sound like money won't just go to the top vote getter's (since
some have been campaigning since September for votes).
So go to this link, scroll over to page 4, look for the picture of
the hand with writing on it and the title:
and vote ten times a day. We only have until Friday.
Muchas gracias.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Broken Records

I am so happy to report
that today I have near nothing to report.
You know, the ol' no news is good news thing.
We did have a meeting to iron out the details to get
our Hall of Heroes going in the cancer unit at St. Luke's.
And I know I am beginning to sound like a broken record
but please vote to help Baldapalooza get a grant.
We only have until Friday-- which means, we only
have until Friday to get lots more votes (and bug you about it)!
Here's the link.
Remember, got to page 4, look for the picture with the hand with writing on it and the title:
I've learned you can't access it from your mobile phone.
But hopefully, that won't stop you from being diligent.
Oh, and you can and should vote 10 times.

Monday, January 20, 2014


Hot diggity dog... did we ever have a fun day today.
Since the girls were out of school, we spent the day with some of our
favorite friends in the world-- the group from Camp Rainbow Gold
(cancer families).
My parents are back in town (finally), so my mom took Keanut.  Byron had to work
so Elly Moomey was our other family member.
We all were bused up to Idaho X Sports in Garden Valley
where we whipped around corners and careened down hills
to our hearts content.
We actually had the whole place to ourselves for the most of the day.
Come along for a little ride...
This place was pretty close to heaven, blue skies, sunshine
and a lift that pulled us and our tubes up the mountain so we didn't have to trudge.
 We had hot chocolate and lunch in a warm, cozy Yurt...
And best of all, we reconnected with lots of dear friends.
I'll let you in on a little secret, sometimes we feel quite
lucky to belong to this wonderful group of cancer families.
please don't forget to vote
on page four for us to get a grant for our charity.
Here is the link:
You can vote ten times a day!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Bovine Booty Call

Does this look like a woman in love?
We're hoping so...
Our female cow Sadie is, to put it delicately, yearning for a little romance.
Several months ago, we had the guy come out with the long glove
and the vial of semen but unfortunately, it didn't take.
 This time around we went old fashioned.
Byron took her down the road for a conjugal visit-- to see the
neighbor's two bulls.
We know these two "boys" already have a mad crush on our girl.
They are the same hoodlums who last month broke into our pasture to visit Sadie.
 We're all hoping nature takes it's course... since we're not
quite sure what else to do.
Roses and chocolate seemed a bit excessive.
Since Sadie's "time" came to an end today, Byron and Kean
hooked her up to the tractor and walked her back home.
Who knows if Sadie enjoyed her weekend but Kean sure loved
the tractor ride.
Keep your fingers crossed that this weekend of romance
will take.
And don't forget to vote for Baldapalooza's grant:
We are on page four-- 
look for the hand with writing and the title:
You can vote ten times (spread the word please).

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Mystery Meat

Our big night out was actually our big night in.
Some of our favorite people in the world, Mark and Calene Borup
brought dinner over so we could partee.
The food they brought was Himalayan... and we didn't tell the girls
what they had just eaten until after-- it was Yak dumplings.
And they were yummy, trust me!
Kean was grouchy all day and wouldn't eat anything except for two pieces of bacon for breakfast.
But boy, did he mack on the Yak!
I have this new theory, I think he just gets claustrophobic and sick of the family
because he was the life of the party once Calene and Mark arrived!
Sorry to keep nagging, but don't forget to vote
on page four for us to get a grant for our charity.
Here is the link:
You can vote ten times a day!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Because Kean Has Cancer

We had a fun visitor drop by today..
which meant adult conversation for mom
and lots of hugs for Keanut.
Lindsey Pennington is a student at BSU majoring in therapy.
We've known her for forever and last summer she worked for us
taking Kean for a few hours a week.
It was such a treat to see her.
 We also got a surprise in my inbox today.
Ballet Idaho sent us the pictures from when the girls got
to "guest" on stage for The Nutcracker.
 Most of the pictures have the girls staring in wonder at the dancers 
on the stage.
What a memorable experience that one was.
It is interesting.  Last night, on the way to the comedy dinner,
Holland said how sad it is that there are all these things we get invited to go and do
because Kean has cancer-- but he can never go and enjoy them.
She's right.  But as I pointed out, they are 'suffering' from his cancer too
and what a blessing it is to make so many new friends and have so many 
amazing experiences.
I've said it many times, cancer has been the most brutal experience of our lives
but it has also been the most beautiful.
Case in point, Baldapalooza never would have been conceived 
without this huge new chapter consuming our lives.
So don't forget to vote (again and again-- make that ten times each day)
for us to get a grant for our charity.
Here's the link:
We are on page four.  Look for the hand with writing and the title:
Thanks for your patience and help.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lots of Laughs

Byron stayed home with Kean tonight, while the girls and I got out and about.
One of my friends started a charity;  "Comedy for a Cure" where she has
comedians come in to help raise money for children's cancer programs.
Tonight, she held a small gathering for several families-- pizza, face painting
and lots of laughter.
 Tonight's entertainment was two guys from an Improv troupe--
they were hilarious and even put all the kids at ease enough that
Holland got up to help in a skit (she nailed it)!
 Greer (our aspiring actress jumped right out there...
as did... are you ready for this?  Reese, our somewhat shy one.
All three girls were quoting one liners and zingers all the way home in the car.
As Holland put it, "I'll remember this night for the rest of my life".
Love that.
So will I.
It was great fun.
Oh... don't forget to vote for our Baldapalooza grant.
Go to this link, find the picture with the hand on it with writing, titled
"Bald, Bold and Beautiful" and vote ten times a day!
We're now on page three.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Today was a heavy therapy today for Keanut:  P.T. and O.T.
He's finally putting weight on his little feet-- but not happily.
And he sure didn't want to work for Andrea today.
She finally tricked him into standing- at least.
 He loved this new game of knocking the ball off her head.
Aren't we lucky to have creative (and good sports) for therapists?
 We also had our first Baldapalooza meeting of the year.
We are crazy enough to do the music festival again.
Our biggest hurdle is finding the perfect artists to perform!
Major step number one.
One final note... I applied for a grant from Idaho Power
and it looks like they'll award money to the top vote getters.
You'll have to scroll through the entries to find mine:  
"Bald, Bold and Beautiful"  (look for the picture of the hand).
And I think you can vote every day (hint, hint).
And I was just told you can vote ten times a day!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


I rounded up and herded all the kids to the dentist today for a check-up.
Even Kean.
His abbreviated check-up was more like a WWF Smackdown.
I think it was all the poor dentist could do to keep from getting chomped on.
I'm happy to report both sides survived and it was a tie.
(The pic is of Reese-- I was wrestling with Kean and am not sufficiently
talented enough to hold him down and take a picture).
  We got the coolest box in the mail yesterday-- from the Leavitt cousins in Texas.
Well, really it's from Aunt Rachel-- my uber talented sister-in-law.
Yep, she's one of those women-- you know, creative, fun, smart, talented.
She sent us that black and white box at the back of the table full of
padded envelopes.  It's the "Snail Mail Family Ties Game"...
designed to keep cousins who live much too far away from each other
close and in constant contact.
 Each month we are supposed to follow the directions in the envelope
and send whatever we are assigned to do to the cousins in Texas.
They are doing the same (but sending it to the cousins in Idaho).
 For January, we were told since it's after all the excitement of Christmas,
we were to make good, old-fashioned paper snowflakes to send brightness
and cheer  their way!
 We all got a bit carried away and had so much fun making little paper gems.
 We can't wait to see what February holds...
and March and April and May and....

Monday, January 13, 2014

Tea Anyone?

I was told Kean did well at therapy school today... but
this was him the minute we got home.
 I keep hoping we'll see an increase in his stamina but
so far, he's just one spent puppy by the time he's done.
Make that one spent cute puppy.
 So yesterday we stretched out my birthday...
tonight we stretched out Christmas.
Our wonderful neighbor's, the Kwid's gave the kids belated presents.
 Kean was quite taken with his new motorcycle (and of course, his
sister's crazy faces-- have I mentioned, Greer wants to be an actress?).
 It zooms and makes all kinds of "motorcycle ride" noises.
The boy is in heaven (again).
He had a good night.
Motorcycles and tea parties with his sisters.
Doesn't get much better than that.