Reincarnated As A Mother

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Head Shots, Hot Shots and Heart Shots

Aye, yai, yai my girls are crazy.
Last night Greer curled Reese's hair, picked a dress out of her closet
and set outside in the heat for a full on photo shoot.
 Reese turns 11 next week and
the girls figured she needed to make her "eleven year old debut".
 So enjoy--
Reese's posing
And Greer's mad photo skills.

The three Barkettes' headed off to Camp Rainbow Gold's Sibling Camp
this morning.
They are gone about a week.
 Wow, is it ever going to be quiet around here.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

What a Reunion

Nothing like starting the ol' family vacation off with an overnight trip
on unknown roads to the E.R.
 Yep, our little frequent flyer decided to have us try out a new
hospital-- St. Luke's Magic Valley in Twin Falls.
We had just arrived Friday night at our Leavitt Family Reunion
when Kean woke us up sounding like a seal barking--
darn croup.
 All I can say is thank heavens for modern medicine and steroids.
Kean was breathing fine and wired with energy (mom and dad were not)
by the time we got back to our camping spot-- just in time for breakfast.
We gathered at 1000 Springs for my dad's family reunion.
We had our entire crew there-- except my niece who is serving
a mission in Oregon.  
Even my younger brother, Marc and his family made it from Texas.
And it was if these cousins hadn't been separated at all.
The reunion wasn't just for our family but for my dad's side--
all of my aunts and uncles and cousins.
These are my cousin's kids-- mixed in with our kids.
And I'll tell you, it didn't take long for them to bond and
become besties.
We camped at the coolest place-- right along the snake river
and across from several gorgeous waterfalls.
We packed in the fun.
That first full day (after our all night hospital visit), we toured
an old dairy museum .. where Kean was quite lethargic.
 Uh... but not the girls.
 Byron, our girls and a bunch of cousins, trekked up to a waterfall.
 These three had to show off the dirt they worked so hard to get.
 Kean perked up for the other days.
He ran us ragged and LOVED swimming in the hot springs pool.
 I was really worried about camping next to the river
 but once he felt how cold it was (and it was)--
he was fine staying out.
The girls were a different story.
 We just partied all day and all night.
My sister-in-law led us in a rousing evening of Bingo...
with a prize table that kept us oohing, ahhing, giggling and teasing.
In our opinion, Kean came away with the prize of the night--
a new Curious George DVD.
 The highlight for me was a 3-hour trip I took on paddle boards
with two of my cousins.  
Sorry, after Kean threw my cell phone in the lake last summer,
I left it in the camp trailer!  No pictures.
I did get pictures of Byron and Reese coming back from their trip.
 We all took this trek across the river and around an island.
 We saw monster sized trout, and massive waterfalls.
Some parts were so lush, we felt almost like we were  in Hawaii.
It was that gorgeous.
The kids played non-stop-- every game you can think of.
One of the best was "flour dodge ball".
 They pelted each other with nylons full of flour
and came out looking like extras from an I Love Lucy episode
shot in a bakery.
 These kids would get dirty or hot or sweaty-- then cool
and clean off in the river.
Rinse and repeat.
 I think these kids maybe, just maybe had some fun.
 I know I did.
I love, love, love my aunts and uncles and cousins.

Sunday, June 11, 2017


This may come across more than a little crazy... but
cancer can be oh, so beautiful.
Case in point.
We got home tonight from a little slice of heaven.
We spent the past four days with seventeen other cancer families
at Camp Rainbow Gold's Family Retreat on Lake Perkins.
I can't begin to tell you how much we love this place, these
people or this experience.
(Byron took this picture first thing this morning-- eat your heart out Ansel Adams).

My pictures and words are so inadequate.
From the minute we arrive at camp, it is a joy to watch 
my children join with others to play, laugh and cut loose.
Even Kean.
He gets in the middle of things and does "his thing".
 The first night is dinner, music...
 and carnival.
 I'm talking a full-on carnival with more activities than are in 
this picture, lots of dancing and way too much cotton candy and other treats.
 Nirvana for kids
and once again, joy for moms to watch such smiles.
 Our days were pretty packed-- with archery...
 and watching our mountain goats climb the wall.
This is Reese but Holland set a speed record--
she got to the top in 27 seconds.
 We went Geo-Catching with other families...
 Had lots of down time to laugh (and sing...remember we had Greer with us).
 One of our favorite activities was solving the mysteries
in an "Escape Room".
 Every night was filled with music-- talent shows, silly jokes...
 and crazy karaoke.
 On Saturday, the beautiful weather fled and was replaced by snow.
Snow in June!
That didn't stop the fun...
we moved inside for crafts, games and general silliness.
 Superman - above, Jason Hosick is one of our favorites.
He wears a new wig about every hour (or at least every few hours).
I don't know of any child who does not love Jason, including Kean.
 Before every meal, we all gather and make a huge circle,
hold hands to sing a silly, little song about what we are thankful
for.  For some reason, Kean won't stand with his family or in the 
circle but has his special spot in the middle of things.
He goes to the same exact spot before every meal!
 After every meal, it is Shine Time.
A hat, the crazier, the better, is passed around with the microphone
where whoever wants to-- shows their gratitude by
"shining" for someone or something.
I think Reese shined every meal.
Oh, how we love these crazy folks who do so much for our families.
This is Camp Director, Steve England-- who happens to be a Lieutenant in the
Haley Police Department.  Wouldn't you love to have him pull you over?
 Our final night at camp, Holland and Greer sang a duet as part
of the talent show...
 There's nothing better than watching your kids thrive 
and enjoy every minute while being together as a family.
 The night ends with the Pine Cone ceremony where every family
(some who have lost children and the rest of us, who have had
children forever scarred by cancer) tie written "wishes" on 
pine cones, throw them into the fire and send them to heaven.
It is the most somber moment of camp-- highly emotional and
incredibly touching.
 We woke up this morning to glorious weather.
Of course, it was the day we said our goodbyes.
We did get in a family hike before breakfast.
We came home tired, dirty, loaded up with laundry and
even better, loaded up with memories we'll never forget
and experiences that will recharge us and keep us going.
We love everything about Camp Rainbow Gold-- especially the love.