2016 Family Moto

12 And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.
2 Nephi 31:12
"Make sure they remember joy yesterday, experience joy today, and anticipate joy tomorrow."

Motherhood Mission Statement

To provide a loving environment that is centered around God and His commandments while effectively teaching my children to love, honor, and respect all Men no matter the race, creed, or background.

Click on Nolen's name to hear our amazing journey through autism.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Growing up a Barnes Boy

These two... they are the best of friends!



I love watching them grow up playing together.  They are seriously the very best of friends. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

7.5 never looked so good...

This sweet little man is 7 and a half today!  He absolutely loves school this year and seems to be feeling a lot better about life.  Edward loves snakes, lizards, and bugs.  He has just started liking magic.  So cool!  
Edward is magnetic.  He has made new friends at school and has been excited to learn new things.  This last summer did magical things for Edward.  He loved swimming so much that we are putting him on the winter swim team.  This year in school, Edward is starting the cello.  He was so excited to get sized and pick it out.  
Edward has been very helpful with Nolen.  He has been so kind and generous with his toys.  They both play and play together.  
Today, I picked the boys up from school and we stopped by Hastings to pick out a book. Then we went to Dairy Queen and had an ice cream cone to celebrate 7 and half years of life.  
I love this boy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

And so....

And so begins a transition in my life.  Both my sweet boys are off at school for six hours a day.  I have decided to take some much needed time to myself to heal.  I have been running on empty for a few years now. I slowed our lives down in January and I feel much better; however, I still constantly feel pulled in a million different directions. I still find it difficult to say no when my friends have the very best intentions. For now, I am taking time to heal.
Today, I enjoyed every minute of being a mother.  OK, not every moment.  I woke up happy and made my boys breakfast.  They ate while I read the last chapter of Helaman in the Book of Mormon.  We talked about Samuel the Lamenite and the importance of being honest with our fellow man.  The boys swung on their therapy swing while I prepared their lunches for school.  We left in time for school and the boys walked happily to their classes.
I went straight home and ran three miles then did yoga.  I paid some bills and talked with Stephen before heading upstairs for a much needed bubble bath.  I got dressed and even put on mascara! I never wear makeup.
I went downstairs to start on a project for Nolen. His teacher asked all the parents to write a life story about their children. I started writing Nolen's story and burst in to tears after year one. I didn't know what to write. For Edwards story, I wrote many stories about his first six years. I couldn't think of one story about Nolen that didn't have to do with autism.  I do not want to share his diagnosis with his class.  I want to share his laugh and silliness with the class.  I want them to know he has a fighting spirit that never gives up, even against all odds.  I want his classmates to know that even though he has faced tremendous challenges early on in life, he is strong. He is wise. I do not want autism to be his only story. I love this little boy and I am more upset with myself for not remembering all his little adventures that have nothing to do with his diagnosis. I cried. I'll be better. I'll write an amazing life story that will tell of his light, his love, and his courage.
After a long cry, I started my laundry then did a few more necessary chores before leaving to pick up the boys from school.
After retrieving the boys from school, we headed over to Allie Mack's house to freshen up the boys haircuts.  They look stunning! To celebrate our montra of no more stupid stuff, we went over to Menchies to have some frozen yogurt. 
The boys came home, did their chores, practiced the piano, and played their one hour of iPad time.  While they played I made dinner. We ate and talked about our favorite parts of the day.  After dinner we played then headed up to take a bath and get ready for bed. We read books then played games before saying our prayers and going to bed. It has been an amazing day filled with joys and sorrows.  I really hope I can keep this momentum going. This is the kind of woman, wife, and mom I want to be.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

First day of school!!

Today is the day I have been dreading and looking forward to for 3 years.  When Nolen was diagnosed with autism, we were told that once he hit 5 it would be harder to change his personality.  Over the last 3 years, we have worked extremely hard to teach him everything he needs to know before he met with his peers in Kindergarten.  After years of tears, therapy, and love, Nolen is ready!
I have to admit, I was apprehensive.

Monday, I took Nolen in to meet his teacher, Ms. Cynthia.  She is so genuine and kind.  Nolen did not say one single word to her or the teachers aid.  I started to get nervous for him as we left the school.
When Nolen walked in to his classroom he was confidant and excited.  I picked him up at noon and he said he had the best day.  He even made a friend, Conner!  Ms. Cynthia watched out for Nolen the entire day.  She loves planets and space.  She is a perfect match for Nolen.  He loves all the planets and learning about the universe.

Edward has the same teacher he had last year, Ms. Tricia.  We loved her last year.  She is kind and compassionate.  She pushed Edward to learn new things in a loving environment.  Edward was not nervous about going to school today.  He went straight to his classroom and dropped off his supplies.  He smiled from ear to ear when he saw Ms. Tricia.

I am so grateful we found a school where our boys can learn and grow.  I did feel a little tearful as I walked away from Nolen's classroom because my life is changing.  I am excited for my future and what it holds.  This year will be amazing!!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Girls Camp

Last January, I was called to be the Girls Camp director for my ward.  I was so excited for the call.  I have always loved Young Women's activities in my church.  I remember what it felt like to be a teen and how precarious that time was in my life.  I loved my leaders.  They were always so caring and amazing.   They sacrificed so much for me.  My time up at girls camp as a teen was AMAZING!  Mostly because my Mom was my leader for many years.  She worked so hard for the girls.  

I have been preparing for camp for the last 6 months.  I had so many great ideas.  But more importantly, I wanted to spend time with the girls up at camp and let each and every one of them know they are special and a true daughter of God.  I had no idea that they would touch my heart so deeply.  I loved my time with the girls.  I am coming home on a true spiritual high.  

Monday, I drove my boys to Arizona to spend the week with my parents.  I was a little worried and I knew I would miss them; however, I also knew they would be in good hands.  Stephen and I got home late Monday night and I frantically ran around getting the last few things ready for camp.

Tuesday morning I met the girls at the church and we loaded up.  We drove an hour and half up to the mountains and set up our camp.  Then it poured.  For hours.  I had put a huge tarp on my tent and had all my bases covered.  Luckily, nothing got wet!  YAY!  Stephen bought me some water proof hiking shoes and I am so grateful!  My feet were never wet.  I did; however, forget to put the firewood under the pavilion, so it got soaked.  The one thing I wasn't prepared for was starting the fire every day and night.  I should have brought flint and lighter fluid. Lesson learned.

It rained all Tuesday night.  I went in and out of sleep, but I slept dry and that's all that matters, right? Wednesday we had such a great day walking around to activities and playing games with the girls.  Thursday we went on a nice 4 mile hike up the mountain behind camp.  I walked with a few girls and learned so much about their life.  Friday we did a high copes/low copes course.  It was a team building activity that brought the girls together.  I loved it!

I am so grateful that I was called as the Camp Director this year.  I will never forget my time with these special girls.  They will always hold a special place in my heart.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Drama Camp 2016

Last week, the boys participated in a drama camp.  They were part of a show written by a girl in our ward; Zeldon.  They were both little monsters in the play.  They had a great time and loved being on stage.  They mostly just played and played. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A vacation for the vacationers

We plan all year long for our big summer vacation.  This year did not disappoint.  
My parents drove to New Mexico to see the boys swim in the 8 and under championship meet.  
Nolen swam the entire length of the pool all by himself!  It was so awesome.  He did free style and breast stroke.
Edward did very well in his three events; free style, breast stroke, and butterfly.  My parents took pictures and made a slow motion video.  It is hilarious!!

On Monday, we said good bye to Stephen and headed over to Kingman.  I spent my birthday helping my sister clean out her closet.  Seriously, one of my favorite things to do.  I love helping people unclutter their lives.  After hours of sorting through clothes, we dropped off a load of them at the thrift shop and headed over to my favorite Kingman eatery, Mr. D's.  They have the BEST root beer!

I lounged around for a few days, then I met Craig and Blair in Las Vegas for a real birthday celebration.  We had so much fun in the cabana they rented.  As we entered the pool, it started to rain so we quickly loaded up our gear and went up to the two room suite.  OH MY! This suite was out standing!  When you entered the suite, There was a bathroom to the right and just next to the bathroom was a full kitchen.  The suite also had a dinning table for 8 people and a large comfy couch.  The best part was the bedroom.  Both rooms had a stellar view of the fountains with picture windows to boot!  There were his and her BATHROOMS!!  The hers side of the bathroom had a jetted tub, a vanity area, and a bidet!  The his side of the bathroom had a steam shower and double sinks.  We had such an amazing time.  We ate, we laughed, we slept!
While I was there, I took Blair's 30th birthday pictures.  She looks AMAZING!  

Friday, we packed up our stuff and headed up to St. George to meet the rest of the Family.  My parents graciously watched my boys and drove them up to Utah where we met up.  We rented two condos for the Independence Day weekend.  Each condo had four bedrooms each with their own bathroom.  This was VERY important as we have stayed in many places and sharing a bathroom with 14 people is never fun.  
The condo had a pool right out our back door and was located next to the Green Valley Gap.  We ordered pizza and played games on Friday then feel into a deep sleep!  

Saturday, we drove over to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes and rode motorcycles all morning.  We had a few bikes that couldn't make it in the deep sand, so I ended up pushing Edward up a steep hill to get his bike out of the sand.  I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest.  
We rented sand boards for the day and I have to say, that was one of my favorite parts of the sand dunes.  I loved riding the board down the side of the dune.  
Saturday night, we went to see Peter Pan at Tuachan.  It was a great show.  I was exhausted and contemplated sleeping in my chair during intermission.  

Sunday, we all woke up and went to Fast and Testimony meeting.  It was such a spiritual meeting and so fun to be there with the entire family.  My Dad got up and spoke about the importance of family.  It's funny how life goes.  At 18, I really wanted nothing to do with my family.  I thought my friends were all that I would ever need.  Now, at 35 I could not see myself surviving with out them.  They are the single most important thing in my life.  I live for them. 
Sunday evening, we dressed up and took family pictures.  We also took some glamor shots of Kendra and Sharla.  It was really fun.  

Monday morning we woke up early and went zip lining.  As we started driving to the shop my dad proclaimed, "I have a sinking feeling."  We all died laughing.  Zip lining was SO much fun.  It was seriously a high light of the trip.  

After Zip lining, we went and got smoothies and pedicures.  While waiting, we started singing in the car and have a serious jam session.  Laughing and laughing we made the funniest video of our version of Adele's "Hello".  

While we were out getting pedicures, some of the family was out motorcycling behind the condo.  Jared lost his phone out in the desert.  They searched high and low for his phone.  Craig was able to locate the phone using google.  It was at SOMEONE'S HOUSE!  So we all walked over to the house.  We probably looked like a gang of sorts.  They guy came out and tried to say he didn't have the phone.  But he was lying.  I thought there was going to be some kind of fight, but all was well when the guy finally said he did have the phone.  

Monday night, we set off fire works and went night swimming.  The boys were exhausted.  They could barely keep their eyes open to watch the fire works.  

Tuesday morning, we packed up and cleaned the condo.  We met everyone at Ikea for lunch in Las Vegas then went to the children's museum.  The boys had so much fun playing with all the cool stuff at the museum.

We went back to Kingman and spent the rest of the week just lounging around playing carcassone and loosing to my parents.  
Wednesday, we went to Flagstaff for my dad's knee appointment then went up to see the Grand Canyon.  The boys had never been and I admit, I had forgotten the magnificence of the Canyon.

Friday, we went to the lake near my parents house.  My parents have been working on this boat for the last year.  It sank when we were at the lake last year and this was the first year it actually worked and we all had a blast!!

I absolutely love my time with family. These are memories I will cherish forever.
For Stephen's birthday, we took him to the "finest steak house in Kingman".  Actually, my steak wasn't too bad and I think Stephen did enjoy his ribs.  The service, however, was awful. 
These moments and memories are mine forever.  This was a truly successful family vacation where we all grew closer together.  I love my family.