2017 Family Moto

6 And I was led by the Spirit, not knowingbeforehand the things which I should do.

7 Nevertheless I went forth...

1st Nephi Chapter 4:6-7

"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.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday

Easter is such a fun holiday.  I like that it is easy, fun, and we spend it with just our little family.  I would love to one day have a huge family Easter celebration, but since we live far from family, I don't see that happening any time soon.  Anyhow, we keep it nice and simple here at the Barnes home on Easter.  
We woke up, got ready for church, then hid the Easter eggs in the yard.  The boys love hunting for the eggs and this year, Stephen hid the eggs in really hard places.  This is so much fun for the boys!  They were hunting all over the yard to find all the eggs.  I wonder if there are still eggs out there?
Anyhow, we had fun.  We talked about the Resurrection of Christ and the purpose of Easter.  
I tried to have a fun singing time in primary at church.  I think the kids really liked it.  We hunted for eggs and sang the songs we have been learning through out the year.   
So fun!

 And a blooper just for fun!!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Sometimes, I'm a photographer

Remember this post? The worst Class Picture, EVER!
I just couldn't take how awful the school picture turned out.  It was hideous!  I mean, seriously! I do not claim to be the best photographer, but I do know some things.  You know, that one time, I took a ton of classes and learned about photography.... so, you know, I could run a LEGITIMATE business to make some extra money to pay for Nolen's $30,000 dollar therapy bill. 
Well, I have actually learned a few things.  I invested in some great equipment, but I also learned how to actually use it correctly.   I have had some major ups and downs with my photography business and I have learned that business and friendship don't mix well.  I have learned what kind of photography I am good at and what kind of photography to avoid.  
One thing I know, I am GREAT with kids!  
(If you know me, that is funny).
It might be because I am silly and I don't mind looking silly in front of anyone.  It might be because I have two kids who are incredibly difficult to photograph.  It might be because I have patience for taking pictures of kids.  I know it takes time.  I LOVE taking pictures of children.  They don't complain about their looks.  Their parents LOVE every single picture taken of them and, did I mention, I really don't mind looking like an idiot to get a laugh.  
Maybe I should have gone in to stand up comedy. 
That's a story for another day.  By the way, my kids hate my comedy.  WHAT?! Do they know who I am?  I am an easy laugh.  I love to laugh.  I LOVE TO LAUGH!  I could laugh with any one! 
Anyhow, that is not the point of this post.  The point is, I think after two years of paying my business taxes, I am getting much better at photography.  
SO, I asked if I could retake Nolen's class picture.  The school had his teacher edited out, but that wasn't the worst part.  The picture is fuzzy, blown out, and in the worst light possible.  I even called lifetouch to see if they would come out and do a retake.  They said no.  They did give me my money back, but that didn't help the situation.  I wanted a great picture of the class.  To remember them by.  I love collecting memories.  
Here is the before: 

And here is my go at it:

Anyhow, if you are in the market for some family pictures, I would LOVE to capture your family.  We still have about $10,000 left of the autism debt.  I am so grateful to all the jobs I book.  I know that you could choose any old soul to take your picture and I am grateful for the opportunity.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Sleep Number Story

In February, Stephen and I decided to buy a Sleep Number bed.  We had been in the process of making this decision for six years.  We did not take this decision lightly.  I asked many of my friends, relatives, and even strangers what they liked and what they disliked about their bed.  Most people were just "OK" with their beds.  No one had anything especially awesome to say except the owners of the Sleep Number Beds.  
I had been in to the Sleep Number store a few times.  I laid on the beds, I talked to a sales person, and I gave them my information.  I was very impressed with their customer service and their kindness.  The boys always knew it was going to be a long chat if we stopped at the Sleep Number store.  
Two people who really love their Sleep Number beds are Stephen's parents and our neighbors.  Our neighbors loved it so much they bought each of their kids a Sleep Number bed!
I asked so many questions.  I thought I was completely informed.  I did all my research.  We bit the bullet in mid February, just before Edward's birthday.  
The sales lady was awesome.  She went into great detail about what to expect.  A few years back, we bought a nice bed frame from Costco.  She assured me the bed would fit inside our frame.  She said that it would take at least 7 nights to get used to the bed.  She talked on and on about the warranties  and what to do if we had a problem with the bed.  We were stoked!  
The day the bed was supposed to arrive, I had set aside almost all of my usual activities.  I took all the bedding off our old mattress and put it in the washing machine.  I thought was completely prepared.  I was wrong.  
The Sleep Number technicians didn't arrive until 6:45 that evening!  I had scheduled a voice student at 7:00 because I assumed the bed would have been delivered and set up by then.   It wasn't.  The technicians went into our room and took the mattress of the bed.  Then he unscrewed part of the base.  I was down stairs teaching a lesson, so I was not in the room.  The technician came downstairs about 20 minutes later and said he could not put the bed up tonight because they base wouldn't fit in our bed frame.  I asked him if he could just wait 15 minutes while I finished with my student, then I would figure out what I needed to do in order to have the bed put up tonight.  
He didn't want to wait.  He said he has been working since 8 AM that morning and he didn't care.  I was extremely upset.  I tried calling Stephen, but of course, he couldn't answer the phone.  He isn't allowed to have his cell phone at work.  
Then I sort of tried to beg the guy.  Just wait, I said.  I will figure this all out.  He said, "I'm not waiting."  He told me someone would call me and reschedule the drop off.  I was angry.  I figured, no big deal, they will just deliver it tomorrow morning because the bed is already on their truck.  Maybe we could be the first delivery in the morning.  
NO SUCH LUCK!  No one contacted me from the Sleep Number store.  I waited all day the next day.  Finally at just after 5:00 PM someone called.  They would delivery the bed in two weeks.  
Yeah.  Two weeks.  
What a joke!  So, we waited.  From the time we ordered the bed to the time we finally were able to sleep on the bed it was just under a month.  VERY BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE!
When the delivery guy showed up in late March, I had my bed completely taken apart and again, set aside my entire day.  I stood in the room as they did every thing.  The same guy who was rude the last time did end up coming back.  He was fine, but not overly nice and not apologetic.  I don't know what I expected.  Maybe just a courtesy, "I'm sorry."  
Our first night of sleep was awful.  Just plain awful.  
Our second night of sleep.  Terrible!
Our third through seventh night of sleep. THE WORST EVER!
Our cabin beds in Maryland were hard as a rock and this bed was WORSE!!!!!
The second week with the Sleep Number bed was just as bad.  I think I only slept better because I was extremely exhausted.  
Then we left on our trip to Las Vegas.  The beds at the Bellagio were like sleeping on a cloud compared to our Sleep Number bed.  HA!
When we came home, I figured we would just call and send the bed back.  I called our sales lady.  She said we had to sleep on the bed for 30 nights.  
Stephen decided to put our old Costco mattress topper on our new bed.  That did the trick.  We finally slept.  The bed actually felt great.  
For the last two weeks, I have been waking up refreshed and with out any aches a pains.  My neck, back, and hips no longer ache when I wake up.  I feel refreshed.  The bed is just as good as we had hoped.  It took nearly a full month to figure out our perfect sleep setting and I am so glad we gave this bed a try.  

The things I love about the bed.  You can adjust the air in the bed.  This, for us, did not make it softer or hard.  It just meant that there was less air, therefore, less stability.  It did NOT make the bed softer in any sense.  The mattress was the same softness no mater what sleep number we chose.  When we filled the bed with more air, it just added more support.  
The adjustable base is a dream come true.  Everyone should have an adjustable base.  We bought the split king so each bed moves separately from the other.  This is a great feature.  I can read in bed at night before I fall asleep and have my legs raised above my heart while I read.  My legs thank me every night.  

There is a timer on the bed.  I set it for 30 minutes each night, then I adjust my head and feet.  When the timer goes off, the bed lays flat, I turn out my lamp, and then I fall asleep.  It is SO COOL!  This is the very best feature.  We also LOVE sleeping separately.  It makes a huge difference.  I go to bed several hours earlier than Stephen.  Now I don't wake up when he comes to bed.  I used to toss and turn all night.  I can usually sleep through the night.  
The last great feature is the Sleep IQ.  The bed connects to an app on my phone, then tells me how I slept each night.  I check this weekly just to see if my sleep is improving. 

All in all, we are glad we made the purchase.  We can still send the bed back.  We might.  But we might keep it.  

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Leavin' Las Vegas!

Oh my!  We had the BEST time in Las Vegas, Nevada for Spring Break this year!  We left Albuquerque early Sunday morning and drove all day to reach Vegas.  On our way, we dropped the boys off with my parents in Kingman.  Craig, Blair, Kendra, Michael, Stephen, and I all booked a huge two room suite at the Bellagio!  It was so luxurious.  The suite has a small kitchen, large dinning room with a six person table, and couch separating two bedrooms.  Each bedroom has  his and hers bathrooms that are to DIE for!  The hers side of the bathroom has a spacious tub and a bidet.  The his side of the bathroom has a steam shower with a large closet.  It is just amazing.  The views are so thrilling.  We watched the fountains each night before we went to bed.  
Sunday evening, we had tickets to see "O" by Cirque du Soleil.  The dancers were suspended from high wires and dove into water.  It was an incredible site.  We ordered room service for dinner then promptly fell right to sleep.

Monday, we had planned to spend the day at the pool; however, the weather had something else in mind.  Wind.  Way too much wind.  We didn't even dip our toes in the water.  We decided to go shopping instead.  That evening, we ate at Yardbird.  I should have had the chicken and waffles, it looked delicious.  
Tuesday, we went to the flying trapeze and each of us took our turn as the wind whipped our hair in our eyes.  It was so scary!  I wasn't able to do all the tricks, but I did try.  I allowed my fear to get the best of me.  We planned to spend the rest of the day at the spa.  I am so glad we did.  It was so relaxing.  We each had massages and then spent the rest of our time in one of the four Jacuzzi tubs or in the steam rooms.  After showering, we went to eat at Vic & Anthony's on Freemont street.  After dinner we took Kendra's 30th birthday pictures.  Oh, Freemont street was crazy!  I sort of like the Bellagio side of the strip, I admit.  

Wednesday, we ordered room service for breakfast and packed up to head home.  We ordered a cake to sing Happy Birthday to Kendra and Craig.  After saying our goodbye's, we picked up our boys and took them to the children's museum.  We even ran in to our friends at the museum!  Small world!  The boys had the best time at the museum.  There is so much to see and do.  We drove back to Kingman and spent the night with my parents before heading home.  

Spring break was so relaxing.  I am so thankful to my parents for watching the boys while we took a few days to unwind from the daily grind.