2018 Family Moto

35 They were desirous to be baptized as a witness and a testimony that they were willing to serve God with all their hearts; Mosiah 21:35

"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.

Monday, December 30, 2013

And a Happy New Year

If you have been keeping up on my blog this year, you know this has been a very difficult year for me, personally.  Other things have happened this year that have not been named as they are still too personal to proclaim on an Internet blog; however, know that the trials I talk about today, are not standing alone.
This last February, my sweet little Nolen was diagnosed with Autism.  This diagnosis felt like a huge hole opened up in my life and started sucking everything in collapsing one on top of the other.  You might say, at least your son doesn't have cancer.  Yes.  At least that.  Or, at least your son didn't die. Yes.  At least that.  Thank you for trying to help.  I do appreciate the small sentiments; however, what my son has is NOT curable.  Autism is so much a part of who he is that there is no way to cure it.  Instead of going to get expensive, insurance covered chemo, my son receives two hour daily behavioral therapy treatments.  Want to know how that makes me feel as a mother?  Like crap. (I would use the other word, but my Mom reads this blog.)  I am supposed to be the one who teaches him daily things like, wash your hands after you pee, What is your name? How old are you?  What color is this?  I do not get that privilege.  It has been denied.  Children with Autism do not learn the same way other children learn.
For example:  I taught Edward how to talk just by talking to him.  Simple.  Nolen did not learn to talk that way.  Stephen and I sat with him night after night showing him flash cards of nouns that we would continually say what they were.  Over and over and over again.  I pointed to a chair and said, "Chair", Edward repeated it back to me ONE time.  To this day, I am not even sure if Nolen knows what all the objects are in our home. 
So, Yes, at least he doesn't have cancer.  If he did, I would know what the battle would be. There is a set course for that trial.  No, it isn't easy.  But in my defense, neither is Autism.
We started Nolen on different types of essential vitamins and nutrients.  We took him off all gluten and casein.  In late February, Nolen began to talk, again.  I believe his first words were, "Ready, set, go!"  Music to a mother's ears. 
After doing a lot of research, I settled on ABA, Applied Behavioral Analysis, therapy for Nolen.  He began in June.  It has been 6 months.  My little boy is doing amazing!  This therapy has brought back his communication skills and his coping skills.  We have learned how to understand Nolen and his needs.
This trial is never ending.  I will carry it on my shoulders for my life.   Nolen will always have autism.  I can now accept that. 
In June,  Nolen was repeating what I said, "Good night.  I love you."  I'll take it! 
In July, I learned that my body does not kill off cancer cells.  I had some removed and will know if it is gone or growing by the end of January. 
In September, I asked Nolen if he wanted a strawberry.  He said, "Yes!" for the first time in his life.  In October, I woke up to Nolen yelling, "Mommy!" instead of crying. 
In October, Nolen officially started sleeping through the night.  He was 2 1/2. 
In early November, I received some life altering news from Stephen.  Still too personal to share; however, instead of just worrying a little bit about Stephen, now I worry a lot.  Also, in November, my older sister changed my perspective on life, dramatically. 
After all the trials we have faced, our lives are still incredibly blessed.  We eat, we sleep, we laugh, we love, we cry, we travel, and we are alive.  I would prefer to have more money and less trials but such is life. 
In this year I have grown closer to God and farther from the church.  Is that even possible?  I have asked deeper questions and the response is, "I don't know".  I thought some one somewhere would have all the answers.  They don't.  I don't.
This year we went to Disney Land, a great Arizona family vacation, and spent a lot of time with family.  We are truly blessed.  We are loved.  I am loved.  I do not want to repeat this year, nor any year for that matter; however, I am grateful for the life I have been given.  I am grateful for my voice on paper and in life.
To end my year with happiness, I say to you, Love and be loved. 
Happy New Year.

Friday, December 20, 2013

An Apology

In an effort to change the course of my life, I am reaching out to others, through my blog, to apologize for the misdeeds I have done.  I surely can not remember them all; however, here are a few that have stayed with me through the years.
1991: I was a new girl in a school in Kingman.  I had made a few friends, but one friend had somehow become my best friend.  Veronica Moline.  She was new, too, that year.  We were in some sort of a fight, an honestly, I have no idea what about, but I said something that was over the line. "Your parents got a divorce because of you." 
It was unacceptable.  There is no excuse for saying hurtful things to others.  I was wrong and I apologize.
7th grade: I had a great friend, Heidi Schoolmeester.  I have no idea what we were fighting about, but at lunch recess we got into a huge fight.  No hitting occurred; however, this fight ended our friendship.  It took meeting up through blogging to realize what a mistake that fight had been.  We have so much in common, I can see why we were friends.  I was wrong to stop being friends with her and I apologize.
High School:  There were so many misdeeds in high school.  I was often cruel and judgmental. I ask for forgiveness for my terrible, unacceptable behavior.  I can give countless experiences where I said or did something that was past the point of just being fun.  I knew a boy who couldn't shower as possibly his home didn't have running water.  As a consequence, he stunk.  I, and a few others, called him "pigpen".  Wow, children are so cruel!  I have no idea what his real name is and if I could, I would give him a giant hug and say sorry. 
There was a girl in one of my classes that wore the same pants a lot.  I kept track.  It was rude.  Maybe she loved the pants, maybe that was one of 3 pairs of pants she owned.  I don't know.  However, I am sorry.  I know she knew I was keeping track.  I can't imagine the pain I must have caused.
 High School is tough for everyone, and I apologize if I made it harder for you.
There is a saying, "If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all".  Oh, how I have tried to be better at that in my adult life. 
College: I pulled a lot of pranks in college, and luckily, I don't think a single one of them involved hurting another person.  Phew.  However, I was not always kind and respectful of my roommates.  I had one roommate, whom I didn't want to live with.  I actually didn't know her before she moved in and would continually try to move her name out of my apartment.  She would always move it back.  I apologize for not being open minded enough to allow someone different in to my life. 
I had two roommates whom I really liked; however, for some reason they did not like each other.  I did not help in that matter.  I would use the other to gain kinship with the opposite roommate.  It was wrong.  I would change that, today, if I could. I could keep going, but know that if I went to college with you and I wronged you, I am sincerely sorry for my behavior.  Know, that today, I am a better person.
I had a very dear best friend growing up.  We would laugh and laugh and laugh.  We even lived together in Texas for a while.  Things didn't always work out with us, though.  There are too many things to name, but know, that I am sorry.  I could name some excuses; however, they do not take away the pain I have caused her.  I am forever grateful for her friendship.  She taught me to be kind, loving, and to not pass judgment.  Her heart is so big. 
My sister:  I have an older sister.  We were each other's best friends.  We played for hours together.  We rode horses together.  We swam together.  We shared a room.  We shared toys.  We shared a life.  I was not always the best, most loving, sister.  I would intentionally leave her out.  When we started high school together, I would ignore her.  I was often cruel.  Luckily, she has forgiven me for most of my transgressions; however, I would like to publicly say that Sharla is my very best friend.  We talk 2-3 times a day and are there for each other.  If you know her, know that I am one step behind her and always willing to back her up.  I love her.  I apologize for my many, countless misdeed and lies.  I was wrong.
My Mother: I do not even know where to begin.  I was mean to my Mom starting at age 7.  I remember the exact incident when I told her I hated her.  We were in the office standing by the candy machines.  I said it.  I didn't mean it.  I knew it would hurt her.  I apologize.  My Mom came to visit me at college once.  We were having a talk and I said that I didn't like her talking to me like I was a child.  Little did I know, I was still a child.  It hurt her feelings.  It was wrong.  I apologize.  I have never been the sweetest little girl to my Mom.  I am so glad that I have had the last 12 years to make that up to her.  She is my rock.  She ALWAYS helps me.  ALWAYS!  She would do anything for me.  I mean, ANYTHING!  She has always been a mother to me, and that is what I needed more than a friend.  She has corrected me when I am wrong.  She has loved me when I was at my very lowest point.  She is brave.  She has watched me walk a different path and kept her judgments to herself.  She is amazing.  I am a better person because of her. 
My Father:  I have to say, luckily, I can not think of a single incident that I intentionally wronged my father.  I did not heed his advice once and it led me down a path that was hard and laborious to recover from.  This does not mean I have not wronged him.  I am sure I have and for my lack of memory, I am sorry. 
My Siblings:  I apologize.  Simple blanket apology.
To my children: This list could go on forever, but know that I am not perfect.  Know that I am learning each and every day to control my temper.  I am sorry that you have ever had to see that side of me.  You are both great children and I apologize for my mistakes as a mother.
To my spouse:  I am not sure there is enough words to say sorry to you.  You are my everything and when I can remember that perfectly, our lives with be brilliant.  At nearly 8 years of marriage, I have realized one thing indefinitely,  I am a huge pain in the ass.  Consider this my blanket apology for the past, present, and future. 
If you are reading this and you think, she left me out.  She did that horrible thing to me and has completely forgotten.  I am sorry.  Truly, sorry.  Please accept this as my formal apology.  I promise, I am working to be a better more accepting person who does not pass judgment no matter what the circumstance. 
I am sorry. 
I love you.
Julie (Skousen) Barnes

Monday, December 16, 2013

A lot of nothing

It's the Christmas season! I love Christmas now that I have children. They really make Christmas magical. My boys are so excited to open presents next week. We frosted sugar cookies and ate them up! 

I had 3 paying gigs in one day and one fundraising gig!  It was the longest singing day of my life.  I was exhausted when I got home at 10:00 PM after leaving home at 8:30 AM. This the season to sing! 
This is what I looked like halfway through the day....
The boys got hair cuts and so did I. Now we aren't the hairiest family on the block. 

We put up Christmas lights for the first time, ever! 
Last but not least, I tried to get a picture by the tree but Edward disagreed. 
Today, we met a friend at the mall and rode the Christmas train! Both boys loved it. 

Monday, December 2, 2013


We don't really talk about Santa at our house.  Our kids have been too little to understand, in the past, so we just haven't mentioned him.  Edward must have heard about him at school because he was SO excited when he saw Santa.  He ran right up to him and jumped on his lap.  He told him exactly what he wanted for Christmas.  Nolen, on the other hand, was a bit skeptical.  I can't blame him.  We did get this cute picture.  This may be the one and only Santa picture we ever buy.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A thankful day

Over Thanksgiving, we headed to Phoenix to spend the week with family.  We had a wonderful time even though we were all a bit sick.  Jared and Sandy got engaged so I took a few pictures for them.  They are a beautiful couple and truly in love.  We also got together with Stephen's family and tried to get a picture with all the kids.  Sometimes, it is SO hard to get a shot of so many kids.