I find it so strange that my body has adjusted to this desert heat. We went to dinner tonight at Bajio and they were closing for a private party so we had to take our food to go. So we decided to go to a park to eat it and I expected to be miserable at the park in 102 degree weather (at 7:00pm)... but we sat there and ate and it was very enjoyable. There was a slight breeze and we enjoyed our time at the park. The boys even played on the playground for a few minutes.... I sat there and said "this is so weird that I'm not dyeing out here." If someone would have told me 4 1/2 years ago that I would enjoy sitting outside in the summer, I would not have believed it! But I guess our bodies have adjusted to the heat. I am sitting in my house that is set to 78 degrees and my feet are freezing... crazy!
Forced Family Fun as my nephew Curtis says. That's what we had this last weekend... a little FFF. That seems to be the only way we can get our kids to go do anything these days. Is it just my kids? I don't remember complaining so much when we went on family trips? Maybe my parents can correct me, but I enjoyed them. I remember them being really fun. We used to head to the Oregon coast or up to Mt. Rainier all the time...great memories. But lately with my kids, if it doesn't involve taking them to the mall or dinner, they would rather be with friends or watching TV. So, we told them that we were going to go to Dix's cabin, stop and see the Bergquists on the way and then Saturday we would walk around Zion and then go shopping at the outlets in St. George. They bought it! On the condition that they got enough time to visit the B's and shop. Little did they know, we planned to spend most of the day hiking around Zion. We really wanted to take Ashley and Mitchell on the hike that we did without them a few weeks before.
So, Friday we went up to Hurricane and stopped at the Bergquists/Armstrongs and had a great time. It was nice to see where they are living now. It ended up getting a little late while we were there so Mike invited us to stay the night. We were thrilled to spend a little more time with them and we would be closer to Zion in the morning. We had a nice evening visiting and catching up. Abby made crepes for breakfast, they were delicious.
After breakfast we took off for Zion and the kids complained the whole way there! Notice the happy smile on Ashley's face in the first picture of the slide show. The funny thing is, about 20 minutes into the hike Ashley said, "I'm only going to say this once, but this is really tight!" I actually had her repeat it and got it on video tape! We had a great time hiking up the Narrows. We didn't get as for as we did last time, but enjoyed it very much! We (except Ashley, she didn't want too) wore our swim suits this time so we weren't hiking is wet clothes. It made it easy for the boys to swim and play in the water.
By the end of the day, I would say that it wasn't Forced Family Fun anymore, it was just Family Fun!
(the reason I played a Carpenters song on the slideshow is that Ashley & I love to listen to them in the car and John Hates it! It reminds me of my fun childhood trips, we always listened to them. For some reason John doesn't like them.... weird I know.... maybe his family road trips were really bad! haha JK. For the first time ever, he let Ashley and I play the whole Cd on the drive up without complaining. A historical moment in the Barnes family. So, the song is to remind me of that history making trip.)
Oh my.... we bought an ice cream maker at Costco the other day and I think it's going to be very dangerous! Not good for someone trying to loose 20 pounds.... We just made a "cake batter" recipe that I found online and it tastes as good as Cold Stone! Check out this recipe.
If any of you have any low fat homemade ice cream recipes send them my way!
That is the question of the day.... how many more days till school starts.... too many. My kids are bored, camp are over and they don't want to do anything I suggest..... that's all i will say or you might think i am a bad mom.
hello world. since this blog is called "Barnes FAM", and i happen to be the most important part of the FAM, i might as well make a post. this is ashley. whats up? well.. today is quite an interesting day. i woke up about an hour ago, ready for a fun filled day of tanning and reading. what summer is all about right? wrong. instead i got bombarded with jobs. empty the dishwasher! dust the whole house! make me breakfast! and to top it all off, tanner is being a baby. big surprise. he is addicted to this stupid game on the internet and mitchell closed it so he was screaming and pouting forever. and then I get in trouble because i was laughing histerically hahaha. it was funny. whatever. but also my mom said we're going to help some lady. she was reading her blog and saw that she needed help so we're heading over there in about an hour. i am proud of my cute little mom who saw that there was service that could be done and she did all she could to get this ladys address and had to call like 4 different people. so props to her. ALSO, i would like to inform everyone that the nordstrom anniversary sale is going on. and i highly reccomend going. if anyone sees an adorable pink and brown plaid coat.. tell my mom it was cute. she doesnt agree with me. SO, today is my first official day off of grounding! yes, i was grounded for a week. im not sure if my mom wrote about that on the blog already but just a little recap.. while they were out of town i was put in charge. (good choice for them.. very smart) and i had 3 cars to drive. the ugly van, the hot fast luxurious lexus, or the painted silly stringed jacked up volvo. i was doing really good following the rules and one of them was DO NOT DRIVE THE LEXUS. and you know what? im used to not driving that car. so no biggie. THEN. the van got a flat tire. so my 3 choices was narrowed down to 2. (and might i add that unlike my previous 3 flat tires.. this one wasn't even my fault.. there was a fatty nail in the tire!) and i just cant handle that kind of temptation. so at first i just drove it a little bit. to drop mitch off at the zebes and whatnot. but then it became an every outing thing. and i should be rewarded for watching those two kids right? ha. yeah okay. i got a beating when my dad came home. ha just kidding. but the whole reason im even telling this story is so that i can share my favorite part!! my dad said i could pick him and my mom up in the lexus at the airport (question- if i can drive on the freeway to the airport in it, why cant i drive it around off the freeway? its safer right? stupid) so i did. and he drove back. mind you, while i was taking care of the lexus i got 0 tickets, 0 accidents, nothing! and on the way home, good ol' john ran into the garage door.. and got a huge dent in it!!!! hahahahahahhahahahha. i know right? hilarious! i am a better driver than him. i dont know why he doesnt trust me with his car.. i am an outstanding driver. :) what else is going on? hmm.. my good friend travis came home after being at a wilderness camp for 42 days. i missed him a lot and its good to have him back. i dont know what i have planned this week.. there are so many options seeing as i am no longer grounded. i thought i was going to go insane last week. it feels good to know that i can jump in my car and get outta here whenever i please :) and i also decided today that tanner needs a vacation. my parents had a week in dominican republic, mitchell was at scout camp all week, i went to girls camp, so we've all had fun summer activities. tanner? not so much. and i think its getting to him. he needs to get out of this house. make some friends or something. so if anyone is interesting in taking him in please give me a call haha!! well, this is quite a long post. i'd say im done for the day.. i guess i should get up and get dressed. thats one of my favorite parts about summer. i change from my pjs to swimsuit and by the time i am done outback its time for the pjs again. hahaha. beautiful. well.. what can i say. thanks for reading. its been real. its been fun. its been real fun.
This is John. Just wanted to post that Allison celebrated a birthday this week--July 14. We were still adjusting to getting back to reality after a week in paradise. The kids bought her the coolest thing--a clear glass block that has a photo of them etched into it. It's a beautiful thing.... for a beautiful woman. How thoughtful of them. Happy birthday to such a wonderful woman. She brings joy and happiness wherever she goes. She's always nice to everyone and never says an unkind word. It was a nice day to celebrate her birthday. Happy Birthday honey. Love you.
We were at Target last night and look what they had in the dollar section! I bought 2 pair! I LOVE sweetarts... possibly my number one candy choice, but that is hard to narrow down. I have a fascination with all sorts of candy. I've always wanted to make a scrapbook on my favorite candies and why I like them and how i like to eat them...some candies I like to sort by color and some I like to eat the edge first... like a Reeses. yummmm. (okay this is ashley now and to be honest im a little concerned that my mom wont have any friends after they read this blog. so please just forget about this sad description of her life and move on with your day :) thanks. peace and love. )
So my daughter thinks I am a little strange... but I really do have enough information in my head that would make a really interesting scrapbook. Like when I see certain candy it takes me back in time to riding my bike through the cemetery to the grocery store to buy all the candy my $ could afford. I bet my grandkids would find that interesting some day.
Anyway... Mitchell made it home from scout camp... he had a little fall down a cliff that he was supposed to jump off into a pool of water. I guess someone has it on video... I'm anxious to see it. But his OK. Luckily it happened on the last day of hiking. He's a bit sore and scraped up.
We are baby-sitting my brothers dog this weekend. We were a bit nervous because we aren't really dog people. But so far so good.... The kids are loving him! We found out that he really likes socks! and his mouth is VERY strong... hard and scarey to get anything out!
It's camp time for the boys this week. Mitchell is at Scout camp up in Utah at Del Webb. They are hiking about 10 miles everyday... sounds like so much fun... not.... I hope he is having a good time. They were supposed to get rained on... hopefully it hasn't been too much.
Tanner went to "Apple Camp" on Tuesday and Thursday. He and Jonah Vance went down to the Apple store and took classes on iMovie and Presentations. They had a good time. The guys teaching the classes were fun to watch. You could tell they enjoyed teaching the kids. I expect Tanner to get all our video's organized now!
John and I celebrated out 20th wedding anniversary on July 8th. We wanted to do something really fun for this big year, we looked around and decided on the Dominican Republic. We wanted to go somewhere tropical and not too expensive.... and it fit the description. We flew there on John's frequent flyer miles and found a nice all inclusive resort. It was called the Catalonia Bavaro Royal Resort. We learned that 5 star resorts in 3rd world countries aren't quite the same as the US standard.... We really liked the "all inclusive" style of traveling. It was so nice to not worry about how much dinner or lunch was going to cost and it wasn't hard to decide where to go. They had several restaurants to pick from and always had a buffet open. We were never hungry... we ate way too much!!! We loved a little ice cream/crepe place! Went there almost every night.... even after having dessert with dinner...
It was weird to be the minority there. There were very few Americans. We only met about 5 couples from the US and few others that spoke English that were from Canada. Most of the tourist there are from Germany, Spain and Canada. When you walked in a restaurant they asked what language you wanted your menu in. The staff did a pretty good job at understanding us, but there were a few times that we wished we spoke spanish! especially when ordering drinks, we hoped they understood the "no alcohol" part! We pretty much stuck to diet pepsi and bottled water.
We left on Sunday night and flew all night and arrived Monday afternoon... luckily we were able to upgrade to first class! We were spoiled. We checked in and headed for the beach. It was beautiful! The water was warm and clear.... paradise. Our only two complaints were that in the afternoon as the tide came in, there was some seaweed that washed on shore...not terrible but not pretty. The 2nd complaint was that there are mostly european tourist there, which meant lots of topless sunbathers! That is so strange... I don't understand that one. We had to strategically find our beach chairs each day, by looking around and seeing where the old ladies were. It was mostly older Europeans... not the young pretty ones. which was good i guess. Poor John.... had to close his eyes a lot. We had codes, like don't look at 3:00... it was funny.
We woke up everyday and had a nice breakfast and then went to the beach. We'd swim, snorkel, go kayaking and just sit and read. well, one of us read... the other can't sit still much. He actually did pretty good and relaxed a lot. We did one excursion and went snorkeling. They took us out to the reef. It was beautiful, I've never seen such pretty coral. But the snorkeling is much better in Hawaii. We'd have lunch by the pool and head back to the beach. Then in the early evening we'd end up at the pool and then go in and get ready for dinner. We repeated this everyday! Sleep, eat, beach, eat, pool eat, sleep.... so fun!
We never left the resort... we heard it wasn't real safe and there was nothing close by. In the evenings they had little shows and dancing and stuff. Friday night was Dominican Night and they had vendors come in and sell stuff. It was the same things at every booth... not much to pick from. And they were pretty hard core salesmen. Not my kind of shopping.
We were so sad to go home on Saturday! We could have stayed a month! It was so relaxing and enjoyable. We had long talks and loved being together. John surprised me on our anniversary with a cd of a song he wrote and had recorded! He said he wrote a poem a year ago and after a while a melody came to his head, so he went to a recording studio and this guy helped in write the song out and put music to it. It was so beautiful. He'd like to fix it up before I post it on here, he wants to have the guy add some more instruments to it. I loved it!
We came home to the kids safe and sound! They even had the house clean!
What a week! I'm not sure where to start and there is so much that I can't put into words.... you will have to ask me for more details in person.
We took the YCL's up to camp on Monday and had an amazing day with the girls. I had a lot of fears with this group because at our pre-camp activities there were a lot of cliques. But we were able to break them down. We spent the morning getting them organized and getting them trained. Then we had the most amazing activity. Our 3 youth camp directors (YCD's) planned this activity that we sort of helped them plan, but they implemented it all on their own. There is this company called "Challenge Day" and they go around to schools and try to break down racism and cliques in the high schools. Maybe you have seen them on Oprah.... but we did some research on what they did and then we made our own questions and things that applied to our YW. We had no idea how it would work and had no idea it would have been as successful as it was. You start out with them all in a long line and we had a rope on the ground and the YCD's would make a statement and if it applied to them they would cross the line and then go back and wait for the next question. The questions were as general as, have you ever gossiped? have you ever been gossiped about? have you ever felt alone? have you ever been picked on? Have you ever felt like the girls at church were nice to you because they have to? The list went on and on. About 35 questions. Not once did just one girl cross the line. Then the girls sat in a circle and discussed how that made them feel... comments were made about how they didn't realize that they were the only ones that have felt alone...they realized everyone has been hurt, they were not the only ones with problems. Then they asked the girls to share any stories about how they have been hurt by friends etc. It was pretty sad to hear some of their experiences. Then they went into the section call "if you really knew me, then you would know that...." We went around the circle and the girls answered that question. I expected answers like "my favorite color is red, etc." Not at all... the ycd's started with answers that were pretty deep and the girls followed their lead. It was VERY emotional for the girls... lots of tears. We eventually did this activity with all the girls at camp. We did it by level, 2 on on day and 2 on another day. Here are some of the responses we heard: If you really knew me you would know that... I have suffered from an eating disorder...My dad died when I was 4 and it's really hard for my mom to raise us alone.... you would know that every time I hear a lesson in church about eternal families it hurts so much because i am the only member....you would know that in 8th grade i often ate my lunch in the bathroom stall because i had no one to sit with at lunch..... you would know that I suffer from depression.... that I feel alone all the time... that I don't feel welcome at YW's.... that my brother committed suicide last year.... i could go on and on. By Thursday night after hearing 130 girls problems I was a mess. I don't know how Bishops and Stake Presidents do their calling. I couldn't stop hurting for them... I had no idea that they were dealing with so many issues. The next part of the activity was the "apology" section. The YCD's encouraged them to make some apology's. They could do a blanket apology or to someone specific... they could be there or not or they asked them to write a note later that day. Some of these were heart wrenching to. Some girls apologized in general, like: I'm sorry if I ever made any of you feel left out.... I'm sorry if I ever judged you.... then there were some that said things like "i am sorry for giving Mormons a bad name by some of the choices i make....a few girls apologized to each other and mended friendships that had been hurt for years. It was pretty cool. then the ycd's ended it with talking about the atonement and the Savior and how he never wants us to be alone. They talked about forgiveness and how we are Daughters of God. Then they had a big group hug and sang "Love one another". It was so amazing. The girls bonded so much after this! We had no contention at camp and I never saw a girl alone. It was so cool. Almost every girls talked about it at testimony meeting.
On Monday night we had the stake presidency wives come talk to the YCL's. It was wonderful! They are amazing ladies and they have such strong testimonies. The girls asked them a lot of questions, like how they met their husbands and things like that. Then they asked more deep questions like "have you ever found it hard to pray?" The answers were led by the Spirit and were exactly what the girls needed to hear. Thank You ladies!!!!
The rest of the week ran smooth! No major problems. The daily activities included the zip line, climbing wall, crafts, lip syncs, lots of singing, a service project, great food! We had a Fireside Wednesday night that the YCL's did and it was all on the theme that was " There is no place like home, you can't make it alone." It was great. Thursday night was hikes and Bishops night and then Friday night was testimony meeting. We decided to try one big testimony meeting instead of by level and it was great. A few goofy ones, but so many amazingly strong ones. So many girls were able to hear sisters bear testimonies and ward members and bishops were able to hear all of their girls. It was so nice. It was interesting to watch the first years. They didn't know how to control their emotions. They sobbed uncontrollably! I didn't know what to do! They finally settled down... cute girls. It's probably the first time they felt the Spirit that strong and they didn't know how to handle it.
We cleaned camp and were out of there and home by 10:30 and Saturday morning.
Here are a few camp pictures and a few from Angela's wedding.
Our 3 ycd's ready for our lip sync...
My presidency ready for lip sync...
The Westra family: my brothers and sisters and their families: