Saturday, December 28, 2013

Grandma Barlow

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Edith Rawlings Barlow Hyer
Jan 25, 1917 - Dec 17, 2013

Today my family is getting ready to say goodbye to my wonderful grandma.  She passed away last Tuesday, peacefully in her sleep, just shy of her 97th birthday.  The Rawlings women tend to have the longevity gene in spades, and I'm happy she was able to have good years at the end and not linger too long in a body that was failing her.  She was able to hold on to see her last grandchild get married in October and to see my mom get home from her mission, who happened to be with her when she passed.

I have a pit in my stomach that I'm not able to be there today (only a few weeks to go before the other sweet pit in my stomach makes her appearance).  I want to hear the stories and memories of her, to hold her hand one last time, to stand in that quiet, country cemetery, and especially to feel that connection to my Barlow family as we celebrate her life.  What makes it worse is that I've known for decades how important it was to her that I play 'How Great Thou Art' with my siblings at her funeral.  She loved our violins.  J and I were able to go to the temple this week, though.  My Aunt Ruth (Grandma's sister) and her husband were the first temple president and matron of our local temple.  Grandma and Grandpa actually moved here and served as the first missionaries at the temple.  It was helpful to be there and feel a portion of that connection that I'm missing.

Grandma remarried an awesome man, my Grandpa Ace, and eventually moved into our neighborhood and ward.  As I've tried to picture her over the last week, the image that keeps coming to mind is walking in the door to find them sitting at the counter in my mom's kitchen.  I can so clearly see her turning to see who it was then giving a big smile when it was one of her grandchildren.  I feel like she was ALWAYS happy to see us.  What a blessing to have them so close.  She decided she wanted to write down her life story about the time I was graduating from high school.  I was having a hard time finding a short-term job before heading off for college, so I would go over and sit for hours and hours and type as she told story after story.  There was so much I didn't know about her.  Justin happened to have that particular book out a few weeks ago, looking to see if she had some Christmas memories he could share at a church event.  I grabbed it that night, and as I read over some of her particularly hard years, I could still remember how chocked up she became telling me those stories in her basement.  I'm so happy I can hear her voice and see her face as I read that book over the years.

Grandma's chocolates were legendary and the recipes and techniques have, fortunately, been passed from generation to generation.  Unfortunately, not to me, but I'm great at the dipping part!  There's a home video somewhere of me dipping with her when I was little.  When we finished up, I plunged my hand into the bowl of melted chocolate to take some for the road.  Then I had the saddest look of dismay as she grabbed a spatula and scraped it off before I left the kitchen.  Who doesn't want a little kid dripping of chocolate roaming around the house?  I think the funniest part is she didn't even notice my face and kept a conversation going with an aunt or uncle over her shoulder as my hopes were dashed.  My cousin, Justin, is standing there as well, just laughing at me :)

Grandma leaves quite the legacy--32 grandchildren, 93 great-grandchildren, and 13 great-great-grandchildren (and counting!), plus the many step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren she married into and loved.  I am most impressed with my aunts', uncles', and parents' devotion to her.  She was a loved woman.  So happy to have many memories floating in my head right now of a Grandma who never lost her patience, was always available for a drop-in visit, and loved a good joke.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Megan and Skyler

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Every one of my siblings has had BIG life changes this year.  First babies, new jobs, big moves, adding sisters to the family, and now adding the last brother-in-law.  Megs got married last week!  Skyler is officially the favorite brother-in-law because he can get the other brothers-in-law sports equipment at manufacture price.  And he's tall.  They like that.

It was a delight to see Megan so obviously excited.  She plays things very close to the chest!  In fact, when they were dating I got an email from her asking me to look at a few wedding dresses and give her my opinion.  I wrote back and said, "Did I miss something?" to which she replied, "It's for the wedding Sky and I are planning."  I said, "For who????"  Ha ha!  The two of them are very sweet to each other, it was fun to see her like that.

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And hanging out with the family was an added bonus!  We only had a few days together, but I wanted every second with them.  My nephews and niece were all-stars.  Every time I did a head count for my kids, they were chasing them about, taking them on adventures, and keeping them happy.

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(Bennett, Whitney, Abbey, Parker, Spencer, & Hayden)

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Megan and Skyler had a dinner and reception the night before, so Saturday was all about the temple ceremony.  It was nice to have the whole morning to get down there, enjoy the temple grounds, and spend time together without rushing to get back to a reception.

Megan has always had a special place in my heart.  And by the looks of the people surrounding her that day, I think she has that effect on a lot of people.  We were laughing about how none of us could remember ever, ever fighting with her.  Allison sheepishly said, "I think I got mad at her once and sat on her."  She still felt bad about it!  I've never heard her say something bad about someone, she is a loyal friend and sister, a talented athlete, and beautiful person.  In a family that is pretty go-with-the-flow, she is definitely the easiest going.  As little hiccups would come up over the weekend, she would just shrug her shoulders and move on.  If there is an opposite of a bridezilla, she's it.  I love being around her, that is one lucky guy!

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Up To The Highest Height

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This man of mine is NOT EASY to buy for.  But this year I had the perfect idea.  Kites.  Yes.

A few years ago he found a trick kite at a garage sale and it was love.  But it was stolen last summer.  He ran a kid to the bathroom and someone walked off with a six foot kite and 60 feet of unwound kite line.  

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We happen to live fairly close to an awesome kite shop.  The owner actually designed most of these kites, so he always has an easy fix if we lost or damaged a part.  In fact, he built a whole new frame for Justin's first kite so it wouldn't spring apart when it crashed.  He (easily) talked me into getting a kid's one as well this time.  It's much smaller but the wind was STRONG that day, so it would just take Abbey for a run every time she got it up and going.

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I was just about to head in when I decided to give the big one a go.  I had it up for maybe 30 seconds when I lost control and slammed it into this one, tiny pole in the field.  It was the craziest luck, the pole only stood about 2-3 feet out of the ground.  Anyway, I completely busted it and couldn't help but burst out laughing.  Of course.  Of course I destroyed his only gift right on his birthday.  But our kite magician had it back and running and charged me about $4.

I banned myself from flying in high winds, but this guy has so much control over them, it's really fun to watch him fly all the tricks.  He's adding up in years, but I don't think he'll ever outgrow toys!

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Number Four.

"It's like you're drowning and someone hands you a baby."

Just kidding, I actually have been most baby hungry for this one.  After EIGHT negative pregnancy tests I had taken the two weeks prior, the morning sickness hit me like a train one Sunday morning and I knew that it was a girl.  I haven't had an inclination before, but girl pregnancies have been painfully similar.  I usually keep it secret longer, but we saw so many family and friends over the summer and it is difficult to hide the constant vomiting and general look of malaise so a lot of you knew already.  But!  The 'morning' sickness is over and we are adding another girl to the crew and are truly thrilled.  It did take me some time to tell myself all the reasons Bennett is lucky to be the only boy, but I think it is going to be perfect.  He will be one adored little man by all the ladies in his life.  The girls put on the cutest 'Celebration Show' right after they found out (I hope that movie works, I wasn't having much success on my computer).  They wrote songs to welcome her and tell her how it would be in our family.  I know.  Adorable.

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They dressed Bennett up so he could participate.  Another girl?  Whatevs.

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Friday, May 31, 2013

Garden Party

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Hayden made my year when she asked for a Garden Party for her birthday.  I've been holding on to tea sets and table settings for just the occasion!  I decided to host it at our favorite children's garden at the Botanical Gardens near our house.  A few weeks before her day, I took the kids there to play and Hayden came up and said, "I am NOT doing my birthday here, I am NOT coming back here!"  Come to find out, Abbey told her terrifying scary stories about the botanical gardens and now the kid refused to do her party there.  Abbey apologized and promised it wasn't true, but too late.  The damage was done.

I tried to talk Hayden into a few other options but she was dead set on having it in 'Jane's garden'.  Jane is our next door neighbor who spends hours and hours each day in her garden and I seriously doubted she would go for the idea of ten 4-year olds running around her flower beds.  I really tried to talk up the other spots, but Hayden was insistent.  And I'm so glad, it turns out Jane has a soft spot for her and it meant a lot to her that Hayden wanted to be there.

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My Hayden has super sensitive eyes when she is outside and it was even brighter with the white table cloth.  So she went celebrity style and it was all good.
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Our beautiful party guests: (above) Priya, Lauren, & Allie (below) Brooklyn & Claire then Abbey, Monae, & McKenna
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The girls had no faith in Justin and the birthday candles.  And they were right--just the slightest breeze caused the biggest problem and a near meltdown from the birthday girl.  We ran inside, blew out candles, then ran back out for cake.  Problem solved!
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 So what to say about Hayden this year...

I really regret not being able to spend more of my afternoons with her this year.  If only someone could come clean and cook so I could play board games and ponies with her.  She is quietly stubborn and really, really knows how to push Abbey's buttons.  But overall, she stays pretty mellow.

Hayden has the funniest way of expressing herself.  She has some great lines she's said this year, but it's the funny, little day to day things she says that make my day.  Like, 'Mom, clearly I'm sorry for how I acted last night,' or, 'I'm so pleased you could play with us today!', or 'Greatest Idea Evaaaa!'  The other day she was insistent on me seeing some project, so when I finally got up from what I was doing, she walked backwards, facing me, motioning with her hands like an aircraft marshall, saying, "And we're walking, we're walking, we're walking..."

December 2012: Megan and Hayden were playing Spot It and Megan obviously was letting her win a bit.  Hayden was celebrating winning the game and Mom said, “Meg, you get the sympathy award.’  As Hayden walked away she said, “And that means nothing.”

January 2013:  Every time we go grocery shopping Hayden insists on the carts with the car then climbs out of it in the first five minutes.  I'm stuck lugging the awkward thing through the rest of the store so got upset with her today.  She said,  "I always want to go in the car ones.  Have YOU ever tried it?  When it moves, all I feel is lumpiness.   But it looks awesome.  And it fits TWO people.  So I can't help it."

March 5, 2013: Hayden was getting out a game to play and said- “Mom, you know how to spell, you are going to rock this!”

Me: Kyla had her wisdom teeth out, should we go get a shake and take it to her?
Hayden:  Why don’t we go get a shake and keep it.

March 25, 2013: The girls have been particularly sassy and Kathy mentioned that the show they’ve been watching, “My Little Ponies” has some sassy characters.  A few days ago, they were talking back and I said we weren’t going to watch that show anymore and told them why.  Hayden asked for it today and I reminded her that we aren’t watching it anymore.  She said, “Nana made it up!  She just doesn’t like My Little Ponies.  But it’s a good!  It teaches us about friendship!”
May 5: Dad: “Where did this baby crib come from?”
Mom: “Jane gave it to us, it’s nice, huh?”
Hayden: “Sweet, old Jane.”

May 17: This used to be the basement, but we got rid of a lot of stuff, so now it’s the spacement.
I have no idea where this came from, but she makes a LOT of beetle analogies.  Such as, "I'm hotter than a beetle on a sidewalk," or, "I'm dizzier than a beetle spinning in a hot tub," or, "It's darker than a beetle in a tent."

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On her actual birthday, she wanted to spend the evening at the Arb.  We were hoping the peonies were out, but no such luck.  Well, for me, anyway.  She was there to build:

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I love that she did all that heavy lifting in her dainty dress and pearls :)

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Hayden surprises me all the time, I don't quite have her figured out.  She is one that I have to set aside special time because she doesn't demand it on her own.  I love her eyes, I love her sense of humor, I love her golden locks, I love her imagination and I love how she plays.  Happy Birthday, Hayden Baby.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Little Man

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We have a two-year old in the house!  You could have made the connection if you happened past our house the next day and overheard the massive meltdown when we tried to take off his pajamas.

Some things I don't want to forget about who he is right now: 

-the way he looks in his little old man sweaters with the elbow patches

-rolling his arms before saying any prayer and vaguely humming the song 'roll your hands, roll your hands, as quick, just as quick, just as quick can be.  then fold your arms like me, like me, then fold your arms like me'

-he has to have the humidifiers from his room and the girls' room filled and drags the heavy reservoirs into the bathroom every night

-when I say, "Where's your mouth?  Where are your fingers?  Where is your nose?" without fail, he will stick his finger up his nose, look at me out of the corner of his eye, and smile

-he has to stop at each door leading into the basketball courts every time we go to the gym; the staff has started to notice and comment on the obsession

-he hates when I sing his goodnight song

-he loses it the first 30 seconds I leave him anywhere, then is totally fine.  Still breaks my heart even though I know the drill.

-he runs to the hand sanitizer dispenser when I pick him up from the kid center and immediately puts it in his hair like gel.  And, now that I think about it, he likes to use the hair gel as hand soap...

-I purposefully place him and Hayden facing the window for lunchtime then sit across from them so I can get my daily fill of their beautiful, pale blue eyes.

-he (unfortunately) has a major thing for anything with a screen and can navigate the ipad with the best of them.  He loves to get on skype and call Grandma and Grandpa in the middle of their night!
-how excited I get when I go to pick him up from any place and the way his face lights up when we make eye contact.  And the little one-leg-hop dance he starts doing :)

-we have a routine we've fallen into for every naptime.  He insists on sleeping on the floor next to his big boy bed, so I started laying down next to him for a few minutes.  He would always get up and push the door closed, I think in an attempt to keep me in there or at least give him some more time to catch up when I get up to leave.  I get a kick out of it and purposefully leave it ajar when we go in.  Then he comes back and plops down, turns his head over, realizes he's too far away from me, and wiggle-worms his way closer to me.  I.  Love.  It.

Bennett is a low maintenance kid and I feel I have so much more energy to enjoy him.  Our weekdays require a lot of driving and he is so good to just roll with it.  He is such a sweet compliment to our family and I love what he brings to our home.  The girls are still enamored with him, although Hayden is starting to catch on to the things we let him get away with...  If you know my girls, you know they LOVE to bake, so got up first thing in the morning with a plan for his cake.  I'm pretty sure this will be the last year we can get away with giving him pink frosting, but they were very specific about their plans.  I love to do a big party when I have the time, but I just didn't have it in me this year.  It was a sweet day to have Abbey and Hayden plan it for him and play the day away with Bennett Boy.

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