Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Most Wonderful TIme...

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! It truly is the most wonderful time of year.  After some needed time off, I am beginning to feel reenergized as a wife & mama.  We have made many memories this Christmas break - singing Christmas carols at the nursing home, looking at Christmas lights & a live nativity scene with the RBC children, Christmas shopping, baking cookies, creating a gingerbread house, seeing friends....so many to even share.  As a mama, I have loved getting to see my boys in the morning, help get them dressed, eat breakfast together as a family, & spend lazy days together.   It will be hard to return to work, but I don't want to think about that yet...
Here are a few of my favorite snapshots of the Christmas break -
Making our family gingerbread house!
Christmas Eve Service is one of my favorite services all year!  The boys sat with me this year (& when your husband is in charge it was two against one)!  Thankfully, our family-friends sat with me.  It was a holy moment for me & another way to emphasize the TRUE meaning of Christmas to Peyton!
Christmas Eve Service at Royston Baptist 
Of course, I wanted Christmas pictures in front of the tree...do you see how successful I was at this adventure?
Trying to take a picture of a 3 & 1 year old....oh my!
Christmas morning was magical - seeing the excitement of the boys' faces as they opened their gifts & playing for hours on the den floor.  Each year becomes more & more fun with these boys!

Christmas morning! 
This year, we went to Destin, Florida to spend time with my in-laws.  It was wonderful - too much eating, too many presents, too many memories.  The best memory for me - NOLAN FINALLY WALKED!  It was a magical moment, & one request I've prayed for many months.   The pictures can say more than I can -
Cousins in pjs Nana made for them! 

Trying to take a picture with Aunt Amanda...not happening! 
I hope you & your family had a blessed Christmas season.  As I begin to pack up the Christmas, I will always hold these memories close to my heart.  May you have many Christmas memories that you can hold close to your heart.  
Merry Christmas from the Barlow Bunch! 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Blessed & Thankful November

Where are you, November?  The days seemed to FLY by... we celebrated Derby's birthday, my Dad's birthday, & Jonathan's birthday.  As you can see from the picture, we celebrated Jonathan's at home - grilled steaks & homemade milk chocolate pound cake.  Jonathan & I used our date night to pick out a mattress! :) Our Christmas & birthday gifts for this year are mattresses (man...we are getting old!).  It was a sweet celebration with my boys.
Jonathan's Birthday - the boys want cake! 
I was counting down the days for Thanksgiving break - the students & I both needed a break!  We had the BEST time in Kentucky.  I got to see my college roommates, who continue to be the BEST of friends.  I have been in Georgia for NINE years & they still call, email, text, & make time for me when I come to visit!  I am so blessed.  It was so much fun to see the kids - as our group continues to grow (& some couldn't make it due to sickness & bad weather).  Jonathan asked, "What did we talk about?"...with 5 children under the age of 5 there's not much quality conversation...ha!
Sarah, Ella, Codye, Campbell, Barrett, & my boys 
BUT - I LOVED every minute with the sweet girls!  I am convinced we will be forever friends.
Sarah, Codye, & Me 
On Thanksgiving day, Phil, Jonathan, Anna & baby, & I ran the Thoroughbred Classic at Keeneland race track in 21 degree weather (& a wind chill of 9)!  Nancy had a feast when we returned & also hosted our growing group for Thanksgiving dinner.  We had all of my favorites, ate too much, & exchanged Christmas gifts.  We made many memories.
Happy Thanksgiving! 
Look at these precious boys - Carter 2 1/2, Nolan 16 months, & Peyton 3 years
Carter, Nolan, & Peyton 
My sweet sisters & their unborn babies (Anna with a baby BOY & Nancy & unknown gender baby)!

Me (& NO baby), Anna & baby, Nancy & baby
We have much to be thankful for this year - a healthy-walking 3-year old, a cancer-free 16 month old, a teaching job for me, & a wonderful church who loves our family.  Don't you have much to be grateful for during this holiday season?  God is so good & I am reminded of that daily.  Happy belated Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 11, 2013

All Treats...No Tricks!

Where has the time gone? Jonathan's birthday, Thanksgiving, & Christmas are all quickly approaching (& I'm not ready for any of them)!  Every holiday becomes more & more FUN with the boys.  Peyton wanted to be Spiderman or a Pirate for Halloween.  I found a pirate costume on clearance, so that was decided (& Nolan's was on sale too)!  The boys loved seeing the costumes, the neighbors, & the candy!
Halloween 2013
Matey Peyton does NOT liking posing for pictures - it makes me so mad (& I think he knows it)!  He has a beautiful smile & I can rarely capture it.  The picture below is the best I could do.

My pirates! 

This past weekend, we went to Savannah for the Rock-N-Roll marathon!  Jonathan has been training for MONTHS for this marathon.  My mom & Aunt Sally decided a few weeks ago to join him & run the half.  My Dad was my life-saver - taking the runners to the shuttle at 4:45am, helping me transport the boys downtown, watching Nolan while Peyton & I cheered on Aunt Sally, Grandmama, & Papa. WOW - they ALL did awesome.  I hope when I'm retired, I still am running marathons.  We couldn't have asked for better weather & fun memories! 
The runners & their supporters! 
I'm so proud of my husband! 3:13!!! 
Happy Fall!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

On the Road to Recovery

We survived - Peyton's full-body cast is OFF!  Again, it has taken me some time to write about it, because we have had a tough two weeks.
One - I would NEVER want a parent to go through what we had too with taking the cast off - a spinning saw, a wide-awake 3-year old, a screaming child...I could go on.  Two -  we had to begin potty-training again, had to encourage/teach Peyton to walk again, & hope that Peyton would eat to gain some weight (he lost a lot of weight the past 6 weeks).  Last weekend, I was in tears - discouraged with the potty accidents (after making soooo much progress in August) & his fear of trying to walk.  I wondered if life would ever get back to normal!  Finally, on Tuesday (almost 2 weeks post-cast), Peyton wanted to really try to walk!!!  I had tears in my eyes, but this time - tears of JOY!

Our first post-cast Fall event! 
Peyton's cast is off! 
Celebrating our LAST orthopedic cast check-up
This past weekend, Royston Baptist girls group, Mom, & I went to the Women of Faith conference.  It was the FIRST time Jonathan had both boys overnight (they had a blast)!  It was an uplifting weekend full of phenomenal speakers & music.  I needed it & have returned refreshed.  

Sunday, October 6, 2013

My Stress-Reliever & ME-TIME!

What do you do to have "me-time"?  I'm learning as a mama, you do not get much time alone (not even in the bathroom!!!).  You have the needs of your children & husband, always a meal to prepare, toys to pick up, a dog that must be fed, a meeting to attend, cleaning to do...the list could go on.  As I was a brand-new mama, advice was given to make sure & make "me-time."  So - I've continued to run.  I love to run - it's my time to pray, time with friends, time to organzine my daily activities, time for ME.

Moving to Royston, I prayed & prayed for a running buddy, God blessed me with Billie Jean.  She asked me to run at 6:00am - I'm a morning person, but I was worried I couldn't do it.  Then, when I began to work, we moved it to 5:30am, then 5:00am.  I loved my time with her, but our season of running has ended.  Billie Jean & her family moved home to Arkansas.  I cried & cried - missing her friendship & the blessing she had been to me, encouraging me to take time for myself.  So - I prayed & prayed again, & God has blessed me AGAIN with more crazy mama's who wake up to run with me  at 5:00am - Kelly & the RES teachers.  I am blessed beyond measure by these women - who run alongside me, who hear my worries of the day, who support & challenge me to give 110%!

This weekend, I ran a 15K!   Kelly & I got a crazy idea two weeks ago we could run a 15K (9.3 miles).  (We only run 3 miles during the week & occasionally I run 4-6 miles on the weekends.)  We did it!  Kelly pushed me to go faster & finish the extremely hilly race!!! I have run a lot of races, but this is one I am so proud we accomplished with little training!!!
Kelly & me - After the race!!! 
My sweet family cheering me on!!! 
Peyton & Isaiah Brister (Billie Jean's son) - I can't find pics with BJ!
I challenge you to find "me time" - find a "running" partner, take time away for yourself - I promise it makes such a difference! Thank you to the wonderful ladies who encourage me to take time for myself!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Peyton's Broken Bone & Birthday!

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, a member of my church, a close-knit family member (or in-law), work with me, or a dear friend, you know about Peyton's accident.   I could not bring myself to write about it until now - two weeks ago (tomorrow).   There have been many rumors of how he broke his femur - but, it was simple - running, jumping, being ALL BOY at the sitter, falling & landing the wrong way.  My babysitter did everything right - called Jonathan, calmed Peyton down, & hoped it was nothing serious.  Jonathan assessed the scene, called me, & we headed to Athens.  After X-Rays, consultation with the surgeon, surgery, we finally headed home in a spica (full-body) cast late Tuesday night.  There have been moments of frustration - when he asks to ride his new birthday bike or the fact that he was FINALLY potty-trained & now back in diapers, but also sweet family moments - especially with Nana Barlow & Grandmama Fraley.  There have been moments of tears - when he was screaming out on pain, & moments of joy - knowing this too will pass.  

Peyton in his cast on a wagon ride 
Peyton playing in "his" chair 
Peyton's first follow-up doctor's appointment 
Before the accident, Peyton celebrated his third birthday - we ate pancakes before church, pizza & brownies for lunch, & went to see the movie, Planes.  It was a day of celebrating! 
Peyton's birthday present - a balance bike! 
Thank you again - for praying for my first-born, Peyton.  Thank you for your calls, texts, Facebook messages, cards, & care packages.  Peyton has an amazing attitude, which I know is due to prayer & petition.  Peyton's bone is healing, & thankfully this is temporary.  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Following by Example

Tonight, I am on my couch in Royston, Georgia, but today at 3:15pm, but heart was at Anne Mason Elementary for my mom's retirement party.  Yes - my mom, whom most of you know (& love) is retiring tomorrow.  We have been counting down for a year & half.   I am excited for her - time to wake up when the sun comes up (instead of a 5:15am alarm), time to go out to lunch with friends (instead of a 15 min. cold turkey sandwich), a chance to play the piano for fun (instead of school), etc.  I learned most of my teaching skills from my mom, admired her organization, consistency, attitude of firm, fair, & fun, & daily prayers for the job, the students, & her family.
I struggle with being the best mama & the best teacher.  I struggle with being a "working mama" & balancing responsibilities of wife, mama, home, church, school, teacher...the list could go on.  I often ask my mom, "How did you do it?  How did you juggle?"  She always reminds me - through prayer.  I only hope I can follow her example - in raising my children & touching many, many students' lives.  CONGRATULATIONS MOM!!! We love you, Mom (& all you working moms out there!)

June 2010 - Anna's Wedding & pregnant with Peyton! 
Nolan's Dedication Labor Day weekend 2012 
August 2012 - Grandmama, Peyton, & Nolan 
Fall 2012 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Nolan is ONE!

I am a little behind on my blogging...it's that time of year...school has begun!  Most of my free time away from school has been screen free - playing outside with the boys, train races with Peyton, throwing balloons with Nolan, embracing the moments with my boys & Jonathan.  I always feel life ends when school begins, & I can't figure out why...it's just learning to balance work/home/church activities.  As Jonathan says, "it always takes you a month to get adjusted."

More importantly, our second born turned ONE on July 30th.  I blogged on the party a few days before, but I did try to make the 30th special!  Jonathan got McDonald's pancakes for our one year old, we went to the park to play, we all took long naps, we ordered pizza & had cupcakes for dessert (which he LOVED)! Wow - what a year it's been -
July 31, 2012 

Nolan's first Sunday at Church - Aug 2012 

One of my favorites - playing outside 

Eating Rice Cereal for the first time - 5 months old 

Nolan's Smash Cake! He loved it! 
What a year it's been! I can't wait to see what ONE holds for Nolan!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Bounce on over, We had a Ball!

This past week/weekend was full of emotions - tiredness from last weeks mission trip to North Carolina (our first as a family of four!), sadness for a friend & deacon in our church passing away, excitement celebrating our boys birthdays, & anticipation beginning the school year.  Sixteen family members drove to celebrate Peyton's 3rd & Nolan's 1st birthday.  (I chose to do one party for both boys due to having family live many miles away & for planning purposes.)  We made many memories playing with new toys, eating together, & bonding while decorating/setting up/un-decorating for the party.  It was a wonderful weekend.
I decided on a "ball" theme, because Nolan LOVES balls!  We had "meatballs," watermelon balls, cheese balls, veggie balls, etc for dinner.  We had out all of the boys favorite "ball" games - baseball, bowling, golf, basketballs, soccer balls, & I ordered bouncy balls for the little swimming pool.  We had gum balls as the centerpieces, & gave out beach balls as the favor.  My mother-in-law made the boys adorable outfits (that matched the invitations)!  It all came together, & more importantly - the boys seemed to LOVE it!
Cousin Love! Lele, Hayes, Nolan, Peyton, & Carter 
Peyton pausing for a moment to smile for a picture! 
Nolan checking out his smash cake! 
Peyton loving every bite of his cake!
Delicious cookies from Suzanne Johnson
Tomorrow, we celebrate Nolan's first birthday.  My heart is full.  God has blessed us with two full of life, rambunctious boys who make my life complete.  Tomorrow will be bittersweet.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Celebrating Freedom (& Summer)!

Happy late 4th of July!  I hope you & your family had a wonderful weekend!  We are trying to make it a family tradition to go to Kentucky for 4th of July! (We have gone for 2 years, but couldn't make the drive due to Nolan's arrival date.) We had a blast!  We got to spend quality time with my family - ran a 10K race, had a delicious cook-out, enjoyed time shopping, playing with ALL of our old toys (yes - Mom has a basement full of my sisters & my toys...the boys love it).  The only downside - We drove in a downpour to & from KY, ran a 10K in rain (this was my first race experience in the rain), & played inside the entire weekend!  We made memories in the midst of the bad, holiday weather weekend.
Running the Bluegrass 10K with two of my favorite runners - Anna & Codye 
Our group - Jonathan & Phil ran it much faster than us! 
Happy 4th from the Barlows! 
Anna, Me, Nancy - we didn't plan the stripes!
After our weekend in KY, Peyton stayed for Cousins' Camp! My mom & dad had this idea last year - to keep Carter & Peyton for a week.  So, we left Peyton in KY - the longest I had been away from him in 2 1/2 years!  I don't think he missed us much.  He was too busy riding trains, playing at a water park, playing on 3 different playgrounds, eating pancakes at McDonalds, etc.!  It was a busy, but memorable week for him! We ALL were excited to get him home.

Nolan missed Peyton in the car! 
A few cell phone pictures from Mom -
Train Ride! Peyton, Grandaddy, Grandmama, & Carter 
A morning walk to see the cows! 
I am LOVING every minute of summer break!!! I hope you are too!