Friday, September 9, 2011

Bastrop Fire 2011

As of last Sunday, Texas was currently in the middle of the worst drought in 100 years. 80+ days of 100 degree or above temperatures. -And my parents live in the middle of a pine forest, rendered a veritable tinderbox by the drought. Concern for fire was high, and Sunday the inevitable happened. Several miles south of my parents home, a fire ignited- sparking a firestorm that would ultimately become 24 miles long, and 20 miles wide. A fire so large, you could see it from space. (picture below) Mom and Dad heard a knock on the door- a fireman asking them to leave immediately. Not soon. Not eventually. Right now. Mom grabbed her dog Woody, and her laptop. They left without clothes, medicine, or any essentials. Certainly no photo albums, nor keepsakes.. They gathered in the parking lot of a store, in a safe area of town, along with other members of their ward. As the night dragged on, families split off to go stay with relatives, or find lodging somewhere safe. Not until next day dawned, did anyone comprehend the size and scope of how large this fire had become. My parents drove about 20 miles north to stay with my sister Catherine, and have been there ever since. News reporting was spotty, to say the least, and the information that was reaching people was vague and upsetting. "Fire is 0% contained" is something that makes your stomach sink. As the days dragged on, my parents and the rest of us came to grips with the fact that the house was no longer there. Eyewitness reports from anywhere close to their area said that "there's nothing left." Below is a photo taken from a hard-hit area near my parents subdivision: People are so anxious to return, and I'm not sure there's anything that could prepare you for a sight like the one above. The beautiful pine trees that the residents cherish in this area are utterly destroyed.

As people waited desperately for information, a Facebook phenomenon happened. Several pages dedicated to sharing information were formed out of necessity. A person here and a person there knew someone in a position of authority that would be willing to check on a certain house. This trickle of information started on Facebook, and a few good firefighters and authorities took their own time to canvas neighborhoods to report on the few structures still standing. Thousands of people joined these pages, and my brother and sister and I became (almost obsessively) involved in getting this information cross-posted and shared with residents. We became acquainted with so many neighbors and friends, and formed a tight-knit community dedicated to taking care of and supporting each other. I personally pored over list after list trying to help residents determine if their home was still standing. I'm sad and sick that I was the one to share devastating news with so many people- not just on my parents street, but in the several neighborhoods surrounding them. To date, over 1600 homes have burned. The worst loss in Texas history. More incredible to me is that this fire was only national news for the first two days. The suffering and needs of these families are great, and it's now a struggle to find anything but local Austin news coverage of it.

Finally, Tuesday night a miracle happened. The bishop was able to gain access with law enforcement and check on my parents house. You've never heard such sweet words as "it's still there!" The real miracle is trying to comprehend how a fire 20 miles wide parted like the Red Sea, and spared a single house. The neighboring houses are all gone. Before I show you a picture of the house, let me show you their street- you may see trees in the photos, but the homes and structures underneath are all burned out:

How is it possible that this house survived?

It wasn't without damage, but it's still standing. And that's an answer to many many anguished prayers. The workshop is gone, as are the sailboat and camper. Basically, anything that was on the property that wasn't the house itself is gone. There will be a lot of work to do on the house itself, but structurally it's still sound.

Residents still are not allowed access, and the power to this poor little house isn't scheduled to be back on for another 3 weeks. I see a new refrigerator in Mom's future! I'm glad I won't be the one cleaning that out....

Ultimately, this has been a week of many emotions. I've been devastated, worried, and sick to my stomach. Since helping others with the information effort, I've felt compassion and pity. In trying to wrap my brain around the sheer miracle and blessing of it all, I've been overcome with gratitude and humility. Not to mention, sheer relief and elation! Also, a renewed resolve to put my own affairs in order, so that my own little family will be better prepared in an emergency situation.

As a side note, it's tempting to think that maybe my parents were spared because of great faith, or the power of prayer. And while this could possibly be true in their case, most of the families in their ward were not so lucky. Sadly, a very large percentage lost their homes. Adversity and trials come to us all, and I'll be grateful if I never have to see such a trial as losing everything.

Thank you to everyone who hung in there with our family, and prayed so fervently for a good outcome. What tremendous and wondrous blessings our family has experienced this week! (I'm exhausted!)


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Six months old!

Want to know who is Six months old today??? -----> THIS GUY <-----
Some fun facts:
1. I suck on my washcloth in the tub, and scream when mom takes it away
2. I'm Daddy's little buddy, and the apple of Mom's eye. They love me!
3. I like to snuggle in the morning before everyone starts getting ready.
4. If it's smaller than my fist, I'm going to put it in my mouth.
5. Drool. Constantly. See photo above. Bibs are my new accessory.
6. Awkwardly in between 6 month and 9 month sizes.
7. Peek a Boo is this hysterical game that only works for Dad. Mom, not so funny.
8. I'm a happy boy, and not much gets me crabby. I'm a delightful child!

My family is coming out for my blessing and sealing next week. I just cant wait to see everyone!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy First Father's Day!

Doesn't this look like the face of a good dad? I think so! I posted this picture to remind you what Daron looks like. So much of my photo documentation these days seems to go like this: Thanks Daron for being such a good Daddy! For loving this boy as much as I do, and for making sure we have everything we need to be healthy and happy. So what if your idea of babysitting includes a little XBOX time? I like to think of you as a multi-tasker!

Bottom line- We love you and are looking forward to many more Father's Day's with you!


Elisa and Jack

Thursday, June 2, 2011

More Jack? You got it...

Jack has his own blog now:

Due to huge demand for a daily dose of the little bugger, we are going to try to keep it updated a couple times a week. Keep checking this blog for the usual Barnes Family musings and adventures.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

3 Months!

Let me make a little confession: Being a mom is every bit as awesome as I thought it would be. It's hard work, and I'm tired a lot of the time, but this "new normal" that we've settled into is pretty darn satisfying. These days, Jack sleeps more, smiles more, and coos constantly. How could anyone resist that?

At 3 months:
1. Still hates the swing. Heaven knows I'm still trying, because I have a hard time spending $167 on a torture mechanism.
2. We're firmly into the 3-6 month clothing range. I cried like a little girl going though his drawer and weeding out all the outgrown outfits and onsies. What's worse is that I now realize I'll have to go through this every couple of months.
3. Jack gets bored easily. He seems to need/love constant stimulation, usually in the form of being held, and walked around face forward. He won't sit and chill out, he needs to be moving. Especially outside.
4. Bathtime has suddenly done a 180 degree turn. He still loves the bath, but instead of relaxing and falling asleep, he will kick and thrash like he's trying to swim. He's smiling the whole time, so I'm guessing it's very enjoyable for him.
5. At his last checkup, he weighed exactly 12 lbs, and is measuring at the 60th percentile for growth. I feel like he's huge, but he's pretty average as babies go.

As far as the blogging goes, we've just been trying to keep our head above water. It all started about a month ago, when Jack started coughing. At first, it seemed like just a little tickle, and then quickly deteriorated into racking fits that kept him up all night long. Of course, to lay there and listen to him was maddening, knowing that you couldn't do much for him. He soon became stuffy, and was introduced to saline and the brain sucker (sounds like a good name for a band). If he wasn't pitiful before, the brain sucker made him crrrazy. He screamed bloody murder, but at least he could breathe a little better afterward. Between monitoring his fever, and keeping him hydrated and comfortable, I don't think I slept for a week. Hence, my weakened immunity. Hence, the horrible cold I then contracted. Hence, the horrible cold Daron contracted. At one point, we were so sick we had to take Jack (who was now much better) down to the sitter for the day just so we could konk out on some Nyquil, and sleep the glorious drug induced sleep that only modern medication could provide. There were quite a few days of missed work, and as bad as Jack had it, I think we fared even worse. Daron improved somewhat, only to get worse again, and have a massive ear infection. He's still not quite right, but you all knew that about him.

Somewhere in all this, I celebrated my first Mother's Day! I don't mind telling you that there was some smug satifaction in finally qualifying for that Mother's Day rose at church. Sure I've received the pity-rose in years past, but I'm a card carrying Mom now!! Gimme that rose!! Jack was nice enough to give me a card, and also buy me a cute little baby booties charm for my charm bracelet. Just to be clear, that was baby BOOTIE, not booty. A little baby rump would make a weird charm.

Again, apologies for the lack of posting. We seem to be well now, and I've been doing some thinking about the blog. I think I'm going to construct a seperate blog for Jack pictures, which I will try to post to daily. Not as much writing, but it will contain the pictures that the family craves so badly. I'll keep the Barnes blog going to post our happenings and adventures. That way everyone wins! You get your daily pictures, and I don't keep putting off the blog because I haven't had time to write anything.

I'll post the new blog address as soon as I have something up for your viewing pleasure.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Photo Shoot

I've dreamed of having my friend Crickett take Jack's pictures long before he ever arrived. Last Saturday ended up being perfect. A little rainy and overcast in the morning, but warm enough to have a naked baby outside. Click on the link below to see a preview on her photography blog!

The cradle that Jack is sleeping in is one that my Dad made me when I was little. I've treasured it all these years, and love that we were able to use it in some of the photos. The rest of the pics will be out soon, and I'm absolutely DYING to see them!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Easter!

In the battle of Easter 2011, Jack emerged victorious and scored a visit from the Easter Bunny. He managed to get a couple practical items, like sunscreen, socks and jeans. More importantly, I got the photo-op that I wanted! Happy 1st Easter Jack!

Friday, April 22, 2011

6 weeks!

Six weeks has flown by! In a way, it seems like much longer that Jack has been with us- Probably because our lives have completely and utterly changed in those six weeks. Every single thought of my day now revolves around taking care of him, and keeping my family and household up and running. Daron has been a indispensable partner in this parenting thing, and I think we're doing a pretty good job so far! Jack had a great checkup this week, and his pediatrician says that he's perfect. I already knew it, but confirmation is nice.

Some facts about Jack:
1. He still hates the swing.
2. He's in between sizes right now. Somewhere between NB and 0-3
3. Weighs 10.5 lbs this week
4. LOVES his bath. See below..
5. Loves to snuggle. Would rather be held than anything else.
6. Bought his first plane ticket to Grammy's house this summer!
7. Is finally sleeping a little better at night

Yep, here's Jack asleep in the tub. He got so relaxed tonight that he just konked out! I told you he loves a bath....


Friday, April 15, 2011


I'm so grateful for this wonderful new man in my life. How could anyone not fall in love with a face like this?
On a completely unrelated note, can I make an interesting observation? Doing laundry for little people is dangerous. Imagine my shock when I plunge both arms into a hot dryer full of baby clothes, and 463 searing hot snaps burn me like fire pokers. Lesson learned- send Daron to empty the dryer next time!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Why Me?

Jack must think were complete clowns. Hopefully the fun lovable kind, not the scary Steven King kind. Someone asked Daron the other day if fatherhood was going to turn him into a fuddy-duddy. "Heck no! If anything, now I have a prop!" Some unexpected things I've discovered in the last month:
1. A new kind of tired that I didn't know existed.
2. Along with that new kind of tired, the inability to sleep deeply anymore. I'm always listening for that cry in the back of my consciousness.
3. People treat you better when you have a cute baby. Cashiers, waiters, even the customer service counter at Target! They've never once been nice to me before!
4. Instant friends. Other baby-toting individuals will go out of their way to ask about your baby, how old he is, etc.
5. That motherhood will stretch you in ways you didn't expect, and you don't even mind. One word: suppository!

I thought I had a little more time before being thrown into that particular experience, but these days nothing goes according to plan.
A couple of my new favorite things:
1. Watching Jack sleep- I could do it for hours. If only he would do it for hours.. Which he doesn't. Hence, the new kind of tired.
2. Listening to Daron and Jack's heart-to-heart talks over the baby monitor.
3. Baby jammies. There's nothing cuter than a baby in pajamas. Especially after you've slicked them up in Baby Magic!
4. Jack's wide-eyed gaze when you're feeding him in the middle of the night. Like he is studying you intensely. I'd love to know what he's thinking.
5. Finally feeling like I have a family! Sure, we were a family before, but these days we feel far more complete....

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Growth Spurt

Jack's pediatrician in Iowa told us that he would go through a major growth spurt around week three. Can you see why I'm completely freaked out? If he continues at this rate, he will be leaving for college in the fall...
He wore these jammies less than two weeks ago.. *sigh*

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bellies and baths

What a great weekend! My mom and youngest sister flew out from Austin for a few days to spend time with Jack. Oh yeah, and maybe a little time with me and Daron. We shopped, ate Carolina Barbecue, and went to Shuckers for seafood. Grandma got to give Jack a bath, which right now is most conveniently done in my shallow bathroom sink:

Aunt Catherine did the dressing:

Jack really loves getting a bath, and all these lovely ladies are more than willing to oblige him. Add in that smell of freshly applied Baby Magic, and it's a recipe for heaven. In the last couple days, Jack has turned into a marathon eater. He will pound 4 to 6 ozs at a time, and be ready to do it again two hours later. I have yet to figure out where all this milk is going, but I think I have an idea:
Jack is already outgrowing some of his newborn outfits, which makes me sad. We moved up from Newborn diapers to size 1, and those skinny little chicken legs are filling out nicely!
Yes, I know bottle-propping is bad. Yes, I know the bottle is empty. The bottle is ALWAYS empty it seems... We are slowly settling into a new routine with Jack around, and I find myself getting a little melancholy every time he reaches a new milestone. Is that normal? I want him to stay small so I can savor it longer. MUCH much longer. I feel like even though it's only been a month, I'll never get that first month back. I'm excited to see him grow and develop his personality, but this frantic pace of growing and changing has got to stop! I'm just going to have to turn into one of those weird, hovering mom's that document every little thing.
Man, I love this kid. Sleep deprivation may have clouded my judgement, but I think he might be the best thing ever.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The new normal?

What is the new normal? Exhaustion, apparently. All of you experienced mom's out there are nodding your head, and secretly are glad that another newbie has been initiated into your club. Misery loves company. If anyone leaves a comment gloating about how their newborn slept through the night at -- weeks, I'm going to cry. So, the last month has been an adventure for the record books, and we were so glad to arrive home last Thursday. Everything was as we left it, which was a huge relief to a worrier like me. That is, if you don't count the hamster that inexplicably lost all her hair (creepy). But still, it could have been much worse. We spent Thursday evening introducing Jack to his new family members, who fawned over him appropriately. Kyle was so excited to have a new cousin, that he informed Sue that she needed to have another baby. He even asked if they could take him to their house for a few days.

Friday, I summoned the energy to roll into my office to survey the damage. I left things in great hands, but sometimes you just need to see for yourself. On the way home, I stopped by BabiesRUs to pick up Jack's swing, which I was assured would be a necessity. He loves it! For about 30 seconds. Then he screams bloody murder to get out.
About Jack: Today is his three week birthday. What a little snuggle bunny! To say that he loves to be held is an understatement. I am more than willing to indulge him in this, but it could come back to haunt me. He's doing better about sleeping in his crib, but unfortunately he just doesn't feel the need to sleep that much. Combine a baby that wants to be held, with a baby that loves to be awake, and you have two very tired parents. I couldn't imagine doing this on my own! Daron has been indispensable these last few weeks. I keep telling him he is a natural at this. In fact, this is how I frequently find these two:
I brought him to work with me yesterday, and he did great. He has a little cradle that sits next to my desk, which he was content to hang out in. Keeping focused on work is difficult, but only because he is so dang cute! I just want to pick him up and love on him!
But Elisa- in all of these pics he is sleeping so peacefully! You said he didn't sleep?! -Yes, he sleeps some. I can't resist the sleepy pictures! So all the boys are home together today alone, which I think Daron was a little worried about. They will be fine, or I wouldn't have left them. At least that's what I told Daron. It took the dog a day or two to warm up, but they are thick as thieves now. Wherever Jack is, Skip drags his pillow over next to him. I hope this means they are going to be good buddies. This is how I left them this morning:
At least 3/4 of us are getting some sleep! Bottom line, we LOVE LOVE LOVE this boy, and are so excited to finally have him home! My mom and sister come out in a couple days, and I'm super excited to show him off. And maybe catch a nap? We will see...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Just a quick note to let you all know that we are on the road! There was a major holdup with our paperwork, but it seems to be resolved, and we've been given clearance to leave. Iowa was great to us! We were treated well, spent a lot of great time with Jack's biological family, and developed some lasting friendships.

Driving will take us about 17 hours, but that's not taking into account feedings and such. We are rookies when it comes to traveling with kids, so maybe our 17 hour estimate is a bit naive? We will see.

One thing I do know, is that after 22 days of hotel rooms, fast food, and living out of a suitcase, I will never take home for granted again!

Want to come meet Jack? We will be around this weekend if you want to pop in!


- Posted by Elisa using her awesome IPad

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Three Kids... Day 14

This post should really be called, "Woman! Bring me my milk!" (Jack shakes menacing baby fist)

If there's one thing Jack is good at, it's eating. Not uncommon for a newborn, I suppose. He had his one week checkup today, and charmed the pants off of his Pediatrician. I'm sure they never see cute babies there, so he must have been a breath of fresh air. He's gained a couple ounces on his birthweight, so we're right on track.

Living in a hotel room doesn't offer much diversion, but it has provided us lots of uninterrupted bonding time. These two are kindred spirits when it comes to relaxation.

They are pretty thick, these two. Daron is a champion feeder, changer, and general entertainer. I manage to get a couple hours of sleep each night because these two night owls are content to hang out together in the wee hours.

I've watched a lot of Seinfeld, so if any of you tell me I have a "snuggly" baby, I'll likely be offended. Even so, snuggling with Jack is heaven. He makes these wonderful squeaky little sounds that just melt me. If only we could get him to sleep in his crib. If you have any tips for this, let me know.

As for us, still waiting... We expect to be told in the coming days that we will be allowed to leave the state. This has been a wonderful adventure, but the truth is we are very anxious to be home. Daron won't admit to homesickness per se, but I will. I miss my house, my family, my friends, my dog... And so on... We're looking forward to being back, and sharing Jack with all of you!

- Posted by Elisa using her awesome IPad

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Three Kids... Day 12

Hey everyone. Sorry about the lack of posting these last few days, but we've been a little busy! As I type this, Jack is laying next to me on the bed, dozing peacefully. He will do this till about 1am, when he decides that it's party time, and will do his best to stay up all night long. He's a night owl, and we've had to take him in shifts. I've never been this tired before.

This is Jack's first post-hospital photo. We were released from the hospital last Thursday, and our first stop as responsible parents was Taco Bell. I tell you what, carrying that carseat into an establishment for the very first time felt a little strange. In the insulated world of the hospital, it was so easy. There were nurses there to attend to your every need, and having them was a huge safety net. The hospital was very accommodating, and allowed us to room across the hall from Kelli. For the few days were were there, we were able to care for Jack together, and experience all of his firsts right there on the spot. We were really impressed with the hospital here.

This is one of my favorite first photos of my boys together. After we checked into the hotel, we were so completely exhausted. We spent Thursday and Friday just laying low, and getting to know each other. Jack is such a sweet baby, and very mild tempered. He squeaks a little bit when he needs something, and is very alert and aware. He started holding his head up almost from day one, and is very strong.

Today has been a busy day. The morning was spent finalizing some of the legal paperwork at the lawyers office, and this afternoon my sisters Eadie and Susan came to see us. They were so excited to be the first family members to get to see Jack! Above is a picture of Eadie with Jack. We spent the day eating and shopping- I'm still getting the hang of traveling and going on with daily activities with an infant in tow. The number of items that must be carried with you at all times is shocking! And forget about having any kind of timetable in mind. You better be prepared to stop whatever you are doing at any given moment to make a bottle, change a diaper, find a Paci, etc.

We had a nice experience yesterday when we attended church with Kelli, Jesse, and his family. They all attend the same ward together. Everyone was already pretty aware of the situation, and the plan to place Jack for adoption, so our presence there really wasn't a mystery to anyone. The ward members were very welcoming, and seem to be very supportive of Kelli, Jesse, and the whole family. We're really humbled that they've taken us under their wing while we are here, and that this has been such a positive experience. Not easy, but still positive I think. They love Jack very much, and we will always try our best to honor that. To have so many people love you can only be a good thing, right?

Again, we're sorry about the lack of posting. I know that some of you were worried that the absence of news meant that something might be wrong. Not at all. Things continue to progress, and at this point with all the paperwork signed we are just waiting for clearance to leave the state. We just don't know when that will be. Best case scenario would be Friday, but we're not that hopeful. In any case, we'll tell you when we are on our way back!

In the meantime, here's our first family photo:

The only thing problematic about having a very small infant, is that he makes you look like giants. ...Chubby ones. *sigh*


- Posted by Elisa using her awesome IPad

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

THREE kids and a minivan

Today has been a long day. True, it was only six hours of labor top to bottom, but I'm so tired. We got here about 8am, and they started Kelli on her Pitosin drip about 9am. She started having contractions pretty quickly after that, and about noon was begging for the epidural. They kept putting her off, saying that she wasn't far enough along yet, and they didn't want it to wear off. She tried to tell them over and over things were progressing faster than that. When the anesthesiologist showed up, she was only able to get half the epidural in before Kelli had to start pushing. Three big pushes and she was done. It all happened so fast, that I hardly remember the sequence. All I know is that when he came out, I started bawling. Hence, the red runny nose. I do remember being struck by how cute he was, right from the start. These pictures just don't do him justice.

Right now, I'm completely exhausted. I'll post more tomorrow, I promise. I'm still a little shell-shocked, but completely in love. Just the best day ever.


Posted by Elisa using her awesome IPad

Monday, March 7, 2011

Two Kids.. Day Six

Still waiting patiently. The doctor made his daily visit a little while ago, and has declared Kelli to be at 2 cm, and 50% effaced. The daily request to "get this kid out of me" was categorically denied, and we will proceed tomorrow as planned. They will start a Pitosin drip in the morning, and see where the day takes us.
Last night we spent a fun evening over at Jesse's parents house,with the whole family over. I realize that I don't mention Jesse very much, but that's more out of respect for his privacy than anything. He's been very involved these last months, and getting to know both of Jacks birthparents has been so valuable. We love them both, and look forward to an ongoing friendship with them, as well as the rest of the family. We know a lot of adoptive couples don't have this great of an experience with their birth family, so we know how blessed we are.
Right now I'm getting ready to wheel Kelli down to the gift shop for a change of scenery. After 8 days in the room, she's getting pretty squirrelly.
I'll let you know more later if anything changes today..


- Posted by Elisa using her awesome IPad

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Two kids.. Day Five

Again, nothing new to report. Sorry to keep you on pins and needles, but these kids have their own timetable. In spite of Kelli trying to bribe various nurses and doctors to hasten things along, they are still insisting on a Tuesday delivery. Here's a cute picture from an ultrasound the other day. You can really see Jack's face..

He's pretty darn cute, huh? Getting here a few days early has allowed us to spend a lot of time with Kelli and her family, and get our bearings here in town. The days are long for Kelli, being stuck on hospital best rest, but the perks are good. Prenatal massage a couple times a week, and even extra insulin so she can eat some chocolate cake. No table necessary.

Even Daron has found his place in this world- a quiet place in the corner, "working" on his laptop. Tomorrow will be spent running some last minute errands, and getting ready for the big day.

If you would like to be on the email distribution on Tuesday, please let me know. Even better, post your email address in the comments section so I don't have to go track them all down in my distracted state. Thanks for all the nice texts and notes of encouragement. Talk to you tomorrow!

-Posted by Elisa using her awesome IPad

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Two Kids... Day Four

Today will be a light news day, folks. We spent the better portion of yesterday at the hospital keeping Kelli company. She's still on bedrest because of her seizures, and isn't allowed to do much. We have a definite date for inducing, and that will be Tuesday. That is, if she doesn't go into labor on her own these next couple days. In the meantime, we are spending time with the family and Daron is getting to know everyone a little better. If you remember, I had the benefit of meeting everyone back in the fall, so I'm a little more familiar.

For today, it's back to the hospital. And for those asking- no, it still doesn't seem real!


Friday, March 4, 2011

Two kids.. Day 3

As I type this, we have literally just crossed over the border into Iowa. We stopped short of our goal last night because 1. We were tired, and 2. We were hungry. Barnes's don't do well with hunger. Yesterday was a long day, with 4 states under our belt. WV, OH, IN, and IL. Traffic was light, no major delays anywhere, and the weather was nice! A couple things that we learned on day two:
1. IPAD invaluable. Turns out that AT&T does have a cap on the amount of bandwidth they will let you suck in two days, but for a nominal fee this can be corrected.
2. The Midwest is flat as all get-out. No lie, the minute we descended down from The mountains of WV (gorgeous), Ohio loomed ahead like a corn field covered pancake. Truthfully, I find wide open spaces comforting, having grown up in the desert. Daron on the other hand, was alternately fascinated and unnerved by it.
3. Why does gas have to be so $$$$$? Seriously, we topped off our 1/2 empty tank somewhere, and it was $47. This is going to add up fast!
4. Flooding. Everywhere. The heavy snowfalls this year have really contributed to the spring run-off. Banks are breeched pretty much everywhere we look.
5. West Virginia- nuclear and coal power plants everywhere. Very strange to be winding around a scenic country road, and then BOOM. Nuclear power plant. I didn't see Homer Simpson anywhere, so WV must be in good hands.
6.Xenia, OH: self proclaimed bicycle capital of the US. Not sure what makes them so, just that their water tower informs the world of this fact. Nope, didn't see a single bicycle.
7. Richmond, IN: not sure what to make of this, but maybe the church with the biggest cross wins? Use the car in the picture as perspective.

8. Almost as a flashback from my childhood, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that campgrounds still exist. Mostly KOAs, but still. That tradition of my youth is still alive, and being enjoyed here in the Midwest. Ask me about the tornado at the KOA in Kearney, NE someday.
9. Ahhh rednecks. I've discovered that being a redneck isn't geographically dependent. It's more of a lifestyle, really.
10. Daron will still sing "Sweet Child of Mine" with as much enthusiasm as he did in High School. The thing about that is this: only Axl Rose can sing like Axl Rose. Everyone else just sounds like a 9 year old girl. A whiny one.

That's all for now folks. We're about an hour away from Cedar Rapids, where the story will really get rolling. Daron will meet Kelli and the family for the first time, and I know they will adore him. Who wouldn't?

Posted by Elisa using her awesome IPad

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Two kids and a minivan.. day one

Indulge me for a moment as I make a random observation. There's something very strange about driving a borrowed mini-van, chock full of baby items that you have no idea how to use, to a state and town that you are not familiar with, to undergo a life changing experience that nobody could adequately prepare you for. On the other hand, there is something VERY exciting about an adventure that not very many people get to experience, travelled at a leisurely pace with your very best friend and partner in crime. To be able to blog remotely from a highway in rural West Virginia is also pretty darn cool. Keep that 3G rolling AT&T!

So to get everyone up to speed, we are making our way to Iowa in anticipation of Jack's arrival. Kelli has been suffering with seizures that her doctors have not been able to get under control. There was a period of time yesterday when we thought she would be induced last night. There was some concern from the doctor that Jack's lungs might not be quite ready. Results of an amnio confirmed this, so the decision was made to put off inducing for a few days, and buy Jack a little time. This bought US valuable time as well, and we are hopefully no longer in danger of missing his birth! In the meantime, Kelli is on bed rest at the hospital, and we are trying to see how many G's Grady's minivan can pull on the open road. Don't worry, we're merely getting it out of our system before the state of Iowa expects us to be grownups worthy and capable of caring for another human being.
A couple of shots before blowing town:

Yep, it's a Sheetz cup. Seriously? A road trip without Sheetz? NEVERRR. This will become problematic come potty time, but hey. We will cross that bridge somewhere in rural West Virginia.

For the record, Daron is killing me at the animals/graveyard game, but I'm holding my own at the license plate game.


- Posted by Elisa using her awesome IPad

Monday, February 28, 2011

Were still here...

Jack continues to do great, and is growing at a good steady rate. Kelli is currently 37 weeks along, and is NOT doing great. She still struggles with her gestational diabetes, and went to the hospital last night with seizures. Alarming, yes. But apparently not alarming enough to her doctor to hasten a delivery. They are keeping her in the hospital for a couple of days to see what happens. They will be monitoring Jack's heart rate, Kelli's blood pressure, and will try to get her blood sugar better regulated while they're at it. Poor girl has been such a trooper through all this! A few extra prayers on her behalf couldn't hurt. We will let you know when we leave town...


- Posted by Elisa using her awesome IPad

Monday, February 21, 2011

If you throw a man a shower...

... He will likely come home with some fairly random gift offerings. I have to say though, I was pleasantly surprised at what these boys came up with. True, the gifts mainly arrived in the plastic bag they were purchased in, but the variety was amazing. Take a look, and then I'll point out some favorites...

There's a great selection of sports items, trucks, cars, even ear plugs for Dad! One of my personal favorites:

Yep, Jack's first bullets. It will be a while before he's old enough- at least two or three years by Daron's estimation. But really, is it ever too early to start stockpiling ammunition?

I will admit, at first glance I thought these were for real. I haven't spent any time perusing the Gerber aisle, so naturally I assumed that baby food had improved leaps and bounds over the years. Who wouldn't want to expose their kids early on to the joys of Twinkies and Hot Wings? I'd say that the man who made these must have had a lot of free time, but I happen to know that he doesn't. Thanks Ken for the laughs. I'm going to keep these around as a conversation piece.

Got camouflage? We sure do! My boys will be trekking through the woods in style with these great outfits. Not that you'd ever see them. People asked Daron if I was ok with my child wearing camouflage. Sure thing! You won't see me wearing it, but it really is sort of a Barnes boy tradition. In moderation, of course. No camo at church.

What else went down at the shower? Not really sure because I was forbidden from crashing. I heard rumors of great food, lots of Xbox, and scads of guys talking about guy things, and generally eschewing all things feminine and proper. Quote of the night: "We're not doing that, this is a MAN shower!"

Posted by Elisa using her awesome IPad