Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas card and letter 2009

We sent some of these in the mail, but missed some family and friends so I thought I would post it here along with our letter. Jake came to me one week before Christmas and said, "I think we should do a Christmas card and letter." Seriously dude a little heads up would be nice! I thought we just weren't going to do one this year, but I am glad we did. You see I have a love hate relationship with Christmas cards/letters---I love to get them, but don't necessarily love to put them together to send them out, especially since my master mailing list was on our previous hard drive so I had to start from scratch! Also I don't like sending out things telling people how great we think we are or how perfect our children are, because we all know that is the furthest from the truth....ok maybe my kids are semi-perfect :) hopefully our letter didn't come across that way. Jake really chipped in and was kind enough to write the letter and I hurried and ordered cards so we could try to get them out before Christmas. If we missed you we are sorry, and if you would like one sent to you via mail next year, leave me your address so you can be added to the mailing list :)
I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas and has a wonderful New Year!!!

Merry Christmas! December 2009
We hope that this letter finds you and your family enjoying the holidays and celebrating a successful passing of 2009! Indeed we have enjoyed 2009, and are looking forward to a great 2010! The biggest thing that has happened to our little family in 2009....remains the biggest thing in our family! THE TATER-BUG!!! "And in the blue corner...weighing in at 9 lbs at his introduction on earth, March 4, 2009....Tate Speed Barben!!" (Middle name after his Grandpa who is nicknamed "Speed.") With a rough start in the NICU, our little champ fought hard and 9 months later has come back with a bang! Currently weighing in at 2 lbs and sporting 18 month clothes...yes...for those of you who did the math there, he is twice the size he should be and commonly receives comments such as "Good Heavens, he's a tank" or "What are you feeding this kid?" Perhaps its the weight he carries, perhaps his older sister steals his thunder, whatever the cause he is the easiest and happiest baby ever. Seriously, if we would have had him first we would be ruined for life! He is quick to smile and loves to snuggle. He loves his Jumparoo, which is great because he needs the workout...although in reality it's the Jumparoo getting the real workout! They don't make bungees that strong! He loves our chocolate lab Bree; it is a common thing to see the two of them snuggled up n the front room floor together while Tate plays with her hair. I think the feeling is mutual on both sides; our lab is so tender with him and fun to watch. Tate is sitting up now, jabbering like crazy, and of course with the most obvious...eating anything and everything that gets in front of him! That said, his favorite thing of all is playing with his older sister is so fun to see them interact and giggle at each other, obviously this won't always be the case so we are enjoying it while it lasts!

Abby is now 3, potty trained, and becoming such a big girl! Honestly there are days that Allison and I are just amazed at her growth and personality development. It is truly an honor and privilege to be a witness to our children's lives. For those of you who know Abby personally, you know that "calm" isn't in her vocabulary. She has two speeds: 100 mph or asleep. Her mind works so quickly and she is full of questions about everything we do and see, she truly never stops going! We love her to death and hope that she continues to always have a desire to learn new things. She is without question the comedy in our home. I could finish this letter with one-liners and anecdotal stories about her easily, but you can find all of that on our blog or Facebook instead. She has developed a true love of music and it is common to hear her singing constantly throughout the day. She has also been taking dance lessons and loves it. Her favorite thing to do however is play dress up. She has several princess costumes that she must try on 3-4 times per day, and she never forgets to accessorize with earrings, necklaces and bracelets, followed with, "How do I look?" However, despite her "girly" nature, she also loves to go on rides with Dad on the Rhino and she is the first to greet Dad when he returns from hunting to say, "Whatcha get Dad?" She shares my love of the outdoors and the wildlife in it. We took several trips to the mountains this year together, seat-belted into her seat on the Rhino, it wasn't uncommon to do 100 miles in a day with her. She loved it, just as long as there was licorice, juice, and high speeds everything was peachy!

As for Allison and I , we have spent the year just enjoying the heck out of our kids. We did a lot of family things together this year including camp outs, boating, trips to southern Utah and California, long Rhino rides through Utah's mountains and more. It has been so much fun. Allison has really developed her talent for cooking this year and has experimented with several things, and I must say I have been very impressed with what she has come up with! She is a great cook, which is important because I love being the taste tester! She works from home in the evenings as a medical transcriptionist and has also been involved with daily activities with Abby and Tate. They have play dates and visit parks, libraries, museums, the zoo, and go swimming together while I am at work. Although I would love to join them, I am grateful for a wife that is determined to share experiences with our children. I know that it has its challenges, but it is important to her so she does it. I am still working for Marketstar, and grateful to have work at all. Today's economic situation has not been kind to some of our close friends so we count our blessings every day that we have work at all. This year has been one of travel for me personally. Work has taken me many places, and though it presents its challenges while I am away, it has also given me some perspective on the world and makes me grateful for what I have at home and the lifestyle I have chosen. When work isn't keeping me busy, the Young Men's program in our ward have. With Sunday morning meetings, Wednesday activities, fundraisers, camp outs, service projects, Court of Honors, and many other things, there is never a dull moment for me when I am not working. That said, I wouldn't trade it for the world. My Young Men have taught me far more than I could ever teach them.

May we all remember our Savior as we celebrate his birth and try to be more like him in this coming year. We love and think of you often! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

---The Barbens

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tate has a tooth!

I know you haven't heard from us in a while and I will post my year in review wrap up soon, so I won't be completely lame and worthless in the blogging department this year, but I wanted to document that our little Tatter got a tooth! He was kind of having a hard day yesterday and I thought it was because he was coming down with something because normally the kid is an angel. So today Jake was feeding him and I don't know what made him check, but he calls to me and says, "Hey honey, Tate got a tooth!" I was thinking, "No way" because Abby didn't get her first two teeth until she was 13 months old, but sure enough I went and felt in Tate's mouth and he has a tooth cutting through. I can't believe my baby boy is 9 months old.....seriously it is so weird to think that last year at this time we only had one child and I was pregnant, and now I can't imagine our family without our Tater bug....he is the best!

What would a post be without a cute picture, soon Tate will have a toothy grin! (I love Abby's smile in the way, she is quite the hilarious 3-year-old these days.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tate loves the jumperoo!

I know I have been a slacker with blogging lately, and I have a lot to blog about with pics of everything that we did this summer, but I wanted to put this video on of Tate in his Jumperoo. We put him in it last week and after a few times, he started to get it. He will be 6 months in a week and a half, and I can't believe it! He is wearing 6-9 month old outfits, and even some 12 month outfits. He has been so fun and lovable!

p.s. the picture quality isn't great because it came off Jake's cell phone, and if you listen closely you can hear Tate squeal as he is jumping.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


As much as I don't want to, we have come to realize that our family needs a 4-door truck so we are selling our wonderful Pacifica. Check out this link if you are interested because it's a fantastic car, and I would love to see it go to someone that will take good care of it, plus if we know you we'll make you a good deal!

Here are all of the details on it, and I have posted some pics below:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Warning: Long and slightly sentimental post ahead:)

I think my life is better because of the men that have played "father figures" in it. Not only was I so blessed to have an amazing father of my own, but my husband was raised by an exceptional father, and my own hubby is truly a wonderful Dad, so I wanted to give a brief shout out to them. Here are some things that I love about them, and some pics to enjoy.
My Dad:
I have to admit, I think I have always been a Daddy's girl at heart, and my dad is just the greatest! My sisters and I always say that my Dad was the perfect Dad for raising girls. He was hard and firm when he needed to be, but tender and loving with us, and seriously the man has more patience then anyone I know, he would have to be living with a house full of 7 crazy women! My Dad taught me to work hard, and not be afraid to take on tasks. We didn't have brothers so we were expected to do everything that boys could do without any complaining i.e., mow the lawn and other yard work, shovel snow, paint the house, move things that were hard and heavy (he taught us how to work together to get a job done) and my favorite..... home improvement projects. We hung sheet rock, sanded walls, and re-roofed our house with our Dad, and when people would volunteer to help us he would say, "I've got my girls to do it!" ( we would've liked the help!) My Dad taught me to be honest, and to be Christ-like and non-judgemental, and more than anything to have a sense of humor about life and know that everything will work out for the best. I remember multiple talks where I would be crying to him about what was going on in my life and he always gave me the best advice! He still does give great advice actually, and he still worries about us and wants to help us, most times I can call him if I need help and he will drop what he is doing and come to my rescue.
I also love the fact that my Dad works close by to where we live so he will stop by and check in with us during the week while I'm at home with the kids. He has a special knock and when he knocks on the door with his special knock Abby squeals and says "Papa!" My Dad is a total sucker for his grandkids too, and will pretty much give them whatever they want, here in this picture Abby wanted to be pushed on the swings which she always wants help with, and my nice Dad went out and pushed her for awhile until it got too hot. I love you Dad, thanks for everything!

Jake's Dad:
The best thing about Scott is he is always happy. He is very personable and easy to talk to. When he sees me he always says, "How's my favorite gal today?" or "Has anyone told you that they love you today?" He is always up for a fun night of hanging out with us, and he always makes us laugh. We love to go camping with him, and I think it's great that Jake and his Dad share a love of the outdoors together. Scott is a very hard worker and taught Jake that if he wanted something, he had to work for it. He taught Jake how to lay concrete and restore 3-wheelers so that he could earn money for his own 3 wheeler and other things he wanted while growing up. They worked hard together and played hard together.

According to Jake his Dad was the perfect Dad for him because he let Jake know what was expected of him, and gave him the freedom to make choices for himself. One time when Jake was younger he snuck out of the house to be with his friends, and when he got back home there was a note on his bed with the simple quote, "The measure of a man is defined by what he does when he thinks no one is looking." I am grateful for the things my husband learned from his father, and for how kind Scott has been to me. One of the nicest things he always says to me is, "I'm so glad you married my son." What he doesn't know is I am just as glad I married into a great family!

My Hubby:
I know that this post will be embarrassing for my husband to read but I want to write down some of my favorite things about him, especially how he is as a father. I always knew Jake would be a good Dad even before we had kids because he was always willing to take the time to play with my nieces and nephews. His favorite thing to teach them was "Who's your favorite?" and they would enthusiastically reply, "Uncle Jake!" Lately my favorite thing has been just watching Jake interact with our kids. Even though Tate is small he still tries to interact and talk to him and get great smiles out of him and then Tate will kick like crazy and coo at him.

Of course Abby is a big fan of her Daddy, so I am pretty low on the priority list with her and whenever she wakes up in the middle of the night and is crying, the first thing she says is, "I snuggle Daddy." She gets so excited when she hears his truck pull up or when she hears the garage door because she knows he's home, she squeals and puts her hands up to her face and yells, "My Daddy's home!" One of Abby's favorite things is to have Jake tell her bedtime stories which is good because I am really lame in that department. He sits on her bed and tells her the Three Bears or Three Little Pigs and does funny voices and actions with her. Whenever Jake goes outside to work in the garage or mow the lawn Abby has to be with her Dad, like his little shadow.
Jake loves to have fun and is so optimistic about life. I am grateful for the help he gives me as a parent, how hard he works for our family, and for the good example he is. I love you Jake, Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Quick question for all of you out there

Jake bought me a fancy Cannon digital SLR camera for Christmas and I have still yet to really capitalize on using it to take great pics and see all the cool things it can do. I have taken a a lot of photos with it but I don't think they have turned out that great because I don't have a photo editing program like Photoshop or anything. I always see pics on other people's blogs and wonder how they get their pics to look so nice and polished. Plus I hear that some photo editing programs can help in doing digital scrapbook type stuff, so I just don't know what to get.

SO.... I am putting my question out into the great blogsphere for help: If you use a photo editing program, which one do you use and why? Also how much did you pay for it and do you think that it was worth what you paid and/or in hindsight do you wish you would have gotten another program?

Any comments and suggestions you can leave me would help me tremendously.......Thanks!