Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Flagstaff Trip

We were home for two weeks after we visited Utah.  During that time Katie participated in the Zoo Day Camp, which she absolutely loved.  What kid doesn’t enjoy going to the zoo every day and getting behind the scenes tours?  Definitely recommended for any Burquenos reading the blog.  Paul just missed the age cutoff (story of his life thus far), but he was able to participate in a pond day camp that one of my friends put on.  So after our two weeks of semi-recuperation, we headed off to Flagstaff to spend a week with Aaron’s family.

Apparently I was pretty bad at taking pictures on this trip as well, but I do have some highlights.

Slide Rock, my very favorite.  More fun when you’re not pregnant, but really, what isn’t.







Hiking in the lava tubes.  Averi and I opted out of this one.  I wasn’t really interested in being hunched over for two miles, and I knew it would be too tough for Averi.  Katie and Paul had a great time with the rest of the family, though.




Connie threw a very early birthday party for the three kids, since we wouldn’t be with the whole family before birthday season began.



Cutest Tinkerbell I’ve ever seen.  She also got a Jasmine and a Rapunzel dress.  If you know Averi, you know that those are the best presents EVER.


Some more knights and an awesome dragon to go with his collection.



Katie got the American Girl doll Kanani.  I’m living vicariously through her.  I wanted Samantha SO BAD.  But at least my kids can get one.  We’ve loved dressing her up and having tea parties.





We have our own Star Wars Kid (except ours is the right age).  He was performing moves all night.  He loves his light saber so much that it needs to be confiscated about every other day.


Averi brushing “Tangled’s” hair.  Does anyone else’s kids call characters by the name of the movie they’re in?  For the longest time, Woody was Toy Story, every Star Wars character is a Star War, Simba is Lion King, and Rapunzel is Tangled.  And by the time Averi got through with her beauty treatment, she certainly lived up to her name.


Matching girls and dolls.  Does it get more adorable? 

We visited Walnut Canyon and saw the cliff dwellings there.  It’s amazing how well preserved some of them are.



There was an arts festival on Saturday, so we went and did some browsing and shopping.  While there, we got to go into a little petting zoo that they had.  If you know me well, you would know that I was in seventh heaven because they had GOATS!  Is there anything cuter than a baby goat?  These goats were the sweetest things ever.  If we had the space, I would have taken one home with me in a heartbeart.  I loved them.  The kids did as well, especially Averi.


This was a big deal.  Katie is NOT an animal person.  She’s quite skittish.  But she did very well with all of them and even pet the pig.





This one loved Averi.  Many goat kisses were given.




One day I will have goats.  One day.

There were other things we didn’t get pictures of.  The boys and Abby all hiked the Grand Canyon while the rest of the girls and kids shopped in Sedona (not the original plan; this was the backup since our car keys somehow wound up halfway down the Grand Canyon when it was time for us to leave for Williams to take the train).  We managed to get the train mess sorted out and rescheduled, so the next day Connie, Kerry, Adam and Julie took the kids on the train to the Grand Canyon while we were at Walnut Canyon.  They had a great time, though the loud guns of the “train robbers” scared them.  We visited the Arboretum, took the kids swimming, and did some shopping in downtown Flagstaff.  Everyone had a great trip.  Thanks so much, Connie and Kerry!  We love you!

Some thoughts on child rearing, tolerance, and respect

Sounds deep, no?

A friend posted the following article on Facebook, and for some reason I’ve been dwelling on this all morning. I’m sure it’s because I’m hormonal and only 3 weeks from giving birth, but I thought that perhaps airing my thoughts on this matter would let it die in my mind.

“Offending” article: The no-kids allowed movement is spreading

For those that don’t have the time or inclination to read the article, the summary is this: Airplanes, restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, movie theaters, and even outdoor areas are banning children, and it seems that the majority of the public couldn’t be happier about it.

Actually, I have no issue with banning children from places they are not welcome. I, as a parent, would much rather know that my children are not tolerated and take them someplace they are welcome. If a hotel is not child-friendly, I want to know about it. If I’m going to get an eyeroll from every server that walks past my table, I want to eat somewhere else. If there are going to be activities that are not child-appropriate going on, I want to know and take them someplace safe.

There are plenty of places that are appropriate for or even aimed at children. Disney, Costco, Chili’s, summer movies at the theater: I’m talking about you. If I want to take my kids somewhere, I’m going there. If I want to go out to a late movie or to a nice restaurant, I’m hiring a babysitter.

So, on the surface it would seem that I have no problem with the article. But I do. And the 12,000+ comments make it even more obvious what my real issue is. People have no idea how hard it is to be a parent and have zero respect for the role of families.

Sure, there are parents out there who are rude and oblivious and who have no clue that their little darlings appear as hellions to everyone else. But in my experience, that’s not the norm. The fact is, kids are kids. Their self-control is poor and their judgement is usually worse. They do stupid things. They get frustrated. They cry—sometimes for no perceivable reason. A parent’s job is to teach them how to control themselves and how to exercise better judgement.

When we had a dog (so very, very glad that is in the past tense!), I did a lot of research about training. A dog cannot be trained in only one environment. He needs to be taken to new places and have new experiences to learn how to behave in all sorts of conditions. No matter how well your dog can sit at home, he often cannot translate that to different environments if he is not exposed to those environments and trained there. There is a reason guide dogs are brought to every conceivable setting to be trained.

Like it or not, training a child is very much like training a dog. A child who never leaves home will never know how to behave outside of the home. How is a child supposed to learn what manners and behaviors are appropriate for a restaurant if she has never been to one? How will a child learn how to sit through a quiet meeting if he’s never been expected to do so? As a parent, part of your job is to expose your child to new situations. And that’s where the trouble begins.

One commenter to the article mentioned that he had no respect for parents who let their kids cry in a store without leaving. I would have laughed if I wasn’t so annoyed. Who HASN’T had a kid that has had a meltdown in a store? Kids do that. And trust me, even though we may be trying to be stoic and stone-faced, it’s mortifying. But a parent faces only a few options: 1. Do anything to make the kid shut up. Not usually a good plan. This generally involves acquiescing to whatever demand the child is making at the time, which is leads to the brats everyone claims to hate. 2. Shout at kid and/or smack them. Again, not a good plan. 3. Leave store immediately. Sounds good in theory, but not always practical. If it is practical, do it. It saves everyone a lot of headaches. But sometimes you really do have to buy those groceries. And so leaving a full cart unceremoniously parked in an aisle is not always an option. I’ve done it in the past, but it’s generally not something I’m willing/able to do. 4. Try to reason with child. Ha. Anyone tried reasoning with a 2-year-old lately while they’re in the middle of a tantrum? 5. Ignore child so you don’t reward him with your attention and get out of there as quick as you can. This is generally what happens. Grab the milk and the bread and run to the nearest cash register.

Now, if I’m crazy (and I frequently am) and out pleasure shopping with my adorable minions in tow, I will leave if someone acts up, and they know it. There’s seldom a reason you HAVE to be at Gap. But if I choose to finish my grocery shopping with a crying child, it doesn’t make me a bad parent or my children brats. It means that I’m desperate, embarrassed, and in a hurry.

I’ve found that people who are intolerant towards children generally fall into two demographics: those who have never raised children and those who have but seem to have forgotten what it’s like. This second group is usually at least in their 50s and usually women. These are the women who come up to your nine-month-old, grab her feet (which neither cold nor hot), and say in a sickly adorable voice, “Oh, poor baby! Your feet are freezing! You should tell your mommy that you need socks on!” Mommy then pulls out the sock from her pocket which she has put on and picked up off the floor no less than seven times in five minutes. Annoying lady shakes her head, thinking something about how incompetent mothers are these days and how when she was raising kids, her baby would have been well-mannered enough to keep her socks on.

Not helpful.

Essentially, the solution to the problem is two-fold: respect and tolerance. Parents, be respectful of others. Don’t take an over-tired 3-year-old to a 10pm showing of Eclipse. Don’t look the other way while your child runs amok in a restaurant. Don’t go out if you know your child is likely to have a meltdown. Don’t push their limits more than you absolutely have to. Apologize to other (if appropriate) for your children’s misbehavior.

People without young children, be tolerant. Being a parent of young kids is hard. Very, very hard. Parents aren’t perfect. Kids aren’t perfect. But in general, we are trying. I will be forever grateful to strangers who have helped me out in awkward situations. I wanted to kiss the lady on the plane who entertained Averi for 30 minutes with the mirror from her purse. Another kiss nearly went to the security guard who found my lost child and didn’t make me feel like a bad parent, even when it was obvious I hadn’t realized she was even missing. Although the eyerolls and condescending remarks seem to outnumber the kindnesses, I remember the good things more. Strangers can make a world of difference.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Busy-ness

Warning: epic post.  If I didn’t get it all in, it would never get done.

I’ve been so extremely busy lately, and I’ve finally got a night where I don’t really have anything I HAVE to get done for the next day.  Sure, my bathrooms have been sorely neglected.  My floors should be vacuumed.  I’ve got a dozen unfinished projects going on right now now.  But I don’t have to do any of it, so I’m not going to.

Here are some of the things we’ve been up to this summer:

Trip to Utah

Speaking on gardening for the meeting formerly known as enrichment

Zoo day camp for Katie

Pond day camp for Paul

Finishing the patio

Party to celebrate finished patio

Trip to Flagstaff

Swimming lessons for all kids

T-ball for Paul

Pioneer day camp

Prepping for a garage sale

Plus you have all the everyday fun, like doctor’s appointments (not so fun), birthday celebrations (Aaron’s was in July and Katie’s is coming up in a few weeks), holiday celebrations, etc.  I love summer, but it is a busy time of year.  I’m sure it feels even more busy because we’re trying to cram everything in before this baby comes in less than a month.

I haven’t been very good about taking pictures lately.  I think it’s because my hands have been so full that carrying around a camera was just one more headache.  Here are some highlights from our trip to Utah:

Sunday, May 29: Baby Emily’s blessing.  Already shared those pictures.  And since then, she’s started rolling over!  They grow so fast!

Monday, May 30: Memorial day.  We had planned a swimming party, but the weather was so terrible almost the entire time we were there, so swimming never happened.  We just ate yummy food and hung out instead.

Tuesday, May 31: Went to Fetal Fotos and found out we were having a baby girl.  Third time’s the charm, apparently!  Went up to Park City to see where my parents are building their new condo and help them pick out their carpet and everything.

Wednesday, June 1: Trip to the aquarium.  I was surprised at how good the aquarium was.  It looked completely ghetto from the outside.  It’s in an old craft store, and there’s no landscaping at all.  But the inside was a pleasant surprise.  The favorite was definitely the penguins (no pictures of that exhibit; too dark).  We also had the chance to participate in sealings at the temple with my parents while Aaron’s parents took the kids to a movie.


Thursday, June 2: Ikea outing.  Love that place.  I think if I could pick just one store to come to ABQ, it would be Ikea.  Capped off the day with a trip to Leatherby’s for an enormous ice cream sundae.  I miss Utah ice cream, and most especially their shakes.  There are no good shakes in Albuquerque.  It’s sad when the best you can do is Chick-Fil-A.  We make sure to get more than our fill of shakes every time we visit.

Friday, June 3: Grandpa Barnes took Katie to the zoo.  He asked each child to pick out something special they wanted to do with Grandpa, and then they each had a date with him.  I really think that this was the highlight of their trip.  They got one-on-one time, which can be scarce around these parts, and they got to do things that Mom and Dad (the meanies that we are) never let them do, like ride the train or buy something at the souvenir shop.  In the evening they kids all spent the night with the Jorgensens while Aaron and I went on a date, another thing that has been scarce around here.

Saturday, June 4: We had time to kill in the morning, so we decided to go on a little “hike” up Butterfield Canyon.  Unfortunately, they had blocked off almost all the trails, so it wound up being a really little hike along a paved road.  The kids loved it though.  We ended the day with dinner at Pat’s BBQ.




My goofy family.  I love them!


Paul went with Grandpa Barnes to a Real Salt Lake soccer game and to Cold Stone.  The soccer game was cool, but it paled in comparison to Cold Stone.  When Paul was asked what he wanted to do for his special day, his answer was, “Go to that place where they smash up brownies and put them in ice cream.”  So Cold Stone it was.  The game was an extra bonus, since simply going to Cold Stone seemed a little small to Grandpa B when matched against Katie’s zoo trip.  I tried to convince Dad that really, all he wanted was the ice cream and he was going to be thrilled with just that.  However, my dad didn’t have any boys, so he missed out on all the fun manly outings, so he was going to take advantage of having his oldest grandson in town and go see something sporty.  They had a blast.

Monday, June 6:  We visited the children’s museum at Gateway with my mom, Kiera, Heather and her kids, and Julie and her niece.  They loved it all.  It’s a great place to let them run around and just play to their heart’s content.





Paul’s about to start sobbing here on the rock climbing wall.  He was just fine going up, but coming down petrified him.


This bowling ball simulator was Brayden’s favorite.  He would not get off no matter what other fun things were offered.  I loved watching the faces he made every time the ball crashed into the pins.




Being part of the Life Flight team.

Averi also got to have her date with Grandpa that evening.  When you’re two, life’s pleasures are very simple.  All she wanted to do was make chocolate cupcakes with Grandpa.  She still brings up her special “date” at least once a week.





As if the day hadn’t been fun enough, we went to the Classic Fun Center to play on the bouncy castles.  One adult could go in with the kids, and Aaron was the chosen one.  He’s the best at that sort of thing.  He was more into doing the bouncy obstacle course than the kids were, and he was pretty impressive, if I do say so myself.  There was one type of bouncy structure that I had never seen before.  The kids would sit on something that looked like a mushroom, and Aaron would jump on it and send them flying.  It was awesome.  He soon had other kids asking him to bounce them, but breaking our own kids’ necks is one thing; doing it to someone else’s kids is quite another.DSC_4070

This is the crazy mushroom thing.  Unfortunately, I got no good pictures of the flying.


Crazed and red-eyed Aaron running through the obstacle course.  He’ll probably be annoyed that I put this up, but I think it’s great.  Love you, hon!

Tuesday, June 7: This was a chill-out day.  I did some shopping with my mom, and then we went swimming at the city pool in the afternoon.  Vacations need days like those.

Wednesday, June 8: Lagoon with the Jorgensens.  I thought I would be sad that I couldn’t really go on any of the rides, but I had a surprisingly good time hanging out with Averi in the kiddie section.  There were tons of little rides she could go on, and it was pretty deserted, so we had hardly any waits.  She was hilarious to watch.  Let’s just say that she’s not extremely brave.  Bulgy the Whale, which is about the most innocuous ride in the world, terrified her.  She refused to look up even once and just buried her head.  Then she insisted that we go on it four more times (none of which involved her looking).



Ah, Bulgy.  I have at least 15 pictures of her cowering in fear on this ride.  I laugh every time I see them.




The cowering didn’t work as well on this ride, since she could see the bottom.


But she claimed to like every ride once it was over.  We took her on the log flume, and the drop at the end petrified her.  After that, we went on the river rapids (the one with the round tubes where everyone gets soaked).  We made it through the ride just fine and then we got on the ramp that pulls the tube up to the loading platform.  Paul said, “Oh no!  It’s another drop!” and Averi began screaming.  She seriously tried to climb overboard and abandon ship.  There was no convincing her that there wasn’t a drop and Paul didn’t know what he was talking about.  She only calmed down once we were safely on dry land.


These boats were more her speed, although she wouldn’t loosen her grip on the steering wheel to even try to ring the bell.


Katie with her Aunt Julie.

Thursday, June 9: Aaron and I took the kids down to Temple Square.  We did one of the visitor’s centers, took a tour of the Church Office Building, and had lunch at the Beehive House.




View of the state capitol from the top of the Church Office Building.


We had specifically gone down to Temple Square that day because we knew it was the 100th anniversary of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building/Hotel Utah and we had heard that there were going to be some events taking place.  When we arrived at the JSMB, we learned that the Tabernacle Choir was going to be singing and President Monson was going to be there to perform a ribbon cutting.  So we stayed and watched the Joseph Smith movie they had playing and then went upstairs to wait.  It turned out that the person who told us the times of the events was wrong, and beyond that, they were running behind schedule.  So we had three starving, bored, out of control kids to manage in a hot, crowded room that was standing-room-only.  We should have bailed and left, but we insanely stuck it out.  I’m not quite sure why, although we did have cupcakes at the end.




We loved all the ladies and men in period dress.  The kids got a kick out of the hats.


Friday, June 10:  Katie and Paul went on a sleepover with Grandma J to Thanksgiving Point in the dinosaur museum and had a great time.  Averi had a sleepover with Grandpa J, which meant that we had the evening off.  We had a little dinner party with my sister and her family, Ashley, and some old friends.  We played minute to win it games, and it was quite interesting to see who was the most adept at working an oreo off their forehead and into their mouth without using their hands.  Let’s just say that it wasn’t me.




Saturday, June 11: We had Aaron’s 10-year mission reunion.  He served in Lithuania in the Baltic States mission.  He was able to meet up with some good friends, and fortunately there were some people that I knew as well.  The kids love the air gun that shot candy out and the miniature airplane that dumped candy in random places all over the park.  I was quite impressed at how well it was organized.  We got lost getting to the park, and we ran across some of the most beautiful houses with stunning views.  Let’s just say I know where I would look for houses when our ship comes in.


The ones that served in Lithuania


Our cute family

Sunday, June 12: We drove home.  Everyone was so worn out by Saturday night.  This is what we found when we woke up Sunday morning:


It’s a good thing we were going home to get some real rest.