Monday, June 30, 2008

Mike's Letter 6/30/08

Man! You're right. I needed a haircut. President didn't say anything though, he usually doesn't the first contact, but if it's not improved 2nd contact he rails ya. I was going to get one the day they sent us to nauvoo. It's really short now though. I had an elder in charleston cut it. It looks pretty good I'm just not used to super short. Nauvoo was bunches of fun though. Anyway, Paris pretty good. I think president might be trying to develope me into a leader. We had interviews and he said I'm here to get the town moving a little bit. He said I did a good job in canton and he wants similar goings here. The reason I think he's readying me for leadership is cause he told me my companion needs a good example of work. He said that's a huge compliment to me of his trust im my strength as a worker. My comp is kind of a follower. I could flounder time and he probably wouldn't say anything. He's a really good kid though. We just go work and he doesn't complain, He probably enjoys it more than the guilt you feel when you waste time. I've been getting complimented too much lately. It makes me nervous.I swear I'm not as good as people pretend. When I get so many I think of all my faults and feel bad. But, at the same time, it is that trust that motivates me to not let them down. :D Anyway, The days aren't very rewarding yet. We have like no investigators and we had one drop us on sunday. Elder skaggs says we have a lady that's as good as baptized but she's just hard to visit. She's diagnosed OCD and will not come to church if her skirt isn't squeaky clean and ready. She said we'll see her next week though. The reason he thinks she's good as baptized is cause she's always telling him the doctrine makes so much sense more so than any other she's ever heard. Plus, she's reading a bunch too. Good deal. We're getting Paris moving a little bit though we went out the other day on exchanges with the zone leaders and both companionships found like 3 follow-ups. It was good. When I first got here we only had 1 follow up. It makes me wonder how the previous elders went about doing the work. I'm guessing they had more than that in follow ups and just didn't write them down. Which is pretty frusterating. It's like starting the town up fresh when in reality elders have been here for quite a while. oh well. Just a minor complaint. It's better to remember about your own follow ups than just going by other peoples notes. Well, that's stuff family doens't need to hear :P HOw are you guys doing? pretty good? does the yard look real great for the 4th? I bet it's a little harder to prepare with the way dad is right now. Or is he fine? I don't know what all the treatments entail. He just told me a little bit about them. I pray for him and others though. That's good laura talked with nate. Her letter made it sound like they were getting married in a couple months: "we went here, then here, then here, in 48 hours! :D" That's cool she's getting good pals though. Nothing wrong with that. I haven't got a bike yet. I'm scared to drop so much money. the bike guys was like "what is your price range' I said "under 400" He said, you can't get a very great bike if your going to do a lot of riding for that much :(. My comp wants to go mountain biking on p-days so I want at least a pretty good one. But of course I'm crazy with money, purchases instill guilt on my soul so i don't know what to do. The mission home often has bikes of returning missionaries for sale but unluckily there are almost none right now. I might get a real real nice one and end up taking it home with me. :S it makes me nervous though. haha. I don't know that i need anything right now for a package but you can send me fruitsnacks if you want. haha! Man! remember when you said "good,better,best" talk by elder oaks was an instant classic? You were right. I've heard it so many freaking times on my mission already that it's getting old. Sorry to say. I guess people, especially the adults in the church need it. I really have had like 6-7 lessons on it in 4 months! woo-ie. Anyway. Just thought I'd tell you you were right. I'm out of material. See you later!
-Elder Barlow-

Friday, June 27, 2008

Watership Down

There is a lot of wildlife around UC Merced. We have ground squirrels, regular squirrels, chimpmunks, egrets, herons, bobcats, and bunny rabbits. The bunnies are my favorite. They are really little. Even as adults, they are about as big as you would expect a baby bunny to be. An adult could cup them in both of their hands. The babies that are around in the spring are so tiny that a little child could cup them in their hands.

After overcoming my fear that they might all be rabid (lasting effects of working at CDC) I decided to work on figuring out how close I could get to them. I didn't have much luck until I got a pair of sunglasses. I didn't get them to help me better approach bunnies, but it has made the biggest difference. I think that since the bunnies can't see your eyes, they think that you aren't looking at them. Then as long as you don't walk directly towards them, they don't think that you pose any threat to them so you can get quite close.

If I were a bunny, I would want to live at UC Merced too. There is a big hill right next to a pond that is absolutely riddled with bunny holes. It seems like a scenic place to live and there is a lot of grass and clover all around. I have watched them eat the clover and unlike Thumper, they seem to prefer the green part to the blossums... but maybe they are just responsible.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Michael's letter 06.23.08

Hey folks!

Man! How are you guys doing? That was sure a bunch of quick new you told me. I'll pray for Bronson and Dad. I got transferred to Paris Illinois. The town names here are silly. I guess I might be a small branch elder cause right now this is just seemingly Canton #2. HAHA. The ward members are more loving and unified though so it is an upgrade. My new address is:
227 W. Madison apt #2
Paris, IL 61944

Yup! Yeah I can transfer my money for myself. I still know my online code for UCCU. I need a bike for this area so don't be suprised when 200 or a little more dissapears. :/
My companion is Elder Skaggs, He's really great. I'm starting to be known as a very fun yet hardworking/obedient elder. He's pretty much the same so we hook up good. He's from california. No one cleans though except me. The paris apartment is trashed and the canton one was beautiful due to my OCD stewardship of it. So I'll just have to mary poppins paris too!
Oh! The biggest news is I got to fill sandbags in quincy (near nauvoo) for 3 days! It was so fun! The Ap's called us: "Elder Barlow, Nauvoo area is flooding, meet in the nauvoo stake center ASAP."
We were on the news! Did you guys miss it? They showed us some utah news and I saw me (I think)! I'm popular! We put on those bright yellow 'mormons helping hands' shirts and it was great stuff. As soon as we put those deals on we realized half of the crowd was mormon. There were quite a few normal civilian helpers too. It worked like this- The performing nauvoo senior couples hosted us (ours were real nice) We worked 'til 4 p.m. (7 hours work) showered up, ate the visitors center senior couples food and then PLAYED IN NAUVOO! It was so fun. The church made a deal with the town to build the temple so we cant proselyte anyway. We just watched some performances and threw frisbees. FUN! It felt good to just work my can off in manual labor. And then blow all my energy and excitement into frisbee. Oh! we can only go to the temple every six months but we got a freebee! It was good to go to the temple. It's only been 5 months but it felt really long.The bad part is that, with the situation how it was and the introduction of lots of new young nauvoo sisters there was quite a bit of showing off and flirting going on. Therefore, we got RAILED ON at transfer meeting. President listed off a ton of recent abuses and things and restricted stuff even tighter again. I hadn't done anything that he talked about so that's good. but there was a huge guilt aura in the room. He kind of set a guilt tone so we could re-analyze ourselves. President gave us a talk by spencer w. kimball called "Lock your heart" and we have to commit in writing to be obedient once again. Anyway. I'm in paris things are good. My companion is capable of working hard and having fun so we'll be good. Man! Nauvoo was so good for unity though. I'm pals with a ton of people now. Lot's of kids I worked sandbags with were like "MAN! It'd be a dream to serve with Elder Barlow! I hope I get to before I go home." It was pretty cool I'd better not let it get to my head though. haha! I'm pretty loud when I can be, (I had people start singing songs and telling me their 'special talents' and I'd pretend to be really shy and ask elders to hold sandbags open for me) so the really "too cool for school" kids don't love me much. Sorry, That's really long but Bottom Line=It was so fun and rewarding too! Taking breaks like that really help me re-focus on the work too! Knocking on doors almost felt soothing after breaking my back in sand piles. Well that's way too much info for one little email. I still can't think of anything I need. I don't know our investigators yet, I got here friday night. It's 9000 people big (a little smaller than canton) but it's not as burnt out so it will be fun.

Once again my address is: 227 W. Madison apt #2
Paris, IL 61944

Love y'all. Sorry I haven't written you laura (too busy(for real)) Have heaps of fun with that lady in your lab mim. Read yoru scriptures all!

-Elder Barlow

Hazel's Baby Blessing

We will be blessing little Hazel on Sunday, July 6th at "high noon" in Soda Springs, Idaho. We wanted to extend an invitation to all who might want to come up for it. Taylor and Wendy will also be blessing their little girl, Sophia. Church starts right after at 12:30 if interested. Tom mapquested from American Fork to Soda Springs, and it is about 3 hrs. 11 min.. Let us know if you can make it. We are sorry we will be so close, yet not able to make it down to Utah on this trip.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Hey, It's Laura. This is an essay I wrote that convinced my English teacher that I should pursue writing. I also put a link to my blog on the side of this page for anyone to check at their leisure. Here's my essay called "Explosions":

It was shortly after my social explosion that Rebecca informed me:

"I seriously never even knew what your voice sounded like."

And this is after growing up our entire lives on the same farm road, only a half-mile apart; after attending the same nursery, primary, and Sunday school classes for thirteen years. To say that I was shy as a child feels like an understatement.

But it's not like I didn't have good reasons. My mom dressed me only in D.I. clothes, I lived at the very end of a three mile, dead-end, farm road (Rebecca was my closest neighbor), and I attended a private school fifteen miles away, with a bunch of rich kids, who lived in rich neighborhoods, very far away.

But I guess those things don't speak to the real root of the problem, the insurmountable catalyst resulting in my shy behavior: chronic urinary tract infections hacked at my immunity starting at age four. I felt like an alien attending kindergarten with a portable I.V. strapped to my arm. I used to imagine that my portable I.V. was a fish while I was in the bathtub. The draining sack of medication floated in what seemed to me, such a buoyant and graceful way on the surface of the water among the bubbles. This inspired me to draw a picture of a fish on each new sack of medication. Once a boy in my kindergarten class approached me and pointed to the sack. "What's that?" I just couldn't get the words out," Oh. . . it's a fish . . . uh, I mean . . . really a bag with medicine . . ." He walked away giggling.

Incomparably worse than that-- was the enduring embarrassment of peeing my pants on a fairly regular basis. In the case of urinary tract infections, you simply don't experience the sensation of needing to use the bathroom until it hits you all at once and you think you're going to explode. It's like no matter how hard you try to hold it, you could still use a count-down as some kind of prediction method. You feel like you need to go and you may as well start counting: "10 . . . 9 . . . 8 . . . 7 . . . 6 . . ." And you erupt at "1" no matter what location you're in. It could be the playground, your desk, the hall, your chair during primary class, wherever. I always felt guilty at having some adult clean up after my "accidents" but the harassment from my peers often seemed unbearable.

The worst of all was someone I called my “evil twin” but her real name was Kelsey Frazier. We were born in the same hospital, on the same day, within the same hour. We also shared the similarities of curly hair and blue eyes. She would, however, not share her half of the primary classroom with me.

Hey, Rebecca, Emily, come sit over here . . .” and she would prance to the corner of the room near the window. “. . . but Laura can’t sit over here. Nobody who pees their pants gets to sit with us.” I didn’t say a word or even look in her direction. I thought of possible retorts, like, "Your dumb!" or "You're ugly!" but I think of them too late, and I know they're not very clever.

So I just hold it in.

One of our first Young Women’s activities when we turned twelve was country square dancing in the church gym. There was a part of the dance where you had to link arms with your dance partner for a “dosie-doe,” or something like that. And everyone had to take turns being partners with everyone else. Kelsey refused to touch me, and messed up the order of the dance, confusing everyone else. After I link arms with Rebecca for our “dosie-doe,” Kelsey whispers in her ear, to set her straight, and then nobody touches me for the rest of the night.

I almost cry, but I just keep holding it in.

Just after we turn thirteen there’s a scrap-booking activity. We’re cutting things out of magazines that are supposed to represent us or our hobbies. I’m cutting out a picture of an easel and paintbrush. Rebecca’s cutting out a picture of a deer and some rainbow trout. But Kelsey’s squeezing a glob of Elmer’s glue in the palm of her hand. She waits for it to dry a little bit and she peels up the edges so that it looks like dead skin. She squeezes another glob as I stand up to grab some more magazines to flip through. “10 . . . 9 . . . 8 . . . 7 . . .” She spits in her palms as I’m sorting through the stack and starts rubbing her hands together. “ 6 . . . 5 . . . 4 . . . “As I am looking down at some pages, she walks toward me, smacks her sticky hands on both of my cheeks, and starts giggling in my face like she’s going to get away with this. “3 . . . 2 . . . 1” I explode. It isn't my bladder this time. No. It's like the whole person I am in that instant comes rushing through me and I can't keep her in anymore. It's like a dam breaking under the pressure of the water it's supposed to hold back. Everything I’d restrained for so long came out in an uncontrollable burst.

Without thinking, I push her away by thrusting both of her shoulders down as hard as I can. My cheeks burn from how quickly her hands tear from my skin. She’s on the ground now, not sitting, but all laid out. Nobody says a word. I can feel my face turn hot as I stalk out of the room. I’m scared to call my mom to ask her pick me up, so I decide to leave on foot.

I start running home, full of energy and smiling. I’m not even afraid to talk about it by the time I arrive. The person I am is flowing freely. My voice, locked away for so long is suddenly there, pouring out of my mouth. "Mom, you will never believe what happened . . . I kinda got in a fight . . ." and I go on for a half and hour without taking a breath explaining everything. I'm surprised that my mom isn't mad. She justs listens carefully and hugs me when I'm finished. "I hope it doesn't happen again, but she probably deserved it," she says. And I feel so warm, so validated.

The next time I attend Sunday school, I just can’t stop talking and I'm drawing on my sacrament meeting program and showing everyone: "This is a picture of my mom, who's a little fat--this one with the poofy hair; this is a picture of my dad, who's really fat and he has a pocket protector 'cause he's a nerd; and this is my brother, who's medium fat, 'cause he hides cake under his pillow at night. . ."

The other kids are surprised, and laughing, but Kelsey is silent. The teacher seems surprised and lets me go on for a while, but finally interjects:

"Uh . . . Laura, we really need to get on with the lesson; and maybe your family wouldn't appreciate that very much."

It was so hard to stay quiet during the lesson that I had to concentrate on keeping my top and bottom lips touching in order to stay silent.

The funny thing is, around that time, my urinary tract infections dissipated. Just as I gradually gained control over my bladder, I lost control over my mouth. I basked in the liberation of saying anything, anywhere, anytime I wanted. But I kept blurting things out and getting myself in trouble.

With my mom: “Do you really like your hair all poofy like that?”

With my brother: “Your Tetris high score is seriously only 86?!”

With my math teacher at school: “Man, this class is so boring I’d rather be doing heavy labor.”

Just like with my explosive bladder, my explosive mouth caused a lot of “accidents”, only this time no adult would clean them up for me.

Mike's Letter 6/16/08


Big suprise! I'm getting transfered, that was pretty expected. The big suprise is that elder ramirez is too! :S They usually leave one elder to pass on knowledge and things like that. Often they pull two because of a lack of work ethic and disobedience, that's usually the reason to pull two. Luckily we were extra re-assured that that wasn't the case this time. This is about exactly how it went: "I want you to know that it's not because of disobedience or that your not working hard, there's just a bigger plan." Yesterday we jsut went around and said goodbye to our investigators and the members that worked with us. One suprise is we have been teaching one big tough dude that self proclaimed he doesn't get attached to anyone except his wife and kid but when we went to visit him to say goodbye his heart was broken! He was all: "man! Thats dumb! I like you guys! Why does your mission president say you HAVE to go?" I hope that's a good sign. I hope he wasn't just converted to me. I hate it when investigators drop cause they loved one elder. That happened alot when I first came out. Everyone was converted to elder nelson and not Tanner. My first week we had 5 people drop us cause elder nelson was gone. I just hope that doesn't happen with the investigators that I found and have right now. Anyway, I have a new niece! and Eric will be married with a kid when I get home . . . Is she a cutie? Did he find her at snow? I'm leaving canton. I'll miss the Oliversons :( They're the best senior couple ever. They're getting frusterated with the branch but they're toughing through it. He's been called to the branch presidency so He's in the extra thick of it. Elder ramirez is real good elder. It's too bad we just went for one transfer. I spent some money on my home debit card. Sorry. We went out to eat shakes and then I bought a frisbee golf driver for p-day and I pulled some money just in case. Well I'll tell you where I am next monday. We don't get told where on our transfer call we just get told to meet in peoria wednesday! It makes it exciting! Plus you don't get the dirt on your next area before you go there. President Erickson is smart! I've done pretty good here in canton though. I hope the new elders reap what I sowed. Well I'm out of stuff. Hope you guys are playing tennis! First one to get decent get's to be my doubles partner! (Enticing!)
:)Talk to you later(:

-Elder Barlow

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Baby is Born!

Friday the 13th marked 41 weeks of pregnancy for Keriann, and the stubborn, hesitant fetus inside her was finally coaxed out into the open.
We arrived at the hospital shortly after 8:00, and the atomic wall clock read 13:44:45 at the moment of birth. The interim was filled with laboring, about 5 games of speed with a borrowed deck of cards, and 2 pushes at the end.
Hazel weighed 8lbs 2 oz and as 20 inches long at birth. She and Keriann are both doing great. OK, OK, you just want pictures...

The first moments of life... The delivering doctor was Dr. Ling. I do think he can catch flies with chopsticks, but he didn't threaten to squish anything like a grape.

The other kids love her, and love to hold and help us out with her as much as they can.

She has a bit of bilirubin in her, and is hanging out in the blue lights as a precaution. Doesn't she have a lot of hair?

She is a very snugly baby. She loves to be touched and held. That is all great fun during the day, but not so much at night.

We like her, and will be looking forward to showing her off to all of you.
Tom and Keriann and family

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mike's Letter 6/10/08

I must have written poorly to create misunderstanding, I will not know if i am getting transferred until this saturday june 14th and I wont be able to tell you until monday june 16th. I'm still in canton right now. But don't send me anything after about thursday, cause i may not get it if i do get transfered. Anyways canton is getting kind of rough for me, the branch just flat out doesn't function. The big goal of having a lot of non-member friends out by june 8th didn't go as planned. We were supposed to have a christ centered,friendly for all, christian service. That was the game plan for this day for about 3 months now. It was well shared with the branch president and his first counselor. So to extra entice investigators into coming to church we said "hey! we're gonna have a extra special christ centered service this sunday and we'd really be glad to see you out to it." We even were assured we could pick out the hymns (our chorister picks out oddball hymns) and we did. Then guess what? None of our hymns were chosen and all the talks were on the 'blessings of BELONGING to the true and living church' where christ was hardly mentioned once. It was unreal! I felt so stupid and so angry at the same time. All of the investigators that we enticed by promising a christ centered service were somewhat deceived too! It's like 15 total hours of coordination meetings and talking about the june 8th goal went down the drain all at once! Anyway, I don't know if that makes sense but bottom line----> a plan that has been in the making for 3 months and agreed to by the canton branch just plain didn't happen! Anyway, that's over now. The reason I couldn't write yesterday is cause it was ZoNE P-DAY yeah yeah! It was just what I needed. We played basketball,dodgeball,softball,tennis,Ultimate frisbee,and frisbee golf. Frisbee golf is so cool. Those discs amaze me. You don't throw them the traditional way (from your chest out) You throw them the opposite way (pinching the edge with your thumb on top and two fingers on the bottom rim) and by just a flick of your wrist they go up to 200 yards! (the drivers at least) It's amazing! The course we played had tons of trees so you had to aim tricky and put curves on the frisbees and such. I was pretty alright for a first timer. It was way fun! Tennis would have been amazing fun of course but there was like an 1/8 inch of water on the court cause it was raining. But it was so good to play hard and compete and forget about canton for a day. I got real upset sunday and the old branch president came over and told me that elders that want to make a positive change to the branch just set themselves up for failure and that we should just do our job the best we know how. He's mostly right but our job is made much more successful and easy as the branch functions. It's sad when you have to be nervous every week for your investigators to come to church. Anyway Sunday was HORRIBLE and Monday was GREAT! Well, Our investigators go as follows. Stephanie will be baptized june 24th (I'll probably be gone). Janine and son are "too tired/sick/busy" right now for church and she is having a hard time quitting coffee. We got Lana a large print triple so she can study better but she "can't" come to church cause she doesn't have a dress. :( we've told her she doesn't NEED one for church but she says she'd be too uncomfortable without one. She's not poor, I don't know why she's putting it off, She j ust wants one excuse It seems like. She reads good though and is loving the BoM so far.
robert doesn't come to church cause he "can't find a babysitter" :(
The rest are our less actives and they're going alright. Just a game of eliminating excuses I can tell you the key excuses around here

1. I'm not worthy to take the sacrament and that's why you go to church.
2. I can't afford gas to go to church (but I drive somewhere else unneccesary multiple times a week)
3. Sister so-and-so hurt my feelings 30(slightly exagurated) years ago and I'm still offended.
4. Sleeping in feels better than church.
5.I'm too fat for my old dresses and you HAVE to dress up.
So maybe you guys can pre-determine some doctrinal answers for those Less-active concerns for when you run into them! :D
Man! That's a bad deal about your cancer Dad, I'll be praying for you. I hope the new treatment works. That'd be good!

well, I got to go TKO the little town st. david.

Have a good week,
-Elder Barlow-

Monday, June 9, 2008

Mad Madam Mim

Hooray! I graduated from YSA. After spending 13 years as a young single adult, I am now proud to announce that I am a mid-single adult.

Here is a recent picture of me at a RS retreat!

We went to Twain Hart and stayed in a cabin. It was a nice note to leave on. A funny story that goes along with my departure is that the RS decided to throw me a surprise b-day party. However the surprise was on them because I was in Irvine giving a talk that day. I hear it was a great party anyway. : P.

I am officially in a family ward and I was officially released as RSP yesterday. It is nice. I have more time for myself and my house. We'll see how long that lasts. I was already asked to give a talk in church and we'll see what calling they come up with for me.

Also, I got 2 papers accepted for publication last week!!!! Wahoo!!!

Love y'all
Hi Again ,
Sorry for misspellings and poor punctuation and hanging words, hopefully I'll do better next time.
Thank you Laura for setting up this blog, it's great.
Thanks Keriann for starting such projects.
Oh, Keriann I did have a wonderful time with you guys. I loved it! Thanks to you and Tom for you graciousness.

Love, Mom
Hello Everyone,

I thought I would give you an update on dad. he went to the oncologist last week and they did come up with a plan for him. Last Thursday he went to Utah Valley Regional Medical Hospital and had his body "mapped". This mapping determines the location of his guts so that when he receives radiation they can avoid nuking important parts like his bladder and rectum. The machine can pinpoint direct radiation to the bed of his prostate where likely cancer cell are growing. Pretty nifty machine wouldn't you agree? the bad part of it is that he will have to go into that hospital 5 times a week for 2 months, Monday through Friday. so he will be tied up for a couple of months. His treatments start June 17. As inconvenient as this is, think of others that must travel many miles each day to receive such treatment. Miriam reminded me of this in reference to those that live in Merced and surrounding areas. His daily time is 3:45 , Monday-Friday. this does interfere with supposed vacation dates to the Northwest, those dates will have to be set back or we will have to wait 'til next year for that family vacation. Dad and I are stil panning to go up and see a new little baby after the treatments. It is our desire to be with you all in our beloved former home. we would like to experience this with you.
The good part (hopefully) is that there is very little pain with these treatments. This is what the oncologist claims, however speaking to some who have gone through such treatment, their report is different. I'm sure it must be better than chemo . Pray for dad. He needs your prayers. He is a little nervous and we sure hopes this does the trick. Nervous as he is, he is upbeat and feels it's not his time to leave mortality. Let's be a praying family! All of you stay close to your Heavenly Father. Each of you without exception can bear witness to the fact that your prayers have been answered. I have kept a little journal just writing down my prayers that have been answered. I am amazed! Your greatest blessings come from obedience to the gospel. That fact has been proven over and over again through the ages to our own personal family.
God has revealed His great plan of salvation to us, that knowledge gives us purpose and is a guides to us. Remember! Remember! (Alma 62:49) pray often, read your scriptures, obey the commandments, we must do these things to counteract the influence of evil in our world today, Satan would have you if he could, don't give him a chance. I love each and everyone of you so much! You are the greatest blessings I have and each of you are continually in my heart.

Love, Mom

Sunday, June 8, 2008

North West Living

By request, we will post a few pictures of our local goings-on. We will also hope to soon post some pictures of our new addition. At this moment, Keriann is 9 months and 2 days pregnant, so we should have a new family member quite soon. (About 3.5 cm, 70%, and -1 for those medically oriented).

Any name suggestions would be welcome. We are trying to find a name that would work well in a Limerick. Last night we kind of ruled out a few names...

"There was a young lady named Abby,
Whose thighs were quite notably flabby..."

"There once was a girl named Pearl,
Whose face quite resembled a squirrel..."

We similarly ruled out Ellie, Matt, Tipper, and Frankie. (You may mentally compose those lines of verse yourselves). Keriann did point out to me that if I had tried to rule out previous names based on silly limericks, we might not have a Mattie or a Sam. I guess that's true.

Now, onto what is happening. After 1.5 months homeless, we finally found a nice little home to rent. The children were happy to have a place to call home. While our new stomping grounds are not as warm as we have been used to, Everything around us is very pretty.

These and the picture at the top were taken at Rosario Beach. It's about 10 minutes from home, and on my way to work every day. No white sandy shores where we can lay and accumulate actinic damage quite like Florida, but there are great tide pools, and fun places we could explore if we had kayaks (Father's day hint?)

Other local highlights include a huge forest trail system, several small lakes, and Deception Pass. The trails begin right across the street. When we went there with mom we found a newt, a cool tree frog, and all the banana slugs one could ever desire. We have not yet done the hike at the pass, nor been out on the lakes, but we will soon.

The kid's are very cute, of course. Sam recently celebrated his third birthday, and has started, just in the last couple of days, going pee pee on the potty. Check out the movie of his birthday pre-song celebration. Sorry that the file is a little big.

We were recently fortunate enough to have mother visit us for a week. We enjoyed her visit very much and we think she enjoyed herself, too, although her quarters were rather spartan. Before she left, we hung out in Seattle a bit. We went to Pike's Place Market, checked out the old beach house, and went up the Space Needle.

That's about it for our update. We will try to post again soon once our yet nameless child is born. If possible I will try to get close up video of the child's grand entrance onto the world stage, just in case any of you still doubt that child birth is a beautiful thing. Oh, wait. Maybe posting that would violate Blogger's user agreement. Maybe an audio recording will suffice. We will look forward to soon being updated on each of the rest of you.

Tom, Keriann, and family

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Welcome to the family!

As I (Laura) was the one to come up with the great idea of creating a family blog (admittedly inspired by the Kartchners), I am honored to write the first entry and welcome you all. I hope that we can all use this to invite one another to up-coming events, post pictures, and keep in touch. As you can see, I've posted a Michael mission pic for you all to enjoy. Barlows Rule!