Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Goodbye little "Sister", I'm glad you were in my life

When my parents announced to me and my sisters in a 1996 family council that we would be getting an addition to the family, I claimed the sole, "no way" vote. My little "sister" was born in June of 1996, just before I turned 16. We named her, Lasting Memories. She took up too much of my time, I wasn't too keen on tending her, and she monopolized my mom all day. I didn't like her.

She started out small and really without much personality at all. A long, empty looking narrow room with a large window to the Mervyn's parking lot and a white bookshelf with a few albums and a small white counter with a computer was all there was too it. I sat there after school many days - bored. I entered inventory into the computer system from the back room, and loathed the hours I spent under dim florescent lights counting and typing in numbers. And then my family and I would come home tired each day and continue to "talk shop" until bedtime.

I remember after a while when we finally got to hire a couple employees. Finally, I could hang out with someone other than my family. Little Sister got a little cooler.

Over the years little sister grew up. I saw many of her milestones - I remember when:

· We got our first customer (we were so excited). Mom even framed the dollar bill!

· We finally got a scanner for the register instead of just typing in the four digit code

· More customers came in and they liked what we had to sell

· I started getting a paycheck

· We got a second computer for the counter

· Lasting Memories girl sat outside the front door and greeted customers

· A customer complained about my customer service which led to me taking a good look at myself and deciding to learn to become more outgoing and excel at customer service (a major influential choice in my life)

· We had our first major event involving bunches of gummy cherries that I ate too many of. (To this day it kind of makes me sick to my stomach to think about it)

· We hired even more employees

· We did our first inventory... and the second, and third and fourth...etc. etc. (I really didn't like little Sister on those days)

· We began offering classes

· I went to CHA and other shows

· Began the the keytag program (I still actually have an original keytag)

· We moved into the 21st century and started up the LM website

· Moonlight Madness involved making cute buttons and runs to California Burger for milkshakes

· My best friend from when I was 5 and lived in Seattle came in and we were reunited as I put her name in the computer

· We moved the store to a larger spot

· We knocked out a wall to make an even larger store

· When LM got caller ID and I could no longer call pretending I was someone else and wreak havoc on my poor mom (heheh, that was so funny)

· We hired great crew of many employees and I actually started to like being there

With the years that passed, I came to know many of the regular customers and enjoy my time with my LM friends. 9 years ago I hung up the Lasting Memories apron for the last time, with my marriage and subsequent move to Utah. Yet, the store was still a part of my life because it was a part of my families' life. I experienced the rest of the years through telephone conversations and watching the website from Utah and then from Oklahoma.

When my mom announced to the family that Lasting Memories would be closing its doors permanently, I experienced a mixed reaction. First, I was sad. Then I was happy, a little relieved and excited. Sometimes kids worry about their parents as much as parents worry about their kids. I could feel that mom was ready for a change (actually, needed a change was more like it). It was just time. This is a good thing for mom and dad. And as much as I appreciate the store, I really love them more.

And yet, there is something very sad in it. (Caution: The following is sappy) As I was thinking about what LM means to me, the "Cheers" TV show theme song came unbidden to my mind.

...Sometimes you wanna go

Where everybody knows your name

And they're always glad you came.

You wanna be where you can see

The troubles are all the same

You wanna go where everybody knows your name

You wanna be where people know

People are all the same

You wanna go where everybody knows your name

For many, LM was their Cheers (minus the beverages). Wasn't the past 14 years fun? Didn't we have a blast?

I sure hate change, but isn't that what life is all about? "What!? They stopped making that cute paper with the doodads??? Oh, now hold the phone! What's this!? Ohhh, they made even better paper with better doodads - hop into my basket, we're going home to play!" Lasting Memories always had the latest and greatest. There was always something new and wonderful to OOooo and Ahhh over. That's change - bringing good and bad. But you know what is cool? Sometimes something comes along and then it's gone, but the impact it made on you stays with you. It’s yours to keep no matter what.

Lasting Memories began as a college funding idea for me and my three younger sisters. Looking back, it was so much more than that to me. It was where I made the decision to love people, to see the good in all of them. It was where I made many good friends. It was where I gained valuable business experience and a firsthand look at economics. It began as an idea, struggled into existence, and blossomed into what it has become. This idea in my Mother's head has had a greater impact on my life than funding college - it has had an impact for a lifetime.

Yes, it turned out that the store was the all of the work I had imagined in the beginning and worse, but I hadn't counted on the blessings that would come to me and many others because of it.

So, little "Sister" and everyone who was a part of her existence, thanks for the Memories - they truly were Lasting...

What do you remember about Lasting Memories? Please comment and share your memories!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My eyes hurt

Joe thinks all owies need bandaids.
The other day his eyes hurt when he got baby powder in them.

All Better.

A meal entirely of condiments

Frequently, Aubrey does not like what I make for dinner. (BTW- I am sooo tired of hearing, "Oh yuck, I'm not eating that!") She does, however, love condiments. She will accept the manditory serving of dinner and then SMOTHER it in condiments, eat the condiments and leave the mushy remenants of whatever was for dinner. She is happy with ketchup, mustard, mayonaise, BBQ sauce, soy sauce, and her latest love - vinegar. The girl loves malted vinegar and basalmic vinegar with such enthusiasm, that I watched her drink the remanants of her basalmic vinegar concoction from her bowl this evening. I love Aubrey; she is just so Aubrey.

Friday, April 16, 2010

They call it spirited

My four year old is wearing me out today. One book I consulted called her a spirited child. I call her intense. Ever since she was born, I have been aware that she is intensely happy or intensely angry or intensely everything. I am not intense. I yearn for smooth waters. This human pendulum wears me out. I sure do love her - I just don't know what to do with her!

Look out below!

I call Hannah the spitup queen.

She spits up all day long, but not enough to keep her from gaining weight and growing like a weed.

Sometimes she spits up while I hold her facing outward.

Sometimes it lands on Joe...

He's a good sport about it.

I'm glad it hasn't landed on Heidi yet - she wouldn't be.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Oh the things we do to get the kids to do chores

Last weekend Brian got very ambitious and made a long list of housework for the girls to accomplish. In return, they got to pick out one toy at Walmart if they accomplished the whole list (with about a 50/50 chance of that happening). Aubrey wanted a pink car and Heidi wanted lip gloss from Claire's (of course).

So I'm thinking he's a bit generous. For Christmas we might buy something like this for the kids, but for a bribe... its a bit much.
Well, the girls worked harder than they have ever worked in their lives and accomplished the difficult tasks set for them.

Aubrey seemed particularly excited for her car. What does she want a car for anyway? To play with Joe? Sure... whatever.

Well, on the way to Walmart we learn that Aubrey is planning on riding in this car... "Um, Aubrey how big is this toy car?"

This is what Aubrey was thinking:

No way Jose! Not paying $250 for a car I don't want. So Daddy helps her find an alternative toy. A Zhu Zhu "habitat" compatible with the Zhu Zhu Pet she won at the Easter Egg Scramble last week.

Its probably double anything we've ever bought for Christmas for our kids... But Daddy couldn't take back the bribe, so he was stuck. So now we're the proud owners of a Zhu Zhu habitat. Not so pleased, but we just laugh at our little misunderstanding and vow not to do that again!

Monday, April 5, 2010

By Request

And, now, with all the time I have left for blogging today, I will honor my Mom's request. She tells me that when a mother comes into the church, it opens a whole new world of parenting with new methods and ideas not considered before. How do you parent the LDS way?
When I hear this, I cringe and laugh and cry inside myself all at once. I cry - "I have no idea!" and "I know, I know, pick me!!!" all at the same time. Let me explain.
Brian and I live where there are few young families and few families with kids at all in our ward. I am pretty sure there is no "LDS way" to parent. I'm pretty sure we parent differently from many other great families out there, but we just don't have many models to follow.
The good news is that there is a manual and Expert Advice on parenting. The scriptures and personal revelation. The bad news is that it takes patience. Years. Lots of mistakes. And you want to know the worst thing I've discovered - it requires me as an individual to stretch, grow and change to become a better disciple of Christ, and then I can see clearly enough to parent the spirits he sent to me. Its not the kids that need fixing so much as myself. If the kids are disobedient, rowdy, fighting etc. - you know who needs to be more Christlike? Me.
That being said, I've found the Proclamation on the Family extremely helpful as well as this site from BYU that helps me get perspective on parenthood. I've read Steven Covey's "7 Habits of Highly Successful Families" and all the Richard and Linda Eyre I can get my hands on (I really like that stuff). I just devour anything in the Ensign about parenting. I do a lot of footwork, and praying - then I wait (patiently and impatiently) for answers to my needs. God has been good. He has taken care of my family. I couldn't and wouldn't be able to do it without His help. God bless each of you in your individual undertakings! I will try to include more of the way our family actually works in my posts in the future if you want to see what it looks like... But, your way will be best for your family, so don't pay too much attention!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Joe and the Mess

So, I get off the phone with Brian and this is what I see first. (Did I leave that out... hmmm)

Nope, that is Superquick Joe off to be independent again.... Making his own "corntillas". I watch as he expertly rolls up his "corntilla" for a quick snack.

But what to do with the mess?

Joe knows!

Superquick Joe saves the day again!

...And enjoys a tasty snack to boot!

(I bet your mama is tired...)

A Blessed Day

Hannah was blessed at church last week. This is the only picture of the 6 (6!!???) of us together.

Hannah was such a pretty little woman (its the hair) in her blessing dress. Pictures follow in no particular order as I just don't have time to do much more than upload them to the blog.

Goofy kids

I don't even remember now why we made these cupcakes a couple weeks ago... I think it was some treat I promised the girls. We made them and then decorated them. Pretty fun. Pretty messy. Pretty much gained a couple pounds eating them...

My kids are funny. Aub and Heidi stuffed themselves int 12-18 month sized costumes and ran around the front yard... I love those kids!

Goin' home...

Time passes so quickly. I always thought I would have enough of it to spend with my family all together ... someday. Then I realized - things don't always work out the way you'd always thought. Suddenly, it became essentially important to be with my family all together. I guess I felt like we had all been following our various seperate paths, and I had to make sure that my family was etched firmly in my memory just the way they are now so I could keep them in my mind for years to come. I wanted my relationships with them based on something really real - like being in the same room together, and being us, together again.

In short, it was wonderful. Everything I had hoped for happened. I got to be with my family all together doing "Barnhart" things. I got to hang out with my sisters talking about the quirky medical oddities we all share. I got to spend time with my Grandparents, revelling in the safety and happiness I feel when I am in their presence. I love my family.

I learned we are all pretty much the same as always... good. Everything else changes, but at least our "us-ness" is the same as always!

Oscar (Janna's husband) quickly became Hannah's best friend. It was so sweet to watch how gentle and loving he was to her. I just love Oscar - I'm happy he is part of the family.

This is mom and Erin in Joyworks in Snohomish. We all loooovvvee Joyworks.