Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tom and I have been under some pretty intense stress over the last month or two. We tried to put on happy faces and pretend that nothing was wrong, but it finally hit a point where we thought the situation wouldn't work itself out. We were beginning to prepare for the worst and although we had a Plan B in mind, we still weren't settled. Guess what? The situation worked itself out. It didn't happen in our time frame, but it happened.

I am a very firm believer that Heavenly Father knows each of us individually. He knows our thoughts, and he knows what we stand in need of. Things most likely won't work themselves out in our time frame, or the way we want it to work out, but everything happens for a reason. We may not know what the reasons are, but if we put our faith and trust in him, we don't necessarily need to know.

Also, as some of you may have seen on my facebook page, I tend to over-extend myself. I honestly love doing things for other people. I feel very satisfied knowing that I have made a difference to someone else. I don't delegate much at all, and pretty much I feel that no matter what, I can do it all. I have learned that isn't necessarily the best mentality to have. Infact, I am pretty proud of myself for having said no to one thing this week. Although it isn't a big thing, and in the long run doesn't have any bearing on my salvation, it is one less thing that I have to worry about. I do need to learn to say no to the things that don't really matter. I am very grateful for the strength and energy that I have been granted to make it through the periods of over-extension.

I am looking forward to a new year. A new year with new resolutions and new adventures. I can't wait.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Weekend Recap

Erin's Friday - Up at 3:30 for Black Friday. Decorated for Christmas. Cleaned the house.

Erin's Saturday -
First snow of this winter season. Nothing to write home about, but first snow none the less.

Grocery Shopping.


Afternoon crafting.

More afternoon crafting.

Out to dinner with friends.

Erin's Sunday -
Home Teachers.
Hot Chocolate.
Hallmark movies.

Monday - Back to work. Not really sure how I feel about that.

Tom's Friday -
Up at 3:30 for Black Friday.
Went back to bed from 9 to noon.
Worked on paper.

Tom's Saturday -
Slept until 7:30
Worked on paper.

Out to dinner with friends.

Tom's Sunday -
Home Teachers.
Hot Chocolate.
you got it!
Worked on paper.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Catch Up Time!!!

Middle of October - End of November

October 14th proved to be a really bad day at work. I can't remember what exactly happened that upset me so, but can you imagine the joy that I felt when I came home and found these:

Aren't they beautiful?

October 16th -18th - Adam-ondi-Ahman and Nauvoo
We actually didn't take very many pictures on our trip. We stayed at a place called Camp Nauvoo. The cabins weren't bad. They did have heat in them. It was a fun trip. It is interesting to learn how the pioneers did things back in the day. It makes me very grateful for all of the modern conveniences that we have now. I don't know that I could have survived back then. Here are some pictures from it.


Tom @ Adam-ondi-Ahman

Erin @ Adam-ondi-Ahman

Camp Nauvoo Cabins

View of the Mississippi River from Camp Nauvoo
October 25th was something called Super Saturday. This is where several members of the church got together and did some craft items. This is one item that I made.

A Candy Jar
October 27, 2008 marked 7 years of marriage for Tom and I. We didn't do the whole go out to a nice restuarant thing. This year for our anniversary, we decided to start really getting serious about food storage and emergency preparedness. We went to Home Depot and got a sturdy shelf and have since been loading food on to that shelf. We also went to this place to eat. It is called "Five Guys." The food is alright, but it just reminds me a wanna be "In-N-Out." It doesn't compare in my book, especially when it comes to price comparison.
October 31st - Tom and I aren't real big halloween fans. (Sorry Ditte!) I don't even remember what we did for halloween. I do know that our next door neighbor only had two trick-or-treaters though! Too bad it was the same visit. I don't know if trick-or-treating is a big thing here in Lawrence. It sure doesn't seem like it.
November 1st - We went to a park here in Lawrence with our friend Amber. She took some pictures of Tom and I. Tom and I haven't had our picture taken together professionally since our wedding. I thought that it was about time that we had one taken. Here are a couple of shots from that session.

Bear with me. We are almost all caught up!
The month of November wasn't too exciting. Around the 8th or so, I started feeling the Pleurisy pains again. I put myself on bed rest and just took it easy. That stuff is nasty and it sure does pretty much suck the life out of you. November 14th we had a ward activity. Everyone was asked to bring their favorite dish and recipe. The recipes were collected, we had judges to pick out their favorite main course and dessert. Had Tom not been the activities chair person, his dessert would have been the winner. I made chicken enchiladas and Tom made (really he did) Taffy Apple Pizza - the pampered chef recipe.

November 27th was Thanksgiving. We went over to some friends house in Gardner, KS. I made the turkey, rolls and brownie pecan pie. My friend Jen made mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, corn and a fruit salad. It just never ceases to amaze me how much time and effort is put in to a meal like that, and it is really sad when 30 minutes later everyone is stuffed and there is so much left over food!!

That leads us up to today!! Black Friday. Tom had found some items(mostly tools) that would be on sale for Black Friday. I had mentioned that I wanted to get some sweaters/long sleeve shirts because it is starting to get cold. The alarm went off at 3:30 this morning. We got up and away to Kohl's we went. We stood in line outside for 20 minutes or so and were let into the door at 4:02 am. The line was formed from south to the north and there were people who stood across the street to the west. As soon as the doors opened, the people who were not standing in the line tried to rush in where all of these people had been waiting patiently. Well, some people are just flat out rude. It was an interesting experience. Especially when we got to Home Depot. The woman standing in front of us had an ad. Tom asked her if he could look at it. The woman turned around and said, No! Tom and I kind of both looked at each other in shock as the lady started laughing and said, "yeah, you can look at it." We went to Kohl's, Old Navy, Home Depot and Walmart. The only place that was absolutely horrible was Kohls. The check out line was about an hour long. Oh well, I got 4 new tops that are normally about $30 each for $8.00 a piece. Would I do it again next year????? Maybe. It depends upon if I am fighting a sinus infection like I am this year.
We got home at around 9:00 this morning and went back to bed. When we woke up from that, we decorated for Christmas. Here is a picture of our tree, and a picture of Tom, doing what he is always doing....writing a paper!

We hope that you had a great Thanksgiving. We sure did. Now we start counting down the days until we fly to California for Christmas. 25 Days!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wow!! Two Updates in One Month!!!!!

Well, not a whole lot has happened since the General Conference Weekend of Rest & Relaxation! We managed to survive another very busy week. This past Friday night we went to a Corn Maze in Gardner, KS. That is about 35 minutes or so away from our house. This is what the maze map looked like.

Our friend Tiffanie is moving back to Utah, so for a fun hoorah before she left we went out to dinner and to this corn maze. This is the group that we went with.

Back Row left to right: Jonathan Player, Erin Barker, Tom Barker, Steve Tingey, Matt Baker
Front Row left to right: Cassie Player, Tiffanie Player, Ali Baker

After we did the corn maze we parted ways and went to Jen and Jason's house. They live in Gardner. We hardly ever go see them because it seems that whenever we do, something happens to our car. =) Well, we are proud to report that we have been there two weekends in a row with no car incidents!

On Sunday, we went to some friends house for Spain Night Dinner. I made Gazpacho. It was really good if I do say so myself. Tiffanie made tortilla, chicken paella, and this tomato and onion salad. It was a really good dinner. Thanks again for a fun evening.

It is nice to have friends to go and do stuff with. In the mean time, Tom remains busy with school/work. He is in the process of putting together a course proposal for a summer class, writing articles, grading papers and TA-ing.

I on the other hand have been working at my job as a secretary, helping out in the capacity of Assistant Cheer Coach at the Junior High I work at and most recently finished my last week cleaning the church.

We are getting ready to leave for Nauvoo, Illinois on Thursday and are excited to kind of just get away from it all for a while. There will definately be an update after Nauvoo!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

When We Do The Things We Should...

So all week long I have been thinking about how much I have been neglecting things that needed to be done around the house. Mounds of laundry, dirty kitchen, piles of stuff all around the living room. I don't like things to add up like that but Tom and I are both so busy that we tend to put that kind of stuff off. I was thinking I will just do it this weekend. Then I remembered that it was conference weekend and was trying to decide which sessions of conference I should watch. I watched Saturday mornings session and was absolutely thrilled when a temple for the greater Kansas City area was announced. =) There were lots of great talks during that session that I felt were directly written for me and for the things that I am going through and facing at this point. After the first session I began attacking the kitchen. Once that was done, Tom yelled from the other room that the 2nd Saturday session was starting. I was on a roll with cleaning and didn't want to stop. I finally decided watching conference was more important and that I needed to hear what was being said. Sure enough many more talks that I felt were written just for me.

During the Sunday sessions, I kind of felt the same way. I have a lot of things to do blah...blah...blah. Needless to say I set aside time for myself to watch all four sessions of conference AND in between times have gotten everything accomplished that I wanted to get accomplished. It is amazing to me to that by doing the things that I should have done (ie...watching conference) I was able to get everything done that I needed to. I was supplied with "extra" time.

I enjoyed L. Tom Perry's talk about not letting the stresses and strains of life get to us. Remain positive. I also enjoyed his quote, "The best is yet to be." This is definitely something I need to work on. I need to remember that I need to take things one step at a time and as long as I am going in the right direction I will be o.k.

I also loved Elder Wirthlin's talk. "Come what may and love it." I loved his saying, "Learn to laugh." He explained that adversity can be a blessing in our lives depending upon how we deal with it. All stuff I really need to work on.

I enjoyed conference a lot. I am excited for April when we get to do it all again.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Long Time......

Wow. I can't believe that our blog hasn't been updated in almost two months. Well, o.k. I can believe it. Things are just kind of crazy and out of control here.
Tom is currently working as a GTA, and also working at the drop in writing center. He also helps me clean the church. I work as a secretary for a junior high here in Lawrence, I am the assistant cheer coach and I clean the church. Let me just say, we are tired.
Tom and I just had a discussion the other day about how busy we are. We really don't get to see each other all that often. It is kind of sad, but we are trying to better our situation by paying off some debt. We don't like the feelings we have regarding debt and we currently doing our best to do what we can to help give us peace of mind. This will probably include not being able to go home for Christmas. Luckily we have lots of friends around here we can do stuff with.
We enjoyed our vacation to California and will have to post pictures of that soon. Tom's cast is now off. The knuckle is still very broken, but he has great movement and it isn't bothering him. Surgery isn't necessary at this time. We are truly grateful for that because that would be a HUGE expense that we would rather not incur at this point.
Anyway, not an exciting blog entry, but just enough to let you know that we are still alive. Hopefully a more interesting post will come soon.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

When It Rains It Pours...

So...Saturday night when we went to see our friends in Gardner, KS, our car kind of broke down. The shop that we took it to called me on Monday and told me that we would have to have a new radiator put in. That repair was quite a few big bucks. We drove back to Gardner yesterday to pick our car up. We came back to Lawrence and everything seemed to be just find. I woke up this morning, went to work, came home, things were great. Tom and I decided to go for a bite to eat downtown. We are driving on the main street "Massachusetts, aka Mass" the car starts to run funny. We have an automatic and the gears aren't shifting. Tom and I look at each other and just kind of shake our heads. We get to nearby where we are going. I go to step on the gas and the car doesn't move. I put the car into neutral and kind of coast into a parking spot. I put the car in park, then put it into reverse...nothing. The car stays still. I put the car into drive...nothing. The car stays still. We were both so annoyed we didn't really want to eat anymore. The car was too hot at this point to open the hood right away, so we decided to go in and eat anyway. When we came out we opened the hood and there was fluid that seemed to have exploded under the hood. There was quite a bit of fluid underneath our car as well. RIDICULOUS. We were so mad.
We called the place that had fixed our car and asked if they had touched our transmission when they replaced the radiator. Sure enough they had. We called the same repair shop here in Lawrence and talked to the owner. They sent out a tow truck. We arrived at the shop with our car and the owner said it would be a couple of hours for the repair to be done and he personally drove myself and Tom home. He called us later this afternoon and told us that the car was done and that he would be bringing it to our house. Basically what happened is that the hose that connects between the transmission and the radiator was old. When they undid the hoses while replacing the radiator, the hose cracked. So this place replaced the hose. We were charged for nothing. It surely was a blessing in disguise.
They say that bad things happen in three's. We have either beaten that and set a new record with five, OR we have another bad thing coming. We prefer that we have set a new record.
1)Tom's hand, no insurance.
2)Air conditioner in tenants side of the duplex quit working on a very hot day.
3)Our car broke down in Gardner, KS - Expensive Repair
4)A check that was written TO US bounced
5)Transmission Issue - A wrong made right.
We really hope that we can go on vacation and return relaxed without having to overcome any more big obstacles.
I guess it is all part of life.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Today...Good and Bad

So this morning Tom and I went out to a couple of garage sales. We found these really cool retro chairs that Tom really wanted so that we can set up a little "play" area in the basement for video games. We found some chairs, brand new floor mats and a Thanksgivingish table cloth. It was a great morning.
The new happy owner!
We have both been getting up pretty early so today we took a nap for about 2 1/2 hours. That was really nice.
This evening we went to Gardner, KS which is about 30 to 40 minutes away from our house to see our friends Jen and Jason. At one point we looked outside and noticed a bunch of fluid on their driveway from our car. I went out and looked more closely and realized that it had a greenish tint to it. I think the anti-freeze that was in our car ended up all over their driveway. We drove our car to a place in Gardner and dropped it off to be looked at. Unfortunately this all happened at about 6:45pm and the place closed at 6:30. They aren't open on Sunday so our car won't be looked at untill Monday. Jen and Jason were gracious enough to let us borrow their car to get home for the time being, and also to allow me to get to work since our one and only car is in Gardner. I hope that it isn't an expensive fix. They are such great friends.
Other than that, there isn't a whole lot going on here. We are just looking forward to Thursday when we will be leaving on a jet plane.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tom's Boxing Career is Down For the Count...Think before You Punch.

We were hoping for a reduction to be done on Tom's hand so that we could bypass the surgery option since he doesn't have medical insurance at the moment. We waited to see a doctor at the orthopedic surgeons office and pretty much the first words out of his mouth were, "A reduction isn't going to work on that." Mine and Tom's silent thoughts, "CRAP." He did say that we had two options. We could splint the hand, let it heal for about 20 more days and see where the healing process was or...Tom could have surgery to correct the injury. The doctor said that the pinky which has the broken knuckle is a very forgiving finger. He was pretty sure that the finger would heel (not perfectly) but to the point of being able to be used normally, with a possible slight deformity meaning that the pinky knuckle on his right hand would look slightly different from the pinky knuckle on his left hand. Just out of curiosity we asked how much a surgery would cost. He said, "Well...you have to pay for the room, the anesthesiologist, blah, blah, blah." Basically we would be looking at upwards of about $5,000.00 for the surgery. Tom is willing to wait it out and see what the hand does on its own. Of course we would pay (somehow) to have the surgery done if that is the corrective action that needs to be taken. We do know that if he has to have surgery the break will have to be re-broken. All I have to say is OUCH.
Tom and his casted hand.
Since they knew that we were going on vacation, they had some sample water-proof casting material that they said we could "test" for them. Better yet, since it was a sample, they didn't charge us for that part of the visit. AWESOME!
On a happier note, we had a really good dinner last night. It included Cheese and Roasted Garlic Tortellini with a Pesto with Basil Sauce, Garlic Bread and salmon. It was actually pretty good. And yes to all who are thinking it, Erin ate salmon.
Yummy Dinner!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Big 3-0!

On July 4th, Tom turned the big 3-0! We stayed the night in Kansas City at a place called Chateau Avalon. We went to Ted's Montana Grill. Tom and I split a Bison Burger. We watched fireworks from the parking lot. We came home on Saturday and I did about 7 or 8 loads of laundry. We went to church on Sunday and surprised several people who weren't expecting Tom to be home. Later that evening we had a surprise party for Tom, but the surprise was on some friends who lived out of town who didn't know that Tom was home. Here are some pictures from that fun evening.

Yummy Snacks included homemade guacamole (thanks for the tips Ditte it turned out great)

Tom and John

Suzy, Jess, Amy and Kevin

Nathan, Jason, Josh and Jen

Tom being sung to

Yummy Chocolate Cake and Cupcakes with Chocolate frosting and sprinkles!

Back Together Again...

After a 10 month separation, Tom and Erin are back together again. Tom came home a little earlier than expected and is extremely happy to be home with his wife and our housemate, Amy (for 21 more days. Tom and I will be in California for 11 of those 21 days.) We are headed out to the Yosemite and Bass Lake area with the Griggs side of the family, and also our friend Squatting Squirrel (aka Twyla).

Tom brought home a swollen right hand. We went to the Watkins Health Center and found out that Tom's right hand pinky knuckle is broken (boxer's fracture). Even better, Tom is between insurances. We get to go and see the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow to find out if a reduction can be performed on his hand, or if he will need to have surgery. We are both hoping for a reduction. It sounds cheaper.

Tom's right hand.

We have an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow at 2:15. We will let you know what happens.