Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Camping with Dad (Barry's Post)

Memories of School!

New Additions

First of all we'd like to welcome Addyson Lou Sttodard to the family. Congratulations to Brooke and Dan, both sets of grandparents, lots of Aunts and Uncles. and even more cousins! We are all thrilled that you are here, healthy, and you are well loved.

Look how tiny she is! I was very much enjoying being an Aunt!

Cassidy LOVES babies, I think she would have sat like this all day!


Now we'd like to welcome our own new little addition. This may come as a surprise to some of you but we were finally able (slightly agaisnt his will) to convince Barry to let us have a real pet. Rachel has ask for nothing but a cat for her birthday for the past 3 years. We finally gave in and although her birthday was on the 12th the kitten wasn't old enough to leave it's mom until yesterday. Since we are fairly certain that she is a girl we have chosen the name of Missy but just in case we are wrong she may just turn out to be a Mister! Either way almost everyone in our house is thrilled beyond measure by her arrival.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Boise Zoo Trip

A Little Makeover Magic

2 Little Letters

Three years ago in August 2005 I was a divorced, single mom trying to figure out how in the world I would ever be happy again. I prayed and prayed that I would do what was best for my family. Then my life began to change for the better. I was accepted into BYU-I and began an education in January of 2006 that I was sure I would fail at. I prayed that I would pass but didn't really believe that I was capable of college. I met Barry one semester into my schooling in June 2006 and life was already alot better. I prayed about him being the right one, almost everyday after we began dating. Each semester my classes got harder and each semester I was sure that this time it was more then I could do. Take Anatomy and Phsyiology for example, I got a little crazy and took it on a block which meant 8 credits in 8 weeks, what was I thinking? I'm pretty sure I got a blessing about once a week during this class. I continued to pray that I would be able to do school and that I would not be a disappointment to my family. Each semester as I managed to pass my classes and even have a good GPA I was sure it would not last. But somewhere my confidence began to grow just a little. Eventually, after more fasting and prayer, to my utter shock and amazement I was accepted into the nursing program in April 2007. The first semester was fairly stressful as they try to weed people out by cramming your schedule so full that it seemed impossible to get it all done. Everyday I was sure I would fail out of the program and have to start again somehow and everyday I would pray that woudn't happend. Each week as I sat in the testing center I would pray for help on the test and each time it came. On July 21 2007 dreams came true as I was sealed to Barry in the Idaho Falls temple and life was a whole lot better. That fall I returned to school and realized that comparatively speaking the first semester had been a piece of cake. I am not sure how my husband and family stood to be around me as my stress level continued to climb but everyone just kept loving me and supporting me. How wonderful it was to simply ask my husband for a blessing instead of having to call someone else. Those of you (and there are quite a few in this family) who have been through the nursing program understand what I mean when I say: tests every week, early morning clinicals, SCENARIO, (it should be a 4-letter word), skills day, did I mention tests? I prayed like I have never prayed in my life! Well anyway it all added up to the final semester when we were required to pass the ATI in order to have our transcripts released after graduation in order to take the mother of all tests the NCLEX. The stress and pressure leading up to this test was unbelievable and I never imagined that I could pass it. Once again I turned to my Father in Heaven and begged for his help and support, and once again my miracles continued and somehow I did. Graduation and Pinning were 2 unbelievable moments in July of 2008 that I never allowed myself to believe would actually happen. I really did try to have faith but there was so much fear that I was not capable of all that I was doing. I took some time off after that and just enjoyed spending time with my children. I attempted to study a little each day but it didn't always happen. As the time to take the NCLEX drew near my stress once again began to climb. My prayers once again turned to pleading. The day finally arrived Thursday the 18th of September 2008, I had to be at the Pearson Vue testing center at 7:30am in order to begin my 8am test on time. I went to Boise for the test in order to spend some time with my baby sister and her family. We arrived at the testing center at 7am just to be sure we wouldn't be late. We sat in the car making small talk, me trying desperately to put off the moment when I would actually have to walk in. We offered up a final prayer because that moment was actually here. I walked into the center and began the process. When I finally was sitting in front of the computer I thought I was either going to pass out or throw up one of the two, thankfully neither happened. And I returned to my habit of praying before I began a test. All the fear and anxiety I had built up over this test was nothing compared to what it actually was. It seemed as if every question was something that I did not know. The multiple multiples were the worst by far. I tried not to look at the numbers because this just caused my stress level to climb. I looked down during question number 53 and wondered how many more I would have to take. The next thing I knew the screen went blank and the test was done. Wait I thought, give me another chance! I left the center with the sinking feeling that I had failed. I was sure of it. I prayed and told Heavenly Father that I would do better the next time, I would study more, pray more, whatever it took. 48 hours later the website confirmed that my test results were available. Mary convinced me that it would be worth it to look. I couldn't do it so she did it for me. I did not believe her when she told me I had passed. It seemed impossible. But like the scriptures say, Nothing is impossible for the Lord. So now I just want to say thank you although those 2 little words don't seem adequate to say all that is in my heart to those (especially family) who have loved and supported me, believed in and had faith in me when I didn't believe in myself, encouraged me, built me up, prayed and fasted for me, smiled at me, watched my children for me, tutored me, teased me, and simply helped me to believe in myself. So thank you everybody without your prayers this would never have happened. Heavenly Father truly is amazing! I have prayed so many prayers that this day would happen and it actually did. I love you all and can never appreciate you enough,
Karin Holman RN

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

California Trip 1

Our Amazing Disneyland Trip

Ok so this was last Christmas but I'm not sure how many people got to see our pictures since they are on our computer. We loaded up all nine kids in the suburban and headed out around 7pm. We spent the next day and night in Las Vegas with some good friends of mine (Tony and Carmell). We toured the Vegas strip with Carmell and the kids (Tony had to work) we had 15 kids under the age of 13! We decided that Barry looked like a very fertile poligamist, and yes we got some very strange looks. After that we headed up to California for an amazing week touring theme parks. We bought the city pass which allows you to spend 3 days between Disneyland and California Adventure, (we did 2 days at Adventure and only 1 at Disneyland)and 1 day at Hollywood Studio's, 1 day at San Diego Zoo,1 day at Sea World. And we spent Christmas day on the beach. We got up early each moring and had breakfast from the dollar menu at Macdonald's (by the time we came home most of us would have been happy to never see Macdonald's again!). We tried to get to the parks close to open time, we brought lunch each day and would play in the park until we were all starving and meet out in the parking lot for lunch. We would then go back to the park and not leave until the park closed or at least until after dark and the little ones were begging to go back to the hotel. We would cook dinner at the hotel and usually have to wake up several kids to eat. Christmas Eve we were at Hollywood and it was super nice weather, we wore T-shirts all day. Christmas Day wasn't quite as nice and it was the only day we did not go to a park. We spent time at the beach and in the pool at the hotel and just being lazy. We also cooked a nice Christmas dinner and just enjoyed being together.

Some of you might be wondering how our road trip there and back went with 9 kids. First of all let me just say that we have been blessed with good travelers. Second of all we took audio CD's and listened to stories the whole time. We also took portable DVD players but only watched 1 movie! We put a story in and everyone would remind everyone else to be quiet so they didn't miss anything. A couple of times Stetson fell asleep and would then beg us to rewind the story so he wouldn't miss anything.

Highlights: Kerri spent most of her trip in the stroller but she was able to ride most of the rides. I discovered that I do like roller-coasters and fast rides but I have to take Dramamine in order to enjoy them. Justin and Stetson were able to go off by thierselves a few times with the walkie-talkie, I think they enjoyed that. Hayden, Treyton, and Ammon loved the rides and everything but were totally disappointed when they were to short for the rides. Savannah and Rachel enjoyed the girlie rides at Disneyland and got thier faces painted at Hollywood Studio's. Cassidy enjoyed being big enough for the scary rides and was even brave enough to go on most of them. All the kids loved Sea World and tried thier hardest to get wet by the Killer Whales. We enjoyed feeding the Sea Lions although when the seagulls stole Stetson's food and the sea lion fishes he wasn't very impressed. Barry loved all the big rides and was the least impressed with the ride I loved the most (Soaring over California). All in all it was a great trip and we think we will visit California again sometime. Hope you all enjoy the pictures.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Our Nine Kids!

So originally I was going to do an individual blog about each child and I had even finished one about each of the girls. But I decided I didn't want to go with that approach so I opted to do one with all of them in one.
1 - Stetson Blaze (Layne?) Holman
DOB: 5/8/94 = age 14

2 - Justin Andrus Holman
DOB: 10/2/95 = 13 (next month!)

3 - Cassidy Lucille Rice
DOB: 12/11.97 = 10

4 - Hayden Todd Holman
DOB: 11/4/98 = 9

5 - Ammon Jerrold Rice
DOB: 7/12/99 = 9

6 - Treyton Heber Holman
DOB: 12/7/99 = 8

7 - Rachel Linda Rice
DOB: 9/12/01 = 7 (Friday!)

8 - Savannah Bailey Holman
DOB: 5/6/02 = 6

9 - Kerri Lois Rice
DOB: 5/21/04 = 4

As you can imagine our home is often pretty crazy! You might be surprised to find out that it is not nearly as crazy as we imagined it could be. Since we both came from large families, having loads of children around is not new to either of us. Although we can be honest and admit that it is sometimes overwhelming we love being parents to each and everyone of these 9 wonderful children. As a mother I have always loved my children and as a step-mom I can honestly say that I have grown to love my new children as well. From the time I was a little tiny girl I wanted to be a mother and it would seem that my prayers have been answered, I have the big family that I've always wanted and it really couldn't be better. There is a reason for pretty much every song on our list and one in particular is dedicated to my children. It describes what I hope and dream for them better then I ever could. They've heard me say it every time it comes on the radio but it truly is our wish for the. The song is My Wish by Rascal Flatts. The words are:
I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow
And each road leads you where you want to go
And if you’re faced with the choice and you have to choose
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you
And if one door opens to another door closed
I hope you keep on walkin’ ‘til you find the window
If it’s cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile
But more than anything, more than anything
Chorus:My wish for you. Is that this life becomes all that you want it to. Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small. You never need to carry more than you can hold. And while you’re out there gettin’ where you’re gettin’ to, I hope you know somebody loves you. And wants the same things too. Yeah, this is my wish.
I hope you never look back but you never forget. All the ones who love you.
And the place you left, I hope you always forgive and you never regret,
And you help somebody every chance you get. Oh, you find God’s grace in every mistake
And always give more than you take. But more than anything, yeah more than anything
Chorus: My wish for you. Is that this life becomes all that you want it to. Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small. You never need to carry more than you can hold. And while you’re out there gettin’ where you’re gettin’ to, I hope you know somebody loves you. And wants the same things too. Yeah, this is my wish. This is my wish I hope you know somebody loves you. May all your dreams stay big.

We sure love you guys!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Barry and Karin

So far we have done the four girls so I thought I'd take a break from the kids and put on a few of Barry and I. Barry and I started Dating in June of 2006. It was and is amazing to me how natural our relationship seemed to be. Right from the start it just seemed like we were meant to be together. For those of you who don't know, Barry and I went to high school, actually from elementary school on, together. We were friends at school but never really did anything outside of classes. Despite what he says about his autograph in my yearbook, writing "Call me sometime", does not constitute asking me out on a date! Especially when he didn't even leave his phone number! Anyway after we had both married, had kids, and divorced, we met through an LDS online dating website. I was already a member of a different site but a friend of mine suggested that I "check out" the one that she was using. I couldn't really afford the one I was already using so I wasn't about to pay for another but I figured that it wouldn't hurt to "check it out". For all of you who have never had to bother with these types of site you are not allowed to look at profiles unless you have one of your own and it doesn't cost to create one. Since I didn't really want to use this site I put the bare essentials on my profile (my age, that I had kids, and where I was from) and just looked around. This was on a Thursday. My kids happened to be with their Dad for the weekend so on Friday I spent the evening with my friend who was going through a pretty hairy divorce herself. I ended up staying until about 2 AM. When I got home I decided to check my email before I went to bed. To my surprise I had a message from the new website. Now here is where these websites suck you in for the money. You are allowed to see WHO sent you the message but not WHAT the message says. Of course I looked to see who sent me a message and I couldn't believe that his guy looked so much like this guy I had been to high school with. You don't use your real name of course but I also recognized his parents in his other pictures. Of course I had to see what he had written when I was convinced it truly was Barry Holman that I was looking at. It cost about $10 to sign up for a month of service, sadly this pushed my checking account over the limit and it ended up costing me about $100! I have to admit it was worth every penny! Barry's note was short and sweet, (since I had not put a picture of myself on the website, he didn't know who I was) he simply said that we seemed to have alot in common: our age, having kids, and where we were from, and that he would like to get to know me better. Without even thinking about it I sent a letter right back telling him who I was and giving him my phone number. I really didn't think he would remember me and I figured there was even less of a chance that he would call me if he did, so I figured that would be the end of that. The next morning (Saturday) at about 9AM he called! We talked for about 10 minutes about our kids and how weird it was that we were both divorced and that we hadn't seen or talked to each other since we had both graduated. Barry then asked me what I was doing for the rest of the day and I told him I was going to the Zoo, I left out of course that I was going on a blind date and let him assume that I was taking my kids there. We talked for a few more minutes and said good bye. I really thought I would never hear from him again. (once again I was wrong) My date lasted from about 10 untill just after 4 and although I had a good time I knew that I wasn't interested. I told the guy that I had been up late the night before and that I needed to get home and get some sleep. Imagine my surprise when I got home and there was a message on my answering machine from Barry telling me to call him when I got home. Of course I did call him and he invited me over to his house to watch a movie with him and his kids. I got lost trying to find his house and almost gave up but found it in the end and had a wonderful evening. We sat on the couch and talked and talked and talked. When I finally went home after midnight I couldn't believe what a good time I had. I was hoping he would call me again at some point but wasn't really counting on it. When I got home I knelt down and told Heavenly Father that I had a really good time and that I hoped he would call. Once again I was amazed when the next afternoon (Sunday) Barry called again and asked if he could stop by after he took his kids back to their moms house. I was nervous about him meeting my kids but it really smoothly and just before he ran off (literally he ran) to his car he gave me the quickest little peck on the lips I've ever had. The next day he met me up on campus for lunch and I think we saw each other every day after that. I don't think I ever knew until we were married and I experienced him working nights that I knew how much sleep he lost during those days! After over two years I still can't believe this has happened. It never ceases to amaze me how much my Father in Heaven has blessed me the last few years. We feel so blessed to be together and we have a great family. I hope we never forget the reasons we fell in love.