May 2012

We had gorgeous weather last weekend so I decided to take the girls camping… in our back yard.  We are surrounded by woods, so it actually feels like camping.  Besides, as long as there is a fire, marshmallows, and stars they don’t mind if their campground doubles as our back yard.  Plus, it’s nice to be within walking distance of a clean bathroom.

Olivia was so excited.  We built a big fire and sat around it until 10:30 – way past her bedtime.  In the later hours, she was delirious from sleepiness – which led to some interesting conversations.  She gave me a crash course on astrology (did you know there are bunny and alligator constellations?) and then the conversation turned to my initials, JKB.  To her recollection, this stood for Jason “Kick It” Barr.  I think that was a compliment.  She talked for hours.  I mean hours

Eventually the night wore on, the fire died down, and it was time to go to bed.  Sleeping in a tent is probably my least favorite part about camping.  It’s one of those things that seems to get worse as I get older (kind of like Saturday Night Live).  If you’ve never done it, let me describe what sleeping in a tent is like.  First of all, you can never find a level spot so there is this odd sensation of sliding all night.  Then there is the noise.  Nature is very noisy.  Being a light sleeper, I had to use earplugs.  Everything smells like a campfire – which is nice while roasting S’mores, but kind of a bummer when you’re trying to sleep.  Finally – and worst of all – there is the condition of the air.  It was 55 degrees and the humidity was about 80%.  Inside the tent the humidity was closer to 100%.  This causes cold sweats all night long.  Normally, all of these things are just part of camping, but it is very difficult when you have to experience all of these things 30 yards away from your king size bed.

Oh and there was one other thing I experienced… a tiny little head resting on my stomach as my daughter soundly slept.  Hopefully my one night of discomfort will result in a lifetime memory for her.  That’s a trade I’ll take any day.

I’ll be in California next week, so there will be no post.  Enjoy your Memorial Day!


All over the world, we just celebrated motherhood.  The thing that stands out when I think of motherhood is selflessness.  I have firsthand experience of this from my own mother and my wife as the mother of our children. 

Mothers get food for other people when they would like to eat.  Mothers rock with a crying baby when they want nothing more than sleep themselves.  Mothers can miraculously heal a number of ailments with a hug even when they themselves are hurt.  Mothers are proud of their child’s accomplishments without pointing out their own.  They listen when they just want to be heard.  They soothe when they want to scream (sometimes).  They love when they feel unloved.  They give when they are in need.

Plus there’s that whole giving birth thing… wow!

I did a lot of stupid things as a kid (like getting stuck between the eyes while playing catch with an arrow… yes, an arrow!).  As the beneficiary of all of the things I mentioned above, I want to thank all of you mothers out there who selflessly give every day.

Ok, stop crying mom!

We moved over the weekend.  We’re still in the same house, but I’m pretty sure we moved every piece of furniture in it… twice.  It all started with new bedroom furniture for our master bedroom.  We got a new bed, dresser, and chest.  I thought the old ones would just go in the basement.  If only things were that simple.

Our bedroom is on the first floor (not the same level as any other bedroom).  Our old bed had to go in the basement… our old dresser went upstairs to the guest bedroom, which meant the armoire on the second story had to go to the basement.  Our dresser went upstairs to Olivia’s room… which meant her old dresser would go to Amelia’s room… which meant her old dresser would go down two flights of stairs to the basement.  This move also necessitated changing out the girl’s beds (mattresses and all) so that their beds would match their dressers.  We also had to move a giant entertainment armoire out of our room that is apparently lined with lead because it weighs more than a Kia.  It is still sitting on the back porch and I have no idea where it will go.  I may turn it into a storm shelter.  Inside it is a 13 year-old Sony Trinitron.  If you have moved a 13 year-old television recently, you can appreciate how far we’ve come with flat screen televisions.  It weighs about as much as a 13 year-old elephant. 

Once all of the furniture was in place, I thought we were done.  I’m so naïve when it comes to home décor.  The next step was to move all of the pictures, artwork, and décor that I’ve never even noticed we had.  The process involves me teetering on the edge of something I shouldn’t be standing on while holding a piece of metal arranged in a supposedly artistic fashion while Sara steps back and has me move it “a little to the left… a little up… a little to the right… down just a bit” until it is in the exact location where I first held it.  I then try to hold my finger at the spot on the wall where the hanger should go and proceed to missing that location just slightly when putting a nail in the wall.

It’s a frustrating process.

Adding to the frustration is our growing inventory of décor.  All of our storage areas are turning into TJ Max – yet we still have to buy more stuff to match whatever our current décor theme might be.  If you detect cynicism then I must be doing a good job writing today.

I can’t complain (too much).  Sara is a very good decorator – at least that’s what she tells me and I’ll never know any different.  If it were up to me, I’d probably just leave everything where it was… forever.  But I guess having a fresh look to the house is good from time to time. 

I could come up with a moral to this story, but that would be pushing it a little.  For now I’ll just be happy that we’re (mostly) done with the moves and I plan to impose a four week ban on HGTV.


We got to take the boat out and spend some time on the lake over the weekend.  Since Sara is a dermatology PA, we have to apply copious amounts of sunscreen for anything that involves the slightest chance of exposure to UV rays.  It was sunny and 87 degrees, so this weekend qualified.

I’ve never really given much thought to my application of sunscreen until I awoke Sunday morning.  Putting on sunscreen is just one of those things you do without a whole lot of conscious effort – like tying your shoes, brushing your teeth, or listening to your wife talk about the weird, festering rash she saw today while eating dinner. 

On Sunday morning, however, I tried to recall my sunscreen application because I was sunburned in a rather odd fashion.  Apparently I was quite disinterested when I put on my sunscreen and took no effort to evenly spread it on my body.  I had red and white stripes around my neck and chest that looked like I was wearing war paint.  The back of my left arm must not have gotten any sunscreen because it was beet red.  Match that with the white on the front of my upper arms and the somewhat more brown hue of the farmer tan on my forearm and my left arm looked like Neapolitan ice cream.  My legs remained a nice pasty white except for a bright red patch on top of my left thigh.  Perhaps oddest of all was my stomach.  I must have spread the sunscreen on pretty thoroughly there because my stomach was still all white; however, the inside of my belly button was burned.  I’ve never gotten the inside of my belly button burned before.  Do I normally put sunscreen inside my belly button?  I don’t recall ever doing that, but this is the first time it has burned, so I must.

While thinking about my cartoonish sunburn, I realized the importance of application.  Knowledge, intentions, and tools are great, but if there is a breakdown in application, they are worthless.  I had the right tool (sunscreen), knowledge (if I put on sunscreen, I won’t get burned), and intentions, but I failed when it came to application.  As a result, I have an odd, stinging pain in my belly button. 

I encourage you to pay attention to application this week.  Intentions are great… if you follow through on them, but even the most modest of actions will have a more profound impact than the greatest of intentions with no action.