Saturday, December 20, 2008

Leaves Anyone?

A couple Saturdays ago before the rain came we had an insane amount of leaves in our yard. We love the trees, and I actually love the leaves, but maybe that's because it's not my job to clean them up. For some reason I always remember how when we'd visit during the fall my Grandpa would rake up the leaves for us to jump in and I thought it was so much fun. Norah has enjoyed every bit of fall this year and has quite an obsession with leaves. Anywhere we go--the grocery, church, to get the mail, to the car, wherever, she always finds leaves and then carries them like little treasures all around the house. Crumpled leave pieces all over the house aren't so fun, but you've got to choose your battles, right? As we're driving and she sees trees she'll ask, "Mommy, can I get a leaf when we get out? Can I get it myself?"

Anyway, before the cleaning began I thought the kids would enjoy playing in them and I got some fun fall pictures.

Here's the Last 2 Months....

So, remember how I said we had food poisoning? Turns out it was just a wretched stomach flu and the two little ones got it just as Jason and I had recovered. Sounds like just about everyone has had it this year.

I was right on my prediction of Ellis crawling in a few days.....he's now exploring the whole house and loving it.

One good potential job position for Jason. We'll know more by the new year. It would be great and a true miracle if it works out. If not, I think we'll be selling the house. But, it's just a house....and it's out of our why cry over it, right?

Anyway, here's some pictures from the past couple months....

2 Thanksgivings

Started out with a noon Thanksgiving at my mom's house. Norah liked corn, and that was about it.

Ellis was all over the yams, and seriously ate more than Norah. He LOVES food.

Daddy and Ellis watching football.

Then we headed over to the other Browns (Ben & Nicole's house) for yet another Thanksgiving dinner. It was delicious as well. Ellis saying hi to Great Grandma Verna.

Fun cousins.

If you have to get the stomach flu, what better time than after having multiple Thanksgiving dinners, right?

Halloween stunk

Not really, we had lots of fun. Our "stinky" pig and skunk were hilarious to watch. Norah was in "hog heaven" (ha!) and Ellis endured his costume, although I'm not sure he actually enjoyed it. Raining and all, we got some trick or treating in.

Grandma Brown made the adorable skunk costume for one of the cousins and many of them have worn it since. Ellis filled it out nicely with his chubby cheeks. And enjoyed eating the black fur.

Little piggy LOVED trick or treating.

Norah looking like a ghetto pig throwing up some gang signs here. Truth is her "head" kept falling into her eyes and so she's peaking out from under it. As far as I know pink isn't typically a gang color so I think we're okay.

Norah having fun at the church Halloween party with her cute twin friends Courtney and Aubrey. This mid-air skip-hop with sucker in mouth is accurate of just how much she loved Halloween. This girl is all about candy, being social, and dressing up, so no surprise she was all over it.

My darling little skunk looked like this all night at the church party but didn't ever really complain. Maybe he was too hot to have enough energy to. He's so cute I just can't handle it.

Fun at Apple Hill

My family never really did the Apple Hill thing, and Jason's typically only went up to get a tree for Christmas (at least that's all he remembers doing...) so, we're always experimenting to see what's fun when we go up. This year we went to Pluebell's which was a keeper. Little "petting" zoo for the kids (really it is just a bunch of animals that you can feed through the gate, but good enough), tire swing, food, and other stuff we didn't pay attention to. Rainbow Donuts is another keeper-- who wouldn't love an apple cider donut? Yummmmm. Kids Inc for dessert and a little pumpkin. We love you Apple Hill.

My cowgirl who LOVES animals and has absolutely no fear. This goat was huge, intense, and aggressive, but Norah was more than happy to make friends. Seeing her get so thrilled to see animals makes me feel a little guilty we don't have a pet. Not guilty enough to get one though. At least not yet. I figure a little brother is way more fun than a dog.

Ellis being a good sport.

I asked Norah to take a picture with her pumpkin (it's the mini one to the left of her). She told me to "hold on a sec" and as I waited for what seemed like a long time she carefully balanced her pumpkin on the big one and then sat against them. Funny girl. Now we just have to work on her smiling on command...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We're Behind....But for good reason

I know there are many family members and friends who must be sick of checking the blog only to find no new posts. My sincerest apologies, but would it help to know that we've had quite the past 2 months? Not to mention a sick last couple weeks. I got mastitis right before Thanksgiving (a breast infection....really not fun. I got it twice with Norah, but not at all with Ellis until now. He's 7 months! So weird that I would get it now). Then, just as that recovery was looking up, Jason and I both got some MAJOR food poisoning over the weekend. It was horrid. The food poisoning diet is highly effective but NOT recommended--how else could you lose 5 lbs. over Thanksgiving weekend? We had taken Norah to McDonald's around the corner so she could play on the playground on Saturday night and I had a cheeseburger and gave Jason some and, let's just say, we WEREN'T "lovin' it." Well, I guess that's what we get for reneging on our McDonald's ban after seeing Super Size Me a few years ago. Thank GOODNESS we have family around to help (thank you MOM!!!!!). Today I'm a little better, at least have enough energy to sit upright and do a quick post. The kids are healthy thankfully, although Ellis has been throwing up today while acting completely normal and energetic. Hope it doesn't develop into anything else.

So, until I get some new posts up, here's a quick look at what we've been up to:
  • Halloween was fun
  • Thanksgiving was great
  • Norah's in a big girl bed!
  • Ellis is days away from figuring out how to crawl!
  • Jason accepted a call to be a seminary teacher back in October. He teaches the freshmen an early morning bible study before they go to school. They're studying the New Testament this year. He has about 20 kids in his class and is really enjoying it even with the early morning part (the teacher devotional starts at 6:15. Yikes!). The kids love him and he loves them.
  • With the economy the way it is, the developer market is non-existent. Redfern closed shop and Jason's been trying to figure out what direction to go next. Most likely he'll be going back to school to get his MBA in fall, so he's started studying for the GMAT while continuing to look out for job opportunities.
  • SO, now we're trying to decide what to do with our house. Rent it out while we go to school, or sell it?

See, I told you there was good reason for the delay in new posts! But, amongst all of the changes in our lives, we still have so much to be thankful for. I'm so thankful for our wonderful family who is so loving and supportive. I'm grateful for my funny, sweet, and darling kids who make everything else less important. And I'm especially blessed to have such a wonderful husband. He's a great father, a hard worker, a worthy priesthood holder, a charitable and trustworthy friend, and a loving, supportive husband who can always make me laugh. What else really matters?!

Anyway, thanks for your patience. I'll try to get some pictures up soon.....I promise!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Fall!

It's finally starting to feel like fall here.  It was warm last week but cooled down just in time for Halloween and gave the kids some time to trick-or-treat before the rain was falling too hard.  I'm sure we'll be sick of it soon enough, but the rain is a welcomed change for now.  I love fall, and even though it feels like we're going straight from warm to rainy we'll enjoy it while it lasts. We had fun picking out pumpkins and carving them last week.  

Hope everyone had a fun Halloween!  (By the way, our pumpkins got moldy so fast!  Is there a trick I don't know about?)

Costume pictures will be coming soon.....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Proposition 8 & Potty Training

How, you may be asking yourself, are Prop 8 and potty training related? Well, in 3 ways as far as I can see.
1. They've both been on our minds heavily over the past few weeks.
2. As with potty training, some people need a better understanding of what they are getting into before voting for Prop 8. We'd seen the signs that Norah was ready to be training for months, but I was hesitant because I needed to know what I was doing, plus I wasn't sure I wanted to give up the flexibility that diapers allow (although I was TOTALLY wrong on that one. No diapers is AWESOME!).
3. Due to his Hawaiian raised parents Jason grew up calling pee "sheshe." If Prop 8 does not pass, sheshe can get married. (OK- it's a strech but Jason came up with that one.) Really, they are just two things I've been wanting to post about, so why not do it together?

So, for you out-of-staters, or those Californians who don't get out much (although I can't imagine at this point how you couldn't have been bombarded with it by now), Prop 8 is a proposition to make an amendment to the California constitution that reads "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California." In 2000 California voters passed Prop 22 by an overwhelming 61% (considered a landslide for an election) which defined marriage in California as between a man and a woman. Earlier this year in a 4-3 vote the California Supreme Court (4 judges!) overturned what 61% of the population had voted for and legalized same-sex marriage. As you can imagine, or as you have witnessed, this has been a heated debate all the way through. It probably comes as no surprise that the Browns are a Yes vote on Prop 8 (the scroll to the right of the blog is a dead giveaway), but in case you wanted to know why or there are any unsure votes out there, we'll share.....

First off, watch this video. We've receive MANY links to articles, videos, blogs, etc. all focusing on Prop 8 over the past few months, but this was the best. It it is clear, accurate and straight forward. It is the best representation of why we are voting Yes.

The video sums up our feelings very well. Here are a couple other thoughts if you're interested:

Prop 8 restores the people's decision and does not take away any rights: It seeks to restore how marriage was defined in California by 62% of the voters after being overturned by 4 judges. It does not take away any rights. In California, domestic partnerships and civil unions hold the same rights as married spouses.

Prop 8 encourages having a father and a mother: By calling same-sex unions "marriage" aren't we just saying that a mother and a father aren't really necessary? That it's perfectly okay to substitute one for another of the same sex, that we shouldn't even notice the difference, that it's fine to do without one? Research clearly shows that children develop best and gain different things from a father and a mother. It seems to me that any single mom, despite whatever situation brought her to be a single mommy, would still wish that in the perfect world things could have been different. That ideally, her child would have a mother AND a father who would love each other and their children. Of course we do not live in that perfect world, and things often don't end up how we planned or hoped they would. However, whatever we legalize we encourage and therefore get more of. "One can believe in same sex-marriage. One can believe that every child deserves a father and a mother. One cannot believe both." (David Blankenhorn, Institute for American Values)
Of course there are plenty of heterosexual people who have contributed to the breakdown of the family. However, just because irresponsible parents exist doesn't mean that we should change the definition of what is best for the child. Allowing marriage to only be defined by the traditional family unit places it clearly as the best case scenario for children to grow in. We can of course all teach our children individually what we think is best. However, society as a whole is impacted when you start teaching it in schools as equal (which is already happening), and when religions have to recognize it as the same as well.
Check out this link to a very interesting opinion piece by a liberal Democrat on why he's voting Yes on 8. His idea of the family and marriage is very interesting. Read it!

Prop 8 is not about civil rights: I am for giving same-sex couples the same rights that the word marriage provides to spouses, which they already hold in California through civil unions or domestic partnerships. However, is the word "marriage" really a RIGHT? Then how must the polygamists feel? They must feel discriminated against as well then I would assume. Should we recognize their unions as legal "marriage" then as well then, if it is truly a right? Should it be a right then for any people who love each other to be married?

Prop 8 is not meant to be hateful: I understand that it is a sensitive subject. We are not always going to agree, especially on the issue of same-sex marriage, and it is understandable that some people may find our position on traditional families offensive to their way of life. However, we live in America and I believe that we all have freedom of speech. For those who preach tolerance and claim that we have none, it is ironic that some of the opponents to Prop 8 have been anything but tolerant of our side. Everyone I know has had their yard sign stolen at least once, if not twice or three times or more. I continue to hear claims that the Yes on Prop 8 voters are discriminatory and full of hate. I can 100% honestly say that I do not have any hate in my heart for people who live this way. I do have a problem with continually being called a bigot or hateful. I do not wish for them to lose any rights, and they will not even if Prop 8 passes. I just don't believe that a same-sex union and a traditional marriage are the same thing. I think they are fundamentally different and accomplish different things and therefore should be called different names. I'm not sure how that makes me hateful. I believe we can still have love and respect for each other while standing up for our standards and beliefs.

Mormon Involvement: There has been significant media coverage commenting on the heavy involvement of Mormons in support of Prop 8. First off, it should be clear that all donations and volunteering is by choice, and that the church itself has not given even a penny to the campaign. For any of you who know us well or are familiar with our church, it should not come as a surprise that we are so dedicated in our support of Prop 8. We believe that the family is a sacred, God instituted unit where we learn and grow and become our best. Any action that lessens the importance and respect for the traditional family unit we are against. Many other churches, groups, and individuals are supporting Prop 8 as well because they too recognize it's vital importance.

It is clear and completely understandable that those who chose to live in a same sex marriage have feelings, have rights, and have their agency to chose their own path. But legalizing same sex marriage is teaching our children that it is the same. That there is no difference between a father and a mother. That they are interchangeable and therefore unimportant. And that is fundamentally not true. This issue is not about discrimination, or tolerance, or even homosexuality--it is simply about preserving the family as the fundamental unit of society and recognizing that it is the goal post for all of us to shot for.

I know this post is drastically different from my usual posts that are cluttered with a bunch of pictures of our little family. For any of you who are unsure or unclear on what some of the issues are we wanted to share some of our thoughts. Thanks for listening! If you'd like more information you can visit If you don't agree, we still love and respect you and hope you will do the same for us. If you agree, make sure to vote Yes on Prop 8 next Tuesday!

(Norah watching a show during her potty day. She's a PRO at the potty now! Thanks to Grandma Mary and her one-day training method she caught on right away with hardly an accident. We all had a fun "potty party" at my moms house which thankfully has hard wood floors, and she hasn't looked back since. It's been a fun couple of weeks with her big girl panties!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ellis the 6 month old...

We can't believe it!  Our precious little man turned 6 months old today.  He has been such a joy in our lives it's hard to imagine that he ever wasn't part of our family.  He's completely entertaining and utterly squeezable.  And I'm convinced he has THE most kissable face ever.  There's something about his chubby cheeks and pudgy neck that you just can't resist.  Anyway, I thought I'd share some things you all might not know about Ellis and give you a glimpse into what he's up to these days.  Went through and picked out some of my favorite recent pictures, but you're going to laugh because there's tons.... so, if you're short on time or not in the mood to hear a mom gush over her baby, this isn't the post for you.

He's sitting up and loving it.  Now he can reach all of his toys!

A close up of his knee roll.  It's true, he has a knee roll.  He is a big boy-- in the 97% for his height and head, and 77% for weight last time I took him for a check-up.  Although, I can't imagine what he would look like at 97% weight.  I kind of feel like I never had a "baby," and my back sure doesn't feel like it either. 

His toes are his best friends.  He LOVES sucking on his toes.  He sucks on his toes as much as some babies such on their thumbs.  Sometimes it's really loud too.  We occasionally hear it over the monitor.  Ha!

The best word to describe his personality is jolly.  All you have to do is look in his direction and suddenly he smiles big enough to eat your head while flailing his arms and kicking his feet wildly with excitement.  Even when you wake him up from a nap he opens his eyes and is instantly smiling.  He has the best belly laugh and is VERY ticklish.  

He's a blankie boy.  He loves his blankies.  When we hand him his blanket in his crib he excitedly grabs it and smiles huge, then he pulls it with him as he turns to sleep on his side.  

I just love this picture of his pot belly.  Don't you love how baby cheeks look so heavy when they sleep and make their lips become all pursed.  (If you don't know what I'm talking about look at the picture above this one.) 

He's such a boy in so many ways.  The rowdier you play with him, the more he laughs.  He's already banging all his toys violently and beating things on his highchair in a way that Norah never did.  And his toots are SO loud.  So loud that I'm sure the people at the grocery totally think it must be me.  

He's eating food!  So far yes on the sweet potatoes, no on the green beans.

He makes a really sad frowny face that is hard to ignore.  Overall he his a happy baby, but I definitely wouldn't call him mellow.  Especially early on he was a bit high maintenance but seems to have grown out of it.

He's a MAMA's boy.  And I LOVE it.  

He loves his Daddy too though.

This is the watching-Norah-do-something-crazy face that he often has.  She loves to "entertain" him by bouncing up and down, running around him while singing "Ring Around the Rosie," or whatever other antics she may be up to.

He loves his sister soooo much.  He thinks she is totally hilarious and can't wait to see her when he wakes up.  She is a very sweet sister and loves to "read" him books and "play" with him as much as she can.  Whenever he's crying she immediately bursts into song to try to calm him down.

He says no to crack....most the time.

We love you, Ellis boy!  Happy 6 month birthday, Buddy!

So....who do you think he looks like?  Some people say he looks just like Jason, some people say just like me.  Some say a boy version of Norah.  Who do you think?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Meeting Cinderella

Short version: Norah got to meet Cinderella while we were at Disneyland, which she had been hoping to do ever since we got there. She was thrilled beyond words, literally. Skip to pictures...

If you want it, here's the, the second day we were at Disneyland we made a stop at the Princess Faire (I think that's what it's called). It's darling and SO fun for any princess obsessed little girls like Norah. One of the things they have there is a "Princess Row" where you can wait in line and then walk down this garden-like area where all of the princesses are and meet them, take pictures, etc. Well, when we got there I asked one of the princess attendants how long the line would take--45 mins to and hour. Yikes. The cute little attendant asked if there was a certain princess that we were especially hoping to meet today, to which we both replied "Cinderella's all that really matters." "Oh wonderful! I think she's here today!" (Imagine that in the squeaky princess voice.) ANYWAY, I sent Jason to go stand in the line (what a great hubby/daddy huh?!) and I took Norah and Ellis to go listen to Sleeping Beauty give a storytime. About 5 minutes into it the attendant comes back over and asks "Would you like to meet a surprise princess today without having to wait in a line?" Um, YES please! So, after story time I grabbed Jason out of the other line and we went over to the designated spot and waited for them to come get us (during which I had to feed Ellis and was hurrying him along so I wouldn't miss the reveal). After a couple minutes she comes around to get us and brings us in front of a "secret" room with a big velvet drape across the doorway and asks Norah, "Are you ready to meet your surprise princess? She's very excited to meet you!" pulls back the velvet drape, and reveals....Cinderella and Minnie Mouse! Norah was SPEECHLESS. She couldn't even MOVE. It was the funniest thing I've ever seen. Our bouncy, outgoing, chatterbox little girl turned into a statue. By the expression on her face I imagine something like this was going through her head: "Is it really her? Could it be? I can't believe Cinderella is talking to me! Am I dreaming?" She was in complete and utter shock and amazement. I think her being on the young side of most princess fans made it even funnier because she REALLY thought it WAS Cinderella. And boy do they do a good job, even their vocabulary is princess-ish.

Anyway, I can't believe I've gone on and on about this and if someone is actually still reading I'm sure I've bored you to death and there's a little pool of drool on your keyboard. Sorry. Here are some more pictures, although they really don't do it justice.

That's me trying to usher her up near them. When they opened the door she just stood there in total disbelief so I had to sheppard her up there. excited.

Couldn't stop staring.

After meeting Cinderella we went to the "Coronation Ceremony" and Sleeping Beauty came and danced with Norah. She was one lucky girl!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Our Trip

It's taken long enough, but here's a glimpse of what we did on our trip last month.  Uncle Eric joined us for a trip down south and we all had a great time.  The kids (MIRACULOUSLY) were wonderful in the car, Norah LOVED the beach and Disneyland, and we all had a wonderful visit with family and friends.  

Norah glued to Grandma Mary's portable DVD player.  The ride was actually a treat for her with the help of this little device.  She turns into a zombie when she watches TV, and zombie behavior is very convenient for long car rides.  Seriously, check out that zombie stare.

Our first stop was visiting some of my Dad's family that we hadn't seen in years and years.  It was such a wonderful reunion!  They are the sweetest, most loving people and made us feel so welcomed.  It was such a treat to all get caught up and share some funny stories about Dad. Norah fell in love with Chips (the dog).   

Us with some of the gang.  Ellis is such a chunk!

We had dinner with Bob, an old friend of my Dad's that was roommates with him back in his college years.  Back in December Bob had been wanting to get back in touch with Dad and googled him for his information, but the first thing that came up was his obituary from three weeks prior.  To make a long story short, we got in contact with him and were able to meet him for dinner while we were down in the area.  He is an amazing, kind, sincere person who gave us some great advice and some hilarious memories of Dad.  We're excited to keep in touch with him and are really glad we caught up with him while we were down there.

Lots of fun at the beach...

and in the sand.

Ellis didn't love the beach so much, but it was hot and he was tired, so who can blame him.

We also got to  see our good friends Scott and Karisa while we were down there.  They are SO cute with the kids and hilarious as always.  We wish we lived closer!

Ellis finally asleep.

How could we resist a trip to Disneyland when we were already all the way down there??  It was really fun, although much more crowded than we were hoping, and way hotter than we would have liked.  Funny tid-bit about Goofy.  I'll often say to Norah, "You're so goofy,"  to which she replies with a tell-it-how-it-is look on her face, "No, I'm not Goofy, I'm Norah!"  I guess you can't blame her for the confusion.  

Uncle Eric was a good sport and joined us at Disneyland for one of the days.  Although he did only last until about 4:00.  But for a single, kid-less, 21 year old guy, Disneyland is far from the "happiest place on earth."  

Ellis' first trip to Disneyland!

Cute Scott and Karisa.  They joined us one night at Disneyland.

She LOVED meeting all the characters, but the best of all was Cinderella (separate post to come).  Overall, we had a wonderful trip and a great time visiting with everyone.  Great end to the summer!!!