Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Heelllloooo world! The Brown's exist! Our blog has fallen off the face of the planet, but luckily we haven't. Hope you're having a...

Merry Christmas!!!

Jason is in the Santa suit, in case you're wondering why we let our children get so friendly with strangers. :)

Hahaha. Ellis is done. Apparently 5 minutes of picture taking is just more than he can handle.

(p.s. a big thanks to my super awesome and adorable friends Rebecca and Jen for taking these! LOVE those girls.

Watch this sweet little Christmas video. It will make you happy.

Between Jason being gone until about 8 every night, trying to find someone to take our lease, looking for a place in East Bay (see below for explanation), on top of all the normal Christmas craziness, things got a bit off balanced in our house for awhile. More stress than gratitude, more busyness than togetherness, more frazzled than fun.

We forgot for a second what Christmas was. Not presents. Not traditions. Not full calendars. There's of course nothing wrong with those things. We love them. They make this time of year special and magical. But as with everything, there is a balance. Those things are icing on the cake--but the foundation of Christmas is the Savior himself. We are grateful to focus on Him, on what He's done for us. On His humble birth, and magnificent life. There have been countless times in my life that I've wondered, how do people do this without the support, the purpose, and the understanding that He brings.

I love what Elder Holland says:

The wise men did come later bearing gifts, adding some splendor and wealth to this occasion, but it is important to note that they came from a distance, probably Persia, a trip of several hundred miles at the very least. Unless they started long before the star appeared, it is highly unlikely that they arrived on the night of the babe’s birth. Indeed, Matthew records that when they came Jesus was “a young child,” and the family was living in “a house.” (Matt. 2:11.)

Perhaps this provides an important distinction we should remember in our own holiday season. Maybe the purchasing and the making and the wrapping and the decorating—those delightfully generous and important expressions of our love at Christmas—should be separated, if only slightly, from the more quiet, personal moments when we consider the meaning of the Baby (and his birth) who prompts the giving of such gifts.

As happens so often if we are not careful, the symbols can cover that which is symbolized. In some of our lives the manger has already been torn down to allow for a discount store running three-for-a-dollar specials on gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

At this focal point of all human history, a point illuminated by a new star in the heavens revealed for just such a purpose, probably no other mortal watched—none but a poor young carpenter, a beautiful virgin mother, and silent stabled animals who had not the power to utter the sacredness they had seen.

Shepherds would soon arrive and later, wise men from the East. Later yet the memory of that night would bring Santa Claus and Frosty and Rudolph—and all would be welcome. But first and forever there was just a little family, without toys or trees or tinsel. With a baby—that’s how Christmas began.

We hope you have a WONDERFUL Christmas!!

The Browns

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Us at a Glance

2011 is almost over!!!

Is that a news flash for anyone else?! Because it definitely is for us. The year has flown by. I know how cliche that sounds, but it's just true. Flown by. Like an eagle.

A friend of mine that moved away about a year ago was just in town to visit (that's you Andrea!). While we were catching up she said, "So, how is having 3 going? I'm guessing pretty crazy since you haven't blogged in a year." Ha! Well, I wouldn't say it's been crazy. It's been great. Busy. Full of fun stuff. And laundry. Always laundry. We love it. Not the laundry, but the rest of it. But obviously blogging hasn't made it on the priority list. So here's the new goal: 1 post a month. Are you laughing? Yeah, so am I. Well, we'll try. And hey, even if we do 2 next year we'll be doubling our production. Progress is all we can ask for, right?

The 2011 highlights:

-Jason graduated with his MBA from UC Davis in June--woohoo! All the hard work paid off!
-Norah started Kindergarten. She loooovvvves it.
-Myles started walking in June, turned 1 in August, now runs everywhere, and got his first set of stitches 2 weeks ago. I say first because it certainly won't be his last.
-Ellis continues to be the comedian and has started eating some vegetables. And hamburgers. And rice. This is big news.
-After a longer than hoped for and a very diligent search, Jason got a great job(!!) Pleasanton. Which means......we'll be moving! We were thinking of waiting out our lease until August, but it only took 1 week of 3-4 hours of commuting a DAY to know it wasn't worth it. The kids missed Daddy too much, and so did I of course. We're looking for someone to take over our lease right now, and as soon as that happens we'll make the jump to East Bay. It's a beautiful area, and Jason is loving his job, so it's good stuff. But it's so hard to even think about leaving Davis. We've made amazing, life long friends which will be heartbreaking to leave. We love our house, love our ward, love school, love Davis. Bittersweet, definitely. But, a JOB!! Yahoo!

The cute graduate and his fan club.

He was a happy guy!

We're so lucky to have this guy. After graduating he spent every weekday working normal job hours looking for a job. He'd leave the house at 8ish, come home at 6ish--networking, applying, interviewing. It's not an easy thing to do, but he did it and managed to still be a nice Daddy and husband in the meantime. We're so happy that the searching paid off and that he's loving his job (IT Business Consulting).

And 2nd in line for Biggest News of the Year:

We have a Kindergartner in our house. A school aged kid. She absolutely LOVES it. Loves her teacher, her friends, learning, everything about it. I definitely cried the first day dropping her off and all the way home. It was exciting and hard all at the same time. It's the closing of a chapter--from now on she's a big girl in school. The days of her being a little girl and hanging out with us all day are gone. It's fun watching how excited she is about it, how the first thing she wants to do is show us everything she did at school, and how thrilled the boys are when we get to go pick her up.

3rd in line for Biggest News of the Year:

Ellis got a new do! It was time. I think he misses swinging it around as part of his goofy guy routine, but he loves it. He sure does look like a big boy now. Do I really have to admit that he's 3 and 1/2? (Thanks, Shiloh, for doing it!)


Get to see more of that cute face now!

Norah Girl:

5 and 1/2. Kindergartner. Still spunky, sweet, and full of energy. Still our artist of the family. Draws, cuts, glues, all day long. She's announced that she "doesn't like really girly things anymore, like princesses and stuff. Just cool things." So funny. She's growing up!

Still a collector. This was a stick collection gathered on the walk home from school. So many "collections" all over the place in our house. Ellis has caught on now. Countless times I've picked up some what-looks-like-trash from off the ground to hear a shriek of "NO! That's for my collection." Hmm, future hoarders?

She's our little hiker. She loves being on an "adventure" and still wishes she could be the leader every time. We went to Point Lobos (right out side of Monterey), it was BEAUTIFUL and the kids loved climbing around, especially Norah. Down by the tide pools she would climb up on top of a big rock and yell at the top of her lungs, "I CAN DO ANYTHING!" Haahaha! It's funny how some things we think of as cliche just come naturally to them. It was totally heartfelt and sincere. And hilarious. She walked her little legs off that day, probably 6 hours straight.

Ellis Man:
3 and 1/2. He's goofy, learning to not be such a picky eater, and so sweet. He'll often come up to me during the day and say, "Hey, Mommy, you know what?" "Yes, Ellis?" "I love you." He knows how to score points. He's very social and LOVES being with friends and playing with Norah & Myles. Telling him it's "quiet time" is like giving him a death sentence.

Oh, Ellis, our comedian. Almost impossible to get a normal picture of him these days. Loves being silly and making people laugh. Hmmm, wonder where he got that from? :) Norah had her first crush this year (a whole different story....) and was saying over and over "Hyuntae is so funny!" Ellis goes, "Yeah, he is really funny.... But not as funny as me."

Ellis loves it when Daddy goes to the store. Sugar still brings him great joy. We'll often hear, "Ummm, this is good. Tastes like sugar."

Mr. Myles:
15 months old. Running. Climbing. Making messes all over the place. Takes breaks from his exploring to come find Mommy and do a 10 second "check-in" on my lap, and then he's off to something else. Full of sass, throws a mighty temper tantrum, and not infrequently. Knows he's cute and uses it. Best belly laugh ever. He's so cute it's hard not to squeeze the daylights out of him. Sometimes we do anyway, and he giggles. He'll have gibberish conversations with you all day, it's the cutest.

We have another comedian on our hands. He and Ellis are going to make quite the team. He's already a performer and "gets it" when there is a joke going on. He's always keeping up with the big kids and doing whatever they're doing. It's so fun to see them all playing together now. One of the favorite games at home is what they call "The Poopy Diaper Game." Myles runs to them, Norah and Ellis scream "POOOPPPYYY DIIAAPPEERR!!" and run away, Myles chases after them, and it starts all over.

Still LOVES his Mommy. He enjoys everyone else too, but there's just nothin' like Mommy sometimes. Also loves: dogs, trucks (makes the sound effects, so cute), playing outside, dancing, wrestling, and nursing. Yep, still nursing. Norah and Ellis were done by now. He's holding strong. I'm just praying it winds down on it's own, but not looking that way. This kid KNOWS WHAT HE WANTS.

Other stuff:

Still having lots of fun on field trips and playing with friends. The is the West Davis pose. It's always hilarious when these guys get together. Can't start thinking about what life without the Armstrong's and Sienna's awesome hair is going to be will be so hard to leave Davis and all our amazing friends....

Making messes. They're really good at that.

But then they look like this so you can't be too mad.

Had a fun summer with lots of trips to the pool again. Ellis learned to swim! And the big deal was jumping off the diving board. Norah would do it over and over again all by herself. She's quite the swimmer now. Ellis couldn't swim all the way to the side so he'd have a life guard in the water to help him over. Little guy even went off the HIGH dive. It was awesome. Maybe more on that another time.

Best event of the summer was something we thought would never happen: the Edmonds moved here!!! Known in our house as "the boy cousins"--Jason sister Michelle, and Doug, and their 6 kids (5 boys and then Ella). My kids LOVE them. Ellis talked about them daily, so it was a dream come true to have them close. Doug is the new UC Davis institute director and Jason and I got to take a couple classes from him which was awesome. On her Thanksgiving turkey she made at school Norah's "grateful" feathers included one that read, "My boy cousins." So cute.

Hope you had a great year! We feel so blessed to have such great friends and family in our lives!