Husband and Father

Husband and Father
July 15, 1958 ~ August 25, 2008

Monday, December 20, 2010

Finally Legal...

Sarah turned the BIG 21 today! Wow, the year's have gone by way to quickly. Sarah is so much fun to have around. She keeps us laughing, and as Ben said today, she is the party started. She is a beautiful girl both inside and out. We love you Sarah!
Happy Birthday!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Santa Claus Comes To Town

This year's Santa Party was held at the Hanna House. Fabulous hosts I might add. Delicious dinner, dessert, and lots of fun.

Santa's arrival was anticipated with a lot of enthusiasm. Christmas carols were sung as we waited his arrival; a story was read; and a surprise talented soloist performed. When Santa finally arrived, the kids couldn't have been more excited.

I'm not sure which of my kids were on the naughty or nice list, but by the looks of the pictures, the boys' might not have made it on the nice list. They seemed a little concerned with Santa's naughty and nice book.

Santa spoiled them with new Utah sweatshirts.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Festival of Trees

The Amethyst group from Creative Dance Academy dancing at the Festival of Trees. They were all wonderful!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Violinists' at JSMB

There are so many things I love about Christmas. One thing I especially love at Christmas time is Christmas music. I know I could probably turn on a CD and call it good, but I especially love watching my kids perform. I love harp music, violin music, piano music, and choirs. I feel the spirit of Christmas through Christmas music.

Today was Katelyn’s last performance at JSMB. Her violin studio has performed there since Katelyn was small. It was a little emotional thinking that this is the last time I will see this group perform at this location. The JSMB is so beautiful, you can feel such a warm spirit there.
As usual, the violinists (especially Katelyn), did a phenomenal job!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Dance 2010

Katelyn went to the Christmas Dance with Coulton Kilpack. It was a girl's choice dance, so I didn't get a picture of them together. Katelyn looked beautiful!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bella, Bella!

If only dogs could talk what do you think they would say?
When I look at this picture I wonder: Does she need more attention? Does she need a softer place to sleep? Does she sleep walk? Does she subconsciously want to be a part of the Christmas Village? Or……… DOES SHE JUST WANT TO TICK ME OFF! I think the latter.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Turning Twelve

When a girl turns 12 she: begins Young Women’s; becomes very particular about what she wears and how her hair is worn; shops at fashionable older-kid stores ; contemplates the use of make-up; prepares for Jr. High School; loves spending time with friends; and becomes well……..rather silly. Twelve is wonderful!

Lizzy's birthday celebrations began rather early that morning. At 5:20 a.m. we left to pick up her friend to go the temple and perform baptisms for the dead. It was a beautiful experience for both her and I. I must admit I teared up a bit when she was being baptized by someone other than her dad. I was so sad that he physically wasn’t there, I could feel his spirit though, and that made it special. The priesthood holders at the temple are so kind and gentle, they knew it was her first time at the temple and helped her every step of the way.

After our spiritual high, Ben and I took Lizzy to Sunshine Café for breakfast. It is one of our favorite places.

In the evening she had a small birthday party. We went and saw the movie Tangled, (which I would highly recommend) and dined at the Spaghetti Factory. I couldn’t stop laughing at these adorable, silly girls. They have all grown up so much, and are very entertaining.
At the movie Tangled. Dinner at the Spaghetti Factory - Did I mention 12 year old girls are silly.Bailee, Lizzy, Ashlyn, Ali, Reagan, and Liz.
We decorated her room, and gave her an adorable magnet board, and lots of cute clothes.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Look A Likes?

I was browsing through The American Girl Doll Catalogue, when I happened upon this magazine advertisement. To me, the little girl in the advertisement resembles Lizzy. Oddly enough, I wasn't the only one who had mentioned this to her. What do you think?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookie Surprise

To all my Julia Child "cook-a-likes", please do not read this post. You know who you are..... Si, Eden, to name a few. For the rest of us regular cooks, listed below is the recipe for the cookies I brought to our Thanksgiving Feast. Several people inquired, so here it is:

1 package Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookie Mix.
Make according to directions.
Place one miniature milky way candy bar in the middle of each cookie. Roll dough in a ball, and cook according to the package directions.

When cookies have cooled, melt chocolate chips, place melted chocolate in baggie cut off the tip of baggie and drizzle chocolate on cookies.


Friday, November 26, 2010

To Grandmother's House We Go...

Grandma Brown asked everyone to bring a plate of cookies to Thanksgiving dinner, along with their main dish/dessert assignment. I was asked to bring my peanut butter surprise cookies.

I made them the night before, and put a note on them, that said, "Do Not Eat". Instead of complying with my specific instructions, my kids would sneak one, and rearrange the cookies. Instead of a heaping plate of cookies, I brought just a plate of cookies.

They went fast at Grandma's house too. I guess they are irresistible.

The Thanksgiving meal is always delicious!

There are many food traditions, besides the obvious ones, that are unique to only Grandma Browns' Thanksgiving feast. They are: cranberry sauce,(in a special dish that has been passed down for generations); yams with the marshmallow topping (Steve's favorite); and you can't forget the turkey rolls (rolls shaped like turkeys).

The adults love to MINGLE, while the kids find other kinds of entertainment.
The Ping Pong Tournament is another tradition. You are matched up with a partner, and whoever wins moves up in the bracket, until a ping pong champion is produced. I think my relatives underestimated me......I won in the first bracket to my 22 year old nephew Brandon. Yahoo, sorry Brand! I moved up a bracket and won Wayne, a little more relaxing of a game. We had to leave before it was completely over, but I heard through the grapevine that my nephew Dan was the champion.

Dessert consists of pies, pies, and more pies. There were chocolate pies, coconut cream pie, pumpkin pie, and apple pie.

Grandma's famous turkey cookies are the coveted cookies. She also made her yummy homemade fudge, and each family brought a plate of cookies to share.

Lots of food!
We are grateful for family.....

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks & Giving

This week on the early morning Today Show, they featured a segment on Thanks & Giving. What an appropriate way to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. The theme was centered on things we are thankful for, and also on giving. I enjoyed watching different people describe what they were thankful for, and learning the art of giving by spending time helping others less fortunate.

Much of the focus was on the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. It was so touching watching people's lives being changed, both those receiving service and those giving service. It warmed my heart.

I thought about this theme a lot during this week. I first began to think of all the things I am grateful for. I am so blessed and have so many things to be grateful for, it’s difficult to narrow down my list. Two things in particular that I am grateful for are my children, and for health and strength.

I am blessed with amazing children. Much more is expected of them than other children because of our unique circumstances. Besides the normal kid responsibilities, my kids have some duties that are usually performed by parents. Sometimes you’ll see one of my kids helping another with homework, grocery shopping, carpooling, fulfilling nanny duties, dates with their mom, and the list continues. I admire and love each one of them with all my heart.

I am grateful for health and strength. This year with Sarah’s tumor situation, I became keenly aware of how important health is, and how much we take it for granted. I am so grateful that her health situation had a happy ending, and that we are all healthy and strong.

I wanted to complete the second half of Thanks & Giving, by volunteering somewhere with my children. I must say, it never happened in an organized fashion, but we were able to help out our elderly family friend. She allowed one of my kids to clean her house, one to mow the lawn, run errands for her, take her places, bring her meals, and visit with her. We always love helping her. It brings us so much joy.

I hope that next year my family and I will be able to take more time implementing the giving part of Thanksgiving.

I have so much to be thankful for, especially our wonderful friends and family who continue to support us through our ups and downs. Thank you so much, we love you!

Baby Steps

Grief doesn’t magically end after a certain amount of time has lapsed after a loved one’s death. There are times when I have daily reminders of my loss. Certain reminders of Steve are inevitable, especially during holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries. Reminders of my loss are not just special dates, but can be tied to a particular song, restaurant, activity, building, or sights and smells around me. They are everywhere.

I try to avoid places that might bring back difficult memories for me. Memorial events or news of a sudden death triggers the pain and sadness of my own loss. I am not only sad about my loss, but I can truly feel how a young wife who suddenly losses her husband may feel. I have empathy towards these women.

This week I confronted two of my greatest fears. My first fear, was visiting the same mortuary that was host of some of the memorial events accompanying Steve’s death. Monday night I attended a viewing of a young husband/father, whom passed away suddenly. The viewing was not only at the same mortuary, but also in the same room that Steve’s viewing was held in.

The day was full of anxiety for me as I contemplated whether or not I would be able to confront my fear. I finally made the decision to attend the viewing. Katelyn agreed to accompany me, she is so brave. We came early hoping that I could just process my feelings without a lot of people around. I walked past the room were Steve’s parents and I dressed Steve in his temple clothing. Memories of a very tender time with Steve’s parents were brought to my mind.

I walked down the hall and entered the hallway leading to the viewing room. Many thoughts, memories, and tender feelings came back. My mind was filled with memories of my grieving children, spending time by the video, and table of memorabilia of their dad. They wanted to remember the happy times with him. The tears flowed, but it was ok. I gave the family my condolences, and left quickly out the side door. I was surprised that I was able to successfully face one of my fears.

My second fear was visiting the hospital where Steve was taken to the night of his passing. I have driven by this hospital many times, and have been filled with pain, and sadness.

Tuesday, an elderly woman I visit teach asked me to take her to this particular hospital for some tests. I obliged, thinking that it would be on the opposite end of the Emergency Room entrance. When we arrived, she told me that we were to enter through the emergency room entrance. I dropped her off there so she wouldn’t have to walk, and contemplated my dilemma.

I thought I could be as brave as I was Monday night and confront my second fear completely, but it didn’t happen. I wasn’t able to enter through the Emergency Room doors; I walked to the front of the hospital, entered, and found my way to my destination. Nothing was familiar; it didn’t remind me of that dreadful night.

This sweet, bright, woman noticed that I had come in from a different direction. Not many words were exchanged, but she knew, and I knew, why I had chosen a different path.

I wasn’t entirely successful at confronting both of these fears, but I felt like I made significant progress. Someday I’ll be braver, but for the time steps.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Meet The Players Night

Meet The Players Night, was held at Bountiful High School Thursday Night. The Bountiful High School men and women’s basketball team were introduced, and competed in a two quarter game, younger teams verses the older teams. A slam dunk competition kept the crowd’s attention, and filled the night with cheers and excitement.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gremlin 2010 Football Season

Gremlin Grey Team
Head Coach: Nicoll
Assisted by Coach Wright, Terrill, Brooks., and Stowers.

Team: #84 Jens Ballantyne; #87 Dylan Brooks, #78 Jackson Brooks, #17 Ben Brown, #39 Jordan Gomm, #19 Mitch Gulbransen, #77 Jamison Hale, #41 Hunter Henderson, #72 Caleb Jensen, #95 Jonas Lunceford, #40 Peter Murray, #16 Jacob Newkirk, #55 Parker Nicoll, #60 Quinton Pidgeon, #80 Jaxson Royall, #81 David Stevenson, #5 Adam Stuber, #27 Jacob Terrill, #15 Kaoni Wiley, #92 Hayden Woolever, #11 Bronson Wright.
Ben had a great time playing for the Bountiful Braves Grey Team. The team consisted of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade boys. Ben was on the younger side, but learned a lot about football, and was well coached.
The boys' worked great together as a team, and all got along very well. The team went 6 and 3 in the regular football season.
Ben played tied end most of the time. His only touch down during the season was during a scrimmage. I must say it was an awesome touch down. He was handed off the ball, and ran it the entire way. He was so excited!
Our team went to the play-offs, but was defeated my Bingham in the first round.

Ben with the ball.
Football parties!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Black Cat, and Pumpkins

Thursday night we were carving pumpkins with the Fulks’. We love this new tradition. Pumpkin carving has taken on an entirely different depth. We have gone from carving your customary pumpkin with the triangle eyes, and nose, and toothy grin; to an elaborate layout of patterns consisting of cats, ghosts, spiders, etc. Yes, carving pumpkins is not as easy as it used to be, but the results are much more impressive.

As we were carving these elaborate pumpkins, little Tyli (who is 3), said she had a magic pumpkin. She chose to carve her “magic pumpkin” into a kitty. Tyli loves animals, so not a surprise.

However, the surprise came later that night when we opened the door to the garage to find a little black kitten sitting there. This cute little kitten, ran into our house, and was adored by all (especially little Ty). She stayed at our house the entire night.

Well, this cute little kitten has not left our house. She has affectionately been named Midnight by the kids. I hope someone is not frantically looking for their little lost kitten. She has taken over Snowball’s bed, litter box, food, and water. She loves people and tries to jump in the car, and come in our house.

We are all enamored with her charming personality, but wonder if there was magic in the pumpkin carving, or just a misplaced Halloween cat.

Pumpkin carving with only minor injuries.
The Crew

The final products.

The Black Cat.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Unexpected Guest

Grandma and Grandpas’ Halloween party is annual event that is greatly anticipated by all. Homemade soup, chili, and scones await all the adorable little pumpkins, princesses’, bunnies, and other children in costume, as well as famished adults. No one makes scones as well as Grandma Brown.

There are numerous fun, and exciting games; the fishing game, the donut game, and of course a piñata for all ages (one for the younger kids, and one for the older ones). The festivities end with a parade of the scary, cute, interesting, and funny costumes.

This year we had an unexpected guest visit during the party. As we were all outside watching the kids with the piñata; a strange woman entered the backyard. The unexpected guest was a BIG hit! We heard through the grapevine that she may live very close by with another lovely woman. What a treat to have her part of the party.

Grandma and Jami helping with the fishing game; Jeff in charge of the pinata; cousins, and Grandma making her famous scones.

Cousins and second cousins.

The beautiful cadets; darling bunny; fam; Ben with gumballs; and Frizz.

Our "Modern" Family~ Phil & Claire; Jay & Gloria; Mitchell, Cammeron, and Lily.

The unexpected guest with a cute cadet, and Meg.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Holladay Friends

Jane, Trish, Michelle, Marianne, Joey, Cindy, and Elaina
(I have to put a disclaimer on this photo. I had just gotten back from a little league football game in the pouring rain.)

Saturday, I got together with some friends from my childhood (or teenager-hood). We all grew up in the Holladay area. These are friends from the Holladay 10th and 26th ward. Several were unable to attend, but those of us in attendance had a great time catching up and reminiscing.

These are some friends that I don’t see often, but when I do, it is as if nothing has changed. We all still seem to think we are as young as ever.

I was reminded of how unpredictable life can be. Who would have ever imagined that two of the seven of us present would be widows, while still in our forties? Who would have imagined some of the challenges, and difficulties people in this group have experienced in such a short life-time.

Difficulties aside, everyone is happy and enjoying life to its fullest, and today we are enjoying our long lasting friendships.


Halloween Dance

Preparations ~ Thanks to my many friends for letting me borrow their Halloween decorations. The decorations looked great!
At Katelyn's request, I made my kids favorite sweet and sour chicken for dinner.....70 pieces to be exact...yikes! Katelyn wanted to make sure we had enough for the buff men in the group.
Katelyn and her date Ty Hayes, with their group, the color blue.

Lots of colors, lots of cute couples, and lots of fun!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Woes of Skateboards

Friday night I ran out through the garage to get my purse out of the car. When I opened the door from the house to the garage, it was very dark, but I decided it was such a short distance, I’d be fine without light. NOT a good idea.

As I sprinted across the garage, my feet landed on the boys’ skateboard. I took a brief, unexpected, ride, before I flew into the air, knocking down the bikes as if they were bowling pins, with the side of my face.

That may sound bad, but it actually cushioned my blow to the hard cement garage floor. I laid there in silence, dizzy, and dumbfounded from the fall. After decades (well maybe just minutes), I came to my senses, and was able to walk back into the house, still bewildered, and groggy.

I went to a movie that night, feeling slightly disoriented and light-headed, but desperately needing a night out. I thought things were fine until I began to get flu like symptoms. I was so nauseous; I spent hours feeling like I was getting a bad case of the flu. No flu.

In the morning, I felt like I had run a marathon. My legs, arms, back, neck, head, every part of my body hurt.

I have fully recovered from my little mishap, but after this, and Mike breaking his ankle on a skateboard in July, I am convinced that our family should be a skateboard-free family.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tina The Tumor

Sarah posing the night before surgery. Sarah, and Julie Keyes (Julie is 19 weeks pregnant). Sarah gets her first baby gift from Megan Larsen.
Pre-surgery: Sarah begged not to wear the "ugly hospital socks", she even brought her own from home. It was a "no go".
Tina is born (6 litters of fluid were drained before they could remove Tina).
Tina and the surgeon's hand.
Post surgery: Best Friends by her side, visitors, flowers, feeling crummy, and finally going home.
Comparison shot: Pre-Tina; Post Tina (I made her wear the same shirt).

Sarah has been complaining about her protruding stomach for some time. We have seen numerous doctors who believed it was a result of exercising improperly, thus the stomach muscles have formed outward. We accepted this explanation for a couple years, until recently, when Sarah googled the causes of a protruding stomach, and informed me that she may have a fibrous tumor. The next day I made two appointments , with two different doctors, to have her examined (different than the doctors she had previously seen). The appointments were several weeks out.

In the meantime, she met with her friend's dad (who is a physician) who immediately requested an ultrasound. On September 15, she went to the IHC hospital for an ultrasound on her lower and upper abdomen. The ultrasound results revealed a 19 centimeter tumor, that was attached to her ovary. It was so large that it was backing one of her kidneys with fluid.

Sarah laughed and laughed as we sat in the "bad news" room, getting her results. I was in shock, and quiet terrified. I quickly called my OB, who, when he saw the results, wanted to see her the next day.

The next day we met with the OB who informed us, that the tumor was as large as a small watermelon. The tumor was either attached to or leaning against the ureter, and kidney. He wouldn't know exactly what it was attached to until he began the surgery. He did know that it was attached to an ovary, and that the ovary would most likely would have to be removed. He informed us that it was important to dissect the tumor off of the things it was attached to, and get it out in one piece, in case there were cancer cells in it. Surgery was set for September 30th.

A CA 125 blood test was performed. If the test came back "normal", there was little chance of the tumor being malignant. If it was elevated, the chance was greater. Early the next week, her results came back showing her level to be slightly elevated.

Even with the blood results, Sarah maintained a positive, cheerful, outlook. She was always laughing, joking, and even named her tumor - Tina. I tried to follow her example, but wasn't very successful.

Surgery went better than expected. He removed the tumor that was larger than expected, draining 6 litters of fluid out of it before he removed it from her tiny little body. He removed 4 other small cysts, reconstructed her ovary, and removed the fallopian tube that was engulfed in the tumor. The surgeon informed us that based on the amount of fluid that was drained, and by other examination, he would be very surprised if pathology came back showing a malignant tumor.

Sarah remained to good spirit even up to the very end. The surgeon said she was laughing and joking with them, up until the time the anesthesia kicked it. What a trooper!

She is doing remarkable well, considering just having major surgery. Pathology came back, and it was a non malignant tumor. Cancer free yay!

We are so grateful for the many prayers, fasting, and the amazing priesthood blessing that she received prior to her surgery. We felt that the Lord blessed us, and watched over Sarah during this difficult time. What a blessing it is for us to have such wonderful friends and family that continue to support us as we experience life's bumps along the way.