Monday, August 29, 2011
Posted by browniemom at 8:38 PM
Ben - 3rd Grade Mrs. Strong Valley View
Lizzy 7th Grade Mueller Park Jr. High
To be completely honest, these are not all first day of school pictures. I wanted to keep our tradition in taking a picture of the kids the first day of school, but my boys decided to be punks. Mike came down wearing an old ratty T-shirt and basketball shorts. Basketball shorts are fine, but an old T-shirt? “What?” I exclaimed, “I thought I bought you brand new school clothes to wear.” “This is what I want to wear,” Mike refuted. Ben watched the entire encounter and pulled the same attitude. What is up with boys anyway? Needless to say, no first day of school picture for the boys. These are 1st week of school pictures.
I was happy to get one picture of Ben without wearing sports clothing. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just want it to be known that Ben owns at least one non-sports shirt. Mike doesn't like my obsession with the camera and gave me one shot, thus his eyes are closed.
Sarah helped me with school shopping for all the kids. They think I am a fuddy-duddy, and Sarah is cool, so her opinion is what matters. Sarah could only find a couple things that she thought Ben would wear. I took him later school clothing shopping with me and the ONLY store he wanted to shop in was Fans. “I am not going to pay $50 for that jersey,” I informed him. “Well, I need school clothes and that is all I like,” he snapped. Needless to say, we left with one $15 Utah shirt. School shopping was not a success for Ben. Fortunately, for his birthday Sarah and Jordan gave him 4 sports jerseys. He loves them, and Jordan knows how to score jerseys for cheap ($5 cheap).
Lizzy was fun to shop for. Sarah, Lizzy, and I had a great time choosing Jr. High School clothes. I can’t believe my cute baby girl is going to Jr. High. Meagan took her shopping for mascara and lip gloss.
Lizzy looked adorable! Sarah came over the first day of school and spent 30 minutes curling Lizzy’s hair. I am so happy my girls have each other.
Posted by browniemom at 6:55 AM
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Three years ago today I lost my best friend, and my confidant. I found this quote about best friends that describes our relationship:”Best Friends are very special people in your life. They are the first people you think about when you make plans. They are the first people you go to when you need someone to talk to. You will phone them up just to talk about nothing, or the most important things in your life. When you’re sad they will try their hardest to cheer you up. They give the best hugs in the world! They are the shoulder to cry on, because you know that they truly care about you. In most cases they would take a bullet for you, coz it would be too painful to watch you get hurt.”
I love and miss you Steve Brown! This is a lonely road to travel. Not because I have nothing to do, or no one to do it with, I have that; I am just missing my favorite person to share the journey with. Among other things, I miss “pillow talk”. You know, talking before you go to sleep about the funny things the kids did that day, what plans we have for the future, or just simply how the day went.
I remember 3 years ago in July when Steve and I were having dinner with some friends. The topic of conversation was centered on the passing of a spouse. Each person took their turn, imagining what they would do if that tragedy happened to them. That is all except me. I told the group that I knew that Heavenly Father doesn’t give you trials that you cannot bear, and therefore, that would never happen to me.
Those words felt safe to me. I felt as if that could not happen to me, if I believed I couldn’t bear that burden. I have since learned that we don’t get to choose our trials and tribulations. When these trials come our way we find strength, or are given strength, that we never thought we had.
I am grateful to have a strong religious belief that if we endure to the end, and endure it well, that we will be together again. That makes me happy, it gives me hope.
Posted by browniemom at 7:58 PM
Monday, August 22, 2011
Grief is tricky, today I am feeling a little overwhelmed with grief. Rivers of tears have been flowing last night and today. My heart is very tender. I have been thinking back to three years ago on the first day of school. There are a lot of difficult memories to process, as everything I do or see seems to spark a memoryof that day.
I continue the first day of school traditions, concealing my sadness. When the last child is out the door, I close the blinds, block out the world, and let my emotions flow. I have been especially sad today. I thought that after three years that my heart would have healed a little more than it has.
Although this is a difficult day for me, my children seem less affected. Maybe they are just trying to be brave, as they see the tears flowing down my face. Whatever the case, I am so glad that they are strong.
Tomorrow will be a better day, it will be my baby boy's birthday!
Posted by browniemom at 8:55 PM
Saturday, August 20, 2011
We had a fun-filled time at the Bountiful rec center. We started in the party room with pizza and cake; built up a sweat playing basketball and rock climbing; and ended the party cooling off in the pools.
Cake, and my personal assistant getting the party started.
The slide and pool.
Can't get enough basketball.
Posted by browniemom at 3:16 PM
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Posted by browniemom at 10:47 PM
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
My heart is always filled with a little prayer that my children will be okay with the loss they have experienced in life. I am especially sensitive to the effect this may have on my boys. I always hope and pray that a coach, church leader, friend, or family member will take a particular interest in my boys, and be there in ways that only a good male role model can be. No one will ever take the place of their Father, but there are so many people who have touched their lives for the good.
This past weekend Mike went on what used to be called “The Father’s and Son’s” with a few of Steve’s friends. This is an annual trip that Steve used to take with his friends, and their boys’.
Mike enjoys spending time with Warren, Justin, and Shawn. They are so good to him. They are always a lot of fun, they have the same outdoor interests, and all love to hunt. He has had a lifetime of experiences with his Dad and these friends. They spent this past weekend at Justin’s cabin in Island Park, participating in outdoor activities, a little hunting, canoeing, spot-lighting, and having fun together.
I am so grateful that these good friends continue to invite Mike (hopefully Ben will be ready to go next year) on these excursions. They are such amazing men!
Mike also had a great time at Scout Camp. The leaders and priests spent several days at Flaming Gorge, fishing, water-skiing, and participating in scouting activities. Mike had a wonderful time, and spoke so highly of his leaders. This is another example of a group of men, taking time to make a difference in a young man’s life.
Our Home Teacher has also been a positive influence on Mike. He happened to be his sophomore Basketball coach. He would spend time after games or practice teaching Mike basketball skills, and giving him encouragement.
Ben’s sports coaches have also been so helpful and kind to him. They always give him the encouragement he needs, are willing to pick him up for practice and or games, and they provide him the positive male bonding that he needs.
I am so grateful for the positive role models in my boys' lives. Thank you!
Posted by browniemom at 5:07 PM
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
The resort pools offered us a great way to cool down from the heat of the sun. Most of the time I enjoyed the adult pool, relishing in a new book "The Help". It was a fabulous book! I don't get to read recreationally very often, so it was a nice treat. The movie is coming out soon, so I won't ruin it for you.
I did, however, set a small trend at the youngster's pool, when my kids dared me to go down the Willy the Whale slide. They didn't even have to double-dog dare me. An adult man high- fived me when I came up for a breath. After my amusement, many adults followed suit.
Body surfing in the ocean along the glistening white sand was another daily activity. The vendors along the beach were particularly fond of my kids. This might have something to do with the purchases they made.
The girl's had their hair braided. I heard there is a rule that you can't go to Mexico without getting some kind of a braid in your hair.
The evenings consisted of the Puerto Paraiso Shopping Mall, the Flea Markets, strolling along the Marina, and dining in the surrounding restaurants.
We decided it would be an adventure to ride the city bus with all the locals. It was quite the experience. Drivers in Mexico are crazy! We were in for a ride of our lives each time we got in a taxi or road the local bus.
Fortunately, we never needed the Emergency Room service. If would have had a medical problem, I would have flown out of there before I would enter that Emergency Room.
Everyone needs a little down time.
Overall, I'd say, we had a fabulous vacation!
Posted by browniemom at 3:07 PM
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
The cruise begins with your choice of beverage. Our choice was non-alcoholic mai tais, which is a fancy name for a delightful citrus drink. The others on the cruise enjoyed their alcoholic drinks. The cruise quickly became a somewhat wild and crazy booze cruise. Fortunately, there were several families on board to keep the craziness at bay.
A Mexican dinner was served. The sea was a little rocky that night, so you had to hang on tight to your meal.
Kate doesn’t love cruises. A crew member got her mind off her discomfort by dancing with her. She is quite a good little dancer.
The Glass Bottom boat was another tour that we enjoyed as a family. You are able to see the underwater world beneath you.We met the boat on the hotel beach, and went around the Sea of Cortez, up to Lover’s Beach, and around the Arch to the Pacific side.
You can bring snorkeling equipment to use on Lover’s Beach. The snorkeling looked great! If all the members of our clan would have been on board with the snorkeling, that’s what we would have done. Instead we had a fantastic view of many different tropical fish from the boat. As you would throw food into the water, schools of beautiful fish would surface.
The entire trip I had watched as parasails were out in the ocean just off our hotel beach soaring in the sky. I have secretly wanted to parasail for quite some time. It is something that I have never done before. My wish came true on our last day. Mike and I ventured out in the ocean to parasail.
There isn’t a greater way to see the natural marvels of the southern Baja Peninsula than from 600 feet in the sky while parasailing above the gorgeous Sea of Cortez. It was absolutely fabulous! I was a little nervous at first, so the guide told me to sit back, and relax. As I sat back, relaxed, and closed my eyes, I began to soar. It was such a great feeling. You feel as though you are a seabird gliding high in the air.
Mike was disappointed that it wasn’t an adrenaline rush like Zip Line, but I was happy with the relaxed feeling, and sense of tranquility.. The views from above were amazing!
Posted by browniemom at 1:29 PM
Monday, August 8, 2011
Our vacation destinations usually consists of new and exciting adventures. This trip was no exception. At the beginning of the week, I let the kids choose the activities they wanted to participate in.
The Outdoor Zip Line Adventure was Kate and Mike’s first adventure. I have Zip Lined in the beautiful jungles of Costa Rica and therefore, stayed back with the younger kids.
They began by launching themselves in a series of zip lines, flying across open canyons, and crawling across the Commando Bridge before leaping onto the Tarzan Swing and scaling the Crazy Ladder.
Then they tacked the Climbing Walls, Hanging Ridge, and rappeled down the rocks. The Zip Line was fast and fun taking them over stunning scenery and back to base camp. At the end there was a short nature walk, rest, and a snack of chips and salsa.
Of course no photography was allowed, so this is the only picture I have to prove Kate's bravery.
The second adventure was a ATV tour. Mike and Ben were on one ATV, and Kate and Lizzy on the other. Ben had the best situation since Mike is an experienced rider. Lizzy on the other hand, well……let’s just say she wanted to make a trade, but it was a no go.
Kate hasn’t driven an ATV before. Some of the beautiful landscaping seemed to get in her way. To be exact, a tree, cactus, and ditch. Thankfully, none of her four crashes were significant. When she almost rolled the ATV, the guide decided he needed to be a little more pro-active and offered to let them ride on the back of his ATV. Kate graciously declined, so the guide stayed close by the rest of the way. Fortunately, Kate got the hang of it, and they all came back safely.
The ATV tour took them to the Pacific Ocean beach of Migriño, where they drove through desert and mountain areas until they arrive on the beautiful white sand beach.
Posted by browniemom at 6:40 PM
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico was our vacation spot for 2011. With our Marriott exchange we were able to stay at the Villa del Palmar Beach Resort in Los Cabos. We stayed in one of their two bedroom condos.We had a fabulous view from our balcony of the ocean and the resorts pools.
Our hotel was located along the Medano Beach. This happens to be one of the only swimmable beaches. We enjoy spending time at the beach and participating in beach activities, so we were very happy to be staying on a swimmable beach.
With 360 days of sunshine, weather is never a factor. It rarely rains, and therefore, is considered somewhat of a desert. It was very hot and humid!
Directly across the bay from our hotel were the famous rock formations. It is referred to as Land’s end – the place where the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez meet. The waves are huge and there is a special rock forming a spectacular arch. Near the arch there is a beautiful beach of golden sand, called Lover’s beach, reachable just by boat.
The Villa del Palmar Beach Resort is a family-friendly property and had an emphasis on entertainment. We were happy it was family-friendly, but didn’t participate much in “their” kind of entertainment.
There are many pools on-site. Some are specifically for kids. The Willy the Whale water slide was a hit among the youngsters. If you needed a little more peace and quiet you could venture off to a more peaceful adult pool.
The Villa del Palmar was a short distance from town, and was a perfect fit for our family.
Posted by browniemom at 8:46 PM
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