Husband and Father

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

Monday, December 23, 2013

Santa Baby

The lyrics to Santa Clause Is Coming To Town is on the mind of each youngster at the Browns' Santa Party.  Excitement abounds, as we all sing Christmas carols awaiting Santa's arrival.  Tonight, it's all about Santa, and his naughty or nice list.  The kids are anxious to hear what Santa has to say about them.  Santa is his jovial self, as he reads in his book about the accomplishments of each child during the year. We all listen in awe to the brilliance of the children.  Some how, they all seem to make it on his Nice List.

Santa comes bearing gifts, and a listening ear, as each child jumps on his lap to declare what is on their Christmas list. This year, Santa brought my girls' photo books of their trip to New York City.  It's amazing how keen Santa's mind is.  He never skips a beat!

Once Santa leaves, dessert is served as we spend time enjoying one another.

Santa's Naughty and Nice Book.
Ben made the Nice List….yes!
Cute Lizzy Girl
The crowd….and Mason.
Our family with Santa.  I sent this picture to Mike and he said, "Mom, you're scaring me a little bit! It looked like you were getting just a little bit too cuddly with Santa in a few of those photos you sent me. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bedazzled

Tis the season for warm festive sweaters, not the funny Christmas sweaters that are now the center of attention at some Christmas parties, but the attractive bedazzled ones. My new charcoal grey sweater is among my favorites.

Today I decided to wear my new sweater to a luncheon/cookie exchange/lady Christmas Party.  I donned my red skinny jeans (well as skinny as it gets for a not-so-skinny mom), with a white button down shirt, with my comfortable, sleek, sweater.  I was tending Mason, and he happened to have a melt down as I was getting ready.  I thought I had checked myself out in the mirror prior to leaving for my engagement, but evidently I wasn't very thorough.

The luncheon was fabulous!  A little daunting with a toddler that was due for a nap, but wonderful!  I tried to work it like the young moms who casually walked about with a baby on their hip.  After spilling salad dressing on my sweater, and somehow wiping chocolate on my face, I realized my time for having young children had long expired.

When I returned from the party, I happened to get a glance at myself in a mirror.  For some reason my white button down shirt looked a little awkward with my sweater.  The bedazzles seemed to be on top of my shoulders rather than along the neckline.  I quickly tugged on my shirt and sweater a little, made a small adjustment, and went about my day.

That night after a church meeting, we were all enjoying refreshments, while laughing and talking.  I started to chuckle, put my finger along the neckline of my sweater and felt the tag.  Instead of quietly keeping this information to myself, I burst out laughing relaying the ins-and-outs of my day to the crowd.  I couldn't believe I could go the entire day not noticing that the bedazzles on my sweater were in the back.

Some of the synonyms for the word bedazzled are:  blind, dazed, confused.  Very appropriate words to sum up my day. 



Friday, December 6, 2013

My Baby Girl Turns 15

My baby girl turned 15 today. It seems like yesterday that I delivered this cutie. She had a great birthday, as several friends took her to breakfast at Kneaders, Kim (or skinny mom as I fondly refer to her) and Cassidie Geurts and I took her to lunch, and we topped off the evening at the Cheese Cake Factory with our family.

Blessing Day
Lunch with the Geurts, YW heart attacking her room.
Cheesecake Factory with the family.  Even Danny Granger (former All-Star for the Pacers) came to celebrate.
Happy Birthday Lizzy!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

We hosted Thanksgiving at our house this year with my siblings, their spouses, some of their children, my parents, and my sister-in-law's mother.  It was just a small crowd of 20, but lots of fun.  We spent the day before baking pies, making turkey cookies, baking rolls, and mashing potatoes. My sister and her husband were gracious enough to cook the turkeys and stuffing.  Everyone brought their speciality dish to the festivities.

After our delightful dinner, we played ping-pong, board games, and enjoyed one another's company.

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving preparations.
Our guests

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thankful

Thanksgiving is a time when we give Thanks for the blessings we have.  This year I am particularly grateful for my two missionaries.  They are braving the elements of Alaska, and Vanuatu to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Mike is in Bethel that is only accessible by Ferry or Plane.  It is in a remote part of Alaska where water has to be transported in, and filtered to drink.  The temperatures have recently been dropping into the -60's.  He and his companion bundle up to visit their investigators.  He thinks they look like astronauts walking around town.  They have a golf ball to knock on the doors, it is too cold to remove your hands from your gloves.

Kate is serving in Whitesands, Tanna.  It is a small island in Vanuatu that stays in the 80's usually year round.  Although the island is beautiful and warm, she is living in a small hut with no electricity,  no running water, and no indoor plumbing. Her living conditions are bleak to say the least.

Although each of my missionaries living conditions are not the best, the are very happy.

Each time I turn on the water, I remember my daughter doesn't have running water, and make sure I don't waste the water.  When we sit down to eat, I think about the abundance of food we have, while others have barley enough to eat.

One thing I have learned, no what your circumstances, you can choose to be happy.

I am grateful…..we are truly blessed.

Kate fixing dinner.
Kate's hut.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Three Little Turkeys

Our Pre-Thanksgiving tradition continued this year by donating a turkey to the Utah Food Bank.  It's a small donation, but the kids said the workers seemed extremely grateful. 
Three little turkeys 

Jordan's Birthday 2013

 Happy Birthday to fabulous son-in-law!
Birthday dinner at MoBetta's.
Thanksgiving was his actual birthday.  Around here, we celebrate all week.  We put a candle into a piece of homemade chocolate cream pie and sang to him again.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Music

Music is important in our home.  Everyone is encouraged, maybe a little forced, to play some kind of musical instrument.  I must say, it hasn't been easy over the years encouraging kids to practice, but it is worth it.

In Elder Brown's email he says, "Since a lot of branches out here don't have anyone who can play the piano I've gotten really into it! Yea mom, you were right alright? I regret not practicing when I was younger like I was supposed to. So Ben and Lizzy... PRACTICE THE PIANO!!! Especially the hymns. Don't be like me and regret not doing it."

Mike has been playing the hymns for his branch in Kenia.  He took piano until the 9th grade, and was fortunately good enough to play on his mission.  I don't require that my kids are concert pianist, but I do require them to be able to at least play the hymns.

Ben has taken Mike's words of wisdom to heart and has already learned some hymns.  They are not even simplified.  He practices the piano a lot.  Not with a timer on, and a mother scolding him, just whenever he wants, which seems to be a lot.

Lizzy is back to the harp.  Oh, how I love the harp!  I could sit in a room with harp music playing all day listening to the angelic music.

Christmas Harp Recital
Piano Duet Recital

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Arrow of Light

The highest award in Cub Scouts is the Arrow of Light.  This award is earned when a scout as a Webelo, has been an activity participant in their den, and completed many Cub Scout requirements.   The Scout is now ready to join a Boy Scout troop.

Our Scout troop had a special ceremony for those boys that had earned their Arrow of Light and were moving on to Boy Scouts.  The Chief presented them with the highest honor, the Arrow of Light.  Before this can happen, they must take a journey through their memories with the Chief.

In the ceremony the Cub Scout raises his hand in the sign of the Boy Scout and recites Scout Oath and Law with other principles and the Webelo is awarded the Arrow of Light.
The Cub Scout crosses over the bridge representing the scout moving from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.  He is welcomed into the new troop.
During the ceremony the scouts handkerchief is drenched in animal blood.  It is then placed in the fire.  If the handkerchief does not light on fire, the scout is honest, if it does he is dishonest.  I was so happy Ben's didn't go up in flames;).  The scout is then presented an arrow along with this Arrow of Light award.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

"I Will Not Fail Thee, Nor Forsake Thee"

In Elder Brown's email a couple weeks ago he talked about the strength he received from a talk given by President Monson in October's General Conference titled, I Will Not Fail Thee.  In his email he states, "Last night when I was at the lowest low I've had yet, I started to read President Monson's talk from this last conference and he said something that really stuck out to me.


"Our Heavenly Father, who gives us so much to delight in, also knows that we learn and grow and 
become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we must pass. We know that there
 are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and when we may
 be tested to our limits. However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our 
lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we 
were—better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were,
 with stronger testimonies than we had before."

After that he recited a poem that I memorized and really have grown to love! It goes like this

"Good timber does not grow with ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees.
The further sky, the greater length.
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow."

As I read that it really reminded me of our family and everything that we've had to go through. Despite all of it, it's made us stronger and resilient to any trials that come our way. After reading this talk it made me look at everything that I've already been through in this life and laugh at what I'm now facing. It's nothing. I'm thankful for all of the trials I've been able to face and to overcome because I know that it's made and is making me into the person and missionary I know I can become."

After receiving Mike's heart warming email we had a Family Home Evening on this talk.  I encouraged the kids to read and re-read the talks from General Conference written in the Ensign.  These words are modern day scripture for us. We listened to the beautiful and insightful talk by President Monson.

I have sent multiple copies to Sister Brown in Vanuatu.  She told me that most people don't even know what Conference is.  She was so excited to receive them, and be able to teach the people from the words of our Prophet, and many others. She said the people were so glad to be able to hear the words of the prophets.

I have my own copy of the Ensign that I keep by my bed to read at night.  Ben took our other copy and has been reading it and highlighting it.  I think because his brother, who admires so much, talked about President Monson's talk in his email, Ben is especially interested in it.  He memorized the poem, and brought his copy of the Ensign to church with his scriptures.

In church today we had Ward Conference.  Bishop Eyring spoke on the trials that each one of us have or will have in life, and through holding strong to the gospel and through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ our burdens will be lightened.

President Taylor spoke about President Monson's talk, I Will Not Fail Thee, Nor Forsake Thee.  Which is another reminder of enduring our burdens well.

President Eyring ended the meeting with his beautiful testimony about how in the end, the most important thing for us to remember is that our Redeemer Lives.

I felt so blessed to be in church today.  The spirit was so strong. What amazing influences for good we have in our ward, and what a special blessing it is to have President Eyring in our ward.

Since the talk from President Monson was brought to my attention so many times during these past few weeks, I have to believe it was NOT just a coincidence.  My heart is full.

The Window

Thursday night as I was washing dishes, I noticed a tear/cut in the screen on the window above the sink.  The screen was not like this the night before.  Memories of the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart came rushing to my mind, as I knew that was one of the signs of the enter into their home leading to their dreadful nightmare.  My heart sunk a brief moment as I thought of an evil person trying to break in.  Before going to bed, I secured all the windows, locked all the doors, put the alarm on, and made sure my guard dog was stationed at the end of my bed.

The next night while talking to Lizzy, I mentioned that I needed to talk to her older siblings about the screen.  I didn't want to frighten her with my theory. She laughed as she admitted that when she was locked out the night before, she damaged the screen trying to break into the house.  Mystery solved, new garage door opener installed, and I'm almost done with the Elizabeth Smart book.  No more lock outs, and no more unsubstantiated escapes from reality!


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Battering the Banner

Decorating my house for the holidays brightens every one's spirit, especially mine.  Last year, Sarah helped me make a cute banner for our fireplace.  I proudly displayed it this year, until yesterday when I found the banner fallen from the mantel missing clothespins.  When I inquired as to what might have happened, Ben said, "I wanted to see if my coat could hang on it."

Minor repairs and it will be back up for Thanksgiving, hoping next time Ben hangs up his coat it's in the closet.

Beautiful Banner


Friday, November 22, 2013

The Incident

Several months ago Lizzy visited an Allergist, who did skin tests as well as blood tests to determine all of her allergies.  We were surprised to learn of all the things she is allergic to.  At the appointment, we learned she was allergic to all nuts except Brazilian nuts.  She was told to NEVER eat nuts period.

Sunday at church, during the sacrament, Lizzy turned to me with a strange look, scratching her legs, informing me that she was getting hives.  I thought that maybe she was having an allergic reaction to the Sacrament bread.  As we were whispering back and forth, Ben informed me that she had put peanut butter or her waffle for breakfast/lunch.  Knowing now exactly what was happening, I asked our family doctor who was sitting in front of us, if I should apply the EpiPen or go home and give her Benadryl.  He thought that Benadryl would be adequate.

At home, Benadryl and Allegra were given.  She seemed fine for awhile, and then the hives began to spread.  I gave her more Benadryl making her VERY tired.  She slept with an EpiPen in her hand while I ran back and forth from Young Women's to home.  She missed our Evening of Excellence, and slept until morning. Poor girl, I think she learned an important lesson today.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Halloween 2013

Halloween celebrations began with a parade of costumed children at Valley View Elementary. We were so happy to see the parade made a come back. Many of my children were at Valley View when the parade was prohibited.  By the size of the crowd, it was apparent, that many other children and parents were happy as well.  Mase comes everywhere with me when I watch him, so he got to be a part of it.

The evening began with homemade chicken noodle soup, chili, and hot scones to warm us up.  Family, friends, and hunger trick-or-treaters are always welcome. It's not advertised, just open to all.

Mason was my first little trick-or-treater.  He was the most adorable little dinosaur with an awesome growl. He loved his Halloween zippy, and book from his favorite Grandma:).

Another successful, Halloween!

Valley View Elementary Parade.
My first trick-or-treater.
Food and fun!

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Brown Party

A spooky skeleton, adorable dinosaur, The Joker, and Phil Roberts, were a few of the guests at Grandma Brown's Halloween Party.

What a fun night spending time with cousins, fishing, playing Halloween bingo, beating on a PiƱata, and eating scones, soup and chili.  These are times my kids will always remember.

Parade participants.
Halloween Bingo
Fishing and Pinatas.
Good Eats

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Pumpkins and Pizza

Pumpkin shaped pizza, and skilled pumpkin carving, shared with some of our favorite friends, is an October highlight.  This has been a 5 year Halloween tradition with the Fulks'.  Sometimes I wonder if all these great festivities are appreciated or enjoyed. I know how much I love them. It warmed my heart to read Mike's e-mail this week where he said,  " Gosh, I'm so jealous that you all had the annual pumpkin carving night without me! Alright I think it's time to admit it... looking back now I totally regret not carving pumpkins every year... I was a little punk and thought I was too cool for that but I miss it now! So Mom, Jody, and everyone else I'm sorry! But I guess it's just my loss right?"

While each carved pumpkin is fabulous, one usually stands out for one reason or another.  This year, the one that was most striking to me was Elmo. It was most impressive because Elmo was carved by Jon, the artist, only by looking at a pattern on-line.  Wow, impressive!
  
Holidays are especially enjoyable when you have wonderful family and friends to celebrate with. We love the Fulks'!   

Carving Pumpkins
The finish products. Jodi, jack-o-latern; Sarah & Jordan, two ghosts; Meg and Mason, the bat; Liz, the ghost and tree; Maddi, the owl, Tyli the cat; Ben the headless horseman; and Jon, Elmo.
Illumination
Admiring their work.
The youngest.
All together.
Halloween pumpkins on a Halloween porch.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Last Day - Girl' s Trip - NYC 2013

Canal Street was our first stop this morning.  Canal Street is similar to the Flea Markets in Mexico, lots of bartering and bargains. The only difference between Mexico and Canal Street is the counterfeit goods at stands that are frequently raided by the police.  Doesn't everyone go to NY to purchase one, two, or maybe more of the counterfeit purses?

McDonald's was our go-to place to stop, get a drink, use the restroom, and rest our feet.  There are very few public restrooms in NYC.  After shopping Canal Street for quite some time, we made our usual stop at a McDonald's for a drink and to use the restroom.  As we were cleaning up, Lizzy threw her bag of goods in the trash.  The trash can was on the top level that had a shoot attached that emptied into a main dumpster outside.

The girls charmed a very kind young man (employee) to rummage through the trash to retrieve Lizzy's bag.  After finding her bag, he was even nice enough to wipe all the slosh and slime off before giving it to her.  Needless to say, we ditched the plastic bag, kept the contents, and teased Lizzy the rest of the trip.

We took the subway uptown for lunch.  We dined at the world famous Carnegie Deli.  It is a true NYC landmark.  Tour buses stopped, for tourist to take in this legendary deli. The line to dine was out the door and down the street. We were some of the lucky ones to get in.

Carnegie Deli is well know for it's pastrami, corn beef, and briskett sandwiches.  We chose the overstuffed turkey sandwich.  We happily shared our very generously  portioned sandwich.

Central Park was our next stop.  Central Park is located in the middle of Manhattan.  It is one of the most famous man made parks.  From roaming the grounds, to gazing at the fountains, admiring the bridges and arches, there is plenty to see. We rented bikes and took an hour and a half ride around the park.  We enjoyed the greenery, crisp leaves, lakes, and fresh air (or so it seemed).  It was a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city. We took the "quick tour" rather than stopping at each venue.

Although we were surrounded by many renowned museums, we didn't have time for them.

We browsed through the busiest square in NYC -Time Square- on our way back to our hotel. Time Square is known for its many Broadway theaters, electronic billboards.  There is always something going on in Time Square.  Definitely, a place with a lot of action.

We stopped for dinner at Lombardi's Pizza. The lines are long, but usually long lines mean good food.  The pizza reminds me a lot of Settebellos, but maybe a little better.

And that's a wrap on our fabulous girl's trip to New York City! Loved spending time with my adorable girl's!  We sure missed Kate!  Maybe when she gets back from her missionary adventures, she will be brave enough to visit New York City.

Shopping on Canal Street


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Day Three - Girls Trip - NYC 2013

We started out the day at New York's tallest building, The Empire State Building.  Located in Midtown Manhattan, it is a 102-story skyscraper, with 86 stories accessible for tourists.  From the spectacular lobby to the majestic observatories, this is a must see tourist attraction.  The first elevators takes you up 80 floors, where you exit only to take another elevator 6 additional stories to the top observatory.  The panoramic views of Manhattan from the top are breath taking.

On our way down, the first elevator was unavailable (stuck), and we were asked to take the stairs down 6 stories.  Those who know my claustrophobic nature would be impressed by my calm and cool nature as we walked the stairs only to enter another elevator, packed in like sardines, to ride 80 more floors.

We met my cute niece Ashly for lunch.  She lives with her husband in Manhattan, where he is completing his MBA, and she is working.  Ashley recommended eating at the Food Fair across from Madison Square Gardens.  We enjoyed spending time with Ashley as we had a bite to eat.

The subway was our sole way of transportation around New York.  Since maps are a necessity for tourist using the subway, I delegated that job to Meagan and Sarah.  They were incredibly good at their job.  We were able to get everywhere we wanted to go.

Grand Central Terminal is one of the nations most historical landmarks.  It remains the busiest train station in the country.  We stopped by for a quick view of this beautiful terminal.

We popped into St. Patrick's Cathedral on our way to the Rockefeller Center.  It is under construction but was still open to the public.  It is a beautiful cathedral.  We sat on the pews, listened to organ music, and rested our weary feet.

Rockefeller Center is known for it's seasonal celebrations, ice skating, and concerts.  It has an observatory deck and tour.  We bypassed all of the above once I found what I was looking for.....Matt Lauer.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen the Rockefeller's most important function is that of housing the Today Show with Mr. Lauer.

We walked over to 5th Avenue, which is known for it's exquisite shopping.  We shopped and shopped until we (I) dropped.

We had an early dinner at Serendipity.  Several movies have been filmed in the restaurant.  The most notable was Serendipity itself in 2001.  It is a huge tourist attraction, and are known for their divine frozen hot chocolate.  Of course, we couldn't resist.

The Roosevelt tramway connects NYC with Roosevelt Island.  It transports people across the East River to their designation.  Since it was right across the street from the restaurant, we decided to take a ride. It provides beautiful views of the city. The tramway is at it's best during evening hours, when you can enjoy the lights of the city.

After a fun filled day, we made our way back to our hotel, not without stopping at the Magnolia Bakery for cupcakes.  Pumpkin cheese cake, vanilla bean, chocolate, and red velvet, were a few of the cupcakes we purchased.



Empire State Building without Meagan.  She chose to shop instead.
Ashly and the girl's at the Food Fair.
Grand Central Station
St. Patrick's Cathedral
My new boyfriend.
Rockefeller Center
5th Avenue Shopping
Serendipity
Roosevelt Tramway
Magnolia Bakery
The Subway
Blisters