A whole bunch about us you may have never wanted to know.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May Mahem

May is always a crazy busy month, and I'm one program and one field trip away from being done with the craziness. Phew!

In the meantime, we had soccer make-ups (what is with the long winter?!?) and programs we had to juggle, and sometimes the juggling wasn't pretty. However, our evenings for the most part are now free. Awwww ... we'll have to find SOMETHING to do with all that time! ;)

Becca was in social dance 2 and even choreographed a country swing. This from the girl who came to us with no coordination whatsoever. So it was fun to see her do all kinds of moves and lifts. The first two are from her country swing; the last from the Viennese Waltz (my favorite since she actually smiled during it and she wasn't touching boys as much ;):

Tyler also did a dance program today, but I was so far back I didn't even try to get pictures. But I did get pictures of him during his Hershey Track meet -- he took second in this race:

His cousin Nick took first (same race, different heat):

For Mother's Day I was treated to breakfast in bed. The kids were such proud helpers. (Well, all except Becca who chose to sleep, especially when presented with the breakfast option.) It was delicious and I loved the kids' excitement:
For Mothers' Day I think I also got out of changing any diapers or making dinner. That alone makes the day great. However, they also got me a really nice book from the Carl Bloch exhibit we saw at BYU. It was a very moving, spiritual experience to go see that display and think of him painting so many images of our dear Savior. And this book will give me many of those images to keep, as well as more information about Bloch's life and artistic career.

And this week I had the joy to take pictures of my cute nephew James, who is now six months. I can't believe that! How can you not love this face:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Little Princess and Frog Princess

My little princess has been busy, busy, busy, and my house is messy everywhere to prove it! This girl can carry around clutter and make a room a mess in no time. She is always busy doing "baby school" for Austin and his cousins (when they're together), and she wants to be doing 100 things everyday. Kindergarten couldn't come soon enough.

When we went to register her for kindergarten, she got so excited! She knows we take pictures the first day of school, so she had me take one to go register for kindergarten. Gotta love the snow boots:

And I took a picture of her before what I thought would be her last field trip. (Turns out she'll have another this week, so there will be one more chance for pictures. :) I am still lovin' the shirts I made them, and she makes it look so good:

My kids are determined to make money, and they often have "stores" to accomplish this. Their stores are drawings they've created. Well, I never spend any money, because I don't want to have them continue doing it! I tell them I'd love to shop there, but I only pay in hugs and kisses. Anyway, Shayla wanted to do this but apparently didn't really want to sell her stuff, so she said this was a "looking store." You could look, but not buy. That's my kind of store ... as long as she cleans up her mess, which she usually doesn't:

Shayla is loving learning to read. In fact, as I'm sitting here typing this she's reading the words she knows. I guess I won't have long before she's reading and editing what I write. ;) Anyway, she loved that she knew a lot of the words in Hop on Pop. Here she is reading it to Paul:

So at this point you're probably wondering about the reference to the frog princess? For the "Last Chance" dance at the high school Becca asked her "friend" to go with her by taking him butterbeer (leftovers from Zachary's birthday party) and chocolate frogs (made especially for him) and asked if he'd be her "frog prince" for Last Chance. He took a few days to respond, probably trying to figure out how to put this together:
He said yes, and Becca got to enjoy some cake. I was so sick of cake (this was just after Zachary's birthday and mine and Becca's) that I put dibs on the licorice only. :) So, he said yes, they had fun, and dances for the year are over. Phew!

BTW, here is a picture of them at last chance. Why in the world do the schools have things like "matching hats/shirts/bandanas" for almost every dance? Can't they just go and have fun and leave the matching to Sadies? Anyway, Becca came up with a cheap solution since I wasn't wanting to go pay for hats -- they both wore hats they've always wanted to wear but haven't. Becca just added a black bow to hers and a strip of purple ribbon to his (which I think was done after this pic):
Awwwww. :)

Cute little boy

If there's one thing Austin does well, it's definitely that he can make anyone smile. He is great at it. Here are a few of his latest shenanigans ...

Can't remember if I've ever posted his favorite "chillaxin'" position. He'll be crawling, lean over to one side and just sit there. It's so funny, and it's how he first learned to sit up:

And our tissue boxes are no longer safe:
So, yes, if you need a tissue at my house it is one that has been stuffed out of the box and is therefore harder to get out the next time. But boy, did it provide some good entertainment for a little cutie!

And he was finally able to fit into this stylin' outfit we got when he was born:
Doesn't he look snazzy?

My favorite thing he does lately is play peek-a-boo. I'm not sure if this is what he was trying to do here, but he put his jacket on his head, crawled a little, then looked at Becca and laughed for an hour. He'll randomly put blankets on his head to play peek-a-boo, but he gets so excited he over-shoots his head and the blanket ends up around the back of his neck. You've gotta try it some time with him:

And, he's realized recently that he doesn't even need a jacket or blanket to play peek-a-boo. (Good thing since summer might finally be here.) So, he covers somewhere on his face to play, but that somewhere is generally one eye and one ear ... although once again in his excitement he often overshoots and gets both ears or the back of his head. I love it:
There is nothing like having a happy baby who makes everyone happy. We sure love our Aussie!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Zachary's big day!

We had the great blessing on April 30 to have Zachary get baptized. I still can't believe the little guy who was my baby boy for so long is now eight! It started snowing the day before his baptism and continued all day. I really didn't think it would last, but the day of his baptism the earth here was "dressed in white."

We got to the church in plenty of time. Good thing since Paul forgot to bring his spare white shirt so I had to run home to get it. I guess he must have been a little stressed, because he also baptized Zachary with the wrong name! He said Zachary Tyler Brown instead of Zachary Paul Brown. You'd think he'd remember the name Paul. ;) I think he was so focused on making sure he got Zachary all the way under (it took three attempts with Tyler) that he went on pilot mode for the prayer and went to his standard way of calling the boys, "Zachary! Tyler!" It was hilarious.

Actually, I wasn't sure I heard right. I tried getting my dad's attention, but he was watching to make sure Zachary went all the way under the water. I started wondering if I just misheard since we often say the boys' names together, and I didn't want to interrupt this sacred moment. But then I asked my brother, and he said it sounded like Tyler to him, too. So as Paul and Zachary were exiting the font (since Zachary did go all the way under), they had to turn around and come back. Hilarious. (It made our neighbor feel much better, because he performed his first baptism on his brother and had to do it twice when his brother didn't go under all the way. But at least he said the right name! :)

Anyway, we are so happy Zachary was so excited to be baptized. What a blessing it is to have the gospel fulness in our lives and to love and worship our precious Savior and Redeemer. We are also so grateful that our Primary presidency has everyone write a message to the one being baptized -- it's a great way for everyone to share their testimonies and for the person baptized to remember the special day. (They are all put into a book for the child to keep.)

Here are pictures of my little man on his big day:
Look at that family photo -- I am one blessed mama! And if you told me 10.5 years ago before I got married that this is what life would be like in 10 years I would have never believed you. :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Easter ended up being a quick event at our house this year! We had much going on, so I was happy that the Friend Magazine gave us scriptures to read every night to prepare for Easter day. That made it special to us and helped the kids understand the last week of the Savior's life. I think we'll do that every year.

So, we didn't even dye eggs until Sunday morning before church. Once again we used the tye-dye kit since it is quick and easy and makes our eggs really bright and fun:

Then we had a quick hunt after church. Turns out it started raining so we had to make it quick! But we got some pics of the quick hunt:

Then when we came in it was time to open up the eggs. We don't do Easter baskets, so the candy the kids get is from the eggs. However, not all of them have candy. If you open one with a strip of paper you have to do what it says. It could be something like, "Tell a joke," "Sing your favorite primary song," "Say this tongue twister fast," etc. Here are some of the kids during this part:

And this has only slightly to do with Easter. When they were done dying eggs I told them to come let me take pictures of their colorful fingers. I took a bunch of pictures right in a row, and Zachary made a different face for each picture. I was cracking up so much I probably took 20 pictures of the pose and ended up with 20 different faces by Zachary. What a goofball:

Sweet Zachary turns 8

April is our birthday month! Zachary turned 8 years old a couple of weeks ago. I still can't believe his surprise arrival -- not that he came (he was almost 2 weeks late), but that he was a boy!!! When he was born also marked my days of being a full-time SAHM. I have been very blessed to be here with my kiddos.

Anyway, Zachary's birthday party had to be late since we had other things going on. However, he was able to open his presents on his birthday. He got a scout shirt, a Lego set, and his own scriptures. He was so cute with his scriptures! He carried them around for days and days. He put bookmarks in a bunch of places and asked me to show him where specific stories were so he could put bookmarks there, too:
I think this picture is actually fewer bookmarks than when I originally saw, because there were also Pokemon cards as bookmarks originally. (He must have played Pokemon and needed to switch them out. :)

Then for his party he wanted a Harry Potter/Star Wars/Pokemon party. Really? Tyler had a water party once with a water Jedi and a water Pokemon, so Zachary figured he could just call his a "magic" party and include all three topics. I convinced him he had to pick one of the three, and he chose Harry Potter.

So I got to work. I made cute invitations using Harry Potter wording (Muggle clothing will be the dress attire; Send an owl with any questions; etc.), then rolled them up and delivered them via owl post. (Okay, the owl in this case was Zachary. ;)

I decided to make a snitch cake, so I had to go buy a ball cake pan. Fortunately our little candy shop in town had not only that, but a gold edible glitter. So I was set! I told the kids I think this is the best snitch cake I've ever made. They were on to me -- it's the only snitch cake I've ever made. Zachary thought for the picture he should be reaching out for it like Harry Potter does in his first Quidditch match:

I also got to work making very cool (and cheap! :) take-home items for the guests. First I bought wood dowels and had Paul sand them into the shape of wands. (This was very easy thanks to my dad's belt-sander.) Then I burned each guest's name on the wand. Then I used chocolate frog molds and made chocolate frogs. We experimented with white and milk chocolate and adding green food coloring to both, so we ended up with four colors of chocolate frogs. We also had to taste-test several Butterbeer recipes to find the best one so we could make it for the party. I mean, can you really have a Harry Potter party without chocolate frogs or butterbeer? ;)

We also bought Bertie Botts Every Flavor Bean (okay, Jelly Bellies without the gross flavors ... except for coffee), and Tyler insisted he design pouches for them. I was going to print off a label, but Tyler was a nice brother to go to so much work (it took him a long time!). Their bags also had bouncy-balls (Snitches). Tyler also made galleons since he thought they should have to buy their goody bags.

Needless to say, here's what all their loot (sans Butterbeer) looked like. Awesome!

I think the kids had fun, because it was CHAOS! I nixed a couple of fun games as to not rile them up further. But we did play Moaning Myrtle; Wizard Duel; Who's got the Sorcerer's Stone; Keep Away from Lupin; etc. I love making ordinary games relevant! :) Tyler and I had a great idea for "Exploding Snap," which is mentioned in the HP books, but it definitely would have created more energy, and we were at my max. :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Miscellaneous Monday

So we've been busy, busy, busy! Well, except for last week when I tried to take it a little easy. I guess it didn't work very well, but here's a preview of a few things we've been up to:

Details to come ...