Monday, December 14, 2009

December Happenings!

I haven't posted in awhile, but life has been busy and so packed lately I just realized we are already mid-december!!! Wo!

However, life has been good for us here at the Brown house, and I have felt so blessed and happy these past few weeks. After the passing of our dear friend I have been reflecting a lot about life and my perspective has changed! Suddenly, that toilet that needs scrubbing or the dishes that need putting away don't seem so important, and just spending quality time with family and friends has become a major priority!

(ok, who am I kidding - socializing has ALWAYS been a major priority.....but other things have become more important too!)

I have hung out with Emily numerous times, and each time am amazed at how strong spiritually and emotionally she is. The funeral service here was amazing, and each of us came away with a greater resolve to be better church members and more Christ-like people. Also, Chip and I recommitted to studying our scriptures together daily and being better at that and it has made the HUGEST difference in my life. I feel more patient, calm, and just overall happier! I know we are blessed when we truly follow the gospel and live a life of service!

We have also had many a fun times, and just wanted to jot down a few of my favorites of this month: (sorry, no pictures right now)

We had a great girl's night sleepover last night - so fun!!!
We had a great Christmas party with the ward - yummy biscuits and gravy and the best breakfast ever - only in the south do you eat like this!
I took Cash to see Santa at the mall and he LOVED it and smiled big for his pictures!!!
We got to enjoy the wonderful message from the First Presidency!!!

I got to play elf for a few and drop off a gift that was for me "the perfect gift" because of how good I felt after doing it - and we got to see later how perfect it really was!
I got into the Christmas spirit after that and made a list of other things we could do as elves that would be fun!
Packing and getting ready for Christmas at my parents this time has been exciting!

And mostly, I have been able to enjoy how fun a stage Cash is in, and the new things he is learning:

First - he has learned how to throw a mean tempertantrum, and can pull them out of nowhere, even on the Wal-Mart floor and throw his head on the ground and kick his feet up!!! (luckily, this one we have worked on and gotten much better at!)
He has picked up so many new words, but his favorite three: "Egg Nog", "Jesus", and "ipod"
He actually recognizes all three and will say them and it is hilarious!
He has also become quite helpful at folding laundry and i turned around to seeing him "fold" a shirt and put it in the basket and then smile at me with this huge grin that said - "look how good I am mommy!"
He LOVES his daddy and has passed the clingy stage and is so fun as he makes friends with ANY one who will give him attention!
He loves the Christmas tree and so all our ornaments are on the top half so he can't reach!
He loves Barney and will now sit and watch shows and still loves to dance to the music!
He also loves nursery and I can't wait the 2 months til he can actually go!
He is my little buddy and loves the park and slides and any animals!
He laughs and giggles and has this funny sense of humor that make me smile!

It has been a good year, and we feel blessed and happy! Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, November 30, 2009

From Gratitude, to Grief, to Gratitude

To say this was a different Thanksgiving experience would be an understatement.
Although we got to have fun visiting friends in NC, celebrating Chip turning 30, and feasting on delicious food on Thanksgiving day.....
The mood was a little more somber this year.

On Wed. night one of our good friends here in VA passed away.
John, Emily, and Lizzie Jones went out to Utah to visit his family and spend the holidays there.
He was at the nutty putty caves enjoying caving when he became stuck.
After 28 hours of being stuck in the cave, hundreds of rescue workers trying to help out, and even at one time thinking he was almost going to be pulled out, a setback occurred and he ended up passing away inside the cave.

Words can't describe the feelings of shock, emotion, sadness, worry, and fears that overcame me as I heard the news. I had went to bed with the thoughts that he was going to be out within two hours and back home with sweet Emily, and when I woke up in the morning and had Chip go check the news to make sure this was the case and found out it wasn't, I was stunned. It honestly did NOT seem real. I couldn't believe it, didn't want to believe it, and just wondered how something this awful could happen to someone so very VERY good?

As I spoke to many of our friends out here the feelings were mutual. There were many tears shed, questions that are unanswered, whys that were asked, what-ifs asked, and just a total sadness for his dear sweet wife and baby, and his whole family.

I found myself thinking about it in every aspect of the day, and couldn't sleep the next night because I was so racked with sadness. It wasn't until I was able to read Sweet Emily's blog and read the text she sent that I began to have a little solace.
She is SOOOOOO strong in the gospel, and the words she shared about knowing they are an eternal family and it will be but a short time before they see him again were so inspiring.

The last Gratitude from the title of the post comes from having the knowledge of the gospel. Although we don't have all the hows and whys answered, we have a hard time getting passed the what-ifs and if-onlys, we do know one thing. We know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church, and that we will see our families again when we are sealed in the temple for time and all eternity.

Although this doesn't take away the pain we feel right now, or the sorrow and grief we have to go through at this time, it does allow us to to be happy and gives us peace that it is ok and we can make it through this. John was a man of such great faith, a wonderful father, loving husband, and such a good friend to all who came to know him. He was such a good example of someone who lived a Christ-like life, and I feel honored to have been able to get to know him.

His wife Emily and daughter Lizzy are some of my bestest friends out here in VA, and to them I just want to say how much I love them, will be there for them, and want to do anything I can to help them. Emily is a rock when it comes to the gospel, and she has been an example, even through this great trial, as a friend who has so much faith and understanding of the gospel. I am grateful for her friendship, her example, and her testimony that she shares each time I am around her. I truly am grateful for the Savior Jesus Christ and for the plan of salvation, the atonement, and that we can be eternal families.

At this time of year it is a time of reflection on The Savior's birth and life, and I am grateful, even when the hard times come, to have an eternal perspective.
May Christmas this year be spent centered on Christ.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

We're Back.................and got HUGE news!!!

After a wonderful 2 weeks in Utah with my family, 2 showers for my BF Linds, a stop in from Chip for the weekend, Dancesport and watching my beautiful sister Kimmy rock the floor, and good food and friends, we are back home now!!!

We have HUGE news that I have been dying to write about but had to wait til I got back here and could tell my friends in person!!!

and NO, it is not that i am pregnant!

We are moving!!!!! For 6-12 months!

Yep, any guesses where??? Don't bother, you won't guess right!

We are off to BEIJING, CHINA!!!!
Yep, it will be an adventure! More soon, and pics from the past few weeks!

Monday, November 2, 2009


We had a great Halloween week, with lots of parties, lots of treats, and LOTS of dressing up!

We hosted an party for a bunch of friends, where we all dressed up as couples, and it was a blast!
Chip and I went as Ed and Jillian from the Bachelorette (which all the couples who came know because they watched it at my house and we made fun of Ed's Mankini, (aka short swimsuit), and the fact that at the final rose ceremony Jillian looked like she was wearing a wedding dress!)

Thus the reason for the costumes Chip and I are wearing....and yes, that is my wedding dress!

We played great games and had SO much fun!!!
We have great friends out here, and they really know how to party!

The final rose

Ed and Jillian

Good thing he accepted!

Zeus, Athena, and Hercules!

Biggest Loser contestants!

Kelly and Zac (Saved By the Bell) doing the donut contest!

Kiss.....also doing the donut contest in a different fashion!

Ed and Zac fixing up the witches brew!

We had great treats!

All the girls!

On Halloween we dressed up again as robbers and Cash moneybag, and Cash had a great time trick-or-treating! I would steal this little guy anytime!
PS - i did NOT make this costume, although I wish I did......I bought it at!

It was a great Halloween - can't wait til next year.....costumes already in the works!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Favorite Fall week yet!!!

This week is packed full of costume parties for Halloween!
Cash LOVES his costume and wants to wear it all the time around the house! (yeah since I was worried - he normally hates things on his head)!

We were totally a hit at the ward Trunk-or-Treat all dressed up as:
Cash: as a cash money bag

Chip and I: bank robbers - we had a great time stealing our little "loot"

all of us together: my eye holes were a little too big - they will be fixed for Halloween night!

First time Trick-or-Treating....he mostly just wanted to eat the candy at each stop (inside our church since it was raining)

Hamming it up after the party!!!
Running away from me!

I LOVE the $100 dollar bills coming out the top - couldn't be more perfect for little Cash!
He also insisted he put on one of the Van shoes that Emily gave him. Although it is 2 sizes too big, he still wanted it, and since he only found one, he wanted his regular shoe on the other foot! Well Emily - he LOVES the shoes, so in another 6 months to a year he might wear both!!!

Also, this time of year in VA is so beautiful - Sunday we went out with friends and took pictures of the families at UVA. The leaves were exquisite, and although they are pretty in the pictures, it really doesn't do them justice as to actually how pretty it is here in person! I LOVE fall!

love the red and yellow leaves!

Waving to the passerbys!

Of course, a kiss pic - and Cash's face = priceless!

on the "lawn" at UVA

Daddy tickling Cash - the giggle was so funny!

Couldn't have got his face any better than this!
Swinging under the huge tree!

Who is having the most fun?
Fly away!

Chip and Cash with Ryan and Lincoln!

This tree was my favorite!
Cash and me!

Cash loved the leaves too!

Fall leaves are the prettiest!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Costume preview............

Yesterday I was finishing up a costume for my friend's little girl! She wanted a tutu, and so I created a cute ladybug costume with a tutu, a onesie, and a pair of leggings! I love how it turned out - and once I give it to her we'll get pictures of cute Zella in it!

While I was working on it Cash got into my target bag and pulled out numerous other things. Among them were a pair of orange/black striped leggings and a halloween headband I had got for my niece!

He wanted to wear them so we ended up putting them on - it was hilarious watching him march around in them.........sorry della, he doesn't want to give the leggings up - good thing we bought another pair! Chip about died when he saw him, but it was too funny. I had to take a picture.

He also wanted to wear his halloween costume around the house for about an hour - great practice so he is ready next week! (pics of that to come later - but it is a great costume!!!) ps - his actual costume is NOT girlie at all!!!!!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Back in Beautiful VA

Although Mexico was great, being home in the fall weather was also great!
We drove up Skyline road and it was beautiful!
I shot these pics of Chip and Cash and they turned out awesome!

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From the Beaches of Mexico, to the Mountains of VA

We had a great time with the Browns in Mexico.
Cash LOVES the ocean and swimming and spent hours each day in the sun!
Chip golfed everyday at an awesome golf course!
I relaxed and hung out with my sister-in-laws on the beach!
We definitely will be back next year!

Cash's first experience on the beach!

Cash + sand + water = mess

Jayton helped us write this "i love dad" sign in the sand, and then it washed away 2 seconds later!

Do you see that shark fin? That's right, we saw a shark attack on the beach our last day! OK, just kidding, 3 dolphins decided to come swimming with us the last morning we were there!
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

IT PAYS TO BE NICE.............

Sometimes more than you even expect.
I called the airlines to see if we could get our layover switched to an earlier flight.
When the lady asked me how I was doing, I replied "great, how are you?"
She then replied, "wonderful, thanks for asking.........normally no one does."

We talked, and I was very nice and patient while she looked for about 10 minutes.....she then told me it was going to be $380 to switch both tickets.....
way too much!
i wouldn't have done it!
However, she then said because i was so kind an patient she would switch them with NO charge!
FREE...that's right folks! $0!

I am going to always be nice to the airline people!

On another note, it paid us for Chip's kindness and hardwork.........and with part of his bonus we decided to upgrade to a King bed! (LOVE my new mattress) and new bedding!
We love it, and I am glad they appreciate all his hard work!

We sleep even better now! (pictures below are taken when we tried the bedding on.....yes, i know it still needs to be ironed....sorry for the wrinkles!)

Also, not done decorating since we switched colors, so will post more when it is finished!

bedding came in a 22 piece set - I LOVE pillows so it is great!

Like the valences, but man they took SO long for Emily and I to hang!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Conference Weekend fun..........

Along with being spiritually fed by all the wonderful talks of this general conference......

We also went up to carter mountain for the annual apple picking festival, got some delicious apples, and enjoyed being physically fed delicious apple crisp on icecream!!!

Cash is in a phase where he only wants me to hold him......but we tried to get him to ride on daddy's shoulders as we walked up and down the mountain!

right at first

hating it....i want my mommy
up on the block getting the best ones!

some apples were HUGE.....almost as big as Chip's head!!!

Emily getting her first experience at the orchard!

Cash wanted to pick some too.......altho mostly just the gross ones on the ground!

Had to throw in another picture of the great old man band they had - and beautiful vineyards behind them!

Our annual picture up on the lookout - it was a PERFECT day!

Then, on Sunday we went to this beautiful park between sessions so I could practice taking pictures for my photography class. My assignment was contrast, and I wanted to get one of Cash and Chip together to contrast age/big and small!!! Which one do you think is best?

I like seeing Cash's feet peeping from under the bench!

I see you mom........and now i want OFF this bench! boo!

love my 2 boys!

playing football with my dad!

chip - look up please!

one is happy, one looks confused!

your turn to throw the football

i love my 2 boys!

one of my favorites!

this is so fun!

wooo - a little scary daddy!

i can fly high!

i got it!

throw it to me, see, my hands are ready to catch it!

so much fun!

learning more

i love my little cute boy!

I want to eat it!

Since Emily is staying with us, we took advantage and had her shoot a few pictures of our family while we were there too! Thanks Aunti Emi!

of course, a kiss pose!

am i choking chip? not really! :)

like this one

blowing kisses, and just liked the different expressions

had enough of this picture stuff mom!

i shot this one!

Cash giving Emi kisses - and check out my cute new diaper bag!

Love that Cash is looking up at us!