Tuesday, October 29, 2013

So grateful for a friend....

Monday morning I woke up very sick and it was extremely wonderful to have a friend like MaryAnn Stephens take care of me!  She brought me medicine, then took me on a errand, and brought dinner to our family!  It's really nice to have someone kind of fuss over you a little, when your mother is not here!!

She, also took care of a VT errand for us, Vera's grandmother passed away and we wanted to do something for her.  The flowers came from MaryAnn's garden, picked with love!!

Something wonderful on 9/11 happened!!

9/11 is always such a sad day to remember.....but this year we have been blessed with something wonderful that happened on this date!!  Sadie is such a beauty and I am so happy to have something this exciting to think about on 9/11 now!!  Welcome to our family Sadie!  Aunt Lois cannot wait to meet you!  Sadie is being blessed this coming Sunday, but since she lives in Idaho, we will not be able to be there!!  But our thoughts and prayers and best wishes will be with you and your family!!

Isn't she a beauty!!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Following in Mom's footsteps....

My mom did a lot of amazing things for her family even when things were tight financially she found a way to make things happen.  I remember when my Dad made my hope chest as a teenager my mother giving me things at Christmas and other holiday's to go in my hope chest,  The first year after I got my hope chest she gave me a full set of china with serving pieces and everything!  I loved it and even though I didn't get to pick it out it was perfect and I was thrilled!!  It wasn't until later that I found out that she had saved stamps at the local grocery store to get the china for me!  I didn't care and in fact I probably was more impressed that she got it for me at no cost other than buying groceries that she would buy anyway!!  Fast forward many years to her last Christmas on this earth and Allison is in college for her 2nd year and at Christmas my mother (her grandmother) gives her a beautiful china set with all the serving pieces etc...  I remember Allison loved it and was wow'd that Grandma would do that for her and once again I found out she had saved stamps at the grocery store to get all the pieces for her!  When she got married that following summer I asked her if she wanted to register for something that she picked out and she said no, she loved her china and I found out that John loves yellow, and her dishes had yellow in them, so they were perfect!  And now that Mom is gone those dishes mean even more to Allison.

Allison's everyday stoneware, for some reason has not fared very well and is in need of replacing and Albertson's, where I do a lot of my grocery shopping, has dishes that are red....which is perfect for replacing her current red dishes....and I have loved collecting the stamps and watching my paper fill up with them in anticipation of getting Allison new dishes!  And every time I get a stamp I think of my mother and how I'm doing what she would do.....it's kind of great!!  And why not get the dishes for free if you can???? How brilliant is that!

Mom, I'm following in your footsteps and I really love it!!

How sweet it is.....

Thursday, I took Allison and Charlotte to the airport because Marianne Rex flew them out to Utah for a vacation/break/help with Charlotte trip for Allison!!  Which is really amazing and great for both parties because it does help Allison not be so lonely while John is having to work so many hours in football season and have more people to help watch Charlotte and give Allison a rest, and great for Marianne and Jessica, David, and Becky because they get to see Charlotte again - and she has changed so much since they last saw her!!   Bonus Anne Marie got to see Allison and Charlotte for a day too!  That made me extremely happy and I love the Rex's because they always include Anne Marie in their family outings!!

But the thing that makes me say "how sweet it is" is that since John is left in Texas, by himself, we offered to have him spend time with us on Saturday and Sunday and he was happy to and wanted to!  Isn't that wonderful!  We went to lunch at Mooyah's my new favorite place with having to count calories......you can have a lettuce wrap turkey burger and sweet potato fries and you feel like you have had a burger and fries!!  Only 546 calories!!  Then we went to see the movie "Captain Phillips" which was excellent by the way.  Then he came over for dinner and Alan and John watched the game and we all played cards!  It was a fun evening.  And tomorrow he will be coming for Sunday dinner!!  Alan and I were both commenting on how wonderful it is that he enjoys spending time with us and is comfortable with us without Allison and/or Charlotte!  I know John has missed Allison and Charlotte and them him, but it was only for 4 days and tomorrow evening they will be back together again!

It's been a win/win for everyone!!
picture by: IMDB

Friday, October 25, 2013

School photos

You know how every year as a mother you looked forward to school pictures so you would have a updated picture of your kids!!  Well, nothing has changed, except now I have a son to get pictures of....of course he's a teacher/athletic trainer but I loved that I got a picture along with Allison and his mom!  Its a really great one too!  He is such a handsome guy and I love him dearly!!

Sneak peek - Family photos 2013

My favorite photographer Allison Rex Photography is offering a mini package deal for getting your Holiday cards/family pictures done.  So I signed us up....and even though it had stormed the day before and it was really really muddy....we had success and I love how they turned out!!  Now that we are empty-nesters this is how our family looks until everyone comes home and we can get a picture of the whole family.....

I love how they turned out and I really love some of the ones of just Alan & I by ourselves that you will see when she finishes editing and puts them up on her website!    But here is a sneak peek!!

Photo by: http://allisonrexphotography.blogspot.com/
There was such a good deal on Shutterfly for our Christmas Cards, that I went ahead and ordered them.  I think this is the earliest that I have been ready for Christmas mail in my life!  I'm excited!!

Can't wait to get all of them and for you all to see them as well, on facebook or her website!!

Keeping the Brown traditions going!!

One of the many things I love about my mother-in-law is the fun traditions she had with and for her grandchildren!!  I always told myself I was going to remember them because I wanted to be a fun and loving, almost perfect grandmother like Mom is too!!  One of the fun things I remember was every year at Halloween my children when they were babies and toddlers getting Halloween PJ's sent to them from Grandma Brown!!  So in keeping with tradition I have gotten Charlotte her first Halloween PJ's!!  I'm excited to give them to her and even more excited to tell mom that I'm keeping the tradition alive!!

Movie Night - RS Service Auction

Last month and maybe the one before that Relief Society had us keep track of points on doing service (there was a whole list of things that you could count everyday and they added up to a nice amount).  They they had us all say what we could do as a service for people to bid on....then came the night of the RS meeting where they had a Auctioneer and everything!  My friend Becky Wangler bid on a service that Yensy Willden offered - Movie night with food for you and 5 of your friends!!  What a fun night....and Thank you Becky for asking me to be one of your friends that gets to enjoy your reward!!

Yensy made all kinds of yummy food - fruits, vegetables, sweet and sour meatballs, etc. for before the movie started then she had pretzels, popcorn, and yummy chocolate cookies for during the movie....plus ice cream for when it was over!!  She really want all out to make it special!

We watched a movie that Becky got out of the $5.00 bin at Walmart and it turned out to be a really good, nice wholesome, nice ending movie!!  It was called "Heart of the Country" and I wouldn't be surprised if it is a Hallmark movie!

Anyway, it was a fun evening made better by awesome friends/sisters.  Great service to have offered for the auction. I'm going to remember that when trying to think of service ideas in the future!!

Everything looked so beautiful and tasted even better!!

Lovin' me some Charlotte!!

Wednesday's and Friday's are my favorite days because I get to spend the afternoon and evenings with Allison and Charlotte!!  She is just growing too fast!  And she will be running soon instead of crawling.  She will probably never walk....because she will start out at a run!!  She is such a busy little girl!

Grandma gets to feed Charlotte, but her favorite is getting to pick up food off her tray and feed herself!  I can almost hear her say...."No, me do it"!!

 Grandpa picked out the talking picnic basket for Charlotte and it is one of her favorite toys.  Its funny how she puts everything in her mouth first.

Grandpa comes over after work on Friday's and helps get Charlotte ready for bed....they have some fun bonding time together!!

BYU Game in Houston!!!

Alan and John were so excited to find out that BYU was coming to Texas this year for football...so they have been planning, buying tickets, and arranging work schedules to make sure they could be at the game!!  Aileen and I stayed home, but John, Allison, Charlotte and Grandpa had a road trip!  Of course no one took pictures!  Those crazy people!!  But what is a road trip without goodies!  And our favorite goodie when traveling is Beef Jerky!  It's so expensive that its a real treat when you get it and always before it was only when we traveled or deer hunting!!  Funny thing is, with counting calories, its one of the better snacks to buy if you are going to buy junk food from a gas station!!  I couldn't believe it when they posted a picture of the BYU game at Houston and it was Charlotte eating beef jerky!!  It was fun to find out that ESPN did put John, Allison, Charlotte and Grandpa on T.V. in one of the crowd shots!  I'm sure it was because Charlotte was all dolled up in her BYU paraphernalia!  Best news!  It was an exciting game and they won!!  So Alan came home happy and full of stories from the trip!

Ooops Taxes!!

How does that old saying go....there is nothing sure in life except death and taxes!!  Well, we filed an extension this year and then almost forgot to do them....ooops is right!  October 15, is the deadline for an extension and I had forgotten that little detail until Dad and Barbara came into the Doctor's office I work at because Dad had an appointment.  They were talking about how they had just sent off there taxes because they had filed an extension!  I smiled and said "we got an extension too", to which Barbara said, "they are due today, you know, right?"    Oh, dear....so I went straight home from work, got them done with a little help from my Dad and got them to the post office in time, so that they would be post marked October 15, 2013!!!  Yeesh!  I'm glad my Dad had a Doctors appointment that day, or where would I be????

Columbus Day 2013.....

Columbus day is not normally a holiday that I would make too much note about except for this year it was a School Holiday, so other than football practice in the morning, John was off.   Alan had some comp time he needed to take so he was off in the afternoon, so the kids came over.  We grilled some turkey burgers and made lettuce wraps and had a yummy dinner.... then for FHE we played Canasta!  It felt like it had been forever since we had played cards and I was so excited, except for Allison and Alan whoped John and me!!  I couldn't believe how lucky (they would say skill) they were and how badly we did, although we did make a pretty good comeback so it was totally embarrassing!!  Sorry John!  We know you are lucky and good at cards so if we did badly its your mother-in-law's fault!!  lol!! Charlotte was too cute and loved her first taste of a peach popsicle!!  Aileen is even getting use to Charlotte and gave her a kiss!  I really do love having the kids so close....now if we could only get Anne Marie closer....my life would be basically perfect!!

Happy Columbus Day to me!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Allison turns 25!!

I really can't believe how old my children are getting!! I don't feel any older and yet I know that I am!!  October 12th Allison turned 25!  John surprised her by getting "Lion King" the musical tickets in Dallas.  And since I was at TOFW that day Grandpa (Alan) babysat!  He was really looking forward to having that one on one time with Charlotte and he says they had a blast!  I remember how good he was with our girls so I am sure that he and Charlotte did have a blast!!

After they got back from the musical and I got through with TOFW that day we had the family meet us at Chili's in Burleson for dinner to celebrate her birthday!  We had a good time visiting and catching up.....but I'm not going to lie, everyone was just so excited to see and hold Charlotte because they hadn't been able to do that for so long!!

Here are pictures of the night, and I thank all the family that came to be with us:  Dad and Barbara, Art & Elizabeth, Tootie and her girls Lauren and Taylor, Tytan, and Alan, Lois, and Aileen!

Charlotte with Grandpa waiting for everyone to come!!

Aunt Elizabeth lovin her some Charlotte!!

Elizabeth made the bracelet for Barbara

Love my sister!!

my family....I love how the phone picture distorted my face..... lol!!

Dad and Barbara

Tootie and her girls, Lauren and Taylor

Tytan - and Charlotte loves Tytan!!!

Tytan with the girls!

Charlotte looking at the new book I got her about Temples!!

It was a great evening and day!!  I know that Allison enjoyed and appreciated everyone who made the special effort to be there!! Happy Birthday sweetie!! Dad and I love you so very much!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Time Out For Women 2013

I have been looking forward to getting to go to Time Out For Women for a long time and it lived up to everything that I hoped it would be!!  It was made better by getting to go with good friends, one new and one longtime friend, and meeting up with other friends that have moved away, and one very kind of unique friendship that was formed only through blogging!!  The speakers were incredible, their messages very spiritual and uplifting.  The music beautiful and I definitely left there with my bucket refilled and with me ready to face this world of trial, learning, growing and experience again with a feeling of peace, joy, and the attitude of "I can do it!"  Today was Sunday and I definitely noticed my rejuvenation in presenting my Sunday School lesson.....not that I did anything special, but just a feeling of happiness while doing my calling and serving my Heavenly Father and Savior!!  I'd say that TOFW hit its goal!!  The only thing that would have made it better is if Allison could have been with me!  We've never been able to attend one of these things together and we talked about it being this year....but with Charlotte still nursing and old enough that sitting still is really not an option, Allison figured it would probably be too stressful and she wouldn't really be able to enjoy it and get anything useful out of it.....and she is probably right, but next year......I have a dream.

It's a dream that reminds me of the first time I went to TOFW with my mother when we first moved to Ft. Worth!  It was amazing as well and made all the more special because I was there with my Mom and sister.  These are the memories that last a lifetime especially now that my Mom is gone.  They are all the more precious and I'm so glad that we did things like this together!!

It's also a dream that reminds me of going with my Sister Elizabeth after our mother was gone from this life, or the year that Barbara Mom, Elizabeth, Aunt Tootie (Barbara's sister), and I were all there together and I will keep dreaming that someday my girls and I will be able to be together at TOFW and have that special memory and bonding time together!!

We went to dinner at "The Oliver Garden" Friday night before TOFW

Larissa Updike, MaryAnn Stephens, and Me!! Larissa is a new friend
that I am really enjoying getting to know better and has already added so much
to our Ward and my life!  MaryAnn is my rock, my friend that I have gotten to
experience so many things with - important things - things that have changed me
for the better!!

Cathy Hunter who was my Seminary Supervisor when I taught
Seminary and who use to be in our Ward
until she moved and I still miss her
Sarah K, my blogging friend!!  We know all about each other and our
families just because we blog!!  Who knew you could build lasting
friendships that way.....but you can!!

Rosa Tillman - Alan was Bishop Tillman's 2nd Counselor and
then his 1st Counselor and bonus....then Rosa and I became better friends!!
But they dared to move out of our Ward - I know it was good for their family
but really sad for us!!
Janice Keener, our children where teenagers and friends together, I taught her children in
Seminary, and they were probably the first to start this trend of moving
out of the Ward.  But she has been there are for all the important things!!
And thank heavens for Facebook and being able to keep up with each other!!

When I got home that night, Allison had come over to relieve the respite care giver for Aileen and so I got the extra fun surprise of Charlotte being at my house and in my bed with her Mom trying to get her to go back to sleep which was totally useless once I came home.....ooops!  Sorry!....but how fun!!!

No, I didn't get her all excited and up or anything........ ;-) (she says tongue in cheek because that is exactly what I did)