Saturday, January 25, 2014

Project- Find Joy 365 {Days 11-24}

I've come to realize that this project is a lot harder than I thought it would be. But I'm so excited to have captured so many moments and look forward to what I'll have at the end of the year. The top picture is how Ben and I sit most nights while we watch tv or netflix. He's my favorite.

 Costumes ALL. THE. TIME.

Sacrificed sleep to wake up early and make Mickey Mouse waffles. It was worth it.
Nothing like a new shirt and it making me feel cute.
 Dad's and Doughnuts at the elementary school. They are so cute.

 The eyebrow! This kid kills me with it.

Now this kid keeps me on my knees and awake at night. He's had a really good week and weekend last week, I miss that guy this weekend :/

When she goes to bed with wet hair, she wakes up with crazy flippy hair. Well we turned that flippy hair into a style that reminded us of Rapunzel after she cut it.
Oh how do I love my niece! We babysat her and her brother and I could not get over how much she looked like her momma with those pigtails. 

 My kids love their Uncle Trevor. I think he's pretty awesome too.

 While dealing with infertility, I would get so jealous of those new moms and babies. Now that I've moved forward and am finding the Joy, it's not that hard to see and hold those precious bundles. I made these onesies for my amazing friend who had her baby at home. 

 January has been good to my body. I'm down 11 pounds so far and haven't had a single drop of soda in just over two weeks. I'm more active and feeling so good!

From our date last night. It was just out to dinner but it was so nice not to have to fix it ourselves and not have to deal with our kids at dinnertime. I love my husband!

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Utah Christmas

Months ago we decided that we would make the trip and have Christmas in Salt Lake with Ben's family. As it grew closer and closer, I was feeling more and more overwhelmed and sad. Overwhelmed at having to pack up all of our presents and things for a week and half away from home and sad because I'd be missing Christmas traditions with my family. It turned out to be a great trip full of family and fun. I was able to facetime with my parents on Christmas night and that helped my homesickness and we really enjoyed our time up north.
It never snowed while we were there but luckily they had tons of snow still on the ground. It made for a magical Christmas time. There's something so beautiful about Christmas lights glistening off the snow.
 Snowball throwing!

Ben's brother had an extra tree we were able to set up and have our own little Christmas around. The kids were so excited for their presents that it made all the stress of the season totally worth it.

The night after Christmas, we took tracks down to Temple Square to see the lights. It was so freakin' cold! Like 15 degrees cold. We layered and bundled and had a great time. And I only got separated from the group once as I wandered off to take more pictures. It was just too beautiful!

We stayed up there till New Year's Day eating super yummy food, singing karaoke, watching football, staying up really late, and just hanging out. On New Year's Eve we headed to the park Ben played at as a kid and went sledding. The hills were small but for these first time sledders it was perfect. We forgot gloves and hats so it was a quick sledding trip but the kids sure had loads of fun. Later that night we ate traditional stuffed mushrooms and hung out with cousins but I started getting really sick and we cut the night short. I barely made it to midnight and fell asleep right afterward. 
We drove home on New Year's Day and made it in time to eat Fuddrucker's with my family. It was the perfect end to our holiday vacation. I spent the next few days super sick running a high fever but I'm so glad we spent so much time with Ben's family. And so grateful to all of them for feeding and housing us for so long. Love ya guys!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Project- Find Joy 365 {Days 1-10}

I still have Christmas pictures to post but I wanted to share my new goals for the new year. 2013 was a rough one. It started out looking bright and hopeful but as the months passed it just kind of fell flat and then fell apart. It was a year of fertility tests that gave us zero results, a move back in with Ben's parents, and a job loss. Needless to say, we are living in a limbo state right now just waiting to see where life will take us. Last year I did have a tender mercy in which we decided to stop going down the fertility road and to just enjoy the kids we DO have instead of pine away for the kids we DON'T have. Since that moment, my focus has shifted and finding JOY has been my goal. So with the new year starting I decided I wanted a way to encourage myself to seek the JOY in my family. I've begun taking a picture a day and posting them to instagram with the hashtag #365daysofthebrownfamily. It's been a great way for me to look at the day with a different perspective. Next I figured I post the past week every Friday on the blog so I have another place to save them. 
So the top picture is of my new necklace Ben got me for Christmas and it's my constant reminder to find the JOY.
Stryder got a huge Lego set for Christmas and started it all by himself but it soon turned too difficult for him to do on his own so Ben eagerly jumped in and helped him finish it up.
Santa brought Disney Infinity for the kids for Christmas and the mean parents that we are made them wait till we got back home from Utah to open them. But it was like Christmas all over again as they opened each character and played for hours.
I love this little one of mine and I can rarely turn him away when he asks to sit on my lap.
It was a bit of a rough morning but boy was I glad when school started back up and secretly I think the kids were excited too.
We gave the kids the entire Harry Potter series for Christmas and then decided to read them out loud as a family. They get very angry with me when I have to stop reading.

Sleeping kids brings me so much JOY! And seeing him wrapped up in the blanket from my mom and dad makes me pretty happy too.
These two are my cuddle buddies. It's just cold enough that if they aren't basking in the sunlight streaming in from the window, they are snuggled in my lap.
Oh man his bed head has been killing me. Sadly, he's finally giving me his opinion about getting his haircut. When did he get so old?
This picture was from today after school. I decided it was a good day for Sonic but shortly after we left I made a sharp turn and Ben's drink tipped over in the passenger seat. It wasn't a total loss until I got it home and Soren was so excited to tell Ben something and bumped his drink. It was a mess of ice and soda all over the floor. I instantly felt anger but Ben showed me a better way as he smiled and cleaned up the whole mess. Then he reminded me that the soda wasn't as important as our little boys' excitement. Oh the lessons I'll learn this year as I strive to find JOY.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Most Wonderful Time of Year

As soon as I got back into town from DC, the days flew by as Christmas and Holiday festivities filled our time. For our ward Christmas party this year, I took pictures of the Primary kids dressed up in scenes from the Nativity story. It was so fun but a little overwhelming at times. It turned out so great so it was totally worth it.

Then at our ward Christmas party, we had the best Santa ever. I took over 200 pictures of the kids in our ward who stood in line to sit on Santa's knee.

I even got my picture taken with him.

This cute Jingle-nosed elf is who I found when I went to help in school classes the last day before Christmas break started. Each kid had a great party with lots of treats. I was also able to sneak into the big school sing along to see my older two perform with the choir. December is seriously such a full and crazy month and I'm so grateful now that I took the time to take pictures and enjoy moments like these with my kids.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Mrs. Brown goes to Washinton

In December, I was blessed to be able to head East with my parents for my cousin's wedding. Words cannot even begin to describe how amazing this trip was for me. I took over 200 pictures and then spent 2 hours going through them telling all about my experience to Ben. These are just a few of my favorites that mean the most to me.

I hadn't been on an airplane since high school and so I was kind of like a little kid sitting in the window seat totally enjoying the view. The sky is amazing!

This is my handsome dad. He grew up back east in Maryland and we spent a day driving around to all of his old stomping grounds along with his brothers and sister. It was an incredibly funny day full of memories and laughter. I'm so glad we all crammed in one car to drive around.

So Virginia and Maryland have squirrels! We were all kind of obsessed with them.

This was my first time seeing my Grandma Day in Arlington. I shared a tender moment with my dad and was just so overwhelmed with gratitude for my knowledge of eternal families. And I felt such a strong feeling of patriotism seeing the fields of white headstones.

Most of the fall leaves had fallen but a few trees still showed a glimpse of what autumn must truly look like.

When I knew we were headed east, I wanted to do a session in the DC Temple. Well we decided that a session was going to be too much so we did sealings instead. It just so happened to be the 10th anniversary of when Ben and I were sealed together. I had a very special experience within those sacred walls.

As we were getting ready to leave the temple grounds, we noticed a FOX! Just strolling through the trees wrapped in Christmas lights. Needless to say, I was stupid excited about it and tried to take as many pictures as quietly as possible, before it ran away. It was beautiful. 

Then we headed to the Smithsonian museums. Really we were just looking for a street vendor selling cheap shirts but glancing in a few of the museums was a super awesome added bonus. Behind this gorgeous artwork is the original American flag that Francis Scott Key wrote the National Anthem about. It was such an emotional and moving sight and filled me to bursting with pride for my great nation.

I found my way into the Living Seas section of the Natural History Museum and could have easily stayed there all day. I even found Nemo :)

The last full day was spent cruising the neighborhoods that my family lived in when I was little. I turned 6 shortly after we moved to Virginia and had been 9 for five months when we moved to Henderson. I have some very vivid memories of Virginia and most of those revolve around this pool. In my head it was a huge hill we had to hike up when in actuality it is a lovely pathway. We swam all summer every summer we lived there and now swimming is such a huge part of me. It was a fun nostalgic morning.

My cousin Melinda was a beautiful bride and her reception was a totally rockin' party! It was so so great to see so much family I haven't seen in YEARS! I don't think I could ever repay my parents for letting me tag along with them. I was able to spend some real quality time with my parents for the first time really since I became a parent myself. It was eye opening to see my mom deal with her Parkinson's day in and day out. And it was reaffirmed to me how amazing my dad is as I watched him take care of my mom. I'm not ashamed to say that my dad is my hero and I love him even more now if that's even possible. My mom and dad truly are an incredible couple who I look up to and hope Ben and I can be like as we grow older. Words do not do my thoughts and feelings for them justice.

The morning we flew out, Mother Nature started putting on a beautiful display of Winter. It was such an awesome trip and I really feel like my words are so inadequate. I just know that tender mercies were given to me over and over again. Ben, with the help of his mom, did a wonderful job taking care of our kids back home. I'm still so grateful to him for his sacrifice those long 5 days. But it was so nice to use our technology so I could say goodnight to my kids each night from across the country.

I've been feeling so blessed as I pulled these pictures together and wrote this post all out. And so grateful for this blog so I can write all these memories down.