Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Last Hurrah.

On Sunday, we celebrated the last birthdays of the year...
Cassidy, Bethany and Kaylie.
Not a day goes by that I am not in awe 
of how fast time is flying by.
But here we are with a 17,19 and 15 year old.
Happy Birthday Girls!
And slow down, will you?

Sunday, December 28, 2014


How is it that Christmas has come and gone?
 It leaves me shaking my head in disbelief.
It was a strange one.
Strange in lots of ways but that is a story for another day.
The most exciting thing that happened this Christmas 
was this:
At our  Cook family Christmas Eve get-together,
the table caught on fire.

Ok, the table runner caught on fire 
 but it was a fire nonetheless.
And it was exciting.

See the damage?
How do you follow that action?

Nonetheless we tried.
The Christmas Eve agenda was as follows:

1) Love each other.

2) Eat.

3) Play Games.

4) Play more games.

And then, after a sweet program, pondering the Savior's birth and doing our best to sing Christmas hymns-
we headed home.

We unwrapped our annual Christmas Eve ornament...

This year's ornament commemorated our Florida trip :)

We then made our teenage children go to bed early
 so Santa could come. 
The parents were reeeeelly tired.
The teenage children were not.
(I suspect they did not really go to bed.)
And there you have it.
Christmas Eve-- come and gone,
just like that.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Note To Self.

 Dear Brenda-

Your kids are done with temple lights for awhile.
Seriously- they just don't enjoy it anymore.
Let it go.
Let them rediscover it one day in the future for themselves.
Probably when they are dragging their own children there :)
But for now, that dream is over.
Don't take it personally. 
Just file it away with some of those lost idealistic dreams...the ones that don't really matter in the big scheme of things anyway. 
The ones that involve scripture study where everyone wants to be there-
And happiness during chore time.
Never gonna happen.
Aah well.

But really-
Who could tire of this?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Week In Review.

 It's been a week.
A really busy week.
Here's a quick recap:

 Bethany made it home.
The blurry picture is kind of indicative of how she was feeling after finally stepping off the last plane after 2 days of traveling-
 with some really long flights.

When we arrived at the airport, this is what we saw:

 Tons of missionary families waiting for their missionaries.
Every so often shouts and cheers would break out 
followed by lots of tears :)
Fun stuff I tell you.

That night we celebrated her birthday. 
She's 19. 
Since then, we have hardly seen her. 
Either she is sleeping, 
or she is socializing. 
Apparently a lot of people want Bethany time.

Also happening this week: this kid passed his Eagle Board of Review with flying colors.
I don't know who is more relieved, me or him.
Pretty sure he is just relieved that I will
 no longer be nagging him....

 Friday night, this cousin from Washington opened his mission call.
He's going to Honduras.
Everyone is over the moon for him.
He will be an awesome missionary!
His brother is currently serving in Colorada- Spanish speaking.
Exciting times all around.

And finally, we had our annual Brown family Christmas party. 
Lots of fun, lot's of food.
Jacob was the proud winner of the gag gift. 
If you look closely, you can see it's a bag of pickled chicken feet courtesy of our Chinese adventurer.. 

And that's mostly it. 
Still lots of Christmas prep to be done 
but we are on the home stretch. 
Good luck to you and yours.
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sad and Happy.

Doesn't this just break your heart?

Today is Bethany's 19th birthday. 
At this moment she is en route home.
After spending the last 3 1/2 months in China 
teaching English to little ones, she is coming home a little older
 and maybe a little wiser. :)
Our home is filling up again.
Happy Birthday Bethany.
Love you so much.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Of Flying and Such.

Elijah flew in for a brief weekend visit courtesy 
of a young lady who wanted to take him to a dance.
An ugly sweater dance no less. 
He was with us for a couple of short days,
only to fly back to take finals.
He returns tomorrow for 3 weeks.

Bethany comes home in 8 short days.
Is it just me or did China seem to fly by much faster than Russia?

And speaking of flying, where the heck has December gone?
I am almost in full-fledged panic mode.
Thank goodness I started my Christmas music early.
That tradition always pays off.
Here's to a happy, hurried and house-filled Christmas.
 Feliz Navidad!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Seattle Roundup.

Just a few more shots of the awesome city that is Seattle...
So much love for the buildings, the waterfront 
and the Christmas busyness.
The weather was chilly but the sights were worth it.
Go Seahawks.

Saturday, December 6, 2014


I have a confession to make. 
 I don't like this Mormon Message. 

Just don't like it at all. 
A couple of months ago it was everywhere,
and every mother seemed to love it .
It just made me stressed.
And sad.
Instead of making me feel validated-
I felt exhausted and frustrated.
A woman who did so much for others...
 A rare visit with her friend at the airport 
could have buoyed her up with joy for a week.
Nope, I just didn't feel it.
I feel this one though.
I feel it right in the very corners of my heart.
No stress, 
or guilt-
Just love.
He IS the Gift.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Gum Wall.

In Seattle, they have this awesome attraction called the gum wall. It's exactly what you think it is. Chewed up gum, stuck to a wall.
 I like to call it vandal-art
Whatever it is, it is amazing to see. 

We were very careful not to actually touch it...

...but some needed to be persuaded not to eat it.

With all of the many family friendly attractions 
that Utah has to offer, 
we have nothing like this.
Kind of glad :)

Monday, December 1, 2014


It's late and I'm tired, but I promised Bethany a post today 
and so here goes:
This past week we trekked up to Washington 
for a Thanksgiving to remember.
We wanted a visit with the prodigal son (wink, wink) and to spend some time with family that we don't see as often as we would like. 
It paid off nicely on both counts.
First of all, we confirmed what we already knew...
He doesn't really need us.

 He has a good life carved out for himself 
and is doing quite nicely, thank you very much.
We are learning to live with that. :)

The rest of the time was spent hanging out with family, seeing movies, shopping, touring Seattle and was just what we needed.

Thanksgiving Day was one to truly be grateful for.
So much family, friends and food.
It doesn't get better than that.

Kathleen was an amazing hostess.
Thanksgiving Eve was spent making this deliciousness:
Seriously so good.

And then, she put together a beautiful Thanksgiving table.
She even taught us that there is a word for the art of table decorating. It's called "tablescaping."

She does it beautifully.

The food was delicious. 
We had about 15 pies when all was said and done. 
Worth every darn slice that I ate for the next two days!

 Big shout out to Alicia's Almond Joy Pie.

But the best part was soooo much family.

Pure Thanksgiving happiness.
Til next year then....