Sunday, December 5, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

This year we spent Thanksgiving in Utah with the Brown side of the family.  I skipped out early on some of my classes so that we could spend a couple extra days with Whitney and Kemp.  We had a fabulous time!  Here are some of the highlights:
  • We watched Harry Potter 1-6 at home and then went and saw the seventh one on the mammoth screen.
  • We made our Thanksgiving dinner from scratch and it was delicious!  Turkey (Whitney's creation), stuffing, corn, gravy, rolls (Kemp's deliciousness), green beans, mashed potatoes, and a scrumptious punch.

  •  We also had apple pie, peach cobbler, cherry pie, better-than-anything cake, and pumpkin crumble.
  • Black Friday was a busy day for the boys and the girls.  Dr. Brown took Whitney and I shopping until we could shop no more.  We were spoiled.  In the meantime, the boys built a wall in order to create a nursery for the arrival of Jacie Lynn Goodwin. (YES! They're having a girl!!)
  • We all met up that evening and went to Tocano's, a Brazilian barbecue place.  It has an all-you-can-eat salad bar and then they bring around a wide selection of meats and you eat until your heart's (or stomach's) content.
  • After dinner it was back to work! The boys finished up the wall while the girls wrapped all the purchases for Christmas the next day.
  •  Tony and I were spoiled rotten, as usual.  On top of my maternity wardrobe I received a stethoscope, a sphygmomanometer, new tennis shoes, a wheat grinder, and puzzles.  Tony got a brand new fancy-pants Android phone (which he loves), new dress shirts, tennis shoes, and some of his favorite board games.  Baby got a new jogging stroller and car seat.

  •  On Saturday afternoon we went out into the freezing snow and took family pictures.  We had a lot of fun doing that and I'm excited to see how they turned out!
  • Sunday meant driving home and, lucky us, there was a snow storm.  The "Speed Limit 80" signs taunted us all the way from Lehi to St. George, where we stopped for the night.  We topped of the whole trip with Cracker Barrel for breakfast.

We really enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with our family.  We really do take advantage of every chance we have since we're all so spread out.  It was probably the last time we'll have all six of us together before six becomes eight!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Infamous Christmas Card

So I’ve been thinking…should I send Christmas cards out or no? Tons of people do it every year. Am I one of those people?

Reasons why not to send Christmas cards:

1. Most people have these cute little kids that they plaster on the front. I don’t have any cute little kids yet, just a baby in my belly. Does anyone really want to get a Christmas card that has a picture of just Husband and I on the front?

2. It’s time consuming… You have to pick the card. You have to pick the picture. You have to order them. You have to decide who to send them to. You have to address the envelopes. You have to lick-and-stick the envelopes. You have to stamp the envelopes. You have to take the envelopes to the post office.

3. Sending Christmas cards can get mighty pricey. Period.

Reasons to send Christmas cards:

1. We recently had pictures taken and they’re perfect for Christmas cards. There’s snow. Husband and I are freezing. At least if we look like we’re absolutely freezing but still trying to smile the picture will be entertaining. (There’s nothing better than family pictures in Utah.)

2. makes the time-consuming-ness of Christmas cards a million times easier. They have a large selection of fabulous cards so it doesn’t matter which one you pick. If you want, Shutterfly will even stamp and mail them for you!

3. If you shop on, you can get great deals because they always have things on sale and run great promotions (such as free shipping).

I’ve bought books, calendars, and prints from Shutterfly and I’ve always been very impressed. I just might use them for my first ever Christmas photo cards as well!

Some of their choices!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The getting-ready-for-Christmas-hoopla!

I told myself that Christmas had to wait until after Thanksgiving.  Necessary shopping, such as gifts and an artificial, 4 foot, pre-lit Christmas tree (on sale at Michael's for $20), could be done, but Christmas music, decorations, and the like were completely off limits until AFTER Thanksgiving.

[I caved]

I don't know what it was exactly... It might have been going to see "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!"  It might have been the discovery that 99.9KEZ was playing their Christmas music...the fact that the boxed up Christmas tree was taunting me...the fact that the neighbors upstairs had their Christmas tree up...perhaps even the simple fact that it was cold outside... I don't know, but I do know that my justification was that we needed to wrap presents for the Brown Family Thanksgiving/Christmas celebrations the following week and Christmas present wrapping just isn't allowed unless there is a tree up and Christmas music playing.

I also know that Tony thought I was going to have a conniption, or maybe he knew I was having one.
      con·nip·tion: [kuh-nip-shuhn]  a fit of hysterical excitement

Whatever the case may be, Saturday was the day.  We went and bought wrapping paper and those cute little sticky gift tags.  We pulled out the ornaments and Grandma Carter's olive wood Nativity.  We rearranged the living room so that our Christmas tree could have a home.  We created a Christmas music playlist on iTunes and turned it up.  The Christmas tree went up.  The blue ornaments (previously used as centerpieces at our Arizona wedding reception) went on, along with the red apple ornament Tony has had since childhood.  It was perfect!  The presents were wrapped, pictures were taken, and then the lights went off and I sat in awe as I looked at my little Christmas tree and realized that this was the best getting-ready-for-Christmas-hoopla I had ever had.  I was just Husband and me and it was perfect.  I was in love...with my Christmas tree...with my husband...with the holiday season...for a chance to focus my thoughts upon my family and, more importantly, upon my Savior, Jesus Christ. 

I love the holidays.  They remind me to be grateful.  They remind me to be compassionate and giving.  They remind me of what life is all about.  Let the celebrations begin, but let us not forget what matters most.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My First Blogging Award

Let me just tell you how absolutely blown away I was to learn that the
fabulous, talented, wonderful, beautiful Michelle
nominated ME for the Beautiful Blogger Award.
Thank you, Michelle!

Beautiful Blogger Award
Terms of this award: must list 10 things about yourself,
thank the person who gave you this award, and pass it on to 10 wonderful bloggers.

1. I have been in denial since mid-June that there were 10 things I could share about myself that anyone would care about.  Little did I realize that all it took was a little bit of creativity and humility.  Humility, yes.  Because my "no one else cares about any of these facts about me" was really me saying "I'm totally awesome, I just don't want to brag."

2. [I'll start off easy.]  I am officially 18 weeks pregnant.  My baby, if my baby is an average baby, is about 5.6 inches in length.  No, I haven't felt any movement yet.  I tell myself it's because whenever I think about trying to see if I can feel Baby move I hold real still and I think Baby decides it's time for them to hold still too.  Husband and I are not going to find out what Baby's gender is for four reasons... {one} I have absolutely no desire {two} it's killing Tony not to know {three} my dad says that finding out is forbidden in our family (my parents had seven children and never found out) {four} I like calling my baby, Baby.

3. If I could be anywhere RIGHT NOW it would be Nauvoo, Illinois. I love the feeling I have when I'm there. It's a mixture of awe and peace and a determination to do better. It also helps that Nauvoo is the place where I met Husband. It's the place where he became one of my very best friends. Nauvoo was a brand new beginning for many of the Saints. It marked a brand new beginning for us too.

4. I love love LOVE Disneyland.  Husband and I were planning a trip last fall, but then I was pregnant.  I decided that I couldn't enjoy it to my fullest potential if I couldn't ride the big roller coasters and if I would be sick to my stomach just from the motion of "It's a Small World."  One of these days, however, I will introduce Husband to the wonderfulness that is Disneyland.  I will show him why Peter Pan is my favorite ride.  I will share with him delicious churros and turkey legs.  We will sip hot chocolate while we watch the fireworks.  It shall be delightful.

5. Rice Krispie Treats are my favorite homemade treat ever.  I can eat a whole 9x13 pan in a week (if not three days).  Besides their delectable taste, I love them because they are easy to make and because  Husband doesn't like them, so I don't have to share.

6. I was valedictorian of my high school's graduating class of 2009.  It was cool and exciting then.  It wasn't so cool and exciting when we were driving to Wells Fargo Arena where I was supposed to give a speech in front of 3,000 people and I couldn't stop crying and I thought I was going to throw up, and I still wasn't a big fan of how my hair looked with a graduation cap stuffed over it.  It was cool and exciting again when I didn't die giving my Dr. Seuss inspired, poetic speech.  Now it's not so cool and exciting anymore because no one really cares what you did in high school.

7. I like to think that Husband and I are professional budget-ers.  I'm a full-time student and work only 8 hours a week and Tony has been unemployed for a year or so.  Consider that and figure out how we've not only had the money we need to survive, but also that we've paid off debt each month and that our amount of cash in the bank has also been increasing.  Like I said, we're pros.

8. I love to go hiking.  I'm glad Husband does too.  My mom and I have hiked the Grand Canyon twice together.  The second time it was a rim-to-rim hike.  Tony and I aspire hike the Grand Canyon together as well.  In the mean time, we go for small hikes around town.  Once we even hitched up our fancy backpacks and a tent and hiked to the top of Flat Iron and spent the night on top.  That was an adventure.

9. I don't donate blood.  I did it once.  I wanted to be a hero.  I ended up passing out, chugging orange juice, and then ridding myself of orange juice.  It didn't help that I was on the way to a very important event when my tummy decided it didn't like the orange juice.  I had to stop at the grocery store so that I could wash my hair in the bathroom and buy instant stain remover (orange juice and white dresses don't mix), febreeze, and such.

10. I love to see the temple.  Tony and I have the unreachable goal of visiting every temple in the world.  So far we've been to Nauvoo, Arizona, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, St. George, Las Vegas, and Oquirrh Mountain.  We're going to visit our tenth this week!  We've also been to the Gila Valley Temple Open House and Dedication and the Gilbert Temple Groundbreaking.  It's an outrageous goal, we know, but we also like to dream of all the cool places we'll go if we really do it some day.

That wasn't so painful...
Here are my Beautiful Blogger nominations:
Melanie, Katie, Whitney, Alexa, Katelin, Rocki, Sherra, Casey, Nalani, & Tayler

Monday, November 22, 2010

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Last week, Tony and I went and saw "How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical."  We had a splendiferous time!  It seems like lately we've both been content to stay at home and read a book together or play a board game or go for a walk on date night, so it was fun to get out of the house. 

The performance was outstanding.  I still can't get over how talented the 6 or 7 year old Cindy Lou Who was.  She could sing, dance, and act like you wouldn't believe!  I have no doubt in my mind that they really got Mr. Grinch to come to our need for an actor. 

Tony's favorite part was when the audience was invited to sing along to...

You're a foul one, Mister Grinch!
You're a nasty wasty skunk!
Your heart is full of unwashed socks, your soul is full of gunk, Mister Grinch!
The three words that describe you are as follows, and I quote, "Stink, Stank, Stunk!"

The Grinch helped us get into the Christmas mood...a perfect preparation for our Saturday night getting-ready-for-Christmas-hoopla (to be discussed at a later time)!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gilbert Temple Groundbreaking

This last weekend we had the opportunity to attend the Gilbert Temple Groundbreaking. Tony and I took my four youngest siblings with us.

It was a wonderful event. There were probably 6000+ people in attendance. Elder Claudio R. M. Costa, from the Presidency of the Seventy, presided over the dedicatory service. His talk, along with the those given by his wife, the current Mesa Temple President, and others were phenomenal. I was especially impressed by how much they talked about the children and youth of the Gilbert Temple District and how important it was for them to gain a love for "their" temple.

Tony and I went to the groundbreaking not even knowing that we currently reside in the Gilbert Temple District! It was kind of surprising to discover this since the Mesa Temple is only ten minutes away. We are excited, though, to be able to play a part in the building of a new temple here in Arizona. We invite everyone to come with us to the temple when it is complete and they hold an open house. It will be a marvelous experience for us to share with you why the temple is so sacred and so important to us.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

While Tony's Out...

I have lots of things on my mind this morning. Husband is putting up flags with the Scouts for Veterans Day. He is probably enjoying the coolness outside. I, on the other hand, slept in. It was joyful, almost as joyful as the toast and hot chocolate I had for breakfast.

First of all, Baby and I have a doctor's appointment today. We are both quite excited. Husband/Dad wants to discover if it is a boy or a girl (it's still too early anyway...) but I am adamant. We will not find out. Aunt Whitney and Uncle Kemp get to find out what theirs is in just a few days and that's enough excitement for me.

We never did report on Tony's 30th (holy smokes) birthday back in September. He and Brooke share a birthday so they celebrated together. She got brownies. He got apple pie.

Tony and I also went to the Rawhide, an old west town, to celebrate just the two of us but at that point he hadn't got a new camera to replace his broken one so we don't have pictures. It was lots of fun, though. We roamed around for a little while and then watched a gun show. We finished the night with deliciousness at the steakhouse. Tony's favorite part was probably the dancing. There was a live band so he took me out onto the dance floor while we waited for our food. All the old people there cheered for us. He was pretty proud of himself and grateful to have a wife who'll dance with him.

Tony also got to go the an ASU football game with Dad and Bryton. He took some neat pictures with his fancy pants camera.

While we're talking about Tony...he's still unemployed. He's been working really hard, though and has been blessed to have a number of interviews. We know that one of these days the right things will come up. Last night we were reading in Alma 58. The Nephites are in a rough spot. They don't have all the soldiers and supplies that they need, but then in verse 11 it says,

"the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him."

Story of our life. Sometimes it amazes me how calm and at peace I am. Having to work hard EVERY MONTH to balance the budget can be tough, but I have peace, I have faith, and the Lord continues to give us assurances. I love when the scriptures apply so directly.

I found out this week that I've been provisionally advanced to the Upper Division Nursing Program. Happy day! I also found out this week that I have to petition that my space be deferred until next Fall because Baby is coming in April and that doesn't allow me to finish up my first semester. Hopefully I'll find out what they say about that in the next 2 weeks.

Other than that? 2 weeks until Thanksgiving/Christmas in Utah! I'm stoked.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Holiday Hullabaloo

It is November 1st and I am delighted at the arrival of the holiday season. Whilst Tony looks at me like I've gone nutty, I am already in full swing get-ready-to-party mode! Observe...

I'm downloading all the free Christmas music I can find. I'm making stockings [traditional denim, lace, and trim]. Hooray for worn out pairs of jeans! I'm racking my brains for gift ideas and I'm elated when I think of just the right one. I can't wait to skip out of class early (hopefully) so we can drive to UTAH to be with the Browns. I can't wait to get our very own Christmas tree to be decorated with blue balls [courtesy of wedding reception table decorations.] I can't wait for egg-a-la and sticky buns and other traditional Christmas treats. I can't wait to read Runny Babbit on Christmas Eve with the chill'ins. I can't wait to be Mary with a Baby Jesus belly while Tony is Joseph for the Nativity play. I can't wait to start my very own Jeri Lin & Tony Brown family traditions! Etc., etc., etc.

I think I might die of elation while I thrill in all the hullabaloo.

This year we'll be spending Thanksgiving/Early Christmas with the Browns and Goodwins in Utah. It is going to be complete with the two pregnant ladies {Whitney and myself} making delicious foods (while the boys watch football, I'm sure), an everything-baby-needs shopping spree for the girls on Black Friday, a secret Saturday activity, our annual stocking decoration tradition, and all that other crazy stuff we do when we all (six plus two) get together. I love my new family. I miss them so much and can't wait to spend some time with them, even if it is a super short trip (thanks a lot ASU).

Christmas will be with the Shinkles. Tony has no idea what he's in for. I, on the other hand, am counting down the days until the festivities begin. It shall be most joyous.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Woes of Mrs. Brown

I shall not make this a complaining post. Like my friend Melanie, I have it better than most people. I've only thrown up five times. I feel like I'm going to throw up a lot of times but I haven't. I sleep a lot. When I'm not sleeping I don't have any energy. The worst part [maybe] are the migraines.

Tony takes good care of me. He cooks me breakfast. He makes my dinner. (I mostly get away with this because I read him Harry Potter while he does so and that seems to appease him.) He drives all the way out to Downtown Phoenix to take me to class, or pick me up from class, or both, when I'm afraid that the motion of the lightrail will just be too much for my tender tummy.

The problem, however, with all this taking care of me, is that Tony thinks everything can be solved with food. That's what makes him feel better. Usually, it's what makes me feel better. (Twice have I thrown up because my tummy is empty and that is no fun.) But sometimes food is exactly what I don't need, or so I have learned... You see? Tony has never experienced a migraine in his life. That might be stretching the truth a bit but I don't really think he has.

Anyways... a couple of weeks ago I went to bed with a monstrous headache. I woke up sometime in the night to a splitting migraine. I took some tylenol and then sat down by the toilet because my stomach was churning. Tony came to check on me. He was extremely concerned to see me in such misery and decided it was all due to me not eating very well the previous day. So, he made me a chicken taco. I ate half because he insisted I needed good food, but I only ate half because then I threw up the that half into the toilet.

THEN...last night I came home from school with a migraine and churning belly. I took some tylenol and laid down in bed. Tony insisted that I needed some dinner so he made me some soup and brought it to bed. I ate some and then commenced to throw it all up. I therefore decided, that I will never, no matter how much Tony insists I need it, no matter if I ate Ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner the previous day, no matter what, I am not going to eat when I have a migraine and churning tummy.

That is all. Except that I love the rain very muchly. The end.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Little Pink...A Little Blue?

Well...word is starting to leak out. Tony and I decided you can choose to keep it quiet but you can't lie when someone asks you straight out, so...

I'm only ten weeks along but The Brown Family is going to add a little more or blue, to be exact. We're due late April and we are so excited to add a little one to our little family.

I love Tony!
He loves me!
We love Baby, yes siree!
He or she loves us and so you see...

We are a happy family!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Time to Start Working

I have been rather bad about blogging lately.  The same has been true about my journal writing.  It's not that I haven't had tons to write about either.  My Bride has given some hints about what I have been up to: Philmont, vacations to Texas, working for my dad, working in my ward with the young men.

Six months ago I was not sure how we would be able to make ends meet as a family.  My Bride sat me down one Family Home Evening and challenged me to have a little more faith.  My patriarchal blessing has one line that says I will be able to provide for my family's needs.  She asked if I believed the promise.  I decided I did.  (After all, I wasn't sure I would ever find a wife, but my patriarchal blessing said I would and I found the one it promised.)

So fast forward six months and I marvel at how we have been blessed financially.  Even though I (now) have been unemployed for over a year.  We have had income from no less than 9 different sources.  Some were my Bride's.  Some were from good decisions I made a year ago.  Some were the generosity of friends and family after we were married.  When you add them all up, we have never wanted for money. 

Starting next week, I have a fantastic opportunity to work for a company in north Dallas which helps people bring mortgage companies to the negotiation table to lower their debt or prevent foreclosure.  (I hear what you are thinking: "Don't you live in Tempe, AZ?")  Yeah, I will work for a Dallas company from Arizona.  Isn't telecommuting great. 

The company is poised to expand to other states soon and I get to help manage the expansion and growth.  My specific task is to improve processes and job responsibilities to enable that growth. 

I attribute this opportunity to several things.  I have tried to follow the Spirit as I have prepared for life.  I followed the counsel of the Prophet and have obtained as much education as possible (so far).  But most importantly now, my Bride and I have always paid our tithing, even when it was not very much.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Marriage Lessons

Ten things I've learned so far in my marriage...

Number 1: Being married to your best friend is the best thing in the whole world.
Number 2: I'm glad Husband is wax paper. No matter what I throw at him, it just slides right off. He'll always forgive me.
Number 3: His hair never sometimes lies flat.
Number 4: P90X is so much more enjoyable with someone to laugh with
Number 5: Sometimes it's hard, sometimes you don't know how things will work out, but they will.
Number 6: Husbands don't replace moms but that's okay. Moms are never far away.
Number 7: Working together is much much better than working alone.
Number 8: Even though we do stuff together almost everyday, just calling it Date Night, makes it special.
Number 9: We love to read stories together. I hope it's a tradition that sticks around when the kiddos are around.
Number 10: Never settle for less than a temple marriage. When you are eternally connected, you have an eternal love.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Eight New Bestest Friends Ever!

Husband being gone for two weeks meant spending lots of time with my family. People always tell you that your family eventually becomes you very best friends. I didn't ever not believe them, I just didn't understand what that really meant. My mom. My dad. Two brothers. Four sisters. They really are my best friends. Here are some of my favorite things about each of them.

My dad is the greatest ever! I love when I can just sit and talk to him about everything. I think he misses having me around all the time, even if he won't admit it. I think his new favorite thing to do is going to be taking me with when he goes to teach Bryton how to drive. Him and Keila seem to think I'm pretty entertaining. As for me...Husband is going to have to teach our kids how to drive...

Mom's the best mom ever. She loves being a mom and doing mom things. While Husband was gone she was the one who took me to downtown Phoenix because I'm too chicken to go by myself. She's always willing to talk on the phone whenever I'm lonely. She's answered a million questions like, "How do you make this?" "How do I do that?" in the last six months of my marriage. Mom's also closer to the Spirit than anyone I know. I aspire to be more like my mother.

If you ever want an exciting story go to Bryton. He's got a million and a half and he'll tell you each one at least four times. It doesn't matter if he's told you before. He get's so excited that he has to tell you again! Bryton's also excited to go on a mission. He's such an example to me of having your heart in the right place. I'm so excited to watch him over the next couple of years. Not only will he become a great missionary, he's going to steal all the girls' hearts when he gets back.

Keila and I used to be pretty mean to each other. She was such a pain and I was so bossy! Things have magically changed, though. She's pretty fun to hang out with. We went and saw the midnight showing of "Eclipse" together for no other reason than "We went to the first's tradition!" I admire Keila in so many ways. She can make friends with anyone. That's something I have yet to learn.

Sydney just turned twelve and she is the sweetest! She's always willing to help. She's responsible beyond her years. We enjoyed watching "Ever After" the course of 24 hours. What can we say? It was that good! I also got to go with her to the temple for the first time. She was so excited to go. We went on her birthday and she was able to be baptized for some of our own ancestors.

Leslie is a reading machine. I remember those days when summer meant nothing but swimming and reading. She wants to be an author when she grows up. We learned this week that she's a better Wii ice skater than me...and I held the world record! She's also excited to go to summer camp. The American Cancer Society puts on Camp Sunrise every summer and because she's a cancer survivor she gets to go. I'm so glad we got to keep our Leslie!

Brooke, or Brookelee as I like to call her, is a blooming young lady. She is absolutely beautiful and will only become more so as the years go by. She's silly and fun. She always wants me to go swimming with her. Shame on me if I forget to bring my swimsuit! She always has tons of hugs ready for me when she sees me. She's always asking when I'll come visit again.

Hayden is four and the poor guy doesn't understand why I don't live with them anymore. He wants me and Husband to move back in with them. He's crazy and fun and most of the time out of control but we wouldn't change him for the world. I always tell Husband I want one just like him. Husband just rolls his eyes.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Musings of the Lonesome: Week Two

I have decided that my post from last week made me sound utterly miserable and helpless without Husband. That's really not completely true. So, in order to spare you all, I shall not post anymore musings...just know that I still miss him. He'll be home on the sixth!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Musings of the Lonesome: Week 1

Day 1: Husband left today. He's off to Philmont. In other words, he's off to live in the wilderness for 10 days. Ten days plus traveling to and from New Mexico equals one lonesome wifey at home. I couldn't even go half the day without missing him terribly. Today was made bearable because he did call once this evening and because Little Sister #4 and Little Brother #2 came for a sleepover. We ate junk food, swam, and watched movies. Husband will find it entertaining to learn that I woke up in the night upside down [as in my feet where my head goes and my head where my feet go, not as in I woke up vertically oriented]. This has happened only once since we've been married although it was a common occurrence beforehand, when I had my own bed...

Day 2: I got two more phone calls today--one this morning and one this evening. I might even get one last call tomorrow morning before they officially start their hike tomorrow. I still had the kiddos this morning and then I went to work this afternoon and finished up my assignment for my microbiology class this evening. Not very eventful. Not too lonely either since I kept busy and had a couple of chances to talk to Husband...

Day 3: So much for my phone call this morning...Hey! Do you have so-n-so's number? Thanks! Love you! Bye!...Coping strategy #1 for today was memories--the good kind. I was thinkin about when I lived in the dorms and got zero cell phone service in my room so I would go out to the courtyard with a pillow and blanket at the break of dawn to talk to Husband (before he was Husband) on the phone. We had to do it at the break of dawn when we could use free minutes so that Dad #1 didn't get after me. I thought about how whenever we were in the back seat of Dad #2's truck I would stick my head on his chest and my face in the crook of his neck. Husband wondered how the heck it didn't make me claustrophobic and Mom #2 always got after us for snogging even though were weren't least not most of the time...Coping strategy #2 was to stay the night at Mom and Dad #1's house. THEN! That night I was saying family prayer and straight from the heart I said, "...and please don't let Husband get eaten by a bear..." and then Mom #1 snickered and Dad #1 guffawed (right in the middle of my prayer!) and then kids #s 4, 5, 6, and 7 started to giggle. They all just laughed through the rest of my prayer! Yet, even with the coping strategies I laid down that night and felt very...


Day 4: I worked all day today and had no one to text me or email me or keep me sane. Seriously. I went nuts. This afternoon I was eating animal crackers and I thought...Poor little penguin. You just got your head bit off. Cute little camel. I bit your head off too...and then I pulled out a bear and said...Take that, you nasty old bear! That's what you get for messing with Husband!...Wow. He needs to come home....

Day 5: I cried today...

Day 6: I missed having a husband to sit next to during church today. I was able to listen to two of my best friends speak in church. They're both leaving on missions in a couple of weeks, one to Argentina and one to Bolivia. They both did a spectacular job with their talks. I know that they will be great missionaries. I'm still praying Husband won't get eaten by a bear, although I suppose I'm more worried about him worrying about getting eaten by a bear than I am him actually getting eaten by a bear...

Day 7: I cleaned the house today. Wish I had Husband here to help me or at least to tell me I looked beautiful with my PJs on and my hair going everywhere once I was all done. Is it weird that I texted him to tell him how much I miss him even though I know he can't respond? I miss those days when seeing his truck in the parking lot meant Husband was home...

Monday, June 21, 2010


If anyone would like for Tony, Mr. Brown, Brother Brown, Texas Tony, Mark Anthony Brown, Jeri Lin's Husband, [enter whatever name you'd like to call him here], etc. etc. etc. to take a turn and write a blog post, please insert a comment and tell him so.

He thinks he's a big, bad, and busy, but I'm sure he has at least one post deep, down somewhere inside of him.

Besides, you're probably sick of hearing from me. He needs to spice things up a bit.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

We are the champions!

Tony participated in our stake's annual softball tournament last month. It was all afternoon and evening on a Saturday and our boys played hard. They won their first game which put them in the winners bracket. They made it to the championship game and had to play two games against the team they played in that first game. It was so fun to watch! I enjoyed meeting some of the wives for the first time. We cheered our voices away!

Tony is proud of his key plays in every single win. This is his glory shot after he got booby trapped at home plate in the championship game!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Gila Valley Temple Open House

In May we had the opportunity to go to the Gila Valley Temple Open House with my family. It was a great experience. It was fun to see how excited the kids were to go inside. We were able to teach them a little bit more about what goes on inside of the temple.

Tony and I also watched the broadcast of the cultural event. It was fun. What a wonderful experience for those kids, some of whom were my cousins!

Then, on May 23, 2010, we were able to attend the dedication of the 132nd operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are so grateful to have so many of the Lord's temples so close to us. We are especially excited for the Gilbert and Phoenix temples to be built as well. This truly is the Lord's church. We are grateful for the happiness it brings into our lives.

P.S. We found our camera. :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Old Movies, and the Sorcerer's Stone

Tony and I went to the city library today and got library cards. See below. They're kinda weird looking--some kind of Public Art Project... Anyways...

I'm very proud of my library card. I checked out the following items today:

1. Showtime! Music of Broadway and Hollywood by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
2. "Arsenic and Old Lace" starring Cary Grant released in 1944
3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Life is good.

Monday, June 7, 2010


I am sad.

Somehow we BOTH misplaced our cameras.

This just doesn't make sense because mine has been in a drawer ever since we got married (except for maybe once...apparently the once time I lost it) because Brother Brown likes his camera better.

Brother Brown lost his after the Gila Valley Temple open house. We are very sad because we took some pretty sweet pictures there at the very brand newest temple.

I am even more sad because we are losing precious memories because we cannot capture them on the cameras that we have lost.

If anyone knows where our lost cameras are please let us know. A reward will be given.

Thank you kindly.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Tony Brown MBA Consulting

Check out Tony Brown MBA Consulting! I'm so proud of him for all he's done so far.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Our First Advertisement

Here's Tony and I's first attempt at advertising. We still have a lot to learn but I thought we did well for our first time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mr. Brown

Just wanted to let y'all know that I love this guy...

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Yesterday I woke up and exercised with my wonderful husband. After my shower I went to the closet. As I sifted through my closet I had this desire to be beautiful that day. Instead of my typical t-shirt and jeans, I picked out a new outfit my mother-in-law had bought me. I put it on and then went to the bathroom. I put make-up on for the first time all week. Then, I heard from the other room...

"There's a new Mormon Message."

I went to our little living room. I stood there and watched the video "My New Life."

As soon as it was over I hurried to the bathroom again so that my husband wouldn't see my tears. I thought of Stephanie's story and felt sad. Sad that I have ever seen myself as NOT beautiful. Sad that I often take my life for granted.

I thought of my husband who always tells me
I'm beautiful...
I'm gorgeous...
I'm lovely...
I'm pretty...

What a wonderful man! He always sees what I sometimes can't. He has always seen me as my Heavenly Father sees me. He loves me with such a perfect love.

Today I went to Stephanie's blog. I read a few of her posts and was inspired by the joy she finds in the little things. She's not perfect. I'm not either. We have our bad days. We can't always be full of smiles and laughter, but when we remember the Savior and what he has done for us...when we exercise faith in Him, we can overcome all things. We can overcome those bad days.

I watched her video again today, too.

And cried again.

Then watched it again.

And cried again.

I came to this one conclusion.

I am the luckiest girl ever! I am a daughter of God!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Flat Iron

A couple of weeks ago we had a cool weekend ahead of us and we both felt like we needed a good workout we decided to go hike Flat Iron, up in the Superstition Mountains. We packed up our packs, complete with food, water, sleeping bags, a tent, and a rope (just in case).

Three hours up and three hours down. 2,800 feet up in 2.8 miles.


My favorite things about this picture? My fly-away hair and the "Don't pick the wildflowers. $500 fine." sign in the background.

Draw a line straight up from Tony's funny face and circle the very tippy top of that tippity top mountain. That's where we hiked to.

This blue exclamation point marked where we took off our packs, climbed straight up sheer rock and then reeled our packs up behind us using the handy dandy rope I thought to bring.

We made it to the top just in time to catch the sunset.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


We have been married for 117 days! Just wanted to let everyone know that we still love each other.

Here are 13 reasons why Jeri Lin loves Tony:
1. He makes my bed for me.
2. He is so very handsome.
3. He stays up with me when I'm working late on homework even though I don't stay up late with him when he's planning his seminary lessons.
4. He takes me to Cheesecake Factory even when it costs more than On the Border.
5. He goes hiking with me.
6. He makes me go to school even when I don't want to.
7. He is silly. He makes silly faces.
8. He lets me sing Primary songs to him.
9. He forgives me when I forget to put the corn tortillas in the green chili enchiladas and it makes soup instead of enchiladas.
10. He lets me go back to bed every morning before institute.
11. He teaches me new things, like how to play softball.
12. He goes to the TEMPLE with me often and he lets me obsess over FAMILY HISTORY.
13. He loves me!

Want a little proof?  (Here is a little input from Tony)
  1. I Love Jeri Lin because she runs and plays with me.
  2. I love Jeri Lin because she is gorgeous!
  3.  I love Jeri Lin because she helps me be better at teaching Seminary.
  4. I LOVE Jeri Lin because she lets me share her bed with her. 
  5.  I love jeri lin because she is brilliant!
  6. I love Jeri Lin because she is a great kisser.
  7. I love Jeri Lin because she makes us delicious food!
  8. I love Jeri Lin because she takes me to play baseball.
  9. I love Jeri Lin because she teaches nursery
  10. I love Jeri Lin because she let me take her to the temple.
  11. I love Jeri Lin because we have visited 8 temples together (so far).
  12. I love Jeri Lin because she is the best.
  13.  I love Jeri Lin.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Tony, myself, my mom, my dad, Bryton, and his date Lexi went on a big group date in early April. Some friends of ours throw a big Luau every year, complete with food and Polynesian dancers. We had a ton of fun. We especially loved watching the dancers, though. Here are a few videos. The first is the fire dancer and the second is of Tony and Bryton learning the Haka!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Las Vegas

Our trip home from Utah ended up being a two day trip for two reasons.

Reason #1: Tony doesn't like late-night driving
Reason #2: We wanted to visit the St. George and Las Vegas Temples

My mom helped us get a place to stay in Vegas so we could do this. It was a really nice place just off of the strip. Thanks again, Mom!

We went and ate at the Green Valley Buffet that night. It was delicious. It made us feel fat.

We walked The Strip for a little while after that. It was Spring Break. It was scary. There were weird people. We felt a little skinnier afterward. Our favorite part was probably M&M World.

We'll just say that The Strip isn't our favorite place ever but we had fun. We were amazed at the stark contrast between it and the temple. I hope that as this contrast become more and more distinct that maybe it will be easier for people to recognize and appreciate the joy that the gospel can bring into your life.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Temple Square

Tony and I spent a whole day on Temple Square this last March. First, we went to the Salt Lake Temple, which you can read about in our last update. We also went and toured the Conference Center. What a special place! President Hinckley truly was inspired to build this building. So many are able to come listen to a prophets voice within its walls!

We also went inside the Tabernacle. I had never been inside before. I was amazed at how small it was! No wonder we needed the Conference Center.

We spent some time in the visitor's center and also went to the new Church History Library. It was a beautiful day. We are so grateful to members of the Lord's church. We hope that each day we can become more like Him.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spring Break: Part III (Temples)

Tony and I love to see the temple!

We have a goal to visit every temple in the world. It's an ambitious goal, we know, but "with God nothing shall be impossible" Luke 1:37. Prior to this trip, we had already performed ordinances in four different temples together (Nauvoo, Mesa, Dallas, and San Antonio). By the end of Spring Break, we had doubled this number. We visited the Oquirrh Mountain Temple, Salt Lake Temple, St. George Temple, and Las Vegas Temple.

The Oquirrh Mountain temple has the most impressive chandeliers I have ever seen. We went to this temple with Tony's parents on the same day we did the Murder Mystery. We did an endowment session and we also sealed seven siblings to their parents that day. I am so grateful for the family history my mother-in-law does. There's something special about going to the temple to do work for your own family.

Tony and I went to the Salt Lake Temple on the Monday we were in Utah. Tony's parents had already flown home and Kemp and Whitney were back at work so it was a great way to spend our day together. It was my first experience in a live session. It was so neat to think about how much work the early Saints put into this magnificent temple.

We made a special trip to the St. George Temple on our drive home. This temple was similar to Salt Lake in that it was one of the first built. The Saints sacrificed so much for its building. We must learn the importance of the temple from their faith.

Our second stop on our trip home was in Las Vegas. Tony and I could not believe what a beautiful temple it was! The pictures do not do it justice! It is one of my very favorites. Not only is the exterior absolutely beautiful, the celestial room is stunning. Everything is spotlessly white. Another experience we had at this temple occurred out on temple grounds. We were walking around and all of a sudden a group of young adults started singing. It was as if angels had descended! It was perhaps the most beautiful music we had ever heard! It added a special spirit to our temple trip that day.

Eight down...a lot more to go...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring Break: Part II (Murder Mystery)

While in Utah, Whitney and Kemp took us to a Murder Mystery Dinner Show at a little Italian place in Ogden. I had always wanted to go to one, so it was fun to finally go. The actors did a magnificent job. As we ate, they came to each individual table and interacted with us and then also had little performances spread out throughout the night. Kemp was chosen to be an undercover cop. He had to go up to the front when the victim died and marked the ground with tape.

At the end of the night we were given a chance to get up and ask each of the characters questions so that we could figure out "who-done-it." Those who guessed correctly were entered into a drawing. We all got it right and Kemp and Dr. Brown's names were drawn.

Another successful outing with the Brown Family.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring Break: Part I

Since we haven't posted in a while and there is SO MUCH we need to catch up on, expect tons of posts in the next week or so. To start with, though...
Tony and I took off around noon on March 11th and headed to Lehi, Utah, where Kemp and Whitney live. On our first day there, my mother-in-law and Whitney took me on my birthday shopping trip. It was a lot of fun! They helped me find a lot of really cute outfits!
After shopping we went picked up our snowboarding gear, ate lunch, and headed up to Sundance for night skiing. We had a ton of fun snowboarding. I had never been before. Everyone else knew what they were doing so they said, "Let's go!" and we skipped the bunny hill. The first run down was tough but I eventually got the hang of it.
My mean husband made me go to the very tippy-top of the mountain for our last run down. That would have been fine, had there not been a precipitous edge all along the trail! It was scary.
Kemp was my #1 coach. I can't believe he was as patient with me as he was. I would still be stranded on that hill if it weren't for him. Thanks Kemp!
Whitney was the cutest snowboarder I ever did see.
This is where I spent a lot of quality time...on my bottom. I had bruises to prove it.
Mom and Dad Brown were our two skiers. They made it down the mountain in some ridiculously short amount of time.
We had so much fun in the snow! We can't wait to go again!