Sunday, March 27, 2011

Happy Labor Day!

This last week, the ladies at work threw me a baby shower.  They did a "sweet pea" theme, with yellows and greens.  They did such a fabulous job and really spoiled Mom and Baby Brown very VERY rotten.

Jill made an adorable diaper cake and did all the decorating.

There were munchies and lots of presents.  We got a high chair and a swing and a baby bathtub and a diaper bag and clothes and storage bins and odds and ends galore!

We played a few games, including the dirty (candy bar) diaper game.

The cake was almost too perfect to eat!  It was chocolate with raspberries. Yummy!

Many thanks to the wonderful ladies I work with at the hospital!  We are so grateful for your generosity and excitement for the arrival of our new little one!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Beware the Jimmer

This is Tony.  Bet you didn't know both of us wrote on this blog did you?  Jeri Lin is more creative in her writing and updates everyone on our goings on.  This post is a speech I gave at Toastmasters last week.  I call the Speech "Beware the Jimmer."  I gave the speech on the Wednesday before the NCAA Tournament began.  Enjoy.
In the next 24 hours, you will make your most important decisions of the year so far.  My question for you is, "How are you going to fill out your bracket?"  Before you get too far, let me give you a warning.  Beware the Jimmer. 

If you don't know who Jimmer Fredette is, let me tell you.  He is the shooting guard for the Brigham Young University Cougar basketball team.  He leads the nation in scoring at 28.5 points per game.

He loves to shoot the open shot.  And if he's open at 35 feet, he'll take that shot.  At BYU they say, "One if by land, two if by sea, three if by Jimmer."  He also love to score inside.  If the laws of physics say no, Jimmer says yes.

But let me tell you the tale of two Jimmers.  I remember watching BYU basketball last year and thinking that Jimmer was good, but he took too many shots and didn't make his team great.  He took crazy shots and seemed like a ball hog.  This year, Jimmer shoots even more.  But basketball isn't a democracy.  The best player should take the most shots.  The big difference is that this year the team is better. 

I have three lessons I have learned from watching BYU basketball this year.

One.  Leadership matters.  No team or organization can be excellent without top caliber leadership.  The best leaders raise the bar of performance and their team responds.

Two.  Leaders need a strong supporting cast.  No matter the skills of a leader, the team needs to have the skills to complement the abilities of the leader.

Three.  It is important to win in the right way.  Brandon Daives famously was suspended from the BYU basketball team for violating the school honor code.  Overlooked in the matter is that Daives turned himself in.  That takes a tremendous amount of character.  BYU had the integrity built in to its culture to stick to the code and suspend Daives, but Daives had internalized the integrity of the culture and reported his own mistakes, knowing what the result would be. 

In your own life you need to internalize these lessons.  In your community, and especially in your family, you need to be a leader who raises the bar and challenges others to be better.  Build up those around you and help them become excellent in all they do.  Most importantly, win in the right way. 

I'll end with a statement from Karl G. Maeser, the second principal of BYU's forerunner institution: Brigham Young Academy.  "I have been asked what I mean by 'word of honor.' I will tell you. Place me behind prison walls--walls of stone ever so high, ever so thick, reaching ever so far into the ground--there is a possibility that in some way or another I may escape; but stand me on the floor and draw a chalk line around me and have me give my word of honor never to cross it. Can I get out of the circle? No. Never! I'd die first!"

Oh, and on my bracket, Jimmer wins every game.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Happy Baby

First of all, if you haven't taken the time to vote in our poll  [to the right of this post...] go ahead.  We're curious to know what "vibes" everyone is getting.  Baby Brown is only about 5 weeks away!

I haven't written a whole lot about the pregnancy.  I haven't felt the need to share every day-by-day or even week-by-week update.  Who cares?  But, today I feel like sharing just a little bit...

Momma update:  I am 35 weeks along and my belly is correspondingly huge.  [I will not insert belly picture here.]  I get heartburn from time to time.  Sometimes it's so bad that it makes me feel sick and sometimes I get sick of only being able to lay on my left side, but I have survived.  My CTR ring won't come off.  I haven't had a whole lot of swelling, but there's obviously been some.  I enjoyed creating a makeshift swimsuit for our trip to the pool yesterday.  I'm still safely in the "healthy weight gain" range and proud of it.  I have random bursts of "holy-smokes-we're-gonna-have-a-baby-and-I'm-so-excited!!!"   I turn 20 next week and therefore will not qualify as a teenage mother.  Life is good.

Baby update:  Baby Brown moves constantly but is really good about sleeping when Mom is sleeping.  They're head down and very low.  [No, there's only one but we say "they" because we don't like "it."]  Last week Baby had an non-stress test and ultrasound done.  The NST was great.  The nurse practitioner said we had a happy baby.  The ultrasound, however, showed an elevated systolic/dyastolic ratio in the umbilical cord.  This is most often caused by increased resistance.  Now, Mom and Baby have to go in twice a week for testing.  NSTs every Monday and ultrasounds every Thursday, on top of any other regular appointments.  Good news is that Baby Brown passed the NST this week with flying colors and the ratios in the ultrasound were back to normal on Thursday.  We're glad that everything is going well.

[Note: The Browns are still in need of a boy name.]

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Why I Blog

Someone once told me that Facebook becomes a thing of the past and blogging takes over once you're married.  I can't say that they lied.  I've become addicted to blogging in the year and a half that we've had this blog and my Facebook activity has dwindled.  As I was pondering this astonishing phenomenon of the universe this afternoon, I came up with a list of reasons I love blogging.

1.  Blogging is an outlet of emotion.  You can share frustrations, joys, sorrows, monotony, etc. and [somehow] it makes you feel better.
2.  Blogging allows you to be creative.  Take for example our 64 Things We're Thankful For post.  Not only was it fun to write, but text size, bold, italics, underline help make each post a little different and a little bit of fun.
3.  Blogging lets you see the creativity of others.  Take for example, the creative genius of Melanie or Katelin.  They inspire me.
4.  Blogging helps you build friendships.  I have a good friend named Michelle [note: her blog is private, so following this link may not be worth your time].  Funny thing is, I've never met Michelle.  (Her husband was one of Tony's  groomsman who helped demolish my car on our wedding night.)  Back to my point...I've never met her but I consider her a friend--all because we follow each others' blogs.
5.  Blogging lets me share what I believe.  I'm a Mormon and I love it!
6.  Blogging provides a source of entertainment.  This entertainment is more than just reading what others have to say.  I enjoy discovering all the ways people find us on search engines.  Take these key word searches for example... "efy nauvoo married blogspot" or "lubbock ice cream dipping cart requirements" (What the?!)
7.  Blogging is the source of our world famousness.  We constantly have readers from Russia, South Korea, Japan, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, China, and Luxembourg.  (Note: If you're an international reader [and you speak English], please feel free to let us know why you read our blog.)

Why do you blog?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Itialian Cream Cheese Chicken

For all you recipe fans out there (especially easy recipe fans)...

Italian Cream Cheese Chicken
2-3 chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz cream cheese
1 package dry Italian dressing mix

Stir soup, cheese, and seasoning together.  ( I do it in a saucepan over low-medium heat for easier mixing.)  Place chicken in bottom of crock-pot.  Pour mixture over chicken.  Cook 4-6 hours on low, then shred the chicken.  Serve over rice or noodles.

[This recipe comes from "More Family Favorites" by Heather Brinson & Mandy Rohner]

Tony and I LOVE this meal.  We have always done it with rice, but I'm sure noodles would be just as delicious.  Besides being absolutely irresistible and super easy to make, another reason I like this meal is because it's great as leftovers.  We just warm it up in the microwave, make a fresh batch of rice, and it's good to go.

For those of you without a crock-pot (who doesn't?) try this out in the oven.  But please!  Don't cook it for 4-6 hours in the oven.  Try 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes, just until the chicken is no longer pink inside.  I'm curious to know if it'll work.  Let me know if you try.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Silly Stories

Story Number One
I was on my way to work yesterday morning, accelerating down the Loop-101 on-ramp when three pigeons decided to stop for a rest in front of me.

"No!" I cried.  "Don't stop there!  I will hit you and smoosh you to smithereens!"

They didn't stop for long.  Almost immediately they sensed impending danger and took off, but one of them was not fast enough.

Thump!  BOOM!  Splat!  So long pigeon.

 I didn't cry.  It was a pigeon.  Instead I called Tony and told him about the poor fat pigeon that didn't have enough sense not to land in front of a car, nor the athletic prowess to fly away at the speed of light in order to save his own life.  
Story Number Two 
Yesterday after work I went to the Ranch Market--fresh produce cheaper than any grocery store in town!  While I was there I came across extra large avocados.  I had a strong urge to buy one so that I could make some guacamole.  I knew that my guacamole craving comes and goes and I didn't want it to go before I had the chance to eat this one, so I bought the softest, ripest avocado I could find.

Today, when I got home from church I decided that I wanted my guacamole for lunch and so I cut open that avocado and proceeded to make guacamole.  FAIL.  That softest, ripest avocado was nowhere near ripe enough and it wouldn't squish into guacamole.  The best I could do was chop it into pieces.  I sat there and pouted and whined that it was going to be yucky while Tony heated up his lasagna.  Then, Tony said a prayer on the food and specifically blessed my guacamole that we could make it taste good.  After the blessing, he proceeded to add the lemon juice and garlic salt and tried to squish it a little better.  Still, I pouted.

Now, I don't know if it's because I'm pregnant or if it's because my sub-conscious self feels the need to enjoy the last week and a half of being a teenager (I just know Tony won't let me throw any more tantrums starting the 23rd of this month) but Tony started playing martyr ("Here.  Eat my delicious lasagna--my very favorite lasagna that is just like my grandma used to make--and I'll eat this guacamole.") and I cried.  He continued to play martyr ("I can't eat when you're sad.  I can't enjoy my delicious lasagna if you don't like your guacamole.")  I stopped crying so that he would eat his lasagna and I ate my guacamole, which was not yummy guacamole.

Fifteen minutes later I realized how ridiculous I had been and I chuckled to myself.  I'm so glad I have a husband who can put up with me.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Husband and I have discovered a new talent.  Freeloading.

We've always loved free stuff.  Free food.  Buy-one-get-one freeFree money (aka: gift cards).  Free anything [as long as you read the fine print and it really is free].  However, we were not aware of what talented freeloaders we were until last Tuesday.  Let me explain...

We woke up at 4:30am so that I could get to work by 6am.  [Waking up at 4:30am means eating breakfast at approximately 5am.]  I worked from 6am to 11:45am and had only water and a string cheese.  When I got back from work all I had time to do was change my clothes, grab Husband, and run out the door in order to get to the doctor for my ultrasound and non-stress test (NST). [To be discussed at a later time.]  Needless to say, when we were finished at the doctor's office [around 1:15pm] I was STARVING.  Hooray that Sonic is just around the corner and we have a coupon for a buy-one-get-one free 6 inch hot dog.  Husband very much enjoyed his chili cheese coney and I wished I could eat a dozen more of their new Chicago dogs...they were that good.  However, we live by a strict budget and didn't want to blow it all in one day, so we resisted any and all temptations and left, spending only $2.17.

"Lame!" you might say.  Oh.  Just wait.

When we got home I was seriously craving me some more Sonic.  So, I went online to enter the code I got with my hot dog.  What if I was an instant winner?!  Then we could go down to Sonic and get a free hot dog combo, cherry limeade and all!
I was not an awesome instant winner.  I did sign up for their emails, though.  And guess what?  It's my birthday month so I got a coupon for a free regular cream slush.  And so we walked 1.5miles to the Sonic down the street.  Me with my free regular cream slush coupon and Husband with his free corn dog coupon that we found in the grocery ads that come in the mail every week.

And so, there we sat--me enjoying my free strawberry cream slush and Husband enjoying his free corn dog-- when here comes the Sonic girl... "Would you like a free Butterfinger blast?"  Why, yes.  Yes, we would.

And so, my dear friends, Husband and I enjoyed two 6 inch hot dogs, a corn dog, a cream slush, and a Butterfinger blast for $2.17 that day.  Plus, we enjoyed some free junk food calories since we walked 3 miles round trip for our second Sonic trip, and therefore we did not feel guilty eating all of that delicious Sonic.