Thursday, May 31, 2012

More Fun in Scottsdale

One of my very favorite things to do with my family is to have a little get-away.  Every once in a while we go to Scottsdale for a few days and swim, and eat, and do puzzles, and watch movies, and laugh, and swim some more, and love each other.  It's a great way to spend quality time as a family.


 Grannie and Pops celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary while we were there.

 I love the happy look on his face!

This last picture makes me laugh.  It looks like we abuse our poor child.  In reality, Hyrum had a red face due to an allergy(?)/sun sensitivity(?).  The "bruised" shoulder is thanks to his new swim outfit.  The blue bled onto his skin every time we went swimming.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Report on Graduation

Hooray for this handsome guy!  He officially graduated!

Graduation was great [at least what I saw of it].  Hyrum made it through the first few speeches and I think through most of the last-name-beginning-with-B's before he and I had to step out.  That was terrible.  He didn't want me to hold him...he didn't even want to run around like a crazy person.  He was intent on climbing the stairs.  Those nasty, thousands of feet have stepped on me, stairs.  I wasn't about to let him, especially because it wouldn't be fun to plummet down those steep, cement stairs.  And so he wailed.  And wailed.  And WAILED.  I was lucky to be able to stick my head in and hear "Bryton Dane Shinkle" announced.

He could have cared less about posing for pictures, too.  He wanted to be free!  He wanted to run and get all those little boy wiggles out.

Speaking of future graduations, we were all getting a little weirded out when we started calculating how old we will be when Hayden graduates from high school.  I'll be 34...weird.  Hyrum will be 14...He'll be starting high school himself!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Graduation Speech

Today we're driving to Wells Fargo Arena to celebrate with the Desert Ridge High School Class of 2012!

It's got me reminiscing about that day --a long while ago-- when I was graduating, when I was the one in the cap and gown, when I was the one giving the big speech.  


Here we are at graduation,
This is our time for celebration,
First to our teachers, our fam’lies, our friends,
Whose love and support, t’wards us never ends.
Thanks for the smiles, the laughter, the tears.
Thanks for helping us conquer our fears.
When, in ourselves, we didn’t believe
Our greatest ambitions you helped us achieve.
And now, aside from our relations,
To the seniors, Congratulations!
Surviving high school ain’t easy—we know!
And now we’ve got other places to go.
We’ve made it this far, now what do we do?
That’s something, I’m sure, we all wish we knew.
I know some of you may think it uncool
That pretty soon I’ll be right back at school.
Others too, whether in-state or out,
Know college is something they won’t go without.
For others, college is just not their thing.
For them, maybe trade school or traveling.
Armed forces, new jobs, there’s so much out there.
You can be great, if only you dare.
To some the next step may not be clear.
You’re not sure of the path you should pioneer.
But you know what you want, deep down inside,
Reach for the stars. Let your heart be your guide.
And wherever you go, whatever you do,
Remember that only you can be you.
Today we celebrate the lives we’ve led
And look forward to the journey ahead.
Don’t be surprised, though you probably will,
To find life’s a mountain, instead of a hill.
Don’t let it scare you. Don’t worry. Don’t stop.
Nothing can keep you from reaching the top.
Don’t hurry. Don’t rush. This life’s not a race.
There are mem’ries you’ll miss that you cannot replace.
It doesn’t matter how much money you make,
Cars in the drive or boats on the lake.
What matters instead are the friendships you’ve formed
The service you’ve given, the hearts that you’ve warmed.
The values you choose and work to defend
Will define who you are in the very end.
Though some may lie in wait to deceive,
Don’t let go of what you believe.
When adversity stands in your way
Don’t be the one that is easy to sway.
Always, always to yourself be true.
Even when skies are more grey than blue.
At times life will fall apart at the seams,
But that’s okay, hold on to your dreams.
Making each day the best it can be
Is all that is asked of you and of me.
Sometimes it’s hard, yeah, sometimes it’s rough.
It’s times like these, you have to be tough.
Just when you think you can’t make it through
The sun will come out, though much overdue.
Good times or bad times, great courage it takes
To proceed with great fervor, despite our mistakes.
Of a few mistakes, don’t be afraid.
That’s how some of the greatest inventions were made.
In yourself you should not doubt
You’re made of good stuff, inside and out.
“What am I to this world?” many may say,
“What am I worth at the end of the day?”
You’re a head and two feet. You’re somebody’s friend.
You’ll stick with them to the very end.
You’re the hope of the future, a smiling face.
You’re someone that no one else can replace.
You’re a kid with ambition. You’ll do something great.
If only you knew the things that await.
Believe in yourself. You’re worth more than you know.
You can’t comprehend the places you’ll go.
You’ll meet people who tell you, “It cannot be done”
But if it can, you’re prob’ly the one.
Just give it a shot. Just give it a try.
Ask “Why not?” instead of “Why?”
Doing the impossible ain’t easy, I agree,
But anything can happen. Anything can be.
A little taller, we must stand today.
The world around us is in disarray.
Some don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong.
This is the season we must be strong.
Reach out with kindness. Be decent. Be good.
Doubt not. Fear not. Do what you should.
In the future, what will we say
When we stop and think back on this day?
Will you remember this speech that I gave?
Will you remember forgetting to shave?
You may remember the excitement inside.
You may remember the way your mom cried.
You may remember how happy you were,
Or, looking back, it may be a blur.
No matter how we remember the past,
No doubt, we’ll think it flew by too fast.
Well, I’m afraid I’ve used up all my time
And so I must end this silly rhyme.
I guess the last thing I wanted to say,
And maybe it is a little cliché,
But all you need is faith, love, and laughter,
To make your own happily ever after.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hooded Towel How-To

I was asked recently to make a few hooded baby towels for expecting mothers in our ward.  I was surprised at how inexpensive, quick, and easy this little sewing project was.  Whether you're an expectant mother in need of a simple "nesting" project or you need a quick and easy baby shower gift, this is a great DIY project.

Small Bath Towel from Walmart: $1.50
Small Washcloth from Walmart: $0.50
Total: $2.00

First take your small washcloth and fold in half.  Sew one end together.  I recommend that you fold the other end over [see below].  It will add a little more character to your finished towel.

Next, put right sides together and pin the washcloth (where your two corners met and were sewn together) to the middle of the longest edge of your small bath towel.

Continue to pin, the edges of the washcloth and towel together. [Don't forget to keep the opposite end of your washcloth folded over.]

The last step is to sew!  The best part is that you're sewing a straight line.

If you'd like you can add ribbon, ric-rac, or other embellishments.  It would be darling to embroider the baby's name on it as well!

 Now all you need is a cute little baby to snuggle in your DIY hooded towel!

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Job

Husband starts training for his new job today.  Don't get your hopes's just another part time gig to add on top of Home Depot.  He'll be working as a TSA officer at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. 

We were really surprised when we got the call.  He only applied for the job about two years ago.  We've heard from them every now and again.  "You've made it through this step, now if you'd kindly fill out this ridiculous background check."  "Thanks for completing your background check.  Unfortunately we've changed our systems and would like you to re-do it on the new system."  And so on...

It was a hard decision to make.  Do we do it instead of Home Depot?  In addition to Home Depot?  Do we even do it?  It certainly isn't the direction we envisioned ourselves going, but in the end we decided we would try doing both.  Husband doesn't want to look like a perpetual job hopper and figured that anyone looking at his resume could at least say he worked his butt off the last few years that we've been without a "real job."  We may be completely crazy.  For the first 8 weeks he'll being doing 40 hours of training every week for the TSA.  Add Home Depot on top of that and you're talking 60-70 hours a week.  For example, today he has training from 7:30am - 4pm and then goes to Home Depot from 5:15pm - 10:45pm. 

Husband will probably think the hardest part is finding enough time to sleep.  I personally think the biggest challenge is going to be figuring out how to feed him when he's away from home for 16 hours.  Hyrum is going to think he doesn't even have a Dad anymore...

It's going to be a challenge, but if there's one thing we know, it's that the Lord has a plan.  We're going to follow that plan.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mothering Moment

Yesterday I had what I would like to call a mothering moment-- one of those times where you just feel overwhelmed with joy because you have been blessed to be a mother...

I had warmed up some corn, peas, carrots, and green beans for Little Boy's dinner.  He wasn't interested, though.  He decided it was much more fun to throw the vegetables.  I decided to try to warm them a bit more (maybe they were still too cold?).  I then put the bowl back on his tray and leaned over to blow on them.  Hyrum decided that this meant I wanted some, so he grabbed a handful of veggies and stuffed them in my mouth.  I know it's kinda silly, but I just loved him so much, right then as we both giggled together.

 Notice the carrots and corn he's sitting on?  
That's his trick.  He makes Momma think he's eating his dinner like a good boy 
and I give him more and more and more and then when I get him out of the high chair
 I realize he's actually eaten very little... 

Come to find out, he just wasn't interested in dinner at all.  He didn't want pears, graham crackers, or french fries either.

I'm so lucky to be the Momma of this blue eyed baby.  There are moments when I wish I could just let him run free while I take a nap because he's run me completely out of energy, but then I have a mothering moment-- a moment of deep satisfaction and love.  These moments are enough to boost me up and pull me through.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Manti Temple

Part of our trip to Utah included a side trip to visit the Manti Temple.  The Manti Temple was the third operating temple in the church.  It was dedicated in 1888 by the Prophet, Lorenzo Snow (the only temple he dedicated).  The murals in the Creation Room, the Garden Room, and the World Room are magnificent.

This was the fourteenth temple Husband and I have visited together.  We are so grateful that we were able to make this little trip.  Husband also wanted to make note that Manti was also the first temple we ever ate at together.  We went down to the little cafeteria and had sweet 'n' sour chicken, pork chops, broccoli cheese soup in a bread bowl, and a chocolate muffin.  It was delicious!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Yesterday Never Happened

Yesterday was one of those days where you sit down at the end of the day and say, "Let's just pretend that never happened."

After a late night the night before, Hyrum was still up and ready to go at 5am.  Try as I might, he wouldn't cooperate with the please-pretty-please-can-we-sleep-some-more gig.  I finally gave up and took him for a walk after feeding him breakfast.

Of course, an early morning meant that by 7:30 he was cranky and I was more than happy to lay him down for a nap, but I was also still in that I'm-tired-and-don't-feel-like-doing-much mode [I think I was all day].  So, I forced myself to unpack a few bags and then went back to bed with the intent to take a 30 minute power nap that turned into an I'm not sure how long unpowerful nap.

Little Boy slept for three hours, ate lunch, and decided he was still going to be a grouch.  I set up the little baby pool we bought him in the backyard and that was cool for maybe 15 minutes but then he just wanted to get out and create a muddy mess and I just wasn't in the mood for that, so we went back inside and he threw a fit.  I put him in his bed and he went right back to sleep (much to my surprise) and slept and slept and slept and slept.  I finally woke him up over three hours later [it was like waking him from the dead].  I'm not sure that was the best idea.  He smiled and talked to me a short while and then became ornery again.  He proceeded to be ornery for the remainder of the day (unless, of course, Dad or Uncle Bryton were there).  Try as I might, I just couldn't figure out what he wanted.

I finally just put him in the bath.   He likes baths.  He doesn't like getting dried off and jammies put on.  He ran off before I could get a diaper on.  No joke, I followed him right into our bedroom only to find him standing there, like a true boy, peeing on the shorts Husband had left on the floor.  Sigh.

Husband left for work at 6:00, got home at 3:30, worked on a job application (cross your fingers), and left for a Big Boy Mover move at 4:30.  He came home at 6:30, showered, and left for mutual.  I guess this is supposed to mean "get used to Husband not being around much because when he starts his second job on Monday, you'll never see him...ever."  That's depressing.

I don't know what I was expecting on my first day back.  I thought Hyrum would at least act like he had missed me.  Despite wanting to throw up my hands and give up more than once, I made it through.  I'm grateful that Uncle Bryton did hang around and entertain Hyrum for half an hour.  I'm glad that despite everything I still made a delicious dinner for my Husband and that the dishes got done.  I'm glad that Hyrum went to sleep at 8:00 and I was able to crawl into my bed with a book and just take it easy.  Yesterday was rough, but today will be better.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sub Zero

As you know, Husband has been working at the Home Depot for almost a year and a half now.  It has been such a blessing, but it hasn't put us on the right trajectory.  It is helping us meet our short term needs, but not helping us meet our long term goals.  Lately we've been feeling restless...something needs to change.  We're just not sure how, so we've been brainstorming.

One of our ideas was to start a Sub Zero Ice Cream store.  Sub Zero uses liquid nitrogen to flash freeze their ice cream right before your eyes.  Pick whether you want ice cream, custard, or yogurt (among other options), choose your flavor (chocolate, vanilla, caramel, watermelon, cheesecake, Mountain Dew...the list goes on), choose your mix-ins (candy, fruit, brownies, cheesecake chunks, etc.), and last of all, decide how you want it frozen (soft, medium, or hard).  It's downright amazing and it tastes so good.

So we've been researching their franchise.  Part of that research included a trip up to Utah (where they were founded) to meet the corporate people, see a bunch of their stores, learn more about what they do and how they do it, as well as ask questions.  So Husband and I left Little Boy behind with Grannie and his Aunties and went on a road trip.  We finished reading Robinson Crusoe and read two thirds of The Thief Lord during our travels.  I love that family tradition.   

On Monday we met with Sub Zero.  This meant driving from Spanish Fork to Orem.  We stopped at five various stores throughout Utah.  At each store they offered to buy us an ice cream... "Don't you want to try something different?"  It was kinda fun.  I found a new favorite flavor [cheesecake and caramel flavoring, cheesecake chunks, and brownies].  At the first store I ate a small (except for the waffle cone).  At the second store I ate two thirds of a small (no waffle cone).  At the third store I ordered a kids size and only ate half of it.  At the fourth store I utterly refused to try anything.  At the fifth store I got a frozen lemonade because I was parched.

Note:  This picture was taken after the second store, with mine and Tony's cups. 
 I did not look this happy later in the day.

It was really good for us to go up and learn more about this company.  The funny thing is, we were really excited about it and were ready to move onto the next step, but we had also been praying for the Spirit to guide us and help us decide what was best for our family.  By the time we crawled into bed late Tuesday night (after giving our boy our loves) we were both feeling that maybe Sub Zero wasn't what we should do right now.  

And so, the adventure continues.  What does the Lord have in store for us?  

"Patient endurance permits us to cling to our faith in the Lord and our faith in His timing." --Neal A. Maxwell

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bryton Senior 2012

Little Brother isn't so little anymore.  In fact, he is graduating in a week and a half! 

I helped him design his graduation announcements.  It was a little bit of a fiasco, but I think it all worked out and we liked the final result the best anyway!

There are a number of things I love best about my brother.

1.  He is quick to smile.
2.  He is wise beyond his years.  Have you seen his blog?  He can always tie his life experiences to the gospel.  I love that.  I can't wait to go inside the temple with him.  He is so ready.
3.  He loves being a brother and an uncle.  He will play with Hayden and Hyrum until the cows come home and they love every minute of it.
4.  He is a loyal friend.
5.  He is a great story teller.  I love to hear about all of his exciting adventures.

Congratulations, Bryton!  Just a few more months and your mission will be upon us.  We will miss you so much but we know you will be an excellent missionary.  The Lord has so much good for you to do!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Summer Best Friend Time

I have a best friend.  Her name is Lindsay.  We met in nursing school.  We help each other survive.  We are really sad because next semester we will be split up... We will still be best friends, though.  No matter what.

Lindsay invited us to come to a Diamondbacks game last night.  She and Cole (they're going to get married someday) had free tickets.  It was a lot of fun to watch the game, visit, and just be best friends.

Hyrum did surprisingly well.  He was content to people watch, cluck his tongue, and poke at the holes in Lindsay's pants.  I was afraid he wouldn't want to sit in one place for so long, but he just stood right in front of me or sat on our laps and was happy as can be.

Do you notice how Hyrum is never looking at the camera?  He was way to distracted.  He was enthralled by all of the people and the noise.  I think they lady behind us was making faces at him or something because he kept giving her big ol' grins.  A kid not too far from us had a rattle and Hyrum was convinced that was probably the coolest thing ever.

Thanks Lindsay and Cole for a fun night at the ballpark!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mothers and Cheesecake

In anticipation for Mother's Day I thought I would share...

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. Tenneva Jordan

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of cheesecake for five people, promptly announces that there never was any cheesecake to begin with.  Tony Brown

He knows Grannie and I too well...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I Like the Sound of That

I'm not sure what to call it.  A miracle?  An accident?  A tender mercy?

Hyrum went to bed last night at 7:30.  When I say went to bed, I mean I put him in his bed, kissed him goodnight, shut his door, and he went to sleep without so much as a peep.  That in and of itself isn't that miraculous/accidental/tender mercy-ish.  The real kicker was that we didn't hear a peep from him all night! 

It was one of those nights when you wake up at 1:30 and ask Husband, "Have you heard him at all?  Have I just been sleeping so deeply I missed it?"  No.  Neither of us had heard him.

At 7:00 this morning I went in to check on him...was he still breathing?!  Yes.  He was breathing.  Had he moved?  Not so much as an inch from where he was when we checked on him at 11:00 the night before.  Head down, bumb in the air.  Sweet as can be.

Monday, May 7, 2012


This is in honor of me passing all of my classes in the toughest semester of nursing school thus far.

Next it'll be on to pediatrics at Phoenix Children's and OB at Banner Desert!  Whoop!

Friday, May 4, 2012

The 1940 Census

Have you heard about the 1940 Census?  Do you even care?  You should care.

It opened for indexing on April 2, 2012.  In the month that is has been open, 27.79% has been indexed.  What is indexing, you may ask?  You get a digital image of the 1940 census, like this...

It may look a little scary, but you use your mad indexing skills to transcribe the information from the record into a searchable format.  Eventually people around the world, including me, will be able to search for Grandma and Grandpa and the rest of the family tree.

You can do it!  I'll warn you,'s addicting.  In the last week or so, I've indexed 1200 names.  It's that cool.  Happy indexing!

1940 census

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hyrum's First Birthday

Hyrum turned one!  He had a pretty laid back birthday.  Nothing real extravagant.  We went to Grannie and Pops' house and had a little family party.  We had Papa Murphy's pizza, peach cobbler, and Blue Bell Ice Cream.  Hyrum got enough books to start a new library.  My favorite is Slim and Miss Prim
Some people think that Slim and Miss Prim is a love story.
And that is true.
But it is way more than that.
It is a much-needed lesson in how to escape from rustlers and kidnappers.
 I simply love it.  It is delightful.  I hope my kids learn to love books as much as I do.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Little Boy Antics

I am bound and determined to get this blog caught up.  I hate playing catch up, but I want this to be a good record of the Browns so that someday my kids can look back and know what life was like as a little one.  I remember trying to complete those little projects in elementary school where you had to write about your life.  My mom did the best she could to help me out, but the journal she had started for me kinda fizzled out.  Hopefully I don't fizzle.

 This one cracked me up.  He walked around the house like this for probably half an hour.

 His boots (scavenged from the Boy Scout rummage sale) are still way too big, but I couldn't resist.

 You know you're a seasoned mother when you see this and say "At least the toilet wasn't open!"

 Hyrum loves his awesome green ball.  It's perfect for kicking, throwing, bouncing, name it.

Another important milestone to mention are Hyrum's sleeping habits.  When he was a teeny tiny wee one, you could wrap him up tight, lay him in his bed, and he would put himself to sleep.  That lovely habit was sabotaged by Dad and Grannie when Momma went back to school.  They spoiled him rotten.  I'll let you know, however, that I've practically cured him now that school is out.  I give him a kiss and a hug, don't forget the binky, and put him in his bed and he'll put himself to sleep.  Sweet victory!