Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bikes and Ducks

One of the most common activities for the Browns is to load up a couple of bikes in Grandpa's truck and hit the road (or dirt).  We have a few favorite places to go: White Rock Lake, Breckinridge, sometime Audubon, and Rowlett Creek Preserves when we are feeling brave and we want to jump off road a little.  

Hyrum and Lindi are mostly game to tag along, especially if they get to feed the ducks or play at the park.  We have a bike trailer now, so that's always fun. 

"Feed my bread to the ducks?  I don't think so."

I've done a couple of trails at Rowlett Creek Preserves two times now.  It's become Grandma and I's "girls night out."  It's terrifying, exhilarating, and just plain fun. It's also a wicked workout.

I'm so grateful for in-laws that are active and love to run and play with us.  I'm glad for kids who put up with us and who seem to have a good time too.  Hopefully, Husband and I will be the grandparents that run and play and bike and swim with our grandkids.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Little Miss Turns One!

**This post is dedicated to sweet Aunt Brookie who reported tonight that she checks the blog everyday and that I should post again.  We love you, Brooke! Can't wait to see you!**

Miss Lindi turned one in June.  It's amazing how quickly they grow.  Also amazing is how stinkin' cute she is.

She's also been very explicit that she is an independent woman and will do things on her own terms.  She'll walk when she's ready.  She'll teeth when she's ready.  She only does something if she want to.  She's going to teach her parents a thing or two.

Our party was pretty low key.  Presents wrapped in grocery ads.  Peach cobbler that she didn't want to try and watermelon that she didn't care for.  Dad loved the watermelon, though.  That's something we can always count on.

P.S. She got to go on a birthday shopping spree with Grandma Brown and boy howdy did she enjoy herself.  If this reflects the girl she will be when she is fourteen, oh brother!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Choosing Motherhood

When I began building a family while simultaneously going to nursing school (first marriage, then child #1, and then (!) child #2 shortly after graduation) I always intended to work, at least part-time as a nurse.

When I got my first job as a nurse, I was so grateful for the opportunity.  I loved it and I loved that I loved it.  I can't pretend that it wasn't hard on my family, though. Working full-time meant being away from my family three nights a week.  Because I was working nights, there were also many a day when Dad took care of the kids so Mom could sleep.  And, on the days when Dad had to work, Mom was way too tired, but took care of the kids anyway. Very often, Husband and I would only see each other as we simultaneously picked up and dropped each other off at work.  It worked for us, but it was hard.

Then Husband got his dream job in Dallas and I quit mine so we could go.  I enjoyed having a few months where I could be a mom and a wife. We could have days off together.  I didn't have to play the zombie mom game.  I loved it, but I still felt like I needed to work because I had worked hard for that degree, by golly, and I was going to use it.  Besides!  Just think of how fast we could pay off the debt if I was working too.

It quickly became obvious, however, that finding part-time work with only seven months of experience was going to be tough, if not impossible.  More often than not I got the answer, "You'll have to do a new grad program and that'll be full-time."  If there was anything I was sure of, I was sure I wasn't willing to work full-time.  We had done that.  It was hard.  It wasn't worth it anymore.

So, I kept looking for a while.  I still felt like I needed to work, at least some of the time. Other times, I felt like "Other women would kill for the opportunity to not work and stay home with their kids."

Tony and I fasted and prayed about it.  I felt very firmly that I needed to stay home with my kids and let my career wait. I knew it was the answer because my heart was the one saying it while my head was still saying, "You worked so hard for that degree!" "You love nursing!" "If you quit now and go back in (insert any number of years) you'll be out of date. Things are constantly changing."

However, over the last few weeks since we made that decision, I have had peace inch it's way in and now I know that that was the right decision. I am happier than I have ever been and I look forward to each and every day.  I'm anxious for the future and what it holds, but I am loving the present.  I love my sweet kids and my husband.  Tony is my partner and my friend, the best teammate I could have ever found.

The next step in our adventure came upon us quite suddenly.  A somewhat unrelated conversation stemmed from reading a book together (The Turning, go check it out!).  Three weeks ago if you would have asked me if I wanted to homeschool my kids, I would have said "No, way!"  Now, not only have we decided that we want to do that, but we've decided "Why wait!" Yesterday was our "first day of school."

Already I can see how fulfilling this adventure is going to be.  I love watching Hyrum learn.  Today we played with salt dough.  He told me he was making a sculpture.  I didn't even know he knew the word "sculpture."  Then, afterwards, he was running around the house saying "It has to be squishable and playable."  Again, I hadn't even used those words.  Later, we started a curiosity driven science experiment.  His question "Does JUICE come out of your TOES?"  We're going to make observations over the next week and keep a log of whether juice comes out of anyone's toes.  It should be enlightening.

I'll blog later about our homeschooling philosophy, ideas, resources, and adventures.

Monday, August 11, 2014


One of the highlights of June was our trip to Idaho.  Tony had a BYU-Idaho online teachers conference and decided to take all of us along.  One of our goals for the trip was to add two new temples to our "visited list." So, we needed a babysitter.  That's where Aunt Sydney came along.  It was so fun to have her with us!

We had a late start to our trip, since we left after Tony worked the morning shift.  Add to that some delayed flights, and we were a tired bunch.

After crashing in the hotel, Tony got up early and left for his conference.  Sydney, the kids, and I went for a campus tour.  What a beautiful campus they have! Sydney fell in love!  I wouldn't be surprised if you see her there again in a couple of years.

After the official tour, we hung out on campus.  We explored a little, let the kids run free, and ate yummy food at the student center.

Speaking of which, the World Cup was happening.  Brazil was playing and at least half the student population was speaking Portuguese.  That place was packed.  There was hardly and empty seat within view of the big screen.  And when something exciting happened, like a goal, the whole place would shake as people cheered and stood up and waved flags, and had a good ol' time.

Rexburg became temple #19 for us.  We stopped by for pictures after the faculty banquet the first night and then attended an early morning session the next day.  I haven't mentioned how much Tony enjoyed being able to attend his conference.  He loved rubbing shoulders with the on-campus professors, giving them ideas on how to improve his course, learning from them, etc.  I'm so glad he went.

Aunt Sydney was also able to do some baptisms for Grandpa Shinkle's Aunts in Rexburg.  The kids and I tried to brave the wind as we hung out on temple grounds.

After the last little bit of the conference, we  rushed to the Idaho Falls temple and did a session in temple #20 before jumping on our airplane back home.

It was such a fun trip.  We packed so much in to those two days.  We made the most of every moment and had so much fun doing it.  I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Rangers Game

Hooray for friends with Rangers season tickets!  They shared a game with the Browns!  We got to see them win before their season went south.  Tony jokes that his sports team never do well when he's around to cheer them on and they do well while he's away.  When he moved to Arizona, the Rangers went to the World Series, but when we're back in Texas...just look at their losing season this year.  So I hope you aren't rooting for the Rangers in the near future. Tony's going to be here a while. ;)

 Just look at this picture!! I love my little family!

Lindi was happy as could be with her pizza crust to chew on.  
She only got tired of sitting toward the end of the game.

The boys were also fans of the pizza.

Grandma and Grandpa!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Little Moments in June

The month of June was filled with lots of little moments.  My kids are cute, so they make cute little moments.

I love dressing them up for church, even if Husband makes fun and says Lindi looks like she's been through a time machine.  So what if she got lots of hand-me-downs from when her aunts were her size.  I think she's adorable.

Park time with Grandma is always a favorite. Climbing. Running. Playing. Making new friends.

Grandma helped us plant our herb garden.  We've put it to good use, even if it doesn't magically ward off mosquitoes.  We've made spinach-basil pasta, peppermint water, peppermint fruit salad, and (for when the mosquitoes do kiss you) the peppermint leaves are an awesome itch-relief, just rub them on your bites!!

Lindi's been doing a lot of this...

...and this.

We learned how to make the very best paper airplanes in "The Dangerous Book for Boys."

Cotton Candy at the library "Beginning Summer" party.

Birthday shopping with Grandma.  Oh boy!  She's having too much fun.

More time at the library.  Not all libraries are created equal, but we love ours.  Story time is always fun.  We are regulars.  We check out books everyday, or every other day.

Some baseball action with the dad.


Playing in the rain.

Grandma finished our playhouse.  So fun!

Clowns at the library. (What did I tell you about our library? Awesome!)

Park time!

Swim lessons! Hyrum made good progress over the two weeks he was in swim lessons.  He is still terrified of water that is deeper than him because he feels like he doesn't have control, but he will kick his legs, scoop with his hands, go completely under, etc.  When he's in relatively shallow water, he's my little fish.

We walked to the Wet Zone multiple times a week.  It was a fun way to get some exercise, cool off, and stay busy.  Lindi fell asleep on the way home quite often.

Hangin' with Mark Twain at the library.

June was a month of settling into routine.  We are loving where we are, especially the proximity to fun places like the library and the Wet Zone.  Husband is loving his jobs.  I'm loving being home with the kids and pursuing different projects like family history.  Life is good. We are happy.