Bear World

July 13th, 2017 in Our Travels Worldwide

I would like to say that Bear World was better. It was not for me, I was emotionally messed up at Bear World. So I think that is the fakest I have been with my kids while I was there. WHO FEELS NOTHING WHEN THEY ARE FEEDING BABY CUBS?! This chick did. Well, did not, I felt nothing. I wanted to just go to bed. BUT I think that the girls will remember that forever. Their mom being a weird robot mom. Just kidding, Bear World, they will remember that forever.

So we did two special things at Bear World. One was that we each got to feed the baby bear cubs. The second one was that we went on the chartered ride to feed the adult bears.

I honestly have such blank memories with this. I would like to tell you the girls’ reactions and Tyler’s reaction to all of this but I don’t remember! I do remember they really liked the petting zoo at Bear World. And the silly little carnival type rides a lot too.

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Bear World 2017 from Vanessa Brown on Vimeo.

Yellowstone

July 13th, 2017 in Our Travels Worldwide

We only did a tiny bit of Yellowstone. No one was in the mood to do Yellowstone but me. Tyler did not feel up to it and I was trying to tell him through my killer evil eyes that I did not appreciate it. (To be fair he probably did not feel up to it because in a fit of rage I UNIVITED him before we were about to leave. Then I felt bad and reinvited him.) So I chose three things to do that were close to the entrance. Blacksand Basin, Artist Paintpots & Old Faithful. We left so early that the first two attractions were dead. Like I said in an earlier post, a park ranger walked around with us. He let the girls use his temperate gun to see how hot different things were. He told the girls the science behind them. Then at the second location a nature photographer was there talking to me about how different it looked. I had not been there since I was twelve and I remember the colors a lot more vibrant. He shared that he had been photographing Yellowstone over the years and he to noticed the colors were changing.

We saw one animal, a bison, which was cool.

Then when we walked up to Old Faithful I got mad at everyone. They said they didn’t want to wait to see the dumb thing go off. I say h to the double hockey sticks no we were not coming all the way here to not just wait 60-95 minutes for it to go off. We had front row seats and I was not going to lose them. The fight started and escalated. But then the Yellowstone Gods looked down and made Old Faithful go off only after 5 minutes of waiting.

I would say that was a pretty short and successful taste of Yellowstone. The girls had a lot of fun taking pictures. I can’t remember which ones are mine and which ones are theirs.

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Yellowstone 2017 from Vanessa Brown on Vimeo.

Rexburg Weekend Trip

July 13th, 2017 in About Me

Well…have you ever gone on a “vacation” that you wish you hadn’t ever done? This could be one. Other than getting to see my cute nieces there was not much else redeemable about it. Okay when we went to Yellowstone it was pretty cool that a park ranger walked around with us and also a nature photographer. The girls got to feed baby bear cubs, isn’t that pretty cool? I was going through a lot of stress and worry for someone I love.  I was not up for interacting. I also was notified over text that my street block had been moved to a new ward. And that I was released from YW President. The girls really act out when my mood of vibe is off. Oh and it was. So the girls acted out big time. This Rexburg trip was Tyler’s Christmas present. We all pretty much ruined it. Do you think when kids look back they remember the cool experiences? Or their mom not being herself? Do you think they remember when their dad was so ganged up on that he locked himself in a hotel room? Or having that fun time in the pool with him? I don’t know what they will remember. But I will remember it as a sad trip. Hopefully they remember the fun things? Who knows.

When we did our Montana trip last summer Tyler was hoping to see a bear. Everywhere we went he would ask if there were going to be bears. His eyes would scan the forest line on every tour we went on. In hopes of seeing a bear. We did not and so the girls and I thought it would be cute to take Tyler to Bear World. I decided since we would be so close to Yellowstone to do one day there. It was just a 3 day trip, including driving, so we couldn’t do much.

I didn’t realize how beautiful Rexburg was, look at the view out of our hotel window:

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Like I said, we got to see my beautiful & wonderful nieces. I sure do love their mom, sisters, and them.

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Getting to be in a pool is always a highlight for my girls. What kids don’t love being in a pool?

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Also the hotel we stayed at gave us 150 dollars in free vouchers at their restaurant. So we went and had a 150 dollar dinner. Cameron was so excited to be in the land of potatoes (she owns a potato website mind you) that she promptly ordered the potato pizza. Shae was excited to get her own ice cream bar delivered to the table. I have never spent so much money on a meal that I was particularly excited for.
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What I’ll remember most of Rexburg is how sad and heart broken I felt. But I hope these girlies have different memories.

Mother’s Day & My Birthday

July 13th, 2017 in About Me

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I am always reminded at how much people in my neighborhood love me on my birthday. It always surprises me to have people that want to go out to lunch, or bring me flowers, or stop by to say hello. I am too hard on myself and have some self esteem issues. So when people reach out to me I am honestly genuinely surprised. Look at these beautiful flowers I got from neighborhood friends on my birthday!

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I told Tyler I would buy my birthday present and bought a bike I always wanted. After my second ride I broke it. Thankfully my cousin just fixed it for me so I am back in business.

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On Mother’s Day I took a picture with my kids. How many points do I get for that?

Cameron had plans to make me a very certain present for weeks. She reminded me so much to make sure she had a blow dryer and crayons. I did not want my blow dryer ruined so I was hoping she would forget about her plans. It meant so much to her that I found myself the night before going to go buy crayons and a cheap blow dryer. She made me this and was so proud. So I have it hanging on my bedroom door.

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I also signed Cameron and her cute friend up for a Culinary class where they created a Mother’s Day basket. She said it was fun but she really knew why I signed her up. So I would get the basket. My evil plan worked but she was very aware of it.

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Abby made me some cute handmade gifts.

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Reagan’s school went all out for Mother’s Day. I really enjoyed it! They had a brunch and our kids served us. Then they did a little song for us and gave us gifts. It was such a cute afternoon with my Rae Rae. When I dropped her off in the morning she called to me through the window, “Mom! You will know who I am by my hair. I have the blonde hair with the ponytail!!” Well I found her and we had a blast.

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The girls and I did a temple walk that day. I sure am lucky to be their mama.

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Things I Loved This Spring Part 2

July 12th, 2017 in About Me

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Reagan had such a fun last year at preschool. The whole year she asked to have her “BFFs” over for a playdate. So here are her BFFs from school; Brooke, Qoiah & Neva. They are some sweet and fun girls. When Reagan graduated she was given the “Never a Dull Moment” award. REAGAN?! Get that, why? hahaha.

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We even got to accompany her on her last field trip to the aquarium. Although before entering, while waiting in line, Reagan accidentally headbutted Shae’s open mouth. She was bleeding quite a bit and someone had to take my kids while I cleaned it up. I did not think it needed stitches and after a few minutes she was back to having fun with her friends.

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Reagan also got to spend a lot of time this year with her BFF Tahlia (the babysitter). Every Wednesday afternoon just the two of them got to hang out. Wednesday afternoons are crazy and I didn’t want Reagan just sitting in the car for hours. So she got to hang out with her friend!

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I took a night off and invited a new friend to come with me to NHMU to listen to a lecture on FOOD. It was with Andrew Zimmern who was so interesting to listen to. I laughed a lot, thought of things in a way I never had, and learned a lot about the way I think.

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I also failed at getting through the stack of books I have to get through. I have NOT failed at promising myself I would not buy any new books in 2017 until I got through my stack.

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Tyler was supposed to accompany me to the Chocolate and Cheese Festival for my birthday but went out of town for work instead. So Reagan was my date. We attended a class on how to use high quality chocolates in baking the right way.

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But she still doesn’t love it as much as baking, that is her first true love.

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Reagan continues to keep us laughing, tired, and on our toes. She has this burst of energy and is so fearless. It is the exact dose this family needs to keep us alive and having fun. We could do with less screaming though. This particular day she had an outfit, jewelry AND a hairstyle she asked for. She told us she just knew that EVERYONE at school would say, “Wow Reagan you look beautiful” when she arrived. And you know what? She was right, she got the compliments she wanted and had prepped for!

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Untitled from Vanessa Brown on Vimeo.

Shae continues to work hard at speech. We took the summer off and she has regressed a lot so I don’t think she is quite done with speech. We will have a therapist come again during the school year. But her teacher Heather was so patient and fun with her this year.

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The girls and I also were excited that a new NHMU exhibit came, on VIKINGS! We listed to a podcast on Vikings before we went that told us the facts and also the myths to do with Vikings. It was fun to walk through the exhibit and see those things that we had learned there in print or in artifacts.

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Honey is still alive. And during her 20 hour long naps she wakes up with different bed lovies. The girls like for her to feel comfortable and are very good at sharing.

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As season pass holders at Utah Children’s Theatre we saw a lot of plays this spring. Can you tell we saw Pinkalicious this season? We also saw Treasure Island, The Wizard of Oz and AnnE of Green Gables. It was a great season. But next season we are even more excited for…they will be doing Parent Trap. Which is the movie (both versions) that we watch almost every Sunday.

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The girls also finished up another series of homeschool theatre class during the Spring. This one was on body movement in plays. This was their group’s performance:

Play with Presence from Vanessa Brown on Vimeo.

The girls grew up even more this spring. I seem to have a larger age gap than I used to have. With how much Abby has grown and matured this past year from her sisters. It almost seems like 3 of them are in one group and Abby is in our her own world.

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We got a lot of our favorite pastries this Spring. Every time I had a rough day at the kennel I would go get one of these. Which would explain why I am not loosing weight that I would like to be. oh well, gotta do different things to survive.

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Cameron finally learned to ride a bike! My girls take the longest time to learn how to ride. It is almost comical. Maybe Shae will finally learn when she is 9 like Abby & Cameron did.

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We explored different parks, meadows, and outdoor spots. Then it got hot fast and I am getting ready for more Fall hikes. I am a vampire and do not handle the summer heat well.

Untitled from Vanessa Brown on Vimeo.

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Treating ourselves to breakfast with curlers in her hair was another thing that happened a lot during dance season in the Spring.

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Shae begged to go to the mall, which we never do. So I obliged!

 

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My cousin Candace came over and did twinsie hairstyles. I wish Candace lived closer, she is like another aunt when she is around.

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We did our annual pictures with Kim (those will come later) and got our hair done. This snap I took of Shae in the hair studio cracked me up. We did pictures in the tall grass behind NHMU. I learned I am severely allergic to that tall grass. My eyes swelled shut, my throat starting swelling, my tongue was swollen and itchy, my body was covered in red. It was CRAZY. I had to run to a drugstore and get bendrayl. Where the lady had it behind the counter and was grilling me on why I needed it. She must have not had her glasses on and couldn’t see my face. Afterwards we went to eat downtown and walked around. I must have looked like Will Smith from Hitch, but I was starving.
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My brothers see the girls a few times a year. I do wish we saw them more. It is hard when you live totally different lifestyles (student life/single life) to have schedules that match up. BUT I did talk them into coming with me to New England when I go with just the girls this summer. That should be fun.

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Lastly the girls just worked their buts off in dance. Shae was very serious in her classes and liked to get every move done the right way. When other students would mess up she would hop in the car after class very frustrated. She wanted to her recital pieces to be perfect. She worked so hard this year.

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Shae gets to join Abby & Cameron’s dance team next year. I wish I could have all four of them in at the same time! But this will be Abby’s last year on this dance team, it stops after 6th grade.

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I had fun being “classroom mom” to the dance team and doing their spring board.

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Reagan is a natural in dance. Her body is built like a strong gymnast and things come so natural to her. She will be fun to watch in her little dance career.

That was our spring at the Brown house!

Things I Loved This Spring

July 12th, 2017 in About Me

Spring was so short in Utah! I know they always say that. But this year, was really really short. Winter lasted long. It snowed in June even and stuck, it didn’t melt right away. Then we went into super high temperatures very quickly. Which was actually very hard on our kennel. To switch from insulating it and keeping the doggies warm. To all the sudden trying to move air and cool things down. There was not an in between time and it made for a really stressful couple of weeks.

But we did do some fun things during the spring months. Most of our lives are occupied with the intensity of the dance season in the spring. Which I and the girls love, or we wouldn’t bother doing it.

The ward party I was in charge of was the Talent Show this year. I always try to choose that one because it involves not serving up a MEAL but just providing popcorn and soda. Perfection. Last year the girls chose to dance but this year they wanted to do individual things. Abby did a science experiment demonstration, video here. Cameron wanted to showcase some of her art pieces that she has completed in her art class. Shae wanted to show off her dinosaur collection. That collection means a lot to her and she did not like people touching it. REAGAN wanted to dance but did not want help making up a routine. So here is a video of her free style dance. She also chose the songs, she does what she wants.

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The YW and I were going to plan another art competition to music, last year’s was so beautiful. But the talent show was on the same night as a school dance. So that was not going to work. So I had them color some beautiful floral pictures. We also learned how to do calligraphy and write something they were thankful for. It turned out nicely!

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I took my brother out for his birthday. We like to try totally different foods and restaurants we have never been to. One day he’ll live far away and I won’t be able to take him :(

Speaking of food. Did anyone else have a frantic, very unfufilling, very first world problem, Starkbucks chasing day? We did not make it in time to SIX different Starbucks to get to try the Unicorn frappe. This is a defeated picture of my girls who had to settle for a chocolate one instead. But we did decide to get the recipe and try to make it at home. It has so many awful flavors mixed together that the result was gross. But it sure was fun to make as a family.

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Cameron and I got to continue through the spring meeting with a therapist each week. We also made it into a lunch date too. We explored all around Millcreek trying out new restaurants and dishes.

The girls also did a spring break camp at an art studio and a couple days at their science school. It is always nice to have a break in homeschooling mid year to be daughter by other people.

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They loved painting so much they talked me doing the following week a full day of painting for homeschool. I thought their designs from their own heads turned out so cute!

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My sister took me out for a night of painting for my birthday and Abby came along. I think the spring was the season of being at paint studios!

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Abby SURVIVED (survived is the right word) passing off her Suzuki book. She had to memorize 18 songs and play them in order of the Suzuki “story”. She had them down so well at home but struggled on the day of her concert. I think she was just relieved to have that over! The video of it is here

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Abby & Cameron also did their spring recital of playing the monster mash concert in the mall.

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You guys, Abby has worked so incredibly hard this past year in improving for dance. She was working towards a goal of making it on a certain team. She did not make that team. But I think that she really grew as a person and also in dance with everything she did. On top of her regular dance schedule she did two hours of jazz privates, one hour of ballet privates, one hour of core strengthening, and one hour of pilates for core strengthening. Every single day she did all the work that her teachers gave her in those classes. It was an intense year and we learned even more about how to have more personal growth in her goals after not making it on the team. This year she has a lot of growth mentally to do, in the confidence category. I am so proud of her for learning and growing and never giving up with her goals.

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When try out day came my two girls worked so hard. It is always good to reach out and try for something higher. And when you don’t make that goal you either tweak your goal into the right path for you. Or you find out what you can do to improve even more to make the original goal. It is all a good learning experience for them. They were so supportive and loving of each other on try out weekend.

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With that said, it still was hard for Abby (and me too!) when she found out she didn’t make the team. We found out on this rainy day below. The day fit the mood.

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It was fun to see her highlighted on a national dance website though! Look at my beautiful girl and here is the link to her interview: https://www.morethandancers.com/june-spotlight-abby-brown/

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We are doing some international travel this year and I had to get all the girls’ passports renewed. Boy oh boy have they grown. Also boy oh boy is the process for doing passports so mind numbingly hard. I deal with stress like a champ. But somehow the process of doing this had me in legitimate tears and throwing something on the floor in the passport office. Tyler just sat on the other side of the room from me to give me all the space I needed. But LOOK I got them without being arrested for hurting people in a federal building.

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Reagan fits the dress I bought when I didn’t think I would ever get pregnant. I still remember the day I bought this dress and how awful I felt inside. It has been fun to save it and watch all of my girls wear it.

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Ok maybe we did more Spring things than I remembered, I’ll have to do a part two on this post.

 

 

Easter 2017

July 12th, 2017 in About Me

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My bunnies had a very early Easter morning. To get my church duties done and make it so we could do our Easter morning traditions….I had to wake them up at 530am. BUT DO THEY LOOK HAPPY FOLKS?! Shae was not.

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The Easter Bunny raided my closet for a very hodge podge Easter Basket. I collect fingernail polish by the dozens for the girls so they got a lot of those. Some honey sticks that should have been in their Christmas stockings. Lollipops I bought at Disneyland and we forgot to eat. I did buy the Snoopy, the chocolate bunny & the book though.

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I did win at the cream puff treat though? No I didn’t buy them, this French bakery downtown makes those during Easter season. Seriously, so talented and festive.

 

We did a cute Easter outfit photo shoot a couple of nights before. THE GIRLS WERE SO COOPERATIVE AND NOT MESSING WITH ME AT ALL. Can you tell?!

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On Easter Sunday I helped a YW give a pretty intense (handout, snack, display wise) lesson and the snapshot outside the church building did not work well either. Screen Shot 2017-07-11 at 11.24.07 PM Screen Shot 2017-07-11 at 11.24.01 PM Screen Shot 2017-07-11 at 11.23.53 PMReagan usually does this when we take group photos. Hmmm…wonder why she feels the need to do this? #youngestchild

For Easter dinner we went to Tyler’s sister’s house and she did her donut tree tradition.

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It was such an intense church day that Sunday. I had meetings, visits…I am not sure why my Easter Sunday ended up being like that. But sometimes people need help and love on holidays. So I don’t think my girls got a very Christ centered Easter. Which made me a bit sad. I will just have to make sure I prep ahead next year.

 

 

Shae’s Cooking School Birthday Party

July 7th, 2017 in About Me, Parties

For 2017 birthdays I told all the girls that they would have to choose a location to hold their birthday parties. That I didn’t want to do any at our home. Shae wanted to do a cooking class birthday and the Salt Lake Culinary Center was nice enough to let me do a party there. Normally all their cooking classes are for children over eight. She got to create the menu, she chose to teach her friends how to make pizza and cookies. Her two favorite things!

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Shae’s birthday cake was unbelievable. The baker even made the pizza glisten like it had just come out of the oven. She made the chocolate chips look as if they were warm and ooey gooey!

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When we arrived at the culinary center they had a menu with a recipe booklet personalized to Shae’s menu and party. Everyone decorated chef hats and put them on with their aprons.

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Shae does this adorable thing when she feels special or that the attention is on her. She acts very proper and like the adult in the room. She will tell people calmly to stop when they are being too silly. She walks around with her shoulders back and her head even higher. She pays very close attention to things. And she acts like she is a grown up! It sure is adorable.

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Her friends silliness made up for hers being gone. I think that they all had a blast!

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Her friends got to take a cookie cutter, spatula, and hot pad home that Shae had picked out a few weeks earlier for them. She made sure to do her favorite colors, favorite animals (horse and bunny), and she put them together all by herself.

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We sang to Shae and sure did enjoy celebrating this sweet sweet girl.

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Untitled from Vanessa Brown on Vimeo.

Shae’s 6th Birthday from Vanessa Brown on Vimeo.

 

It was a huge hit of a birthday party!

Shae Turns 6

July 7th, 2017 in About Me

Sweet Shae turned six and still stayed sweet Shae Shae.

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shaeissixx

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She couldn’t decide between two outfits for her birthday outfits so she asked to have pictures taken in both.

For breakfast in bed she asked for Dad’s chocolate chip pancakes and a chocolate, banana & PB smoothie.

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That day she had an art class with her older sisters that she really enjoyed.

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For her afternoon activity she asked to see Boss Baby with popcorn as a family. Boss Baby made her hysterically laugh. One of Shae’s best things is her laugh. She belly laughs so loudly and doesn’t care who hears!

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Shae opened to her presents and her big sister (who also now posts birthday wishes on snapchat—because she is a full blown pre teen) helped her put together her new Lego set.

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Shae even got to celebrate her birthday at my mom’s house. My girls are always lucky to have two birthday parties each year! One with their grandma and one with me.

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That night we stayed up and cuddled and watched…cooking shows of course :)

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Happy Birthday beautiful girl!

Savannah, Georgia

July 6th, 2017 in Our Travels Worldwide

We finally made it to our final destination and the real reason we did a trip to the East Coast. Upon arrival and meeting the wedding guests we were told, “That this was not vacation mode and we were here for business.” So many memories of how crazy wedding weekends are as the groom or bride came back to me!

Georgia from Vanessa Brown on Vimeo.

We did have some time to sightsee because we got there two days before anyone else. Tyler had a lot of work piled up so the girls and I really explored downtown Savannah by ourselves. We stayed in a historic house in front of Forsyth Park. Just being able to walk outside and play in such a beautiful park was one of the best parts of Savannah. With the house was a little courtyard to eat your meals out in. The girls really enjoyed that. But did not enjoy sleeping in the same bedroom together.Screen Shot 2017-07-05 at 8.54.46 PM Screen Shot 2017-07-05 at 8.54.55 PM Screen Shot 2017-07-05 at 8.55.06 PM Screen Shot 2017-07-05 at 8.55.21 PM

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One day the girls and explored all the Girl Scout museums and any museum or sightseeing spot to do with Juliette Gordon Low. Because Juliette Gordon Low is a woman my girls need to hear a lot about. She lived life the way life should be lived! My girls aren’t year round Girl Scouts but go to weekend conferences, special talks, and then summer camps with the Girl Scout organization. In the home of Juliette the girls’ were allowed to sit on her original couch in her bedroom which was so cool!

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We did a few other sightseeing things. We did some shopping and fell in love with a new store, Spartina. Visited the Farmer’s Market, took a trolley around town, visited a lot of the “squares”, went to Paula Deen’s restaurant (I made the girls watch a few episodes of her cooking show first), went to the Riverwalk Candy store. Visited more beautiful churches–I never will get tired of those.

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I added to my mug collection while we went from place to place. Now the girls even walk into a store when we are in a new city and go straight for the mugs to show me!

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We visited another nature preserve in Savannah. This time the girls did not scream like they were going to die, EVEN THOUGH THERE WERE ALLIGATORS. So I guess bees are scarier than huge oversize biting reptiles.

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There was only one thing I booked to do in Savannah and it was a Savannah Riverboat cruise. They put us on a level with an old folks home, a hunting team, one other family who had a mother who really liked her wine, AND US. I was horribly uncomfortable the whole time because the DJ was really forcing you to get up and dance the whole time. I can’t even begin to describe how that is my nightmares come to fruition. Dancing in public is not something I did at church dances, or with friends, or when a boy asked me to a dance, or EVER. But my girls ripped up the dance floor and I am glad they don’t follow in my footsteps with this fear of mine. It was fun to walk to the different levels of the cruise ship and look over the sunset sky.

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Savannah River Boat from Vanessa Brown on Vimeo.

 

The wedding was beautiful and the reception was a hit. My brother in law really married someone who adores him and will be such a kind, loving, and supportive partner to him. It is really obvious how much she loves him. And our new sister in law has such a fun and supportive family. It really showed me what I want for my girls. I sure do hope they marry into a family that loves them so much. I hope that we get to know my brother in law and new sister in law more throughout the years.

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Savannah Wedding from Vanessa Brown on Vimeo.