Things I Loved This Christmas Season Part 1

December 31st, 2015 in About Me

I wanted to try some new outings to see if they could turn into traditions this year. I didn’t make it to one which is on my list for next year. I really want to go to This Is the Place for the Lantern Festival. It sounds like it would be gorgeous. Who wants to go with me in 2016?

In September/October I wrote out on a piece of paper everything available in Utah for the holidays and things we have done in the past. Then I went through and chose the ones we would do this year. And promised myself that I would set aside a lot of nights for things Tyler would enjoy. Which would be tons of movies nights and going to see the Temple Square lights with hot cocoa. He does not have very many requests.

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We did book a wagon to go through the Thanksgiving Point lights, but I’m over those. I think we need a break from that tradition for awhile, and maybe we won’t ever pick it back up again. When they called to say they were canceling our ride due to the weather no one was really bummed! We were sad we couldn’t see our friends that we had invited to go with us so we had them over for a movie night instead.

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We always attend the ward Christmas party. It is always beautiful and a lot of fun. This year it was an adult only ugly Christmas party. Tyler and I won something and were mortified to stand up in front of everyone. Next year we will not wear good sweaters.

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The Alpine Nativity with  my mom is a tradition I hope never stops. Even though the idea of live nativities are everywhere now and there is one really close to my house. I will always want to go to the one in Alpine with  my mom.

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Speaking of my mom we took her to Ballet West’s Nutcracker again this year. This is another tradition I don’t want to let go. Next year we will for sure start bringing Shae. I’ll have to think about Reagan.

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The Lower Lights concert is actually something Tyler gets excited for and wants to go to. This year we treated ourselves by NOT bringing the kids. The parking was so terrible we missed the first 15 minutes where of course they opened with my favorite song. I wasn’t feeling very well but made myself go and was glad I did.

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I tried something new this year and took the girls to the symphony. We attending a viewing of Home Alone where the symphony plays along with it. It was fun and beautiful. But man I’m not sure if I want to pay that much for a seat unless it is just the symphony highlighted. I think we will try again but with another event. Sweet Shae came along with the older girls to this one and sure was exhausted.

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Abby & Cameron tried something new and did a holiday cooking class at Salt Lake Culinary Institute. They each invited a friend and had a ball. I was very impressed, this was a REAL cooking class, not just something to babysit the kids. They learned how to make some complex beautiful cookies. This is something we will do more throughout the year. I can’t wait to take a class there myself!

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I think the last BIG outing we went on for the holiday season was to a CAFETERIA! It cracks me up but the only complaint (so far–I’m sure it will change) I’ve had about the girls not going to a school is missing out on the cafeteria. So I’ve been telling them for a few months that I would take them to the Lionhouse cafeteria downtown for them to experience that. They loved it. And then Reagan mooned a table nearby. And it cost 60 bloody dollars to eat there. So we probably won’t be allowed back or want to go back. Ha!

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I can’t wait to share some more about the holiday season.
And I’ll have to do a whole separate post about Reagan’s first mooning as well.

Breakfast with Santa at Grand America

December 31st, 2015 in About Me

The Santa & Mrs. Claus at Grand America are the best ones out there. It was our first year of no screaming or crying while visiting Santa. Still some shyness, but that is a-okay.

Video here

 

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We won’t ever go anywhere else to see him. And in our house more importantly HER. The girls are very into worrying about what she is doing, what she would like on Christmas Eve, and leaving her a note.

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Grand America Getaway

December 31st, 2015 in About Me

The Grand America is such a beautiful place here in Utah and a perfect little world to run away to for a mini vacation.

During the holidays it is a one stop shop for us. Christmas lights, Christmas displays, visit Santa, have some spa time, swimming, have cookies delivered to the girls in bed, live Christmas music, shopping in the toy store for sister gifts, eat a fancy holiday dinner or breakfast, and spend lots of time together.

It’s perfect, we ran away the day after Thanksgiving for a couple of days & nights.

 

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Doesn’t it look like such fun?

It was.

Thanksgiving 2015

December 28th, 2015 in About Me

For Thanksgiving we invited Tyler’s sisters family over. That night we went over to my parents house for dessert. Last year we went to a restaurant for Thanksgiving which was my second favorite Thanksgiving ever. I really loved when we were first married and did a Thanksgiving dinner for a homeless shelter. Can’t wait until the girls are old enough to start doing that again. I wanted to go out to eat again but was outvoted by Tyler Ray Brown. Who wanted a nice relaxing day at home and to cook the food. But then he was gone the day before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving helping at work and I got stuck with all the work. So he will not win that vote again.

I love decorating my dining room and my dining room table. I had this table in the old house but it was in an office used as a homeschool table. I love having it out and getting to make it look beautiful. The night before Thanksgiving I wanted to have this be our centerpiece.

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It is true even when you are struggling. If you have someone who loves you, live in a warm house, and have food to eat, you are blessed. You are far more blessed than many others in the world. If you get to have children when many others are struggling and would do anything for one, you are blessed. If all of your children are alive and well, you are beyond blessed.

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Young Women in Excellence Theme

December 28th, 2015 in Parties

I have a calling (assignment–unpaid–but oh so worth it) in my church as the Young Women President. We have 30 girls between the ages of 12-18 that we teach each Sunday and do activities with every Tuesday night. There are a few things in the summer and I have 7 hard working women that help me run this organization of the church. It is a lot of work. When I get released (hopefully not for a long long time) I will cry like a baby just like a did when I was asked to do it. I love all the girls a lot like I love my daughters and hope I’m in their lives forever. It is also a lot of work, really part time job hours. But worth it in so many ways. The main way is that I know that our Savior’s love for us is very real. He is very real and how He loves us is very real. I feel it from him for these girls every moment of every day.

Once a year we invite the parents to come along with the girls and we have a special program. We honor the girls for accomplishments they have completed and close out the year’s theme. It is an activity that is fancier—in dress and refreshments and decor.

This year we had a garden theme in our decor and words. Thankfully someone better with words spoke and I did the decor.

I’ll show you our idea because it turned out really beautifully:

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We had the girls grab a flower crown on the way in to wear.

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You can really only put tacks in the ceiling to do decorations so I had to get creative. I hung the lace fabric up with tacks and then had to sew on the letters and fern.

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All the leaders dressed in a value color and brought a treat in the value color as well.

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We had thoughts on how you can compare Jesus to a gardener who cares for us. Also some words on how personal progress instills in us good habits that we will have for a lifetime.

It was a wonderful night! I just wish it had been on a different night, so many of our girls couldn’t come. It is a busy time of year for everyone! Maybe next year we will try for October to do this.

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2015 Halloween

December 28th, 2015 in About Me

I had this marvelous idea for Halloween costumes. Abby & Cameron could dress up as mad scientists. Shae & Reagan would be their little monster creations. It was going to be amazing. Then they all revolted and told me they were going to pick. Abby was Katniss from Hunger Games, Cameron the Statue of Liberty, Shae a Moon Fairy (no I have no idea what that is), and Reagan a Pink Fairy.

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We also added a new addition to our house. Tyler and his three dogs in skeleton form. We put green spooky lights on it on Halloween night. We even brought it with us to the ward Trunk or Treat so it could pass out the candy.

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On Halloween night my brother helped me take the girls trick or treating in his SUPERMAN suit, which they all loved. Everyone got so much candy it was disgusting.

For Halloween breakfast we had some special food & for Halloween dinner. I’m glad I have all girls–these things really excite them and make them happy.

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The only thing we all need to work on together as a society to make Halloween better for my family is…

QUIT STARTING TRICK OR TREATING IN THE 5 O’CLOCK HOUR!
6 o’clock hour is pushing it, after 7 is fine. But who goes around that early?! Tsk tsk, lets all knock that off.

Things I Loved This Past Fall 3

December 26th, 2015 in About Me

I’m trying to balance my two bookends without ignoring my two middle kids. My two middle kids really right now need more attention and are having some behavior problems. But my oldest is turning into a tween and my youngest is navigating through toddlers terrors part 12. Loved these snapshots of one all the sudden growing up and the other one still being little.

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Yes, am I right? Abby needs to quit growing up.

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The girls did a lot of fun sewing lessons with my mom this fall.

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Did quite a few trips to the library, Cameron can go through such a stack during the week!

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It really is fun to watch them grow and interact more as sisters. Sometimes it is beautiful, sometimes I want to die.

 

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My sister & her boys came for a quick visit. We went to Logan to visit the pumpkin walk & jump in the leaves. On the last day we switched kids and I had a fun day with just my nephews.

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That also meant we did SIBLING NIGHT!!! Which involved smashing barbies in high heels. Long story people….long story.

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I helped my sweet neighbor friend throw a dinner party in her backyard. Made the lasagna & bread and she hosted it in her backyard. Just to get to know some new couples in the neighborhood.

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Spent tons of money on dance clothes.

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We try all the time to be involved with local cousins and our neighbors. It is hard because with the life I have chosen and most of the time love…it doesn’t really run parallel to other’s lives. I home school, I work, I have a very time consuming church job. I am very picky and put a lot of effort into the classes my girls go to, it is a bit intense. So they don’t match up with what a lot of moms (smartly!) do with local close by classes. I don’t mind driving and love field trips to the mountains, far away museums, and university classes. Most moms don’t home school so there is no way they can pull that off. I always have to be available to answer the phone for approving expenses, adding in/removing employees from the system, doing payroll, book keeping. It is not a better or worse life than anyone around me. It is just different. I love it, it is hard, and it is right for us. I do have a lot of guilt though because I don’t feel like we are close enough to or have time for sweet neighbor kids or family close by. So when we have time we really are always reaching out to people. With grabbing kids to take them to stuff with us. Or hosting things like huge movies nights at our house. We do try!

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I think the last thing I want to highlight is Shae’s very special weekend. She had her classroom Fredy the Frog to take on adventures and take pictures of. I don’t know how many pictures we took but she was in heaven. HEAVEN. We took him to the dinosaur museum and also to one of the fall festivals. Shae adored showing the pictures to her class and felt so special with all the extra attention.

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THAT WAS OUR FALL!

Things I Loved This Past Fall Part 2

December 26th, 2015 in About Me

This fall is was fun to see all the girls start their new activities. Everyone in our house started a new class they never have done before. Shae started a “real” preschool for the first time. Reagan had a big year and started preschool, jazz, tap, ballet, and tumbling all this year. Cameron began harder dance classes and really misses being a younger dancer! Abby this year got the opportunity to become an assistant teacher in two preschool classes. One of them has Shae & Reagan in them. Abby also started ballroom dancing this year.

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Cameron this year attended the LDS Women’s Conference for the first time this year so I got us tickets to attend it in person.

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She also started fasting on Sundays which has been a mixed experience for her. Mixed meaning, it is hard for her and gives her some added anxiety. But great because three months in a row the things she has prayed & fasted for she has received. They have all been gospel questions. After her first Sunday of fasting I wanted to take a picture of her and Abby to document how proud of her I was. She at that moment just lost it, fasting was so hard for her that day!

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We have been trying to work on planning things that Tyler can come to and that he will enjoy. Most of the time it is just movies nights. Which is what he loves! Tyler works so very hard and that is really all he has energy for. Although one day he really wanted to take the girls to a fish farm up north. The best way to go fishing, if you have never do that, go do it!

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The girls and I went on a few field trips. To explore a religious part in SLC, attend the Snow White play at the Children’s theatre, and found a new shop that carries a new candy we are addicted to.

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The Peanuts movie we were just a WEEEEEE bit excited to go and see.

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Abby & Cameron started at a new piano studio and are progressing so well.

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And I have girls that love to help me cook Sunday dinners, maybe in five more years they can handle cooking dinner on their own?

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Things I Loved This Past Fall Part 1

December 26th, 2015 in About Me

Tyler’s birthday is also in October and after last year’s flop I wanted to pick something perfect to do. Last year I booked hot air ballooning which I guess Tyler is terrified of but then it got canceled last minute anyways. Then I locked us out of the house and Tyler had to climb up the house, on the roof, and into the house.

So this year I booked some razors for us to ride in Heber. The colors of Fall in the mountains are so different deeper in the mountains. It was beautiful and Tyler had a lot of fun getting us soaking wet. Oh man one time we flipped and that sure hurt. Seatbelts really do work!

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Untitled from Vanessa Brown on Vimeo.

Untitled from Vanessa Brown on Vimeo.

The girls and I had a few trips to the mountains to see the fall leaves as well.

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The girls and I went to a few Fall Festivals, I think I need to get it down to just one I love. We tried out the festival at Wheeler Farm and I won’t do that one again. Cornbellys I loathe but the girls adore. Red Barn is almost 90 minutes away but it really is our absolute favorite. If you have any others you love let me know.

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The witches at Gardner Village we always take the time to see as well, but when are they going to get some good food down there?

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Annual Pictures

December 26th, 2015 in About Me

We did our annual pictures with Kim Orlandini. This woman is a magic maker. She can photograph my girls and the pictures show how much I love them.

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This year she took us to the prettiest spot, Garden Ward in Sugarhouse. The girls got their hair done right before and wore their Easter dresses.

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