Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Kids, inconvenient as they are, are a blessing.  They teach us to love in ways we never knew we could.  I am beginning to understand why our "annoying" parents treat us like little kids, even after we've grown up.  Because our kids will always be our kids, and we want so much to help them and do things for them so that they will never get hurt.  As parents, we desire most to protect our children, and it is so hard when the best thing for them is for us to step back and let them grow up, let them face their problems with the tools they were given, and allow them the chance to achieve their potential.

I suppose with the new baby and all I'm extra emotional, but I need to write these feelings down so I can remember why we brought them into the world when I'm tempted to take them out of it ;-)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What We've Been Up To

Here's a picture update of the haps from the last few months...

In August we went on a little family trip down to Moab with two pregnant ladies: myself and my  sister-in-law Paula.  We hiked, and we were awesome.  The pictures of us, however, were not.  But Evie had a blast and climbed all the way up to this ridiculously high spot navigated by Kristen, John, and Grandpa.  I, the mother, was nervous the entire time she took this adventure.

 In October, my cousin Stacia's little girl had her first birthday party, which we were honored to attend.

Evie had fun learning to eat a push-pop.  That brought back memories :-)

Also in October, Paula had her baby girl, April.  Evie was very excited to meet a real, live baby.

With me being preggers this fall, we didn't make it out too much, but Evie did get to play outside a little bit.  She rode her tricycle around the back patio...

...and scavenged for bugs.

Evie also found some resilient weeds and helped me removed them.

She is such a good helper.

Yes, we did have a Thanksgiving, but who takes pictures of that?  Not me, obviously.  I was good and got lots of pictures of Christmas, though :-)

I love those Crayola markers that only color on these specific pages.  As a renter, I am much more comfortable letting 3 year old Evie use these kinds of markers.  Brandon helped her figure out how they worked.

After Christmas, we were still busy preparing for the arrival of baby Charlee Brynn, who made her appearance January 5th.

I'm not gonna lie; she looks way cuter after losing the cone-head and getting cleaned up :-)

Last weekend my awesome cousin, Larissa from Visual Legacies, came up to Utah for some photo sessions, and took this of my family with us and our girls.  We are so good lookin' ;-)

And that's pretty much it for the exciting-ish things we've done.  (Other activities not pictured are Brandon at work and me attempting to handle two kids instead of one.)

Monday, March 5, 2012


Yes, I realize I haven't updated our blog in 4+ months, and I'll relive all the juicy happenings in that time some other time.  But today I've wanted to write down things about our life as it is now, so that I can remember it when Brandon and I are empty nesters, and remind myself that we are accomplishing great things. 

Today is significant because it marks Charlee's 2 month "birthday."  I tried semi-hard to get a picture of her smiling; she's been doing that more and more as of late, and it is just the cutest thing.  Anywho, here is my list of significant and not-so-significant details to remember 20 or so years from now:
  • Charlee, as I mentioned previously, is beginning to smile on a more consistent basis.  I used to get nervous when I would see her smile, because it was only an involuntary spasm/twitch that meant unpleasantness was on its way. But now she's beginning to smile more in congruence with happy feelings.
  • In addition to goofy and adorable smiles, Charlee is becoming more vocal, which is also cute and endearing. Bring on the cooing and rewarding interactions that have been few and far between up till now.
  • In mobility news: Charlee is getting dangerously close to rolling over. When I say "dangerously," I mean I can no longer leave her on the couch while I throw away a dirty diaper and still be a responsible parent. C'est la vie.
  • Charlee is a fist chomper.  She is also pretty good with a binky.  While the fist chomping is cute (she can go to town on it), I've been trying to substitute the binky for the fist.  I think when it comes down to weaning her off of the habit, I'd rather be able to throw away a binky instead of cutting off her hands.  Just a personal preference.
  • Evie is growing up so fast.  It's funny how you really don't notice that change has occurred until you look back at where you started and can see how far you've come.  Evie has turned into such a sweet little girl.  As I'm writing this I'm recalling all her not-so-sweet moments, but overall, she is a well-behaved, endearing little girl.
  • Evie is a Disney junkie.  She loves everything related to Disney princesses, and right now her favorite movie is Sleeping Beauty.  She loves her little princess dolls, and sleeps with them every night.  She is never without them, they are simply an extension of her being.
  • At this point, about half of Evie's intelligible speech is movie quotes, which is good and bad.  Bad because she does, in fact, watch way too much TV, and good because it is helping her speech improve, along with the reading and singing we do together.
  • Evie is a great big sister.  Almost from the moment she met Charlee, she has been nothing but caring to and protective of baby Charlee.  When we would take Charlee in for her bilirubin tests, Evie would make it harder for everyone by trying to prevent the nurses from taking Charlee's blood.  It was her baby Charlee.  So cute :-)
  • One of my favorite things about Evie right now is our bathroom routine.  She goes in by herself, pulls her pants down, hoists herself up onto the toilet, does her business, and yells, "I done!"  I respond by going in, having her lean forward, and wiping her off.  When she leans forward, every time, without fail, she wraps her arms around one or both of my legs and says, "Love you too, Mom."  What a sweetheart.
  • This isn't really new, but Evie still knows, as she has for years now, that she has the gift of persuasion, which is in some part why I'm not a very good mother.  She knows if she gives you "the smile" with words and phrases dripping in honey and everything sweet, that she can get what she wants.  She's so smart.

These are just a few of the things that I've asterisked in my brain to try to remember about our little girls.  They both are growing up so fast that I have to remind myself to find these little details and cherish the special moments that I have with them.

I will at some point do a "catch-up" post that will maybe include pictures.  Anyone who knows me at all knows that I suck at documenting things, especially when it comes to picture-taking.  I apologize now to my children and future progeny for my lack in this department.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I have a confession. 

Evie is my daughter.

And it's not just that she's my daughter, it's like she's a mini me.

Now here's the connect to the title:  Evie is like a teenage me.  She is totally cool hanging out and doing her own thing by herself.  She is her own independent person.  She is a miniature, introverted, empowered me.

I discovered this today, when I realized that since I became a full time mom, my daughter is not constantly requiring my attention.  Ergo, we do our own thing for most of the day.

I have become a lackadaisical mother.  How depressing is that!?  My degree is in Behavioral Science (Family Studies), translation: I should be the bomb at raising children.  Not that I expected to suddenly be awesome and proactive; I just expected to be more motivated to make play dates, spend an hour reading to her every day, and teaching her letters and how to be super smart.

Reality: We spend most of the day with the tv on while we multi-task pursuing our individual interests.  Occasionally we meet in the middle and play some.  Then there's naptime.  That's the one thing I'm proud of.  We read a couple stories and sing songs as part of the naptime routine.  But other than that we kind of just co-exist.  We're roommates.  What the heck kind of mother am I?


Wednesday, October 5, 2011


 For the last couple months or so, we've been working extra hard to hold Family Home Evening.  At first we tried singing primary songs so that Evie would become familiar with them, then we'd have a story/lesson for the older members of the family, then we'd top it off with dessert or an activity. Evie had a hard time with structured family time lasting that long (15 minutes).  So we decided to focus them more on her, showing her pictures of Jesus and Heavenly Father, the goal being to get her to identify them on her own.  That particular FHE ended with Evie screaming bloody murder and being put to bed at 7:30, which benefited no one.

So the last two weeks have simply consisted of an activity (walk, getting ice cream) and singing primary songs.  Those worked out much better.  Anywho, the point of this story is that it's working!  In addition to this introduction to primary songs, I've been singing them to Evie when I put her to bed.  Last night, she tried singing "I Am a Child of God" with me.  So cute!  She's pretty good at singing "Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam," "Popcorn Popping," and "Once There Was a Snowman," but it's nice to know she's learning the more spiritual ones.  Yay :-)  She can also identify who is in the pictures of Jesus in her room.

In other news, we are continuing the battle of solid foods vs juice fast. 

If Evie had her way, she would survive on juice, and never eat anything but hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and popcorn.  While most of her meals still end up being hot dogs or chicken nuggets, I am still fighting the battle to introduce new foods to the inside of her mouth.  The greatest success I've had so far is with-holding juice in order for her to take a bite, and the success hasn't been that great :-I 

 Why can't she just love food the way I do?

Lastly, I figured out a way to get pictures from my phone to the computer.  So here is the string of protruding belly shots I've taken of Baby #2.  She is definitely growing.  Mommy can feel it.

 15 Weeks

 16 Weeks

17 Weeks

 19 Weeks

 20 Weeks

 21 Weeks

25 Weeks

I feel I need to apologize for my hair in this last picture.  I'm working on growing my hair out, and doing that while I'm pregnant seems to be a good idea.  So, in an attempt to make it healthier, I've been trying not to destroy it so much, the way I usually do when I tease it and such.

Monday, October 3, 2011

My name is Brooke...and I'm a Mormon.

This last weekend was our church's semi-annual general conference.  I love conference, for lots of reasons.  I get to stay home and watch it with Brandon.  Sunday usually means we get together and watch those sessions with family.  But even if you take away the cozy, family aspect, you are still left with a phenomenal feast of spirituality.  No matter the questions or attitude I come into conference with, I am always left with an overwhelming feeling of love from my Heavenly Father.

During this conference, I had the impression to share my testimony.  I don't normally stand up during fast and testimony meeting to do this, but I felt that perhaps it would be better shared this way, even though most of you reading this are also members and have your own testimonies.  I appreciate the example you set for me, even through what you post on your own blogs--I look up to each of you :-)

For as long as I can remember, I've had a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, of the Book of Mormon, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's church on the earth today.  At first this was a product of the instruction I received from my parents, extended family members, and teachers within the church.  But since my younger, more naive days, I have come to reinforce that testimony with knowledge gained myself.  I have read the Book of Mormon, prayed about it, and have felt the warmth and reassurance from Heavenly Father that it's teachings are true.  I have heard the arguments and been shown the literature of others who would dissuade me from my faith and my beliefs.  To those of you I say, I may not have the counter-arguments and responses to win a debate, but I have a relationship with my Heavenly Father that I can't deny.  I have felt his love, I have received answers to my prayers, and there are many instances in my life where I have gone against the "logical" and followed his promptings to find greater blessings than I could have planned for myself. 

I love the Church.  I love the gospel and doctrines taught within it, especially the doctrine of eternal families.  I am grateful for my temple marriage; that I am sealed to my husband and my children for time and all eternity.  They mean the world to me, and all the titles and worldly pomp I could gather for myself would be little consolation to me if I lost them after death. 

I testify that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God.  He is the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I sustain him with all my heart.  He truly is a witness of Jesus Christ, not only through his words, but through his actions and demeanor as well.  Everything that I've observed of him speaks of love, kindness, and all other Christ-like attributes.

If any of you reading this are feeling lost, looking for answers, or simply have questions about the Church, I invite you to click on the "What We Believe" button on the side of my blog.  That will direct you to the mormon.org website and to some answers you may be looking for.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Happiness Today, and Tomorrow...and Probably Sunday.

I LOVE Fridays.

And I'll tell you why.

Brandon pretty much always has weekends off, so Friday marks the beginning of two days of uninterrupted "Brandon Time."  :-D  
Fridays also remind me that I have a life outside of being a wife and mother, namely, I get to see friends who are still in school, or who work.  Yay!
Overall, there is just something in the air on Fridays, be it sunny, cloudy, rainy, or what not, that screams "FREEDOM!"  Even though I'm not in school anymore, weekends are still a godsend, and Friday is another reason to give thanks.
And for this particular Friday, I think I'll be a little bit lazy.  Instead of scrubbing down and sterilizing the bathrooms, which is the usual plan for Fridays, I think I'll just clean the toilets and call it good.  Also, I am attempting to use my bread machine again...so far so good.  I've checked on it, and I have rising dough at this point.  In addition to home-made bread and minimal cleaning, I will be giving Evie a bath, which means a not stinky Evie (always a plus) and I get to do her hair some intricate way that will allow me to leave it alone the next few days :-)  So much fun!  As if that wasn't enough...I will maybe pamper myself a little.  Finish the manicure I started last night, or something else fun.  
And I get to see my friend Ashley tonight!  (Bonus!)

Saturdays are also great.  We usually stay in bed till 10, sometimes I make a big-ish breakfast.  Sometimes we go out and walk around the mall, or other stores, which is a high-light for Evie.  And this particular weekend means we get to see Brandon's family.  I enjoy this, because it means good company, and Evie gets to play with her cousin Alex (she only has the one).  
I love spending time with family :-)

Sunday will also be great, because this Sunday is Stake Conference, and Brandon's parents are in our stake.  So, we will get to see them at church, and instead of being 3 hours, church will only be 2 hours.  I feel that life is good right now.  
After church, we will come home, maybe Evie will take a nap, and around 2-3 that afternoon, we will walk to Brandon's parents' house (we live that close) and we will be treated to a phenomenal meal cooked by Brandon's dad, like we are every other week we come to visit :-).  I feel good about this.  

And then sadness will set in around 8, when the realization hits that the weekend is over, and Brandon has to wake up at 5 the next morning to go to work, and our week will start all over again.

But until then, I will be happy that I have the weekend to spend with good friends and wonderful family.