Friday, December 30, 2011

29 December 2011





When Mr. Brown was discussing the other day what he might plant in a garden in the backyard, Nut Brown spontaneously produced this drawing of what he plans to grow in the garden.  I recognize at least peas and a carrot, a green bean and an apple plus apple tree.  I think the yellow is corn.

Nut Brown had a fling with long hair this month.  When it was time for a haircut he told me he wanted to grow his hair out long enough for a ponytail (like his sister).  So I let him grow it out for awhile and after just a couple weeks he decided he wanted it short again.

Nut Brown's eyelashes are so long that sometimes they get caught and turned under into his eye and he starts screaming and crying for Daddy to help straighten them out again.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

25 December 2011





Happy Christmas!  Santa stopped by our house Christmas Eve night and left a trail of nuts from the kids' room window through the house to the stockings.  The kids have decided this happens because Rudolph is helping Santa and accidentally spills as he carries the bag of nuts or peanuts or popcorn through the house.



This year we bought the kids a Wii for Christmas and some games to play as a family.  So we've been playing sports and dancing and unraveling monsters made of yarn.  Very fun.  Thank you all for the gifts you shared at Christmas.  We all enjoyed them very much and have had lots of fun with them.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

8 December 2011

Nut Brown trailed off to bed tonight saying lonesomely, "I can't fall asleep if we don't have dessert..."

Friday, December 2, 2011

2 December 2011

Nut Brown, last night: What town was Jesus born in?  Abraham?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

30 Nov 2011

On Monday, Mr. Brown and the kids wandered up the street on their bikes and found someone at work renovating an old house.  He was taking down the chimney.  So Mr. Brown and the little people volunteered to assist and spent all afternoon pulling down bricks and trundling them off for disposal.  They found a desiccated squirrel carcass, and came home covered in soot.  Rose Pink said that she got a warm feeling from assisting our neighbor, and they all enjoyed it very much.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

signs of the season

Nut Brown drew up a letter as well- he asked for a tomato.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

27 November 2011

Busy month this month.  We bought a house and moved in and unpacked and tried to figure out how to live in this new space that's going to be home for years to come.  Mr. Brown has been busy with home improvement projects and has been so far successful and has learned a lot.  He loves our new house.



Also we're expecting a baby next May so there have been the beginning of doctor's visits and hormonal mood swings.  Everyone but me thinks it's a girl.  I think it's probably a girl too, but I was hoping for a boy.  We're taking suggestions for names because so far nothing has sounded right to me.  Today I suggested 'Zephyr' to Mr. Brown.  He said, is that a boy or a girl name? and I said, it could be either! 



For Thanksgiving my brother came up from Chicago and we had a good time with him: riding bikes, going to parks, raking the lawn at 'the cabin' (what Nut Brown calls the rental we just moved out of), and of course cooking (although my brother mostly contributed by washing dishes, which was greatly appreciated).  A few other notes:



I say to Nut Brown today, You're getting so big!  When did you get so big? and he says, I'm almost an adult!



Tonight at our first Advent celebration for this year, Rose Pink sang her version of 'The Friendly Beasts' to our guests.  It's to the tune of 'The Streets of Laredo'.  She's a superstar.



Nut Brown, at Family Home Evening a couple weeks ago, struggled to bear his testimony as Mr. Brown was talking about the plan of salvation and the role of our Savior.  We waited as he stumbled with his words and finally just said, 'I know... I know... I know that God is TRUE.'  It was beautifully sincere statement from our dear little boy who was obviously feeling the Spirit and trying to verbalize.



Our kids both did an excellent job in the Primary Program at church this month.  Rose Pink was asked to 'share her testimony of the prophet', and she and I came up with, "I know who President Monson is.  He speaks at General Conference.  I recognize him by his hair."  She was dismayed when people laughed during rehearsals, but when we discussed some other things she could say, and the importance of sharing honest feelings, she went ahead with the original line.



Nut Brown was asked to 'share a time when your prayers were answered'.  That's a bit much for a four-year-old, so instead he got to tell a story that had just happened on our trip to the beach, about how he had gotten lost and his mom had said a prayer asking for help to find him, and was given that help.  It was a long story with six or seven sentences (I made up a little card for him with picture cues) but he did the whole thing perfectly.



We're going to see my brother in Chicago graduate in two weeks and looking forward to that.  I really appreciate at my new job that my supervisors are more flexible with time off. :) 

Monday, November 7, 2011

7 November 2011

Image: Rose Pink's rendering of one of the houses they visited while trick-or-treating.  She's the pink person on the left of the door and Nut Brown to the right.  This was drawn for Gia (and posted to her) and she drew some for her other grandparents but I was unable to mail them because we have packed the envelopes already in preparation for moving this Saturday!
 
Last night Rose Pink was deconstructing a dresser on the back porch while Mr. Brown and I raked the back lawn.  Mr. Brown noticed that the thin wood of the defunct dresser drawers was perfect for karate chops, and he taught Nut Brown how to break a board, which he did successfully (!).  He demonstrated board breaking with his fist, on his head, knee and belly (!).  Totally amazing.  And I broke one too. Mr. Brown said, "You didn't think it would actually break, did you?" and I admitted that I didn't.  But it did!  Nut Brown was especially pleased with himself: he's been in a 'little ninjas' karate class through the rec center for the past couple of weeks, and was very happy to discover that he has ninja skills.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

6 November 2011

Nut Brown has been throwing up all day.  He hasn't been able to keep anything down, except maybe occasional sips of water.  Mr. Brown went to the store to get Powerade for him, and also came home with a two liter of orange soda that he told Nut Brown was his entirely.  Nut Brown immediately had two glasses (which he threw up fifteen minutes later) and turned to me and said, This is the best day of my life.

His grandma sent him a letter recently in which she referenced the incident recorded on this blog with the friendly construction equipment operator who let him drive the steam shovel briefly.  After having the letter read to him, Nut Brown turned to me with round eyes and said, 'Did that really happen?'  I assured him that it was an actual occurrence, and he said, 'Wow!'

Friday, November 4, 2011

5 November 2011

We've been listening to a Halloween soundtrack and the kids love 'Monster Mash', 'The Flying Purple People Eater', and the Ghostbusters theme, as well as the other songs.  I found out that Nut Brown thought that when they shout 'Ghostbusters!' in the song that they're actually saying 'Ghost Butlers!' which is cool in a different kind of way.  When Rose Pink and I were trying to decipher what Nut Brown was saying, she came up with 'Ghost Butt Nerds!', which is also very funny.  She's very anxious to watch the movie.  We told her she has to wait til she's at least eight.

4 November 2011

Nut Brown has been really interested in letters lately.  We've been slowly practicing their names and the sounds they make and lately he's been sounding out words all by himself without prompting.  He also thinks that a 'homework' assignment to copy letters is the best thing ever- he's much more interested in coloring, drawing, and fine motor control than his sister, and loves to sit down with a pen and Dr. Seuss's ABC to write the alphabet. 
 
Here is a drawing he produced recently of a pickle on which he has written 'PICKLE', although it is backwards and the letters are also backwards. 
 
Nut Brown keeps referring to the letter 'S' as 'see', because it makes the sound 'sssss', which 'see' starts with.  He also calls 'C'... 'see'.  I'm sure he'll figure it out eventually: more importantly, he knows what sound they make when you're reading.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

La Plage 22-29 Oct

We spent last week in Clearwater Beach, FL, doing nothing much.  We sat on the beach and built sandcastles, we walked along the beach and picked up shells, we laid around the vacation cottage and watched tv, and we swam in the pool.  Pretty much that sums it up.  It was wonderfully luxuriously lazy, and we had time to spend with each other for seven whole days.
 
My sister and her husband and most of their kids drove down from Tallahassee and spent the first part of the week with us.  It was so lovely to see them and hold her new baby and stay up late talking and watch our kids play together.
 
Some of the most amazing and special things that happened:
*we saw a dead baby octopus wash up on the beach, a whole specimen
 
*we built drip castles that spelled out our initials
 
*we found live conchs and hermit crabs in quasi-tide pools
 
*we watched the sun come up in the morning, cuddled up on a bench under a blanket on the bay side of the Clearwater island/sandbar
 
*we put the sun to bed every night on the beach
 
*Rose Pink actually caught a gecko, which bit her so that she screamed and dropped it.
 
*Nut Brown showed us how to play 'duck', which involved throwing a ball, running after it, and then diving on to it in the sand
 
*we hung out with a fisherman on the pier who let the kids handle and throw back the fish he caught
 
*we saw dolphins porpoising
 
*we went to a Halloween party at the library.  We actually got temporary library cards and checked out some books and movies.
 
*we (Rose Pink & Nut Brown) threw large quantities of clear blobs of jelly back into the ocean
 
*we saw jellyfish swimming
 
*we lost Nut Brown and then we found him again
 
We came home asking ourselves how soon we could do this again.  Our family is closer and happier for the time spent away together.
 
PS. We wore our Charlie Brown shirts when we were traveling and to the Halloween party.  We got lots of comments on how cute we were.  Thank you, Joellen!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

20 Oct 2011

Nut Brown has turned into a super coloring drawing machine lately! His small motor control is very, very good for a four-year-old, and he's extremely interested in putting color on paper. The other night we were talking about rings, and he danced off to draw several pictures with crayons of rings with different arrangements of gems. Here are some done in his best style.

Lion by an orange tree

Whales above the sea

Rocket man (or alien)


Turtle  

Batman with embellishments

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

biking

Finally, photos of us on our bikes!

Here we are on our way to Rose Pink's Saturday morning musical theater class!  Rose Pink looks nervous because she hasn't really been enjoying the class as much as she thought she might, but we have a nice 10 minute ride up to the community center by our house every Saturday morning, and Nut Brown and I play games during her 45 minute class.

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On another day I made everyone stop as we were going out for a family ride.

Nut Brown on his bike (Rose Pink's old one)

Rose Pink riding Skull - she has developed really good bike manners: she watches for cars at intersections, rides by the side of the road, and so on.  I'm so proud of her.



The boys going tandem.  This is called the 'hitchhiker biker' by the kids, and we use when we're going longer distances to help Nut Brown keep up with the rest of us.  He will ride it with 'no feet!' and occasionally with no hands, which gave me a heart attack the first time I saw him do it.

All ready!  Come on, Mom!

Where were we going?
Jim's, for ice cream cones.  Yum.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Something tells me...

Nut Brown uses the phrase Something tells me... in places where others might use 'I think...'

Something tells me I need a chair (to reach the jam in the freezer)

Something tells me I need to wash my hands.

Something tells me you forgot to give me a treat.

But he has a little lisp so when he says 'something' it sounds like, 'some-sing'.

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Another favorite phrase lately is 'Move your feet, lose your seat!' which he uses every time I make him get off my lap so I can get up for something.

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We dug out a CD player independent of the computer, and here he is listening to his favorite album: Dinosaur Rock.






Sunday, October 16, 2011

19 Oct 2011

Two days after Rose Pink lost her first tooth, she lost her second, right next to it.  So now she has a double-wide gap in the bottom that she likes to stick things in, like straws and licorice and cheese sticks.  She pulled this one out herself.  Unfortunately, she swallowed the first one, and then this one got misplaced somehow (so sad!).  We have no tooth fairy at our house so the disappointment has been purely scientific - nothing to study and analyze.

16 October: dry run Halloween

We had a dry run for Halloween on Saturday night.  The zoo had a Halloween fest called the 'Zoo Boo' and we bought tickets and went.  I finished up the kids' costumes that afternoon.  Rose Pink had planned to be Catwoman but I couldn't figure out a good way to make her a Catwoman that everyone wouldn't automatically think was just a cat, so I talked her into being a 'pink Batwoman' instead.  Nut Brown is Green Lantern: felt hot-glued on black clothes, and a mask and ring Mr. Brown bought them months ago to play with.  Rose Pink had a pink Batman shirt (which is where the idea came from) and I made her cape, fuzzy fur belt, and glued more fur on her black boots.  She loved it, and I was very pleased with how well it worked out.  I'm making a matching Green Lantern costume for Mr. Brown to trick or treat in with the kids.  Jessica- I owe you big for showing me that Halloween costumes don't have to be super complicated to be fun.

The Zoo Boo was totally fun.  They had it set up very well, where the walk outside looking at jack o'lanterns and animal sculptures made out of painted pumpkins and rebar (awesome!) and collecting candy at treat stations (sponsored by a local grocery chain, oh yes) was punctuated with periodic inside activities (the haunted reptile house! temporary outside shelter for crafts!)  We all had a really great time and we may go back next year.

the paper

Rose Pink loves to read the Sunday comics, which arrive on Friday in our paper.  (? yes, really)  She takes 'her section' of the paper off and reads it thoroughly and then will ask us for help with the Mini Page on the back.  I remember my grandmother saving the Mini Page for us when we would visit.  Funny that it's still around and that kids still like it.

20 June 2011

Our fascination with 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' continues. Rose Pink produced these drawings of Appa and Toph. I put in images from the animated series for comparison.
Appa:
Toph:
Also lately the kids and Mr. Brown have been watching "Batman: The Brave & The Bold", which is a really interesting series of adventures starring the Dark Knight. Lots of superheroness happening at our house lately.

Friday, October 7, 2011

after dinner

Tonight we had pork and potatoes and roasted green beans for dinner.  After dinner, Nut Brown and Rose Pink and I went for a bike ride around the neighborhood.  They took turns deciding which way to turn at each corner.  Nut Brown is allowed to ride his bike (Rose Pink's old bike) in the street if he 'follows the rules', which means, rides by the curb and watches for cars.  He was so pleased to be out and about on his bike that he sang and talked the whole time.  He coasts by sticking his legs straight out to the side, which is really cute.  At one point he'd fallen really far behind, and when I turned back to see what was holding him up, he had stopped to get off his bike and retrieve a catalog in the street and was riding very slowly one-handed while clutching the catalog to his chest.  'Can I carry that for you, little guy?' I asked him.  'Yes,' he said.  'It's for Rose Pink.'  Rose Pink rode circles around Nut Brown and I and paused to gather a handful of leaves to throw at me.  She is so good with her bike, good at starting and stopping and watching for cars.  It was such a nice evening, it was a real pleasure to be out together.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

1 October 2011

Tonight we had frozen pizza for dinner. I had told Rose Pink at the store that we'd put olives on her cheese pizza but I forgot to buy some. She was disappointed but recovered by slicing some pickles and adding them post-baking.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A yellow ribbon

So tonight Rose Pink picked out of the songbook, "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon", which is an old song about a girl who wears a yellow ribbon 'for her lover who was far, far away'.  I think this is where the tradition of yellow ribbons for soldiers came from back in the nineties.  Anyway, Rose Pink is listening and first asks me why she's wearing a yellow ribbon, and then as we get further on in the song she exclaims, "Oh!  She's wearing it for her boyfriend?  She must think she's a tree!"

28 September 2011

I started wearing my glow-in-the-dark vest when I ride in this week, because it's dark in the mornings now. Nut Brown got out of bed the other morning when I was just getting out of the shower. He was all bleary-eyed coming into the bathroom so I turned the lights off for him, thinking if I kept it dark he'd go back to bed (it was 6:30 am). He used the toilet and then said to me, You shouldn't be up in the middle of the night, Mom. And then went back to bed!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

missing

From Mr. Brown: How on earth can my little girl be old enough to lose baby teeth. I can still clearly remember losing my own teeth and so this connects us in a way her earlier milestones do not. My mind boggles at the idea that it has been nearly seven years since she was born and changed my life so completely.

Friday, September 16, 2011

16 Sep 2011

I'm on the phone with Mr. Brown and in the background I can hear Rose Pink and Nut Brown reading our nursery rhyme book together. They're clapping hands to 'Patty Cake' and singing 'Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear", and I can hear Rose Pink reading 'Wheels on the Track' to him. My heart is all tender.

Last night, I watched three boys for another mum from church, and watched Rose Pink lead a game where one of them pretended to be food the others were creating (hot dog, pizza, pie) and then the 'food' got up and ran off while the others chased it. They took turns... this comes from two books we've read: Pete's A Pizza by William Steig and The Runaway Dinner by Allen Ahlberg. They were having an excellent time together.

Then they all went downstairs and Nut Brown wanted to play the game just with me ('but don't tickle me, Mommy!') and then read the nursery rhyme book with me, snuggled in my lap in our pink reading chair. So sweet to be with him.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

steam shovel

The other day my family came and stole me away from work for lunch and there was a piece of large yellow equipment in operation behind the restaurant, so being that we have a small boy we of course stopped to observe. The operator offered to let the kids ride with him in the large yellow equipment and pull levers and push buttons. I couldn't believe our luck. Nut Brown just about died from happiness.

Alas, we did not have a camera. Happily, when we returned the next week, the large yellow equipment was still there, although not operating.

Also, I asked the kids to draw pictures of their experience.

Nut Brown: Rose Pink: please note that she carefully detailed her shiny new shoes.

happy sunday

gia's visit

Gia came to visit in early September and
we went to the zoo (Nut Brown is a prairie dog)
read books together visited a new metro park by Lake St. Clair enjoyed dinner at an Indian restaurant shopped at an Indian grocery store Thank you for coming to see us, Gia!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

summer

It seems like each summer has a theme... the summer that Nut Brown was born, the theme was Popsicles on the front porch, and the summer after that it was ice cream in little ramekins on the front porch. Last summer the theme was going places: the zoo, Greenfield Village... This summer the theme has been riding bikes. We have ridden them so many places together. I love it.

6 September 2011

I started a new job this week. It's the first time in three years that I've had a new job and that feels like a long time. My first week went really well, and I'm confident of my ability to succeed in this new job. So that's all happy. It also promises to have less overtime in September, so I'm looking forward to a more relaxed month than I would have had at my old job.

This weekend we went to two different festivals. Arts, Beats & Eats is in downtown Royal Oak, and we'd heard so much about it we figured we'd go since we could ride our bikes down. Saturday it was really, really hot (mid-nineties) but we went anyway. Looking at all the art for sale was really interesting. The kids were kind of half-heartedly interested until we bought them ice cream.

Monday we drove up to the Peach Festival in Romeo. There were two parades (which is why I picked Monday to attend) but a cold front had come through Saturday night and we weren't prepared for how cold it was (low sixties) and so we went home, put on more jackets, and went back to Arts Beats & Eats. The parade we saw in Romeo was extremely cute: the theme was candy, so we saw a Girl Scout troop dressed as M&Ms, a dance school dressed as Gummi Bears, lots of hershey's kiss costumes, and a group of people dressed as Peeps. Also, Po and Master Shifu on a float associated with a local martial arts school. It was a really great parade. The kids were totally into it but it was too cold to stay for the second parade. Next time, we'll bring more coats and stuff.

We got to see Big Bad Voodoo Daddy play at Arts Beats & Eats on Monday night, which is a band that Mr. Brown & I fell in love to when we started dating. So that was totally fun, to dance in the back of the parking lot while they were playing. It was a pretty fun show, but way too short in my opinion. More ice cream and fair food for the kids, who thought the show was boring because their parents were dancing with each other and not with them. (We rode our bikes down to Arts, Beats & Eats both days: this is one of my most favorite things about Royal Oak and where we live: biking to interesting places is totally possible and even encouraged. They had special 'bike parking' set up for the festival.) Although we enjoyed the festival, we spent too much money, so I don't know if we'll go again next year or not. Maybe we'll just avoid the food booths next year. With what we spent on food, we could have actually bought a piece of artwork (and there was some lovely stuff for sale) and then we'd still have something to show for the weekend.

Saturday night there was a tremendous storm when the cold front came through. Nut Brown was sleeping in the basement but started crying in fright when the power went off. We tucked them back in together in their upstairs room (air conditioning doesn't work very well upstairs, which is why they were in the basement) and then the power came back on, and went back off, and then something exploded behind our neighbor two doors down, and the power never came back on. It's still off. Luckily some of our neighbors took our freezer food and some friends from church took our fridge stuff (what we didn't eat immediately) and so now the only problem is hot water for showers. We have a gas stove so cooking hasn't been a problem, but I miss most being able to turn on the lights.

It has been an interesting couple of days as Mr. Brown and I have lost our most expedient escape from our troubles: the computer/internet/computer games. So we've had to do less running away from problems and more addressing them. In some ways this is good and in some ways it is exhausting. I think Mr. Brown has done a better job addressing problems, and I have been putting more energy into running away from them in different ways.

Our phone doesn't work either at the moment, so if we don't return your phone calls please don't be mad. We're thinking it may be a while still before the power company gets to us because it was a really localized outage (our neighbors across the street have power) and they're probably working on the 'low-hanging fruit' of power restoration before they get to small fry like us and the six houses on our block affected by that transformer. Boy, it sure was exciting when it exploded. It turned the sky blue and green and orange.

The other interesting thing about this power outage is that our garage door won't open now because there is a door opener on it. So it better not rain at all this week because I can't get my car out of the garage to drive to work. Luckily we park Flash in the driveway during the summer so he was still available to drive us to church and other places.

We did get to know our neighbors a little better: especially our neighbor across the street. She came over to ask how we were, and told me that her husband died two weeks ago. She is very nice, and we are going to be making friends with her more, I think.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

30 August 2011

Sometimes we have mac'n'cheese for dinner. But sometimes we have fabulous meals that require chopsticks! Last night for dinner Mr. Brown made spinach and sesame salad, a sweet Japanese omelet, and sticky rice. He also got out some kim chee and opened a tin of kippers (no kidding). We sat on the living room floor (one more nice thing about having a card table for the dining room table: it can be lowered) and ate out of our rice bowls with chopsticks (even Nut Brown) while helping ourselves from the accent foods in the middle. It was so fun and adventurous and I loved watching the kids use their chopsticks and enjoy the food. The spinach salad was not a hit with them but Mr. Brown & I loved it. Nut Brown, surprisingly, loved the kippers.

speaking english

In the last couple months we have listened to the following audiobooks:

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

All have been tremendously popular with Rose Pink. All are by British authors, and were read by Englishmen.

At the park on Sunday afternoon (there is not much that is nicer than riding our bikes to the park together, playing in the sunshine, singing and talking on a perfect afternoon), Rose Pink says suddenly, "Reepicheep didn't get his tail cut off!" (referencing The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)

Mom: You're right- he didn't, did he? I remembered that but I must have remembered it wrong. It must be in a different Narnia book.

Rose Pink: Mooooom... that's not what it's called! It's NAHnia!

Mom: That's what I said... Narnia.

Rose Pink: Not NAAAARRRnia. It's NAAAAHnia. You're saying it wrong.

The funniest bit was the way that she was emphasizing that nasal American 'R' in NAAAARRRnia.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

27 August 2011

We had ice cream cones for dessert for lunch today.

Nut Brown: Mom, look. The ice cream is his hair, and this is his head (top part of cone) and this is his body. --addressing the ice cream cone-- I'm going to eat your hair for dessert.

Mom: Wouldn't that be weird if someone really said that to you?

Rose Pink: 'I'm going to eat your hair for dessert'? Well, if you were an ice cream cone, it wouldn't surprise me.
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Nut Brown has decided that 'monkey' is one of his middle names, and introduces himself that way these days. He climbed a tree at the park so far that other, older kids were really impressed with him. He and Rose Pink have been climbing the short cherry and redbud trees in front of our neighbor's house. Rose Pink calls them 'our treehouse'.

Monday, August 22, 2011

22 August 2011

The kids and I looked forward to the Woodward Dream Cruise all week- we were going to ride our bikes down to 9 Mile in Ferndale and visit Mustang Alley, and then sit out on Woodward and maybe get ice cream and watch the Dream Cruise.

Instead we ended up spending the morning helping friends move out of their house. I'm glad we went because it turned out that we were the only people who did, but I'm still sad about missing the Dream Cruise. There's always next year, right? Except sometimes I feel like there's not always next year and I'd better make sure I get everything in that I can right now.

Last weekend Nut Brown had his long-anticipated 4th birthday party. In the end he decided on a superhero party, so we invited three other little people over (in costume- Nut Brown was Green Lantern) and they colored pictures of superheros, went on a superhero adventure that ended with breaking a pinata, and of course, ate cake and ice cream and played with all the toys that they brought him as gifts.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a lot of photos of the event. Nut Brown felt very special (I think) and is already anticipating his next birthday. Special thanks to Grandma and Grandpa, who stayed up late with us the night before to draw scenery and hang balloons for the superhero adventure!! And happy birthday, Nut Brown. We love you!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

19 August 2011

It's Dream Cruise weekend and the streets are starting to fill up with old cars. On Tuesday night we rode our bikes downtown and attended the 'Kids' Cruise'. It was a pretty casual festival with some people singing kids' songs to new rhythms, bouncy houses, city equipment to be climbed on (fire trucks, cherry pickers, a mail truck) and a row of old cars that it's okay for kids to touch. We had a good time. Rose Pink & Nut Brown both climbed the climbing wall from the Parks & Rec and did great. Rose Pink made it all the way to the top of easy, and Nut Brown made it 2/3 of the way up the medium wall.

The weather was beautiful, and the festival was fun, but the best part by far was riding there and back together. Rose Pink just got a new bike (and pink and black plaid affair that she has named 'Skull') and Nut Brown rides on a hitchhiker bike behind Mr. Brown. We ride gently through the neighborhoods under the trees and my heart just wants to burst with love because my family is so wonderful.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

6 August 2011

Nut Brown and I were just making chocolate cookies in the kitchen, and he got the beater to lick. After a couple of rapturous engagements with the dough, he whispered to the beater, 'I want to lick you forever.'

In early July, Nut Brown got the summer buzz cut. Super short, he demanded. After I was done, he ran his hand over his new do and said, 'My head feels like a blanket.'

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Nut Brown: Dad! How do you count to C?

Mr. Brown: How?

Nut Brown: A, B, C!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

30 June 2011

We've randomly decided to go to Iowa and visit Hugh & Jess for a long 4th of July weekend. We're all excited. We got the kids all excited. Then we asked them where they thought we were going. Rose Pink thought we were going to BJ's house. Nut Brown thought we were going to visit Grandma & Grandpa (which explained why he was saving his Swedish fish for them). They were a little surprised when we clarified where we are actually going, and now excited all over again.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

29 June 2011

This just made me laugh. Getting kids out of the tub the other night- Nut Brown had already been dried and dressed and was hanging out on my lap while Rose Pink finished washing her hair. When she got out she came into the bedroom and Nut Brown exclaimed in a shocked tone of voice, "Rose Pink! I don't want to see your nakedness!" which is only funny because they were naked together in the tub not five minutes before!

Very sadly for me, Nut Brown has lost the tight confiding grip for holding hands that small children have. He's growing up. He doesn't always want to hold my hand any more when we go out. :(

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

28 Jun 2011

My parents were here recently visiting for a weekend. Nut Brown yesterday: "I'm going to make a picture of Grandpa because I miss him SO MUCH." Here he is with his portraits of Grandma and Grandpa.

Tonight, getting ready for bed, he gets a cup of water and has an enormous gulping drink. Pulling the cup away from his face, he sighs and says, It's a good thing there's oxygen in here.

Friday, June 24, 2011

24 June 2011

When my parents were here visiting two weekends ago (hooray for Grandma & Grandpa!), Nut Brown was discussing what happened at church with us at lunch afterwards.

Nut Brown: I got a bracelet too!

Rose Pink: Where is it?

Nut Brown: ... I ... I think I left it at church.

Grandma: Last time I saw it, Nut Brown, it was in your pocket.

Nut Brown: (lights up) digs around in pocket and triumphantly produces said bracelet.

Nut Brown: (digging further) and I have this too! (holds up a thumbtack, with the point towards us) The shield of DEATH!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day 2011

Happy Father's Day to Mr. Brown! He is such a wonderful man and so good to our children. I love to watch him being tender with them and enjoying them. Today he and Nut Brown had out the pot lids and the plastic swords and were beating artistically on each other.

A couple weeks ago, the kids and I found an enormous bottle of dice at a garage sale and decided to give it to Mr. Brown for Father's Day. He was very surprised and also pleased- there were dice of all sorts in there, all sizes, shapes and colors, including a 30-sided die, which are pretty rare these days. The kids also had a great time playing with them.

I also interviewed the kids to find out how much they knew about their papa.

How old is your daddy? R: I don't know. Thirty-one. N: Five!

What is Daddy's job? R: take care of kids. N: Protect the kids.

What does Daddy like to do? R: work on the computer! N: Drive the car!

Where does Daddy like to go? R: Meijer. and Wal-Mart. N: In the forest.

How are you and Daddy the same? R: We both have blue eyes. And we both like ice cream. N: We both have short hair. I can jump higher than Daddy.

How are you and Daddy different? R: He has wide feet and short hair. N: Daddy's feet are way bigger than mine. And we talk different.

What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy? R: wrestle! N: play basketball with him.

What is your favorite thing that Daddy cooks? R: spaghetti. N: chicken.

If you could go on a date with Daddy, where would you go? R: to walk around and shop at the mall and buy some things for me! N: To Chuck E. Cheese!!!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

18 June 2011

Last night, I suggested to Rose Pink that if she would ride her bike without training wheels to the ice cream shop, I would buy her an ice cream cone. She has been anxious about riding without training wheels, but with the prospect of an ice cream reward she set off, albeit reluctantly. We successfully negotiated the 3/4 mile ride through our residential neighborhood, and enjoyed the ice cream. Mr. Brown and Nut Brown came along, with Nut Brown in the bike trailer. On the way home, Rose Pink told me how much fun it was to ride a bicycle.

This morning, I had to carry some cookies over to a neighbor a few blocks away, and Rose Pink suggested that she and I ride our bikes over. So all of us rode over to the neighbor's house, and then rode to a park about a mile away and played there for awhile. On the way home we stopped at the corner store for cold drinks.

Every time that we mentioned going anywhere, Rose Pink suggested riding our bikes. She said it was lots of fun, and that bikes are even faster than cars! In the late afternoon, she finally won us over again, and we rode our bikes almost two miles to a park that's on my way home from work, and from there a couple blocks over to the Telway, a little bitty diner, and had hamburgers for dinner. It was so much fun to be out and about and to have increased our range so much. Nut Brown was very patient (and slightly bored) in the bike trailer, but it will be fun this summer to ride places together (library! farmer's market! other ice cream store!). Hooray!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

2 June 2011

Nut Brown coordinates his outfits. He came downstairs the other day in an orange sweatshirt and orange shorts and announced, "I'm a carrot!" When he wears red, he tells us that he's an apple.

He drew a cactus in the driveway, and shouted, "NO PAT NO! Don't sit on that!" (Name that Dr. Seuss book.)

Mr. Brown has gone to Dallas for a niece's blessing, so I get to stay home from work til Monday afternoon. I'm so excited by this - the staying home bit. Although it is completely weird to have him gone. Usually it's me that leaves and has to subsist via speakerphone conversations.

sub-urban

There are quite a few cars on the road here sporting a license plate frame that says, "Make the choice//SUBURBAN". I'm pretty sure that it's from a car dealer around here somewhere, but every time I see it, I want to pump my fist in the air and shout, "Yes! I choose sub-urban!"

1 June 2011

Last night, reading scriptures, we ran across the word "Gentile". Rose Pink suggested that it was a cousin to 'reptile' but I explained that it usually refers to people who aren't Jews? What are Jews? was the next question. So I went through the rehearsal about Jacob/Israel, and twelve sons, who became twelve tribes or groups, and one of his sons was named Judah, and members of that tribe are called Jews. "Oh," she says. "Are you a Jew?"

"No," I explain, "Daddy and I are members of the tribe of Ephraim, which is a different one of the twelve."

"Hmmm," she says. "Does that mean you're Ephs?"

Monday, May 30, 2011

30 May 2011

This morning we walked/rode bikes downtown and watched a Memorial Day parade, which was lovely because there were lots of American flags to salute, three marching bands and no candy to fight over. Plus we got to cheer for the Dept of Public Works snowplows, which is truly a cause we can believe in. It was a great parade, and it was even more fun because we got a family walk out of it. We came home and had lunch and I did spring cleaning-like things while Mr. Brown watched Dr. Who and the children played, and then we went swimming for four hours at our friend Tiffany's house, where I got to watch my children positively delight in the water and moving around in it, and also to admire how my husband looks in a swimsuit. It was even hot enough today that I got to swim, too, and enjoy the sunshine. Then we stayed four more hours and made Indian food with Tiffany for her family and it was extremely delicious and tasty, except for the naan biscuits, but what's a biscuit between friends? We drove home down I-696 with the windows down listening to the road noise and feeling the wind in our hair. Nut Brown fell asleep in the car, and it has been a perfectly wonderful day.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

27 May 2011

The last several days it's been rainy and rainy and rainy, and I've had to get rides home from work because I'd ridden my bike in but it was raining to hard to ride home. Yesterday Mr. Brown and the kiddles came to get me. This morning it was cloudy again (but not raining) and Rose Pink warned me at breakfast, "It's supposed to rain today, Mom, so be wise and take the car to work!"

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I love how Nut Brown rests one hand on my wrist while he sits on my lap to read books together.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

25 May 2011

We recently went out for ice cream at a little shop in Ferndale. It makes its own ice cream at the shop, in a variety of interesting flavors. Nut Brown decided on 'PB & Pig', which is peanut butter ice cream with chocolate covered bacon in it. It was surprisingly wonderful. Rose Pink had "Kooky Monster", which was vanilla with cookie dough that had been dyed blue. I tried 'Honey Lavendar' and "Salty Caramel" and ended up with 'Chocolate Overload' or something like that, and all I have to say is that this is what chocolate is supposed to taste like. I think it had fudge chunks in it, and oreo cookies. Yum. Can't wait to go back and try some more!

Monday, May 23, 2011

23 May 2011

Rose Pink calls dandelion fluffballs 'wishberries'. Also she's decided that butterflies are to be wished on, so whenever she or Nut Brown sees one they race to wish on it. Nut Brown broke off a phone conversation with my parents yesterday to wish on a white butterfly - "I wish for a monster truck that drives on its back!" he shouted randomly, to their confusion.

Nut Brown came down the stairs in an orange shirt and orange shorts and told me that he was a carrot. When he wears all red he tells me that he's an apple.

Speaking of monster trucks, he mentioned at family prayer the other night that when he grows up he's going to get a monster truck for his wife to go to work in.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

21 May 2011

Today we were at a friend's pool and I was watching Rose Pink practice her swimming - she self-propels through the water now, and is completely comfortable getting all wet, and going underwater and so on - Mr. Brown's hard work last summer is definitely paying off. I am super-impressed. And then Nut Brown and I practice pushing off from the edge and he jumps between Mr. Brown and I and then he decides that today is the day that he is going to learn to swim, and he starts swimming between Mr. Brown and I. Back and forth, back and forth, endlessly practicing and yes, there is forward motion, but there is also the courage to leap into water over your head and bicycle pedal your legs until one of your parents finally grabs your flailing arm and pulls you back up. Today was the day. He was amazing. They were both amazing.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Happy anniversary to us! We have been in Michigan for a whole year- well, a year and two weeks by the time I'm getting around to writing this. My office at work celebrated by turning off my network access, so I spent my first two days back at work after three weeks off just sitting around daydreaming. Mr. Brown celebrated by taking the kids out to ice cream. Our actual anniversary date is May 5, so I think from now on we should celebrate by going to dinner in Mexican Town, which we haven't explored yet even though we've been here a year.

Here are some of the reasons that we love living in Detroit:

1. Canadian radio stations

2. Indian grocery stores (please note: plural!)

3. Middle Eastern, Polish, Russian, Japanese, Thai & Russian restaurants (to name a few)

4. there's not a major concert tour that doesn't include Detroit

5. the fascination here with cars and car companies

6. the Woodward Dream Cruise!

7. The milder winters

8. the way the city explodes back into life in the spring

9. the Detroit Red Wings (I've decided to be a fan)

10. every driver here sees me on my bike and gives me the right of way.

Look at that, it came out to exactly ten. I'm transcribing a list I wrote up for a friend of mine when I was trying to explain why I'd turned down a job offer in Alabama. While I have been looking diligently for a job there for some time, when I was actually offered one, I discovered that I'm not yet done living in this fabulous city, in spite of Alabama's significant advantages (family, weather, cost of living). Mr. Brown and I decided we'd stay for awhile. There are so many more things we want to do here: visiting Mexican Town is just one of them. I want to make friends with my aunt & uncle in Ann Arbor. I want to make better friends with people I've just started to get to know. I want to go to Canada.

So happy end-of-our-first-year, beginning-of-our-future-here to us! I'm excited to see what we get to do and learn and experience this year!

Monday, May 2, 2011

2 May 2011

Mr. Brown has a shirt that we all love that is printed in different sorts of chiles. He and Rose Pink have a silly joke where she says to him, "Daddy, you look hot!" and he replies, "Actually, I'm a little chilly!" They do this several times every time he wears the shirt.

Yesterday when Rose Pink came into our bedroom in the morning, she found the shirt and put it on herself. She was strutting around saying, "I'M the big daddy!" when Mr. Brown attempted to feed her the beginning of the joke.

Mr. Brown: Rose Pink, you look hot!

Rose Pink: Actually, I'm a little ... warm. Daddy, I think it should go the other way.

Mr. Brown: Rose Pink, are you a little chilly?

Rose Pink: Actually, I'm just... warm. Daddy, this isn't a funny joke.

Mr. Brown: Maybe not.

Monday, April 25, 2011

26 April 2011

We have some plastic Oreo cookies that are part of a matching game Gia gave us awhile ago. The kids usually use them as toy food, having correctly identified them as cookies. We were visiting an older couple in our ward a few weeks ago, and they set out a bowl of Oreos for nibbles. Nut Brown came up to me all round-eyed: "Those are just like our play cookies, Mom!" Poor deprived child. He's never had an Oreo to actually eat.

25 April 2011

Travelling through Denver on our way to SLC, we lost Nut Brown at the gate. Looking around to find him, we discovered that he'd climbed up into one of those electric cars they drive around terminals and was happily playing with the steering wheel. The moving sidewalks in the airports were a source of great amusement for our kids. Nut Brown rode one by hanging on to the moving handrail. Both kids ran against the direction of the sidewalk, or walked backwards at various times.

We had a great time with our friends. It was a very relaxing lay-around-the-house sort of vacation, where we got to lay around someone else's house and just hang out. I'm so glad that our kids get along so well - they had a good time playing together. Happily, these friends have the calmest dog and cat that I've ever seen, and that gave my kids a chance to make friends with two of the most non-threatening animals I've ever met. They're much more at ease with dogs now.

The couple we stayed with has two little girls. Getting ready for church on Sunday, there were hairbows for everyone - including Nut Brown. And on Friday, there was nail polish and manicures for everyone - including Nut Brown. I'm excited to go visit our Iowa City cousins in July, so he can participate in the wrestling dogpiles that are more his style than all this girly stuff.

We had an Easter egg hunt in Utah with our friends, in their yard, and it was lots of fun. The other mom had the idea to put those metallic star stickers on the eggs, a different color for each child, so they would only pick up the eggs intended for them and leave the easy-to-find ones for the two-year-old. It was so fun, and totally worth the $30 I spent on candy and cheap toys.

It was lovely to come back to Michigan, though. We were happily suprised by seventy-degree weather and sunshine when we got off the plane in Detroit, and the roadsides were filled with blooming forsythia bushes. I love forsythia. It was also lovely to go to our ward on Sunday. I appreciate it even more after attending our friends' ward in Utah. It's very diverse, and I love it.

Mr. Brown's Sunday School class had 27 people in it on Sunday. He teaches Gospel Essentials, and usually there are about 15 people in attendance. It's a wonderful class (I'm of course completely unbiased) and there is a steady flow through it of investigators and inactive members. It's super great- I've never been in a ward that had offered such an active, interesting Gospel Essentials class. The 27 people pretty much overwhelmed Mr. Brown, though. It may have just been the fact that it was Easter Sunday, but if this keeps up, he says he's going to ask to split the class. We overfilled the classroom.

Last night we were invited to another home for Easter dinner. We were supposed to bring potatoes, and so Mr. Brown made potato pickle soup, inspired by a Polish restaurant we visited here a couple weeks ago with our Iowa friends. It was completely and totally wonderful, and he was highly praised for it, which he deserved, in spite of the fact that everyone said, "pickle soup?" very dubiously when I told them we'd need bowls set out.

We're headed south this afternoon, to Dayton, OH, for two weeks, for a training class for me. Mr. Brown thinks he's really passing the kidney stone for real this time, so he's drinking Coke today. I told him that kidney stones just love Dept of Defense installations, since that's where we'll be staying, and the last time he passed a huge kidney stone was at Ft. Leavenworth, KS, while I was at a training course. Hopefully the Coke will work it's normal magic and he won't have to actually pass it this time.

Have I mentioned lately that I have the two most wonderful adorable children on the planet living with me? They are sweet and funny and clever, and I love them so much!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

13 April 2011

Mermaid, by Rose Pink.

Next week we're swimming off to Utah to visit some friends. Immediately upon our return, we're off to Dayton, OH, for a training class for me. Should be fun!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cupboard TARDIS

The children have discovered a teleportation chamber under the kitchen counter. So far it's taken them to Africa, America, the land of the dinosaurs, and Barbieland.

Friday, March 25, 2011

25 March 2011

Rose Pink chatted me today, using Mr. Brown's account, using all her own spelling. She is so amazing.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

St Patrick's Day

Kiddos woke us up on Saturday morning a week ago as they were searching in their drawers for green clothing. They've been anticipating the St. Patrick's Day parade here for weeks. Then they came into our room and shouted, Happy St. Patrick's Day! as if it were Christmas.

After all the anticipation, the parade itself was not so great. Definitely below the standards set by the Quad Cities parade. There's a bigger parade in downtown Detroit (this was just the Royal Oak parade) but it was on Sunday.

20 March 2011

Spring is here!