Tuesday, December 31, 2013

31 December 2013

Some Christmas photos:

 Rose Pink's winter jamas this year.  She loves the feet.

New monsters that have come to live with us.  We all love them very much.

Bobo with the slide whistle from Aunt Amri.  She sent musical instruments ostensibly for him but he doesn't actually get much time with them.

Uncle Chris sent us a paint-your-own train.  Rose Pink came up with the idea of a god train, so we each got to paint our cars for a greek god- our choice which one.  In order in the photo, left to right: Artemis, Hera, Persephone, Poseidon and Hades (painted by Rose Pink, me, Mr. Brown, Rose Pink and Nut Brown).

Monday, December 30, 2013

30 December 2013

This year for Christmas we decided not to give our kids any presents.  It worked out pretty well.  It was a huge load off me, and we still had a great time on Christmas morning opening the gifts from our loving family and friends.  Mr. Brown and I had prepared several family activities for Christmas Day to take up the time usually spent opening presents, but we didn't end up using them.  We played the new games and played with the baby's new musical instruments and painted the wooden train from Uncle Chris.  Also ate a lot of ham.  I love ham.  There was a lot of hanging out around the house and being together.  It was such a nice change to be bored for awhile rather than rushing around to activity after activity.

This is an old photo from first snowfall this year.  See the unhappy baby.  After a couple unlucky adventures outside, he learned to keep his mittens on, and now he has more fun for longer.  Christmas week we got a lot of snow, and the kids and I had a great time outside.  The weekend before it snowed all day on Saturday and part of the day on Sunday.  We shoveled three times before it stopped snowing.  On Saturday Rose Pink and the baby and I walked up to the corner store to buy sour cream (Bobo rode in the sled) and it was a snowy adventure.  I enjoyed it.  I love having the corner store available for emergencies when I don't want to drive, even if we pay dearly for the privilege.

Bobo still loves to cook and loves to be involved in whatever is being made in the kitchen.  Especially he loves it when the KitchenAid comes out because he knows it's going to be sweet and delicious.  He has started using more words (we started talking to him more).  A big one is 'Mama' which he uses for both me and Mr. Brown.  It's a lot harder to leave him in bed crying when I can hear him calling 'MaMA! MaMA!'

He loves music and dancing, and often wanders over to the computer and makes howling noises, which is a request for us to turn on 'What Does The Fox Say?'  He will then boogie down in the living room and try and get everyone else to dance with him.  He has discovered that it's fun to dance when you're taller, and gets up on the piano bench to dance, in the toddler version of dancing on the bar.

He doesn't like baths very much.  He doesn't fight me about them but he rarely wants to stay in very long.  Which is nice, actually.  I borrowed a cue from my friend Heather and trained him to get his hair washed by pouring water over his head.  He fussed the first couple times but now he's resigned and we just get it over with.  Much easier than trying to lay down in the tub and rinse.

There have been a lot of video games over Mr. Brown's Christmas break from school (he finished his first semester with a 4.0 GPA).  We've been playing Deus Ex, Castle Crashers, Starbound and Terraria.  Nut Brown has really been enjoying it.  He also just finished up his latest gymnastics class and got promoted.  Promotion meant being invited to join the 'pre-team' which involves two days a week of two-hour trainings, and we can't support that with our current number of children.  We're trying to get in touch with the coach to see if we can do one day a week instead of two.

Rose Pink was invited to be in a play her friend Cora is putting on for her visiting grandparents.  We've been over to their house twice for rehearsals.  (The play is three pages long.)  Performance is tonight!  Nut Brown is going to be in it as well.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

19 December 2013

Bobo put a box of jello in the microwave the other night and Rose Pink quipped, Maybe he thinks it's cook'n'serve.  She is so funny.

We had first massive snowfall this past weekend.  We shoveled twice on Saturday and twice on Sunday.  Rose Pink was in heaven.  She played outside with a bunch of neighbor kids in various arrangements a lot.  Nut Brown went out to help us shovel but didn't really get into snow play.  The baby was so excited to go out - I even have snow pants for him - but he wouldn't keep his mittens on and just cried and cried when his fingers got so cold.  I decided he's not allowed outside in the snow for the rest of the winter.  He won't keep his mittens on but then he's always unpleasantly surprised when he touches the snow and gets upset. 

On Saturday we needed sour cream, so Rose Pink and I put Bobo on a sled and trekked the two blocks to our neighborhood store to buy some.  The roads were horrible, but the walk was not bad.  It snowed all day on Saturday and most of the day on Sunday.  Then we got extra snow - another inch - on Monday night.  We are pretty tired of shoveling.

I'm reading a Nancy Drew book to the kids at night.  Rose Pink is also reading an Oz book to Nut Brown upstairs when they go to bed at night.  Bobo is re-learning to go to sleep in his own bed after a spell of sickness where he slept on us a lot, so Nut Brown is upstairs with Rose Pink and enjoying it.

Monday, December 16, 2013

16 December 2013

This is our baby, eating jam out of the jar with a butter knife.  He badly wants to be taller than he is, but I think he's just about right.  I told him the other day that if he wanted to stay 18 months old for awhile, I was okay with it.  Here are some silly things he's been doing lately:

*when we have a dance party, he climbs up on the piano bench to dance.

*he will hold up his index finger and tell you very seriously, 'wuh'.  Not sure if he means 'one' or 'wait'.

*he's learned how to call for a parent: he says 'ma MA! ma MA!' and expects to see either Mom or Dad in response.  He was sick last week and when he was better he had to relearn going to sleep when we put him in bed, and letting him cry it out was much more traumatic when he was calling 'ma MA! ma MA!' for twenty minutes.

*he goes to nursery and stays the whole time with no tears or fussing.

*he climbs all the way up to the top bunk all by himself.  Fortunately he calls for one of us 'ma MA!' to show us how clever he is once he's up there.  He does NOT know how to climb down. 

*he still loves to cook.  He loves to bake and especially loves licking the beaters.  He likes it when we turn on the oven light so he can see what's in there.  Whenever the timer goes off, there is a thunder of little feet headed for the kitchen to see what new exciting comestible has finished cooking.

*we're getting a little more speech-like noise from him.  He came to me the other day and said, 'sh' because he wanted his shoes on.  He can say 'pop' for the Corn Pops cereal that he likes.  Sometimes he says 'up' but sometimes he doesn't. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

14 December 2014

Our first real snowfall today.  Rose Pink was so excited and luckily had the opportunity to play outside with two different sets of neighbor kids since the rest of us were less enthusiastic than she was.  Mr. Brown and Nut Brown are outside shoveling for the second time today right now, and Nut Brown is dual wielding two snow shovels - always a Ranger. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

4 December 2013

Bobo was up all night last night with a cold, couldn't sleep unless he was snuggled up with me or Mr. Brown, so when he finally went to sleep in his bed at 4:15 am, we decided to sleep as long as we could and were still asleep when Nut Brown woke up.  He used his unsupervised time to 'do nice things' for all of us: he set up a bowl of cereal for Rose Pink with her name attached, filled up Mr. Brown's water bottle for him, and made a sign for a treasured possession of mine that reads 'No playing while the Bobo's awake Mom' - which agrees with the instructions that I gave them for this toy set.  The fascinating bit for me was that he wrote it 'in code' - backwards.  He was very pleased with himself for all his efforts, and it was sweet to see his loving heart.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

1 December 2013

Bobo has been learning to go to nursery at church.  I finally found a sub for my Sunday School class and went with him the past three weeks.  I learned that my little guy is very very uncertain in environments that are unfamiliar.  He doesn't like it - it really upsets him and locks him up - when he doesn't know what's supposed to happen.  It does explain why he's so interested in learning how the household works and where things are supposed to go, and why he's always so glad to help.

Friday, November 29, 2013

29 November 2013

On Thursday last week, Mr. Brown was gone to his college class and Nut Brown had his gymnastics class and then on top of all that the book club was meeting at my house at 7:30pm that night.  So we decided on pizza for dinner and a movie for the kids while the ladies were over.  Rose Pink and Nut Brown agreed that it was her turn to choose the movie, but when she picked Beauty and the Beast, Nut Brown stubbornly refused to agree to it.  He said he wanted to watch 'Castle Cagliostro' which is an anime flick in Japanese that is older than he is.  Rose Pink really didn't want to watch that so they were kind of stuck.

Rose Pink used all the skills she's learned for resolving this difficulty.  She tried persuasion but Nut Brown was feeling particularly stubborn.  She suggested that they review the list of movies together and pick one - but they still couldn't agree.  Finally they came to me and Rose Pink said, "Mom, pick a number between one and ten."  I said, 'Six!' and she said, "No, you don't tell us what you've picked until we tell you what we chose!!!"  So they picked numbers and it turned out that Nut Brown won, and at this point Rose Pink had a very small tantrum because she was so disappointed and announced that she was just going to bed and went upstairs, very upset.

Nut Brown called up to her, bless his tender heart, "But Rose Pink, don't you want to know what I'm going to pick?"

"I know what you're going to pick!" she called back.  "I don't want to watch Castle Cagliostro!"

"No," he said, "I'm picking Beauty and the Beast!"

She came back downstairs and they watched Beauty and the Beast during book club.  I was so glad to see how hard they both worked to come to a compromise - I did absolutely nothing, and Rose Pink tried so many ways to work it out - and then to see Nut Brown's compassion and love for his sister.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

28 November 2013

On this Thanksgiving day, I give thanks for a family that's already mended, from four people plus a baby to a family of five.  A couple weeks ago I told Mr. Brown that I finally had that feeling of wholeness - instead of feeling like Bobo was tagging along with us, that he was actually part of the family and we would be incomplete without him.  I've been waiting for it, and it is a peaceful feeling.  Mr. Brown pointed out that this happened much faster this time than it did with either of the other kids.

Rose Pink: This is me dressed as a turkey.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

27 November 2013

Bobo has learned to walk backwards.  I don't actually remember the other children learning to walk backwards, but he figured it out the other morning and made sure to get my attention so that I could appreciate his skill at walking backwards down the hall away from me.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

26 November 2013

This year is the 50th anniversary of Dr. Who, and the Brown Family Circus are big fans.  The BBC planned a special episode for this week, which has been highly, highly anticipated worldwide and also in our household.  Mr. Brown got up at 4 am on Sunday to watch it, special thanks to his friend BJ.  The BBC filmed it in hi-def and showed it at select theaters nationwide in the US on Monday night as well as on television. Mr. Brown put together a group from church who were all Dr. Who fans and took Rose Pink and went to the show last night.  They had a great time seeing everyone else who had dressed up (including some in their group) and watching the show and the 'making of' afterward.  There happened to be ten people in their group so they named the chairs they were sitting in after all of the various Doctors... lots of geeking out going on, and they came home at 10 pm tired but happy.
So obviously we've been anticipating this release for weeks, maybe months.  The balance of the post is artwork from Rose Pink (below) and Nut Brown (above) on the theme of 'Dr. Who'.
Matt Smith Doctor

Sarah Jane

Tom Baker Doctor


Monday, November 25, 2013

25 November 2013

Early yesterday morning Mr. Brown went in the bathroom and found Nut Brown sitting on the toilet bowl, with both lid and seat up. 

Mr. Brown: Nut Brown, did you know you have the lid and seat of the toilet up?!

Nut Brown: Yes.

Mr. Brown: Did you do that on purpose?


Nut Brown: No.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

14 November 2014

Tonight, dancing in the living room with my boys to One Direction and watching Bobo insist that he too needed to wear a mixing bowl on his head because if Nut Brown was doing it, it must be fun.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

12 November 2013

Evenings are the best time, when we are reading scriptures together and praying before bed.  Everyone's more relaxed and we talk about random stuff and about scripture stuff.  Bobo gets his baby books and sits on my lap with them so he feels like a participant.  Last night all three kids ended up laying on top of Mr. Brown cuddling on the beanbag.  It's so sweet.  It's my favorite part of the day.

Monday, November 11, 2013

11 November 2013

A note from a friend of mine, who watched the kids for us one day.  They're also homeschoolers and have a ten yr old daughter and three boys who are eight, five and two.  Here's what she wrote:
Nut Brown, S and E played as a threesome today for most of the time. My favorite part was when they were all laying on their backs in our front room, with their feet propped up on the couch. They were pretending to be "hydro-dragons," and said that all they had to do to kill the enemy was to breath poisonous gasses. They then went on to talk about all the other things they could breathe that were lethal to the enemy.
Let's hear it for imagination.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

10 November 2013

These days Bobo likes to come up behind people and jump on them, or pound on their backs.  If I'm sitting on the floor with Nut Brown, pretty soon there will be a little boy on my back.  At supper the other night he climbed up on the back of my chair and patted my back until I turned around and smiled at him.  He's so funny.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

9 November 2013

Rose Pink decided that she wasn't getting enough cuddles and wanted to sit on Mr. Brown's lap.  He said that she would have to do it while they were doing something together because there wasn't time for just sitting.  So she went and got her math book and sat on his lap facing him while he was on the beanbag and they did homework.  When she got up to get something, Bobo came trotting over with his own book and sat down in the same position and opened it on Mr. Brown's chest so he could 'do homework' too.  When Rose Pink came back he refused to yield her back the lap.

Bobo also thinks that my lap is his personal property, and moves rapidly to chase off intruders (his siblings) even if he wasn't actually sitting on my lap when they climbed on to it.  Sometimes he will condescend to share my lap, but sometimes they just have to get off.

Friday, November 8, 2013

8 November 2013

I'm not exactly sure how to capture this, but Rose Pink has done a bunch of growing up over the past month.  She laughs at our grown-up jokes and makes jokes of her own that are really funny.  She is patient and kind with her brothers, and more likely to be generous without being asked.  She helps us without complaining and remembers to do things without being reminded.  It has been such a joy to be with her.

The past couple weeks she's been moving into the upstairs bedroom.  Mr. Brown decided that she would be allowed to stay up and read as long as she went to bed before 9 pm.  So she has been reading a whole lot more, and she has actually been more cheerful and more helpful, rather than more tired and grumpy.  Wonderful for everyone.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

7 November 2013

We made apple crisp that really needed some sweet dairy to go with it so I somehow convinced the kids to ride their bikes to the store with me after dinner, even though it was chilly and not quite raining.  Nut Brown insisted on wearing a laundry basket (a small one) on his head for the whole ride there.  It got progressively darker during our ride (not used to sunset at 5:30 pm yet) so it was dark when we arrived, and very dark on our way home with the ice cream.  For some reason the kids felt that all this meant they deserved a treat so they ended up with individual ice cream treats as well.

Rose Pink and our neighbor girl have been raking the front lawn for pure pleasure, because it gives them a big pile of leaves to jump in.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

6 November 2013

From a trip to park at the beginning of October before it got cold:

Monday, November 4, 2013

4 November 2013

Bobo just hit eighteen months and he's been changing so much.  He is into everything and we're at the stage where we're doing our best to keep stuff he might hurt himself with out of his reach, and just cleaning up everything else he gets into.  He climbs on everything.  He does that funny toddler run, and always squeals when you chase him.  He loves to read books, although he's really hard on the bindings.  He especially loves books that involve animal sounds, and he has a whole repertoire that he'll join you in making, none of which sounds like anything recognizable.

He just got his first real haircut, so he's all trim now.  He went to nursery and it was a disaster.  He lasted ten minutes.  I think I'm going to have to get a sub for my Sunday School class for a couple weeks and go with him, and see if that helps him get used to it.

He loves Rose Pink. 

He has a wide vocal range, none of which really involves recognizable words, but it's not usually hard to figure out what he's getting at.  We've been practicing body parts with him, and I make him say 'up' in order to be picked up, but he doesn't really talk.

He is certain that he can feed himself and will under pressure allow me to assist.  He sits on my lap for meals and we get along alright.  Right now he loves to do the dishes with me or Mr. Brown, standing on a chair next to us and splashing in the water.  He's learned to throw things away in the trash, and to put paper trash in the recycle bin.  He also does the laundry with great pleasure - loading the washer, putting in the detergent and starting it, shifting clothes from washer to dryer and starting the dryer.  He knows all the steps.

He knows what a sword is for and how to use it.  He loves to wrestle.

He doesn't like to be naked.  Yesterday I was changing his complete outfit and set him on the floor while I fished new clothes out of the dresser.  I thought he'd take off, but when I turned around he was still there, standing in the middle of the floor, anxiously wringing his hands.  As soon as he had a shirt on, he did take off.

He sulks when he doesn't get what he wants - if we tell him no, he shrieks and runs off and hides his face against the wall or behind a chair.  But he always checks over his shoulder to make sure that we're watching him be sulky.  He's also very obedient.  If we tell him no, he throws a fit about it, but he usually won't go back to doing it again.

He is such a joy.  He makes all of us laugh.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

2 November 2013

So the kids convinced Mr. Brown to buy crab ravioli for dinner last night, which it turns out nobody liked, but Nut Brown takes the prize for deciding that it should be called "crabioli".  But we'll never use that word again because we're never going to buy it again.

Friday, November 1, 2013

1 November 2013

 Halloween!  We were very excited.  The kids were excited because it's Halloween, and I was especially excited to take Bobo trick-or-treating this year since it's really his first.  Last year he was only six months old and pretty clueless.

We went to the Zoo Boo at the zoo on Friday night, and that was a good time.  Lots of walking in between treat stations, and I was pleased that they gave the kids crayons and reflective snap bracelets and apples and potato chips as well as some candy.  It was fun to be out and about together. This is Rose Pink and Bobo waiting for Nut Brown on the back porch in order to go.

Saturday night- church trunk or treat.  The kids and I planned and decorated the trunk.  Rose Pink painted a backdrop on cardboard all by herself - she did all the planning and mixing and washed the brushes afterward.  One of them suggested hanging tissue paper ghosts from the ceiling of the car, and that was a fun effect.  The activity was well organized and I think we all had a good time. 

Monday my friend John from work came over and carved pumpkins with us. It was a lot of fun and they looked great on the porch after. And I was so pleased that my garden pumpkins made it all the way to Halloween. I totally think I'm going to plant them again next year.

Finally it was Thursday and time to trick-or-treat.  The weather was wonderfully warm (high fifties) and rainy.  Fortunately it was really only misting heavily when we were out, so we got wet, but slowly.

 Here we are ready to go.  Rose Pink was a magician, Nut Brown was a samurai, and Bobo got the Tigger costume from the dressup box.  Nut Brown wore the bomb costume to the Zoo Boo but didn't like it, so he was a 'samurai' for the other events.  Rose Pink and I searched high and low for a small bunny to go in her hat, but without any luck.  Fortunately Grandma & Grandpa came through for us and sent a rabbit that fit the bill.  She was so pleased to be able to pull it out of her hat when a couple people asked for 'tricks' at the door.

I hadn't planned to let Bobo go up to too many doors- just a couple- but once he figured out that if you were on the porch you got candy, there was no keeping him in the stroller!

Here's the after-party in the living room.  Bobo was completely boggled by the enormous pile.  He'd hand me one to open and then hand me another before I'd even gotten a good grip on the first.  One mind - successfully blown.  I love trick-or-treating.  I love how it opens our neighborhood up to us and how we get to meet people we never would otherwise.  I love how it brings out people's generous aspect, and the kids' creativity with costumes.  I'm grateful we got to participate this year.

Friday, October 25, 2013

25 October 2013

What a month October has been.  Having Mr. Brown back in school has been stressful in unanticipated ways, although it has also been a great blessing.  Soccer season finishes this week, to our great relief.  It's been really fun, but we're ready to do something else in the evenings besides practice and games.  Mr. Brown and I have been working on greater honesty with each other as well, and that has been really hard and painful but I trust that our relationship and we ourselves will be better for it.  The garden has wrapped up production for the year.  When I came home from work yesterday Mr. Brown had finished pulling out most everything that's coming out after the frosts we had this week, and the backyard smelled like basil.  Before it got really cold, I got a good start on the bed along the back fence where I want to plant raspberries and rhubarb next spring, and Mr. Brown dug up some bushes by the roots so they won't be cluttering the fenceline any more.

We spent last week at the church most days helping with the winter clothing distribution: handing out clothing shipped to us from Utah to the needy who were referred by their case workers.  There was so much to do.  Mr. Brown was there every day, and I took Friday off so we could all go and help.  It finished on Saturday, and we were exhausted afterwards, but it was very rewarding to work hard at something and see how our efforts were helping people.  The kids were troopers through the whole thing (although by the end Bobo was so not excited to see the church building again).  I hope we get to do it again next year.

The kids and I are anticipating Halloween.  (Mr. Brown has to go to class on Halloween, how sad is that??  I will miss him and he's not happy about being gone.)  The celebration starts tonight: we're going the 'Zoo Boo' at the Detroit Zoo, which was a good time last time we went.  Tomorrow is the church Trunk-Or-Treat, and then we'll carve pumpkins (the ones from my garden!) on Monday and trick-or-treat the neighborhood on Thursday.  I love Halloween for the friendly, neighborly feelings that it generates around town.

I just found out from my boss this week that when my developmental assignment finishes in November, I'm being sent to work in the budget office for the Robotics Program Manager.  It's supposed to be for four months, and we'll see what happens after that.  I have no idea.  Life is sure an adventure.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

3 October 2013

Soccer season.  Nut Brown and Rose Pink are both playing.  Rose Pink is on the same team with a new coach, and he seems to be pushing the girls a bit more so they're working harder and learning more, which is great.  This week she set a goal all by herself to take 100 shots on goal during the week in order to normalize the behavior.  (She's within twenty shots of reaching it too.) 

Nut Brown is on a different team this year and is enjoying soccer much, much more.  His new coaches are very organized but very laidback at the same time.  Mr. Brown and I really enjoy the games and all the yelling and cheering and our kids' satisfaction in their achievements as they play.

Bobo, for a long time, thought that balls existed to be kicked and so is a champion dribbler.  Eventually he figured out that balls can be thrown and bounced as well, but he still dribbles the soccer balls a lot; it's super cute.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

1 October 2013

Finishing out the gardening year.  Here are the fruits of the pumpkin vine.  One more rotted on the vine and one more had the nerve to grow in my neighbor's yard, so I gave it to her.

Here they are curing in the front window.  I'm hoping that after the curing I can store them in the basement for a couple weeks until Halloween.  (I picked them early because I was worried the rats that have been eating my tomatoes would find them.)  The kids have already decided whose is whose, and have named them three times.  The last time Nut Brown named them while he was memorizing a scripture for church, and they got named 'Might, Mind & Strength'.
The watermelon vine produced two watermelons.  Here we are anticipating the eating of one. (The other turned out not to be ripe when I cut it open.)

It's a pretty piddly watermelon, but I didn't expect the pumpkin vine to take over the whole backyard like it did, and it pretty much overwhelmed the watermelon.  Once I picked the pumpkins and tore out the vine, the watermelon revived and started flowering again, even though it's fall.  Note to self: plant the watermelon away from the pumpkin next year.  Maybe your melons will be bigger.

Monday, September 30, 2013

30 September 2013

This weekend we finally got to use the hair chalk that we bought on a whim in Utah.  Rose Pink and I were pretty excited about the chance to put some neon stripes in our hair.  It was unfortunately a little disappointing - it was hard to apply and it wasn't as vibrant as we hoped it would be.  The boys wanted to play too, and since they have short hair I could just rub the chalk back and forth on their heads until we got really nice color.  So hair chalk worked better for short hair than for long!  Nut Brown had stripes of every color on his head, and Bobo's hair turned green.  It was really fun.  I wish I'd gotten photos.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

29 September 2013

At the beginning of September, we flew out to Utah to spend a week.  We'd finished reading the Book of Mormon as a family and decided that this should be our fabulous vacation reward.

Bobo getting ready for his first plane ride at DTW.  Somehow he forgot to get his shoes on.  I don't know why, I mean, the other kids got their own shoes on and got in the car when I told them to, so I'm not sure what he was thinking...  we had to buy him a new pair when we got to Utah.

Bobo showing preference already for the window seat.  Nut Brown is being a peach and not complaining about being invaded.

How did the kids spend the hours and hours in the air?  Coloring in their new coloring books, playing with plastic dinosaurs, and playing Swap with me.  Bobo was pretty good, just a little restless.  He consumed a LARGE amount of fruit snacks.

Layover in Denver- it was just the right length to get out, run around, stretch our legs, and get ready for the second flight to Salt Lake.  Notice that Bobo's feet are still bare.

I reserved a Toyota Corolla equivalent for a car rental for the week.  When we got to Salt Lake, the line at the rental car desk was about 30 people long.  The guy behind the desk encouraged people to use the kiosk, so Mr. Brown got out of line, tried the kiosk, and it worked for him!  So we bypassed the long line and headed out to pick up our car.  When we got to the garage, the guy said to Mr. Brown, well, I have three cars left.  (all those poor people in line in there!) Do you want a truck or a minivan?  We opted for the minivan.  Best rental Toyota Corolla ever.

We visited Mr. Brown's old elementary school in Kaysville and played on the (new) playground.

Here is Mr. Brown and his brother examining the old sledding hill and the view beyond it.

We spent two days hanging out with Mr. Brown's brother and his family and Gia, who was also visiting.  We visited the Natural History Museum, which was amazing, and picnicked in Red Butte Gardens.  We also went to visit his father's grave, which is in Salt Lake.

It's in a very pretty spot with a beautiful view of the valley.  There was some hanging out with cousins and enjoying the peace.

Our departure was unfortunately hasty because Nut Brown and cousin Lucia were stung by a very aggressive wasp, so we quit the graveyard.

Nut Brown really hit it off with the cousin just above him in age, and Rose Pink had a great time with the two older girls.  I'm so glad that we got to see them and hang out.

We visited Temple Square.  The whole family went once, and Bobo and I walked up by ourselves a couple more times.  The last time, coming back, we walked past the Salt Palace where they were holding Comic Con, and it was super fun to see all the people dressed up as their favorite superheros. 
I really love the gardens of Temple Square.  It makes my soul happy to see all that beauty.

We took a tour of the Conference Center as well.  I had always wanted to see the roof garden, and it turns out that the Conference Center is full of lovely artwork as well, so that was really neat.

Here is a photo of Bobo helping to carry his stroller up the stairs at the hotel.  It was so cute that he was helping.  He's always trying to help with whatever we're doing - it's so sweet and so fun.

Our hotel had a swimming pool, so we went swimming every day.  Rose Pink got a lot better at it after we bought goggles for her.  Nut Brown was still not as enthusiastic but enjoyed the water.  The swimming usually happened during Bobo's (and Mom's) nap, so he didn't get to enjoy it as much, but it was fun for everyone else!

We went to another museum called 'The Leonardo' downtown.  We came in the afternoon, and it closes at five, and we unfortunately found the really cool stuff (computer animation tools, stop action filmography equipment) about ten minutes before they closed.  I wish we could have stayed longer.

Here's Nut Brown playing with the pixel exhibit upstairs:
He rearranged them into blocks of uniform color.
A serious overdose of cuteness:

Rose Pink with the paper sculptures she made to throw shadows:

We drove out to the Great Salt Lake, which wasn't actually on my initial agenda at all.  But when the plane was landing in Salt Lake, Nut Brown said to me, "Salt Lake City!  Does that mean there's a lake around here somewhere?"  Yes, Nut Brown, yes, there is.  Maybe we should go see it.

So we took our swimsuits and went out to see it and hiked the seventeen miles across burning sand from where the dressing rooms are to see if we would float in the lake.  (Yes, we do.)  Rose Pink's skin was irritated by the water, and Bobo, when attempting to float, got turned upside down (his head is more dense than his body) and was unhappy about it, so we spent more time going to and from the lake than we did in the lake.  But it was still interesting, and now the kids can say they've been there and they weren't impressed.
I was also impressed with the quiet in the park.  Utah is famous for its outdoorsy things to do, but we're not super outdoorsy and this was as close as we got to hiking or anything like that.  It was very quiet and peaceful.

After being at the Great Salt Lake, on a whim we went north and up to Logan to eat dinner and take photos at the temple where Spencer and I were married eleven years ago.  We ate at the restaurant where Mr. Brown & I told my parents we were getting married, and we even ended up with the same table.  Very different experience with kids though.

It was nice to spend the time together as a family, and we did lots of fun stuff, including just hanging out at the hotel.  We are very blessed to have the resources to do things like this!!  And... we've decided to give in and buy a minivan.