Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The return of the examinee...

Today, Michael joined Annabelle and me here in Sheridan for a relaxing few days. Michael noted that this may be the most stress-free weekend that he's had in a long time. Now that the bar exam is over, he can breathe a sigh of relief and not have to think about anything that has to do with the law for a while. Well, at least until Monday, when he's due back at work.

Michael feels more confident about the bar this year than he did last year, and since he passed it in Colorado last year, we are a hopeful that this year's exam will yield similar results. Perhaps his confidence this year is due to two circumstances: 1) he didn't have to take the most difficult portion of the test. His score from last year will carry over to this year and factor in with the other parts of the test that he just took, and 2) since it's his second bar exam, he knew what it would be like and was prepared for it. He feels very good about his performance, and we look forward to getting the results back on September 11. I'm so proud of him.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers in the last few days. I know that Lord blessed and continues to bless us when ask for it. May He continue to bless all of you in your own lives.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Here's more photos of our trip

Major milestones...

This picture captures it all. We have been having a blast here in Sheridan, WY. We've spent days swinging on the swing set, playing in the sandbox, and jumping on the trampoline. Annabelle has helped make dinner, tighten the piano bench, and all sorts of other things. Our trip to WY started out a little rough. Annabelle has some teeth coming in, so she was already a little irritable, but then we found out she had an ear infection as well. Once we got her on antibiotics for a few days, things got much better. She now loves hanging out with her grandparents in everything that they're doing. She gives kisses out freely and shares a smile with anyone who looks her way. Her vocabulary and motor skills are increasing each day. She has already learned about 7 new words. She also can tell you what a duck says and what a dog says. We're currently working on our mooing sounds.

In fact, I must share a remarkable and extraordinary feat that I witnessed earlier this week. Annabelle had just finished having a drink and put her cup of milk back on the shelf in the fridge all by herself. Then, without any prompting from me, she just blurted out, "I did it" and immediately started clapping as if she knew that she had done something worthy of clapping. I was shocked. Annabelle had just spoken a her first complete sentence. I couldn't even think of a time that I have used that phrase around Annabelle. For her to just spit it out like it was no biggie right at the perfect time was absolutely amazing to me. Then, knowing that clapping is a reward for doing something good, she clapped for herself. I asked her if she had just said 'I did it' and she, without any hesitation, nodded her head as she said, Yes". It was definitely one of the proudest moments I've enjoyed as a mother.

It's been nice to visit with Robert and Cynthia. I have been to the YCMA to play pickleball with Cynthia, as well as attend a cycling class that she is currently teaching. Robert has increased my knowledge and understanding of car engines and some new ideas about affirmative action. With all this playing, conversing, and learning going on, it's been a great vacation.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Exam time

The time has come, once again. Tomorrow, Michael will sit for the Idaho bar exam. He has studied hard and is ready to get it over with. He will sit through 2 days' worth of grueling testing. Please remember to keep our family in your prayers. We hope to bring you good news when the results come back in 6 weeks.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sad loss

Which is worse: losing a game where the two opponents are evenly matched and the score has been close throughout the entire game or losing after being ahead by so much that is seems impossible to lose? To anyone who has ever played any sort of game, whether it be a board game or a sporting activity, you know how much harder it is to lose after being ahead by quite a bit.

I experienced this awful feeling when playing bocce ball with my mother-in-law last night. I can't recall a time that just the two of us have played against each other, but it seems to me that when we would play in big groups of people, Cynthia has always been better at this game than I have been. Don't get me wrong, I'm not absolutely terrible. I would describe my bocce game as being off and on. Sometimes, I play a pretty good round, but other times, I play terribly. I do believe have beaten Michael once, maybe twice, which is something I remember with great pride, but usually he beats me.

Last night, I started out excellently. I couldn't ask for a better start. Cynthia allowed me to throw first (if you don't know how to play, click here to find out more). I thought it was a nice gesture, but thought it might be a way to see if my game was on or not. Well, I proceeded to throw my best game ever, well, until I got to game point. The first person with 11 points, wins. I had 10 points, and not only was I one point away from winning, Cynthia had 0 points. I thought there was no way I could lose. Keep in mind, that I love Cynthia, and there is no bad blood between us. I was just playing so well and I thought this might be the only time I beat her. I threw the pallino for what I thought was the last time, but two things happened to keep me from winning: I had two bad throws and Cynthia had a good one. She won that round and got her first point. "Well, I'm still in the lead by a lot. I won't worry about this round", I thought to myself. The next round, Cynthia won not one, but two points, bringing the score to 10-3. Again, I told myself not to worry. I'd get her in the next round. But, I was wrong again. Cynthia won two more points. "Okay", I thought. "No more messing around". But try as I might, I couldn't get my game on. Some throws were just totally off, and others unfortunately met with some bad bounces. There were times were I got really close to the pallino and thought that the game would be over, but Cynthia would sneak her ball in and be just a little bit closer. Finally, the score was 10-9. Cynthia threw the pallino and although I got a ball kind of close, Cynthia got both of hers closer and went on the win, 11-10.

I couldn't believe it. Although I tried no to show it, I was bitterly disappointed in myself for having lost, when I was so close to winning. I am not nearly as competitive as my in-laws (well, Michael is probably the most competitive), but I do like to win as much as anyone. And being so close to tasting victory, then having it snatched away was almost more than I could bear. However, I have since since gotten over my disappointing loss and look forward to more games in the future. I commend my opponent in her well-played game and will be so bold as to ask for a rematch, in the hopes that I might have another chance at victory and this time, take full advantage of it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

More travels

Well, Annabelle and I are going on another vacation tomorrow. Poor Michael must stay behind to study and take yet another bar exam. So, in order to get some peace and quiet (and a good night's rest- I'm a terrible bed mate), he's shipping us off to the lovely Sheridan, Wyoming. Although we will miss Michael, we are glad to be visiting with grandparents. Last summer, I spent several weeks with my parents and then a couple weeks his Michael's parents while he stayed and studied for the Colorado bar exam. This summer, there is another bar exam to take, so that means more trips to the grandparents' house for the lovely Brown girls.

This parting from each other is nothing new. I've added up the number of days that Michael and I have been away from each other and it comes to quite a few. I can't even remember all of the various reasons why we were separated, but of the ones I do remember, it adds up to almost 3 months of our being apart in the last 3 years.

We're hoping that this is the last bar exam Michael will have to take. If not, maybe I can convince him to send us to Hawaii next time!

Monday, July 14, 2008


There are certain things in life that I think you can't live without, and one of those
things is friends. I was lucky enough to have several good friends
throughout my life. Some were friends for a short time, while other friendships have lasted to this day. But, all of them meant a great deal to me. My siblings and parents continue to be my good friends, as well as all of my in-laws. I happen to live and be married to my best friend, which is something for which I will always be grateful.

I was reminded of the importance and the joys of having friends around when my long-time bosom friend and her roommate came to visit me here in Rexburg. Although my friend and I have not lived near each other for several years, we were still able to joke around and laugh as we did back in high school. Her roommate that came with her was also cool and I was also glad to make a new friend. Lauran and Katie were fun and quickly gained Annabelle's approval and she wasted no time in showing off what a fun girl she is.

They took her to the park and played with her. They taught her key phrases like, "Cool, dude" and even a little Chinese. Annabelle and I were sorry to see them leave, but I wish them well on their journey.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Little miss grown-up

Everyone says that kids grow up fast. Well, I agree with them 100%. Annabelle has changed so much in 17 months, as I'm sure every baby does. As you can see from the pictures below, she looks quite different. But I think it's more than just the fact that she has hair now. Annabelle looks and acts much older than she really is. (I think Michael would contend that she doesn't act older than she is). I am with her 24/7 and I admit that she has her "baby moments", but she understands things that other kids her age don't. She is smart and shows her intelligence all the time. For example, one afternoon, she spent 30 minutes trying to figure out how to open a zip-lock bag. First, she studied the the bag and then just by trial and error, figured out what its purpose was and how to open it. She now loves to get some bags out of the drawer, open them, and fill them with something. I have also tried to start giving her piano lessons, although they never last for more than about 30 seconds. I'm trying to teach her easy things like middle C, and I have noticed that she is trying to understand what I'm teaching her. I think most kids would immediately start banging on the keys when they're put in front of a piano (which Annabelle does after our 30 second lesson). Her latest obsession is her parents' shoes. She loves to put them on and walk around in them. Then, she'll take them off and put them on our feet.

I'm anxious to see what the next several months will bring and how Annabelle's growth and development will have progressed.

My thoughts

Michael and I have been married for three years now, and when I look back at the very beginning, I realize that we didn't have very much to our name, well, other than our deep and abiding love for each other...=). Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I'm just stating how it was. We owned our bed, the tv, an old couch from Deseret Industries, an electric piano, a twin bed, a lamp, and a $5 dinky tv stand, also from D.I. We borrowed several pieces of furniture from my aunt and uncle, like a card table, metal fold-up chairs, lamps, a couple of nightstands, and a coffee table.

Now, we boast of many items that belong to us: not 1, but 2 couches, one of which is a hide-a-bed, an antique bookcase, dresser, a nice tv stand, a card table with 4 chairs, and thanks to my wonderful grandmother, we also have recently acquired a piano. Michael has even mentioned purchasing an actual dining table and matching chairs.

You may be wondering why I'm writing all this in an entry. I guess I've just had one of those days where I look back and see how far I've come in life. And not only in material possessions. I have a wonderful husband and an intelligent daughter. I have learned so much and I continue to be healthy. I have really come to appreciate the little things in life and look forward to many more years of prosperity and happiness.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

It's a bird, it's a plane..., no, it's a flying lawn chair?...

Some people wish that they could go to Europe, while others dream of being a celebrity. But one Oregon man dreamed of riding on a cloud. Sounds impossible, right? WRONG! Kent Couch fulfilled a life long dream of flying over 200 miles on a lawn chair rigged with helium balloons. Okay, so he didn't actually get to ride on a cloud, but still, he got to soar in the sky with the clouds, so it's close enough. After kissing his family goodbye, this man took off from his hometown in Oregon and flew 235 miles into Idaho, landing 9 hours later. It was his third attempt of lawn chair flying. The first two times brought him short of his goal of flying out of the state. Check out the article:

Here's a video of the flying lawn chair:

Can you imagine flying 100 to 200 feet about the ground and watching all the Independence Day festivities going on? What a way to celebrate the 4th of July. I hope everyone enjoyed the weekend and was able to take a moment and appreciate all that we enjoy as citizens of this great nation.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Little things you never forget

I had an unusual and momentary heartbreaking experience on Sunday. It all started a month and a half ago when Michael and I received a calling to be nursery leaders in our ward. At about 9:00 on a Thursday night, a member of our bishopric insisted on meeting with us that evening. That seemed fine to us until he told us he was working and wouldn't be able to come to our place until after 10:30. That seemed a little late to me, but if it was that urgent, it must have been important. So, the time came and there the three of us sat, me in my glasses and pajamas, Michael still in his suit and tie, and the member of the bishopric in a t-shirt and jeans. We had never met this man before and so after the obligatory tell-me-a-little-about-yourselves questions, we were asked if we would accept the calling to be nursery leaders. We said we would, but I don't think we realized what we had gotten ourselves into.

Our ward is huge and at the time of our call, there were 4 nurseries. Our first Sunday as nursery leaders was one I'll never forget. We had 18 kids on the roster; fortunately, only 11 of them were present. It was quite a difficult feat to keep track of 11 three year-olds, plus Annabelle, who was suffering from a little bit of jealously from all the attention I was giving the other kids.

Then, two weeks ago, we were switched to a different class and became the nursery leaders of the fifth and newest nursery class. This one is full of younger kids and there are only half as many kids on the roster. Michael and I had to switch gears a little to be able to get the kids to relate to us, as they were younger in age. During that first Sunday in the new class, the woman in charge of nursery asked if we would like to have Annabelle attend a different nursery class so we could focus more on the other kids. She is only 16 months, and the age at which kids enter the nursery is 18 months. Michael and I agreed to this and for the first time ever, I was separated from Annabelle for a full two hours of church. Needless to say, I was too busy with other children to think about our parting for too long.

Annabelle loved it! She had no problem being separated from her parents and enjoyed spending time with the other children. Last week, I understood just how much she loved nursery when her teacher brought her to me saying she had a messy diaper. As I held out my arms to my little girl, she turned and buried her face in the legs of her teacher. I have never before been rejected by my own daughter and I must say, the experience was a little unsettling at the moment. She did come to me a few seconds later and once again, we were best buds. It was feeling that lasted only seconds, but I will never forget it. I've come to realize that not only does she need attention from me, but I need attention from her as well.