Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween carnival

Last night, our ward had a Halloween carnival. People brought in chili, made homemade root beer, and had all sorts of activities, such as a cupcake walk, a fishing game, pin the nose on the pumpkin, and so forth. Originally, I wasn't planning on Annabelle or me dressing up. I didn't buy or make a costume for either of us. I figure there's plenty of time in the future to dress up Annabelle and future kids. But then, as I was looking in Annabelle's closet for something for her to wear for the day, I saw a ballerina outfit that mom found for Annabelle this summer. Perfect, I had a costume for Annabelle. Then, I thought of something else. One of my freshman roommates from college would sometimes put a water bottle on top of her head and tie her hair around it so her hair would be sticking straight up. I decided I would do that to my hair. I didn't have a costume, but that didn't mean I couldn't do something crazy for this carnival.

I put Annabelle's tutu on and then managed to put her hair in two little buns. It was way cute. Then, I did my hair and we went out to the car to make our way to the church. Well, the problem was my hair was so tall that I couldn't sit in the car. I couldn't even tilt my head enough to feel like I could drive safely. Thankfully, it's a very easy thing to do. I undid my hair and redid it once I got to my destination.

When we walked in the gym, Annabelle was delighted to find that every single table had tons of candy corns on each one. She had a blast going around to every table and taking a few pieces of candy. We also went fishing, threw some bean bags in a huge cardboard pumpkin with holes cut out for his eyes, nose, and mouth, got a cupcake from the cupcake walk,and played pin the nose on the pumpkin. It was so much fun. In between all that, I stood in line for about 30 minutes to get some chili for the family, while Michael chased Annabelle around.

It came as quite a surprise when my name was read as a winner for craziest hair. At that time, I had taken my hair out due to the headache it was causing. But to please the crowd, I redid it and everyone loved it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A bunch of videos

In the last few days, we've captured some pretty cute videos of Annabelle and so this post is all about those videos. The first one doesn't come close to what happened before I got the camera. I walked into the kitchen and Annabelle was doing the splits, I mean the full-out splits. She probably didn't have the greatest form, but it was so funny to see that I had to try and get it on video. This video doesn't show her doing very much in terms of the splits, but it's still a cute video.

One of Annabelle's newest tricks is doing summersaults. She still has some trouble pushing herself over, but she's working on it.

We have found a new game that Annabelle loves- ring around the rosie. If we do it once, we then have to keep doing it over and over. Usually we do it all together, but we needed someone to videotape. So there are two ring around the rosie videos- one of Annabelle and Michael and one of Annabelle and me.

Here is a picture of Annabelle watching her new favorite movie, Ratatouille. Nothing can distract her from her "show", as she calls it.

Another thing she loves to do is put her hands in her pockets. She thinks the pockets are just the coolest things. Sometimes, she shoves her hands so hard in her pockets that she pulls her pants down. Then she gets upset because she can't figure out how to put her hands back in her pockets when her pants are sitting around her ankles.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Carving a pumpkin

Saturday was a busy day for us. In the morning, Michael and Annabelle went to the store to pick up a carving pumpkin while I had some church business to take care of. They returned with a huge 18 1/2 pound pumpkin. I was hoping that they would get two or three, one to represent each member of the family, but all the pumpkins at the store were that big or bigger, so we just have the one.
We had a good time scooping out the insides. Annabelle was too nervous to put her hand in the pumpkin at first, but then she decided it wasn't too bad. She also decided she had to try some of the pumpkin innards. She really liked it too. She kept eating it until I realized that she would eat the whole piece unless I stopped her. It was very fun and good family time.

Then, Annabelle took her nap while Michael and I enjoyed watching a BYU victory over New Mexico. Later that evening, after we all played outside in the gorgeous, unusual October weather, Michael and I went to Idaho Falls and took out some friends to dinner, while a friend watched Annabelle. They had a great time playing outside, playing Candyland, watching Celtic Woman and Ratatouille, and eating pizza.

Here are some pictures of her cute outfit that she wore to church today. The skirt is something I wore when I was Annabelle's age.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Celtic Woman

My mom introduced Celtic Woman to Annabelle and me last summer and the Celtic Woman dvd: A New Journey has become Annabelle's favorite thing to watch. She watches it so intently that many times, I put it on for her while I shower, just so I know she isn't getting into anything she shouldn't be. We also have a cd that include some of the songs from the dvd, but also a few new ones. Yesterday, Annabelle and I were playing Candy Land and I put the cd on just for some background music. When it got to one of Annabelle's favorite songs from the dvd, called Orinoco Flow, Annabelle paused what she was doing, listened for a minute, and upon recognizing the tune said, "Sail away". Now you must understand, I like to sing the song with her whenever it comes on and the chorus goes sail away, sail away, sail away. I have never said those two words to her other than when I sing them. I have never called the song sail away. But without any prompting from me, I mean the singers hadn't even started singing yet, Annabelle knew what song it was within seconds of it beginning and said loudly and clearly, "Sail away!". Of course, she won't do it for the camera, but we demonstrated this acknowledgment for Michael when he got home from work and once again, as soon as the song started, she told us what song it was. Click here to watch the song as seen on the dvd. Man, Annabelle is so smart and understands so much.

As a side note, when I was searching for the video of Orinoco Flow for my blog, I came across another video that I found fun to watch. It's called Celtic Dueling Violins and it features the violinist from Celtic Woman, Mairead Nesbitt.

A gorgeous arrangement of flowers came for me today.

Thank you, Mom, Dad, and Amber. They came at the exact time I needed them.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hand Spiders

I have been meaning to make these homemade spiders with Annabelle well before Halloween and send them to her grandparents, but for whatever reason, I haven't had a chance to make them until yesterday. I hope they get to their destination in time.

They are very simple to make. Paint your hand black minus the thumb and make a hand print on a piece of paper. Then, turn your hand around and make another print on top of the first print. Paint eyes and mouth and you're done. Here are our spiders.

Annabelle was so exited to have her hand painted that she couldn't keep her fingers still. When I put her hand on the paper, she started moving here fingers back and forth. So, the legs on her spider are a little funny looking. She then got the brilliant idea to rub her blackened hand all over her face and hair and anything else she could touch before I stopped her. I wanted to get a picture, but there was no way I was going to leave her alone for even a second while I went to get the camera. It was pretty funny to watch, but created quite a bit to cleanup.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New arrivals

Michael has a cousin that lives in Rexburg with her husband. She and Michael aren't in the same age group, so they really didn't have a lot to do with each other when they were younger. She does, however, happen to be my age and we have become good friends. She has been over several times to babysit Annabelle or just to hang out with us during the day. She is pregnant, due in only a matter of weeks. My sister is due the same time, and my sister in law is due in December. I have been thinking a lot about these close friends or siblings of mine that are so far along in their pregnancies. It will be the first child for each of them and I have no doubt that they will be great mothers.

I enjoy planning and hosting parties or get-togethers and decided (after getting permission from the mother-to-be) to throw a shower for my friend here. Yesterday she came over, and while Annabelle took a nap, we made her shower invitations. I should have taken a picture of them, but I didn't. They turned out very cute and I was happy with our work. The shower will take place next week, and we're hoping that my friend doesn't go into labor early.

I would love to throw a shower for my sister and sister-in-law, but they live in the East coast. So, I'm glad I have someone whom I can help celebrate this special occasion. I want my good friend here in Rexburg, my sister, and sister-in-law to know that I am so happy for them and I wish them luck with the rest of pregnancy, delivery, and parenthood. I can't wait to meet the new arrivals, whenever they choose to get here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lunch with Michael and the Kiwanis Club

Michael is a member if the Rexburg Kiwanis club. They meet every Tuesday for lunch at a local Chinese restaurant. Today, I had the opportunity to attend the luncheon for the first time. Every week, the club invites a special guest speaker. These guests range from local business owners to superintendents to scholars. Today's guest speaker was, in my opinion, the best one they've had since we moved here: Michael W. Brown, esquire. Yes, Michael and another attorney from the law firm were invited to be the guest speakers. They were invited to tell a little about themselves in order for the other members of the club get to know them better and also talk a little bit about their law firm.

Michael was first to speak and captured the group's attention with the suspenseful story of how we got together, more specifically the wisdom tooth episode (if you're not familiar with this harrowing experience, let me know. It's a good one). He then spoke about our small family and a short history of how we got where we are. He spoke some about the law firm and closed with the unbelievable and incredible story of while serving a mission in Russia, he was accused of being a CIA spy and was deported out of the country 6 weeks prior to his release date.

After words, he was detained by several people wanting to know more about him and his experiences. I was also stopped as people told me what a wonderful guy I was married to and I have to agree with them. I am very lucky to have Michael as a husband and appreciate all the hard work he does to support our family and keep us happy. What a great way to spend the lunch hour: eating free, delicious Chinese food with your husband as he talks about his great family. Life doesn't get any better than that.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Crafty Saturday

This morning, I attended a Relief Society activity entitled "Home for the Holidays". It had a bunch of classes on getting ready for the holidays and several crafts to make. I participated in three different crafts. The most difficult one was a hair bow assembly class. I learned how to make hair bows and surprisingly, it is really cheap, much cheaper than buying them, which I don't really do but oh well. Here is a picture of my successful creation.

And here it is being employed.

My second craft was actual very simple. I just stuck vinyl lettering on a plate. I know, how domestic and impressive of me.

The last class I signed up for was gingerbread making and decorating class. That was interesting. The woman teaching the class and her family make incredible houses every year and she showed us some pictures. It was amazing what her kids could do. She gave us decorating tips and several different patterns to make different kinds of houses. I'm pretty excited to try out her ideas this year.

I also signed up to bring caramel rolls for lunch, but I had to have Michael put them in the oven, take them out, and bring them to me. He did a great job. The rolls were a hit and were gone within minutes of lunch being served. Thank you, Michael.

Annabelle managed to survive from 10 until 12:30 in the nursery without any major catastrophe, with the exception of her setting marker everywhere on herself.

Here's an unrelated sidenote: As of this moment, Annabelle can now open the doors in our house. She used to only be able to jiggle them but not open them. Now, she knows what to do. Thank goodness for the ability to lock doors in order to get some privacy.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Playing with Balloons

Last week, I took Annabelle to the library. On this particular day, the library had balloons hung up all over and the librarians were giving them to the kids. Annabelle found one on the ground and we were given permission to take it with us. When we got home, Annabelle couldn't stop playing with it. When she ate lunch, she wanted the balloon right next to her. When she went down for a nap, she had to be able to see the balloon, and after she got up, she never let it go. I thought it would be fun to play soccer with it, but the first time I kicked it, it popped. Annabelle couldn't understand what happened to her new toy. Once she realized it wouldn't inflate again, she was pretty upset. I promised her that I would get her a new balloon the next time we went to the store, which I did.

Today, I blew up one of the balloons and it has been a hit. There are so many ways to play with a balloon.

Hard-working husband

Sometimes, Michael comes home from work so tired and exhausted, I wonder what he's been doing all day, running marathons? Yesterday was one of those days for him, I think. He got home later than usual, at about 7:15. Annabelle and I had already eaten dinner and were playing when he arrived. He then announced that he was tired and had not eaten a thing all day. Usually, I make Michael a lunch everyday or sometimes eats out with members of the law firm. Yesterday, the phone was ringing off the hook and Michael was so busy that he didn't have time to stop and eat lunch. He almost finished a 13x9 inch pan of chicken casserole. I think he would have had he not been so tired. He ate dinner, watched the rest of the Phillies game (the Phillies are his favorite team and THEY ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES!), then turned off the tv, and almost promptly fell asleep on the couch. I managed to read the scriptures and have a prayer while he was somewhat conscious, although his "amen" was several seconds after the prayer was finished, and then he was gone til morning. I couldn't believe it. Michael Brown had gone to bed earlier than me. This phenomenon hasn't happened in years.

Michael is very good at his job and wants to keep every one of his clients satisfied, but that puts a lot of stress on him. I'm so grateful that he is willing to work hard to support his family. He knows that I'm not a fan of his staying late at work, but sometimes that is inevitable. This morning, he got up early in order to get to work before the office opened and the phones started ringing. Hopefully, this will allow him to get more done and keep his day low-key and stress free.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Couch video

Here's a great video of Annabelle.

Couch turned trampoline

One of the things we would like to purchase once we have the funds to do so and the space to put it is a trampoline. Annabelle has been on one several times and loves them. So since we don't own one, we had to come up with an alternative and this was our (more like Michael's) solution:

We removed the cushions from our couch and stacked them on top of each other, then arranged the pillows on top of them and then threw a blanket over the soft mound. That left a bare, very bouncy couch where Annabelle could run, jump, bounce, sit, or whatever she pleased. Sometimes, she would fall onto the cushion mountain or Michael would throw her on it. She loved it and had a blast. It was pretty fun to watch as well.

This is just a cute picture of Annabelle.

A really cute video of her playing on the couch will be posted soon.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sorry, two posts in one day, but this one is really good!

When looking at this picture, I’m sure you’re thinking that there’s got to be a good story to go with it, right? Well, there is.

Annabelle has not had a blowout in many, many months. For those of you who don’t know what a blowout is, it’s a messy diaper that leaks out of the diaper and onto the baby's back, legs, clothes, you name it. Since this has not happened in a while, I have stopped packing an extra pair of clothes for Annabelle whenever we go out.

Now let me set the stage for today’s drama. While in Boise, ID a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time at the mall while Michael was attending a CLE. I was in Mervyn’s looking to take advantage of their store-wide sale due to the store's closing. I found the cutest little girl's dress that I eventually bought. I was so excited for Annabelle to wear it to church along with her new, shiny Mary Jane shoes. Since last week was General Conference, today was the day for her to be adored in her new outfit. It’s a short sleeve dress, so I brought a sweater along just in case it was cold at church.

As usual, I dropped her off at nursery, and went off to my class. Right at the end of the class, someone brought Annabelle in to me saying that she had a mess all up her back. I quickly peeked under her dress and almost let out a yelp. 'This is going to be a bad one', I thought to myself. I walked with her to the mother's room, hoping that no one else was in there. Thankfully, we had the room to ourselves. Upon a second, more detailed inspection, I saw that Annabelle's pretty, new dress was covered in you know what as were her tights. Very carefully so as to keep the rest of her body free from the mess, I removed her shoes, stockings, and the dress. I won't go into the process of getting her cleaned up; needless to say, it took a long time and was very difficult. Once she had a clean diaper on, I realized that I couldn't put any of the clothes back on her, but I didn't bring anything else for her to wear. We had one hour left of church and I was supposed to help out in my next class so I couldn't take Annabelle home for a change of clothes. Then, I remembered that I had brought a sweater for her in case it was cold. I put that on her along with her shiny black shoes and decided that would have to do. As I walked down the hall to Annabelle's class, I got many different looks from those I passed, looks of embarrassment, understanding, humor, etc. I thought the whole situation was hilarious and that Annabelle looked adorable with her healthy, fat thighs. Once in her class, I tied her blanket around her waist to act as a skirt and then I left. I don't know how long the blanket stayed in place, but when I went to pick her up at the end of church, it was on the floor and Annabelle was there showing off her sexy baby legs.

What a stunning babe!

Doesn't she look like a supermodel?

Feeding the ducks

Well, the quick trip to Provo was a success. I woke up early this morning when Michael came into our room after returning from the game. We won, although I was a little disappointed that we didn't win by more points. Annabelle and I had a blast together. Even though it was cold, windy, and raining/snowing a little bit, after her nap, I took her to the duck pond. It's a park with lots of little trails that loop around a several large ponds, a playground, and you guessed, lots and lots of ducks. Last week after conference, we went and fed the ducks, but I didn't bring enough food because I ran out within minutes. People come and feed the ducks all the time and they are not afraid of humans at all. Annabelle and I stood on a bench and I threw pieces of bread and old crackers to them. I tried to have Annabelle feed them, but she would always take the food I gave her for the ducks and eat it herself. But, I actually prefer that she not feed the ducks. She was barely high off the ground that the ducks couldn't reach up and bite the food out of her hand. One duck even had the nerve to bite my shoe several times if he went a while without getting any food. Annabelle and I were freezing, but we still had a good time. She was fascinated watching the ducks, listening to them quack, and seeing them fight each other for food. I was nervous that she would lose her balance and fall onto the group of food-crazy ducks. So, I held onto her with one hand and tried to tear pieces of food and throw it to the ducks with the other. It was quite difficult. Here are some pictures and a video. The video is kind of shaky because I was trying to hold the camera, hold on to Annabelle so she wouldn't fall, and grind up the crackers for the ducks.

It's a good thing we went yesterday. I was thinking that we could go as a family today after church, but that probably won't happen since there's snow on the ground and it's 26 degrees. Several years from now, snow in October won't be big deal. But I've never lived in a place where there's been snow this early in the year! (Well, that's technically not true since I was born in Alaska and it snows there probably even earlier, but come on. I don't remember anything. I was two years old when we moved.) Oh well. Since this is where we plan on living for a long time, I supposed I'll just have to get used to it.

PS I see now that we haven't had it nearly as bad as other cities, but still, I'm not used to this.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Weather problems

It's hard to believe, but the time has come. We turned on our heater. We were able to go all summer without turning on the AC, but when I woke up yesterday morning and saw that it was 59 degrees in our house, we determined we couldn't put it off any longer. The cold weather seemed to come out of nowhere. It had been a little chilly lately, but it seemed like we would have temperatures in the 50's for a while. Instead, this week we suddenly dipped into the 30's and today, we got our first snow shower. It wasn't much and didn't stick to the ground, but it's still frigid outside. Right now, shows Rexburg's temperature at 44, but feels like 35 with 25 mph winds. Tomorrow's high is predicted to be 35 degrees. Crazy, huh?

Speaking of unexpected, we've had a few unexpected things happen this week, one of them being some unpleasant news. But one of the happier surprises was the sudden availability of tickets to the BYU/New Mexico football game today. There were two tickets for Michael and me, but after much debate, I persuaded Michael to go to the game with the owner of the tickets, a fellow attorney at his office, while I stayed home with Annabelle. It would have been a very quick trip, with us leaving this morning and driving right back after the game. Annabelle is not big fan of long car trips and this would have been a day of about 10 hours in the car. Plus, the game is at 4 this afternoon, and we would have had to take her with us to the game. It's supposed to be chilly in Provo and it would have put Annabelle up past her bedtime. So, the girls are staying home today and so far, we are having a blast together, while Michael has some "guy time" at the game.

"Rise and shout, the Courgars are out!"

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fort video

Finally, it's ready. Here's a video of the homemade Brown Fort, complete with a grand tour. It's pretty luxurious. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 9, 2008


It's starting to get almost too chilly to go outside, so I'm trying to think of as many things Annabelle and I can do inside because once the snow comes and it's really cold, we won't be able to play outside which is her favorite thing to do. One idea that I've come up with is building a fort. So, yesterday afternoon, I tried it out. I found four large blankets and spent more than an hour trying to figure out to get the blankets to stay up before Annabelle trounced all over them and pulled them down. It was quite a difficult feat, but 72 minutes, 4 chairs, and a card table later, I finally got one finished.

I tried to get Annabelle to go under, but all she wanted to do was try to step on top of the blankets. Once I was under, she would eventually follow, but there was hardly any room with all of the chairs and table and the blankets weren't even high enough off the ground that I could sit up. Obviously, that made it pretty hard to play in there. I left it up for Michael to see after he got home from work, but Annabelle and I didn't really play in it too much. Mostly, I would sit on one side of the fort and roll a ball underneath it to the other side where Annabelle was waiting for it. I don't think she is old enough to understand what a fort is and what you're supposed to do under it, but it was still fun making it and it did take up most of the afternoon so maybe I'll keep this idea around during wintertime.
I made a video of the fort, but it's taking forever to upload, so I'll post it later.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A nice surprise...

It's become routine for Michael and Annabelle to take a walk together and get the mail when he comes home from work. Usually, there is nothing of interest. Mail addressed to me consists primarily of credit card offers and clothing catalogs of stores where I don't shop. Imagine my surprise when Annabelle walked in the door carrying a letter addressed to me from one of my best friends. I eagerly opened it after dinner to find several puzzle pieces with writing on the back of them. I put the puzzle together to see a wonderful note from one of my best friends along with an awesome picture on the back. My mom used to (and still does) make similar puzzles and I always loved getting them. IT was especially nice to get one from my friend. Since we graduated from high school and went to different colleges, we have not been able to see each other very often. This little gesture reminds me how important it is to keep good relationships with friends and family. Thank you, L.M.

The message is covered up with kleenex.

On another note, Annabelle had a very traumatic day today. She got a Hepatitis shot as well as a flu shot. She and I went to the store this morning and I decided to get a little treat for her to have right after the shots to make things a little better. I'm happy that this little distraction worked because she was very upset when she was forced to lie down on the table have these shots. She has since recovered and I don't even think she remembers what happened. Here are some random pictures of her taken his weekend during General Conference (we were paying attention, I promise).