Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We're having a great time today just hanging out at home. Dustin and I decided a few years ago that we were going to make Christmas all our own with just our family. So we run around to many different places before and after Christmas to celebrate with family, but today it's just us. Sweet.



It came without ribbons! It came without tags!It came without packages boxes, or bags!
And he puzzled and puzzled, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more."



Charlie Brown: (shouting in desperation) Isn't there anyone out there who can tell me what Christmas is all about?
Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you. Lights, please. [a spotlight shines on Linus] Linus Van Pelt: "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the lord shone round about them, and they were so afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not, for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you this day is born in the City of Bethlehem, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men'". That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie brown.

For Santa

Our kids, especially Miles and Linus, take great pride in the spread that we leave for Santa on Christmas Eve. This year we left Linus' decorated sugar cookies (note the excess of sprinkles... Santa LOVES these!), some apple juice (because everyone else leaves milk), a present and 2 cards. Santa answered our letter with a thank you and a promise to share the drawings with Mrs. Claus!

Rockin'



Our big splurge this year was the game Rock Band for the Xbox 360. Dustin and I were so excited for the kids to see it! They all tried it but it was a little tougher than what we had expected. Our "band" was actually booed off of the stage... and I am certain it had NOTHING to do with my singing skills! The kids slowly strayed from the game and left just Dustin and I playing. It is so much fun! I have to admit, I was rockin' on guitar playing an old Bon Jovi song. Linus said to us "You guys need to turn this music down because it's too loud." I just had to come back with "If it's too loud, you're too old!"

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Move over Jack Handy

A conversation in my house this morning:

Linus: Mom, do you know what I would do if I was walking and I saw a baby bear that was lost? I would take it home and take care of it.

Miles: Isn't that illegal because it's a wild animal?

Linus: Oh, I mean if I was walking and I saw a baby bear that was lost and I had a bowl and it was full of bear food I would put it down in front of it and watch it eat.

The fun part of Christmas

Yesterday I got to do one of my favorite things in the whole world: give the "perfect" gift. I got a bunch of the parents from Linus' class to go in on a gift certificate for his teacher. I have scrapbooked with her for a long time and absolutely love her. She loves to go to the scrap weekends but it's hard, partly because of money and partly because her husband has a busy work schudule. So, together, we collected a nice hunk of money that will pay for her weekend to scrap and then some. The awesome thing is that nobody pitched in more than $10... combining resources is definitely the way to go. When she opened it up she started to cry... she was so grateful. It was so much fun to do this because I knew how much it would mean to her. There are times that I wish that I could win the lottery just to be able to give like this to everyone I know.

Cookies!

We decorated Christmas cookies with our small group on Thursday night. Cooper and Linus were definitely the most captivated! Those two stayed at the table long after the adults and other kids had given up. Greta only finished 2 cookies... probably becase she was putting the sprinkles on one at a time! My favorite part of the night? Watching Lincoln shake the sprinkle container onto an empty plate and seeing Aiden try to snitch some frosting off of the table when no one was looking.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

another first

Today I had both Miles and Linus into the doctor... they BOTH have an ear infection. Neither one of them has ever had one so this was a first for me. This means that within the last ten days all 3 of my kids have had an ear infection! Maybe there's something in the water here..... :)

Monday, December 17, 2007

a remarkable journey

I read a book this weekend that I would never have given a second glance at if had not been for the need to fulfill a book club membership. I had to order one more book so I looked for the cheapest book possible (that would be remotely interesting) and I found that in Between Heaven and Ground Zero by Leslie Haskin. The book turned out to be an excellent choice. The author is a woman who was born into a large Baptist family and as she got older, strayed from God. She left her family and her faith behind and focused on money and success. She was working in the World Trade Center on September 11th when the terrorist attacks happened. In the book she recounts her story of survival and her setbacks with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder since, but more importantly she tells her story of how that day brought her back to her faith in God. Here are a few exerpts:

I believe that God allowed me to choose my life and then He molded the consequences of those choicesto bring me closer to Him. I chose a path that led me to the World Trade Center. He chose the road that led me out. God knew all that it would take to bring me to my knees before Him...in repentance AND in love. He knew exactly what would send me running into His open arms, and it did. I suggest to you that sometimes a quiet voice wakes us, and sometimes it takes suffering. Sometimes tragedy of unparalled proportions will turn our faces toward God and sometimes a simple song will do it. Sometimes only the enormity of falling giants can shrink our ever-growing egos enough to wake us that we might shake the world... for Him.


Our war is not with an enemy who lays wait in the mountains of Afghanistan or the deserts of Iraq. It is with an eternal enemy that knows our motivations sometimes better than we do. It is a relentless and merciless spirit, that when allowed to, controls how we make decisions, what we believe, how we live, and ultimately, how we die. It is destructive, and it comes to enslave the soul and inspire it with the love of the world, to inflame its lusts, to incite anger, to obscure the path of righteousness, and to keep us in the darkness of chaos and confusion... without hope.

But take heart, my friends-there is good news! There is Christ, our redeemer, who gives us hope. Hope that brings with it a break from old habits and a new life in Christ. Hope that delivers faith beyond stumbling and joy beyond sleepless nights and tearstained pillows. Hope that sets its sights on heavenly places, removing the sting of death, giving peace beyond terror and peace beyond fear!

It's a great story about faith and forgiveness.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

At the movies

Dustin and I went out to a movie last night to celebrate our anniversary. We decided to try the theater in St. Michael because it has the IMAX screen. Dustin wanted to see I Am Legend with Will Smith and because that was playing on the IMAX screen, we saw it. I am not normally a Will Smith fan but I have to say, he was pretty good in this movie. The movie itself was good... not great... but it had some great suspenseful spots where I almost peed my pants! The imagery was awesome... I think it was a great movie to see on such a large screen. One side note... the tickets for this movie were $12 each...EACH!... and we were at the 4:00 showing! I'm either getting too old or too cheap...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

To the one I love...

Happy anniversary babe! Thanks for loving me, making me laugh like no other, and for being such a strong husband and father. I love you!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Cheap date



In school, Linus was asked what he wanted for Christmas. The teacher then types up the response and cuts the sentence apart for him to put back together. You can imagine what most kids say: "A puppy, a Gameboy, a cell phone..." Well, not my kid. At the Brown household we live large... Linus asked for "a bunch of Dr. Thunder." When he came home today I found a can of Dr. Thunder with a note attached in his backpack (from his teacher.) I've known his teacher for years so I really got a kick out of it. Aparently so did she!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

ElfYourself

Click here for a Brown family Christmas greeting!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sign of the apocalypse?

The end of the world? Maybe not, but if you see people wearing these you may wish it was.

Monday, December 10, 2007

not again!

I had to bring Greta into Urgent Care on Saturday night because of an ear infection. She had a fever all day and in the early evening she told me her ear was "wet." I looked at her ear to find goo coming out of it. The doctor said there was too much drainage to see the ear drum so he wasn't sure if it was perferated. She's on Amoxicillin now... let's just hope that her ear clears up so that we don't have to even think about the possibility of tubes again!

on stage virgin

Well, I made it through my first "on stage" apperance at church. Thank goodness it was a short skit, my memory is not as good as it once was. Surprisingly, I wasn't very nervous... just had a few butterflies right before we went on!

Friday, December 07, 2007

December 7, 1991

Today is the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, but it's also the anniversary of one of the oddest days in my life. In 1991, when I was still in high school, the house next door to my parents' exploded. Thankfully there was no one there because the family had moved and was in the process of trying to sell the home (I'm pretty sure there was a long investigation into that.)

I was inside our house when I heard an unbelieveably loud noise and the whole house shook. I ran outside and saw flames next door taller than the fully grown trees. It took the firefighters hours to get the blaze under control. The next morning, when we could see everything in daylight, we couldn't believe our eyes. Part of the neighbor's roof had landed on my brother's car. There were curtains up in the trees. There was a shard of wood that had been thrown so forcibly from the explosion that it was wedged into the telephone pole. There was broken glass EVERYWHERE. My parent's garage was blown off of it's foundation. It was just unbelievable.

I've got to dig through my old photos and see if I can find any of the aftermath.

Greta's 1st haircut


Greta had her first haircut today... at 3 1/2 years old! It was hard to say goodbye to that long hair but it was getting pretty scraggly. She was such a good girl!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Alive and kicking

Dustin's grandma is still in critical condition but is improving every day. The surgeon told Dustin's mom that someone else was "guiding his hand" during surgery... he couldn't believe that she made it through and is doing as well as she is considering a week ago they had all but written her off. Thanks again for all of the prayers!

In other news, Dustin's grandpa (his mom's dad... but grandma and grandpa are divorced) is struggling with his health. He had a stroke several years ago and his health has been slowly declining ever since. Early this week he had a fall and ended up in the ER. The doctor told him that he can't live at home anymore because he needs too much help to function. Grandpa and his wife, Marlys, had known this was coming. Marlys is in good shape for her age but she just can't take care of grandpa anymore. So, Grandpa is in the process of moving into an assisted living center. He is very sad about this... he just wants to be home. Marlys is also very lonely at home by herself. Dustin and I are planning to take the kids to visit them sometime in the next week or two. Please keep them in your prayers.

Meals on Wheels

I braved the snow on Tuesday and volunteered for Meals on Wheels. Other than the weather it was a pretty cool experience. I would have liked to have been able to stay and chat a little with a few of the recipiants but time does not allow for that. I was a bit behind schedule because of the weather (and because the maps were not altogether clear and had old routes highlighted) but most of the people were very understanding... and very happy to have a hot meal. Jesse signed our small group up to do it later this month so I hope I get to see a few of the familiar faces again!

the game of memory

Memory is a crazy thing. I have to strain to think of what we ate for supper last night or what clothes my boys put on this morning for school. I can, however, still name the 50 states in alphabetical order from a grade school song I learned in music class. I started thinking about this because of another song (from a grade school concert) I started singing today as I was cleaning in the kitchen...

Santa Claus, Santa Claus
You are much too fat
I was sleeping peacefully
But now my bed is flat

Santa Claus, Santa Claus
How much do you weigh?
I'm glad I'm not a reindeer
That has to pull your sleigh

Can you imagine if a teacher tried to have kids sing that at a "holiday" concert today?