Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Muffins for Mom

Parker and Eden LOVE the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie children's book series by Laura Num.eroff.  They love them so much that I may or may not have hidden them in the closet because I was so tired of reading ALL of them EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. 

Last week, Parker and Eden's preschool had Muffins for Moms and Eden's teacher gave us the following poem based on the Laura Num.eroff books.  I'm pretty sure the author of this poem was peeking in my windows as she wrote this!  I hope all of you moms of toddlers enjoy it as much as I did!

If You Give a Mom a Muffin
Written by Kathy Fictorie
(Based on If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Num.eroff)

If you give a mom a muffin, she'll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
She'll pour herself some.
The coffee will get spilled by her three year old.
She'll wipe it up.

Wiping the floor, she will find some dirty socks.
She'll remember she has to do some laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer,
she'll trip over some snow boots and bump into the freezer.

Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan supper for tonight.
She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She'll look for her cookbook (101 Things to Make with a Pound of Hamburger).
The cookbook will be sitting under a pile of mail.

She will see the phone bill which is due tomorrow.
She will look for the checkbook.
The checkbook is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two year old. 
She'll smell something funny.

She'll change the two year old.
While she is changing the two year old, the phone will ring. (Of course!)
Her five year old will answer it and hang up.
She remembers that she wants to phone a friend to come over for coffee on Friday.

Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.
She will pour herself some.
And chances are, if she has a cup of coffee,
Her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pure Sweetness

I rarely go into check on the kids after we put them to bed...call me lazy... but for some reason I decided to go check on each of them tonight.  This is what I found when I went into Lily's room.  So stinkin' sweet! 
Lily has become VERY interested in baby dolls over the past few months, which is quite different from Eden who rarely plays with them.  You can often find Lily walking around the house with one under her left arm.  She loves to hold them, rock them, kiss them, hug them, and feed them bottles.  Her newest thing is to put them in her baby doll stroller and take them for a "walk" around the living room.  It is just so sweet to see how nurturing she already is with her babies.

A couple of months ago, I started letting her sleep with one of her babies in her crib every night. She looks for it at night before I put her in the crib and then wants it as soon as I wake her up in the morning.  I have a feeling that the baby doll bed and highchair that are collecting dust at the end of Eden's bed will soon find a new home in Lily's room.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Day at the Zoo

What's the best thing to do on a Sunday morning in January when the temperatures are in the mid 70s?  A family trip to the zoo, of course!  Lily has never been to the zoo with us so we were excited to see how she would react to all the animals. 
Eden told me before we left this morning that she wanted 10 monkeys to ride on her back at the zoo.  Unfortunately, this is as close as she got to that dream!
The weather was perfect so all of the animals were out and about.  One of the rhinos was playing with a ball and the monkeys were swinging and chasing each other.  The only animal we didn't see was the lion who was napping behind some rocks.
Lily wasn't quite sure what to think about the monkeys but enjoyed watching the meerkats.
The white tiger was another favorite of both Parker and Lily.  Eden got a little scared when she saw how close we were to the tiger.
After eating the yummy picnic lunch that we brought, we headed over to feed the birds, which is always one of the kid's favorites things to do every time we go.
I couldn't wait to see how Lily would react to the birds and she loved it.  She smiled, laughed and tried to touch every bird that we were feeding.
After feeding the birds, we tried to ride the carousel but it was closed for renovations.  At this point, the kids were starting to get REALLY tired and cranky so we decided to call it a day.  Overall, it was a great trip!  We could not have asked for better weather and were so glad to get to enjoy some special family time together.

15 Months

You are 15 months old today!  I don't usually do monthly posts after your first birthday but you have changed so much in the last three months and there are several things that I just don't want to forget. 

-The biggest thing that has changed about you since your birthday is how much you are talking.  Parker and Eden did not talk until after they turned 2, so it has been AMAZING to me to watch you start talking so early.  I pretty much think you are the most brilliant baby ever!!  In reality, you are very on track with your speech development...we are just not used to that around here!!  The words you can now say are: mommy, daddy, nana (banana), thank you, down, ball, book, belly button, Parker, baby, bye-bye, no, uh-huh (for yes), I want down, I want some, uh-oh, and cheese (when we are taking your picture).  You can also mimic many other things that we say but do not use them spontaneously yet. 
-You are still a big girl.  You are wearing 18 month clothes but will probably move into 24 months by the end of winter.  You will be moving into size 6 diapers as soon as I finish this box of size 5.
-You have started sleeping with two blankets and a doll.  You love to rock your baby dolls and give them hugs and kisses.
-Shh...don't tell the pediatrician, but when you go with me to run errands in town, I sometimes let you ride in Eden's front facing carseat.  You love being able to look around and hate when I put you back in your rear facing carseat. 
-You are such a momma's girl and want to be held all of the time.  You have also started becoming very jealous of anyone else who gets to be held by me...especially your sister.  You either cry hysterically when I am holding her or insist that I hold you too.
-You LOVE books!  You are constantly bringing me books to read to you.  You always want to sit in my lap while we read and have the funniest way of backing into my lap as we get ready to read.  Your favorite book right now is Where is Spot?.  I think I have read it at least 8,354 times in the past few days!
-You love to eat!  I feel like you graze all day long and if you are missing, I can usually find you in the pantry.  We finally had to move the chips to a higher shelf because you were constantly helping yourself to the Cheetos, Fritos, and SunChips.  Your favorite foods are fruits (especially pears and oranges) and sweet potatoes.  You are not a huge fan of meat or cheese.

-You are starting to give up your morning nap and will usually sleep for about an hour and a half in the afternoon.  You still cry when I put you down for a nap...I guess you are worried that you might miss out on something fun!

You are so precious, Lily!  You make me smile every day and it is such a joy to be your mom! 
I love you to the moon and back, Mommy

Friday, January 20, 2012

This and That

Nothing much has been going on around here lately. Just lots of playing and enjoying this unseasonably warm January weather.   The kids have really enjoyed their new four wheeler that they got for Christmas.  Due to there being only one four wheeler, we are really working on sharing and taking turns, which are both very hard concepts for preschoolers to completely embrace.  In other words, an afternoon with the four wheeler is fun when it's your turn, but not-so-fun when it's not!  I can't tell you the number of times I've heard the following phrases lately:  "Mommy, when is it my turn?", "Mommy, how much longer does he/she have before it's my turn?", and the ever so popular "Mommy, tell Eden/Parker that she/he only has one more minute and then it's my turn.".  It's enough to drive a mommy crazy!!
A few nights ago at dinner, Parker noticed that Lily had some food stuck to her cheek.  He thought it was so funny and insisted that I get a picture of her.  Apparently he doesn't realize that she has food stuck to her face after every meal!
Lily is in a very fun I-want-mommy-to-hold-me-all-day-long stage.  This is my view when I am not holding her:
She is also in an I-get-very-jealous-when-mommy-holds-anyone-other-than-me stage.  Anytime she sees Eden sitting in my lap, there are lots and lots and lots of tears.

Speaking of tears, Eden is still in her I-am-going-to-cry-whenever-a-camera-is-pointed-at-me stage.  I tried to get a cute picture of the girls in their coordinating ladybug dresses before church on Sunday, but Eden wanted nothing to do with it.
These superhero costumes I got for 75% off after Halloween are definitely some of my best purchases recently.  Don't even think about putting me in harm's way...Spider-Man and SuperEden will always come to their mommy's rescue!  (I don't know how Cory got Eden to smile in this picture... I'm completely jealous of his photography skills!) 
 Enjoy your weekend!  We definitely plan on spending lots of time outside the next couple of days!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I usually do not choose to blog about MS and the effects it has on our daily lives/marriage/parenting/work/spirituality because I created this blog as a journal for my kids.  I want them to be able to look back on their younger years and be able to remember the things that they probably won't remember on their own.  I do not want this journal to be filled with memories of tough times or unpleasant things, so I try to keep things positive on my blog.  I also don't feel that a blog should be a way to air your family's dirty laundry.  Some private things should be kept private.  On the other hand, I don't want my kids to look back and think that our lives were perfect.  We have our ups and downs just like all families.

I am not sure why I wanted to write a little about MS tonight. I don't usually let people peek into this window of our lives.  It is not something we discuss with our kids yet either, although I know there will be a time when it will be inevitable.  They know that daddy goes once a month to the doctor to get some medicine, but that is about all they know at this point.  Cory's symptoms are not noticeable to them yet and we have kind of taken a "we'll cross that bridge when we get to it" approach with them.  Our counselor has already started sharing a few small ideas on how we can talk to them about it and I'm sure we will figure out more when the time comes. 

Tonight as I write in my kids' "journal", I want them to know not about the hardships of MS (and there are many), but about how courageous their daddy is.  He rarely complains.  He doesn't want sympathy. He does not give in to some of the limitations MS tries to put on him.  He faces MS with a courage that I wish I had.  There are many days when I am ready to throw in the towel and I am not even the one fighting this disease.  Only he knows the daily frustrations of living in a body that has been changed by disease.  Only he knows what it is like to feel like a 76 year old trapped inside a 36 year old body. 

This MS journey has been hard and I know that it is only going to get harder.  I know that many people who face similar hardships reach a point where they see their disease as a blessing, but if I am being completely honest, I am not there yet, and am not sure that I will ever be.  Even if I never reach that point, I know that through this journey and by his example, my kids will learn about how to live with courage and how to face trials with courage.  What a wonderful life lesson he is teaching them!

Joshua 1:9- "This is my command- be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid or discouraged.  For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."        

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Eden has grown leaps and bounds with her speech this past year. It's hard to believe that this time last year she still only had a few words that she could say consistently. It has been so fun to watch her language emerge and I love listening to her talk.  Here are a few of our latest Edenisms:

-"Look, Mommy- the moon!  It's turned on!"

-"I want Funnies." (referring to Smarties candies)

-"I wanna pick up you." (I want you to pick me up.)

-Daddy- "Eden, can you say 'pumpkin' in Spanish?"
 Eden- "Yes, pumpkin in Spanish."

-Unlike Parker, Eden is much more ladylike with her bodily functions.  Instead of announcing to everyone that she tooted, she will politely say, "I dot dass." (I got gas).

-Eden is very interested in who in our family is a boy and who is a girl.  She knows that she is a girl and when asked what her name is, will always answer Eden Catherine Girl.

-Eden's newest thing to do (and she did it A LOT over the holidays!) is to say,
"Mommy, close your eyes." (pause)
"No peetin' (peeking)!" (pause again)
"Open your eyes!"

-Eden has the sweetest little voice.  We call her our little mouse!  It is very different from her loud brother and sister.  Unfortunately, it is sometimes so quiet that we can't understand what she is trying to tell us, especially if she mumbles.  One day, I stopped by Chicken Express to get a drink and Eden started mumbling quietly in the backseat.  I asked her several times to repeat herself and still had no idea what she was trying to say.  Finally, I told her that she needed to use her loud voice and from the backseat she yelled, "I WANT FRENCH FRIES!!!!!".  She did not get french fries but she definitely got her point across!
And one Parkerism to leave you with:
Eden loves to mimic Parker and he absolutely hates it!  Every time she starts it, he says, "Eden, stop 'copycatching' me."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

20 Years

Twenty years ago today a cute upper classman asked me to be his girlfriend. 
6 1/2 years of dating and 13 1/2 years of marriage later, I am still so very glad I said "yes"!

Thank you Cory for 20 great years.  I don't know how you've put up with me that long, but I sure am glad you have!  I love you very much!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Silly Girls

Lily has learned how to climb into the dryer all by herself. And Cory wonders why I can't get anything done around the house during the day!!
Eden loves to make a "house" out of my pillows while she is watching videos during rest time every day. I have finally given up trying to keep my bed looking neat.  There will be plenty of years down the road to have a nicely made bed.  Right now, it's more fun to be a princess in a pillow house!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2012!

It's hard to believe another year has come and gone.  They seem to get faster and faster the older I get.

2011 was a good year in the Brown household.  We have a lot to be thankful for- no MS relapses this year for Cory, a new MS treatment that seems to be slowing down Cory's MS progression, three beautiful, healthy kids that bring us so much joy, stable jobs that we are so grateful for, and an incredible extended family that is always there for us, through all the ups and downs.

Although Cory did not have any MS relapses this year, we really struggled with how to find a place for MS in our marriage.  MS became more of a threat to our marriage this year than it ever has since Cory was diagnosed 8 years ago.  We finally decided about 5 months ago that MS was not going away and that we needed some help figuring out how to live successfully with this ever-present illness.  We swallowed our pride and started seeing a counselor once a week, and it has completely changed our marriage.  It took so much courage to make that first call, but it has truly been the best decision we made all year long.  One of the things that our counselor said in one of our first sessions that has stuck with me the most is that, like all couples, when we got married we signed up for a fantasy and what we got was reality.  Our reality came in the form of MS and it has threatened every hope and dream that we had when we got married.  We have learned so much about how to incorporate MS into our lives and our marriage and are so thankful to our counselor for being patient with us as we try to figure this difficult MS journey out. 

As I look ahead at this new year, I hesitate to make a new year's resolution.  I've never been the type to make resolutions.  Sure, I could say that I'm going to keep my Tupperware cabinet organized all year or that I will put all of my laundry away the same day that I wash it, but I know that there is no way I would ever be able to keep resolutions like that, especially with the stages that my kids are in. 

Instead, this year I will focus on trying to stay in the moment.  With MS, it's very easy to start worrying about the future.  We don't know what MS will look like for us tomorrow, 5 years down the road, or 20 years down the road.  But the truth is, no one knows what tomorrow has in store for them.  I don't want to look back at the end of this year and realize that I've spent more time worrying about what might happen in the future than enjoying what is happening right now.  If I don't stay in the moment, I am surely going to miss out on a lot great times with my family.

I am excited about starting this new year and seeing what God has in store for our family.  Even through the tough times this past year, God has shown again and again how faithful he is to us. I know that his promises will never fail and that is such a comfort to me as we start another year. 

Happy New Year to all of you!  May 2012 bring many blessings to you and your families!