Wednesday, February 3, 2016

50 Golden Years

At the end of last year, my parents celebrated fifty years of marriage.

Fifty years is a long time.

My parents have eleven kids, so their fifty years of marriage has probably felt like 100.

We, their darling eleven children, threw them a party at the beginning of the year. While it was nothing extravagant (my mom hates being the center of attention) it was so special that I wanted to share it here.
We had fun with the gold balloons. Some helium-inhaling may have been involved.
Their cake was a replica of the one at their wedding. The cake topper is the original.

Baby Blue-Eyes might possibly have stuck her fingers in the frosting for a little taste before the cake was cut.
Shout out to my sister-in-law for all her hard work on the food.
That "50" is made out of family pictures. Awesome ones from way back in the day when none of us knew how to dress or comb our hair (not that we necessarily know how to do that now). We may have laughed at a picture of a certain sibling picking her nose.
She denies it.
We know it's true.

I don't think my parents could have possibly imagined, 50 years ago, the legacy they would leave behind.

Their children (minus one)...

and their grandchildren.

And that's not even all of them.

It's a beautiful thing.

My parents' marriage hasn't been perfect. There were times as a kid when I wondered if it would even last. But through the rocky times they have taught me that two people in love, devoted to God and each other, can make it through anything.

My mom also taught me that there are some things in a marriage that just aren't worth fighting over.

It was the best piece of marriage advice I ever received.

So here's to my parents, and 50 years of cooking, vacuuming, scolding, hugging, bandaging, driving, reading, cherishing, teaching, holding, wiping, scrubbing, crying, laughing, loving, and a whole lot more "ings." You guys are amazing.

I sure do love these people,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Friday, January 22, 2016

Hello Again

I tend to fall off the face of the earth after I have a baby.

For these last two months I've pretty much done nothing but snuggle this little bundle of love:

And change lots and lots of poopy diapers.

But since I'm back to work now and have rejoined the human race (in a manner of speaking), I thought I would fill you in on some of the other fun we've had since Brown-Eyed Baby was born.

Halloween - the first year we didn't throw a huge party at our house because, remember, I fell off the face of the earth.

The GIANT fish I caught at the river by our house.

Christmas cookies - the frosting is the best part

Mr. Brown Eyes decked out his ambulance in Christmas spirit

 Making a gingerbread house

A cozy winter night - and our living room full of baby gear


The dog is my husband. All I can say is I love him.

 Christmas Morning! Ok, this was actually Christmas Eve because Mr. Brown Eyes worked on Christmas. So we celebrated a day early. As you can see, the kids really hated that.

 Baby's first Christmas. All she wanted was milk.

My New Year's kiss

Baby days are so bittersweet, so full of joy and struggle. But I wouldn't trade a second of it.

At the same time, it is good to be back, human race.

Off to change another poopy diaper,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Happy Birthday, Blog!

My blog celebrated its fifth birthday while I was on maternity leave.

Happy birthday, Blog!

Unlike my son's fifth birthday, there was no cake, no ice cream, and no presents for my blog.

Poor Blog.

But I have a present for you!

Because I read this book on maternity leave, because I fell in love with it, because I love Shannon Hale, and because I love you (if there is anyone out there), the first person to post in the comments the date of my very first blog post will receive their very own copy of Dangerous.

You will love it.

Happy five years, Blog!

Cake and ice cream next year, I promise.

The Brown-Eyed Girl

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Baby Kora's Birth Story

Three days past my due date, I decided to spend the night at my parents' house while Mr. Brown Eyes went back to work. Brown Eyed Boy and Baby Blue Eyes thought this was a great idea. Spending the night at grandma and grandpa's house = movies, Klondike bars, and sleeping in the guest room in a king-sized bed.
I went to bed with the kids that night around eight o'clock. Then, just before midnight, I woke up feeling contractions. They didn't seem very strong so I was almost inclined to dismiss them as more Braxton Hicks. But a little voice told me to get out of bed, so, with a sigh, I disentangled myself from my snuggly two year-old and heaved my very-pregnant self out of bed.
As a bit of a side note, I have really fast labors that don't follow the typical labor pattern of contractions slowly growing stronger and closer together. So one of my worst fears is not realizing I'm in labor and giving birth by myself on the cold bathroom floor. As my due date approached, I started praying to Heavenly Father that when I was in labor He would help me know for sure.
Although this may be TMI, the answer to my prayer came as I sleepily shuffled to the bathroom and saw that I was bleeding.
Ok, so I was in labor. Suddenly awake, I hurried out of the bathroom. My fingers shook as I dialed the midwife's number. She didn't answer, so I called Mr. Brown Eyes next. Thankfully, he answered right away and said he was leaving the station as we spoke.
Bless my mother's heart, who came downstairs and talked to me while I paced back and forth, waiting for my husband to arrive, keeping my mind off the worry that maybe I had waited too long and we wouldn't make it to the hospital. I dashed outside as soon as I saw headlights flash through the window. Mr. Brown Eyes, in his work uniform, met me halfway down the sidewalk and helped me into the car.
After a peaceful drive with steady but bearable contractions, we arrived at the hospital. Mr. Brown Eyes got me a wheelchair and wheeled me inside, then went back out to park the car. The nurse came around the desk and exclaimed, "Did that firefighter bring you in and then just leave you?"
I laughed. "Oh no, he's my husband."
We went up to triage where the nurse took her time registering me, her eyes glued to her computer screen, asking such all-important questions as whether or not we lived in a house. I don't think she really believed I was in labor, until a sudden, intense contraction had me leaning against Mr. Brown Eyes for support, and I exclaimed, "I need to push!"
That finally tore her away from her computer. "What?"
"She has really fast labors," Mr. Brown Eyes explained, a tiny detail we had failed to mention.
They rushed me to the delivery room then, though they still wouldn't let me push until the on-call doctor had everything ready (I could insert a rant here about doctors, but I'll refrain). One big push was all it took to bring sweet Baby Kora into the world.
It was 1:56 in the morning.
Good thing I listened to that little voice telling me to get out of bed.
Unlike her brother and sister, Kora came into the world without any surprises.

And I'm so happy that she wasn't born on the cold bathroom floor.

Welcome to the family, Baby Kora.

We love you,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Seven Years

Mr. Brown Eyes and I finally got around to celebrating our wedding anniversary.

Just seven months late.

Our plans started out elaborate--I'm talking, like, Hawaii--and then slowly, because of morning sickness, my brother's accident, Mr. Brown Eye's trip to Washington, and then just being too darn close to my due date, fizzled down to an evening hike where we had our first date and a picnic at the spot where Mr. Brown Eyes proposed to me.

Luckily we like each other enough that an evening in the Arizona desert is just as good as a week in a tropical paradise. As long as we're together.

Although a week in a tropical paradise is sounding pretty awesome right now.

Marrying Mr. Brown Eyes is still the best decision I ever made. Hiking that familiar trail with his hand in mine made me even more certain of that fact.
It also made me feel like I might go into labor.
But, alas, we're still waiting on that.
Happy anniversary, Mr. Brown Eyes. Seven months late.

Dreaming of Hawaii,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Writing Pains

Rejection Letter #1:

Only 5.2 million more to go, right?

While a part of me expected rejection when I submitted my manuscript, the less rational part of me (and, let's be honest, the bigger part of me) hoped for instant publication and glory.

So the rejection stung a little, and I considered whether to keep going. Because I love writing for the sake of writing much more than the thought of being published. And if trying to get published is going to be painful, do I really need to put myself through it?

But then I reminded myself that this is only my first rejection, and I've got to wade through a bunch more before I can even possibly consider giving up. I am not a quitter.

So here's to lots more rejections. And probably tears. Lots of tears.

Boxes of Kleenex would be appreciated.

Writing on,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Friday, September 11, 2015


Yesterday Mr. Brown Eyes came home.

I threw myself into his arms and felt whole again.

Today, as we remember September 11th, 2001, I am sobered by my blessings. After a very long two and a half weeks, Mr. Brown Eyes is home. I can hug him and kiss him and listen to his laughter.

On September 10th fourteen years ago, so many people hugged their loved ones for the last time. Instead of waking up today, like I did, in the warmth of love and comfort, they woke up to heartbreak and tragedy that I cannot even comprehend.

May we never forget the lives lost and the courage shown on that terrible day.

May we put aside our pettiness and love deeper.

May we remember our Savior, Jesus Christ. Because of Him, death is not the end.

Holding Mr. Brown Eyes close,
The Brown-Eyed Girl