Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Six Pack

This little amazing six year old is packed with emotion. With spice. With determination. With a fighting instinct and a sense of self. All packaged up into one petite, perfect little muscled body. I've confessed on more than one occasion that she is my trial at times. With such a strong personality and mood swings in the flash of an eye, we sometimes butt heads. Sometimes I think maybe we are just too much alike, but mostly I think I just have a low tolerance for drama. Either way, it makes for interesting times at our house.

But last night, I saw my most favorite heart-melting genuine full teeth grin from our fireball as she crossed home plate, running like a champ. She was full of the spirit and enthusiasm I love. This is Rowan's first year playing ball on a team, and she is loving it so far. She's on a co-ed coach pitch little league baseball team (they don't have softball leagues until age 7), and seems to be thoroughly enjoying herself. Granted, she and many of the others are just learning some of the basics of the game (like when to run, and where all the bases are, and where to throw it when the ball gets hit), but she is batting well and got three hits last night. Way to go, Rowan! We are excited to watch you and your team grow and improve all season long.

I'm so thrilled that she is following in her sisters' (and mother's and her grandmothers' and her Aunt's and her cousins') footsteps and is playing ball. It's pretty much part of our genetic makeup, I think. The Goodmans and the The Browns have a long history of being good ball players. I hope my girls keep it up. Next year, Easton will be joining the ranks, too.

In contrast to our little jock-ette in the making, I found these princess pictures that Rowan recently drew. This is how she often looks. Princess-like. Adorned with headbands and flower clips. Always preferring the skirt over the shorts. Lip gloss. Earrings. Maybe that's why seeing her in her baseball uniform made me smile even more. Just like her typical girly girl stuff, the uniform seemed to be perfect fit for her. I love that.

Miss Rowan's always got a pen and pad in hand, ready to color her world or write a quick sentence or two. It's normal to find little love notes on our bed, to find a new hand made card for no occasion at all sitting on my computer desk, or to find a little art treasure hanging on my scrapbook wall. She knows I love them. I'm not always sure what the motive is for her random acts of creative kindness towards me, especially when the hour before we were enduring the throws of a meltdown, but sometimes I think that her little messages or pictures to me are her way of reminding me that she does, really, like me, despite the things that come out of her mouth on occasion. My mom says that Rowan reminds her so much of me when I was little. A little sass. A little flare. A lot of feisty.

Rowan Sue Brown - our six year old wonder, ready for her first game of the season 3/26/10. We love you, Ro, and are so proud of you!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!

My mom and dad just got back from Seattle yesterday. Here's a picture of my beautiful mother standing in front of the famed Public Market along the coast. My dad emailed this little gem to me while they were up in the northwest enjoying their getaway. Most every spring, my dad combines one of his many basketball trips into a little vacation and takes my mom on a trip with him, sometime close to her birthday. Last year it was San Francisco, this year Seattle.

Spending hours in a college gym, watching endless games of basketball, is not exactly my mom's idea of a good time. But she's a good sport about it and goes from time to time to be with my dad. My dad has been in the college basketball business (officiating, evaluating officials, sitting on the rules committee, commissioning, scheduling, training, etc.) ever since I can remember, so my mom has certainly had years of exposure to the game. Thankfully, they spent much more of their Seattle trip sight seeing, touring, eating out, shopping, and enjoying the beautiful Westin in downtown Seattle than they did inside the gym. They reported a wonderful trip! We sure missed them but are so glad they got to steal away for a long weekend together.

Today is my mom's 61st birthday. She was born March 24, 1949, in Phoenix, Arizona to Reid and Sue Teeples.

Named Cynthia Sue Teeples, she was the first of five girls. The Teeples crew grew up in Phoenix, living most of their life at my grandparents' home on Avalon (44th & Thomas).

Cindy, Pauly, Laurie, Nancy & Kristin Teeples

My mom went to Arcadia High (Class of 1967) where she was a Pommie and terrific dancer. She had legs for days! She was so beautiful (and still is). She's 4th from the right in the picture below.

She hated math (and still does), but was good at English and art (and still is). My mom started sewing during her middle school years, and became an amazing seamstress. Her parents bought her first sewing machine and enrolled her in private sewing lessons for her 8th grade graduation gift. I inherited that Singer machine from my mom and am still using it to this day. I am no where near the seamstress that my mom is, but she of course taught me the basics and is always there when I need some help with a costume or have a question about how to finish up one of my little projects. I love to sew, and wish I had more time to do it.

As she grew up, my mom sewed most of her own clothes and many for her four sisters, including prom dresses. When her younger sister, my Aunt Nancy, got married, my mom sewed an amazing wedding dress for her along with all of the bridesmaids and flower girl dresses (I need to find the picture and add it here). When I was a young child, my mom worked as a seamstress doing alterations at LeSueur's Men's Store in downtown Mesa. During my college and early married years, my mom sewed all kinds of draperies, window treatments, and bedding for high end model and custom homes. She's made all the beautiful window treatments in my house (and every house I've lived in), along with my current comforter.

After she graduated from Arcadia, my mom went up to college at BYU, where she met my dad, also an Arizona native. They fell in love pretty fast, and were married when my mom was just 20 years old.

Although my mom always envisioned having a big family, she and my dad were blessed with just two kids: my older brother, Michael, and me.

Michael and his wife, Shari, live in Gilbert with their five fabulous kids, and we are, of course, in Mesa just a hop, skip and a jump away from where I grew up. Here's a picture of our crew taken a few years ago. We need a new one! Nine grandkids from her two offspring. Not bad!

My folks still live in the house where I grew up. They built it in 1974 when I was just two years old. Certainly, the place has changed quite a bit over the years. It has expanded by about 1,000 square feet, the orange colored slump block has been stuccoed over and painted tan, the 1970's hip orange shag carpet was replaced with a neutral tone, and the yellow and brown floral kitchen wallpaper, then the fruit wallpaper, were eventually replaced with just paint. They built a pool and spa themselves (my mom used to drive a cement truck, by the way, and she poured our own pool) when I was in early elementary school.

But even though the place has changed much over the years, it is and always will still be the same. It's the same place where we, and really everyone we know, is always made to feel incredibly welcome. It's the place where our whole extended family gathers on birthdays and holidays and just because days for great dinners. It's the place the grand kids love to swim and visit. The place that everyone knows they will be made to feel like they are the most special person on the planet. It's home and it always will be.
Thanks, mom, for being such an incredible mom, and for helping all of us become better because of your example of service and love.
This is a scrapbook page I made back in 2005, honoring my mom. It pretty much sums up how I feel about her:

(Double click to make it larger)

Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Break in Strawberry

Our three days in Strawberry couldn't have been much better. We played with cousins, loved the outstanding weather, enjoyed the great outdoors, and created some terrific memories with our family. A huge thanks to my SIL, Jessie, for inviting us up to their family cabin to join in their fun.

My beautiful niece, Lainey, playing outside at the cabin

We played a little ball, of course...

The kids explored the streams and creeks...

Avery & Afton are not only cousins, but also the best of friends. They were born just one month apart, and love spending time with each other.

My youngest niece, sweet Jolie, cracked me up all weekend. She's almost two and a half, so it's only right that she's totally talking, but she's just so petite. Every time she speaks, it almost makes me do a double take hearing such sweet clear words come out of her tiny body. She's such a doll. And Miss Jolie was soooooo good on this trip. I don't think I heard her cry once the whole time we were there. She sings, recites her ABC's, prays, and says all kinds of funny stuff to make us laugh.

Such a beauty.

We played tons of games. The kids played Sorry and Uno. I joined in a for a couple of games of Clue (I won both), Take 2 (Ryan cleaned house), Questions (I stink at that game since I can't keep a straight face), and a new for our family, "Hodgie Podgie." It's kinda silly, like a game you'd play up at girls' camp, but I have to admit, we laughed hard and I got asthma!
Barrett was the Craft Queen. I was very impressed. She bought some supplies from the dollar store and Michael's with her own money (and a brought a few things from home), so the kids could all make visors and bookmarks. They set up shop in the Arizona Room and went to town. So fun. Hmmm....I wonder where she gets her crafty flare? JK. Sometimes I think she's a mini-me.

We visited the llama and goat farm and let the kids enjoy the animals.

The girls weren't sure about letting a llama eat off their hands, but once they finally built up the courage, they realized that they were pretty harmless.

Easton feeding the goats

Jolie was soooo cute wtih the animals!

Saturday morning, we went out for breakfast at Nifty 50's diner in Pine. Holy Moly - their pancakes are bigger than your face! It was a tasty meal, and fun to get out and do something out of the ordinary. I never go out for breakfast!

Rowan & Ryan at Nifty 50's

Can't wait to head back up to the mountains soon for some more fresh air, outside fun, good food, games, leiusurely reading, and relaxation! We're hoping to spend a lot of time up in Pine this summer!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I did it. Finally. Now I am no longer among the small minority of women who haven't read the famed vampire love story.

After much prodding, encourgement and insistence by my 11-year old daughter (who read all four books in the series last month), coupled with the fact that we had three days away at the cabin, I finally decided to give it a whirl. I started it Thursday afternoon after lunch, and finished Saturday before lunch.

I have to say, I loved it! I never could understand all they hype about a vampire book (I never read in the fantasy genre), but it was really well written and kept me on the edge of my seat. I guess it's New Moon for me now...it's inevitable. I have to find out what's in store for Edward and Bella...

I'm hooked.

Fossil Creek

Yesterday was our last day up in the mountains celebrating a terrific spring break with our kids. Around lunchtime, we made the drive from the cabin in Strawberry up to Fossil Creek, where we enjoyed a terrific afternoon together. We were with Morgan & Jessie & their family. The weather was absolutely gorgeous! Totally clear skies, sunny, and temperatures in the low 60's. Our kids love spending time with their Brown cousins, Avery, Lainey & Jolie. Thanks, guys, for a great trip. We loved it!

Afton & Easton picnicking at Fossil Creek

I love these guys more than anything in the world!

We tossed some mean frisbee

And of course we played in the water. Nevermind that the water was ice cold, probably in the 50 degree range. The kids couldn't have cared less. They shed their shoes, rolled up their pants, and got wet! Afton was our brave one. She was jumping rocks and giving us all a run for our money.

It took us a while driving around before we finally found a good place to play with the little ones. The water was raging so fast in so many places. All the recent snow fall and rain has done our rivers and creeks a world of good. We talked with some kayakers at the bottom of the creek who had done a 2-3 mile run yesterday. We were out of our car looking at the huge rapids near the Fossil Creek bridge (which we found out from the kayakers was a "Class 5" rapid) when one of them asked me if I wanted to take the kayak for a ride. Yeah, right!

Ryan wanted to try jumping the same rock that Afton had just conquered, but he thought the momentum might just make him fall forward into the fast moving waters.
Uncle Morgan was giving free vertical swings to the little ones. They were squealing with delight (and a little fear) with the cold water below them. Here he is with Rowan by the feet.

I had to get in a couple of pictures before the weekend was over. I know I am biased, but I think I have the best kids on the planet.