Wednesday, June 29, 2011

new digs for lunch

I went today for lunch with my long time friend, Linda Lou. I ordered the chef salad and it was fantastico. I devoured every morsel and it was a nice, large salad. Linda loved whatever kind of salad she ordered too. Anyway, the finishes, the furnishings, and the ambience were all very cool and interesting. Kind of out of the ordinary. Very cool place. I need to take Ryan there on a date night - we're always looking for interesting new places to dine. And from the looks of the stage and drum set, it appears that live music is played during the evening hours which will make it all the more fun!

It's on Camelback just west of Scottsdale Rd by the Waterfront (just west of PF Changs on south side of Camelback). It's part of the Fox Restaurant chain (Sauce, True Food, Wildflower, Olive & Ivy, etc.). I'm going back...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mountain View All Stars 2011

Taking the half full approach to life, I no longer have a stomach full of butterflies, I'm not going to be spending all my weeknights at the ballpark, and I won't be exerting my nervous energy outside in 110 degrees. Oh, and maybe a few less nights out taking BP in the heat. But, truth be told, I'd way rather still have the butterflies and the busy nights and the hours at the park in the heat if it meant that our All Stars were moving on.

But they're not. They played a great game last night against Apache Junction and lost 6-5 at the end. We were up 5-4 going into the bottom of the 5th, but they scored two and we couldn't come back in the 6th. Afton started and played a great game at second base getting lots of action. In her second at bat (she walked the first time up), Afton took one deep into right for a triple and 2 RBI's. She then scored on an RBI double by Riley Colvin, our friend and neighbor. She went down swinging at a high pitch after fouling a couple off her next at bat. Sadly, four of AJ's six runs were scored on throwing errors by our team, but that's just how it goes in Minor League All Stars.

So, we won't be moving on, but it was a really good experience for Afton playing her first season in All Stars. Even though she played up in Majors all season, she wasn't eligible for Majors All-Stars due to her age. We're already registered for Fall Ball and looking forward to many more fun seasons at the park.

Here's Afty with her two great friends, Riley Colvin and Sydney Bauer. All three of them played up in Majors this year and they were all big contributors on the All Star team. Sydney pitched another lights out six innings last night - she did so great through the tourney! I love these girls and am so proud of them for all their hard work. And even though we're not moving onto State, the girls scored with killer new rolling bat bags (embossed with their names and numbers) and shiny new red helmets too. It's kinda "big time" being an All Star!

A few more Mexico Pics

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rocky Point 2011

This is us, in pictures, last week in Mexico. Super fun. All except for the part where Kara got her purse stolen from their very nice SUV while we were eating ice cream at Thrifty's in the fish market Wednesday night. That pretty much sucked. The hole in the window was an added bonus. But other than that on our first night there, it was all great as normal. That will teach us all to take our purses with us and not leave them in plain view in a dark parking lot! I know, I could happen anywhere, even in the parking lot at church, but it totally stinks when it happens in another country and when all your family's passports, your wallet, cell phone and cold cash are in the purse. Thankfully, no one was around when in happened and no one was hurt and they had no issue getting back across the border after they presented their police report. Still, after all the years and many many trips we've been going, we've never had any problems, let alone something like this.

But enough about's us having too much fun the rest of the trip:

Eating ice cream popsicles on the beach,

playing at the pools at Las Palomas,

enjoying lots of fine music at Ramon's, one of our favorite dining locales,

looking super cute from the balcony of our awesome 3-bedroom condo,

Digging giant holes in the sand with a killer shovel courtesy of the Crandell's (we just went and bought two of our own from Ace yesterday - can't wait to use them in Carlsbad in a couple weeks).

Eating dinner at Lucas with the Ellingsons & Grandma Cheri & Grandpa Bob (my numero uno favorite dining spot)

lovin' the awesome beach weather

Doing lots and lots of shopping with the local beach vendors...just doing our part to support the Rocky Point economy :)

Playing in the killer waves with the Ellingson kids (Jayke & Easton below)

Just looking like a supermodel on the beach. Can she help it if she's so cute?

Spending lots of time in the tubes trying not to get toppled by the waves (Graci & Barrett below)

Ummm....finding joy in seaweed collections...

The car ride home!

Can't wait to go back! BTW - I didn't get a picture of one of my other favs - eating mangos with lime on a stick, but trust me...I had a few :)

Monday, June 13, 2011


Yahoo! Alas...a semi decent picture of the bear on our patio at the cabin. Thanks to the miracles of photo editing (and Barrett for taking the dark texted low res photo, emailing it to the Mac, editing it and emailing it back), you can at least make out the bear rummaging through the garbage. Crazy!

Les Miserables

One devilishly handsome date + dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings in Tempe + 2 tickets to Les Miserables = one very, very fun Friday night!

Ryan and I really enjoyed the show. We had good seats on row 23 on the lower level and the production was just amazing. Ryan had seen it once before in Los Angeles when he was vacationing with the Alder family back in his high school days. He's always loved it and was really excited for us to go together. We've only had our tix for about six months :) I've listened to the soundtrack here and there over the years as well, so it was awesome to finally be able to put the music in context with the script.

Now I need to add one of the ticket stubs to our shadow box collage in the pool table room. We've got the collection going of most of the shows and concerts and cool events we've attended together over the years. Every now and again when I'm dusting the frames (which I don't do often enough - I hate dusting), I take an extra minute or two to walk down memory lane as I look at those ticket stubs and remember so many fun times together. I think my next memory project might be a collage of our race bibs on the wall in the home office....I've been thinking about doing that for a while now. Not sure I still have them all, but I know I have some of them. Maybe if we keep it up, we can collect enough for a full border print all the way around the room...he, he, he...that's a lot of running...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A new twist

...on duct tape. Drum roll please...

Presenting the duct tape flower clip. I know, I know. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Never let it be said that my offspring lack creativity.

So if you've been to our house, you know that duct tape is a big ticket item. Big as in the kind of thing that Christmas lists and Birthday wishes are made of. Big as in every kid has their own collection with a rainbow of colors and patterns. Big as in they can't wait to get their allowance and make a special trip to Walmart or Michael's to add to their already cool collections.

We've seen creations large and small, from the ever-popular duct tape wallets (there's gotta be at least 20 at our house and many others in the hands of fine people everywhere who have graciously purchased them from my kids at school or out front in the driveway), the incredibly ingenious water bottle holder, the checker board, the cardboard box forts, and now the flower clip. I'm sure I'm missing a few on the list...

Since the family stash (aka the supply purchased by mom & dad for real life duct tape needs) has long since been secretly depleted, Ryan had to borrow a strip from Easton last night to tape the registration inside the trailer. I think the color of choice was neon orange. Or maybe that was the only color he was offering up.

Oh...and how could I forget the recent duct tape boobie trap? That was quite a thriller. One of our offspring (who shall remain nameless) created a web of robe and duct tape with some sort of spring mechanism so that when you went to pull on that child's bedroom door, it felt like someone was pulling back. It's a little hard to describe but it freaked the begeebies out of me when I went to put the stack of folded laundry on the child's bed. Later that night, when said child went upstairs quite late after watching National Treasure 2 with the fam, said child had forgotten about the trap (which was self-created), pulled on the closed door of the dark bedroom, felt the tug, saw the dresser moving and the associated shadows from the moonlight, and started screaming bloody murder at a pitch thus far unheard of in the Brown house (which triggered a stream of over the top blood pressure and general chaos amongst all the other occupants) until we realized that the source of the immense panic was not, in fact, an intruder but merely a very cleverly designed trap. I swear, my heart didn't slow down for about a half hour.

So, ya. Duct tape. It's a keeper at our place....

Monday, June 6, 2011


Nothing like a blow out on the freeway to kick start your work week.

I'm just here sittin' off the side of the road in my dress and high heels waiting for my Prince Charming to come rescue me. Good times.

Kelli S. Brown

sent from my iPhone

Sunday, June 5, 2011

G&G Goodman

We had a nice visit this evening with Grandpa Harry and Grandma Rita. Our kiddos gave them the family updates and Afton showed off her newest duct tape wallet - custom made with some new and improved features over last week's model. G&G were duly impressed. It was pretty cute to watch. They both reported that they were having good days and feeling pretty well, but confessed that some days are better than others. It's so hard to see them getting so old, but really, I think they're doing pretty darn good for 95 and 93. The last couple of years have really slowed them down compared to their late 80's and early 90's when they were still getting out occasionally and coming over for Sunday dinners. I asked Grandma Rita if they had any big summer vacation plans and she got a good laugh. I run by their house several times each week in the wee morning hours and always pray that they will be comforted and know how much they are loved...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Our Softball Girls

Well...I'm not sure when the next time we'll be seeing this again.
Matching jerseys.
Tearin' it up together.

What a great time we had this spring out at Quail Run park watching our Diablas light it up. Gotta love those flame socks!

The girls' coaches were outstanding. Coach Lawrence, Coach Chris & Coach Dean really worked with the girls all season.

Emma, Bailey & Afton

And even though the Diablas season is over...

We'll still get to see a little more of this...
Afton made the 9-10 year old All-Star team!
You go, Afton!
Can't wait to watch you play at the Regional Tournament coming up in a couple weeks.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Diving Lessons

(Rowan on the high dive at Stapley today)

I really enjoyed spending the 10:30-11:30 am hour today at Stapley pool with my three youngers. We decided to do a session of swim and dive classes to keep them busy for the first couple weeks of summer. Yes, they all already know how to swim proficiently. Yes, we're in our own pool at home practically everyday. But still, there's something about lessons. They get pushed a little more and learn things that I never teach at home. Like butterfly stroke and backstroke (Afty's stroke stars class) and how to master the perfect back dive (Rowan's diving class). I'm not really sure if Easton is learning anything meaningful in his class, but he seems to be having fun with his fellow Sea Stars. I had to sign him up for the 5 year old class (they go by age), and the ability levels range all over the map in his group. He's the kid who tosses all 12 of our dive rings into the 10 foot deep end and has absolutely no issue with plummeting down to retrieve them and then doing it all over again. And again. But some of the kids in his class are just braving the head dunk and blowing bubbles. Still, at least it gets him out of the house and spending a little time with new kids and keeps him cool while his sisters dive and swim laps.

Rowan trying her first back dive. So proud of her! It's dang scary going off the diving board backwards. I'm sure I did it as a kid, but now...not sure you could pay me to back dive.

Great day. And the bonus was that I got to lounge in a chair for an hour in my suit and work on my tan (or what I hope will eventually become a tan) so I won't fry down in Rocky Point in a couple weeks. I'm getting super excited for a mango on a stick and some serious guacamole!

The Makeovers (a la Randi)

My seven-going-on-seventeen girly girl, Miss Rowan, all dolled up by her favorite cousin, Miss Randi. Oh Randi Dandy, what would we ever do without you?? My girls adore you. Actually, we all adore you!

Even our super not-girly-girl, Afty, got the makeover! So cute.

As always, we had a great time visiting for dinner last week at Mike & Shari's. Shari cooked up some delicious Mexican food for Tallin's 9th birthday. Oh, and we got to meet "the ladies" up close and personal (aka the Goodman's new chickens). So cool. So fun.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


I am really bad about checking our mailbox. And our home voice mail. I'm also really bad about dusting and filing home office paperwork and saying no to Hot Tamales and really good tortilla chips. But that's beside the point.

So last night, I checked the mail and probably set a record for checking it two days in a row. It was the first night in a long string of nights that I can remember being home at a decent hour with absolutely nothing on my critical agenda (unless you call folding the five loads of laundry I'd done the day before critical). I didn't think so either.

Much to my delight, a new catalog from a company I'd never heard of before was in the stack of mostly junk mail. It was from Athleta. The picture on the inside cover intrigued me (a seriously musucular woman in her 30's on a tropical beach in a super cute swimsuit). So I grabbed my tall glass of ice water, pulled up a chair at my kitchen table, smiled at my three youngest peeps all cozy in their jammies watching a little wind-down TV before bedtime, and started leisurely parousing the pages. I could've doggy-eared the entire catalog with my wish list. Totally cute suits, super sporty looking running tanks, the comfiest running shorts ever, board shorts, to die for cover ups, yoga pants, and the list goes on and on. I was in heaven... but really just wanted to be in Hawaii on the beach with my honey :)

Long story short, I was super inspired (again) to be fit. What I really loved about this catalog was that the models were not your typical swimsuit or cover girl models. These women were athletes. Super athletes. The kind that ooze "I am one lean muscle and I live strong." All these women looked healthy and fit and lean and ripped. Hence the modeling gig for Athleta I guess. As I laid in bed last night (with no Ryan by my side since he was on night three of six away at scout camp), I wondered what these women really did all day long. Were they professional athletes? Were they moms like me? Were they dual career women, wives, homemakers, runners? Or just super cut models. I'm sure I'll never know, but I was a little inspired for sure. I know that's it's not healthy to compare ourselves to others and certainly not to hold ourselves up to some unrealistic ideal. And I know that after four kids and two C-Sections that I'll never have ripped abs like that. And I'm OK with it. It was a good inspiration. Really. The kind that makes you think, "I can work a little harder. I can push a little more. I can do it." Then I checked the Facebook app on my iPhone and saw my high school friend's Rim to Rim pics from Memorial Day and starting getting excited for our next Rim to Rim journey this September. I can hardly wait!

So this morning when my iPhone alarm beckoned me to wake while my three precious peeps still slept (Barrett was away too at Girl's Camp), I had a little extra spring in my step and little more excitement to start the daily workout. I upped my dumbell weights a couple pounds for the Sculpt routine and pushed it a little harder than the day before. It felt good. Really good. When I was finished I wanted to keep going and head out the door for a run too, but the clock told me it was shower time or I'd never make it out the door for work in time.

I'm already looking forward to my first 3-day weekend of the summer at home (I always have a three-day weekend since I don't work Fridays) with full nights of sleep, great workouts, a long run, and a little Vitamin D by the pool.

Life is good. My kids are happy and healthy. Ryan & Barrett will be home on Saturday and we'll all be back together again. (And I did finally get those 5 loads of laundry folded before bed :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


The game of choice this weekend. Well, actually one of many. We also played a few rounds of Monopoly Deal, Five Crowns, Ticket to Ride, and lots of cards. Good times. It was fun having the Bauer girls (Hallie and Syd) join us too. Our girls play ball with them and they have become great friends this year.

The Browns, The Berreys, & The Bear

(Easton, Lily, Bryce, Rowan & Ella on a walk by the creek)

We had such a blast this past Memorial Day weekend up at the cabin. Playing hard, enjoying the weather, spending time with our cousins and friends, and of course, eating too much. I've got a lot of great pics to post for sure.

But the one I really want to post - I don't have. It's the picture of the BEAR!!! Yes, I said BEAR. We had a visitor on Saturday night. The brown, four-legged kind. Crazy, huh? I was in the laundry room ironing our Sunday clothes, and suddenly my mom and I heard a loud crash outside. My mom said, "What the heck was that?" and then we walked around to the kitchen. J.R. opened up the back patio door to check and suddenly yelled out, "It's a bear!!!!!"


"A bear!!!!!"

"Holy crap!" Yes, indeed, a brown bear that was about my waist high on all fours was rummaging through our garbage. J.R. was snapping pictures in the dark (that didn't really turn out) while all of us were huddled around the patio door threshold watching this forest dweller not more than 15 feet away. Rowan was bawling. Easton and Ella didn't want to look. All the other kids were amazed. And so were the rest of us. I started searching for my iPhone so I could snap photos too, but it was nowhere to be found. Know why? Because my scoutmaster husband was out front using the newly installed astronomy app to look at the stars in preparation for the astronomy merit badge he was helping with this week at scout camp. Yes, he was OUTSIDE. With my dad. And my camera. And so was the stinkin bear!

So I yelled out front for them to come in, and instead they went out back to get a little closer to the bear. Ryan got a quick little video of it before it looked up and appeared to be approaching rapidly. The movie is stinkin funny as you hear J.R. and Ryan scambling to get inside and the camera is shaking every which way. Then my camera man recovered a little and caught about 3 seconds of the bear walking away into the forest.

Last night at All-Star tryouts, I was sitting with another mom and found out that her sister's ward girls got sent home early from Camp LoMia over the weekend because a brown bear was harrassing the girls in the atties. Nice. Probably the same stinkin bear since the cabin is less than a mile from Lo Mia. And guess where my firstborn went today? Yep, you guessed it. Camp LoMia. Hope she doesn't get eaten by the bear!