Thursday, January 4, 2018


Here's my first attempt at jumping back in here and recording more of our family memories this year. :) Some December highlights -->

+ I got to help out with the middle school PTA fundraiser, selling candy and soda at lunch time. Goodness there are a lot of kids at Landon's school! 

+ I always look forward to our neighborhood's Ladies Night Christmas party, and feel grateful for good friends. 

+ We had book group at our house, and read "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" - probably one of my favorite books this year. 

+ April came for a quick visit which we always love (and joined us for our ward Christmas party too). And she watched the kids so Jordan and I could go on a fun date - out to lunch at Elements, and book/piano music/stocking stuffer shopping at the Book Table. 

Cookie party with April
+ We had a fun little visit from my Dad and Shauna.

+ Jordan and I kept making progress on figuring out how to make Lego Robotics work. A good friend offered to watch Porter and Isaac during that time and that made a world of difference! :)

+ Landon performed in his first band concert on the trombone.

+ I took Landon and Owen to our first Aggie Basketball game (and it was so fun I hope we can make it a more frequent tradition)

+ The kids (Landon, Ellie, Owen) performed in a neighborhood music recital with friends.

+ Jordan and I went to the temple

+ I got to go to school with Owen for an entire day. It was such a delight to see all the good things his teachers are doing, and to see all the little routines and activities Owen does each day. 

+ Ellie and Owen sang and danced in the Hillcrest Christmas concert

+ Fun preschool time 

"Sense of smell" day
+ Landon, Ellie, Owen and Porter all got to be a part of the live nativity our Stake presents each year. It was a great experience.
Landon as Joseph and Owen as a wiseman (with donkey and camel in the background!)

Porter and Ellie with others as angels

+ Landon and I sang with our ward choir for Christmas Eve, and we had a great Sacrament meeting with lovely music and touching thoughts shared. 

+ Baking pizzelles for neighbors and friends (and more fun baking/cooking too).
Making Chex Mix
+ We had someone come and paint our house - hooray! (We realized after we'd committed, that there was a reason the painter was available the weeks before/after Christmas -- maybe not the most ideal time to have our house all taken apart/rearranged! :) We're still working on getting everything put back together again :)

+ Playing in the snow

+ Christmas Break fun -- playing games, Breakfast at Angies and Kneaders, Lego robotics (+ putting together our own new robot), Wii, (a stomach bug for most of us, not so fun), making New Year goals and plans, Playing basketball/rc cars at the church, sledding, Yogurtland, setting up our trampoline in the guest room,etc. :)

+ Celebrating Christmas with our own little family.

We don't do Santa, but I thought this was so funny :)

+ A New Year's Eve celebration with snacks/games/Brazil fireworks/9:00 bedtime :)

Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 Brough Family Newsletter

Landon started middle school (6th grade), is playing the trumpet and continuing with Portuguese. He has fun going to scouts each week, and playing with friends whenever he can.  Landon did amazing in swimming earlier this year, learning lots of new stroke techniques and some beginning dives. He loves to read and always has several books around the house ready to pick up at any moment. He is an awesome help with snow shoveling now that we’ve (finally) started our Logan wintertime. He fills our home with music as he practices the piano (even while reading a favorite book). A super biker, he also started joining Jordan on the tandem bike and pulls his weight up the steepest hills.  Also this year: winter basketball, spring soccer, summertime track, earning the Great American Award and fabulous Harry Potter camp. 

Ellie is in 3rd grade, in the Portuguese dual immersion program. She loves to play and be silly with her friends. She has started “Odyssey of the Mind” this year where she’s making plans and planning costumes,etc. for a great alien performance. She and Owen are also part of the new Lego Robotics club that Jordan and I are coaching. She’s continuing to play and practice piano and likes to make up her own tunes. Ellie and I taught an art class this summer for some of the neighbor kids and she continues to love to make and do and create. Ellie  reached the milestone of riding her bike up ‘the Lee’s hill’ this year without any help. Also this year: swim lessons, summertime track, play days with friends, starting Activity Days, being baptized, reading most of the Magic treehouse books.

Owen is in 1st grade and is still getting used to a full day of school (half in English, half in Portuguese). He loves to have free time to play board games or card games or make up games to play with his cars. He’s getting to be a great reader and loves when he gets to have reading time before bed at night. Owen just started piano and got to perform in his first (Halloween) recital after 2 weeks of lessons! Also this year: Owen passed off all of his +/- facts in Reflex Math and was excited to move on to multiplication and division. And he was very excited to learn about binary and figure out how to make code words in binary even. Also this year: winter basketball, swim lessons, Fall soccer

Porter is 4 years old and a delight to spend my days with. He has started a preschool coop this year with 3 of his friends (where each of the Mom’s teaches 2 days a week and then we swap houses for preschool each week). He also has fun doing an online preschool game each day. He loves to tumble and jump and play and do great tricks. He’s learning to love to do little projects with Ellie and likes to cut and glue. He likes to help make dinner or treats and is learning to be a great little worker. Also this year: Started sunbeams in primary, got a new bed and shelf (built into the closet just for him), learned to ride a big kid bike, 

Isaac is a wonderful 1 year old who we all love so much. This year he learned to scoot, then crawl, then cruise, then walk and run.  He loves his Daddy so very much. He gives super great hugs and the kids all love to play little games with him to make him laugh. He has found a trusty step stool and loves to take it with him wherever he might need to reach just a little higher. (Also, our counter height stools are always down flat to avoid constant climbing!) He loves us to sing pat-a-cake and popcorn popping or to tell him about our family (“Daddy, Mama, Landon…) He likes to have his shoes on and is more often than not in great cozy jammies. He is just starting nursery and seems to like it, though I think Jordan and I feel a little sad for our little guy to be so grown up!  He is a great little buddy and we all just love to have him in our family!

Jordan continues to work hard for Wonderbly (formerly Lost my Name). He was thrilled to have a visit from a coworker and friend who came for a week and adventured with Jordan by bike, foot, and kayak. Jordan is teaching the young men at church and (to their delight) bakes a delicious treat each Sunday morning to share along with his lesson. He’s also serving as a technology specialist and has learned a lot in that role too. Jordan wakes up early every morning to start work and finishes before the kids come home from school, then works hard all afternoon and evening taking care of these great kiddos with me. He also learned this year that he really enjoys the working and fixing of home projects (and learned new things about plumbing, lighting & electrical work as he worked on our home.) Also this year: A 50 mile bikeride around Bear lake, lots of kayaking adventures, coaching Lego Robotics,  a first scout campout with Landon, a world record for baby/toddler holding/carrying, enjoying reading some new books on his new kindle. 

Debbie - I am spending my days mothering our kiddos. Getting kids to school (with a new drive this year to the middle school), keeping our house running and taking care of the little boys through the day, managing the after school chaos a bit, sometimes making dinner (though Jordan is becoming an even more excellent chef with his America’s Test Kitchen cookbook). At church, I got to teach Owen’s primary class this year and so much enjoyed spending that time with him. Highlights this year: caring for baby-turned-toddler Isaac  (and all the other kiddos too, but I sure cherished this baby time), teaching art class with Ellie, teaching the kiddos piano lessons,  reading good books, art-of-the-month club, helping in kids’ classes at school.

Other family things this year: A Spring Break visit to Grammie & Grandpa’s in California, a trip to London for Jordan in the Spring, A Summer vacation/family reunion in Victoria, Canada, Fall Break in St. George.  And progress (at last) on our (last Fall) flooded basement + other big house projects.  

We're thankful for this special time in our lives with our young kiddos. Happy last few days of 2017!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

A fun project + failures


I've been thinking about this fun printmaking project for a while now (using a dull pencil + styrofoam plates - like this) and yesterday Porter and I gave it a try. We had a great time, but our results for most of the time were not what I was hoping for...

the learning process

I finally realized maybe we needed some thicker paint, so I tried several different ways of thickening with corn starch (none successfully). 

Finally I remembered some extra thick paint I had and tried it out and ta-da! It finally worked like it was supposed to! 

It was just a fun afternoon of playing with Porter (while Isaac took everything out from our lower kitchen cabinets), then experimenting some more while Porter went to preschool and Isaac napped (hooray for getting those two things in sync!) And I'm excited to try this out some more with all the kids. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

best of Canada so far (in moments)

(I wrote down these few things on our 3rd day in Victoria -- hopefully there will be more to follow of the next 2 weeks of our trip! :)

* Sunday morning, Jordan took Ellie and Isaac for a walk, and I loved getting ready while the boys so happily played animal cards with each other in the bedrooms.

* Staying up late one evening, Jordan teaching Owen binary, Owen so proud to show me what he'd learned.

* Sitting in the grass at the park across the street from our airbnb house, taking turns reading with one of the kids at a time while the others played.

* Watching Porter play at the park with a little friend while the other kids ran laps

*Jordan's brilliant plan after our first afternoon, filled with grumbling, etc.  fighting/complaining/grumbling = 1 lap around the park. Phewph.

* Watching an older couple in the park doing this beautiful yoga/dance kind of exercise, the woman watching the man, following along, both of them so graceful, calm. I wanted to go join them, instead I tried my own version back in our kitchen, just for a minute.

* Sharing a hot fudge brownie sundae with Porter (so good, even worth ice cream sharing which I don't love to do!)

* Landon sitting in the middle of a dozen baby goats, just sitting and sitting, then one goat cuddling right up onto his lap. And watching Porter combing the goats hair, encouraging Ellie to not be worried and come on in.

* Letting Landon reach into the pond at Beacon Hill park for a treasured Canadian dime

* The super nice cashiers at the grocery store who were so patient and kind when my credit cards weren't working. And the man behind me completely patient and encouraging, "good luck! I hope you can get that worked out!"

* A surprise afternoon adventure. We picked up subway and looked for a park to picnic, ended up in a beautiful forest, then after a lovely walk, ended up on the other side at a shore where the kids came alive running and splashing in the water.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Starting track (from early this summer)

Yesterday I took the kids for their first day of track with Logan's rec club.

Something about the long day, the afternoon fits/fatigue, the new environment (which for me means overly anxious and for the kids means lets run around and be wild and free and explore), the missing naps, the emergency bathroom needs... it was all kind of a disaster and I was just super crazy and frazzled by the end of the two hours.  But, the highlights were:

1. I was too upset to dive into what would have been a typical "Well, what do you think? Was it awesome? Did you love it?" So, the kids kind of on their own just brought out the good parts. And I think if I'd jumped in with all that, they may have just said "eh."  So it was a really happy surprise to see them decide for themselves what they really thought, and to be able to find the good parts without my help!

2. We invited a friend of Ellie's to take Owen's place (since his broken arm meant he couldn't run this season) and she was so super cheerful and excited to be there that Ellie caught on to her enthusiasm. (And having a friend along probably helped temper my evenings's frustration, though I wondered if she might have been thinking something like 'Wow, Ellie I didn't know your mom was so mean!'

So we made it through, and with those two highlights even decided to try to figure out how to make it work instead of just giving up.

And tonight was better!

We had lots of snow today (one week till summer break!) so they moved inside and everybody was just a little more contained which made me feel much better.  I had back-up plans in case of falling apart children,  and I had Landon's sweet prayer from last night in my mind all through the day "Please help Mom feel calm and relaxed..."

The kids were doing so well I even invited Jen to come over and join us with her boys to run around and play for a bit.

So, we survived. And we (I) didn't quit after the first day. And on we go with a fun new activity for these kiddos to try out!

**Update, now that track has long been over. The kids did awesome. There were some tears along the way... I think this was the first time for Ellie when she really pushed as hard as she could at something like this. Once she realized that it was okay to feel so tired/spent/exhausted, and even that she was supposed to feel like that, then she was able to do really great. She still reminds me every once in a while that she did not like track, but I think she also felt pretty proud of herself. Landon was amazing at the track meet - he'd finished all the events he'd signed up for and given his best, and then when friends asked him to do the 1 mile (the hardest event) at the end, he just did it. I loved watching these guys working so hard and doing so well.  Also, reading this now I was reminded of how this was happening during the last weeks of school when life is just hectic, and Jordan was in London for work so I'm not surprised looking back that I felt so frazzled! :)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Landon brought his new instrument home yesterday and it was a great celebration at our house! He met us over at the park after school (where Owen was having soccer practice), and was so excited to show us, so he buzzed into the mouthpiece and put his trombone together and put on a little concert-of-first-day-playing-noises for us (and the other park visitors/neighbors). Landon was so great about letting all the other kids in the family try it out, and taught them what to do. Later in the evening, we had a marching band through the house that ended in the basement with Owen doings special claps, and Porter on the metal mixing bowl drum. And it was just such a joyful noise!  I went downstairs to congratulate the performers and Porter asked "Want to join in?!" Such fun. Owen finished his morning jobs before school today in record time so that he could try out the trombone, or even just listen to Landon practice. (And asked last night about saving up to buy his own!) What a fun intro to this new experience for Landon!


Our wonderful home teacher brought over his trailer on Monday, and we enlisted the help of our kiddos after school to bring all the boards up from our basement - and now they're gone, hooray! We've had this crazy pile of boards and drywall down there ever since we took the closet out, and hadn't made any progress downstairs since then. But finally getting all of that out, we're feeling again like we can move forward. (Also, we just committed to hosting one of Jordan's coworkers for a week in November, so now we have a deadline to get things done!)

Yesterday Jordan and I talked through again what we want to do -- this feels like the hardest part - just making decisions! We still aren't sure, but maybe a little closer? Hopefully we'll keep things moving along. (If not, we'll go with the back up plan (approved by Ellie and Owen) to paint in between all the 2 x 4's a different rainbow color in each rectangle... so pretty much we have some good motivation to decide on something :)