Monday, April 16, 2018

Good Friends

Cute (mostly unrelated) map from Ellie :)

Years ago, a good friend of mine (who was pregnant with her fifth child at the time, as I was pregnant with my second) commented on how grateful she was for friends who just helped each other through the days so much. We were going visiting teaching together, and as she dropped off her kids at another friend's house, she mentioned how her whole day was just full of helping and being helped in so many ways - in watching kids, pick ups, carpools, lessons, etc.

And it seemed like a nice thought, but I was also kind of new to being a mom with my one little Landon and I mostly just did my own thing so I didn't really get it! 

Today (like many other days) I was reminded of that little interaction.  I spent a few minutes in the morning emailing friends for help with a project, and answering emails helping friends with what they're working on. A friend's sitter got sick, so I was able to watch her sweet toddler for a few hours, I took Porter to another friends' for preschool, then Porter and Isaac both went to another friends' while Jordan and I helped with the Lego Robotics club at the school, then Porter and Owen ran over to join in on the soccer practice with another friend who coaches her team at the park here. And in between were texts and rides and other little normal every-day things. 

That's all kind of jumbled, but I was just so grateful today for these good friends and all the help they give to me and my family and for little chances to help too. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Spring Break so far

Our neighbor sets this spinner out every year, and our kiddos just love it!

We decided to stay home for Spring Break this year, and it has been a fun few days so far.

A few highlights:

+ Early morning Kingsburg & Power Grid for Landon and Owen

+ Blueberry muffins to share by Ellie and Porter

+ A family lunch-break lunch to Macey's

+ The end of 5 kingdoms for Jordan and Landon

+ Church basketball fun x 2 (Today I asked Landon and Owen if they thought they could each make 'age' baskets while we were there and they both far surpassed my challenge. I just hit my age and thought that was pretty great! :)

+ Landon's first soccer practice of the season.

+ A morning rotation schedule by Landon for all the boys with bubble blowing, hammock swinging, spinner spinning, and wagon rides.

+ Story of the month prep with Ellie("The Story of the Stolen Unicorn Horn" coming soon April!)

+ A morning walk  (I'm hopeful that maybe I can get back into this habit...)  and some chilly park play time. (With a surprise that the giant apple tree there disappeared sometime since the Fall!)

+ And a little Wii time/movie time/job time/play time etc.


Sunday, April 1, 2018

Daily Walk Pics



A few years ago (2015) I went for a walk each day and took a picture in this same spot. I had loved watching how these mountains by our house changed with the seasons, and decided I wanted to document it. (And having this goal helped me stick with my daily walks that year too!) This is one picture for each month that year (Feb-Jan).





Today was such a beautiful Spring day, and every time I stepped outside or looked out our windows toward the park, I felt so grateful to live in such a beautiful place! (And I guess that is what inspired me finally gather these pictures together!)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

February


Whoosh! We got home last night from our trip to New York. And even though I know we tidied up before leaving, looking around the house, I could see evidence all around of the kind of full February we had :) Here are some highlights to remember:

All the job things:

No problem, I've got this.
 (Not necessarily how Jordan felt :)

Interviewing

Jordan spent a week in NYC and San Francisco with 5 days of onsite interviews (where he'd go into the office (or do this remotely)  and have a day or half day of back-to-back interviews with several different people at each company). He also spent that week wrapping up other interviews and juggling all of this around his regular working schedule! He did get to spend a little time with Kathie and Winslow while he was in California, and he really enjoyed that too.

Offers!

After a month of reaching out, job searching, applications,  emails and follow ups, phone screens and interviews, Jordan ended up with offers from 6 really great companies! (Two years ago when we went through the same process, he had just two offers - one from Microsoft which would have required us to move, and Wonderbly. So, we felt very surprised and grateful for so many great choices this time!) With how all the timing worked, he came home from his interview trip on a Wednesday night and needed a decision by that Friday. (Our friends offered to watch our kids on Thursday so we could have some time to think and talk and we were so grateful!)

Our next adventure

After some tough decision making time, Jordan was excited to accept a position at Teachers Pay Teachers!  And in kind of a silent conversation of nods in the middle of his negotiation conversations (or something like that!) we decided he'd take a week off before he started and we'd take a spur-of-the-moment trip to all go visit NYC as a family.  Jordan's first day was yesterday and he's really excited about this new opportunity!

All of this job-related stuff felt like a huge part of our lives for a while, but we also had all the regular parts of life continuing on too :)

Basketball




Landon and Owen both played basketball this season again and had a fun time. (And I loved watching their games too!) Landon had weekly practices and then each Saturday both boys had games.



Tumbling



Porter got to take a tumbling class for January-February. I think it was pretty fun for him... I don't know if we'll do it again though. This (above) is how Isaac and I spent our time while Porter tumbled :)

Science Fair

(I took this before Ellie's partner arrived, but they were a great duo!)


Ellie and her friend Aria participated in the Science Fair with a project on baking muffins (how would different amounts of baking powder affect the outcome?) Aria's mom helped the girls do the project and they did a great job.

Valentine's Day


The kids all had fun making Valelentine's for their classes (and bringing home Valentine's from their friends too :)

Funeral

We went to Utah County for a weekend to attend my Gramps' funeral. I didn't ever really know him very well, so what struck me most were all of the stories and comments from my cousins/aunts/uncles of how dearly they knew and loved him. I felt like I got to learn a lot more about him and that was really neat.

Dar Williams




I got to see my very favorite musician Dar Williams perform! I sat in the back row and nearly cried through the whole show as she sang all these songs that have been like a soundtrack to so many moments of my life, with so many sweet and tender memories! I've wanted to see her perform for a really long time, so I was just super excited that I got to see her, even right here in Logan!

(Just me and my good friend Dar ;)

Reading


At New Year's time as I was thinking ahead to the year and what I wanted to work on, etc. one thing that I was really excited about was teaching Porter to read! And just in the last month or so, he's been learning to put sounds together into words and I think it is just so fun and exciting. I love it so much!


Friday, February 9, 2018

January


Don't mind the background.. (do other people's living rooms look like this most of the time?) I thought this little moment summed up our January pretty well :) Jordan has had a lot to juggle as we found ourselves jumping back in to job search mode. When we mentioned this to a friend, I loved his response of something like "Well good! That just means there is something even greater in store for you." :)

So, once again (though no major accidents this time around!), our January was full of  searching & discussing, plus applications and interviews (and our February too for at least the next two weeks). But we are feeling really blessed with lots of great possibilities out there. We'll see what comes!

Also in January...

+ A skin cancer scare! I thought I was checking off a 'to do' by visiting the dermatologist about a little spot I'd had on my face, and was kind of shocked when he said it looked very much like basal cell carcinoma and recommended a biopsy right then.  I told him I needed to wait and went home feeling more and more scared as I looked for more info online. Fortunately, Jordan had the good sense to suggest I get a second opinion. Two days of worry later I did, and the doctor was doubtful enough that he brought in another doctor for a 3rd opinion and they both felt confident that it was just a pre-cancerous spot that could be taken care of right then. (Phewph!!) What a relief and also what a scary few days! And I am 100% more committed to sun screen and crazy hats when summertime adventures come.

+ We took the kids to see Wonder (I read this over the summer with Landon so I was especially excited to see it with him.) Reading the book, I was mostly touched by the kindness and sweet interactions between the students. But, in the movie I kept finding myself in tears at the tender feelings of motherhood that they captured so well. I really loved that. I really love being a mom.

+ Kathie was so super wonderful to come up and spend a few days in Salt Lake with us + watching the kids while Jordan and I went to the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit.  I had been watching over the past few months as they'd announce new speakers for the conference and just kept wishing we could find a way to go (yep, I really was that excited about attending a tech conference!) Finally when I heard Mitt Romney was going to be speaking, we called Kathie and just a few days later she was here and ready to play! :) The conference was really fun -- great to see and hear from (in person) a lot of people I've read about for a long time, and it was just a fun time to spend with Jordan too!

+ Landon and Owen started basketball and I've loved going to watch them play (while Jordan so kindly watches the kids at home -- we learned Isaac isn't yet excited about sitting and watching a basketball game as much as running around new interesting places :)

+ Jordan and Landon have started an early, early morning exercise plan. It's not every day, but frequently they'll get up (before their early morning scripture study) and do weight lifting, go swimming, to the climbing gym, jump roping, etc.)

+ We celebrated Ellie's birthday with a 'blueberry birthday party' planned and prepped by Ellie (with some help :) I just took all the 'blueberries' off our kitchen wall last night to make room for Valentine hearts, and was almost kind of sad because they were a very cheery decoration for the month!

+ Oh my goodness, we have had such beautiful days! I feel like I often tell people how much I love Logan "except in January". But this year, our January felt like March. Very few yucky air days. I don't think we ever went below 0 (hardly even any single digits that I can think of!) It was just so warm (not like 70's, but like 30's!) and lovely. What a blessing!



Thursday, January 4, 2018

December


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!