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 :)

Monday, August 28, 2017

Reading (not so) Lately

All Moms go to Heaven - This was a cute collection of stories about motherhood by Dean Hughes. It was fun to read, and had several little stories that I stopped to share with Jordan.

Magnolia Story - I loved this! I'd only ever watched fixer upper once or twice, but reading this I just loved those two! So many fun, real life stories from two just very likable people!

Call the Midwife - We read this for bookgroup and I really liked it. The story I remember most was a woman with something like 25 children... who was just completely happy in her role, and almost a queen of her little (full!) home.

Getting to Yum - Hmm.. I can't remember the details of this, but seeing the title again I have a vague thought of 'good ideas' and also a vague feeling of 'things that won't work for me'... Sometimes when one of my kids does something really well, or one of my parenting tricks works so great, I think 'wow! I've got the answer!' Except that with five children I know that isn't actually true because what worked so perfectly for one is a complete flop for another... So I think maybe this book was one of those kinds of books, great if your child happens to be the child who will try broccoli 12 times and then learn to love it... (or maybe I'm remembering completely wrong and this was actually really great!)

Love Warrior - I almost burned down our house reading this book!  Porter had stood on a stool stirring the dinner on the stove, and set down a spatula too close to the burner before going on to play. I was sitting in the next room (about 8 feet away) with tears streaming down my face reading this, completely oblivious, until finally the smell of smoke registered and I went to find the spatula on fire almost reaching over the the items next to it on the counter. I couldn't recommend this book because of the language and paragraphs/pages that I had to skip over. But - I was so glad I read it. It was amazing to see this woman, whose life history was as different from mine as could possibly be (eating disorders, alcoholism, promiscuity, abortion...) and yet, the truths she was learning through her own completely different experiences were still true for me, and important and real and necessary.

The War that Saved my Life - I had this on my list of books to read for a year or more, and (if I remember right, it's been a while!) it was sweet and tender, as a girl and an older woman were kind of thrown together and each helped the other so well.

Counting by 7s - Another book group pick, and one that I really liked. I loved how this sweet girl had all of these in-her-head coping strategies and after a tragedy and as she rebuilds her life, she starts to find ways to cope through the help and support and love of other people too.

Falling Free - Shannan Martin has been one of my favorite bloggers for a long time. I've loved reading her blog and learning from her unique perspectives and  this was great too. My favorite was her story of a loving sacrifice given at the jail where her husband works, as the men saved up their rations and joined together all their little sweet cakes and candy bars -- all the best things they could come up with -- to celebrate a friend. And even where her thoughts or ideas are different from mine, I still loved reading about how hard she works to live what she believes.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Back to school

Well, here we are getting back in to the school time life. Porter and Isaac and I had a happy morning yesterday with all our normal morning things, plus a bikeride to the library, some piano playing time, and a mini dance party which Isaac really loved, and then a lunch date with Jordan. It takes some getting used to, these new changes! I loved focusing on these little boys, but our house was also a little quiet without all the kids.  I'm especially missing Owen as he's starting a full day now for the first time - with Portuguese too! As we talked about school yesterday, Owen said something like "I wish I didn't have to go all day, because I just miss all that time with our family!" (me too, little buddy!)

Ellie and Landon both had some little issues with their new classes and I was so proud of them for how well they handled them. Ellie and I went on a bikeride last week to the school to see the new class lists posted. I wasn't worried at all about which class Ellie would be in, because she had made so many good friends over the last two years that I was confident that she'd have friends in whichever class. We got to the school and she found her class and started to cry -- all of her closest friends were together in the other class. We got home with more tears, and then she asked if she could write a letter to the principal to ask if she could change classes or have a friend moved into her class (with a complete list of all of her friends included :)  And she did, all on her own (and even added 'If not, I can still make lots of new friends'). The principal gave a very thoughtful response, and though she was disappointed with no switch, she was ready to be brave and give it a try. Yay Ellie!

Landon had his first day of Middle School (!!!) yesterday, and after his first few classes he got to a class on his schedule and the teacher told him he wasn't on her list and sent him to go find a new schedule. He worked through it all like no big deal and got his new schedule and classes all on his own - yay for handling last minute changes so well! We got to hear all about his day while we ate rootbeer floats last night, and it was so fun to hear all the details (which is pretty unusual for Landon!)

(One funny story -- Landon was doing an activity in an assembly and got some tootsie rolls as a prize. He ate one and then realized he'd lost (and lost!) a tooth!)

Time to work out our new schedules and routines and jobs and kid swaps and volunteering and work schedule and all the things... Here we go!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

so long sweet summer

(Our summer of suitcases :) Once we were halfway to our destination when I panicked and asked Jordan "did you get the right suitcase?" because we still had a halfway unpacked suitcase at home from our previous trip!)

We've finished the last summer to-do's. The boys all have fresh haircuts. We're home from back-to-school nights, and four out of five kids are in bed. Clothes are laid out for the first day of school in the morning,  lunches are made,  and here we go!

It has been a full summer. Really wonderful and just really full. And I think all of the things that I wanted to have happen really did. So, on we go to another new adventure!

2017 Summer highlights:

* A trip to London for Jordan through the end of school and beginning of summer break
* Our big trip to Canada-  2 1/2 weeks in Victoria, first with just our family and then with all of Jordan's siblings.
* Lots of trips to Provo- A few orthodontist appointments with overnight stays + the whole family. One appointment day with just a drive there and back with me and Landon, my braces off (at long, long last, with 6-8 weeks turning into 9 months!) A periodontist laser treatment, and a few days camping out at our condo for fourth of July celebrations and condo work.
* A Peterson family reunion in Morgan
* A Brady family reunion in American Fork

(Our own) School time: 
* Reading Wonder with Landon
* And reading Ramona and her mother with Ellie, and all the yellow Sam books with Owen
* finishing the course 2
* Porter started his UPSTART online preschool
* Little mini lessons and activities on all sorts of things (emotions, how binary works, art projects, computer science basics...)
* I started a blue jean quilt and have had each of the kids helping with it - cutting out and stacking squares, pressing the foot pedal on the sewing machine, or guiding the fabric while I press the pedal :)

Lessons and such:
* Ellie and I taught an art class through June for some of the neighborhood kids.
* Continuing teaching Landon and Ellie piano
* A few evenings of a mini book group with Ellie's friends
* Landon and Ellie ran track
* Landon finished cub scouts,  earned his Arrow of Light, and moved on to boy scouts
* Tennis lessons for Landon and Ellie at Elkridge Park (with our same tennis friends from last year's lessons!)
* Landon loved his month of Harry Potter Camp with potions and magical creatures and chocolate frogs... and even Isaac learned how to cast spells (with any long pointed thing and a "kew!" sound :)
* Ellie went to a few days through the summer of Portuguese camp, practicing Portuguese and also brought home some new recipes we've practiced again

And lots of other things: 

* A bit of a pitiful garden, but fresh tomatoes! and 2 sunflowers! :)
* Celebrating Jordan, Isaac, and Landon's birthday's (and Porter's in a few days too!)
* Owen broke his arm just before school and spent the summer in 2 splints, 3 casts, and now a brace
* Bike rides
* Running again (yay!) and then not running anymore :(
* Porter learned to ride a pedal bike
* Isaac learned to walk
* Ellie biked up all the hills from Lee's with no help on her new gear bike
* Fourth of July celebrations  and fireworks
* Family Brazilian dinners
* The kids learned to make their own lunches each day
* A little (little) house progress with a few walls painted and some new light fixtures
* LostMyName is now Wonderbly :) and work is continuing on happily for Jordan
* We watched the solar eclipse
* Jordan has been teaching the young men at church, and I've been teaching Owen's class.
* Porter has loved playing magna tiles and building great castles and other great things
* Kiddos playing with friends, swinging on our swings, scootering around, playing games...
* Movie nights, bike adventures, jobs and cleaning, Isaac naptimes, reading books, whoosh.

Mostly, my goal for this summer was to treasure up these kiddos. And sometimes that was hard with five little ones all having such different needs! But oh, what a lot of wonderful things we've done and happy memories we've made (which hopefully I can write down so they won't all be forgotten! :) And I feel really grateful tonight for all the time I've gotten to have with these little (and even not so little anymore) ones that I love so much.

Friday, May 12, 2017


Well, goodness! I've been writing here on this blog for 10 years or so now, but I don't know that I've had a period of time in there where I've written less than this year. I realized some time recently that I was no longer writing blog posts in my mind while I showered, and that is a big change itself. I feel sad that I won't remember the little moments of these days without a record, but such is life -- and I'll get back to all the things that matter someday. :)

In the meantime, today I love

the sound of 
* Landon telling me this morning all about the 5th grade talent show tryouts (he's dribbling a basketball while jumping on his pogo stick! :)
* Tiny little calm quieting from Isaac as he got himself to sleep for his nap just now. (That's the best! It means he's learning to fall asleep on his own and he feels safe and sleepy and okay)
* The boys playing out front with their friend from across the street (our most-days after lunch routine) (And Jordan offering to watch them so I can have this little quiet time)
* A sweet thank you from a classroom teacher who I've helped out for the last few months. (Let's all give a hip, hip hooray for Mrs. Brough!)
* Owen asking me at book group this morning, "Mom, will you sit next to me?" (Owen broke his arm earlier this week so he's taking some time off school to recover/adjust a bit). 

the sight of 
* all the green in all the places! the grass and bushes and trees and mountains -- green!
* and blossoms!
* our front yard swings in happy use again. And Porter's peek-a-booing at me from behind the tree as he swings. 
* a class at school practicing their Portuguese dance in the lunchroom. I love that our kids get to have this as a part of their elementary school lives. 
* Ellie working with such focus through her morning jobs to get ready for school (even though she so much wishes it was summer break already!)

the smell of
* baby powder (left open by me, tipped over by Isaac's wiggling feet on the changing table)
* BYU brownies that I bought yesterday (at a quick/long trip to the orthodontist and back) and tucked in the freezer for a surprise sometime (with a few out for an after school treat today).  

the taste of
* fresh pineapple at this morning's book group
* and my still every day morning oatmeal

the feel of 
* Isaac snuggling in to me as I rock him and sing to him before setting him down to sleep. (Sometimes we do the arched back/please don't put me down cry routine, but often these days it's sweet cuddling up that I love.)
* And Porter snuggling right up in my lap at book group for a few minutes before he was ready to go play with his friends. 
* Friday

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

a few silly little things from the last several months that have made me happy

February Art of the Month project 
* We finally have enough spoons! I don't know why I put it off, but we were down to a very silly number of spoons,  and we were always eating with plastic picnic spoons. It's been several months and I'm still so happy to open the silverware drawer and see spoons inside!

* I'm growing little seedlings inside to get ready for our garden. I did this once in Provo, but not since, and it's been so fun each day to check on our little plants with Porter and see what is sprouting and growing. I think I'm probably doing it all wrong (I heard 'The Garden Guy' on the radio last weekend tell that the right time to plant squashes inside for Logan is the end of April...) but it's just so fun to watch those little seeds grow!

* We refinanced our mortgage and it worked out so super. Our payment is the same each month, but we went from our 30 year (24 years left) to a 15 year mortgage. (We paid down the balance a bit, dropped the PMI, and lowered our interest rate to get the same monthly payment) It has been a few months, but since I haven't yet set up auto-pay I'm still looking at the statements each month, and it just makes me happy to see so much more money going toward the principle now!

* I started using real butter on my toast in the morning. I always thought that if I left butter out, it would go rancid before we could use it all. Then on a recent trip, we bought some butter and I realized we could use a stick of butter pretty quickly! I think I'm the only one who uses it now, but it is still just fine. And I kind of feel like I've conquered one of my fears (I'm so brave, I leave my butter unrefrigerated!)

* I made the kids some mix-tape CD's for their little Valentine's Day bags, and I have loved sharing some of my favorite music with them. It makes me so happy when we listen in the car and they sing along or say "go to #9!" or whichever. (That's 'going the distance' by Cake by the way :)

* Orange juice smoothies. Since I got my braces, salads have seemed like kind of a pain to eat. So instead, I've been having an orange juice smoothie every day with lunch and it's my favorite thing to eat each day. (orange, banana, carrot, spinach/kale, yogurt, oj, vanilla)

* A decent go-to hair solution. I remember when Ellie was a baby, I got a bad haircut that was also shorter than I had hoped, so I pretty much just pulled my hair back for about a year until it grew out. But looking back I think, even if I'd loved my hair I still would have pulled it back every day because I had a little baby.  A year or so ago (perfect timing!), I learned how to do an inside-out kind of braid that I like, and when I'm pulling my hair back most days it makes me feel like I'm still kind of put-together.

* Shampoo as body wash. I've always used body wash in the shower (instead of soap) and whenever I had to replace it, I always felt kind of annoyed at how expensive it was! (Because I use 89 cent shampoo, so $3 for body wash was three times the price!) At some point,  we ran out of body wash and it took me so long to replace it that we just kept using shampoo in it's place and then I finally realized that was just a brilliant solution, so that's just what we do now and it just makes me happy  (Last time I went to buy shampoo, I saw "shampoo, conditioner & body wash in one! "And I thought  they probably did nothing different to their formula, they just put a different sticker on the front!)

*  An extra-large wrap for Isaac. Isaac was outgrowing our favorite wrap that he loved to sleep in, but he still slept much better all swaddled up. Really quickly before naptime one day I cut apart the old wrap and sewed in some fleecy fabric to make it longer and wider -- and it was super wonky, but it worked just perfectly and I love wrapping him up in this funny mismatched little wrap! (He's sleeping arms-out these days though so it's just about time for the wrap to retire)

* A few little homework solutions. Owen has these 'fluency pages' he does each day to practice letters, sounds, and sight words. For the first month or so of school, these were just kind of torture because Owen would get so distracted between each...letter... on... the... page... So I turned it into a timed challenge and now each page takes about 30 seconds and it's his favorite part of homework. Ellie was getting super worn out from her homework too each week, so we just changed things up a bit a few weeks ago and it's been much happier for her. (Things like finger spelling and typing her words instead of writing them all 3 times, and drawing pictures about her sentences instead of re-writing them)

* Using a check at the store -- I went to check out at Lee's this morning and realized at the last minute that I'd left all my cards at home. I asked them to hold my groceries for me and thought through the morning's schedule for when I could come back with my card to pay. As I was walking out, I realized I did have my check book -- hooray! And guess what? I asked for a pen, and the cashier said 'oh, you don't have to fill it out, we just run it through our machine kind of like a debit card' -- cool, right?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Because I want to celebrate

image here

This morning, I cut and trimmed a package of chicken breasts for the first time - probably ever!  I have issues with raw meat, and I'm mostly just not a huge meat fan.  I buy and cook hamburger about twice a year (plus meatballs which are a staple), and pork chops or ribs maybe once a year. We eat chicken fairly often (once  a week maybe?) but it's either canned, pre-cooked, or made-by-Jordan. I used to cook with fresh or frozen chicken tenderloins pretty often -- but I always cooked them before I handled them. (So trimming and cutting today's raw meat into bite-size pieces was a big deal!)  For some reason I've felt extra squeemish for the last few years and we've done just fine with canned chicken :)

So, this was worth a celebration! I had a few recipes I wanted to make this week with chicken and it was on sale at Lee's, and then I got home with it and thought 'well now what do I do?'  Jordan walked in while I hand my hands all slimy with chicken and I said "can you believe what I'm doing?!" Ha! We all have our small little victories I guess :)

(A helpful thing I've learned: If you are using canned chicken but don't want the canned chicken flavor, just cook it for a few minutes in olive oil + salt & pepper and garlic and onion if you really want. You'll still end up with shredded chicken rather than bite-size pieces, but it will taste much yummier than straight from the can.) 

Friday, March 24, 2017

On names

Oh! He was little!
On choosing a name

Isaac was born just a little bit earlier than we expected, and we hadn't yet had much serious discussion about a name for him. (I did have baby boy names on all the scraps of paper, church programs & receipts around our house - on one of Jordan's stops at home I had him find one and take a picture for me so I could remember my favorites!) We spent a good deal of time at the hospital holding and cuddling this sweet new baby and trying out different names. "Hey there little Beckham!" "Hi sweet baby Anders!" to see what fit. We used the nurses white board up on the wall to keep track of our favorites, and as the nurses rotated through they'd give us their input. At one point, we narrowed our list down to six names and then Jordan and I each rated them in order of our favorites from 1 to 6. When we uncovered our results, our numbers were perfectly paired -- His favorite #1 was my #6. My #1 was his least favorite #6. His 5 was my 2 and my 2 was his 5. Our 3s and 4s were exact opposites. Ha! So how to choose? Jordan had a strong favorite and I really didn't, but I loved that Jordan did so eventually we chose... Max Nelson Brough.

On changing a name

And we sent the texts and made the phone calls and introduced our baby Max and took home our little (though not so little at over 9 lbs.) Max home. Logan was celebrating Independence Day a few days early. So I left the quiet stillness of our hospital room where Max and I had spent his first few days together, and Jordan drove us home through streets lined with tents and picnic blankets and fold up chairs and all the Logan families sitting out to cheer for the arrival and the homecoming of baby Max (or maybe just getting ready for fireworks that night!) We got home and our park was filled with celebrators. We sat out in the front yard with our neighbors as the kids ran back and forth and the Dads set fireworks off in the street. (Welcome home Max!) And so baby Max got to meet all the neighbors and friends on just his first day home! We tried out Max for the rest of that holiday weekend after coming home from the hospital, but somehow it just didn't fit.  We finally made up our minds and decided to change it and Jordan texted the bishop just a few minutes before church started on Sunday to give him the update for his Sacrament Meeting announcement -- welcome to the Brough's new baby: Isaac Joshua! (Through the rest of the summer, I'd run into friends (with excellent memories!) and they'd ask "How's that baby Max?" And I'd answer something like "He's wonderful! Except, now he's Isaac!" )

The name Isaac hadn't been at the top of our lists (I don't think it made it to the whiteboard top 6), but it had been the most recent name I'd been trying out before he was born and I think because of that it had the most tender feeling around it.  (And sometime I'll write down why I love  the name Joshua too) Fortunately for us, the long weekend meant the recorder at the hospital hadn't submitted our forms yet, so his 5 day (or so) old name change just took a quick phone call. It makes me smile whenever I'm at a store and meet a cashier named Max, or read a book about a character named Max because I always think 'I had a baby Max for a few days!'

On all the other names

At Isaac's 6 month check up, the pediatrician asked if he was responding to his name yet. He wasn't and it made me laugh afterwards because I wondered what name he would respond to -- this kiddo has been our most-nick-named baby by far. In his first few weeks and months everyone in the family had a different nick name (or a few) for him. Some have lasted and many I've already forgotten - But here are some of the favorites (and silliest): baby, sweet one, bip-bop or baby bip-bop, Sir captain, rum-a-doodle, buss-buddy, spit up machine (this kid was a major spit up baby!), boo-baby, baby filups, bitty one, buppity-boo ... I love all these funny sweet names for this baby Isaac that we all love so much!

Sunday, February 12, 2017


and cuddling and helping our sick little boys.

basketball (Landon and Owen on their first basketball teams and all of us at the church a few times)
and board games (Owen watches the clock starting at lunch time waiting for Jordan's end-of-work 1:30 time - "game time")
and Wii (a little)
and piano (an even littler maybe)
and peek-a-boo and other silly games with cute Isaac

to Provo several times for orthodontist appointments because I got braces! (which will hopefully be finished soon!) Despite my daily retainer wearing for the last 10 years, my bottom teeth were not staying so straight :(

orange juice smoothies every day with lunch 

Oh, what a lot of shoveling snow this year! And thank goodness for several kind neighbors too who helped us stay unburied with their snowblowers!

Sam books and book bag books (Owen) and Magic Treehouse books (Ellie) and all the books (Landon).  

Basement improvements (no more fireplace, closet, or strange end of stairs wall issue)  Summer vacation (Victoria, Canada!), Middle School plans for Landon (Portuguese, Trombone/flute?), How to support our Dual Immersion program at the kids' school, what to make for dinner

All the things, all the days (from our neighbor -- 'cleaning the house while you're children are growing is like shoveling snow while it's still snowing' ;)

Ellie's birthday with a rainbow birthday party and Ellie's baptism with lots of sweet visitors. And we still need to celebrate, but Isaac had one night last week where he slept all night long (woo hoo!)

Sitting and rolling and eating solid foods (Isaac), drawing pictures and recognizing letters (Porter), reading and shooting baskets (Owen), art projects and piano and all the Reflex math facts (Ellie), the Gettysburg address and the preamble to the constitution and lego building and piano (Landon), a new calling teaching Owen's primary class (Debbie), teaching the 12/13-year-old young men (Jordan). 

A visit from Kathie & Winslow, our new eating plan that includes dessert every night (!), beautiful February days (we hit 45 degrees and the kids were playing in the snow in shorts and t-shirts!)

Art of the Month Kid Scenes

Winslow's Christmas present was an 'Art of the Month' club subscription from our kiddos. We made these silly pictures for January and I just had so much fun! :)


Slept in with little Isaac
Kids Saturday morning Wii time
Hurry, quick super fast breakfast/play clothes/coats/shoes/get out the door
Run into Lee's for team treats and glazed donuts
Owen's basketball game -- great defending Owen! cuddling Porter, sharing a box of tissues
Realized I'm not feeling so good and wondering if these little boys will ever get better... called to ask my partner to teach the lesson for primary tomorrow.
Stop home to pick up library books
Drop off library books (no more fines accruing, hooray!)
Early to Landon's game, drills in the middle school halls while we wait
Landon's basketball game -- great playing Landon! "I saw those two really tall guys on the other team so I was just playing my best!" cuddling sleepy Isaac, cheering for these great boys
Lunch time at home - Olive Garden leftovers for me and Jordan, hooray!
Ellie off to "The Little Mermaid" play with a friend
Nap times, quiet times, planning the afternoon
Set up the baby monitor for a quick walk around the block with Jordan
Storage room clean out/organizing
Jordan wiring the internet back to his office (through the ceiling, across the bathroom and into his office - good job Jordan!)
Emptying the closet to prep for taking it apart
(Maybe we'll start making progress on our basement?)
Lots of cardboard boxes loaded up
A trip to Walmart recycling bins, to DI to drop off donations, dropping off my ipad for a screen repair, and Little Caesars pizza pick up, kids laughing like crazy in the back of the van (hooray for laughing instead of fighting!)
Pizza movie party, finishing Trolls
A few kids to bed
Jordan making reeces bars for his Young Men, taking turns with Isaac
More kids to bed
Looking at airbnb/hotels for our Provo trip this week... trying a new hotel
Reading Okay for Now with Jordan, feeding Isaac once more before sleep
Lights out

Friday, January 13, 2017


a happy Landon at Lagoon with April
A few things about Landon this week:

1. Landon just started playing on a basketball team for the first time. He was pretty nervous about being a beginner with a team of boys who have played a lot, but he has done super. I took him to practice this week and brought along my computer to work on a project. I would have loved to watch him practice and play, but I thought I might hear afterwards an embarressed "You were the only Mom there!" so I just did my own thing. Afterwards, Landon asked if I saw some of his best moves and he was dissapointed that I hadn't watched -- hooray for a not-so-little boy who still wants to say "Look Mom!" (These are some of the most heard words from Porter and Owen this week :)

2. We let Landon stay home from school one day this week, just for a day off. It happened to be a day I was watching two of Porter's friends for a little bit. And this Landon just had the best time running around and leading those kiddos on great fun adventures all over our house!

3. Driving home from basketball practice, Landon was looking for some music on the radio. I sang along as he turned to a cheesy 80's love song, and when he changed it, I teased him by singing louder and adding in the arms (safely, while driving of course)  (We did it all for the glory of love!)   And then he changed it back. (!) And I turned it up and he listened while I sang along to the rest of the song. What a kiddo!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Three-year-old Porter

I watched from my bed as Porter barricaded my bedroom door with packages of quilts and blankets. Then he climbed up to the top, got all settled in, and said to me with a smile,  "Don't worry Mom, just relax."

Reading Lately (Fall edition)

It has been long enough since I've read any of these that they're all a bit hazy in my memory already. But here are a few fun recent reads:

Pride and Prejudice - This one is the star of the show on this list. I've always thought that I didn't like Pride and Prejudice. Friends in high school and roommates in college would go crazy over the BBC version and I'd think 'I have better things to do than watch a six hour movie...' or something like that. Then I watched the new-ish version on netflix at some point and liked it pretty well. Then when Isaac was born, I was looking for a free audio book to listen to while I nursed and I thought I'd give this a try, and I just loved it! I finished the audio version, then went back and re-read my favorite parts. Then watched all six hours of the BBC version, and the newer version again too. This may well have been similar to how all food tastes delicious in the first few weeks with a newborn, but I enjoyed it so much :)

Real Moms - I just pictured the author sitting with me and chatting and telling me all these funny stories about being a mom, and loved it. Lisa & Topher Clark are two of my very favorites to follow on instagram too.

Justin Case: School, drool & other daily disasters - It's been long enough, that I honestly can't remember this, but I know I loved it because I just love this kid!

It ain't so awful, Falafel - I was so excited to find this at the library, because I've loved her books of essays (they're hilarious.) This was okay. It was fun and interesting, but not spectacular like her others.

Clementine - Again, it's been a long time, and I can't remember much about this.  There was something about coloring her hair (or her friend's hair?) green and drawing in some curls with sharpie... silly and Ellie will probably like it.

Lizzy Bright and the Buckminster Boy - Gary Schmidt wrote two of my very favorite books (Wednesday Wars & Okay for Now). But this one I didn't love. It seemed more like a 'making a statement' kind of book and it was interesting, but not a favorite.

I Feel Bad about my Neck - One evening I escaped to the library and enjoyed the quiet, just reading in one of their big chairs. I think this was pretty funny, but the evening of quiet was even more memorable :)

Out of the Dust - I thought I'd try to read through some of the books on our bookshelves that I haven't read in ages so I could decide whether to keep or toss them. I started with this one and even a few months later, I still haven't made up my mind about whether I liked it or not. It definitely gives a good picture of what life might have been like in the dust-bowl times, and I did like that.


Monday, January 9, 2017


You know this isn't a current photo because if it came from this week there would be another few feet of snow :) But look at that cute Owen!
Owen was a little bit sick today, and a lot slow-moving this morning trying to get back into the routine of things (after Christmas break and then only one day to school last week!) So I kept him home and we had a fun morning with Porter and Isaac. We did some school time (Every time I talk about doing school time, the first request is the dice game. So we played that with Porter and practiced Portuguese numbers too :) and did some reading practice and writing practice and read books and played with Isaac... It was a happy time.

This evening, for a little project I'm doing I was making a quick video of Owen and asking him to tell me something great that he loved about each person in our family. He was kind of stumped when he got to me. First he said "so many things!" but when I asked for something specific, he had to really think --

Then he said "Oh! One time you played Monopoly with me. You were kind of busy with lots of things to do but you just took a break and played it with me."

Which is so sweet that he'd remember such a little thing but also kind of breaks my worried-about-not-doing-enough mom heart.  I can hardly even remember that Monopoly game because it was months ago.

I hope I can just remember the sweetness of this and know that Owen feels loved when he knows I'm stopping whatever busy-ness is going on to do something just with him. And try to make that happen a little bit more.  I sure love this kid!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Snow days!

I can remember a crazy day in southern California when we had snow -- my cousins and I all went outside and watched the little flutters and hoped for an inch because that was what we'd need for school to close (or so we thought). 

After a few major snowstorms this week, we woke up on Thursday morning to about 3 feet of snow, with temperatures forecast at about -8 degrees, and our first Logan snow day! 

The kids had a great time playing with friends and with each other and having just a great day. (Except poor little Isaac who has been sick and didn't have such a happy day!)

Then, an even bigger surprise -- we had another snow day today! There was no new snow, but the current temperature in Logan around 6 or 7 this morning was -24 degrees (-24!) 

We made cinnamon rolls and funny pictures (like cute Isaac above) and Jordan and the kids are playing games, and we'll see what this icy cold afternoon brings :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

snowed in

With some amazingly quick shoveling from Landon and Jordan this morning we made it out of the driveway to get the kids to school. A precarious block to the main (plowed) road and then a slow moving drive to and from (plus carrying boot-less Owen across the space from the car to the sidewalk) and all three children made it safe and sound to school. I postponed grocery shopping for a Lee's delivery tomorrow (which sadly means a day of oatmeal or cream of wheat, since those are the soft foods we have and I just had an orthodontist appointment yesterday!) Still, it felt worth it to keep warm and safe and home. 

Jordan, on the other hand, watched the snow fall and fall and fall from his outside office and decided the day was too perfectly snowy to stay home. No amount of mom-fears could dissuade him, so he ended work early, picked up the kids from school early and off they went to try out snowboarding. (I'm not going to think about the less than ideal odds of 1 Dad + 4 small kiddos first time snowboarding. I'm not going to think about all the things that might go wrong/be going wrong with that situation. I'm not going to think about it.)

So me and Isaac are here at home, packing away Christmas, walking laps around the loop when Isaac gets a bit sad, feeding/napping/playing/rolling, listening to music, trying out all the baby toys, watching this snow fall and fall and fall, and daydreaming about delicious soft foods like cauliflower soup and milkshakes.

(And not thinking about snowboarding disasters.)