Tuesday, January 31

hey florida friends...

... have you voted yet?


i honestly don't care who wins today, although my heart is with rick santorum.
what really matters is that we win in november and get things straightened out in the white house. i just don't think santorum would win against obama. i think if anyone can, it will be romney. if obama makes president again, it will take a miracle for this nation to survive.
please don't feel the need to leave a comment on this one, just thought i'd post my thoughts. one thing that i really hoped today would be about, is teaching jack and ellie how important it is to love our country and do our part to build it back up and make it what our Heavenly Father intended for us. and a great way to do that is by voting. not enough people do it and i want them to remember that their mom and dad did, all the time.

see the red mark on ellie's cheek? she popped a punch balloon ON her cheek last week. pretty nasty bruise. poor girl's face is a magnet for destruction (or just bumps and bruises).

Saturday, January 28

sweet and savory

carolina and i headed to sur la table this morning 
for an adventure in crepe making!

the menu:
-fresh sage crepes with apple- dried currant chutney
w/ blue cheese and toasted hazelnuts

-creamy chicken and mushroom crepes 
w/ frizzled leeks

-chocolate crepes
w/ vanilla-mascarpone cheese and strawberries

-banana and dulce de leche pastry creme filled crepes

when we walked in i was immediately in heaven. my kind of heaven at least. a humongous, commercial fridge. double decker ovens. gas stove tops. mixers everywhere. every little gadget and gizmo you could dream of. one of those instant, sanitizing dishwashers. ahhhhhh pure heaven!

we learned a lot of great little how-to's and tips for the kitchen, my favorite being the correct way to hold a knife while chopping veggies. so simple, yet it will take a bit of practice to master.
some other tips were to add dry ingredients into wet to minimize lumps. also, when sautéing veggies and chicken, use a combo of canola and olive oil so it doesn't burn as easily. and another awesome tip was to toast the seasonings before adding them to really amp up their potency.

something else that was fantastic was trying all of their fancy shmancy equipment. so SO fun. every single thing we used, i thought i wouldn't be able to cook again unless i had it. not to mention the fact that there were about 5 helpers running around bringing us ingredients and taking away our dishes to wash them then returning them. incredible. absolutely wonderful.

caro was a pro at cooking the crepes. she could flip those puppies and slide 'em right off the pan like a real pastry chef. that is why i hope its ok that i show this clip :) the one time i decide to tape...


stinkin' delicious!
i am pretty sure we waddled out of there.

everything was so fun.
i would definitely recommend it to anyone and can't wait for another opportunity.

and, hands-down, the absolute best part was
doing it with my pal!

we have already decided next time we are bringing along the men to live it up in the kitchen with us. i can't think of a better double date night! the whole time i was there i just kept thinking, "chris would love this. chris would LOVE this!". I'm so thankful for a husband who would not only think and plan such a thoughtful gift, but also spend his whole morning and afternoon HAPPILY watching the kids so i could have some fun time with a great friend. he hit a home run with this one!

Thursday, January 26

sweet little babe

little ashton keith browne
joined bo and larissa's family last monday,
january 16th, at 34 weeks.
he was 5lbs 15 oz.
he is still in the NICU, growing growing growing!
these pictures were taken on the 16th and the 20th and I'm glad to say that his breathing tube is out and they are just waiting for him to eat from a bottle to bring him home. progress is good.

we love you sweet baby Ash and can't wait to shower you with hugs and loves!

Thursday, January 12

then and now

december 2010

 december 2011

after 2 seconds the older kids gave up.
and in more than half the pictures my undies are hanging out. yup. a nice, white triangle for the world to see.
you win some, you lose some

i think this last one would have been my favorite just because we are all relaxed and actually look somewhat natural. thanks jack and ellie.

thanks, rikki, for taking some pictures of our wild clan of nose-diggers and sophisticated adults! i really do love them.

a great start

there are a few things that i am getting super excited about that will be taking place in the next 6 weeks. some life changing and some just really fun. here they are in order of when they will take place:

for christmas, chris signed me up for a cooking class here:

with this pretty lady:
our class is in a couple weeks and we are SO EXCITED! what great husbands we have and so very sneaky too! i have been looking for cooking classes for years and they are always on a sunday.
until sur la table came to naples. 
i will most certainly be posting about our experience in a couple weeks.

we've never been, but have heard a lot about:

a trader joe's is opening in naples next month!

remember how i said some of the upcoming events were life changing?

martha has teamed up with avery labels and will be selling a line of labels at staples starting in february!
why didn't this happen years ago?
the kraft labels have stolen my heart. 
well, anything with kraft paper will steal my heart these days and combining that cuteness with the power of martha stewart and the awesomeness of avery labels is pretty much mind-blowing for me.

31 days, my friends.
31 days till graduation!!!

and the best part....
we have a job!!!

chris signed on with naples anesthesia and we will be staying here. after a lot of thought and prayers we just knew our time here wasn't through. and we are very excited! now we can start thinking about all of those fun renovations that we wanted to do to the house again. it's going to be great to plan and work side by side again on making this little house into OUR little house!
and with graduation brings our favorite missionaries!!! the kids can not wait to see grandma and grandpa. ellie keeps asking every morning if today is the day we get to see them and gives a said sigh followed by "oh yeah, i meant not for a 5 weeks". and jack keeps asking about their scars on their knees from their knee replacements. he is quite fascinated with the idea of scars. he takes after his dad.


alli is coming home
... for good!
i can not wait to hold that sweet little babe.
jack and ellie have asked me so many times when they get to play with their cousin louie and now they get to! all the time!!!

last, but certainly far from least,
bo and larissa will be welcoming their newest addition next month!

if january and february are this freakin' awesome, i can't wait to see what else 2012 has in store for us!

Friday, January 6

a day worth remembering

what a fantastic evening at the park!

even though these kids know how to argue and have their feelings hurt, they still are the greatest of friends. all i had to say was that i wanted to get a picture of them together, and this is what they did:

(me and sophie's shadow)

this could be my favorite photo of the evening.
sophie and charlie were both so tired of walking all over the park and when i picked charlie up, ellie ran right over and grabbed soph's hand and it made sophie so happy she started to clap...with ellie's hand in hers. they walked all the way to the car and ellie kept saying things like "you're doin' it soph! i'm so proud for you!".

our first launch could not have been calculated any more precisely.
chris, being the rocketeer that he is, was able to launch this rocket 200-300 feet and then catch it without even standing up!