Tuesday, March 31, 2009

5 Calendar's

Last year between my birthday and Christmas I received 5 Calendars. I do love a good calendar and I have managed to use most of the calendar's that I received. However I came to the conclusion that I am not an easy person to shop for. Since Mother's Day and my anniversary are coming up I thought I would take some of the mystery out of it.
Things that I would enjoy:
Jon Schmidt piano book
Piano solo book that is based on the hymns
(the book) Piano Portraits: Solo Piano Collection (Paul Cardall, Jon Schmidt, David Tolk...)
Work out clothes-(target rip off's or underarmor)
Kohls gift card
i-Tunes gift card
Jo-Ann's gift card
Organizing stuff
A picture of our little family framed

Want to spend more?
Sewing Machine
New Phone
New shoes (running- Mizuno's size 7) (church- size 6)
Matching bikes (for you and me)
A GPS unit

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Morning Person

Each time I have been pregnant it has shook me to the core. It seems that I am at some point rattled down to the barest part of who am. As I am now re-collecting myself after having Joshua I am wondering what has changed about me.
For most of my life I have been a morning person. If I am tired I prefer to wake up early and nap or go to bed early. Sleeping in usually makes me feel gross and wasteful. Also when I wake up I can usually be happy and ready to do things.
Since I've had Joshua things have changed. I wouldn't classify myself as a night-owl by any means but I don't feel like getting out of bed either. I'm no longer plagued by feeling gross or wasteful if I sleep in until 8:30.
Ironically I miss getting up early. I have been fighting to regain my morning chipperness. I miss feeling refreshed and ready to greet the day. Maybe I am trying to soon since having Joshua but I really want this part of me back.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Chastity part 2

I remember first really understanding the concept of chastity when I was a senior in high school. I was in class and the teacher showed us a video on chastity. The video identified a few key concepts of chastity that I can still remember to this day.

The first was the actual meaning of chastity. The online version of miriam webster (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chastity) defines chastity as "purity in conduct and intention". You can unintentionally remain a virgin but you can not unintentionally be chaste. Chastity is much more far reaching than virginity. It extends to many other areas of your life. I believe it is very intimately tied with integrity. You must make an honest accounting of your actions to be a chaste person.

Because chastity is defined both as conduct and intention it demands that you make the effort and thus the decision everyday. Anyone can choose to become chaste. It is never too late or too far. It is not something that can be taken away or lost. It is not something that ends with marriage. Thus it is very different than virginity. It is the value that for single people allows them to be virgins. Because chastity is not defined by an absolute it is easy to believe that it is subjective. That there are varying levels of chastity. However much like honesty this is untrue. You are either honest or dishonest. There is very little gray area in the matter of truth. Likewise there is very little gray area in the matter of chastity. Either your intentions and conduct were pure or they were not.

One of the last points in the vidoe talked about communication with in your body. As a youth or an adult your body begins sending you messages. It can be very confusing and you can believe that because your body is sending you these messages that you are ready to act upon them. However, just because your body is sending you messages does not mean that you are ready to act upon them. Your body is simply letting you know that it is prepared. It does not mean that you are at the right stage or time in your life to act on the signals your body is sending you. This means it is okay to abstain from having a relationship. In fact by doing so you may have the opportunity to do things that you will never have again. Having those experiences, forming deeper friendships and involving yourself in social activities will make you more prepared to enter into a healthy fulfilling relationship. Not having those experiences would be a loss, and not one that you could regain.

I would like to join Susan W Tanner in delighting in the chastity of men and women.

Jacob taught that the Lord delights “in the chastity of women” (Jacob
). I delight in the chastity and purity of all women and men. How it
must grieve the Lord to see virtue violated and modesty mocked on every side
in this wicked world. The Lord has provided for His children great joy
through intimate, loving relationships, as my grandchildren were learning. I
delight in the clarity of the proclamation to the world on the family, which
warns that “individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse
or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day
stand accountable before God.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cool Deal

Do you like Papa Johns and music? Right now they have a promotion where you get a free $10 gift card when you sign up for one of many services. One of the services is Dada.net which is a website where you download music. If you try them for 7 days, risk free, they give 50 mp3 downloads. You can cancel at any time and will not be charged any fees if you cancel 24 hours before the end of the 7 days.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Parenting Books

It is that time of year again. I am looking for a parenting book to read. Last year I read "Parenting with Love and Logic". I really enjoyed it. Any suggestions for this year?

Looking Forward

I am looking forward to summer. I know it sounds crazy here in Texas to look forward to summer. I am already loving the weather. It is usually in the 70's. I think that this season is one of my favorites because it is so comfortable to be outside. However, I am very much looking forward to getting into the swimming pool. I am also looking forward to bbq's and boating and spending time with family. Camping. All of the fun things you get to do during the summer.

One of my new year's goals is to run a 10k. I thought I would fulfill this goal at the Fort Worth Zoo Run this year but I am rethinking this plan. Physically I feel up to the challenge but finding a whole hour away from Josh on a regular basis is hard to do. Even if I could manage it I would feel terribly guilty. So I will run the 5k. I think it will be a good opportunity to improve on my last two races.

Things seem to be looking up for us. Atleast not more down. We have resolved some of the more immediate conflicts facing us and now it is simply time to put them behind us and move forward. My new camera will arrive tomorrow. The new stereo for the van (one of the young men broke it while Adam was driving him to a special LDS prom in North Dallas) will be here sometime next week. U-haul admitted their mistake and made up for it (they said that they didn't recieve a pmt but our bank statement showed differently). So now we move forward.

I am getting really excited for General Conference. For some reason General Conference feels very fresh to me in the spring. Maybe it is because I associate it with Spring Cleaning and planting flowers. Anyway I feel very excited for it to come. I just have a feeling that it will be big for me this year.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Update and condensed San Antonio

It has been sometime since I last blogged about what is going on with us. Josh turns expertly from side to side. Last week Josh really started babbling a lot and has started to manipulate objects more. Abby is doing well on her Flovent to control her Asthma. She finished some gymnastics classes as well. We have started practicing writing her name together and I just got her a preschool work book. I think that we made a new class at the rec center this block. She has been acting bored at home.
The van situation has also developed. After several weeks of searching things seemed to come to a head. I found a 2003 Toyota Sienna and Adam found a 2003 Honda Odyssey. After test driving both we decided on the Honda. This was for a couple of reasons. We felt that we would like the extra space in the trunk area that the Honda offered plus it was fully loaded and at a small dealership where we would have more luck haggling. The Toyota was at CarMax and was a basic model. Both were listed at about the same price. We went to the dealership at Honda and talked the guy down a few thousand dollars and then bought it. I must admit that after this last trip to San Antonio I enjoyed the extra's. Abby stayed focused on the DVD player instead of screaming and crying and we felt safer using the TCS. Also I didn't have to listen to the DVD, I listened to Artemis Fowl up front. Abby had head phones.
Condensed San Antonio.
We went to Sea World which was mostly awesome. Our camera is lost/stolen and the customer service was awful. My favorite part was feeding the dolphins.
We went to San Juan and San Jose missions. It was some really cool history. We saw mill.
We went to the Alamo when it was cold and rainy but still cool to go and see Davy Crockett stuff. Adam is related to Davy Crockett through his mommy.
We went to the river walk a lot. It was way fun. But we want our camera back.

San Antonio

Adam, Abby, Josh and I all went down to San Antonio this week. After learning that the printed mapquest directions underestimated our drive by 100 miles and getting tangled up in San Antonio's web of highways we finally met up with our good friends Aaron, Katherine, and Julianna. It was excellent to see them and enjoy their company. This was by far the best part of our trip, the company that is.
We checked into the hotel, just a few rooms away from the Tilley's and settled in for the night. The next morning we packed up and headed out for Sea World. A few things that I wish we had packed were a GPS unit and towels. Once again we tangled ourselves up and spent precious Sea World time navigating our way through a signless and confusing web of streets. After about an hour we made it to Sea World. The lines we short, which was great. We got right in and began orienting ourselves.
The famous Shamu show started just 30 minutes after we arrived. We headed down the lane and looked at the flamingo's and snapped some shots. Actually we took quite a few pictures. Then we left our strollers and headed into the stadium. Now it seemed to me that every seat was marked "Splash Zone". We picked a seat probably 1/3 of the way up. Reasonable right? So Aaron, Katherine, Julianna, Adam, Abby, Josh and I all scooted in and began watching the show. It starts off on a huge screen with a bio of the trainers and a preview of the show. Then it began. The trainers dropped into the water and played with these huge orka's with seemingly no sense of danger. It appeared to me as if the orka simply had to open thier mouths and the trainers would be gone. They did all the fancy tricks you see on tv. Then it happened. A row of 8 year old girls in swimsuits dove to the front of the stadium and the announcer said something about get ready to be doused. Really I was totally unprepared for what occured next. It was not the gentle sea spray I expected. It was as if someone was pouring an ENDLESS bucket of water right on top of me and my screaming kids. I grabbed Josh at the first sign that this tsunami was letting up and headed out. He was MAD. Josh is very fair tempered but he was MAD and wanted all of this nonsense to stop. I dashed outside and used the one extra pair of clothes that I had to get him dry using a blanket to dry him off. Everyone else stayed to finish the show. It was awesome inspite of the soaking. I would do it again in a heartbeat but I would bring towels to shield Josh and dry off afterwards. We took a video of all of Abby's reactions. Her jaw was dropped and there was a lot of wide-eyed oohhing and ahhhing. Ofcourse we went and got a stuffed Orka afterwards and some lunch. After riding some rides we decided to rest next to a bathroom and ofcourse gift shop.
This is the moment where in the treachery occured. At some point after changing Josh's diaper our camera left us. My wonderful pink Nikkon left our possession with all of the cute pictures we had taken. This was a huge loss. We spent time looking for our camera with no assistance from the Sea World staff inspite of our efforts.
After a while we decided to try and salvage what we could of the day. We caught half of the Sea Lion caper. Another show that Abby and Josh really got into. Then we headed over to my favorite part, the dolphin tank. There were several dolphins in a deep tank that was open to the public. You could purchase fish to feed to the dolphins and lure them in close enough to touch them. I took the bait twice and purchased the fish. And yes I touched the dolphin. It was amazing. Abby also tossed a fish into the tank towards a dolphin. It was so fun. I could have stayed with the dolphins for half the day.
Eventually we moved on to the manta rays and sharks. Sharks always creep me out. They are true predators and I always feel a little uneasy watching them. As we left the park we went through the stable which housed big mustang horses. Abby loved this part, although she was exhausted. Adam and I decided that we would check at the Lost and Found once more before leaving. This is where I get really really mad at Sea World. I stood in line, the next to be helped for about 15 minutes. Then I got up to the counter and explained my perdicament twice. The helper went and got her manager and then rifled through a few drawers and tinkered on their computer. Then a man approached at another window accessed from outside the park. First the lady that was supposed to be helping me and then the manager went over and helped him. Then they had a staff meeting or something. Meanwhile a different CSR summoned the lady in line behind me and started helping her, trying to shove me out of line. I stood my ground. After 20 minutes (I had my watch out now) my original CSR told me to go and wait in the lost kids room. She said that although they have walkie talkies and computers that interface with all of the computers in the park that someone had to physically walk down to Shamu and check that lost and found. I was told that this would take 10 minutes. And then I was told again and again that it would take 10 mintues. It was as is they didn't know that I had been in the park. I nearly asked them if the guy they sent had legs or if he was army crawling his way down there. Then the manager had a stroke of genius and radio'd the guy to tell him once he got there (because after 20 minutes the parapalegic had not yet arrived) to radio him back to tell him wether or not my camera had been turned in. I think he expected me to clap my hands and shout for joy instead of glaring at him as if his incompetence could actually kill me. I was waiting at the lost kids windows after receiving the call that Josh was hungry and Adam was coming to take my place when the manager 55 minutes after my initial inquiry let me know that my camera had not been turned in. I was upset that my camera was gone but I was also so frusterated that the customer service people were soooo horrible. I am writing a letter to Sea World.
After Sea World we decided to head out to the River Walk. The river walk is an excellent attraction of San Antonio. It is very fun to walk up and down the sidewalks all lit up. We decided to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe since Katherine and Aaron collect Hard Rock shirts. I believe that their collection is international. Anyway we knew that Josh was getting fussy. However, after running out of diapers at Sea World (we keep an extra package in the van for these just in case situations) we thought the worst was over. Not so my friends. Adam was holding Josh while I ate my dinner and then we were going to trade. Adam suddenly started freaking out and out of the corner of my eye I saw Josh's dirty diaper drop a dallup right onto the crotch of Adam's pants. This is a two man diaper change I knew immediately. He jerkily headed toward the bathrooms but settled for some abandoned chairs outside the bathrooms. His diaper was full to capacity. There was nothing more it could have done. Josh's bowels simply overwhelmed the capactiy of the diaper. Luckily his clothes had dried since the Orka's had soaked us and we changed him. Tired and pooped, literally, we headed home. It was fun and hard. I'll admit that I cried a little about my camera.
We got to the hotel. We got clean. We got sleep.
Day #2
We planned on going to the missions and back to the river walk since that particular experience had been cut short the night before. Since it was a fairly light day we slept in some and took our time. We had brunch at Chili's. And yes there is more poop here. Abby came down with stress or whatever Josh had. So we headed back to the hotel. This set us back considerably on our time. We had also stopped at WalMart to purchase a disposable camera. Still we got to see the San Jose and San Juan missions. It was very cool. We got some good pictures, I hope.
Next we went to the river walk. We commissioned a boat tour and had a grand time. We ate at the popular Cafe Rio, which had metal folding chairs. Next time I will simply take a picture (if I have a camera) of the famous umbrellas at the Cafe Rio. Then we walked around and got some chocolates for dessert. It was a nice day. I think even Abby and Josh enjoyed it once they were sufficiently medicated.
We got up early and made sure everyone was clean and packed. We had arranged to go to the Alamo but it was very very cold. And windy. We pressed on anyway. I think that it would have spent more time there if it had not been so cold and windy. We took some time finding David Crockett (yes the Davy Crockett) stuff. Adam is related to David Crockett through his mother Maurina Lois Crockett Brown. So ofcourse our children are as well. We saw a painting of David Crockett and decided that Maurina had some family resemblance to him. I think we decided that she has his eyes. It was very cool to visit the Alamo as a descendant of Davy Crockett.
After the very cold passing through the Alamo we headed back for one more jaunt at the river walk. We decided to eat at the Rainforest Cafe. Everyone and especially Abby seemed to enjoy the atmosphere. It was nice to be in out of the cold wind. The food was pricey but good. It was three levels and had fake panda bears that the staff were quite proud of. We said our goodbye's and headed home. It was a lot of fun to spend time with the Tilley's and we hope that they had a good time inspite of all our gaffs. We want to do it again.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

100th Post.

So this is my 100th post on biffybrownsblog. Pretty cool eh? I intend for this post to be a catch up post of sorts. But I really feel like writing somethings that are fairly intimate that have been on my mind. This will probably become a series of posts that I hope someday my children can benefit from.

Through a series of situations through the past month or so I have thought a lot about chastity and what it means and its incredible importance. It seems like we teach our kids that chastity is important because you don't want to have kids before you are married. While that is a very excellent reason to remain chaste there are so many more. I think that chastity allows you a sort of freedom, which may seem ironic. But being a chaste person allows you to focus on a world outside of romantic interests. It doesn't mean that you totally ignore or shun that aspect of your life but it is far easier to cultivate other interests while being chaste.

I had an experience that is so cliche but really hit home today. I was making rice Krispy squares with Abby and we were melting the butter and marshmallows on the burner together. I kept telling her to not touch the burner because it was hot and it would hurt her. She kept getting really close but never touched it. When it was time to take it off the burner I placed the hot pot on the "off" burner. I picked up the pot and Abby touched the "off" burner that the pot had just been on. She jerked her hand away and told me that it was hot. I was glad that she touched the more cool burner but a little upset that I had failed to impress upon her the importance of not touching the hot burner.

I began thinking about heat and how heat is so wonderful in the right context and so destructive in the wrong context. I think that chastity keeps us in the right context, where we can build ourselves and others up. It helps us to have positive experiences that help us gain self confidence and reach higher goals. It helps us maintain friendships and healthy family relationships. Without chastity we can be and feel degraded. It is easier and inevitable that we will have negative experiences that cause us to feel badly about ourselves and others. It also causes us to become isolated and starved for appropriate and fulfilling relationships. Unfortunately it can lead to a cycle where we seek less and less chaste relationships and acts to try and fulfill that which only chastity can give.

One of the most maginficent things about chastity is that it is a decision that we can make at any point. We can become chaste where we were not before. I believe that this is made possible through Jesus Christ and his Atonement. Through Him we can be forgiven of prior offenses and choose to live a better life. He is always inviting us to choose the better way. Chastity is the better way. It feels better to do what is right. Confusion and hard feelings can be resolved. It can fulfill us and make us a more whole person than any unchaste choice can. I know that this is true. I believe and testify that chastity is a Godly characteristic. A desirable characteristic. One that I intend on pursuing and advocating through out my life. I am so glad to enjoy a chaste relationship with my husband and to reap the benefits of chastity with him. I invite those around me, whom I love dearly, especially my sweet children, to join me. Come and enjoy the sweetness and security of a chaste life.