Blogs of Our Friends

Blogs are a great way to keep up with friends and family. We have been collecting links to blogs and other websites owned by people we'd like to keep in touch with. You can click these links to visit the sites themselves …

… or, read them right here (the ones that provide feeds):

Letting go of the to do list

Posted on September 20, 2014 at 4:01 AM by Inspiration Station RSS feed for Inspiration Station

This summer, I read a book called Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford.  The author shared her journey of letting go of to do lists, putting down her phone, and other distractions to enjoy and live a more simple life.  I loved the “pledge” in the book so much that I’ve posted it near […]

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34 favorite moments

Posted on September 19, 2014 at 4:20 AM by Life in General RSS feed for Life in General

Sharing 34 favorite moments that helped make the past year great! * * * * * * * * * * hiking Zions hiking Red Rock canyon hiking Big Trees hiking Park City hiking through the bamboo forest in Maui watching a live broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word in the Salt Lake Tabernacle that day when Conner jumped in the car after school saying he was about to faint - a girl he likes complimented his school project when I gave a talking Darth Vader doll to Scott for his birthday, and watching him revert to a 10...

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family home evening // our town is awesome

Posted on September 16, 2014 at 10:20 PM by Life in General RSS feed for Life in General

As I scrolled through my instagram feed yesterday I came across Becky Higgins' latest Cultivate a Good Life message. I love love these short thoughts. So often they re-remind of things that are essential for good/happy/healthy living that either get forgotten or lost in my busy brain. The message (found HERE) reads: Part of cultivating a good life is appreciating where you live. Sure, there are other places you could be happy, but be happy where you are. If you followed my blog in 2012 you'll know that Vegas was hard for me. I struggled for a while, but I...

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Fun with family

Posted on September 15, 2014 at 3:13 AM by Inspiration Station RSS feed for Inspiration Station

The day before school started, we got to see my sister Laura and her husband Mason, visiting from San Diego, and my sister Kari. We went to see film costumes on display at the Museum of Art.  Then we got to try out their favorite eats in town–pizza at the Slab and the best sugar cookies, drinks, […]

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4 weeks down…what went well

Posted on September 15, 2014 at 3:07 AM by Inspiration Station RSS feed for Inspiration Station

I read a blog post this week that I just loved.  Sometimes as moms, we look back on our weeks and point out everything that went wrong–sickness, dirty dishes, fighting, crazy schedules, etc. No wonder we feel like we’re failing.  I love the idea of looking at “what went well” instead.  So here’s what went well our first […]

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savior of the world

Posted on September 14, 2014 at 6:10 PM by Life in General RSS feed for Life in General

When we visited the Mesa temple visitor's center we made our way through the displays and presentations to find the Christus. We sat down on the benches and one of the senior missionaries played the audio track for us -- a short compilation of scriptures from the New Testament, all Christ's words as if he was speaking to you. When it finished she asked Scott where he had served his mission. Melbourne Australia, Vietnamese speaking. So then, we had the rare opportunity of listening to the audio track again, but this time in Vietnamese. As we listened it struck me...

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34 favorite things

Posted on September 12, 2014 at 7:38 PM by Life in General RSS feed for Life in General

A list of things that made 34 great! In no particular order . . . . Waffle Love // Making the list for the 2nd year in a row. Seriously, if one of these trucks were located in my town I would be in trouble! mason jar mug // I've got a pink one with a lid & straw and I refill it all day long Heaven Is Here by Stephanie Nielson // Talk about a tear-jerker! But overall it left me with such a feeling of gratitude and appreciation for this wonderful job of motherhood that I get to...

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10 things right now // Payton

Posted on September 11, 2014 at 8:45 PM by Life in General RSS feed for Life in General

It is Payton's turn, and I've been meaning to write this post all summer but it just never happened. Luckily, Payton just wrote a paper for English this week titled "Who Am I?" So from his own words, here's a glimpse into who Payton is right now. Along with a few pictures of him from the summer. Hi my name is Positive Payton, and I like to laugh. My dad is from Idaho, and my mom is from California. So my entire family loves potatoes and the beach. Except for me. I have an older brother named Conner who is...

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labor day in Scottsdale // poolside

Posted on September 8, 2014 at 12:14 AM by Life in General RSS feed for Life in General

We've had a few people ask us why in the world we would leave Las Vegas to visit some place even hotter. Good question! Well, once you're in the hundreds what's two more degrees, right? But in truth, it's all about a change of scenery and the opportunity to visit some place new. And the 4 1/2 hour drive makes it totally doable. One observation we made about Phoenix and the Arizona desert . . . . it is so much greener! Our desert is just brown - lots of dirt. But across the Arizona desert there are so many...

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labor day in Scottsdale // arizona temple tour

Posted on September 7, 2014 at 1:10 AM by Life in General RSS feed for Life in General

Yet again, the Browns escaped on a very short, last-minute getaway. I wonder what it looks like from the outside -- jetting away to San Diego one weekend, and then Arizona 2 weeks later. Just because we want to. Well, two things have been making these spontaneous trips possible -- hotel points & some freedom in Scott's schedule. And the fact that the kids were out of school. So we're going to take advantage of it as much as possible! Because once school sets in, we aren't going anywhere. :) This trip to Scottsdale was great because our rooms included...

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everyday browns // vol. 5

Posted on September 6, 2014 at 12:56 AM by Life in General RSS feed for Life in General

Currently: digging out of the first two weeks of school, lots of stuff happening with my calling at church, a special blog feature coming up later this month, giving my Silhouette a workout with bulletin board projects, and an impromptu family trip to Scottsdale, Arizona over the holiday weekend. And I nearly forgot that it is September! My blog & personal birthday month. Hello?! In years past I have written a few special posts here to celebrate all month long. I still want to do that, it will just be coming a little bit late. Soccer is in full swing...

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Posted on September 1, 2014 at 4:18 AM by Inspiration Station RSS feed for Inspiration Station

I went to Wicked last week with my sister Kari.  Such an amazing production.  I loved most of the music, the special effects, and Elphaba (the wicked witch) was my favorite character!  Such an interesting take on the Wizard of Oz.  Thanks mom and dad for treating us to an early Christmas/birthday gift.  I’ll never […]

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first day of school 2014

Posted on August 28, 2014 at 4:37 AM by Life in General RSS feed for Life in General

That 5:30am alarm came early on Monday morning. But everyone got up, showered, dressed, packed lunches, and even practiced the piano without any nagging by Scott or I. They fell right back into the routine very nicely and that makes me very happy. Cinnamon rolls for breakfast. A chapter of the scriptures. And pictures outside the front door before it was time for the middle school run. When we stepped outside the sun was just coming up, directly down the street. The golden light silhouetting the palm trees was just beautiful! It was a sign that this was going to...

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Posted on August 27, 2014 at 4:25 AM by Mark and Karen Ray RSS feed for Mark and Karen Ray

Though we didn't go anywhere this summer, we did have fun.  I actually don't understand why people take vacations and leave this area in the summer.  It is the best time to be's dry and not cold.  To each their own.

We've gone fishing:

Mark's hilariously small catch.  Can you see it?

Harvesting eggs

We hiked to the top of Multnomah Falls for the first time.  This one is bitter sweet as my dear friend Cheryl moved this summer.  We had been talking about hiking Multnomah for a while.  I'm glad we got this in before they moved.

We made it to the tippy-top!

You can kind of see the bridge below and the parking lot.  Man, we are up high!!!

Cheryl is the one on the left.  I cried many hours when she left. Mark came home from work one day to me sobbing away with a red puffy face.  He thought something was seriously wrong, you know, maybe someone had died.  Nope.  Just an amazing friend moving away.  This was the first time I've been so effected by a friend moving.  I think it is because we've been in the area so long (7 years) with no family around (minus some awesome cousins).  We do everything with these friends including spending holidays together.  They truly have become family.

Roses randomly placed along the hike.  Marriage proposal maybe?

Lunch time!

Emily pointing out a salamander.

Saw this cute guy on our hike down.

We went to the fair.  This is the second year we've gone.  Thanks to some friends, we were able to park and get in for free.  We only spent money on wrist bands for the rides and a ice cream snack.  Carley opted to not go and Mark had tweaked his knee the day before so Kenny, Lauren and I went.  This is the second year we've gone. We again chose to go the day they had the demolition derby.  So fun!!!  I got the kids to go on more rides this year but no takers on any rides that go upside down.  Will someone please go with me next year so I can go on the more thrilling rides?!!!

Waiting for demolition!

Kenny had High Adventures this summer.  They did Tree to Tree (zip lining and such), Sand Boarding, and Biking on trails.  No pictures.

That same week the girls had Activity Day Camp.  I got to help out one of the days.

Big group but a super fun group!

Sack game

Amazingly, I didn't get any pictures of Cottonwood Beach this year.  It is always a favorite.  We go every week!!!  I can't believe school starts in a week.  Where has the summer gone?!

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Posted on August 27, 2014 at 3:55 AM by Where is the Laugh Track? RSS feed for Where is the Laugh Track?

I have gray hair.

There, I said it.

Not that I've been particularly secret about the fact that I dye my hair.  But still, I've been running away from my gray for a long time now.

I saw my first gray hairs start popping up at 16 or 17.  At first there were only a few and I told myself they were "white hairs." I told myself they were like blond hairs mixed in with my brown. I was already experimenting with hair color every now and then, so it wasn't a big deal.  Since there were only a couple, I sometimes just pulled them out if they were too obvious.

Another year or so and then there started to be more grays. I realized I couldn't keep pulling them out. But I was having fun with hair color still every now and then, so most of the time they didn't show.  I mostly had one streak of gray that was getting denser, but it only showed when I pulled all my hair back and when I had gone a long time without coloring. My blond best friend started saving her old dark brown mascaras for me so I could swipe a little on my streak when it started showing too much. Problem solved.

Then my senior project in college happened. It was a bit of a stressful semester. There were some all-nighters. I can't prove it, but it seems like I had quite a few more gray hairs when it was all said and done.  And I wasn't all that okay with that.

I mean, I wanted to be confident about my natural hair. Really I did. But I was 21 years old. I was single. I was already the 5'10" electrical engineering major who talked too loud. I already stuck out like a sore thumb. It was already hard enough feeling attractive and getting dates. I just wasn't ready to add "...with the premature gray hair" to the list. Sometimes I wished I could rock a "gray streak." But I wasn't sure if my gray streak (or my self-confidence) was strong enough to make the gray interesting instead of just vaguely "off" and dorky.

So I decided that I would just dye my hair a little more frequently, at least while I was still part of the singles/dating scene.

Fast forward a little and I was married and still in my early-to-mid 20's. M knew I dyed my hair and we chatted about it a bit and I decided that I still wasn't ready to stop dyeing my hair. Someday maybe... but not yet. I decided that I just didn't want to be in my 20's with gray hair, so I would keep dyeing it at least until I turned 30. Then I'd re-evaluate.

Fast forward some more and I was 30. I still didn't feel ready to be gray. Now the problem was that everyone already thought I was so much older than I was. Having gray hair would only make it worse! Plus the transition was going to be so hard!

But the more I chewed on the thought in the back of my mind, the more I knew the time was coming. Eventually I would stop dyeing my hair. I just had to figure out when. It was never going to be easy. There would always be an excuse not to. So I started focusing on the reasons to do it.

There are a lot of reasons I want to stop dyeing my gray:

#1 - This is the hair God gave me. I don't want to be fake. It was so freeing a few years ago when I finally accepted that my hair was wavy/curly. I stopped trying to pretend to have straight hair and I finally learned to love the hair texture I had. I want the same thing to happen with my hair color.

#2 - I'm tired of all the money I'm dumping into maintaining an illusion. It's one thing to spend money to do something "fun" with your hair, but spending money just to make your hair unremarkable is so lame.

#3 - Also, the time. I'm sick of the TIME I spend getting my hair dyed. I'd much rather spend it doing something worthwhile. Or even just sleeping.

#4 - I want variations in my color without having to highlight. I look at the amazing red highlights the sun gives my mother's natural hair color and the blonde highlights in my sister's natural hair color and I envy all that gorgeous variation. Maybe I would get highlights from the sun too if I wasn't so busy covering my gray?

#5 - I want to remember what the natural color and texture of my hair is when it hasn't been dyed. Because honestly I'm not sure.

#6 - I want to see what my gray looks like. Where are my "silver highlights"? Is it everywhere? Is it just framing my face? How uniform or how chunky is it? The suspense is killing me! It's not often to we get to surprise ourselves! ;)

#7 - I am blessed to not have to convince anyone that I'm young. I'm happily married and I'm not competing in the workplace. If I look older than I am, why would it really matter? (Still working on believing this one.)

#8 - I'm not a granola or something, but I kinda don't love the idea of pouring all those chemicals onto my head all the time.

#9 - I'm not ready to burn my bra or anything, but I do like the idea of taking a stand against the false standards of beauty and youth that our society is enslaved to. And one of those standards is hair color. What's wrong with gray hair?

#10 - The longer I wait, the harder it will be. The more gray I have, the more often I will have to get it dyed if I want to hide it. (More money, more time, more chemicals, etc.) And the more obvious it will be when I stop dyeing it.

#11 - There's no reason not to transition right now. I'm not interviewing for jobs. I'm not talking to teachers about my grades. There's no weddings on the horizon for me to worry about how I'll look in the family pictures. It's as good a time as any to have funny-looking transition hair. It will never be an EASY transition, but there could definitely be worse times to do this.

#12 - In the end, I've got a bit of rebel in me. Just a tiny little benign bit, but it's there. And having gray is a whole lot more rebel than buying into the "norm" of women hiding their gray.


Today my youngest child entered full-day Kindergarten.

Today is my 34th birthday.

I have gray hair.

Am I young? Am I old?

Who cares!  I'm me.

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