Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Since I don't have kids of my own, I thought I'd spread the holiday cheer with my nieces and nephews. Don't know you wish you saw these guys at your door shouting "Trick or Treat!" I'd also like to take this opportunity to brag about my sister in law who is mad crazy amazing for HAND MAKING these chick costumes.
And I'd like to thank the powers that be for the favorable gene pool that brought us all this darling halloween treat.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Welcome to our house!

I know it has taken us forever but I finally got around to snapping a few shots of our house. I'm obviously in need of drinking my V-8 (or stopping drinking whatever else that Adam is evidently spiking my Kool-Aid with) because some of these pictures turned out pretty crooked but if you can ignore that, you'll get a sneak peek at our house.

So first, here is our front door and foyer. You can't see the door all that well but it's a beautiful deep red, almost cherry cordial. I love this part of the house. It feels so open. On the right is the living room and the left is the dining room and then just past the living room on the right is the hall to the guest bedrooms. Pictures of those to follow.
Below is a before picture of the kitchen. This is how it looked when we first saw it. The picture really doesn't do any kind of justice to the hideous nature of the mustard color that was on the walls.
This is how it looked when we took possession of the house. Keep in mind that the lights are off so it looks darker in here than it really is.
Here's Adam all in his work clothes and going ahead and flexing for all you adoring fans out there. He's taping in preparation for banishing that horrible yellow color and I just happened to luck out enough to have caught him mid pose. I know. Aren't you all jealous that he's taken?!?
Here's our kitchen now. We painted a rich chocolate brown and when you're inside the kitchen, you actually want to lick the walls. (I actually own a picture of my sister in law licking the wall. Because I love her, I promised her I'd refrain from posting it but I mention that to express how yummy the color of the walls is. As it dripped off the roller when I first painted it, it literally looked like milk chocolate running off the brush. DELICIOUS! We don't have our art up in any room of the house yet. That'll be our next project but for now, at least we've painted!
Here's a photo of the kitchen from the family room area. I love the granite countertops and I love how much bigger the kitchen is than our postage stamp kitchen in our apartment. I've even taken up cooking and baking since we moved in. I think if Adam had known what effect this kitchen would have on me, we'd have bought a home much sooner! :)
Here is the "before" picture of the Master Bedroom. The window you see looks out into the back yard. I love all the natural light in this room!
Here's what we've done with the place. I want to put a cushion in the window seat and a chair/ ottoman over there on that side of the room to take advantage of the light over there. The lighting is a bit deceiving in the pics but this is by far my favorite room of the house. It is the most relaxing room in the house. It's spectacular. I have the hardest time convincing myself to get out of bed in the morning to face the day. I never want to leave!
The other side of our room.
And a full head on shot of our bed...which apparently also should have had a V-8. Sorry for the crooked shot.
Anyway, there's your first installment of our house. We're so excited. We hope you guys will all come over for dinner, a game night or to stay for a weekend. We are so excited to have a house and we love visitors!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Go Tamara, it's your birthday...

So, Saturday was my birthday and you all get to relive it with me! First off, I started out before it was even my birthday with a present...Marisa was in town and she was ditched her cushy digs at a 5 star hotel to be our first guest here at Hotel Braun. The three of us started off the day by heading to the Texas State Fair. I'd never been to a State Fair so Marisa and Adam were kind enough to humor me. Here's proof: So first I wanted to go see the animals. I'd seen my nephew's photos when he went to the state fair with the Cub Scouts and ...well...if it's good enough for the Cub Scouts, it's good enough for me! Here I am with my buddy, the Giraffe. (Please no comments on my puffy hair. It's Texas. It's humid, and it was my birthday. I don't have to straighten it if I don't want to!) I also saw little dude who was a baby goat or deer or something that would grow up to be a big-ish mammal. I got to pet a sheep with a buzz and I had a very lovely moment with an itty bitty piggy. Marisa and Adam were at least somewhat entertained by the fact that I had to ask them what most of the animals were before I petted them because I at least wanted to know what species I was touching.

Not this little fella, though. I knew right of that this dude was a cow. Or a bull, I guess, since he has horns. He was awesomely large and he mooed super loud. Other highlights include an 1,100 pound swine, a llama with a full fledged mullet (Al Paca, actually) and an ostrich who, in it's haste to eat the sunflower seeds out of the petting zoo attendant's plastic cup, finally pecked the cup out of the lady's hand and then swallowed the entire thing! We got to watch it shimmy down it's long skinny throat. Is it wrong that I was pretty entertained? Oh sure, i was worried at first but the worker guy told us that it happens a lot... so then it was just funny.
And here are the good sports out in front of "Big Tex," our host for the day at the fair. He even talks. And yes...for those who were wondering, Big Tex's jeans are Wranglers if you must know.
And here is why Adam gets "Husband of the Year." (Please note that this all occured just a day after "the Spill" so extra points were awarded for putting the wife's psychosis behind him on her birthday despite its close proximity to the incident.) So, we got finished with the fair and I thought we were just going to have a quiet evening at home watching the game. The doorbell rang and Adam went and got it. Suddenly, some of my favorite peeps just started coming on in the door. Yay for throwing me a surprise party. I LOVE SURPRISES! I couldn't have been happier. I spent the day in the company of good friends and on the phone with family and friends and the evening stuffing my face full of delectable treats!
Here are some of my favorite party girls.
And my GFBF (Gluten Free Best Friend) Lois. (You'll recognize her by the incredible amount of Florida Gator gear she's wearing...her team won that day.) She is such a doll. She baked a double layer chocolate cake with cream cheese icing and fresh strawberries and drizzled with what? Oh, ANOTHER LAYER OF CHOCOLATE. Sweet nectar of goodness. Oh, did I mention it was all gluten free? And it tasted SO divine. We had a ton of fun. Hung out, played games, chased the kiddos and laughed our crazy heads off. Does it get better than that?

And, despite their best efforts, my UCLA Bruins even managed to eek out a win. Can you imagine a more blissful day? The weather was perfect. I had perfect company and decadent food. I got to see things I'd never seen before and do it with people I love. Thanks everyone for such a perfect day. Oh, and thanks to Adam who rummaged through the garage for my camera cord to upload pictures. Stay tuned. More pictures coming soon...whether you like it or not!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Why painting anything at 4 am is not a good idea...

So, we moved into our house about 3 weeks ago and I had decided that I was done with having blue painter's tape still up in every room of our house. I informed Adam of my feelings and so he worked ridiculously hard all week after work to paint and touch up and finish up all of the paint. But it was Thursday night and I had had enough. I just could not take one more day of not "living" in the house we moved into 3 weeks ago. Well, tenacious soul that I am (and let me be clear to say that I use the word tenacious so I don't have to admit to being stubborn or obstinate), I pranced myself up to the top of the ladder in our living room and dining room to paint the crown moulding and then have the glorious boon of ripping down the festering painter's tape once and for all. And with that, the stage was set.

At first I was just frustrated as all get out. It was me against the ceiling and I was going to win. Since I'm not a tall person and my arms aren't extraordinarily long, I could paint a full six inches on either side of where I stood on the top of the ladder before I had to get down, take the paint can and rollers down, move the tarp, move the ladder and relocate to exactly 12 inches from where I had been before. The progress was slow but I was on a mission and I was not to be deterred. As it went on, I sort of got this self satisfied grin on my face thinking "boy, will Adam think I'm a rock star when he sees what I've done." (Nevermind that he was in the other room at the time doing touch ups and painting trim because he wouldn't go to sleep while I was up working...can you believe what a sainted soul he is?) I'm cruising along and before I knew it, I was one side of the dining room wall away from finishing the first coat of that crown moulding. Then, at around 3:45 a stroke of genius hit me. I would go to the garage and get the other drop cloths and line each of the walls so that when I moved the ladder, rollers and paint, I wouldn't also have to move the tarps as I went around to do the second coat. We just put in new carpet so I had to be super careful to not drip (and from 12 feet up, that's hard to do!)

So, to the garage I went. I got the drop cloths, lined each of the walls and just had that last wall to line before I could get up to the top of the ladder, finish my task and do the final endzone dance at being done with the painting. The momentum was building. It was to be my triumph. So that last tarp had gotten caught a little bit under the corner of the ladder. I went over and gave it a tug and then I heard this sort of rattling sound. Instinctively, I turned and looked just in time to watch the GALLON of paint careening from the top of the ladder and thudding on the floor. It of course the can landed on the corner and paint literally spewed forth in the ONE CORNER THAT DID NOT HAVE A DROP CLOTH!!!! You guys, it literally was like a movie. It was in slow motion and as it fell, I just could not fathom that it was really happening. On my beautifully freshly painted walls, there was a WHITE GLOSSY SPLATTER that went half way up the wall, on the shutters, on the window sill and on the baseboards. Oh, and it doesn't stop there! No sir. There was paint literally pooling on my BRAND NEW CARPET! No exaggeration: I let out the most primal, blood curdling, horror movie-esque scream. It even startled me. Poor Adam was clear on the other side of the house and came SPRINTING in to find out what had happened.

Lucky for me, he didn't kill me that I had scared him for that and then, in the calmest, most unaffected voice, he said "it's OK. It'll be fine. We'll clean it up." Yeah, here's my brilliant method. I straight like sprayed water on it and was mopping it up with a dish towel. What I thought this was doing to help the situation, I'll never know but it was worth trying, right? I can not describe the extent of the meltdown I had at the sight of my ruined carpet. It was a cross between hysteria and a straight nervous breakdown. I was inconsolable and not even making complete sentences. IT WAS 4 am PEOPLE!

Well, I happen to have married someone who is incredibly calm in tragic situations and super smart. He devises this plan by which he will flood the carpet and then flush the water over to the tile which bordered the carpet. I watched as he did it and over and over he flushed the paint from the carpet and the water came out on the other side a very very milky white shade. So there I am, whimpering and crying, in the corner and mumbling something about being sorry that I wrecked our dining room. He never even got rattled for a second. It was amazing, as if he instinctively knew that latex based paint if not dry will not adhere to a surface if it is mixed with water. And then, even though it was me who had insisted that we stay up until this project was finished THAT NIGHT and after Adam had been up till like 2 am the day before, sent me to go get cleaned up and get some rest, and then he climbed the ladder and finished painting the crown moulding and took down the tape. When I got up in the morning, the painter's tape was down and the carpet had almost dried from the incident which we've now named "The Spill."

AND THEN, our good friend called Adam that afternoon to see what he was up to and he mentioned what had happened the night before. Our friend then says "hey, you know what? I have a carpet shampooer and I'm not too busy right now. Want me to come over?" So literally, on a Friday night, Doug just drops what he's doing and cruises on over to shampoo the Bad News Bears' carpet. I walk in the door that night to find that Adam has worked from home all day so he has the house in PERFECT condition and Doug was just wrapping up finishing cleaning the carpet. Adam had repainted the wall and you literally could not tell that I had made such a fiasco of the night (morning) before. So what if I hugged the carpet cleaner maching would have too! Thank heavens for men who are patient and put up with their wives...and have really nice friends who come to pitch in and help. You're the greatest. And that, folks, is why nothing is EVER worth painting at 4 a.m. Consider yourselves warned.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Introducing Nathan James Lisonbee

So, I may be a little slow but here he is making his debut on Blog Braun. I love the way the sunlight hits his tiny infant body. Aren't they so precious when they are just tiny! And, as seems to be custom in my family, he got his first nickname just moments after he was named. He is now affectionately known as "Nate Dawg." These little frog legs of his (as my sister in law calls them) are so adorable. I love baby toes and the way they can wrap their tiny hands around just one of our fingers. I can't wait to meet this little guy!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Feliz Cumpleanos Papa!

Today is my dad's birthday. He doesn't read my blog so this is more for me than him but I just wanted to give a nod to the coolest dad in the world. (I think all dads in the world can be tied for the coolest if they try so nobody feel offended). I feel like all of you must just be sick to death of hearing stories about my dad because I talk about him nearly incessantly. I can't stop myself. I was always a Daddy's girl and I guess I always will be. I think quite a lot of the reason that I loved Adam right away is that he's so similar to my dad.

I love how my dad cracks himself up. I love how he's so brilliant, so off the charts intelligent and yet so humble. I love how he tries so hard for his family, how his highest honor and favorite job has always been being our dad. I love that his first order of business whenever he came home from work was to play with us. I love how he told us how frequently that he loved us and was proud of us and then immediately after he pushed us to work harder, set higher goals and think of who else might need our help. I love his passion for learning, not just about books but about anything. I love how in his mind, there is nothing insurmountable if you set your mind to it and just try. I love how he delights in the simplest smallest pleasures in life. I love that he relies entirely on prayer and his Father in Heaven to govern his life. I love that he is mischeivious and will deny it when he gets caught! He is incredibly grateful and generous. He hates rainy days and loves college football. And tickling his kids (even those of us that are grown.) He gives well thought out advice that only comes from the wisdom of years and hard knocks. He can't sit still. He's so full of life that he just wants to squeeze every morsel out of it and that is contagious. You can't be around him and not feel better about yourself and more excited about being alive. His grandkids adore him and beg him to play monster with him...and nothing could make him any happier. I sure I couldn't have done anything to deserve him but I'm glad heaven was so worried about me making a disaster of my life even before I was born that he sent me my dad and my mom to see if they could straighten me out.

Anyway, I hate being away from him on our birthdays because we used to celebrate them together and I can't think of anyone under the sun who I'd rather share that day with. It always feels weird to have a birthday without sitting next to him and waiting to blow out our candles together. He's such a kid at heart that I think we were both equally excited when I got new toys as a little girl so he could help me put them together and then try them out. Each year that passes, I become more thankful that he's in the world and that I am blessed to be his daughter. I love you Dad! Thanks for being this girl's hero.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

My old romper stomper grounds.

So Adam and I got sent on a recruiting trip to BYU so I thought it'd be fun to head out there the weekend before so I could show him some of my old haunts from back in the day. For you Riviera alumni out there, I took him by our old apartment and showed him the luxury of our old digs - the sand volleyball courts, the ghetto parking lot and, my favorite, how you could see Catherine and Sarah's windows all the way from the street. I had such good memories flooding to my mind as we went by there. For some reason I couldn't get the idea of being at Denny's at 2am during finals week and playing clue until all hours of the night out of my head. Ah, the good old days. Amy was kind enough to let us have 2 of her football tickets so we got to go the game with her and Suz. It was awesomes. BYU actually beat the University of Arizona and, although it was a bazillion degrees as you can see in the photo, we had so much fun. It was Adam's first time in LaVelle Edwards Stadium and even though we couldn't quite convince him to Rise and Shout, I think we're wearing him down. Maybe next time he'll do it. Also, Ty Detmer and Gifford Neilson had their jerseys retired that day. Detmer was always one of Adam's favorite players so that made it even more fun for him.
Then, Suz (who was kind enough to let us stay at hotel Doll) had a dinner party on Sunday which was just perfect for all of us to catch up with one another. Some of my favorite people in the world (Marisa, my sister Courtney, Kathy, Natalie and Suzi) were there and it felt like old times. All of us girls around a table laughing and talking and just enjoying some good quality girl time. Oh, and did I mention Adam was there? Im pretty sure it was his favorite part of the weekend. What husband in America wouldn't LOVE to spend like 4 hours in the company of his wife with 5 of her closest friends complaining about dating and boys and why it all has to be so weird? I mean, I'm pretty sure that he'll be in therapy soon for what he had to hear that night but he's a resiliant kid. He'll get over it...I think. Actually, he had a great time too (although he'll deny it if you ask him). We all had some good laughs and really enjoyed the time together. Thanks Suz. You're the greatest.
On Monday we went to do some sight seeing in Salt Lake City. Suz was a good sport and came along as did our other good friend Adam Findley. We took a tour of the conference center roof and building. It is an amazing structure. I 'd been there for conference but never for the tour. it's just so awesome. The church thinks of everything, I swear. From logistics to architecture to aesthetics. Those old dudes are amazing!
We also took a stroll around temple square and came across this pioneer cabin. It's only 300 square feet and like 4 people lived in it. YIKES. Then we cruised over by the Lion house and the Beehive house. I swear, I must have been to SLC a thousand times and I could go a thousand more. I can't get sick of that place.
And finally, the luckiest part of all was that our trip coincided with my Mom's trip up to help move Courtney in to her place. Ever the boy scout, Adam made sure he made plenty of time to help them carry the heavy boxes up the stairs to Courtney's place and move the big stuff around for her which left me time visit with my mom and Courtney. Here's him in action. Meanwhile, I had the greatest time ever. Thanks everyone for rearranging your schedules so we could spend some time with you guys. We hope you get sent to Dallas on business (or pleasure) sometime soon so that we can return the favor. I'm happy to report that the hotel Braun is now up and running and you're all welcome to come. The more the merrier!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Even Gollum can't believe it!

Job site recently asked pollsters Harris Interactive to survey hiring managers and find out the wackiest resume items they've seen lately. Out of 2,627 responses, here are the top ten:

A job candidate...
1. ... attached a letter from her mother.
2. ... used pale blue paper with teddy bears printed around the border.
3. ... explained a three-month gap in employment by saying that he was getting over the death of his cat.
4. ... specified that his availability to work Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays is limited because the weekends are "drinking time."
5. ... included a picture of herself in a cheerleading uniform.
6. ... drew a picture of a car on the outside of the envelope and said the car would be a gift to the hiring manager.
7. ... listed hobbies that included sitting on a levee at night watching alligators.
8. ... mentioned the fact that her sister had once won a strawberry-eating contest.
9. ... stated that he works well in the nude.
10. ... explained an arrest record by stating, "We stole a pig, but it was a really small pig."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Happy Birthday Marisa!

Today is Marisa's birthday. She's one of the greatest human beings I've ever known. Not in the cliche way. I can say sincerely there are specific ways I am a better person for having known her. She is such a beautiful person, inside and out. She was the person that made me actually think I wouldn't have to kill myself for moving to Dallas ALONE. She was the first person I fessed up to having a crush on Adam to. My life was just about perfect when she and Precious were my neighbors. She is and has been my sanity for some time now. My dad asked how she was doing the other day and then said "well, when you talk to her next, you tell her I'm a pretty big fan and so is everyone else who has ever met her." I agree! She flew all the way out to LA to be with me on my wedding day and was probably the largest reason I didn't spontaneously combust. She managed to calm me down when even my mom and a box of chocolates couldn't do it. I love you Marisa. She pressed send when we faxed in our contracts to buy our home. She's basically an Icon in the Braun household. Marisa, I wish you'd stop being so darned righteous, doing what you're "supposed to do" and move your curly headed self back to Dallas! Thanks for being such a great example and a great friend. What a blessing it is to know you!


"Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand." - Kurt Vonnegut

Love and Marriage; The Right Decision Matrix?

It worked for me!! ;)

The Human Cannonball

So, on my way into the office Tuesday morning, I heard something exciting on the radio. You see, Texas is having it's annual State Fair right now and the DJ mentioned that there is a human cannonball event every day at the fairgrounds. I listened intently to the description and the next thing I knew, I was in the middle of a daydream watching my body being launched out of a cannon and my mind had wandered to through following thought processes:

1. That could be fun.
2. I bet I could do that.
3. Surely it takes little to no skill.
4. I'm not even afraid of heights.
5. I bet the hazard pay is pretty good!

When I realized what was happening in my mind, I quickly shook myself from the daydream and came to the stark realization that if it feels like a positive career move to me to crunch myself into the barrel of an instrument once used as a weapon of war only to become the projectile being hurled from such instrument, perhaps that says something about my current job. Just at thought. But take a look at those photos...I really COULD be good at that, don't you think?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Words to live by...

The cat could very well be man's best friend but would never stoop to admitting it. - Doug Larson

Monday, October 8, 2007

Big D

Ok, seriously, Dallas is crazy. It's a great place, but it's crazy. Tonight is a Monday Night Football game featuring the Dallas Cowboys. Guess how many people at work today have plans to watch it. Yeah, try EVERYBODY. My 60+ something secretary has plans to watch it. And these people don't just "plan" to watch it. They have all out plans--like going to friends' houses and making nachos and stuff. They spend all week planning game-watching parties. And they all have Cowboys gear. Yes, even the 60+ secretary has gear. When did "mature women" ever start buying gear? I would seriosuly hate to be at one of these parties, too, when the Cowboys eventually lose. Material possessions will be surely damaged. Hide the pets and little children...

And during non-football seasons (February-August), all anyone talks about is Dallas Cowboy football. It's insane. And don't ever make the mistake of reminding them that their glory days in the 90s consisted of hard-core felons who cheated in every way possible. The locals don't like that talk...

I should have expected as much from the town that boldly (and a little pridefully) nicknamed their Cowboys, "America's Team." Any other Americans insulted? Or just me? ;)

Friday, October 5, 2007


Alright, I try not to get too worked up about this but this is my blog and I'll rant if I want to. So, I get my tired bones out of bed every festering morning to get to work "on time" but it seems the stars are stacked against me. Why is it that when I have left my house within a 15 minute window of the same time EVERY MORNING it took me 1.25 hours one day to get in to work, 1.0 the next day, 35 minutes the next day, 45 minutes the next day and then 1 hour and 5 minutes the today. WHY? For the love, can I not get to work on time? Does it even matter that I try to get here on time? I'm going to to say NO! And then why is it that Adam (who by the way takes like a light year less time to get ready than I do and therefore can afford to sleep later) leaves AFTER me every day and gets there in a relatively predictable amount of time EVERY DAY?!! Do you understand how the stars are stacked against me? I can't plan to be on time anywhere because even if I leave early enough to "beat traffic" some unlucky soul who also left that time to "beat traffic" had the unfortunate mishap of getting in an accident and so the rest of us early riser/ early leavers have, despite our best efforts, managed to land ourselves right in the middle of traffic rather than beating it and end up getting there later than if we'd left at regular time...(except of course on the days when I leave at "regular time" at which point there ends up being a seminar downtown and everybody who usually works in the suburbs and does not contribute to rush hour traffic has to be downtown the same time I do that day - true story, actually happened). Well, all I have to say is I could live in LA for the traffic I put up with, and at least I'd have the beach and my mom close by to show for it. BOOOOO TRAFFIC!

Thursday, October 4, 2007


The question below should say "five THINGS I'd do if I had $100 million." Not PLACES. Sorry.

Tagged by Critts:

For those of you are new to the blogosphere, when you get "tagged" you have to respond to the same questions the person who posted the questions answered. So, Critts told us on her blog what she was doing ten years ago (as with all of the questions below) so I do the same. Look for your name at the's your turn next.

What I was doing ten years ago: Freshman year at BYU so...not sleeping, seeing snow fall for the first time, ballroom dancing and figuring out who I was for the first time.

What I was doing five years ago: Living in LA. Working at the worst company (which will remain nameless for the moment) and trying to figure out how to stop being a "freshly returned missionary geek" and trying to be normal. (You'll notice I'm still working out the geek kinks.

One year ago: Just started my job at my firm. I was newly engaged and planning a wedding from a thousand miles away and flying to Illinois as often as I possibly could to see Adam.

Yesterday: Work. Then Adam (because he is a saint) read my mind and made me the perfect dinner. And then I went to bed. Anybody envy how exciting my life is?

5 Snacks I enjoy: Popcorn, M&Ms, Corn nuts, Did I mention Popcorn? And Nachos.

5 places I'd do if I had $100 Million: Support a bunch of missionaries. Move with all of my siblings and Adam's siblings and their families to San Diego (Mortgage Free!) Travel the world with Adam. Sleep late every day (and follow U2 around on tour for the rest of our days).

5 places I would love to run away to: (with Adam, of course) Home to Cali, London, Austria, Jerusalem, Jamaica

5 TV shows I like: American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, The Cosby Show reruns, Jeopardy, Ace of Cakes.

5 things I hate doing: Getting up early, going to work, being at work, staying late at work, unloading the silverware in the dish washer.

5 biggest joys of the moment: Being married to Adam, my brand new house, weekends, living close to Dale and Steph and their kids, Ibuprofen (It's been that kind of a day)

Now to tag some peeps: Stephanie Lisonbee, Kate, Suzi, Jaimee, Ursula, and I tag Lois again...just to remind er, and Adam. I'd love to hear his response.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Tammy never should have granted me editor privileges...

It's Christmas at the Skywalker household. Luke grabs a package.

Before he opens it, Darth Vader says, "it's a shirt."

Luke says, "how do you know?"

Darth Vader says, "I felt your presents."