Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thank You, Good Samaritan

Yesterday was quite the day. If I told you, you wouldn't believe me and you'd just think I was making it up so let's just say it was not my favorite day and leave it at that. At the end of the fiasco that was Tuesday, I walked in about the time Adam got home from work and was madly recounting the minutia and gesticulating wildly when the doorbell rang. Nobody rings our doorbell. Adam went and opened the door to find a wonderful little lady about my mom's age. She said "is this the Braun house?" Adam affirmed that it was. She held out my wallet and said "I found this in a cart in the grocery store parking lot." She smiled. We thanked her profusely and offered her any number of rewards. She refused, acting as though we were family or something and that it would be absurd to think we owed her something for her kindness, and she laughed and strolled down the walk to her car.

Please note that I had not just run to our corner grocery store. This was a grocery store several miles away that I had swung by to pick up one thing while I was in the neighboring city running a mazillion errands. My fair Good Samaritan drove some 9 miles out of her way to my house to drop off my silly little wallet. Before I had even realized I'd lost it! So thank you, Mrs. Good Samaritan. Thanks for reaffirming my belief that people are genuinely good. Thanks for being all that is good and right about human kind. And thanks to the Giver of all blessings for yet another blessing I didn't deserve.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Aunt Kay's Petting Zoo

We called my Aunt Kay to tell her that we wanted to come visit while we were in Cali and, as luck would have it, my cousin Stacy was in town with her little girls and my Aunt Kay had planned to have a petting zoo at her house that morning. My mom, my SIL and my two adorable nieces and our little family had the a blast meeting all the baby animals.

Elizabeth and cousin Allegra sat and visited for a while as they waited their turn to pet the animals.

They saw the animals munching on the grass and thought they'd give it a try.

Then Elizabeth told me what she'd learned about Allegra while chatting.

Elizabeth and I got with nature...

When she had had enough of the up close and personal with the animals, Elizabeth got a bird's eye view of the goings on...

Then the real fun began. Elizabeth had her first pony ride. Giddyup!

She and her cousin Aurora had a lovely ride while my SIL Carrie and Adam were in charge of crowd control.

And at the end of it all, they rode off into the sunset together...

Sort of. Nana took our little family off to visit my dad, Papas, at work. He is the director at a senior center and he had so much fun showing Elizabeth off to the doting grandmas and grandpas at his work. Elizabeth loved being shown off too.

After that, we snuck Papas away for an hour at "Las Fuentes" which is the amazing authentic Mexican restaurant in L.A. Let's be honest, Tex-Mex is growing on me but I will never get over the really awesome hole in the wall Mexican food that can only be found in slightly sketchy parts of east L.A. What a killer day!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Naughty Monkey

I can't believe it but today, August 19, you are already a year old. So much has happened in just one short year. In 12 months, you have completely changed our lives and we've never been happier. So, without further ado, 12 months worth of my beautiful baby and the frog that changed my life only a few years before you did. There are more than 12 pics but that's because the first was taken at 19 days old, and there are 2 for December.

we were out of town and without the frog for december so we improvised.

Here's where she got mobile enough to crawl away from the frog, leaving the poor frog out of the frame.

I can't believe how much you've grown. And I can't believe how much we love you. You are better than I could have wished for and more fun that I thought possible. Daddy loves how you squeal. I love to hear you giggle and crack yourself up. We both love to hear you sing to yourself and jabber in your crib first thing in the morning. Never were there two happier or luckier parents. We love you, Baby Elizabeth. Thanks for coming to our family.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Double (or triple) our fun ( or trouble!)

Elizabeth has a cousin just a month older than she is. Her name is Allegra. She is beautiful and the sweetest baby you could ever hope to meet. Elizabeth loves her and the two girls picked right up where they left off the last time they were together. They started crawling around after one another from the very first minute their little hands and knees hit the ground.

Allegra took the lead by teaching Elizabeth the neat trick of crawling up the stairs. (we don't have stairs at our house.)

They tried to get into mischief together.

They tried to wriggle down from the picture taking chair together.

They tried to wiggle out of Adam's super strong grip together.

And just when we thought the ganging up of babies on moms and dads had stopped when Allegra konked out for a nap and Elizabeth started to show signs of sleepines, Cousin Aurora who is Allegra's adorable and angellic big sister talked Uncle Adam into taking them out to the pool! One grown up vs. two super spirited little ones? I think we know who wins this stand off. Aurora is such a cute, sweet little girl that Adam never had a chance of resisting her, whatever she wanted to talk him into.

Have I mentioned how great Adam is with kids? I love how much he really loves playing with little ones. And I love that they love him too.

Guess What?

Elizabeth went on her first airplane ride. A three hour long one. WITHOUT SEDATIVES OF ANY KIND!

She actually did a great job right up until the end when she got a little restless.

and while she didn't love sitting still all that time, it was so worth it because at the end, there was Nana and Papa. I don't know who was more excited, Elizabeth or the Nana and Papa.

And so began the great California trip of 2009. Stay tuned. This one was fantastic!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Things I just love

1. My baby is in love with books. She loves them. She can't wait to read them. She never tires of them. She goes hunting for them if they aren't readily accesible. And I love that she gets all happy when I take her to Border's to look at and read new books. I love that we love books. And that I'm dorky enough to snap pics of her at the bookstore.

2. I finally, after a mazillion years of being stuck on the lonely island of isolation, have family living right here in my very same part of the country. And I love it. I love that we get to see each other whenever we want. No need for plane tickets. No need for adjusting to time zones. We just get to call each other up, decide where we'll meet for dinner that night and go. I love that Elizabeth knows her cousins and they know her. I love that I know how my siblings and their families are doing and that I can see the excited little kids faces each time they lose a tooth or ace a spelling test or learn how to blow kisses. I wish the rest of our families would all move out here, too. (but i'm trying not to be too greedy.)

Indendence Day in Independence

What's more American than Kansas City ribs on the 4th of July, right? I'll just say that the Brauns make it look good.

Adam had unfortunately gotten himself a rather terrific case of food poisoning the night before so he had to take a pass. Someone had to pick up the slack, though so
check out how Grandpa Jeff is tearing up these ribs. They were just delicious.

Once we had stuffed ourselves, it was off to the Independence Missouri temple site and visitors' center. Somehow Grandpa managed to get Elizabeth to sit still for roughly 6 or 7 minutes straight. (that's a personal record for our wiggle worm.)

Then Elizabeth got to try her hand at living in a cabin, driving the wagon, and rocking in a pioneer style rocking chair.

The visitor's center there was amazing. It was just so cool to be able to put that much of our collective history into perspective. It felt really appropriate to spend the 4th of July learning about another side of our country's history and the sacrifices that people made to ensure our freedoms.

That evening we watched the fireworks on the lawn of the visitor's center. They had a live orchestra there playing music while we waited and during the fireworks show. Elizabeth kept herself entertained by snuggling her baby and trying to eat my hand sanitizer. What a hilarioius picture, huh?

I really really really loved our trip. We never would have gone on a trip to that part of the country if it hadn't been for Jeff having a work assignment out there and I'm so glad it worked out for us that way. Thanks to the Brauns for letting us crash your trip. We couldn't have asked for a better time.

4th of July weekend

Adam's dad has been working away from home for quite a little while and so we thought we'd take the opportunity of a holiday weekend to go and see him. We packed it up and headed off to Kansas City to meet the Illinois Brauns and have some fun.

With Grandpa's hotel as home base, we had the unusual and wonderful opportunity to go visit all kinds of church history sites. First we went to liberty jail. You can't tell but that's what we are sitting in front of. It's so neat to see part of the original property and to really see in person what that it was like for them while they were in there.

Then off to Far West and the temple site there. It was such a pretty day and it was so nice to get to be out doors for this kind of day. Elizabeth got spoiled all weekend by her grandma, grandpa, aunt and uncle. She was just loving it!

Next we went to Adam Ondi Ahman. If you have never been there, you really have to go. I had always heard that it was a beautiful place but honestly, it was like nothing I've ever seen before. And I know what you're thinking. "It's Missouri." Trust me, it's beautiful. See?

Grandma took such good care of Elizabeth. Elizabeth just cracked up with her and loved to play all the games Grandma taught her.

She also managed to melt her Grandpa. It was such fun to see her get to play with the Illinois members of her fan club!

I have to say, the coolest thing about Adam Ondi Ahman was that it was so peaceful. Elizabeth was sick of being in the car by the time we got there and she was pretty much just screaming. But, when we crossed into Adam Ondi Ahman the crying immediately stopped. Literally. We drove a little further into the valley and got out to hike around and it completely took my breath away. I never wanted to leave. It had just rained and it was so fresh, pure and clean there. Sadly, as we crossed out of the Adam-Ondi-Ahman the crying resumed.

Stay tuned for what we did on the 4th!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Block Party

The park by our house has this TREMENDOUS party the weekend before 4th of July every year and this year was no exception. It's so much fun. A full county fair type array of horrible for you but delicious tasting foods...

bounce houses a go-go which, as you can see, had Elizabeth completely mezmerized and giddy...

and a live band. Not just any band, mind you. Smashmouth came. That's right. We saw Smashmouth live at the park across the street from our house.

And since we were being groupies at an outdoor concert, we had to go ahead and snap a groupie picture (you know, one that you take holding out your own camera and shooting the photo).

We then walked back to our neighbors house where we watched the incredible, 45 minute long fireworks display which is all set to music. It's so impressive.

I seriously love this little town we live in. It's so much fun to walk over to the park with your family, see your neighbors, ward members and other friends and just chill in the open air. Isn't summer like the greatest thing that ever happened to life?