My Little Brownies

Caleb and Samaria are so much fun! We have a blast together!

Jeff takes the kids out every other week for "Daddy Dates." Sometimes its the park to play or the Carousel, and most often ends w/ a trip to Jamba Juice. Caleb is addicted to wrestling right now, so all he wants to do w/ Daddy is wrestle!

Samaria adores her Daddy and her time w/ him is full of laughter, hugs and kisses.

This is how we say goodbye to Daddy in the mornings, the kids love waving and saying "Drive Fast" as he leaves for work.

One of my favorite things about Caleb and Samaria is that they LOVE and ADORE each other! Don't get me wrong, they are siblings and w/ that comes conflict. But, for the most part, they have a blast together, playing Cars, house, reading, chasing, and they even cuddle when they watch movies together. Caleb's job is to protect his sisi, and Sam's job is to love buddy. They both take those roles to heart.

Caleb is constantly on the move, he lives every moment to the fullest. He takes his time in getting to know people and observe situations before he jumps into things. (like his Daddy) But, once he feels safe and loved he jumps in full force! He loves to pray and I believe is gifted and called to a life as a prayer warrior!

This pic was taken in our old house, the kids called for me and were hiding in this cupboard, when I opened the door they both screamed and laughed...they love to "hide and seek."

Sam loves clothes, but ONLY if they are not too tight! She loves big, hurts big and thrives being around people. (like her Mommy) Sam is thoughtful and kind, thinking of others is natural for her. She has a servants hearts and sees things that most 2 1/2 year olds don't see; relationally and spiritually!


May 2011

May was a really busy month. There was so much going on: us and my mom and Rali moving/unpacking, family and friends visiting, ministry stuff, a trip to Redding and making our new house a home!

Here are a few highlights...

After all the craziness of Easter and moving we needed a "Brown Fun Family" day. We let the kids pick what they wanted to do, the Carousel and the River (so they could throw rocks in) were their top picks. Followed w/ lunch at Red Robin...where else would they want to eat?

Double Date Night w/ the Glazes! Red Robin for dinner and bowling, I am pretty sure the ladies dominated!

Chesnie turned 5 this month down in Redding and we didn't want to miss another b-day! I had the honor of being there w/ Corrie when she had Ches and I can't believe that was 5 years ago!

All the tutu girls jumping on the bed! The Miller house is one of my kids favorite places to be!

For Mothers Day Corrie and I did a progressive lunch...w/ no kids...just us! It was one of my fav dates w/ Corrie ever. She is my "BCHF" (best curly haired friend) and living far from her is not my favorite, but with times like this it gets us from one visit to the next.

Since Jeff was working Mothers Day weekend and we were in Redding, the kids and I got to spend some of Mothers Day w/ the Browns.

Auntie Juli spotting Sam as she climbs up a rock wall w/ her boots on...Juli is prego w/ Carter in this pic (we didn't know it was Carter then, I totally thought it was a girl!)

Mama Brown enjoyed having some of her kids and grandkids around w/ a low key take out dinner, where everyone got to pick out what they wanted...easy and super fun! Mama B, the kids and I did Thai...yummy!

Nathan and Rachel Greenfield were here in Salem for a few days, sadly w/o their kids Noah and Mercy. The Greenfields live in the Middle East and we have become good friends w/ them through our partnership w/ their work there. They had a chance to share w/ us that they were in the process of expanding their family by adopting a little girl from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Jeff's Bestie from college, Aaron Singer wanted to visit Jeff for his bday. So the lovely Mrs. Lisa Singer arranged for the two of them to come up for a visit. Jeff's friend tank was filled up as we celebrated Aaron; the boys played guitar, stayed up all night playing video games, and took long walks on the beach w/ candle lit dinners...

Jojo and Krista did story time w/ the kiddos while they were here. Joey and Krista are going to be amazing parents! I love watching them w/ my kids!

Pedi's w/ Auntie Krista...and watching The Little Mermaid...livin' the good life!


The "Big Yellow House"

A few years back when we first moved to West Salem, my friend Trina and I were driving to the YMCA early one morning to workout. As we passed this awesome yellow Victorian looking house w/ white trim, a big huge yard, an awesome porch w/ a swing and a basketball hoop outside...I say to her, "I am going to have that house someday, I LOVE it!"
She turns to me w/ a smile and says, "do you know whose house that is?"
"No idea," I reply
"That is the Stumbo's house" (John and Joanna were our Lead Pastors at the time, check out his blog if you don't know their story)

Fast forward to April/May 2011. Jeff is working w/ John on his book cover and toward the end of one of their conversations John asks Jeff about our living situation. Long story short, he and Joanna want to rent their home to us?!? What? Yes, that is right ladies and gentlemen, the "Big Yellow House" as my kids call it!

Meanwhile, my mom and her husband have been living in Nevada for the last 5 years and if you know me and my mom we don't really do long distance well! Her and Rali were looking at moving here to Salem, but needed work and a place to live. With the "BYH" in the pic, Mom and Rali could live w/ us. (More than enough room for all of us!) Now all my mom needs is a job, but wait, Salem Alliance is hiring a receptionist...mom applies, we wait, and Praise the Lord...she gets the job! Now they have a place to live and a job!

What an emotional roller coaster and whirlwind! We had 13 people show up to help us move on a Sunday after Jeff lead worship all weekend. (keep in mind, this is the weekend after Holy Week and Easter, Jeff's "peak season") We loaded, moved and unloaded in less than 4 hours! CRAZY! Annie Dudley made dinner for everyone at the "BYH" we ate and had people home for an early bedtime! So BLESSED BY FRIENDS who LOVE us! Thank you all who helped!!!

I had been praying for 5 years that I would get to live in the same city as my mom again...
I had flippantly said to a friend, "I am going to have that house someday"...
I had prayed for my mom to get a job where she was loved, valued, and enjoyed her work...
God heard me...
He is My Father who loves me...
He desires to give me good gifts...


April 2011

April 1st, 2011 will be a special day that the Browns will always remember! (not b/c we love practical jokes, all though we do) It was the day the Josh and Bex came home w/ their newest family member, Miss Mercy Mann! We were honored to share in that moment when family and friends met Mercy for the first time at the airport. Samaria has been in love with and praying for Mercy since the day the Manns shared their referral pic w/ Sam on Josh's phone. They gave Sam a pic of Mercy and she would eat meals w/ the pic and hold it close to her "rubbing" Mercy's back. What a blessing it has been to watch them go through this adoption process and see how it has affected Caleb and Samaria, having an interest and awareness of what it means to adopt and be adopted!

Jeff and I got to celebrate w/ our friend Shannon for her b-day along w/ some other couples at Pok Pok up in Portland, one of our fav restaurants and the BEST WINGS EVER!!!

Our dear friends Luke and Joc came home from the Middle East for a visit w/ their new little guy River! We had a blast w/ them while they were here, we never have enough time w/ them! Sam had her hands on River every chance she got and the only part that made their departure to return bearable, was that we were headed there in August!

Seriously LOVE her!!!

Caleb and Sam had a blast opening their Easter packages from Grandpa and Grandma Santos

We did our Easter Egg hunt a couple days early, as Daddy had to work Easter week and weekend. Ally helped the kids find their eggs...such a great doggy.

The Girls

Mom and Rali w/ Caleb and Sam for Easter Sunday. The dress Sam is wearing my mom made for me for Easter, so neat to see my little girl in it!