The whole gang

The whole gang

Saturday, December 16, 2017

2017 year in review

It's been a good year! After trying to sell our house in 2016, we've decided to stay put for a bit longer. As I've looked around at houses I realize we have everything we want in a house; great neighborhood, layout we love, etc. Just need to share some of this space, so our friend talked us into doing vacation rentals. It's been kind of fun actually! We meet lots of great people! We've also as a whole family been able to get all together more this year than others (especially since we need a place to stay at times!) Our highlight was this summer meeting at a beach house in San Diego!

CJ & Steph bought a house this year, 2 doors down from where they were renting! They are settling in to Gilbert life. CJ works at Kidtastics, if you're looking for a good pediatric dentist! 

Paul & Skye are busy as ever with him working for K12 Defense & her baking/catering business. I got to go to Lagoon with them this year! Also Reed turned 1 year old! (I know everyone had a birthday this year, but I'm going to highlight the little ones & their milestone birthday)

Jerry & Jess also super busy (I'm sure they all are, but we see it with Paul & Jerry daily) Jess still an awesome daycare giver! We were blessed to have a Jesus look-a-like for most of the year! (I loved it!) Also Kenzie turned 2!

Brandee is such an awesome mommy! Working at Epic Fine Dining, and Marley turned 1 also, while we were at the beach house. Koby changed jobs and also an awesome daddy! She surprised us and came to AZ for our 35th family (wedding) anniversary, and planned an awesome surprise party!

Kyle has the biggest news! He did fall in love (see last years Elf video) and asked Allison McHugh to be his eternal companion! They are getting married on February 3, 2018, and we hope you all can come celebrate with us!

Jenni has moved back to Arizona and has a cute new family member! She kind of disappeared from the family for a bit, but is reaching out to a few of us as of late. We pray for her always. She is a loving yet frustrated mom (as anyone who has had a puppy will relate) to her fur child (as she calls him) Introducing PUMBA!

I did make one quick trip to Mukilteo, WA to see Nikki & the boys! Hoping to both get up there this next year! The boys are growing into amazing, athletic, academic young men (lots of As! I'm sure their grades are too!)

Things with the business are picking up since we had our first sale of our new product (SAU). We love working with Jerry & Paul, and hope that 2018 will bring success in the business for all of us! Chuck & Paul were able to go to Washington DC to demonstrate, while Jerry kept things running here. One of our funnest jobs this year was at Strawberry Reservoir, UT in Oct. We had everyone but CJs family come take advantage of the cool cabin we rented.

We have a great team in the company, and are blessed to work with our great people!

P.S. Chuck got to drive a cool car around for a little while, and took me for a surprise trip for my birthday to Bearizona!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Update 2016

This family picture is a little outdated! There are a few more family members now, but read & see the pictures below to get the full scoop and we'll hope to get a more current family picture!

CJ & Stephanie have moved back closer! They live in Gilbert now, near Germann & Power Rd. CJ is working with Steve Montoya, at Kidtastic Pediatric Dentistry (Fiesta Mall & Queen Creek & Maricopa locations) If you need, or know someone who needs, a good pediatric dentist, go see him! Stephanie works hard, as do all my amazing daughter in laws, being the best mommies for my precious grandchildren!

The biggest event this year was Charlie getting baptized in July.

Paul & Skye have been busy; New Job & New Baby! Paul now works for CB Contracting/K12 Defense Consultants (our company) We are truly blessed and benefitting from his years of marketing experience and skills in organization. Also Baby Reed joined the family in August! (sorry no family picture yet) It was fun to go up and be with them a few times this year!

Jerry & Jessica were excited to buy their own home this year! They live near Guadalupe & Ellsworth. We were sad to have them move farther away. It was so nice having them just down the street, but happy for them to have much more room! (we remember that 985 sq. ft. Dolphin house filled to the brim with children!) Jerry is a hard worker, also for the family company, where he travels a lot, but we hope that will change soon. Jessica is a consultant for Isagenix and excited to help people be healthier!

Her sweet sister, Janelle has moved here and now lives in the little Dolphin house with a roommate. That, and getting to have her at Sunday dinners, makes her practically part of the family!

Brandee has become an amazing and awesome new MOM! She has added 2 new people to our family (no, not twins) Marley, and her daddy, who we claim as family now too. Koby Carlson is a great dad, who works hard for their family, (as well as Brandee) and posts Marley pictures on his FB page each month on her monthly birthdates! They live in Murray, Utah. I don't think Brandee will be coming back to Arizona. She loves the mountains there too much, as well as Koby's family. It's been great to visit her there and see that happy, sweet baby girl that MY baby girl made!

Nana came too, and it was so fun to take a 4 generation picture together!

Kyle's big news is a new girlfriend, Allison McHugh. They are so cute together and we are impressed that she puts up with
the Walking Dead AND his Ugly Christmas Cat Sweater!
(we are actually impressed with much more than that! She's a real sweetie!)

I fully expect him at any minute to come in the house and re-enact this scene!

Jenni married Holden Kling on June 25, which ended up being the absolutely busiest weekend, not only of the year, but EVER! We went to Tucson the night before to attend CJs graduation, while there we got a call from Brandee that she was going in to early labor.  She kept us posted on how close her contractions were, and when she got to the hospital. The next day we got ready for the wedding (I thank the Lord for friends who decorated & did the food! Thank you!) After finding out that Marley had been born in the wee hours of the morning, we then had the wedding and a family dinner to congratulate the new couple! (sorry to leave anyone out, but we kept this one small, since it happened so fast!)  I then flew out the next morning to be with Brandee. WHEW! 

We did not get to make it up to Washington this year to see Nikki, Shaun and the boys but are hoping to get a job there in 2017, so we can all go! Here's their boy's latest picture!
(cool halloween costumes)

Update on our business: We've completed, tested & recently installed our new electromagnetic system, and are excited to finally have it taking off! Chuck is giddy with excitement, as any of you who talk to him about it can see! I am excited too, but more excited to cut back on my hours at the office!

We hope you and yours are well and wish you the best in this coming year! May we all hold on to the FAITH that will get us through these rocky times! God Bless!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


For those who actually make it to this point of catching up with our family, we want to thank you for the love & friendship you have shown us. We ask that God grant you a witness of the divinity of His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, as we celebrate His birth, not only at this time of year but always.

Here's what everyone's been up to: (I was hoping to get individual family pictures, but may not)
CJ & Stephanie are still down in Tucson finishing up CJs residency there. He has been interviewing for jobs and we're all keeping our fingers crossed that they'll choose somewhere closer! We love to hear his stories of pediatric dentistry dilemmas. It has been fun to go down and visit them in Oro Valley near the base of those beautiful mountains. We've taken fun hikes and made memories there. Stephanie is busy doing the mom thing running kids around and making a good home for them. Charlie lost some more teeth this year, Hannah started preschool & Baby Cakes (Kate) is potty training and finally getting hair!

Paul & Skye are in American Fork, UT. Paul started a new job at DOMO this year and loves it! He and Skye are super health conscience, but we love it when we come to visit and get their yummy cinnamon rolls. We do - infrequently- go to the gym with them while visiting too. Besides being the busy mom, her & her mom are busy with orders for their business, (check them out). Chance started school, Demi will start preschool (as soon as she gets this potty training thing down), and Baby Bear (Blaire) keeps them all in line with her curly headed demands.

Jerry & Jessica have stayed near the homefront, although they are having Christmas in Germany this year. Jerry is our #1 employee, and we are so happy he is loving what he does (most days). Jessica has been busy this year babysitting her cousin-in-law (Nettie) and various neighbors & friends children. She took a little break from that to come learn the administrative stuff at our office, before having the baby, and within a week after. Busy mama! Madison is in her 2nd year of preschool. Logan makes life fun & crazy! They both went to preschool for a little bit together, and played soccer. Baby MacKenzie (Papa has yet to give her a nickname) joined the family September 1st, and is so precious, especially as she is smiling and laughing now!

Brandee moved up to American Fork earlier this year to make a home in Paul & Skye's basement. They made her the cutest room up. She is such a great aunt (and is getting lots of practice living with different siblings) and will be such a great mommy herself . . . someday. She works at Iggy's and they love her there. She also works at Skye's father's car lot, and is learning administrative stuff there, as well as upgrading her car from the Suzuki she's had forever, to Kia Crossover. She is a hard worker, and we miss her around here. She took her dog, Mayhem up with her and spent the summer hiking in the beautiful mountains there. He is a "snow-bird" dog, and is now back with us, instead of in the snow.

Kyle got back from his mission in the West Indies, where he loved sharing the gospel and serving the people there. He likes to cook curry for us (who only mom will eat), and play his Reggae music, and treat us with stories from what it was like there. He started school at MCC and is a good student, as well as working at Sub-Zero (ice cream place - go see him there at Stapley & Baseline) He is such a performer, as he wows people with his liquid nitrogen skills, making it in front of them and catering events. He is hoping to get a job in the banking industry (if anyone knows of an opening let him know!)

Jenni moved back to Arizona after a 2 year stay in Washington (we call it her mission-btw she loves hanging out with sister missionaries. She even got close to the ones that lived with us). She had such great adventures up there. She started out living with Nikki, then moving in with a few different co-workers. She worked at many places, including Jamba Juice, Panera Bread, and her favorite (but most demanding) Staybridge Suites Hotel in the Buffet Kitchen. She's learned lots of skills, how to buy & sell stuff, how to get a job! She is now at the Marriott front desk in downtown Mesa.

Nikki & Shaun are still in WA, but Shaun has interviewed at different places to transfer with Boeing. We hoped for a moment that they'd move to Utah, so we'd have more family together there, but we do love visiting Washington. Nikki worked outside the home for a little bit this year, but is busier than ever back at home. She is not just a soccer mom, but a football & basketball mom as well. We were there this August in the coldest weather to watch Jaydon's first football game. We love being Grammy & Grampy to Jaydon & Gavin!

Our highlight of the year was going on a Disney Cruise together in May! Disney really knows how to make a vacation fun! They know how to suck you in to doing another one too; throughout the ship they'd ask if this was our first Disney Cruise and we'd answer YES and I'd think "this will be our only Disney Cruise". But we could tell there were people who were experts and come every year. I'm wondering if they live out of their cars and just save up for it (hmmmm, might be worth it) They had Disney characters all over the ship everyday, super fun, family friendly restaurants, pirate night where we all dress up and have a family dance, amazing stage shows, movies & ice cream anytime, day or night, coolest pool & tube slide, and even their own island, Castaway Cay. We got cabins with balconies all adjoining, and the single adult children had inside cabins, but would come over and hang out on the balconies with us. It was great fun, mostly that we were all together!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

2014 in a nutshell

This is going to be a short entry (that's what you get for me waiting until it's too close to Christmas)
It's been a good year, with a special hello new grandbaby and sad goodbye to Abuela. Most of you who have known us over the past 10 years have met our Columbian Grandma, who has helped me so much over those years. She was my angel on earth now she's back in Heaven and out of pain from the 4 years she fought cancer. It was sad and hard to say goodbye, but I look forward to the day when we can talk with no barrier language, and I won't even have to use my spanish accent voice (my kids always made fun of me for that!)

CJ & Steph moved to Tucson to do his pediatric program for 2 years. They live by the base of these beautiful mountains. Steph is doing great keeping things "Dave Ramseyfied" for the family.

Paul & Skye had baby Blaire to join the family. She's so sweet and her brother Chance just kissed her so hard! It's so cute to watch. Paul just got a new job and will be starting next month. Skye & her mom started a bakery company and have yummy stuff to order (

Jerry & Jess live close so I can see at least 2 of my grandbabies often! Jerry works for Chuck and is one of our best & hard working employees. Jess is doing daycare for lots of kiddos and amazing at it.

Brandee has been cooking up a storm at home and even went to Hawaii to cook for the guys on a job.

Kyle is in his last 5 months of his mission in Guyana. He was on islands in the Caribbean before that.

and last but not least Jenni is still in Washington in an apartment with friends and near her sister Nikki. She's been working a few different places; Jamba Juice, Sports Authority and now Panera.

Also sad note, we lost our puppy of 7 years, Libby.

Chuck's been traveling a lot again this year, and I work just about every day down at the office (bleh) At least I'm not alone. We had sister missionaries move in after Kyle left and it's been so much fun.

So that's the Brown Bunch happenings for 2014

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Where are our values?

Met a girl yesterday, very bright and intelligent, we had a good debate. She strongly advocates and represents safe sex (good for her). Her bottom line regarding abortion; if she were to get pregnant with the status she has, the shame alone would force her to get an abortion. WHAT? As if shame & embarrassment is more important than a life!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A New Phase of Life!

Jenni has been gone for just over 2 weeks now, and we are empty nesters. It's weird to think, and it feels so different here at home. It's so much quieter and calmer and cleaner! I remember asking my sweet mother-in-law, Charlene, with all her experience raising 14 kids, which phase is the hardest, and which phase is the funnest. She thought a moment and said that every phase has it's pros and cons. I can really see that now. So I started a mental list and have watched it grow. I call it my "What I'm going to miss", and "What I look forward to" list. Here it is:

Miss: having help taking care of this big house, splitting up jobs/chores
LFT: I don't have to ask, or check on anyone's chores . . . I could just do it myself! (it's kind of easier)

Miss: someone in another room in the house! every room but ours is empty!
LFT: a Grandkids toy room, a Mesa High room, maybe even a Mickey Mouse room!
(most likely have a Missionary room soon)

Miss: a morning schedule starting at 5:30 am makes for a longer day (yes I'm a morning person)
LFT: sleeping in until 6:00, maybe even 6:30 (I'll admit 5:30 is even too early for me)

Miss: family scriptures, all of us studying God's word together. Dad's "what" game (he'd say it in the middle of reading to see who was paying attention)
LFT: no one complaining! deeper study with Chuck (he throws in a comment or heavy sigh at times, just to help wean off the years of complaints)

Miss: family prayer, everyone taking a day to say all the prayers of that day (it was cool when there were 7 at home, one for each day of the week)
LFT: making more time for personal prayers

Miss: kids asking for money and giving them a much needed chore to be done to get it
LFT: our change jar may actually get filled now (couldn't quite understand how it never got higher)

Miss: watching responsible kids do their own laundry
LFT: a fraction of towel usage, and clean laundry room

Miss: my kids friends coming over and hanging out
LFT: seeing them at wedding receptions (sometimes their own), or running into them around town. Also maybe we'll see our friends once in a while now.

Miss: school dances (buying beautiful dresses, or matching tuxes to beautiful dresses, ordering corsages, taking pictures, etc.)
LFT: 3 more weddings!

Miss: carpools, and helping at all the schools; Johnson, Brimhall, Taylor, & MHS
LFT: my smaller car, and more time to clean out much buried rooms & closets

Miss: seeing my friends while working at the school
LFT: lasting friendships that started because we worked together as moms

Miss: Chuck calling me "MOM"
LFT: Chuck calling me "Sweetheart" or "Sweetie"

Miss: mothering
LFT: grandmothering! (and being more of a business partner to my eternal partner)

Thank you my awesome, wonderful children; CJ, Paul, Jerry, Brandee, Kyle & Jenni, for the amazing lessons YOU'VE taught me, the great people you are today, and for your return (10 fold) of the love I gave to you. It's been a grand adventure!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

2012 A year in review

If you got our Christmas card this year, and saw this blog address on the back, first let me apologize if you got on and I had nothing, also for some of those pictures. Paul wanted to use that picture, but you can hardly see him, and me, you can't miss those knees/thighs. Sorry! So, this has been quite the year. In some ways the hardest year ever and in other ways the most amazing.  God surely has manifested Himself to us, and for His never ending love and comfort we are eternally grateful!
It was a big year for birthdays & anniversaries! 2 new "birth" days; Demi (Paul's) & Logan (Jerry's), and a 50 year old birthday, a 30 year wedding anniversary, and 30 year mission reunion.
I'll just start with the youngest and work our way through the family & the year.

First Jenni, my baby is now 18! I can't believe it! She's been with us 10 years now, and wow that went fast! She has had an eventful year playing tennis & badminton (earned the jackrabbit spirit award), 2 trips to Seattle, had a friend, Jakelle pass away,went on a pioneer trek (where she pushed a handcart, and dressed and lived like a woman in the 1800s - tough stuff), had her first migrane headache (induced by laser tag lights). She is now finishing her first 1/2 of her senior year, and then wants to get her Care Givers Certificate and get a job in a nursing home or care facility.

Kyle worked at Nielson's frozen custard to earn some money for his Student Council NY trip, (he is quite the comedian - check out this youtube video "Kyle Brown 4 contagious things" He was very busy as the Service Commissioner in stuco, in charge of  Breakfast w/Santa (a community service event) and teacher appreciation luncheon.He and some friends also took a General Conference trip w/dad and stayed at his brother Paul's house in Utah. The biggest thing of his year was Graduation in May!
He is now preparing to go on a mission for our church, and expects the call to come next month. We'll keep you posted.

Brandee had the opportunity to go live in Germany with Jerry & Jessica this past summer. She got to tour many places in Europe, as well as help nanny Madi. Before that she tried her hand at field labor with the family business. She was awesome as a goofer and meeting attender, but it just wasn't her thing. She's home now and working at Flancers. Her employers love her, because she is very personable and a very hard worker (something many people lack these days) It is such yummy food, go see her and try it out!
I've been involved this year in too many activities, as usual. I'm on SAIC counsel at Mesa High as well as Grad Night Chair. Recently both Chuck & I have become precinct committee members. I finally got more involved in Right to Life which I love by doing 40 days for life, where we stand in peace in front of abortion planned parenthood offices. I've missed judging for Speech & Debate this semester. I have been working in nursery, and am now compassionate service leader. Have had fun visiting podiatrist cousin Brian for my plantar faciatis. Another pain I dealt with for 5 months was LA fitness taking money out of our account (if you have a membership, watch it carefully!) We had visitors from Austria, my old 5th grade pen pal, who found me on facebook, came with his family. I also wanted to feel like a kid on my 50th birthday, so I spent it in Disneyland. It was so fun, and was nice of some other "young" friends to come with me!
The next great adventure was for our 30th wedding anniversary. We, Doreen & Lester Stradling, and Jill and Scott Adair went on an Alaskan Cruise! Amazing beauty we saw in God's great earth! As well as seeing the Yukon by train, Glaciers and wild life that took our breath away. My sweet husband of 30 years was so romantic too, as you can tell from this picture. His sweetest line on the trip "I'm gonna find you a bear". I just love my big Brown bear hugger!
Wow, I just realized how many trips we went on this year. I also went to Utah for the 4th of July to see what celebration with Teresa Starr in small town Centerville, UT was like. It was so fun & patriotic! In Sept I went to Switzerland and Germany to see grandbaby Logan come into the world. Right after that I went to meet Chuck in Alaska where he was working. Other fun things we've done is having an Olympics in London party, with lots of good British food, and getting involved in the presidential election. (that was a lot of detail, but this is my journal too)
I've also had fun reading the "Great and the Terrible" series (really prepares you for what's coming!) and Steph Nielson's book, "Heaven is Here". When I finished that book I remember thinking "wow, will our family ever have to go through something hard like that?" It was just a few weeks later that we did.

Chuck has started traveling again for work; California, New Mexico, Alaska, and Japan (he leaves again next month)  He also went to Canada to our x-brother in laws wedding (Shu). He loved that! His fun stuff this year was spending his birthday in Utah for Demi's baby blessing and at zoo with Chance & Demi (that is the best zoo!) He also got to attend his 30 year mission reunion, and loved reminiscing with many old mission buddies. He has been Elder Quorum president at church for 3 years and recently got released. Some of his pains this year have been much dental work done by soon to be Dr. C.J. (who loves inflicting this on his dad) Also too many funerals; Uncle Phil, Uncle Karl, and our sweet little Dylman.
The business growing, and finally getting out of the "red". We have been able to offer ins. benefits now, and have added a new secretary (after a nightmare one) & marketing dir. We are so blessed to work with some of the best people ever.

Now for the birds that have left the nest:
Jerry & Jess - have a new addition; Logan Desmond Brown. Born in Sept. He is the spitting image of his daddy when he was a baby. I seriously have had flashbacks when I hold him. They gave me the greatest birthday present (a few months later) by letting me come and see his birth. I have the sweetest daugther in laws ever! They have all let me witness a birth now. Jerry & Jessica plan on moving back here in the spring of 2013. We are excited for that.
Paul & Skye - also got  a new addition in February; Demi Brown. They continue to work on their awesome house. Another addition is a room in the basement so we'd have a place to sleep when we come over! For the 4th of July they had a great barbeque (on Paul's new grill)and their beautiful back patio. The Halloween picture on our card has to be explained. The kids costumes were just too cute; Incase you couldn't tell, Demi was a fluffy bunny, and Chance was Carl Fredrickson from the movie UP.

CJ & Steph - I know many of you are wondering how they are doing. They are just incredible, and are amazing examples to us of faith. They are doing awesome things for our community, donating to various charities, all having something to do with Dylan. They took some of the money that you sweet friends and family and others have given to them and are giving back. They have helped an animal shelter, because Dylan loved animals so much. It was funny that the people asked if they'd like to adopt an animal since they gave, and they both resounded "NO, thank you" (it was ONLY Dylan who liked them so much) On his birthday they gave lots of food to Care Partnership, that helps the needy. For Christmas they have chosen a Christmas angel, a 2 year old boy, and plan to start this tradition every Christmas. They have a special Dylan tree near their front door. I will cut and paste just a little of what Stephanie wrote on her blog titled "We can do hard things";  "Our world came crashing down when our precious 22 month old son was killed. We spent the next week doing things we never thought we would. With much help from family, friends, amazing ward members and tons of community outpouring we managed to plan a funeral service and bury Dylan's body in his finally resting spot.
My heart is full with love for my Savior and Father in Heaven. I do not know why Dylan's life was not spared, but I do know that he was needed and if it hadn't been that night in that way it would have been another night in another way. Dylan was not meant to be on this earth for long. His spirit was simply "too pure." In the coming years I hope to do all things pleasing unto my God to return to my son and be united as an eternal family."

Nikki & Shaun - our other adopted daughter and family. They have been able to come down from Washington many times this year, which has meant so much to us. Jaydon & Gavin are getting so big, and are playing many sports and recently were in a wonderful Christmas play that we got to watch through live feed.

As we have the year draw to a close, I must say that we treasure each other in a deeper way. We know how fragile life can be and are kinder to each other. It was wonderful that we could celebrate an early Thanksgiving together, when Papa got back from Japan. It filled my heart with JOY to be around these great people that God has put in my family! With all the service we've witnessed this year, We've decided to try something new this Christmas. We're going to go with some friends to feed the homeless downtown Phoenix. The kids at home are excited. They have such good hearts!
We love you all and wish you the Merriest Christmas and Happy New Year!
Love and treasure one another!