Monday, August 31, 2009

Our Little CRAZY Brown Life is coming back!

Hey dear family,
Today John Paul started Kindergarten. I had a little reality check as I searched the house for our camera to shoot a picture of him looking all adorable and handsome in his school uniform. I finally realized that both our video and digital cameras have been lost for 2 months!

Inspired by Cathy's post, I'll give you all an estimate of what our lives have included over the past few months so you'll forgive my lack of posting:

2- number of weeks the flooring guys said it would take to install, sand and stain the surface area of our first floor
4 and counting- number of weeks it actually took them...they still haven't finished the last coat of finish.
1- number of surgeries I've had this Summer (wisdom teeth)
0- number of times I will ever again schedule surgery in the midst of home renovations and Summer vacation
532- number of Benjamin Moore paint samples I went through before deciding on what to try in our first floor
15- number of actual samples we tried in the dining room before I could make a decision
300- Number of Hail Marys I prayed while searching for beautiful curtains at a decent price (it worked- prayers were answered at the Pottery Barn clearance table!)
4- Age Gabe turned this past June- I should have done a whole post- but my whole point is that this has been an extraordinarily bizarre Summer!
1- Number of times we went to see Riverdance with Gabe & John Paul to celebrate Gabe's b-day. Our boys love ethic music and instruments as well as dance. Who knows? Maybe they'll have careers in the arts?
2- Age Monica turned a week ago on Aug 21.
67- Number of dollars I spent at the Party Store purchasing balloons, streamers, candies, a pinata, tablecloths, napkins etc. all in Winnie the Pooh theme because I love my daughter so much and wanted to delight her when she woke up from her nap on her birthday.
20- Number of dollars I had actually intended on spending at the Party Store.
7- Number of hours Grandmom Lorrie spent in VA on Monica's birthday (she amtraked it both ways in one day all for love of Monnie!)
Million- Number calculating @ how much it meant to us that Grandmom Lorrie did that
2- Number of vacations we took- one with Browns and one with Pierces.
500- Number of years ago it seems that we took those vacations because ever since we returned from the beach our home has been out of order so life has been out of sync!
25- Tears I've cried today after realizing that our cameras (along with almost all of our picture memory cards) are one of casualties of this crazy Summer.
20- Number of hours it feels like Luis works on a daily basis- between DRE work and classes, testing etc. for his pursuit of this whole patent thing (if he wants to talk about it, I'll let him post:)...don't hold your breath!

So I hope to be blogging with pictures and stories soon. Thanks for reading this little summary our little brown life in all it's craziness of the past few months.
I miss checking in with my Mom, Dad, siblings, cousins and aunts!


Thursday, May 21, 2009


May 19 was Cath's Birthday. Even though it's two days late, I figured I'd post a couple of sweet pics of my dear little sister.
Mom of course has the most comprehensive set of pics on her blog:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


It was so bittersweet to hear the news of Gram's passing this past Saturday May 9, 2009. Bitter because separation is hard. Sweet because she lived a long good life believing in the One who made her and loved her. Now I am so happy that she can rest in this love while being reunited with her family...most especially Grandad Jack Pierce and her son Edward (or was it James according to Mimi?!) that she lost at childbirth...
We know now that we are mysteriously more in touch than ever. Time and space are no longer barriers. Rather than getting lost in the sorrow of the reality of family distances, I am finding myself humored and consoled by the connection I feel to Gram when I pick up my rosary beads. She used to always embarrass me by mentioning (ad nauseam) that I got her to pray the rosary more. Now I can joke with her that SHE's the one getting ME to pick up that ancient daily prayer habit. Like her, I have trouble keeping my attention focused through the whole thing. When we used to pray it together, she would pray about a third or so of the prayers and call it a day! The scriptural rosary does the trick.
The new header picture is of Gram and Monica touching fingers last August during our last visit with her. It was really a wonderful visit and Gram put out a wonderful amount of positive energy for us. I am so grateful for that memory.
Gram, we love, love LOVE you!!!
May Perpetual light shine upon you.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Great pics

Mom has great pics posted of the kids making snowmen recently and the ones about Villanova are enjoyable as well.
If only I could take as many pictures as her...

Friday, February 27, 2009


Our thoughts and prayers are going out to Uncle Matt and Auntie Jen. We are unified in spirit as you mourn the loss of your niece Amelia Heil. We are saddened by the short length of her life but also rejoice that she is where we all want to be. In this way she is our elder. We want to be with her some day united in the communion of love described by Christ that we so often fail to believe in.
Amelia Heil, pray for us!

Weekend at "The 4 Line"

After school today I drove the kids to 4 Line Road for a weekend visit with Grandad and Grandmom Pierce and Uncle Greg. Daddy has a ton of work this weekend so it was a great excuse to give him 3 days to himself. We got here at 3 p.m. and just finished a pizza dinner.
Here's why the kids love "The 4 Line":
1. The ramp...can we say kid heaven? Sliding down Grandad's ramp with indoor trucks and such is as good as it gets.
2. Orange Juice & Chocolate Milk...Mommy pretends not to listen when Grandmom Pierce offers these 2 substances on demand.
3. Toys A Plenty- As soon as we arrived Grandmom and Uncle Greg pulled out most of the most appealing toys and brought them to Grandad's room. You can barely walk in here what with the trains, trains and more trains.
4. Uncle Greg...when I put Monica in his arms she is quite delighted because she's taller than Mommy and looks down at everyone.
5. The Gator...another element of kid heaven. We've promised them a ride in the morning. Gabe will sleep tonight anticipating the morning as if it's Christmas.
6. The Wheelchair...another most intriguing element. All 3 of my children are mystified by it...they're convinced it's magic and dream of a day when they have unlimited access to this machine from heaven.
7. Space. This house has sooooo much space. Space to run, slide, scoot and do flips. We just don't have this kind of space in Old Town Alexandria. Kids like wide open space.
8. Crackers and Cookies. Somehow these two foods make their way into our diet more than I'd like to admit while we're here. The kids have radar for it. They know Grandmom keeps a full supply and sniff it out within an hour of arrival.
9. Grandad Pierce. John Paul and Gabe like to show off their trains creations to make Grandad smile. They also get more sports statistics here than anywhere else...they're loyalty already belongs to the Villanova Wildcats, Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles...all by Grandad osmosis. But it also belongs to the Minnesota Vikings due to Daddy osmosis. They don't know the difference yet.
10. Mommy chills out sometimes at "The 4 Line". Our little trips afford Mommy the opportunity to forget about any complications of life in Alexandria (like the fact that we recently had a gunpoint burglary happen to a neighbor walking his dog at 8 p.m. in the alley next to our house). Mommy is chilled out indeed...sipping some red wine with Grandmom and Uncle Greg, forgetting about the complications of life and being grateful for the Present Moment.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Note to Self

Okay I promise I'll start blogging about the grandkids very soon with pictures and all.
But I had to write this for myself and for any night owls out there that may appreciate it.
Here it is.
Drum roll please.
Luis and I went to bed last night at 9:14 p.m.
Do you know how good I feel today?!!!
Note to self:

Friday, February 13, 2009

You know it's Friday night when...

You just know it's been a long week or it's just been a tiring day when...
You're kneeling by your kids' beds at night thinking you should pray night prayers. Your husband initiates by making the sign of the Cross...
He then starts "Bless us Oh Lord..."
You join with him in this GRACE BEFORE MEALS
all the way to the AMEN
and then you both look at each other realizing what you did.
You shrug it off with a little chuckle.
The kids don't even notice.
You pray an Our Father and say good night.
Such was our Friday night this February 13, 2009.

Friday, January 30, 2009

When he grows up...

After bath, I'm still in the habit of carrying John Paul in his Nemo towel to his bed (my back is disagreeing with this habit and has let me know more recently).
Tonight he said, "Mommy, when I'm an uncle you won't have to carry me anymore."
"Why?" I inquired.
"Because when I grow up I want to be an UNCLE..."
I guess this is flattery to all the uncles.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Loss for Words

Hi Family!
I don't mean to burn you all out with pictures of Luis and I from our Wedding/honeymoon. The above pic is from a day in Rome after we met JPII.
The truth is that I'm really behind in organizing our recent digital photos so I don't have many recent pics of the kids together to share. But there shall definitely be some soon...
I have pics on my new Blackberry of the March for Life...can't wait to share those. It was such a profound experience given the current circumstances...I don't know where to start.
And the best news is that John has a Barcelona blog!
Here it is:


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

Today we're chilling out at home. Too bad we don't own this place because we could have auctioned off our home this week for an amount that probably would have payed for a new van. Oh well.
Washington St. is closed as they're taking Obama to Mt. Vernon at some point. So we're blocked in. We'll probably walk down to the water and view the Capitol from there. It's a bit easier with kids to do this than braving the crowds of millions.
Besides, we're saving our energy for the March for Life on Thursday.
Oh Lord help our new President and help our country.
May our nation be a better place someday for our children.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Christmas shots

I haven't gotten around to posting Christmas shots but Mom and Cath sure did:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Grandchild Update for the Grandparents

John Paul
This young boy has been surprising Luis and I on a daily basis with how much he's developed since school started in the Fall. We switched him after Christmas to St. Mary's school which is a 5 day a week program. The transition was seamless for him. He loves the "bigger" school, classroom and excitement of many new friends. I think he's aware of how fast he's developing and learning. I have to direct his intensity towards positive things. I tell him he's my "leader" child and sometimes that means sacrifice. He's got to learn now that he will not always be first in life despite what he wants! Overall, I think he's got a strong choleric/melancholic streak (Gee, wonder where he got this from?...). We hope to help form him into a boy of goodness and virtue. I'm sure it won't happen overnight!
Gabe has undoubtedly missed John Paul's companionship since school started. He's a sensitive guy with a need for lots of one on one attention. This fits naturally into our schedule most days as he sometimes goes to bed after his siblings and then wakes up after John Paul is already at school...affording me opportunities to chat with him or read books. He has a HUGE heart- much like Luis'. He has the natural tendency to share and make others happy. At Barnes & Noble this past weekend, Luis bought him a cookie as a reward for something. He immediately split it in half with John Paul. Monica caught wind of the treat and he then split his half with her...out of sheer desire with no prodding on our parts. He has a much more rebellious streak than his older brother so it takes more to get him to do something. But he's a quick learner.
For instance, he totally knows how to use the toilet. But he doesn't want to. (It's probably some "second child syndrome"!) I can't force him so I've let it all go until he decides he wants to. He has an inherent musicality which drives him to express himself ALL day with anything remotely musical.
The newest and most foreign thing (since two boys) is the recent collection of baby dolls that have made their way into our lives. She just loves snuggling with them most of the day. But catch her in a wild mood and she wants to abuse these poor dollies to no end (ie-slamming them repeatedly into the carpet...whatever!). She has perfected the high pitched girly scream that is supposed to get her whatever she wants whenever she wants. For instance, she know exactly where I keep the leftover Christmas stocking candy and puts up quite a fuss when she can't explore that territory. I'm having to dig deep for more reserves of patience so that I don't give in to her every whim! John Paul likes to tease her and she does have a special affinity for her oldest brother. She wants to do exactly what the brothers are doing if at all possible. And despite all of my best efforts, she's still convinced that crayons taste great.

Hoping this gives the grandparents a better look into life here with these kids!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Today I'm 30. I'd like to know where my 20's went!
Thank you Mom & Dad for giving me life.
Thank you Luis for marrying me, letting me sleep in til 9 this morning and loving me so much.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

6 years

Today Luis and I celebrate six years of marriage. I love this blogging thing because it forced me to look through our Wedding picture files. Truth be told, we didn't get very many good shots of the Mass. Our priest Fr. Morrow asked for no flash photography and everyone respected the request. I was disappointed at first but in retrospect, I like this reality. The Mass is embedded in my memory as the most joyful and beautiful Mass of my life. I remember the whole day with a bittersweet fondness because it was truly a unique moment in time representing an era that has passed.
Dad was perfectly healthy. I love the shot of Gram looking over his shoulder as he tied his shoe.
And I love the classic shot of Mom and Dad kissing my cheek. I even love the detail of Dad's obvious hearing aid. That side of his face now bears much different and much deeper marks of a life well lived and well fought for.
I love the shot with Fr. Morrow and his goofy smile- a man who to this day acts as as my spiritual father.
I love the shot of the St. Pat's window above the altar shedding light in the afternoon sun.
Most of all, I love the shot of us outside the church when my veil flew up in the harsh January wind. It was a priceless, unplanned moment of grace.
And the past 6 years have been just that- filled with priceless, unexpected craziness and beauty.
Love ya Luis!