Thursday, April 11, 2013

The One With the In-Laws

I really felt like I needed a post about the awesomeness of my in-laws.
Sorry. This is not a post to make monster-in-law jokes.
Because, let's face it, people, I was blessed with the most incredible in-laws in the world.

I. Love. Them.
They are so so wonderful.

I knew I was getting a good deal when I married Ben, but I had no idea what a blessing his family would be to me too.

So...I've had several friends who date boys, and, for whatever reason, the guy's parents hate the girl (somehow it never seems to be the other way around...). But these girls always justify the relationship by saying, "Well, it's okay. I'm going to be marrying him. Not his family."

Ah!!! Lie! Lie! Lie!

Especially if you are a member of the church, how do you expect that you'll be with YOUR family for time and all eternity, but not his?

And even if religion isn't your flavor, where do you think that boy learned his table manners? Or his spending habits? Or even how often he does his laundry?

And where do you think you will be spending half of your Christmases, Thanksgivings, birthdays or otherwise?

Anyhow, the point I'm trying to make is that, whether you like it or not, in-laws will be a part of your life. In whatever way.

Lucky for me, I like it.

Ben's mom is the sweetest person ever. You can always find her serving someone. One time I read a quote that said something like, "Make sure you read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it." Ben's mom (and not for wanting to look good) always has an uplifting book in hand. She's so caring and I look up to her in so many ways.
And she's beautiful too! Doesn't Ben look so much like her?
Ben has 4 sisters (no brothers), all older. Before I met them, people would say, "Ooh, only sisters? Good luck with that!" I was so scared to meet them! Girls can be so catty and judgy. But Ben's sisters took me in and they make me feel like I've been a part of their special friendship from the beginning of time. They are hilarious and crazy, but it's my kind of crazy, so I'll take it. Not to mention, their spouses are all pretty awesome as well.
The nieces and nephews are absolutely crazy (what kids aren't??). But they are also very cute and sweet if you catch them in the right moment.
See what I mean about crazy??

And see what I mean about cute?
(sorry, I don't have many pics of them, unfortunately).
 Awesome cousins? Ben's got 'em.
Awesome aunts and uncles? Check.
Grandparents? Also awesome.

Again, don't have many pictures. I guess we've got the important cousins;)
Last but not least, Ben had the most incredible dad that anyone could ask for. I don't know how Papa Brown did it, but he perfected unconditional love. He was hilarious. His advice was:
  • "Rock on with your bad self."
  • "Fear ain't a part of my life."
  • "Let's get after it like we're killing snakes." (Anyone who knows me, knows how much I like that idea!)

It's been hard having him gone. But, even through the difficulty of losing him, I know:
  • He's in a better place. He doesn't hurt anymore. He can see.
  • He's happy and he's serving us from the other side.
  • He taught my husband everything he needs to know about being an amazing father.

 I only knew Papa Brown for a little over a year. But in that year I learned so much from him. I am so glad that I know that families are forever. And I'm so glad that when I married Ben, I didn't marry just him. I married his whole family too.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013


One of my goals this year was to make more festive and seasonal decorations for the house. One of Ben's sisters is a pro at this. Every month inspires a reworking of her decor. It's not just a wreath on the door. It's a theme throughout the entire house. She's pulls it off cohesively and tactfully. But you know it's taken a few years of careful buying and crafting.

So I wanted to get start on my own festive decorations.

Well, ladies and gentleman, we are 1 season and 4 major holidays down this year and I have no evidence of celebration except for some dollar store plastic Easter eggs and a half made Valentine garland (I started on it the day before. I didn't finish).

Even without my wanted holiday decor, I was determined to make something of Easter this year.

Something I've discovered this year is that the Browns are not a very tradition-y bunch. I can ask Ben all I want about his favorite childhood traditions and his answer is always the same: "I don't know. We didn't have many."

Sad! Right?

More and more I'm realizing I have to be the one who plans the tradition AND the one who gets excited about it. Otherwise, it's not going to happen.

And I think Ben really does like it. He just doesn't think to make it happen.

So for Easter, in a determined frenzy, I made sure that we had some fun Easter-y activities planned.

We colored Easter eggs!

Ben drew my face on one. Doesn't it look exactly like me?

We started dyeing at 10:50pm (yeah...whoops...). Ben finished
at 10:55. Me? 11:22. I did 2 eggs. Ben did 4.  You do the math.

See the rainbow egg on the left? That's mine. I rock.
32 minutes well spent? I think so!
 So my family's tradition is that my dad (the Easter bunny), hides our candy-which is usually just a candy bar. When we wake up, we set out to find our treat. Sometimes it's hidden easily-like in the piano bench. But more often than not, he'll hide it in some impossibly elaborate place. One time, he cut out pages in the middle of a phone book and slipped the candy in the little square that was created. Another time, he put the candy down a vent with fishing line. Yeah. Sometimes our searching trickles into Monday.

Last year, Ben and I were engaged and living in Cedar for Easter. I hid his candy in the freezer, which I thought would be a dead give away. To put it simply and without making my husband sound like a whiner, Ben didn't like it very much (maybe that's where his lack of enthusiasm for traditions comes from. Hmmm...).

This year, I still hid his candy. He still put up a bit of a stink.

Luckily, he found his candy in a matter of minutes.
Otherwise, there's no telling what he would've done;)

Our yummy Easter dinner.
Ben made fun of me for taking a picture of our dinner, but this was a big deal for me! It was my first time ever making a roast AND making a dinner with so many components. Turns out roast is easy. It's the gravy that takes some getting used to. Anyhow, it was delicious and I was really proud of myself. So make fun all you want.

Anyhow, I hope everyone else had a Happy Easter! Tell me about your Easter traditions! One of my friends has an Easter Spider. Weird, but totally awesome.