Friday, August 29, 2008

Brown Look-alike Meter

Inspired by our friends Jonathan and Marni Yarrington, we decided to try the Look-alike Meter. As you can see, Elliot, who looks absolutely nothing like either of us, looks slightly less unlike me than unlike Demaree. Poor kid.

Go Alaska!

I have tried very hard not to let my political leanings (conservative, if you hadn't guessed) infiltrate our family blog. Today, such caution is thrown to the wind. John McCain has picked Sarah Palin, the governor of my home, Alaska, as his veep.

Gov. Sarah Palin speaks to reporters regarding the indictment of U.S. Sen Ted Stevens in her Capitol office in Juneau, Alaska

I would have rather seen McCain choose Mitt Romney or Bobby Jindal; but, as an Alaskan, I'm proud. I'm proud Alaskans threw the good ol' boys out of office and elected someone as honest and forthright as Palin. Whatever happens in this election, Palin will make Alaska proud. And I can't wait to see her beat Joe Biden like the red-headed step child he is.

And one more thing: out of the seven women living in Alaska, Palin is definitely the best looking.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sealing Day

We were sealed as a family in the Manti, Utah Temple on Friday, August 22, 2008, at 9:45 a.m.

It was a great experience, both because of its religious import, and because so many friends and family attended.

Jared Shoemaker, my best friend, made it all the way from Vegas.

Matt and Evige Warner made it.

Denis and Lisa attended, even though they were getting sealed soon after us.

Jim Ford and Ariel Bybee came down from Salt Lake.

And here's the Clayson contingent: large as always.

And here is the Brown contingent: slightly smaller than the Clayson contingent.

Thankfully, after some searching, we found our Charmaine pictures (they were hiding out on my parents' camera). She made the long trek from eastern Nebraska to Manti, some twelve-plus hours, a feat for which we are very grateful. (If we forgot anyone, we apologize profusely.)

Nothing can fully describe the feeling of peace and satisfaction we felt being sealed for time and eternity to Elliot. After such a long process, with so many ups and downs, it was a great feeling to finally become a family in the fullest sense of the word. We thank everyone who helped us throughout this process. We love you all.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mesa Verde/Perfect Day

Yesterday, we had what can only be described as a perfect day. We began by hiking around cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park. First we descended to the long house dwelling and toured for about an hour.

This is a shot of us climbing out of the valley. Elliot was a trooper in that Baby Bjorn.

After the long house, we went over to the spruce house.

While there we met an Italian family (from Bologna -- my greeny city -- no less) there on vacation. We talked for probably fifteen minutes.

The two girls in front (Sofia on the left and Annamaria on the right) were super cute. As you can see, Annamaria had a thing for Elliot's hair.

On our way home, we stopped at this little restaurant about twenty miles outside Durango, Colorado. We had a quite good meal. We began with a roasted beat salad, and then moved on to a limoncello chicken, complete with roasted potato and fennel. For dessert, we had a buttermilk panna cotta with toasted almonds and honey. Elliot had tastes of everything, and loved it all, just like his parents.

What a fantastic, fulfilling day.

First Word

Elliot recently said his first word (or, more correctly, phrase): Uh-oh. He first said uh-oh over a week ago, but we didn't count it because he was merely mimicking Demaree. Over the next few days, he repeated it often, realizing it was a unique linguistic unit, but still attaching no meaning to the word.

Then, about two days ago, Elliot lost his chupa (i.e., pacifier) while riding in the car. He looked at Demaree and said, "Uh-oh." With that, we knew he had attached meaning.

Now Elliot says uh-oh when he loses his chupa, when he drops cheerios, and when something falls. Not bad for an eight-month-old.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Here's a short video depicting Elliot's favorite game: peek-a-boo. Demaree's a particularly good peek-a-boo-er, probably because she takes the time to herself behind objects and wait until Elliot's forgotten where she hid. Ultimately, it's fun to see Elliot get so excited over such simple things.

Dinner with the Buckwalters

When we were in Lincoln, we ate with our good friends Mark, Ashley, and Noah Buckwalter. We enjoyed our time with them, and it's a great disappointment Elliot and Noah will not grow up around one another together. As these pictures and video show, they enjoy playing together.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dirty Jobs, Brown Family Style

Ever watched the show Dirty Jobs? If you have, you'll understand it when I say I felt like Mike Rowe this morning.

The morning started inocuously enough. Demaree, who has a cold I and Elliot passed to her, asked me to take care of Elliot when he woke at 6:15 a.m. Like any good husband who respects (i.e., has a healthy fear of) his loving wife, I obliged.

During the ensuing thirty minutes, all was well: Elliot ate, and we read some Harry Potter e la Camera dei Segreti. Then it was time to change his diaper -- you see where this is going, don't you? Removing his sleeper, I ran my hand along his back, only to discover he had managed to spread a generous heaping of fecal matter along the whole of his spine up to his neck. This lurid realization led to a flurry of emotions, culminating in Elliot hearing his first Italian swear word.

Having exposed my son to the underbelly of history's greatest language, I carried him to the bathroom, removed his clothes and went to work with many, many baby wipes. During the cleaning process I rediscovered my immense appreciation for mothers: they put up with this crap (pun intended) much more often than we fathers do. In addition, I discovered fecal matter migrates. That's right, somehow this insentient, putrid gunk travels at will. In this case, it migrated all over the ground, to diverse parts of Elliot's body, as well as to my clothing.

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. Elliot got clean, we read some more Harry Potter, and Demaree got the sleep she needed. In fine, all's well that ends well.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Adoption Finalization

We're on the road right now (Limon, Colorado to be exact), but we wanted to let everyone know we finalized Elliot's adoption this morning. Yep, around 11:30 a.m. we answered a few questions about ourselves and our relationship with Elliot, and then the judge signed the order. All that's left is to receive Elliot's new birth certificate from Missouri.

We wanted to thank Henry Wiedrich for helping us with the hearing. When our other lawyer was called away to military duty, Henry stepped in beautifully. We can't thank him enough.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Post Bar Itinerary & Sealing Announcement

Wow, the bar's finished: finally. But don't worry, this post isn't about the horrible loathing I now harbor toward bar examiners everywhere (although that loathing has created deep fissures in my soul). Instead, this is an itinerary of our post bar activities. So, here it is:

Wednesday, July 30: It all started with catching a plane from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Midland, Texas about four hours after the bar exam finished. Arrived in San Angelo about 1 a.m.

Thursday, July 31: Demaree and I went to Schlitterbahn (a waterpark near San Antonio). Good times.

Saturday, August 2: We drive back to Lincoln, Nebraska.

Tuesday, August 5: Adoption finalization hearing. Yes, after eight months, Caesar will finally recognize our adoption.

Wednesday, August 6: We drive back to Farmington, New Mexico.

Friday, August 22: Temple sealing. Specifically, we'll be sealed in the Manti, Utah temple (same temple in which we were sealed to each other).

This will be the crowning moment in our family thusfar, and we're uber excited about it.

So, that's what we have going on.

Ah, Goat Cheese

Turns out I have missed some pretty important developmental milestones while being away from Elliot and studying for the bar. For instance, Demaree discovered Elliot likes goat cheese. (That's my boy.) In fact, as this video demonstrates, he passes up more common baby fare like chicken noodle dinner to eat cheese you would have to pay most adults to eat. For his next milestone, we'll feed him some confit de canard or cotechino in galera; bet you he'll like those too.