Thursday, October 30, 2008

Baby Gates and Syphilis: Together at Last

So, Elliot is crawling all over creation, and loves the stairs. Up to this point, we've only had a a gate that fits on the top of the stairs, which is, indeed, as useless as you think it is. Thankfully, we just bought a nice baby gate, one that actually fits on the bottom of the stairs. The one unfortunate side-effect of a properly working gate is Elliot hates it. He seems to believe he can make it through bars not unlike those that kept Capone behind in jail while dying of Syphilis. When Elliot realizes he can't squeeze through, he gets upset. He cries. He whines. Moreover, he believes this crying and whining will convince the bars to move themselves so he can get back to climbing stairs. When they don't, he cries and whines more. Eventually, but only after inspecting every inch of the gate, he moves on, and picks garbage out of the trash can. There is no way to win.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Haircut, First, Elliot

This last week we cut Elliot's hair for the first time. Before busting out the clippers, we put his hair in a pony tail and cut it off, all for history's sake I guess.

He was incredibly good about it. He didn't cry and he sat quite still. Perhaps the best part of the process was the ridiculously orange drape we put on Elliot's to keep the hair from falling all over him.

And the end product was much shorter and more manageable hair.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

BYU Game II: Electric Boogaloo

Having procured tickets from an old mission companion (thanks Jake), we went to the BYU v. New Mexico game. The game time weather was a balmy 43 degrees, so we clothed Elliot in his winter coat (with his cougar outfit on underneath, of course).

Living in New Mexico brings a whole new meaning to this game, and thankfully we pasted them 21-3.

Everyone loved Elliot's coat. We had five or six who thought it was a cougar coat. (It looks more like a bear coat, with the ears and all, but you know, people see what they want to see). Anyway, we had a great time.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Temples Abound

This was a big temple announcement weekend for the Browns. President Monson announced the Cordoba, Argentina and Rome, Italy temples. Dem already had a temple in her mission country, but this is my country's first. Since Dem isn't writing this post, I'm going to talk about Rome.

This temple is a major coup for Italian Saints. They have yearned for a temple for nearly fifty years. According to one account, when Italians heard the announcement "[C]'e' stato un boato di gioia . . . . Sembrava che l'Italia avesse vinto la Coppa del Mondo." [there was a roar of joy . . . . It seemed as if Italy had just won the World Cup.]

So, here are some reactions to the news. First, here is a link to a Corriere Della Sera article. Here is one blogger's reaction to the news (it includes an ariel view of the property, which is across the streat from an Ikea). The temple will be built in the sette bagni neighborhood, just north of Rome proper. Click here for the GoogleEarth view of the location, or look at it here.

also, if you're interested, the Church has a Rome temple construction webpage. If you subscribe, you'll receive notices whenever new news or photos are posted. Turns out right now there is a villa and a bunch of grass on the land.

Dem and I have already started saving for our temple dedication vacation.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

General Conference, the Spirit, and Protesters

We attended General Conference this weekend (Saturday afternoon to be exact). It was an overcast, somewhat rainy day, but beautiful nonetheless.

Once inside the Conference Center, we heard prophetic discourses by Joseph Wirthlin and Jeffrey Holland. I must admit, I love listening to Holland speak. His command of language and emotion is exceptional, and his messages are always inspiring. Lawrence Corbridge, a member of the Seventy, also gave an exceptional talk on Christ's eternal roles.

After exiting the Conference Center, and snapping a photo or two,

We happened upon the protesters. While I wouldn't normally post about this stuff, I think this is important, so bear with me.

The one holding the "Read the Bible" sign informed us "When you get before the bar of God, He'll recognize you as lower than the Sodomites. You're all dishonest. You're so dishonest you won't even tell your families that you're lying to them." Needless to say, being called a liar and lower than a bunch of gay gang rapers was, shall we say, an unfortunate occurrence.

In the midst of this, however, there were some glimpses of true Christian service. For example, see this picture.

Notice the man with the two umbrellas standing left of the protester. His look (suit, tie, etc.) and demeanor (standing quietly) tells us he's a Mormon holder an umbrella for the man proclaiming he's going to hell. What a beautiful example of serving those who despise you. Only the truly humble could ever do such a thing. May we all follow this man's example. And here's another great example to follow.

This is a group that obtains permits and sings hymns to passersby. This is an ingenuous idea that has two main strengths: (1) it takes permits away from protesters, and (2) it brings a starkly contrasting spirit to the sidewalk. Whoever first came up with this idea deserves a medal.

Now, this might seem an odd thing to say, but I'm actually grateful for these protesters. They are doing what they believe is right, and that is honorable. While I don't agree with them, and I find their tactics distasteful (I mean, honestly, who would put up with this sort of thing outside, say, a Jewish temple. No one), I love the fact they are free to express their religious views. God bless America for this freedom.

This last thought brings me to the only guy who annoyed me:

He was very vocal about Mormons being cast into the infernal pit of everlasting damnation, so on and so forth. Fine. Who cares. What got me was when a man walked by with his wife and smiled, the protester yelled the following at him: "Don't you smile at me. I'm being serious." Apparently, the protester thinks it's okay to express himself by verbally denigrating Mormons, but Mormons shouldn't be free to express their emotions by smiling. Such a view is unacceptable. If you freely exercise the right to express your beliefs, then afford the same right to others.

After Conference, Dem had a lesson with her voice teacher, Ariel Bybee. We then dropped my mom at her brother's house in Magna, and drove back to Provo, where we stayed in Denis and Lisa's apartment (thanks again Denis and Lisa). The next day, it was home after six hours of driving, passed largely by listening to "New Moon" by Stephanie Meyer.