Merry Christmas to All,
We’ve had quite a year. As most, if not all, know, we adopted Elliot Clayton Brown last November. He is wonderful, and we are blessed to have him. He has brought an immeasurable amount of joy to our lives, and we hope we will bring some to his. That being said, let’s recount our 2008 doings.
Until Elliot came to us, we had planned to stay in Lincoln, NE so Demaree could continue teaching high school choir at Northeast and finish her Doctorate of Musical Arts. The more we discussed our future, the more we decided that was not the right course. We decided it was time to move back near family, so we started looking for work in Farmington, NM and San Angelo, TX. After some searching, Marco received an offer from a New Mexico law firm called Miller Stratvert. We decided to take the job, and prepared to move to Farmington when Marco’s judicial clerkship ended.
Marco began work July 1, worked for two weeks, then studied like a mad man to pass the bar exam. Thankfully, he passed. Hours after finishing the bar (whose author is Satan), Marco boarded a plane and met Demaree and Elliot in San Angelo, where they had been since the month previous.
Finally, we were together again. To celebrate we traveled, a lot. While we have chronicled most of our escapades already, we will give you a quick run down.
• We drove to Lincoln, NE and finalized our adoption. My good law school buddy, Henry Wiedrich, handled the finalization for us. He is a stellar attorney.
• We hiked around Mesa Verde National Park. Mesa Verde is a fantastic collection of Indian cliff dwellings. Very cool.
• We were sealed as a family in the Manti, UT temple August 22 at 9.45 a.m. This was the climax of our year. Nothing else comes close. We thank all those who came from great distances to celebrate this occasion with us (e.g., Charmaine Kearl, Jared Shoemaker, Matt and Evige Warner, Ariel Bybee and Jim Ford, Marco’s parents, Demaree’s family, etc.)
• In September, we hiked the Grand Canyon a bit and visited the Four Corners Monument. In addition, we celebrated our seventh anniversary, took Elliot to his first BYU football game, Elliot attended his first symphony (he had previously attended four operas), Marco had his first legal article published, Marco was sworn in and became an official lawyer, and we toured some Aztec ruins.
• October brought us General Conference, which we attended, and Elliot’s second BYU football game. Demaree worked privately with local high school students helping prepare them for state competitions, and sang beautifully at a local concert.
• Just in time to vote, November brought political rallies to Farmington. We attended a Mitt Romney rally, and were lucky enough to get a picture of him and Elliot together.
The next week, we headed to Lubbock , TX to visit our friends the Sorenson’s and attend a speech by Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. We took Elliot, who was a little fussy, but enjoyed himself and all the people (there were about 2000).
Demaree’s parents also came up from San Angelo and we spent a good afternoon together at the Lubbock Science Spectrum.
Following some local weekend hikes, we all caught a plane to Washington DC for the annual Federalist Society Conference — i.e., Marco’s excuse to dork it up with other lawyers in DC for a few days. During the conference, Dem and Elliot spent some quality time with Gretchen, Demaree’s sister-in-law. Gretchen is a great tour guide.
After the conference, we drove to New York to visit our good family friend Antonella Delli Carpini and her family. We spent time in Manhattan, saw The Damnation of Faust at the Metropolitan Opera, toured Teddy Roosevelt’s birthplace on 21st Street, and did any other number of touristy things.
Elliot’s first birthday coincided nicely with Thanksgiving, so we celebrate on, you guessed it, Thanksgiving. After gorging ourselves on massive quantities of food the Delli Carpini family made, we sang Elliot happy birthday and let him go to town on his cake. He loved it, as did we all.
Having capped our East Coast trip by visiting Teddy Roosevelt’s home on Sagamore Hill on Long Island, we headed home.
Here are some other miscellaneous tidbits. Elliot’s first word was “uh-oh,” and since then he has developed a vocabulary of maybe six or seven words. Elliot took his first steps around eight months, and has refused to walk ever since. He loves dogs, and by loves dogs we mean he adores them. He dances and snaps his fingers when he hears music. He’s particularly fond of classical music and opera, probably because our musical predilections lean toward those genres. In fact, upon hearing music, he feels compelled to play the piano. He has a smile that captivates any room he enters (it’s amazing to watch). Demaree is enjoying being home fulltime with Elliot, as well as working with the young women in church. Marco is ward mission leader, and will teach an Italian cuisine course at the local college next semester.
We’ll spend Christmas with Demaree’s family in sunny, warm Texas. (Sorry to all our northern friends, but you don’t know what you’re missing.) Can’t ask for anything better.
One last thing, we’ve started the adoption process again. So, if you know a birthmother who is interested in adoption, please let us know. We’d love to speak to her.
Thanks everyone. Hope all is well, and God bless you and your families.
Marco, Demaree, & Elliot