Showing posts from June, 2012

Day Three: Jellystone Camp at Mammoth Cave

The photos are worth a thousand words if I can ever get them all uploaded.   (The WiFi here is a joke, at least at our site. But we’re camping and having family time, so technology is not a huge priority anyway.) Let me just say a few things: Water Warriors Weekend.  It’s amazing! People from Arkansas, Indiana, and other neighboring states were here this weekend especially for Water Warriors.  The parks is packed to full capacity.  Evidently it’s only done once per summer and it is FUN!  We were wet the entire day, which was perfect, considering it was 105 degrees.  Wet is the only way to survive outside.  Considering that this place is full and it’s stinkin’ hot out, we’ve had a great time!  We don’t feel cramped or run-over at all.  The park hosts and the campers are all friendly and fun. Ken has stayed in 99% of the day.  He has a fever and headache, but says he thinks it is just the heat.  My goal today has been to let him rest inside.  I’m praying he’ll feel better tom

Day Two: The Long Drive - Arkansas to Kentucky

We woke up early this morning, set the RV back for daytime use (a breeze), then started cooking breakfast: Zip-Lock Bag omelets with turkey sausage and green onions.   I went down to the bath house with a couple of the kids.  I took a quick shower and felt like a new man!! Once all packed up, we pulled out of the campsite.  Ken and I did our first “dump” together.  It was so romantic!  Actually, because of the way this RV is set up, it was very easy.  Easier than dumping the hybrid trailer we had borrowed. Despite lots of hours on the road, including a good 30-minute stop on the interstate for road construction, the day was great!  I got some fun video of the older kids cracking up, playing with some of the boys’ matching cards.  They got along most of the day.  While we were stopped in traffic, we let the little boys out of their car seats to play.  (My next blog will link to photos.) In the afternoon, I tried my hand at driving the RV.  I did very w

Day One: Travel from Dallas to Hot Springs

We started our day at about 6:15, finishing up the last of the laundry and packing essentials we still had in the house.   My goal HAD been to pack on Wednesday night, everything except our toiletries, but after the busy day we had, we were completely spent after dinner.   Also, remember what I said yesterday.   Things don’t always go as planned.   Click here to see photos from the day. Ready to hit the road! Happy to have a place to hang out on the way. Packed and ready to go by 10:30, we all were giddy with excitement.   We drove about an hour and a half to Sulphur Springs to visit the Southwest Dairy Museum .   I highly recommend it if you’re passing that way.   It’s a self-guided free tour.   They have some very nice items and lots of good information.   For our kids, the giant cows out front were the highlight! We made a quick stop at the local Wal-Mart Supercenter and realized we weren’t in Dallas any more!  As Mackenzie stated, “It’s like we’re in China again

Pre-Trip: RV Pick Up and Packing

Today, all seven of us spent our morning running errands.   Our plan had been to grocery shop, but things don’t always go as planned.   We had to get our SUV inspected.  Again.  It hadn’t passed due to the computer not reading it right, so they reset something and had us drive over the weekend, then try again once we went 50 miles.  It failed again today, so we drove over to the Ford Dealership.  They knew immediately what was wrong: the car place wasn’t setting the weight right in the system.  I still don’t understand what exactly happened, but we drove back to Driver’s Edge where they set things right and our SUV finally passed inspection.  Third time’s a charm.  But that little excursion (Ha! See what I did there? Our SUV is an Excursion.) ate up our morning, so we only had time to run to Walgreens for prescription refills, pick up a few burgers for lunch, and then head home so the boys could nap. After getting the kids settled in, Ken and I went to American Dream Vacation

Road Trip! RV Style!

The Brown Seven are getting ready to head out on a two-week RV trip to Louisville, Kentucky and back.  We will be attending the National Association of the Deaf Biennial Convention and Kentucky DeafFestival . We made the decision to rent an RV  so we could enjoy the long drive up and back.  I wouldn't say it's a money-saving way to travel, but we will have more freedom to get out, play, and move driving an RV as opposed to staying in hotels.  I know we'll see some money savings in our meals, since my goal is to make our meals most of the time. Our plan is to leave Dallas and head to Lake DeGray for the night.  We should have a little bit of time to see the lake and walk in the woods.  Then we will head to Mammoth Cave , Kentucky for a two-night stay at Jellystone RV park .  It looks like a fun place! From there, we'll head up to our main destination in Lousiville .  We'll basically be staying in a glorified parking lot with laundry and bath

Teasing Tian

This morning, while I was making pancakes, Tian was playing around in the kitchen.  He had grabbed his toothbrush and was using it to "clean" the front of the refrigerator.  For a cleaning agent, he sipped his milk, put his brush in his mouth to fill the bristles with milk, then turned on the brush, scrubbing the fridge from top to bottom. At lunch, I was sweating over a pot of beans and weinies when I heard the boys in my bathroom.   I sent Hannah in to check on them and her "Mooooommm!!!" let me know I was in for a surprise.  This is what was up: A sink full of bubbles with Tian right in the thick of it! [Instagram] While I was emptying the sink of bubbles, Tian ran into the kitchen, grabbed my quickly-neglected-because-I-ran-to-the-bathroom open can of beans and proceeded to cut his finger nice and deep.  He didn't cry one bit.  He simply came into the bathroom (where I was still cleaning up) and signed/said, "Please, bandaid, hurt."

Besties and Brothers

Travis went shopping with Ken, then when they got home, he came running up the stairs, screaming happily all the way. He ran into the kitchen, looking for and finding Tian.  He was waving two electric Thomas the Train toothbrushes in his hands. He handed one toothbrush to Tian and signed, "Toothbrush!! Thomas!" Tian gasped with a thrilled smile and signed, "Thank you!" Travis leaned over, hugged Tian, kissed him on the forehead, gave him a thumbs up, then invited him to go with him to the bathroom to brush their teeth. Sweet sweet sweet!!  These boys are best friends and brothers for life!  Ken and I thank God every day for His leading us to bring them both home together.


Ken and I have started that exciting and horrible search for a home in Austin.  It can be so much fun, but also tedious and disheartening at times. Over our 15 years of marriage, Ken and I have learned a few things about the difference in wants and needs in a home.  We've also learned (the hard way) that some of the wants that we felt were needs end up being a big, expensive pain in the rear!! (Beautiful, extensive landscaping for example.) We adored our home in Highland Village.  It served us well for the 4 years we lived there.  The neighborhood, the pool, the schoolroom, the location were all dreamy!  Then we hit the jackpot finding this place to rent.  It was scary to move from a pretty big house on a half acre into an apartment, but the Regency has been an excellent home.  I'd recommend this place to anyone moving to the Coppell area. We had our share of trouble with neighborhood kids, but that has all died down.  The kids have found some sweet friends, making al

Travis is Four!

Travis. I'll never forget the first time I saw Travis' little face.  Then, he was only known to me as Xu (I thought it was pronounced "zoo," but it's actually "shoe."  These were the photos we saw in his file: When we saw his photo and read his file, we knew he was supposed to be our son.  I had read of other adopting families who felt that special "knowing," but didn't understand it until we saw our boys' pictures.  I am thankful to God for His direction.  Travis adds a special joy to our family that I find difficult to put into words. A few things about Travis: He's smart! There's no better way to say it.  He observes every detail about life, soaks it in, and tries to understand it.  He is hyper-observant, just like his dad, taking in every visual detail possible.  Travis is loving and friendly.  He gives visitors a big smile and often hugs or even kisses to match. Travis is almost always easy-going and happy, but i