30 December 2009

a Christmas pajamas story

i ordered some cozy warm pajamas for Ash and Tom from oldnavy.com on the first of December. when the 14th rolled around i double checked my email, rather bugged by the delay. i mean, sure it's the holidays but come on. amazon sent me my package in less than 48 hours. so i track my package on UPS and come to find out, the package was delivered, on the 11th, on the porch in... Ephraim. noooooooooo! curse that conveniently stored account information (and my failure to notice that important shipping address detail)!

so i call our old landlord who says he'll check with the couple college guys renting our old place to see if they've seen a package with my name on it. he calls back with a nope so i ask if i might call (and put on a little more pressure). Lance is nice enough but says he hasn't seen anything. hmmmm, that's funny because the ups tracking is pretty reliable. so he says he'll ask Cam, his brother. oh, he found it.

then i call my good Ephraimite friend who says she'll drop by to pick it up. thank you! and bring it up north when she comes up for the holiday. thank you, thank you! we miss our first window to meet up and transfer the package, but eventually, after a Sunday drive, the pajamas are in my hands, and later on those cute kids.

moral of the story: blanket sleepers with snaps are no good. zippers are worth the hassle.

02 December 2009

shall the youth of Zion falter?


this handout was in a stack of handouts i got at our auxiliary leadership meeting last month. it's awesome. any questions i had about being the new YW president have been answered. i feel confident and collected and kind of like Fashion Plates.

and here are some more great qualities...

now, a call for entries: more qualities of this great leader.

16 November 2009

necessity is the mother of invention

...or at least the excuse to ignore some product warnings.

13 November 2009

10 November 2009

everything's a-okay

i recently finished reading Jim Henson: The Works, which is a fountain of information about anything Jim Henson did. it's one of those books that you can look at for hours till your neck gets tired... full of great images and lots of captions with anecdotes and trivia.

i'm a huge Jim Henson fan. of course i loved Sesame Street as a kid and never really stopped. i remember listing Sesame Street as my favorite TV show on those 'getting to know you' handouts for school right up into high school. in eighth grade i did my biography report on Jim Henson and dressed up with an eye-liner beard and all for the presentation. i've been Jim for Halloween (see two posts ago) and i've still got this Kermit in my possession.

and the tradition continues. Ash digs old school Sesame Street and episodes of The Muppet Show on a regular basis. she sings songs about capitol I, ladybug picnics, and disco d. she's a big fan of Harry Belafonte, Elton John, Julie Andrews, James Coburn and John Denver, not to mention a long list of Muppets. i love it.

today is Sesame Street's 40th anniversary and i'll admit i'm sentimental. i haven't seen the current episodes in years but i love, love the ones from my childhood. now that i'm a parent who has learned even more about Jim Henson, the other puppeteers and the Muppets i have an even greater appreciation for Sesame Street, and even more so Jim's creative genius. hat's off to you, Jim. i wish you were still around.

06 November 2009

reason 121 to visit Reno

when i asked the baker at The Perfect Donut if the jalapeƱo donut was good he replied, 'oh, it's hell good!'

we had to try one.

it's hell good. so is the crumb cake, the mini fritter, the standard maple...
Banbury Cross has never had such a close second.

03 November 2009

best Halloween in years

i have very fond memories of Halloween as a kid, back in the day when we ran up and down neighborhood streets with siblings and friends acquiring unholy amounts of candy in an old pillowcase or paper sack.

i'm the red clown in the middle (i'm pretty sure i'm wearing a winter coat underneath)

then there was those teenage years when i still really wanted to be involved but had the decency (or the pride... or the shame) to refrain from trick-or-treating. the older sibling tax came in handy those years and i enjoyed them too.

Halloween is still fun as we get older and we have the opportunity to see incredible costumes like the eight-foot Satan i saw one year at a party (actually, i'm convinced it was either Satan or thee best costume i shall ever see). but some of the magic inevitably gets lost and try as we might, some Halloweens are just barely not a drag.

my best friend and me as an old couple in '92 | English as Johnny Appleseed and me as Jim Henson in '05

not this year though. Halloween 2009 rekindled the spooky spirit like nothing before, thanks to a small close-to-three Grover, an 8-month-old Ear of Corn and the chance to do some good old-fashioned trick-or-treating.

i have to toot my own horn here and say that i made both of these costumes. Ash's is entirely from scratch using an old shirt of English's. it was quite then endeavor since i hadn't done any sewing in over seven years. needless to say i was so excited when it fit... and didn't fall apart! and Tom's well, he had a yellow shirt and some green pants and i love felt. he is the cutest ear of corn of all time.

because the costumes rocked, the pumpkins lacked some of the creative flare seen in years past but they lit up nice and smelled good as the candle flame singed the lids.

it was our first time participating in a trunk-or-treat and i wish we could have had a bit more daylight but the neighborhood trick-or-treating was great and Ash felt good about the stash (and so do i as i collect my Mom tax every once and a while).

i believe this is the rebirth of Halloween.

16 October 2009

early autumn harvest

the small peach tree in our back yard is a real trooper. it didn't get watered much over the summer since the house was empty so when we got here the peaches were so small we thought it was an apricot tree. once we started watering it and the fruit grew three branches broke because of the weight (should have thinned them peaches). yet, after all was said and done it yielded several bushels of sweet little freestone peaches. we ate them every day for a good two weeks. they were delicious. i love fruit trees.

29 September 2009

if this fridge could talk

the last issue of Orion magazine featured photographer Mark Menjivar. one of his recent projects titled, You Are What You Eat 'is a series of portraits made by examining the interiors of refrigerators in homes across the United States'. it was fascinating to see how people stocked (or didn't stock) their fridge and even more fascinating how much it said about those people.

here's another quote form the artist's statement and a few images (you'll want to click on each image so you can see it bigger and read the captions):

A refrigerator is both a private and a shared space. One person likened the question, "May I photograph the interior of your fridge?" to asking someone to pose nude for the camera. Each fridge is photographed "as is." Nothing added, nothing taken away.

These are portraits of the rich and the poor. Vegetarians, Republicans, members of the NRA, those left out, the under appreciated, former soldiers in Hitler’s SS, dreamers, and so much more. We never know the full story of one's life.

and here is my fridge - as is...

Stay At Home Mom/Artist | Reno, NV | 4-Person Household | feels like a kid in a candy store shopping at grocery stores in Reno compared to those in Sanpete County (and is making cheesecake for Friday)

so i'd like to encourage you all to do the same. send me your image (kelbelbrooksatgmaildotcom) and i'll post it or if you'd like to post it on your blog, please leave a comment letting me know you did so i can link to it. i'd like to see more.

and here are some more...

and some links to more:
boiled pizza's

24 September 2009


tomorrow i turn 30.
yesterday i hung up the first cereal-glued-to-paper picture made by my own kiddo.

without a doubt this last decade gets five gold stars. not that it was free of hardship. it was not. but the highlights are so bright. i...
dove into married life with my best friend,
graduated with my BFA,
student taught with one of my greatest mentors at my alma mater, BHS,
traveled to eight countries,
worked one of my dream jobs - teaching art and doing graphic design - for four years,
brought two sweet babes into the world,
placed in two professional juried art exhibitions,
grew in so many ways (and surprised myself time and time again),
met so many wonderful and life-changing people who are still my friends,
and moved out of Utah for the first time in my life (to name a few).

i look forward with excitement to the next 10 years.

15 September 2009

book report

i finally finished The Omnivore's Dilemma last month. yeah, it took a while (those of you who notice my current read were probably thinking i'd forgotten to change it or something) but i had a baby and moved twice during that time so, you know.

i would recommend this book to everyone. Micheal Pollan talks about where food comes from and, even more important, why we should care. using first hand experiences with fast, organic, small farm and personally hunted and gathered food as his main structure Pollan works through the ethics, politics, economics and rhetoric of food production, food marketing and food consumption. he gives his opinion but leaves the reader plenty of room to form her own. and ultimately inspires the reader to eat better, which in Pollan's mind means consciously.

so the one question i'll ask here (to get you thinking about reading the book) is: what does it mean that our relationship with food - a relationship even more intimate than sex, the every stuff we're made out of - is more often mediated by its price, rather than its quality or origin?

this book will help you think it through... but you don't have to take my word for it. bah- nunt, nunt!

14 September 2009

weekend highlights

when i was a little kid our next door neighbors would vacation at Lake Tahoe. before i even knew where California or Nevada were i heard about how great Tahoe was. i totally wanted to go to Tahoe. every year it was Tahoe this and Tahoe that. eventually it got annoying and i kind of wanted to steer clear of 'Tahoe', still not knowing exactly what it was. but last Saturday we went to Lake Tahoe and it was swell (especially with the echoes of Tahoe this and Tahoe that in my mind).

then early Sunday morning we nabbed one of the last parking spots within close proximity to the Reno Balloon Races, walked right up to the park and watched as fifty or more hot air balloons lifted off. spectacular.

geez. it looks like we had a pretty fun weekend.

11 September 2009

'what's the smells, Mom?'

on July 7th i called Graco and made an order over the phone for two Pack N' Play mattresses. i gave them the model and serial numbers, payment info, etc. and was told i'd get them in three weeks. didn't happen. called again to check the order status and they said, three more weeks. nope. the next call was less a status check and more of a 'just send me a mattress. i don't care if it matches, i just want one that's not busted, please.' FedEx next day service. new mattress, doesn't match, no charge. great! two weeks later, another delivery: two more mattresses, definitely do not match, smell like Play Dough according to Ash, no charge. huh? a week later, another delivery: one more mattress, doesn't match, charged. wait, what?

i call Graco and ask about sending it back and getting a refund. they say no. (and forget to hit the mute button while explaining the situation to the supervisor, so i hear the customer service lady say, '...and now she doesn't want it. DUH!' some customer service.) so after nine weeks, four phone calls and three deliveries i have four mattresses, none of which are the ones i ordered. what the...?!

20 August 2009

101° weather brings out the white trash in all of us

the other half of the back yard is grass, i swear.

18 August 2009

Reno, honey

we made it! we're settling in and getting to know this area. it's a great little city and we're excited to explore. so far we've taken a couple trips to different spots on the Truckee river, English and Ash have run up to the R on the hill side, and tonight i'm going to Swenson's with the R.S. for 'the best ice cream around.' exciting times are ahead!

oh, and one of these days we'll hit the buffets.

p.s. does anyone know what must be sacrificed to the sleep gods in order to get a 2.5 year and 6 month old to sleep well for two (or, please bless us, several) consecutive nights?

22 July 2009

camping compare and contrast

my first overnight back packing trip was 21 miles in the Tetons with English and the BTBR when i was 18. it was a baptism by fire sort of experience but i was so in love that i only slightly noticed the pain. a couple things resulted indirectly from this 3-day hike: English + Kelly, and our subsequent back packing trips all over Utah and i love it.

now that Ash and Tom are hanging out with us, car camping is the best bet. our first ever family camping trip was up at Tanner's Flat a couple weeks ago. it was the perfect trial run because we knew that if all hell broke loose at any time during the camp out we could sail down the canyon and be home in 20 minutes. fortunately there was no need for a midnight drive. the kids were great and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves...

full of confidence we planned a couple days at Fish Lake last week. we rented a 'rustic' cabin and packed our swimmin' suits. unfortunately this trip didn't go as well. our cabin was on the main drag so anyone going to or from the marina passed our place. diesel engines and headlights through the window well past 10pm made sleeping quite a challenge. especially when very curious and attentive Ash kept whispering, 'what's that?' every time one went by. we're pretty low maintenance people so 'rustic' sounded fine. but these cabins weren't rustic simple, they were rustic crappy-beat-down-hear-the-guy-peeing-next-door. strike two. after a frustrated afternoon rest (i don't dare to call it a nap) amid maintenance sawing a drilling on the neighbors deck we decided to cut our losses and go home.

so we've learned a couple lessons from our experiences. 1) it's more important to be far from the road than miles from the city. 2) background noise is key (rushing waterfall vs. Dodge Ram). and while we don't mind waiting, we are excited for the day when the kids are big and strong enough to carry their own packs.

20 June 2009


can you tell they are related?

Ash, May 2007 | Thomas, May 2009

p.s. happy Father's Day

15 June 2009

things i will miss about Sanpete County

folks, but that goes without saying
cheap rent
big garden spot
no traffic
close proximity to everything in town
Juve's tacos
my morning walk route
sunset in the spring (any day)
seeing lots of stars at night
the Pizza Gallery
people out enjoying their yards/neighborhoods
raw milk, grass-fed beef
rodeo & demolition derby
teaching at Snow
the CUAC
Skyline drive
trusted mechanics
views of Mt. Nebo
acres of juniper
testimonies about 'Pageant'
Sanpete BBQ
oolite limestone buildings
grammar, syntax and pronunciation idiosyncrasies (i.e. we was down to the Heriteege Festival with some folks from the wahrd.)
...to mention a few.

Ash with Count Von Count, spring, front yard, Ephraim

05 June 2009

summer in the suburbs

it's BBQ season and we're up in SLC for two months. May was prepare-to-move month among other things. we made millions at our Memorial Day weekend yard sale despite rain and the competing Swedish meatballs at the Heritage Festival. then within 48 hours Thomas and i were on a plane (Thomas sleeping on my shoulder and me watching Tom Cruise ooze testosterone on the jet fighter classic, Top Gun). we were off to the D.C. area to help my sister Ash and Jess and their brand spankin' new Oliver. it was great to be with the new little fam. Thomas lived a life of luxury sleeping in the hotel king sized bed and the two cousins enjoyed each others company.

mean while back home English and Ash packed up the remainder of our house and moved up north. needless to say it was a whirlwind week for all of us. when i got back to Utah i came home to Cottonwood Heights, home of my childhood. i never had the chance to say a proper good-bye to Ephraim so i plan on going back one more time.

it's been good though. we've already been to a couple summer parties and i took Ash to the aquarium yesterday. this will be a nice little stepping stone to Reno. i'll do a better job keeping you posted.

16 April 2009

one love, one heart

Ash has a Bob Marley shirt that our good pals the Pages gave her. she's a big fan of the shirt and as a result she's now a big fan of a handful of Bob Marley songs, mostly the early stuff. but she really likes the shirt and requests to wear it often: 'i like Bob Mahlee shirt, pease.'

a couple weeks ago Ash spilled some apple sauce down the front of herself - right onto Bob Marley's face. of course i was thinking of the mess and the oversight to put a bib on her but Ash had her heart in the right place. she looked down, scraped the blob of sauce from his screen-printed quarter profile and said, 'I'm sorry Bob Mahlee.'

18 March 2009

home court advantage

i've never been any good at basketball. as a teen i played on a semi-regular basis for our church's young women's team. i thought about playing well but in basketball the thought doesn't count for anything (unless you think to practice a lot and even then you may never improve your skills). my sister and i were reminiscing about those days of playing in our jean shorts, Keds, and the team-issued pastel t-shirt. go Brighton 7th Ward!

these days, however, i'm beginning to wonder if my lack of talent had more to do with awkward adolescence and less with real skill. see, i've got a box on my back porch where i toss dirty diapers (think diaper Genie but outside, cardboard and box-shaped). it's a pretty good solution to our 12+ diaper changes per day routine. no stink inside, one daily trip to the trash can, and no diaper pale to clean/air out. but what does that have to do with basketball? like i said, i toss the old diapers into the box from the back door and i get it in nine times out of ten... even left handed! that's pretty awesome, especially for someone who has been a homebody for the last four weeks (spring can't come soon enough, eh?).

but not as awesome as these two babe-a-pies. here Ash is reading The Amazing Bone, one of her faves, to Thomas and from the looks of things these are good times.

26 February 2009

Snappy Tom

just in case you didn't hear...

Thomas Serrano Brooks was born Monday, February 16, 2009.

11 February 2009

test drive

Ash tried out the cradle for baby brother. she wanted to make sure it passed the comfy test along with scores of quality assurance tests to determine if we're in compliance. she says it's good to go (which comes as no surprise since G'pa Kent made it). that settles it baby brother... we're ready when you are.

03 February 2009

understanding your craving for a treat

a new study* has shown that when you try to satisfy your craving for a specific treat with a lesser treat you will fail and be disappointed. so, if you are craving chocolate chip cookies, rather than eating a bowl of mini marshmallows or even worse, a piece of hard candy, make the chocolate chip cookies. oh, and thinking that a hand full of chocolate chips will do the trick just adds insult to injury.

*i have been working on this study for quite some time but haven't received the funding to make it legit: set up a control group, record data... things like that. so it's not official yet but it might as well be.

27 January 2009

oh, coldy!

if you are too pregnant to put on your own ice skates, you're too pregnant to ice skate. but you can probably walk carefully on the ice in your shoes. i believe Ash liked riding with Dad better (think of It's a Small World verses Space Mountain).

pretty cool icicles.

25 January 2009

if i were the cross stiching type...

Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. - Monson

14 January 2009

five weeks and counting

the necessary preparations are being made. yep, this is what has been on my mind for the last several weeks and it's getting close. there's nothing like scrubbing a cookie sheet with steel wool until you can see your reflection to remind you of the inevitable. it's nice to be 'nesting' in January... keeps the seasonal affective disorder at bay. Ash and i hang out everyday playing, working on projects, watching the occasional episode of Old School Sesame Street (which i highly recommend). i'm really enjoying these days and i look forward to his coming into the world with much excitement and anticipation.