Tuesday, December 27, 2011

To: Brittney From: Danilo Extended Cut

Scroll down on the right hand side and hit pause on our blog soundtrack... it's going to get noisy.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


While I have always loved Christmas, I discovered something a few years ago that makes the experience sweeter and more enjoyable. I used to see Christmas Day as something we were all working up towards, i.e., this Christmas concert I'm attending is helping me get ready for Christmas Day, this trip to see the lights at Temple Square is getting me ready for Christmas Day... and then Christmas Day would come, and all day long I'd tell myself, "Savor it, savor it, this is what we've been prepping for all month long! Are you savoring it?!" It was exasperating. While there is build-up involved, I have recently decided to view the whole experience as Christmastime and not just Christmas Day .... those cliche phrases like, "the joy of the season" have so much truth to them. When I am pulling out the decorations I haven't seen since last year, that's Christmastime. When I am building gingerbread houses with my family, that's Christmastime. When I pick up Christmas stamps at the post office, when I plan the grocery list for the Christmas dinner I'm hosting, when I prep Gracie with a showing of Miracle on 34th Street so she can have a fun instead of traumatizing experience with Santa Claus this year, that's Christmastime. When I look at the Nativity and ponder how God came to Earth as a man to experience life as we do and to overcome sin and death, which we needed more desperately than we will ever need anything else, and when I sing the hymns that tell the story of His birth, I am able to worship Him in an especially heartfelt and beautiful way because it is Christmastime. I love this joyous, wondrous time of year and how it makes me feel closer to my friends, to my family, to my fellowman, and to my Savior Jesus Christ. 

¡Lo hicimos! We did it! We did it! Yay!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Subject: Update on a Former Student

Dear Mr. Costa,

While I know you weren't the principal of Coral Gables High School when my husband graduated in 1996, I hoped you wouldn't mind reading the following.

I was a 5th grade teacher until my daughter was born. I had a Spanish minor to go along with my teaching major, and as a result had all of the ESL students (we call it English Second Language here, I don't know if it is the same there) in my classroom. I remember feeling especially for the students who were placed in my classroom knowing absolutely no English. As we would move ahead with long division or write a persuasive essay or illustrate a section of literature we had just read, I remember wondering how those cute kids would ever catch up with their peers. I did my best to incorporate the teaching strategies I had learned for teaching students who are learning English and just hoped for a bright future for each of them.

It wasn't until I had left the classroom that one day it occurred to me that when my husband came to the United States as a 13-year-old in 1990, his age gave him a little more of a disadvantage than even my 5th grade ESL students. So I asked him about it. He remembers arriving in Miami and being thrown into classes where he had no idea what was going on. Someone picked up on it eventually and placed him in a class at his middle school especially for English language learners. Little by little because of his placement in this class and his interaction with other students, he learned English. 

This Friday my husband will graduate from Weber State University in Utah for the second time. He graduated a year and a half ago as an x-ray technician and went on to specialize as an MRI technician for which he will receive a bachelor's degree. He works in departments at two different hospitals. He is a loyal, responsible, and hard-working husband and father and I just thought it would be significant to let someone from his high school know that he did indeed catch up and has made something wonderful of himself.

Thanks for your time and have a good day.


Brittney Collado

P.S. The picture is of us and our daughter and my brother's recent Eagle Court of Honor.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Few things have brought me as much joy

as watching my baby girl become a little girl.

helping with the grocery shopping

practicing a fire drill at library storytime

 (scroll down and to the right to pause our blog soundtrack)

I am blessed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Wait for it...



My darling grandma turns 70 today and last night her kids and grandkids squeezed ourselves into her kitchen to surprise her when she got home from a fall leaf drive with Grandpa. We took turns expressing our love and appreciation for Grandma's faithfulness and dedication to the gospel of Jesus Christ, for providing a warm beautiful setting in her home, for her delicious baking, and patience during piano lessons. I want to elaborate a bit on what I said when it was my turn. I have always loved how ladylike my grandma is. She is a beautiful woman inside and out and I have always admired how she takes care of and carries herself. I have had a love/hate relationship with my height over the years. I'm not ridiculously tall, but taller than average, and I'm usually okay with it until somebody points it out (once I was at a dance with the Spanish branch and Danilo hadn't arrived yet, so my mother-in-law encouraged a 14-year-old kid to dance with me. His eyes scaled from my toes to the top of my head and he shook his head. "Muy grande," he said, walking off. Maybe I should have grabbed him and taught him a quick lesson on the top ten things you should not say to a girl, but I didn't end up doing him the favor). I know height is kind of like straight or curly hair, you tend to wish you had the other no matter which one you've got. One day though, I realized one of the reasons my grandma is so ladylike to me is because of the way she carries her height, confidently with no apology, the way it should be. And so did her mom, my great-grandma who I adored as well. The day I realized that, I decided I was going to embrace my height and never go back. Happy birthday to a lovely woman who I am so thankful to be able to enjoy in my life. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

those who will not live to see another day

and those who will

but not many more. I am coming out back next.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 11, 2011

Every year on September 11, I try to spend some time quietly remembering that day. The principal came over the intercom first period telling us that counselors would be on hand to help any students who were worried about parents or family members who may be involved with the tragedies going on back east. Being high school students, we all chalked it up to being no big deal. And then I walked into the classroom where I served as a teacher assistant. There I saw my teacher, a woman I loved and admired, with tears streaming down her face looking up at the television in horror.

Knowing this year would be the 10th anniversary of the tragedy, I yearned inside for some way to meaningfully observe it. I wasn't sure what I wanted. I knew it involved coming together with other Americans. I knew it involved remembering the people who were lost on what had started out as a beautiful and ordinary day. It involved remembering those who had acted so courageously so that less horror would be inflicted, and in many cases were lost that day as well. I knew it involved reflecting on the beauty that was revealed in the face of so much terror. I knew that it involved love of God and country and beautiful music. And I am thankful to Sandy City for providing the perfect platform this morning.

a balloon and a flag for every life lost
Thurl Bailey said it is comforting to know that those who fell, fell to a better place.
Then he sang "America the Beautiful" and "God Bless America" as the balloons floated into the heavens.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My New Venture

I have experimented with ways to help bring in a couple of hundred dollars a month since I quit teaching. I have done some tutoring and substitute taught once a week pretty consistently. I've looked into doing something crafty... and then a couple of times over a few weeks Paparazzi Jewelry caught my attention. It's a Utah-based business that began in 2008 and is spreading to other states. It's basically really pretty jewelry and hair accessories at $5.00 a piece (+ tax). I never imagined I would do anything like this but it seems to be a good fit for me. I knew it had to be a good thing by the way Danilo got excited about it. We took a full weekend to talk about it and came back with all the reasons why I should do it ( for Danilo to say that is huge). I like it because it's really beautiful stuff for a good deal. I feel like I can offer people something they will want and can afford. It's really low pressure for everyone that way. And I like how I am in control of how much time I want to spend doing it. If you think you might be interested in having me bring some of this pretty stuff into your home for a sale, go ahead and get a hold of me. And if you have any questions about how selling it works, get a hold of me too. Even if you're out of state.

I am having my first sale in my parents' home this Thursday (let me know if you're interested in that, too), but I jumped the gun a little bit and tried selling at the rodeo two nights last weekend in Idaho. We sold 22 items. The concessions stand was a bit more successful than we were, but it was fun to try it out.

And if you're not interested? No big deal. I'll still be the same Brittney you've always known, Paparazzi or no :).


Last weekend we paid another visit to that small town in Idaho I wrote about a couple of months ago. While Pioneer Day is a Utah holiday, they were settled by Mormon pioneers and join in the celebration every year with parades and rodeos and other events that hold the promise of making sweet summer memories. After a weekend enjoying cousins and delicious food and horses and time spent doing what we like to call shooting the breeze in the living room at night, we pulled out for the drive home. It wasn't until I had time sitting in the front seat that I realized for the first time why I think that little town is so dear to me. My ancestors were among the pioneers who settled that valley, and so when I am there, I am standing where they stood. I can't get much closer to my heritage than that. The ranch house we stay in every time we visit was built by my great-great grandfather in 1909. My great-grandfather's house that he purchased for something like $250 in the 1920s is still standing down the road. We are standing where they lived out their lives and there is something so special and important about that and something inside of me senses that when I'm there. Heritage is a powerful thing. When I hear their stories and look at their pictures, it makes me want to live a life of honor so they would be pleased to claim me as their own.

All of these pictures were taken in the same small town at one time... or another.

my great-great grandfather standing with two of his children in front of their log cabin

my great-grandfather, Noel Parke, 1917

Danilo trying to get Gracie to ride a pony, last weekend

my great-grandma, Clarice Olsen, right

my great-grandpa, Noel Parke, back row second from right
I knew him. He always told us he was a "handsome devil."

my handsome man on a horse last weekend

the Parke family float in the town parade last Saturday morning
led by a team of beautiful horses

Noel and Clarice

a few years into their marriage
yes my great-grandfather had a soul patch

Danilo jumping off the board at Rocky Ledge

Gracie thought my grandpa's twin brother was her Great-Grandpa Parke.
Sunday morning she was completely content to just kick back in the recliner and
share the living room with him. When I tried to take this picture she said, "Bye, Mom."
I got the idea and left them alone.

my grandpa and my great-uncle Dar (the twins) with their mother Clarice

Dar and Dianne made up 90 bottles of homemade root beer in vintage bottles for the holiday weekend

Dar demonstrating how to seal the caps on the bottles

my great-grandfather Noel with his three sons, Val, Darrel, and Darwin

Dar sucking in his gut before the picture was taken... but I had already taken it

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The 10th

What started out in 2001 as this

has grown into a 4th of July tradition involving in-laws and family on both sides. If you want to stay out, you better be inside or with the youngin's (click on the collage for a better view).

Wait. Who is that going after Danilo? Just my 80-year-old grandfather. He dishes it out as well as any of the rest of us can.

On this 10th anniversary, we'd like to thank our founder, Uncle Russell.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

2 in 2 Weeks

We showed Grace this picture the other day and when we asked her who it was, she said, "Grace!"

This week Grace is exactly as old as I was when this picture was taken. My mom made my dress out of one of her old prom dresses.

I did not make Gracie's outfit here out of one of my old prom dresses.

tea parties are quickly becoming Gracie's favorite pastime