Thursday, February 17, 2011

February 14

Dear Danilo,

Thank you for the lengths you went to to make me feel special on Monday. You are a good man.


And now it is our favorite time: Signing Time!

I was NOT going to teach my baby sign language because I didn't want to be one of those moms who said, "Did you know we're teaching her sign language?" and then have her demonstrate for people. I don't know what I was so hung-up over. I guess I thought of it as code for, "Do you know that my baby is smarter than your baby?" (I know, that doesn't sound very nice. I get over it.) Then Chelsea discovered some DVDs in the basement from when Hailey was studying sign language a few years ago, and they became an instant hit with Gracie when they appeared on screen.

At the beginning of Signing Time, Rachel Coleman (co-creator) explains that among many other benefits, sign language can help eliminate the terrible twos because your child can sign what they want even if they can't say it and become much less frustrated in the process. It's pretty wonderful. It's been really fulfilling to see her get so excited when we understand what she's trying to tell us. For example, she'll come up to me doing this:

And I will say, "Are you thirsty, Grace?"
To which she'll nod her head emphatically and let out a delighted shriek.

She gets what she needs and we're both very thrilled about it.

Here are some words she let me take pictures of this afternoon:






It's a really wonderful language. I'm glad she's been exposed to it and I'm glad my initially bad attitude got out of the way.

dancing to "I'm Proud to Be Me" at the end of Volume 3 :)

Small Town, Idaho

My Grandpa Parke was born and raised with his two brothers in a small Idaho town. His twin brother still lives there with his wife Dianne. Their four living kids have all made their way back there over the years and are raising their families there, too. You can read about their fifth child, Derrick here.

(Dar, Brittney at 18, Grandpa)

While I'm in love with my Utah home, I take any chance I get to go back to my grandpa's hometown. I had an opportunity to do that this weekend with my family because Dar and Dianne's oldest grandsons, twins Trent and Tyler just returned from their missions. Being there never fails to lift my spirit and feed my soul. Dar and Dianne are some of, if not the most stalwart, faithful, inspiring and beautiful people I know. There is the richest, sweetest feeling in and around their home and some of my choicest memories have been made there. I associate powerful feelings of fun and love and belonging with being there and I don't know if they'll ever know how special they and the experiences we've had up there are to my siblings and me.

Brittney (9) feeding a calf

Danilo and I run in a 3-legged race at the rodeo

saying goodbye a few summers back

Sometimes I wonder if some of the way I feel about their small town is romanticized because I only visit from time to time, but I don't believe it. Something inside tells me that Dar and Dianne's way of living and their character goes even deeper than what I have experienced... that while no one and no place is perfect, if I stayed a little longer than a trip, I would find that they are truly just as wonderful and genuine as I think they are.

last weekend at the ranch house
my grandparents were there, too
can you spot the twin returned missionaries?

Friday, February 4, 2011


The other day a young woman who is very near and dear to me was showing me a text message she had just received from her fairly serious boyfriend. In the message I could just taste the sweetness of newly found love and hopes for a future that they dream of taking head-on together.

It took me back a few years to my dating and engagement period with Danilo. I felt like life had become sweeter than a fairy tale because I had found in him my definition of happiness. Like many engaged couples, we looked forward to those nights when we would go home together instead of him dropping me off at the end of the night. He would be part of the rest of my future, and no challenges that came our way would be too great because he and I would face them together.

the night after we got engaged on Salt Lake Temple grounds


shower thrown by our friends in "adultos solteros"

Our wedding day: picking me up with rings in hand to go to the temple!!

Do I look happy?

I remember during those times a few people who good-naturedly told me to "just wait" until I came down from the clouds. Gary Thornley, who I adore, and who let me travel with him and his darling wife Marilyn to Mexico just a few days after Danilo and I had set a wedding date, got to hear how wonderful Danilo was on a daily basis. One day he elbowed me and said, "He may be all that, but he'll still leave his socks on the floor."

Gary and Marilyn Thornley (my Mexico pictures are in storage)

So the challenges have come. They have come in the form of car repairs and flooded carpeting and ten days on, two days off and learning that some situations cause our personalities to clash and that we were raised in different homes and that we don't agree on when Gracie should be potty-trained.

But as I sat there, text message in hand, and thought of what to say to this darling girl who sat next to me with happiness and love and excitement written all over her face, I thought to myself, have I come down from the clouds?

Maybe temporarily, from time to time, when in the thick of a challenging situation, but as I looked at her, I realized while I have amassed more experience, there isn't a whole lot of difference between the Brittney of today and the Brittney who fell madly in love with Danilo not so many years ago. We are still that same boy and girl who set out to make their dreams come true together, and we are doing it. None of the challenges have been too great when we have faced them together, and he is still the one I want to face them with. Because those ten days on, two days off are bringing Danilo closer to being able to provide well for our family, and that little girl who I want to start potty-training at 2 1/2 and Danilo would have trained were it up to him (wink, wink, many tell me they'd like to see him try) has brought more joy and fulfillment to our lives as husband and wife than we ever could have anticipated.
Oh, and did I mention that amidst the challenges there have been good times too? Such, such good times, so many that I started a blog to keep track of them all!

Happy Valentines Day Danilo!! I am so thankful to be living out this dream of ours with you!