Tuesday, May 26, 2015

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Bennett's scripture study

Since we moved here, we've been pretty solid on consistent family scripture study at night.
For the first time ever, pretty much. We went in phases over the years of doing it, then not. But now we are on the ball and have been for over a year. It's not much - just a few verses each, each night...but it's better than nothing!
Brianna reads great, but the twins aren't quite there yet. So they repeat after us, or just sit and hold the scriptures in their lap.
Lately, Bennett has been asking for HIS turn to read....solo, no help.
And what comes out of his mouth is hilarious. I need to video it. Just a mashup of all the scripture phrases, plus whatever he makes up...."it came to pass that all the children said, hi Jesus, we love you. Please share some toys, " "And thus, Nephi and Noah went on a walk and saw lots of Lamanites on the ark."
It's fantastic. Love this boy.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Babyshower winner!

Went to a babyshower for my friend Mariah today, & I won the contest for the best funny line on the diaper! 

Guess which one is mine 

(hint, it's the one referencing Brian's favorite subject, adult briefs)

Bananagrams in the evening with mom

Lounging outside on a perfect warm evening, playing our favorite letter game. 
It's a lovely life.

(unless mom is having an off day and NOT winning... then we have to play round after round after round until she does :)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Art with Brianna's class

I love volunteering in Brianna's classroom. I would do it so much more if I didn't have my 3 sidekicks. It makes Brianna so happy when I'm there. So I make it work once/month for art time. It's fun!

I took these pics partly for selfish reasons - the yearbook staff asked for photos, and I want to make sure Brianna gets her picture in the yearbook as much as possible because that would delight her :)

You're (not your) going to see another anniversary post

Brian gave me an Edible Arrangement as he walked in the door from his Seattle trip. 
It even had the number 10 carved out of pineapple! 
Very sweet. 
But what was not sweet with the fact that the employee spelled you're wrong. 
That kind of thing is ridiculously annoying to me. 
Adults should know how to spell your/you're. 
Especially when being paid to write a note on an expensive gift. 
Am I being too sensitive? 
I don't know. 
Grammar and spelling are muy importante. 
Fortunately, I was able to take out my frustrations on the court. 
I love playing tennis! 
We hired a babysitter and went and played on the MSHS courts all evening. 
It was awesome.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Ten year anniversary! ohmyword we're old. Wow.
To celebrate, I spent a little time (oh, only like 6 hours....)  putting together this video!


I've got a love/hate relationship going with Windows Movie Maker. So time consuming.

But a love/LOVE relationship going with Brian McKell!  :)

I really do sincerely feel so blessed to have him.
We've got a great life together...and this is just the beginning!

Monday, May 18, 2015


Brian texted me this picture when I asked him how the bedtime routine was going while I was gone at the hospital with Sam.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

More from Sammy's hospital....

She's flying! 

This transfer lift is pretty amazing!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Last stop in Utah

Before we left, we definitely had to do a visit to Grandpa McKell! He's in Spanish Fork. Same home for....I don't know...50 years?! Talk about stability and consistency and predictability! He fits the "millionaire next door" profile perfect: simple life, solid healthy habits... he's a pretty amazing guy! Almost 97 years young :) I love visiting him. He makes us feel so welcome and loved. I especially appreciate that he's not a food-pusher. Those types are so awkward.... it's like HERE HAVE SOME COOKIES...before even saying HELLO.      Anyways....Grandpa played the organ for us! What a highlight. He's just an adorable old man - I hope Brian inherits his good qualities.

And I know what you're wondering.... why isn't everyone else in this photo lucky enough to have a bright neon shirt with puff paint writing?!  So sad for them.  But... it WAS Mother's Day. So I earned the privilege. I will cherish my "World's Best Mom" handmade shirt forever :)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Gift for MIL

This is what I made for Brian's mom for Mother's Day!

I was so excited to find the editing feature that allows me to color just one object in a photo and make everything else black&white. 
So I kept the bright red color on the apples and I just love how it turned out.

 It's one of the those gifts that I was so excited to GIVE!

Medline Man

Brian finished his annual National Sales Meeting in Chicago. He has a great time at these - lots of work, and lots of play. It wasn't fun having him gone for 5 days, but I'm glad he enjoys his job and the people he works with. 

He officially won the FitBit contest! Earned some cash and an Apple Watch...whatever that is.... Who wants to buy our new Apple Watch? :)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Payson temple open house!

What a magnificent building! I'm so glad we got the opportunity to tour it.  When we got to the sealing rooms, I explained to Brianna that someday she could get married here.  Her eyes just bugged out and she had a look of pure bliss and wonder. It's truly an amazing blessing to be able to be sealed to your spouse and family for all eternity.  There IS life after death! I believe this with all my heart. And because of Jesus Christ, we get to look forward to eternity with those we love most.

I deserve an award for this...

Guess what's really fun:
A long flight on a tiny airplane with 4 small children by myself.
It's especially fun when one of those is a restless toddler.
Navigating through long terminals with all our heavy carry-ons....tracking down our rental car...500 potty trips...long security lines...the stares of shock at our parade...defending us against the infectious diseases that undoubtedly are trying to attack us via crowds of germy travelers...
Sign me up for THAT again anytime!
Seriously though, it went remarkably well, all things considered. We survived with no permanent damage. I'm reallyreally grateful I work out regularly or that trip would've killed me. I thanked Heavenly Father that night for blessing me with the strength I needed so badly for that marathon day of traveling!

A boy and his Grandpa

They're real cute together :)

Berrett stuff

Brian and his sister Ashley had fun spending the evening going through Grandpa Berrett's home and choosing items they'd like to take.

Brian came back with some *interesting* new apparel :)

Better early than never :)

Brian was quite delighted to be the center of attention for a few moments. In fact, I recall him saying, "Yes - this is how it SHOULD be. Celebrate my birthday ALL month!"

Future bffs :)

Boston & Brianna

But this isn't the first time we made them hold hands.... click HERE for that special event almost 7 years ago :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


It's so hard seeing my sister like this.
 Her health has been getting worse these past few months (years? Days?)
 Tonight we rushed to the ER to see her, thinking it might be goodbye...but the pressurized ventilator is keeping her alive.
 One lung collapsed, one infected.
 Dad and Scott Tolman gave her a Priesthood Blessing.
 There was such a calm spirit in the room during that.
 I hated to leave, but had to go relieve my dear friend Kara from watching my kids + Lily.
 She was an angel.
 Charity did NOT go easy on her....ugh.
 Love my baby, but the dependence on me and me only...Very inconvenient in emergencies!
 Praying for SammyJo.
 I just want her to be free of pain and discomfort....

Monday, May 4, 2015

Lily loves babies

Charity's lucky to have a great cousin who loves to tend to her needs..... for smoothies :)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Pony present for napping Courtney

Brianna decided, upon finding her sister taking an afternoon nap, that she would place these two ponies right in front of her face so that when Courtney woke up she would get that lovely surprise. 
It was a very sweet sisterly gesture... Especially considering the rough night Courtney had that involved a 2am rush to the bathroom... trying to forget about that. 
Lots of laundry to do. It wasn't pretty.
 But ponies are! 
Yay for ponies.

Never too old for the bouncer....

I keep thinking I should get rid of this thing. 
Then she decides to play in it again and I just can't....

Until we meet again, Grandpa Berrett!

He lived a good long life of 90 years and passed away peacefully after some post-surgery complications to remove a brain tumor. Brian and I now each have one grandparent living. We're looking forward to visiting them, plus other extended family, soon! Grandpa Berrett was always sincerely kind and welcoming to me. He was never fake or judgmental. He was a seeker of truth, open-minded, and loyal. I can only imagine how joyous his reunion is on the other side with his family members, our Savior, and our Heavenly Father. We have a voicemail from him on Brian's phone left the day before his surgery, and it's hilarious. Grandpa was in a great mood, making jokes, and giving some grandfatherly advice. I'm grateful for his good example in our lives!

Angel sleeper...

She looked so angelic as I did my morning sneak-out from our room...
Had to snap a picture.

I just wanna squeeze and smooch her...
No, wait, no.
I don't.
That would wake her up.
 And I NEED her to keep SLEEPING!!!
 Cuz when she's UP.... I get nothing done.

So sleep on, angel face. Sleep on.

(ps - these Bubble Guppy jammies are Courtney's favorite and she gets so excited when Charity wears them)

Saturday, May 2, 2015


We randomly decided to stop at North40 on the way home. It's the former Big R, basically like a farm supply store.
And there were chicks!
So many!
So cute!

I almost want to start a farm and raise these cuties.

Wait, no. I can barely keep humans and flowers alive. I will not attempt more.

So - good thing we can visit the baby birds at the store!

Trampoline assembly day!

Courtney was just a little excited about this..... (like freaking out)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Seriously yummy crackers

Sweet Potato Triscuits.
 So good.
I know this, because I finished off half a box.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Youth Feuding

Our Priest/Laurel activity this week was Family Feud, and it was SO fun!
These kids are a blast.
I love being YW Prez and getting to hang out with them  (most of the time :)
They had uneven numbers, so I got to be on a team.
So fun!
For a little while, I forgot that I'm like 13 years past being a Laurel and I need to act my age, not theirs :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Best chore ever...?

We haven't been able to get our sprinklers on yet, and with the nice weather we've been having lately, our lawn is starting to look lame.
 So we're having to water it by hand. 
Today I had the brilliant idea that I should enlist the help of a little person to do this job. 
And they think it's basically the best thing ever. 
They argue over who gets to hold the hose. 
Maybe I shouldn't have the sprinklers get turned on at all?!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Nonny time!

Sometimes mom comes and picks them all up, takes them away and texts me pictures of their adventures :)  
ohmyword.... Charity is not a baby anymore, is she?!  Totally looks like just one of the kids here.

Monday, April 27, 2015

BIRD attack at rest-stop!

If you suffer from ornithophobia.... trigger warning! Your fear of birds will NOT be helped by this post...
So, on our long drive home from Chelan, we stopped at a lovely rest area.
 It was by the gorgeous Sprague Lake, with a very photo-op worthy vista.


Too bad we didn't see this sign earlier! It was NOT joking! Seriously - those nasty white hungry evil birds started diving down right next to us, as if we had scraps of food to share. I grabbed a towel from the car and started wildly flinging it at them and yelling to go away. Brian might have been a tag embarrassed at my reaction. I thought it was perfectly rational.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Stay 4 forever please?

I always want to remember my four-yr-old this way… Wearing flowered footed jammies that are a little too small with big thick fuzzy socks and a monkey headband over her hair.
Scooting down the stairs and telling me random stories about Twilight Sparkle and Princess Celestia.
Her daily ensembles and conversations and spirit are just so endearing. I see her like this and I want to freeze time....

Escape to Chelan

Look close - zoom in on the water - it's so clear you can see huge fish!
Brian had a work trip (Washington Health Care Symposium...or something like that) in the lovely city of Chelan - a cute little touristy town about 3.5 hrs away. We spontaneously decided to hop in the car and join him! Family vacation! The kids were out-of-their-minds excited. They couldn't have been more happy if the destination was Hawaii or Disneyworld. They spent the whole day preceding the trip literally jumping around the house.  And the girls woke up at 5:45am to start packing their bags (though we weren't planning to leave until 8) So maybe lesson learned: don't tell the kids we're leaving until the DAY-of.... so that we can all maintain normal sleep hours :)
We're lucky the kids are all pretty good travelers, even Charity. They slept, snacked, read, talked.... and I only heard a few, "Are we THERE yet?"s   So the drive wasn't too horrid. Though it still seemed very LONG. I don't even know how I managed that insanely long Utah drive a year ago all by myself with them. Craziness.
Breakfast on the beach! 
Late night bonfire on the waterfront
Early morning reading time in the hotel room, waiting for Charity to wake up
Lunching at a park in Wenatchee on the way home. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Red Carpet, Lutheran style

Our kids have attended a few fun events at a local Lutheran church. No worries - we're not about to change faiths here. These McKells are solid.
But I just love this church's Easter and Christmas-for-kids programs, and their summer Vacation Bible School.
 All their programs are free, so I haven't had the opportunity to give BACK to this organization.
 I don't enjoy feeling like a moocher.
So when I saw they were having a big fundraiser evening event, I jumped at the chance to buy tickets!
Which normally I would definitely think twice about, at $70/couple.
But I'm so glad we went - it was lovely. I had never been to the Manito Country Club - at $10K/yr member fees, it wasn't exactly a Smith family hangout while I was growing up.
 But that was the venue for this event, and it was gorgeous! The grounds were amazing.
There was a live auction, silent auction, raffle, dinner, live entertainment, and we even met another LDS individual there!
Brian got VERY into the live and silent auction - I think he enjoyed the bidding process, and we ended up buying a few fun items.
Overall - super fun date night.
And the kids had fun being babysat at Dad & Mom's.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Japan Day at the library

Masks (oni), origami, kanji writing, kimono and samurai dressup, meeting japanese exchange students from Mukogawa, Oriental rice crackers (arare) and Hello Kitty fruit snacks :)

Sunday, April 19, 2015


Seriously....this is ridiculous. Who has this many single socks?! Where are their pairs getting lost at?!