Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mirabeau Waterfall

Best Regards,

Brian McKell
Sales Representative
Medline Post Acute Care
For immediate assistance please call Lisa Goerdt 1-866-497-8162

So pretty! Can't believe I grew up 30 minutes from this place and had never been here. 55 acres of trails and park area surround this waterfall!

Hugs. Outdoor.

Shrunken kids?

Valleyfest 10K! Felt awesome to do a real-ish race again! I WANT MORE!!

And this was the view along the whole course! Mirabeau Park and the Centennial Trail are incredible.

Best Farm Ever!

Best Regards,

Brian McKell
Sales Representative
Medline Post Acute Care
For immediate assistance please call Lisa Goerdt 1-866-497-8162

Strawberry Hills Nutrition Farm in Greenbluff. Beyond organic - it's called Nutrient Dense Farming.

Coolest teeter totter ever!

Bouncing w/ Bennett

Best Regards,

Brian McKell
Sales Representative
Medline Post Acute Care
For immediate assistance please call Lisa Goerdt 1-866-497-8162

Brian's view every week as he travels home from working in central WA area. Not bad!

Getting gassy


Thursday, September 18, 2014

The most divinely inspired website in the internets.....

I was feeling really overwhelmed this afternoon. SO MUCH to juggle right now.
A typically needy and insanely wiggly baby, Homeschool preschool for the twins, piano & school for Brianna, President of the Young Women program at Church, my job, house projects, trying to stay in shape, a million emails to catch up on.... I feel like there are a hundred balls being thrown at me and I can only catch half of them. Brian travels SO much - Chicago for long trainings, then all over the PNW for overnight sales trips. Even when he's home, he's got so much to do. We get 1-2 hours with him each day.
So I'm running this ship solo (though I'd NEVER, even jokingly, say I'm "single-momming it." Hate it when women do that. Real single moms don't have husbands making sure paychecks come in).
 And of course, I'm super grateful my parents are nearby to help when needed. But I don't wanna have to rely on them - they've got stuff too.
[deep breaths]
It just gets tiring to feel like I'm treading water all the time.
I was feeling especially down this afternoon, so I said a prayer asking for help.  Not for help to make my responsibilities go away. That's not going to happen. But just for ENERGY to do it all. And have a good attitude about it.
I went online to (I have to prepare to speak at a baptism tomorrow night - just another item on the list!)  And I couldn't believe the homepage. I took a screen shot of it:

Seriously? SERIOUSLY?!!! Peoples - God is real! He knows me! He loves and cares for me! The Church is true. And I can keep going because I know that. I'm so grateful for this sign from Him today. Now back to that never ending to-do list :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Oh these two....

5.5 years apart... and yet, the best of friends! Charity gets genuinely happy to see her oldest sis, and Brianna consistently seeks out playtime with her live doll. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Today's outfit: the same yoga pants and running shirt as yesterday.

While clearing out some boxes of old STUFF, I came across this calendar.  I'm sure someone got the Dachshund theme for me as a gift because I was obsessed with our mini dachshund, Waldo, for the couple years we had him.
But that's not what's interesting about this.  Interesting - borderline embarrassing.
On each day of the calendar, I have written down what OUTFIT I wore! Not only that - what SHOES I wore, and how I DID MY HAIR.
Why?! Oh, I'm sure for some totally rational purpose, like not accidentally wearing the same thing too frequently. Cuz I'm so sure all the other sophomores were REALLY paying attention to that and it would've been soooo humiliating to put on the same Abercrombie jeans on a Monday then AGAIN the following Thursday!  GASPINHORROR!!!
Oh sheesh. I had a good head-shake at myself over this, and it went into the recycling bin.
I just hope my daughters never get wrapped up in such superficiality.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Red Corn!

Got 24 ears of these yummies from Bountiful Baskets last
week.....(yes, the co-op is alive and well in spokane!)

Didn't know red corn existed!
Thank you freaky California produce....

Monday, September 8, 2014

All 4

They're a little scraggly looking, but I'm crazy about them!

Friday, September 5, 2014


On the way home from the gym around noon I had the strongest desire to see my Brianna.
Just wanted to hug her and make sure her day is going well. Its only the second day of school and Im already looking forward to summer break!
So we swing by and I asked to have her called to the office really quick. I think they were annoyed with me.
I got my hug.
We all did!
Whew. I think I can make it til 3:30 now....

Brianna starts piano lessons!

We found a teacher in our neighborhood! I'm so excited, she is fantastic. And reasonably priced.
I think Brianna is ready. Part of me says to wait another year or two...she'll learn more quickly ... But we don't have any other extracurriculars, (I'm NOT a fan of dance classes, and haven't found any nearby sports opportunities) so this is it for us!
I'm hanging out at this first lesson with her because she was nervous. I'm so grateful mom is watching the other kids so I can be here! (and get some great photo organizing time on my laptop)

Morning cruise in the Cadillac...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Girl's turn camping

And by GIRLS - I mean Brian with his daughters. Not me.
 I have no strong desire focus my precious time and resources towards laying down in a tent in the woods.
 I'll do it to make the kids happy.... but Brian is even more willing, so I let him have the honors!

He took Brianna and Courtney to Zion's Camp - owned by our church. Near Riverside, about 35 min away. All the neighboring stakes get to use it.
It's awesome - rugged and off-the-grid enough, but with some conveniences - like fire pits, pavilions, makeshift bridges over the river, tire swings, etc.

Brian's exact text to me on their way home: "Little princesses had the time of their lives!"

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Date day!

After enduring almost 14 days apart, Brian wanted to take me on a date. He arranged childcare with mom & dad (including baby Charity! first time away from us that long!)
We debated between going to play tennis, going peach picking @Greenbluff, or hiking Mt. Spokane. Hiking won because Brian said he missed the mountains. He doesn't miss them anymore - we got some serious mountain time in! It was about a 30 minute drive to the trailhead, then almost 2 and a half hours of hiking roundtrip. Part of the time we stayed on the groomed trails, and part of the time we thought we'd be "smart" and bushwhack our own shortcuts. It got a little scary for awhile! But then I discovered yummy wild blueberries and huckleberries, and ate my fears away. mmmmm
It was great spending lots of time together, getting a darn good workout in, and knowing that the kids do just fine with their favorite babysitters!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Last one of the season!

Keeping the fairy busy

She lost two in one day! 

And didn't even tell me about the second one!

 Fortunately the fairy noticed and left the appropriate double fee (two of each size coin).

Sneaky fairy gets Brianna excited to practice adding coins :)

Newest mostest favoritest kitchen tool

The Vidalia Chop Wizard.
It's like 10 bucks at BB&B. Go get one.
It's changed my life. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ominous skies above the pergola...

We've had some crazy storms lately!

Tree rescue

What would I do without Meredith to help save our tree...

Brian's Chicago trip - Medline HQ

It was a loooong ten days for both of us!
Glad we survived.
This is what Medline calls "Phase 2 training." There are 4 phases.
Each are a 10 day trip to Chicago. Ugh.
But it's so much easier to handle these separations now that I live by family! Mom and Mere were awesome giving me breaks from the kids.
 I'm grateful his job is going well! Especially since 2 of Brian's counterparts have already been fired (including the girl pictured here!!) But Brian's been assured several times that he's doing great and his job is secure.
The top photo was taken inside one of the largest shipping/distribution facilities. Medline sells over 350,000 different health care products.
Brian has a lot to learn!

Lower photo:
Brian spent saturday morning at the Chicago temple, then went to the beaches at the Great Lakes to go running, then study.

I'm really proud of him, because this is what he chose to spend his "free" day doing, instead of joining the other guys at the movie theaters  (they saw 3 "double features" - meaning walked into one movie after the other, but only paid for one). Not too cool.

So happy he's home!! I love passing the baby off to him and having some freedom  :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Quad bunkbed

When we visit mom and dad (usually Sunday after church), this is where I lay down with Charity and get her to nap. Isn't it a cool bed setup?! Super handy when all their grandkids stay over.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014


I hope I get around to blogging about the family reunion. It was SUPER! I just have a hard time doing long blog posts with lots of pictures. I can bust out a bazillion shorties, but big ones overwhelm me. So in case that doesn't happen, here's this! Mom's dream pictures, made reality!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

This is how we mow

FINALLY finished the lawn.
Huge accomplishment.
With Brian gone, I have to get it done in multiple short increments  (I'm always the lawn mower - not him - because I prefer doing that to wrangling kids :)
It would take about 70 minutes if I could do it uninterrupted.
Got the one part down while Charity did her morning nap and kids played inside.
Another while she sat in swing, monitored by Brianna, twins on trampoline.
Another while she sat at highchair brought outside, snacks for all.
And the last part - while kids watched movie, baby in my front carrier. Absolutely exhausting.
But the lawn is MOWED.
Now to do it all over again NEXT Saturday... and every Saturday... until WINTER!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Rainy day paper bag puppet show

I'm really grateful for rain.
Simply because it saves me a lot of time - I don't have to go water the garden and flower baskets!
But sadly, it means the kids' outdoor time is somewhat limited. Fortunately, they're pretty creative.
At least, the fearless leader Brianna is, and drags the twins along with her.
Today she decided to decorate some puppets out of paper bags and put on a show for Charity and I!
We very much enjoyed it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Burrito baby

At 9 months, I still quickly swaddle her before nursing her to sleep at each nap! It's amazing to me how that swaddled position seems to calm babies.

Twins & Cherries

Our farmer friend on Greenbluff lets us pick cherries for free at the end of the season.
Big dark juicy Lambert variety. Mmmm.
Sunday morning, Courtney and Bennett wanted to come "help."
They did an excellent job doing absolutely nothing remotely close to helping.
When do we get to the stage where all those little hands become useful?!! :)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Feeding the bebe

To be honest - and I know this sounds odd - I don't put a lot of thought into feeding Charity.

  Too many other thoughts competing in my head for attention.

  But every now and then I remember that I can/should do the whole superfood puree thing, into the ice cube trays, etc.
So here we are, throwing avocados, bananas, chia seeds, kale, grapes, flax seeds into the processors. Yum!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Neigh? Nay.

The children keep asking if we can buy a horse.
They insists it can live in our "big" backyard shed here.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Father-Son campout

Brian just texted this to me.
I can only imagine the total heaven Bennett must be in right now....
Getting his Daddy back after 3 days away, all to himself minus the girls, out in the woods sleeping in a tent, with a bunch of other guys from the ward and probably a lot of junk food.....
Yep, Bennett's going to be asking to do this again probably every single day until next year's Father-Son campout!
(and for the record, Brianna is NOT happy about this. SHE has been the one to go with her Daddy to this campout for the last 3 years. This is the first year Bennett's been old enough to go, so she's been butted out. Sad for her! But guys need their guy time, and we had fun at home)


The crazy wind storms lately have taken a toll on our big Spruce tree! 
One branch down on our side, and the other opposite it down into the neighbor's yard!
Fortunately, no other damage occurred.
And our neighbor is a sweet retired guy who was happy to help us haul it away. 
He saved most of the limbs for doing woodworking projects with!
Dad and Connor came over with a chainsaw and helped as well.
A couple of our tomato plants got smashed a little, and my row of marigolds look beaten up.
I love that our new home came with garden grow boxes already in place! Though I've officially determined that gardening is NOT an economically sound choice considering the cost that goes into it and the prices I can get organic produce from at co-ops and Greenbluff..... still I want to always do a little bit - just for fun and educational purposes.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Double airplane

Meredith snapped this.

Playing with my kids on the grass on a Summer evening has got to be one of the best simple pleasures in life.

And doing "airplane" with them simultaneously is very challenging.  :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Found this random tire-graveyard out behind the YMCA.  They loved playing on it! Kinda brilliant way to make a playground, right?!

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Courtneydog!

The fact that the kids get dressed up in costume on almost a daily basis is going to make Halloween a little less unique...

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Proficient swinger

Crazy to think that just a year ago I was trying to teach her the concept of "pumping your legs."
And now, she's flying all over the place!

New Calling: Hall Wanderer.

She looks happy and sweet...but man, she made church rough today! Fussyfussyfussy.