Thursday, October 30, 2008

Puzzleholics Anonymous

Confession time:
My name is Chelsea and I am a puzzleholic.

This has been going on for probably about 18 years now.
It was most severe in the tween years (12-14ish). Puzzles were strewn about my room...finished masterpieces were glued and hung all around my walls. Every waking hour of my life was devoted to these feverishly completing these jigsaw puzzles. Christmas and birthdays were disappointing to me unless filled with puzzle gifts.
I just couldn't help it - putting those puzzles together was a thrill. Starting with the border...completing specific portions...matching those together...finding that ONE little piece that tied entire chains...the exhilaration of it all was beyond description.
I tried to hide my obsession. I mean, seriously - how cool was it in Junior High to be doing puzzles?! Didn't matter that they were way un-sissy skill level - we're talking thousand-PLUS pieces, landscape scenes, even DOUBLESIDED challenges! Alas - still, my hobby was a bit of an embarrassment.
I managed to escape the addiction by running off to Hawaii for college, marrying a non-user, and beginning a life free of puzzles.
Christmas in Spokane was the only trigger, as we traditionally completed a Christmas puzzle as a family throughout the holiday freetime. Just the sight of the puzzles.. sitting there, unfinished...would trigger me into a frenzy of compulsive piecing together.
Recently I had a relapse. I received a puzzle for free. Of course I couldn't help myself - I dumped the pieces onto the floor and dove in. Brianna watched in horror as I ceased our daily merriment and devoted my time to completing the puzzle.
But my worst fear came true.
This is the stuff of nightmares...
Just the thought alone sends chills down my spine.
But it happened, and I am still trying to recover.
I discovered, upon completion, that...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

McKell cousins

Brianna is very blessed in the cousin department - she has 3 on the Smith side and 2 in the McKell clan within just a few months of her! This is the McKell side - Allison and Kandalyn.

I swear, this is the best picture we could get at the time. Wiggly babies will never look at the camera all at the same time.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Omniscient Brian

Me: [walking in from the garage] "Brian, you love me, right?"

Brian: "Did you damage the car?!"

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pictures from the cruise (finally!)

I finally got the pics off the SD card from our deceased camera.
RIP, Kodak EasyShare. I figure it was a small casualty to incur considering how blessed we were to have the whole trip go so splendidly.
Enjoy the pics. I won't write much about them, since I wrote the whole novel about the cruise in a post a couple weeks ago. A big thanks again to my fabulous friend and travel agent KIM for hooking us up with a great deal for a week full of fun.

Gotta put her through security in case shes packing any dangerous toys. Ya know those rattles could put an eye out...
They even "randomly selected" her to get patted down after going through the security line. They totally were inappropriate in the diaper-region. sheesh, the indecency.... (jk)
Drinking 20,000 ft up
Family flight
Brianna sleeping on the flight (answer to prayers!) We were so lucky to have an empty spot next to us.

Boarding, this way. Good thing they put the sign there, or we would've never figured it out. We might've accidentally gone the opposite direction of the only giant cruiseship at the port....
Brian and Brianna, boarding the Carnival Elation
The stage I had to run up onto three times holding the various winning items
My trophy for making a fool of myself
She looked great in her ID tag bling, no?
She hated her bling. It mysteriously disappeared the first day and never was replaced.

Baby lifejacket! She LOVED wearing it....
Lifeboat drill, in case we hit an iceberg.

Injury from carrying too much luggage up too many flights of stairs

Room service! 24 hrs a day! I never got over the novelty of that.
Shore excursions - bleh.
The ones we might have wanted cost more than the whole cruise itself!
Yeah, I AM too lazy to turn it for ya. You can just NOT be lazy and tilt your head to the left.
Whoops - must have missed that sign...
The piano man! Probably the most amazing pianist I've seen in person.
Brianna was fascinated with the piano playing
The piano BAR!

Do NOT throw anything overboard

First-time cruisers - so romantic
(Brianna is the photographer)

For such a small room, we had a pretty big bed! Brianna loved crawling on it. I loved
sleeping on it (much more comfortable than the fold-out couch bed we sleep on in Vernal. Sad huh).
Family pic in front of our home for the week - E120
The stateroom service lady even made Brianna's bed and put her Elmo there so sweetly!
Not only did Brianna get treats in the dining room and buffets, but in our room too! She was one well-fed baby.
Sliding down the stairs
Listening for Brianna to wake up from her nap. We would put her down, then go play and check on her every 15 min (yes, that was a lot of running around the ship)
Keeping ourselves occupied outside our door, waiting to hear Brianna wake up from her nap
Soaking up the sun, working on her tan
Chillin' in the lounge chair with her favorite beverage

Brian joined Brianna in imbibing

The party scene we walked out to every day.
Yes way! (I know youre saying "no way!") We saw a random lady with a BRIAN tattoo, and asked if we could take a pic with it!
She has a crush on my husband. Scary.
Sorry babe. Too short to go down the slide. Testing the hot tub. We did this a lot on the chilly evenings.
Brian swimming with Brianna

I swam with her too, of course. We fought over the privilege.

Brianna went shopping at the stores-on-ship with her DADDY - I don't endorse that type of behavior)

Behaving ourselves very appropriately at the elegant dining area
Princess Brianna
Chowing down. I cant explain why, but this was SO much fun to watch!

She ordered steamed veggies every day. They even brought out a new variety daily, and cut it for her!
King Brian of the dining room
My favorite highchair. Why? Because someone else cleaned it for me.
Helping Brianna eat
Brianna's dessert
My dessert -they had a new "diet" dessert every night. Man, if I could have low-calorie food this good and this pretty everyday, I'd totally lose weight faster!
Big mess! I'm hoping at least half actually got digested. She had SO much fun!
Playing with her food.
With daily offerings of fabulous gourmet cuisine, what did Brian eat? Burgers and fries.

Walking practice on the golf course
We loved letting her crawl around the mini-golf course on the top deck!

A random lady holding Brianna. This happened quite frequently. We couldn't go anywhere without someone asking to hold her (or worse - just grabbing her out of my arms)
Brian at his free-throw competition
Brian competing in the free throw competition. He scored 7 in one minute. The winner scored 8. But I say Brian wins, because he looked ten times hotter trying.
Later I schooled him

B chattin it up with the Indonesians and Philippinos

Cute tugboats. Cuter husband.
The tugboats took us from our ship to the shore at Cabo
We could see FISHIES. I threw ice cubes and watched them flip out (literally)

Keeping Brianna cool in Cabo with the spray-fans at the stores and cafes
We bought a sombrero for Brianna but she wouldnt wear it. So Brian did and tried to shade her.

View from the tugboat. It was really nice to see land after being on the ocean for 2 days
Water-taxi tour
Water-taxi feeding. Thank goodness for pumping and bottles - that saved us throughout this whole vacation.
She actually took a little nap! That's amazing, because Brianna never takes naps in public.
Water-taxi tour. The rock is supposed to be a witch's face. I can't see it. I'm never good at those tyes of things. Does that mean I have no imagination?
Water-taxi tour. Cool rocks in the background - the western-most edge of Mexico.
Water-taxi tour with our ship in the background

The fish we could see on our boat - it was GLASS-BOTTOM - so cool!

About this time, our camera met it's demise. It just couldn't stand up to the corrosive affects of salt water.

Camera malfunctioning
Camera malfunctioning - Im not happy about it, obviously

Camera malfunctioning

Random shot due to camera malfunctioning
During my desperate recovery attempts, Brian ran away back to the ocean (I wasn't really mad at him for breaking the camera though - it was both of our faults)
Never leave your camera in your pocket while jumping from a water taxi onto the beach.
Then again, maybe it was a good thing - if I took that many pictures in just 3 days, imagine how long this post would've been had I had a whole week's worth!