Thursday, November 27, 2008


We spent our Thanksgiving in Spanish Fork at "the condo." In the Mckell family, that's what we call it. Brian's parents own it as a second home, but they rent it out sometimes. Current tenants are the fabulous Jami and Mark. It's a nice gathering spot. So we hung out there for about 7 hours today. Here are the pics:

This is Kandalyn, Mike and Brandi's youngest. She's about 3 months older than Brianna. For some reason, I love playing with other babies. Brianna gets a little jealous.

Brianna's Grandpa and Grandma McKell. They are always so generous, sweet, and welcoming to our family.

The grub.

The nephews, digging into the pies (my personal fav - pumpkin. I have a loooong history with pumpkin pies. I used to request a pumpkin pie in lieu of birthday cake)

Both of Brian's grandpas were there. I don't think he realizes how rare that is to get to enjoy the company of both of your grandpas on a holiday. He's very fortunate.

Brianna got to try turkey for her first time. She liked it. Not as much as the baked yams and pomegranate seeds though. And definitely not as much as she loved roaming around the house playing with people.

Family picture Barbara wanted us to take for her Christmas card. We were trying to get her to smile, which only made her turn towards us. Anybody know how to get a baby to smile AT the CAMERA?!
Yes, I realize the angle makes Brianna's head look larger than ours. And I realize her tummy is showing in one of them. Dontcha just wanna blow raspberries on it?! I DO!

Melissa and Clint went running in the morning. I just think this pic is cute. I love it when couples workout together. Brian and I weren't that lucky this morning. He stayed with Brianna while I did a Turkey Trot 5K in American Fork, and I stayed with her while he played his Turkey Football game. Oh well. Someday Brianna will come turkey trotting with me. Or maybe Turkey Footballing with her daddy...

We forgot a highchair, which made feeding her a bit tricky. She was definitely more interested in my plate than hers. Typical.

Friday, November 21, 2008

San Diego vacation

We just got back Wednesday from a fabulous vacation to San Diego! It turned into a semi-mini-family reunion (everyone but Brady, Jocelyn, Meredith and Sammy). The 3 days of fun went by way too fast.

Saturday morning Brianna took her 7th plane ride (4th roundtrip). We used our time in the terminal entertaining the waiting passengers with walking practice for Brianna.

People keep telling us she’ll be walking anyday now, since she’s such an avid cruiser, stairclimber, and free-stander, but I’m not so sure.

Crawling is definitely the preferred mode of travel.

No luck on getting her an empty seat – full flight. Fortunately we sat next to a kind, tolerant older gentleman who didn’t mind Brianna climbing all over him and trying to rip off his mustache and sweater buttons.

Previous plane trips were easier because she was less mobile and aware of her surroundings. Not anymore – we wrestled with our wiggler for the whole 2 hours. The name of the game was DISTRACTION. Plastic cups of ice worked well. Though a messy potential choking hazard, she loves ice in the o-shape.

We arrived and went straight to grab our rental car. Thank you, employee discount!

Brianna entertained herself with the discovery of a potted plant – a favorite.

Then we caught up with the fam at Seaworld.

Shamu was breathtaking, the seals were hilarious, the weather was perfect, and Brianna was amazingly pleasant considering her atypical surroundings and nonexistent nap/feeding schedule. But that’s what vacations are for, right? To totally mess up your baby’s routine. She literally fell dead asleep within a minute of being buckled into her carseat at the end. Brianna was a little unsure about being passed off to her Nonny and Papa. She has only seen them 4 times in her life (which I think is pretty good, considering they live 700 miles away). But she warmed up by the end. Someday she will know them and be as madly in love with them as their cousins are. How could you not love Nonny and Papa?! They are wonderfully fabulous grandparents.

The aquariums at Seaworld were fascinating – Brianna loved the piranhas.

The 4D show was fun, until cold water started squirting everywhere.

Brianna didn’t appreciate that.
They have one big rollercoaster there – Brian and I took turns going down (Brianna didn’t meet the height requirement). I don’t know if you can see him in this pic… it was right after the big drop - water was spraying the camera. We stayed til the very end of the night, so we had no lines!

We stayed up WAY too late that night at our beachhouse we rented. It was Jenny’s fault – she brought out the puzzle. I couldn’t stop. Brian had to drag me away after midnight. Fortunately Brianna let me sleep in Sunday morning. Oh wait – BRIAN let me sleep in – he took baby duty!

When I finally rolled out, I discovered my baby covered in sand and was told stories of her sand-filled breakfast, washed off by a bull dog licking her face.

(click on the pic to look close at her sandy-face – I think it’s hilarious).
A major highlight was getting to see my friend from High School, Malerie, and her husband and darling daughter Madeline. We went to their ward (guided by a blessed GPS). When we left, Brian said to me, “seriously, that is the second cutest baby girl I’ve ever seen in my life.” Pictures just don’t do some kids justice. It’s been SIX years since I saw Mal – amazing how time flies! And how relationships just stay the same even after so many years.
We stopped at the San Diego LDS temple on the way home…GOR-GE-OUS!

It just pops up all of a sudden from the freeway and takes your breath away. We wanted to get family pics, but Brianna was doing her Sabbath resting.

The rest of Sunday was spent playing with the family.

Monday was supposed to be ZOO day…. but we elected to skip it and have another BEACH day! It just doesn’t make sense to spend all the time and money going to see a bunch of animals sleeping in the far corners of their cages. I’d rather spend our day soaking in the vitamin D…

My favorite part was boogie boarding. Even though the water was super cold, it’s all mind over matter. I’ll put up with the chilly ocean to enjoy playing in the waves. I think I swallowed about a galloon of salt water.

All of Nonny and Papa’s GRANDKIDS were there! In chronological order: Connor, Noah, Kiya, Annalee, Cooper, Devin, Cougar, Lincoln, Nathan, Brianna, McKay, and Dean. Elizabeth is there in Spirit, of course.

The last four are all within a year of each other! Brianna will have to be tough to play with all her boy cousins as they grow up.

Brianna often begged to go outside.

Brian made breakfast!

Mom brought her top-secret DVD trailer to show. I’m not supposed to tell anyone that she and dad are going to break into primetime TV.

Mom borrowed my jumprope. I had a picture of her using it on here, but she made me take it off because she thinks it's a bad pic. It wasn't. She looked cute. But she threatened to disown me, and I'd really miss her during the holidays.

Nathan and Brianna were very impatient for their food. Guess what – this rental beachhouse came with two highchairs, two pack n’ plays, the rolling exersaucer, cruiser bikes, beach toys, and all kitchen/bathroom supplies! We all agreed we would go back again.

Lindsay and I enjoyed biking up and down Mission Boulevard. Crazy sights to see.

Attempts at family pictures:

The flight home was another circus – trying to entertain Brianna and keep her in one spot…though she managed to crawl under the seats to visit our neighbors. It’s interesting to see how babies delight some, and annoy others. Plastic cups worked as a successful distraction.

The long journey home was bittersweet – I was glad to get back to real life, but I reallyreallyreally enjoyed being with my family. Thanks, Smiths, for one of the best vacations ever!