Saturday, February 28, 2009

He ate asparagus!

Only those who KNOW Brian will understand how momentous this is.

My husband - as wonderful as he is - has a strong aversion to vegetables. And all nuts. And most fruit. And beans. Jam, peanut butter, milk, bologna, pork chops, cottage cheese, mustard, mayo, cream cheese, granola, raisins, any/all seafood, string cheese.... that's all he could identify off the top of his head (he dictated that list). He’s President of the Picky Eaters. At least he was 3.5 years ago when I married him.
So... we haven't made it a big deal in our marriage. Food is such trivial, temporal thing - it's not worth arguing over. Choose your battles, as my mom says.
But… I do want him to live past age 60 and stay out of hospitals as much as possible.
So I haven’t surrendered! I just "subtly encourage" - which Brian calls "being sneaky." I'm a big fan of Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook "Deceptively Delicious" and I regularly integrate those tactics into anything I make. But I strongly believe in the higher principle of actually knowing what is going in your mouth and being open minded about it.
I have to use the right tactics. I've learned that I can't ASK Brian to try new things. He'll politely say NO. I've also learned not to bug him in public. So that only leaves room for home experimentation. I must wait for the right moment... when he is very hungry, feeling amiable, and not rushed.
So Brian came home from work one day last week and I had dinner all ready. Steak fillets, seasoned brown rice, and.... grilled asparagus. I just made up the plates, and we sat down. He looked at me and said, "Chelsea, what is this green thing doing on my plate?" I replied casually, "the same thing the brown things are doing."
Eating resumed. I struggled to contain my elation when Brian tentatively bit into into the asparagus…then unflinchingly ate all 6 sticks. I didn’t even say anything as I went to grab the camera. He laughed as I took these photos – which is another big step for him – he typically doesn’t like me to “think I won.”
But… I DID! And so did he. Win-win.
Next on the menu: squash. Wish me luck.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Running ladies

These are a few of my ladies!
My running buds, that is.
I went to a baby shower last Saturday and didn't even know they'd all be there. Pleasant surprise.
Devra in the center was the mother-of-honor. Her BYU track and XC days were well before mine, yet I'm closer with her than most of the girls from my years. Same with Maggie (wearing hat). Lisa is next to her - she's got a baby girl coming in about 13 weeks. Maggie is 33 weeks along with her first girl. Devra's due in 2 weeks - also a girl! Annika (in pink) has a daughter as well. So we will be replenishing the BYU women's distance running team! Kristen (center) is the only single lady - she's a teacher now. To give you an idea of the speediness of these girls: all of them ran sub-17 minute 5Ks, sub-5min miles, and those who've marathoned did so in under 3 hrs... in their prime. Crazy, I know. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. But now we've all moved on to more important running.... running after kids!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Little Red Hood and the Big B

Just thought they looked cute together on the way to church last Sunday...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Video interviews with Brianna

Like any good parent, I teach my child silly tricks for my own amusement. We’re working on the animal sounds. So far, the only one she’s really consistent on is the SNAKE (sssss). Here’s a little video of it.

There’s another video we took that I don’t wanna upload on here, since it’s longer (50 seconds, versus the one above that is just 10 seconds). But here’s the link to it on YouTube – you gotta see it. At the end she bites off a chunk of her bear’s fur and spits it at me when I ask her what the snake says. You’ll laugh, or at least smile, I promise.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


She’s finally got the concept of hide&seek down (though she still hides in the same place every time). When it was Brian’s turn to hide, he’d though it’d be funny to get inside her pack n’ play. When she discovered him there, she was MAD! And of course, we thought that was hilarious, which only made her more upset. She was reaching for her daddy (probably to throw him out, if she could), so I just put her inside with him. Well that was it - she really had HAD IT with us and the game was over.
We’re horrible, I know.

Monday, February 23, 2009

MY ward

The saddest part of moving has been, for me, leaving my ward. It's the first time since good ol' Greenbluff ward in WA that I have been in the same ward for more than a few months. Lakeside 1st ward has been home for almost 3 years, and I've absolutely loved it. It's a ward with a great mix - newlyweds, singles, young families, old families, elderly...This picture is from Valentine's Day night at the dance (I'm really proud of myself - I instigated this group photo. It was supposed to be for couples only. I got the MC to corral the 1st warders for the photo op).
Seriously, this photo makes me smile. Not just because Brian and I are barely poking our heads out from the back (tall people always get stuck in that row), but because I consider each and every person in this photo a friend. We've had a connection in some way - neighbors, visit teaching, home teaching, callings.... (gotta love how busy our church keeps us). Brother Hundley on the right is one of the sweetest elderly men you'll ever meet - he always shakes Brian's hand at church and tells him "you better be nice to your pretty little wife there." The Nakata's in the middle are our home and visiting teachers, as well as our neighbors. They've had us over for dinner, and fixed our thermostat. I've learned so much from Maria Nakata - she's been an unlikely friend. Catherine is sticking her head up from the back row next to Brian - she's an amazing lady - a master seamstress and an against-all-odds convert. She's single, and before the pic said, "I guess I'm the odd one here" meaning since she didn't have a date - and I told her, "Catherine, even if you were married, you'd be the odd one here!" The Smith's in the back row are having their FIFTH GIRL in a few months. Sam Smith found out my maiden name and said to me, "I could tell you were one of the chosen." Bishop and his wife (lady in red, front row) were unofficially voted Valentine King and Queen of the dance. They have 6 kids and are some of the most optimistic people I've met. The Hunters (green shirt in the middle) - well, I've posted about them before. We're about as tight as tight gets - ward friends, babysit swapping, blog friends... I'm hoping Brianna gets to marry one of their 3 cute sons. The Hadleys (front row, blue shirt) are runners too. 'Nuf said there. The Clarks (front row, blackandwhite) have a son that made every wolf scout den meeting so entertaining for us.
Ok, I'll stop now. I could go on, obviously. I really feel like this is my ward family. Vernal has big shoes to fill.
Here's our couple pic from the dance:
It's neck-up only cuz I've fallen off the wagon in the past few ten lbs off... but I'm workin' on it. Kindof. Fine, I'm not. I'll start tomorrow.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The commute

We have driven Highway 40 between Provo and Vernal approximately 122 times (19,520 miles). Thankfully, only 160 of those miles were put on our own car. I can count on one hand the number of times we have NOT done the drive in the dark (usually from 7-10pm) so Brianna will sleep through it.
But last Sunday morning, I did the drive solo from 6-9am (Brian left the night before with Brianna, and I stayed behind to finish packing and cleaning the house in Provo). It was the first time - in all those thousands of miles - that I really noticed and appreciated the panorama. With the sun coming up over those wide-open plains - I just had to snap a view shots.
I probably should've pulled over to do it - so the view wasn't marred by the streaks on the windshield - but I've never heard it was illegal to take pictures while driving (unlike texting - which I totally agree with).
This particular drive also featured 3 close encounters with wildlife (deer and cattle), and 2 police pull-overs (one for going 37 in a 30 in Duchesne, the other for not having headlights on in the fog - both just warnings - WHEW!) In the very near future, this weekly commute (we've never spent a full weekend in Vernal) should be OVER.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Outdoor ventures

Ok, this might sound trivial… but it really was a significant “first” for us: Brianna went outside and walked around in shoes for the first time! It hasn’t been warm enough to attempt this til now. Actually, it still really isn’t warm enough – as you can see from the ice and snow in the background – so it was a brief venture. It was so fun to watch her little face light up as she realized where she was and what she was doing. At first when I put the shoes on, she seemed annoyed with me and tried to remove them. But then I rushed her outside, distracting her from the foreign objects robbing her feet of their freedom. I stood her up in the street… and she promptly plunked back down, I stood her up again. She lingered longer in this position and finally took a few tentative steps after encouragement. Suddenly it was as if the clouds had parted and the sun broke through… Brianna started racing around that pavement as fast as she bow-leggedly (is that a word?) could. She soon noticed the existence of alien items on the ground that needed inspection. So she stooped down for all the little rocks and twigs and snow patches. It’s funny how a few years ago I would’ve been horrified seeing a child put gravel into her mouth. Now I’m just glad it’s not cigarette butts (which – in this photograph, I’m covering up with my shoe. If you look close at her face, you can tell she’s crying out in protest of my cruel censorship.)

These are the only shoes she has right now in her size:
I like them because they’re great for beginners - featherweight and Velcro. As soon as she gets into size 4, she’ll have a closet full of shoes (thank you Carrie!)

One of the results of outdoor ventures has been a significant increase in dirty laundry…

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Prepare to say "awww...."

When my friend and former coworker asked to practice her photography skills on Brianna for her website...I thought for half a second before saying YES! These are just a few of the fun shots we took (I can't get over how awkward that sounds - shooting Brianna - poor word choice, I know). Anyway - I'm trying to figure out how to get a 3rd column on this blog so I can just do a little photo gallery strip going down the left side. I found the website with instructions, but we're having technical difficulty. Like to the point where I wanna shoot this laptop (for real). HELP!
More of Ms. Winterholler's fabulous photography can be seen at

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Visiting Grandpa Berrett (you gotta read the ending)

We paid a visit to Brian’s mom’s dad in Provo last Saturday. He was kind enough to agree to babysit Brianna for us that night so we could go to the Valentine’s dance. But since Brianna would be asleep the entire time he was “babysitting” her (8-10pm), we wanted him to have some actual Brianna-time.
I remember back when Brian and I were dating and I went to visit him for the first time in Utah. We did a little relatives-tour where I was taken to home after home of his extended family (almost all of them live in the same county – seemed very odd to me, but I’ve realized it’s not atypical for Utahns). The stark contrast between Brian’s two Grandparents was incredible – Grandpa McKell has a fairly simple, bare-walled home, and Grandpa Berrett has more STUFF in one house than I’ve seen in any other. Ever. Grandpa McKell lives on twinkies, white bread and red meat, while Grandpa Berrett professes zealous health consciousness. He’s also not shy about asserting his stance on nutrition or calling others out on their lack of discretion, while Grandpa McKell has said many times that he doesn’t want to seem too “preachy” about anything (usually referring to the financial advice he proffers). Both lost their wives last year and seem to profoundly miss them, yet continue living productive lives in high spirits. I feel so blessed to have them both in my life, especially since I lost my own grandpa several years ago (my dad’s dad – my mom’s dad I never met).
Anyways – back to the visit:
When Grandpa answered the door for us he yelled to the back room, “Marjorie, we have company!” He laughed… but I found that kindof sad and awkward.

Brianna quickly made herself at home, ignoring the toys placed before her and going after every breakable item within reach. I think that made Grandpa anxious.
Whenever we come visit, Grandpa asks me to play the piano (which is odd, since he plays quite well himself). Of course, Brianna couldn’t let me play alone.
While we were chatting, the following conversation took place:

Me: “So Grandpa, tell us about your cruise to New Zealand last week – how was it?”
Gpa: “So amazing! I took 600 pictures. I need to go to Costco to get them developed.”
Me: “What was your favorite part?”
Gpa: “Ohh – this nice 82 year old lady gave me a hug and a kiss. Whoo-hoo – all those old feelings came back – it was great!”
Me (laughing): “Oh really! That’s pretty funny.”
Gpa: “Yeah, she told me at first that she was only 80. But then I found out she was actually 82.
And she has MONEY too!
There were actually LOTS of older women that hugged me on the ship.”
Me (still laughing – taking out pen and paper): “Grandpa, I’m not surprised at all.”
Gpa: “What are you doing? Are you writing down what I’m saying?”
Me: “Yep. I’m going to blog it. You’re funny.”
Gpa: “I’ve heard of that blog thing. Don’t know what it is. But I can say lotsa more funny things for your bloggings.”

Anyone think I should take him up on the offer?

Monday, February 16, 2009


We've discovered (the hard way) that Brianna's little digestive system is NOT ready for the acidity of certain fresh fruits.
She likes it going in, but her poor little bottom does not like it going out....

Byebye baby clothes

We finally did it - Brianna's baby clothes are GONE. Everything 0-12 months has been handed over to Tia - my brother Dave's wife's sister. I know I'm crazy for not keeping at least some of it... but practicality won over sentimentality. Think about it... if our next baby is a boy, it would be years and years - if EVER - that these clothes were worn again! That would be a tragedy - especially with how dang cute most of it is - and the enormous quantity. These pics hardly do it justice - this bag is STUFFED tightly full - there's gotta be hundreds of items in there. The craziest part - I didn't purchase ANY of it! All were gifts or hand-me-downs! I feel super lucky for that. We still haven't bought a single clothing item for Brianna, believeitornot. I get tempted whenever I pass the baby clothes at a store - especially the clearance racks - but I just remind myself that I don't have enough hangers for the collection we already have. We're set til she's about 2, I think - depending on how big she gets.

I have to write about Tia's visit - because I think it's the most extended period of happiness I've ever seen Brianna in. They were at our (bare) home in Provo picking up the clothes and just hanging out for almost 2 hours with their 3 kids. Teagan and Brody (ages 4 and 2) were like energizer bunnies on sugar highs - running around our empty house like it was Chuck E Cheese's. Their sweet baby Kamryn (3 mo) just hung out in her car seat - never peeping an unhappy sound the entire time. Brianna's eyes were huge with excitement - and stayed bugged out like that the whole time as the boys played with her - chasing, throwing things, stair-climbing, etc. Honestly, it was just amazing to me to see her actually interacting with older kids so well! Occasionally she would run to me for a hug (like I was "base," remember that?!), but then go back out into the battle zone with the boys. I think they helped her toughen up - ie: not cry after falls. I took these pictures the end (after a serious corralling effort - including luring Brianna in with a bottle). Brian says this means Brianna needs siblings. I say we just need to have our friends over more often!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Vday Pizza

We have a tradition of making a heart-shaped pizza for Valentines each year.
We even make our own sauce and grind the wheat for the dough!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

a few more valentine greetings...

These got printed and mailed to the grandparents. The rest of you - consider yourself greeted. Hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine's day!

Photographer: Chelsea Winterholler

I helped Brianna make this valentine for her dad. Cheesy, I know. But he really enjoyed seeing it posted on the door when he got home from work. Quote: "that makes me feel cool."

In the making of the valentine (at the library during a toddler activity) Brianna got her first taste of crayons.

Friday, February 13, 2009


After posting the comic strip below, I have an addendum that must be offered, for fear my blog will reek of the ostentation I see in so many others (you know what I’m referring to – the blogs we don’t want to look at but do – the “my life/child/husband/world is soooo PERFECT” blogs). Reality check, Pollyanna – this mom-gig is tough. And messy. And chaotic. And lonesome. And demanding. And… given to intense introspection.
No, I definitely do not lament motherhood. I adore my daughter more than words can express.
But my mind occasionally drifts to the “what if…?”
What if I decide to just pay some competent caregiver to do these mundane tasks I fill my days with. What if I actually use the Master’s Degree I worked so hard to obtain. What if I realize the potential in the promising running career I started. What if I never left that blissful island.
When I accepted this role, did I leave behind an identity I worked 20+ years to achieve?
Am I still SMART if I don't do anything that requires the type of intelligence I've always valued in myself?
Have I chosen this course because I'm too lazy to attempt the balancing act of a “working mother” or am I brave and selfless for leaving that world behind?
What next? After 15 years of this, will I be good for anything else?
Do I have value apart from my roles as wife and mother if they’re virtually the only roles I hold?
Some of these thoughts were provoked by reading a stranger’s thoughts – one in a similar situation. So I know I’m not alone. But sadly, this individual provided no answers.
I have none either – other than that I FEEL like what I’m doing is right for us. I can’t imagine finding joy greater in any other pursuit than fulltime motherhood

anyone agree?

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Brianna had her 12 month checkup yesterday at DinosaurLand Pediatrics:

weight = 21 lb 11 oz (55th percentile)

height = 30 inches (75th percentile)

head circumference = 93rd percentile

So Brianna has a big head - wouldn't you if you were her?!

I was shocked when I heard the weight - she's been in the high 80s and 90s her whole life - now she's just mid-pack! It must have something to do with the fact that more food ends up on the floor than in her mouth. And all the calories she burns on our treadmill (not kidding - she climbs on and off it all day).
Oh well. So I have a totally average baby - there are worse things that can happen, right?! ha. Dr. Gousche explained something counterintuitive: unlike adults who grow according to how they eat, babies and toddlers eat according to how they grow. So Brianna must be in a little plateau. I wish she'd have a growth spurt so she'd sleep in longer than 5:45am.
Brian came to her checkup for the first time. I wanted him to witness how much she enjoys the immunizations. Needless to say, he now understands why I dread these appointments. No more til 15 months - whoohoo!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Biblioteca de Vernal

We've been really lucky this past year to live walking distance from the Vernal library.

Sadly, our new house will be a 6 minute drive (that's a long ways in Vernal-world).

But we will still come regularly because Brianna really has a fun time here.
They do a good job with storytime for the kids.
I wish it was more often though - I'm guessing bigger cities probably have it everyday multiple times.
But we go twice a week, now that Brianna is old enough to enjoy it.
She doesn't really behave herself... wandering around, stealing kid's toys and snacks, walking right up to the storyteller and blocking everyone's views... but they mostly laugh at her. Though the librarians DON'T laugh when she pulls out every book on the shelf.
I don't know why they're so uptight - I would think they'd enjoy cleaning up after the many children wandering around pulling books off shelves.

At this particular storytime activity, the kids were given flashlights to go on a "bear hunt."
Brianna must've though the bear was in her mouth because that's where the flashlight went most of the time
(and yes - she is still wearing her jammies. Don't judge me).

The title of this post is a tribute to one of our favorite activities here - Spanish storytime! Que divertido.