Monday, May 31, 2010

Yard woes

As embarrassing as it is, I'm posting a picture of our lawn. It's horrible. Our Provo lawn was so easy to take care of, and actually thrived despite some abuse from us (ie, the squash plants taking over). But our lawn here is rough, soggy, weed-filled, easily killed, prickly... and I have no idea what to do. We already spent a lot on hiring a guy to aerate, fertilize, power rake... and I spent a bunch on a trimmer and some Turf Builder from Home Depot. Brian actually really enjoys using it and feeling all manly doing yardwork.
Our lawn isn't the worst looking in the neighborhood... the foreclosed homes make us look better. And the rental homes with shoddy property management companies. But our neighbor just two houses down, Doug, has a lawn and yard right out of a magazine. It's painful to compare ours. I never thought I'd care so much about something as seemingly trivial as our lawn. But it really bothers me (as evidenced by this long-winded and relatively pointless post dedicated to it). OH - and our TREE - this is the weirdest part. Look closely - the leaves STOP halfway up! The last few feet of every branch are BARE and dead! But you can see the neighbor's tree across the street looks good. So do most of the rest of the trees on the street. We're just the lucky ones.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I like being pregnant. I like being pregnant.

Maybe if I keep repeating that to myself, I'll start to believe it.

At the risk of sounding ungrateful about my current gestating condition - double gestating - I'm going to whine a little. I'm tired of being BIG. And I still have about 7-8 weeks to live like this, getting larger each day.

Honestly, I'm thrilled to be having babies. I'm grateful beyond words for the opportunity to mother two more precious children. I get emotional every time I really visualize myself holding and nursing and caring for these little angels.

But seriously... these last 2 months might just seem like an eternity. I want my body back! I want to be able to jump and sprint and lay on my back and wear normal clothes and sleep comfortably....

Of course bearing children is ultimately worth any sacrifice. I feel guilty whining because my pregnancies are SO much easier than 98.742% of the others I hear about. I'm still running every morning and have decent energy levels and I don't need my own zipcode yet. So I'm basically a horrible person to still be complaining. 
I came across this article in Parent's magazine online. I get several of those "your baby this week"-type emails, and the headline caught my eye. I thought it would help me get a better attitude.  
Too bad it was obviously written by someone who has never actually been pregnant. 
Here's the article, followed by my commentary:

25 Great Things About Being Pregnant

By now you've probably had it with always being tired and carrying around extra weight. But why not consider all the reasons to celebrate these nine months? In case you're too grumpy to think of any, here's a list:
1. You're guaranteed to stop traffic whenever you cross the street. Um, not in Utah! I'll get run over just as easily as anyone else by these crazy drivers.
2. People look at your stomach and can't help smiling, as if the mere thought of your being pregnant has actually made their day a little bit brighter. Nut-uh! Most people avoid eye contact with my belly! I think they've had or heard of bad experiences where a pregnant woman gets ticked off and goes ballistic. My large belly makes no strangers happy.
3. You can eat a whole pint of chocolate-chunk ice cream and not feel guilty. Every night. Yeah, if I want to LOOK like a chocolate chunk.
4. You can -- no, you must! --take naps. Lots of them.  Please explain that to my 2-year-old.
5. Getting to name another human being. PRESSURE!  Times two!
6. Watching your husband turn into a father when he kisses your belly good night, reads to the baby in utero, or stays up until 3:00 a.m. putting the crib together -- just in case the baby decides to come eight weeks early. He's allowed to touch my belly to feel the babies move. Kissing the belly would just be weird. Staying up with a crib til 3am would signal a major OCD red-flag.
7. Sex: For once in your life, you're neither worried about getting pregnant nor trying to get pregnant. You can have sex just for the pure fun of it.  Yeah, because I just feel SO attractive with these 25 extra pounds on me.
8. Buying a bathing suit. It's not about hiding your flaws; it's about flaunting your belly. Ew! Sorry, but any pregnant woman wearing anything with her belly hanging out just screams trashy. A classy one-piece, please. Possibly with shorts, unless you're one of those girls that DOESN'T get pregnant-in-the-butt along with the belly. In which case, I hate you.
9. Those wild, intense, amazing pregnancy dreams in which every remote person from your past makes some sort of appearance. None of these dreams can even begin to be analyzed or understood. Wild, intense, FRIGHTENING/HORRIFYING dreams, waking me up sweating with a racing heartbeat.... just lovely.
10. The amazing anticipation. It's like all your previous birthdays and holidays rolled into one. No, because I know the day after my birthday and all holidays I'll still be sleeping 8 hours/night and not be recovering from being sliced open in a sensitive area.
11. Imagining the possibilities. Or freaking out about potential tragic scenarios.
12. More personal space! And you have no qualms about claiming it. Oh yay! No one can really hug me cuz my belly gets in the way...
13. You eat healthier, drink more water, and carefully read ingredient labels. Suddenly, it matters more to you what you put in your body. Like I need any more reasons to be a nutrition nazi.
14. In the middle of a boring meeting at work or a meaningless argument, you feel your baby squirming inside you and the sensation takes you away. It's your own secret communication. Or creating an awkward moment for everyone as I smile and yelp at a sudden kick.
15. Getting to hear the swish swish swish of your baby's heartbeat on the Doppler. And waiting in increasing degrees of paranoid agony as the nurse takes a billion minutes to find the heartbeats every time.
16. Playing "Guess the part sticking out," usually at bedtime, when your baby starts moving furniture around or whatever it is he does in there. Gee, I wonder if it's her foot or her head or her arms making painful jabs at my bladder... and my sweet little boy, punching (or is it kicking?!) my ribs and lungs so I can't breath easily... this is SO much fun guessing body parts!
17. The extra attention you get from everyone -- your husband gives you more foot rubs, and your friends call to check in more often. Neighbors offer to help; coworkers volunteer to get lunch for you; little presents (a bottle of water, an afternoon snack) mysteriously show up on your desk. And I feel pitied and handicapped. Not great for my sense of self-reliance.
18. The pregnancy beauty package: thick, silky hair; long, strong nails; beautiful skin; big boobs.  LIAR! Besides the big boobs - which I don't really want - I have none of those.
19. Getting to skip to the front of the line in public rest rooms. If I was that rude...
20. Shopping for a person you haven't met yet: tiny clothes, all-new furniture, and adorable room decorations. By "shopping" they must mean accepting hand-me-downs from generous family and friends. Because nothing is fun about spending lots of money on stuff that will only be used for a few months.
21. Dreaming about the first time someone calls you "Mommy" and the first time you hear someone call your husband "Daddy." But then they'll turn 2 and discover my name is Chelsea and start calling me Chelsea just to annoy me.
22. Baby showers! They remind you how special your friends and family think you are.  Ok, fine. This one is true. I like getting all my friends together and graciously accepting gifts from them  :)
23. A continuous sense of accomplishment. You can answer "What did you do today?" with cool things like "I made ears" or simply "I'm making a person. What did you do?"  No... nope. Definitely not. If I get nothing done all day and spend my time sitting on my big bum like a slob, trying to console myself with statements like, "I grew babies today!" isn't going to make me feel better about my lack of productivity.
24. Spending immeasurable amounts of time trying to remember all those nursery rhymes, children's songs, and lullabies.  Annoying nursery rhymes with very questionable origins!  We stick to primary songs. And I get frustrated when I can't remember the words to them.
25. Knowing that all the bad stuff -- the heartburn, swollen ankles, backaches, and the rest -- doesn't last forever. And that in the end, it's all worth it. Yes, extremely true. It's all veryvery worth it. So I'll stop whining now.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I love my birthday man

The world has been a better place for 28 years now!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Natural consequences

I've been a little obsessed with the Love & Logic parenting philosophy ever since I discovered it a couple years ago. Our library in Vernal earned a grant to offer the course FREE (which is amazing - it's an expensive program!) Brian and I attended it for a few months when Brianna was a newborn. Our specific course was actually the "Early Learning" program - aimed mostly at toddlers. I won't begin to get into a summary of all we learned... the program is just too loaded with amazing techniques and theories. 
But one of the main take-home messages I remembered and am trying to apply is to allow my children to experience natural consequences of poor decisions. I want to be able to trust my kids to learn to make the right decisions in their life and build them into successful adults by letting them feel the consequences of their choices. I don't want to be a  "helicopter parent" (i.e., the type that hovers about their children trying to make sure that everything in life is going right for them). That's Brian's tendency. But we want to work towards being what the program terms "Consultant Parents" - providing guidance and consultant services for children, offering messages of personal worth and strength, leading by example, not nagging or being a "drill sergeant" or making excuses, but parenting using equal parts empathy with consequences to provide optimum learning from mistakes.
Sermon over. 
Exhibit A: 
Brianna and her cousin Alli jumping on the bed at their Grandparent's condo. Brianna knows she's not supposed to jump on beds because she might get hurt. But I let her figure that out for herself.
And she did: 
I gave Brianna and Alli big hugs and reminded them that this is what happens when they jump on beds. They stopped jumping on the beds.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lunch time lovin'

Christmas comes nearly everyday at our house for Brianna when Brian makes his brief lunch-trip home. When she hears his car door slam and his footsteps approaching, you'd think her heart skipped a few beats. She goes sprinting to the door squealing "DADDYDADDYDADDY!"
Then as soon as she actually sees him, she runs back to me saying "NO daddy!"
Weird huh.
I don't get it - maybe she wants him to earn her love back after being gone all day? I dunno. But eventually she stops playing hard-to-get. She gives him a big hug and joins him for lunch. Here they are dining on Brian's favorite gourmet dish - chips & salsa:
They're both looking at me and thinking, "stop taking pictures of us eating, you weirdo."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sliding in Spokane

I forgot to post these last month.  Brian and Dad took Brianna out to Riverfront park for her first slide down the giant red wagon:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I wanna be a big loser

I'm so glad this season is finally over! I've spent every Tuesday night from 7-9pm at the gym on cardio machines, hooked up to headphones and obsessively watching every second of this show. I seriously got the biggest high off my Tuesday nights. Brian would get home right before I had to leave. I'd point out some dinner options then hop on my bike to leave my reality for 2 hours of other's reality. I alternated between the elliptical, treadmill, and bike during the show, and watched American Idol during commercials. Though I got pretty sweaty and the machines told me I was burning calories, I hardly consider it a workout because I was completely focused on the awesomeness that is The Biggest Loser. I've seen episodes of other reality shows before - Lost, Survivor, Bachelor, Idol... none are even slightly captivating to me. At the risk of offending someone, I'll be honest - they all just seem like the biggest waste of time and brain cells. And maybe TBL is too. But it's totally worth every minute and brain cell I lost. I can't even describe how refreshed and rejuvenated I would feel on my ride home afterward. Pretty sure it's similar to a drug-high.
As much as I loved it, I'm SO GLAD it's over and I can move on with my life. I won't even watch it next season because I don't want to get hooked again (well, and I might be slightly too busy with babies to care for).  I wish they had a post-pregnancy themed season - I'd totally apply to get on the show. I'd love to have Jillian help me get my pregnancy-ruined tummy back in shape!

Monday, May 24, 2010

"Paint my toes, Daddy!"

Many-a-father would honor their daughter's sweet request for him to paint her toenails.
But it takes a REAL man to oblige that daughter's petition to paint HIS toenails! 

I'm feeling very...

preg·nant (prgnnt)  adj.
1. Carrying developing offspring within the body.
2. Weighty or significant; full of meaning. Of great or potentially great import, implication, or moment
3. Filled or fraught; replete
4. Having a profusion of ideas; creative or inventive.
5. Producing results; fruitful:

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin praegnant]

Synonyms: abundant, anticipating, carrying a child, enceinte, expectant, expecting, fecund, fertile, fraught, fruitful, gestating, gravid, heavy, hopeful, in family way, parous, parturient, preggers, productive, prolific, replete, teeming, with child 

My favorite synonym is gestating.  What's yours?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Father-"Son" camping trip

When Brian told me he wanted to take Brianna on our ward's Father-Son camping trip, I gently reminded him that Brianna was his daughter, and his only son would be camping with me exclusively for a couple more months. But that didn't stop him. He asked Brianna if she wanted to go camping with him (I'm pretty sure she doesn't remember what camping is) and she said, "YAH! Go pamping! Mommy go pamping too?" When we told her no, that I would be staying home and she would camp with just daddy, she had to think about it for a little bit. But she ended up jumping in the car with him Friday night and heading up to the Three Peaks camping area for a night of campfires, Dutch Oven, and hiking. Brian got photos just of the hiking part (with friends David and Tyrus):
I didn't actually stay home - a couple of my friends in the ward wanted to have a girl's night, since we were all husbandless. So we did a potluck and played games and just hung out. Then I got home and had a hot date with laundry, the vacuum, and our ridiculous CD collection. I organized the whole mess and got rid of a few dozen. I can't believe the lame junk I used to listen to. Brian's collection was even worse - he had a bunch of mixed ghetto pop/rap music burned. The next free Swap Meet in June will feature a substantial musical donation from the McKells.
So back to the camping story - the wind was so bad that they couldn't sleep in tents. So B & b "slept" in the back of the van with the seats folded down (yay for large uneconomical vehicles!) He said they read bedtimes books by flashlight, and she climbed all over the front seats playing with every button and knob, before finally settling down.
I would've been alarmed when I heard our door open at 3:30am except that I immediately heard Brianna yelling out, "Mommy, I had fun CAMPING!"
Brian wasn't quite in the same happy mood.
Apparently she woke up after just sleeping a few hours and insisted that they go home. Brian's not the type to say no to her (ever. Yeah, it's a problem), so they took off in the wee morning hours. 
They were both filthy and smelly so I tried to get them to shower, but he wasn't in the mood to let me boss  him around. I figured he wouldn't want to ever go camping with her again, but today he asked me if we could go on a camping trip with him for his birthday to Lake Powell!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Grandpa and Brianna the organ... again

I posted a picture almost identical to this about a year ago. But things don't change much with Grandpa McKell! At 92, he's still kicking. Still playing his organ, still enjoying his family, and still giving and loving so generously. Brianna is very lucky to get to spend time occasionally with her GREAT grandfather!
(ps - yeah, she's thumb-sucking. She does that whenever she's tired. I'm not too worried about it right now, but I hope she stops sometime soon. I don't understand the fascination - I tried sucking my thumb just now - it has no appeal whatsoever). 

Friday, May 21, 2010


Celebrating today!

Apparently the traditional gift for a 5th wedding anniversary is either silverware or wood. I suggested to Brian that we skip both of those and go on a fun trip. We're headed out soon for a little VirginRiver getaway. 

Melodramatic, sappy, overly sentimental old-photo-filled post to-be-published soon.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

(not) A big kid now.

Whoo hoo - look at Brianna, swinging in the big-kid swing all by herself!
Seconds after taking this cell phone pic, she slipped out and face planted into the sawdust.   Whoops.

We'll have to keep her in the baby swings for a long time still, I guess:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Yeah, it's a little expensive... but we love our Schwann's treats! I got sucked in months ago when Schwann's was giving away free $10 in products - no strings attached. I got a couple frozen veggie pizzas, which came with some great coupons for 20% all purchases for the following 3 months, delivered by a very friendly "Schwann's Man" named Mike... and now we're regulars. I know, I'm weak.
I call him the Schwann's Man because during my childhood that's what we referred to him as. I vividly remember standing at the door as my mom ordered from a catalog. My sister and I would peek over her shoulder, pointing at and begging for all the expensive popsicles. And my mom taught us the principle of delayed gratification by instantly giving in to every plea  (kidding mom - love you - thanks for all the sugar).
So we are now onto the next generation of Schwanning. Brianna recognizes the truck that pulls up every other week. She knows that truck has strawberry fruit bars in it. She knows to start searching for my purse to get my money out. She knows she gets a sticker from Mike.
And I get my chocolate frozen yogurt. We're both quite happy.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Walking to church

I love it when they hold hands. So sweet. And potentially life-saving, since she tends to dart out into the road without notice.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Brian's marketing tricks

He stuck one of his business cards in each box on SUU's travel board....  because college students are such a good target for car rental... ??

Friday, May 14, 2010

Brian's assistant manager

Nearly every morning Brianna asks to go to work with her daddy. I have to distract her by trying to make OUR "work" activities for the day sound wayyyy more fun. But this particular morning she was quite determined, and Brian quite obliging. He helped her get dressed (apparently jeans, a pink tshirt, and socks with sandals are within the ERAC dress code now). Notice the belt tied around her and the tie. And his attempts at doing her hair are always entertaining. I came home from my run to find her sitting in the front seat of his rental car, very seriously prepared for a day at the office. Honestly, I'm not even sure why she likes his office. It's pretty boring - just cars, computers... and that's about it. He loves his job and will be quite happy to continue doing it another 40 years. But I really do believe my "job" is way more fun!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I had Brian take this picture on his phone so I could remember to write about her latest random acts of silliness:
* See the bowl of watermelon pieces? We were sitting at the breakfast table when she suddenly pulled the entire bowl up to herself and said with a sneaky smile, "come SEE me, watermelon!"
* She came up and sat on my lap, pulled the collar of my shirt out and said, "sneeze, mommy!" so I pretended to sneeze and she pulled my shirt up over my nose and said, "bless you." Then laughed hysterically at herself. This was repeated to her silly heart's content.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Brian was so happy Brianna took him to the park

Brianna told her dad to sit on the stroller so she could push. He happily obliged. It's quite a walk from our house up the hill to Discovery Park, but we really enjoy it. Pretty soon I'll have to actually drive to the park...and everywhere else. I can't imagine pushing 3 kids around!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Both are about 2 lbs and looking perfect.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mom's Day

Happy Mother's Day to Brianna's favorite dance party partner.
I hope I can inherit her moves.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Toy Repairman

Brian spent a Saturday evening putting new batteries in over a dozen of Brianna's toys. He's our superhero.
We boxed up all the baby-ish toys to save for the new family additions (when do babies start liking toys? I can't even remember!). I got rid of a few of Brianna's toys that are just annoying and completely pointless. I've kept the ones out that have working batteries and are somewhat educational. But I still feel like we have way too many, and she's not even that interested in them unless she has a friend sitting there playing with them alongside her.

Friday, May 7, 2010

5th of May

I somehow became in charge of a Cinco de Mayo party for our friends here in Cedar. I don't know how stuff like that always happens to me. Though I was a tad stressed about it, we actually ended up having an awesome time and had a huge turnout.My friend Michelle was a lifesaver (as always). She helped me make a pinata (by "helped" - I mean I sat and watched her do it all).
We had a mexican potluck, Shakira music, and the pinata hit. Lots of friends, lots of fun! Yay for the France-Spanish war that enables all Americans to fiesta on the 5th of May (so weird, I know).


So we finally got rid of the old D.I. cheap Bissell and bought a Dyson. I spent a ridiculous amount of time researching vacuums and reading reviews. My two cents (actually, a lot more than that - even with our coupons and store credit, we paid nearly $300) - the Dyson (DC14 model from Target) is great. But it's not magical. I still have to cut hairs off the roller. It doesn't make the carpets look brand new. It's loud. When I chose to buy it over other higher-end yet less expensive models, I figured this would be the case. But I didn't want to always wonder if I was missing something. So now I know exactly what I have and don't have - a great vacuum, and an embarrassing amount of junk sucked off our carpets!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Just a couple of her many odd behaviors as of late: She climbs into boxes or similar objects and pokes her head out to say PEEKABOO!
She spreads out random items (in this case, bread slices)and says "choose one." We choose one, then she mixes the rest up and tells us to choose one again.
Love our silly girl.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

That's my girl

I handed Brianna a lollipop and a cucumber slice at the same time just to see which she would bite into first.

Love her.

Monday, May 3, 2010

punkin pie

Finally used up my frozen pumpkin from Fall.
Crust was made from ground up walnuts!
Felt uber-domestic.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

At Peyton Park a few weeks ago.
See her hand on his arm?
Love that.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Latest belly shots

In all my post-run sweaty glory....

92 days left to grow. I might need a bigger mirror.