Saturday, July 31, 2010

New family members have arrived!

They're so cute!
Easy to maintain, too - I only have to feed them twice a week, and never have to clean them.
Brianna's totally in love. She's named them Tad and Lily.
They were delivered mid-day by FedEx - but just left on my doorstep in the heat! Good thing I found them before they fried!
Can we get a warm welcome for the two newest McKells:
Hymenochirus boettgeri, aka African Dwarf Frogs. I won them from a blog giveaway from a company called Wild Creations. The little tank is an ecoaquarium, so it never has to be cleaned! Tuesdays and Fridays they each get one little pellet, of which we were given a year's worth. They'll live for up to 5 years and won't breed. Pretty sure there never existed an easier pet.
Favorite part: their weird floating habit when in the water - their Zen position. With arms and legs outstretched and one foot balancing, it’s as if these frogs are meditating on some sublime aspect of amphibious life. Or just reminiscing their previous life as a prince. Technically, this habit is called “burbling.”


Friday, July 30, 2010


I never planned on putting Brianna in preschool. Especially not this early. I mean - pay someone to teach her letters and numbers and do craft projects?! I can handle that on my own, thankyouverymuch. Plus my mom informed me years ago that I was her only child who never attended preschool. And obviously I turned out the smartest, most successful, and most humble. So there - no preschool needed. I would just keep my little buddy with me all day until she's old enough for kindergarten (which I've also thought about attempting to do on my own - yep, homeschool. But ultimately I know I won't do it. I'm too selfish. I want those 6 hours of daytime freedom to pursue my other ambitions!) But then our neighbor and good friend Michelle decided to start up a relatively informal preschool. It's her first time, so Brianna's somewhat of a guinea pig. There's just 3 kids, and it's only 3 days/wk, 2 hours each time. I was still a little hesitant, but then I realized I'm having twins. Two babies to take care of all by myself all day long. Brianna NEEDS to get out more than I'll be able to take her! So this is perfect. I don't have to drive anywhere or worry about anything bad happening to her.
I really never thought I'd be one of those moms who got all choked up when their "baby" went to school for the first time. But I did. And I had to document her entire journey there.
Obligatory picture by the front door wearing backpack and pigtails:
I told Brianna she would be learning about LETTERS at Michelle's house, so my quirky little child insisted on bringing her Leap Frog letter magnets in her backpack:
Excitedly walking the two blocks to preschool:
  Anxiously waiting in front of Michelle's house:
Being welcomed in by Miss Michelle:

Here are a few pictures from various activities they've done. Brianna gets so excited to come home everyday and show me what she's made. Each day's activities centers around an alphabet letter. Fortunately, Michelle runs a blog called FunOnADime, so I could steal these photos off of it:

To be honest, it makes me a tiny bit sad that my little girl has so much fun without me there. It's like I'm missing a little part of her life. But that has to happen eventually, right? I mean, I can't go off to college with her... (unless she goes to BYU-Hawaii, then I'm definitely tagging along). I'm grateful we have such a fun and convenient program going on here!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

37 week update

Ok, I am officially uncomfortable. No more floating through pregnancy.
-Getting up and down requires a HEAVE-HO and a grimace as I brace myself for a little bit of pain.
-Walking long distances is awkward and unnatural and occasionally painful. I wish my hip and core region would stop the loosening process.
-My hands are swollen and painful - especially at night. I haven't slept more than 3 hours without waking due to pain. I have to re-adjust my hand position or put them in the freezer. Not joking - I get up, walk over to the kitchen, and rub my hands on cold stuff from the freezer.
-Measuring 41.5 weeks (as of Monday's appointment, so probably more like 42 now. Or 82.)
38 lbs gained.
-Not a single stretch mark - UNTIL YESTERDAY. I swear, they literally appeared in one day. Just at the tip of my big belly around the button. Grrrr. I know it's superficial to care about, especially since I'd never wear anything that showed my stomach even if I had one worth showing off, but I was just very content with my former stretchmarkless status.
-I have elephant feet and ankles. Not painful though, just ugly.
-I'm running out of clothes to wear. Even Brian's tshirts aren't long enough.
-People have stopped telling me how small I look. Now I mostly hear comments like, "hang in there. You're almost done."

Done whining now. On with the good news:

-No progress towards labor! No dilating, no effacing - nuthin'!
-I can still carry around my 32 lb toddler just fine.
-So grateful my doc has let me be low-maintenance. No non-stress tests, no bed rest directives, no extra ultrasounds, no steroid shots, and he even let me skip my appointment last week because I was feeling fine and just didn't wanna go in!
-Bassinet ready. Diapers and clothes ready.
-My mom is coming for a week! Luckylucky Brianna to have her favorite playmate to rescue her from this potential upset in her little world.
-Still running everyday. Bizarre, I know. I can't even explain it. I just get up every morning and go. It actually feels more comfortable than walking. And for that short 30-40 minutes, I almost feel like a normal human being. But I've slowed down - as of today, I can't make it to 7 on my treadmill. For the first half of this pregnancy, I started at 7 and worked up from there. Now I plod along at a ten minute pace. I had to order new shoes because I'm destroying mine. Apparently running shoes weren't meant to hold up well for obese women  (which, according to the charts, I'm only 20 lbs away from).
-Heart rates are perfect - 145 and 143.
-My BP has stayed normal.
-7 days to go. SEVEN days to go!! Pray that we make it that far - these babies need every minute inside  (and I still have a few more to-do list items to cross off!)

You want more whale photos? I found another Beluga I resemble....
But - here are the real ones:
I know exactly what my mom will say when she sees these: "Chelsea, you are half NAKED! Put a shirt on!" Sorry mom. My definitions of modesty have changed.

Luxury spooning

Brianna and I had some time to kill in St. George while Brian was doing an ERAC errand a few Saturdays ago. So I opened up our Dixie Direct savings book (all you Southern Utahns should have it - such great deals) and found a BOGO coupon for frozen yogurt at a place called SPOON ME. We got there to find the place to be one of those posh ultra-swanky dessert dives, akin to Sweet Tooth Fairy next door (what kind of person pays six bucks for a cupcake?!)Brianna didn't seem to feel as out of place as I did. She happily requested "pink ice kweam!" with "booberries and keevee!" It was cute watching her dig in.
Afterward we went outside and must have missed the "do not climb on fountain" sign.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thoroughly showered

I feel very loved.
Here are photos from two baby showers we've had:
My good friend/neighbor/VT Cindy hosted this one here in Cedar. She happens to be a professional cake decorator! The one she made for us looked too cute to eat. Heather, my friend/neighbor/VTee did some fun/cute/cheesy games. All my friends were super generous with gifts. Sally even made me a mei tai in blue Hawaiian fabric so Brian would think it was manly enough to wear! Shanalee brought her adorable one year old boy-girl twins. I'm kindof obsessed with them. Amy brought her 3-yr old girl twins, and a frozen dinner meal for me - she knows what we'll need! It's amazing how many mom-of-twin friends I've made.I had so much fun hanging out there with the friends I've made over these past 12 months we've lived in Cedar City.

This next one was in May in Spanish Fork. Brian's mom and sister hosted it. I wish I had brought my camera or asked someone to take pictures. These are just a few that Ashley happened to take, but she was busy with her own kids so we don't have very many. In fact, I'm not even IN any of the pictures she took! That's fine with me though. Explanation on the birthday cakes: Barbara made the baby shower double as a birthday party for Brian, Jami, and Brenda. Top middle: Brianna's cousin Sara. Top right: JULES! Also pregnant! Love that girl. She's one of those people that I reallyreally genuinely miss living close to and regularly hanging out with. Below her: Amara Doxey. Middle: cousin Allison and Brianna testing out our new carseats Barbara gave us. Both bottom photos:  McKell relatives/friends I don't really know. I wish I had pictures of the other guests, like my superstar runner friend Maggie, my friend Mandy who has adorable adopted twin girls and is pregnant with a miracle baby, Aunt Marilyn, Aunt Paula....  yeah, I need to be better about bringing my camera! Again, everyone was superduper generous.
If you happen to be one of the fabulous people who were there at the showers or who sent a gift - THANKYOUTHANKYOU!! I wasn't great about sending out thankyou cards. I lost the list of who gave what gift, so I just went off memory. And my memory sucks. So I seek your forgiveness if I didn't appropriately bestow my gratitude. There's no way I'd feel as prepared as I do for these babies without the generosity and support of all our neighbors and friends and relatives. I hope they all realize how grateful we are.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The proper care and wearing-out of toddlers

We must look like really good parents who do wholesome family activities like spending the evening at the pool, right? Not really. Brianna just took a really late afternoon nap, and I just wanted to do something I knew would get rid of all her energy so she'd still go to bed at a decent hour. A trip to the pool always takes care of that.

Brianna's love-hate canine relationship

She claims she adores dogs.
Yet they get close and she freaks out.
She begs them to come back.
Then screams at them to get away.
Case in point:
While dog-sitting our neighbor/friend's Labrador named Dakota, Brianna pleaded with me nearly every minute of the day to go see "koota." So we'd go over, start playing in the backyard, then Brianna would run up the slide yelling, "koota, come slide wif me!"

Dakota obeyed and headed up the slide after her. But poor dog... as soon as Brianna was safely up high away from her, Brianna shrieks at the big puppy: "NO! YOU CAN'T GET ME! MOMMY HELP! GO 'WAY KOOTA!"

And this is why we may never have any other pets other than our frogs.

My Gold Medalist

The Utah Summer Games are held here in Cedar City every summer. This was their 25th anniversary.They're an Olympic-style sports festival for athletes of all ages and abilities, with an average of 9,600 participants, 50,000 spectators, and 1,000 volunteers each year. I participated in the 5K and 10K last summer and loved it (and secretly want to do the half marathon this September). Brian didn't do anything last year but seriously benefit from the increase in car rental business. But this year he decided to tap into his competitive side and sign up for the Basketball Skills event. It was a one-night competition featuring foul shots, 3-pointers, and a two minute crazy shooting contest  (that's what I called it at least). Brianna and I were there to cheer him on:
Top left: Brian registering, with a nervous Brianna anxiously awaiting start time. Middle photo: Brianna giving her dad a celebration hug at the end. Bottom right: Brianna cheering from the bleachers. As I was sitting on the bleachers next to her I decided to take a picture of what is left of my lap: 
Brian and Brianna scarfed down the athlete's pizza afterwards. Not sure why they decided to squat/sit down on the sidewalk, but I thought it was photo-worthy: 
And here we have our hometown hero sporting his Gold medal for the foul shot contest and bronze medal for the 3-point contest. He's on his phone in the left picture, probably calling someone to inform them of his feats. He's quite proud of himself.
And I'm just glad he had a lot of fun.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Adding to the list of things I love about our church... we do really cool projects like creating huge orchards, using the produce for some sort of domestically incredible project to benefit mankind, then offering up all the leftover fruit for free gleaning to the public! When I got word of the acres and acres of huge apricot trees needing gleaning in Hurricane (pronounced Her-kin - ridiculous, I know) I coerced my little family into spending our Friday night there:
We took home about forty pounds of these beauties. And that's only because Brian made me leave when it started to get so dark that we were tripping over everything. Brianna was actually geniunely helpful - a rarity. She got all the apricots on the low branches, and picked up apricots that feel off the tree when I shook the branches. She freaked out a little every time she saw a bug, and she ate so many apricots that she had ISSUES the next day (like 10 trips to the potty and 2 accidents), but I think she'd agree it was worth it. I owe the biggest thankyou to Brian, who doesn't even EAT apricots (weirdo), but came along and helped out anyway. We had fun passing out bags of these to our neighbors, since there were too many for us to eat and I'm not about to do any big projects with them. I'm going to miss fruit excursions like this when the babes come and it's not quite so easy to take off whenever we want. But I'd rather have babies than apricots, so I'm happy. And very full of vitamin A.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

uuuuu rrrrr so beautifuuulll... toooo meeeee

This is probably one of those toddler behaviors that only the mother finds absolutely adorable and hilarious....

Often on our stroller rides, Brianna will get in a silly mood and suddenly whip her head around squealing "PEEK A BOOOO!" Then she sits forward again, waits a few seconds, and spins around again yelling "PEEK A BOOOO! I seeeee YOU!"
I love it.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The suckiest vacuum ever

I never imagined I'd be so INTO something like vacuums. I'm as obsessed about having a clean house as I used to be about doing all my running drills. So when we upgraded to our Dyson from a cheap old Bissell a few months ago, I thought I had arrived. It sucked. We filled the canister several times just in the first cleaning. And I loved the other features on it too. But sadly, my poor Dyson was put to shame last week when I was coerced by a good friend into having a Rainbow vacuum presentation at our house. I reallyreally didn't want to do it. I hate sales presentations. Brian hates them even more, and was upset with me for agreeing to it. But our friends had to get ten friends to listen to the presentation so they could earn their Rainbow. So I agreed - just to help them out, and also to get my house well vacuumed for free. Little did I know I'd fall in lust with this contraption:
IwantitIwantitIwantit. Not bad enough to pay the $2200 of course, but enough to blog about how bad I want it. It's just amazing! It has a hundred features and can do absolutely everything you'd ever want, short of creating world peace. If you haven't tried it - DON'T. It's like those dang Twilight books & movies - you get sucked in and want more  (get it - I'm being all witty with the heteronym SUCK, and I think I'm really cool for doing it).  *sigh*  So until someday when Brian is CEO of Enterprise and we're making bazillions and I can buy this dream machine, I'll be satisfied with our overpriced Dyson and it's lame attempt at sucking.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I made bows...

...with a LOT of help. Crafty stuff like this doesn't come naturally/easily to me. At all. This isn't false modesty (I hate when people do self-deprecating junk like that - either in a manipulative compliment-phishing scheme, or an awkwardly desperate attempt to NOT appear self-righteous)  I really just can't see a pile of ribbon like this:
And think I could turn it into a pile of bows like this:
Not great photos, but you get the idea. I'm excited, because throwing on these little bows is so quick and easy, and can really up a kid's cuteness level. But I hate buying them, because we lose them so easily. If Brianna decides she's done wearing it, she simply takes it off - whether we're at the park, church, strollering, etc. So if I don't notice, it's gone forevah. But these are so cheap and easy, it's not a big deal if she loses them. I didn't even pay for the ribbons - they're gift wrap ribbons I've saved in my stash of gift wrapping materials, dating as far back as our wedding!

As you can see, Brianna wanted to model all the hairbows. At once. Then all the headbands, which we took out to get ready for her baby sister. But hopefully the new little princess is born with at least a little hair, so we can clip on bows to match her big sister.

Or maybe I'll be so overwhelmed and sleep deprived that my children will be lucky to fed and clothed. Forget cute.

Yay for girly stuff!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

36 weeks

Special delivery, special pair
Two little infants left in your care
It won't be easy this great big task
God thought you were the one He would ask
To guide and rear two at the same time
Through fights and mishaps and lots of grime
He will give you strength for the longest day
And He will always be there to show you the way
Though times you will feel that you are alone
There are a lot of twins mothers who have two that are grown
So with this in mind that others have survived the test
You'll thank God for your double blessing and do your best

Still feeling great! We're on the homestretch!
I'll do a better update at 37.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Our last date

Well, I guess it's not accurate to say this was our LAST date... I mean, eventually our kids will be old enough to leave with babysitters/friends... but last Saturday felt like a last hurrah to our relative ease in planning outings together. Our good friends agreed to let Brianna play at their house for a few hours, and we had initially planned to go see Eclipse. But then I remembered that the temple would be closed next Saturday (Pioneer Day), and the Saturday after that might be toooooo late (and my dress TOO TIGHT!) and the movie theater would still be open on the holiday and we could wait to see Eclipse.  So we trekked down to the sweltering desert of St. George and did our last session together, then went to a little outdoor bistro with misters and fans blowing on us. It was so nice to spend time together! I'm going to really miss going to the temple with Brian. It will be a long time before we can do that again... I mean, who's going to watch our crazy toddler and infant twins?! Even in a year or two when they're older and weaned and content without with their parents nearby... there's THREE of them - that's a lot to ask anyone to take care of! I'd like to know how other parents manage temple trips in the midst of these young-family years. I know we can trade off and just go without each other... but that's not the same. We did it when we were in Vernal - the temple was walking distance away, so once a week I'd say adios to Brian as soon as he got home from work and head over. I guess it's a small sacrifice to make, in the long run. When we're old, we can do whatever we want whenever. Just like the first 3 years of our marriage - we got to enjoy trips together nearly every week, with a frozen yogurt date afterward. Then a little break when the monkey arrived. But as soon as she'd take expressed milk in a bottle, I could go again. Now, though, even in a few months when our babies might do the same, I can't imagine leaving Brian solo with all three! So... no solution. We'll just figure it out somehow (that seems to be my motto with life-planning in general these days - we'll just figure it out somehow). Another reason I'll miss having official dates with Brian - he gets all suave and opens doors, holds my hands, sneaks kisses.... it's so fun, and makes me feel attractive despite my large-woman status. I love my B. I guess we'll just have to get more creative.... or more boring!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Yard Sale-ing

My Facebook status last Friday afternoon was, "Confession: I love going to yard sales. Trashy? Maybe. But I've seriously scored the last few weekends, and just had a very lucrative start to another!"  I got a dozen or so responses negating my suggestion that yard sales are anything less than totally classy. Hmmm....  well, whatever they are, I've been hitting more of them this summer than ever before in my life. I even make a list on Thursday night of all the ones I've seen advertised and mapquest them to find the best routes (cuz you can't depend on signage - people make crappy signs). Sometimes they're a big waste of my time, and it's nothing but junk at the sale. Or worse - overpriced junk. I get seriously frustrated with people who expect near-retail prices for their used - or even unused - belongings at their yard sales. Five bucks for a shirt? Sure, at TJMaxx or Ross. Not at a yard sale. Two bucks, max.
But I'd say over half the time I find something I actually really, really wanted/needed, for an awesome deal. Like this weekend - we needed a longer hose and a watering bucket. Found 'em - a few quarters each. I need some post-maternity clothes to wear til I'm in my prepreg clothes - found 'em! I bought some girl's collection of solid colored vneck loooooong tshirts (perfect for nursing and hiding the tummy pooch) for .50 each! And her new-looking Lucky jeans - size LONG - same price! This past weekend we also got beach toys, baby stuff, a present for mom, sliding organizer bins, a swimsuit for Brianna, 5 pairs of shoes for her.... I won't bore you with the list - but you get the point. I got cool stuff. For cheap. And a little bit of an adernaline rush along with it. Not joking - anybody else get a little high off of finding a fabulous deal on something you really wanted/needed?  *sigh* I'm going to miss my weekend yard sales when the babes come and I can't really go  (Brian works every Saturday - even when he technically has the day off).
Related story: here's a photo from a yard sale fundraiser we held here in Cedar (actually, the next town up in Enoch) for our La Leche League group:
I'm in the red shirt on the left. If you click on it, you'll see a belly photo. But that was back at 28 weeks, when I constantly was told how small I looked for carrying twins. That doesn't happen very much anymore :)  I promise I was actually helping at the sale, not just shopping. The whole experience made me appreciate how much work goes into doing a yard sale right! Organizing, pricing, advertising, crowd control, cashiering, negotiating.... ugh. I was pretty wiped out by the end. I doubt I'll ever hold my own yard sale - not worth the effort. I just freecycle everything I don't need, or sell via craigslist. Even someday when we're filthy rich (like - we can afford to actually own two cars) I'll still be a yardsaler. Brian says I don't do my part supporting the economy. Psh.   I just love the whole concept of one's person's trash being another's treasure.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thar she blows...

Ever seen the Great White Whale?
This was taken June 24 - in my 33rd week.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

From Brianna's mouth

7/8  "Mommy, go find my blanket. Don't be scared."
7/9  "Baby brother wear diapers. I don't wear diapers. I not wet my bed."  
7/10 "Mommy you're silly. Daddy silly. I not silly."
7/11 "Look, airplane! I go airplane and go see Nonny!"
7/12 "I want to go shopping. I need to buy stuff."
  -- "I need some icecream before I eat my popsicle."
7/13 "No blanket, you can't come with me to school."
7/14 "Baby brother name Triangle."
7/15  "I want to hug you around your neck!"
  -- "It's hhhhhot. You need to cool me off."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

35 weeks and still kickin'

Today might have been our last ultrasound (hooray! It's not easy laying on my back that long!). I'm so incredibly grateful that we've made it this far and are doing so well. Months ago I pictured myself mid-July being miserable on bedrest, or delivering premature babies - simply because that's the twin-preg story I hear most often. But I'm feeling great! Besides the annoyance of swollen hands and feet, I have nothing to complain about. I used to think that everyday was my last day of running, but now I can picture myself still hitting the trails/treadmill right up until delivery day. It's such a blessing to be able to still be fully active, because anything less would be extremely difficult, considering my circumstances - no family around, Brian working 11-12 hrs/day, and an active toddler to entertain. Brianna goes nuts staying inside for more than an hour, so we're always heading out on walks, pool trips, park trips, beach trips, playdates, etc. And I still have SO much to do in my house before the babies come - lots of unfinished projects, stuff to organize, clutter to de-clutter...  so being able to do everything I need/want to do is a tremendous blessing. Now we just have to get big healthy babies out, breastfeed successfully, recover quickly, and all my prayers will be answered!
Today's photoshoot: 
Our boy was facing away from us, so all that can really be seen is an ear and his hand. But obviously our daughter's face shot is a little easier to see. The ultrasound tech said that they're just getting too big to get good pictures. The last photo is of their heads next to each other! They're both lying breech & parallel. I love thinking of them cuddling up with each other, floating around in the amniotic fluid...but in all reality, they're probably very squished and shoving each other around a lot. Here's the best part: at their last ultrasound they weighed 3-6 and 3-9, so I was crossing my fingers for at least 4-8 each... but to my delight, our son's estimated weight is FIVE POUNDS and his twin sister FIVE POUNDS FOUR OUNCES!  My ecstatic happy-party was soon shut down when the tech reminded me that these estimations are based on head, abdomen, and femur measurements, which can be difficult to accurately acquire, so they could be off by as much as a pound.  Psh.  Whatev. I have at least 10 pounds of baby in me, and no one will convince me otherwise. It helps me justify the 37 lbs I've gained, which I'm also blaming partially on water weight from the minor edema. Nevermind the 9pm 8th meal I regularly indulge in. Brian has stopped commenting on my late-night eating habits, since he knows I'll just refute with, "it's not for me, it's for your babies." He's also stopped commenting on the very embarrassing fact that I now outweigh him, which I never thought possible. But our skinny ERAC workaholic superhero has lost 10 pounds during this pregnancy, so I had the odds against me.
So if all continues to go well, we'll have delivery (operation) day exactly 3 weeks from now. That's 21 days, people. TWENTY ONE DAYS.  ahhhhh!  So much to do. So easy to push it all off and just play with Brianna all day. So happy I get my babies soon!

That's all for now.

What's that, you say?
You want the 35-week belly picture?
You wanna know exactly what a fat swollen Chelsea looks like?
 Ok, fine - here's my latest:
... in all my blubbery glory, with my little-white-whale-on-the-go at my side. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming...  (thank you Dory!)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Brian Jr.

The reality that I'm having a BOY has just barely started to sink in. It's so weird to imagine myself with a man-cub in arms, since my vast motherhood experience (of one child) has accustomed me to the bows, flowers, pink, and drama of baby girl care. But seeing these pictures of my husband as a child gives me an idea of the fun and cuteness I get to look forward to: