Monday, February 28, 2011

Moving-McKells, Bountiful-Bound

There are very few days blogging doesn't cross my mind at all. I'm frequently composing blog posts in my mind as I go about life. I snap pictures of my kids and think about how fun it will be to post. I don't always actually get around to DOING it, but like so many other areas of my life... I have ambitious intentions and lack time to accomplish everything I want.
I can honestly say that for the past few days, I haven't given a single thought to blogging. Or much of anything.... besides.... MOVING. Packing, cleaning, renting, calling, planning, boxing, tossing, crying, smiling, praying, hoping, stressing, wondering, thanking, strategizing, reminiscing....
But mostly just packing. That's the focus.
Because we need to be across the state by Friday so Brian can start his new position with Enterprise.
He's the new Branch Manager of the BOUNTIFUL, UTAH office! It's twice the size of the Cedar office, so definitely a step up for him. He's pretty jazzed about the promotion. I am too... except for the whole part about it being 200 miles away from my LIFE.
I love Cedar City. I love my friends here. I love my ward. I love our house. I love the running trails under the C on the mountain. I love that I know where everything is. I love our mild 4 seasons. We are settled and happy here. But like that annoying quote about how violins strings only play music when they're stretched... it's time for a new adventure and a new chapter of life. Another annoying quote - don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.  =P    PPpPllbBBbbBhhbhhBbhhh.  That's me not smiling. Just pouting.
But I'm trying very hard to move forward with a good attitude. I'm playing the part of the supportive wife and making this transition happen. Brian claimed he would take some of his days off (because he has TONS of them that he always just allows to expire) and help pack up. But that turned into a few hours off. Which were still mostly spent on the phone and computer doing work-related activities. That's why Brian's getting promoted. He's freakishly devoted to his career.
It's been little miracle after little miracle. We found an awesome property management company (JEM), who found a renter for our home immediately. And at a price that covers our mortgage and a little more (which may get eaten up in maintenance, but at least we're not losing anything and don't have to worry about details). Finding a place in Bountiful has been a circus. Searching KSL and weirdo-scam-infested Craigslist.... making tons of calls (bye bye cell minutes! ouch!) and sending emails... getting the run-around from so many flaky people...  But I think we found a keeper. This morning. A lady posted their condo at 8am, then saw my ad on KSL entitled "Great renters looking for great rental," and called me up immediately. Turns out she has boy-girl baby twins too! I think this was meant to be. 
I have so many people to thank and I'll never be able to repay them. The Gardner family... watching our kids, bringing food (especially helpful, since I've been forgetting to feed myself and children during these chaotic days), spending hours packing/cleaning/organizing with me....  seriously, I'm not sure we've ever had such generous friends. Kristin, Jami, Lisa, Monica, Tammi, Lindy, Cindy, Dana, Marilyn... these women have all been angels. Absolute lifesavers. And I didn't even ASK - they just CAME! Amazing. I'm bringing them all Trek Bars from Great Harvest tomorrow. Then we're even, right?!
Tomorrow... TOMORROW - - we're getting the moving van! Then we'll fill it with our worldly possessions and say goodbye to a fabulous chapter in our lives. I don't know what awaits us in Northern Utah, but if it's even close to as good as Southern Utah has been to us, then we're in for some great adventures.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Brianna's requests

"Can Courtney sleep with me?!"
So sweet. Someday I'll say yes  (when Courtney can defend herself!)
For now, I just let them cuddle together for a few minutes:
Brianna, please take your thumb out of your mouth! Courtney, how about not looking like a deer in headlights?!
Much better. Thankyou.
They sure do look like sisters, eh?  Or perhaps more like TWINS than Courtney and Bennett do!

Another common request:

And my response is always, "yes, on the couch."
So she runs to the couch.
It's a good thing Bennett's pretty resilient, because this happens:

Yep, it's awkward for everyone.... poor Bennett being jostled around, Brianna making her best attempt to get the wiggly boy comfortable, and me - wanting to step in, but staying back so I don't hurt her feelings.

So you can't blame Bennett for being a little alarmed when he's with her:

Mommy SAVE ME!

Don't worry buddy...  Brianna loves you!

Monday, February 21, 2011

baby blue

Bennett has big bright blue eyes    (and a messy face, but let's just focus on the eyes)
I love them. I don't know where they came from, since neither the Smiths nor McKells have any blue eye-ers. But I hope they stay like this forever. Because I'm just a tad infatuated with them.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A perfect Saturday morning

Back in the time of BC  (before children),  Saturday mornings were my absolute favorite. I looked forward to them like Christmas. I would get up early and head out to a race somewhere. Utah is great for that - a fun run of some sort nearly every Saturday all year - often multiple ones to choose from. After the race I would hang out and enjoy whatever else was going on, since usually these local races are held in conjunction with a town festival/parade/carnival or fundraiser of some sort. Then I went home feeling extremely productive, since I had a great workout and usually some cool prizes and good post-race snacks. The adrenaline rush kept me on a blissful high for the rest of the day. It was awesome.
I haven't had Saturday mornings like those in a longlong time, it seems. I've only done 3 races since the babies - a couple local 5Ks and a half marathon. They were all awesomely fun, but filled with anxiety over the welfare of my nurslings, preschooler, and poor husband in charge of them all. 
But this past Saturday I finally got to do a race that felt perfect. It was in warm, sunny Santa Clara, and I knew Brian would be totally fine with the kids. The babies are old enough now that they can be a little more patient when hungry, and are more predictable in their eating habits. Brian brought the double stroller and just rolled around with Brianna and them at the park where the race was held. He had a great time doing it - Brian sincerely loves spending time with his kids and is so good about supporting me in my little hobby. I was really shocked at my time - 20:18! I really didn't think I could go under 21 at all. But I tried to stay with some guys who said they keep a low 6-something pace, and though they beat me (grrrr), I think it helped me push myself more. I'm sosososoSO excited to try and do a 5K under 20. That was my big goal after having Brianna - I told myself I couldn't get pregnant again until I could do a 19-something 5K. I'm going to set the standard higher now - no getting pregnant until I can go sub-19. The race didn't do any awards or anything like that because it was a fundraiser for a little boy who got burned badly in a firework accident. The 8 year old, Jace, got to come down from the burn center at the U to see the race. Poor little guy was bandaged and swollen all over. I couldn't help but cry as his mother, sobbing, thanked everyone for coming out to support the event. There was a lot more to it than a 5K - they had a great band, jumper castle inflatables, a train, a BBQ, a Mexican lunch, a huge bake sale, and a little girl selling hairbows.  I felt it was my duty and obligation to spend as much money as possible there in support of the cause. So we took home a big bag of hairbows, an embarrassing number of bake sale items, and Brian went through the BBQ line more than once. We paid for Brianna to spend the whole time jumping in the inflatables and riding that cute little train. I laughed at myself being so spend-happy, because it's SO not like me. I don't indulge my children or myself very often. But the incredibly good cause and the happy endorphins from the race made me open my (Brian's) wallet like never before. Afterward we went to Costco and the temple, then took a nap on the drive home. Seriously, if only every Saturday morning could be so perfect....
As I was sitting on the park bench feeding Bennett, to my surprise I see these familiar folks go by in the train. Brian is such a goof. Love him.
Buying a ridiculous number of bows. Just had to support the cause, ya know. 
Brian and Brianna having a picnic with their BBQ lunches

Friday, February 18, 2011

Money lessons

I'm totally feeling too lazy to turn these pictures around or edit them in anyway. Just posting them to have it done. Most of the time I really sincerely enjoy blogging, but sometimes I feel like it's a self-imposed chore. Silly.

So here's Brianna with her CTR coin bank. We're trying to teach her the names and worth of the coins. It's actually pretty fun to see her get so excited about the whole thing. I'm looking forward to when she's a little older and can start doing extra chores and jobs to earn more coins for her bank.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Out of Brianna's mouth lately:

"Mommy let's hide and Bennett can try find us!"
"Sometimes you talk to me while I watching movie. It's not nice."
"Daddy get you back here right now and read me STORIES!"
"Scuze you, Bennett! Stinky boy!"
"Do you want me to call you Chelsea McKell?"
"Can I have another birthday?" 
"Can I put makeup on my toes?"
"Why you sad, momma? Tell me about it."
"This santa sticker goes in my armpit."
"I need a nap. I'm szah-stid"
"All of my fingers hurt. I need bandaids!"
"What's your full last first name mommy?"
"Where do you live mommy?"
"Hold on, I'm getting my gas out."
"Bennett you can't have pahsicles til you big like me!"
"Stop shooting me, dad-dog!"

"I wanna sit in highchair too! FEED ME!"
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Winter coping

There are some days - most, honestly - when I literally never leave my house. All day.
I'm more okay with that than most, because I'm totally a homebody. I like my house. I like staying inside playing with my kids and doing projects. I don't go crazy as long as I can at least get on the treadmill or do something really active indoors. But ....sometimes.... that's not enough and I still have to get out, even if it's just a walk around the block. So as soon as B gets home, I pick the fussier baby and take him or her for a sling ride in the snow.
It calms everyone down and we have a much more pleasant evening.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Insane sweat

For the few that know what I've talking about and might be interested...... I finally finished the Insanity program!  It took me about 4 months to finish the 60-day program. Not too impressive, I know. And technically I still haven't done it all, since I'm missing a couple of the "max" videos, so I just substituted the earlier ones. I really wanted to quit about a month into it, but having that calendar with the little check mark boxes kept me going. I hate not finishing things I start.
The giant beads of SWEAT on me after an Insanity video.
 So gross,  yet  so satisfying. 
Overall - LOVED it. Best exercise videos I've ever done, hands-down. They're super intense, and relatively short - perfect for a busy mom. I'll share my Fit Test results, with the numbers from my first test (Sept 28th - a month after my accident and nearly 2 months after having the babies) and my final test (yesterday. A little embarrassing how long it took me to finish 60 days, but some days I chose to run instead and didn't have time for both).  Switch Kicks: 98 to 124. Power Jacks: 43-52. Power Knees: 83-109. Power Jumps: 42-60. Globe Jumps: 9-11.5 Suicide Jumps: 14-20. Pushup Jacks: 9-21. Low Plank Obliques: 18-77.   I'm mad that Tanya girl got more than me on every exercise. I might hate her.  But I bet she hasn't had kids. So there.
I'm glad to be a lot stronger now than I was when I started. But I still have 10-15 lbs to lose. Apparently no amount of exercise can out-do my horrible mindless munching habits.  I'd love to start the program all over again and do another 60 days, but I scratched one of my discs. So I really only have like 4 of the videos now. I'll wait til Shaun T.'s next program comes out and buy it. It's called ASYLUM.   Perfect.  :)

Monday, February 14, 2011


B made this "fruit bouquet" for me!  I was totally impressed and very surprised because this really isn't like him. He planned it way ahead and spent a lot of time on it. My Valentine knows what I appreciate! Brianna was totally mesmerized by this creation when she discovered it in the fridge Valentine morning.
Taken with my 3MP cell phone! Who needs a big, expensive camera?!

This pictures from Brianna's first Valentines hang on our wall all year

Sunday, February 13, 2011

cute annoyance.

Ya know how it's really funny but kinda cruel to shine a flashlight on the ground in front of a cat or puppy and watch them chase it around...
That's what I think of when I put these jammies on Courtney. They've got bunnies on the feet, and she's obsessed with playing with them. It's entertaining to watch, but Courtney doesn't seem to be having fun. I think she's trying to get the bunnies OFF!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

half baked

Add this to the long list of my personal quirks:
I just can't bring myself to completely follow a recipe.
 Some people would say this to brag - like, yeah - I never follow recipes, and my products are still amazing.
My statement is more of a confession.  I'm too compulsive to just do what it says. I feel like I have to add more stuff. Or change something. Or I just don't want to get all the measuring tools dirty because then I have more dishes to wash.  Yep, I'm that ridiculous.
Sometimes, it turns ok out. Like last week when I decided that I'd try my hand at homemade granola bars. I went online and read through several recipes, a few blog tutorials, and got a general idea of how to do it. It took forrreeevvvveeerrr, but my version turned out decent:

Quite frequently though, I question my food prep methods. And my intelligence.
Because fiascos like this happen:
They were supposed to be peanut butter banana muffins. 
They ended up being just a big mess to clean up.

You'd think I'd just start following recipes exactly.  You'd think.   Hmph.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Spokane trip last month

This is one of those ridiculucously long and completely overdue trip recap posts.
The bane of the blogosphere, right?
Sorry. Doing it anyway.
Seriously, I'd love to blog in real-time... but that's only for people who HAVE time!
Let's start with December 25th, pm:
Getting through the SLC airport with our circus crew on Christmas Day evening. It all went amazingly smooth, though for some reason people stared at us a lot. I think some even applauded...

Brianna was so sweet and compliant through all the lines and security we went through. By the time we got past it all and to the kids' play area at our terminal, she was too stiff to go run around and have some fun!
Babies on our laps during the flight in their matching candy cane outfits. Bennett fell asleep nursing and Courtney fell asleep in her daddy's arms and Brianna watched her movie the whole time. Christmas miracle!
We spent a Dec 25 - Jan 10 at my parent's house for a holiday visit. This was the first trip to Spokane where I can honestly say I didn't feel like I was going home or was at my home. I was visiting my parents' home. My home is here with my little family. That's not a bad thing at all, I think. I very much enjoy visiting them and my old stompin' grounds. Perhaps it's another side effect of this sudden increase in munchkins - I'm developing a stronger sense of my family. Brian, Chelsea, Brianna, Courtney, Bennett.... these are the people I focus on. They are the ones who depend on me. They are the people I have a significant influence upon. The environment and atmosphere in our home strongly hinges on the decisions I make. I like that kind of control. Not in a control-freak-ish way... But you can agree that being a mom is empowering, right? It's tough being somewhere for a long time where that empowerment is gone. With that being said, we did have a WONDERFUL trip, and the best part was getting to share my two little bundles of happiness with others. They're in such a funcutesweetcharming stage of life - it's a shame to keep it all to myself. Sounds a little braggy, maybe... but that's just how I feel. My babies are incredible to me. Absolutely extrodinarily glorious and intoxicating. So we flew to Spokane to share them with some of the people we love most in the world. On with the photos....
Nonny, Lily, Courtney and the head-patting pink monkey.

Brianna was happy to wake up to snow in the front yard.
Brian showing Lily and Brianna the cats on the back porch. Deano and Azzie hangout inside a laundry basket on a heated blanket. Spoiled kitties.

Mom playing with Courtney. I loved how she took timet to enjoy them. Big cousin Connor liked them too. Sidenote - pretty sure I'm his favorite aunt.

The "chair-and-a-half."  Everyone in the fam loves it.

Meredith had to label her juice for Lily to protect it from Brian. His drinking problem is pretty bad. The man guzzles juice like no other.

Every time I visit Spokane, I like to do some big organizing project. Last time, it was their basement. I spent like 10 hours cleaning it out. I didn't have as much time/freedom during this trip, so I just spent a couple hours organizing all their DVDs/VHS tapes. We sent like 50 to Goodwill. I love getting rid of stuff - it's cathartic for me.

I got in trouble for bringing my babies to church the first week in their jammies. I was a little offended at that.... I mean - can't everyone just be happy we're THERE?! Who cares how the babies are dressed, as long as they're happy! But to please everyone, the following Sunday I put this cute little dress on Courtney.

Bennett the Zebra Rider.

Friends April and Kinsey made the arduous trek out to the Colbert countryside to visit me. It made my night! So good to connect with old friends. Kinsey's daughter is just 8 days apart from Brianna, so it was cute to see them interact. I wanted to visit with several other friends during my visit, but with the weather and the kiddos... it just didn't happen. I didn't even go to the Y at all! In past visits we went there EVERY day. It's a good thing my parent's home is huge or I would've had cabin fever.  

Brianna kissing her sibs night night. Mom got to witness all the sweetness and sassiness that is Brianna.
Once Nathan and Cougar were gone, Brianna and Lily really became inseparable buddies.

I finally went through my closet and threw away almost everything from High School. I had kept a ridiculous amount of junk, including these boxes full of old notes and random stuff from friends/boyfriends. It's too bad we weren't in text messaging back then - I could've saved a lot of trees.

Our "gift" to mom was a plane ticket to help me bring the kids back home (B only stayed 6 days).  Some gift, right?! But she was awesome and I couldn't have done it without her. The plane ride was a major endurance test for me. Mom stayed just 2 days in Cedar then went back to her busy life in Spokane. She made us an awesome dinner out of one of her fancy cooking mags. Brianna stills asks several times a week for Nonny to come visit again. I hope she does!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Board not Bored

I like that I grew up in a game-playing family. My parents met over a game of Scrabble. I watched my brothers play Risk. My little sister and I had a huge stash of board games to entertain ourselves with and accuse each other of cheating at. I still remember our favorites: The Babysitter's Club Game and Connect Four. One brother prided himself on his Trivial Pursuit skills. I invited groups of friends over to play Taboo and Guesstures - which I think were also used for FHE occasionally.
Poor Brian grew up with only Monopoly. Or at least that's what he claims. Knowing him, he may have just only enjoyed Monopoly, thus was oblivious to the existance of any other games. I have a very brand-loyal husband.
I'm excited for my kids to be at the game-playing ages - when they really understand and have fun being competitive.
Here's Brianna playing a couple games with her cousin Lily last month:

Elefun: catch the butterflies in your net!

Whacamole:  whack the moles!  With one mallet, not 3 as Brianna has in the bottom photo.