Friday, April 29, 2011

Runs in the Family!

I often (and by often, I mean ALL THE FRIGGIN TIME) get asked, "so do twins run in your family?"
I'm pretty sure that 97.43% of the time, what they're really wanting to know is if there were any fertility treatments involved. Gotta love nosy strangers.
I usually just smile and say, "they do now!" or "yeah, we do 5Ks and Half Marathons."
But really - Brian's Berrett Grandparents had a similar family dynamic many years ago!
This is Marjorie and Daryl, with 3 yr old Barbara and 1 yr old twins Bill & Brad.
Pleasant Grove Strawberry Days, June 4th 1953. Thanks Aunt Brenda (the genealogy queen!) for sending this to me!
As the story goes, Marjorie was told she wasn't having twins - just one big baby. But she told her doctor that she felt like there were two. He assured her she was wrong. But on birth-day, he ate those words!
I'm very grateful that MY surprise news occurred months before birth-day!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

First shopping trip

I actually didn't plan on doing this. Ever.
There has been no store item needed badly enough to make me want to take the whole crew out by myself. We've shopped numerous times as a family - Brian included - but never just myself with the 3 munchkins.
But on the way home from a playdate, I had to use the loo. Bad. (Could be that 96 oz of water I drink everyday). We were passing D.I. and I had been wanting to check it out anyway (Bountiful is rumored to have the best DI in the state). So I took a big gulp and pulled into the parking lot.
No wrap with me, so I had to have one baby in the basket + carseat, one sitting in the basket kid-seat, and Brianna walking (she wasn't happy about losing her seat privileges).
It was a little circus-like, but being in Utah - land of little children eeeeverywhere, we didn't get stared at too much.
It went well - as long as I kept moving and stayed a step ahead of their needs. Still not planning on doing this again - ever - but now I know that if I'm desperate for milk and bread at the store, I don't have to call a babysitter. I can go out solo.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What would I DO without my bf laptop?! Oh yeah - sleep.

A little while ago I finally got around to trying out Skype. This is a picture of my computer screen - I was "skyping" with Steve in Texas, Dave & Jenny & kids in Seattle, and Meg & kids in Sacramento. It was so fun!  Except for the part where my brother mooned everyone.

I was also making collages on Picasa, blogging, and Facebooking. The ultimate virtual multi-tasking.
But of course, as usual, I should have been sleeping. Part of my sleep deprivation problem can't be blamed on the babies - I just need to log OFF earlier at night!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Only a mother could love...

One of the things about motherhood that has surprised me the most is how I can look at pictures like these of my own children and truly, honestly think it is the most adorable thing ever.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I smiled during General Conference when President Monson shared this same quote that I have up in our home:
I've thought about it a lot (since it's above my oven, and I use my oven a little too frequently :)
The obvious and probably intended meaning is toward marriages - you chose your love (spouse) and now you need to LOVE them. Period. Through trials and differences, forgiving mistakes... you made your choice and you need to stick with it (and by "you" I'm talking in a universal sense). But going beyond that, I often think about my current stage of life and the choices that brought me here. I'm at home all day with three kids. I don't do much besides domestic stuff. I spend hours and hours just keeping everybody here fed and clean. There is so much in the world that I'm not involved in that I would love to be involved in. I've missed voting the past few opportunities because I've felt too knee-deep in diapers to take the time to research the candidates! IF I do my hair and makeup, it's a one-minute quick job. I haven't even unpacked one of my boxes of clothes, because it's my "cute" stuff, and most of the time I hang out in old running shirts and pants! I don't read for pleasure at all anymore - I barely have time to read articles online about children-type issues (most recently googled "what to do when baby falls off bed." Sorry Bennett. Poor guy). I don't blog like I'd like to. I don't exercise like I'd to. Heck, I don't even PARENT like I'd like to! Sometimes I think - did I really sign up for this?! What was I thinking when I chose this route? This is HARD and challenging and I'm not exactly mastering the challenge. I think by the time I figure this out, my kids will be off to college. I've been reading lately about old friends and teammates still in the racing-world.... doing Boston, big local races, winning prize money, running sub-6 pace for miles and miles and miles... I used to do that! And maybe I still could. But not with my current lifestyle and muffin-top! But I'm trying to remember that I did CHOOSE my love... and my loves are my kids. They mean the world to me and have brought more joy in my life than I ever imagined possible. That's a little cliche but really - it's such an intense feeling when I'm holding them all tight, or just sitting on the floor playing with them all.... pure joy and bliss. And I definitely CHOSE to have them here - pregnancy wasn't an accident! Now I need to FORGET about what I'm not doing and what I'm possibly missing out on (and stop rambling here), and just love my choices.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New habits

We're two weeks into the Slim Down For Summer challenge on my friend Michelle's FunOnADime blog. It's going SO well! I love the motivation to improve my habits. I've earned full points every day, except for a few nights I didn't get at least 6 hours of sleep. I'll give you two guesses why.                  But the no-added-sugar and 8pm food curfew are awesome - I feel SO much better and healthier. And honestly - not deprived at all. The world is so full of yummily delicious foods that are good for you... it's not hard to cut out the crap once you get the right mindset going. Oh, and the fact that I'm COMPETING for PRIZES.... get ready for a "I WON THE CHALLENGE" post 6 weeks from now! Nothing like a little extrinsic motivation to keep ya going.
This week's "bonus point" opportunity was to simply do something fun and new with your kids/family. So I let the nanny and butler have a few days off, told Dora adios, and tried to do something more creative than just go to the park (lately our second home on these warmish Spring days).
Then I remembered I have no creative bones in my body.
So we settled for the "new" part and ventured out on a walk, stopping whenever Brianna saw something she wanted to do. Like balance-walk on a rock wall:
And  run around the playhouse at McDonalds.  (is it trashy to use their equipment without buying anything?? I don't want Brianna to find out that food is available there!)
And stop and stare at the guy from Liberty Tax getting paid to stand outside and wave around that sign. Now THAT would be my dream job.  (so sarcastic. It looks like mind numbing torture)

We also made a dozen home videos with my fake-Flip camera (cheap knockoff from Dell, but it works well enough!) and then I let the kids watch them. They all looooove to watch videos of themselves. Vain, vain children...

And finger paint... with q-tips.  Somehow our finger paints lost their thick consistency and got watery. So instead of paint brushes that I'd have to clean (because heaven knows I already have enough things to clean), we just use CHEAP q-tips... the ones that are $3 for 1000 of them. We'll re-use them a couple times but then just toss.
And I think we did some other new, fun activities.... but I have no more pictures, and I can't even remember what happened 5 minutes ago, so I won't try to conjure up memories from the week.
Honestly - seriously honestly - I'm just glad at the end of the day that we all are alive and well. That seems like a big accomplishment to me some days.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Air bum

I found Courtney sleeping like this for the first time.
It was an awwwwwww moment for me, because this is how Brianna used to sleep when she got into the older-baby/toddler stage. I still occasionally find Brianna like this. Our babies are getting older! No more swaddling tight.
Why do babies sleep like this?? I tried it myself (I'll spare you a picture), and I didn't find it comfortable at all. I also tried sucking on a pacifier. Ew. Not enjoyable.
Babies are weird.
(And I'm weirder, obviously unless YOU TOO have tried the binky and bum-up sleeping. Admit it.)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The housing sitch

We are landlords xtimesx two. Cedar and Provo.
We did not plan on this happening, and we're not especially enjoying it.
At the time(s), buying instead of renting seemed like a good idea. And since we had the 20% down saved, we thought - good investment, lower mortgage payments than renting costs, interest tax deductible, personally satisfying, etc...
Now I'm thinking... pain in the rear.
We hired a property management company for our Cedar place, and they think it's a good idea to spend all our rental income on overpriced unnecessary repairs. If they weren't doing that, then our rental situation would be golden - we got our place rented out the day we left, to an ideal individual, with a payment that lets us break even.  So I had a very unpleasant confrontational conversation with them recently. I strongly dislike those kind of conversations, but I'm not one to back down from them. Brian's the passive, maybe passive-aggressive type... I am not. So after calling them out (the prop management co), things should be ok there. But man.... I hope the market improves and we can sell the sucker. Soon.
Backyard in P-town. Good memories there. Wish we could move back!

Provo.... our renter there is moving. I guess. Someday. We had our 30-days-notice like 2 months ago. She's buying a home and I guess it's taking longer than expected. So I'm now taking down the ads I put up, because it's driving me nuts to be talking to potential renters and not give them the availability date.
The whole thing gives me total anxiety, cuz I'm just worried about finding new renters and having a lapse in between where we're paying our rent here plus the mortgage there. We'd love to sell this house too, but unfortunately the darn neighbors just did a short sale, so our place will likely appraise for less. And I don't know the first thing about how to sell a house. I only know how to buy them and regret it later.
But maybe we'll just keep these houses forever. Maybe our kids or their cousins will want to go to BYU or SUU, and we can let them use our homes.
So the burning question that hurts my head to think about too long.... what do we do NOW? Keep renting? I hate renting. I feel like it's throwing away money. Buy another small townhouse? Right. So then Brian's job will take us somewhere else and we can have three houses to rent out. That would be FUN. But maybe his job will keep us in this area for the next 5 years. Then we should definitely BUY something.... and the sooner the better.  A crystal ball? Anyone? PLEASE!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Blogless in Bountiful

I haven't blogged in forevvveerr (relatively).
I don't even know why.
No profound existential soul-searching purposeful fakey-bloggy-break going on.
Just not gettin' around to it.
If I stop Facebooking and Gmailing and Swagbucking too....someone call the authorities. I'll really have lost my virtual soul.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Paper or plastic? Neither!

I'm very picky about which grocery stores I chose to patronize.
In Cedar and Vernal, there weren't many options. So we did big shopping trips on our out-of-town ventures.
But now we're in the "big" city, with a dozen options within 10 minutes drive (including a couple with awful names - Dick's and Winegars. What were they thinking?!)  I've taken myself on a tour de markets and decided the winner is.... Smith's. They have all the little features I like. A discount for bringing my own bags, a drop-in childcare for Brianna to play at, free samples, good sales on non-junk food (drives me nuts that so many stores do all their big sales on crap!) a nice floral dept, random clearance carts (50% off the slightly dented cans? yesplease!), the cute carts with toddler cars attached, and even discounts on gasoline for shopping there. (Smith's - if you're reading this - feel free to compensate me for the free advertising). Oh, and Brianna's favorite - mini carts:

If only they gave a discount for remembering to wear sparkly fairy wings to the store.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

8 months old today

This is my favorite stage!
Large font is typically annoying and over dramatic, but I really mean it - this is the mostest bestest baby time! 
I love how they just like to sit and play with toys. I love that they're cool with eating a large variety of solids, or just breastfeeding all day. I love that they're sleeping a little better these days and are predictable enough that I can venture out. I love how they don't throw tantrums yet - they're just content little babes.  

I've been looking forward to this ever since they were born. I mean - every stage of childhood is sweet and enjoyable. But this is just my favorite. 
I hope I'll never look back and wish I had just soaked it all up more. I'm pretty sure I'm spending as much time with them as possible, as evident by my overwhelming to-do list that just keeps getting longer and my perpetually untidy home. Courtney and Bennett seem to just draw me in with their eyes-that-never-blink, tempting me to attack them with kisses and tickles. Mid-play I'll have thoughts like "I really should pick up that junk over there" or "If I don't plan dinner now we'll end up having cereal again..."  
Then Brian comes home to cereal and a messy house.
But happy babies! 
Oh well.
More on baby B: 
He's 18.3 pounds, according to my scale this morning. He has two bottom teeth well out of the gums, and a few swollen areas where more might pop through. He's bitten me a few times, and cries like I just seriously offended him when he's corrected for his biting. His hair is super thick and fun to mess with. In my mental-draft-mode is a ridiculously cute collage of bathtime hair-do photos.  He sleeps with a binky in his mouth about half the time. He seems to enjoy rougher play than the girls ever did/do. His big blue eyes and easily prompted huge open-mouth-smile melt hearts. 
Baby C:
She's 17.2 pounds, so says my scale. I wish I knew the percentile, but they won't be going in for a well-check until August. And hopefully no doc trips in between - keeping Courtney's perfect health record! Such a blessing - she's never had any bug worse than a runny nose (knock on wood). Bennett had a minor croup case several months ago, so he can't claim the same. Courtney has one little tooth on the bottom, and she uses it well. This girl LOVES to eat food! Bennett likes it now too (finally), but Courtney will go through an amazing amount of baby mush. My latest concoction of sweetpotato-salmon-peas literally made her smile at each bite. She reminds me of a baby bird - so petite, yet always open-mouthed and squawking. And she can get LOUD. She does an ear-piercing scream. It makes Brianna glare at her and say, "Court, stop it!"   Her laugh is different than Bennett's - it starts as a nasil-y chuckle before turning into rolling giggles. She does a caterpiller crawl - where she brings her bum into the air, then pushes forward or backward. I've asked her to please stop. My babies aren't allowed to be mobile until I'm ready... which might not be until they're old enough to understand and comply with requests to not put crap in their mouths. 
Courtney is Brian's little princess, Brianna's sweet little sister, and Bennett's best buddy forever. 

They've really started noticing each other. They smile and laugh and make noises directed at one another. It's so fun to watch. Hard to get on camera though, because they stop when they realize they're being watched. They also poke and grab and pinch and kick each other. That's not so fun to watch. And it's the reason we don't tandem-nurse very often. Maybe only once a day. I have to put a blanket between their faces and constantly redirect their pinching fingers away from their siblings' eyes and nose. They also grab and pinch my nose, but I think that's cute (except when I haven't kept their nails short. I have a LOT of nails to keep trimmed in this family!) They're still wearing size 2 diapers. Could probably be in size 3, but I still have like 600 size 2s. Whoops. They unfortunately are quite attracted to Brianna's cartoons. I try to keep them away from it, but they are as mesmerized by Dora as she is. So every time I get a compliment on how well I'm doing this mom-thing, I think, "you wouldn't say that if you saw my kids parked in front of the TV!"   It will get better when the weather's nicer. On the few Spring-like days we've had so far, we spend more time at the park than with PBS Kids. Then I feel like less of a bum-mom. 

Tonight, Brian's in charge of the babes. I'm taking Brianna to the Rec Center pool, after I do a kickboxing/pump class. That's another part about this stage I'm enjoying - even though they don't use bottles, Brian can handle the kids all by himself! 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday morning at the McKell home

Having a later church time isn't my first choice.
We all end up lounging around like this all morning:

And we're STILL always late for church! You'd think we would have it figured out by now. But despite my best intentions.... we walk in during the opening song every time.   Lame. 

Friday, April 1, 2011


What does a SAHM mom of boy-girl twins do on April Fools Day to entertain herself?
They loved it!
Or not.

 And for some reason Brian didn't think it was very funny either.
So much for trying to fool him. I guess I'll have to stick to the original plan of replacing his Oreo cookie filling with white toothpaste.