Friday, May 31, 2013

First bath in new home

They LOVE it!
Everything. Everything about this new place. Our kids are crazy about it.  Of course, I have my complaints. But overall... so worth the move.  They actually NEED baths every night now, because they're so darn dirty after playing outside ALLLLL day! After 2 years in a 3rd floor apt, this is heaven.

Now if I can just find where we packed the towels and jammies....

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Moving day!!

Off to our new Bountiful home! Exactly 1.4 miles away. May not seem like a big deal, but TOTALLY OVERWHELMING for me. SO.MUCH.TO.DO.  My poor children had to watch movies and play on the iPad for a couple days straight since I was too busy to play with them or take them anywhere. I promised I'd make it up to them, and I will.

Seriously, driving a UHaul was HARD! Totally nerve wracking. I went 20 MPH the whole way (which fortunately was just a couple miles).

This truck ended up DYING on us at 9pm on moving night. We had to jump start it. Which I'm totally grateful for, because UHaul refunded more than half our rental fee for that inconvenience. And they were super nice about it.

If you ever have to rent a moving van, UHaul is the least expensive for short moves. I checked out all the others and we really scored. Such a blessing! Because there are a bazillion little costs incurred related to moving, and it adds up. Glad that the truck didn't contribute to that very much.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Silver Maple Preschool Graduate

A cap and gown (and the traditional grad music) might have been a little much for a preschool graduation. But it was cute and she seemed to really enjoy it.
She told me she needed to wear the necklaces because, "I want to be FANCY today!"

We're both sad that preschool is over. She had a PHENOMENAL teacher. The kind of person you dream of finding to help you teach your child. Kimberly genuinely loved the children, and was absolutely BRILLIANT in working with them. And incredibly generous with her time and resources. There's no way she made a dime, with all the extra she provided.
We totally lucked out. Kimberly's waiting lists are already going for next year. We happened to find her on her first year of doing this, so there were only 6 in Brianna's class. Kimberly  was SO passionate about early education. She had multiple degrees and teaching awards and blew me away with her competency in teaching and organizing. And most important - helped Brianna LOVE LEARNING. She is SO excited for Kindergarten next year, and so well prepared. I owe so much of that to Silver Maple Preschool!

The Mandarin

Responsible parents bring their wild children to nice restaurants.
It's the classy thing to do.

(Brian's 31st birthday dinner. He chose the place. Big mistake. Big expensive mistake).

Sleep-inducing strawberries

Friday, May 24, 2013

Teeter Totter

Somehow Brianna learned that ridiculous rhyme:  "Teeter totter, bread and butter, wash your face with dirty water."
Um...Ew? Whoever thought of that....
(ps - the kids decided it would be fun to bury their shoes while I wasn't looking. Then forget where they buried them. So I was late for my spin class because we were all digging around the park for buried shoes.)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lil Ninjas Karate Preschool Recital

Brianna had a fun year of Karate Preschool. I can't say she's really "into" karate, as a sport/hobby, but it was good for her to learn. She can do some REALLY cute kicks/punches/stances. The Preschool part of it was quite a bit below her - a lot of letter recognition/sounds. But she had fun with it, and we were supporting my friend "Miss Kaylene" in her first year of teaching this, so I'm glad we did it.  And glad it's over :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

8 is great!

We celebrated our 8th anniversary with a morning run on the Blvd by the gorgeous Bountiful temple (5am!) Then I made him breakfast (a rarity...cuz he leaves before 6am). He arrived home early (5:45p vs the usual 7p) with roses, and I made this dinner. Cheesy I know. Literally, for one item anyway....
We have a hard time finding babysitters, so we took the kids with us to go walk around Temple Square in SLC. So pretty. Hard to believe we got married there 8 whole years ago!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The McKell schedule

This is how good we are at routine:

Thursday night, I looked at the clock and realized we should probably get the kids to bed. Since it was 10:15pm. But I felt bad, since they were having so much fun....eating frozen yogurt standing on the kitchen table...naked...

Saturday night, I look at the clock and see it's 9pm. I feel like quite the wildcrazy night-owl, as Brianna went to bed over 2 hrs ago, the babies went to sleep 90 minutes ago, and Brian passed out on the couch next to me half an hour ago.

The odd thing is - we'll all quite likely still wake up tomorrow at the usual time.

Friday, May 17, 2013


It's kinda sad.... but they're just totally in shock that they're all eating lunchTOGETHER ....  ON a table... that's CLEAN....and they're all wearing CLOTHES!
And that's why this was a Kodak-moment
(is that phrase totally outdated now??)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What are sisters for?

So sweet of Brianna to assist Courtney with her ties.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Here's the video of Brianna and I jumping out of a box, surprising my mom with her mother's day present...... US! It was hard keeping this big trip a secret for 3 weeks, but SO worth it for her reaction!! AND (Lindsay's version)   I'm so grateful to my friend who we hired to babysit the twins on Friday, since Brian couldn't get off work. She did a phenomenal job with them (probably better than I do, in many ways!) And grateful to Brian for supporting this adventure without complaining. I definitely had a hard time leaving my babies - totally got emotional at the airport dropoff - I've NEVER been away from them for one night, let alone THREE nights! But all reports say they're doing great and haven't complained much. Whew. I was very nervous about this being traumatic for them. But I'm glad I've got two little ones who can adapt well and are independent and secure! Will this trip mean full weaning finally?  We shall see!
Brianna is having the time of her LIFE here, playing with cousins Lily, Cougar, Lincoln, and McKay, exploring the woods all around Papa and Nonny's home, and just playing HARD nonstop. Not a second of TV or screen time at all. Just constant adventures!
I've got a lot more pictures to share. We'll see if I get around to it...  (I've got a terrible history with trying to do posts that involve multiple pictures....)
So glad we made this trip!  Very bittersweet to go back to real life tomorrow afternoon!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Not much better....

...than green drinks on mom's back porch on a Spring morning with my sista!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Horsey x 3

Obviously not a great quality photo.... But I'm glad Brian snapped it before the girls kicked Bennett off!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Brianna drew this on the iPad today:

I didn't ask for an explanation... 
But I have to assume she drew herself in the middle, with Brian on her right and me on her left.  
Somehow BOTH of her parents are wearing skirts. 
And I think she drew my pregnant belly??

Sidenote:  today Brianna complained that her piece of lasagna was smaller than mine and her Daddy's pieces. I told her that's because she has a small tummy, and mommy and daddy have bigger tummies. She said, "well that's just because you're pregnant!"  and I said, "so what about Daddy's tummy?"
She paused.
"Well, he's just big."

Friday, May 3, 2013

The school debate...

Choosing a school for Brianna is one of those topics that overwhelms me so much that I have to immediately stop thinking about it as soon as the thought surfaces.
It's one of those tricky balances, where I have to figure out what's BEST for her, what's BEST for the fam, what makes the most sense.... and then a lot of it is pure GAMBLE, because I don't have a crystal ball to see what a year in a certain educational setting will do for her.
The way I see it (and this is without doing as much research as I should), I have 4 choices:
-Homeschool. Honestly, I believe homeschooling moms are the most unselfish mothers out there. They sacrifice so much, and work so hard, and their motive is simply doing what is best for their child regardless of what mountains they have to move to make it happen. Am I this unselfish? Probably not. It's too intimidating. Unless I have a strong impression that this is what Brianna needs, I'm putting her in a formal educational setting outside the home. Half day. Full day is too much at such a young age. Children need to be with their parents. I believe that.
-Public School.  It's free! It's walking distance from home! Our friends are there! It's easy!  And it worked fine for me  (I hate that argument. Like people saying, "I never wear my seatbelt, and I'm fine," or "I formula fed all my babies, and they're fine" or "I eat junk food, and look how sexy I still am!")  Just because you survive something doesn't mean you wouldn't have been so much better off with a different choice.  To be fair, I haven't toured the public school yet, or met the K teacher. I need to do that. But regardless of how great the teacher is, their hands are often tied by the whole "core curriculum" one-size-fits-all requirements.
-Charter School.  Still free, usually. Requires uniforms - yay! Smaller classes. More individualized. But a far drive for me. Everyday. Back and forth in the car. Loading up two toddlers and an infant sounds SO fun to do over and over every day. Blech.  Proximity, in general, is a huge factor in my decision. I hate wasting time and money in transition. But I love the idea of doing something different than public school, simply because it weeds out certain types I don't want my child around  (AHHH! I know, so non-PC, so judgmental/racist/bigot/elitist, whatever ya wanna call it). I can't shelter my children from all the bad eggs out there, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't try.
-Private School.  There's one less than a mile from us. It's a Montessori. We took a tour - very impressive. Small class size, 9/1 ratio, outstanding curriculum (including Spanish, taught by a native speaker). Brianna would actually be a tad behind most of the other kids in the kindergarten class, because the other kids did preschool there and are already reading sentences. Whereas Brianna is in the "decoding" stage and just reads/writes smaller words.  But I believe she'll catch up quickly, especially in that environment. Would that happen in a Title 1 public school, where she'll be in a class with 20-something other kids, many of them still learning letters and sounds? I know reading isn't EVERYTHING, there are dozens of other important subjects. But I believe reading trumps them.  The biggest downside:  this CO$TS. But not as much as I thought. $250/mo. for half days, 5 days/wk.  That's about what we've been paying for Brianna to go to her current preschool (which is honestly the best on the planet - I can't imagine anything more impressive), plus Karate class (Little Ninjas).

Brian's opinion? Of course Mr. meat-and-potatoes is all about just doing public school. He's the one saying, "well that's what WE did."  As if our aspiration in life is for our kids to do nothing better than their parents. He doesn't like the idea of paying for school when it could be free. I let him know that theory doesn't work... "why do we pay for having cars when it's free to ride your bike? Why do we pay for good food when it's cheaper to eat ramen noodles?"  Do we prefer to use that money instead for nice vacations and pretty furniture and restaurant visits? What could be more important than our childrens' education?  Brian definitely agrees that there's no excuse for not sacrificing to do what's best for our little ones. For him, it's more sacrificing his disdain for anything that appears to be ostentatious. We have to let go of that and not care what others think. I'm also selling him on the fact that we don't have to do make choices now for her ENTIRE educational career. We can take it one year at a time. Maybe private Kindergarten, then a different choice next year.
I feel very fortunate that I have so many options. Most people don't. Especially now that I'm bringing in a little more from my job (, we can afford do what is best for our kids.
I'm not saying my mind is made up. At all. I don't know what we'll do yet. But it's helpful for me to write my evolving thoughts down, thus this long rambling potentially offensive blog post :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Why working from home is pretty sweet sometimes.....

Brian came home to this scene and snapped a photo.

My sweet little Courtney.
Falling asleep at 6pm, because she refused to take a nap earlier, but couldn't quite make it to bedtime.

And I had no desire to stop her from getting some zzzzs cuddled up to me while I worked.