Tuesday, December 31, 2013


We rang in the new year with our friends, the Moser family. 
Dinner, games, BIG fireworks, sparklers, caramel apples, and laughing about our lack of resolutions!

I resolve to make some resolutions.....

Picky helper

Brianna loves to help with caring for Charity.
I should clarify that: Brianna loves to help with what *she WANTS* to help with.
And that varies each day.
This morning she wanted to do Charity's buttons on her jammies. Snap snap snap snap....

I'll take whatever help I can get!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

McKell grandchildren

These are Brian's parents with all of his and his 4 sibling's children.

Everyone got together Christmas night in Spanish Fork.

There will be 2 more little ones in this photo next year!

My children have a LOT of cousins between the two sides... 33, I think.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Is it morning yet...

Santa is all done!
Can we go wake up the kids now??
I can't wait to see their little faces!!!

Neighbor gifts

We enjoyed touring the neighborhood passing out bottles of Knudsen sparkling juices (aka "bubbly") with our card attached to our friends. I'm not much for baking (at least not traditional recipes, and I'm not about to waste expensive ingredients on people who might not appreciate them!) so the drinks seemed like a good idea.

Pink dots

Charity *wanted* to relax on the chair, but had to settle for the bean bag. She worried that her almost-matching attire would cause her to blend in so well that someone would accidentally sit on her.

Big brother

Though most of the time he ignores her, Bennett occasionally busts out some seriously sweet big brother loving.
He'll pet her little head, whisper nice things to her like "it's ok, it's ok! Aw my baby, it's ok..." and do little tickles.
Kinda heartmelting.

I love how he says his baby sister's name....it's hard to spell out..."Cheh-titee"

Also featured here- his Scooby pajamas.
He's obsessed with them.
We've got a dozen cuter, warmer jammy sets, and he insists on wearing the old worn out Scooby every night (and most of the daytime too, since we don't go out much lately!)

Sister snoozing

Monday, December 23, 2013

Joy of giving

Brianna spent the last 2 hrs making gifts for her siblings. It was heart warming to witness. It was also a little painful, as she made a huge mess and used an exorbitant amount of tape and wrapping paper. But now we are even more excited for Christmas morning - to see the looks on Bennett and Courtney's faces as they see their gift (it's a "music shaker"- paper towel tube with dry beans inside, elaborately decorated all over) and the look on Brianna's face as she gives it to them. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Daddy tricks

Since Brian lacks the appropriate equipment to calm the baby in her favorite manner, he tries this.

He calls it the "knee hold" and it tends to work really well! She often falls asleep as he rocks his knee back and forth.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

SNOW much snow!

 We're getting buried in the white stuff lately!  Brrrrr.
I'm glad I have a husband who genuinely enjoys shoveling!
And a daughter who enjoys it for the first few minutes, then she's done :)
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I bought a big Dragonfruit, just for fun.
I tend to do this whenever I see a tropical or otherwise unique produce item on the clearance shelves at Smiths.
I like to expose the kids to new fun healthy foods whenever I can.
And if we don't like it... well, it was only a dollar, no harm done.
Unfortunately, the Dragonfruit bombed. The kids didn't love it, and I only ate it to save it from the garbage. Kinda tasteless.
Lesson learned: don't buy rare tropical fruits in Utah?!
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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

That's my girl!

The stewardess asked if she wanted peanuts, pretzels, or cookies.

Brianna responded, "ALL of them!"

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Courtney and Potatoes

I can tell her to "go wash and cook potatoes" and she can do the whole thing!  
From getting them out of the garage (we bought a 50lb bag from my friend's XC fundraiser) to washing them in the sink to putting them in the oven. 
I just have to go press the buttons. 
It's so fun to see her practicing and enjoying a little self-sufficiency  :)


I'm watching Brianna get a laser frenectomy right NOW.

Charity's next.

I hope I made the right decision...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Traveling with 2

We are about to board our flight home from Seattle.
It's been a fantastic weekend!!
I'm so glad I got to see Cougar get baptized.
I promised him almost a year ago that when he got baptized I'd be there for him.
I thought he'd do it while I was in my early stages of pregnancy, so it'd be easy to travel.
But wearing Charity in my Moby is pretty similar to being pregnant, so navigating the airports wasn't too bad!
TSA doesn't make you take baby out of it while going thru security.
And Charity slept most of the time. Yay! 

Brian and the twins....

They rode the UTA train! First train ride!
Looks cozy.
While Brianna, Charity and I have been frolicking in Seattle, Brian has been having fun with the twins, apparently! I guess he wasn't content to stay home and clean the house, as instructed....
Here are some pictures he sent me.
They got to go see Santa!  Now they think he lives at Walgreens.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Those cheeks....

It's like there's a big target on them, BEGGING me to attack mercilessly with kisses. 
I am powerless to resist. 


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Family Calendar time!

The annual custom family calendars are DONE! Yay!
Usually I'm scrambling this time of year to get them finished and mailed out.
But I planned well ahead, and was strongly motivated by a great online coupon for printing these by Dec 7th at Walgreens. Usually I use Snapfish or Shutterfly, but I just realized I get free shipping (ie, in-store pickup in ONE HOUR!) at Walgreens.
I've been creating Smith Family Calendars every year since I was 13 or 14.
I think I've only missed a year or two between then and now.  I *think* most of my siblings appreciate them.
I know my parents do.
This way, there's no excuse to forget birthdays!

The bottom part of the calendars has a picture of each birthday boy/girl on their date. 39 Smith birthdates to keep straight!!
 The top part of the calendar is always a collage of pictures, and sometimes words/quotes/designs, etc.
Obviously this year it's a picture collage of family members holding up cardboard letters, spelling out the names of the months.
Kinda cheesy, but I had this idea literally 2 or 3 YEARS ago, and finally planned ahead enough to make it happens.
I had to take the pictures over the whole year, since I usually see most of my siblings about once or twice a year  (sheesh, does that sound sad? I just realized it kinda does. But that's how it goes when you get older and live far apart I guess! In fact, I recently went over 2 years between seeing Brady/Jocelyn and Brian/Becky's families!)

I'm posting just a few of the "month" pages as examples.

The whole project, start to finish - including verifying everyone's birthdays (cuz I've made errors in the past and it still haunts me) - probably took about 7 hours and cost $100 for printing 10 of them, thanks to my coupon. It's a labor of love, and I enjoy doing it!
 I also did a McKell family calendar for my inlaws this year!
I've been thinking about doing this for years, and finally did it.
I hope they like it!
And if they do... beware... they'll get a new one every year for a long time...   :)


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ignorance would've been bliss.....

Introducing Charity's maxillary frenulum.
There's no way I would've noticed this at all if it weren't for my work with LLL, helping mother-babies overcome their breastfeeding challenges. One of them being tight tongue and lip frenulums/frenum. This causes problems for breastfeeding because baby has a tough time latching well and removing milk effectively. So mom's supply dips. The magic solution? Head to one of 2 pediatric dentists in Utah that specialize in laser revision. ZAP! 2 minutes, and that bothersome piece of tissue is divided. A few months of post-op daily stretching, and baby is forever free of restriction. Sounds so easy, right?
Except when it's MY baby with the problem, and *I'm* the one that has to deal with going through the revision procedure. I DON'T WANNA DO IT!! WAAAAHHHHHH! It just sounds like torture for all of us! But will it be worth it in the long run? Probably. If I don't do it, her risk goes up significantly for having a gap between the two front teeth, poor lip mobility affecting smiling and speech, and increased dental decay on the upper front teeth.  Big sister Brianna has an even thicker, tighter labial frenulum... thus the gap between her front 2 teeth.  I should probably go get hers zapped too.
BUT - butbutbut... we're not really experiencing breastfeeding problems (other than her occasionally "slipping off" and making some clicking noises), because I simply offer to nurse her every time she blinks.   Could we have supply probs in the future? Maybe.  
I'm a believer in the maxim, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!" But maybe that's the laziness in me speaking.
UUUUUGGGHHHH.... I don't know what to do. To zap or not to zap....

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Loved having my sweet niece here to play for a day! Wish it were longer.
I love how she's VERY aware of her peanut and animal allergies and skin sensitivities.
This girl knows how to defend herself! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013


Brianna is VERY proud of herself for now being able/allowed to hold the baby WHILE STANDING UP.
It's a big deal.

Her next goal is to be allowed to walk around while holding the baby.
I'm not too comfy with that one.

And yes- a tank top in the winter! We've had some lovely days here!

Her pooping face