Monday, March 31, 2014

That one time my parents almost died from CO poisoning

I received a call early in the morning from my sister in Spokane as she was racing over to our parent's home following a bizarre call from our mom. Meredith said mom was crying and moaning and was difficult to understand and was saying, "I can't move my body at all. I can't dial 911. Call 911. Get over here quick, something is wrong....."
I'm so grateful they got there in time and got my family OUT!

The scene in front of their home, from Mere's phone camera.
We talked about the possibilities - bizarre virus? Flu? E. Coli? Food Poisoning? Panic attack?  I hung up and tried Dad and Mom. No answer. I called Lindsay in Seattle. She used her other phone and called mom, who answered, and was now sobbing and totally incoherent. Lindsay told me to hang up and call Mere and be sure Mere calls 911 right away. Mere did, but arrived at our parent's home to find a fire truck and ambulance already there.  I texted all my siblings and told them to start praying for mom and dad and Lily.
 Soon Meredith called me and told me the cause of it all - carbon monoxide poisoning.  I gasped - totally shocked. I had just told them a few weeks ago - via email - that they needed CO detectors in their home. I shared with them the story of the family in Idaho who all died from CO poisoning in their sleep. Mom said they didn't have detectors. I told them to get some. I found out later that dad soon went out and bought them... but hadn't installed them yet.
Two days in the hospital, three 3-hr treatments in the hyperbaric chambers.
The rest of the morning and afternoon was spent receiving updates from Meredith on my parent's condition.
 I stayed with her on the phone as she was driving behind the ambulance taking my parents to Deaconess Hospital. She was frustrated that she couldn't keep up with the ambulance and they specifically told her not to speed. She described how she watched the fireman carry mom and Lily out of the house, and assist Dad walking out.
Princess Lily, enduring a lot of pokes and tubes.  
And how they went in to rescue the cat.  The cat??!  We don't have a cat... oh wait, the fireman quickly found out he rescued a very life-like FAKE cat :)
The reading on the house:  760ppm (parts per million). A home shouldn't ever be over 30ppm. Yeah, THIRTY. And theirs was at 760.
After Mere got to the hospital and everyone was admitted and starting their treatments to get the CO out of their bodies.... I realized it was time to tell the world. For attention? Hardly. My parents wouldn't appreciate unnecessary attention, especially my Dad. But I knew they WOULD appreciate the opportunity to warn others, so they could help prevent this happening to anyone else.
"Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor."  - D&C 88:81

So I posted it about it on Facebook, saying, "Early this morning, my mom used her last ounce of strength to tell Siri to call 911. If she hadn't, my parents and niece likely would've died today from carbon monoxide poisoning. PEOPLE - make sure you and everyone you know have working CO detectors in your homes.
I was pleasantly surprised at the response! Lots of people sent their sympathies and shared in the relief that my fam survived. But even more important - so many told me that they ordered their CO detectors that very day. Or they went and checked the battery on their existing detectors. Many "Shared" my post with all of their friends, reminding and warning them of the dangers of carbon monoxide. So amazing - the power of social media - saving lives.
I had the whim thought to contact the local Spokane news station and inform them that they have 3 Spokanites who are lucky to be alive after a near fatal CO poisoning incident.   Too dramatic? Well, it's the TRUTH!  Fortunately, they jumped at the story and went and interviewed Meredith and my parents and Lily at the hospital. Meredith said my parents were initially reluctant to go on camera, but by the end, actually seemed to get a kick out of it. Krem 2 aired the story twice - the morning news and evening news. I'm really glad I contacted them! Maybe saving MORE lives!
Watch the Krem 2 News story HERE. 
Since then, Mom said she has been "recognized" around town a little.  Oh, my celebrity survivor parents...  :)
Lily FINALLY got to go home from the hospital!
Her pneumonia was scary and makes me grateful
for modern medicine. Poor girl has been thru a lot!
Seriously though... can I thank God enough for saving them from this??!
They reallyreallyreally could've died this day.
So easily. They were minutes away.
 I could have LOST my PARENTS.
I'm so too young for that.
And for Meredith to lose her parents and daughter... unfathomable.  Maybe we don't even fully realize how close it was. They surely had angels with them.

Heavenly Father gave us the greatest gift - more years with these wonderful people.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Out with the old, in with the new - BLANKIE!

From birth to age 5, Brianna had a strong attachment to her white fuzzy blanket. Well, it started off white and fuzzy. It got worse and worse as time went on. I would sneak it away to wash it whenever I could, but it got tattered and smelly and gray. But she loved it the same. So very much. Looking back, I realize her attachment to this object might have been a consequence of my early misguided efforts to parent differently than I do now (darn those babywise - babyunwise - books!!) If only I could go back and tell my first-time-mom-self what to stop worrying about. Like everything. And just enjoy my baby.
Anyway, so over these 5 yrs of blankie obsession, many attempts have been made to rid her of the gross looking blanket. Her grandma McKell offered many many times to take her shopping for a new one. Or sew her a new one. She tried to tell her how yucky the old blankie was and how pretty a new one would be. Brianna always stood her ground and defended HER blanket. And I had her back. I would've let her take that thing to college if it made it that long (the seams were coming apart). Again, probably because I felt guilty the attachment even happened. Ugh. Those baby books need a disclaimer addendum, "warning: you might look back at these unnatural approaches to sleeping and sorely regret being unresponsive to your child's needs."
SO - the shock of all shocks came when one day, a few months ago, Brianna announced she wanted to get a new blanket! I didn't believe her. The next day, again, she asked to go shopping for a new blankie. And again the next day.
I tested her, "okaaaay, but then we'd have to get rid of your old blankie."
She said that was fine.
Part of me was elated - no more nasty blanket in my home!! No more trying to bleach it and seeing it drug everywhere and watching it get grosser.
Another part of me was crushed. My baby is growing up!!
So we went to the child clothing section at Smith's and found this cute fuzzy animal print blanket. $9.
Brianna helped me cut the old blanket into rags. She showed no remorse.
She's definitely not a baby anymore!

Papa Visit

  So glad dad's here! He's in town for his mom's 91st bday.

My kids loved every second of their Papa's stay with them. Courtney repeatedly offered to let him share her room, and even graciously got out the extra crib-sized mattress for him.

Mom and Lily were supposed to come along, but Lily was in the hospital with pneumonia. My Dad felt guilty for coming anyway, but it's good that he did - all his other siblings were in town and it meant a lot to my grandma to have all her kids here. 
I got to watch my Dad and his brothers say goodbye to each other Sunday night, with a group hug featuring gorilla noises.  Very touching. 

Dad was a superstar here - he fixed our swing set, a broken folding chair, and a desk. His visit also motivated me to get the house clean, which is my favorite result of having guests over. 
PLEASE - family - come visit me so I'm motivated to make my house look prettier!  :) 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I should be banned from the kitchen.

WHY, MUFFINS, WHYYYY???!!! Every single time.... burnt on the outside, mushy on the inside! Could my oven be hating on me? Could it be the muffin pan itself? Maybe the result of too much modifying the recipe? (started w/ a basic almond flour muffin, then monkeyed around with the receipe a lot). Should I lower the temp from 350 to..... ?? Ugh. Help.

The good news is that they taste great and we are enjoying eating out the middles with a spoon 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


I like having the home that the neighborhood kids come to play at :)

Alexis, Elena, Analyn, and Josh joined my 3 for an exciting game of Princess Bingo.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It's starting to grow out a little.

Courtney's first hair cut. Warning: sad story.

I've procrastinated this blog post for a long time now, because this is was a painful experience to go through, and the stabs of heartache and anger and exasperation come back each time I relive the ordeal.
Courtney and Brianna decided to play barbershop.
The results were horrific.
Fortunately, it happened at 6pm, so I could send them straight to bed and deal with my emotions on my own. Fortunately for THEM, that is. They didn't have to suffer from the furious outburst I was on the verge of lashing out at them with. By the next morning, I was cooled off and prepared with a more appropriate consequence.

I'll never understand what was going on in Brianna's head.  She's 6 years old. That sounds so young, yet to do something like THIS... I'm almost certain she is old enough to know better. She had to have realized she was doing something very very wrong. But she was overly tired from a full day of activity, and I was in the other room getting work done, so she could have been feeling ignored.  So yes - I feel some mama guilt here. It was one of those nights I was ready to hit SEND on that email draft quitting my job. Cuz I don't NEED to work. I don't need to have a part time job - not financially, and not for personal fulfillment. I'd be cool with my world without the Marketing Director title in it. And I resent the occasional times when I have to get stuff done while my kids are awake and I'd rather be with them. I need to be with them. I need to be present to prevent crap like this from happening!
So. Anyways.  I'm a terrible story teller, aren't I?  I keep jumping around out of chronological order. But it's all blur in my head anyway since it's been so long. I remember staying up late that night, unable to sleep. I was crying. I couldn't look at Courtney without bursting into tears. I had to have Brian put her to bed, because I didn't want her to think she looked ugly.  Because while she's always beautiful to me.... it was about the ugliest hair possible. Whereas before, she had such pretty wavy beach-hair. So innocent and untouched and natural. But maintaining Courtney's self-esteem was definitely a priority.
The next morning at the hairdressers, I had to convince her that now she had a "pixie cut - like the fairies! Fairy hair! So lucky!!"  When in reality, I strongly dislike pixie cuts. 98% of pre-graying women look better with long hair than short, IMO.
So who paid for this emergency trip to the hairdresser? Brianna. She got to empty her piggy bank and hand it over. That wasn't enough to cover it, so she got to do chores. Lots of them.
Part 2 of her consequence:  she has to SERVE her sister, to pay for the meanness and harm done. Her service:  making her sister's bed. Every day. Every SINGLE DAY - until the hair grows back! That's right - until Courtney's hair is back to it's previous length. Some have questioned my ability to enforce this for such a time period. Well, it's been over a month, and we haven't missed a day. Brianna knows that if I have to REMIND her, then she also gets to make Bennett's bed. So she's pretty good about doing it everyday, first thing.
I understand there are worse things in the world that can happen to a 3 yr old. Far worse. I read the news enough to hear of the various tragedies that occur with children.
But this was pretty darn devastating to me. It's been of a small condolence to hear the stories of empathy coming in from all sides - everyone seems to have had a hair cutting catastrophe in their family at some point. What's with kids and scissors?! Sheesh. Those tools of disaster are now hidden away in our home.
I hope this the LAST horror hair story for our family. Ever. It was no fun at all.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Bennett's fresh spinach protest

He says, "No! I not eat leaves on my hambooger, leaves are for da trees in the backyard!!"

He will not win. He will soon learn to give in and eat the spinach, like his Dad does now. I will prevail. The spinach will be eaten!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Taxes schmaxes

Every year.
So time consuming.
Papers, receipts, documents, questions, emails, numbersnumbersnumbers...

Shoot me now.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bumbo baby

She likes her cute purple seat....but only for 10-ish minutes.
Then she wants out, and back to her ultimate fav position: being held.
All the time.
Preferably with my undivided attention.
All the time.
Too much to ask?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Kite day!

I love it when Brianna notices the wind blowing hard and announces, "It's a KITE day!!"
Then we drop everything and grab the giant butterfly (killer yardsale find!) and get it up in the sky!
Utah wind isn't ideal for kite flying - not like typical coastline wind - constant and steady. This wind is freakish, coming and going sporadically. So we have to just take what we can get!

PS - I have to stay off Facebook today. It's St. Patrick's Day, and everyone is posting picture of all the cute holiday themed activities they're doing with their children. And I feel mama guilt for doing nothing but putting green shirts on them. It's not so simple to do typical St. Patrick's Day festivities when you don't believe in using conventional green food dye or giving crap to your kids to eat. That's no excuse - there are lots of healthy, fun holiday traditions I could be starting.  Maybe next year?!!

Mud hiking

I sent Brian off with the kids to do a "nature walk" while I had my Sunday visit with Grandma.
Unfortunately he took them to a trail that was more MUD than anything else.
They had fun, and that's great. But I did NOT have fun cleaning up their nasty clothes afterwards. So time consuming.
I hate to be "THAT" mom, who doesn't embrace the dirtiness and celebrate them living up their childhood.... but really, can't they be one with nature in a less messy way?!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Making a difference

I love the "Mother's Lounge" at church. As much as I'm an unabashed advocate of freedom to nurse in public and the tremendous importance of normalizing that, I love the lounge. Kick in a recliner, listen to the speakers via intercom, chat with the other moms, feed my baby. It's great.
But we've got a prob in our ward: more mama-baby nursing teams than cozy recliners and lounge space.
So last week I took it upon myself to politely inform the bishop and first counselor and RS Pres of the situation.
And this week, what do I find?
A new room for us!
Recliners are on the way, and hopefully the big HD flat screen, water fountain, and free stocked vending machine I requested. But we'll see....I wouldn't wanna seem TOO demanding....

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Biggest Loser Bountiful Winners!

Our ten week competition ended today! I'm so glad I took the leap and pioneered this back in January.
I was so nervous that I wouldn't get enough people to join.
But we had 25 people sign up and pay their $10!
So today that $250 pot was split between 2 winners: highest body weight percentage lost: Steve Tanner, 15.75%. And the person who lost the highest percentage of their body fat: Brian McKell, 18%! Down from 26 to 21. I'm so proud of both of them! And Steve's wife is thrilled.
I'm personally proud of my results too- 9% body weight lost, 15% of my body fat percentage lost. I'm 5lbs from pre-preg weight, 15ish from goal. I definitely didn't take full advantage of this contest, but I made better choices than I would've without it, for sure!
I knew we'd likely get some of the participants dropping out, but it was shocking how many: we only had 9 come to the finale! Everyone else fizzled out over the 10 weeks. Why??? We had weekly prizes, a blog and emails and facebook group page for communication....sad. Wish I could've helped everyone! But it was fun, and I'm so glad we did it. I'm really grateful to Four Pillar Fitness for letting us use their facility each Saturday and their high-tech body fat scanner. They're great.
Now it's over - back to my fudge icecream and pizza!! ;)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Butterfly crafting

I love that my little butterfly is obsessed with doing crafts and wants to MAKE STUFF everyday. She definitely didn't get that from me! (at least, the current-me. I'm not the crafty type these days).

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Brianna's Random Valentine

I don't know who that little girl next to Brianna is.
Nor does Brianna.

But on Valentine's evening, at the Layton Rec Center's Family Valentine Dance Party, they were best friends for an hour.

 Running around, playing tag, dancing, munching on cookie after cookie....

When I asked Brianna how they became friends, she responded, "Well, I looked for another 6 year old girl to be friends with, and found her, and she wanted to be my friend too!"

As simple as that!

They also had free family pics at the dance. Obviously not a great one of us, but having all 6 McKells in the same frame is rare, so I'm posting it anyway.
 I loved dancing the night away with this crew.
We'll hopefully be back next year!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Tummy time procrastination

We have Charity's 4 month checkup tomorrow, and I just realized her new doc will likely ask about developmental milestones, including things like rolling
To be honest, I don't really know if she can roll.
Probably not, since she doesn't get much opportunity. I'm holding or wearing her most of the day.

So we did some last minute tummy time exercising.
Charity tolerated it for a little bit. Then indicated her displeasure with the position and we ceased.

So I guess I'll just inform her pediatrician that we aren't rushing things around here :)
 As long as she's walking before preschool, we're fine, right?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bennett & Letters

He loves them.

And - dang it - I think he's a leftie! Can I cure him of his leftism while he's still young??

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Totally normal people bring extension cords to the gym.

How else could I watch a DVD on my portable player while stair-milling?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Learning to braid

Before bed tonight, Brianna asked me to teach her to braid.
So we taped 3 strands of hemp to the side of her bed and practiced.
Over and to the middle.
Over and to the middle.
Over and over and over.
Such a fun age - she wants to learn to do EVERYTHING.

I'm so glad I get to be this girl's teacher.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Bennett's boo-boo

It shouldn't really NEED a bandage... it was just a scrape on the front of his nose from falling on the sidewalk... But he WON'T leave it ALONE!
So it keeps scabbing, then he picks at it... ugh.
To help it heal, whenever I can - while he's sleeping, napping, or just when I can talk him into it.... I have him wear a bandage and some triple antibiotic cream.

We'll never be able to get family picture with these kinds of injuries, sheesh!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Seaweed & beer?!

If you can't read this... the package is suggesting that these seaweed crisps pair excellent with several other foods... rice, soups, beer... BEER?!
 Yes, I can imagine all the health-conscious beer drinkers wanting the nutrient-dense seaweed along with their calorie-laden nasty alcoholic beverage. Weeeeeird.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Lindsay sent me this from Oahu:

Cougar at BikiniBeach... where Brian Mckell stopped to asked Chelsea directions to Mcdonalds in Sept 2003. They've been together (mostly) ever since! 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Fozzy hair

She's got a thick mess on top, and not much on the sides. It's fun to play with.