Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last swim of the year!

  Now that Charity is a little more self-sufficient in the pool (ie - less likely to drown, as she's understanding natural consequences), I enjoy taking them swimming.
I can just stand knee-deep or sit on the sides, catching up on all my texting.  Not even joking, I send and receive hundreds of texts for YW - between working with the other youth leaders, and interacting with the girls. It's crazy.
So grateful that unlimited texting plans are pretty much standard these days!
And I also do a lot of texting with family around here - just being silly, or making plans for whatever the next party is. 
Because there's ALWAYS one coming up ;)

Yay for pools! Tools of child exhaustion.

Strolling with my hommies

 Though I would've much preferred to be joining the family jumping Party at Get Air, it was equally satisfying to know that Lindsay got to!
Savana and Charity seemed to enjoy their tour of Northtown Mall. Or at least tolerate it. I had to keep moving constantly or Charity would try to get out. And I had to avoid eye contact with Savana for fear she'd burst into tears.... (she's got a very healthy sense of stranger danger. Hopefully I get out of the stranger category someday soon!!)

I saved Bennett from getting beat up

I was in the kiddie pool with Charity when I saw a boy go to his older brother and tell him, "that boy over there called me FAT!"  and the brother looked ready to pummel the culprit. Which, in some cases, I might be inclined to say - yeah, that's right, go defend your bro!.... but NOT when the name-caller they're pointing at is my 5 yr old boy. 
So I jumped into action, got Bennett out of the pool and onto the "Think About It Bench"  (aka - Time Out). We talked about the various reasons why it's not ok to call others unkind names....even if it's true...
These reasons include - first, it's not nice. It's not what Jesus would want us doing. 
And if that isn't persuasive enough...
It could get you beat up by a kid's brother. 
So be nice.

Photo: Bennett having a Time-Out, unknowingly saving his life.  And next - him going up to the victim of his socially unacceptable honesty and making a forced apology. 

My TRX buddy

Brianna had many options of things to do while I did my TRX class at the Y.... but she just wanted to sit on the side and watch us! Then afterwards... do what these straps were REALLY made for - swinging! 

Sidenote: I love TRX class. Awesome way to strength train. 

Happy birthday LINDSAY!!

 I got to throw a birthday party for mah sista!

It's been the party house here lately - like 5 in the last week.  It's been fun but exhausting :)
And very motivating for me to have the main areas of my home very clean!  (which means the back rooms - like the office and master bedroom - are a MESS). 

We did a special video presentation for Lindsay (hilarious), mexican-themed decorations and food, presents, and a few little games.

I love my Lindsay!
Next year is her FORTIETH.... I better start planning the party now!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Party for Coug!

   Cougar's bday is the day before his mommy's, which is just after Christmas and just before New Years... so it's major partying week around here.  Very awesome, very exhausting, very worth it. 
After Get Air, everyone convened back at my house (mostly because mom and dad's driveaway is too dang slippery so we don't dare attempt it!)

Lots of DDR dancing, playing, watching the Cougar video I made last year (always fun to see Lindsay cry over it ;) and singing to this awesome kid!
We got him the latest Rick Riordan book (all the range for kids his age, apparently), an origami set, and the Brick of Mormon!!  Super excited about that one.

The 1st annual Winfield Women's White Elephant Party!

We kicked it off with QUALITY over QUANTITY, in terms of who/how many actually showed up :) Hopefully next year we'll get BOTH!

Spin class buddy

She's so funny.... she made it through the entire 45 minute class! (well, not quite 45 minutes... I was a few late... as always...)
I love spin class!! 
And I love my Brianna. I'm going to love it when she's older and we get to do more working out together - classes, running, swimming, cycling.... it's going to be great!
It kind of blows my mind that the majority of people think of this as drudgery. Or a chore. Or "being good."
Exercise is what I look forward to every day! I love it. I'd do it even if it wasn't good for me :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Who needs a doll when you have a little sister?!


Temple cookies

I got a fun Salt Lake Temple cookie cutter a couple years ago. 
I've never used it once. 
But I think I'll use them at Brianna's baptism (!!!soon!) to make refreshments/cookies, so we practiced. 
It takes a lot of time, but they're cute! 
And the leftover (healthified) dough can be made into cute letters :)

Monday, December 28, 2015


  I refuse to use a curling iron and fry her sweet innocent healthy hair.... but I'll definitely put it in rollers at night so she wakes up like this!!
Seeing her little bobbing head with bouncy curls makes me so happy.

Sleepy sisters

  I just wish Charity would STAY in this bed with her sister all night!!


well...Brianna at least looks happy...

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Just a post-Christmas pre-bedtime mommy&kids pic....

We finished all 25 days!


highlight of the Christmas Party games...

Christmas Evening festivities...

This party went so well! I'm excited to see if it STICKS as a family tradition around here!

The dip list was pretty impressive - everyone really brought their A game. 

funny Brianna

Going through her backpack, I found this....

It says, "If I could receive the first gift of Christmas, this is what I would wish for. I would ask for a unicorn that does whatever I say if I say please because my room is so so so messy."

Hey, I'll take one of those too!!

Brianna's new fav drink

Well maybe not FAVORITE....but I'm impressed she liked it at all! Perrier isn't exactly a "kid" drink. But when you just want that carbonation flavor/taste/refreshment, and no calories or artificial crap... this stuff fits the bill!  I bought a whole case from Costco mostly because Lindsay's here and I wanted to make her happy :)  But I passed them around at the impromptu party we hosted last night and several drank up! Mormon drinkers.... ;)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


An annual tradition for... oh I don't even know... definitely over a decade.
Each child gets to stick one hand into Papa's big treasure chest of coins and grab out as much as they can in one reach! 

You'd think I have extra time on my hands or something....

Laundry helper

So cozy

If I had my way, this is what I'd do all day long.
Cuddling on the couch reading Christmas stories with my babies....
Doesn't get much better than this.

Flossing Lily

When in Rome....
Or - when at the McKell's home!

This is how I floss my children, so naturally Lily got right in line when she had a sleepover at our house.

NOT avoiding the appearance of evil

With his new favorite beverage....butterscotch beer. Non alcoholic.  NOT non-caloric... holy cow, this stuff is loaded. It's like liquid candy. So gross. Steve brought it over. Cuz him and Brian bond over their yucky drinks.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Winter Bingo day!

  A cute local dance studio put on a fun free "Winter Break Bingo" day! I brought Nathan & Devin along, and Brianna shared her prizes after w/ Lily.
The kids won crafts and books...and unknowingly improved their number/letter recognition skills ;)

Giant gingerbread houses

The kids had a blast creating these at the library! I love fun craft projects that I don't have to think up, prep for, or clean up after :)


She's funny... she claims she doesn't want to practice.... 
But when she does - she ends up adding MORE minutes to the red apple timer before it goes off because she doesn't want to stop!

School breaks don't change our routine very much....

No school - so Brianna comes to the gym with us! She's too old for the childcare, so she follows me around. While I did a class, she sat and did Zearn and Raz-kids on the laptop. Then wanted to do some ellipticalling with me :) I'm glad she's learning that exercising is fun, not drudgery! 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Colossal Pizza

I had a coupon, and it was a Saturday... so what the heck, I decided to order a pizza.
The "colossal" lived up to it's name! 
This thing was HUGE! 
Any bigger, and we literally wouldn't be able to fit it through the door.
Our compromise (since I didn't want to order this at all - I'd rather do homemade) was that *I* got to choose the toppings.  
So - bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, and roasted cashews :)  
Even Brian admitted it was good.  
I'm a firm believer that plain ol' pepperoni pizza has to be the biggest waste of an opportunity. 
There are dozens of not only healthier, but genuinely tastier toppings. 
The twins were cute - they wanted to have a "picnic under the table" - so that's where they are the bottom photo. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Preschool Christmas Program

The twins' go to a great preschool. I'll be honest - I chose it because it's the closest to our home and therefore most convenient. I'm not so sure it's the BEST program out there... but it's doing the job. A very Christian-based loving environment, good teacher-child ratio, and decent on the academics. They'll be ready for Kindergarten.
 The Christmas program was pretty darn cute. Mom, Dad, Charity and Bethany came. I'm quite grateful for the first 2 on the last because they recorded it so I can go back and watch the parts I missed while tending to the later 2!
Courtney took her performance SERIOUSLY. She was totally focused and intent on singing loudly (but not too loudly, like the obnoxious kid next to her), and doing all the hand motions correct. She's also the TALLEST in the class by far - a fact I didn't realize until seeing them all up there! Bennett was a bit goofy up there. He did the motions, he didn't misbehave... you could just tell he was like, "is this over yet?!"
We'll see - I might have another 2 years of this if we end up sending Charity here too!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

i probably think I'm funnier than I really am

 Best joke ever.... I found this very most randomest of objects:  a heavy light-up replica of the oh-so-classy Walmart. 

So I bring it with me to Meredith's house... and before I leave... sneak it into her bathroom and plug it in with the lights off.

So that the next time she walks in... she sees.... a glowing Walmart. 

This deserve a million laughing emoticons. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Mudgy the Moose and Santa at the Coeur d'Alene Library

We had to kill some time before going out to lunch, so we wandered into the gorgeous city library... and there happened to be some festivities going on!

This moose character is BIG in Couer d'Alene. There are statues around the city of him, books, shops, etc.  
Northern Idaho is an interesting place!

"My Angel Children"... or.... "The Lying Waitress"

Did she REALLY think they were super well behaved?! Or does she do that for all the families who come in because she's smart-slash-desperate for tips?!

Regardless, we had a lovely time at a rare restaurant family outing. Even with coupons, it was almost $50 to take our fam out. That's like 3 days worth of groceries, blown in one gluttonous meal. I totally OD'd on the fried bananas and Brazillian lemonade. Yum. Ugh.
Grille from Ipanema is just like Rodizios in SLC.  It's too bad Brian's a vegetarian or he'd love this place  (*heavy sarcasm*)

Bountiful Baskets in Idaho

I haven't been participating in the co-op much lately.  
Sometimes because I don't know our Saturday plans....Sometimes because I DO know our plans and they won't allow me to be there for the pick up... and sometimes I just forget.
But I knew that this Saturday we'd have some time between the early morning Couer d'Alene race, and the afternoon plans... so we scheduled a BIG pickup! 
And went early to volunteer! 
I love doing this as a family. 
I think it's so good for the kids to see there are other ways of feeding us besides going to the grocery store  (or worse - restaurants). 
We came home with about 80 pounds of produce plus some of their goodies - baklava granola, Norweigan bread, and a Christmas box (nuts, holiday-themed produce, etc). 

Carriage ride around CDA!

Reindeer Run 5K!

I didn't have a great TIME... but I had a great time!! And came home with a huge stocking full of fun little prizes for winning!  Goal:  next year, get this course done at least a minute faster.

Santa came to town!!

It was 7pm, we were getting the kids in the tub... and suddenly, we heard the sirens and firetrucks and loudspeakers.... SANTA was in the hood!  Along with his reindeer, and their firemen :)

Front porch surprise from Nonny

Sunday morning and we're doorbell ditched.... only to find... a beautiful Macy's box, featuring darling Christmas outfits inside!  They looked adorable at church.  I'll have to work on getting a picture :)  

Friday, December 11, 2015

Addressing the Christmas cards!

Who needs elegant handwriting?! I've got these 3 working hard on addressing all our cards :)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas cards!

Every year I promise myself I'll get these done earlier.
Then every year I find myself scrambling mid-December.
These take me an entire afternoon to get done.
Because I'm so indecisive.
Hence the two versions here.
I've gotta figure out how to be more efficient. 
Oh well - ordering now! Want one? :)

Caroling Youth

This was my view for about 30 minutes last night as our YM/YW sang to the sweet elderly folks at a local retirement center (incidentally, one that happens to be on Brian's sales radar... I hope hope hope he gets the account. C'mon, yearly quota bonus!!!)

I love activities like this - easy, meaningful, fun. 


Mom loves dressing up my kids!  She and Dad took care of them Tuesday night while I went to my Swift party (bless their souls - it ended up being a 5 hour babysitting job since I was the DD!)  Mom bathed them all, did her "Nonna spa" routine - which includes curlers - so this morning, we unraveled the little sponges to reveal sweet little ringlets. Since their hair is naturally wavvy, the curl holds well.  Brand new Gymboree outfits rounded out the look.

So - the picture is deceiving. It was actually Brianna and Courtney that got the pampering. But I didn't get a photo of Brianna before she zoomed out the door in the morning, and in this one - Charity just jumped in to pose with her BFsister :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Spokane Swifts Holiday party

Fun to be a part of this group!!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Pumpkin preservation

I'm not into at ALL...but the only thing that might tempt me to consider it is PUMPKIN. We use it a lot around here. And those cans of it are pricey compared to how much I can get from just processing my own pumpkins after Fall! And who knows how they're actually processed in those Libby factories. It's pretty simple here- I cut them into big chunks, crock pot overnight, blend in vitamix (skin and seeds included, no need to remove anything), freeze in cube trays, then bag the cubes. When it comes time for baking anything or making smoothies or even some savory dishes,  just pop some cubes in. 
If I were into canning, it would save me some freezer space.  :)