Thursday, April 30, 2015

Youth Feuding

Our Priest/Laurel activity this week was Family Feud, and it was SO fun!
These kids are a blast.
I love being YW Prez and getting to hang out with them  (most of the time :)
They had uneven numbers, so I got to be on a team.
So fun!
For a little while, I forgot that I'm like 13 years past being a Laurel and I need to act my age, not theirs :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Best chore ever...?

We haven't been able to get our sprinklers on yet, and with the nice weather we've been having lately, our lawn is starting to look lame.
 So we're having to water it by hand. 
Today I had the brilliant idea that I should enlist the help of a little person to do this job. 
And they think it's basically the best thing ever. 
They argue over who gets to hold the hose. 
Maybe I shouldn't have the sprinklers get turned on at all?!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Nonny time!

Sometimes mom comes and picks them all up, takes them away and texts me pictures of their adventures :)  
ohmyword.... Charity is not a baby anymore, is she?!  Totally looks like just one of the kids here.

Monday, April 27, 2015

BIRD attack at rest-stop!

If you suffer from ornithophobia.... trigger warning! Your fear of birds will NOT be helped by this post...
So, on our long drive home from Chelan, we stopped at a lovely rest area.
 It was by the gorgeous Sprague Lake, with a very photo-op worthy vista.


Too bad we didn't see this sign earlier! It was NOT joking! Seriously - those nasty white hungry evil birds started diving down right next to us, as if we had scraps of food to share. I grabbed a towel from the car and started wildly flinging it at them and yelling to go away. Brian might have been a tag embarrassed at my reaction. I thought it was perfectly rational.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Stay 4 forever please?

I always want to remember my four-yr-old this way… Wearing flowered footed jammies that are a little too small with big thick fuzzy socks and a monkey headband over her hair.
Scooting down the stairs and telling me random stories about Twilight Sparkle and Princess Celestia.
Her daily ensembles and conversations and spirit are just so endearing. I see her like this and I want to freeze time....

Escape to Chelan

Look close - zoom in on the water - it's so clear you can see huge fish!
Brian had a work trip (Washington Health Care Symposium...or something like that) in the lovely city of Chelan - a cute little touristy town about 3.5 hrs away. We spontaneously decided to hop in the car and join him! Family vacation! The kids were out-of-their-minds excited. They couldn't have been more happy if the destination was Hawaii or Disneyworld. They spent the whole day preceding the trip literally jumping around the house.  And the girls woke up at 5:45am to start packing their bags (though we weren't planning to leave until 8) So maybe lesson learned: don't tell the kids we're leaving until the DAY-of.... so that we can all maintain normal sleep hours :)
We're lucky the kids are all pretty good travelers, even Charity. They slept, snacked, read, talked.... and I only heard a few, "Are we THERE yet?"s   So the drive wasn't too horrid. Though it still seemed very LONG. I don't even know how I managed that insanely long Utah drive a year ago all by myself with them. Craziness.
Breakfast on the beach! 
Late night bonfire on the waterfront
Early morning reading time in the hotel room, waiting for Charity to wake up
Lunching at a park in Wenatchee on the way home. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Red Carpet, Lutheran style

Our kids have attended a few fun events at a local Lutheran church. No worries - we're not about to change faiths here. These McKells are solid.
But I just love this church's Easter and Christmas-for-kids programs, and their summer Vacation Bible School.
 All their programs are free, so I haven't had the opportunity to give BACK to this organization.
 I don't enjoy feeling like a moocher.
So when I saw they were having a big fundraiser evening event, I jumped at the chance to buy tickets!
Which normally I would definitely think twice about, at $70/couple.
But I'm so glad we went - it was lovely. I had never been to the Manito Country Club - at $10K/yr member fees, it wasn't exactly a Smith family hangout while I was growing up.
 But that was the venue for this event, and it was gorgeous! The grounds were amazing.
There was a live auction, silent auction, raffle, dinner, live entertainment, and we even met another LDS individual there!
Brian got VERY into the live and silent auction - I think he enjoyed the bidding process, and we ended up buying a few fun items.
Overall - super fun date night.
And the kids had fun being babysat at Dad & Mom's.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Japan Day at the library

Masks (oni), origami, kanji writing, kimono and samurai dressup, meeting japanese exchange students from Mukogawa, Oriental rice crackers (arare) and Hello Kitty fruit snacks :)

Sunday, April 19, 2015


Seriously....this is ridiculous. Who has this many single socks?! Where are their pairs getting lost at?!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Happy Birthday Dad!

For those who haven't had the privilege of meeting my father, lemme tell ya a little about him
 That's all.
But if I were to expound a bit on that....
My Dad is a ROCK. He's the kind of guy you'd want to be stuck with in a natural disaster, because he'd take care of everything while staying calm.
 He works HARD... and plays hard too! Wanna go skiing, biking, hiking, or jump off a cliff into the lake? He's your guy!
He's strong - not only physically, but spiritually. No one doubts his testimony of the gospel is solid.
 The only non-rock attribute he possesses is the tendency to get a little sentimental/emotional in the right situation. :)
 My Dad is generous. He has done so much for so many - myself most definitely included.
He has weathered a LOT of storms in his life - I'm sure more than I even know. And he's come out stronger.
My Dad is an exemplary human being and I'm so very grateful to have him.

For his birthday gift, we couldn't throw him a party since the poor guy got coerced into an Oahu trip.
Rough place to have a birthday, right?!
So we decided to spend an evening doing some yardwork for him.
 The kids put on their gloves and started digging out the noxious weeds. They worked hard! Except Charity. She just wandered around saying, "papa? Papa? PAAAAPPPAAA?"  (she's kindof obsessed with him)

Then we used a homemade weed killer (vinegar + salt! It works!) on the patio cracks.
 And THEN.... we accidentally set off the house alarm and ADT dispatched police to their home and called my Dad, giving him a minor heart attack. Whoops.
Sorry Dad.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


That's right - cauliflower mashed potatoes. Cut it up, steam it, mashed/blend it w/ whatever seasonings and butter... and voila! New way to get veggies into the fam.

Early morning wordsearcher

It's 6:55am and where is my 7 year old daughter? Downstairs at the table doing word search puzzles :-)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Workiversary for the Medline Man

Celebrating 1 year on the job, and 2 weeks left in the FitBit competition!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A lily for Lily!

This sweet niece spent the entire day with us last week before leaving on her Hawaiian trip (her 3rd time there. Ridiculous, right?!)
Brianna misses her so much! Every night in her prayers she asks for Lily to come home soon :)

Bowling with the Burleys!

We love our neighbors!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Snuggle selfie

Between pre and post-church mtgs, I'm there for like 5 hours some sundays.
Which isn't to complain...there are those there far longer, and really - each mtg has a purpose and I really do enjoy opportunities to serve and learn.
But still, I come home and collapse on the couch when it's over :)
Which Charity sees as an open invitation to race over to me and join in the relaxing.
I love that my toddler is still 90% baby :)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Kid's race!

Yesterday afternoon Brian said, "hey let's see if there any races tomorrow morning" - so I looked and there was! We told the kids and they were super excited to go. But then later that night Brian found out his bball game was at the same time. So sadly we canceled our fun run plan, thinking the kids wouldn't care that much. But when Bennett woke up in the morning the first thing he did was put on what he called his "running clothes" and ask when we're leaving. Can't say no to that! So we decided that I would take them to the kid race portion of the event while Brian went to his game, and then we would meet up after. The kids loved the race! It was a MILE - that's a long way for them.
It was a little bittersweet for me....being at a race and not being able to jump in a run it cuz of the kids...but its ok. Lots more coming up!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Ahhhh! Car wash attack!

They've only gone thru an automatic car wash a couple times in their its basically the most exciting thing ever for them.
And a little scary for Charity.
But for the $4 Wednesday special on an especially mucky minivan.....I couldn't resist.
They keep asking to go back!
I told them they could do chores to earn another car wash trip.
This could work out very much in my favor :) Chores done, car clean, happy kids!

Never wanna go in there again

I had Bennett quickly pose with the kitchen mess before I finished cleaning it up. 
Not that I totally finished.
That will take another hour or so.
It's a DISASTER (pic doesn't do it justice at all).
But just wanted to document where I spent a solid HALF of my day. Ugh. I don't even know how that happened. It was just one project after another. A blur of chopping, mixing, boiling, shaking, roasting, baking.... and dishesdishesdishes. Everywhere.
  If we ever get really wealthy, first thing I'm doing is hiring kitchen staff fulltime.

You'd never see this in Utah...

...because that would describe like 98% of the store's customers, instead of far far less than that around here :)
I get a good bit of (unwanted) attention when I parade around in public with this crew. Just trying to do wild crazy things shop.
Most people are gracious - giving us a wide berth, even a smile or smirk. Some make the oh-so-astute observation, "wow, you've got your hands full!" or the pointless question, "are they ALL yours?" (best response: "no, only two of them. The other two just follow me around") 
We've only had a handful of unpleasant encounters... which serve to solidify my resolve to never be one of THOSE elderly persons who have no patience or sympathy for young families.
Back to the designated parking spot....Awfully nice of Yokes to be considerate of us crazy folk with lotsa young'uns!

Church ball! excuse to run wild thru the halls

They LOVE going to their daddy's games at the Stake Center.

  But I'm quite glad the guys are nearly done for the season.

   Its tough trying to keep the wild children all accounted for while attempting to cheer on Brian AND chatting it up with the other ladies there. Exhausting, i tell ya...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Interesting reading positions...

I really love seeing them read together (or rather - Brianna reading to Courtney, obviously). And even more so when Courtney apparently gets creative with getting comfy!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

table setters!

They were quite proud of themselves for getting the table all set!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The secret to ham...

According to my sweet neighbor / friend Linda, its cloves! Wrapping up your Longhorn ham in foil with brown sugar and and ample doses of cloves.
She was very sweet to invite me over to watch this process. Then brought us over samples of the finished product.

Linda and her husband have been investigating the church! Kind of funny phrase... investigating the church...
 But whatever you call it, we're so thrilled to share our love of the gospel with them. 
They have come to church with us about 4 times over the last couple months. They have been to a few church activities with us too. And they have met with the missionaries a couple times and then joined us for General Conference this weekend.

I love sharing my testimony with others. Especially those who make really great ham. :)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Hug a balloon day

They spotted these balloons after our egg hunt at Regency, and thought it was basically the coolest thing ever

Thursday, April 2, 2015


Kinda random.  But sometimes I just look at her and seriously am so in love with every inch of her beautiful self.
 I love my Courtney. 
I love all my children of course. 
But this is a Courtney post.
And THIS is a Courtney video to go with the Courtney post!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


My awesome VTs brought over these cute festive treats.

The way I see it, I have 3 options:

-Dig in and indulge
-Utilize as motivation to get kids to do my bidding.

We shall see which option wins!