Friday, July 31, 2015

Somewhere under the rainbow


Missionary work thru food storage?

I had to rush over to a neighbor's house today I barely know and ask a favor- to use their printer and scanner to send a document to our title company in Cedar to close our house (YAYWEARENOTUTAHHOMEOWNERSANYMORE!!). I was quite surprised to see these boxes of food storage from our LDS cannery in their kitchen!
I knew these people weren't members, at least not on the directory...
So I tried to figure out how to broach the subject. "So... you guys are into food storage?"
He gave me an odd look and he's like, "well, yes. Got to be prepared. You just never know."
Then we had a nice conversation about how he's a bit of a "prepper," and he had a coworker in California who told him that he could get a great deal on food storage through this is awesome church that had a cannery system.
So my neighbors have been ordering our food storage stuff for years!
Perhaps someday I'll have a chance to tell them, "hey, if you think our cannery products are good...just wait til you read our book!!" :)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Watering the kids

7 children. 3 errands. 2 hours. 
It tends to cause thirst.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Monday, July 27, 2015

Eric Herman and the Invisible Band at the library

Great entertainment! When he asked for volunteers, three McKell kids always shot their hands right up...

A whole new wardrobe!

I packed away these clothes when I found out I was pregnant with
Charity. They were already a little small and obviously with the news,
there was no chance I'd be fitting into them for a very long time. But
today's the day I get to open them all! They fit! 12 weeks of hard
work has paid off :-)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

She loves toothpaste

"Moh pohpais mommy, wahn moh poopais!" 

Just loungin with their cornbread on a Sunday afternoon

Fish tail braid!

YouTube taught me this simple fun little variation this morning! 
I want to learn how to do more cool braiding stuff. 
Both for me (easiest way to deal with my unruly locks) and for my girls. 
A mom of 3 daughters really needs to be proficient at hair-doing, right? 
I just need to devote the time to watching the gazillions of YouTube tutorials and practicepracticepractice.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Trail Maniacs' Mt. Spokane race

We went up to Mt. Spokane today (30 min drive away) for a gorgeous trail race put on by a great group called Trail Maniacs.
Post race free lunch! Makes my $40 entry fee WORTH it!
It was fairly small - I think about 50 did the short course (6.5ish miles) and 30 or so did the long course (16ish miles. No interest in that distance!!)
 This race was BRUUUUTTALL!! I seriously haven't done such a challenging race in years. Or maybe ever. The hills were monstrous - at least 20% incline in many places. And I was booking it. My lungs and legs were on FIRE. Owie. So crazy. I really had to play some mind games to get through this (repeating positive affirmations to myself over and over: "you got this, you got this, strong and easy, strong and easy")
My cheering squad! They loved all the climbing!
The Fleet Feet running store was there with their "demo shoes" - which is a new concept/experience for me. They let you try out a pair of shoes for free DURING the race!
So I wore Sauncony's newest "Nomad" model. That was really fun (and great to give MY running shoes a break! Though I've barely broken them in - I just bought my first pair of Hokas and I'm still undecided on whether I'm a fan). I used to blame shoes on my knee issues. Now I know what the real cause of my knee pain was: excess weight. Being 15-20lbs over where I like to/should be. But I'm back to a happier weight now (been focusing on that goal for the last 12 weeks) and my knees don't hate me anymore! Nothing tastes as good as running pain-free FEELS!
Tarzan yell at the top of the mountain!
I was the first female finisher (not a huge accomplishment - small race) and they gave me an engraved pint glass. Which I could've filled up with the free beer on tap at the refreshment table. Forreals. We're def not in Utah anymore :)
But in the random drawing I got a cool hydration system, so I was a happy swag recipient.
And honestly, all swag aside (even the fabulous free food), it's so worth it to go do these races. I love the family time. The kids get to run around in nature, I get a fantastic calorie torching workout that I honestly enjoy (in a sick way, obviously - it hurt), and we all drive away with happy memories. Priceless.  
What better way to spend a Saturday morning?!

Now I'm off to the race calendar websites to figure out which race we're going to go to NEXT week!  (not an easy task... the race scene here is nothing like we had in Utah!)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Blueberry picking with neighbor Linda

It was her 50th birthday, so I invited her to go up to Eleven Acres farm for some blueberry picking, my treat. It was such a beautiful evening! And seriously.... a blueberry buffet.  One handful for me, one for the bucket. One for me, one for the bucket.....
She would hate me for posting this pic, since her eyes are wonky. But it's what I have, so it goes up. 
Linda needed some girl-chat time pretty bad - she's going through some trials and struggling to deal well with them emotionally/physically, etc.  So I was played free therapist. And probably did a terrible job... but at least the listening-ear/shoulder-to-cry-on came with yummy fruit :)

Yard Sale Fairies

Took the kids yard sailing at a neighbor's and found these wings for 25 cents. 
Julia (who had previously asked, "what's a yard sale?" at the beginning of our expedition) says,"I see why you like this yard sale thing!"  

Super singers

It's our neighbor's birthday so the kids dressed up to go sing to her and bring over some tomatoes from our garden :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

BRIANNA'S salad dressing!

She was quite delighted to find this particular brand of salad dressing. Which, BTW, is super yummy. Also super high calorie, unfortunately. 
But worth it to support a company with such an excellent choice of brand name :)

Temple trip

Quick viz to SamBam

Whenever we're out in the Valley, we are sure to stop by Sammy's sweet pad

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I love Vitamix so very much

Container broke.
Called them.
They mailed me a new one for free. 
Loyal fan forevah.

My stairmill buddy

Brianna aged out of our gym's childcare, so now she hangs out with me. A few minutes on the stairmill (not to be confused with stairclimber - totally different machines) and she's done. Then she reads or does her Summer Study workbook. And I continue the stairmill sweatfest.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The best time to go to Riley Creek is...

Monday evening! Zero crowds! It's just us, the seagulls, little crashing waves, lotsa sand, and a big lake for jetskiing.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Bennett <3's me!!

I'm not even sure how he learned to write this! 
Guessing it has something to do with a certain older sister :-)
(in case it's not easily visible - it says "I <3 3="" br="" times="" you=""> This totally made my night. 
Love this boy!!

Cherry Pickers Trot!

Sunday w/ the Sisters

We had our missionaries over for dinner (nailed the enchiladas), then they played a cute game with the kids. I love that my children are growing up looking forward to their turn in the future to go and serve a fulltime mission!

Tomato harvest!

Care for a treat?

Saturday, July 18, 2015


We had so much fun getting filthy!! These kids were awesome - tackling every obstacle with all the strength and energy their little bodies could muster. Brian surprisingly was the first to really embrace the mud - doing pushups in the swamp at the starting line.  Becky was hesitant to agree to these shenanigans at first.... something about being scared of fungus... but she gave in and had a blast :)  Dean and Brianna were adorable racing through each pit/tunnel/slide/tube/wall/thingamagiger together.
Watching my twin 4 yr olds run through the woods covered in mud... I couldn't help but wonder if they're going to grow up and look back and their childhood and think it was AWESOME... or totally bizarre.
THIS is why I can't ever quit my job with  ... I was able to snag these entries for FREE on a trade deal! Easy peasy! Also hooked Meredith and her bf and friend up with entries!  So next time I'm begrudgingly getting through some frustrating hours on the comp selling advertising packages to stingy Race Directors.... I'm going to remember. It's all worth it.  For free race entries - even out here in WA! 

My post-race-face

It's not pretty.... but the face of pure exhaustion is something I'm proud of!! I love that feeling of knowing I gave it all and being totally completely SPENT.  Mmmm.... lung burn.
{I sound a little loco I know. Truth!}

Getting back into racing makes me happy. It feels like it's been forever.

Surprise surprise! I was doing a little fun run out in the small city of Liberty Lake and who do I run into?! My old friend/teammate from BYU! Another Utah transplant (just here for a year while hub doing med res)  
She's running at the pace I SHOULD be at... approx. 6 min miles. I'm at about 6:30min/mi pace.  Working on getting it down!  I should probably put a little more effort into that and hit the track or treadmill sometime.
Or just continue my usual... sign up for lots and lots of races and count those as speedwork workouts :)

Friday, July 17, 2015


"Ugh, WHO is that other baby MY daddy is holding?!" 
[answer - it's sweet little Savana! Charity's cousin just 10 months younger! I love when they come over to visit from Seattle.  Her squishiness is delicious.]

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Dance Class

I'm not a big fan of putting my children in dance classes.... not that they're the worst thing to do, but I just feel like there are much better ways to spend our time/money.

But Brianna had been begging to continue ballet, so I found a summer 2 week camp to sign them up for.  And amazingly - there were another set of 4 yr old boy/girl twins in their class!! (the 2 children pictured here on each end)

It went well enough. They had fun. I didn't die of boredom too badly as I had to wander around keeping Charity happy while waiting for them.
I did get a small taste of how REAL the whole "stage mom" thing can get. Listening to some of the other mothers gab and obsess over the most ridiculous aspects of this.... as if their child is destined for Julliard or something...
Totally not my scene. So superficial.

I hope the kids stop asking now and we can get back to dancing the way dancing SHOULD be - spontaneous, natural, unscripted, and just FUN!

SIL quality time...

  I've loved having Becky here these last few weeks! She bravely journeyed up from AZ to spend almost a whole month here!  My kids adore hers. Cousin playdates are awesome.  
She even helped me haul away our toppled tree!

TWO Toddler cousins

These 2 are 2 cute and just 2 months apart and turning 2 very soon!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Studious toddler

  Charity is obsessed with glasses.
And I am obsessed with HER!
Doesn't she look so....wise....

Meredith took them to SplashDown!

  Meredith can be a super sweet, spontaneous, generous auntie sometimes! 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


 Hired Steve Larson to take this sucker down....  I didn't want to - it was a nice tree. But it had a few large branches up high threatening to crash at the next wind storm.... so, it's better to take it down on MY terms.
The kids LOVED playing "tree house" for a day with this thing!
Now I gotta decide what to put in it's place. Some fruit trees? Level the area and put in a fire pit? Hmmmmm....

Red/white/blue KABOBS


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Friday, July 10, 2015

Our little climber!

We went to "Healthy Kid Day" (basically a carnival type thing) at the Valley Y this evening.... it was so fun! Tons of booths, activities, freebies, entertainment... all with the "healthy children" theme.
Courtney did not hesitate at all to get her harness on and climb up that rock wall!
The other children all made attempts too.
Cute little monkeys.

cousin performance

This afternoon we got to take the kids down to the Spokane Civic Theater to watch their older cousins - Cooper, Lincoln, and Cougar - perform in a play they've been doing for Summer Acting Camp.
It's fun having Lindsay and Dave and Becky's crews all in town!!


Sometimes a girl just needs a snuggle from her grandmother....

Sister Toe Date!