Sunday, July 31, 2016

Early Halloween prep

Candy corn witches!

Early Halloween prep

Candy corn witches!

Froyo with friends!

This is the Guertin Family, new to the ward, just moved from from WY. They've got a few kids matching up in ages to ours, so weve basically got no choice but to be besties :) Forreals though, it feels good to be the first to reach out and befriend new people.
Moving is tough.
Making friends quickly makes it easier.

Why rent when you can buy? :)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Toddler friends of mommy friends

This cutie holding hands with Charity is Alyssa, my good friend April's daughter! They get to play together everyday at the Y while we work out. April and I have been friends since for freshman year, lost touch a bit after high school, but recently reconnected (having the same gym helps a lot!)

Zucchini magic!

This photo doesn't show it very well because of the shadows, but Courtney is standing right next to a giant zucchini! It's half her height! I didn't think we'd get any this year, because I didn't see any bees out there doing their pollinating job. But they must have been busy anyway, because we came home from our trip to find about 6 big zucchini! So fun. And especially fun to see how excited the kids are about it. Are tomato plants are also doing really well. We've picked a bunch today and brought some to Bishop Stumm and we'll bring some to other neighbors. This makes me want to invest more time in gardening!

Monday, July 25, 2016

baby on my shoulders

The other day I tried getting Brianna up on my shoulders, and was sad to realize that she's getting too big for it! WAHHHH!
So I'm enjoying having Charity travel this way as much as I can before she, too, does that terrible thing called growing up. 

Parading in SF

Since Pioneer Day (State Holiday in Utah) fell on the Sabbath this year, it was celebrated on Monday. So we stayed for the morning festivities! Which was mostly just the parade. Many of the towns/cities in Utah do holiday parades. It's a Utah thing, maybe? Not aware of other states who do all this parading.
I'm not personally a big fan... I feel like all that CO produced by the cars driving slowly is pretty gross. And throwing candy to kids obviously does nothing positive for them. And all the effort put into planning and executing events like this could do so much good for the world if directed towards alleviating global hunger or something along those lines. Party pooper I am? Okay :) Anyway, I actually had to miss it because little Courtney slept in until 11am (ELEVEN) !!! Crazy! She's never done that before. Her poor body must have been exhausted from staying up too late every night on this trip, and eating way too much junk food. I'm glad she got some sleep, and will be glad to get back to normal healthy life.
While she slept in, I got cleaned up after a BEAUUUUTIFUL long morning run through the countryside of Spanish Fork and the golf course. It was fantastic. Felt amazing. Also got our stuff all packed up, car ready, rooms and bathrooms all cleaned up.... it was quite the effort! But felt great to leave on time having everything organized.
In the passenger seat of that red car (Camero?) is Grandpa McKell...almost 98 years young! It was awesome spending time with him. He's a great example of a positive, loving attitude towards everyone.  Brianna sat on the back of the car with her two cousins Kandalyn and Allison.  With them being so close in age, it will be sweet to see how their cousin-relationship plays out as they get older!

Sunday, July 24, 2016


Getting ready for their turn with the photographer! I just adore them. And I love the color scheme we went with! It was mom's idea, obviously... mine would've included some (lotsa) YELLOW. But I suppose it's ok to do family pictures without yellow every once in awhile...
Forreals tho, when I look at this picture and think about these four humans I brought into the world... I just feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. Like - there's nothing greater I, as a person, could contribute to the world than these amazing spirits. I'm so grateful I get to be their mommy!!

Does it get any better than this?!!

ooooooo, that WATER!! So CLEAR! And it was just the perfect temp. Absolutely refreshing. We had SO much fun playing in it everyday! Whether in this little raft (yardsale score!!), or on the boat, jet skis, or just splashing around. Lake Chelan is probably the best lake I've ever been to!

Saturday, July 23, 2016


One of the McKell fam reunion events was renting this person's backyard! Kind of an interesting idea, right?! Some fabulously wealthy Spanish Forkers have a killer backyard with a gorgeous pool, playground, garden, etc., and they rent it out to people for relatively CHEAP prices! Pretty cool. The kids had a great time swimming and playing for a couple hours here! We got some fun slo-mo iphone videos of them jumping off the diving board. Courtney especially is super brave and getting to be a great swimmer! I need to invest more time in teaching her and Bennett proper stroke and breathing form. And reviewing it with Brianna.

organized Fish torture (aka, Fish Rodeo)

I'm not sure how this event passes Animal Cruelty laws... but apparently it does cuz fish don't have feelings?! Poor little things suffocate to death in those bags...if they survive the heart attack it must give them to be chased after and scoped up by little children in the giant wading pool. So messed up. Not doing this again...I know they had fun.... but there are other ways to have fun that don't involve harming slimy things.
(I know... Party Pooper I am, again).

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


I didn't get to do as much Stand up Paddleboarding as I wanted to during our Smith reunion... partly because Lindsay's board was having inflation issues, and mostly because I'm lame and didn't buy our own. I really should've. There was a great deal on one on eBay a few months ago... I put it in my cart, then hesitated...then it got away. Lesson learned. Just BUY it next time!
I have a life goal to do a headstand on a paddleboard and get a photo. Noble life goal, right?!! Lotsa work to do to make that one happen!!

Unofficial Smith fam photos

Family pictures were the first day full day of the reunion (thank goodness...cuz after that, I was so happy to not have to worry about my hair or makeup all week!!)
These pics were taken by Jenny on the sidelines as the hired photographer, Elizabeth Humble (a lucky find from Craigslist!!) was working with the various groups/families.
I was so proud of my kids - they cooperated really great for pictures!! It's getting easier as they're getting older :)

I haven't seen the official pics from the photographer yet, so I'm crossing my fingers she got a decent one of the whole group. It was tough because Bethany was having a tantrum, and some other little ones were fidgety. I didn't envy that photographer's task!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Oh these too.... in case I haven't said it enough.... I reallyreallyreally love having twins!! Especially boy-girl twins. It's an awesome brother-sister relationship to witness.
They play together SO well the majority of the time. Their little worlds of pretend are pretty adorable.  

Lots of beautiful little girls!

We've got a big fun group of little girl cousins from ages 4-8...I think 7 of them? They did a great job being kind and inclusive with all their playing this week. I love them! And I love doing their hair :) I want to spend some time watching YouTube videos teaching me how to do fun hairstyles on them. For now, it's lots of "Elsa braids"  (side french braids) and variations of that.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Road trip super snacks

This won't shock anyone...but FYI - I'm a big believer in healthy snacking while on long car drives (oh yeah, and all the time too...but especially on long drives). It takes some planning and prep, but it was worth it to have good quality eats during those hours and hours on the road.

Day of rest

Church is tiring!😴😴😇

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Workout Dates

Rope slammin, bosu-balancing, at Hit Fit 509!

We really like this little gym. My membership expired today (actually, a few days ago, but they let me finish the week). Brian's expires in August. So maybe we'll renew.... it's just kinda expensive, esp considering we also pay for a membership at the Y....
But maybe worth it for that buff dude in the background (Rob!) to keep helping Brian get good form while strength training! He really likes the format - it's totally up his alley.

Funny napper

Charity is literally fast asleep right there on my back! Good thing I'm ok to keep laying prone here for awhile! I'm on my laptop working on a birthday video for Annalee:) 
She's turning 15 and it's up to Aunt Chelsea to commemorate it in the usual fashion... a slideshow presentation of her life thus far!
She's a sweet girl with some funny quirks. She's going to love watching this! Goal: make everyone cry. 
Video here: 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

VBS #4, Whitworth

Another week, another Vacation Bible School! I'm glad we signed up for this one early... it filled up! Although it was extremely well organized and a fantastic experience for the kids... the construction around the campus was maddening. I wish we had done a different church's VBS this week - it would've saved me all that time I wasted trying to figure out how to get around construction. Blah. I think I hate wasting time more than the average person does. Like - I REALLY hate it. Drives me nuts. Time is super important to me!! Can't buy more...can't get it back when it's gone...just gotta do my best to use well what I have. And when others get in the WAY of that... grrrr. Anyway. Fun week. Ended in a BBQ/water party that mom graciously took the kids to so I could get things done at home (which seriously speaks to my Love Language... Acts of Service...yesssss, kid free productive time at home!!) Next VBS will be after reunion(s) week!

Wet trampoline with a dozen kids...what could go wrong?!😆😯

We hosted a playdate with our new friends - the Guertin and Freeman families. Both just moved into our ward last month and have children the same ages as ours. So we had them all over for some backyard fun! Unfortunately, it rained....but fortunately, that just made it even more fun for them :) Yay for good friends! And for NETS around the trampolines... ohmyword, there's no way I'd ever own one of these without a good strong net around it. So scary.

Family game night

They loooove ImagineIff! Super fun. They ask to play it often. Though they barely understand some of the vocab and concepts...

Saturday, July 9, 2016

skating party

Came home from High Adventure and immediately dove back into motherhood :) Took the kids skating at Pattisons for their friend's bday party.
I love this rink. It's been in Spokane since 1951, and is still owned by the original family! How many places can someone bring their children to that they themselves enjoyed playing at as a child?! They play all the original songs - hokey pokey, bird dance, etc. They do races, couples skate, etc.  So fun!

Lunch+play dates!

car cousins


Off on our High Adventure!

Time to embark on 5 days of hiking/backpacking/canoeing in Montana with this awesome YW group! Praying my kids survive ok without me!

Girl's Camp!

Girl's Camp was run by the Stake this year, so all I had to do was show up on Ward Night. It was awesome! I brought Brianna and Courtney with me. They are SO excited to join YW someday. Let's hope that excitement stays :)
I got there early so I could play around for awhile with the girls. There's a gorgeous river bordering the camp with fun trails around it.  I love this camp. So many good memories from my own years there.
We played Reverse Charades, some get-to-know-you games, had dinner (mom SAVED me by getting it all ready for me - lasagna, salad, bread, all in the wonder ovens!), then we had a great devotional message and activity, helping the girls learn the importance of kindness and unity.

Just another adventure in the life of an LDS Young Women's leader!