04 November 2012

Halloween 2012

In an effort to step it up around here, I've decided to post some pictures from our Halloween.  It was a great day.  Out of all of our kids, I think Audrey had the most fun - she got to wear her costume to school and then again, later, to the Trunk or Treat activity at our church.

She wanted to be Tinker Bell this year and really loved her costume!

Then there's Luke... he still isn't very into the fun and magic of the holiday, so we opted for a more low-key costume for him.  Taking inspiration from one of his most prized possessions, his Superman blanket, we came up with a Clark Kent in the middle of his transformation into his true identity.  I really wanted to have Luke wear the dorky, black thick-rimmed glasses to go with his costume, but was also wise enough to know that they would not last 10 seconds on Luke's face, so we skipped that part of Superman's disguise/accessory.

(As you can see, our brief photo shoot was ending at just about the right time for Luke's patience!)

And last, but not least:  Ezra.  We again applied the slacker method to his costume.  We have some footie pajamas that look similar to the suit of a racecar driver, so we threw those on and called it good!

(I love these last two pictures, it looks like he's starting to lose his balance a bit - his eyes are wide, like, "Oh no!  I'm going to fall!"  But then he rights himself and has this cute smug grin.  I love it!)

11 October 2012

Blogging Loser

I am such a blogging loser.  I'm in deep, dark denial that it's really been nearly three months since my last post.  I can't believe that.  And, just so you know:  I still often have the audacity to get bugged when some of my favorite bloggers don't update their blogs frequently enough for my liking!

Now, admittedly, I have had a lot going on the last few months....

We had a big McKell family reunion the first weekend in August.  Ezra and I made a very last minute road trip to Ukiah with most of my brothers to support my dad and his ordination as a Stake Patriarch.  A busy weekend of attending a nephew and a neice's baptisms.  A visit from my parents and Megan with her three little ones.  Both Audrey and Lucas have started preschool.  Ezra continues to grow at an astonishing rate.  And I've used the time that I pump to good use by reading an embarrassing number of books.  (Don't ask how many because I will not tell.)

And here's a few of the pictures we've managed to taking during all of that:

Audrey's first day of school... had to take a few pictures.  The first couple of weeks were a bit of a transition but now she really enjoys it.  She has friends that she looks forward to playing with and talks about a few in particular.  I love it when I drop her off when her little classmates are excited to see her and she's excited to see them too.  Lately she's even started to ask if she can go play at their houses, or if they can come play at ours... I guess I need to get to know the parents so we can get some play-dates going!    

(I love watching Ezra... especially in peaceful slumber.)

(Where hair washing used to be an ordeal to endure, now it's an imagination event to enjoy - this night she was pretending to be a unicorn.)

(Ezra is getting so be such a big, cute boy!  He's rolling over like a champ and tried to scoot anytime he's on his tummy.  And, thanks to the Bumbo, he's doing a pretty good job lately with sitting up with just the slightest support from us... it's hard to believe he'll be 5 months old in just a few days!)

(Since Ezra's birth, we bought out the crib and every once in a while when Audrey feels like taking a nap, she'll request to sleep in the crib "like a nice baby"... so I let her because there's something so cute about it.  She brings in all of her pillows from her big girl bed, and many of her stuffed animal friends, and her favorite blanket and curls up for a nap.)

(And Luke, he's doing well with school too.  His is specifically for kids who are experiencing developmental delays - language in his case - and he seems to have adjusted well.  He's such a cute, sweet kid, we really can't wait until he begins communicating more and more.  It's not often that he stays still long enough for me to get a picture, but I thought these from a couple of months ago were so endearing of him.  I love them.)

(In typical Audrey fashion, she is a complicated mix of young, dependent little girl and strong, capable big girl.  This summer we got her a big girl bike and she was so excited to try it.  She's getting pretty good at riding it.  It's fun to watch.  Also, in typical Audrey fashion is her sense of style - she's still a little princess-y girly girl most of the time.  In fact, my favorite part of accompanying her while she rides her bike is when she pauses to refresh her lip gloss...  she stops every couple of minutes and announces,  "Lip Gloss Break!"  and proceeds to put a fresh coat on.  A girl always needs to do what she can to look her best, apparently.  
I should probably be taking notes!)

13 July 2012

Seriously the CUTEST thing in our house right now

After I posted that last post about "Somebody that I used to know" and it's various covers... I had a few brief moments of maternal guilt.  Seriously.

How could I rant and rave and gush about a song and then neglect to highlight my current obsession... my cute little Ezra.

So, here's a few recent pictures of my sweet little man.  Who is seriously the CUTEST thing in our house right now.

Don't you agree?!

Seriously the Coolest Thing I've Seen in a Long, Long Time

Many people in the music world are falling all over themselves for a song by the Australian artist, Gotye.

I first heard the song on the radio while I was driving around doing some errands a couple of months ago.  I didn't know who it was by at the time, just that it was pretty cool.  If you're not familiar with it, here's the video:


Fast forward to about a week later when I was watching American Idol with Adam after the kids had gone to bed for the night:  a couple of (my favorite) contestants did a duet of the same song and I finally found out the name of the original artist was.  Here's their performance:

In some future post, I should tell you how much I love Phillip Phillips... maybe.  I'm so glad he won - a true, authentic, unique artist and musician wins over the more polished pop-y performers.  Awesome!

Anyway, back to Gotye and his incredible song... and the subject/source of the title of this post.

This morning I saw this video of the same Gotye song covered by an Indie band,
Walk off the Earth.  

It is seriously the coolest thing that I've seen in a long, long time.
The band members use one guitar to recreate the song.  It's fabulous.  Take a gander:

Isn't that simply incredible?!  Take a look at some of their other videos and songs, I dare you.  You will not be disappointed, I promise!

23 June 2012

A Bit of Wisdom to Ponder...

An old Cherokee told his grandson, "My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all.

One is Evil.  It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies and ego.  

The other is Good.  It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth."

The boy thought about it, and asked, "Grandfather, which wolf wins?"

The old man quietly replied, "The one you feed." 

- author unknown

11 June 2012

More Ezra

All of the pictures from the last post were taken in the hospital - if that wasn't readily apparent!

It's crazy how already he looks so different and older - what a difference a couple of weeks make!

I enlisted the help of my sister Dawnette and cousin Rachel to bring their fancy shmancy cameras over to take some pictures of Ezra - to go with the framed newborn pictures we have of Audrey and Luke.  Here are a few of my favorites:

I love all of them and it has been a really tough decision to pick just one!  Isn't he handsome?!

08 June 2012

Ezra James Christian


I have been a major blogging slacker.  It's been a couple of months since my last post... and some pretty exciting things have happened in that time.

At the top of that list is, of course, the birth of our third child!

On May 15 at 10:01am, a beautiful baby boy joined our family.  Ezra James.  He came into this world a bit of a chunk:  tipping the scales at 8lbs 13 oz and measuring 21 inches long.  His head circumference was also well above average, measuring in the 95th percentile!  (Which, if I am being completely honest, and maybe a bit too candid, made me glad that we had opted for a C Section after all!)

As anticipated, Ezra is a great little addition to our family.  He has a calm disposition and has continued to grow and change in the way only newborns can and do.  It's hard to believe that it's already been 3 weeks since we were discharged from the hospital!

We are trying to settle in to life with a 4 and a half year old, a nearly 3 year old and a newborn - this seems to mean a much fuller, more hectic routine for right now.  But, luckily, so far it has been manageable - thanks to help from my parents who were here for Ezra's first two weeks of life, and additional help from Adam's mom, who lives nearby.

I'm pretty sure that both Audrey and Luke are still trying to decide how they feel about this little human being who is monopolizing so much of mom's time.  I am confident that we will all find our new equilibrium... hopefully sooner rather than later!

31 March 2012

Jim McKell Art Studio

My dad, Jim McKell, is an artist.

In every sense of the word.

And the latest development for him is a brand new website featuring some of his pottery.  My brother-in-law, Marc Carson, designed the website and I just got my first look at it late last night.  It is fantastic!  I love the simplicity, the ease of use and accessibility.  The whole thing just screams the quiet simplicity of my father.  I loved browsing the site and thinking of lots of other people out there getting to know the art made by my beloved dad.  Other than the actual pieces, my favorite part of the site is the background information and the sections entitled "What Inspires Me" and "Statement" - if you know my dad then these sections will ring so true that it will bring a smile to your face.  And, if you don't know my dad, then these sections will give you a feel for the real Jim McKell.  It's honestly my new favorite website to visit!

You should go and take a gander yourself.  Here's the link:  www.jimmckell.com/about/

Congratulations on the launch of the new site, dad!  I am so proud to be your daughter!

13 February 2012

Faux Swearing

Yesterday when I was on You Tube embedding the Whitney Houston videos for yesterday's blog post, I stumbled upon this video and it made me chuckle enough that I wanted to share it here.

Now, it may be living in Utah that makes this video especially amusing.  But, I know I heard those same faux swear words among my Mormon friends while growing up in Northern California.  It is definitely relatable if you are a person who tries to avoid profanity.  My favorite part?  The very end when he's surprised and says the actual word when he's talking on the phone!  ("I said shoot mom!")

Anyway, I hope it brings a smile to your face.

12 February 2012

Musical Memory

Was anyone else completely blown away by the sad, sad news that Whitney Houston died last night?!  I was.  I still can't quite wrap my head around it!  Music has always been important to me.  No other creative medium has the power that music does - to uplift, to calm, to relax, to excite, and especially to elicit memories.

As I was thinking last night about how the music of Whitney Houston has touched my life, I remembered that it was one of her songs that was my very first favorite pop song.  The first pop song that I knew all the lyrics to.  Do you remember "I Wanna Dance with Somebody"?

And then I remembered a very crisp, clear memory of that song.  I was in the bedroom that I shared with my sisters, Dawnette and Megan.  I remember putting that song on and turning the volume up and going and dancing in front of the full length mirrors of our closet doors - singing along to every word, note, and oooohhh.    Pure Pop Music Magic that song is.

And who can forget the best rendition (ever) of the Star Spangled Banner?  Not me.

But, I think, of all of her songs, the most indelible one is her version of the Dolly Parton song "I Will Always Love You".  I still remember watching her performance of that song on the 1994 World Music Awards and marveling at her pure, peerless talent.  We recorded that show on a VHS tape and I remember watching it over and over and over and over again in the days and weeks following the broadcast.  I watched it so much that that section started wigging out after awhile - I think I'd worn the tape of the VHS by watching those 5 magical minutes over and over again.  Simply put, I was obsessed with the power of her voice.

And what person who appreciates music wouldn't be in awe of her talent?  I was.  I am.  I always will be.

09 February 2012

The Bread Bandit Strikes Again!

If you are a regular and avid reader of our quaint little blog (and, really, who isn't?!), you may remember a post from a couple of weeks ago wherein I told of how Luke quietly and quite slyly helped himself to a loaf of bread that had been sitting on the counter top to cool.

My little bread bandit struck again... last night.

But this time it wasn't yummy, hearty wheat bread.  

It was fresh, scrumptious banana bread. 

I took it out of the oven and put it on the rack to cool, then went back downstairs where the kiddos were playing.  Audrey asked if I would play (Barbie) dolls with her, so we did.  Just a few minutes later, Luke ventured upstairs.  Sometimes he goes on little lone trips up to the kitchen to play with the alphabet letters on the fridge, or to grab a few kitchen utensils to play with, or just to check things out.  Usually he's not gone for long and comes back to join whatever fun there is to be had with the rest of us.

I really didn't think anything of his disappearance - because, like I said, these one man exploration trips are a pretty regular occurrence - and my doll, Stephanie, and Audrey's doll, Nikki, were busy baking chocolate chip cookies before going to a ball, so clearly we had some big plans to occupy our minds!

Well, a few more minutes passed, and then Luke came back downstairs to play with us.

It wasn't until about 10 minutes later, when I wanted to get a drink of water, that I discovered the cute little pinch marks that formed one long row on one of the loaves of banana bread!  The loaf that was closest to the edge of the counter - which just happens to be right within my little boy's reach.

I'm just glad that he focused his attention on just one of the loaves - since I had plans to give the other two away!

05 February 2012

A Big Sunday

Today was a big day.  

(And not because the Super Bowl is just a couple of hours away.)

Today was a big day for Audrey.  During Sharing Time in Primary at church, Audrey gave her very first talk. 

(All of a sudden she looks so grown up... 
and it's not entirely due to her new favorite way to pose for pictures!)

The overall theme for this whole year in Primary is on Choosing the Right.  So, we decided that that's what her talk would be on.  Adam and I sat down with Audrey and asked her what that means - to choose the right.  And what kinds of things she can do that are ways of choosing the right.  Some of the things she came up with were:  to be nice to each other.  To be reverent at church.  Don't yell at others.  Take the Sacrament. Be baptized.  And she concluded with "If we follow Jesus Christ's teachings, we will be happy, and will live with Him again.  I know Jesus lives, and He is my Savior."

She did such a good job!  I was so proud of the way she stood, looking at the large group of her peers, and she talked clearly into the microphone.  I was there to prompt her, but she deserves the most credit.  (I even noticed a few of the adults in the room wiping tears from their eyes.  One of those was Audrey's dad!)

And, as if that weren't enough for one Sunday, we had another first for Audrey just about an hour later during Sacrament meeting.  Being the first Sunday of the month, it was Fast and Testimony meeting.  I felt prompted to get up and bear my testimony, so I walked up and took a seat to wait my turn (there were a few people ahead of me already on the stand).  After about 45 seconds, I looked down the aisle to see Audrey trotting towards me.  She came up and sat in the empty chair next to me and said, "Mom, you're bearing your testimony?"  And I said, "Yes."  Then she looked up at me and said, "I want to bear my testimony, too."  To which I replied, "Ok."

I wasn't sure if she would want to back out when it came to be her turn - the whole congregation of our ward is a much, much larger audience of people to talk too.  (Even I was a little nervous!)

But, she walked right up the little stepping stool in front of the pulpit and, with my help, she bore her very first testimony in Sacrament meeting.  Again, she spoke clearly and confidently.  I was so proud of her!

After Audrey was done, she ran proudly to Adam who was sitting in the congregation, wrestling Luke into submission!  I stayed to bear my own testimony and, as usual, I got teary eyed and emotional.  As I stood saying the things that were in my heart, my sweet little girl came running back down the aisle and stood by my side for the duration of my testimony.  I could tell she was a little worried that I was crying and she asked a couple of times, quietly, "Mom, are you ok?"  and I would smile and nod to her to let her know that everything was fine.  And then when I was done she grabbed my hand and walked me back to our seat in the congregation.  She is such a little sweetheart.  I love her and Luke (and this new one on the way) so, so much!  I feel so blessed to be their mama.

(That was actually the focus of what I said during my testimony - the daunting responsibility of teaching my children correct principles and teachings that will help them find their way through this crazy life.  I referenced a favorite General Conference talk by one of my favorite Apostles - which, if you're interested, you can find here and I also talked about my own righteous parents and their efforts to be good examples and teach their children well.  I feel so blessed to have had them to help form and mold me into the person that I am today.  I am so thankful for stalwart and true believers and defenders of Jesus Christ.  I am reminded of the last line of the famous Robert Frost poem "The Road Not Taken" that ends with,  "And that has made all the difference."  Having true and faithful parents has made all the difference and I hope to emulate that in my own kids' lives.

I am indeed blessed.

28 January 2012

Pictures for My Mama

A couple of years ago, during one of our trips to visit my parents and my sister in California, my mom took us to Ross and among our purchases was a darling dress for Audrey.  We both couldn't wait for her to grow into it - it was a size 4 and Audrey was just about 2 years old at the time, so I knew it would be awhile before she would be able to wear it.

Well, the other day when I asked Audrey what she'd like to wear, she pointed to the cute little black and white dress that Grandma had bought for her.  And it fit!  And she looked so cute in it!  So, I had to post a few pictures so Grandma can see Audrey in her little dress.

Here's that pose again!  She does it completely on her own - it's the funniest thing.

Thanks Grandma for the cute dress!  We love you!

27 January 2012

A Loaf for Luke

If I am honest, I have to admit that some of the posts here aren't exactly my best work.  They turn out not to be as witty or funny or just plain as memorable as I'd like them to be.  I will have to take the blame for that.  Sometimes I'm not on my game.  But no matter what I write about this next episode in the Christian home will likely be one of my favorites for years to come.  I'm still shaking my head in bewildered amusement, just thinking about it.

First thing you should know is that I make yummy wheat bread regularly.  We don't really buy bread - unless I decide to go on strike for a couple of days.  Most often, though, our cupboard stores at least one loaf of homemade wheat bread for us... I try to stay on top of things so that when we're about half way through our last loaf, I make a new batch to replenish our supply.  (As a completely related aside:  Thank you to my sister Megan for the recipe!!!)

Well, a few weeks ago I had a freshly made batch of yummy wheat bread, sitting on the counter, cooling on the baking racks, waiting to be put into bags.  We were downstairs playing with the kids.  Luke was a bit whiney but that was understandable because it was getting to be pretty close to dinnertime.  A bit later, Luke ventured upstairs and after a few (very quiet) minutes, when he didn't return, I decided to go upstairs to see what he was up to.  Most moms can attest that when things are too quiet, it usually means trouble!

When I turned the corner from the hallway to the kitchen, this is what I found:

Luke had reached up and grabbed one of the loaves of bread and sat himself down for a little pre-dinner snack!

I was beside myself with amusement!

He would alternately take little pinches of bread with his fingers, or he would just put the loaf to his mouth and take bites right off the top.

He was so cute sitting there munching on a full, uncut loaf of bread - he totally took matters into his own hands and was so business-like about the consumption of his little stolen snack.

When he was satisfied, he simply set the loaf down and surveyed the damage.

I'd say he did pretty good!