Monday, December 31, 2007

A message for you

Colin and Cameron (who is pantless again in this video--just remember that we are potty training!) just wanted to tell everyone.....

(Since Ethan didn't make the video, here is a shot of him from today!)

God has blessed our family so much this past year, and we are so grateful to Him for watching over our family and providing for everything we need on a daily basis. Happy New Year to you all, and may God's blessings be abundant to you in 2008!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Days of Festivities, part two

Christmas morning, we got ready....and opened presents!!

The family

Cameron got a new veggie video!

Colin did too!

Ethan, dancing to the newest veggie tale video!!

Ethan, eating the mistletoe (don't worry, it was fake)

Colin, less than thrilled about opening socks--until he realized that there was super cool AIRPLANES on them!!

Ethan, playing with Cameron's new truck

What could be in this huge box??

A new basketball hoop!!
(By the way, let it be known that the boys love this toy.....but nowhere near the amount that their dad does)

Cameron, on "present overload" :-)

Grandma joined us for Christmas brunch and more presents!

Her new CARS blankie was a big hit with Ethan. It passed the thumb test! (He only sucks his thumb when he has his 'special' blankie)
Two little reindeer....wait, that's Colin and Cameron!!

It was a great day spent with our boys and our family!

Two days after Christmas, on the 27th, my Grandma Franzi (mom's mom) turned 88 years old. We all went over to Aunt Karen's to celebrate....more presents (for her, of course) and cake--just what we needed, more junk food!

This picture really doesn't have much to do with anything, except for the fact that I took it on Grandma's birthday--I just like it because I think Ethan and I look a lot alike in it!

Mom, Grandma Franzi, and me
Happy Birthday Grandma and Granny--we love you!
We had a wonderful Christmas week. Hope you did too!

~The Merritts~

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Days of Festivities, part one

This year, Christmas at the Merritt house lasted a few days.

We got a wonderful gift of a brand new niece on the 22nd! Roger and Aimee (my brother and sister-in-law) welcomed Olivia Ann at around 11:30 p.m.--our first Christmas blessing! She is so precious--you have to check out some pics on their website if you have a minute!

For our family, we began letting the boys open small presents from their stockings a couple of nights before Christmas...and then Christmas Eve day, they got to open several 'under the tree' presents, as Colin was calling them. With lots of grandparents and extended family (plus Mommy and Daddy) giving them presents this year, we had enough to open on both days!

Anticipation of what was inside of those beautifully wrapped presents was just eating away at Colin! He was so excited when we said he could finally open some!

Magnetic Numbers for the Fridge--thanks Grandpa Danny and Amy!

Cameron, opening his first present.......oh, what could it be......

.....A set of puzzles!


Daddy decided to do a little pre-Christmas are the boys watching him out the back slider door. (He was burning some stuff, and they love to watch that--they are pyros like their mom!) I just thought this one was so cute with all three of them standing there!

That evening, we all got ready and headed out to our church for our annual Christmas Eve Service and Cantata. Here are the boys just before we left to go, in front of our tree--looking so handsome if I may say so!

We had a really wonderful Christmas Day this year--lots of pics still to come!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


May I just say, THANK YOU.

Thank you all, each one of you who have left the most wonderful encouraging comments on my most recent post. You all have probably no idea how much your words have meant to me--I may explain just the impact that they have had in another post, but now is not the moment for that. Nevertheless, thank you ALL so much.

My friend Paul just wrote some great encouragement on his blog. Though not intended just for me, this really hit me close to home. (If you haven't read my 'NEWS' post, you should do that first so that you will understand what is going on.)

These two things (Paul's words and this video) are SOOOOO worth your time--they will take you probably a total of 4 minutes to read and view. I hope you will take just a moment to click on his link and read his brief but highly encouraging post. Thanks, Paul.

He also had the most wonderful video that I am posting as well.

Logan is a 13 year-old boy who lives on a ranch in a very small town in Nebraska. Logan listens to Christian Radio station 89.3FM KSBJ which broadcasts from Houston, TX. Logan called the radio station distraught because he had to take down a calf . His words have wisdom beyond his years.

These two things were a big encouragement to me at the moment--hope they are to you, as well, even if you aren't in the midst of a difficult 'providence'.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


I've been waiting for a few weeks now to post some family 'news'.

I've decided that tonight is the night that I am going to share it; however, the events of this past week have drastically changed that very news. (Disclaimer: you are in for a lengthy post here.)

I am going to give the most condensed, blog-appropriate version I can tonight, which will leave many details out. But you will still get the main part of what has happened.

Shane and I found out at the end of October that we were expecting baby #4. We--well, I for sure--had some very mixed emotions, as I am sure many women do with most pregnancies: I was scared, overwhelmed, incredulous (simply because of the measures that we were taking to prevent this very thing from happening); yet, once I had a few days to take in and process all the information, very happy and excited at the thought of another addition to our household. I didn't believe for one minute that I was really ready, but talked myself into the fact that the baby wouldn't be here for at least seven months, and by then, I would be fine and a new baby would be a welcome and wonderful gift!

We told Shane's family at Thanksgiving--both of Shane's brother's wives are also expecting (Aimee is due in three days, and Karie is due in March) with their second babies, so we took a picture, all three of us 'expectant mommies-to-be', and had great fun envisioning what next Thanksgiving was going to be like, with not FIVE babies, but EIGHT!!

We told my family, and our church family....everyone was so excited for us, of course. Our excitement was really building as well. Everyone kept saying, "maybe this will be your girl!" I, personally, could care less the sex of this child--it really did not matter to me one way or the other....but I just couldn't wait to find out!

We were scheduled to go for my first appointment and sono this past Thursday, and I had all these plans--I was going to put the sono pictures up on the blog as my big announcement!

It is amazing how fast life changes. How your big plans sometimes are not God's big plans. And how, for some reason or another, that is always for our ultimately greater good and His glory, He has to gently (and sometimes, not so gently) pull those plans away from you.

On Tuesday night, I began bleeding. After three pregnancies, I obviously knew this was not a good sign. This continued off and on thru the night, and increased on Wednesday morning. We called my doctor and they were able to get me in right away for a sono. I went thru the morning with two thoughts--1. Everything is going to be fine! After all, I know lots of women who have had spotting and bleeding and went on to have perfectly fine pregnancies! and 2. Everything is going to be fine, right? I mean, nothing will really happen, right? Shane said to me on the way over, "Are we just at this point hoping for a heartbeat?" To which I replied, "Pretty much." But I thought, there is no way....nothing could be wrong, really.

With many sonograms under my belt, I knew as soon as I saw the screen--there was no flashing. Which meant, no heartbeat. I immediately got choked up, and said to the sono tech (which, if you have ever had a sono before, you know that they are never supposed to discuss anything with you about what they see--they are required to let the doctor do that), "I don't see anything flashing. There's no heartbeat is there?" He looked at me, and said, "I'm really not supposed to say (this was, by the way, the kindest man, and the best sono tech I have ever had). I started crying, and looked at him, and said thru my tears, "It's okay. I've seen enough of these to know what I am looking at. You can tell me. There's no heartbeat, is there?"

To which, he looked at me and said quietly, "No, I am sorry, there is not."

I will spare you the details of the last several days. There have been many, many tears, lots of hurting (both emotionally and physically, as the 'labor' and passing of the baby was most of the day Thursday), and lots of questioning.

Questioning myself: Did I do something wrong? Did I cause this? Did God take this baby away from me because I was so unsure of this pregnancy, and scared at first, and not as excited as I was supposed to be? Like, maybe from my reaction, that God thought I didn't want this baby, and therefore, I didn't deserve this baby?

Questioning my own 'untouchableness' (for an absolute lack of a better word that fits): I can't believe that this happened to me. This happens to other women. I have had three normal, completely healthy pregnancies. This wasn't supposed to happen. I mean, I thought--you get pregnant, you have a baby. That's just the way it works. As any woman that hasn't had this happen to them probably always does think. What is sad, to me though, is the fact that I have had MANY friends and family members touched by this very same situation--and that reality still didn't really ever make it through to me. Unfortunately, I know now from personal experience that that is NOT the way it always works.

Questioning God: Why would He ever even allow me to get pregnant, and go through all of the emotions and everything that I did, and come full circle to actually being excited at being a household of six, only to take this child away? I mean, if He didn't want me to have this baby, why allow the pregnancy in the first place?

After several days of searching, I think I know the answers to many of those questions. I didn't do anything to cause this. The reason why will probably never, ever be known this side of heaven. God didn't do this out of spite--like, "Well, you just weren't as elated as you are supposed to be, so.....ZAP, baby's gone. Better be happier next time." He just does NOT work like that.

However, I comprehend, more than I ever have, the things that I have always said--the making of a child, from start to finish, is an absolute miracle. There are so many things that have to happen, it is nothing short of a miracle, and I believe it only happens because the Creator of the whole world is watching every minute, making sure everything does go just the right way.

It is, also, an amazing gift. Not something we do ourselves, but something God gives us. If you know Shane or I very well, you have probably heard us joke about how fertile we are--"we just breathe on each other, and we are pregnant!" That, up to this point, has been the absolute truth. But it may not always be. We don't know if that may have been our last child, or if from now on, we aren't able to have any more. It sure changes the way your outlook is. It's not so much of, "well, if we want another one, we can always have one!" but, "I pray that if we decide we do want another child someday, God is gracious enough to grant us that gift."

Ultimately, I know that this is somehow, absolutely for my greater good. For my family's greater good. I can't fathom that--don't understand HOW that could be--but I don't have to. I just am choosing to accept it as truth, because I know that it is. Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that in all things, God works for the GOOD of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." (NIV)

It doesn't make the hurt go away, though. Doesn't make me forget this loss, this giant hole I feel inside of me right now.

May I be so selfish as to ask for your prayers for me, and Shane as well? I sure would appreciate that. Even for little Colin, who was so excited to meet this baby "when it got warm outside." We have explained the truth to him, that Jesus took this baby to heaven to live with Him--but that is a hard truth for a 4-year-old to grasp. He doesn't mean to upset me, but it is hard to hear him ask things like, "When is Jesus going to bring the baby back?" He is so loving, and gentle--praying for Jesus to help me to feel better, and not be sick anymore; and bringing me a Kleenex when I am crying, and saying, "Mommy, I love you. Have my tissue to make you feel better. There is a little bit of snot on it from me though." :-) He can make me cry and smile, all at the same time. I am sooooo blessed. Shane also has been wonderful through all of this, and is doing his best to understand all of my emotions, but I know it is hard for him, too.

I am not sure really how to get through all of this, but time, as they say, helps. I know that each day that goes by, I will feel a little better, a little less sad.

But there will always be a giant part of me that is missing. I will never forget.

Baby Merritt, 12-12-07

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Caught on Camera

I've managed to capture a few really cute moments on camera in the last few days. Thought I would share!!

Colin, at the top of the ladder while "working with Daddy"

Cameron, just being so cute I had to take a picture--him and that blanket!

And, all three boys, just looking so sweet together!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Happy Holidays?

My dad sent this to me in an email, and I thought it was worthy of a post. Enjoy, and remember to reflect on the true meaning of this time of year!

Twas the month before Christmas
When all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying
Nor taking a stand.

Why the Politically Correct Police had taken away
The reason for Christmas? No one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.

"It might hurt people's feelings," the teachers would say
December 25th is just a "Holiday."
Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks, and credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!

CDs from Madonna, an X-BOX, an I-pod
Something was changing, something quite odd!
Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.

As Targets were hanging their trees upside down,
At Lowe's the word Christmas was no where to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.

Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty
Are words that were used to intimidate me.
Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton!

At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace.

The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
So as you celebrate "Winter Break" under your "Dream Tree"
Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me:

Choose your words carefully,
Choose what you say,
not Happy Holiday!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The laughs never stop


Oh, this child just keeps me in stitches. The things he comes up with are just sooooo funny.

First, the other day, he got into the winter hats, which I have stored in cubbies in the boys' closet. He picked the funniest looking one and has been wearing it around the house for 3 days now. Yesterday he walked over by some of the Christmas decorations (where we took pics a couple of days ago) and said to me, "take picture, Mommy?" So, I did.

He is working really hard on potty training right now, and is doing quite well with it. I am finding that the more I keep him in "big boy pants", the better he does....and he really thinks that he is hot stuff when he gets to wear them.

(Something funny to mention here--when we started him out wearing undies for practice, I just reached into Colin's drawer for a pair. I pulled them up....and they were way too tight. In fact, he actually said to me, "too ti, Mommy, too ti!! I had to go to my stash of 'next-sized' undies, which were put away for Colin, for him! I just thought that was so funny....Colin has been wearing 2T-3T underwear for 2 years and Cameron is starting off in a 4T! Oh, each child is so very different.....)

Anyway, the other night I asked him if he wanted to wear big-boy pants. Of course, he said yes, and immediately said, "Cars?" We have a few pairs of Cars undies, and those are his favorites. So, I put him in Mater, and he promptly walked into the living room, over to the Christmas tree, and again requested that I take pictures of him. So.....I did.

Now, this one is the kicker......when I asked him to show me who was on his pants so I could take a picture, he did this:

Point illustrated.

Monday, December 3, 2007

It was inevitable....

that we were to become a mini-van family.

Our explorer was great looks-wise, but it was not the greatest on gas mileage or kid-friendliness. It wasn't the easiest loading all three boys into it, plus--we had no additional room for anyone to ever come with us in our car! Since my mom is around quite a bit, and for the other reasons mentioned above, the explorer was just becomining more and more impractical.

So, several months ago, we began the process of starting to search for a mini-van. We looked, and priced, and even test-drove, but never came to one that we knew was "it."

Enter Shane's Aunt Deanna and Uncle Alan, who live in Missouri and just so happened to own a 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan (exactly the model we knew we wanted, but newer, nicer than we thought we could afford, and with less miles!) When we went down in August and Deanna mentioned that she was getting a new car with her job and this one was on the market.....we couldn't believe our ears!

Jump ahead three months, and you find the Merritt family proudly driving this very mini-van. It is great, and we loved it from the first time we drove it! This picture is of Colin and Cameron, on the way home from Thanksgiving (Alan and Deanna so graciously drove the van from Missouri to Chicago for us so that we would not have to go and get it--thanks so much both of you!). You can't see Ethan; we originally had him in the seat right behind the driver, but we have already moved him to be back with the other two boys, and have stowed both of the middle seats. It is so easy to manuever around in, and has so much room.

We are so fortunate that God worked all of this out for us, to be able to get this nice of a van at the price we did was, quite literally, close to miraculous, and we are so grateful!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Our Thanksgiving week

We had a great time in Chicago for the annual Merritt Family Thanksgiving. We came home Monday night--it was a long but very fun week. I am posting a ton of pics--here are many of the events of our pictures!!

The day before Thanksgiving....hanging out with all the cousins!
Cameron, doing what he does best....cheesing
Luke, eating one of Gram's chocolate chip cookies
Colin, helping Daddy play Monopoly with Uncle Rog and Uncle Jay
Ethan, helping everyone open their presents from Aunt Deanna (or, in other words, eating everyone's wrapping paper)

Thanksgiving morning:
Aunt Karie and ReeseIt was snowing outside, and the kids loved that!I love this shot--all three actually smiling! With 33 people at Lynette and Roger's house, Colin was apparently feeling a little cramped--I went looking for him and discovered him in the back bathroom, inside the whirlpool tub, reading a book in the peace and quiet....Ethan's first bite of real mashed potatoes.....I'm not so sure that he liked them!

The day after Thanksgiving--downtown Chicago at the Museum of Science and Industry
My two little clowns
Colin, climbing the tractor Colin and Cameron, driving the combineColin and Daddy in front of the U-505 submarine exhibitColin and Cameron loved the boat section!Later that night.....Ethan playing patty cake with DeannaRoll 'em........
Sunday morning:
All of the kids in front of the Christmas tree at Lynette and Roger's churchSunday night--exchanging presents with Jay/Karie/Reese and Roger/Aimee/Luke
Cameron's new pants.....Colin's new shirt....
Reese's new coat.....Ethan's new shirt and toy..... Luke's new Cubs hat..... How big are you Ethan?
Soooooo big!!

It was a great week, and spending time with our family that we don't see often was wonderful. We have so much to be thankful for!