Friday, September 28, 2007

How to hug a baby

My mom emailed me this, and the pics were too cute not to post.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

First: Spot baby.

Second: Approach and sniff to make sure you have the right baby.

Third: Flatten baby.

Fourth: Slip one front arm under baby, one front arm over baby.

Last: Cuddle!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Welcome to our home

Yesterday, the boys and I did an outdoor project.

I love the Fall season, and it is actually becoming my favorite season as I get older, over summer. I love the cooler temps, being able to open the windows again and turn off the A/C, and watching the leaves turn beautiful colors. I have recently decorated the front of our house with fall items--mums, pumpkins and gourds, straw bales, get the idea. Colin and Cameron LOVE drawing with sidewalk chalk, and I thought it would be a great idea to have them help me add a home-made touch to our decorations....a Welcome sign on our sidewalk.

So, we did just that.

I drew the outlines of the letters, and the boys picked out different colors of chalk to color the letters in. Colin colored in the letters, while Cameron.....lets just say he colored everywhere BUT the letters. (Ethan watched intently on a blanket next to me. He, however, became quickly bored of the project and decided to get himself on his belly and over to the side of the blanket where he could try to eat some grass.)
I think their masterpiece turned out great, and we had a lot of fun doing it!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Hail to the Chief!

The tradition of Chief Illiniwek is, sadly, now officially gone....but for the Merritt household, it will continue! Maybe not forever.....but at least for as long as these shirts continue to fit the boys!

Now, lest you think that I ran out and bought them each new shirts, I must tell you--these shirts have all been Colin's at one time. We LOVE the Fighting Illini, and I have bought Colin a Chief shirt in almost every size. Ethan is wearing a 12 month; Cameron a 2T, and Colin a 4T. There are also 6 month, 18 month, and 3T sizes in the house--in rubbermaid tubs, packed away until they are needed (which, will be soon for Cameron--he is starting to have to be packed into the 2T.) I am debating going on a search for a few of these same shirts in bigger sizes, so they can all three have them for a little bit longer! The shirts are becoming harder to find, now that the Chief has been it may be quite the quest to locate a few more. I am weighing whether or not it is worth it. Most of me says it is.

I just can't help myself....I know the boys are not triplets (although believe it or not, I am asked constantly if Colin and Cameron are twins); I know they are three years apart; I know they are not girls; but I love dressing them alike like this. I did it all the time with Colin and Cameron, but once Ethan came along--it got expensive! It isn't easy to buy three of the same thing, especially for a bargain shopper like myself. So, this year, I have resorted to not having very many items that match, and I am forcing myself to be okay with it. However, that being said, when I do have something alike like this, I just eat it up! Here are a few shots from yester-night (as Colin would say) of the three of them:

First shot--not too much into the picture taking idea yet.

Second shot--tons better than the first, but not looking at the camera! They were looking at Shane, who was next to me trying to get them to laugh!

Third shot: Cameron goofing around and doing something that the other two apparently found hilarious!

Fourth shot: I must say thank you to Shane, for REALLY making them laugh and look at the camera at the same time--and giving me a great new picture!

Monday, September 17, 2007

The sounds of music

For quite some time, Colin has exhibited a real love for music. I can't imagine where on earth he gets that from!

I have sung to Colin (all three boys, actually) since he was a small baby, and he has always responded really well to music. He has always loved listening to, he is beginning to love to create music as well. As someone who absolutely loves music, you can't imagine how much it thrills me to hear my 3-year-old singing along to the radio, singing to Ethan, making up his very own songs, singing to veggie tales videos, singing in church (I mean, really, really trying to actually sing the song the right way, with the hymnal open and everything)....and now, he is showing a real interest in musical instruments.

I have let him play on the piano since he was a baby. Even before he was a year old, he knew how pull out the piano bench, climb up it, sit there and open the piano, and bang on the keys. I taught him how not to bang, but to play gently, and he still loves to do that to this day. We have even practiced learning some easy songs together. He can even play them--with Mommy's help guiding his fingers! Cameron is beginning now to show an interest in the piano, too. It took him longer to come around, musically speaking. He didn't respond to my singing the same way Colin and Ethan did as small babies--in fact, my singing, rather than calming him down like it did the other two, actually made Cameron cry harder. **Insert your laugh and joke about my bad singing scaring him here.** But now, I find it is difficult to keep Cameron off of the piano! I know a big part of why he loves to play is because he watches everything Colin does, and wants to do it as well....but I don't really care what the reason is, I am just thrilled that they have the desire right now to learn about these things!

A couple of nights ago, Shane's best friend Justin came for a visit, and Justin is a really great guitar player--self taught. Shane, for some time now, has wanted to learn how to play himself, and he got a guitar a couple of years ago for his birthday. He has had soooo much going on in the last couple of years that he has really not been able to devote much time to learning how to play, but Justin's visit sparked that interest in him all over again, so the guitar came out of hiding. Of course, the guitar is something brand new to the boys, and has absolutely fascinated both of them. Shane was practicing on Saturday night, after we had put the boys in their beds to read for a few minutes before lights out. We do that alot--they love books, too, (just like Mommy) so we read a couple together, and then give them the same books we just read to "re-read" themselves . I was practicing the piano while Shane was practicing the guitar, and I looked up, because I saw something out of the corner of my eye. There was Colin, who had found his "guitar" in his closet, pulled it out, and was playing it along with his daddy! I told him to come on out of his room (of course, Cameron followed). It was so cute....Colin's guitar is actually a ukelele that we bought for him when we went to Hawaii, and it is the perfect size for him. It certainly does the job and he looks so cute playing it! He loves it, which is the most important thing. The boys played with Daddy and Mommy on the instruments for awhile, and then it was off to bed--for real, this time. It is so cool to have a house filled with music--and even better that now, it is not ALL coming from me!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Vacation, day 4 and 5


We stayed home most of the day and just chilled out! It was great, cause we were so tired from all of our adventures the day before! In the evening, we had dinner, and then went downstairs and the boys played a video game called "Guitar Hero" or something like that. You have to play along on a pretend guitar to songs on the TV was incredibly difficult to do (yours truly did attempt a couple songs, but even with my normal fairly decent musical ability, I BOMBED big time) but we had a lot of fun watching each other doing it. Shane did alright; Alan was pretty good; Austin was incredible! It was like watching Slash himself (LOL--that's funny, right?) Even Ethan enjoyed watching the boys play! Then we decided it was on to board games and Gram, Alan, Austin, Shane and I played Scattergories....that one gets funnier everytime we play it. Just for fun....can anyone name a baby food that begins with "T"?? (We'll see, Alan.....)

Alan and Colin, having dinner together.....doesn't he look comfortable at the kids' table?

Mckinley, Deanna and Ethan playing patty-cake

The boys playing Guitar Hero

Austin and Ethan, intently watching Guitar Hero

Gram and Ethan, having a conversation

I love this shot!

Ethan and Daddy


Day 5: A day at Table Rock Lake
What an incredible day.....I am going to let the pictures tell the story of our day!

Loading the boat
Heading out!

Colin couldn't wait to ride the jet ski with Daddy....

He LOVED it!

Deanna and Ethan

Colin, "drinving" the boat

Alan and Ethan going for a swim

Ethan LOVED the water--one big bath tub!

Ethan after his swim

Mommy and Cameron swimming--Cameron liked the water alot (and loved to splash the water in everyone's face!) but hated the life vest! So we let him take it off after awhile and just swim with his floaty suit

Colin, on the other hand, didn't mind his vest at all and we couldn't keep him OUT of the water!

Lunch time! I thought this picture was so funny because it is the least amount of food I have ever seen on Cameron's plate! :-)

Colin's cheesy face--literally, from eating cheetos

After lunch--Cameron's turn to jet ski!

Uncle Alan and Colin

I even took a turn (I love those things.....)
Colin watched from the tube

Shane joined me after awhile

A little while later....Colin was pooped.... was baby Ethan!

Colin woke from his nap pretty fast....too much fun stuff happening all around him!
Colin and Barrett, hanging out on the tube

It wasn't long before Ethan was awake again as well, and back in a place where he spent much of our Deanna's arms!

Barrett and Shane--actually tubing! Deanna in the backgound on the jet ski
Cameron and his "Au Au"

Captain Shane

Family swimming! Deanna bought Ethan this cute little boat for him to swim in, and it had a little shade thing to keep him covered

I like it Daddy!
It was a long day, and we finally ended up getting off the water about 8 p.m. We were all pooped! But we had had so much fun....we ended the day with dinner at McAlister's deli, and then headed home. It was an incredible vacation--we just can not say enough good about everything and how much fun we had, and we can't wait to go back again!