Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I wonder where he gets this talent?

If you are wondering how Colin learned to climb this high in a tree......

See the post below!
(And he is as high up as he looks in these pictures!)

How a Redneck Merritt takes down Christmas Lights:

Colin, trying his best to be helpful....but nowhere near as high as Daddy!

Important thing to note:

Yes, I know it is almost the end of April. I understand it is awfully late to be taking Christmas lights down. We actually had a neighbor stop by and ask if we were putting lights up already! I suppose it would be better to be super early putting them up, rather than so late taking them down. :-)

We always leave our Christmas lights up on this particular tree until it gets warmer outside. This tree is extremely difficult to string lights on (it takes several hours), and in turn, is extremely difficult to get the lights back off of. So, we take all the Christmas lights down in early January--except for these.

Lest you think we really are rednecks.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The 'end' of Bear

Poor Bear......
He met his 'demise' today......
All thanks to my sweet son, Colin, who thought that the phone hanger in his 'kitchen' would be a great place for Bear to rest.
(The scarf is suposed to go around his neck....

From my yard to my table

Ah, one of the many gifts of Springtime....

Monday, April 21, 2008

The honesty of a 4-year-old

Colin's prayers last night (with me, sitting right next to him):

"Dear Jesus,

Thank you for this day. Thank you for Mommy, and Daddy, and Cameron, and Ethan.

Thank you for the grass and for my bed, and for the dresser, and for our van.

Thank you for Grandma, and Grandma and Grandpa, and Grandpa Danny and Amy in New Jersey, and Rog and Aimee, and Luke.....and.....Mommy, what is Rog and Aimee's baby called?"

Me: "Olivia."

"Thank you for baby Olivia, and for Jay and Karie, and Reese, and.....Mommy, what is Jay and Karie's baby called?"

Me: "Callen."

"Thank you for baby Callen too.

And please let us have a sunny, warm day tomorrow, so that we can go outside and play baseball.....and soccer.....and swing on the swings.....and ride bikes.....and go down the street and see Dadddy. And, please help Mommy to learn how to throw the baseball to me a little bit better. She doesn't do it very good.....Daddy does it good, but Mommy doesn't. He just does it better than her. I like it better when Daddy throws it. But Mommy can throw it too, she just.....needs to do it a little bit better.

In Jesus' name,

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lookie, Gramma 'Nette! Lookie what we did!

The boys got one of their favorite outdoor activity tools from Grandma and Grandpa Merritt for Easter....sidewalk chalk! And, with weather in the 60's and almost 70's here over the last few days, we have put that chalk to some great use!!

Hmmm....what do we have here?

Well, this is pretty neat!

Colin, beginning masterpiece #1

Mom, how can I ever work when you are always making me look at the camera?

Colin, what are you drawing?
A picture of mommy!

Cameron, overseeing the projects from his bike

Project #2--an "I'm-not-sure-what-it-is-but-it's-filled-with-lots-of-color" picture

A message from the boys.....

So much has been happening around here lately. I am going to have to do about 6 different posts, just to catch up! We have been outdoors a lot, and having a great time together as a family. All the leaves are officially cleaned up from the yard, outdoor furniture is once again seeing the light of day, we have already mowed the grass (I say, 'we'.....I mean Shane), and we are beginning to prep the garden (yay!) for planting next month. I can already taste the tomatoes....

Oh, man. Does it feel GREAT to be outside again!

(By the way, in case anyone is wondering....the earthquake did hit us, this morning about 4:40 a.m. Shane and I both rocketed out of bed, not knowing what on earth was going on. I thought it was the wind or something, but Shane said there was no way the wind could be shaking the house like that! (What can I say....I was half asleep!) Everything settled down after about 5 seconds, we went back to sleep, and then found out this morning that our little corner of the world had made the national news! Pretty exciting....we're all fine, no damage to anything, and we're very thankful for that!)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Jok(st)ers #1 and #2

****"EDIT!!! Even if you read this post yesterday, you must read again! I had to come in here first thing this morning to edit it. I thought about just writing a new post....but since I just posted funnies yesterday, I decided to simply add to this one. The two things that came out of Colin's mouth yesterday and this morning were just too good not to add! See very bottom of post for the new additions!

Cameron has truly been hilarious this past week.

I don't know if it is the fact that he was sick the week before last and did nothing but lie around for like, 6 days, and now he just has all that extra energy and craziness bound up inside of him that has to come out, or what....but he has been in rare comedic form.

With all of the sickness floating around here lately, the phrase, "I don't feel good" has been said more times than I care to count in the last 3 weeks or so. Cameron was the first one sick, the first one to the doctor, and the first one to get better. So when I heard Cameron say this again a couple of mornings ago at breakfast, I (slightly) panicked. (Keep in mind that he took, like, 12 different medicines, and has been better for about a week and a half now.)

Cameron: "I not fee good, Mommy."
Me, apprehensively: "What?"
Cameron: "I not fee good, Mommy."
Me: "Oh really? (trying to downplay, here....) What hurts?"
Cameron: "My toe."
Me: "Your toe?"
Cameron: "My TOTE!"
Me: "Oh, your throat?"
Cameron: "Yes (nodding)."
Me, thinking....: "Cameron, show me where it hurts."
He then proceeds to point to his lower belly and say, "My TOTE, Mommy, My TOTE!"
Me, concealing my smile: "Well, we will just take it easy today, and I'm sure you'll feel better soon."
Cameron: "No Mommy....I need go goctor. I sick. I need medsin."
He looks at me, quite seriously for just a brief moment, then dissolves into giggles. "I not sick Mommy! Hee hee hee hee!"

Goodness gracious. This kid should be an actor someday. He is soooooo believable.

Some other funnies of late:

~Colin, rushing into my bedroom at about 7:15 this morning, exclaims loudly, "MOMMY!"
Me, groggily: "What, Col?"
Colin: "Do you see the sun shining brightly today?"
Me, taking the pillow off of my head, which reveals a bedroom that is flooded with sunlight: "Yes, Colin, I do. Very bright, and very sunny." Pillow then returns to it's original spot over my head.
Colin: "Mom, we can go outside today! The sun is shining so bright, and it is not at all bloomy out there!"
He was going for gloomy....which to me was funny that he even knew that word. I am certain he picked it up from me, but it was funny nonetheless.

~Colin has had terribly dry lips the last several days (all stuffy at night+an open mouth while sleeping=dry lips!) We were out to dinner a few nights ago, and I noticed he was licking his lips a lot. He is a big fan of some special lip stuff that I carry in my purse that tastes like vanilla....I figured his lips were bothering him, and I was just about to ask him if he needed some, when he turned to me and loudly proceeded to ask,
"Mommy, can I have some of the chuh.....cuh.....cruh....CRAPSTICK that is in your purse?"

Shane and I immediately died; I handed over my chapstick and made a mental note that that was definitely one for the blog.

~Cameron has this terrible habit right now of saying, "What?" whenever you say something to him.
"Cameron, come here please!"
"Cameron, don't do that please!"
"Cameron, time for rest!"

Doesn't matter what you say, he inevitably says "What?" at least one time. (By the way, he is hearing what we say....this just seems to be a habit he has formed.) It can be funny, but it can also be horribly annoying. And apparently, not only to me. The other day, Cameron was in the dining room at the table, doing a puzzle, and Colin was asking him to come out into the living room and play with him....

Colin: "Cameron, why don't you come out here and play with me?"
Cameron: "What?"
Colin: "I said, why don't you come out here and play with me?"
Cameron: "What?"
Colin (getting exasperated): "I said, come out here and play with me!!"
Cameron: "What?"
Colin: "Cameron, stop saying WHAT!!"
Cameron, quiet for a moment, responds: "What choo say?"

Needless to say, Colin gave up, and I quietly made another mental note after my giggling spell.

***New additions:
~Yesterday, Colin came out of my bedroom with his new flip-flops on. We just got them over the weekend, and any time he has been able to sneak into the bag that is in my bedroom to get them, he does...then he wears them around the house for a while, until he gets tired of them.

I had already dressed the boys, but Colin had taken off his socks to put the flip-flops on, and he was carrying the socks around with him in his hands. I told him that it wasn't time to wear his new shoes yet, and to please go put them back in the bag, and put his socks back on. To which he replied,

"Mom, I have a nail."

This is Colin's way of telling me he has a hang nail that needs to be trimmed. I took a closer look at his feet, and discovered that sure enough, one of his toenails was dangerously know, the kind that, if snagged, could do some serious damage? One of those. Anyway, I told him I would trim the nail up for him, and then he would be able to put his socks back on.

Except, I walked away, got sidetracked, and then forgot all about it.

A few minutes later, I noticed that Colin's socks still weren't on--and he was still carrying them around with him in his hands. I pointed it out, and he then in turn pointed out that "he had a nail." I remembered, and said I would trim it.

Except, I walked away, got sidetracked, and then forgot all about it. Again.

Another few minutes go by, and my poor, patient Colin again points out his toe issues to me. He was still holding his socks! Exasperated with myself for still not handling the need of my poor child, I stopped what I was doing and we went straight to the bathroom to clip all of his toenails.

As I was clipping, Colin and I were making conversation....I should have known better, because his feet were somewhat close to my mouth. (He was on the counter, holding his foot up so that I could see what in the world I was actually cutting off. I've learned that lesson the hard way....)

All of a sudden, one of the nails that I had clipped flew straight into my mouth as I was talking! Talk about gross! So, I immediately started trying to spit it out.

Me: "Puh puh puh!" (That's the best I could come up with to simulate a spitting sound)
Colin: "Mom, why are you spitting all over me!?"
Me, finally having gotten the nail out: "Colin, I am so sorry. It's just that one of your nails flew into my mouth while I was talking, and I had to spit it out quickly!"
Colin, quite matter-of-factly: "Yeah, mom.....toenails are dirty, and that's gross."

~Then, just this morning, (sunny and beautiful AGAIN here today, thank you Lord!) Colin comes in my room, and we are discussing the events of the morning. You know....what we are going to do today, if we have any errands to run, and so on. Don't you routinely have that sort of conversation with your 4 year old?

Colin was once again alluding to wanting to go outside. Now, let me back up one minute. We don't have cable TV here at our usually, the way I figure out what the weather is going to be like for that day is to look out a window, or, open the door to see how warm it is. Some days, I will actually look on the computer....but mostly, I just use the "arm out the door" method. It usually doesn't fail me.

Colin says to me, "Mom, when daddy was leaving just now, I stuck my arm out the door to see how warm it was."
Me: "Oh, yeah? How warm was it?"
Colin: "Mom, it was warm! I think we can go outside today!"
Me, knowing from actually checking the weather this time that it IS supposed to be about 60 and gorgeous here today: "Yes, Colin, it is going to be a really nice day today. Warm, and sunny! We certainly will be going outside!"
Colin: "Well, I don't know the exact it supposed to be in the fifties, or in the ten-dies?"

I will say it again. Oh, my goodness gracious. What these children come up with!!

Thank you Lord, for a house filled with laughter!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

For Jill....and all the other mommies of Glory Babies

It's amazing what happens when tragedy strikes your family.

When I lost our fourth baby back in December, people asked me all the time, "How are you doing?" I would answer with the standard, "Okay" and try to leave it at that. It was just too hard to talk about without becoming emotional. I needed to heal first, before I could talk about my loss.

I have found that tragedy is like anything else in life. When it is new, it is all that consumes you (and, maybe, others as well.) It is all you can think about, and even when you are able to NOT think about it, random things that have nothing to do with your particular circumstance will bring you back to it anyway. But, as time passes, and weeks turn into months since "IT" happened, people stop asking. It's code for, "It's time to move on, now." That is never really said out loud....and only the people who have experienced a loss like what I am talking about really know what I mean. It's the whole, "life goes on" mentality. "You can't dwell on this forever. Pick yourself up, and keep going."

You start to try to heal, and then begin to have some good days. Then, many more good days. Then, the good days begin to outnumber the bad ones....until the bad ones are actually few and far between. Oh, there will always be bad days. But they do decrease over time.

I've been doing really well. God has provided me with great healing, and for that, I am so thankful.

But circumstances of this week have brought strong, painful memories flooding back to me. Pain that I thought had faded away through God's healing. I have realized that, though the pain may been deeply tucked inside, it may never fade away completely. And I think that is how God wants it to be. It is a now one of our distinguishing characteristics. A marker we have, we women who have known this pain....for us to use to be able reach out when this pain turns it's grip on others.

Heaven welcomed two more glory babies in the last 48 hours.....and it has brought me back all over again. It has hit close to home, as one of these mommies was a personal friend of mine. My sadness, while not overtaking me, has returned.

I would have been 31 weeks on Friday. 31 weeks. That is hard to think about. In a few weeks, I would have started going to Dr. Shepherd every week. Then, soon after that, I would be experiencing new life all over again. Bringing a new one home from the hospital again (and realizing all over again just how CRAZY people drive out on the road). The sleepless nights. Nursing. Showing off our precious bundle at church. Toting FOUR children around now, instead of three. Experiencing all of those first.....coos, smiles, teeth, sitting, crawling. Being able to be the protective and nurturing one to my sweet newborn.

All those what ifs.

Here is the thing, though. I can not dwell on those things. I choose not to dwell on those things. The Bible tells us to "think on those things that are TRUE....." For me, and for so many others, the above paragraph is not a true reality. It is one that exists only in my head. Imagining all of the things that I would have done, and what the baby would have been like....that's exactly what it is. Imagination. That is not a reality for me, and for this fourth child of ours, it never will be.

And, I know, for God's glory and my greater good, there is a perfect and holy reason for that. I don't quite understand it, and I don't feel as though I even need too. That is exactly the definition of faith. I am believing and trusting in something that I can not see for myself. Only God knows why our baby is not with us. Why so many others--Maddox, Miller Grace, Tristan, Copeland, Madeline Grace, Audrey Caroline, Tabitha Grace, Joshua, Poppy Joy, Eva Janette, Noah, Mary Grace, Eliot, Jonathan, Asher, and so many more babies that were lost in utero--the list goes on and on--have babies that are sitting at the feet of Jesus today instead of being in our care.

One thing I feel the need to say here: I am not sure exactly who reads this blog of mine. But, just in case, if you are sitting here reading my words today, and you do not know this same Jesus that I know, let me strive to make one thing very clear. My God is not something that I (or anyone else for that matter) have created as sort of a 'coping mechanism'. Well, if I only could believe that my baby is in a better place.....I would be able to handle all of this. So, I will choose to believe that he is in heaven now. That makes me feel better.

God is REAL. He is alive, in heaven, ruling over this earth. He is coming back, someday that I believe will be soon. He loves me, He loves you. He cares about every single thing that happens to me, no matter how small. He does not cause evil, but He does allow it--again, for His glory and our ultimately greater good.

And He loves my sweet little glory baby so much more than I ever could.

God has taught me so very much through all of this. Not only through my loss, but others' losses as well. I am a better prayer warrior now. When I see a family suffering, and I say, "I will pray for you....", I mean it. I add them to my prayer list. I pray for them. Sure, I miss a day here and there. I am certainly not perfect; far from it, in fact. But these families that are on my prayer list, both on my blog and at home, they mean something to me. I want to help them, and the best way I know how is by diligently praying for each of them. I am a better servant now. When I see someone who has a need, I am brought back to when I had a need. How many people reached out to me (or did not--both equally taught me something) when I needed it? How did they reach out to me? What can I, can any of us, do to help those who are grieving a loss, or going thru any other sort of life difficulty or tragedy?

Jill, it is going to take time. Don't let anyone tell you different. Jesus sees each tear, and he counts them....even the ones that never come from your eyes, but are there inside of your heart. This is going to hurt. It is actually surprising just how much it hurts. But God will heal your heart. He always does, if you allow Him too. And, I am confident that you will.

Our babies are playing together at Jesus' feet right at this moment. What an amazing thought. Love you Jill, and I am praying for you.

~Glory Baby, by Watermark~
An amazing, touching song that speaks wonderful truths!
(the music will not start automatically--
please click on launch standalone player to hear)

Monday, April 7, 2008

For Ethan

Occasionally, I write posts that are intended for my memory's benefit only. This post today is one of those.


I write today with a huge smile on my face, as I am sitting here thinking about what a huge blessing you are to your mommy. I have shorted you, my poor third child, in many of the most flagrant being not keeping up on your baby book like I should! I have written the most important dates (walking, teeth, solid foods) on the calendar, but I haven't kept track of a lot of the little things. This blog has become an effective tool for your mommy to be able to remember lots of 'stuff', so, today, I am making an effort to keep track of your cuteness in this way.

You have done some of the cutest things lately, this morning being no exception! I came in your room to get you from your crib after you woke up, and when you saw me, your face broke into the biggest smile and you actually started clapping! It was like you were saying, "Yay!!! It's Mommmeeeeeee!!!! She's come to get me!!!!!" It was so funny. I said, "Are you clapping for Mommy?" and you looked at me and clapped some more!

Then, you pointed to the window. (This is one of the newest things you have been doing recently--pointing. And it is terribly adorable.)

Back to your pointing to the of your favorite things right now is to look out of your window first thing in the morning when you wake up. I go in your room, pick you up, and you point to your window. We go over for a couple of minutes, and look outside in the side yard to see what is going on. We talk about the squirrels, and the birds, and the grass, and how it is going to be so nice when the weather breaks and we can finally get outside to play! Then, we change your diaper, and head to the kitchen for breakfast. You then proceed to do your best to break free of my grip so you can head over to the sliding glass door to check out what is happening in the back yard! It is so cute how you don't want to miss anything that is going on outside.

I swear you said 'Cheerios' today. At breakfast, you looked right at the bag, pointed, and said, "Chee-Chee-O". It was just as plain as day. I couldn't believe it, and even your big brother Colin remarked, "Did you hear that mommy? Ethan said Cheerios!" It was a very funny moment, and one that made me realize just how fast you are growing up. Pretty soon you will be saying full sentences.....

You love your daddy so very much. You love to walk over to him, stick your head right between his legs, grab one of his thighs, and say, "Uh, Uh!" We have obviously figured out that this is your way of saying, "Pick me UP, Daddy!"

By the way.....that trick works like a charm with him every time.

You love when things make loud noises. Surprising for a baby, but you do! Things like the blender, shredder, or vacuum turning on makes you outright dissolve into giggles! (Which, then, dissolves Mommy into giggles, then you giggle more, then I giggle more....vicious circle.)

You have figured out that when the music is turned up, that means it is time to DANCE! You wave your arms back and forth, and sometimes, when you are really getting into the groove, even bend your knees to bee-bop along to the music! I do have that one on video for you to see when you get older!

A couple of nights ago, when you were a bit fussy after I had put you down in bed for the night, I went and got you. I thought you might just be a little thirsty, so I fixed you a bottle and held you while you drank it. Voila! That hit the spot, and you actually fell asleep right in my arms. This is an absolute rarity for you, as normally, you will NOT fall asleep unless you are snugly tucked into your bed and under your precious blanket! But you did, it was sooooo sweet. I let you sleep for a few minutes, until I knew you were really out. Then, I lifted you up and laid you on my chest, and you slept there for about the next hour while Daddy and I finished watching a movie. It was so sweet to snuggle with you. I got sad when it hit me that both of your brothers are now too big to do this with.

Soon, you will be, too.

So, I am going to continue enjoying every minute with you while you are little.....I love you so very much, and I just wanted to make sure that you know it.

Shrek boys

Grandma MJ got the boys some new Shrek undies recently. The boys are soooo proud of themselves in their new digs, and it was too cute not to post!

"Donkey" and "Shrek"

p.s. Did you notice they are holding hands in the second picture? :-)
They will love that someday, I'm sure!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

My "blog-over"

I don't know if that is really a word or not....but I'm using it anyway! I love the new look of this blog!

I, of course, being the computer savvy one that I am, did all of this completely by myself. No help from anyone, at all.

Yeah.....RIGHT. Have you ever tried to do anything in HTML? Give me a break.

Actually, everything you see here is attributed 100% to a wonderfully talented graphic design artist named
Hilary Keegan! She put all of this together for me, and I am forever grateful to her for doing such a wonderful job! She was even able to edit the characters on the header graphic to almost completely match our family! I think my favorite parts of the graphic are the bald king with a blond goatee and the 'strawberry-blond' hair on 2 of the boys! :-) (We are still 'tweaking' a few things, but it is almost done!)

Hilary even has her own Graphic Design website, if anyone is interested in their own 'blog-over'!

Thank you so much Hilary, for all your hard work....I can't say enough about how pleased I am with everything!

p.s. Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Easter goodies

I realize it's a little late....but here are some shots from the afternoon Easter egg hunt!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ephesians 6:1-2 and 1-3

Poor little sicklings....mommy is still making them get their Bible verses on camera!

Ephesians 6:1-3--"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with you, and you may live long upon the earth."

And, just for fun....Cameron's funny version. Apparently, he thought I was getting upset with him when I asked him to 'look at the camera and hold still', or whatever I said in the video, so he proceeded to turn on his 'sad face'. (This face happens frequently in our house....basically, whenever something is said that Cameron doesn't really care for.)

Notice just how quickly Cameron can turn on said sad face; just how far his 'sad lip' pooches out; just how believable this 'sad face' is (he doesn't fool us anymore, however); and then just how FAKE 'sad face' actually is by how quickly he can turn it off! Then, imagine living with a child who is able to do that! :-)

Is he too much, or what?!?

Got to love those matching PJ's

Worthy of it's very own post because it is such a cute picture.....

My three little men in matching PJ's.

If you're around it long will get you

Sickness has been floating around our house for the last week and a half.

Cameron just got over a double ear infection/sinus infection/bronchitis. Colin has had a mysterious fever for about 4 days accompanied by lethargy and loss of appetite, but apparently nothing 'hurts' on him. He just wants to lie around all the time. It is getting better--he is actually up and playing with his brothers this morning, which is a great sign. Ethan has a never ending runny nose (as do all three of the boys, truly, because of their allergies).

And my dear mother.....Ugh. She has a double ear infection, strep throat, sinus infection, a swollen eye that she can hardly see out of...and can barely move her bones ache so badly. She is just miserable, but got a shot of antibiotics at the doctor last night, along with a couple of Rx's, so she is on her way to good health again (hopefully).

Poor Shane has had the worst sore throat of his life this past was so bad, in fact, that instead of being miserable and waiting the normal 5-7 days to go to the doctor and then get medicine, he decided that he would use part of our date night on Friday to go to convenient care. You know, be ahead of the game.

Except, what happens? The ONE time that he decides to actually be proactive and head off whatever is coming on (before it actually gets so bad he can barely function) by going to the doctor, the checkup revealed that there is nothing more affecting him than a really bad cold. No strep, no infection of sinuses or ears....just a really painful cold.

He got an over-the-counter allergy pill for the $150 convenient care fee. That seems like a poor return on an investment to me. (Give me some sort of prescription. A sleeping pill. Some nose spray. Tylenol with codeine.....something. Just don't make me feel like I came here for nothing, PLEASE!)

So, he has been miserable for about 5 days now, but just this morning, he told me that his throat is finally starting to feel better. What a relief! I can't believe I have managed to escape all of this, I think to myself. Actually, I've thought that several times over the last few days.

I sit up in bed and swallow......ouch.....what in the world? I go to the mirror, open my mouth, look inside and see a bright red throat with a little bit of white stuff towards the tonsil area. Pretty sure that is a bad sign......

What was that again about NEVER saying anthing like, "I can't believe it hasn't gotten me!?"