Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Eve service

Every year, our church has a Christmas Eve service. For the past two years, I have been in charge of putting together a children's program.

For the past two years, I have stressed for
weeks before the program.

For the past two years, the program has miraculously turned out great.

God has been good!

This year, we had a great turnout of children (always a worry--I practice for weeks with them and then, the night of--no one shows up!) and they had all practiced very hard and learned their songs. Here is a bit of video, and a few pictures from our evening!

The boys getting ready to start the program!
All the children!
{I was so bummed. Ethan stayed for about two minutes, and then slowly walked off the stage and into Daddy's arms, where he stayed the entire program. He never cried; he apparently just didn't want to sing! A bummer too....'cause that kid knew EVERY song!}
Cameron, doing a wonderful job of not holding still and mocking me {directing}.
But he was singing, so I couldn't say too much!
Kelsey, doing a GREAT job with her solo......

....despite what the look on Cameron's face would say.

Now, you'll see lots of funny things in this falling down, kids fidgeting (my own especially--this was the last song of the program, and Shane decided that he was going to zero in on Cameron--the wiggliest kid on stage), kids singing, kids not singing....but they did an overall wonderful job, and I was proud of them!

After the service--Grandma MJ with the boys
{Ethan is constantly sporting his 'scary' smile these days....grrrrrr}

Shane and I by the church's tree

All in all, it was a wonderful night! From there, we were off to bed until Christmas morning.....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

From the Merritts....

.....we all wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

{Grape Creek Baptist Church's Christmas Eve program, 2009}

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Birthday Wishes

Happy 2nd birthday to our beautiful niece/cousin Olivia!

Thanks for sharing your special day with us Livy--we all love you very much!

{Uncle Shane, Auntie Dev, Col, Cam, E Ry, and Peanut}

Monday, December 21, 2009

Honest Scrap award

A {very long} while back, my friend Amanda bestowed this blog award on me. I kindly thanked her, told her I would post it, then as is typical for me, if I don't write something down I promptly forgot about it.

That was probably a year ago.

Hmmmmmph. I hate when I do things like that.

More recently, I was given this same award again--and it jogged my memory to the fact that I had gotten it before! I have to thank both Amanda and EricaJ for giving this one to me!!

The rules of the award are:
  1. Choose seven blogs that you find brilliant in content or design.
  2. Show the seven winners names and links on your blog, and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with "Honest Scrap."
  3. List at least 10 honest things about yourself.

So, here are my 10 honest and completely random things:

1. My refrigerator is filthy up on top. I know it. Now you know it. I just looked up there today, as a matter of fact, and saw the layers of dust. I've cleaned my house from top to bottom--several times lately--but I have a hard time convincing myself to clean up there because, one ever sees up there but me. And that's only when I'm standing on a chair. Someday I'll get a wild hair and make it all shiny up there, I'm sure. Someday.

    2. I've struggled with weight and *I guess* what you would call 'self-esteem' issues my whole life. I just always felt like the ugly duckling (and, if you are reading this and laughing, I'll show you my second through tenth grade school photos, pointing out sixth through eighth grade in particular, just for proof....all you FBS peeps know what I'm talkin' about) and have never been too confident in the way I look. And I can hear things over and over (and I do, from Shane--he's great about that) about how that's not true...but that something inside of me that causes those feelings just never really seems to go away.

    3. I still have very scary thoughts every single day about something happening to my Peanut.

    4. I think I may be addicted to candy. {Probably part of the reason for my afore-mentioned weight issues.} Ahem. I have a particular fondness for york peppermint patties, junior mints, snowcaps, and nerds. Mmmmmmmmmmm.

    5. Tetris is my most favorite Nintendo game of all time. I could sit and play for hours and hours and hours....wish I still had one of those!

    6. Even over two years later, there is not one day that goes by that I do not think of the baby that I lost. Not one day.

    7. I struggle terribly with patience. I ask God for patience everyday, and pray that today will be different than yesterday was. I can be such an impatient mother to my children, and I feel so guilty about it. I'm ashamed of myself every single day for at least one thing I said or did--but, I am also working on it. Every. Single. Day.

    8. I love notepads. I think I buy every single different one in Target's $1 bin every time I go there. Something about a decorative piece of paper that you can stick to your fridge and write your thoughts or reminders or grocery needs on...I love them! Ah, the little things...

    9. One of my favorite things in life is getting love notes from Shane. Whether they are written in soap on my mirror or written on the dry erase board in the kitchen, it doesn't matter. They have a way of making my day. My week!

    10. I love being a stay at home Mom more than anything. There are fun days, down days, busy days, lay-around-and-do-nothing days, cleaning days, laundry days, Mom-is-nothing-more-than-a-taxi-cab-driver days, lunch-with-Daddy days, shopping-just-for-fun days, shopping-because-your-fridge-is-empty days, library days, Room Mother days, and so many in between....but I truly love and am grateful for them all. I really believe that I have the best job on the planet.

    {And, I'm skimping out on naming seven other blogs today, because of time issues...I'll try to get to that. Hopefully, within the next year. Or two.}

    Happy Monday, everyone!

    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    Pregnant cleaning

    This week, I may or may not have:

    **Vacuumed the kitchen table, because I had the vacuum going already, and it was easier and closer than getting the rag and wiping everything down.

    **Used my blow dryer to *blow* all of the debris and hair on my bathroom floor over to the corner, where I could 'bend and pick up'
    once, rather than stooping all over the entire bathroom to 'dustpan' it all up.

    **Turned my kitchen throw rugs
    over, rather than throwing them in the wash. So much less effort, and now they'll get twice the use. Right? Right?

    **Considered doing the same thing with our bed sheets.

    **I said considered it.

    **Let my four-year-old do the dishes, when I knew he really just wanted to play in the bubbles. I figure....we're just going to get them dirty again. (And, for the record, I did check, and they got pretty clean.)

    **Swiffer dusted, when I really should have pledged and rag-wiped.

    **Forgot to dust one area of my bedroom and instead,
    wiped it "clean" using my hand and then wiped the dust/dirt on my t-shirt. *sigh* The swiffer duster was all the way back in the kitchen by then, and my shirt was dirty anyway....

    **Used the vacuum hose attachment to pick up one or two or twelve things I didn't want to bend over and get, since I was vacuuming anyway, and accidentally sucked up one or two things that just aren't supposed to go in vacuums.....

    *Cleaned some portions of my bathroom floor with baby wipes.

    {After reading this, I'm fairly certain that my mother will no longer associate with her embarrassing slob of a daughter anymore. Anyone want to come to my rat's nest and keep the boys for Date Night tomorrow?}

    In all seriousness: please, don't judge me. I'm tired, huge, and can barely move/bend these days.

    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    Cameron, on the obvious

    Cameron: "Mommy.....*sniff, sniff* stinks in here."

    Pauses one minute:

    "Oh, yeah. That's because I just pootered."

    Boys. *sigh*

    WHERE are we? Alternately titled, "Have I possibly been reading too many Christmas stories lately?"

    A few days ago, as we were on our way home from the store, Cameron informed me that we were "lost."

    "We're going the wrong way, Mommy!" he said.

    "No we're not Cameron. This is the way back home." I replied back to him.

    "No it's not, Mommy."


    Now, to be fair, many times when we come home from Wal-Mart, we do go a different way. But, I had a couple of other stops to make and tragically for me no ice cream in my bags, so we were going to go through town to get home instead of our back woods route.

    I tried to assure him.

    "Cameron, in just a couple of minutes, you'll recognize where we are. I promise."

    So, we continued driving. We passed a lot of things that I knew he recognized, but for some reason, he still kept saying that he didn't know where he was.

    He seemed genuinely confused at the time.

    {I'm pretty sure now that he was just messing with me.}

    We continued driving, and we were coming up to a place that I knew for sure that he would recognize.

    'Old' McDonalds.

    There is a giant one with a playland that we pass every time we go home. And, every time we go home, the kids ask if we can stop. I knew he would know where we were when he saw it.

    Sure enough.

    'Old' McDonalds came into view, and Cameron instantly piped up.

    "NOW I know where we are!" he shouted.

    "See!" I said. "I told you we were going the right way! I told you you would know where you were in just a minute!"

    "Yeah!" he replied. "I sure do know now.....we're in Bethlehem!!"

    Wordless Wednesday

    {another shot from Colin's Christmas program!}

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    Rockin' the look

    I do believe.....

    ....that this is the worst case.....

    ....of hat head that I have ever seen.

    But he rocks it.
    Fo' Sho.

    Monday, December 14, 2009

    Monday Musings


    ~am tired. Scratch that. Exhausted.

    ~ache and hurt. In a lot of places.

    ~am gigantic. Seriously....this is the point where you start to wonder 'how on earth can this baby get any bigger?' I. am. maxed. out. of. room.

    ~am discouraged. In several areas.


    I am also.....

    ~having a better day than yesterday--whew. That one was bad.

    ~choosing to have joy.

    ~in love with my bed. Flannel sheets, a down's the coziest bed ever, even if I can't actually sleep well in it right now.

    ~so thankful for heating pads. And Tums. And compression stockings. And stretchy pants. And Coca-Cola and cappuccino, every once in a while. And for this little Peanut inside of me, who makes me require these items on a consistent basis.

    ~amazingly grateful for my husband, who would go to the ends of the earth and back for me for anything.

    ~the benefactor of fantastic friends. And a great Mom.

    ~inside a warm, safe, beautiful and very cozy house--with no leaks in the roof, working appliances, and a full refrigerator and pantry. {And, a computer to blog and online shop, which makes me a 'tad' happier. *grin*}

    ~the owner of my very own Bible. There are many around the world who can't say that.

    ~sooooooooo thankful for my husband. Did I mention that?

    It is going to be a better day.

    A better week.

    "This is the day the Lord has made....I will rejoice and be glad in it."

    Backaches, veins, pains, soreness, laundry, housework, problems, and all.

    34 weeks!! Not much longer until we meet our Peanut!!

    Happy Monday everyone!

    Saturday, December 12, 2009


    It was two years ago today that my perspective on life changed forever.

    Today, I want to remember our sweet Baby Merritt. The baby that waits for me in Heaven.

    Back in December of 2007, as I searched the internet for other Mommies who faced similar circumstances (partly as a coping mechanism, I realize now) I found another blogger named Kathy. She, too, had lost a child, and I found comfort in reading things that she had written about her loss and her baby.

    She is an amazing composer and musician, and she wrote this piano arrangement for all the babies that had been lost that year. I thought then, and still think now, that this song is so wonderful and so beautifully written--and I wanted to share it with everyone today.

    As much as I loved my child that I will never meet this side of eternity--I am reminded that Jesus loves my child--and me--infinitely more than I could ever imagine.

    For my baby, and all the other babies who wait for their Mommies and families in Heaven....we love you and miss you. So much. We will never forget....

    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Peanut's SURPRISE!!

    About week ago, I got a huge surprise.

    My friends, Jen and Laura (who you'll 'meet' below) came to my house around 5:30 last Saturday night to pick me up. We are fortunate enough to have such wonderful hubbies that we get to have a "girls night" every few weeks or so--we go eat, hang out, talk, shop....and have sooooo much fun together.

    Love them

    Anyway, Saturday was our scheduled night, and they got here to pick me up, but were acting a bit strange. We weren't going to our normal place, and they, in fact, wouldn't tell me where we were going. They were being very, very secretive.

    And it bugged the heck out of me.

    I am not one who handles surprises very well. Never have been. If I catch wind of something that even just
    might be going on, I will bug and bug and bug and bug a person (usually poor Shane or one of my friends) until they just give in and spill it so as to shut me the heck up tell me what's going on.

    But, this time, I literally was completely in the dark.

    I don't know if it was pregnancy brain or just a really, really well kept secret (probably a little of each, I suppose)--but I had no idea on earth that my closest friends and family were throwing me.....

    A surprise baby shower for Peanut!

    All of my favorite people in the whole wide world (who live locally, of course) were there!
    Kathy, my Pastor's wife, and Charlotte, a very good
    friend from church (and my boys' favorite snack supplier) *grin*

    My wonderful Aunt Karen and my three cousins, Haley, Hilary, and Hanna

    My friend Steph and her mother--also my friend, for the record--Jona

    My friends Katie and Steph

    We pulled in to the restaurant with Jen and Laura still in silent mode and me still wondering what on earth we were doing here, at this particular place.
    It wasn't until I walked in and saw the streamers that it hit me!!

    I was so surprised and excited.

    {Please pay no attention to the fact that my coat will not button.
    Yes, I know it looks awesome, thankyouverymuch.}

    The balloons and decorations were sooooo cute!

    My friend Jen, and my wonderful Mommy, who was the driving force behind the shower. She was insistent that it all be kept a secret--everyone did a FAB job with that!

    Me and my mom, also affectionately known around this blog as "Grandma MJ".
    This, my friends, is the famed grandmother of Date Night.

    My other two wonderful friends, Sarah and Laura

    Me and my cake....

    ....and so many gifts!

    I had such fun opening all the gifts....such girlie, wonderful things!
    beautiful outfits (lots of those!)....


    ....and remember my briar.claire wish list!? Steph paid attention, and bought my favorite hat and headband! (It already goes with like, 12 things. I'm so excited.)

    Haley got me the self-named 'cutest diaper bag e-ver.' It is, don't you think?

    From Charlotte--go Illini!!

    Ha! I thought the look on my face was funny in this one.
    Deer in the headlights! (That adorable outfit was from Jen)

    A handmade blanket from one of the ladies at church that couldn't come

    The softest Teddy Bear ever and some more hair bows from Kathy!
    {Please let Peanut have hair, please let Peanut have hair....}

    One of the outfits from my Aunt Karen--it read, "A wish come true" Aww.

    Loaded in another (so cute and smaller--I'll have plenty of use for both!) diaper bag--
    Can a Mommy ever have too much Desitin? I mean, really.

    Peanut's first pair of jeans (thanks Sarah!)
    Pink fleece lined, of course.

    And, love at first site--our new carseat/stroller.
    Pink and brown...
    ...and the most girlie, beautiful stroller there ever was.
    I love it.
    (From Grandma MJ)

    It was such an amazing night, and the best way for me to sum it all up was that I left the restaurant that night feeling so very loved.

    For my friends and family to do all of that for me--on my fourth baby, no less--was just amazing, and I was just go grateful and appreciative.
    I love them all so much--I'm so blessed to have such wonderful people all around me!!