Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A special 3rd birthday

 I promised to write more.

Life just moves so fast, doesn't it? *sigh*

I will get back on the wagon. Have lots of things in my head that I want to "talk" about here, and several things I want to catch up on.  But, for is a special day. A third birthday!

Little Lola and I had a good but low key day to ourselves. I (and several of the fam) have been sick. I was lucky that this sweet little girl wanted to do easy things that a sick Mommy could manage without too much trouble today.

She was good to pose for me :)

Silly girl....

I asked what she wanted to do. The answers? Take a showerbath (her term for letting the water fill up in the tub while taking a shower *heehee*), paint her fingernails....

....paint her, of course.... beauty shop, play "hold me like a baby, Mommy" (that one is a personal favorite of mine) and play beauty shop, put on real lipstick, snuggle, and watch a Veggie Tale. We had so much fun, despite my not feeling well. (I particularly enjoyed the snuggling part.)

When her brothers came home, much to their delight, she wanted to play trains. 

Of course, a birthday girl must wear her princess crown while playing trains!

Then it was time for presents!

The crown didn't last through those. *heehee*

It may be TMI, but undies are a big deal in the Merritt household. 
Lola got some new Hello Kitty underwear  and was thrilled!

Colin, being the loving big brother, painstakingly took every single pair 
out of the package, unfolded them, and showed them to her.

Lolee girl is in a phase right now. She loves all things "twirly". This means skirts, 
fluffy dresses, and especially night gowns. She gets so upset at night if her nightgowns 
are not clean and she has to wear two piece pj's! It is almost funny. :) I have done a bit 
of extra laundry just so she could always have her twirly pj's, but thought her birthday 
would be a good excuse to add a couple of new nightgowns to her rotation. 
If you hadn't guessed already, Lola happens to be on a Hello Kitty kick these days.

While I was taking pictures, the boys got an idea--they all ran down to their room to grab their DS's, so that they too could take pictures of Sis opening her gifts!

  It was hysterical! She posed for them and everything.

Then, Daddy got to show her another something new....the look on her face is priceless.
"You mean to tell baby gets one too! WHAT?!"

Then, the big gift.

I have to tell you about this. It is the most amazing thing. A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine emailed me and asked me if Lola would like a dollhouse that her daughter no longer played with. Without knowing anything about it--size, cost, etc.--I said, "Sure!" Lola loves playing with her friend's dollhouse, and I assumed she would love one of her own. I also assumed that is was probably older and smaller. I didn't care about those things at all, I just knew Lo would love playing with whatever she had!

Well, I came to find out that this dollhouse--and all the accessories we were gifted at zero cost to us--is one of the most popular toys on the market right now, and is probably well worth over $150 or $200. I had no idea, and couldn't believe someone would be kind enough just to give this to Lola! It was an incredible blessing to our family, and could not have come at a more perfect time!!

And, by the way....she wasn't the only one who loved it. *giggle*

Checking out the family

Super duper excited!

She and Ethan played the longest. It is now all set up and ready to go for her tomorrow. 
I envision hours and hours of use out of this wonderful toy and am so grateful to have it!

Time for pj's and bed. The twirlies made her so happy.

{Lolee and her most favorite baby doll}

 Kisses before bedtime

Just about the cutest thing I've ever seen....

As you can see, we ALL just adore little Lola and are so thankful God gifted us with her. It's been a wonderful three years, with her in our lives...Happy Birthday, sweet baby girl!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Choosing Joy

"But Mommy....I don't want to go to school. I just want to keep staying here, with you."

Ah, those words are hard for a Mommy to hear at the end of Christmas break! They tore at my already aching heart. I awoke this morning with a sense of dread about sending the boys back to school.  But, whether I liked it or not, it was up and out the door this morning, and back into "the grind".

A verse has been ringing through my mind with such repetitiveness this morning that I felt compared to share it. Psalm 118:24 says, "This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."  

I remember, when I went to college at MBBC, we recited this verse every single day at the start of chapel. Only here is how we said it:

"This IS the day that the Lord has made; I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!"

Sometimes, many times, the rejoicing doesn't come so naturally to me. Sometimes, I find it so hard to praise God in my current circumstances.

  • Lord, I am tired. I can't possibly be happy, waking up to a day with a mile long to-do list on such little rest.
  • But I don't wanna send the kids back to school! I want them here, with me!
  • Lord, the money is so tight. I can't be happy when there isn't more cushion, and a budget for eating out and doing "fun" things....
  • I would be happier if Shane were home more, and not {seemingly} always working.
  • Lord, my laundry pile is to the ceiling and the house is a wreck! I can't rejoice in this!

But the beauty is, we can. It is hard for most to view it this way, because we live in a society where everything is always someone else's fault, but joy is a choice! The scriptures might as well read, "I will CHOOSE to rejoice and be glad in this!"

Sometimes, I struggle with feeling menial. With feeling insignificant, being a homemaker. Staying at home, with Lola, making no income to report--and, in the eyes of the world, not really contributing to society. I'm not a teacher, or a doctor, or a business woman, doing great things for others and for our community. I just "stay home". I know there are others reading right now that understand that feeling. It can be very hard to find joy when you feel as though what you're doing doesn't really matter, in the scheme of things.

But no matter what task we are doing--minute or menial, in our own eyes--there is joy, if we allow ourselves to see it. There is meaning. There is significance. It is in Christ.

We can find joy in knowing that, if we are serving God with our whole heart, and doing our best for His glory, the task we are doing is significant. It does matter. He sees it. Even if no one else does.

I hope you are encouraged today. The joy is there.

Sometimes, it is just buried deeper under that pile of laundry than other days.....


Friday, January 4, 2013

Thanksgiving! Yes, the one from 2012 . . . .

Instead of beginning this post with the obvious (and typical) first sentence of, "Well, it has been quite a while since I blogged last!", I will head in a different direction.

Let me just say that 2013 has brought with it a renewed determination to capture my life in this format. I, like so many of you, sometimes have trouble justifying sitting down to the computer for large hunks of time. There are things to be done, children and a husband to care for, a house to keep nailed down and functioning....and blogging, at least for me, has fallen waaaay down on my list of priorities.

But, when it lacks, I find I always miss it.

Writing, for me, is therapeutic.  I have always enjoyed it, and, more so,  I love looking back over all the posts (many, now, from several years ago). What will I look back on if I don't make a better effort to put something in this very space? :)

So, I will play catch up for a bit, for much has happened in our lives I'd like to share. I also plan on "writing" more than I have lately; I miss that. Not just posting family events and pictures all the time, but sharing some of my thoughts about different things.  I hope those of you who joined me in the past are still here, and maybe we will meet some new friends along the way as well. Welcome, if that is you today!

The last week of November is one of the most joyous times of year on Shane's side of the family. It is the one time of year we (Shane, his two brothers, mom and dad, the three wives, and the 11 grandchildren between us!) are all guaranteed to be together, and we look forward to it all year!

I can't wait to share our week in buckle down, here we go!

This is the beautiful lot of girls we have! They are each so unique and precious, I can hardly stand it.
And I couldn't resist listing their beautiful names:
L to R: Annelyse, Lola (with Lilliana's flower), Livy, Reese, and Evangeline

Reese, holding the newest addition!

Ah. Little Annelyse. Her smile attempts to hide her orneriness,
 and she is just the cutest little 2 year old there is :)

Shane helping Lola hold Evangeline

Lola and Annelyse are great together. They are almost exactly nine months
apart, and help each other when needed. Like, with shoes!

Getting ready to play

Livy, me, Annelyse and Reese. Love this picture.

One of my sisters in law, Karie, and their youngest, Nolan

Present night! The kids' favorite night of the whole week!
I think Uncle Rog was more excited than all the kids put together.

My other sister in law, Aimee, holding one of Evangeline's new gifts

Helping Nolan open his sword

Annelyse and Lola both got new "pets"! They were thrilled!

This spells danger. Callen + Nerf = take cover!

E looooved his gift from Luke....and Luke loved his from Ethan!

Everyone, please meet Darth Vader and Darth Maul.

Lola would not put her kitty down all night (and still won't). 
Reese LOVED making her own messenger bag!

I told you. (Uncle Rog probably doesn't even let Luke have turns with the Maul mask.)

On second thought, Movember Rog--keep the mask on. Bahahaaaa!!

This shouts hysterical to me. Uncle Jay, taking a duck lip picture with his attempt at Movember!

Auntie Dev and Annelyse again. Have I said how much I love my nieces?

Col and Lola, loving on Evangeline. All Colin wanted to do when she was around was hold her!

Oh. Be still my heart. Annelyse, snapping a picture of Lola!

Then my turn to snap one!

Cam, getting his turn with Evangeline. From the look on her face, 
he might have been squeezing loving her a bit too much!!

One night, we did movie night!

The kids (mostly) watched Brave.

Some of the moments of them together were so sweet.

The next day, the kids, on their own, decided to make a project for Grandma 'Nette.

They locked themselves in a bedroom, and all took turns making her a beautiful poster.

It said things like, "Thank you Grandma for being nice to us!"

They sat her down on the couch and brought it out, with much pomp and circumstance.

And of course, she was thrilled!

Then, it was Grandma's chance to do something special with the kids.

With much help, the children "made" their own Christmas ornaments! 
(*coughcough I smell tradtion *coughcough)

Lola, of course, wanted pink.

Then, a less complicated ornament, that just involved paint.

They turned out so well and looked beautiful on my tree this year!

A couple more shots of the girls, for good measure!
This is one of my very favorites and HAD to be framed once we got home.

Ethan, taking his turn with Evangeline

Our last "adventure" with the family was to a giant candy store, about 45 minutes away. 
The kids had so much candy fun they could hardly contain themselves!

The littles enjoyed trying on the 30 pairs of goggles/glasses :) ....

...and the older ones had fun reminiscing about candy they haven't seen in years!

Daddy found something special for Lola (who loves all things Hello Kitty right now!)

There was candy EVERYWHERE!

I think the kids' very favorite part was making their very own specialized pixie stix.
That's a lot of sugar folks!!

One more family shot before heading out. Grandpa, Grandma and 10 of 11 grand kids!

Thanksgiving was, as always, a fantastic time--we miss our family already but 
are thankful to have spent a wonderful week together!!