Saturday, December 24, 2011

2011 in Review

You may have noticed that you have never received a Christmas letter from our family and the reason for that is that I am never on the ball enough to get it done. This year one of my friends had the brilliant idea to put their family Christmas letter on their blog rather than sending it out. I decided that even I could manage that, so here are highlights of our 2011

*Jeremy took his series 7 (and passed with flying colors)
*Merrick FINALLY learned to sleep through the night (most of the time anyway)
*Jeremy quit his job to start law school and finished his first semester
*We survived a two day drive on our move to Oregon
*Merrick learned to ride a bike (with training wheels of course)
*I stopped babysitting one nephew and took on two louder, crazier nephews (plus a bonus two-year-old twice a week)
*Merrick began talking in full sentences and is now quite the jabber mouth

As 2011 draws to a close, we feel so blessed. We are grateful for each other, for family, for friends, and for our Savior. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope you too are able to feel the spirit of this season.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Winning: It seems to be the family theme lately.

Jeremy feels like he is winning because he finished his first semester of law school. His last final was on Friday and he thinks that all of them went well. He is mostly glad to be done and ready to spend time with us and get ready for Christmas (and play his "Call of Duty" game that he has not touched in the month he has had it so he could study for his finals).

The study room pre and post finals

Merrick lately has discovered his competitive side. He always has to win. No matter where we are going he has to get there first. Jeremy and I have used this to our advantage when trying to get Merrick to do something that he doesn't want to do. All we have to say is "I am going to win" and he will drop whatever he is doing and say "No! I win!" and he will take off running in the direction that we tell him to. Going to the table to eat dinner, going upstairs to bed and going potty are just a few things that we have been able to get him to do using this trick.

If this is not the look of a winner, I don't know what is

I always feel like I am winning, but with the thought of getting to spend the next three weeks with both my boys I feel even more like the winner.

I am not sure which of us is really winning, but I think we are all so blessed and lucky that we all should consider ourselves to be winners.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Battleship Debacle

A few days ago I had planned on blogging about Jeremy's finals and how hard he has been working as that was the most significant occurrence of the week, but last night all that changed. We had gone to Ben and Becca's house for dinner. As was typical, Quincy was not eating dinner, but playing with toys instead. Last night he happened to be playing with Battleship. Eventually, Merrick finished eating and wanted to get down and play with his cousin. All the adults were still finishing dinner, but Merrick was within eyesight and I was not really worried about him.

After several minutes of playing Merrick started crying and came to tell me his nose hurt. I started talking to him about what had happened and Jeremy went over to talk to Quincy. Quincy was saying that Merrick bumped his nose and Merrick was not really clear about what happened other than to say "Quincy did". A few minutes later Merrick's nose started to run from crying and when I wiped it he started crying again. I thought something might really be wrong so I laid him down on the couch to take a look at it.

Even though I knew something was wrong I definitely was not prepared for what I saw. At first I thought I saw blood around the inside of his nostril, but very quickly it dawned on me that it was not blood, but a red peg from the battleship game. Instantly all the adults became panicky. We tried to rub it out from the outside and we tried to get him to sneeze it out by having him sniff pepper. Ultimately we decided that it was not coming out and that we needed to take him to the doctor. Being that it was Sunday evening our only option was the Emergency Room and a long drive into downtown Portland to the Children's Emergency Room.

All things considered the ER visit was as smooth as could be. They started by having me try a technique call "the mother's kiss" where I plugged the unobstructed nostril, put my mouth over his, and blew a quick puff of air into his mouth. This dislodged the piece, but he immediately sucked it back up. The doctors were worried about him sucking it into his trachea so they did not want me to try again. Instead they inserted a tiny tube with a balloon on the end up past the peg, blew up the balloon and pulled the peg out.

I was a wreck the whole time, but Merrick was so brave. In the end we are not sure if it was Merrick who stuck the peg up or if it was Quincy, but my favorite part of the experience was when the doctor asked Merrick if he had done it and he said, "No Quincy did it". When she asked who Quincy was he said "He is a quack-a-roo head". That is my boy, being a joker even in a scary situation.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011- Part II

It has now been over a week since Thanksgiving. I had intended to get on here to finish my Thanksgiving blog days ago, but the days just slipped by and now I am faced with the dilemma of remembering what happened a week ago, which is a difficult task for me. I will do my best to write about events as I remember them.

Thanksgiving Day was a blur of cooking, eating, and rummaging through Black Friday ads. The food was of course wonderful and so was the company. We had dinner at my parent's house with my parents, Brendon and Rachel's family and Larry Capps, my dad's best friend since the dawn of time. As I mentioned, we did some Black Friday research and as a result, our Thanksgiving festivities ended at about 7:30pm so that we could brave the cold and crowds to score our deals.

Those of you who know me well know that if there is one thing that I love it is a good deal. This Black Friday we were after a special surprise for Merrick for Christmas (sorry I can't tell you what it is yet) and a new XBox for Jeremy (his got the "red ring of death" a few weeks ago and he wanted to use the money he got for his birthday to replace it). We were able to find deals for both items but that meant two stores, Toys-R-Us which opened at 9pm and Walmart which opened at 10pm.

Black Friday was a success and by that I mean that we got what we wanted, did not get trampled, and we were home just after midnight. I do have to give a big "thank you" shout out to my mom for coming with us even though she was not buying anything and to my dad for putting Merrick to bed and holding down the fort while we were gone.

Much of the rest of the weekend Jeremy spent with his head in a book studying for finals, but we did take time for one other big family outing. On Saturday we packed left-over turkey sandwiches and had a picnic at Multnomah Falls. Merrick's face was priceless when he saw the falls for the first time and his mouth fell open. I always feel the same way even though I have seen it many times.

I have said it before, but I just have to say that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love that it is all about family and friends and that it marks the start of the holiday season. We had a great Thanksgiving and I know it is just a sign of things to come.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011-Part I

This week Ben and Becca were out of town so Merrick and I got to spend a whole week home together. It was a busy week with Thanksgiving and just catching up with all the things that fall through the cracks when I spend around 50 hours a week away from home. We did, however, manage to squeeze in some fun.

For me, one of the most enjoyable parts of the week was getting to spend some time with Brendon and Rachel's family. The kids were off school all week so they spent more time than usual over here and Merrick was able to enjoy lots of cousin time. They played puzzles and discovered all sorts of treasures in the playroom. It was also fun for me to spend some time with Rachel and my mom, Rachel, and I even "enjoyed" a guilty pleasure and went to see the new "Twilight" movie.

Prior to Thanksgiving, my mom, Merrick, and I were also able to spend a day at the Portland Children's Museum. I know I have posted about the children's museum in the past, but it is such a fun place I just have to recap our visit.

Merrick built a "light Lego" house with Nana

We played with clay

We played in Legoland

We played in the water

We played alligator dentist

And what trip to the children's museum would be complete without a trip to the grocery store?

It was a great week even before we got to Thanksgiving. Hopefully I will get around to posting about the rest of the week before too long. Check back soon.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


A few weeks ago I referenced the fact that Merrick likes to sing "It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time". I know that my weekly blog is late this week and things have been crazy getting ready for Thanksgiving so for now I will give you some pictures of our version of "Peanut Butter Jelly Time".

Monday, November 14, 2011

Quirky Turkey

One of my favorite things about being a mom is watching Merrick's personality develop. He is so funny and cracks me up everyday. That being said as of late he has developed a few quirks to his personality that have left us scratching our heads.

The first of these quirks is licking. Normally licking would totally gross me out, but he does not lick like a normal person would. Instead he licks you like a dog would lap up water. It catches me off guard every time and I cannot help but laugh.

The second thing is that he has decided that he needs to eat Frosted Mini Wheats for breakfast every morning. Even yesterday when we were running late for church and had to take something with us to eat in the car/at church, he insisted that he get his Mini Wheats in a bag to-go.

Merrick has also decided that many people in his life have assigned roles that they are obliged to perform. Papa is responsible for playing Angry Birds and watching Special Agent Oso. Nana is responsible for reading books, and Aunt Becca is responsible for "Sticker Time".

The last quirky habit that Merrick has developed lately is climbing into anything and everything. It started with a large pot that my mom has in the kitchen and moved on from there. Here are a couple of recent pictures (please don't call CPS)

I just love him and the new silly little things he does each day!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Blog About Nothing

I started this blog about two years ago as a way to preserve memories and to keep out of state family up to date with the goings on in our life. Now, it is both a joy and a burden to keep it up, but my reasons for starting it are still valid so we just plug along.

In the wake of Halloween, however, this shaped up to be a uneventful week. I spent the week wrangling more children than I can count, Jeremy spent it studying, and Merrick spent it being his usual cute self (telling jokes and singing "Peanut Butter Jelly Time"). In the end, I don't really have much to say so I will just leave you with a picture of my two favorite boys.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

I am sure you don't remember this, but last year I teased that I already had Merrick's Halloween costume for this year but that you would have to wait. Well, this Halloween is now over I guess I can let you in on the secret.

This year Merrick was a cowboy complete with the catch phrases "yee haw" and "Howdy Partner". Words cannot express how cute he looked and sounded (his "Howdy Partner" sounded oddly like Jackie Chan from "Shanghai Nights"). Since words are failing in this situation I will just show you.

On Halloween night all the cousins (minus Kai who we really missed) came to Nana and Papa's and we all hit the streets together. Quincy had the idea for their whole family to be glow men, but at the last minute decided he wanted to be Spiderman instead. Lauren was Paul Stanley from KISS, Julien was an angry bird, and Maude was Elvis.

Merrick was such a trooper, he kept up with his cousins all night and even wanted to keep going when everyone else was ready to go home. I will leave you with a few of my favorite moments from the night...

1) At our first house when the lady said Colvin could pick what he wanted, he responded with "I am allergic to dairy, corn, and eggs"

2) The lady who thought Merrick was so cute that he should have two full-sized candy bars

3) Lauren being the little mommy at every house, making sure the little ones took only what they were offered and always reminding Merrick to say his catch phrases

4) Quincy routinely asking if he could have two at every house

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Roller Coaster

All I can say about this week was that it was a roller coaster of emotions. Monday night we got a call that my grandpa was extremely jaundiced and that his doctor had discovered a mass in this pancreas and that he would be going to the hospital. By Thursday the doctors had the jaundice under control and we learned that our healthy as a horse Grandpa has pancreatic cancer. It was such a blow to all of us and lots of tears were shed.

That night we all tried to put our sadness to the side and focus on my sweet niece Maude who was celebrating her seventh birthday. She is so young and happy and the last thing anyone wanted was a dark cloud over her party. I think we were able to put our sadness aside and focus on Maude's special day.

By the time Jeremy came home from school, however, I was a mess. After putting on a happy face for Maude I was really heartbroken and the last thing I wanted was to celebrate my birthday the next day. He was his usual awesome self and assured me that everything would be okay and that while it was a hard time, my birthday would still be great.

In the end my birthday was just that, great. I still had to work and my grandpa was still sick, but I really felt loved. Jeremy and I were able to go out for a special lunch date, my parents and Merrick took me to dinner, and I got so many sweet calls, texts, and facebook messages from family and friends.

At the end of this crazy week I am grateful for family, friends, love, and most importantly my knowledge that families can be together forever.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall Leaves Fall

It is turning into Fall in beautiful Portland, Oregon. This is the first time in my life that I have lived somewhere with a true Fall season and I have to say that I love it. The leaves on the tree are turning yellow and red and starting to fall and everywhere you turn there are Fall decorations.

In the spirit of Fall we took a family trip to a local pumpkin patch. As with other fall festivities, pumpkin patches are a big deal in this part of the country. There are hundreds within a short driving distance, but we went to Bauman Farms which was rated the best pumpkin patch in the Willamette Valley.

The pros of our time at the pumpkin patch were as follows:

The petting zoo- Merrick particularly loved the goats. They had these ramps for the goats to climb and it was really crazy to see these goats walking around 20 feet in the air. They also had some new baby goats that Merrick really enjoyed petting.

The food- I have to say that the food was plentiful and amazing. We had apple cider doughnuts and an apple cider slushy, both of which were fabulous.

The children's play area- To be honest this was a bit of a pro and a con. Merrick really enjoyed the slide, see-saw, trucks and tractor, but they had a track around the edge with bikes for the children to ride and while Merrick really wanted to ride them, he could not quite reach the pedals which really frustrated him.

The weather- In a place known for being cold and raining in the Fall and Winter, the weather could not have been more beautiful. It was sunny and relatively warm.

The cons of our time at the pumpkin patch were as follows:

The boots- This was far and away the biggest con of the day. While it was sunny that day, it had been raining in the days leading up to our outing and was muddy enough that Merrick needed rain boots. He had outgrown the rain boots we had for him and had to borrow the cousins' old rain boots. Unfortunately they just a little too big and if he lifted his feet too far off the ground, they fell off. I can't even count the number of times we had to put those stupid boots back on.

Merrick's age- While there were lots of fun activities like an apple cannon, zip line, and corn maze, Merrick was just to young and small to do many of the activities.

In spite of the cons of the day, I think that the day was a success. In the end, Merrick had a great time and we all enjoyed our time as a family and I think that means it was a great day.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


We have lived in Portland for three months now, but somehow Merrick seems to have grown several years older since we got here. Not only does he say that he is four, he acts like it.

The first step down the path to being a big boy was learning to pedal his bike. When we moved here he would just put his feet on the ground and push himself along. Now he not only pedals, but will tear down a hill at lightening speed and pedal his little heart out the whole way down.

The next step was learning to ride his cousins' scooters. Again, when we got here all he could do was stand on the scooter while someone pushed him around. Now he expertly rides the scooter, pushing himself along and maneuvering around obstacles.

I really don't know how he became this big kid, but it seems to have happened in the blink of an eye. I think our next door neighbor said it best yesterday when we ran into her at the park. She said "Wow! That kid has no fear. You better get him a helmet". With all the changes in the last few months I would say that a helmet is in order.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Adventures in Potty Training Part II

If I was turned into a cartoon character at this very moment I would look a lot like the character Cathy, pulling out my hair and with a caption that read "ACK!!!". The source of my complete and total meltdown can be summed up in two words...potty training.

For weeks I have for the most part been actively ignoring the signals Merrick was giving that he might be ready to potty train. He was very interested in his cousins' big boy underwear, he frequently used the potty, and would sometimes even take himself to the potty, take off his clothes and hop up. For my part, I ignored these signs because with 3-4 kids running around most days I just did not have time for potty training. That excuse no longer held water however beginning this past weekend when Ben and Becca went out of town and the boys Granny came to town to watch them. I had from Saturday until Wednesday (tomorrow) to focus on getting Merrick potty trained.

We bought Merrick "Thomas the Train" and "Cars" underwear and lots of treats for positive reinforcement. Merrick took to the underwear right away and is always excited to wear them. Unfortunately, however, I was under the mistaken idea that since he was showing so many sign of being ready that this would be a somewhat painless process. I was dead wrong. We practically spend our day in the bathroom and somehow Merrick has still had a handful of pee accidents, but the worst part by far is that he cannot seem to make it to the toilet in time to poop. We have had one successful trip and every other time I have ended up scrubbing poop out of his underwear.

At this point I am at a loss. I really want to give up and I am running out of one-on-one time to focus on this. When I talk to him about the process I can tell that he understands what he is supposed to do and that gives me hope. It is just actually getting it done that is the problem. I would say that there is a coins toss chance that we actually accomplish this, but I know that if I give up now I won't have the courage to try again until he is 18. I guess all I can say is heaven help us all.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Dark Side

I had planned on blogging after Merrick went to bed tonight and I had already planned what I was going to blog about, but tonight he was just so silly that I just can't resist blogging about it.

When Jeremy and I get overly tired we tend to get silly and things that should not be funny become hilarious. We refer to this as "crossing over to the dark side". The last few night I guess we have kept Merrick up a little to late because he has shown us that he too can cross over to the dark side, running around like a crazy man and jumping off of everything he can climb.

Tonight the silliness began at bath time and when the bath ended he was not ready to get out. I really needed to go get something from downstairs but could not convince him to get out of the tub. He sat in the bathtub as every last drop of water ran out. Once it was empty I finally convinced him to vacate the tub and put his towel on.

I ran down stairs as quickly as I could and returned to find out that he was not quite as ready to get out of the tub as I thought.

Eventually his lips turned blue and he agreed to get out of the tub, but that did not end the silliness. While I gathered his lotion, pj's and diaper he took that opportunity climb naked into his toy box (I took a picture of that as well, but unfortunately caught his manhood in the picture and could not figure out how to crop it).

His craziness definitely slowed the process down, but in the end he made it to bed. It is interesting when you see your characteristics passed down to your children, even something so small and insignificant as getting silly/crazy/slap-happy when overtired.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Everyday

I think that I have mentioned it before, but since we moved here I have been watching my two, four-year-old nephews (Quincy and Colvin) during the week and I also watch another little girl Merrick's age on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I have three kiddos and on Tuesdays and Thursdays I have four children four and under.

Some days are really fun and other are really challenging, but the bottom line is that most days I am exhausted by the end of the day. One of the ways I have come up with to find joy in a long day is by focusing on the happy, funny moments and trying to capture those. I thought as we head into another week, I would share some of my favorite pictures from our time together so far and in case you were wondering the first one is a picture of Quincy sitting on the pot, with the door open, holding a balloon and a giant book.