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.