Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas 2012

Luckily for us all the world did not end last week as the Mayans predicted and we were able to celebrate Christmas and the birth of our Savior this week.

Our Christmas was fairly simple, but special. On Christmas Eve all my family, minus Emily's family who was sorely missed, got together for dinner, to exchange cousin and sibling gifts and to reenact the story of Christ's birth. The entire night was wonderful with a strong spirit of love and family, but the acting out of the true Christmas story brought a strong spirit into our home that will not soon be forgotten.

Christmas morning Merrick woke up early, but Jeremy and I kept him upstairs until about 8am. It was just Merrick, Jeremy, my parents, and I so we mostly just let Merrick open all his presents first. He was a very spoiled little boy, but the big highlights for him were all the new cars from the "Cars" movie and a present that was too big to fit under the tree. Santa had left a note saying that he left one present up in daddy's study room because it was too big for under the tree so once all the other presents were open we all took a trip upstairs to find Merrick's new big boy bed. On a side note, I am the world's luckiest parent because although he has been capable for years, Merrick only started trying to climb out of his crib over the past few months. We decided that since we had really maxed out the crib, it was time to upgrade.

After breakfast we were also able to talk to Jeremy's brother Garret on his mission in Washington. Through the use of ipads and iphones Jeremy's parents, Jensen, Bryce, Garret, and us were all able to talk to and see each other at the same time despite being in four different states. It was truly a great experience.

The rest of the day we spent rearranging furniture, exploring our new gifts, spending time together, and resting (because I got pretty sick that afternoon). It was not an over the top Christmas by any means, but it was memorable and most importantly had a strong emphasis on our Savior and his miraculous birth.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

First Snow

For me the highlight of this week was the season's first snow. On Monday evening a few snow flakes started to fall, but were melting immediately. I assumed that it would not be much different over night, but happily mother nature had other plans.

In the morning we woke up to a blanket of white. While it did not last long, it stuck around long enough for us to go out and play for a few minutes. We made tracks in the snow and had a quick snow ball fight. Probably my favorite part was when Jeremy tried to knock the snow off the newspaper and ended up creating a blob on the garage door that he turned into "Wilson".

As quickly as it came, the snow was gone and Merrick was sad that there was not quite enough to make a snowman, but the season is still young. Technically winter just began on Friday so there is still plenty of time to enjoy a bit of the white stuff.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

It's A Girl

Friday was an important day for our family. I had my anatomy ultrasound for the baby. For me this is always such an exciting and scary time. I anxiously look forward to finding out whether the baby is a boy or a girl, but finding out the baby's gender is such a small part of the what happens at that visit. With Merrick I remember them checking all his major body parts, his heart, brain, spine, stomach, etc, but I don't remember it being nearly this in depth.

The ultrasound took a full hour. Right away baby showed us very clearly that she was a little girl. Jeremy and I had both felt that she was a girl and we both (along with several other family members and friends)had dreams about a little girl joining our family so it was very exciting to see it confirmed on the ultrasound screen. This was just the beginning of the appointment, however.

Over the next 50 minutes or so the ultrasound technician checked and measured every body part imaginable. She checked the baby's heart, lungs, brain, spine,stomach, kidneys, bladder (both full and empty), umbilical cord connection, arms, legs, fingers and toes (including counting all 10) and used heat sensing technology to watch the blood vessels around each organ. For the most part our sweet baby girl was very cooperative with all the poking and prodding, but towards the end she fell asleep and did not want to show her head and brain very clearly. The tech was very patient though and with a lot of prodding, tipping me upside down on the table a few times, and walking around, she finally moved and let us finish up.

My doctors appointment afterwards was fairly uneventful and mainly just a confirmation that everything looked normal and healthy with the baby.

After that came the fun part, spreading the word. We called Jeremy's parents and my sister in Arizona right away, but made all the local people wait until Saturday morning when we could all get together for a fun reveal.

We decided to reveal the baby's gender with a piñata full of pink candy and confetti. The kids all had a great time taking turns swinging for the fences and once everyone had a turn we let Merrick finish it off. A few pieces snuck out and all the the adults rushed up to see what color they were so Jeremy helped finish the piñata off. I thought it was the perfect reveal. All the kids were so excited to get the candy and the adults were all excited to find out it was a girl.

We have a few more months to wait before this little girly joins our family, but she is already so loved. We are anxiously awaiting her arrival.

Her profile and thumb and the reveal

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Here Comes Santa Claus

This weekend Merrick and I had a fun adventure. We went to downtown West Linn for the city Christmas parade and to see Santa Claus. I was a little on the fence about going because Jeremy was busy studying for finals so I was going to have to go by myself and while I think parades are fun, parades in the rain are not. Luckily the weather was kind. When we got out of the car the sun was shining and while it was cold, it did not rain.

The center of the parade was the fire station so we started there with cookies and hot chocolate. The actual parade itself was not elaborate, but entertaining. There were horses, llamas, firetrucks, and of course Santa Claus. People on the various float threw out candy and all the kids loved that.

The highlight of the day for Merrick, however, came after the parade when Santa went into the fire station and the kids were able to go sit on his lap. This is the first year Merrick has actually wanted to sit on Santa's lap. When it was his turn, he hopped right up. I stepped back to take pictures so I did not hear the actual conversation, but Merrick tells me he told Santa he wants secret agents (from the Cars movie) and that Santa gave him an invitation to come to the North Pole and help make toys.

In any case I left our visit with Santa with a very happy boy. The icing on the cake was that as we walked back to the car we got to see horse poop on the sidewalk and apparently nothing is cooler to a three-year-old boy than a big pile of horse poop.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Be Careful What You Wish For

Yesterday afternoon I was thinking about what I would blog about today and realized I really did not have much to say. We had a pretty uneventful week and I thought "well maybe something eventful will happen today". All I can say is to be careful what you wish for.

The evening started out well. Jeremy, Merrick, and I went to dinner at Five Guys. We were just finishing our super yummy dinner when out of the corner of my eye I saw Merrick falling off his chair. I jumped up to catch him but was not able to get to him before his head hit the ground. I scooped him up immediately and tried to assess the damage. At first I just felt a bump and it did not seem too bad so I focused on cuddling him and getting him to stop crying. Once he was calm, I decided to investigate again and that is when I saw the blood.

He was bleeding pretty good from the side of his head. I grabbed a napkin and put pressure on it and the bleeding stopped fairly quickly. Jeremy and I sat there discussing what to do next, if we should just take him home or go to the ER. The poor Five Guys workers felt so bad, but really did not know what to do to help. The bleeding had stopped but we could see the gash and it looked pretty bad.

Thankfully Jeremy had the presence of mind to say "We have insurance. I would rather be safe than sorry. Lets's just take him to the ER". I on the other hand was still trying to call the after hours office at his pediatricians. The tipping point for me was when I told the person answering the phone that my son was bleeding from a gash in his head and I was trying to decide if we needed to go to the ER and she told me that a nurse would call me back, but if I had not heard anything in AN HOUR to call back! That was it for me.

The ER was blessedly quiet and we got right in. Merrick was so worried about getting a shot, but even in his worried, bleeding state he charmed everyone we talked to. We checked in at reception and were walking to triage and Merrick said "That didn't hurt a bit!" All the women at reception and the nurse cracked up.

The actual treatment itself was a bit more traumatic, but everyone commented how brave Merrick was. They cleaned the wound and then put on a numbing agent. Because of its position they could not get it to stay in place so we had to hold it on for thirty minutes while it took effect. What seemed like an eternity later they came in to close the wound. They cleaned it once again and then the nurse held Merrick's head while the doctor closed it with three staples. Merrick panicked and screamed a bit, but calmed right down when it was over. They gave him a sticker and sent us on our way.

Unfortunately the trauma is not quiet over because we have to have the staples taken out next week, but I am sure he will be just as brave as he was yesterday. While that was not how I envisioned spending our night, it could have been much worse. I am just grateful he will be just fine and we will be able to put this behind us soon.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

This week we celebrated my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law asked me this week why it was my favorite holiday and the answer is simple, I love what Thanksgiving represents. I love that Thanksgiving is all about counting your blessings, it about family, it is about love, and it is the start of the holiday season and the magic that it brings.

Our Thanksgiving was small, just us, my parents, and Brendon and Rachel's family, but it was still great. This was the first Thanksgiving that Merrick seemed to understand the meaning behind what we were doing. Several times during dinner he spontaneously told everyone what he was thankful for and when he noticed I had not done so yet he asked "Mommy what are you thankful for?" Honestly, I have much to be thankful for and it is always nice to be able to vocally express gratitude.

Despite the calm, peaceful nature of our Thanksgiving, Jeremy and I decided to give up a small portion of it to battle the craziness at the Walmart Black Friday sale. We were really wanting to make the most of our limited Christmas budget this year and we decided Black Friday was the best way to do that.

Truly, it was not a bad experience. Walmart's sale started at 8pm so we left just after 6:30 and were there by 7. When the sale started we quickly grabbed most of the things we were hoping for, waited in the long checkout lines, and were home by 9pm. While it did take a bit of my favorite holiday, it did not take any of my sleep, and I would definitely do it again.

Thanksgiving may be over, but the holiday season is just beginning and I can't wait!

Sunday, November 18, 2012


This week was a big milestone week for our family. Friday was Jeremy's birthday and not just any birthday, but his thirtieth. We had talked quite a bit about it ahead of time and the one thing that I knew for sure was that he did not want a party (not that that should be a shock to anyone who knows Jeremy at all). In any case, I was faced with the challenge of how to make his big day special without a party. My brilliant, if I do say so myself, idea was to plan a day just for us doing all the things he loves to do.

I had to work in the morning so our first outing started at lunchtime at Miller's Homestead, Jeremy's favorite local breakfast place. The next stop on the Jeremy's Day of Fun tour was a go-cart track. We were there with some true die-hards that had memberships and record setting times so it was a little crazy, but Jeremy still had a blast and that was the whole point. After go-carting we headed home for presents, but much to Merrick's disappointment, no cake. I knew we would be eating a lot over the course of the day so I did not plan a cake and Merrick obsessed about it all day.

The present part of the day is kind of a funny story. Several weeks ago I had done a ton of research and found a skateboard I wanted to get Jeremy for his birthday. Despite his love for skateboarding he had not owned one since his mission, so I knew he would be very excited. Merrick went with me to get it and we had no sooner walked in the door than Merrick told Jeremy what we got him. I was devastated! I did not want to take the skateboard back, but I really wanted his present to be a surprise.

What transpired next was a series of events where I subtly convinced Jeremy that I had taken back the skateboard and bought him clothes (the present of death) instead. He really did need some new clothes, but in his mind clothes are NOT a present. In reality, I had kept the skateboard and bought him just enough clothes to make him think that was the only present he would be getting.

As he opened his presents I could see the look of disappointment and planning behind his eyes to take back the clothes and go get the skateboard back. After he had taken in the horror of all the new clothes, I told him Merrick had one more present and had Merrick bring in the skateboard. Once we knew he still had the skateboard he decided that the much needed clothes would be okay to keep as well.

After presents, the plan was dinner at an Italian restaurant and James Bond Skyfall at a really cool local theater. Unfortunately this was the low light of the day. Traffic was terrible and we ran out of time for our nice dinner. We ended up eating gross, knock-off Panda Express and still got less than ideal seats for the movie. Skyfall was really good though and once it started we kind of forgot about the problems of the the evening.

All in all it turned out to be a great day. I think Jeremy was surprised and felt loved and that was the whole point.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Halloween 2012

This was a great Halloween all around! It was a preschool day and we had a little party. The kids wore their costumes, we made jack-o-lanterns, ate popcorn and watched "Spookley the Square Pumpkin". While the energy level was a little high, it was a really enjoyable day.

Halloween evening was just as enjoyable. Jeremy got home around 6pm, just as the cousins were arriving. We ate a quick dinner while the rest of the troops costumed up. In the end we had a pink haired witch, a glow man, a clown, a knight, a race car driver, a tiny tiger, and of course our handsome fireman. While we all headed out about the same time, we ended up with just the Brown's. Colvin wanted to take in the sites and take his time, Quincy wanted to run from house to house (because there was candy at stake), and Merrick was somewhere in between.

After about an hour the Brown's were ready to head home and Merrick, just like last year, was still roaring to go. We went to another 4 or 5 houses and decided that even if Merrick wanted to keep going, we were done. Even though he protested, part way home he said "I'm tired" and Jeremy ended up carrying him a bit.

At home Nana had warm pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate waiting for us. Perhaps the best part of the whole night is that from the time we stepped out the door to the time we reached the doorstep on our return, it did not rain.

Maybe it is because I am surrounded by preschoolers all day, everyday, but I have really been looking forward to Halloween this year and fortunately it lived up to the hype.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Last week was so busy and I had so much to blog about in such a short time that I did not get a chance to talk about Merrick's brush with fame. It was a Thursday afternoon a few weeks ago. Merrick and I would typically have gone to the library in the morning, but he had his three year well check that morning and we had not had a chance to make it to the library. When we decided on an unusual afternoon visit, we had no idea what we were heading into...the bear elections.

The library had decided that as their answer to all the election and political hubbub, they would hold their own elections to find out everyone's favorite bear (the candidates being Paddington Bear, Winnie the Pooh, Corduroy, and Mama of the Berenstain Bears). When we arrived the local newspaper was there covering the event. They had a photographer taking pictures of all the campaign posters and a reporter was interviewing the library staff and the city mayor.

Despite all the craziness, the one thing that was missing from the library was children. In fact Merrick was the only child in the library. I think they wanted to take pictures of several children as they voted for their favorite bear, but since Merrick was the only child, he was the only potential voter. They told me the story would run in the next week's paper, but what they did not tell me is that since Merrick's picture was their only picture that he would be front and center of the section with a huge (about 9x11) photo and an online article to go with it.

It is funny because when he was little everyone used to tell me that I should get him into modeling and I thought a little bit about it, but never followed through. Who would have guessed that all it would take to become famous was a trip to the library.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


While I love pouring my heart, soul, and details of my life out into this blog, today is my birthday and I don't really feel like spending what is left of it typing away on the computer, so while I have a lot to say tonight, I will likely be brief for now.

This week I was reminded of the important things in this life: the gospel and my family. On Wednesday we had a scare with the baby and while everything seems to be okay, that feeling that it may all slip away from you will rock you to the core.

We also got to participate in some important events as a family this week. Yesterday Lincoln was blessed and today Maude was baptized.

Over the course of this week I have been reminded time and time again how fortunate I am to have my family, the gospel, and the priesthood in my life. I feel very blessed.