Sunday, April 29, 2012

Serenity Now

It seems that the theme for this week has been stress. We are smack dab in the middle of finals for Jeremy (he had two finals last week and has two this week). When he is not actually taking a test, he spends the day locked away in his study room. Then, after a full day of studying, he goes to study group at night. On top of this he has been trying to find summer work, which is a huge stress in and of itself.

My life has not been a walk in the park this past week either (although we did take several walks in the park, so that's funny). Anyway, work has been stressful this week as we are really trying to get our product to market and we are getting really close. I also have been picking up some slack with Merrick since Jeremy is never around.

Merrick has not been immune to all the stress. I know he feels it and he asks for Jeremy a lot, which breaks all of our hearts.

We do feel like the end is near though. Jeremy's finals will be over on Thursday, he maybe, possibly has secured a job for the summer, and soon our product will be released.

But while the end of this current stress is in sight, last night we all felt like we needed a break, a least for a few minutes. For some reason our families go to activity for relieving stress is "fort night". I think Merrick likes it because he gets to spend time with Jeremy as they build it and he always gets to watch a show and eat dessert inside it once it is built. I think Jeremy likes it because it brings back memories of the simpler times of his childhood. I like it because it is something that makes my boys happy!

While even "fort night" was still a little stressful, for reasons I won't get into, it still represented a break, a chance to climb inside and block out the rest of the world, and for that I am grateful.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Big News

This was a big week in the lives of our family! Garret got his mission call, Ben and Becca found out what they are having, and Merrick decided he is a grown-up. Here is a round-up of all the big news:

Big piece of news #1-Garret got his mission call. He has worked really hard for the last year to save money and has planned to pay for his whole mission himself. This past week his call finally came and we all (Jeremy, Merrick, and I in Oregon and Jensen in New York) got on the phone for the big announcement. His is going to be going to Tacoma, Washington, Spanish speaking. We are so excited to have him so close, it will just be hard to resist the urge to visit all the time. He is going to be a great missionary and the people of Washington are lucky to have him.

Big piece of news #2-Ben and Becca found out what they are having. It turns out that most of the family was wrong and they are having a BOY. Just for the record, Jeremy, Merrick, and I all thought it was a boy, but we were outnumbered 15 to 9. They had a big reveal party with blue and pink cupcakes. They told us there was something in one of the cupcakes that would tell us if it was a boy or a girl and that whoever found it got to make the announcement. We all tore in and soon Lauren was screaming. She had found a blue butterfly in her cupcake.

Big piece of news #3-Merrick has decided he is a grown-up. Okay, this really isn't anything new and is not really the same caliber of news, but I really just can't help but talk about it. One day this week Merrick decided he wanted a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. Not only did he want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but he wanted to make it himself. I don't think it is a big secret, but I don't really like messes so the idea of Merrick making his own PB&J kind of freaked me out. It turns out he actually did a great job. I don't know how it happened because just a few months ago he couldn't eat a PB&J without making a huge mess (you all saw the pictures), but now, like I said, he is a grown-up and can make his own sandwich. I am not sure what happened to my baby, but I am so proud of the big boy he is becoming.

It has been a crazy week with lot of big new and announcements! We are so proud of Garret and so happy for Ben and Becca.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Easter 2012

Now that I finally got around to posting about our Arizona trip, I can catch us up by posting about Easter. I don't know if it is because we had just gotten back from Arizona, but Easter kind of snuck up on us this year. Luckily the Easter bunny had planned ahead by picking up things here and there before the big day, otherwise we would have been in big trouble.

Months ago Merrick found an Elmo Easter basket in his closet (probably left behind by Kai) and fell in love with it, so on Saturday night we left it out for the Easter bunny and as per Clifford family tradition, the Easter bunny filled it and hid it (this year in the office).

In the morning Merrick had a great time searching for the basket and finding eggs along the way.

The big hit was the Elmo playdough shape maker. I don't think a day has gone by since without Merrick busting out Elmo.

After the "hunt" we had breakfast. I guess Merrick got his holidays a little confused because he insisted on reindeer pancakes.

Of course we know that Easter is not really about a bunny or even candy, but about our Savior, his sacrifice for us, and ultimately his Resurrection. My sister, Becca, had the brilliant idea of incorporating this into an Easter egg hunt. All the cousins hunted for eggs in the backyard. Inside they found puzzle pieces that they were then able to assemble and see pictures of Christ. It was a great way to help the little ones focus on Christ even while participating in tradition Easter activities.

Well, that was our Easter in a nutshell. I hope everyone had as great of a day as we did.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Arizona Homecoming

For anyone paying attention, today is Easter, but since I have not had a moment to blog about our trip to Arizona since we returned home, the Easter blog will just have to wait.

Almost two weeks ago now, we boarded a plane late Monday night and headed to Arizona. Jeremy had Spring Break and it worked out perfectly as his brother, Bryce, came home from his mission that same week. We arrived in Arizona at midnight and Jeremy's other brother, Jensen, arrived from New York about 45 minutes before us. Then the next morning we went back to the airport to welcome home Bryce. The rest of the week was filled with activities with family and friends. Here are some of the highlights of our trip.

Welcoming home Elder Clifford.

We spent two days shopping for clothes for family pictures. Since Merrick was not very interested in all the shopping, Grandpa was so good at finding things to keep him occupied.

We got to see many family and friends and spending some really special time with my grandparents.

Merrick and Kai are such good friends and have such a great time together. They played at Amazing Jake's, Makuto's Island and boy were they tired when they got done.

Merrick, Jeremy, grandpa and grampy Bunker went to a Diamondbacks spring training game. Merrick had fun and lasted 6 innings, which is 3 more innings than the last time he went to a baseball game.

It was such a busy, fun, emotional, crazy week. By the end we were all completely exhausted (and not just because we had to leave to catch our return flight at 4:30am). It took us several days to recover, but we are finely settling back in to real life and our normal routine.