Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Resolutions

I always anticipate the coming of the new year. I love the feeling of starting over, having a clean slate, renewed energy and strength. I also love the new year because I want to purge, put things in order and simplify.

Each year since I was about 12, I've made a list of New Years Resolutions. Many years have come and gone with minimal success. I always "shot for the moon" and missed every time. These are some quotes that describe my yearly attempts until THIS year.

Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits.  ~Author Unknown

A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.  ~Author Unknown

So this year, I've done some soul searching. I've reviewed lists of years past and prayed over what to do this the bounty of this new year.

So with much thought I give you Resolutions 2011

1. Piano lessons for year
2. Increase math knowledge
3. Photography-full manual mode with great lighting knowledge base
4. successfully bake a 2 tier cake and successfully use rolled fondant
5. Christmas Advent-stop talking about it, put notes in order and finish the Merrell Family Advent Book
6. Send out family birthday cards to all with an Abraham Lincoln quote.
7. Cook and bake with confidence
8. Attend the temple quarterly
9. 100% visiting teaching
10. Play more games with the kids
11. Read the Book of Mormon
12. Read the Book of Mormon as a family

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

“Each of us has come to this earth with all the tools necessary to make correct choices.”
—President Thomas S. Monson

As the new year approaches, I'm taking stock of the "tools" I've got and one's that need to be sharpened. I love the new year for several reasons and resolutions is just one.

Making correct choices seems to be a given, but in these "the last days" it isn't as such. Standing up for what's right seems to come across as making the wrong decision or offensive in some case or another. If doing the right thing makes some people cringe and reject you, is it a reason to turn away from that which is right?

My answer is no. I'm not here to impress others. Just use the tools I've been given to make the correct choices to do what is right. No questions asked and NO turning back!

I love being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love knowing that Jesus IS the Christ. I love knowing that my family can be eternal, of course that depends on how we treat each other here. I love knowing that there is a God! He's all knowing but gave me agency to choose for myself. I love that I'm not here (on earth) alone. The Lord is here to guide and protect me. The Savior, Jesus Christ came before, set the example and died for us all.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Card

The story behind the card.

 I had planned on having family pictures taken in October. Then we spent half the month moving. I painted an accent wall in the dining room and bathroom, hung new lighting in three rooms and micro organized the kids stuff. During November I was in the middle of the Reflections Art Program at the junior high. Then we made two trips to Idaho...two weekends in a row. (totally worth it).

December began and the husband was no where to be found! C-sections, hysterectomy's, deliveries and my all time shifts. Then one by one each of the kids banged up their faces. Not all at once BUT one after the other, after the other. I kept thinking "after this one heals". So finally in between photo shoots for others I grabbed the kids and snapped a few shots.

Minus the husband-he's been camping out at the hospital
Minus the mom- haven't had my hair colored since July (yikes!)

Train screamed the whole time.
Pumpkin kept pulling her arms inside her jacket and kept looking off to the side.
Train kept running away.
Paris was plain M.A.D that we were doing this.

What has been hidden:
Screaming Train
Ginormous bruise in shades of purple, blue and green on Pumpkins forehead
Some kind of weird rash above Paris' lip

Sheesh! If you didn't get your's in the mail. Email me and I'll get one to ya before the new year!

Despite all that has transpired at our place, we truly are grateful for this season to celebrate the birth and life of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Our lives have been blessed, they are fruitful. We are happy.
Nothing could be better than having the gospel of Jesus Christ and knowing that Jesus IS the Christ.

May your Christmas be merry and bright. One full of family, friends and the true spirit of Christmas.

Love- The Merrells

Christmas Letter 2010

Family First(s)
This year was a year of many firsts for us.
The Husband is finishing his first year of private practice.
Paris is enjoying her first year of Junior High.
Pumpkin is loving the first grade!
We’re surviving our first year in Utah, along with our first winter.
We’ve moved from our first Utah home.
Train’s first obsession is Thomas the Tank Engine.
We made our first major purchase as a couple. We bought a washer, dryer and couch. (The couch is a sad story)
Julie’s first calling in our ward was not Emergency Preparedness but after our first year here, it is.
We hope that you are all well, happy and in good health. May the Lord bless you and yours!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Afternoon errands

Train's the anti-napper.

He's fighting it.

 I'm fighting him.

It' s a NO win for everyone. 

I have to get things done. Grocery shopping, Christmas shopping for the doc's staff, tying up loose ends. I either do it with a cranky toddler OR a sleeping one. The other problem is this way he falls asleep late in the afternoon for maybe an hour and then doesn't go to bed until well past 11pm.

How do you solve the problem of "I don't want to take a nap BUT I still need one?"

How do you get things done at home if they refuse to sleep as long as you're in the house?

How do keep your sanity? Mine's about gone. Any suggestions?

I'll take a sleeping one any day! We'll just put up the disco ball and have a fun night. (sometimes, as long as we get to sleep in the next day)

This too shall pass, right?

Christmas in German-Pumpkins Version

This is an e-mail I received today from Pumpkins teacher.

So, we talked about Christmas in Germany yesterday and I just had to
tell you what Pumpkin told me.

 I was laughing soooo hard.

 She told me how you guys celebrated the first day of the German celebration and
how the kids put out their shoes.

She told me what gifts they got.

Then she told me that her sister wanted twigs instead of presents in
her shoe so she could hit Pumpkin with them.

Then she said very matter of factly..."Yeah, we both totally hate each other."

I was laughing so hard.

It was funny and sad at the same time.

I'm sure those two will learn to love each other when they are older.

Ms. J

ME: The truth of the matter is, Pumpkin adores (with a capital A) Paris. Paris is annoyed and jealous of Pumpkin. For example Paris' grandmother send Pumpkin a gift that we pick up from our mailbox. Then later that night when Paris came home from an activity, another package on the front porch. Paris' reaction.............seething jealousy.

WHY would HER grandmother send something for a half-sister? WHY would said grandmother NOT send HER anything?

The answer: She's going to visit bio-dad and grandma next week and will be staying for two weeks. I'll post pictures of the loot upon her return.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A&B Engagement shoot

Today was SOOOOO fun! I love photography! Today I meet with these great people and took their engagment photos. Too bad I've been SOOOO lazy that I haven't even done MY family photo's OR Christmas cards yet! Yikes!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanks Bethany from here for sharing your snazzy talent! You make everything So much cuter!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


"I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union."
--  Abraham Lincoln October 3, 1863 - Proclamation of Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's Tuesday

Paris is at school for a few more hours
Pumpkin is at school for a few more hours than the other one.
The doc is sleeping off a nasty call shift.
Train is watching baby Einstein's
and me........
sitting on the couch debating on if I should take a nap or not with Train.

the dishes are done.....the bathrooms are not
dinner is in prep state
no reading (of value) has been done
vacuuming needs to be done
(but can't be done due to sleeping beauty)
chore charts and daily schedules have been printed
volunteered at the school

hmmmm......I think it's nap time.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Urn you love it?

I'm in love....with urns!
I get these crazy notions sometimes.
I get fixated on things and I think of nothing else.
My last fixation was the armoire
and now it's urns!

How cute are these?

I'm thinking one on each side of the front door, in the living room and the master bedroom.

The start of the dining room

painted an accent wall
added a different chandelier
newer dining set
added a faux buffet

dining room to-do list:
hang up plate rack
add plates to said plate rack
purchase rust colored drapes (one's that match the kitchen in Phx)
hang said drapes
purchase decorative curtain rod
fix Merrell clock
hang said clock

Then the dining room will represent me.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Everyone's crafty

Since the move I've been blog hopping a ton. There are SO many crafty ladies in syber-space and boy are they talented!

I've been inspired and I'm ready to craft......except my house isn't finished yet. Today was a huge jump forward in the "getting the house put together" pursuit. Husband did an outstanding job making the family room cozy and sporty. I'm loving it! I'm also loving that we are in a true rental, an investment property so we can do whatever we want. Love it!

As I'm dreaming of all the fun crafts I want to do, I'm looking around the downstairs and really wishing I could just throw stuff in a bin, bucket, box or stash it somewhere and get started. The area is looking 70% better but the 30% is holding me back.

I love the setup and know it will facilitate getting more soon as it's all together.

As I type and look over my computer screen, I realize now that the pennants are up and I won't be painting a wall down here. There's no way I'm removing 30 pennants that have been measures and perfectly spaced to paint. (sigh) but the family room looks better than I had anticipated.

Well it's off to bed for a blissful night of sleep minus a toddler taking up the bed.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Long & short of it

The girls started growing their hair out two years ago. They wanted to donate it to locks of love. I thought it was great, certainly a charitable thing to do. This way I got what I wanted too, long hair.

Over the past two years, there has been tears, screams of dread and fits over "stupid hair". Finally the day arrived for the locks to disappear. It was easy to cut Paris' hair but I found myself hesitating on cuting Pumpkins.

 The smiles have returned!

Frivolous Friday Confessions

I must confess.
I LOVE to shop.

I must confess.
never  rarely pay full price for ANYTHING.

I've been known as the coupon queen for years.
I've also been known to make my poor husband wait for weeks or months for something he's asked me to purchase because it isn't on sale.
I'll talk couponing with anyone.
Since moving to Ut. a year ago I discovered a terribly expensive grocery store.
I've talked everyone I know out of shopping there and have forced some to trim their food budget. If not by persuasion then by telling them what my grocery budget is.

I've worked hard on keeping as much money out of the grocery stores or any store for that matter and  price matching. I have made Wal-Mart my one stop shop with the sale prices of every other store.....until now.

Previously mentioned terribly expensive grocery store snuck into my heart. I went shopping at wal-mart on Saturday and purchased some lettuce. After about a day it looked like this:

I thought for sure it would have a few good leaves for a luncheon I was having with a girlfriend the following day.

It didn't and I had to make a mad dash to the nearest....terribly expensive grocery store to buy some.

This is what I found!
 Beautiful, crisp heads with  white stumps or what ever you call it. Until that day, I'd never seen a head of lettuce that didn't have a brown stump. I'd heard about and read about it BUT had never seen one myself.

So in short. I confess. I paid full price for a beautiful, crisp head of lettuce. I'll do it again too, along with all their OTHER produce. 
To you Taryn, Sadie, Minnie, Codi . I'm SO SORRY I tried or did steer you away from that
beautiful, terribly expensive grocery store.

I'm now allocating more money to the food budget

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Train's Summer

We love having a splash pool in our neighborhood. I think when we build, we'll pick an Ivory homes neighborhood with a pool. I know other partners keep saying, "You should have a house with a pool". My pool cleaning days are in the past. I enjoy having access to a pool without the maintenance.

Train loves that he can be independent and free here. He also loves that he's able to sucker everyone else into giving him their toys. He's SOOOO darling! I love this little guy and his energy (during the summer).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

first train set

Our little one was ecstatic to get his first train set. I've never seen him so focused and so quiet for so long.  I love the intense look on his face.

I wonder where this new love of trains will lead.