Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Fun

We had a really nice visit to my parent's house for Christmas. The weather was nice, the company was fun, the food was good (we got to eat at Rudy's - one of our favorite bbq joints in Texas), and it was quite relaxing. My brother and his sons (my sister-in-law was not feeling well and stayed home to rest) arrived Friday afternoon, and the games began. Matthew got Settlers of Catan for Christmas which we broke in nicely over the long weekend. We also got these baby rattles (our second baby gift to date).

Once we got home Sunday evening, Matthew went to pick up Max. He was exhausted! He layed around for the rest of the night and was still laying around when I went to work this morning. He seems to have regained at least some of his energy this evening, but Matthew said he slept all day. He got to open a couple of Christmas gifts last night (from Matthew's sister and my mom). And he got his first ornament. Isn't it cute?

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Bell

I received the following as an email and thought it was worth posting. I am not sure where it originated, but I like it.

I am God's child (John 1:12)
I am Christ's friend (John 15:15 )
I am united with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17)
I am bought with a price (1 Cor 6:19-20)
I am a saint (set apart for God). (Eph. 1:1)
I am a personal witness of Christ. (Acts 1:8)
I am the salt & light of the earth (Matt 5:13-14)
I am a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27)
I am free forever from condemnation ( Rom. 8: 1-2)
I am a citizen of Heaven. I am significant (Phil 3:20)
I am free from any charge against me (Rom. 8:31 -34)
I am a minister of reconciliation for God (2 Cor 5:17-21)
I have access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:18)
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6)
I cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom 8:35-39)
I am established, anointed, sealed by God (2 Cor 1:21-22 )
I am assured all things work together for good (Rom. 8:28 )
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16 )
I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph. 3: 12 )
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13)
I am the branch of the true vine, a channel of His life (John 15: 1-5)
I am God's temple (1 Cor. 3: 16). I am complete in Christ (Col. 2: 10)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). I have been justified (Romans 5:1)
I am God's co-worker (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor 6:1). I am God's workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
I am confident that the good works God has begun in me will be perfected. (Phil. 1: 5)
I have been redeemed and forgiven ( Col 1:14). I have been adopted as God's child (Eph 1:5)
I belong to God
Do you know
Who you are?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Photo 2008

Since we were dressed up for church this morning, I decided it was a good time to take an official Christmas photo for 2008. Last year, Matthew got me a tripod for my camera. I am embarrassed to say that I used it for the first time today. After using it today though, I believe I will get a lot of use out of it in the years to come.

The following picture was on our Christmas cards this year. Matthew couldn't believe I would send a photo Christmas card that didn't even have a picture of us on it. I didn't really think about that...oops! Maybe I should have taken pictures of us a couple of weeks ago. But isn't Max a handsome dog? And I'm pretty sure he was excited about meeting Santa.
Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

16 week pictures

We had our 16 week appointment with the doctor this week. This appointment was very short. We got to hear the heart beat again. It is really amazing to hear. At 12 weeks, it took the nurse quite a while to find the heart beat which made us nervous. This week she found it immediately. It was 137 beats per minute on Tuesday. Since my first doctor's appointment at the end of September, I have gained 6 pounds.

At our next appointment, we hope to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl. Then the decorating fun can begin!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Survey

  1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? I like both but drink neither very often. If I drink egg nog, I generally dilute it by half with skim or low fat milk. It is a bit thick for my taste, but I do enjoy drinking it.
  2. Funny Holiday memory as a child: One Christmas morning a blue banana seat bicycle was sitting next to our Christmas tree. I knew an older girl who had a bicycle just like that and asked my parents if she was at our house. Maybe I wasn’t awake enough to realize it was a Christmas present??
  3. Colored or white lights on your house? I prefer white lights – although we have no lights on the outside of our house.
  4. Do you hang mistletoe? No – I haven’t really thought about that before. That could be fun if it was placed strategically in the house so that I would only end up kissing Matthew.
  5. When do you put your decorations up? In the past, I have put them up the weekend after Thanksgiving or close to it; however, this year we barely got them up in time for a Christmas party at our house last weekend.
  6. Do you remember your favorite gift? I don’t remember a specific gift. There have been many!
  7. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa only brought what was in our stockings when I was a kid.
  8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I wish I could remember, but I don’t. It must not have been too traumatic – unless it was so bad that to this day I am repressing the memory.
  9. Do you open gifts on Christmas Eve? Not generally. The first Christmas I spent with Matthew’s family in Chicago we opened one small gift on Christmas Eve. That was when Matthew proposed to me. My “small” gift was my engagement ring.
  10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? Generally, we use white lights, a lot of ornaments, and an angel on top. My mom always gets us a new ornament each year and has done so since I was a little kid. This year we were in such a hurry that we didn’t even put ornaments on the tree. Matthew wrapped a large ribbon around the tree which looks really pretty.
  11. Snow? If I get to stay home inside then yes I enjoy snow on Christmas. I really don’t like to bother with snow when I’m traveling though.
  12. Can you ice skate? I think I have been ice skating once. I am sure it wasn’t pretty. In my current condition, I should probably just say no to ice skating.
  13. What is your favorite holiday dish? Does holiday candy count as a dish? I really enjoy eating pretty much anything that is served for the holiday. The older I get I really appreciate home-cooking...especially when I am not the one preparing the meal.
  14. What's the most important thing about the Holiday for you? I enjoy spending time with my family and reflecting on the birth of Jesus.
  15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Hmmm…that’s a hard one. I am a dessert affectionado, don’t you know? I will say a pumpkin roll is my favorite.
  16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Right now, I guess my favorite tradition is making all kinds of candy goodies. I used to do this with my mom, and it is just something I want to do around the holidays. I would like to come up with other things for when we have kiddos in the house. One tradition I want to start is reading the Christmas story from the Bible on Christmas Eve. Do you have any traditions you would like to share with me?
  17. What tops your tree? Right now an angel tops our tree.
  18. Which do you prefer Giving or Receiving? Can I say both? I like to give when I really know what a person would like to have. And I like to receive when someone has put so much thought into what he or she got me.
  19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? There is no way I can answer this question. I LOVE Christmas music.
  20. Candy Canes or Chocolate Covered Cherries? I like candy canes okay, but I would much rather have some other yummy treat list Rice Krispie treats, chocolate no-bake cookes, peanut butter fudge, tiger butter, etc.

I just noticed something about myself while filling out this little survey. I cannot leave an incomplete sentence in response to the prompt. That's weird!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

15 week pictures

I have been asked for pregnancy photos. The first two photos were the first taken after we found out we were expecting - they were taken October 1st. (At the time, I obviously didn't think about the fact that I was wearing a jacket that hid my mid-region.) The second two photos were taken last Wednesday, December 10th. We have been trying to take pictures every Wednesday so we can see the progress and have documentation to look back at.

I didn't really think much had changed until this week. I feel big all of a sudden. I definitely feel bigger at the end of the day and right when I get into bed. And I don't feel like pregnancy growth, I just feel like I've gotten fat. The baby after all is only 4 inches long and about 4 to 5 oz. It's odd. I finally went out and bought a couple of pairs of maternity pants tonight. I have one pair of jeans that still feels comfortable, but other than that everything is a bit tight. Anyway, here are the photos.

Monday, December 8, 2008

So much time to think of questions

I would like to ask for your suggestions. I have already been given some advice (such as reading “Your Pregnancy Week by Week” - thanks Amy and Wendy and which maternity/pregnancy pillow is good – thanks again Amy). I have many questions beginning with the following. Some relate to pregnancy and some relate to baby.
  • When did you begin shopping for baby furniture?
  • Where did you shop for baby furniture? Did you do any shopping online?
  • Of all the things you registered for, what have you found to be a must-have?
  • What did you buy/receive that you haven’t had much use for?
  • When did you start decorating the nursery?
  • Where did you find your favorite maternity clothes?
  • I haven’t been sleeping well. I ordered a pillow that should arrive tomorrow. I have found that I am a tummy or a back sleeper. I cannot seem to get comfortable at all on my side. I hope the pillow will help with this. Do you have any other suggestions for this?
  • Do you have any tips/tricks for getting all the nutritious food in each day?
  • What kind of diaper bag have you found to be the best?
  • Is there something you wish you had done, had not done, or had done differently before the baby arrived?
  • Is there something I haven’t thought about yet??

I am sure some of this happened after you found out if you were having a boy or a girl (if you found that out). We plan to find that out at our 20 week appointment in January if the baby cooperates.

We are in a bit of a strange situation at the moment. Matthew was laid off during November. The job market here is not good as everyone is laying off professionals in his field. He has been applying for jobs all over the place, and we believe the likelihood of us moving is pretty good. I hope something will happen sooner rather than later, but that is something that is not up to us. At some point, I think we’ll decide that we have to start on the nursery even if we don’t know anything. But I’m not sure when that would be.

Thank you for helping me out! And I’m sure I’ll have more questions on several more posts over the next 5 or 6 months…or 18 years. And I’ll probably think of a few right after I click the post button.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

December 2008

I am sure December will be a busy month and will be over before I know it. I really enjoy December and almost all things Christmas. We celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior. I also enjoy Christmas lights, decorating, music, shopping, baking, etc.

This month we will be celebrating the following.
  • 15th my friend Malinda's birthday
  • 20th my Dad's birthday
  • 25th the birth of our Redeemer
  • 29th the first anniversary of our friends Kevin & Kristen

Thanksgiving 2008

Here is a recap of our Thanksgiving holiday.
  • Before I got to the house, Shannon and Matthew found many treasures. A few that I particularly enjoyed were Matthew's baby book (complete with a receipt from the hospital) and an outfit that Carolyn crocheted while she was pregnant with Shannon. Shannon doesn't think she ever wore the outfit (baby blue jacket, hat, booties, and blanket), but she is sure Matthew wore it home from the hospital. Needless to say, that came home with us. I cannot wait to use it!
  • Max had his first experience with kittens. Matthew found 4 kittens outside the kitchen window a day or two before Thanksgiving. Shannon took them to the vet and kept them until Friday when she could take them to a foster home. We did not play with them much, but Max did get to sniff them and give them a few licks. He was very interested in them.
  • Max did well with the kiddos who are 1 and 3. He learned quickly to sit next to the one year old when she was in her high chair. He was able to enjoy many table scraps that she willingly fed him. He was not so good with their toys. At our house, all the toys belong to him. We will have to work on this with our baby. He was very gentle with the kids though he did knock the one year old over a couple of times. He didn't run into her, but she is still a little wobbly with the walking.
  • Max got a lot of attention, but I am pretty sure he was tired of hearing "lay down" and "beat it." He really wanted to be involved in everything with the kiddos - even diaper changes.
  • I think Shannon felt that we had not packed adequate toys for Max, so she bought him a toy and some reindeer antlers.
  • We survived our 18 hour road trip home from Chicago. We were in the car about 9 hours both Saturday and Sunday. The last couple of hours on Saturday we were snowed on, but the roads were not bad. The last 70 miles on Sunday the roads were not good. We came home to about 7 or 8 inches of snow. We were able to stay Saturday night with some friends just outside of Kansas City. That was a perfect halfway point for our trip home. They fed us a yummy dinner and breakfast.
  • Max did really well in the car. On the way to Chicago, there was hardly anything in the car and he had a lot of space to himself. On the way home, that was not the case. He mostly slept because there wasn't much else to do. Unfortunately at one of our stops, I closed the car door on his tail. I cannot believe I did that. He yelped, of course, but seemed to get over it quickly.


Do you have a tasty recipe for lasagna? I have only made lasagna from my Betty Crocker cookbook. While it is not bad, it does not have a lot of flavor. I would like to try a different recipe. There are so many to choose from so I thought I would ask if you have a favorite that I could try.

Thank you!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


My heart is breaking this week. Matthew left last Saturday to spend the week in Chicago with his dad and sister going through Carolyn's things at the house. It is Matthew's (and I believe Shannon's as well) first time to be at the house since Carolyn passed away. Steve and Carolyn moved to this house after Matthew had gone to college, but there are still so many memories of holidays and other visits there.

So Matthew is in Chicago going through his mother's things. I haven't been able to talk to him for any length of time since he's been there, but I know this must be so hard for him. He definitely was not looking forward to it.

The pain of losing his mother less than 3 months ago is still so fresh. It is still shocking to remember that she is no longer here.

She made holidays an incredibly big deal. You would not believe the amount of food she would fix for the 6 people around the table. It seriously would have fed a small army. She asked for each person's request for a favorite dish. And she found pleasure in making every detail about the meal special - from the meal itself to the china, crystal, and linens. She also made sure to give thanks to the Creator of those special moments.

This Thanksgiving will be a difficult one, especially for the Merritts. I have to say it is hard to look forward to being there during such a tumultuous time. But I am looking forward to loving on my husband. It has been a hard road knowing what to say or how to act toward him during his grief. It is hard to see those you love in pain and not be able to do anything to ease that pain.

I first met Carolyn Thanksgiving Day 2001 - seven years ago. I remember vividly seeing her for the first time at the airport. I remember Matthew making a big deal of her hair. I'm not sure if I was aware she had battled breast cancer at that point. If so, I guess I hadn't considered that she may have lost her hair during that battle. She made me feel welcome in her home and had left a gift in the room she had prepared for me. I remember peeling and cutting up rutabegas while Matthew and Carolyn went to the airport to pick up Shannon and Dave that day. I had never eaten rutabegas before - I think they were one of Carolyn's favorites.

She was a beautiful woman and I hope that our gathering will bring healing. I hope it will be a time where we can happily recall so many good memories of her. Most of all, I hope that Matthew and I can glorify God in our attitudes and outpouring of love and thankfulness.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"She's Having a Baby"

This post has nothing to with the movie. I have been planning this post for quite a while. I have some very exciting news to share.

Matthew and I are expecting our first baby! I am a little over 12 weeks right now and our baby is due at the end of May. Even though we have known for almost 2 months now, it is still hard to believe. After waiting for what seems like a long time, it was shocking to find out. I think we had almost given up hope this would happen to us (at least I think I had). This week we heard the baby’s heart beat at our appointment. It was amazing. There is a miracle growing inside me. All I’ve felt so far is nauseous, picky/specific about what I want to eat RIGHT NOW, headache pain, and EXTREMELY tired. And Matthew has felt really tired of hearing me complain about everything listed in the previous sentence.

We have made our announcement to most of our family, close friends, and co-workers, however we haven’t told our Sunday school class yet. We have several couples in our class that have really painful pregnancy experiences. It has been hard to know how to share our exciting news in a respectful and gentle way. I know our friends will be excited for us, but I also know it will be painful for them due to their own circumstances.

When I can stand to be awake after the work day, I have been reading What to Expect When You’re Expecting and Eating Well When You’re Expecting. I have already learned so much about the baby’s development and the changes my body is going through (and the explanation for why I am so incredibly tired). At my appointment this week, my doctor gave me this plastic replica of what size our baby is this week. Isn’t that fun? It is seriously miraculous to see that even at this size and only 12 weeks the baby already looks like a baby. How amazing is our God and His creation!

I cannot say that I have been eating particularly well. I have not been eating a bunch of junk food, but I’m having a hard time getting many of the foods that I should be eating. I have had a strong aversion to onion which I previously really enjoyed. I cannot even stand the smell of them. And they give me indigestion which is quite uncomfortable. Cooking has been challenging. When I’m hungry, I am hungry for something very specific (generally from a specific restaurant – and I’ve found that substitutions for what I’m craving don’t work out so well) and I want it RIGHT NOW! I have not gained much weight yet…by my calculations less than 5 pounds, although my body is definitely going through some changes. I am currently still able to wear most of my pants except the ones that were tight on me to begin with.

89 pounds of snuggly fun

Matthew took Max to the vet yesterday for his annual checkup and shots. They apparently lost track of time and were in a hurry to make it to the vet’s office on time such that Matthew forgot to put Max’s collar on him and take a leash. Thankfully, they were the only folks in the office while they were there.
Matthew called me at work to tell me how good Max had been there. Whatever Matthew told Max to do, he did. He sat, he stayed, he got on the examination table via a chair, etc. Matthew couldn’t believe he was so good. We have the best dog!

He is definitely a big part of our family. In showing the following, I am probably proving to you that I love my dog a bit too much. I am a scrapbooker and made the following scrapbook about Max during the Olympics. I finished everything but the journaling in August and completed the journaling this past weekend. It was a fun small project to work on and my first time to scrapbook in something other than a scrapbook. I found this journal at Target and thought it would be perfect for such a project.