Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We wish you a Mackie Christmas!

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Holy ____! Where's the Tylenol?







So our Christmas tree fell over yesterday. It was very tragic, but I am so glad no little children were forever traumatized, or physically hurt by a huge spikey tree landing on them. We lost about 6 or 7 ornaments, including one of my grandmother's hand-blown glass balls, and one of Jay's grandmother's glass bells, but I was able to salvage several of the other slightly broken ornaments. We were thankful for our shop-vac, which was amazing at cleaning up the equivalent of a pine forest floor from our carpet. And we got to decorate our tree again once it was back on it's feet! And I get to rewrap half of the presents that were soaking wet, further enhancing my holiday spirit! I do still love my Christmas tree, named Spike, (because his needles are wicked sharp) and I am thankful for his resurrection.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Speaking of third babies

This was sent to me as an email and I thought it was very insightful. Funny stuff.


Pregnancy:
1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your OB/GYN confirms your pregnancy.
2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.
3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.
_____________________________________________________
Preparing for the Birth:
1st baby: You practice your breathing religiously.
2nd baby: You don't bother because you remember that last time, breathing didn't do a thing.
3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your eighth month.
______________________________________________________
The Layette:
1st baby: You pre-wash newborn's clothes, color-coordinate them, and fold them neatly in the baby's little bureau.
2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains.
3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can't they?
______________________________________________________
Worries:
1st baby: At the first sign of distress--a whimper, A frown--you pick up the baby
2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your firstborn.
3rd baby: You teach your three-year-old how to Rewind the mechanical swing.
______________________________________________________
Pacifier:
1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor, you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it.
2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it off with some juice from the baby's bottle.
3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.
______________________________________________________
Diapering:
1st baby: You change your baby's diapers every hour, whether they need it or not.
2nd baby: You change their diaper every two to three hours, if needed.
3rd baby: You try to change their diaper before others start to complain about the smell or you see it sagging to their knees.
_______________________________________________________
Activities
1st baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Baby Swing, Baby Zoo, Baby Movies and Baby Story Hour.
2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.
3rd baby: You take your infant to the supermarket and the dry cleaners.
______________________________________________________
Going Out:
1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, you call home five times.
2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a number where you can be reached.
3rd baby: You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood.
______________________________________________________
At Home:
1st baby: You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby.
2nd baby: You spend a bit of everyday watching to be sure your older child isn't squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby.
3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children
______________________________________________________
Swallowing Coins (a favorite):
1st child: When first child swallows a coin, you rush the child to the hospital and demand x-rays
2nd child: When second child swallows a coin, you carefully watch for the coin to pass.
3rd child: When third child swallows a coin you deduct it from his allowance!
______________________________________________________

Oh yeah we're having a boy




So you can tell this is my third baby. Not that I'm not super excited about this one, but you know how it is with the first baby- I would probably have posted ultrasound pics on the day of my appointment announcing the gender for all to read. Weeeeelll, I found out about 3 weeks ago- it's a boy! We're very, very excited. Ruthie was a little sad because she had her heart set on a baby sister, but we've been pumping her up with the Baby Moses, Baby Jesus thing, (her two favorite babies of all time) and she is now thinking up fun names for baby bro, like Bawookus, or Nugget, or Sith. I tried to explain that Sith is actually the name of the Dark Side in Star Wars, but she really just likes Sith. I think she combined Sid and Seth. Very creative, she is.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Keeping the Mullet Alive: the next generation


As seen at the Greater Gulf State Fair in October 2008. As Darth Vader would say, " Impressive."

Blue Angels' Homecoming Show










One of my favorite events on the Gulf Coast every year is the Blue Angels' Homecoming Show at Pensacola NAS. This year it finally worked out so I could take the kids, but not Jay. So we took a picture by the Albatross to give a shout out to the the Coast Guard. The extreme loudness caused some tears, especially from stubborn 2 year olds who refused to wear ear-plugs. Eventually he let me put them in for him, and he could enjoy it more. The kids loved sitting in various air craft and vehicles, such as the Hummer, a fire truck, and some large Air Force planes. My favorite was the Blue Angel that we climbed up in. Seriously I could hear the Top Gun anthem singing and I felt the need, the need for speed. I have a love for Naval Aviation because my Dad was a Naval Aviator- we got a picture of 4 of his 5 grandkids with one of the planes he flew, the A-4 Skyhawk. So great weather, ear-plugs, and those jumpy slide thingies made for a fun but tiring day on the tarmac, and maybe we'll make it next year. And maybe I'll have to watch Top Gun again soon to get my( highly inaccurate portrayal of) Naval Aviation fix. It has nothing to do with the volleyball scene. Seriously, sweaty guys playing sand volleyball in jeans? Let's get real. Real chafed.

Mac is Two!





November 14th Mac turned two, and we had a little party for him the weekend before. It was a lovely fall day and we played at the park with cousins and friends, ate cupcakes, and celebrated Mac. He is a delightful little boy- Jay and I are constantly marveling at how sweet and smiley and fun he is, and such a boy in so many ways. He loves wrestling, jumping, running around, reading books, coloring, snuggling, giving hugs, talking, and playing with his sister. He hates doctor's visits, hair cuts, fingernail trimming, and most vegetables. Mac is a wonderful gift to our family and we love him to pieces.

Mac and Ruthie


A Fair is a Carnival








"A fair is a carnival. It has nothing to do with life." So says a wise woman when her children whine, "that's not fair!" We went to the fair back in October, and it was lots of fun for me and the kids. ( Jay was in shock over the cost of it all.) Ruthie has been wanting to go since we have been reading Charlotte's Web, and she loved every minute of it. We only saw one pig, and it was a mommy, so we pretended it was Wilbur's mommy. Mac loved the tractor displays and all the animals, including the pig races we got to see. I liked seeing a baby cow nurse on it's mommy, but my favorite was the Ferris wheel and the cotton candy. I love cotton candy. I think Jay did enjoy the corn dog that was the size of my whole arm. And he got to ride the elephant and the bumble bee with Ruthie! It was so fun to see it all from my 3 year old's perspective, and watch her "live a dream" so to speak. So we'll save up for next year. Maybe a home equity loan or something would cover it.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Supervise Me

The Scene: I am on the computer, and Jay and Mac are wrestling, romping on the bed beside me. Ruthie wants to join them so she says:

R: How come Mackie can jump and play on the bed?
J: Because I'm supervising him.
R: I want you to supervise me! (running to the bed and climbing up)
J: Do you know what "supervise" means?
R: It means tackle!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Flashback




Saturday we hosted a 30th birthday party for Jen McShea- 80s themed. Happy Bday JEN!!! It was lots o' fun- and I think Jen won for the outfit category- check out the blue silk high heels and off the shoulder hot pink tunic shirt. Bodacious. Jay got to demonstrate his awesome Nintendo skills- on his original 1989 Nintendo Entertainment System. I guess I won the big hair category, and I am totally ready for big hair to be back because it is really what my hair was born to do. And it took only a couple minutes! You can't tell from the picture, but Jay's hair was spiked to perfection. And Brandon pegged his jeans to perfection. Way to go everyone! (Check out Jen's website when she dccides to post some of her pics, they're probably better.) Love ya, Jen!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ok, let's be positive here

I haven't thrown up in 2 days!
I made it to 10 weeks! Only six or seven more weeks of perpetual stomach virus!
Third pregnancy means I am already showing! Now people will know I'm pregnant!
I get to eat like a hobbit...breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, tea time, lunch, etc.


I am exercising my thankful muscles because they are struggling these days. I know what I should be thinking and saying, but it is certainly a fight against my fleshiness. Sometimes I really just want to wallow in misery. I just need Jesus that's all.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Weddings, Mr. T, and Cheese- How's That for a Hodgepodge?

Lower Alabama Caviar

This recipe is from LuLu's restaurant, the famous one owned by Jimmy Buffet's sister Lucy. I risked my life and went undercover, broke in to the restaurant at night and stole it from their computer. I barely survived because they had this mean Rottweiler that bit a chunk out of my leg, but I guess that satisfied him so he stopped attacking me and I dragged myself out to my car. I had to patch up my leg myself because at a hospital I would only have been questioned and then promptly arrested. Unless I pulled a Jack Bauer and hit my doctor with a syringe full of something that would knock him out and I could steal his clothes and sneak out of the hospital, hijack a Suburban and arrive safely at home in time to feed the kids breakfast. So really, ya'll enjoy. ( I only put that ya'll in there because this is LOWER ALABAMA caviar.) Normally I would say you guys.

This recipe is a crowd pleasah.

Dressing:
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar (this is always a great start in my book)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (that's EVOO for you Rachael Ray fans)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Dip:
4 (15 oz) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1 cup chopped red onion
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup chopped fresh parsley

Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar; cover tightly and shake vigorously to dissolve sugar. Set aside. Rinse and drain peas well, place in large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and dressing. Toss well. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving. Serve with tortilla chips or saltine crackers.

This can also be used as a garnish over everything from broiled fish to enchiladas. (So says the Mobile Press Register Food Guy) I am inclined to believe him.

It is a wonderful, refreshing dip for summertime. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Inside my head

August 1
Naptime.
My mind is racing, cluttered with so many thoughts, wishes, lists, ideas and hopes.
-Sweep the floor, it is bad.
-Those **&%#@ ants are back!
Ok I want to spend time with God. My chair awaits.
-Remember to call Katie.
-Ask Jay, don't forget to ask Jay about Sat. night.
-Diapers; add diapers to the list. And eggs.
-I wonder if Jen emailed me back.
-Laundry in the washer. Need to put it in dryer.
Then the phone rings. 25 minutes gone, chatting with mom. It was needed, but my chair is still empty.
Oh! I need to upload those photos Cary sent from the cruise. It can wait. But I really want to see the pictures!
I sit down, my mind has a hard time slowing down. Have I become ADD? No, I am a mom and wife and daughter and sister-in-law and friend and neighbor and housekeeper and cook and yet I am me. I want to write poetry and paint the chair for the bathroom and hang the old window somewhere ummm, and write a book when I get a chance. And what's for dinner and dang, I forgot to get someone to sub for me in the nursery Sunday! 1st of the month...pay mortgage.

Back to Spurgeon. He challenges me to glean from God's word-to feast on the meaty promises that satisfy-to be quenched and full.

"Our Master's field is very rich; behold the handfuls. See, there they lie before thee, poor timid believer! Gather them up, make them thine own, for Jesus bids thee take them. Be not afraid, only believe! Grasp these sweet promises, thresh them out by meditation and feed on them with joy."

This is my soul's need. Open the word. Open it. My mind has settled. I'm in. I'm there and I'm focused. The monitor speaks. The boy is awake. The boy is ready for his "nack." Ok Lord, we'll try again tomorrow. Oh, but your sweetness did invade my soul and I will greet my son with your kiss.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Swimming Lessons




One of our fun activities this summer has been swim lessons for Ruthie. The lessons were at the Coast Guard Aviation Training Center (ATC) in Mobile, which is conveniently located for us, and fun because of the helicopters and airplanes landing and taking off nearby- a 20 month old boy's dream. (You can see the HH-65 "Dolphin" in the bottom picture.) In retrospect I would have had Mac in lessons too, but I didn't think it would work out to do both of them back to back. Ruthie cried at the beginning of each lesson for the first couple of weeks, but then she really looked forward to it. She loved her teacher Miss Autumn, and she really has become more comfortable in the water. They learned how to safety-slide in, float, "crab crawl" around the edge of the pool, and even backstroke and freestyle swimming. I think she could swim on her own, but she still freaks out about it and starts going under. One-on-one intense lessons would probably do the trick. I'm sad the lessons are over, and we'll definitely do it again next summer.

The Portrait


This is the amazing portrait I commissioned my friend Amy Oaks Bailey to do last year, based on a picture I took, and now it is done and I love it! Check out her blog for her comments on doing the portrait. Amy is so talented, and her heart for the glory of God in what she does is very inspiring to me. Thank you so much Amy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bucket List


Who needs a pool when you have a 5 gallon bucket?

Dream come true


I love hammocks. I have always wanted my very own and now I have one! It was my 30th bday present from Jay, and I am so happy about it. I love the carefree, laidbackness of the simple little woven rope strung between two trees. I like the airiness of it, the instant feeling of relaxation. Hammocks embody relaxation to me. When I saw the three trees in a row in our backyard, when I first looked at the house, it instantly said "hammock location" to me. And in fact, two of the three worked perfectly. One of my roommates when I lived in Prague once told me, "Merrill, you know how to chill." I thought that was hilarious, but it is true, to a fault. So all you tempest-tossed hand-wringers, come on over and we can chill- I'll provide the sweet-tea, and God will make the breeze.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Cruise- Top Ten Reasons to go on one when you turn 30



10. Two words- colon cleanse- oh, and free medical care including cow-sized shots of phenergan, ahhhh, no bueno.
9. Sleeping in -in a stateroom the size of a closet with 3 friends. Roomies again!
8. Laying in the sun on deck as the ship sails through the Gulf.
7. No prices on the dinner menu! Ordering two appetizers!
6. Coming back to the room after dinner to find towel animals and chocolates in the room.
5. Sunset up on deck, wind in your face, delicioso.
4. Snorkeling in the beautiful waters off Cozumel, Mexico, with guides Pancho and Nacho, que?
3. Red jeeps in Mexico are muy bueno.
2. Stamp in passport, lots of memories packed into 3 1/2 days.
1. Unhurried time, conversation, laughter, with four dear friends- priceless.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I hear ya James

Oh, Mexico
It sounds so sweet with the sun sinking low
Moon's so bright like to light up the night
Make everything all right


Oh, Mexico
I never really been but I'd sure like to go
Oh, Mexico
I guess I'll have to go now

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Scene at Chick-Er-Ays (Chic-Fil-A)

We are sitting at a table, eating quietly. There's a mom with three children at the table beside us. Ruthie looks at me, sort of puzzled, exasperated, and says,
"I don't know why I keep looking at that boy!"

He is an adorable boy- probably 7 years old, blond hair, blue eyes, long lashes. I hadn't noticed him. But apparently, my 3 YEAR OLD DID! She was so precious in her innocent confusion.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hummus Among Us

I saw this recipe in my local newspaper and just had to try it because I love hummus. This is a really delicious variation that is wonderful with a Mexican/Southwestern meal.

Black Bean Lime Hummus

2 cloves garlic
2 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3 T lime juice
1/2 t salt
1/2 c olive oil
3/4 c chopped fresh cilantro

Place garlic in a food processor and process until minced, about 10 seconds. Add beans, lime juice, and salt and process into a puree. With processor running, slowly add olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube. Process until mixture thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Add cilantro and pulse approx. 10 seconds. Serve it up, amigos!

The recipe actually says to serve with banana chips(?!) which I don't love, so I used regular tortilla chips.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Ruthie the Rembrandt


Here is one of the finest examples of Ruthie's latest artwork. I love that she can now draw what she imagines, and every day she suprises me with her skill. This picture features Ruthie, the purple figure, with blue eyes, very long hair, and some princess shoes. To her right is Mackiedoo (or Mac as he is commonly known), and they each have a sun over their heads. There's a rainbow on the right, and she wrote her "name" under her self-portrait. It is such a happy little picture!
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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Just (Don't) Do It


(Cheryl, my bro Alan, and me)

So it's Memorial Day weekend and I am registered for the Gate-to-Gate Run on Eglin Air Force Base near Niceville, FL. I planned to walk it with my sister-in-law Cheryl, who is 29 weeks pregnant (due in August). In the frenzy of packing for the weekend and my usual forgetfulness, I forgot to bring my running shoes. This has happened before and I just borrowed a pair of old Nikes Cheryl keeps at my parents' house. They are a little snug, and a little crusty, but I was just going to be walking, so no problem. No problem until about a mile into the walk, as Cheryl and I were approaching the War Veterans' Memorial where all the race participants place a red carnation to honor the fallen. I felt something blow in my right shoe. I looked down and with every step I took, little flakes of styrofoam were trailing behind me. This was not good. Cheryl was laughing, but I could feel further disaster just a few steps away. As I walked, the entire sole of the shoe detached, and the little "gel pad" was hanging by a dry-rotted glue strand. I limped over to the conveniently located fire-truck medics, slightly embarassed, but overwhelmingly amused. Their concerned looks turned to, well, amused looks, and they gave me tape for my detached right shoe, and my left shoe which was headed in the same direction. They had no duct tape, which greatly diminished my confidence in the NWFL fire departments. Duct tape could have kept me going for the whole 8 kilometers. Medical tape lasted about 1/8 of a mile, and the blow out was complete. Cheryl and I left the racecourse, because she had to go to the bathroom anyway. You know I would have continued on my barefeet, shredded by asphalt, determined to finish the race. Like in a movie. But she had to go to the bathroom, and I couldn't abandon her. I thought I could just pretend I had finished but I got called out by an older lady at the port-o-potties, " hey, why aren't you sweating?" (this was about 30 minutes into the race, 100% humidity, pushing 90 degrees). So I told her I am Asian and I don't have many sweat glands. Then came the truth of how my pregnant sister-in-law made me borrow dry-rotted size 6 1/2 Nikes and I walked them to pieces.


relentless broom

Prothalamium

Come, all you who are not satisfied
as ruler in a lone, wallpapered room
full of mute birds, and flowers that falsely bloom,
and closets choked with dreams that long ago died!

Come, let us sweep the old streets-like a bride:
sweep out dead leaves with a relentless broom;
prepare for Spring, as though he were our groom
for whose light footstep eagerly we bide.

We'll sweep out shadows, where the rats long fed;
sweep out our shame-and in its place we'll make
a bower for love, a splendid marriage-bed
fragrant with flowers aquiver for the Spring.
And when he comes, our murdered dreams shall wake;
and when he comes, all the mute birds shall sing.

-Aaron Kramer


This is a wonderful poem full of redemptive imagery and such hope- such hope! I love what reading this does to my soul. (The title means "a song in celebration of a marriage.") Come! Sweep out the shadows!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Check out my Slide Show!

Haircuts Part Deux



My children were getting a bit scruffy so it was time for a trip to a professional. I cut Mac's hair several months ago and sort of just hacked it down a little. Today my professional finally got the job done well, even though Mac was literally kicking and screaming. Ruthie was wonderful, the exact opposite of her brother. I think they both look great- but so grown up! Where have my babies gone?

There is Definitely no Kudzu in Montana

The trip to Montana came about because Jay's work was sending him there. Jay thought it would be a great opportunity to fly me up with him, especially since it was the week after our anniversary. It was really a wonderful trip, and the longest I've been away from the kids since they were both born. It was strange at first, and it took me a day or so to loosen up and sort of detox from mommy mode. Jay and I talked about how it was so strange to be by ourselves, together, for days. We really are rarely together at all, not to mention together by ourselves. Once the kids came along life shifted to family time. We do go on dates, but that's maybe a couple of hours a month, and time advances and you realize you haven't spent quality time together for a long time. So needless to say our six days was refreshing and just fun.



Where the heck we were: We flew in to Missoula, MT, and drove through mountain passes down to the tiny river town of Salmon, Idaho. We didn't do anything in Salmon besides Jay's work, and once that was done we drove up to Kalispell, Montana, which is about 30 minutes from Glacier National Park, our main destination.



Weather or not: It was cold in Montana. They were having the coldest spring in 11 years. It was in the 30s in the daytime our first days, then gradually warmed up to the 50s! It snowed on us several times, and there was significant snowpack up in the mountains. Glacier was mostly closed, which was a big disappointment, even though we figured it would be limited access when we researched the trip. The trails were several feet under snow, and the famous, historic "Going-to-the-Sun Road" was mostly closed to traffic. This road has spectacular views, and killer switchbacks- one lady we talked to had been to Denali and she said the views in Glacier are way more breathtaking. What we could see was amazing- I have missed the sight and smells of mountains. The limited access was really torture; it was sort of like being stuck in an airport in Italy, staring sadly out the windows, dreaming of Gondola rides and red wine. We just kept saying, "we've got to come back...we've got to come back." But I'm very glad I got to have even a small taste of Glacier.



Wildlife count: I wanted to see a marmot, which is my favorite furry woodland creature of the mountains, but alas, they were probably still hibernating. In Glacier we saw a baby chipmunk, various songbirds, fish in glacier-fed Lake McDonald, and a bald eagle. Later, on our drive back to Missoula we stopped at the National Bison Range and saw bison, antelope, white-tail deer (including a Bambi hiding in a thicket), meadowlarks, ducks, and various other birds. The Bison Range was really interesting- it is a big habitat that you drive through and see what you can see, including lots of bison poo. Sort of like Jurassic Park but less Parkey and without man-eating dinos or any dinos actually. I learned some really fun facts about bison. Like the fact that they're not buffalo. Nope. File that away Jeopardy hopefuls. And a bison's tail is his or her warning flag system. If his tail is down, he's a happy bison. If his tail is sort of peaking up a little, he's getting a little ticked off. If his tail is sticking straight up, he is about to rip you limb from limb so run, you idiot! Why are you standing outside your motor vehicle? Run!



Food- we ate at some great little local places, any of which I recommend. Moose's Saloon in Kalispell is really great- it's a bar basically, sorry, a saloon with those swinging doors that you walk in and the tinkly piano stops, and everyone stares, and someone tips his hat and says "you're not from around here are ya?" The floors are covered in sawdust, and the walls are marked and carved by anyone and everyone, plus they serve great pizza, and a local beer, Moose Drool. It is a dark, malty beer that I'd give 2 stars on my new Merrill's Beer Rating Scale of America and Beyond (the cure for what ale's you). We also ate at a steak house that served spaghetti with their steaks. Weird. The steaks were good eats, but not so the spaghetti. The bacon in Montana is thick cut, by the way, in case you desire a BLT while there. It will break your jaw, so be careful. Jay's new obsession: Huckleberry pies and cobblers. His fave was a huckleberry-peach pie. They like huckleberries out there in Montana.



Things we should have done while there- visit LoLo Hot Springs. I just like to say LoLo. I've always wanted to go soak in a hot spring, but one that is out in the woods, not a pool that's sourced by a hot spring. So we opted out. We also should have eaten at Taco John's- apparently Montana's hottest taco fast food place.



Favorite new friend: Vicki, our friendly GPS lady in our rental car (we named her because we became so close). She really helped us out, but she did get a little pushy sometimes, even obsessive, asking us to "please return to the highlighted route" over and over again when we really did know where we were going. Jay and I thought it might help if she knew our names and if she cussed sometimes. Then we would have listened.





Road Tripping Fun: I already mentioned the National Bison Range, which was an unexpected treat, an unplanned stop on our road trippinness. Another place we visited that was unplanned and that I absolutely loved was the tiny town called Essex, Montana, home of the Isaak Walton Inn. This little town borders Glacier, and it is actually a railroad depot and a stop on the Amtrak line. The Inn was built in 1939, and has a wonderful cafe with delicious food, including Huckleberry Cobbler. I loved this place because of the history of the railroads, and the general quaintness of it all. They have several cabooses that they have turned into snug little cabins for guests, which is a clever use of the old train cars, I think. We also stopped at the Hungry Horse Dam, which is on the way up to Glacier. It was alot of dam fun. It was on a Saturday so everything was closed which was too dam bad. We couldn't get any dam souvenirs. Dam.

Wow, I said alot, but there was alot to be said. The trip was very good. I now declare Montana as a delightful place to visit if you ever get the chance. (For those of you don't habla, Montana is Spanish for Mountain.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

There is no Kudzu in Montana

Well, race fans, I am finally over my springtime maladies- the final healing came on a trip to Montana! Ahhh, Rocky Mountain high! And then surgery. Last Friday I had tubes put in both of my malfunctioning ears. I know what everyone is thinking. Tubes? How old is Merrill now? Don't 2 year olds get tubes? Yes. I was waiting to be wheeled in to surgery and there were two small children waiting on either side of me. Little Bobby, Little Timmy, their mommys, and me and my mommy. (Jay claims he couldn't take off work for my surgery. Or maybe he was trying to make me feel younger with my 30th birthday swiftly approaching.) We watched Diego: Animal Rescuer together. We sang the theme song together. At least we can all hear better now. But really, my problems since February have been from some unknown allergy (the tests for normal stuff came back negative), or so my ENT says. I have never experienced anything this long or miserable. Congestion, Coughing, Bronchitis, Hearing Loss, Torn Intercostal Muscle from Coughing, Three rounds of Antibiotics, Bottles and Bottles of Medicines, Steroid shots, X-Rays and Headaches. What a saga. I really went through some low, low days. In general I don't like taking medicine, and I have really taken for granted the fact that I have always had short illnesses and colds. A week, maybe, and I bounce back. This time there was no bouncing. Besides bouncing back to the doctor because I was worse. I come out of this so thankful for how God made our bodies to heal, and how he has given our generation great medical knowledge to fight things that need fighting. I am also thankful that my only symptom from antibiotic withdrawal was a rash, and it wasn't even itchy.

One thing that made me laugh during all this, and on the day when laughing was excruciating due to my torn muscle- you know all the warning labels and side-effect labels the pharmacy slaps on prescriptions? I was prescribed some steroids and Jay and I were joking about how it would make me really strong for a couple days-. We thought the sticker they could stick on there could say: "may cause super-human strength."

In other news, all those who eagerly read about the Cimarron Club closing its doors....the Cimarron was torn down a couple weeks ago. Bulldozed- and I got to see part of it in progress. I was as excited as my children, who are huge bulldozer fans. So I guess Old Shell and Cody is one step closer to a Walgreens or a Baptist church. They also tore down that seafood shop beside the Cimarron that had been overtaken by Kudzu approximately 4.5 years ago. Kudzu is sort of like denial, it just covers stuff up so you can ignore it without really getting rid of it.

There is no kudzu in Montana. (This is my segue to the trip to Montana, about which I will write in the days to follow.)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The excuse

I have been sick for a long time. I am getting better.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Eat your heart out, Aunt Jemima!




So the toddler love-affair with the Alaga (Alabama-made syrup brand) syrup bear continues from sibling to sibling. The first two pictures are Ruthie at 13 months, lovin the bear. The second two are little Mac, 15 months old, lovin the bear. How sweet!
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