Sunday, October 18, 2009

Granpa Foote's "Funeral"

We enjoyed yet another weekend in Duncan, this time, for Grandpa Foote's funeral*. We stayed with my mom and dad and brought Zorro along, so he could meet his cousins (Seth and Ryan's puppies) and frolic in the countryside. We arrived late Friday and left Sunday early in the morning, but it sure was nice to see so many cousins, aunts and uncles. I took pictures for the family in the park in Duncan Saturday morning right before the funeral. As usual, they were a bit chaotic, only the photographer (me) and mom and dad were on time. Alas, I think we got some cute shots of each family individually and it was far less stressful than last year. Perhaps that is lent to the fact that I am not a 2-month post partum biotch? (I wasn't that bad, was I?) Maybe it's because although late, everyone arrived in a reasonable time frame and we were able to make use of better light. If you want to see more pics, go to my facebook. Blogger takes 10 years to upload more than 3 pictures. Ugh.
Grandpa Foote decided that people do things backwards. They die first, then have all of the family gather to celebrate their life and say all of the nicest things about them. Never one to let an idea on how to improve the status quo pass him by, he requested to have his funeral for his 80th birthday (heck, isn't that old enough?) in lieu of a funeral when he dies. This is a dear picture to me. It's my Grandpa Foote leaving me my inheritance. Right after he spoke at his funeral. I went up and asked, "Since we're having your funeral and all already, why not fork over my inheritance?" To which he promptly replied, "I've got it right here in my wallet." And pulled out a $1 bill. I sometimes joke when I hear of friends/acquaintances who have rich family that leave them $ or give them a head start in life, "Where's my rich grandpa?!"
He leaves me and his blessed posterity so much more than money. The only time that I got emotional at his "services" was when he stood up and spoke and asked us to simplify our lives and enjoy our time with our loved ones. It really hit me what a wonderful legacy he has blessed me with and how much he's taught my mom and my siblings over the years of his example.
Part of the reason he doesn't have a lot of money is because he is the least materialistic person that I know. Relationships, love, work and doing what is right are the only things that matter to him. He could live in a tent (some places he's lived would only count as glorified tents, anyway), wear the same clothes and shoes forever, and never own a thing of worth, and he is still the most rich person I think I've ever met. He loves his wife (crazy as she has become in her old age) and he is good to his kids. He has a sarcastic sense of humor and likes to tease, but is nothing but a giant softy, gentle and kind. My mom said he never raised his voice, and only spank her once that she recalls, and that because she talked back to his wife. He is truly a mathematical genius, but as simple as can be. I remember him spending an entire week of my Christmas break tutoring me in math so I could pass Algebra and move on the next semester. He lived in a double wide trailer for as long as I knew him, but his warmth and enjoyment with his family made it a castle. I love him so much and value his lesson of simplicity and humility, being focused on what matters more than I could ever appreciate my "rich grandpa". And that's saying a lot.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Marry Jordan Photography

So my cute friend, Marry Jordan just revamped her photography blog and updated her phot gallery. I am so proud of her and her creativity. Check it out!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Great Frozen Yogurt Heist

Embarrassing as this story is to tell, it must be told. Last week, I was walking into Cosmoprof (a beauty supply) just as a good friend of mine... let's call her Brittney J. to protect her identity. No, no that's too obvious, I'll call her B. Jones. Anyway, bumping into each other, we chatted and found out that we were both planning on going to Mesa Frozen Yogurt next door. She was meeting friends, I was just planning on getting a fix. So we went together. Met her friends (they were lovely) and saw that the table behind them had- get this, not one, but two perfect little cups of frozen yogurt, melting onto the table (toppings and all). B. Jones jokingly asks, "Hey- did you get these for us?" to which the friends reply, "No." "Sweet," I say, "It must have been the Three Nephites doing a good deed for us."

Never one to let perfectly delicious frozen yogurt go to waste, nor an opportunity to save a few dollars, I looked at B. Jones, she looked back at me, and we knew it was probably fate, coming together in our best interest. Before indulging, we asked the only girl working that afternoon, if she happened to know who these yogurts belonged to. "Nope, they must have forgotten them, because I haven't seen them". Sweet. Literally. So taking a big bite and licking the melted sides of the yogurt, another, more informed employee appears. "What are you doing?" She asks. "They just went to the bathroom a few minutes ago-" before she could even finish, B. Jones and I freeze, mortified at what we have just done, even more mortified that we were caught, and I say, "Quick, make the exact same ones, quick, right now-" producing the necessary money to pay and trying to speed the girl up. (where was she when we were asking, anyway?!) But before I could finish my sentence, "They" appeared. A lovely mom and her approximately 4 year old son, leaving the bathroom at the back of the store, looking for their dessert. "Oh, my" was all that the mom said, obviously baffled about what she walked out to find (2 grown women, stealing her and her son's yogurt). The boy, looked confused, hurt. I quickly lied, (a practice I abhor and rarely, if ever, engage in. But it seemed the only fitting solution) "Oh, well, we, um, just came here, to, um, meet friends and we, um, thought that they had, bought this for us, so we started eating it and before we knew it the lady said it was yours and we didn't realize til I took a big bite and we're so sorry, and, um, here, we bought you the exact same kind and um, here."

At that, we finished our yogurts (mint with oreos and chocolate with peanut butter cups) and tried not to die of embarrassment/laughter/who-the-heck-do-we-think-we-are?!

All we both really wanted was butterbrickle. Serves us right.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Let's all be honest here, I suffer from an acute case of "overscheduleitis". A side affect of which is "usuallyrunsatadbitlateitis". I've been trying since Kindergarten to overcome this terrible disease with it's accompanying undesirable symptoms. I am unwilling to cut things out of my schedule unless I absolutely have to, and I need approx. 8 hours of sleep at night. So 24-8= an insufficient 16 waking hours with which to exercises, do hair, clean house, love on Mooster, mow the yard, cook delicious food and eat it sitting down after having chewed each bite 20 times, play with friends, grocery shop, read scriptures, pray, shower, do hair (yeah, right) and makeup, etc... It doesn't sound like much, really, but there always seems to be extra activities crammed in there. Anyway, I keep thinking, "if only I only needed 6 hours of sleep at night, then I'd be that person who is always early (Butch Haught)"

And who hasn't set their clock for a few minutes faster than the actual time? Please tell me I'm not the only pathetic one. I recently set up an alarm clock in my attempt to get everything done and not be too rushed. It's helping. and I've had lots of good friends tell me, with love, some suggestions on how to become more prompt. This morning, Merrick woke up what seemed to be really early. After letting him cry long enough to really wake me up, I glanced at my alarm clock to see that it was 7:15, which is pretty average with him. Rubbing my eyes, I went and brought him to bed with me to nurse him. After which, we got dressed for a morning jog (it's hot, but not too hot anymore) and got breakfast. I went up stairs about 8 to see Eddy with the blanket over his head, obviously not wanting to get up yet. He usually leaves by 7:30, so I woke him up again and told him he was being a bum and that it was 8:00 already. To which he replies, "We've been tricked." Producing his cel phone with the correct time of 6:55 am, he and I realized that Merrick, who loves buttons on electronics, must have done his part to get me up and at 'em and on time. Thanks to him, I am feeling very accomplished, albeit a little more tired than usual today.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Water+Laptop=No Blog Posts

Lest any of you think I have lost my zest for documenting our lives of wonder, allow me to explain where my laptop has been. Tiffani was over at my house and wanted to use it for some reason. Brinton (ever helpful and sweet) brought her a drink of water while she was using it. He must have thought that the laptop was thirsty, too, because he spilled water all over the keyboard. The "enter" key and several others no longer work, and there's been some other problems now. So Tif is backing up all of our files and sending it to the manufacturer to get checked out. Looks like I just may have a new computer soon.

Other events of noteworthiness: Merrick has begun to crawl. He's been pretending to for almost 2 months now. You know, the little "rock, rock, one step, catapult myself forward"? Well that's what he'd been doing for quite some time. Then, on his 8 month anniversary of being out of my womb, he really sealed the deal. We were at the swimming pool with the cousins and Tif brought some sugar cookies that the kids had made. Merrick reaches for anything and shoves it into his mouth. We're at that phase. Anyway, I moved the cookies a good 5-6 feet away on the ground-far enough away to be out of his "rock, rock, catapult myself forward" reach. Then, without warning, he took off like a mad man.

Tell me something. What is it about sugar that is so enticing?Just when I'm beginning to feel guilt for hardly denying myself of my sugary pleasures, I realize that there is something programmed into us as my son (who's never had cookies before) made a b-line for the goods. It's innate. We know that the bad stuff simply tastes better. I am willing to bet that if I had placed a plate of carrot sticks (brightly colored, attractive shape) and a plate of sugar cookies (frosted plain white) that Merrick and just about any other infant would go in the direction of the cookies. Has research been done on this most interesting pshycological phenomena? It's like we're born with this insatiable desire for that which is not the best for us. Somone who's smarter than me, please enlighten me.

Merrick also has yet to sleep through the night. I mean really sleep through the night. The best he's given me is from 8pm-6am and that miracle has only occured maybe 5 times in his whole 8 months. I must admit I'm getting a little sleep deprived. I'm hoping the next baby is a good sleeper. If not, I'm hiring someone to be my night nanny once a week. I'm absolutely serious.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Drinking Milk Like a Real Man

Merrick is a great eater. From the get go, we were a fabulous breast feeding team. He had to take a bottle right away because he was a little early and had low blood sugar. I worried that it would affect our goal to breastfeed predominately, but it was no problemo. He switches from one to the other very well, takes formula whenever Auntie Tiffani watches him, and overall is an eating machine. Recently, I was in a hurry and needed him to take a bottle while I finished something up to hold him over til I could feed him. I realized he didn't know how to hold his own bottle yet (something a kid his age should probably know how to do). So I put it in his hands and tried to show him how to hold it up. Every time I gave it to him, he almost held it up high enough. So I'd help him lift it up a little bit. Every time I did that, he'd let go all together and let me do it. Sigh. I was trying to save time here. Alas, I needed him to figure it out. So I lifted it up for him, put his hands on it, and turned to finish the task at hand. I turned around and found that he had his own way of doing things... a much more efficient, simple and hands-free way of doing things. Very innovative.

Sprinkler Surprise!

I love to garden and be outside. Most mornings, I take Merrick with me to pull weeds, talk to my gorgeous grapes on the grapevine, check on Charlotte (our beloved Tortoise) to say "hello", look at the hibiscus opening from the night before, and enjoy nature. A few weeks ago, I went to make sure everything was being watered evenly and found some places looking too dry. So I left Merrick to entertain himself on the grass (a baby who can sit up is my kind of baby!) while I went around the corner to check the drip system's timer box. There are 2 settings for our drip system. One is for the lawn, the other for the plants around the perimeter. I have them labeled "grass" and "plants", respectively. I switched the dial over to "plants", set it for manual timer and turned it on for 10 minutes to give me time to tinker with the valves and make sure water was coming from each spigot. I thought I heard something strange as I came back around the "yard" side of the house. What I saw was this: A very good natured baby boy, smiling in all his soaking-wet glory. I was so surprised by the sight, and even more so that he wasn't crying or upset. I think it's shocking to be assaulted by cold water without warning, even as a grown up who understands that it's not harmful. I think I'm safe to say most babies would have been scared or shocked or something?
Nope, not Mild-Natured Merrick. He just splashed around in it while I ran upstairs to grab my camera, laughing all the while. He loves the water. And apparently he loves surprises, too.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I guess I am pretty funny after all...

I've been told that I'm pretty funny before. I like to catch people off guard, make them feel a little uncomfortable, compel them to think. And if they happen to laugh while I'm at it, even better. Well, tonight I had Merrick in stitches. We've made him giggle before, laugh a little with encouragement. But this was full blown. It's the darnedest thing when your offspring develop their little personalities. In any age-specific material about Merricks development, I'm reading that around this age is when children develop their unique sense of humor and more personality. Well, tonight, it happened. I usually flirt with him (and anything/anyone in my general vicinity) and have fun while we do our day to day things. As I fed him his yams I took a bite to see what it tasted like (I just made bunches of baby food for him and wanted to know if I was as good at making baby food as I am at big people food. Dang I'm good). And true to my fashion, I made a scene out of it. I pretend like I was gobbling it up and making funny noises as I did so. Unexpectedly, something magical happened. Merrick went crazy! He thinks I'm hysterical! I have to admit, I am quite a riot, but his response was way over the top. He's officially the perfect child. He cuddles, he's happy, he smiles all of the time, he looks just like his gorgeous father, he loves me, and he thinks I'm hilarious. We had so much fun just gobbling up our food and making noises (He's well on his way to mastering my social graces, Emily Post help him) that he almost couldn't even swallow his food. I was afraid he was going to aspirate yams. And like it. Alas, he did swallow some of it before shooting it out of his nostrils. Video to come if I can figure it out.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Merrilee Bear, Mooster the Rooster, Moo Moo, Mer...

What is not to love? This outfit was thoughtfully purchased by my stylish friend, Christie Turley to fit him in the winter of '09. He appears to be quite tall, so we're so glad he got some good use of it in the random cool weeks of spring. I'm hoping we can still fit him into the overalls in the fall.

This picture reminds me of a campaign photo for Mayor or something. I can just see it now, "Mer bear for Mayor". Or a realtor headshot. Hehe.
One of my favorite things is that Merrick already has crow's feet from smiling so much.
A little shot into his private life and his cute little cloth diaper.

In addition to some quick picture updates, here's a little sneak peak into Merrick's life. He's got a tooth. And I officially have a nipple piercing. No ring yet, still on the hunt. And as we speak (at 3:45 am) he's busy talking to himself in his bedroom. He talks a lot. Usually in a high pitched shriek. And I'm not refering to a cry. He really has this air-being-let-out-of-a-baloon voice he really likes to do. And he especially does that when he's tired. I'll be driving along listening to the shriek and chatter, then BAM. Asleep. And he makes a cute face when he's trying to immitate big people talking that resembles a frown. Just trying to figure out how the facial muscles work. He likes "p" and "b" and "d" sounds. And sticking his tongue out and blowing to make noises. He also likes to eat his feet and stick them in his mouth, which is very common, but he takes it a step further by latching on to his big toe and actually sucking his "thumb" toe. Cute? Something like that. He sits up so well by himself (I realized a few weeks ago that kids his age should be doing that, so I tried and within a few times, he did. I guess I should keep up on stuff like that?) One of my not so favorite things is the way he soothes when nursing or when I'm holding him and he's tired. He CLAWS my arm skin, right by my bicep. And PINCHES tight. No matter how short I cut his nails, I'm getting pinched. Over and over. It looks like I am a cutter. Nope, just Mooster.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sneak Peek of Lily Mae

I borrowed my adorable cousin, Lily, to take a few fun pictures of to get to know my camera better. She is a total character, lots of spunk, and very fun! I haven't seen Bryndee (her wonderful mother and most handy photo assistant on the planet) since, so I'm posting a few unretouched just so she (and the family who cares) can sneek a peek. Thanks Bryn!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


This item is no longer available for sale. She decided to go back to UT with her dad. She is missed by Merrick, Eddy and I.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Teenager for Sale-$1 OBO

As mentioned earlier, we blessed Merrick Thanksgiving weekend so that all of our family could be in town. While they (all 17!) were here, my niece, Kayla and I hit it off and we offered her a place to stay to get away from UT and to have a fresh start in a sunny new place. Lots more goes into that, of course, but that's it in a nutshell.

Let me tell you a little bit about her. She is very smart. Gorgeous, a talented singer, and an excellent writer of poetry and lyrics. She's funny, fun, great with her hair and makeup, takes fabulous pictures, makes friends very quickly, and has more common sense in certain areas than people twice her age. She is also very helpful around the house, and good at communicating. Oh, and Merrick LOVES her. But there is one critical detail in this whole story. She's also 17. Which, loosely translated, means that all of these qualities that I adore and love about her are here and then gone in a flash. Then back again. Sigh.

For those of you who are considering adopting a teenager any time soon, allow me to warn you-it's not for the faint of heart. Especially when you've just given birth to your first angelic child. Even more of a risk when you're married to the kindest, most loving and gentle man on the planet who happens to be very confrontation averse. I only recommend taking one on if you are mentally, financially and maritally stable. And you are as tough as nails and okay with establishing and enforcing tough boundaries. And you are okay with sleepless nights and lots of standing your ground. And encouraging your husband to do the same. And encouraging him again and again until you could scream, cry and/or run away. It is also advisable that you be certified in parent/child relationships and communication and trained to pick up on subtle cues and hints when something might be amiss. Perhaps someone who is a tracker or who has a background in private investigation is best. Some other things to consider beforehand is how much you enjoy, hmmm, shall we say "spontaneity" in certain, ummm, areas, if you catch my drift. Or how seriously you take having the ability to go where ever you want when ever you want without worrying that you'll come home to a wild party. In addition a phone plan with unlimited texting is required. Before you decide to commit, please, borrow my teenager and I'll waive the $1 fee.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

How Could I Resists?!

Kylynn and Brinton are some of the best big cousins Merrick could ask for. They help babysit him on Fridays while I'm at Tantrum working. No sooner have I brought him inside in his stroller and they're climbing into it, tickling him, playing peek a boo and laughing. He loves to see them and his face lights up. I decided to take them out to play at the park one day and get a few pictures of them with thier snot noses, messed up nap hair and food/marker/who knows what on thier faces.
Here Ky is staring at her crazy brother. They are so good together and have so much fun. Mrs. Kylynn. She is such a gorgeous girl. She's mostly sweet and she loves her little cousin, Merrick. She is quite the little ham and is lots of fun to be around.
Brinton has a great new abiltiy- He can WINK! One day he got really excited because Merrick accidentally winked. He ran up to us and said, "Look, Merrick can wink, like me!"

I love this guy!
Oh, Brinton and his cars. He loves cars. He'll turn anything he finds into a car. He makes up stories about cars.


Running Club International, 4 members and counting, took place in our "team's" very first triathlon. We started running just before Christmas and Rachelle and Kira completed their very first triathlon ever. It was the UCSD Tritonman on February 21. I was so proud. A beaming president, if you will. (I am the pres. and founder :) Tiffani couldn't make it out, but we were joined by Rachelle's friend, Jamie. We stayed at the Lindbloms beach condo in La Jolla. We had so much fun doing the race, even though I almost backed out because of a wicked cold. Oh, not to mention the FREEZING water. The race was at Fiesta Island, right by Sea World.Team R.C.I.
Mooster's first trip to the beach. He loves the water and the outdoors. Good kid, isn't he. He is so easy to travel with, so happy, so easy going and so much fun. We're a little bit in love.
Merbear and Eddy at the beach. Eddy was so excited and proud to introduce our little "Ruler of the sea" to the ocean for the first time. I think it went well. He should be paddling waves sooner than later. Here are the participants, or shall we say, triathletes, with their children. Merrick turned 5 months old that day. I was glad that my body let me do a little race so quickly after he was born. Half Iron Man? Maybe next month. I am so glad that we got this little group of buddies together. I love the girls that I run and work out with. I think that we are good for eachother and it's so much more fun to set goals and accomplish them with great friends!

Para Mis Padres

I've always thought it was cool that my parent's birthdays were 2 years and 1 day apart. My dad's April 1 (55) and my mom is April 2 (53). Don't they look great?
My dad, the genius. He can take anything, horrific as it may be, and turn it into a beautiful house. My mom, the saint. She can take anyone, horrific as they may be, and love them and turn them into a beautiful person. I love them both more than I can express, I am grateful to them for loving me and giving me a fighting chance at surviving this life and it's experiences, and I am so glad that they were born and that they decided to get married and stay that way. The genius (for marrying my mom) and the saint (for staying married to my dad ;) They're both my heroes and I hope to be a little bit like them when I'm older (except for with more hair than my dad, and better eyesight than my mom).

Monday, March 23, 2009


Sometimes there are moments, or days or weeks, even months when I feel really grateful. Usually these times come after struggle, hardship, tragedy and triumphs happen in my life and in the lives of friends and family. Ever since I heard about my brother's best friend, Blue Haught, and his wife, Kelly, loosing their precious little baby Porter Jackson right before his birth, just 2 weeks before I had Merrick, I have been feeling that way. Then on October 26, 2008, when I found out that my old buddy from Heritage Academy (waaaay back when it was at the Synagogue), Police Officer Shane Figueroa, was killed by a drunk driver while responding to a shots fired call. He and I were stand buddies from 6th-8th grade. We played pranks on each other and had fun with our little Jr. High friends. He went on a mission to Venezuela, and we reconnected at CGCC right before He met his wife. He married a sweet girl, named Melisha Pew, nearly 2 years before. They welcomed their first baby, a little girl named Kenzlie, 3 months earlier. Then his earthly experiences were cut short. Then I really felt reflective, sorrowed, and grateful. I have since made a great new friend, my new assistant, Ashley Husten, at Tantrum. She had an angel, Miles, born to her after miraculously keeping him well inside of her for 7 whole weeks after her water broke early at 19 weeks. He had too many odds against him and blessed them for only 2 short days before going back into the loving arms of his Heavenly Father again. She's been brave and upbeat since I met her almost 2 months ago, in facing this tragic challenge in her life. Just a month ago, I found out that my friend's brother, who I knew from when his twin brother and my friend Shelley were dating and engaged, lost his little boy while he was sleeping. He is just 2 months younger than Merrick. His name is Gunner Goodman. Now he gets to be with his loving Heavenly Father again. And even still, there are so many others who's pain and struggles are silent and covert, who deal with all sorts of pain each day. For all of these courageous, faithful, inspiring people, I mourn. My heart aches and I am nearly preoccupied with thoughts of concern, care, and love for them. Eddy and I pray every day for them by name that miracles and healing will fill there lives and help them find peace. Then we pray that we can become better parents, spouses, children, and friends. That we can be better servants of God and help bring peace and comfort to his children who suffer in any way. We pray for help in living in such a way that if we are called to face any similar trials, we will be strengthened enough to endure them so well as those we have learned from. That we can live each blessed moment to the fullest and suck the marrow of out the life that we are gifted with. We realize that health is a gift. Breath is a gift, as are family and friends. And the biggest gift of all is knowing that God lives and that he has a miraculous plan, that he is mindful and merciful, and that his perfect Son descended below all of these things to bring us closer to our Father, who understands what it is like to loose someone that is loved, to watch him suffer and most importantly to watch him raise triumphant from the grave, having conquered sin and pain. And that is why we are here, to learn to be like him, to trust him, and to follow his perfect path.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Four Months Old and Some Firsts

Oh, this was one of the best days of our lives. I needed to run to Tiffani's, but we had sold our BMW and had lent a friend our Corolla, so we were down to just the Pilot and I needed a set of wheels. So I guessed that if I strapped him in tight enough, he should be safe for the short ride to Tif's house. I found out she was at the park with Moms Club, so I tracked her down there. He loved it. Not only was he fine for this, his inaugural bike ride, but he was thrilled. Tiffani flipped out as soon as she saw him in his bike seat. She squeals in pitches only known to dolphins and whales when she sees him, anyway. But this time she had a real fit. She couldn't believe how cute and big and grown up he looks in his bike seat. Now we go on rides with the kids all of the time. Some days Merrick and I are out on our bike several times a day. After all, walking is so pase.
I don't even know who this handsome guy is. He looks like such a grown up eating his rice cereal for the very first time. He took one look at the green baby spoon as it was being placed in his mouth, tried to latch on to it, sucked some cereal off, tongue not sure how to swallow it and spit most of it out and looked up at the spoon with this look on his face saying, "That is the strangest nipple I have ever seen or tasted. Strangest." Fast forward a month now, and he's having cereal 3 times a day at breakfast, lunch and dinner and he's even started to try some squash and yams. He's a good eater.

Merrick and Jeremiah sharing blocks. Merrick thought Jeremiah was so cool and such a big boy. He could reach for things and grab them. Advanced, I know.

Our very first trip to library story time. He was really facinated by the big parachute. He also loved spending time with Jeremiah Thatcher.

His first time in his bumbo. And his first time wearing the infamous "K Swiss". Eddy was wearing K Swiss the first time I met him. I told him later that this fact really threw me off. I never knew a guy who wore K Swiss shoes. I'm pretty sure I'd only seen 14 year old girls from the Jr. High step team wear them. But they were his fave. I asked him to tell me who else besides him and 14 year old black girls wear K Swiss. In defense, he pointed to someone who happened to be passing at just that moment-before he even looked to see that she fit my exact discription. So I always give him a hard time about that. When I first found out we were going to have Peanut, I bought these before I had to leave town for a confrence for work and left them on our bed with a note. He thought it was cool.

His gorgeous, contagious smile. He melts my heart all of the time.

He almost smiles too much to even suck his thumb. Everywhere I go people ask me, "Does he always smile this much???" or, "Is he always this happy?!" Yes. And I love him for it.

I realize that this picture is out of focus, but I just love the face he's making here. The drool, those eyes, everything.

This is not a scowl. It's more an advanced emotion comming from a 4 month old. I imagine, "Mom, um, do you realize I'm only in my diaper on the front lawn, by chance? Take the picture, already!"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Merrick-ristmas! 2008

My mom and dad with Santas little helper. They promised that Santa would come and visit me if I stayed Christmas night at thier house. And he DID! He brought me a Melissa and Doug musical set. I love Melissa and Doug's toys. They're wooden, old fashioned, and awesome. I asked if it was from Santa to Merrick. My mom smiled and reassured me that, although it says for ages 3+, 25 is still under that umbrella. I love my parents so much and was so glad that, even if we couldn't have Eddy around for Christmas, we had them! It even snowed on our last morning there before we headed back to the valley.

Every year, my aunt and uncle, Mariann and Kevin Pike host a Christmas get together. Everyone brings goodies to share, we play games, and gather around the piano to sing Christmas songs and party. I was excited to bring Merrick along as my hot date, and to have the chance to see Michayle and Ginny there, too. We decided to bring a delicious veggie tray to offset the Christmas junk food usually found (and usually too tempting to resist). I went with Tiffani and Chad and they helped me bring Merrick in. Tiffani followed behind with my veggie tray. All I heard was screaming and rushed in to see who dropped my kid. To my joy, he had be set down safely. It was the veggie tray that didn't have such a soft landing. It looked like an explosion of veggies and dip, and Merrick was the innocent bystander who was caught in the blast. He smiled all the while and enjoyed watching us clean up the aftermath.

I love this picture of Mooster. He looks like a little elf all dressed in green. He's getting ready for one of our morning walks that he loves so much.
Here we are right before Eddy was leaving for his vacation without us. He really wanted to buy me a ticket to go with them, and I was tempted. But for the same price of 1 ticket, we both could go in the spring... plus it would be fun for them to have the guys only trip. I reassured him that Merrick would never know that he abandoned us for his first Christmas. Except he will now that I've preserved that information for posterity on the family blog. But we have the token shot in front of the Christmas tree before Eddy found himself here:

Being the generous wife that I am, here is how my lovely husband spent Christmas this year, on the beach, in Puerto Rico. His brother, Sean and his wife, Heather (yes, the other Heather Torriente) moved there earlier this year. Sean works as a federal prosecutor. They live right by the beach and Eddy misses him so much. Not to mention the fact that he is increidibly jealous of the fact that his brother surfs nearly every day of the week. After finding out that my father in law was going for Christmas by himself (it was his only time off of work to be able to go), I decided to surprise Eddy with a trip, too. They had so much fun, were shown great hospitality by the Torrientes and he loved every second of it. We missed him so much at home, but I was busy keeping company with family and friends for the week he was gone.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Family Pictures from Hell

With all of the family here on Thanksgiving weekend, my mom decided it would be the perfect time for our annual family picture. Is there ever really a perfect time for a family picture? Let's be honest, NO. If your family is anything like mine, pictures usually turn out to be a true test in marital strength, family committment, and the realiability of waterproof mascara. Yikes. My earliest memory of family pictures looks something like this: Mom yelling at everyone to hurry and get ready, Mom yelling at dad for getting home late, being stinky, unshaved and not having time to shower and shave before we leave, Dad swearing at all of us because we're not ready and mom's stressed out at him, so he's got to kick the dog, so to speak. Then there's the frantic drive to Updike or Olan Mills studios, getting pulled over on the way for speeding, (more swearing, more yelling, crying ensues) dad takes a breathilizer and walks in a straight line to verify that he's indeed sober, getting out of a ticket. Then driving even more frantically (this time with mom swearing under her breath and nagging my dad about being a bad driver the whole time). Once we get to the studio (sigh) I'm in the car on the floor of the passenger side getting my bangs teased up to high heavens and hairsprayed once again, and final touches of lip gloss and blush (a la Jon Benet Ramsey) because I didn't put enough on (I was only 4 or 5)... Once inside the studio, Tiffani starts crying because she thinks dad and Ryan are going to hell for swearing and the commotion is proving to be just too much. The picture people look at us and realize that we are not going to be worth thier money and are stressed out because we're late. Rush into the studio, mom takes off her glasses and fakes a great smile, dad's face looks more like a grimace and all of us kids are trying to smile through tears. Or yells. Or whatever. And this barely scratches the surface. Not to mention the RIDICULOUS matching outfits. One year mom borrowed the boys choir outfits (tuxedo shirts, red bow ties and cummerbunds all it tow) and made my dad wear one and we were in dresses to match.

Then there was the year Seth got back from his mission and he complained that he never got to choose outfits, so we wore camo and green and had our shot guns in the picture (Eddy couldn't believe my mom went for that one)

There was the infamous year of all jean (circa 1995) and the bad hairdos,
dad's beard and actually having hair, mom when she had the q-tip hairdo,

and Seth's horrific glasses.

And why stop there? Lest we forget going from Contempo Portraits to Kiddie Kandids at the mall, because they were having a special (I can't blame you mom, it was worth a shot) and having the 15-year-old "photographer" take our pictures. Mom kept reiterating that she wanted it taken from the bust up, to fit the years previous. She said it so many times, in fact, that we all were telling her to please stop already, the kid heard you! Only to come back and review the pictures an hour later to find that they were mostly full body shots. Maybe Jose didn't speak English very well after all. Mom was so upset! So he went and got his "manager", Paco, who was maybe 16 1/2. He came and offered to redo all of the pictures for free, and by this time we were all beyond tired of the family picture day and the kids were in melt down mode. Not to mention the grand kids ;) Aye de mi!
Take a gander at the old gallery and enjoy. Most of these details are accurate, but all probably happened at different times throughout the years. Not all at once. Fast forward to now and mom's calling the individual married families and telling Seth and Claudia that pictures are at 5pm, the rest of us that they're at 5:30 and making the actual appointment for 6pm to ensure that we'll all be there. She's gotten smart in her old age. Additionally, she usually makes me take the whole day off of work to make her look beautiful and to prevent me from being stuck late at work, as usual. Mom and dad have also decided to have a promising reward at the end of the torture, family dinner at a nice restaurant, which is a nice sacrifice from them to all of us. A peace offering, if you will. Truly, family pictures are fun to look at, and even when mom and dad were broke (oh wait- they always have been), mom makes it a priority to have family pictures taken around Christmas of each year. It's actually a great tradition and so fun to look back at all of the changes we've made and additions to our family. This year, I told mom, NO MORE CHEESY STUDIO PICS! I really wanted to pay a great pro to come out and do them for a Christmas present for her. But too much $$$. So I decided, crap, I have a great camera, a decent eye and more artistic ability in my little pinkie than Paco and Jose. We planned on doing them just before sunset on Friday after Thanksgiving at Discovery Park by our house. I made sure to tell everyone to be there an hour before sunset so we could be there on time, arranged and taking pictures by the beautiful sun was descending. I got a call from Seth that he was still in Phx replacing the carpet in his condo, Tiffani and Chad were no where to be found, Jenyce was frazzled because she was watching their kids and hers and Ryan was still at work, too and no one was ready. And this was all at the time we were supposed to be at the park. UGH! Needless to say I was annoyed because we only had the next morning to try again, and the sun would be too bright, so we couldn't use the waterfall that I had scouted out earlier. We met the next morning and I was trying to scout a place with open shade so we wouldn't all be squinting in the direct sunlight. My patience was gone before we even started. No where was there a patch of shade big enough for all of us to be found, and mom and dad were annoyed that I was being so particular and thought I was just being ridiculous. "Take the pictures, already!" They said. I was pretty annoyed at everyone by now (and I'm sure they all were ready to chuck me into the lake) and so I said, "FINE. Here, here, I'm taking pictures. Look!" (I made my dad look into the view finder. Half of the family in shade, him and the other half all squinting in the sunlight. Horrible. Absolutely atrocious.) They realized why lighting does matter, after all. So we did the best we could in bright day light and they turned out better than I thought they would, given the intense back lighting. Here are the best ones of everyone, no photoshopping done or anything. I don't do that yet. Enjoy! Ryan and his adorable girls. They were being so cute that day.
My dad had just got done goosing my mom (a good old fashioned "honka honka") because they were having a hard time smiling after all of the yelling I had just done. So here is my dad's real smile and my mom, too. She just got done hitting him for doing that to her. This was our favorite picture of them, but they hated it because they looked like they had just goosed eachother (wait, they did!). They have real smiles, though, which is why we all loved it.
Nothing like family pictures when you've just had a sweet baby. Here's where photoshop would help...Finally, Lorenzo's real smile. Benji was a champ the whole time, and little Issi, aka "trouble looking for a place to happen" was all over the place. So cute, but so restless.
Oh, and Lorenzo, handsome, Lorenzo. His "smile" was a nightmare. I thought someone had taught him to look like he was in pain taking a dump for pictures to be funny. I guess he actually doesn't know how to smile for pictures. So I started just taking pics of the bad faces he was making, ruining the picture for his family. He's so funny. He got the hang of it, though.

These two were so photogenic the whole time!
My gorgeous sister, her gorgeous husband and the kids I love. They cropped this one in and printed it for their wall. So cute.