Thursday, May 31, 2007

First Steps

Well, tonight was a momentous occasion in the Merrill household -- Elena took her first solo steps!

I was typing an email to Chris while the kids played and watched Thomas after dinner, before bath and bed. Elena was standing at the edge of the couch, like so many other times, watching Garrett walk away from her. Then she took three steps towards him, as if to say, "Hey, wait for me!" before she collapsed. Needless to say I shouted with joy, which startled her just a bit. Garrett looked very confused. I propped her up against the couch again, and coaxed her to walk towards me with her sippy cup -- another three steps before falling. Then 1, followed by another single. However, with each attempt she looked more and more proud of herself. Too cute. After that she was done, her legs were tired out, but her smile was still 100 watt bright.

Watching her tonight, I couldn't help but reflect on Garrett's first steps. He walked for months holding onto just one finger of mine. Chris was convinced Garrett was just waiting until he came home from deployment. So, anyway, after Chris came home he had a party for work that Garrett and I accompanied him to. Chris's immediate boss has a daughter that has the exact same birthday as Garrett, and there she was at the party running all over the place. I pointed her out to Garrett, "See her? See what she is doing? You should be doing that." It's not like he hadn't been playing with other little people who were walking. However, my son evidently needed to be shown up by a cute girl to finally take the plunge by himself. Propped up next to a table, I held out Garrett's favorite truck, enticing him to walk towards me. Step by sweet step, Garrett made his way towards his truck and all the way to the next table. Once the little man realized what he had accomplished there was no stopping him. And no rest for me for the rest of the night as I chased him around the Officer's Club. By the end of the evening, he was trekking across the entire banquet room and halfway back under his own power. From that point on there was no stopping him. I really do think that he was waiting to show off his stuff to Dada -- Chris was so happy to share that moment.

So, I'm sad that Dada wasn't here to share Elena's moment. But I'm thankful that she didn't wait another three months before taking her first steps. That would have been a little much. Now my real test as a single mommy starts -- two toddlers taking off in opposite directions. I'll fill you in on my progress.

Some random photos for Dada

Here are some photos of the kids hanging out around the house and playing.

Elena loves to talk on the phone like Momma and Bubby -- of course, the phone is attached to the back of her head instead of the side, but it works for her and she looks so cute doing it.

I'm used to Bubby falling asleep in his food, but this little one conked out one night during dinner. I gave the kids their food, turned my back on the table for two minutes to clean the kitchen from cooking. By the time I looked back at the table Elena had inhaled half of her dinner and was sound asleep. Unfortunately it wasn't for the night.

So many books, so little time.

More days than not, Garrett finds a spot to sit and "reads" his books, complete with pointing at the pictures and babbling about the story. I'm so lucky to have a kid who loves books like his Momma, Dada, and YaYa at a young age. Now I just need to get him a library card!

Elena is so proud that she can stand on her own. She practices all the time and is getting better and better at it. I love this photo of her -- she looks like my little Miss Olympia.

I couldn't help but laugh and grab the camera at this. Garrett has long used the underside of the coffee table as a play place, but this was the first time that he used it to rest. It was only 11 in the morning, and the little man looks like he's about to pass out watching his morning cartoons.

Garrett after an uplanned morning nap, complete with bed head and confused stare. 'Nuff said.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Beach, popsicles, and pool with our buddy Jack

Today was an eventful day for the Merrill kiddos. I think the photos will do a better job of explaining than anything I could say.

Hmmm, I'm not sure what I think of this beach, Mom. How long are we going to be here?

Ohhhh, a shell. That's cool.

Of course, while Elena sat back and took in the lay of the land, Garrett jumped right into playing -- with Jack's beach toys.

Jack was very excited to play in the hole his daddy dug for him. Elena just had to check out what he was up to and inspect his work. She wants to do everything that the big kids do.

Garrett later made his own inspection of the hole. I love how his tongue sticks out whenever he is deep in concentration working on anything. Too cute!

Yay! I'm sooooo big! I love the beach!

Even though he's not my own kiddo, I absolutely had to include this photo of Jack. He really got into enjoying a fruit juice popsicle on our front porch after dinner. Almost looks like a vampire with the juice dripping down his little chin! Cynthia -- this is definate 1st date material!

Tonight, Garrett enjoyed a new flavor of popsicle. No, not lime. The wood stick!

After the popsicle and stick were all gone, Garrett decided he couldn't let any of it go to waste. Here he is cleaning up the sidewalk, getting every last drop of his tasty treat.

Umm, Bubby, I'm not so sure that is sanitary. That's gross!

After enjoying our popsicles we threw the kids into the pool. There was a light breeze, but Garrett decided to really demonstrate his flair for the dramatic. Check out my funny kids -- Cynthia and I couldn't stop giggling!

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

Thursday, May 24, 2007

California here we come

So, Chris has in his hand official orders to Camp Pendleton early this fall. We've had some time to adjust to this news but it still can make my head spin from time to time.

We first heard the possibility of the move back at the beginning of April. Chris had asked to be assigned to this particular unit last fall, but when we made the request we didn't realize that the unit also exists out on the west coast. So, Chris is getting the perfect job, just on the other side of the country. Our orders are for two years out there, and then Chris is to return to a squadron. Of course, that doesn't mean that we can come back here or that Chris will return to 269, his squadron, but I think that we do want to come back to this coast.

Our house is on the market -- our beautiful house that we just bought in November. I think that I am the saddest about leaving because we have to sell the house. It is the perfect floor plan for our family and we all have lots of space. We won't have that out in Cali. In fact, living on base our house will be even smaller than our old house that we moved out of because we needed more space. So, if you know anyone who needs a house in our area, let me know. Otherwise, please keep us in your prayers that the house will sell fast and for our asking price. The neighbors are laughing because this same situation happened to the last owners.

So, that is the big news on our front. It can never be an easy deployment -- started teaching the first time; stopped teaching, became a mom, started a second adoption, and put the house on the market last deployment; now, learning to be a mom of two and planning a cross-country move. At least I can say that life isn't boring while Chris is away!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Finally -- an updated post

Okay, so I know that I have been super negligent about posting on our blog. So, I've decided instead of trying to create posts for everything that has happened in the past three months since Elena came home, I'd just start "fresh". I promise that I'll be better in the future. At least you should have less emails in y'alls boxes and you can just check here if you want to learn what's up with our family.

So I'll start with some fresh photos from this week. The Bubby and Sissy are getting so big so fast. I'm doing much better about recording their growth now than I did when Garrett first came home, so I am improving in some ways.

Garrett discovers the joy that is ketchup --

after stealing food that another little boy left behind at the church picnic.

"Um, Bubby, that looks really good. Wanna share?"

First Popsicles:

I'm not sure I like these things --

Okay, maybe they're not so bad after all

Double-fisting -- popsicle style

Popsicle princess

"Brrrrr ... I'm soo cold" (yes, he did make the "brrrrrr" sound as he shivered)

"Brrrrrrr" -- Wait, Mom has the camera -- "Sheese!"
I have to say again, I am just so darn in love with both my kids. They are a true blessing in my life. Now to remember that in the heat of the moment when they are driving me crazy ...