Thursday, September 20, 2007

Guatoberfest Preview

Yesterday morning the kids and I loaded into the car and headed west to visit Julia McKenzie and her family. I first met Julia a year and a half ago at the Marriott while I was picking Garrett up and she was visiting her son, John-Bryan, for the first time. She has told me that her first video of JB is actually of my son head-butting her son repeatedly while both giggle. Yeah, that's my son, the bully, but in a loving way. Any how, we have lived in close proximity of each other and yet have never taken the time to get our kids together for a playdate. With my moving across the country in a couple of weeks we decided to rectify that while we could.

The result was a preview of the entertainment we will experience at Guatoberfest. Julia invited her friends Karen, Abbie Faith's momma (Abbie's been home about 5weeks!), and Megan, Mackenzie's momma, to join us for lunch and play time fun. It was great to actually get together in person with Julia, instead of just chatting on our blogs, and I really enjoyed meeting Megan and Karen (I've lurked at their blogs several times. Now I'm going to be a regular. Thank God for NetVibes!)
I think the photos do the best job of showing what just five Guatemalan cuties can do when they get together. Of course, I didn't get a photo of Julia's living room floor littered with all of JB's toys.
All I can say is:



JB showing off his baby sister, Abby Grace. What a cutie that little man is!

Sleeping Beauty.

All the kids were fascinated by this beautiful baby girl. She is such a sweet heart! I am so glad that I finally got to meet her!

This beauty is Abbie Faith. She reminds me of Elena in some ways -- serious while scoping out the situation, then all smiles and giggles. What a doll!

First photo we were able to get of the boys together. The only way we could get them to stop long enough for a picture was to distract them with the dog outside.

As I said, Elena was fascinated by Abby Grace. From her tiny hands,

to her little nose, that she couldn't quite pick,

to her little, ticklish feet.

The only photo I captured of the McKenzie-Merrill Crew

A short video of Garrett and JB playing. Yes, that is Elena in the background crying because Julia left the house for one minute. My daughter is in love with Julia. Loves her. Too cute (even if I'm a little jealous)

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Elena helping Julia feed Abby Grace lunch.

Two peas in a pod.

Our attempt at a group shot. If we couldn't make it work with 5 babies, how in the world will we ever do it with 50?????

(Check out Mackenzie [on the far left] -- she just couldn't understand why my two and JB were so upset)

Happy again and off to the races

Snack happy.

These photos are from today, but I promise they are connected to our adventures yesterday.

Garrett is totally enthralled by busses right now. Wherever we go, he points out busses, talks about busses, plays with bus toys, etc. So, yesterday afternoon Garrett would not let go of JB's Little People Bus. Turns out that Julia is not a fan of that particular toy, while Garrett is a HUGE fan. Guess what we got to bring home with us?

Don't be fooled by the photo. While Elena might be sitting next to her brother while he is holding the bus, he is still the one holding and playing with the bus. It was the first thing he asked for when he woke up this morning. Garrett says, "Thank you Julia and JB for my new toy!"

Also, emptying out my car last night there were two bags of goodies in the back seat. Julia was sneaky and got them in there without my even having a clue. The kids have already read both books several times this morning, and Elena has her new phone attached to her ear.

Thank you Julia for wonderful day and for the wonderful gifts. You are an example to me of how to live life with grace, faith, and hospitality. I look forward to the day that our paths cross again!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Being a fan is tough work

So, Sunday night was a big night for New England sports fans. The Patriots kicked off against the San Diego Chargers in a rematch of January's playoff game at 8:15. Curt Shilling threw out the first pitch against the NY Yankees, and Roger Clemens, at 8:05. Big happenings. Big stakes in both games.

Based on the week that the Pats had, I dressed the kiddos in their Patriots paraphernalia all day. I figured with Schilling on the mound the BoSox were pretty well set. The kids, especially Garrett, ran around all day yelling "Go, Go football!" and "Go, go, go baseball!" Too cute. Still trying to teach him to say "Pats" or "BoSox", although he did yell for Sox player J.D. Drew Saturday night. I guess it's a step in the right direction.

Of course, with the late start of both games, the kids conked out before long. Here are my little fans during the Patriots halftime:

The Patriots totally beat up the Chargers last night. See, in Football Town it does matter (Chris put on his team's jersey and the Broncos pulled out another win, this time in overtime).
That said, it matters in Baseball Town too, and this set of fans didn't do their part. Derek Jeter hit a three-run home run off of Schilling in the 8th. In the bottom of the 9th, with the Sox only down by 1, Big Papi (David Ortiz) hit a pop-up to end the inning. The Sox lost 4-3, meaning the Evil Empire are only 4.5 games back. Yeech. Come on Sox -- GO GO GO!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Baseball season is SO not over!

So, after a heart-breaking loss to the Evil Empire on Friday night, the first in a three game series at Fenway, Momma decided to break out the big guns yesterday. I am a firm believer that in Baseball town or Football town it matters (remember the commercial from a couple of years ago?). So, the kids wore their Red Sox uniforms, and Mommy broke out her Big Papi jersey, too.
Sox won 10-1.

Beckett won his 19th game this season, the winning-ist pitcher in baseball.

The Evil Empire is again 5.5 games back.

The BoSox magic number is 9 (the combo of Sox wins and Yank losses for the Sox to clinch the division championship -- first time since 1995, if we pull it off).

See in Baseball Town, it really does matter.
Elena, perched, for best viewing vantage.
Best family shot of the day.
(At least I don't look like a fool trying to get the kids to smile)

Whatchu lookin' at?

Baseball and trains -- a little boy's delight.

Snuggling for a little love from Dada.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


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Brothers and Sisters -- can't you feel the love?

I know that I have been delinquent with my postings lately -- minor computer malfunctions (my Pictures is flummoxing me), hopefully corrected now. Here are some videos of the kiddos today. Just a normal day of sibling revelry in the Merrill household.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Tales from the Beach House -- Part Deux

Our week in photos:
Wow! I wake up and there is a kitty in my bed. Felix, you do love me!
Eyes on The Wiggles, hands on the cat.

Felix, you are seriously cool.

Entranced by The Wiggles

My little nudist in training -- she has discovered how to undress and it is fun. Thank goodness Garrett never went through this phase.

Running away from Mommy.

Garrett pretending to be asleep so he doesn't have to eat his lunch.

All my boys hanging out on the couch.

Spaghetti dinner -- serious business, serious mess.

What a difference nine months in age can make!

My little botanist

Garrett's new favorite game: Throw the ball up the ramp,

And run back down the ramp to "catch" it.

The little girl loves to hide under things now. Today was the coffee table. Hung out there for quite a while
Hey, Mom! Like my new seat?

Look at those waves!

Surf Baby #1

Surf baby #2

Warning: After several months of combat (and not allowed to suntan), the viewer needs sunglasses before witnessing the following scene.
What a handsome specimen of a man! Check out those abs!
Splish ...


Checking out the dunes

Patrolling the beach

View of the sun deck (yes, we have a sun deck)
View of the beach house from the sun deck

Watermelon snacking with Daddy

Look closely -- you can see the juice dripping from her elbow

Watching the water go by

It's a tough life, but if someone has to live it I'm glad that it is us.