Monday, November 29, 2010

Announcement


Well if you've been wondering lately why I haven't been acting quite myself and why I've been constantly tired and getting a little pudgier around the hips and waist, it's because...yes...Baby Merrick #4 is on the way on due to be here June 8th of 2011.

I'm excited about welcoming a new little personality into our home, but I'm scared to death thinking about how I'm supposed to add one more element of chaos into an already-chaotic scene. I love how people nanchalantly say, "Oh, after three kids, it's all the same. It's just more kids. You'll do fine."

Seriously? My sanity is the only thing I'm doubting can handle it. Often this comment comes from the mother with a glazed-over look in her eyes, who hasn't showered in two days, who's house looks like it was just hit by an atomic bomb and who's children are running around like little terrorists. I don't mean to sound condescending because usually the crazy lady I just described is me. But I do know there are women that handle four children, and even 6 and 10 children beautifully without any signs of mental break down. Those women are just a little fewer and farther between!

This has definitely been a harder pregnancy with much more fatigue, insomnia (You might be wondering, how can those two go together? They can... trust me) and nausea. I've had to nap every day for at least an hour if I want to make it through to the end of the day. I'm sure Dennis will be ready to have his wife back when the first part of this pregnancy is over!

As fed up as I am with being pregnant and even though I'm seriously doubting my ability to handle four children sanely, it's amazing how as soon as I saw that first ultrasound image, my heart melted and it suddenly all became worthwhile. Interesting how a little black and white picture of something the size of a peanut that looks more alien than human can make a momma's heart swell as big as her edematous legs.

I'm excited to think about having another child that is as special to me as each of my kids are. I wouldn't trade any of them, even the little one inside of me, for all the sleep, sanity or skinny jeans in the world.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

O, Holy Night

My dad singing as Percy played the piano when we lived in Honduras


Christmas time is a nostalgic time of year for lots of people. It seems to have come especially early this year with the cold weather and snowfall coming earlier in the year than usual.

The other day I was driving down the road listening to "O, Holy Night" and was caught up with images and visions of my childhood. As I'm sure many people do, I have some memories from childhood that come with so much clarity and vividness that when I think of them, for a moment I feel as though I were transported back to that moment and like a child again as I replay the memory in my mind. These memories are more than just vivid recollections of events or places, but carry a flood of emotions with them.

One of those memories for me is laying in bed, listening to my brother Percy playing the piano from the living room, as my dad accompanied him singing. Even though I couldn't see them as I fell asleep, I knew that what probably happened, as it usually did, was that Percy would begin to play the piano, my father would come up behind him and begin singing along to that particular piece. One song turned into two, then three, then many more. My dad would often request songs, and one of those was often, "O Holy Night." It was always my favorite.

Both my dad and Percy have beautiful tenor voices and they would often sing together as Percy played. Falling asleep to these sounds was one of the sweetest memories of my childhood. The music for me was more than a harmony of sounds, but symbolized security, the love of my father, and the deep faith that I knew he had. No matter how hard things were or what was going on in my life at the time, that music coming from the living room told me that for that moment, all was right.

When I hear the carol come on the radio, as it often does (for which I am very grateful), I can almost hear the muffled music coming from the living room, as I did those many nights, and once again, all is right in the world.

I've been surprised at how much I've thought of and drawn from this memory to serve as an anchor as I've dealt with some recent life changes.

After Percy moved out of the house and went to college, my dad would sing with other siblings as they played the piano. Of the eight children in my family, I am the only one that never learned to play the piano. The fact that I can't play the piano as my father sings behind me is one of my biggest regrets for not having learned to play.

I have also drawn strength many times from my father's deep conviction and testimony in the Savior, Jesus Christ. Another vivid memory I have is of our family sitting in sacrament meeting in a foreign country, listening to my dad give a talk. In the talk, he spoke of his love of the Savior and bore a strong witness of him. He then told the congregation that he wanted to read the words of his favorite hymn that was in the English hymn book but that had not yet been translated into Spanish. Through his tears, he read his own translated version of "I Believe In Christ" in Spanish to the congregation. I will always remember that moment and the feelings I had as I heard it being read. A few years later, that song was added to the Spanish hymn book.

What a blessing to have these sweet memories.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fossils, Whales and Defiance

It's late and I'm exhausted but I wanted to write some of these things down before they slip my mind and I forget. I really need a better system for writing these sorts of things down.

This past Monday night, Dennis planned our family home evening lesson about service. He started out asking the boys if they knew what service was and after the appropriate "church" answers, started talking to them about when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. As he began telling the story, Camden interrupted him and with the appropriate and very animated motions said, "Oh, I know this story! It's when Jesus washed his fossils feet!"

Trying to hide a smile, Dennis said, "That's right, and do you know why he wanted to do that for them?"

"Because they had sand between their toes and they didn't have anywhere to take a shower or a bath!"

Dennis tried to tell him that it was the way Jesus was showing them that he loved them but Camden seemed completely confused as to how washing someone's dirty feet was a way of showing them that they are loved and insisted that it was because their feet were so dirty.

Message given, message received. That's as much as a six year old cares to know.

It reminds me of a time when Camden was a sunbeam. I was a primary teacher at the time so I was sitting a couple rows back from him on this particular Sunday. It was the first Sunday after President Hinckley had passed away and President Monson was the new leader of our church. The music teacher held up a picture of President Monson and asked if the children knew who he was. A few of the older children called out the correct answer. Sister Baker then said that he was the new prophet of our church.

Camden's little hand shot up and he said, "Well Jonah was a prophet...and he got swallowed by a whale!" The poor little guy was apparently quite concerned with President Monson's safety given Jonah's poor track record. He then turned to his friend sitting next to him and reassured him that it was okay because later the whale spit Jonah out onto the beach.

I also got a call earlier this week from Luke's preschool teacher saying that she was having trouble with him not following directions from her or the teacher's aide. She said he has been getting progressively more defiant and wanted to discuss the problem with me and explore some possible solutions.

When he got home from preschool that day, I asked him how preschool went. He nonchalantly said it went fine. I told him about the call I got from his teacher and he looked at me with his huge eyes in innocent protest and said, "Well that's not a very nice truth to say!"

I had better not leave little Lauren out. She's still too little to say much but there is one thing she's learned to say really well. It's "Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaam!" in the loudest, most ear-splitting voice her little lungs can muster. She doesn't say it passively or with any sort of tenderness in her voice. She looks squarely at me, points at what she wants, opens her mouth, and lets it fly. Oh my, she reminds me of la Chilindrina on El Chavo del Ocho. For anyone who hasn't seen it, it's a Mexican television show that's hoot. I love it. Chilindrina is my favorite character.

I'd better get to bed. 6:30am comes too soon.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween

Camden thought the trick-or-treating bags that Kohls handed out that said "Keep Kids Safe on Halloween" was the coolest thing. He insisted on holding it up for the picture.


Dennis is such a good sport to go along with my cheesy costume ideas.


The pumpkins we decorated this year. They all came from our garden this year. We harvested about 16 pumpkins!
(Please note the beautiful countertops that my very talented husband put in.)


This year Halloween was so much fun. Luke told me that he wanted to be a skeleton, but that it couldn't be scary, only funny. Camden was a motocross racer and Lauren was a ladybug. Dennis and I dressed up as scarecrows.


The older the kids get, the more fun Halloween and other holidays become. They thought passing out the candy was the best part, even better than trick-or-treating! Aside from Luke's midnight puking from having eaten candy and other crap for 4 hours straight, it was uneventful and the calm kind of Halloween moms with little kids should enjoy before their kids grow up to be teenagers.


Yesterday, Camden came home from church saying he had learned about doing secret acts of service. He asked me what kind of service I would appreciate the most. I told him one of my least favorite jobs is unloading the dishwasher. Later that afternoon, Dennis and I were upstairs taking a nap in our room when we were awakened by some loud clanging in the kitchen. I came downstairs to find the dishwasher unloaded, with all of the dishes stacked neatly on the counter, and this little sign taped to the dishwasher. Ohh..... what a way to melt a momma's heart.