April 18, 2009

Springtime with Jonah

Belated Easter Pictures

We had an enjoyable Easter, including multiple egg hunts for Jonah. He just couldn't get enough of finding the eggs and then sharing his wealth of jelly beans and chocolate, ostensibly in the hopes that we'd allow him to partake of the sweets as well!

As much as he loved the egg hunts and the candy, he has had a lot of fun pointing out to us that Easter is not just about those things, but that it is also about hope. Thanks VeggieTales!

April 07, 2009

One toddler + Easter egg dyes + glitter paint + stickers =

March 14, 2009

Jonah Gets a New Belt

March 05, 2009

Jonah's First Attempt at Photography

Not bad for an almost-four-year-old, huh? :)

Jonah - Tae Kwon Do Tough Guy!

February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day Conversation

Jonah: Mommy, you're the best mommy ever.
Me: Aw, thanks, sweetie, that's so nice!
Josh: What about me? Am I the best daddy ever, or am I just okay?
Jonah: Okay.
Josh: (feigning being hurt) Just okay?! Well, who do you think is the best daddy ever?
Jonah: Katherine's daddy. (Katherine is his"best friend" from preschool)
Josh: And why is Katherine's daddy the best?
Jonah: Because I love Katherine!

It's hard to argue with love!

Back to Normal

It has been an emotional roller coaster here over the past few weeks. Almost three weeks ago, we were very excited to discover that I was pregnant, only to suffer a devastating miscarriage one week later. For reasons I'll probably never undersstand, God needed that baby with Him. Fortunately (if that word can even be used in a situation like this), it wasn't physically painful, just uncomfortable. We (me especially) were very sad for quite a while. However, things are pretty much back to normal now, and life goes on.

Here are some photos of Jonah from the happier moments of the past few weeks.

Making snow angels in the first real snow of this winter. I wish I had a picture of us sledding down the hill behind our house, but Josh wasn't able to come out and play, and it's hard to sled and snap a picture at the same time!

Waving his Terrible Towel for the Steelers during the Super Bowl. Go Steelers!

Jumping with his Valentine's balloon. A pretty good action shot, if I do say so myself!

Pretending to talk on the phone! Just a precursor to his teenage years, I'm sure, when he'll be constantly on the phone!

January 26, 2009

Me....Plus Four!

Here is a picture from our fun MLK/inauguration weekend down in NC visiting our friends Lenise and Paul and their three kids. I had about 60 pounds of toddler on my lap while the boys watched some TV! Fun times were had by all!

January 06, 2009

Christmas Festivities

The season kicked off with Jonah's school's Christmas program. It was really cute to see the kids doing their little performances. Above is Jonah's class singing Jump Into the Light (Jonah is off to the right in the white sweater).

His class also did an instrumental rendition of The Little Drummer Boy.

Around this time, Jonah also began Tae Kwon Do lessons. He had gone to a birthday party at the Tae Kwon Do school, which is located right next door to the little kids' gym that I've been taking him to for the past year and a half, and he really liked it, so we decided to sign him up for classes. Here he is in his adorable little uniform getting ready to do his punches and kicks. Once we got past some initial resistance around actually wearing the uniform and getting his belt on, he has really taken to the classes, and I think it will be good for him in the long run in terms of teaching discipline and respect.

Josh's mom (Nana) came down on the 23rd to stay with us through Christmas. On Christmas Eve, we went to church to celebrate what the holiday is really all about, then we came home and left out milk and cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer. Somehow or other (namely, all the adults) everything was eaten and drunk up, so that the plates and cup were empty the next morning! :)

On Christmas morning, Jonah woke up to discover that Santa had brought him the chart he'd been asking for. he can now keep track of his "chores" (helping the feed the cats, helping to make his bed, etc.) and get rewarded accordingly when he accumulates a certain number of stars on the chart. He loves it!

The Olsson side of the family gathered at Christmas! (I believe I spelled the name right this time, Nana!)

And the Merritt side!

The day after Christmas, we drove with Nana back up to Pittsburgh and spent a few enjoyable days with Josh's dad, Heather and Nicholas. While we were up there, the two daughters of Josh's dad's best friend, who have been like sisters or cousins to Josh and his brother Ben, came into town with their three collective kids. So we had four toddlers, all under the age of three years nine months, and one eight-month-old to keep tabs on. Talk about chaos!

Here I am holding the eight-month-old, Hannah. I had to get my baby fix, after all, and she was SOOOO adorable! I'm hoping that baby #2 will be something that Josh and I can plan on this year!

And here is the requisite picture of Jonah and Nicholas sitting at the island in the kitchen of Josh's dad's house. Someday, I'm going to put together an album of just the pictures of the two of them stting at the island so we can see how big they keep getting (and, of course, how cute they are!).

December 12, 2008

Reflections on Advent

I'm a member of a Women's Group at my church that meets roughly every two weeks. I haven't been able to go for a couple of months due to various and sundry illnesses plaguing our house, but I was finally able to go last night for some reflections on this Advent season. I always find it rejuvenating being able to talk with this group about the wonders, the mysteries, the comfort, and, yes, even the ever-present questions (e.g., Why is this happening, Lord?) of the Holy Trinity in our lives. I feel more spiritually centered after each meeting, and that is such a blessing. I mean, I may go around for a couple of weeks, getting caught up in all the activity that goes on every day, getting stressed out about various things, and then I go to a Women's Group, and it really helps to put things in perspective; I get to slow down for a few hours and just really think about the realities of what is truly important. Going to church can do that for me, too, but church is usually such a rushed affair sometimes, and it's complicated even further when you're having to mind a very active and talkative three-and-a-half-year-old during the service, that the true purpose of being there sometimes gets lost.

Anyway, last night's discussion was wonderful. We talked about Advent and what an exciting time it is. It's a season of anticipation, of preparation, of knowing that something wonderful is coming. We talked about Mary and the anticipation she must have felt. Being a mother myself, I can imagine the joy and wonder she must have felt, and likely how much greater her joy and wonder must have been knowing that she was carrying the most precious of babies. I also wonder, however, how much greater her fear must have been at knowing that she was also responsible for caring for and rearing this most precious of babies? I know my own fear at knowing that I'm responsible for Jonah. It's a joy, to be sure, watching him grow and mature, but it's also a little frightening at times, especially at times when he gets sick or gets hurt or when I wonder if I'm doing some irreparable psychological damage when I have to exert discipline with him :) ! Imagine having to do all that for God's son! Talk about responsibility!

One of the things that really struck me last night was an excerpt from a reading that says that's it's okay, even desirable, to have questions regarding our faith. We spend so much of our lives looking for answers, and sometimes that searching drives us crazy. But what if we could take those questions and simply use them for reflection and a time to listen? The passage we read was this: "A novice master once responded when asked about a life lived in Christian authenticity, said that to be a Christian was not to know the answers but to begin to live in the part of the self where the question is born....He was speaking of an attitude of listening, of awareness of presence, of an openness to mystery."

What great food for thought! Happy Advent!

December 10, 2008

December Doings (So Far)

Jonah's school (St. Clement Episcopal School) celebrated the Feast of St. Clement last week. St. Clement apparently lived during Roman times, so the kids dressed up in togas and ate a lunch of pita, hummus, clementines, grapes, and anachronistic chicken nuggets while sitting on the floor! It was very cute!

Jonah saw Santa this past Sunday at the Freeman House in Vienna. He'd seen Santa last year at school, but we'd never taken him to a mall or anything to see him. Having seen Santa as a kid myself at a busy, crowded, noisy mall, I really prefer the set-up they had at the Freeman House. Santa was seated in a room where only one family at a time was permitted to enter (the next family was allowed to peek in from the doorway so the children could watch the children ahead of them interact with the jolly old elf, and I thought that was nice - it allowed the kids to watch and so not be as scared as they might otherwise have been). Each child had some private time with Santa and could just chit-chat with him rather than having to rush through with a wish list. It was really nice, and by the end of our turn, Jonah was chatting happily with Santa!

November 21, 2008

And Now a Story from Jonah

"When I was 23 yeaars old, I worked in a building on the 49th level, and the elevator went up, up, up all the way to the 49th level, and I could look out the window and see the cars were teeny-tiny (using finger gestures for small here), and then I got in the elevator and it went all the way back down, and I got in my car and went speed limit 55 all the way home, and then I took a nap, and it was a really long nap, and I didn't get up until the clock said 5:23."

Where did he come up with that one?!

November 14, 2008

Coming of Age....At Least By Hobbit Standards :)

I thought this card from Josh was very cute and rather appropriate, although it does make me feel just a little bit old! :)

I'll let the readers figure out what the last sentiment in the card was! :)

November 01, 2008

October in Review

Okay, this picture above was actually from the end of September, but it's just such a great picture of Jonah on his tricycle that I had to put it in here. He's able to pedal on his own now (with some assistance when going up hills), and he loves going for rides.

Here's Jonah watering my flowers. He loves being helpful!

Jonah's school brought in a petting zoo at the beginning of the month, and one of the animals they brought was a pony for the kids to ride. I think the cowboy hat is a cute touch!

Here are Jonah and his pal Ronaldo. he came over for a playdate one weekend, and the boys had a great time playing and having lunch.

Jonah and a goat at Cox Farms. As has been the tradition for the past few years, we met up with our friends Debbie, Dan, and Morgan at Cox Farms for a fun morning of big slides, a hay ride, petting little goats, going through a corn maze (called the "Cornumdrum"), and generally just running around and having a good time!

Jonah and Morgan posing for a cute picture.

Jonah the pumpkin!

One of the big giant slides that Jonah LOVES - with Josh and Jonah coming down.

It's Super Why, with the power to READ! This is Jonah right before heading off to a school friend's Halloween party on the weekend before Halloween. He loved being Super Why that day and couldn't wait for Halloween to come so he could wear the costume again!

At the party. The girl in the middle in the "scarecrow" costume is Katherine, the girl whom Jonah calls his "best friend" from school. Apparently, the feeling is mutual because it would seem that she talks as much about Jonah as he talks about her. It's very ctue! Notice the other Super Why at the party - that's another buddy from Jonah's class, Kylie. It seems that Super Why is more popular than I would have thought!

Our jack-o-lanterns all aglow. The larger one on the right was designed by Jonah himself - we let him draw the face and then I cut it out. It was pretty funny to look at from the first, with lopsided eyes and a thin wide mouth, but once the squirrels started nibbling at it, it began to take on a much more ghoulish aspect!

The costume parade at school!

Jonah's in the back in this picture of his class. Aren't they all so cute in their costumes?!

Jonah and Ronaldo right before going out trick-or-treating. Ronaldo went as Lightning McQueen, though it's hard to tell in the picture because the costume actually sticks out in front and behind him, so when he's facing front, as he is here, you' can't see it.
So, it was a busy month, complete with Jonah getting strep and me getting a sinus infection somewhere in between all of those fun activities! And now it's time to gear up for another fun-filled month, with my birthday, a trip to Shenandoah National Park, a just-me-and-Josh night in Annapolis, and Thanksgiving with a visit from Nana and Uncle Ben! I think I need a nap to prepare!