Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Biggest Loser Finale

I love the Biggest Loser.  This is the first time in my life I watched a tv show every week for the entire season.  Even the week I had the baby, I didn't miss my Biggest Loser!  So I watched the Finale tonight and seeing everyone made me so happy.  I love these people!!!  Here they are at the start:

I must say that now they look AWESOME!  It's funny how TV show people sort of become your friends.  I'll catch myself thinking about someone on the show and in my head or to Steve I call them by their first name as if they were my neighbor or something.  I'm so proud of my new "friends" :)  A few of my favorites are:
(This isn't even the picture from the finale.  She looks super good.  She has spunk, I wanted her to win.)

(I love this guy!  He looks amazing and how cute...he got engaged)

(She's my hero.  I loved her attitude and I think she looks AWESOME!)

I'm realizing that I want to put everyone on here.  I loved them all!  But here are the 3 finalist:

Antone, John, Ramon

I think it's absolutely amazing!  Everyone looks great and I can't wait for next season :)  It starts January 3rd for anyone interested.  

Steve has decided that he wanted to get really big just so he can be on this show.  So it's my job to fatten him up.  Can any of you imagine Steve at 450 lbs????  

Then he suggested we just get REALLY fit and become the next trainers!  Lifetime goal--here we go!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Christmas Treat

I made these treats for our neighbors for Christmas.  I thought it looked easy and fun to make.  They turned out DELICIOUS!  It might just have to be a Christmas tradition :)  

Note: SUPER NOT HEALTHY recipe, but really yummy.  
You can find the recipe here

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ummm, oops.

So there's really not much counter room in our kitchen.  I have to use the stove a lot of times to temporarily store things.  Well, this here tupperware belongs to our friends and I was keeping it right there on the stove.  Now I was very careful not to use that particular unit.  Well little did I know the OVEN makes the stove hot enough to melt a plastic container.  I didn't even notice it until the morning after we used the oven.  So I've learned my lesson. 

I'm at a loss for how to clean this up.  The plastic is completely hard and just wrapped around it.  I can't really turn the stove on and melt it off, can I?  Any suggestions for fixing this?

Friday, December 9, 2011

I'm catching up to the rest of the world

Believe it or not, I finally finished the first Harry Potter book! It has taken me YEARS to start it, but I gave in and now I can be a true Harry Potter fan.

My brothers will be so proud.  

I even had a dream about Harry Potter last night.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Santa, Sleeping, and Smiling

I'm sorry if it drives anyone crazy if all our posts are on the subject of baby...I just can't help it :)  Here are some of the latest photos:


We had our ward Christmas party and it was so much fun!  Of course Santa was there :)


I know sleeping pictures are probably only cute for the mom and dad, they are :)  He always sleeps with his arms up.  He sprawls out as much as he can.  It's kind of funny to swaddle him because you can hear him grunting and fighting with all his strength to get his arms out of it.  

We had a great visit from Mel.  She was awesome and Nate loved her. 

Smiling :)

Cute kid is figuring out the whole grinning thing.  It's becoming more than just the natural reflex from digestion!   Steve can get him to grin almost all the time. I've gotten him a few times.  

He was totally smiling while taking these pictures for Grandpa, we just struggled to catch it on the camera :)  
This one is also for Mel.  Although the camera didn't catch it...This kid smiled so big once we got that thing out of his nose.  Sorry if this grosses you out...but Mel is my witness, he was miserable and then happier than ever once we sucked his nose clear :)

Schedule of meds

So just as a quick update, Nate was readmitted to the hospital last Thursday.  His incision was super red and they thought it was infected.  So, Steve and I got to spend another night on hospital recliners :)  They told us at first we'd probably be there till Sunday as he got antibiotics through the IV.  But Friday morning the surgeon (I love him) came in and said it was fine.  So we got to go home Friday afternoon.  But now Nate gets to take 2 antibiotics on top of the 2 meds for his heart.  So here is the new schedule (good thing it only lasts for a week):

10am--Digoxin, Furosemide
6pm---Cephalexin, Clindomycin
10pm--Digoxin, Furosemide, Clindomycin

So, I have many alarm clocks going off throughout the day and night because there is NO way I could remember all of this.  What would we do without our electronics? But anyways, Nate is doing well and his incision looks awesome.  As all the nurses and docs say, "Oh his scar is Beautiful!"  :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fry sauce please

I love Red Robin!  It's one of my favorite places to eat.  Last night was our last night with a Mom here to help us before we're on our own with Nate.  So Steve's mom let us go on a little date :)  And we chose to go to Red Robin.  Well, one reason I love it so much is the bottomless fries!  Those things are GOOD.  But in Utah, they always bring you that yummy fry sauce made of I don't even know, but it's yummy.  So last night we got our meals, but no sauce.  We asked the waitress for some fry sauce and she didn't really know what we were talking about.  So she brought us onion ring sauce (which was good...but not the same.)  Is Fry Sauce a thing of the west?  I know they have it in Washington.  And I know they have it in Utah.  But she didn't have any idea what we were talking about.  Sad!  We should get fry sauce started over here.

Healthy Heart

We had the post-op appointment on Wednesday.  Who knew that was an all day adventure?  We arrived at the hospital around 9:00 and left around 2:00.  It was quite the day, I'm glad I had my emergency supply of formula in my bag :)  Poor kid, he thought he was done with all that stuff, but here's the list of all he had done that day:

Blood work (which means a mean poke in the foot)
Chest x-rays
Heart echo
Nurse practitioner
Wound specialist

  It was an eventful day for this little man.  But it was a day full of good news :)  The cardiologist said his heart looks good and healthy!  The left ventricle filled up and is now the size/shape it needs to be!  The aorta is patched and works great!  The 2 holes are patched and his heart is a good heart!  Isn't that a miracle?  He's only 3 weeks old and he went from a heart that couldn't keep him alive, to a working healthy heart! His incision is healing up nicely too!  

The one problem he has is gaining weight.  He's still not to his birth weight and the doctors are a little worried.  They suspected it would be harder since he didn't learn about eating until 2 weeks after birth.  So we've changed some things so we can better measure how much he's eating and we're adding some calories to his milk.  I'm excited for him to be weighed on Monday because this kid has been CHOWING the past few days, which makes us so happy.  I'm sure he'll be right on track with weight gain.
We let him hang out with Pop-eye to motivate him to gain more weight and get big :)

This kid LOVES to stretch.  

Don't cry over "tossed out" milk

Did you know that people who adopt or women who just can't produce milk can actually BUY breast milk?  Kind of weird, I'm not sure I'd ever buy someone else's milk.  Who knows if this is true, but someone told me it's pretty expensive, like $20 per ounce.  Makes sense...that's valuable stuff!

Well, Nate didn't eat anything for almost 2 weeks because of his surgery, he was getting some other liquid stuff through a tube (Gatorade for babies).  So I pumped every 3 hours night and day until we were able to start nursing.  So you can imagine how many $20-ounces I had been making--lots--3 huge bags full of 2.5 ounce bottles.  Well the nurse forgot to give me all my milk when Nate was discharged (and I forgot to ask for it :( ).  So I called the day we left and asked them to save it and there must have been a miscommunication (or maybe someone took it and SOLD it) because when I came a week later, it was gone.  Sad, right?  My baby's nutrition! So...I have honestly complained WAY too much about it and I've decided that this post is the LAST time I'll say anything about it.  I will no longer "cry over my spilled milk".

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lessons Learned

The Children's Hospital is a sacred place.  Spending 2 weeks day and night there taught me some cool lessons.  I'd like to share them with all of you :)

1) The Lord loves his children! 
3 Nephi 17 went through my mind as I saw so many sweet little children.  I know the Savior was with them comforting each of them.

2) Even the newest of babies can exercise faith.  
Seeing Nate go into surgery with a countenance of trust and faith in the Lord.  I just knew he was communicating with the Lord and trusting in him.  I believe children have a special relationship with Heavenly Father.  I saw it in all the children I passed at the hospital.

3) I need to pray for more people
I was so impressed by how many strangers told me they would pray for me and my baby.  The janitor who came in to clean my room said, "Excuse me, Ma'am, I'm just here for housekeeping but I want you to know your baby will be in my prayers."  So many strangers and newly made friends would say they would pray for Nate.  It was very humbling to me because how often do I tell a stranger I'll pray for them?  Not very.  And when if I do say that, do I actually say a specific prayer for that person? I got thinking about the covenants I've made and it is my duty, as a member of the Savior's church, to represent him!  What better way to represent him than to pray for others for real.  I don't think just saying, "Oh, you're in my prayers" is good enough.  We should actually say a real sincere prayer when we tell someone we will.

4) People are good.
We made some good friends while in the hospital.  I'll mention 2 in particular.  Brenda is the grandmother of a baby with a malignant brain tumor.  She and my mom got to be good friends because they were both kicked out of the rooms at 8pm (which made me mad...but that's another story) They slept in neighboring recliners in the Family Sleeping Area and got to be close friends.  She is such a sweet woman.  By the time we left, we exchanged contact information and we gave her a Book of Mormon.  Steve was able to talk to her about the temple a little. This woman was so receptive and was truly full of goodness.
The other friend is Billy.  He and his wife are the legal guardians of their grandson who came in for hip surgery.  There were complications and he ended up having more surgeries and more problems.  Billy was not happy about it.  Billy was a BIG black guy who sometimes wore a do-rag and sometimes a baseball hat to the side.  Whenever he saw me he'd ask, "How yo Momma doin'?  An' yo' baby? You sleepin nuff'?"  He was great.  When I finally got to meet his grandson, I bawled.  I had grown to love Billy and even his grandson that I just met and seeing him in such horrible shape made me cry.  Billy didn't see, but his wife did.  Mom and I returned to our room and about 5 minutes later Billy comes bursting in, whips open the curtain, "My wife tell me you be cryin'!  There be no need for you girls cryin'!  I tell my wife, 'that girl an' her momma, they coo!  They be real cool! You know, you shouldn't be cryin' for my boy, just pray fer im' okay!  Just pray and everything will be alright"  Then he opened his big arms wide and hugged us, mom on one side, me on the other :).  As funny as it was, it was a special experience for me. 

5) Grandmas should not be considered visitors
Someday I'm going to make my own hospital and Grandparents will NOT be kicked out at 8pm.  I wanted my mom AND my husband there and they wouldn't let me.  

6) The smallest acts of service mean so much
People have been so good to us and the littlest things came at the perfect times.  Someone made lunches for Steve when he went to school straight from the hospital.  Dave and Nikki brought us dinner several times and also brought me random things I forgot, like socks :)  So many little things meant the world to me.  

7) Family is important to everyone
Sometimes I forget that family is not only important to me and to other families in the LDS church, but it's so important to everyone.  It was neat to watch other families come together to pray and support each other.  

There are so many other little lessons I learned there.  I feel that my life has been changed, not only because I now have a baby, but because of the sacred and special experiences I had while at the hospital.  I will never forget it! I am so grateful for people!...for SO many people.  I am grateful that a good man got an education to learn how to do major surgery on the heart the size of a newborn's fist.  Really?!!!!  

Home After Surgery

Nate is finally home after surgery!  What an incredible miracle that he recovered as quickly as he did.  Here's the timeline:

Born: October 28 

Open heart surgery: November 2 

Off the ventilator:  November 4

Learning to eat by mouth:  November 5

Moved from Cardiac ICU to the Step-down Unit: November 7

Sent home :) : November 9


The entire experience was incredible.  This little baby I think has gone through more in one week than I ever have in my 25 years of life.  Watching this sweet baby struggle after the surgery was the hardest thing for me!  I'm sure he won't remember it, but I believe it definitely has already begun to build his character.  He is a tough boy :)  He's also pretty patient and submissive.  I can already tell how determined of a person he'll be.  I believe even babies can have faith and he definitely exercised great faith during those few hard days.  He's already my little hero! 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Nathan Byron Merrill

Our sweet little man is here!  We couldn't be more in love with a little boy.  We came to the hospital Thursday night to prep for the induction Friday morning and things moved a lot faster than they expected!  He was born at 9:39am Friday morning.  21 inches long and 8 lbs 4 oz... big healthy baby :) His name is Nathan, but we've already started calling him Nate.  His middle name is special too because it's after TWO people :)  My dad and Steve's great grandpa.  I got to hold him for about a minute right when he was born and then a few more minutes before they took him to the NICU.  He was there for a couple hours and then they took him across the street to the Children's Hospital.  It was so nice when they finally let me go over there last night and spend a few hours with him.  He really is a precious little baby.  The whole experience was amazing and it truly is a miracle!

As for his heart, the surgeons and cardiologists will conference about him on Monday and decide the surgery details.  Right now he's on some special medication and will probably have surgery Tuesday.  Thank you everyone for your prayers and support.  He's doing so well and we know the Lord is so aware of him and his situation.

Now, the part everyone's been asking!
The before picture

Couple minutes old

This is right before they took him to the Children's Hospital

He's already loving sucking on his fingers :)

I love his cute little face!

Grandma doing her thing!

Pictures don't do justice.  Nate is a cute one! 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween a few days early...

We were so happy that our ward Halloween party was a few days before Halloween so we could go.  I've always loved dressing up, but never been good at creating the best costumes. Who knows how many Octobers I'll have a very ripe baby inside of me, so we had to take advantage of dressing up! So we dressed up like soccer players and the baby is a soccer ball (Hopefully you can tell from the picture...) And I think Steve looks very attractive in that outfit! FYI, the soccer ball design is way hard to draw!  I spent a good few hours trying to get it perfect and if you look closely at the shirt, you'll see LOTS of pencil marks going in every direction.  But I finally did get to at least look somewhat soccerballish.  Steve's brother, Dave, thinks we should make these shirts with all different sports and sell them.  It would be the sporty maternity look.  I think it'd be a good idea...maybe we'll get rich from it!
I really need to practice my "tough girl" face....

It was a really fun party and an awesome turn out from the ward.  I wish I had taken more pictures of some of the cute costumes we saw.  Our nieces were adorable little bugs :)  Hallie as a butterfly and Annie a sweet little love bug.  We love those girls. The activities were pretty fun as well.  We were wishing we had a child already to take around trunk or treating because we know we're too old...but we wanted some candy!  Thanks to Nikki...she snuck us some candy from Hallie's bag.  Did I feel guilty?...yes.  But did I take it anyway?...yes.  My poor children will never get to eat all their halloween candy because I love it too much :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

A week long celebration!

Steve had a break this last week from school and the timing worked out rather nicely for us. First of all, it's the week before our baby comes.  So we were able to play hard before it'll be harder to get out.  Second of all, the week ended with our anniversary.  So we got to celebrate our madly-in-love-ness all week long!  If I wasn't pregnant, we probably would've traveled somewhere like New York to celebrate...but lucky for us, we LIVE in a cool place, so we felt like tourists and vacationers and didn't even go far :)  We had a great time together.  Here are some pictures of our fun week:

Great Falls National Park---It's BEAUTIFUL there!  It actually reminded us a lot of our honeymoon in McCall Idaho...romantic, eh!

Isn't that a cool view to the other side?  The leaves were beautiful.

Handsome man in a beautiful wilderness...I am one LUCKY girl!

More of that pretty park!

Taking a break for the prego lady on top of a rock

Being tourists in DC and eating a hotdog

My favorite memorial--The Lincoln Memorial.  I look like I'm going to pop...

IMAX theater at the Musuem of Natural History (one of my favorites of all the museums)

Steve brought me these pretty things :)  I love them!  I wish flowers lived forever.

In Old Town Alexandria!  We ate lunch, then explored.  There's a lot to do there, so we're going back someday.

Sunday dinner on our happy day!  Our first roast was awesome! And of course some crystal light...our favorite.

I'm so sad we didn't get a picture of the cake I made for Steve.  I'm not the most amazing cook or anything, but this was AWESOME.  German chocolate bundt cake with hot fudge topping.  (Super easy recipe and tastes SO GOOD!)  The camera died before I got a picture of Steve enjoying his 4th piece of cake :)

So there you have it!  A super fun week for us.  I feel so lucky to be married to such a cool person like Steve.  We totally feel made for each other and are so glad we got married.  And now here we are one year later about to have a baby.  This next year of marriage will be exciting and adventurous for us!