Category Archives: holiday

The Thanksgiving Incident

Everyone has one.  ESPECIALLY if you have kids.  ESPECIALLY if you have young kids.

This is our story.

Wednesday night: drive to MI to stay at Joel’s grandparent’s.  Don’t forget to bring your dog, since you didn’t ask anyone to take care of her while away and since you will be there for only 24 hours and everyone else brings their dogs too.

Thursday morning: wake up, get all dolled-up for Thanksgiving with the extended family and entertain kids until either A. the food is ready or B. naptime has approached.  Forget to keep track of your dog 100% of the time, even though you know she gets nervous and scared around so many other dogs and loses control of her bowels.  Joyfully watch your son slide down the stairs into the basement on his belly (a newly acquired skill).  Next goes your daughter.  Followed by panic and screaming and crying as she’s realized she just slid through and is now clutching onto dog feces.  Snatch her up quickly and take her to upstairs bathroom to begin the cleaning process.  Resist punting the dog down the basement stairs.  Instead, tread carefully down the stairs, surveying the damage and gathering up your son before he climbs back up the stairs through the smeared poo.  Take him to upstairs bathroom to help daughter and husband in the aftermath.  When in bathroom, realize son is also covered in the feces, with a considerable amount all over his belly because of the sliding excitement + shirt sliding up his body.  Cringe.  Carefully strip his clothes off and plunk him into bath.  Curse in your head about how you never take spare clothes anywhere because this stuff doesn’t happen to you or your kids and now your children will be enjoying the Thanksgiving festivities with their relatives in their underwear (or diaper).  Approach the washer and dryer that look like they are directly from outer space and just stare at them, unable to decipher which one is which, not to mention where the detergent goes and how to turn it on.  Find Uncle to help you.  Get the clothes washing and check on husband and kids.  Dry them off, try to calm down and find Grandma to let her know you need carpet cleaner because your dog crapped all over her stairs and guests will be arriving shortly.  Resist punting dog again when opportunity arises.  Finally have a moment of peace when your husband hugs you.  Everyone reassures you that not only is no one mad, but they don’t even really care and the carpet is easily cleaned (or so they claim).  Sit down.  Pray.  Take a deep breath.  Enjoy watching your naked kids running around and realize this all was kind of funny.  Later, when telling your sister-in-law what she missed, realize that this will be the holiday incident to look back on and say, ‘At least it wasn’t like that one time…’

Thursday night: Go home, texting and calling lots of friends and family about the funny thing that happened at Thanksgiving at Grandma’s

Saturday afternoon: Blog the story so that it will forever be burned into your memory

What was your Thanksgiving Incident?!


Christmas picture dump: Merkle celebration

Don’t you just love pictures where everyone tries to get short-in-stature-and-attention-span people to cooperate, pose, and basically perform all at the same time?!

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They are pretty cute, aren’t they?!

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homemade apron by Grandma Karen!

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Annual fireplace Christmas picture

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Showing off more of my mom’s talents – homemade stockings!

We’re the gingerbread family – my other brothers have their own families: snowman, reindeer, and penguins

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For only a few short hours after our celebration at my parents we were able to meet up with the ‘Bama family at a hotel on their way back home from Illinois – here’s all 10 kids (plus Joel’s arms) posing after a fun day in the pool!

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What did we spend all our time doing before we all had kids?!?!

What are some picture traditions in your family?!

Christmas picture dump: Michigan Crampton family

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Joel took it upon himself to get a picture of Sully with as many family members as possible 🙂

Christmas '12 018(doesn’t Austin look exactly like MaCauley Caulkin?!)

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One of my favorite traditions: Homemade gift exchange!

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Brennan made Joel pinecone birdfeeders!

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Joel and I made Amy and Jim detergent, hot chocolate mix, caramels, and pretzel bark

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(Chad made Rosie a mowhawk…)

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Ok seriously. I LOVE these two! They are cousins but more like siblings and couldn’t be any more adorable. I pray that our kids love each other AND their cousins this much!

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Lauren crocheted a blanket for me/Sully

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And Mylin used it for her ‘tummy time’ 🙂


Christmas picture dump: Immediate Draper family

Christmas '12 001We didn’t have a posed picture…but this shows everyone (other than our family!)

Kari, Leslie, Jace, Neil, Roni, Roni’s bf Chad, and George

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Christmas '12 009The Draper cousins

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Christmas '12 013No, Mylin didn’t get a puppy…this is Rosie (my mother-in-law’s dog)…she just likes to pose with her!

Christmas '12 014Sully w/uncle Neil

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Come on…

I know how many of you read this (not that there are many…but I do see the stats!)

Yet, most of the time, the only ones that comment are the ladies in my life that already know the stories I post about, or I already know their opinion on it! (Not always…but thank you Brittany, Leslie, and Kim – my biggest fans!)

So…….today I’m going to put out a challenge:

I want you to comment!

My challenge is because I’m not writing this blog for only myself (yes, I love that I have an online journal of my life for memory’s sake) but that I LOVE learning – and I want to learn from you!

When I write about our struggles, or questions, or about what we are changing in our life – I’m hoping that you will be able to give some feedback on how you simplify; strive to be more like Christ; train your kids hearts; what you’re baking in the kitchen; what you are studying, etc.

SO…today I am going to have 5 questions that I want each of you to respond with your own answers!

1. How are you celebrating Christmas this year in a new way? We aren’t getting gifts for each other (Joel & I) and we are doing the Christmas Adventure Box

2. What is your FAVORITE holiday recipe? My mom’s fudge 🙂

3. What is your favorite Christmas song? Carol of the Bells: Trans-Siberian Orchaestra or the vocal version by Point of Grace (paired w/another favorite ‘What Child is This?)

4. What was your favorite Christmas present ever? Oreo – a black & white kitten when I was like 4

5. What has been your favorite moment of 2012? Sullivan Joel’s arrival into our family 🙂

Southern Thanksgiving: The kiddos and half the fam

Last post: Just random pictures of the kids having fun together and some family pictures 🙂

Half of the Merkle tribe was back in Bluffton celebrating with my parents – and the other 10 of us in ‘Bama

Great picture everyone! Wait, where’s Andre? Mylin and Sully are watching him 🙂

Andre’s back…but my eyes and Mylin’s focus have disappeared!

So, I am still learning how to get the pictures organized just right…but they are still really cute to look at, right?!

Thanks, Adam and Jill, for the fun, food, fellowship, faith, and family time. And alliteration 😉

We love you guys!

Southern Thanksgiving: Pecan Pie

Our first morning in Daphne, Jill asked me if I wanted to pecan picking

Always up for an adventure – I said ‘yes’!

She took me to Hudson’s school where the playgroud was sprinkled with pecan trees – ending their fruitful season

We had fun watching the kids play and filling up bags with a few pounds of pecans

Once back home Jill cracked and shelled them

And made a pecan pie for Thanksgiving – Joel’s favorite – which Jill remembered and planned for especially for him – what a sweet sister in law!

He devoured it of course 🙂  And Mylin loved it too!

But I didn’t capture a picture of her with the pie – but I did with the caramel filled apple spiced cidar cookies 🙂

Yay for family picking, preparing, and baking fun together!

What’s your favorite dish to bake together as a family?!