Friday, December 28, 2012


Tonight we enjoyed making popcorn with our new popcorn popper (a Christmas gift from Uncle Edward!). Naomi and Gabe had a hard time getting much... Andrew would gulp his and then clear their plates, too!

It was the perfect addition to family movie night. Yummy! (I think Gabe had zombie powder sprinkled on his??)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Preschool Christmas Program

Gabe was a donkey for his preschool Christmas program, and he seemed to enjoy himself! He sang all 10 songs I had taught the preschool children, he didn't fall off the stage (some kids did!), and he munched plenty of cookies afterward. Fun, fun!

Listening to Christmas Music!

Knights in Shining Armour Get Worn Out Sometimes!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Home from school!

Last time Naomi stayed home from school with a cold, she got a haircut at a salon. This time, we're painting toenails. :)

Friday, December 07, 2012

Setting up the tree!

This was almost immediately after our big Thanksgiving trip to Minnesota. There were piles of laundry to do, bags to unpack, a house to put back in order...but first things first!!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Gabriel Porter Merrell

Recent big moments:

Soccer medal from Coach Ted (and cupcakes from the team mom)!

Preschool Thanksgiving program, in which Gabe was a pilgrim. All the classes sang songs I had taught them, and then we had a Thanksgiving feast! (He was rather unenthusiastic about being photographed.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

We love to read!

Naomi occasionally finds there is no bookmark within reach. No worries;she's a creative one!

(We generally take quite good care of our books...)

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Afternoon entertainment!

Boys. Blocks. Balls. Laughter!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Primary Program

In September, the organization for children at church put on their yearly program. Naomi and Gabe both had small speaking parts, which they thoroughly enjoyed. Gabe's class, as the youngest group up there, provided comic relief with actions during songs and big waves to their parents and friends!The kids were all looking snazzy in their Sunday clothes, so we snapped some pictures.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Reading Buddy

Another post from years gone by...this one was actually from when we lived in Arizona!

Naomi had a darling moment today when we were reading in her room. She has a teddy bear that sits by the bookcase, and I call him Naomi's reading buddy. He always sits on my lap alongside Naomi when we read in the glider. Today Matt came in and asked about the teddy bear. When I told him it was Naomi's reading buddy, Naomi turned and patted the teddy bear twice on the head, and then went back to concentrating on the book. It's fun to see that she actually knows what we are talking about sometimes!!

Atlanta LDS Temple Open House

I just discovered this in our drafts folder...this happened in April-ish of 2011.
Those kids look awfully little! 

The Atlanta Georgia LDS temple is being rededicated, and we were able to attend the open house and get a tour of the temple. It was beautiful and peaceful.
Naomi's favorite was the "getting-married room".
Gabe liked the baptistry, because of the baptismal font (to a 3 year old, a small swimming pool) and the statues of oxen holding it up.
You can see the Angel Moroni atop the spire in these pictures. Not all LDS temples have them, but the kids were very excited to see it. (Gabe thinks the angel is holding a baseball bat!)

I am thrilled we will have a temple so close to us - about 25 minutes away. It's a beautiful place where we can seek inspiration, feel God's love for us, and learn about Jesus Christ and about why we are on this earth and how we can be together as a family for all eternity.

BYU vs. GA Tech!

Matt and I headed to the BYU football game last weekend - we were thrilled to have them in Atlanta! We went with friends, stopped by the Varsity for a snack (subpar hot dogs but over the top onion rings!), froze in the wind, and barely avoided getting motion sick on MARTA, the local train system. (Well, I was probably the only one who had problems on the train.)

We had a fantastic time and want BYU's football team to visit the south again. Real soon, ya'hear?

Zoo Atlanta!

Saturday found us at Zoo Atlanta after Gabe's weekly soccer game. (Seven-ish goals scored by Gabe {we forgot to count}! His last game is next week!)

We lured parakeets with seed sticks. We climbed over a statue of Willie B the gorilla, a former long-time resident of Atlanta. We perched in a gigantic bird's nest. We picnicked and had fun! And we took most of the pictures with the other camera...

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Eye Patch Accessory

Andrew sported this eye patch for the entire day! (That was early in October; I've spent the rest of the month hiding it from him.)

Naomi Visits the Dentist

And we brought plenty of bribes to get her through it!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dads' Breakfast at Camp Creek Elementary!

Naomi was thrilled to take her dad to breakfast at school, so off they went together, both with backpacks!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wednesday Doin's with Andrew Frederick!

Trains and spray whipped cream on a spoon...he's an easy one to please!

Gallery Day at Preschool!

Last Friday I joined Gabe in his classroom for an artist-conducted tour of his masterpieces on the walls. He preferred to not be photographed next to any art pieces but did condescend to allow a photo with the chief member of his fan club!

Sunday, October 14, 2012


We went camping this weekend! We had an incredible amount of fun. Highlights: 

  • After breakfast, we walked/skipped/ran/galloped to the nearby lake where ducks were sighted, sand was tromped in, and rocks were skipped across the water. 
  • Then we packed up camp and headed to the apple orchard for some hardcore apple picking (or rather casual apple picking and lots of playing with the walkie talkies). We consumed peach and grape slushes as well as fried fruit pies - yum!
  • We saw Amicalola Falls for the first time, a nearby waterfall! We scaled the steep approach and the 175 steps listed as strenuous (the kids did it themselves, so it can't have been THAT strenuous!) to see the beautiful sight. 
  • We stopped by Bub-Ba-Q's for some fantastic bbq! Matt found this place last year and we went there after apple picking with my parents in 2011. Bubba has won all kinds of national bbq competitions and been on The Food Network shows. And we drooled for weeks in anticipation.
  • Of everything we did, the only pictures I took on my phone were at Bub-Ba-Q's! (Other pics on the big camera...I'll see when we can upload those.) And the phone camera must have been smudged. Look past the glare and see if you can find the kids riding on a pig or our family and friends sampling the best bbq in Georgia!

Here Naomi is pointing out her loose tooth.
It is, naturally, difficult to eat fresh apples off the tree
or mouth-watering bbq when you have a loose tooth...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

2 Boys and Their Donuts

A peaceful afternoon treat...Andrew promptly stuffed the first donut in his mouth and then analyzed the bag closure system, trying to find a way to get more donuts!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Cold Day at the top of Stone Mountain!

The kids were out of school for Columbus Day, so we recruited some friends to head to Stone Mountain with us. Little did they know that it would be so chilly!
(Naomi is in the green coat, Gabe is in the red coat, and Andrew is in the blue coat.)

Undaunted by the cold, we still scaled the mountain (or rode the sky lift up) and admired the sweeping vistas (the kids immediately spotted McDonald's). Children ran, fell, jumped, cried, ate crackers, followed the white lines, giggled, complained, and had a fun time!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Observation Day @ Ballet School

Naomi's high level of enthusiasm for dance + the thrill of having an audience = recipe for a fantastic parent observation day in ballet class!

Saturday, October 06, 2012

First time in 9 years of marriage...

A valuable lesson indeed: check the clipper attachment before putting blade to skin.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Gabe is loving soccer! He literally vibrates with excitement before and after practices (1 a week) and games. (Did you catch the word "literally"? Because I'm quite serious!)
I had thought about waiting until January to sign him up since there was a late registration fee of $20 we had to pay. It's the absolute BEST $20 we've ever spent!! The look on his face when any soccer topic arises is repayment enough.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Caterpillars with Daddy!

Games with Gabe!

This was last Saturday, after Gabe's soccer game. He picked a game to play with me, and his choice was Carcassonne, or the map game as he refers to it. "Silly rules", of course (his code for not following the regular rules!).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The (Unexpected) Adventure of the Day!

It's been raining, though, so there were fun puddles for Andrew's splashing pleasure!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Soccer boy!

Why does our soccer-crazy 4 year old,
who has been so eagerly anticipating his first soccer practice,
look completely dejected at the end of the first practice?
Because the practice session had to end, of course!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cement Truck Love

We are locked out of the house AND car. Luckily there is a cement truck down the street, which is pure entertainment. (Note Andrew is sporting a cement truck shirt and clutching (any guesses??)...yes, a cement truck toy!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Our Sunday

The boys stayed home from church, still recuperating. Naomi's church class got bags of playdough, and she asked and was allowed to bring an extra bag home for Gabe. (Sweet of her! Or perhaps it was so Gabe wouldn't beg for part of hers...we'll take it either way!)  Anyway, Naomi molded two birds, complete with tail feathers and nests!

Here is Andrew, moments after getting numbing eardrops. He's supposed to lay still. :)

Solution: that infamous explorer and her fellow conspirator, the monkey. Yes, our son is head over heels for Dora. It kept a 2 year-old's head on a pillow for a few minutes, anyway!

And if you noticed Andrew is wearing the same clothes as in yesterday's post, be kind in your thoughts. We're just happy we haven't chucked him out the window from all the crying!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Andrew Turns 2!

Today our Andrew Frederick turned 2 years old! Unfortunately, he's pretty fussy from the ear infections and we've had a few rough days. 

It worked out, though...he loved his presents, to the tune of dancing and shrieking about them.

And when a mom is too tired and frazzled and emotionally spent to prepare festivities, Chili's will provide your child with dessert, a scary song (think small 2 year old surrounded by tall adults loudly clapping and screeching a strange song - TERRIFYING!) and balloons. Instant party!