Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Friday, December 14, 2012


I guess I have reached my point with too many pictures and not willing to spend the money every month to post more on this blog.  I will be making a new blog and there will be a link.   All followers please use DETOUR!!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day of Thanks

This season of Thanksgiving was VERY busy and I think I purposely made it that way so I wouldn't have to think of not being with family on the actual day of Thanksgiving.  I wanted SO badly to go to Utah but the $ to get there wasn't possible (dang washer & dryer had to get paid off this month)  This was our first "official" year without family and I was really bummed about it.  But I'll tell you what....I have an amazing husband and an amazing family!  It was probably my favorite one yet.

It started with the night before getting a newspaper and looking at ads.  haha.  The next morning on Thanksgiving day we all watched the Lions as a family.  It was so fun to chant "Lions, Lions, Lions"  Jaycee thought that was funny.  And it was such a good game.  During the game Jaycee and I spent seriously 2 hours cutting newspaper pictures and gluing and looking at more things on my computer.  It was so fun.  She has quite a long list but we told her that Santa has to bring things to all the girls & boys so she said..."Okay, only 5.  I want a Dream Lite, MagnaDots, 4 wheeler, paint thing and playdough cake thing"  It's pretty funny to see her so excited for Christmas.  She is learning too that Christmas isn't all about getting gifts but giving them too.  So we made a list for Hadi too and Jaycee helped to pick out toys that she would like.  It was fun.  Then we all got showered and ready for the day.  Then it was time to cook.  I'm the best wife to cook everything homemade but I think it turned out good.  We got a turkey breast, rhodes rolls, sweet potatoes, mashed & gravy, corn, cranberries-jellied, stove top stuffing and last with coconut & apple pie.  It was soooo good and so grateful for all the left overs.  Mmmmm.....   After dinner we were so full but had a blast just hanging out together as a family.  I did skype with my family for just a little bit.  And then Aimes and I talked forever on the phone.  She's so cute.  Then everyone but me crashed pretty early.  It was such a great day and Craig is just....well amazing.  He was so worried about my feelings and tried to make the day a relaxing and stress free day knowing I was already sad about not being with family.  He's the best!

Friday morning Craig was a champ to go shopping with me.  Most thing were things we probably didn't "need" but who can pass a good deal?.....an Allen can't!!!  We left at 9am with both girls and ready to shop.  I was soooo tired.  I didn't go to bed until 4 so it was def a caffeine day.  We started at Fred Meyer for breakfast & Jaycee's oh-so-wanted Unicorn Dream Lite.  I have issues spending that much for such a silly thing but we felt like it was the one thing she was consistent on wanting.  I can't wait to see her face.  Then we went to Walmart for Pjs, MOVIES, Jaycee's paint thing, found Jaycee a dress for $3!, Wii Draw (santa brings the family a game every year) and then my favorite....Jaycee picked out Hadi a Christmas present.  It was so fun to see her think about what to get her.  She only had about $8 to spend from her "allowance" so she picked out this cute toy for the bath.  And I'm sure Jaycee will show her how to play with it LOL   Then we were off to Kohls.  They sent a FREE $10 so who could resist.  Only I went in and tried to be quick.  I grabbed Craig's some work socks and went to find the line at the end of the store!  It was about 12:10 and we all had the coupon for 1:00 pm expired.  So we all were doing the same thing.  While waiting in line I called Craig to tell him I would be prob 20 min and he asked if it was worth it...heck ya!  While waiting and walking I found a cute purple robe someone had put aside and snatched it up.  Jaycee has been asking for one and thought what the heck.  I was shocked it all cost only $20!  Go Kohls!  Then we were off to Target for more movies, wash cloths, flashlight (stocking stuff) and Hadi some lotion for her stocking.  Last was our final stop at Fred Meyer again to get Cinderella & Brave.  Everyone else were either out or not on sale.  We got them both for $24.  I had a coupon from DMR.  THEN....Old Navy had amazing deals on clothes so we stocked up online and my neighbor had an amazing coupon on her clothes so I got skirts for our pictures coming up.  With everything we spend about $300 but man we got soooo much.  I love shopping and Craig was a good sport.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November has come

Day 10- I'm very thankful for technology.  Since moving away I have depended so much on phones, text messaging, computers and skype to keep in touch with family.  I would feel so far away if it weren't for this!  We got to Skype on Sunday with Gma&Gpa and they got to watch Hadi take a few steps as she is learning to walk.  Also Jaycee got to see Mitsy and tell them all about what she wants for Christmas.  It was good to see them.

Day 11- I'm grateful for medicine.  I really don't use much of it but when heartburn comes I grab my Tums.  Or for those days that I have a pounding headache.  And let's not forget child birth!  Ouchie!  Or how about the shots for my girls so they are healthy.  I'm thankful we have modern medicine.

Day 12-I'm grateful for trials.  I know this sounds weird but when I have trials whether big or small, they open up my eyes to look for the good and positive.  Also through my trials I become a stronger person. 

Day 13 - I'm grateful for music.  I can not function without music.  Pandora is probably the most used app on my phone.  I have music on ALL the time!  I love all the varieties too.  I can go to church or put hymns and feel the spirit.  I can put some funky music on to dance with the girls and everyone laughs.  I can put some tunes to sing to.  I just love it all!

Day 14 - I'm thankful for rain.  I live in Washington and it rains A LOT.  And you know, it doesn't bug me one bit.  I can still do everything in the rain.  It makes it so beautiful here and almost always there's a rainbow somewhere after rain.  I love the smell, the sound and how fresh it makes everything.

Day 15- I'm thankful for missionary work.  I hate doing it because it scares me and it's hard to open up but I love the feeling of sharing the gospel.  I love to hear of how missionary work has brought so many to the gospel.  I love having the missionaries over for dinner and to visit and feel of their spirit as they are called to be a mouth piece for the Lord. 

Day 16- I'm grateful for my animals.  Izzy can really drive me nuts with being so big, hairy and mean but since we've moved here my heart for her has softened.  She really loves the girls and especially loves Milly (minus when she is getting bit at)  She makes me feel safe in our home.  I especially love my little Milly-moo.  She is the best dog EVER and really adds a great addition to our family.  She seriously is like a little baby and loves getting treated like one.  I would be so sad without her in our family.

Day 17- I'm grateful for caffeine.  I know this sounds bad but I am.  I have my days that I just need it.  That's all.

Day 18- I'm thankful for good books.  WHEN I have time I do love reading.  I loved The Hunger Games and of course the twilight series and a good Nicholas Sparks book.  But I especially right now love The Book of Mormon and for the things we are learning.  3rd Nephi is my favorite and is so empowering to read about Christ visiting and how powerful that our Savior prayed in our behalf.  Reading it brings me closer and to more understand the whole plan of salvation.

Day 19- I'm grateful for holidays.  I love any reason to celebrate.  I'm usually a huge Halloween fan but now that the girls are getting bigger Christmas is just so exciting.  I can't wait!  Thanksgiving is going to be hard this year without family but I'm still grateful to celebrate our blessings and eat yummy food.

Day 20- I'm thankful for my outlook on life.  I try really hard to look for the good in life.  There are times of course, but I just hate negative feelings and attitudes.  There's so much good to every situation that I try to look for.  I really hope to help my family and children to look for the good in things and to be positive and find the good. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Kitchen Updo

When we bought our house we LOVED our kitchen and called it the "WOW" kitchen compared to all the other homes.  I LOVE MY KITCHEN!  Unfortunately, it did have tile counter tops.  I really don't mind them except these were HORRIBLE!  MANY were cracked, 2 spots had fallen off the edged and it was just bad.  I also hated the sharp edges and Jaycee even got a good bruise on her head from the edges.  We wanted to do the floors since the lanolium is pretty bad in some spots but that quickly changed to the counter tops instead.  Lowes was offering 18months interest free financing back in July so we quickly jumped on the offer with plans to use tax returns & Christmas bonus to pay them off.  I was scared to go into debt again but with 18 months that would mean 2 tax returns if all else doesn't work out.  Also it was an improvement on the house so it was a good investment.
 Don't mind Jaycee being silly or the jewelry but on the back wall you can see the holes left from taking tile backsplash off.
 Minus the food here are the old counter tops.  Notice the sharp corners...ouchies-those hurt little heads.
 before from the family room
 I don't have zoomed up pics of the tops but this is basically what it looked like.  We started by painting the whole house.  YES THE WHOLE HOUSE!!!  We picked out a nice brown caramel color.  Then off came the tile.  That was a chore.  Craig did the back splash first and it left huge holes so he had to go back and fix those.  The off came the tile on the tops.  It took FOREVER and hurt!  Craig did a good part by the oven and then one day the Olympics were on so I went at it all day!  6 hours it took me with a hammer and chizel from the sink forward, the island and the desk.  That sucked!  Next off came the wood tops.  Then we had the new counter tops measured, placed and glued.  The sink is so awesome too because it's all one piece and no seems.  Then Craig put up the backsplash, and finally grout and touch up paint.  Here is our finished products and I LOVE IT!!!  Now I can't wait until we get wood floors to top it off.  That'll have to wait at least year though because no funds.  haha
Here is the final product

Friday, November 9, 2012

November has come!

Looking back on this year I can not believe it's November!  Where did it go?!!!  But I always do love November as it gives me time to reflect on my life and give my thanks!  So here it goes

Day 1-I'm thankful for Craig.  He's my super attractive, supportive, gentle, humble, uplifting, patient, selfless husband that as each day longer that we're married I feel so lucky and blessed to have him.  From moving to Maine and now to Washington we have grown so close together and I'm loving this journey we're on together.  He makes life fun.  He makes life worth waking up everyday to.  He make my life bliss.  And for as serious of a person I am-he can always make me laugh and take things light-hearted.  He's my world!  I love you Craig!  Love this pic as he's making me laugh trying not to blink.  haha
Day 2- I'm thankful for my 2 beautiful little girls.  I always wanted a girl first and was SO excited when I found out Jaycee was a girl-despite people trying to tell me otherwise.  Then when I got pregnant again I thought for sure Hadi was a boy but the week of I had feelings of a girl.  I wanted a boy at first but once I found out she was a girl I was so excited!  I thought I'd be bummed but I think it was opposite.  They both are SOOOO cute together and Hadi truly loves her sister and they just are so good to each other.  Jaycee is my big helper and loves to be my sidekick.  It's scary how much she is like me.  She loves to copy everything mom & dad do and it is pretty funny.  Jaycee is spunky but is very cuddly still which I love.  She does have her moments of being emotional but overall I she's a fun little girl who loves to laugh.  Hadley---oh Hadi.  I just want to squeeze her all day long.  She is getting such a fun personality.  She is soft and tender just like Craig.  She's so quiet and pretty much does her own thing all day.  She loves to cuddle and her bed time routine with mom.  She loves her sissy so much and gets so smiley when Jaycee is around.  Hadi is so funny right now as she is learning to walk and she gets the biggest grin on her face like she is so proud.  Mmmm..I just love her.  I could NEVER complain about my girls.  They are the best!!!  I just feel so content with my little girlies.
Day 3-I'm thankful that I was born into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I was raised with values & morals and a knowledge of the gospel.  The older I get the more I am thankful for this!  I KNOW that our church is the true church and I love the joy I see when I get to share that with others. 

Day 4-I'm thankful for my seesters  :)   I think this would be the worst part about living away.  This would be the one reason why I'd give up the beach and the beautiful west coast.  Each sister gives something unique to me that when all 4 are together it just feels complete.  They are my other best friends that no can ever replace.  I miss them dearly and hope that one day we'll move back so I can see and be them more often. 
Love you girls!

Day 5-I'm thankful for the rest of my family.  Family is so important and how grateful I am to be part of a great one.  I love my inlaw family and feel blessed to feel loved by my in-law family.  They are so fun and so chill and always can make me laugh.  My mom is my mommy and how much I do love her.  She's such a gentle woman and my hero in so many ways!   My dad is my rock and give thanks to all his hard work to provide for me. 

Day 6-I'm grateful for Paparazzi.  I know this sounds cheesy but selling this has truly changed me.  I have more confidence in myself.  I have more guts to go up and talk to a complete stranger.  The money to Paparazzi is just a perk but the other things it has done for me is the difference.  I love seeing everyone excited about $5 jewelry.  I love seeing how women can feel confident too.  My absolute favorite is to see women who are tight on money still able to buy themself something nice to help their self-esteem.  When I first started it was all about making good money and I'm realizing there's SO much more to gain.  And plus getting to buy cute jewelry is fun.  hehe.

Day 7-I'm thankful for Kleinschmidt.  They are a great company to work for.  They treat Craig good and think so highly of him.  I love that they let Craig have a flexible schedule and he can literally not go into work if I need him home for help like appointments and he can stay home and work.  I'm grateful they hired us and let us visit Maine and Oregon before making a huge decision to move.  I'm thankful they employ us and thankful they help us to have our needs met.  I feel so blessed that we work for them.

Day 8- Food.  I probably am a little too grateful for it.  haha.  Lately I've been on this guacamole kick.  And pizza.  And chocolate.  And celery.  And yogurt.  And cereal.  All of it---Mmmmm..  I love that we get variety.

Day 9-I'm thankful for animals.  Even though Izzy and I have had our moments; I'm still grateful she helps to protect our family.  I love our little Milly even though I've been frustrated with her lately.  She's so cute and the girls just love her.  She is such a good family dog.  And she loves playing with Izzy. It's pretty funny to see.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Hey Everyone!  I'm doing a FREE GIVEAWAY here shortly with my Paparazzi Accessories!  To enter simply go to: www.facebook.com/PaparazziByMJ  and LIKE the page.  There's also a GIVEAWAY tab for more chances to win.  GOOD LUCK!  and thank you everyone for your support.

Happy, Happy Halloween

I can't believe how fast October FLEW by!  We did get to do some fun Halloween activities and loved having visitors at this time of year.  We were a little late with carving pumpkins that most stores were sold out.  We did manage to get one giant one so we figured that'd be good enough.  Craig and Jaycee loved working together to do a silly face.

On Halloween it was kinda a crazy day with cleaning and getting things done for the week.  We did spend the afternoon trick-or-treating Main Street here in Battle Ground.  Wow there were so many people!  All the shops hand out candy.  We were just going to go to a new cafe cuz they were doing activities but ended up walking around.  Here is Hadi all ready to go.  She didn't like that headband too much.
 At the cafe they did a cake walk and Jaycee won!  I was shocked. 
 Eating her prize.  She's such a nice sister too because she gave half of it to her sissy.
 After visiting with friends and neighbors on Main Street we went back home to meet Craig and do our own trick-or-treating.  We decided to boycott the ward trunk-or-treat and do the traditional.  We liked it way better.  I have the cutest little kitties in the whole wide world!  When Jaycee saw that Hadi was being a kitty, that's what she wanted to be.  Then she wanted a mask and not ears so that's what we did.  I think it turned out perfect.  Funny they chose to be cats when we have 2 dogs at home.   ha ha
 Me and my girls. 
 Jaycee was so funny!  She would walk up; knock; take candy; then run away yelling Trick or Treat.  We had to yell back thank you to nearly everyone.  Finally at the end she caught on. 

 Ah, that is just tender.  She was so excited when Craig got home.  She was missing him today more than normal for some reason.  This sums up the night with Jaycee and Dad
 Walking through the neighborhood.  It was PERFECT weather!  Just a slight mist and not cold at all.  I'm really loving this weather here.
 Being silly.  I love Halloween!
 After 2 blocks Jaycee decided she was done for.  We went home and opened the door and Craig handed out while I made our traditional mummy hot dog dinner.  We also had tator tots (craig and I had sweet pot fries) and  an orange jello.  Yummers!
 Jaycee scoping out all her goods.  She got a good mix of candy.  Hadi tried hard to get some too
 I had Jaycee pick out a bag full that she can keep and then the rest will be left out for the Switch Witch.  Here's her bag she stuffed.
 Here is proof that I did throw away candy---that was hard for me.  Not that I wanted to eat it but felt bad for wasting.
 The bag on the right is the candy going to Craig's work.  I figured that's better than throwing it away.  Then the bag on the left will be a secret stash for when we are needing a sugar.  We've been doing really good lately at not eating much sugar so this will come in handy on those nights we just need a little something.
 The Switch Witch came and left a fun game  Let's Go Fishing!  Jaycee requested glitter glue but she didn't get around to it this week :)  I'm sure she'll love this instead.  
I'm loving this idea and think it's wonderful to teach Jaycee that she doesn't need all that candy to make her happy!  I can't wait to see what she does in the morning. 

Happy Halloween Everyone!  I hope it turned out fantastic for you all!  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Switch Witch

My neighbor & friend Renee does the coolest thing for her kids with Halloween.  It's called the Switch Witch.  On Halloween after the kids get back they get to pick out a little bit of candy that they want to keep.  Then they leave the rest in a spot for the Switch Witch to come while they are sleeping.  She simply switching out the candy for a toy.  BRILLIANT!  What's a great idea to make sure the kids don't get too much candy.  We're going to try it out this year and Jaycee is pretty excited about it.  So am I.  I plan to take her good stuff and save it for when we need a "sugar" and then the rest is going in the garbage.  I'll post how it goes.

Monday, October 22, 2012

October Rain Brings Visitors :)

Wouldn't you know that here in Washington we went through a dry spell from June until October and the minute we have family come in town....in comes the rain.  But despite the rain we had a fun time.  We ate some yummy meals and our new favorite at Red Robin.  We went to some fun places in the rain and shine.  We played games-Jim and Pam were guilty!  We crossed our heart and hoped to die  ha ha.  We talked about what we'd do "if I had a million dollars"  ha ha.  Some threw up from car sickness.  Girls played with barbies and had sleepovers.  Dog poop was found on shoes-gross!  Pears were eaten off our tree.  Rhett was obsessed with my phone.  But the best was the JOY of having family drive over 12 hours one way to visit us.  Thank you Dalynne and family for such a great week and we can't wait for our next visit! 

It was Kenna's 3rd birthday on 10/12 so we celebrated on Sunday.  That frosting from Harmons was delicious!  Happy Birthday Kenna.  Hope you love your zooble.
 On Tuesday night we had a Tupperware/Paparazzi party so we decided to get everyone out before the parties and took a visit to Multanomah Falls.  Everyone was quite excited to see the falls.  It was a bit chilly but glad we had coats and boots.  The group pic minus Hadi & I
 Ah...so cute!
 The girls.  Aren't they adorable!
 Love my little family
 Dalynne and Kodes
She was such a good baby all week

 Wednesday we got a little bit of a late start with staying up so late the night before but we still snuck in a trip to the beach.  It was a PERFECT day.  60 degree weather with a slight warm breeze.  The tide was clear out so it was actually nice we got there a little late.  Rhett was able to find 12 sand dollars!  Hadi loved the beach and at one point she went face first into the sand to get a taste.
 Happy 10 year Anniversary guys!
 My beach girls! 
 Jaycee loved the beach as usual.  At one point she was doing beach-angels.  haha
We did get to go to our favorite seafood restaurant in Astoria and had some devine surf & turf.  All the kids loved the food.  We were tuckered out when we got home. 
 Thursday we decided to take a trip to the Portland temple.  They have a new visitors center so we went through that and the kids got to color temples.  Also we had fun walking around and enjoying the beauty of the Lord's house.  It's even prettier inside!  
The girls were taking pics and they have learned to pose.  ha ha
 These 2 girls were inseparable.  At one point both Rylee and Jaycee were crying because they couldn't ride together in my car.  They got along so well.  Rylee is just a little doll and so sweet spirited. 
 My beauty

 My little blue-eyed Hadi
 Jaycee thought it was cool that she could climb up and touch the temple. 
 Friday Craig took off the day and we took the clan to the Ape Caves @ Mt. St. Helens.  Unfortunately it was raining so they couldn't see the actual valcano but we did still go down into the caves.  Here is Jaycee outside the caves playing in the lava rocks.
 Little Rylee moo
 The Merrill family down in the cave.  It's really hard to take pics because you literally can't see anything down there. 
 Our family :)
 A picture of a spot down in the caves.  It was pretty creppy when it was so dark and couldn't see anything and just could feel dripping water.  It was a perfect spooooky adventure for Halloween.

 Yay we made it back and out safe and in one piece
 Mountain man Craig showing us the way
 Playing games on the weekend nights.  Love me some Office Clue
 Rhett being silly

 Saturday we did manage some more good weather to go feed the ducks by our house. 
 The girls trying to find which duck to feed

Sunday came a little too quick!  We had so much fun and already planning for another trip.  
Love you Merrill family.