Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Another year over, and a new one just begun...

So, here are my obligatory resolutions for 2011:
1.) Blog. I'm thinking maybe every Sunday evening with a recap of the weeks events.
2.) Stay on track to graduate with honors. All A's baby.
3.) Get my haircut. There is absolutely nothing wrong with short term goals.
4.) Attempt flying again. This time I'm seeing me on lots of (legal) drugs and a BiG airplane.
5.) Do better at making sure my kids are ahead of the game. Edjacationaly speaking. Here are some of my ideas I would like to implement, beginning tomorrow:
a.) poem and/or Bible verse memorization each week.
b.) hardcore math fact memorization.
c.) geography memorization.
6.) Learn how to convince myself that I actually Do know what's best for my kids and not to give a cows tail what anybody else thinks.

And now for a recap of some of the Merrill Family highlights from 2010:

Had a great time at the kick off party for Jackie Walorski. We ended up being on a bunch of campaign fliers she sent out.

I love this picture of one of Grace's many creations. She made this bicycle out of pennies while I was reading to her one morning.

Ahhh, breakfast at Krispie Kreme in our PJ's.

And one of our favorite traditions, St. Pats at the Knights of Columbus with the Kensingers and Weirengas.

Easter dinner, check out the folded silverware/napkins!

And Easter with the Merrills...

Another favorite thing we love to do: Kensinger/Wierenga protesting.

Every year we go up to Lake Michigan in the early early spring to play around.

Caught my girls cuddled up together reading.

Grace and Lucky...

The beginnings of cowgirls...

OMGoodness! Springhill Camp is the BeSt!

And of course, camping with Grandpa...always an adventure! And usually a pretty goofy one!

At the rodeo!

This was the BesT 4th of July fireworks display EVER! Beutter park with the whole gang.

And of course the fair. Thank goodness for daddy...mama does NoT do roller coasters!

We got to spend a few days in Chicago this summer. This is Grace and daddy building a little house at the Children's Museum on Navy Pier.

And, time for school to start. This year began a new adventure for Grace, a whole new school!

And check out this AweSome pumpkin patch we found up in Michigan. They had a zip line, gem sifting, all kinds of great fun. We will definitely be coming back here again this fall.

Shopping in Middlebury. Who knew a hardware store could be so much fun?

And finally, waiting to see if Santa came...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy Day To My Babies!

Babies? Ok, so my daughters are now 9 and 7...I will NOT spend this post discussing how shocking that fact is to me. I will NOT spend this post trying to figure out how life is zooming past me faster than a Jimmy Johns delivery man. I will NOT spend this post telling you that I would swear I just changed their sweet little diapers yesterday and how can they be 9 and 7 and...b r e a t h...

OK, I WILL spend this post sharing with you pictures of one of the funnest and most beautiful days I can sweet daughters' birthday party.

My nephew Ben:

Emily is in LOVE with this horse. If you ever hear her swooning on about "Otis" this is him:

Time to say goodbye to the horses *sniff*

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Feelin' kinda blue right now.

Last May, as in May of 2009 my sweet girls got their ears pierced. Well, Emily had no problems whatsoever with hers. I think she probably could have changed them the day after having them pierced. But poor sweet Grace ended up with both of her ears infected. It was really a horrible experience. There was blood and oooze and all kinds of nasty things going on with hers the whole 6 weeks she kept them in. So, we let them close up. Now, that was 16 months ago! So, Grace wanted to try it again. Totally her idea. So, we took her back and had them done:
Well, for 6 weeks Grace has taken SUCH good care of her little ears and everyday she turned them. So, today she wanted to change them so badly but she was so scared. Now, let me tell you it is no easy feat trying to get the back off of someone else's earring. So I pulled and when I did it turned out there was a bit of dried up stuff and it hurt like crazy when it came out. She was crying, I was crying. It was turning red. AAAGGHH!! I didn't know what to do. I wasn't about to try to take out the other one. So, I figured I should put this one back in and clean it really good and just keep it in for a few more weeks.
My poor sweet child.
Why is it when your child has pain it wretches your own heart to the point of unbearableness?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Free At Last!!

So, the last time I posted I was getting ready to take my final in History class. Let me tell you how that turned out!
First of all, at the beginning of the semester our professor passed out a study guide that had roughly 80 topic points on it. It was very detailed in what we were to be studying. After about the 40th point we had our midterm. Basically it was all WWI. I got an A. So from the midterm on every study point was about Japan, China, and WWII. So I spent three weeks memorizing Japanese history from 1870-1945 and the detailed facts of the beginnings of and the results of WWII. So, Monday afternoon we all walk into class and he puts on the board our 3 choices for essay:
1)Russian History 1880's on
2)German History 1870-1945
3)The causes of WWI
Some classmates behind me said "Um, you have up there WWI" to which he said "yes! WWI!" And they said "but it says ONE! WW ONE!!" You see, he's Russian and quite difficult to understand so we figured we were having a communication breakdown. A 411 911 if you will. So, I raise my hand and say "So what your saying is that we really didn't even need to come to class at all the last 3 weeks??!!"
Sidebar: I know what many of you are thinking. Alice, don't you have the desire to learn about these events anyway? And my answer to that is, YES! Which is why I read about WWII constantly. To go and sit for 6 1/2 hours every week and watch 30 year old films is NOT learning.
OK, so I picked essay question #2 since I pretty much have WWII down pat. However I could not for the life of me locate in my brain any info on Germany prior to 1917.
So, After class I walked out completely deflated. Out in the hallway a poor girl from my class was crying! She started yelling at me "Can you believe that c**p!!" Oy!
So, I have been waiting...waiting...finally they posted our grades on line. Alice gets a B+!! Thank you Lord! Not the A I was hoping to get out of one of my favorite subjects but this class has been a nightmare and I am so happy with my grade!! And next semester is going to be a blast! Math (blah), Intro to Scientific Inquiry and...wait for it...Children's Literature! Yes! My specialty. I'm serious.
Let's see, 2 semesters this summer with two Russian professors. Is IUSB trying to prove something? Anyone taking bets on this coming up semester?

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Well, I'm freaking out. Tomorrow is my final in World History and I am utterly drowning in information. I can't keep straight Japan and China and Hitler and Manchukuo and Manchuria and Manthis and Manthat. I've got dates in my head screaming at me but...BRIGHT SIDE: at least their drowning out the voices usually screaming at me.
This class has been brutal and I just want it over. I so wanted an A in this class. I got an A on our midterm. But I felt pretty good going into that. This one has me FREAKED!! At this point I just want to pass. If I have to take this class over I will die.
Summer is over. The girls start school on Tuesday and we have yet to buy one stupid pencil or gluestick. Ok, slightly passive aggressive. "Stupid" was a bit harsh. It's just that this class has been a thorn in my side for 6 weeks and I just want tomorrow to be done. I want to take my daughters school shopping. I want to not drop out of college again. I want to pass this class!!!! Darn it Japan! Why did you have to get involved with WWII, Europe is enough to remember. I simply have no more room in my brain for your imperialistic drama!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I have been facially profiled!

It's been going on for years. But until this morning at 11:30 I didn't know exactly what it was or why it was happening.
Let me give you the 411 (for those of you not in the know, that will be appearing in Street Talk with Lamanjillo under the root word "information") on what went down this morning:

So I'm in a new class that is just for teachers. It's my first class of that sort and p.s.
...I LOVE IT!!!
Anyway, so our professor (who is the shizzle, if I do say so myself) has been telling us stories about her experiences as an elementary teacher. They are hysterical! I find them completely fascinating. So today she's telling us about this student she had one time who had some disorder...COULDN'T TOUCH THE GROUND!!! I kid you not. Totally ground phobic. And I can hear your whispering to yourselves now "Oh No, please don't let Alice get this one." Quit it, I say.
Anyway, so I'm sitting there along with my fellow classmates with our eyes wide and jaws to the ground. She's telling us this poor kid would run into class like a bolt of lightening and jump onto his desk. Eventually she needed to place crates all around the room and into the potty so the kid could get through each day.
Now, I know you think I'm making this up but I assure you, I am not.
So I raise my hand and say "shouldn't someone have told you that this was coming?" My teacher says "ummmmm, no." And then I say "could you find out if the kid was getting help?" And she starts telling me that it is illegal to even ask (which is another story all together) and this my friends, is where the profiling began.
Now, I know that when most people look at me they hear doves cooing in the background and see butterflies fluttering 'round my head. So these "street smart" little just-out-of-high-school-thugs start saying to me "Dang girl, you need to get chureself to some South Bend public skew. You need tasee da re-al world, girl."
Oh. No.
Really? So because I find "fear of the GROUND!!" to be slightly off kilter, I apparently am living too sheltered of a life!?!?!? ARRRGGG!!!
Because I find "fear of the GROUND!!" a little off in left field, I am not living in the real world?!?!? ARRGGGG!!!
Keep Calm And Carry On, Alice! Gonna get an A...Gonna get an A...Gonna get an A...

P.S. Anyone want to guess how many times the word diversity has come up in this education class?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Where do I begin? So everyday I check one of my favorite bloggers to see what she is up to. She used to post almost every day but now, much to my dismay, whenever I check there is no new post! So, I checked the date of her last post to see if indeed it has been as long as I think it has been since reading anything new from her and it was July 6th. So, I checked the date of my last post...June 23! Ahhhh!! What has been wrong with me? And do I have anyone who calls me their favorite blogger? I know my mom and dear friend Anne harass me when I don't post frequently enough but that's like your mom telling you how pretty you are. Though as a mother when I tell my girls how pretty they are, they REALLY ARE! And, let me say to you Anne, and you mom...I adore you both!

So...I just got home from my History class. 3 hours and 20 minutes of history. Now, I actually like history and I find the 2 World Wars fascinating. I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of WWII and am very interested in learning more about WWI. Well, today my professor managed to suck the life and energy out of a room of about 25 people, most of whom are between the ages of 18 and 20. And worst, he managed to (hopefully just for the day) suck the enthusiasm for history right out of me. For over an hour we were subject to a 20 year old film on New Zealands part in WWI. I was thinking to myself the whole time "really, I can't just read about this?" The film was so old you can't hardly understand it anyway and if the sound was any louder you may have been able to hear it for yourselves from the comfort of your home. So, I was sure that it was the worst movie I had ever seen on any war. I was wrong.

The next film needed an explanation from the professor about it's poor quality. Apparently it had been copied from a copied copy copied from a copy. When this film started I kid you not I thought I was going to have an epileptic seizure! The image was nothing but flashing white flashes. Occasionally you would see these flickering black images that you could very infrequently make out to be a person or a horse. Had you been able to understand what the narrator was saying I may have been able to tell you what the images were!!! Really, I got to thinking, there is a lot of good quality stuff out there to use to teach about (fill in the blank) so why...WHY would you use something you can't even see????? And, after taking a head count of how many people were sleeping and how many had escaped, I figured out the answer. This poor man has been teaching this same class for at least 20 years. I know this because I took this class 18 years ago. Anyway, if he incorporated anything new, he himself would have to make up new tests!! That has got to be it. Well, I am outraged! History is fascinating. Don't kill it for people who haven't yet figured out how fascinating it is! Just get a new film!!!!! I'll even write the test for you!
BTW, after I get an A in this class I'm going to check out that horrid film from the library and post a few moments of it here so you can see of what I speak.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Yee-Haw! I've got cowgirls!

So last week our little girls spent the week, 20 hours worth, at horseback riding camp. How awesome is that??? Bittersweet was a little girls paradise! They rode horses, cleaned stables, played games, chased cats, ate their lunch on a mountain of hay and just plain lived the country life for the week. It was grand. Check out these cowgirls! And don't forget you can click on any picture to make it larger...

This is Emily with her favorite horse, Otis. The teacher, Mr. Jason, called him "bomb-proof" because he is such an easy going horse.

And this is Grace's favorite, Boy. Look at that huge horse! And do you know that on day 3 of camp Grace fell off him, got right back up, dusted the dirt from her boots and got right back on!

At the end of camp each girl got a beautiful medal (no cheapo plastic thing either) with their names engraved on the back and a cute little tee shirt.

Oh! And check this out! There was a newborn horse that week! Check out beautiful Triton: