Friday, February 27, 2009

Other Babies

One thing about being a new parent. You have an amazing interest in other babies.

Yesterday, one of daddy's co-workers from WIYY -- 98 Rock, Katherine Dietrich, had her little boy in the office at the end of the day.

Christopher Michael Savin, Jr., or "CJ" for short, was born on November 12, 2008. Katherine calls him the "little tank." CJ has a great personality, and he smiled and giggled at everybody. Here is is with the station's national sales manager, Steve Hartman...

And then today, another former co-worker, Kathleen Timpson, was in with her 14-month-old. What a cutie. We're all a bit older, but these children have so enriched our lives.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


From "gotcha day" forward, Merrilee has always been an angel in restaurants.

She loves to go out to eat. She loves watching all of the activity around her, and she loves chatting with the servers.

We are always flattered too when strangers come up and tell us how cute she is, but more importantly, how well she behaves.

Last night, we hit out favorite local joint, Matthew's 1600 in Catonsville. The owners are our friends, and we love the staff there. Everyone has always been so nice to us, and so nice to Merrilee.

Merrilee's favorite thing on the menu is the quiche. She eats the complete adult serving every time we go. And the servers always start her off with a couple of rolls.

We shot this in the natural light of the restaurant, so the video is a little dim. get the idea...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

While Mommy's Away...

Mommy has been away for a few days serving our country.

While she's been gone, Merrilee and daddy have been doing everything together. We've watched some TV, played some games, folded clothes, did chores, and even shared a few meals together.

Merrilee has decided she likes daddy's meals. We had chicken, green beans, mandarin orange parfait, melon, and just for fun -- some cheese balls, Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies, and even some vanilla Haagen Dazs.

Merrilee cleaned her plate at every meal. And then, she even wanted to flirt with daddy. She just cracks us up! One other thing we've been working on together -- teaching Merrilee to say "I'm Merrilee..."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Watch Out Janis Joplin!

Merrilee has always loved music. She's always loved to sing and dance. And now, she's learning more and more about musical instruments.

She's strummed daddy's guitars a couple of times, though she already knows she can't play them by herself. Not yet, anyway.

She also likes to shake the little hand shakers she got for Christmas, and she keeps her tambourine handy on her rocking horse.

But perhaps, her favorite instrument so far is her harmonica.

We're not sure if she wants to be Janis Joplin or not. Or perhaps she wants to be Les Stround from "Survivorman," since he always seems to have his harmonica with him when he's stranded and trying to "survive."

Or then again, maybe she wants to do the soundtrack for an Andy Griffith episode -- maybe the one when "Barney's in the jail! Barney's in the jail!"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Which Little Rascal Is This?

Can you say, "Alfalfa?"...

Some New Videos

Merrilee is all excited because she soon gets to meet Anne Pearce. Anne is a wonderful lady from the United Methodist Board of Child Care. Anne did our home study, and several updates, while we were waiting for Merrilee. Anne has to do follow-up visits at six months and twelve months, and Merrilee is anxiously awaiting the six-month visit. It seems like our best conversations come whem Merrilee is in her high chair or riding in the car.

Merrilee just may grow up to be a mechanic someday. She still loves her ice cream truck, but she spends as much time trying to take it apart as she does riding it...

Last weekend, we went over to Doug and Sharon's house, to help celebrate the 18th birthday of their oldest son, Steve. Merrilee had a blast playing with the balloons and with Sharon's mom...

What A Ham! At The Six Month Mark...

Well, Merrilee has decided that she loves having her picture taken. She loves to say "Cheese!" and she loves to run right over and look at the picture on the digital camera.

She is saying more and more words everyday and putting together short phrases. Sometimes, we feel like we're having a real conversation with her. When we were at a drive thru window over the weekend, daddy asked her what she wanted and she said, clear as a bell, "Hamburger!"

Daddy has also taught her how to introduce herself to people. She now can say "I'm Merrilee!"

The dogs have become her friends. Part of the daily routine is giving treats to Bogart and Bacall, and sometimes she'll walk over to the sofa and give them a kiss.

And something new over the weekend. Merrilee has very fine, but wild hair. It's getting longer in the back, and it's now long enough for mommy to put it up in pigtails. (The award for best hair still goes to Merrilee's friend, Kassidy. You can see her pictures by clicking on the link to Billy and Nikki's blog.

It's hard to believe, but we're already coming up on the six-month mark with Merrilee. She has become such a part of our lives and our family.

We thank all of you who have taken an interest in her and surrounded her with love.

In no particular order, here are some recent pictures.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bouncing Back

Well, after weeks of someone feeling sick in our house, it appears everyone is bouncing back to good health. Last night, we went to our favorite neighborhood place for a bite to eat. It was the first time we'd been out for a meal together in almost a month.

As you can see, Merrilee loves to be the big girl. She loves to look over the menu and decide which appetizer she wants...which sandwich or "special of the day"...and we always have to snatch a glance at the dessert tray at Matthews 1600 in Catonsville. Yum-mo!

Everybody has been in a gloomy mood because of the economy. But no matter how bad the day is, Merrilee's giggles and belly laughs make us feel a whole lot better.

One of our favorite daily rituals now, is for Merrilee to give the dogs a treat before she leaves for school in the morning. She loves it when they lick her hand and take their treats. And now, Merrilee very clearly can say "Bo-gart" and "Ba-call."

The weather in Baltimore was fabulous yesterday. When daddy left work at 5pm, it was 70 degrees. Merrilee's class at Goddard got to spend a lot of time outdoors, and they even had a nice little picnic.

Already, we're anxious for the warm weather to arrive and STAY!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wow! A Message From China

For those of you who read our blog, you probably have noticed that we post Merrilee's videos on YouTube.

Last night, we got an email message from another YouTube subscriber -- one in Shanghai, China.

They wrote a simple, one-line message after looking at one of Merrilee's videos. It said simply:

"Whoa,her expression was so variable,how smart she is~~~"

The Internet has made the world a much smaller place.

We will never know Merrilee's birth parents. We did not get to meet her foster family. But we want them to know how grateful we are for all they did for her. She is a precious, loving child and we are so glad to have her. We have been blessed beyond our wildest dreams.

And, we look forward to returning to China with her one day to show her all the many wonders of that country!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Those We Know, Those We Don't Know

It's hard to believe that we're coming up on the six month mark. August seems likes yesterday.

Our life with Merrilee seems so hectic, but we wouldn't trade it. Still, we miss the folks who are so special to us...the people who made that journey to China in our travel group.

Our special friends from that trip, Billy, Nikki and Kassidy are many miles away in another state. But Kassidy's sweet, beautiful picture is on our refrigerator. And, we are doing our best to make sure Merrilee knows she has friends so dear to us. Billy, Nikki, and Kassidy, this video is for you...

And we know there are people around the world who read this blog -- people like Mary Beth and Jay. Thank you for your comments! We are glad you chose CCAI, and we are praying that before you know it, your little one will be in your arms.

Like so many adoptive parents, when we started this process, we never though it would take years. The months seemed to click by so slowly. But the moment you get that referral, the clock seems like it speeds up. Mary Beth and Jay, the flight to China will seem like it takes forever, and it does. And the flight home may seem even longer! But trust us on this -- new precious moments and memories come every day.

Our new routine is this. Mommy is up around 5:15am. Daddy gets Merrilee up and on the potty around 5:45-6:00am. Then it's bath time, and getting dressed before mommy heads our with Merrilee in her arms at 6:40am. Mommy drops off Merrilee at pre-school just after 7am. She picks her up on the way home.

Daddy isn't home most nights until around 6pm. So he gets an hour or so with Merrilee before it's her bedtime. One of their favorite things to do is make short videos while Merrilee is eating dinner. In this case, Merrilee likes to do the motions to one of her favorite songs, even though she can't really reach her "knees and toes" while she's in her high chair...

It's been hard to stay upbeat these last few weeks with the economy being so bad, the Ravens losing the AFC Championship, the winter bringing its cold, snow and ice. But there is an unconditional love that you get from a child that puts everything in perspective.

And...when you go to bed at night (usually very exhausted) gives you something to be very grateful for. It puts a whole new perspective on life.