Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas Together

Life has been so busy these past few months, and we haven't been posting many updates to this blog.

But today is Christmas! It is Merrilee's third Christmas with us -- but only the second with both mommy and daddy.

This time last year, mommy was in Iraq. And this year, we pause and say of word of thanks to all of those service men and women who are serving their country and separated from their families. They make it possible for us all to sleep a little better at night.

We're not certain, but we think Rudolph flew by about 3 a.m. and when we woke up this morning, sure enough, the jolly man in red had made a visit while we were asleep.

Here are some scenes from Christmas 2010!

And now everyone is bracing for the newest snow storm...

May the new year bring everyone health, peace, and happiness.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Girl Loves Her Cupcake!!!

Daddy lives to get pictures and videos of his little girl. She is growing up a little bit more each and every day.

And clearly, she loves her cupcakes!


video

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What's Merrilee Been Up To?

So what's Merrilee been up to in Georgia?

Nothing much.

Just hanging around...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Daddy's Little Monkey

Daddy got a chance to visit Merrilee the first weekend of October. The weather was beautiful, and while daddy was there, Merrilee's Halloween costume arrived.

Merrilee just loves monkeys. So this year, when she goes through the neighborhood trick or treating, she'll be dressed as a monkey...




Merrilee really enjoys playing with all of her stuffed animals -- especially her monkeys and alligators. Just the other day, mommy thought Merrilee was being a little too quiet. When she went into Merrilee's room, she found out that Merrilee was hosting a tea party!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A New Buddy

Daddy sure does miss his little girl. But he sent along a little love to her this week.

On Tuesday, when Merrilee got home from school, she found a package in the mail. It was a special gift from daddy. The package contained a new stuffed animal for her collection -- a stuffed giraffe.

Merrilee clearly loves the newest addition. She determined it is a boy giraffe, and so she has named him George.




Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gettin' Southern

Merrilee is becoming quite the southern princess already, and she's enjoying chowing down on some yummy southern BBQ.

She also enjoyed a visit from her Uncle Barry....





Monday, September 13, 2010

Fly Away!

Well, no matter where she goes, Merrilee loves to find those coin-operated rides at shopping malls, Wal-Marts, and grocery stores.

It didn't take her long to find one near her new house in Georgia...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Visit With A Friend From China

Well, this blog probably won't be updated as much in the future. Merrilee's mommy has taken a job in Georgia, and for the last few weeks, we've been busy working out details for a move. Yesterday, mommy and Merrilee left for their new home there. Daddy is staying in Baltimore and will try a long-distance commute for a while. We'll see how that goes.

When mommy and Merrilee left yesterday, they drove half way to their new home. They stopped in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and spent the night with Billy, Nikki and Kassidy. Billy and Nikki are our friends. They were in our travel group to China. They were very gracious hosts (Nikki cooked a yummy meal...) and the best part was seeing our two little girls together. Here are some pictures mommy snapped with her iPhone. The two girls both look like princesses!




On Merrilee's last day in Baltimore, she spent most of the morning with daddy. We made a final visit to feed the ducks and geese at the local pond. Then, we visited the local playground. Then, it was a final visit to Opie's snowball stand for the last snowball of the season. Here's some video of the last few hours together...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Beach Baby

Merrilee enjoyed her vacation on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She is already a beach baby. She went shell hunting and she spent a lot of time playing in the surf and making sand castles. She loved the road trip down to Cape Hatteras to see the lighthouse.

Merrilee, mommy and daddy were joined by uncle Jim and aunt Judy from Arkansas, along with cousin Blakely.

Merrilee is already asking when she can go back to the beach.

Here are some assorted pictures and video.






And...some random video shots...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Gotcha Day -- 2 Years Later!

Has it really been two years already?

It was August 18, 2008, that we were in a little non-descript government building in Wuhan, China, getting to meet our precious little Merrilee for the very first time.

After almost four years of waiting, and traveling halfway around the world, it was a moment we will never forget...

Some days we miss that little girl so much. The time has gone by so quickly. But she has grown into one fine little buckaroo!!!

Happy anniversary, Merrilee. Happy "Gotcha Day!"


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Playground Visits

While mommy has been away on another temporary duty assignment, it's been in the 90's again here in Baltimore.

And, almost every day, despite the heat, Merrilee wants to go to the neighborhood playgrounds.

It may not be the playgrounds though. It may be the snowball she gets from Opie's Snowballs afterward to cool down.

Here are some random playground scenes...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Little Buckaroo!

One of the really cool things about the Goddard School is they do more than just the traditional school pictures.

A couple of weeks ago, they brought in a photographer who brought a pony to the school. All of the kids got to dress up and get their picture taken with the pony!

That day, Merrilee packed jeans for her picture. But when the time came to get the photo snapped, it was about 100 degrees, so Merrilee opted just to stay in her shorts. Still, it may be the cowboy hat that sets the tone.

Here she is -- our little buckaroo!



Vacation Bible School

Merrilee had a split day last week. In the mornings, she went to the Vacation Bible School at our church, Catonsville United Methodist. In the afternoons, she went to her regular school, the Goddard School in Hanover, Maryland.

On Friday night, there was a big celebration at the church to mark the end of Vacation Bible School. 266 kids attended this summer, and dozens of volunteers made it all possible and there were lots of generous donations of supplies.

Here are some scenes from the Friday night celebration. Not the best quality, but you'll get the idea.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Scorcher

It was a scorcher yesterday. The temperature was above 100 degrees (after you top that, what's a degree or two?) The heat index was around 110-112 degrees.

In the morning, Merrilee made a visit to the local library with mommy.

Then, after Merrilee's nap, she got to enjoy the pools...both the big pool and her baby pool. She is becoming quite the fish, and she gets all around the big pool with her swimmies on. She even puts her head under water now. She's learning how to float and how to paddle around too.

After that refreshing dip in the pool it was grilled pork chops and roasted vegetables, including the green beans we grew in the back yard. And mommy made some yummy potato salad too!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dress Up Day

Today was dress-up day at Merrilee's school. All of the kids were allowed to dress up in costumes, or dress as their favorite characters.

Mommy did a great job helping Merrilee get dressed up as Ariel!

Can you tell Merrille loves to play dress up?



Monday, July 19, 2010

A Quick Trip To The Playground

Mommy had some errands to run this past Saturday.

So Merrilee and daddy got a little time to bond together. We did one of Merrilee's favorite things -- we went to the local dump. For some reason, Merrilee LOVES going to the dump.

Then it was off to the neighborhood playground....

And after the playground, it was a visit to Opie's snowball stand.

In case you're wondering, Merrilee had a blueberry snowball, and daddy had peach.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Handling The Heat...

It was steamy in Baltimore today, July 5, 2010.

It topped out at 99 degrees, but it felt even warmer. And this hot spell is expected to last most of the week. Plus, it's been very, very dry.

Daddy was at work today, but mommy and Merrilee had the day off.

Merrilee was joined by daddy's goddaughter, Miss Jessica, for a little dip in the pool. From the baby pool to the big girl pool, Merrilee is really becoming a water baby!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

Merrilee is celebrating her second Independence Day holiday in America.

Since July 4th fell on a Sunday this year, our community held its annual parade on July 3rd.

Merrilee and mommy were both decked out in red, white and blue. Merrilee wore a cute little "America's Sweetheart" t-shirt, and waved her flag all through the parade.


The parade had lots of fire engines, marching bands, floats, veterans, and of course, politicians. The weather was perfect for a parade. Okay, maybe it was just a tad warm. But as they say, a good time was had by all!

Here are some scenes from the parade...

And here are more scenes from the big parade...

Happy 4th everyone!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Father's Day Weekend

It was a wonderful Father's Day weekend for Merrilee and her daddy.

On Saturday, the family ventured to the Hippodrome Theater to see Nickelodeon's "Storytime Live!" show. Merrilee loved the live stage show. It feature Ni Hao Kai-lan, the Wonder Pets, Dora the Explorer, and the Backyardigans. She especially liked the Backyardigans because Mayor Stinkypants (Austin) has forced the dirty townspeople (Tasha, Tyrone and Uniqua) to take part in the annual Festival of Dirt. It was a journey through Purewood Forest as Robin Hood the Clean helped clean up the village of Filthingham. Since then, everybody has been "Mayor Stinkypants" to Merrilee.

Then on Sunday, daddy's side of the family gathered together for brunch at Johannsons Dining House in Westminster. It was a delicious meal, and a special thank you to Merrilee's cousin Doug who picked up the tab. It was the first time the family had seen mommy since she returned from her tour of duty in the big sandbox.

After brunch, it was time for some daddy-daughter pictures outside on the sidewalk...


Merrilee had some very special presents for daddy. His favorite is a talking picture frame that Merrilee decorated herself with stickers. Merrilee's message was a simple "Happy Father's Day! I love you, daddy!"
That gift, and the memory of this special day, will be cherished forever!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Turning Three

Merrilee celebrated her third birthday today. It is hard to believe she's that old already. It seems just like yesterday that an innocent and apprehensive 15-month old was being placed into our arms for the first time.

Today, mommy took a break around lunch and went to Merrilee's school. She treated Merrilee's class to a birthday pizza party, complete with birthday cupcakes. It appears a good time was had by all, as they say...

Merrilee's class even sang happy birthday to her!

Merrilee got a few nice treats for her birthday. First, there was an unexpected birthday package from Billy, Nikki and Kassidy, our forever friends from our trip to China. She got a musical card from Doug, Kadie and Jordan. (She had to take it along in the car when we she went out for her birthday dinner...) And, we found a nice little tune on the answering machine when we got home -- Merrilee's beloved cousin Jordan singing "Happy Birthday!" to her. It was great!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Nemo Pool

It was blazing hot in Baltimore this past weekend.

And while daddy was busy working on the grown ups' in-ground pool (powerwashing it in preparation for a new paint job...) Merrilee was enjoying her new Nemo toddler pool.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

School Pictures!

What happened to the little girl named Merrilee? She has grown up so fast. These are her latest school pictures from the Goddard School, taken in May 2010.

The girl has attitude!






Thursday, June 3, 2010

Baby Got A New Set Of Wheels

Well, Merrilee finally got to go for a spin around the block!

Back on Christmas day, Merrilee got a very special present from Cousin Doug, Kadie, and Jordan. They gave her an electric, Disney princess, FJ Cruiser.

We didn't put it together while mommy was in the big sandbox in the Middle East. Merrilee wanted mommy to be home to see the first ride.

So, for your viewing pleasure...a short glimpse of Merrilee's first turn behind the wheel, and her first ride around the block...

Now Available For Weddings!

Thanks to the musical birthday card from Uncle Bart and Aunt Andrea, Merrilee has learned to do the "chicken dance."

She wants you to know she is now available for weddings, bar mitzvahs, and retirement parties....

Monday, May 31, 2010

An Early Party

Merrilee got to travel to Arkansas in mid-May so she could attend her cousin Madison's high school graduation.

Mommy and daddy traveled with her, though daddy had to come back early for work. Merrilee and mommy stayed an extra week.

Everybody had a great time. A special thank you to Uncle Jim and Aunt Judy for hosting the traveling Millers.

And a special thank you to Uncle Bart and Aunt Andrea for opening their home and hosting an early birthday party for Merrilee. She really enjoyed being with her aunts, uncles and cousins. Here are some scenes from the party...

Merrilee wishes she could visit her Arkansas family more often. As they say, a good time was had by all.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mother And Child Reunion

After touching down at BWI Airport, and then a quick shower, it was off to the Goddard School to re-unite Merrilee with her mommy. She was quite sure what to make of it all...

The folks at the Goddard School did something very nice for mommy. They put together a scrapbook of all the things Merrilee had done at school while mommy was in Iraq. It was a very nice, and very sweet, gift for mommy.

Mommy's Return

Several dozen folks from Operation Welcome Home were on hand Thursday afternoon at Baltimore-Washington International Airport to welcome home the troops from overseas.

One of them was Merrilee's mommy, Lt. Col. Beth Miller, back home after six months in Iraq.

Welcome home mommy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Counting Down....

Where does the time go? Hard to believe we haven't updated this blog in a couple of weeks. We've just been so busy.

This past weekend, Merrilee and daddy went to Pimlico Race Course. But it's not what you think. Daddy's good friend, Mr. Chick Lang, passed away a few weeks ago, and his memorial service was at the track. Mr. Chick was the former GM of the track, and his wishes were that he be cremated, and his ashes scattered in the winner's circle. That's exactly what happened. It was a moving sight, as jockey Ryan Fogelsonger took Chick's ashes for one final ride around the track. You can see more about that HERE.

Next, a little proof that princesses can grow into angels. Remember Dorothy Hamill? She's all grown up now and living in Baltimore. She is a wonderful person, and gives freely and willingly of her time for worthy causes. One of the nicer athletes you'll ever meet! See more about her HERE.

Next, mommy is counting down the days for her return to the U.S. She's done her duty and we are all proud of her. Here she is with General Ray Odierno. He's the big man running the show in Iraq.

Finally, no one is counting down the days more than Merrilee. She has talked to mommy on the phone often, and she has Skyped with mommy almost every weekend. Technology has made the world much smaller. Today, Merrilee got some more books from mommy. These were the last of the books mommy got as gifts for Merrilee before she was deployed. There were story books, coloring books, and Merrilee's VERY FAVORITE -- STICKER BOOKS!

Merrilee is so excited about meeting mommy at the airport. And like she said today, "Daddy, I can't wait til mommy gets home. I need to get my hair cut!"


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Skinned!

It was 95 degrees today in Baltimore. Not very humid so it was really nice.

Merrilee went to school in little shorts and a short-sleeved T-shirt.

They got to spend a lot of time on the playground -- so much so that by 7:30 tonight she was asking to go to bed.

So day one of heat, shorts and the playground. That has to mean the first SKINNED KNEE of the season!


Ah, kids will be kids. And so the summer season begins!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Hunt

On Easter, Merrilee went to her cousin Jordan's house for an Easter egg hunt.

The hunt was put together by Kadie and Doug -- Jordan's mom and dad.

Merrilee was teamed up with Jordan and they helped each other find the right color of eggs for their team.

Merrilee loves Jordan. She says, "Jordan is just like my big brother."


Merrilee is very glad to have cousins like Doug, Kadie and Jordan!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Stinky Slinky!

Our friends Nikki, Billy and Kassidy sent a nice package with treats.

It was filled with stuff for Merrilee.

There was Disney lipstick (chapstick,) sunglasses, a cute little outfit, glow stick, a Minnie Mouse snapband for her wrist, a Disney Princess ball and something else.

Merrilee got her first SLINKY!

She hasn't quite figured out all to do with it, or even how to say it. She kept asking daddy if she could play with her "stinky."


There was also something very special for daddy in the box. It was a coffee mug with some very special pictures not just of daddy and Merrilee, but of mommy and Merrilee and Nikki and Billy and Kassidy.

When you travel to China, and you share "Gotcha Day" with a small group of people, a bond is formed that lasts forever. We are Merrilee's "forever family" and Nikki, Billy and Kassidy are our "forever friends!"

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bad Daddy!

So Merrilee is growing like a weed. And her feet are getting big. So, she needed some new shoes. Shoe shopping is usually mommy's job. Mommy loves to shop for shoes -- for herself AND for Merrilee.

But mommy's in the big sandbox, and daddy had to do the shopping. But daddy hates to shoe shop at stores. So, he decided to shop on line.

When he got to the Kohl's site, he just couldn't make up his mind. What to pick...what to pick...

Today the box finally arrived. Here for your viewing pleasure -- Merrilee's new shoes -- all six pairs!


So which are your favorite. Feel free to cast your vote!


Friday, March 19, 2010

Books

A package from mommy arrived the other day. It was filled with books for Merrilee.

We are so lucky to have a little girl who loves to read.

The moment we opened the box, she plopped in her Dora chair and started to read...

The subject doesn't seem to matter to Merrilee. She just loves books and loves to read. Oh yeah...she likes to open the mail too!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Jump!

We haven't been updating the blog much lately. We've been so busy and just haven't had the time. Also, we haven't done much cool stuff. Everyone in Baltimore has just been letting all the snow melt.

Today though, Merrilee got to go to a birthday party for her friend Samantha. The party was as a place called the Jump Zone in Columbia, Maryland. They have a lot of inflatables, and after a few minutes of shyness, Merrilee really warmed up and got into trying out all of them...


Here are a few more shots from the day as a slideshow.


Merrilee is doing just fine. She is growing into quite a little lady and she loves going to school everyday. She loves her teachers, Ms. Jess, Ms. Debbie and Ms. Richie. She's had to spend a few nights away from home because of daddy's work, and she's really enjoyed being with Mr. Steve, Ms. Bea, and Ms. Jessica. Oh yeah, she loves being with their dog Emma too!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Package From Mommy

Getting home isn't easy these days. Many of the roads still haven't been plowed curb to curb. So the commute is taking twice as long as it did before the snow.

Tonight, it took Merrilee and daddy about an hour to get home from Merrilee's school. But once we were home, and walking up the sidewalk, Merrilee spotted a box on the porch.

"It's a present for me!" she shouted. And she was right. It was a box from mommy! Inside was a bear dressed like Uncle Sam, some chocolates, a sweet card, and of course some ring pops.

Needless to say, everything was a hit...especially the ring pops...





Friday, February 12, 2010

Mountains of Snow

We have mountains of snow and are digging out following the latest 20-plus inch snowstorm in Baltimore. These were taken today...two days after our blizzard and after two days of shoveling!

Merrilee is dwarfed by the mountains of snow. But, she loves the snow!







History!

History was made this week.

This is now officially the snowiest winter in the history of Baltimore.

We've had more than 79 inches of snow this season. We've had three 20-inch-plus snowfalls in less than a month. We had a mess over the weekend, and then an honest-to-God blizzard on Wednesday.

Everyone is very sore from digging out cars and shoveling snow.

Merrilee's school has been closed most of this week. Daddy had to work, so on Monday, our next door neighbor, Emma Sue, took care of Merrilee. Then on Tuesday, Merrilee went to stay with our friends Steve and Bea and their daughter, Jessica. She'll be coming back home later today.

This was the first time Merrilee spent a night away from home without mommy or daddy. She's been a good little trooper. She packed toys, food and clothes for her multi-day sleepover.

And Steve, Bea and Jessica have been so kind to help out. It would be hard to get through all of this without good friends and neighbors.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Blizzard!

Well, Baltimore got hammered, and it's still snowing. This will go down in the books as an historic, record snowfall for Baltimore. Easily two feet. It's been snowing since about noon on Friday and it won't stop until 7 tonight.

This is a back-breaking heavy, wet snow to shovel. And one problem is where do you put it all when you shovel? Even four-wheel drives are having problems getting around. Here's a little video from shoveling the front sidewalk. It took a half-hour just to do this!

Valentine's Card

Merrilee got a sweet Valentine's card from her mother.

She really loves it and she carries it everywhere!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Snowmagedden!

Merrilee's school closed at 1pm today because of the big blizzard moving in.

On the way home, daddy's Blackberry rang. It was Merrilee's mommy calling from Iraq.

Merrilee got to talk for a few minutes.

We had no sooner hung up though, when daddy looked into the backseat to find Merrilee was sound asleep and snoring. Seems 1pm is her naptime, and the ride home was interfering!


By the way, the National Weather Service says this could be the worst snowfall ever for Baltimore:

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...THIS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS STORM IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE RECORD SNOWFALL FOR THE BALTIMORE AND WASHINGTON DC METROPOLITAN AREAS.

TRAVEL CONDITIONS TONIGHT ACROSS THE REGION WILL BE EXTREMELYHAZARDOUS AND LIFE-THREATENING. HELP YOUR LOCAL AND STATE GOVERNMENT FIRST RESPONDERS AND TRANSPORTATION AGENCIES BY STAYING OFF THE ROADS.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Killing Time On A Snow Day

We've been very, very busy these last two weeks, so we are sorry we haven't posted much. We had several inches of snow over the weekend, and about five inches more last night.

Because of the snow, Merrilee's school opened three hours late. That meant she had to go to work with daddy for a while.

Some of daddy's co-workers, especially Mr. Scott (who Merrilee calls "the funny man") took their time to entertain her. Mr. Scott did his animal impressions. First he was a cow, then a snake, and finally a rooster!

And lest you think we're done with snow, this Baltimore forecast is leading the news here tonight:

A Winter Storm Watch is in effect from Friday morning through Saturday evening.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch, which is in effect from Friday morning through Saturday evening.

Precipitation type, snow.

Accumulations, this storm is likely to produce 12 or more inches of snow in the watch area, with a good chance for localized amounts over 20 inches.

Timing, snow is expected to begin late morning Friday, continuing through Saturday evening.
Temperatures, highs in the lower to mid 30s Friday. Friday night and Saturday, temperatures will be 25 to 30 degrees.

Winds, east 5 to 10 mph Friday and Friday night, becoming north 10 to 20 mph Saturday.

Precautionary/preparedness actions,

This storm has the potential to be similar to the December 19th storm. Plan for substantial disruptions to travel Friday afternoon through the weekend.


Yikes!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Vocabulary

Whenever Merrilee is in the car with her daddy, there is non-stop singing and talking.

Some days, we work on expanding Merrilee's vocabulary. She loves to learn new words.

On this day, the subject was "musical instruments...."

Since the audio originally came from the voice recorder on daddy's iphone, we married the audio to her latest school pictures. Please indulge us one more time....

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Protect This House!

We're getting back to our regular routine with school now that the holidays are over. There has been one small interruption, and that's been the Baltimore Ravens making it into the playoffs.

On Tuesday, Merrilee's teacher was a little unhappy with Merrilee. Seems Merrilee went around her class trying to tackle some of her classmates. It would appear she remembers a little too much from watching the Ravens play this season. Merrilee's teacher says most of the kids she tried to tackle were bigger than her too! Now that's daddy's little girl.

Merrilee's mommy got to watch ALL of the Ravens game on Sunday, when they trounced Tom Brady and the Patriots. She says the game was very exciting. She is also showing off her Ravens gear to her co-workers in the sandbox. She has her "Protect This House" Ravens towel at her cubicle, and she is very proud of her new jerseys.

A special thank you to Derrick Mason and Haloti Ngata for the autographs -- especially Derrick, who noted in his "Be safe!" He is one classy guy!



Good luck on Sunday! Hopefully the Ravens can do to Peyton Manning what they did to Tom Brady!