Best Christmas Ever

For the first time in the fifteen years I’ve been with Scott, the Merriman family Christmas went to hell in a handbag. Best. Christmas. Ever. No, wait! Don’t go away.  It was awful for some! But it slowed things down a bit for the rest of us and created some unique opportunities.

Every year is a winter family reunion. We see all of Scott’s sisters, even though they are scattered around the country. (The few years Susan didn’t come, she was living in a boat in the Bahamas. It would be very hard to hold that against her.)

We’ve grown to a crowd of twenty, and we descend upon go to his oldest sister’s house for a gigantically long weekend.… Read the rest

It’s a Jungle In There


Gratuitous adorable child FTW

Jungle Jim’s marketing plan clearly involved overwhelming people into buying more. Cars from carnival rides held up displays, and florescent lights assaulted our vision. My nine year old niece, Kaylee, bellowed, “Look, Nanny! They have pummelos!” She put two oversized grapefruit into the cart that Scott was pushing.

Mom, who was walking a little ahead with my two kids, said, “Sure, honey,” after the fact. Even though she and Kay had been to the store several times since its opening back in September, she looked like a first time visitor. Every bright flash distracted her.

I asked, “What’s a pummelo?”

“It’s like a grapefruit, only sweeter.” Kaylee added one more.… Read the rest


Scott and sisters

Back row, Judy and Scott
Front row, Susan and Holly

A little backstory. Wednesday’s entry was complete fiction, but it was something of a tribute to my sister-in-law, Holly. (Don’t worry – again, this was fiction. My father-in-law’s health is fine.) Holly just spent the last long weekend hosting between fourteen and fifteen people, most of them actually sleeping at her house every night, and only four of them actually belonging to her on a regular basis. She somehow pulls together this amazing three-day-long family gathering every Christmas. Every. Single. Year.

I remember the first year, watching the adult siblings, the three sisters and their brother interact.… Read the rest

Chocolate, The Universe, and Everything

I had last minute shopping to do this morning because Sam suddenly told us he wanted bear pajamas and a red bear. Two days before Christmas. Or maybe three, but anyway, at the very last second. (Not that it takes much to get me into Build A Bear. It’s my guilty little secret.) We also needed cottage cheese, so I went to the grocery store.

The mall at 8:30 Christmas eve morning was actually manageable. There were no red bears, but there were bear pjs and there was a spiderman suit he can use to turn a bear red with clothing.… Read the rest

Scenes From My Life

A few scenes from my life the last week and a half.

See? Total fools. The one on the left is approaching a 101 degree fever, but you'd never know by her behavior.

It’s my birthday. We’re in the doctor’s office, and my kids, who will have to come back in the morning to be diagnosed with the flu, are acting like idiots in the exam room.

Pretty, huh?

Sam melts down and has to be bodily removed, and outside, the cold air startles him enough that he stops screaming. But he doesn’t want to come with me, and the people in cars are already looking at me like I might be a kidnapper. So I put him down in the middle of the street (everyone can see him, and the parking lot is far from busy) and walk over to look at the fountain, which is lovely in the sunset.… Read the rest


The kids’ big gift this year is loft beds, but that requires some rearranging in their rooms. (My mother in law noticed that if we didn’t move Sam’s bed, he’d have full access to the ceiling fan from his current vantage point.) The overall purpose is to give Sam some more space in his rather small room, and I don’t see us getting out of that without doing the same for Sis. (Thank the pricing gods for Craig’s List, or we’d never be able to pull this off). The kids have both been begging for bunk and/or loft beds for over a year, and Scott and I have good reasons for caving in.… Read the rest

A post I had thought to avoid

So I was going to lay off the Christmas angst this week, but that was before both kids’ schools called within twenty minutes of each other on Tuesday. Two one hundred degree fevers. Two children in need of picking up. Neither of them sick enough to be bedridden, both of them sick enough to be crabby and evil. And exactly one project to do that would keep them entertained for any length of time.

Salt dough ornaments .(One cup salt, one cup water, two cups flour. Mix until smooth. Hope you have a stand mixer.)  We made these last year because I knew I couldn’t trust Sam with real ornaments, only to discover that they kept vanishing off the tree.… Read the rest