Monday, February 28, 2011

little miss lately...

The best of friends Our little monkey: she likes to climb quickly out of this when we are not looking, and then sit in front of it to play with the knobs :) We caught her!
Another new trick - rolling completely across the living room - this was the first time she managed to duck her head enough to shimmy under the coffee table - this spurred Joel's excitement about upcoming fort adventures!!!
And lastly - our evening failsafe. When we can't get her to be happy until bedtime by any efforts, this one always works!
And though I don't have a video to post (because for some reason my videos never load on here...) Mylin began 'crawling' last Saturday! She was army crawling for a few days, then added her left knee into the movement mix, and then last night.....both arms and both legs were going for several 'steps'!!! I can't believe how fast it has progressed! Baby-proofing has sort of begun but now will be ramped up!

Friday, February 25, 2011

blog background

I really like to change my blog background. often. well at least I think its often considering I never see anyone else changing theirs.
I usually use or

What would your dream blog background look like?

Where do you 'shop' for a background?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Guest blog: my oldest brother, Stephen

26 1/2 years ago I was born into a family with three boys: 6 year old Adam, 8 year old David, and 11 year old Stephen. I grew up knowing what it was like to be the youngest, spoiled, only princess girl in the family, yet also felt like I was an only child at times because of the age and gender difference between my siblings and me. However, the age difference did provide a great advantage in the relationship-building aspect with my eldest bro. I don't remember day 1, but I'm pretty sure I had Stephen wrapped around my finger from that day. All I have are wonderful memories of him coming to my rescue, making me feel special, calling me 'pookey', and whistling my little sister call to get me to come downstairs. As a little girl, I never knew I could love another man as much as I loved him!
Fast forward about 23 years to my wedding day and the toast he gave that made me laugh and cry. Stephen has been a father, best friend, and a God given gift to me as a brother. My greatest hope is that our relationship continues to grow and we can find time for each other, and that his son Ethan can give even an ounce of the 'brotherly' love to our sweet Mylin as she grows. I love you so much, Stephen!

(Stephen and Mylin when she was only a few days old)
after the long sappy intro...sniff, sniff...get a glimpse into his life via this guest post!!!

So, this is what it's like to write a "guest blog"...I'm curious to see the introduction I get from my baby-sister-who's-a-mom-now.
Oh, and I'm genetically cynical, so if you aren't into smirking then I've already lost I love the ellipsis's fun.
Really, she's been asking for this message for a while...she can be pleasantly persistent.
The pressure is greater than you can imagine, and nothing I can say will up to her expectations...
I don't cook, plain and simple. Honestly, I take great pride and joy in making a PB&J.
I use a 100% Whole Wheat bread that is more expensive than it should be.
It is grainier and wider than your average store-brand bread, but it is worth the extra dollar or two. Creamy PB on one side - don't skimp!
On the other side I mix it up - half generic grape jelly (because I put the $ where it's worth) & half Mom's strawberry jam - da bomb.
Trust me, this sandwich is killer...especially when you've been drinking coffee for a couple hours and suddenly realize your body needs food - or when you just really crave a hearty snack before a meal...throw in some Ruffles potato chips, and you've got yourself a party!
The jelly/jam mixture tends to ooze out of the bottom, so I have to scoop with the remaining sandwich...or my fingers.

So, I was in Muncie today for an in-service for teachers. I started the day at Southside HS (where I don't teach, but near where we used to live), then went to lunch and back to Central HS (where I do teach). Despite five years of time passing AND snowy/icy roads, I was amazed at how easily I remembered all of the back roads and shortcuts for driving from the south side of town to the north side. Memory is an interesting animal. I avoided stoplights, lunch hour traffic, and watched a van almost get T-boned in an intersection. The meetings were inconsequential, but it was nice to get out of the house for an extended period of time. Snow days are fun, but ice weeks are not.

My son and my niece, Mylin - AKA "The Show", are the ages that Adam and Rachel were when I was twelve.
Mylin "survived" her first major winter storm this week...she was the same age as Ethan was during the Ice Storm of 2005.
Mylin was born extremely close to my due date, but I was two weeks later than expected. However, she is in good company for that mid-year birthday party with my son, my other brother, and myself. There ain't no party like an early July party! Holla!

I'm thinking that a peanut butter and jelly cake sounds intriguing...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

my sweet valentine's :)

This Valentine's day I was surprised to find out my husband's work trip was cancelled, so we were able to spend (part of) the day together!

This was our fun 'love' lunch
And my sweetest Valentine's
(yes, Mylin has hearts on her headband, shirt, pants, and even socks!!!)
Then dinner rolls around and Joel brings home a surprise! This specialty made pizza from our favorite diner, Tyeger's (spinach, oyster crackers, garlic sauce, shrimp, scallps, lobster tail, snow crab, and salmon. YUM.)
They even made complimentary cannolli's :)
This was all set up to surprise me while spending the eve alone because Joel was on a trip, but since he was home we got to enjoy it together - even better!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

reasons to have another chocolate chip cookie

Do you like cookies as much as me?

A few weeks ago I had eaten FIVE chocolate chip cookies before I really had realized what was going on...oops.
I like to think I try to eat a cookie a day, but it doesn't always happen
Recently I baked chocolate chip cookies using this recipe and was trying to rationalize reasons to continue having just one more
1. this one is so small, i don't want it to feel sad in the container with all the big ones
2. this one is so big, it takes up too much room and makes the other cookies jealous
3. I have to eat one more to make my total an even number
4 I have to eat one more to make my total an odd number
5. I'm walking through the kitchen and already getting a glass of milk, i might as well eat a cookie...
6. its Monday, we all need one more cookie
7. its Friday/Saturday/Sunday/the weekend - we don't have to count these calories!
8. they are fresh from the oven...nothing like a warm cookie!
9. if you're going to have a cookie, I don't want you to be lonely, so I'll eat one (or two) with you!
10. oh look, that one's broken :(
11. oh look, that one's broken too!!!
12. it's VALENTINE'S DAY!!! we get to have as much sugar as we want!

I know that when Mylin is old enough to have cookies, I will never deny her one more, because I totally want to eat one more too!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

100th post

To commemorate 100 posts I would like to go back and highlight some of my favorite posts/milestones. I hope this isn't boring, but somewhat fun or nostalgic, or at least something you'll read through. :)

My very first post, explaining my title: perpendicular pillows - really the reason I began this blog, because I thought I had a killer title!

Some inspiration from scripture: something I desire to return to in my posts. My subheading says I am on a journey towards becoming more disciplined and humble, yet I do not focus on that much in my life...which is reflected in my blogging - help keep me accountable!

I wrote this in awe over God's goodness in so many new lives being 'on their way' in 2009, including our sweet little miss, who we were still keeping a secret :)

Her announcement!

Two of my best gals, Kim and Brittany, showered Joel, baby, and me in April - thank you ladies! It is such a joy to share motherhood with Brittany, who gave birth to Bailey just 4 days after Mylin's arrival! I am also thrilled beyond belief that Kim will join the mommy club come August :)

Pregnant 2nd anniversary in Brown County with the love of my life :) I can't believe how much we love each other made us a sweet baby girl - we are truly blessed!

I mowed one week before Mylin was born. I felt like a total superwoman! Cut to me napping for the remainder of the afternoon that Friday, and then having contractions all night long on the following Sunday (Father's day!)...may or may not be related to my exercise craziness...Anywho, my whole rationale behind mowing so much while big pregnant was that I could easily stop, go inside to pee, or stop because I was too tired. If I went on a walk on the greenway I had to pray that I made it to the port-a-pot a mile and a half from our house (ew.) or that I could survive coming back home (its slightly uphill) without giving birth.

Mylin Hadassah's arrival on June 25th, 2010. Praise be to God!

The first time all 18 Merkle's were together :)

My crazy summer in numbers that reminds me even though I felt like a slug as a third trimester preggo and new mom, I did manage to get some stuff done! And since then?! I have TOTALLY gotten addicted to making babyfood :)

Realizing I want to become more focused and begin simplifying my life. Reminds me I haven't updated my progress in awhile...

Mylin's first Christmas decorating, celebrating, and making memories

Where we are headed this year (at least we think)

I hope you enjoyed this flashback into the last 18 months of The Draper's
Stay tuned!

Monday, February 7, 2011

No fast food in February

My sister-in-law Jill who guest posted for me earlier this month, just did a challenge with her family for no sugar in January (imagine that with 2 preschoolers and 2 toddlers!)
After reading her post (sorry no link here, her blog is private) Joel and I decided to do a food challenge of our own: NO FAST FOOD IN FEBRUARY!

Disclaimer: we totally had Burger King on groundhog's day and then that night decided on this challenge :)

So what this means for us is that we don't go through the drive through or order out pizza.
We have really cut back on our drive through eating and do it usually only when traveling and didn't plan enough ahead of time to pack a car meal, or if I am really lazy and bossy and don't want to make dinner because I want a greasey cheeseburger so bad

The hard part will be the no pizza...
We eat pizza maybe 3ish times a month, our favorite being to frequent the local parlor, Tyeger's
So since their special in March is the reuben and that's my favorite...I decided we'll just do the remainder of February the no fast food month so I don't miss out on it!
I will also be suffering for 5 long days while Joel is on his longest business trip to Mexico, during which I always treat myself to Pizza King's barbeque ham pizza and breadsticks
Wow, maybe we do eat out a lot.

However, this challenge will not include a date night (or two) that we take this month, because
1. we go to a restaurant and the food is not 'fast'
2. we do love to go out to eat and try new food and that is something fun we can treat ourselves too during our much needed reconnection time!!!

Help keep us accountable by sending me a simple recipe to try this month!
rachel_merkle (the at symbol) yahoo (dot) com (i just saw another blogger type her email in this way in attempt to prevent spam mail)
Anyone want to join us on this challenge?!

Friday, February 4, 2011

winter day in

On Wednesday we all had the luxury of a mid-week weekend!
That is a day I usually intern at BHS and they were closed
Franklin Electric even sent everyone home early on Tuesday and closed on Wednesday!
So on our day off, at home together, we:
1. slept in until Mylin said it was time to get up!
2. stayed in our jammies all day
3. (Rachel) got caught up on homework
4. (Joel) did our taxes!!! Good job honey!
5. got Burger King for supper (cut to Joel being stuck in the alley trying to drive there and him not coming back for 30 more minutes because BK was understaffed due to weather!)
6. watched Seven Pounds after Mylin went to bed

It was relaxing and productive - the best kind of days off!

What did you do during your winter day in?!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mondays are the best (week)days

mondays are my new favorite day, well, at least favorite week day
on monday i have nothing on my agenda. ever.
this means i get to do my FAVORITE things:
1. not put product in my hair or wear make up (or get out of my pajamas if we're being honest...)
2. fix breakfast for joel (if i'm not enjoying my sleeping in morning...)
3. get play dates with my girlfriends and their babies/kids
4. cook and bake! (this past monday i made chili, corn potato chowder, tater tot casserole, potato baby food, and chicken&potato baby food)
5. enjoy the lunch hour with my hub :)
6. read or watch a movie while mylin naps

but the best part?! i spend the entire day with the sweetest 7 month old little miss :)

what do you love (or hate) about mondays?!