all about Mo


Oh, Mo....where do I even start?

He's 6 months old, and has barely made any appearances on this blog. SIX! time has stolen by. It has been wonderful and exhausting, these last six months. Mo, he really is a dreamboat. Positively, absolutely a happy happy baby.

around 2 weeks old and SO handsome


2nd day home from the hospital

So, let's talk about Mo. We rarely call him Merrill, as Mo just fits him so well (though that was not our intention when we named him).

Although he was born at an average weight, the boy packed on the pounds after his first month, putting him in the 98th percentile at two months. By three months he was 16 pounds -- bigger than a lot of 16 month olds! I mean, seriously, the kid is a chunk! See below for evidence and hold onto your heart:

So, first, his cheeks. His cheeks probably hold most of his weight (his thighs coming in a close 2nd). Those cheeks...those delicious cheeks! 

They drown out his lips...and from the side, they are barely visible, such is the great mountainness squishy delicousness that are his cheeks. SERIOUSLY I CAN'T STOP KISSING THEM. The rolls on his neck, the way his wrist roll is so deep it looks like it's a separate's unreal.

around 3 months 

shots at 3 months and 16 pounds!
His heels are covered by a roll, and his love handles are out of this world. And though he sounds pretty fat, he's actually evening out now that he's 6 months... his cheeks have diminished imperceptably, his body lengthening just a bit to make the fat look a little more spread out. A lot remains, and people stop us constantly, commenting on his big cheeks, asking how old he is and always surprised at our answer, expecting 3-4 months older than we replied. He stops people in the streets -- they do double takes, or lean over and whisper to their friend about how cute his face is. they pinch cheeks, grab tiny fingers, make faces close to his. He tolerates it all with a nice little grin or an empty stare that accentuates that chub on his face---I like to think he does it on purpose, to put on a show for the customers.

He has beautiful brown eyes, almond shaped like mine, has a nice combination of our skin types (he got excema though, damn) and auburn hair that has a nicely placed cowlick in the back, making his hair do a permanent part and comb over thing. He looks like such a dapper little gentleman.

And don't forget our siren trick that's now made both our kids cry:

He loves Viv and watches her all the time, laughing, grabbing her hair. Viv is so great with him...they have been a cute pair, I die every time. He loves his daddy too, but me? I'm his very favorite. YES! FINALLY! It feels good to have a mama's boy after such a dedicated daddy's girl.

When Mo is crying and I'm busy, Viv grabs a book and reads to him so he'll be happy. Sweetest big sister ever.


 Viv and Mo together on his first night home. She wanted him to sleep in her bed (cue heart eyes)^^^

He has such a sweet little personality. That Mo. The boy I had to stop shopping in the baby section for at 3 months old. Nothing fit him...and if it did, only for a week. We've been buying 12 month old pants and shirts for a while now, just so the waist with button comfortably, just so the shirt will cover his squishy love handles and cute pokey belly.... although the length in the legs and arms just drown him.

Now that he's older, he is starting to prefer a bottle over me, because I guess I just ain't got the goods fast enough anymore?!? It was a random change...he's basically weaning himself slowly but surely...I'm good with it. He's much easier to satisfy when he gets control of his own bottle, silly chunk.
Also,  he LOVES THE BATH - especially sitting up and splashing, playing with his stacking cups, and even being on his tummy in the water. Nothing else is guaranteed to make him as happy as the bath does!

Mo at 6 months

He is obsessed with our food like a hawk, and devours 2 cartons of food at each feeding. I mean, seriously, who is this chunk!?

Mo at 5 months
His nickname from our friends is in 99nth percentile. kids got chunk. he's over in everything-height, weight and head circumfrence. and boooooy does it make him deliciously squishy and chewable.
5 months visiting Florida

He's been cooing to himself in the mornings when he wakes up around 6:30. He's just so happy. He has a perma grin on his face (unless he's hungry, watch your back), and he gurgles and squeals at you, plays and gives big wet open mouth kisses as he pulls your hair and grabs the skin on your face as hard as he possibly can, just to drag you down into his slobbery mouth. Big smiles, big kisses, lots of arms excitedly flapping and kicking of those unbelievable roly thighs of his.

5 months

I just never knew a smile could melt me so quickly.

5 months in Florida
I can't describe how happy this boy makes me. I love Viv, and she has some hilarious almost-three year old things going for her right now which deserves a separate post of its own.... But right now, Mo is healing my belief that all babies are crazy psychos. He is convincing me that babies aren't so bad---it really can be such a beautiful, amazing and fun (albeit incredibly exhausting) experience to have a newborn! We had rough patches, all-nighters, scream fests, a little crazyiness from lack of sleep and showering...but we got through it. 3 months, head down, get through it, done. 3 months, a beautiful time, yet exhausting. I got a chance to enjoy that stage as much as i could between being so tired i couldn't think straight--but i let myself love him, with no expectations of him, or myself or the state of my house. Cultivating love between my two kids, learning who my new boy was, his personality, likes and dislikes, the little tiny quirks that mothers only know about their children. It's been so fun -- and for a hater like me, that's a big step! Ask anyone though, you can't help but love Mr. Mo.

fell asleep in church without anything. Starting good habits early...

Such a happy dude. Making this mama heart of mine swell with so much love and hormones. GOSH, YOU GUYS I'M RAVING. sorry.

Around 3 months, results of Viv babysitting

I keep falling hard for this little man. He holds my heart, he makes me happy, I could play with the kid all the damn day long. 5-6 months is where the fun reeeeallly begins...i love this stage, and it just keeps getting better and better. Although I cannot believe it's been an entire 6 months already..half a year (?!?!), I'm enjoying this fun stage.

Mo at church around 4 months

this was taken after he had screamed for hours until we took him for a drive at 11 PM out of desperation. he stayed awake the whole time as happy as a clam. 
around 3 months

A few more things I want to remember about Mo that he's doing right now:

sitting up like a champ -- such a wide base helps :)
rolling over -- finally!
chewing on everything in sight and drooling on everything more.
loves soft things, especially his fluffy gray blanket. He loves pulling it over his face when he sleeps.
He loves to suck on soft stuffed animals
great sleeper - he's been sleeping through the night since he was 3 months eating, no waking, 7-6. Sleep training was NOT that easy with Viv.
He loves playing peek-a-boo and sucking on my fingers. Games are the best to him!
He is so so so ticklish...and has the BEST LAUGH EVER! I even have a video. Allow me:

And, the problem: he looooves tv, we never let him watch it, but whenever it's on he'll twist in crazy ways just to watch it, little stinker.

Man I love this kid. Happy 6 months, Mo Mo! We love you!

see his newborn pictures here
birth story here

TTYL 2014


2014, what a freakin' year. A lot of change, a lot of new. It really truly was a happy year. It challenged me like never before, but it was the good kind of challenge. You know, the kind that makes you push your boundaries and find parts of yourself that maybe you've been ignoring all this time. That's what 2014 was for me: self discovery and embracing change instead of being afraid of it.


I didn't blog much this year, so this might be a bit lengthy to make up for lost posts for my own benefit. read at your leisure and discretion.

so, let's start at the very beginning, shall we? (A very good place to start)

Viv's favorites: 
Grew up exponentially, is in speech therapy, diagnosed with dyspraxia of speech and is really making a lot of good progress. She became a fashionista of jewelry and accessories, is obsessed with puzzles and is really good at them, loves the beach and skeleton heads, loves stuffed animals and carries 10 of them at all times, along with 2 or 3 blankets, obsessed with watermelon, swimming, climbing and parks, ice cream, dogs and cats. Mo & her dad are her two favorite people, loves to paint and do art projects, favorite movies this year being Frozen, Winnie the Pooh, Tangled, Toy Story, Robin Hood & Minnie and Mickey Mouse (and all movies in general), She loves the color pink, playing games like Go Fish and Memory, is obsessed with oatmeal for breakfast and PBJ for lunch, wants to do EVERYTHING herself. She loves to be a mommy, takes care of her baby & bunny with so much love. Loves rocks and collects them whenever she sees them. Sang Jingle Bells constantly this Christmas and has sung "Let it Go" all year. She always requests to listen to Frozen or "Mickey Mouse" (Disney) music. Best friends are Stu, Graham, Opal and Eli, and Hazel. Silly, lover of books, a tease and so so funny.

All about Mo:
Sweet and chill as heck, a great sleeper, loves to grab things, has pinched me ever since he was born,  loves to eat, chunked up quick and became the chunkiest baby ever, has the most glorious cheeks of all time, loves to suck on his stuffed bunny, loves to be swaddled, will not roll over, loves to sit up, play with toys, loves to watch his sister. His daddy is best at making him laugh, but he is definitely a mama's boy (I love it). He's a happy, sweet baby, off the charts 100% in weight, 98% in length and head circumference. stubborn with wide brown eyes and the cutest little smile in the world. He is the love of my life.

And a little year review

Christmas breakin' , my brother Tanner comes home from his LDS mission in Peru, and it is the last time I'll see my youngest brother McKay before he leaves to serve his LDS mission in Southern California. Sickness of the ages: Viv gets scary hives, I get a wicked ear infection and the flu takes us all out. Dale has a birthday, turns 28 like a boss.

The news is out! Baby #2 is debuting in July. We potty train Viv at 22 months and she takes to it like a pro. Done! Done. Longest and coldest and bitterest worst month of my life. STIR.CRAZY. We do anything we can to survive and barely do. Practice for Taffetas starts (blog post on Tafettas TBA). Viv becomes incredibly more cute.

Baby alien is a boy! Healthy and smooshy and makes me as fat as can be. Taffetas rehearsal takes over my life, Dale is out of town for most of the month. I single mom it for most of the time. Go insane. Viv turns two and has a cute little party.

our gender announcement to our families

Insanity reigneth. We are stupid and take a spring break to the only warm place close to us to save our sanity. Florida! It saves our lives and we don't regret it one teensy bit.

Taffetas performances are finally here. Crazy busy rehearsal schedules, costume fittings, choreography and pictures/advertising performances.

The show is amazing-- we do great, sell out shows, raise tons of money for a local charity. Three out of four of us are pregnant, we have an incredible director and some awesome talent that made it all possible. It turns out to be one of the highlights of my life.  I realize that this is something I would love to pursue someday.

The weather finally warms up and we spend all free time outside. We are married 5 years, Dale finishes his first year of grad school, I'm 30 weeks pregnant, still no internship, no idea where we are headed or what we are doing this summer.

We head to the East Bay just because we want to, no job, no prospects, just friends and the promise of a glorious summer. No furniture, no dishes, no money, no insurance, no doctor and only the essentials packed in our black SUV. Trek across the country in various ways and finally make it to NorCal. We have nothing, but witness so much selfless service of people outfitting our entire apartment for us with couches, dressers, beds, dishes, tables and chairs. We are incredibly grateful.

This is an insanely crazy, stressful and busy month, but honestly, as hard and crazy this month was, I was extremely happy, because 1) i was getting out of Ithaca and 2) I was finally home, around some of my best friends and in a sunny, familiar town.

Let the job search begin! Dale is unemployed and searches for a job. We explore, visit cool sights, have picnics, go to parks, splash pads, Baking Wednesdays are conceived (best part of my summer!), we catch up with old friends, go on dates, CAMP MID-WEEK with some of our besties (both men unemployed at the same time = miracle) , Viv falls in love with Hazel and loves babies because of it.

Dale finally (HALLELUJAH) gets an internship with HP down in San Jose and starts a 2-hour commute each way.

July is the big month. More baking. Lots of park days, picnics, drive-in movies, ice cream, pizza and walks. My sweet friends throw me a little baby shower at my favorite Mexican place and we eat ice cream and sing Backstreet Boys until late into the night. We gear up for baby to come at the end of the month and bank on him coming early. I make freezer meals, my mom comes, and we wait....and wait....and WAIT.


Baby shower!
Def Leppard/KISS concert 

THEN on July 24, this little dude finally makes his arrival and it is perfect.


Viv meets Mo and this video melts my heart, as do all their interactions.

we come home and become a family of four and life can't be better.


life is pretty blissful for a while as we just revel in newborn bliss and try to enjoy our last few weeks with friends in our favorite town. I cuddle that boy like nobody's' business.


best friends Viv and Hazel

Chappy girls

she secretly loves him
Another pretty insane month. We clean, pack and move a short three weeks after Mo is born. We party with friends, travel to Utah, see family, give Mo a blessing,  Dale drives our stuff back across the country to Ithaca, my mom helps me fly with the kids across the country to start our last year of MBA school.


We take advantage of the nice weather and being reunited with friends we didn't get to see all summer. Viv starts nursery school, We go berry picking, make pies and play with friends outside non-stop. We go on lots of adventures (Niagara Falls), have visitors, explore Cornell and take advantage of the best season ever while it lasts.



Leaf playing, we take family pictures and an amazing fall break trip to Kennebunkport, Maine with our 2 best couple friends (post to come with that).


We watch the SF Giants win the world series, pick pumpkins, do halloweenie stuff. Viv has a school Halloween party and dresses up as Anna from Frozen. Halloween night, we dress up in our annual family ensemble and kill it.




I chop my hair. Dale searches for jobs. We take a paid trip to Florida as a potential boss wines and dines us in an amazing 5-star resort on a beach. Go to an Ingrid Michaelson concert. Fall more and more in love with my roly-poly boy, travel to Connecticut to spend Thanksgiving with our East coast surrogate family.

We cut down our own Christmas tree, Viv gets into the terrible threenagers early, grandma comes to visit, one more semester of school is over. Dale and I go to a masquerade ball and love it, Serial Podcast takes over my life (WHO THE EFF DID IT???). We do Christmasy things like go to the Nutcracker ballet, Skaneateles, Ugly Sweater Fondue party, Viv's nursery school sing along, and various other winter activities. I turn 26 and we build a 6-foot snowman at 10 PM. We stay in Ithaca for the holidays and enjoy Christmas break with our little family. We have a wonderful Christmas, and I host a Christmas dinner (insanity). Dale and I ring in the New Year in oversized sweats, playing Phase Ten and getting up with sick kids all night long.


2014 was a big year for us in so many ways. What I want to remember in particular this year is how much God looked after us.

As we job searched, we looked exclusively in the East Bay area in NorCal because we so badly wanted to go back there. It had been our plan to go back even before we left for school, and to us it wasn't an option to go anywhere else. As Dale searched and searched for jobs he wanted to do, nothing was working out. Nothing. One day, Dale started looking at a particular job title that hadn't really appealed to him before, but he thought maybe would be interesting (back office Private Equity). As he looked at jobs, a random call came to come have dinner with this company, a small Private Equity firm visiting from Florida. They had found his resume out of the blue (he hadn't applied for this job at all) and were interested in him. He wasn't too excited about it, and almost didn't go, but last minute decided to go for the practice. That night turned out to be a low key interview that he blew them away in.  He got called in for an actual interview later and that "interview" was them trying to sell him their company. they wanted Dale to work for them, and asked what it would take to get him there- and the job wasn't back office -- it was essentially to work up to being a key player in the company. They offered to fly our family out to Florida for a few days, all expenses covered, to get a sense of the area and who they were as a company. The money offered was more than we could have hoped for, the job was something Dale didn't think would be plausible right out of school, and the opportunities and benefits presented us just seemed amazing-- too good to be true, really.  This opportunity came out of nowhere, with no effort on Dale's part to find it. It fell into our laps, a wonderful dream job in a beautiful place...just not the place we wanted to be. As we prayed about it and pondered our options, it became clear to both of us that even though we didn't want to move to Florida and spend more time so far away from family, we both knew that this is what we were supposed to do. With open hearts (and a tiny bit of a begrudging one on my part), we accepted the offer.

Florida. We are moving to Florida. Is this crazy?!? I never in a million years would have envisioned this for my life. We are happy and excited to be moving on with our lives in such a big way, but I get debilitatingly homesick for California and the West Coast often - good friends, such easy access to both our families and a city that we love. I cringe at the though of trying to find my niche in a new place AGAIN, trying to find good friends AGAIN and being the odd one out AGAIN. I should be pro at it by now, right?

But mostly, we are excited and feel very blessed that this opportunity came our way. I have a strong testimony that the Lord knows what is best for us, and we have worked really hard to put our faith in Him in making our decisions (hardest thing I've done this year by far!). Sometimes our lives don't go as planned, and I have seen that acutely during this last year. If anything though, I am comforted to know that the Lord really does know what's best for us.

Oh. And we're graduating from Cornell in 4 short months. AND we're going to Norway. In May. Without kids. With some of our best friends. I mean really, can it get better than that.

2015, tho! Let's do it!


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