Monday, July 30, 2007

The Merkley's go to Williamsburg

Brendon's parents came to visit this weekend from Utah. We love having visitors! They graciously helped me get another item checked off my "things to do this summer" list. Saturday afternoon we drove to Williamsburg, VA. We found the hotel Brendon reserved for us and he was so proud of himself because the hotel was ADORABLE and a bargain price. Check out the cute toile wallpaper - how much more authentic could it be?!

Saturday night after we got settled we went over to Colonial Williamsburg to Bruton Parish church and listened to/participated in a choir hymn sing-a-long. It was very cool.

Sunday morning we took the shuttle into Colonial Williamsburg again and experienced life in the 18th century. One of my favorite places was the apothecary. The woman (actress) behind the counter told me how she had been treating a lot of whooping cough that week, and she didn't have any clue how to fix Brendon's allergies but she thought maybe he had the whooping cough himself. We saw the tools they used to do surgery back then - scary! Also a favorite was the wig shop. We watched them make a wig and string individual hairs onto a net. She said the net stayed on by sheer luck, and they used to shave their heads to make the fit more proper (even the women). Wigs ran anywhere from a day's worth of pay to two months salary. My absolute favorite place was the tailor/dressmaker. Can you imagine sewing all those elegants gowns and uniforms by hand?! Even just the button holes would take hours to stitch by hand. Amazing.
Brendon caused a ruckus in the tavern and we got locked up in the town square. :)
Later in the afternoon we left Colonial Williamsburg and went to Jamestown island where we saw the statues of Pocahontas and John Smith, lots of artifacts that have been recovered from archeological digs, and the site where 400 years ago the settlers landed in America. It was really cool.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Laughter - The Best Medicine

A little mid-day humor courtesy of Laffy Taffy:

Q: What do you call a cow with a twitch?
A: Beef Jerky

Q: Which are the stronger days of the week?
A: Saturday and Sunday - the rest of the days are weekdays.

Ha ha!

Friday, July 20, 2007


Last week Brendon and I were watching tv and we came across a reality show where people were in a competition to create the new Häagen-Dazs flavor. It was so fun - the top people got to go to the Häagen-Dazs labs and create their flavors for a panel of judges, and then there was a huge marketing campaign and the winning flavor was launched. Needless to say, since i am so culinary inclined (ha) I predicted the winning flavor from the beginning - Sticky Toffee Pudding. Last night at the grocery store Brendon found the flavor and we had to buy it so we could complete our tv experience. I'm glad this flavor won - it is amazing. Everyone needs to try it.

So now Häagen-Dazs is at it again with another round of the competition for a new flavor. If anyone wants to try out their sample flavors on me I am happy to oblige.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Proud Aunt

My cute little niece and nephew, Rylee and Cole, took their parents to Disneyland this weekend. Doesn't it look so fun? It makes me want to be a kid again.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Happy Birthday Blake!

Blake is getting old (just kidding...we all are) so Kayla threw him a youngster's birthday party on Sunday with Shrek ear headbands, party favors, and a pinata. She cooked a yummy dinner of chicken cordon bleu and we had the best cake ever from Cake Love. YUM! Afterwards we played Canasta - I don't even remember who won, but it wasn't me! We had such a great time. The very best part of the night though, was when the pinata busted and nothing came out and Kayla said, "What?! Where's all the candy?" She has no idea pinatas don't come pre-filled. Ha!

Arlington Cemetery

Friday afternoon we had the honor of attending the funeral service of a brave fallen soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. On Memorial Day 2006, the President delivered a speech at Arlington Cemetery that mentioned this brave soldier. He had been killed by a terrorist bomb, and before he left he had given his parents a letter in case he didn't return. He wrote: "Remember that my leaving was in the service of something that we loved, and be proud. The best way to pay respect is to value why a sacrifice was made." When his family held the funeral service this past Friday they invited Brendon to attend. It was a touching service, and I was overwhelmed by the sacrifice that so many people have made for the freedoms I enjoy. Looking around at the gravestones we noticed how young most of the soldiers were. The man that officiated the ceremony made wonderful remarks filled with hope and respect, and he used a phrase that stuck with me: "In life he honored the flag, in death the flag honors him".

Books with Brendon

Our calling at church has been Senior Nursery for about a year now. It's exhausting at times - but usually we truly enjoy ourselves and come away with the best stories! Some of you know the "my windshield wipers went out of control" story courtesy of Clarke. Besides the great stories and entertainment we get to eat gold fish and raisins and take walks with the kids. Brendon tried to incorporate "nap time" but only a few of the kids got it, and they thought it was a game so they giggled the whole time. This is what nursery always ends up looking like every Sunday - Brendon piled high with kids reading books over and over again for two hours. He's going to make such a good dad :)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Spoiled Rotten

Since real estate has been demanding a lot of me lately, and because we only have one car, we have had to get really creative about our car sharing. Twice this week Brendon has come to drop off the car to me at my work at lunchtime and we've been able to share lunch together. Until now this was a very rare occurence - and I must say - I LOVE IT! What in the world could be better than getting a mid day break to have a bite to eat with your sweetie? It's so wonderful.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I Heart Country Music

That's all. I just felt like that needed to be said :) We talked about country music a lot tonight...and great country musicians...and Brendon and I cruised and listened to the music...and my heart just beats faster and I can't wipe the silly grin off my face when I hear the twangy music I love. Anything else just doesn't come close.

Just for fun I posted a song I wrote and recorded last year (see bottom left). I like to pretend sometimes that I can sing country music - then I watch these crazy shows like American Idol and Nashville Star and see the amazing talent and remember how very amateur I am. But that doesn't stop me from loving it, and loving to dream and pretend...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Happy Birthday America!

4th of July is my favorite holiday! And it doesn't hurt that we get to go to the White House to watch the fireworks! I don't know which part is my favorite - the free sodas in cute little White House cups, the free all you can eat Dove ice cream bars, or waving to the President as he steps out on the balcony.
We got there early to get our blankets in a good spot on the South Lawn.

Blake, Kayla, Taryn and Brendon

Enjoying our ice cream bars. Yum!

Of course Kayla and Taryn couldn't resist getting in line with the 5 year olds to get their faces painted. Just chillin' with the Presidents.

Ok - I have to admit I didn't take this photo. Mine didn't turn out so well :)

More Than Meets the Eye...

If you haven't seen Transformers yet, you need to! Reunite with your Autobot friends of the 80's.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Marines and Monticello

Brendon's dad visited us this weekend, and I wanted to take advantage of that and get something touristy checked off on our Summer to-do list. We drove to Monticello, but on the way at Brendon's request we stopped at the National Musuem of the Marine Corps in Quantico. Brendon has wanted to make a trip to the museum ever since the dedication speech that President Bush delivered at the museum. On the drive to Quantico Brendon had us read said speech about an amazingly courageous man and Medal of Honor winner, Jason Dunham. The museum was very neat and we spent hours wandering around inside.

Al sacrificed his body to get just the right angle on the photo. What a team player!

In the gift shop they have a replica of the Iwo Jima monment made entirely of Legos!

After we finished at the Marine Corps Museum we drove to Thomas Jefferson's plantation, Monticello. The drive there was beautiful, and Al and Taryn could not contain their excitement over seeing so many beautiful houses and farms. The plantation was very cool, but we all rejoiced that we were born in the era of plumbing and other modern conveniences. :)

Brendon deserves some credit here - he can be quite the photographer sometimes.
Have you ever seen a cabbage this big? Jefferson had 1,000 feet of vegetable gardens.

This is the famous view of Monticello - the one on the back of the nickel.

This is harder than it looks!