Friday, January 31, 2014

A Children's Story by Me

I've never really considered myself a creative person.

Lest you misunderstand me and think I'm out to disparage myself and my talents, let me clarify: I've never really considered myself a creative person in the sense of actually creating something. I don't write my own music, I don't do anything in the way of visual arts, I'm not terribly experimental in the kitchen, etc. For the most part, this is all right with me. I like my talents that I have developed. (although i have been ignoring those a lot lately, but that's another story entirely.)

However, there was a time in my life where I was actively creating . . . and that's when I was younger and convinced I was going to be an author. I started writing stories in 4th grade and even read these stories to my class. (middle-school Megan NEVER would have done such a thing. how brave i was at the age of 10.) I kept this up for a few years before my ambitions turned to other outlets, but this love of writing has always stuck with me, even if it's died down a lot since I churned out my first masterpiece, The King and Queen are Missing! (yes, complete with exclamation point.)

As stated in my parenthetical above, nowadays I would never dream of being so bold as to share anything I've written with others, but I was going through some old school assignments of mine and came across a children's story I wrote my senior year of high school in creative writing class. It's silly, sure, but I'm still reasonably pleased with the results and thought I'd share. It's been manymanymany years since I wrote it, anyway, and any embarrassment about sharing it is quite minimal.

(One line in particular is very autobiographical and my parents . . . and maybe my siblings? . . . will be able to spot what it is, but you can guess what it might be.)

Without further ado, I present . . . What You Can Find Under the Bed.

The other day I came across a Shrink-o-matic machine.
It had blue and orange polka dots, and the buttons were bright green.
On two of the small knobs, I found instructions there.
One said, "Shrink to the size of a pea," another, "Grow to the size of a bear."

Now, seeing as how I am the curious kind,
I decided to try it out and see if I would mind
Being teeny or being huge, or if I preferred
Being somewhere in between, the size of a chirpy bluebird.
So I pressed the button that said, "Shrink to the size of a pea,"
And waited for an hour, till it was a quarter after three.

Nothing happened still, so I retired to my room
And lay down on my bed, mumbling and grumbling . . . then BOOM!!!
I was no longer the size that I before had been.
I was half an inch tall, instead of my normal 4'10"!

Inching off my pillow, I peeked down to the floor,
Noticing if I fell, then I would be no more.
The distance that I saw was such an astonishing height,
I sat down with a plop and considered my plight.
After much deliberation, I decided to pick up my feet
And slid to the floor riding along my purple bed sheet.

Underneath the bed, something caught my eye.

I walked into the darkness to try and figure out why
The shimmering golden ring looked so darn familiar.
Oh! Now I know why! It slipped off my mom's finger
When she tucked me into bed and kissed me good night
Two days ago, to be exact, 8:30, Tuesday night.

I walked a little further, and what did I see?
A G.I. Joe that belonged to my brother and my little sister's Barbie.

Upon exploring a very deep dark corner,
I found Susie's book of rhymes that included "Little Jack Horner".
There was also a bag of chips that I had consumed
And stuffed under the mattress last week while my dad vacuumed.
An empty plate, a striped sock, and a baby doll's head
Were other little assortments I found under my bed.

But then, I glanced toward the light in my room,
And saw, "Oh, horror of horrors!" a sure sign of doom.
What I had found so far was only just a part
Of the mess under my bed that broke my mother's heart.
Books, toys, crayons, and ribbons were all in my view
And some other items I won't mention that made me cry, "Pee-yew!"
In fact, under my entire bed there wasn't any place
That I could find to try and fill any empty space.

I cursed and cursed that Shrink-o-matic machine,
with its blue and orange polka dots and buttons of bright green,
For it had made me see the destruction under my bed
That made me go absolutely out of my head.
I shot through my room and down the stairs,
And after three hours, I reached the chair
In the living room where I'd left that machine
With the infernal polka dots and buttons of bright green!

I stomped on the button that read, "Grow to the size of a bear,"
And after an hour, I sat in the chair;
Only now I was back to my normal size.
So I cleaned up my room, which turned out to be wise,
Because Mom came home at exactly seven,
And extended my curfew till eight before eleven.
She did this just because I cleaned my room --
Picked up clothes, dusted, and even vacuumed!

And why, you may ask, do I tell you this scene?

Because, if you ever come across a Shrink-o-matic machine
That has two knobs with instructions there
That say, "Shrink to the size of a pea" and "Grow to the size of a bear,"
With the blue and orange polka dots and buttons of bright green,
If you want my advice . . .



Saturday, January 25, 2014

One Year Older and Wiser, Too

My baby is one! That is so crazy. Although if you had asked Glen last night, he would have told you that Isaac was only a week old. (this was in a conversation about our taxes in which i wanted to make certain he was claiming isaac as a dependent and he responded, "no, isaac was born january 15, 2014." really? i don't recall giving birth last week! i had a good chortle at his expense.)

Yep, following in his mother's footsteps and having mac and cheese for birthday dinner.

 The extent of my creativity.

Anyway, Isaac's birthday was a pretty quiet affair; just us. Yes, yes, how terrible of me not to throw a huge blow-out party for a one-year-old! Isaac, like at Christmas, didn't know what was going on, anyway, so I'm not too torn up about it. His presents for his birthday weren't nearly as fun as at Christmas, since a month ago he got a bunch of toys, whereas last week he got clothes. Clothes are never as fun to get, are they?

 He kept his make-shift party hat on for about a second.

On a related note, sometimes it's difficult for both Glen and I to be musical, because we both automatically jump to harmony when we sing together and nobody's left on the melody. Oops! (sound familiar, kelly? mom?) Jensen tradition dictates that we sing "Happy Birthday" to someone in a notoriously bad fashion, but Glen and I figured maybe our kids should grow up at least knowing what the tune sounds like before we mangle it for each other.

Okay, so Isaac didn't know why we were singing at him, but that doesn't mean he didn't enjoy the cake. Because he sure did. By the end of eating, he was a sticky green-fingered monster. But what a cute one!

I love the shot of both of them stuffing their faces.

Please, Mom, I want some more.

A couple days before Isaac's birthday, he had his first major catastrophe -- he fell down the stairs! GAH! We'd taught him how to turn himself around at the top of the stairs in order to go down backwards, which he was getting the hang of quite well, but he didn't get himself completely turned around this time before gravity took effect and I wasn't there in time to catch him. Not. Cool. Mom. So dooooooooown he went, and he was justly upset at me, but I was mainly relieved that he didn't sustain any serious injuries. Lucky. Mom. He's willing to go near the stairs (and still very happily and rapidly climbs them), but he's unsurprisingly reluctant to turn himself around without a little encouragement and reassurance that I'm right there. At least he's back to a point where he will go down once I've helped him turn. But yeesh! I'm very lucky I didn't break my child.

"Building" with Daddy

He'd still rather play with anything but his own toys, as evidenced by the fact that it's increasingly hard for me to work with him constantly wanting to get in on my computer keyboard action. He does enjoy his various blocks and wooden rings because of the good clacking noise they make. He's gotten the hang of his sippy cup the last couple of weeks, which is neat because I really didn't know when he'd willingly use it. And just the last couple of days, he's taken to crawling around on his hands and feet (yep, feet. not knees), which is pretty hilarious to watch. He'll occasionally stop and look between his legs to look behind, which is naturally adorable. But he never crawls anywhere without the intention of pulling himself up to his feet if he can. He is a good little cruiser.

This is his favorite spot to cruise to when I'm trying to work.

How can you resist that smile?

He's also into licking his papa's nose and demolition.


"All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much." -George Harrison

Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold

It's kind of funny that I now get excited about making trips to Provo, but what can you do? I'm a "small town girl" these days. Well, kind of. A couple weekends ago, we decided to make the trek to see family and visit Costco (and Winco. and do "super secret" birthday shopping for isaac).

The drive was pretty standard (passed a LOT of ice fishers), but as we passed Heber and made our way through Midway and Provo canyon, we came upon some pretty intense mist that was spread out across the reservoir. I really don't think I'd ever seen anything like it, and for the most part, we were not enshrouded in it (at most for about five seconds), but it looked so cool. Totally got me in the mood to sing about the Misty Mountains with dwarves.

Cute little fella out to lunch

When we first arrived in Provo, I texted my pal Kathryn to ask if we could stop by some time during the day, and when she texted me back, lo and behold! there was a party going on! Our friend Heather was being thrown a baby shower as we spoke (well, if texting = speaking), and I was welcome to stop by. So after about fifteen minutes of hanging out at Glen's sister's, we hopped back in the car! Totally great timing on our part, because then I got to see several of my Provo friends in one fell swoop! I love those ladies.

A couple of Glen's candid shots of us; having a good time getting in place.

 There's a good group shot!

After a nummy-yummy trip to Zupa's for lunch (lobster bisque!), we visited Grandma Merrell with Bethany before I left everyone behind to shop. Oh, Winco, how I miss you. And doesn't everybody know it? Costco was our last visit before heading back out. It was a very full day, but pretty good. I shall return.


"It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out; it's the grain of sand in your shoe." -Robert W. Service

Christmas Bells are Ringing

Seeing as how Christmas was exactly a month ago, maybe it's not worth documenting, but here goes.

This year was a first for us Merrells, as we didn't travel anywhere for the holiday. It was kind of strange to not make travel plans, but at the same time I was thinking, "What a relief!" As much as I love seeing family, winter travel can be stressful. Anyway, we just stayed put here in Roosevelt and had a quiet family celebration.

 Isaac gets to put up his first ornament (with some help).

 There's just one more sleep 'til Christmas!

Isaac was sure fascinated by the Christmas tree, as we knew he would be. He just couldn't understand why we kept dragging him away from it every time he wanted to play with the needles or the lights. (we were wise enough to not set out presents or put ornaments too low on the tree. he couldn't resist the lights, though.) Carols, cookies, presents, etc., didn't really catch his attention too much, but he did like the tree.

Opening up his Christmas Eve gift, and look! It's pajamas! What a HUGE surprise!

Looks like Santa showed up.

In addition to delivering cookies to neighbors on Christmas Eve, we were invited to Christmas dinner by one of Glen's co-workers. They were also going to have reduced family numbers, so we were their proxy children/grandchild. We had a good time there, watching Isaac discover other people's toys and be just charming to everybody (except when we attempted to make him nap; he didn't appreciate it).

Look at that cute stocking that Ganny made for him.

 As expected, he's more interested in the wrapping paper.

We're joining the 21st century and got a blu-ray player.

 Isaac just may like those monster bowling pins Grandma Merrell sent him.

As strange as it was to not be with our family in Oregon or Missouri, it was pretty nice to have a first Christmas on our own. Sure, Isaac doesn't really know what's going on, but as we sat together on Christmas Eve, reading Luke 2 and singing "Silent Night" by the glow of the tree lights, it was a peaceful time together as we reflected on why we celebrate this time of year.


"The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn't for any religious reasons. They couldn't find three wise men and a virgin." -Jay Leno