Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Never have I ever loved the words everything looks normal so very much.

Now, is it a boy or a girl?

This has to be one of the worst videos I've ever made, yet it is my absolute favorite. :)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Different - Like Steven Tyler

In high school, one of my closest friends had a cool older brother - he had an epic music collection and let us borrow his CDs. She also had a younger brother, and as younger brothers go, she sometimes didn't get along with him.

Ahhh, high school chums. :)

With her room next to her younger brother's, she'd often get so angry when he played his favorite band, Aerosmith, over and over again. In fact, she began to dislike Aerosmith so much that we'd have to change the radio station at the first strum of Joe Perry's guitar.

It's hard not to think of her when I hear Aerosmith on the radio, but I don't always change the channel. Today, I didn't switch stations when "Dream On" came on - I listened to it for the first time in a while. Now, it's not my favorite song, and they aren't my favorite band. But I listened.

Have you ever noticed how different this song is from the rest? That's actually Steven Tyler's real voice. I like.

 But, today, Aerosmith got me to thinking about how different things are going to be soon.
Well, soon as in tomorrow.


Tonight's the last night I go to sleep with a mystery in my belly. What's in there? 
Welp, tomorrow's the big day. The last time I saw Bitty Baby Hill was when I was 8 weeks along. It was a barely identifiable blob. I imagine things will be different tomorrow.

I'm so excited.

Really, I think Jessie knows what I'm talking about.  ;)

Monday, February 2, 2015


In the past, I've written about difficult things... you know, like having a tornado hit our house, training for a marathonrunning a marathon. Difficult stuff.

But this, folks, is pretty difficult.

Naming a person.
Now this is difficult.

It's hard to try to write about names and not have Juliet's famous line come to mind...
"What's in a name?"      
                  (Romeo & Juliet)

Well, sister, I'm here to answer that question for you: everything!

Adam and I didn't seem to have this problem with bestowing the most regal of names on our two dogs. Easy peasy. But there's just so many things to factor into naming a person - this is something they'll have forever. 

Now, our parents did a great job. Adam has a cool name. I have a cool name. The pressure is on. My name actually comes with a great story! My real name is JaNell --- a combination of my father's name (James) and my mother's name (Myra Nell). 

Here's where we come to the first downfall of my name and, consequently, the first criteria in my name search. It should be unique, but not strange to spell. For me, I had to spell my first and last name for 23 years. Janell Merriman. How many times do you think that was misspelled? Jenelle Merman. Geanell. Merryman. Janelle. Marymen.   I lost count. For this child, I plan to have something easy to spell. 

The second criteria in my name search is that I can't have any sort of bad connection to it. I hate it when someone mean ruins a perfectly good name. Like those strange classmates or dorm mates I had in school. Or those kids I've had while teaching. Between my list and Adam's, we've unfortunately ruled out many a good name. 

Le sigh.

Finally, I'm not a big fan of names that easily lend themselves to nicknames or silly sayings.
Justin? Just-in-time
Benjamin? Been-jamin

Uuuuuuugh. I've spent hours pouring over lists and books. Still, nothing. 
When I get stressed out about it, I just watch this video --- just as long as I don't come up with something like this, I think it'll be alright. ;)

So, do you have a suggestion?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Recently, I've had a lot of kids passing gas in class.
The little ones refer to this as a toot.
They are quite toot-ie here lately.

For most of those kids, it's nothing. Just a normal occurrence. Many times, the class erupts in laughter - and I'll admit, it's hard not to myself.

But it's funny how something so embarrassing to an adult is so nothing to a kid. When does embarrassment become a thing? When do you suddenly realize that accidentally tooting in front of some people is not ok. It's supposed to result in a red face and lots of slouching?

I'll never forget one classic toot. 
Rewind to the year 2000 - a classic in and of itself.
There I sat, a freshman at Perry County High School. My Health and Wellness class was taught by a coach with a receding hairline. Honestly, when he looked down, you could get the whole picture - a bat. His hairline looked like a bat! Annnnyway, I remember this day very clearly. Coach was seated in his chair. He leaned to one side to reposition. As he lifted one leg to cross it over the other, trapped gas escaped him. A hush fell over the class- a rare occurrence for high schoolers. A red flush crept up his face. He proceeded to deliver a monologue on how everyone does it. It's normal.

So, what really makes embarrassment?
Now a-days, I have no idea. I'm finding that things that should embarrass me, don't.
Like the fact that I sometimes sound like a very large man after a meal. --- burp.
And that I somehow lost a cucumber in my house. Either that, or my dog ate it.
  ----I sure hope Buddy ate it....
Or that I can easily put away a gigantic cheeseburger, order of tots, and a drink in a matter of minutes.
And that I often lose my breath just by walking down the hallway and talking to a teacher.
My coworkers politely chuckle when I bust out my snack at 9:00, beg for lunch at 10:30, and greedily hunt for another snack at 2:30.

I'm simply not embarrassed.
Not by those things, and definitely not by my ever-growing belly. :)

Kinda in love with that belly. :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Top 4

In my last post, I told you how weird being pregnant is.
And let me reiterate - it's weird
But I'm not going to bore by droning on and on about this or that. I'm not going to tell the whole world how excited I am to have a little person growing in me that's currently the size of an avocado (!!!).  Nope. I would never bore you with such trivial details. ;)

Instead, how about a top 4 about growing a baby. Four? Yeah, four - because I couldn't come up with five!

Top 4 Awesome Things about Growing a Person

4. Stretchy Clothes
    In a perfect world, I would never, ever have to wear clothes with buttons or zippers. Like, ever. For years now, I've jumped straight into my stretchy clothes as soon as I walked through the doors. Now that I can't fit into my button clothes, I don't have to wear anything but stretchy clothes!!!  Two weeks ago, I purchased my first pair of maternity pants. Maaaan. I love Adam, but these pants, y'all, they're fighting for the #1 spot in my heart. And honestly, I don't know if I can ever give them up. They might be here to stay...

3. Eating
    If you know me at all, you know that eating is one of my favorite past-times. The hubs and I typically plan our vacations around which restaurants we want to visit. I seriously love to eat. Now I have an excuse to eat all of the time! It's the best. 

2. Kindness
     Ok. I'm milking this one for all it's worth. Folks are sooo kind to pregnant ladies. ;)     Here, let me help you get up.     Oh, you can have my seat.    Need me to go get that for you?   Wow. Pregnancy really seems to bring out the kindness of strangers. And the attention! Yowza! Suddenly, everyone wants to know how I'm doing! And I mean, who could pass up an opportunity to talk about themselves? Not this girl. 

1. Naps
     Prior to this adventure, I could count the number of time I've napped during my marriage. It was less than 5. But now? Naps are like gold. I even build in nap time to my weekend schedule. This is my favorite --- especailly if I'm on the couch in my stretchy clothes, eating ice-cream that Adam got me getting ready to nap. 

Top 4 Worst Things about Pregnancy
4. Awkwardness 
      I'm in this awkward phase where I look like I've just really overindulged during the holidays. And it's awkward. I kinda want to wear a sign on my shirt that says "there's a baby in there, y'all" or something. I just feel awkward. But it's completely ok with me. :)
3. Restrictions
      I hate having to be so careful. I can't eat this. I can't eat that. Don't take that medicine. Watch how much coffee you drink. It's hard. And honestly, I reeeeally want what I can't have.
- lots of coffee and creamer
- a Jimmy John's sandwich
- a gigantic medium steak

2. Forgetfulness
      Now this is weird. I cannot remember a thing. AND I HATE IT. It started out small, but it's progressed to full-on I sometimes feel crazy mode. I question whether or not I said something, who I might have already discussed something with, or where I put things. Weeeeird.

1. Bathroom Breaks
     I need sooo many of them!!!

But I wouldn't change any of it. :) I truly love experiencing it all!

Kid Quotes of the Week
4. "Ummm Mrs. Hill? Are you having a baby?"
3. "Somebody said you're having a baby. Is that real?"
2. "You're growing a baby!" as he points to my stomach.
1. "Mrs. Hill! Did you get your baby yet?"

Started out as a fake yawn, ended as the real deal. :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

15 Weeks of Weirdness

So, I'm here to pick a bone with you, dear reader.
Yeah. You.

No one ever told me about pregnancy. People only talk about pregnancy, the flowery happy 9 months of growing a human.

You failed to mention all the weird stuff that's going on with my once familiar body. The real pregnancy.

Nausea caused by brussel sprouts, the smell of my favorite perfume, or the thought of swallowing my multi-vitamin.

The most outrageous and all-encompassing state of exhaustion known to man.

Tears because my dog is cute.

Losing my breath from walking down the driveway.

No one mentioned any of that.

But it's ok. I'll forgive ya.


I love those pants. I might live in them for the next few weeks.

Picking out names is hard. For reals.

I still run, but I am waaaay slow. And whiney. Bless my friends for not ditching me. 

I just look like I ate too much during the holidays.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

So this is the new year...

I know it doesn't really comes as a surprise to anyone, but I didn't make it.
I was asleep by 11 o'clock.
Probably earlier.

For a brief instant, I felt sorry for myself - at home on New Year's Eve.
Happily in my warm pjs- snuggled in my uber comfy bed- watching television.
Who does that?

And it makes me so happy.


In the chill of the morning, I stood outside and watched my dogs zig-zag across the yard. I watched as the sun weaved its way through the clouds creating a kaleidoscope of dazzling colors.

This is the New Year.
This is my New Year.

But what about the old year?
You can read an overview of 2014 here, but let's look at 2014 the best way possible- in pictures.

The Year 2014


In January, I received one of my favorite essays every. I mean, this kid! I laughed soooo hard at this one.


February is best described as spontaneous. This was the month Adam went to get his CrossFit L1 Certification, my friends and I decided to run a marathon relay just a few days prior to the race, and, most importantly, the month of snow days!

We run like a boss. For sure.

It's what you do in the snow - deadlift your dog, right?


This was the month I conquered the devious beast: fear. I participated in the CrossFit Open, a series of workouts everyone completes, and then competing athletes are then ranked against one another. Now, I knew I wouldn't be amazing. Honestly, I didn't know if I could do a lot of the movements. But, at the encouragement of many wonderful teammates, I registered. For this one particular workout, I had to do squats while holding a 65 pound bar over my head. This was something I had never done. Something I knew I couldn't do. Something I was afraid to try.

The day came to complete the workout. Nervously, I stepped up to the bar and tried. Much to my surprise, I successfully did 8. It was the lowest score of anyone in the gym, but I remember that being one of my proudest moments.

This still amazes me. :)


Growth. That's what April had to offer. Not necessarily by way of muscle, but mental. Mid-April, I ran the Bridge Street Half Marathon. This one was flat, and I intended to set a new personal record. I wanted it to be my fastest time yet. I started with a pace group that promised to have me finish with a PR, but I just couldn't keep up. For the majority of the race, I had an internal battle: quit or slog through it---just finish. I kicked myself over and over for nearly 2 hours. What went wrong? Why couldn't I keep up? What's wrong with me? Why do I sign up for these things? After an eternity of running, the finish line neared. I kept pounding the pavement. I crossed the finish line, disappointment across my face. I knew that I should be proud, but I just couldn't muster it. I had given it my best effort, but it just didn't seem good enough.

Well, elation soon took the place of disappointment. Despite it all, I had done well. I actually placed first in my age group!

Talk about excited. :)


An unexpected opportunity to go to New Orleans couldn't be passed up in May. I had never been, so I was pretty excited to get to experience it. While we ate REALLY well, that town's just not for me. Not. At. All.


My sweet friend got married!!! This was big news. And so much fun. :) Couldn't be happier for Wes and Emily. They are so cute together. :)


It was a Wednesday. Adam called. We got tickets. And Saturday we got on a boat to go on a cruise. Talk about spontaneous.

We also got rid of my favorite car ever. :(   Well, we anticipated some changes coming soon. ;)

Bahamas, 2014

Bye bye, Effy. 


You know, 86 years is a long time. And I'm so lucky to still have my Grandaddy around.

Love these folks. 


September was filled with me being a spectator. I love watching Adam lift weights at competitions. :)


Hands-down, October is my favorite month. Adam and I celebrated our birthday. I turned 27 (for the 3rd time)! It was also a big month for my parents. I actually baked them a special birthday cake!

Wow. My little brother looks so happy. Haha!

Best birthday cake ever.


Road trip to Indianapolis. Ran a FREEZING half marathon---this time with a baby on board! ;)

You have no idea how windy it was!

Baby's first freezing half!


Finally, we told folks about this. :)

What a wonderful year. :)