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Christmas 2018

posted Dec 26, 2018, 6:37 AM by Christine Merrill
Dear Family and Friends,

We greet you again at the end of another year. Merry Christmas to all of you! Now it is our chance to tell you all the things about our lives that we would have told you if we got to sit down and talk for an hour or two.

There! We thought it would be easier to throw all the words in a big jumble than string them together into sentences...just kidding. As you recall, last year ended with our family being called to join the Washington DC ASL congregation of our church. It’s been a wonderful year of learning and forming new friendships. Our ASL is improving, and we are starting to feel comfortable conversing and worshiping with our hands. If you want to read more about that portion of our lives, I blog about it at mywillinghands.blogspot.com.

Despite the busy church year, Marriner has had some success at work, too! In October, a team he worked with was invited to the Pentagon to receive an award for saving the government a lot of money through an innovation they are working on. The whole family go to go with him and take a tour of the building. And eat fancy little foods. It was great!

Lige and Ellis are both in middle school now, and they were recruited for the school Science Bowl team. Lige became the team captain due to his extensive knowledge of random science trivia. (People don’t call him “Google” for nothing…) Lige also won his division in the county science fair with his experiment studying which school environments were damaging to hearing. (Answer: school dances.) He’s currently working on his Eagle project to build a Ga Ga pit for the Model Secondary School for the Deaf. 

Ellis played the piano for Primary (Children’s Sunday School) until she turned 12 in September and left Primary. She actually turned 12 a few weeks before our big Sacrament meeting program, and she kindly agreed to stay in Primary until it was over. Now I don’t have anyone to play the piano in Primary, but Ellis seems to be having a lot of fun in the young women’s program. And she’s doing great in middle school, going to an advanced 7th grade math class.

Lillian is in 5th grade and was nominated to be a school safety patrol. She played a fiddle-style violin song this year that she just loved, and her teacher is making her play in-tune now, so she sounded good, too. She was also named “The Oracle of Oxon Hill” this year for predicting almost every World Cup match correctly. Her secret: pick the country you think sounds prettier.

Sam had two big life events this year: he started Kindergarten and he learned to ride his bike. He loves Kindergarten - especially learning Spanish words from his teacher. (“Silencio” and “Fabuloso” are his favorites.) But more than anything, he loves riding his bike. When he rides his bike, he changes from a little boy trying to figure out the rules of life to a bird soaring or a horse galloping. And he rides fast - if his mom has the bike trailer behind her, she can hardly keep up!

Martha is 3, and I’ll just sum her life up with a story from a few months back:  Martha’s been reluctant to sign recently, so we've been encouraging her to pray in ASL. Today she knelt down to say her prayer and asked, "Do I have to say it in sign language?" Mom said yes. She replied, "But I have long sleeves on today! I don't know how to say it in sign language with long sleeves." Martha is the girl that keeps us smiling!

And little Jane has gone from a baby to a toddler just like that. She loves a good joke, dogs, running away from Mom, and is a fabulous sleeper.  She sings, “We will, we will ROCK YAH!” 

As for Christine, she’s just enjoying being along for the ride with this fabulous family. Or, to be honest, being the chauffeur for this wonderful ride. We have our share of hard things in life, but all-in-all, God has been very good to us. She has some creative projects she works on when she can, but mostly stays busy just taking care of everyone else.

It’s been a year full of blessings and small miracles, and we’re grateful for our Savior at this time that we remember His birth. Thank you to each of you for being one of those blessings in our lives!

Love, Marriner, Christine, Lige, Ellis, Lillian, Sam, Martha and Jane

Merrill family at the Pentagon