Spring is Whaley Here!

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Finally nice,  consistent weather has broken through and is here to stay!!! No more snow (yikes, did I just jinx us??), just sunny skies and blooming foliage everywhere!

We had a lovely Easter this year visiting our family in Missouri. As always we stay with Justin’s Aunt Laima and Uncle Tony – to Jack they are “Muta” and “Grandpa Hony.” The house is always filled with cousins, food, and lots of laughs.

With Jack, we tend to fly everywhere. He isn’t fond of long car rides – who can blame him? The flight is literally up and down – an hours time and before you know you we are in Missouri, stopping at a QuikTrip for an iced Cappucino (this time I had to opt for the iced hot chocolate because it was not caffeinated).

The entire Merkys family was getting over a nasty viral infection that started with Jack, made it’s way to me and Justin which manifested into a sinus infection for us both. Justin took a Z-Pak and was feeling better in days. I opted to tough it out because my theory is less chemicals while your pregnant, the better. Well the flight was pretty bad – I couldn’t hear for most of it and that night the sinus infection settled under my eye, right above my teeth, creating such pain it felt as though I had a root canal without any Novocain. Needless to say the next day I called my doctor and she prescribed me a Z-Pak as well. I felt better the next day!

Despite the sickness we are all in good company, having such fun that we forgot how sick we felt. Jack was elated to be around his cousins Lily (13), Kate (9), and Ava (7). They kept him entertained and he just loved the attention! Justin and Jack had an exciting time on Friday, meeting a new family member, Grey. Justin’s brother had a baby three weeks earlier and it was great timing to come in for Easter to meet the little guy. I stayed back to get another round of antibiotics in my system, but met him on Saturday.

Saturday Justin got his last long run in before his marathon this weekend. He’s not saying that he has a goal in mind to finish, but my sneaking suspicion is he wants to beat the Merkys Family record of 4:14:53 – which is held by none other than mua! I hope he does then it gives me the gumption to really train and qualify for Boston! Jack and I have a few surprises for Justin along his marathon route – stay tuned to find out what they are!

We had also had an Easter egg hunt on Saturday evening. Jack was more enamored with the trucks and gravel in the street! But once he caught wind of the fruit snacks hidden in the eggs, he was in it to win it!

Easter was such a great and relaxed day. We all went to church together and Jack was great up until communion and Justin took him outside to stretch his legs. Well turns out Jack had other plans and pooped his pants all the way up to the brim! We had to boogie out of there, but we were able to hear the homily, which had a great message of the power of helping other people out. In fact we all talked about the homily later and how something so small, helping someone out, can really go a long way.

The easter bunny visited Jack in Missouri bringing him trucks, and a bug catcher with a net, coloring book, cheddar bunnies, sunglasses, clothes, bubbles, and goodies of course.

I made a few desserts – eclair cake and lemon squares, which I think turned out well. I couldn’t taste a thing unfortunately! I also made my signature family artichoke recipe. The ones Aunty Laima bought were perfect because they were so tender! We also feasted on lamb, ham, mashed potatoes, vegetables,  and vinaigrettes (my favorite Lithuanian dish). I was totally stuffed to the gills!

It was hard to get on that plane on Monday afternoon. But sleeping in your own bed is always nice. I was so exhausted from the trip that I fell asleep unpacking my clothes at 7 p.m.! I needed it!

Our deck is coming along so well! It is going to be huge! It’s such a necessity for our growing family. We need, protected outdoor space. Hawthorn Woods does not allow fences, so this deck will provide us with some piece of mind when we have two running around.

The garden seedlings are in full bloom and ready to go. This weekend, if we have time, we plan on digging out as much of the garden in the backyard as we can and transplanting the seedlings. Jack also got a garden tool set from the easter bunny too, so we shall see how dirty we can get!

Baby Merkys No. 2 is moving and grooving in my belly! I felt movement about a week and a half ago. I didn’t think it was the baby because I was16 weeks pregnant! With Jack I didn’t feel anything until I was 20 weeks so that is why I dismissed it, but it just occurred to me one night in bed as I was feeling the “flutters” that it was the baby! I’m so happy to feel him or her. It makes this all so much more real. I’m definitely showing – a lot more than I did with Jack at this stage, but I hear that’s common.

The BabyCenter blogging gig is still going so well! I just love it. It’s so gratifying and I’m learning so much from women that participate in the discussions. It’s been a blessing.

Please call or text Justin with well wishes for his marathon this weekend. He’s such an amazing example to our son and Baby Merkys No. 2 and he’s such an amazing husband. He deserves all the kudos in the world – 847-924-6297.

Fun Jack Facts:

-He holds the phone to his ear and say “elloo”

-Can sign “help” in sign language

-Climbs out of the shopping cart

-Lays on his stomach to draw or color

-Always notices when I change my nail polish color

-Has an equal obsession with pickles like I do these days

-Still sleeps a solid 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night

-Feeds himself yogurt with a spoon

-Likes to sign that he wants milk, and then dumps it all over the floor!

-Only wants to be outside these days


Whale to Go Jack!

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This week has been very exciting! Jack has literally exploded in his development. Justin and I are so honored to be able to watch this. It’s crazy amazing.

He has three new words: “owl”, “night-night”, and “that.” Justin was reading to him, pointing out different animals in the book and out of nowhere Jack said, “Owl.” Just like Justin I was reading to Jack before nap time and I picked up a book and the title was Night-Night and I said to Jack,”Let’s read Night-Night” and he repeated it! It was the coolest thing ever! It was so effortless for him and he has the cutest sweetest little voice in the world. He just melts my heart. He just started saying “that” one morning. Pointing to everything and saying, “that, that, that.” Absolutely magical.


For a few weeks I’ve been teaching Jack “thank you”  and “done” in sign language. Again, out of nowhere we are at Whole Foods and I said, “thank you” to the checkout guy and Jack signs it to him. I’m almost fell over! I grabbed him and gave him a huge hug and kiss! It was so incredible. I’ve got him signing it to everyone – the mailman, ups guy, teachers, Murray, and even Mickey Mouse!! Today as Jack was finishing up lunch I asked him (while simultaneoulsy signing) “done” like I always do and he signed it right back! I was floored, floored, floored!

He’s understanding or should I say complying with throwing garbage out now. Before he’d bring stuff to the garbage can, open the lid, and run away with trash still in hand or he’d throw it in the garbage and then pick it back out along with other items! Now, he’ll find a speck on the floor and run to the garbage can and throw it right in no problem  (thank goodness)!!!

I’m loving being around this little boy. Every moment is so special with him and it helps that he’s insanely gorgeous!

We had a few visitors this week – Jack’s godmother, Ang and her two beautiful little girls Mary (8) and Brooke (3) came by for a visit. I loved seeing them and Jack did too – he was a little overenthusiastic with hair pulling and biting! The girls were troopers and dealt with it like champs.

Our deck is coming along. Rainy weather and high winds have delayed it a bit, but Dan, the man behind the deck is diligent and hard working. He’s great – he brought Jack a tool belt one of his kids had when they were around Jack’s age. It’s real leather and everything! Jack loves it to death. And he loves Dan – he’ll just stand by the window and watch as Dan pounds his hammer and saws wood. It’s inevitable that Jack will be an engineer; U of I or MIT bound for sure.





The Merkys family made the paper! The Chicago Tribune to boot! A reporter was writing a story about our local YMCA and how it’s expanding which we are very excited about. She came while Justin and I were at Jack’s Tiny Tumblers class and thought he was “ridiculously adorable” and we all made the paper!


I forgot to mention that my BabyCenter blog started up a few weeks back. So far it’s going so well! I’m ecstatic to be doing this. Mainly because it is  creating a journal of memories during this pivotal time. I’m honored to be writing for a such an acclaimed and renowned organization. Please follow my RSS Feed here  – I post on Sunday nights and Wednesday mornings.

Justin is doing his big training run this week – 20 miles or as we call it the “20-miler” (dum, dum, dum, dum). He’ll do great! It’s only his 8th or 9th one! Then he tapers his training down until the big event, the Illinois Marathon on April 26th! Can’t wait to visit U of I and see our cousin Shannon Merkys.

Our garden seedlings have been planted. We ordered more seeds from an organic nursery. Although we are doing a co-op, I’m still so enthused to share this experience with Jack. We got him a watering can, gardening gloves, a hoe, and trowel as part of his Easter gift. Can’t wait to put them to good use.

We are slowly getting our back room cleaned out in preparation for Jack’s new space. Baby Merkys #2 is doing well – no more nausea and my energy is back. I’m still running with no issues (knock on wood) so, so far so good.

Fun Jack Facts:

-Jack snores like a buzz saw

-Jack loves edamame and ginger salad dressing

-Likes to help rub lotion onto his body after bath time

-Could spend hours lacing shoes

-When I tell him we are going to put his shoes on he says “Dada”

-Likes to blow on his hot food, blow out candles, and blow bubbles

-Will take my phone and talk to Siri

-Loves to dance





We’re bAAAAaaaack!

After a 6 month hiatus we are back into the Jack and Merkys family updates.

As most of you know I am now a stay-at-home Mom. These past 5 months have been quite amazing. I’ve learned a lot about myself and a lot about Jack. I wouldn’t trade these moments and the time I have with him for anything in the world!

We are expecting Baby Merkys #2!! I am due September 27th – but they will only let me go 39 weeks because of my prior c-section so that means this baby will be a Virgo! Ahhh yes – three Virgo’s in this house. Being a Capricorn, Virgo is my best match and partner so I’m happy on one hand – the other hand Virgo’s and Capricorn’s are known to be type “A” personalities, so WATCH OUT!

8 Weeks

Jack and I do weekly maternity shots together!

Thank you everyone for voting for us in the BabyCenter Blogger contest. I submitted a blog as a first part of the contest and was chosen among hundreds of applicants to be in the top 5. We were asked to submit a video in which the general public votes for their top 3 favorites (check it out here). I was hanging in at #1 for awhile, but a barrage of votes for the gal under me sent me to #2. But that’s ok because I garnered myself a spot as a BabyCenter Blogger. I will be blogging about twice a week about my pregnancy and our life. Hopefully it will open dialogue and answer questions for women and men out there. Or just give them a giggle! I just submitted my bio, headshot and first blog to my editor today so I’ll keep you posted when my first blog goes live!!

Over the past 6 months Jack has become a little toddling boy. He’s extremely curious – so much so in fact that he loves the garbage can, the toilet, plugs, outlets, light switches, the stove, the oven, hot cups of coffee, scissors, markers, pens, shampoo, spray bottles, and anything that presents a danger of any sort!! He also loves the drums, dancing, music, tumbling, laughing, eating, brushing his hair and teeth, hugging, kissing, pretend eating, peekaboo, bath time, being barefoot, sleeping, bubbles, and shoes! Jack is still a magical little whale.


Having fun during X-mas!

This has been the worst winter I’ve ever remembered or experienced in Chicago. There were so many days that is was too dangerous to even venture outside. That put a damper on our plans. Jack and I have a full schedule:

Monday: Swimming

Tuesday: Spanish

Wednesday: Tumbling

Thursday: Tumbling

Friday: Errands

Those cold days forced us to get creative while we were stuck inside. We made blanket forts, read every book at least 10 times, learned the Wheels on the Bus, colored, took every item out of every cabinet in the kitchen and banged it, and did lots of laundry.

Now we see a light at the end of the tunnel with temperatures starting to get a little more manageable. Spring is in the air.

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Found a beautiful cobblestone street in Charleston, SC

This Spring we have plans to plant a garden. We went to Home Depot and bought all the seeds, starter soil, and pots. I figured we should keep it simple the first go around with tomatoes, green peppers, strawberries, cucumbers, zucchini, onion, cilantro, and basil. I think Jack will get a kick out of digging in the dirt once we transfer our seedlings to our outdoor garden.

As part of Justin’s Christmas gift this year we got a membership to the Chicago Botanic Gardens. They have a Sprouts Daycamp for his age group. It meets twice a month for an hour during the summer. I get to attend with him – the themes are Art & Music, Fantastic Foods, My First Garden, and Small Scientists. We can’t wait!

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Dad and Jack LOVE the banging on the drums at the Chicago Children’s Musuem

I’m thinking about also getting a pass to our aquatic center in Hawthorn Woods. Since Jack is in fact a whale he loves the water so that might be a great way to spend our afternoons.

Jack is now walking, actually running everywhere! He’s also jumping, hopping, climbing, spinning, and dancing all over the place. He is still attached to my hip and I’m not complaining because I know there will be a time when he won’t be so I’m enjoying every minute of it.

We’ll be keeping you posted every week about the Merkys family whereabouts and whatabouts. So stay tuned!

Fun Jack Facts

-Jack says 6 words: Hot, Ball, Bubble, Mama, Dada, and “Bo” (Elmo)

-He wears a size 6 shoe

-His favorite food is olives (that is how I know he’s Italian!) – he will eat an entire jar if I let him!

-His favorite song is The Wheels on the Bus

-He can point to all the parts on his body including his “tushy”

-Playing the drums with Dad has become an obsession

-LOVES when I blow bubbles and just learned how to blow them himself

-Needs a haircut, but his Mommy doesn’t want him too (it means he’s growing up)

-When I ask him “Where’s the baby?” he puts his head on my belly and rubs it

This blog is going to be short and sweet, because I’ll be posting an extra special blog on Sunday to commemorate Jack turning one-year old! I can’t believe it! I literally blinked and Jack became a toddler!!! This week was … Continue reading

Whale Around the Corner!

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Jack has had another fabulous week! Justin and I caught him standing all on his own Sunday night. He pulled himself up on the couch and grabbed a block with one hand and then used his other hand to play … Continue reading

Whaley Nice to Meet You!

Matching Whales

Matching Whales

What a big week!!!! The entire Merkys family trekked it down to Belleville to see the Spargur’s and to meet baby Steele. Oh my what a cutie pie! And such a GOOD baby – you didn’t even know he was there half the time. Jack was happy to meet Steele, so much so he bit his toe. Check out the picture below – look closely and you’ll see Jack about to bite Steele’s toe -OUCHIE! Both Steele and Jack ended up crying after the whole ordeal.

Let's hang out!

Let’s hang out!

I would like to say things got better afterwards – but they did not! Steele’s cousin Johanna came by. She is 14 months and is walking – Jack kept crawling after her, reaching his hands out to grab her at every turn. At one point he caught her and pulled her hair towards his mouth! I guess in those situations you have to laugh or be worried?? Justin and I still aren’t sure what to think!!! Overall it was a great weekend – we took walks, over ate, and just relaxed! And I did a 6 mile run along a bike path that days later was reported to have 22 gunshots fired along – yikes!

Yesterday was Jack’s big modeling debut. He did awesome! We arrived at the photographer’s house at 8:00ish in the morning. Jack was dressed up in a white t-shirt, jeans and red converse. He was “neutral” and cute as ever. They had started shooting kids from the youngest to the oldest – luckily Jack was one of the youngest and we were up pretty quickly. The photographer just loved Bug and his red converse to pieces. The co-owner of Innobaby kept saying how sweet he was and had Jack sit down at a table and just start eating from one of their Din Din Smart Stainless Divided Platter. It had chicken, strawberries, pasta, and carrots in little compartments. Jack was great – if you put food in front of that boy he is a HAPPY camper.  Check him out right before the photo shoot. I'm ready for my close up!We had so much fun – I even got into the shot and fed him yogurt from one of their Airtight Baby Food Containers.  We got to leave with a hefty swag bag with a bunch of goodies. Their products are great and Jack is officially a model! Check out sneak peak photos on Facebook.

Jack’s diaper and heat rash came back with a vengeance while we were in Belleville, so unfortunately we had to cancel the Merkys vacation to Saugatuck. Jack has been laying around naked all week trying to heal up. Justin and I think we might do an extended vacation in California to visit our friends and then head over to Vegas to celebrate one of my best friends weddings – Lisa in October. Boy could we use a vacation!!!!

Justin is determined to make Jack a drummer and an engineer – he is succeeding. Jack is more interested in examining the bottoms of toys than actually playing with them. As far as drumming goes – that boy has rhythm! Check out his skills!

This weekend we plan to lay low depending on how Jack feels. If he’s doing ok we are going to head over to the Chicago Botanic Gardens. They are really kid friendly and we are eager to check out the butterfly gardens.

Jack’s Birthday party planning is so much fun. We are finalizing a caterer and the cake this week. Of course it’s whale themed! Of course!!!!! We can’t wait to see Jack’s face!!!!

Fun Jack Facts

-He sleeps with his arms tucked under his tummy

-Now says “OOOOOOOO” and “OWWWWW”

-Makes a clicking noise with his tongue

-Pulls himself up on everything

-Can do the chinese splits no problem

-Takes probiotics

-Has more shoes than most women

-Will sleep 2 hours+  if and only if he’s laying on Mom!

Whale for the Camera!

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It’s been a non-eventful yet eventful week – if that makes sense!  Jack has been taking it easy this week because his sun rash is still lingering. Justin and I think he’s very sensitive to the sun so we’ve kept … Continue reading

My Big Beluga

Big Boy!!!Jack celebrated his 11-month birthday yesterday – can’t believe our Whale is almost one-year old! Wow – really where did the time go? Birthday party planning is in full effect. Justin and I debated whether or not to have the party at the house or to go to a restaurant or clubhouse. We settled on the old firehouse in Lake Zurich, which is now the Volunteer Association Hall. It’s perfect and comes complete with a bar! Keep an eye out for your invitation – it’s going to be HUGE!!!

This week was a good one – Jack’s rash cleared up thank goodness! Poor little Bug was so unbelievable. I actually think he loved lounging around naked all weekend. We washed a million blankets and wiped down every single toy though!

On Sunday we did venture out to the annual Alpine Fest in Lake Zurich. We caught the parade and Jack was enamored! This fest has a 40+ year history so the parade is out of this world – big floats, motorcycles, shriner upon shriner upon shriner – water trucks, candy, gymnasts – you name it was there! We ran into our running friends Nick and Krista and their 3 kids – and we saw a glimpse into our future. They explained how they sat with their son Nate’s group of friends from pre-school during the parade and then had a long day ahead of taking Nate and his sister Jody to all the rides and games (their 4-month old Andrew was just a observer for the day).  God willing in the next few years we will be in the same situation!


The Whale has officially begun crawling or should I say cruising! We’ve watched as he’s crawled a few inches here and there, but today he just put the pedal to the metal! I’m literally in awe as I watch my little Bug just travel from one end of the room to another! It’s funny to see that his main motivation is to grab Murray’s white ball!!

My favorite is how interactive Jack is now. He responds to questions we ask and understands when we tell him to look or ask him “Where is Murray?” He leans in for kisses and now give hugs! His hugs are the most amazing feeling I’ve ever felt in my entire life! The best is when we are just having fun – take a look at this video of him and I going back and forth being silly http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7D9kGop-JY

Yesterday I was putting Jack down for a nap. A sliver of light that peeked in from the drawn curtains caught the golden blonde color of his hair each time I went rocked forward in the rocking chair. I am still in disbelief that my little boy has golden locks like his Papa. But then he started to moan softly and twitch a little bit…he was dreaming. I was in awe of him – watching his little chubby wrist flicker and his fingers move. I wondered, What could he be dreaming of? Eating? Grabbing Murray’s hair? Walking? Swimming? I held him in the chair for as long as he’d let me and took in every moment of Jack. He’s so amazing.

This weekend we are taking it easy  and doing the usual grocery shopping, swim class, hanging out, and impromptu photo shoots. We still haven’t decided on our Merkys vacation spot just – so stay tuned to find out!

Fun Jack Facts

-Gets shy around strangers

-Loves counting beads on the abacus

-His new favorite thing to do is sit with books and just flip through the pages

-Likes grabbing cords now…uh-oh!

-Is not a fan of getting his diaper changed

-Whenever he sees Justin’s contact lens case he says “Nih-na-na”