Saturday, May 30, 2009

Got to do something really fantastic Thursday...

A neighbor, Renee, and I volunteered for our local county DFCS office -- they were having some sort of dinner for the parents. The kids were in a separate area and we hung out with them, sang karaoke with them, danced, ate pizza, made arts & crafts, etc. Most of the kids were school age, but there were a handful of younger children. I was paired up with a group of three young children who were all "siblings." They didn't want to dance or sing. They were shy and one was very clingy. She held my hand right away. Leaned on me as we watched the other kids. Gazed (and smiled a lot) at me. It made me a little bit uncomfortable b/c I think there are rules about me not being affectionate back... but it was clear that she needed it.

Several times throughout the evening, I had to hold back tears. These children were very happy, normal kids. One of them looked like an older Mercer. They mostly seemed like they were pretty well-adjusted. I can't imagine what their lives are like when they have to move from family to family. We're both really glad we helped out. We're now "on the list" to hang out more throughout the year.

Friday night, we (as a family) did something fun: we went to the square with neighbors to hear a concert in the park. There was a Beatles Tribute band playing. We caught some video of Mercer dancing and playing with his friends... and Todd will try to edit it and upload it over the weekend. (Check back soon) We all had a really good time as we officially celebrated Marietta's 175th birthday. (They had balloons hanging up everywhere and a huge cake (supposedly). The place was a zoo, but we were nestled into our spot which several families staked out together earlier in the day and were surrounded on one side by bushes / on other sides by lawn chairs... so the kids were somewhat confined and able to run around.

Instead of walking to the square / farmer's market today (Saturday), we rode our bikes. Mercer still does not like his helmet! We got our first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) distribution today from a local farmer who sells veggies up there. We've signed up for 10 weeks. One of the veggies we got was a head of cabbage (which we would probably not tend to buy on our own -- so we need to look up cabbage recipes. That's the beauty about a CSA -- eating seasonally and trying things we probably wouldn't have tried normally. Brocolli is also in season... I had actually planned to make some sort of brocolli recipe this week -- now I'll double that recipe!

Tonight, the fun continued... we had our neighborhood putt-putt golf tournament. More playing for the little guy and more socializing for us. Since he loves balls.... he was as happy as he could be. Here, he's got the two-handed behind-the-head ball toss (it's hard to tell what direction they will head in, but sometimes, they go forward (as seen in this blurry action shot)

He wanted to play football with some of the bigger kids and take a spin on some of the ride-on toys that were there, but he settled for throwing a golf ball around and chasing it much of the evening. Here, "uncle Orie" is getting in that rough-housing activity Mercer really wanted!

Have a great week ahead!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

getting back to "normal"

Not much exciting stuff is happening here -- which is good. It's nice to be back home and get settled back in. Actually - what a great way to get back to it... with a 3-day weekend! We didn't do anything big, just lots of little stuff. [went for a 4-5 mile hike. went to a (surprise) b-day party. went out to eat with friends. Todd went and played pool with a neighbor. did a lot of yard work. went mattress shopping. blew "ba-bu" (bubbles). went to the farmer's market on the square.]

We made a list of things to do (some fun/ some chores) and diligently crossed most of them off of the list! what a great feeling!

Mercer is doing a couple of new things. When asked "where is your belly button" he now promptly pulls up his shirt and tries to peer over his round belly in search of the button. Sometimes he finds it and points at it, but most of the time, he can't see around all of his glorious round-ness! He's also found that his finger is just the exact size to fit up his nose! We've seen him stick in several times. He giggles.

We're in the process of trying to make the transition from bottle to straw cup. (He didn't really latch onto the sippy cups). We're travelling in a few weeks and don't want to pack all of the bottle parts /wash them while there. (there's 6 pieces to make-up each of his bottles - what a pain!) The transition is going "so-so" thus far.

Finally - good news - we've tried raspberries again... with success. No rash! Also, I think I have found my new favorite decadent dessert... Mercer's whole milk yogurt with one cube of the raspberry puree defrosted and mixed in. Love licking the spoon on that one! Yum.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Visited the farm...

I front-loaded my week at work (had a couple of really big meetings) so that I could take Thursday & Friday off. Mercer and I headed up to visit some of my family.
Mercer did a great job on the way up to North Carolina. I left for our road-trip shortly after 6 am and he was in a daze for the first 1 ½ hours. Then he fell asleep for 1 ½ hours… whew – I had made it through half of the trip quite easily! He really wasn’t that bad the remainder of the trip – I had to bribe him with goldfish part of the way / he napped again / and we were there (well, almost there). We made a stop at my mom’s office before going to her house (somewhat on the way). She was leaving work early that day – and said that the ladies in her office wanted to see Mercer. He was such a HAM… he flirted, smiled, acted cute, was a charmer for no less than 6 – 8 women who were hovered around him at any one point in time!
While in North Carolina, we visited my mom / my mom’s parents (Mercer’s great-grandparents) / my dad’s mother (Mercer’s great-grandmother). We also saw some more extended family as well, folks who came to “town” to see the little guy. (small town!) He had a great time seeing everyone… playing… exploring. We noticed that he is starting to share toys (as you see the pile of cars on my grandma's lap that Mercer took her). He was sharing one of his absolute favorite possessions with my other grandma... a ball!

Mom, Mercer, and I also went to the zoo. He is so excitable and was pointing at things that moved a lot and would almost shout “ooohhh” “oooh” “ooohhh!” He did this for the otter, some ducks, an owl, puffins, and a bobcat. He also really enjoyed playing in the kid’s zone…. Painting on a wall with water and climbing on some of the nature-inspired playground equipment. Isn't this the BEST picture of him on the ladybug?!

The trip went well until the drive home. About ½ an hour into it, Mercer fell asleep, but then started coughing – like his croup cough. It kept getting worse & eventually woke him up. I pulled over (a little frantic, of course) and stopped at the first place I saw – a hotel. There was a woman outside landscaping. She went inside to ask the hotel if I could come in. A woman from the hotel came out, saw Mercer, heard him coughing, and said she’d have to go inside and call her manager. What?! I waited for a minute or two, then decided to program in Police Station on my GPS. They would help! There was one a couple of miles from where I was, so I went… but they were closed. Seriously!? Open M-F. Must’ve been more administrative than safety at that one. I programmed in the next Police Station and it was a bit farther away. A friend called and told me to go to a pharmacy – like a CVS. As I was talking to her, I passed one. They helped out. Yay. Great suggestion! I plugged in Mercer’s nebulizer (thankfully I packed it on the trip) and gave him a breathing treatment. The pharmacist was great / came to talk to Mercer / gave me a tip or two. I was SO RELIEVED!

I stopped in Greenville to visit my friend (who had called) and as we were packing up, Mercer let out another croup cough. He was also kind of crabby the rest of the way home – crying. I bribed him for awhile with some Happy Baby puffs (I didn’t feel as guilty about feeding him junk food b/c these are made with Kale, Spinach, and Collard Greens – no doubt!) but I think he was “done” and just wanted to be home.

He was so excited to see Todd when we rolled in Sunday night. I was too!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

to be a mother is fabulous, however, it can also be...

... heartbreaking. Mercer is teething again. A couple of weeks ago, he got in some molars in on the top. Currently, he's getting some in on the bottom. These must be bothering him much worse as he's been waking up every 1 - 2 hours at night writhing in pain. We feel so bad for the little guy. He's just not been as happy either.

Over the weekend, Todd, Mercer, and I went to Callaway Gardens for Mother's day. I had asked that we go biking down there (which meant that we needed to get a baby seat for Mercer as well as get the bikes out of the garage / dusted off / in working order). We got there around lunch and ate out on this deck that over looks a lake. There were lots of turtles in the water. Mercer kept pointing and saying "oooooh." We went to a butterfly house that I love going to. Also, we went to a chapel that Todd likes going to. There was an organist playing songs and Mercer was dancing (or really - his version of dancing which is bouncing up and down).

I enjoyed the bike riding a lot. It is so pretty there -- riding along the lakes and through the woods. Mercer wasn't thrilled, though, with the bike helmet. We're hoping he gets used to it! We only got about half way through the park before Mercer completely melted down. I'd love to go back!

I had a busy week at work... two big (8 hour) meetings back-to-back. One was for a 60 acre camp that I'm helping to "go green." I've worked more than my part-time hours this week and am going to knock-off the rest of the week / go visit family. Mercer will see one of his grandmothers, two great-grandmothers, and his great-grandfather. Gotta go!

Friday, May 8, 2009

It's been teacher appreciation week...

.... Mercer's daycare sent along a form asking that the students do little things for his teacher(s) each day this week. He has one main teacher, Ms Angela, who watches him the bulk of the day. There's also someone who gets there early to watch him before Ms Angela gets there for the day and another teacher who stays later 'til we pick him up at the end of the day. Little guy is there at daycare for 8 - 10 hours the three days a week that he goes, but he likes it. I remember the first month that he attended, I absolutely hated it -- but that had everything to do with his original teacher. Ms Angela is very sweet and gentle and we hope that rubs off on Mercer! So, we are definitely appreciative of her! Honestly - I don't see how she does it every day... hanging out with 6 babies and keeping such a positive attitude. Wow. (There's one kid, Matthew, who's not there for the class picture.) We had a good week - walked up to the farmer's market over the weekend and bought some tomato plants for our garden, a basil plant, and a squash plant. We've never done squash - so we'll see how that goes. Another new thing for us this year: lettuce. We planted lettuce sprouts a month or more ago. And, we've recently been harvesting them / having some great salads! It will be fun when little guy is old enough to help get things from the garden and eat what he picks. Maybe by the time the tomatoes are ready later this summer?

I think that Mercer will enjoy harvesting things from the garden. This past weekend I was doing some yard work (moving around some bushes and flowers in the yard and mulching). He "helped" me out a little bit. As I was pushing around the wheelbarrow full of mulch, he got to walk behind me pushing his little walking wagon. It was really cute. Sometimes, however, he wanted to help me push the big wagon too. This is good stuff...

Friday, May 1, 2009

open season...

ah - we LOVE this time of year. The farmer's market up on the square opens tomorrow, as does one of our favorite traditions: walking to the square, going to the market, grabbing breakfast while up there, walking home. YAY!

there was a food festival (The Taste of Marietta) up there last weekend. I walked up with some neighbors. We are weaning Mercer off of baby food for the most part (it maybe consists of 25% of his diet still)... but I was not adventuresome enough to give him the spicy food I had from a local Cajun restaurant. The little guy is definitely getting to be a fussier eater and will turn some things away - as he did last weekend when up at "the Taste." I had made some sweet potato puree for him, but he was not interested. I had to resort to the only other "not horrible / but not that healthy" food on hand -- Fig Newmans (Paul Newman's version of Fig Newtons). He LOVED them and devoured several. Mercer is not the neatest eater, as you can see.

Not a whole lot is happening here. I am finally feeling somewhat caught up after working a lot this past month.... finally feeling a little bit more relaxed. (Could be b/c I'm spending a lot more time in the back yard with the sound of the water trickling into the pond. I was working on the back porch last week and a huge bird was preening himself in the stream. I looked it up, but am not sure if this is what it is... It's not really the right zone for this bird, but the "call" is the same. Others in the neighborhood think it's a Coopers Hawk, but it looks really different and I got a pretty good look while it was bathing in the stream for several minutes. He lives in a tall pine tree next to our yard -- and "defends" our yard when other reddish/brown hawks comes near. It's actually pretty cool to watch. (ps - Mercer went nuts when I was playing the bird sounds. He really responded to this one... I think he's familiar with it!)

A few other things that Mercer is doing now -- says "bubble", sort of sounds like he says "what's that" - but slurred, and he says "hi" and "bye" at somewhat appropriate times (and will say it to strangers now -- he grabs a lot of attention!) He also chatters....."whazzzy...wass... whizzy.... wuze... wat" - DEFINITELY has learned W's and Z's and wants to express that a lot! But, if he ever gets a hold of our house phone, he'll put it to his ear and say "Kak, cuk, kek" those types of sounds. (Do we sound like that on the phone?!) He also is able to hear the train whistle in the background (trains pass through Marietta a lot) and he says "too-too" his version of Choo Choo. Cool that he knows the sound now and can identify it.

He's been eating more with a spoon. Very messy, but every now and then he can make it to his mouth. It's pretty amazing to watch his development!

I think that's about all. Have a great weekend.