Friday, June 26, 2009

Home sweet Home...

... but home for less than a week!

It’s nice to be back home, but we’re heading out of town again – today. We’re going to the mountains with some friends. (They have a house available to them for free this weekend… and we can suck it up for one more weekend away from home in order to HELP them use the house!)

We got to see a lot of family this past week. Todd’s parents, brother, sister, and a bunch of nieces & nephews. (Mercer did really well with Todd’s parents while we were in the city. They said he never cried… but we know better! : - ) He was happy to see us when we got there, but he didn’t make a big deal about it We think that it was harder on us that we were separated from Mercer than it was on him. There were a few times on our end where we’d see a kid and say “oh… Mercer… blah blah blah…” It was nice having some adult time too, however, as we got to go out & cram a lot more site-seeing in than normal. New York is such a busy place – of course. Don’t know if we could live there & keep up that pace, but we’re glad we visited. Also, one thing that was interesting / a good take-away… how confident people are there. Many styles. Many doing their own thing. It’s all good / unique / different – which makes it very interesting.

Rose Marie’s friend, Lois, has some grand children who Mercer got to play with several times. He got a chance to hang with some other kids and play with some toys while there, thankfully. We also got to go visit a friend who I used to work with in Atlanta, Kim. She and her 3 kids and hubby live only about ½ an hour away from Todd’s parent’s house. As soon as we walked in the door, he caught a glimpse of the play room and ran right for it. Funny how kids don’t care where they are – they see toys and they just play. Unfortunately, Mercer hit the little 2 year old boy b/c he had one of his toys… ugh… I hated that. (We’re blaming it on Lois’ grand-daughter as a bad influence… but seriously… we’re starting to have to discipline him a little bit. Todd’s been reading a book called the Happiest Toddler on the block… and there’s a section in there about discipline.) oy.

Now to go back to that setup… when we got home Mercer was SO excited to see the cat! He squealed and squealed and squealed… he grabbed his tail and chased him around… he yelled dit-dee dit-dee. That WAS a big deal – apparently a bigger deal than seeing Todd and myself for the first time in 4 days! (btw... these are some pics of Todd & Mercer at the elementary school playground which is just down the street from Todd's parents. He really really wants to do what the bigger kids do!)

Oh well.

Sunday was father’s day. After a big pancake breakfast – Todd, Mercer, some neighbors, and I headed to a nature preserve. It was the grand opening weekend of their new building (it will be a LEED building, as it turns out). They have an interactive kid’s area there that focuses on water. Fish. Turtles. Lessons about water pollution. Lessons about water conservation. And in one room – they have a nature exchange program and library which is really cool. You bring in something that you found in nature and they award that item points. (A pine cone is 10 points, a conch shell is 150 points, etc) You can collect points and then take something back with you worth that amount of collective point value.

Tuesday, my cousin Alyssa (my dad’s brother’s daughter) and her boyfriend came to stay with us for a few days. They’re both looking at graduate school at Georgia Tech and met with professors and other students to get a feel for things. They even watched Mercer for us one night so we could go run errands / prepare for our trip to the mountains. They left this morning, and were both very impressed with the school. Maybe they both end up back in Atlanta next year? We’ll see!

Well, I should run, but wanted to get a post up before we go. Have a great weekend. Candice

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Our final days in New York City....

.... have come to a close.

We took Mercer to the Central Park Zoo on Saturday. He liked the penguins ("oooohhhh") and the monkeys as well as some of the birds that were in a walk-through habitat. We got to see a penguin feeding (that's why there's a person behind glass) and also saw a baby monkey (monkies are barely visible on the rocks in the photo). We thought he would like the sea lions because they do tricks, but he wasn't so impressed. Nor was he impressed with the polar bears. (They were off in a corner making baby polar bears.) The adults and the teenagers were the ones giggling at that exhibit.

We also took him to the carousel in the park -- but he really did not like it. Most of the time he spent crying and clinging to me -- even though I moved him from a moving horse and propped him up on a stationary horse. Still too young for that I suppose?

He took a nap -- then when he woke up, Todd's mom & brother, Bob, picked him up from the city. He did fine.... didn't cry at all when he left us (we tried not to make a big deal about it so he wouldn't flip out). It was a little odd for us -- and a little tough at times -- but we had a nice time in the city. We ended up doing a lot. We...

...went to a local brewery,
went on an open-air bus tour,
went to the Museum of the City (history of NYC -- pretty interesting),
went on a harbour cruise,
went to an off-off Broadway show (Avenue Q -- an "irreverent" puppet show),
went to BB King's basement jazz club after the show,
went to the Guggenheim Museum (currently, there's a Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit b/c it's the 50th anniversary of the Guggenheim),
went out to dinner with friends from college who live in NYC,
went to the Museum of Arts and Design,
and rounded out our trip with another stroll in Central Park to explore some other areas.
We didn't get to do "everything" there is to do there, but we did plenty!

Right now, we're in New Jersey. We'll post about the visit with the family another day.
Have a great rest of the week!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Happy Birthday to Todd

Mercer's napping right now, so I thought I'd take this time to post about our trip so far in NYC.
The flight was delayed a few times, so we got to the airport late -- then it put us in rush hour getting into the city. By the time we got to the hotel, checked in, unpacked a little... it was 7:30. (Mercer normally goes to bed around 8!) We walked to the Whole Foods a few blocks away with him in the Ergo (baby carrier). He sacked out while we were loading up milk, diapers, and other essentials.
Our first full day in the city was rainy, but we met Todd's brother, Bobby for a late breakfast. After Mercer's long nap, we took him to the flagship Toys R Us store in Times Square which wasn't too far away. (We were trying to think of something to do indoors b/c it was rainy.) He was mesmerized by / waved to & said "Hi" to a giant animatronic dinosaur they have there as well as played at the Thomas the Train table for awhile.

Later that night, we went to see a Mets / Phillies game with Todd's dad & brother. Mercer was very funny... he would clap and cheer when the crowd would clap and cheer. He would dance a little with the music. We even noticed a few times that if a fan yelled something to one of the players "come-on Gary"... Mercer would try to repeat it. hilarious~ He didn't know what was going on, but he was having a great time. (In these pics, Mercer is in the bottom left-hand corner.)

Today is Todd's birthday. We were hoping to go to a Mets / Yankees game, but the tickets are way expensive and hard to get. Instead, Todd decided that he would to go to the Cloisters - a Medieval art & architecture museum. (There was actually an elective he took in college that he studied this / he's always enjoyed the subject.) It was a serene place -- with Gothic pieces of buildings that were displayed and also implemented into the architecture of the museum, Medieval-inspired artwork, and beautiful gardens. It wasn't the easiest place to get around with Mercer. There were a ton of stairs and lots of artifacts that are prohibited to touch, but we still had a nice time. Do you see the name on his polo shirt? His "Georgia Grandma Jo" saw it & got it. Pretty cool!
Update on blog -- it's now Friday night & I'm adding a bit to round out the "birthday" blog. We asked the hotel for a recommendation on an authentic Italian restaurant that's casual. We went to a place called Joe G's and it was great. One of the owners, Mario, really took to Mercer and came over between 15 - 20 times to the table to play with him, bring him pasta, kiss on him, etc. He even offered for he and his wife to baby-sit Mercer! Dinner was great, but really, Mario made us feel welcome there and enjoyable. We'll try to go back while we're here in town. Also, after dinner, we went for a long walk around central park. There were tons of joggers, bikers, horse & carriages (Mercer started saying neigh when he saw one, but after awhile his noise for a horse is click click click (because of their hoofs on the paths)). There were organized softball games, an active playground, volleyball & soccer. There was even a concert in one of the parts we visited. All of this and I bet we didn't even cover 1/10th the ground in the park. It's SO HUGE. It was a beautiful night for a walk.

Todd's mom & brother come to get Mercer tomorrow afternoon. If it's not rainy, we're hoping to go back to Central Park to explore more and go to the zoo with the little guy. We'll see!

Monday, June 8, 2009

oh what a weekend!

The weekend started on Friday, really, so I should blog about Mercer's 15 month appointment he had Friday morning. He got a couple of his immunizations as well as updated stats taken. They measured him at 25.8 lbs and 32" tall (although we don't think that number is accurate -- if you see how squirmy he is when they're taking that measurement -- it's a ball-park at best! We've compared him to our 30" high table and we think he measures in at 31" tops). His checkup was fine. He's progressing normally. He's between 50 - 75% of his stats all around. All good. Again, as he was laying on the table screaming, I got a good look inside of his mouth. His eye-teeth had popped through on top (we didn't know about these) and I got a better look at his eye-teeth that were about to pop through on the bottom (which we became well aware of in the middle of the night earlier this week). The doctor said that all of his teeth had filled in and he shouldn't get anymore 'til his 2-year molars came in the back. Ahhh - - music to our ears! One thing, however, has me a little concerned: the pediatrician... the woman who sees a hundred children a week... said "Wow! He sure is exhausting!"

Sometimes he is tiring, however, as I reflected in that moment... I told her that he gives me more energy than he takes. What's exhausting is my hectic schedule... which I
MUST work on when we get back from vacation!!! I really do need to simplify! (As evidenced below.)

Mercer and I had a very pleasant surprise Friday afternoon: a childhood friend, Susan, who now lives in Tennessee was passing through town... and she stopped by with her 3 children and new baby, Saber. So cute... and strong (which around the other 3 kids probably has to be out of defense!) It was short, but I know we'll go visit her and their family sometime soon.... maybe this fall?

Throughout the week when I got home from work, I immediately went into planning, research, and shopping mode for an event that I was helping out with: the Cherokee Heights Art Festival.
A guy on our street (who is retired) thought that we should do a neighborhood event in honor of the City of Marietta's 175th birthday. The city was hoping that different neighborhoods around town would have street parties and festivals this year to celebrate. They advertised the event and loaned us street barricades and tables. I used to make jewelry and participate in our neighborhood art shows, but I knew I wouldn't have time to produce any work. I volunteered to head up the "Children's Art Experience" booth instead. Somehow I also got wrangled into doing a layout of all of the artist's booths which meant going up and down the street, taking measurements the week before the show, coordinating with artists, then getting there Saturday morning at 7 am to mark the spots before everyone arrived at 8 am. 8 am came... I worked on setting up the big 10 x 20 tent (with several people's help), set up tables, dragged out all the art supplies... and 10 am arrived quickly. Showtime!

We had a rush of kids in the beginning (children of the artists mostly who wanted to make sand art
(in Mercer's baby-food jars), a fish-bowl craft that someone had designed, and launch into face painting. We had bubbles, sidewalk chalk, origami for the older children, and coloring book pages / crayons for the younger children. At left, Mercer is tasting the chalk because we pulled the pacifier from his mouth. Oops! Below, Mercer is giving coloring a try. (I did get to contribute artwork "on the sly" -- by making copies of some coloring book pages that I had drawn several years ago. They were based on inspiration from the neighbor dog who I was wild about!) It was a whirlwind of a day, but - honestly - was a lot of fun! Todd brought Mercer up once in the morning and once in the afternoon. He & I were both impressed with the quality of some of the fine art (paintings, photographs, and sculptures) that some of our neighbors produced. Here's a shot of Todd & Mercer in a handmade wood mirror that a neighbor made. (Notice Mercer's arm in the foreground pointing at himself in the mirror?!) There was also a nice mix of crafts and smaller pieces. It was a very well-rounded show and something that we'll likely do again next year (in honor of Marietta's 176th birthday?!)

Maybe next year I'll be better at limiting my obligations and commitments. As seen at the bottom of the blog post, Mercer got his photo in the local newspaper as did some of the artists (including Jen, the mother of some of Mercer's friends). Click on the image to enlarge if you want to read the caption. I suppose this is Mercer's first 15 minutes of fame? (the circulation is close to 18,000 papers, so he's now locally famous.)

With that behind me, I have begun to turn focus to our trip to NY. We fly out Wednesday. I'm sure we'll have an update from the big apple later this week. Hope everyone has a nice, calming, relaxing week ahead~ Candice

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Todd has uploaded some videos -- yes, it's been awhile!

The first video is from about a month ago. Mercer is cruising in his police car (a big plastic toy that came from a neighbor). He really likes riding in it. In this video, he's mostly going in reverse.

There's a video of Mercer helping out in the kitchen. We have a raised bed garden in the back yard - and we have been picking a lot of lettuce lately. He thinks it's fun / a game to push the salad spinner knob. We're making a salad to take to the square later that evening. (No, he doesn't like lettuce yet, but he doesn't mind wringing out the lettuce!)

The last video is the most recent...Mercer dancing (well, he's really walking in circles and bouncing a little). Sometimes he would clap to the music. Sometimes he would shake his arms and squeal. He really did have a good time. It was fun watching him.

One thing that's funny to watch is how he studies what the little girls are doing -- crawling under the "bridge" (another girl's legs). Mercer eventually goes through as well. He's definitely in imitation mode... even when they've stopped playing / gone back to dancing... he still wants to crawl through.

Hope you enjoy the videos!