Friday, October 30, 2009

mercer's first painting...

... is on a pumpkin. He painted this at daycare earlier today. We REALLY do want him to explore art -- we have a little art studio and tons of supplies -- but I lack the courage to let him just "go for it." I know it's going to make a huge huge mess, but I know that I should just let him paint! I picked up a no-mess paint set (it's activated by the brush on the page instead of real paint). That's probably the place to start!

There's a funny phrase that Mercer is saying now. "I do it" and "Do It" (He sounds sort of like Ben Stiller in Starsky & Hutch -- the phrase made it into this clip: ) I suppose that this is really his first sentence too. "I do it." Todd jokes that it is technically a sentence, but it only has 5 letters!

Mercer tried out his halloween costume earlier in the week. We keep working on the word ROAR. He's starting to get the hang of it. Todd had a little fun with photoshop, as you can see. Have a good weekend!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

This past week...

Probably one of the *best* things I should report that Mercer did lately: he discovered fall! One day when getting him out of the car, he stepped on some leaves that crunched under his feet. He looked at me as if to say -- what is this noise? I am doing this?! Then he launched into a full shuffle through the leaves grinning ear-to-ear.

Mercer is also becoming quite the parrot. He probably repeated 20 or 30 new words right after we said them this week. He watches our mouths as we talk and sometimes will repeat a sound as he shapes his mouth to make a similar sound. It's very interesting to watch. Guess we're at the point where we should really watch what we say around him!!

Little guy got to do some cool things the past week or so:

On our drive home from the reunion in NC, we were hoping to meet up with my friend in Greenville and her two boys, but one of them was sick, so we did not. Instead, we went to the new children's museum in Greenville and Mercer ran around for several hours. This first shot is outside the museum - it's an interactive wall that makes noise and moves. The museum is definitely suitable for kids his age -- maybe all the way up to 8 years old? They had some specific areas for kids 5 & under and, of course, they had some activities that were restricted to the really young kids. I thought that this would be his favorite part - driving the Caterpillar "tractor" - but he didn't like riding it so much... he liked looking at it and getting behind it to push it. (he LOVES heavy equipment (bulldozers). when we approach a jobsite, his voice will lower and he'll say in an excited gruff voice: tractor) He got to "operate" a crane, plant a garden, and play with a really large light-bright. His favorite part was the water table. He went kicking and screaming from that part as I had to pull him away and hit the road. We make keep this in our back-pocket for future road trips if he needs a break / blow off some steam before we get home.

Last weekend, Mercer and I went apple picking in the north Georgia mountains. He picked a lot of apples up off of the ground (yes, the hat is too big!!). Occasionally, I would raise him up so that he could reach for the apples in the trees, and he would grab an apple - but didn't quite get the hang of tugging on it 'til it would come off of the tree. He was a bit too young for this activity (the other families we went with had kids from 2 - 5), but as he gets older it will be interesting for him to see where apples come from.

Finally, this weekend, we went to a local industry party (architecture / interior design) where families were invited and encouraged to come. They had a bouncy house, face painting (although we didn't get Mercer's face painted... he just won't sit still long enough), and pumpkin carving. It was nice to see some of the people that we know and their families. I think this is the first picture that I have had where I'm wearing glasses. I had to get them this year (for tired eyes, mainly); I wear them occassionally. My first week of work was last week... and I worked a lot (even overnight) on a presentation. I did, indeed, have tired eyes throughout the weekend - hence the glasses. Oh well!

We tried Mercer's halloween costume on this past weekend too... I found something really cute at a consignment sale earlier this season. We'll save those pics 'til the next post. : - )

Have a great week.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Our visit to NC

We had a nice time visiting family last week. I went up this particular weekend because there was a family reunion of family members on my dad's side. We went and stayed all afternoon, but didn't get to visit with my grandma very much. She was sitting at a table inside. Mercer was running around outside. I was chasing him the entire time. (Pictured here is my grandma, my uncle David, my cousin Jeff, and Mercer.)

He had a blast. He loves tractors and bulldozers. The family who hosted the reunion has a garage / barn behind the house where they restore Fords. A pristine Mustang... a '46 truck that's been in the family since it was purchased... and tractors - lots of them. Mercer was allowed to climb on some of the tractors - the ones that were moved outside. The ones that were inside were for show only. (Pictured here - he's "driving" a tractor that one of the neighbors (a family member) drove to the reunion.

Mercer also got to climb onto golf carts & other pieces of equipment that other neighbors (family members) drove across the fields to the reunion. Kind of cool that the land is all in the family and that some of them are still farming the land! Mercer got to climb on tractors, play with puppy dogs, and even saw a choo-choo pass by across the field. It was a perfect day for him. (Mercer's been doing something sort of new - I think we mentioned before on a recent blog post that he'll grab your finger and pull you along to show you something / take you somewhere. He's also been holding hands more. Here, he's warmed up to uncle Tony and is holding his hand while they play catch with the dogs. He's really becoming more expressive through his actions and/or is a little afriad -- and is comforted by the hand. So cute!

We got to spend time with family from my mom's side as well. My grandma and grandpa enjoyed being entertained by Mercer. There was a motorcycle toy that played music at my grandparents house. He would dance for them when you'd push the button. He also liked rocking in the rocking chair. He got to play with some of his older (2nd) cousins too. Banging on a piano and reading a new train book. Good times!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

before we head out in the morning...

I thought that I'd report that Mercer is "reaching" new heights. He's now able to reach the doorknobs to the bedrooms and bathrooms and close the doors. He doesn't have the motion down yet for turning the doorknobs, but it's just a matter of time before he's opening them...

He's also able to get his leg all the way up and put his toes on top of the crib rail. Have no idea how long we have 'til he can hike his leg all the way up and start to propel himself over the rail... but... things need to be toddler-proofed soon. Nope - didn't say "baby-proofed." He's definitely getting tall and big and cognizant of how to do things. I asked him to throw something away yesterday and he walked over to the kitchen trash can, opened the lid and threw it in.

He is realizing that he CAN do things now. Mercer and I tumble a lot (or rather he jumps on me if I'm sitting on the floor). He thinks that he can make me sit or stand by putting his hand on the back of my head -- he's "lifting" me up. Likewise, tonight, when we put Mercer to bed, I kissed him. I kissed Todd. Then Mercer pulled my head and Todd's head together with his. He was "making" a happy family. : - )

The thought went through my mind (when Mercer would go around shutting all of the doors in the house) that perhaps he's was going to be a little OCD? Nope. I don't think that there's any obsessive/compulsive cleaning disorders here!

He pays attention to everything and really grasps more than we realize.

Tomorrow, he and I are heading up to see my family in NC. It will be awhile before the next post, so thought I'd do this post quickly.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

a week in South Carolina...

My week began with a work trip to Greenville, SC. I taught a full-day class on Wednesday at a conference for architects and then a session on Thursday afternoon as well. Unfortunately, that meant that I was away from home for 2 ½ days, though. These work trips get harder and harder as Mercer gets older. I’ve been sad when dropping him off at daycare the last couple of trips. My role at work, however, is changing a little bit and I’ll be doing more teaching – which means potentially more travel.

My girlfriend from college, Cindy, lives in Greenville and I got to see her one night. Also, I went for a really long walk the last day I was there in town. There’s a river that divides the downtown and the “Westside” area has a lot of cool shops and restaurants. On one section of the river, there are hotels and restaurants built-up as well as pedestrian walk-ways and seating along the water. Another part of the river has more pedestrian areas, paths down into the water, and lush gardens as well. When exploring these gardens, I stumbled across a series of old winding staircases that swerved up into the hillside and through a thicket. I took these steps ‘til I hit a no-trespassing sign. I think these stone paths led up to a private girl’s school up on a hill? It was interesting.

The one area I didn’t explore was farther afield up the river was a children’s area. I think it was heading towards the direction of the new children’s museum that recently opened there. Todd & I agreed that we should take a day trip up to Greenville and explore that sometime soon.

I arrived home late Thursday night, unpacked, and re-packed for our trip to Hilton Head, SC on Friday. We were attending the wedding of a college friend, Pat, in Savannah on Saturday; however, instead of staying in downtown Savannah, we decided to stay out at the beach. This was Mercer’s first time experiencing the ocean. Saturday morning, we met up with ANOTHER college friend, Carla, and her family on the beach. It was nice to talk / catch up / and watch Mercer explore. He dug in the sand with his shovel and with his hands. He put it in a bucket. He used a sifter (with Todd’s help). He gathered water in a pitcher and sprinkled it (or dumped it in some cases) into the bucket of sand. He splashed around in the shallow water as the tide was moving out. He and Todd went pretty far out. He jumped on waves with our help. He touched a star fish and even picked up some sea shells. Overall, he loved it. The only thing that we could tell that he didn’t like.... the taste of salt-water! Oh well.

Sunday, we went back to the beach and did much of the same things in the water and the sand before checking out of the hotel. We definitely want to come back to Hilton Head to rent bikes, see more of the island, and explore more of the amenities. It’s definitely a good family-destination.