Friday, April 30, 2010

Working way too much these days....

I've been working on powerpoints and travelling way too much these days. I'm taking a little bit of time off today - but according to the hours I worked last week - I realistically could've taken this whole week off!!! More and more often - when I drop Mercer off at daycare before a trip - I get a little emotional. It's getting harder to leave. He has no idea, but I think his teachers can tell. We went to an art festival before I left town for one of my recent trips. And - we checked out the play areas, of course! (as seen in the photos) We probably saw more of the playgrounds than art exhibits. Oh well. It was still fun for all of us. The main point - to spend time together & get outside.

Mercer has a couple of really funny expressions. One of them is a facial expression where he draws his mouth up and makes his eyes real big. The other is something he does with his arms - it almost looks like the chicken dance pose. He'll pulls his arms up high by his side when he seems pleased by something. He's also counting better. One two One two. And - he's recognizing most of the basic colors now. For awhile, everything was red or blue. Now he knows orange. He says yellow and purple too... sometimes when we're even pointing to those colors!

This week, however, I got to do a couple of cool things at work:

One was attend a lecture at our office that the Executive Director of Georgia Organics did. I ended up looking through the Farm-To-School literature she had and decided that I'd love to work towards getting a little garden at Mercer's school. I've been in touch with the fund-raising team to try to get more "meaningful" fund-raisers. I think this is a goal that parents would be willing to work towards.
Yesterday, I met and gave a tour of our office to a "famous" architect in Switzerland. I've never heard of him, but I looked up his work online. He is doing some nice work & has been practicing sustainability there since 1995. It makes me think again about how I need to figure out what I want to do when I grow up. It was inspiring to check out his work / talk to him - he was a really nice guy/ and to think about GOOD design again. hmmm....

We also went hiking recently. Well, we were trying to hike. For the most part, Mercer wanted to sit on the trail and play with the pine straw. (Which really blows my mind because he sees a pile of pollen or dirt and he yells EWWW YUCK!) He would get up and walk a bit. Oh wait - there are sticks. Let's pick them up. Oh - here are more sticks. See them? I'll wave them over my head for a bit. It was almost comical at how slow the hike went.
We ended up carrying him a lot of the way and - ultimately - cutting our hike short. It was worth a shot. And - we decided to keep trying, as we bought a state parks pass for the year. Maybe he'll get the hang of it?

This was our first time this season with Mercer out in the woods. What a difference 4 - 5 months makes. What a difference NOT using a carrier makes!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

a busy few weeks...

Right after Easter, Mercer & I took a trip to see my family in NC. As usual, it was too quick, but it was good that we went. My grandpa turned 85 over the weekend that we were there and we got to see most of my mom's side of the family at a party honoring him. Mercer got to play with the big kids at one point during the party. My cousin, Emma, really went out of her way to include him in a game of kick-ball - it was really sweet. Mercer was so pumped-up to be included. It's amazing how early this need for inclusion by peers & older kids is exhibited.

We got to see quite a bit of my dad's side of the family too. We visited my grandma in the nursing home. Mercer did something very interesting while there. During part of our visit, we went outside to the nursing home courtyard. There is a resident there who we've seen in the past, but he's never communicated with us. In fact, my Aunt Becky said that this man hasn't said anything the whole time my grandmother has lived there (4 years?). He was in the courtyard and Mercer ended up playing ball with this man. He'd drop the ball at the man's feet and the man would gingerly bend over and pick it up and throw it back towards Mercer. This happened over and over again. He would sort of mumble "here you go" when he was returning the ball to Mercer. Also, when we left, Mercer yelled "bye" to the man and waved. The man waved several times and said "bye bye" back. We loved seeing that connection he made and how he was able to draw this reclusive person into his world.

After the visit with my grandma, Mercer and I went to a neighboring development called Fearrington Village. Looks like an interesting place with lots of events (a weekly farmer's market / an annual folk art show / holiday events / shopping / dining / etc.) I expect we'll go back to explore it more because it's very close to where my grandmother is staying.
Mercer ran right up to these sculptures (as seen in the first pic with the outstretched hand -- "come-on let's check this out" is what i interpreted that to mean). I think that they're stylized sheep? Some of them looked sort of like pigs or cows. Not 100% sure, but it makes for a nice photo!

During this trip, we also visited my aunt Becky & "crazy" Tony. And my dad's brother, David, & sister-in-law, Francis, came over to hang out for awhile & visit Mercer and me. Mercer was quite the entertainer. He RAN all over the place with a wooden horse. His activity level is pretty much "non-stop."

This trip had a lot of running. On the drive up to NC and on the drive back, I stopped at my friend Cindy's in SC. It was good to let little guy out and get rid of some energy and play with her boys Daniel & Trevor. I learned something very valuable while there: if you fill a spray bottle full of water and let the kids loose outside to squirt things... they're entertained for quite awhile! There is the danger, however, that they'll come after the photographer!
I've been very busy with work deadlines and have quite a bit of travel coming up in the next couple of weeks. I'll try to post again sooner than this last time if I can!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

There were a lot of "firsts" for Mercer this week. He decorated an egg-shaped cookie. It didn't take long before he ate the cookie as well as a couple of others that he would run and grab as I was working on them. He tie-dyed a few Easter eggs. (I found a no-mess kit... which was no mess for the kids, but I got really dirty.) We didn't get any pictures of the hard-boiled egg dying because my neighbor, Courtney, and I were trying to do damage control as we were working on this activity (we were out-numbered by kids). Mercer wanted to help with the eggs just a little bit, but he didn't have much of an attention span for it.

Mercer ate his first chocolate bar and his first marshmallow peep this weekend. We've done a great job of holding him off of candy for the first 2 years of his life... but he knows all about it now! I'm hoping we can keep it away from him again / "detox" him from it. (Basically if we don't have it around -- which Todd & I don't -- then we'll hopefully get things back in check again.)

Mercer definitely got his fill of Easter egg hunts:
hunt #1: We went to a hunt last weekend that the young pastor from our church and his wife hosted at their house. Mercer got his first taste of a jelly bean and some sort of gummy candy too. He was clingy and afraid of the other kids at first, but then warmed up. Once he figured out that there was candy in the eggs, he took his bounty and ran and "hid" on a slide so he could take stock of what he had and could eat it. I guess he felt a little more secure here -- and didn't think I could come to take it away from him?

hunt #2: His daycare had an Easter Egg hunt. The teacher said he had a good time -- and -- yes, ate some candy while there. Hmmmm.....

hunts #3 - #12: Yes - there were 10 more hunts!! We hosted our neighborhood's 2nd annual Easter Egg hunt. Last year, 10 families hid eggs in their yards and kids would go from house to house looking for eggs on their own. This year, there were 10 families that hosted egg hunts again, but, the little kiddos in the 'hood went around from house-to-house as a group -- sort of like a "progressive" egg hunt. Here, he and his buddy, Jackson, are cruising together between hunts. On the first whistle, the kids 4 & under went; shortly after on the second whistle, the older kids went. Each house had a golden egg hidden there as well. Mercer (or Todd?) found one. It was a lot of fun to see them all hunt together. I was the host this year and had to "facilitate" each hunt, so Todd actually got to run around with Mercer. I would say that they both had a lot of fun.

The hunt in our back yard was the last egg hunt. Afterwards, the families stayed for egg-shaped cookies (that Mercer did not decorate) and lemonade.

I had to look up WHY there are bunnies and eggs at Easter. From what I could find in pagan tradition, rabbits represent fertility during spring renewal. Eggs were brought out on Easter after Lent & fasting - no meat or poultry or eggs for 40 days - one variation indicated that the eggs were dyed red in celebration of Christ's rising. Interesting!

This morning, we all went to church (see Mercer's new duds?) then came home and had lunch with some neighbors. And - it's officially spring... we planted the first foods in our raised bed garden...romaine and green leaf lettuce sprouts! Also, the trees are budding and the tulips are blooming. (I have NO CLUE why this picture absolutely will not rotate, but I've heard that I'm not on the blog enough. You'll just have to turn your head to the side.) We're SO glad to spend more time outdoors and finally shed this long long winter we've had.
And - we're happy to be spending a lot more time outside to hang out in the front yard, by the pond, and at neighbors' houses.

On a side note - Mercer is doing a bunch of new things: he is proud of himself that he knows how to jump. He'll "show off" and hop around a lot. He now shrugs his shoulders now when he says "why?" or "where?" And he shouts "EWWW YUCK" at a lot of things including his diaper changes and anything that looks a little dirty. Aside from the terrible twos reported last week -there are definitely good things in between.