We went hiking in a spot that we like going to - Sope Creek. It's got a nice river and ruins of an old paper mill. In fact, last year, we took some really nice photos of Mercer on the river back in March of last year (blog entry - http://candice-and-todd.blogspot.com/2009/02/got-some-nice-photos-this-week.html ). This year, it was a very different place. We've had a year's worth of rain and this river was quite different. It was a much fuller and faster than before. We hiked through the woods down... down... down to a point in the river; our plan was to "rock hop" back up the river and end at the ruins. Unfortunately, most of the rocks seen in the pics from last year that we were hoping to come back on were under rushing water. It was actually pretty challenging to make it back up the river and at times was a little nerve-wracking. Todd would go ahead / jump down a rock / I'd hand Mercer down to him / jump down. We did this over and over again dozens of times.
When we did reach the ruins, it was a pretty easy hike back to the car, thankfully. Also, we discovered a small waterfall that we hadn't seen before (seen in this pic with Todd & Mercer). All sweaty, dirty, and gross - we stopped for ice cream afterwards. It was a memorable adventure, indeed! Todd said all-in-all he had a good day. I think we both felt a sense of accomplishment and in the end was happy we made it home without anyone getting hurt!
This past weekend, we all had a new experience: we went to a Korean-Christian wedding. 95% of the people at the church were Korean and the majority of the service was in another language, but it seemed to follow the rituals of a typical Christian wedding, so we were able to follow along for the most part. There were a few things that caught us off-guard, though:
- The part where the minister reads a few things and asks the groom a few questions... and the groom responds with "I do"... the groom, Young, yelled "Hi-k"
(real loud / real quick). The minister asked another series of questions and Young yelled it even louder! Todd works with the groom and says that he's normally quiet / reserved / often sounds unsure of what he's saying. This -- vowing to love and cherish his wife -- he was definitely sure of!
- at the end of the wedding when the bride and groom walked down the aisle as a newly married couple, people crowded around and set off these paper-filled fire-crackers. We were startled to hear POP POP POP until we saw the streamers being shot out of these paper cylinders.
- how impassioned the two ministers were when they were praying. They became somewhat animated and their voices grew ever louder. It was very interesting.
Overall, Mercer did well. He enjoyed the singing and clapped when the audience clapped. We were glad that we got to be a part of this ceremony and catch a glimpse into their culture... even if we didn't understand a word of it!
After the wedding, we went to a neighbor's house who was having a back yard camp out (there's a national event that they were doing it in conjunction with - the Great American Back Yard Camp Out). Todd set up the tent earlier in the day so it would be ready when we got home from the wedding. We went down, hung out, Mercer played with the other kiddos, we socialized with the other adults... then it was time to try to put Mercer to bed. He admitted he was tired and wanted to go to sleep (it was a couple of hours past his bedtime)... but he fought and fought laying down. Because we were in a tent? Because the older kids were still running around laughing? Because the adults were talking & music was playing? Eventually -after many many many many many attempts to get him to lie down with me - he said he wanted to go HOME and sleep. Argh!! Oh well! There will be another camp out next year. Better to be close to home instead of far from home when learning this lesson. We'll have to keep try again in our back yard 'til he's comfortable falling asleep in a tent before we give it a try for real. Oh yeah - and wait 'til he's potty-trained before we try out in the wilderness.
A few things that he's saying now:
- thank you which actually sounds like "Dit Doo"
- "I'm going to get you" (he likes to run and grab us -- which is really a signal to reciprocate -- us run and grab him)
- "Your turn" (he will do something like pile pillows on top of him and explode out of them... then want us to do it too. sometimes he does things we really can't do -- like sit in his little kid-size rocking chair... say "your turn"... and get frustrated if we won't sit in it too.)
- When accidentally hurting me (bumping heads, for instance) - he will hug and say "I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry" which is cute because he's sincere. This happened several times in the past week somehow.- When he wants something we have, his voice gets really soft, he cocks his head a little to the side, he smiles a little and says "can I have some? can I have some?"
- He's also getting better at counting and identifying colors.
The little guy is advancing and growing.
On a non-Mercer-related note:
I am officially an "Ambassador" of a program called the Living Building Challenge (http://ilbi.org/). I went to a training last week and got to know the trainer / a woman who basically runs this program out of Portland. I brought her to our office and gave her a tour of our green building (http://www.southface.org/about/campus) -- the greenest building in the southeast -- and our new Eco Office building doesn't even come close to meeting the Living Building Challenge. The challenge is very "out there" but I'm excited about it because it pushes me outside my box and prompts me to dive deeper. I've got a lot to learn and a lot to do before I start teaching people about this program which promotes zero energy / zero water / etc. (basically off-the-grid)
Speaking of which... I watched a film this weekend that was about the crude oil industry... showing the history of oil & where we get it from... the energy crisis in the 70s... interviews with people from OPEC and professors / researchers from Stanford and Cal Tech who have been watching trends & following technology around finding and producing oil... um... there were some shocking things in the video such as: in about 20 years, scientists predict that there's going to be a major shift in how we as a (global) society function because the oil should be tapped out by then & all we will be working off of is reserves. Worldwide population keeps growing and countries like China are becoming more consumptive like America. This is not predicted to go in reverse (conservation will slow it down - but at the rate that consumption of other countries and general population is increasing - things will still run dry)... it's a little scary.
The research technology to analyze the earth's crust and depths below was fascinating to see. Unfortunately, automotive technology isn't far enough along (nor do they predict that it will be) to react to the shortage. Biofuels can't even come close to meeting the daily or annual demand (nor do folks think it's good to tap our food crops for this). Things such as air travel will cease except for the really rich. That was shocking! Mercer - when in his early 20s - may not be able to travel abroad. WOW. We've always said we wanted our children to study abroad in college because it's so enriching.
Manufacturing, farming, etc will also be affected. The video closed with an off-the-grid family indicating that people would be reliant to farm their land again like they did 50-100 years ago, practice conservation & rely on renewable energy. I am accustomed to think about this at a building scale because of the work I do... and I feel that technology is available to get us there building-wise... but transportation-wise (especially the air travel) really was shocking. I hope that the predictions are wrong... but it was very eye-opening to think about none-the-less!