Friday, June 15, 2012

recent trips

A couple of weekends ago, we went to Tennessee to visit a close friend & her family.  My childhood "sister," Susan just moved to Arkansas and we are really grateful to have spent some time with the whole gang before they moved. 

We hung out with Susan, Chad, Hunter, Caeli, Rune, and Saber.  My best memory of the entire weekend is the feeling of inclusiveness from their family.  Everyone from the oldest (Hunter) to the youngest (Saber) were so great with Mercer.  He felt like they were his brothers and sister by the end of the weekend (after the obligatory "shy period" was over).  Above is a shot of some of the kids holding up their "masterpieces" of birds on a limb after spending a couple of hours at a painting place.

We got the chance to hang out with their family a few weeks prior as well -- at an event where Susan was honored:  she was inducted into the Gwinnett County Schools Sports Hall of Fame.  Susan was an amazing athlete in school -- excelling at tennis, softball and basketball.  She went to Duke on a full scholarship for basketball, in fact.  The coach who nominated her talked about how well-rounded an athlete she was, how she excelled in her studies and how she had such a strong character.  Here are some pictures from that event (her giving a speech at the event beforehand as well as accepting the award publicly down on the field with her children during a Gwinnett Braves game).   It was really special being able to share this with her parents, brothers, uncle, and friends. 

Another recent trip was one I took for work to San Francisco.  Todd and I have been before, but on this trip, I felt like I really got to know the city.  I walked along the piers along the water with a former co-worker, Kelly, before we had dinner and dessert at another downtown spot.  The following morning, I was able to go on a very very very long walk (thanks to still being on east coast time) before having to go to my first building analysis. 

I walked along the Embarcadero past Alcatraz and the Sea Lion platforms.  In the distance is the Bay Bridge beyond all of these boats.  Then, I headed inland and walked by the iconic Transamerica building and got to notice some interesting textures and building juxtapositions.  

My first project site visit ended early afternoon and I had enough time to rent a bike -- to try to ride to the other side of the city to the Golden Gate bridge.  My goal was to reach it / cross it / and come back.  I was bit naive, however, as trying to do this ride through the city during rush hour up and down the ridiculously steep hills... it was not the best idea!  I made it to Golden Gate park (which is enormous), but not to the bridge.  Oh well... next time... but I will NOT be going through downtown again to get there!  Picked up a tip from locals afterwards suggesting taking the Embarcadero all the way around to the city over to the bridge -- not through the city.)

The next day, I went through another building, then had plenty of time to spend with other friends, Bob & Jen, and their daughter Zoe.  Back at home, Todd and Mercer got to spend a lot of quality time together hanging out; they attended their first soapbox race where handmade cars are taken for a spin -- fueled by gravity and human power. 

The best thing about going on this trip:  the enormous welcome that I got when I came back home.  Mercer saw me, ran across a room with arms outstretched, and lept into my arms.  He pressed his cheek into mine and kept telling me "mommy you're home"  "I missed you mommy"  "I love you mommy."  Throughout the rest of the evening (and even the next day) he just wanted to be by my side.  OK... is that just the best??!!

We are about to head out as a family for some more travel.  We will be taking our "family vacation" to Washington DC this year instead of Edisto Island (although we know we're going to miss the beach this year).  There will - undoubtedly - be a post upon our return about that trip.
Here are a couple of additional photos from the night at the Gwinnett Braves games that were funny.  Our son is "hamming it up." 

Have a great weekend.  - Candice

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

I created another blog site in which to jot down ideas for doing art projects with Mercer or gardening / earthy-related things.  I put a post on there about making Mother's Day cards:  There haven't been very many art projects that Mercer has warmed up to, but he really did LOVE doing the marble-painting project.  Mercer has been drawing a lot at school, however, and it's pretty amazing to see the progression in these examples:

About 2 months ago, he drew these people.  The ones with the pink on them is "daddy" "mommy" and "me"

Mercer "progressed" to adding eyes the following month.  Not sure what the big one in the middle is (looks like fangs) but the ones on the bottom are our family.  Todd at the right, Mercer next to him -- both with purple eyes.  I'm the brown with orange eyes and he says the little one with orange eyes is his baby sister.  The ones in green at the left are his friends.

Most recently - he's been drawing a lot of these people with facial characteristics.  I'm the purple one.  Todd is the blue one.  He hasn't drawn a recent self-portrait in this new drawing style, but we'll ask him to draw one and post it as soon as he does.

Mercer is also writing "on demand."  If he wants to write something, we tell him what letters to write - but he can pretty much do it on his own.  I bet how this is how he made the mother's day card shown here.  If you read it carefully -- I'm not actually taking him to "swing" -- at the time they made the card, we were taking him to "swim."   The teacher probably mistook what he said when asked to describe what his mom does!  ~ha~   it's perfect.  : - )

It poured rain on mother's day, so we postponed a visit to a new botanical garden 'til the following weekend. The garden was designed by a local landscaper and was a project that he has been working on for 20 years. It is pretty -as seen in many of these photos.