Sunday, August 26, 2012

We try to do something every weekend...

I suppose 'cause we work a lot & try to get through everyday life during the week... on the weekends, we try to do something fun or create some sort adventure.  We try to pack things in!

Before diving into the weekend activities - thought I'd mention that I was in San Antonio recently for work.  Todd had visited the historic city back in college; I've always wanted to go especially after working at my old firm - Urban Design Group.  They designed some portion of the River Walk 20+ years ago;  every day at the office I would pass by photos hanging on the wall.  I finally had my chance to see the River Walk as well as the Alamo.  In fact - the hotel I was staying at was right next door to the Alamo.  Literally.

The day after I got back from Texas, I went to the garden & picked a watermelon / took it home /put it in the 'fridge to chill so we could cut it open the following day.  We had 3 watermelons ready for harvest around the same time, so we shared this one with the members of the garden on a Saturday.  Here's a picture of Mercer, Jackson, and Glady enjoying it ~

About a month ago, we went to a nearby park for a picnic, to play in the stream, to go on a hike, and to look for letterbox stamps.  Todd has tried on previous trips to teach Mercer to skip stones.  This time, Mercer got the hang of it (sort of) and was elated when his stones would take a hop.  I'm pretty bad at skipping stones.  My contribution to the joy of playing in the stream: Mercer and I throwing leaves on the top of the water & chasing them down as they floated (or watching some get caught up in a whirl and going under).

At this park, there were several letterboxes stashed along the trails.  We found a couple of boxes; inside one of the boxes were 2 log books & 2 stamps!  A bonus letterbox!  I learned at a geocaching class last year that sometimes people plant "hitchhikers" -- geocaches or letterboxes that do not have a permanent home.  The idea is that they travel.  People find them & then carry them to their next destination somewhere else.  The person who planted the original hitchhiker can track the journey that it takes.   This is done on a computer program where people record their "finds" in an online log-book.  (

The following weekend, we went for a hike in the north Georgia mountains -- to Amicalola Falls (the tallest cascade in the southeast). We replanted the "hitchhiker" letterbox there on a hike where there were 2 more boxes planted.  Afterwards, we made the climb up to see the falls. Mercer did pretty well. Todd did carry him a little bit, but thankfully he did not have to carry him up any of the the 175 steps to the observation platform! 

It was a beautiful weekend & we actually ran into a couple different families that we knew.  Mercer and the son of one of our old co-workers kept climbing up and down the other side of this rock over and over and over again.  I heard that as a nation, we were just coming off of one of the hottest-temperature months in recorded history... suppose a lot of people took advantage of the cooler temps?!  

Two weekends ago, our neighbors graciously invited us to join them on a boat ride.  Each summer, we have taken a boat ride with Pam & Orie.  Seems that each year, Mercer gets a little more driving time in.  This year, he even tested the throttle of the boat (kicking it up a notch) when Orie wasn't looking!  ~yikes~

Last Saturday, we went camping in the back yard.  We try this each summer.  We wanted to give it a try to see if everything was OK with our tent and to prepare Mercer for our upcoming 3-day camping adventure.  We had friends Jackson & Glady over for s'mores, but evening drew near and a big thunderstorm was approaching; they went home / we buckled down in the tent for the night.  It did rain -- pretty hard -- but we stayed dry in our tent and little guy amazingly slept through the storm!  He did wake up at 5-something AM to the sounds of an owl in the back yard, though, which was pretty cool.  The water from our pond & stream lulled us all back to sleep.   It was quite nice.

This weekend, we were pretty low-key.  We had friends come over and hosted our third adoption pancake breakfast.  It was a smaller crowd than before, but it was nice to spend some time talking with each of the guests!  We are emailing out "birthmother" letters to all of our friends, familly, and neighbors.  It's a letter written to a counselor, lawyer, OB, religious figure... someone who may have contact with a birthmother.  IF you think that you may have a contact or a friend-of-a-friend who's in such a position, please pass this letter along when you get it.  (and - if you're reading this / don't get a letter - let me know.  I will be sure to email you one!!)

Just after everyone left the pancake breakfast, Mercer cleaned up his toys that he and his friends had pulled out, so he earned a little bit of allowance money.  He earned the last little bit needed to earn a LEGO toy he had been saving up for!  Over the past 2 weeks (since the last post about him helping with yard work), he has been helping to set the table, take dirty dishes to the sink after a meal, put his clothes in the laundry hamper (instead of throwing on the floor), and generally picking up.  It's been pretty cool to watch how much he wants to help when he has a goal in mind.  Hopefully some of this helpfulness will stick and will not only come by earning a nickel or a dime here or there!

We have a big weekend -- a big adventure -- coming up next weekend.  That will certainly warrant it's own post.  'til then, have a great week! 

Here's another photo of Mercer at Amicalola... he spent a lot of time climbing on rocks that were along the path... nature's playground!! /

Monday, August 13, 2012

wish we had a picture...

Yesterday, we were doing lots and lots of yard work while Mercer was napping.  He woke up and came out to see us in the back yard.  We were moving tree limbs and he wanted to help.

I had gloves on and told him that he needed gloves too.  He went inside without prompting.  A minute later, he comes out with my leather driving gloves on:  they're too big and they're flopping off of his hands.  He dug through a drawer with winter accessories.  He also found a fuzzy chenille scarf and put it on.  He said he "needed" it to work.

The rest of the picture: M was wearing little short short PJ's with a monster truck on his tummy and his Crocs on the wrong feet.  He helped drag some limbs to the curb with his floppy black gloves.  (Yes - with one of the neighbors walking by & commenting on his attire.) Mercer also helped sweep up the leaves on the driveway after we were done moving the limbs.  

He offered his unsolicited help... and in return, Todd gave him a dollar for helping us out: an allowance.

We have been using a penny chart to earn and take away pennies for behavior in which he gets a toy at the end of earning 50 or 100 pennies (depending on the value of the toy).  But this was the first time that that he learned he could help us out and earn money.

Todd mentioned that he could save his money and buy a toy that he wanted.  He started rattling off a number of LEGO toys... and landed on one particular series that he was interested in.  He and Todd started looking up the toys to see how much they cost and established a goal for what he would save for. 

Mercer and I counted out the dollars and coins in his piggy bank.  He's about $4 shy of the toy he wants, which isn't too far off, but is a good lesson in saving!

I started looking at websites tonight about do we / don't we reward chores with money?  There's no right or wrong so it seems... just some consensus on IF an allowance is given -- to also instill some level of responsibility that is not rewarded with money.

Wow.  4 years old & starting chores?!  Learning money management?!  who knew!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

First Day of School: 4-6 year old Montessori Class

Mercer officially started school in the "big kids" classroom at his Montessori school.  He was in the 3-4 year Montessori class last year.  Now he's in with the 4-6 year olds.  

He has a new backpack and a new lunch box.  He even had to have school supplies this year.   (If you look back to his first day of school picture - in the same spot in front of the door - you'll notice that we got him a haircut this year before school started AND he's grown a few inches!)

Last week, I went to an orientation that the school held.  Afterwards, one of the teachers pulled me aside and said that she LOVED Mercer.  He was hilarious -- kept her in stitches.  He was always cracking her up with his dancing.  (I asked if he danced around saying "oooh yeah" and smacked his bottom... she said YES!  (oh brother -- where did he get that from?!)

She then said that when it was time for studies, he was all business.  He would bring her books and say "I want to learn how to read.  I want to be smart."  Really?  WOW.  I had no idea!

Todd and I were both impressed!  We have no doubt that he will learn to read this year.  He's doing a great job at sounding out letters and words.  This school year should be a good one!