30" high / 69 % compared to other kids her age
19 lbs, 2 oz / 14 % comparatively
18" in head circumference / 63% comparatively
December was busy... not quite sure how it all got done (well, not everything DID get done, but we squeezed in what all we could)!
I had several girl's nights / get-togethers to celebrate the holiday. (Here's a pic with my old Bible study group where we drew on our heads - well, on top of plates on our heads). We also went to one together as a family at our neighbor's across the street, but trying to keep up with both kids did not afford us the opportunity to take any pictures. Todd had a growler guy's night this month too -- not really a Christmas party per se, but their version of one minus the decorations and white elephant gift exchanges.
There has been sadness and somberness overshadowing this holiday due to an upcoming job loss that I will be experiencing in the new year, in the recent passing of Todd's dad in New Jersey, and to the passing of one of our close neighbors earlier this year who was like a family member. It was hard to get in the mood, but the parties did help a little to bring about some holiday cheer.
Mercer was excited about Christmas too and his genuine excitement every morning to find our elf, Fred, was cute. We received these photos via a north pole email. (Fred apparently checked in on the kids while they were sleeping while we were in North Carolina just days before Christmas.) Mercer did say he thought it would be funny if Fred was on his head~
Mercer wrote a sweet letter to God as well as a letter to Santa. Translations included as well.
I am thankful for
Jesus (with a G)
Soso (a stuffed-animal dog)
I have been Good.
doll ship for Isabella
mom – monkey
dad – monkey
We squeezed in a quick visit to Santa Claus up on the Square before we hit the road for our trip to NC and NJ. Isabella did NOT like sitting in the old guy's lap. She's been having a separation anxiety thing going on the past month or two. Typical of her age. But, as soon as we picked her up, she smiled at him... batted her eyes... and tucked her head into my shoulder. She was flirting with him!
Mercer loves to act goofy for the camera as seen in this series of pics of him (and Isabella) in front of the Marietta Square tree. Love these pictures of him - they totally capture his personality!!
At the beginning and the end of the trip, we visited family in North Carolina. Here are a couple of photos with my mom. (Isabella immediately went for her glasses!)
Some of the family members came over to hang out & catch up one afternoon. We always try to do something with the group to make memories. Last year, it was the mustaches. This year -- gnarly teeth!
Almost everyone partook and had a good laugh~
Isabella made her first trip to the zoo. Pretty much any animal she sees, she calls "kit cat." (I was holding her up once at our kitchen window and a cat ran by, I pointed it out. Sometimes she points out of an empty window and says the same thing too!) Isabella saw Lion (kit cats) and Gorilla (kit cats). There was a mama gorilla with a baby on it's back that made an appearance at the front of the window which she seemed to engage in and enjoy.
At the zoo, Mercer liked the Chimpanzees the best - as they flipped around, swung from trees, and tumbled on the ground. He walked around acting like a chimp for awhile.
The NC zoo is a really beautiful zoo with lots of rock out-croppings that are perfect for climbing. (As well as a lot of sculptures that are great for climbing too.)
We try to go as often as we can when in the area.
We visited my grandma and grandpa at their house several times. Mercer and Isabella entertained their great-grandparents by pulling out the toys in their living room and destroying the room... then cleaning things up. Here's a shot that Mercer actually took!
Interesting... Isabella took 1 unassisted step at Grandma & Grandpa's house. The next time she was there, she did it again! Not sure why she's only ventured out at their house, but I'm really glad that they got to see it - twice!
We visited my aunt Becky and uncle Tony too. Isabella LOVES dogs... and she was really excited to be there!
Isabella got to play with a dog, Wonka, that Jim and Becki brought. She would hug on him and grab him (instead of gently petting him). He would just sit there & take it. Good dog! She enjoyed playing with toy dogs too. In fact, one of her favorite things was a tiny fluffy dog that barked and panted that Aunt Tonia gave her.
She did take satisfaction in knowing that Isabella loved her lasagna and Nana's coffee cookie recipe. Isabella has (you can see here) her 3 teeth now, by the way.
Rose Marie stole hugs from Isabella when she got a chance and got to make iced sugar cookies with Mercer. She did get some grandchild love!
Both kids enjoyed the musical stylings of Uncle Jim. Mercer grabbed his harmonica and played along.
We took a walk through the town where Mercer got to see some snow on the ground! (Granted, it was piled up at the edge of a parking lot, but he enjoyed it none-the-less.) We made a stop at the train store and stayed for awhile warming up and being entertained by the excited 5 year old and 1 year old!
Mountain Lakes really is a beautiful town - being designed as a resort town for NYC 100 years ago. We do enjoy looking at the historic homes and buildings.
Todd and I went to a candle light Christmas Eve service in an old stone building erected in 1913. One of the church members and the choir retold the story of the night Jesus was born. That was followed by Christmas carols and cutting out the lights/ holding candles / singing Silent Night. It was quite powerful. Although we had a brisk 20 degree walk there and back - we are glad we went!
Christmas morning, Isabella got into opening gifts and playing with / eating wrapping paper. She also got in on the action of a little Christmas day wrestling with daddy. Mercer had a blast racing remote control cars with the older kids as well as playing cards with the whole gang. Tonia gave Mercer several decks of cards with kids games on them. Crazy 8s, Old Maid, Go Fish. Uno made the cut too and proved to be a hit with the whole gang. Todd and Mercer learned that Rose Marie cheats at cards and Mercer even called her a "Sore Lizard!" : - )
Mercer had purchased gifts this year at his school's holiday festival (with money we sent in). He bought me a horse necklace in a hat-shaped box, Todd a screwdriver set and some Florida Seminole napkins, grandpa in Florida a pair of sunglasses, a pen for grandma in Florida, an ornament for grandma in New Jersey, a bracelet for grandma in North Carolina, and an Alabama fly swatter for "Uncle Orie" across the street. He got Isabella a light-up wand, a night light, a headband (seen here), and some colorful hair extensions! (Don't know if he told the volunteer mom who helped him shop that his sister was just barely 1.)
The hair extensions made an appearance in New Jersey. Rose Marie wore one. Isabella was able to wear one put on the back of her hair so she couldn't pull it out. But the older cousins really got into them -- braiding them and wearing them in their beards!!
The children definitely spread a lot of holiday cheer;
there was a lot of laughter in Todd's childhood home.
We were gone for 10 days. We rented a mini-van because we have more stuff to travel with now that there are 2 kids + carting back and forth a stack of Christmas presents. We spent basically 4 of the 10 days in the van and put 1960 miles on it. We are back at home and glad to have rested our heads on our own pillows! But, all-in-all we had a nice trip, made a lot of memories, and are glad that we went.
Here are a few random photos to end the Christmas blog. These were taken at our house before we hit the road.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.