Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mercer's 5th birthday!

Oh what a fun, crazy, loud, and memorable day!

As soon as Mercer woke up, he walked around for awhile saying "it's my birthday.  I'm 5."  Obviously, he's pretty proud of his new stature.

After breakfast, he opened some gifts and some cards.  Then we all --  Rose Marie (who's down for a visit), Todd, and I -- went into high-gear setting everything up for the party.

When the other 8 little boys arrived, they were greeted with a pile of LEGOs to play with, but most of them ended up in Mercer's new room.  He wanted to show it off to his friends.

Somehow, we were able to get everyone back downstairs to make individual pizzas, eat, and then they ran back up to his room to play.  The lure of cake got them back down to the party, however!!

Rose Marie made a cake in the shape of stacked-up LEGOs.  Quite a feat!  There were so many oohs & aahs over the cake when everyone saw it.  Mercer really loved it too!

However, there was one of those trick candles on it!

The best part it seems, is eating the icing off the candle!  Can you tell what color Mercer's piece of cake was?!

After cake, the kids stayed downstairs for the most part to play games for the hope of winning a prize (LEGO mini-figure crayons to take home).  We played a LEGO skee-ball sort of game.  (Here's Mercer "wearing" the rings before the game.)  That was a lot of fun for the boys because they got to throw stuff -- in the house!!  

My favorite game, however, was LEGO bingo.  Some blogger-mom made this game and posted on the web for free download. Here's the link for anyone else who's interested: 

There are so many LEGO-inspired birthday ideas on the web, but this was my favorite.... and seemed to be a hit with the kids too.
Todd had the foresight to suggest we laminate the game pieces so we could play it over and over again!  He was mostly behind the camera and in the kitchen making pizzas... but here's a shot to prove he was there!  

There were also a number of other LEGO-themed items we purchased or made that made the birthday special such as his mini-figure shirt, a mini-figure candle, mini-figure crayons (in the favor bags), mini-figure cup cake toppers and a birthday Max LEGO mini-figure for each birthday attendee.  

There was one little girl there (other than Isabella).  She was having her own fun with the snacks and staying out of the way of the crazy-rambunctious boys!

Sweet Isabella was too young to participate, of course.  She started out sleeping through the beginning of the party, but woke to join in the festivities and to be held by some eager moms & dads who wanted to hold the little nugget!  Her favorite part of the party:  the balloons.  Her eyes were drawn to them any time she could catch a glimpse.

Mercer opened gifts as soon as his last friend was out the door.  He was so excited to get a bunch of little LEGO kits to expand his collection... helicopter, airplane, dump truck, loader, star wars ship, and a construction kit.  

We have to comment on one other gift that was brought into our home:  a stuffed animal for the baby.  One of Mercer's thoughtful friends, Alex, insisted while shopping with his mom that they get something for Isabella.  He was very proud of their purchase and in this shot is looking into the crib contemplating how to get it in there! (Don't worry - we wouldn't let him put it in with her~)  

The mom kept telling us that there's a gift receipt.  It was such a sweet gesture on the little boy's part and it is a cute (GIANT) gorilla!  

We were all exhausted - but before he went to bed, we gave him our gifts (yes, some of which were LEGO brand -- but we love the low-tech, creativity-building timeless toy that the LEGO block represents!!)

At the end of the night, he said he was happy.  
And when asked what his favorite part of the day was:  "EVERYTHING. It was all good!"

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Isabella is 3 months old today

Seems a little quick because I just posted last week about Isabella's 2 month pediatrician visit.... but today she is 3 months old.

Here are some photos of her in a "party dress" that Aunt Michelle sent up.  Cute!  The little pink doll is in the photos as a comparison to the first day she came to our home.  ( Mercer "presented" it to her when he first met her as seen in this blog post from November: )

We thought it was a good way to measure her progress / compare how she's grown. 

Here she is... 3 months old.

Whoops, she slid down.

OK - propped back up.

And the finale~

She hit a milestone today too:  Isabella held her own bottle.

She sort of held her bottle (propped up on a blanket) a couple of days ago, but today's bottle -- there was nothing underneath it.  It was all her! 

I know it's a good thing, but the bottle-holding and the pacifier thing that I posted about last time -- shows progress towards becoming independent.  < sigh >

Tonight, we went to the service at our church for thebeginning of Lent.  Sweet baby girl also got a blessing tonight too from one of the pastors. 

A good day, indeed!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Isabella's 2 month milestones

Sorry for the delay in getting a blog post up lately... I had another big deadline at work at the end of January. 

Isabella turned 2 months old on the 13th of January.  She had her 2 month pediatrician appointment in late January.  She also had her first round of immunizations (one was oral and the other was under the little pink band-aid on her leg). We are following an alternative immunization schedule - like we did with Mercer.  She did really well, but I still feel bad when they give her the little prick.  The 2nd photo expresses her feeling on getting immunizations!

All-in-all, she's a good, healthy baby.  She got another A+ on her check-up "report card."  Her stats:

- 11 lbs, 4 oz.  Of course, she ate about 3 oz of a bottle while we waited in the doctor's office.  Do we need to take a little off of that total?? (she's now 46% according to the charts)
- 22.75" long (49%)
- 15.75" in head circumference (70%) 

She actually shed a tear on the day she turned 2 months old.  Yes, Isabella fusses and cries (a little).  There have been several people say that they've never heard her make a peep... that's almost true, but when she's really really hungry -- she cries.  When she's got a dirty diaper sometimes she cries too.  So - we know her tear ducts work, but honestly, I don't know that I've seen any tears since.  I remember reading up on that when Mercer was a baby -- kind of stunned that babies weren't able to make tears at first. 

Isabella has been laughing and smiling a lot more. (And "on command" too -- as we can make faces or the high-pitch baby voices and get some smiles out of her.  Guess that's why people talk like that around babies... to get a reaction~)  Don't know if I've mentioned before that Mercer's voice even goes into a higher pitch when he talks to his baby sister too. 

Isabella is pushing her pacifier into her mouth now.  It has to be near her mouth, but she knows now that she can control it a little and actually get it in there.  It's been cute to watch her do that and self-soothe (especially while I was cranking on my deadline), but it reminds me that she's growing & getting older!  She can do it while laying down like this, but she's also started holding it into her mouth while she's sitting up. If she didn't have the pacifier, she would be gnawing on her hand.  It goes in her mouth a lot more than Mercer's ever did.  We're still convinced that she's teething (drooling, gnawing, bumps on the gums) but the pediatrician wouldn't concede.  Here's another photo I like with her sleeping on her belly in "child's pose" with her butt in the air!  So cute~

We mentioned that she's starting to "talk."  Well, we finally have been able to catch it on video (check out this link -- it's really cute!)

Mercer may be having a little bout of regression (?).  We've heard this can happen when a baby is brought into the house, although I think regression is more intentional.  He's had "accidents" 4 times this past week -- once during a nap but the other 3 were overnight.  Since it's happening while he's asleep - I don't know that he's doing this for attention, but we've got to figure out how to stop it!  He wants to have a friend spend the night in his new big-boy room when it's done... and we don't want this to happen when a company is over because Mercer gets pretty sad and a little ashamed when it happens.  Poor guy~

Todd finished the closet build-out and installing all of the trim in the new bedroom.  I've enjoyed hanging out with Mercer and Isabella all day each weekend -- getting the kids out of the house so Todd can work.  We've done some nice things together / explored some different parts of the city.  Our most recent "outing" was at the High Museum.  This was the first trip that we've taken where Mercer actually hung with me looking at the art exhibits.  We checked out an adventure back-pack for the day which had a few activities for kids, but I'd like to think - as he's getting older - maybe he's gaining an appreciation for art?  (I can hope so!)  Of course, his favorite thing to do there is action-based:  sliding blocks in the shape-sorter tables... and playing with the giant leather-ette blocks.  He loves stacking them up and crashing into them. 

Now, it's my turn to paint every surface in the room (and re-paint the walls & ceiling that only ever got one coat of paint).  Mercer is very excited about his new room and has even wanted to help paint. Granted -- there's a little bit of damage control that has to be done & a little re-painting that I have to do afterwards, but I'm happy that he wants to help.... it helps to provide a sense of ownership.  

Here's a picture Mercer drew at school of his sister (with rainbow hair).  There are some pretty cool things they're learning in school right now.  He came home with a drawing of the body with areas highlighted on it and his writing out the words identified in the highlight... he brought home a colored food pyramid... he also told us that they learned about brushing their teeth and staying healthy.  Mercer constantly is hungry... and he says he wants to eat so he can grow big.  Of course, it's our job to put good things in front of him & for the most part we're holding to it & he's learning what's good for him / what's not. 

"Grandma Gloria" was here at the end of January too.  She passed through here on her way to a cruise to celebrate her retirement.  She went to the Bahamas and Bermuda (as well as some spots in between).  After the cruise, she stayed for a couple of days to hang out with baby girl and big boy Mercer.  After my project at work went out, we did a little bit of shopping, however, our trip was cut short because of bad weather.  There were tornadoes north of us, but we decided to play it safe and hang out in the hallway off and on throughout the day!  More importantly, a lot of time was spent playing games with Mercer and holding baby Isabella.

I forgot to write about Mercer's MLK day "project."  He had the day off from school and I had the day off from work.  He and I talked about Martin Luther King Jr and made an art project in honor of him.  We made a couple of Unity Hand Print posters -- one for Mercer's room and one that he took to school.  Mercer asked a couple of times in disbelief:  I can put my hand in this paint?! 

We also went to the MLK day parade on the square with friends to cheer on those who marched.  And - timing was on our side because right before we went to the parade - we also watched part of Obama's 2nd inauguration. 

Mercer asked questions about why all of the people were there, but he knew who the President was and he knew that the big building in the background was the White House.  (School again?!)  So glad we got to talk about both MLK Jr., the President, and work on an art project all in one day!  It was a great day that we spent together, indeed!