Sunday, August 25, 2013

Oh what a week it was~

After Mercer's 2nd day of school, we packed up the car and headed to North Carolina. We went to my cousin, Lyssa's wedding. We realized that this was Mercer's first wedding.  (Isabella's too, of course.)  The wedding was in a beautiful stone Catholic church built in the 20's.  The kids did pretty well.  Charlie held Isabella through almost the entire service.  She was entertained by playing with a shiny bracelet.  Hmmmm...

We got to spend a bit of time with dad and Charlie afterwards at the reception as well as some Hinshaw relatives. Mercer was a fan of the fruit on the buffet. 

Isabella was a fan of the clear plates that were on the buffet too.  It was a nice event -- but we don't really have any photos of the wedding.  We have a few from the reception including a couple of family pics.

The next day, we visited my grandmother who's in a rehabilitation center recovering from a recent fall.  We didn't get pictures there either, but did get to spend some nice time with her.  (We tried to get a picture of grandma holding Isabella, but she's been doing this "attachment" thing lately... when someone wants to hold her, she hesitates and reaches for either Todd or myself.)  Mercer jumped and ran around to entertain.  Isabella just cooed and laughed to entertain.

Some of the Nunn family came over to my mom's house to visit later in the day.  We were able to see grandpa, aunt Sandra, uncle Eddie, Rhonda, and Michael.  We really did miss having grandma there, though, we enjoyed seeing as much of the family as we could.
The weekend was rounded out by a stop in Greenville to visit my good friend Cindy and her two boys.  It has been waaay too long since we've seen her.  Also - she's never met baby Isabella until now~  

So glad that she finally got a chance (although short) to see her!!  We were GRATEFUL to have lunch with her and let Mercer run around / blow off a lot of energy.  Look at these boys having a fantastic time!!  Mercer loves playing with her kids.  I wish we could see them more often!

A few days before we went out of town, we found out that our house was going to be used in a movie!

(Kill the Messenger - due out in 2014 - ) A location scout had been out a few weeks before to snap some photos.  Our neighbor's houses had been used in a commercial a couple of years ago, but this was a different location scout that approached us... just randomly drove by and found us.  

The thing is, however, that the movie scene was being shot on the Monday we were driving back.  We wouldn't be home for part of it / would have strangers in our house... so we had neighbors house-sit for us in our absence.  

We came home (in the pouring rain) and got as close to the house as we could... unloaded the kids & a few things out of the car and sequestered ourselves to our back bedroom - as the movie people had taken over the living room, dining room, kitchen, and Isabella's room.  
There wasn't really any action while it was raining - just a bunch of people milling about our house.  The kids were getting restless and we needed to get out of there.  So - I took the kids to a neighbor's house while Todd stayed to "guard" the house.  

Once the rain let up, the filming began.  Todd watched it and said it really wasn't very exciting.  The actor & actress said their lines over and over and over again.  Then the crew moved the camera a little and they said their lines again and again.  Then they moved the camera inside and did the same shoot over and over again.  
That was it.  Various people started setting up Christmas decorations and running electrical service on Friday before we left & security guards stationed on our street and the neighboring street.  

There were at least 100 people that worked this event on Monday for most of the day.  They began packing up & leaving around 8, but there were groups of people who came back the next day to pick stuff up / get our house back to normal (on the outside).  All for ONE one minute scene.  They told us it was a critical scene, but wow.  60 seconds +/-.  Crazy!  

We got paid, of course, for our trouble.  Mercer also got to see his first rainbow as we were "escaping" our house during the shoot and riding over to the neighbor's house. 

The next day, Tuesday, Isabella turned 9 months old!  As seen here, she's sitting up on her own pretty well!  This is the doll that Mercer presented to her when he first met her.  Every 3 months, we compare her against this doll to see how much she's grown.  

She's such a happy baby.  She has a little fire in her, but she's always very sweet and lights up anytime someone makes a fuss over her.   

The week was rounded out Mercer complaining of his mouth hurting one night at dinner.  We looked to see what was wrong... he has his first loose tooth!

The race is on.  Will Mercer lose his tooth first or will Isabella finally get some teeth?

Oh what a week it was!!!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mercer became a Kindergartener today!

Here are some photos from the "sneak a peek" event yesterday where the kids got to see their classrooms & meet their teachers before school actually started. 

These are the kids Mercer hangs out with the most from our neighborhood. Graham is in the Kindergarten class in the room next door. Glady is in 2nd grade. Jackson is in Mercer's Kindergarten class. (Oh boy. Good luck, teacher, with these two, as they seem to wind each other up!)

The teacher marked each child's spot with a name tag and a bag of candy.  Guess she's trying to get in their favor right off the bat?!

Here are pics from this morning:

their "uniform" consists of navy, white, light blue, and gold shirts / khaki or navy pants.  there's a bit more flexibility than we had at Mercer's previous school.  He now gets to pick out his color combination and help pack his lunch the night before school.

sporting his new (over-stuffed) messenger bag - he couldn't carry it the right way, so he wants to transition to his back pack tomorrow.
at the bus stop
The two girls are in his class.  Mercer went to the Montessori school with the one in the navy dress (Edith).  She's been mentioned before on the blog b/c Mercer has a little crush on her!
photo op with baby sister~
and getting on the bus
The after-school report:  He enjoyed the bus ride.  Sat with friends at lunch (Graham, Jackson, and Edith).  He made a necklace out of cereal - but it did not make it home because he ate it.  They took a tour of the school. 
Overall, he had a good day today!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

July and the ?end? of summer

Everything that we normally do on July 4th got rained out.  No parade on the square.  No fireworks.  No cookout at our neighbor's house.  No arts festival.  Nothing to do.  The city of cancelled everything.  It's the first time that we had a 4th of July that came and went without a bang.   We ended up going bowling and out to lunch just to get out of the house & to stay (mostly) dry.

While we were bowling, we ran into someone that Mercer has been taking taekwondo classes with. Of course, Mercer loved taking classes (especially the ones where the parents & the kids played dodge-ball). We enrolled him in a short series during the summer to fill-in where his other sports left off. 

Maybe he will go back to it or another style of martial arts.  He would have loved to have stayed in it, but we don't want to overwhelm the kid with too many activities now that school is about to begin and baseball is starting back up.  Here are a few pics of Mercer in class.  One interesting thing - he learned to count to 10 in Korean, as they did this for all of their warm-ups!

We've been taking the kids to a nearby pool the past couple of months.  Thankfully, they hosted some fireworks, so many days later it sort of felt like the 4th of July really happened.  The layout of the pool and surrounding grounds are not very big.  We grabbed a spot and waited for the first bursts of color and light.  BOOM BOOM BOOM.  it was ridiculously loud!  Mercer was scared & eventually sat in Todd's lap.  Isabella watched at first as these sprays of light - literally - opened up above our heads.  Somehow, however, she fell asleep?!!

We participated in some art-related activities this month... getting messy with some finger-painting (turned into whole-hand-painting) in the back yard.  

We also went to a Cat in the Hat play followed by a create-a-puppet workshop at the Center for Puppetry Arts which was really great!  Isabella did NOT sleep through this one, although it was her nap time.  I kept trying to put her to sleep, but she kept turning her head around to check out the puppets and moving shapes on the stage in front.

We had fun exploring something close to home too -- an exhibit called "yarn bomb" that took over the the art museum on the square.  Mercer even snapped some photos of his favorite parts of the exhibit on Todd's phone. (notice the finger in the corner of one of them~)

It feels like much of the summer was spent in doors climbing the walls!  

And jumping.

And more jumping.

Mercer got to do something really unique:  touch snakes, lizards, and turtles.  A neighbor had "the reptile guy" come to their son's birthday party.  It was great for all of the neighborhood kids.  They got a unique up-close experience they won't forget!!  It honestly feels like the this was the first time we've seen a group of neighbors the entire summer.

Many neighbors came together this month as we mourned the loss and celebrated the life of a sweet sweet woman who lived across the street.  "Aunt Pam" and "Uncle Orie" have been wonderful to get to know and interact with over the last 14 years.  They have been great to our little family unit, doting on and genuinely loving our kids.  They were always so excited about the additions to our family -- decorating the front porch when we came home with Mercer & throwing a n'hood meet-and-greet shortly after.  They had the photo cakes made for each of the adoption day parties that we have had.  We would often accompany them on pontoon boat dinner trips during the summer & they were always bringing cookies or little toys to Mercer. 

Pam had been suffering for years from lupus and the after effects of the medications she's had to take to make it through different stages of the disease.  We are glad that we got to know her and that we got to share our kids with her / bring her joy through them!  (Here's a pic of her at Isabella's adoption day party.)  My mom and Todd's mom have both gotten to know Pam over the years as well when they come to visit and both have expressed how nice it has been knowing that someone was here watching over us - as neither of our mothers live near us.  She was a true gift and will be missed, but always remembered in our hearts!
Isabella has been branching out and trying new things.  Here - she's putting on lipstick. (kidding.  It's beet baby food... which she LOVES / and loves to sling it around -- making a mess with it!)  She really seems to enjoy her veggies.

Isabella is eating some finger-foods too (the things that melt in babies mouths). Still no teeth yet, though

There was a break in the rain & the soil was finally dry enough to get some work done that has - literally - been scheduled all summer:  converting a bramble-covered area into rows for squash, watermelon, corn, and other larger veggies.  We are growing watermelon again and tomatoes. Last year, our tomatoes did not grow.  They're doing great this year - in fact - we have one that's about 5" across (the variety is called 'Dolly Parton')

Because we feel like the summer is almost officially over and that we had not done many things outdoors, we threw an end-of-summer party for Mercer and some of the neighborhood kids this weekend. 

We had some good old fashioned / low-tech water fun.  We put out a slip-and-slide on the small slope in our back yard and a sprinkler in another area.  Kids played in the sand box.  We had water balloons -- but the kids just threw them into the grass to watch them explode more than go after one another with them.  We had a cook-out for those who wanted to stay for dinner.  The kids ran around the yard catching fire flies when it became darker. 

Also - so that the fun would not stop, the kids brought some sand to the driveway near the porch light.  We have heard from several of the parents that they really enjoyed themselves and are glad we held the splash party.  We are too!

One FINAL thing that we did to round out our last summer weekend was to go on a hike with some friends and their children at one of our favorite spots:  Paper Mill on Sope Creek. 

Mercer became friends with this little boy, Jackson, through baseball.  Jackson still calls Todd "Coach" and will sometimes call me "Mrs. Coach."  Todd and I hit it off with his parents - as they're SCAD grads... their mom graduating from the architecture program several years after we did.  We did not know either of them there, but have enjoyed getting to know them and having the boys spend time with each other.  We think that they're going to be playing baseball again together this fall.

Isabella slept through part of the hike, but was awake for some of it as well. 

The water in the river was pretty high, so we couldn't get out on the rocks in the middle of the water.  The ruins there never disappoint, however!  The day ended with an end of summer sundae party at the nearby neighborhood pool we've been going to.

We tried to make the most of the summer, although, we did not get to spend as much time outside as we would've liked.  We still had a good time and made some nice memories. 

School here starts later this week.  It will be a new phase in our lives as Mercer officially enters the school system.  Stay tuned~