Thursday, November 14, 2013

We have been celebrating Isabella's 1st year this week.

On Sunday, we had a ladybug party for Isabella complete with little girls from the neighborhood, grandma from North Carolina, cupcakes, ice cream, and ladybug games (for the older kids).  

Mercer was involved in planning the party.  He told us which little girls in the neighborhood should be invited:  two little 2 year olds. Then he realized that there were no boys at the party, so he wanted to invite someone from baseball that has a 3 year old sister and another neighbor boy + his older sister.  (both named Jackson) There's a picture of the dueling Jacksons above~

It was a nice crowd of people that celebrated Isabella's first year with us!  The weather was beautiful and the party spilled outside for awhile.

Isabella seemed a little apprehensive of the fire.  She got her first taste of cake (with dye made from beets instead of artificial colors) and her first taste of ice cream.  She did not get upset like Mercer did.  No crying for this birthday star.
She did not make a very big mess at first, but kept at it -- slowly and methodically - 'til she had it ALL over her face!
Here are some more photos from the party -- the last one is my favorite!

Wednesday (yesterday) was her actual birthday.  I've been taking photos of her every 3 months with the doll that Mercer gave her at their first meeting.  Here are a few shots with the doll.  

Also, we had dinner at home and celebrated with her, then gave her our gift:  a custom-made walker / stroller.  She got a little more ice cream, but we were not brave enough to try another cupcake.

Today, when Isabella returned to daycare after being at home for a couple of days, she got to partake in one more celebration.  She and her classmates enjoyed muffins.  (most of which ended up on the floor).  Mrs Angela is still there... still one of the most loving care-givers we've met!

Obviously, Isabell did not understand what's going on with all of the celebrations, however, we think she had a great time. 

Hopefully she feels lots of love and the joy that we've received from having her as a part of our life this past year!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Halloween, Baseball, and some Miscellany

We recently went to a dear friend's house to celebrate the 2nd birthday of their son - a true miracle.  Christopher was born prematurely at about 1 1/2 lbs.  He was in the NICU for almost a year - they did not openly celebrate his 1st birthday because, honestly, things were tenuous for awhile.  We were THRILLED to go to his 2nd birthday party... honored and very very happy for our friend and his wife.  

(You may recognize this cute little boy from our adoption finalization party earlier in the year.  That was the first time we met little Chris which made Isabella's party all the more special.)  Chris is 2, however, he's about the same size as Isabella.  It will take some time for him to "catch up."  The two of them played sometimes together & sometimes independently!  It was cute to watch the two of them interact (or not interact).

Mercer went on his first field trip at school on the day before Halloween.

They went on a little hike along a stream at a farm, the kids got to pick pumpkins (they were store-bought / placed on the ground and they were microscopic -- Mercer's was about the size of a golf ball -- but he's proud of it), they saw chickens and pigs, and they took pictures with a woman in Indian dress who gave them all arrowheads.  I heard from one of the chaperons that it was not that nice of a place, but Mercer seemed to enjoy himself.

Later that evening, Mercer went on his first field trip at church with his Mission Possible Kids group.

I went with him on this one.  He and about 25 other elementary school kids + 20 middle school kids piled on the church bus.  We went to a nearby nursing home and passed out goodie bags with sugar-free candy and personal items.  This "mission" was called reverse-trick-or-treating.  Some of the patients were really happy to see us.  (Others were asleep or confused why we were there.  Several of them told us that they had no money / couldn't pay us.  So sad that they felt they had to pay when we were trying to give them something).   I had to do most of the talking because he and his friend (our neighbor Edith) were really apprehensive to talk.  Overal, it was a good experience for the kids.

The next day was Halloween.  Here are some pics of Mercer carving a normal-sized pumpkin and a couple of photos of the kids in their costumes.  Isabella's ghost costume turned out being a bit big.  But - take off the smiley ghost face next year and she's got a white tutu!

Isabell made a new friend at the neighborhood party -- a baby girl who just moved here this year.  This girl, Madison, is a month younger than Isabella.  Her mother and I have plans for a play date soon.

Isabella did not trick-or-treat, rather, got pulled around in a wagon / making an appearance at certain neighbor's houses.  Our neighbor Mike kept trying to get a rise out of her with his scary costume but she didn't budge.  She kept her eyes on him the whole time, though.

Mercer did trick-or-treat.  He kept grabbing handfuls of candy and toys out of our bucket once he got home because he said he was trying to fill his basket.  Thankfully for all of us - he only filled it about 1/2 way!  He is definitely "into" Halloween this year!

The Saturday after Halloween, Mercer had his final baseball game of the season.  Todd coached this team -- called the Ninja's.  This division is a step above tee-ball ("farm league").  The games were coach-pitched from a pitching machine, however, if a child could not hit the ball from the pitching machine, they were allowed to use the tee. 

Here are some photos from the team party. My favorite one - when the kids are goofing off!  They did have a lot of fun... the most important outcome of playing this fall!