Monday, March 17, 2014

Pirates, Lions, Tigers, and MORE Pirates ~oh my~

Before diving into this post.... I wanted to mention:  I've added a this photo to compliment the previous post (Mercer holding a piece of pottery he made.  He brought that home just after the  "school art" post - but I thought it should be included as close to that blog post as possible.)  He is SO proud of his creation... he held it in two cupped hands all the way home from the bus stop.

As mentioned in a previous post - there have been 9 school days missed so far due to extreme cold, snow, and ice.  NINE.  All of this has happened since I've been laid off.  (On the positive side, I have not been concerned about juggling conference calls, deadlines, and kiddos.)  Mercer missed a day of school too in February because of strep throat.  (He has contracted 2 more times since January... it seems as if it's not going away.  Just found out he has it again / still... the 3rd diagnosis.  UGH.)

Back to missed school days:  After the 4 days of break because of the latest round of snow and ice, the kids went into a 5 day "winter break."  There were 13 straight days of kids 24/7 with no school if you include the weekends.  To break up the time off, we registered Mercer for a partial day camp.  He went to drama camp where the kids put on a pirate play for the parents at the end of the 4 hour session.  

It was really cute.  I have to admit, though, it was weird seeing Mercer come out onto the stage with a mustache and beard!  I just kept staring at him.  He looked so old!  He did a good job dancing around and saying his lines, but Todd and I both noticed:  he seemed VERY serious the whole time!  He must have been concentrating on his lines.

Afterwards - it was 60+ degrees (quite a change from the week before).  We went to a park downtown to soak up some beautiful sun followed by a quick stop at the Varsity for a frosted orange shake ("FO").   He took a selfie of him as a pirate in a Varsity hat. 

 Also during the week of winter break, we took a trip to the Atlanta Zoo with some friends.  

Allison - the other mom who went - and I were most fascinated by the elephants that were eating.  Sometimes, they would be holding bamboo between their tusks while crunching and munching on other pieces.  Sometimes, they would take the stick of bamboo, twirl it around with their trunks, and peel all of the leaves off of it before eating the rest of the bamboo stalk!  It was really cool.  

The boys seemed to like a bird that would run back and forth in it's cage squawking at them.  Isabella liked the kitty cats the best.  (of course this is what she called ALL of the animals!)  She tried to get out of her seat for the (panda bear) kitty cats~  Isabella is walking pretty well these days.  At the zoo, when out of the stroller, she liked to run too!

Later in the week, we started making preparations for Mercer's 6 year old birthday party.  This was already planned before the drama camp - but... he had a pirate party!   He got to wear his pirate shirt  / dress up again!

Thankfully, the weather was beautiful for Mercer's 6th birthday party - as we had an outdoor treasure hunt planned.  We got all of the kids dressed up (as much as they were willing) - painting on beards and mustaches, tying on sashes, putting on eye patches, and getting pirate tattoos.  

Each of the kids got a backpack.  Mercer's contained a piece of a REAL treasure map! 

The first clue took the kids to a giant pile of mulch that's been in our yard for months... there was a package on top of "mulch mountain" that had pirate hats + a second clue in it.  

The next clue led the kids to the back yard to our tree stump play area.  There was another package and another clue hidden in a tree - only accessible by getting on top of a particular stump.  There were telescopes and the third clue hidden in that package.  

The third clue led them OVER the stream in our yard to an overgrown area where we hid a large trash bag full of inflatable swords and the fourth clue.  

The fourth clue was harder, but eventually led the kids to an area near a different part of the stream where there were pirate rings and the final clue.  

The last clue took the kids back to the front yard where Todd had hung up a pinata while the kids were in back.  

Mercer got to take a whack first, but didn't knock it open.  He got pretty upset when it was the next kid's turn, but finally he calmed down enough to get back in the back of the line so the other kids could take a turn.  Before he could make it back to the pinata, one of the kids broke it (and Mercer broke down again).  But - we tried to get him to jump up and collect prizes which seemed to do the trick.  He did want to take some more whacks at the pinata, though, after the crowd had cleared. 

The kids had cupcakes, ice cream, fruit, veggies and Pirates Booty - of course. (Check out the mom that got dressed up as a pirate - she took the request we made of the kids really seriously!)

The party ended with the kids "walking the plank" and sword-fighting... which Mercer said was his favorite part.  I am not sure if we'll do another theme party for him.  Seems as the kids are getting older, there aren't really as many theme parties happening. 

It was A LOT of work - but we are really glad we did it.  He had a lot of fun and we created some memories that will last a lifetime!  

Isabella got in on the action too - wearing a pirate jumper and sometimes even wearing an eye patch (but not for long).  I'm not sure why some of the photos are "polarized."  It seems that a button was pushed on my camera phone in order to change a setting??  But - you can still get a feel for what all was going on. 

My mom came down for Mercer's birthday.  She handled two sets of cupcakes for different celebrations.  Here's a picture of "North Carolina grandma" and Mercer at school when we took in snacks into the classroom. (Apparently, he got to wear this birthday crown all day.) 

Later that week, Isabella and I went back to the classroom to attend his classroom Valentine's day party that was postponed because of the winter weather. 

And - there was ONE more thing we did at his school that week... we went his school's science fair presentation + they had another science demonstration which was a lot of fun.  Here, the "scientist" is demonstrating that objects in motion stay in motion (he spun the thing on Mercer's head to demonstrate even though Mercer was still)... and that objects that are at rest stay at rest (he spun the kid but not the thing on the kid's head).  The kid that Mercer is up on stage with was the only other Kindergartner that entered a project in the science fair.  Here's a photo of Mercer's board - which I had to help out with a great deal of course.  As the kids get in the older grades, they are required to enter a project + do the work themselves.  

It was a busy week at school... but we are SO GLAD the kids are back in session!!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Oh what a week! Mercer's birthday post will come soon. 'Til then, a quick update...

First - here are a bunch of photos of Mercer's school & home made art-work.  We wanted to document these, as we can't keep all of his pieces that are sent home.  (Some of these are valentines, Mercer playing with folding and taping (at home during winter break), and there's even a cute note from a friend.)

Next - the headlining story of "Oh what a week!"

... Mercer had strep throat last month.  And - he got it again this past weekend. 

We've been through the drill.  Go to (urgent care) doctor.  Get a swab.  Get antibiotics.  Get better.  Seemed like we were headed down that road - but the day after he was treated, he woke up in the middle of the night vomiting.  He continued to do so after he woke up.  And there were other "issues" too.   We thought he couldn't tolerate his medicine, so we called the on-call nurse + made another trip to an urgent care children's center on Sunday.   

Once there, they gave him some anti-nausea medicine + his strep antibiotic in a shot and sent him on his way.  He recovered within the day.  

Before we made it to the urgent care, however, Isabella fell and cut her lip on the leg of a piece of furniture... her first "injury."  (I remember Mercer's first.  He cut his lip by face-planting on the floor while crawling.)   

I also remember the first -- and only time 'til this weekend -- that Mercer got sick.  We were on vacation in Edisto.  

Unfortunately that record was shattered this weekend after M got sick 4 times.

Monday, everything seemed good.  Seemed like we were getting back to normal.  

BUT NO!  Late Monday afternoon, Isabella vomited.  A little while later - she did it again.  And again and again and again.  I had to call Todd in from work to come pick Mercer up from the bus stop because I couldn't keep her dressed.  

We called the on-call nurse again + made a 3rd trip to urgent care in 3 days.   After poor sweet Isabella had thrown up about 10 times, she really didn't have anything to give.  By the time she was tested and seen by the doctor, she had thrown up 21 times.  

No joke.  

Apparently there's a bug going around (which was evident at the urgent care center).  
Unfortunately, I was not immune to it.  

During the 3rd hour we were there, I got sick!  The nurses had to come into the room 3 or 4 times and come get Isabella from me because I couldn't hold her.  

They were awesome and took care of both of us and were so sweet about my embarrassing situation.  The same nurse who saw Mercer on Sunday took care of us Monday night too.  

Once Isabella got some anti-nausea medicine, she was able to have a popsicle - her first.   The nurse said she's never seen a child grip a popcicle so hard (like we were going to take it away from her).  She enjoyed it immensely.  
Todd had to come pick us up from the urgent care center because I was not stable enough to drive us home.  Happy to say that after I took some anti-nausea medicine & I was on the mend too.  

I was pretty knocked out the following day.  Isabella is taking a bit longer to recover.  Two days later, she's still weak but her appetite is coming back.    

Let's hope this is over with!  

The next post will detail Mercer's 6th birthday party + some other things that he and Isabella have been up to.  It will be posted soon... we just got a little side-tracked over the past few days!!