Saturday, January 31, 2015

January happenings

It's the last day of the month and there's not a lot to report - but it's been awhile since I've blogged, so.... here's a little something.  :)

Mercer's basketball season came to an end.   He seemed to really enjoy it.  He played for our city league in a group of kids ages 6-8.  It was quite a step up from the rec league he had been playing for the past couple of winters.  This league is a lot more competitive.

Mercer was one of the youngest players on the team, but the "assistant coach" sees a lot of promise in him especially after he's in this age bracket two more years.  We'll see!  

Enclosed are a couple of pics taken at the end of the season.  There were formal photos scheduled on a game day when everyone was in uniform, however, the photographer did not bring a memory card and could not take team photos.  Thankfully, a parent took a picture at one of the last practices!  There's a "normal" picture and one where the kids are yelling the team name:  go Tarheels~

Isabella started something new:  she started taking a tumble tots class.  This is a class that we signed Mercer up for when he was almost 3.  Seems like a good winter activity to do with young children with lots of energy!  So far, she's enjoying it.  (she looks pretty grown up here, though.  boo!)

We held soup night this year, however, we did a much more compressed version:  we held 2 soup events before my school went back into session.  I've been working a lot (for two green building job deadlines this month).  Todd's been interviewing for new church projects and meeting contractors to build those that he and his colleagues have already designed.  (In fact - he's been there just over a year and is loving it there.)

Over the long weekend, we did get the chance to spend an entire day together just having fun... we found a warm day and went to the zoo.  Isabella is an animal lover.  She enjoyed seeing animals.  The lemurs, giraffes, and gorillas were some of her favorites.  Mercer and Todd got to see a gecko - in the reptile house - stretch out his tongue and snap up a fly about a foot away from him in his cage.  They were there at the PERFECT moment to see this.  As cool as the animals were, the kids really seemed to enjoy the playground(s) the most!  Well, the playgrounds and the carousel.  Isabella had this look on her face (not quite captured here) of amazement and happiness.    It was a really great day!


Friday, January 9, 2015

Some new things this new year for Isabella

Here's a series of funny photos.  Isabella likes to make this funny face to get a giggle out of us.  

And - below are a couple of other cute photos....

Since Isabella has been crawling out of the crib, we officially transitioned her to a "toddler bed" by taking the crib rail off and putting on a short rail so she can climb in and out.  It's been tough to get her to sleep many nights, but... we've got to roll with it.  In looking back at the blog when we did the same for Mercer - we had a rough week trying to get him to sleep.  
Mercer was about 1 year, 3 months old when we made the switch for him.
Isabella was about 1 year, 1 1/2 months old when we made this switch for her.

His was more proactive - so he didn't crawl out of the crib.  Hers was more reactive after she had climbed out multiple times.

Isabella also started school in the new year in a new room!  She's now in the toddler room with other 2-3 year olds.  (Her second day there... she bit a kid!  yikes~)  I remember when Mercer first started in the toddler room.  (He was younger for this as well.  20 months, I believe.)  It was AMAZING to watch the rate at which he learned things.  Isabella is older and already talking, knows many colors, can count some.... but -- it will be interesting to watch her rapid development too!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year . 2015 (Holiday recap)

December was full of Christmas activities.  However... one thing that did NOT happen was baking.  This was unusual for our household, but working and grading papers consumed free time... sleep time... consumed a lot of time!  But - it's all right.  (It took me awhile to not fret over it / be OK with all that did NOT get done.)  This is not the "season" in our lives to bake.  

In looking back, we did some things that were nice / we did some things that were new / and did some things that were important.  

Here is our Christmas card photo... It's hard to spot Isabella behind flailing arms and a fluffy dog.

And a really nice photo of Mercer with Santa (look at those front teeth coming in!):

Visiting Santa was "interesting" again because Isabella is still afraid of the big guy.  We tried a couple of different angles to get a nice shot, but to no avail.  He is really patient and sweet - trying to give her a candy cane to calm her down, but she grabbed it and escaped!

The nature center where I worked had a "reindeer day" event for kids complete with crafts, nature exhibits, and reindeer!  This is their 4th year hosting this event, but our first time to go.  It was kind of cool!  

(Then, of course, there was time spent climbing on things at the nature center.) 

Isabella's "school" Christmas party.... we don't give her candy at home, but when she got her hands on some there - immediately it went into her mouth.  She did actually decorate with some, but.... she got a taste of candy -- and -- she likes it!

Mercer's school Christmas party was pretty low-key compared to Isabella's "decorating" and candy-fest.  A class parent read a book and the kids ate cupcakes then posed for a class photo.  

Mercer wanted a picture with his teacher too.

We had an addition to our elf family this year!  "Lizzie" joined in the fun with "Fred."  (I think his name keeps changing year after year?)  What a surprise we found one morning... let's see if she comes back for a visit next year too.

A "random" shot... after a basketball game -- we went to a birthday party... then we were headed to a neighborhood Christmas party afterwards.  At the birthday party, Mercer was painted up as a "Christmas tiger" instead of a regular tiger to keep with the Christmas theme of the later event.  We did not get photos at the neighborhood party because we were quite busy chasing the children.  We did go on a caroling horse-drawn cart ride through the neighborhood, though!  

The next weekend, we rented a minivan and headed up the east coast this year.  (Somehow we put 10 less miles on the van this year -- 1950 instead of 1960.) Isabella was really really unhappy one leg of the trip (which meant that we were too).  But overall, when we were at each destination - some very nice memories were made.  Our first stop:  visiting family in North Carolina.  We continued up to New Jersey.  Then headed back through North Carolina on our way home. 

Here are some photos from both destinations:

Mercer got to decorate a gingerbread house with grandma.


We visited (great) grandma and (great) grandpa a couple of times while in town.  We also, visited with Eddie, Rhonda, and Michael (who was home from college) - but did not snag a picture of that.  Working around nap-time prohibited us from going too far from mom's house.

Christmas Eve bowling and
Christmas Eve conversations with brothers:

9 of the 10 grandkids were in New Jersey:
Tara, Ryan, Zach, Meagan, Sam, Nathaniel, Marley, Mercer, and Isabella.  (Rory Jr is working on a fishing boat off the coast of Florida and was not able to make it home.)  

Mercer wrestled with all of the boy cousins at one point or another... wearing each of them out!  

Isabella was doted on by the girl cousins, especially Marley who carried her around everywhere.


Here's a typical shot -- Isabella pointing and demanding to be carried.  "This way" was a common command.

And here are some other shots of the family.  Thankfully a few people grabbed the camera and snapped some candids. 

And a cool panoramic shot Jimmy captured (click to enlarge~):

One interesting thing... on Christmas morning, Santa left a note for Mercer and Isabella with a photo of two large items that he left for them back in Georgia:  a "personal-size" trampoline for Isabella and an orange bicycle for Mercer!  

There was a gap felt in North Carolina as this was our first Christmas not goofing off with Aunt Sandra.  There was also thoughts of Todd's dad, Bob, shared (as Jimmy donned Bob's reindeer shirt as we spent the second "last" Christmas in the Mountain Lakes home.  

As already mentioned, there were parts of the 10-day trip that were tough travel-wise.... but overall we made a lot of nice memories AND we spread around a lot of 2-year old and 6-year old "joy."