Sunday, April 19, 2015

Long overdue - Easter & Spring Break post + Isabella's Adoption Day anniversary

Two years ago, Isabella "legally" joined our family.  We had a little celebration in her honor of her adoption Friday night, but -- after a busy day at daycare, she crashed early.

Here comes the barrage of Easter photos (finally)....  

Some surprise Easter packages arrived at our house this spring complete with egg-dying stuff, books, puzzles, candy, cookies.  wow.  (Thanks to the grandmas, the kids were well-stocked.)   

Mercer had a friend over to decorate eggs.  

Isabella got in on the action too, of course.  She is VERY determined to do what the big kids do.  oh what a (joyful) mess it was! :)


On Good Friday, I did not have to work at either job so I took the opportunity to tackle a spring caterpillar egg carton painting project at Isabella's school.  The pieces of this project were left over from Isabella's Hungry Hungry Caterpillar party and they "had" to be used since we didn't use them back in November.   

It was a little stressful to keep the kid's hands out of their mouths, not hitting their friend with something that was paint-coated, and not flat-out painting themselves.  It was a giant giant mess.  Really giant!  But, I got it out of my system.  Did the painting project with little kids.  Check.  (maybe it would be better for the next toddler class when they're 3 & 4 instead of 2 & 3??)  oh well~ the kids seemed happy~

Next on the docket:  an egg hunt.  And - it did not take long for Isabella to discover there was candy inside.  And - not too much longer for the little ones to start grabbing eggs out of their friend's baskets.  Oh - the woman who is the teacher of the 2-3 year olds... what patience she has!

After participating in the Easter egg hunt at Isabella's daycare, I went to a party at Mercer's school.  They had cupcakes and read a book.  It was quite a bit more contained.

My spring break at school aligned with Mercer's spring break, so we decided to hit the road.  We went up to North Carolina for a few days to visit family.  It happened to be Easter weekend; we did some fun Easter-related things while there.

At home, we missed our neighborhood egg hunt due to baseball, so we had 2 hunts while in N.C.  We hid eggs at my mom's house (what a kook Mercer has become when he gets in front of the camera!!) and then again the next day at my grandma and grandpa's house.  

(The great-grandparents got to "partake" in an too.)  Mercer found the golden egg at each house - which he was pretty excited.  


Easter morning, the kids awoke to find baskets with toys and books in it. Mercer seems to be really into meerkats right now. He was happy and has slept with this little guy every night since he got him.  

Mercer and I went to a nice church service at the church where my family attended.  They had a play and did a reenactment of some of Jesus' last days, the last supper, the Crucifixion, the resurrection, and some of Jesus' days shortly after.  We've talked about most of this before, but it definitely had to sink in / become more real to him after seeing it.

We went to the NC Zoo with my mom, but left the camera phone in the car, so we got no pictures.  Mercer wanted to see the meerkats, but they had just relocated them as their habitat is being renovated.  Isabella was OK during the entire visit, but really lit up and got excited when she saw the elephants this time.  

We saw Uncle Eddie, Uncle Mel and cousin Emma briefly.   We also some time with my Aunt Becky and Uncle Tony.   

The kids got to take SEVERAL trips on the "mule" riding around the different areas of the farm & looking at the neighboring animals.  And - of course - Isabella had to hug on the dogs.  Such an animal-lover!

And - a ride on the ol' spring horse always brings about a giant smile!  (Isy is wearing the sweet little lamb slippers that I absolutely LOVE.  Mercer wore these at Easter when he was just one and learning how to walk (April 2009 blog post).  Isabella at almost 2 1/2 is wearing them.  She's a tiny nugget.  He was giant for his age.  Just thought it was worth a mention!)   

We enjoyed our quick trip up.  Glad we got to spend some time with family -- and especially my grandparents.  My grandpa just turned 90!!  The only pic we got of my mom was a selfie that I took of them.... I'm holding Isabella off to the side - who didn't want to be put down / who wasn't cooperating.  

As if the week weren't complete.... we came home mid-week so I could take my 2nd to last Master Naturalist class.  (I'll write more about that later.)  

The next day, we packed up the car again and headed to north Georgia.  We rented a "historic" cabin at Vogel State Park which seemed cool until after the kids went to bed and the other residents (mice) paid us a visit.  Isabella is no longer sleeping in a crib, rather, she's on a mattress on the floor.  EEK.  

We moved her up to Mercer's bed and - even with rails - she fell out in the middle of the night.  Needless to say - Todd and I did not sleep well.  Once the kids went back to sleep after the change in arrangements (which was tough / they wanted to talk and giggle and play)... they slept like a rock.  Isabella even slept through the fall to the floor! 


The park did not charge us for that first night and relocated us to another cabin.  It was infested by ladybugs - but that was a welcome exchange!  (and - Isabella got to play with them after she grew to no longer be afraid of them.)  We were technically outside the park for the rest of our stay in our next cabin, but it still had a nice view of the lake across the state road.

The park had an AMAZING waterfall which was created off to the side of the lake. 

 Not sure if it was the sound of the loud rushing water, but Mercer decided to strike several goofy poses in front of the waterfall.  Hmmm... 

(Might I add - in the center of the park is a GORGEOUS lake with the mountains in the background!!) 

Todd and Mercer went fishing and played putt-putt during Isabella's naps.  Mercer and I took a tour around the lake from a peddle boat.  We hiked and searched for letterboxes.  

We also visited a couple of destinations near the park including a place called Sleepy Hollow run by a Disney retiree.  

We picked up some fantastic ideas for kids play houses and forts there as well as a cute hand-made birdhouse (not this giant one, though).

We hiked to the top of Brasstown Bald - the highest point in Georgia.  Surprisingly, there were a ton of flies along the trail.  There was an interpretation center at the top and the kids had fun climbing on the train, sawing wood, seeing the taxidermy animals (which Isabella kept talking to), and talking to these - well - kind of creepy animatronic people.  

Afterwards, we headed to the lakes that were visible from the top and ate a picnic lunch in this beautiful spot.  The kids had fun watching boats speed by. 

For some reason, I was in to profiles. Maybe it was the background?  Maybe the lighting at lunch?  Every now and then it's good to catch it, for their faces get less and less baby-ish in each passing year~  And look at those fantastic curls on both of them!!

We really enjoyed the park and can see going back year after year.  In fact, we booked the same 3 days there mini-vacation in one of the new (non-historic) cabins next April.  (I went into one while the cleaning crew was working on them.  They don't have as much character, but they're cute and they look like they're built tight.  Hopefully mice-free!)

One of the very last things we did before we headed home... we turned in Mercer's Junior Ranger log.  He earned his first (deer) badge!  Todd and I worked with Mercer on a lot of activities outdoors so that he could earn this.  (in this photo - a proud moment - was a little overshadowed by some tears... right before being presented with his badge:  he got a giant splinter in his finger on the way to the park office!)  poor guy.  But - he's so excited that he can get his next badge before he's 8 years old (that's his goal~)

We are very proud of him!