Monday, October 12, 2015


There was actually more of summer after the "last hoo-rahs of summer" post~  but, it was after school had started and it felt like summer was officially over.

But - before the fall blog post comes, we should share more LAST hoo-rahs!

We signed Mercer up for cub scouts this year.  He is in a "den" with other 2nd graders from his school.  He is in a "pack" with 1st-5th graders from his school / from the area.  (We are learning the lingo~)  They did something pretty cool.  At one meeting, they made bottle rockets.  Because it rained, they weren't able to shoot them off, so at a subsequent cub scouts cookout, they shot them off in our church parking lot.  It was a lot of fun to watch these things shoot up in the air ('til a kid got hit in the head with one!!).  You can't see Mercer in the last bottle rocket photo because someone stepped between he and the camera, but you CAN see the trail of water that his bottle rocket left behind as it shot up into the air!  (2nd from the left station)

We've also been on a hike and have had some meetings with our (2nd grade) den.  The hike was fine -- but LOUD with a dozen or more little boys traipsing through the woods!  

We met up with a couple of families recently.  The last time that we saw the one family -- Ann and Anthony -- was BEFORE Mercer was born.  Ann brought Henry as a baby to Mercer's adoption day party.  Both infants.  Both adopted through the same consultant.  Theirs was a more traditional adoption through an agency as they had several months to prepare and to get to know the boy's birth mother.  We've kept in touch over the years with plans of getting together.  And, through the years, they went through the adoption process again... but after they were paired up with another baby, the original birthmother was pregnant again!  They adopted 2 more children within months of one another!  They now have 3 children -- 2 of them are biologically connected, but all of them are connected by their wonderful, loving family bond.  It was so nice seeing them and their beautiful children.  And - hopefully it's not close to 7 years when we see them (and our mutual friend, Kristy) again~

A couple of weekends ago, we were going stir crazy after being stuck in the house due to rain.  We found this (free) activity to partake in at a nearby mall:  a LEGO roadshow with monuments and civic buildings built out of little plastic bricks.  Here are some shots of the kids at the LEGO play area.  Mercer also went through a free "make-and-take" area where he got to pick up pieces to build a mini white house at home.  It was a great event to find last minute.... but it reminded us how much we hate malls!  Oh well.  The kids didn't seem to mind~

Mercer earned ANOTHER "Mercer fun day" for 4 more weeks of good behavior at school.  He's doing pretty well so far this year!! His teacher gave us a great report at the parent-teacher conference last week.  His scoring on the tests for math and reading are FINALLY up where they should be!  (He's pretty good at both, however, never tested well because he'd rush through.  He finally took his time and scored above average.)  whew~  His behavior is good.  The teacher likes his creativity and uniqueness on some things.  (so do we!)  We aren't sure what the *magical* combination is, but one thing is for sure -- she is more laid back than his K and 1st grade teachers on sitting still. She says that the kids can stand if they need to while they're working at their desks.  They can grab a clip board and lay on the floor to work.  She has told us several times that if Mercer gets frustrated with homework -- stop.  We don't need to push it.  We DEFINITELY like her style!  

Back to the Mercer fun-day.... he chose to go play Monster Golf to celebrate.  It was raining that weekend too (see a theme going so far in this blog post?) so this was a great choice, as it's an indoor glow-in-the dark venue.  Isabella was NOT at all interested in playing.  We got her a miniature club, but after a couple of whacks, she was done.  She only wanted to hang out on this alligator and "fake" play the video games that were in the arcade area in part of the building.  (luckily at this age, you can get away with fake-playing without putting any money in the machines!  ha~)

We took a chance last weekend that the rain would hold-out enough for us to check out this cool art exhibit:  Los Trompos (spinning tops).  The High Museum has had these things on display out in the courtyard all summer.  There are also a few of these scattered about in other public areas in midtown Atlanta.  The kids got a little drizzled on while spinning, but they absolutely loved it.  I have to admit, I went for a spin too.... and it's kind of fun~  

Look at this picture of Mercer and Isabella.  He's got such a funny expression on his face (maybe from the twirling?), but I love how Isabella is looking at him.  (This is one from the same top... but had to zoom in on it!)   

There are other exhibits, of course, at the High too:  some modern art as well as some children's exhibits.  The day we went, there was a hand's on project the kids could partake in -- making a scene with an ocean.  All Isabella wanted to do was play with scissors.  She was so focused on cutting.  It was kind of funny!  There's an author, Mo Willems, who we like.  They have an exhibit of his drawings there as well.  The kids thought it was pretty cool - later - when we got a bunch more of his books from the library... some of the same ones that were on display.

A new chapter in my own book.....

I ended my job at the green building company last week.  It's been an emotional week.  I've never felt "all in" or totally comfortable there - so it's ultimately OK, but I'm still a little sad.  I suppose this is because the change was not of my own choice?  Before January of last year - I had always called the shots on my job transitions.  The last two have not been within my control, so they loom over me.  I - ultimately - know that something better will come of this change, but it's still hard not knowing what that is yet.  
I've just begun some part-time work with an architect doing drawing reviews.  I was talking with this same woman in January of last year when my first green building job ended and she was offering to help me get a job at her company then.  She works 60-80 hours a week, however, and travels a ton.  This part-time work that I'm doing with her now could possibly lead to a permanent job doing, however.... I know that I do not want to work a crazy amount of hours and be on the road so much.  (I did that before we had kids.)  I sort of feel like I'm messing things up for our family -- putting us in a bind -- by not choosing one steady full-time job... but I feel in my heart that having more flexibility right now is more important.

I'm sort of intrigued to get back into architecture.  Also, we just went to a green building event.  Afterwards, I told Todd that these are "my people!"  (Some of the groups represented:  the non-profit where I used to work... the nature center where I used to work... a biomimicry group that I would LOVE to work for... the green building organization I volunteer for sometimes... etc etc etc.)  Maybe I should stay in green building?  

I just don't know which direction to go.  The one thing that's steady right now is my (low-paying) teaching job that's 2 days a week.  I'm enjoying it, but do know that I can't swing the 2 part-time job juggle again for another school year.  I'll need to 100% commit to teaching.... or go back into architecture... or do something green building related...  argh!    

Right now, I'm just going with the part-time contract work squeezed in between my teaching.  Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed with big decisions and must turn it over to God to handle.  I have a lot of doubt about my decisions, but honestly feel that each position was held for a reason.  I have had a non-traditional career path so far and I have to wonder where I am headed:  architecture -> non-profit green building work -> green building consulting -> nature center -> teaching science ->  to ____ (what's next?) ___    Stay tuned.  We will all see how this unfurls! 

Sorry for the ramble!!!

BTW - Todd has been / still is VERY happy with his "traditional" career path.  He's loving his office-mates and his church projects.  (Sorry - there's never enough in the blog about him!)  He juggles the crazy activities and events that I impose on our family.  He goes along and is wonderful about it all; he's such a caring father.  There should be more in the blog about him.  There will be on the next post!