Tuesday, April 5, 2016

my FAVORITE day with the kids + more to catch up on in March...

The weekend following Mercer's birthday, we had a relatively open Saturday.  He had a baseball game in the morning and a birthday party to go to right after.  That was it. 

My favorite day as a family of 4 was when we brought Isabella home & Mercer met his sister for the first time.  Here's how my 2nd favorite day as a family of 4 went more recently:

- Mercer's team didn't win their baseball game, but HE did well.  (he earned a game ball for a pretty astounding play for his age group).  I didn't get to see it, however, as I was down on the playground with Isabella.  She and I were having a blast, though.  Simple fun:  turning over a concrete block and finding worms.... lots and lots of worms.

- I took Mercer to Andretti (the same place Todd took him and a few of his friends to race for his birthday the previous weekend / shown in the previous post).  He played games and used up some of his game-card to include me on 2-player games / use a bunch of credits to hop into the photo booth with mom (so sweet!)

-  We ran some errands and went back to the house afterwards where Todd was just starting some yard work.  While we worked, the kids played together -- NO FIGHTING.  Mercer was trying to teach Isabella how to play baseball too.  He was definitely being an awesome big brother.

- Later, while cleaning the pond -- JACKPOT.  Todd uncovered some salamanders and some tadpoles!!   This little girl was in heaven!

(I was pretty happy too.  At school, I unloaded our class pet -- a bearded dragon -- on Friday & replaced with 3 tadpoles on Monday.  I'm planning to start a Frog Blog to track their progress through their metamorphosis.  Stay tuned.)

- Finally, we went bowling as a family and everyone (including Isabella) got at least one strike.  no kidding!

This was the 6th or 7th "Mercer Fun Day" in a row (he's having a great year at school this year)!  Isabella fell asleep after bowling on our way to the restaurant, so she did not eat dinner with us - instead - slept on Todd's shoulder the whole time.  We got a chance to really focus on Mercer during dinner and let him know how special he was / how proud we were of him for earning another "Fun Day."

It was a really really great day!!  xoxo

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We had one final hoo-rah for Mercer's birthday:   checking out a Globetrotter's game + the pre-game experience down on the court.  There were parts of the on-court experience that was overwhelming.  When we decided to do this (a couple of months ago) we did not know that Mercer has been dealing with a sensory processing disorder called Proprioceptive Dysfunction. *more on this later*

So, he did not seem to enjoy the on-court experience as we hoped he would.  It was crowded, loud, and chaotic.  But, there were a couple of times when he seemed to have fun:  when he was one-on-one with a Globetrotter.  (whew)  He still has fun trying to spin a ball on one finger.

Once the game started, he really seemed to enjoy the game and the antics that the players conducted on the court, though.  Overall, it was a good experience.

Back to the issue mentioned above:  we met with an Occupational Therapist who worked with Mercer to help him learn to ride his bike.  He rode his bike with her within 1/2 an hour.... but with us, he's given up.  We'll keep trying.  We did learn a lot from her, however.  When asking her about OT and about things we've noticed... she gave us a lot of tips.  She's not sure that he needs to see an OT on a regular basis, but suggested that we incorporate a few things into his routine to help him feel his sense of place within his surroundings.  He has a need to crash into things a lot.  He plays rougher than most kids.  He has some sensitivities to loud noises and overwhelming situations.  All of these are because of a sensory issue.  We are just starting to explore this new discovery;  It is helpful just to know a little bit more about what's going on. 

Isabella has started a new sport:  soccer!  We tried to get her into ballet, but we waited too long (should have called in January instead of February). So - she's giving this a try.  At first she seemed to like it (and she has some natural ability to run and kick / "dribble" as well as aim and kick the ball where she wants it to go).  But, during her 2nd game, she did not want to go out onto the field at all -- even with the permission of the league for Todd to join her.   (she said she got scared... there were a lot of people yelling and cheering on the kids.)  who know?!  She is young, but she sure loves playing in our back yard... and she NEEDS to run around to get some of that energy out!!!

Here's Isabella exerting some of that energy.  I went inside for 10 seconds to grab my flip flops and look who shimmied up a tree -- on her own!?!  (She was so proud of herself!!)  

I was caught hanging out in the trees recently too..... the kids in our upper school (grades 7-10) went zip-lining as a team-building event.  I got in on the action and had a BLAST doing it.  I've always wanted to try it.  It was a lot of fun!  (the place where we went had 4 levels of obstacle courses / zip lines.  I made it through the first 3 levels -- which surprised me that I'd go that high.  (the photo here -- I was at least 30 feet in the air -- having zipped across the parking lot well over the length of a football field.  I want to do this again (but in the rainforest sometime!!)

The head of our school allowed kids to duct-tape him to his car for a fund-raiser for our science team / for our booth & equipment that went into the science festival.  (crazy dude).... but - there are other ways that we have some crazy / fun stuff going on at our school:  check out this Easter egg hunt for our upper school students.  It's in the style of Hungry Hungry Hippo! (the kids are on moving dollies.  They push themselves out to the middle and their team-mates pull them back with the rope that's tied to the dolly!)

Here's a more "normal" egg hunt picture from our school.  For the little kids, eggs were hidden in / around the Imagination Play Room blocks.  Isabella found a few & was happy enough with what she got, although other kids got an entire basket full.  

She did the same at our neighborhood egg hunt... happy with the scant few that she acquired.  Yay for now, as that will certainly change.  

(Here she is in a combo soccer uniform (socks and shorts) + spring top.  It's the closest we could get to dressing her up, as she did not want to remove her soccer clothing~

Mercer - like last year - had baseball during the neighborhood hunt.  instead of having him try to come at the very end & get upset that he did not get to go to an official hunt... I took him to one that the county put on.  There were at least a thousand kids there + zillions of pieces of candy thrown across a fenced in softball field.  I'm grateful that we did not try to go as a family & Isabella attend a hunt for her age group.  It was chaos.  I had complete anxiety about being able to find Mercer in the end -- as all of the other crowds of parents who waited at the gate on the other side.  Never again!  (He was happy with his candy stash, but we'll have to figure out another way for him to get his Easter hunt fix.... this is not it)

The Easter bunny visited our house, so a little bit more candy (and toys) entered our lives.....

It was down to the wire, but we did get in some egg dyeing (on Easter day).  We invited a friend over -- Isabella's "crush," Sean.  :)  

It was fun to have company over after church to share in an Easter meal together.

Here are some post-church pictures... as well as my *favorite* spring picture of Isabella by the pond.  

Look closely - her tongue is sticking out.  TYPICAL SASSY ISABELLA!! 

PS - Mercer made another amazing play this past week in baseball -- one I DID get to see from the playground. (He chased down a runner and tagged him out.  I texted Todd to make sure I saw this correctly.  Yes... but he wasn't listening to the coaches (Todd and a guy named Tony).  He was supposed to throw the ball.)  :) In the end, Todd said - OK - he made the out.... whew.... Mercer is FAST!!