Saturday, October 22, 2016

One week ago, we added a new member to our family!!

We adopted a puppy!  (Happy early birthday, Isabella~)

We have talked about this for close to 2 years because Isabella is so obsessed with animals.  We tried pet-sitting to try out a few different kinds of animals, but none of them were the right fit for us.  We decided after the last trial of house-sitting my school's bunny rabbit.... "nope - definitely NOT!  Let's just look into the dog thing!"

We filled out an application with a local pet shelter after seeing that they had a lot of adorable puppies available.  I've heard that it takes awhile to be approved, so we started the process about a month before Isabella's birthday.  But, the lady called back right away and set up an appointment.  We went to our appointment last Saturday morning, however, the the entire litter of puppies that we expressed interest were already adopted + the two foster puppies of interest weren't available until later in the day.  We met a couple of others - 1 puppy / 1 four-year old dog, but there wasn't a connection and Mercer was pretty nervous around the one that was older / already a grown medium-sized dog.

We left (45 minutes of driving each way) / came back disappointed and empty handed.  I went to an afternoon wedding, so Todd took the kids out later that day to meet with the foster pups -- they were a brother / sister pair.  "Def Leppard" and "April Love."  Apparently Isabella LOVED the male puppy from the start!  Todd sent this photo to me from the shelter... look at that smile!!

Several days passed and at least 50 different names were suggested before both kids finally agreed upon Mercer's last suggestion of "Hip Hop."  (Not mine or Todd's favorite name - but the kids were able to both say yes... so it's official.)  

Mercer is pretty comfortable with this puppy at first.  He was apprehensive to let him eat treats out of his hand (and has yet to pick up poo), but he plays with him and loves him.  Isabella is over the moon!  She picks him up and carries him all over the place.  When we took him to one of Mercer's baseball games, she offered to all of the other little kids there that they could hold him.  We knew that Isabella was crazy about dogs -- but it's really interesting to see HOW MANY kids (and adults) love dogs!  Hip Hop was pet by at least 30-40 kids and adults.   So many adults (and even the umpire after the game) commented on what a great temperament Hip Hop has.  WHEW!!  

He got a clean bill of health at our veterinarian's first visit.  The papers from the shelter says that he was brought there when he was about 6 weeks old.  He was underweight and flea-ridden.  The shelter and foster family got him to a healthy weight, provided flea treatments, vaccinations, neutering will happen (as a part of the adoption fee we've already paid), and crate-trained him.  He's just a great pup!  

His papers say that he's a border collie mix.  But... he really really looks like a rat terrier from what we've searched online.  So - maybe the border collie mom mated with a terrier of some sort??!!  May hit 40 lbs when grown?  His estimated birthday is July 27th.  His adoption date is October 15th.  Like we do with the kids -- we'll celebrate both.

(We have since learned that October is "national adopt a shelter dog month.")  Yep - we did it at the right time! 

He is crazy and active-- he likes to chew.  (Maybe he'll grow out of it?)  But - he is also really sweet.  He likes to cuddle.  He's pretty funny too when sitting on the couch with us. He perks up and/or growls when he sees dogs or cats on TV.  Seriously!    We were nervous about him sleeping through the night, but as far as we know - he did / he does.  (he sleeps in a crate in a room on the other side of the house from our bedroom, so we likely wouldn't hear him even if he was barking!)  He's smart and already has some signs that we're learning read.   

Todd has been coming home at lunch most days to check on him.  (It will be much easier once his office moves back to Marietta a mile or so away from our house!!)  Isabella misses Hip Hop every morning when we leave for school and talks about him every day on the way home.  He became an instant part of the family.  Todd and I are really happy that we did this instead of a different pet.

Mercer wants me to add that he's very cute. 

Yes -- he is!   

There will be more photos in the coming months......

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

School break trip to NC + back at home...

Todd and Mercer had Labor Day off.  Isabella and I had the whole week off from school / work.  After our long weekend spent as a family, Isabella and I and headed to North Carolina for a few days to visit grandma.  

We visited, of course, the NC Zoo.  School was in session there, so we had the run of the place.    We spent the majority of time in the kid's zone.  We kept going back to an interpreter with a salamander.   

Isabella really really wanted to hold it, but it was not allowed.  Instead, she played with a box of earth worms.  

She also "painted" a wall with water that was covered in chalk paint.  Mercer "water painted" that wall years ago too.  And - there was, of course, a visit to the playground.  

We did actually see some animals while at the zoo: the polar bear, puffins, sea lions and seals.  There's a cool photo editor app for my phone that I've been tinkering with.  It's been fun to try out (see below).  Cool effects~

We visited great-grandma and grandpa too.  Isabella certainly entertained them!  She played kick-ball with grandpa, mostly, but got grandma in on the game a little bit as well.  She also was playing some sort of dodgeball with great-grandpa while he was basically a sitting duck!  She kept throwing the ball to him.  He absolutely loved it.  She kissed grandpa again on the cheek and gave grandma giant hugs.  She does know how to pour it on!  

We visited Aunt Becky and Uncle Tony.  (Isabella was nipped by their dog, but Isabella still loves him and has no fear of any dogs, thankfully.  Whew!)   Uncle Mel and Uncle Eddie both came by for a visit and I got a chance to get away with my cousins Tracy & Mandy for dinner.  It was a jam-packed visit, but we were so grateful to visit everyone that we got a chance to see!

On the way back to Georgia, we visited a dear dear friend and her children. (and let Isabella run around like crazy to burn off some energy.) They've lived in Germany for the past 2 years.  One time, they visited us here in Georgia and Mercer was somewhere else / he did not get to interact with her boys.  This trip, Isabella and the boys hung out -- again sans Mercer.  We need to set something up where ALL of the boys can get together!!! 

We also got gas at the exit where the peach water tower landmark is located, so we had to snap a few photos while there too!  

Back at home, a group of volunteers placed approximately 3,000 flags at the nearby Kennesaw Mountain battlefield in honor of those who lost their lives in 9/11 terrorist attacks 15 years ago.

Isabella went with me.  It was hard to explain to a 3 year old about what happened... especially to answer the question she sincerely wanted to know: "why?"  

It was pretty somber and overwhelming to stand among all of those flags that represent a life that was taken.


Mercer is playing baseball pretty well so far this season.  He moved up to the next level this fall.  He's in his first "kid pitch" level now.  It's interesting because there are a lot of wild balls thrown towards home plate.  Because of it, there are a lot of steals now.  

His coaches (Todd and a guy named Tony) have been racking up runs by instructing the kids to steal bases during the wild pitches.  The game has changed quite a bit now.  Mercer typically plays 1st base, but he got a shot at pitcher one game -- this was his pitching debut!  Also after this game, he got the game ball.  It was a good day for him!!

Todd has a church addition that was dedicated recently.  We don't normally post about each of his projects, but this one was pretty special -- it was for the Greek church.  The basilica-style sanctuary that is in the background is not his addition, but it's pretty iconic.  This is the area where we go to the Greek festival each year.   His part was the renovation of the other building shown plus a modern addition made to it.  The church threw a nice luncheon after an interesting ritualistic dedication and they gave Todd and other members of the team gifts.  During Todd's presentation, Isabella ran up and jumped into his arms / made everyone laugh.   Todd's doing really well at his firm.  They are moving to Marietta soon and when they do, there will be some restructuring of the company -- which includes him.  Stay tuned!

The past couple of weekends, we have had some big events to go to.  Last Sunday, we went to the green building festival that we went to last year down at the Serenbe community.  

The children's activities, beer & wine, lemonade & tea, food trucks, pony rides, face painting, and other areas were all free.   I was able to really catch up with a lot of people from my past.  Mercer got his face painted again (this time like Pokemon character Pikachu).  Isabella hung out at an animal booth for a really long time before going to hang out at the pony ride area pretty much the rest of the day.  Last year, there were longer lines for the pony rides.  This year, there was not a line much of the time, so she got to ride over and over and over again.  She was soooooo happy!  She probably rode 15 - 20 times.  It is so wonderful to watch her with animals!  Todd and I were beyond thrilled to see Mercer ride one of the ponies too.  This may have been his first time?  He was content with his 1 ride.

Earlier that day at church, I was elected as a Deacon.  I will begin training soon for my tour of duty that starts in 2017 and will learn more about what this entails.  

Yesterday, we went to a different sort of festival at an in-town neighborhood that runs a soapbox derby on their street.  There were vendors and music - but the highlight was the cars that were running down the course.  My school entered 4 cars into the race.  I was directly involved with the building / reconstruction of 2 of the cars that our Upper School and High School students built.  Here are some photos from that event.  The past 3 weeks have been tiring, as I've been in the wood shop a lot, but it was all worth the hard work at the actual derby!!  This sardine car was not ours, but won for most clever design. It had to have been my favorite car there. 

Seriously - it was so much fun!!