Thankfully he has a break from baseball 'til the spring. He's got basketball over the winter and it's much less intense. Hopefully his arm will heal up.
Our kiddos are active and they need the winter-time activities. This is why it stinks that Isabella's gymnastics is taking a 2 month break! We drive by the building almost every day and she keeps asking me when we get to go back. In its absence, we know that it is something that she really enjoys!
The annual neighborhood artist market took place. This year, I was asked to run a children's booth for rock painting. It was a bit chilly this year - I don't know that the vendors got the turn-out that they wanted, but it's always a fun time.
Mercer was running around with some of the other boys from the neighborhood. Isabella put on a show during one of the sets that a local band was playing. Todd was trying to keep up with both the kids + Hip Hop!
Isabella turned 5 earlier this month. Hard to believe she’s been with us for only 5 years…. It feels like she has always been a part of our family! She is a tall drink of water…. full of personality.
And.... she's getting taller. Slow and steady compared to Mercer's measurements (on the left hand side of the cased opening). Man - the kids LOVE getting their annual mark on the wall.
She adds SO much joy to our lives! It is so hard to put into words how she lights up a room when she walks in and owns it!! (or how she sometimes runs in like a bull in a china shop and owns it too!) She is so strong-willed and knows what she wants. She is super smart. She is sweet and loving. She also knows how to “turn on the charm” and may be a good actress one day…. She can turn on those puppy dog eyes when she needs to. Hilarious how a tiny little person has so much charm and how to read different situations. We are exhausted, but so very happy and blessed to be her parents. Whew!
We had a little party at her school with classmates with the reading of a Dr. Seuss book, muffins, juice and goldfish the morning of her actual birthday. That night, she wanted mac and cheese for dinner (she loves it, but we never make it at home)…. so we went out to dinner at a southern restaurant.
The day before, we had a Spiderman birthday party for her at home. Spiderman was her request, of course! We invited a few superhero girls from our neighborhood over (plus a friend for Mercer to hang out with) for pizza, cake, and the making of some superhero accessories: cape, masks, and slime.
The slime was a huge hit – even with the older boys! It rained, so we weren’t able to do the Spider-Man silly string fight outside or the punching bag balloon training outside either. But - she had a good time and that's what matters.
The "big" thing we did to celebrate was going to Cirque du Soliel. Todd and I love Cirque, but we would normally have gotten a baby-sitter to go to the show. Well, as a special treat, we took the kids and they were both so fascinated with it. We've seen a bunch of shows -- and this one had to be way up there as one of the top ones! Luzia had acrobatics, of course, but these amazing animal puppets and water. There was a cool effect with making images in water at one point.
It's great showing them new things and seeing the wonder in their eyes. We were harassed by the "clown" who comes around in the beginning and messed with Todd's popcorn. (Mercer did not like the contortionist, but other than that - he had a blast. Isabella loved ALL of it.)
Don't know what is going on with my camera... but loved this (blurry) image. Todd got a guitar for his birthday / father's day earlier this year. One song he was practicing... Happy Birthday To You. He plucked the tune while we sang to Isabella (who also got a little guitar for her birthday!) It was so sweet!
My school has two grandparent's day events each year. Isabella got to play "mama bear" in acting out the Three Little Bears skit in her class. The (new) teacher also had each student read a simple Dick and Jane book in front of the grandparents. This new teacher is pretty awesome. Isabella started to turn around her behavior before Mrs. Helen arrived, but she is ON IT and behavior across the entire classroom has improved dramatically.
The kids and I had the whole week off for Thanksgiving, so we went to Florida for a few days. It was a lot of driving and we didn't have anything planned, but it was good to get down there.
Mercer hasn't seen "Florida" grandma and grandpa in a year!! We hung out at their place, went to a Thanksgiving dinner at their church, caught lizards, played games and Charlie even showed the kids how to shoot a BB gun! We visited Aunt Melissa's new farm too. She's going to grow a lot of moringa trees as those she's been growing in her yard are not keeping up with the demand she has for this medicinal plant.
(Mercer also "helped" grandpa change a headlight bulb in his car. crazy juxtaposition of grandpa's tee shirt, huh?!)
One of the highlights during our drive-time... we finally made it to the Mercer University campus bookstore while it was open and got some Mercer-branded swag! I have to admit - it was pretty cool to see Mercer's name EVERYWHERE!
We spent the actual day of Thanksgiving with Karla, Steve, Susan and her family. Even though we don't see them often (it may have been several years since they've moved to Arkansas and we've seen Susan and the kids). Mercer and Susan's youngest, Saber, played together really well. (They are about 9 months apart in age -- Saber having just turned 9.)
We just love them and their family so much! We always feel a part of their family (after all - they were my 2nd family growing up!) We ate, watched movies, watched football and the kids got to use up the silly string from Isabella's birthday party.
Mostly, it was just wonderful talking and catching up with Susan. We will hopefully make it to Arkansas one day....
The day after Thanksgiving, we did NOT shop. Isabella and I went to Martina's little girl tea party again this year. Isabella was all over the place, but Martina absolutely loved her fiery spirit and getting to know Isabella a bit better. Isabella was ga-ga for the little puppy dogs that live there chasing them and trying to pick them up! Poor dogs had to hide from Isabella most of tea party!
One thing to note is the giant doll-house in the background. I never paid attention to it 'til that week... Isabella got a smaller doll-house that week' it is really really nice one.
We did some other stuff at the very end of November, but it's Christmas related so it will go on the next post. I will end this post with a couple of cute things that Isabella says that - although she speaks very clearly and very well for her age - these little things still allow me to hold onto that little toddler / baby-talk that is just so darn cute: "Swish wiper" for windshield wiper and "snuzzle"
Snuzzle is what we do pretty much every time I put her to bed... we snuggle (and I fall asleep with her. It's not a great habit, but it's soooo sweet and I enjoy it. I know it won't last forever as our little one is getting so big and independent.