Tuesday, March 7, 2017

February happenings

The snow in the last post seems like a distant memory.  (Compare this pic with the similar one from January!!)  There has been some cold, but it's been really nice much of the month.  We've taken a lot of hikes.  Gone on picnics.  Wore shorts and flip flops.  Yes it was cold some, but it was also gorgeous much of February!

We celebrated Valentine's Day with the kids.  Todd took Isabella out for pizza and ice cream while Mercer and I went to a Mother-Son Powered (motorized) LEGO valentine event.  

It was pretty cool to finally see what he's been doing at his LEGO Robotics after school club.  But - also - going to this event helped me to understand some of the LEGO pieces that are needed to go with the LEGO Power Motor that he got over a year ago at Christmas.   

At the Mother-Son event, he made a drag-racer car as well as a cool spin-art device.    

On the actual Valentine's day, Todd made his usual crepes with mornay sauce for dinner and ice cream crepes for dessert.   mmmmm.....  

One thing that we did that was new this year, we posted "love notes" on the kids' bedroom doors every day starting February 1st.  The idea is that it would be covered by the time Valentine's Day rolled around.  It did cover the doors and the kids enjoyed reading them -- Isabella over and over again!  One day -- Mercer made love notes for our door and Isabella's door too!!!  He is soooo sweet.  

But, Mercer is getting older.  He asked if we could take the hearts down before the boys came over for his birthday party the next week.  (sniff, sniff..... yes of course we could.  we did.)  

Yep - we had boys over to the house.  LOTS of them.  In all fairness - we thought that half of them wouldn't show up because Mercer's birthday falls during the winter break at school.  
The first weekend of the break (the weekend before he actually turned 9) we had 8 boys come over for a Pokemon party.  The first hour was absolute insanity as the boys were arriving, playing together, running around the house.  Upstairs, downstairs, through the halls, living room, and kitchen.  

One kid got hit with a toy and cried, then a few minutes later, someone knocked something glass over upstairs (thankfully did not break).... Todd and I were SCARED.  Seriously!  Once the Poke Ball pizzas finished cooking, we were able to corral them all for a short while, then move on to the cupcakes (this was a "pull-apart" Pokemon cake -- cupcakes all smooshed together with a thick layer of icing on top / decorated like a regular cake.  

Finally, we were able to start the planned activities and things went more smoothly.  We had the kids decorate their own Poke Balls (ping pong balls) and make catapults.  Next, we went outdoors to play a relay game.  It was at night so we set up glow-sticks in the driveway to look like a runway, gave each team a big spoon, then they were to run down the driveway, grab a plastic egg out of the bowl with spoon and run it back.  They got to keep the little Pokemon figures that were inside the eggs. At this point, one of the boys left and told his mom "the party was like an action movie the whole time!"  I guess -- from a kid's standpoint -- that a compliment??

We came back in and played pin-the-tail-on Pikachu.  And, thankfully, parents were picking their kids up at this point!  Each time another boy left, Todd and I breathed a little sigh of relief that this kid made it unscathed!  The boys were busy looking through their loot bags looking through the Pokemon cards or little figures and we put on a Pokemon movie.  We thought that - with the few boys that were left - things were winding down and they'd go to sleep.  At midnight, we had to "force" them to brush their teeth, go upstairs, set up sleeping bags, etc.  We tried unsuccessfully to get them to go to bed lots of times.  It took a "sit in" at 1:30 AM and the threat to call parents in the middle of the night before the boys would finally crash.  I sat up in Mercer's room for about 15 minutes.  It only took 8 - 10 minutes (once all of the boys stopped moving and talking) to fall fast asleep!  
Todd said he heard some talking upstairs at 4:30 am.  They officially woke around 7 am +/- and were at it again!   Oh my -- the energy!  Once we fed them, they ran around outside spraying each other with silly string and playing on the playset in the back yard.  There were 3 boys that stayed over... and again... a sigh of relief each time another parent picked up their boy.  

"We survived" was the motto that Todd and I had for this party.  It was exhausting, but Mercer had a good time.  Next year.... we will be GOING to a bowling or bouncy-house place for sure!  whew~
 Sunday, we took the kids to the circus.  We're not normally into it, but it's Ringling Brother's last year.  After almost 150 years of putting on "the Greatest Show on Earth," it is ending.  We decided that we should take the kids to see the circus at least once in their lives!   

The first half of the show, there were only camels -- the majority of the performance was human stunts and Cirque-du-Soliel style acrobatics.  The second half of the show included a tiger show with an INSANE man in the cage with 13 large cats.  The kids were fascinated by that, the human cannon ball, and the high-wire acts.  

The show ended with a cute poodle show and Isabella was in heaven!  It was fun watching their faces as they were taking it all in.  We're glad they got to see a circus before the circus is no more.

The next few days were more low-key.  We ran errands, went to doctors / dentist appointments, went to a few Winter Break activities (board games, robotics, and LEGOs) at the library, go thrifting, planted flowers, and cleaned. 

On Mercer's actual birthday, we went for a picnic and a hike, took him out for pizza, then took him to the LEGO batman movie.  He had another good day.

Our original plan for winter break was to go to North Carolina for a visit with mom, grandma, and grandpa. But, mom shattered her shoulder before the weekend!!  She was on a treadmill at the gym and fell.  I wanted to go help somehow, but with the kids - my being there wouldn't be much help.  She asked us to stay here in Georgia and not come to N.C.  It was tough "not" doing something / I was torn.  I had even made plans with one of mom's friends from Georgia, Farrar, to come up for a quick trip over the weekend when Todd could watch the kids... but... we nixed that trip last minute when talking to her late Friday  We found out that she had people lined up to help her out after she left the hospital.  That was the point where Farrar and I felt much much better about mom being discharged / going home.  She'll be working on recovery in the coming months.  She sounds good a week after surgery.  We're praying for a speedy recovery!! 

Instead of heading to North Carolina, we popped over to Birmingham, Alabama for a quick visit.  

We checked out a really cool Science Center. It was chaotic at first because of all of the school groups.  Thankfully, we found - on the 2nd floor - an area for preschoolers (and their siblings).  We were in that area for several hours playing with water, pneumatics, and sound.  By the time we went to the main level, the school groups had left and we had the opportunity to visit / play with pretty much anything there in the museum.  

Neither kid liked the bed of nails.  Isabella really liked this plastic "pin" wall, however.  She kept putting her face into it.  (eww)  There was some good stuff there and we would definitely love to go back.  We ate dinner at a trendy spot in a historic building across the street. 

We met an old neighbor there as well as my cousin who recently bought a house in BIrmingham. We thought the timing would be different and we'd get to spend time with each independently, but one was running late /the other early so we all hung out together.  It turned out well.  

Mercer loved everything about the day.  On our way home, he kept saying that he liked Alabama and wanted to live the there.  ha~  

At the very end of our winter break, Mercer and I spent some time doing science experiments on static electricity>  There is an optional award for science in his Cub Scout program , but to also enter into his school's science fair.  He did not win, but he said he had a fun time with me doing the experiments.  I had a good time with him as well & glad to spend this one-on-one time with him.  

Our break did not turn out as we thought that it would, but we did some good things and created some nice memories together~