Sunday, April 30, 2017

March and April

It has been a painfully long time since posting on the blog. For some reason it has been harder to get the words down and the photos organized than normal!!!  I've sat down at least 10 - 12 times to try to get this thing published!  

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, outdoorThe last blog posted on March 7th - which happened to be mine and Todd's 19th anniversary.   We went to a new (to Atlanta) restaurant. This restaurant's original location is in Asheville and Todd used to go when he went up there for the mixed-use project he worked on (approximately every other week).  Other than dinner, the anniversary was low-key.  We'll have to do something more major next year -- which will be our 20th anniversary!

There was about 1 week between Mercer's 

basketball and when baseball practices started. The team is doing just OK.  (there are some losses, but there are some wins and ties mixed in as well).   Of most importance, Mercer is doing well personally.  He's trying hard and he's growing in the sport.  He's been pitching again and Todd has even snuck in a private batting and a private pitching lesson where he picked up some pointers to help him do even better.  

Image may contain: 1 person, sky, outdoor and nature

During a recent game, he pitched a shut-out -- a three inning no hitter.  The first inning had some walks that were given up to the other team, but no runs were scored.  The rest of the innings he pitched and he struck out all of the players which was really cool to watch.  The score:  8 - 0.

He certainly earned the game ball on this one!  Here are some of his happy game ball pics.

Isabella's ballet continues every weekend.  They're working towards performing in a recital in several months... they just showed us picture of the costumes.... it's going to be pretty cute!

Todd and I snuck in a date night this month.  A consultant Todd works with gave us tickets to a Hawk's basketball game.  Normally, this wouldn't have made the blog, but, it was quite a treat!!  The seats were at floor level (we were just feet away from the players' bench).  But - as a part of this club-level seating came access to something called Hardwood Club.  Basically, it's an open buffet of food, drinks, treats + typical game-time snacks such as pretzels and popcorn.  

This was our first Hawk's game.  We are ruined!  

We'll never be able to go to another game in style like this ever again!!    :) 

Isabella was in her first play!  At school, their project was to study the solar system.   She played the part of Venus.  She - with confidence - said her lines:  "I am Venus. I have lots of volcanoes. BOOM!  My air is filled with poisonous gas.  It smells like rotten eggs.  Yuck!"

Mercer's Spring Break and mine / Isabella's Spring Break aligned. 

We finally made it up to North Carolina to visit mom, grandma and grandpa.  Mom's shoulder recovery seems to be going quite well.  She was doing a lot more than I thought she should be.  Every now and then it was a little over-extended or moved a certain way and it was painful, but it honestly did not seem to slow her down at all.  Physical Therapy started after we left -- which will help her to see even more progress.  woo hoo! 

We visited great-grandma and great-grandpa each day while there. 

Whew - Mercer and Isabella do "go at it" like brother and sister... unfortunately even in front of their great-grandparents.  

There was not a lot of outside time this trip in NC -- which the kids need.  Unfortunately, it rained quite a bit.  

There was a small clearing one day, so I set up an Easter egg hunt for the kids while great-grandma and great-grandpa got to watch. 

Isabella was pretty interested in the cows.  

Every day, she wanted to talk to them.  And - they always ran from her.  Here's a fun series of photos with her (and eventually Mercer) checking them out.

It is kind of funny to see the power of a 4 year old and a handful of grass.... she CAN move the masses.

My cousin Josh happened to be in town from Colorado while we were visiting North Carolina.  (Here are two photos -- one is from over 9 years ago when we went to Colorado Springs to pick Mercer up. Josh was the first family member who got to meet Mercer.  

The photo was sort of recreated... hmmmm... there's been a little bit of a change!)

While in NC, Mercer and I also worked on his science requirements for Cub Scouts.  We are tackling most of the science electives that are available -- and pursuing an optional badge.  There will be more details to follow once the badge is actually earned.  In the meantime, I'm having a good time doing projects and stuff with him (and we're both learning a lot)!

This trip, we were also able to spend a bit of time with my friend Cindy, her husband John, and their kids Daniel and Trevor.  We haven't spent any real time with them since they've returned from Germany last year.  We met them in downtown Greenville -- to the public area built up around a river that runs through the city.  Todd and I had taken Mercer to this spot about 6 years ago.

Obviously, Isabella wasn't with us then, but she got to experience it this time.  She got pretty wet!  Not ideal on a road trip, but we had spare clothes packed / she had a great time.  

We were supposed to go camping the first weekend of spring break, but there was some severe weather that we had to avoid.  
The weekend we were originally planning to camp, there were tornadoes, flooding and hail.  No thank you! 

Thankfully, we went to NC the first part of the week THEN camping towards the end of the week instead.  

We stayed at a place called Goose Pond in northern Alabama. There were some geese -- not too many, but perhaps there are a lot in this particular area at different times of year?  

(Geese fly all night, by the way.  ALL NIGHT.)

It was pretty chilly at night (one night was in the 30s and the next was - thankfully in the 40s) but it was absolutely beautiful during the day.  

We found the perfect spot for Mercer to set up his new hammock.  He spent a lot of time "hiding out" in it.  

In these photos, it looks remote, however, there was a bath house not too far of a walk away from our site.  Also - we had "neighbors" who unfortunately stayed up very late each night.  

Between the partying neighbors, making sure Isabella was covered (she kept slipping out of the sleeping bag in the 30+/40 degree nights) AND the geese, Todd and I did not get too much sleep.  

We were SOOOOO tired by the end of the trip!

One of the reasons we went camping: to meet several of Mercer's Cub Scout requirements.  

He keeps missing the camping trips because of baseball, but at the level he's at in Scouting, he is required to camp / set up a tent / plan the trip and meals / cook... all with the help of an adult at this point.

Eventually, the boys are supposed to be self-sufficient on their own and these tasks are preparing them for this.  At some point - in Boy Scouts, I believe - we will not be going camping with them at all!

As a part of the Scouting special elective science badge, we went to visit the Space Center in Huntsville.  He had to ask specific questions of a scientist and watch the Imax movie there then research various things about space science.  

We lucked out.  We met a man who was an electrical engineer for IBM;  he was a part of a team that made the communications ring for the Saturn V rocket.  

He was so humble and talked about the teamwork that was required of the thousands of people who worked on fabricating this giant rocket together.  

He had no idea at the time how his little tiny part was contributing to the NASA mission, but in the end, he was very proud.  He docents at the Space Center in his retirement.

At right is a photo of he and his colleague working on the communications ring (in his "youth").  

Here is a link to NASA's web page on the Saturn V:  

The Saturn V is longer than a football field and is hanging up inside the building!!

There are so many cool things at the Space Center that the kids just weren't that into. 

Definitely - when they're older - we need to go back!

The weekend after Spring Break ended was Easter.  We tried to incorporate as many Lenten activities as we could and tried to keep the focus on why to celebrate Easter (instead of candy and rabbits!)  I found these Resurrection Eggs as a way to tie in eggs to the rebirth..... but there was a fair amount of commercialized stuff as well, of course.  

We went to a neighborhood egg hunt.  Mercer is getting to be a bit big for it, but he still had fun.


Isabella enjoyed the after-party because the host has chickens at their house!   

(And a trampoline... which means trampoline hair!)  

After going to Easter Sunday church service, we went for a picnic then on a hike at Kennesaw Mountain.  It was a beautiful day.  We met up with a friend and played in the water.  Even Hip-Hop got in on the action!

 They boys are climbing on rocks in the back.... if you look hard!

Isabella's Adoption Day was on April 17th.  It was a week-day, so we kept things low-key, but we went out to dinner to celebrate her!  

She is active. Inquisitive.  Strong.  Strong-willed.  Confident.  Charming.  Out-going.  Loves to dance.  Loves animals of ALL kinds.  Fearless.  Spunky.  Sweet.

She is absolutely exhausting and keeping us on our toes, but we are immensely grateful that she is in our lives!!

And in typical Isabella fashion:  she tells me on the drive into school one day:  "mommy, I know where poopy comes from.  There's a hole in my bottom.  I stuck my finger in it last night."

ummmm.... ewwwww!!!!
(nice parting thoughts, huh?!)

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