The Mercado Family

Monday, September 19, 2016

Cul-de-sac Excitement

A little while ago, we had an exciting Sunday morning here on our cul-de-sac, well, more exciting than normal. We have some neighbors who, in the past, have had ambulances come for them, as well as cops. There are some rowdy teenagers that live with their grandpa, but things have quieted down for a while now. On this particular Sunday, I didn't think much of it when there were some cop cars in our cul-de-sac. I figured those kids were at something again, but Jason was more observant, as usual, and had me call the wife of our neighbor who was outside talking with the cops. 

It turns out that Bernie (the very same hero who helped us park our camper just right) saw a car come flying into our cul-de-sac and the driver run out super fast. He ended up running through a couple of yards across the street and then into the house on the corner. Bernie's wife, Cathy, thought the guy was chasing Pokemon, but Bernie didn't think so, so he called the cops. 

This is the story: the guy had been breaking into houses and cars with bricks. He had just broken into a car at Kohl's, down the street from us, parked his car in front of our house and ran and hid in the corner house whose owner he did masonry work for, which is why he had tons of bricks. When he ran into her house, he told her not to tell the cops he was there... duh! His car was parked right in front of our house and as we watched, the cops proceeded to take out about 15 bricks from his car. They knew it was the guy they had been looking for and they knew exactly where to find him, thanks to Bernie. 

I was so caught up in trying to get ready for church, while talking on the phone and trying to calm my kids down, that I didn't take any pictures of the exciting event. Though we suddenly realized as we were about to turn on the street where the church is, that the brick car was right in front of us, being towed away!
Here is the car being towed away.
We live in a fairly safe neighborhood and I'm not really afraid, it's just one of those things that happens here and there. I'm just glad we were safe and that this guy won't be coming back here again!!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Many Firsts

We've begun our school year with many firsts for our family. This is Victoria's first year in middle school. She loves it, so far. I am so happy that she does. When I went to jr. high, I was so nervous, I was literally sick every day. Today was her first day of orchestra. She will be playing the violin. Orchestra is zero period, which means it's before school at the high school and the kids take shuttle buses to their respective middle schools when it's over. We woke up at 5:45 this morning. Jason takes her to orchestra and then gets to go to work earlier and I still get my workout in and get to see her off in time when they leave at 6:35. It's a win-win situation. (Jason works out at night, so no one misses anything!)
I got to drop her off the first day, but she rode with her friend Bethany the rest of the week .

After school we went back to practice getting to her classes and locker.

 Karissa has a different teacher for 4th grade, Mr. Gold (she had Mr. Anderson for 2 years). She's still at Gallimore, but this is year she gets to go to cheerleading practice after school three days a week. That also means that during football season her piano lessons will be in the morning before school. Tomorrow morning will be her first day for that.
Bag of supplies for her class.

She still takes the bus home. Olivia is on her bus again!
This is Austin's first year in a split class. He's in a second/third split and has the same teacher he had for first grade last year, Mrs. Essenberg! He also gets to go to school a little earlier each day to eat breakfast there, sometimes it's his second breakfast, which is not unusual for him to want. In order for me to get to work on time, I need to start dropping off the kids a little earlier. This was one of the things that worried me about taking a job. The elementary schools start so late I was afraid I wouldn't have enough time to get to my students. It was a blessing to discover that Miller Elementary offers breakfast starting at 8:10 in the morning, until school starts at 8:50. We can leave the house at 8:20 and get him there, not too early, and still take Karissa to Gallimore, where they can't arrive before 8:30, but it's just on my way up to Red Bell. What a wonderful blessing and a relief!
Austin went right in to the cafeteria by himself the first day. I have no ideas what happened to the coloring on this picture. It looked fine when I took it...
Erik started his first day of preschool last week. He's in the Red Room. His teachers, Miss Jen and Miss Carly, have told me every day how good he is doing, another relief! The main reason I took my job was for him to be able to go to school every day in preparation for all-day kindergarten next year. They also serve lunch which he has yet to eat, but he will get there, I hope. At Red Bell, each class sits at the table together. The teachers offer the students each of the choices. For instance today, it was ham, turkey, cheese, rolls, sliced apples, carrots, and milk. They could have it fixed as a sandwich, or separate. They can just have the apples and carrots, or not. Before they eat, the class says grace together. It's a great way to get kids to learn table manners, they are offered a variety of foods, and get to eat with their peers and hopefully eat something because others are trying it. Erik just drinks the milk, so far.

This is Erik at Red Bell the last week of summer when I went to set up. Karissa and he were doing a puzzle with some other kids. 
My first day of officially teaching preschool was that same busy day! I am in the Yellow Room, My students are 2 and 3, but potty trained. They are so sweet! Miss Jamie is my assistant and is great! We had some sad kids last week here and there, but each day got better. It's easier than teaching at-home preschool with my own children and their friends because I have the facilities and supplies all at my finger tips! Planning my "lessons" is easy since they are so young. Contrary to Erik, my students have been eating most of the food options. Some even tried something after they saw Miss Jamie and I eating it. The two times my class crossed paths with Erik's class when we were coming in from the playground and they were going out, he stayed right in his line. He gave me a hug after he got to the playground and could get out of line.

I'm so happy with our busy situation! It's going to be a great year!!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Big Fun

I didn't blog about some of the activities we did this summer because I just didn't get around to it. Some of the highlights that we didn't blog about yet were, our service project for the refugees here (wrapping presents for Ramadan for them), going to the new aquarium, my date with each of the kids, getting our parking pad for our camper put in, roller skating, going to the movies for our free snack packs because we read lots of books, the science center, and playing with friends at various parks.

One of our park days before our friends showed up. It was a hot day!

Lego giraffe outside the aquarium.

Cool eel.


My date with Karissa was at Barnes and Noble. I went shopping and out for dessert with Victoria and played glo golf with Austin. Erik and I got a special slushie. I forgot to take pics with the others...

Our pictures at the roller rink didn't turn out. It's too dark there. We had a play date at the church gym , though and brought skates there too!

Ah, the parking pad. We have a little bird around our neighborhood that keeps calling the ordinance workers on us for our camper. Once, it was because the camper was in our driveway one extra day, once when the workers came to put in this reclaimed asphalt, and then when we got our camper back here they figure it was too close to the fence line. Well, it was and we knew it, but couldn't fix it without help from our nice neighbor Bernie to maneuver it just right. While the ordinance worker was at it, they said our old deck boards (we had just placed there two weeks earlier) had to go. Besides that annoyance, we are happy to have it in our yard!

In order for it to be the right distance from the fence, Bernie's fence, we had to park it hanging over the grass a little. 

Science center with friends.

IMAX movie at the science center. 

Lego center at the science center.

Free snacks at the movies for reading books!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Soccer and Swimming

Victoria had wanted to do soccer this year, but decided at the end of the dance season that she wasn't ready to give it up yet. I had signed her up for a soccer clinic months ago, so she went and enjoyed the week of soccer to learn more skills.

Victoria is in the black and white tank top.

The boys got to take swimming lessons. Our usual teacher who teaches at his grandma's house, ended up having conflicts this summer, so we couldn't have our usual private lessons for all the kids at a very good price. Instead, I went with the school district a little closer to Detroit, making it a little less expensive. I signed them up for the same group because it worked for their ages. I figured the girls would get that whole week of swimming in California that would help them in their swimming progress.

The boys enjoyed it and did really well. I was worried about how Erik would be with me watching. He seemed like he was going to do well for the first lesson during the first two minutes, but then he wouldn't get in the water, so another teacher brought us to the other end of the pool and she played water games with him on the steps to get him comfortable. He was ok, but after two lessons she told me to just wear my suit and get in with them. That's when it was really good! He got his own private lessons and I got to be in the water too!

Austin and Erik are at the end, you can't miss Erik's glowing white skin. This was during those first two minutes when I thought Erik was going to stay with the group. Unfortunately, this is the only pic I got because I was in the water the rest of the time!
Meanwhile, they had evaluated the other 6 kids, including Austin, and divided them into two groups. He did a great job and I'm so glad I signed them up for swimming there!


My friend has been trying to convince me of signing up my girls for the local cheer leading squad for years. Her boys have always played on the football team and now her girls are cheering. It's the Plymouth Canton Steelers for kids ages 7-14. I always dragged my feet about getting involved in it for two reasons. First, it's very busy during football season, then it's done the rest of the year, so not very consistent in terms of busyness for the entire school year. Also, back when I was younger, there were no cheerleaders at age 7. You tried out in middle school or high school after hopefully having some experience in dance or gymnastics to make you a better cheerleader. I figured if my girls wanted to do it later on, after having some experience in other areas, they could decided then. 

Karissa stopped taking dance lessons a couple years ago. She stopped taking gymnastics a couple of years ago as well. They just weren't her thing, neither was soccer or anything else she's tried. Her BFF Olivia was a Steelers cheerleader last year and loved it. She is also in TAG with Karissa, so when Karissa said she wanted to try it this year, I decided to sign her up. It will be a busy few months at the start of school, but Olivia survived, hopefully Karissa will too! 

The season started at the very first day of August. Practice has been M-Th from 5:30-7:30 pm. When school starts next week it goes down to T-Th, same time. There is a game just about every Saturday until November. Luckily, she absolutely loves it! It is helpful that we carpool with Olivia, but she really does enjoy it and has been catching on pretty well. Most of the girls on her squad (the freshmen), did it last year and some even a year or two before that on the jr. freshman squad. They work them hard, as all cheer leading coaches do, trust me, I know! They run laps, do burpees, star bursts, not to mention all the kicks and jumps they need to do. 

After the second week of practice they had a showcase for the parents. She did awesome! Besides seeing cheerleaders at football games the past 20 years, I haven't really watched cheer leading since I was one myself. I forgot how much I enjoyed it! I must have had a smile pasted on my face when I watched her because my mouth hurt from smiling afterwards!

(Sorry, I couldn't get the video to post directly to here. She's in the front on the left.She goes up into the shoulder sit on the left. Don't you love how the older girls just throw her up there? This was after only 7 practices! Not bad, huh?!)

 The first game was away last Saturday, It was hot and humid, but she said she had a lot of fun. I'm so excited she has found this new talent!
(Halftime cheer. She's in the back on the right/middle. She goes up into the stunt on the right side.)

Before the showcase

First game!

She's in the back on the left.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


I had to mourn Yoda for a while and wanted to wait until summer vacations were over before I thought about getting a new cat. Last week, I realized we ought to start looking into getting one soon so we could enjoy it before school starts. First place I checked was right in our ward through the incidentals email we have for such requests. It turned out that a newly baptized lady in our ward had adopted a kitten at the end of July. Her other cats didn't like the little guy and weren't being very nice to him:(. She said we could have him!! She had named him Arnold, but the kids wanted to rename him, of course. In tradition with the Star Wars theme, we named him Luke. Sometimes the kids say it's Luke Skywalker and sometimes they call him Lukey. It doesn't matter what they call him, though, they love him and so do Jason and I!

He's 11 weeks now and litter trained. He's very playful, so the kids feel like they've got a dog the way he chases after balls and plays with his toys with them. We're still working on table training and I'm sure we'll have some scratching training at some point, but so far he doesn't scratch his claws on the carpet or furniture. What he does do is climb up us as if we were trees, particularly me when I'm preparing food. He likes to climb up my leg and back and then perch himself onto my shoulder. It kind of hurts when he's climbing, but he's just so darn cute!! He loves canned food, but does well with dry too. He would desperately like to go outside when we're out there, so we'll have to work on training him to stay in the yard when he gets older. I brought him out yesterday for a few minutes in Yoda's harness, but it was way too big for him. I need to wait til he's a little older before I can bring him outside comfortably.

The best part about him is that the kids are no longer bored with that end-of-summer boredom. They're learning how to take care of him and enjoying playing with him. It's especially good when Erik wakes up while I'm still working out in the morning. He now has someone to play with while the others are still in bed! Also, he loves to cuddle up right next to Jason or I at night and sleeps very well at night. We keep our door shut for now at night with the litter box in our bathroom so he can be confined to a smaller space while we're all asleep. Karissa keeps her door open now, just in case Luke wants to go in when she's still asleep.

Victoria took this photo.


Shoulder perch.

Karissa took this photo, though I realized she's not in any of these, but she probably holds him more than Austin and Victoria do.

He's not really strangling him here, even though it looks like it. They were having some cuddle time while watching my workout. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Golden Campground

We booked a campsite 6 months ago so we could visit with Logan's family (remember the boy I used to watch?) at Lake Michigan. Hyuibin, his mom, moved with them to Grand Rapids, just 30 minutes from the beach. In order to get a camp site at any of the good campsites by the beach, you have to book about 6 months in advance. Of course, it turned out to be the worst weather for the beach the whole summer.

We drove right into the storm that finally hit our home in Canton. It rained the entire night on Friday, hard. There were some thunderstorms too. On Saturday it rained off and on in the morning and we got some drizzles while we were at the beach, but it wasn't too bad then. Just cloudy, windy, and not as hot as it had been, so I was kind of cold. The stormy weather made for more waves for this time of year, too. Yes, Lake Michigan has waves. I know in the winter they get pretty big, but I didn't expect them to be as big as they were in August. The kids thought it was the best ride ever!

We brought a good friend of Victoria's with us on the trip, Brynn. Her brother is Logan's older brother, Jaden's, best friend. Hyuibin and Brynn's mom Michelle are good friends too. When Logan wasn't at my house he was at Michelle's. Michelle couldn't take off work over the weekend, but ended going up to Hyuibin's Sunday night. When we left Sunday morning to make it back for church, we left Brynn there to be with her mom when she arrived. It made it a fun reunion to have a representative from the Riley family with us visiting with Logan's family.

We turned our full-size bed into a table, finally. It was too wet to eat outside for breakfast.

Cold water, but fun times!

Frisbee was hard in the wind.

Sand castles.

Austin liked riding the waves in.

So did Erik.

Burying Brynn.
Jason is waving from the water.
It's hard to see our group with the other people around.

Jaden and Hyuibin.

Cold kids. Austin is in the hoodie.

Back at the campsite. Karissa, Victoria, Jaden, Brynn, Erik, Logan, Austin.

Jason, AJ, Valerie, Jaden, Hyuibin

We made dutch oven pizza- so good!
We decided we need to make it a yearly tradition to go to Lake Michigan over the summer. The weather didn't ruin it for us!