The Mercado Family

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!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Time Away

I was asked, for the third year in a row, to go to Young Woman's Camp (aka Girl's Camp) this summer. It's for ages 12-18, so Victoria barely missed it herself, but since she babysits now, I figured it would be a good chance to go to make it easier for the people helping with my kids while I was away for 3 1/2 days. The first two days some friends picked them up around 10, wore them out with whatever fun activities they involved them in with their own kids, and brought them home around 3. My friend, Gayla, whose kids are all grown up now, hung out with them at home afterwards while they took full advantage of their screen time. I'm sure they would have been fine without Gayla coming over, but they love her and she loves them, so I know they enjoyed their time with her until Jason got home from work. It turns out, my mom and Jim were able to leave their mission a few days earlier than originally planned and managed the drive from Philadelphia in one long day, so they got to be with the kids the other day and a half before I returned. It ended up working perfectly since Austin came down with a fever Wednesday night and was able to rest at home with Grandma and Grandpa the next day. He started feeling better just in time for Friday when they rode their bikes to the movie theater and watched the dollar movie as the beginning of celebrating Grandpa Jim's birthday.

In the meantime, I got to be a counselor for the first year girls at camp. They were all just barely older than Victoria, a couple of them her friends. The theme was "The Anchor of my Soul". All the workshops and hymns had to do with water and how Jesus Christ is our hope and anchor. I really enjoyed the messages, being with the young teenagers, and the food prepared for me and not having to convince anyone to eat! I was in charge of certifying the girls in cooking over a campfire and hiking. Each age group had a "mascot" and a color related to the ocean. We were the dolphins and our color was turquoise. I was impressed by how the girls worked hard to earn their certifications and to clean up their messes. They didn't complain on the 3 mile hike and all got along, for the most part.

 I took very good notes for Victoria's first experience at the campsite next summer. Such as, send her with bedding, not a sleeping bag (too hot!) Also, a box fan would be nice. We were in cabins and they got pretty warm at night. Bug spray (obviously) and allergy medicine will make her life much easier! I hope I get to go again next year!

Fourteen girls in my group from the Stake and the three in the back are the Youth Leaders. There were two other Adult Leaders besides me.

After we got our nice white anchor shirts, they did a color "run" and "tie-dyed" the shirts. It was more like a run-ten-feet-into-a-bunch-of-color-dust, rather than an actual run, so I opted to take pictures and keep my shirt white.

Learning to build a fire.

It's burning!

I showed them how to make orange cinnamon rolls. Put a cinnamon roll in a hollowed out orange and wrap it in foil and put it in the fire. Delish!

The hike

Our evening devotional the first night.

The last night we had a "Desserted Island" party. Lots of desserts were served. This was coconut sorbet in a coconut shell- to die for!

Grandpa's birthday celebration with pie after I returned. 

Grandpa's favorite thing: work on projects! He helped redo our deck.

He also made a ramp for the boys to shoot their cars down.
 I got to sleep in my bed one night, then we had to take advantage of Grandma and Grandpa being here again and go celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. It was planned very last minute, allowing time to be dedicated to the deck on Saturday. We enjoyed a nice dinner at Carrabba's and stayed at the Marriott to enjoy swimming and the hot tub there. The next day was our anniversary and Sunday, so we enjoyed the breakfast at the hotel and then came back, but it was nice to relax together alone!
Pool selfie!
Marriott breakfast

Erik doesn't like these group shots, remember?

But he does like these more personal ones... (our friend Bethany is pictured here)

He even let Bethany paint his toes!

And fingers...
 I finally got Grandpa away from the work at our house and took everyone to Belle Isle, while Jason went back to work.

Detroit in the distance.

The Detroit river isn't too bad!
 I enjoyed my time away, but it's good to be back with my family again. I love them!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Staying Cool

I tried to make last week less busy for us all so the girls could recooperate from their California trip and adjust to the time here. I did a pretty good job, but then we got some pool invitations we just couldn't pass up! So we ended up swimming many hours a couple of days last week which wore us all out! The good thing was that the weather was pretty hot and humid, so the pool time was much appreciated!

At our neighbor Bethany's house.
At the Vos pool (from our ward).
Teddy, Austin, Noah, Karissa, Erik

Erik finally got comfortable swimming with his life jacket on without me!
 After two days of swimming, Thursday was a bit of a let-down, but I finally convinced them all to come to the park for playgroup, even though it was crazy hot. It turned out that some of their really good friends were there, even the bigger kids. Before we left to go home, Erik found this little guy trapped in the garbage can. After we all admired it's cuteness, we tipped the can over and set it free.
Little Racoon

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

California Dreamin' Pics

 I learned how to put those California pictures on my blog!!
Grandpa's pool!

Beach day!
Slumber Party!

Karissa wanted Francesca to read to her every night!

Raiding the fridge

Little mermaid

Waffles for breakfast!

Crazy car girls

Really crazy car girls!

Last day!

They wore Grandpa out!