The Mercado Family



Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Erik's Party

To be honest, I didn't want to throw Erik a birthday party this year. He didn't want one last year and I was half expecting him to not want one this year. When he told us he did, I almost just said no and wanted to give him another option of something fun to do with the family, but everyone else got so excited about the idea, even Jason, that I couldn't deprive him of something all my other kids have done every year since they were 4. His birthday, being the day before Thanksgiving this year, made it tricky, plus Christmas is in full force right after. I didn't want all my decorations up for his 4 and 5 year-old buddies to mess with, so we held off decorating until the weekend after Thanksgiving. Also, since I can't have his parties outside like I can with Austin's, I was afraid of having a bunch of boys running around my house.

 Since I was taking the girls to see the Nutcracker at the high school on Saturday, we had to make his party on Friday, December 2. My older kids promised to help with the party and they kept their promise! Victoria led the entire party and Austin and Karissa were great helpers! Austin started the party with his race car track, which they all loved! Victoria led them in pin-the-eye on the monster, which she made. Erik really wanted to play What Time is it Mr. Fox?, so we were able to pull that off in the living room and then they played with balloons. All the while, I made pancakes and bacon for dinner, since we had to hold the party during dinner time. Erik eats turkey bacon, once in awhile, and definitely loves pancakes and usually grapes, so the meal was a no-brainer. They all ate, then played with the cars some more before opening presents and having cake. They were all so well-behaved and it was the easiest party ever for me! It helped that they have all been to our house many times between child care swaps, play dates, and mom preschool last year. Only 5 out of the 6 friends we invited came, so there weren't too many to handle.
Car ramp


Austin showing how it's done.



What Time is it Mr. Fox?

Balloon fun!

Spencer, Nick, Braden, Victoria, Erik. Noah, Victor (Austin, Karissa. and Jason in the background)

I guess we'll have to hold his party before Thanksgiving next year since his birthday is on Thanksgiving in 2017.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Thanksgiving

The day before Thanksgiving, Erik's birthday, when we weren't doing birthday activities, my older three didn't have school, so they came to Red Bell with Erik and me. They came before on election day, so they knew what to expect. They had fun helping me and getting my classroom ready for the holidays after Thanksgiving.

The girls drawing with my students.

Austin teaching them some hockey for our indoor recess. Of course it had to rain on the day my kids came. they love the playground!

We went to the Detroit Parade Thanksgiving morning. We've thought about going for years, but finally did it. It was a good year to go. The weather has been unseasonably warm so far.
Darn, blurry!





We loved the floats and the music. We even got to visit with Santa on the sidelines! He talked with our kids for about 5 minutes or more. He had a very good Santa voice and laugh. He promised to wave to us from the float, which he did only a few minutes later!
Very friendly Santa!
Austin gave him a long list of things to bring.

My friend Marigold and her family are moving to the Dallas area next week, so we had them come over for the meal. It was great to visit with them and we will miss them very much! 
Kristen

Erik and Gabby

Austin, Paige, and Karissa.

Jason, Victoria, Jarrett, and Marigold.


The weekend was a great break for us all. Since I've been so busy lately I was feeling so productive and energetic! We started on making some Christmas gifts and the best thing about it was that Erik participated with us, something he didn't use to do!
Christmas crafts! Victoria joined us later.

We put up our tree early so Luke could go to town in it, like he is here. Hopefully when we put up the ornaments he can control himself, somewhat!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Erik is 5!

Fives years ago Erik was born on the day before Thanksgiving at 4:06 in the morning. This year, his birthday was the day before Thanksgiving, so I had many thoughts reverting back to that day that seems ways less than 5 years ago.

Erik is definitely the baby of the family. He wants what he wants and he usually gets it. Luckily, he is easily pleased. He just wants his few items of food that he eats, his few articles of clothes he wears, and some cars to play with. He likes to be home, go to bed on time, and play with his siblings. Not much has changed with him, and yet these past couple of months he has grown so much from his experiences going to Red Bell preschool.

He now likes wearing regular shoes, instead of crocs all the time, he will get dressed when I tell him to, and is usually the first person dressed for church on Sunday (he does like to always be the first for anything, really). He enjoys drawing and doing his name writing for homework, whereas before he always said he couldn't do it (even coloring) and wouldn't even try. He will eat dinner at the table with us (except for on Thanksgiving he didn't because we had company here and a lot of extra food), but he still doesn't eat what we eat. Being at Red Bell, he gets to sit with his class for lunch, but gets to choose whether or not he eats the lunch, or opt for a plain tortilla or bun, which is what he does. So, those are two new foods that he has tried and likes. He will usually eat a bun and apples or carrots for dinner. I know, big whoop, a white bun- just what he needs! Well, progress is progress and I'll take what I can get! His teachers say he always the first to help clean up, join in a song (which was a shock to me since he used to hate singing any music of any kind!), and is a very good student. It makes me so happy to know he's progressing!

He loves to watch Scooby Doo and Wild Kratts when he has time to fit it in after school and among our errands. He loves to be outside, play with cars, play games with me, read, and play Hot Cross Buns on the piano, which Austin taught him. Since he has three siblings who play the piano, he really has gotten interested in it himself. He likes to tell jokes and scare people by sneaking up and yelling "boo!' really loudly! He also likes to play with Luke, our kitty.

We had leftovers for his birthday dinner and he had a bun and carrots. White sprinkle cake and vanilla ice cream made him the happiest boy ever! He decided he wants a birthday party, so next weekend we'll throw him a small party. This will be his first one. He had never wanted one before. We gave him some Lincoln Logs for his birthday and a speedy push car swivel thing on wheels that his twin friends have and he loves! He wondered why we got him the Lincoln Logs because he didn't ask for them, so Austin is enjoying them. He said for Christmas he wants cars and circle chips (tortilla chips that are round and more salty than the big rectangle ones I get from Costco). His Christmas shopping should be easy!

We love our baby Erik!

Eating his birthday breakfast. Whole wheat pancakes with lots of  sugar on top!
Hoodie he opened before going to school.
Victoria went shopping for him especially.

Looking older!

New markers and paper and he can appreciate it now, thanks Gramms!

Happy boy!




Monday, November 21, 2016

End of the Season

The end of the cheer season came and went. Karissa got to go with Jason to a special banquet to celebrate. I had to drive Victoria from dance to Young Women's at the church and ended up attending a CPR class at Red Bell preschool in between. The boys got to play there while I attended the quick refresher class.

The Steeler's banquet is a fancy ordeal every year. They got a nice dinner and every football player and cheerleader got a trophy and an award. Karissa got the most improved cheerleader for her squad.


Looks like we're doing cheer leading again next year. Go Steelers!


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

80's Dance

Jason and I were very excited about an 80's dance that adult members of our ward were invited to attend along with another ward. It is what inspired our Halloween costumes. He decided he wanted to dress as Goose from Top Gun, one of his favorite movies. He started growing facial hair right away, then shaved so it would be a mustache by Halloween. He even gave himself a haircut like Goose after we watched the movie to remember what it looked like. He looked great, if I say so myself;) I was going to try to dress like Goose's wife, played by Meg Ryan, but her hair was too short and her outfits were always just strapless sundresses, which would have been hard to pull off, and not very exciting, in my opinion. So I opted to just go as an 80's fan.

Being on Veteran's Day, we went to Famous Dave's for Jason's free dinner before the dance. I got the best salad ever! It was just a basic, but delicious, salad that had a good amount of brisket on it, plus, I still got the cornbread muffin, so I got the best of both worlds! After eating dinner, without kids, we went on to the dance. I had hoped more people would have been there, but it was still super fun to dance to all of our favorite songs from back in the day and visit with friends. Jason did the worm, as he promised his friend if he would go, and I did the can opener, which drew some attention. We felt like high schoolers again! It was one of the best dates we have had in a long time!



My running friend Rosie and her husband Steve came too!

Monday, November 7, 2016

First Choir Concert

Victoria, to my delight, decided to join the middle school choir at the beginning of the year. I had joined when I went to jr. high and it was one of the best experiences I ever had in my jr. high and high school years. She's becoming quite the musician with her piano playing and violin she started this year as well. Since orchestra is zero period, she's able to do choir as an elective during school.

She had her first concert  the same night as Haunted Hallways at Miller, so it was a busy night! One of the songs her group sang was a song I sang at one of my first choir concerts 25 years ago, Cripple Creek.  Fun memories!

Here's the three songs her group sang. She's the white blur in the front slightly to the right. The stage lights don't work well with my recordings! I didn't get a chance to take a picture of her since she got a ride to the concert and it was a crazy rush trying to find her at the end. I'll do better next time!



Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Halloween Happenings

Our Halloween festivities started with Victoria's school dance/festival. It was on a Thursday, 11 days before Halloween, which I thought was a different day to do it, but that's the school tradition. The had many activities planned for the evening, which I don't even remember exactly what all of them were. The middle school didn't give any information out about the event to the parents. They talked it up at school a ton and wanted the students to be responsible for relating the information to the parents. It was a new thing to me, but I guess it teaches them responsibility. So, Victoria talked up the dance a ton and that's all she really did was dance (hey, she's my daughter, right?) She heard about the dance last year from her older friends and had been planning her costume since then.

This is her ballet costume from last year's recital. She knew it would make the perfect peacock costume!


 The very next week was Austin's school's Haunted Hallways. It was also on a Thursday, the same night as Victoria's first choir concert, which I will post about later. Basically, the teachers and staff decorate the hallways according to a theme with their costumes, depending on which wing they are in. The kids trick or treat around the classrooms. It's a new tradition at Miller and great fun! Last year was the first time we did it and learned to get there early, especially since we had to be at a choir concert. We got there a half hour early and were first in line! The hallways were so awesome, but I didn't take pictures of the decor because I was enjoying it so much I forgot! Austins's teacher and others in her wing dressed as the ninja turtles and their wing was so cool! Their costume ideas saved me since Austin had decided that morning he didn't want to wear his ninja turtle costume and was very upset about the idea. When he learned his teacher was going as a ninja turtle, he wore his costume happily and without complaint!
First in line!

Before the decorations.

Saturday was our Ward trunk or treat party. Victoria, being in Young Women now, was supposed to help in the younger children's fun house, so she wanted to go as Minnie Mouse to be all sweet with the kiddos. She literally came up with her costume in 30 minutes!
Erik was the first to join us for a family pic. By the time the others came, he didn't want to take another.


Always in character!
This one is too!

At Red Bell we don't wear costumes, but mine and Erik's Harvest Party were on Friday. They were great fun and went very well! Karissa had her party and parade at school on Halloween. On Halloween night she trick or treated at her friend Ella's house this year while the rest of us went here with Bethany, as usual, and Logan whose family came down for the occasion again. We even had time to stop by Bethany's church on the corner to play some carnival games and have some post-trick-or-treating snacks after getting a mother load of candy.
Outside Red Bell in his favorite picture place!


Luke was very interested in the pumpkins!

Pumpkin seeds were a hit this year!

Victoria, Erik, Austin, Logan, and Karissa before she left for Ella's.

Victoria, Logan, Erik, Austin, and Bethany right before trick or treating. 

Austin's pumpkin and Karissa's bunny pumpkin. Her light was burning out.
Victoria's cat pumpkin and Erik's pumpkin.

Fun times!