The Mercado Family

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Once There Was a Snowman

We've had the craziest weather this January and February! It's either unusually warm and rainy (warm: in the 40s or 50s) or pretty cold, with wind chills below 15, meaning no one gets to go outside at school. The cold days aren't near as cold as we've had previous winters, but they feel really cold when it's 45 one day and then 20 the next with those wind chills. We haven't had much snow, but we finally got a good snow storm a couple weeks ago that gave us some good packing snow a few days later.

In all my 10 years living here with kids, I have to say that I've never made a "real" snowman before. Yes, many times we have gone out pushed a bunch of snow together and tried really hard to make a tall snowman, but they end up being more like snow hills with hats, scarves, and faces. Don't get me wrong, we have loved them and named them, but we just never had one that we rolled. Actually, a few years ago Victoria did with Bethany, but I wasn't outside and I missed it! I always blame the fact that I grew up in California and never learned the art of building a snowman. Everyone tells me you have to have to right packing snow, which happens on a slightly warmer day, I have learned. I think I've always gone outside the wrong days. Finally, a couple weeks ago, we went outside after school and rolled the snow. It worked! It rolled and rolled and we became rolling fools! We made the biggest snowman ever! Victoria made the bottom, Austin made the middle, and I made the head. It took Victoria and I to pick up the middle, it was so heavy. Karissa helped with forming and sculpting it just right at the end. It was great!
We named him Sherlock. 

He was even taller than me!

 Now, it has melted.
All gone...

At least it was sunny and nice on Valentine's day! It's a different story today- icy and cold. 

Jason spoiled me with these beautiful roses and my favorite- chocolate covered strawberries! He gave the girls their own bouquets as well. The boys got balloons and they all got their favorite candy. I made cinnamon rolls for breakfast and we had a delicious cod, shrimp, and tomato Italian dish. It was a pretty busy evening, though, so we were happy to eat together and for the cards and gifts we exchanged. Some of my kids were very generous and kind with their gift giving. No money spent, but favorite toys were exchanged, it was very sweet. I have been somewhat moody this week, but we have had some good moments in between my nagging spells.
That was our picture a couple of years ago. This was our 18th Valentine's Day together. It's right when we started dating 18 years ago.

The girls got fun socks from me, but I know the flowers were their favorite!
The boys got a some lego guys from me, but they sure loved the balloons!
February is halfway over, hooray!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Story of My Ear

About 30 years ago was the first time my ear drum ruptured. I remember it very well- where I was sitting and what I was wearing, since the pain was so intense. I would say it's definitely more painful than childbirth or running a marathon. Think of a bad ear infection and multiply it a few times. It draws you to tears!

It was fixed a couple of times, but I have the hole still, Each time it ruptured it was just about as painful as the first. The doctor used to say I couldn't get water in it ever or I would lose all hearing in that ear. I've lost some hearing. I have gotten water in it here and there, but I'm usually pretty careful. Since we have moved here to Michigan, some doctors have said that a drop of water is bigger than the hole, so it wouldn't make a difference. Some doctors have said that the hole "wants" to be there because it keeps coming back. Maybe it's helping with drainage (think of a tube in some one's ear). I've gotten lazy while here and not seen the specialist to get it cleaned out every time. Sometimes the regular doctor has done it, which was always a mistake. The specialist uses a vacuum, which hurts and always made me cry when I was a kid, I dreaded it. However, when it's done at the regular doctor's office, they shoot water in it, which makes it pop and fizzle. It's like acid being shot into my ear. I think it hurts even more than the vacuum. Plus, it's water, so every time I go there (I've only done it twice and I forgot about how bad it was when I returned the second time) it takes my ear a few days to recover, or more, from getting cleaned out. I basically get an ear infection just from getting my ear cleaned out.

Before Erik was born, so over 5 years ago, I looked into another ear plug. (The putty plugs do nothing!) I have always wanted to do a triathlon, but I need a better plug. I did a duathlon years ago and it was great (run, bike, run), but I want to try something different, just to challenge myself. When I looked into the ear plug years ago, I found out that they make them for your ear specifically. It's made of silicone. they cost $100. I had decided when I would have to time to get to a pool, not an easy thing around here at the most convenient times for me, and when my kids were old enough for me to get away for that training, then I would get the ear plug and do it.

Last Tuesday I got my plug fitted so I can do my first sprint triathlon this summer! It should be here in another week. I just hope it's worth it. The fitting was awful! My ear is still recovering, 6 days later, though it's almost back to normal (normal for me). She pushed a bunch of foam in my ear and then filled it with putty. It went in farther than the plug will so it could get the full measurement of my ear canal. She left it in there for 3 minutes. It hurt the whole time. I think it surprised her that it hurt me so much. She said it was probably because of the pressure. My ear killed that night, was draining all sorts of stuff onto my pillow (I know, gross!), and clogged right up, like it always does when I have an infection. It is still ringing slightly and slightly clogged, but luckily the ringing has abated a ton.

I'm excited for my ear plug and can't wait to start swimming! I hope the ear plug works well enough for me to just swim some laps without getting water in it.

 I can't complain too much about my ear since this has been my only big health issue I've had to struggle with. My doctor says I'm the "healthiest person he's ever met", so I should be grateful for that, and I am!

Monday, January 30, 2017


There was an assembly in November, I believe, at Austin's school about cub scouts. He got all excited about scouts and wanted us to attend the informational meeting held in the evening of a very busy night. I tried to convince him that we shouldn't worry or bother with it since he will become a Scout through the church in June when he turns 8. He wasn't satisfied with that. We couldn't attend the meeting, but I contacted the scout master and found out the wolf den meets once a month and the whole pack meets once a month, with a few exceptions. We decided since he doesn't have a ton going on in his schedule, we'd let him join until he goes with the church group. Since his birthday is right before summer, he won't be attending many meetings right away, so he'll have a chance to get some experience before then.

He's only been to a few meetings, by the time we figured out what we were doing and got all the information we needed. So far, he loves it! Erik likes attending with us too, the times he has gone. I didn't know much about Scouts beforehand. My brother is almost 5 years younger than me and I have never been called as a scout leader before, so it's all new to me! I'm excited for my future scout!!

The last scout meeting they had a special guest speak to them.

He was a pilot in the Air Force for 35 years! The boys got planes as gifts from him, which you can see them playing with in the first picture.

He finally got all his uniform the other day, after the last meeting.

Here's a goofy/cute picture of him. He loves hot sauce on pretty much everything. That red stuff on his grilled cheese sandwich pictured here is hot sauce!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

That Time of Year

It's that sick time of year again. Erik caught something and had a high fever on Saturday. A couple of days later, his ears bothered him, but mostly he had a high fever and slept all the time. He lay in his bed for hours resting or actually sleeping. Sometimes he would come downstairs and fall asleep on the couch, but mostly he lay in his bed. He didn't watch any TV, which is way different from my other kids when they're sick. By Tuesday evening, Erik's fever was gone.

Karissa got a fever Monday morning and Austin and I did Monday night, so the four of us stayed home on Tuesday. Again, other than a fever and a little coughing from some, or a sore throat, no other symptoms. Jason got a fever Tuesday night with lots of coughing. Wednesday evening, Erik slept for 3 hours on the couch, which I thought was odd. We woke him up at 7:30 so he could eat something, but he said he wanted to go back to bed so I took his temperature and it turned out it was 103- weird! I called my sister who is going to nursing school. Between that and her 7 kids, she has seen it all! She gave me good advice which proved to be right. I took him to the doctor this morning. His infection turned out to be bacterial and he has a double ear infection. We got him some antibiotics and it turns out this is the first time he's ever had to take them! I knew he was a healthy boy, but I thought he had taken them at least one time. Now that he's on them, though, I'm worried about his eating habits in helping his good bacteria to grow back. Luckily he does like yogurt drinks, so hopefully we can keep him healthy!

Karissa went to school today, Austin will go tomorrow and I think I will be able to take Erik back to Red Bell. Through all of this, I've been fighting keep Victoria healthy with OnGuard and lots of disinfectant right before she returns home from school. She had a busy week and I didn't want her to  miss it.

Sunday night she was Dorothy in a little skit put on by the Stake for New Beginnings, New Beginnings is a grand welcome to the Young Women program at church for young women who recently entered the program, like Victoria, or will soon. It also is to get all of the girls excited for the beginning of a new year in accomplishing their goals. The theme was to follow the "yellow brick road" (values, good habits, goals, friends, leaders, and parents) to make it to our own personal "Oz" of what it is we want to accomplish, whether it is a mission, temple marriage, or something more immediate in the future like the school year, etc. It was a great evening and she did fabulous! We videotaped it, but didn't take any still shots.  (The following clip is just the end of it)

On Tuesday she had her second choir concert, which I attended instead of Jason, since he came home coughing like crazy.
Winter choir concert! It's kind of a skinny picture, but I had to cut off this guy in the background that I didn't pay attention to. I was still recovering and was a little out of it!

She got glasses on Saturday. They're just for seeing the board in class.

I wanted her to not be sick for dance and Young Women on Wednesday because she had missed the week before with a little sickness of her own, but not what we all got. Just a 24 hour stomach bug. Hopefully, she stays healthy so all my disinfectant work I will be performing momentarily will not be infected again!

Here's to good health!

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Basement, Again

After a long break from the basement project, Jason got to work putting up the shelves. When Grandpa Jim came, the job went a little faster. We still need to build the cupboard doors over the shelves, but we wanted Jim to help Jason get the future guest room ready so we can change around some furniture.

Victoria really wanted a bedroom makeover for Christmas, so that was her main gift, but of course it didn't happen before Christmas. We finally got to work on it the last week of the break. It also helped having the shelves up so we could put a bunch of stuff on them and get them out of the way. She wanted to downsize her bed, so Karissa will get her old bunk bed and we will put the queen size guest bed in our new basement guest room, when it's ready.
Hard at work!

My long awaited shelves! 

Jason and Jim stripped the floor in the guest room and built up the cement around the drain so it wouldn't be too lopsided for the furniture. We plan to put new carpeting there.

The walls are just about done!

We painted Victoria's room and she got this new bed. She has been collecting new decorations for a while. 

I covered the chair in  the corner to match the closet curtains.She's just waiting for a dresser to be next to where I stood for the first picture.
We still have a ways to go, but our home is finally getting back to normal after about a year of stuff being shoved in weird places. Hooray!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Big 10

I'm not talking big 10 football, I'm talking Karissa's 10th birthday. If you can believe it, she is 10. That means we have lived in Canton, MI. over 10 years! Crazy, huh?  Karissa is the lucky one to be able to celebrate her birthday with family members randomly on her birthday. This year, it was Grandpa Jim and Grandma Pat again. They came out the day after Christmas and helped us work on the basement project, that we started last year and took about a 8 month break from for other seasonal projects outside. We also finished up our Christmas celebrations by making our gingerbread houses. 

Getting really involved in that candy.

Who says they have to be done before Christmas?
Karissa's birthday is the day before New Year's Eve, so it fell on a Friday this year. For a change I decided to have her party on her actual birthday. Of course it turned out it was the day our Stake celebrated New Year's at Zap Zone, so it was a day full of fun. We went to Zap Zone that morning and had a Panera Bread/ Burger King take home lunch for Karissa's special family meal. Yes, odd mix. I had some gift cards from my students for Panera and of course Karissa wanted a hamburger, so we did it all! She opened her presents from the family after lunch, then we got ready for the party. She wanted to go to the local radio station that is at our highschool for a tour. We borrowed our friend's 15 seat van so we could all ride together. We got an excellent tour of the station and learned a lot from it. My mom recorded Karissa talking on the station and posted it on facebook. We had a hard time getting it to my computer, so if you haven't seen it, look for on FB, it's pretty cute. 

Zap Zone Glo Golf

Present time!

Austin and Grandpa had some quiet time to rock out on their harmonicas.

Erik even gave him some piano tips, though he isn't taking lessons yet.

Making Karissa's Beanie Baby cake

She created it on her own.

Party van! Sarah, Victoria, Ella, Edlewiess, Kasrisa, Olivia

88.1 The Park

Talking on the radio!!
 When we returned, we ate pizza and other party food, played the Beanie Baby based games Karissa planned on her own, ate cake, opened presents, and then watched The Princess Bride. Her friends left later then they normally do, as she wanted, and then I convinced my kids, minus Erik, to stay up for New Year's on Friday rather than Saturday so we could wake up for church on time. They didn't make it to midnight, thank goodness! I'm sure part of it was the fact that all the adults had gone to bed, they didn't know what to do!

Beanie Baby bowling

Pin the eyes on the Beanie Baby

Her besties :)

Karissa still loves to read. She reads about 5 different books at a time, sometimes more. I don't know how she keeps track of it all! She's still doing really well in TAG, even though she says she hates math and that she's not good at it. She's really improving in her piano skills and is preparing for Federation in February. She loves to play Animal Jam on the computer and "meet" her friend Ella there. She will text Ella on Ella's mom's phone from my phone and they will figure out how to meet in the cyber world on Animal Jam. She still loves crafts and loves to watch Studio C and sing. She keeps practicing her cheers and cartwheels for next August when cheer starts up again. She really enjoyed being a cheerleader. In the meantime, she just got a part in the community play Fairy Tale Courtroom  as a flying monkey. Tryouts were the other day, so we'll see how that goes these next two months. 

She is still super small and loves to cuddle. It's hard to think that she might actually be close to my height one day (all 5'3"of me).

She let Grandma and Grandpa have her room and we all had a great time with them.  Happy Birthday Karissa!

Next blog: update on the basement!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas 2016

The holiday has only really just begun for us. We went to school on Friday to the last moment possible. On Christmas Eve we did our usual tradition of caroling at a nursing home with other families from our ward. Some friends of ours came over to play in the afternoon because they were going out of town Christmas morning. Their family is becoming like one of our family members, so it was like playing with cousins. We had a nice dinner, Mexican style, for Christmas Eve. All of our kids, minus Erik of course, like tacos and tamales, which Jason bought from Mexican Town.

Eating the cookies while trying to decide which to put out for Santa.

Christmas morning everyone woke up bright and early. Santa brought Victoria markers at her request, a Fur Real Friends Pony for Karissa, a mini tablet for Austin, and some Star Wars cars for Erik. Other than a remote control car for Austin, most of the other gifts were useful and or needed. I liked it this way because the kids seemed not as overwhelmed with a bigger selection of toys. They all had fun with Karissa's pony and with Austin's car. Victoria drew on everyone with her markers, which we still see the results of this morning...
Erik had candy in his mouth here. He didn't get many presents and was happy as could be with his candy and cars.

Got what he wanted!

Washable markers, of course
This pony talks and responds to you. It's cute...

Erik also wanted circle chips for Christmas.

She got Red Wings tickets at a very good price for her good GPA.
He's wanted one of these for a while.

I made the best gingerbread waffled for breakfast! The best part? All of the kids ate at least most of theirs!!
Luke liked the pony too.

And his other toys.
 I loved having Christmas on Sunday! It gave us an excuse to get out and really enjoyed Christmas day worshipping our Savior. The music and the words spoken were so beautiful. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, talking with family, and playing with the games we received. We had a simple dinner of ham, green beans, rolls, and my homemade french fries. We had planned to decorate our gingerbread houses that we started putting together on Friday, but everybody too tired so we decided to wait until Grandma Pat and Grandpa Jim arrive, which is today! I hope your day was as relaxing as ours. Merry Christmas to all!

Ready for church!

This one turned out better the girls', I should have closed the window for theirs. This was taken a few weeks ago because they were excited to take the picture. I knew I may not have the chance for Erik to get in the picture again , and I was right! He took off his sweater at church and didn't want any part in a group picture. 

So we got to take our own! 17 Christmases spent together!