The Mercado Family

Monday, October 17, 2016

Fun Run

Austin's school had a fun run last week. It was the best fundraiser ever! By the way, if we didn't ask you to sponsor him, never fear, we will ask you for the math-a-thon that will be in February. ;)

For the Fun Run fundraiser they made over $14,000! They will use this money for new playground equipment at the school and a GaGa ball pit. Lucky for Erik and me, we got to see Austin run because his time was later in the day. He went around the course ten times in 20 minutes. Erik and I got to participate a little as well. Austin loved the obstacles!

I think they should do this fundraiser every year! The shirts were bought for each student and staff member through donations from local businesses. What a great way for the community to come together!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Big 12!

Victoria has been ready to leave primary and advance to Young Women's at church for a while now. She finally turned 12 yesterday and can go to YW this Sunday. Since Jason teaches in Primary and I am in the Presidency, the rest of us are in Primary, so she will be the only one not it- weird!

Some members of the Beehive class, the YW class she will be entering, came by and gave her a YW necklace, her Personal Progress Book (where she can keep track of the goals she makes and completes while in YW), and some calendar information.  This Friday she gets to participate in a special joint activity with the boys at a corn maze!

The necklace is a torch surrounded by the motto, "Stand for Truth and Righteousness". The torch represents the light of Christ, inviting all to come unto Him.

For her birthday celebration we had 5 friends come over for a taco bar. After eating, opening presents, and doing the cake, we all went to the Summit to swim, minus Austin who still has a cast. He was very excited to go to his school for their movie night with his friend. That worked out pretty well for him. He felt like a big shot off on his own at his school for the movie. After enjoying the water slide, lazy river, and free swim, we came back to the house and watched Maleficent. It was an easy party! She got no toys for gifts, which she tells me now that she is "done with toys!" I told her she can still play with the ones she has, but just not get any new ones.
Eating tacos: Bethany, Kajul, Bella, Makayla, Victoria, and Olivia.

Karissa, Austin, Kaleb (Austin's movie buddy), and Erik.

Erik helping pull out candles.

Waiting to go down the slide.

Kiddie pool

Adult pool

We brought a ball for some games.
 She still likes to play with her American Girl dolls with Karissa, but she mostly does their hair. She does play with shopkins or Lego's with her siblings here and there, but not as much as before. She's definitely growing up! I would say that her favorite things to do now are crafts, draw, and hair! She loves to do hair and learn new hairstyles by watching, YouTube videos, especially Cute Girls Hairstyles. She's much better than I am, seriously! She can do just about whatever braid there is.

On her birthday, she had a usual day with orchestra, very early, and some quizzes at school. Quizzes meant she didn't have much homework that night, which was nice. We still had to get take out for dinner with a coupon at TGI Fridays since Karissa has cheer practice and we wouldn't have had time to eat out, as she wanted.  We sang quickly to Victoria before Karissa left and she opened presents leisurely later on. Her main gift was a new phone, or new to her. Her phone from last year had a water accident, but she really did a good job taking care of it, just one mishap in August. At least she was brave enough to pluck it out of the toilet! Three days in rice didn't cut it though. She has waited patiently, somewhat, for her new one. She didn't abuse the use of her old one, let's hope she's good at that again!
The big day!

Happy for her phone back!
Happy 12th birthday, Victoria!

Last day in Primary!

Monday, October 3, 2016

4 Weeks In!

We've had four weeks of school now and we are going with the flow like it's been this way forever. There were so many changes this year that I wasn't really sure how we were going to survive. Victoria still loves middles school and has earned two ribbons for passing off Hot Cross Buns and Mary Had a Little Lamb on the violin in orchestra. I would still like her to go to bed earlier, but she's managing to wake up every day for orchestra. Karissa is keeping up with her schoolwork and cheer practice really well, not to mention her piano practice and lessons which are always in the morning before school. She's been more proactive in taking care of herself and her things. Growing up!

Austin, though he had the least amount of change, except for getting to school a little earlier and going without Victoria, had some hard times adjusting. He was really upset one day, carrying on about many things, so, when the next day he came home saying his wrist hurt, but had absolutely no signs of swelling, bruises, or redness, I thought he was just looking for more attention. I gave it to him. We iced it, wrapped it up for school the next day. He started to seem happier and only complained a couple more times when he banged his wrist over the next two days. He went to piano, played soccer outside, did his homework (it's his right wrist), and seemed pretty good. Four days later, I noticed his wrist looked slightly swollen, so we went and bought a brace. 6 days later, I took him to the doctor. I learn everything with Austin. I learned he has a buckle fracture. A buckle fracture has no outward signs of injury and they heal fairly quickly. He got a cast 8 days after the injury and has to wear it 3 weeks. He's adjusting so well to it, it seems to hardly phase him! He can't use his thumbs for piano, but other than that he's still going strong!

Erik has grown the most over these past 4 weeks. He's much more level when he's around others and even let's people who know and love him, like his old babysitter, give him hugs. He's very excited to tell everyone he goes to preschool at Red Bell. He's been eating the triangle cut-outs of tortilla at school with his milk, something his class gives the kids who don't want to eat any of the lunch. He never ate a tortilla with me before, so that's progress! When they eat yogurt, he eats that too.

As for me, I hope that I am having an impact on my students. I absolutely love my job! I would never have thought I would have enjoyed teaching preschool, but I really do! I love the read-alouds, the songs, the activities, and ease of planning for such a young age. I love their smiles and hugs and love that they are learning the words to the songs, how to line up, and how to sit for circle time. For the past few years I had been thinking of going a different route for my career when my kids got a little older, like a personal trainer or strength training instructor, but when I thought about it, I would get a little anxious. I think it's because in that field I have to work with adults. I love working with kids! No judgments, no criticism; just love and fun! Erik tells me when I say I'm going to work that "it's not work, it's fun!" I have to agree with him!

Getting it wrapped

Orange! I can find him anywhere!
Every day we leave he wants me to take a picture of him on the bridge.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


The Steelers organization is big around here. Many are involved with it before their kids go to high school and participate in sports there, but they all continue to support the program through donations and at homecoming. This year it is the 40th anniversary of the Steelers organization, which made homecoming even more special.

Saturday morning started with an extra run-through practice for Karissa before they drove the cheerleaders and football players on a bus, donated from none other than Erik's and my school Red Bell (the owner of the school has boys who played for the Steelers), to breakfast at Red Olive. They gave awards to the cheerleaders there. Karissa got "toughest cheerleader". I asked her why she got toughest and she said because she always gets yelled at, but she keeps trying harder and doesn't let it discourage her. Why does she get yelled at? I'm not really sure, I guess it helps her work harder on her toe touches, etc. Cheer leading is hard core, I tell you!

She had a few hour break, then it was time to dress in her special homecoming uniform and practice some more before the big game, which was later so that the varsity team could play later that night under the lights. I was on the homecoming committee, so I got to help decorate with balloons and ribbons.
This is Karissa is her usual uniform.

At the game, the cheerleaders and players ran out with their dads, one by one, when their names were called to the 50 yard line, where the moms waited to greet them. Everyone had a nickname. Karissa was,  Karissa "Kit Kat" Mercado.
Running out with Jason.

At the 50 yard line in her homecoming uniform with the cow bell they got for the occasion.

Karissa and Olivia

We're all proud Steelers fans now!

She is fourth from the right.

Half time throwing out candy.  Some of it got to the stands...;)

 Everyone was also required to have a poster on the gate. We made one without a date so she can use it again next year, like some people suggested. Finally, there were  parachute jumpers who jumped out of a plane after our freshman game, before the JV game. The kids thought that was pretty cool, and it was!

Both parachute jumpers landed right in the field!
By her poster.

This is the half time dance. She starts second from the left and ends up in the back. Mine isn't playing from the box, so you might have to copy and paste the link. (Why doesn't it always work the way it's supposed to?!)

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!!