The Mercado Family

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

First Guests

We enjoyed our first guests to stay in our new guest room in the basement, Gramms and Abuelo. While it's not 100% completed, it was good enough for them to stay in and Jason's dad even helped with a couple of touch ups like adding a little mirror in the room and hanging some hooks on doors, etc. He also helped Jason with the long process of putting the banding on the edges of the shelving unit to finish that up. They ran out of banding, though, and now we have to wait for the rest to come in.

Here's our model to show it off.
While they were here the kids were on Spring Break. My assistant at school had asked off a while ago, so I was supposed to go in for "Spring Camp" during Spring Break. It worked out well because Erik went every day, which the structure is good for him, Austin went a couple times for the field trips with the school aged kids, and Victoria went a couple of times to help me out and the cook in the kitchen. Karissa decided to stay home every day (it turns out she got sick at the end of the break anyhow, so it was good she didn't go and spread her germs). They ended up sending me home early every day and I got Thursday off altogether. Those who stayed home were able to visit more with Gramms and Abuelo. Jason got some days off as well and could enjoy working and visiting with them at home.
Conference Sunday, after Gramms and Abuelo arrived.

Abuelo's birthday was the day before, so we had to celebrate!
The weather Spring Break was yucky- wet and cloudy/cold. It was fitting because Abuelo caught the cold the boys were getting over and the girls got sick too. What a week! Of course there's no vacation without a visit to the urgent care. On my day off, Erik sliced his finger with a little craft blade that was left on the floor. Luckily, they didn't give him stitches, just glued it together, but he got to wear this nice metal sling, and still is, to be on the safe side.
Gotta love the popsicles there!
Victoria and Austin found this turlte on the side walk coming home from school. She rode her bike rest of the way home carrying it!

They named him Trooper and we put him in our little pool with a rock. He's sliding into the water here. 

We let him go a couple of hours later.

  We went to the pool, played with some friends, and the boys and I went to a free bowling class.

The next week the kids were all back at school, so Gramms and Abuelo went to see a few things for one day before they had to care for Karissa and her pink eye that showed up again a few days after her first round of it during the break. On Good Friday we all went to a mall with a butterfly exhibit and a small train ride. It was a nice outing and still allowed Jason and Will to get some things done around the house before the ward Easter egg hunt and dinner. There was also a nice message given by the missionaries.

The butterflies were so cool!

Coloring Easter eggs.

We finally got nice weather on  Good Friday and it has been here since! Saturday, the kids played outside the entire time, almost. Kay and Will gave us an "updating your house" housewarming gift. It's this awesome gazebo that my neighbors got from Aldi last year and I've been eyeing it. Jason and Will set it up on Saturday and we were able to enjoy it that day and on Easter. The kids really like it too! Thanks, Kay and Will!
Love it!

Easter morning.

Can you guess what everyone got for Easter this year? We're going to Costa Rica in June, so they all got hydration packs and picked themsleves out a nice hat to help with the intense sun there.

Easter was lovely. All the flowers outside started to bloom and it was beautiful! I had told the kids that the only way they could look for their baskets before church was if they were all dressed from head to toe and had eaten breakfast with enough time to spare. Well, you can guess what happened. I couldn't help but smile as Erik was standing right in front of my face at 6:40am dressed in the outfit I was going to pick out for him, but didn't, including a tie! He got it out and on by himself and had a big ol' smile on his face at when he woke me up, again. Karissa and Austin had already been in to show me they were dressed as well, which was also cute, but not as much since they were in there earlier! Church was great as was the company and food at home. We invited our neighbor, Barb, who's a widow and her kids were out-of-town, to dinner.

Happy Easter and Happy Spring everyone!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Basement Project Progress

 I don't even know what I posted last about our basement project, but here's a picture from January in our guest room after the floor was complete and we started to paint.


Jason covered a pipe with a frame and dry wall.

Wall was complete. In the cream colored part we were prepping to build more shelves.

Shelves were complete, except the touch-ups.
 In the meantime, we decided to get it all carpeted and forget the the rugs that got all pushed around by the cat on the slippery floor. So, just in time for our first guests, Gramms and Abuelo, we got our carpet in on Friday!

We were so excited, we had to run around a few times before putting anything back in there!

We even did the stairs!

Guest room

Grandpa Jim finished the windows at Christmas time. Karissa is enjoying the craft table.

We started putting things back...

Guest bed!
We still have baseboards and the cupboard doors, plus I'm sure some other things that Jason has in mind that I don't even know about! We love our basement!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Multicultural Night

Jason and I volunteered to be the leads of the Puerto Rican team for this very big MCN that occurred last Friday. It was many months in the making and was definitely worth it! It was held at Karissa's school, Gallimore, and they're hoping it will be an annual event.

The program entailed 45 minutes of entertainment in the gym from each country, followed by globetrotting to various classrooms representing each of the 11 countries, and an International Cafe in the cafeteria. There was also a Henna Salon since there is a very big influence of people from India at Gallimore.

One of my favorite parts was the very beginning when we all rose for the American flag and recited the Pledge of Allegiance and then a group sang the National Anthem. It was heart-warming to see all the kids standing in front of me, dressed according the their culture, many of them looking like they are actually from other countries, paying respect to the flag of our country that we share together. The country in which we are all free.

There were songs, skits, dances, and slide shows performed. Then the globetrotting started. Each kid got a "passport" when they arrived for the night and as they entered each classroom, they had to find the answer to a question pertaining to that country, answer a question pertaining to the teacher who teaches in that classroom during the day, and then get a stamp in the box. The countries represented that night were:

Pakistan, Morocco, Japan, Finland, China, Puerto Rico, India, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, and Colombia.

I met two wonderful ladies who were on team Puerto Rico with us as well. Tanya, whose mom is from PR, and Frances who was born there. Jason went to one group meeting that I couldn't make, but mostly I met with the large group and team PR. When I met with Tanya and Frances I always joked about being the lead of the group, even though I don't have any Puerto Rican blood in me. That's okay, I've got the love!

Tanya's son and daughter, both students at Gallimore, and Fracnes' daughter, a student there as well, performed in the dance, Bomba, by our group. They were joined by Karissa and Austin (even though he doesn't go there, he was a great trooper to learn the Bomba!) and our friend Zach, who attends Gallimore and was in the play with Karissa.We only practiced a few times, so the kids really did a great job on their dance!

There were a lot of meetings, prior to the event, and a lot of emails/texts, but it was so worth it and so many people enjoyed the night!

Arroz con Gandules (what Puerto Rico served in the cafeteria). This is not the picture of our food, but I forgot to take one. I was mostly in the classroom and Jason was helping with the food, but I did go down and taste a lot of the food from the other countries and they were delish!

Practicing for the show. Dianna, Sylvie, Karissa, Austin, Zach, Simon.

My Bomba dancers.

Dianna, Austin, Karissa, Zach

Me and Meena, the lady in charge of the whole event!

Meena, Mrs. Bell (school principal), Me, Tanya, and Frances

Door decor created by the studnets of that classroom.

Our displays. They included information about economy, food, heritage, and famous sights. Jason was the brains behind the information.

We had instruments and seashells from PR here, though I didn't get a close-up. Also, the yellow poster has questions and answers about PR, including the question for the passport which was: Who discovered  Puerto Rico?

Our Kids Activities table included making vejigantes, masks worn at festivals in PR.

We forgot to take a picture there, but here is my favorite Puerto Rican!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Pinewood Derby Time!

I'll admit that I used to think that the whole pinewood derby thing was kind of lame. As I have said before, I was totally clueless about scouts until I actually had one under my care. I don't know why, but I just thought making a car out of a piece of wood and then racing it wasn't that exciting. As soon as I found out the date of the pinewood derby and explained what it was to Austin, I was sold myself! You get to make a cool car with a parent and if you do things right, you might end up doing really well in the race! What could be more fun for a young boy? Lucky for Austin, Jason works in the auto industry and he has had experience with creating with wood lately (updates on basement coming soon!) Austin planned it out and helped Jason carry out the necessary steps to build his car. Jason showed him videos and explained all the science behind what they would do to make his car the fastest they could.
Sanding the car.
 Last night was the practice run. Austin was really excited to go and Erik was too. Unfortunately, the main race is Friday when we will be at Gallimore for the Multicultural Event that we signed up to volunteer as Puerto Rico leads months ago. As this was Austin's first year doing it, I don't think he really minds missing the main race. He had such a good time last night and his car came in second place most of the runs, first and third a couple of times, and fourth one time. They are keeping his car to race it on Friday. Who knows, maybe he'll win a trophy?
Final product!

Today for school, he got to go to Geer School, the one-room  1880's schoolhouse here in our area that all the second graders attend as part of their Plymouth-Canton community history curriculum. Both the girls went, now it was Austin's turn. I was able to leave work a little early and meet him there for lunch. He had a hard boiled egg, homemade bread with butter, apple, homemade ginger cookies, and water. Here's what we were able to pull together for his costume.

Geer school lunch.

They all think the dunce hat is really funny.

What a fun tradition we have here!