The Mercado Family

Sunday, October 14, 2018

14 and 8th Grade

Victoria is 14 now. She's an 8th grader at Discovery Middle School. This is her last year there. Next year she'll be at Salem High School. I can't believe she's 14. She gets to go to her first youth dance next month and start driver's ed over the summer. I clearly remember my days as a 14-year-old and in 8th grade, so it seems weird to me to be raising my child who's this age.

Victoria has taken a big step in the dance direction. She's been dancing since she was 3, but wasn't fully committed until even just last year. I finally convinced her that if this is the direction she wants to go, then she can't do cross country and track, like last year. She added jazz this year and dances 4 days a week, which includes a day that she was selected to be a demonstrator for a class two years younger than her for Cecchetti ballet. She loves it! When she's at home, she's constantly dancing and stretching. She is supposed to choreograph a ballet number as part of her exam this year, so she's starting to decide what music she wants to use.
She's working on her back flexibility so she can paint her toes over her shoulders ;)

Victoria, Karissa, and I doing some group yoga poses.

Speaking of music, she still loves playing the violin in the orchestra and singing in the choir at school. This year she was selected to be in the advanced choral group. It reminds me of myself. I tried out my last year of Junior high and made it and so did she! She likes singing, but has already decided that in high school she will only do orchestra, since she won't be able to do choir as well. She's still taking piano lessons., but I think this will be the last year for that also. Her heart isn't quite in it to practice enough anymore. She plays once a month for Young Women's opening exercises and for her choir teacher when she needs it, so it has been a great skill for her.

She still loves improving her hair skills!

She started taking Spanish this year and I'm so happy that she is! That was always one of my favorite classes in school and I love brushing up on some of my Spanish skills with her!

Her birthday party was last Friday. She was in charge of everything, but she requested a taco bar, which I gladly provided, and after some hanging out at our house, we went to the Summit to swim (for free with a bunch of passes) and then they hung out more here after wards. A few girls spent the night (the first slumber party we had) and it went well. One of Victoria's best friends had moved an hour away and came all the way here for the party, so she and two others slept here. I was impressed with Victoria's friends. Some of them I hadn't met and they were so pleasant to have here. They were all so impressed that I cooked the food and made the birthday cake! It makes me laugh that so many people don't do that anymore! They thought it was a real treat and were so gracious! I felt good about my home cooked food!
Birthday party dinner. Some friends were here for that and had to leave and some friends came later.
Taco bar

Her friend who moved. Erik missed her too.

So glad her sister is her good friend too!

Pool party!

Lazy river.


It's hard to have my kids growing up! I want them to stay young forever, but she and I have had some good conversations in the car on the way to dance and I love seeing the young woman she's growing into. It's been a great adventure!

On her birthday, Austin gave her a chocolate frog. She's wearing her new sweatshirt too.

Taco Bell dinner on her birthday due to lack of time for anything else. Did you guess that tacos are her favorite?

She wanted to decorate her own cake.

The finished product! (Did you notice she has braids while decorating the cake and a bun in this picture? She just loves doing her hair!)

Some scrunchies arrived the next day form Aunt Karina. She loved another day of gifts! Her final gift is this week. She goes to Washington DC for the 8th grade field trip from Thursday to Sunday. What a lucky girl!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

General Conference

What a weekend! It was jammed packed with partying, sporting events, rain, and a spiritual feast! I will get to the partying after Victoria's actual birthday.

I had to miss the first session of General Conference on Saturday because I was working at the snack shack for the football game prior to Karissa's We're required a certain amount of volunteer positions as part of the Steelers. I brought Karissa with me so she could work for an hour with me and then be to her game an hour early, as it required of the cheerleaders, and then Jason and the rest could be home and watch some General Conference. The rain cleared out just in time for her game. The game I worked the snack shack at was delayed due to the storms of the morning, which we experienced during Austin's and Erik's soccer games, lucky us.

I got to see half of the second session on Saturday and then the Women's Session that night with my girls. We went to the church for a social beforehand. I was impressed by Victoria's note taking that night and am motivated to take on the challenges that President Nelson gave us.

Sunday was much more peaceful and even very productive! I've heard the advice about going through your 72 hour kits every General Conference and even eating the food in them to replace with newer food. In all our 16 or 17 years that we've had 72 hour kits, we haven't really done that. I did add clothes for my kids as they came, and even gave them their own backpacks of extra clothes, but I hadn't replaced in about 4 years! Needless to say, everything in their bags was too small! Erik's even had diapers in it! I replaced all the clothes and added toiletries to the boys' bags (theirs didn't have any yet!) and now they all get to have their own bags of food.

For our Relief Society meeting this month, we had an emergency preparedness activity. We learned how to winterize our homes, canned pear sauce, and made 72 hours kits of food. The food was bought in bulk and people pre-ordered if they were interested. Someone had made up an menu with breakfast, lunch, and dinner for three days and bought according to survival needs. Those participating paid $11 per kit and filled them together. I don't think we'll eat ours every General Conference, just once a year at the October conference and replace the food then. We have MREs in our kits that are still good for a while. We actually ate two of them to just see if they were any good. Surprisingly, they were very tasty! I was thinking they would be useless, but Austin loved the spaghetti! Victoria, Karissa, and Erik ate leftovers from our dinner the night before, but I know they would eat the MREs, at least the girls would. Truth is, they didn't even pay much attention to them, they were so busy with their "conference projects". The girls made jewelry and art, Victoria did hair hair and nails, and Karissa made waffles, a smoothie, and cut the carrots and celery for our chicken noodle soup. It was so nice having Karissa help with all that food!  Erik played with toys and read books and Austin made Halloween crafts and read books too.
Here's the menu in the bag. It will come in handy when we need to replace the food. 

The back of the bag. A few of the things it includes are 3 bottled waters, some canned spaghetti, packet of tuna, granola bars, dried fruit, V8, fruit leather, candy, pudding, utensils...

Enjoying his smoothie that Karissa is getting very good at making! (she makes one every day after school too!)

Silly, lazy cats.

It was such a memorable conference. I can't wait to start our home centered curriculum!

Monday, October 1, 2018

6th Grade Camp and Homecoming

Karissa had two big events this week, though it was bad timing for these two events to fall during the same week. The Steelers' schedule this season has not been the best, with 3 Sunday games in a row that she didn't attend, though luckily they were away, and then Homecoming being changed to the Saturday after 6th grade camp, when she was gone three nights and missed those three very important practices! Oh well, that's the way it is. 6th grade camp is a one time deal and pretty much all the 6th graders at East go to an adventure camp for three days and three nights. They rock climbed, canoed, had a survival day, handled snakes, square danced, played team building games, built fires, etc. I don't have any pictures from the leaders yet, so I can't post those, but I can post that she had a blast and we're glad she could go.

However, I ended up picking her up a day early because she had a fever. She missed the last 24 hours of it and the bus ride home. At least she got to rest an extra day and a half for homecoming.

I felt awful that she and Olivia missed three full practices and I worried about their group's stunt. Well, I didn't need to worry anymore. The coaches decided to just nix their group's stunt. It makes sense, but I was a little disappointed. They looked great on their dance and Karissa never disappoints with her great smile and facial expressions when she's cheering. She's really becoming a great cheerleader and I'm so glad she's so into it and had such a good attitude about the poor schedule this season. Go Steelers!!

After the traditional meet-your-parents-at-the-50-yard-line run.

She made her poster this year. 

Cheerleader fans! We enjoy the game too...;)

She's really gotten so tight in her moves this year and her facial expressions are wonderful! Her coaches nicknamed her Diva, because she's a cheer DIVA!

 At halftime, their performance, after they passed out candy, was a dance to a song from Shrek. It was very cute, but she and Olivia were side spots, so they had some counts where they just stood there and looked cute. I would post that video and the others of her sideline cheers, but my camera/computer connection are having problems, so it'll have to wait. Here's a photo of the squad with their "Shrek" shirts on. They say"What the Shrek?" on the front.
 Their names are on the back.

The Diva cheerleader!

P.S. This weekend was also her last participation in the Primary Program, before she turns 12. She had an extra part for the opening of the program and did very well. Austin looked great, until he put a piece of gum in his mouth, then I had to give him the evil stare so he would still sing well ;). Erik sang every song, unlike in the past. He didn't give his part, though... maybe next year? Funny story about Erik related to the Primary Program. He has been singing the Primary songs while he plays, which he never did in the past. A few days ago, he was singing to himself, then suddenly stopped and said, "Wait, why am I singing Primary songs? I hate Primary songs!" I just about died in my quiet laughter!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Storm

We are fully enveloped in the storm! It's no different from any other family with kids this age, really. It just takes getting used to and very good coordination! My friend posted this on facebook the other day:

I do not have ducks.
I do not have a row.
I have only squirrels, and they're at a rave.

She has 9 kids. One is married and one is on a mission, but still...

I feel like mine are a bunch of squirrels at a rave too, which is why I need to figure out some ducks and put them in rows. I do that by contacting everyone I can think of, going where I am going at the same time, so we can figure out a carpool.

Cub scouts this year is not the same night as the youth activities because we combine our scouts with the other ward and we are doing it on their ward's night at the church. Last week I created a carpool for scouts and a car pool for the youth activities. I have to drive Victoria to the church each Wednesday directly from dance because of the timing of her dance class, so I definitely wanted a car pool coming home on Wednesdays and round trip on Tuesdays for scouts. Also, I finally got a car pool going on for cheer.  Most people who aren't members of the LDS church around here do not know the value of car pools. They don't really need them if they only have 1 or 2 kids, but one of the friends I car pool with to cheer is loving it and now wants to do one from Miller Elementary when the weather gets bad.

Besides scouts being on a different night as youth night, Austin and Erik are participating in soccer this year that is more involved than in year's past. They both have practice at different places at the same time on Thursdays and different games in different locations and times on Saturdays. It's fun watching them grow in their soccer skills, or rather, learn, some quality soccer skills. I always loved the program, DACA, they participated in before, but it was just on Saturdays and they didn't learn much besides chase the ball around. It was super fun and a great price, but I realized that they didn't know how to play the actual game, which is what they're learning now. Austin's on a more advanced team since he's with boys his age, but he pretty much gets yelled at the whole time he plays. The coach isn't mean, just a coach trying to teach him and to get him to hear him while running around on the field. Luckily, it doesn't phase Austin one bit. It's like water to a duck's back, just rolls on off.

Add in cheer 4 nights a week, 3 piano lessons, plus 3 other runs to the dance studio, and zero hour orchestra for both the girls (which Jason drives to) and I feel like I am in the car all the time! Today is one of the first days in three weeks that I am actually sitting, not in the car, for more than 20 minutes (besides church, of course).

Welcome to fall, everyone!

Here's one of Erik's practices. 

Since is at the same time as Austin's, I haven't had a chance to get pictures of Austin yet. Game pics will come soon as well!

This is Karissa's cheer camp with the high school girls. 

She's on the left in the straddle stunt.
Cheering at the first high school game with the high school cheerleaders.

Sometimes it's hard to see her little face over the fence, but she has a great cheerleader smile!