Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy 40th Birthday Melvis!

You see this guy?
Melvis - the beautiful butterfly - DFW

This guy right here....
Melvis, mid-drive - GA

He's pretty special.  Not only does he have the distinct privilege to be part of my life as one of my best friends & Consigliere but, this weekend, on April 30th - THIS GUY TURNS 40!  And because we love him so much, we're taking a trip to celebrate his big milestone.  In fact, if you're reading this Wednesday night through Sunday, we're probably either toasting his 40th year or recovering from those many, many toasts.

Turtle & Ari; Toasty BFF's

Like all good stories, ours begins when we met Mel in a bar in St. Louis, about the time we first moved from NJ.  It turned out that we were neighbors and thus the friendship began.  Since February 2004, he's always been a part of our lives.  We've been on vacations together, road-tripped, talked through major life decisions (jobs, adoption) and minor life decisions (linen pants, sunglasses, FMK), contracted brain freeze in St. Peters, survived the "high seas" of Costa & Colorado, shared many hours zoning out in front of the TV, had a few DAWG-day afternoons, worn out the seats on some barstools, kept Miller High Life, Knob Creek and a small moonshine distillery in TN in business, enjoyed more than our fair share of meals as a "family of 3" and even chopped a few blades of grass with our golf clubs while being completely eaten alive by mosquitoes (Tybee).
Brain Freeze x 3 - Mark especially hit hard
While I'm prettier - he's a much better golfer than I am
Mel on the left (with the blinding white legs)

Even though he's now in another state making gobs of money and buying fancy watches and cars (his favorite things in life), we try to keep in touch.  And while the phone calls and emails are few and far between due to the fact that we both have crazy jobs and neither of us have lives exciting enough to discuss, when we do see each other, we pick up right where we left off with a weekend full of indifference and intense sarcasm.
I wouldn't change it for the world.

Melvis:  Here's to hoping that the first 40 years of your life have prepared you well for the amount of fun and adventure that the next 40 will bring.  And we'll be right there with you, having a blast, as long as you don't try to wreck any more of my cars or throw me out of any more rafts as we're navigating white water.  Here's to many more days of laughing so much your face hurts and drinking so much that your face is numb. 

Happy Birthday, Mel.  Love ya, Buddy - Ari & her SeidmEn
Mercer & his "Fruncle" Melvis

JenStar & her husbands

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Recap

The Easter Bunny visited our home!  As you can see, Mercer made out like a bandit and he seems pretty stoked about it.
Thanks for all my stuff Easter Bunnies!
Of all the things that filled Mercer's basket, it seemed that the bubbles were his favorite.

And some things will take a little more warming up to...(click link for video)

Interestingly, the Easter Bunny also brought Grandmom and PopPop - which is a gift Mercer will be enjoying the whole week!

Mercer charming his Grands
And now back to all the CANDY!!!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Easter Bunny Picture

Today, we went to the mall to meet the Easter Bunny.  Mercer was looking pretty sharp in his plaid pants, argyle polo and Chucks.  He was very content in line, having his bottle and occasionally munching a Cheerio.  And, as we waited, I debated with myself.  Do I have the kid who, at first sight of the Easter Bunny, would have a total meltdown; screaming bloody murder and convulsing in panic just to get away from him?  Or, do I have the kid who looks almost Stepford-like in the way he sits nicely in the Bunny's lap and smiles, on cue, for the camera?
The picture is below - you can make the call for yourself  :).  The vintage pic below Mercer's just goes to show that being photogenic with mythical Holiday creatures is completely genetic.
Mercer & the Easter Bunny - 2011
Little JenStar knew the drill...Smiles = Candy

I will say that the kid in front of us was scared $hitless of the Easter Bunny and while I think the picture that we have of Mercer is precious; the picture of that kid, mid-tantrum, arms flailing, mouth wide open, with his two perfect brothers sitting next to him is absolotely priceless.  That'll probably be me next year. 

Now, onto making some Easter Bunny magic - apparently, the baskets don't fill themselves. Personally, the Easter Bunny should work some elves into his or her contract next year.

A confidential to my parents:  We're waiting for you - no matter what time the flight arrives!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

All I wanted was a nice picture......Easter 2011

While having dinner with my friend Jane, she said something that really resonated with me.  She said, "As you Mercer grows, you're going to want him to have some of the same memories that you had as a kid."

She couldn't have said this at a more opportune moment. Just that afternoon, I had coerced Mark into trying to help me re-create every Easter picture taken of my sister and I since birth.  The quintessential photo of two little girls, dressed to the nines, in front of a forsythia, only now with our little boy as the showpiece.

To better understand this - we need to jump in the time machine...
Baby Dolls

To say that Andrea and I were tomboys, is very fair statement.  We just weren't the type of girls who enjoyed dressing up.  Our mother is the same way.  The Lenhardt Ladies thrive on being comfortable and that usually means pants with an elastic waist and sneakers.  Yet each year at Easter, my Mom was overcome by the lure of "creating perfect memories" which meant that Dre and I were dragged to "the mall" with the women folk in search of an "Easter Outfit".   This would include dress, socks, shoes, hat, purse and sometimes even an "Easter Coat".  We had our pick of stores: Sears or Kids R Us because those were the only ones that featured a "Pretty Plus" section, as Dre and I were both "chub-sters".
Hat & Mullet - Strike a pose, JenStar

Easter morning, after the thrill of our egg and basket hunt in our PJ's, Mom and Dad helped corral us (buzzing on sugar) into our new duds.  While I was the kid who just "put up with it", my sister rebelled and it usually ended with her in tears, my Mom in tears and my Dad opening the bottle of scotch that the Easter Bunny had left in his basket.  All of this chaos happened before 8am Mass.
I can hear my mother saying, "Hold up your basket"

Of course, after all of that, we were late in "heading to Church".  So, we'd have to sit crammed in a pew amongst a sea of "Holiday Catholics".  I can still hear my father grumbling, "I never see these people here any other Sunday...but look who's here all dressed up on Easter...a$$Holes". 

After that completely ungratifying religious experience, we'd head to Ben & June's (Gma/Gpa U) for MORE Easter bunny loot - another egg and basket hunt.  But this hunt could only happen AFTER we had our pictures taken.  This seems like no big deal to some - but it was a half an hour ordeal - which is a million years in kid time, especially when there are money-filled Easter eggs to be found.
Atleast my grandparents look great!

And this is where the story gets back to Mercer.  Each year, Andrea and I would have our picture taken in front of my Grandparent's forsythia.  So, I wanted to do the same thing with Mercer, only without the Easter dresses, as his decision to wear women's clothes can be his own to make someday.

I dressed him in some adorable overalls and a polo for this nostalgic moment on "film" - his first Easter picture.  Besides recreating one of my favorite memories, I really wanted to document him next to something living  - to show how both will grow over the years.

Well, when we plopped Mercer and his stuffed Peep on a blanket in front of our own forsythia, my expectations for the perfect Easter picture were dashed.  Apparently, like his mother before him, he couldn't have cared less about the picture and really just wanted to hunt for "eggs" (rocks)..

Below are the shots that didn't make the Easter Card....
"Oh...a rock!"

"I need to touch these"
"Daddy removing the Tasty Rocks"
"This doesn't look like an Easter egg"
"You want me to wear these?  How about, NO!".

So - when your Easter card comes in the mail this year, know that. like the generations before me, I tried my hardest to capture a perfect memory on "film"...and what you receive is the best I could get!

Special thanks to Mark for spending his limited patience on my pet project.  I realize you didn't have to experience this growing up.  Passover doesn't have the same "cute quotient" as Easter.  I mean, what's cute about a picture of a kid in front of a Sedar plate?  OYE.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cutest Picture this Week - More Bathtime

If he didn't get all "pruney" - I'd let him play in the tub all day.
With his love of water - I think a pool is in our future (my bank account just sighed).

Movin' on up...

At our 9-month visit, when our Pediatrician "recommended" sleep training, she also hinted that it was about time we transitioned Mercer out of his infant car seat and into a big boy car seat.
And we dragged our feet a little, because that infant seat is just so damn convenient.  You can switch it between cars, you can pop it in a stroller, it fits perfectly in an airplane seat...We loved it.  But last week, we realized that while Mercer is WAY shy of the weight limit (he's 18 lbs / weight limit is 30), he was, in fact, pushing the limit on the recommended height maximum (30 inches).  So much so, that yesterday, I noticed  that his feet were literally hanging over the edge of the infant carrier.  So, the "transition" was forced upon us.
Big thanks to his Daddy for installing both seats into our respective cars.  Vrooooommmm.....................

Mercer, the newborn, in his carseat...

Our Baby Moose
All buckled in for the ride

Mercer the ALMOST toddler in his infant seat....

"I'm a Big Kid, now!"

Mercer in his NEW "big boy" car seat.
The King in his Throne

Mercer in the Jeep - "It's Just an old worn out Jeep - rusty old floor boards - hot on my feet"

Our little rockstar is growing up...(sigh...).

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Speed Racer

This video depicts Mercer hauling ass to his favorite toy - Lu's dog dish.
After witnessing this, I have to say that I don't think he'll ever have to worry about hearing me yell, "Drop the trailer", as he rounds 1st base and heads for 2nd...he seems naturally speedy.

Sorry it's sideways....

Monday, April 4, 2011

Everybody Walk the Dinosaur....

Open the Door, Get on the Floor
Everybody Walk the Dinosaur

Mercer is finally able to play with his Christmas gift from Grandmom & PopPop...
Confession:  It took 5 "takes" to get this on film, as Mercer was more interested in the following, yesterday:
1.  A piece of lint of the carpet
2.  My empty wine glass (don't judge people - you know you drink)
3.  Guitars from our Guitar Hero games
4.  Sunlight (he doesn't "sparkle" Ladies, sorry)
5.  Making a Doody
 To View - Click Link Below

As an aside - this is the song that the title of this post references...

For those interested - here's the link to the Dino-Toy...Fisher-Price Stride to Ride (Dinosaur)
(And for the record...Yes, I'm still laughing at this toy's name)

Boom boom akka lakka lakka boom