Sunday, June 19, 2011

Walk Like a Man...

Any set of working parents have to prepare themselves for the enivtable...their precious child reaching a milestone at daycare.  Mark and I knew it would happen sooner or later.  Mercer rolled over while I was home on leave.  He pulled himself up during the Battle of Sleep Training.  And he crawled under the close coaching of his Gram and Great Fairy Godmother.  So, when it came to witnessing the first steps of our little Monster, we knew the chances were slim.

On June 14th, Mark picked Mercer up from daycare and was greeted by our very bubbly daycare ladies gushing over the fact that Mercer had walked that day.  I can picture them running up to Mark with a huge smile and with rapid-fire delivery, faster than even I can talk, saying, "It was only for like 5 seconds, but he finally walked..we're so proud of him".

After I got home from work, Mark shared that same news with me.  And I surprised myself with my reaction.  Instead of getting a little weepy and labeling myself as a bad parent for missing this milestone in order to earn the almighty dollar; I set my sights on that little monkey and was hell bent to record the first steps that he took for Mark and I, on film.

So, that night, I followed him around with my camera.  So much so, that I'm pretty sure he's thinks that he's in his own reality show.  And just as I was filming some random Mercer fun-time moments - he got up and walked. I could hardly believe it was that easy.  For my next trick, I'll be finding World Peace.

First video captures the first steps that we saw him take.  The 2nd video captures his "V-walk or Spiderwalk" and some more steps.  Each day since then, he's getting a little more balance and taking another step.  In fact,  think I counted that he took 7 steps  in a row yesterday.

In other news - below are just some random cute shots that we took recently.  I didn't take any of our trip to the Lake but our friends did, so if they share, I'm sure that MERCER will be commenting on them.

I Love my Pool!

This could explain why Mercer thinks that kissing "tongue out" is totally appropriate
Mercer leaves the King of Beer behind for some Moose Drool
The King and his Wizard - Father's Day - 2011
Have a great week!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I am a Living Legacy to the Leader of the Band…. 2011

He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.  
~Clarence Budington Kelland

Being behind the lens allows me to view the interactions of my son at a safe distance.  I get to observe him as he grows and changes without interrupting it for a cheesy posed "Mom" moment. And after looking through a years worth of photos (really - 1000's of them), I realized that it especially allows me to capture those of he and his father.  Mark will fully admit to hating to be photographed.  Yet, in the past year, his gripes have all but gone away and I believe it's due almost entirely to the fact that he's sharing the spotlight with his son. 

So, in honor of Father's Day - I'm posting my favorite father/son moments caught on film.

Mark's first glimpse at his legacy

Daddy's 1st diaper change

My most favorite picture...Naptime
Mercer visits Daddy at Work

Everyone's tuckered out after landscaping

Cuddle Time after Mercer's 1st day at daycare

All Smiles - All the time for Daddy

Proud yet oblivious...

Sunday in our Jammies

Santa - A role, I'm pretty sure, he never thought he'd play...

Dads are the Best for Naps

Three Men & a Baby

Two spoiled kids at Christmas

The "official" father/son pic

Eatin' Healthy

Mercer's like, "Please stop snoring"

Good times


Mark dumbfounded that a one-year-old can wear you out

Stomping Grapes

Mark - You're a fantastic Dad.  As you know, my own father is pretty awesome, therefore my expectations for YOU as a Dad were very high.  And I'm overjoyed to say that you continue exceed those everyday.  You took to parenting like a duck to water (the dogs really prepped you for it).  I've never seen you more proud of anything than you are of your son (except for maybe your landscaping and that makes sense because you're "growing" both).  I love how silly you are together.  I love how in the mornings, Mercer searches the house for you and when he finds you, he smiles wide, giggles and yells "DADA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!".  You were born to be his father, Mark.  The connection you have with each other is palpable.  I know you will continue to find joy in all his milestones and in all of the moments you share together for years to come.  As a team, you and I are shaping our Mercer into a good little man.  And, I appreciate every dollar you earn (and save), every effort you take and every sacrifice you make in order to make our lives better.  Happy 2nd Father's Day!  I love you. 

I'm fortunate enough to be the kind of girl that is more comfortable in a room of men, than a room of women and that is because of all the positive male role models and peers that I have in my life.  My confidentials below are to the amazing men in my life, fathers or not.  Men whose influence helped shape me to become the woman I am today. Thanks for being so strong yet so nurturing.  All of you are my rock stars!

Dad:  One of the best compliments that I've ever received is when Mrs. K said to me, "Jen…you are your father's daughter" - obviously referring to our stellar personalities, because looking at us, you can't tell that we're actually related.  I got the best parts of your personality:  your charm, your quick wit, your sense of humor and your ability to make people feel at ease in your presence.  Fortunately, Andrea got your temper - and that's her (and poor Jason's) cross to bear.  You are the person who asks the difficult questions when they need to be asked, even if it means rocking the boat. Yet, you're diplomatic enough to back off and let people choose for themselves, once your peace has been said.  You appreciate a stiff glass of scotch, which I also love.  And you're an admirer of a nice rack (of ribs), which Mark & Mercer can appreciate, as well.  And while Mom may have been the one who bestowed in me the need for compassion, you are the one who taught me that there is always time in your day to help someone who needs it.  You thrive as a PopPop and while I know that it may be impossible - I believe that Mercer has your smile, as well as you affinity for Budweiser.   I can't thank you enough for continuing to be my biggest fan to date, still cheering me on from the sidelines of life.  Love ya, DAD!
The Master and the Grasshopper

My favorite men (minus Mark)

I thank you for your music (BRUCE) and your stories from the road (Sopranos Cast)
I thank you for the freedom when it came my time to go
I thank you for your kindness and the times when you got tough
And Dad I don't think I've said I love you near enough…
 - Dan Fogelberg - "Leader of the Band"

To my Godfather:  HAPPY FATHER'S DAY, UNCLE PETE!  I love you.  (Look!  Now, you're on the INTERNET!!!).
Mercer amused by his mother's Godfather

To Grandpop Updike:  Until we meet again….

To Grandpa Lenhardt:  Thank you for instilling in me the belief that I should always stand up for what I believe in, even if it is the unpopular choice. 
I love how big you smile when you see Mercer!
Snoozing with his Great Grandpop Lenhardt

To PopPop Carl: You're doing a hell of a job as a Great-Grandpop.  I know how much you enjoy it and I look forward to seeing the bond between you and Mercer continue to grow.
Mercer having a snack with Pop Pop Carl

To Seiddad: "nksjf4290jf2J()#$j_)MCWMC0PEWJCE".  Mercer says, "Hi Grandpa - Happy Father's Day". He's smart - just like you and apparently can type in code.
All the SeidmEn in the sand

To Jonathon, Kevin and Jamie:  Happy Father's Day to the Dads of the cutest kids I know! 

To Blair, Cookie, Richie, Kevin, Vince, John P., Mel and even my good old BFF Mike:  You are all my "brothers from another mother".  And each of you are amazing men, in your own right.  In a world full of d-bags, it's nice to know that my son has each of you to look up to as role models.  And while I'm sure things will be taught that a Mom doesn't want to know about (Yes, MEL & KEVIN - I'm directly addressing you), I'm glad that he'll be learning them from you and not on the internet.  LOL.

Happy Father's Day to All.
And now - I'm off to the  Lake...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's Good to be King....

"It's good to be King / Just for a while / To be there in Velvet / Yea, to give them a smile.
It's good to get high / And never come down / It's good to be King / Of your own little Town"
 - Tom Petty

Once upon a time, a little man was born who was destined to be King.  As a reward from the Gods for their patience, love and devotion, one gorgeous Court Jester and one lovable Wizard were entrusted to raise him, along with their village of family and friends.
The King, The Wizard and The Foxy Court Jester

The King was adored by all across his great land.  And since the King was turning 1, a large celebration was planned in his in honor, in the land of his parent's birth.

The journey to get there was magical.  The King boarded a beautiful carriage painted brown, purple and red that floated through the blue sky and puffy white clouds.  It felt as if the King had blinked his eyes and arrived at his destination (which is true because he slept through almost the whole flight).  During the journey the Jester & the Wizard took great delight in the complimentary libations afforded to them and had a little fun with The King.
The King amused by the Jester & Wizard's libation bottles
Upon his arrival, The King was carried off his jet and met with fanfare befitting his royal status.  He smiled and waved at his subjects as he passed them by.  And once through the royal gates, he was greeted by his most loyal subject.  With her bright red puff of hair, Lady Lorraine (the Jester's mother) shrieked at the sight of him and scooped him up into a giant hug, as the Court Jester and Wizard managed the King's luggage.

The days that followed were filled with festivities befitting this great occasion. 
The King enjoyed partaking in multiple royal feasts. 
The King making a ROYAL MESS
He drank copious amount of Mead with Lord Pop Pop.
Lord Pop Pop & the King getting royally KRUNK

He had High Tea his Ladies.   And also got to spend time some time playing on the back lawn with Princess Drea.
The Jester, Lady Lorraine & Princess Drea having tea - Photo Credit - The King
Princess Drea entertains the King

 He took many a swim in the moat at Lord Pop-Pop's castle. 
The King cooling off
Lord Pop Pop and the King frolicking in the Moat
 He entertained the kingdom with his musical talents on his new instruments. 
The King as the little dummer boy

The King shakes his maracas

The King plays it up for Lady Lorraine

The King tickling the ivories

He even played with Lady Lorraine and Lord Pop Pop's dragon-dog - Mistress Misty.
The King and the Mistress getting cozy
But I think what he most enjoyed was sitting in his new royal throne, in the castle, especially decorated for him and holding court with his favorite villagers. 
The King annoyed by the Jester's flashbulbs
They made him smile and giggle.  They showered him with attention and gifts.  And they made him feel as if he were the only King in the whole wide world who was turning one. And judging by the smile on his face in 75% of the pictures taken, he loved every minute of it.

The King, Court Jester and Wizard had to return home but not before they hugged and kissed the villagers and promised to return soon.  And as their sky chariot took off in the early morning, they could not be more thankful for their Village.  The King doesn't know yet, how lucky he is to have THIS much love in his life, but the Wizard and the Jester, definitely do.

After a brief stop in the Land of Oranges to put some planes through flight-test....
The King during flight test

The King in the cockpit - I think he needs some goggle and a scarf

The King, Jester & Wizard returned home to live Happily Ever After...
The End