Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat!

We took our little soldier out trick-or-treating with Damon and Ann and their kids. He really got into the SPIRIT of the season. Booooo!

How could you resist this guy?!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

One year older, and wiser, too!

We spent some time this weekend to celebrate Landon’s big day as a family and with friends. The festivities began on Friday with a trip to Jungle Java in Farmington Hills with our next door neighbors and Landon’s friends from the branch. The kids ran and climbed and ate too much and carried on and got all worked up and stayed up too late and did all the fun things kids do at parties.
Big Indoor Jungle Gym
Party Goers
I have some strong words to say about black food coloring, and none of them are good.
Case in point.
And another.
Boys punch drunk on cake, ice cream, staying up too late, etc.
Landon went wild for this present!
Did I mention that I have nothing but bad words for black icing?

We thought for sure he would get a good night’s sleep, but (alas) he woke up crying at 4:30 this morning after having rolled off the end of his bed. Hallie and Mike had each taken some night time cold medicine and were in no shape to comfort a squirrelly three-year-old. Hallie went in and read to him and ended up falling asleep in his bed, then when he woke up again at 6:00, she sent him over to Mike, who entertained the boy for a bit while Mom fell back to sleep. We all three eventually got our act together sometime around 9:00. Landon unwrapped presents from his parents and grandparents. He got most excited with his new roller skates and insisted on taking them out for a spin. A few hard landings on his behind later, he was done with that gift for a while.
LEGOs! Yes!

Trains! Yes!

The face says it all.

Concentrate . . . con-cen-trate . . .

Wielding the hammer like a pro

Independent builder
Testing out his finished work

Watching his balloon spider get made

His Pablo the Penguin face painting

Happiness is a chocolate covered rice crispy treat.

Our first excursion out of the house after a quick breakfast of leftover cake had us over to Lowe’s for their Build and Grow class on making a flapping Halloween bat. Landon wielded his hammer like a pro! Miss Grace, handy Lowe’s associate in charge, even sang to Landon Stevie Wonder style upon hearing about his big day. We headed out from Lowe’s and up to Morley’s Candy Factory for their Spooktackular Halloween events. Landon received a balloon spider to wear on his wrist had his picture taken in a “pumpkin patch” and got free samples of yummy chocolates and rice crispy treats. After dessert, we had lunch at Five Guys. We really like Five Guys, but we have decided we actually prefer Achatz Burgers (not to be confused with the pie people). By this point, Landon was tuckered out and took a little nap in the car on the way home and in bed (thank goodness!).

Once he woke up, he wanted to start playing with his new train and Lego set. The kid had a ball building his sets and then racing his little wooden train around the track. Soon enough, however, it was time for us to head to dinner at Sindbad’s with our next door neighbors to share the sons’ common benchmark (Miles is exactly 11 years older than Landon). We had a delicious meal and great company, and Landon impressed the waitress with his relatively polite behavior. A well-fed and worn out little boy finally hit the hay at around 9:00 sporting new Thomas the Train pajamas, a gift from his grandparents. We love you, big man!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Orchard, Cider, and Donuts (and more!)

Mike was able to accompany Hallie and Landon on a Grosse Pointe Mom's Club excursion to Blake Farms for apple picking, a visit to the pumpkin patch, and cider and donuts (yes, he has a very flexible schedule. Call it compensation for night classes). Hallie and Mike reflected yesterday about how we never remembered noticing farms as places to visit very much in Utah and California. It's amazing what the need to look for things to occupy a busy little person will do to awaken one's awareness of how many kid-oriented activities there are in an area! As it is, we had not been to Blake Farm in about two years, back when Landon looked like this:
(Look at those curls!). Now, of course, he's so much more grown up and independent. The weather sort of cooperated with us, and we picked apples and pie pumpkins after a hay ride out to the orchard. The gentleman who drove our group out there explained that Blake Farms started the "U-Pick" concept and remains the only orchard where you can drive your car in and pick the amount you want to buy (rather than having to be driven in and buying a peck bag in advance). He also noted that the farm actually does more business in "farm entertainment" than either retail or commercial sales. School field trips form a good part of this farm's and others' revenue for the year, and with school budgets cutting back as they are, the farms are feeling the pinch. So, if you can, find a cider mill, orchard, or corn maze in your area and help a local farmer out! If you're like us, you'll get fresh cider and donuts out of the deal. Mmmm! Cider and donuts.

All aboard the Apple Express!
Playing on the toy train
Check out that tractor!
Ready to get to work
C'mon! Let's pick some apples!
First with Dad's help, . . .
. . . then on his own.
"What do you think of this pie pumpkin?"
Ah, yes! Cider and donuts!
"Sweet, sweet yumminess. Now I have energy to burn! Good luck getting me to take a nap now."

After our excursion to the orchard, we stopped over for lunch of beef pot pie, Polish gumbo, and Italian wedding soup at Achatz (rhymes with "jackets") Pies. No fruit pie today (we bought a yummy dutch apple pie from them last week in New Baltimore), but we've found new culinary gold.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Landon + Green Sharpie =

Exactly what you think it would equal: tattooed teddy bears, graffiti on the walls, and other general mayhem.
"What, did I do something wrong?" Well, let's examine the evidence:

When you use this on your feet, you get this:
On the unique wall decor, you get this:
On the bed guard, this:
On the stuffed animals, this:
and this (the bunny is Hallie's childhood friend):
And on the walls, this:
Here is a very sad mommy:
Here is Landon trying to make amends:
And he's just getting set to turn three. I'm not sure whether I'll go gray or bald first.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Growing a Builder

On sunny Saturdays when Mike was growing up, his dad would sometimes pull out the woodworking equipment and set to work on some carpentry project or another. Mike still loves the sweet burnt smell of freshly cut wood and the loud whine of a circular saw. In the same spirit, Mike and Landon head up to the local Lowe's every so often for its Build and Grow construction series. This week, Landon built a Halloween-themed funhouse mirror while Hallie enjoyed a peaceful jaunt down to the farmers market.

All dressed up and ready to go
Hammer in hand, the boy is set to start working.
Inspecting the parts list and pretending to look at the directions
Hard at work
Admiring the finished result
Good job, big man!
Our little carpenter