Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy (belated) Easter!

This started off as a short entry, and then somehow it got embellished. Here are the highlights of the week: Landon and Eliza went roller skating on Wednesday at the Great Skate. So cute! Landon went to the bounce house Thursday while Dad and Eliza worked from home. Diamond is coming to stay with us until she goes back out to college, so she and a couple of Mom’s friends from church helped clean house and get her a space ready.

On Saturday morning the Relief Society and Primary had activities for the women and children down at the church. Unfortunately, Landon did not get to go as he made the choice to stay up past his bed time the night before. We felt a little bad for him, but we figured it’s better for him to experience small negative consequences now than big ones down the road, right? The kicker is that we don’t think it really fazed him. Since he was stuck at home, he helped Dad reinstall the flag pole bracket that broke off in the recent storms. He also invited Dad to a couple of rounds of golf and a few frames of bowling (on the Wii). Thanks to playing with the kids of the ladies who came over on Friday, Landon has figured out how to work the remote. Awesome! He gave Dad a run for his money, but Dad still has a better short game.

The weather has been really hit-and-miss this last week, and apparently we can expect more rough weather next week. Fortunately, Saturday afternoon into Sunday was phenomenal. We were invited to an early dinner at the Ellsworths on Saturday night, and Landon burned off some steam playing with the girls on their swing set and with their little red pedal car.

We celebrated Easter on Sunday. We live near a Catholic church (St. Ambrose, as seen in the movie Gran Torino), and so we hear the bells and see the parishioners as they go to and come home from Mass each Sunday and throughout the Lenten season. We love hearing the bells ring in the celebration of our shared hope of the Resurrection through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We didn’t do anything particular for the kids on Easter morning other than get ready for church (we did have some fun on Monday, though. Keep reading). At church, Landon and the other Primary kids sang “Beautiful Savior” during sacrament meeting (well done, kiddos!), and then we had the missionaries over for dinner. The five elders made short work of the ham and other fixings. Mike then schooled them in the fine art of tying bow ties.

They tied the ties themselves! A fine looking group, I must say. 
One little bit of drama: while the rest of us were eating, Landon cut his thumb with his “kid safe” scissors. He took out a chunk of his thumbnail and walks into the dining room where the rest of us were seated and nonchalantly informs us, “I’m bleeding,” as the red stuff starts flowing down his hand. Cue the rush of mad activity by the parents. He hardly cried while we bandaged him up. Tough kid.

The Easter Bunny showed up today (after Hallie made a quick run for some post-Easter bargains up at Target—wink, wink), and Landon rushed around the house collecting plastic eggs filled with little toys and candy. We love watching him “get” concepts like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Not to knock our lucky four-footed animal friend, but next year we may opt to have the Spring Chicken come by the Monday after Easter instead and leave Easter as a religious holiday. What do you think?    

If you're interested in gore, you can take a look at his bandaged left thumb. He'd rather you check out his snazzy new watch, though. 

We also got Mike’s new glasses. We’ll have to get a picture with him in a bow tie to complete the look. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

1973 Was a Great Vintage

Mike turned the grand old age of 38 this week (go ahead and bring on the wise cracks—I’ve heard them already). We celebrated all week long!

On Monday, we went shopping for glasses at SEE Eyewear. Hallie got a sweet Groupon deal, and it was time for us to get our new glasses, so we opted to go (more or less) retro. Mike and Hallie didn’t get to go full-on 1960’style, but they got something a bit more fun than usual. Landon even got to help them choose. He wanted to know when he’d get glasses. “Hopefully never,” we replied.

Hallie and Landon went to the Fresh Farms Market with the Mom’s Club. We like their New York style pizzas, and Landon learned how to make his own pizza. Larry, the market’s owner, took them on a tour where they met all of the people in all the departments. For lunch at 10:30, they had burgers at Tom’s Hog and Dog (Wait. They made pizza and then went out for burgers? What gives?!). They were nice enough to bring Mike back some pizza to take with him up to work.

Wednesday was Mike’s birthday, and the weather cooperated nicely. Landon was so cute! Mike had been up with Eliza for a chunk of the night, so he ended up downstairs, and Landon came down in the morning singing Happy Birthday to You. His big birthday present for the year (a little cute bundle of joy by the name of Eliza) came earlier, so we kept things pretty simple. We went out to breakfast at the Breakfast Club in Madison Heights and then Hallie took Mike to buy some Birkenstocks at Footprints in Royal Oak. Mike would never go and get fancy shoes like that (his knock-off sandals came from Wal-mart and did him pretty well until last summer). However, Hallie thought that if Mike’s old knock-offs had lasted over a decade, maybe the real deal would last him even longer (Mike is into things that last, so it’s an investment!). Mike had work on campus, so that ended our celebrations for the day. Hallie got him a yummy ice cream treat when he got home.

On Thursday, we took Eliza for her two-month well visit at the baby doctor. She’s really growing up! Our little girl now weighs 10 pounds 1 ounce and is 21 inches long. She also had her first shots since the time she was born. She cried really hard for just a couple of minutes, and then she settled down as if nothing had happened. The doctor commented on how strong she was. Both Landon and Eliza have been small but strong. Feisty! In the evening, Mike was able to get quite a bit of work done. Hallie and Diamond got free passes to see a movie, and the kiddies stayed nestled in their beds. Should being left alone count as a birthday gift? Not always, but Mike needed this little bit of intense time, so he considered it one rather than wishing he was at the movies, just this time.
"Ay mi morena, de mi corazón"
On Friday, Hallie and several Relief Society sisters went to the Charles H. Wright Museum while Mike looked after the kids and worked from the home office. On Saturday, Mom, Diamond, and Landon headed off to Jungle Java and Morley’s to go find the Easter Bunny while In the evening, Diamond looked after the kiddies while Mike and Hallie went with their friends Ivan and Amberly to the Detroit Masonic Temple to watch the Wulin Hanyun Kungfu Troupe and Chinese Folk Music Performance, sponsored by Wayne State’s Confucius Institute.

If you did the math, you would see that Mike is now twice as old as he was when he was called to serve his mission to Buenos Aires, Argentina. For a few years now, he has toyed with the idea of digitally archiving his mission pictures. When we went to California over Christmas break, he went through the photo albums and retrieved the negatives. Then this last week, he was contacted by Ricardo Navarro, one of his former missionary companions, who started a mission group in Facebook. Ricardo posted some pictures that sent Mike down Memory Lane, so Mike found a website that makes digital scans of negatives and finally set the wheels in motion. Once they come back, you may even get to see some!  
Mike on the day before entering the MTC, back in 1992 (Remember when the floor map at the Salt Lake Airport wasn't covered with TSA security barriers?) 
Landon gave his first talk in Primary today on the perfect example of Jesus Christ. That kid is growing up so fast! Next thing we know, he’ll be the one sending mission pictures. . . .
We took about a dozen of these . . . 
to get this. Hmph. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mother Nature is Such a Flirt

We have the windows open as beautiful sunshine and cool breezes waft into the house and as we take pleasure in our first really spring-like day. The temperature flirted with 80 degrees. Delightful! But are we due for a backlash?! Let’s not think about it. . . . Instead, let’s focus on the kiddies. Landon received his first report card and seems to be progressing well in his classes. His teacher likes him, and he gets along well with his fellow students. On Wednesday, he and Hallie went to the new Jungle Java with the mom’s club. He worked up a good sweat. Eliza stayed at home with Dad and slept while he typed away in her room. They’re still negotiating the working/living arrangements. J
Living the high life at Jungle Java
On Saturday, Landon finished his basketball season with a game of boys vs. dads. While the dads put up a good effort, the boys narrowly beat us 8-6 in the closing seconds. Landon could not understand why he couldn’t just keep the ball to himself and why we had to run up and down the court so much. After basketball, we went to Lowe’s and built a little pinball machine. Hallie and Landon then took off to run some errands.
Our little Jimmer wannabe
He shoots! He . . . . Well, he shoots anyway.
Eliza turned two months old yesterday. She and Hallie attended a fun baby shower with several sisters from the branch, and Eliza seemed to enjoy being cuddled and held by all the ladies, and they gave her lots of presents! 
Eliza's shower outfit
Landon loves his little sis!
All bundled up with Sis. Wallace

Look at all the lovely presents! 
Chocolate cupcakes
Visiting with the Stevensons
The girls are working away on one of Eliza's gifts.
This girl has all sorts of dresses and cute outfits, such as the one she wore to church today. As she continues to develop, she is spending longer amounts of time awake. For instance, she was awake and very alert almost the entire time at church today. Dad just carried her around while she looked around or napped or otherwise just hung out. 
In her Sunday best

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Did You Hear the One About the April Fool and His Wiley Wife?

Yikes! A quarter of the year has flown by. We keep getting teased about this thing people call “spring” further south of us. At least we're not getting snow

Mike tried, in vain, to pull an April Fool’s Day prank on Hallie, to no avail. She wasn’t buying his lie that Sunday School hour was going to be cut from our branch meeting schedule (he tried that one again on the missionaries, with limited success). He tried rigging the kitchen sink to spray wildly, like this:
But, alas, the rubber band failed to do its dirty work. I guess we know who the real fool is! Grr. Maybe next year.

Anyway, on to the kids. After having a conversation with our friend Christine, Hallie opted to change Eliza’s formula, and it appears to have really helped her colic. The stuff’s worth its weight in gold and smells funny, but she seems much more content. She’s beginning to really fixate on faces and respond with little smiles. 

Hallie has gone to a few mom-to-mom sales recently, so Eliza has a closet full of pretty dresses to wear once she gets big enough.

This week our neighbors were very kind to our family. On Wednesday our neighbor “Auntie” Dawn brought over the biggest pot of spaghetti we have ever seen. It has fed us for five meals. On Saturday morning another set of neighbors came down to see Miss Eliza. Laurie, Katherine, and Jane brought us tulips and a very yummy pineapple. They were very thoughtful, and it was fun to chit chat with the girls. Jane, who is in Kindergarten, had a good time trying to hold Eliza.

This morning we were able to chat on the computer with Grandpa and Grandma D., Kira, and Austin, our friends from Canada. Yay! We love chatting with them. They really love seeing Eliza get so big. Landon sang them “Stand for the Right.”
Holding his new truck. This was about as still as he got.
Landon received a remote control fire truck from Grandpa O. this week, and he drove it all around the house. He also discovered the joys of using a balloon as a volleyball. You’d think he was stir crazy the way he’s bouncing around the house lately. Must be spring fever. Or the sugar high from the monkey bread Hallie made this morning. Mmm! Monkey bread.
Thanks 2chacha!
We spent some time this week getting Landon and ourselves ready for General Conference. Seeing conference from a three-year-old’s perspective has been interesting. He pays much more attention to the music and what people look like than the words. More than once he said, “That guy looks like you, Dad” (referring to people conducting music, not the speakers!). Great. Middle age has hit the patriarch of the home. Mike and Landon took in a session at church on Saturday, but otherwise we watched from home, where Señor Squirrelly could color or climb or snack at will. Every so often, he would look up from building a makeshift catapult or marker-soaked paper and say, “There he is!” when he recognized Pres. Monson. Something’s actually sinking in!