Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fun with Friends (for both Mom and the Kids)

With the summer at its height, we’re just trying to keep out of the heat as much as possible! On Tuesday, Sara and Chase came over, and the kids played outside in the pool. The raspberries have gone for the year, but tomatoes, basil, and zucchini have come in their place. We even used some of our garden’s humble bounty to make capellini pomodoro for lunch.

Dad wanted to show off the kids' mad athletic skillz:

Landon gave us a scare on Wednesday. He woke up late (weird) complaining that his stomach hurt. Still, he ate normally. Then he proceeded to just sit on the couch quietly and watch TV (weirder), and then he took a nap without a fight (weirdest) after which he awoke continuing to complain of pain behind his belly button. Hallie called the pediatrician’s office, and the nurse told her to take the boy to the ER because he was exhibiting symptoms that could mean appendicitis. Normally doing so would not be an issue, but Mike had taken the car to work. With some help, first from Sara and then from Ann (and with Diamond’s much-appreciated help of looking after Eliza at home), she took Landon first to one hospital, then another (the first did not do pediatric surgery if he did have appendicitis). Mike was finally able to join them after they had been admitted for observation, and for the first time in a long time, Landon actually fell asleep in Mike’s arms. Fortunately, it appeared that Landon just had a virus. He went right to bed after we got home from the hospital, and the next morning the boy was up to his normal high-intensity routine.
On Thursday Hallie and the kids went to the playscape at Eastland Mall with Valerie and Janel and their kids. Evidently, someone forgot to let Landon know that he should take it easy! He took to the playground as if nothing happened the day before. We got some crazy rain on Thursday night and Friday morning. Hallie and the kids went to the annual Village Sidewalk Sale with Sara on Friday, then after dropping Eliza off with Mike, she and Landon went back to Sara’s for more play time.

We’re not sure if Eliza was sick or if carrots don’t agree with her, but either way, she spent Friday and Saturday behaving normally with the exception of the occasional carrot-laced upchuck. We’ll see how things go sans carrots for a bit.  

Hallie and Sara and the kids went to Jungle Java and IKEA in Canton while Mike went home teaching and had burgers with the guys from Elders’ Quorum. Some passers-by even got in on the action. After everyone got home, Eliza showed off some more of her crawling and sitting up skills.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Heat is On! or, Thank Goodness for Sweet Frozen Treats!

Most of the kids' activities this week revolved around being outdoors, this in spite of us living at the extreme northern edge of the nation-wide heat wave bubble or dome or whatever. All week Landon participated in the Park Knapsackers 1/2 day camp, where he learned all about the autumn (there were winter, spring, and summer sessions on other weeks). He came back with a golden tan and with something else unexpected: his first bee sting. Apparently he told us about it on Tuesday, but we didn't understand. The teachers said he didn't cry and after some water and a cold compress, he was back in action. Good thing he's not allergic. . . .
Can you find our little man? Hint: he's not in the back row. 
On Wednesday evening, we watched Zeke and Brian play a baseball game. Landon ran around with his friends, and they took pictures while the rest of us chatted and had a picnic dinner. We topped off the night with waffle cone fro-yos at TCBY (love those Waffle Cone Wednesdays!)

These last three are the world through his eyes:

By Thursday it had been so hot for so many days, that the A/C in our little brick house couldn't keep up, and the upstairs felt more like a little brick oven.

It was so hot -- SQUIRREL!! -- ahem, it was so hot that even the squirrels had to slow down and take a break from all that scurrying.
On Friday, we beat the heat by heading down to the pool with Brian and Katelyn and their dad. We didn't let a few uppity lifeguards stop us from poolside shenanigans. To say Landon is a water baby would be to lie. Even Superman had to deal with Kryponite. We took the party over to the kiddie pool in the backyard. Not long after we finally had our fill of the water, it started to rain, and the really oppressive heat finally went away.

On Saturday, Mike and Landon made binoculars at Lowe's while Hallie, Sara, and Chase found goodies at the farmers market. Diamond and Eliza chilled out at home in air conditioned comfort. Later, the boys went down to Belle Isle Park for the annual Stake Pioneer Day Picnic. Landon has decided that swinging really high is his thing. The higher, the better! Later on, we took Diamond to work and then wen over to Derek and Janel's new house before having a bite at Achatz Burgers and frozen custard at Wally's, a place Hallie's friends kept telling her about. Mike loves that at Achatz he can get a very close approximation to a Tommy's chili cheeseburger just by asking for chili on the burger. Wally's was well worth the good press. Hot summer sun + frozen treats = bliss!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A (Mostly) Relaxing Week

Mike presented at a conference in Denver this week, so this was Hallie’s first time to look after the kids alone. Fortunately, he was only gone a couple of days, and the kids seemed none the worse for wear. ;) She and Sara took the kiddos to Jungle Java, where Landon burned off some steam and Eliza practiced the basics of crawling. Five months and the girl is almost crawling. Then again, maybe we’re just imagining things, like when we thought she was teething. . . . Then again, see for yourselves:

Mike’s conference was held at The Curtis, a fun-themed boutique hotel in downtown Denver. The meeting rooms were named after childhood games (Peek-a-Boo, Hide & Seek, etc.), and everything about the hotel reflected a tongue-in-cheek attitude. Here’s a look at the men’s restroom:
see dick go. see jane run. lol!
A bunch of family and friends helped Sara and Jason install sod in their giant back yard. Landon totally got into the whole digging around in the dirt thing. By the time we left, he was filthy! We got started in the late afternoon, and we couldn’t stay for the whole time, but Sara told Hallie they finished at around midnight. This was the result as seen the following morning:
Look what Jason has to mow. Ha ha!
Hallie spent the night Friday participating in a sleep study while Mike looked after the kiddos. When she got home the next morning, we played in the backyard and otherwise had a quiet Saturday at home. Landon and Eliza played in the kiddie pool, and Dad did some gardening. The raspberries have come in (yum!), along with the morning glory (grr). Tomatoes are ripening, and the viney plants (squash or pumpkins?) are taking over the garden bed.
It's only a little cold
Reacting to Landon's prat falls into the water
Ooh, I'm not so sure about that water to the face. . . .
This is fun! 
This afternoon we watched Team USA play Team Japan in the Women’s World Cup. In spite of Japan’s Cinderella story, we wanted the American women to win. So many US opportunities in the first half, the great American score in the second half, and Japan’s tying goal late in the game had us on pins and needles. Womack's awesome header off of Morgan's cross in overtime was a thing of beauty! Then Sawa ties it up, again! No, not penalties! Landon had no clue why Dad was glued to the TV. Congrats to the Japanese women. You gotta give it to both teams for a tremendous effort and a great sports story. How do you say, "Do you believe in miracles?" in Japanese? 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Going for a Ride with John Deere

Landon and Hallie went over to Sara and Chase's house last week, and Landon got the chance to drive a tractor! Maybe the kid could consider a career in agriculture (or backyard demolition, take your pick).

A natural
Bye, Mom! Don't wait up!
Oh, and he made quite an impression on the girls at church on Sunday. . . .

Sunday, July 10, 2011

This is What July is All About

July 4 dawned warm, and we still had no power at home. In total, we lost power for about two days, and we were the lucky ones. People we know were without power for three days and more. Yikes! Above ground power lines and large tree limbs don’t mix.

Fortunately, we didn’t suffer. In fact, we had a great time celebrating the Fourth with Sean and Jen and their kids at their house. We spent most of the time in the back yard under the shade of the sycamore and watching the kids take in a warm and lazy summer afternoon. Landon and Eliza learned all about the ups and downs of the trampoline. At one point, the kids brought out the water guns, and the dads and kids engaged in an epic battle royale. Mike had one patch of dry clothing by the end of it, so does that mean he won?  

Things started to get a little crazy when the water fight ensued.

"I think I'll just watch from the sidelines."

We came back home to a house still without power, and then Hallie and Diamond ran a couple of errands while Mike put the well-worn out kiddies to bed. While the girls were out, power came back on. Hallie let out a whoop as she pulled in and saw the porch lights a-glowing.

Landon is really getting ready to ride on a pedal bike. He's been using his mini glider for about a year and a half, and has recently started asking for one with pedals, "so I can go fast!" We just need to find one small enough. . . .

One of Mike’s former mission companions started a Facebook mission page, and that inspired Mike to have the negatives of his mission photos scanned. What a trip down memory lane!
For more pics, click here.
Mom and Landon took a trip down to Belle Isle to see if they could see the the Pride of Baltimore II, which was at port in Detroit on its way along a tour of the Great Lakes.

Mike waxed a little misty over the last space shuttle mission. At a cost of just under $200 billion dollars, the 30 year program cost about what the government spent in one day to bail out AIG. Harley Carnes of CBS radio gave some perspective on the value of a program that always held a special spot in Mike’s heart:

We had a military fly over as part of the City of Grosse Pointe Shores celebrated its 100th birthday. The sonic boom woke the baby. What a trip to hear all the jets zoom by. 

We started a very active Saturday with a haircut for our little rebel.

No haircuts for me, thank you!

Born to Be Wild!

Afterwards, the boy and Dad spent some time sparring in the backyard. The boy is fearless and loves to go for the gusto!

Eliza turned five months. She is almost as big as her bear.

We attended a Michigan Families Supporting Adoption picnic out in Ypsilanti. We got on the road just a little late, as we forgot the house keys just we were leaving. Fortunately, Mike had accidentally left both the garage and the bathroom windows unlocked. With a little help from a ladder and Landon, we were on the road in short order.

Hallie had heard about the Dixboro General Store out near Ann Arbor, so we made a detour on our way to the picnic to check it out. It’s a lot like Country Furniture and Gifts in Gardner Village, or the old Enchanted Workshop in Murphys, or Wheaton’s in Nova Scotia, but on a smaller scale. The kids and Mike quickly migrated out to the fountains and benches out back, but Hallie did see some cute home decorating ideas to share. Mike found himself missing California.

Once we got to the picnic, Landon took off to play at the playground. Always on the go! Eliza also found ways to join in on the action. In fact, she helped Mike push Landon on the swings and got such a kick out of it that she started outright laughing. Amazing! Mike even managed to get a video. We have such incredible little people in these children of ours.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

If You Can't Take the Heat. . .

I am writing the text of this post from the foyer of our church. I’ll get to why in a minute. But before we get there, we have the rest of the week to report. Actually, not a whole lot happened. Up until Saturday we had some great early summer weather. 
The kiddies have dressed in their summer attire, which frequently has meant underwear/diapers alone. The neighbor kids have come by to play with our kids and give Hallie a little bit of freedom to get some errands run and chores done.
Landon took this picture of our neighbor and Eliza all by himself! 
"Smile for the camera, Landon!" Yeah, right.
Eliza has taken to eating more solid foods. . . 
 with mixed results.

Landon has been taking swim lessons down at the park pool, and we celebrated his last day with a picnic and some time basking in the warm afternoon sun.
Landon, again with the deliberate smile. He's ruined more cute pictures this way. 
The bathing beauty
Saturday dawned humid and proceeded to get hot. We helped another new family move into the branch and then enjoyed some ice cream to try to cool back down. Then in the afternoon we were treated to (or afflicted by, take your pick) a huge thunderstorm that knocked out power to us and about 4000 other people in our town. We spent all night and all day today without power, and while we received word that the problem would be resolved by tonight, we also heard that we might not get power again until Tuesday. Tuesday! However, we did see several repair trucks dealing with the downed power lines and fallen tree limbs, so here’s hoping it’s sooner rather than later. As of this writing, we’re still sans power. 

So this brings us to why we’re at church. We decided to beat the heat a bit by staying on for a while after meetings ended to continue enjoying the air conditioned comfort of the building. It’s still pretty hot at home. Electricity and all that comes with it (e.g., light, refrigeration, a/c, Internet, shall we go on?): what a blessing!