Sunday, October 30, 2011

More Birthday and Halloween Festivities

We had more fun this week celebrating Landon’s birthday. Early in the week, we went to Hallowe’en at Greenfield Village with Derek, Janel, and their family. Always a (trick or) treat!

These guys were cute. Noticing Landon dressed in camouflage,  they said, "That's a great costume! What are you, a ghost? All we can see is your head."

Singing Jack O'Lanterns, a new feature this year. 

Eliza watching joke-telling pirates. "How much do pirate earrings cost? A buck an ear!" 

We ended the night in Sleepy Hollow, . . .
where we found the infamous Headless Horseman.
Ichabod Crane mugs for the camera.
Another boo-rific Halloween at Greenfield Village!
We put together a “big boy” LEGO set he received for his birthday. It took three sessions over three days to build Lightning, Mack, and Mack’s trailer. Landon was very patient with his dad while Dad insisted on following the directions.

Landon has learned how to draw faces and squares in addition to circles. 
The green squiggle inside the face is the brain.

He showed off his knowledge as we carved a Jack O’ Lantern.

I love looking at his hands.
That look of intense concentration
Steady. Steady!
With the finished product: A Landon original. 
After pumpkin carving, it was time to make scary shadows!

Fall colors have really started showing in Detroit, and we missed the snow! We feel bad for all of you in the mountains and back east. We’ll have our turn soon enough, but until then we will take our crisp clear autumn days.

Landon received a Hot Wheels motorcycle race track from Sara and Chase for his birthday. Thanks!

We spent a very busy and enjoyable Saturday with our friends Sean and Jen, their kids Katelyn and Bryan, and their family as they went to the temple to be sealed together as an eternal family. We are so happy for them!

Mike was up and on the go from the early morning to the night time. He never got a chance to change out of his suit until the evening! From the temple, we trekked back home to pick up the kids and take them to Fishbones in St. Clair Shores to continue the celebration before we headed down to the church for our branch’s Halloween party. Lots of kids attended, and games, food, and treats were enjoyed by all.

Today (Sunday), the children aged 12 and under participated in our branch’s annual Primary program. Landon and the other kids had been preparing to share music and words on the theme “I Know the Scriptures are True.” Landon, Katelyn, and Bryan sang “I Love to See the Temple,” in part because all three of them have or will have special temple experiences this year.

Eliza continues to amuse and amaze. She is generally quite social, and she enjoys making flirty smiles at everyone. She had a hard time last night. It could have been all of yesterday’s excitement, or it could have been that her first tooth broke through (yay!). Mike was feeding her at church, and he felt it then. It’s barely poking through, so we’ll try to get a picture whenever she lets us close enough. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Remembering Grandma Andrus, 1918-2011

Winifred Andrus, Mike's "adopted" grandma, and a very special lady in our family, passed away last week. We love her and are grateful to have known her. Her kind influence will be felt for generations.
Eliza got to meet her great grandma when she was a week old. 
Mike has many memories of coming up to visit his Aunt Karen and Grandma Andrus and playing with his cousins, Grandma's biological grandchildren. Grandma had several children and grandchildren who lived locally, so Mike and his sisters (whose cousins by blood were all older and lived far away) had plenty of playmates. Between the dairy farm, the rural setting, and the shelves full of books, there was always something new going on!

Her home in Marion, Utah, always has a special spirit about it. In a lot of ways, it's a little slice of heaven on earth. We will miss you, Grandma!

Aunt Karen sent Grandma's obituary from the Deseret News. Read it for a small glimpse into the life of an elect lady.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Eliza is on the verge of reaching a few milestones: 1) she has two bottom teeth that are just about ready to sprout (with all the accompanying drool and moodiness); 2) she has proven to herself that she can get up on two feet, stay up, and take a few tentative steps; and 3) she has learned about "ma-ma-ma" (feed me!), "da-da-da" (I'm having fun making this mess), "na-na-na" (Landon), and the gestures for "yes" and "no":

First teeth, first big steps, and first words will be following in short order.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Birthday Celebrations from Oz to Zoo (Plus Some Halloween Too!)

We have spread Landon’s birthday celebration out this year, giving it to him in small chunks over several days. We started Monday by taking him and a couple of missionaries to the Henry Ford Museum. While they explored the exhibits, the four of us went to The Wizard of Oz Children’s Educational Exhibition. The kids ran around learning all about science concepts tied to the book and movie.

"I have a feeling we're not in Detroit anymore!"

This little girl is so ready to walk! 
Ready-made Halloween costume
Flying high, fast, and far with the elders
Later in the week, Hallie took the kids out to Troy and the Somerset Collection, where they bought Landon’s teddy bear some new threads.

On the weekend, we set the celebrations into high gear. First, we took the kiddos to Chuck E. Cheese’s (which Mike is now convinced is a casino for children—although we did win quite a few tickets). Landon bought himself a baseball and bat, a slinky, and a crazy straw. We then had dinner at Bob Evans and went to the Detroit Zoo for Zoo Boo (this last bit was thanks to a friend of Hallie’s from the moms’ club who couldn’t go).

"Get these tights off me!"
Four little monkeys who can do no wrong

Amazingly, she sat still for the face tattoo. Eliza's really teething now, so she drools all the time and uses her fingers as  a chew toy.

He approves of the new carousel.
One of the many themed jack-o'-lantern displays

We even saw a fun 4D pirate ghost movie!
The next day, we celebrated Landon's birthday in earnest with themed cupcakes . . . 

. . . and presents!

Upon seeing this LEGO set, Landon said, "A big boy game! I'm a big boy now."
Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa! Landon called this his favorite present ever. Who knew? How quickly we forget about the bike. . . .
Eliza wondered what all the excitement was about. 

Uh, oh! Here comes trouble!
Happy Birthday, Big Man! The time is passing way too fast.