Sunday, March 25, 2012

Independence Has Its Drawbacks

Spring is here in full force. We took advantage with time outdoors in the garden and riding our bikes around the neighborhood. On Wednesday as part of the Mom's Club Brunch Bunch, Hallie, Priscilia, and the kids walked down to Good Girls Go to Paris Crepes (a second location from the original one in Midtown) which recently opened a few blocks from home.
Photo courtesy Grosse Pointe Patch
Last weekend, Mike introduced Landon to Doctor Who. Apparently, the show has already made an impression. At the crepe shop, Landon told Hallie, “Look! The Doctor’s box.” It took Hallie a few long moments to realize Landon was looking at the entrance to the store. As seen from the inside, the paneled door did bear a passing resemblance to the Doctor’s TARDIS.  

It's bigger on the inside.
Now Mike’s thinking about when to introduce Landon to the Star Wars movies. ;)

Landon has really started to assert his independence this week. Hallie took him to get his hair cut on Friday. While they were out, Mike and Eliza went for a walk, and Eliza fell (fortunately no real harm done). 
She's a little daredevil, just like her brother. Falls are part of the experience. 
When everyone got home, we started getting ready for dinner, and Landon started hitting Eliza where she fell. Mike sent him to his room, and apparently Landon thought his haircut needed improving, because he took Mike’s trimmer to his bangs:

Mike chuckled, knowing this meant Landon’s annual buzz cut was going to come early. Hallie cried. Maybe if he had waited a few days after his haircut before taking matters into his own hands. . . .

Instead of going to Lowe’s on Saturday, Mike gave Landon a second haircut while Hallie went to a mom-to-mom sale. Then everyone went to music class before going up to Morley’s on Hall Road for their Easter event and to Achatz Burgers for a late lunch. 
Showing off his LEGO cars. "Why me?" asks Charlie Brown. Why me, indeed.
Cool face paint courtesy of the artist at Morley's
When we came home, we saw that our neighbor was having some car trouble (her muffler was dragging on the ground). Mike, Landon, and Miles did what they could to help temporarily strap the muffler under the car. Landon raced back and forth getting tools, so excited to be of help!  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Break

Mike's school had spring break this week, which meant he did not teach classes on Tuesday and Wednesday. He spent some extra time with the kids this week at the Henry Ford Museum on Monday . . .

and at the Detroit Zoo on Wednesday.
Checking out the tigers

Watching seals and polar bears in the underwater tunnel

Polar bears wrestling right near the glass wall

Unbeknownst to us, on Wednesday a terrible tragedy happened. Landon's birth mom and his biological sister were crossing a busy street when they were hit by a car whose driver failed to stop at the crosswalk. His birth mom was seriously injured, and his sister was killed. We did not find out until Saturday, when his birth mom's adoption case worker contacted us. We were able to find some more news from the Internet which left us with hearts full of sorrow. Along with that sorrow, however, we were able to find information we had not known before about Landon's paternal biological family. It is sobering to realize that as he begins to ask about his biological family, we will have to find a way to tell him the story of the accident and share the other information we have learned.

We carried our heavy hearts with us to Hershey, Pennsylvania, where we interviewed to be houseparents at the Milton Hershey School. Several months ago, Hallie found out that friends of ours had been hired there after working as school teachers elsewhere. We were intrigued at the prospect of a job that would allow us to spend ample time together as a family while working for an amazing cause. The school and the surrounding area are beautiful! We stayed overnight at a student home, and the following morning we shadowed the home's houseparents before participating in a formal interview on campus. The whole experience was quite intense, and the interviewers pulled no punches about the responsibilities and challenges of the job. After the interview we were invited to move on to the next stage. While we have not yet received an offer of employment, we have moved on to the intensive background check. Becoming houseparents is not a choice we are considering lightly, as it will require a significant lifestyle change. However, we are seriously contemplating the move in spite of, and perhaps even because of, the challenges.

In order to go to the interview, we had to leave Landon and Eliza at home. Thank you to everyone, especially Priscilia, who helped as we were away. We felt so happy to see our babies when we got home!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Time to Get Out and Enjoy the Early Spring!

The kids and Mom spent a good amount of time out of the house this week in the wild late winter/early spring weather. On Monday, they joined Sara and Chase for a trip to the play place at the local mall. They also took a ride on the train.

On Wednesday, they joined Chase in his backyard. 

Signs of spring are here after what has been an almost disturbingly mild winter. We took pictures of our crocuses on Wednesday afternoon, . . .

and by Sunday they were in full bloom being pollinated by the bees.

The grown-ups had their own fun this week, too. Thursday morning Mike was out in front with the kids as they rode around on their bikes, and our neighbor Don came down for a chat. Mike asked about the Friday fish fries down at St. Ambrose Catholic Church, and Don said they were a pretty big deal. In fact, a poll in the local internet newspaper rated it as one of the top three in the Pointes (we'll have to try Marge's Bar & Grill, which was ranked first). Friday afternoon, Hallie got a call from Laurie (Don’s wife) inviting us to this Friday’s party, and of course we said yes. St. Ambrose has a reception center with a full kitchen called the ARK. Appropriately enough, it has a Noah’s ark theme. Rather than build it above ground, the architect used innovative skylights to both light the gathering space and give it a view of the church above. Plus, the church was able to keep its parking lot.  
This beautiful Norman Gothic style church graces the end of our street.
We wished we could stay a little longer, but we had tickets for the program “One Voice: An Evening of Music & Testimony” by the Saints Unified Voices directed by Gladys Knight which took place at the Palmer Park building of our church, which used to be Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox cathedral. The chapel is amazing, both for its ornate interior details as well as the acoustics of the choir loft behind the podium. It was a perfect venue for the concert!
Thanks to pinehurst19475 for the photo.
Hallie and Sara scoped out a mom-to-mom sale for ideas for their own set-up for next week, then we went to music class. From the class, we headed up to the Yellow Door Art Market in Berkley (it’s like the Quilted Bear, but everything is hand made in Michigan). Hallie found the kids a couple of fun T-shirts, and we bought some delicious Love Bars from Kitchen with a Cause.
25% from the purchase of each bar benefits Stand Up to Cancer.  
We ended our afternoon excursion with a visit to Pewabic Pottery, which was having an open house in honor of Pewabic’s 109th birthday. The celebration included a tour of the studio. Landon got a front row view of how a clay vase is made.

Landon sometimes needs to get his wiggles out, so we are so glad it’s getting warmer out. This afternoon when he went out, Zöe, the little 10-year-old daughter of our new neighbors, was also outside. They played together in the backyard for a while before coming in to play in the toy room. As she got ready to leave for dinner, Landon told her, “OK, you have to go.” At least he walked her back to her dad’s house!

With temperatures in the 60s on Sunday, we could feel that spring is finally in the air for good. We may get some cool weather in the next few weeks, but we’re due for more delicious afternoons like we enjoyed today as we threw open the windows and let in the refreshing breeze. 

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Random Fun at Home

We just had a few random photos to share. Enjoy!
Skater Landon
Skater Landon on a date at Sander's with Mom.
Happy Girl
Hallie's new do
"Hi, Dad!"
Hide and Seek. Or as Landon says it, "Hide and Zeke."
Mike wishes he could take credit for the lovely flowers Hallie bought.
A tomar un matecito! Like Landon, Eliza enjoys Dad's special blend of yerba mate, chamomile, honeybush, and peppermint. Yumm-o!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Cymru Am Byth! (Wales Forever!)

Again, we had another laid-back week as winter begins to wind its way down with half-hearted attempts at snow and cold followed by warmer weather. Eliza had her one-year check up. She is healthy, strong, and active.

On March 1 for St. David’s Day (in honor of Mike’s Welsh heritage), we ate potato leek soup and bought daffodils. Next year, we'll have to see if there's an Eisteddfod nearby. Our family members hale from many different countries of origin (Wales, England, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Laos, Mexico, and maybe more), and we thought we should have some fun learning about the cultures of our ancestors. We’ll slowly start incorporating new celebrations as the year goes along.
Daffodil Hill in Plymouth, California. Our yard will have daffodils soon, just not so many. 
Landon’s friend Rylee had a party for her birthday, and Landon enjoyed playing with her and his other friends from the branch. He received a treat bag with toys and goodies which he played with all weekend long.