Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Goings-On

We had a unique Thanksgiving Thursday. We went to Canada to run some errands and got a late start, so we missed our intended dinner plans so that Eliza could get some needed shut-eye. Good thing we had Montreal smoked meat sandwiches, poutine, and Fruitopia for lunch (we also made sure to stock up on our north-of-the-border staples). While we did not have traditional turkey and mashed potatoes, we have had more meager Thanksgiving dinners in the time we’ve been married. Plus, we still have a frozen turkey for later! That night, we visited with our next door neighbors and Landon got to stay up late playing. We enjoyed what is likely to be our last warm night of the year, and temperatures plummeted overnight.

On Friday, Hallie and Dorene bundled up and took off early for some Black Friday deals while the rest of us stayed cozy and slept in. Or, rather, while Landon slept in. Eliza was up at her normal early time. One of the finds Hallie bought was a Christmas tree that is better sized for our living room.
Thin is in.

She also surprised the boys with a Christmas-themed LEGO set. Mike and Landon started putting it together while Hallie and Eliza napped. Later in the afternoon, Mike got out some Christmas decorations and did some straightening up in areas in the basement Hallie and Priscilia had not already done earlier this year. Landon helped haul empty boxes upstairs and into the garage. Meanwhile, Hallie straightened Eliza’s hair.
"Stop trying to take my picture!"

Finally a passable shot

Landon went to gymnastics an extra day this week to make up for a day he missed when he was sick. Mike kept Eliza entertained. Mom and son were gone longer than expected because they arrived at the gym an hour early. They cooled their heels at the bar at National Coney Island.

After Eliza went to bed, we broke in the new bargain-priced Blue-Ray player with the movie Brave while we indulged in some Nanaimo bars. 

Even with Eliza waking up at her normal early time, we started Saturday slowly before finally going shopping in the late morning for some necessities. Mike bought light fixtures to replace ones either broken or otherwise in disrepair. The new and much need fixture in the family room took some time to figure out (we have an old house with old wires), but once installed, it looked nice. We went to the Somerset Collection in the afternoon just to take in the atmosphere and get out of the house.

We got our first real dusting of snow overnight. Eliza was teething as she cut her eye teeth, but she has been sick off and on for the past couple of weeks without improving, so Mike took Eliza to the urgent care this morning, where she was diagnosed with an ear infection. She never acted like her ears hurt, but now we know what to expect from her the next time this happens. 
Even sick, she still shows off!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

And We Thought Nothing Happened Last Week

We had several plans this week, but with sick kids, things did not pan out as expected.

On Monday night, Mike and Hallie attended a parent meeting for Landon’s preschool. The kids got to stay up late playing with the other kids, Mike got to build a graham cracker “gingerbread” house for Landon to decorate, and Hallie got to gab with some of the other parents.

On Wednesday, Mike went to Denver for a conference for a couple of days, leaving Hallie with the kiddos. Everyone survived, and we were all happy to get back together.

Landon was sick, so he missed the Thanksgiving feast and then the movie night at school on Friday.

We went out a little bit on Saturday. First, Mike and Landon went to the Lowe’s Build and Grow while Hallie and Eliza went to Target. We even bought a few Hostess products at the outlet for nostalgia’s sake.

Tonight we braved the crisp weather to have hot dogs and s’mores with neighbors from up and down the block around the fire pit. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Some Weeks (Like This) are More Routine than Others

Generally this week was full of the little ordinary routines of work, school, and home. We are nearing completion of the fish extender gifts we will give on the cruise. We probably put too much effort into them, but we’ve enjoyed the fun process of putting it all together and spending time chatting as a couple after the kiddos have gone to bed.
Here are some examples of the goodies (L to R): decorated mini composition book travel journals, glow stick bracelets, bookmarks, pen, all packed into personalized scrapbooks.

Here's some detail of the 5" x 5" scrapbook. The book is made of three paper lunchbags fastened together with brads. The cover is an image from the website created by one of the cruisers. 

Welcome letter and one of many pages for photos 

Scavenger hunt tucked into a secret slot 

Map activity tucked into another

Best-of list tucked into a third

Special removable sticker showing our ports of call

Mike is nearing the 20,000 word mark on his novel and has established some key plot points and character interactions.  

We voted on Tuesday. The process of representative government rolls on. What is amazing and disturbing is the lack of civility we saw over the election on Facebook. Frankly, we hope for a return to a sensible center and view the partisan squabbling to be at least as problematic as the views of the extremist wings of either party. OK, stepping off the soap box.

Hallie had a teeny teeny part in helping a local woman who came to Michigan from her childhood home in New Jersey in her quest to send relief packages to those affected by the super storm.

We prepped the yards for the winter on Saturday. We burned some tree limbs in the fire pit that the fine people who cut the limbs off our front yard tree failed to clean up. Landon liked the campfire feel, and the neighbors enjoyed the old timey fall smell. We planted tulip bulbs in the front yard, so we hope for a major splash of color in the spring.

Time to show off some of the kids' handiwork:

Eliza’s last set of teeth are finally coming in. She is using more words and is quite the hard worker. She knows how to communicate what she wants with her new words, and she knows how to clean up and help with the chores around the house, just like her big brother. We continue to do battle with her over her pacifier vice. Of course, now that we know she's teething again, we're indulging her a little more. Here she is showing off a Minnie Mouse-themed knit hat: 

"Gimme my pacifier!" Note the mouse on the hat. 

Mike made beef stew in the crock pot this morning. This was a favorite Sunday meal of his growing up. By the time we got home, the nostalgic smell had filled the house. Yummo! Plus there are lots of leftovers!

We celebrated Veteren’s Day with poppies in lapels and prayers on behalf of those serving and returned from military service. We are grateful for their sacrifice on our behalf. 
Showing off her dress from Grandma and Grandpa at church

Monday, November 05, 2012

This Post is About Time (Updated)

Not a whole lot beyond the routine happened this week. We got some of Sandy’s winds and a little precipitation, but we experienced hardly anything compared with the hit taken by the East Coast. Even though we celebrated Halloween, we actually didn’t get many pictures taken.

Busy Butterfly

Together in Landon's preschool. He's the soldier in the middle.

UPDATE: There were more pics. On Monday, we carved a Jack O'Lantern. 

Landon drew the shapes for the eyes and mouth and did a great job helping to cut. We must have found a strange variety of pumpkin. It had a rind that was hard like wood.

In the end, as long as we could make straight cuts, it was enough.

Mike and his friend Aaron started writing novels on Thursday as part of the annual National Novel Writing Month challenge. Mike had originally read about the challenge as well as a similar one called the 3-Day Novel Contest a little over a year ago and was intrigued. Then this year he remembered too late about the latter, but he figured he could fit a little writing time each day over 30 days. At present it’s an exercise in throwing words at the screen and seeing what sticks. This is no prose masterpiece, but at least it’s a start.

The move to standard time should have given us an extra hour’s sleep. Not so with our little Eliza, who along with suffering from a cold sees the new 5:30 as her old 6:30.