Sunday, December 29, 2013

Making Christmas Memories

We celebrated Christmas with fun, friends, and food. We even managed to help the children reflect on the celebration of Christ's birth and the spirit of giving. Mostly, though, they just played with toys and ate really rich food. 

Monday, December 23 – Everyone had the week off from school and work. We took the sister missionaries to the Henry Ford. Hallie and Landon got separated from the rest of us for a while, but we eventually all reunited around the Wienermobile.  

While Hallie and Landon went to gymnastics in the evening, Mike introduced Eliza to the Nutcracker. She was first transfixed and then inspired to try dancing for herself. 

Tuesday, December 24 – We hung out at home on the day before Christmas and got food ready for tomorrow. We got the family festivities started in the afternoon with gifts from the Doreys, including pajamas for the kids from Ucluelet, British Colombia, where Aunt Kira worked last summer. Perfect! We had a family activity where we talked about the gifts we could give to Jesus for His birthday, and it turned out pretty well.   

Wednesday, December 25 – Christmas morning broke bright and early for Hallie. The kids actually slept in after a relatively late bedtime the night before. 

We opened up stockings with gifts left from Santa: a remote control car for Landon, and a doll for Eliza. Landon was thrilled that his gift was “just what I always wanted!” 

Then we got ready with last minute breakfast preparations. The monkey bread went a little wild, but everything turned out well in the end. We had the elders and Otto and his mom over, and they told stories of Christmas celebrations at home.

After breakfast, we opened a few more gifts, including another remote control car and another doll. Apparently Santa should have brought the other car, a Finn McMissile complete with missile-firing action. Regardless, Landon kept himself well-occupied. Eliza was less interested in her gifts and more interested in the idea of unwrapping gifts, although she seems to like playing mommy to her new little girl.

We had an early dinner with our friend Nathaniel and the sister missionaries, indulging in lots of yummy dishes. Afterwards, the sisters each Skyped with their families, and the kids chatted with their grandparents. Before everyone got too cranky, we sent the kiddos to bed to sleep off all the day’s excitement.

Thursday, December 26 – We don’t formally celebrate Boxing Day, but we did have a pleasantly low-key day at home. The flurries we had yesterday morning blossomed into real snow today, but it mostly just covered things up in a light blanket of white. We chatted some with Grandma and Grandpa D while the kids played for a little bit in the white stuff before coming back in to play with Legos.

Later in the day, Eliza came up to us saying she was carrying the baby Jesus. Cute!

Landon amused himself and Fergus with his new yo-yo. Mike amused himself making tessellations with the kids’ math pattern blocks.

Friday, December 27 – We lost track of what day of the week it was. We worked out at the Y in the morning then ran a few errands before coming home. In the afternoon, the kids went back to building towers and such.

Saturday, December 28 – Mike took Landon to gymnastics in the morning. We look forward to him going to a more advanced class starting next year.

While we were at Bryce and Elise’s, Landon discovered Emerson’s Transformers. Mike had mentioned that he had some from when he was a kid, and he said that Landon could have them to play with. Today, Landon reminded Mike of that promise, so (as if he didn’t have new enough Christmas toys already) Mike took Landon down to the basement to get a Transformer (Grimlock, a tyrannosaurus rex) of his own. He has pretty well played with it non-stop for a full day.

Diamond had some welcome surprise news in the form of airfare to Salt Lake so she can go back to school. This means that our planned road trip is canceled for the time being.

In the evening, Diamond watched the kids while Mike and Hallie went on a date to Rojo at Partridge Creek. He got her a butterfly charm as encouragement in her weight loss journey.

This print called to Mike, but at about $250, Mike ignored it. 

Sunday, December 29 – We’re taking in the sun and warmer temperatures in advance of an expected cold snap next week. Hallie has slept poorly for the last few days and had severe neck pain yesterday and today. Diamond and Eliza have also had colds, so Eliza stayed home with Mom.  

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Wending Our Way to Christmas Break

We spent the week gearing up for Christmas and the kids' breaks from school. Mike finally got all the indoor decorations put up, so at least the inside of the house looks somewhat festive. 

Monday, December 16 – The kids started the last week before vacation by bringing home holiday crafts they made at school. Mike spent the first few days grading papers and putting the semester to bed.

"Run, run as fast as you can! You can't catch me. I'm the Gingerbread Man!"

Tuesday, December 17 – Landon decided he’d like to hang out at home for a bit. Mike wants him to take up rock climbing.

Wednesday, December 18 – Hallie and Diamond attended an exercise class as part of Hallie’s preparation for her bariatric surgery. In preparation for Landon’s class party on Friday, they made goodies in the evening. 

Thursday, December 19 – We had Nadia over after her preschool. While the kids were in school, Hallie took Diamond to a hair appointment, and she got her tresses rehabilitated and done up naturally. We took Landon out early instead of having him stay to watch a movie at school for his monthly positive behavior support activity. We’re kind of torn. We want him to behave well, but we’re not really into having movies at school. We’ll probably mellow out, but we planned an activity on Saturday as a reward for Landon instead. In the evening, Hallie took Diamond to the monthly mission fireside. Diamond met Elder Tripp, who is from her old mission and is serving out here.

Friday, December 20 – Both kids had activities at their schools today, so we all joined in on the fun. Later on, Hallie had Activity Days at church. She had called Mike earlier in the day asking if we had a saw. We do. Mike did not ask why the saw was needed. Had he known, he would have also said he did not have the needed sawhorse or C-clamps to hold the wood Hallie brought home in place. Regardless, he was able to saw the pieces Hallie needed with Landon’s help. In the end, Hallie and the kids from Primary made little painted sculptures of baby Jesus with Mary and Joseph.

Saturday, December 21 – Hallie babysat in the morning, and Mike forgot to take Landon to gymnastics. Landon nonetheless busily occupied himself hammering nails into the scrap wood from Hallie’s Activity Days project. We went to American Coney Island and the "Watch Me Move" Animation Exhibition at the DIA in the afternoon to reward Landon for good behavior at school in lieu of the movie they had on Thursday.

Exactly one year ago today we were cruising and dining on the Mayan Coast. Good thing the world didn't end! 

Finally! Something the kids can put their hands on. Please don't break it!

Watching classic Loonie Tunes and Merrie Melodies in the ornate Detroit Film Theatre

There's something special about seeing "What's Opera, Doc?" on the big screen!
Sunday, December 22 – Mike took Diamond out to Bloomfield Hills to make her missionary report to the stake high council. Then they trekked back through the somewhat less icy roads back to church. Hallie and Diamond made Café Zupa's Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup, perfect for a chilly day that looks to start an icy Christmas week. Brr!