Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Kids Never Let the Cold Keep Them from Growing Too Fast

We did not let the single digit temperatures get us down this week. On Monday’s MLK Day holiday, Hallie took the kids to Extreme Gymnastics, where Sunny Days Preschool had scheduled a field trip activity for the students and their siblings who had the day off from school. Landon took the chance to show off his mad skills to all of his friends, and Eliza was thoroughly amazed at finally having a turn to run around the floor herself. After she had a blast for an hour, we decided to enroll her in a Parent and Kid class while Landon is at preschool.

Completing a standing overhead flip. Yikes!

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday brought three days of speech for Eliza. Tuesday we saw Miss Christina, and Eliza is continually improving. We love Kaufman and are so amazed at her improvements there. Wednesday Miss Julie from the school came to do her regular visit. After Christmas, Eliza did not get back into that routine quite as well as Kaufman, but now that it has been nearly a month it is getting back to normal. Thursday Eliza spent time with Miss Nancy, the speech therapist at the school. When Eliza turns two next month she will be going to the school for speech instead of them coming to the house. Hallie thinks it will be better for all involved once that happens. It will be interesting once we get the results back to see what Nancy has to say about Eliza’s progress.

We celebrated our 14th anniversary Wednesday with dinner at Fishbones. Thanks, Jenn, for being an awesome visiting teacher and babysitting for us! Dinner was super delicious, and Hallie for once picked what the waiter thought was the amazing dish: the Chicken Florentine (Mike always seems to pick the winners when we go out). Mike picked the gumbo and jambalaya. He preferred the gumbo, but both were yummy. It’s hard to believe that 14 years ago we were just two young(ish) kids all twitterpated over being newlyweds. Fortunately, this was in the days before digital photography was commonplace, so we won’t torture you with pics from back in the day.   

Eliza’s hair is getting long enough that we can French braid it. She is also getting independent enough that she can climb out of the crib, turn on her light, and find a book to read. She will sometimes climb back into her crib, but she didn’t on Tuesday. This is not the first time this has happened, and so a big girl bed is right around the corner. Yikes! Where has the time gone?

Hamming it up. They make each other laugh all the time! 

Good night, sleepyhead!

She also has gotten comfortable enough using the potty that she will not only remove her clothes and diaper, but when she went “Number 2,” she also (almost) succeeded at wiping. Hallie was at work, so Mike got to deal with the almost part. She still routinely has accidents when wearing underwear, so she’s not quite ready for prime time. That’s just fine; we’re not in a rush. Our little baby is becoming a little girl more and more each day.

We attended a Kindergarten information meeting at our local elementary school on Thursday evening. The two of us grown-ups responded a little differently to the idea of Landon finally going to school. Mom definitely is not ready to see Landon doing all the advanced activities the teachers described kindergarteners doing already, and Dad is excited to see him starting new adventures. For both of us, it’s bittersweet. Our little boy is becoming a big boy more and more each day. His preschool teachers say he is quite ready, but Hallie loves having her buddy at home with her during the day when they can do special things together.

On Saturday, we went to Landon’s first basketball game. The pace of the game seems better for him than soccer (less standing around). He’s getting the hang of dribbling and passing and shooting. It was fun hearing his name called at the start of the game on the loudspeaker with the spotlights as if he were playing in the NBA. He received a red star at the end of the game for defense. Love this league! Eliza did remarkably well for having to watch for an hour.

Little League sign-ups have started as well, and Landon said he wanted to do baseball again this year. We find joy watching him excel at so many sports. He’s also showing off his smarts. He came up with some inventions this week of his own using the swing in his room, and he started drawing what he calls “blueprints” in one of Mike’s composition books.

Sunday found us watching some ice skating on TV. Eliza loves to dance whenever she hears music, and when she saw the dancers on ice, she just had to join in!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Trip to the Museum, Haircuts, and Sports

We took the children to the Henry Ford Museum for Macy’s Second Monday. We have not taken as many opportunities to attend the museum since Landon has started preschool, so this was a good chance to see recent changes to the exhibits. We spent a lot of time in the LEGO Architecture traveling exhibit:

Eliza spent a lot of time creating her own objects. Guess it's time to break out her own sets at home! 

The intense concentration!

This O was surprisingly flimsy. Mike went into fits trying to get it to stay together.

Our little neighborhood

One of the updated exhibits: A dollhouse decorated for the holidays

Obligatory corn harvester shot

Driving America exhibit

Budding mechanics

"North, south, east, or west, Michigan is a treasure house of happy vacation hours." So true!  

Landon won a sparring match in karate class, and Eliza insisted on joining in the fun.

Landon and Mike got well-needed haircuts late in the week, and Hallie got her hair done too. Only Eliza has kept her glorious wavy mane intact.

Eliza is making great progress in speech and is starting to become a little chatterbox. Also, she has already learned how to walk in heels. 

Now that Disney movies are on Netflix, we have watched a couple. They also have documentaries on the different parks and attractions, including the Disney Cruise Line. We watched for nostalgia's sake. Big mistake. Now we're homesick to go on another cruise!  

Mike read an interesting article about happiness, joy, and their relationship to living a meaningful life. Good stuff, and worth a read. 

Hallie worked several days this week. Thank heavens the kids don't seemed phased by this transition. Mike is pulling a big load. As a family, we are grateful for his hard work to keep the home progressing. This week we celebrate our 14th anniversary. Every day is a miracle in our family, and we are so blessed to be a wonderful family of four.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Big Five Hundred

We got into the blogging game a little late (back in October 2004), and we never have learned to make money off of it or get a bunch of readers (probably because we never made it our goal to do so). What we have done, especially over the last five years or so, is chronicle the goings-on of our little family, hopefully entertaining you, gentle reader, along the way. This week’s entry, number 500(!), is more of the same week-to-week nonsense that keeps our life lively. Enjoy!

Monday was Landon’s first day back to school after a month of being away. He really loves school, and we are so thankful for his teachers at Sunny Days. Later, Hallie went to see a rheumatologist, and he didn’t tell her anything too much different from what she already knew. Hopefully, the x-rays they took will show something that explains why her knees cause her so many problems. We ended our day with Landon going to Karate. While we were out of town, others in his class tested for a new belt. (Hallie hasn’t been reading all the stuff sent home, so this was new news to us.) During class the instructor got Hallie’s attention just in time to show her Landon stomping and breaking his first board. How exciting it was to see him succeed at such a fun skill! Now Landon has a white belt with a yellow strip and is happy to show you his broken board.

He also went to the doctor for his five-year-old well visit (just a little late). He’s at 50th percentile for his height and 75th for his weight. Judging by his six pack, it’s all muscle (Mike is seeking to learn from the boy how to accomplish the same feat).

We have had an unusually mild few days of weather and have had to resort to sledding on the sidewalk. Thanks Sara for the great sled! Landon told us he’s going to start praying for snow so he can use it for reals.

Landon ended the week starting a new season of basketball. He’s excited to wear his first tank top jersey. We look forward to seeing him on the court once games start!

Hallie started work this week at the Neighborhood Club, and she’s still getting used to the early morning hours. It didn’t help that on Friday morning we had had a brownout and she slept through the time her alarm should have gone off. It all ended well, though, and Hallie is even going to get more hours next week. This means Mike has taken on more time with Eliza in the mornings. The two of them enjoy the personal time together and have made efforts to get out and about the neighborhood.

Going on morning walks with Dad

Cute painted toesies (Hallie painted these. Mike dresses her up and does her hair, but that's where it stops.)

Eliza got back into her speech and language therapy this week with a visit from Miss Julie and play time at Barnes School. Hallie added some additions to her kitchen so she could continue amazing us with her imaginative play. She loves to play house, put her baby to bed, talk on the phone, and draw and write on her little note pad. But what she most loves to do is dance! When she hears lively music, her body can’t help but move to the rhythm.

Until we get real snow, we’ll go with a few of this winter’s crops of paper snowflakes (both real and virtual thanks to Make-a-Flake) Mike cut. No shoveling required. Apparently we’ll get the real stuff again soon enough.
You can see more here

At the end of the week we received word that Great-grandma Hazel was gravely ill and had passed away. While we have only known Hazel for a few years, we will miss her, and we have mementos of her to warm our hearts (and soles, too!), thanks to Christmas packages that arrived recently.
Thank you, Grandma Hazel! Rest in peace. 

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Jumping into the New Year

This last week we did not do a whole lot. We sent the kids outside a time or two to play in the snow, but it has been a rather cold week. Although they have been confined in the house, it has been fun to see Landon and Eliza starting to play together more often. The love to wrestle, jump on the trampoline in Landon’s room, play with a dollhouse and kitchen set Eliza received, and even sit still long enough to watch part of a movie or book. What a happy mom and dad we are to see them showing love for each other! We can promise you though that every rose has a thorn. Give them 20 minutes or so, and someone will be crying because of a bite, a trip, or a stolen toy. That makes them a perfect matched set.

Seriously, they're enjoying each other. And lest you think all they do is wrestle, they do have their moments of civil play:

We rang in the New Year in pretty low-key style at home. Landon stayed up really late (for him). Mike woke Hallie up at midnight just to ring in the year. She woke up the following morning with severe pain in her knees that continued for several days. On Wednesday afternoon Hallie ended up at Urgent Care for what the doctor told her was bronchitis. This coming Monday she is going to a rheumatologist to see if they can tell her what was wrong with her knees. With compression bandages, ice, and Motrin, by Sunday morning all the pain and swelling had gone from her knees.

Eliza discovered the concept of hide and seek this week. Mike was working at his new office space in the grown-ups' bedroom, and he heard her calling "Mami! Mami!" (Lately she calls both of the parents Mommy. Who knows why? She was calling Mike this time.) So he went into her room to look for her and heard her giggling like she'd played a neat trick on him. After a couple of seconds, he realized that she had  found out that she could close herself into her kitchen sink:
She was so full of her clever little self!

On Saturday we went to the Grosse Pointe Neighborhood Club to check out Hallie’s new place of employment. Lots of people came to see the new building and its facilities. We look forward to trying them out ourselves! We then headed over to Honey Bee Market, a great supermarket in Mexicantown. They have all kinds of great things to buy, and this time Mike even brought home some sugar cane. Landon thought it was quite fun to taste what cane sugar is. Hallie has been on a hunt for these great colorful banners we have seen in Mexico, and with Mike’s great Internet search skills he found what they are called (papel picado: perforated or punched paper). While in Mexicantown we found them at Xochi’s Gift Shop, and now the banners are put away until Eliza’s 2nd birthday, which is just right around the corner.