Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mid-Winter Break

Landon and Eliza had the week off from school. We did go up to Landon’s school because we had a parent-teacher conference for Landon at Sunny Days. He has made great progress over the past several months:
September assessment: Not too shabby

February assessment: He's learning things! 

He explained that this is a picture of him as a robot. Very cool.

Someone likes s'mores by the campfire! 

Updated wall of fame
 Eliza seems to be heading in the same direction as her brother academically. She has really caught on to speaking and technology, apparently:
Eliza the multitasker: Yogurt in one hand, iPad in the other.  

Later in the afternoon, Hallie worked at the Neighborhood Club gym. Mike took the kids over and shot hoops with them. Landon experienced his first jammed finger (or was it bent back? We’re not sure); we’re just glad he didn’t break it.

The kids went to their first yoga class at the library down the block on Tuesday. Om. They liked it a lot. 

After gymnastics on Wednesday Hallie and the kids headed over to Dee and Elizabeth’s house to play. They were there a long time and the kids had separating anxiety upon leaving. Dee sent Hallie home with an amazing amount of clothes for Eliza. Eliza, is truly a little diva when it comes to clothes.
Hallie was carrying on Friday afternoon about all the great hand-me-downs we got from our friend Dee. "Eliza's sweater has horses!" Two very happy people in our home today. Well, three if you count the boy with the indoor swing there in the background. Yes, we have an indoor swing. And an indoor trampoline. And several inches of snow (outside). The kids better be happy.

Since Dee has had the kids over to her house twice, we thought it was about time to invite them over. The kids had the run of the house while the moms chatted. Elizabeth loved the fact that Landon had a swing in the house. We promised her she could come again so she could have more time to swing. Since they own a boat I am sure we can work out a fair trade. Sick Mike attempted to work from his corner office (corner of the master bedroom dresser, that is). Working from home has its perks in that he taught class online from home this week.   

When Hallie headed to work on Friday at 4:30 AM there was no snow. By the time the rest of the family woke up, it had snowed at least a couple of inches. Mike had to take the kids out driving in it (less by choice than by necessity), and the snow and ice tested his winter driving skills. Everyone made it home fine, and the kids got to spend some play time in the snow. Hallie took the kids to Landon’s basketball practice in the evening. Eliza is a big hit with the moms and the older kids who have to wait for the younger ones to finish practice.

Then came Saturday. Somehow this week Mike’s body decided that it was time to rebel. It took a couple more days early in the week to get over the flu early in the week, and then on Saturday he developed a sudden migraine shortly after waking up. Mike has only started experiencing migraines in the last couple of years, so he’s still learning the warning signs. On Saturday, it was an unusual sensitivity to the bright morning light. Hallie graciously took on the unexpected responsibility to take both kids to Landon’s basketball game (remember she has the nickname little tornado for a reason) and on errands while Mike curled up in a ball in bed. One of the errands Hallie took the kids with her on was to get the car appraised to see how much a dealership would give her to sell them the van. Unfortunately, it was a big waste of their time. This learning how to sell a used car is all a big learning experience for Hallie, and she appreciates getting to how this process works.

When Hallie and the kids finally got home, they played a new game Landon invented. He decided it would be fun to make his white socks into balls and have snowball fights with Hallie. They had a blast, and at one point Hallie and Eliza almost fell off the bed. Mike had no idea what was happening, just that laughing and pure joy was coming from Landon’s room. What a beautiful sound!

The two kids have been getting along great lately. Eliza is Landon’s little shadow. We made her crib into a toddler bed today, and it was fun to watch them both lay on the bed with covers on and then get up to chase each other and then hop back into the bed. Whatever tricks Landon does on the trampoline in his room, the same goes for Eliza. He even got her to repeat the words, “Hop on!” over and over as he tried to get her to ride on his back while he was on all fours. Every time she fell off, she landed laughing. We are so blessed to have two of the most amazing children. One of Landon’s favorite sayings to Hallie most nights before bed is, “I love you more than you will ever know.” As she checks on him when she goes to bed, she repeats the same thing to him and kisses him good night.

Both kids start swim lessons this week, thanks to Grandma and Grandpa O., at the Neighborhood Club where Hallie works. We can’t wait to see the progress they will make over the next four weeks. Eliza will be sporting the new swimsuit and cover up Grandma and Grandpa M. got her for her birthday. Look for a picture to follow next week. Baseball signups happened this last week as well. From what Hallie has been able to gather, baseball is a serious sport here in the Pointes. We look forward to see what this new adventure and season holds for our family.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Medical and Health Adventures

Mike's fighting a mild case of the flu (hah!), so we're just going to give you the quick-and-dirty version of events this week. 
Sunday: Landon took candids. Some turned out not-too-bad! 

Self-portrait of the artist as a young man. 
Monday: Mike took Landon and Eliza to karate. She was Little Miss Busy going all over the place. She can tucker her old man out! He thought he took pictures, but if he did, they're nowhere to be found. 

Tuesday: Eliza had her two-year well visit. She is at 50th percentile all around.
Can't resist the curly locks! 

Wednesday: Valentine's Day party at Sunny Days. The kids played out in the muddy back yard and had a grand old time. Afterwards, Mike made sure they took a long shower to warm up and clean off the grime. He also put a lot of stain remover on the white clothes he let the kids play in, and the clothes came out just fine. No harm, no foul! 

Eliza got to join in for singing time. She is so ready to play with the big kids! 

Playing in the infamous sand pit 

"What d'ya mean, 'It's cold out'?"  

Thursday: Valentine's Day breakfast at Mack Avenue Grill. Hallie had a doctor's appointment.
The kids love using their electric toothbrushes. Who knew?

Friday: Hallie needed to have a scope of her insides done, so Mike took her to the clinic while Dee, the mom of Landon's classmate Elisabeth had a play date. Mike took the kids to basketball practice while Hallie recuperated at home. 

Saturday: Mike woke up feeling crummy. Hallie took Landon to his basketball game while Mike watched Eliza at home. After they got home, unexpected snow set in. It wasn't much, but the flakes came down in these amazing puffy giant cotton-ball puffs.

Sunday: Mike was definitely sick, so he stayed home from church with Eliza and gave her the run of the house (he's only partially kidding). Earlier in the week, we had been invited to go see Chinese acrobats perform at Wayne State, and Mike had planned to take Landon. Hallie took Landon instead, and they got fourth row seats right next to the Mexican consul and his son. Landon said he had a great time watching the performers fly through the air. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

She's Not a Baby Anymore

Mike was the working parent at Landon’s preschool, where we learned all about dinosaurs and the prehistoric world. Afterwards, Landon went to his classmate Peter’s house. He missed out on karate because he placed his gi (uniform) in a backpack to bring it in last week, and we all forgot where it was. It was so well-hidden, we practically had to turn the house upside down to find it. Maybe we bought him a ninga gi by mistake!

Now that Hallie gets up early two days a week to work at the Neighborhood Club, Mike runs the morning breakfast-and-out-the-door show. While it can sometimes get chaotic, it generally goes well, and Landon and Mike get some time to visit and have interesting conversations. For instance, Landon asked Mike on Tuesday, “What makes boys and girls different?” Rather than answering the question with the obvious, Mike ask him back, “What do you think?” After a bit of thought, Landon replied, “They have different (in a whisper) . . . Toys.” Smart kid, our son. Talented, too:

We had a snow day on Friday. Where we live, though, we didn’t get hit very hard. Hallie was treated to a peaceful winter wonderland on her way to the Neighborhood club, and Mike and the kids got to play in the snow.

We had gnarly icicles form on the south side of the house.

Knocking them down. Crash! "Look out below!"

Some spikes measured three feet long and more!

Icicles taste yummy! 

The melting and refreezing ice coated the bottom of the house in a shiny layer. Hallie thought she had broken the glass door at the side of the house when she tried to open it, but she only cracked the clear layer of ice that had formed on the door.  

Landon played basketball and had team pictures.

The week’s big highlight, of course, was Eliza’s second birthday. 

We don’t have a wee baby in the house anymore. Sad! She’s becoming a little chatterbox and a little girl. 
One Month

One year

And two years. Her bear keeps shrinking. How odd! 

Our very own little Belle

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Another Week of Rhythmic Routines

Monday we had a bit of an issue with the rise then drop then rise of the temperature that resulted in our basement getting a little weepy. Fortunately everything is up on pallets, so it was more an inconvenience than anything. We have to clear out the snow as it melts between our house and our neighbors’ because if it pools, that’s when we get the leaks. Hallie and Mike used their snow shovels and broom to sweep the muddy water out to the street, and then the basement went back to a tear-free and dry state.

Mike has ended up taking some of the morning errands that Hallie used to do now that Hallie is working. Some of these errands are fun, like taking Landon to school and Eliza to gymnastics. On Wednesday, he helped Eliza go through her routines at the gym, which meant that he got his own workout chasing her from the trampoline to the bars to the balance beam to the foam cube pit. Phew! This won't be a regular thing though, because as of Wednesday afternoon we found out that Eliza's new speech class will conflict with gymnastics. Hopefully we can find something again for her in the future since she seemed to really like it.

After Mike finished work Thursday night, he joined Hallie and the kids at St. Joan of Arc School in St. Clair Shores. Too bad it’s so far away (and the tuition is out of our reach). We still have given the idea serious thought because they offer half-day kindergarten with the option of transitioning to full-day once the child seems ready. Grosse Pointe Public School District is talking about making half-day kindergarten available, but now we’re on the fence about it. We really wish they would have just kept the option available last year, and the district’s handling of the situation is why we’re weighing other options before glibly diving right into sending Landon to the local school. After all, if the district was unresponsive to parent input about the half-day option last year, why should we think they will do more than offer symbolic lip service when another issue comes up?

Eliza received her speech evaluations this week, and she is making great progress. She now uses cute little two and three word sentences. A few highlights: “ten cue” (thank you), “beep beep” (move, please), “my turn,” “I sit,” and (after she climbs up on the bar stool and has her hands in the candy jar) “hewwo!” (hello). Every time we hear her talk or say new words you want to pick her up and kiss her cute face.

One day this week after pickup at preschool, Hallie stayed to talk to Dee, the mom of another child in Landon’s class. Hallie and Dee enjoy chatting, and the kids enjoy playing. As the moms continued to babble on, the kids found snow/ice to throw at each other. When it was time to go Landon said he had the most fun ever. How fun it is to know that all it takes is an empty parking lot and some snow to make the kids so very happy!

Speaking of simple things that make kids happy: