Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bring on Spring Already!

On Monday we felt optimistic that the real spring weather had finally arrived. In fact, we felt so sure that we got out the bikes and went out for a spin. Good thing we did, because the rest of the week only offered occasional reprieves from clouds, rain, and even some snow.
From coaster bike . . .

. . . to Razor scooter. She may be ready for a pedal bike by summer's end. 

Later on, Mike took the kids to a Dad’s Night Out at Landon’s preschool. The three of them ate cookies, built block towers, and completed an art project together while Mom got a well-deserved break.

She really is enjoying this.

Tuesday the blustery weather set back in. Fortunately, we had some indoor plans for the kids. While Hallie went to the dentist (the hygienist LOVED her teeth), Mike took both kids to Landon’s preschool field trip. They went to a veterinary hospital and learned all about how the vet and her staff care for sick animals. Landon had a blast playing with his take home bag.

Afterwards, Hallie came by and picked up Landon so he could get a haircut. Landon cleans up well, and you sure noticed a different when his hair was cut.
Our little Man of Steel

Wednesday found Hallie starting the day early. Eliza has had a bit of a hard time sleeping through the night, so when she came crawling into bed with us, Hallie went downstairs. She ended up falling back asleep. Good thing Mike woke up and thought to go down and see if Hallie had gone to work! She made it on time. Of course, then Mike fell back asleep himself, and Eliza ended up following him down an hour later, in time for him to get everyone ready for school.

Landon learned about the earth at school. 

We were a bit relieved when speech was canceled so we could have a bit of downtime at home before the rest of the day continued. The weather was slightly better, and after gymnastics Sara called for the kids to come and play. The moms kicked them into the backyard while they had some mom time in the house. The best part of Sara’s house is being able to watch the kids from any window in the kitchen. The evening came and Mike had his first elders quorum presidency meeting while everyone else turned in early.

Thursday started off quite boring but ended with a bang (or several). The daffodils have finally come out in all their glory to join the crocuses. 

Messing with the safety flags at the kids' ongoing excavation. 

Hallie tried taking a nap while Eliza slept, but Landon was not about to let that happen. Every few minutes he wanted to show her something or tell her something. The kids thought they could get into mom's good graces by bringing her flowers. Dad's flowers from the garden. The ones that have just finally bloomed. Good thing we have several. 

We had crazy weather that evening too, so Landon thought he should sleep with us until the thunder and lightning disappeared. Here are the clouds as Mike saw them from his office: 

Friday ended up pretty routine as well. Eliza learned about dinosaurs, and Landon learned about the stars in the sky.

On Saturday morning we got some help from the sister missionaries for our dining room painting project. They helped Hallie while Mike made sure the kids stayed out of the way. Later, Hallie took a shift at work, and Mike and the kids joined her by going over to the pool. Eliza and Landon both are really getting brave about going into the water, so we look forward to the kids becoming water babies over the summer.

Here’s a parting shot of Eliza dressed up for church. She looks like a little flamenco dancer. She called herself a dancerina. Looks like she has taken inspiration from Olivia and Fancy Nancy, characters from two of her favorite books. 

Hallie introduced the kids to Scooby-Doo, and they’re hooked. Skeptical reasoning coupled with slapstick, Scooby Snacks, and meddling kids. What’s not to love? 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Major Milestones and Sweet Successes

It's a three-peat! Another two weeks have zoomed by. Good thing there's Facebook. Anyway, here's a summary of how we have spent the first part of April:

April 1-7

We enjoyed having a week where the kids could sleep in some. Thank you Easter Bunny for the needed break. By the end of the week, Landon had fallen back into a new morning routine. Oops! 

After months of struggling with her old phone, Hallie finally got to change her phone to a new working model on April Fool’s Day Monday. The amount of time it took to upgrade should have been considered an April Fools joke. Both she and Mike upgraded. Smartphones. Are. Mind-blowing. Hallie still can't get over the fact the guy told her it had a dual core processor in it. That is a computer for crying out loud!

Here is a picture of Eliza, one of the first Hallie took with the new phone's camera. Little did Eliza know that the bottle she was holding would be among her last. It wasn’t by design. Maybe the face she was pulling means she knew something was around the corner.

We had been told several times by Eliza's speech therapists that she needed to stop using pacifiers. Really it was so nice and easy to have them to put her to bed with, but Eliza liked to use the pacifiers more than just at bedtime, and thus her speech was being affected by the use. On Tuesday morning before Eliza, Landon, and Hallie headed on their weekly trek to see Miss Christina, Hallie said to Eliza that we should take her paci's to Miss Christina, and Eliza said yes to this idea. Hallie wondered if she really understood. But, what the heck? We will try it. The Easter Bunny gave Eliza a little purse, and she filled it with her paci's. When the trio arrived at speech, Eliza handed the contents of her purse to Miss Christina. Christina proceeded to tell Eliza she was a big girl, that she did not need her pacis anymore, and that she needed to give them to some baby bunnies who needed them, and that was that. She has asked about them several times since them, but we just keep distracting her. 

In addition to ending her love affair the bottle and pacifier, Eliza decided on Thursday to start potty training, a day earlier than the three-day potty training weekend we had planned for her. Hallie had received an e-book from a lady she knows outlining a technique that trains kids in three days. According to the author, you can potty train a child in three days any time after 22 months. At 26 months, Eliza definitely was ready, and we had successfully potty trained her with hardly any accidents by the end of the weekend. One of the parts of this method is no drink two hours before bed, and this helped facilitate the ending of her bottles. Sweet!!! It has now been 11 days and she has done AMAZING!!!! Even going out in public with no accidents.
Dancing queen of Sam's Club

Hallie started a new Monday-Wednesday-Friday work schedule, and we have had to get a little more creative about child care and family time. Weather permitting, Mike has successfully sent the kids outdoors while he works.

Once Mom gets home, the kids love to pamper her:
Cut and style by appointment

On Saturday and Sunday, we watched LDS General Conference. Or rather, we tried to watch Conference. The kids are still a little young to expect to sit through so many hours of church, so we changed things up for them as we could. Sometimes this involved getting creative with technology, outdoor activity, and sporting equipment. We adults managed to get some good insights, and we’re grateful for DVRs and Internet archives to help us catch up on what we missed.
Swiiiing, batter! Landon's first day of baseball practice. The coach said he had a strong swing.

Brethren, bikes, baseball, and briefs. That's how we roll.

April 8-14

This week started with some fun as we took the sister missionaries to Macy’s 2nd Monday at the Henry Ford Museum. Eliza successfully managed her first major trip out since starting potty training, and we all learned about things made in Michigan. Hallie loves having sister missionaries in our area. She has tried to go out twice with them with both appointments cancelling. The kids love the missionaries even more. These sister missionaries are go getters and are not afraid to share the gospel. 
Learning history with Sisters Decker and Beaty

"Your brakes are shot. That'll be $400."

She insisted on trying Dad's vinegar dressing. Twice. 

Here’s a little late Easter love on Wednesday.

Mike and a few of his colleagues all have birthdays at around the same time, so the secretaries got them cupcakes to celebrate when he was in the office on Thursday. Mike’s secretary saved some for him to bring home to the kids, so he was very popular. Unfortunately, the kids should not have been up quite so late, but what do you do when they’re so cute?

On Friday after taking Eliza to Play-and-Say, Mike took her to Lowe’s to get some paint in preparation for a planned sprucing-up of the dining room. In the afternoon, the sister missionaries helped Hallie with a project in the basement, and then afterwards we all celebrated with pizza and decadent chocolate birthday cake. Score, Hallie!

We spent the day Saturday celebrating Mike’s birthday with gifts in the morning, time playing with the kids, a little work (couldn’t be helped), and a trip to IKEA for more items for the dining room. Our friends Dee and Jim took the kids, so Mike and Hallie got the evening to themselves and the kids had tons of fun: Everybody wins! Thanks!
"We want to help!"

Time to get out the tent and test this out!

Try not to tell Dad everything he's getting.

Look closely: it's a key chain that's a wee belt buckle. A key chain. That's a BELT BUCKLE!

By midday, the kids were climbing the walls, just because they can.

And then, of course, there’s the morning after the party. . . .