Sunday, May 26, 2013

Creation, Graduation, and a Small Vacation

This was Landon’s last week of preschool, so we had plenty of activities relating to his moving on to big boy school. On Monday, he and Mike joined several kids and parents at Arts and Scraps, a local non-profit that encourages creativity through the use of recycled materials.

During Landon’s soccer game, Eliza decided to get into the action.

Hallie attended Landon’s last enrichment class on Tuesday. The kids showed off to their parents all the skills they have learned to get ready for kindergarten.

We got all dressed up on Wednesday to attend Landon’s graduation from Sunny Days. The kids performed some songs they had learned and gave their mommies thank you carnations. We feel so grateful to Ms. Audine and Ms. Mary. Landon has really benefited from all their loving work.

Compared to the other days this week, Thursday felt really low-key. After their late night the night before, the kids slept in. Hallie has been experiencing some pretty severe back pain for the last few weeks, so she finally got in to see the chiropractor for some relief. In the evening, she took the sister missionaries and some members of the branch to see Ziggy Ansah (the Detroit Lions’ first round draft pick from BYU) speak at Pres. Holmes’ last mission fireside.

We caught the kiddos in a rare moment of sibling harmony:
It was followed in short order with screaming and brandishing of weapons.

Last year for Memorial Day Weekend, we went up to Mackinac Island and discovered one of our favorite places on earth. While we hoped to come back for a full month this year, reality forced us to make more modest plans. We have made it back up this year, but we opted to stay in Mackinaw City and go over to the island each day of the weekend. We took our time on Friday, stopping for chicken dinner at Zehnder’s and popcorn at the Popcorn Wagon.

By the time we got to Mackinaw City, it was late enough to start getting the kids ready for bed. After a long day in the car, however, they had other plans. Let’s just say tears were shed, and not just by children.

We woke up early to bright sun on Saturday. The babies had migrated during the night. Maybe we expect more of ourselves and the kids than is reasonable, but they’re so amazing we forget they’re little ones sometimes. We had more ambitious plans for what we intended to do once we got to the island (i.e., walk the whole way around it), but we also had two little ones who are much more prone to wandering and stopping and climbing. We made it as far as Arch Rock (about a mile outside of town) before having a picnic and heading back. We did walk at least four or five miles all told, so we did get quite a bit of walking and riding in, just more of it in town than planned. 

(He was fine.)

After returning from the island after a long day of riding, Dad and the kids relaxed at the pool while Mom napped. Bedtime went somewhat better than last night, but we still ended up playing musical beds.

We made it up to the island earlier Sunday morning and took our activities at a more leisurely pace. We started with a carriage ride to some points of interest, including a butterfly pavilion, Arch Rock, and Fort Mackinac. We spent more time on the island doing less, which is as it should be. As Mike sat with Eliza sleeping in her stroller looking down the hill from the Grand Hotel, soaking up the clopping of the horses, the scent of the tulips and daffodils, and the cool kiss of the breeze, that beautiful sense of peace the island gives came just as it had last year.

The Grand Hotel from the carriage

Budding photographer

Arch Rock from the other side. Do you see the heart down in the water?

Once again, after returning from the island to the hotel, we played in the pool and then spent too much time trying to get the kids to settle down for bed.

You would think that after all the non-stop physical activity, the kids would be more than ready to crash. Not so. Yet another slowly learned lesson of parenting these rambunctious beasties.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Treats, Wheels, and Soft Places to Sleep

Here's a chunk of May happiness for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

Week of May 6-12

On Monday, Mike had his annual job review. Now it’s time to get his tenure packet in order. This next year is very important, because he either gets promotion and tenure or he’s out.

On Tuesday, we went to Eliza’s speech therapy and ran a couple of errands, including a stop at the Woodward Ave Candy Shop, which is closing its doors. We had to visit Jane one last time. She made Eliza’s cute first birthday cupcakes. Mike took the kids out to the back alley to get some sun and bike fun in. 

Hallie straightened Eliza’s hair in the evening. She sat very still. By the next morning, however, her curls had started coming back. Humidity, how we loathe thee at times.

Mike had a full day on campus Wednesday. Landon had a ball game, and he earned the game ball. Good on you, boy!

Now that we have finished painting the dining room, on Thursday we put it back together and added the bookcase we got at IKEA to use as the office storage/art center/school station. In a house our size, most rooms have to do double duty (at least), but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Friday after Mike took Eliza to her speech class, we got some flowers for Hallie for Mother’s Day. Eliza jumped up and down with excitement telling Mommy how we got her flowers. 

Later on, Landon and Eliza played in the back yard and practiced jumping their bikes in the back alley. 

Dad pulled dandelions and made them into food. 

We watched Meet the Robinsons and had Pizza Papalis.

Hallie had the opportunity to go back to Woodward Avenue Candy Shop's going out of business sale on Saturday, and she brought home some fun storage items. Landon had an 11:00 AM soccer game which we all attended. He likes being goalie and protect his “home.” For some reason, Eliza is obsessed with using the gross porta-john.

The kids continued raising the stakes as they jumped the ramps in the alley. 

We read that Pewabic Pottery had special commemorative Detroit Tigers tiles, and we managed to get one of the limited set of 200 just before they sold out. Quick thinking, Mom!  

The weather cooperated enough for Mother’s Day that we had marinated grilled steaks with the sister missionaries. A highlight of the day was being able to talk to Sister Evans. (P.S., Drop her a line! Look to the right of our blog for her address.)

Week of May 13-19

On Monday, Landon took a field trip to the fire department with his preschool class. His teachers told Hallie after school that Landon was very inquisitive and enjoyed the field trip.

Tuesday was a fun day. We took Landon to something called Kindergarten Transition. We thought it was to see the school and meet the teachers, but that was only a small part of the trip. He got to meet a teacher, and we saw a small part of the school. One of the teachers more or less tested him on what he knew, and she said he answered everything correctly!!!! Yay! Good for Landon.

While talking to Sister Evans on Mother’s Day, she said she would like to come live with us again for the couple of months before she goes back to school. We said, “Of course!” and then we thought, how are we going to get enough mattresses for everyone? Well, Heavenly Father has prepared a way for us to have her come. A friend in the Grosse Pointe Moms Club put out that she was moving and that she was selling a twin mattress set for a great price. So, Hallie jumped on it. The sister missionaries were kind enough to help transport the mattresses, and while at the home picking the mattress up, Hallie mentioned she just needed to find a full mattress. Well, wouldn’t you know it? The family had a spare full mattress and box spring needing a new home.

On Wednesday, Hallie and Dee went for pedicures, and it was so much fun to go out without the kids for a brief time. Mike took Eliza to her speech session at Barnes. While we waited for her appointment, we walked around outside the school. The blossoms on the trees are starting to fall, resulting in plenty of “popcorn” for making popcorn balls.

Hallie and Landon headed out to gymnastics, but they did not tell us it was cancelled. On the way back home, Landon went with Hallie to buy some good shoes to walk Mackinac Island for our upcoming Memorial Day weekend trip. The day ended with Landon playing in a baseball game.  

Over the past couple of nice afternoons, Mike took a time-out to go out with the kids to ride. Landon and Eliza are developing their skills at an amazing rate. 

Landon had a makeup gymnastics class on Friday. Afterwards, we changed things up a bit and had Baja Fresh with our movie night of Kung Fu Panda.

We celebrated Hallie’s birthday on Saturday. Landon played another baseball game. His coach said the boys played their best game so far. Afterwards, we had breakfast with Dee, Jim, and Elisabeth at a local restaurant named Harry’s. 

The kids showed their skills off to Elisabeth and her folks in the back alley. We sent Eliza and Hallie upstairs for naps after Mike set up Eliza’s new bed, and the boys finished Friday’s movie. Mike took Hallie out for dinner and dessert while Katelyn babysat the kiddos.

We seem to have moved quickly from winter to summer temperatures. On Sunday after church, we had cannoli pie and leftover barbecue. Mike relented and let the kids play outside. It got warm enough upstairs in the house that the kids had a hard time going down, so we finally turned on the A/C for a little bit.