Sunday, October 27, 2013

Birthday Boy and Fall Photos

Just a short post this week (gotta get ready for Hallowe'en Nights at Greenfield Village tonight! Pics to follow). Landon celebrated his birthday with cupcakes, and we had photos taken at Van Hoosen Farm. We’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking. Enjoy!  

First, Landon's birthday, with presents, . . .

. . . warm wishes from family and friends, . . .

and cupcakes!
Shrek ears are an added feature.

Halloween is just around the corner, . . .
Thanks, Granny O., for the fun and funny cards! 
 . . . with creepy critters . . .

and Jack O'Lanterns at school.

We ended the week with a photo shoot up in Rochester amid fabulous fall foliage . . .

. . . ice cream at Oberweiss, . . .

. . . and a party at our church.

And then, there's Fergus:
"Just give me a warm lap, and I'm happy."

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Everything's Better with Cheesecake

A lot of our mental and emotional energy this week was spent on the kids. Or rather, more energy than usual, some good and some bad. Some weeks are like that. We did get cheesecake from the new Cheesecake Factory in the area, so that helped quite a bit. . . .

Monday, October 14 – Landon went to see Sandra at Kaufman Children’s Center in the morning. Mike presented as part of a technology panel at a faculty brown bag. Afterwards, he chaired a dissertation defense. Hallie took Gina to a local urgent care to get a work-related TB test. Eliza came along as a captive audience. 

Tuesday, October 15 – After taking the kids to school, Mike and Hallie met with Landon’s principal to discuss changing Landon’s schedule in light of some concerns we had regarding the length of his school day and discipline issues. Ms. Sullivan was very respectful, and we appreciated her hearing us out. She suggested we meet again with Mrs. Humphrey on Friday to get further clarification and assess the best course of action. After our meeting, Hallie got her hair done. Mike went to work and attempted to get caught up on grading and other projects he is trying to complete. 

For years, Mike has hidden little love notes around the house for people to find at random: 

Today, Mike saw something hidden on the blinds in the window on the stairway landing:
Now you see it . . .

Now you don't! (The little note reads I  U.)
This love note came home in his backpack from school.

Wednesday, October 16 – After taking Landon to school, Mike accompanied Hallie and Eliza to Eliza’s speech therapy session. Hallie discussed the possibility of scheduling Landon for occupational therapy again during the same time Eliza has speech therapy, and it looks like that will be able to happen. Landon having OT during Eliza’s speech changes some of our ideas about his school schedule. We made a Costco run for apple cider for Mike’s afternoon college assembly meeting (his colleague Ben bought donuts. Yum!) and for lunch items for the missionaries. Mike spent the rest of the day at work before Hallie and the kids picked him up again in the early evening. 
Eliza spends her time heavily involved with tormenting--er, playing with--Fergus. Say, "Cheese!"

Later on, Hallie went out to pick up 80 pounds of organic chicken that she split with two other ladies. While she delivered one third of the load to one of the ladies, Mike split up our share to freeze and put the other third away to be delivered the next day. Fergus proved to be a bit of trouble. Mike had to keep shooing him away. Mike did not find the smell of raw chicken nearly so enticing as did the cat.

Thursday, October 17 – The weather took a decided turn for the cold on Thursday. We also got some rain. Mike ended up staying home to work, which proved fortunate when we received a call from Landon’s school saying that he had fallen during lunch recess and injured his neck. We suspect that he may have made more of it than there was. He cried whenever he turned his neck, but after a call to the doctor’s office, some ice, and some TLC, he didn’t have even so much as a bruise to show for his trouble.

Here are some samples of Eliza's fall-themed school work. 

We received a fall-themed care package from Grandma O. chock full of stickers and cards and mini writing boards. Thanks, Grandma! 

Friday, October 18 – After taking Landon to school, Hallie went to the dentist to have her permanent crown installed. Once Mike got home from taking Eliza to school, he did a little work before helping supervise Landon’s recess. In the afternoon, Mike and Hallie met with Ms. Sullivan and Mrs. Humphrey. After discussing the situation and clarifying Landon’s needs, we were able to come up with an approach that should work well. Landon will miss Wednesday mornings but attend the other days as usual. As we will be gone for several days in November, this arrangement should work well. We appreciate both Mrs. Humphrey and Ms. Sullivan for their time and efforts on Landon’s behalf. After the meeting, Mike went with the missionaries to visit Marshadae at the hospital in Detroit. She had a kidney infection. They had a bit of a hard time finding parking, but they eventually figured out where to go. She could only have a maximum of two visitors at a time, so the elders gave her a blessing and then Mike went up to say hi. Because Mike had the keys to both cars, Hallie ended up racing up to school late to pick up Landon. We ended the day with pizza and a movie. Yay for routines! Later, Hallie delivered the remaining chicken. On her way home, she caught this pic of the moon reflecting off the lake. 

Saturday, October 19 – We had rain in the night with more throughout the morning and early afternoon. Eliza has gotten into the habit of waking up in the middle of the night and coming to bed with her parents. She added a twist to the arrangement tonight by wetting herself, so Dad had a little extra cleanup to add to the night’s routine. Fergus has gotten into the habit of waking Hallie up really early and getting her to feed him. When Hallie was working early mornings, Mike just used to ignore the cat and feed him when he got up. Fergus knows he won’t get any sympathy. Hallie took Landon to gymnastics, then Mike and Eliza came and picked him up so Hallie could attend a Thirty-One meeting. Mike took the kids to clean the meetinghouse while Hallie went to the Cheesecake Factory with Jayne in the afternoon. 
Happy Birthday, Jayne! 

He spent the rest of the day looking after the little ones and trying to get a little accomplished around the house. Hallie dropped by for a couple of minutes (literally, she was there and gone) before going to babysit. She was kind enough to bring Mike a slice of Dutch apple streusel cheesecake, of which Landon helped himself to half ("Dad! This cake is really good! I want some more." Insert fork, gobble more, repeat). She was out until 3 AM, in part because the family she babysat for got home late, and in part because she stayed up chatting with the mom.

Sunday, October 20 – Neither the girl nor the cat cared that Hallie got in late, because they both insinuated themselves into our bed during the night. Hallie got up early, as did both kids. She pretty much let them run the roost in the morning. Landon knows how to work the Roku apparently, so the kids seemed none the worse for wear as Mike got ready for church. 
Hallie did manage to get the kids ready for church. Isn't she festive?

After our meetings, Brittany came over and visited. We made dinner for one of the sets of elders this week: chicken parmagiana and roasted root vegetables. We will have to have this meal again! Everything turned out very tasty. The children’s behavior before and at dinner, however, left a lot to be desired. How we wish they would listen and see that it’s their behavior that we struggle with, not them. Of course, we expect way too much way too soon. We did have a nice respite as we had family home evening with the elders. Landon even drew them a picture.

Hallie and Brittany escaped to go see Marshadae and left Mike to guard the fort. As of 8:30, Eliza was asleep and Landon was in his bed playing LEGO ninja warrior. As long as he keeps it upstairs and doesn't wake his sister, Mike's good. We have late-start Mondays in our district for a reason, perhaps?  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Trips to the Vet, Pumpkin Patch, Fire Station, and Costumes

We enjoyed mild fall weather with sunny days and soft breezes. Mike got his promotion and tenure packet together for his internal college review. Eliza and Landon both had school-related activities relating to the fall and the beginning of the school year. Fergus got fixed and seems to be recovering well from surgery.

Monday, October 7 – Happy Fergus had no idea what was in store for him this week. More on that later.

Eliza brought home some art from school. She’s doing a better job at staying in her car seat.

Landon got another note for his behavior, so we set up a new incentive plan. Mike puts a penny in Landon’s shoe, and if Landon avoids turning his color to red in the classroom discipline chart, he earns a nickel. He showed improvement over the rest of the week, earning himself 20 cents. He’s working his way toward a purchase at next year’s Renaissance Festival.
First school art project. Landon's portfolio is here

Pattern spider from last week. 

Charts? In kindergarten?

Tuesday, October 8 – Eliza had her school picture day today. She and all the other preschoolers got dressed up for the occasion. Cute!

We had Nadia over for two days this week. Today she tried on Eliza’s patriotic skirt.

Mike spent time before class making sure his portfolio was in order for the college personnel committee.

Wednesday, October 9 – Today was a little intense. Fergus’s surgery only accounted for part of the action.
Little did the feline parakeet know. . . .

Mike volunteered to be part of the human school bus helping the elementary school kids on their way to school for National Walk to School Day. He did this a while before we scheduled the cat’s operation. Ironically, Landon did not walk to school because Hallie took the kids and Fergus to the Michigan Humane Society. The line at the Humane Society ran long, so Mike went to trade places with Hallie so she could take Eliza to speech class. After Mike and Landon successfully got Fergus settled with the vet, they drove to Landon’s school, where Mike worked as a recess volunteer. After Eliza’s speech class, she and Hallie entertained Nadia after picking her up from preschool. With the kids in tow, she enjoyed lunch al fresco at the Panera in the Village.

Afterwards, they raced down to the church to drop lunch off for the missionaries. Meanwhile, Mike had headed up to campus to attend some meetings. He returned home in the evening with enough time to eat, get dressed, and head back out for our branch temple night.

Thursday, October 10 – Landon headed off to school, Mike and colleagues from work had breakfast with his dean bright and early, Eliza headed off to school, and Hallie picked up Fergus from the vet. Mike returned home long enough to help the cat get settled before resuming his work day on campus. Mike’s college personnel committee met and offered suggestions for how to improve his portfolio for presentation to the university.

Landon’s school had a Pumpkin Party on the front lawn. Hallie was babysitting Max, so she took him and Eliza when they walked up to pick up Landon from school. The kids enjoyed their donuts and cider.

When they got home, they discovered that the missionaries had given them a heart attack!  

Friday, October 11 – Mike chaperoned Landon on a field trip down at the public safety building. They saw the fire truck and fire engine along with the 911 dispatch and the jail. Landon was so excited that he made sure Mike brought him the fire helmet Landon received at Safety Town.

Brittany came over to work on some financial aid and hang out with the family. Getting ready for BYU-Idaho is a big deal! It took all day, and we love having her here.

Saturday, October 12 – Hallie took Landon to gymnastics and then down to Eastern Market to pick up our CSA. We then spent a bunch of time deep cleaning parts of the house. Hallie has a list of 101 things she wants to get cleaned up prior to Sis. Evans’ return from her mission. We also did a little decorating for Halloween and the fall. The kids found their costumes and played a little dress-up. 

Later, the sister missionaries came by and joined in the fun. 

Landon has written his first story about an astronaut who landed on the moon. 
(It's a graphic novelette.)
Sunday, October 13 – After church we spent time rearranging Landon’s room to make room for Eliza to move in within the next week or so. Then the sister missionaries came over for dinner of corned beef and root veggies. Like a late St. Patty's day! We're thrilled to see the Tigers and Lions continue to do well. Well, not see exactly, but get others' Facebook statuses letting us know what's going on. Go Teams!