Sunday, February 23, 2014

Mid-Winter Break

We spent a quiet week at and around home for the kids’ mid-winter break from school. While the weather continues to dominate our thoughts, we did manage to make some fun for ourselves.

Monday, February 17 – The kids had the week off from school this week for mid-winter break. They spent the first morning of their vacation hanging out on the indoor swing.

Later, Eliza discovered that cupcake cups stick to chairs with a little help from a glue stick.

Mike had a procedure done that made him unable to lift or carry things for a couple of weeks. Landon decided to show his love by writing love notes to post all around the house.

Tuesday, February 18 – The snow returned during the night, coating everything in white. The weather has warmed up, though, so the snow started to melt as the day wore on. We had great neighbors who helped us shovel with Mike out of commission.

(Oh, and here's some random art we missed from last week.)

Wednesday, February 19 – Hallie attended her bariatric support group and came home wildly excited with all that she had learn. Recovery time seems to be easy for most people, which is great news when you have two small kids at home.

Thursday, February 20 – Snow fell again, turning to rain. Mike had a front row view from his office window. 

Within 20 minutes, the scene transformed from this . . .
 . . . to this:

Of course, the snow melted off the sidewalks and the sun come back out within the next hour. 

A big change is in store for our little boy. We are so proud of him and all of his work he has done in gymnastics. We received via e-mail this letter for Landon this week:

"Dear Potential Team Parent,

"Your son has been selected by our staff to advance into our Team Program. He is one of a select group chosen from our entire boys class program. This means he is showing extraordinary talent and potential to take gymnastics to a higher level. As a member of the Team Extreme, your son would be learning and developing the skills necessary to advance to Team Competitions.

"The Boys Preteam will practice Wednesday 430-630pm and Saturday 10-1pm. Each gymnast must commit to both days per week. Team practices will begin March 5th. The coach of this new group will be Jesse Mercado. Jesse has over 10 years coaching experience in all levels, boys and girls competitive as well as extensive experience in tumbling and cheernastics."

Way to go Landon!!!!

Friday, February 21 – Now we are experiencing the great thaw. Fortunately, we’re only getting some weeping into the basement. The water in that lake out front is not warm. Ask Hallie as her feet have met it several times through different pairs of shoes. She is thinking a pair of rainboots may be in order. 

As long as the sidewalk is free of snow and ice, the basement is safe. 

It almost has the kids ready to break out the warm weather clothes!

Hallie ventured out around 2:00 to the mall and met another family from the branch and let the kids play. They played for nearly three hours without stopping. The adults would love to channel this energy for sure. The kids slept like angels.

Saturday, February 22 – We went to the LEGO Movie at the movie theater in our local park.  
Everything is Awesome, indeed! 

Sunday, February 23 – We had a crisp sunny Sunday. Brisk but beautiful. Eliza played dress-up. The skirt is still too big on her but she looks so cute in it we couldn't help but put it on her. Thanks to Aunt Carly for suggesting that Hallie buy it.

Not sure why she's into making these faces for the camera, but there you go. 

Landon and Eliza channeled their inner expressionist selves. He told us he is drawing something he saw from Scooby-Doo.

Edvard Munch has nothing on our boy.

After all this week's activity, a soft bed seems like the perfect place!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Loving Gestures

This week was pretty mundane for the most part, which is fine by us. It has still been quite cold with the occasional snow showers mixed in. In the seven winters we have been here this has been the yuckiest, and we hope it stays that way. Despite the cold, we have simple gestures of love to keep us warm.

Just, brrr.
All the snow and ice do bring the occasional amusements along the way to school, though: 
Dribbling and passing chunks of ice, for example. 

Monday, February 10 – Today was Landon’s 100th day of school. We only realized because he brought home a fun little wooden bookmark with a 100 on it. How time flies!
"When I am 100 years old, I will like to exercise." Diggin' the white hair and the mustache-goatee combo!
Here is some art from the last little while: 

Eliza broke out her new LEGO set. 

After school, we attempted to make a sliding hill from all the snow in the backyard. Got a big pile, but not a very fast hill. 

Tuesday, February 11 – Eliza had her annual checkup. The doctor had no complaints, and she was a trooper when it came to getting the flu shot. She did not even cry. So very proud!
Of course, anything's easier with chocolate coins sent by Grandma and Grandpa.

Wednesday, February 12 – We had another cold day today, but Mike and Landon still chose to brave the elements on their walk to school. The unique combination of wet cold air caused ice crystals to form on everything. 

. . . even on Mike's goatee . . . . Brr.

Hallie attended the branch temple session. She’s not impressed with the first of the new films. Before she left, she printed off some bookmarks for the kids’ school valentines. Landon wrote names, and Mike laminated and cut them. Done!

Thursday, February 13 – The kids went off to school, and Hallie went to babysit at the Grosse Pointe Moms Club monthly meeting, a quick way to earn $40. Hallie then lost track of the time and quickly had to run an errand and get kids to speech and occupational therapy. They all arrived right on time.

Friday, February 14 – Hallie had her 2nd surgical consultation with Dr. Carlin. By the end of it she received her surgery date of March 10. Hallie is so excited for the prospect of good health being right around the corner! In order for everything to work out, Eliza spent a bit of time with a time with a boy from class while Mike attended to recess duty and lunch time enrichment. 

In the afternoon Landon had his Valentine’s Day celebrations at school, and we all attended and had a lot of fun.

Saturday, February 15 – Landon went to gymnastics this morning. He’s doing very well. Hallie tried to get some discounted treats at Target, but the store had not marked prices down yet. Bummer! Mike has felt under the weather for the last few days, so he stayed home with the kids while Hallie attended the baptism for Sue, a new convert.

The kids decided to start blending what they thought were chemicals in the upstairs bathroom medicine cabinet. Unsupervised. Fortunately, Mike checked in on them before they could do any damage. 
"We're just hanging out, Dad. Honest!"

He took their curiosity as a chance to have both a safety lesson and a fun chemistry experiment. Landon wanted to make an explosion, and while we didn’t have those kinds of materials, we did have some baking soda, vinegar, and balloons.
Science Rocks!!!

Sunday, February 16 – The greeted us with yet more new snow. We also got some sun later on, so it could have been worse. Plus, Hallie made cupcakes, so we had a yummy treat.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Sick Kids, an Interview, More Snow, and a Birthday

Mike traveled to California this week taking some of our Michigan snow with him. Of course, it melted in the heat and turned into much-needed rain. You’re welcome. We expect more snow tomorrow, so he must have brought it back. Sorry! 

Monday, February 3 – Getting to and from school proved to be quite challenging due to ice-covered sidewalks. The slick conditions continued throughout the day. While Mike (mostly) succeeded in removing the ice from in front of our house during the brief period this afternoon when the temps rose to above freezing, most people’s sidewalks remained covered in the slippery mess.

Eliza showed off some new artwork, . . . 

and Fergus has learned about stalking people by hiding in narrow spaces. 

Tuesday, February 4 – Hallie babysat a little boy today. The poor little guy was sick with a cough. She took him with her to Eliza’s Pipsqueak PE class.

Wednesday, February 5 – Mike traveled out to California for a job interview at California Lutheran University. He got delayed in Detroit because of a snow delay in Chicago, so he missed his connection but got on the next available flight. It only cost him three hours, and he was able to take advantage of the time in the airport to complete his preparations. His folks picked him up at the airport, and he finally met our niece Mariah for the first time. 
Hi, cutie!

They went to his parents’ house, which is about 20 minutes from the university. He spent some time visiting with family before going to a hotel in town to spend the night and continue preparing for the interview.

Not to say the only snow was in Chicago, because Detroit got hit hard in the morning. The only reason Mike didn't miss his flight was because of the Chicago delay. It took us nearly twice as long as it usually does to get to the airport because of snow, and Mike got to the plane as the delay was being announced. 

Hallie told Mike that the drifts had piled up enough to completely cover the stairs at home. Good thing Landon was there to lend a hand with a shovel. 

Hallie had a surgical consultation and a medical consultation. Normally, she would have taken the kids to Kaufman, but with her meetings, she was able to have Vanessa look after both Eliza and Landon. We figured they would only be out for one day, but other forces ended up combining to stop them from attending for the rest of the week.  

Thursday, February 6 – Mike woke up bright and early on Thursday with his body clock still on Eastern time. He did some work and finished his preparations before being picked up by Breanne (the department secretary) and going through a series of interviews with the university provost and president along with the college dean before having a group interview with the department. He then gave a presentation synthesizing his research before going to lunch with the chairs of two of the departments. Afterwards, he talked with a faculty member of the university's promotion and tenure committee before having a break. The weather had moved from cloudy to rainy, so Mike could not wander around campus as he had planned. The break did give him a chance to debrief with Hallie. To end the interview, Mike gave a brief lesson to graduate students in the college. Overall, he felt the interview went positively, and he would enjoy working there.

After the interview, Breanne took Mike over to Hallie’s parents’ house, which is just down the road from CLU. They had dinner together and bore with Mike as he decompressed from the long day. He ended the day back at his folks’ house. In all, Mike really enjoyed having the chance to reconnect with family members.

At home, Eliza got sick in the middle of the night. Blech. Landon woke up hot and not feeling well himself, so Hallie kept both kids at home. While Eliza didn't get sick anymore, Landon started in later in the day. Sick kids coupled with cold and snow meant no one left the house today. They did, however, do stuff around the house. While cleaning his room, Landon successfully memorized the second Article of Faith. 

Friday, February 7 – All too soon, it was time for Mike to go back to Detroit. He thought he had a direct flight on Southwest, but he had to change planes in Phoenix. As a result, he managed to be the first on board his flight, which meant he got his pick of seats. Coincidentally, he had happened to read a website a few days before that identified for business travelers which was the best seat, so he made a beeline to the one seat on the plane that had no row in front of it. The posh seat plus free WiFi meant he had a very comfortable flight. Odds are that this opportunity will not come again, so he relished it for all it was worth.


Suburban Detroit

Hallie kept the kids at home again until she took them to Activity Days at church. Eliza dressed for summer but sat in front of the portable fireplace heater. 

When Mike called to let her know his plane had landed, she and the kids went to the airport to pick him up. Happy reunion!

Saturday, February 8 – After Landon’s gymnastics class, we went out to the Somerset Collection to make Valentine’s Day-themed frosted sugar cookies. 

Pretty in Pink outside the MAC cosmetics store

Of course, we had to stop by the LEGO Store.
Window decals in LEGO. Too cool!

Afterwards, we went to Red Robin for birthday lunch.

Sunday, February 9 – More snow fell overnight, and more is expected tomorrow. Enough, already! At least until the giant piles have a chance to melt or evaporate. Landon successfully recited his article of faith in Primary. We celebrated Eliza’s birthday with cake and ice cream and presents after church.