Sunday, March 30, 2014

Rounding the Corner

In spite of the snow early in the week and cold temps midway through, there is no doubt that we have rounded a corner, and spring has finally come to our part of the world. We have taken the change of season as a chance to purge the house of things we no longer use or no longer plan to use. While we have not yet managed to sell off or give away everything we want to, we’re on our way to a streamlined home.

Monday, March 24 – Snow flurries?! Seriously?! Actually, we’re neither surprised nor dismayed. This week Landon was Star of the Week at his school. He had several special privileges over the week, including being a special helper, bringing in favorite items from home to share, and sharing treats with his classmates on Friday.

Tuesday, March 25 – Tenure Tuesday! Mike was told by his work colleagues that his tenure case would be reviewed today. However, he did not receive any word as to the result. Hopefully he will receive word once all the cases are reviewed. Hallie babysat Elliot. Winter does not seem ready to leave, but the snow that does fall is not sticking to the ground.

The cold brings dry air and static electricity. Hair-raising!

Wednesday, March 26 – We’re doing some spring cleaning to get rid of furniture and other items we don’t use and to give us more space and less clutter around the house. As part of that endeavor, we got items ready to sell this weekend. Right now the two front rooms are full of stuff, but we hope most of it will be gone by Saturday.

Thursday, March 27 – We had parent-teacher conferences for both children in the morning. Both children have shown great progress. We have tried to encourage Landon to practice his read-aloud skills in class. 

Landon has read The Cricket in Times Square in school and at home with us as part of a whole-school reading project. We really enjoyed sharing this charming chapter book together as a family.

Landon's rendition of Harry the cat from the story

Today was Landon and Eliza’s last day at therapy at Kaufman. We will miss working with Sandra and Christina!

Friday, March 28 – While the kids watched their movie, the parents got started cleaning up the Kia to see if we can get a good price for it and trade for another car. Beforehand, we finally took the bikes out for a ride in the alley. City workers had filled in potholes that had developed over the winter, so they could ride without crashing on the rough road surface. 

Saturday, March 29 – After Landon’s gymnastics class, we all went out to see about trading in the Kia for another car. We did not get a new car, yet. We did, however, get creative with the prizes in their kid’s meals.

The crazy crown goes well with this unique picture Landon drew. We're not sure what it is exactly. 

Sunday, March 30 – Landon woke up in the middle of the night again puking. This time Eliza also woke up. Mike spent a couple of hours getting him bathed, laundry in the wash, and both kids settled back down. The buds have finally begun to sprout! 

We sent the kids outside to take advantage of the relative warmth and sun. Of course, this meant Eliza came in covered in mud. Still, we're happy to see them outdoors again.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

First Signs of Spring, B'Gosh and Begorrah!

The first signs of spring have finally started to arrive, including the return of new buds and chirping birds. The ground, blanketed since January in ice and snow, is now covered with some strange green fuzz. Well, that is, it’s covered in fuzz where it’s not bare dirt. This winter has done a number on the ground cover. The kids don’t seem to notice, though. Landon jumped right back into his old routine of digging in the back yard and riding in the alley as soon as he could. 

Monday, March 17 – Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We celebrated with our traditional corned beef and cabbage, including the apparent tradition of preparing the boiled veggies in a different way than we did the year before. We may have to keep this year’s version. Everything turned out bright and tender without becoming an overboiled mess. We passed on the soda bread this year in favor of breakfast scones for tomorrow.

Hallie looked after Eliza and Rocco and took them both shopping for the night’s ingredients. Rocco really just wanted to be back at home. Poor guy!

Eliza fell asleep on the way home from errands, and when she got up from her nap, she came downstairs wearing her Disney princess crown. She was more tired than in a bad mood, but that didn’t stop Dad from turning her into a meme. There is a parent at Landon’s school that always says that Eliza is so “yummy.”

Tuesday, March 18 – The scones were worth the wait. Maybe we’ll have to chuck the soda bread for these every year! Thanks, Money Saving Mom!

Eliza ran around like a crazy person at her pipsqueak PE class.

After Dad got home from work and we finally got the kids to bed, we watched the concert for the release of Cherie Call’s new CD Homeless Songs via Ustream on the Internet. Streaming media, even with glitches, is amazing!

Wednesday, March 19 – Hallie had jury selection in the morning, and Mike had meetings at school. Hallie was prepared for an all-day stint, but she found out early in the day that she was not selected to be on a trial. We are glad that people were willing to help watch Eliza in case Hallie did go on a jury.

Instead of spending the day apart, the girls dipped strawberries in chocolate. Delicious!

Mike’s meetings revealed some of the turmoil the College of Education is experiencing right now. The economy has adversely affected the university and the college in ways that may directly impact the tenure bids of Mike and other junior faculty.

Hallie met up with Mike minutes before needing to take Landon to gymnastics. Landon sure is loving this new routine, and his new coach is awesome!

After Mike got home, he looked after Eliza for a bit before going to pick up Landon from gymnastics while Hallie and Jayne went to Royal Oak to see the Sing Off 2014 live tour. Two music concerts two nights in a row! Hallie came home having had a really great time, and she was so glad Jayne was willing to go.

Thursday, March 20 – SPRING! It’s still cold and bleak, but at least the days are getting longer. Even the buds have finally started to peak out.
If you squint, you can see the wee white buds. 
Hallie took the kids to their second-to-last therapy appointment. They have done so well with therapy. They will be sad to leave their amazing therapists next week, but the gas budget will be happy with fewer trips out to Bloomfield Hills. Then in the evening Hallie, Landon, and Eliza picked up Mike from work. Thursday nights are fun when Mike gets to come home early.

Friday, March 21 – Mike helped out at recess and then went with the missionaries to visit with Sister Swanson. After Landon got home from school, the two boys finally had their first chance in a long time to play in the alley. Eliza once again had taken a nap. She must be going through a growth spurt.

Hallie spent a lot of time making calls yesterday and today trying to get some things in for our family in order. Somehow those calls always seem to take longer than we think they will.

Landon received his report card, and he showed improvement in every category. He meets proficiency in almost every area, and he also has some new areas of strength. Well done! Also, he finally will have the chance to be his class’s Star of the Week. They saved the best kid for last!

Saturday, March 22 – Hallie took Landon to gymnastics and on a couple of errands, including redeeming a free Culver’s ice cream sundae from a past kid’s meal. Luckies!

Later on in the afternoon Hallie took Landon to get a haircut. He looks super cute and thought pretty highly of himself when he kept checking himself out in the shop windows.

Mike caught Landon reading The Cat in the Hat aloud to Eliza. Adorable!

Sunday, March 23 – In the middle of the night, Landon walked into Mom and Dad’s room telling us that he had thrown up in his bed. Oh, joy. Hallie had mentioned that a stomach bug had been going around, but we didn’t think we would fall prey. Needless to say, he stayed home from church. And so did Eliza. And Mom. And then Dad came home early to help out. Fergus will never get his private time back.

He was feeling somewhat better by midday and totally normal by the afternoon. The kids did some watercolor painting while Landon worked on his Star of the Week poster. 

In  his effort to help keep the kids tidy, Dad and Eliza collaborated on some accidental art too!

Hallie spent the afternoon spring cleaning some cupboards, and they look so fancy! Good work, Hallie!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Say It Isn't Snow

Yeah, right. We got a warm front early in the week leading on snow Wednesday and cold again. The snow started melting Thursday, but it has stayed unseasonably chilly. We have noticed the days getting longer and have made the adjustment to Daylight Saving Time. Mike’s school had Spring Break, so he got to stay home with the kids and take part in some more of the week’s adventures than usual.

Monday, March 10 – We started the week with warmer weather than we have had in a while. When Landon got home from school, it was warm enough to open the back glass door while he went to play construction site in the slush/mud pit in the backyard. Of course, he came in cold and wet. 

Fergus took full advantage of the opportunity to bask in the sun.

Tuesday, March 11 – Although much of the snow had melted, enough has remained after each melt to completely cover the grass all season so far. 

Eliza had the day off from school, and Landon had a half-day for teacher professional development. Eliza went out to pipsqueak PE, and Landon stayed home building spaceships. 

Later on, he went out to do more demolition. It was too cold to keep the glass door open, so Fergus had to pine away from inside.

Wednesday, March 12 – We expected to get snow overnight, but it came late. As a result, the school district called to cancel classes just after Mike started getting the kids up to get ready. Man! We could have slept in! At least we didn’t have to go out in it. 

Instead, Landon played school Interestingly, after the snow dumped on us, we got a sunny (if chilly) afternoon. For dessert after dinner, we had what we hope are our last bowls of snow ice cream for the season.

Thursday, March 13 – Happy Detroit (313) Day! The city was founded 313 years ago this year (on July 24), so it’s even more special. Eliza brought home some holiday art projects from school. 

Mike accompanied Hallie and the kids to their Kaufman therapy sessions. Hallie even did Eliza’s hair in a special braid.

After therapy, the kids blew off steam at a place called AirTime Trampoline and Game Park in Troy. Saying they were tired after only an hour is an understatement! Not even three hours of gymnastics Landon does tires him out like this did.

Once the kids went to bed, Hallie had a couple of great conversations by phone tonight, one of whom was Natalie, Landon’s birthmom. We look forward to possibly seeing her this summer.

Friday, March 14 – Landon woke up complaining that his stomach hurt. We gave in. Amazingly, he made a full recovery by midday, so we took him back to school so he could share the leprechaun trap he made earlier in the week for a class project. 

Other kids' traps

He is making progress in his writing and math.

Landon had earned enough Dragon Dollars from his school's positive behavior support program to buy a ninja costume from Mom. It arrived in today's mail, and the boy enthusiastically put it on and showed off his stealthy skills. When Eliza saw him fully made up she broke out in tears. Once he took off the mask she was all better.
Now you see him, . . . 

. . . and now you don't! 

The elders came over to share pizza for dinner. Although a lot of Thursday's snow had melted, we still managed to find enough for another few bowls of snow ice cream. Maybe now we've had our last. 

Saturday, March 15 – Hallie took Landon to gymnastics while Mike and Eliza tidied up at home. The first birds of the season started chirping. Fergus really seemed to notice. We saw him pawing at them from a perch by the window. 

After Hallie and Landon got home, Hallie was gone for 9 hours babysitting Laurel’s kids. Mike and the kids kept themselves occupied with Play-doh while the cat napped at his favorite perch atop the family room couch.  

Sunday, March 16 – We were deceived by the sun and thought warm weather had finally returned. When we went out at 9:30 AM, it was 16 with a "real feel" of -4. While the day remained below freezing, we nonetheless took the bright sun as a sign of warmer days to come. The kids had an unusually hard time keeping reverent at church. 

The baby in the pew ahead of us entertained herself pulling Landon's hair. 

This next week Mike goes back to work and we add our little friend Rocco to our home's crazy mix two days a week. The weather man tells of slightly warmer temps, and we hope that is true. When your six-year-old says, "This is ridiculous!" you know your winter has not been nice. Only good things can come of things warming up for the spring.