Tuesday, July 29, 2008

First Visit!

We are so excited to have our first visitors to our new house! Grandma and Grandpa Gray came to Michigan for the weekend, and we had a blast showing them some of our favorite things. When they arrived Friday the kids were very eager to take them to Culvers, their favorite restaurant. Friday night we had a picnic with my uncle Dave (my mom's brother), cousins, and their significant others. The kids had a great time with all of the attention. Caleb just loved playing baseball with the big guys.
Saturday we went to Millenium Park. It's a man-made lake that's just the right size (and temperature) for our gang. This was the first giant-water experience for Avery, so it was fun to see her explore and test the elements. There is also a splash-pad there that is great to hose off in.
Sunday we went to see the Grand Rapids baseball team (I'm assuming they're AAA or something), the Whitecaps. It was hot and also happened to be "Bring Your Dog" day. I don't know that I've ever met a dog that liked watching baseball, but whatever. At the end of the game Caleb and Addie were able to go on the field to run the bases. Of course that was the highlight of Caleb's weekend! We had a great time and it was sad to see them go, but we are looking forward to the rest of the summer. This weekend was a great way for us to see just how much fun we are having here in Michigan. We can't wait for more guests!


My Uncle Dave and Addie


Caleb digging in the sand - we seem to have the same picture of him every single summer.

Avery laughing in the sand


Playing with her shovel


Enjoying the game


A view of the stadium - Fifth-Third Ballpark, I believe.


Caleb running the bases


Matt and Addie running the bases.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Daydreaming

I came out from checking on Avery one afternoon to find this adorable sight. If only she knew how funny this was ...


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Basement

Well it's finally done! Matt and his Dad have been working very hard morning, day, and late into the night, but it's finally done. Several people have been asking for picture of the basement, so I thought I would put them on this post. We don't have pictures from the very beginning, but just picture a big concrete box. The finished project resulted in a big main room - toyroom now, family room in a couple of years - 3 big storage closets for me, an office/guestroom in the back, and a soon-to-be-finished full bathroom. The bathroom will probably be finished in the winter or next summer (depending on the tax refund :-)) Right now the walls are painted and carpet is in, but the closet doors, main doors, and trim still need to be added. As far as I'm concerned, though, it's done!



Stage 1: Demolition



Stage 2: Framing






I missed several steps, but here
it is with the drywall up and the
mudding done.




The kids had fun "painting"
with the primer.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Changes

I know we've mentioned this to a couple of you before, but Matt and I joke that, had we known how Michigan would affect our children, we would have moved a long time ago! Of course moving three small children away from everything familiar can pretty much guarantee some regression and hard times, but we have truly been blessed. We joke that we are on the island of LOST, where the lame are healed and baffling things occur on a regular basis. Heck, with our wildlife encounters we really feel like Jack and Kate! But in all seriousness, we know that our friends and family have been praying for our little children and, we are in constant awe at how good God is.

Big and small, God has been easing our children through situations that I had about given up on. Caleb, who does not handle transitions well at all, has had about the smoothest adjustment of any of us! This little guy who hadn't made it through a week of Sunday School without a problem in the past nine months has been having a blast at his new church. Each week we hear what a "Great Job" Caleb has done and how much fun he had dancing and doing the crafts with his peers (group cooperation has not been his strong-suit in the past). He has been a wonderful help to Mommy, extremely compliant and eager to help his sisters. One of the most surprising changes in Caleb is his sleeping. Without exception this child hasn't slept through the night since he was two years old. Michigan air seems to do him good, because he hasn't woken up at night once since we moved here!! The same goes for all of the kids!
Addie continues to be our middle-of-the-road kid :-) She's definitely turned two, but is much easier to redirect than her brother ever was. She, too, has adjusted beautifully, sleeping great and really enjoying her new house and neighbor friends (mind you, they're in their 40's and 60's). She's contemplating the potty and I think we'll try it out more regularly over the next couple of weeks. Addie LOVES her Sunday School class and has been trying out a more "motherly" role with Avery, as I keep catching her trying to feed her chicken nuggets or pick her up to move her someplace new.
And Avery!! My, my has she changed! When we left Ohio the pediatrician had been watching her because she wasn't figuring out how to eat from a spoon like she should have. Just within the past couple of weeks, though, she figured it out and (I would think) is right where she should be with regards to baby food and self-feeding. The biggest change with Avery is that my once easy baby is now, at times, my biggest challenge! Her temperament remains angelic, but she is a little monkey! Avery started to crawl June 25th -- 7 and a half months old -- fairly average, I believe. Just as we were adjusting to having a crawling baby around, though, she surprised us and decided that crawling wasn't enough for her. I found her just this week standing up and cruising around her crib! She now can't sit still and is into everything possible, constantly pulling, climbing, and cruising around -- I wasn't quite ready for that :-)
All to say, the kids are doing great. They're still kids and we still have our days, but we have been truly blessed with how smoothly this transition time has been going. We appreciate everyone's prayers and (of course) welcome more!



Thursday, July 17, 2008

Where the Wild Things Are

Though we have yet to make it to the zoo, we have been able to enjoy our own wildlife exhibit right in our own yard. We weren't aware of it at the time of purchasing the house, but Ada seems to be much more of a rural town than North Olmsted. The kids are having fun discovering all of the new creatures that seem to call our yard home. They enjoy watching a Mommy Rabbit and her bunnies (cotton-tailed at that!) hop around the yard each night after dinnertime. We have come across a very large toad on a couple of occasions, as well. Last we saw him he was hanging out in our garage -- somehow the picture of him didn't turn out, so we don't have any to share with you all. A couple of weeks ago a groundhog moved in and has dug a couple of burrows in our yard. The kids were interested enough to want to go to the library to get books on groundhogs, so we decided to indulge them for about a week before trapping him and setting him loose outside the fence before he caused some real damage. Thankfully, we think he has moved on to our neighbor's yard so our flowerbeds should be safe. Most of these animals I can handle as they appear harmless and we are usually watching them from the safety of our sun porch. The other day, however, I had a much closer encounter with an animal I would much rather never see again. As I was removing the shutters from the side of the house so I could repaint them I found myself face to face with a bat that had decided to curl up(side down) behind the shutter for his daylight snooze. Thankfully the kids were all inside sleeping, but I about had a heart attack. We have wonderful neighbors who were happy to help remove the bat from our property.
Later that same day, Addie was admiring a bird flying in the sky and was informed that it wasn't actually a bird-bird -- it was a turkey vulture. I'm not sure that I've ever heard of such a thing, but we've added it to our list. I'm hoping that these outside animals will hold the kids' interest for some time because Caleb and Addie surprised me last week by informing me that, (as Caleb put it) "We decided that we want a pet." I'm not sure where they came up with this as a good idea, but one of them will bring it up at least once a day. I told them that they didn't need a pet because they have a baby sister. I'm holding strong on this one.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fourth Of July




This Fourth of July weekend was a weekend of firsts for our family. We were shocked and thrilled to learn that Matt had the entire weekend off, including the holiday! Caleb has never been one for the unknown (or loud noises) so we have never been able to enjoy any of the Fourth of July celebrations until this year when Caleb expressed an interest in the weekends events. Fireworks were held here on Thursday night. We were able to see them from Caleb's school which thrilled him because (as he describes it) "the fireworks were shooting from my school's roof!" Caleb and Addie enjoyed the show from their lawn chairs (courtesy of Grandma Jan!), munching on popcorn and marshmallows (their choice) the whole time. They sat side by side, looking so cute, exclaiming, "That was a big one!" after each firework exploded in the sky. They both really enjoyed their time, although Caleb was slightly distracted by the six school buses lined up in the parking lot as he tried to determine which one he would ride when he turned six.
The next day we headed into town to see the parade. The kids did a good job and had fun waving to the cars and collecting their candy. Next year we're going to work on staying in one spot and waiting for the candy to come to them instead of them running 30 feet behind the parade to try to get the candy thrown 10 seconds earlier, only to be too late to collect that candy and then missing out on the candy thrown directly where their feet had been prior to them getting impatient (anyone follow that??). Regardless we had a fun time :-) There was a free carnival that was held at the library near the parade route which we were able to take advantage of for a bit of time. Addie was able to ride a horse which she was very excited about! Mommy wasn't as excited after being sneezed on twice by said horse.
After naps we had a cookout at the house of one of the residents (think JD and Turk) Matt works with. It was nice to meet some people and the kids had a lot of fun playing. There are lots of other little kids in the program. Caleb is actually the oldest of all of the residents' kids (go family planning!), but all of their birthdays are merely months apart all the way down to newborns. From what I can gather there are probably about 15 Ortho kids.
The next day we had a get-together at the house of one of the Attendings (think Dr. Cox) on Reeds Lake. This was a very fun day! The kids had a blast playing with the other kids
there (he has six kids 4 and under - triplets in the mix). The yard was great with room for baseball, a giant swingset, kiddie pools, and of course the lake. The kids had a blast wading through the water and playing with their little boats while the Daddies played on the big boats. Apparently Matt lost his trunks while tubing -- he managed to hold onto them with one hand and get them back to their proper position at some point so he did not have to attend the rest of the function bottomless.
It was a busy weekend, with many hours also spent in the basement, but it was a welcome treat to have the time with Matt.