Ellie turns six

This past two weeks have been quite exciting. Grandma and Grandpa Cook came for an extended visit before and after Easter. Grammy and Grandpa Mehochko also visited Easter weekend. I think this was the first time we’d had that many grandparents under our roof. When the whole gang was together, we spent that Saturday afternoon/evening celebrating Ellie’s 6th birthday. It’s hard to believe we were living in Lawrence, Kansas when she was born and we’ve been here ever since.

Grandma and Grandpa Cook stayed for a week and spent the whole time playing with the kids. Typically, we put Grandpa Cook to work fixing something around the house or doing some renovation, but this time I only had him help me replace a single light switch. The rest of the time, JD and Ellie kept him busy. The grandparents and the kids explored Meijer Gardens and the great outdoors as the weather was very nice for their visit. Fun times.

This past weekend, Ellie and Paula went to downtown Chicago to meet up with Grammy Mehochko and visit the American Girl store for a nice dinner and fun. Paula will have to write about that trip. I was lucky enough to stay home with Ziggy and JD. I’ll talk about our adventures soon.

Our remodeling project is still in process, but they are nearing completion. Hopefully the washer and dryer are put into place today so I can avoid another trip to the laundry mat, which has become my job for the past few months. I just figured out that I can drop the clothes off and they will wash and fold them and the cost was only about $2 more for about 7 loads ($18 versus $20). Why didn’t I discover that more quickly? Sheesh! ;~)

Finally, I have added some new photos from April. Click Photos above (or to the right) to view.

Minnesota and bicycles

We had spring break this past week and we decided to head to Minnesota and visit our friend Gwen and her family. They recently adopted a little girl, Kaya, and they recently moved to a brand new house. Our friends, the Fishers (Joe teaches with us at GVSU and attended KU with us), also visited Gwen, so it was a huge KU reunion in Minnesota.

The highlight of the trip had to be our visit to the Mall of America. To be more specific, Lego Land was the key destination. JD just loved Lego Land and even Ellie got into the act. At this Lego Land, they have an area where kids can just build stuff. JD was enthralled with the racetrack that was set up (sort of a big hill with tracks and a starting gate). Kids had to build cars out of legos and then they could race them. JD and I built our fancy schmancy lego car and he set it on the starting gate and pressed the button to race other kids. Sure enough, our little car won the race. JD got bold and eventually mixed right in with the bigger kids enjoying every moment. Fun times.

We were back in EGR this weekend and the weather was very nice (60s). Earlier today, I decided to get the bicycles out of the garage. I found my air compressor and aired the tires up. The kids played around on their bikes and then I suggested that we should take the training wheels off of the bikes. Both kids seemed excited, so I did it. We fiddled on the sidewalk in front of our house, but the concept really started sticking when we used our front yard instead. Our front yard slopes towards the street. Paula would start the kids at the top of the hill and push them down, through the grass to me waiting at the bottom. Ellie was the most brave so she got started and had a wonderful first run. She even lost her balance a bit and turned sideways . . . that didn’t stop her as she just rode her bike parallel to the street for a bit before losing too much speed and just gently stepping off of the bike. This gave her mucho hope and a desire to get it right. It also spurred JD’s interest in learning.

Before long, they could both ride down the hill to me every time. Unfortunately, Ellie had a big fall and decided to wait until another day to fully get it, but JD was ready to try this out on a bigger stage. So, we headed over to the school. They have a nice little hill that is steep and empties out into the soccer field. I started JD about 5 feet from the bottom of the hill and pushed him and explained to just keep peddling. Sure enough, this worked. He peddled about 50 feet onto the soccer field and was doing great until he stopped peddling. At that point, he just fell . . . and cried. He was done. I wish he could have appreciated how far he’d gone and how straight was he. Oh well, they are both so close that it’s just a matter of time.