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Friday, March 30, 2012

Speech progress!

Lucy seems to have exploded in her speech this month. In the past few days she has started babbling a lot more, matching the correct number of syllables to words she is trying to say. She also *finally* made the E sound which had thus far eluded her. 

She made the E sound! from Lisa on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

More book publishing!

I have spent a few late nights trying to cross off some items on my massive To-Do List. Although this has resulted in getting to bed around midnight (and waking with the earliest riser at 5:30am), I feel better knowing I've at least accomplished something I've been wanting to do for a while.

The first of the projects arrived in the mail yesterday. You may remember that I made a book last year of all my Love Letters to Kate. I did the same again this year, adding Lucy's Heart Letters to my list as well. Because Lucy did not have the benefit of a baby memory book or anything really from her infancy, I added a lot of extra pages to her book including posts about our referral for her, information I found out about her orphanage, our posts from our trip to China, and all of the pictures from her photo album that we received.

I'm quite pleased with the way they turned out! Here is the front cover of Kate's book.
And the back cover. I always try to have the back cover be a picture of their birthday.
 And a sample page spread.
 Here is Lucy's front cover.
 And the back cover.
And a sample page spread. I love that you have the option to include the comments that people leave. We received so many wonderful comments from our readers both at Lucy's referral and while we were in China. It will be wonderful for Lucy to know how much she was wanted and loved, not just by us, but by our friends and family.
I worked on a few other things that should be arriving in the mail shortly. I'll fill you in on them when they arrive!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hang Time

Lucy loves to hang from the monkey bars or handles at the park. She can hold up upwards of 45 seconds or so now--I've got her around 30 seconds on this video but I missed the beginning fumbling for my phone!

Hang Time from Lisa on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Piggy Toes

Every morning the girls race to uncover my toes from the covers or release them from my slippers. What is their fascination with my toes? The purple polish I had applied to them last weekend. So I got out the polish I bought at a clearance sale a few months ago and we had pedicures in the living room.
Unforeseen consequence: keeping shoes on them has been a challenge.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

10 things I miss

Let me preface this by saying that I know that "this too shall pass". The time we have with our girls while they are little and still want our full, undivided attention is fleeting and I remind myself of that every single day. That does not negate the fact that I still miss quite a few things from my "former, carefree" life starting with:

1. Sleep. I LOVE to sleep. I've never had a problem sleeping, I enjoy it and am cranky without 8-10 hours every night. With two toddlers, sleep just is not that easy to come by. So Len and I take turns on the weekends. Last night was Len's turn. He slept in the guest room with the monitor while I slept a delicious, uninterrupted, blissful 11 hours.

2. Sleeping in. Not to be confused with #1 above which is just to get a full night's sleep without listening for a child waking up and then spending time soothing her back down. By "sleeping in" I mean "being awake with my husband in bed in the morning without children or, more importantly, clothing". I'll just leave it at that.

3. Living near family and friends. Yes, we've made a rather nice circle of friends here in Chicago which I am grateful for. But now that we have children, I miss being able to share that experience with our family and the close friends we've made in FL and DC. And the girls miss it too, asking to see their grandparents quite often.

4. Movies. As in going to the movies. Yes, we could download and watch them at home but frankly, it's not the same as seeing something in the theatre. And these days I barely have the energy in the evenings to sit through a 30 minute sitcom so a 2 hour movie seems light years away.

5. Exercise. And I don't mean pushing a stroller around the neighborhood. I mean the kind of exercise I used to look forward to. Yoga. Bellydancing. Dance classes like Zumba. Pilates. I haven't found the means (time, expense) to really pursue these just yet full time. I have found a gym with a built-in sitting service but I'm just not sure the girls are ready for that. I've yet to leave them anywhere other than at home with a sitter so not sure how they would react to being left in a rather institutional setting with strangers for an hour or more.

6. My 20s. Not the mind-set, the impatience or the flightiness of my 20s but the physical strength and stamina of my 20s. Somehow at 45, my back and neck have become bitchy old broads.

7. Spontaneity, otherwise known as being able to leave the house without a day's worth of diapers, snacks, sippy cups, wipes, toys, tissues, etc. on your shoulder and 30 minutes of dressing toddlers before you can even think of looking for your keys.

8. Reading for pleasure. The last 3 things I read were, The Emotional Life of the Toddler, Stress Free Potty Training, and various adoptive and parenting magazines.

9. Vacation. This includes sitting on a plane without someone on my lap, a tropical location, lots of fruity alcoholic drinks, suntan lotion, trashy beach reads, morning AND afternoon "sleeping in" (see #2 above).

10. Shopping that doesn't involve a giant kid-cart and an awareness of aisle width relative to the wingspan of two children.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Noodle Slurping

One of the things Lucy has been unable to do is slurp noodles into her mouth. Heretofore, she has taken a wadded handful of noodles and stuffed them into her mouth. Most of the time this resulted in at least half of the noodles slithering back out and onto her lap resulting in a frustrated and hungry toddler. Today marked the first time she was able to suck them in. Now if I can just get her to celebrate by smiling or laughing rather than throwing noodles at me in glee.

Noodle slurping from Lisa on Vimeo.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Puddle Jumpers

Strange that we are playing in puddles of water instead of piles of snow in March. The trees are blooming, daffodils are everywhere and the grass is turning green. And life is SO MUCH EASIER dressing them in raincoats and wellies instead of snowsuits, scarves, mittens, hats and boots.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bag lady and sparkle shoes

Hoarders. That's what 2 year-olds should be known as. They simply cannot go anywhere without carrying as many items as is physically possible. And then adding a few more just in case.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sofa tumbling

One of the things that I love about being home with the girls is watching them make up their own games. This one has become quite popular in our house and is practiced multiple times daily. They used to go over face first but it has evolved into a backwards roll-over tumble. Must find a gymnastics class to enroll them in.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

6 months post adoption

It was 6 months yesterday since we met Lucy. Today marks her official adoption 6 month anniversary. There is so much going on right now that my mom is the one who reminded me today! 

If you had told me 6 months ago that we would be here, in this place emotionally where Lucy and I are finally forging a bond, I would have been hard pressed to believe you. But we are getting there. I don't seem to have the words (coherency and succinctness are not my strong points when I'm tired) right now to reflect on the past 6 months. I will try to save that for Lucy's Heart Letter in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I'll let some pictures do the talking.

Lucy and Kate meet for the first time
Enjoying the warm weather this week.
 In the swing in China (September 2011)
And now, strong enough to hold onto the tire swing a week ago.

Lucy's first visit with Dr. Vicari and the cleft palate team at Children's (in October 2011). LOTS of crying.
 
 
And today's visit with Dr. Vicari. No crying, just a little trepidation that quickly passed.
She even opened her mouth and said, "AHHHHH!" multiple times so he and the team could get a good look.
Here's the update from the cleft team: we go back in a year to be sure everything still looks good. When she turns 5, she will have surgery to close the fistula in her gum, a bone graft so the dentist can have a location to implant the tooth that is probably not going to come in in that area and a slight nose revision to straighten out the side that is bent and to round out the nostril to match the other side.  This will all be done in one surgery and recovery should take about a week.

That should be it until she is a teenager. At that point, another surgery will be done to correct her deviated septum and more nose surgery (if she wants it and if her nose needs it).

Hallway lounging

This video was shot a while back but I love it for a few reasons. One, how cute are they with their tights, dresses and pig tails? Two, they are relatively on the same page in terms of activity level and emotional stability (trust me, this is a much-relished time in our house). And three, Kate singing (and Lucy attempting it).

Monday, March 19, 2012

Grapes!

Kate has always been willing to try fruit and will even go so far as to keep it rolling around in her mouth on occasion. But to bite it, chew it and swallow it...not so much. But! Grapes! We've been working on grape eating for a good long while and I finally got her to eat one. And then another and another. The best, though, is the look on her face as she's eating them.
Many thanks again to Nana for the beach shirts! The girls love them and ask to wear them quite often (as will be in evidence in a later video as well).

This is going to be a week of videos as I haven't had much time to write lately. I really miss my writing time and hope things will sort themselves out again so I can string together some coherent sentences.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ahhhhhhhh

Yesterday I spent a bliss-filled 5 hours at the spa courtesy of Yia Yia and Pappou. I finally had a free day to enjoy the Christmas present they so generously surprised me with. I started out with a 30 minute hydrotherapy bath. 77 jets massaged my entire body at fluctuating intensity levels while I floated in warm, lavender-scented water in a candle-lit room.  Next up was a 60 minute aromatherapy massage, most of it deep tissue massage on my back (I have 2 toddlers....it was much-needed). After a short rest in the lounge with some lemon water and a trashy mag, I headed to another room for a 60 minute facial (and a nap). Another lounge-filled few minutes and it was off to get a mani/pedi and peruse the latest issue of Bon Appétit, completely uninterrupted by a small person trying to rip the pages out before I could read them.
__________________________


Kate: Mama, your toenails are purple!

Lucy: Whoooa!
Whoooa indeed. It was Heaven. Thank you again, Katherine and Don, for such a thoughtful gift.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What happened to winter??

Yesterday was 79 and sunny. Needless to say, the girls were over-dressed as all of their summer-wear is in a box under our bed. With the forecast showing 70s for the next week, looks like I'll be digging out some clothes tonight.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sea Veggies?

We had our well-baby checkup yesterday with Dr. E. All was well for the most part.  Here are the updated stats (with stats from 2 months ago in parenthesis):

Kate:
Weight: 26.5lbs in a diaper (24lbs 12oz naked)
Height: 34.5" recumbent length (34" recumbent)
Head: 45cm (45.5cm)--hmmm, some head shrinking perhaps? :-)

Lucy:
Weight: 27lbs naked (26lbs naked)
Height: 36" recumbent length (35 1/4" recumbent)
Head: 47 1/2cm (47cm)

It appears that Lucy's right ear tube may have fallen out. That sucks. We will go see the ENT in a couple of months to see what needs to be done.

Lucy's horrible rashes have disappeared completely. Turns out the unscented laundry detergent I buy looks exactly the same as the lavender/eucalyptus scent. I spent several days washing every article of clothing, sheets and towels in the unscented brand and that was it. No more rashes.

She does, however, still have recurring eczema on her torso and face and her constipation has not improved even with increased liquids, fruits, veggies and mineral oil. So we are going to cut out milk and cheese to see if things improve. To keep up her calcium without a lot of supplements we'll continue with the kale and spinach, kefir (fermented dairy is not on the off-limits list) and, under the recommendation of Dr. E, sea vegetables.

Wait, wha??

I have heard of them but never cooked with them or eaten them. He talked me through a few ideas for starting and then recommended this website.  Any readers out there who are familiar cooking/eating these? If so, I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Adding a Marine to this military family

This past weekend our nephew, Nick, graduated from Marine Boot Camp. We were so bummed to miss the festivities but the family was well-represented I'm happy to say.

Here are the three sibs...Martine, Nick and Ryan.
 Nick with his Papa (retired Chief from the Navy).
 Three generations.
The whole fam... WheeZ, Papa, Martine, Terry, Nick, Meme, Ryan and Jen (Ryan's wife).
 Nick with his proud parents, WheeZ and Terry (retired Colonel from the Air Force).
Nick started out as a wee-little one (here he is with his dad, my brother, Terry)
 
but has blossomed into an incredibly strong young man.
 
Way to go Nick!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Love Letter, Month 26

Dear Kate,

You are 26 months old today.
As usual, I just cannot keep up with the verbal leaps you make every month. I know I did a double-take when I received my first unsolicited “Thank you Mama”. What a lovely thing to hear at the end of a long day!
You are using pronouns pretty much exclusively now. For example, here are some sample sentences you’ve uttered this month:

Me and Mama and Lucy and Daddy are going to the park.

What are you making for yourself, Mama?

I want some pumice. (which is your word for hummus)

I want my Nana!

You sit down right here Lucy.

Have I mentioned your bossiness yet? You’re quite bossy. You have definite ideas about where people need to sit, what I need to be doing at any given moment, what books are an acceptable choice for story time, what you would like to eat, etc. etc., ad nauseam.
We had quite a few birthday parties to attend this month and you never tired of singing Happy Birthday to your friends. You sang to Arnav, Lina and Daddy, not only on the designated birthday day but nearly everyday thereafter. Yep, I’m LOVING the happy birthday song. Loving it. Truly. Loving. It.

You have so far enjoyed all the birthday parties but you completely cracked us up at Arnav’s. You were totally into Mr. Singer for the first part of his program, venturing onto the dance floor and paying close attention to the music
 and doing all the motions as directed
 
 
even dancing with Lina, Lucy and Ms. Sara
but eventually you tired of all the singing and dancing and proceeded straight to the non-scheduled reading portion of the program…right in the middle of his stage.
You managed to rope Lina into it towards the end as well.
Reading is one of your favorite activities but being naked is a close second. Every evening will find you gleefully shedding your clothes and tearing through the house. Most of the time you leave your clothes in the hallway near the bathroom but on one particular night you were feeling all designey and your socks ended up adorning the kitchen cabinets.
 

I am sad to say that you enjoyed your very first happy meal.

The fries were your favorite by far with the cheeseburger only getting a few nibbles. The My Little Pony toy surprise though was cause for much joy and celebrating. It’s not every day you find toys in your food! Keep that in mind please because seriously, it’s not hardly any day, ever, that you will find toys in your food.

We hit a milestone in the hair department—piggy tails! You aren’t nearly as excited about them as Lucy but you will humor me on occasion and leave them in long enough for a picture.
Your sleep is becoming chronically MIA.  Your naps are non-existent unless you are in the car or stroller and your night-time sleep is still prone to middle-of-the-night wakings. In an effort to find a non-narcotic solution I took you for your first chiropractor appointment.  After your first adjustment you came home and actually fell asleep on Ms. Jessica.  Literally ON her which is amazing since you’ve not fallen asleep on anybody since you were an infant.
You have now been twice and both times you were a champ, laying on the bench and relaxing as you were adjusted. 

Another big leap forward this month is your ability to amuse yourself for longer and longer periods. You will play on your own for up to 20 minutes on some days. Your favorite things to play with this month are your dollies, the train set, the pizza set and a fabulous tent and sleeping bag that Ms. Laurie and Mr. Jeff sent you two. It has provided many hours of entertainment for both of us as I sit and listen to your endless discussions with your dollies in the tent.
And that pretty much describes you most of the time. You are an amazingly easy child (except when you aren’t and then it’s super annoying because I’ve been lulled into a false sense of complacency), all smiley and happy and “talking up a blue streak” (as your Nana would say).
Love,
Mama

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Finally, a long-overdue post

I find I am always a bit remiss in my postings when we have company. This past week my mom was visiting while Len was out of town on business and I have to say, I miss her already. She flew home early Sunday much to Kate's and Lucy's (and mine too) dismay. She was such a big help all week and the girls just loved having her here.
 
 
They woke up in time to see us off to the airport. The promise of waffles made by Daddy eased the blow just a bit though.
 
 
 
We spent the rest of the day enjoying 60+ degree weather at the lake.
 
 
 
We didn't plan ahead to stay and have a picnic, thus we had no food. It was lunchtime and the thought of going back inside was not agreeable to any of us soooo.....the closest "restaurant" was McD. I have thus far managed to pretty much feed the girls organic and home-made or at least meals made of whole foods. But, desperate times call for desperate measures and we succumbed to the lure of fast food.
 Here are the girls enjoying their very first happy meal.
I say enjoy loosely because the only things they ate were the fries and the apple slices. The cheeseburger got 2 nibbles from Kate but Lucy wouldn't even let it grace her lips. After lunch we loaded them into the stroller where they napped while we walked the lakefront for an hour.

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday!

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