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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Look at me go!

Lucy's legs are finally long enough that she can sit on her bike seat with her feet touching the ground (Kate, alas, is still too short).

I love these balance bikes because they will learn to balance and steer without the use of training wheels. Tonight she got the hang of going faster and is starting to understand balance by lifting her feet off the ground to coast.
Look at me go! from Lisa on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A sneak peek

We had our family photo shoot this weekend. It was originally planned for Friday late afternoon at the Chicago Botanic Garden but the weather did not cooperate at all so we rescheduled for Sunday afternoon in a different location. Turns out I learned of a well-hidden gem right in the middle of the city--the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pond. Our lovely photographer, Jessie, suggested it and I'm really glad she did. First off, it's much closer to our home and second, now I have a place to seek refuge with the girls when we're downtown or at the zoo and they become overstimulated.

Jessie was nice enough to send me a sneak peek of one of our photos and I really like it! Can't wait to see the rest now.
You can see more of Jessie's work at SimplyJessie.com. She has a great blog with gorgeous photos. We've had her take our photos every year since Kate was born and even though she has relocated to the west coast, we try to fill one of her coveted spots when she visits Chicago.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Blue Footed Booby!

The girls received their first copy of their very own magazine from the World Wildlife Federation. They were very excited about the blue footed booby, because really, who wouldn't be?
Blue Footed Booby! from Lisa on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Regress much lately?

Both girls are into being swaddled lately. They need to work on their "I'm asleep" faces though.
Doesn't Lucy totally look like an old Babushka?

This time they wanted the baby bottles as well.
Frankly, as long as they stay toilet trained and don't ask to nurse from me, I'm willing to swaddle them all day long.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Morning snuggles

One thing I have been severely lacking in since having children is sleep. I am so seriously sleep deprived that I feel like I may never catch up. But I do love me some morning snuggles by my two favorite cuties, especially when their Daddy has fed and dressed them for the morning!
 
 

 
 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Yo Yo, Wazzup?

 
They look tough in their Hello Kitty slippers don't they?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Bedtime Kitty Song

Kate has a special bedtime kitty that she carries around most of the day but only when we are home. It is not allowed to leave the house because I've heard too many horror stories of losing a child's lovey to risk it. Although she loves the kitty part, her favorite part is the tag. The tag that will eventually be worn completely off and then the world will end (for those of you wondering when Armageddon will happen, I'll give you a head's up when I see the tag hanging by its last worn thread).

Ms. Julie entertains the girls with songs most days that she is here and they yell out requests like they're at a Justin Bieber concert. Kate asked for a song about her Bedtime Kitty and here it is (with a closeup of her rubbing her tag into submission on her lips which Julie waxes poetic about in her song).
Bedtime Kitty Song from Lisa on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

One year ago today

This is what we were doing one year ago today.
 
 
 
 
A year ago we were handed a child who barely made much sound when she cried, would avoid eye contact and was not especially fond of me. It was not love at first sight for either of us.

We have come a long way in one year. She is 7 pounds heavier and 4 1/2" taller. Her cheeks are rosy, her eyes are bright and inquisitive. She can drink from a straw and a cup, blow bubbles, run, jump, climb, catch a ball, speak in full sentences in a non-native language, and name all the people in her life when she sees them in pictures. But most of all she has learned to trust, to love, to feel a bit of security. I'm under no illusion that she is fully secure and attached, the end. Attachment, love, trust and security must continue to be cultivated in order to raise a confident child into adulthood. That goes for Kate just as much as for Lucy for that matter.

Today we celebrated Family Day by appearing in court bright and early for Lucy's re-adoption.

If you will allow a small bit of snarkiness on this special day....I think the whole re-adoption bit is a sham and yet another way for adoptive families to have more cash squeezed from their already drained bank accounts. Lucy was a U.S. citizen from the moment she left China. We ensured that by having both parents travel to get her so she could enter the U.S. on an IR3 visa. She has a certificate of citizenship and a social security number. What she cannot get is a US birth certificate...unless we pay a lawyer a large sum of money and appear before a judge for a 5 minute chat and some photos.

Right. On with Family Day. We arrived at Daley Plaza to meet with our lawyer to sign a few more pieces of paper. We were then summoned down to the sheriff's office so Lucy could receive her summons (her first and last summons we hope!).
We had some time to kill before meeting the judge so we took in the views of the city from the 17th floor. Thanks to Paivi for the cute outfits!
 
 
No pictures are allowed in the courtroom but the judge came out into the waiting room for a photo op.
The bailiff handed them lollipops on their way out.
They ran a little steam off in Daley Plaza before Len walked to his office and we headed home for lunch.
 
We celebrated with dinner out at Lao Szechuan, our absolute favorite Chinatown restaurant that, PRAISE BE!, opened an outpost just a few blocks from our house.
We were very happy that Ms. Julie could join us to help celebrate our first year home as a family of four.
It is way better than I thought it would be. Lucy has made our family complete.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My, how she has grown!

We took this picture of Kate soon after she was born. So tiny.
And this was taken yesterday.
And because we cannot do for one that we do not do for the other...


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Little chefs

It seems the only way I can actually accomplish something like cooking supper is to include the girls in the prep work. Granted, it takes more time and is much messier, but I find I'm less stressed than I would be if I were trying to cook and the girls were doing all in their power to gain my undivided attention. A few nights ago we had Garden Veggie Lasagne on the menu and it contained a lot of the girls' favorite veggies: squash, zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes and carrots. I substituted soft tofu for the ricotta and the girls stirred in fresh basil and oregano from our container garden.
 
 Some sliced provolone cheese...notice the large bite taken from Lucy's piece.
 A sprinkling of mozzarella and parmesan....
Yum! Dinner is served. The best part was when Kate and Lucy told Len that they had made dinner "all by themselves" for him.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Love Letter, Month 32


Dear Kate,

You are 32 months old today and this picture sums up how it's been going.
You have been in a "mood" all month and it's been a constant dance to figure out what will set you off and what will make you happy. You are bone tired from waking up early (your need to poop wakes you every single morning at 6am) and then refusing to nap so that by the end of the day you are a complete wreck. Suppertime has become the time of day I dread the most. It really doesn't matter what I fix or what you have asked for, nothing will do. For the first time tonight, I finally just took you out of the chair (after 1/2 an hour and multiple episodes of refusing to eat/playing with your food/general mayhem) and straight into the bath and into bed before Lucy was even done eating. You were so unbelievably mad and yet you fell asleep before I had finished the third song.

I wish I knew what was wrong (other than a lack of sleep and being 2 1/2) and how to fix it. Unfortunately, you have built up this whole "not sleeping" thing into your identity. As you told Nana while she was here this month, "I don't tend to nap." And here is an exchange you and I had last week:

Kate: I don’t want to stay in my room for a nap.
Mama: I thought you liked your room.
Kate: I certainly don’t anymore.

You verbal skills impress and scare me. In fact, you caught me in a huge no-no and pointed it out to me rather succinctly:

Mama: You need to learn to pull up your own panties and shorts.
Kate: No, I can’t do it, I’m too little.
Mama: Yes you can. See, Lucy pulled up hers.
Kate: I’m not Lucy. You should help me.

Wow. You may be little but your deductive reasoning skills are not. I am glad that you reminded me that comparing my two girls is not the best way to accomplish anything. 

You do seem to be regressing just a bit though. In addition to saying you cannot dress yourself, you are insisting that you cannot feed yourself at times.
You wanted to be swaddled like a baby this week.
I actually had hoped that this might comfort you enough to nap (you look completely exhausted in this photo) but alas, you worked your arms free and you were off and running, forcing yourself to stay awake.

The silver lining is that when you are in a good mood, life is very enjoyable. You have become obsessed with somersaulting and playing catch this month. With all the practicing you have now perfected the somersault and can catch a wide variety of ball sizes.
You are strong enough to pull yourself up onto our bed and you will climb up and ask to "read and cuddle with you" nearly every day. I love that you have such a close bond with Ms. Julie, reading and cuddling with her while Lucy naps.
You and Lucy have gotten closer this month, playing together without as much fighting drama as in the past. 
 

Maybe it's because you have a room of your own again 
or because Lucy is feeling more confident in her place in our family. Whatever it is, I want more please. Especially when you call her Lucy Goosey and Lucy calls you My Kate.  I mean, there really isn't anything more endearing than that!

 We had a few adventures this month including visiting the zoo...
swimming in Lake Michigan on Labor Day...
 
playing in sprinklers while out for our late afternoon walk...
 examining inside flowers for bugs
 
 and being quite happy when none are to be found!
When you aren't whining about food, sleep, or life in general, you love to sample new things, especially when we go to the local farmer's market. After polishing off an ear of raw corn in the market, you both noshed on peaches as we strolled home.
Your favorite foods have expanded to include olive tapenade, tacos and any salad that I am eating for lunch. Your sense of smell has really kicked in for better and for worse. If there is anything remotely smelly in the trash you will tell me about it as you start dry heaving (you are so very dramatic!). But you also will come in the door and notice the smell of my cooking and ask, “Mama, what are you cooking? What do I smell?”

In many ways you are growing up and I think you sense that too and are not real sure you feel ready.  You swing wildly between wanting to do things by yourself and having me do everything, even things you have mastered. 

If it helps, I, too, am ambivalent about you growing up. I am so very proud every time you try something new and yet I do miss those days of carrying your tiny body all wrapped in a sling close to my heart. You may not be physically close to my heart these days but you will always be in it.
Love,
Mama

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