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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bits and Pieces...and Pie! And Naps!

We've been enjoying our last few days with Nana which really means we're putting her to work while we can! We took the tree down and put away the decorations last night. This led to cleaning out some closets and making a trip for donations. I always seem to feel this way at the end of the year--if I can't shed weight for the end of the year at least I can shed excess closet detritus!

Meanwhile, the girls are enjoying the snow and then warming up with either tea or hot chocolate in their new glass mugs from the Walnut Room.
 
Kate is now pretending to be "Santa Kate" by having her elf, Lucy, set up cookies and milk on the table for her to have when she "comes from the North Pole".
I've signed the girls up for swim lessons that will begin on the 7th. The class requires goggles and swim caps.
They are super excited about swimming lessons with "a real teacher!" (A few of their friends have started preschool so they have teachers. Thus, the girls are happy to finally have a teacher too.)

It's Nana's last night with us so we celebrated with pie this morning. We bundled up and walked to First Slice Pie Cafe and indulged in 4 different kinds of pie, 2 topped with ice cream. It was divine and the girls were enraptured. Alas, there are no pictures of said pies as we were all too busy with our spoons to bother with the camera. I did manage to snap a photo of the girls bundled up in the stroller on our way to the cafe.
After pie, we walked to the shoe store to get snow boots for the girls. Their feet have grown out of all the snow boots we had. Lucy now wears size 9 and Kate wears size 8. They had great fun stomping through the snow on our walk home.
Since they had run/walked the mile home they were pretty tired and cold. After a quick snack of chamomile tea and cheese quesadilla, they happily went down for 2 hour naps. Bliss!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

White Christmas

The snow started to fall mid-morning and continued for long enough to give the ground a good coating but not so long that we would have to shovel out. The girls were beyond excited to finally see snow again and begged to be taken out. Normally this is not a big deal but at the moment, I'm the only one in the house that isn't sick. The girls are on the tail-end of a cold--green snot and croupy coughs are what is left for them. Len has the cough, runny nose and run-down feeling. Nana seems to have been hit the hardest and feels like a truck has run over her.

No, Mom, just 3 months with 2 toddlers. Much worse than a truck.

Len sucked it up, suited up and headed out while I started prep for dinner and Nana took a nap.
 
Such joy on their faces!
 
 My snow angels.

Now I know why Kate was COMPLETELY SOAKING WET when she came back in.
 
 
 

 
 
 
 Lucy wanted to throw snowballs instead.
 Looks like we'll need to invest in sleds this year for our little snow bunnies.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy (Snowy!) Christmas!

Of course this is the one morning when we have to wake Kate up. Seriously. 7am rolls around and Lucy is trying to shoot out the door to see if Santa came and I'm trying to get her to wait until Kate is mobile too. We managed to get them both through the bathroom before the stampede down the hall...
Christmas morning from Lisa on Vimeo.
We took the morning in stages, although not as many as we ended up doing last year. First came the stockings.
Chocolate for pre-breakfast snack? It looks that way!
She had no problem biting off Santa's head.
They had an apple and orange in there too.
Next came tearing into a few presents.
Then a break for more apple.
While I prepared breakfast of brioche Grand Marnier French toast.
After breakfast, more presents.
 They got a lot of books this year which is wonderful. They wanted to read all of them tonight...we got through about half of them.
Kate is over-seeing Nana's present opening.
 And thanking her for the apron Nana gave to her!
 Kate was very much in the mood to model today. This view doesn't show it but the top and back of this hat are covered in pink sequins to match the boots.
This hat has mittens attached to the "scarf".
Lucy was hard to photograph today--she was in  motion most of the day!
 Managed one good shot of the ladies in their aprons from Nana.
 Len started a tradition from our very first Christmas of giving me one ornament that indicated something of significance to me/us for the year. This year was a snow globe from the Houston zoo and this...
a miniature doctor's scrubs shirt with stethoscope. Fitting for my year of oncology appointments! Kate remarked, "Mama, that shirt is too small for you."

I got my wish for a white Christmas---snow pictures follow on tomorrow's post! Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas day!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve!

The girls are just too excited about Christmas! And I have to admit that I am too. It's the first year that they are into the whole holiday season. We set out cookies and milk for Santa.
Cookies and milk for Santa from Lisa on Vimeo.

After baths we came out to bid a final farewell to Charlie and Rudolph until next year.
Saying Goodbye to Charlie the Elf from Lisa on Vimeo.

Santa came soon after the girls were asleep...with a little help from his elves it looks like we are ready for Christmas morning!
 
Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Fever

Dance Fever that is. It seems that the fever has broken, Kate is feeling better and so the dance party begins.
Usher dance from Lisa on Vimeo.

Friday, December 21, 2012

I'm holding the Mayans personally responsible

The world did not end today as predicted. HOWEVER...I am holding them personally responsible for how badly the day's events were.

Our day actually began last night. Kate was running a pretty good temperature and was absolutely miserable all through bath and bed. She did manage to sleep all night until 5:25am when I wake up to very loud crying and "MAMA! MAMA! MAMA!"

I open her door to find her sheets, pillow, jammies and the floor soaked. Turns out it was just the cup of water I had left in her room (I think she was still half asleep when she tried to drink it) but it pretty much meant that any hope of getting her back down to bed was gone. With some help from Nana who, since she's sleeping in the living room, is awakened as soon as anyone wakes up, we got Kate, her room and her bed dried off and changed. I lay with her on the couch for a while...right up until she vomited all over me. There are two silver linings...1. it was mostly water since she had not eaten anything since lunch yesterday and 2. it was the first time she has ever puked.

Nana sat with Kate in the bathroom while I got changed. It's now about 7am and I have to get Lucy up and dressed and out the door in 30 minutes for her speech therapy one year evaluation downtown. Meanwhile, Kate is settled on the couch with her daddy waiting on her.
Lucy and I barely make it to our appointment on time with her eating cereal in the car and clementines in the waiting room. We met with someone who had never evaluated Lucy before but was still part of our cleft team at Children's. I had asked for someone new as I have doubted all along that Lucy was ready to graduate from speech therapy. Yes, she is more understandable than she was but she is still not making all of her sounds, I can still hear air escaping from her nose and fistula when she makes certain sounds and she doesn't pronounce most words correctly. In general, her speech is very lazy and her throat is very guttural and grainy.

My gut turned out to be correct. This evaluation was much more thorough than our last one in part because her comprehension is much better. She passed language comprehension/understanding with flying colors as well as speaking in multiple-word sentences. She was able to point to or name items indicating if there were multiples or none at all. She could identify correctly whether something was in motion or static. She did not name colors correctly, pretty much calling every color either yellow or blue but I'm not sure if that's her being obstinate because she was not real thrilled with being confined to a task or if she truly cannot name her colors. She is mostly on par with where a 3 year old should be.

But those were the only sections she passed. She drops her consonants and a few of her vowels on most words. When she is actually trying to say words her voice drops and her sounds are grainy, almost as if she needs to clear her throat. The therapist said that a lot of times children who are having trouble making sounds will end up with severe throat irritations from trying so hard to make the correct sounds. She also could not touch her tongue to her upper lip with her mouth open, she cannot sweep her tongue in between her cheek and teeth to "clear food" which is why she has such difficulty eating things like pasta and meat. She has an under-bite combined with a cross-bite so this exacerbates all of the above including biting her food adequately.

All of this I had noticed but with our previous therapist "graduating" her combined with my cancer appointments, her speech took a backseat. So the upshot of all this is that she is now back on weekly speech therapy with a new therapist who will focus on speech as well as voice, for which she will be formally evaluated the first week in February. We also have homework to work on her tongue control, strengthening it so she can eat and speak better.

The bright spot in our morning was the arrival of Ms. Julie and the opening of Christmas presents with her since we won't see her again until next Friday. Kate rallied for presents (yep, she's my daughter!) and by the time Nana and I left the house both girls were firmly under Ms. Julie's spell.
The easel was a big hit--chalkboard on one side, white board on the other and a paper roll that you can use on both sides for crayons and markers. 
Nana and I intended to have a nice lunch and run some errands (I still had not had much to eat at this point, having no time for breakfast and only a hurried few bites of some soup when we got back from Lucy's evaluation).

It was not to be.

A little bit of background: one of the side effects of my radiation is a whacked-out hormonal cycle. Suffice to say that I have been bleeding (heavily and continuously) for weeks. WEEKS. So I had called my gynecological oncologist here to see if he could fit me in to his schedule. Today was the day. I needed to be at his office up in the northern 'burbs before 3pm. We made it there and what followed was not pretty or comfortable. He needed to get a good-sized sample from my uterus to rule out uterine cancer and to test my hormone levels. That meant a scraping/suctioning of the lining of my uterus. This causes contractions....LOTS OF CONTRACTIONS. OMG. So. Yeah. Not a fun afternoon.

Fast forward to now. I am sitting amid chaos with my ears plugged with the iPod, typing, while Len and Nana feed the girls supper and ready them for bath. Unfortunately for them, seeing Mama but having no access to her is enough to make their heads pop off...yet remain firmly attached to very loud vocal chords driving me to continuously turn up the volume on the Dixie Chicks.

Sigh.

I guess I should go participate in the grueling crawl that is ushering recalcitrant toddlers to bed.

Those Mayans better be glad they are already dead.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Vastly different from last year

Last year when we went to visit Santa the girls were A. Not real familiar with the concept and B. scared shitless.
It was not a happy event.

This year, to prepare for Santa's lap again, we did a lot of prep work. Len, Nana and I all took turns being Santa at home so the girls could role-play walking up to Santa, telling him their names and then answering questions about what they want, how old they are, etc.

They were beyond excited to get all dressed up and head to Macy's on State Street to see Santa. The new coats were an early Christmas present from Nana!
At the entrance to Santaland.
Waiting in line!
 Soooo Close! We're next!
 And there he is! Kate led the way and told Santa that she wants some sparkly shoes. Lucy said she wanted a Tinkerbell.
 Vastly different than last year!
 We then headed upstairs for lunch at the famed Walnut Room.
We had a nice view of the tree.
 A rare shot of all of us together...thanks Yia Yia!
 There were fairy princesses with magical fairydust and wishing stones. Here's Kate closing her eyes and making a wish. She told me she "wished we could go home". Once we saw Santa she was pretty much over it all.
I'm not sure what Lucy wished for but she was all about the glitter!
Another fairy princess.
And more glitter.
Heading out we stopped at the fountain to look at the water and get some snuggles.
Yia Yia is hoping to get back to DC by tomorrow but the impending winter storm may snag her plans. It was great to have her here for the week making all kinds of goodies and loving on the girls. And so glad she is part of our memories from this Christmas!
 

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