Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Instant Summer

"Is it summer now Mama?" Those words, uttered by Kate today, seemed very true, despite the calendar's insistence that it was only the end of April. According to the car thermometer when we left the Botanical Garden at 3:30pm it was 90 degrees.

Fortunately it really didn't feel that hot as the typical Chicago wind kept up a steady breeze throughout our adventures in a spring wonderland of flowers (none of which I got pictures of!!!). I did, however, get lots of pictures of kids (Kate, Lucy, Lina and Luke specifically).

We had lunch in the bulb garden where it smelled deliciously of hyacinths as we ate our strawberries.
Lunch finished, Kate set about finding "treasures" of dogwood flower petals.
More treasures were found in the fountains.

After a trip through the veggie gardens, the girls were clamoring to play in the big fountain. They took off running towards it as soon as I said they could. Lina and Luke brought up the rear.

Luke and Lina opted out early as the water was quite chilly. My girls were die-hards and stayed in for almost 30 minutes.

Lina's baby brother Leo chilling out.
Lucy checking out her bag of treasures.
Popsicle face!
Loading up baby Leo with milk before the drive home.

Monday, April 29, 2013


We seemed to have turned a corner weather-wise. Although I have not cleaned and put away our winter coats just yet, we are wearing them less often. Today is the warmest day yet...I do believe we're in the 70s! Although it was still a bit nippy this weekend (upper 50s), the sun was shining and it was beautiful so we headed to the lake for a walk, a picnic and some sandy playtime.

Lucy headed immediately for the dogs on the beach.
Kate settled in for some digging. You can see Lucy's pink jacket near the water on the left with the dogs!
Kate loved the tart pickles and oil cured olives we had on our picnic.
 More digging.
 We've also gotten in some good playtime in our yard. The bubbles, chalk and bouncy balls are popular again!

Tomorrow we're heading to the Botanical Garden after swim lessons. Quite excited about this weather...or couldn't you tell! The only dark, cold spot is that we're supposed to plunge back down to the 30s night/50s day on Thursday. Boo.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Breathing lessons

Kate has been coughing off and on for the past couple of months. We've taken her in to the doctor a few times but there was never anything to point to that could be causing this. So we've put her in the steam shower, rubbed eucalyptus essential oil onto the soles of her feet, had her drink warm chamomile tea with honey, lemon and sometimes a tsp of bourbon if it is interrupting her sleep. All of these have helped to some degree but the cough always comes back.

Tuesday night it woke her (and me) up at 1:30am. She was coughing so hard that she started gagging. I had a plug-in of camphor and eucalyptus fogging up her room, I re-applied more essential oil to her feet and finally brewed up the tea concoction. It took about an hour and 1/2 c. of tea but she finally fell back asleep until morning.

I took her back to the doc Wednesday morning and showed him a video I had taken of her coughing and her breathy speaking (because, of course, she rarely coughs at the doctor's office).
Kate coughing from Lisa on Vimeo.

But this time she actually was coughing in his office and he could hear wheezing both before and after she coughed.

He was hesitant to label it asthma just yet as it could be allergies. He has recommended that we hit her hard with steroids to open up her airways and see if we can stop it in its tracks. So she's on prednisolone daily for a week and is taking albuterol every six hours through a nebulizer. He did tell us not to wake her up to do the nebulizer if she's sleeping and not coughing.

She was annoyed that the steam was blocking her view of the tv.
 Don't you love the bedhead?!

I truly hope it is not asthma but I've had a niggling suspicion that it could be for a while now. And my intuition is rarely wrong.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mama Kate and Baby Lucy

Sometimes I manage to capture these two playing with each other in one of their favorite games; Mama Kate and Baby Lucy. This is kind of a long video but it gives a good idea of how they play with each other most of the time (when they aren't vying for my undivided personal attention).
Lazy afternoon from Lisa on Vimeo.

Monday, April 22, 2013


Stuck is a new film about the hot mess of International Adoption and will be showing April 26 at 7pm at the Music Box Theatre here in Chicago. Watch below to see the trailer and if you are in the area I hope you can make it. It looks to be a compelling movie. Len and I are going to be there Friday night!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Eventful Week

Things have been hopping around here what with major breaking news in Boston, our local flooding and life with two pre-schoolers.

As usual, I find myself only knowing about major news when I log onto F*cebook. That's how I found out about the bombing in Boston and subsequent man-hunt. I managed to watch a lot of the goings-on by streaming CNN on my iPad so the girls wouldn't see it on the tv.

That news was only slightly overshadowed by the local flooding we had here in Chicago. We got about 7" of rain in less than 48 hours which, surprisingly, was less severe for us by the lake than it was for those near the rivers. Since we are a few floors up we were only minimally impacted--pretty much just confined to our house until the thunder and lightening stopped. Then we went outside for some major puddle jumping--we all got soaked but had a fantastic time in all the water. Because it was still raining I didn't bring my camera and then forgot my phone as well so no pics. but trust me when I say we had fun.

That one day of 70 degree weather was quickly over and has been followed by sleet and snow. We woke up yesterday to light snow on the ground and high temps in the upper 30s. As Kate said, "Winter just won't go away!"

The girls started ballet at the Y again. I had $100 of free Y bucks to use before May so I signed them up for classes to get us through the spring. When Tita Wheez visited us in Houston she brought two of Martine's ballet leotards which the girls are thrilled to wear for class.

Yesterday we got a nice visit from Martine's brother Nick and his friend Kayla. They took the train into the city and had brunch with us before heading downtown. This was Lucy's first meeting with her cousin Nick and she quite liked him I think!
Kate polished off the okra from my bloody mary.
 A shot of the whole crew before they left on their adventure downtown.
Lucy was thrilled to see this enormous Newfoundland and she spent at least 10 minutes petting him.
 The dog's owner was very gracious in letting Lucy love all over his dog.
And finally, a long-overdue video of the Easter present from Meme and Papa. They sent some $ in their Easter cards so I ordered these toys they had enjoyed at their friend M's house. Kate very quickly noticed the holes on the side of the jumpers...the holes that had contained squeakers that I had removed prior to their use!
Hoppy Things from Lisa on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Broadway Stars

Len surprised me at Christmas with tickets to see "The Book of Mormon". We finally got to go last week and I have to say, the play DID NOT DISAPPOINT! Love, love, loved it! It definitely ranks up there with "The Producers" which we had the good fortune to see in NYC with the original cast.

We brought back the playbills for the girls and then I showed them the clip that I linked to above. It's funny to hear them spontaneously break out into song over breakfast.
Broadway stars from Lisa on Vimeo.
On another note, do you hear how much Lucy's speech has improved!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Out of the mouths of babes

Lisa, to Kate and Lucy: We're going to the Y tomorrow so mama and daddy can work out and you two get to play in the maze.

Kate: Why do you want to work out?

Lisa: So I can be strong and healthy.

Kate: You don't want to keep your body mushy?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Love Letter, Month 39

Dear Kate,

You are 39 months old today.
You've had quite a few new things happen this month, some great and some not-so-great. Early in the month you fell forward off your chair and onto the edge of the table with your face while we were hosting playgroup. You managed to split your lip and jam your gums up into your jaw. This led to your very first set of dental x-rays.
Despite the pain you were in, you held very still and cooperated with all the look-sees into your mouth.
Fortunately, there was no permanent damage to your mouth or teeth and we celebrated by picking up some ice cream on the way home to share with your friends.

You astounded me later that evening when Daddy came home and you repeated word-for-word what the dentist told me about what happened to your lip/gums when you fell...

“My mouth was closed and my teeth were together with my tongue pressing against them which kept them from moving which is why my teeth weren't damaged.”

I didn't even know you were listening as he was talking over your head while you sat on my lap.

You visited the Chicago Children's Museum for the first time. Daddy took you and Lucy to meet up with Mr. Gustav and Lina for a rainy, cold Sunday playdate. You had a great time climbing and playing all day while I had a much-needed day off.

You moved up in swim class 2 weeks ago. You are now a Guppy 2 and are very proud of that fact.
See how happy you were in this picture? That was short-lived. Your happiness lasted right up until you finished your celebratory ice cream cone. Then all hell broke loose and you had your first public temper tantrum. As you might imagine, I was not amused and neither was your sister for that matter. Your melt-down resulted in a hasty departure and an end to an otherwise pleasant morning. 

Your moods are still on a hair-trigger. You get frustrated by pretty much everything from socks to underwear to rain but my favorite is this one:


Somehow I always thought that line was just in the movies to create humor but no, here you are acting this scene out nearly every night during storytime right before bed. And now that Lucy knows how much it bothers you, guess what? Yep. She will move her leg over ever-so-slightly so that her foot will just barely graze your leg, sending you into apoplectic spasms, much to her delight. And you fall for it every time.

Amazingly though, the two of you get along the majority of the day. No, get along is sometimes not a strong enough word. You are each other's champions, looking out for each other and enjoying your time in the land of make-believe. 
Last week Daddy heard you lead Lucy to your room and say, “I have a variety of options to choose from in here” as you pointed to your hope chest full of stuffed animals when Lucy wanted another one to hold. 

My fears that you would resent having a sister or that you two were too opposite to get along have melted these past few months. Just yesterday at playgroup when Lina and Lucy D. wouldn't let you play with them Lucy came over and said, "Be nice to my sister!" And I regularly see you giving each other hugs and kisses while crooning, "I love you sister" to each other. It's so sweet it makes my teeth hurt sometimes.

In spite of all the sisterly love, you are still very much jealous of my time and attention. In an effort to alleviate some of the jealousy and maybe some of your mood swings I took you on a date. We talked about our date for the entire week leading up to it and you were so thrilled to be going somewhere with just me. We had a delightful time reading and playing with legos at the bookstore.
We followed that up with lunch and a special Easter cookie before heading home.
Speaking of Easter, the E. Bunny was very happy with all the eggs you colored for him to hide. 
You were very excited about Easter this year. We spent most of the month reading books and talking about hunting for eggs. The big day did not disappoint and you were happy to share it with your Lucy, Lucy D. and Ben.
This is the face that you make ALL THE TIME now. I'm not really sure why it started but Easter was the first time you made this face.  It has stuck.
I happen to like this face personally.
Did you notice the 7" of hair that is missing in some of these photos? You kept insisting that you wanted your hair cut short so after looking at a few photos of hairstyles, you settled on a pixie cut and we got the deed done.
You have been so happy with your new 'do and love all the attention it is getting you. While skyping with Nana you said, “I’ve had long hair for years now”, when she asked about your new style. You are such an old soul sometimes.

And frightfully logical, as when I mentioned it was time for our afternoon rest:

Kate: I’m not tired enough for rest.
Me: How are you not tired? You’ve been playing with your friends all day.
Kate: I’ve been playing slowly.
You may play slowly but you never seem to think slowly. Your mind is always working. Even during your hour of enforced rest I can see you sitting in your bed talking non-stop to your toys. You have also started sitting up in bed nearly every night and talking. The time varies but it's generally between 10:30pm-1am. I will awaken to hear you talking and sitting up, sometimes on your knees, looking around your covers. You never seem to be quite awake though as I can usually get you back under the covers and asleep within seconds.

You've got a lot going on in that head of yours and it is exhausting for the both of us. My wish for you next month is deep, restful sleep. In fact, it's my wish for you and for me so we can have more moments like these...
You make me smile Katie-bug.



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