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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Always, ALWAYS, in duplicate

Morning snuggles with Lucy was quickly turned into a wrestling match for mama's body, attention, love. No matter that Kate had been happily playing elsewhere and expressed no interest in snuggling prior to Lucy climbing up for a cuddle.

What one has, the other must as well. Typical day.

Friday, August 30, 2013

"Can't touch this"

I heard the music come on in Kate's room as I was fixing breakfast this morning. I checked the monitor to see what they were up to and saw this...
Can't touch dat from Lisa on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

12 more days

Until school starts for our little ones. We had a parent-teacher meeting last night. As Ms. Julie is on vacation this week, Len stayed home with the girls while I headed to their school. Along with all the housekeeping issues (no nut products in their lunches, drop-off and pick-up procedures, etc) we also received their t-shirts for field trips which sent them into rapturous delight when they saw them this morning. We also had a list of things they would need for the first day, most of which I had already gotten.

After our social worker visit today (more on that below), we headed to the shoe store to get their "classroom shoes". These are shoes that they will wear when they are in class. When the go outside for play or to go home, they will put on their regular shoes. This keeps the classroom cleaner since they are on the floor quite a bit.

Here's what we have gathered thus far. They have lunch bags. Inside that we'll put their bento box lunchbox (the green one is closed and the pink one is open to show how it looks) and their placemats/napkin (these are the rolled up cloths near the bento boxes). They also needed toothpaste, toothbrushes, hairbrush, comb, a complete change of clothes, and six wallet sized photos (for their i.d., their cubby, etc).
I met again with Ms. Xiang, the lead teacher and also got to meet the assistant teacher, Ms. Qiong Wei Wu as well as some of the other parents. I snapped a few pictures of their classroom (of course I did!).

I love that the windows open to let in fresh air on nice days!
 This is a shot of the entryway where their cubbies are located.
There is a private bathroom located in the classroom as well, sized just right for little ones. I noticed when we were there for our visit last week that the kids just got up when they needed to go, took care of business and came back out to their work. It's such a different school experience I must say!

In other news, we had our 2 year post-adoption visit from our social worker today. The girls were happy to show Ms. Nancy their rooms and their toys. Lucy kept trying to get her involved in a game of bowling while Kate chattered her ears off! Otherwise, all went well and she'll write her report and send it off to our adoption agency where they will translate it to Chinese and send it back to her orphanage. We also had to send in eight photos that have been taken since her last (12 month) report. ONLY eight?? That was a hard job because c'mon! I have THOUSANDS of photos of my darling daughter that I feel are worthy to be shared....hmmmm. Maybe I should just send this blog link to China so they can see them all.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

More mouth jewelry

Kate and Lucy went in for another dental checkup. For Lucy it was just a check of her face and mouth jewelry...all was fine.

For Kate, she had xrays taken and had a mold taken for her mouth jewelry which will come in next month. When we first started this journey with Dr. Boyd, our orthodontist, it was because he was on the cleft team at Children's where Lucy was having her consultations. We took Kate to him just to make our lives easier for routine cleanings, etc. As it turns out, he is at the forefront of pediatric dentistry, using appliances very early in life to avoid or at least lessen the need for major orthodontic work when children are older.

With that in mind, we are choosing to start Kate's orthodontic work now. She has a very narrow, shallow palate, very straight, close-together teeth, a small jaw and a slight overbite. Her mouth jewelry (really they are just retainers that expand the palate very slowly as they are growing) will work to help her palate expand so her tongue will not curl up behind her teeth when her mouth is closed. Fixing these types of problems early will keep her from having sleep issues such as apnea as she grows up.

He explained all of this on her xray.
In terms of what is good with her current jaw position, he labeled D and E on the photo above. D is hard to see but is located near her nose, right above her lips. It is forward relative to her center cranial base. E is the angled dotted line from her chin to her ear indicating a straight and nearly ideal c-spine (kudos to Dr. Jason, our chiropractor, as well!).

Difficult areas are labeled A, B and C and refer to airway issues. A is located just behind her teeth and shows the width of her airway--it is a bit narrow. B is located on her neck and also indicated narrowness. C is the line from her chin to the back of her skull. His notes say, "Vertical growth tendency of the mandible". Even though I had quite a long discussion with Dr. Boyd about what all of that means, I'm afraid my brain refused to absorb all the details. Suffice to say, left untreated, her jaw could continue in a trajectory that will not only affect her airway but also her spine. I was amazed how all of these elements are interconnected and can be warded off with pre-emptive orthodontics.

The girls waited patiently in their chairs.
The xray technician showed Kate her xray. Kate now has a copy of it taped up in her room--she is fascinated by it!
 Lucy's ready to go!
They love the sunglasses to shield their eyes from the lights!
Kate did really well with the gooey mold form. Impressions only had to be made one time with no do-overs!
 Meanwhile, Dr. Boyd checked Lucy's mouth jewelry and bite.

Last one!
Kate's mouth jewelry will be ready at the end of next month. Fortunately, she won't need face jewelry for now. Her overbite may correct itself with just palate expansion.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ladies who shop

We needed a few things from the grocery store which usually means I will do it when someone else has the girls. But we had a few things working in our favor this morning:

1. Short, manageable list with nothing so urgent that I couldn't leave it behind if things went catastrophically awry.
2. Very hot morning making the playground unpleasant.
3. Fairly good moods for all three of us.
4. There aren't a lot of people in the grocery store on a Wednesday morning.

The girls dressed themselves (and boy, did they! Made me feel like I was back in Macclenny when you needed full makeup and posh outfit to head to the Winn Dixie for milk) and we headed out. The girls each got a shopping cart and we focused on learning the etiquette of keeping your cart to the side (instead of blocking the whole aisle) when stopping for something so that others can pass by.
Can I just say, they were delightful! This was by far the most pleasant shopping experience I've ever had with them. They each took turns putting items in their carts and yes, there was a bit of "Can we get this!?" and "I really want this!" but they put things back and didn't continue whining as we walked away from the rejected item. They also didn't go careening around the store or ramming into displays....it was just. so. nice.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Summer fun

The weather has taken a turn for the HOT and HUMID which is awesome when pool season is so short. I can't believe we have less than 3 weeks of pool time left...

With that in mind, I texted a couple of mamas and asked if they wanted to meet for swimming. This pool actually has a great playground, a sand pit and a splash pad so there was plenty to do. We packed a lunch and headed out. First was the playground and sandpit, waiting for the pool to open at 11am. Their friends didn't want to swim so they headed over to the splash pad while the girls and I swam for about 45 minutes. We then all met up for a picnic under the trees followed by more play in the splash pad.

Sadly, Lucy D. and Christy had to leave but Ben and Josephine were persuaded to stay and brave the cold temps in the pool for another hour. It was much less crowded in the afternoon so we had a lot of room to swim and throw dive sticks. Kate showed off her newest trick; somersaulting underwater. She's so proud!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Excuse me, are you going to eat that tumor?

Aunt Kathy sent the girls Yummy Dough so we set out to make cookies last week. They can't seem to get enough of helping in the kitchen so even though it is messy and takes a good deal of patience (mostly on my part), I try to have them cook/bake/chop/etc.



Fortunately, they love to clean up too! They've even started learning to load the dishwasher which, hello, AWESOME.
Lucy made a heart and a crown, Kate made a dress and a flower "with a D for daddy!"
 She also made a much larger flower for herself.
Lucy made a butterfly to match her shirt.
Of course the occasion called for tea.
Lucy made a snake...that looks like it swallowed something rather large. She said it was too full and was pooping out the other side (hence the green blob...).
Kate created a cat....with what looks to be brains oozing out of its skull.
She said it was a tumor.

Note to self: children hear and absorb much more than I want them to. Also, they should not be making cancerous cats for snacks.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Beach fun

Although the weather is topsy turvy here, we still have managed to visit the beach for our last two playgroups. The kids had a good time playing in the sand and water while the mamas got to visit and enjoy the breeze.










I love summertime!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Catching my breath

I've been trying to get back into the groove of being home from our month in Florida and only just now am I feeling some semblance of order returning. We've had a rather full schedule trying to accomplish a lot before preschool starts. Yep, the girls will start preschool this year. We've chosen a Montessori school that has Chinese immersion (specifically, Mandarin language) for 1/2 a day. Although they could go for a full day we've elected to stick to a 1/2 day schedule since it is 5 days/week.

We met their teacher and toured the classroom last week. They will be in a classroom with an age range of 3-6 year olds (pre-k through kindergarten), with 23 students in their class, one teacher and one assistant. At times there may also be a parent volunteer as well. The visit went exceedingly well with Ms. Xiang speaking to them in Mandarin and showing them what to do with their chosen activity. The girls responded quite well, settling down to their tasks, with Kate at one point telling me, "I'm very involved so don't mess with me right now."

After about 30 minutes it was time to go and tour the playground and Kate swiveled her head around and said, "NOW? But I want to staaaaayyyyy!" Lucy didn't say anything, choosing instead the passive route of the hearing impaired, blithely continuing on with her activity as if we had not said anything at all. I'd say those are good signs. The school starts for returning students on September 3 with the new students phased in over several days so the teacher can focus on a few at a time. Our girls start September 9.

We've had our preschool checkup as you saw in a previous post and next week we have another dental checkup. Haircuts and chiropractor appointments are scheduled as well as our on-going speech therapy. In-between we find time for fun.
While we didn't buy the hats in the above picture, they did pick out bike helmets (kitty cat for Kate, shark for Lucy).
Playing train at Lucy D's 4th birthday party.

 That's a big yummy cake!
 Here, have some!
Dress up has made a re-appearance in their playtime.


Christy, Jo and I spent a lovely evening by the lake, dining on cheese, pate, bread, fruit and wine. 4 hours later (and well past curfew!) we headed home.
Back in June, Ms. Julie gifted me a free overnight of babysitting for my birthday. Len and I finally found a free weekend and a good deal on a hotel downtown to make use of her gift. So yesterday afternoon I checked in at Hotel Allegro, got some tea and settled in to finish my book for book club on Tuesday. It's the first time I've actually finished a book BEFORE bookclub meets so Yay me!
Len walked over after work and after freshening up a bit we headed to Blackbird for supper. Everything was superb.
After supper, Len surprised me by popping open a bottle of champagne that we were given by a close friend when we moved from DC to Chicago. We kept thinking we would open it to celebrate Kate's birth, then Lucy's adoption, then then then....and it never happened. I'm so glad Len thought to bring it. Although I am not much into champagne, let me just say that I thoroughly enjoyed this bottle! It was very smooth and left no headache in the morning!
It is amazing how rejuvenating just one night of sound sleep with no early wakeup can be! We had a wonderfully relaxing Saturday morning and a leisurely breakfast before getting home just before noon.


Meanwhile, Ms. Julie's daughter and new baby grand-daughter came over to visit. The girls were thrilled to be able to hold Baby Nora.

Julie took them out for breakfast and then some window shopping before we all met back home for lunch. What a great way to start the weekend!

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