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Friday, December 26, 2014

Visitors from Sweden

After an 18 month absence, Sara and family came back to Chicago for a visit! We were so delighted to host them for the weekend as they made the rounds visiting family and friends. It's amazing how you can pick right back up with good friends as if you had just seen them last week. I was happy to see that Lina, Kate and Lucy felt the same way! They picked up as if no time had passed and spent the weekend playing and brushing each other's hair (I'm so not kidding on that last part either).
Although we spent a good portion of our time with kids, we did manage to sneak off for some girl time. After a stroll in Andersonville, we were going to stop for a coffee but beer and mussels sounded much better (and it was!).
Meanwhile, Gustav and Len had the girls at the playground.
Apparently you can't get good Chinese food in Sweden so by request, we ordered some duck and bao and feasted at Sun Wah. Lina was so proud to eat duck for the first time!

Mornings came early with 4 kids...
Sunday afternoon shopping!
Monday we met up with Ms. Julie, Josephine/Ben and Alison/Ava at the Swedish American Museum for some playtime.


 We took a short break for a Mediterranean lunch.
Then back to the museum.
It was a short, whirlwind weekend but we'll see them again for Kate's party in a few weeks before they fly back to Sweden.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Christmas!

It's been a very busy several days in our house with lots of visitors and presents! Sara and Gustav came from Sweden last weekend and I promise to post pictures of their visit in another post but first: Christmas. Nana arrived just as the Swedish contingent was moving out. We set to work stocking in for the holidays with a grocery trip. Seems Santa and Jack Frost needed some supplies as well:
Christmas cookies in the making...

Once the cookies were done, the girls decided they wanted to work on their schoolwork while I fixed Christmas Eve dinner. And no, they weren't sent home with schoolwork. Kate brought home her latest workbook because she really enjoys them and Lucy had some worksheets she had stashed in her lunchbag.
Our new tradition, (with the advent of kids!) is to fix the big dinner on the 24th. That way I can enjoy playing with them and spending time with family on Christmas and we can eat all the leftovers throughout the day.

The meringue in the oven for the Christmas pavlova.
Time to eat!
 The pavlova is ready--so delicious!
Christmas Eve morning, our elf, Charlie, left them a present.

After supper they are able to pick one present to open, but not before goofing off in front of the camera.
 They were being silly and mimicking the ridiculous poses some photographers make you do.
They chose to open the largest boxes (gasp) under the tree which were from Aunt Kathy and their cousins. Razor scooters!
They wasted no time racing up and down the hall and around the kitchen island.
 Right before bed we set out cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer.
Santa came early to our house and delivered all his presents by 8pm! He brought big girl bikes which are under the green wraps. Yia Yia and Pappou sent the giant dollhouse which Len built over the course of 2 nights in our bedroom. Then it would all get shoved back into our closet during the day to hide it!
Christmas started EARLY...5:15am to be exact. We held Lucy off until Kate woke up a little before 6am and then the fun began.
I think she was happy!


Notice it is still dark outside....grrrr.
 Frozen themed watches from Nana.



After breakfast (and once the sun finally came up!) we headed outside to try the bikes. Although they can balance, they've never pedaled so we are keeping the training wheels on until they get the hang of it.
It didn't take long! They rode for about an hour.

Then we had to try out the scooters. These are so much better than our old scooters since the wheels are built to glide over the cracks in the sidewalk instead of getting stuck. They went around several blocks trying them out.

After lunch Lucy actually took a 2 hour nap. Kate "rested" for about 45 minutes and then came out for Nana snuggles.
Len didn't get any pictures but later this afternoon they rode their scooters to the playlot where they spent more than an hour playing with the remote-controlled monster trucks from Meme and Papa. As I write this, they are playing house with their dolls in the dollhouse (trucks in foreground) before we head for bathtime.
We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and may 2015 be even more fabulous!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Cartwheels

The girls are still very much into their gymnastics class. They practice at home all the time and the main focus of their attention right now is mastering the cartwheel. Today in class, they were working on it again and I managed to get a good video of their efforts.
Cartwheels from Lisa on Vimeo.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hey Santa!

I think the wait to see Santa was almost too much for my sensitive Kate...

We started Sunday morning with a light breakfast in preparation for 2nd breakfast with the Swedish Santa (Tomten) later that morning. All was well until it came time to get dressed. Meltdown city. My armchair therapy thinks that she had just internalized and thought about this moment for so long that when it was finally here she collapsed. It was a sad sight (and made for really sad pictures).
Lucy was not having the same issues.
We thought distraction might work by getting out the Christmas tree headbands but Len fooled them with bunny ears. That got a smile!
Which lasted long enough for exactly one photo.
After a lot of crying and snot, we finally made it to the Swedish Museum and worked on some craft projects before breakfast was served.






 Finally, Santa!
So close and yet so far...
 It's hard to wait your turn.
Translation: I want a big girl bike.
We're next and posing for pictures was not happening!
 Holding onto sister for moral support. Kate was the timid one this time around.
Not so with Lucy. She hopped right up and started spouting off her wish: a big girl bike with pedals, streamers, a bell and a basket.
Kate was completely verklempt and uttered not a word, just stared at her list, hoping he would take it from there.
After assurances from the girls that they had been nice and not naughty, Santa wished them a Merry Christmas.
Later that night, Kate said to me:

"I think I was just scared about sitting on Santa's lap since it's been a whole year since I've seen him. That's a really long time Mama."

She also had these musings:
"Who gives gifts to Santa? Maybe Mrs. Claus? Who does he tell his wishes to? And who makes the presents for him?" 

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