Monday, February 24, 2014

Is this what they mean by a bad case of the Mondays?

It is currently 10am and my day is already completely awry. For a person who thrives on organization and a schedule, I'm not living my optimal life! Silly me, I actually thought having the girls in school would make my life easier and more predictable. Honestly, I'm not sure how families where both parents work manage unless they have a full-time nanny on-call at all times.

Today was planned to go thusly:

Lisa takes Len and girls to the train, returns home, showers, eats breakfast, takes care of a few chores around the house, possibly gets an hour of language homework done and then picks up the girls from school after lunch. In the middle of that, our groceries were due to be delivered sometime between 8-10am.

This is what actually happened:

Lisa takes Len and girls to the train (and managed this with no meltdowns or tantrums, ON TIME without rushing--a major accomplishment). So far, so good. Because the temperature is 12 degrees we wait in the car until we can see the train coming. And we wait. And wait. And wait some more. Len checks online. Turns out there is "police activity" at the previous stop that has delayed all the trains north and south bound for an "indeterminate amount of time." By now it's after 8am. Just as we're trying to figure out plan B, I get a text that our delivery driver is almost at our house. So we head back home, illegally park on our street so I can run upstairs to let the grocery guy in, all the while trying to figure out how to alter all my plans. Len lets the girls get out of the car to run up and down the sidewalk so they won't be stuck in their car seats for what could be a very long morning.

I realize that by the time I get the girls and Len downtown it will be too late to return home and accomplish anything before having to drive back. I hurriedly put the perishable groceries away, pack myself a lunch, some afternoon snacks for the girls (we have gymnastics this afternoon as well), my various electronic devices, and out the door I go. I have not brushed my hair or teeth, I'm wearing the same shirt I had on yesterday, sweat pants and haven't even put lotion on my face (gasp!--truly, I ALWAYS wash my face and put on sunscreen every single day). As we are driving in massive traffic to get downtown, we hear on the radio that some guy was walking ON TOP OF THE TRAIN which was the cause for the police activity.

I hope they pushed him off. Not onto the third rail (I'm not that callous) but onto the cold, icy ground so that the next time he entertains the idea of walking on top of a train during morning rush hour, he will think better of it.

And now I sit in a coffee shop near the school, eating yogurt and sipping coffee, watching a new mom and her baby languish over coffee and cuddles, thinking about how much easier life was when they were smaller, with no schedule to keep, no where in particular to be and the whole day ahead of us.

Of course it looks rosy in retrospect...I probably was wearing a day-old shirt and sweats then as well, with unbrushed (and unwashed) hair, smelling slightly of whatever was for breakfast. But I had an obvious excuse for looking that way. Now I just look like I rolled out of bed and simply didn't give a damn.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Wrapping up last week

We had an eventful week again, due in part to this ridiculous winter weather. Paivi and fam invited us over to their suite at the Ritz on Monday before they were to check out for home. We arrived just as the snow had started to fall. You can just make out Navy Pier and the Ferris wheel in the middle of frozen Lake Michigan.

 Kate got suited up and ready to swim. This is the view north of Navy Pier with the frozen lake in the distance.
The Hancock Building.
And down to the pool to spend an hour or so burning some energy!

By the time we got back upstairs, the blizzard was upon us. Navy Pier has disappeared.
The location scouts knew what they were doing when they chose Chicago to be Gotham City in the Batman movie.
Room service lunch was in order so Paivi could pack up in the hopes that their flight was still on (it was delayed several hours but they did make it back to Houston!)
Both girls were asleep before I even got out of the parking garage. I picked up Len on the way home from downtown (his office closed early which means the storm was really bad--they NEVER close early). Driving was slow and painful. It was snowing 2-3 inches per hour at this point making it impossible for my windshield wipers to be very effective.
We turned into our alley to see a car stuck sideways. Unfortunately, the snow was so deep that as soon as I stopped we were stuck as well. Neighbors came out we got both cars unstuck. I made it to our garage but couldn't make the turn to get inside. Len had to shovel the whole area just so I could turn our car to back in.
The next day was sunny but the snow was still so deep in the alley that I called the school and told them I was keeping the girls home. We played outside and took advantage of the sun and warmer (we hit 30 degrees!!!) temps. The snow is so high they girls are as tall as the fence!

We walked around the corner to the playlot and spent some time in the swings. This was the first time we had been to the park since before Christmas.

We had the park to ourselves for the hour we were there but I'm so glad we went as it really was warm comparatively!
By Wednesday the temperatures were nearing 40 degrees and the great melt had begun. These icicles next door were quite spectacular! I've had to teach the girls to be careful about falling icicles--we had a pile of them come crashing down on the west side of our building.
In other news, I finally had time for a haircut and color (again, first time since beginning of December). I feel human again!
Jessie Jackson came to celebrate Black History month at Len's office. Work is keeping my man quite busy these days but he is enjoying the new challenges and his new communications team.
Tomorrow is Len's 48th birthday so please give him a shout-out!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A weekend of friends

Although it seems like we've pretty much been at a dead run since Friday, it has been a really nice weekend. Valentine's day brought chocolate/caramel covered apples from Meme and Papa--YUM!
Our friends from Houston, Paivi, Euan and Euie also came in for the weekend and enjoyed helping us eat some after supper. More from their visit in a bit.

Christy is only 4 weeks away from adding a little girl to our playgroup so we all gathered at Alison's house for a baby brunch. Sara skyped in from Sweden making the party a nice reunion for all of us.

We borrowed a sled from Josephine so we would have enough to take the Houston clan to the hill. Although the wind chill was pretty wicked-cold, we still stayed out about 1 1/2 hours.

Dinner tonight was at Sun Wah BBQ with my Chinese instructor, Shuang, Johanna from the school and another student from China, Zeyn. We chowed down on crispy duck!
Shuang, Johanna and Zeyn.
The ducks were brought to the table and sliced for eating with bao (steamed buns) and various pickled and slivered veggies. As we ate that, the rest of the duck is sent back to the kitchen and added to a wonderful soup (this was Kate's favorite item), a noodle dish and fried rice. Nobody left hungry!
Lucy started to fade with her belly full so she came over for some cuddles. Kate, spying Shuang's empty lap, asked if she could sit with her.
 Len was left to cuddle Tigger.

I just love sleepy cuddles!

Friday, February 14, 2014


I went in last week to read to the girls' class. It helps the teachers out while they get lunch finished and the 1/2 day students ready to go home. Soon after, the children who nap leave the room and the few who are left enjoy a little downtime listening to stories. I, of course, read well only in English but yesterday my language instructor, Shuang, came with me to read after we had finished with my class. She read the stories in Chinese and then translated into English. The girls were over-the-moon happy that she came to their class!
Reading in class from Lisa on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Things that are keeping us busy

We've had more than our fair share of this:
According to the weather people, Lake Michigan is more than 50% covered with ice and we've had 5 feet of snow this winter. So we do a lot of this:
 and this:
My friend Betsy had her baby girl, Harper Wolf, 2 weeks ago. I got to spend one glorious morning doing this:

Going for walks is hard but I managed last Saturday afternoon while Len took the girls to yet another birthday party.
Kate has started ballet and Lucy has started gymnastics. I can't get any pictures of Kate in ballet as the room is at a dance studio and it's a drop-off situation. They will have a recital in early May so I can't wait to see that!

Lucy's class is also a drop-off but they have a viewing window and free wi-fi.
Kate's ballet is on Saturday but the wait-list for Saturday gymnastics was 3-4 months so I signed Lucy up for Monday after school. Kate kept busy doing a crossword puzzle on her Nook. She's pretty good at coming up with the answers and then we spell it out together as she types it in.
Lucy, meanwhile, enjoyed swinging like a monkey.

The girls had their teeth cleaned at the dentist this week. Both girls did quite well even though Lucy had a cavity in one tooth and had to get a filling. We had been monitoring this one tooth (it's a very soft tooth where her cleft is) and finally it just became clear that it needed a filling.
They cleaned it out and filled it without any anesthesia needed. I can't get over how gentle this office is! They even have kid-sized sunglasses to keep the lights out of their eyes. Both girls had their mouth jewelry adjusted and their mouths measured to see how their jaws are growing. All went well!
This weekend should be fun. Paivi and her family are flying in from Houston to enjoy our winter. We plan to go sledding and have dinner with some people from my language school. We have a baby shower brunch planned for Lucy D.'s mama, Christy, who will be having a baby girl next month. And the super bonus is that it's no longer completely dark at 4pm! The days are slowly getting longer, so in spite of the forecast for more snow, I'm keeping a lookout for any sign of spring.


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