Thursday, March 26, 2015

It's nothing but a love fest up in here

I think when I last left you, Kate had managed to mangle her mouth pretty good at the playground on Friday. By Monday, most of the swelling had subsided but she was still in some pain and things weren't looking as good as I had hoped inside her mouth so off we went to the dentist. He took an xray to be sure there wasn't anything going on structurally (there wasn't) but he couldn't get any films to see if there was nerve damage to the roots of her baby teeth (she couldn't open her jaw wide enough without pain to get it). He prescribed diaper rash cream (yes, apparently that is what the cleft team uses to help heal wounds post-surgery) and by golly, within one day, her whole mouth looked better. I only used it on the OUTSIDE of her mouth though , and  because it's Kate, I knew she wouldn't lick it off and ingest it.

She spent the rest of the day pretty much lolling on the sofa with Bella as her trusty companion.
Still not feeling well by the evening, Daddy was good for a big bear hug. I can always tell when Kate doesn't feel well as she becomes very cuddly (she is not the touchy-feely one in the family otherwise).
Lucy decided that a family selfie portrait was a good way to end our supper.
These next two pictures pretty much reveal how the evening unfolds in our house. At 4:30, the girls work out which two programs they would like to watch while I fix supper. Then they grab a blanket, settle in and call Bella. Bella hops up, turns around a few times to find just the right spot, and nestles in between them.
And then they are all catatonic for one hour while I peacefully cook in the kitchen.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Weekend wrap-up

We had our second ice skating lessons on Saturday. But before we get to that....

Do any other mothers/fathers out there experience what I do on what seems like a fairly regular basis? It seems like every other time we go to the park, one of my kids ends up either bloody, crying, scraped up or all of the above. Friday we went to the playground after school and in the 30 seconds I spent talking to Lucy about not tipping her juice box upside down in the car (she was having a timeout on the bench), Kate managed to fall while running. She came running over to me, crying, blood streaming from her mouth. She had fallen on her cheek and the force of the fall managed to embed her lip/cheek into her mouth jewelry. I had to prise off the side that wasn't stuck in order to loosen the flesh from the other side. It was gruesome.

By Saturday noon, she looked like this
which really doesn't do what is happening to her face justice. Her entire left cheek is now swollen, the outside of it is red and feels quite hot to the touch and the inside, from what I can see with a flashlight, looks chewed up. And her lips are just tragic as well, dry and cracked with sores on the inside. So I've been dutifully applying medication that I had gotten from my dentist recently for some mouth surgery I had done that helped it heal up nicely but I suspect a phone call/visit to her dentist will be in order tomorrow if it doesn't look better. Add to that a cough and low-grade fever and Kate is not a happy girl tonight.

I swear I try not to be a helicopter mom but OMFG! They are going to end up severely maimed or dead at this rate. Between Lucy practically giving herself a concussion jumping off a bed, Kate nearly knocking her teeth out,  Lucy's broken arm and Kate's near-miss blinding on the countertop, things do not bode well for us in the Darwin Awards.

But I digress: earlier on Saturday, we had our 2nd ice skating lessons and even with the swollen cheek, Kate was in better spirits and did not want to miss lessons so off we went. They've gotten quite confident on the skates (Lucy is in the purple snow pants and Kate is in the far back, in the pink pants).
Skating from Lisa on Vimeo.

Later on Saturday, I met up with 3 other women from my book club for a staycation. We started out with tea at the Drake hotel (Kathy, Lisa, me and Betsy)
Then we headed over to the hotel we had booked for our one-night slumber party--the Radisson Blu. We popped open some wine and snacks and had uninterrupted girl talk for a few hours before heading downstairs to supper at 8pm. But not before Betsy raided the linen closet for extra towels...
Turns out we never needed them as we ran out of time to use the pool or gym. We ended up eating, drinking and talking until midnight before settling into the quite comfortable beds.

Betsy and Lisa at supper. As an aside, Betsy is Bella's veterinarian!
 Kathy and me before our supper arrived.
 Our balcony view--that is Navy Pier and Lake Michigan in the distance.
 The view towards Michigan Ave.
I highly recommend this hotel if you are planning a stay in downtown Chicago.

Len took the girls to the Museum of Science and Industry today with some free passes I had gotten so I came home to an empty house and plenty of time to listen to my book for the next book club on Tuesday. When they got home, Kate was flagging in both body and spirit and just wanted to lie in bed which happens to now be Bella's favorite place to nap when the sun is not shining. And wherever Bella is, there goes Lucy so Kate had lots of company in her bed while I finished up our beef and barley soup for supper.
Bella & girls from Lisa on Vimeo.

Bella has been good for the girls--raising their spirits when they don't feel well and keeping us all entertained. She's fabulous with the girls and makes a great snuggle bug at night or for movies on the couch. She's a keeper!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

When in Rome...

So now that we've lived in Chicago for 6 years, I figured we should start embracing winter sports now that the girls are getting older. With that in mind, I signed all of us for ice skating lessons at the local park district rink. The girls were lucky enough to get walkers so off they went.

In less than 5 minutes, Kate had abandoned her walker and was making her way around the rink. Sure she fell a lot but she kept getting back up and by the end of 45 minutes was pretty good at staying upright. Lucy took a little longer to get her ice legs, which totally surprised me because she's usually the more adventurous one. By the end though, she was holding her own on the ice.

Len, as you can see in the picture below, hugged the wall for a two laps and finally made his way across the rink back and forth a couple of times.

I did one lap hugging the wall and then went across the rink 5 times without falling.
Hopefully by the end of the course we'll all be able to at least glide around with some confidence. Right now we all are stomping, flat-footed with arms splayed in front, praying we remain upright.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Cat toys...or kid toys?

I'm thinking that the cat toys are a bigger draw for the girls than for the cat, especially the ball track that Kate is playing with.
Cat toys or kid toys? from Lisa on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Love Letter, Month 62

Dear Kate,

You are 62 months old today.
Look how much you've grown since last year!
Yes, some things remain the same: you still love pink, you still love school, you still take forever to get dressed or eat...But think of everything that is new this year. You can read. You can write. You can spell. You can do addition and subtraction...
and now you're learning fractions.

Yesterday you came home with another workbook, completed. That makes 6 workbooks this school year!

We've had a bit of excitement this month celebrating Chinese New Year--the Year of the Ram. We walked to our local CNY parade and watched the Lion Dance in front of one of our favorite noodle restaurants.

Appropriately enough, we ended our day with a bowlful of pho soup.
Ms. Julie came to spend the day with you which was cause for great celebration. I love the bond that you have with her.
We took a field trip with your school to see a play. You were enthralled through the entire thing--I think I spent most of my time watching yours and Lucy's faces instead of the play as you were both so enchanted by it.
We finally got enough snow (and no 50mph wind) to go sledding at Montrose. You, Lucy and Daddy had a blast for a couple of hours!

I started reading to you and Lucy from a chapter book (i.e. no pictures) this month at bedtime and I have to say I was surprised by how riveted you both were. It was Astrid Lindgren's "Pippi Longstocking" and with the exception of a few illustrations, the book was devoid of pictures. I would look at your face while I was reading and I could see you staring into space, forming pictures in your mind of what you were hearing. You loved it and that makes me so happy because that was one of my favorite books as a child too.

As luck would have it, Pancakes with Pippi was this month at the Swedish-American museum (funny how that worked out huh?). We bundled up and walked the 1/2 mile to see Pippi. I must say you were very happy to meet her, telling her about your favorite chapters in her book (The Circus and The Picnic). You also love that she is a Thing-Finder and you told her that your favorite thing to find is money and that you do it every chance you get.

As great as Pippi and Chinese New Year and sledding was combined, the best part of this month for you has been the addition of Bella to our family. You love rubbing your face on her fur and listening for her purr.
You are still learning how to play with her but you seem to have the cuddling part down pat. She's also been a great help to you when your tantrums get the better of you. All I have to do is bring Bella in and get you to talk to her, petting her while you release the tension in your body. Kitties are good for that!
Did you know that I too grew up with a Siamese kitty? Her name was Meiling and she lived to be almost 20 years old. I used to pet Meiling and talk to her when I was stressed or feeling down...she always made me feel better. I think Bella and you will be lifelong friends, just like Meiling and I were!

And now for a few Kate-isms from this month:

At Dinner, after a discussion of Lucy not liking kale in her mac & cheese as much as you do… 
Lucy: When I make dinner, I will always be sure to make something that you like. 
You: As long as it’s not polenta. I really don’t care for polenta.

Every day when it is time for me to prepare supper, you and Lucy are allowed to each pick a show to watch on TV. Your pick for every single day this month has been "Odd Squad" which is basically about smart kids using math to investigate strange occurrences. Oddly enough (see what I just did there?), I've never said this to you but you came up with the description on your own when Daddy asked you:

Why do you like watching Odd Squad so much?
You: Because it's about smart kids solving problems.



Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Settling in

Bella seems to be the perfect cat for us. She is quite possibly the mellowist cat I've ever known. She hasn't hissed, bared her teeth, growled, etc. at all. When she's unhappy with what is happening (like an obsessive 5 year old trying to pick her up) she gives a chirp and wiggles out of harm's way. She's not a climber and doesn't like to be up high so her go-to spot to escape the girls is under the bed or sofa. The good thing is that she doesn't stay there for long, especially if the girls get out the cat toys to play instead of insisting on holding her. She's a great lap cat when she's done playing which has made the girls happy during their hour of tv while I fix supper.
She has found her favorite sunny spot near the front windows and when she's not watching the birds and the squirrels, she's doing this.
The nail caps are working wonders! She came with some already on her nails but a few have come off as she sheds. Yesterday, I put some new ones on and she was unbelievably docile for this.

Monday, March 9, 2015


Kate finally learned how to roll forward over the bar in gymnastics and she was so proud! I managed to get a good long stretch of both girls making their way through obstacles. The instructor had the "fun lights" on for them which is why it looks as it does.

At about 2:57 you can see Lucy do a flip over the bar and then push herself up into a straight-arm hold (don't you love my technical gymnastics terms?). She's a strong kid! Kate is still working up to flipping over it backwards as you can see when she follows Lucy right after.
Gymnastics from Lisa on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Meet Bella

We've been talking about adding to our little family for a couple of months now and yesterday we finally found the baby for us:
We got this picture from a rescue group. She was named Holly and then Princess by the last little girl who had her. Seems she was a bit of a pushover in her last home and was being beaten up by their other cat and ended up hiding in the little girls room for most of the day/night. She was in foster care for less than a week when we got her.

On Friday, we told the girls and they worked on picking out a name. Lucy came up with Bella straightaway and after some back-and-forthing with other options (Milky, Milky-Bella, Blanket, Milly, Magic, Salt), we all agreed on Bella.

She's a 9 month old lynxpoint Siamese and is a real sweetie! She's adapted quite well to the two 5 year olds who are CONSTANTLY waving toys in her face and following her around the house.

I don't know how well you can see it in this picture, but she has nail caps on her claws. I guess her previous owner (a 9 year old girl) adorned her and I think we're going to continue this so our furniture can be saved. She doesn't seem to mind them and they fall off on their own as her nails grow. They come in cool colors too so we picked out glittery blue to match her eyes for the next set!
She's a great lap cat too--loves snuggling on the sofa while the girls watch afternoon cartoons!
Once the girls were in bed, I finally got a turn!
She ended up sleeping in between Len and me last night. Overall, for a kitten, she's pretty low-key and easy care with one exception: she won't drink water out of a bowl, only a faucet. She goes to the bathroom door and meows. When we come see, she jumps up and stands looking pointedly at the faucet. She trained the girls pretty quickly--they hop right to it, turning on the faucet for her and then turning it off. In the meantime, I ordered a bubbling water dish in the hopes that she will use that instead.
Stayed tuned for the adventures of Lucy, Kate and Bella!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

More sledding photos

Ronit was kind enough to send a few more of her shots from this weekend! So lovely! See yesterday's post  if you missed it for links to her other work (photography and film).


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