Sunday, May 22, 2016

Lucy's first piano recital

Lucy performed in her very first piano recital this morning and did beautifully. She was the first performer (of 30!) and was anxiously awaiting the signal for her to come up to the stage.
And then she went right to it. She performed Baa Baa Black Sheep and Every Witch Way.

Lucy's First piano recital from Lisa on Vimeo.

Many of the other Chinese teachers showed up to lend support including Lucy's very first teacher, Ms. Xiang.
 This is her piano teacher, Ms. San-Nan.
Group photo of all of San-Nan's students who performed today.
In other news, we are set to close on our Chicago condo tomorrow and close on our lake house on Tuesday. We only have 3 more weeks of school to go and then we will be moved in and starting a new adventure!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Piano practice

Lucy is going to be in her first piano recital this weekend. To that end she has been practicing her two performance pieces every day. Below is one of them, "Every Witch Way", a rather goulish song for spring, but one that tests her use in playing with both hands and on both the white and black keys.
Every witch way from Lisa on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Kate's last flute recital at NMS

Before I begin, can I just say that it is in the 40s and breezy which really just translates to WINDY AND COLD. I am miserable. I really hate this time of year--spring is just lost on me. It's not warm and breezy....it's windy, cold and mostly rainy. It totally sucks.

Now for the sunshine and flowers portion of the post!

Kate celebrated her last recital at the New Music School today. She was one of about 20 or so young performers and she was only one of two flutists.

Here she is watching another performer.
She performed Yankee Doodle and This Old Man

Kate's last recital at NMS from Lisa on Vimeo.
Everybody is smiling because cake is in the next room!
With Steve, who has been a great teacher for over a year! We will really miss him when we move.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Taking Calming Measures (WHY ISN'T IT WORKING??!)

Usually making a list will calm me down and make my head stop spinning from trying to hold onto all the pieces of things I need to remember. But somehow, seeing the massive amount of things that still need to be done before we can move, my headache has intensified and I feel overwhelmed. I do believe that it is in this panic state where clever, imaginative people dreamed up shows like "I Dream of Jeannie" or "Bewitched". You know, just "blink your eyes and your work is done" sort of thing?

Instead, I make my list and try not to look too far ahead. In case you are interested and for my own amusement when someday I have to move again, here is my latest to-do list (I wish I hadn't deleted all the things I've already done--maybe I would feel like I had accomplished something right now).

Saturday May 14:
replace outlets on decks
remove child safety locks in bathrooms/kitchen
Sunday May 15:
Kate last flute recital 
Monday May 16:
Meet Gigi at house to discuss wood floor refinishing. Schedule for May 26-June 1
Saturday May 21:
Clean house in prep for walkthough
Sunday May 22:
Lucy piano recital
Condo walkthrough
Monday May 23
Condo close
House walkthrough
Tuesday May 24
House close
Meeting with school admissions (take all paperwork for this)
Wednesday May 25
Meet carpet cleaners at house
*Len may need to pick up girls at school if this takes too long
Thursday May 26
Meet at house for floor refinisher (need extra key)
Friday May 27
Len to take down shed. Put bikes, etc in garage.
Saturday May 28
Pickup Uhaul truck
Julie here at 12:30
move stuff out of storage (4/5 confirmed with Nicole)
Also take from condo: propane tank, paint, plants, toilet paper, paper towels, fragile items from glass cabinets, bikes, shed.
Sunday May 29-Monday May 30 (happy memorial day weekend)
Take stuff off shelves
Remove pic over mantle
Remove drapes/rod
Change AC filter
Empty glass cab and remove from wall
Take stuff off shelves
Remove hanging elephants off shelf
Remove mirrors
Remove drapes/rod
Remove sign over door
Remove drapes/rod
Remove the K stuck to wall
Remove sign over door
Remove signs and tchotchkes over doors
Remove coat racks
Remove signs over doors
Empty glass cab and remove
Remove bolted pic frame
Remove plates/plate hangers
Remove bedside lamps
Monday May 31
Girls to Dr. Boyd after school (CHANGE ADDRESS WITH THEM)
Sometime week of June 1-3
Call to schedule locksmith for house
Label rooms in new house for movers
Happy 50th bday to me! (so NOT)
Pack up K&L’s stuff from nightstands
Make sure all bills are paid through June 12
Girls' haircuts June 3 after school
Saturday June 4
Julie here at 12:30
To new house with last minute items and some perishables from fridge/freezer
Buy bottled water
Remove items from overhead shelving in garage
Sunday June 5
Pick up rental car
Pack for Len/girls for hotel; pack food for lunches/snacks (bfast and dinner for the week?)
Clear out MBath of everything in prep for Bella to stay there while movers are here
Pack Lisa’s suitcase, extra sheets, pillows, blankets, towels, toiletries, cleaning supplies/vacuum cleaner (don't let movers take)
Monday June 6
Bella to bathroom with food/litter/water bowl
8:30am—movers arrive to pack
Len pick up girls from school and go to hotel
Tuesday June 7
Bella to bathroom with food/litter/water bowl
8:30am movers arrive—pack truck and move to new house. Give keys to movers.
Clean condo after movers leave; leave keys and garage openers on counter.
Meet movers at new house
Lisa & Bella sleep in new house
Len on school duty
Wednesday June 8
Unpack at house
Len take girls to school
Julie to pick up girls at school
5pm last condo walkthrough (Correna to do)
Thursday June 9
Unpack at house in a.m.
Leave lots of food for Bella for overnight
Lisa to pick up girls at school & clean out their cubbies, pics with teachers
Lisa at hotel for night
Friday June 10
Return rental car
Kindergarten graduation (9:45am dropoff)
To new house
27th wedding anniversary! (hahaha--as if we will have time to mark the occasion...)

Len to do:
Confirm homeowner’s insurance on new place—make copy for school enrollment
Borrow video camera for graduation

Lisa to do:
·         June 6-10--confirm hotel reservations
·         Cancel cable for June 6
·         Turn on internet, cable at new address for May 24
·         See list of people to notify of address change
·         DMV (see saved email)
·         Voter registration (see saved email)

·         Enroll girls in school and CI program

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Love Letter, Month 76

Dear Kate,

You are 76 months old.
Let's jump right into our adventures this month shall we? First up was a spring break trip to Houston where we visited with Ms. Paivi, Mr. Euan, Euie and Flossie. You surprised me by being the one who would rather walk Flossie than ride Euie's go-cart. Fortunately, Lucy was on board with the trade.
You had all sorts of fun adventures from swimming to climbing at a playspace to dinners out to visiting Chinatown.

You challenged Mr. Euan  to endless games of tic-tac-toe.
In fact, you are quite the games-girl and are happiest when engaging someone to play with you whether it be tic-tac-toe, word search, crossword puzzles, checkers, chess, or various other board games.  You even managed to rope Dr. Boyd into a quick match at your latest dental appointment.
You reached a few milestones this month including learning to brachiate on the individual rings,

learning to climb even higher in a tree (although you do so with much trepidation, fighting back your fear of falling with an even stronger need to conquer that fear)
and learning to tie shoes which then led to your very first pair of non-velcro sneakers (and subsequently increasing our lead time to leave the house in the mornings...).
You marched (er, rode your scooter) in your first parade--the Oak Park Ethnic Festival Parade--representing your school.
You've been having a lot of nosebleeds over the past year, some of which are quite profuse and go on for upwards of an hour. I got you in to see Dr. Rastatter, Lucy's ENT, who did a quick check and confirmed that your blood vessels are very close to the surface, especially on the left side. Although he has never cauterized vessels on a child under 10 without general anesthesia, after a few minutes with you he was convinced that you would be able to hold still long enough to handle the procedure. And you were...even when it was burning a bit, you held completely still and came through it like a champ.
Your artwork has increased this month, especially as a new work was introduced wherein you paint on a glass slide, make designs on it and then apply it to paper. You came home with some really lovely work.

You also wrote a short biography in both characters and pinyin, complete with colored illustrations.
 "My name is Kate. I like to eat cherries."
"I love my family". From left to right, the people you drew are: Pappou, YiaYia, Nana, Meme, Daddy, Papa, Mama, Lucy, Kate and Bella.
"My favorite toy is a doll. Her name is Other Baby with Hair"
"I love to play flute. I love Chinese chess."

Your writing has become quite....curly and dramatic. I receive a lot of these types of notes every day:
You are constantly leaving me notes that take me on a treasure hunt around the house to find your final love note:
"First go to the black shelf behind my chair. Search for the clue. Kate." "Now go to the kid's bathroom and search for your clue."  "Got to Lucy room and look for love note."
"You are the best mommy in the world. I love you so much!!! Love Kate"
I love you too silly head.
And now for the Kateisms of the month:

One of the parents at school thinks you are a doctor because you pack us such a good, healthy lunch.

As you were cuddling up to Daddy for storytime before bed:
Daddy: Oh my gosh your hands are so COLD!
You: At least you're getting a cuddle!

You were showing Daddy one of your latest arrangements:
Daddy: How do you decide what your arrangements will look like?
You: I let the rocks and shells tell me where they want to go. 
Daddy: How do you do that?
You: If I'm holding two near each other, one of them will tell me how to place it next to the other one.

Once again, the depths of what goes on inside that head of yours astounds me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Happy Spring

I hope you have someone's hand to hold today.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Why walk when you can fly?

First a caveat about the video below: Kate scraped her hand and it did bleed a bit but she's ok (and still jumping!)

Since our commute to/from school takes 30-45 minutes each way, I found that playing books on Audible or Hoopla not only provides complete peace and quiet from the back seat but it has also increased their listening skills. Our repertoire has grown quite a lot and includes the Ramona Quimby series, Pippi Longstocking, Harry Potter book 1, The Whatever After series, Ivy and Bean, Clementine, Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul, The BFG (which I saw is being made into a movie soon!), Tumtum and Nutmeg, The Chronicles of Narnia and our favorite series, Lulu by Hilary McKay.

It was this latest series that the girls were emulating on a recent trip to the park. The books follow the adventures of Lulu and her cousin Mellie and primarily focuses on Lulu's vast love for animals. But there is one thread about how Lulu loves to jump from the highest point of the swing while her cousin just says, "You're mad! Mad! Bonkers Lulu...you just shouldn't do it!" which has now become a favorite quote with K&L, complete with the British accent. But as Lulu is fond of saying, "Why walk when you can fly? Anything is better than boring!"

IMG_8542 from Lisa on Vimeo.

Friday, May 6, 2016

She finally got it!

Now that she doesn't have to either wear gloves or freeze her hands on cold metal, Kate has been determined to master brachiating on the monkey bars. Yesterday, after much moaning about not being able to do it, she suddenly could.

Finally got it from Lisa on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

So much to do...

Last week/weekend seemed crazy-busy and my to-do list continues to grow.

Before we get to all that though, I'm going to start with today and then bounce back to last week just because today was so beautiful and warm enough that just a light jacket was all that was needed to feel comfortable which was a welcome change from the rain and cold of last week.

The girls and I hit up one of the local playgrounds after school to burn off some energy.

Spring in Chicago means dandelions. We did our part to keep them propagating by blowing their seeds all over the park.
Jumping off of high things is the newest way that the girls keep my heart pumping.

The trees are finally blooming and leafing out.
I remember when the girls were tiny enough that I would push them in these swings, using blankets to keep them propped up so they wouldn't fall over. Now they are climbing in themselves and standing up to swing.
Jumping back to last week....we started with a visit to the dentist who discovered that Lucy had either a tooth erupting into her cleft or the actifuse from her bone graft was making a break for it...again.
That necessitated a visit with the surgeon out in the 'burbs two days later, making for a lost day of school when it was combined with another doctor visit (this time for Kate) that morning.  More on that visit next. In the meantime, after we met with Dr. Vicari for Lucy's cleft (he confirmed it was the actifuse coming through but that there is no hurry to have another surgery; we can watch and wait for now) we ended up meeting with most of the cleft team since Lucy had not had an evaluation for a couple of years.

She had a hearing test which she mostly passed (she had trouble with the highest sound but it was still within the lowest limits of normal)
while Kate and I waited in the hallway
and she had a meeting with the speech pathologist. She recommended that we pursue speech therapy through the school system once we move so I added it to my list. Lucy's main issues are a slight lisp with her "s" sounds and saying "w" for r (just like Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd!) that are unrelated to her cleft but that should be taken care of while she's younger and easier to change in speech habits.

Now on to Kate who had been complaining of a tummy ache and various other issues for nearly 10 days so I took her to Dr. E for a checkup. She checked out fine as did the urine test so she's been on a bland diet since then which LETMETELLYOU, is not fun with a child who loves to eat. Oatmeal and rice and plain chicken does not for a happy, adventurous eater make. But, some of her symptoms have subsided so there we are.

Two days later, I took Kate to see the ENT since she had been having rather severe and prolonged nose bleeds. So severe and prolonged that we almost ended up in the ER with one of them after an hour of non-stop bleeding. Of course, it finally stopped right as I was pulling up to the ER at 5am (she had awakened at 4am to a blood bath on her pillow--I'm amazed my blood pressure is as low as it is sometimes....). Anyway, the ENT is the same one we used when Lucy had her eartubes installed, Dr. Rastatter, who is just as nice as can be. He examined Kate and said that her left nostril did have some blood vessels that were quite close to the surface and that he could cauterize them but that he normally didn't do that on children under 10-12 unless they were under anesthesia. After chatting with Kate for a bit, though, he decided to see if she could tolerate him opening up her nose with his nose-opening tool and doing a dry-run with a q-tip type thingy (I'm feeling quite verklempt on the proper terminology of medical instruments at the moment).
When that went well, he said that, although she would be his youngest patient ever to have this done in his office, he thought she was mature enough to handle it. In went a cotton ball with numbing cream for a few minutes while he prepped the cauterizing tool, which basically looked to me like one of the burning incense sticks we lit at the Buddhist temple in Houston.
She came though it like a champ and even when she told him it was burning she didn't move or try to grab at her nose. He got it all done in less than 2 minutes and that was that. We need to keep it moisturized with bacitracin for a week but other than that, it seems to be working. Not a drop of blood since. And she is still thrilled that he told her, "You are my new favorite patient--I am amazed how well you did. I have 12 year olds that can't sit that still!"

Haircuts were up next after school and then Patty decided to have a little fun with their hair color, much to the girls' delight. Now they can match Mama's hair (theirs is temporary, mine is a bit more permanent and was done last week).

Julie came on Saturday so I could catch a break from managing children. I headed out to IKEA to price out a new bed for Lucy and various other pieces of furniture that we might need soon. Well, I think everyone in the surrounding three states was in that store WITH THEIR CHILDREN...it was wall-to-wall people on every level. Seriously, it was miserable. On top of that, it was pouring rain and 38 degrees with gusty winds so getting back to the car that I had parked 3 football fields away was no picnic.

Feeling decidedly uncharitable towards my fellow man I turned the car heater on in the hopes of drying out and turned the car wheels in the direction of our new home. I'm not really sure what I was going to do once I got there since I can't just walk up to the house and invite myself in. But our new neighborhood was just what I needed to slough off the past 3 hours of jostling people and crying preschoolers. All the trees were blooming, there were no cars and no people about since it was nasty weather and when I turned the corner on our street I came upon a family of deer grazing in the yard next door.

All of this happened while Len was on an extended guys weekend to Key West. He and his childhood friends have been meeting once/twice a year for decades to catch up, relax and generally laze about, mostly at Mack's house since he has a pool and a lake with a boat. This year, since they are all turning 50, they headed for Key West and went fishing. I do believe that this is the first time EVER that pictures have been taken during guys weekend. They are getting lax in their old age...

Mike, Mack, Len and Kevin--ready to set sail for the day.
Enjoying a decidedly non-Chicago day.
I think I'll just leave it there. Warm sunny weather and a pool.....more on my to-do-before-we-can-move-list for another post.


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