Wednesday, September 16, 2009

{My Girls}

A quick post with a picture of my little ladies...

I cut Lexi's hair this week. It was her first real cut, and I had planned to have a friend cut it for us... but Lexi asked me to cut it and I didn't want her to get nervous about it, so I did it right then and there and I LOVE IT! Its great for her, too... but makes her look so grown up.

Abbi & Millie are getting too big, as well. Such a great picture of my three little ladies.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Childhood Dreams and Ambition...

One day, a long, long time from now, someone will ask Abbi, "What did you want to be when you were younger?" Her responses will vary... mermaid, princess, dance instructor, ballerina, singer, and now, figure skater. At the age of 4 (almost 5!) she is taking the opportunity to sample every activity we offer. What a courageous and smart girl...

So, after watching a Disney movie about a figure skater turned hockey player, she decided she wanted to try to skate. Her first attempt was in stocking feet on our laminate floors. Not achieving the results she had hoped for, she asked me if she could learn to skate... and of course, I said yes. I want my girls to have the opportunity to follow their dreams, and I want them to learn to dream at a young age.

Tonight was Abbi's first night in SnowPlow Sam... just minutes after I laced up her single blade rental skates, she was walking across the floor as if she had her favorite beat up flip-flops on! Another mom asked me what her level of experience was midway through the class. When I explained this was Abbi's first time on skates, the other mom was astonished! She told me that most kids she has seen in her 2 1/2 years as a skating mom hold onto the teacher well into their third class. Abbi held the teacher's hand from time to time, but set out on her own. Even at the end of class, when given practice time, Abbi remained on the ice alone... marching and gliding and, of course, practicing her falls.

What can I say? I am so amazed and proud of my daughter. She's such a wonderful girl and I love seeing the world through her eyes... new experiences to be tamed. Nothing too scary to attempt. "I can do anything" attitude. I hope she never loses this spark, no matter which activity she ultimately chooses!

First Skating Lessons

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Another first... Rice Cereal!

1st Meal - Rice Cereal

It is so hard for me to comprehend how quickly Millie's first year is passing us by. Time sped up a bit more on Wednesday when our family doctor suggested that we try her on rice cereal, provided she shows interest. Well, she's been watching us eat with great interest for some time, so I decided to give it a go. Upon picking up a box of the cereal at Wal-Mart, Millie put a hand on the box... knowing... possessive of her new food. She was excited when we sat at the dinner table with a bowl of the thin white paste. And she LOVED it. Unlike my older girls, she didn't spit it out or have difficulty moving the food to the back of her mouth to swallow. She ate it in minutes, crying for more and grasping the spoon when the bowl was empty. She's such a fun baby, which makes her growing so quickly easier to handle.

Her development has amazed me. Her personality amuses me. She's a wonderful baby and has truly completed this family.

Tomorrow, we have another first. Abbi has decided she wants to try ice skating! So, we will be joining the skate school at the Leafs Ice Centre. Pictures will be posted as soon as possible!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First Day of School!!

Where has time gone?! It seems just yesterday, we were finally bringing Abbi home from the hospital...and today we brought her to her first day of pre-kindergarten! She was so excited, as was I. Lexi was sad... her favorite playmate was gone!

Abbi greeted me this morning in only her panties, ready to jump in the shower... and surprisingly, her enthusiasm never wavered. I helped her into her classroom and then asked, "Are you ready for me to leave?" and she said, "Yup!" I was so proud of her.

The only sore point of the day was after we picked Abbi up, while walking to the car we were nearly run over as the mom of a schoolmate backed out of her parking spot. Not a good way for that mom to make new friends!

In other news, Millie is 4 months old!!! Yay!

Many more pictures to come... its been a hectic, fun summer.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


We watch a lot of the Food Network (my personal fave is Guy Fieri...) One day last month I watched Sunny Anderson's "Cooking For Real". She made her take on a bacon cheeseburger and I was hooked! I made them last week and Russ is already begging me to make them again. I had my brother and mom drooling over the description of them... and you know me, the photographer... I even took a picture. So, here it is, and I'm even going to share how to make them... let me know if you try!

I started with 2 lbs of 85% ground beef, which I seasoned with garlic salt, ground pepper and a dash of worcestershire sauce. I mixed it up and formed 8 large, but thin, patties and set them aside.

I diced up 8 slices of bacon and sauteed them. Russ said he would have prefered the bacon to be crispier, but I prefer mine soft. After removing the bacon from the pan (put on a plate lined with paper towel), I sauteed 1/2 small yellow onion in the bacon fat.

The cooked onions joined the bacon on the plate and cooled for a few minutes. I then mixed in 1 cup shredded cheddar and put a little mound of the mixture on 4 of the hamburger patties. The 4 remaining patties were used to top the loaded patty. I pinched the sides so everything wouldn't ooze out and threw them on the grill!!!

They were AMAZING. Very tasty! And unlike a regular bacon cheeseburger, where the bacon all falls out after the first bite, each bite had a bit of bacon, onion and cheese! YUM. My mouth is watering just typing this!!!

Here's the finished product!!! (Excuse the poor picture quality... I was more interested in quickly documenting - then eating - the burger!)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Major Milestones: First Dental Appointments and NO MORE PACIFIER!!!

I know Abbi should have been to the dentist some time in the last 30 months. I KNOW that... but its one of the things that keeps getting pushed to the back burner. I asked for recommendations, but no one LIKES their dentist...well, except for our family doctor... but that dentist doesn't take our insurance. Anyway, excuses, excuses...

So, today they went for the first time. I talked it up big time... how exciting it would be! how great their teeth would look and feel! The new toothbrushes they'd get! (plus, I bought them each a new brush and new paste) Surprisingly, they were both pumped up for it! Not nervous at all... Well, Abbi was a *little* nervous, but not so much that Lexi caught on.

Abbi was the first in the chair. Sat in there alone for x-rays like a pro. Let the dentist poke and prod her teeth and enjoyed the cleaning. Even did okay for the flouride treatment! I was so proud... Then, it was Lexi's turn. She almost JUMPED into the chair. She tried to cooperate for x-rays, but we know Lou... she's TINY. And she has a tiny mouth, too! The x-ray slides wouldn't stay in her mouth! Then the dentist came in to look at her teeth and she said to him, "I see the dentist! He looks at my teeth." The dentist chuckled... probably not the reaction he's used to from a 2 year old. She even sat through the full 60 seconds of flouride, despite the hygenist telling me she probably wouldn't be able to. SO PROUD!

Afterwards, they picked out their presents from the gift chest and talked about how FUN the dentist was. I was amazed.

In related news... Lexi has kicked her paci habit. On a whim, I asked her on Monday to give me her pacifier to give to Millie... and I told her, if she gave it to me, I'd buy her a present. She said she wanted a toy and a snack. Okay! Since then, she's asked for her pacifier 3 times - twice when she fell and one day when she was really sleepy. But, each time, I've reminded her that she gave it to me and that we'll be buying a toy for her. Once, she said, "I want it back," and I replied, "I don't know where it is." She listed some usual places, " about the table? how about your hand? how about the diaper bag?" And when I said I couldn't get it, she dropped the subject. This was actually MUCH easier than I'd expected and we'll be buying her a new Princess Presto doll tomorrow (from a current fave, "Super Why").

So, here are pictures from today's dentist visit.... Unfortunately, I won't be able to document Russ' visit tomorrow... his first in years. My visit is a week from tomorrow, and I'm hoping to go into it with the same enthusiasm as the girls!

Friday, July 17, 2009

More pics from vacation

I couldn't load all my slideshows into the previous post, so here are the rest...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Like sand, slipping through my fingers...

Summer is slip-sliding away... which is why, although I have 600 new photos on my hard-drive, I have yet to share them with you. And why, although I am recently back from an AWESOME vacation, I have yet to tell you about it! I'm trying to enjoy every beautiful day outside with the girls, and when we're stuck inside for whatever reason, I'm catching up on housework and working to get my photography business off the ground...

But anyway, about that vacation... *sigh* wish we were still there!

On Monday, July 6, the girls and I (and Russ!) headed to Wisconsin Dells. We stayed at the Wilderness Resort for 4 nights with my mom, and my brother Erik & his family. Jason & the crew were also supposed to come, but last minute, Tracy lost her vacation time (jerk of a boss!). Samara & the gang are too busy this summer...and they were missed.

To start our Dells adventure, we caught up with my long-distance pal, Heidi! Stupid me, brought NO camera! Then, it was sun, sun, sun (a little touch of rain) and WATER for the rest of the week. See the slideshows below to experience it with us - wave pools, water slides, swimming, sunning, sleeping... My birthday was absolutely fabulous (the big 3-0!) and it was great to spend some time with not only my mom (of course!) but also with my brother, whom I rarely see.

Then on Friday, we traveled a mere 30 minutes from the Dells to Castle Rock Lake, where Russ' uncle has a summer home. Besides his aunt & uncle, we spent the weekend with my mother-in-law, brother-in-law (and wife & daughter), and Russ' cousins Mark & Chrissy (and C's hubby & daughter). We did a sunset cruise, trips to the beach, campfire (with s'mores), and fishing... Abbi & I got to ride the wave runners and Russ took Abbi on a speedboat ride. All in all, it was a trip of many firsts for our big girl, Abbi!!!! And it was SO MUCH FUN!

So, peruse the pictures at your leisure while YOU try to enjoy your summer to its fullest!!! I'll try to update more soon - returning to work 2 days a week, Millie's incredible progress with her bp injury, Photography by Kimberli going legit, and all-too-soon, Abbi starting preschool!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Busy bees...

So, we're nearing the end of a week full of doctors' appointments.

Tuesday, I had my 6 week OB follow-up. All clear! Yay! Another unnecessary (but appreciated) apology from Dr. Cannon, and Dr. Siegel got to meet Amelia, too!

Wednesday, Amelia had her first occupational therapy appointment at the Children's Memorial Hospital rehab facility in Westchester. Her therapist, Gina, was such a nice lady. She taught me some ways to get Amelia to use her right arm more... I am supposed to mimic her the movements of her left arm with her right arm. So, if she is lifting her left arm, lift her right arm; if she is chewing on her left hand, bring her right hand to her mouth. I need to get her to recognize her right arm more... one of the ways to do this is to stroke her face and touch her mouth with her right hand. I also need to focus on tummy time. Because she hasn't been able to do tummy time until now, its very important to make it a big part of her awake-time. 50% of her awake-time, to be exact! She hated it the first time, but has done well on my last few attempts. The girls accompanied me to the appointment and enjoyed playing on the physical therapy tools - mats, pillows, and other "gymnastic" type materials. Gina was so patient with the girls being in there and playing rowdy... I was very impressed.

Today, Amelia had her 1 month well-baby checkup with Dr. M (although she is 6 weeks TOMORROW!). She is 10lb 15oz! My big girl. She is now 22 3/4". Dr. M said she is perfect. I knew that... No shots this time!

So, we'll be doing therapy appointments biweekly at first. That may change following our appointment with the brachial plexus appoinment next week, but that's the plan for the time being. And we'll follow up with Dr. M in another 4 weeks (shots! OUCH!).

In the meantime, I need to also schedule dentist appointments for Russ, Abbi, Lexi and myself. I'm not going to embarrass myself and admit how long it was been... I also need to schedule an eye appoinment for myself... And did I mention I return to work next week?!

Things are picking up!! Summer has barely begun (technically, its not even summer yet) and I already feel overwhelmed, like I'm going to miss it!!!!

On a happier note, Amelia's personality has really begun to emerge. She is a sweet, sweet baby. Today she smiled and my heart almost exploded. Her eyes just light up and her whole face smiles. She loves to talk and coo...even when she's whining, its adorable. And she has so much energy...

I'm a lucky mom. That's for sure!!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Its finally summer!

Although it is a chilly 50-something degrees right now and very wet out, the weather is finally warming up. Sunday was the nicest, warmest day we've had in a while, so we took advantage of it and headed to the Campton Hills Splash Park in St. Charles. I LOVE that place. For $3 per child (parents and babies are free) we get to splash in the water (geysers and fountains, dump buckets and sprays, all on a soft foam floor), play in the sand, and lounge. RELAX. Now that Abbi & Lexi are old enough to play alone in the sand, I sit on a lounge chair with Amelia and read, people-watch, and just chill.

It was also Amelia's first time out in a summer outfit. Cutie patootie! I love when she can show off her chubby arms and legs! She loved laying in the warm breeze.

Oh no!!! Lexi has "caught" whatever Abbi has... the performing and posing "bug"... I'd be worried, but as a photographer, I'm just going to enjoy her willingness to be in front of the camera for now!!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Brachial plexus program overview - Children's Memorial Hospital (Chicago, IL)

A little bit of information on Amelia's injury...

Orthopaedic surgery/Sports and rehabilitative medicine - Brachial plexus program overview - Children's Memorial Hospital (Chicago, IL)

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Amelia is one month old today. So hard to believe, but true!!! She's starting to smile at us and makes lots of cute noises... coos and goos and whatnot. And as of today, she is no longer broken! Yay! Her fractured arm is healed.

We met with the pediatric orthopedist today and she took an x-ray that showed Amelia's arm to be healing nicely, so we no longer have to immobilize her more pins, and she can start wearing onesies and short sleeved tops! WOO HOO!! We also got to see the original x-rays from the day she was born and all I can say is thank goodness I didn't see the x-rays at that time... we learned today that it was a 38 degree break. Yup... the bones were at a 38 degree angle. OUCH.

What's next? Well, we'll be starting physical therapy as soon as we get the go ahead from the doctor we saw today, and then we'll need to see a brachial plexus specialist at Children's Memorial Hospital. She told us that we'd be hard pressed to find a better doctor in this specialty in the Midwest. Thank goodness I stayed with my hospital throughout all 3 pregnancies... I always hoped not to need their affiliation with CMH, but I'm thankful for it.

Dr. Carl was unable to give us much information about Amelia's particular brachial plexus injury, but I've done a little bit of reading and I'm optimistic. I'm anxious to see how she responds to the therapy and what movement we'll see now that her arm is no longer immobile.

Tomorrow, I plan to take a picture of Amelia with her free arm! I'm so excited!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Prima Ballerina

Yesterday was Abbi's dance recital. What a night!! Enrolling her in ballet is one of the best things we've done, for her AND for us!!! She truly enjoys it and she is GOOD. good can a 4-year-old be?! Well, she pays attention and she actually did the whole dance. While the other girls looked lost throughout the recital, Abbi knew almost all the moves. We were so proud. And she was so dang cute in her costume! She looked so grown up, yet so childish at the same time. It was completely precious...

So, I took a ton of pictures (through tear-filled eyes!) and hope to post a video of the dance once I figure out how to do so... please forgive the lack of quality in these photos. I was shooting without flash from row R... not ideal!

So, while viewing the photos, you can hum "Rainbow Connection" if you'd like... (one of my all-time favorite songs!)

At the beginning, all but 2 of the girls waited for the teacher to tell them to jump. Only Abbi & Madison knew when to jump up on their own. Awesome jumping, Abbi!!! (She's the 4th from the left, if you can't tell).

My favorite part of the dance - reach up and grab a star...

...and put it in your pocket. (Makes more sense when you see the complete action).

wrapping it up... "the lovers"...

..."the dreamers"...

..."and me"...

She held the final pose until the lights fell and the girls were retrieved by the teacher.

Walking back out to take a bow before the final curtain call...
Abbi is the 2nd dancer from the right.

Thank you to Auntie C for coming and bringing Abbi flowers! Thank you to Heidi & Matt for coming too! It meant so much to all of us!

And finally, a picture of Abbi & her best friend from the class, Sarah.

I can't wait until next year! Creative dance 2 for Abbi, and possibly Small Fry Combo for Tots for Lexi (the only class we have found for 2 year olds).

Friday, May 22, 2009

Two weeks!

Amelia is two weeks old and I have to say, time is FLYING. We're doing well, though, settling into a schedule and establishing some good eating and sleeping habits. The girls love Amelia's alert times...when she looks around, sometimes looking at her sisters; hand in constant motion, grabbing at Abbi's hand or her shirt. Lexi loves to pet Amelia on the head, and both girls insist on giving smooches to Amelia before bed (sometimes forgetting me!!).

Although I was unable to take the newborn pictures I had envisioned, I have taken Amelia's newborn photos on two separate occasions, and they are now posted on my other blog. Each photo shoot had to be done quickly and carefully, followed by a dose of tylenol and an extra long nap.

I'm also hoping to finally shoot Lexi's 2nd birthday pictures soon. I'm just waiting for an evening when we have the time, and a clean kid, and the right amount of sunlight!! And of course, Miss Amelia has to cooperate so I'm not in the middle of a feeding...

So, check out the pics on my photography blog and keep an eye out for Lou's pics as well!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Settling in...

Well, its been six days since Amelia joined us and I have to say, things are going well!! She's an amazing baby. Although she has an attitude about nursing (mainly, that its not easy enough for her!), we're persevering...most of my days are spent pumping, nursing, then bottle-feeding. Oy... I'm tired. Her arm is doing well, as far as we can tell. We won't see the pediatric orthopedist until June 8, but in the meantime, we're just pinning her right sleeve to her torso, which stabilizes the arm. And other than me picking her up too roughly this morning (half asleep), she rarely seems to be in pain. So far (knock on wood) she's my best sleeper... I'm enjoying 5 to 6 hours of sleep a night (in two shifts).

The girls are doing so great with her! Surprisingly, Lexi is willing to share me with her baby sister. She loves to watch me pump and ask questions about what I'm doing. She's a little too wild around the baby, but I can't blame her. She just doesn't know. Abbi is my little helper - when she wants to be. She likes to hold the bottle when Amelia eats and is willing to run around to get diapers or burp cloths when I can't get up. The best part is when they both sing a lullaby to Amelia. The windows shatter and the neighborhood cats howl in approval, but its a beautiful gesture all the same...

The plan is to take Amelia's newborn photographs within the next few days (I need a happy, sleepy, well-fed baby), but in the meantime, here are some pictures from coming home and Abbi's first time holding the baby.