Gopher Trap

by Kayte

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We recently cleaned up a small patch of dirt in our back yard and planted a drought-tolerant lawn so Sudlow and the kids would have a bit of grass to play on. Of course that very week a gopher decided to take up residence in the area; digging tunnels and wreaking havoc on our poor plants. So I went out and bought traps, dug some holes of my own, and eventually caught the culprit. A few weeks later Max brought home this drawing from school. Art imitates life.

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Neuro Appointment

by Kayte

We had our yearly appointment with the neurosurgeon today to go over the results of Lola’s most recent MRI Brain Limited. He cheerfully told us that her ventricles are even more shrunken, there are no areas of pressure, and that everything looks great. He gave us the option of doing another MRI in one year or pushing it to a year-and-a-half but we opted for the one-year. As nerve-wracking as these appointments are, when we get good results it gives us a solid stepping stone from which to move forward.

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Splashtopia

by Kayte

This weekend we drove to The Desert to meet some friends for their annual Splashtopia waterpark adventure. We spent three awesome days floating down the lazy river, soaking in the jacuzzi, playing at the beach, and swimming in the pool. The park also had two waterslides, but Max and Lola were just an inch shy of meeting the height requirement. Better luck next year! The kids played hard all day and crashed hard at night.What a fun weekend.


Yearly MRI

by Kayte

We drove back to the hospital this morning for Lola’s yearly MRI to check out her shunt. Today’s appointment was at 7am (Zzz) so we were up at the crack of dawn but we missed rush hour traffic. And we were the first appointment in so everything was on time and we were out of there in less than an hour. Lola did great during the scan. I still had them swaddle her in blankets, but they didn’t really tape her down tightly and she laid their perfectly still through all the noise. Since it is a Children’s Hospital they have these cool goggles and headphones that play a movie during the MRI, so Lola was perfectly content watching Toy Story. We have our appointment next Tuesday with the neurosurgeon to go over the results. Lola is doing great so we’re expecting all good news!

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Vascular Anamolies Clinic

by Kayte

We took Max to a Vascular Anamolies Clinic to have his hemangioma looked at. The appointment was supposed to be an opportunity to meet with four different doctors at the same time: pediatric surgeon, plastic surgeon, interventional radiologist and dermatologist. But, even though we booked this appointment months in advance specifically on a Wednesday (which is the only days they hold the clinic) and spent a good deal of time getting insurance approvals and drove downtown during morning rush hour…only one doctor showed up. The pediatric surgeon said Max’s is a fairly straightforward case: the hemangioma probably won’t shrink any more than it already has, and leaving it puts Max at risk of the skin catching/tearing, especially as he gets more active in life. The surgeon recommended that the hemangioma be surgically removed, a procedure that is statistically safer than getting in your car and driving to the doctor’s office. Which is all fine and pretty much what we expected, but it would have been way less hassle to go to a local pediatric surgeon and hear the same thing. I think our pediatrician will still tell us to go to the clinic for the surgery since it does require general anesthesia and Children’s Hospital specializes in kids.

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Weight: 36 pounds
Height: 3ft 5in


Run Lola Run

by Kayte

This is a new milestone for Lola – running! Up until recently she would speed-walk when she wanted to move quickly, but now she’s actually getting both feet up off the ground. And having fun doing it.


A Ship With a Crow’s Nest

by Kayte

We were doing some painting today and it was the first time I’ve ever seen Max consciously put a specific image to paper. And it really looks like what he said it is! First he drew the green ship, then he added a red crow’s nest and finally he painted blue water all along the bottom. It was really neat to watch him create something so intentional

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First Day of PALs

by Kayte

Max and Lola started their second year of preschool today. They’re in a new program called PALs which is 4-1/2 hours per day, 5 days a week. Last year’s program was 2-1/2 hours, 4 days per week so it’s a big change for us. It’s a nice intermediate step to prepare them for kindergarten’s longer days next year (not to mention that this is the longest amount of time I have been by myself in four years – w0w).

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The other big change this year is that we (parents & teachers) decided to put Max & Lola in different classrooms to foster independence and individual growth. We chose to move Lola to a new class in the hopes of her having some female classmates, and we were happy to meet two new little girls the first day. Max stayed behind in the same class as last year with all his buddies which is a big old boys’ club. Lola gave me an extra-long hug when we dropped her off at class today, and then bravely went to play with all her new teachers and friends.

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Eye Sty

by Kayte

Lola’s eyes had cleared up for awhile after her last doctor visit, but this past week the styes cropped up in both eyes again. This time one of them got so bad it burst, oozing blood and pus, so the doctor prescribed her antibiotic eye drops. Hopefully that does the trick because her eyes look pretty miserable.

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Michigan Trip

by Kayte

Wow August is almost halfway over and I’m just now getting around to my first post of the month. We took a trip to Michigan for a week so I’ve been backlogged under travel recovery, 1,000+ photos and back-to-school prep. But now finally photos are edited, posts are written, and here is our vacation:

I spent a lot of time this trip comparing it to our first visit to Michigan. Overall it was a lot easier traveling with 4-year-olds than two infants. The first time around we had bottles, cribs, high chairs, special pureed food, naps to work around, etc. This time it was pretty much like having two little people in tow who could eat whatever, sleep wherever, and do everything we did. Plus it was a lot more fun! Max & Lola were so excited about the trip and had such a great time with all the people and activities. They really have an optimistic, open attitude about new experiences which makes it so fun. This was a very positive litmus test for future travel and more adventures.


MI Day 8 – DTW > BUR

by Kayte

We opted for an early flight back to California so I could get the kids in bed at a decent hour and start the vacation-recovery process in anticipation of school starting next week. We may have been up at 5:30am (2:30am PST!) but we were rewarded with a beautiful sunrise across the mist-covered fields. It was a peaceful beginning to another relatively easy flight home.

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We had an absolutely wonderful vacation but we were all very happy to see Daddy again at the airport. Home again home again jiggety jig.


MI Day 7 – Fish, Swim, Tube

by Kayte

We couldn’t get enough of the fresh water while we were in Michigan so we spent our last day here playing at the lake. Fresh water is such a scarcity in California these days that it’s mind-boggling to encounter a seemingly endless supply for fun and play. Max & Lola both did some more fishing off the dock. They both cast their bait and hooked their own fish. Max proudly reeled in his bluegill, but Lola hooked a big bass that nearly pulled the rod from her hands so we helped her get it to shore.

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Probably one of Max & Lola’s biggest new experiences this trip was tubing behind the boat! We went very slowly around the lake but it was enough excitement for them. And hopefully they’re old enough where they’ll remember all the fun they had this trip! And if not, we have lots of pictures.

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MI Day 6 – Walk & Ride

by Kayte

My parents live on 10 acres of land and I spent countless hours playing outside while growing up. Today the kids got a taste of my childhood as we meandered along the nature paths through the property. Max was amazed by all the sticks; when we walk around our neighborhood in LA he’s so excited to find one little twig and often plays with it for a week until it breaks. In Michigan he encountered more branches than he could shake a stick at! I think Lola prefers smooth sidewalks to bumpy trails, but I was realized that she was getting a great PT workout: navigating uneven surfaces, climbing over fallen trees, walking up/down hills, etc.

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After our nature walk Max & Lola each got a turn riding on Grandpa’s tractor(s). Fun like this would cost you about $5/ticket in LA! I think Max may have been born to be a farmer. He had so much fun helping out around the property; watering plants, raking grass, clearing brush, walking the trash 1/4 mile to the end of the driveway.

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Photo by Lola

After a fun day at home we met up with some old family friends for dinner at the lake park and celebrated their two (older) kids’ birthdays. It was a cozy end to another beautiful day.

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MI Day 5 – Family Day

by Kayte

Sunday we got together for lunch with our extended Michigan family. Parents, grandparents, kids, grandkids, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins. There were 6 kids, 3 dogs (including a puppy) and lots of noisy fun. Max & Lola keep asking me if everyone’s backyard “is a park” – they’re not used to so much green grass and open space.

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Lola was an absolute riot. After a very brief feeling-things-out period, she burst into rare form and took command of the room. She led people around, gave orders, sang, orchestrated doctor play and just generally made herself the center of attention. My parents asked me if she’s usually so outgoing in large groups of [relative] strangers, and I couldn’t really think of a comparable situation, but she was pretty consistent the entire week with groups of friends and family so I guess so! She must be the lone extrovert/class-clown of the family.


MI Day 4 – Friends Day

by Kayte

On Saturday we met up with two of my best friends from childhood, Michelle and Jeremy, and their respective spouses, Alex and Stefani. We went out for lunch, played at the park, and had a great time just hanging out. Michelle/Alex and Jeremy/Stefani had of course met the kids before, but this was the first time Max & Lola were old enough to meet (and hopefully remember) them in turn.

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MI Day 3 – Fireworks

by Kayte

We had plans to visit the county fair today but I figured that we get enough noise/crowds at home and decided to revel in the calm, quiet of my childhood home. We spent the morning outside at my parents’ house and the afternoon back at the lake for more swimming. In the evening we went to an outdoor concert at a park that had a bounce house/slide, playground and big wheel track for the kids. My aunt and uncle met us at the concert, then brought fireworks back to the house for the kids. This 4th of July I realized that NO fireworks are legal in California when I couldn’t even find sparklers, so I asked my family to save some for us in Michigan. Max & Lola like the sparklers (under very close supervision) but thought even the little fountains were a bit too loud.

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MI Day 2 – Scenic Lake

by Kayte

Our first day in Michigan started and ended on the lake: boating, swimming, splashing, fishing. The kids both caught (or at least reeled) their first fish from the lake and Lola had no problem grabbing hold of hers. They marveled at playing in a lake where they could wade into the water on a sandy bottom without fear of huge waves. I marveled at how far away from me the kids could run around without worrying about traffic or crowds. We were so grateful that my brother was able to come up from Nashville for the week to spend time with us. Such a beautiful, peaceful day.

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MI Day 1 – FNT > DTW

by Kayte

The kids and I are off to Michigan for a week! Yes, I, as in solo parenting; as in 2-kids-1-mom-outnumbered-on-a-plane! Originally we had planned this trip around the kids’ summer school schedule and unfortunately Brody had to stay behind to work but we bravely forged ahead. Admittedly I was a bit nervous leading up to the trip, but I figured the worst that could happen is that we were all utterly miserable for 4-odd hours until we landed in Michigan and then my parents could take over. Turns out it was much better than that and, dare I say…easy? Granted there was a lot of baggage to haul, a decent amount of whining and someone (not me) threw up on the plane before we even left the ground (somehow, magically, all caught in a bag); but once we were on the actual plane I handed each kid an iPad loaded with shows and enjoyed near-silence for the next 4 hours. I didn’t even bring anything for myself to do (thinking I wouldn’t have time to read) so was actually bored for awhile. Not a feeling I experience much these days. Overall the plane ride was a great success and it’s good to know the kids can travel so well. Viva la vacation!

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