Leap Day

Why do we have leap days?

After a bit of research, I learned that we do not rotate exactly 365 years around the sun, but rather approximately 365 days and 6 hours.

So they added another day every four years, when an extra 24 hours have accumulated.

However, it’s a little more complicated than that. I always assumed leap days happened every 4 years, but in fact it is slightly inaccurate to calculate an additional 6 hours each year. It is more like 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 16 seconds.

To compensate for the difference, an end-of-century year is not a leap year unless it is also exactly divisible by 400. This means that the years 1600 and 2000 were leap years, as will be 2400 and 2800, but the years 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not, nor will 2100, 2200 and 2300.

Besides their rarity, what else is special about leap days?

Supposedly women can propose to men. Though I’ve yet to hear from someone who actually did this successfully, leap day or not.

Our Grandpa Bill celebrates his 19th birthday today. (He’s actually 76!)

And keeping with theme or rarities, we had a freakishly warm 60 degree February day. We ended up taking Jack’s new bike to the park for a ride. I hope everyone enjoyed the nice weather as much as we did!


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Black Jack Pierre

It’s a sad state of affairs when the big parties in your life have gone from weddings to 13 year old birthdays.

We’ve gotten to the stage in our lives when most of our friends are married and have kids old enough to have bar mitzvahs.

I guess the nice thing is that it seems like most of these parties are fancier than some wedding ceremonies I’ve been too.

Last night we attended a bar mitzvah.

It was held at a very prestigious country club in the suburbs. I could not believe how many children attended! Jack Pierre had NINETY friends!

The theme of the party was ‘Casino’. They rented poker tables, slot machines, and roulette.

There was a 5 person dance troupe and DJ which kept the party lively at all times. They were masters of keeping the party going. It was like a perfectly choreographed dance inside a dance party. While adults ate, kids did the Champagne Snowball. While adults were called up to celebrate their anniversaries, kids ate. Everyone danced the Hora.

Even my pregnant belly didn’t stop me from getting on the dance floor. The music and entertainers were too enticing.

I took lots of pictures of the party. We also have a boy named Jack who will have a bar mitzvah in a short seven years. Maybe we can steal the theme? Though who knows if we will be able to afford anything like this. Essentially it’s like paying for a wedding for our kids at age 13. But as Adam pointed out, we get a discount. Even though we will have four kids, with twins we will only have to pay for three parties!

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Museum of Science and Industry

Museum of Science and Industry with Kevin

Our cousin Kevin’s visit from Florida prompted us to leave our winter house bound cocoon and do something fun. We headed to the Museum of Science and Industry this morning.

I love this museum. I’ve been so many times and I still haven’t seen all of it. I think for the age my kids are at, most of the exhibit’s meanings are lost on them. Still there are plenty of buttons and levers for them to play with, even if they don’t get the full understanding.

They also have a room called the ‘Ideas Factory’ that is exclusively for kids. It’s pretty cool but be sure to bring another set of clothes. Your kids will get soaked!

We paid $180 for the doctorate level membership. It includes two adults, one guest and all children for admission. You also get passes to most special exhibitions, free and unlimited Omnimax tickets, free coat check and stroller service, free exclusive use of the Members’ Lounge, 10% discount in Museum stores and restaurants and most importantly FREE parking.

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Pregnancy Update – Week 28

This week we had another ultrasound.

The babies are both head down. There they were facing each other ‘kissing’ as the technician said. Very cute, but as a seasoned mother my first thought was, “that won’t last.”.

They both measured at 2 pounds and 12 ounces, both in the 75%. I’m wondering if I spoke too soon about them not being identical?

Now I understand why I feel a lot of rolling sensation over my bladder and more of the jerky, kicking close to my ribs. I’ve also started to feel some hiccuping close to my butt.

I weighed in at 162 pounds, which puts me at a 42 pound weight gain.

I see my ob/gyn again in two weeks then starting at week 32, because they are twins, I have an hour long check up weekly at the hospital. Dr Katz told me I would hate her by the end of it. I can’t wait.

She also went over acceptable dates to have the twin. Anywhere from April 28th until the due date, May 18th is a good range. So I just have to keep them in a minimum of 10 weeks. Seems like a long time considering how big I am, but at the same time I can’t believe it will all be over in a short few months!


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5 is a Magical Number

Besides the first birthday, which was such a milestone for me, no other birthday has made me reflect, cry, and rejoice as much as Jack turning five today.

It’s a magical number.

All of a sudden, he’s dressing himself every day. He’s feeding himself and eating consistent meals. He wants to be helpful and actually is. Not every night, but more and more he sleeps through the entire night without waking us up. He can write his own name. Sort of.

I’m starting to understand why school starts at age five. They are like little people!

You can start to do all the fun stuff. Disney, skiing, organized sports! You are no longer tied to naps or a stroller.

Sometimes I watch him carefully eating his soup without spilling it, amazed how much he’s grown. It makes me want to cry how quickly it all happened. Then, two seconds later he’ll be upset because his lovey, “Favorite Teddy”, isn’t in his bed to sleep with him and I’ll sigh with relief. He’s still just a boy.

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Fresh Picks for the Week (Feb 15)

My Fresh Picks Delivery This Week

This week in my Fresh Picks box I received cabbage, swiss chard, a red pepper, red potatoes, onions, butter lettuce, parsley, and zucchini.

I was a bit confused to see that some of the products were from Mexico. I read the mission statement on Irv and Shelly’s website and it is to sell local, organic produce. However, the produce was all very fresh and still all organic.

My plan for this pile of food?

1. I cut up the red potatoes, zucchini, red pepper along with some carrots I had in the fridge. Tossed them with some olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them in the oven at 375° for about an hour. I served it with salmon fillets that I buy in bulk at costco, frozen. Takes about 15 minutes to defrost under cold water. The Salmon was dressed with lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper and baked for about 30 minutes along with the veggies.

2. The cabbage was stuffed inside eggs rolls. This week at Jack’s school they had an ‘International Day’ and parents were asked to bring foods from their culture. I still have some left. Probably will end up as cole slaw as Jack loves it.

3. I plan to use the butter lettuce one night in a salad. Probably something simple like lettuce, tomato and feta in balsamic vinaigrette. Perhaps along side some left over mini hot dogs?

4. The Swiss Chard will be cooked in one of my favorite recipes from my Appetite For Reduction cookbook, the recipe is also online – Hottie Black Eyed Peas. It calls for kale or collards but I’ll just substitute. I leave out the hot sauce so the kids can eat the beans and just put it on for Adam and I later. Sooo yummy. If you get a chance, try it!

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Monster Truck Party

Jack decided he wanted his 5th birthday to be Monster Trucked themed. So tonight, we had over 50 friends over to help him celebrate.

Monster Truck Twister

As usual, we cleared out the spare room to accommodate the theme. We hung up a Monster Truck Piñata. Then we bought two Twister games and turned them into “Monster Truck Twister”. We got checkered flags and hung them around the room. We also put all of Jack’s monster truck toys in the room. I wasn’t sure what the kids would do with them. I found out later they were throwing them at the piñata, trying to break it!

I tried to think of food one might eat at a Monster Truck rally, but serving hot dogs, popcorn and cotton candy seemed more naughty then I was willing to be. In the end, we served up mini hot dogs, baked ziti, veggie plate, fruit bowl, and cheese plate. I tried to do deviled eggs but no one could figure out how to peel them without breaking them. So, now I’ve got over 30 badly peeled eggs in my fridge that I’m not sure what to do with! The successful food made it onto our “Pit Stop” table.

The "Pit Stop"

Adam went crazy on the cake. He ordered an entire sheet! He gave the cake makers (we went to Deerfield Bakery) five monster trucks to decorate the top with. They made ramps for the trucks and crushed cookies for dirt. They even put little cars for the trucks to jump over.

Jack's 5th Birthday Monster Truck Cake

Finally, we let everyone take home a Mylar Monster Truck Balloon along with their gift bags…

Gift Bags

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Pregnancy Update – Week 27

Seems like natural births and home births are experiencing a bit of a renaissance.

I know so many people who have opted for the drug free option. Jessica, Heather, Michelle, Becca, Tracey, Margie, Laura, Chrissy and probably more that I can’t think of right now. And some of these babies were over 9 pounds!

Can I push this out drug free?

For my first pregnancy, I really wanted to have a drug free birth. At my friend Jennie’s suggestion, I read Hypno Birthing and listened to the CD every day. I was in labor for a long time with Jack. After 22 hours, I was in a state of extreme pain followed by the extreme high endorphins produce. Over and over again. Every time they came into to check on me, I wasn’t dilating any more – stuck at 7cm, yet the pain was intensifying every minute. Finally I looked at Adam in desperation. He said, “I think you are focusing too much on the wedding when it’s really about the marriage. Do you know what I mean?

That’s all I needed to get the epidural. Ah, I can still remember the relief.

After 28 hours of labor PLUS 2 hours of pushing, I ended up with a cesarean. The heart rate was fine but he wasn’t budging. My doctor said I could push for another 2 hours but in her medical opinion, he wasn’t coming out.

I signed the papers and in 15 minutes Jack was born. It was so easy. I wanted a cesarean the next time!

So I scheduled one with Ben. But when I got to the hospital, I was 7cm dilated and he came out the regular way. Without any preparations for natural childbirth, I asked for the epidural immediately to relieve the pain. Ten minutes after I got it, I started pushing. It took over 2 hours of pushing but he came out like Superman, with one arm next to his head.

So, with this pregnancy and the trend of going naturally all around me, I can’t help but think – this is my last chance to go for it.

Given that they are twins, they will probably be smaller and easier to push out than the last two, right?

But given my history there is no way I will get to give birth in a tub at home.

Anyway, something to think about. In the end, I’ll probably chicken out.

And by the way, I got the ultrasound date wrong. It’s next week.

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The Circus Room

The New Circus Exhibit

Last Monday Jack had the day off of school. We decided to visit the Children’s Museum at Navy Pier.

One great thing about museum memberships that you don’t get a pay-to-play spaces is their ever changing exhibits.

The winter snowball fight and ‘ice skating’ rink is gone, replaced with chess, checkers, bean bag toss, and bowling.

We spent a lot of time in the new Circus Exhibit. I’ve never seen this exhibit before and we had lots of fun exploring it. If you get a chance, go check it out!


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New Bike

The birthday celebrations have begun. In typical Adam style, Jack is starting to get presents a full 10 days before his birthday.

Jack's New Bike

After seeing his friend Grant ride without training wheels, we realized it was way past the time to start him on a bicycle.

On Sunday, Adam chose a 16″ Trek with training wheels. Blue, of course. Jack was in between this and the 20″ level but we figured this bike can also be used by his siblings as well.

Jack was so happy he wore the helmet the rest of the day, even in the car. We took the bike out for a little ride around the park that afternoon.

Jack was a trouper. Even when he fell he didn’t get upset. Just got up and started riding again, saying “I’m okay!“.


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