In Milwaukee

I didn’t miss the train and spent a day with my girls in Milwaukee. We went to the forest where Nadia had her Forest Camp and spent more than two hours walking around while Nadia showed us all the places where they’ve been. I was very happy to be in the forest – I do not have anything like this close to me anymore, and also it was a joy to listen to Nadia talking about her summer experience and to observe how she interacts with Kira.

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My Girls In Chicago

On Sunday, we had a short visit with our girls. Boris didn’t see them last time he was in Chicago, and before that, it was a very short visit, so I think he didn’t see them since December. It was good that they could make it.

I suggested that they go to the Crown Fountain first – It would be the first time for Kira, and Nadia didn’t go there since she was one year old. The girls loved it so much that if Anna would let them, they would splash there for the whole five hours they had :).

As I mentioned before, it was challenging to navigate the Loop on Sunday because it was the last day of Lollapolooza, but after a couple of unsuccessful trials, we found a place to have lunch with no line hanging outside the doors.

After lunch, we went to the Art Institute, and we even visited the Sezanne exhibit (although very briefly). I know Nadia would spend way more time there, but she won’t stay without Kira, and Kira has a way shorter attention span :). The rest of the time was spent in the Ryan Educational Center. This time, they offered several weaving projects, and Nadia stayed focused for the entire time and finished her piece.

A staff member helps to finish the weaving project

In Milwaukee

This weekend was a birthday weekend for my granddaughters. Since I had Friday off, I thought that I would go there for a long weekend, possibly leaving on Thursday evening. It was only later that I realized that that was the same weekend I had to leave for Europe (and early enough to work on Monday). Fortunately, due to the very convenient scheduling of the direct flight, I could still accommodate the whole project; I just had to leave Milwaukee on Saturday night instead of Sunday.

On Friday, I took the first Metra train from Rogers Park (at 5 AM) to take the first train to Milwaukee at 6 AM. It felt insane to get up that early, but it was the best decision – I had the whole Friday!

First Metra Train of the day


So Kira is now two, and Nadia is five, and I do not even know which of this more unbelievable! Or maybe it’s the fact that Anna is a mother of two:). Nadia and Kira are such different personalities, and both are just absolutely amazing. It feels wonderful to see them growing and their stories unfolding. Looking forward to many many years of this journey!

Some weekend pictures:

Breakfast with Anna upon arrival
Visiting Mitchel Park Domes
Visiting Mitchel Park Domes
Visiting Mitchel Park Domes
Walking along the river
Getting ready to the party

A Weekend With My Girls

My girls visited over the weekend, and we had tons of plans. The plans got almost canceled because Nadia started to get sick on Thursday night, and both Anna and Nadia arrived partially sick. Then we didn’t go anywhere on Saturday because Nadia was getting sicker and sicker, and Anna was about to go home right away. 

We finally decided to wait till Sunday morning, and to my surprise, Nadia woke up mostly normal and ready for adventure.

We went to the Field Museum as we originally planned to do on Saturday. This weekend was marked by the opening of the new Native American Galleries. The whole exhibit space was completely re-imaged; both the content and the presentation became more meaningful. There were several activities related to the new exhibit. One was the native storytelling with Karen Ann Hoffman. All I can tell – she was amazing, and I am not going to try to retell the stories. We all sat on the floor and listened for half an hour.

Another great activity was basket weaving. We looked at the demonstration, and later, we could stop by, and get our share of materials and instructions. We came back for the next two strings, and then the last time to finish the project. All of us (except probably Kira) enjoyed this activity a lot – we worked together and ant the end, we had this cute basket!

Finishing touches to our family basket

Once again, we spent almost the whole day in the museum and came home with barely any time left to have leftovers dinner before the girls went home.

At The Field Museum

Since Nadia is all about dinosaurs these days, we planned a visit to the Field Museum. Going there on Tuesday was a great idea – the first day of school was Monday, and the museum was almost empty. One thing neither Anna nor I could predict was how long our visit would last. We thought about 2- 2,5 hours, and we were even thinking about going to the Maggie Daley park afterward (since we didn’t go there on Saturday), but we ended up spending six hours in the museum! Nadia could not get enough of it! 

We started from watching a 3D movie about titanosaurus. Then, we saw the Pacific nations exhibit, then Evoving Earth, Jade, a gemstone exhibit, the Ancient China, Jane Goodall exhibit, the Underground adventure and I think I forgot something :). Nadia kept exploring

Biking With My Girls

Anna brought her cargo bike with her (she ended up driving a truck because of that), and although driving a truck in the city is not the most enjoyable activity, the presence of a cargo bike made a huge difference! We could go anywhere on bikes! Both Sunday and Monday mornings, we would head to the Lake Front Trail to explore the playgrounds – thank you, Chicago Park District!

We biked to the Edgewater Art Fair on Sunday evening (because Nadia really wanted to listen to some concert), and we biked to Andersonville on Monday to have lunch with Vlad and Dylon.

At the Edgewater Art Fair, Nadia danced for forty minutes straight while the band was playing, and Kira followed as much as she could:). Neither me nor Anna could expect it!

Only later we thought that we could plan more outings with the cargo bike, including going to the Lincoln Park Zoo and to Navy Pier – both are relatively close to where I live, but unfortunately do not have convenient public transportation. We will plan better next time!

At The Beach With My Girls

At some point, Anna expressed a concern that the beach’s proximity will alter her daughter’s priorities in Chicago and that instead of the “museum Baba” I will become a “beach Baba.” And indeed, the first request was about going to the beach. The girls arrived late on Friday, and Saturday morning, we headed to the beach straight after breakfast.

We spent about three hours at the beach, the girls mostly playing on the shore and in the shallow water. I was helping them to build the sandcastles and used the opportunity to go deeper into the water while there were no lifeguards on duty.

Also, we had snacks in Ropa Cabana (seen on the background), a new beach food stand run by one enthusiastic couple.

I thought it is going to be a beach every day, but after that, we took a deep dive into the cultural experience!

Family Time

My daughter and my granddaughters are my guests for the past three days, and today my son-in-law joined them.

it’s a very busy time, with lot’s of cooking and cleaning, and it’s the most wonderful time spending time together, talking, reading books and drawing pictures, sledding and having fun the snow. these day, I do ot have to do sledding in the wee hours of the morning, when nobody can see me. I am a grandma with my granddaughter, and we can go sledding as all other people with children.

People are making sledding trains out of multiple sleds, and most of the time theey would turn upside down, but everybody would have fun anyway 🙂

Today, Anna made scones for breakfast, as she always does. This time it was a new recipe, and it was super-delicious. Also, she made them with dry lingonberries, which I brought from Finland, and that made them even better 🙂

My Best Girls Ever

I had the best time ever with all three girls:). Kira is a miracle child: she is so happy all the time and so calm! Not like she does not have bad days and bad nights, but in comparison, not only with Nadia but with any child, I know close enough. Also, she is very advanced both physically and emotionally for her four and a half months. She tries to stand up all the time you hold her. she tries to crawl and sit, and I think she will be mobile in some way by the time she will be six months old. Just you wait:).
She also has an unbelievable emotional response to others, which is also way too early. She meets people’s gaze; she is upset when either Nadia or Anna is upset, and she ever reacts emotionally at the conversations which are not directed to her. And if you talk to her directly, she would always respond with the broadest smile.

Nadia speaks more and more complex sentences. She loves telling stories, and she likes it when Anna tells stories, imaginable, or real. She is very thoughtful and very compassionate, polite, and considerable of other people’s needs.

And all this is most definitely because of her parents. I do not think I ever had such a level of patience, as Anna demonstrates. And I can tell that her patience with Nadia fosters all these positive traits. Many everyday tasks take longer than they could because she lets Nadia do things by herself, to decide for herself, to do them her way. She always accepts Nadia’s help even when it makes things going three times slower :). And I am sure that John does the same; I just saw less of him this time :).

I am so looking forward to seeing these girls growing and doing great things!

Visiting With My Girls

As Anna put it, we had three visits in one. Anna and the girls came Friday evening. The girls went more or less straight to bed, and Anna and I talked till midnight (which was probably not the best idea, but we didn’t have one on one conversations for a really long time).

It was then a long morning at my house, and then we went to the market and picked pre-ordered bread, croissants and vegetables. Afterward, we visited my mom, and she was very happy to hold Kira and chat with all of us. Then we traveled to John and Anna’s house in Milwaukee, and I stayed there till midday Tuesday. Unfortunately, my situation at work is such that I could not take any additional time off, but we were still happy to stay under one roof for a couple of days.

The weather was not cooperating. It became sharply colder on Saturday, and I was completely unprepared. I was glad that I took a warmer coat, but frankly, I could take even a warmer one. We still went for several walks, but it would be better if the weather would be different.
I already posted some pictures from the Havenwoods State Park, and here are some pictures from the neighborhood – the Halloween decorations there are very elaborate 🙂

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