Sunday, October 29, 2006

Weekend update

The movers arrived before noon on Friday and had finished unpacking the truck by 6pm. We have a TON of stuff, I can’t even tell you. Aron walked in yesterday as we were unpacking and said in a rather irritated voice, “You have 12 childhood boxes, and I have 1.” I began to feverishly clean out and throw away, but it was very good overall. I really do clean out a lot, I so love it, but at this point, with our storage so limited, I cleaned out even more thoroughly. Aron set up our bed, I cleaned and semi-organized the bathroom, we unpacked and began putting kitchen stuff away, Aron moved and unpacked tons of other items; he’s an animal, seriously. I feel so blessed. He even helped the movers move our stuff; one guy was like, "You are the first customer to ever help us unload.” The flat is coming along nicely; we hope to move in tomorrow night or by Tuesday for sure.

We closed on the house on Friday. It’s done and no longer ours. VERY huge relief. It was an incredibly easy selling process; we feel so fortunate, truly.

Today, we took an all-day birthing class at Northwestern, the hospital we will deliver at. It’s about ½ a mile from our apartment downtown, so we just walked there and back. It was lovely today, in the mid-50s. We learned some helpful and insightful details, got to tour the hospital, etc. It was well worth the time and money and I feel better about the impending labor.

I had my first OB appointment on Friday with Shelley’s OB. She is a great lady, I really liked her. I start to see her every week now and she says everything looks great.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Week 1

I have adventured out the past two days and I am slowly learning my way around. I went to Trader Joe's and got a few items, then to the local grocerry store for the rest of my list. I found some fun streets with some great shopping, of which I hope to return to this weekend with Aron and get a few things for bebe M. After 3 trips from the garage, up the elevator, and into our apartment to unload grocerries, I decided that I will wait for Aron's help in the future.

Today, I drove Aron to work, then walked from the apartment to Michigan Ave. I spent some time in Borders, bought a few books to read (though it pains me to pay full price; I'm a lover of the discount book stores!), and popped in a few other shops. I found a cute beanie for the baby from Baby Gap. It'll be so fun to dress her in warm clothes!

Aron called me later this afternoon to say there is a VERY good chance we may get all our furniture this weekend; how cool is that!!? I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Mindless fun

Or, with all my spare time, I could play this game for hours...

What is YOUR high score?


How long to you have to be a resident to call a city by its nickname? I don't want to seem like a poser, but we have been calling Chicago this for several weeks now. Any insight?

After Patti graciously drove us to the airport on Friday night, we checked our bags and boarded our plane. Aron attempted to carry-on his Taylor guitar, but because it was a full flight, the flight attendant made him check it, much to his dismay. Fortunately, the guitar seems unharmed by its 2 hour flight in the cargo hold. We picked up our rental car and headed to our furnished apartment in downtown (all thanks to James Hardie). Aron's company is so amazing. Because our household items may not arrive until the second week of November, they have put us up in this apartment until we can comfortably live in our flat. Aron flies back to Dallas on Wednesday to oversee the movers packing up our stuff and will return Thursday morning.

We have sold most of the furniture we hoped to sell which is a huge blessing. And another blessing is that Hardie is going to pay for the shipment of all the baby items (crib, glider, car seat, tons of clothes, toys, etc) Aron's mother has been saving for our orginal arrival to OC. We couldn't be more pleased.

Today, Sunday, was the famous Chicago marathon; we actually got to see part of the race in person on our walk to church. The weather is about 40 degrees, so we bundled up and walked the mile to Grace Chicago (a Presbyterian congregation), Shel and Randall's church. We enjoyed the casual atmosphere, liturgy, music, and message of the morning. This church community is fairly small, but has many young people and several young families (with 3 expecting babies in the next 4 months). This excites us. We have a few other places we want to check out, but overall, we dug our experience at GC.

Aron begins his work week tomorrow and I, well, I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do with my time over the next 2-3 weeks. It's a bit frustrating to think about the impending birth of bebe M (less than 6 weeks to go) and not being able to get into our place and get it organized and ready. I have books to read, knitting to do, and places to explore, but that's about it. I think it's all going to get pretty old, pretty fast. But, I'm trying to be optimistic and just be patient with what God wants to teach me at this time.

Pictures: This is the view of the city from our 5th story apartment (ok, well, the pics aren't uploading for some reason, so I'll have to try again later...)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Bugs I will not miss

In Texas, we have our fair share of awful insects: fire ants and spiders, big and small (especially the barn spider, 3 inches in diameter, though not pictured here). I will not miss these creatures once we move to Chicago, though, yes there will be new ones. Here is a spider in a more peaceful moment outside our home.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Shopping for Bebe M

Here is one of the pairs of Baby Legs we bought bebe M; the other pair is pink and brown stripped (Patti, aren't you so excited!?). And, here are the shoes that Aron had to have for her. It was all his idea to put them on this large Annie doll I have...I about died laughing when he brought it in!

Monday, October 9, 2006

Our Chicago Flat

Greystone front; we love the green and purple door (seriously!). Makes us easy to find. We are on the 2nd floor.
The bathroom; it's large, and updated with lots of storage space

The kitchen; it's really quite beautiful
The dining room

Front room looking into dining room (with the awful
chandelier) and further, into the kitchen

We really do love this place; the hardwood floors and door framing are all original to the house. It's been rehabbed in the last few years, so it's clean and has a warm feel to it (including beautiful paint colors in the kitchen and hallway). We are on the 2nd floor (would have preferred 1st, but hey) and the laundry is in the basement (actually there is a dryer in our place, just not a washer; hmmm...)--two of the only slightly negative aspects. However, overall, this place meets our spacial needs--it has 3 bedrooms; the smallest will be bebe M's room and we'll use the next largest for an office/guest room. It also has lots of storage space and bright, open windows. We are on a nice, tree-lined boulevard within walking distance of a great, big park, shops and eateries.

Chicago Scouting Trip

Our trip was a huge success. Here are some highlights and observations:

*Chicago is amazing! It's especially beautiful with fall in full bloom; we could finally begin to envision living here.
*We ate at several superb eateries including Club Lucky, an Italian place near where we will be living, Papaspiros, a Greek restaurant in Oak Park, several hot dog joints (we'll soon find our favorite, I'm sure), and a fabulous breakfast place in Lincoln Park called Toast Two
*We enjoyed being taxied around the city at 100 mph (sheesh)
*Chicago drivers in general are INSANE; we've seen quite the gamut of drivers since living in CA and TX--Californias have a calculated craziness (they mostly know what they are doing, imo) to Texans who are either too cautious or too wild (esp. 18-wheel truckers who think they are driving cars). It'll be quite an adjustment getting used to driving there as everyone goes so freakin' fast, there are dozens of one-way streets, and the roads themselves do not have many dividing lines so people tend to drive very close together.
*The weather was wonderful and although winter supposedly lasts about 5 months (with February and April being the worst times) we are excited to have SEASONS
*We love our new flat
*We love the wide boulevards, tree-lined streets, and greystones
*We rented a car on Saturday to look around at potential rental places and our Kia had a GPS Neverlost onboard. We found our destinations by simply punching in the addresses and it worked every time. I must have one of these.
*We walked around alot and even took the bus for one ride (we didn't ride the El though)
*Aron's company had originally put us up at a hotel near the airport (because of major events happening this past weekend, all hotels in downtown were up astronomically; however, when Aron's boss found out we weren't in downtown, he pulled some strings and we were able to stay at the Holiday Inn City Centre, 2 blocks from Michigan Ave. in downtown; it was perfect!)
*We enjoyed the MOST fabulous ice-cream we have ever tasted, no joke. It was all thanks to Shelley and Randall (Laurie's sister and brother-in-law); they took us to Oberweiss for shakes and scoops. Our current favorites (Braums and Blue Bell) do not even hold a candle to this place.
*We ate dinner with Shel and Randall on Saturday night at the Greek place mentioned above and had a great time hanging out, getting to know them, getting tips about life in Chicago, and just enjoying good life conversations
*We found an adorable baby store and made some purchases for bebe M--I bought her 2 pairs of Baby Legs (the latest trend in baby wear which will be fantastic for the coming winter) and Aron bought her pink-checkered Vans shoes (pictures to come)

We sold our house!!

On Saturday, the same day we put a deposit on our flat, our realtor called us to say that a couple who was interested in the house had made an offer. We accepted it and when we got back into town yesterday, our realtor came over and we signed the paperwork. They are wanting to close on the 27th, and we couldn't be more thrilled. Pray that all will continue to go smoothly!

Also, after seeing our new place in Chicago, we realized our King size bed wouldn't fit and neither would our desk, our breakfast table, etc. So, literally the only things we are taking with us, furniture-wise are the couches. I placed almost everything else on Craigslist today and we are hoping to sell it all and buy a few new pieces (i.e. a Queen size bed) before we move.

Sunday, October 8, 2006

We're Back!

Prego Suz with the lovely fall colors

Aron enjoying one of Chicago's famous hot dogs

The beautiful streets of Logan Square (where we're going to live--more to come in a later post)

Monday, October 2, 2006

We are Chicago?

Yes, you read the title correctly. It seems our plans to relocate back to SoCal are changing on us. This all fell into our lap about 2 weeks ago, but it seems that God is really opening some cool opportunities for us in Illinois. The VP of North American Sales for the company Aron works for wants Aron in Chicago. This is quite the compliment to the tremendous job Aron does for James Hardie. They have verbally offered us a full-relocation (which means they pick up our house) and a very nice pay increase. We've been praying diligently about this the past two weeks and it seems it is the best option for us right now. We will be taking a scouting trip this coming Thursday-Sunday to see the city and look for an apartment. There are so many quaint, vintage places near downtown, so we are looking forward to being "city" people for awhile.

Aron said I should post about this, but I was hesitant as it isn't a totally done deal yet. Nevertheless, while we are waiting on the final paperwork to come through, Aron's boss is "99% sure" it's a done deal. Therefore, we are pressing forward. Stay tuned for how it all will pan out and pics of our trip.

Oh, and keep us in your prayers. This is a hectic time for us, as the birth of bebe M is right around the corner. We'd like to be settled wherever we are headed (Chicago or SoCal) in the next 2-3 weeks. Whew!


Today, I went again with my friend Patti and her son Grayson (and several of their friends) to the Dallas Arboretum. Mondays are "Mommy and Me" days, so the place was filled with dozens & dozens of children and mothers. The Arborteum currently has a pumpkin patch, a hay maze, a small petting zoo, and a horse-drawn buggy ride for families to enjoy. There was also face painting and a story-teller for the kiddos. It was a gorgeous day (though a little warm out...alas!). I love this place!

Here are some pics: 1) Grayson enjoyed the patch, but kept falling to one side or the other, 2) a bush that was made to look like a giant pumpkin--very clever, I thought, 3) the pumpkin patch