Sunday, July 11, 2010

Adventures in Chicago

Since we've been here we've been pretty busy! We've...

tried out some new cuisine (just look at that concentration!):
checked out the local park:
experienced some pretty cool weather (this was all in one day):
tested out the local beach (literally 2 blocks north of where we're temporarily staying):

(Like our make-shift "beach" toys?)

tested every ounce of Mommy and Daddy's patience...
been so darn cute that Mommy and Daddy can't get mad...

and grown a baby (it's hard to see from this angle just how big my belly is; I'll have to have Paul take another picture)!

Here's the latest baby update:
  • How far along: 31 weeks and 2 days (sorry it's been so long since I've done a baby update!)
  • Baby’s heart rate: in the 140's - exactly where it should be
  • Total weight gain: 30-ish pounds
  • Maternity clothes: absolutely nothing else
  • Sleep: it takes me 4 pillows to get comfortable (2 under my head, one at my back to keep me from rolling onto my back and one between my legs), most nights I get about 5-6 hours of sleep and I'm either up super late or I'll be awake for about 2 hours in the middle of the night - I guess it's this baby's way of easing me into the full amount of sleep deprivation he'll cause
  • Best moment this week: when Paul told me that for 8 months pregnant I was doing great (with all the physically-demanding LIFE we've been experiencing these past few weeks/months)
  • Movement: constantly, especially when I eat chocolate. :) This baby likes to stretch his legs about 5 times a day and my belly takes on the weirdest, lop-sided shape I've ever seen. I'll try to catch a picture of it. He also gets the hiccups about 20 times a day, just like Ilana did when she was inside, so my belly twitches for 5-10 minutes every once in a while.
  • Food cravings: more thirsty than anything, the other day I picked up some orange-strawberry-banana juice ... YUM!!!
  • What I miss: being able to hold Ilana close and hug Paul the normal way and walking without being winded
  • Milestones: this baby is establishing a routine of regular awake and regular sleep times. I'm starting to pick up on it.
  • Belly button: almost completely stretched out and flat :(
  • Weekly Wisdom: don't stress, just know that I won't get everything done, but I can get done what I can do right now...unless I can sleep :)
Paul's been really busy hitting the ground running at work, but we are enjoying having him home in the evenings and not have to read/write/research or in general be a student. It's nice to have a "semi-normal" life. :) I say to myself "oh, this is what this is like!" a lot. He's able to help bathe and play with Ilana a lot more than he used to be able to, which is SO nice! Moses is still uneasy with all the transitions, but in a week we'll be in our apartment (oh yeah, we also found a place to call home for a year or so). So, hopefully once we get settled there he'll settle down a bit. We're getting used to this!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Catching up

Well, I think that most of the people who read this blog will understand why this has taken so long, but for our amusement, let's re-hash everything that has really been going on since the beginning of May:

-After handing in 20 cover letters and resumes, Paul had 2 phone interviews, 2 on-campus interviews and 2 job offers.
-Paul accepted the job at Loyola University of Chicago on a Thursday around 2. The entire family arrived that day, so we were able to share the news with them.
-A few hours after accepting this job, we got a phone call confirming next year's renters.
-Friday was Paul's hooding ceremony.
-Saturday was graduation and my birthday.
-We spent the next 10 days packing and saying goodbye to our friends at Baylor.
-On May 27 Ilana and I flew home to Annapolis.
-On May 28 Paul loaded up the trailer, the dog and himself and hit the road back east. Two days later he safely arrived in PA.
-We "moved in" to our house in Gettysburg for about 2 1/2 weeks where I began my project of sorting through our stored boxes. Paul hit the ground running on finishing the woodwork in the attic, and a myriad of other small projects around the house to get it ready for next year's renters. Add in the unexpected projects like re-finishing the front porch himself and you get an idea of those 2 1/2 weeks.
 I must say, this was one of my favorite things about those 2 1/2 weeks, if there is a favorite thing:
Another DEFINITE favorite (I finally got the "family howl" video to upload!!!):
-On Sunday, June 27 at 4:00 pm we left Gettysburg.
-On Tuesday the 29th around noon we arrived in Chicago. Surprisingly the trip was good, quality, family time. I actually think we all kind of enjoyed it.
From what we can tell, this was the state line, although there was no "Welcome to Illinois" sign. Notice the exit number.
Our first view of our new "home."
The skyline is on your left and literally, this is the right side window's view:
We actually made it!!

So to recap: from May 13 to June 29 we slept for more than 3 consecutive night in 5 different places, traveled from Texas to MD/PA to Chicago, hauled more boxes than we care to count, did more house projects in Gettysburg than we care to remember, and traveled approximately 2,084 miles.

We've learned a few lessons and made a few decisions.
  • After we buy a place out here (probably in a year or so), we will never move our boxes of earthly possessions again - we'll pay movers.
  • It was the best idea to fly Ilana and I home from Texas. 
  • It was the best idea to drive to Chicago as a family. 
  • House/apartment/flat hunting is awful. 
  • Babies inside can stay healthy and happy no matter how much stress you're experiencing.
  • Toddlers (outside) :) can stay healthy and happy no matter how much stress the rest of your family is experiencing. 
  • Children adapt much easier to change than adults do.
  • Don't buy a gutter-outer/fixer-upper, work on it for 4 years and move 3 days after you finish the last project...not live in (or see!) it for 2 years...move back in and work on it for 3 more weeks then move away for good. THAT is awful!
  • God really does give DAILY bread.
We are enjoying Chicago as much as we can. It is a big busy city and a very different way of living than we've ever experienced, but we're learning that it's much more family friendly than we thought it would be. We think we're gonna be alright here.

This is the view from our living room (Chicago O'Hare Airport is on the horizon):
These are the views from our bedrooms (the first one is looking straight out, the second one is looking all the way to the south):
We get to see some pretty sunsets every night out of our living room:
One night we decided to venture into downtown and go to Taste of Chicago: BAD IDEA with a toddler. I'll blog more on that later, for now here is our self-take at the beginning of the night when things were good:
and here is a pic from the night's highlight, Paul and Ilana's merry-go-round ride:
After our Taste of Chicago experience, we decided to lay low for the 4th of July. We went to church, went on a nature walk (yes, there is such a thing in Chicago, we even saw some deer!), then just hung out at home:
After we put Ilana to bed you could see fireworks on both sides of the apartment, all along the lakefront and as far as the horizon inland. It was kind of neat - definitely a different way to celebrate the 4th, but a good one.

Alright, that's all I've got for now, but stay tuned for some more short stories on these past few weeks and our adventures.