Sunday, July 31, 2011

The weeklong move to Avondale

Alright, here we go.  It's been quite the few days here in our camp.  We filled in all of the days last week with daily trips to our new apartment.  The Subaru was a champ and safely transported us and all of our belongings to our new home.  Although it was not time efficient, we saved a bunch of money doing it ourselves.  And, to be fair, Nick did most of the moving, heavy lifting, and all around strenuous activity.  I did the cleaning, organizing, packing, and a handful of trips up and down the stairs.  

Here is the photo montage of the moving week

Our car is great.  The top and back ends are so utilitarian! 

This week involved a lot of these faces.  "Uh, Nick, I'm not sure we can do this."

And a lot of this.  I decided to take the empty room opportunity to do some dancing with Arnie.   He was all about it. 

There was also a lot of sweat, as is demonstrated by Nick's back.  We didn't pick the hottest days of the summer, but it was pretty hot, truth be told.  

One last shot of our multi use, packed to the gills, car. 

And here we have our NEW kitchen, just as the unpacking was starting

Here is the kitchen today, still needs a lot of work, but is definitely live-able. 

We have a BIG pantry.  I am loving my mason jars of grains these days. 

I don't know if you noticed, but we have a WASHER/DRYER in the kitchen.   I have underestimated the joy of this treat for my entire life until now.  I love it. 

Here are the very beginnings of a dining room.   Still in need of some furniture, and a bigger dining room table.   I found a beautiful door with glass panels in the alley and someday, Nick is going to make it into a couture dining room table for us.  

The bathroom is not very exciting, though the tub doesn't move when I step in it, which is an upgrade from Pilsen. 

In our living room, Arnie is finally enjoying the rawhide that he's been burying in our pillows and under the rugs for a few days now.   And Nick is lounging on the computer.  We have a great big couch that is in Iowa that we can hopefully fit up the stairs and this room as well.   It will fit perfectly along the fourth wall. 

The living room has a great big fireplace (with outlets in the bottom where the wood would go) and a beautiful stained glass panel.  This warms the room up a lot, and adds some character. 

This photo does not do justice to our large bedroom, but you get the idea.  On the far left you can see the red IKEA dresser we got yesterday for me.  I am finally feeling a little more organized now that I have someplace to put my clothes.  

You might have noticed this contraption on the bed.  It is a SNOOGLE (thanks for the tip Kristina!).  The Snoogle has drastically changed my quality of sleep for the better.  I lounge with it, cuddle with it, and it elevates the right parts of my body.  Highly recommend for anyone that needs extra support while sleeping.

The last room, the one that's going un-pictured is the baby room (in 18 weeks) because right now it is just full of boxes and guitars and my giant 2 headed aloe plant.  

We need a more beautiful table cloth,  cozy curtains, and some furniture here and there, but for the most part, we are feeling good in our new place.  It has good energy, the neighborhood is friendly, and there are lots of trees.  Now, if only my transition back to work will go as smoothly.  I start back in the class tomorrow, organizing and planning.  A little bit nervous is an understatement.  I am definitely having back to school jitters 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Grutz says, "Moving is not for the meek." or "Yep, I'll get to that, don't worry."

Here's what I'm doing when I should be cleaning, packing, moving, and looking for a job!

Our busy, busy July is almost over.  Here's some highlights.  First, Missouri!

On our way back from Columbia we took a few detours and found a covered bridge.  It was  detailed in years of graffiti.  Only after uploading the shot did we see the writing on the floor.  Yes, I'm bad, apparently.
Getting some invites out for a friend's babyshower. (Note: Everyone who is cool is having babies in the next six months.)
Caleen glueing the cards together.  The theme was owls and we came up with a pretty neat design and used some of my old art I had floating around in my "Arts & Crafts" box.
 Some of the Owl Cards.  Here are some of the families:

The Stevensons.

The Kerwolskis.

The Lowels.
Which Owl family is your favorite?

Lastly, as I was changing utility services a moment ago and Carleen was doing this:
Babywatching.  Priceless.
Baby baby baby baby.  Our lives, it would seem, is all about baby.  (And the baby isn't due until December!)

So back to moving/job stuff.  But if you want to keep avoiding responsibilities check out our older blogs or these fine blogs!

Ciaran's blog!  A great entry about the synchronicity of the Simpsons.  Meta!  He's writing while in Ireland.

Emmanuel's blog!  He's building an acoustic guitar and some neat tools.  And he's in Ireland, too!

Miranda and Jason's blog!  My cousin and her husband have started a blog documenting their adventures, such as having a baby and moving (see?!?! everyone is doing it!).  They're not in Ireland.  They're in Oklahoma, or Missouri, or they work in Missouri and live in Oklahoma or right on the border of Missouri and Oklahoma...........  Anyway, maybe someone can clear that up for me.

Off to call about insurance.

Oh, and when we get settled, I get back to the birthdays, sorry about that.

Monday, July 25, 2011

My superhero

I can't seem to get out of this chair and the best seated productive activity is writing a post.  Now that the baby is out of the closet, I guess I can air on all things pregnancy, and the first and most prominent is the overwhelming fatigue.  Today was the first day of our week long move in which Nick decided to be a superhero and do it mostly by himself.  After countless trips up and down our current and new stairs,  1 carload to our new apartment, many packed parcels lugged around the apartment, 1 longish dog walk, and 1 trip to the vet, I am super tired. Our apartment is looking empty, even the rugs are vacuumed and rolled.  What's left are the big-ish furniture (all Ikea, and easily broken down), the conservatory of plants we have accumulated in these 6 months, our summer clothes, Nicks treasures from the alley in which he promises to make a masterpiece someday, and 1 big mirror.  Actually, there are a lot of little things too, but those are small potatoes.

Here is the superhero himself.   Arnie wishes he could help. 
For those inquisitive minds out there, this is where we are with baby LW2.  It's 10 1/2 inches already! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's baby season

A few months ago, I found out in delight that two of my best friends were having babies in the Fall.  And then, my co-teacher joined the club, also due in the Fall.  To add to the season, we found out that not 1, not 2, but 3 of Nick's first cousins are having babies in the Winter.  And, there are several Chicago community dancing babies in the making.  So, we thought we'd join the party.  Everybody's doing it.  

Actually, to the contrary, we were shocked and surprised when in late March we found out that we were also expecting a little one.   Have you picked your jaw up off the floor and re-attached it to your face?  I am sure it's not as shocking to you as it was to me.  In no particular order, I have a job, (Nick is an awesome house husband), I am 31, we're married, we're in love, we have a dog, all the cards are in place.  This is a good time.  But it doesn't lessen the emotional and physical shock.  Getting through the first trimester was such a milestone and I feel a million times better about everything.  Now, at 20 weeks and a few days (5 months!) we are excited, thrilled, happy to be in this place, entrusted with this gift.  

When I was in utero, my parents named me LW for "live wire".  You can guess why.  I was a really active little baby.  We had our 20 week ultrasound on Monday, and the ultrasound tech had a hard time getting good pictures because our baby was so squirmy.  I've been feeling little kicks and punches for a few weeks now, and Nick dubbed this little one LW2.  

So, LW2 will make her/ his debut around December 5, 2011.  We both think it's a girl, but we're going to let it be a winter surprise.  Hurray!    

This is the last beach photo, I promise.  You can see a little bit of baby belly poking out.  Hello!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Again, guilty as charged.  Quite a lot has happened in the past week, and neither of us have written anything.  We've been occupied with a variety of things, some of which are finally signing for a new apartment in Avondale!, road tripping to Missouri for my dear friend Mary Sue and her new husband's nuptials, and having a few deliciously indulgent days inhaling the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy.  The latter of which I am in the middle of right now.  Reluctant attempts at productivity have been a lost cause.  It is truly finally summer for me because I am letting myself read pleasure books for hours on end.  Heavenly.

Let me catch you up to speed.  We had a delightful vacation at Sunset Beach, NC.  I am ready to plan next years trip, it's going on the calendar for the week after July 4, 2012 if you want to come!  Here are some more beach pictures.  It just makes me feel good to look at them.

Early twilight walk's are the best. 

Posing for Nick. 

Posing for me. 

On our last day, it was rainy so we went to visit the Caswell light house, one of only a few functioning lighthouses.  It was also on a residential beach that was beautiful, but not even close to Sunset. (Bias recognized)

Seagrass is something special. 

And Nick learned how to fly. 

Actually, these are three different photos.  Check it out, he can fly!  Look at the glee on his face! (And for the record, did NOT twist his ankle).

Well, after all the beauty and hijinks at the beach, Nick, Theresa, Arnie and myself all made it home after a quick Cincinnati sleepover to break up the trip.  

We were just in time to catch up with lovely friends Katie and Emmanuel, who are gearing up for a move to Ireland.   These two are the dearest, most genuine friends I could ever ask for.  

Wish we could live down the street from you!

And I can't get away without filling you in on Arnie.  As I mentioned in a previous post, Nick was feeding him canned salmon to get him to go into his crate willingly.  Here you see Nick feeding the dog a fried egg on top of his dog food.  Yes, that is one of my organic, free range, omega 3..... egg$.  What are we getting ourselves into.  
Of course, who could fault him?  Arnie is the best dog ever. 

In other news, we were stunned (and kind of thrilled) to see a Catholic mass taking place in the street in front of our apartment the other day!  They closed off the street with garbage cans and proceeded to have a full mass.  I am not sure of the occasion, but I loved that the community was coming together for something other than lighting firecrackers off at 11am. 

Things like this make me happy to live in Pilsen (if only for another week). 

And then my friend Mary Sue got married!  
I love weddings, especially after my own.  It feels a little like we're renewing our vows by supporting and being present for a friends wedding.  It reminds me why we got married ( over 1 year ago!), and why I am more in love every day. 

To end this massive post, I'll leave you with Nick's view of me for the past few days.  He sees only the back of my head, and my faithful reading companion, because I cannot get enough of Steig Larsson and his characters.  Lisbeth Salander is the perfect summer distraction.  I am already worried about what I'll do when I finish the last book. 

Seriously, this is what you'd see if you could peek into our apartment: loving reading and my dog.  

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Grutz says, "Space is great!"

This is magnificent. (image from web)

If you haven't been following Atlantis you're wrong.  Go to Nasa TV now to watch the space walk.  This is exceptional.  Amazing.  Let it take your breath away.  Too bad we've been taking it for granted all this years.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Driving thoughts

July 9, 2011

We’re on our way home from the beach, about halfway to Cincinnati, I’m sitting up front, Theresa is driving, and Arnie and Nick are buddies in the backseat.  We just passed through the majesty of the Smoky Mountains.  The drive from North Carolina into Tennessee alone makes me want to get out of the car and stay for a while.  There are many places in the country that strike me momentarily as worthy of attention, but this part of the country, the Great Smokies, consistently draws me in.  Years ago on a trip back from the beach with my family, we stopped at a gas station right at the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, and I thought, “this is where I want to live.”  Surrounded by mountains and rivers, I used to think I’d be a great river guide in the many tributaries that weave through these parts.  A dancing, teaching river guide?  I imagine myself to be freckled, and a little dirty having spent the day on the water, tired muscles, ready to eat vegetables delight from our garden.  And there is a small child running around outside, also tan and dirty.   Nick is a carpenter of sorts, he makes special order furniture and is the garden tender.  Or the cheese maker, or he is a teacher in town.  And life is so great that all of our friends and dance community move down to the mountains and the river. 
Or we enjoy the moments that we’re in.  I walked to the end of the island yesterday, on our last day at the beach and I thought for a long time about how to really purposefully tuck the sensations of the wind and the water into the folds of my brain, so that on a bitter Chicago day, I can be lifted a little by one of my favorite places in the world.  It struck me, rather than trying to memorize the details of the shells on the beach, or the tide pool with a lazy little fish, or the sun pushing through the clouds to settle on my shoulders, that really investing in each moment, being present, will effortlessly create lasting memories.  I don’t have to work at it.  I just have to be in the now.  And, sometimes that’s a relief. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Beaching with books: what we're reading this week

I've been meaning to write about a few more things.  Today Nick called me a chameleon based on my amazing ability to freckle.  I've decided to take it as a compliment.  

Also, number of ticks I have found on Arnie on this trip: 2.   The first one was traumatizing, the second one  only alarming.  After a minor meltdown on my part, Nick deftly removed them with tweezers by gripping the head and firmly pulling.  I did some research on the interwebs to find the removal method, and apparently some of the old protocols of burning and alcoholing are being rethought.  Thank goodness we got them out without too much difficulty.    Oh the trials of being a furry dog. 

Additionally, I've been reading some amazing books, and I think I'll start a book list, in case you're interested.  My mom is in 2 book clubs, overachiever that she is, and always has great recommendations for me.  

So far, I've read Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  This book is has thoughtful, dignified and beautiful prose and truths.  Read this New York Times article for more information.  

I am just about finished with A Year By the Sea, by Joan Anderson.  This is one of my moms favorite books, and now I know why.  It's about a woman's journey into self perception and realization through the nearness of the raw and untamed ocean.  I identify completely.  

Next up, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson.  This book comes with much preconceived knowledge and popular culture raves, and I am always up for an inviting book series to dive into.  Looking forward to it. 

And Incendiary author of Little Bee, a book that I loved, also recommended by mom.  Chris Cleave is the man behind these two books.  

And finally, I will read Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin.  I heard an NPR interview with Rankin and loved his way of discussing the mysteries of Inspector Rebus in conjunction with the Edinborough ways of life.  

And a quickie on Nick's reading list. 

Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin
The Lost Dorsai by Gordon R. Dickson
The Discoverers by Daniel J. Boorstin
Next up: Behind the Scenes at the Museum, by Kate Atkinson 

And Theresa's list:

The Shack by William Paul Young
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Barrel Fever by David Sedaris 
And she's also almost done with Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin

I wish I could read all day, but the ocean is an amazing distraction.  And my puppy is pretty awesome too.  

Postcard from the beach

You can quote me on this: before long, Arnie will be getting prime rib as an enticement to go into his crate.    Yesterday when I tried to coerce him into his cozy crate he looked at me like I was crazy, and went into the living room to lay down, ignoring my commands.  He won.  I left him out.  Today, Nick joined me at the beach and told me Arnie was giving him the same antics, and he almost got away with it, until Nick lured him in with canned salmon.  SALMON!  This is the end.  We are treating him too well.  But it's completely fine with me, hey, if it makes leaving easier it works for me.  

In other news, we are having a wonderful time here at the beach.  Right now we're at the coffee shop, the same one that I went to with Julia and Mom for years in a row.  We would spend the hottest hours of the day with an iced drink, and wile away the time by picking out hanging art work for each other.  Now, the shop has changed and it's no longer a coffee/ art gallery, more of a delicatessen that has coffee drinks, but it works just fine.  We're getting a little free bandwith,  having a delicious coffee beverage, and, uploading pictures for my family, who I miss like crazy. 

First, before the beach pics, we had our first anniversary on July 3.  And Theresa brought our CAKE!  It had been living in her freezer for a year.  It was great to look at that beautiful topper, my mom had meticulously wrapped it up, and it was surprisingly delicious.  The ganache on the top was a little less than tasty, but everything else was great.  

So fun to remember, and so tasty.

This is Arnie on his first beach walk.  He is going nuts over the new sights and smells.   Clearly tons of animals live in the brush before the dunes and the beach.  He darts back and forth on the entire walkway before the beach. 

The sun under the pier on one of our morning dog walks.  So peaceful. 

On a July 4th drive to escape the droves at the beach we spotted a pair of brown pelicans perching on an abandoned dock.

Also on July 4, we picked up some amazing sweet corn to grill.  Turns out I am not the only one who loves sweet corn.

He even likes corn after the humans have eaten all the kernels.  We gave him the cob to chew on and he proceeded to  decimate it by grinding his bottom teeth along all of the surfaces.  It was hilarious.

He is such a part of the family.  This is how he thanks Nick for the corn.  I on the other hand, don't go for kissing on the lips just yet. 

Nick and Arnie at sunrise in a peaceful moment.  (absent of any bikes, joggers, kids with boogie boards or any other distraction)

This might be the photo of the trip so far.  

And Lynn came!  My great friend Lynn from college and life in Chicago (she and her husband live in Boston now) came down to spend a few days at the beach.  It worked out super because she was visiting her sister and family in Greensboro, and Sunset was only a couple hours away. She just left this afternoon.  We had a great time beaching and lounging, there's something about spending time with an old friend that is so easy and special. 

We grilled road side shack fresh shrimp.  It was amazing. 

We lounged at the beach, carefully covered by Dad's umbrella!  This beach umbrella is another story all by itself.  My dad covered it with bright blue tent tarp to make sure it was sun proof.  It is very effective in both protecting me from the sun and for locating when you are in the water.  Can't miss the tent umbrella!  I'll try to get a picture on here
 tomorrow- thanks Dad, it's a great umbrella!

Here we are, only slightly pinked.  And, check out the staples on the tent umbrella above Nick's shoulder.  You get the idea.  It's awesome.
Actually, this might be the photo of the trip.  Nick was stretching, but it looks like he is frolicking and skipping along, singing a happy tune.  Really made me laugh out loud.

And here is beautiful Lynn, cooling off in the water.  Today was our first really hot day, and the water was so welcome.

And that is it for our photo recall of the past few days.  My iced coffee drink is gone, and Nick is restless, I think I'm done.  More tomorrow!