Category Archives: Chicago

Have you seen this woman?

All Points Bulletin – Missing Woman – one strange mamma, about 5’2″, dark hair, declined to give weight (be sure not to ask her, she might take a swing at you), last seen heading off to help take care of her son’s god-brother. I have no idea what I she was wearing because it was way too long ago. I mean, come on, you’d think that with exciting news like that and truly awesome photo ops she’d be blogging about it by now, bugging all her readers (are there any left? not you, Mom, I know you’re still there) with how cute he is and how she got to hold him for two days straight and look at this picture, and this picture, and this…you get the idea.

I wish I had a good excuse, like no internet (okay, well actually I didn’t have any internet at the godparents house but that was only two days and that was OVER TWO WEEKS AGO!! This is shameful I know. There is no excuse. So instead of continuing to moan about it, let me catch you up.

Mateo is beautiful. I can’t describe to you the honor it was for me to spend those two days with him and his parents. I hove how God’s timing works out even the little things that we don’t think to ask for. I half-jokingly offered to help out when I saw her Sunday, knowing her sisters and family would be bombarding her with wanting to come over, but as it turned out, she did need help and the others weren’t free. So it was a blessing both ways. I tried my best not to gloat too much. (Did I do okay, Myrny?) I took tons of pictures but I’ll leave those for their own post.

So what else happened? I got to spend some awesome time with very dear friends. We went to the Zoo with the other godparents. I got to do a lot of shopping at an awesome Carter’s sale for my every growing child. I got to visit AG for my Birthday present (thanks, Mumsy). I took part in a Zumba class. (go ahead and check out that video…see the dear heart in the I heart NY t-shirt? put 75 lbs on her and that would be about what I looked like. Ya.) I actually got to go to 3 movies!! UP with Doodle and Janet, Star Trek with Myrny, and Terminator with the Rocket Scientist.¬† I have to say, I’d forgotten what really good popcorn tasted like. They don’t actually make their popcorn in the theatre here, they pull it out of great big plastic bags already popped. Ugh. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed all of them and have made it a priority to find a babysitter for at least one trip to the movies a month. They say date nights are important, right?

What else? There was a bridal shower for my former Worship Leader (Congrats again Jenny!!). Saturday was spent helping Myrny run errands and such (really just an excuse for us to spend the day shopping ūüėČ and then helping set up.¬† Doodle was a bit done in by the time we got there and decided to crash while the women-folk got things set up. I didn’t tell him what he was napping on. I’ll save this picture for his wedding reception:

The Rocket Scientist arrived Saturday night from his conference in Minnesota. We got to share our favourite Chinese food with the couple-to-be after church.  The Rocket Scientist got his man-date with Chocolate Bear on Tuesday after a much needed day of just resting and hanging out at our friends home.

Doodle loves his Manny and Max. When I played this video he perked up and went running into our kitchen to see if they’d somehow materialized.¬† Doodle and I got treated to some Baker’s Square as well that evening. Wednesday was organizing our suitcases and packing up so that we would be free to visit with the godparents and Mateo who came to visit us before heading to the airport.

Mary doesn’t realize she’s not actually tall enough to do that to the Rocket Scientist.

For the most part, that was Chicago. Greatly condensed, but we’re just playing catchup, right? The flight home was not bad, Doodle slept most of the way, the Rocket Scientist and I didn’t sleep at all. We very much needed the weekend to recover from the jetlag. Monday, at our Toddle In, Doodle fell of the back of a little plastic mini-slide. Very traumatic, but no damage done. Tuesday went into our local drop in play group and had a very interesting conversation with some of the ladies there, but that really needs its own post. Wednesday missed my Women’s Group in favour of a nap since I’d been awake since 4:30. Woke up from the nap to find Doodle covered in some mysterious blisters. If you followed me on Twitter, you heard about the whole miserable saga of finding out he had hives. Hives! Still don’t know what caused them or why they hung on for 3 days. You notice how I’m talking of it the past tense right? Because today, he had a 3 hour nap and woke up almost completely hive free and in the course of writing this post, the last few marks have faded and nothing new has shown up. I’m tentatively calling it a win. If you want to see all the traumatic pictures you can go here. I’m just happy to be breathing again.

And if you’re still with me, a comment on the post I wrote a few weeks back. Something else you probably didn’t know about me, I went through psychoanalysis for almost 4 years. Honestly, I think everyone should do it. Incredible. Anyway, I always did this in my sessions. Right before either I went on a holiday or my Doctor did, I would get down to the nitty-gritty, the meat of things, those deep, inner angsts. And then my half hour would be up, we’d go our merry ways for a couple weeks and I’d come back and just play catch up for a few sessions. I knew this was my pattern and yet I couldn’t stop. I had no idea that I still did it. So I’m making sure my catch-up is all done. I may expound on some things just cause they were fun and I have lots of pictures, but I won’t feel like I can’t write about anything else in the meantime. Like I said, I don’t know where I will go from here, but I don’t want to lose whatever was going on when I wrote that blog. I really appreciated your comments. Let’s see if we can’t get to know each other even better in the future. Which, uh, means, I should maybe stop lurking on all your blogs and actually commenting I guess. ūüôā


Live from Chicago!

Well, it’s 6:45 am, I’ve been awake for longer than I want to think about. Mostly because as I lay in bed awake, thinking it was quickly approaching 7 and I’d had a nice little sleep in and so had Doodle, I was wholly unaware of the fact that it was actually quickly approaching 5:30 and there had been no special sleep in and I would actually be waking up ridiculously early and feeling pretty good about it in a mere half hour. But the good news is, is that Doodle did sleep through the night, no fever or coughing or whining or crying. Which means I also slept through the night. Even if that night for me was only about 5 and a half hours long. It’s a longer night than I’ve had for while so I’ll take it.

In case you were wondering, there won’t be any Monday Meals while we’re here. No way I’ll be that organized. As you can see. What with it being Tuesday already. And yes, me being happy that Doodle had no fever or coughing and all the rest of it is because the night before I got very little sleep thanks to all that going on. I had thought it was a cold, ther was some cloudy snot involved, but now I’m thinking more the snot was just all the recycled air of the plane and the wind and new pollen of Chicago upon our arrival and the fever was from his last molar. Either that or the shortest cold in history as this morning there’s no sign of any of those ailments…except of course the molar.

Anyway, I’m very excited today as we are going to go help out Doodle’s godmamma with her brand new bambino. It all happened so suddenly she didn’t have time to hand off her projects at work and so has a lot due this week (happily though she works from home). Then she’ll be off on six weeks maternity leave and her husband is a school teacher and is finished as of Thursday. So in the meantime I get the wonderful job of hanging out and helping with the baby. Yay!

So for now, I’m off to pack up for the day, get some breakfast and go pick up the rental car. Will catch up on blogs as soon as I can.

Off to Chi-town

We are off to Chicago in a few hours. I was looking forward to it before, but now I am completely over the moon. Two of our dear friends and Doodle’s godparents have been travelling a very long road and on Monday the will meet their new little baby boy. I am so unbelievably ecstatic for them right now. I’m sure they would be picking him up earlier, but she also happens to be walking the Avon 2-day walk for breast cancer starting tomorrow at 7am. I’m sure she’ll have a spring in her step for all of those 39? miles.

We love you guys!!
does this make Doodle a god-brother?

*Edit: This is not actually a picture of their new baby. Sorry. This is a picture of them as they visited Doodle and I in the hospital like the great godparents they are. I’ll have pics of them with their baby soon.

Our Last Day in Chicago

Now, obviously we are no longer in Chicago and haven’t been for a couple weeks now, but I just want to share the adventure that was…Our Last Day in Chicago.

First let me explain some of the stress that had led up to that day. ¬†Visas. ¬†They are a pain. ¬†All. the. time. ¬†The visas we came into the UK on were ancestory visas thanks to the Rocket Scientist’s Grandparents both being born on this side of the pond. ¬†This offers us a lot of flexibility and allows us to be here for 5 years before we have to worry about anything. ¬†Yay. ¬†However it is quite the ordeal to actually get them. ¬†I talked about the start of it all here.

After going through all the requirements and crosschecking with our calendar we figured at the latest our visas should be ready by Monday the 12th, the Rocket Scientist had to be in the office at Oxford by the 16th so we booked out flights for Tuesday night, arriving Wednesday so we would have a couple days to adjust before he had to go off to work. ¬†It sounds like last minute, but we had been told by everyone who had gone through this before that while it said 5 to 10 days (the 10 would have been Monday) it usually went through in 48 – 72 hours. If you’re doing the math along with me, that would have left us quite a lot of time. ¬†To relax.

Hah! ¬†What no one told us, in our myriad of conversations with all manner of people supposedly helping us get all our ducks in a row so there would be no problems is that because Doodle is an infant and cannot have his biometrics taken (apparently fingerprints for a 9-month old don’t hold up in court – ya think?) that it would take considerable longer for him and my visa as his mother would be held up for the same amount of time. ¬†Weeks possibly.

The problem is, is that we did not find this out until Tuesday. ¬†That’s right, the day we were supposed to fly out. ¬†Not that we weren’t trying. ¬†When we got no email 6 days in, we sent an email inquiring as to the status. ¬†We received an email the next day saying it would now be 5 – 10 days. ¬†Starting to panic we thought we should try to get a hold of someone. ¬†No phone numbers put us through to the people we needed to reach. ¬†We send another email stating the nature of our panic and receive a simple line stating that they were currently processing requests from Dec. 29th. ¬†Okay, that’s not so bad, ours were in the bin for the 30th, we should be able to show up on Monday (the next day they were open) and pick them up. ¬†Not that they’ve told us that, we just figure if we actually go down there and beat down…er, I mean knock on some doors that they’re bound to help us out.

So we show up Monday to find that anyone that we would need to talk to about such things had left at noon (golly, I’d like those hours). ¬†And no, our visas were not ready. ¬†We could show up at 9am tomorrow (yes, that’s Tuesday for those of you keeping track, the day we are supposed to leave) and we might be able to talk to someone and they might be inclined to help us maybe.

Now, I have to interject here that when we were praying about these visas, the Rocket Scientist thought it would be a good idea to ask God to maybe not have it all happen last minute.  I quickly prayed for peace should that happen anyway.  And then I just shook my head.

The Rocket Scientist shows up at 9am the next morning (did I mention that through all of this Chicago is seeing the worst winter in decades both for snow and cold?) and I stay home to pack up the rest of our bags, pretty sure that it would indeed be all last minute. ¬†Little did I know…

Upon arriving and finally talking to someone, we finally learn of this problem with infant visas. ¬†We are told that they make the request to the London offices and then…wait. ¬†They have no idea when someone will get to it or how long it will take them to respond. ¬†She said there was one small thing they could possibly try but it was not likely to work and we shouldn’t book our tickets until we hear from them.¬† The Rocket Scientist stays around until noon and arrives just before hoping to catch them before they all leave. ¬†Apparently that day they left early.

The Rocket Scientist arrives back in Elgin, thoroughly dejected, not knowing when we’ll be able to rebook our flights or how much it will cost or if he’ll have to go on without us (his visa actually was ready) and how much of a bad first impression this might be making with the new bosses. ¬†I, meanwhile have stopped packing all our little odds and ends since it would just end up getting taken all out again. ¬†We call the airline to change the flights as it has to be done by 4:30 or we lose all our money. ¬†After 45 minutes of fighting with a peon that was going to way overcharge us, we demand to speak to a manager. ¬†One isn’t available but he’ll put urgent on the request and have one call us right back. ¬†It’s now 2:30.

At 3 the phone rings and we breath a sigh of relief, we were about to call the airline back to remind them of the urgency with which we needed to change these tickets. ¬†It’s the British Consulate. ¬†Our visas are ready. ¬†All of them. ¬†Oh crap.

The Rocket Scientist starts running around like a madman throwing everything into any suitcase that still has room. ¬†We figure we’re screwed on the weight allowance anyway, but hey at least we’re going to get there. ¬†Hopefully. ¬†The big issue is how to get the visas and us to the airport by 4:30, the standard 2 hours before the flight. ¬†I am on the phone trying to call anyone and everyone I can think of that might be off work, close to downtown, and could perhaps drop everything and meet us at the airport with our visas.

Janet!!  The hero of our story.  What a great God we have.  I managed to do a bit of work with Janet last spring while I was hugely pregnant with Doodle and because of that her boss, Janice, not only knows me but loves me.  Normally at 3pm Janet would still be at least ankle deep in payroll but they had just finished.  Wow!  So Janice releases Janet from work early to run down and pick up our visas and hop in a cab and meet us at the airport.

My husband is pretty sure we’re not going to make it in time and phones the airline to see if we can check in over the phone since it wouldn’t let us online. ¬†We’re packed up and in the car by now, having had to say way too quick a goodbye to Mary not to mention having interrupted Doodle’s dinner. ¬†Poor little mite. ¬†So the Rocket Scientist gets a hold of someone at the airline and she says we’ve been taken off the flight tonight (thanks to the mildly hair-brained person we were talking to previously). ¬†Ack. ¬†She is in the middle of putting us back on when we drive through a dead zone and loose her. ¬†I know right! ¬†It gets better though.¬† The Rocket Scientist is completely convinced that last minute or no we are now going to miss our flight and it won’t matter anyway. ¬†I phone back just to see if there’s anyway we can manage…and I get the same lady. ¬†In a call center of how many, after several minutes of panicking in the car, I get the same lady. ¬†She’s got us back on the flight, she can’t check us in though. ¬†It’s now 4:28, how are we going to get there in time. ¬†I tell her this and she says, “Oh, don’t worry about that. ¬†As long as you’re there 45 minutes before the flight you’ll be fine.” ¬†Really!

Whew! ¬†I’m exhausted typing all this up. ¬†I have no idea how long this is, I’m sure it’s ridiculous. ¬†Anyway, Janet actually beats us there, we get there at 4:35 and the kind women at the check in counter doesn’t bother charging us for the overweight bags, tells us that we actually get an extra checked bag for Doodle, so we only end up paying for one extra bag. ¬†Praise the Lord! ¬†She also changes our seats to bulkhead seats so that we can get a bassinet for Doodle to sleep in during the flight. ¬†(he was a little too big, but it gave our arms a rest for a bit anyway)

The rest of the trip wasn’t nearly as exciting. ¬†We were a bit delayed in Dublin, but arrived at Heathrow mid-afternoon and Duncan was there to drive us on to our new home in Oxford. ¬†The landlord gave us a quick tour of the house and all the little idiosyncrasies and then the Rocket Scientist and Duncan took quick trip to the grocer for a few supplies. ¬†I would love to say that we slept great that night considering how exhausted we were (neither of us slept really on the plane) but Doodle was up several times throughout the night. ¬†Fortunately though, it didn’t take him long to adjust.

Well, I’ll leave you with that. ¬†If you’ve made it this far, Cheers!

Uh‚ĶHappy New Year, I guess‚Ķ

So it’s ridiculous, I know, that I haven’t blogged in forever and even forever ago was to simply say I haven’t blogged in forever. ¬†I’ve had an excuse, really I have. ¬†We are finally out of our, staying with our wonderful friends, whose wireless internet I cannot access. ¬†Don’t ask, long story. ¬†So I’m highjacking her internet straight from the modem for this short time so I can let everyone know (my fantasy life consists of a whole boat-load of lurkers out there) that I am still alive.

We made it out of the apartment. ¬†It took professional movers the entire day to pack up all my crap. ¬†Granted, I had managed to pare it down quite a bit. ¬†We got it down from 500 cubic ft in our estimate to 335 actual cubic feet. ¬†Whew! ¬†I wonder if I’ll even remember what all is in there by the time it arrives. ¬†It’ll be like Christmas all over again.

We spent New Year’s Eve in our friends apartment, splayed out on the couch, completely exhausted from that day’s cleaning, packing up the remainder of things that were coming with us or getting shipped air freight, and driving out to our friends in the ‘burbs. ¬†We watched the ball drop in New York and called it a night.

My mom was with us for another 4 days and we managed to do a lot and even relax a little during that time. ¬†It was much harder to see her leave this time. ¬†Before, it’s always been a bit of a given that we’d see her again in a few months, now that we’re going to be so much farther away, that’s not so sure a thing.¬† Doodle will have changed so much by the time she sees him again. ¬†I’m just so glad that she was able to be with us during this time and help out so much with him.

Doodle had his 9 month check up yesterday and he’s still in the 90th percentile pretty much across the ¬†board. ¬†Apparently he should be leveling out now a bit. ¬†I hope so, it would be nice to not have to buy new clothes every two months for this kid.

So now it’s 6 days and counting (7 if you look at the day we arrive as opposed to the day we leave). ¬†Starting to get excited. ¬†The biggest thing for me right now is just that we’ll be able to settle down and get my poor little man back on a schedule. ¬†This last month has been really hard on him, he rarely gets sick and he’s had a stomach bug twice and now has a cold, mostly with the congestion in his chest. ¬†Poor little mite. ¬†And to avoid keeping entire households awake that have been kind enough to take us in, he’s been sleeping with me (did I mention the Rocket Scientist is on night shifts all this time?) and being nursed a couple times a night. ¬†I look forward to getting him back on a schedule and getting him to sleep through the night. ¬†We had been doing so well before all this moving around started so I’m confident we’ll get back to that pretty quickly.

Last thing before I head to bed: ¬†Teeth! ¬†Little man has been teething non-stop since the end of November. ¬†His bottom teeth broke through sometime in October, then he had a bit of a break, end of November saw his top teeth come through, the fourth while we were in Calgary, and now he already has two more teeth on the bottom (that’s 6 in total for those of you keeping track) and now he’s working on the 7th up top with the 8th not far behind. ¬†At this rate, he’s going to have a mouthful by the time he’s One. ¬†Wow. ¬†And I told you about the crawling right. ¬†He’s getting to be quite speedy, and bold. ¬†Yikes, have to do a bit of baby-proofing on the new house. ¬†I’m also starting to get a little excited about all the shopping that awaits us, just don’t tell the Rocket Scientist ;).

Where am I?

To be honest, I have no idea. ¬†I realize I haven’t posted in what seems like forever, and it’s not for lack of things to say, it’s more for lack of being able to keep a single thought in my head long enough to type a full and complete sentence. ¬†I need to type like Data from the STNG days (that’s Star Trek the Next Generation for all you non-sci-fi types). ¬†So why am I typing now you ask? ¬†Because I’m desperately trying not to do anything actually productive. ¬†I had a great post running through my head the other day as a follow up for My Life Costs How Much? and that was, “My life is Worth How Much?”. ¬†Last weekend I arrived at our church’s Worship Team Christmas Lunch and Workshop and nearly broke down in tears at the sight of everyone. ¬†I explained that it was just a bit of an emotional day because I’d just finished putting my life up for sale on craigslist. ¬†Or at least that’s how it felt to see so much of my household goods in an ad like that. ¬†My best friend chided me to have a little perspective…that is until she saw my ad printed up on Sunday…then she started crying. ¬†We haven’t really allowed ourselves to think too much about the imminent departure. ¬†The thing that really gets me is that I’m not a particularly sentimental person, especially when it comes to things so why am I completely wrecked at the fact that we’re selling our couch and our bedroom dresser and our home theater system (and the list goes on and on and on and on…). ¬†My mom keeps telling me, it’s not the things but what they represent, ie. the life that the Rocket Scientist and I had built here in Chicago and I hear and acknowledge the wisdom in that, but I think part of me is always a little surprised when the rules apply to me. ¬†And I think, too, I’m a bit disappointed that the excitement of this upcoming new adventure feels so overwhelmed by the sadness of selling and donating and packing and leaving. ¬†Just driving home yesterday from the grocery store and seeing our beautiful skyline and parks and people…needless to say, I’ve spent the last week crying. ¬†But we’re trying very hard to get as much sold as we can by tomorrow because Saturday we head off to Canada to see family and by the time I get back, it’s 2 days before Christmas and 7 days before the movers come. ¬†We’re actually going to be decorating the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve this year…and then taking it down on boxing day (well maybe we’ll leave it up a couple days longer). ¬†And no, I absolutely cannot go without a tree for my son’s first Christmas. ¬†I know he won’t know or care, but I will and the pictures will always cause me great pain. ¬†So that is me, not really sure what day it is, where I am or which end is up and I don’t see that changing in the near future. ¬†Please God, let all these myriad of things work out and let the time that I am able to spend with all these people you’ve blessed my life with be filled with peace and joy and contentment. ¬†And Thank You that we live, not as those without hope, but fully confident that in the end, we will all be together.

I really am very thankful‚Ķ.but oh so tired‚Ķ

Today is our first Thanksgiving with Doodle. ¬†Well, the second really. ¬†How is that possible, you say? ¬†He’s only 8 months old. ¬†Well, we have two Thanksgivings in this family. ¬†We celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving as the Rocket Scientist and I are Canadian, and as we are in Rome, we must do as they do. ¬†That, and Doodle technically is American (we don’t have his Canadian citizenship yet). ¬†So today, I am a very sleepy, thankful Mommy. ¬†I couldn’t imagine giving up any of the sleepless nights of the last few months, getting done any or all of the projects I’ve fallen behind in, being actually on time for so many of the things I’ve been late for, or missing out on a single precious moment with my son. ¬†Thank You, dear God, for the most wonderful gift ever.