Sunday, October 31, 2010

Unfinished visit

A few weeks back, I wrote a post about "The house that built me"... based on the song by Miranda Lambert (playing in the background of my blog).

My Mother was so moved by this post... considering our family's story. We lost Dad in February of 98 and the "house that built me" was sold, less than a year later. There was so much going on that there was very little time for goodbye.

She and I spoke today... mostly about how Ava handled her 2nd annual Halloween, and some other family stuff.

During our conversation Mom let me in on one of my xmas presents.

I am literally crying as I write this.

My Mother went to the door of the home on Kimberly Drive (where I grew up)... walked up... rang the bell... and explained to the current owners, my longing for one last walk-through of the house "that built me". The owners happily obliged and said that we are welcome to come back during out trip back home over Christmas.

I'm so speechless. All I can do is cry. I don't know if it's because I'm going to finally say goodbye... or if it's because I'm afraid of remembering all of the wonderful memories.

Either way. My Mom is one in a million. I cannot believe she did this for me. I am truly speechless. All I have are tears. Just tears.

I love you to the moon and back, Mom. Thank you for this most precious gift. I will never forget.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


We made a decision... at least for the immediate future.  We are going to rent our condo in the city, rather than sell.  So... I am officially now adding the title of Landlord to my list of job titles (others include... Stay-at-home-Mom, Cleaning Lady, Chef, Interior Decorator, Accounts Payable Director, etc,).  I'm not worried about it... but am looking out for any grenades (license requirements, fees, certifications, etc) that we need to hurdle.  Google has been a great resource thus far.

Here are some pics of the condo... tell your friends!

Seriously.  Tell your friends.  I'm a fan of offering a "finders fee".  Get to work.. whoever is reading this garbage.  ;-)

So much progress was done on the house today!  Well... by Ken, anyway.  I was far too hungover to accomplish hardly anything.  My sister came in on Friday (left this morning) and let's just say, we had a GREAT time last night.  She loved the house... and we literally laughed ourselves to death on Saturday.  She got her fill of Ava.... and eventually, we got our fill of drinkies.  I've been paying for it all day.  I literally don't even think I recall the first few hours of the morning because I was still buzzed.  So pathetic.  But in the end, I'm laughing it off because it was worth it... doesn't happen that often... and because it was "off the muggin-stink-eye's-hinges" (she will be the only person to understand this).  And to top off a great weekend, the Tigers whooped-up on Oklahoma, landing at #6 in the BCS.  A-MAZING.  I'm so proud to be a TIGER!!!  I will post pics of my glory days of MU... tomorrow.  Need some shuteye for now.  G'night! 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Professional pics by Maggie K Photography

We just got the digital proofs and they look pretty good! Here are a few of my favorites:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New kid on the block... at the gym.

During yesterday's playdate with Jenny & Maddie (which basically consists of our girls staring at one another... Ava following Maddie like a lost pup... running around in the yard... and best of all, lunch) Jenny was telling me about how great it is to escape to the gym, drop Maddie off at the gym's daycare and proceed for a little "Mommy time". She told me that she'll often work out for an hour or so and then shower there/ get cleaned up for the day. Roughly two hours later, she goes and gets Maddie from daycare and they go on about their day. 

Now that Ava is slowly backing away from taking her morning naps, this sounds pretty enticing. I mean, how on earth am I supposed to entertain this kid for 7 straight hours (without strapping her to a chair in front of the tv)??? So I checked into some nearby health clubs. I stumbled across Lifetime Fitness. I called yesterday and scheduled an appointment with Dennis to show us the club, gimme details on pricing, etc.  

Let's just say... These places are insane! The building itself is over 160,000 sqft (I know this because I paid attention on my tour like the good student I am). They have an outdoor pool that will be great for the summer, indoor pool (swim lessons for AJ!), tons of equipment and not to mention, the facility is so clean and nice.

When we first arrived, I had Dennis take me straight to the daycare facility, considering that was the most important part in making this decision (I wanted to make sure they weren't a bunch of crackheads watching my kid!). Well, let's just say, this place is INCREDIBLE.  They have EVERYTHING.  It's a far cry from our old gym's daycare which was a 12' x 8' room... and a ball. This place is like McDonald's Playplace... on crack.  They have a basketball court, jungle gym, indoor-tube-crawling-thingy (similar to what gerbils have), and a HUGE matted area for the ones under 2 years old.  It's got a flat screen in there as big as a house, playing Disney movies.  It was perfect... and all of the girls working there appeared to be off the crackpipe.  

There were a ton of other kids which I actually liked; it's important for me to socialize her with the other kids.  She was a little timid at first.  But then a little boy, about her size, walked up to her and literally did the "Girls Gone Wild" lift of his shirt, and then ran away.  Ava smiled, let go of my leg and chased him (wobbled quickly) around the room.  That is until she found another little person that was interesting.  I watched for a few minutes, slowly stepping out of the scenery, keeping an eye on crazy boy and his man-boobies (Moobs or Mitties, as I like to call them).  Seemed as though she didn't miss me at all.  

I squeezed in a small workout... don't want to overdo it the first day (I'm incredibly lazy).  I then took Jenny's advice and showered there, changed into some clean clothes and even (halfway) dried my hair.  I felt like a normal person again!  My showers now are right before bed... so you can imagine the nest (that is... my hair) in the morning.

I was so excited to see her!!  I walked in and she was keeping busy, pushing carts, running around, trying to escape.  I said "Hi Avey!!!  Mommy's here!"... she literally dropped the toy she was holding and RAN to me, arms reached & a HUGE smile.  I got the best hug and squeeze from her.  I was so humbled.  Little angel.  So now that we have an outlet to allow me to recharge my batteries, you can bet, we're going! 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What seems to be the problem, Officer?

Our doorbell just rang... I couldn't imagine who it would be.  I looked out the front window and saw the DuPage County Sheriff car in front of our house.  I was thinking... "how nice... he is coming to introduce himself.   This is just like Wysteria Lane!".

When I opened the door, the dogs roared and barked.  He smiled and said, "That's the reason I'm here" .  Apparently, a neighbor called in a complaint on the dogs (Biscuit really because he's the douche that barks all day).  I was so embarrassed. I'm standing there, holding Ava who is in a t-shirt and diaper, with food all over her face... and a runny nose, looking like a convict.  I looked across the street to see if I could catch the neighbor, peeking through their window.  He didn't seem to care much... just said he had to come and let us know they were being a nuisance... and that he can't legally do anything about it, other than inform us. 

Welcome to the neighborhood, Clampits!  

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ava + Willy

Calgon, take me AWAY!!!

Ok. The commercial TOTALLY makes sense to me now. As I was rocking Ava to sleep tonight, I thought to myself... how wonderful a nice, hot bath would be.... which is weird because I'm a "shower person" and rarely take a bath. Never in my life has one sounded so good. Maybe it's because we are still without gas which means NO hot water, that makes it sound so incredible. Either way, the gas is being hooked up tomorrow morning... guess what I'll be doing during Ava's morning nap... ?  A high five for any correct guesses....

Things are finding their place in the house. The kitchen is finished... well, minus the table (delivered on Thurs)... and minus all the artwork (wait till you see what my Mom painted for it!!!!!)... and minus our new BADASS fridge we got today at Best Buy. It comes on Thursday too.  We're going to put the current one in the garage.  

We have a lot of other stuff being delivered this week which is exciting.  I feel like we're still living out of boxes... which is probably normal.  We did end up driving downtown yesterday (to our condo) so we could shower and bathe Ava.  I think I lost 2 lbs just from washing off all the moving dirt/ sweat.  I know. GROSS.  Nicor comes tomorrow and we are going to be in business/ finally have gas (no jokes allowed)!  For the first time, I can wash clothes... dishes... and our bodies.  

I have been able to cook, by using the oven and microwave.  In fact, I made our first homemade meal tonight... chicken pot pie.  Everything was going great until I realized I forgot to salt and pepper the top of the biscuits, so I opened the oven... opened the lid of the ground black pepper, reached my arm in and began to shake.. I realized I opened the "spoon" side of the lid and the pepper literally poured out all over.  As soon as I noticed, I yanked my hand back, burning it on one of the racks, spilling even more pepper on the bottom of the oven and on the door.  I quickly closed it.  That's when I realized that I not only had a huge welt on my hand, but I had singed my nose hairs with black pepper fumes. I looked in the oven and a rolling "pepper smoke" went on for about 5 minutes.  Even afterward, the house continued to smell like pepper... which means a sneezing-fest ensued for the next 10 minutes.  Ava looked at me with her "crinkle face" like...."Mom.  WTH is that AWFUL smell?".  

And did I mention the new fridge?!?!?  Oh yeah, I did. I can't wait.  It's awesome!!!!  I will admit, I copied the purchase from my Mom & Jim.  It's so beautiful.  I will probably hug it once it's installed.  I'm a total electronics FREAK. 

We also have Walter (our Ukranian friend) coming this week to paint Ava's bedroom and playroom.  We will finally get rid of the blood-red color in her room... you have no clue how bad it looks with all that pink!  We're going to paint her room baby blue... and her play room (future nursery) a pale yellow.  

A lot going on.  I literally have to check the calendar ever hour or two to make sure I stay on task.  

Tomorrow, I have to get some new shoes for little britches.  She has outgrown her old pair and is gearing up for running in the yard with the boys.  Tomorrow will be her day in the sun.  :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sneak peak

Drinking and wobbling... watching the dogs play

Looking out a front window at our new view

Flowers from our friendly neighbor, Jerry.

She was looking out of her playroom window, laughing at the dogs chasing one another

I know, I totally teased you.  These are mostly just pics of Ava in the new house.  I don't have everything in the right spot yet so I don't want to post pics until it looks "presentable".  We (I) have been hard at work unpacking.  I'm absolutely shocked how non-empty this house is... we had a lot of stuff.  In fact, we didn't even have enough room on the truck to get it all in.  Nope.  We are going downtown tomorrow to get the remaining things out of storage and to take showers/ give Ava a bath... oh, did I forget to mention that we have NO GAS until Tues???!! Without gas, you'd be surprised how strapped you are.   No stove usage (ovens are electric so that is good)... and no hot water.  I was trying to think like a pioneer today... brainstorming of ideas to create a warm bath.  I got as far as: get all slow cookers on high with water in the pots... but bake-safe dishes/ pans in the ovens (also filled with water)... and lastly, microwave the water...  and maybe then, we'd have enough hot water to give a small rat an acceptable bath.  This sucks... but so far, appears to be the only bad thing about this move.  We had a few casualties (6 wine glasses), but other than that, things went pretty smooth.  Ava is adjusting wonderfully.  She loves her new playland.  She just wanders about, babbling and taking toys from one room to another.  She has a dedicated playroom which is just off of her room; it's nice to have a whole room to put her things when picking up the place.  She is sleeping soundly... one tuckered-out little girl after all of the exploring she did today.  The dogs are doing well, too.... all things considered.  Biscuit has a major separation anxiety that pops up every time Ken leaves his sight, so... anytime we put them in the backyard by themselves, he stares into the door and barks and or cries.  NONSTOP.  I will admit, he was better today than yesterday... but still whining like crazy.  I thought he would be stoked!  Willy couldn't be more pleased.  He has found his paradise.  Crazy little weezer.  They certainly are getting their exercise... they run for hours.  It's awesome.  When they come in (after scoping out every nook and cranny for a morsel of food... even licking AJ's leftover mac n' cheese that is on her cheeks) they pass out immediately.  Nice change from the condo... :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

We got the keys!!!

After 3 1/2 hours of sitting at the closing table, we finally got the funds from Wells Fargo... a company which I now despise for making the last month of our lives MISERABLE. I will snarl every month when I see them on our bank statement. Nonetheless, we are IN!

Cute story: When we pulled into the drive after we got the keys, a friendly, jovial man (Jerry) came across the street to welcome us to the neighborhood. He shook Ken's hand... and went in for the hug with me (which I thought was strange...but what the hey... maybe people are just really happy out here). Not 30 minutes later, Jerry came over, knocked on our "new door" and officially welcomed us with a bottle of Pinot Noir, 2 dixie cups, corkscrew & 3 liters of soda. I think I LOVE THIS GUY.

At the house- I cleaned out the fridge, vacuumed the bedrooms and cleaned out / dusted the cabinets. And for the first time in my life, I didn't mind doing it! I am SO PROUD of our new home. I think I have so much pride in it since it is "ours". Sure, the condo is ours... but it's technically Ken's converted bachelor pad that has been busting at the seems since Ava (and all of her gear) arrived... and the dogs... and me.  The new place was chosen by the both of us... for our family and our future.   And I anticipate and hope for many happy memories in our new, cozy dwelling.

Movers come tomorrow at 8... and we will be ON OUR WAY!