Friday, June 28, 2013

Learning to Love the Now

Chicago Awesomeness:

Summer – the weather is pretty fun.  It gets nice and warm but not quite to the same extent as what we were used to growing up. 

Block parties – apparently they’re a thing here.  They have bouncy houses and piƱatas and a hundred or so people (with oodles of kids) hanging out together and sharing food.  With the amount of diversity in our neighborhood, it ends up with a really eclectic blend of cultures.  

Biking – there aren’t any hills which is especially important when you’re bike is laden with a baby seat and a Trail-a-Bike or a trailer.  The Lincoln Park trail runs the whole length of the lake shore and offers some incredible views of the city.  All around biking here is awesome!!

Neighborhood Diversity – I really enjoy living amongst so many different cultures.  I enjoy walking through our neighborhood at dinner time and smelling all the different ethnic cuisines cooking in the different houses.  I also like the different nationalities represented in Addilyn’s school.  I love that you can see Jewish, Christian, Muslim, etc people living together in the same neighborhood.

Proximity – Where else will we live where we’ll be within walking distance of church, work, school, a Starbucks, and at least a half dozen restaurants?  We’re even within walking distance of a couple of parks and a hospital if needed.  We can walk to the train if we want to go downtown so really, if we wanted to, we would only need to use our van to get groceries.

Beach – while we haven’t taken advantage of it nearly as much as we should have, Chicago has beaches with relatively clean water.  They are much better than any Kansas lake's beach and probably better than our Galveston beaches too.

Museums – while they can be pricey if you go on any regular day, there are some awesome museums here, most of which offer free days.  

Magnificent Mile – when you’re in the mood for people watching, this is a great place to go.  You can also enjoy watching people while walking around downtown and end up eating something yummy on the way. 

Lurie’s Children’s Hospital – We’ve used Lurie’s a couple of times and are immensely grateful to have one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation so close.  We have quite an emotional attachment to the hospital and staff after our experience with Asher (and now Albert).  

Culture – if you’ve got some money, Chicago has endless entertainment.  You can go to a Cubs game or enjoy a number of other professional sports.  There are concerts and theatre (unfortunately we’ve only been able to partake in the concert realm thus far) galore.  

Food – There is the obvious food advantages of Chicago such as their deep dish pizza, Italian steak sandwiches and Chicago hot dogs (not to mention fun staples like The Billy Goat).  There is also every ethnic cuisine imaginable to discover and explore throughout the city.  For example we have discovered we enjoy French food and have tried out a couple of different and absolutely amazing French restaurants.  After we have conquered French maybe we’ll move on to Cuban (not likely but that’s my vote), Turkish or Filipino.

Free TV – Since we live in a major city we are able to get 20 or so channels with just a basic digital antenna.  We are pretty attached to our news team at NBC Chicago.

Libraries  - Tyler wanted me to add that he loves the abundance of libraries. There are many very large and thorough libraries really close to us.  That means if we need a book, any book at all, we can request it through interlibrary loan at our campus library and it will be sent over quickly or we can wander over to whatever library might have it and find said book ourselves if we want.

Trees -There are some lovely trees in our neighborhood. I love that they make a tree tunnel over our streets (on nearly every street).  I also love that trees surround our second floor apartment and make it feel like we are living in a tree fort.  And I love the all around feel of our neighborhood with all it's brick houses and apartments.  I will miss walking Addilyn to school, especially in the fall when all the leaves start changing colors and our neighborhood looks gorgeous!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Last Day

Today was Addilyn's last day of Kindergarten. We thought we'd bookend the year and have her wear the same outfit for her last day that she wore on her first.  It's still pretty cute.
We have a photo of Addilyn in almost the exact same pose from the beginning of school. You can check it out here.  Addilyn's first day
Lining up at Door 3 for the last time.

As a celebration of the last day, I wanted to make a cake.  Tonight we started VBS so a cake wasn't really a logistical possibility.  Instead we had brinner and made a rainbow pancake cake.   

It was her last day with Miss N.  She loves Miss N and is going to miss her a whole lot.  She even made Miss N a card and necklace for her last day.  And there may have been a few tears when they said goodbye today.
One last picture of Addilyn at the end of the year picnic with her two favorite people: Miss N and Maizy. 
We've lined up some activities to keep Addilyn busy and entertained when she's at home.  Here's to finally starting our summer!!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Adventures at the Children's Hospital

Albert went to Lurie Childrens' Hospital on Wednesday.  He had to have surgery to repair a minor birth defect. 
He had to be put under using anesthesia so he wasn't allowed to eat after 4:00am.  He was pretty hungry by the time his 9 o'clock surgery rolled around. 
We had to be creative to keep him entertained and distracted from said hunger.  Here Daddy was doing his part to keep Albert happy.  It looks like it was working.

Daddy was trying another method of distraction. Albert was pretty fascinated by his drumming.

While Lurie's has moved and changed it's name (it used to be Children's Memorial) since Asher was there, the entire experience brought back quite a few memories from his time there.  The crib is very similar.  After Albert came out of surgery, he had a big wrap around his IV that was just like the one Asher had (and looked just like a huge club). The nurses and doctors are just as talented and wonderful as they were with Asher. We've been so blessed to have such an excellent hospital so close for both of our boys.
Things went really well. It was a nearly 3 hour surgery and the doctor was very pleased with how everything turned out.  He came out of anesthesia well and was even in a pretty good mood afterward.  He was definitely very tired and maybe just a little loopy but he kept trying to play with the nurse's arm and hair as she was taking his vitals.  All of the nurses kept commenting on how happy he was, especially considering the surgery he had.
As you can see, he's doing really well since the surgery.  He seems to be feeling well, even since we've scaled back the pain medicine to almost none.  We'll go in next week to get some stitches removed and then again in another 4 weeks for a complete post-op appointment.  While we have at least a couple of months of recovery ahead of us, things look really good right now.  Thanks to all of you who prayed for him and us.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Half a Year

Albert is 6 months old today!!
Shocking, I know.
Like most 6-month-olds, he's pretty squiggly.  He can get up on all fours and rock with the best of them.
He also enjoys chewing.  A lot.
That could be because he's cut his first tooth.  It actually broke through yesterday.  If you can't see it, it's the one on the bottom and left. 
"Hi!"  I call this our "plugged in" picture.
We see this face quite a bit.
And this one too.  Like I said, he likes to chew.  A lot.
This is another face we see quite often.
Yep, there it is again.
We see this one occasionally too.  But not as much as the others.  He's a pretty happy guy most of the time.
Let's see...other than that, we haven't tried solid foods yet (mostly because I've been lazy) but will be starting them in the next few days.   Oh, and he's slept through the night the last 3 nights in a row. Last night was even his first 11-hour night. Granted that hasn't been the norm and we fully expect him to regress after his surgery but it's been awfully nice while it's lasted.
Happy half birthday, littlest of boys!!
In case your interested, here are the links to each of the other's 6-month posts.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Spring Outings and the Like

A while back, our neighborhood got a lot of rain very quickly and flooded.  Of course, we had to go out and survey the flooding/damage.  Albert and I got all snuggly for our walk.  Check out those little feet sticking out.
Here is the river that run through campus. It was flowing FAST.
And here is the view from the bridge.  It was just a couple of feet below the bridge.
Check out those cheeks!
Asher and Albert all ready for one our many bike rides. 
Addilyn and Elias getting ready too.
This was the view from our window for about a week this spring.  Our next door neighbor has a magnolia tree and it was gorgeous!
This is how we found Elias after a nap one afternoon. All I can say is, "Um...okay."
Last week, the Museum of Science and Industry had a free day.  We pulled Addilyn out of school, piled all the kids and a few friends in the van and headed down to the southside to check it out.  Here they were wandering through a big train engine.
Enjoying the view from up high.
Checking out the toy train display.  It is huge and awesome! They have a complete replica of downtown Chicago and then a whole room filled with scenes from Chicago to Seattle and everywhere in between.  We spent a lot of time in this area. 
They also have an storm exhibit.  Addilyn even got to be part of a demonstration about vorteces.  She got to stand in the middle of it which was pretty fun.
Aside from storms and trains, the kids got to learn about farms, planes, and even attended a class about poop.  Yay for science!

Monday, June 3, 2013

An Epic Bike Ride

On Saturday we went on a bike ride of epic proportions.  
We loaded up our bikes and drove to the lake.  Then we rode down the Lincoln Park trail which runs all along Lake Michigan.  It was awesome!
We had a couple of stops along the way.  Our first major stop was at the very end of Navy Pier.  Can you believe the kids and I had never been to the end?  Now we have.  It provides some very nice views of the city, especially on a day as tumultuous as Saturday was.  Beautiful. 
After that, we continued on the trail going by Buckingham Fountain and around Adler Planetarium on to Northerly Island where we stopped and had a picnic.
Mmm...peanut butter sandwiches.
It was a beautifully warm and mostly cloudy day. Perfect for bike riding and lounging around in the grass.
We got to our picnic spot in the mid to late afternoon.  There had apparently been some sort of outdoorsy/eco-friendly-living fair there earlier in the day.  This teepee was left over from the fair and the boys enjoyed playing in it. 
After our picnic, we rode all the way back to our van. Within five minutes of loading everything back up in the van, it started raining so we timed it just perfectly.  All in all, we ended up riding just over 21 miles.
It was a gorgeous day and our ride was a wonderful way to enjoy it thoroughly.