Saturday, August 28, 2010

First couple weeks in Chicago...

Well, things have been...interesting in Chicago so far. I am actually liking the city much more than I thought I would :) I mean, I like Chicago itself, I just had a big problem with leaving California. But its actually pretty cool here! There is LOTS to do and even though the weather is hot, humid, and there are lots of bugs, I still like it. There is a really nice sense of "family bonding" and "community bonding" that is unique. There are about a bajillion parks, public pools, and community centers in every little suburb.

One thing that is driving me nuts, though, is the ROADS. Whoever did the infrastructure for this state did NOT plan ahead. None of the major freeways, oh excuse me TOLLWAYS (Don't even get me started on tollways!) are close to anywhere! Like, you have to drive 10 minutes just to get onto the expressways. It is ridiculous. And nothing is close at all. The nearest grocery store is forever far away and so is everything else. Tom teases me and says that things in California are spread out, but I disagree. Everything you need for every day living can be found in Camarillo. Here, all the suburbs blend together so they just go on and on and on, but nothing is close. And there are forests in between so you have no idea where you are or have anything for points of reference. It's super obnoxious. I can't find my way around here AT ALL. It's a little ridiculous.

It is pretty here, though. There are LOTS of forests reserves, so that means HUGE trees everywhere. The grass is SOOOO green, too! It's quite beautiful. Tom says, "Just wait till the fall...." So I'm excited to see some beautiful foliage in all these forests!

We have been doing lots of fun things since we got here. We have been going to Six Flags, Great America with our season passes (they were super cheap on sale! YAY!) and Ella sort of likes it. There isn't much for her to do, but we take her on a couple rides, then we'll go on a ride and do the "baby switch" so we can all ride.

Ella doesn't quite get that it isn't Disneyland, but that's okay. She LOVES the Merry-Go-Round best of all, of course. It's pretty cute. We'll ride that two or three times each trip.

We watched the characters do a "dance off" that she thought was hilarious! She liked all the music and thought they were "silly".

Ella likes to cuddle up with "Wiggle Tommy" and wanted to ride in the stroller with him. We tried it out...she kind of squishes him, but its still really cute :)

We also just got back from a couple days in Nauvoo, Illinois. Now, the drive to Nauvoo was WAY TOO LONG and Ella was NOT entertained with her DVD player, nor her coloring books, nor her treats. So, the five hour drive was pretty tortuous. Both directions. Ugh.

Nauvoo itself was super cool, though. I really, really liked it. It is really the first place I have been, outside of Salt Lake, that has some church history. We went on a carriage ride, a wagon ride, a bunch of tours, and through a bunch of the little houses they have. We saw how they made candles, horse shoes, wagon wheels, barrels, yarn, bread, etc. I definitely would NOT have cut it as a pioneer! Ha! I pretty much have nothing to offer....I could sing while other people worked! Ha! :)

The babies were pretty good during the whole trip. Ella is starting to get a little attitude, which has been VERY trying to me and makes me lose my I am trying to calmly and collectively discipline my child without threatening her or giving spankings. This child knows how to rile me up, though! My goodness...

Here is Ella outside the Nauvoo temple with the states of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. She is in her pajamas because Tom and I decided to take her for a walk that night and she was already in her jammies. Yeah, it was pretty fun to walk through the little town.
Here is the Nauvoo temple at night. It is really beautiful. I wish we had've brought some church clothes so we could have gone inside! Next time...and no children! Haha! :)

In Chicago, we also went and saw Yo Yo Ma at Ravinia. Ravinia is kind of like the Hollywood Bowl...sort of. There is a huge park outside of this open air stadium thingie that everyone brings picnics to. It is really fun. I LOVE IT. You can sit in the seat seats, or just bring a blanket, which is what we did. So the performance we saw was Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. It ended up being pretty modern, world music. I thought it was SUPER interesting, but it was pretty weird :) There were some new instruments I had never even HEARD of before, let alone seen or heard. It was very cool!

Some people go all out at Ravinia and bring little tables, complete with candles, flowers, wine, etc. It's really fun :) We got rained out halfway through, though. I guess the weather is kind of unpredictable here because it started out just fine...but at intermission, it started POURING and we left. We had Tommy with us and I didn't want him to get all wet. Plus, Tom, Sam, and Joseph didn't think it was QUITE as entertaining as I did...which is understandable :)

Anyway, things have been interesting here to say the least. We have been staying with Tom's uncle John and his family. It has been a little crowded, but not too bad. Everyone is just trying to do their best to get along. We met up with Toms mom and her friend, Craig, in Nauvoo, so now there are two more of us staying at John's house. That means that there are five of us (Us four and Tom's mom) in one room. It is kind of crowded...but okay. We have been doing fun things this week to try and show Craig around Chicago. We did Six Flags again, and yesterday went into the City for a Hop on Hop Off Tour. It was fun, but EXHAUSTING. Ella was being a HUGE pill and quite the little terror by the end of the day, so I was at my wits end by the time we got in the car to go home.

So when we got home, I got her ready for bed and started the whole "bedtime process". It took me almost TWO HOURS to get her to STAY in her bed and finally go to sleep! This girl and bedtime...ugh...I dread the moment she gets in her pajamas and dream of the moment she falls asleep. *sigh*

Anyway, that has been our week and a half so far. We have four days till we move into the house. We will be living with Tom's mom, his brothers, and his aunt for a while. So once we move into the house, we will see how things go. I just hope we aren't stepping on each others toes with so many people in the house. I have high hopes, though, because the neighborhood is BEAUTIFUL and there is a super cute park a few houses down. That way Ella, Tommy, and I can get out of the house, play at the park, she can ride her bike, I can read a book in the shade, etc.

Speaking of shade, it is HOT AND HUMID here! I know I already said that, but it is REALLY hot and humid! It is like St. Maarten hot and humid. And there are a lot of bugs here. I'm not sure what I was expecting...maybe more like California? Haha! There are LOTS of mosquittos and just....bugs. Ew. Not so much into that. There usually is a nice little breeze, but not today. Sheesh....sweating....

Anyway, I will leave for now! Hopefully I will have more pictures. I can't find the cord to connect the camera to the computer, so all the pictures I have are from my iPhone! More updates soon...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

On our way to the Windy City...

Well, we made it to Chicago pretty uneventfully. Mom dropped me off at the Southwest gate and I sky capped my luggage, which was awesome. I had the following to take through security though:

-One toddler
-One stroller
-One infant
-One ginormous diaper bag
-One normal sized backpack
-One child sized backpack
-One small princess bag
-One huge car seat
-One small car seat

All of myself. So, I did the following:

-Toddler: teddy bear leash - tied to stroller
-Infant: Tucked into baby bjorn carrier
-Small car seat: attached to stroller
-Large car seat: placed on top of stroller
-Large diaperbag: placed on top of large car seat
-Both backpacks and princess bags, put under stroller

Yes, I looked like a pack horse! Ha! Sooo, we made our way into the airport and went through the "Family" security line, which was awesome because I could take my time and no one could say anything - it is the family line, they expect you to be slow :)

So, security sucked, but wasn't THAT bad. I disassembled my pack horse, placed everything on the security belt, including stroller and car seat, took off all our shoes and walked through. THANKFULLY they didn't make me take Tommy out of the carrier! That would have been obnoxious :) They let me keep him on - PHEW!

On we went through the terminal. We also were pretty close to the entrance, so we didn't have to walk very far. All in all, that took about 35 minutes! NOT BAD! So we had quite a while to wait for boarding. So we waited....and waited...and ate McDonalds...and waited....then they called for boarding of group A (which we paid $10 more a ticket to be in). So, me and my pack horse made our way to the front of the line and the ticket guy says, "Where is the paper work for the infant?" I told him I didn't know I needed to have any? I checked in at skycap and they didn't say anything. So he told me I needed to go BACK to the ticket desk to get paperwork. ARGH!

Soooooo, we made our way to the ticket desk where there was a HUGE line, which we waited in. While we were waiting, that was the ONLY moment on the WHOLE escapade that Ella was really being a pill. So I can't really complain :) Anyway, we get to the front of the desk, finally, and I start to chew out the lady because I'm SUPER furious that the plane is completely boarded and every seat is full except the two for me and Ella, and who knows if they are together and I have all this crap to put away and I paid extra to board first and why didn't they tell me I needed paperwork for him...and on and on...yeah. Poor lady. :) Oh well, I was mad!

SO they finally get the paperwork for Tommy, and I go to get on the airplane. Ella is on the verge of having a meltdown, Tommy is starting to wake up, and I am still pushing this huge packhorse of crap! So we get to the door of the plane and I start disassembling everything again and a stewardess sees me. Bless her heart. She was SOOOO helpful! She grabbed Ella and the big car seat and took off down the aisle, kicked some people out of their seats so we could be together, buckled in Ellas car seat AND Ella and made sure I had luggage space above for my bag! TWO THUMBS UP FOR SOUTHWEST HOSPITALITY!!!!!!

Yes, everyone on the plane had to wait for me, but that's what they get for not telling me about the paperwork! I was there WAY early and no one told me....grrrrr....

So we took off. Ella colored for a little while, then we watched Dora the Explorer, then we played with princess stickers. Tommy woke up once, so I fed him, changed his diaper, then he slept the rest of the way in the pack on my chest (which was awesome because then I could use both my hands the whole flight! Yay!)

Our flight even got in 20-30 minutes early, which was awesome! So the plane landed, everyone got off, and we were the last ones off the plane, which was fine. Another stewardess came, took the car seat, and ALL my bags while I got the babies. They helped me get all loaded up and made our way to baggage claim. One potty break (and 15 minutes later) we were with dad! YAAAAAY!

We loaded up all our bags and crap and the babies and were on the road.

We are staying with Tom's aunt and uncle right now while we wait for the lease to start on the house we will be staying in. We have to wait until September 1st, but I guess it is a really nice hopefully it will be worth it.

We will be living with Tom's mom, aunt, and brothers for the next couple months until Tom starts clinicals. Wish me luck living in the Windy City (Okay, actually it is a suburb of the Windy City, but you get what I mean). The freeways here don't make sense at ALL and I am seriously NOT a fan of the stupid tollways....who ever heard of having to PAY to drive on a road!? Please....

The food is GREAT here, though, so hopefully I keep off all this baby weight and don't replace it with over eating weight! Hahah! :) Anyway, I'll keep you updated! Today is our first whole day here and we are going to try to get a little established - go look at the house, find a pediatrician, look around the city, etc. I'll try to remember to take some pictures...but I can't promise anything!


Because I just finished reading a friend of mines post who has twin boys (Shout out to Katie! Woo woo!) I am inspired to do another post of Ella-isms. I think they are hilarious and it helps me remember them :)

I found Ella walking around the house with a blanket over her head -
Me: Ella, what are you doing?
Ella: I'm hiding. I'm scared!
Me: What are you scared of?
Ella: *shouting* I AM THE EVIL QUEEN!

Apparently she is scared of herself??

Grandma: How do you like your new baby brother?
Ella: He's noisy.

Ella also has been wrapping everything around herself and saying, "Pretty dress...." which is hilarious when it is things like underwear, dads shorts, etc.

Ella in the tub:
Ella: Mom! Mom!
Me: What Ella?
Ella: Mom, come here!
Me: Not right now, what do you need?
Ella: Mom! I count to three you better come here! One, two, three, four, five, seven, nine, twelve, eleven, nine, two, three! Come here!

Haha! I was getting reprimanded by my two year old!