Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rainy Days

It has been raining for days on end. Our front yard looks like a pond, and for the first time in the four years we've lived here, we have water in our basement.

In fact last night, while hanging out and eating pizza at our friends' house -- Aaron, Janelle and their adorable children, Quinton and Sloan -- flash flood warnings started blaring out of the TV. There was a roar of hard rain outside, and within minutes, the flow of water into their basement was fast and constant. Rob and Aaron were building levees with bagged sand, running a shop vac for hours, and trying to control the inevitable seepage into our friends' carpet with mounds of towels. Somehow, we still managed to have a blast -- finding reasons to laugh, watching the kids run around long after their bedtime, and taking time to inhale Janelle's homemade pumpkin cake in between urgent runs for "more towels!!!"

We've been trying to stay busy, but we all have cabin fever. Poor Maple's taking the brunt of our boredom. As I write, Rob has tied Madeline's hippo pull-toy onto her collar as Madeline chases behind, squealing with laughter. The poor dog was also forced to play the bongos this morning. Madeline's been experimenting with markers (coloring on herself), running in circles (a game that can last for 20 minutes at a time), playing hide-and-go-seek (Where's Madeline? Is she under the rug?), and watching the occasional Baby Einstein when I need a break.

Yesterday was a special treat. Ning and I went for manicures and pedicures, then stopped in a children's clothing store where Ning picked out three colorful outfits for Madeline -- polka-dotted and stripped, complete with matching hair bows. We met my dad, Rob and Madeline for a fun lunch at a mexican restaurant. The best part was that we could walk to each under a covered roof while the rain poured. And it's still raining..... Hope everyone's staying dry!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Rob's Work Send-Off

Today, Rob's work group hosted him to a good-bye lunch to Old Chicago Pizza. Madeline and I were lucky enough to be able to come and listen to all the wonderful things Rob's supervisor said about him to a group of about 15, commenting on his infectious positive attitude and his willingness to do whatever needs to be done. The group signed a funny card and gave us a generous Lowe's gift certificate! It made me feel so proud to see how many co-workers came out to celebrate Rob and see him off. I know he'll impress just as many people in his next role in Nashville! As a thank you, I'm sending Rob into work on Monday with decorated cookies (have you ever noticed that people in an office always seem to demolish a cake or a box of sweets before 8am?).

Congrats on a job well done, Rob! Thanks for being such a great husband and dad, and for taking such great care of your family by working so hard every day.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Days and Counting...

Great news -- our house in Peoria has officially sold! No one is happier than me. Showing a house with a toddler and a dog is a lot of work, as anyone who has shown a house and/or has a toddler knows. I'm not proud -- I ran dirty dishes out to the garage more than once, hid dirty underwear in my writing stationery drawer and ordered in dinners just to keep the kitchen clean. It's a bit like you don't live in your own home: wiping down the microwave after every use, taking down photos of family and friends, and hiding all of Madeline's toys in the basement (then carrying the same five to and from their hiding spot in a Chili's takeout bag several times a day).

Just as soon as I would have one room perfectly neat and had started on the next, Madeline would have emptied the media cabinet, mashed her raisins into the couch, and dumped Maple's dog food all over the kitchen. All that in about 65 seconds. The time it takes me to perfectly fold my kitchen towels so they don't look like I just finished wiping up our spaghetti lunch. Of course once the house is neat and my bag is packed, I had to find somewhere to go with a baby and a dog. Thankfully, my family is wonderful and lives in town, so Madeline took several naps in her Pack 'n Play at her Ning and Papa's house. Those turned out to be really fun visits! And certainly special time as we get closer to our moving date next week.

Yesterday, we went to Apple Blossom Farm with my friend, Kris, and her two adorable daughters, Ella and Claire. We had a great time jumping in the Bouncy House, admiring the rabbits, ducks and goats, and eating fresh apple cinnamon donuts. The highlight for me was listening to Madeline proudly shout "Goat" at the petting zoo (she thinks they say "moo" if you ask her).

This weekend, Rob was usher in our friend Jake and Natalie's wedding in downtown Chicago. Every last detail was exquisite, planned with their guests' in mind; the bride looked breathtaking in her Vera Wang gown. I was even invited to ride around with the bridal party in the trolley! The ceremony was at St. Clement's Cathedral in Lincoln Park, and the reception was at Cafe Brauer in Lincoln Park Zoo. It was a really fun weekend away for Rob and me -- we got to spend time with some of our very best friends and relax while Rob's parents, Gram and Nicki took extra special care of Madeline.

When we got home, we heard all about their adventures and promptly had a fashion show with all of Madeline's new fall clothes! It was hard to leave knowing that next time we see them, we'll live in Nashville. While we won't be able to make any more day trips, we kept reminding ourselves as we said goodbye that we're just a bit further down the road.

And lastly, just wanted to remember all the 9/11 victims and their families.