Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Beach

Because we moved here weeks before I actually begin my job, we've had a lot of time on our hands. That was the plan, so that we could be sure to get all settled before the semester begins, but we've had to make a conscious effort to make sure that we still enjoy the summer as well. Yesterday, our big outing of the week was going to visit the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Chicago has plenty of places to get wet, and we heard about a spot that was sandy like the beaches we imagine in our heads, so we headed over. 
The weather was warm and humid. When we staked out our spot, we were aching to get into the water. Even the sand was scalding our pampered little toes. We quickly put on our sunblock, got into our swim diapers, and dashed over to the water.
The lake was like ice on our poor skin. It took me probably 15 minutes to ease in up to my waist, but after a while it was tolerable. Carver came in with me the most, getting about up to his chest into the water. The kids spent most of their time playing in the sand on the shore, and splashing as the waves came in. They enjoyed themselves thoroughly.
Kira was the gutsy one, and got completely under the water. She eventually peer pressured me into getting wet up to my neck.

It was a grand time, and we are excited to go again. Little other news aside from getting a few pictures hung and learning our way around a little more. We miss and love you all!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Big Plans

We are down to just the last few boxes to unpack, and almost everything has a place to "live", as Kira calls it. We still spend most of each day trying to keep the kids fed, rested, clean, and entertained, so at this rate I'm not sure I'll get to much more work before the semester starts up. Also, my mind is constantly racing with all sorts of projects I could do around the house. I have big plans, just not much budget, for some improvements. Perhaps next summer...

We have managed to find wonderful things to do. We have two great parks within walking distance of our home (three if you include Avey's school's). This week, we also attended a local carnival put on by the city. We happened to choose the hottest, most humid day of the festivities, and had about 90 minutes of fun before getting caught in an enormous downpour. That was just about right, though; it gave us a nice reason to move onto other things.
Among the many improvement projects I've been brainstorming, I've come up with a few that can be done on a small budget. Two of them involved giving a much needed coat of paint or two to some of Avey's furniture. She picked the colors and then helped me sand down a little bookshelf of hers and a wooden chair, both of which we inherited from other people. We then painted them and they look brand new now. 
Avey has made big plans for her room as well. For starters, she has decided, it seems, that her room should be entirely self sufficient for her needs. As such, she requested a small mirror to keep in her closet so that she can brush her hair and such in there. That's all well and good, but Kira and I politely put our feet down after Avey had taken our potty training chair into her room so that she can relieve herself without stepping out of her sanctuary. She'll take over the communal bathroom before long anyway, right?
She has also been obsessing over several appliances for her room. It began with the idea of a mini-fridge. We told her that she could work to earn the money for one (even though the family refrigerator is about 5 feet from her bedroom door), and so she's been talking now of earning money for a lava lamp, a shelf above her bed for her trinkets, and possibly even a soda machine. If she spent half of her planning and dreaming time actually doing the chores to earn the money, she'd have a whole stack of mini-fridges by now.

My goal for this next week is to get some pictures hung, instead of waiting 4 years like we did at our last place. Keep your fingers crossed...

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Windy City

We arrived safely at our new home last Saturday, and have been keeping very busy unpacking between all of the feedings and kids' naps. Luckily, the hardest part now is deciding where everything should go. We easily tripled (maybe quadrupled) our square footage with this place, so we are a little intimidated with all of the storage and open space. 

The worst part of all of this was the first couple of days, but not just because of the chaos. The temperature was fairly mild outside, but the humidity is new to us, so we felt like we were suffocating. We turned on the air conditioner for some relief only to be disappointed at its performance. We suffered through the night in the 80s, and the next day got it fixed, realizing that it was running low on refrigerant. Now all is well. We even had a few comfortable days with highs in the low 70s! This is quite the change from El Paso!
Kira had her birthday this last week also, which was overshadowed by all of our unpacking and a bit of a sore throat with which she came down. We were anxious to get out of all of the boxes and see some stuff, so we ventured out to the Taste of Chicago festival on Friday, and got to see a lot of the sights in the city. There was even a huge public park nearby that had opened only last year - it was easily the highlight of the trip for the kids. They would have gone down the slides until they passed out, if we'd have let them.
We are very excited about the new place! Everything is blindingly green compared to our old neighborhood, and we are overrun with wildlife. For the first couple of days we would call to each other to come quickly when there was a rabbit in the yard, but now they come by so often we hardly give a second glance. We get a visit from a red cardinal about once a day, sometimes accompanied by a female, which is a real treat. Its song is particularly enjoyable. Among our favorites is what comes out at dusk - fireflies! I have fond memories of our time in Nebraska when I was a boy, chasing fireflies out in the yard. Avey is having lots of fun checking them out in her own front yard these days.
With as much fun as we're having, we do feel a bit lonely, especially today. Normally on Sundays, we have dinner with family, but alas, today we are left to our own devices. We'll need to convince some of our loved ones to come visit us very soon before we go mad. 
Come visit us!