>> December 30, 2008

I feel like I haven't blogged in ages.  Oh! I guess that's because I haven't.  I've hardly had time to read email let alone the blogs I've been following and it's usually in between phone calls or sorting or packing or selling yet another item that I thought I was keeping.  Even now, it's 11:30 and in a few short hours (made even shorter by my little man's constant night-wakings...seems the stress is getting to him, too) big, burly men will be coming to take away the scattered remains of my stuff.  The most glorious part in the midst of all this chaos is that I don't actually have to pack anything, they're doing that part for me.  I've always wanted someone else to do my packing for me (I've done a lot, a. lot. of moving in my day).  I have so much to say, I wish I'd been able to keep up with writing more of this experience down, I hope I'll remember enough of it in the coming days to record some more of it cause it has been all manner of crazy.  One thing I know for sure: We have too. much. crap.  Oh well, I don't have to pack it this time.  And I'm kind of looking forward to having it arrive in a couple months, it'll be like Christmas in February, with a surprise in every box!  My grammar sucks, it's time to go to bed.  More soon...


Merry Christmas

>> December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!  I have much more to blog about, but that will come later as right now we are in the height of Christmas cheer and revelry and I'm being anti-social by typing away on my computer in the middle of the living room while everyone else is being cheery.  I might even try to post pictures on here!

I pray everyone out there has a wonderful Christmas season filled with hope and love and peace and personal revelation of a loving and awesome Saviour.


And the fun continues...

>> December 19, 2008

The only conclusion I can draw is that in my time away I have somehow developed an allergy to Canada.  What else would explain the fact that I have not had a well day since I arrived.  Granted I had a cold (or possibly allergies to all the dust being kicked up from moving stuff at home) when I arrived, but it was on it's way out, I was feeling better.  And then came the stomach flu which was also on it's way out when last I blogged.  But then came the Upper Respiratory Infection and Bronchitis quite literally on the heals of everything else.  

I wrote that I had finally felt well enough to have a proper meal on Friday night, that was also the night that this little tickle of a dry cough started.  It continued on Saturday but with little enough severity or frequency for me to think much about it.  We went to our family dinner and almost at once I started to lose my voice.  I needn't have worried about Asher's mood, he did so well, especially considering how many people there were there, but he seemed to know they were all family and charmed everyone to no end.  Even fell asleep next to his cousin, I'll have to post some pictures later.  

By Sunday morning, however, I had almost no voice and a significantly deeper cough.  Fast forward to Thursday now, I still have very little in the way of voice, my cough is now producing great big chunks of green goo, but thankfully Asher doesn't seem to be catching anything from me this time.  Jeff is now in Florida (I'm trying very hard not to be bitter and he's trying very hard not to be lonely in all that warmth) and I'm back at my mom's having driven through another terrible storm to get here.  I have little in the way of coherent thought with which to blog, all I want to do is sleep and Asher is bound and determined to not allow that to happen with any reliability, and I still haven't gotten to see hardly any of my friends.  

The bright spot in all of this is that I got drugs today.  My mom and my aunt (who is a nurse) decided that it would be a bad idea to try and wait this out, what with the coughing up of such colorful gunk, and indeed the doctor agreed.  He pronounced the verdict, I mean diagnosis as Upper Respiratory Infection and Bronchitis and a Cold and gave me antibiotics to cover the former and said I would have to slog through the latter.  I'm pretty sure that's on it's way out though as I have had significantly less snot today and I'm hoping that I'll be feeling better tomorrow so I can finally get to see some friends this weekend before heading back to Chicago on Tuesday.  

What a crazy December this has been.


Live to you from the Great White North

>> December 13, 2008

What an adventure this trip home has been.  We were quite nervous about flying with Asher for the first time.  And we had to do it twice in one day. He was amazing.  Charmed the flight crew and other passengers then promptly fell asleep for the entire first flight.  The second flight was a tight connection but only 5 gates away so we had time to change a diaper, grab a burger and get on the plane.  The second flight was a little longer so he didn't sleep the entire time but it was not a full plane so we had an entire row to ourselves to let him play and jump on the seat a little.  We arrived in style and spent the afternoon with Jeff's best man and his wife and their new dog Togo.  I'll have to post pictures later.  Made it to my Mom's that night in what was to be only our first blizzard.

Grandma was very excited to have her first grandson in her home and we had a wonderful time visiting and seeing friends for the first day and a half.  Then the stomach flu hit.  I pretty much spent the night on the bathroom floor.  Then the next night it was Asher's turn.  Poor little mite. It wasn't until last night that I could finally eat without feeling ill.  Asher recovered a little faster than I did, thankfully.  So I didn't get to see as many friends as Jeff did and our time spent with his family was good but I didn't have the energy that I would have liked.  What a time to get sick.  It sucks that I couldnt enjoy my two days spent in a lazy boy with other people around to help take care of the little man (my Aunt was our life saver).

It was a whirl wind tour with Jeff's family in Alix, Stettler, Three Hills, and the cheapest motel I've ever spent so much money to stay in.  The highlight was being able to see Jeff's Oma again.  She's in a home now and far weaker than when we saw her last.  It was hard on Jeff but I'm so thankful that she got to see Asher and that she recognized Jeff and was so pleased to see him.  The last day with his family, we saw Oma twice, Aunt Mary and Henry, Jeff's parents and Uncle Wilf and Aunt June and then drove to Calgary.  Asher spent most of the day in the car and did really well until the last hour or so.  Such a trooper my little guy.

The not-so-fun part of yesterday was the fact that much of that driving was in the worst winter storm southern Alberta has seen in years.  It was a very harrowing, largely snow-covered backroad to the equally harrowing, largely ice-covered freeway into the complete standstill of traffic in Calgary.  Once we hit Calgary, it should have taken us 30 minutes to get to Dad's, it took 2 hours.  Crazy.  But we finally made it.  It had been so long since I'd been there that we parked in the wrong driveway at first and were about to knock on the wrong front door before I realized.  Leave me alone, you could hardly see the road or the houses and they all look alike in that neighborhood.  

Today we're just chilling, waiting to go to a family dinner out at Grandmother's.  I'm looking forward to Asher meeting her and the rest of the clan. I hope he's in a good mood to meet everyone seeing as he just woke up in a not so good mood.

To Be Continued...


Who needs to pack when you can play tag

>> December 5, 2008

Sure I'm terribly behind in everything and my house looks like a small herd of elephants came  through and randomly spewed clothes and packing materials. Oh, and I leave for Canada in the morning not to return for three weeks, but hey...I can't miss out on a game of tag!

Here are the rules: (I know, I didn't know there were rules either)
  1. Link the person who tagged you. - Thank you Sam for providing me with this little distraction
  2. Post the rules on your blog.  -  Okay, I think I got that one covered
  3. Share seven random or weird facts about yourself.  -  Hmm...which seven to share...see below
  4. Tag seven other people and include links to their tags  - SciFi Mama, Christy, RR, Anna, Joanna, Shabby Girl, and Lina
  5. Let each of the other people know by commenting on their blogs - Off to comment
  • I lived in a mud hut in Africa for a time
  • I'm married to one of those guys that in the b-grade sci-fi movies is responsible for opening up black holes that threaten to destroy our universe  (only in real life, they don't actually open black holes)  *Edit - my husband informs me they theoretically could open black holes, just not ones that would threaten to destroy the universe - who knew!*
  • I was a guest speaker at a Leadership retreat for my church back when I had a blue mohawk
  • I taught Grade One at a Christian school for three years.
  • My 8 month old son suddenly decided to start crawling today (while I was writing this actually, I had to stop and take some film of it for his dad)
  • I got my first tattoo at 27 and my most recent one this past August (I have three altogether with the next four already planned)
  • I've had a reality TV show film me singing on the worship team at my church because I didn't 'look' like someone who would do that (I had a couple facial piercings, an undercut, and blue/purple/black braids in my hair)
Well, that was fun and while it has gone on, Asher has taken a giant leap towards actual crawling and most of my furnitire has gone onto its new home.  Time to put my little man to bed and pack for our trip tomorrow back to Canada.  I think I'm starting to get excited.


Where am I?

>> December 4, 2008

To be honest, I have no idea.  I realize I haven't posted in what seems like forever, and it's not for lack of things to say, it's more for lack of being able to keep a single thought in my head long enough to type a full and complete sentence.  I need to type like Data from the STNG days (that's Star Trek the Next Generation for all you non-sci-fi types).  So why am I typing now you ask?  Because I'm desperately trying not to do anything actually productive.  I had a great post running through my head the other day as a follow up for My Life Costs How Much? and that was, "My life is Worth How Much?".  Last weekend I arrived at our church's Worship Team Christmas Lunch and Workshop and nearly broke down in tears at the sight of everyone.  I explained that it was just a bit of an emotional day because I'd just finished putting my life up for sale on craigslist.  Or at least that's how it felt to see so much of my household goods in an ad like that.  My best friend chided me to have a little perspective...that is until she saw my ad printed up on Sunday...then she started crying.  We haven't really allowed ourselves to think too much about the imminent departure.  The thing that really gets me is that I'm not a particularly sentimental person, especially when it comes to things so why am I completely wrecked at the fact that we're selling our couch and our bedroom dresser and our home theater system (and the list goes on and on and on and on...).  My mom keeps telling me, it's not the things but what they represent, ie. the life that Jeff and I had built here in Chicago and I hear and acknowledge the wisdom in that, but I think part of me is always a little surprised when the rules apply to me.  And I think, too, I'm a bit disappointed that the excitement of this upcoming new adventure feels so overwhelmed by the sadness of selling and donating and packing and leaving.  Just driving home yesterday from the grocery store and seeing our beautiful skyline and parks and people...needless to say, I've spent the last week crying.  But we're trying very hard to get as much sold as we can by tomorrow because Saturday we head off to Canada to see family and by the time I get back, it's 2 days before Christmas and 7 days before the movers come.  We're actually going to be decorating the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve this year...and then taking it down on boxing day (well maybe we'll leave it up a couple days longer).  And no, I absolutely cannot go without a tree for my son's first Christmas.  I know he won't know or care, but I will and the pictures will always cause me great pain.  So that is me, not really sure what day it is, where I am or which end is up and I don't see that changing in the near future.  Please God, let all these myriad of things work out and let the time that I am able to spend with all these people you've blessed my life with be filled with peace and joy and contentment.  And Thank You that we live, not as those without hope, but fully confident that in the end, we will all be together.  


I really am very thankful....but oh so tired...

>> November 27, 2008

Today is our first Thanksgiving with Asher.  Well, the second really.  How is that possible, you say?  He's only 8 months old.  Well, we have two Thanksgivings in this family.  We celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving as Jeff and I are Canadian, and as we are in Rome, we must do as they do.  That, and Asher technically is American (we don't have his Canadian citizenship yet).  So today, I am a very sleepy, thankful Mommy.  I couldn't imagine giving up any of the sleepless nights of the last few months, getting done any or all of the projects I've fallen behind in, being actually on time for so many of the things I've been late for, or missing out on a single precious moment with my son.  Thank You, dear God, for the most wonderful gift ever.


My life costs how much?

>> November 24, 2008

We had 3 surveyors come through the house today to guesstimate how much stuff we had to move so they could tell us how much it will cost.  I have to say I'm looking forward to the next move because it will be a faculty position and our moving expenses will be paid so I won't have to sort through my life and decide what I can afford to keep.  This has had my stomach in knots for days.  I'm waiting for the 'official' estimates, but everyone seems to think we have about 2500 lbs of stuff.  And that's mostly boxes, almost no furniture is going with us, how sad is that.  The approximation tends to run about $10/cft. and the consensus seems to be that we would have about 400 cft of stuff.  So that's about $4,000 just to move stuff, besides the port fees and taxes, and handling fees, and service fees, and packing fees, and losing our stuff fees, and insurance fees, and taking longer than promised fees, and unloading fees, and whatever else they charge for events like this.  I'll wait to see what they come back with.  (Read: I am taking any excuse to not start the sorting process just yet.)


The Science of Sleep

>> November 21, 2008

What have I done that has allowed such trauma into my 7 and a half month old's life that he has resorted to such awful screaming fits when he's confronted with the need to sleep but not met with the ability to fall asleep within the first five minutes?  Asher, my lovely son, the one everyone tells me is such a happy boy, that even when he's fussing, wizened mothers will note that he really does want to be cheerful he's just tired, is these days having such fits that he sounds like he's dying and he's pretty sure it's me who's killed him.

We have always struggled to a certain extent with his sleep.  I discovered very early on that a tired Asher was not an Asher you wanted to spend time with.  People at church thought he was such a happy baby because it wasn't really until after lunch that the shortness of his morning nap (he would get a catnap during music practice) caught up with us all.  But we made it through, we found a schedule and once I started guarding it a little more carefully our night time sleep started to make progress as well.  With the exception of the fact that he seems to think 5:30 am is a perfectly acceptable time to get up for the day, I would say we were doing pretty well.  That was my problem, I got complacent.  

Lately, there have been times, such as  2:20 (a mere 20 minutes into an afternoon nap) or 5 am (definitely not an acceptable wake up time in this house) or tonight at 6:45 (bedtime is 6:30) where this wonderful little boy that I'm growing so fond of has made me want to pack my bags and move out.  Part way through tonight's escapade I realized I didn't have his lovey in the crib and left to go get it.  It was only 6:50!  A whole hour of screaming had somehow crammed itself into 5 minutes.  How is that possible?!  My husband is a physicist, I'll have to ask him when he gets home.  Yesterday, with the nap, I ended up storming out at one point and slamming my door and screaming into my pillow.  Then feeling 100 times the horrible mother I went back and picked him up and rocked him until he calmed down.  He never did go back to sleep that day, we just rocked away the rest of nap time and finally gave up and went and watched an episode of Charlie and Lola (more for my sake than his I think).  

This morning's 5 am routine I gave up.  (Thinking back at the clock display I have a sneaking suspicion it had only been 7 minutes, but I astutely ignored that)  I felt horrible because Jeff is fighting a cold, but I just could not stand over his crib rubbing his tummy in what should have been comfort but was swiftly turning into fury and I certainly could not pick him up.  For much the same reason.  I desperately wanted my son to be comforted, but I was too angry to do it.  So Jeff took over and picked him and soothed him back to sleep.  It took half an hour and he stayed asleep for maybe 15 minutes once he was put back in his crib.  Meanwhile I was up anyway, looking up temper tantrums and sleep in 8 month olds.  Turns out they don't really have true tantrums at 8 months, they just have one way to express frustration but at this age, they're suddenly realizing they have a whole lot more to be frustrated about.  Great. 

Tonight though, something interesting happened.  He was throwing his fit, I was standing there, tummy-rubbing.  No one home to tag off to, and I was bound and determined not to give into my own little hissy-fit again so all I could do was stay there and try to breath and marvel at the fact that only 5 minutes had gone by.  When suddenly, he stopped.  He went from full-throated, my-mother-is-a-horrible-person-who-is-trying-to-kill-me screaming to...nothing.  Not even the hiccoughs that stayed for so long when I rocked him the other day.  If he hadn't been turning his lovey over and over, I would have thought something was wrong.  He looked at me, calmly accepted his soother (pacifier for all you Yanks out there) and closed his eyes.  I watched for a little while, not even remembering to rub his tummy I was so astounded, and then finally snuck out.  I could hear him moving his lovey around a bit longer on the monitor, but it's now an hour later and there's been no relapse.  

Maybe God just knew I needed to not come away from another sleep struggle feeling like a horrible mother.  We'll see how long that lasts.


Do you remember when weekends were for relaxing?

>> November 17, 2008

Me neither. I have some vague, foggy idea that at one time, weekends were declared a time to relax, but I cannot bring one to mind that actually was filled with...nothing. And I imagine if I had ever wanted to actually capture such a phenomenon, it might have been a better idea to try before we had a baby.

Gone are the days of sleeping in for one thing. I don't know when, but somewhere along the line, 7am became a wonderful lie-in. Makes me a little ill, to be honest. And now that Asher is much more aware of the fact that Mommy isn't always paying attention and if he grunts enough times in a particularly grating way she will inevitably stop what she is doing and see to him, the only time I have to get anything done is when Jeff is home on the weekends. Then the problem becomes that everyone knows we are leaving soon so they all want to be able to have us over or take us out to lunch. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving all the free food, and to be sure there are some that I would just live with them for the next month to soak up all the time I could get, but it does present an issue when I look at my 'to do' list and I see the days flying by on the calendar and nary a crossed-off item to be seen.

And here is where I would have gone into a list of all the things I meant to do this weekend and how they got curtailed by time spent with friends and me once again thinking I could handle a foster dog for a few days despite all my craziness but alas, Asher has woken up.


Officially Official

>> November 14, 2008

I discovered this charming little show on one of the kid channels called Charlie and Lola.  It's a british children's series that is absolutely adorable.  Largely because all the characters have the cutest english accents, but also because it's just a really nice series about a brother and sister that doesn't include jealousy or petty-ness or name-calling (well they did have one episode about squabbling where they called each other 'mean' but in the most adorable way possible), in fact they get along and the big brother is always looking out for his little sister and finding ways to help her.  I love it.  Anyway, Lola is always overdoing her adjectives and adverbs and I think it's rubbing off on me.  For instance there was one episode called, "I am Far Too Extremely Busy" or "It is Absolutely Completely Not Messy".  I'm way more addicted than Asher.

And so, in honor of Lola:

It is most definitely completely officially official.  We are moving.  It is quite a heady thing, buying a one-way ticket for your entire family to another continent.  I have to say, it made me a little woozy.  I am completely shocked at how this move is affecting me.  

When we were first married, and Jeff was looking for his first post-doc, we were considering Japan and Australia among other places.  I was all for Japan, Jeff wasn't sure if he could even move as far away as Chicago.  And now, here I am, desperately wanting to be jumping-out-of-my-skin ecstatic and instead I'm mostly nauseous. It's not that I'm not excited.  It's not that I'm not thrilled.  I have always wanted to live in as many foreign countries as possible and I still do.  But something else has come into play.  I think it is that this feels like the first real home that I have helped create for my family.  Now I find that I'm not so quick to run out the door and I'm a little sad at the prospect of having to start over.  

And then of course there are the people, our friends who have become more like family.  They have seen us through so much, watched us become parents (very literally, a few were in the room and even more were on the phone as Asher came into the world).  They have only ever known us as married, missed all the foibles of our youth (haven't missed many of our adult foibles though;) and yet they know us, who we are, what we struggle with, our hearts desires.  They have truly become Family, God-parents and Guardians, Sisters and Brothers, the truest of Friends.  I can't go any further down that road, not yet.  I'm not ready.

After all that, I must say, I really am very excited.  I have always wanted to go to England but have only ever made it to the airport between flights to and from Greece.  I remember thinking as I looked out the window at the countryside below that it wasn't right that I was going somewhere else.  It was almost a physical pull to want to stay there instead of going on to Greece to meet Jeff.  I feel so blessed that Asher gets the opportunity to travel as well and grow up in different places.  He may not remember much yet, but he will grow up with family and friends on three different continents (we have friends that have just moved back to South Africa) that, Lord willing, will remain good friends and be visited frequently.  I have always wanted to expose my children to travel and different cultures and what better way than to actually live there.  And if we're really lucky, each of our children can be born on a different continent.  (For those of you trying to figure out how many more times we're planning on moving, we'll likely only have one more child biologically and then we plan to adopt internationally)  I get all hyper just thinking about it.  

So not all my stress that's keeping me from sleeping is bad stress, it's just excitement...a lot of energy that doesn't have anywhere to go just yet.  I may have to start packing really early just so I have something to do.  Although if I think about it, I don't actually have a ton of time.  We're going to be in Canada visiting family from Dec. 5th to 23rd, and we have to be out of the apartment at the end of December (even though we're not actually leaving until later in January).  Okay, maybe not the best thing to think too hard about just now.  Feeling a little woozy again.  


Where to begin

>> November 11, 2008

Jeff says we must keep track of this saga.  I'm not really sure why, my ability to block large segments of my life from memory has served me well in the past.  But I suppose he's right, we'll want to share all the excitement of Asher's early life with him when he's older.  And who knows, we may even laugh about it all.  And if not, I can simply delete all record of it and go back to forgetting.

The first couple days we were just a couple of frantic headless chickens not having any idea of where to begin.  The result of course being that absolutely nothing got done.  The adrenaline finally wore off I think and we were able to settle down and actually look at what had to be done.  The first being our paperwork.  Oh, the paperwork.

Jeff's grandfather was born in England making him eligible for an ancestry visa.  This gives us a lot more flexibility once we're over there as far as working, living, and qualifying for certain benefits.  In order to get that visa, we need to have passports which are valid for the entire term of his contract (which will be 2 years, possibly 3). Ours expire next year.  Okay, so off to renew our passports.  As we are gathering our necessary documentation we discover that a couple things are missing.  Jeff's birth certificate and our marriage certificate (I have two copies but no original).  We can order those, no problem, it's just money right?  Then we're looking at the passport renewal forms and realizing that we have include our current passport.  That means we can't travel until we get them back.  We're supposed to be going to Canada to see family in the beginning of December.  Not only that but we also need to send our passports in with our visa applications as well.  Don't these people know that we need our passports to go places?  

After talking with the Canadian Consulate we've decided to have our replacement documents mailed to my mom's address, we'll renew our passports at their office in Edmonton while we're there and just pray that they complete them before Jeff has to fly to Florida for his conference.  Oh ya, did I mention Jeff also has a conference that he's presenting at in the middle of all this.  And then when I get back from Canada on the 23rd, we'll send away for our visas.  'Our' visas by the way, apparently Asher needs one as well (at £200 each we're exceedingly happy that Oxford will reimburse us for those).  I suppose that's good though because then when he gets picked up by a casting agent, there will be no problem with him working while we're over there ;) 

We've just found out that Jeff will be taking shifts at Fermilab for Oxford for the first couple weeks of January so that means we have a bit more time to get through the processing for our visas.  Thank God!  Now all we have to do is survive the trip back to Canada and find favour with all the processing peoples there.  

Our other big dilemma is whether to ship all our stuff over there, sell it all and buy new once we arrive, or ship a few things, sell a few things, and store the rest here until we have a permanent posting.  I don't see any end in sight for that, I'm so torn about what is best.  You can find horror stories on all sides online.  I'm really hoping to be able to talk to someone in person about their experiences moving overseas.  We have some friends that have done it, but it's always been on the company's dime so that's kind of an easy decision.  I'm calling a few companies today to get people out to give us estimates and we'll go from there. 

A couple nice developments even from when I started writing this are that we're getting closer to settling on an actual date.  Likely the 14 or 15 of January.  And it seems that there is quite decent, short-term, furnished faculty houses for rent near the University that we will be able to get into.  They are near doctors, pubic transit, and there are several young families in the area that have started play groups.  Here I thought I would be stuck in limbo and confusion for at least a couple more weeks and now I'm feeling a bit more settled.  It looks like we may even have all our tickets bought by tomorrow or the next day.  So I guess I don't need to resort to blocking everything from memory just yet.  But stay tuned......


Strangers in a Proper Land

>> November 8, 2008

So I think that is going to have to be my new name for this blog.  We are headed to England, baby!  Oxford to be exact.  We're not sure how we feel about moving to such a small city, only about 151,000 people.  Jeff chooses to look at it as a suburb of London.  Whatever helps him sleep at night.  We've known for a few days now and I have really been wanting to sit down and blog about it, but there's just so much running around in my head I'm having trouble actually pinning words down.  Maybe now that it's out there as an announcement, I'll be able to focus more on all the details and stuff.  

Ya, so later then.


Our 4th Anniversary

>> November 6, 2008

Yay us!!  And specifically yay me.  I finally got the drop on Jeff without him letting me.  I have to admit, Jeff is way more the romantic in this relationship than I am.  I'm the one that makes a big deal over him for his birthday and Christmas and what not, but when it comes to remembering 'us' dates, he's got it.  

The first few times, he would pull that, "Do you know what today is?" stuff and I'd be all, "Crap!".  Then I caught on and started marking things on the calendar and chanting to myself in the days approaching a special event, "happy one year anniversary, honey...happy one year anniversary, honey...happy one....". You get the idea.  Then the morning would dawn bright and early, he'd roll over, a big dopey smile on his face, "Happy Anniversary, love."  Crap!  Okay, so the next year, I go to sleep chanting to myself, "happy second anniversary honey, happy..."  The alarm goes off, Jeff rolls over with a big dopey smile on his face.  A pause.  I blink.  He says, "Is there something you wanted to say?"  Crap!

So then last year, I've been chanting for like a month now, the alarm goes off, and I yawn and stretch, then it hits me.  "Happy 3rd Anniversary, Honey!"  I look over, triumphant, to see Jeff with his big dopey smile, chuckling at me, "happy anniversary, love.  Crap, the big jerk let me win.

This year, I've found his kryptonite.  Have so much else of epic scale going on in life that piddley things like mere anniversaries pale in comparison.  This morning...first of all, let me say that Asher gave us the best anniversary present ever!  he slept until 7:30 this morning, with only one feeding last night around 12:30 and only one other minor wakening at 4am.  WooHoo!!!...okay, so this morning we're basking in the fact that we woke up on our own, no alarm, no crying baby, just that trickle of sunshine peeking around the curtains at 7am....okay, second of all, let me say that the fact that 7am is such a glorious lie-in for me is absolutely we're laying there, basking, and it hits me.  "Hey!  Happy Anniversary, honey!"  A stunned moment on the other side of the bed, then, "crap".  HAHA!!  I finally won one!  And legitimately, too, none of this waiting for her to say it so she thinks she's won.  Yay me! (and you, too, honey, I love you)


Where were you?

>> November 5, 2008

Where were you when Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States of America?  

I was watching it all from the comfort of my living room.  Although I have to say it was a little thrilling that my living room is in Chicago. Whether you agree with the politics or not, you have to concede (no pun intended...well maybe a little intention) that there's an air of excitement to it all.  An historic moment for sure, but it also feels, tonight at least, like this could actually be the beginning of something big.  I'm trying desperately not to use the word 'change' so it looks like I'm expressing my own thoughts and not simply buying into the Obama campaign machine.  

This is one of those events where people will remember where they were when it happened.  For my mom, she remembered where she was when they landed on the moon, when Kennedy was shot.  (And of course for her, the wedding of Diana and Charles, but that was because she was at a party with a couple of expats, having samosas at three in the morning.)  For me, I know where I was when the Gulf War started, when OJ got off (but only because some yahoo came running through the campus poking his head into all the classes to tell everyone), when Princess Diana died (I am my mother's daughter), and of course, when the towers fell.

Well, when Obama won the Presidency, I was in my home in Chicago, watching the crowds on TV celebrate at Grant Park, a mere 3 miles from where I sat.  Our good friend Janet was there to discuss and explain and share in the commotion.  Even Asher got in on it, waking up every hour or so just for fun.  

It's not like it should really matter to me, we're Canadian, temporary to the US, likely to have moved on by the time he actually takes office.  But it does matter, it matters to these friends that we've made here in Chicago that feel like our second family, it matters to a country that I not only have an affinity for, but that really does make a significant impact on a global level.  

I honestly don't know who I would have voted for if I could have.  I would be a Republican if I were American, and I think that it is unfortunate that President Bush has become the favoured whipping boy as of late, but I do recognize that there are some valid reasons for desiring a change.  There, I've said it.  Honestly, I very well may have voted for Obama out of sheer curiosity, to see if he really would make a difference or if it would simply remain the same...stuff, different face.  Mind you, if I had been voting I probably wouldn't have stopped paying attention sometime back in June and I would have a much better idea of what each candidate was bringing to the table.  I very much appreciated McCain's concession speech.  I believe that beyond the politics and the speeches and the spin doctors that McCain is a good man with a good heart.  

But it's late, and my brain grows fuzzy from having to listen to all the silly little reporters blathering on in order to fill so many hours of airtime.  Congratulations to all the winners, 'Good Game' to all those who lost, and may God be with the President Elect and his family, tonight and in the years to come.  


Elven Blood and Oreo Cookies

>> October 30, 2008

Just when I thought my addiction to the internet was waning and I might actually get something done from my never-ending/always-expanding project list, I get my umpteenth request to join something on Facebook called Elven Blood.  

Now please understand, when I first joined Facebook, I was like so many others (Ann), wide-eyed and completely agog at all the completely useless yet must-have applications that I saw filling the pages of all my friends.  I had the graveyard and the aquarium and the garden and the superwall and the fluff friend (the one thing I actually kept, I mean who can get rid of a pengiun)...need I go on.  But then a few months ago, when I realized that Asher was like nicotine patch for the internet (just like smoking with the patch on can do very bad things to you...same idea combining the internet with an awake Asher).  

So I purged (now that I think of it an urge I've had with so many things in life since he was born, hmmm, musings for another time), I purged and I put an ignore on the vast majority of requests that I was being beset with.  I didn't want to give up Facebook altogether, I do find it an extremely convenient way of keeping in touch with people and a fun distraction for the five minutes I am allowed every day to see what's going on in the virtual lives of so many people.  People I see all the time and people I haven't spoken to except by way of "Accept Friend" in over 3 years.  

And then it pulled me back in.  I blame Brayden (I love you, Brady).  *by the way, as I was typing this, Asher woke up.  It's like he knows*  Okay, so Brayden whom I don't get to talk to nearly enough, sends me an invitation to Elven Blood.  I think, great, this might be a way to keep in touch more often, we can play this game together.  And then I get there and I'm totally addicted.  I just keep hitting the 'Do Quest' button like something exciting is actually happening.  I totally forgot to even check to see if I had enough life or stamina to do a quest and had to run away in disgrace.  I was devastated. And then I discover that there are three more games just like this one.  Aack!  I'm soooo hooped.  Especially if I manage to pull others into this insidious game, because right now my party's too small to go to the next level of quests, so if you're on Facebook and I send you an invitation to Elven Blood, please, please, please accept and join my party, I neeeeed you.

Okay, on to Oreo Cookies.  I just have to complain.  Jeff takes cookies in his lunch, so I have to have them in the house.  I try not to take any, but come on, they're in the house.  So I think, well, I'll get some reduced fat Oreo's so I don't have to feel so guilty.  Big flaw in the Reduced Fat Oreos, I need to find out who to write a letter to.  They don't separate properly.  Usually, you twist an oreo and the creme stays on one cookie or the other.  Not so with these 'RF' Oreo's, oh no.  I would say my research is fairly conclusive, after all I tried it on over a dozen of the darn things.  Not a one separated properly.  So how much fat did I not ingest do you suppose trying to find one that was made right.  It's all a conspiracey if you ask me.  I challenge you all to find a Reduced Fat Oreo cookie that separate's properly.  I warn you, it's not for the weak of stomach.

PS. Just in case any of you are thinking of putting together a food intervention for me right now, I would have you know I'm exaggerating to make my story more humorous.  I only had like 3 and then gave up in disgust.  But I'm still buying the regular Oreo's next time.


Jeff's Birthday

>> October 28, 2008

Yay!! Jeff is the same age as me again.  Which is to say, old.  I'm sure we're actually very young, in fact I felt quite young until I learned that a couple in our church that I was sure was older than us by at least a half dozen years is actually younger by more than a couple years.  Crap.  Now I'm old.  Oh well, Jeff's old with me.

I didn't manage a surprise party for him or anything, but I did surprise him.  Let me start at the beginning though.  I had been so stressing the past couple weeks about leading worship and other things going on that, while I had known what I want to get Jeff, I hadn't actually gone and bought it yet.  

So my plan today was, as soon as Asher woke up from his first nap at 10:30 (he never sleeps later than that), we would run out to Target and pick everything up.  Then we would be back in time to pick Jeff up for lunch at Brazzaz.  By the time we got home it would be time to put Asher down for his second nap and I could wrap presents and bake the cake.  Then when Jeff got home from work, I would announce that I didn't want to cook and go pick up pizza and on the way collect Arthur from the train station who was Jeff's surprise date to the movies tonight.  
Well, Asher slept to 11.  His first two hour nap, ever!  Well, since he was a baby and just falling asleep and waking up at random.  When I should have been celebrating I was pacing outside his bedroom door, watching the clock and trying to decide if I should just bang around the kitchen really loudly.  He finally woke up but only with enough time to get to Walgreens to buy Birthday cards.  I know, I'm a terrible wife, I hadn't even got a card yet.  

We make it to Jeff's office exactly at noon to pick him up for lunch.  Even better, we find a meter two blocks from the restaurant with an hour still on it.  Sweet!  Lunch was great, Asher ate his own lunch of rice cereal in the high chair like a big boy and behaved beautifully.  I guess there's something to be said for a good nap.  We even got a birthday dessert.  Jeff was kind of meh about it so I totally scored.  Mmmmm, chocolate mousse.  And as birthday meals out go, this was pretty conservative for us.  We gave Jeff his cards at lunch, including a gift card for AMC.  (Little did he know he would get a chance to use it that night.)

However lunch at Brazzaz takes a long time and of course, Asher fell asleep on the way home.  So I decide to do something silly.  I decide to try and nurse him while he's asleep so I can put him down and he'll sleep longer instead of waking up 20 minutes later hungry.  At first it seems to go well, he nurses, staying asleep the whole time.  Then, the moment he pops off, bing!  Wide awake.  Well crap.  It's only 2:30, he should be sleeping to 3 so he's not wanting to go to bed at 5:30.  Oh well, I still have to get to Target.  So off we go again.

We finally get home at 4:30 with all our goodies.  Jeff is going to be home just after 5 and Arthur is going to be here by 5:30 and they have to leave by 6 to get to the show on time.  I've got a cake to bake, pizza to get, and Asher to feed, who by now is ready to throw a fit at the drop of a hat.  You know you're a mom when, you A) learn how to eat with your left hand so you can enjoy your lunch out at the same time as you feed your 6 month old hi lunch,  B) manage to mix up cake batter also left-handed while you feed your now cranky 6 month old dinner, and C) are kind of glad you've arranged for your husband to go out on his birthday without you so you can have a nice long bath after your 6 month old, now so exhausted he can't even nurse before bed, finally goes down for the night.

So not everything went as planned, the presents were bagged instead of wrapped, the house looked like a small, localized tornado had blown through, the pizza was pepperoni instead of Hawaiian because I didn't get to call an order in ahead of time, Arthur had to walk from the train instead of get picked up, the cake was still cooling when the guys left the house and didn't get decorated until after Asher went to bed (that's okay, I'm still to full from lunch to even think about eating anything else), but all in all, I think it was a good birthday for Jeff.  His first as a Dad.  Momentous.  And of course, the night isn't over yet ;) so I better get my bath in while I can.



>> October 26, 2008

There are several momentous things happening in our life right now and Jeff has been getting after me to blog.  I always hate starting when so much is going on, because I feel like I have to catch people up.  Well, whatever, at this point I'm sure there will always be something.

Okay, so this weekend.  It was my second Sunday of my first group of Sundays for leading worship.  If that makes sense.  It still feels fairly new, even though technically last week was the first time and even though I've led at Home Group and for Thursday evening prayer services and led the occasional song on a Sunday morning.  But I have to say being responsible for the full deal is way different.  I spend the half hour leading up to the service trying not to think too much because I just get freaked out that I have no idea what I said we were going to do for the transitions between songs.  Thing is that actually happened today, I had to go back through a section again to give myself time to think and I still have no idea if I did it the way I said I was going to.

*you know, I have no idea how writers who are mother's ever get any writing done. I just got up to help the DH feed Asher, he's still not sure how to prepare the homemade stuff, and I ended up changing over the load of laundry and almost folding the diapers until I remembered I was actually in the middle of something else entirely.  I so want to be writing again, I have no idea how I'm going to manage it.  We'll see.*

Okay, so Sunday morning.  In the end, it went well.  Much better than practice would have indicated.  But of course, as my mom reminded me, the worse the rehearsal the better the performance.  Sucks, but it's true.  I am always amazed at what God uses though.  The song I was least concerned about, not even sure if I was going to do, at the end just in case I decided to drop it, looked at the clock and thought well, we'll just run through it once real quick.  The Spirit starts to move (well I suppose had been moving all along, but you know, more so), Pastor gets up and starts to speak words of wisdom over the church and pray for people, we end up hanging on that song for a good 15 minutes, or at least if felt like it.  God is so cool.

Other momentous things...we just put the mattress level in Asher's crib down this afternoon.  Realized it wasn't even really good enough just to go down by one notch, we had to take it down two.  This will make us practice that whole, 'put them down while they're sleepy not when they're asleep' thing.  Mostly because it won't be so much putting him down as dropping him int there.  At least for me, Jeff's got a bit more height and arm length on me.  Let's just say, Asher has to be able to crawl in and out by the time I'm largely pregnant again because I won't be able to reach him.  He could play a hilarious game of 'run away from mommy' right in his crib if he wanted to.  Real funny.  If any of you teach him that game I will seriously have to reconsider our friendship. 

I honestly think Jeff is more traumatized by this crib thing than I am.  Neither of us are prepared for him to be growing up so fast, but Jeff gets more flustered by 'event's' like putting the crib down.  I, on the other hand, am struck dumb by the fact that I pulled out the nine month clothes last month and now I'm having to put them away in favour of the twelve month ones.  For those of you wondering, Asher turns seven months next Sunday.  I really thought I had the clothing thing licked until at least February or March, now I'm going to be lucky if I have enough clothes to last us until January.  The nice thing is that these hand-me-downs will certainly not look or feel that way.  There are some things that he literally only got to wear once.  

I could talk about Asher all day, and I will, later.  For now, onto other momentous-ness.  Jeff has officially been offered a job in Oxford, England.  I suppose it's not so new to be offered a job in the UK, we've already turned one down this year because it wasn't going to pay us enough to live.  This one is offering more, probably enough to live on, but possibly not quite enough to pay off our debts with.  Having a PhD is great, but it comes with quite a price tag.  Moving across the continent to Chicago is great, but not having expenses paid hurts a little.  Being a stay-at-home mom is awesome, but I haven't been working for quite a bit longer than I've been a mom.  You get the picture.  Anyway, we're still doing the math and as Jeff says, saying no because of money is a sucky reason.  And of course we realize not really a good enough reason.  We want to be saying no only because we're saying yes to where God wants us to go.  (Do you like that turn of phrase?  I was quite impressed with it when I came up with in the car on the way home from church today.  So much so, that I thought I would quote it to you now.  I still have so much work to do on the whole pride thing.)  

So where else might God want us to go?  Well, there's always the possibility of staying here.  Jeff has an interview on Friday with a firm here in Chicago that could be very exciting (and we certainly wouldn't be saying no because of the money).  And then there's the job in France that he's quite excited about.  Right now, it's almost too much to think about so we're putting it off until after his interview.  But I realized today that we will very likely know where we are going (or not going) by the end of November.  Especially seeing as if we are going, it will be within the first couple weeks of January.  Holy crap!!  That's like two months from now.  That's nuts.  Unless of course we stay in Chicago and then all of this will be moot.

Okay, last thing for now.  Jeff's birthday is tomorrow.  Yay!!  He's turning 33.  I'm allowed to share that because I've already turned 33 and he never lets me forget that I'm older than him.  He managed to give me a much better birthday than I'm giving him, poor guy.  He had a surprise birthday party for me and everything.  The best part was that the way he kept me out of the house for people to get in and decorate, was to take me out to lunch for my birthday.  There will be a meal out and presents and a performance of Wicked in November.  That means finding a baby sitter.  Wow, we haven't done that since Father's Day and Asher was a touch less high-maintenance back then.  And hey, now that I think of it, why are we only getting sitters and going out on Jeff occasions, where's my night out baby-free?  Well, that's a blog for another time.


About This Blog

I love this adventure I'm on with my Rocket Scientist. The most recent addition to our expedition has me in awe daily. I can't wait to see My Little Man as a big brother. We started off by moving from Western Canada to Chicago and now we're in the UK. Will this Strange Mamma ever not feel like a stranger in the land?

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