Thursday, July 31, 2008

800.222.1222

That's the number for IL poison control - in case you were wondering.

And if you (or your child) ever bites into a Cascade dishwasher cube you (or they) should drink water and then be monitored, but the worst that should happen is vomiting - in case you were wondering.

And you should probably keep said dishwasher cubes out of children's reach or in a locked cabinet - in case you were wondering.

And Elynor & I are just fine (and so is Ryan) - in case you were wondering.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Evolving House

Take a look at the progress we're (or should I say, the amazing Justin & his crew) making on the house.

I promise, this is progress. Though hopefully it will be a little more apparent to the non-construction-minded-eye in the next few weeks.

For those interested in stats, we move out of our condo Aug. 14 (yes, that's about 2 weeks... don't remind me). We hope to be into the new place mid- to late-Sept. We will be "housesitting" for approx. 4 different friends' households and "visiting" others during our interim period. Fun times are surely ahead!

Elynor's friends taking a nap...

One naked door & one still holding on to a few tiles.

This is the main floor. One day it will be a living & dining room & kitchen. We're still deciding if we'll keep that wallpaper.

Burger or Tofu: That is the Question

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Capping Off the Week

We capped off our week celebrating Chicago's great culture with a Saturday night concert/picnic at Millenium Park, enjoying the Grant Park Orchestra performing a tribute to Luciano Pavarotti. Before you get the idea we're high brow opera fans trying to introduce our daughter at a young age we should disclose that we were simply looking for a fun, free night out with friends and this fit the bill!

We arrived early to fully enjoy the picnic experience and overheard it was also Venetian Night (translation 1 - a boat parade after the concert followed by a great fireworks show; translation 2 - a testament to how busy i've been that i had no clue about this big event). So, a picnic and opera quickly turned into an all-night, under-the-stars event. Yes, this was a little risky with a 10.5 mo. baby who usually goes to bed around 7:30. But she was a champ - foreshadowing a nightowl future? The evening wasn't exactly our pre-baby Millenium Park concerts, but all-in-all it was a great experience.

Getting in the zone to enjoy a tribute to Pavarotti.

Even Daddy can't phase this focus.

Nor can a little boy with no pants. Can you hear me saying "Ommmmm"?

But after all that prep Pavarotti puts me to sleep.

So Mommy & Daddy try to pretend I'm not there.

They even take a hold-out picture just like they did before I arrived.

But don't get too comfy Mommy & Daddy... I want to watch the fireworks too!

And boy, are they cool!

I'm so tired I've now resorted to going sans-pants and making this crazy face. The people sitting next to us were so impressed with me (or so disturbed that Mommy & Daddy had me out) they insisted on taking this family photo.

Westy's Visit - Day 2

Our final day together included AM babysitting by Aunts Katy & Tracy (while mama went to work), a Chicago Architectural Boat Tour, then lunch at Grand Luxe Café. This kid experienced some true Chicago culture in two short days! We haven't yet quizzed her on the architectural trivia, but feel free to on your next visit.

Architecture anyone? Watch out for me on Baby Jeopardy!

Cooling off with her Aunties at Grand Luxe Café.

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Showing off her climbing skills while also providing entertainment for some out-of-town visitors.

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And still going... (sorry Grandpa Lyle, we didn't get any good pics... but I hear you telling us we need to get going in this clip).

Westy's Visit - Day 1

We welcomed Aunt Tracy from Atlanta on our first full day together and enjoyed a day at Millenium Park and an evening in our new neighborhood. Here are some highlights from Millenium Park.




Note: This is just a taste of Elynor's cultural experiences at Millenium Park. This photo doesn't fully capture her building bridges with some new Indian friends. She crawled right up and started pulling up on the stroller, apparently saying hello!



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How cool is it to have the Grant Park Orchestra accompanying your walking training?

Westy's Visit - 1st Nite

Last week we enjoyed what, for the Westrom family, was a long visit - Monday eve through Wednesday eve - here in Chi-town. As always, it was a blast! I did my best to snap lots of pictures and will share them according to the events of each day. As you can imagine, most of them feature Elynor with her grandparents or aunts!

Monday evening featured a trip to O'Donovan's for $2 burgers and staying up way past bedtime.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

On Not Complaining

I'm supposed to be working right now, but I just have to direct your attention to the thoughts from our friends at Lil Monkey Days.

As you may recall from my previous post, Jason, Roxanne & Annikah have recently moved to Africa to serve as missionaries. Their latest blog post on Not Complaining served as a great reminder for me. I have been known to have a bad attitude when things don't meet my expectations or are outside my comfort zone. Yea, times like hiking the Inca Trail in the cold rain come to mind... but it doesn't even have to be that extreme. Goodness, I'm not thrilled to be sitting here working on a Saturday morning. It just seems my default can be to have a spirit of discontent that is manifested in complaining or grumbling. But as Roxanne reminds us, God commands us to do everything without complaining. Wow! Everything?! That's a tall order that can surely only be achieved through the Holy Spirit's work in our lives. Cuz I know it's not of my nature.

So whether you're a muddy mess walking the streets of Africa or changing a diaper in Chicago.... and everywhere in between... your challenge - no, your command - is no complaining!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Maraca

Clearly Elynor has figured out how to eat Cheerios... and decorate the kitchen floor with them. But here, folks, is her debut of the Cheerio maraca. Enjoy this 'taste' of her accompanying John Mayer this afternoon.

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Out to Eat

Elynor is becoming quite adept at dining out. She's gifted at charming the servers and her fellow diners. Tonight we were out for a Mexican feast in our soon-to-be neighborhood. She was a big fan of the fried plantains and is most curious when eavesdropping on a Spanish conversation. Apparently recognizing a difference from her familiar English, she listens intently. Hopefully our move to a more ethnically diverse neighborhood will help her achieve greater multi-lingual success than her parents!




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Monday, July 14, 2008

Playing

For anyone who hasn't seen Elynor in person lately, here's a sample of what playtime looks like -

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(Yes, the abrupt stop was due to some violent screaming. Sometimes curiosity kills (or pinches) the cat.)

Ice Cream

A first encounter -


Artists

While Elynor played, my mom & I spent July 4th painting. Check out our artistry -

Creating this beautiful bags game was truly a family affair. My dad created the wood boxes from scraps. Ryan & I created the design. Then my mom & I measured, drew, and painted. And painted. And painted some more (it felt like forever to get them just right).

The design pays homage to the alma maters represented in our family (undergraduates only). 4/7 of us graduated from the University of Illinois. 2/7 from Illinois State (Redbirds). And 1/7 from Indiana State (Sycamores). Visually, these fractions aren't perfectly distributed. But we Illini really weren't interested in sharing a box. :)

Here's to many happy bags games -

The 4th

We celebrated our country's birthday not unlike we've been celebrating many friends' first birthdays - with lots of parties! We trekked down to Grandma V & Grandpa Kev's (in Greenville, IL) and enjoyed several gatherings with the Keeton clan (Sarah's mom's fam). This family loves any occasion for a party, but this weekend was extra special because we welcomed the newest cousin, Maddie, to IL! Here are just a few shots of the cousins:
Nice meeting you, Maddie. I give you props for your fashion.

But it looks like there's some action I gotta go check out.

Psst, Kelsie, can I play with you?

Thanks, Kelsie. Now can you share some of your tanning secrets?

Hmmmm.... Sorry Kelsie & Karlie, I think my daddy's calling me -

Weeee! Now this is fun!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Have Baby, Will Travel

So, our "in between" time is drawing near. That is, in between closing on (thus, moving out of) our current place and finishing (thus, moving into) our new one. I guess you could call this homelessness, but I prefer "in between" since we'll technically have (and even be paying for) a home.

I've started scouring Craigslist's short-term lease/sublet circuit and even posted an ad offering our "house-sitting" services:
Responsible young family to 'watch' your house while ours is built

Yikes - we're closing on our current place before our new place will be finished! Let us house-sit for you while we wait. We will be homeless from Aug. 14 - end of Sept., so are happy to 'watch' your house anytime in this window. We are a young, professional couple with a 10-month daughter (who we promise won't tear the place up) currently living in Lincoln Square and relocating to Logan Square, but open to house-sitting in most Chicago neighborhoods. Thanks for your consideration!
Please join us in praying God will reveal the perfect short-term arrangement - one with limited hassle, and preferably, limited financial cost (as our $$ is much better spent on new pipes, wires, cabinets, etc. right now). He's already answered so many prayers, we lift these up with eager expectation!

Oh, and if you're interested, let us know if you'd like to utilize our house-sitting services. :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Transition

If you don't regularly check out our friends' blogs linked on this site, then I encourage you to take a few minutes to visit Lil Monkey Days. Our friends Jason, Roxanne, and their little girl, Annikah (approx. 1 year older than Elynor) have just departed on an adventure of a lifetime. They bid farewell to their home (and most of their belongings) here in Chicago to become missionaries on the islands of Tanzania. For those who, like me, are geography challenged, these islands are in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Tanzania, a country on the east coast of Africa.

Ryan & Jason were college roomies and we were involved in the same campus church with both Jason & Roxanne down at U of I. It's really inspiring to watch them answer God's calling on their lives and is exciting to live vicariously through them via their blog! Please join with us in praying for their transition to African life. While Chicago's Roger's Park is a fairly diverse neighborhood, I still think some culture shock is in their future.

9+ months

For those keeping track, yes, we did celebrate Elynor's 9-month b'day on June 13. She's officially been on this side of my abdominal wall longer than the other.

As we celebrated the first b'day of Elynor's friend Emilyn last weekend, I was reminded that Emilyn's birth was also a milestone for us last summer. She was the last baby girl to be born before Elynor amongst our closest friends. We especially anticipated what her name would be, as after her, we would be home-free with our name choice (not copying someone else). It really is remarkable how time flies. These little girls have moved from anxiously awaited flutters inside their mamas' tummies to little women who scoot, play, and flash their personalities - all within the course of one year. I guess this now means Elynor's first birthday is in the next round of celebrations. Yikes!

Until then, here are the 9 mo. stats:
Wgt: 19 lbs. 9 oz. (right on track with 6 mo. in the 75th %)
Hgt: 28.5 in. (also on track with 6 mo. in the 90th%)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Giggles

If you haven't seen Elynor in a little while, you've probably not enjoyed her giggles. Here's a little taste of what happens in response to funny faces, funny sounds, and tickles (especially under the arms).

Oh, and this was during our anniversary celebration. 7 years yesterday - wow! Funny how a fancy night out morphed into $2 burgers, post-baby. But it was a celebration, all the same!

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Staring

We took these pics to try and capture Elynor's numerous facial scrapes received during her exploratory endeavors (for a period we called her Bruiser). But I think they do a better job capturing her more serious expressions. Those eyes will cut right through you - watch out!


Promise

"And God said... Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on earth." Genesis 9:15 & 16