Sunday, August 31, 2008

Twins

While staying with our friends the Campins, we got just a taste of what it must be like to have twins. Their son, Everett, is 2 weeks younger than Elynor. One evening, in an effort to give his mama, Leslie, a break, I took both kiddos out for a jog. How funny it was to receive the glances, encouragement, and comments from strangers who definitely thought they were both mine.

The next night Rye & I took both kiddos for a stroll to Dairy Queen. Again, many assumed we were the parents of twins. But what was possibly the funniest part of our outing was the intersection of Elynor's and Everett's personalities. You see, on the spectrum from laid-back to high-strung, they are probably on opposite ends. Give Everett his paci and he's happy to comfortably take in his world. Give Elynor cheerios, water and a toy and she might very well attempt to escape from the stroller while screaming at the top of her lungs. This is obvious in the below pics from Dairy Queen. Upon sighting her daddy's sundae, Elynor loudly expressed her desire to share while Everett remained content with his water. In fact, after Ryan had given Elynor several tastes of ice cream I suggested those around us surely thought we neglected our son. On the way home, while Elynor screamed and Everett remained chill, we joked that Everett was getting his first taste of high-strung, emotional women.

Later that eve Rye & I had to put both kids to bed. Let me just say how thankful I am that that was a one-night experience and that we were both there to help! The logistics involved with feeding, changing, bathing, and putting down two babies are extreme. This seems obvious, yes... but it was not fully appreciated until the experience was mine. While it was fun to pose as a mama of twins while out running, the glimmer faded back at home. What a new respect I have for all mamas (& daddys) of multiples (including my grandparents, as my mom is an identical twin)!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Stop 4

In an effort to leave the smallest footprints possible at our housesitting gigs, my camera hasn't moved much from my suitcase. So my apologies to you faithful blogrollers disappointed in my recent posts!

That being said, I have to give a huge shout-out to our awesome friends & family! We are currently at stop #4 in our journey (taking us to 5 different homes b/c we were in separate locations for 1 week) and we have to daily give thanks for the tremendous blessing of hospitality. Not only have doors been opened, but so too have cabinets, gallons of milk, washing machines, beds, toy boxes and secret spare key locations - to name a few. We are truly blessed and look forward to extending this gift to others once our home is complete.

One of the highlights of taking up residence at other peoples' homes is enjoying things like the beautiful HD TV here at the Mouse house. So I'll wrap up this post with a few pics so I can get back to some HD Cubs action.

Stop 2, The Lee's: An open suitcase lying on the floor invites a little girl to explore.

Stop 3, The Campin's: Thanks for sharing your cool toys, Trinity & Everett!

Stop 3, The Campin's: And your cool toy, Miss Leslie.

Stop 4, The Mouse's: Borrowing Lauren's highchair, I'm still eating like a champ.
Stop 4, The Mouse's: Daddy and Indy the greyhound chillin' after I go to bed.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Resurfacing

For those wondering what's up and where we're at -
We closed on our condo last Friday (after a long, tiring week)!

We kicked-off our period of nomad-dom at my parent's house in the peaceful, quiet country (a much-needed respite following the week of packing).

Rye returned to Chicago via train on Monday while Elynor & I continued to enjoy parent/grandparent spoildom (and I took care of several new home decisions) down in Greenville (see pics of Elynor, below).

Elynor & I trek back to Chicago tomorrow (pray for me, as she's not the best car rider) to reconnect w/ Rye and move into nomad home #2 (is it a bad sign that I'm already tired of packing up suitcases?).
Over the next several weeks I'll do my best to continue to post updates, but as we jump from home to home our internet access may be spotty, so please don't worry if you don't hear from me for a little while.

"The corn is as high as an elephant's eye..." sings Elynor as she peers at the fields through the back windows.

"I think I can, I think I can..." chants Elynor as she positions herself to lift the dining room table.

"Where's Elynor? Where's Elynor?" calls Mama as she tries to find her hiding behind a dining room chair.

video

After eating Grandma's good cookin' for nearly 2 weeks, Elynor decides she needs to do some laps.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jungle Gym

Following in the footsteps of generations before her, Elynor cannot resist the temptation to play with cardboard boxes.

Further Progress

By this time tomorrow the movers should be en route to our storage unit. Yikes! I'm making progress - all the kitchen cabinets are empty, Elynor's room is dismantled and the storage unit is ready to go - now it's on to our room and all the odds n' ends. Sending stuff to storage and separating out what we'll need in the next month adds a layer of complexity to things. Maybe someday we'll have a move where everything goes directly to the new place (we had a month in limbo last time too)? I keep thinking about our friends, the Wheeler's, who, this time last year, were also packing up... but they were putting things in storage and heading to London!

Anyhoo, thanks to some great babysitters (thanks mom & dad) and great friends loaning cars & giving boxes (thanks Ty & Laura), we're in great shape to move on to the next phase of this journey.

And lest you fear, it's not all work and no play here. We enjoyed our time sans-baby last night with a birthday celebration at De Cero and Cirque Du Soleil. Nice work Rye!

Phew - all the glass is packed!

Just one year ago this room anxiously awaited Elynor's arrival...

Monday, August 11, 2008

The House of the Lord

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock... I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Psalm 27: 4 & 5, 13 & 14
These verses gave me comfort this morning as I disassemble our current home, preparing to embark on a nomad's journey before eventually landing in a new home. While I desire for my earthly home to model that of my heavenly home - being a welcoming place of solace, comfort, and peace - it will never replace the house of the Lord. No matter where my head may fall in the coming weeks, I will dwell in the house of the Lord. And as I wait for our new place to see completion, I will take confidence in God's goodness and promises.

TP

So, last night we met my parents in Bloomington to make the Elynor exchange. She gets to spend the week in grandparent-spoildom while we pack up, clean up, and move on out (oh yea, and celebrate my b'day tomorrow - yippee!).

This morning it really hit me that she's not here when I sat down to do, ahem, my business. No, not because I wasn't sharing the experience with a little girl hanging onto my knees or trying to see what was going on "in there". But because I actually pulled the toilet paper from it's holder on the wall. Yes, how nice it is for TP to gently spin from the roll as it was designed and not be clumsily twisted while sitting high atop a counter, safe from the reach of a curious little girl but also awkwardly out of reach of he/she who needs it.

When the cat's away the mouse will play.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Recovery

Elynor and I often visit our neighborhood Starbucks for a morning cup of coffee and some people watching. After getting my coffee, Elynor usually enjoys her breakfast and some people engaging. I don't particularly love Starbucks as an organization, but I've always loved the connected feeling I get from visiting most coffee shops and Starbucks is quite convenient to our home. Elynor & I have made many friends together and it seems a great place for her to explore the dynamics of her world (and yes, it's nice to just be out of the house).

Today was not unlike others when a man walked in the front door and immediately made friends with Elynor. He commented on her "swimming pool" eyes and how she was decked out in red, white & blue (the Olympics start today!). These comments were not unlike those made by many others and elicited smiles and waves from Elynor. What was different was that this man appeared to be a little offbeat. I don't think he is homeless, but he possibly has a mental or just social disability. I've seen him around the neighborhood with others who seem to roam about and sometimes make awkward comments. But the cool thing was Elynor didn't notice any of these things (though I was a little concerned that his beard and aged look might frighten her). She just smiled at her new friend.

Fast forward a few minutes, after said gentleman has gone around the corner to get his water. While I'm playing with Elynor and making another new friend, a Starbucks barista peeks around the corner. She places a little coupon on my stroller and utters something about not knowing what just happened, but hoping everything is okay... and have a free drink next time. I wasn't sitting right next to her so it took me a minute to even process what she was saying. And then another few moments to figure out why she was giving this to me. At first I was ready to tell her she had me confused with someone else - maybe someone who's drink was spilled or food burnt. Surely someone else. But then the light bulb came on. She was referencing the aforementioned interaction. She wasn't close enough to hear or see that it was all very gentle. Likely operating from previous experiences, she assumed apologies were in order. I smiled and said oh no, everything was just fine, but thank you for checking and for the free drink.

Here's what my coupon says:
A cup should never be half empty.

We apologize if your Starbucks experience was anything but wonderful. We want to know how we can make things better and always invite you to share your thoughts with us.

The next time we see you, please enjoy a beverage, on us. We hope your next visit is better.

Back:
....Surrender card at time of redemption to receive one complimentary drink, any size.... Barista, please ring as "Recovery Cert.".... Cash value 1/20 cent.
I'm still processing this experience, but here are just a few of the thoughts swimming in my mind:

1. It's pretty cool that a company has "Recovery Certificates" ready for distribution. I even like the name - recovery. How many of us would love to have our own recovery certificates for times that we goof up? This tells me they really care about my entire experience. They can't really control who comes in or out of their business or what people say/do, but they take it on themselves when it's inside their doors. Okay, I'm probably biased because of my professional background, but this kind of thing goes a long way for my liking of a brand!

2. On the one hand I guess it's kind of nice that someone was looking out for me. And I guess there have been plenty of previous experiences (here and elsewhere) when I wish someone would have helped me out of awkward encounters. And I don't fault them for making the assumption - it was likely based on very legit previous experience(s). But at the end of the day, I am sad that this assumption was made. I know I often do the exact same thing, but I desire to welcome and love people without barriers - and I long to teach the same reaction to my daughter. In fact, that's one of the beautiful things about hanging out at Starbucks or just around our city. We have regular exchanges with people who are different than us, but deserve the same respect and love. Maybe I should give my free drink certificate to this man or one of his friends.

3. About a month ago I was in the same Starbucks with my sister-in-law, Katy, when she experienced an annoying and messy spill because the lid on her smoothie was not closed all the way. It was not at all her fault, in fact, the barista even said, oh sorry, this happens all the time with those lids. But while we endured stares, the clean up, and the sticky aftermath, we hardly received an apology, much less a "recovery certificate".

4. How is the cash value of a free drink 1/20 cent. when they charge me nearly $2 for a small coffee? And why do they need to print that on this certificate?!

Move in Progress

Slowly but surely our home is morphing. As you can imagine, Elynor is loving this new playground (although, she screams at the sound of packing tape, which makes it difficult to pack while she's awake). Fortunately, she is going to her Grandma V & Grandpa Kev's on Sunday so she can enjoy a safer playzone and we can get fully packed before the movers come next Thursday.

The aftermath at Elynor's playzone.

A modern workspace. Foreground: Piles of paperwork for new home selections. Background: Boxes prepped to live in the new home.