Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
For those of you that know David, you know that he is a HUGE Chicago Cubs fan. With him growing up outside of Chicago he grew up going to Wrigley. Through the years David has accumulated more memorabilia than any one person could possibly do anything with (unless they wanted to open their own sports museum or sports bar). Many moons ago, when David and I were in our apartment we always said that we would set up a rec room in the basement when we owned a home. In our last home, that never happened as when we finished our basement it was used as an office and a home theatre. All the Cubs stuff was stored except for a small amount that was displayed in a curio cabinet.
Now that we are in our new home, our new basement will eventually be finished but not for that rec room but rather for a play room for Madeline. The Cubs items have been evicted from the curio cabinet as the cabinet is in our living room which is going to be a more formal room. Each of the bedrooms are also designated for a particular use: 1) our bedroom, 2) Madeline's room, 3) a guest bedroom and 4) a crafting room. Knowing that we plan to be in this house until we die or down-size there seemed to be no room for the sports stuff. And then I had a brainstorm.....
Who says the guest room has to be something frilly and fru fru? Therefore, the guest bedroom will eventually become themed in "old time baseball". We have a large vintage black and white photo (approx. mid 40s) of Wrigley Field (see photo above) this will hang over the headboard of the bed in the guest room. I knew I would have to replace the lilac flowered bedspread and when I was shopping today I found a perfect replacement.... At Big Lots (of all places) I found (for only $25!!) a patchwork-like quilt in muted blues, reds and grays (subtle Americana look), The carpet in the room is already blue and the previous owners left white wood slat blinds (in great condition). I will hang blue valances that we used at our old house. The walls in the room are currently a gray-ish color. Also, there are already some white shelves in the room that were left from our house's previous owner. These can be used to display some Cubs stuff. Also, I have a radio that I had once given my mom and got back after her death. The radio is a replica of the old fashioned radios. This is on the dresser in the room. The feel I eventually hope to accomplish in this room is NOT so much rec room decor but rather an "Old Time Baseball" feel so the old-fashioned radio will help that mood. Also, I stumbled upon a baseball throw rug. The rug is not in the bright whites and reds but looks more like an old-time baseball. Good deal on that too.....rug was $40 but I got it for $7.99!!
Two "issues" with this theme for a guest room. 1) David's best friend, Jon, is a frequent guest at our house. Jon is a HUGE Yankees fan......Sorry Jon! 2) When telling my sister, Marysia, about the guestroom theme she asked me a question on the order of, "Will your guests be able to get to '1st base' in that room?" Ughhhh........geez, I didn't even *think* of that!! I would say to that we'll have to have a don't ask, don't tell policy.
But for now, I gotta get the rest of the boxes out of that room before our first guests arrive on Friday.....
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
First, what's up with the "Mama-Dirtyfoot"?? My mom always walked around barefoot. I truly believe that this is hereditary. I, too, can not stand having my feet covered. However, some problems have arisen from this primitive preference. The first is my terribly scaly feet. The pedicure bills tend to stack up, especially in the summer time. David jokes that he knows when I am due for a pedicure when he hears my feet snagging on the sheets. The second problem I encounter is that the bottom of my feet tend to get dirty. I walk barefoot in the basement, in the garage, on the deck, to the mailbox, on the grass.....the list goes on. Mix with this an accidental splatter of water, from hand washing or cooking, onto the kitchen floor and you have a recipe for dirty foot smudges tracked across my entire kitchen. In the summer months, my kitchen floor could probably use a mopping several times a day. I know, I know....pretty disgusting, but this is how David began calling me Mama-Dirtyfoot.
The next question I would like to address is "What is this blog about?" I guess I'll just say, I'll let you know as soon as I do. I have been inspired to start my own blog after following the adoption stories of several families that are traveling to Russia for adoptions. I have enjoyed following these blogs because I could totally relate to the stories of these families. There is definitely an unspoken bond between families touched by international adoption. It is truly an experience; one that I joked was like "Survivor: Russia". My travels to Russia are behind me yet I continue to share this understanding with the families that are currently on this journey. My current journey is one that is also shared with millions. The journey of being Mama. Instead of "Survivor: Russia" I am in a new season of "Survivor" yet in this season, no matter how difficult the challenges are throughout the day, I always win the rewards in the evening as Madeline hands out hugs and kisses and hollers "DaWoo (Love you) , Mama" as I walk down the stairs after tucking her in for the night.
So, again, what is this blog about? "Survivor"? Yes! But also (excuse another television reference) this blog will be a bit "Sienfeld". Wasn't that a show about nothing? So here you have it. A cross between Survivor and Sienfeld or shall I say, the Adventures of Mama-Dirtyoot.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
By the time we got home, Madeline and I had only about an hour before heading back out for Madeline's last summer swim class. You could tell that Madeline has had extra pool time lately as she had greater confidence in her swim lesson today. We will start up Fall swim lessons in late September.
After swim, Madeline and I took a trip to an open house at a local gymnastics school. We were debating on switching Madeline to gymnastics this year. Madeline had fun at the open house and I can see that Madeline would probably enjoy the gymnastics experience HOWEVER.....it's NOT happening! At $52 a month, that is ridiculous! I could pay for Madeline's dance AND swim lessons for the same amount I would pay for just gymnastics. Luckily, in Madeline's eyes, today's open house was simply a fun play date. And thus, DANCE will start again in September.....
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Yet, the question is, how does one *always* know that that they are adopted? It is not like we wake up every morning saying "Good Morning, sweet adopted child". Madeline is our daughter...period! In fact, I sometimes have to remind myself how we came to be as a family as I barely remember it any other way. So, we decided Madeline's "Gotcha Day" will be celebrated each year to mark the anniversary of when we became a family. Likewise, we thought it would be good to also celebrate David's "Gotcha Day". So tonight, the three of us went out to dinner to celebrate Papa's Gotcha Day. And, yes, if you are wondering, Madeline *does* know that Mama does not have a Gotcha Day.
This morning, I asked Madeline if she remembered what Mama and Papa gave her for her Gotcha Day. She said, "Yes, Mulan movie". I asked her, "Do you know what today is?" After Madeline thinking that it was her birthday, I explained that today was Papa's Gotcha Day. I quizzed Madeline, "What should we buy Papa for his Gotcha Day?" After coming up with ideas such as another Mulan movie, shoes and nail polish, Mama decided to buy some funky lights for the pool that David has been eyeing. However, in Madeline's eyes, the best part of Papa's Gotcha Day celebration was the fact that we were able to go to Dairy Queen after dinner.
As for Mama-Dirtyfoot, what have I been up to the past few days??? I am STILL trying to put this house together. It really is quite pathetic and sad! I wanted to buy some curtains for the family room. Yesterday, I had a shopping spree and bought like 4 or 5 kinds of curtains for the family room. I figured that it would be easier to try them at home and then return what I didn't like. Last night I tried them out and NOT ONE of the sets of curtains worked! It turns out I have no perception of color. Everything I bought was in the brown family when in actuality, it needed to be in the green family. So, today I returned all that I bought yesterday and went on a hunt for curtains that were specifically in the green family. I bought 3 sets today and wouldn't you know it, 1 of these sets was STILL in the brown family! Then, I bought an area rug for the family room that needed to be in the brown family and it ended up looking green!......AHHHHHHhhhhhh! I am ready to give up!!
This afternoon I decided to put all this decorating stuff aside and play handyman. I tried to hang a door rack on the inside of the linen closet......couldn't do it myself. I moved on to hang a hook for robes on the bathroom wall just outside the shower....couldn't do it myself. Finally, I tried to finish a project I started on Monday that involved switching around closet organizers between bedrooms. I began hanging a clothing rod. As I was checking to see if the rod was level, the entire rod fell on the bridge of my nose. All I have to say is that I am lucky that I didn't break my nose. But all this frustration was enough to spin me into a meltdown! Needless to say, I am looking forward to the weekend when David is home and can help out with all that manly work!
Monday, August 24, 2009
Although I hoped to accomplish more work than we did, David said my goals are unrealistic. But I must admit, we did still accomplish a lot around the house while still taking occasional breaks for play. The picture above is David taking time out to play with Madeline and her cars (yes, she likes those too) In the particular picture above, the two of them where picking out which car should be Elston's (the kitty). Saturday evening, I went out with a bunch of people from grade school. There were about 20 of us and as the evening progressed, we ended up moving to a karaoke bar. Although I am not in this particular picture, I also got up there and sang my heart out.....not a pretty sound!
Sunday morning came tooooooo early! Madeline has been getting up much earlier than she used to in the old house. I think I need to get some room darkening shades, especially since there are two windows in her new room! After breakfast and church, we spend the rest of the day working away - although we did take a little time to shoot some hoops (see photo).
So what did we accomplish? Aside from my pool/hot tub maintenance (vacuuming pool, adjusting chemicals, etc), David spent a decent amount of time cleaning up the glass from our shattered patio table, we (for the most part) finished getting our kitchen put away, David assembled a huge storage cabinet to use as a pantry (that is one thing I miss from the old house!). Also, David organized the stuff in the garage however we will need a shed to get the rest of the stuff (such as lawn mower & snow blower) out. Below are two pictures of the kitchen/family room area. Although we are making progress it is amazing how much we still have to do!
Standing just inside family room looking into the kitchen. The doorway straight ahead goes into the dining room. To the right of the table is the entrance to the sun room.
In the photo below, I am standing in the doorway to/from the dining room. Here you can see into the family room. You can see our fireplace straight ahead however, I can't decide if I should keep the bookcases (still empty at this time) on either side of the fireplace.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Good news/Bad news today. Where to start?? Well, I guess I'll go in chronological order of yesterday's events.
First, I've been stressed out about the how to's of properly up keeping and maintaining out pool and hot tub. I got very minimal advise from a local pool store and was pretty much winging it with the limited guidance I received. I kept testing the chlorine and Ph levels and tinkered with throwing in various chemicals yet I had no idea if I was making a mess or not. Plus, how often should I vacuum the pool? Rinse hot tub filters? Back wash the pool filter....what's that?!?!? What is the difference between Ph Rise and Soda Ash? What the heck am I doing?? I decided to head over to a *different* pool supply store. They were WONDERFUL!! This new store gave me 2 little bottles to collect water from the pool and hot tub. I could bring in the samples and they tested everything. So I did that and found that the chemical levels were pretty much right on. So, when I thought I had no idea what I was doing, I was actually doing a decent job. The pool place then gave me a little tutorial on what to do going forward to maintain. AND....I can bring back water samples as often as I want to retest. Yep, I will definitely go there from now on!
As for the bad news, a huge storm rolled through the area last night and knocked out power for a few hours. It grabbed hold of our patio set umbrella and shot it across the yard. I am pretty sure that umbrella launching is what also caused our patio set table to shatter into a million pieces.....Whhhhaaaaawwwww!!!! Boooo Hoooo!! But, I mustn't complain as this bad news is actually good news because I realize that the damage could've been a lot worse. The power outage could have caused our sump pump to flood our basement filled with boxes of our stuff waited to be unpacked.....but it did not. The launched umbrella was thrown in the direction of our sun room and it could have been launched into the glass of the sun room or our neighbors sunroom....but it did not. So, although the shattered table is disappointing, I will accept it with a shrug of the shoulders and only a few swear words.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Madeline and I also ran around running some errands today too. Since Madeline has been zipping around the pool on her orange noodle, I decided that I needed more noodles before they disappeared for the summer. Aside from Madeline using the noodles, David and I wanted some too. So, after buying 4 more noodles, Madeline and I hopped in the pool with David joining us when he came home from work. Madeline and I ended up having a blast surrounding ourselves with our 5 noodles. As we jumped around we pretended that we were spaghetti. Madeline thought it was pretty funny when I told her she was the meatball. We had fun despite the fact that we weren't productive. Tomorrow.....kitchen counter progress!!!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The first photo is a peek into Madeline's room from the hallway (don't mind the blue bed rail flopped down at the side of the bed)
This photo is me standing just outside her room. You can see the little hallway area outside her room opens up to the family room below.
One of two sets of windows. You can see the hallway. To the right is where the hall opens to the family room and to the left is a bathroom.
You can see the other set of windows and ooooooohhhhh how desperately we need paint, curtains and pictures.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Madeline is doing great in the pool! She is progressing nicely with her skills although she is by no means officially swimming yet. Madeline is still figuring out the rules of the house. They aren't any different than the rules of our old house but she is testing to make sure the boundaries are still there.
Today, despite trying to make sure that Madeline was somewhat occupied throughout the day, I was able to be semi-productive. What I really need is to have some family around town so that I could drop Madeline off for the day and make some serious unpacking progress. At the speed I am going now I might rid us of all the boxes come Christmas time.
We are officially hooked up with phone, cable and Internet.....yippee!! FYI, my sister Marysia was the first incoming call to the new number.
Also, the prior owner had an electric dryer so we had to get things converted over to gas. That was taken care of today. I am now able to get the laundry started The mountain of laundry that grew during the moving process will also probably start to diminish around Christmas time too!
One additional expense associated in having a pool & hot tub is the cost of laundering the towels.....holy crap! No exaggeration - we have three full loads of towels! Wait....speaking of the hot tub.........I am going to hop in now!
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
David also put together Madeline's swing set. This picture is my view as I peeked out of the 3-season room. I love the mature trees in our yard! We can hear cardinals chirping all day. And here is the craziest thing.... although we used to live in a fairly rural setting and now we live in a city we actually have more "wildlife". Aside from the cardinals and various other birds, we get squirrels and bunnies in our yard and can actually hear the crickets and cicada bugs. Its amazing that we had none of that at our old place! We still have so much to do here but are enjoying every second of it!
Friday, August 14, 2009
I know that I will end up getting grief from my brother, Marty, for posting a cell phone picture (Deal with it, bro!) but I didn't have energy to try to unearth my camera. I will eventually include more photos but unless you want to look at pictures of boxes, there is not much to see at this point. I did, however, include Madeline and David sitting down for our first sit down meal at the house. We still aren't completely unpacked (noticed the plastic solo cups used as wine glasses) and that is why I didn't actually cook (got a rotisserie chicken and sides from Wegmans), but regardless, after a few days of meals on the go the sit down meal (although it was home cooked) was quite nice. In the photo above you can see a peek into our sun room behind our table. The three of us did take a break from the madness and had some family time in our pool. Yes, this video (below....and sorry it's sideways) was also taken with my cell but despite the crappy quality, I am sure you can see that the three of us were having some great family time together.
I am thinking of heading to bed soon as we have another full day of work ahead of us tomorrow. I will post more when I am not half asleep.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
However, I am a bit overwhelmed! After tonight's walk through of the vacant new house it became evident that the entire place will need some fresh paint and carpet cleaning. Yet, since we are moving in tomorrow, it looks as though we will have to do all this gradually. Lots to do! Lots to do....but very exciting!
Monday, August 10, 2009
We also had our Last Supper here. Today I plan to pack up our dishes as we spend the next couple of days eating off of paper. This should be easy as we are planning to go out for dinner tonight after visiting the new house today for our final inspection before the closing. Anyway, last night we popped open a bottle of "Bear & Lion" Old Vine Zinfandel. In addition to the fact that the wine was rated a 94, I liked the name of the wine as I told David that it helped us to toast 2 of the 3 other kitties we had while here. Kitten and Jhombie were "David's girls" before Madeline and I came around. We nicknamed Jhombie "Bear" because she was just like a big black teddy bear and well....if you knew Kitten, you knew that she was a feisty kitty and thus the "Lion" would be a fitting remembrance of her. For dinner David grilled out filet steaks and topped them with crumbled blue cheese (yum!). We also had baked potatoes and broccoli with my crumbs....the only way David will eat broccoli. After dinner we shared some Sticky Toffee Pudding........and then the lights went out. Other than the obvious concern about keeping the water bailed from the sump pump (note to self: by a battery back-up for the new house) David (being a native of the Midwest) was somewhat freaked out about the weather. As for me, I didn't grow up having to worry about tornadoes so I do not have it ingrained in me to be concerned about the weather. Me, sure I worried about water in the basement, but other than that I loved the storm.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
After dinner, David and I sat at our kitchen table and reminisced about all the things that we shared while in this house. We laughed about some of the silly things we did, shook our head in amazement in some of the amazing things we were able to accomplish in or lives while here and discussed some things we would miss and some we would not about our current neighborhood. Through this conversation, I guess I came to grips with *why* I find sadness in this transition and it is this.... Life goes by so quickly. Days, weeks, months and years fly by with out one having a true realization of how much time has actually passed. However, this move has made me realize how this house has been my home for the majority of my adult life. This house has been our home throughout our entire marriage and our entire parenthood. When we look back and reminisce at our time spent here it is evident how long this house sheltered us - in more ways than one. It was our sanctuary. Looking at the life we shared here makes you realize how much time has passed by and how quickly that has happened. Saying goodbye to this house is also closing a chapter on part of our life. We have made a good life here and it is sad to let go. Although I know that our new house will soon become our new home. Eventually our new home will offer the same memories and the same sanctity. But in the meantime, I am tying to breathe in every last second of the time we share here.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Last night as I tried to fall asleep I talked to my mom in my head a little bit. Because I am missing my mom during all this moving hoopla, I said, "Mom, come visit me in a dream tonight. Let me know that you you see what's going on in my life right now and that you are with me". Well, unfortunately there was no dream to report of however, I find the following interesting.
Today, I made a comment on Facebook that our moving date is going to be on August 12th. My aunt commented on my status to inform me that this date was my paternal grandparents wedding anniversary. I responded that I thought this was pretty neat and that I take comfort in this type of thing. I also informed her that David and I left for Russia (to bring Madeline home) on my parents' wedding anniversary date. Later in the afternoon, I made phone calls to discontinue service on our utilities. I took care of our phone service. Initially I was disappointed that we wouldn't be able to carry over our same phone number. Yet, all of a sudden it hit me that the last four numbers of our new phone number are the same as my mother's (and Madeline's) birthday. Suddenly, all was well. Do I believe in numerology? No, not exactly. Sign or coincidence....who knows. All I know is that I found comfort in this "coincidence". Let's just call it a kiss from Heaven.
Thought I would share this video... As we enjoy the last few days in our house, Madeline had some silly papa/daughter time. You might be amazed at the level of rough housing Madeline is getting but from her giggles on the video, you can tell that she is having a blast as Papa rockets her through the air. Madeline is pretending to hop like a bunny and asks David to continue the stunt by begging, "Hoppa Bunny, Peeeze!" How darn cute!!!!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
The last minute packing is coming along slowly but surely. I took a good majority of our artwork off the walls today and packed it up. The lack of our own personal touches in this house our quite depressing. As our moving date approaches we will be quite busy. Monday night we will complete the final inspection of the new house. On Tuesday, we close on the new house and become homeowners once again. Finally, Wednesday is our moving day. I am looking forward to getting settled AND, oh yeah......the hot tub!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Despite being soooooo ready to get this move done, I will miss so many things. I can already get teary-eyed thinking about our last walk-thru of our current home. I can already imagine the feeling of closing the door and locking in the ghosts of our family and all the life and love we poured into this house. How pathetic am I???? I am crying as I type this......oh, brother! I am looking forward to moving into more of a "neighborhood setting" yet I will miss being able to look out our front window and see open fields. I will miss the migratory geese that frequent our neighborhood as a result of our proximity to the Niagara River and open fields. I will miss our baby birdies that grow bigger every day (there are actually FOUR!) and who's mama and papa nest with us every year. I know my mom would be thrilled about my new home but I will miss being able to picture the times that she and I shared together in this home.....from day one, she was here helping me unpack and lining my cupboards with shelving paper. Moving is a stressful experience. Aside from the hassles of packing, moving, closing dates, etc. Moving is also about saying good-bye. Yes, moving is also new beginnings however one home must be said good-bye to before another can be made.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Why the change? When we wen to schedule the date we were told that the sellers of our new house will be out of town on Thurs. August 7th. Honestly, I think that is bogus because they knew we've been talking this date for weeks since the supposed cut-off date on the contract is the 7th. What I think is going on is that they can't get into their temporary (until they move down south) apartment until Monday the 10th......or they wanted the weekend to move. So now, I need to find another babysitter, reschedule the movers and reschedule the delivery of our new refrigerator. Mama-Dirtyfoot is not happy!
Sunday, August 2, 2009
500 miles is a long stretch with a 3 yr old. At least on the way to Michigan City, I was able to break up our trip by visiting a friend however, today we attempted to drive straight through. In the PM days (Pre-Madeline Days) David and I could make the drive in 7 hours if we really pushed ourselves. Today, our journey took 9 hours. Part of the major problem was there was construction and thus a detour near Detroit. The detour signs were terrible and our GPS kept trying to take us back on a different Interstate that would've taken us way out of the way. Since we ended up in downtown Detroit, David and I decided to try to cross into Canada via the tunnel instead of the bridge that we normally travel. I do have to say that David has a great sense of direction and he can normally find his way around anywhere....except today. Amazingly our GPS (which also is normally right on) was absolutely useless in giving us help. There was one sign for the tunnel which we followed but then no additional signs were provided. We finally, from our limited knowledge of the skyline of Detroit and the general lay of the land, were able to get our butts over to the tunnel and into Canada to finish the second half of our trip home.
How did Madeline occupy herself during all of this? She had a white board and markers and was busily drawing away. After numerous requests for Mama's drawings of Ariel, Flounder and Sebastian (from The Little Mermaid), Madeline was quite quiet in the backseat. I turned around to see that Madeline applied "make-up" all over herself. Madeline did not stop at her face! She also accessorized with "bracelets" and "ankle bracelets". All I have to say is that I am glad to be home!
Saturday, August 1, 2009
As far as the birthday festivities, David's dad was completely surprised. He thought he was just heading to dinner with David's mom but when he arrived, the entire family (us traveling from NY and brother Ed's family traveling from Wisconsin....Carolyn & Dan live in town) was at the restaurant. Madeline greeted Grandpa with a Happy Birthday balloon. It was a very nice get-together thanks to David's sister Carolyn who coordinated all the small details of the event. Aside from decorations, great favors, and the cake (which she had all of us sign with icing before Dad arrived) Carolyn even went to the trouble of getting a box of gag props so that we could take a "walk on the wild side" with a silly picture. After the family completely overtook a section of the restaurant, (ooooppppsss, sorry co-diners) we headed back to David's parents house to visit some more. A good time was had by all! Happy Birthday, Pop.