Friday, April 30, 2010

Joys of Homeownership

Our fence snapped all along the mulch line and fell on the sidewalk yesterday. The inspector warned us that the mulch would rot the fence, but we didn't know it would happen within 3 days of living here! We are now exposed to the entire neighborhood, which is not terrible as one neighbor brought us a delicious chocolate cake and the other invited us for a playdate.

Add new fence ASAP to our to do list.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

We Own Grass and Trees

Although we still have a ton of "moving in" to do, we are taking lots of time to play in the grass and walk around the neighborhood. Both our next door neighbors have stopped by to say hello, and we've met the crossing guard on the corner. We live across the street from my niece and nephew's elementary school. Every day at 930 and 330, the crossing guard parks in front of our house and waits for millions of kids to cross the street.

Yes, we moved to the burbs, but it really doesn't feel that way. Yesterday I walked to the supermarket and town. I also walked to Henry's Wiggleworms class. It's amazing! There is grass everywhere we go and there are parks every few blocks. I feel like Henry is thriving in this environment. He seems so much older. If I ask him a yes or no question he often shakes his head no appropriately. He's walking like a champ.

It is also amazing living so close to my sister's and Chris' brother's families. There is so much that can be said about living close to family when you have kids.

Right now, I'm loving E-town.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

We've Moved!

Yesterday was closing day for both the condo and the new house PLUS moving out and moving in day. Eeek! Things actually went fine with the help of an army. Henry stayed overnight with his grandparents - I don't know how we could've done it without their help. We had a 5 man moving crew from Golan's. They were amazing - very professional. I stayed back with the moving crew, and Chris spent the day at the closings and at work.

The movers were done by 3:45, and I immediately got to work on Henry's room, while Chris' dad unpacked the kitchen. Henry and his Evanston cousins/Aunts arrived home :) around 6. It was obvious he knew something was up. He barreled through our new house shouting with joy. He climbed up and down the stairs exploring every room. It was really exciting to see his reaction to the house. Of course, his delirium was more likely due to the presence of his cousins, who he adores, and lack of sleep.

We are so excited about our new home. Although it's bittersweet - we will miss the city - we know this will be a great change for everyone involved.

p.s. No Internet or TV for 2 weeks - ATT Uverse can't get here until then - so please bear with my blogging via iPhone!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Walk Walk Walk ... Fall ... Walk Walk Walk ... Walk?

See it.  Believe it.  Henry is walking!  I'm convinced his late walking translated into fewer falls - of course now that I've written that ...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dirty Tub

Henry takes a bath every other day, and up until recently we always got in the tub with him; we have a deep jacuzzi tub.  After baths, the tub was always lined with a film of lint and dirt.  Who knew a kid could get so dirty?  Now that he's more coordinated, I no longer have to get in with him.  The tub is no longer filthy.  The dirt was my dirt!  Blech.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Learning to pick his nose

On Thursday, April 8, 2010, my son, Henry, picked his nose for the first time.  It wasn't a casual pick.  It was a sudden, aggressive and frantic nose picking incident.  I abruptly pulled his hand away and said a firm, "No."

He has continued to absent-mindedly pick his nose in the stroller, in the car seat and generally as he saunters around the apartment or the park.  I've been vigilantly policing his nose-picking in hopes that he will get bored of it.

Want a good laugh?  Google "nose picking" images. 

Happy HAPPY Birthday CHA!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Is it Competitive Eating or Dancing?

Do you see a resemblance in their dancing styles? My dad called it first, and I agree.  Henry dances with his belly.  He's either dancing Caddyshack gopher style or competitive eating.  I can't decide.  

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Buying Baby Walker Shoes

Shoe store managers and websites all say that new walkers need a good-fitting shoe that has a flexible sole.

Henry is finally walking!  This means I actually have to put shoes on him when we go out.  Rats!  He has a bunch of hand-me-down shoes, but he's either outgrown all the soft/flexible types - Robeez, etc. OR I've lost them.  

I went to Piggy Toes in Lincoln Park in search of new walking shoes, but of course they don't carry any shoes under $35/$40.  We did, however, have a very successful shoe-shopping trip at Target.  No surprise.  I bought 3 pairs of shoes, all flexible and well fitting, for the price of one high-end pair of shoes.  And considering I'm averaging 1 shoe lost per month, this was probably a smart way to go.  I got a pair of Skidders, which I would've loved 6 months ago, because they are sock shoes, which stay on very well.  Warning, our Skidders have a strange gardenia scent, which is oddly pleasing and off-putting at the same time.  Why do my baby's shoes smell like Marc Jacobs fragrance?  Of course, the Target website calls all the shoes I bought "Pre Walk," so maybe I got it wrong.  All I know is that Henry is happily walking in all his new shoes, and he doesn't seem uncomfortable.  We shall see.  I will feel terrible if he develops some debilitating injury from my attempts to avoid expensive baby shoes.  

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Black Out Blinds = Better Sleep

Most pediatricians will say that the darker the room the better baby will sleep.  We've found this to be very very true for both Henry and other visiting babies who have slept in Henry's room.  Henry's room is as dark as a cave, and visiting babies always sleep beautifully in Henry's room.  Parents will repeatedly say, "I can't believe he/she is still sleeping." 

I'm convinced it's a combination of the fact that first, his room only has 1 shaft window, and secondly that shaft window is dressed with honeycomb or cellular blinds.  These babies block out tons of light, and they also insulate the windows.  I was thrilled to see that the bedroom windows in our new house are already fitted with cellular blinds.  Yahoo!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

DwellStudio for Target

Dwell Studio has modern and adorabe patterns and styles for baby bedding and furniture.  Of course, it tends to be pretty pricey.  My friend, who is having twins, just told me about DwellStudio by Target!  These cribs and matching furniture are adorable.  There's no drop side, so no worries about injuries, and it has very useful drawers at the bottom.  Plus the price is NICE - $299! 

Target also carries tons of DwellStudio crib and toddler bedding, blankets, etc.  You can actually buy a cute separate crib sheet for $10.  Yahoo!  No more wasting money on crib sets just to get a nice crib sheet.  Am I the only dope who did that? 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Allergies Are Still Haunting Us - Sort Of

Since he was around 8 months, we determined that Henry's allergies were either gone or extremely mild.  He drinks milk twice a day, eats yogurt, cheese, eggs, etc. without a problem.  That is until we traveled to Mexico where he regularly ate food cooked by others, and those others used a lot of butter.  He loved the pancakes and would gleefully wipe his butter-smeared hands all over his face and hair.  

On day 3, he broke out in a terrible red rash on his face (only).  Now that I think of it, the rash was reminiscent of a rash he had when he was 2-3 weeks old.  I never cook with butter at home, and am convinced that the mantequilla touching his face was the culprit.  Since we’ve been home, he has not had any rashes.  (See above photo - he's eating a cheddar omelet, notice no rash) 

Upon our return home, I took Henry for his 15 month well visit, and our pediatrician recommended we either go to an allergist or do a blood draw at the office.  The blood draw would test for 12 different possible allergies.  It was torture.  Poor Henry screamed the entire time, and the blood came out so slowly.  He survived the blood draw, despite a small bruise. 

A week later, the pediatrician’s office called to tell me that there was not enough blood to do a full test, and the only thing they determined was that Henry has a very mild allergy to something, but they don’t know what it is.  I was livid.   I would recommend avoiding a blood draw for allergies if at all possible.  We will be visiting an allergist once we’re settled in our new home.    

My uneducated diagnosis is that Henry is allergic to dairy when it touches his face.  When he was a newborn I let him nurse resting on the nursing pillow, which would often be wet with breast milk (I was eating dairy).  He broke out in a rash, and I thought it was because the milk was dirty.  Once I started putting a towel under his face, and changing it for each feeding, the rash subsided.  Perhaps this allergy should’ve been discovered a year ago.  Or, maybe the reason so many children have allergies today, is not because more children have allergies, but because in previous generations, children just had rashes and parents assumed it was nothing.  Hmmmmmm.    

Friday, April 9, 2010

Taiwanese Susan Boyle

This is so amazingly awesome.  I love it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Puj Baby Bathtub

This new infant tub by Puj is super cool.  It's a foam tub that folds totally flat when not in use and fits in virtually any bathroom sink.  It saves you from the big plastic infant tub.  Henry flailed and splashed water everywhere, which did not do good things for the cabinets below.  Plus the big plastic tubs are annoying to store.  The flexible foam will hug baby and make him comfy in the warm water.  It's a no brainer!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Great Toddler Spoons and Forks for Self-Feeding

I just got this Beaba fork (4) and spoon (6) set at Giggle while I was shopping for a friend's baby gift.  It's virtually impossible to buy a baby gift without getting suckered into buying something for Henry.  These spoons were worth the shopping guilt/$20.  Henry can actually spear food with the forks (they are sharper than other plastic toddler forks) and the spoon is deep enough to cradle food.  Both features are really useful considering his lack of coordination.  I also plan to wrap a few of them up (we don't need that many) as baby gifts for Henry's pals.  So, don't be surprised if your kid is turning 1 soon and you receive a pink fork and spoon set -- yea, Sara, I'm talking to you.  ;)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sold Our Condo in 2 Weeks!

Despite the real estate crisis, after a week and a half on the market, our condo went under contract.  We had 4 offers, and wrote up our contract for $4K over asking price.  Of course, we went into the process knowing we'd have to take a loss, but even still we breathed a "Phew" of relief once we were under contract.  I’m not saying this to rub it in anyone’s face, but only to say that things might not be as bad as everyone says.  Pending home sales jumped 8.2% in February, so things are looking up!! 

First, our agents are amazing.  I would HIGHLY recommend Ed Jelinek and Susan Amory to anyone selling in Chicago.  They responded immediately to all my emails, and answered all my dumb questions.  We did pretty much everything they asked us to do:  priced it lower than we wanted; put half our crap in storage; nothing on the floors of the closets; moved big furniture around; nothing on the counter tops; etc.  It was no small feat, but 2 weeks after our first meeting with them, our place was up on MLS and the rest of the sites. 

The showings the first week were plentiful but hectic, and I was dismayed when we didn’t receive any offers.  Keeping the condo clean with Henry traipsing around was not easy, but could’ve been much worse.  We hid out at friends’ and relatives’ homes during naps, took long walks weather permitting and ate out in the evenings. 

Our first second showing chose to buy a different place.  But on Wed after the first week of showings we got our first offer.  It was low, and we were slightly offended.  But our agent assured us that in this kind of market people offer very low initially.  We alerted our other interested buyers immediately, and the floodgates opened.  Suddenly we had 4 second showings on Wednesday and Thursday, and 4 offers by Friday.  We asked them all to come back to us with their best offers.  The eventual bid winner required a very quick closing date, giving us 4 weeks to find somewhere to live.  “Ah!  Yikes! Eek!  Gasp!” is what we are thinking – quoted from Henry’s current favorite book, “Duck and Cover,” by Jackie Urbanovic.       

Monday, April 5, 2010

My Busy Kit

Last week my super hip and cool Silicon Valley brother-in-law gave us a gift for the plane called My Busy Kit.  On the last day of our vacation, Aunt and Uncle California gave each kid a Busy Kit bag customized for his/her age.  Henry's had crayons, a pad for drawing, Klix, little men that connect, small car, a quiet noisemaker, shards of broken glass, etc.  The bag (with zipper closure) itself was also entertaining.  He loved taking the toys out and putting them back in.  The toys were all appropriate for quiet play (shards of broken glass weren't actually included), and new, which is always intriguing.  

Busy Kits are meant to entertain kids during travel, church, etc.  Ideally you can purchase them online or at the airport at the newsstand.  Then you keep them hidden until the exact moment you need to entertain your child.  

AWESOME idea for busy parents who don't have time to pack their own bag 'o entertainment.