Friday, July 30, 2010

Our First Guests

After a stressful week of unpacking boxes and trying to find my way around a new city, I was so excited to have my sister's family visit for the weekend from Nashville. I think everyone was a little concerned this might overwhelm me, but it was SO great to have them here. My sister always has a major case of the "go-go's" and she forced us to get out of our little neighborhood comfort zone and do some touristy things. The first night they were here we stayed in Roscoe and I took them to a fantastic Italian restaurant only 2 blocks from my house -- Piazza Bella -- and I was able to show them the new 'hood. Saturday was a completely different story because they wanted to venture off downtown. And where did Amy want to go first? To take Mimi to the American Girl Store! I have to admit I was even a little excited about this. Mimi stopped and said, "Wow!" as soon as she saw the store and she couldn't take it all in fast enough. She thought the dolls were neat, but she loved their toys the most.
But her most favorite was the Bitty Better Kit, which was an overpriced pink doctor's kit. If you've been around Mimi any, you know she sometimes likes to call herself "Docta Mimi." She had a blast taking care of the babies . . . so of course we had to bring this kit home with us so she could make sure we all stay in good health.

By the way, check out the difference in our hair color. Really? How did I have this child?
Mimi's first cab ride in the city. And what do you do without a carseat? Stand up so you can look out the window and let the wind blow in your hair, of course. And we all know what wonderful, safe drivers these cabbies are. Yeah, right.
Next stop was the Navy Pier, which was tourism at its best. Mimi found some great music to shake her little body to, and I'm pretty sure she was getting more attention than the band! Check out the guy in the green shirt -- recognize him from "The Biggest Loser"? Okay, me neither, but someone said he was the winner. I googled some photos and couldn't find anyone looking like him, but I'll go with the rumor.
And after an extremely long day, tourist Mimi finally sacked out in the stroller (thank goodness). Mimi's favorite part of the whole weekend was having her cousin Nick around. Nick is pretty darn special to Mimi and she woke up every morning looking for him . . . and she still does occassionally. I have to tell her he's in Nashville, but she still seems a little sad he can't spend every day with her. She loves him so much that she calls every little boy between the ages of 6-11 Nick!

So some more updates from the Darby family:

1. First of all, we still love Chicago and mainly because the people are sooo awesome -- the moms at the park, the other couples that live in our building, the waiters at the restaurants, the really nice guy who helped me carry Mimi's stroller up a flight of stairs, and the old man with a cane who made it a point to turn around and walk back to a door just to hold it open for me. How awesome.

2. I had another doctor's appointment today, which I was completely nervous about. Not the appointment but the whole day itself. I exhausted all my resources for babysitters to watch Mimi so Clint and I could go alone, but none of the sitters were able to watch her today. And then Clint realized he had the time wrong and actually had a meeting with a borrower during that time. Yikes! I had to figure out how to get to the office I have never driven to, figure out how to park and get Mimi inside, and then figure out how to keep her occupied while in the office for maybe up to two hours. On top of this we also had to find a UPS warehouse south of downtown to pick up a package that the UPS guy refused to leave downstairs in our building. Double Yikes! Okay, with the big girl britches on I attempted finding the UPS place first. Success. And Mimi let me hold her the entire time we were waiting, which was painless. Then off through the traffic to the doctor's office and to figure out parking. Parking that was a couple of levels below ground. Parking that was not handicap accessible and therefore not stroller-friendly for a very pregnant momma. So we get to the stairs and this super sweet couple immediately stopped me and the guy told me I had to let him help me with the stroller up the stairs. Well, of course I did. And then came the old man with the cane holding open the super-heavy door to the elevators. So impressed.

Anyway, Miss Mimi was a complete angel in both the waiting room and the exam room. She stayed in her stroller the entire time and played with her new Docta Mimi kit and examined her baby doll. Wow, God was really helping out a stressed out momma today.

The exam itself was wonderful and the doctor I saw today let me know everything is perfect. She heard me talk for about 2 seconds and realized I had just fallen off a Mississippi turnip truck and asked me how long I had been in Chicago. Uh, just 2 weeks. So being the thoughtful doctor that she is, she asked how I felt about an early induction so I could have family around to help out with the little munchkin who was in her stroller singing "Baa Baa Black Sheep" to the top of her lungs. We set the date for August 23, and, whew, do I ever feel better. It doesn't look like Mack is at all interested in making an early arrival, so we should be safe knowing he probably won't come before this date.

3. We are beginning to make friends and feel more at home. We are meeting a couple over the weekend Clint knows from his job probably to let our girls play at the park and are grilling out with the neighbors one night. I also met some mommies at the park who have little girls Mimi's age and they have a girl's group that sounds a lot like my Bunko girls in Memphis. I so need an outlet from watching Yo Gabba Gabba and playing Docta Mimi and Barbie Make-Up party!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Moving on . . . and how to deal with it

On Wednesday, July 14, we left Memphis, Tennessee.
The car was packed, Toy Story was in the DVD player, Ruthie was already drowsy from the Dramamine, and Clint and I were trying to stay focused on the drive ahead . . . and not what we were leaving behind.
And that is what we've been trying to do since that day. Stay focused on what is ahead. But I have to be honest -- it has been difficult. This opportunity to move to Chicago came up only a few weeks ago, and I took about 3 seconds to consider not jumping on it. Clint voiced a few concerns, and I hushed him. I knew making a transition this major wouldn't be easy, but it would all work itself out. The pros would outweigh the cons.
But I have to be honest with myself and take off the rose-colored glasses for just a second. This. Is. Hard. Most of our friends and family are within a few hours of Memphis. I had a great job. Mimi was happy in preschool. I am very pregnant. We had a great house that was convenient to everything (and didn't require unpacking). We know Memphis like the back of our hands. I need to take a minute to acknowledge these things.
It would have been easy -- way too easy -- to stay in Memphis. But we would have been restless and wondering "what if?" forever. I don't regret the move, and I don't think Clint does either. We've just been so busy getting settled that I haven't taken the time to deal with all this change and accept that I'm scared . . . because I am. But I need to understand that it's okay to be nervous and scared with all this change. Who wouldn't be? I need to dive in head-first, make some mistakes, and learn as I go. So as all this changing and learning and growing is going on, I plan to try my best to keep track of what I've learned.
Lesson #1: Do not try to get everything accomplished in one day. We have signed a 2-year lease, which means I have, well, 2 years to get things accomplished.
Lesson #2: Wear comfortable shoes and watch out for bumps in the sidewalk. I have serious bruises on a couple of toes on my right foot. It's too painful to even recount what happened.
Lesson #3: Put Ruthie on a serious leash/collar so she doesn't get loose at a very busy intersection, snap at in innocent bystander, run in and out of traffic, and take what seems like hours to catch while said bystander is cussing me. All while this very pregnant girl is running around crying and using sailor-language herself. Not very pretty.
Lesson #4: Ask for help. Let people open the door for me. Let someone else pick up heavy boxes. In other words, don't forget I am 35 weeks pregnant.
Lesson #5: Take advantage of advice from other local moms. I have been trying to pick up suggestions from other moms at the playground and have learned about an indoor playground, music classes, libraries, and the really cheap toddler classes offered at the park across the street. This week I plan to do some research and figure out what Mimi and I can get involved in. I HAVE to get involved soon. I've also gotten a couple of numbers of good sitters. Score.
Lesson #6: "If you are the mother of young children and have a spotless house, then you are not a very good mother." Thank you, Ann.
So enough of the seriousness and time for some photos. First of all, when we arrived to our new home it was completely empty. Of course Mimi thought it was so cool to be able to run around and scream. By the way, when we left Memphis we took her by the house one last time to let her say goodbye. I thought this might be sad for her, but she was so excited by all the open space that she just ran in circles and yelled to hear her echo. Finally she did stop by where the TV once stood and asked, "Where Yo Gabba Gabba?" I explained it was on the moving truck and that was all she needed. Anyway, here she is with my dad waiting on the moving truck to arrive.
And lets talk about the moving truck for a minute. It was manned by the two best movers ever -- Theodus and Jarrell. They did an awesome job of getting everything loaded in Memphis but really won my respect with all the challenges they faced in Chicago. They had to "create" a parking spot on a very busy street, carry all of our things down a narrow, gravel alley, and then lug it all up 3 flights of stairs. And Jarrell did a great job of bringing me a stool every now and then and telling me to sit down. God bless them.
Unpacking was quite an ordeal since I guess everyone was relying on me to know where things should go. Of course, I wanted them to get my blessing before putting anything anywhere, and we all know how awful I am at making decisions. But most items have a home now, and I have only five boxes left to unpack (and they are probably full of things that can go in the dumpster). And the unpacking process isn't easy when I can't pick up heavy items and have this big belly in the way.
Mom and Dad left that weekend, and Clint began work in his new office on Monday. His commute was a little longer than normal, but I think he enjoys being in the middle of downtown and being able to meet clients for lunch rather than just talking with them over the phone. And I also began my first day at my new job -- Stay at Home Mom. I set my expectations for myself way too high on this one for my first week on the job. I truly thought I was going to be able to get soooo much accomplished -- unpack all the boxes, clean the entire house, get all the laundry finished, sew some things for Mack, research the area, AND teach Mimi to be the smartest toddler in the world. Let's say I failed miserably at most of these things. Of course, Mimi is the smartest toddler in the world, which is why I couldn't get any of these other items checked off the list -- she requires way too much attention. So here she is eating her breakfast on our first day at home together. At least I remembered to feed her. Two points for me. Mimi is in love with the new place. Most of all, she is obsessed with the stairs. She has never lived in a home with stairs (neither have I, for that matter), and she is fascinated by how she can sit at the top and look down to see the rest of the downstairs. I complain about all the stairs, but she L-O-V-E-S them. Guess I need to learn to have her attitude.And here she is with her new blanket that we have named "Big Baby." Mimi has two small "lovies" she calls "Babies," and I found this large one at a local children's store that I just had to have for Mack. As soon as Mimi saw it, she shrieked with delight and has been dragging it around with her and sleeping with it. We also call it "Mack's baby," but I'm not sure he'll ever lay a hand on it.At night we say our prayers with Mimi, and we rattle off everything we are thankful for: Poppaw, Bebe, Top, Shug, Yo Gabba Gabba, the park, blocks. Whatever, I just roll with it. A couple of nights ago I let her know we also need to pray for baby Mack as he's growing in Mommy's tummy. At the end of me saying the prayer, Mimi then adds to the list in case there is anything I've forgotten, and that night she said "Thank God Mack and T Bone." What? "and Cleo and Clippard." Oh my. Mimi watches Clifford the Big Red Dog, and there is a dog named Mack. She totally thinks her new little brother is the gray dog from Clifford. Oh well.
So maybe the stairs is Mimi's new favorite place, but here is mine:It is so exciting to be able to stand in the kitchen and see the TV and the beautiful view out the windows. Although I loved the house in Memphis, I was always wanting to knock the walls out of the kitchen. And, yes, I did make the breakfast on that plate on a weekday morning. Hooray for me!
So maybe Clint's new favorite place may be looking out his office window at this view. I think it's pretty cool . . . and so does Mimi.Actually, she thought the entire building was pretty cool. We went on a Sunday when no one was around so she could run wild, which is what she does best.Here's another favorite place: Felger Park. It is absolutely fantastic for toddlers, and I have tried to take Mimi every day since we've lived here. Thank goodness it's only a block away. Mimi and I are trying to be adventurous and explore the neighborhood a little each day. Every store and restaurant is uber-kid-friendly, so I have no problem going in places with her by myself. We stopped at a deli for dessert one afternoon, and she spent about 45 minutes playing with a wooden dollhouse that was in the middle of restaurant.
I am excited about this week and am going to force myself to take it slower. Oh, and I am calling a sitter from the list a mom at the park gave me. Clint and I need a lunch date soon.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Our last days in Memphis

The last morning Mimi woke up in her crib in the Bungalow on Prescott I decided I must grab the camera. I don't know how long it will take to get her new toddler suite set up in Chicago, so I wanted to record these last few sweet moments in her green baby room. And, yes, she does pull her Jellycat pig off the side of her bed and completely cover herself with it almost every night. Silly girl.

Spike will be living with his grandparents in Germantown while we are in Chicago. He just turned 17-years-old, and just like any other senior citizen he gets a little pissy with change. Especially if that change means extreme cold, which isn't good for his joints. So this is his last morning in the kitchen . . . waiting on a treat, of course.
And Mimi's last breakfast in the kitchen. Sigh.

I finally have internet as of about 30 minutes ago -- after trying to decipher all the Greek the internet guy was speaking to me. We are officially residents of Chicago as of last Wednesday, and things have been going smoothly. We love the condo, we love the weather, we love Clint's new office (even though the commute is a little longer than he hoped), and I LOVE the people. I cannot get over how incredibly nice people have been. A guy who worked in one of my doctor's offices in Memphis (who is originally from the Chicago area) tried to explain the difference in "nice people" from the South and everywhere else in the nation to me. He said in the South everyone is nice -- even jerks may appear to be nice, but then they'll stab you in the back . . . of course with a smile. Everywhere else only the really good people are nice -- the jerks don't waste their time. So at every restaurant and playground we have found some really, really nice people. As soon as they find out we're new to the area, they are eager to give us e-mail addresses and phone numbers along with letting us know about events and kid-friendly places. Wow, I am sooo impressed.
We had a mini-birthday celebration for Mimi at Ben and Jerry's last weekend. Don't be upset if you weren't invited -- it was very impromptu and thrown together. No invitations and, well, she really doesn't turn 2 until August 1. I just wanted her to have a party with some of her friends.
Can you tell chocolate is her fave? Just like her Mommy.
This was the best photo of the group -- and believe it or not pink and green wasn't a requirement, but it's awfully cute that all the girls match. Poor Causey had gotten tired of my paparazzi photography. Sorry, Causey.
The girls had quite the dance party on the Ben and Jerry's patio. Oh, and Mimi is indeed a fairy princess -- thank you, Hadley. I haven't unpacked the box with this inside, so it will be such a treat for Mimi to see again!
I love this one -- it totally describes the relationship with Mimi and her best boy BFF Banks. She is trying to be all prissy and aloof while Banks stares at her confused. Something tells me he may never understand her craziness.
Before we left Memphis, we had several opportunities to hang out with our best friends, and, wow, GRATEFUL is the best word that comes to mind. Clint and I have loved being able to spend our last few years in Memphis surrounded by some amazing friends, and I am still trying to come to terms with how we'll get by without them. Of course we had Clint's sweet family in Memphis who were always willing to help out, but having such amazing friends is a true blessing -- they aren't obligated to help like family! Ha! We went to McEwen's a couple of Fridays ago with our buddies, and this was so special because Clint and I ordained McEwen's as our "special" restaurant in Memphis. It was where we ate the night we got engaged, for any job promotions, when we found out I was pregnant. Also, the girls helped with a brunch for baby Mack at Majestic last Saturday. I have photos but haven't had time to save them yet -- maybe I'll get back to this because it was so fantastic.
And I need to end here - with a half boxed-up dining room - because I know this nap cannot last much longer.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

In case you're nosy . . .

I am a self-proclaimed Nosy Nellie, and I'm not ashamed. Even the most boring lives are of interest to me – especially when those people have a great blog. So I admit to being a blog-stalker, and I KNOW there are many more out there (stand up and show yourself, Kyle). Of course there are some like my sister, Amy, who only look at the pictures and others like Ann who will keep me in check if I'm not posting enough for her satisfaction, so I am trying my best to keep to the standards that have been set (at least my own standards). I also feel a sense of obligation because I am all of the above: stalker, photo-looker, and just nosy in general.

This post is for all you other Nosy Nellies out there – it's just an update on my boring little life, as if anybody cares. Promise I'm not a Narcicist (did I spell that correctly?), but for some reason I don't have a problem sharing all my biz with the whole world. Now if I can just talk everyone else into it . . .
  1. First thing's first. The pup pup (as Mimi calls them) update:
    So sorry I dropped an emotional bombshell recently about my furry child, Spike. Clint was in Milwaukee and Mimi was at my parents', and maybe I was just a little lonely and extremely emotional. Two vet visits with two rat terriers, lots of immunizations, baths, nail trimmings, preventative meds, and $850 later (did you just choke on your coffee? because I did), both dogs are flea-, heartworm-, and intestinal worm-free. Whew. Don't we all feel better now?

  2. The career update:
    Because of the $850 and many, many, MANY other expenses that are popping up absolutely everywhere with this move, I may need to start my own business. We're not drowning, but I am Miss Independent and am having issues with Clint being the only one bringing home the bacon. He's fully capable of taking care of things, but I'm not fully capable of letting him. I'm just a beginning sewer and some of you probably made fancier things in high school home-ec, but I might be up for sewing for friends a little in the near future. Not that I will have much time now, but hopefully I can make a few things a week before too long. If you have ideas or suggestions, just let me know. Before I really begin, I'll post some samples. And what will this "company" be called, you may ask? Mimi & Mack, of course. If I'm going to give my children cutesy pootsey names, I might as well use them to my benefit.

  3. Clint's job update:
    As of this week, Clint has locked in office space in the Sear's Tower in downtown Chicago! How fantastic does that sound?

  4. My current job update:
    Last day is next Friday. Tear . . . but that's okay. I can't wait to find out who takes my place because from what I've heard there are several fantastic candidates. I've been taking my time in my favorite offices and making sure I tell everyone that I'm leaving, whether they care or not. And lucky for me, they usually pretend to care, so that makes me feel better. Oh, and thank you, Laura, for blogging about Audrey Grace. You are on my list to stalk J.

  5. Wilson McLain Darby update:
    I feel really, really good this week after feeling a little tired and cranky for the past two. Mack is still extremely low and is breech with his feet pulled up in front of his face. In the 3D ultrasound, we could tell that he has Mimi's sweet little nose and profile, and he's an egg-head – very little hair. I've heard that hairy babies cause more indigestion, and I have had very little with him. He is measuring a little bit bigger than Mimi was at this point, so maybe he won't be as itty bitty as she was. Also, he's starting to have hiccups a little, which is so much fun.
    A few weeks ago I mini-panicked realizing that I have nothing for him that isn't pink and took the time to buy a few essentials. The bumper pads have been made (if you need a good seamstress in Nashville -- I've got the girl. I was too scared to make the bumber pads!), and I just need to get started on the crib skirt. If you're a toile and plaid person, brace yourself for this fabric – it's kinda wild.

I've also gotten a few outfits, and I'll have to say that shopping for little boys isn't all that easy. There may be a hundred racks for girls but only one for boys in a store. Since I have a sewing machine, I think I need to put it to good use for little Mack. Here are some boy fabrics I've racked up on. By the way, they were all purchased at Bumbletees, which you have to check out if you are ever near Germantown. I stopped by during lunch today to snatch up all boy fabrics they had, and the sweet lady asked me if there are any fabrics in that store that I haven't purchased yet . . . hmm, there were only a few. I'm a little obsessed, don't you think?

6. Mimi, AKA "Trouble" Darby update: Friday morning in the car Mimi and I were listening to The Spectrum on XM when Ray Lamontagne's "Trouble" came on . . . and Mimi started belting out "Trouble . . . trouble." Whew, Girlfriend is some trouble but, my word, I love my little bad girl. Never a dull moment when she's around. I let her teachers Melinda and Angela know her last day will be next Friday, and they said, "But who's going to entertain us now?" Mimi tries to boss them around and gets out of trouble by being cute (for example, she hits someone, her teacher's say her name, she smiles really big and says, "HI! What you doin?"), and just like Clint and me, they laugh. Sigh. She'll never have any discipline – at least not from us. Recently we stopped by Kyle's house, and what did she do to cutie-pie Banks? Banged his head with plastic spoons, hit him when she got mad at me, and threw a couple of balls at his sweet little blonde head. And what did Banks do? He just looked at her not understanding . . . just like boys never understand crazy girls like her.
I've been trying to talk with her about all the changes that are about to take place, and she sooo doesn't get it. We talk about Baby Mack being in my tummy and how he will be her baby, her best friend, her Mack . . . and she just lifts up her shirt and says, "Mimi's baby!" to her belly button. We also talk about Chicago –"Cago" as she calls it – and I tell her that she will have new playgrounds and new friends before too long. No reaction, but what can I expect from a kid who's not even 2?

Speaking of "2," we snuck in her 2-year-old check-up yesterday just so we could see Dr. Mathis one more time. We seriously heart Dr. Mathis and his nurse Cassandra, and I hope we love our new Chicago ped Dr. Chang just as much. Dr. Mathis always lets Mimi play with his stethoscope and makes sure he steals lots of hugs and kisses before we go. I usually get a hug out of the deal too. Everyone needs a doctor like that. So Miss Priss is only in the 30th percentile for weight and height, but he said she's pretty smart and cute, which will make up for her size!
She's become a little obsessed with her Fisher-Price Doctor Kit and will walk around the house looking for it and says, "Docta Mimi? Where Docta Mimi?"Oh, and on a side note, we took Mimi to her first movie last night -- Toy Story 3!! And she LOVED it! Miss Wiggly Worm sat in our laps the whole time and ate her weight in popcorn and some red sugary, slushy drink. She clapped and said "YAY!!" at the end of all the movie trailers and kept the others near us laughing the whole time. Mimi kept leaning over the the teenager next to me while pointing her finger in his face and saying, "Who's dat?" Scared the poor kid to death. Near the end she wouldn't shut her mouth she was so excited, and needed to ask questions about EVERYTHING -- "Mommy, what's dat? Where's Woody? Oh no, wha' happened?? Where's Buzz?" At the very end she finally wanted down so she could dance and shake her booty all the way out the door to the closing credits. This morning the first the she said to me was, "Where's Woody? Toy Story?"

7. Update on myself:

I'm 32 weeks pregnant today . . . and crazy and scatterbrained and overwhelmed and, well, just as happy as I can be. Friday morning I didn't take a shower. But I still went to work. How gross is that? I wasn't being lazy and this wasn't intentional – it was just an extremely important step that I COMPLETELY overlooked because my mind isn't functioning correctly. Normally I shower before Mimi wakes up, but she was up a little earlier than normal. I immediately got her and her bag ready, and then I went to the bathroom and fixed my hair, put in my contacts, put on make-up, and was dressed. I kissed Clint goodbye, called a handyman, unloaded the dishwasher, and got halfway to Mimi's school before I realized what important piece of my normal routine was missing – the piece that makes me smell better. Thank goodness for deodorant and air conditioning.

On a daily basis I have people asking me if I'm scared or nervous about the move, the new baby, or staying home from work, and I don't even have to think about it – my answer is "Of course not." I don't know if I'm just ignorant or if I just have a really good perspective. Something's telling me it's a little of both. The house is painted, a handyman's working on a few projects next week so we can put it on the market, we have an apartment, and I have an OB and hospital. Everything else will fall into place . . . well, at least that's what I've convinced myself to believe.