April 4, 2012

New Blog!!

As I've mentioned earlier, I want to start a new blog for our (hopefully!!) fun adventure across the country. I originally created "meandering from the 3rd floor balcony" when I was let go from my job in '09 so I could capture all the things I encountered when I would have normally been working.  But now I am in a completely different time in life with a lot of excitement and endless possibilities of where my life will take me in a new town so I am switching it up and starting a new blog from the suburbs of Colorado!  Please come along side and follow along with me on this journey at:

(just click on the title above or copy and paste the URL below)


Thanks so much for joining me...I look forward to creating many more memories!

April 3, 2012

Day 1 of 4 in Moving to Colorado

Okay, I started this this morning and just don't even know where to begin. So what I've decided is that I'll do this in several chunks and hopefully I can get across my emotions and all else that's happened on the fun little journey we've been on the last week.

Logistically the original plan was that we would rent a 24 ft truck that would pull a rented trailer that would carry Jason's SUV and I would drive my car to Colorado.  Cooper would go with Jason in the big truck and Sam would go with me. We'd pick up the truck on Friday, load up all our stuff in the city then drive out to the burbs and load up all we had in storage (from staging the condo). We'd then head out of the city Friday night to avoid any traffic and make sure everything was out and place was cleaned and head to a hotel in Naperville where my brother's family would meet us for pizza.  We'd get a good nights sleep and then head out early in the morning after having breakfast with my parents.  Along the way we'd stop in Des Moines to see Jason's family, drive another 4-5 hours to spend the night somewhere in Nebraska then drive the rest of the way to arrive in our new home on Sunday night.

While I like a plan (and especially like a plan when it's something as big as moving across the country with a cat who can't travel in a car without whining like an ambulance and pooping and peeing within 3-5 minutes of our departure) my husband decided to switch things up on me.  (okay to defend him a little...in the end his new plan may have saved us about a day's worth of travel but at this point in the journey I didn't know that yet. ;-)   So basically Jason found out he was able to get the truck and trailer a day early so decided to pick them up and came up with a new plan for the two days of packing the trucks. To make a really long story short, when we got to Budget only the truck was available that day, so our plan got way shifted. For the most part there wasn't too much of a glitch though and our biggest concern was that he'd have to park the (half loaded) truck in the city and we were afraid of it being broken into. We said we'd pray and hope that nothing would get stolen...especially parking it on a major street.  Jason went to the burbs on Thursday and my brother and dad along with a few of my dad's friend's workers had the truck loaded in about an hour and a half.  Jason was back to the city by about 8:00.  We were half loaded...and I hadn't lifted a box yet!  Woo hoo!! :)

Okay so we get the great idea to park my car directly behind the truck which would hopefully prevent anyone from breaking into my car.  So after a few hours Jason went outside on the balcony to check on the truck and saw this...

Take a look at the truck.  Do you see a car parked behind it?  My Honda Accord...do you see it? Neither did we, so we of course freaked out cursing the city of Chicago for towing our car when it was legally parked (or so we both thought since we had checked the signs).  We called the city of Chicago...they had no record of anything.  We called the auto pound who also had no record of it.  We were both really really upset with the city and really happy to be moving out not having to deal with this kind of city stuff.  We went down to check the signs once again and as we walked out...there was my car!  It had been there all along.  I took this picture to  prove to you all and myself that we weren't going crazy.  Sorry city of Chicago for cursing you in such a way...we know you'd never ticket people or tow them when not necessarily. ;-)

What a relief to not have to deal with finding my car in the morning. All we had to do was get up, bring Cooper to day care and get the truck loaded before headed out for the long drive!

to be continued...

March 27, 2012

Going Away Party Dos

Saturday was our going away party with friends. We've had it planned for about two months and invited everyone about 7 weeks ago...so for "emotional me," there was a lot of thoughts running through my head about how the day would go and how much I'd be crying.  I had several completely irrational dreams leading up to the day about how the party would go. But it ended up being a really fun, emotional, sort of "out of body" experience.  I've been praying that I wouldn't be emotional at the going away parties and in the end, I wasn't at all.  As I've explained, I get emotional really easily so for me, I wasn't emotional at all.Yet I was truly very very sad saying goodbye to everyone.  I really feel like it was a "God thing" that I was able to be "normal" as I said goodbye to everyone.  I've been journaling and praying a lot every day about saying my goodbyes and am so glad I was able to keep it all together.  I am so thankful for everyone who made it to the party..it was just what I needed.  I would have had a hard time saying goodbye to everyone when I had met for dinners the past few weeks and didn't want to have a long list of goodbyes this week.  It was just the closure that I needed and know I will see everyone again soon, either here in Chicago (probably the burbs) or in Colorado.  A HUGE thank you to all who came to say goodbye!!  I will miss you LOTS!!

New Blog Title and address

I've been thinking for a while that I want to start a new blog when I get to Colorado. I began this one because I had a lot of extra time on my hands after being laid off from my job.  It's been over three years since that happened. I did a lot of nannying, moved three times (going on four this weekend, UGHHHH), got engaged, started grad school, lost my sweet Chaz, got married, went on a honeymoon, student taught, finished grad school and a WHOLE lot of other stuff.  But a new journey is about to begin on Friday...and I think a new blog is in order.  I also hope to keep my Facebook posts to a minimum once I move and would like to keep most of my thoughts and experience solely in my blog.  Anyone have any ideas for a new name or address?  I have about 5 in my head but nothing I'm set on as of yet, so please please share your ideas!

Friday with an old friend and Dinner Memories with the husband

Friday I ran around all crazy trying to prepare for our going-away party that was on Saturday. I also went to meet my friend, Melinda's new baby, Ella.  It was so great to catch up with her and her mom...it's been a long time but felt like not much time had passed at all...not to mention how happy I was to meet her adorable, sweet girl, Ella! Melinda and I were best friends through grammar, middle and much of high school so it was just so wonderful that I got to see her before I left and got to meet her baby.  I'm so excited for her as she is now journeying through this thing we call motherhood, she is going to make SUCH a great mom!!

Friday night Jason and I went to where we had our second date, Sushi X.  He'd say it was our first but it was our second. ;-) We sat in the same table as the first time we were there.  It was funny listening to our conversation compared to when we had first dined there, especially now being married and about to do the biggest thing I've never dreamed of, moving across the country together!  I really love him so much and was just such a great night of memories and talk of our future together in our new home.  I'm so glad we were able to dine there one last time. :)

Girls Day in the City and Dad's birthday

Thursday was another super fun-filled day. My mom came down for our last girls day in Chicago.  I picked her up at the train station where I realized we were both wearing the exact same colors... awesome. :)  W began our day with a trip to the Sears Tower for the sky deck.  On our way there we had to walk along Wacker, what a mess!  Seeing the road all torn up (both upper and lower Wacker) was worth the trip into the city alone!  I don't know why I was so fascinated by it, but it was really neat! Not so neat in how it's disrupting traffic patterns in the city, but neat in how construction is done. 

As for the Sears Tower (I will not call it Willis Tower), it was soooo worth the money; very educational and great views! I haven't been up there since I was about 10 years old so of course it was on our "Chicago To Do List." We even went on "The Ledge" which was quite a rush! Anyone who is in Chicago, I highly recommend going up there and especially checking out the new overlook/ledge.

Then we grabbed lunch OUTSIDE (on March 22!), got manicures and pedicures and took Cooper to the dog beach (again...on March 22!!). In the evening my dad came down to celebrate his birthday.  We went to Caro Mio on Wilson and was so good, plus it's BYOB so even better! :)  I'm so glad he was able to come down on his actual birthday so we could celebrate!

Thanks mom for making the trip down, I had lots of fun and look forward to many more girls dates both here in Illinois and when you visit in Colorado!  Love you...and happy birthday Dad...love you too!

March 26, 2012

Wednesday 3/21

I started to write a "Monday Meanderings" post and then realized it was about 10 pages long, so I thought I'd break it up. :)  Here it begins...

The last couple weeks have been lots of fun (while expensive!) meeting up with many different friends catching up and saying our goodbyes. I have eaten at many favorite restaurants while also trying new Chicago places. I haven’t had time to write the past couple weeks so I thought I’d try to catch up as best I can. For those of you who I saw and don’t write about, you know I love you…it’s just been a really crazy month and I can’t find the time to write every night! 

For tonight’s post…I'll begin with this past Wednesday. I went out to the burbs and had a great day reminiscing and eating out all three meals. (oink oink). I met my friend Jolene for breakfast and then she did my hair...went a little darker and love it!  She gave me the cutest going away gift, a picture of her and I at her wedding and then another at our local wedding reception. Amazing how much younger we looked at her wedding! Thank you Jolene for breakfast and for the gift…sentimental me loved it!

After Jolene’s, I went out with my grandma for lunch at our favorite restaurant, Olive Garden.  It's been a monthly tradition for a couple years to grab lunch there so it was great that we were able to fit in one last visit before we head out.  Of course she filled me in on all her kids, grand kids and great grand kids. There may have been some tears shed when I dropped her off, but I look forward to meeting her again when I visit.

The rest of the afternoon I ran errands but I found it interesting that everywhere I had to go brought back some memory. I ended up sort of driving past the house I grew up, went and got an oil change where I went, which gave me a free car wash to the car wash I used to go to, then went to the Walgreens I went to every single week developing pictures. Then was driving down roads in Wheaton where I also used to live and had many other memories.  It was so fun remembering all the times I had growing up and driving the streets there since I was 16. I met my friend, Christy for dinner at my favorite, Stir Crazy, and had wonderful evening catching up and saying our goodbyes.

With such an emotional day I was so impressed that through the entire day I barely shed any tears! It was so much fun being where I grew up and also seeing such wonderful friends and family.  

March 20, 2012

The Hunger Games

I started the first book of the trilogy for The Hunger Games back in January. While I am the slowest reader ever I was also just a tad busy the past couple months but I finished yesterday and loved it! It is such a twisted, messed up story line but I'm hooked! I cannot wait to read the second book but will have to wait. Jason's mom and step dad came up with a great idea and got me the audio CD for my car to listen to on the drive out to Colorado so I'll have to wait. I thought it'd be a short listening time but it's 11 hours...that should certainly help the ride seem shorter! :) Once I'm settled in a couple weeks I'm hitting the theaters to see the movie. Cannot wait!! 

March 18, 2012

Amazing Weekend

This weekend was amazing. Not a care in the world since school is done (forever!) and Jason and I finally had time to spend together and enjoy Chicago.

Friday night we kicked off the weekend at Mia Francesca's, my favorite Italian restauraunt in my old neighborhood.  Though it seemed very rushed, (I think they had us in and out in about 50 minutes!) it was absolutley delcious!  I was grinning ear to ear with my best friend reliving memories we each had in the surrounding neighborhoods and shared some of our fondest times as we drove down Clark realizing how much that scene has changed since we used to be part of it.

Saturday, I treated myself to some retail therapy.  I spent the morning at the wholesale shops along Clark between Sunnyside and Wilson.  I haven't been there in years and am sad it took me so long to get back!  I got SO many cute earrings, a many necklaces, a bracelet and super cute purse all for under $75.  My kinda shopping!!!

The afternoon Jason and I went to a very local bar and sat outside drinking a few green beers while doing lots of people watching.  We both decided that we wanted to make the most of our last St. Patricks Day in Chicago and we had so much fun. After a couple hours a trolley stopped by with bag pipers which just made my night!

the bagpipers :)

Today we woke up early for a breakfast down the street then went to church for another amazing service at Willow. I know I keep saying this but I am going to miss it so much.  I'm thankful for podcasts but it won't be the same.  Next weekend I am sure there will be some tears being shed as it's our last weekend service.  I was super happy to find out Bill Hybels will be preaching...what better way to be sent off.

This afternoon we went to the dog beach with Cooper who was in Heaven.  He has to be in the water at all times, he just loves it.  After the beach we went to O'Donovans for a very late lunch and again got to sit outside in the sun.  This weather is just amazing.  Mild and sunny winters is a big reason why we're moving to Colorado so it's been kind of interesting that this entire winter has been so mild and now it's in the 70's in March.  I along with everyone else in Chicago is enjoying every second of it!

teeny tiny video of cooper loving life :)

Packing begins tomorrow, if all goes as planned we'll be close to arriving at our new home two weeks from right now, so not much time left to pack!  Fortunately there isn't too much to pack since we hardly moved in back in December, but there's always a lot more than you think so I'm on it!

Hope you all got out and enjoyed these warm temperatures and had a very Happy St. Patricks Day!

March 16, 2012

my super cute shoes

As stated earlier somewhere in these blog posts, Jason got me a pair of Toms that I wanted but they didn't fit. (they are way too wide on my feet no matter what size I tried) I also REALLY wanted the (new) ballet slippers.  So after going to Nordstrom, trying them on, finding out they didn't have my size, ordering them to be delivered to my house, waiting a week to get them, trying those on, decided I wanted a different color that Nordstrom didn't carry, researching a million places where I could find THE ones, finally ordering online from Toms, researching coupon codes for the ridiculous shipping costs, waiting another week to get them...they FINALLY arrived today.  My grey ballet slippers. :) How cute are these?!