Monday, August 2, 2010

Week One in Chicago

Well, we survived the 21 (actually ended up being about 23 or so) hour drive, and arrived in Chicago. What an adventure! The priests in our ward back in Provo helped us load up our U-Haul on Tuesday, then we spent Wednesday and then Thursday morning finishing up, and loading the U-Haul, car, and truck. We'd originally planned on leaving on Wednesday, but there's a lot more work to moving than we'd anticipated! Thomas also wanted to make sure to spend some more time with the young men, and his family, and I'd wanted to take the boys up to Salt Lake for my nephew Asher's second birthday. We may not have gotten everything done that we'd wanted, but at least we did that! I know my mom was glad to have the extra day. Mike had actually told us Wednesday morning that he wouldn't be too upset if we stayed an extra night :) But, I think they were ready for us to be gone by Thursday afternoon! Our neighbor across the street kept the boys at her house while we finished up. Finally, around 1 something, we were ready to go! Thomas drove the U-Haul, towing the car, and I had the boys in the truck. They were actually fabulous during the drive. Evan actually fell asleep before we got to the canyon! We hooked up the laptop, and so the boys watched Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Cars, and Finding Nemo... It's so strange to listen to movies! But, it kept them entertained. We also had lots of books, snacks, etc. We actually didn't drive that far Thursday before stopping. We'd stopped for dinner where there was a McDonald's play place. The boys had so much fun climbing up in the tunnels. We were pretty exhausted after dinner, and so we decided to stop there instead of pushing on to the next big town. We found a quiet little motel run by the sweetest old lady, and had an early night so that we could get an early start and a full day of driving on Friday.

We got going early Thursday morning, and then stopped a few hours later for breakfast. We had to stop a lot more to let the boys run around and get their energy out. It helped. It also helped that we brought a can of green beans and a can opener for snacks... Those boys are crazy about their vegetables, and room-temperature green beans are the preference! We also had lots of water bottles... so Evan spent much of the trip wet from dumping the bottles on himself. Parker was actually really helpful though: giving Evan snacks, his nuks, blankets, toys, or whatever he needed. Unfortunately, that helpfulness seemed to end the first week in Chicago... but more on that later.

My mom made reservations at a hotel for us Friday night at a hotel with a pool, breakfast, and that was just off the freeway. Unfortunately, we'd missed a key element of the directions, and ended up lost in the residential areas. We went down what we thought was a street, but what ended up being a narrow parking lot for an apartment complex. It took over an hour for Thomas to get the U-Haul out. He had to detach the car, and thankfully a resident came out and helped Thomas back out. The poor boys were miserable! But, Thomas got out ok, and we found the hotel no problem, once we had the right directions. We got to the hotel a little before 10:30pm, and so had half an hour before the pool closed. It was absolutely perfect. The boys loved the time in the pool, and then their baths. We ordered a pizza, and then fell asleep. Pizza delivered after a long day is one of the most delicious meals I think I've ever experienced. The boys loved it too. The hotel had wireless, so the boys watched an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse online, and then fell asleep. We discovered that the boys love Fruit Loops the next morning, and then got on the road. It wasn't too full a day of driving until we hit Chicago. We stopped by a ward party for one of the Gurnee wards (where we'll probably be once we move closer to school) at around 7, and followed several people over to the storage unit where they helped us unload the U-Haul, truck, and car. Some of the men are fellow podiatry students at Rosalind Franklin, so it was nice to talk with them. Once the truck was unloaded, I took the boys over to a park to play on the playground to keep them out of trouble. They had a lot of fun finally playing. I loved feeling the humidity. It's not nearly as bad as New York, let alone the South, so I find it refreshing! I also love how much better Evan's hair curls! After we got the storage unit packed up, we headed out towards Chicago and the apartment we're renting until we find something more permanent. The last few miles definitely were the most trying! Thomas thought it would be easiest to take the most direct roads, the toll roads, and we got our cash ready accordingly. Unfortunately, the tolls were not attended booths, and required exact change. Thankfully the city has a website to pay missed tolls, and we were able to take care of our missed tolls online at the public library a few days later, well within the seven day time stipulation. Driving in Chicago in a loaded up truck was a little crazy, but Thomas found a place to park, and we unloaded the boys, who promptly fell asleep on the couches in the living room. Thomas moved the cars, and unloaded all our stuff.

The apartment here is amazing! It's fully furnished (which is why our stuff's in the storage unit) and is absolutely gorgeous! It's going to be hard to leave the master bathroom with its jacuzzi and granite counters and double sinks, and the kitchen with its stainless appliances... I'm still afraid to drive in Chicago though, so I make Thomas drive every time we go anywhere. We do have the internet now though, so that makes figuring out public transportation a little easier!

We called my mom Sunday morning to help us find a church building, and located one about four miles away, with a ward that meets at 1, but it still took us over half an hour to drive that four miles in some crazy traffic. We've since discovered better routes! Thankfully Evan's fallen asleep on the way to church the past two Sundays :)

We started looking at houses in North Chicago on Tuesday, and actually found one we really like. Unfortunately, we just found out its a short sale property, so it may take longer than we'd like to get it... we'll look in some other cities that are farther away! Hey, it's only been a week; we'll find something!

We went to the ward's play group on Wednesday morning at 11: they meet every week, which will be fantastic for while we're here. There are really some fantastic people here, and I talked to one woman on Sunday who has a little girl almost Parker's exact age, and she lives right around the corner! We also went to the ward Luau on Saturday, which was fun. We did leave early though, because the boys have been on a fantastic schedule. They've been waking up around seven every morning, and so going to bed early too. All it took to get them back on track was a drive of a few thousand miles :) Parker's actually been really good about going to his bed and going to sleep when he's tired, and he stays in his bed all night... finally! I'm not sure what did it, but after our first night here, he stopped coming into our room at night. I love it! I didn't mind cuddling with him at night, but I was always too tired to put him back in his bed, and now we don't have to worry about it! Such a big boy. He has been having a tough time adjusting to a new place though, and Evan's been hitting his head on the floor again when he's mad. They're having a harder time playing with other kids, and have been a little more aggressive than usual this past week. It's getting better, but even Parker's been throwing an occasional temper tantrum. The first few days he begged us to go back to our "real home," but now he's getting used to "Ah-Cago" he just doesn't like looking at other houses: he wants to stay here now. Poor guy. He'll be glad to have the rest of his toys back once we do get into the new house though!

We have our library cards, and will look into getting into some of the museums too: free museum passes with library cards! Today we've stayed at home all day though: it's been dark and windy, getting ready to rain.

Well, that's the update for the past week!
The boys have definitely been very... attached... to each other!


Hugh said...

Chicago driving IS crazy.

Ashley said...

Glad you made it safely!

Erin said...

We've only gone in to Chicago once and then we just drove to the outskirts, parked our car somewhere where we hoped it'd still be there when we got back, and took the metro in. We had time to eat at Giordano's (awesome deep dish, but I like NY style better...) and walk around a bit before we had to head back. I didn't even want to think about driving in the actual city. The outskirts were bad enough.

Gareth took WAY longer than I expected to adjust to Seattle. A month or close to it, really. And he was definitely way more aggressive, and threw tantrums over everything, and fought me on everything. I'm sure your boys will settle in better than that though since they'll be getting all their toys back soon.

Good luck finding a house!

Kami said...

Glad you arrived safely! It's a long trip. And that's cool that you have the library to get in free at the museums, use them while you can, because if you move to one of the suburbs, they don't do that. But they still have free days at all the museums anyway. So it's all good. The best pizza in the Chicago area (I think) is Garibaldi's. I'm not too much a fan of Chicago style. I drove in Chicago quite a bit, much to the horror of my passengers. Hee. Hee.

balloongal said...

Wow. That is an amazing adventure. I'm so glad you shared it. Good luck with everything.

Erin Gibbons said...

It was fun to catch up on all the fun things you've been up to this summer! I hope everything goes well with your new adventure in Chicago! It's totally fun living in a new place and starting a new chapter/adventure while your husband is in grad school :) If you guys want to come to Virginia, we don't have a jacuzzi or granite counter-tops, but we'd love to see you!