Monday, May 25, 2009

Photos from our Day in the City

Here are a couple of pics from the train ride. Liam was pretty pumped. He loves trains, and he likes to watch people - so it was right up his alley :) We don't actually take the train very often...buses are more convenient.

And then a couple of pics snapped on the boat tour. First, the newest addition to Chicago's Skyline - the Trump Tower.

And, the most famous - The Sears Tower.

A Grand City Weekend

I keep putting off posting, with grand hopes of uploading / processing my photos to include in the posts....but then I just get lazy and end up not posting at all.

So, I figured I should record the weekend's events, then add photos later. Maybe.

We had a great weekend - one of our last ones in the city - so we decided it would be great to be tourists in our own city. Friday, we spent the morning at Shedd visiting the new, re-imagined Oceanarium. It was actually quite lovely - a bit crowded and hectic, but overall a great visit.

Saturday we didn't do much as a family, because I had a birthday party to photograph downtown - but it was a lovely day to spend celebrating!

Sunday was sunny, but chilly and windy......we took a train ride downtown and took an architectural cruise on the Chicago River (Shoreline Cruises - check them out!). It was a pretty awesome 60 minute tour, even with a squirmy wormy toddler, Pat & I both enjoyed ourselves. Then, a quick lunch on Navy Pier and we jumped on the train back north.

That is definitely one of the things I'm going to miss - access to amazing public transportation. The EL is not right outside our door (like it was when Pat lived in the Gold Coast), but its a nice, easy stroll, and such a very nice way to see the city (at least the elevated portions of the Red Line, anyway). I love passing through the neighborhoods and seeing all the decks and brick buildings.....and especially passing Wrigley Field. Just a cool place to live, you know? I'm thankful for the time I've lived here...but I know that its time to move on. I'm ready to head back to the 'burb living. Its just more my gig anyway.

But I digress....

Today was a leisurely day as well, the local cemetery - Rosehill Cemetery - has a Memorial service & Parade every year. Being that its only a block away, we decided to actually make it to the parade and service this year instead of just walking through the Isle of Flags later in the day (as we have the two years previous). Its a beautiful sight, actually. Flags that have graced the coffins of local veterans line the pathways along the cemetery's entrance (donated by friends and family). Even before I knew the flags' origins, I thought it was beautiful. We made it partway through the ceremony (we missed Abe Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and the Civil War re-enactment) and headed home with an incredibly tired Liam. I've also been admiring our neighborhood a lot lately as we walk through. Very nostalgic, I've become. I'll miss the old buildings, the old old trees.....

Then I spent the afternoon babysitting a sweet little girl, and now I'm home. I can't seem to shake these damn headaches - I'm sure they're just allergy related, but they are annoying just the same.

Tomorrow is our home inspection on the new joint. Thanks to Gayle for the recommendation on inspectors! Keep your fingers crossed that all goes well!!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Shedd Aquarium Polar Play Zone slide

A heck of a lot better than the photos Pat took of Liam on the slide :) Isn't he the cutest little penguin ever?!?!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

OK - don't get too excited.

You know, that's pretty much impossible for me. I'm pretty much an all or nothing kinda gal. Which comes in handy in a LOT of situations - graduating college, for instance. I made up my mind what I wanted to do in 10th grade, and didn't stop until I had it done. Or when I decided I wanted to live & work in Mexico at some point. It took 6 years to finagle it, but I did it!

So we found a house we like, that is just slightly out of our price range. I really really like it. Maybe not love it, but really like it. I like it the most out of all the other ones we've seen. So how the heck am I not supposed to get excited about it? Yes, I realize there's a chance we may not be able to get it.....but still. Really? Not excited? Not crushed if it doesn't work out? Nope. That is not a skill I have in my repertoire.

We put an offer in tomorrow - then we wait for the rejection or negotiation. Keep your prayers coming in, and fingers and toes crossed....and lets hang on for the ride!!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

House Hunting - Round 3

So here's how it works. We pick a city we think might work for us. We scope out a zillion 20 listings online and narrow that down to 20 or so. Then we go drive around the neighborhoods and slash those by 50% based on neighborhood / potential, etc. Then we visit those, and well, maybe 1 or 2 will be prospective homes for the O'Brien Family.

So, like the Lotto, the chances of hitting the home jackpot are pretty slim. Its a matter of finding, I think, the right combination of things in a couple of top pickings, and then figuring out which features we want over need.

We've hit Evanston (totally disappointing...can't afford jack shit there), and Skokie (we like the area since its so close to the city, but most of the homes are pretty small and old and need lots of work). Yesterday Special Agent Adrian and I hit Niles & Morton Grove. Better visits than the past two times we've been out (even though people were home during our is that all about...I don't want you there while I'm looking in your closets people. GET OUT!) although those 'burbs are further away from the city than I'd like.

We've got one or two houses in Skokie we like - there were three I saw yesterday that Pat needs to see tomorrow - so we're making progress. I just wish it was going more quickly. Having a toddler definitely cramps my house hunting style. Liam has about a two stop limit on any car trip, then he gets crabby and antsy. I think for the future, we'll have to ship Liam off to someone to watch while we go look together. That is better than adding two days onto our searching every time one of us goes out. Its just another pain in the ass to add to the process.

So where do we stand now? Well, as far as we know, our new prospective owners still want to close on this joint on June 10, which is only a few short weeks away. It looks like then we'll have to move our stuff into storage, and then live either with family nearby for a week or so, or if its longer then find a temporary furnished condo. Luckily, there are quite a few options as far as that goes - people going on sabbatical or traveling for the summer.

The uncertainty is the only thing that is killing me right now....I'm slowly but surely learning to deal with it though. Actually, typing it all out makes it sound like less of a big deal than I've made it in my head, so that's a good thing.

Next stop looks like Park Ridge....I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Light speed ahead...

We received an offer on our condo the early days of May, and after a day or two of arguing and negotiating, we had a signed contract in the bag. Since then we've been incredibly busy, working out details with lawyers, agents, inspectors and the like. Oh, yes, and not to mention trying to find a home where we can move in about a month. EGADS!

The process has been exciting, but incredibly stressful. Mostly because in my pregnant state I'm pretty much wound up as a baseline, and get easily overwhelmed and very irritated in any kind of pressured state. Thankfully, my wonderful agent and amazing husband have been all kinds of patient and supporting, especially given all the abuse I've doled out (and have yet to dole) their way. We'll find the right place soon enough...I do have faith.

::::::::::::::MOTHER'S DAY::::::::::::::

We had a splendid mother's day. My official gift was my new car that I got a few weeks ago. The day of, I was treated to a sleeping in day (ooohhH! until 8AM! AWESOME) then I treated myself to a pedicure with some fabulous gals (WHOO HOO Meredith & Adrian!), then headed off to a swank lunch at Texas de Brazil with the family and Mike & Kristen & troupe. Then spent the afternoon chillin in the car scoping out new neighborhoods and places to live. It really was a great day. And I'm reminded that it doesn't matter where we live, actually. Only that we're all together.