Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The woes of the carless

Yes, here is yet another entry of me complaining about the CTA and my dreams of owning a car.

So today is "Madame Rose" class day, or French Wiggleworms
as most call it. It was also 4 degrees when it was time to leave, and no you did not read that wrong and it's not a typo. It was 4 degrees air temp, and negative teens wind chill! Being the overprotective (am I?) Mother that I am, I thought it would be a little irresponsible not to mention dangerous to take our usual route to class. This would involve walking 1/2 mile, standing to wait for a bus, walking another 1/2 mile to class. So I tell Ella it's REALLY cold outside, and she says let's take an i-go car! This was a great idea, even though it greatly increases the cost of a single session of Wiggleworms-- so I log-on to i-go but everyone else was doing the same thing because of the frigid temps --no cars available within a reasonable radius of home. So I talk to Ella again and say the i-go cars are all reserved. Do you want to ride 3 buses to class in the freezing cold? YES!! So off we went at 9:30....

After returning home shortly after noon, taking a total of FIVE buses (# six blew by us, looking right at me standing at the stop flagging him down), walking in the freezing cold with a 2-year old "it hurts Mama.....Mama get me....Mama carry me....I'm freezing" .......I am completely exhausted.

Did I mention I wish we had a car?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Transient Chicago

Tori and Ella
David, Tori & Ella
Ella, Tori and "Horse"

Ella (in stroller), Tori, Heather, David, Cheryl, Jeff (taking photo)
Luxembourg Gardens, Paris vacation 2005

Cheryl, Jeff, Tori

So here we are faced with another void in our city lives. Our dear friends Jeff, Cheryl and Tori Hudson will be moving to Minneapolis. Jeff has been searching for a job since the fall when his position was eliminated at Equity Office. We rejoice that he has found work with Target corporation, and we LOVE Target--but it will take their family from us and we are very saddened by that. I've waited awhile to blog about this so hopefully I'm not surprising many with this news.

You see, we often talk about our "family" and mean our friends in Chicago that our part of our church family. Most of us are here in the city, nowhere close to any blood relatives, and we rely upon each other to fill that family role. We babysit each other's children, and spend time with each other like family would. We live about one mile from the Hudson's and Tori and Ella love to play with each other (they're about 1 1/2 years or so apart in age). As you can see from the photos, Ella really looks up to Tori as she would an older sister, letting her "lead" the play and use all of her toys, babies and books without protest. All children do not get this treatment.

Things are moving fast for them since Target is relocating them. Their condo is already listed (before you ask, no--we can't buy it--unfortunately), and right now they are in Minneapolis looking for a new home. Jeff starts work at the end of February, and depending on their house hunt/sale Cheryl and Tori will not be too far behind him in leaving.

About one and half years ago, I lost my dear friend Carmen and her family to Connecticut. Before that, the Hanson's, before that The Menges's and many, many others along the way. Why does the city have to be so transient? In this day and age --even outside the city--do people ever die in the same house they were born? I guess the Walton's era was over a long time ago.

I'm sure we will adjust to this new change, as we have with others. But that doesn't mean we have to like it any better than we do
. Ella keeps telling me she's going to Minnesota--by herself. I said, what will you do there? She says, "Drink soda!" She also seems to be fearful that everyone we know will move to Minneapolis. But we'll work through this with her too. Our upcoming visit to California should help.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Prayers of the Innocent

Ella's prayer(s) at the dinner table last night:

Dear God,

Thank you for this day. Thank you for this delicious food. Thank you for Dora and Boots, and Diego, and Benny, and Swiper and Mami and Papi....ummmm and Mama and Papa, 'Livia, Baby Annie, and Carmen at "Connetcut", in Jesus name AMEN!

Encore prayer about three minutes later: (this happens frequently)
Dear God,
Thank you for Tori's Daddy Jeff...AMEN!

If you were left out, please don't feel bad. We, as her parents made it only second to Dora and Friends AND to Dora's parents! Hope you enjoyed this.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The problem with problem...

is that I can't seem to explain it to a 2-yr. old. Yesterday, my sweet inquisitive Ella said, "Mama, what's a problem?" Hmmm, at first I thought--this is easy! " A problem is, well, let's see...umm, uhh, it's when something is wrong and you need to fix it. Like if you get wet, it's a problem and you fix it by drying yourself off, right?"

Apparently she was not satisfied with my answer, because she asked again this morning. And lucky for me, David was still at home, and I promptly said, "go ask Papa". :-) Of course my wonderfully intelligent husband says, let's see...I left the dictionary out when I packed the books away." Then he proceeds to turn to "problem" and read the entry to Ella.

I'm sure this is one of many, many more questions we'll get from Ella that require more thought than one might imagine.

So for today, answer this: "What's a problem?" and remember you're speaking to a 2-yr. old. We'd love to hear your response--so post a comment and let us know how you would answer!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


We've waited 27 months for these pigtails!

Finally, I have more hair than regular baby!

Watch out....

for my flying boot!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Turkey Day Baseball

Here's the movie of Ella playing softball at Thanksgiving.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Good news!!

Raney had a chest x-ray today and the main tumor site has shrunk by 50%!!!
We thank God for this wonderful news and all of your prayers. The Avastin is working!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Interesting article

Ever since Raney's diagnosis of NSCLC, I often find myself "googleing" around for any new info out there. As I mentioned earlier, Raney is headed to Vanderbilt's Cancer center to see another Lung Cancer Specialist. I was looking around the Vanderbilt website and found this press release about Avastin, which is one of the drug's Raney is now taking along with her chemotherapy. If you're interested:

Also, if you're interested in letting Raney know you are praying for her, and following her progress, drop her a quick e-mail at: She's going through alot right now as you can imagine, and I know it would help to lift her spirits to get some notes from people she doesn't even directly know.

vlogging is here!

Here is my first attempt at vlogging thanks to Joe Hays and the guys at vlogging! More to come! This is a great secret.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Our family on Christmas day
Originally uploaded by hat215.
We had a great Christmas and New Year, and hope you experienced the same. This photo was taken on Christmas Day in St. Louis.

Ella had a long Christmas that began on Sat. 12-23 when she received her gift from us: The Radio Flyer talking Liberty spring horse. Yes, we are crazy! It does take up most of our living room, but she loves it and will be able to burn off some terrible two energy on it this winter while we're trapped inside. David enjoyed his first real rite of passage into Fatherhood with a big toy assembly, and enjoyed the godfather jokes even more. We seriously contemplated taking a photo of him lying in bed with the horse's head, but decided it would be too traumatic for Ella if she ever saw it. Ella also opened a few gifts Nana & Pa sent her--"the tea set with princesses all over it" and some blocks that her and Papa love to play with together. He's already taught her about structural redundancy....

The hard part was when it was time to leave the next morning and she was crying and very upset. We were finally able to catch our taxi to the airport by covering the horse with a blanket and moving it over by her teaset so he could "watch over" and take care of it for her while we were gone! Of course the ride to the airport at 6:30 a.m. Ella talked non-stop, and as we drove by certain landmarks, and got on the Kennedy expressway she said "this is how we go to California, and this is how we go to Arizona", and at the airport "I will take off my shoes". She definitely knows the drill, and has her own frequent flyer numbers! On the flight home she enjoyed buckling baby into her carseat on the plane and reading her the evacuation book.

We enjoyed our time in St. Louis visiting with our family. Grandpa Jeff and Grandma Marion.... I mean Uncle Jeff and Aunt Marion were the stars and Ella would say "Marionnnnnnnn", "Marionnnnn" instead of "Mamaaaaa", "Mamaaaa" when she needed something--so I loved it!
Cousin Blake was there with Clarence and cousin Matthew too. Blake had just got engaged and asked Ella to be a flowergirl in his wedding. She doesn't understand how long five months is though, and keeps saying "In about five minutes, we'll go to Blake and Karla's wedding". We went out to Aunt Sue and Uncle Monte's house on Christmas night and opened more presents, ate more food and saw cousins Josh and Jared too. We made a trip down to Cuba (Missouri that is) to see Jon and Angie's new home and let the girl's play some more. Luckily the girl's didn't find any scissors that day....unlike over the weekend when Gracie and Lexi played barbershop with a friend and Gracie became the coveted client by all the barber's. It's a good thing hair grows back!

We're glad to be home and took down the tree yesterday after a lot of "you want to talk about the story of Tori's Christmas tree again". The story is that last Christmas when it was time to take the Christmas tree down at the Hudson's home, Tori was very upset and cried and cried. But Miss Cheryl and Mr. Jeff said Tori, It's o.k.! We'll get another tree next year! This helped Ella feel better about the tree going away.

I think one of the highlight's of the season was when our neighbor, a pastry chef, invited Ella to be her guest at an event where you make a Gingerbread house. It was alot of fun. And of course the much talked about visit to Santa. Ella said she would not cry this year and would be happy. Well, she didn't cry, but she was definitely not going to sit on his lap. However, she was willing to take a candy cane from him and let me hold her and stand next to him. He did come through on her only requests which were "a bottle for baby" and "a Meet Diego book".

Check out all of our pictures and come visit us soon. Ella wants everyone to see her horse.