Sunday, September 30, 2007

safely in the South

We have safely arrived in Atlanta (well, just outside in Sharpsburg) for a missions conference. Here is a brief summary of the events so far (more later):
-Annikah got her own seat on the plane due to a cancellation and despite being doped up on Benadryl (she still is a bit sick) she did not sleep at all.. Rather, she found joy at harassing everyone around us (I am pretty sure the guy in front of us will always use protection from now on)
-We are staying with our fab friend Kim Aneed's family and they are so hospitable including taking us directly from the airport to Chick Fil A for our first (but not last) chicken meal of the week
-saw a guy in a cowboy hat with knives on a holster around his waist shopping at Walmart and then load his bags into his huge pick up truck, gotta love the South!
-taught a class today and had our projector break down (even though we lugged it as a carry on)followed by Annikah falling into a chair. She got her first bleeding black eye- so sad!! Despite it she has been adjusting extremely well- even surprising us!
-Ate so much at a true Southern church potluck that we may have to go buy new pants for the ride home! We also enjoyed good old fashioned, teeth rottin' sweet tea!
-got to hear awesome stories of people that have been serving overseas for years!
-experienced true Southern Hos-po-ta-lity! (said slowly with the drawl, go ahead do it out loud you know you want to :)

More later but for now we are here and enjoying the fellowship.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


So turns out Annikah's fussiness must have been due (at least in part) to her feeling yuck as her harmless clear runny nose has now morphed into full on green snot. Before you feel too bad for her she is well enough to slap my hand away every time I try to wipe her nose, a tireless and thankless job. I decided around 10am to actually count the number of times I wiped her nose and so far we are at 32 today. I then realized my pathetic-ness at counting the number of times I wipe snot from my toddler's nose. I am not so pathetic as to stop, just enough to note before one of you does. back to my running total.....she just sauntered by with a nasty one.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

just tired of being a mama

Today I am just tired of being a mama. I know that this is my role right now and God has blessed me with an awesome family but it is just the little things that make me want to scream, or drive far far away, or take a cool bath and read. I think I shall pick the later tonight. I know that tomorrow will be better and that maybe she is teething or just grouchy and I need to be more patient, have more grace and understanding but blick to all that! I need a personal day :) Here is gripe list and I promise upon venting I will adopt a much happier attitude:

Today I changed Anni's outfit 3 times before 2pm. Our condo is so hot, like hades hot, as we thought it was pretty much safe to take out all the window AC units one we had a 30 degree day, I guess not in Chicago! I attempted to feed Anni lunch while she decided throwing the food was more enjoyable. I was babysitting a little girl (10 months) that lives in our neighborhood and Anni was having none of it. Annikah decided that if I did not hold her the entire time she would scream and clench onto my leg as if someone was repeatedly stabbing her. We got home and I poured myself my last diet coke with lime into a big glass with ice (so fabulous) and while I turned around to grab Anni's car toy she got to it first and proceeded to dump it all over herself and the floor (hence clothes change #3). After Anni took a very short afternoon nap (I think due to the heat because she was sweating when I got her) we went out to the library, usually an Annikah fav. After walking about 6 blocks it began to rain, no pour, I swear I thought we saw Noah and some animals floating by. We ducked in and waited it out making our trip home past her dinnertime thus prompting her to scream the entire way. Once home she ate her dinner but again thought everything I was offering was apparently gruel. Since Anni has a bad diaper rash I; in my kindness and concern, let her run around for a few minutes in the buff as the air is supposed to help. She was indeed happy but repaid my kindness by peeing on the floor (at least I had not really cleaned up the diet coke from earlier so now a mopping is in order). Then, the piece de resistance: I put Anni in her bath and she promptly "dropped a deuce" as my brother so chic-ly puts it. That was fun to clean up. Jason got to miss out on all the merriment as he has grad school tonight.
Sometimes I just want to not clean or comfort or cook or console or care for. I am just having a moment, I am sure it will be brief, of being worn out and tired of this whole Mama gig. Ok, I am off to the bath (of course after a bit of scrubbing) with my book as I want to make the most of my alone time. Maybe I will soak off my funky attitude and have a new outlook for tomorrow.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I say "let it be Fall!"

Fall can officially begin. There are many definitions for fall but I feel all of them fall short (no pun intended). They do not include the following which I believe are a necessity for the real start of Fall:

*watching your daughter explore every curve and bump on giant pumpkins for the first time

*eating apple cider & pumpkin spice donuts
*drinking apple cider (at least the small amount left after Anni got a taste)

*laughing at the fearless Anni: the goat whisperer at home among the farm animals

*pulling your little girl around in an old school Radio Flyer

*watching your husband's adoration of your daughter and her utter devotion to her Papa

*picking out your own pumpkin perfect for carving from a real farm not some depressing place like Jewel or a city parking lot

*hearing the rustling of a few yellow fallen leaves under your feet as you chase after your little girl (who is pretty darn fast these days)

*remembering and appreciating your own childhood as you see the excitement of discovery in your baby's eyes.

Bring it on Fall, I am now ready and you are welcome to arrive.

a girl has gotta have her shoes

This morning we awoke to Anni yelling out from her room. This is very rare as she usually amuses herself until we come get her at about 7am. We thought we better respond as something may be wrong so we leap into action, I ran to the kitchen to get some milk and Jason went in to get Anni. Once he opened the door she stopped yelling and started pointing and insisting that he get her something from across the room. Jason looked around and tried to figure out what it was while Anni grunted and continued to "suggest" she needed something. He brought her over to the general area and mystery solved. She just wanted her little pink shoes. Not to wear, just to hold them and love them, hey, a girl has gotta have her shoes. She definitely takes after me.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Children's Museum with Grandma

We finally made it to the Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier. We got the free pass from the library and Grandma Rohrback came in from the burbs to join us. Anni had a blast playing with water, filling pots with fish and frogs, and eating paint-yum! Thanks Grandma for joining us, we love when you visit!

where exactly are the Kaverns of Krock?

I admit I have a little OCD when it comes to losing things. It is not so much the thing itself but the thought of not knowing where it is that keeps bugging me. So I am posting my sorrow in hopes of moving on with my life.
I have many socks and I am not particularly attached to any of them except one pair. They are these nice and fabulously comfortable running socks made in South Africa that I purchased for training. I wear them on every long run and we have gotten close, running buddies if you will. After my 20 mile run last Saturday I took them off and placed them in the laundry basket trusting they would be OK, protected, safe. I did the laundry the next day. While watching my TIVO'ed What Not to Wear and folding everything I realized to my horror that one on my socks was missing. I quickly raced to the basement and searched everywhere for the little guy. No luck, I even dumped the garbage cans near our communal laundry area out in a desperate attempt to rescue my friend. I must now admit he is gone, I have moved past denial and am now in grief. I am sure he will triumphantly return someday but for now his brother sits sadly on my dresser looking up at me every morning as I put on other mediocre running socks. I even faintly hear him call out "please, remember me?" This whole story got me to think about my favorite Dr. Seuss book Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are. In the book there is a page that reads, "And you're so lucky, so, so lucky you're not a left sock, left behind by mistake in the Kaverns of Krock!"
If you are out there, dear sock, it was not a mistake and you are missed! And if I knew where the Kaverns of Krock were located I would bravely form a rescue party and head out.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Indian summer day at the zoo

Since summer has come back again I believe it is absolutely ridiculous for us to spend any time indoors that is not required. Because of my stance I decided Anni and I needed to go to the zoo today. It was absolutely beautiful out and the view of the city was awesome. Annikah had a great time harassing some goats, playing inside a huge "egg," and watching the apes. Here are some pictures of our adventure.

dissed by Joe Moore

This morning on our morning run Anni and I were enjoyed the cool breeze and the warm weather. We took our normal beach loop and headed back home. Then it happened. Right in front of Starbucks there he was: Joe Moore, the alderman of the 49th ward surrounded by some of his cronies. Now, as some loyal readers of this blog know we voted for the other guy for a number of reasons but mostly because to me Joe Moore represents a lot of what is wrong with politics; the city machine. Now, I must admit recently we did go to the neighborhood picnic sponsored by Joe Moore but that was justified by our never ending quest for free stuff, especially food (but we still have not gotten our ID card in the mail)! Back to the story at hand: So there we are coasting down the street and saying excuse me to anyone the wide beast of a stroller offends (we try to take side street or the beach to avoid this but as we approach home we take Sheridan). 99% of people simply move out of the way when they see us approach, some even smile or comment on the obvious cuteness of my baby. Not Joe Moore. He stands right in the middle of the sidewalk chatting with his roadie refusing to budge. I say "excuse me." Nothing. I try again. Not even a look in my direction. He did not move or even ofter me some of his glossy full color brochures paid for with taxpayer dollars. Two more perfectly unsuspecting people just trying to get a cup of coffee to start their day had to go around him as well. Now, when he was running for reelection he would often stand outside the L stop near our house and greet people, handing out free coffee. I passed him twice with Annikah in tow and not once did he offer me coffee or even smile. I guess the coffee and the sidewalks are not reserved for the likes of a simple city Mom and her bambino. That is it: not moving for a Mama, no free coffee, no brochures: 3 strikes and you are out Joe Moore!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

an experiment

You meet really interesting people at the park. The week of Annikah's birthday I was pushing Anni in the stroller through Welles park and a man with a little girl that looked similar in age "pulled up" alongside us. I asked the ever popular parent question, "how old is your little girl?" He told me her name was Lilly and that she was 13 months. I told him that Anni was turning one this week (although she did have some pounds on the other baby). We, of course, exchanged the common "she is precious" comments and kept chatting. He told me that his wife is Korean and as is tradition they conducted a little experiment on their child's one year birthday.

Here is how it works: you lay out many objects that represent different career of life paths and allow the baby without hindrance to chose an object and this item is supposed to represent what path they will chose later in life. I am always fascinated by cultural traditions and so I asked him to elaborate. He went on to explain that his daughter had chosen money so maybe she will be an entrepreneur. The "rules" of the experiment are that every object must be new to the baby, that is they cannot ever have seen that specific item before. Here is the video of Anni's first choice and then a short video of her second choice (which made Jason so happy). Looks like we may have an athlete on our hands (maybe it is all those miles she has logged running with me).

NOTE: the without hindrance part did not stop me from trying to coerce her towards the paint brush and the history book but alas she would have non of it.

It was an interesting and fun little experiment but we probably will not hold her to it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I have a toddler..AHHH!

I am not sure I am ready for having a toddler but with Anni's latest walking skills I think I must admit that she is no longer my little baby.
So what exactly does this mean... I feel I must get more of a grasp on this stage... so far I have observed in other moms that it means: 1. carrying goldfish crackers and animal crackers in every conceivable place (purse, car, stroller, diaper bag, secret sown in picket on clothes) for ANY emergency meltdowns, 2. using the word NO more than you thought humanly possible 3. studying up on discipline and creative ways to prevent your child from wreaking havoc in public 4. becoming an expert negotiator in getting your child to follow through on seemingly simple things (like eating, changing their diaper) As an aside before I had a baby I ridiculously thought that getting a 20 pound child to do something was not hard after all you are bigger, right? HA! If it were only that simple
So that is what I have discerned so far...any additional suggestions welcome.

Here are some examples of toddler-like current events in the life of Annikah:
*She is walking, still a bit drunken sailor but she can pretty much get wherever she wants to go (see video).
*She has many new communication skills. While she has been signing for a while she now has at least 7 recognizable signs (eat, milk, sleep, please, up, more, & help). She usually uses them when I ask her a question but recently has been doing them without any prodding. Yesterday she was playing and then scooted over to me and signed "sleep & please." I was not sure if she really meant it and asked her and she did it again. I quickly got up and put her in her crib where she was very happy to take an early nap! Pretty impressive if you ask me! We have come a long way from the early months of "convincing" her to sleep. Now, before anyone is too impressed I must say that while signing is supposed to allow children to communicate without frustration and fussing before they have verbal skills. Annikah's signing usually means "please (in 30 seconds I will scream and this is your warning to acquiesce to my requests)" but still she is quite the little communicator!
*Anni has started "talking." She says "Papa", "Mama", "Ball", and yesterday Jason and I both heard a barely coherent but recognizable "kitty cat" while she pointed at Bonita.
*She is playing like a litte girl. This one is harder to describe but instead of randomly banging things she seems to be opening and closing toys and placing the little weeble people inside and then taking them out. She also points to certain objects in books when I ask her "where is the dog?, etc"
*She has very strong preferences. From food to toys she is developing her favorites and has no problem letting us know what she prefers.
*Preferences lead to the next one: throwing tantrums. Yes, this is the not so exciting (for me) sign that she has reached "toddler-dom." After I told her "no" as she was turning the knobs on the stove for the third time in a 10 minute period she threw herself down on the kitchen floor and straight up acted the fool. I am sure there are more to come...
*She remembers people & places. She of course has always remembered us but recently she will see me turn down the street to the library and start getting excited. Once inside and out of her stroller she even walked over to the security guard that is always so amazingly sweet to her and hugged his leg! She even recognizes the park from 1/2 a block away!
That is a bit of catch up as to what Anni is up to these days and I present the above as evidence that my little baby is transitioning to the toddler pray for me :)
So all this to say: toddle on Annikah, I am ready armed with goldfish and waiting for your new identity!

Monday, September 17, 2007


Yesterday the Anderson family came over for the day. The Andersons are one of the families that we hope to join in Africa. We met them a few years back. Eddie grew up in Kenya and now lives in Michigan with his wife Rachel and their 5 kids. They were visiting Chicago to continue to raise support and funds. We got to meet Silas; the newest addition to the clan at only a few weeks old. Every time we talk with them or see them I am absolutely impressed with how they are as a family. It is hard to define what I am talking about but their family has a presence, a chaos, and at the same time a peace that I love. Having 5 kids 5 and under absolutely blows my mind. I cannot fathom daily life for Rachel with the kids at home, at least without some serious narcotics :). She was telling me that having more children does not exponentially increase the work load but that they develop a routine, a flow and it just works. This, of course got me actually thinking about having more children (DO NOT read we will be having another one ANY TIME SOON!) but what would this "new" family would look like? Up until recently the thought of being pregnant again or having a newborn was akin to gnawing off my left arm while being run over by a Mack truck. We definitely want more children (either biological or adopted), if that is God's plan but until now I have not wanted to expend any mental energy thinking about it. I realize a lot of this is selfish but it is just me and I am working through it.
It helps that Jason turned to me last night while we were both in bed reading and said "thank you for sacrificing to stay at home with Annikah." It meant a lot to me as I love staying at home with Anni but there is always a part of me that desperately misses teaching and working with kids. Of course, that was also sacrifice in a different way, as all jobs that continually challenge you are, but things are different. The energy I now expend is much more all encompassing and does feel like a sacrifice to God at times. I realize that comparatively I do not sacrifice much at all. There are moms that have few choices and much less material blessing than I. For them sacrifice is a way of life everyday. I also know that all mothers sacrifice whether they work or stay home, we make choices everyday that impact our families. It goes without saying that the joy far outweighs the sacrifice but to acknowledge it helps me process motherhood. I was grateful that Jason took the time to verbalize his feelings and gratitude for my "work" (albeit mistake ridden) and this role that God has given me. It made me fall in love with him a little more. If we are together maybe change in our family would not be so hard.

It is sort of like fall. Maybe it is that the weather shift that felt so drastic, so immediate, with no warning but I have been thinking a lot about change. About how my life has changed since being married, since having Annikah. I was not a passive passenger through these developments but sometimes I look back and cannot remember "when" things changed. As if there was one instant in time that metamorphosis occurred. I know this is not how it happens. There is no one moment but rather a serious of mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical transitions.
Change is hard to think about for me. It seems too easy to stay with what I know, what is the here and now, the immediate. But that, too, is an illusion: that I "have" any of this, that it is not a profound gift from God. The fear of transformation would cripple my life if God did not intervene, I would never have gone to college, gotten married, moved to the "scary" city, took a teaching job, went to Africa, tried for a baby. I would like to believe I am more adventurous than I actually am. Sure, I will jump out of a plane, get a tattoo, run a marathon but those things do not require serious internal reflection and being open to changing. I must admit it is just so simple for me to envision life as it is now, the addition of much of anything causes anxiety. I think this is mostly because I finally feel like we have a rhythm, a beat, familiarity, a daily routine. The thought of that drastically shifting causes me to fear the future. As I pray and reflect on this I realize that I would miss out on so much of the raw reality of life, the mistakes, the joys, the challenges, the wins and the losses. The stuff that is real, not just the metaphysical but the actual reality of God's vision for my life. I would trade comfort for purpose. I cannot pin point it, list it, define it and perhaps that is why I feel lost and a bit undone about any impending change. Not that all these changes will come immediately or at once. Africa seems so much all at once and I know that change will stretch me personally and us as a family. I know that Jesus cares and that He will lead me through His purposes, even if they are different than my own vision.
Perhaps change is not worthy of fear, just worthy of ongoing reflection, purposeful discussion, and genuine and unceasing prayer.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

baby birthday madness

Annikah's Roger's Park buddies had a 1st b-day bash at Warren Park on Saturday. As we were driving over Jason and I noted that it seems our days of being invited to dinner parties or any other adult type shindigs are fading as we find our calendars filled with kids parties and family activities. Although this seems to be our new reality I actually love it; it is special to see families celebrate the blessing of their kids. Anni's buds Elliot, Francie, and Gilly celebrated turning one in style with a joint b-day bash hosted by their awesome parents. We took this RPM picture which included Anni and I and Shayna and Angus- the whole RPM gang was represented! I give kudos to the Mamas and Papas for throwing a fun party and after my 20 mile run on early Saturday morning* I think I ate about half of the yummy food present!
*This is the most I will run at once before the marathon and I actually feel "ready" for the big day after surviving this week (weekly total was about 55 miles and I actually am still standing). I MUST give the Rock Star Award to Beck who got up at the butt crack to run the first 10 miles with me (thanks girl you are a true friend for supporting & encouraging my craziness and pretty awesome for reaching your goals)!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

some cute park pictures just because they are cute

Jason worked from home today and after seeing the Dill boys (Anni's cousins) out in the burbs we decided to take advantage of Jason being home and take a little trip to the park. Annikah has really matured in her park skills. It used to be that she would sit in the swing for about 5 minutes and watch other kids run around and that was pretty much the end of her park experience. Now, she begins to bang on the bars of her stroller when we even near the park and cannot wait to climb on everything (lately, the slide is her favorite). She also likes to get good and dirty. I say that is the only way to enjoy yourself! For those mothers out there wondering how the heck I got her to keep that hat on she actually surprisingly kept it on for about 20 minutes (19 minutes 58 seconds longer than any other hat) so we went with it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

turtles, tunes, & tots or something that started with T's

What a beautiful fall day! I do love fall and it has arrived! I was wearing a tank top last week and socks this week, gotta love the drastic weather shifts. Fall is my favorite season but the problem with it is that if you live in Chicago nice fall weather usually lasts 3 days. After 3 days of "jean jacket weather" and beautiful orange leaves you need snow boots and a ski mask while you dig out your car ...but today was one of the 3 and for that I am grateful. I am also thankful that my fab friend Nicole (who is also new to the world of Blogging) invited Anni and I to join her and Charlotte on a jaunt to Gompers Park for the Turtles, Tunes, & Tots (I probably got that in the wrong order but whatever, you get the point: they have animals, music, & kids). It was so fun! They had active learning stations set up around where the kids could read books, play with puppets, make a mess with water, dress up, push wheelbarrows (an Anni fav), and then live animals and music from the Old Town School of Folk Music. The funniest part was seeing how horrified Annikah was by some of the animals. This is the same girl that LOVES dogs and insists by random grunts that we stop and pet them whenever we pass by one that looks friendly. I know I should not laugh but it really was funny to see her freak out a bit. She seemed a bit afraid but then would be sad when the lady took the animal away......horrified yet enthralled. They had a pig that was running amok and the lady leading the talk let Anni pet it and as you can see from the picture it was not one of her best memories of the day

(maybe it is because she loves the bacon her Papa gave her). Even though she was not down with Wilbur she did take a liking to some chinchillas (that is a baby one on her head) and a little chick (that she squeezed a bit, sorry chicky!). We left after both girls showed signs of imminent melt downs and Charlotte, in her excitement accidentally assaulted Anni with a maraca

(photo taken seconds before said incident) :) We had a great time & it was another fabulous adventure with friends!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

dancin' fool!

As I have shared previously Annikah LOVES dancing. She cannot help herself, whether it is to her cutesy kid CD's or blaring Hip Hop from a passing car she is all over the beat! She pretty much drops it like it is hot (errr something like that). Here is video documentation. My personal favorite part is the hip action: Girl has got rhythm. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

selling out to the magical bean

So we must confess and thus clear our conscious: We have in fact bowed to the great coffee bean and now own a coffee maker. We realize the utter shamelessness in which we mocked those who "need" their coffee to function and how we proudly always proclaimed to any weary house guests that "we do not have a coffee maker." It seems since having Anni we now understand the need for caffeine much more and had recently been seen far too often at various local establishments getting iced coffees. Our cheapness kicked in and Jason decided we could make it at home for way less and thus contacted our friendly Gevalia legalized drug pusher for the 411 on getting the hook up on our own free coffee maker. So, here we are on a Sunday morning before church enjoying our iced coffee realizing that while we have sold a bit of our souls we think it tastes pretty darn good! We have no excuse, no rationale, and only hope that those we scoffed can find it in their hearts to forgive us (we will make you some nice Gevalia raspberry coffee as a peace offering next time you come around).

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Anni: the 2 sport athlete

Annikah is quite the athlete. She enjoys biking & running as well as dive bombing into couches, our bed, her crib and anything else she can fall into (if I can catch this new obsession a video will be soon to follow). It seems that our love of the outdoors has rubbed off on our little girl. She can be fussy and losing all semblance of our Anni but almost immediately if we step outside she stops and A. points to the L rumbling by or B. smiles and waves at people or C. eats something weird off the ground. We are treasuring everyday we can be outside before the dreaded and horrifying winter comes (can you tell I get a bit of seasonal depression?) Being outside today was therapy for my soul.

The beautiful coolish weather was amazing and after my long run I worked the face painting booth at KidFest (my FAVORITE event our church does each year for the kids at a local Chicago Public School called Trumbull). This year was grand as I was not in charge of planning and could just show up , serve, and love on some kids. Last year KidFest was our first real outing after Annikah's birth and I remember toting around our little 1 week old baby and being terrified of germs (as you can see by earlier comment regarding eating random items off the ground I have gotten quite a bit more laid back on said subject). I got to spend some time catching up with a few of the girls that were in my Kidstreet class 2 years ago. It made my heart smile!

After getting home from KidFest we made dinner and Annikah tried spaghetti for the first time. As Jason keenly pointed out, "doesn't every kid have a spaghetti shot?" So here is Anni's:

We ended the evening with a bike ride to Sweet Occasions in Andersonville for some magical coconut (for Anni & me) and Carmel Chaos (for Jason). I ask you does it get better than that?

Friday, September 7, 2007

family pictures

Today we took some family pictures.. here they are (quality is not great as I scanned them in) but I love Anni two teeth and her little smirk. Also, update on the walking..we had 10 consecutive steps yesterday!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

labor day

Although the reminders that summer is over seem to be everywhere I am loving the nice hot weather today! Labor day weekend was fun. After running my scheduled 18 miles on Saturday morning we headed up to Lake Geneva and spent the day as a family enjoying the cool weather and beautiful lake. My parents, sister, brother, and Grandparents joined us Sunday after driving from St. Louis (they were there for an Illini game where my little sister performed with the Illinettes for the first time! Go Katy!)
We celebrated Annikah's birthday (again, that lil girl is getting spoiled with sweets) and spent time hanging out and beginning to pack up the house (my parents are rebuilding this fall and winter and the tear down starts in October). My Mom was a great hostess and made Anni's B-day a special occasion. We reminisced about the past year and looked through pictures of Anni's first eventful year. On the drive home we stopped by Jorie and Mark's for dinner and a car seat break for Annikah and ended up having so much fun that we stayed for a few hours. Anni is so enamoured of her cousins that she was actually crawling away from us and crying when we tried to get her to leave. Family is a blessing. We arrived home around 8:30pm and true to Annikah form she stayed awake the entire time in the car and was more then ready to hit her crib when we got home.