Two Old!

If you ask my eldest son (gosh, it feels weird to say that!!) how old he is, he will proudly respond, “two old!” It is charming and perfect and I know it won’t be long before he corrects himself, so I am soaking up this little morsel of toddler cute.

Yes! Ewan is two. My son, my self-proclaimed “big dude,” turned two years old! Two. Oh my!

His birthday was such a day. One that I know he won’t remember, but one I know I will never forget.

My water broke at 2:30am that day. And at that point I thought, for certain, that both my kids would share a birthday. I labored with Ewan for 22 hours, so it hardly seemed possible that my second labor would be longer…

As it turns out, it was. While a 38 hour labor certainly wasn’t in the plan, and it is something that I will surely write about at some point, it did allow our family of three the chance to celebrate Ewan’s two-ness in a truly special way.

The day started with gifts, a few books, a few trains and a special shirt.

There was a little bit of cleaning and preparing for our new arrival.

Cake baking and decorating.

A special lunch out.

Oh, and there were contractions that punctuated the whole day. But through it all, we were there, together. Celebrating. Celebrating our little boy. Our two-year old. Anticipating the little one inside, beginning his journey out.

It was a great day. A great day to be two. A great day all his own. Separate birthdays, it was definitely his brother’s plan.

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Hunkering Down

We travelled last weekend. A short, easy trip to visit a set of Grands but it took a whole lot out of me. (hence the absence from this space, and the mondo bags under my eyes in the photo above)

Sleeping was difficult, bordering on impossible, despite the hospitality and two beds to choose from. The heartburn was something fierce and required my step-dad, Mike, to do an extra run out for Tums in the middle of a winter storm.

But there were bright spots, many of them. Cookie making. All day pajama wearing. Delicious food, prepared by hands other than my own. Story telling. Laughing.

All good, good things. All things that I want more of. All things that from now, until after this babe is born, are going to have to happen in our home.

That’s right. I’m hunkering down and staying put. I’m going to sleep the rest of my pregnant nights in my very own super cozy bed with my jumbo-normous pregnancy pillow. I’m going to spend my days in a place with an ample supply of Tums and warm milk with honey. I’m going to cozy under blankets with my feet up. I’m going to feather this nest and prepare it for the arrival of this little one.

We are, after all, getting much closer with each passing day.

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Test Driving

Aside from moving into a new place that can accommodate our growing family, we’ve done very little (actually, next to nothing) to prepare for upcoming arrival.

I know we still have time, I’m only 20 weeks after all, but it still seems like it is coming so quickly.

So, in an effort to prepare for to be a family of four, we thought it was time for us to go and test drive some new vehicles. Something with space for two (or more) little ones and a little additional cargo.

That’s right, while most people in our situation might be out trying a minivan or SUV on for size, we went out to shop for a new bike. A bike a little more suited to working as a family vehicle.

First up was the Zigo. Ewan loved sitting up front and we loved being able to see where he was at and what he was doing. It was an easy ride and being a trike it felt super stable.

With the Zigo it seemed like it was a bike that was trying too hard. Part bike, part stroller, part jogger, part carrier bike. It could do so much, yet it didn’t do anything super well. The price point is pretty easy to swallow, so it isn’t out of the running yet, but it seems that we’ll probably choose something else.

Next up was my dream bike. The good old Bakfiets. I discovered this bike about a year ago and have been lusting after it since. On Sunday I finally got a chance to load Ewan into the box and take one for a spin.

I hated it. Well, maybe hate is a bit strong. I felt out of control, which is something I don’t want when I have little ones in tow.

Eight feet long from tip to tip and only two wheels meant that stopping and starting was a bit tricky. Given that most of our rides are done on the very stop-and-start roads of Chicago, it just doesn’t seem like a good match. Loved the cargo space though. Loved the fact that I could handle the littles and a few groceries as well.

So, the search will go on. A strong contender is a Boxcycle, though we haven’t gotten a chance to test drive it yet. If we were in New York, we’d probably be strongly considering one of the custom bikes by the folks at Hudson Urban Bicycles.

And, can I just say, what fun we are having, looking at new bikes and continuing to commit to being car-free even as a family of four. Sure there are bound to be some challenges along the way, but we are all looking forward to it.

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Moving Out and Growing Up

At the end of June, Aaron and I were deep in discussion about whether or not to renew the lease of our current apartment. The reasons to stay were numerous.

It’s beautiful.
In a great neighborhood.
We’re happy here.
We don’t have to move.

The reasons to move were there, though not quite as compelling. Specifically, it’s small here. Small, but the space works for the three of us.

With pens in hand, and a lease extension before us, Aaron looked at me and said, “This is going to be fine, just so long as you’re not pregnant right now.”

“I’m not pregnant,” I said filled with animosity, “I know my body. I would know if I was pregnant.”

We signed the lease, sealed it up, and sent it off. Ready to stay in our little courtyard place until April 30, 2011.

Two days later, while two very good friends were visiting, I barfed. I knew. I took a test. I skipped to the park to share the news and admit that I had been wrong.

Ever since we’ve been doing a lot of thinking and a little scrambling. Do we stay, do we go?

It didn’t take long to decide that it would be best to sublet our place and hit the road. While we could definitely make this place work with a family of four, I really didn’t want to imagine packing and moving with a family of four. Putting Ewan through two major transitions, a new sibling and a new home, in such a short span of time.

It seemed best, despite the first trimester fatigue, to go ahead and get this done now, while I have some energy and some ability to focus on logistics.

That left the next question. Where do we go?

We live in Ravenswood right now. Within a block there are cafes and restaurants and bars. Down the street there is a little play park. The brown line is less than two blocks away, so the whole city is at our doorstep. It’s a perfect place, and a perfect location. But….

Truth is, it can be a little lonely here. While there are some families in the neighborhood, the majority of residents are young professionals. The play park down the street, well, it’s usually just us. This neighborhood is fun. It is hip-happening, but maybe we aren’t anymore. Or, at least, with a family of four, we won’t be. A change of venue seemed like it may be in order.

We’ve visited the Ravenswood Manor neighborhood before and have always, even pre-kids, been charmed. It has tree-lined streets and amazingly gorgeous old brick bungalows. Filled with one-way roads, angled streets, and the river running through it all, it’s an easy neighborhood to wander and get lost in. With a handful of busy little play parks to boot, it seemed like it might just fit the bill.

We spent the last weekend hunting and looking and wandering and exploring and, eventually, deciding that yes! this is the neighborhood. Even though that decision, by itself, caused a bit of an identity crisis.

Are we those people now?

Are we grown-ups now?

Are we the ones leaving the hip urban neighborhood for a smaller, quieter community (still very much in the city) to raise our family?

I guess, we are. While I still struggle with it. While I still struggle with the fact that I might, in fact, be a grown-up, I think it’s the right choice. And heck, at least we’re not fleeing for the suburbs. So, we still have a scrap of dignity to hang on to. 🙂

We’ll be in a new place starting at the beginning of September. It is the second floor of a two-flat with more space than we’ve ever really had or imagined. A two-bedroom with an enormous living room, dining room, separate sunroom, big kitchen (with a dishwasher!), our own laundry, and a backyard. So large that much of it will remain unfurnished, for awhile.

Indeed, this is a space where our little family will have room to grow, stretch, and run about. And when we tire of the inside, the neighborhood has lots to explore. Parks. Nearby bike trails. Cute little old-timey coffee shops.

So, now we must pack. It is arduous and not something I’m looking forward to but I know, this time next month, we’ll be settled into our new home and getting used to all it has to offer. This time next month moving will be done.

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