Later October 2006 entries

Today is our anniversary! 12 years married, 18 together!

Ever with Jon & Jen's dog Wyatt
I'm now going to attempt to tell you about our trip to Michigan, Indiana, and Chicago to attend Laura's wedding and visit with family and friends. You will soon see why it took me so long to get this done. This was our first attempt at traveling with the baby, by the way.
I did good - I made a list of everything to pack for Ever on a post-it and placed it on our bedroom mirror, and as I did laundry I took out what I would need. I had our passports ready to go in my purse, and packed everything for Ever & I the night before (Sean did his own packing). The next morning I drove to the gas station so Debra wouldn't have the minivan with no gas, but when I went to pump my ATM card was declined. I came home and told Sean and he called the bank.

Jen, Jon, and Ever
Turns out that every deposit that goes over $1000 that's deposited in the bank machine gets held by the bank. We thought the limit was $1000 per deposit, but it turns out it's $1000 per week. Since Nick cashed our rent check the day before, we suddenly had all of our cash being held.
Debra drove to our house with Geneva and put her car seat in our minivan for both girls to ride with us, and Sean said we had to go to the bank to have that cash released or we wouldn't be able to rent the minivan we reserved for Chicago. We have this dumb pre-paid credit card here since we had no credit in this country when we moved here and you HAVE to use a credit card to rent a car. So. With very little time to make it to the airport, Sean had to go to the bank and beg them to release just enough money to put on our credit card for the rental to get cleared. Then we borrowed $60 cash from Debra since the bank wouldn't clear anything else.

Ever and Great Grandma Culver
So we're now on our way to the airport about 30 minutes behind schedule. When Sean asks which airline we are on, I draw a blank. "I think maybe American? I forgot to print the itinerary."
Sean uses his cell phone to call information to get the number for American Airlines, then after phone recording hell he reaches an agent to ask if we have a reservation with them.
We do not.
And I have NO IDEA what other airline it could be.
Sean is a little annoyed with me.
Debra realizes that Dave's at work and at a computer, so we call him and have him log in to with my info and he tells us that we are on United, and the flight leaves about 15 minutes earlier than I had thought.
We rush in to the airport and shout that we're gonna miss our flight, and they take our luggage right away and steer us toward customs. There was a long line at customs and people were offering us to go ahead of them.
Thankfully the customs agent was very nice as Ever charmed him.
We made it to the gate in time to change Ever's diaper on the floor and board the plane.
Fantastically, the flight was direct to Chicago, not going through Dallas (that's our trip for Christmas on American, which had me confused). It was a mere three hour and twenty minute flight.

Newlyweds & Ever
Ever latched on just fine for take-off so we had no problems with her ears popping, and she promptly fell asleep. For the whole flight. As a matter of fact, she nursed during the descent and actually smiled when we landed.
Once we landed, however, we had two problems. The only American money I had, we used for a crappy box of snacks on the flight. There were signs at all of the rental car counters stating that Chicago has toll roads, and if you don't have exactly 80 cents you're gonna run into trouble, and the gates are unmanned.

Great Uncle Tim & Ever

Ever after the wedding
We did not have 80 cents American.
Also? I didn't ask Dave which car rental agency we were using. We waited in line at Budget for 30 minutes only to find out it wasn't them. All the other counters were empty with signs stating that you had to take a shuttle to get to them. Sean is making cell phone calls to Shane to ask him to deposit money into our account so we can use an ATM machine to take out American cash (we couldn't find a money exchange in O'Hare), and these calls were international, and roaming.

Grandma Kay & Ever
(I'd like to add here that this whole time we were at the airport and trying to find our rental car agency, Ever was still fast asleep in the sling on Sean. As frustrating as our situation was, we kept looking at Ever sleeping peacefully and acknowledging how lucky we are.)

Grandma Gilbert & Ever

Us with Grandpa Gilbert (Poppy)
Meanwhile I'm using my cell phone to call Jon in Chicago asking him to log on to my account so we know which car rental shuttle to take. It was Dollar, by the way.
So off we go after numerous calls on our cell phones probably costing like seventeen dollars a call, and we catch the shuttle to Dollar. We can't tip the dude because we have three Canadian twenties and nothing else. We feel like jerks.
We get the minivan and after taxes and insurance it's $467.

At O'Hare airport
The quote was $320. Miraculously, the credit card goes through, even though the bank only cleared $450.
I remind Sean that I did good, I really did - I packed every little baby necessity we needed, our passports, etc. I just forgot one little thing - to print the itinerary. He says "Yeah but you forgot one REALLY IMPORTANT thing." Thankfully that's all behind us. However....
Off we go to find an ATM machine near the airport so we can take out American cash, then buy something so we have exactly 80 cents for the toll road.
At the scary convenience store, the debit card is declined. Sean comes back out to the minivan and calls Shane (another international/roaming call) only to find out that Shane went to our bank exactly one minute after it closed, then his car broke down in the bank parking lot. He's now waiting for Katie to take him to another branch that's open later.
I head into the store and hold up a toonie and say "I have two Canadian dollars if anyone can give me 80 cents?" The whole crowd looks uncomfortable as they all turn away from me and avoid eye contact.
We look like homeless people who live in an expensive rental minivan in the convenience store parking lot.
Back in the rental minivan, Ever is hungry so I take her out of her seat and feed her. We are waiting to hear from Shane. We are stuck at a convenience store parking lot because we don't have 80 cents. At this point, Sean calmly states, "This is a f--king gong show."
I realize that we need to call Jon to tell him that we'll be about an hour late, as we know he was gonna order pizzas. Besides, what's another phone call by now? Jon then graciously informs me that his house is before we hit the toll road.
We actually laugh about this.
We hit the road and Sean sees that Shane called his voicemail while I was talking to Jon. We have to call the voicemail international/roaming. Shane's message says he successfully deposited $200 into our account. We hit the next convenience store to take out money and the machine is broken. Sean gets in the van and says "We really pissed off someone today." After a stop at a LaSalle bank drive-thru, we get American cash.
Once at Jon and Jen's, we relaxed, ate some awesome pizza, told them of our woes, and left with a handful of change (thanks Jon).
We didn't arrive at my Dad & Kay's until about 1:30 a.m. Indiana time. Kay was, of course, waiting up for us so she could hold Ever, and I gave her and Dad a condensed story of our trip. Susan brought over a crib earlier that day and we crashed blissfully.
Friday we visited with Susan and the kids, then drove to the Rouch house where Uncle Tim had just tipped over the dump truck. The property was very busy with people all about helping to set up. The reception was on the back of their farm property and there was still a lot of work to be done. From there we drove to my grandparent's lakehouse and after everyone had a chance to visit with Ever, the three us went upstairs and passed out. I woke up to the sound of 80 people milling around below and dragged myself downstairs to say Hi to everybody. Sean and Ever joined us maybe 20 minutes later.
We stayed at the lakehouse until maybe midnight - I wanted to make sure I was there when Todd and Carrie arrived from Indianapolis and spend some more time with my family.
The next day was Chris & Laura's wedding and reception. I think Ever was overstimulated but thankfully dealt with it by passing out. She slept through most of the reception. Later that night we piled up at Dad & Kay's to watch a movie and ordered some italian food.
Sunday morning we drove to my Mom's where she threw us a baby shower and I got to visit with family and her friends - some of whom we haven't seen since our wedding. Ever was seriously hooked up. We then had another whole suitcase of stuff to bring home (and more to ship).
This Christmas? We want NOTHING PLEASE.
The drive to Chicago the next day took three and a half hours. And Ever finally decided SHE HAD ENOUGH. It was a frustrating drive. It was another gong show trying to find a gas station near the airport to gas up the rental minivan, and once we were at the airport she calmed down again.
Two hours later we were boarded, and the captain announced we were 15th to take off from our runway. News that Ever didn't want to hear. Once we took off Sean walked up and down the skinny aisle of that plane for at least 20 minutes. He then settled back into his seat and brought out the iPod (thanks again, Aunt Nancy) and we all chilled out (thanks again, Bel Biv Devoe) for the rest of the flight. While landing we gave Ever sips of water from a cup and thankfully it was enough to keep her ears popping.
We landed around 11:30 in Vancouver and Debra picked us up and drove us home while Ever SCREAMED all the way. I had no way of telling her that it was over and it would be okay and she's be home soon. By the time we pulled in the driveway I already had Ever unbuckled from her seat and was rushing inside to nurse her on our very own couch. Our neighbor and faithful housesitter Tara came upstairs and visited with me while Debra and Sean brought everything in. We had left dirty dishes, full garbage cans, and laundry to put away. We are still recuperating.
Next trip is Palm Desert, California for American Thanksgiving to see Grandma Margeret. I think I'll print the itinerary this time.


But I don't mind, since I think his colorblindness is the one very thing that kept him from becoming a gay man

Sean: What onesie can I put on her?

Me (in the shower, shouting): I'm not sure what's washed, you'll just have to look.

Sean: What about this "Daddy's Little Tomato"?

Me: "Daddy's Little PUMPKIN"?

Sean: Oh! Pumpkin! That was my second guess.

Me: .......

Sean: ... and my third guess was "red pepper".


We are home and I've posted all of the pictures I took, and I'm hoping that other people will send me their shots so I can put all of them on the same Flickr page. Here's what I have so far.
I will try to write everything out tomorrow about the trip.
In the meantime send your well wishes to Tina, who moved to Canada just before we did (after completing the same immigration process). She finally had her baby boy last weekend after quite the ordeal! Welcome to the world, Daniel!

Starting tomorrow morning, Ever will experience a flight from Vancouver to Dallas, then Dallas to Chicago. We will then get through the Chicago rush-hour traffic to have dinner at Jon & Jen's (we get to meet Wyatt!), then continue another 3-hour drive to my Dad's. The next day, she will experience meeting the Culver side of the family and hang out at the rehearsal dinner for over 80 people. The next day, she'll experience a wedding and reception outdoors with over 300 people, and then a Sunday morning drive to my Mom's about 45 minutes away to be the belle of her baby shower.
Monday morning we start the flights all over again to get home. It should be the true test of our relationship.
Oh, did I mention? Ever is having A PHASE. THE PHASE is week 12 of the Wonder Weeks which is known for being one of the toughest and longest of all phases. THE PHASE started last night and is supposed to last about a week, which should cover the entire trip. THE PHASE includes her being overwhelmed with development which cuts in to other things, such as sleeping and eating. It's amazing how Ever has gone through the exact phases that the book has mentioned at the exact time that it predicts. It's awesome to see her brain taking it all in, but at the same time, I've shed tears multiple times just since last night. It's tough. The second I set her on my lap and turn her towards me, she starts crying before I even lift up my shirt. It's hard to not take it personally.
I know what this is. It's my karmic payback for telling everyone on the phone just how content and perfectly happy my baby is all the time. And this weekend they all finally get to meet her.
P.S. Happy Birthday Estella!!