Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Departure date....?

We haven’t yet received our paperwork (visas, passports, etc.). Being so close to our intended departure date, with SO much left to do until after we receive verification, we have decided to move our departure to next week. This has made us feel a whole lot better and reduced our stress levels considerably. The removalists will arrive to pack up the majority of our house tomorrow morning. We will have to determine what we need to live on / with until next week, including summer clothes which we will only need during this time.

Too tired, must sleep....

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Bedroom bedlam

The picture of Paul, above, is Luc’s first ever photograph! He framed the photo, clicked the button, and was very proud of the result (although Paul isn’t so thrilled).

We had yet another panic yesterday when we were told we would be put up in a 1 bedroom apartment on our arrival to Chicago. This filled us with an extreme amount of dread at the prospect of 4 people sharing a bedroom for the next 8 or so weeks. Our fears were allayed this morning when we were informed that Paul’s company had found us a 2 bedroom apartment in the same building - PHEW! The apartment building is located approximately 4 blocks from Paul’s work which will make his commute really easy (as long as he keeps warm along the way!)

Yesterday we attended the 2nd birthday party of Thomas Jones. Lots of chocolate cake ensured some super-charged toddlers. It took some effort on Jacqui’s part to prevent several little boys attempts to blow out the birthday cake candles after a chorus of “Happy Birthday”. It was sad saying our Good-byes to the members of our Baby Club: friends / confidants and welcome adult company for myself and great little playmates for Luc over the last couple of years.

Visits to the chiropractor for all of us and the GP for Luc’s 2-year check up and for myself, were made. We want to be sure we are in good health before we leave as we are a little fearful of the American health care system.

Paul’s brother Arthur and his girlfriend Nikki came over to help clean up under the house. They did a magnificent job - amongst several trips to the tip and copious sweeping. Several visitors were somewhat ignored as I continued to paint the bathroom - a great big SORRY to you all! ...and I am now out of paint. We will have to visit Bunnings tomorrow morning as my favoured hardware does not stock the paint in small quantities such as I need.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Visa interview

We had an early morning start yesterday to catch a 6am flight to Sydney. We were asked to arrive at the American consulate 20 minutes prior to our 10:30am scheduled meeting time to clear security. This involved bag searches and being screened with a metal detector on the 10th floor of the MLC centre. Once we passed security, we were allowed to travel to the 59th floor, where we again went through a bag search, surrendered our mobile phones walked through a metal detector and were buzzed through a security door.

Entering a waiting area, we took a number and then a seat and then began a long wait... About an hour later, our number came up, we went to a counter and submitted some paperwork (passports, photographs, visa application fee receipts, etc.). We were then told to take a seat and wait for our interview. In the interim, we had a nappy download from Nic. There were no ‘bathrooms’ on that floor of the building, so I left the waiting room, only to have to go through the same security clearance procedures on my return.

Our interview took place at about 12:30pm - at a counter, with an official behind a thick glass barrier. The whole interview took about 5 minutes. We were told that the paperwork would be processed on Friday or Monday. That would mean we have our passports returned about Tuesday. I guess we will soon be on our way!

In the meantime, Luc was being looked after by his grandparents. This involved a trip to the Gold Coast to visit the beach and his great grandparents. The photo above shows Luc with Great Grandma Elva and Great Grandpa Patrick.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Paul, Nic and I are off to Sydney tomorrow for our interview at the American Consulate. We decided we would go down just for the day, and that way, we wouldn’t need to take Luc with us. Luc’s Nanna and Grandpa (Gearon) are arriving this afternoon (from Chinchilla) to look after Luc for the day. We thought we would take advantage of their presence (and baby sitting abilities) to go out for dinner Wednesday night... our last opportunity for some time (or at least until we find some baby sitters in Chicago).

We are having the Pickfords group do the majority of packing for us. This will make things easier for us when it is time to leave our house. In the meantime however, it has been quite chaotic trying to work out what will be sent to: Chicago, Chinchilla, The Salvation Army, offloaded to friends / family or the rubbish heap. The resultant piles keep altering with subsequent revisions and culls. We are getting there...

Monday, January 23, 2006

Peas in a pod?

A number of people have commented on how similar the boys look as infants. Here are a couple of photos to compare. In the photos, Luc (on top) is just over 7 weeks and Nic is just over 9 weeks old. It looks like Nic might be forming dimples too! I hope he does... the boys will be able to use them to great advantage (as Luc already has).

The major difference at this comparative stage is the hair and eye colour: Nic has lots of dark hair, while Luc had blonde hair and less of it; Luc had bright blue eyes while Nic’s eyes haven’t ‘settled’ on a colour yet. Some days they appear to be blue-grey, others, green-brown. Nic’s hair already has a curl, while Luc’s did not start to curl until he was at least 6 months of age.

The majority of people regard Luc as a ‘mini Paul’ while comments regarding Nic have likened him to me. As far as Paul and I are concerned, Luc looks like Luc and Nic has lots of similarities to Luc!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A day in the park

This morning we took the boys to the park to catch up with our friends Georgina & Michael (who live on the Sunshine Coast - and were in town), Paul & Jacque, Tania & Craig and their respective boys and dogs. Appearing in the picture above are: Angus, Thomas, Zachary, Luc and Nic. The boys had a great time together.

We will really miss all these people. Tania and Craig brought around a very yummy dinner for us last night - including baked pudding! I hope we are able to make such good friends while we are in Chicago.

During the afternoon we had a visit from friends Bernard & Anthea who will be visiting Chicago sometime around May (our first visitors perhaps?).

The undercoat was to be painted in the bathroom today... only the roller-brush went ‘missing’... I’m sure it will be found sometime in the future, along with a variety of other household items that have been disappearing over time (the works of a curious toddler, no doubt).

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Time to panic...?!

Yesterday Paul and I were talking about our likely departure date. At this stage it is anticipated that 3rd February will be the day we jet off. This is remarkably close! We have just initiated ‘panic stations’...

Thinking of what we need to achieve before we depart is a little scary: only the garden to do, the bathroom to paint, our house to rent, our car to sell, our visa interview in Sydney, closing accounts, doctors / dentist appointments (before our insurance finishes), catching up with people before we leave.... OH, then there is the packing to do! All to do whilst attending to the needs of our two young lads.

Given what we need to achieve, we have decided it might be better for visitors and well-wishers to visit us to say their good-byes. If you are about and have a moment, drop by for a cup of tea or coffee and a quick chat. You will need to excuse the ensuing chaos and our possible frantic pace, but please feel welcome to visit.

Please do not feel offended if we do not have the time to see you, do not have the opportunity to call or we do not answer emails, etc.