Settled in Fri, 31st Dec '21, 1:15 pm::
We've been in Woodstock, IL for just over a month and I'm glad to share that it feels like home. The main floor of the house is pretty much all setup and the downstairs has a week or two worth of organizing before we can call it done. After we put away the Christmas decorations and clear out the guest rooms, we will be ready for the next phase - construction!
The two big projects we have in the house are (1) installing an elevator between the upstairs kitchen and the gym below and (2) adding a en-suite bathroom to the guest rooms downstairs. Things got way too hectic last few months for us to start these but I'm hoping to have both projects done before my parents visit us in summer 2022. I'm sure there will be a number of smaller projects all year but even without anything major, the house is comfortable, safe, and organized.
I myself have been spending my hobby hours working on automating the house. I didn't want a traditional "smart" home system like Amazon Alexa or Apple HomeKit so I setup Home Assistant by myself. The nice thing is once it is all set, it will not rely on any external system in the cloud to manage my home. Already the Christmas Tree lights turn on/off on a schedule and my office electric candle starts warming up an hour before I start working. In a few weeks, most of the lights upstairs will be connected to the home automation system.
I have a TON of paperwork to do next week, from Juliet's medical to our drivers license and kids' passports. Naveen starts school this Monday and that's going to be a huge change for us too. All in all, looking forward to 2022 and whatever it brings us.
Thank you AdeleSat, 11th Dec '21, 8:50 am::
After Juliet was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2020, we were struggling to just take care of her medical treatments, let alone raise an infant and a preschool kid during the COVID-19 pandemic. At a friend's advice, I contacted Cultural Care Au Pair and we came across Adele's profile on their site. We reached out to her with our story and she said she was more than excited to be a part of our lives. It's been over a year since we first talked to Adele and today I'd like to thank her for everything she has done for us and beyond.
It is so easy for us to start listing off the wonderful things about Adele - she is kind, always helpful, trustworthy, reliable, and so much more. But simple adjectives cannot capture the extent to which she has positively impacted our life in these few short months. She brought us wonderful gifts and candies from her home in South Africa and got into our family's routine almost instantly. Naveen absolutely adores her and Leela snuggles up to her all day. She took over the day-to-day childcare responsibilities, giving Juliet and I the opportunity to find a new home in a cooler climate that would help with her recovery. Adele absolutely surprised us by saying she would love to help us relocate and would extend her stay to make sure we're fully settled in!
We knew Adele always went the extra mile to take care of our kids but this went above and beyond our expectations of what anyone would do for us. She could have taken the easy route and looked for a new family since we were leaving sunny Florida but instead she chose to sign up for extended cross-country trips, uncomfortable road-side hotel rooms, living out of carry-on luggage, and unpredictable schedule, all while taking care of the kids as gently and calmly as she did before.
I am not exaggerating when I say without Adele, Juliet would still be struggling daily from MS side-effects due to Florida's high humidity. We could not have found our new house near in Woodstock, IL and moved here without Adele's help and for that, we will be eternally grateful to her.
Adele is definitely the big sister for both our kids. They look up to her for advise, assistance, and activities. It didn't take us long to know that she was such an amazing person. The first week she was here, we went out as a family and before I even got out of the car, she was assisting Juliet with her walking cane. It was not much but it showed us her values, upbringing, and morals. That is exactly the person we want our kids to emulate.
She told us early on that one of her goals was to explore US and make new friends so we have always encouraged her to take time off, travel, and meet new people. In that spirit, we took her to all the places she wanted to visit and then some - Florida's Space Coast to watch SpaceX launch at 4am, kayaking in Weekiwachee Springs, long weekend in Disney, NASA Rocket Center in Huntsville, underground tour in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, and explored a number of parks and museums like Selby Gardens, Georgia Aquarium, and Clearwater Aquarium. She has already been to California, Arizona, and Nevada with friends from Cultural Care and she is going to NYC next week with friends.
Adele has already done so much for us, our goal now is to make sure she has a million great memories of her 18-months in the US.