Wednesday, January 30, 2008

This, too, Shall Pass

Yesterday was a rough day for Mama Nash and little Willingham. As I'm writing this my weather bug is once again blinking red warning of the extreme cold. I awoke this morning to 14 degrees BELOW zero with a windchill reaching 30 below zero. It's now back up to a toasty 6 below. Ugh.

I know I wrote a relatively cheerful post last week about how the Minnesota cold really isn't that bad and I still stand by that. It's just that when you're having a really hard day, it's the one extra thing that you just. don't. need. right. now. PLEASE. Got that?

William has another bad cough, only his second ever, combined with a running nose, watery eyes and a mood that has seen better days. I brought him to ECFE yesterday morning anyway because he didn't have a temp and I figured it would be my only chance at getting out of the house this week if the weather remains the same. It would also be the perfect time to make a much-needed trip to Target. In hindsight I probably should have let the poor kid camp out in his jammies in the living room all day. Getting in and out of the car with the wicked wind stinging our faces was quite maddening. And guilt pounded me every time William started hacking.

And it only got worse from there. William didn't want to take a nap (probably because the intervals between coughing were never long enough for him to find sleep) so he was extra irritable and overtired in the afternoon in addition to being sick. He wanted to be held. But as soon as I picked him up he wanted to get down. And he only had two forms of communication. Whining or all out sobbing.

It was one of those afternoons where I was so busy trying to comfort him that I forgot to eat lunch and would even forget to go to the bathroom until it was almost too late. Forget to go to the bathroom, you might ask? Have a kid and you'll know what I mean.

It took over an hour to get him to go to bed last night. A task that was not easy since Brian was out of the house at a church meeting. But once he fell asleep (and when I say fell asleep what I really mean is exhausted himself from screaming) he did sleep through the night. Small miracle. And when he woke up this morning he greeted me with a gigantic smile reminding me that the bad times really do pass eventually.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Say My Name

William started to walk and I realize that I haven't made any earth-shattering posts about it. And this video makes me realize why. His first words are a thousand times more entertaining than step, step, step, fall.

Prepare yourselves. This is one of the best videos I've posted in a long time. And don't worry. My feelings weren't hurt too bad.

video

Friday, January 25, 2008

When You Really Want to Push THAT Button

Should I be happy he likes to persevere or upset that he keeps disobeying?


Thursday Night Recap: January 24

Eats: Seasoned Stuffed Chicken Breasts from Schwan's

Dessert: Light Chocolate Ice Cream from, who else, Schwan's.
By the way, although the Light ice cream from Schwan's isn't as good as the original, it's still better than any other ice cream I've tried so it works for me!

Drink: One amoretto and sour for me and one Finnegan's for Brian.

Entertainment: Iron Chef America followed by Reign Over Me.

How I got Pulled into the Schwan's Trap

Yesterday I just had to get out of the house. The temperature was below zero for the, well, I've lost count how many days in a row now. After his morning nap I loaded up William, his lunch and the rest of his gear and headed to Caribou. It was a great little break. Nice to see other adults even if it was only eavesdropping in on their adult conversations.

When my cup of coffee was finished and William was at his tipping point, we left. When I got in the car I noticed that my gas tank was nearing empty which is a big no-no in Minnesota in the winter so I drove across the street to the Kwik Trip that seems to always have the best prices and car wash in Woodbury. (Tangent: How many different ways can you possibly spell the word "quick"? Really. I think they've covered them all.)

As I was filling up I noticed a Schwan's truck parked over on the side of the station. Now this is about the third time I've seen this truck parked here at this very gas station. I decided it was probably a sign from God. That and the fact that I had nothing planned for dinner and it was, after all, our most holy of weeknights. Thursday!

The Schwan's man was so very nice and told me that I needn't come to Kwik Trip whenever I wanted something Schwan's, he would just drive right on over to my house. Huh, imagine that! Now truth be told I really have no one else to blame for getting myself roped into this program but my own mother. We grew up with Schwan's treats. Pizzas, brats, caramel rolls, juice bars, I bet we've tried them all. But it's the ice cream that is really my weakness.

It is the ice cream for which all other ice creams will be compared against. I've tried and I've tried and each time Brian looks at me and says, "Good enough?" I shake my head in disappointment. Brian, poor thing, did not grow up with Schwan's at his house. I would imagine with eight people in your house it would get somewhat spendy trying to feed that monster with the deliciousness of Schwan's.

So I ordered some things, including chocolate ice cream, and reluctantly paid with a check. A check. That means he now has my address. How will I ever overcome this weakness if that very same truck pulls into my driveway?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Future For Me At ESPN, Perhaps?

Me: Hey you know what I heard today?

Brian: What's that?

Me: This is a test to see if I know at least one ND (Notre Dame) factoid that you don't.

Brian: Ask it in a question.

Me: OK, what famous ND alum's son is signed on to attend ND?

Brian: Mike Golic and Joe Montana, both sons.

Me: DANG IT! I was talking about Montana. I don't even know who Mike Golic is.

Brian: Mike Golic?!

Me: He won the Heisman? Just kidding. I don't know. I just say that for all the people I don't know.

Brian: Hey did you ever read that article by the Sports Gal?

Me: Yes, but I know more about fb than she does. I should be the Sports Gal. Actually, maybe just the FB Gal. I don't really appreciate any other sport as much.

Brian: Maybe the ND Gal.

Me: What about the Badgers? Maybe the NDB Gal.

Brian: Yeah.

Me: Well and there's always the off chance that the Gophers are going to do well so I really should be the NDBG gal.

Brian: I would wait around 4 years!

Me: Oh yeah like ND has anything to talk about.

Brian: Better than 1-9.

Me: Well at least the Gophers could admit they're bad and not take up quality television air time EVERY SINGLE WEEK.

Brian: That's because ND is relevant, even when they lose.

Me: Whatever, they're just on because they can pay off the network because they charge $50,000/year to their students. Except to the football players who get a free ride when they really should be paying twice the regular student for letting down the whole campus.

Brian: You could write for ESPN. But, you know, the networks actually pay ND.

Me: That's probably because the network exec's son is trying to get in. You know, he's not really that good of a football player so ND would be a good fit.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Celebrating Life

I thought this little story was cute but also appropriate for the anniversary of today.

This weekend my sister and mom took William for a couple of days leaving Brian and I to our baby-free and lonesome selves. On Saturday evening we decided to dine at Jax Cafe in Northeast Minneapolis. I had fond memories from when I was a little girl and Brian had never been.

Brian called on Saturday afternoon to modify the reservation and the host asked, "Are you celebrating anything?"

Brian replied, slightly sarcastically, "Oh, you know, just life in general."

Brian was unaware of Jax's signature trademark. Personalized printed matchbooks. So when we arrived and all the other couples had their names or some other fondness waiting for them on their table, we had this.

Monday, January 21, 2008

32 Sounds Pretty Good

The author of a blog I frequently read recently wrote, "My car keeps telling me it's 32 degrees, and I think you'll admit that's pretty chilly, no matter where you live."

Yeah, except if you happen to live in Minnesota or Wisconsin or really anywhere in the Upper Midwest. Thirty-two degrees here means we can shovel slush instead of throwing salt on the driveway. It also means we might save $100 on our heating bill this month. It means we don't have to worry about our pipes freezing or our car doors getting frozen shut.

This weekend the little weather bug on my computer screen keep blinking red as it struggled to stay out of the negative two-digits. That's below zero for anyone reading this who is lucky enough never to have experienced this vision on a thermometer. The blinking red was a warning to all to limit your outdoor exposure to running to and from indoors to your car. Which was probably left running.

The company where I was formerly employed was headquartered in Atlanta. Our office in Minneapolis frequently had to collaborate on projects with employees in the Atlanta office. One November morning I had a conference call with a particularly outspoken Atlanta employee. He asked me how I was that morning and I informed him that the Twin Cities had experienced the season's first snowfall the night before. The first snowfall tends to be bittersweet. It means that our summer and fall are truly over and the long winter has arrived. But at the same time most will tell you that the first snowfall is also the most beautiful and the most exciting.

My Southern coworker quickly said without any apparent thought, "Oh ick! Haven't you ever considered moving?"

He was dead serious. Not like the kind of joking we do with each other all year long asking why we still live here.

I felt like asking him the same thing in the middle of August when the humidity and air quality is so bad in Atlanta that he couldn't even take his newborn daughter outside for risk of respiratory problems.

Each climate, I'm sure, has its upsides and downsides but we all love and crave what we know. We have four very distinct seasons in Minnesota and I love each one of them. Only having two or three would feel as empty and boring as deciding to skip Christmas or the Fourth of July one year. Nothing beats spending the whole day in your bathing suit because it's too hot to wear anything else. Or cutting down your own Christmas tree while it's snowing. And nothing is truly more appreciated as taking a warm weather vacation in the middle of winter.

Each season provides us all with something to love and something to complain about. But don't worry. If you really hate it that much you only have to wait a few months for a brand new season to arrive. Spring is right around the corner. Right?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Thursday Night Recap: January 17

In the midst of this writers strike I've decided to provide all my readers (but mostly my poor self) with a weekly recap of my Thursday nights to prove to all of you (myself) that we (I) don't really need those Thursday night television shows to provide us (me) with a satisfying evening. In the process, hopefully I'll give you some good ideas to plan a cozy night at home.

This last Thursday was a little different than most because I was alone. Brian was out for a happy hour with some of his former coworkers workin' the town in good ol' Minneapolis. Lucky! Knowing this, I purposely cut out one of William's naps to be sure he'd go down with ease right at seven on the dot. Here are the vitals.

Eats: Thimbles with Mushrooms and Artichokes

Dessert: A small dish of chocolate and vanilla mix ice cream. Afterward I savored a few Jolly Ranchers.

Drink: One Finnegans
(Have you ever tried this beer? It tastes great and you can feel good drinking it. And I don't mean you'll feel good because of the alcohol effects. 100% of the profits go to local Twin Cities charities! How's that for a good brew?)

Entertainment: The Nanny Diaries
Truth be told, it was no where near as good as the book but what movie is? It was the perfect flick to watch by myself. Brian would have been bored before the opening credits.

So there you have it. Tune in next week for another exciting Thursday night at the Nash's!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Lovely Afternoon with a Surprise at the End

I haven't posted in a few days because William and I have been pretty busy. Yesterday we had ECFE in the morning, a couple of errands to run in the afternoon and then haircuts for the whole family around dinnertime.

Today I met three of my former coworkers downtown for lunch while William spent that time with his daddy. Brian's office is across the street from the place where we were lunching so it was pretty convenient.

On the way home I decided to make a pit stop at the gas station by our house to fill up and get a car wash. The temperature is supposed to dip below zero this weekend so I wanted to get a rinse now to prevent the doors from freezing shut on me if I waited too late. This is something that has, unfortunately, happened to me before. As I was swinging around the back side of the gas station to go through the wash I realized I wasn't the only one who had this idea. I was sixth or seventh in line.

"Oh well," I thought, "I'll kill some time playing around with William in the car and then throw him down for a nap when we get home."

The car wash line took us 40 minutes. I'm not exaggerating. But I'm also not complaining because William was really good and very patient for a one-year-old.

When we got home he was showing all the signs of tiredness so I whipped off his pants to change his diaper before putting him in his crib. And there, folks, was my surprise.

Over and over I kept saying, "William, what did you eat?!" So you can pretty much guess the details from there. It was all over. It reminded me of the days when he was a newborn. Down both legs and up his shirt. But unlike a newborn it was virtually impossible to change him. I grabbed an old towel to lay him on to protect my carpeting. Every time he rolled over and I screamed for him to stop, he thought it was hilarious and tried to do it again.

After ten minutes of wiping and washing I finally got him cleaned up and in new clothes. My hands are like paper from the 80 times I scrubbed them with soap and water. I know I've been a mom now for almost 14 months and I should be used to it, but I still can't get over the "ick" factor. At least now I've got bragging rights the next time Brian complains about changing a diaper.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Explanation: The Vikings Didn't Make the Playoffs

I've already told you what happens when green and purple mix in the Nash family. Now see what happens when the Vikings don't make the playoffs and your in-laws are from Wisconsin.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Before and After

You'd think Nate Berkus visited our home, but nope. It's just a little post-holiday redecorating courtesy of a Christmas gift from Brian's parents.


My Grievance to the Writers Guild

I understand that what the Writers Guild is asking for is probably fair and yes, the producers are probably being a tad bit greedy but this strike is really putting a cramp in our Thursday nights. Last night the last new Grey's Anatomy episode aired and I'm starting to feel the effects of withdrawal. I thought it was bad when the last new Office episode aired way back in November but now, instead of one, we're out two television shows indefinitely.

I have always looked forward to Thursday nights as I think everyone does. It's the last evening in what was probably a very long week. It means you can usually stay up a bit later than usual because Friday's just around the corner and we all know Fridays are a breeze.

In college it was the "going out" night. When I was working downtown it was happy hour night. Now that we have William it's our wine (or cocktails) and TV night. It's the one night when Brian and I can get all cozy on the couch and agree what to watch on TV. We both think The Office is hilarious and Grey's Anatomy is dramatic, of course, but it has just enough witty banter so that Brian can put up with it.

In the meantime I guess we'll have to utilize our Netflix membership more often.

I'll miss you, Thursday Night TV. Please hurry back soon.

In Case You Were Curious

It's been about four months since the last one but yes, William still loves Usher. And he's even learned some new moves in the meantime.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Early Childhood Family Education

If you've ever hung around me in the past year you've probably heard me toss around the acronym ECFE. You say, "ECF - what?" ECFE stands for Early Childhood Family Education. Today was our first day back after a month off for the holidays. The break made me realize how much I love this program so I'm going to take a little time to give it a plug.

ECFE is for children pre-K and under. There's even a class for newborns! ECFE is part of the public school system and is a program unique to the state of Minnesota. On their website, ECFE will probably say that the program is designed to foster early learning, help facilitate parent child interaction and build strong families. But let's call a spade, a spade here. ECFE gets William and me out of the house and into a social environment at least once a week for an hour and a half. Anyone who has stayed at home with a child for any length of time knows how important that is.

The biggest question I get about ECFE is what we do there. The class is structured so that the first half is all about interacting with your child. We sing songs and nursery rhymes, we do "make 'n' take" projects, we play with unique and different toys and we socialize with all the other parents and children.

During the second half of the class the parents and children separate. For some children this provides an opportunity to cope with separation anxiety. But most importantly it's an opportunity for the parents to discuss relevant topics in a distraction-free area. The discussion topics are picked by the group moderator who is typically someone who has a degree in some sort of family social science. Past topics have included mealtime, sleeping and language skills. Meanwhile, the children are all being well cared for in a separate room by instructors who have a preschool teaching license.

All the mothers in my group have bonded extremely well. Outside of class we have set up our own get-togethers. We have all the indications of being long-lasting companions because we all have one very important thing in common. Our kids, of course!

ECFE is not just for moms and it's not just for stay-at-home parents either. Plenty of dads have made appearances during class and they even offer a class just for dads. Each ECFE facility usually has plenty of class times to choose from to fit your schedule. Anything from early in the morning to after dinnertime. If you have other children who are at home or are not in school yet, ECFE even offers sibling care during your class time.

ECFE is the most reasonably priced mom and baby class I've found in my area. Their pay scale is based on your family's income but, because it is part of the public school system, they will never turn away a family who cannot afford the class.

For more information on ECFE you can go to ecfe.info or check out the Minnesota Department of Education web page. If I've already sold you, you can check out class offerings in your area by clicking here. And if you don't live in the lovely state of Minnesota start lobbying to your state congressmen now!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Evenings and Weekends: Open

One of the best outcomes about my decision to stay at home with William and not work outside the home is that we now have our evenings and weekends available to do whatever we want. I remember before William came into our lives Saturday morning (OK, afternoon) would roll around and Brian and I would high five; he would say, "I've got the downstairs" and I would say, "I'll take the upstairs." Meaning cleaning, of course.

There was no other time to get it done during the week. On a good day both of us would be out of the house before seven-thirty and arrive home no sooner than six. The six o'clock bell would be followed by a trip to the gym, perhaps, or a grocery run or maybe even diving into the laundry pile. If we really felt motivated we might even (gasp!) cook! But most nights we just scrounged up whatever healthy option we could find for dinner before settling in for our favorite primetime television shows. Both of us, too tired from our busy schedules, would get lost in the TV before wandering up to bed.

Now I can (and am happy to, I should add) get all this done during the day. That's why whenever somebody asks me, "What do you do all day?!" I just have to smile. The cleaning, the cooking, the shopping, the laundry can all get done during the day while Brian is at work. My favorite evenings are when all my to-do items have been crossed off and there is a hot meal ready when Brian walks in the door. I know, it sounds so 1950s. But if you saw the kind of dad Brian is you would know, it's definitely 2008. As soon as he hears the door creak William, already into his dinner, lights up at the sight of his daddy. He looks at me as if to say, "Is that really him?!" and then back at Brian and continues to giggle and kick his legs at full speed.

All three of us can sit down and enjoy a meal together. Brian, after being away from William all day, is delighted to take him upstairs for his bath while I clean up the kitchen in peace and quiet. Once William is down for the night we have the evening to ourselves instead of an evening of housekeeping tasks.

Our weekends are much the same. Trips to the coffee shop. A walk outside. Cheering for our favorite football teams. Wrestling and tickling on the floor.

I'd love to tell you that the picture I just painted is how it is all the time but of course it isn't. The point is, this is the decision we've made together and this is the life we strive for. There are always bumps in the road. There are days when William's irritability has pushed me to my limits. There are days when Brian's job has caused him so much frustration that it bleeds into the rest of the family. But then there are days like yesterday when we all took a stroll on our favorite walking path during this January thaw and I know we've made the right decision.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Not So Bad After All

Man, if I had a nickel for everytime I got flack for giving William the list of no-no foods (whole milk, cheese, eggs, peanut butter, bites of my cookies WITH nuts) before he was of the recommended age, well you know how the saying goes.

But now all I have to say is, "HA!" Mom knows best after all. Click here.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Not Because of Laziness

I have a confession. I have been wearing the same sweats since we arrived home on Tuesday afternoon. Contrary to what it might appear, however, it is not due to laziness. Quite the opposite actually. My to-do list has been jam-packed with cleaning, organizing, laundering, and the lovely event known as "post-Christmas bill-paying." Sadly, this to-do list has not included showering or changing my attire.

Ironically, though, as I look around my tidy house I feel great. Three loads of laundry are clean and put away and my empty laundry baskets looks beautiful to me. Our living room looks magnificently bare without the Christmas tree and all the Christmas decorations. (I wanted to keep the tree up until after the Epiphany but unfortunately the recycling truck and the Catholic Church failed to coordinate schedules.) All my new Christmas gift kitchen gadgets have found homes in my cupboards and drawers and their rarely-used replacements have found their new homes in storage.

My Target and grocery store lists are nearly complete. And the fact that I'm sitting down in front of the computer writing this post means that maybe, just maybe, I might make it into the shower today and make it out to complete those lists.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Home Again, Home Again

We are finally home after all our holiday traveling and it feels great. As much fun as it is making memories for William during this time of year with his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, it's extremely exhausting. I am very much a routine-driven individual so two weeks of packing, unpacking and repacking half our house into our car definitely puts me to the test.

Brian is back to work today and starting next week William and I will be back to our usual schedule of Early Childhood classes, grocery shopping for anything but holiday cooking, Target runs that include the boring essentials instead of wrapping paper and the perfect gifts and of course, keeping my house in the tidy fashion that it is typically found instead of the chaos that engulfs it at the end of the year.

It sounds like a monotonous sequence, I know, but it's my life and I love it!

Happy New Year!

New Year's Weekend








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