Thursday, February 26, 2009

You Know You Live in Minnesota When... can take these five photographs all within one hour of each other.

11:45 a.m.

12:45 p.m.

1:45 p.m.

2:45 p.m.

3:45 p.m.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Motherly Sacrifices

It's a great morning in Minnesota today. The sun is shining and the forecasters promise temperatures nearing 40 degrees.

William and I woke up per our usual 7:45 and I got dressed for the gym. We had our breakfast, watched a little Matt and Meredith and then I started to pack up for my water aerobics class. I buckled William into his car seat and made a quick trip to the end of the driveway to deposit an empty cereal box into the awaiting recycling bin.

And then it happened.

The driveway was wet. The sun was shining. And because temperatures were so warm and melty yesterday I let my guard down. I slipped on an almost-invisible patch of ice. I fell. Hard.

Thankfully I fell backward and caught myself with my right hand before my bottom hit the ground too hard. Unfortunately my right knee bent sideways underneath me and that hurt quite a bit.

I got up quickly and went in the house to gather myself. William was still buckled in the car. When I got inside something overwhelmed me and I started sobbing.

After I calmed down I took a minute to examine myself and realized nothing was really hurt. Except maybe my ego. Even my knee was already starting to feel better.

But I had been totally and completely scared.

We women walk around in these pregnant bodies assuming all the tasks we're used to doing. "I can do it," I always tell Brian when I think he's babying me just a little too much.

But maybe, instead of trying to show we superwomen are cabable, we're actually just being selfish.

That tiny baby inside me is swimming along safe and sound but he/she is at the mercy of me. What I eat, what I drink, how I exercise, how I rest and how I might push myself just a little too much.

I haven't met this baby face to face. I don't even know if it's a boy or a girl. But already those motherly instincts have set in and I know I'll do anything to protect that precious little life.

Today is the beginning of lent and I've been thinking about all the ways I can make sacrifices. Simple meals. Less sweets. No indulgent dining out. More prayer time.

But as I'm nearing the end of my pregnancy maybe the most difficult sacrifice of all would be to slow down and accept help from others. And really, pregnant or not, isn't that the hardest sacrifice for all mothers?

Monday, February 23, 2009


There have been some major developments in the Nash household since my last post. Observe Exhibit A.

No sooner than as early as last week would you have found me explaining how we're not potty training because with William's lack of interest I just don't have it in me during these last few weeks of my pregnancy.

Well I was wrong.

Upon helping my sister register at Babies R Us I decided to pick up a potty chair. I figured we would need it down the line and why not let him get used to its presence.

Well we had the dang thing home and in the bathroom no more than five minutes and he decided he ought to christen it.

Brian and I were so shocked we didn't even realize he went right away. But when he got up to peer inside and exclaimed, "WOW!" at the sight of his, ah-hem, contents, I decided I better get up and check it out. And sure enough he went! Easy as pie.

We haven't gone cold turkey with the diapers but we have been "trying" after every meal and before and after nap and bedtime. It's a very casual approach and I like that. No fights. No struggles. No tears. And best of all, no messes!

So far the only issue is that he insists on being completely naked when he sits on the chair. This may be because the first time he went he had just gotten out of the bathtub and just happened to be naked. Either way I'm going with it. Whatever floats his boat.

Now on to further developments see Exhibit B below.

We've been waiting for his big boy bed to arrive for about a month now. We were able to snag an extra twin mattress set from Brian's parents but the logistics of getting it from their house (an hour's drive) to ours took a bit longer than expected.

If you've talked to me in the past few weeks you know that I've been nervous about this transition. I swear to you from day one William has been the best kid sleeper the world has ever seen. Until now I wasn't sure how much his crib attachment played a role in that. And I, being a lover of sleep as well, didn't really want to mess that up. But this growing baby belly reminded me every day I didn't have much of a choice.

The bed arrived yesterday and we set it up late in the day. William was so excited after dinner to run upstairs and see the finished product.

"William's new bed!" He kept shouting. "I love it!"

Brian and I secretly rolled our eyes thinking, "Let's see you walk that talk once it's actually time to sleep."

Part of our apprehension comes from the fact that the new baby and William will share a room. Because my due date is just two months away we didn't want to have to deal with the extra burden of taking down the crib only to have to set it back up again in a few weeks.

Everyone around us was a bunch nay-sayers.

"It's not going to work unless you take down that crib!"

That's all we heard.

Well I am happy to report that they were all wrong. Bedtime last night went just as smoothly as it does every other night. He slept completely through the night without any disturbances.

This morning I woke up to a loud BANG! BANG!

"Uh oh," I thought, "This is it. This is going to be the downside of the big boy bed."

I rushed in his room to see what he could have possibly gotten in to.

"School bus, mommy!"

He was only trying to lift the blinds so that he could see the morning school bus come to pick up the neighbor kids. I suppose this is rather convenient for him now that his bed is within an arm's reach of the window.

William's to-do list before the baby arrives is complete. What an awesome big brother he's already turning out to be. I wonder if there's a way I can coax him into helping me with my to-do list.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Calling All Veteran Moms

This afternoon I'm taking my sister to Babies R Us to help her complete her baby registry. I think we are going to be quite the sight at the store. Two seemingly twin sisters (we often get mistaken for twins even though we're three year apart) with matching swollen bellies. We didn't plan to get pregnant at the same time but it sure is fun. She is due with her first baby just a month, give or take, after me.

So this registry trip has got me to thinking about when I had William and which baby items I absolutely could not live without and which ones ended up being a bit of a waste. I'm going to list my top three in each category. But because every baby is different and every parent has a different style, I'd love to hear your top three. I'll pass the advice along so we have some differing opinions.


1. Bassinet

Realistically a newborn will only use this for the first three months of his/her life. That's a lot of space and a lot of money for three short months. William slept in his crib from day one and slept in our bed during some of those rougher nights. If you find that you really do want the baby in your room but not in your bed you can always use a Pack 'n' Play which is a must-have registry item. The Pack 'n' Plays of today's world come with an attaching bassinet option.

2. Bathtub

These plastic tubs can cost as much as $40 and for me it just wasn't worth it. The water got cold really fast and my baby outgrew it even faster. I much preferred the cheaper foam bath seat. This doo dad can usually be found for $5 or less. I liked it because it kept my baby warmer in the tub. I liked to extend bath time for as long as possible because he was so relaxed in there. It also worked as an anti-slip mat up until he was about 8-months-old and could sit up by himself without getting a mouthful of water.

3. Safety Accessories

I realize that I'm probably not going to get a lot of agreers on this one but I'm going to list it anyway. William is more than two years old now and so far we've done without gates, covers and cabinet locks. Part of it is probably our lifestyle. We live in a small house and because I stay at home with him full-time, he's never more than an eye glance away.

I know that some will say I'm naive and that accidents can happen in a split-second but for our family it worked out better for us to personally teach William his limits rather than having him live in a padded cell, so to speak. That being said, I may eat my own words down the road if I give birth to a child who is a bit more strong-willed than William has been.

Loved It!

1. Bouncy Seat

Can't we all agree on this one?! William lived in his bouncy seat until, well, until this started happening. It was the perfect device to keep him close to me while I went about my daily activities. 'Nuff said.

2. Breast Pump

Some might say I was a bit rigid about breastfeeding but I don't care. William never had so much as a sniffle until he was 9-months-old. And I credit a lot of that to breastfeeding. He only ever tasted formula once on a frustrating evening when he was crying inconsolably and I thought it was because I wasn't producing enough milk. That turned out not to be true. It was probably just a belly ache. Lesson learned.

After that wearisome night of crying I realized how easy it is for moms to give up on breastfeeding all together. Enter a quality breast pump. (And I do mean quality. Don't try to save a few bucks on this one. It will be worth it in the end.) Once William started to eat solids I noticed that my milk supply started to diminish. So I started to pump for about 10 minutes each evening before I went to bed. This kept my milk flowing and it also gave us a good stash of frozen breastmilk to use on date nights away, to mix in with his cereal and as a peace-of-mind backup on those occasions when I felt he wanted more to eat than I was providing. Even though a quality breast pump can cost almost $300 just think how much it saved on the cost of formula!

3. SwaddleDesigns Ultimate Receiving Blanket

In my humble opinion this is the best receiving blanket on the market. Babies love to be swaddled but I found that most of the receiving blankets I had were much too small to create the perfect swaddle after my baby was older than three months. The SwaddleDesigns blanket is 42" x 42"; huge in comparison to most blankets. For me it also doubled as a nursing cover if I were ever feeding in public. I also loved that this blanket washed up nice and still kept its soft and snuggly feel. So far I've only been able to find this blanket at Nordstrom's but if you know of other retailers that sell this brand, do tell!

Okay now it's your turn. You don't have to go into as much detail as I did. Just a quick list of your top threes!

Good Morning!

With my new love affair of my water aerobics class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and William's and my ECFE class on Tuesdays, Thursdays are now becoming our only lazy weekday morning left. It's such a good thing for me though as I approach the final pregnancy countdown and look for a way to make the time pass.

So here's my lazy Thursday morning. A vase of daffodils that are just beginning to bloom ($1.50 per bunch at Trader Joe's!), a perfect homemade latte and a sunny morning. Nevermind the fact that it's only 9 degrees with a windchill of 4 below zero. I'm looking on the bright and sunny side.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Like Magic, Only Not

Has anyone out there tried Mr. Clean's Magic Erasers? If not, let me be the first to tell you that they're not so magic. I can take the paint off a wall to remove a scuff too. That's not called magic.

My nesting urge seems to have emerged because lately I've been noticing every tiny spot on our walls. I bought a package of four erasers thinking they would be the easy answer. But instead I'll just be adding "paint touch-up" to my honey's honey-do list.

Maybe I'm using it wrong or maybe you've had a similarly frustrating experience? What say you oh all-knowing Internets?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Church or Comedy Hour

In recent months we've been struggling with William's behavior in church. He's either really good or horrifyingly bad. Yesterday, joyously, we experienced the former.

But one constant is the need to persistently remind him to use his quiet voice. Whatever he sees, hears or thinks just pops right out of that mouth for all to hear. And I have to admit that there's been more than one occasion where Brian and I have had to stifle our laughs--the people behind us watching our shoulders shake. Yesterday he gave us two of those occasions.

Our diocese is in the midst of its annual Catholic Services Appeal and yesterday the archbishop spoke to us during the homily via a pre-recorded videotape.

"Who's dat, daddy?"

"Shhh...quiet voice."

[Whispering] "Who's dat, daddy?"

"That's the bishop."

"No! Not bishop. Dat's JESUS!"

", that's our bishop."

"No bishop, daddy. JEEEEESUS!"

I'm sure Archbishop Nienstedt would be flattered.

If William has a favorite part of mass, music is it. He sings even if he doesn't know the words and he loves to watch all the instruments being played in the choir section. He also isn't afraid of busting out his dancing shoes if the spirit moves him. But yesterday he pulled out a new one for us. When the pianist began to play the Lamb of God William turned to Brian.

"What's dat, daddy?"


"Oh. That Phil Collins?"

Yes, William. Genesis is on a reunion tour and they've made a stop at our very own St. Ambrose of Woodbury.

If only his interest in mass could be equal to his knowledge of 80s English pop singers.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Working It Out

A few weeks ago someone asked me if I was still working out this late in my pregnancy? Still? Try, more. I work out more consistently when I'm pregnant than when I'm not. For one it just feels better to get up and get moving rather than to sit and have all that weight bunched up.

And then there's the whole weight gain thing. My emotions are already on a roller coaster ride and, well, if I had to get up and find out that nothing fits me anymore it would just crush me through and through. So I try to stay somewhat active.

As I mentioned yesterday I've been walking on the treadmill and doing some yoga stretches. But for the first time in my life walking on the treadmill started to hurt. And not the good feel-the-burn kind of hurt. I hate saying this word but Brian told me there's no other way to describe this part of my body. OK, fine. It's my groin. My groin is killing me. I'm sure it has nothing to do with having to carry an extra 20 pounds, right? Riiiight.

So I decided to take a water aerobics class for the first time in my life. Get that belly to float instead of bounce was the idea. Last week I purchased a maternity swim suit on sale on and when it arrived on Wednesday I had no more excuses left. I went to my first class last night and again this morning.

"How was it?" Brian asked when I got home last night.

"You know how I always say going to the state fair is a huge boost in my appearance confidence?"


"Well it was kind of like that except I got a huge boost in my fitness level confidence."

I thought the class would be full of senior citizens. And there were a few of those but there were also a lot of people that weren't that far out of my age range and appeared to be working on their physical fitness for the first time in a long time.

I've never considered myself an athlete and I don't think anyone who knows me would describe me a such either. I've never been able to run much more than a mile without getting exhausted. But still, I can climb three or four flights of stairs at a rapid pace without thinking I'm going to need to be resuscitated.

A water aerobics class is kind of like climbing stairs. Your heart rate it up but it isn't as high as it would be if, say, you were running a long distance at a quick pace for an extended period of time. So I was a bit shocked to hear people sighing and groaning as the instructor led us into more and more rigorous exercises. And it wasn't the older people. That, perhaps, is what surprised me the most. One middle-aged gentleman even got out of the pool and left when the class was only halfway through.

One woman, huffing and puffing, turned to me and said, "I can't imagine doing this pregnant!"

Compared to my usual treadmill routine I was feeling great! In fact, at one point I was feeling so good that I started to wonder if I was kidding myself that was I getting any real cardio done. It seems I've been equating pain with a real workout for so long that I just couldn't believe I was doing my body any favors. But my famished appetite at the the end of class led me to believe I burned more calories than it seemed.

So now I'm wondering, will I be cheating myself out of a true workout if I continue this class when I'm no longer pregnant?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Yes, Jenny, There is a Pregnancy Fairy

As the days go by I'm reaching the final and most uncomfortable weeks of my pregnancy. So far things have been good. I'm definitely not as comfortable as I was with William but I'm not going to complain because it could be so much worse.

I'm still pretty active. I walk on the treadmill for about 35 minutes a few times a week and I've been doing a prenatal yoga video in my living room to help stretch out those hard-to-reach stiff muscles. Tonight I'm going to my first ever water aerobics class. It will probably be me and all the local 80-year-olds. I'm sure the experience will provide good blogging material for tomorrow.

But above all that I still say my two biggest workouts come from (1) getting my two-year-old in and out of the car and (2) getting myself situated in bed each night.

I remember the bedtime routine being a struggle with my first pregnancy but you don't really remember until you're faced with the challenge all over again.

I've concocted a pretty good nest-building process and Brian doesn't even complain too much that he has about half the sleeping space and a lot less pillows.

I set up two pillows for my head, William's old Boppy pillow for my right knee and another pillow to wrap my arms around. After the 15 minutes it takes to hoist myself up and under the covers I'm snug as a bug lying on my left side.

One thing I've never had problems with in my pregnancies is sleeping. It doesn't take me too long to fall asleep and once I am asleep I'm as dead as a rock until morning rolls around.

In fact, I once explained to Brian that on the rare occasions when I do wake up in the middle of the night to find that one of my arms or legs has fallen asleep I rarely do anything about it because it takes too much effort to pick up that huge belly and roll to the other side. I just wait a few minutes and before you know it I've drifted off again.

But lately I've been waking up in the morning to discover that I'm lying on my RIGHT side and that whole nest I built is pushed aside behind me. How did I get like this? Did a pregnancy fairy come and turn me over in the night? And if so what other perks can this fairy offer?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Just an Observation

William, looking at the crucifix in our hallway: Jesus needs new clothes.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Perfect Sunday

Do you ever have one of those weekends where when it comes to an end you feel completely satisfied with how you used your time? Our family had one of those days yesterday.

We all woke up early and refreshed. We had already attended mass the night before so right away, Brian took the time to delight me with a homemade latte with our espresso maker and milk frother. We don't use these two gadgets nearly enough. The latte turned out perfect! And I'm picky so I can say that.

After a simple breakfast we decided to head to one of our favorite neighborhoods in St. Paul for a "special treat," as we refer to it to William. This particular time a "special treat" turned out to be a cinnamon swirl from Bread & Chocolate.

Hot Mama, a cute little maternity boutique, was just around the corner so I decided to stop in to see what they had. Normally I walk into these types of boutiques just to look because they are way out of my budget. But because I was already having such a fabulous day the universe decided to send me a cute pair of designer maternity jeans IN MY SIZE that were marked down more than 70%. That NEVER happens to me. Want to see them? Check them out here.

And then, as if I couldn't get any luckier in finding hot deals, I heard the sales lady tell someone she "couldn't believe the Peanut Shells were getting marked down so low." My ear perked up. I've been looking to buy a Peanut Shell before the baby arrives for months. Now here it was in the perfect pattern and size for just $19 -- a huge bargain. Don't know what a Peanut Shell is? Click here to see the one I bought!

I also want to give a shoutout to Hot Mama for being so family-friendly. William sat quietly in the play area the entire time we were there and snacked on the biggest jar of animal crackers I've ever seen. They sure do know how to please a mom!

After making my lucky purchases Brian and I headed over to an open house of a home that caught our fancy on a real estate website. Our ultimate goal is to move from Woodbury back to St. Paul but we know that it would be darn near impossible to sell our home in this current market. So until things pick up, here we sit just waiting and looking. When I saw this kitchen pictured on the website...

...I knew I had to take a looksee. But thankfully the house didn't turn out to be a big tease. The spare bedrooms were much too small, it was located on a busy street and, worst of all, it had a massive deck which left no room for a backyard. All of those are deal-breakers for our family who plans to have a whole buncha kids.

Back in Woodbury it was naptime. Brian and I took advantage of the uninterrupted time and the beautiful weather to clean out our winter-stricken car. Salt? Gone. Mud? Gone. Dusty dash? Gone. Finger prints? All gone. I asked Brian if it would be too weird if we slept in the car last night just so that we could soak up all the clean wonderfulness. He said it would.

We capped off the night with breakfast for dinner. Brian made his one and only specialty. Eggs. But eggs with onions, green peppers, mushrooms and cheese, mind you. It was delish.

See now wasn't that a wonderful way to spend a Sunday? I need to remind myself that getting up early and getting ready isn't a wasteful way to spend a weekend. Too many times I find myself lounging on the couch past noon and when the day's over I'm sad I've let the weekend slip away so easily. Spending a Sunday the way we did makes it a lot easier to tackle a Monday.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Downtown Girl

Whenever anyone asks me if I miss my old job I am quick to answer, "Nope!"

And it's true. The work was intense. I had a ridiculous amount of stress. For my age and experience I was paid generously. But when you actually looked at the work I accomplished and the Fortune 500 client list I catered to, it wasn't nearly enough.

Nowadays I crawl into bed at night thinking, "Whew! Made it through that day!"

Back then I would crawl into bed at night with a pit in my stomach wondering which of my projects would encounter a firedrill the next day that would throw the whole account into crisis.

But there is one thing I miss. I miss being in downtown Minneapolis everyday.

As a little kid my parents would treat me to a downtown extravaganza every once in a while. And even then I remember getting an excited boost of adrenaline when our car would round a bend and all those tall buildings would come into sight. There's a reason I'm the only child out of three who chose to go to college in the city.

I love the hustle. I love all the men and women dressed up in their business suits. I love the endless choices of coffee shops. I love the Thursday afternoon farmer's market. I love the lunchtime crowds. I love the skyways and one-ways. Everything you could ever hate about being in the epicenter of a big city I happen to love.

This weekend my mom is staying downtown for an event and when she called and wondered if I wanted to meet her down there for lunch I quickly agreed. In fact you've probably heard me often reference a coffee meeting downtown or a lunch with friends or just a trip to meet up with my dear ol' hubby.

I jump at any chance to get myself down there. It's in my blood.

Becoming a mom might have taken me out of the city, but you can't take the city out of this mom.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Goodbye January

This morning I logged on to read my usual blogs, one of which includes Faith & Family Live! There was an article today about beating the winter blues and in it the author writes, "It’s February—technically the shortest, but emotionally the longest month of the year."

I respectfully disagree. This past Sunday I couldn't wait to turn that stinkin' calendar page past January and on to February.

I don't know about the rest of you but I've always despised January. It's the longest, coldest, darkest most desolate month of the year. I don't know if any of those terms are technically true but it sure feels like it.

December is long and cold and dark but at least we've got Christmas and all the preparation to get us through it. In fact, when it comes to Christmas shopping I think most people might say December isn't long enough.

But what have we got to look forward to in January? The only holiday available attaches itself to the rest of Christmas break so I don't think it even counts.

This year we traveled away from home twice in January and it still felt like the month went on and on.

But now we welcome February. Things to look forward to include:

  • The sun's intensity increases 50%.
  • We gain more than an hour of daylight.
  • You can expect a lot more days above freezing and even more above zero.
  • Valentine's Day! We don't do a whole lot but it's still a cute day.
  • And most importantly, it's the shortest winter month of the year.

  • See? Not so bad. And then we'll zoom right into March. Now I agree, March is long too. But at least once we've made it to March we know the end is near and green grass, blooming tulips and short sleeves aren't too far out of sight.

    Tuesday, February 3, 2009

    What Do You Do All Day?

    I would also like to add for other borderline OCDers out there that when your child finishes each of his three meals a day looking like this that you will find yourself spending much of your time and energy with a rag in one hand and vacuum in the other.


    For fellow Bachelor-watchers.

    Al Michaels breaks the 2009 record for "Most times using the word 'amazing' in a prime-time telecast," narrowly edging Jason on last week's episode of "The Bachelor." That was amazing.

    Hat Tip: My husband. A lover of both Bill Simon's Sports Guy column and ABC's The Bachelor.

    Monday, February 2, 2009

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