Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Nukie Fairy

We have a Nukie Fairy that comes to our house.

Does the Nukie Fairy come to your house?

I bet our Nukie Fairy is better than your Nukie Fairy.

Does your Nukie Fairy make your toddler go to bed at a decent time? Does your Nukie Fairy encourage your child to stay in bed and prevent him from getting up again and again and again? Does your Nukie Fairy possess the power to magically make your child listen to you and, hold on to your hats for this one, actually make your child follow through with the instructions you gave him?

Ours does.

It all started out so innocently.

William is completely attached to his nukie. It all started when he was in the NICU. The doctors wouldn't let me nurse him until his breathing reached acceptable levels. But he still had that newborn instinct to suck. So we gave him a nukie. He's been BFF with that thing ever since.

I have limits. He's only allowed to have it at nap, at bed or on a long car ride. But he's 2 years and 7 months and time is nearing where that thing is getting pretty, well, baby-ish.

The other night I was lying in bed with William. He was sucking on his nukie and snuggling with his blankie. I had recently finished reading an article that suggested using a Nukie Fairy to get rid of a child's dependence on a pacifier.

So I casually said, "William, pretty soon the Nukie Fairy is going to visit our house and she's going to take your nukie and give it to a baby."

He looked at me for a minute. He was astonished. Then he promptly burst into tears.

I quickly added, "But maybe she'll leave you a big boy surprise instead!"

No dice.

"I don't want a big boy 'prise, mommy! Why she take my nukie, mommy? 'Cause I naughty?"

Lightbulb!

Why yes, wise boy.

So all on his own, William developed the Nukie Fairy's purpose. And here I thought she was the good fairy of the North. Instead she appears to be this grouchy old lady who hates it when William gets out of bed. Or doesn't listen to his parents. And if she gets mad enough, she'll make a phone call and ask us to take away William's nukie. How horrifying!

I should just schedule the adult therapy sessions for him now.

Brian was not on board. He didn't like this idea of inventing a mythical creature to solve all our discipline problems.

I agreed with him. But still, the Nukie Fairy made my life so much easier.

A day later I walked into William's room just in time to hear Brian say, "William, if I were you I'd do what I say otherwise the Nukie Fairy..."

Then he saw me.

"What?"

I just nodded my head.

Told ya so.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

He Said, She Said

Mommy says:

"Come here, honey. Let me fix your hair so you look like a nice boy."

Daddy says:

"Come here, buddy. Let me do your hair so you don't look like an idiot."

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dear Lucy,

Today you are three months old. I could sit here and write all the clich├ęs about how I can't believe how fast the time has gone by. And it's true, it has. But the real truth is that I can't even remember what life was like without you.

You were a vital missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle that is our family. No one but you could have filled that spot.

All day you are content to sit in your bouncy seat or your swing and wonder at the world all around you. Sometimes I need to leave you in "tummy time" for an extended time to tend to your brother and when I return you're still all smiles.

Speaking of smiles, oh how you throw those out for free. Sometimes you find it hard to nurse because you can't latch on with that huge smile plastered on your face, milk dribbling down the side of your cheek.

You love to be talked to and you love to mimic the sounds of conversation. You've been known to start up a conversation with the closet thing that resembles a human face even if that face isn't human after all.

You are finicky but not fussy. One night you'll adamantly demand to sleep next to your mama. The next night you'll have none of that. Instead you'll decide you want your own space all alone.

The most common comment I get from strangers is how strong you are. At three months old you can hold up your head and stand on your legs like a baby twice your age. And those legs! They never stop kicking. Are you going to be our little athlete?

You love being in the baby carrier snuggled up against my chest. You love dancing with daddy. You love riding in your stroller...as long as your view of the world passing by isn't blocked.

You don't mind riding in the car but you get really annoyed if we have to stop for a red light.

You think your big brother is pretty cool but are always a little worried if his rambunctious behavior might mean you'll get an accidental elbow jab in your face.

You're a big fan of relaxing in the bath but get upset if the water isn't toasty warm. (We have to keep telling daddy it isn't too hot! Don't worry, Lucy, I've got you figured out because you're just like your mama.)

What started out as a "what if" has turned into giggling, gurgling you. We're so delighted God opened our hearts to you. My little Lucy girl, you've made our family infinitely better.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

In My Head

Call insurance agent.

BANG!

Scan documents.

Sign documents.

BANG!

Copy driver's licenses.

BANG!

Email documents.

Read inspection report.

Call agent about inspection report.

BANG!

WHAT IS WITH THE BANGING?!

Run downstairs.

See William playing quietly.

Back upstairs.

Get receipt from auto lease turn-in.

IM Brian to see if he sent in appraisal check.


BANG!

WHAT THE HECK?!

Go into my bedroom.

BANG!

See picture about to fall off wall.

Understand now where banging is coming from.

Neighbor kids playing some sort of jumping game against our condominium shared wall.

Realize all the stress is worth it.

Can't wait to move.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Marvelous Martin

Yes, we have a new house. But that's small potatoes compared to The Logues. They have a new son!

If you get a chance, head on over to The Logue Way to congratulate them on the recent adoption and coming home of their new three-year-old son, Martin Muse. It was a very long process and Brian and Andrea handled every step with such grace and an incredible amount of patience.

They traveled all the way to Ethiopia and back. What a life experience! Little Martin is one lucky little boy. And pretty handsome too!

Andrea, you'll have to start filling me in on how it is to parent a three-year-old boy. So far I'm finding a two-year-old boy is pretty challenging. Tell me it gets easier!

When Nice Gets You Nowhere

We found a house! Horray! But it was such a long gruesome path I'm still trying to decide if I'm happy or just relieved.

We found "the one" last Sunday. Although it was a notch out of our desired price range and although the bedrooms were just a tad small and although the basement wasn't "perfect," Brian and I knew in our hearts this was our house. I wouldn't call it my dream house but I would definitely call it my dream location which just happens to include a dream kitchen. Check out that beautiful photo. And that's not even the half of it!

We heard through the realtor grapevine that there were several other interested buyers. In fact, the house actually sold in the first 24 hours it was on the market only to be relisted after the buyer, sadly, lost his job.

So when Brian and I saw the house for a second time on Thursday we knew we needed to move fast if wanted any chance at calling this place home. We rushed home and worked with our realtor via email and our scanner/printer to get our offer signed and in the hands of the sellers as soon as possible.

Because we knew there was a good chance we could be in a multiple offer situation I decided to write a letter to the sellers. It was clear they put a lot of love into this home and I wanted them to know that if they agreed to sell it to us, their home of ten years would be in good, deserving hands. It was the Minnesota Nice in me coming out in full force.

I wrote about our marriage, our son and our newborn daughter. I wrote about our long quest to move back our beloved city of St. Paul. I wrote about our faith (it was clear from the decor that the sellers were also practicing Catholics) and how we were excited to join the parish that is located just one block from their home. I even enclosed a family picture from the day Lucy was born.

What kind of seller wouldn't want our family to buy their home?

Well, apparently these ones.

I'm the first to admit than when it comes to buying houses I'm pretty much 100 percent emotional about it. Not good for the business side. But that's why I've got my objectively wonderful husband and a kick-butt realtor.

The sellers read my well thought-out letter and took advantage of us. They knew we loved the house too much to let it go so they strung us along. They took their sweet time getting back to us on our offers and they offered ridiculous and childish terms in their counteroffers.

After four days of back and forth counters and a pit in my stomach the size of Alaska, our realtor made "the call." The call that got us the house.

She told the sellers' realtor that we were getting really tired and felt as if we were being taken advantage of. We had made a very reasonable offer and it was clear the sellers were looking for a better bid. If they weren't willing to accept in a timely manner we would be handing over our walking papers. She gave the sellers one last chance to accept before we went out to look at other houses.

I admit I was scared. I wanted that house so badly and I didn't want a few thousand dollars to stand in our way. But our realtor and my husband assured me that it wasn't about the dollars. It was about them trying to squeeze out every ounce of our self pride in order to purchase this home under their terms.

Less than an hour after that call was made the sellers accepted our offer with an added contingency. They were keeping the dining room chandelier. Childish enough for ya?

So forgive me if I'm not shouting with excitement from the rooftops just yet. I still have a bad taste left in my mouth. I like being nice to people and I like when they are nice back. I know that selling a house is business but it still can be done in a cordial manner. Unfortunately that was not the case with our experience.

But in the end, we got the house we wanted. Insert tiny squeal here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Search Is On

Twenty-five...is more or less the number of houses we have looked at.

Twenty-eight...is the number of days until we are officially homeless.

We appreciate all your prayers and well wishes toward the selling of our home. It sold in eleven days!

But now we need some good vibes going out toward the buying of a new house.

The other night, before bed, Brian and I said an impromptu prayer about finding a house to buy.

"Please let us find a house," I said.

"And if it could have two full bathrooms that would be wonderful," I continued.

"And a place for my music," Brian chimed in.

"And a great backyard for the kids."

"Oh and if it's not too much trouble, a large enough kitchen to cook for my growing family?"

"Yeah that and maybe big enough bedrooms so we can actually grow our family?"

"Oh and let's not forget a two stall garage."

"A finished basement would be nice."

"I don't mean to be greedy but we also really need it to be a in a great neighborhood."

"And lastly, please make sure this house is at or lower than our price limit?"

"That's all. Thank you. Amen."

Of course our new house isn't going to have it all so right now we're struggling with what needs to be at the top of our priority list.

Practical but boring? Or, charming but a bit impractical?

Twenty-eight days, people! Let's get this done.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How Much Does Love Weigh?

Me: Do you love me?

William: Yeah, mommy.

Me: How much?

William: Um, fifty pounds.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Mean Trick

Hungover Brian arrived home yesterday after two nights of bachelor partying it up for his younger brother.

My weekend with two kids and loads of events was a whirlwind. Lucky for me my mom was here to help but somehow things still run a bit rickety when daddy's away.

I'm glad Brian had his time with his brothers and friends but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just a tad bit indignant that he can up and leave without a nursing baby relying on him for sustenance.

This is why I laughed just a little bit when, in his desire to rehydrate his hungover body, he grabbed what looked to be an icy glass of lemonade from the refridgerator only to find out after taking a huge gulp that it was actually a leftover margarita.

Whoops.

Yes, I did see him grab the glass from my perch on the couch. No, I did not try to stop him.

He promptly ran to the sink and spit out the tequila-filled drink.

He looked over at me with a pouty lip, "That was a mean trick!"

I smirked. He laughed.

It might have been mean but even he had to admit it was pretty funny.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

For All Eyes to Read

Recently I received a call from a friend. Hi, Amy! She was almost in tears.

Somehow she accidentally found herself reading this very blog. She had never read my blog because she didn't know I had a blog. She was on Twitter (a site to which I belong but never use) and she clicked something and wouldn't you know it, here she was.

The post at the top of the blog that day just happened to be the one about my dad. Which was ironic because Amy's dad had been through surgery that very day. So you can imagine the emotions it brought out in her.

Amy and I have known each other since our little guys were nine or ten months old. We both enrolled in the same "mommy & me" class. We clicked right away because Amy is one of those insta-friends. You know the kind I'm talking about.

The other day she paid me the best compliment a blogger could hear. She said she was addicted to my blog. And she asked if it was OK that she keep reading it.

"Of course!" I told her.

She proceeded to tell me that she also has a blog but that her husband is the solo reader.

I know where she's coming from because I used to be like that.

When I initially started this blog it was because I was so terrible at keeping a baby book. I wanted to jot everything down so that someday William (and now Lucy) would have a place to go to see what it was like when they were just a wee thing.

But since then it's evolved into so much more. It's become my sanity.

In the beginning I didn't really want to share what I was writing. I was afraid of what people would think. I didn't want to be judged for my writing or my thoughts or both. It's a scary thing to write down how you really feel and then release it for the world's eyes.

But there's also something exciting and liberating about it as well.

After a few comments and emails rolled in, I realized a funny thing. Well, a few funny things actually. First, I realized that people really did like what I was writing. They thought it was funny and cute and relatable.

The second thing I realized was that I really did want people to read my blog. For every comment that came in my heart did a little flutter. And it still does! To me it means that not only are people reading my blog but my writing actually touched them enough to take some time and comment on it.

Then I took a huge leap of faith and published my blog's address on both Twitter and Facebook. It's easy to have total strangers read your stuff but it's something else entirely to have that one guy from way back in tenth grade getting in on the action.

But then I get a comment or an email or a phone call, like I did from Amy the other night, that makes me realize that my writing can be so much more than just a place to drop all my thoughts.

If you've ever thought something, anything, while reading a blog, it means you should comment. No matter how small or insignificant. It means the world to the writer. And here's a little secret: A blogger doesn't care if you comment anonymously!

And if you've ever written anything, I challenge you to open it up to the world. You never know what you'll get back in return.

Password

With the summer schedule well in place, Brian and I don't have much time for just the two of us. The sun sets around nine and William just can't find it within himself to fall asleep before darkness arrives. And Brian and I can't find it within ourselves to stay up past the 10 o'clock news. We're so old. How gross!

But last night we did manage to squeeze in an hour alone in between escorting William back upstairs and into bed. So we decided to Password. Do you Password?

I'm talking about Million Dollar Password on CBS, of course. But instead of just watching it (bo-ring!) we like to play it. One person will cover their eyes with a sofa pillow while the other will give clues and navigate the DVR so we don't get too behind the television contestants.

First, I'd like to say that if we ever got to be on that show we would totally rock the house. There's a reason the show doesn't match up people who already know each other and we're probably that reason.

But aside from getting pretty much every password correct, there's always those lone few that we just can't get. The person giving the clues cannot believe the guesser hasn't gotten it yet and the guesser is getting tired of hearing the same clues over and over. And then when we find out what the correct password was we get all mad at the clues.

"THAT'S how you would describe it?! Why didn't you say XYZ?"

It's funny how different brains go different places.

For example, Brian gave me the clue, "Cube." I said, "Square." Wrong. Try again. He says, "Write." I'm thinking, "Cube? Write? What the heck do they have in common?"

Turns out the answer is desk.

"Cube?!" I say, "Why would cube be your first clue for desk?"

He was thinking of his cube at work which, of course, contains a desk.

I'm next. I say, "Drinking." He says, "Drunk."

Wrong.

I say, "Game." He says, "Shots."

Wrong.

I say, "Cup."

He pauses and thinks. He says shots again. As if I may have misheard the first time.I roll my eyes and repeat the last clue.

He says shots again!

The answer was flip. As in FLIP cup. A drinking game we've played with his family a thousand times.

And then there's those passwords that I'm just never going to get because I have no idea what he's talking about because I'm a girl.

Clue: Stallone.

I guess Sylvester.

Wrong.

Clue: Soldier.

I say, "I've never seen a Stallone movie in my life so this is going no where."

He rolls his eyes and tries yet a third clue: Army.

Do you know what it is? It's pretty easy but I still never would have gotten it in a million years.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Home Again Home Again Jiggity Jig

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite parts about going on vacation was letting all the rules slide just a bit. Mom said "OK" to things like sugar cereal, staying up late and taking a trip to the DQ. It's what makes a vacation a vacation. I tried to give William a little taste of that during our long Fourth of July weekend.

First we took a family trip to Como Park in St. Paul. William wasn't too fond of the big kid rides even though he was tall enough. Here's a picture of him on the fire truck ride before he broke out in hysterics.


The bumper cars with daddy were much more up his alley.


The next day Mommy and Daddy were treated to an afternoon by themselves on the lake with friends. There were jet skis and gin and tonics and MJ tributes, oh my!


On the Fourth we had to take the ceremonial kids photo.


Cousin Sally wasn't too excited about the idea.


There were snuggles with Grandma...


..and more go-cart rides with Uncle Jo-Jo.


We played hangy ball,


slurped on DQ treats,


and rode in the canoe.


Like a true mom, I didn't make it into a single photo on my camera. Oh well.

And, finally, we'll have to forgive Cousin Sally for her half-hearted photo-taking effort. Her vacation was extended two nights at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis with a UTI. My poor Sally girl. Prayers welcome.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This One's For My Dad

This Saturday, the Fourth of July, the 233rd birthday of our country, will mark the fifteenth anniversary of my dad's death.

And to think, I almost forgot. Not about him, of course, but rather the day, the anniversary, the number of years.

It's really incomprehensible to me when I look at the numbers. Fifteen years. I was just thirteen when he died so that means that I've now lived more years without him than with him.

It also comes into perspective when I think that the three most important people in my life would be complete strangers to him if he came back. But of course, he's not coming back so that means those three people are just as close to him as they are to me as he shines up there in heaven praying for all of us.

If I were an outsider I would think what a bummer it would be to have such a somber anniversary land on such a fun holiday every single year.

But somehow it's never been like that.

Early on there were tears shed, for sure. But as time has gone by the tears have been replaced by laughter and funny stories.

My dad died doing what he loved best of all. Spending time with his family on the beautiful lakes of Minnesota.

So I think subconsciously every member of my family does the same thing each year almost as a tribute.

We don't always go to the same place and we're not always all together but more often than not we're outside, on a boat, in the water or just lounging in a lawn chair. And we're always in the company of good friends and family.

Those were the times he cherished most and as I've gotten older I understand why.

He had an ugly swimsuit. He paired it, most likely, with a Timberwolves t-shirt; a team he never watched. He insisted on wearing leather moccasins instead of sandals. He wore the most ridiculous bright yellow sunglasses you've ever seen. He loved cheap beer and he swore too much.

But none of that mattered to those who knew and loved him most. He loved his family and would walk through fire for his friends.

It's true what they say, you know. How to measure a man's life. It's not the house he lived in. It's not the professional titles he's held. It's not the number in his bank account or even the kind of car he drove.

It was the love and kindness he spread out to others that sent hundreds to wish him farewell.

This holiday weekend I hope you're all lucky enough to spend it with the ones you love best of all. Those are the cherished times in life.

And if you knew Joe you might want to throw back a Grain Belt just for good measure.
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