Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Marshmallow Test

Have you heard of the marshmallow test? The directions are this:

You give a child a marshmallow and then tell them you have to leave the room for a bit. If he doesn't eat the marshmallow by the time you get back then he gets to eat TWO marshmallows.

After dinner one night I told William the rules, set the video camera and left the room. Below is his battle with temptation. At first I thought the video was going to be boring, but check out what happens around 1:15. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Here's to You

They say it's better to give than to receive.

I say it's not only better, it's easier too.

Lately we have been on the receiving end of much generosity from family and friends.

First Lucy was born. Adding a new member to your family is always life-altering.

Then we made the big decision to sell our house and buy a new one.

And now, of course, we have learned of the unexpected surgery our little Lucy will have to have in the much-too-near future.

It's always a bit uncomfortable to accept help. Even more so if you need to ask for it. And it's especially hard right now because I'm not sure when I will be able to return the favor.

Never in my life have events snowballed so quickly and so close together as they have now. I'm hoping after Lucy's surgery our family can resume it's usual pace and start giving back to all those who have given so much to us.

Right now I don't have a lot to offer. But I do have this blog. So I'm just going to take a minute to send some shoutouts.

To Grandma...
for babysitting, for chopping trees down, for cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, for books for William, for clothes and jammies for both kids, for garage hand-me-downs, for dinners out, for drives down, for a listening ear.

(All this and I STILL didn't find the time to go out and pick up her birthday present. But hopefully she receives her little treat in the mail this week.)

To Nana...
for babysitting, for lamps, for jammies for William, for clothes for Lucy (what is it with grandparents and jammies and clothes?!), for drives over, for concerned phone calls, for fresh-baked bread.

To George...
for tree-trimming, tree-trimming, tree-trimming. I know you love it but it's still time out of your weekend.

To Aunt Jackie & Uncle Reid...
for moving, for unpacking, for setting up beds, for borrowing yard tools, for babysitting, for food, for concerned calls.

To Uncle JoeJoe...
for babysitting, for changing poopy diapers, for building block garages with William, for college football trivia, for moving us out and moving us in. You're the hardest worker I know once you put your mind to it. Don't ever forget that as you navigate through life.

To Amy...
for being a last-minute Wonder Woman babysitter, for her listening ear, for her unconditional, everlasting friendship.

To Karen & Jeanine...
for get-well gifts for Lucy. Totally unnecessary, completely creative and 100% appreciated.

To Kati, Kali, Maria, Dona, Jill, Uncle Timmy, Aunt Becky, Uncle Mike, Aunt Sara, Uncle Kevin and Aunt Nicky...
for offers of dinner, cleaning and babysitting, for prayers and support.

To William...
for being such a kind and gentle big brother, for sudden hugs and unexpected "I love you's", for finally, FINALLY being potty-trained.

To Brian...
for his undying devotion to this tiny little church we've created. I still worship the ground you walk on even when it seems like I don't.

And finally, for everything and everyone in my heart that I've forgotten to type here. Sometimes when we make these types of lists it's the most glaring, obvious deed that gets forgotten. I hope that hasn't happened here but if it has, please accept my apologies.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Little Boy and His Mama

It was too cold to go out and Lucy was napping so my little boy and I snuggled under a blanket on the couch and watched Ellen.  Or Ella, as he calls it.

Jennifer Aniston was the guest.

"Oh she's pretty," said William.

"Yes," I agreed, "she is."

"Yeah," he responded, "that like you mommy."

The little boy who can cause me so much grief also knows the exact time and date to wrap himself around my little finger.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Feelings and Attitude

I apologize in advance for my lengthy post.  Writing is my therapy.

I'm starting to feel a little better about Lucy's diagnosis.  Don't get me wrong, if someone suddenly told me we had a choice in this matter I'd back out in a heartbeat.

Last week's gospel spoke to me.  It was about suffering.  In his homily our priest spoke to the way the American culture seems to think we have a right not to suffer.  We're told we should avoid it at all costs.  We're told suffering is evil.

But suffering doesn't have to be all negative.  When I look back at the times in my life when I was in the most despair, it was then that parts of my character began to bloom most beautifully.

When you lose something you learn never again to take it for granted.

I watch how wonderfully Brian fathers our two children and how those two children adore him.  I think of his future with them.  Father daughter dances.  Coaching Little League.  Walking our daughter down the aisle at her wedding.  Becoming a grandfather.  I think of my own deceased father and how those milestones are left to my imagination.

When I gave birth to Lucy I took every contraction head on without pain medication.  And when that pink, wriggly body finally emerged from my own I kept her by my side all night long.  I didn't sleep a wink.  How could I stop staring at that beauty?  When William was born he was whisked away and he wasn't mine to sleep beside until ten days later.

Yes, in the end William turned out to be one healthy little motormouth.  And I have faith that when this is all over Lucy will be just as beautiful and smiley and wild as she is now.

But the end result isn't all that matters.  How easy it seems to gloss over the pain and suffering and tears it took to get there.  That part matters too.

Friday, the day after Lucy's diagnosis, was a tough day for me.  I'm not sure that I've ever suffered from true clinical depression but that day I got pretty close.

I need to suffer?  Bring it on.  But watch my kids suffer?  That's a whole different kind of suffering.

Brian finally called me out on it telling me I needed to be more positive.

When it comes to Lucy's doctors, treatment and outcome, I'm very positive.  I have complete faith everything will turn out even if there are a few bumps along the way.

But the part I was grieving, the part that made me so dark and gloomy, the part that made me (I admit it) even a little hopeless was the thought of having to put my little girl on a stretcher and watch her be wheeled away from my side and into the operating room where they would cut into her tiny little head.

That thought brings a lump to my throat every time.

To make this situation work I've decided I'm still going to allow myself to feel that pain.

When the Blessed Mother saw her Son crucified on the cross she didn't brush off her own suffering and say, "Well at least everyone will be saved from their sins."

And even though my situation is much, much, much less harrowing I'm still a mother who wants her baby to be without pain and suffering.

But while my feelings might be something I can't help, attitude is always a choice.  So I'm choosing to go into this with my chin up.

I smiled a lot more this weekend.  Brian and I even made a few jokes.  We watched hours of college football and enjoyed each other's company like we do every other weekend.

Some nights before sleep welcomes me, I still cry at the cross my daughter has been given.  But I know she's a strong little girl.  And all the parts of this journey that I think we might not be able to make it through?  We'll just have to ask God to hold our hands.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Red and Puffy

The previous owners of our house were smart enough to install a dimmer on the bathroom lights.  I've never heard of such things for a bathroom but last night and this morning I'm pretty glad it was there.

I'll be blogging over at for a bit until this ordeal is over.  Check me out over there.  I'm trying to keep that blog more about facts and information.

But for the whining and bellyaching part of it I'll still stop in here.  Aren't you lucky?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Trying to Make Lemonade

So here I am thinking how fast life can throw you a curveball.

One minute I'm getting ready for the day, trying to get both kids in the car for a routine four-month check-up and the next we're scheduling appointments with specialists and talking surgery.

Sometimes I just want to take a minute to sob. But then I remember I still need to get dinner on the table.

Today we discovered that my little Lucy girl's skull is fusing together too quickly for her little developing brain.

It started out as a cautionary, "Let's get a second opinion" from my pediatrician but soon I was on the phone trying to get a last minute sitter for William (thank God for friends like Amy!) and calling to tell Brian he needed to take the first train out of downtown so we could go to radiology together. All within two hours.

Lucy was a champ during her ultrasound.

Not so much during her x-rays. No pictures to show of that traumatic strap-down event.

But I didn't need any x-rays or ultrasound readings. I already knew. It's the mommy hunch.

Everyone says it needs to be done. And everyone says it's surgery they do all the time. But it's not their little Lucy girl so they can keep their calming comments to themselves.

Right now I'm in research mode but I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm also pissed.

We already went through the scary hospital stay once before. Haven't we paid our dues? Why can't my kids have the normal stuff like tubes in their ears or pink eye or strep throat? Why does it have to include an ICU and machines and wires and things that require a pediatric neurosurgeon?

But life doesn't keep tallys so here we are.

We'll know our game plan tomorrow once we meet with our specialist. Please keep our family in your prayers.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Papa says every kid needs to feel the thrill of catching his first fish.

Here's Papa teaching the kids not to touch the knife in the tackle box.

But he taught other things too.

Like hanging on to your beer when the boat goes fast.

And how to bait and cast your line.

Pay attention, Willy!

And if you wait. And wait. And are patient. Like all two-year-olds are. Then you just might reel in a big one.

See how Uncle Kevin does it?

But sometimes you wait, and wait and wait some more.

And even though you're a patient little two-year-old that dang fishy just refuses to bite.

So when your cousin catches her umpteenth fish your smart Papa gets sneaky.

Every kid needs to feel the thrill of catching his first fish.

That Papa. He unhooks that cute little sunfish from your lucky cousin's line and, while you're watching some ducks on shore, he re-hooks it on your line and puts that tired little fishy back in the water.

"William! Look!"

So you reel and reel and reel.

But later, when Uncle Kevin asks you if you've caught any fish, you reply, "Not yet!"

Papa's a sneaky one but not sneaky enough for you.

I guess the thrill will have to wait until next summer.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Miss Me?

You've probably noticed I took a little unannounced break from the Internets for a while. Things have been busy. Things have been exhausting. But things have been good.

We were away at Brian's brother's wedding for a five days. There are EIGHT Nash grandchildren now--and that's in just five years! Do not be fooled by the picture below with just seven children. Lucy girl was sleeping at the time. With all the cousin interaction there's bound to be cesspool of germs in every nook and cranny. Each day brought a new sick kid. Not horribly sick, but just enough to cause a bit of angst.

We returned home on Tuesday and just when I thought I could reap some sleep-filled nights, my little Lucy girl decided to rock the boat.

We're at that awkward fourth month. She's definitely not a newborn anymore but still not quite old enough for more infanty things like sleeping through the night, eating solids and sticking to a predictable awake/sleep routine.

And I'm OK with that. It's just that she's really really really hungry. Like every-one-to-two-hours-after-3-a.m. hungry.

I'm not a fan of starting solids early. There's something comforting and wholesome knowing that she's getting all of her nutrients straight from her mama.

But I'm just not sure how much longer I can run on these fumes for the rest of my family.

I don't need her to sleep through the night. But a couple of four-hour stretches in a row would do a mama good.

Her 4-month check-up is on Thursday so maybe, with the help of her pediatrician, we can find a happy medium.

In other news were totally diggin' our new stompin' ground.

We decided to stay at homebase this holiday weekend and I'm so thankful we did. We're experiencing beautiful Minnesota fall weather.

We've logged a LOT of miles on my BFF this weekend. We're just blocks from the River Road. We did that up on Saturday morning for over an hour. The weather was just too nice so we just kept going and going. Both kids fell asleep. But even when they weren't sleeping they were content watching the scenery pass them by.

Friday night we walked to an ice cream shop. Sunday morning we walked to church. Sunday evening we walked to rent a DVD.

Have I mentioned I love our new location? We've got a walk score of 83 baby! That's up from 18 at our old house.

Other than walking our pants off we're still continuing to make this house feel more like home. For me that means constant cleaning.

All that and we still got in nine hours of college football on Saturday? Me loveth college football but, whew!, it's gonna be a long season.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fish Tale

Us Just In

Just back from vacation.

So give me a minute to shake the sand out from our clothes, throw in a few loads and figure out how to make something for dinner out of nothing in our frig.

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