Monday, September 27, 2010

Clearing out the Cobwebs

It's 2:30 and...

...I'm still wearing what I woke up in.

...I'm just now curing my coffee jitters with some bites of lunch.  (Great.  Now I've gone and got peanut butter on my keyboard.)

...the breakfast and lunch dishes sit on the countertops and in the sink waiting to be loaded into the dishwasher.

..the toys are everywhere.

...the kids were good this morning and are now napping.

...I just pawned off my mini-grocery shopping duty on my husband.

Which means... Inbox is empty for the first time in weeks. (months?!)

...I've caught up on every single blog I subscribe to.

...I've spread a bit of comment love.

But now my brain is fried so thankfully Laura tagged me in a meme so I don't have to use up too much brain power to hammer out a well-written post.  Laura and I go way back to college days at UST.  When her son was born she joined the ranks as a Mommy Blogger.  I read every single post she writes and not just because I know her.  I'd read her anyway because of her hilarious way of reporting on the truth.  I need to say that because she's not on my Favorite Bloggers list but only because I haven't updated that in eons.  It's on my to-do list.  Here goes!

1) What's your favorite musical guilty pleasure?This is funny.  Because hubby has a music degree he usually rules the roost when it comes to the type of music we can buy and listen to in our house.  He dislikes musicians that don't write their own lyrics/music or who don't play an instrument or have a real band.  Which, if you were to go through a Top 40 list, eliminates 90% of popular music.

But recently, within the past year or two, I've decided to take a stand against him.  If I like a song he won't approve of, I just sing it louder and tell him I don't care what he thinks.  If a song sounds good to me, I like it.

So my guilty pleasures are all the songs I crank up for the kids when Brian's at work.  Right now we're on rotation with: Teenage Dream, California Girls, Cooler Than Me, Bad Romance, and, it still gets me going when I need a boost, I Gotta Feeling.  But when all else fails, Justin Timberlake always rocks my boat.  Or body.  Whatever.

2) Who is your celebrity crush?
As far as crushes go I always go for the bad boy.  Russel Crowe.  Dr. Alex Karev?  Yes, please.  John Mayer.  Or how about Jesse Kovacs from the latest Bachelor Pad?

All these guys would probably totally disappoint in a real relationship.  But that's OK.  My real guy is the farthest thing from a bad boy and will never disappoint.

3) If you were given $500 to spend on a meal, where would you go and who would you take?
I would take my real life crush and we would go back to Taka Sushi in San Diego.  To date it's the only meal I've had that I truly remember every single last bite.  It was that good.  Brian, if there was ever a time for you to comment on my blog this would be it.  Do you not agree wholeheartedly?

4) What's your season and why?
Summer.  Literally and figuratively.  If life mimics mother nature I'm definitely in summer.

5) What's the best thing you've won (give away, award, contest, whatever)
I don't generally win a lot of things but there two contests that stand out in my mind.  I won a photo basket through our local early childhood class that was worth at least $500 when all things were considered.

The second thing I won was a Mei Tai baby carrier through Metropolitan Mama.  I never would have bought this on my own but now that I won one I would have paid the $80-some three times over.  You could pretty much throw away every other carrier.  (Except the Ergo.  I haven't tried it but I've heard amazing praises.)  Lucy is going on one-and-a-half-years old and I still put her in it from time to time.  Almost four-year-old William even asked to go in it on my back the other day and it worked!  Love me my Mei Tai.

OK now it's my turn.  Here are my questions:

1.) What are you having for dinner tonight?
2.) What is your favorite and least favorite household chore?
3.) What's your middle name and is there a story behind it?
4.) If you could only use one piece of make-up for a week, what would it be?
5.) Who is a famous person that you've met or seen up close?

I'm tagging:

Andrea @ The Logue Way
My Sis @ Craigmile Crew
Liz @ Foresthaus Photography
Kristen @ No Small Thing
Rachel @ 2 to 4 A Day

If memes aren't your thing I won't be hurt if you don't participate.  And just the same, if you're looking for a blogging boost like I was, feel free to participate.  If you do, let me know in the comments so I can come and check out your responses.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Crimes of a Blogger: I Confess

Hey.  So.  Remember when I used to be a blogger?  That was fun.

Turns out preschool is giving me less time at the computer rather than more, which was not the plan.  I found out that when I'm suddenly graced with five hours a week with only one child I'd rather use that time for crossing more efficient things of my to-do list.  Those items mostly having to do with leaving the house.  Grocery store.  Target.  Gym.  Whenever I think about getting in the car and only having to deal with one carseat and getting one child to and from my destination of choice and not having to hunt down the shopping cart with two seats, well, I get all giddy inside.

And when I'm not leaving the house I'm enjoying some one-on-one time with my little girly.  And not in a forced I-really-should-be-doing-this kind of way.  Lucy's a whole new kid when her big, loud, attention-craving brother isn't around and it's fun to watch her be her own person in an isolated setting.

How do you feel when you click on my blog's address and see that I haven't made a new post in a week?  Are you sad?  Are you glad?  Are you worried?

Do you know how I feel when I go through my favorite blogs and see no updates?  (Of course this is making the grand assumption that I am, indeed, one of your favorite blogs.  But we all know what happens when we ASSume.)

I feel relief when I see your blog has the same post I read last week.

It's the same way I feel when I see that one of my favorite television shows is going to be repeat.  I know that missing a new episode of Grey's or Modern Family or Glee just isn't an option so I feel respite that my DVR's memory limit won't be tested any further.

Same with my fellow bloggers.  There are just some blogs in which I absolutely must read every single word that is written.  No questions asked.  So when I'm crunched for time and I see that you, favorite blogger, have not posted I think, "Whew, I haven't missed anything."

How would it look if you announced something BIG, like a pregnancy or a new job or, worse yet, a loss?  Or what if you just wrote about something mundane but you said it in a heartfelt, thought-provoking way and every one else in Internetland has commented.  And what do you get from me?  Silence.  Absent for days until I finally get an hour to sit down and scroll through everything.  By then I'm totally, embarrassingly late to the party.  And I look like a crappy friend.

Such are the crimes of a blogger.

But an even bigger offense, in my mind, is deciding to quit reading or writing blogs altogether.

Some days I think maybe Mama Nash should take an indefinite hiatus.  I feel like I'm letting my tens of readers down by not posting often enough and the easy way out would be just to say I don't think I can do this anymore.

But then there's days like today when the rain is ceaseless and a quiet has been swept over with napping children and the house is already clean and the laundry is already folded and I have a steaming cup of coffee in front of me and my fingers ache for the clickety-clackety of my keyboard.  And I know.  I know I could never give this up completely.

There's too much left unwritten. Too much left unread.  Too many stories yet to be captured.  Too much support still needed.  Too many laughs yet to be laughed.  Too many tears yet to be shed.  And too many realizations yet to be had.

This new world of technology that keeps entrenching itself deeper and deeper into every moment of our lives is tough to navigate, but impossible to ignore.

So I'll keep writing.  When I can.  I hope you'll keep reading.  When you can.  I promise to keep reading you, too.  When I can.  And I hope we can all nod and understand.

Friday, September 17, 2010

William Quoted

I'm stealing from my friend, Andrea, on this one.  Occasionally she posts on recent quotes from her husband or son and I find the whole thing incredibly hilarious.  So here's some snippets from my William from the past week or two.  Some of them have back stories to them but hopefully you'll understand the hilarity of it without the full context.  And if we're Facebook friends please forgive me if you've already heard this one before.

W: Mommy, what does beautiful mean?
Me: What do you think it means?
W: I think it means pretty.
Me: You would be right!
W: OK.  Well, Mommy, I think you're very...clever.


W: My preschool teacher's name is Mrs. Rogers?
Me: Yep!
W: Is that Mister Roger's little sister?

W: [Pointing to his glass of water] Mommy, watch out!  I don't want you to spill my beer.


Me: [Pointing to a picture of little girl in a fairy costume] Do you know what this little girl is dressed up as?


W:  Mommy what does "get sauced" mean? (Overheard from a joke on Ellen.)
Me: Umm...let's means to have a lot of fun.
W:  Oh.  Daddy gets sauced all the time!


Preschool teacher: Did your daddy bring you to school this morning?
W: Yeah!  In his CRAPPY car!

W: Maybe when I die and I turn into Jesus then you can drink my blood too!


W: [To his preschool teacher] You can just call me "Nash."

Pay It Forward Friday

For whatever reason I'm not feeling all that inspired by kindness right now.  It was a long busy week of school, appointments and laundry.  Oh the laundry I did this week!  You would not believe.  So, to be honest, I forgot today was even Friday but now that I did remember, it's forced me to reflect and how much kindness really was shed upon me.

1.  My delightful neighbor across the street called in the middle of the week to see if William wanted to come over and play with her son for a little while.  It was so very generous of her because she has twice the number of kids as I do.  Maybe that's what happens when you have that many kids.  The chaos just can't go any higher and you figure, heck, what's one more?  So William trotted across the street for a bit and it gave me just the time I needed to complete my weekly cleaning routine without interruptions.

2.  My mom came over last week with bags full of new fall clothes for the kids.  This was an enormous act of kindness.  Lucy's hands and feet have felt like ice as of late because the temps dropped from 90 to 60 literally overnight and that's when I suddenly realized she didn't fit into a single article of warm clothing that I had left over from early spring.  Strangers kept tapping her on the shoulder wondering when the flood's a comin'.

And it wasn't so much the money aspect of it all, although that part is obviously incredibly gracious as well, but more the time it takes to get into the car and drive over to the mall and pick out and purchase everything.  So my mom did it for me and she even stayed the night to watch the kids so Brian and I could have a night out.  As I write, both the kids are cozied up in their new jammies having their naps.

3.  Last minute entry goes to my friend, Eric, who I'm pretty sure is my only male reader save for hubby.  (Eric, I didn't know where I should link you up. Hope this one is OK with you.)  To see what he did you've got to go check out my wall on Facebook.  Don't be offended if you own/drive a minivan.  Amy, you know I still love you!

OK, your turn!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

For the Love of College

I'm not sure if it's a certain smell in the air or a particular angle of the sun's rays but somehow I just know.  It's September and it's back to school.

I'm not talking about the kiddies.  I'm talking about college.

Our home is just a few blocks radius within three rather large-ish and highly-respected universities.  One of which Brian and I both hold degrees from.

During this time of the year I've been known to drive a few streets out of my way just so that I might watch the students walk through the crosswalk in front of my car on their way to class.  I watch them with their Northface backpacks, trendy leggings, tight tank tops, neglected facial hair and sideways baseball caps.

I open my sunroof, roll down my windows and turn on the local Top 40 station in hopes they'll think I'm still cool.  But with two kids in the backseat who am I really kidding?  The only thing I have going for me is that I'm not driving a minivan.  I tell myself that my midsize SUV is still cool even though the first thing I scoped out when purchasing it was the location of the LATCH anchors.

And then there's the matter of my age.  This year's college freshman were born in 1991 and 1992.  When I was ten-years-old. WHAT?!  How is that possible?  A CIT.  Cougar-in-training.  That's what Brian calls me.

But really it's all about nostalgia.  Remembering a time when decisions were so much simpler but seemed as if my whole life depended on it.  I didn't worry about my daughter having skull surgery or if my son would go to private or public schools.  And that's just the major stuff.

The minor stuff seems just as harrowing.  What's for dinner tonight?  Back then I only wondered if I should go to the Caf or "cook" some Ramen.  I didn't despise emptying the dishwasher.  I just ate cereal out of the same cup (yes, I said cup) all week.  My biggest expense of the weekend was $5 for a plastic cup.  And I'd have to line up a babysitting job to pay for it.  Now my job is to babysit 24/7 and I get paid nada.  The beer is definitely better on this side though, I'll give you that.

But all the while I'm reminiscing about it, acting like I want to be back there, those college years are the same as having a wedding.  It was the best experience of my life but I never want to do it again.

Deep down I know I'm "cooler" now than I was back then.  I have gobs more confidence. I don't have anyone in particular I'm trying to impress.  No more dating.  I've got my man and no matter what drama may unfold during the day, we're still going to fall into the same bed at the end of the night.

The biggest piece of homework I have hanging over my head is to post on this here blog.

Sometimes I am two months behind the latest music craze but you know what?  That music's pretty filthy anyway.  So I'll take my Jason Mraz and Jamie Cullum and Jack Johnson and G. Love and you can have your Ke$ha and Eminem.

My clothes consist of a five day rotation.  Pretty much.  Because I've got better things to spend my money on.

Like this totally awesome house.  And my totally awesome midsize SUV.  And books that I want to read.  And the good kind of cereal to be eaten in one of many bowls of my choosing.  And my very own washer and dryer.  And not only beer but cocktails!  Cocktails with the good vodka.  And a bed with a boxspring and a mattress.

And, what am I forgetting?

Oh yeah.

And money to be spent on 529 accounts so that my kids can someday have that same crazy, awful, awesome, scary, exhilarating college experience as I did.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pay It Forward Friday

At the end of the school year last year I won a photography prize basket through the Early Childhood class I attend with the kids.  All the items in the basket were donated and I bought a few $1 raffle tickets to drop in the drawing.  One of the items in the basket was photography session with a local photographer who also happens to be a dad involved in the Early Childhood class.

When Lucy started to get more stable on her walking feet I contacted Michael and we arranged to meet a couple weeks ago on the beautiful St. Kate's campus just a few blocks from our house.  Michael was wonderful!  He was so easy-going and stressfree.  Probably because he was a parent to small children himself.

He didn't try desperately to force the kids into getting the perfect shot.  He didn't care that Lucy needed to hold her Jellycat bunny for half the shoot or that William insisted on carrying around a large stick as his sword while he performed muscle poses for the camera.  These little details are part of who my kids are and I love that he was able to capture that.

When the session was over, he edited the photos and this week he delivered the CD of the pictures to me to use at my own discretion.  None of that having to buy prints through the photographer business which is SO annoying and SO overpriced.

All of this was free to me so that he could donate his time to a worthy cause -- keeping our Early Childhood classroom doors open while the district's budget is being cut left and right.

But the real kicker is that all the while Michael was snapping happy shots of our little family he was grieving inside.  That very week he had lost his 7-year-old niece after week's battle with a rare strain of meningitis.  If you live in the Twin Cities you probably saw this story all over the news.

I kept asking Michael if he wanted to reschedule and that he should take his time getting the photos back to us but he told me working a little bit here and there was helping him get through.  Although it was the first time I'd ever met him I can already tell that Michael is an extraordinary man.  So here's my tiny act of giving back to him.  If you live in the Twin Cities area and are looking for a great family photographer, please consider Michael Murray Photography.

And if you're interested in seeing the photos he took of our family check out my Facebook page.  If we're not Facebook friends -- why not?  There's a link over there on my sidebar for us to get friended.  Is that a word now?  Facebook's so powerful is turned a noun into a verb!

OK, your turn!  What good happened to you this week or what good did you do to someone else?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

And So It Begins

Today I joined the ranks of hundreds of thousands of other parents getting up earlier than normal.  Making a complete breakfast.  Brushing teeth and hair.  Getting dressed.  Checking backpacks.  Heading out the door and walking down the sidewalk

Today begins the first day of probably twenty plus more years to come where the first Tuesday after Labor Day isn't just another Tuesday.  Preschool.  Kindergarten.  Third Grade.  Junior High.  High School.

Today begins the first day of many tuition checks due.  School supplies lists checked off.  New shoes, shirts and pants.  A fresh haircut.

But this morning, as he stood by the front door with a thousand ants in his pants, I wasn't thinking about any of that.

This picture crossed my mind.
William, four days old, holding mama's hand.
Those long, lonely nights in the NICU seemed like an eternity.  Everyone told me he would be fine.  He would get better.  And he did!  I just never thought I'd take a second to blink and then be taking this picture.
So stinkin' cute.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Curtain Call: Summer 2010

This morning we woke up to cloudy skies and temperatures in the 50s.  While everyone on Facebook seemed to be rejoicing the arrival of Fall and a break in the heat and humidity I found myself crying out, "Wait! Not yet!"

We had to dig to the bottom of our drawers for the warm pajamas.  Just a few days ago I ran out of clean tank tops having sweated through all of mine.

Last night I pulled my down comforter up tight against my chin and my toes searched for the warmth of Brian's legs.  Just a few days ago I couldn't kick my covers off fast enough and I cursed the heat radiating off of Brian's body if he got but a few inches of me.

Today I'm cooking a big batch of Chicken & Wild Rice Soup in the slow cooker.  Just a few days ago I couldn't keep my water glass full.

Today I'm sitting on the porch in front of my computer with the windows closed and the floor heater turned on low.  Just a few days ago I was wondering if the ceiling fan could go any faster.

It's funny how our Midwest seasons can change so fast.  I know we still have some 70 and 80-degree weather ahead of us.  Maybe even a 90 if can get an Indian Summer.  Fall in Minnesota is gorgeous and can last deep into October and sometimes even November.

But the consistency is gone.  I know it.  Being able to wake up and throw on shorts and a tank top without looking at the forecast is no more.  Wondering if I might blow up the pool or turn on the sprinkler is probably not something I'll think about until next June.

I was away from blogging much of this week really trying to soak up every last second of summer. I leave you with these. The final scenes of Summer 2010. It really was a good one.

Harriet Island on the Mississippi with our friends.
A bicycle built for six.
Popsicles for dinner.

And ice cream sandwiches too.
A plop in the pool to wash it all off.

A sumersault.
And a daredevil move.
All by herself.
State Fair fried goodness.

The Miracle of Birth Barn: By far, a favorite.
Smiles all around.

Pay It Forward Friday

This week, while at Target with both kids, I was loading up the back of our car when a woman approached me.  She was African-American and seemed to be in her 40s.  She appeared normal and carried only a small black purse.

She began to tell me how she had contacted Mary Jo Copeland's place and was able to reserve herself a spot but all she needed was bus fare to get herself from the St. Paul Target to downtown Minneapolis.  She asked if I might have some bus fare for her.

I told her I rarely carry cash, which is true but came out sounding like an easy lie.

"Hold on," I said, "Let me see if I can at least find some change for you."

"That would help," she replied, "thank you."

In my car's ashtray and in my wallet I managed to scrounge up a little over a dollar.  Maybe two.

She thanked me and proceeded on asking another Target customer for money.

But as I got in my car and started to leave I wondered if I had done the right thing.

I know that some times these types of requests are really only a cover for feeding into the person's poverty.  But I also know that as God's servant we should always assume the best in other's intentions.

One way to deal with this predicament is to give them exactly what they've asked for.  For example, Brian has told me that whenever he's approached by a beggar asking for money for coffee or food he just invites them in to Starbucks or the nearest restaurant.  He'll buy them a large coffee or a big breakfast and then be on his way.

Giving this woman a ride to downtown Minneapolis would have taken me all of ten minutes.  But I was alone with my two kids.  But she was a woman with very little possessions.

Do you think it would have been OK if I would have offered her a ride?  What would you have done?
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