Thursday, December 29, 2011

I Will Remember this Christmas

William, I will remember this Christmas as the Christmas you got really excited about presents; both giving and receiving. I will remember how you powered through your Christmas program at school even though you were throwing up the night before. I will remember how concerned you were that our baby Jesus didn't get blessed because the holy water got on you instead. I will remember your red and blue tie paired with your Nike tennis shoes. I will remember your Batman ornament and how excited you got every morning to find Dino the Elf and open another chocolate on the Advent calendar. I will remember your remote controlled car and you reading all your new comic books. I will remember this Christmas because of you.
Lucy, I will remember this Christmas as the Christmas you were every definition of a two-year-old. I will remember how much you loved watching The Grinch and Charlie Brown. I will remember how excited you got every time we turned on the Christmas lights, exclaiming, "Is it Christmas time?!" I will remember your deep love for Belle in Beauty & The Beast and your favorite donut and the ornament you got to go with it, "The kind with frinklers on it." I will remember how sad I was when you threw up on Christmas Eve morning just as we were about to begin our travels and how you didn't get to participate in everything I would have wanted you to. I will remember comforting your sick body and how that, somehow, was still the spirit of Christmas. I will remember this Christmas because of you.
Katherine, I will remember this Christmas as the Christmas you were just an itty bitty thing. I will remember your tiny, squirmy body stretched out on the chaise in front of the roaring fireplace as I addressed Christmas cards. I will remember the first time I shortened your name to Kate because I ran out of room on the to/from gift labels. I will remember you and your big sister's matching red plaid dresses and how you had already outgrown the newborn size I bought for you and had to hide the undone bottons with a sweater. I will remember how angry you were during Christmas mass because I didn't have time to feed you before we left but how you still had enough wonderfulness in you to smile at the people in the pew behind us. I will remember this Christmas because of you.
Brian, I will remember this Christmas as the first Christmas we had three kids. I will remember you sipping egg nog and Scotch and B&B and beer, good beer, by the fire. I will remember this Christmas as the year I couldn't think of anything to give you. So I stuck with the old standby: beer, good beer. I will remember this Christmas as the year you went all out on my present surprising me with a Kindle Fire. Oh, and a coffee mug that keeps my coffee mug hot for five hours. (Honestly, I'm not sure which I love more.) I will remember your birthday and how we survived a day downtown with all three kids to see Santa, watch the parade and eat out at a nice restaurant. I will remember this Christmas because of you.

Tell me, what will you remember about Christmas this year?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Nashes!

Our Christmas cards are all mailed and most should be received by now.  I love, love, love how they turned out this year!
This photo session was taken less than a week after Katherine was born!  There were a lot of smoke and mirrors involved in getting me to look this way and I can still see a lot of puffiness in my face but overall I'm glad we had them done when the leaves were at their peak. 
Aren't candid shots the best?  I paired this shot with the one below on the back of our card with the caption "wishing you laughter & love."  I really liked Shutterfly's option to add something to the back of your card this year. 
This session was part of a larger session for the whole Nash family; including all of Brian's siblings, their spouses, kids and, of course, his mom and dad.  It was no small feat getting all 23 of us together and dressed in our best.  A huge shout-out to Liz Westerhaus who not only shot the amazing photos but remained calm through all the hoop-jumping it takes to get ten grandchildren to sit still.  Soon I'm going to post more photos from this session and I hope to write about what it's been like to be married into this amazing family.
And finally, my dear sweet Katherine.  There's a new stocking above our fireplace this year and I thought it was only appropriate that she take center stage on our card this year to announce her arrival.  That, and I never got my act together to send out a real birth announcement so I sent a two-for-one!  This photo was taken at the tail end of her acne outbreak.  I love her little grin and her fat cheeks!

P.S. You wouldn't believe the amount of product it took to tame her hair for this picture.  Seconds later it was sticking up all over the place once again.

Do you do Christmas cards every year?  Put a link to your photos in the comments section if you've got one.  I'd love to see them!

Friday, December 16, 2011

7 Quick Takes [12.16.11]

1.  This morning was not the best morning of my life.  It started with me getting into the shower just as my two-year-old busted into the baby's room and woke her up while simultaneously having a potty accident.  What I thought was going to be a leisurely Friday morning shower turned into taking a shower with a toddler  with the soundtrack of a crying newborn in the background.

2.  Yesterday was Brian's 30th birthday!  To celebrate we (kids included) all went to downtown Minneapolis to see Santa, eat dinner and watch the Holidazzle parade.  It was all a lot of fun albeit a bit chaotic but it's where we're at right now.  At one point during our dinner at a very adult restaurant I had to laugh.  William ate a dinner of crackers.  Lucy asked to go potty one thousand times.  And the baby pooped up her back.  Even when the kids are on their best behavior they're still kids and it's busy.  But it's a heck of a lot more memorable than a $150 dinner with just the two of us.  Plus we needed William's loud mouth to score us a free beer, cake and ice cream!

3. My husband thinks he's Mark Wahlberg. A relative recently gave us a full size punching bag he no longer wanted. Brian spent an entire Sunday installing it in our garage and asked for boxing gloves for his birthday. He sets his alarm for 5 a.m. and trots out to Gym de Nash and boxes for his morning workout. When he does this I find him both nerdy and attractive all at the same time. If you're in the area and ever wanted to try a boxing workout, let me know! He would love a partner in crime.

4. Because of #2 I was extremely tired today which is why this is being posted late a night.

5.  It's also why this post lacks creativity and wit.  My apologies. 

6.  And also why I have no energy to link to recipes for all the cookie recipes I made last weekend.  But here's the list anyway: Monster Cookies, Caramel Cashews, Chocolate Chunk Walnut and Banana Cookies, Praline Cookies, Nutmeg Logs, Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs, Santa's Snicker Surprise Cookies and Chocolate Espresso Snowcaps.  I was a baking machine.  Thanks to Brian for multiple trips to the store to pick butter, nuts, snickers and more butter.

7.  A huge congrats to my sister and her husband who gave birth to their second child, a daughter, today.  At just an ounce shy of 10 pounds I'm pretty sure my sister is some kind of Superwoman for pushing that baby out without a single drop of pain relief!  I used to feel proud of myself for doing it with an 8 pound, 11 ounce baby but I got nothing on her.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Two Things Overheard this Weekend

After baking cookies I let the kids lick frosting off a spoon.

Me to Lucy: Do you want some frosting?

Lucy: I want some frosting!  And you want some frosting and William want some frosting and Daddy want some frosting...and...Katherine want frosting on your boobies?

[By the way, I don't ever remember using the word "boobies" around her.  I have no idea where she got that.]

While cleaning up the kitchen after dinner I sent William into the living room to finish a reindeer picture he had been coloring.  Katherine was laying next to him on the sofa.  When I finished cleaning I went to pick up Katherine and noticed two big, brown marker lines on her forehead.

Me: William! Did you color on Katherine's head?

William: [calmly] Yeah, Mom.  She needed some eyebrows.

I'm really, really, really kicking myself for not taking a picture but it was requiring all of my effort not to laugh because I knew if I did this would be a repeat offense.

Friday, December 9, 2011

7 Quick Takes [12.9.11]

1.  I just realized my 7 Quick Takes from last week didn't post for some reason.  So you get a two-for-one this week.  I posted last week's below.  Darnit.

2. This year we decided to partake in Elf on the Shelf.  Google it if you don't already know what I'm talking about.  I debated for a long time whether or not we should do this and have declined doing so in previous years but this year I hopped on board.  It's actually been a lot of fun for adults and kids alike.  I'll try to post more on the decision-making behind this as well as some photos of our elf's clever hiding spots.

3. Does anyone have a good make-up/cream/concealer recommendation for undereye circles?  I used to have one.  It was called sleep.  But sleep is in short supply around here.

4.  I should note, after that, that sleep isn't all that much of an issue around here.  I'm not walking around like a zombie or anything.  It's just that I guess I kind of got used to this lingering sleepy feeling all the time. I just pick myself up and keep going.

Remember in high school or college when you would sit in class with your eyes half closed and then you'd run into your friends in the hall and you'd say, "I'm SOOOOO tired today."  We had no fricken clue what we were talking about.

I also have this mean-spirited feeling of wanting to reach through my computer screen and strangle anyone who makes a Facebook status update having to do with how tired they feel.  Especially if I know them well enough to know for a fact they don't have just cause to make that complaint.

For the kidless and empty-nesters reading this, enjoy your 8-10 uninterrupted hours tonight.

5.  I had my first major encounter with the ice this winter and boy was it a doosie.  I had been cleaning all day and didn't have time to make a full dinner so I threw some noodles at the kids and went out to grab take-out for Brian and me.  I chose D'Amico on Grand Avenue.  Those of you who live in the Twin Cities will nod with me in agreement when I say that the middle of Grand Avenue is the last place you want to find yourself on your arse.  Not only is it unsafe because of it's high traffic but it's also extremely humbling because of it's high pedestrian traffic.  Ouch to the knee and ouch to the pride.  The chocolate torte fared OK in the fall though so all is still right in the world.

6.  I'm getting ready for my annual cookie marathon this weekend.  I usually make 6-7 different batches of cookies and then deliver them to my neighbors and bring them to all our celebrations.  I'm really having to force myself to get into it this year but I think once I get going I'll start to enjoy it.  And all the while I'm baking I'll be remembering what it looked like last year during my baking spree.

7. And finally I had to post these picture of William and Lucy [and Brian] running through the sprinkler in their clothes after mass one Sunday. Because (1) I was going through all my 2011 photos recently and forgot about this batch. (2) It warms me up. It was the last REALLY hot and humid day of the year. And that day occurred in September. Just three months ago. And now we have snow. Piles of it. (3) And finally, because my kids are gorgeous. But that's just me, their mom, talking.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Season's First Snow

This weekend we had our first real snowfall. Real, meaning, it stuck and judging by the 10-day forecast, it isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
The beginning of any season is so much fun. The outdoor activities are fresh. Sledding?! We haven't been sledding since March! And it's still [kind of] fun to go through the painstaking process of finding all the snowpants, hats, mittens, scarves and boots.

But my favorite part of the beginning of each new season is that each child is a whole year older. They have a whole new excitement about the snow. They have a different level of expertice and indepence. Last year I broke my back trying to get the kids dressed for snow play. This year William does it all on his own without any help. Last year Lucy could barely walk through the backyard with all her gear on. This year she's throwing snowballs with the big boys.
I'm sad I'll be stuck inside with a newborn for most of this winter while the rest of my family rumbles and tumbles outside.
But I also know that next year I'll have a cute little one-year-old snowbunny to pull around on the sled.  And it will all be brand new for her.

Friday, December 2, 2011

7 Quick Takes [12.2.11]

1.  Update on my swelling situation I told you about a few weeks ago.  The swelling is still there at five, almost six, weeks postpartum.  I was able to slide my ring off one day a couple weeks ago but it then took a lot of olive oil and grunting to get it back on again.  I did some Google research and all this week I've been drinking a lot of water trying to over-hydrate my body.  Apparently that can sometimes do the trick.  But you guys, it's super hard to remember to drink all that water when I'm dealing with a 3-ring circus at any given second.  I wish I could just hook myself up to an IV.
2.  I'm struggling to get myself into the Advent season right now.  All the shopping and decorating and baking and celebrating feels a bit overwhelming to me right now.  My sister-in-law, who had her third baby in October of last year, told me the same thing happened to her last Christmas.  I guess a new baby really brings out the bah-humbug in me.
3.  Our toy room looks like hurricane force winds whipped through it right now.  I told William that before Christmas we're going to go through all his toys and decide which ones we can give away, throw away and keep.  He told me I can give everything away except his lightsaber and Vtech; his two favorite birthday gifts.  But what's a mom to do?  I know that he's probably right.  The kid really could care less about toys.  He's all about books and games and puzzles and outdoor play.  But I don't think I can part with his toys.  Some are too sentimental and some I wonder if the younger kids will play with someday.  OMG! Am I hoarding?!
4.  This morning Brian and I toured the school where William will most likely attend kindergarten through eighth grade.  Yep, we're there already.
5.  For quite some time now I've been growing out my hair.  If you've known me IRL for any length of time you know that my hair has almost always been shoulder-length or shorter.  But I needed a change and since I didn't want to go any shorter, I decided to go longer.  It's just now finally reached a length where I can start thinking about giving it some curl.  I'm talking real tendrils here.  So I gave it a try last week when I had the time.  When Brian came home he, who never notices ANY change, could not get enough of it.  He told me I looked like a country music star.  I'm not exactly sure what that means but he definitely said it with a positive tone so that must mean it looked pretty good.  So there ya go, ladies.  If you want your man to notice you, get out your curling irons.  You're welcome.
6.  I have my first real out-of-the-house date tomorrow and it's with my girlfriends.  I could not be more excited!  I really hate being away from my babies during the newborn stage but I know a few hours will do me good.  Plus there's a side of me that has great satisfaction in knowing that Brian will get a small taste of what I deal with on a daily basis.  He'll need to dust out the cobwebs on the multi-tasking part of his brain.  Do guys even have that part in their brain?  That's not a dig.  It's an honest question.
7.  All three of my kids are sleeping AT THE SAME TIME right now so I think I'm going to go join them.  I took a quick nap yesterday and it was amazing what a little shuteye did for my mood.  Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Post in Pictures

There's been a case of no pictures around this blog lately so I'm going to post a few now to satisfy the grandparents that might frequent this site.
Here is the semi-decent picture I got of the three kids in their Thanksgiving clothes.  Lucy had lost her tights by this point by who's counting?  Katherine looks like she's still sceptical that these two rascals are supposed to be her siblings.
This was the kid's table at Brian's parent's house.  This picture is four short.  There are 10 grandchildren on the Nash side now and currently no one is pregnant.  But I wouldn't hold my breath on that status for long!  Nashes like to procreate.  It's what we do best. 
This is what our adult Thanksgiving table looked like complete with Brian's Scotch glass making a cameo.  Wouldn't it be fun if every one posted a picture of their Thanksgiving tables?  On my side we have to use folding banquet tables and a basement to hold everyone.  On Brian's side, his mom whips out her best linens and China and we sit in the formal dining room that gets used a handful of times a year.  It's all so different and all so special at the same time.
We have reached a victorious milestone when traveling to Brian's parent's house for holidays.  More than half of the grandchildren are now old enough to sleep on mattresses in the basement ALL BY THEMSELVES!  The days of having four kids under the age of two were not that long ago and we used to dream about being able to do this.  Now the pre-grandchildren days of the adults staying up too late and drinking too much have returned!
Love this picture of Papa reading to his Lizzy and his Lucy!  Brian's dad is going through chemo and radiation treatments right now so pictures of him that don't have sickness written all over his face are a happy sight to behold.
Nothing of note in this picture.  Just my little p'kin with a too-big bow snuggled up with her Daddy in coordinating Christmas colors.
These two. **Sigh** They're so hot and cold right now.  One minute they're arch enemies, the next they're BFFs.  On my cleaning day I caught them in the middle of some fantastical pretend play that required them to hide under this table.  The next minute they were hopping from coffee table to pillow to sofa trying to escape a menacing shark.  After that Lucy was a princess trapped in a tower on the top of their bunk beds.  When things are good, they're really good.  But when they're bad...well, you know.  Note to self: try to capture more of the good times.  Maybe then they'll forget about their mom who screamed at them during all the bad times.

These next few pictures I shot from my phone so forgive the quality.
Oh baby Kaf-rine!  Maybe she'll hate me for this one day but I had to show you just how bad her baby acne had gotten.  And I can only show you this now after it has (mostly) cleared up.
Ahh...that's better.  And yay for sisters-in-law who spent money on cute newborn clothes and then passed them down to me!
Katherine is smiling all the time now.  I've never had a baby who smiles this easily.  She wakes up, she smiles.  She eats, she smiles.  You talk to her, she smiles.  You sing to her, she smiles.  Of course the tough part is capturing a picture of it because by the time I get the camera focused she becomes too entranced by the red of the flash charge light.  But here I caught her at the tail end of a giant grin.
We've been having a lot of fires lately.  They're so cozy and they really warm up our living room and it gives our boiler and radiators a break.  I think this year we're going to pay for regular wood delivery so that we stop wasting our bucks on the gas station bundles that are very low quality.  Who knew there was a quality factor when it came to firewood?

But fire or no fire the real reason I posted this picture is because every time I walk past our fireplace I can't get over the fact that there are three stockings hanging there.  I guess it's not the number that gets me.  Three isn't all that many.  I'm the eldest of three.  Three is manageable.  It's that there's ALREADY three stockings.  I remember being six years old and having a new baby brother.  But my mom seemed old.  Sorry, mom!  But you know what I mean.  My mom was also 30 when she had her third and now here I am in the exact same place.  All these milestones -- marriage, first baby, second baby, third baby -- seem to have happened in a blink.  Three kids.  Three kids!  THREE KIDS! Holy crap!  We have three kids!  It never ceases to astound me.

Friday, November 25, 2011

7 Quick Takes [11.25.11]

1.  I'm writing this on Wednesday and scheduling it to post on Friday because I'm super organized and prepared like that.  Not really. But doing this makes me feel better about my chaotic life right now.

2.  Last night as I was laying in bed waiting for sleep to come I was thinking about how Katherine, William and Brian all have birthdays in sequential months (October, November, December) and how me and Lucy have birthdays in sequential months (March, April) and how maybe the next baby will have a February or May birthday and then we'll be even.  And as I was dreaming of the next baby I stopped myself.  Because this nice little rainbows and unicorns dream I was having came on the heels of a really tough day.  A day that consisted of a lot of screaming.  And some of those screams came from me.  Not one of us managed to get out of our pajamas for the entire day.  And perhaps that was the problem to begin with.  But whatever it was, it was a tough day.  What is it about the quiet of the night that erases all the bad of the day?  So much so that it had me thinking how nice it would be to add a fourth baby to this circus.

3.  What I realized in the mess that was yesterday was that we are family that functions best on routine.  And when our routine is disrupted by things like a Thanksgiving holiday week, we kind of don't know what to do with ourselves.  That coupled with my limited ability to get out of the house means we've got a full-fledged disaster on our hands.  Needless to say, I'm not really looking forward to December, save for the fact that Brian has a lot of vacation hours to burn before the new year.

4.  Some of you may have seen a call for help I put out on Facebook and Twitter last week regarding Katherine's nonstop crying between the hours of eight and ten every night.  I'm happy to report that no such crying has occurred since then.  I didn't really change anything.  Instead I think it's that well-known phenomenon of once you declare something a problem to a large number of people it ceases being a problem anymore.  It's similar to the phenomenon of bringing your child into the doctor with a raging fever only to find that the fever no longer exists at the doctor's office.  And also the phenomenon of that weird sound your car makes whenever you drive it except for when you drive it to your mechanic's shop.

5.  Last night Katherine slept from 10:30 to 4 AM, woke briefly to eat, then slept until 7 AM, woke briefly to eat again and then slept again until 10 AM.  SCORE!

6.  For the first time ever I didn't make a cake for William's birthday.  Instead I sent Brian to the store on Sunday to order a superhero cake that I would then pick up the next day; his birthday.  But when he got to the store he took it upon himself to decide that the cakes were too much of a ripoff.  So instead he bought four cupcakes that were decorated with a fall theme.  Nothing says happy birthday to a five-year-old boy like a cornucopia on a cupcake.  Truth be told William didn't really care and Brian insists this is a better and more funny story to tell in a few years when he's older.  I'm still a little sad that his fifth birthday pictures will forever show him blowing out his candles that were stuck into frosting made into a scarecrow, ears of corn and pumpkins.

7.  Happy Thanksgiving!  Belated at this point, I know.  But it's only Wednesday morning for me so I've still got tons of cooking, loads of laundry and plenty of packing in my future before we hit the road to Nana and Papa's.  Safe travels to all of you!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

When You Turned 5

When you turned five...

...your favorite things were superheros and Star Wars.

...your favorite movie was Short Circuit.

...your favorite books were Dad's old Calvin and Hobbes comics.

...your favorite playmate was the little girl across the alley.

...we called you the baby whisperer for always calming your littlest sister.

...your best friend was Lucy.  She was also simultaneously your worst enemy.

...your favorite food was spaghetti with meatballs. also loved edamame.  You called them "popper peas" because of the way they pop out of their pods. were constantly taking bites out of the fruit in the centerpiece fruit bowl because of your deep love for all things fruit. slept on the top bunk.

...your favorite place to go was school. were thisclose to reading. had already been riding a two-wheeler for quite some time.

...I finally let you cross the street all on your own.  Sometimes. still needed an afternoon nap every once in a while. had a fierce discipline for always remembering to say your prayers.

...your favorite toy was anything resembling a weapon. had a crazy amazing (photographic?) memory for remembering things like the garage code and Papa's iPad password after only watching it be entered once. could never sit still. liked to talk. A lot. wanted nothing to do with arts and crafts. loved playing the piano, guitar and singing into the microphone with Dad. were my biggest helper and most needy child all at the same time. were already planning for the next baby the day after Katherine came home.

...we couldn't believe you were such a big kid.

....we sometimes forgot that you were still a little kid.

...we couldn't believe it had been five years since we were rushing to the hospital, a month too early, just two days before Thanksgiving, to give birth to the most beautiful baby boy the world had ever seen.

Happy 5th Birthday, William!

[Two days too late.  But that's what happens when you're the oldest of three.  You're always waiting.  Just ask me.]

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Potty Training Secrets

Warning: This post might make you hate me.  I know it would have made me feel that way two and a half years ago while I was potty training William.  So while you're reading this please remember two things.  One, no kid is ever the same when it comes to potty training.  And two, I had a hell of a time potty training William so I deserve this mom victory.

For months now I've been saying that Lucy is potty-trained but that we have yet to actually forgo diapers and put real underwear on her.  As of the last week I've proven myself correct.  She came down with a wicked case of diaper rash a couple weeks ago.  Nothing was helping.  So as a last effort I decided it was time to ditch the diapers.

Before I tell you how Lucy came to be potty-trained so quickly and so easily you need to know some things about me.  First, I hate parenting books.  Or, most parenting books, I should say.  I do like parenting books that include factual information, research and scientific findings.  It's the how-to parenting books that turn me off.  I don't like their one-size-fits-all approach and I don't think any of their "methods" are realistic in the long term.  If you have found this not to be the case, I'm really happy for you.  But it isn't for me.  Each of my kids is drastically different than the next and I've had to figure out what sort of parenting style is going to work best for them.

Which brings me to my next point.  I'm not a "method" parent.  So I don't use sticker charts (exception noted here) or reinforcement or rewards with any consistency.  Of course I've had my moments where a bribe does the trick because I just don't have time to deal with whatever it might be.  You might argue that not being consistent is confusing to children.  But I would argue that this is the real world.

So here's the deal with Lucy.  When she turned two she started going poop in the toilet all on her own.  She would say, in her sing-song voice, "I have to go pot-ty!" And we'd run her to the toilet where she'd do her biz-ness.  (By the way she never actually went potty, just the number two.)  Obviously she needed help getting undressed and things of that nature but by and large, this was an idea she had all on her own.  Now she goes poop on the toilet about 80% of the time.  The other 20% are when she's stayed in her bed too long after nap or in the morning.

Now common sense says I should have taken this as my cue to commence potty training and ran with it.  Except for one huge hurdle.  I was pregnant.  We live in a 90-year-old home that does not have a main floor bathroom.  Hauling my huge butt up the stairs every time she had to go (which, for a two-year-old, is all. the. time.) wasn't happening.  So I kind of ignored it.  She continued to go poop on the toilet but never potty.  I was her biggest potty training enemy.  You're thinking I should write my own parenting book aren't you?

So fast-forward to today where I am no longer pregnant and am now looking for a great cardio workout to get rid of the baby weight.  The stairs!

The first thing I had to teach Lucy was what potty was.  Up until this point she thought going poop was the same as going potty.  So I went to the bathroom first and showed her how to make the "tinkle noise."  I lead a glamorous life, I know.  Then we clapped and cheered for mommy.  Now it was Lucy's turn.  We played a game where we're really quiet and we're waiting and listening for Lucy to make the tinkle noise.  When she did it I put on my most shocked/surprise/happy/proud/glad face and clapped my hands.  She thought that was a hoot!

She stayed dry all day Sunday save for nap and bed.  On Monday morning she had three accidents and I was almost ready to throw in the towel.  On the third accident she was really wet and she was whining and begging me to take her clothes off.  She hated being wet.  So I knew we had reached milestone.  As she was standing in the tub while I pulled off her wet pants she looked at me and said, "I not do dat evah a-gin!"

I laughed but I should have known better.  She's been going on 16-years-old since the day she was born.  She wasn't making anything up. She was serious.  Today is Saturday and she's been dry since Monday morning.  Zero accidents.

Obviously I'm sure she'll still have an accident here and there but the big stuff is done.  She knows how to hold it.  She knows when she has to go.  And she knows when to tell me she has to go.

As I said, nothing is one-size-fits-all when it comes to potty-training but here are some tips I can offer up after potty-training two kids.  I hope at least one tip is a light bulb moment for you.  Please share your mom victories with me when they happen!
  • Your child should be at least somewhat interested.  Don't listen to the experts tell you they need to have a dry diaper for long periods of time and blah blah blah.  Lucy's diapers were ALWAYS soaked because that's all she knew how to do.  But if you're finding it's a power struggle to get your kid to sit on the toilet, he/she probably isn't ready.
  • You need to be ready!  The saying if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy also applies here.  If mom isn't ready to potty train, then it won't work.  You'll get bored/frustrated/angry.  You need to be excited and you need to be ready to work.  You're going to have to run to the bathroom at the least opportune times and you're going to have to be happy about it.
  • For at least the first day set a potty timer and have your child go every so many minutes.  This isn't potty-trained but rather clock-trained or go-when-my-mom-says trained.  But at least it gives your child an initial taste of success.
  • Once you think your child understands the concept of going potty let them tell you when they have to go.  Turn off the TV and other things that could distract them from paying attention to their body.  Let them have accidents and let them feel what it's like to be wet and cold.  By the way, if your child doesn't seem to notice when he/she has an accident or has constant accidents without caring, this probably means that they aren't ready or even more so that they don't yet have the physical ability to hold it.
  • Even though I let Lucy tell me when she has to go, we still have routine times when she has to try to go.  Those times include: first thing in the morning, before nap, after nap and before bath/bed.  And also whenever we are about to leave the house.  I don't make her go, I just make her try.
  • Being able to leave the house is probably the biggest hurdle to overcome.  Someone gave me this tip a while back and I love it!  When you leave the house put a diaper or pull-up on your child over his/her underwear.  This way they will still feel if they've had an accident but you won't have a giant mess on your hands.  I remember this worked wonders with William because he would start to go and then quickly stop and tell me he needed to use the bathroom.
  • Nighttime potty training or naptime potty training will take longer.  Sometimes A LOT longer.  Be OK with this.  If your child insists on not wearing a diaper to bed try it and see what happens.  If you're washing the sheets every day then try to change things up.  Put underwear on over their diaper or instead of diapers try calling them sleep underwear.
  • And finally, here's my number one tip.  When you're child goes potty be happy and proud.  But when they have an accident be completely neutral.  Don't act mad or sad or disappointed.  Don't even say things like, "That's OK."  Act like you couldn't care in the least.  Don't say a word.  Just move on.  No reaction is the best reaction.  I did the complete opposite with William and trust, it benefits NO ONE.
Alright veteran parents, it's your turn.  What other tips would you offer up?

Friday, November 18, 2011

7 Quick Takes [11.18.11]

1.  You may be noticing a severe drought of baby pictures around these parts.  A severe case of baby acne is to blame.  When we went to church on Sunday a few of the regular parishioners we see every Sunday morning came up to congratulate us on Katherine's arrival.  Brian was holding her with a blanket strategically placed to cover her face.  Sorry, Katherine!  I'm sure it will clear up very soon.  In the meantime she's under wraps as I'm sure many teenagers wish they could have done during their Proactiv years.

2.  We got a Costco membership!  With the arrival of #3 Brian convinced me it was the right move.  I'm still unsure if it's saving us a ton of money but I do know buying in bulk is definitely saving us trips to the store.  What are your favorite things to buy at Costco or any wholesale club?

3.  Last night I only had Lucy and myself to cook dinner for as William was out with Brian.  I was feeling a little run down so I decided it would be a pancake dinner night.  Don't you love having pancakes as an option for dinner?  The kids think it's totally awesome and I always have the ingredients for pancakes on hand.  Last night I made cornmeal pancakes so I think that means I hit all the food groups.  Corn for the fruit or veggie, milk in the mix for dairy, an egg for the meat group and flour for the grain group.  Totally a complete meal, right?

4.  As I was making said pancakes I went to get the carton of cornmeal on the bottom shelf of my pantry/cupboard.  I scooped down and accidentally grabbed the carton by the top which instantly slipped off sending the carton of cornmeal to the floor.  It landed right side up!  I made sure to offer up a quick prayer of thanks that I wasn't going to be spending the next ten minutes cleaning up cornmeal all over the floor.  It's the little things that can really make or break your day, isn't it?

5. Continuing with the pancake theme, did you know that it wasn't until a few months ago that I realized that syrup brands like Aunt Jemima or Eggo aren't actually maple syrup at all?  They're actually high fructose corn syrup with maple flavoring added.  And I would consider myself pretty informed when it comes to food and ingredients.  But I guess we don't eat enough syrup around here for me to even think to check the ingredients.  When I realized what was in our current bottle I went out and bought the real stuff at Trader Joe's.  It's definitely not cheap but oh my can I tell the difference!  And I can justify the cost difference because with 100% pure maple syrup you don't have to use nearly as much.

6.  My potty training post is still coming.  I say this because I know a lot of you asked about it when I mentioned it in my last post.  Although I have to warn you, you might hate me when I write what I write.  It was just so easy.  And if it were me, reading what I'm going to write about Lucy while I was potty-training William, well, I might have wanted to punch my future self in the face.  William was very difficult to potty train.  But maybe it was that experience that made Lucy so much easier.  Anyway I'll explain how it all went down with her soon.

7.  There's snow in the forecast tomorrow!  Just seven months ago the s-word made me cringe.  Made me hate where I live.  Made me want to whine and cry.  But now we're excited!  It's how we Northerners roll.

Want more Quick Takes?  Check out it here!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Co-Sleeping Nonsense

Today I had a whole post ready about potty-training and about how after a couple of hours Lucy was done.  Easy peasy.  And that post will still come.  Hopefully.
But instead this story about the dangers of co-sleeping got me all hot and bothered and I had to comment.
I would be the first to admit that I'm not the best advocate for co-sleeping with your baby.  I don't love co-sleeping.  But then again, I also don't love co-sleeping with Brian every night.  I love Brian and we always sleep in the same bed.  I especially love his electric blanket-like qualities in the cold months. But I would be lying if I didn't say that every once in a while I enjoy the nights when I go to bed before him or he's out of town.  I like to spread out and use all the pillows.  It all comes from a selfish place.  This I know.

Within a few hours after her birth, Katherine was snuggled up next to me in my hospital bed.  In fact, she barely took residence in her hospital crib for our entire stay.  The first night we were home, I bypassed the crib without much thought and brought her into bed with us.  For the whole night.

People are surprised when I say that Katherine pretty much sleeps through the night.  Co-sleeping is the only answer to this.  She does nurse here and there throughout the night but she never fully wakes up.  And if she never fully wakes up that means I never have to fully wake up either.  This is why co-sleeping is beneficial for us.  I am always acutely aware of her presence and as soon as I hear those first few grunts I instantly begin nursing her.  She eats for a few minutes before she quickly falls back into her deep sleep.  All without any crying.

Once she's out of the newborn stage I will probably try to introduce crib-sleeping during the night (she already naps beautifully in her crib during the day) to see if she's ready to sleep at great lengths without eating.  But this is my personal approach.  I do know the benefits of co-sleeping past the newborn stage but, as I said, I don't love co-sleeping and it's usually by month four when I'm ready to have my space back.  However, I completely support women who can go longer.

So when I saw another campaign using fear mongering and scare tactics to sway parents out of doing something that comes natural to them, something that they know is best for their family, I get angry.

I'm tried of feeling bad for sleeping with my newborn.

I'm tired of feeling dirty for putting my baby to sleep on anything but her back.

I'm tired of feeling embarrassed to say that all my children have tasted milk, peanut butter and honey before the age of one.

I'm tired of feeling naive for not using gates in front of our stairs, locks on our cabinets or anchors on our walls.

I'm tired of feeling negligent for using a drop-side crib.

I'm just so tired of public service campaigns that aim to tell me they are better parents than me.

A well-known medical correspondent on The Today Show was quoted as saying that "co-sleeping leads to infant death."

Are you serious?

That's like saying driving a car leads to car accidents.

Of course bad stuff happens.  Stuff that can be parent's worst nightmare.  But I have news for you.  Bad stuff happens all the time no matter how many warnings we put out there.

My dad died 17 years ago while enjoying a sunny Fourth of July jet ski ride with his seven-year-old son on a beautiful Minnesota lake.

Do you know how many times I've ridden on a jet ski since his accident?

Too many times to count!

Because I know it was an isolated incident.  Something that happens to only a rare minority.  An exceeding majority enjoy a fun and safe ride on a jet ski.  Just like co-sleeping.

But more than that I ride on jet skis because I choose to live my life without fear and in a way that celebrates life.  In a way that is good for me.  Good for my baby and good for my family.

Only mothers that have ever co-slept next to their babies can describe the type of heightened sense of awareness that comes with their baby's presence.  I would categorize it as one of those super-natural maternal powers.  It's like I'm asleep but I'm still constantly aware that my tiny newborn daughter is right there next to me.

But besides that I'm also aware of REAL research that shows all the benefits of co-sleeping with your newborn.  Benefits that include regulated breathing, heart rate and body temperature.  Lower stress levels and a stronger mother-child bond.  REAL research shows statistics that are far more in favor of co-sleeping than against it.  REAL research does not include a few gut-wrenching anecdotal stories.

Co-sleeping might not be for everyone.  But for God's sake you shouldn't not co-sleep with your baby out of fear!

The real problem with parents today isn't that they've gone soft on discipline.  Or that they're too digitally connected.  Or that there isn't enough time.  Or money.  Or that there's no respect.  Or manners.  The real problem is that every one else is trying to be the parent except the actual parent.  We've let doctors and authors and teachers and "experts" and now ad campaigns tell us what's best for our children.  We've forgotten to listen to the best expert of all.  Our own parental instincts.

Friday, November 11, 2011

7 Quick Takes [11.11.11]

1. I've decided to start participating in 7 Quick Takes which will take place (inconsistently) on Fridays.  It originally was created by the author of Conversion Diary and a few of the other bloggers I read also participate.  You might remember me writing a few of these in the past.  I've realized, of late, that I have a lot of things to say and a lot of questions to ask but not really enough time to devote a separate blog post to each and every one.  I used to think these kinds of posts were like cheating; like a writer who couldn't organize her thoughts.  But who am I kidding?  With three kids that's exactly who I am!  So I'm going to embrace it.  And besides, I've found that these are actually some of my favorite posts to read on other blogs.  Hopefully you'll find it likewise.

2.  Let's talk about swelling and post-pregnancy.  Here's the thing: my shoes fit again (yay!) but I still can't remove my wedding band.  At the end of August I put my wedding ring away and opted to only wear my wedding band for the remainder of my pregnancy.  Even though the two are the same size my wedding band has always been more loose around my finger -- perhaps because it's cheaper?  Anyway as my pregnancy neared its end my fingers swelled so bad I could no longer remove my band at the end of the day.  I thought this would clear up within the first week following Katherine's birth but here I am nearly three weeks later with the band still stuck on my finger. Should I be worried?  Has anyone else had this problem?

3. Our church, which is just a block from our house, has perpetual Eucharistic adoration and this past weekend Brian and I signed up to be weekly dedicated adorers.  We signed up for the midnight to 1 a.m. slot on Sunday nights; technically Monday mornings.  We figured we're usually up with one of our children at that hour anyway so we might as well make good use out of it.  Do you think it's OK to bring a newborn into the adoration chapel even if she's fussy or might need to nurse?  I mean I'm sure Jesus wouldn't mind, of course, but I want to respect the other adorers who might be there looking for some quiet time.  What do you think?

4. Talking about adoration reminds me of the time when a then three-year-old William asked me if God and prayers were magic.  To a three-year-old I'm sure the whole thing does seem like magic.  Of course, I know it's not.  But it really is all kind of magical, isn't it?

5.  Staying on topic of "The Funny Things William Says," the other day we were driving in the car and he told me I was his best, best, best, best, best ever.  I think there might have been 18 more bests included in the quote.  He didn't exactly explain what kind of "Best" list I had been ranked #1 in so I asked him what #2 was.  Noodles.  Just so we're clear, I'm number one and noodles are number two.  I'm sure God and country follow shortly thereafter.

6.  I'm having an email dilemma.  As I said a few months ago, I finally got with the times and upgraded to a smart phone.  (Which, by the way, ended up being a cheaper plan than my old phone. Who knew?!) So now that I have this smart phone at the tips of my fingers I rarely check my email account on the computer.  Instead I read my emails on my phone and respond immediately, if need be, or delete it.  In fact, I don't think I've opened Outlook since before Katherine was born.  I'm pretty certain my computer would blow up if I make it download the 1,000+ emails.  (No, I don't have that many friends.  Just a lot of subscriptions to Groupon and CrowdCut and LivingSocial and Totsy and Zulily.)  So here's my question: Do you think email is becoming obsolete? Are you more likely to bypass email to use text messaging or Facebook to get in touch with friends and family?  Besides calling immediate family members, I know those are the only methods we used to announce Katherine's birth.  Maybe I should just do away with the stress it takes to maintain my email folders.  But then again, there's always going to be that one person who insists on using VHS when everyone else has DVDs.

7.  It's finally on the chilly side here which means the radiators are fired up, the feather bed is on and the cinnamon candles are burning.  It's cozy times like these when I'm so glad I live in Minnesota and get to fully experience each individual season.  I know I'll be singing a different tune come February but for now I'm going to hunker down and soak it in.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Three Problems with Katherine

(I seemed to be having comment issues with the last post.  I'm hoping it's all cleared up now but email me at jenny at mamanash dot com if you're having problems.)

Problem #1: Katherine only likes to nurse on one side. And because I've only pumped three times and have never given her a bottle, thing are a bit, shall we say, lopsided. I'm hoping this is something she'll outgrow.

Problem #2: Katherine likes to laugh in the face of death and seems to have a general goal of surviving in spite of doing the exact opposite of everything the Back to Sleep campaign set out to promote. Which is OK because I'm not a big believer in the Back to Sleep campaign anyway. See here.

She sleeps best:
(a) on her side.
(b) on a pillow.
(c) with a blanket by or lightly covering the side of her face.
(d) in bed with me and Brian for at least half the night. (More on co-sleeping in a later post.)

Problem #3: The biggest problem we're facing with Katherine is that she seems to be channeling Mr. T.
Does anyone know where I might find a newborn-sized gold chain?
 Or a gremlin.
Lucky for her I bid on the cutest little handmade knit hat at an auction recently and won.
Ahh...that's better.
We're thankful she was born during the cooler months when wearing a hat 24/7 isn't suspect and we can cover up those locks until they figure out what they want to do.  She'll thank me when she's older.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


The question I get asked most now that Katherine has arrived is how life has changed now that we have three children.  Now that we are outnumbered.

The truth is that it isn't all that bad.  Of course I need to caveat that by saying that the only factor affecting the success of my days is the expectations I set for it.  And my expectations are pretty low.  My what a low bar you have!  All the better to hurdle you with, my dear!

When Lucy was born I had a tough transition going from one child to two.  Every mother has her own toughest transition in number of children and for me Lucy was it.  I found it difficult to split my time between children equally.  William is not a very independent child so he still needed me for a lot of the day-to-day stuff.  It also didn't help that Lucy was a horrible sleeper at night which meant I was running on fumes during the day.

But the biggest thing I had going against me when Lucy was born was that my expectations were much too high.  I thought I could carry on with life in the same way I did with one child.  I thought two kids would be a piece of cake.  After all, I was a nanny for many years and was able to successfully manage a lot more than two kids.  But being someone's babysitter and being someone's mom are two drastically different responsibilities.

So with that experience under my belt, I reset my expectations in preparation for Katherine's arrival.

Last Thursday Brian went back to work for the second half of the day.  It was nice outside so the older kids were playing in the backyard before lunch.  Their food was ready but I figured I would let them burn off some energy so I could get some good naps out of them.  Katherine started to fuss so I sat down to nurse her.  As she was chugging away I heard a blood-curdling shrill scream come out of Lucy.  I raced to the back door and stepped outside to see what was going on.  Instead of finding a severed limb, as one might have expected with a scream like that, I saw her brother tantalizing her with a rake.  It was then that I realized I had just step outside with half of my chest hanging out for all the neighbors to see while Katherine was still munching.

I walked back inside and laughed at myself.  "So this is how it's going to be," I told myself.  Life, full of hilarious and obscene moments just like this.  All the better to blog with!

I would offer two pieces of advice for moms of new babies in the transitional time period.  The first, as I said, is to reset your expectations.  Think about what you want to happen and then lower the bar at least a couple of notches.  For example, I'll tell myself, "Today I would like to get two loads of laundry done, clean the bathroom and cook dinner.  But if I only cook dinner, I will be satisfied."

The second bit of advice I would offer is to get up every day and try to "look like a person."  I use this phrase a lot and Brian always laughs at me.  Looking like a person means to put forth an appearance that resembles one before you had the baby.  For me that means hair that's combed and somehow "done" (a ponytail totally equals "done" by the way), a couple swipes of a bronzer and a dab of mascara.  On a really good day "looking like a person" means I'll turn on the television and baby swing for a half hour so I can take a shower.  Just this little bit of effort seems to make me feel more capable the whole day through.

If your house has less than three children you might walk into our home and think, "What the heck were Brian and Jenny thinking?!"

It's true.  It's pretty much always a three-ring circus around here.  There's always dishes in the sink and the sofa pillows are always askew.  Someone is always screaming or yelling or needing a new diaper.  I'd still like to think it's organized chaos, but chaos nonetheless.  We didn't sign up for this blindly.  We knew what we were getting into and we like it this way.  To us, a house full of chaos equals a house full of joy, full of life.  It's what we've always wanted since before we got married.  It's not a life all people are called to but it is one we feel called to.

People are also continuing to ask us if we are going to have more children.  And amid all the busy-ness, adding more children to the mix doesn't sound all that bad or impossible.  I look at Katherine and think, "Is this the last newborn I'll have?"  I really hope not.  But thankfully it's not a bridge we have to cross right now.

So when I get that question, I smile and respond with a wink, "Maybe.  But not tomorrow."  One day at a time.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Scene from Week One

This is my favorite photo from Katherine's first week.
This was our first night home from the hospital and what struck me right away was that when you have a third child your older two expect business as usual.  So there was a normal dinner with all of us around the table.  There were baths after dinner.  There was brushing teeth and combing hair.  There was lotion and jammies.  And there was the bedtime story.

Katherine was awake and I was cleaning up the bathroom so I just put her on Brian's chest.  I love how no one seems to think it's a big deal that there's a new audience member for our book-reading session.  William is captivated by Harold and the Purple Crayon even though he's read it one thousand and one times.  And Lucy, per usual, is more interested in the camera than anything else that's going on around her.

No one is paying particular attention to Katherine's presence.  And it's not because she isn't special or appreciated or loved.  It's because she fits so seemlessly into this house.  I look at her and think, "Oh there you are!" Like she's just been missing all these years.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Katherine's Story

Although Katherine was born on Sunday, her birth story really starts on Friday.

After finding out earlier in the week that I was already dilated to 5 centimeters my mood was lifted. I knew the end was near and I thought Friday was it. And if it wasn't, I was going to will myself into labor. Brian worked from home just in case. I had some light contractions begin around 3:00 p.m. It was a beautiful fall day so we walked to the playground with the kids. They played for about an hour while I soaked up the warm October sun. I was still having contractions but they were very light and very inconsistent.

After the kids were in bed we put Casino Royale in the DVD player. But I was distracted. Contractions kept coming and I kept wondering if/hoping that they would start to get stronger and closer together. My mom even wondered if she should hop in the car and drive the two hours to be here with the kids. But I told her no because I wasn't sure if this was "it." When the movie was over I decided to go to bed. If this were really "it" I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep. And when I awoke to find the Saturday morning sun greeting me in the face, I was bummed. It wasn't it.

Saturday brought absolutely nothing. And zero contractions to go with it. Brian even commented that it was the laziest Saturday ever. William had a birthday party to attend in the morning. After lunch both the kids took great naps. I layed down with William and snoozed myself. For dinner I made whole wheat pasta and turkey meatballs in marinara sauce with a side of edamame. That evening our neighbors invited the kids over for one of their movies in the backyard. I told Brian I wasn't sure if I could handle any more questions related to the end of my pregnancy so I sent him with the kids and I stayed at home and finished some loads of laundry.

When the movie was over both the kids went to bed beautifully and Brian and I began to watch the Notre Dame and Wisconsin football games that I mentioned last week. Because both of the games were on at the same time we had to DVR both channels and flip back and forth, meaning that we watched a total of eight quarters of [disappointing losses of] football. It was around midnight when finished watching both games. We decided to head to bed.

After I washed my face, brushed my teeth and removed my contacts, I slipped into my sheets with a sigh thinking how tired I was because I hadn't made it to midnight in a long time. I closed my eyes and instantly had a very strong contraction. I grabbed Brian and told him. He glanced at the clock. 12:10. I closed my eyes and fell halfway asleep. Then I was awoken by another strong contraction. I even had to breathe through this one. I told Brian. He looked at the clock. 12:20. I was disappointed. Ten minutes was too far a part. I closed my eyes again. Ten minutes later I was again awoken by a strong contraction. So strong that I grabbed Brian's arm tightly to get me through it. When it was over he hopped out of bed, threw on the lights and started putting his jeans on.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"I'm putting my clothes on." he said. "We're going in."

"We are?" I said. It should be noted here that I never, in all my pregnancies, think I'm really in labor. Brian is always the one that has to make the final decision to go to the hospital.

"Yes, we are," he said. "I'll text your sister to come over."

He started following the list for my hospital bag and putting in the remaining items. I put my contacts back in and threw my hair up in a ponytail. While I was in the bathroom I had another big contraction and had to kneel next to the bathtub to get me through it. But when the contraction was over I felt completely fine so still, I wasn't sure this was really it.

Brian continued to pack up our stuff and call my midwife while I poured myself a glass of water in the kitchen and waited for my sister to arrive. By this time I had the full-on shakes no doubt from an adrenline rush of going to bed one minute only to realize the next that our plans for the evening would be much, much more exciting than mere sleep. I remember having a few contractions at the kitchen counter. I would lay my head on the cold granite while Brian pressed his palms into the small of my back.

At 1:21 a.m. I received a text from my sister saying she had just exited the freeway. That meant she would be there in five minutes. When she arrived I had just finished up a contraction and I asked her to remind me why I don't just take the epidural. I always have doubts about having a natural birth when I'm in labor. I think every woman must! But I powered through it.

So around 1:30 Brian and I finally hopped in the car and were off for the 10-15 minute drive to the hospital. The most entertaining part of the drive was that it was right in the middle of bar close on a Saturday night. We passed a few crazies on the way and at least one hitchhiker approaching our car right in the middle of a contraction. Brian ran a couple of red lights which was totally unnecessary but always provides for a fun extra detail to the story the next day. I think he secretly wishes he would get pulled over so that we could get a police escort to the hospital.

When we arrived at the hospital's emergency entrance I don't think the staff was fully up to speed on how far progressed I was because it took FOREVER for someone to come down and bring us up to the maternity floor. All the paramedics were gawking as I was contracting and kept offering a wheelchair.

Finally a nurse arrived and escorted me to my room where my midwife was waiting. She checked my cervix and found me to be dilated to 9 centimeters and baby's head very low. She briefly mentioned breaking my water and having me start pushing but for some reason I asked to go into the bathtub. At this point I don't think I was mentally prepared to realize that I was in full-on labor and that the end was here. So instead of pushing I went into the bathtub where I had about four more intense contractions.

After those contractions I looked up at my midwife and said, "So really you think you could just break my water and I can start pushing?"

"Yes," she said, "Why prolong the torture of contractions if you don't have to?"

So out of the tub I went and back into the bed. My midwife easily broke my water and told me I had a bit of cervix left that I would have to push through. As I pushed, she told me she was going to help move it around my baby's head. Those first couple of pushes were a real struggle because I didn't feel like I was making any progress. But once she successfully moved the cervix I could really feel baby coming and I remember taking a break before my next, and last, contraction and saying a quick prayer.

I said: Please God, give me the strength to push this baby out with the next contraction. I really want this pain to be over and I want to see this baby.
On the next contraction I held my breath and pushed with everything I had. I watched Brian's eyes get wide and listened as he told me with a confident voice that I was doing a really good job. It wasn't one of those fake tones where you know you're not really doing anything and they're just saying that to help encourage you to keep going. I knew this was for real. So I kept pushing. I felt a brief respite when the baby's head was out only to feel a bit of gloom when I realized I still had the shoulders left. So I kept pushing. And finally I felt the baby slide all the way out. Relief. Glorious relief! The pain really is 100% gone as soon as that baby is out.

2:34 a.m. As in about 40 minutes after we arrived at the hospital. I like to keep things exciting.

The midwife had to suction the baby for what seemed like forever so I yelled at Brian to tell me what it was. I felt like it took him an hour to finally look up with teary eyes and say, "It's a girl!"

A girl! Holy crap! I really thought I was having a boy. A girl!

My midwife finally put her on my chest and it was then that I got to see what a little chunk she really was. Later we would find out she was an 8 pounds, 11 ounce chunk, to be exact. She was a bit blue from being pushed out so fast, not allowing her lungs to completely clear of the amniotic fluid, but she pinked up fast. After she was pink the nurse kept rubbing her to get her to cry. After a while they realized she had no trouble breathing at all. She just wasn't crying. She was totally content just staring at her new world. And I was totally content with her in my arms.

After a few minutes I turned to Brian and said, "Hey, guess what?"


"I'm not pregnant anymore!"

It felt so good. But not nearly as good as sleeping away the rest of the night with my new baby girl in my arms.

I admit, this picture was not taken immediately after birth but rather after I had a bit to pull myself together and apply a little mascara.  Mascara--a new mom's BFF.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oh Baby!

Early Sunday morning we welcomed Katherine Elizabeth into this crazy family of ours.  As much as I complained about the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I have to say, my labor, delivery and recovery has been a piece of cake. Yay for third babies!

More birth details to come. In the meantime Brian and I are enjoying our 48-hour vacation in the hospital until the reality of having three children fully engulfs us.

Here's the newest princess in our castle.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Still Minus One

Greetings from the land of Still Pregnant.

I'm sure many of you assumed my absence meant baby had arrived but really it just meant I was trying to keep my crabby out of the blogosphere.

I had a mini breakdown on Sunday when every one in our family was dressed so pretty for morning mass.  I had pulled together one of the last cute maternity outfits that still looks halfway decent on me only to realize I had no shoes that fit.  Yeah.  That's one of the things "they" forget to tell you about pregnancy.  In the last few weeks your feet swell so bad many of your normal shoes leave you feeling like one of the ugly step-sisters in Cinderella.  Tennis shoes and sandals are pretty much all that work.  And being that temps are currently in the 40s and 50s, the latter is out of the question.

On the way out the door I glanced at myself in the dining room mirror and realized my hair looked GORG-eous.  All shiny and flowy and tons of body.  So there's that up side to pregnancy.  And then there's my chest.  My normal negative A cup is now a generous B making shirts and dresses fit like they're supposed to and making my husband eye me up like it's the first time.  So it's not ALL bad.

The other day we were laughing that William knew almost all the lyrics to Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream."  Well, I was laughing.  Brian, being the real musician in the house, couldn't help but wonder what songs he would have memorized if he were the stay-at-home parent.  But he's not.  So inappropriate lyrics it is.

So anyway there Brian and I were in the kitchen finishing up the dinner dishes singing "Teenage Dream" when Brian grabbed me from behind and sang "Let you put your hands on me in your MA-TER-NITY jeans be your teenage dream tonight..."

I didn't know if I should laugh or cry.  I chose to laugh.

After the dishes were done we had ourselves a little family dance party in the living room and it made me so happy to see every one having so much silly fun together.  Brian was dancing with Lucy and I was dancing with William and suddenly I realized these last few days are really a treasure to behold.  Soon they will outnumber us.  Soon we will have to take turns doing one-on-one activities.

I think a sibling is one of the most blessed gifts you can give your older children.  But initially that change comes with a lot of growing pains.  And as much as you can prepare yourself and your other children for those changes, you really can't.  You kind of just have to plow through it head first.  And there's a part of me that's really sentimental about the loss of our one-parent-to-one-child ratio.

This week two of my sisters-in-law called and graciously offered to take William and Lucy for a four-day weekend as schools in Minnesota are on break.  There's no doubt William and Lucy would be ecstatic to spend that much time with their seven cousins.  And there's no doubt it would be much easier for Brian and me, especially if I went into labor during that time and didn't have to worry about finding child care.

But after thinking it over and discussing it with Brian, we both decided to decline their generous offer.

I just didn't know if I could bear to see their empty beds every night wondering if this would be my last opportunity to really devote myself to the bedtime routine.  And I wasn't sure it was fair to them to leave their house for a few days only to return to drastic changes.  Having a new baby is an event for the whole family and my heart just feels better with them here.

And now here I am sounding like I'm going to have this baby in the next four days.  My midwife appointment yesterday left me feeling like that's a very real possibility.  So real that it had Brian considering a call to the hospital to ensure they had access to the right television channels for both the Notre Dame and Wisconsin football games on Saturday.  And it had me, as much a die-hard college football fan as he, questioning if that was enough.  Should we request a second television so we can watch both games at once?  Should we check the hospital's wireless Internet speed so we could stream one of the games?  Should we look into reserving a conference room?  Should we just scrap the hospital idea and consider giving birth in a sports bar?

All very good questions at the very top of our priority list.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Notes from the Land of the Quarantined

Look at this! Me, posting, two days in a row! I figure if I can just start with writing about what's going on in my day-to-day life eventually some meatier posts will strike me.

The real reason I'm sitting in front of the computer at 9 o'clock on a Tuesday in my yoga pants and Brian's white undershirt, with the sun glistening in the SUPER CLEAN porch windows and a steaming cup of coffee in front of me is because we've been quarantined with croup. William comes down with croup a couple of times a year and this, apparently, is one of those times.

If I'm being honest I would tell you that it's been kind of nice to be forced to just stay put. Yesterday I put folded laundry away, made my bed, took a shower, packed a few things for my hospital bag and threw a roast in the slow cooker. That's it. William had intervals of A LOT of television-viewing and napping and Lucy had intervals of the toy room and giving me hilarious one-liners.

When Brian came home I expressed guilt about the tube being on so much but ever the realist he scoffed at that. What else was I supposed to do with a child who could barely lift his head from his pillow to acknowledge my existence? And truthfully, since school started at the beginning of September, our schedule has been so jam-packed this was the most the TV had been on in two full months.

After a night of very little sleep and a lot of labored breathing (why does croup have to be SO scary?!) William popped up from his permanent indent on the couch while we watched The Today Show this morning.  I was scrolling through emails on my phone at the time so I was able to capture the moment.
I'm going to miss those sun-bleached locks this winter.

I think it's safe to say we're on the upswing from illness.  But is there a way to keep the hoarse voice?  Why are hoarse voices so dang cute in little kids?

Of course all this sitting still does have one major drawback.  I had not a single contraction yesterday.  So that is not boding well with progressing labor.  But apparently all I need to do is complete a marathon to kick start things.  Kudos to that woman but also a little peeved that she's making the rest of us (me) look like a bunch of whiny sloths.

Speaking of being slothful, I got a pedicure last night.  I rarely get pedicures outside of the summer months but I figure the least I could do to spruce up my swollen sausages-for-feet was to give them a fresh coat of polish.  It isn't exaggerating to say it was the best pedicure of my life.  I wanted to adopt my pedicurist (word?) as my Asian grandmother.  She took pity on my enormous cankles and gave me an extra long massage.  When she finished with the first leg, the swelling difference was astounding.  So now baby has a pretty set of toes to greet him/her as s/he emerges into the world. Ha!

So that's my exciting life in the past 24 hours.  Tell me, what's going on with you?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Discount Announcement and Other Updates

Remember when I linked to this Etsy shop last week while featuring the baby's room makeover?  Well, I recently received a note from Maya, the shop's owner, letting me know she'd like to extend a discount to all Mama Nash readers.  All you have to do is send her a note mentioning that you're a Mama Nash reader and she'll discount the total of whatever you'd like to purchase.  She also wanted me to remind my readers that all of her work is custom made so if you're looking for modifications or have something particular in mind, don't hesitate to ask!  Even if you don't have a baby or one on the way, I think these pieces make for such a unique baby gift.  Happy shopping!

And now on to the state of things in this ninth month of my pregnancy.

The nesting bug hit me hard this third time around.  Even I got sick of myself.  I did crazy things like clean all 13 windows in our porch including removing every screen and hosing it down.  I've switched all the closets over to our fall/winter clothes which included a major dump at Goodwill and a reorg of our cedar closet in the basement.

As of today I'm feeling good with every item checked off our to-do list except one.  Removing the window a/c units.

Which leads me to my next update.  The weather.  And really, if it were any other year, you'd be seeing a ton of pictures posted here of how the kids and I are enjoying a record-setting Indian Summer that has lasted for more than a week now of temps in the upper 80s.  But instead I'm Grumpy McGrumperson with my swollen feet and hands, my too-small-to-fit summer maternity clothes and my sweaty body.  This was just not at all what I planned for when I pictured myself being nine-months pregnant in October.

I used to think I would be the perfect person to live in Florida or somewhere in the desert.  But I've changed my mind.  I need long sleeves and puffer vests and cute scarves and tall boots and hot baths before bed and snuggling under a blanket on the couch and hot lattes and crisp evenings at a football game and good things baking in my oven.  I still reserve my right to complain in January, mind you, but a few 50-degree days would feel pretty nice right about now.

Today officially marks two weeks until my due date.  It also marks the climax of me being a total basket case.  I didn't get it with William, probably because he was born too early for it to hit, but I did get it with Lucy, who was born three days before her due date.  Full-blown basket case means you would see behavior like me being completely neurotic about not finding William's belt where it should be.  Or having a breakdown because I can't find anything to wear that covers my belly.  Or having energy equivalent to ten manic people.  Or not having the energy to stay awake past nine o'clock.

One minute I want this baby out of my body right now.  The next minute I'm hoping to buy another day or two because it's just not convenient right now.  This part of pregnancy is definitely not my favorite.  But it's also the shortest.  So I'm trying not to complain too much (not a word from you, Brian) and put it all in perspective.  These last few days as a family of four are a blessing.  Soon we will be a family of five and there's no going back after that.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Room Makeover: Baby's Room

I finally got around to taking some new pictures of the baby's room that I think do it more justice than the previous ones I had taken.  Prior to the makeover, this was William's room.  It's the smallest bedroom in our house so, needing just a twin bed and a dresser, it was perfect for him.  The walls used to be a medium shade of green and I actually really liked the color.  But now that we've painted it a dull yellow, I like this color so much better.
This room is at the end of our hallway.  The windows face East and South giving it a plethora of sunlight.  It has quickly become my favorite bedroom in the house.
We spent the most money making over this room--but still only around $350 which includes the dresser, the chair, paint and new blinds.  We bought the small white dresser at Ikea for around $100 and we bought the chair for around $140.  I'm a veteran at this mom thing now so I didn't waste my money on a changing table that will last us two years tops. Instead I just threw a changing mat on top of the dresser.
I knew I needed some sort of a chair in this room for nursing purposes but I didn't want to spend a ton of money on a glider or any other type of chair that couldn't be easily incorporated into another room after my nursing days are over.  This chair from Ikea is SO comfy.  There's just enough rock in it to lull a little one to sleep.  (Hopefully.)  There have been a few trying days lately when Brian comes home from work to find me sitting peacefully in this chair while the kids are downstairs fighting or playing or doing something I'm trying not to pay attention to for just five minutes.

You see that white bench in the background?  We have no idea what's under it!  I tried to peel back a wooden plank but it wouldn't give.
So a bench it remains.  For now I've decided to use it for these baskets (that I already owned) and rolled up a bunch of baby blankets to display.  I'm not sure what it will become later on.  Suggestions?  Previously, William used it for his stuffed animals and then later as a spot to play with his beloved Batman Cave.
One of the tough things about living in a 90-year-old home is that every bedroom has a radiator that takes up wall/floor space.  I actually really love having radiators as opposed to forced air.  I have zero allergies in the winter and we get a lot less dust bunnies flying around.  But having radiators in every room is a challenge when deciding furniture layout.

I wasn't sure where to put the crib in this room but in the end Brian convinced me to put it between the radiator and door (which is closed in this picture).  He reminded me that in the winter this room gets extra cold and it would be nice to have this heat so close to the baby.  And for the safety conscious, don't worry.  The radiator is never too hot to touch.
The crib is a bit cluttered and unfinished at the moment until we find out baby's gender.  I washed my pink and blue Pottery Barn Kids crib bumper and dust ruffle and my mom is all excited to set it up when she comes to watch the kids while I'm in the hospital.
And now for the "ahh, cute" factor.  William is in the middle of a shapes/learning-to-cut-with-scissors unit at school and made this mobile.  I tied a knot at the top of the yarn and hung it from the mobile my sister gifted me with way back when William was a newborn.  Already William loves to stand on the stool and wind it up.

You'll notice that, other than an actual baby, this room is also missing wall decor.  I'm still trying to decide exactly what to do and where to put it all.  I do have a large white picture frame that currently features nine 4x6 newborn pictures of Lucy.  I'll probably use that.  And then I've been secretly admiring Etsy items like this or any of these.  But I'm still undecided.  I welcome other suggestions!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Copyright © Mama Nash | Custom Blog Design by Lilipop Designs