Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Vacation That Wasn't

If there is one stand-out feature of my Lucy, it's that this little girl never gets sick. She's never been on antibiotics. She's never thrown up. She's barely even had a fever. Every once in a while she'll get a runny nose just to convince me that she is human and not some super power.

So of course, it only reasons to make sense that she would get the sickest she's ever been while we are on our first family vacation.

I wish I could tell you Lucy's illness was the only thing that went wrong on our vacation, but it wasn't. Numerous times Brian and I just had to look at each and laugh, because really, what else can you do?

My first hint should have came the day before we left when William told me his ear hurt. But I was smart about that one. Brought him in to Target Clinic right away and got him an antibiotic so that ear infection + swimming didn't turn into excruciating pain.

From there it went like this:

1. William had an accident in car while he was sleeping. In his padded car seat. Awesome.
2. Brian lost his wedding ring in the waterpark and for an hour we slowly waded through the lazy river trying to find it. After all that work it turns out it was still in our hotel room right where I told him it probably would be in the first place.
3. Our hotel room was a little dirty and dingy. Not deal-breaker status but it certainly didn't help the situation.
4. A kid (not ours!) pooped in the kiddie pool and it had to be closed for a few hours.
5. Brian, myself and Lucy got a total of three hours of sleep on the first night due to the fact that Lucy had croup so bad she could barely breathe.
6. William's fingers got stuck in the elevator door as it was opening.
7. William's finger got stuck in the stairwell door as it was closing.
8. Lucy was sick.
9. Lucy was sick.
10. Lucy was sick.

After that first night of no sleep and after Lucy took less than a one-hour nap that afternoon, we honestly thought about cutting our losses and going home. But we decided to stay and I'm glad we did because things did end on a higher note.

A super big shoutout to William who was the best boy ever. He played hard and slept hard the whole time.

And now for a few pictures so I don't end this all Debbie Downer on you. (Contrary to what the pictures may show I really was there. It's just that if I weren't behind the camera then there wouldn't been any pictures to show.)



If for nothing else, I'm glad we stayed just to capture this photo.

Duluth and Lake Superior in the background.  P.S. See that snow on the ground.  That's all I could find in Duluth the whole time.  What the heck, Twin Cities?!  Duluth has less snow than us?!

Friday, March 25, 2011

7 Things [So You Don't Think I've Quit The Blog]

1.  I'm lying in my bed, pillows propped up all around me, with Brian's work laptop in front of me.  Lucy is asleep.  Brian and William are downstairs watching one of the Harry Potter movies.  It's been a long week of nothingness.  Winter drags on even though the calendar demands it be Spring.  I tried to embrace it anyway.  These last few weeks of looking out my kitchen window and seeing white instead of green.  I dressed the kids in their snow clothes, head to toe, and we headed outside.  They begged for balls, bikes, sidewalk chalk and the sprinkler.  Instead I gave them a shovel and a labored push on the swing.  I pretend like I'm soaking it up ("Make your last snowballs now, they won't last!") but really I know I will never, never, get sick of seeing green like I get sick of seeing white.  But I pretend anyway.

2.  Today I made a trip to the dealership to buy new tires for our SUV.  My sister graciously took both kids off my hands so I didn't have to play goalie for two hours in the waiting area.  As I sat all.by.myself. for those two hours I began to read Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts.  Have you heard of this book?  If not, start with this short video to give you an idea of what it's about and be prepared with Kleenexes.

I feel like this book was written for this exact period of time in my life.  When the days of blowing noses and changing diapers and emptying the dishwasher and washing the sheets and dusting the mantle and figuring out dinner just melt together in one big long stretch of monotony.  This book made me tear up right there in the car dealership waiting room.  Ann writes about learning how to be thankful for the little things that are a part of the here and now. Not something you wish for or something you hope for.  But right here, right now.  And by living in a constant state of realizing thankfulness, she simultaneously finds she's living in a constant state of joy and happiness.

Anyway, read it.  And then pass it on!

3.  My mom got me a Kindle for my birthday!  I have been anti e-reader for some time because I'm so not a book-buyer.  I love the library and when others borrow me their books.  So far I like the physical aspect of holding the light and thin Kindle as opposed to keeping a book opened at its binding.  And I also have found that I can read faster on a Kindle.  Am I crazy to think this?

Do you own a Kindle or other e-reader?  What do you love or not love about it?

4.  Time for a funny 4-year-old story.

While riding in the car today William suddenly told me that he wanted to go fly fishing this summer.

Me:  Uh...OK.  We'll have to talk to Daddy about that.  Or maybe Papa.

William:  But before I go fly fishing I need a parachute.

Me:  A parachute?  What for?

William:  For when I jump out of the plane.  You know, to go fishing.  Fly fishing.

5.  Time for a housekeeping tip.

For some time I've been less than impressed with our dishwasher.  Which shouldn't be the case since we have a fabulous dishwasher that was installed just a couple years prior to us buying this house.  It's literally top of the line.  I looked it up.  But when dishes were coming out with food still stuck on them I was getting really frustrated.

Then I read an article in the newspaper a few weeks ago that said my complaint was not uncommon.  Dishwashing detergent companies have slowly and quietly been lowering the amounts of their active ingredient, the ingredient that removes stuck-on food, for some time now to meet environmental requirements.  The environmental requirements can't be changed but the article's author did a test and listed the best dishwashing detergents.  At the top was a brand I hadn't even heard of.  It's called Finish Quantium.

Holy moly can this baby clean!  I never rinse any dishes anymore.  Not even casserole dishes with baked on food.  These little puppies are amazing.  Of course, they aren't cheap.  But I've found that with coupons (available on their website) it isn't so bad.  Plus, they come in tablets so there's no wasting by pouring in a ton of detergent you don't need.

Try it and let me know what you think!

6.  We're taking a mini-vacation this weekend and I'm really excited.  A big airplane trip to Florida or some other beach destination wasn't in the cards for us this year so instead we're doing a long weekend at a waterpark a couple hours North of here.  I suspect it will be just the ticket to beat these when-is-spring-ever-going-to-get-here blues.

In preparation, the whole family went to Target to pick out snacks and treats.  I break all the food rules when on vacation and let the kids eat snacks and candy to their heart's content.  I told William he could pick out one snack or candy item all on his own.  Anything he wanted.  You know what he chose?  A package of  Dum Dum suckers.  That's it.  And he's so excited about it.  I love four-year-olds.

7.  That's it from my end.  I know things have been a bit ho-hum around here lately but I have been busy working on some big changes here a Mama Nash.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

If You Haven't Laughed Yet Today...

When William was Lucy's age he had one pair of shoes.  I would spend a good amount of money to buy him a quality pair of shoes in a size above what he wore at the time and they would last the entire season.

Now I have a little girl.  And if you looked inside her closet you would find about seven pairs of shoes.  Some cheap Target finds, others of better quality.  The problem is exacerbated by the fact she loves shoes.  Borderline obsession, really.

And if I really had to admit it I would tell you that I really, really love getting shoes at those boutique-y places.  They always seem so much more original and of much better quality.  Do you agree?  Of course, my pocketbook can't really afford these places which is why I've come to love sites like totsy.com.  (Join here and I'll get some sort of a small kickback.)  They offer boutique-quality clothes and shoes for kids at a fraction of the cost.

So when I saw these shoes (the blue ones)...
...listed for $13 and free shipping, I knew I had to have them for Spring.  So I ordered them and they arrived yesterday.

I knew what the box was when they arrived and I announced it to Lucy.  She was on my tail as I was cutting off the tape.  She could barely contain herself.

I sat down on the couch and removed all the cardboard molding and carefully Velcroed the straps to her little feet.  You can imagine my surprise when she wiggled out of my arms and began to prance around in her new shoes and I heard this:

video

Oh lordy.  I should have known when I saw the brand on the box was called PipSqueak.

Later, at dinner, I discovered a small plug on the side of the sole that can be removed and thus cease the squeaking.  I'm sure the parishioners at Easter Sunday mass will thank me kindly.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Springing Ahead

I know I've been a bit absent around here.  The truth is that I was going through some dark days of no energy and no motivation.

We were sick two weeks ago which kept us homebound and then last week was Spring Break for William's school which, for lack of routine coupled with crappy weather, kept us homebound as well.

Two weeks of no routine and little reason to venture outside is not good for this mama's spirit.

Sometimes I make fun of people who say they have Seasonal Affective Disorder.  (Is it a cop out?  Is it just another made-up disorder?)  Other times I think I might have it.

While everyone on Facebook seemed to be grumbling about the pains of beginning Daylight's Savings Time, I was cheering its entrance.

Have people never traveled to another time zone?  Is one hour really that big of a deal?

While I realize we technically lost an hour, mentally it felt good that the kids woke up at 8:30 instead of 7:30 and napped until 4:00 instead of 3:00.  I know it's just a mental trick, but still.

And the sunshine.  Oh the glorious extra hour of sunshine at the end of the day.

We went to 5 o'clock mass, along with the rest of our parish who, it seemed, forgot to change their clocks and therefore missed the morning masses.

But regardless of the packed pews we arrived a whole fifteen minutes early.  A real feat for the Nash clan.  So we picked the best pew for an antsy almost-two-year-old.  And the kids were good.  Like, really good.  And that made me happy.  Especially for the first Sunday of lent.  Because I love lent.  Lent feeds my soul.

And when church was over the sun was still shining!  And this made me so happy that I told Brian we should go out for pizza as a family with the $50 bill (Mom, tell George!) I was gifted for my birthday.

When we got there I wasn't feeling so much like a pizza so I ordered the best hot ham hoagie you've ever tasted while Brian and the kids feasted on a mushroom and sausage deep dish.

But before that was ready we had to wait in our booth for about 20 minutes and again the kids were so, so good.  Lucy kept standing up on the booth bench and dancing to the oldies station that was playing over the speakers.  And William was mesmerized by the four police officers who showed up in uniform to eat dinner.

And I was feeling so happy about feeling so happy in so long that I did something I never ever ever do.  I ordered a soda.  And when I went to fill up my cup at the self-serve fountain I chose the absolute worst soda ever.  Cherry Coke.  Except that the absolute worst soda ever tasted so, so good.

So I may have had three cups full.

Did I mention that I never ever ever drink soda?

So now it's 11:00 p.m. and I'm wide awake.  Three Cherry Cokes or Daylight's Savings Time victim?  Who can tell?  They're both pretty awesome in my book.

Monday, March 7, 2011

They Tell Me It's My Birthday [A Big One]

Today I turn th-th-th-th...ahem...thirty.  There.  I said it.

Thirty is old, you guys!  Don't you remember when you were in high school and you would hear somebody say they were thirty-something and you'd think they would make a great friend for your parents because they were way too old to relate to you?

So now I'm thirty and it's not that I'm sad about getting older or worried that my life is over or even that, God forbid, I've lost some of my coolness factor.  It's just that I don't really know what it means to be 30.  Or 30-something.  Because next year that's what I'll be.  30-something.  Like the show my parents used to watch.  Because they were old and those were the types of shows old people watched.

The hump I'm trying to overcome is that EVERYTHING that means ANYTHING to me, happened when I was in my 20s.

I left home.

I met Brian.

I graduated from college.

I got my first job.

I married Brian.

I bought a house.  Twice.

I got pregnant.  Twice.

I had a baby.  Twice.

It's like I went to Disney World and did all the really big stuff in the first two hours and now I'm sitting here drumming my fingers wondering what the heck I'm going to do now.

Well there's a few things I can tell you right now I won't be doing.

For starters, I won't be wearing these.  Or these, for that matter.

And I won't be driving one of these.  (I don't hate you, minivan lovers.  It's me.  Not you.)

In fact, I'd like to think of myself as a nice red wine.  I'm just getting better with age.  Check out my sister's blog for proof.  Aside from the first picture where I'm pretty cute as a little kid, it isn't so pretty in the picture immediately following.  My hair....whaaa?  And apparently it was in to (a) not know what a bronzer was, (b) wear ribbed turtlenecks, (c) wear ribbed turtlenecks with jean jackets and (d) wear matching ribbed turtlenecks and jean jackets with your sister.

So I'm OK with 30.  Maybe even a little happy with it.  I'm just not sure what's in store.  And that's a little scary.  And a little exciting too.

Now you'll have to excuse me.  I have to go apply more wrinkle cream.  And take a nap.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Four-Year-Old

He brings home school papers with the name "Willia" written in big, cresendo letters on the top.

"Where's the 'M'?" I ask.

"Oh, there just wasn't room, Mom," he says matter-of-factly.

He reads to me from his Beginning Readers books.  This time it's "The Lion and the Mouse."

Page One:  "Once there was this huge lion and he was really, really, really big.  And then there was this little, little mouse.  And the mouse said, 'Hi.'  And then the lion said, 'Hi.  Do you want to be my friend?'  And then the mouse said, 'Sure!'

"William," I say, "You have to read the words in the book otherwise it's not reading."

"Oh," He says.

I feel guilty, having thwarted his imagination.

"But I like it this way better," he says.

And I kind of agree.

He wakes up in the middle of the night in sobs.  This never happens.

Brian and I race in his room to see what happened.

"I had a bad dream," he says between whimpers.

"I'm sorry buddy," says Brian, "What happened in your bad dream?"

"I COULDN'T PET ELLIE!" He screams.

Ellie is my in-law's dog and William hearts her, to say the least.

"When I grow up I want to be a dad," he tells me one day at lunch.

"Oh really," I say, "Who do you think you'll marry?"

"I don't know," he ponders, "Maybe you.  Or maybe Lucy."

So far I'm kind of loving four.  So much eagerness and enthusiasm for learning.  So many grand ideas.  So many quests for independence.

But still so little.  Still needs a mom to wipe away tears.  I can still make out where his baby fat used to reside on that handsome little face of his.

He's sick this week.  I think I love my kids the most when they are sick.  There is little whining.  Or crying.  Or jumping or running or overall loudness.  There's just the beat of the house and a little person curled up in the crook of my arm, reminding me, he's only just four.
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