Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Family Takes

Brian was in Boston for work this past week.  The whole week.  And I did you all a favor and stayed away from the ol' blog for awhile.  I wasn't in a good mood and I don't know how to write while pretending everything is cheery at Casa del Mama Nash.  No one was sleeping at night.  Each of the kids took their turns and it was maddening being the only adult in the house.  Sleep deprivation takes a toll on a person after a couple of days much less an entire week.  I'd also be lying if I didn't admit that I was super bitter that Brian was in Boston without me.  Neither of us has ever been and had planned to go together in the near future.  But there he was without me.  Seeing the sights and hearing the sounds.  While I was waking to the cries in the middle of the night.
I have started hiring a 13-year-old neighbor girl to babysit for me for short periods during the day.  It really has done wonders for my motivation and overall job satisfaction.  Last week, while Brian was gone, I only had Katherine on Thursday morning so I had her come and stay for two hours while I got a pedicure, went to the grocery store and sat at a coffee shop and sipped an iced latte all by my lonesome.  It was a beautiful thing.  This week I had her come take the two older kids to the park for the morning.  I even packed them a picnic lunch.  While the baby took her morning nap I cleaned the whole house without disruption and even had time to make myself lunch at a decent hour.  When the kids got home they were so pooped from their morning fun they both promptly marched upstairs for their rests without a single complaint.
I'm not sure why it's so hard for moms to admit they need a little paid-for help.  But I'm not going to feel ashamed about it anymore.  I don't see how anybody loses in this arrangement.
William is just off the heels of a full week of Vacation Bible School.  It was his first year of participation and love is such an understatement of how he felt about the whole thing.  He cried on Wednesday when I told him he only had two more days.  "What?!" He screamed.  I think I neglected to make it clear that this was not a permanent school.  It's been fun to listen to him recite Bible versues and tell us stories about Jesus.  He really absorbed it all.  But my favorite part is having him perform the handful and song and dance routines they learned.  Hilarious!
Lucy spent four days at Camp Nana with her cousin while Brian was in Boston.  She had a lot of fun and it was very helpful to have one less around here but I did miss her terribly.  Lucy seems to have grow leaps and bounds in the past two months and I find myself not struggling with her nearly as much.  She still has her bossy stubborn personality that will always be with her (and probably serve her very well) but it's the toddler meltdowns that she seems to have outgrown.  I enjoy her company and her conversation.  I no longer cringe with I hear her feet hit the floor running in the morning wondering if a beast will emerge from her room.  Now she's pleasant and friendly and so, so funny.  I heart three-year-olds.
Katherine.  Oh my dear sweet Katherine.  I think I might love her a little bit more if she slept at night.  She went from being the best baby in the world to a terrible night sleeper.  I know she's going through something because it doesn't seem logical that this would just start happening out of the blue. But for the life of me I cannot figure it out what's bothering her.  So far my theories include:
  • Teeth
  • Head cold
  • Too hot
  • Thirsty
  • Wants to lay on her stomach
  • Wants to lay on a pillow
  • Overtired
  • Too noisy
  • Too dark
I've tried a remedy for each one without success.  So instead Brian and I have taken turns bringing her hysterical screaming self down to the porch where we rock her in the summer night breeze until her body relaxes and we can lay her back down.  And then we'll repeat the process all over again an hour or two later.  And again and again until the morning sun rises.  Please sleep, sweet baby.

Today we leave for vacation!  We're really only going to my mom's for five days but it's not home and there will be fun so that equals vacation.  I most likely won't be writing thoughtful posts while I'm away so instead I'll try to post a picture each day.

I hope you all are enjoying your summer so far.  I can't believe July is already creeping in.  Please tell me the fun you've been having!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


"How are you doing?"

Brian asked me this the other night as we lay in bed.  He was referring to the start of Summer Vacation.  It was too late and no kids were awake so really we should have been sleeping.  But these are the times when it's easiest to reflect on my true feelings.

"Overwhelmed?"  He asked.

No, not overwhelmed.  That's not the right word.

"I feel like I'm missing it all," I said, tears in my eyes.

The first seven months of William's life seemed like an eternity.  Each day was something new, something yet to be discovered.  The first seven months of Katherine's life seems like the blink of an eye.

I'm so busy just trying to make it through the day that I'm worried I'm missing out on the summer when he was five.  The summer when she was three.  And the summer when she was a baby.

My mind is constantly at odds with itself.  I hear my inner voice chanting, this too shall pass.  And then five minutes later I think, whoa children, slow down, no more growing, m'kay?

I want there to be a different kind of time machine.  One where I can fast forward through all the challenging parts and then slow-mo through all the easy, fun parts.

I want her to have a more consistent sleep schedule.  But I want her to stay The Baby.

I want to nurse her forever.  But I don't want to have to make time for it anymore.

I want to trust that she won't run into the street the minute I open the gate.  But I want her to still need to hold my hand.

I want her to pick out her clothes and get dressed all by herself in the morning.  But I still want to laugh when she comes down the stairs with two legs in one hole.

I want him to be old enough to bike to a friend's house all by himself.  But I still want to be his one true love.

I want him to be able to read to himself.  But I still want him to want to be read to.

I want to get dressed, do my hair and put on make-up every single day.  But I also want days of nothing when I can stay in my pajamas all day if that's what I fancy.

I tell myself I will miss these days when they are so little so I'd better soak it up.

But I have to wonder, will I really?

I think back to when Lucy was a baby.  My most challenging baby by far.  And honestly, I don't miss it.  Lucy as a three-year-old is a delight.  I enjoy her company and her conversation.  I no longer dread nighttime with her in my house.  I would never trade then for now.

But does loving three mean I'm going to ache for it when she's four?

Does parenting only get better?  Aged like a fine wine.  Does a season of a total lack of independence just make tomorrow's age that much sweeter?  Or is it just different?  Some prefer whiskey while others choose Scotch.  And do all these references to alcohol mean that maybe overwhelmed is the right word for how I'm feeling?

This is what I'm going to do:

I'll nibble on some chubby baby fingers today and kiss those sweet cheeks.  I'll throw her up in the air to hear that great big belly laugh.  But when she wakes up at 3:00 a.m. for the fifth night in a row, I'm going to be OK with the fact that come morning she'll be another day older.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Haven't Showered Today and Other Happenings

I'm trying to think of a good post to write as an excuse to insert this picture I took at lunch today.
I have a wonderful camera on my smart phone but unfortunately it doesn't have great stability control which sometimes results in a blurry picture when dealing with a super excited seven-month-old as seen above.  But hopefully you can look beyond that to take in the sheer amazing cuteness of it all.  The side ponytail.  The big-girl booster seat.  The teeny tiny grapes I cut up for her.  The frilly white Polo romper.  And, if it weren't so blurry, you'd also be able to see the two cutest little bottom teeth peeking through when she smiles big.

I feel better now that I was able to share that with all of you.

In other news, it's true.  I haven't showered today.  Or yesterday, for that matter.  This happens to me a lot in the summer.  Most summer days I find myself showering in the evening.  Sometimes I'll let one or two of the kids hop in with me to bypass bath time.  This way I can wake up in the morning and get going super fast by throwing my hair up in a pony and quickly brushing on some bronzer and mascara.  What's the use in showering when the air is heavy with humidity and I know I'll sweat off my cleanliness in no time?  Anyway, that's the rationale I tell myself.

William had his first day of KinderCamp this morning and this mama may have found herself a little weepy (again!) behind my aviator sunglasses standing on the plaza outside his (new!) school.  KinderCamp is a quick 4-day camp to help acclimate the new kinders and to get them excited for September.  Someday I'm going to write a post about how Brian and I came to the long-last and harder-than-I-thought decision to send William to the school we chose.  Man, our parents had it so much easier, didn't they?  I bet my mom lost not one night's sleep on where to send me to kindergarten. Public?  Private?  Charter?  Home?  It's all so different now.

He was in the Mickey Mouse group and as he lined up with the rest of the Kinders he quickly realized he didn't know a single student in his group.  Not even anyone from his preschool.  He was quieter than usual but still smiling ear-to-ear and waving happily to me as he marched into the school with one of the Kindergarten teachers.  I have zero regrets.  This kid was made for school, this school, and he will thrive.

Back on the homefront I had to make cinnamon and sugar toast for Lucy for breakfast because we are all out of cereal and I didn't feel like cooking oatmeal.  Which brings me to my next point.  I need to go to Target today.  With all three kids.  I'm not looking forward to it but it has to be done.  We're leaving town tomorrow for a quick weekend jaunt to Brian's parent's house for a baby bash.  In case you were wondering, a baby bash is similar to a baby shower except that both women and men are invited.  Also in case you were wondering, baby bashes are way more fun than baby showers.

I'm in charge of providing that Blueberry Crumb Cake I mentioned in a previous post as well as a dip and a side dish.  So I need ingredients.  And wrapping paper.  And eyeshadow.  And coffee.  And cereal.

See?  There's no time for a shower.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I'm Not A Photographer

I'm not a photographer.
But I do take pictures.
And when I take pictures I see things in them.
Things I don't usually see without a camera lens in front of my eye.
I see them the way they should be seen.
Perfectly created.
I can see the moment for what it is.
It reminds me they are still so little.
But growing so fast.
It reminds me to be gentle with their little souls.
But also to expect great things because they are capable.
I see them deep in conversation, building a lifelong friendship.
I see her legs, now proportional to her body.  No longer a toddler is she.
I see his blond locks returning.  Sun-bleached in the summer months only.
I see how he eats his fruit first while she prefers to eat her sandwich first. 
I see her chubby fingers trying to coordinate what her mind wants to do.
I notice how her toes curl when she's deep in concentration.
I notice her painted little toes.  Oh my goodness her painted little toes!
I notice how she doesn't notice me with the flashy camera because she's busy learning.
Her long, wispy hair.
The creases in her elbows.
Those cheeks.
I notice how excited she is to watch her big brother's graduation ceremony.
Her fingers fidgeting in anticipation of the next song.
She wonders if she'll know the words.
Her pigtails.  I remember the fight she put up while I combed and tied them that morning.
But once they're in, she loves them.  Preferring to see the world without distracting strands in her face.
She chose her squeak shoes that morning instead of her beloved Crocs because "they go better with my dress, Mommy." 
I see how playful he is with her.
Letting both his little sisters use him as a pincushion for their enjoyment.
He comes down to their level.
Because he knows they think it's funny if they can supposedly surprise him.
I see him trying to be genuinely surprised.  A good actor.
And I see her, so full of delight at getting her big brother good.
I'm reminded of how much he has a jump-with-both-feet-in attitude.
Fearless of the water.
Or much of anything.
Embracing every splash.
He is boy.  With every ounce of his being.

It's fun to take pictures.
To see things I didn't see before.
A nanosecond captured in time and immortalized forever.
I'm not a photographer.
I'm just a mom with a camera.

Friday, June 1, 2012

7 Quick Takes [6.1.12]

1. I'm back with Quick Takes. This week, at least. Every week I've had my list of things I wanted to write about and every week something came up that prevented me from getting to the computer. That seems to be happening a lot lately. But here I am now!

2. This week and the next are filled with a lot of "lasts" for William as he closes out his preschool career and begins his new chapter as a grade schooler. Yesterday was his last day of Early Childhood class, a wonderful birth to 5-year-old resource available to families in Minnesota through the public school system. I hadn't spent much time thinking about the fact that this little era of his life was coming to an end until I was driving to class yesterday. I peered in my rearview mirror and saw him perched back there in his booster in the third row, having been demoted long ago to his two little sisters who sat in their carseats in the second row. I thought about how five years ago he and I were driving to our very first class. It was only him and he was only six-months-old.

And it was then that I got a little misty-eyed under my sunglasses. As we got closer to school I started to fan my eyes to dry them up.

"Mom," William said, "Why are you doing this?" And he started flapping his hands in front of his face.

"Oh," I said, "I thought I had a sneeze coming."
William and the marvelous, magical Teacher Sue.
3. Yesterday I made my first batch of homemade ice cream of the season. I think I've mentioned this before but if you've never tried homemade ice cream oh you must! I've noticed in the weekly store ads that you can actually get ice cream makers for a reasonable price now. That said, I do love my Cuisinart maker that came to me as a gift from my mom at a higher price. I've tried a few different recipes but I find myself continuing to come back to this vanilla one I found in the newspaper a year ago. It takes a little elbow grease but it's totally worth it. This time around I kept half of the batch plain vanilla and to the second half I added mini Oreo cookies. Amazing!

4. There were two nights in a row this past week when Katherine woke up in the middle of the night for apparently no reason. Although I'm sure at the time it was teeth or a bellyache or something like that, it felt like she was up just because she didn't want to be in bed. Brian and I tag-teamed holding her and rocking her and carefully laying her down again and praying this would be the time she would give in to sleep. And then, just as quickly as we thought this was going to be her new routine, it was done. She started sleeping from dusk to dawn (or later) again. And it's during these times, when I've experienced a full night's rest, that I have to remind myself that Katherine's worst nights were Lucy's every nights. So I'm going to try to cut her some slack.

5. A couple weeks ago I changed over all the closets from fall/winter to spring/summer. I do this twice a year. Do other parents do this? If so, you'll understand what a huge task this is and why I dread it every year. Why is this? It seems so simple. But three kids later it's such a complicated process.

First I have to decide what still fits and could possibly be salvaged for next year or for colder summer nights. Then I have to decide what definitely doesn't fit and therefore needs to go in storage. Of course I can't get rid of anything for the possibility of hand-me-downs. So then I have to locate the proper gender and size storage bag or make a whole new one. Then I have to weed through hand-me-downs from William's older cousin and from Lucy to Katherine to see what will work.

After I've taken stock of everything I make my list and head to the outlet mall to fill in the gaps. Lucy always comes away the new-clothes winner because she gets hand-me-downs from no one. Once all purchases have been made I have to come home and organize all hangers and drawers so that everything fits. And I'll do this all over again come September. I have to admit, it will be nice one day when the babies have stopped coming and I can start to give away some of those bags I have piled up in the cedar closet.

6. I've realized that I haven't been taking enough pictures lately. Dear sweet Katherine is getting the short-end of the stick when it comes to baby photos. So I strategically placed my camera in the kitchen, where I always am, and keep reminding myself to grab it for the littlest moments. Because those are the best.
Painted faces & Katherine
7. Lastly, I'd like to take a quick poll about laundry.  If you wouldn't mind, post your responses to the following questions in the comments section.
(a.) How many total people are in your household?
(b.) How often do you do laundry? (i.e. every day, twice a week, twice a month, etc.)
(c.) When you do laundry, how many loads do you wash?

Have a great weekend and head on over here for more Quick Takes!
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