A Throwing Up Thanksgiving

A Throwing Up Thanksgiving

Does it sound disgusting? Good. Because it was.

This Thanksgiving I was thankful for pink, plastic trashcans, any sleep available and that whatever monstrous flu bug hit our family only lasted a few hours … each.

Starting the week of Thanksgiving, during my daughter’s birthday brunch, my one-year-old got sick. No big deal–he’s a baby and babies throw up all the time. It was probably that cupcake he ate earlier.

Later that night, we headed to my husband’s parents’ house, who happen to have two of their daughters with their husbands and between each other eight children staying with them.

The one-year-old gets sick again. All over grandpa.

We go home. Think next to nothing of it, because the baby’s acting find aside from his two episodes. The next night we take the kids over to grandpa and grandma’s again to hang out with family after a problem-free and happy day.

This time, our three-year-old throws up, all over grandpa, during Looney Tunes. Twice.

She comes home and spends the night next to our bed, throwing up into a pink, plastic trashcan.

Of course, the next morning, I’m sick and have to call into work. The pink, plastic trashcan is now my best friend, too.

The next victim is my husband, on the day before Thanksgiving, which is the day of a surprise date night that’s been planned for over a month. He sleeps all day and feels well enough to go out. Just barely.

On Thanksgiving, my husband’s HUGE family gathers. We here rumblings of others who may feel sick, and from Thanksgiving day to Saturday afternoon 3/4s of the entire family has thrown up.

You may not think this is a big deal, but take into consideration, there were around 50 people at the Thanksgiving gathering. That’s a lot of pink, plastic trashcans filled with puke.

So, in the spirit of giving, thank you, family, for sharing in this year’s Throw Up Thanksgiving. Here’s to hoping that next year we have a different theme.

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Little Eyes Are Watching

Note: I advise you to scroll down a bit and press play on the YouTube song before you start reading– listening and reading, it’s the way to go.

When I was a little girl, I used to race out of the double doors of my elementary school and onto the playground to grab one of the six swings before anyone else. I’d swing as high as I possibly could with not a thing to worry about in life–it was pure bliss. Each time I was swinging in the sunlight, higher and higher, smiling from ear to ear, I would long for the people I cared for most to be watching. I had this urge for the people that I loved to one day just be at the fence of my playground watching me in all of my glory, content and proud. It was just a simple, childhood wish that I never shared with anyone.

Years later, I was a teenager, hanging out with my cool friends in my cool clothes talking about cool stuff. Sometimes I would say or do something I thought was so grown up or intelligent, and in those moments, I wished that any of the people I cared for most would have been there to see me, basking in all my grown-up coolness.

When I had my first heartbreak, it was monumental. I wished the person I most respected were alive to help me, to see me, to witness it–my grandma. I talked to her everyday and never expected or received a response.

When my husband and I had our first child, there were moments when something beautiful happened to strengthen the motherly bond between myself and my daughter. Each time, I wished my mother or my husband could be there to witness it. To be proud. To smile.

After graduating from college, I had put my career on hold to start my family. Eventually, I began taking steps towards my dreams again–doing it all. There was a professor during my college years who had scooped me up and nurtured my talent into something I could never thank him for enough. I received a competitive position in my field and wished he’d been there to see it, to be proud of what he’d helped me accomplish.

Yesterday, while listening to Priscilla Ahn’s “Dream,” I had flashbacks to all of these times in my life when I wished that one of the people I cared for most had been there to witness me, in all my glory, doing something that I know would make them, simply, happy.

As I turned around–reminiscing, singing, cooking, content–I saw my son … watching me bask in all my glory. My unspoken wish finally came true and I realized, as a mother, that will continue to happen for the rest of my life: little eyes watching me, learning, taking me in, smiling.

Watching

Little eyes are watching.

It makes me beyond happy and proud to catch a surreal glimpse of that. And to reciprocate what I’d repeatedly felt throughout my life during simple everyday occurrences or monumental moments.

Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.

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The Trendiest Park on the Block

In my exploration around STL, my children and I stumbled upon a new, hip park. It’s become the favorite, for now. Located in Maplewood, the park is part of MRH Elementary School and contains innovative playground equipment, a cute garden and chickens to observe … and cluck at. My family had a blast. On your next free weekend, go check it out!

You can find this park at 1800 Princeton Pl.

Park6

Park2

Park1

Park5

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Park3

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What “Dragging the Kid(s) Along” Really Means

When people say “drag the kid(s) along” the picture that used to show up in my mind was simply of a mother with child’s hand in her hand, pulling them along through a store. GROCERYStore

It never occurred to me everything that was including in bringing your children with you wherever you go.

Now that I have a toddler, let me actually explain to you what the all-encompassing phrase really means and why we use it instead of saying what we really mean.

Actual meaning: (multiple by amount of children)

  • Dress child, possibly while they kick around, happy or ornery
  • Find child’s shoes, sit down on floor, hassle shoes on
  • Restock diaper bag with full bottles/sippy cups, diapers, wipes and a snack. Double check to make sure the toy(s), extra clothing items are still present
  • Find your own shoes
  • Haul everything out to vehicle
  • Pick child up and spend way too much time hassling with the straps in the car seat
  • Finally, drive to destination
  • Unstrap and pick up child out of car seat
  • Either carry them to or chase them around until there’s a cart in front of you or the stroller’s out
  • Once inside destination, do business as fast as possible (you’ve got an hour tops) before there’s whining and the toddler begins repeating “down, down, down, down…” or “eat, eat, eat, eat…”
  • Go back out to vehicle, pick child up and get them back into carseat
  • Unload items into trunk as fast as possible
  • Get back into vehicle and onto the next place or home
  • The child might now be agitated and grumpy the whole drive home
  • Get home, unload the little one (hopefully ready for a nap but probably not)
  • After getting them inside and playing, napping or eating, go back out to vehicle and unload items to put up

And that’s what we, mamas mean by “drag the kid(s) along.”

Why we use it: Because doing it is exhausting enough without explaining it too.

Day 8 of Countdown to Oliver: Prepare for Visiting Family

Photo by Lassa Christensen, "Suitcase"

Photo by Lassa Christensen, “Suitcase”

Tomorrow my mom will be here! So, that means get a massage and chiropractic adjustment, right? Because that’s what I did. Because of this awesome ‘Countdown to Oliver’ segment, there’s not too much left to clean or organize around the house.

I did set up the guest room bed and create a welcoming basket for the room–snacks, lotion, water, Kleenex, etc. It’s also a nice touch to place items in the guest room that have something to do with your relationship or connection to whoever’s visiting: Photos, a gift from them, an item that holds some memory, etc.

I do normally have a regimen to prepare when out-of-town family or friends come to stay. It’s similar to the countdown in that there’s a small list of things to complete each day for a week prior to the arrival. That way you can break things up, it’s not overwhelming, and you have plenty of time to get everything done.

Here’s my prep example list:

Start one week before company arrives–

 

Day 1:

Do the deep-cleaning things that aren’t necessarily outwardly noticeable at first but do make a difference…

  • Self-clean the oven
  • Throw the clear shower curtain in the washer with bleach on a hot cycle
  • Windex the windows and mirrors
  • Soak any rusted items (knives, shower curtain hooks, wire storage, etc.) in baking soda, white vinegar and hot water for 30 minutes.
  • If you have a pet(s), this is always a good day to go in or make an appointment for anything you need done: vet, groomer’s, food, flea meds, etc. (Or just give them a bath yourself if they don’t need a haircut or nails trim)

 

Day 2:

Get the organization and clutter under control again…

  • Empty out whatever niche or draw used to store paperwork and mail, and sort it or file it away
  • Clean out the refrigerator
  • Organize/clean out closets, drawers, pantries
  • Take a plastic bag out to your vehicle and gather all the trash
  • Take your vehicle to the carwash for a rinse and vacuum (if need be)

 

Day 3:

Loose ends…

  • Put together some ideas for what there is to do around your area, some events and sales that may be going on, and good places to eat or site-see
  • Get online and search for coupons/Groupons, deals, discounts, grocery sales, and freebies (everyone’s financial obligations are different with company in town, but this way, whoever the financial burden falls on has a break)
  • Make arrangements or reservations for any specific place you know you’ll want to visit
  • Make a meal plan for each day, just in case; that way you can prep groceries and have an idea of what to make on any given day, at any time

 

Day 4: 

Work on the outside appearance and get some vitamin D…

  • Purchase some cheap, colorful flowers and put them in a gardening bed if you have one, in front of the door, around a tree, or anywhere that’s quick, convenient and adds a little brightness (TIP–$12 for 18 pansies at Home Depot). Or tend to your current plants!
  • Wipe-down any outdoor furniture
  • Sweep off decks, porches and sidewalks
  • Pull weeds
  • Trim the grass

 

Day 5:

Laundry day…

  • Wash the rugs throughout the house
  • Wash towels, oven mitts and kitchen towels
  • Wash any blankets or throws
  • Wash any other loads of clothes laundry you may want or need to
  • Wash sheets and comforters, assuming guests are staying with you
  • If you have pets, wash any pet beds or toys
  • ^This includes folding or putting everything in its spot after washing!

 

Day 6:

Preparation…

  • Make a list and go grocery shopping (be excited you have a clean refrigerator and pantry to store your food in now!)
  • Make sure to include on your shopping list extra toiletries, cleaning items or any miscellaneous items (candles, snacks, photos) you’ve noticed a need (or want) for around the house
  • Prep any food you can ahead of time: put together and freeze a couple meals, prep a marinade, make a pitcher of tea or drinks, etc.

 

Day 7: (This can be the day company arrives or the day before based on whenever works best to start ‘Day 1’.)

Everyday chores and anything else…

  • Wash and put up dishes
  • Vacuum
  • Mop or sweep hard floors and bathroom(s)
  • Clean the bathroom (toilet, sink and shower)
  • Dust (fans, shelves, furniture, etc.)
  • Wipe-down counters, tables and furniture

…If this is the day of arrival (or on the day of arrival)…

  • Light some candles
  • Bake something yummy
  • Make beds and fold/re-organize any items that need it

 

 

The Countdown List:

1. Create the segment “Countdown to Oliver” and make list
2. Make a hospital bag
3. Create a baby registry
4. Prepare the baby’s space
5. Set-up pediatrician visit/appointments
6. Install the car seat
7. Pampering day
8. Prepare birthing plan
9. Wash shower curtains, rugs and sheets
10. *Reader’s idea* Virtual gift-opening
11. Finish an art project
12. Finish a book
13. Create an exercise regimen for the final 4 weeks
14. Take a sewing class and make something for the newest babe
15. Have a special mom and daughter day with Ella
16. (Re)organize files and paperwork
17. Finalize plans with the OB
18. Prepare for visiting family
19. Cleaning day
20. *Reader’s idea* Clothe diapering
21. Meal prep (frozen meals)
22. Write a letter to the new baby
23. Design birth announcements
24. Date night
25. Invest in post baby clothes
26. Clean pumping and feeding items
27. Take a class
28. Clean the carpets and floors
29. Stock up on toiletries and groceries
30. *Reader’s idea* Put feet up and rest