Friday, July 7, 2017

Summer fun

We eat outside a lot these days and it's just the best. My boss at work handed-down some plates that her kids were done with that have compartments. Somehow these plates actually remind us to serve lots of options, like this plate of berries, cheese, rice & a guacamole cup (with chips on the side for dipping). Delicious.

We made a stop in Loves Park -- it was just cool enough for a fire with marshmallows with Grandma Karen & Grandpa John. We also got to crash into walls of ice cream containers -- a new & terrific Criner grandparent tradition.

After a long stretch of crabby figuring-out time, Franklin is a happy guy. He rolls, crawls and eats all kinds of food. Most importantly, he can chase after his most favorite person in the whole world -- his big sister.

We were lucky enough to have a visit from Aunt Cindy who was in town for a deposition & other lawyer stuff.


The annual Fergus family campout was great fun! Franklin slept like a dream in the pack-n-play inside the tent. Daily fell asleep outside with us and then slept in her sleeping bag. 

We ran around, played with aunts/uncles/cousins/grandparents, swam in the pool, blew bubbles, read books in a hammock and ate camping food (little cereals, juice boxes, chips. strawberries, grapes, crackers, more chips...). On Sunday morning Daily woke up and asked if we could do the nighttime camping stuff she missed after falling asleep in B's arms, so we might do another campout in the fall. 

We really lucked out with not-too hot weather, one storm that ended with a giant rainbow, great co-campers & campsite visitors, cold beer and happy kids. 


Aunt Julie sends the best packages or the worst packages, depending on your opinions about confetti/tinsel. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Happy Nurses Week!

It's that weird week of the year that's dedicated to Teacher Appreciation, Nurses and Mother's Day. Not gonna get into how there's one week dedicated to all this female-oriented stuff, but happy week, all. 

Daily & I gave some awesome treats and card to her teachers yesterday. And I've been told that we'll be enjoying a good breakfast for Mother's Day (I'm working this weekend, which is fine, and I always love breakfast!) 

But... Nurses Week is near and dear to me as a nurse myself, a parent and a patient. 

Since last year's Nurses Week, I had preeclampsia and Franklin was born about 4 weeks early. In the midst of it all -- me getting a magnesium drip to prevent seizures from preeclampsia, Franklin needing a little respiratory support, the regular stuff after a baby is born -- I bled a lot. Like call-in-all-the-troops bleeding. 

Thankfully, one amazing nurse asked another amazing nurse what she thought and that nurse called the troops in. (I call them "the troops", but it's really a post-partum hemorrhage team that includes many nurses, many OB/maternal-fetal-med doctors and anesthesiologists.) 

I only remember this in the weird speed of fuzzy memories -- more than a dozen people swarmed in, my blood pressure was very low - 80/40 - after weeks of being high, I got amazing pain/anesthesia meds, doctors & nurses did a lot of crazy things and after losing more than 2 liters of bleeding, it was totally, beautifully stopped. I got antibiotics. I got cryopreciptate (a blood product) and hours of monitoring. 

Nurses saved my life. Like, for real. Women die from massive blood loss after delivering babies. Women die from preeclampsia. Women die from these things in America, not just in far away places. I knew this was a possibility, because I'm a nurse and I'm a patient with exceptional doctors, but it still seemed very strange. 

I cannot give words to the amazing attention, intelligence, speed, thoughtfulness and care of my medical team -- exceptional? brilliant? Treating me like I was their best friend/sister/mom/daughter? I can't even. When I think about this day, these hours, it's terrifying. I still don't totally understand it all, but I know that Franklin's delivery and my post-delivery course wasn't a joke. It wasn't great. It was rightfully very scary.

But I'm here & healthy. And Franklin's here & healthy because of nurses' tremendous knowledge, action and care. 

A nurse was worried. Maybe she saw this before. Maybe she read about it. Maybe she just got a weird feeling. Maybe she noticed me looking pale and my pressures dropping. Maybe she saw something that didn't seem right, a tiny thing or a big thing, and then paid extra attention to some other things that pushed her toward "this is bad." I have no idea. I know my nurse that night was Agnes -- who will always be a hero in our house.

I remember this now, as a patient looking up at doctors and nurses -- woozy, uncertain, worried about Franklin, Daily & Brian, trying to make nurse-sense of what was happening to me. Nurses explained what was happening, they apologized for sticking me for labs, explained more, they put their hands on my me as they told me what to expect and brought me the most refreshing tiny cans of Diet Ginger Ale that have ever existed. They charted and charted and charted and charted. 
When it was all done, a nurse brought me to see Franklin on my way to another 14 hours of bedrest on magnesium. Agnes, it so happened, asked "Will you call him Frank the Tank?"

He was a big baby and we'd settled on the name Franklin months before he was born but "Frank the Tank" had never crossed my mind but we LOVE Old School which features a Frank the Tank cheer. 

Now we do call him Frank the Tank -- even though he is soft, snuggly and smiley. He's our little tank. He and I toughed out a tough labor and a tough pregnancy. We remember it now as tough -- not tragic or traumatic -- because of nurses. 

Thank you all. Nurses, your work matters so, so, so much. Thank you.

*We also had the best, best, BEST doctors in the world of Maternal Fetal Medicine, obstetrics, anesthesia, NICU. Great doctors + great nurses = amazing things (like a healthy mama, a Franklin, a Daily, their dad). 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What's new?

Out outstanding, terrific world is busy and joyful and messy and happy. 

Daily ready for bed in a 36-year-old t-shirt. Not kidding. There are pictures of me wearing this (fitting similarly). Dig'em Smacks! Kinda amazing that this shirt hasn't degraded into dust, right?

Overall, Franklin look good in overalls.

If D is around F is gazing at her adoringly. #bigsister #littlebrother #love

D loves routines. Like eating a peanut butter sandwich and raisins on the steps. And drinking smoothies/"smoovies" in a grown-up cup with a straw on the front porch with a blanket.

Four-nightshifts-in-a-row for me = whoa! Victory, thanks to Dunkin coffee, lunch prep and my brother visiting in the midst!


"I put these on my feet like Kermit."

Go Cubs! Daily actually enjoyed the Cubs game, despite the rain and cold. We had a blast at breakfast and then the Cubbie Bear beforehand. And, we saw the World Series Champion Trophy!!! Whoa.

Monday, March 13, 2017

hi there!

So, things are batty and messy and exhausting and and dizzyingly wonderful. Like, my schedule is different all the time and every week is a terrific balancing act of childcare, sleep, work and whatever else we are doing. But it's great. I think I've said this before (the refrain of the working parent?). 

Major things we are enjoying these days....

This little Tank: Franklin is little, growth chart wise, but growth charts don't measure cheeks or chins. Franklin just started rolling over like a stubborn little fella! He gets stuck pretty often as he rolls, like with his arm underneath him or running into the edge of his crib. Toddler problems, right?

Astronaut Daily in the space helmet we made together. This one got tossed outside and then got rained on (oopsie-dada) so we made another that's (I daresay) even better! 

Gah! This little guy. We really rock out our Cat Bird Baby carrier and get around town comfy-cozy. It's nice to be close to Franklin as we run errands, pick up his sister or make dinner. 

We made a terrific mid-week visit to Rockford for a Kristen Chenoweth concert with B at the Coronado Theater (and drinks/dinner beforehand!!!) and then some Grandma-Grandpa time for Daily, including going to Wiggle Giggle Grow at the Loves Park Library. It's a fantastic library program with lots of fun, excellent songs and a rice table! 

Cheers to time away from these amazing, adorable, awesome little kids.


Saturday, February 11, 2017


B is in Champaign-Urbana for a fun you-just-got-married dude weekend (not a bachelor party, but close) with basketball, booze and puzzles (?). The small people and I are enjoying a few days of just-us time. So far so good! Here's what's up these days:

  • Today we walked east to Andersonville for brunchy-lunch at a Swedish joint. Daily ordered her own Swedish pancakes "Swedish pancakes pwease" and we shared that and my eggs with awesome breakfast potatoes with friends. Then our whole crew (three adults, three kids) went to Drag Queen Storytime! Drag Queen Storytime was crowded (it's moving to a more spacious location) and amazing. Muffy, Alexa, Coco and Ashley read fantastic stories in their amazing voices looking gorgeous. I'm not sure Daily even noticed that there were drag queens because of crowds, a Franklin outburst moving me to the back of the bookstore where Daily followed. But it was wonderful nonetheless.
  • Daily is really into knowing what street she is on. She asks "what street we on?" or "what this street called?" ALL the time. Like six times as we walked 8 blocks down Berwyn Avenue today. She really seems to (maybe) get that there are many streets that meet each other and mean different things. For Valentines Day D wants to "give Valentines to our friends and neighbors on Berwyn Avenue."
  • I just got word that I'm officially an Advance Nurse at work! It is just part of our clinical ladder where you can demonstrate your progress without changing your job. It was a lot of work to put together my file, but it feels good!
  • Franklin is a happy, lovey baby. He is a little mama-attached, but in a totally acceptable way. He's rolling over, laughing, babbling and totally interested in the world. He's still new and tiny. He looks up at me while he is nursing with a sweet little smile, like "Oh, I love you!" and then I melt into a puddle.
So, that's life. At least the good stuff -- I'm purposefully ignoring the scheduling insanity, the piles of laundry, the potty training, the library books, the box-of-wine in the fridge, the yay-you-ate-two-bites-of-carrot, the peaceful grocery store trips at 8 p.m. (did you know our grocery serves beer? Life changing.). 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Back to work!

Yup, tomorrow I'm back to work. 

I'm completely terrified to leave Franklin in his dad's very, very capable hands. I'm nervous to be away from Franklin for so long -- we've been really attached for the last 11 weeks. I don't want to miss Daily's bedtime routine that we've perfected and enjoyed over the last few months. 

But I'm also psyched to get back to being a nurse. Like a little excited to walk into work and see the friends I haven't seen in months. And excited to take care of patients and do something really removed from my family and myself. 

I got my backpack packed, my outfit picked out (an awesome habit from my childhood that always makes me rest easier) and my breastpump parts ready to go. I have thousands of pictures of Franklin and Daily on my phone to show off to everyone. I get to wear my work shirts that haven't fit since last spring. I'm pretty sure my work sneakers are still in the locker room where I left them in September. 

So, here goes nothing! 

Who IS the most unusual primate? Daily is. 




Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Fall fun

Fall is fun. Even if Election Day is the worst. Here are some pics from us lately. 

Snuggles on the couch! Sometimes D asks, "Mama, can you hold me like a baby with the pillow in your lap and read stories?" Then I melt and then we do just that.

Out in the sling! Franklin and I hit the streets with this contraption. It's a blast -- he's snuggled in and I can do a lot while still keeping him close.

We attended the Fall Fest at the high school a few blocks away -- B & Kittycat D painted a pumpkin. We also met some animals at the wild petting zoo.

A turkey and a goat! Friends? Enemies? Daily is not certain.


Daily & I met up with friends Emi & George at the Skokie Exploratorium on a rainy day. The Exploratorium has a huge water table, a magnet table, a giant Light Brite, a big climbing structure, dress up clothes and giant blocks. It's terrific. 

Under the water table's waterfall. 

Water table!

Giant Light Brite!

Franklin at a Huskie tailgate serving as Grandpa John's chip plate.