Friday, December 22, 2017

Seasons, traditions

I love season and I love traditions.

But we don't even have a Christmas tree up and it's December 23. And we haven't made a single cookie. And that is totally fine.

We have taken walks up and down the streets of our neighborhood looking at holiday lights, ooohhh-ing, aaaahhhhh-ing and discussing all the things we see. We have had hot chocolate several times. We shopped Damen After Dark to check out some of our favorite stores on a fun night. We play a lot of music. We've gone to a lot of parties. We read Christmas books (but probably will read them more in January).

I'm trying to do ALL THE THINGS, but also to chill. I want to enjoy the moments when Daily and Franklin play together on the floor. I want to dance around. I want to stir soup while I hold my kids up to help. I want to take snow walks and eat candy canes and open cards we get in the mail.

Someday I will totally have my shopping done early. I will be coordinated. I will balance work, kids, sleep, shopping, doing fun stuff, being spontaneous, being politically engaged, responding to emails and spending like 5 minutes by myself reading a book. Someday.

But for now, I will be really happy that today I can check off my list that I set up a cool train scene for Daily and Franklin. And that I did good at work and made dinner and snuggled my kids and drank wine while B and I watched a show. And that's amazing and merry and bright.

Here's Daily and I at the Wrigley Winterland Market. We skated! Daily made it around a few times and sorta loved it. There was also a big screen showing The Grinch so I'm not totally sure what she was thinking. But it was glorious to skate and skate with Daily. And we topped it off with a mug of glug or whatever that warm-wine is. Divine!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Highs and Lows

What a week! 

Awesome: We attended a 40th birthday party + housewarming + holiday shindig with some of our most amazing friends. Drinks, food, kids knee-deep in toys (we were warming the house of a guy who works at a toy company, after all) and laughs galore.

Not cool: About 24 hours post-party tummies started rumbling and a gastrointestinal bug plowed its way through kids and adults alike! B lost about 1.5 days of work and I called in sick for the first time in almost a year. Gross. All recovered now, so we can just laugh about it next year. And add hand-sanitizer favors for all future parties.

Amazing: Daily protested leaving preschool twice this week because she was missing books. "I love books!" she called out as we hustled out the door. Twice.

Less so: If Daily takes a 20 minute nap at preschool her bedtime is delayed by 2 hours, apparently. We are trying every trick we have to get her to bed, but these naps are the worst. 

Terrible: My iPhone, which is about 22 months old, stopped working, or at least the screen did. I took it to two Apple stores, questioned all decisions I've ever made in my entire life that lead me to be standing in an Apple Store with two small children on a freezing day when Daily screamed about wanting to just stay home, and then gave some sort of meaningful death stare to one of the dozens of Apple employees...

Excellent: As we waited for tests and a diagnoses, an amazing Apple Store Old Orchard employee named Ozzie played Beast Balance with Daily and Franklin for almost an hour. Daily is a pretty peachy kid and I don't blame Ozzy for enjoying playing this silly Jenga-Jumanji-computer-phone game with her, but it was a nice part of a stupid outing. 

Delightful: It's December -- there are lights up all over and we can take short walks around to see decorations. We can read Christmas books and we've put up a few decorations.

Cautious: But we're totally afraid to put up our tree because Franklin might totally topple it. He's getting bigger and almost walking and so interested in everything. So, do we wait? Do we get a tiny tree? Do we just gate off the tree? Not sure how this will shake out, but we're enjoying December even without a tree.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

A meeting of the minds.

A rare happy hour with B & F before picking up D from school. 

Franklin is ONE! ONE!

Here Franklin and Daily stare at each other because they super, super love each other. Daily says she wants to marry Franklin. For real. That's not allowed and she'll certainly get over that idea, but it's a cool that Daily loves Franklin and Franklin loves Daily. 

CAKE! Glorious cake.

The best/worst part of small kids is when you do something like fold laundry and get help!

Friday, September 1, 2017


  • Tonight is my first Movie Night. Daily & B have their own movie nights when I work or am out of town. Movie nights involve a snacky dinner and a move (duh). Daily is pretty apprehensive about most movies and deems many "too scary." This is understandable because she's 3 and because our offerings are sometimes unintentionally frightening. So far D has seen a few Winnie the Pooh movies and Lady & The Tramp. At this very moment we are watching Finding Nemo. I've teared up twice and I've seen this movie (dozens of times in pieces at work) before. But Brave D is loving this movie so far. She's got some sea life smarts from watching The Octonauts, visiting the Shedd Aquarium and her regular daily Daily curiosity.
  •  B and I have been married for 7 years. Whoa!
  • B has a new video game that is playing a little Morraccan-sounding tune as he dozes off while Daily gets herself dozing off. #bedtime
  • We might do a little fall getaway! Camping? Visiting a city nearby (Milwaukee or St. Louis/Town-With-A-Frown?)? Just making our friends in Champaign-Urbana host us? Unknown! What's next!?!?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Quick check-in: August

Block Party! One of the best days of the year -- Daily agrees.

Franklin was uncertain about his mustache but loved the Block Party too.

Daily was a flower girl in a friend's wedding at the Adler Planetarium. We had a blast, thanks to Grandma & Grandpa who hung out and took over Flower Girl duty so we could stay out late. I got my dress from Rent The Runway and LOVED the dress & whole experience. 

Work is zany, but terrific. I still love working all over the place, and I'm even getting slightly used to the Emergency Department.

Rise and shine!

Foster Ave Beach -- delightful! 

I'm declaring summer extended at least until mid-September and we're going to do more of the fun stuff we did in August then. More swimming in the lake, more picnics, more running outside. But fear not, we've been all over creation these last few months. Whew! 

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).