Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I have mentioned here before that my last remaining "before I'm 30" goal is to publish something, and I wanted to give an update.

First, my confidence is bolstered by the online publication of my post to a national/international blog, "Modestly Yours," to which I am a contributor, along with nationally recognized author Wendy Shalit. I wrote Wendy an email about two years ago telling her how much I enjoyed her book, A Return to Modesty, and she wrote back and a few months later invited me to join the blog. So click here to view my post, "Pornography and Social Stratification": http://blogs.modestlyyours.net/

I want my name printed on paper, though, and to that end I have two things in the works: a story that I am submitting to an as-yet-undetermined source. I am not sure which would be best, and with a minimum amount of time before my self-imposed publication deadline, I want to send it someplace where it might actually be accepted. So I am still trying to decide that.

I am also drafting an article about how motherhood has changed my view of Catholicism, and will be submitting it shortly to a Catholic magazine.

Keep your fingers crossed! :)

Friday, May 21, 2010


There is a lot of buzz around the Nash house these days.

First of all, B's EP is coming out soon, and he and his band Letchwurth are very busy preparing for their CD release party next month. The latest bit of the project is a music video. I have seen the drafts and it looks pretty cool to me :) Creepy and strange and highly skilled. I think it's a great musical pairing between him and his band mate... very excited to see him roll up in a limo on the big day :) (Sorry, hon, I know little smiley emoticons don't go with your band's image, but I can't help it. Here's a snaggle-tooth vampire, for something a little darker: >;F

Secondly, the biggest cause of excitement is our ROAD TRIP coming up in a week. We are going to a tiny little touristy hamlet in North Georgia which I am so so so so excited about. One thing that B and I bonded about immediately, back when we were dating, and probably one of the reasons why I knew he was for sure the one for me is that we both have a very deep and abiding desire to take those terrible, nostalgic, torturous/wonderful Griswold-style road trips with a car full of kids. So finally we are going to pack up the truck and go :) It is so ill-advised, hitting the road with a two month old, but at this point I feel like you can either stay home and try to make your inherently-inconvenient life seem convenient, or you can embrace the chaos and just go. And the more I ease into the mom-of-two thing, the more I think that Just Go is going to be our strategy for a long time. Life is inconvenient by definition with two young kids, so why sweat it?

And I get to go to a place called "Hansel and Gretel's Candy Kitchen." Come on. What more could a girl want??

Thursday, May 20, 2010


This morning when I woke up I was inexplicably somehow... ready. I hit the ground running, ran from one thing to the next, put N in the sling sometimes, put her down to rest sometimes, played with C and read to him, went shopping, cooked risotto, taught class. I even got a shower. Somehow it just worked. I feel light in two ways, an absence of heaviness and also an absence of darkness. I have no explanation for it, although I do note that I finally settled down to pray with more sincerity than usual. My prayers last night came from a place of real need and real yearning for whatever it is that God is -- deliverance, freedom, peace, rest, and of course, enough hot water for a full shower. God is all of these things and of course so much more. I realize more and more that whether I admit it or not, I do depend on God for everything -- every last thing. And somehow he hears better -- or maybe I ask better -- when I know that I cannot get whatever it is myself. I find that I want that connection with God, that I-need-you link, not in an emotional way but in a real, physical, daily, economical way -- food, clothes, time, electricity, water, all of it. Am I making sense? Somehow having a newborn puts me on the edge of my own abilities so that I have to rely on God. And somehow this makes me both weaker and stronger at the same time. I think that St. Paul would have something to say about this but I have never been a Bible scholar so I can't quote the book or the verse. But he understood that whole idea of weakness making you stronger.

On a more practical note, N took a nap on her own today, for at least 30 minutes in her crib. I figured out a little ritual that seems to get her chilled out to the point that she will sleep on her own, so I will be trying it maybe once a day, maybe twice, and I think over time she will get used to it. I don't mind having her in the sling sometimes, or even most of the time, but I will not lie, it's nice to be just-me for a little while.

Thanks be to God for the little gifts of today.

Monday, May 17, 2010


N won't sleep unless I'm holding or at least touching her, and I can't do the kind of cardio I need to do when I am holding her. Plus, it's stressful to always hold her, and to know that when I put her down (for a shower, to cook something, or to change my clothes) that chances are very good she will start screaming.

So I'm shelving the weight loss for now. Until she naps lying down, I will just have a goal of getting exercise every day. If I lose weight, I lose weight, and if I don't I won't be any worse off than I am now.

Here's hoping things ease up a little, soon.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Two Posts in One Day

This secondary post is more of a pep talk to self, following a dismal week of weight loss -- I actually weigh more after a week of dieting and exercise than I did at the beginning!

Trying to stave off the self-pity and despair and self-loathing. So tired of the bulgy midriff that is both (1) the nastiest-looking physical feature right now and (2) the only part of me besides my face that shows in nearly all of my clothing combinations. Whose idea was it to make nursing shirts the same length as regular shirts?? Between the slightly (ever so slightly) too-big maternity pants and the too-short nursing shirts, everybody in town has probably seen my garnet stretch marks and the misshapen, deflated-balloon belly that I have. Not that I didn't earn it. I could probably manage to be proud of it if I tried. But I think there should be more physical dignity in the postpartum period. How about clothes that cover me all the way up? Would that be so wrong?


Six Week Magic / Rorschach Life

Yesterday N was six weeks old, exactly. Almost to the day, she has started to show signs that I might one day get my autonomy back, at least relatively speaking. She has started having actual feedings and naps, rather than just constantly sleeping and eating with no rhyme or reason. A few times she has deigned to sleep when I am not holding her in the sling (!!!). Right now she is actually napping in our little baby swing. I am so shocked I keep looking at her to make sure I'm not imagining it.

She has been my constant companion (and I mean constant) since she was born, and these little glimmers start to appear, and I begin to imagine that I will get to go out by myself one day in the not-too-distant future. I imagine that I will have time to clean the house, or cook, or write (or nap!) fairly soon as well.

As with anything else related to motherhood, taking care of her is never all that hard within any one moment -- it's just the neverending nature of it. And if you think about it, having to do anything for 24 hours a day, for six straight weeks would be difficult, even the things I yearn to do now, like lounging by a pool or making margaritas or completing an entire load of laundry -- from sorting to washing to drying to folding to putting away -- in less than a week. (Any other moms out there with stacks in various states of cleanliness, but never, ever in the drawers where they go? I kind of want a "laundry room" that is really just piles of folded laundry. Go in there to get your clothes, go in there to drop of your dirty clothes. No questions of "have you seen my___?" Why can't my house be arranged that way? What a good idea... All the family's closets in one room. The only time clothing leaves the room is when you are wearing it. Note to self, when designing dream house, include this feature, maybe next door to the padded room... ;D )

So perhaps life is about to be more of a series of patterns, rather than a continuous random inkblot...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Losing It

It has been a busy but good week - I feel much more capable of leaving the house with 2 kids, which is a great and powerful feeling.

This week I have started teaching on two new classes and jumped on the weight loss wagon. I hate it. Food is totally my vice. After a bad run-in with C, all I want is a big squishy doughnut. But I have to start now.

Weight loss brings out my whiny side, because I want instant results for something that is so hard. I have resisted tons of temptation for the past 4 days, exercised on 3 of those days, and so far the scale says I have actually gained 3 and a half pounds. ???? I know that weight loss is a "long haul" kind of prospect, so I will just keep soldiering on, but part of me wishes there were some other person to be mad at. But I put on the weight, and now I have to take it off. I might chronicle the process as it slowly comes off. (Hopefully anyway). Right now I am 45 pounds from my goal. Man, that looks ugly all typed out in real words. But there it is. Here is what I have done so far:

-No carb fests
-As little simple carbs as possible
-No eating after 7pm
-Enough protein as top priority
-Walking for 30+ minutes on most days
-Lots of water

Other than that, it is hard to keep track of exactly what I eat and when, but I am trying to just make the best choice I can within a given situation.

Still waiting for that "breastfeeding helps you lose weight" thing to kick in. So far I think it's a myth.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Big Faker

One of the biggest shocks of adult life and parenthood is how much of it is based on Completely Making It Up. I always thought, when I was young, that older people somehow knew what they were doing. But then I discovered: they didn't. That maybe it was luckier than I thought that I made it out of childhood in one piece.

Today the strain of being a parent of a newborn and a toddler is wearing on me. Truthfully: it is hard. N does not like to be put down, and it has been two solid days of holding her all day, nursing her all night. Today I took a shower and knelt down in the bottom of the tub, in fetal position, for about two solid minutes, totally alone in the hot water raining down. The hardest part is just not having a break, not having a "naptime" to reboot myself, having another human strapped to me 24 hours a day. The shower moment was actually less of a meltdown than it sounds -- it was relaxing, centering, sort of like the power-nap of meditation: only two minutes but very restorative. Sometimes a girl just has to be alone.

Today I am doing what I try not to do: praying for something very specific. I am praying that N will learn to rest out of my arms during at least some of her naps, that I might have 2-3 hours during each day that I can have my body to myself.

Ben held her for a while this evening so I got to play in the sandbox with C -- it was sweet, simple fun. I think I need to make a point to do more of that -- playing alongside him, even briefly, every day. Little kids know how to break through to fun and smiling a lot more quickly than we OverSolemn adults do.

I think there is something to that -- when the kids are stressing me out, the thing to do is return to that state of kidness. Motherhood is such a huge gift in my life, because it puts me in daily contact with my kids. It ages me physically, but it allows me to act a lot younger in other ways.

Maybe as N is sitting here nursing on me, maybe I am the one drawing the nourishment I need from her, instead of the other way around. Maybe in the morning, instead of wondering where in the world I will get the energy to take care of C, I can just wait and see what energy he will bring to me. All this time I have been praying for someone to come and minister to me, to help me through this challenging time, and it turns out I have two little tiny ministers living in the house with me, full of exactly what I need: vulnerability, sweetness, laughter.

Oh, Lord, your little nuggets of hidden-in-plain-sight wisdom!

These kids are beautiful.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Written in the Book

The next defining moment happened during our wedding. There was a part right after the vows when the priest was blessing the rings. I remember everything as if it were yesterday, or one hour ago:

Chris was singing Ubi Caritas, his gorgeous voice ringing out all over the cathedral.

The rings sat on a small gold plate in front of us, and the priest shook holy water on them, which lit up and shone like it was gold itself.

I had a sudden knowledge that this moment had been planned, had been known by God for me entire life and for all time before that; that all the ridiculous back-and-forth of my life had been leading to this moment. I also knew that there was a lot of blessing in our future, even scary blessing that would throw us off balance.

Where charity and love are, God is there.
Christ's love has gathered us into one.
Let us rejoice and be pleased in Him.
Let us fear, and let us love the living God.
And may we love each other with a sincere heart.
Where charity and love are, God is there.
As we are gathered into one body,
Beware, lest we be divided in mind.
Let evil impulses stop, let controversy cease,
And may Christ our God be in our midst.
Where charity and love are, God is there.
And may we with the saints also,
See Thy face in glory, O Christ our God:
The joy that is immense and good,
Unto the ages through infinite ages. Amen.
I knew that my whole life had already been written, and oddly, it was a conforting thought. It still is.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mutual Otters

My defining moment for today is one of the few moments in which I could tell that B was the one for me.

He and I had gone to the local mini-zoo, where one of the main attractions is a little pool of otters. As a girl they were always my favorite, because they were awake while everything else there was asleep. They dive, swim, splash, and look at you with their adorable little liquid eyes, their old-man whiskers. We discovered that we shared this enjoyment of the happy otter exhibit.

A few days later I was going to meet B and his uncle at the bowling alley after work for beers and a game. I had a weird stretch of green lights all the way through town, through about a dozen traffic lights, in rush hour traffic. It was strange. Then, at the bowling alley we were chatting and I said I thought it would be cool to have an otter pond at your house.

"What should we name our otters?" asked B.

Our otters. Sweeter words have never been spoken. I knew that if we were sharing hypothetical otters, this must be serious. I think we decided on naming one of them Anjelica Huston -- I don't remember the other names. :)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Defining Moments

For the next week I want to take one day each week to describe some of the most prominent defining moments to my life. These moments mean a lot to me.

Moment One: The voice of God

I have heard God's voice. No, I'm not crazy. And it wasn't that voice-in-your-soul that you hear sometimes when you are thinking or praying. I actually heard it.

It was 1985. My brother had been born seven days before, so that would make it September 10. He was in the NICU with some lung complications and my sister was in school. My mom and I made daily trips to the hospital to visit him. My own experience as a NICU mom 22 years later makes me appreciate how excruciating those days must have been for my mom. I just thought the no-touch scrub faucets and the little paper clothes and shoe-covers were cool. I never had a moment's fear about his well-being.

On that day, September 10, 1985, Mom and I were getting ready to go to the hospital. It was midmorning, maybe 9 or 10am. When we opened the door, we found that it was unseasonably cold, and I was sent back to my bedroom at the other end of the singlewide trailer to get my jacket. It was royal blue, with white criscross piping. I went quickly to get the jacket, my mother waiting on me at the front door.

Back in my room, unheralded, unbeknownst, I heard a voice. "Pray for your brother to come home tomorrow," it said. I knew about God, I knew about praying, I knew that sometimes miracles happened. I knew it as surely as I knew that jelly could be either strawberry or grape. Not remarkable in itself.

Mom called me from the front door. Hurry up, it's time to go. I considered grabbing the coat from the back of the chair and running to the door. Then I heard the voice again. "Pray for your brother to come home tomorrow." So I did. Kneeling down, I prayed those words: "Dear Lord, please let my brother come home tomorrow. Amen."

Mom called again. I stood up, grabbed the jacket, and ran to the front door. For some reason I do not know, I didn't tell Mom about it. I wasn't afraid, I wasn't consciously hiding it, I just didn't tell her. We went to the hospital.

I remember standing at the nurse's station with Mom as she asked for a quick update before we made our way to my brother's isolette. I was so short that the counter was above my head, but I remember the voices.

A nurse said something I didn't hear clearly. My mother said, "What?!?" in the way you would say "What?!?!" if someone told you that something you had just saved up for, for years, was actually free, today only. It was shocked, happy, afraid to be happy. There was more discussion between mom and the nurse.

"We have to get the carseat," said Mom. "Your brother's coming home tomorrow."

"I know," I said.


"I know," I repeated. "God told me to pray for him to come home tomorrow."

Mom went white as a sheet (sorry for the cliche -- it's true, it's true!) and I told her the story without realizing that it was all that remarkable. I took the truth of miracles and God and prayer for granted at that age.

And home he came. I remember the phone call Mom made to Dad shortly after, the happiness, the relief. I didn't realize until years later that it was even amazing at all. I think about it sometimes and wonder why I got to hear God, and at that age. I also wonder sometimes if I would hear it if he tried to talk to me again, if he has tried and now I can't hear it. But I'm glad I heard it then, and that he cared enough to tell me twice.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Anatomy of a Mess

Just for fun, a list of the messes created by C between 2pm and 8pm today:

1. All shoes emptied from shoe bucket in front hallway and strewn about the general area (the Curiosity Mess)
2. 50 poker chips (we were making stacks) slid all over the front hall, shuffleboard style, when I went to answer the phone and it was discovered that doing that was more fun than making stacks. (the I Should Have Known Mess)
3. Rice from the rice box (like a sandbox, but with rice) flung into the floor in the front hall. (The Exploration Mess)
4. Brightly colored foam squares, distributed liberally throughout living room (See "the I Should Have Known Mess")
5. Books. Everywhere. (the Bond With Mom While N Eats Again Mess)
6. Couch pillows on the floor (the Why Do I Bother To Have Couch Pillows Mess)
7. Toy hammer in tabletop organizer (Hey, you never know when you might need it...)
8. General toy disarray (this is more extensive than it might sound)

1. Half a 7-Up spilled on the table, chair, and floor. (Parental indulgence while getting over a fever)
2. Old rolling pin stuck in front of fridge ("I'm a steamroller!" [I am also highly distractable])
3. Chicken tender with one bite taken out of it (Detritus of the nonexistent toddler appetite)
4. Computer mouse with barbecue sauce on the cord (This is a long story but it is at least 50% my fault)
5. Used straw on floor (from the 7Up debacle)
6. Fifteen kernels of black oil sunflower seed, spilled from the bag of birdseed he somehow got out of the pantry and set on the floor (the It Could Have Been Much Worse Mess)

And yet I somehow got it mostly cleaned up. I think constant vigilance is the only option, am I right? This is war, people! War! ;D

Sorry, it's much too late and my headache medicine cocktail is finally kicking in. Goodbye migraine, hello... crazy?

Mommy Guilt, Airports, Sickness

1. Mommy Guilt. One of the worst parts of being a mom of two is feeling like you can't be a 100% good mom to both kids. "Oh, I will be different," you think. "I will be able to pay attention to both kids at once." Then, C needs a hug at the same instant that N is getting a messy diaper changed, and I have to tell C that I will hug him in a minute.

Postponing a hug? You must be a monster!

Sorry, my inner critic speaks in italics. You may hear from him from time to time. He looks like Top Chef judge and celebrity chef Tom Colicchio: http://www.tomcolicchio.net/tom-colicchio-news.htm. He is very unforgiving, but very vocal as well.

In honor of Mother's Day, maybe I will try to keep him quiet a bit more. But how?

2. Airports. One of the weird things of pregnancy and postpartum is a weird connection with my memory that I usually don't have. I will have a sudden impression of something from my memory that brings back such strong feelings of a particular situation and time in my life that I have to just stand there and think about it for a minute. Which does wonders for my scatter-brained tendencies, let me tell you.

Yesterday, I had a sudden memory of the smell of jet fuel and diesel that hits you as you walk down the little metal expando-hallway from an airplane into an airport. It smells kind of like a bus station. And there is usually the smell of airplane coffee mixed in. I may be weird, but it is an exciting smell to me -- connected with the idea of going new places, seeing new things, handing tickets to be scanned, racing, walking, rolling my tiny suitcase through metal-and-glass airports, seeing strange cityscapes at twilight, being "in" a city without really being in the city (Dallas! Cincinnati!) And airport codes, which I never forget. Why? I don't know. CVG! MCO! SLC!

3. Sickness. C is slightly ill, but his only symptom is a fever. As long as the fever is down, he seems to feel fine. Keeping him and N separate is somewhat of a challenge, but not as bad as it could be. Mom came over to help me clean yesterday which was a huge help.

N has started sleeping for longer stretches, sleeping at night (5+ hours in a row last night!) and napping in between daytime meals.

Be still my heart. Thank you, God. And I don't mean that in a profane way. Truly, thanks be to God that my girl will sleep sometimes :) This morning, she slept as I finished an editing assignment, completed my first set of teaching requirements for the day, and wrote this post.

!!! Maybe double-parenting is possible after all.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Took C to the soccer field this morning to run and kick the soccer ball. It was fantastic -- perfectly level field, tiny short grass, and he ran himself out. It was blustery and cloudy and very humid, sort of a British Isles type of day. It was pretty.

The result of so much exercise: great attitude all day, in spite of very little napping this afternoon. Yay! :)

Also, got the kitchen clean with the help of Our Fathers and Hail Marys. Somehow I feel connected to the Blessed Mother when I am doing household chores. I wonder how Mary felt about housework? If only MML or J had cared to write about it in one of the Gospels :)

Fajitas for dinner in 5...4...3..2..

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I have written and saved two posts that I haven't published, because they devolve into me whining about how hard everything is. So I will just say: it is hard. I have had to cut back on my work (no more editing for another month) and I am trying to come to terms with how messy the house is and how little time I have for cleaning it. I know that it will get better when N is out of the newborn phase, but it is hard to just sit there and act like I am content with clutter clutter clutter. I found myself considering staying up all night just to clean it all once, but I can't do that.

Feeling a bit of tired sadness that comes from trying to do too much and be too much. But it's sad to know that I have to pare down my list of what I can actually accomplish in a day. It's really hard for me to do. I think it's a kind of conceited-ness, to think that I should be able to do so much with a newborn, and I have to wake up and be more realistic. Yuck!