Life on Pause

One year ago today, the Lindquist family (minus Howie) spent the day in the emergency room of Children's Hospital where Faith was diagnosed with Intussuception after a very scary ambulance ride.

Fast forward 364 days. Oh how far we've come. Last night I had one of those moments when you just want to put your life on pause and remember exactly what it felt like to be in that scene. Rob was playing "Free Fallin" on his guitar in our bedroom. Faith was running around naked after her bath, giggling simply because she didn't have any clothes on, and Howie was resting comfortably and pain-free after his recent vet visit (more on that later). As for me, I just leaned against the wall and smiled at the sight in front of me. OK, I was singing along poorly, but that's not important. What's important is that I want that moment of intense happiness to stick with me, so that years from now I can recall how blessed we were at that moment in time. All four of us healthy. All four of us happy.

When Howie somehow hurt his back and yelped out in pain every time he moved, it made me realize how much I love that dog. And, unfortunately, how I never really appreciated the last walk we took or the last time we played fetch with his squeaky green fish in the hallway. All I wanted after he got hurt was to go back in time, not for a do-over, but to hit pause and reflect on how much I enjoy his companionship. It's unfortunate that it took him getting hurt for me to realize this, but sometimes God works in mysterious ways.

Howie is long overdue for a blogpost dedicated to him and I plan to do it on Nov. 10, the fourth anniversary of the day we brought him home, but for now I just want to appreciate his good health and my amazing four-member family.

While I don't have a picture of last night's moment in time, I do have one from a recent memory-making walk we took this summer. We left the house without an umbrella and got approximately three blocks before it started raining on us. We quickly turned around, only for it to start pouring on us. We're talking sheets. Cats and dogs. Buckets. Faith was semi-covered in her stroller, but Rob and Howie and I were target practice for those raindrops. We sprinted about a block before my shoes weighed twenty pounds and I had to stop and walk. Two drivers offered us a ride, but we declined. Trying to pack up Faith's stroller and making room for all of us in one car would've taken just as long as it did for us to walk home. By the time we arrived back at our house, we were drenched. Poor Faith was wet too since the rain found its way into her stroller while we were running. It was a Kodak moment to say the least and Rob had the mindset to take our picture. It's been my profile photo on Facebook ever since, and I smile every time I see it.

It's one of the moments I looked back on when I thought the worst was in store for Howie. I would've given anything to be able to relive that walk home again. And I promised  myself I wouldn't take it for granted this time. But that's the thing about life. We can't ever go back. We are guaranteed nothing. Things can change in an instant, just like they did with Howie's health. While we still don't know exactly what the future holds for him, you can rest assured I will be hitting the pause button more often and storing those meaningful moments in my memory for safe keeping. I hope you'll do the same.

Witches and Goblins and Jack-O-Lanterns Too

The title is a lyric to my mom's favorite Halloween song. Yes, my whole family is spooky.

Here's a look at the Lindquist fam's punkins...
Can you guess whose is whose?
And now for a short poll. What should Faith be for Halloween?
a) Little Bo Peep with Howie as the sheep
b) a toddler from the 80s
c) candidate for President - she can shake hands with the best of em
d) all of the above

Seven Years Strong

Oct. 16, 2004. The day and the year Mr. Lindquist and I decided to officially become a couple. It's an anniversary we don't celebrate, much to my dismay. I love me a mushy anniversary card. So consider this mine to Rob.

After last week's "10 Ways to Make a Mama Happy" post, he said to me and I quote: "That was like a compliment sandwich, but instead of a slice of meat, it was a deli sub in between." While it saddened me to hear this (I didn't mean to make him feel like he doesn't do a good job of making me happy) I was impressed with his analogy.

Since that post, I've realized a couple things. As for #6) "Force Moms to Get Out of the House Without the Babychild," Rob does a good job of encouraging me to do this, but I'm my own worst enemy. Case in point Friday night when he repeatedly told me I should attend an event, while I repeatedly talked myself out of it. I've noticed him making an effort on some of the other numbers too, which leads me to believe next time I should just talk to him directly rather than write a thinly veiled blog post. Lesson learned.

So, here is me making up for it with a look back at our 7 years together. Honestly, I can't believe it's been that long. Though it took a lot to convince me to take the plunge exactly seven years ago to this day, I have never, ever looked back. We are plain and simply right for each other. I admire him. I respect him and most of all, I love the guy. Happy 7th anniversary, dear. Here's to 57 more.

Sadly, I don't have a photo of us from 2004. So just picture two dorks in their early twenties who are goo goo eyed for each other. Gag, huh?

And now for the fun part...

May 7, 2005 - Graduation day from the best university ever -- Iowa State!
Jan. 30, 2006 - Rob proposes after his Wheel of Fortune episode airs. I'm shocked, I cry and most importantly, say yes!
June 2, 2007 - The I Dos i.e. greatest day ever.
Nov. 10, 2007 - bonus picture. We bring a puppy into our family.
Dec. 25, 2008 - We celebrate our first Christmas in our new house.
June 1, 2009 - We take the trip o' a lifetime together across Ireland.
June 24, 2010 - We become parents to Faith Janna. Greatest day ever superseded.
Sept. 10, 2011. We celebrate a Cyclone victory together in the city where we met and fell in love.
Hmmm. Can't wait to see what 2012 brings.

10 Ways to Make a Mama Happy

Alternate titles included: "When You're Good to Mama, Mama's Good to You" - Chicago the Musical, "Happy Wife, Happy Life" by every smart man who's ever lived and "If Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy" by whoever thought ain't didn't fall in a bucket of paint.

Don't take this the wrong way. I'm a very happy girl. Rob really knows how to butter me up...literally, tonight he buttered the bread of my grilled cheese so it was ready to throw on the stove when I got home. He didn't want to make it and let it get cold waiting for my arrival. It's the little things, am I right? While he isn't Mr. Perfect 100% of the time, I don't think it's for lack of trying. He just doesn't think like a woman, which is kind of why I like him. And while I realize that the audience of this blog is about .01male, maybe the ladies who read it can print this post off and leave it lying around the house accidentally on purpose.

Without further ado, I give you my top 10.

1) Tell us we look nice. After baby makes three, moms have little time for makeup and hair. On the off chance that we have enough time to complete not one, but BOTH of these things, please notice and say something. "Wow dear, you look hott," will do.

2) Stop taking turns. Just because you changed the last diaper doesn't mean you can't change the current one. Even if it's not your night to get up with the crying baby, surprise us and do it anyway. Doing without asking equals major bonus points.

3. The women's movement brought us a long way, but chocolate and flowers (I prefer fake plants) will always bring you a long way.

4. Come home early every once in a while. We don't mind if you do your own thing with the guys, but staying for "just one more" every time means there's someone waiting for you that much longer.

5. Watch a girly show with us and try not to complain too much. I watch a lot of masculine TV...Entourage, Southland, Rescue Me, Pawn Stars, etc, but I love it when Rob watches and comments on an episode of Project Runway or Kendra. To me it's his way of saying, 'I'll tolerate some reality TV in the name of love.'

6. Force us to get out of the house without the babychild. We moms have an innate ability to feel guilty, bad, whatever you wanna call it about leaving our babies. (You don't see daddy bears ever killing someone for getting to close to their cubs. It's always the mama bears). Anyway, sometimes we feel like it's too much of a hassle and inconvenience to call a babysitter. If you did it for us and didn't take no for an answer from us, we'd have no choice but to get away. (I'm starting to see why men don't get women).

7. Learn to pack the diaper bag. I know I start stressing when we're running late and I still haven't packed everything it takes to get Faith out the door. I would ask Rob to do it, but last time I did that we went to the Farmer's market without a pacifier and drove home in tears. Me included.

8. Take a load off...our brains. Someone told me women are like an encyclopedia while men are more like a brochure. I couldn't agree more. At any given moment, I could list the groceries in the fridge and pantry, rattle off the approximate number of diapers in the house and tell you whose birthdays are coming up this week. It would be nice not to have to think about what's for dinner some nights. And if it's not too much to ask, incorporating a vegetable into your meal plan would really help us feel good about ourselves :)

9. Listen to us. Sure a few things are allowed to go in one ear and out the other, but when accompanied by words like "birthday"..."want"..."Christmas".....and "musthave," try to tune in.

10. Keep on keepin' on. If you did all of these things on a regular basis, a guy would have to move to Utah and embrace polygamy because sister wives be wanting a piece of that. I know I personally can be hard to live with and somewhat of a....oh, shall we say....ball buster. But I can be worth it too. So stick with me. And if you can find the time to work in 1-9, it'll make for one happy mama! Please see below!

Blast from the Picture Past!

We Is Family

Yes, we is family. And yes, those three words were tough for this grammar Nazi to type. We Is Family is not to be confused with my We Are Family post of yore, but a play on my maiden name, Weis, which rhymes with nice.

The nice Weis family recently celebrated a reunion in Panama, Iowa. Dozens of Weises gathered to introduced themselves, learn about their family history, reminisce the old days and of course, eat.

(Quick grammar lesson: It's not "Weis's" because we aren't possessing anything, just gathering, so if your last name ends in an S... ahem, mom.... it should read, "Merry Christmas from the Davises," with no apostrophe unless you're writing, "Merry Christmas from the Davises' dog." See what I did there? Forced my mom to get a puppy.

Back to the reunionizing. There were posters and pictures throughout the Panama gym that told the story of "Gabe" and Joe Weis, my grandpa's mom and dad. Gabe was short for Gabriella and she was a twin. She and my great-grandfather raised 14 children. Let me reiterate, a one, followed by a four. Catholics those days!

That's my grandpa on the bottom left.
Close up of grandpa Bud and his great-granddaughter.
My grandpa Bud, whose real name is Cletus, is the oldest of the baker's dozen + 1. He and my grandma Elaine raised 10 children of their own. My mom, Jan, is the third oldest of the bowling pins. Are you starting to see why we invited so many people to our wedding?

Anyway, before I find my point, I just want to tell you how cool it was to be in a gym full of people who only exist because of the two people who started it all. Granted, there were at least four people before those two but this blog post can only be so long.

Ooh, look here, it's my point. The Weis family is a close family. We play slowpitch softball together, we go to Culver's after the game together and we always spend Christmas day together (all nine of my mom's brothers and sisters and their kids and their kids' kids).

Recently, one of my uncles, Gail -the fifth oldest of the bowling pins- contracted West Nile Virus.

That's Gail on the bottom right with a majority of the first cousins.
He hadn't been feeling well and then one morning his symptoms included confusion and loss of speech. While the symptoms are similar to a stroke, I must tell you that my uncle Gail isn't your typical 55-plus-year-old. The man runs half marathons. He also plays softball and by "plays softball" I mean slides into third underneath the tag after legging out a triple. The guy is in shape and a great example of defying one's age. When I heard he was in the hospital - after the initial shock - I thought back to my last conversation with him. It was an argument. Not a heated one, but a little tiff about the Huskers/Hawkeyes upcoming football game. I don't think either of us had hard feelings about it, but after I heard about him being ill, I felt terrible that this was my last face-to-face exchange with him.

I don't think Gail ever had any doubts that he would make a full recovery, but with limited information in those early days and Google at my fingertips, I have to admit I was scared he would not. I didn't know if I'd ever get to talk to him again all because of a stupid little mosquito.

Growing up, uncle Gail was like a second dad to me. I spent a lot of time with his kids -my cousins- riding bikes and playing kickball in the backyard. We were all blown away that he could kick it over the fence every time. Not knowing if he would be OK in those first few days after he was diagnosed left me sick to my stomach. I just hoped he knew how much I cared about him. It seemed silly that we squabbled over a measly football game.

Thankfully, I got to show him how much he meant to me later that week when Rob and I visited him at home after his release from the hospital. He was tired, but joked around, talked some fantasy football and laughed at Faith's antics. It was so good just to enjoy his company.

My point is this: life can change in an instant...literally, in the time it takes a mosquito to bite you. Let the people who matter most in the world to you know it on a frequent basis. I know that's a difficult thing to do. You can't exactly hug someone from dawn to dusk - just ask Faith, I've tried it- but you can tell someone that you love them every time you hang up the phone. And if you do have an argument with someone, do your best to make it short-lived because life itself is too short. Forgive even if someone isn't asking to be forgiven because being the bigger person feels a lot better than being right. And when your head hits the pillow at night, ask yourself, "If I don't wake up tomorrow, would I be happy with the way I left things?" If not, apologize, forgive, forget and show someone how much they mean to you.

Life lessons by Nicole Lindquist over. And now for a picture of my daughter attempting to raid the beer cooler at the the reunion. She IS family!