Friday, February 28, 2014

So much to write about and so little time!  Tonight's post is very loosey goosey, so bear with me.

It's been a long, rough week at our house.  Work was busy, which meant I brought a lot of it home.  Usually I'm pretty good at balancing it all out, but this week I was a little "work heavy" and things really suffered on the home front.  I'm glad it's the weekend and I can recalibrate myself and my kids so we feel normal again.  None of us were very nice to each other from Wednesday evening until bedtime tonight!  But now we're back to okay.

Tomorrow is March 1st and that brings a whole list of things to do.  After such a wonderful Advent season, I'm really hoping to do some special Lenten activities to and with and for the girls.  I've always loved the idea of using Lent as a time to give something up.  To simplify.  To focus.  To feel a little pain in order to understand a much greater pain.  This week, when I stepped back to think about what I might give up, the answer was easy and clear and a little bit painful to think about - Facebook.  I need to detox from that awesome and terrible soul sucking form of media.  I have a million reasons why I shouldn't or couldn't, which is exactly why I need to.  I need to give up that time and use it to focus on my family and myself, especially my pregnancy.

Second on my to-do list is get ready for this trip to France.  I've read four thousand articles and blog posts on how to fly with kids, how to travel with kids, how to climb mountains and sail the seven seas with kids, and they all sound the same.  They all have great advice (Benadryl for airplanes, snacks, toys, screens, etc.) but after all is said and done I learned one thing that I already knew in the first place: the only way we're going to have any fun at all on this trip is if I CALM THE HECK DOWN and try not to expect too much from myself or my kids.  My imagination tends to run away with me, Clark Griswold style, and I end up with fantasies of touring the Louvre with my perfectly behaved and remarkably adorable and polite children holding my hands while they critique the art.  It's just not going to happen!  We're going to have a ton of fun, but it's all going to be on their terms, not mine.  I have a feeling that once we are IN THE AIR, I'll feel better.  We can't get kicked off a plane once it takes off, right?  Just get in the air, and all will be well!

After I reign in my fantasies and give myself a reality check, I can start to think about the reasonable things we might be able to do IF the girls are up for it and all of us are in a fairly good mood.  The alternative to these activities would be sleeping anywhere we want to sleep whenever we want to sleep.  If my kids spend the entire trip on my in-laws' couch watching French cartoons....I'm good with that!  But if they're interested in venturing outdoors for any part of our trip, I'd love to do the following:
1.  See castles.  Lots of them.  Sylvain's dad lives in the region of France that is KNOWN for its castles!  Sylvia will be in heaven.
2. Buy clothes, particularly a couple of adorable French Easter dresses.  I'd love to take the girls out shopping with my mother-in-law or Sylvain's cousin.
3. Lay our eyes on the Eiffel Tower.  Maybe even go inside.  Or just lay on the lawn and stare at it until I cry.  Take lots of pictures.
4. Have the girls' pictures drawn on Montmartre.  I know, #3 and #4 are totally tourist cliche's, but it would be so neat to expose them to it while they're tiny.
5. Eat pain au chocolat and/or crepes for EVERY MEAL EVERY DAY.  I'd love to take the girls to local patisseries to buy treats and goodies.
6. Visit the Gien plate place.  I forget what it's called, but they have famous and expensive plates that they sell all over the world, and in Gien, you can go to the plate factory/shop and buy the discontinued sets or sets that are slightly irregular for CRAZY CHEAP!  It's like the Gap Outlet for plates.  I love it.  I should probably go here alone, though, because Margot would literally be like a bull in a china shop.
7.  Find a playground.  This should really be #1.  I'd love for the girls to PLAY and make friends.
8.  Buy something for the baby.  I don't know what yet, maybe something for the nursery or some keepsake.  I feel like we're cheating by going to France before this one is born!  It's like the kid will BE there but.....not really.  Fetuses probably don't care if they're in France or Kentucky.

Anyway, those are the things I'm looking forward to and writing about them has made me feel much better and more prepared or organized in a crazy way.  Of course, the biggest priority of this trip is for the girls to spend as much time with our family as possible.  I hope they get to read books with Papie and Mamie Nelly.  I hope they get to help plant seeds in Sylvain's grandparents' garden.  I hope they want to sit on laps and sing songs and play games and talk talk talk talk talk!  Even though I've been stressed and worried about the traveling, and even though I have no idea exactly how we'll be spending our time, I already know one thing: leaving will not be easy.  We're not even there yet and I already don't want to leave!  It's going to be a great trip, no doubt about it!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Cue the Anxiety! And the Excitement.

The Fasciottos are going to FRANCE!!!  I won't tell you when, but I will say it's sooner than we ever expected and, in the words of the great Liz Lemon, "Things are HAPPENINNNGGG!!"

I'm scared about flying with two kids, one of which will be in our lap (kill me now).  It's only eight hours of our life, right?  What could possibly go wrong?!

I'm worried about the jet lag and the way it will turn our extremely routine nap/sleep schedule upside down and inside out.  I'm also worried that I'll have to sleep in the same room as my kids, or possibly even the same bed (kill me now).  Side note: I was searching for a product online that DOES NOT EXIST and I'd be a millionaire if I could make it.  I need a roll-up, portable "bed" for a toddler, something like a thick sheet and when you lay it out, it has tall sides (about the size of a bumper on a crib) to keep the kid from rolling all over the room.  Margot is big enough that I don't have to worry about SIDS, but she's not big enough to sleep on the floor unrestrained!  There are a million baby bassinets (too small) or portable cribs (too big).  Where is this mystical roll-up sheet bed?!  I need one!!

I'm worried we won't get the girls' passports in time, mostly because I never got around to ordering Margot's birth certificate.  Epic Parent FAIL!  We need to hustle on this one or the whole trip is a bust.  Update: I wrote this post on Sunday and we applied for passports this morning (Tuesday)!  They should be here in 4-6 weeks.  BOOM!  Already feeling accomplished!

Last night while I was NOT sleeping, I found one, remarkable, obvious, and glaring saving grace.  A trip to France will be worrisome and crazy and we're all going to get cranky now and then, but....

we're going to be with our family.

Real people who live in real houses.  People who love us and love our babies!  People who HAVE babies and people who had babies a long time ago and remember what it's like to sleep in a house with babies.  Oh, sweet Jesus, we're going to see OUR PEOPLE!  And they want us there.  They will hug us and help us and smile patiently through the meltdowns.  I cannot WAIT to see Sylvain's parents and grandparents.  I especially can't wait to see his cousin who has a 2 year old girl and one on the way!

And....I will write a whole other post on how thrilling it will be to introduce the girls to France.  Sylvia in Paris.  Oh, what a dream come true!  We are so blessed. 

Now, please excuse me while I breathe into a paper bag and pray the rosary 4,000 times. 

Monday, February 3, 2014


Tonight, I watched Sylvia run around the living room with our giant, soft blue fleece blanket tied around her neck.  She didn't know I was watching, and I heard her sing, "Let it goooooo, let it goooo....." then she untied the blanket, flailed it behind her, twirled around dramatically, then stopped: "The cold never bothered me anyway."

Last night, she was pretending to scrub the playroom floor while she sang, "No one cares for YOU a smidge, when you're in an's a hard knock life!"

Last week, on movie night, we were snuggled up watching The Wizard of Oz (for the four hundredth time) and she asked me to pause the movie so she could put on her Dorothy dress.  Then she asked me to braid her hair (we compromised on low pig tails), she gathered her Toto dog and her basket, then she proceeded to act out the entire movie and recite almost every line EXACTLY like Judy Garland does, matching her every intonation and mimicking every tiny movement of her body.

I remember that.

I remember trying on all of those characters that I loved so much.  I remember rewinding The Little Mermaid so I could memorize the words.  I remember practicing my best Belle voice and I absolutely remember working SO HARD to sing exactly the way Judy Garland does.

Watching Sylvia step into this phase of her childhood is simply magical for me.  It's not about princesses anymore.  It's about stories and characters and trying on all of the identities they bring to us.  It's about acting and singing and pretending. It's about listening to a story and thinking carefully about it.  (So I guess it's really about reading and writing.)  We will always have the classics like Annie and The Wizard of Oz.  Those are the ones that she and I share.  But Frozen will be her Little Mermaid.  It will be the first new movie that her tiny generation can own and memorize and pretend to be.  And I am SOOO okay with that!

For the record, I still have my issues with the movie, but I don't worry about my girls getting the "wrong message" anymore because now I know that I'M THE ONE who gives them the message.  I'm the one who answers their questions and I'm the one who gets to filter and guide the conversations.  Someday we'll talk about why all these darn princesses are so sickeningly skinny, but for now, thanks to Disney, we get to talk about the things she understands: like why you should never give up on your sister, no matter what.  And why you should use your talents to make people happy.  And why Olaf would melt in the summer (helloooo science)!  This movie will give us enough to talk about until my girls are grown and gone.  I suppose that's why it's so successful.

I will treasure these days during The Little Years when I can quietly catch Sylvia in the middle of her pretend world.  I will treasure the way we sing and dance in the kitchen to our favorite show tunes.  The way I can still scoop up both of my girls in my arms and twirl and twirl and twirl while I soak up the twinkle in their eyes and the space in their smiles and the pureness in their laughter that represents nothing but absolute happiness.  These special moments are the ones where I see them as they really are: tiny, happy and safe, able to reach out and pretend to be anyone they want.  They'll be trying on various identities for the rest of their lives, and some will be more savory than others, I'm sure.  But no matter who they are pretending to be, they will always be mine.  And if I could freeze them right now I would.