Friday, May 31, 2013

A story of Averi and her "pets"

Some some may recall this story from last summer. The story of  Averi balling her eyes out because her firefly that she captured in a jar died by the time we drove from our friend's house home to ours. When Nate had to throw it away you would have thought she'd just lost man's best friend of ten years rather than an insect she'd known for ten minutes. She even gave it a name but I don't know remember what it was.

Well, since we've moved to the new house, she is all about catching insects and bugs. She she keeps sneaking these insects and bugs into my house as her pets. I will find them in her sister's sippy cups. Then sometimes because they'll crawl or try to find their way out of captivity she'll trap them in the sippy cup by screwing on the lid. So then I'll find something dead in one of her sister's cups.

Instead of worms, caterpillars, or fireflies tonight she brought in a toad. And she was so excited to show me her new friend. She comes down to the laundry room which is connected to their disaster of a playroom. Mr. Toad of course keeps trying to hop out. And she starts talking to him and telling him, "oh, no, you don't. You stay in there like I told you to." Hmmm, nothing like my mothering words being used by my daughter for her pet frog. Then because she's mad at him, she goes to get the lid to the sippy cup to lock him in the cup. Finding dead worms or bugs in the sippy cups are one thing but I really didn't want to find a dead toad in there later so I tell her not to put the lid on because she'll kill. She unscrews it and out he goes. Into their crazy playroom. So there are the both us chasing it around the room, tripping over crap, and yelling. Me yelling at Averi to get the damn thing before I have a toad lost in my downstairs for who knows how long. Averi read to have a four year old meltdown because she's lost another pet and is mad that he keeps hopping away from her. We finally catch Mr. Toad and she's finally convinced that maybe he'd be better off outside. But before she lets him go she tells me he's a boy and his name is Treebranch. And they'll hang out tomorrow because he's her favorite.

I can only imagine what other creatures will make their way into my house this summer :) . I'm sure if she could catch one of those bunnies running around outside, they'd be in here next.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The choices of today's mom

As a woman and as a mother of daughters I am always very interested in these times we are living in today. A coworker of mine once told me they are calling this the century of the woman, and it very well may be with women like Hilary Clinton and Marissa Mayers leading the way for women in leadership roles in politics and business. But some criticize this change in women's role in society. Some see our shift as damaging to our society. That our first and primary concern should be raising our children; that we should be in the home where generations of women before us have been. Some see the independence of today's woman as the main contributor to the increased divorce rate or crime rate or whatever ills in society they want to blame on the revolution of the modern day woman. For many of us we are only the second generation to have a choice in how we fill our role as a mother and as a woman of society today. But as great as these choices are they seem to have come with a price. A price of sacrifice, a price of criticism, a price of doubt. A price that is often unfair but only because the judgment of others makes it that way.

Gender roles and expectations are bred into us from an early age. A friend of mine recently wrote DC comics because of their gender role stereotypes with their superheros due to a lack of female costumes for her daughter's birthday party. My daughter recently told me she was not brave because she was not a boy. One reader told me another parent that was able to stay home with her children claimed she was a full time mom verse my reader who she hinted was not because she worked outside of the home. Another reader told me she felt compelled to load and overload her schedule because she did not work outside of the home but was at home raising three boys because it was insinuated that she must not be busy enough or had tons of spare time if she did not work outside the home like other women. As a teacher, I have faced accusations myself just because I choose to be unemployed and unpaid to be a stay at home mom for a few short months every summer as if that's a lazy choice to make, or some say I  would not be happy as a stay at home mom because I would get lonely, bored, and not feel like I was productive enough (have you met my children? or really any children for that matter) We have choices, ladies, choices that were never given to women not too many generations ago. And whatever choices we may make they are ours to own, not somebody else's. There is always the alternative to the choices we make, and only we can determine which ones will make us the happiest. Maybe others don't see it this way but to me almost all choices come with some kind of sacrifice. Some are small and some are totally worth it for the outcome in the end. Maybe at this point I'm just a little tired of the judgements I see. Through my readers I am often made more aware of those judgments because of their experiences. But we are strong and capable women, and we are taking on more than we ever have in the past. But to be allowed a choice to how we fill our role as mother is not a crime against society.

I have a political friend back home, the same one with the superhero daughter, who demonstrates every day in her role as a mother and state leader in politics for women that we are more than capable of walking in any shoes we choose to walk today. No matter what choices we make to how we fulfill this role as mother, it's a right that we didn't have before, it's a right we should be proud to have. But if we choose to put the career ambitions on hold or off to the side, it's a choice that takes sacrfice and deserves respect the same way as the woman that sacrifices time with her children to build  a career. I don't think it matters which choices we make-career, full time, part time, stay at home,-raising strong, independent, well loved children is any good woman's first goal (I can say that because I know all my readers are good women). But we are not weak or selfish or whatever other negative image that is projected onto us because of our choices as today's modern mom.

As a mother of daughters, I want them to see that in today's world they have an abundance of choices avaliable to them. They can pursue their greatest ambitions. They can be who they want to be and whatever choices they make they are their own. The same way each of ours are our own.

I often have this argument with my husband when it comes to the issue of money through the summer (and even though no we are not fighting about this at the very moment it did kind of spark my interest in the issue). We have a choice every year. Time or money. And every year I say pick one and accept it for what it is, no whining and complaining about it. If you don't like the one you pick then pick the other one. There's always a choice but we have to be willing to accept the sacrifice no matter how small. But just be glad we have a choice.


Another popular controversial post about today's mom's choices is Moms, get ready to be judged!

The longest school year on record mentally?

This has got to be the longest school year ever. And it's been such an off year. Not just for me but a lot of teacher friends I know. I've talked to countless teachers about this and it has really been a mentally exhausting year like no other. I have my speculations and own personal reasons as to why, but it 's been the school year that we should have scratched in like October and started over. Usually the last six weeks of the school year are actually some of my favorite weeks of the whole year because of the anticipation of summer, I'm not poor yet from two months unpaid, and the weather is nice, but it is just draaaggggiiiiiinnnnngggg this year. The weather has been rather cold and dreary, which just feeds to the depressed fog us teachers seem to be in this year.

We need summer, we need sunlight, we need a drink in our hand, and our toes in the sand. We need a vacation. We need a chance to regroup and for myself I really, really hope I come back motivated and excited for a new year like I've always been in the past. I've had such an off year I'm afraid I'm going to be sick to my stomach about going back rather than excited about new things and goals like I usually am.

I have twelve days left so the light is at the end of the tunnel. And as we get closer and closer I get more and more excited for summer. It's taken me awhile to get excited for it this year because there's been so much uncertainity about how to make it through these two unemployed months. In the past we have always willingly given up money for time with our families and of course each other but this year we chose a house over everything else. There was a lot of uncertainity-unlike summers past-about our plans and schedule for the summer, but even though it looks like I will be working about four weeks out of the nine it's only 15-20 hours a week. I was definitely a little bummed about this at first as this is suppose to be my time with the girls, but hopefully my workshop classes I'm teaching for three of the weeks are the 9-12 ones so I'll home every afternoon for swimming, play dates, movies, and whatever else trouble we decide to get into. So I really don't think it'll be that bad, especially for all the other summer fun I will be getting in exchange for those few hours of work. With the money security working brings we can do some family fun things we like to do in the summer. I'm pretty excited about our summer plans. We started it  last weekend with a family night at the drive in movie theater like we do most summers. I'm finally going to go to historic Annapolis for a wine festival, but I have been wanting to check Annapolis out for years and have just never done it. We're going on  a big camping trip with friends to West Virginia, then we're taking a short five day vacation over the Fourth to probably Mrytle Beach (if not Mrytle then a different beach) but it will be a lazy beach vacation. We have birthday and pool parties to attend.  My family will be out for a week in which we hope to go to an Os game, the Jersey shore, mini golfing, and spend the majority of the week's evenings together around the firepit visiting and drinking our Margaritas. We're hoping to check out the DC Zoo again and maybe one of the other Inner Harbor attractions that we haven't visited yet like the Science Center. And we'll end our summer with a trip to PA to sit around more firepits visiting and maybe make a day trip to Niagara Falls since neither of us have been there since we were kids. And then we will be at our poorest poor and it'll be time to head back to work. So it looks like it's shaping up to be a pretty busy, traveling summer full of family fun-just the way I like it.

I know many of my other teacher friends have either already started enjoying their summer vacations and family fun or are excitedly counting down like me. Whichever the case I hope you have an awesome, relaxing summer and enjoy the time with your families.


If you missed my own childhood summer memories click here for a peek at the past The magic of summer childhood memories


Also this is what an exhausting school year does to me Motherhoood: The bipolar experience (probably doesn't matter what career you have; we probably all feel like this at times)

Monday, May 27, 2013

The magic of childhood summer memories

I love summer, and not because I'm a teacher and have my vacation time during the summer but because summer and the winter holidays always seem to be the times of childhood memories. Family moments happen the rest of the year but there's something about the warmer nights, the crickets and night sounds, sitting around a firepit, running free chasing fireflies, and playing in the water whether it's at the beach, the lake, the pool, the stream in the backyard, that makes this time of the year magical the same way there's something magical about the holiday lights and sounds and feelings in the air at Christmastime.

Some of my fondest childhood memories of summer time would be the countless, and I mean countless, weekends spent at the ball field from late March until the end of October. We lived for the ballfield. We would get up early on Saturday to start that tournament, stopping for donuts before making it to Adair park or whatever ballfield we were at for the weekend. The morning dew would still be coating the fields and we'd start with our Mizuno jackets on but by the end of the day, our sleeves would be rolled, we'd be covered in sweat and dirt, our knees would be bleeding from sliding into bases, our faces would be burned, and our bodies would be tired, but there something special about spending every weekend with that softball family. Moms and Dads would fill coolers full of drinks and food and when we weren't playing we'd camp out in the shade eating and laughing. We'd go home and a shower away the layers of dirt and we'd crash in our beds before the sun even set, knowing we needed our sleep to do it all over again on Sunday in order to compete for the championship game.

Softball for over a decade dominated our family summers. If we weren't at the ballfield my sisters and I were either out in the driveway pitching to our dad or fielding ground balls or occassionally making a trip to the batting cages. I remember as I left childhood behind wondering how my life would function without this game that I had known my whole childhood.

But there was more than just a ballfield to our summer childhood memories. There were Fourth of July picnics at our grandparents in which we would roast hotdogs over a fire and go swimming in a stinky, dirty pond. There were summer vacation roadtrips to Buffalo New York to see our grandparents. When we weren't fighting about one of us touching the others we were singing as loud as we could to Alabama or Johnny Horton (on old cassette tapes). My dad I think hated these long road trips trapped in a car with four girls but it was these trips that started my love for traveling. There was something about the anticipation of going somewhere different for awhile.

Just like myself I want my children to have wonderful childhood summer memories full of family moments. The girls right now are too little for competetive sports but we have definitely already started the family childhood memories with trips to see family. The girls' closest set of grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins are six hours away, and the others are seventeen hours away so they will LOTS of car ride memories. But I can already see with Averi that she associates summer with seeing Nana, Gma Lorraine, Uncle Bob, and Taush, and her cousins, Alaina and Dylan and Heather and Dana and seeing her Papa, Nene, Aunt Kelly and Uncle Chris, Aunt Tete and Uncle Todd, and her bff Addi Rae and Paxton. And of course when we all get together it's water fun, adventure trips to things like the zoo, mini golfing, boat riding, waterparks, and big dinners together and kids runnning around  staying up late and you can always cause more trouble when you have your partner in crime, your cousin. Summer and the holidays are our two times a year to see family and I know these will be magical summer memories for the girls.

Other family summer childhood memories we've started the last few years are summer nights at the Drive In movie theater, cookouts that end in nights around the firepit with our Baltimore friends that have become our adopted family, weekend camping trips, beach days whether it's on the Chesapeake or the ocean, and family vacation trips somewhere new and fun (that's not Missouri or Pennsylvania). I want them to look back on these memories and cherish these moments of their childhood the same as I cherish mine. I want them to value family, which I can I feel I can see this already with Averi. I want the memories of summer to be that bubble of magic they can retreat to when we all want to rememeber the moments of life that do make it perfect.

I'm linking up today with my friend, Emily at Life Imperfected . The shore house she talks about as a childhood memory for herself and her children has also become a neat little place that we have visited with her a few times a year. It reminds me in some ways of the Lake of the Ozarks from back home, so just as it connects her to her childhood I have found it a nice way to connect back to home. Something about being near the water just makes life feel a little slower, a little more at peace, and makes everyone feel a little bit younger and like a child again. Hope everyone enjoys their magical childhood memories this summer. Happy summer!
                                               Family night at the Drive In Movie Theater

                                                                  Water slide fun

                                                                      wipeout

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Aspirations

I'm linking up with one of my blogger reads today about aspirations. It's funny that she posted this on the same day I was remembering how the first thing I remember ever wanting to be as a little kid was a songwriter. I find this amusing about myself for several reasons. One, I guess even then I knew I had no singing talent whatsoever,I have never learned how to play a musical instrument, and those musical symbol things are like a foreign language to me. But I have always loved music, especially my country music. So I guess in my little six year old mind I knew I had no hope of that dream so I settled for the idea of a songwriter because I knew I liked and was somewhat okay at writing. However, out of all the things I have ever written I have never written a song. Probably because as my husband will tell you, I can't even remember the words and rhythm to the songs I listen to everyday. I kind of forgot that until this weekend so thought I'd share that little kid thing about myself.

Ten years ago I met my other half. And my other half is the true dreamer, the one always full of new aspirations. Sometimes so much that I feel like I have to be the debbie downer and remind him you can't have everything you desire in life. Then I feel like that adult that discourages all these kids' dreams that I teach. Maybe I am a debbie downer. I guess my thinking was always keep your goals realistic and achievable that way you don't look at the past or your life in disappointment because it takes a lot of work and often sacrifice to reach the things you imagine for yourself. So I guess I will start with all the crazy aspirations in my head and then take a minute to look back at what aspirations I have met in order to remind myself I can achieve things if I am just patient and work harder.

1. So the first one I'm going to deflect onto my oldest daughter. I want my girls to experience playing musical instruments. And if you know my oldest daughter she IS a performer. I know everyone thinks their kid is going to be a superstar. But she has the looks, the personality, and the stage presence. Does she actually have any talent to act or sing? I don't know but maybe with some musical lessons we'll have the Averiella Glenn star. And her sister is just starting to become the little ham herself and she's turned into quite the cutey too so maybe they'll be a duo.

2. So some of these I put on here I do have real plans of working towards and this is one of them. Nate has talked for years of opening his own restuarant. And I have just recently jumped on board with this. He originally went to culinary arts school at Johnson and Wales. But in the new town we just moved to there are four  restuarants-three of them are Italian. He wants to have a bar and grill place morealess that specializes in wings that he calls Winging It, which I think is great because we are very jump off the cliff and wing it kind of people. Maybe one other place in town is really a place you can go watch  Sunday football or any other sporting events, and we have found it really hard to find a good wing place out here in the whole area period so there is actually quite a market for his idea I think. Then because even though I am the right (I think it's right) brained person who studied English, I seem to have a knack for numbers when it comes to finances anyway. Course anyone that knows us will probably say that's because I watch every penny and don't give Nate any money. He gets some but we have a plan we have to stick to to make it all work. I think he knows this too because in that decade together he has always turned away from the idea of managing his own money. He'd rather hand it over to me and let me figure out how it all works. We go back and forth when we're actually going to invest in this idea. I think it kind of depends on what he starts doing after he finishes his masters.

3. We want to own a bunch of rental houses. Nate likes to fix things up and this is more his idea than mine. But I can be property and business financial manager too in our future business life. With this year we actually have our first rental property. I kind of see this being our only one but who knows.

4. I want to travel and travel more. I'm already a travel junky. There are about a dozen trips we have left in the US that we want to take, plus Alaska and Hawaii, and then we want to go to Africa (Nate wants to do an African Safari), Australia, Italy and Greece. But the last few years since the kids have come we've had to scale that way back and I keep telling myself that's okay because many of these places, especially the ones out west, will be better to do when the kids are older. We try to still take a vacation somewhere new each year.

5. I want to publish a book. I've written them. Now I would just like to publish them or at least one of them. This again is one that I actually plan on doing. I didn't say it had to be successful; just enough to get me back the $99 I'll have to spend on each ISBN number, plus a little extra fun money would be nice. (Maybe I'll give my husband some)

6. I know I mentioned traveling already. But when we finally retire I want to get an RV and just travel the country hitting any spots we've missed and when we get tired of living in it we'll pick a place to retire and stop. We'd be like Forrest Gump RV old people style.

7. I have my masters degree and if I decide to stay with teaching and go back to school at some point, I would like to eventually get my PhD in sociology and teach at the college level and learn how to write good, sociological pieces of writing. In regards to my role as a teacher in general, I always aspire every year to do a better job than in the past with new engaging lessons and behavior management plans and then by the end I always feel like I fell short again and am just plain tired.

8. At some point after having kids and more time to myself again, I will finally lose the five lbs per kid that stays after every pregnancy and go back to working out on a more consistent basis. My recent workout goal lasted about two months before I fell short of that aspiration again. Hopefully by this point when my kids are older and I'm exercising I'll be able to break my chocolate and soda once a day addiction.

9. And most importantly our biggest aspiration is to raise healthy, happy, productive children that thrive in the world when they set out to begin their own journey. No matter what I do with my life I plan on them being my greatest contribution.

So it's a long list and probably everything won't be accomplished. But to remind myself I have reached goals before and I can again my list of aspirations reached (which are probably very similiar to most of yours) are as followed:

1. Happily married to a great man (my dreamer)
2. started a family (love my girls-oh forgot my last family aspiration-a little brother in the future maybe)
3. bought a house
4. own two houses
5. going to be starting my tenth year in the same profession this August
6. have a masters degree
7. living near the ocean (this was a little girl aspiration that has come true-ready to visit the beach this summer)
8. traveling to 25 different states, Mexico, 100+ wineries in nine states (hey, that's an accomplishment to me) and visiting both our families at least twice a year in the eight years we've been out here.

As my husband has taught me there's nothing wrong with dreaming big sometimes. What are your aspirations?

I'm linking up today with one my new teacher bloggers,  Mrs. PJ at Rendered and Renewed's Aspirations. Take a second to check her out. Any other bloggers feel free to link up with us too. I thought this was a cute way to remember that even mommies are dreamers too.




Friday, May 24, 2013

Is everyone's motherhood experience a bipolar one?

Am I the only one convinced motherhood is a bipolar experience?

One minute, my kids are so sweet and I'm all overly sappy emotional about how much I love them and the next I just want to pop their little heads off (and be able to put them back on later off course).

One minute I talk to them in this nice, Mary Poppins "mommy adores you " voice and the next I'm like a raging lunatic yelling at anyone who is daring enough to stay on the same level of the house I am (this is usually when my husband is downstairs and my daughter is crying "I want daddy" to avoid doing what she's told to do and he continues to hide in the basement I think to avoid my anger turning from her to him).

One minute I love their sisterly love towards one another, and the next I want to knock their two heads together to break up the fight.

One minute I'm all about being the neat, spick and span clean housewife and the next I'm like f*^% it; what's the point. My kids and that big one known as the husband is just going to dump all their crap everywhere, totally wrecking havoc on any cleanliness or organization I may try to maintain.

One minute I wish I could spend more time with my kids; the next I'm thinking nope I spend plenty of time with them.

One minute I want to clean myself up and look nice and young again and the next I decide that involves more work than I already do so I'll just stick with the pulled back hair and sweats on the floor.

One minute I think I may actually be interested in adult husband/wife time and the next I'm thinking man sleep sounds pretty damn good about right now.

One minute I think I would love to have half a dozen kids and the next I'm thinking these two are like half a dozen by themselves.

I started this post in a ready to pop their little heads off moment but now I think I'm ready to go back to being Mary Poppins. I feel better now.


Midwest identity confusion in an East Coast world


I am a Midwest girl living in an East Coast world. I have often found my midwest upbringing at conflict with my East Coast living. I have been out here eight years and there are many factors I'm sure that make my perceptions incorrect; however, I'm going to share them anyway. First, a lot has changed in society in the last decade, I only have one experience with Midwest youth verse East Coast youth, and I was a child in the Midwest and an adult out here.  I have a love for both places. But these perceptions are also based on what I hear from both sides because as someone trapped between the two worlds I often hear one's attack on the other.

I was discussing the other day with a coworker the difference of image between these two totally different parts of our country. And yes they are very much different worlds sometimes. I see it with my students and I have started to see it with parents, but this obsession with projecting this perfected image. To the point of people (young and old) being more concerned about the image that others have of them than of the truth of who they really are. And sorry but in the Midwest the East Coast is kind of known for it's arrogant, my shit don't stink, look down their nose attitude. So I wonder if this is an East Coast thing with thinking they need to fulfill this perfect idea because they think they're better or just a change in the last decade nationwide, probably as a result of social media.

Whereas, the Midwest always tends to be looked at as these rough around the edges, sometimes rebel without a cause, I don't really give a shit what you or anyone else thinks kind of people. Sometimes I think that's a defense mechanism because they feel looked down upon by the coastal people. I don't feel that they get as wrapped up in this "perfected" image ideal of today. In fact they kind of wear the "i'm imperfect but real" image around with pride the same way the East Coast wears "I'm perfect and my way is right" around with pride. Both are very proud of who they are.

But whatever the case is, I just know I don't want my girls to feel they have to measure up to some perfected idea. I don't want them to feel they have to lie or cheat or ever pretend to be something they are not. I see way too many girls in my years of teaching that have eating disorders, serious mental issues that require instiutionalization because they have this inner battle with measuring up to some image they feel they have to fulfill. I want them to be honest about who they are and be proud of it.

The East Coast tends to be all about being "right" and so does the Midwest, most the time on things that are the opposite of the East Coast. But the Midwest has a hard time letting go of old ideals we'll say and moving forward with change. They aren't as open minded or accepting of diversity; whereas, the East Coast is really truly the melting pot of the world (in my opinion anyway). This experience and acceptance of so many different cultures is one of the things that makes me excited to raise my girls out here. People come from all over the world to this very region. It is rich in opportunties and experiences even with its flaws.

They are both great places but whatever reason each always feels the need to attack the other. They each have different things to offer-great things- but neither is perfect or without their flaws. Sometimes I love the rush, rush, fast pace of the East, but at other times I miss the slower, quiter life of the Midwest. Many times I find the East too fancy and sophisticated for my taste and miss the simplicity of Midwest life.

So here I am a Midwest girl trapped in an East Coast world. There are things I love and dislike about both, and I want my girls to experience and have the influences of both. And maybe one day I won't feel the same, but at this time I identify with the Midwest me more so than the East Coast me. The Midwest may say I have become too East Coasty and lost my Midwest identity; whereas, the East Coast peeps may not truly see me as one of them, which I am okay with because to me I am still and always will be a Midwest girl (just an  East Coast version) but no matter which me you think you see take it or leave it because that's just me.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thankful simple pleasure Thursday


As I walked around the house last night and watched the girls together, it never ceases to amaze me the simple pleasure I get from just watching them play and interact with one another. When they are not fighting, they really do enjoy each other. And I love that we are somewhere they can grow up. I was really worried at times that we would still be stuck in the city when Averi started school. Now they get to experience small town living; we went to our first hometown festival last weekend, which they loved. And the open spaces of being more in the country are awesome. I thought I would miss the city and we went back down there a few weekends ago. Nope, I don't miss it at all. I love the quiet. I love watching the girls running all over the yard, playing in the dirt, climbing tress, planting flowers and a garden. I love giving them their own full playroom that is completely theirs; that I can just close a door to the mess to. I love this house and I love seeing the girls loving it.

This year has been crazy. The journey to get here into our new house has been stressful to say the least. But it has been so worth it (maybe not for all of you that have had to listen to me complain about how overwhelmed and stressed we are) but with the approachment of summer vacation just three weeks away and the unofficial kickoff to the summer with Memorial Weekend this weekend, it's almost over. It's vacation time, time to play with our girls, see our families, hang out with our friends, recoup, and get ready to start next school year refreshed and reenergenized. After last school year with the adjustment to our wonderful new baby girl Kenzi and this year with the move, I'm ready for a year of normalcy next school year. I'm ready to feel settled, balanced, calm, and back to being just working momma and not overworked momma.

So my thankful simple pleasure this week is just my life even with all the craziness.  Our life as the four of us here in our home we plan to spend many years in making countless memories and stories.  And I can't wait to just relax and enjoy some much needed time with my husband and girls this summer. Life is not perfect but sometimes it has perfect moments like Averi pushing her sister on the swing, singing her to sleep at bedtime, or Kenzi hugging her sister and clinging to her hand in little sister wonder.
                                                           
                                          Can't wait to love on these little faces all summer
 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My letter to God

Dear God,

I talk to you every day. Mostly in the car or before I go to bed at night. I always thank you over and over again for all the wonderful people in my life. I am incredibly blessed with the family and friends I have been surrounded by throughout my life. Because I am so blessed I rarely ask for anything for myself (aside from the continued health and safety of those I love and others) because I just don't really feel there is much more that I need than what you have already provided me. Sure, I stress, but as you know I am a firm believer in what is meant to be will be and things will happen in the time they are meant to happen. So even though I get stressed about money or life changes, I know in the end everything has always turned out okay. And like now I have a few things weighing on my mind and I hate transition or uncertainity in my planner (my family likes to make fun of my planning problem) I keep reminding myself whatever is meant to happen will happen. I must be patient. I feel there are always way more important and horrific situations than my own. Every day I find myself praying for someone's sick child or people like those in Oklahoma. And even though I don't understand the rhyme or reason of why certain things occur to certain people, I hold strongly to my faith that you are there for those in need and one day my questions will be answered. I have never doubted your existence; I can't remember a time when I wondered who you were or if you were even present in my life. I have known  you for as long as I can remember. I always feel that if we open our eyes, ears, and hearts we can all see and hear you. I have my faith and you know that.

However, as you well know I do have my doubts about religion. I am actually rather skeptical towards religion at times. How many times has some religious group in your name brought violence upon another; how many religious groups preach rejection and damn others to hell for their beliefs and lifestyle choices all in the name of God? I have a really hard time believing anyone that lives a good, honest, loving life is going to be damned to hell because of life choices they make for who they choose to love or for what religion they choose to pledge their faith to you through. I have a hard time believing you are against tolerance and understanding of differences. I hate to say it but I even question the truth of the Bible. Only because it was translated by man, and sorry but even though man was created in your image, we are flawed, we are judgmental, and we do like to push those judgements upon others through intimidation and fear. History is always told by the winners. I feel there is a well defined line at times between religion and faith. And it is this line that I am unsure how to walk.

With all that being said though now that I have children of my own I am at times of conflict of what and how to teach my children about faith and my relationship with the church.  So first let me share, I was baptised Catholic but don't really ever recall attending a Catholic church. My mother was raised in a very strong Catholic family, and all of my cousins grew up in the Catholic church, but my mom moved away from her family when she married my dad. And even though my dad is a Christian he felt rather strongly against us getting baptised as he felt religion was a choice we should make when we were old enough to decide for ourselves, in which I kind of agree, but Nathan, understandably so would like to see them baptised sooner rather than later. And I can also agree with him because I would rather see baptism as my pledge to you to raise my children with faith in God rather than see it as an association with any particular religion.  But back to my upbringing, we did attend a Methodist church for a few years before we were teenagers and we did go to Bible school and Sunday school as little girls. As my sister and I were talking about this other day, I have prayed for as far back as I can remember even though the church was not strongly pushed in our house. I would say from the time I was ten until my early twenties when I met Nathan, I did not attend a church for a good decade. Then him and I started attending a Lutheran Church when he was living in Kansas. Then after we moved out to DC we didn't attend a church for a year, but then once we bought our house in Baltimore, I participated in a Bible Study for a while and we joined a Lutheran Church that we loved that we attended fairly regularly for a few years until we had kids. We went a few times when Ave was a baby, then it started to become just at Easter because that was the only holiday besides Thanksgiving that we were here. Now that we're settled in a community to raise our girls we'd like to look for a church here.  I really do like the church community and I feel good moral life lessons are taught through the church.   However, because I don't feel it's necessary to attend church every Sunday in order to show my faith to you, I almost feel as if I'm being dishonest to the church community because I feel that I "use" them because the programs like Sunday school and Vacation Bible School are good thing for the girls to be involved in  and through our membership to the church I can get my kids baptised. But I don't fully buy into all their preachings and therefore feel my attendance there is dishonest. You know me.There are many so called "right" parenting choices I don't give two cents about but I do care about getting this one right.  I think churches are beautiful but I have felt closest to you in other places outside of the church. I don't feel that being in church brings me closer to you; however, I want my girls to have the same solid belief in your presence in their lives like I do and maybe church combined with me talking to them about my faith is where that starts. And somewhere along the way  they will determine their own path to their relationship with you.

When I'm in doubt about all these life decisions that I am now realizing come with the adult world, I will continue to look for the signs and be patient and know what is meant to be will be. You have blessed me with a beautiful life and children, and even though we are both aware of my flaws, I continue to hope I am doing the right things and being the positive example I have always wanted to be. I don't promise to be perfect because I'm not and I won't ever be and I am quite okay with that, but I do always look for your guidance to be a little better than I was before. And I know in my journey to leading my children to you, I/we will find our way in time.


P.S. I hate those stupid facebook and email posts about do this and God will reward or punish you. I think they are silly and don't buy into them. I think this will suffice to advertise my commitment to you but you've always known where you I stood no matter what the world knows, cares, or thinks.

Oh, one more thing. I know Averi keeps asking you for a baby brother, which yes, would be great. But could you just give me a little more time to get a handle and balance on things. This year has been a little crazy and I'm not sure I need anymore crazy yet. But I like crazy so I'll let you know when I'm ready.

God Bless!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sometimes you have to the find the funny in the crazy

Everyone seems to enjoy funny Ang way more than serious Ang. Quite honestly, I enjoy funny Ang more. As someone that likes to write to entertain what better way to entertain than with humor and funny stories about my children. They make me laugh and smile everyday. And hopefully their funny moments bring a smile to your face too. Funny is also my way of dealing with the stress of motherhood. I often feel overwhelmed and at times get frustrated but most of the time I'd rather find the humor amongst all the chaos in my life rather than let it all bother me.

But sometimes the frustrations or the fears win and serious Ang decides to write instead. Even though these post aren't as enjoyable they are the ones that are more for me than my audience, but your thoughts and words often help me find a way back to the happier, funnier Ang. They help me sort through my fears, frustrations, and disappointments.

So anyway, I've built up quite an archive lately and haven't figured out how to sort them out by funny and serious posts there on the sidebar. I'm still in the learning stages of this blogging technology stuff. Some people are new to reading me and if you've been a reader from the beginning sometimes just like a good book, we don't mind rereading things that make us laugh and smile. I have found that funny brings me more new readers than serious. We all have enough serious in life, huh, who wants to read about it? So linked below are the funny Time with A & N posts. Check out what you want. Have a good laugh at my expense. It's okay. I laugh at myself all of the time.

A recall of Averi stories
A log of Averi disaster moments

Organized Chaos
A log of why Averi makes me a little crazy

My tinkerbell doesn't fly :(
An Averi accidental moment

Superwoman or nuts?
A readers' favorite for any mom that has little kids

No napping in parenting!
Another Averi moment

Moms, get ready to be judged!
#1 readers' favorite that any mom no matter what mom choices she makes can relate to

Why don't these kids come with instructions
More funny Averi moments (I think my kid is kind of funny)

Did you shave your legs for this?
This one mentions sex or lack of

Chicken Nuggets and God
God doesn't care what we feed our kids

My recommendations for sanity
 A little bit of momma crazy

The crazy shit I didn't now about Motherhood
Some more momma crazy

Wal Mart: my frienemy
You either hate walmart or you hate yourself because you love walmart

My not so fine parenting moment of yesterday
More Averi moments ( I can't wait to share all of these with her when she's older)

Guess this is promo Wednesday. If you like my humor don't forget to click on the topmommyblogs vote for me button above. Also check out my blog roll reading lists to reading other entertaining motherhood stories written by other mommies. My favorite this week is Mother of the Year. You got to have an appreciation for satire with her.

And don't forget to Like us on Facebook

And as always thanks for reading!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Maybe not my finer parenting moments of my maybe not so perfect children

So two stories here today of my wonderful daughters. First, let me remind you that I grew up one of three girls. However, rather than fight like girls with backstabbing and badmouthing one another, my dad just let us duke it out like boys. My one grandmother once told my dad her was too rough with us for rough housing and wrestling with us and he treated us too much like boys, but I think Dad's opinion on the matter won over grandma's. My mother would often get mad because she'd come Saturdays afternoon from work to find my little sister and I at it again, wrestling around on the floor while my dad and middle sister just sat on the couch cheering us on. And sometimes it would be just for fun, but sometimes not so much. And my little sister probably could have kicked my a*$ anytime she wanted excpet she'd get mad, I'd keep instigating her to the point she'd be too emotional to really have a good shot at me. And to this day we pretty much know we'll get truth from one another whether we want to hear it or not rather than typical girl behind the back talk. Tattle telling was just no in our family. You settle it yourselves and don't be a tattle tale. We were not raised to be the bully but we have all three had our moments of "fighting" back. Some would say this was bad parenting from my parents, but I don't look to do it much different.

Just recently the girls have gotten to the age where they fight with one another. I hear everyone else's horror stories of their bickering children and I guess my little angels are no different. So as I've said before Kenzi is a little fiesty one. But sometimes she's a bully. I don't feel like I ever bullied anyone besides probably my little sister (sorry, Tam), and I hope she's the same way. So for the most part I think she gets this from me. So Averi wouldn't let her play with her sand castle today at the playground. Well that made Kenzi mad so she kept hitting Averi on the head with this stick. Averi, being the very sweet, gentle kid that she is just kept tattling on her. Of course I'd tell Kenz to stop, sat her in time out, but she still kept doing it. So I finally say, "Averi just hit her back and she'll probably stop." Well, my sweet child ends up a stick three times the size of her sister's and just whacks her in the head. Whoops. I'm not sure that's exactly what I meant, but she is kind of mean to Averi sometimes and she didn't bother Averi again the rest of the afternoon. So you know. They're sisters; they are going to fight. Averi needs to learn how to stand up to her little sister. Next time I might tell her to grab a smaller stick though.

Then my next "parenting" moment came at bathtime. Averi always gets in the tub and decides she needs to go pee. I had the tiolet covered with the rug I always pick up now because my floor always gets soaked at bathtime so I tell her to go use our bathroom. She's taking forever so I go to see what she's doing, and she's at the tiolet trying to pee like a boy! First, she peed all over my floor! Second, where did she get the idea of how boys peed? Third, I thought because I had two girls I wouldn't have to worry about the penis and vagina talk for like a couple more years! Fourth she raced ahead of me back to the bathtub and when I find her in there she's sitting on the edge of the tub, acting like she has something to aim, and peeing into the tub on her sister! I don't know anything about starting this talk. When she was at the other place in the fall, the thing I hated was that there was one bathroom for boys and girls in their classroom with no doors and with ten plus kids in there I did not feel it was very well supervised at times. Nate closes the door. Trust me he liked to hide from all of us in there. So how do I go about this conversation?

So those were my adventures in motherhood today.

They share sisterly love more than they fighting though thankfully.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The battle with mental health; the battle we hide

The issue of mental health seems to come up again and again in the headlines, in our communties, within our families. We spend tons of money and efforts into recognizing and fixing physical health issues but mental health is something we sometimes hide in shame. Like it's a weakness; like it somehow destroys the image we and others have of us. I know there are scientific explanations about hormones and body chemistry that explains why some of us have certain mental health issues, but life is also a draw.

Some of us are luckier than others; some of us are smarter, prettier, skinnier, more talented, more gifted, more fortunate. And we are human; we judge, we envy, we compete. And somewhere, somehow along the way we have to learn how to deal with the disappointment, to make it work with what we got, but that's a lot easier said than done. We get depressed, we get angry, we become full of doubt, lose hope, have our self esteem attacked and tore down. Sometimes it feels like there's more things and people rooting against us than for us.

It's a tough world; life is hard. There was some quoted post going around facebook about building up enough of your child's self esteem so the world can't knock it down. On the other hand some say we are babying our children today, not letting them handle their own mistakes and trying to shield them from disappointments. To one extent I do agree with that. Life is hard and as much as you want to take care of everything and shield your child from the harsh realities of life you can't. So they must learn how to be accountable for their own mistakes, how to move past their own and life's disappointments.

But as their mother, as their parent, we can still and should be their #1 cheerleader, their biggest supporter, the one that believes in them more than anyone else because one day, probably for more than one, that faith, that support, that belief, will be their saving grace when the hardships of the world comes knocking.

Mental health as we're seeing with things like Newtown, Connecticut, the Colorado batman killings, school bullying, parents killing themselves and their own families, and suicide, is scary. Possibly right there behind cancer because we hide it, we ignore it, we pretend it's not there for ourselves or someone we love, and sometimes the resources for help aren't there, but mental health kills people every day. And sometimes they are not the only victim as we have seen recently in the headlines.

As a mother I hope to build my daughters' self esteem so when the difficulties and disappointments of life come knocking, they'll be okay, but I also know as someone who has always been a confident, high self esteem person, that that doesn't necessarily mean it saves you because life is hard and disappointing at times, but it can give them the strength to work through it and not be another victim. Many (many more) people face mental health issues and work through them without being a headline story. But there needs to be more resources and awareness.   

Friday, May 17, 2013

Part 2 to Sometimes I'm Superwoman but most of the time I'm Nuts: The husband side

I once wrote about superwoman with Sometimes I'm Superwoman but most of the time I'm Nuts (if you haven't read and want a good laugh, I recommend reading) but today I'm going to look at this idea from my husband's point of view. These realizations came to me the other night when again I did not make it downstairs to watch hockey with him. So here's the real confessions of a housewife for why my husband probably doesn't see me as superwoman.

1. I am WAY TOO BUSY to watch playoff hockey every other night with him. I am glad he takes this time for himself because he's been busy too but I have so many other things I would rather be doing for some "me" down time

2. I have been folding his jeans the wrong way for a decade now. I'm not sure why I cannot break this habit. I didn't even know there was a "right" way to fold jeans.

3. I'm not a girly girl. I know jack crap about fashion and frilly girl things and I don't wear cool underwear anymore

4. I wear all his good shirts to bed and he thinks boobs stretches them out and causes them to not fit him right anymore

5. I have a very limited cooking menu when it's my night to cook.

6. It sometimes takes me a week to do some of the dishes.

7. I can switch moods like the switch of a light

8. I say the same thing over and over (because I don't think he listens half of the time) or because I really am that absentminded lately

9. He won't sleep in the car because he's scared of my driving

10. I keep losing our kids in this bigger house (literally long enough for that panic to set in)


Here's the link again to Sometimes I'm Superwoman but most of the time I'm Nuts.

How are you superwoman or nuts? Which one does your husband think you are?



Walmart: My frienemy

So first before I start this, I want to forewarn anyone I may piss off. Part of my personal journey through motherhood has been realizing who I am and who I'm not as a mom. There's a lot of the battles of the mom going on in today's society as I once addressed with Moms, get ready to be Judged! and I'll be honest at times these debates make me question my own worth as a mother, but I am slowly realizing I don't need to satisfy anyone's idea of myself but my own. With that being said, I have several mom friends that are very opposite of me. And I love them for that. I respect their decisions and choices. I like to be friends with people different than myself; I do learn things about them, and the world only needs one me (okay, maybe two because I have a mini me now in my little Kenzer girl). So forewarning: the sarcasm that is me is going to come out!

So a blog thing to do I am seeing is recommend and promote products that other moms should try. I have said once before I am not one of those moms. In fact, confession time here. I shop at WAL MART. Oh, my Gosh, I know. That's like the ultimate low of motherhood to some. But I like Wal Mart; it's my frienemy. My husband hates it; criticizes me for shopping there. I'm sure sometimes he wishes he would have married one of those prissy, "I would never step" foot in Wal Mart kind of women. So I'm pretty sure those blog recommendations are not recommending Wal Mart to their readers, but I'm going to tell you why you should shop at Wal Mart.

First, you can go there in your pajamas! I was once standing in line behind a woman in her nightgown! With underwear on underneath, I think. You don't have to get dressed, fix your hair, hell, I'm pretty sure some women don't even wear a bra there. Pretty sure you can't go into those fancy baby stores dressed like that. You have to have your mom skinny jeans and perky boobs that look like they never nursed a kid to go in those stores.

Now, what baby products should you buy at Wal Mart? I know it's bad enough I buy stuff for myself there but I've actually bought real baby products there I know to the horror of some. First, I would highly recommend the baby monitors. Because before you have your baby, you're going to be all niave and think you want to hear and see every little breath your precious angel takes. I'm telling you, no, you don't. When they are screaming their head off you're going to really wish those monitors didn't pick up every sound. The nice thing about Wal Mart's brand is they last for like two months and you didn't spend much money, and by then you realize you don't need to hear everything, and instead of buying new ones to repace the Wal Mart brand you realize you'd much rather be oblivious to the cries and screams. My kids' crib and dresser (well first one anyway) is from WalMart. The first dresser was shit and didn't make it past Averi, but hey, I haven't woken up to the bottom of the crib crashing to the floor yet. And I think Averi's even jumped on it and has laid in it with her sister to read her stories.

Another great Walmart product, is their Parent Choice brand. If you're cheap like me, those cheap diapers and wipes are just as good as those pampers and other brands and you get twice as much for your buck. They hold the same shit as the fancy onces. That crap doesn't come out of their butt any cleaner or different because they're wearing pampers or the walmart brand.

Bloggers are always recommending what to feed their kids or baby food making products. I will tell you what my favorite kid food is. And this is more applauding Kraft than Wal Mart, but as some of you know I have a hard time doing anything that involves touching the stove so the creation of mac n cheese in those little cups that you just put in the microwave are freakin genius. I LOVE those things. They are fast, quick, and the kids eat them. I don't know if they're any good for them but they are a dinner life saver at times. So anyway, Wal Mart sells these and probably cheaper than anywhere else.

So anyway I have a love hate relationship with WalMart. The one here near our new house has the grocery, which is dangerous because I go in for certain groceries and come out with a dozen household decor and kid things that weren't on my list. But I always figured I saved money for shopping there so I could afford a few splurges. Everything is cheaper, but most their crap breaks a lot faster too. And you know if you shop in there for your friends' kids' presents you always feel obligated to rip off the walmart tag and claim you lost the gift receipt so they won't know you took the cheap route in getting their kid a present. (Walmart did give me any compensation for this post even though they should have for all the crap I've bought there over the years)

If you enjoyed this sarcastic blogger recommendation you'll probably enjoy My recommendations for sanity .


Do you love or hate Walmart?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Can Today's Woman "Have it All"?




A friend sent me this Motherhood and Career...If you're Not Marissa Mayer  and I recently read this article Why Women Still Can't Have It All  about the working mom balancing act. Being the frazzled working mom that I am, I of course had some thoughts on it, especially after I have recently written about this with  Walking in these shoes is hard. How do you do it? and Mommy needs a timeout! As those two posts show I definitely don't fit the "having it all" idea in this moment.

The article is rather honest and offers some good tips, and I think it puts it out there that the majority of us are "never going to have it all", which some days I'm okay with and others I'm determined to prove "oh, yes, I can". I just have a hard time defining what is "having it all". I feel like you can have more of one or the other (career or family) but because you often have to sacrifice one for the other, you're really not having it all. Even though these CEO women sound like great corporate, leading business career women, I can't help but wonder if it's their kid I've coached whose parent never made a softball or football game because they were too busy or tired from working and that was just their kid's thing to do and not something mommy was really needed for (so they think).

Can we really have it all? What is the balance? Sometimes I think the balance is within my own head. My own perception. To me the idea of having it all is perfection and perfection is not possible, is it? And how does this idea of working moms "having it all" shape our own perception of ourselves? What does this mean for stay at home or let's be honest work at home moms because running a household and raising children is a full time job in itself. So are they never going to "have it all" because they weren't career ambitious? Who is to say what is having it all? That career woman that "has it all" probably is not the mom running her kids and everyone else's to soccer practice, attending PTA meetings, or volunteering at her kids' school, but the mom that totally devotes herself to her children and their activities isn't a "has it all" woman? And is "having it all" doing it with grace and a smile on your face because really, who are we kidding? I don't care who you are-the stay/work from home mom, the part time working mom, the full time working mom, the ambitious leading career woman of our time, being a mom is hard, frustrating, exhausting, overwhelming, and not perfect. It's crazy, it's chaotic, it's laughable, it's weepable. It's the greatest job in the world because we love our children like no other but being a mom isn't about perfection.

Life is full of sacrfices; most of the time we willingly sacrifice for something that's better for ourselves or for our families in the long run. Is giving up something for something better, working towards "having it all" or is everything that we work towards achieving in order "to have it all" at the cost of something else? I think "having it all" is our own definition of happiness; our perception of being happy with who we are. If we're happy with who we are as a woman and a mother, then maybe that's "having it all."

Moms, can we "have it all"? What is even "having it all"?


I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this one.

My book Moms, Monsters, Media & Margaritas examines this topic as well as other motherhood in the 21st Century topics. Get 15% off with the code JULYHEAT.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Getting closer to Dora's "I did it" dance.

I realized this week marks the one month to go countdown until summer vacation!!! I am so going to be doing the Dora "I did it" dance. I might have to have Averi teach me what exactly that is, but when this school year finally ends I am going to ecstaticly jump up and down, shouting "I did it! I did it!" At this point what did I do. Nothing great. I feel that I have conquered the multi tasking ability of mediocrity. Here's my list of this year's accomplishments not in any particular special order.

1. Taught five classes with a new curriculum that's not too bad with about 85% of the knuckleheads passing
2. I managed to not inappropriately speak my mind to a good dozen or so students that I really had some choice words for
3. I graded a freaking ridiculous amount of papers (DO NOT BECOME AN ENGLISH TEACHER, emphasis on English here)
4. I somehow (okay maybe I didn't) learned how to be okay with being disorganized as a classroom floater
5. I also discovered that  this year has confirmed that I am ADD, a little OCD, probably a little depressed, have a little anxiety, may have dementia (or is that just mommy brain) and really am a babbling mess that is probably just a few shades short of crazy but I think I'm okay with that (probably depends on what day of the week it is though)
6. I managed to relocate my family from one house to another with minimal things lost (including my children and the family dog) and became an official homeowner (Nate owns the other house)
7. I once again achieved the ultimate financial planner award in our house for acquiring great credit for myself and Nate (he hands over the paycheck I make sure the bills are paid-most of the time), purchasing a house and keeping the other as a rental, and hopefully squeezing in enough savings to survive the summer with maybe even a small local vacation(my husband would not agree with this because he somehow thinks we should have our summers off and be rolling in the dough traveling the country or something-sorry it's money or time-can't have everything!)
8. I have picked up four extra side paid gigs to make this crazy moving dream a reality
9. I haven't showed up at my old neighbor's door and smacked him upside the head for his racial ignorance towards our renters (yet maybe I shouldn't count this one yet)
10. My two daughters still love their mommy and think I'm the greatest even though I've felt so absentminded and distracted this year. I can't wait to love and kiss on them all day.
11. I have been a supportive wife (for the most part) to my husband as he's tackled this whole graduate leadership program so he can go make us more money
12. My husband hasn't quietly suffocated me in my sleep because of all my nagging, whining, bitching, all those annoying wife things that we sometimes do
13. I haven't locked my husband out of the house and pretended no one was home as payback for all those annoying husband things that they sometimes do
14. I worked on promoting my blog and building my audience in hopes that one day when I actually publish a book you people will buy it and make my financial life a little easier (I'll thank you a head of time now)
15. I'm a mommy, wife, teacher, daughter, sister, writer, homeowner, friend, and I somehow managed to wear all those hats this year and I didn't do any of them great but I did them! Next year is another year maybe I'll do better. And now summer is coming and I can be a better mommy, wife, friend, daughter, sister, and paint the rest of my new house.

I always feel like a little kid at Christmas about the approaching summer. One month. This is the home stretch.

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Walking in these shoes is HARD. How do you do it?

It's going to be a loooong week when on Monday, the FIRST day of five, you are more frustrated with the papers crowding your office desk than the actual crazy, ready for the summer obnoxious behavior of adolescents. It's a long first day of the week when you realize your pants are falling down around your knees because about two hours ago you were going to change them and got to the unbotton part and that was it. It starts to feel like the day that never ends when the only glass dish that has a lid falls to a shattering mess on the floor and you just want to throw yourself down on the floor in a crying, screaming fit, when the one year old escapes her bedroom to end up crying because yes, that mess from the broken glass that hasn't been cleaned up yet, she ends up walking through in her bare feet. It's going to be a long week when it's only Monday and I'm already frustrated to the point of dropping the F bomb (which I rarely do), and when I finally sit in the chair to rock my baby and I go to wipe my eye from crying only to realize I have small shattered slivers of glass on my hand from dusting off the baby's foot and have now stabbed myself in the eye with those little glass slivers. It's only Monday night and I feel like this could be the week that never ends.

I'm sure every year I'm ready for the school year to be over, but I don't think I've ever needed it as desperately as I do this year. We knew this year would be tough because Nate would be in grad school full time with an accelerated program. He has had class every other, if not every Saturday for a month or so at a time, and on Wednesday nights, and then homework CONSTANTLY. It was our first full year with two little kids at home and no nanny there to help (someone at  your house can really maximize your hours in a day.)Then when we realized we'd be making the move we've been hoping for for three years, we knew that would make it even tougher. Then because we moved we incurred unexpected expenses, traded in a reliable vehichle for one on its last leg, and never saved what we needed to cover the summer. So starting in March I added an additional 5 hours a week of work to my schedule to try to make up some of that money. Now starting my third and last month of this, I am wondering how do women with small children that work and don't get home until 6 every night for twelve months a year do it?!? I couldn't do it; I couldn't walk in those shoes. You are some strong women, whoever you are. The guilt, the exhaustion, the frustration, the feelings of being stretched so thin. If it wasn't for the fact that I know this is only temporary I would probably cry myself to sleep every night. I get six hours of sleep a night because ten o clock is the first chance I get to sit down.

Poor Averi wanted me to come push her on the swing tonight, but I was trying to finish up something I put off all weekend because I spent Mother's day just being mommy. Then Kenz just kept whining and crying. Finally as I was sitting there in the dark, rocking her I realized poor baby. "You haven't seen your momma all day." I pick her up a little after five, we get home after six, it was dinner/dishes/bath rush and then time for bed. I barely see her and for the last two months I feel like this is how every work night goes. I'm use to having more time with my children; being home with them around four and having time to play before the whole nightly rituals. I think this is part of what has frustrated me so much with my job too. I hate getting up early but it was always a trade I was happy with in order to have afternoons with my kids. I deal with the awful behavior and attitudes and criticism because it seems worth it for schedule that allows me more time with my kids. But if I'm going to have to add more hours to my day/year anyway then I'm losing out on that benefit and with that lost my tolerance for some of the negative aspects of the job. I just feel that I have been so distracted with everything that keeps life moving that I haven't had a chance to enjoy my kids.

I was watching Averi fix her hair the other day and I was telling her how she's gotten so big. She's so independent and for so many ways thank God. But she's growing up so fast. She helps with her sister so much. Kenz is just if not more so independent. She wants to keep up with her sister and at eighteen months, she can go up and down the deck stairs like a pro. She waves bye bye to me each morning, and I know she's fine. But I hate that I see so little of her during the week. Bedtime is our time. I haven't rocked Kenz probably since last year but because it's been so busy these last few weeks I'll usually sit and rock her now. It's our special cuddle time and then I do the same with Ave. We lay in bed together and have girl talk, which is really four year old talk and lots of "I love yous". I want to spend more time with them. I need this year to be over. Now; about twenty two school days sooner than it's going to be. I'm having a really hard time making this working mom thing work this year. I know this will pass and it is what it is, but it's just a tougher road to travel at times than I thought it would be. This time of them being little girls is going to be over in a blink, and I'm so afraid I'm going to look back on it and feel like I missed it; that I didn't make the most of every second.

                                                         One of many mom's day photos

Friday, May 10, 2013

The things I didn't know about motherhood that would make me cry


I knew I wanted to be a mother from the time I was a little girl and my sisters and I would play house and we would mimic our own mother. It just seemed like a journey that no matter how many other paths I would choose to take, it was the one that was a definite from the very beginning. Holding that baby in my arms for the first time was the most surreal moment I will never forget. It is the moment I knew I loved someone so much more than myself, it was the moment all my hopes and dreams were for someone else, it was a moment that I felt such fulfillment because I was someone's mother.

There were so many things I looked forward to and anticipated but I didn't realize seeing my husband fall head over heels in love with our newborn daughter would bring such absolute joy to my heart. I didn't realize those little fingers and toes would grow so fast. I didn't realize how much those little words, "I wuv you, mommy" and "you're the bestest mommy ever" would melt my heart. I didn't realize I would look so forward to those excited little faces waiting at the door and running to greet me from work everyday. I didn't realize I would want to pull their little sleeping self out of the crib or bed just to hold them because I missed them so much throughout the long work day or just wanted to absorb more of their short lived babiness. I didn't realize I would love and just want to bottle forever the childish conversations, the childish games, the childish walks, the childish coloring, the childish adventures, the childish innocence of life.  I didn't know I would see the world in a whole new light through the eyes of my daughter(s) as she discovered the world for the first time. I didn't know I would be awed everyday to watch them grow and become their own people, to learn their way in the world.  I didn't know being a mother would be my greatest journey in life.

I shared this a year or so ago on facebook but below is the poem I wrote about motherhood

To Be a Mother


To be a mother is to begin a journey of a lifetime that you will treasure forever
      It’s drying toddler tears two hours past bedtime and up bouncing the other for hours in the middle of the night
       It is getting to sing and dance again like a child
       It is jumping with joy at pooping in the potty
       It is reverting back to words like potty

To be a mother is to collapse into bed completely exhausted but wouldn’t have it any other way
        It’s finding drawings on your dog and chicken somehow in your bathtub
        It’s  bathtimes, bottle feedings, story time, and bedtime routines multiple times in one night
        It’s  dishes piled on the counters, laundry climbing the walls, weird things growing in the bathroom
         It’s looking at your poor husband, telling him he’s on the” to do” list, just towards the bottom
          
To be a mother is to reach the end of the week and wonder how you’re still functioning
          It’s finding binkies in your pocket at work instead of pens
          It’s getting home to find that your clothes are not put on correctly from pumping at work
          It’s walking out the door with the kids and all their stuff to only realize you locked
                                everyone out of the house
          It’s debating on skipping that shower for the second night in row and just spraying on  extra perfume

To be a mother is to never have a moment to yourself but knowing all too soon they’ll be grown and you’ll have too much time to yourself
                It’s forgetting what it was like to go to the bathroom in peace
                It’s the minefield of toys that clutter your house and attack your feet on a daily basis
                It’s waking up to a foot or a butt in your face
                It’s getting every kind of body fluid from puke to poop on you at some point


To be a mother is stop yourself from complaining about how exhausting it is and reveal in the amazing gift from God that you have been given
            It’s smiling whenever you think of your child
            It’s wanting to always talk about your child’s latest accomplishment to anyone that will listen
            It’s thinking my child has to be the best, the smartest, the cutest
            It’s thinking you can’t wait to see who they’ll become  when they grow up but wanting them to stay young forever

To be a mother is to feel an overpowering love like no other
             To be looked up to as the superhero that you are sometimes
             To want to protect your child at all cost
             To want  to  hold their hands as well as their hearts forever
             To want to stop the hands of time to cling to every precious moment

Happy Mother's Days, Moms! May your day be filled with happiness, love, and wonderful children!


                                     Some flashback pics of my girls. Love them so much!
                                                               Averiella around 6 weeks
                                                               Averi around 6 months
                                                          Averi at a year and half

                                                               Averi at 2 years
                                                             
                                                           Averi at 2 and half years

                                                 Averi at 2 and half and Nakenzi as a newborn
                                                             Nakenzi around 1-2 months
                                                         Nakenzi around 6 months
                                                               Kenz around 8 months
                                                       Kenz at one year
                                                      Averi at 3 and Kenz at 1
Averiella and Nakenzi Grace now (4 and 1)