Friday, September 27, 2013

OMG, did my kid really just do that?



After my daughter did one of these the other night, I once again amazed at the crazy things that kids do. This list is a generated list from things I've seen my own children do but also what others have shared their child doing.  Have you been horrified by your kid doing one of these?

1. Pick their nose and seriously eat it? Is there some special nutrition in boogers because this is not a one kind of thing?


2. Sticking their hand in the tiolet. Why is it so fascinating to play in the tiolet?


3. Stick their hand in the tiolet they just pooped in to get something they dropped. They so desperately need that 50 cent McDonalds piece of crap back that they not only stick their hand in a tiolet but a poopy public toilet (at least it was their own poop).


4. Sharing their cream cone with the dog. Seriously dog licks, they lick,dog licks again, and they lick again. Dogs lick his own butt and that other thing and area. And the tiolet. Ugh, and they're sharing an ice cream cone.


5. Poop outside behind a tree. Peeing seems to be one thing but pooping outside is just maybe crossing the line.


6. Drop their drawers to pee behind a tree at a public park. Aren't we all guilty when they're little and outside playing to just let them go outside (at least that's what us country people do sometimes)? However, because they lack a filter they have to try this at least once to embarrass you.


7. Eat a crayon like it s a candy bar. What is with the everything goes in the mouth thing? Those crayons must be good though or really chewy because they just keep trying to eat them.

8. Trying to pee like a boy when she's a girl. Not only do guys sometimes admire one anothers but I guess at some point every girl wishes she had one (I think we outgrow that pretty quickly though).

9. Color. Everything but the paper. Themself, the dog, the floor, the wall, the furniture, anything but the paper.

10. Refer to their private parts. Very loudly. In public.

11. Cut their baby sister's hair. The cat's hair. The dog's hair. Our hair while we're sleeping. Their own hair. Any hair those little scissor hands can get to before we catch on.

You know there are more. Share yours.

Why as a working mom I sometimes don't like Fridays

Everybody loves Friday, right. I do too, but Fridays are no longer the head off to Happy Hour, drink and eat with friends until around 10, and go home and pass out for the night. Is it that I miss that? Not really. To still go do that every once in awhile would be nice, but that's not why sometimes I come home Fridays feeling defeated rather than excited.

When I get home on Fridays this is what I see

I see the impatient, tired, and cranky mom and wife that I am because it's been a long week of 8-10 hour work days, evening activities, maybe an hour of downtime a night, and hopefully seven hours of sleep a night. My battery is on low; therefore, I'm short on energy and patience.

I see the dirty clothes all over the bedroom floors and falling out of the hampers, I see the dishes from at least a night or two ago still waiting to be washed, I see the clothes in the washer and dryer that have now been sitting there for days, I see the smeared toothpaste all over the bathroom, I see unmade beds, I see the empty fridge and cabinets which means we're in dire need of a grocery trip, I see the pile of mail that needs to be sorted, I see the bills that not only need to paid but a budget that needs to reexamined, I see toys litering the floors of about every room, and what I see is it's Friday and now all the work I have to do at home because it barely gets touched during the week. For me as a working mom, there's still one more day of work left. If I want that to be a half a day, then I usually try to tackle something Friday night so I have Saturday afternoon and evening along with Sunday as my "off" time.

I know some would say those things are unimportant and yes they are but in reality, if my house does not get cleaned up it could lead to the unsanitary point, if I don't go to the store we're not getting fed, if I don't get our clothes washes we're going to be going naked, and if I don't sit down to look at the bills and budget then none of it will matter because we might be living in a box. It has to get done so for me that sense of freedom that comes at the end of the week doesn't usually kick in until midday Saturday when I'm done with work for the week and my job as housewife is complete.

Work is for the work week, housework is for the first part of the weekend, and the last part is for me. From Saturday afternoon until Monday morning, it's my favorite time: family time. Aside from maybe folding a load of laundry and doing the nightly dishes, it's quality family time doing things together that we enjoy or just simply enjoying each other without all the other stresses that can sometimes consume us Monday morning through Saturday morning. On Saturday and Sunday nightI usually get to relax with Nate, catching up on any shows we missed during the week.

So I'm glad it's Friday but I'd enjoy it more if my house didn't resemble a college party house minus the beers (toys instead of beer I suppose), if my laundry wasn't climbing the walls the piles are so high, and if my fridge was fully stocked. I keep wishing for a fairy godmother but I think I'm going to be waiting awhile. Averi is starting to help with the clean up on Saturdays so that is actually pretty helpful.

Working moms, how do you fit in the housework with a full time job and little kids?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Thanks for growing with us

Since April I have been trying to build my blog by reaching and keeping readers by hopefully writing stuff that those readers think are worthy enough to share through their own social media networks. I do have a purpose for all of this that I have also been working on since April. Blogging I am learning is really another small business opportunity through the wonderful world wide web.  Just like most small personal businesses though it usually takes a lot of time and effort. I'm thoroughly enjoying what I'm doing here though so I'm content to just write with really not much purpose at times. Most times I'm just a rambling fool getting things off my chest about the journey of motherhood or whatever else troubles me.  Even though at first it may seem like I have little to offer the blogging business since I am not a crafty person, can't cook worth a darn, don't do reviews or offer giveaways, and try to avoid telling people how to parent I have slowly established a readership and those readers in turn are starting to share my sometimes insightful and sometimes comical posts through social media. As a mom blogger it's really hard to find your own voice. There are A LOT of mom bloggers and under that umbrella there are so many different types of mom bloggers. I've always liked to be different than everyone else rather than like everyone else, but the internet shows you that it really is a pretty big world out there. As original as I try to be, my philosophies, humor and sarcasm at times, as well as my insight to things do mirror others. So even though I may not be as original as I would like to be, I am still striving here to create my own voice. In the meantime,  it's those readers that have stuck around and keep coming back for more and more of my variety of posts that I want to thank. Seriously, you have no idea how much I appreciate you. I've always loved to write but this is the first time I've ever really written for an audience. It's awesome. I LOVE the connections I have been able to make or reestablish.

I hope you continue to stick around and see what I have coming. I do not think you will disappointed. I have had several recent shares on facebook or other social media discussion forums, and thank you so much for helping me reach more readers and broaden my audience.  As part of the blogging world, I have also recently received three different awards on top of the two I previously received. These awards are given from blogger to blogger as a way of recognizing one another and helping them promote their site because they feel there's something worth reading on the site. So first I want to mention the three bloggers that recommended me for an award.

The three blogs that recently nominated me for an award are:
Second Mommy
Glori Online
Yay Baby

I love to read all three of these, especially Glori, who is also a working mom of two little kids. So I hope you can take a chance to check them out. I'm kind of stepping out of the box on how we're suppose to handle these nominations. I'm going to skip the questions this time but I would still love to take a minute to share some of my favorite blogs. Some of these might be repeated from my previous award nominations but that's because I love to read them every night before bed.

Foodie in WV (I am not a food blog kind of person but I read her so definitely worth checking out)
Country Bunkin Mama (I miss the simplicity of country life and she reminds me to enjoy the simple things. She's definitely one of my favorites)
Yvette's Life and other Stuff (Her kids are older but I love her been there, done that insight)
Domesticated Breakdown (I love following her military mom journey)
Life Imperfected & Grover's Corner (my wonderful coworkers that got me back into writing)
Diary of an Angry Pregnant Lady and Worst Mother of the Year (they do funny and sarcasm better than me so if you like funny and sarcastic be sure to check them out)
Southern Mess Moms and Growing Up Madison (they offer lots of reviews and giveaways so check them out)
There's Just One Mommy (I enjoy reading about her and her two little ones)
Mommy's Rambles (her stories make me laugh and cry)
Road Trip the World (this so mirrors what I want my kids to experience with my love for traveling)
Life Where's the Handbook
Rosels Mom Diary (she's a working mom of three girls that offers lots of helpful parenting tips)
Mama Musing (she just had her fourth baby and her first boy-it is possible)
Hot City Cool Mom (another good giveaway and review site)
Myth Busting Mommy (the title kind of says it so an interesting read)


If you're a blogger and regular reader drop me a message here sometime with your link so I'm sure to check you out.

Also, if you are on social media I have listed below a list of some of my most popular posts that readers have enjoyed. If you've already read them and liked them I hope maybe you can share them on your social networks. At the bottom of every post, there's a small icon to share posts you enjoy on facebook or google +. If you haven't read them I hope you check them out and can share your favorite on one of your social networks. Thank you again for helping me grow in my small little corner of the blogosphere.

The crap about motherhood that makes me laugh

Why Don't These Things Come with Instructions?
Did you Shave your Legs for This?
My motherhood Recommendations for Sanity
The Things I Didn't Know about Motherhood
Wal Mart: My Frienemy
Sometimes We're Superwoman but other times we're just Nuts
Motherhood bipolar?
5 Rules to Enforce after Cleaning the House
The Top 5 on the Motherhood Go to Hell list
The Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus Debate

The more serious side of me and motherhood

The Syrupy sweetness and sticky mess of Parenthood
A Mother to her Daughters
Wife vs Mother
My Letter to God
The Things about Motherhood that make me Cry
A Mother's Worst Fear
Learning to love two different children differently but the same
Another One of Those Days


As always thanks for reading :)






 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The College Expense Debate

The expense of college is something I'm scared to even think about. But the fact that my husband and I are still paying on our school loans and will be for quite some time, as well as recently receiving our retirement statements, has had me thinking about it and discussing it lately with a few important people in my life. However, we all have a different philosophy of what's expected of our children when it comes to the expense of college.

The three of us had to all pay our own way through college, in which case we are all still paying on school loans a good ten years out of school now. We will still be paying on them for quite some time. Each of our parents did what they could to help with slipping us twenties and sometimes even fifties for those neverending living expenses as a college student or helping with car loan payments or other bills for a few months when we were struggling. We all worked from the time we were sixteen. None of us saw this as a punishment or as being unfair. So even though the three of have very similiar background experiences with what our parents did to help us with the college expenses, we differ on what we hope to do as parents ourselves.

One of us feels that we had to take care of putting ourselves through college and it taught us very valuable life lessons that prepared us for the reality of the adultworld so therefore our children will benefit from a similiar experience. They will have to take out loans, work, and just do what needs to be done to get themselves through college. Nothing in life is handed to you so why send them out into the adultworld with mom and dad's money paying their way.

Another one of us feels that we should do what we can to save for their college now as they're growing up and pay what we can afford in a monthly tuition bill when they start college, but they will be expected to work some through high school and college to help with expenses.  If all their expenses aren't covered they will have to look into what will hopefully be smaller loans than we all left college with. Their choice of college may also be limited due to money that is saved and monthly money avaliable for tuition bills. We're willing to help but with that help still comes effort on their part, as well as responsibility on picking an affordable college and an understanding of how to manage money wisely so they can make the most of the financial help they get and leave college with as little debt as possible.

The third one of us feels that we should pay for all of their college expenses to whereever they want to attend. Studying and attending classes is a full time job as it is so they won't be pressured too much to find work to help with the expenses. Starting a career and adulthood buried in school loan debt seems to defeat the purpose of getting a college degree as  they will be burdened with a couple hundred dollars a month payment for the next 10-30 years of their working years.

I feel that this is a tough question or decision. As parents we want to be able to provide for our parents but we also want them prepared for the realities of the world. We want our kids to be able to stand on their own two feet just as we have. There are many adults of my generation-some because of circumstances that were out of their control but others because of poor decision making-struggle to be able to do this. In fact as a society we're criticized because we act entitled and expect someone to bail us out when we screw up or make bad decisions. However, the cost of college is getting outrageous. I hate to pull the "it's not fair" card but as a society our education system preaches college, college, college as the path to success. I'm not sure if that success should come with a price tag in the $20,000-$80,000 price range with a couple hundred dollar a month payment for the next 10-30 year though?

What are your thoughts, philosophies on the college expense issue with your kids? What's the best way to help them find success in the adultworld? 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Getting our Bake On

Don’t let the pictures fool you. I have not become a pinteresty domesticated mom. Not going to happen. In fact I’ve told my husband multiple times I refuse to be domesticated to the point of cooking, sewing, crafting, or even being fashionable. I’ll just be content being the renegade mom. In a time of desperation I can boil water for spaghetti; I even made tacos the other night when my husband wanted to go hunting after work and we were both quite impressed with me actually not burning anything or setting off the smoke alarm. I will get out a needle and thread to sew on a button or fix a hole, but trust me nobody will be coming to me to be a seamstress. My mother on the other hand should start her own online esty shop. She’s phenomenal with a needle, thread, and sewing machine. Now that I’ve found stress relief by returning to my hobby of writing, I keep trying to encourage her to sew again. My idea of being crafty is grabbing decorations out of the party section of the local Walmart. Fashion. Haha! My husband thinks I have way too much tomboy from my youth left in me.

I told the girls this weekend we would bake. And bake we did. I have always baked cookies and brownies with the girls probably since Averi was two. All this extra weight I’ve put on post baby is probably not from the babies themselves as much as from our mom/daughter baking time. You bake it, you should eat it, right? As you can tell from the pictures, we love to eat the batter. Yum, yum. But before you salmonella people start freaking out, brownie batter is awesome to eat before you put the eggs in. I’ve seriously contemplated just sitting on the couch and eating that for comfort (recall my brownie comfort addiction here with Did you Shave your Legs for This?). However, the problem with eating the batter before you put the eggs in, it seems to make the brownies more cake like because I guess it throws the balance of ingredients off. Maybe next time after we eat half the batter we’ll just throw in one egg rather than two. So if you’re someone who never eats the batter because of salmonella fear, seriously try this. It’s good. It will make you feel better about life.

After they did some simple baking with mom, they did some hardcore baking with Daddy with all those apples we picked last week. My husband went to culinary arts school for a year when he first got out of high school, and I am not exaggerating when I say the man is an exceptional cook. People come here to visit with food requests of what they want him to make. We actually met at the restaurant where we was a cook and I was a waitress and people would ask if he was the cook because they had special orders that they would place such as “Nate’s wings”.

So we spent our Saturday evening as a family, baking apple pie and something he calls a bird’s nest which is similar to homemade strawberry shortcake, just with apples instead of strawberries. It was a good family night at home. If I was a real food blogger I'd leave you with a recipe but I have no idea how exactly to make this. Maybe I'll have Nate guest post sometime (I keep asking him to) but if you want a real food blog check out this one. She's awesome.

Here’s some of our apple baking with our brownie baking warm up Saturday:






                                                    I have to lick up this last drop off the table, Mom.
                                                   Steeling apples.


                                               My manly husband getting his bake on.



                                   She pretty much rolled around on the flour covered table.
                  Yes, this is the fourth outfit she put on for our baking experience; hence all the laundry I seemed to always be washing.



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Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Clown of this Circus Show called Motherhood

Motherhood for me is a juggling act. A very ungraceful one at times. I was never very graceful to begin with so I guess it's no surprise that when it comes to motherhood my skills at times resemble the goofy clown in the middle of the circus show rather than the graceful trapeze artist (I've made this analogy once before here and if you haven't read it it's worth the read).

I reached a point this week where I was torn between crying or laughing. I have balls everywhere and trying to pull everything into a neat, tidy little balance is about damn near impossible. As always I feel pretty with it and like I got this act down on Monday. I'm a beautiful graceful trapeze artist on Mondays. My children are wonderful and well behaved (haha), my house is cleaned for the most part from my weekly weekend housekeeping, meals are planned out for the week, the fridge is stocked with groceries bought over the weekend, laundry is caught up and put away, lessons are planned for the week, and grading is as caught up as an English teacher's grading gets. Oh, and my husband and I are getting along because we had a great weekend to refresh and reconnect and aren't incredibly stressed out and picking on one another just simply because the other one is there. I start thinking this is cake. I got this. These are my thoughts and then I realize it's only Monday.

It use to be around Wednesday when my balancing act would start to resemble a tumbling trapeze artist. Wednesday's are when I slip on the wire, my outfit tears, and the crowd catches their breath wondering if I'm going to pull myself back up or fall below in another failed attempt at this balancing act.

This week the slip of balance started on Tuesday and I didn't even go to work this Monday! My futon is currently covered in unfolded clothes that for the life of me I cannot find time to fold. I've finally sat down twice at 930 to fold them only to realize I'm too tired and need to go to bed. In the process of trying to do laundry Tuesday night is also when my husband starts hollering from above. When this occurs we just shake our head wondering why the other thinks we can hear them from one floor to the other. I finally go upstairs to the kitchen and he says to me, "I've been yelling fire. I've yelled fire like six times."

Do you ever just stare at something dumbfounded, thinking is that really happening? That was me as I stared at my stove which at that moment was shooting fairly high flames from the one burner. I just stood there. At this point my oldest daughter sees the fire and starts crying hysterically and because she's crying my younger daughter starts crying. The dog starts barking. And I'm just standing there. Not helping with the fire, not calming the girls, not sending anybody outside. Finally I say, "Throw flour on it. That's what we did in college when the stove caught on fire." At this point, he's already smothering it with a wet dishrag. It's of course my nice decorative one I have set out.

My next words are, "You're using my good towel!" At this point the look my husband gives me is enough to get me to at least move. He had it under control so I went to sit on the couch with the two girls. Then on top of the crying and barking dog, the annoying sound of the fire alarm started.

That was Tuesday. On Wednesday, while my husband was at class and I was trying to clean up the dishes from the night before in order to heat us all up leftovers because again it was getting towards 800 since Averi had dance that night. The girls were playing together wonderfully. Even Averi stressed to me how well they were playing. Kenz comes in as I'm finishing up something with cleaning, and I pick her up. And FREAK out! Averi had cut her beautiful curls off into a mullet! My baby did not even have an inch of hair left on the top or side of her head. Every time I look at my poor baby I just want to cry. I know it's hair and it'll grow back, but I love her curls! Averi knew I was upset and spent  a good half hour crying, and when my poor husband came home from class at 800 he had to do some emergency haircutting because Averi cut her hair as well. Let me just say as a mother, when we do screw up because we weren't paying attention, don't start with the "what were you doing?" "weren't you watching them?"  I don't need the criticism. I feel bad enough as it is. No one that was a mother themselves said one critical thing; it of course came from a nonmother.

Today, minus the fact that something was up with my contacts this morning, is going okay. Of course I haven't made it home yet. I'm pretty sure I put my contacts in the wrong eyes this morning. They were making me dizzy and causing me a massive headache so again my husband came to the rescue (this guy is starting to deserve a medal at this point) and brought me new ones. I thought the problem was all fixed except I could not see right out of my left eye. It was even worse than before so three hours after I get to work I go to take them out again. The life of a teacher; if you're not passed out or gushing blood it's hard to do anything outside of planning time. I take it out. I take out the first one in my left eye and then I take out the second one in my left eye. That's right. I put my new contact in my eye right over the top of my old one.

It's at this point that I'm starting to think maybe I need a keeper. I'm a hot mess. Some days I may be a half a step ahead of crazy but I think at some point this week I just crossed over to crazy. My vision is always to be the graceful trapeze artist but weeks like this really show how maybe the goofy clown is a better analogy to my balance of motherhood.

Averi's haircut after her dad fixed it.


                                            Kenzi's haircut courtesy of her sister


 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Parenting: A Job that gets Harder rather than Easier?

Most things in life gets easier as we do them longer but not parenting. In fact, I’m becoming more and more convinced that the year of infancy when they cry, never sleep through the night, and need you to do everything for them is the easiest year. I even recall older parents telling me to enjoy that year because it just gets harder. Lucky for me my girls were both amazing night sleepers. My oldest was an easy baby, and even though my second was a little more difficult, I’m becoming convinced they were right. They don’t move. You can put them somewhere and they don’t move. How much easier than that can we get, right?

Now I have a four year old and a one year old. If I want them to stay in one spot, I better buy them their own individual doggy crate. Not only are they mobile now but they are into everything. They can take a room and flip it upside down in record time. Yes, they are more independent, but even though you’ve celebrated that they’re potty trained, those of us new to this point in parenthood didn’t realize this was just the start of the “Mommy, come wipe my butt!” phase.

Then with that level of independence comes their decision making process. This is always a fascinating one to me. My daughter never ceases to amaze me with this one. The other day she was playing outside with her boy cousin, who I guess decided to just pee outside. A few minutes later she comes up to where the adults are sitting on the deck and says, “I pooped behind the tree.” How do you keep a straight face to that? What do you do? Knowing my daughter she was probably telling the truth, but I wasn’t about to go down there and look for it. My sister in law came to my rescue with, “Well, did you wipe?” Of course she said no, so my sister in law replied with, “I guess you better go do that.”

Yes, they can talks so that should be easier, right? Except now they can lecture you too. My daughter loves to remind me that I shouldn’t use bad words, which I don’t often but damnit, I cannot break myself of the word damnit. My husband tells her every time I let it slip I owe a dollar to the swear jar. Guess they can look at it this way. By the time we’ve all survived their childhood, I will have enough saved in that swear jar I can take us all on a first class vacation.

As they get older they develop this thing called a mind of their own. And that mind of theirs doesn’t always agree with that mind of ours! They get set on things, like a binkie or not sleeping in their bed, and then we have to do this thing called real parenting. And real parenting is way harder than just feeding, changing, and holding them because that’s all we have to do for the most part that first year. Now you have to let them know that everything is not their way (it’s my way J ) , that we have to have consequences for our actions even when they’re looking at us with those big pretty eyes and fat tears.

But we also have to teach them. We have to teach them about fairness with their friends and siblings, about disappointments and how to handle them, about helping others and doing their homework, and how to be a good person and friend. By the time we’re done, that first year of parenting is looking more and more like a piece of cake compared to this real parenting thing.

As time goes on and we butt heads over our differences but share in the joys and the troubles of their journey of childhood, we realize with each day we love them more than the day before. Maybe it’s the intensity of that growing love that leads to probably one of the hardest parts of parenthood-the one that requires us to let them go.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Another one of "those" days

It's been a busy week and I have a page or two filled with posts ideas but I had a day yesterday. So the other posts will have to wait. It was another one of "those" days. The type of day that leaves you reflecting the ups and downs of motherhood.

No, I don't mean the one where I'm exhausted and feel like the kids and everyone else drives me crazy. Not one of those days where nothing goes right. Not one of those days where I'm running late, everyone wants something from me and I feel like there's not enough of me to meet everyone's demands. Not one of those days where I just want to cry in the end because I feel that I just can't get anything right. Sadly, I feel there are too many of "those" days in motherhood. We're going through the motions, doing what we need to do, but sometimes feeling like it's not enough or we failed in some way.

Yesterday, was not one of "those" days. It was the day of sunshine on a beautiful Fall like Saturday, where jeans, flip flops, and a long sleeve but thin shirt is just about right. The kind of day where you can smell Fall in the air. The kind of day where you just want to stop in the middle of the fresh air, close your eyes, still feel the sun beating down on your face, hear the laughter of the children enjoying apples and pumpkins around you, and realize that this is one of "those" days that makes every other exhausting, struggling day completely worth it. It's a moment of perfection; it's a moment to treasure and lock away in that precious motherhood box of memories that makes motherhood the joyous journey that it can sometimes be.

I am so guilty, and I imagine I'm not alone in this, in letting those other bad days drag me down and cause me too much doubt and guilt. My parents are always reminding my sisters and me how fast this times goes; how later this time of our kids being little is just going to be a blink in time. I often wonder if I'm missing too much because I'm too busy working. But it's days like yesterday that I know I'm okay; I'm doing the right things. It's those days I hold  dearly as I return to the rush, rush of being a working momma at the beginning of every week.  When I look back on this in my life I'm sure I'll remember the exhaustion, frustrations, and doubt as a clustered blur of the early years of raising my girls. I won't really remember the individual days, but the particular days I will remember will be "those" days like yesterday. The days that everything falls into place, where I stand there just happy and content to just watch them in their childish joy as they explore their surroundings, excited to share a day with mom and dad and whatever other family may be with us. Those are the moments that count; it's another one of "those" days we want to have again and again.

I hope you have another one of "those" days soon.



Here are the pictures from our special day apple picking on one of the farms of Carroll County, Maryland followed by a trip down to the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, Maryland.


                                             Kenzi petting the kittens in the kitten corner.
 So excited to pick their own apples.    Averi kept eating them.
                                                             Averi loved the kittens.
                                                          Going down the makeshift slide.
                                                               Petting the donkey
                                                                     Hi, Mom!
         The girls with their cousins and some random boy in the back down in the Inner Harbor.
                                  Our little musician playing on the cool new musical things in the Harbor.
            Kenzi dropped what she was doing and ran over to hang off this bar. I think she wanted to show us she could do what she sees sissy doing at gymnastics. It was just too stinkin cute.
                          On the 27th floor of the Baltimore World Trade Center overlooking Baltimore.



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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Free Shutterfly Book


This is going to short and to the point. Shutterfly just emailed me a great deal I didn't want you to miss out on. Until Sept 11, you can purchase a Free 8 x 8 20 page photo book from Shutterfly!
Enter the coupon code of summerbook at checkout to receive the discount and have your summer memories saved in beautiful photo book with Shutterfly. If you go over 20 pages you just pay for those pages past page 20. I know I'm going to be taking advantage of this. Hope you do as well. Happy photo memory making.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Let's hear it for all the single mommas!

I recently encountered the following post post by Christy @ Mother of the Year  about single moms and just like Christy I call bullshit. I was not raised by a single mom and as probably all of you know I am not a single mom. But I have a lot of respect for the single mom.

I know some would like to blame single mothers for poor decisions in their past; some would also like to make single mothers the scapegoats for some of society’s current problems. I'm sure there are single mothers that made poor decisions just as  there are married mothers that have made poor decisions too. Maybe there are some bad apples in the single mother orchard but there are some in the married mother one too.

Aside from my own mother, whom I obviously have a great respect for, there’s a few other mommas I’d like to recognize. My aunt and my husband’s grandmother are two women I have always had a quiet admiration for. Both of these women moved far from home just as I did, were married, and had three children with their husbands, but then due to circumstances that they had every right to see as wrong and threatening to their children, left their husbands and raised their children on their own. In both cases I believe their three children were under the age of ten. Let me tell you to this day at age 79 and 54, these are some strong women. These women not only raised their children alone with no husband and family far away, they worked hard day after day and year after year. Just as Christy mentions in her experiences as a single mother, she refused to let others take care of her and her own. They worked hard, they worked long hours, and they fought mentally and emotionally every day to provide for their children. They deserve respect the same as other mothers that work hard to take care of their children.

Our society is so bad about casting stones at people because of stereotypes that have been cast upon their subgroup. I have several high school friends again for reasons that are personal have found themselves on the single mom path. I follow their stories and again I know these ladies work hard to provide and care for their daughters. They don’t deserve a negative label based on the simple fact that they’re a single mom.

Motherhood is hard no matter how we cut it- single, married, homosexual, stay at home, work from home, working , one kid, four kids, special needs, gifted and talented-but just as everything in life is unfair some do have it harder than others; some have larger mountains to climb than others. In different ways yes, we are all probably warrior moms for the obstacles we overcome and mountains we climb on our journey. Again it is for reasons like this that even though we may share some of the same experiences in motherhood no two mothers or their journey are the same. Just as we shouldn’t judge ourselves because of someone’s motherhood experience, we shouldn’t be so quick to judge another because of hers.

As part of my new goal to share other mom’s stories and struggles, I want to share the project Christy and another mom Kimbra recently started called Project Warrior Mom. This is a project to recognize and offer resources to those moms that have larger mountains to climb. As Christy and Kimbra mention all too often it's the negative stories of motherhood that makes the headlines rather than the uplifting stories of the the successes of motherhood and just survival in general.

Maybe next time you can give a positive shoutout to the single mommas in your life!


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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Mother to Mother: My letter to you

I’ve had the awesome opportunity to speak to several women and moms lately through emails, internet messaging, and even some long overdue phone calls. I love the honesty and relief that results from talking to other women woman to woman. We’re all afraid no one else is experiencing what we’re experiencing; that by admitting our struggles and failures that we’ve somehow failed at motherhood. But this is not the case; we all struggle in different ways. This is not an easy journey and as we go through it we get overwhelmed, exhausted, bogged down, and honestly just hit moments where we feel completely inadequate with all that’s expected of us. I love that writing this blog has offered me an opportunity to connect with so many moms and hopefully help them feel better or feel like they’re not alone. Blogging and writing about motherhood more so than my kids last spring became my outlet to a depression I was struggling to pull myself out of. For whatever reason I had reached a point where I couldn’t mentally in a healthy way handle the stress I was dealing with anymore. I knew I was depressed but I’m a little hard headed and resistant to things like seeking help.

I even finally gave in to my anti medication stance and called the doctor to get a prescription except they couldn’t get me in for two months. Thank God I wasn’t a woman on a serious warpath. Writing became my outlet, and as I connected with more and more women, and did some other things in my personal life to get back to a level minded playing field, I found my way out without the help of the doc and meds. The same way women and moms like to connect with me to share the struggles of modern day motherhood, it was the opening of this door to all of you and your kind words and encouragement and acknowledgment that I’m not alone in what I see now as typical struggles of motherhood that brought me here. The moms I've met or reconnected with through writing here has truly helped and inspired me in so many ways as a mom and a grown woman. So to you I say thank you. Words are a powerful thing, and never doubt the power of them. Your words could mean so much more to a person than you ever imagine or think possible but sometimes to say or write the things we think is a scary thing.

Writing is my hobby, but my actual paying job is as a teacher. I love to try to inspire, encourage, motivate people. It’s what I do. Always trying to inspire, encourage, motivate a kid to find their greatness, to make something of their life, to find what drives them and makes them want to be successful. I also try to encourage them as they write to tap into their own feelings and emotions because as someone who loves to write I can tell you there is a sense of freedom in using words to cope with life's struggles. I feel that writing has allowed me this unplanned opportunity to do that with women, other mothers, but let me share this. I want this to be the place of sharing and encouraging that it’s been these last few months. But I want to stress the message that I do not have it all together, I am nowhere near having all the answers now or probably ever, and my only goal when it comes to inspiring, encouraging, and motivating is not to make mothers feel like they need to be like some other ideal “mother”, but to just want to get up everyday happy that we’re a mother, and ready to be a little better at who we are than who we were the day before.

I love social media but one of the problems with social media is we all feel like we have to measure up to this unrealistic “supermom” image that some present on facebook or other social media networks. They probably don’t even do it on purpose; they just want to share the things that are great and make them happy in their life. But this leads to some of us thinking “how does she do it ‘all’” and feeling insufficient. This is where as women our harshest critics sometimes are ourselves. No other woman judges us as much as we judge ourselves. You are a great mother. You share your stories with me in different ways just as I share mine with you here. Every one of you should give yourself a pat on the back.

A friend of mine said it so well when she said we’re all great at different things. This is something as teachers we’re taught and teach to our students. That doesn’t change as we become adults and mothers. One mom may be great at staying in shape but struggles with keeping a clean house or doing crafty projects. Another mom may be the craftiest woman you’ve ever seen but functions on unorganization and thinks working out is talking the stairs at work. There’s the mom that keeps the immaculate house even with the four children but couldn’t be crafty if her life depended on it. And just because I’m a mom that writes about motherhood does not mean I’m any better of a mother than any other woman. So please don’t put me or any mother on some unrealistic pedestal. We are all just doing the best we can with the talents and resources we have available to us.

When I was younger as a softball player I remember struggling with self confidence in my abilities much in the same ways I see mothers of today struggle with it. I was pitcher so my role always stood out. As competitive as I am, I accepted early in my softball career I would never be the best player, but I was determined to compete with the best. I feel that motherhood is the same way. The goal isn’t necessarily to be the best because honestly we all excel in so many different ways there really is no way to name a true mother of the year (does that really exist?) but more so the goal should be to be right there with the best, juggling and failing at times in this multitasking balancing act that is motherhood. Love the journey, mama. It’s not always easy but as any older been there momma will tell you, the early years of childrearing are over in a blink. Don’t be too hard on yourself and enjoy the ride.
As one mother to another I thank you for reading and sharing in my journey of motherhood. Always feel free to email me at glennbabies@gmail.com. I love connecting and sharing with moms.


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Monday, September 2, 2013

Planning, Organizing, and Delegating the Chaos of Motherhood

Week 2, or Week 1 with students, went well. I did develop a nasty cold the first night of school and fell asleep one night before the kids, in which I woke up the next morning to find the baby’s crib moved to the center of her room and all her furniture rearranged again. According to Nate he heard a bunch of thumping and banging and went up to find Averi hanging out in her sister’s room. Maybe she’ll be an interior designer when she grows up? Averi when asked to hold blood red nail polish for literally five seconds while I painted Kenz's nails somehow managed to drip it on my couch, all down the hallway, and then it looks like the mass kill occurred in the bathroom. It looked like somehow butchered a small animal in my bathroom. Do you know how hard it is to get nail polish out of things? Let me tell you, almost impossible.

Other than the cold, the bathroom massacre, and rearranged furntiure, we only had Averi’s gymnastics class this past week rather than gymnastics and dance, it was an off week for Nate’s grad classes so that keeps the stress level down, and I totally slacked on the working out to prepare for this 5K in November. And I’m pretty sure I was washing dishes a few days old yesterday after discovering that spaghetti noodles do some fairly odd things after sitting in the bottom of a dirty dish. I’m sure there’s a week coming where it’s all going to hit and I’m going to think it’s just as crazy and chaotic as ever, but for this week it was very organized chaos. The way I like it. I'm realisitc; in my life mishaps are just going to happen so for us this was a great week. Because it went well in our little Glenn world and this might seriously be the only week that happens I thought I’d share what helped it go smoothly.

 am a planner. My family kids me sooo much about what a planner I am. Last year, I did not feel like that planner at all. Last year was just straight chaos with no organization. My husband is a little reluctant to my strict schedule I have set for us. He likes to ask me if I wrote down when we’re allowed to use the bathroom. No, I didn’t go that far, but I maybe did go a little overhead. I have a day to day schedule on the fridge for Sunday-Sunday. It includes routines, chores, activities. The message on the top reads, " Stick to it or suffer." This is as much a message to myself as a warning to all of them.  

Part of that planning involved how to manage all the household chores. One thing I’ve started doing at the suggestion of my super sister is how I tackle laundry. Every night while Nate’s cooking dinner between 6-7 I am doing a load of laundry, as well as a daily house clean up. This one load a day makes it feel like I’m always kept up on laundry! Okay, minus the basket with folded clothes that permanently sits in our bedroom. I did not spend my weekend catching up on laundry for once. With cleaning, I wait until right before dinner during that 6-7 hours to go around and do a quick tidy up because after dinner all that is left is the kitchen and the girls are headed to the bathtub and then off to bed from there so it’s a safe time to clean up so I don’t feel like that’s all I’m doing when I’m home with the girls after work.

The other thing that I started doing is meal planning. I hear moms recommend this all the time. Why did I wait so long? First, it keeps us from running to the store every day because we need something for dinner so it’s smarter grocery shopping and probably saves me money. I always spend a good $10 or more than I plan whenever I walk into a store. Plus I’m hoping besides our gymnastics pizza night and maybe one dinner out on the weekend, we won’t have all those unplanned take out nights, which runs into a bunch of money. Twice now too we’ve been making something that creates lots of leftovers on the weekend. I bought a bunch of Tupperware last year, and it has come in real handy lately. We’ve frozen chili, spaghetti sauce, and now lasagna because there’s so much leftover to put in the fridge for lunches and one night of leftovers, but we didn’t want to eat it all week or waste it, so freezing it to take it back out weeks later has worked great.

As for house cleaning, I’ve decided instead of cleaning (mopping, dusting, scrubbing bathrooms) every stinkin Saturday, I’m only doing it every other and that’s on the Saturday Nate doesn’t have class so he can entertain the girls so I’ll get it done by noon rather than feeling like it takes the whole day. I’m thinking with the daily sweeping, pick up, and occasional wipe down in the bathroom twice a month for a good cleaning should be good enough. Nate’s dropped a few hints here and there about things being dirty, but when you’re a working mom something has to go at the bottom of the list and to me housecleaning has to be it. What else is there? I guess there’s my me time, but we can survive a dirty bathroom, we can’t survive a bitchy, on the warpath momma.

I see having a slightly A type personality as a blessing and a curse. In some ways it is nice to be organized and well planned but sometimes I feel it doesn’t allow me to just turn my brain off and relax. Nate gets irritated with me sometimes because I just won’t stop, sit down, and veg out. Blogging has become my veg out. Social networking whether it’s writing silly, stupid random post like I do on here or playing on facebook is the only way I “relax”. I will also sit down with him on some nights and watch TV if there’s something good on, but I am not a big TV person so vegging out in front of the TV is not how I want to relax every night.

My life is busy, busy, and I am the one in charge of keeping this household running and afloat with my trusting partner in crime, aka Daddy. Just as he excels in some areas of running our family life, I’m the one everyone counts on to keep everything organized so we can all succeed at whatever our latest endeavors may be. So everything has it’s place and everyone has their responsibilities. When my mom was going back to work after staying home with my sisters and me for ten years, I always remember her using managing a household as a skill set. It does take skill. You have to know how to plan, organize, delegate, and make it all happen. My husband knows I’m not the super clean neat freak that some still think I am. I let that go long, long ago, which is obvious by the dirty bathrooms and science experiment spaghetti that sat unkown at the bottom of the sauce pan that held the dirty dishes I kept putting off until the end of the week, but I still like to be organized and have a plan, even if it’s a faulty one. We’ve been living this life as parents for almost five years, and it’s a hard balance sometimes. There’s the house, there’s the job responsibilities which have usually included coaching, and there’s always been grad school, and family life with the kids and each other. I’ve always just made it happen, but last year was like an unsteady balancing act where I felt ready to topple over at any second. I want this year to be a much more successful mental balancing act. The doubtful, unconfident, negative person that I was last year wasn’t me, and I want the confident again, less doubtful, and more energized and positive me back. Sometimes the first step to wearing all these hats is just saying I know I can.

If you’re a busy mom how do you make it all happen? What’s your game plan? How do you plan, organize, and delegate to survive the chaos of motherhood?
 
If interested in Tupperware please check my friend, Megan's Tupperware site. Volunteer to host an online party and win some free tupperware like I did and start freezing some meals to make family life easier.
 
                                                My four year old is pretty darn good dishwasher.
                                              Averi has always wanted to help with her sister
                                      The result when you send them into the bathroom alone.
                      What I'm hoping to avoid on the weekends because this is what it use to look like.