Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good bye, 2013!

Hard to believe another year has passed us by. People are always telling me the older you get the faster time goes. That is seriously no joke. As much as I'm always looking ahead with anxiety or excitement or planning for this or that, time could seriously slow down. I sometimes dread the long haul of winter after the holidays because it feels like the long drag of the school year, it dark and cold outside, and sometimes I think I have that seasonal depression disorder because it s just too slow and boring for me. For those that know me well know I don't do boring or even relaxing very well. I am a go go, how busy can I be person. But I'm also realizing the busier we are the faster time seems to go so I ve decided I'm okay with this winter taking her sweet time. So 2014 might start out kind of boring over here at Time with A & N. I'm sure it can only be so boring with my two kiddos though.

2013 was a stressful but good year. We finally made the move we had been hoping for for three years. Nate completed his coursework and passed his test for his masters degree and Adm certification. We started our ninth year of teaching in Maryland, year 10 for me total. We each found our way back to the hobbies that have been our passions forever but had abandoned the last few years by each starting our own websites. Mine of course is this one and his is his photography site at Point Click Capture Photography. We both earned a little extra money with them and hope to see that continue in 2014.

The girls are of course our biggest pride & joy of 2013. Who knew you could love someone so much that can still drive you so absolutely crazy!? Averi has become quite the big girl and she is such a HUGE help with her little sister. Kenzi adores her and looks up to her so much. They both love the outdoors, coloring, going to the library, dolls and barbies and everything girlie. Averi has really started to improve a lot with her gymnastics this year and will get o move up a class in 2014 and Kenzi will be starting as well in the next month or so. They keep us busy and on our toes but I wouldn't have it any other way.

We're looking forward to 2014 as I see it being another big year for us with Nate hopefully getting a new promoted job, Averi starting kindergarten, and Kenzi making that transition from toddler to little girl (insert sad momma face here) as I expect her to conquer potty training, sleeping in a big girl bed, and becoming more of a talker as she works her way towards three, and maybe starting the planning for the last and final Glenn baby. I don't look for it to make an appearance in 2014 but maybe more of a decision on if and when. Overall, it's been a great year for us here and we have much to be thankful for as we close this year and move towards a new one.



So as we wind down the 2013 school year, I thought I would take a moment to not just reflect but reshare the Time with A & N's Top 20 posts of 2013. Here are the first 10. I will share the Top 10 later.

#20 is  Did you Shave Your Legs for This? This was a post inspired by husbands and those things they just say that maybe they shouldn't.

#19 is Wife vs Mother A look at the battle of maintaining the role of wife when taking on motherhood.

#18 is Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus Comparison A comical look at how we really are SOOOO different.

#17 is Mother to Mother As mothers we are our harshest critics.

#16 is Maybe not one of My Finer Parenting Moments Just one of many mom fail moments over here.

#15 is I love my kids but you know you think about it too!!! Just another day of chaos in the Glenn house but you know I'm not alone!

#14 is The Journey to Loving Two Different Children a serious look at loving multiple children the same.

#13 is Hey, Coach, you Missed the Call a post about sweet dear old dad.

#12 is 5 Rules to Enforce after Cleaning the House. I think all moms should print this one out and hang it on their fridge. HAHA

#11 is The College Expense Debate Everyone loves a good argument. Is this one in your household?


The Top 10 Post will have a year in review of pictures. But here they are playing dress up.






 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Roots and Wings

Have you ever wanted two wanted two things at the same time that was impossible to have because you could only have one or the other? This is where I ve found myself lately. I love Maryland and how Nate and I have made it our home. I love that we take our girls camping in the mountains and to the beach every summer because it s less than three hours away. I love our friends out there. Our career lives have been built out there. We ve built a life out there.

But the shadow of doubt that hangs too close reminds me how they only get to see their grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins two to three times if they re lucky a year. I think of all the ball games and kids events my parents will miss seeing. I think about how they re missing the opportunity to grow up with the kids of my closest childhood friends. I think how I wouldn't have to pick and choose which big life events I can make it back for.

I keep thinking as the kids get older it will be easier to say good bye. I don't remember it being this hard when I was out there for four years with no kids.

The anticipation of going home is always like reliving the anticipation of Christmas morning as a little kid. Being far from home I feel has given me such an appreciation for time and making it count. I always worry if I'm telling someone good bye for the last time, particularly my aging grandparents and I see my mother going through this now with her own mother that lives about 1000 miles away. But as much as some think just move back it s never that simple; just as it wasn't to leave in the first place. I ve always believed we choose the paths we choose for a reason so we shall see.

It is a tug of war of emotions that only those that are always say goodbye as they go from one family home to the next can understand. I read a quote recently by Hodding Carter that said "There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One is roots and the other is wings." But because one is so deep I will always question how far and for how long should I  go.





Friday, December 20, 2013

Thankful for Great Grandparents

Over the past three weeks my girls have been fortunate enough to have their nana, my husband's grandmother, down visiting and helping. This is the fourth time she's come down for a month or so since our oldest daughter was born.

Each time she's here with us for a month or so, I am so thankful. Not just because an extra pair of hands is a HUGE help, but because my daughters have had the opportunity to spend time and get to know their great grandmother so well. I know they have created lasting memories with her, especially my oldest daughter.  My younger daughter will hopefully have lasting memories too as she gets old enough to maintain more memories.

Grandparents are great at spoiling our children but there is so much more our children get from having a chance to know and spend time with their grandparents. As fortunate as some of us hopefully are to know our grandparents, some of us are even more fortunate to have the opportunity to know our great grandparents. I was very fortunate to have 20 years with my dad's grandmother, my Great Grandma C. To this day I still remember spending summer afternoons at her house helping her out with her yard work and cleaning, and then she would of course give us money to walk to the town ice cream shop to treat ourselves. I can still picture her silver hair and weathered hands and feel the softness of her cheeks from all the times we'd kiss her goodbye. Whenever Touched by an Angel comes or whenever a coworker would refer to my oldest daughter as MacGyver (a story in itself) I think of as I always remember these playing on her TV. I remember even at a  young age admiring her internal strength as she was not dealt the easiest cards in life. She lived through the death of all three of her children, two husbands, and one grandchild, but I remember her as positive and hopeful, always interested in hearing about our latest accomplishments and softball wins. She looked forward to seeing us and now even though there may have been a few days I didn't feel like going over there to help out or stopping by because I was a teen that thought I had more important things to do, I am so glad now that I spent so much time with her and have these lasting memories now.

My husband's grandmother reminds me a lot of my own great grandmother, and even though I felt I had a good relationship with my great grandmother, I feel that my girls have an even closer one with theirs even though we're five hours apart. As much as I think she's a great role model and inspiration to my girls, she is probably more so one to me than them at the moment. She raised three kids on her own in a time when single motherhood was pretty much unheard of. She was farther away from family than the 18 hours I am. At times she held down two jobs and provided for them on her own. She is almost 80 years old but an active woman set on her independence. I've always had an admiration for independent women and when I think of the women I admire and look up to in this age of the independent, determined woman of motherhood, she is and will always be one of the faces I see.

I think as women, and more so as mothers, as much as we want to be our own woman and each generation's journey is different, it is important to find the things we admire in the generations ahead of us. I think even recognizing the women and mothers we look up to is an important part of our own motherhood journeys.

For now I want to say I am so thankful for not only her role in my husband's life or even mine but that my children will have all these wonderful memories of this wonderful woman.


 
Averi and Kenzi with their Nana
 
 
Averi's name Averiella Lorenza is after her Nana whose first name is Lorenza even though she goes by Lorrie.
 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Childhood Things I Will Miss

There are some days I look forward to the days in the future  when my children will be more independent and self sufficient because this constant demand for mommy stage is exhausting. If it's not "Mommy, I need milk", it's "Mommy, come wipe my butt." It's "Mommy, read me another story. Mommy, she hit me. Mommy, write this for me. Mommy, I'm hungry. Mommy, I want this now. Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy." And on and on the list of demands goes. But as anxious as I am for them to wipe their own butts; feed themselves; tie their own shoes; be left in the car so I don't have to drag two kids out of their car seats just to run into a store for less than two minutes to get a galloon of milk; and to be able to go into a store with them without wondering is this going to be the moment they have an absolute meltdown in the store because I said no, there's an even bigger part of me that will miss so much more about these early years.

I am not a huge baby/infant fan. Most of the time I mention how if our third kid could come out at about age two that would be great. Infants and babies are cute and cuddly and it's nice that they don't move or get into things, but I love when they start to have their own individual personalities. Don't get me wrong I loved my daughters as babies but they were just like these little chubby logs with human features that cried and pooped a lot.

But as they move from infancy into their early childhood years, these are the things I will miss about these years that exhausted and stressed me out and pushed me to new limits.

I will miss my daughter telling her dad he is her prince.

I will miss them wrapping and gifting me their toys on my real and pretend birthday.

I will miss having a play doh meal served to me.

I will miss being their client while they put all 50 of their hair bows in my hair.

I will miss playing hide and seek and listening for their giggles to find them.

I will miss them happily eating leftovers while we eat carry out.

I will miss being able to make up lies and stories to get them to do something and they just believe them and obey.

I will miss them painting my toe nails and usually my toes too.

I will miss them wanting to hold my hand.

I will miss their random singing and dancing.

I will miss swinging on the swings with them.

I will miss rocking them to sleep.

I will miss them telling me they love me as much a big cow or whatever other grand object they can imagine in their little minds.

I will miss their innocence, the way only a child sees the beauty in the world.

I will miss the hilarious things that they miss pronounce like "Daddy, there's a deer. You can shoot it with your boner (bow)!)

I will miss the mischief they get into like covering their head in diaper cream like Daddy does with shaving cream when he goes to shave his head or putting make up and lip gloss all over their faces and sometimes hair.

There's so much to look forward to and so much to miss as it passes us by. For now, I hope to enjoy all these little precious moments and grit my teeth and bear the butt wiping and "I need you to do this right NOW!"  moments. I always hear from moms of older children that there's something different to love about every age. I should try to remember to do a list like this with their teenage years, but for now I have no wish to rush time.





Posts you might have missed

Give a Child a Childhood Worth Remembering

The Glenn Family Christmas Tree

The Working vs Stay at Home Mom Debate



 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Give a Childhood worth Remembering



As I was grading papers this past weekend something was sadly brought to my attention. If it wasn't for a decade now in the classroom, I think I would still be na├»ve to this as an actual problem. I look around at my friends now as parents, my coworkers who are balancing parenthood with me, and the moms I've met in this virtual world we now live in, and I see the love and enjoyment they have in their children. I delight in seeing their pictures and hearing their stories of the time they've spent with their children whether it's now or memories of the past. This is the world I grew up in; it's the only kind of world I know how to raise my own children in. I surround myself with people that only know the same thing. We see our children as gifts from God, as something to treasure and mold with our love. Our love and the childhoods we give them is what molds them into the adults they become.

But there's another world teaching has opened my eyes to. It's a world where a child grows up feeling unloved because they're different, unloved because their parents love material objects more, unloved because their parent has an addiction they love more than their own child. it's a world where a child feels unloved because their father abandoned their family for another woman and her children, they feel unloved because they remind their mother of the man that she despises. I'm beginning to think I've read it all. It breaks my heart. Teaching gives me a window into others' lives and stories in a way I never imagined possible. Unfortunately, I've encountered more that break my heart than fill it with wonder. Their heartache and disappointment is so raw and real on the paper in which they write their stories. I often wonder do their parents know? Do they care?

Childhood is what shapes our hope, our perception of the world, our own visions for family and happiness. Imagine robbing that hope and magic from your childhood.

Unfortunately, the parents that need to read or hear this don't read this blog or probably any parenting blog for that matter. If they did, here is what I would say to them. Play with your child. Build something with blocks with them, roll around in the grass or snow with them, bake together, color together, play catch and go for walks together, cuddle with them even when they're too old, play hide and seek, make dinner together. Just be there for them. Encourage them in the things they do. Love them for who they are. Love them when they upset you. Help them understand it's okay to make mistakes and that there's beauty in their imperfections. Parenting is hard and we all make mistakes but all that is okay if we give them our unconditional love and time. So to those parents, I would say give your child the gift of a childhood worth remembering.



 
 
 
 
 
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Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Glenn Family Christmas Tree

We had grand plans to kick off the first of only two weekends between the traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday and traveling again for the Christmas holiday. In typical Glenn fashion we were of course running behind/late on everything. The main goal for Saturday was to get our family Christmas tree. The last time we ventured to a Christmas tree farm to cut our own tree, the ripped us off with a $90 crooked tree! And then it fell off the traverse going down the interstate at that. This trip was a lot less stressful and adventurous. Since we've moved last February there are now dozens of Christmas tree farms within ten miles of our house so we went to one that charged $40 any tree. I didn't want any checkbook surprises this year. We had to hike clear to the back to get to the big frasier firs that my husband loves with our 79 year old grandma (she's a trooper though!) and my two year old. We always realize later that bringing their wagon for something like this would have been a good idea. By the time we carted the tree back to the car we were all a little tired. Grandma because that's a long way to walk, Averi because she's four and that's a long way to walk, me because I was the one stuck carrying a two year old sack of potatoes aka Kenz. I think Nate had the easiest job because we just had to push the tree cart. We get to the car first and I tell him I'm going to get grandma and Kenz in the car. It was confirmed earlier this week after I completely failed a hearing test that I have some kind of hearing problem that I need to go get checked out so anyway this is relevant because I guess Nate told me he would need my help getting the tree back to the car after he paid.

Well, twenty minutes later while I'm sitting nice and cozy in the warm car, munching on animal crackers with grandma and Kenz, I look out the window to see Nate just standing there glaring at me. I'm thinking he'd been standing there waiting on me to get out of the car to help him put it on top of the car and I'm just sitting there eating crackers. Nope, he then informs me that he would need me to help him carry the tree because they leave the tree carts at the cashier after they pay. So he, with the help of a four year old, carried it all the way back to the car by himself. Whoops, guess maybe I should get that hearing checked.

Finally at seven o clock we get it home and up in the front window. We go to check all the lights, all five strands of them from last year, and NONE of them work. So an hour trip later and 8:30 dinner time, we are finally able to decorate our family Christmas tree a little before ten o clock at night. Who needs a bedtime when it's Christmastime? Poor Kenzer was a trooper. It was the first Christmas she's really been into decorating the tree but at 10:30 the poor girl was rubbing her eyes, asking for bed.

So our tree is up and decorated but we never got to our family Christmas movie marathon night so guess we'll do that next Saturday. Here's some pics of our family Christmas day.


                                               Dancing to Christmas songs as we decorate
                                                      Family time is complete with our Bettis.
                                                  Kenzi helping decorate the tree.

                                                       Our family Christmas tree complete.


Other Holiday Posts

Damn Elf on the Shelf

Why I Choose to Say Happy Holidays

Holiday Deals and Gift Ideas with Shutterfly
 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Damn Elf on the Shelf May be the Last Straw, Moms






I'm proud of my diversity of mom friends. In a media influenced world where we tend to belittle each other's choices and mothering abilities, I have worked to get past my own judgments to appreciate the individuality of all my different mom friends. I love you all; however, I have a bone to pick with ALL of you. First it was just the crafty, overachieving moms, then it started to trickle down to even those like me that are just hoping we all survive to the end of the day without killing each other, that jumped on board. ALL of you, the working mom, the stay at home mom, the organic mom, the nonorganic mom, the crafty mom, the noncrafty mom, the attachment parenting mom, the moms of all shapes, forms, beliefs and styles have ALL jumped on the Elf on a Shelf bandwagon. And I have not and now you have all convinced me I need to. This Elf guy has become such a big thing it'd be like taking away the idea of Santa Claus at Christmas.

But why do we do this to ourselves? Don't we have enough to do as mothers? Don't we have enough extra stuff to do during the holidays without bringing in this elf thing? I have a hard enough time being Santa Claus for ONE night a year.  Now I have to be a damn elf for all the nights in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I had to tell a coworker to text me Christmas Eve because I keep forgetting to leave cookies and milk for Santa. I should just check Facebook for a reminder. Most of you will probably take a picture of not only the cookies you left for Santa but now we're leaving carrots for  reindeer too? Geez, this whole Santa Claus business is starting to need to come with an instructional manual.

I love Christmas time and love seeing the magic of it come to life in my daughters' eyes, but now on top of card addressing, gift shopping and ordering, Christmas budgeting, decorating, wrapping, baking, seeing Santa in person, and making it to other holiday festivities, I am now in charge of creating extra mischief around my house on top of all the other chaos and disasters that erupt all over my house on a daily basis with the never ending demands of my wonderful children, husband, and three pets.  I thought the idea of the elf was to keep our children in line so they don't create mischief so why is everybody's elves creating messes and mischief? I need an elf that cleans up, not creates messes.

This damn elf business might just be the last straw on this motherhood war, ladies. This may do me in. I may have to throw in the white flag of surrender here. I can't keep up with these modern day motherhood expectations . The good thing is I don't think my daughter knows about the magical elf yet. So I have not failed yet; however, I need a damn elf, moms. So where do I get it? And what exactly is my job as this magical elf character?


 The holidays are coming. Be sure to check out Gymboree, Crazy 8, Little Passports, and Shutterfly for holiday shopping deals.  Also Moms, Monsters, Media & Margaritas  is on sale for $8 through the holidays.   The book is also now available on the Amazon kindle for $3.99 and the Barnes and Noble Nook for $4.99. All sales through the holidays are going to a project for a child in need this holiday season. Help me close in on my end of the year goal of 30% of my writing/blogging income to go to charities. I only need a couple more sales. Any little extra maybe I'll go buy an Elf on the Shelf.
 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Why I Choose to Say Happy Holidays

I heard something recently where someone was rather aggressive about emphasizing that it is Merry Christmas and not Happy Holidays. To me it is Happy Holidays but let me explain why.

First, this time of the year is for a lot of reflection and gratitude. It starts with Thanksgiving where we are all suppose to take time to reflect on all the things we have been blessed with in our lives. Some look forward to Christmas or Hanukkah to spead time with family and share their appreciation for family and friends with gifts. We all end the season with the ringing of the New Year, reflecting on the good and bad of the past year and looking forward to the next with new goals and ambition for change. That's a celebration of three holidays, within about five weeks,  that are all closely related with the idea of gratitude, appreciation, reflection, and family.


Second, I am somewhat sensitive to religious issues. As I stated before in my My Letter to God, I am often torn on my feelings towards religion. I am a very spirtual person who without a doubt believes in God. I feel that religion is rather a conceived idea by mankind to use the fear of God s power  to control the masses in which they wish to control; therefore, I doubt the truth of religous teachings. I don't mean anything towards those that believe otherwise, but we are all entitled our own beliefs, which is why I feel that Happy Holidays is more fitting for the wish for everyone, no matter their religious beliefs, to have all the wonderful wishes of the holiday season.


Third, this time of the year is for celebrating the joy in life and giving thanks to whomever we feel we owe that thanks to whether it be God, Jesus, or the family and friends the powers that be have blessed us with. Just because my friends or coworkers aren't Christian doesn't mean I don't wish them peace, joy, and love and all those other holiday well wishes this time of the year.

So no matter your religious preference, I wish you ALL a Happy Holiday Season!



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