Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Reflecting and Anticipating

Our summer is winding down and I am definitely a little sad. At the same time I always get a little excited about the upcoming school as if I were a kid again. I even already spent one Saturday night outlining all my unit lessons for the whole year for my eleventh graders and looking up ideas for my HSA prep class so I must be somewhat motivated if I'm doing that. But even though my kids are going to great places as well come this Fall, I'm dreading the hecticness that comes with being a full time working momma. The early mornings (I am not a morning person); the misbehavior and noncompliance of students (seriously if you could get rid of this and the politics that surround education it would be the best job ever); the exhausted feeling in the afternoons when I want to rest but know I should be  and usually do play with my kids; the rush in the evenings for dinner, clean up, baths, and bedtime; and then prep myself to do it all over again tomorrow; and maybe if I'm lucky I get an hour to wind down and look at something work related. I told a friend that if I could work part time on a block schedule it would be perfect because I do love my job but I love my kids more and I hate feeling like I'm stretched too thin to give them the time and attention they deserve.

But Averi starts preschool this Fall so she's super excited. I am too but I'm also terrified. She has never been in a big setting before. She was at a home daycare with usually two or three other small children and then our nanny this past year after her sister was born. Being is a class with fifteen or so other children in a building with probably 100 other children just makes me think of all the negative things she'll be exposed to from crazy amount of germs, to all the bad words and/or gestures kids learn from their homes, to how little kids can be mean and not always her friend (my husband works in elementary schools and little kids know some bad things and can be very mean). I'm sure because Nate and I both work schools and we re constantly amazed at the behavior and things kids KNOW, I'm a little paranoid and I'm sure I'll drive everyone nuts Sept 4 when she starts with my constant worrying. She loves people though and she's so excited about making new friends and going to school. I'm excited to see what she learns and because she's never been in a school setting see how she does academically for her age. She's also going to play soccer this Fall so I'm looking forward to watching that.

As for Kenzi my friend from work mom is retiring and she's going to watch Kenzi and her granddaughter. Even though I know her well and know that Kenz is in great hands August 20 at nine and half months will be the first time I have to drop her off and leave her with someone she doesnt' really know that well. She of course cause she was only two months old didn't know Sarah back in January that well either but she still woke up in her own bed in her familiar house with her big sister everyday. Now that she's older and going through mommy anxiety as it is, having to drop  her off by herself without her big sister, is not going to be easy at first. It's a good thing I'm planning on riding with my friend that day. She likes to talk alot so she'll help distract me; otherwise by myself I would probably cry all the way to work just like I did each time I ve had to leave them for the first time before and every time Averi would go through mommy seperation anxiety even though I was leaving her with her beloved Miss Kate I would still cry on the way to work. As I said though, Kenzi will be in great hands and she'll get a chance to become better friends with my friend's daughter that is only four months older than her. I know once we all fall back into the school routine we'll all, including myself, be fine. It's just a transition I always dread a little.

As for the summer. It's been a great summer. We spent June and the first week of July at home, which may be the longest stretch in a summer that we've ever stayed home. As I mentioned before it was like we vactioned at home and we did a lot of enjoyable local things. We've been back home for a week now and we had a playdate yesterday and a family picnic at the park today. We just got back last week from a two week trip with a weekend stop in Virginia for a wedding, a few days in Kentucky to visit my aunt and grandma before spending a week in Missouri with my family. As always it was great to go home and see my family. I love watching Averi get to play with her cousins. Her and Addi have so much fun together. I wish they could see each other more. It's alwasy a little  depressing when I come home. I do miss my family and now that I have kids, I hate that they only get to see their Papa, Nene, aunts, and cousins three times a year. I love Maryland but as the long two days of driving emphasized again, Maryland to Missouri is soooo far. We talk sometimes of moving somewhere closer, like Chicago or Colorado, but I also know if we're going to do that we'll need to do in the next ten years before Averi gets too far into school and would be more upset about leaving her friends than being a day closer to family. We love our life we've built out here too though but because we moved out here with nothing and knowing no one, I also know we could make a big move and transition like that again and be okay. I guess time will tell and we'll see what the future holds.
                                              Averi and Kenzi with four of their cousins
                                             Family picture at friend's wedding in Virginia
                   Four generations of Italian girls- my grandma, my mom, me, and my daughters
                                        The girls with my sister's two kids, Addi and Paxton
                                              Averi with her best friend and cousin, Addi
                           Averi and Addi riding the waterslide with my sister, their Aunt Tete
                  The six kids again with my sister Kelly and cousin Leslea, who is always sure to make it down from her home in Iowa to see me and the kids when we're in town. This does not go unnoticed. Thanks, cuz, for always making the time.
                                               My parents with their four grandchildren.
                                  Averi and Kenzi in the hotel on the way back to Maryland.
My childhood best friend's daughter, Haleigh. They always come to see us when we're in town too. Thank you.

We're home for one more week before we take off to Pennsylvania for about ten days or so to visit with Nate's family. I'm kind of bummed that we didn't take a vacation, vacation to somewhere new this year but the best year to skip that I figure is the year with a baby. I love to travel. In fact, the word love may be an understatement. My three year old has been to over a dozen states already. So my kids are either going to share our love for traveling or hate it and never want to go anywhere after they ve spent their childhood being dragged all over America. Now that we have children there's so many places left on the travel list that I want to put off until they're a little older so they'll remember and actually get to enjoy the experience with us more. Aren't family vacations part of everyone's favorite childhood memories or is that just my love for traveling blinding me? And when it's all said and done, as much as I'm sure they'll remember some of the great places of America that we'll visit, it'll be those trips up north and out west to see their grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins that will be the ones that they anticipate the most and will be the most treasured memories cause they're the ones with all the people they love. And even though we don't live close to either of our families, I hope my girls learn the true meaning of family and about the commitment and love that comes with family. I grew up where one side of our family was all right there in the same place and the other side lived far from one another. And from both sides, whether they were the ones that lived close or the ones that lived far, some understood what this really meant and others gave me reason to doubt. No matter what obstacle stands in their way-money, work, other people, negative emotions, and whatever other reason that prevents people from making the time,  I want my children to know that you ALWAYS, ALWAYS make the time whether it's a phone call, a letter in the mail (or email these days) a drive across town, or a drive across the country. In the end it's your time you got to spend with them that matters.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

mountains and beaches...why I love Maryland

I had to spend eight days from the last two weeks at workshops for next school year, and even though it sucked in some ways, it really wasn't that bad. I got quite a few good ideas for next school year that I'm excited to try out and the girls got to spend some quality time alone with Daddy.

This past weekend we went up to Shenandoah to go camping in the mountains during this lovely 100 degree heatwave we're currently experiencing. Luckily up in the mountains it never got that hot even though they were still under the same heat advisory as Baltimore. It wasn't the heat wave that we should have been worried about though; more so the tornadoes that ripped through the region Friday night when we were setting up. I'm not even sure if it was an actual tornado but a storm they re calling a derecho that sounds like a mix between a hurricane and tornado. All I know is the noisy it made before it hit was like nothing I've ever heard. I grew up in tornado alley and I never heard anything like this. And the wind was CRAZY. And so were my husband and I and our friend. I sent the girls to the car with our younger cousin and Nate's grandma while we rushed around gathering our food, bedding, and clothes to keep them dry and staking down tents to keep them from blowing away. In retrospect, I guess we were pretty lucky one of us didn't get hit in the head with anything that could have been flying around that campground with the wild wind. I did end up with a nasty bruise on my leg from some point. After the crazy storm we managed to salvage our food, clothes, and bedding and still get to stay the weekend. It was a really nice weekend. Saturday we all relaxed around the campground and took a scenic drive along skyline drive in the afternoon to check out the appalachian mountain views. It wasn't until we made our way back to civilization that we realized how bad the storm was. A huge amount of people all over the DC/Baltimore Maryland/Virginia area did not have power. Luckily we still had ours when we got home Sunday.

Nate's grandma and cousin were down visiting for the past week so we just happened to find this nice little place an hour south of our house called Chesapeake Beach that we went to Tuesday. It was the perfect beach setting with two little kids. There were minimal waves even though I like the big ocean waves and it wasn't very crowded. It was definitely a nice little beach to go visit again. They were having their fireworks show that night so we ended up staying for that even though we also went to DC the next day for the fourth to see te fireworks in our nation's capital. Nate and I saw them there seven years ago when we first moved here and even though it was really neat to be in our nation's capital and see the fireworks go off behind the Washington Monument it is a once a decade kind of thing. It was HOT. And the crowds on the subway to get home were crazy. It was exhausting but neat to see and I think Taush really enjoyed it and Grandma I think too. And speaking of Grandma, what a trooper! She's 78 years old and she went camping with us, she played on the beach with us, and she walked that National Mall in the crazy heat with us. I think she might go home and sleep a week but I love how at 78 she still wants to go do as much as she can and get the most out of every moment that she can. Now that's making the most out of the time you got. I love it.

It was another fun, adventerous week of summer vacation. The thing I love about Maryland is that we can be in the mountains for the weekend and then off to the beach the next day. Can't find that in the plains of the Midwest. This has become the summer to explore the state we've decided to make home to our kids. Nate and I love to travel and see new things, but now that we have kids there's some places on our tour list we'd like to put off until the kids can enjoy those places with us. I was kind of bummed that we didn't have a vacation vacation planned this summer to somewhere new that we've never been, but it'll be better to see those places in the coming years when the kiddos can enjoy them with us.

Our vactioning for this year is visiting grandmas and grandpas, and tomorrow we head out of town for two weeks. We're off to Virginia for the weekend to see one of our good friends get married, then off to my aunt's in Kentucky to visit her and my grandma, and then onto Missouri for a week with my family. Averi's super excited to see her Papa, Nene, Addi, Aunt Tete, and Aunt Kelly. It 's going to be Kenzi's first looong drive so let's hope this goes smoothly.