Friday, March 22, 2013

There's no NAPPING in parenting!

So as many other parents have discovered  sleep becomes a rare commodity at certain points in parenthood. Sleep and let's be honest at times even those OTHER things you used to do in bed before the adventure of parenthood began. I am definitely one sleep deprived parent. I'm lucky if I get a night's sleep of seven hours; most of the time it's probably closer to a little over six hours. And my four year old has informed us she is "always going to sleep with Mommy and Daddy. Forever, Mommy!" Check in with me in a couple years to see how that one is working.

And after how last weekend went I'm see why I don't nap much anymore either. If you do try to squeeze in a nap you better do it with one eye open! At least if you have my children. First, why is it when you want to lay down on the couch or even in bed with them in the morning, they all of a sudden think you are a jungle gym? If we do ever find a rare moment alone for those OTHER things, I'm not sure if Kenz and Ave would have another sibling after all the times they've jumped and landed in some important places and I don't think a mammogram can hurt any worse than the smashing my chest has taken from being the jungle gym or trampoline that they think I am for whatever reason.

If they do decide to not trample all over us while we're trying to catch a little extra shut eye, then silence is NOT usually a good thing either. Once I woke up to find all my tampons pulled out of the applicators and a path of them leading to Averi's room. Curious to see what I would find I followed the trail to find them all tied together and hanging off Averi's dresser. "Like a Christmas ornament," was Nate's assessment of the situation."Got to give her points for creativity I suppose." Another time, I found her head covered in diaper cream. She thought it was shaving cream and was lathering up her head and face like daddy does when he goes to shave.  Let me tell you washing diaper cream out of a full head of hair is NOT easy.

So needless to say it's been a long time since I've attempted a nap, but this weekend Nate and I were on the coach on one side of the basement and the girls were around the corner in their playroom. I was fighting another cold that seems to keep coming back (because I don't get any sleep I think) so I maybe dozed off for thirty minutes but Nate stayed awake the whole time. But Kenzi kept shoving her butt in my face and eventually we got the whiff of poop so since he hadn't heard Averi in a bit and Kenz needed to be changed we both got up. Me to change Kenz and him to check on Averi. Except Averi was nowhere. She was not in the basement, she was not upstairs. She'd done this once before and she was just hiding so I didn't get too concerned at first. Except after five minutes of searching for her and no Averi I was starting to get that parent panic. She loves the outdoors so we started checking outside. At first we didn't even see Bettis so started to worry maybe he got out and she thought she needed to bring him back. Our yard is fenced and the deck gated but she could get out if she really wanted and anyone could get in if they really wanted. So parent panic was setting in big time. Nate called and called for her and finally he saw her. She was laying on the ground against the door that leads into the kitchen. Bawling! Because she went outside and then when she tried to come back in all the doors were locked. We were in the basement and didn't hear her to answer the door. I don't know how long she tried to get in but she got scared and ended up on the ground next to the door and crying there was where we found her. So after we all got over being scared, we of course gave her everything from the stranger danger talk to you don't even go out in the backyard without mommy or daddy.

That should have been enough excitement for one naptime but no. Shortly thereafter I found that our heaters are not like the ones at the old house. Barbie became a casualty of the playroom. She somehow in the crazy mess the playroom became during naptime ended up a little close to the heater. Her hair ended up charred and her limbs started to melt. It's either our heaters or Barbie is a fire hazard. Either way I learned the two should not be close.

So between my daughter that never wants to go to bed at night and then has to not only sleep with us every night but take up a majority of the bed, and all the mischief my children manage to get themselves into, I'm thinking I'll just be functioning on mimimal sleep the next couple of years. Or I may just master really sleeping with one eye open! Either way the lack of sleep and smashed body parts are worth it..

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Superwoman or Nuts?

First, I got this title from a coworker who doesn't have any children that tells all us working moms that we must either be superwomen or nuts for balancing a career with motherhood. Second, I always reference superwoman because I feel that it's an image mothers of today feel like they have to uphold or something. And third, I definitely am not superwoman. And last, if you want some good laughs and some sarcasm maybe continue to read.

First, whenever I make it to the end of a long week like this week, I sometimes wonder how I survived without killing someone, misplacing one of my children, or jumping off a cliff. So superwoman mentality, I don't think so. Nuts, sounds like it, huh?

Let's be honest. Us mothers adore, love our children more than anything else in the world, they are our pride and joy. However, as much as they make me smile in happiness, there's at least a few times a week I want to play hide and seek with them and never come out! Okay, maybe never, but at least until after bedtime. They cry and they scream and they fight. And sometimes it just makes me want to cry and scream and start a fight with anyone that's willing to pick a fight with me. Again, superwoman, nope. Nuts, crazy, hmmm, maybe just a little.

And let's face it, moms of young kids, when was the last time you got to go to the bathroom or take a shower alone? I've gone to the bathroom with a kid sitting on my lap! More than once! Heck, just this morning, I'm taking a nice hot shower because I don't feel so well, and next thing I know my four year old is stripped down to her birthday suit and she's getting in the shower with me. Superwoman? Maybe going to the bathroom with a kid on your lap qualifies?

I have hurt my kids. That definitley makes you the opposite of superwoman. My oldest one time was bending down to pick something up for me as I was opening the car door and whoop I smacked her right in the face with the door. Yeah, that makes you feel awesome as a parent. My toddler just last weekend was leaning on the screen door, but I didn't know it when I went to open it and out she went face first onto the asphalt. Luckily there was a mat there to meet her face rather than the concrete so the bruise wasn't AS bad.

Managing work? How's that going for everyone else. Once, I went to work not feeling so great. I think it was a Thursday or Friday, so the point in the week where I just feel dead on my feet and beat down. Because I didn't feel so great and I only had one more period to go, I literally passed out for a nap on the couch in our office for my forty five minute planning. How's that for confessions? Don't worry, taxpayers, I'm sure I made up for it later with the ridiculous amount of grading English teachers have that cannot be completed in a regular work day. As for the rest of work. I have not physically harmed a student that pissed me off so I think that might qualify for superwoman.

Managing a household. Well, luckily I've only ALMOST burnt our house down twice but have never actually done it thankfully (that's not counting my college apartment either). Big thankful. I'm sure my old neighbors won't ever forget me screaming for my husband to hurry up before the propane tank blew out back. Needless, to say my husband rarely lets me touch cooking appliances. Laundry. Well, my sister who I really think is superwoman, somehow does laundry EVERY day. Not this lady. In fact, I was recently told I shouldn't let our clothes sit in the washer for days on end. Whoops. Quite honestly once I hit the week everything becomes such a whirlwind that laundry is the last thing on my mind. Dishes. By the way I have not had a dishwasher in seven years. So that right there should qualify as superwoman! Again, there are many nights if we're not finished with dinner by a certain time, sorry, those dishes are sitting there until the next day or if it's the end of the week maybe for a few days even (hope my mother doesn't read that!) This would be like a huge taboo for my mother and sister but I'm leaning more towards being nuts than superwoman. I also have a tendency to kind of forget I'm doing the dishes, and have flooded my kitchen with LOTS of water at least three times.

Quite honestly I feel like I'm one step ahead of crazy half the time. I have gone to work with my contacts in the wrong eyes, two different shoes on, binkies in my pocket, my hair not fixed at ALL (some people probably wonder if I even brush it because it's so unruly), I have slept on towels instead of sheets because someone has peed the bed (not me either-okay, and not my husband either). My children get themselves up on the weekend while we lay in bed and they run around. Most of the time they're jumping all over us in the bed but sometimes they're up to mischief. I leave my four year old "in charge" probably way more than I should.


So superwoman, no. Nuts, probably just a little. But whatever I am, whatever we are, we're surviving in this crazy world, and we're happy. I don't doubt the girls know they are well loved, and most of the time I feel confident that we're teaching them the right values and morals of life. Because we are so busy we try to focus on quality time whether it's stories at night, playing in the yard or at the park, cheering them on at gymnastics, taking them to a movie or special date, having dinner together, or laying in bed together on the weekends. Unfortnately, it never feels like it's enough and I feel that I should be giving them more mommy time than what they get, but I look at the wonderful little girls they are and I know I must be doing okay because I think they're two pretty great little girls. And as long as I stay one step ahead of crazy I think it'll all be okay. 

My mom who was able to stay home with my sisters and I always says she can't imagine how much more difficult raising young children must be for me and my sister with careers. I follow so many moms on facebook and I  hear frequently how overwhelmed and exhausted we all are. But, I also listen to all of you on facebook and wonder how do you do it so gracefully and like it's so simple even though you're exhausted and overwhelmed. Because as you can see there's isn't much grace in my parenting. No matter our level of grace or how overwhelmed we each are, the thing I love the most about what I see is how much we all love our children unconditionally and do the best we can to instill the right things in their lives. For us that seems like there is no other way but as many of my teacher friends know not every kid is lucky enough to have parents like that. For that alone we are all super moms and dads!

Monday, March 11, 2013

My Dearest Daughters: my sugar and my spice

It is so hard to believe you're 1 and 4 already, and before I know it I'll be thinking how it's crazy that you're 11 and 14 or 21 and 24. This time really is just a blink in time. One minute I want to freeze time and soak in every single baby girl moment and the next I'm so excited to see you start school, play sports, make that first lasting friend, attend those school dances (I'm sure your dad is not excited about that part), and just watch you grow into the beautiful, wonderful young women that I know you'll become. So here's a moment captured in time of the four year old Averiella and one year old Nakenzi.

1. First, I cannot say enough how much I LOVE watching the love grow between the two of you. When I found out Nakenzi was a girl the thing I was the most excited about was that you would both get to experience the wonderful bond of sisters. I'm sure brothers have a special bond too, but as one of three girls myself I know firsthand how incredibly special sisterhood is. You have a lifelong friend right there in your sister. She will be your greatest confident, your biggest supporter, your shoulder to cry on, your listening ear, the one that you know no matter what you can count on. She will also at times be the biggest thorn in your side. You'll be mad that she won't share or include you. But as my own father always said blood is thicker than water and when it comes down to it you'll see that no one picks on your sister but you of course.

2. Averi, you are four going on at least fourteen. You are not a big fit thrower thankfully but you definitely know how to bat those long lashes and manipulate your way to get what you want. You have a personality that people tend to love and don't forget. I always envision you doing something theatrical. I have never been a theaterical person, but singing, dancing, putting on a show, being the center of attention has been your forte since before you could walk and talk.

3. Kenzer girl, where your sister is all sugar you're all spice but I love it. Whereas, most of the time the big sister picks on the little sister, I must be an awful mother because I find it absolutely hilarious the way you just go and take what you want from your sister. You have known what you want from the moment you were born and you are one determine little stinker. I don't really see much standing in your way because you'll just mull it right over to get what you want. You definitely have a little bit of a temper and whereas I see Averi being my drama theatrical girl I see you being the athletic one. Possibly some aggressive sports to work out some of that anger and aggression you carry around. I'm not sure what you'll do in the future but I'm sure you'll do whatever you want to do because you are one headstrong little girl.
                                                            Moments of Sisterly Love

4. You both brighter our days everyday, even in those crankiest, whiney moments, which you both do have on occassion. I always wish I could freeze those "family dinner times" as Averi calls them and capture the laughter and amusement we get from watching the two of you. Raising the two of you has definitely become your father and mine's greatest journey and blessing. We can't wait to see how our story as your parents unfolds but it has without a doubt been an unbelieveable journey to this point. I pray everyday God keeps you safe and healthy and continues to watch over this crazy journey of parenthood that we embarked on four years ago.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Our generation's journey...hope for our children's futures

So as I look back over these past six months and all the anxiety that I went through in the journey to finally be here, in a home in a community we could raise our girls in, and I reflect on the many other things outside of my personal life from the media headlines, my friends' lives, the journey of American literature I travel through every year with my junior students, and the current state of our society in general, I've decided to pause to consider the yearly questions I always ask my students as we work our way through American literature about what is the American Dream? What does it mean to be an American? Are those two definitions different than they were a little over a decade ago.

Our country I feel currently lives in fear of where we are headed and what future awaits our children. As an article in Time Magazine pointed out last summer, the idea of the American Dream is at stake. Is the American Dream even still attainable? What is the idea of the American Dream? What does it take to achieve? These are questions I ask my eleventh graders every year as we begin our year long literature study through our nation's history. But these are questions all Americans are asking themselves right now. We want to believe in the dream that started our country, but our economy is struggling, we're told our education system is falling behind, the credit crunch and failing housing market is making it harder and harder for people to obtain and  maintain homeownership. Costs are going up and incomes are not going anywhere and that for those that have been lucky to maintain their jobs.

When I was eighteen I remember thinking how I was entering the big world of adulthood and all the hope and good things that the world out there held for my generation. Then one morning on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, that hope was marked with the reality of our vulnerability. That big world all of a sudden did not seem so safe, and this was the beginning of the hard times my generation would face. From their came the economic collapse and all of sudden the world of opportunity was suddenly not so bright. I had so many college graduate friends laid off in the last ten years. The housing market crashed and then not only was achieving the American Dream of owning a home threatened, some are struggling to hold onto the one they have. It's been a tough decade for my generation. This was not the world we imagined for ourselves when we were growing up, and the tragic morning of 12-14-12 happened. Tragedies unfortunately strike way too often but this one is definitely incredibly hard to process. For many of us we have children of our own that are close in age to those lost in the first grade classrooms on that tragic Friday. And now in an already unstable, sometimes unsettling world, our sense of security for our children in what is suppose to be one of the safest places for them has been shattered. What do we tell our children about this world we are raising them in? It is a scary place out there, but I don't believe hiding them from the world is the way to go. The violence, the hatred, the negativity, the lack of compromise- it all scares me. I want a brighter, hopeful future for my children.

Recently on yahoo, an article was posted with the annual doomsday clock analysis from world scientist. The clock is set at five to midnight, which midnight symbolically representing doomsday. What kind of hope does that give people of today? We've been at war for over a decade now. My high schoolers know very little about life before the War on Terror. This is all they've known. Just like when a team is winning and everyone is happy and when they're losing everyone is up in arms about what needs to be done to make them winners, our American society is at each other about everything from our economy, to the war overseas, to who should be in our elected positions, to who should own what guns. This is not what I envisioned for my future. America is disappointing me from our elected government to the morals of some of its people. I grew up believing this was the best place in the world to raise your children, and from working with children that still come here today to escape living situations many of us cannot even imagine, it is still one of the best places to raise your children I believe. But we are so much better than what we've been lately. America should be about the chance at incredible opportunties, not an entitlement. But the chance for those that want it and work for it.

I still believe in the promise of America and humanity.  I hate the negativity that surrounds our society and world today. There are still so many great people out there doing the right things. I want a world full of hope for my children, not one bleak with how we've destroyed God's vision for humanity. I feel that this is a future we owe our children and we need to move towards that rather than focusing on all the negative in our society and all the things that show we're going nowhere. But to overcome these events-9/11, global warming threats, war on terror, economic downfal, has become my generation's journey. But the journey is not over and we can overcome and we can end this journey in a positive way and offer a new beginning for our children. And one thing I think we can all agree on is this is a future we all want to see. We just need to agree on the path of how to get there.

As for me, I still believe in the American Dream. What do I feel it is? Just opportunity. Opportunity to pursue your heart's desires, and my heart's desires are filled right here. In my home with my family and all the other wonderful people that surround us. We have our good health, our careers, the house and SUV, and the greatest part of all-love and faith. Happiness is a choice. Maybe it's time America made that it's number one choice again.

                                     Our new home that we are so excited to raise our girls in
                                                Me and my girls enjoying a snow day
                                                            Our Averiella Lorenza
Our Nakenzi Grace
Nathan and I: 03/11/04 Nine years Monday