Sunday, June 30, 2013

My love for traveling

I'm pretty sure everyone loves vacation time. Who wouldn't, right? We all need a break but vacation doesn't always or necessarily mean taking a trip or traveling. In fact, I know many people who can take or leave the idea of traveling for vacation or if they do travel it's to their favorite destination, usually not too far away because even if you're not a big fan of traveling sometimes it's nice to probably escape the everyday household chores. So traveling isn't everyone's thing and that's cool. Nate and I both come from families that have a mix of the love to travel and those that just really don't care about it too much. We all have different passions. Luckily we ended up with the same travel gene, especially since everyone in my family (parents and siblings) have the opposite gene of me.

We share a passion for traveling. I love the road. I don't mind flying but would actually prefer driving because it offers such a great opportunity to see this beautiful world we live in. I love seeing new places and experiencing different foods and things that different places offer. It amazes me how even here in the United States how vastly different areas of our country are from one another. We are so many different cultures within this large American culture. I love the history you can learn from the old West towns like in South Dakota to the Civil War towns of Maryland and Virginia to the Plantation homes of the South to the history of the lighthouses on the coast. I love the beauty of the mountains along the East, the flat farmland of the Midwest, the rolling waves of the ocean, and even the hot sticky dry desert in the west (it probably awes me the least though).  I am always awed by these beautiful sights and the facts of what America was like to what it's is like.

I always say my kids will either love traveling or hate it. Averi at the age of four has already visited over a dozen different states. I got my passion for traveling from my mom's sister and parents. From the time I was a little kid I had always wanted to travel and see more of the world. Nate wants to see the whole world. But me being more the realist know that this probably won't happen (maybe we'll win the lottery one day though) so I like to set my sights on more realistic goals so I don't set myself up for disappointment. So for now I'm more focused on seeing all of this great country we live in. As for other countries beside Canada, Australia, South Africa, and Italy and Greece are my top three huge travel desirees.

As for the United States, we have pretty much covered everything we've wanted to see east of the Mississippi. I think we have three destitations left here on our list. They are New England (New York City, Boston, and Maine), the Upper Penisula of Michigan (with a stop in Chicago), and the Gulf Shores with New Orleans. There are a few repeat trips we would like to make such as Disney World of course. Most of the trips left are west of the Mississippi. Unfortunately we haven't hit too many of our desired places out there. Our list out there is closer to a dozen including Alaska and Hawaii.

We have a map we hanging in our office that shows all the places we've been. I like to see it as a reminder of where we've been and all where we have left to go. Traveling is something I ve always wanted to do and even though sometimes it's disappointing that I can't get to some of those places faster the map reminds me we're making our way around. All in good time.

I always say I want us to be like my grandparents when we retire. They spent so much of their retirement traveling around the US, enjoying all the sights and experiencing all the different things different areas of the country have to offer. One day. I'm not really ready for retirement age yet so I think I'll just stick with getting to where we can when we can for the time being. Then for now my kids can enjoy and learn from all the places we visit as they won't have a choice for now but to come along for the ride.

For now bon voyage for now as we head out on our trip to South Carolina today.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

My kids were perfect...for a moment...then there's me

As parents we have had to learn how to do everything with our kids in tow. We don't have any family around, and even though we have great friends around, we don't want to take too much advantage of their wonderful offerings to take our kiddos off our hands for awhile and most of the time by the time we would fork up the money to pay a babysitter, there's not much left for a date so we make do in whatever way can. So this tends to lead to us dragging them along for adult fun or leaving them to fend for themselves (this is sometimes when maybe Averi's "helping" leads to an Averi story). Most of my stories are those mishap stories that occur because of probably our distracted parenting or just my curious child's personality.

But today, as I dragged my children to the store for two hours (two hours in the store with a four year old), to three wineries, and out to dinner I couldn't help but to think how even though I was at first disappointed that I wouldn't be going to the store by myself after all, or that it'd be nice once in awhile do something like wineries and dinner without my kids in tow, I realized why when I do get those rare trips out without them it feels unusually quiet and kind of dull.

I wish I could have had a video camera and tape recorder for the conversations Averi and I had throughout our two hour store trip. The girl is just hilarious. I turned around as I was looking at underwear or something and found her like this. I think the picture says it all about why this trip involved way more laughing than mommy frustration.

For the afternoon, there are a bunch of wineries near our house and it was a gorgeous afternoon, so we decided to take a little afternoon trip around Carroll County and stop in at a few of them. Of course, Averi informed us that it was boring, but she and her sister just sat down at nearby tables, waving and greeting people as they came in. My little devils were little angels all afternoon, sitting and patiently waiting, while they smiled and won over all the people that they came across.

Then we all went to dinner, which let me tell you, taking two kids to a bar at 5:00 was a way better idea than the first time we ended up in a bar with a baby. Now, first before you start your horrified parent attacks let me clarify a few things. First the bar we took Averi to at one week old we went to to eat wings and we thought with it being a Sunday night it would be more like a restuarant than a bar, but it ended up being packed and loud, and I don't think either of us will ever forget that first parental horror of "what was I thinking".  Don't we all have those? I know for most it's not because you took your baby to a bar but for us this was probably our first experience with that parental horror. Today, though we stopped in at a place we didn't know that we thought said family restuarant on it but it pretty much had a bar with high top bar tables. Luckily though it was only 5 so we were able to grab one of the few lower tables in the stage/DJ area. There was already music playing-dancing kind of music-and because it was only us and the people at the bar, and we were at a table in the "stage/dancing" area we let the girls get up and dance. It was quite the memorable dinner date! Their little dance moves had not only us laughing and enjoying ourselves but the people in and at the bar. Again, I wish I would have had my video camera because the still pictures just don't capture the entertainment that it was.
                                             I love them :). They can always make me smile.
                                                          My beautiful babies.

                             Our cowgirls waiting to take the stage for the night's entertainment
               I really needed a video of Kenzi's dance. She was hilarious. She had like 5 moves with foot stomping and hand jives that she all mixed up. It really was quite the act.

                                                              Didn't get a very good pic of Ave's show.

It was such a simple but great day of enjoying each other's company. The girls made me laugh and smile and it was just some of those moments I hope to remember. I wasn't stressed all day and the girls didn't get on my nerves or feel like they were driving me crazy. It was just so nice to have a day like that again.

And when we got about 15 miles down the road back towards home I realized I left my debit card at the restuarant. Guess we can't all be perfect on the same day. But even the 30 minutes out of the way we had to go to get my card back didn't really seem like that big of an annoyance.

I'm sure my little monsters will be back to their usual mischief tomorrow but overall today reminded their  momma that they really are pretty good girls. We are very blessed to be the ones they call momma and daddy.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

To the nut house or we are the nut house?

A letter to my wonderful family that drives me a little batty,

To Averi,

Your sister's twenty four months clothes that you can magically squeeze your tiny butt into but with your belly button practically showing does not fit and no you can not wear it out in public.

I know you like to help your sister but again your clothes are for you and her clothes are for her. Quit dressing her in your clothes.

Trying to throw your sister in the air like your dad is NOT a good idea. I know you think she's your baby sister but she's just about as big as you. And dropping her on head today while attempting this was just not good.

Some days I really want to repeat some of those phrases in Go the FOK to sleep book. Stay in your damn bed please!

To Kenzi,

You may not believe this but when I totally knocked you out of the way of the oven shortly after you just finished crying forever because Averi dropped you on your head, I was doing it to save you from burning your hand on the oven you were reaching your hand into.

I know sometimes you get upset; we all do, but would you please quit holding your breath and BREATHE. These almost or totally passing out episodes are getting a little ridiculous.

To my husband,

Why is it every time there seems to chaos unfolding in our house with dinner or dishes, crying or fighting kids, barking dogs, possessed fire alarms, and God knows what else it always seems like you're taking a shit. A very long one. I feel like this is a new development since we've had kids.

Does turning the TV up abnormally loud help you escape all the chaos because all it does is add to my headache?

To all of you,

I love you all very much. I couldn't imagine my life without you, but sometimes it's not so much I wonder if you are all going to send me to the nut house but that we are the nut house. Love you!
                                                Always wanting to take care of her baby sister :)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Pausing time: A two month long snowday in our swimsuits!

One week of vacation over, and only eight more to go. But after only one week off I already feel soooo much better. And I'm already thinking the crazy anxiety I thought I  would have about going back after such a rough year won't actually be the case. I think I'll actually be back in my old ready to take it all on mentality. Because this year I think it all took me over. The beginning of the year for teachers is always hectic and crazy but you know once September ends everything kind of falls into place and life gets a little smoother again. You ever hear that song, "When September Ends"? Well, we were still living in September in June this past school year. The madness of September never ended last year. But I think I'll have my old positivity back for August this year and hopefully September ends on time this year.

This first week off after our camping trip to West Virginia last weekend was pretty low keyed. I completed one of my summer projects which was to paint my kitchen. It was yellow and I just am not a fan of yellow but I have white cabinets so didn't really know what colors to use that would go well with my white cabinets and I married a man with interior decorating opinions so our idea of comprising was to paint two walls his color (burnt orange) and two walls my color (a neatral cream). I actually ended up really liking his color. But it is a bold color so depending on your taste I feel that the new kitchen colors are either a you like it or you don't. Guess we'll get the final verdict when my mother and sisters get here in two weeks.

Other than painting, we went to the park one night, went out for bowling and ice cream one afternoon,  had a two year old birthday party with some summer swimming yesterday, and hung out around the fire pit one night. Even though it seems like summer goes too fast in some ways, time in the moment seems to go a little slower in the summer.  Everything isn't so rush, rush. Summer is a time for family and friends and one of the best things in life-the pure enjoyment of just each other. For my family because our family life is dictated by the school calendar,  summer is like those family snow days; it's just a two month long snowday in our bathing suits I guess.

Even like yesterday, we spent the afternoon at my friend's shorehouse on the Chesapeake for her daughter's second birthday, and places like that are always like little time bubbles. The day was gorgeous, the kids had a ball, the peace that being near water always offers was right there. A bunch of us from work were there and it was nice just to sit and visit with one another without the chaos of work. I've gotten to visit with friends, work around my house, play with my kids, snuggle and kiss on my little monsters until they were crying "No more, mommy!"  For the rest I'll let the pictures do the talking.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Old School Blogging


I've been tagged by Country bunkin Mama in this old school blogging alpabet blogging game. The hosts are Miss Eaine ous life and Jennifer P Williams.

Alphabet MemeA. Attached or Single? Attached for almost a decade now

B. Best Friend?  Too many but I'm going to recognize them all here anyway. First my sisters. They were the first. My cousin, Les; we're eight months apart and have only grown closer as we've aged even though we're miles apart. My oldest childhood friend, Kristal. We've been friends for twenty years now, and was my first fan of my writing. My two college roommates, even though one lived down the street, Amy and Amy. There's so much I could say about how much all of them mean to me but I'll have to save that for a whole blog post in itself.

So this question prompted me to write this post The-importance-of-other-women-in-my-life

C. Cake or pie?  Pie. My aunt's strawberry pie is all I think about lately.

D. Day of choice?  This is hard. I guess Saturday because it's usually family day after a morning of housework unfortunately.

E. Essential Item? Essential for what. For my sanity? MUSIC. I love listening to music.

F. Favorite color?  Blue

G. Gummy bears or worms?  Neither. I hate those things.

H. Hometown?  Etown proud, MISSOURI!

I. Favorite Indulgence?  Dark chocolate milky way

J. January or July? July because I tend to enjoy summer more than winter.

K. Kids?  Yes, two awesome little girls.

L. Life isn’t complete without? Love and Laughing.  My family shares both with me.

M. Marriage date?  July 14, 2007

N. Number of brothers/sisters? 2 sisters, both younger but we're all three within three years
O. Oranges or Apples?  Oranges
P. Phobias?  Heights

Q. Quotes?

R. Reasons to smile?  I'm still always amazed at the pure pleasure I can get from just watching my girls play together. It always brings a smile to myself. I'll catch myself just staring at them with a smile on my face like some kind of love sick fool.

S. Season of choice? This is tough as I really do love them all for different reasons and after three months I"m always ready for the next one.

T. Tag 5 People. Southern Mess Mom     A few days in the Life of Ms. Courtsnie Ann B   Completely Eclipsed   A changed life  Life Imperfected

U. Unknown fact about me? Not telling ;)

V. Vegetable?   I do love brocolli.

W. Worst habit? Not knowing when to shut up when something pisses me off. But I have gotten a lot better at not opening my mouth to begin with.

X. Xray or Ultrasound?  Ultrasound because that has always been baby related  

Y. Your favorite food? hot wings

Z. Zodiac sign?  Libra

And if you feel like it you can ask me more questions by leaving a comment.  I promise I will respond.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Stupid ass

So I"m trying to take a shower in peace, which in motherhood, at least in my motherhood experience, is about damn near impossible. So in marches Averi. Literally marching, playing the "tuba" with the vacuum cleaner hose. It was as annoying as any little kid attempt at any real instrument. Earlier I had to listen to her and Kenzi playing in the pot band. And no I don't mean they were tokin it up. They thought they were rockers banging the kitchen utensils on the kitchen pots as loud as they possibly could.

I'm trying to ignore the racket as much as possible and enjoy my five minute shower. But then I hear the words "stupid ass" come out of Averi's mouth. Whoa! Mommy ears go up on high alert. My wild, crazy child might be a little wild but she has never been a potty or sassy mouth child. So what the hell was she referring to as stupid ass, especially with her sister in there with her. Was she calling me or her sister a suptid ass?  Five minute shower cut to three. I start drilling her with questions on why she's using the term "stupid ass". Turns out daddy called her fairy movie a "stupid ass movie" and she doesn't like that word, and "Mommy, my fairy movie is not a stupid ass movie!" Well what I really wanted to say was, "Yes, honey, it is a very stupid ass movie." I'm sure my husband didn't call it a stupid ass movie to her but maybe he subconsciously did when he didn't think she was paying attention. I love how you don't realize you say things until your kid says them to you and you learn that they learned it from none other than you. Either way he was right and bad words or not some of those little kid shows are pretty stupid and super annoying.

But between that and pretending to make kangaroo blood earlier from watching too many episodes of Supernatural with her dad I'm thinking her and her dad need to quit watching TV together.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Give your child the gift of reading

Published on Mommy Hot Spot May 2014

As a teacher of literature, it is sometimes really really hard for us to understand why kids don't want to read. I love books. Reading is such a wonderful way to grow and learn. My mother sparked my love of reading. I remember seeing her at night totally engrossed in a novel, and always wondered what could hold her so captivated. At some point in elementary I remember staying in from recess because I was so engrossed in the Little House on the Prairie books. I was of course seen as kind of nerd because I wanted to read and write all the time as a little kid. I wrote books when I was ten because I wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder. I have learned so much about history, about love, about family, about friendships, about sacrifice, about life from reading countless books.

But as English teachers we are often fighting a never ending battle to share our love of reading. Most times they fight us every step of the way on reading, but you'd be surprised at the enlightment and excitement a group of adolescents show when you start reading out loud to them The Crucible, Night, Of Mice and Men, Shakespeare, or Charles Dickens. They start off fighting us but are then ready for us to read to them everyday to get that anticipated climax or ending. They still don't want to read it themselves but the quietest I ever get my rambunctious  classes are when I read to them. They are little children again on the edge of their seat, quietly listening to the story unfold. I am often left asking myself, "have they ever been read to?" "Who told them reading is not fun?" "Why do they not see reading as being so vitally important to learning?"

One of the biggest areas of struggle for students on standardized tests is reading comprehension. They can read the words but they don't know how to read. They don't know to read between the lines, how to infer the deeper meanings of the text, how to interact and learn from the message being taught in the reading. There is so much to be gained from reading. And it starts from the moment you set them in your lap at bedtime and read to them. You as their parent bring reading and the endless amounts of learning that can be gained from it to life every night when you read to them or read with them as they get older and start to read. Build a love for books with your child, it is one of the greatest parenting gifts you can give them.

Superwoman high and the super woman lows: There's a balance somewhere

I wrote a post for a website in the UK called superworkingmums probably a little over a month ago about working mommy guilt. You can check it out here The Monster of Mommy Guilt . It at times may sound like I have it down how to tackle this whole guilt mommy conscious thing but honestly I don't. At least not everyday. It really is a rollercoaster ride of emotions at time. Last year when I returned to work I was like on a superwoman high about how well it went; this year at points I was on  a very depressed deflated not so super woman low.

In reflection here is what all I realize now that I have finally gotten a much needed break. Throughout all the troubles I faced this school year financially with the house, personally with the demands of the balance of home and work, and my frustrations with work, I frequently spoke to my kids' daycare provider. I love this woman. I don't know what you believe when it comes to a higher power, but I was destined to find this woman. I always felt that God sends you angels in the people that you randomly meet at certain points in your life because you will need their direction and guidance at that time. Her talks were such a mental life saver at times as  they prolonged the meltdown that was probably about six months in the making for as long as possible.

With only about seven days left in the school year I had a meltdown. As stressed, overwhelmed moms we all share stories about just needing to have a good cry, and I think at maybe one other point that year maybe I did one stressful night at home. I unfortunately, had mine at 730 in the morning before work started. Of course it's always the husband that's the last block that goes on top of the tower that topples what little stability and control you have. They say the wrong thing at the wrong time and it's like the crying, screaming, crazy woman that you are starts coming out in full force. You know how you just start crying and then you can't stop. And people are like what's the matter. I always feel bad when I get upset around other people. Unless someone is dying or seriously hurt I don't feel that anything else is really worth crying over. There are always worst things in life to get upset over is what I always tell myself. I have guilt over a self pity cry. So anyway on one hand it's like nothing is wrong I would say and then on the other it's like everything. I remember talking to Kate that same day and she kept telling me only seven more days and then I have a vacation. "You need your vacation and then you'll be able to think more clearly."

I have a job where you can't just pick your vacation but I now think if I could have just put in for a week of vacation and gave myself a mental chance to completely let the chaos of this year die down, I would have been in a much better mental place for the rest of the year. This summer vacation is going to help me get in a much better mental place to face the balance of working and home again in the Fall. One I won't have to deal with moving and all the unexpected extra expenses, Nate will hopefully be a little less stressed and busy with this last year of his grad program than he was last year, and we will have a new car so I can actually be home from work with both girls by 4 rather than 6 most nights because we're waiting on Nate to get out of work.

For work, I will be more organized again with my own classroom and I love my job for the great kids that I do teach. The ones that write "I'll miss you, Mrs Glenn" on the chalkboard when they leave. I love how excited they get about certain class discussions because I guess they see it as the one time it's okay for them to argue and verbally fight with one another, I love how their so tough adolescent male face lights up with pride when I tell them I selected their poem for the Top 20 poetry book I made. I love how after they've graduated they are so excited to see me at the gas station or store wherever. I have to focus on the good ones and the not so easy ones that for whatever reason respond positively to me. And somehow not let the ones that just don't and never will ruin my whole day or enjoyment for my career for that matter. I have to just accept that with two kids at home I will always be behind at work and people are always going to find things to criticize and I just need to let it go.

As for home. Throughout all the chaos I have never doubted that my kids feel loved. And I have always felt their love for me and Nate. They are going to grow and I can't stop the hands of time. I can just enjoy the ride and watch the stories unfold. They're a little crazy (they must take after their parents) but I'm confident they're good girls. And even though time slows down a little when I'm at home and as much as I love them, I'm too much of a busy, go go person to be a content stay at home mom. I'm still convinced part time would be the best of both worlds (and if my plan works maybe after this school year I can do that for a few years). I am doing the best I can and it really is good enough for them.
After such a long superworking mom low this year I'm hoping it's time for the rollercoast to start  its way back to the top for this Fall.

Don't forget to check out the post on Superworkingmum

Monday, June 17, 2013

The things you will learn home with my children for a day

In one day home with my wonderful children I have learned the following:

1.A baby doll bottle can be used as a weapon and it hurts (but I was not the one hit in the head with it luckily)

2. Averi just randomly throughout the day belts out the song, "Rock it, b a b y!" I'm pretty sure she made this song up herself

3. A laundry basket flipped outside down functions wonderfully as a table and step stool until the bottom sinks to the top

4. A baby pool at the end of a playground slide is awesome.

5. My kids think screaming as loud as they can is funny and I don't. I don't why they think this is a cool game.

6. I think the dog drives me the least crazy of all the people in my house

7. The living room furniture is a great place to do gymnastic tricks of course until someone gets hurt

8. You can play "Christmas" by going outside in your shorts, boots, snow hat, and mittens and again singing "It's Christmas" as you dance around the deck in your magical snow.

9. It's hard to get bored with these two to keep me entertained.

10. I wonder what they'll teach me next :)

Sometimes we're the Griswolds :)

We had a family camping trip this past weekend for Father's Day. Camping at least once a summer is a family tradition of ours. I rarely camped before I met Nate. When I was in high school my summer softball team would always tell our parents we were going to go camping for team bonding. That team bonding was just usually our excuse to try alcohol for the first time for most of us.

We went to Harper's Ferry in West Virginia, which we have never been to. Our campsite sat on the banks of the Shenandoah River where it weaves it's way through the Appalachian Mountains. They had all these awesome activities like ziplining, canoeing, and white water rafting to do, but once I start sharing our Griswold stories here in a minute you'll see that maybe it was a good idea with two little kids that we just hung out at the campsite and stuck to just checking out the old Civil War town of Harper's Ferry. But we will be going back and when the kids are older we are so going white water rafting. I love being on the river even with my not so great experiences from before which I'll share in a minute.

Camping is always such a nice relaxing escape from life. No modern day electronics, time is measured by the sun, and it's okay to feel like you sat around all day because spending your day sitting around outside for some reason seems so much more productive than sitting in front of the TV or computer. Nothing to do but enjoy the time with your family.

And this trip for once didn't really involve many Griswold moments besides the dog almost dieing but Bettis does live on! He's just moving much poor guy. When we went to see the old town of Harper's Ferry, Bettis, our dog, of course couldn't ride the shuttle to town so Nate decided to walk him there with our friends and their dog while I went with the others and our kids on the shuttle. Long story short, the dog about died. He's old, out of shape, and just laid down and refused to walk much further. He's an almost 100 lb dog so Nate wasnt' all about carrying him. But then we were all in the historic town finished with our sightseeing and because most of our phones were dead or left at the cars, we couldn't find Nate or the dog. So we probably spent a good hour of the afternoon trying to find them. At one point I hiked clear up this hill to this old Civil War cemetary, which I thought was cool (but I'm kind of an American History nerd) and I still could not find him. By then I thought I was dying. Wow, am I one out of shape lady. I was probably panting worse than the dog at that point. But eventually they found us and the poor dog laid down on the sidewalk and refused to move much after that. We had to do this wacky these people go here, you people here, and let's cram the dog into a car, and you have to get stuck walking back instead because the dog is just not going to make it if he has to walk a step further kind crazy rendezvous thing.

So no major Griswold moments but what are some of those moments. I say some because there really are too many for me to remember. And I started this blog way after all these moments so it's a nice way to make sure I never forget them.

1. Last year while camping we were running around trying to save our stuff, tent, and everything we could when a derecho with a tornado that touched down in the valley below ripped across the moutain in Virginia where we were camping. I grew up in tornado alley, so you would think I would know take cover and not save your crap was the wiser choice to make. But we didn't know what it was at the time.

2. Our Christmas tree which was strapped to the top of our SUV flew off our car as were driving down 695. Then we had to run out into the middle of 695 to "save" it.

3. We once rowed down a river in a canoe, a metal one, which a huge rain storm with thunder and lightening just erupted above us while we were in the middle of the river. Then it gets better. We parked the truck at the bottom of our river route so when we got there we'd load up the canoe and drive back up to the other vehicle we left where we started our canoe trip. Great plan except we left the keys all the way back up the river. And it was still pouring down like no other. So in the pouring rain, thunder, and lightening we hiked it back up that river road to the keys.

4. I have a problem of thinking nothing is the matter with my cars and so like to drive them hours from my house so they'll break down and leave us stranded for days. This has happened not once but twice. Yeah, my husband loves me in those moments.

5. One year at Christmas about ten of us didn't make a flight from Erie to Cleveland so they loaded us in one of those 15 passanger van things and drove us the two hours there. I wish my memory of the people in there was more clear but I seriously thought I had entered some whacked Christmas movie at the time. It was such a weird mix of people piled in very close quarters with the same Christmas CD playing over and over and over again.

So somewhere along the way my husband started calling us the Griswolds because we'd have what I started to call good bad luck. Crappy but sometimes funny later stuff would happen to us. He blames it on me, I blame it on him, and in the end we both think it's funny. I have friends that say they won't travel with us because we're bad luck. But we're always like, "But you know it'll be fun!"

                                                                My three kids


Thursday, June 13, 2013

This conductor needs to get train back on the tracks

In one more day this school year is finally over, and it was been a mental disaster to say the least. I find it kind of ironic in a way that I did reach the #1 spot at topmommyblogs for the working mom blog category (don't forget to vote occasionally by clickin the button to the side) and I AM NOT the person you want to be looking to for advice on how to balance all the balls in the air. I am a very type A, little OCD kind of personality and this year was like a train wreck. The kind of train wreck where the train is knocked off the tracks and starts going uncontrollably down this hill. It's totally out of control and all over the place. And everybody inside is clinging to it hoping it's going to land gracefully at the bottom. Yeah, me the train wreck landing gracefully, not so much.

It was like we crashed at the bottom, scattered all over the place but did miraculously survive somehow. Okay, maybe this year wasn't quite that dramatic but it was hell.

We moved this year which is never a very organized process, my husband was in his most intense year of his program for grad school, it was our first full school year with two small kids at home, and I was a classroom floater and shared a room with another teacher I love but we're completely opposite (it was kind of like being college roommates with your opposite).

I have become a slob. I hate that word and if you saw my house most of the time this year- it shouts lazy slob. Except you won't see me laying on the couch much. My husband gets irritated because it's almost ten and I'm still running around cleaning up something. If people picked up after themselves (this does include me too though) then it wouldn't take me forever to clean up the house every damn day.

So I am one person with one super busy husband as my only helper. We have no family within six hours, not enough money for a weekly housekeeper (which is what some of my wealthier friends' working moms back home had when we were growing up), and I was only able to afford our awesome nanny for five months last year and that's because she worked out a heck of a deal for me (she was a huge help in managing all those balls).

So what is one overloaded, crazy working mom going to do to get a better grip on the chaos that seems to be my work and family life? Everyone and everything is going on a calander or sticker chart next year. This includes my husband because I need his help in enforcing all these rules and crap I'm going to put in place. What kind of rewards do you think will motivate a man? If he doesn't help enforce I'm taking his stickers and rewards away!I'm going to be running that house like a drill sergeant next year so here's my plan.

1.Meal plan: We will plan our meals for the two weeks after payday on the weekend. On a calendar we will fill in what we are having two weeks at a time and then go to the grocery store on Saturday to get it all. To prepare for this I am going to make a master list this summer of all the different meals we can make so we don't fall into a rhythm of eating the same old things. I am also going to look up some crock pot or good leftover type meals. Foodie in WV is always sharing awesome recipes so I'm going to raid her site this summer and compile a list of meals and recipes.

2.Chore list: We will have a seven day a week calendar with all the chores filled in. I understand my husband is busy and he does help me but I find it rather comical how exasperated he gets when he's the one in charge of getting the girls to bed or picking up the constant mess. And the laundry and dishes are out of control. I don't have a dishwasher and I cannot keep up with that laundry. That chore list will divide things up more evenly between us and throughout the week so I don't feel like my whole weekend is spent catching up on chores. Averi is also old enough to start to have one daily chore a day. What are some good 4 year old chores?

Bedtime chart: This is for Averi. We will have a sticker chart tracking her going to bed on time and staying in bed. I may add myself to this because going to bed after 11 and getting up at 6 is not helping my state of mind. I need to give myself more sleep. Nate will lose points off his chart if he doesn't stick to enforcing this with Averi. Kenzi is my bedtime champ but she might want stickers and prizes too so I'll get a chart for her too.

The ME time calendar: On that calendar with all the other extras like Averi's gymnastics and dance, Nate's grad class, and weekend family events, is going to be time for ME. Time for me to do what I want without anyone bothering me or criticizing me. Nate thinks my idea of relaxing should be watching football or hockey with him. When I wasn't so busy that was fine but I'm too darn busy for some of that now. I want to be able to read, write, and play with my photo books without being criticized that I'm ignoring everyone so I will designate certain blocks of time that are just for this. But he will also have his uninterrupted time which in the Fall will be around football schedules. And we are also going back to the one date night a month. The ME time calendar will also include a night out together ALONE. The two of us have been doing so many things this year that we're not doing any of them well, have felt criticized constantly, and have been bad about criticizing one another as well.

The mommy and daddy work at home time: Each year our jobs require more and more work outside the normal workday. When I didn't have kids I didn't mind the lesson planning (I like lesson planning). Neither one of us had time this year to do much work at home. And that has been reflected at times in our work. I don't like this idea as we already spend 8-9 hours a day away from our kids why do I have to put in more time when I get home? But next year starts the new evaluation system and we're both up to be the first guinea pigs. I don't mind this so much because again I want to get my work life more organized again and this will help me stick to it, but Nate's still completing his grad program next year and has all the tests with that to prepare for on top of the new things that are coming with education change. I'm not necessarily against some of these changes but it's just more on that neverending plate him and I have. So again this is going to be extra stress and I need more structure in my life to handle it.

I know other working moms tell me constantly that it is a juggling chaotic mess but I don't think it's suppose to be as crazy as it's been this year. I passed up an opportunity to teach an evening college class at the local community college because as much as I thought it would be a good career decision, I really felt it was a bad family decision. I stressed over the decision all day Tuesday and once I finally made my choice I have to say I felt relieved so I think I made the right choice. He said he'd get back in touch with me for the spring semester so maybe by then I will feel like I can balance it all a little better. My girls will only be this little once, and it may seem like this is all normal but as the organized leader in my household we all need me back in my organized, together mind set. We will all function better.

I know they said this mom and working mom thing is hard but I just feel like it's been unbelievably hard this year. I've been doing this for four years and this year is definitely on the top for being the most difficult. But with a marriage, two kids, hopefully two dogs (I know another dog just what I need, right?), two houses to keep up with (that rental one is probably going to be a added stress in February), two careers, extra work and classes I know it's going to be a lot but everyone else does it so we should be able to, right? I keep telling myself next year will be better. It has to. This conductor needs to get control of her train. I feel like in order to do that I need a plan. I don't know how good of a plan it is. Suggestions from you working outside of the home moms?



Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Liebster award for new bloggers and I nominate...

Domesticated Breakdown nominated me for the Liebster award, an award for new bloggers still working towards their first 200 followers. I appreciate this so much as it was just this last month in May that I put myself out there to other audiences of people I don't know and have really enjoyed getting to know all the writers and moms I've encountered through blogging about motherhood. This has been a very busy month for me trying to reach a large audience of moms through a variety of means so if you're stopping in for the first time be sure to check out the most popular post and archives, especially May. And of course feel free to follow the love and chaos that occurs daily with A & N. If you're one of my regular readers I hope you check out Domesticated Breakdown and the people below that I'm going to nominate.

To accept this nomination I have to complete the following tasks…
  • Link back to the blog that nominated you.
  • Nominate 5-11 new blogs with fewer than 200 followers.
  • Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator.
  • Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Create 11 questions for your nominees.
  • Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them.
 The blogs that I nominate are as follows:

Rendered and Renewed

Country Bunkin Mama

Getting it Together

Rosel's Mom Diary


Hoerter family

The usual chaos and destruction

Grover's Corner
Life Imperfected

Questions for me to answer.
  1. If you could live anywhere, where would it be? This is tough. I like Maryland a lot but I would rather be closer to than ocean than I am so maybe some small beach community here on the Atlantic Ocean.
  2. What’s your favorite hobby? Definitely reading and writing then probably making picture books from all the pictures I take all the time.
  3.  If you could only have 3 things to eat for the rest of your life what would they be? chocolate, ice cream, and it's a toss up between chipolte and hot wings
  4.  What 3 things do you never leave the house without? my kids (they go with me everywhere it seems like), my keys even though I have locked myself out of the house before, and money
  5.  What’s your favorite song? Highway don't Care, Shine on, Cruise (really like Florida/Georgia Line right now)
  6. How many siblings do you have? two awesome sisters
  7. What is the best vacation you have ever taken? This is hard. Mexico for our honeymoon was cool but I think our two weeks sightseeing the National Parks of California or our week in a beach house in Outer Banks North Carolina probably beat Mexico.
  8. Have you ever had surgery? NO
  9. Do you prefer the ocean or pools? I love the ocean
  10. What is your favorite TV show? Game of Thrones, Revolution, Newsroom
  11. How long have you been with your significant other? Eight years March 11, 2004 and six years married July 14, 2007

Now my questions for those of you that I nominated

1. What's your dream career?
2. If money wasn't an issue how many kids would you have?
3. What's your favorite vacation?
4. If you could go visit anywhere where would you go?
5. Where did you meet your significant other?
6. How long did you date before you were married?
7. How long have you known your longest friend?
8. When was your last date night with your husband?
9. Where do you live?
10. If you could only eat three things what would they be?
11. How long have you been blogging?

Here are the 11 random facts about me.

My husband was suppose to be a "fling" type relationship
I got my husband and I both fired from the college job where we met because I got in a heated argument with the boss
I am still friends with the first best friend I ever had
My college roommate and I had one fight the whole two years we lived together
I have been stranded twice by a broken down car and by stranded I mean overnight, once for more than one night
I have flown on an airplane now more times than I could count and before I was 22 that number was 1
My favorite place to taste wine is the Finger Lakes of New York
I love my in laws and actually look forward to my time visiting them
It's a lot tougher being far from home and family than I let on sometimes especially now that I have kids
We might give it one more shot for that boy (guess that's not a fact but it's a fact that we talk about it)
I've been in Maryland now for eight years this coming week

Thanks for the nomination and I look forward to seeing all of your responses to my questions.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Mothering, alcohol, and those damn princess shoes: now I remember why I don't do this anymore

Today we went to a wine and arts festival. And I thought I had jokingly told my husband at the end of the week I was going to get "wasted" I think were my words,not really meaning them. Usually when we go places that involve alcholol I have a drink or two and then stop so I can be the "responsible" parent. However, he did know that he was giong to be the DD, and I was not going to be the "responsible" one.

Honestly, if we lived near family, it would have probably been a good day for them to go to grandma's house, but they were very well behaved while we tasted some wine. The embarrassing Averi climbing on the bookshelf in the library was a rare incident. She usually saves her "what is she thinking" antics for home. They played well together at the festival and they got lots of compliments on their cuteness and behavior.

So after we tasted lots of wine, checked out some arts vendors, Averi tie dyed a T shirt and got her face painted, we headed home. It was during that LONG car ride I was reminded "oh my Gosh," I remember why I don't do this anymore. I don't recall being able to go from drunk to hung over to passed out all the span of less than an hour. Is that a new development as you get older? It's not that I don't have a drink here and there but I sure don't drink like that anymore. We were going to go out to dinner before we headed home, and luckily my husband was getting a good laugh out of my state and was sympathetic and took me straight home. And good thing because I was sick not even five minutes walking in the door. Now I regret all those times I made fun of my husband when he's the one sick and hung over. He thought it'd be funny to stand there, laughing at me, and taking pictures! I'm sure to send to my sisters or use to remind me later what happens when you drink too much.

Then I flat out passed out on my bed. He was just going to have to be the one in charge tonight. I was one momma out of business for a few hours. I think I was out for about two hours and was brought back to the world of the living with the clank, clank of those damn princess shoes of Averi's on our hardwood floor. I had a throbbinng hangover headache and she and then Kenzi thought not only did they need to walk around the house in the darn things but they LOVED the clank of them on the floor so they would stomp around the house in them. Now imagine what that does to a hangover headache. Needless to say I wanted to chuck those damn things out the window.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The comedy of errors of everyday life with A & N

Somehow our parenthood adventure always tends to be comedy of errors. And this week was no exception. We all survived, but it was NOT pretty at times. There are definitely no parenting awards over here. Oh, and since I'm writing this and Nate's not, I'm going to blame everything on him.

So where should I start? There was Monday night while  I'm cleaning up the dishes and feeding the dog, I hear Nate holler from the bottom of the basement steps. And at the bottom of them was poor Kenzer bawling her eyes out because who knows how many steps she toppled down. She wasn't feeling well as it was so she cried and she cried. But she let me rock her to sleep so that was the positive of her falling down the stairs.

Tuesday. Oh, Tuesday, that was the day that because Nate had a paper due Wednesday we came home between work and gymnastics so we could drop him off. So I was using that thirty minutes to read on my phone. And I think he was having his man period or something that day because he starts getting all pissy that I'm reading and ignoring everything, which I do do when I start reading, which is why I never read anymore! Well, you put a PMS male with PMS female and you have a whole lot hot tempers flying around. Needless, to say we didn't make it to Averi's gymnastics because I thought by the time I drove the twenty minutes there less than half of it would be left so I took Ave and Kenz to the park to get away from so called PMS man. Park was fun. Besides the fact that I forgot that little math/physics whatever it is equation where you shouldn't put two totally different weighted people on a see saw because the light one-in this case Averi-would flip right off. But mama saved her. That's right. I caught her and told her that was not a good idea and she needed to find a younger park friend that didn't outweigh her by 30lbs. And this is where things getting pissed on just started taking over my week.

I made the mistake when she was little and there were no potties around about letting her just go outside. WE pulled the car over on the side of the road once for her to go outside. But now she thinks it's okay to just walk away from the playground and find a nearby tree and drop her drawers to go. Except she picked a tree where her bare butt was facing the parking lot. Well, so no judgments here people, I directed her over to the tree clear across in the other direction farther away from the playground. Sorry, but the other option was the porta potty. And I would go stand behind the tree to go before going in one of those things so I was NOT sending my four year old in there. What if she fell in?!? I have weird paranoia about that.

The next morning Averi wakes me up crying of an ear ache. So I took the day off to take Kenzi to the doctor. Yeah, you read that right. Averi was fine, I already had the day off, Kenz had been coughing something awful for over a week so I took her to the doctor to find out the poor kid has an upper respiratory infection and needs antibiotics. Ave talked me into getting them bubbles and a pool on the way home. And she's in the house with the bubbles and I remember telling her to make sure she puts the lid on them because Kenzi is always knocking them over or spilling them. I go back to my room and am checking a message on my phone and I hear Averi go, "whoops". I look up at the same time my foot hits the wet slippery mess on the floor and down I go. Averi of course tries to clean up, I go to get something, and what do you know. Feet over head goes Kenzi on the floor. That was the day they both magically fell asleep at five though and I TOOK A NAP!!! Except when Nate got home from class then they were wide awake, and I remember at one point they were running around playing and being their usual loud, over energetic selves, the dog was barking, the TV was blaring, and Nate and I looked at each other like "Yep, welcome, to the nut house!"

Thursday morning I woke up thinking maybe I had peed my pants. My whole backside was soaked. I just figured i must have sweated really bad. It wasn't until I went to get Averi out of our bed that I realized no she peed all over everything. She hasn't wet the bed in forever and she just slept through it! How do you do that? Oh, wait, I slept through laying in her pee too. Being that I have to be at work too damn early, I did not take a shower, my husband reminded me way more than he should have in my bitchy mood that I smelled like pee. (Course he thinks everything has a bad smell) I get halfway to work to realize I forgot to give Kenzi her medicine and from there for the rest of the day I was mad at the world. I'm pretty sure I restarted the argument again from Tuesday on the way to work so by the time I got to work I was in need in one of my mommy timeouts (I seem to need those a lot this year).

Come Friday, Averi attempted to potty train Kenzi. She was really set on this. "I put her in underwear, Mom. Don't worry. I'll take her when she has to go."She didn't quite get that Kenzi doesn't know yet when she has to go. I'm just glad when Kenzi decided to pee herself she did it on Averi's bed so now it's Friday night and everything has been peed at this point and now I have a bulkier, larger amount of laundry to do this weekend. Then that darn medicine again. Our life has had like a theme this week-pee and antibiotics. I was going to fill the dropper for Kenz's medicine and the darn thing fell down in the bottle. And I couldn't get it out so I went back to our bathroom to get the tweezers to pull it out and walked in on Nate doing what boys do when they sit on the potty. (I thought he was downstairs watching hockey in my defense!) And here's how our week ended:

Nate, "If it's not the girls barging in it's you. Can't I take a shit in peace?"
Me,    "Nope, if I can't read you can't take a shit in peace!"

I always have to have the last word. HAHA! TGIF!

                                           Averi did learn how to rollerblade this week though!

                                                            Sister bonding this week
                                                            Testing out the pool

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Why are there always so many me s?

In the process of going through old files I came across this poem I wrote probably three years ago when

Averi was a baby. Unfortunately, I don't feel that much has changed. I"m still running around like crazy being

too many me s. Thank God I'm not coaching or going to grad school anymore. That was the first two years

of Averi's life.

But now there's two of them that need me.

Nate is the busier one with grad school and I've picked up extra hours of work. Last year

when Kenz was born was the most balanced and "having it all together" with this 

career mom thing I remember having in the four years I've been a working mom. What was different then? I

need to figure it out. I need an action plan for this balancing act called my life.  So the plan is to have one 

of those more content kind of years next year and to work towards my ideal working mom goal, which

would be to work outside of the home part time. To me working part time has always been the idea of the

best of both worlds. I couldn't be a complete stay at home mom unless I had a full my schedule with a

bunch of projects. But after staying home today with the girls, I'm still convinced staying at home with your

kids is just as much if not more work than work. But I have SO much more patience by the end of the day

because I'm not stretched as thin with trying to do what I do at home on top of a full work day in the same

24 hours of time. And I got to play with my kids without feeling rushed. There's just too many me s.

Sometimes I think I get lost on which me I need to be.

Which Me Should I be???

Do you wonder what it’s like to be me?
Which me would you like to be?

The mom, the wife, the housekeeper,
Or the teacher, the coach, and grad student
But let s not forget the sister, daughter, and friend
Which Me should I be?

Pushing through the day with papers to grade,
Records to keep, lessons to plan
From there off to class or games to attend
If only this me would end

Rushing home in time to eat,
Do bathtime and read bedtime stories
Then down to do dishes and clean up
If only I could be more of the mom me

Too many roles with sometimes too much criticism
And too little appreciation
If only you understood what its like to be me

End of the night still have papers to write,
Papers to grade, and lessons to finalize
If only I didn’t still have to be this me

The end of the day with no time
Left to be the family me for husband, sisters, or parents.
Anymore do my friends even have a chance to know me?

If only I didn’t have to be so many mes
Now do you understand what it s like to be me?

Moms, how many different me s are there to you? And how do you balance so many versions of you?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Chasing fairy tales

Once upon a time, there was girl. A college girl in her last year of college, excited for the next chapter in her life that would begin in a few months. She waited tables at one of the local bars and there she met a boy. He wasn't going to school anymore and was pretty much running the bar owner's bars along the college strip. He was sweet, friendly, loved music and the social atmosphere. At first they were just friends but then over a few months they started to become more than friends. She was a little unsure at first. He was older, had tattoes, pierced ears (those things her dad would frown upon), his life was a little out of sorts to say the least and he seemed a little lost on his path.  He was a dream, a free spirit, the opposite of her since she was always the reality check type of person, the one who always had a plan. But they say opposite attract, and attract they did in this case. He swept her off her feet with late nights sitting under the stars of his topless Jeep, spring and summer mornings listening to classic tunes, with spontaneous trips camping, to the lake, and even halfway across the country. She knew she was in for the ride of her life when just two months after being together he said, "come east with me." Just pack up and head east and see what we find. He was that type of person that would just pack up, throw caution to the wind, and do it. She felt that she was living some kind of "Heads Carolina, Tails California" song. As much as she wanted to be totally spontaneous and take a crazy leap of faith, she convinced him to wait a year while she followed through on a committment to her first actual job.

The next year was tough. They lived two hours apart. He lost his job because of something her sassy mouth said (that's a different story) and even though he got a better job he was eventually laid off from that. Then the end of the year came and it was time for that moment of truth. Did she go east with him? There was something about this dreamer that drove her like a moth to flame. But their fairy tale wasn't perfect, and neither of them were strangers to relationships. They had both been down the failed relationship road in the past. At some point the fairy tale dies and the truth of who they each really are is bared. What awaited them when dreaming would crash with reality?

Click here for part II of the story The truth of the fairy tale (also known as the Original A & N story)

The years that followed from that first journey to truth and reality were at times still wonderful in some instances and ugly in others, the way ugly can be when two people get caught up in their own selfish attitudes and behaviors. We were two very independent people, stubborn at times, sure we were right and the other was wrong. I was the one with the temper but he learned quick how to match it. We gave ourselves almost four years out there together alone before starting our own family. It was a smart four years I see now. We both had a lot of growing up to do, a lot of things to see and fix about ourselves, things to learn to accept about the other, and the best thing of all is we had four years of having fun together. We traveled, we went to sporting events, we hung out and partied with friends frequently, had nice dinners out, and enjoyed the life we were slowly building for ourselves. We learned because we didn't have any family around that the only people we had to count on was each other. We became a team, partners, in working together to build a life we wanted for ourselves and the kids we would have. That unity of counting on just each other strengthened us probably more than anything. It forced us to work together and work through our problems with one another.

Even though we fight WAY less now than we did those four years (more like we have mild disagreements now), I miss the him and I that we use to be. But I love the him and I as mommy and daddy more. We are different and better people than we were then. But again as the fairy tale slips farther and farther away and reality settles in, the everyday life of parenthood and all the balance that it entails, I hate the gap that widens. The distance of who we use to be to who we are. We're so busy, we're so tired, we're so overwhelmed. We love each other but don't know how to make time for just each other anymore. Another summer goal of mine is to have time for just my husband again. It'll be eight years June 20 that we left to begin this life we now have. It's been a hell of a journey. There are so many stories to it, so many ugly and beautiful truths (maybe one day we'll share them all), but as beautiful as the fairy tale of love is, the reality of it is it's work. Hard work. You have to work at it everyday. Some days harder than others. I do not feel that ours is broken, not all, just a little lost in the shuffle of parenthood. We have worked hard at so many different things in our life, and we have worked hard on our relationship in the past, and I think to work on it this summer to rekindle some romance will actually be fun work. Maybe he'll leave me a love note in my laundry basket again or make me a CD of all the songs that remind me of our past again.

           The road may be a little bumpy at times, but it's been a journey worth it. Excited to see what
                                                             the next ten years bring.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The princesses and their prince

As this is a mommy blog, I am of course always talking about my role as mommy or my two adorable but sometimes mischievous daughters. But there is one more important person in this story that makes our life complete and his name is Daddy.

Just like most men, my husbands has always wanted a boy at some point, but for whatever reason, with our first pregnancy he seemed to actually lean towards wanting a girl more. And a girl is what we got. Twice now.  I am often awed by the father/daughter relationship. I experienced it as one of three daughters and now raising daughters I am experiencing it again in a different way.  Little boys need their daddy too; I just don't know anything about little boys so with father's day approaching I wanted to look at daddy's girls.

My girls adore their daddy. There is no denying that, especially my oldest one who's had the longest to wrap him around her finger. My oldest daugther is very much like her daddy and they have a special bond that I know will last forever. And she is his world. I really have no idea how he is going to handle things like them getting boobs, or starting their periods, or that day they bring a boy home and there's some other man of importance in their life other than their daddy. These will be tough moments for him.

But I also know no matter what happens Daddy's arms are where they'll find the most comfort. Just like my dad, my husband is very calm, laid back, doesn't get upset or worried easily. Girls, women, tend to be a little emotional we'll say. We get all worked up, worried, bent out of shape, but man, those daddies sure do know how to calm us down no matter how old we get. He will be that voice of reason for them. That reassurance that they can past the disappointments and hurt and move forward.

He loves pampering them. He can put together a fancier updo than I can, and whenever we go shopping for them together he picks out the girly dresses while I always seem to be the one picking out the play clothes they can get dirty and tear up. He once said the thing with girls was that he felt like it was more okay to cuddle them so much, and he loves to cuddle them. They cuddle, especially my oldest, with him as much as they cuddle with me.

But as much as he treats them like the precious baby dolls they are, he will also rough house with them. Averi will constantly put her hands up in little fist and go "you wanna westle", and wrestle around on the floor they will. He gets her all into watching football and hockey with him. She'll excited put on her team clothes when he tells her they're on TV. She'll watch for a bit and he's always telling her how he'll take her to her first actual game one of these years.

As we all know little girls grow into young women and one day he will sadly have to watch them go. Go out into the world on their own and there will probably at some point be another man in their lives but Daddy will always be the first man that showed them what a good man is and how a man should treat a woman. Daddys are a little girl's first love. They think daddy is the prince they see on their disney movies and they ask daddy to marry them. And a daddy's love is a love that is always there and will stand all the tests of time and life.

Watching the bond between my husband and daughters has always been one of the most beautiful things I've experienced about parenting. It's such a pure, unconditional love and I am so thankful every day that my girls have such a great man to call their daddy.