Friday, August 30, 2013

The Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus comparison

Read with caution: Ladies, cross your legs! Men, I warned you :)

First off, we all love our husbands. They're cute and cuddly. They really do try for the most part on most days. I never ever doubt what a great choice I made for a daddy for my kids, but after kids that gap between man and woman and their way of thinking just gets bigger and bigger. There are times this whole man/woman partnership thing leaves me shaking my head. Sometimes it really is like they're on one planet and we're on another. Sometimes I think it's a losing battle to try to get them to jump over here and join us on our planet.

Faith Hill once said at a concert of hers and Tim’s that a woman not only has her children to raise but her husband first. I totally get that statement now. A few older been there moms have told me multiple times, “Don’t wait on a man. You want something done you better just do it yourself.” Man planet doesn't function the same way as woman planet.  We walk in totally different shoes than they do, and one young working mom told me,  “He can’t even hold my shoes, much more walk in them.”
Here are few things that must be acceptable on man planet that here on woman planet is kind of irratating, which come on  isn't woman planet the one we're on most of the time. My grandpa once told my husband, "If Momma ain't happy then nobody's happy."

1.       When men are asked what their share of the household responsibilities are they reply with taking care of everything outside. And with the way they stress this everything they make it sound like their EVERYTHING is equal to our laundry, housekeeping, dinner and dishes, and everything else we do. Last I knew our everything wasn’t seasonal or once a week when it is in season. That may be acceptable on man planet but here on woman planet we're not impressed.

2.       After the arrival of children men are all of a sudden very intently interested in keeping the outside meticulously well kept? They can sit there playing video games and watching games on TV but darn it as soon as the baby’s awake and we need them to do something, oh yeah, they still have to go mow that yard.

3.       Every man appears to be convinced that he does more than any other man husband/father  out there. I’ve spoken to several moms and pretty much we’re all told the same thing. By our man. And that is that he does more than most men. Maybe the 1960s man. Doing more than mowing the yard, being in charge of the kids every once in awhile, and helping around the house is the typical man today so sorry I don’t think you doing a load of laundry for a week on top of EVERYTHING you do outside calls for a badge of honor. We're pretty demanding here on woman planet.

4.       Every time we have to be the one late or attend something and they’re in charge, we come home to a grumpy, irritated man? You mean when they can’t escape to the bathroom, yard, or a man cave the constant demands, messes, crying and fighting all while trying to take care of something else sometimes is a little exhausting and frustrating? You mean it’s hard being the one always in charge, the one the kids always come to even if you’re both home?

5. When giving them directions they ONLY follow the directions given? Nothing more , nothing less. For example, this may or may not be my own personal example that recently happened and inspired this whole post. The  directions to him may be to bathe the kids while I cleaned up the dinner dishes and the last of everything for the night. However, sometimes more specific directions are needed. He bathes them but that was it. No brushing the teeth, combing the hair, no pajamas, not even a diaper on the baby. It's a “I did what you told me to do to help, then I had to go to take care of something." Mow the lawn perhaps?
6. My last noted differences here is yes, sex. They're trying to figure out how to get more and we're trying to figure out how to get less. After we've been touched, grabbed, slobbered, and acquired who knows what other body fluids on us throughout the day  that when the house is finally quiet and we have a moment to not be dealing with the demands of our children, there comes man like an eager puppy wanting to know if it's his turn for our attention yet. Yes, there's a turn for them too because they are cute, cuddly, and they should get points for effort, but can we have like thirty minutes to ourselves maybe in our nothing box (see video).

 I recently watched a Mark Gungor comedy video Men's Brains verse Women's Brains on the different wiring of men and women. I highly recommend this. If you're a man and were brave enough to read this, watch the video. You'll appreciate it. Ladies, you'll keep on laughing.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Put your dukes up, sister!

I know there are perfect children out there that never fought with their sibling; however, those perfect children were not me and my sisters or unfortunately, my own two daughters. I wished for perfect children, but I got these two instead. That’s okay though. I like them better than any perfect children I would get.

Sarcasm aside though, for you parents of nonperfect children, how do you deal with the fights? I kind of feel like sisters fight more than brothers, but after talking to a couple readers about rough housing and play swords and other “boy” things, I’m thinking maybe little brothers fight a lot too. I am fortunate because they really don’t fight that often, which I feel is because of the temperament of my oldest. I find myself defending my youngest a lot.

But here’s the thing. I was the oldest. The oldest that liked to torture my little sister. I’d boss her around. Like crazy! When I wasn’t telling her what to do and bugging her to do it my way, I was telling her she was too little to play with me. I wonder sometimes if I come to the defense of my youngest as a way to redeem my evil big sister me from my youth. Because the little one can be quite the bully, and she can hold her own. She will get so mad at her sister. Sometimes she just starts shaking her fist and yelling baby gibberish at her sister. I’m pretty sure she’s telling her off, which we just haven’t been able to translate yet. And she’s hauled off and smacked her sister a few times. I don’t know if Averi’s ever hit her period, and if she has she wasn’t the first one to do it. But she does boss her around something fierce and when Kenzi resists she just keeps pushing and Kenzi just gets madder and madder. It’s the same thing if Averi is telling her no and doesn’t want to do something.

Luckily at this poinit their fights are brief and two seconds later they’re “best friends” again. Of course Averi often tells me she wants a baby brother because “my baby sister is mean sometimes.”

I don’t know. I do the usual sit them in timeout and make them hug and make up. They tell each other they’re sorry. I feel for Averi because as the oldest I know how it feels to sometimes feel like you’re always getting blamed and to just do something or act a certain way because you’re the oldest. I also feel for Kenz because her and I share the same temperament. We get frustrated, don’t feel that people can understand (and when you’re talking gibberish sorry but we don’t) and so we sometimes let our anger get the best of us. It’s so hard to figure out how to deal with children that are two totally different children fairly. You’d think as a teacher I should be like some kind of expert or something on this. NOPE, far from it. I don’t want one to feel like I’m cutting the other a break because they think I like one more than the other.


My other thoughts on parenting different children the same.   Parenting should come with a differential manual like teaching.  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Brave Change- Year 10!

Today started my tenth year of teaching. It's crazy to think I have almost put a decade of my life into this sometimes mentally exhausting career, but I still believe it has to be one of the most rewarding things someone can do with their life.  I'm excited to start this year; I'm ready for change and new beginnings.

One of the great things about being a teacher is you get a fresh start every year to work towards something better than the year before. I imagine in any job, just as in life, we fall into routines, bad habits, and do things that are comfortable but maybe not always the best way to do them because as much as we don't want to admit it it's easier to do the same thing wrong than put in the effort to make a change for the better sometimes. As a teacher once you've hit that dead of winter, dragging through the days on low energy and ambition, it's kind of like that sometimes. I'm like an old dog too tired to learn and implement new tricks, but after a relaxing refreshing summer vacation it's like I'm an excited puppy again ready to try some new tricks of the trade.

Last year for me was probably the toughest year for me. I hit burnout. I started to recognize it for what it was probably about March. I guess after nine years of doing the same thing, I learned from talking to others this was rather typical. I'm guessing I will probably hit it again sometime, but I'm hoping it's somewhere after the twenty year mark. I am someone that has always enjoyed working and has always believed strongly in the fact that you spend too much of your life working to waste it unhappy with what you are doing. I was having a strong internal conflict of values going on at the end of last year, and I was bound and determine to take control of my burnout problem. Along with all the changes out of my control that came to my school and education in general this year, I put several other changes in place for myself with the projects and commitments I decided to pick up at work, along with some adaptations at home to help put me in a more positive mindset. I am set on kicking burnout to the curb. Occasionally I worry that I went a little overboard with all that I took on to create change for myself, along with everything that was out of my control, but as anxious as I am about change sometimes because it is an adjustment that usually takes hard work, I've always been someone that's welcomed change too.

Our education system nationwide is going through some major changes to bring in what's called the common core. Along with the common core curriculum is also a new teacher evaluation system. I think both of these things can be great changes for the education of our country. However, change takes work and lots of time. We are human-the leaders, parents, teachers, students-and we are going to make mistakes and it's not going to be perfect. But what I fear is people wish for immediate results and when they don't get them, they quit the effort. But in any of these roles as long as we're willing to listen, learn from one another, and grow we're moving in the right direction.

Our motivational song for the year has been "Be Brave." Too many times we fear change; even if it's a change we need. We stick with what we're comfortable with for fear of the unknown that comes with change. But we (teachers, students, and our nation's education in general) can't grow and be better unless we change. Change is scary but this is the year of braving change.

I'm ready. Are you?

This is a great video. If you're in education I hope you watch it. Be Brave


Friday, August 23, 2013

A Mother's Story of Hope

Imagine the excitement of meeting your first baby. You are heads over heels in love with this tiny person that you've been waiting months to meet. You are finally a mother, the role most of us dream about as little girls. As hectic and exhausting as those early months of your baby's life are they are suppose to be some of the most memorable too.  Then imagine three months after the birth of your precious baby, being told you have cancer with a surival time period of about 15 months. You may not get to see your baby's first steps, celebrate their first birthday, celebrate those moments like potty training, take their picture on the first day of kindergarten and every first day thereafter, celebrate their school accomplishments, cheer them on at that first soccer game, enjoy the amusement of how awful they are when they first start play soccer, watch them grow into their own person as they find their way in the world, and see the wonderful adult they become because your time together has now been cut down to fifteen months of less. How do you get up? How do you go on? How do you live?

Do you give up hope? Do you quit? Or do you fight? Do you cling to your hope with everything you have? Do you put your faith in God and yourself and give yourself a fighting chance.

This is Heather Von St. James' story.  In the Baltimore area we often hear of the risk of mesothelioma due to the exposure of asbestos from certain working conditions. I hope you click on the link below to hear Heather's story and help spread the awareness of this cancer, as well as her message about hope and living with a purpose.

Heather's message and challenge to us is find something we never thought we would accomplish and give it a try. It can be something like art class, yoga, or heck, skydiving. And do it. We need to remind ourselves this is our life, and we should live it with passion. Tomorrow for ourselves or the person we love is never guaranteed. The scariest thing to me as a parent is not seeing my children through this journey of life because as much as it can be difficult, it is a gift. A gift that can be honored with a passion for it.  Don’t wait for something like a cancer diagnosis to wake you up.  Heather  says, "Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death. Go out and LIVE!"

Please check out her video and share Heather's story

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Thursday, August 22, 2013


No nap= a very cranky, pain in the ass toddler

No AC= two very, cranky parents

No dinner= a very cranky husband, and an I don't give a shit at the moment wife

No lid on a sand train= a fucking disaster all over my house


This all equals no patience and I'm over this week! So I will laugh, you can laugh at me or with me, but either way tomorrow is Friday. And all I can say is Thank God.

Please  tell me I am not the only momma that encounters a wacky equation like this at about the end of every work week. Happy Friday! I think I might have to celebrate mine with a drink. Cheers!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Back to work Day 1: Snot, tears, and a pair of damn pajamas

So today was the first day back to work. Work itself went pretty well. We have this whole week without students to get prepared for their first day next week. I always have a huge appreciation for this whole week because I don’t know many other school systems that give their teachers a full work week to prepare. I always feel a little overwhelmed because there’s so much to do and I don’t know where to start. Set up my classroom, revise my syllabi, plan, create powerpoints, make to do list. As I hit about Thursday I usually feel a little better, and I told myself if I have to go in Saturday this year I will.

Averi had a GREAT first day according to her teacher. When I asked Averi about her first day she said she had lots of fun and when I asked her what she did she said, “I don’t know.” She kept asking, “Do we have to get up early and come to school again tomorrow, Mom.” When I told her yes, she was excited. I wonder how long this will last because my daughter is not a morning person and is usually a pain to get up in the morning. I know she’s only 4! She’s going to be a royal pain about it when she’s a teenager.

Kenz had a good day I suppose too. Once we got home, day 1 attempt on my scheduled plan of attack went better than planned. It did take me over an hour though from the time I left work until I got home from picking up both girls; I was really hoping I could keep that to an hour. Aside from that though, I had a load of laundry done and Nate had dinner on the table by 630, dishes and house was cleaned up around 700, baths were done shortly after, and then we stepped into the twilight zone.

Averi wanted to dress Kenzi, Kenzi wanted nothing to do with Averi, Averi wanted Kenzi to wear a pj outfit that matched hers, and again Kenzi just kept running away yelling, “No! NO!” Nate stepped out of his half hour break in the bathroom, wondering what the hell was going on. I have to say at this point I was just sitting on the couch laughing. Kenz kept running away from Averi to me and Averi is bawling at this point. Like the snot and tears kind of bawling, and Kenzi is just shaking her little fist at her sister. Averi’s wailing, “Why don’t you love me more than mommy?” Averi is very high energy child that seriously rarely tires or gets cranky, but oh my was she a tired, whining, snotty mess. Every time I would step away from Kenzi she would start crying too, wanting her mommy. Finally Nate and I sat down with both of them on the couch, each one holding one, said everyone just missed everyone all day and was tired from getting up early. Then we convinced Kenzi to give Averi a hug.

Their bedtime that is 830 ended up being 745 for Kenzi who asked to go nighty night and Averi is winding down with quiet time now and looking like she’s exhausted enough to hopefully pass out in ten minutes. This first day wore them out; they are two very tired little girls.

So minus the snotty meltdown over a pair of damn pajamas it was a good day, but now I must quit stalling and get to work on those powerpoints, planning, and syllabi. What will the rest of the week bring?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The syrupy sweetness and sticky mess of parenthood

 I've been told I give a fresh, real take on parenting; that I don’t sugarcoat the reality of the journey that is parenthood and they appreciated that. I appreciate the compliment; however, I read a lot of other parenting blogs and while yes maybe some do sugarcoat it, many of them don’t so maybe it’s the sugarcoated posts on facebook? Whichever the case, I can’t really speak for other people though so here’s my take on the syrupy sweetness and sticky mess of this gig they call parenthood.

This blog is our family journey and when we revisit it later in life with my older, hopefully mature girls I want to be able to remember the truth of these crazy early years. It’s not always pretty. Some day they’re going to be mothers themselves, and now as a mother myself, when I look back at my sisters and I at this age with my own mother, I have this romanticized, sugarcoated image of how she did it all so flawlessly. Isn’t it later in life when we look back at our own mothers that we see them in this supermom image that we find impossible to mimic?  I’m sure my mother did not feel like Mrs. Jones when she was up to her elbows in poopy cloth diapers, breaking up fights between three little girls, taking care of us three and the house all day by herself while my father worked long hours, and I’m pretty sure she probably wanted to lock herself in a room for a good cry every now and then like the rest of us. But the thing I’ve found about motherhood is that those sticky messes are quickly forgiven and it’s those syrupy sweet moments we trap in our memories and hearts for safe keeping. Hopefully like myself my girls will remember the sweet moments of their young mother, but the not so sweet will be here to remember that the journey isn’t always so pretty. Somedays I want to cry and scream in frustration; somedays my children drive me absolutely nuts!

Maybe social media like facebook does provide us the opportunity to romanticize motherhood and gives us all false expectations of how we should feel and do things. I think almost every mother I know has at some point has proudly posted on facebook how she traded her party nights in for her wonderful children and her thin, younger, sexier body for warrior stretch marks she now wears proudly. Yeah, yeah, yeah, maybe I agree with that most days, but I’m not going to lie. Yes, I gave up my party nights for two beautiful girls I love more than anything, but I’d trade those comfy mom panties in to dig sexy out of the back of the underwear drawer for a night on the dance floor, partying again with my husband for a night before crawling back into my old body in bed next to my four year old. I'm pretty sure there are days my husband misses that girl too. I wish for my younger, thinner body many more days than I care to admit. The muffin top look and stretch marks doesn't exactly shout sexy. We all moved forward in this journey called life to the next chapter of parenthood, but why do we pretend that every once in awhile we don’t miss the girl we were before motherhood?   Motherhood is stressful, exhausting, as far from easy as you can get, and there’s no escape once you’re here! J

But I know even though my parenting isn’t perfect and never will be, that I’ve made mistakes and will continue to make mistakes, I know without a doubt I love my kids so much it hurts. Even though I miss the days before kids every once in awhile, I would never trade them (I’ll take a time travel trip back to it for a night though). The love you feel for your child is an overpowering emotion that even words can’t do justice to. To love your child beyond anything you ever imagined possible is a fear that stops you cold sometimes. I realized this the other night while watching my girls at the carnival. Parenthood is not perfect, pretty, or always happy, but it has its moments that just captures your heart like no other. Sometimes it’s their giggles, the way your children love one another, the way they put their complete trust into you, but as I was watching their little faces light up with delight the other night, I was struck cold with fear. I saw my daughter there standing excitedly holding her dad’s hand as they waited to ride an adult ride together because she was tall enough, I saw my other daughter with the biggest smile on her face as she got to finally ride a kiddie ride with her big sister, and out of nowhere I remembered the parents of Newton, CT, the parents who wouldn’t get to experience moments like this with their lost child anymore. All too often I catch myself fearful with the realization that they’re not mine forever. I often wonder if this gut wretching fear paralyzes other parents out of the blue sometimes. They are a gift and God can call any of us back at any time and separate us and the moments of syrupy sweetness will be just that. Moments in time to remember and treasure. And maybe when we see the so called sugarcoated version of parenting it’s just someone doing their best to capture and savior the beautiful moments in this sometimes messy journey. No matter what the future brings them, it's those beautiful so sweet moments that they want to hold onto forever. We love our children so much it hurts because we really truly can’t imagine a life without them ; they are our worlds, and we fear the unknown future and all the threats that lurk out there in the real world that they get closer and closer to every day. Maybe some are guilty of sugarcoating or highlighting the best of life on social media, but I don't see that as such a bad thing.

Some of us are the glass is half full people so we should never take it personally or even feel guilty about our own choices, parenting, life, whatever because of some else’s “sugarcoated” version of parenting or anything else for that matter. It’s okay to share and focus on the beautiful, joyous things on any journey. Life and parenting is hard so why not sugarcoat it when we can; aren't all beautiful moments worth sharing and treasuring?

I like to think of myself as more of a positive rather than negative person, but not every moment is sweet and enjoyable and that is every mother’s reality. So on here is our journey-sometimes it’s so sweet it hurts and sometimes it’s a sticky mess that makes me want to scream or cry, but I always try to keep it real.

                                                     I thank God every day for these girls.
                              I think He knows even on the nutty days I still see them as a blessing.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Top 5 on my Motherhood Go to Hell List

There are just some things as a mother, especially those "kid" things that you didn't realize would quite annoy you so much until you had kids. So these are a few things on my Motherhood go to hell list.

1. That damn $5 pushing ball popper toy. I just want to chuck that damn thing out the window. It is the most annoying toys ever. It never fails when I’m trying to enjoy a peaceful moment one of my girls decides to push that thing around the house, going faster and faster, so the damn things pop faster and faster, creating more and more and more noise!

2. The “oh so real” animal toys. I’m sick of sitting in my office which is next to the playroom at the end of the night, finally enjoying the quiet of my kids in bed and then I hear “meow.” I don’t own a cat! That thing meowing at me out of the dark corner of the playroom creeps me the hell out. I have some kind of scary movie version of kid toys coming to life in the dark flashing in my mind as that stupid thing sits in the corner with it's "real" meow.

3. The books that having the singing buttons. It’s great and all but whenever my kids pick those books all they want to do is hit the damn singing button over and over and over again. What’s the point of me even reading the story. All they care about is the stupid noise button!

4. Calilou’s parents. There is no way any parent is that nice with a kid what whines as constantly as that one. Get real, Caliliou’s parents, because you make the rest of us feel like crap because if my kid was Calilou I think I’d shove him in the closest for hide and seek, “accidently” lock the door, and then forget to go find him.

5. Whoever created washable markers. Yes, it’s wonderful that they are washable, but that also convinces me to buy them at the store in the first place and then allow my kids to play with them in the second place. Even though they are for my four year old who can use them responsibly, every time I go to get my one year old out of the car on a long family road trip, she has colored herself. Last time she got a hold of a red marker and it looked like she tried to stab herself to death. But on second thought I guess that is better than the screaming she normally does in the back of the car.  It's kind of a horrifying sight though to those that see us get her out of the car before we clean her up.

If you like the Top 5 Mother Go to Hell List, you might also like the Top 5 Rules to Enforce after Cleaning. Readers, have a top 5 idea you’d like to see, email me @ What's on your Motherhood Go to Hell list?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Crazy is about to get Crazier

And no I'm not having another baby yet because that would be crazy.

Just the weekend left and then crazy gets a heck of a lot crazier around here. It's back to work and school for this family. It's going to be another fast and furious start, but I feel better. I ended last school year feeling defeated, depressed, unsure, and just absolutely exhausted from the mental toll of work combined with my personal life. But I'm starting this year confident, excited again, energized and ready to take on this year. With the conclusion of this summer, we have completed the transition of making the big move and home purchase from last school year. That is a huge weight off my shoulders so I'm hoping I can balance career and two kids as well as I did the first five months I did it when I returned to work after Kenzi because last year was just flat out not pretty at times.

It's going to be a busy one though. Nate has two classes this Fall and his internship in the Spring to complete his graduate program, but it's three classes in one school rather than six like last year. Averi starts Pre K this Fall so aside from the failed (because her teacher that I liked was fired) four months she spent in a daycare type setting last Fall this is her first "school" experience. She is super excited about meeting new friends. She also still has gymnastics and dance this Fall, possibly with a few weeks of trying soccer again (it didn't go so well last year). I am excited about my new schedule at work because it includes two electives I'm excited to take on but because I'm new at it I'm sure that will bring some of its own challenges. Some coworkers and I have signed up to run a 5 K in November so I'm hopefully fitting in two to three days of working out with them. I'm also signing my first contract to teach a composition college course at the local community college this Fall. I wasn't going to do it as much as I wanted to because I thought it would be too much, but they worked really well with me and gave me a class that starts at 4 and ends at 5:15. I was already going to have to work until 4:30 two days a week with a program I was going to pick up at work, and now I can do this instead and it's only 45 minutes added to the end of my work day. And I'll be able to fit in my workout between that 2:30-4:00 slot! I'm pretty excited about having the opportunity to teach there. I also finished my first book since I entered adulthood this past summer so I'm super excited to be working with some close friends and Lulu to get it revised and hopefully published sometime this Fall.  So it's going to be an exciting Fall. On top of all that, it's football season, all the holidays, and of course some family fun filled weekends here at the Glenns. I love to be busy; I am one of those people that doesn't know how to just sit still and relax (this is annoying even to myself sometimes), but I have written down a daily schedule for everyone to give us as much consistency as possible, we have a tentative meal plan such as Thursdays with gymnastics is pizza night and Wed with dance and Nate's grad class is crockpot or leftover night. I'm going to be able to do this and I have to keep telling myself this.

But I'm pumped up and excited now but I will forewarn you the energy will deflate at random points and I will probably be a blubbering, whiny woman. I'm sure at random points throughout this fall you will want to slap me, cry with me, laugh at me or with me because it's when the crazy gets crazier that posts like The Mom Fails of Multitasking ,Did you Shave your Legs for This?  Wal Mart: My frienemy, Superwoman or Nuts?, Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh, start coming. Sometimes to keep myself from having a pity cry I just have to turn on the humor.  My writing seems to get more creative and wacky and usually humorous when I'm stressed. It's my therapy so I appreciate all of you for being my listening ear. So if you're a praying person, say a prayer for my sanity to include lots of positivity, and wish us luck because it's going to be another crazy ride in this next chapter of the A & N show. I hope you visit back for the laughter and tears that are sure to come.

                                              We won't be any trouble, Mom, we promise.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The life and perception of a four year old

Back to school is right around the corner. Around the corner in less than five days. My girl will be starting Pre K this year. I have an issue with time. It really goes way too damn fast. If I think about it too much I seriously start freaking out about how fast it goes. I cannot believe my baby is not a baby anymore. I recently videotaped an interview with her, but couldn't figure out how to load the video so here is her four year old perception of life. I would love to do this with her at the beginning of every school and do it with Kenz when she gets older.
Me:Tell everyone who you are.
Hi, I’m Averi. I have a little sister named Nakenzi and I want to have a baby brother.
Mom: How many kids will that be?
Averi: Three and then daddy will be like meany mommy.
Mom: Having kids makes mommy mean? (I guess according to Daddy.)
What were your favorite things about this summer?
Averi: I love to go to Disney Junior and see all kinds of princesses and stuff.
Mom: Watch Disney Junior? What else?
Averi: Going to Nanas. I love to play at my house. Addi Rae came to my house at spring.
Mom: Addi came this summer with who?
Averi: Nene, Papa, and everyone else. 
Mom: What else?
Averi: Eating cerel and stuff.
Mom: Okay, what else?
Averi: Mrytle Beach and the Aquarium.
Mom: Did you like the aquarium.
Averi: Yeah, we saw fish, sharks and mermaids!
 What is your favorite things to do with daddy?
Averi: My favorite thing to do with my daddy is color with him.
Mom: What else do you do with your daddy?
Averi: Reading Winnie the Pooh. Plant a garden. We planted a garden!”
What are your favorite things to do with mommy?
Averi: “I like to color with you. Go shopping!”
Mom: “Yes, I take you with me to the grocery store almost every time I goand we have fun, don’t we?”
Averi: “Yes, and we bake cookies.”
Mom: “Yes, we spend time together baking all that stuff that’s not good for us and we like to eat the dough or batter when daddy’s not looking”
What are your favorite things about your sister?
Averi: “I get her milk, cereal, and I change her diaper.”
Mom: What do you like about her?
Averi "She's my best friend."
What are you excited about this fall?
Averi: I’m going to school!
Mom: Are you excited?
Averi: Yeah!
Mom: What else comes in the Fall?
Averi: Halloween!
Mom: What about watching football with Daddy? Are you excited about that?
Averi: Yeah!
Mom: What team do you cheer for?
Averi: I don’t know.
Mom: Okay, we won’t let your dad see this part of the interview. Steelers, remember?”
If you could be anything what would you be?
Averi: “I’m going to be Cinderella, Nakenzi’s going to be a dragon, and Benjamin’s going to be a knight.”
Mom: “That’s your Halloween costume. Besides Halloween what would you want to be?”
Averi: “I don’t want to be a princess. I want to be fairy!”
Now that you are starting school what are you excited about?
Averi: I’m going to make friends. I love to make friends.
Mom: What else will you do with your friends?
Averi: I will play with my friends. We will go outside and play more.
Mom: What do you hope to learn? Your parents are teachers so we do want to know what you hope to learn?
Averi: Read books. And make clothes.
Mom: You do love clothes. What else?
Averi: I will miss my little sister. She will be at Miss Kate’s but when she grows up like me she’ll go to school!
Mom: What are going to start doing at home when you start school? Are you going to sleep in your own bed?
Averi: Yes but I will miss your bed, mommy.
Mom: It’s okay you can sleep in my bed as long as you want. You can be my baby for as long as you want.
                                            Averi and her best friend (aka her sister) at Niagara Falls
My babies growing up way too fast for their mama.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The End to another Glenn Traveling Summer

We are home for good again. Living here in this state that we've made our home alone with no family is really tough sometimes, but on the other hand I feel so incredibly blessed and fortunate that we are able to see them as much as we do. Because of our jobs as teachers, we take advantage of the summer and winter holidays to see our families at least those two times a year, and if we're lucky they each hopefully make it here in the spring sometime to see us. However, every year this gets tougher and tougher. Raising a family requires much more money than I ever imagined. Imagine that, right? Aren't we all a little niave to the expense of children? Now when I had hoped we would see our families more because we have children that we want to see their grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins, we probably actually see them less than when we first moved out here and were childless.

Somehow through a lot of anxiety sweating about money, we manage to load up that family car, with the dog included sometimes, and make those memorable trips to grandmas, grandpas, and nanas' houses or to those vacation spots to make lasting family memories. These trips whether to see family or vacation together as a family to us are extremely important.

Life is way too short to not take the time to reconnect with your family. The four us live crazy, hectic busy lives, and I've always found this time such a valuable way to recharge to take on the craziness of life.  My oldest has always fallen into our crazy, unscheduled, lack of any routine kind of summers without blinking an eye. We are not homebody, routine kind of people. My husband and I spent a summer literally living out of suitcases between the end of our apartment lease and closing on our first house. My youngest though is a much more scheduled kind of person; she's more similiar to mine and Nate's sisters than either of us, but she took the Glenn kind of summer like a champ this year. She was soooo good, and at the end of each summer I always feel so incredibly blessed and fortunate to watch the joy these two girls get from spending time with their family, discovering and trying new things, and just exploring this world with their mom and dad.

This summer we did not make the long drive out to Missouri because my family came out here to see our new house and save us the long trip this year, but we did make it the following places: Harper's Ferry, West Virginia; Mrytle Beach, SC;  Gettsyburg, PA for a day trip; Warren Co, Pa; Buffalo, NY with a two hour trip into  Ontario, Canada.  Within the last six months if we go back to our winter MO trip we have seen all the grandparents, great grandparents, great aunts and uncles (minus one set in Texas), and all our cousins except five of them. Maybe I focus on keeping track of crazy stuff like trying to make sure we've seen everyone in the last six months to a year to ease my conscious about the choice to raise my children so far from family, and quite honestly I'm afraid one day because of money or time (as much as I see those two things shouldn't keep us from making it happen) this will get harder and harder and years will go by without seeing our families.

So even though I worried and stressed that we wouldn't be able to do this summer again this past summer, thankfully we did because it was so great to see everyone and spend so much quality time as a family. Here are some pics from our last trip of the summer.

                                                            Niagara Falls, Canada

                                             The girls with their cousins, Alaina and Dylan
                                   Love this picture of Nate with his grandma and the girls
      Nate's been surrounded by girls his whole life. Her with his mom, grandma, and sister and the four kids
                                                               Nate's mom with the girls.
                                                        Kenzi loves her Nana.
                                                                Kenzi and cousin Taush
                 Averi helping Nana blow out her candles (Averi's middle name Lorenza is after Nana)
                                                     Grandpa Fred with his granddaughters.
                                                  Hanging out with Aunt Jody, Nate's sister.

Click here to read the other post I wrote about family after my family left in July


Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Attack on Today's Parent

I recently read New York Times' "The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In" that again focused on the whole debate between moms dropping out of the work force to stay at home and moms giving up valuable family time to continue their career ambitions. They also went through though and linked about every other article or book that had been written on the topic since the late 90s so I spent half the evening reading through all the old and new pieces written on this sometimes family bashing debate, even my husband did,because some of those writers when they weren’t putting down women for their choices they were doing some major husband bashing. Then there’s the recent debate on not allowing children in restaurants because parents today aren’t disciplining them or teaching them manners. So here’s what I have to say and share with you, Moms and Dads, about parenthood choices today.

Have you fed your kids every day of their lives whether it was breast milk or formula, wal mart baby food or your own pureed baby food, frozen chicken nuggets or organic ones. None of it really matters as long as you’re not starving your kid or feeding them straight sugar all day (a little sugar doesn't hurt, right?) so you’re doing a good job.

Do you help your child stay clean? Whether you wrap their bottom in cloth or pampers or throw them in the tub or even occasionally hose them off in the backyard after they’ve played in the mud and then later decide you’re going to count that as their bath until the morning you’re still doing a good job.

Do you attempt creative things with your kids? Even if laying on the floor coloring in the Winnie Pooh coloring book is as crafty as you get then you are present in their lives so you are doing a good job.

Do you let your kid make messes, explore, try new things? Even when things end in disaster and you think maybe that was a bad idea you’re being present in their lives so again you're doing a good job.

Do you introduce your kids to something you love to do? Kids will love whatever you like to do because it’s something they do with you and they’ll do it over and over again with you because it becomes something special they associate with you so no matter what that something is you’re being present in their lives and are doing a good job.

Are you present in your kids lives every day even on those exhausted, barely functioning days? Even if your bonding time of the day is just cuddling on the couch together watching TV then you’re there showing them even tired you love them so you're still doing a good job on your worse days.

Do you accept that neither you nor your kids are perfect, that you both are always learning and growing? We are all human; we are going to make mistakes but as long as we know to accept when we’re wrong and work on doing a little better than the day before than you’re doing a good job.

Do you discipline them when they’re wrong, hold accountable for their mistakes, and then show them that’s it’s okay because we all mess up sometimes. Making this effort to teach rather than ignore when mistakes happen shows them you care and love them so you’re doing a good job.

Do you love your kids for who they are? You love them when they’re good, when they’re bad, and even when they’re at their worse (you may not like them at this moment) then you’re doing a good job.

I have a pretty huge circle of mom friends and they range from women that have given birth at home to women like myself that gave birth in a hospital with the wonderful pain meds. I have mom friends that have breastfed for two years to others that have never breastfed; some who try their hardest to stick to the organic, purest foods they can and other mom friends like myself that just try to make sure we’re hitting the food pyramid with a few sugars thrown in. Some of them work, some of them stay home, some work from home. We all make different choices, the choices that work for us and our families, but the most important one is the one no one talks about in the media induced mommy wars but it’s one I see as a teacher when working with kids. That is the choice in how we love our kids. Because the one common thing I see among all these moms I know, is the absolute unconditional love and devotion they give to their children. We are all the same in that choice. It may seem like a simple choice, but as a teacher I can unfortunately tell you that that’s not necessarily always the case. Some children go through life feeling unloved, not wanted, and it may not be because their parent doesn’t love them, it could just simply be because they don’t know how due to their own upbringing or problems like drug and alcohol addiction.

Why does our media spend so much time over a debate over choices that mothers make? I guess the thing to see is that women that care about these choices already made the only right choice. They care because they love their child, but there are children out there whose parent probably isn’t even aware of half these choices because they’re struggling with the most important choice of all-how to love and show their child they love them. Sometimes this lack of love or know how is what leads to the “these parents today” cries that society seems to want to cast down on our generation similiar to what the media is focusing on now with the recent restuarant debate about kids behavior. I know from my experience with the general public, as well as from my sister's experience as a social worker, there are “those parents today” that aren’t there for their children and therefore aren’t disciplining them or teaching them manners and accountability. But not everyone is “that parent” and for those of us that aren’t maybe we obsess over these other choices that in some ways matter very little to how our children turn out because we don’t want to be cast into that negative “parents today” category.

I feel that no matter which debate you’re looking at with either the mommy war choices or the negative “parents today” label, the only right choice and label that matters is whether we’re a loving, present parent. Working, staying home, how we choose to feed and diaper them, or every other parent debate that is out there, there really is only one that really matters. We can cover up the issue of whether and how a parent loves their child with all these other so called important choices and make parents feel less adequate for one choice over another, but the real debate is in our love and presence in their lives. So instead of wasting our time attacking parents for giving up careers for family or pursuing careers at the supposed expense of their family, if we really want to get down to a choice that is impacting our society maybe start focusing on the parents that never made the right choice in loving their child because I can unfortunately tell you they are out there.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Hey, coach, you missed the call!

Growing up my dad got my sisters and I interested in softball. For over a decade that game was our family life. My dad was also our coach most of our life. So every summer my dad dealt with around 26 teenage girls. To this day I still think he must be one hell of a man to deal with that many hormonal young girls. I always felt he missed his calling. He spent four years in the Marines, twenty years driving a truck for Pepsi, then owned his own business with my cousin for ten years, and is now semi retired working for the guy that bought his company. He should have been a coach. It wouldn’t have mattered what kind of coach either. His main sports in school were track and football so softball wasn’t even really anything he had much experience with, but he knows how to motivate people. He knows how to talk to people, to get them to listen, to think things through a little better. He doesn’t always speak his mind or call you out, but I always know when he does it’s time to listen. I always feel that he’s life’s coach. Even still as a grown woman, almost fifteen years away the days of playing that game, he’s still the coach. Still the guy I turn to when I need my head pulled out of my ass, my confidence and self esteem picked back up, need motivation to just stand up and do it. He taught you how to not back down, fight for what you want, and how to quit the whining and just get that do it already attitude. He also taught you to know when you just need to cut your losses and back down, how to accept your loss or failure gracefully and move on from it. Mistakes and losses weren’t the end; they were just the lesson for better success the next time. He wasn’t just mine and my sisters’ coach. He was everyone’s coach. Between our friends and cousins who lost dads or whose dads just weren’t around, so many people throughout life have always looked to him for his encouraging words or guidance. He’s the navigator through life for so many more than just me. Sometimes I think you missed your calling, Dad, you’re one hell of a coach even fifteen years away from the game. Even though we've always butted heads and had our disagreements, he has and always will be a man I have a great admiration for. Sometimes our greatest callings in life aren’t the ones we get paid for.