Thursday, January 30, 2014

The 21st Century Husband and Wife

I entered adulthood with the turn of the century. I turned 18 just three months before New Years 1999. However, I'm not exactly sure when the shift in gender roles and expectations occurred. I'm pretty sure they were occurring before the 21st century began, but obviously I was not a parent then. I know we had definitely moved past the point where a woman was a man's possession.

All I know of 20th century parenting are the traditional roles and expectations that my own parents lived their life by when they were raising my sisters and me in the 80s and 90s. My mom was a stay at home mom while my dad was our one and only source of income for those first ten years of our family life. The first couple of years she went back to work she only worked part time on Mondays and Saturdays in the banking industry. What I recall of my childhood was my mom doing all of the laundry, all the cooking and dishes, all the housecleaning, and all of the family bookkeeping. My dad worked long hours in which he was typically gone 12-14 hours a day, mowed the yard and  took out the trash once a week. He then came home and spent many warm nights playing catch in the yard with us. They had their roles and they both worked hard. By the time my Mom started working full time my sisters and I were old enough to start doing the laundry, cleaning up the dishes after dinner, and help with the house cleaning on Saturdays. It wasn't until we moved out of the house that I noticed my dad started doing more cooking and cleaning up around the house. I always liked to kid him about getting on board the 21st century train, but I'm not really sure what encouraged him to pick up more responsibilities on the home front. I'll have to ask him sometime.

The gender roles and expectations in my time of parenthood today is completely different than my parents. I love my parents dearly and wouldn't have wanted them to do anything differently than what they did but there are many noticeable differences from their days of childrearing to mine. However, after recent discussions with a variety of different women a few comments they've said have stuck with me. One was from a woman who said something about what happened to the time of getting married and men taking of women and the other came from a working mom who is at her breaking point with a husband that doesn't seem to get that parent expectations are not the same as they were 20-30 years ago when their parents were raising them.

Both of these irritated me in a way. First of all, I am an independent woman. I don't need or want a man to "take care" of me. I have been independent according to my mother from shortly after birth. I need a man that's my equal; that's my partner. Second of all, cooking, cleaning, laundry, taking care of the children is not just woman's work in today's society. This 21st century parenthood gig is a partnership with whatever both partners agree is equal in their particular family lifestyle.

I'm lucky that I married a man that gets this. Most of the time. I call it the parent two step. In the evenings our routine is he gets dinner ready while I clean up the house from the kids' recent messes. After dinner I do dishes while he gives them a bath. We usually alternate nights on who puts them to bed. We both sort, wash, and fold laundry. He will help with the cleaning up in the evenings and if he's home on Saturdays. The only thing he won't do for whatever reason is wash dishes. However, this isn't always perfect, and we have had our fights over who should be doing what when it comes taking care of things in our life. The understanding on most nights is if one of us is can't sit down for the final down time of the evening then why is the other one. We both work hard, and we both deserve some down time to regroup.

We are also raising daughters in this new and exciting time for women in our society. Even though at times we are still battling for equality when it comes to pay and possible other rights, I want them to know when it comes to marriage to accept nothing but equality, and I'm confident they'll see that modeled in their own parents.  Hopefully by then society will have also deleted the "obey phrase" out of marriage vows. Marriage is not about a woman's will to obey a man. Marriage and parenthood is a partnership. I'm not saying it wasn't when my parents were raising us, but times are different today than they were 30+ years ago. Women today can have their independence, their careers, their families, and a marriage of two people working together to make it all successful.

I don't have any pictures of him doing any of that boring housework. If he ever does dishes I will definitely take a picture of that. But the best thing about any partner is their love for their children.

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Maybe it was When We Brought Our Baby to a Bar

In the last few years, Nate and I have had several cousins that have had babies at a young age. Not so young that they are teen parents, but barely 21 to me is so young now. There's still a lot of growing up to do after 21 and even more after we become parents.

One of my biggest worries about becoming a parent was wondering if I could move past being so selfish and just always thinking about myself. At certain times I even wondered if I wanted kids because I enjoyed my freedom of doing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. Nate I think enjoyed that about ten times more than I did. We would not have made very good parents at 21. We were definitely not ready to grow up until years later and trust me we're still growing up.

However, we are all different people; we all grow up at different times in different ways. I think our own individual personalities too make a difference on when we're ready to accept different responsibilities that come in life. I have seen some of these young parents face parenthood in the adult grown up way that we expect of parents but others not so much.

Nate and I were almost thirty when we embarked on parenthood, possibly old to some's standards. Trust me thirty was a more appropriate age for us. I know lots of people that started their families in their early twenties and that choice worked well for them. They've proven their capabilities.

I would say the moment that slammed the reality home to us that our capabilities needed to improve themselves in the game of parenthood was when a week into parenthood, we brought our baby to a bar.

Now in our defense, we loved to go there for wings. Even though it was a very bar like atmosphere, we had seen kids in there a few times, and we figured since we went on a Sunday night it should be non bar like. Boy were we wrong. To make the embarrassment worse my parents were visiting us to see our baby girl. The place was hopping with loud music, people standing around the bar. Even though we got a booth, it was definitely the wrong place to go. I remember my dad giving us the you can't do things like you use to look and speech.

Parenthood is a lifestyle change. There is no doubt about that. It's giving up a level of freedom, it's giving up a part of yourself, it's willing to make sacrifices, it's thinking about how a decision will effect someone else besides yourself in the long run, it's compromise because whether you're married or not you're in this with someone else and you're going to have to learn to work together, and it's a commitment for the rest of your life. Sure they grow up, they move on, they become independent, but no matter their age we're always a parent. Our lives are forever different from the moment we see the positive pregnancy test and even more so when they place that baby in our arms. For most of us, it's a change we're willing to make from the start and is totally worth it. However, I see some struggle with this and the honest truth is no matter your age, when you become a parent, it's time to grow up whether you're ready or not.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Photos tell our Stories

For those that know me well, know I am a photo nut. My mother long ago when I’d complain about being bored would tell me to get a hobby. I grew up watching her spend her spare time sewing and reading. So following my mother's advice and example early on in life I began the three hobbies that I still indulge in today-reading, writing, and photography. But not photography as in taking pictures but as in using pictures to tell a story. In our new digital age, we love to share photos and even create digital albums on social media. I do this a ton, but I have always loved to be able to look back at pictures years and even decades ago in an organized photo album or book that tells a story of a different time in life.

In high school I took up scrapbooking.  My memories of my  four years in high school are saved in one of those giant three ring binders full of scrap book pages that I spent years creating.  Unfortunately or fortunately because I didn’t have much spare time and I was busy having a lot of fun, my college photos never really made it into anything memorable. At the time I was in college I had all my college photos pinned up on one of those cork boards, but I never took the time to create a college scrapbook the way I did for high school. For now they are still stored  almost ten years later in an old shoe box in the storage of the basement.

Once Nate and I began what would be become our story, I started keeping our photos in those big nice photo albums that had the lines to the left to write captions and words to explain the memories I wished to save.  However, I realized pretty quick I was going to need a whole bedroom, not a closest, to store hopefully 50 + years of photo books.  About a year ago, I decided to jump on board with the technical age. Now that I take all digital photos, I started uploading them into shutterfly rather than printing them. From there I would create what started off as seasonal family albums. However, I’m thinking instead of putting the pictures throughout the year into four separate albums, I might cut it down to three: Summer, Fall-Christmas, Winter- Spring.

I have also with the birth of each daughter started creating a year in review photo book for each of them on their birthdays. Originally it was looking like at 18, I would have 18 photo books to hand over them that retold the stories of their childhood. However, I’m backing out on that idea. With Averi turning 5 this will be the last yearly one I do for her. My plan then is to create an elementary, middle school, and then high school one so they’ll have eight instead of eighteen to take with them. The memories and stories of their childhood will forever be kept in these books. I would also at some point like to also print the posts I have on here that I have written for or about them to put in some kind of notebook for them to take too when they are ending this chapter of their lives and embarking on the next. I love pictures and I don’t want them to just sit abandoned and forgotten in some box. Pictures tell the stories of our lives, our families, who we are and where we’ve been.  I hope one day the girls enjoy these as much as I've enjoyed putting them together for them.
I am affiliated with Shutterfly, so for those that don’t know what that means, it means when you visit and make a purchase with Shutterfly after you click on one of their links or banners on my website, I get paid a commission.  However, those of you that are frequent readers know I don’t push this very often, but if you do business with Shutterfly in the future I hope you can come through my site to do so. Right now they are having up to 50% OFF on their photo books.  Valentine’s Day is coming but they are great for any family moments and memories.  Below I’ve included links to view one of our family photo albums and the most recent year in review album that I’ve made for the girls. This one is Nakenzi’s but with Ave’s fifth birthday just five weeks away I need to get started on hers. If interested in creating and purchasing your own, click on the bottom link.

This time is flying by. I hope you get a chance to tell and save your story through your pictures J

A Year in the Life of Baby Girl

Family Summer 2013

                    Click Here to get up to 50% off a Shutterfly Photo Book through January 27!


Monday, January 20, 2014

The Common Core: The Pros and Cons

As an educator but also as a parent I have been struggling a bit with how I feel towards the education reform with common core. First, people that don't understand exactly what common core is needs to first understand that common core is the new set of standards. It is not the curriculum or even the actual exam. These standards are then being used to create new curriculum and new benchmark test that we are calling PBAs or Performance Based Assessments. These PBAs are to prepare students for the new upcoming standardized test called PARCC that will be replacing the previous No Child Left Behind assessment which were the HSAs here in Maryland.

I want to clearly state that I am not against the common core. I do not see common core as the enemy. In fact, as an educator I feel for the first time I am working with something that makes sense. As a teacher of ten years, all I've known is the No Child Left Behind Era, in which case I thought testing students with a multiple choice test especially for Language Arts was one of the most meaningless assessments ever.

In order to succeed in college and the adult world there are things students need to know but the former HSAs were not really measuring those things. First, yes, everyone should know how to read,  write, and do math. But even more so than content skills  they need to know how to think critically; problem solve; fail, reflect, and retry, and the assessments with common core I believe can measure those things. The projects are relevant in the way that they present students with a task that usually over the span of days or sometimes even weeks they must complete. I think there can be some improvement with the type of tasks or assignments they give them with the PBAs but I do feel that long range projects and assignments is the right direction to be moving. Students are going to have to problem solve, think critically, and tackle problems in their adult life within their role of family, career, and as a citizen. These are hard  and challenging tasks, which might be what has some people frustrated,  but that's what the adult world is, a task or problem and working our way through solving it. Students need to know how to push themselves to work through a challenge if they have any hope of succeeding beyond their school  years.

But here is where the problem lies. These assessment really show who has the potential to succeed and sometimes it's based more on a student's work ethic and persevance rather than their intelligence. But I have always felt that work ethic will lead an individual to success more so than intelligence.  There is clear line within a class who has the potential and the drive and who doesn't most of the time due to laziness. The problem with the current data driven education system we live in is everything will be focused on the kids who aren't succeeding. The majority that aren't succeeding though will be because they're lazy. Again because of the laziness of a few and the complaints of those that don't want to push their child harder, we will possibly lower our standards and continue to put band aids on our broken education system.  In the past, we have enabled laziness by lowering the bar, caving into parental complaints, giving passing grades rather than what students rightfully earn. If we continue to do this than common core won't be the improvement for our education system and society that it has the potential to be. Students have to know how to push themselves through a challenge; we are not doing them any favors by not letting them fail. This also ties in to the need to eliminate the fear factor in our education system. Teachers can't be afraid to push students and give them the failing grade they earn. Some are too afraid to challenge students, let them fail and struggle, for fail of the repercussions he or she will face. Struggle and working through something is how we truly learn. Pushing ourselves to our limits is when we grow. We can't keep blaming teachers for the laziness of others.

However, another problem is this one size fits all mentality. The problem I'm seeing with the curriculum is it is designed more for the elite rather than with the diverse needs of our population in mind. I don't feel that more is always better either. As a parent with only a preschool I am already conflicted with the horror stories I am hearing from elementary parents of students coming home with hours upon hours of homework. Children should have homework but throwing too many things at them at once is only going to overwhelm and discourage them from the learning process.  All students are not going to be doctors and lawyers. And an even bigger truth that no seems to want to say is they are not all going to college.

Some will lead successful lives without a college degree because they prefer to work with their hands in trade career fields. Giving them all the same test would be like giving doctors and carpenters the same test to enter their fields. As a child that comes from a hard working, blue collar family who lives very fulfilling lives I get quite annoyed with this college is the direction we need to push everyone. If everyone in our society had a college degree, our society would fail to function without the diversity of interest and skills we need in our workforce to function as a society. They should all complete performance based assessments but the tasks given to them to complete should be more appriopriate to their individual strengths and interests. However, deciding that would have to fall to individual teachers, not some policy maker in some high office that has no idea what we're working with in each individual classroom.

I understand one of the goals of common core is to eliminate the inconsistency for students that move and change schools frequently, but if we take away a teacher's ability to create assessments that work for her students for her to measure their individual growth throughout the year, then I feel we may just be creating a new set of problems rather than working with common core to be the improvement that it could be.

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

My Baby Doesn't Want to be My Baby Anymore

With my first daughter I was so excited for her to reach each milestone. She's smart and always seemed a little ahead so I was all about conquering those milestones of feeding herself, walking, sleeping in a big girl bed, potty training, whatever would get her closer to the being the little independent girl that she is today.

For the sake of my own memory when I won't probably remember all of this twenty years from now unless I consult something I wrote it in, here's what I remember about Averi's transition from baby to independent toddler.  I remember we completely switched her over to table food at nine months when she just started digging into my plate of Thanksgiving food. I don't recall then or even now what is the supposed age to make this switch, but yay for the first step towards independence. She started taking steps at 10 months but we didn't consider her walking until 11 months. By eighteen months I took her out of the crib and put her in a toddler bed because she was climbing out of it anyway, and I was so excited about thinking how she could sleep in a big girl bed now. I won't even get into the headaches or stories of a baby with easy access out of her bed at that age. I also introduced her to the potty at about eighteen months. My mother insisted she potty trained us by the time we were two so I said why not. Even though she wasn't potty trained by two, she was a month after her second birthday. She was a quick talker too. I just remember by the time we found out we were expecting our second, she had mastered what I call my three requirements before another baby can be considered-sleeping in a big girl bed, potty trained, and able to communicate.

Now this second time around, I have not been in such a big hurry to hit these milestones. With each new step of independence I knew also came a new headache of child rearing. Sleeping in their own bed meant they could get up on their own, feeding themselves meant they made a much bigger mess for me to clean up, potty training meant I couldn't let them wander around for a bit in a wet diaper while I finished something. Instead it meant I must drop everything right then and run her to the bathroom before she peed all over the floor. Going out in public is much easier with a diapered baby than a newly potty trained toddler. As they tend to say with the second one, you don't remember things as well as you do with the first one. By this point as moms we're a little more distracted and  already experienced each milestone before so it doesn't quite have that new excitement to it.

Kenz probably started eating table food about the same age as Ave, around nine or ten months. I don't think she took her first steps until 12 months and wasn't fully walking until 13 months. It appeared her, nor us, were as gung ho to master all these baby to toddler independency steps so fast this time. Even though we talk of a third, it's not like it's in the making or anything at the moment, so I didn't mind dragging out her babyness a little longer.

Except I forgot this little one of mine has had a stubborn, insistent, independent mind of her own since the first night she was born and she screamed all night. I don't remember if it was right before Christmas break or after that she started insisting that she wanted to sit at the dinner table like her big sister without a booster seat. The thing is disgusting and food just hoards itself in any little crevice on those things that it can find so I didn't care too much about giving it up. Then she started not wanting anything to do with sleeping in her crib. I was pretty set on keeping her in that crib until this summer when she's two and half. She's kind of difficult sometimes. I need something to contain her so I started letting her sleep with Averi in her queen size bed. When I got rid of the crib this summer I was going to let them share a room anyway. We will hopefully have bunk beds for them by then but if not I figured the queen size bed was big enough for two little girls. Aside from their little girl giggling lasting too far past bedtime, they have been falling asleep in there together. It is kind of the cutest thing. Averi still gets up and comes in our room, but Kenz sleeps in there all night. I just worry about what she'll get in to if she wakes up before we do. The crib is staying up in her room until summer though because I want to know I have it there if bedtime becomes problematic. When she turned two I of course did plan on working on potty training with her, but she's just taken that over too. In the last week she fights me about putting a diaper on. She wants to wear underwear so I've let her in the evenings and now for the past two days she's been in underwear all day. And she's done great. Except she's not that crazy about pooping in the potty. We have two more days to this weekend to see how it goes, but if she keeps up like this, guess I'm going to be bringing her to the sitter's in big girl pants Tuesday. And that's it. She's not a baby anymore :(  (She'll still have a diaper at night.)

The independence and determination of these little people just amazes me sometimes. Whether I want her to be a big girl or not, she wants to be a big girl like her big sissy. Even at two she's rather insistent on proving to mommy that she can do it and she's not my baby anymore.

                                                     My baby doll! Where did the time go?

                                                     Seriously, Mom, I can feed myself.
                                                Come on, Mom, how can you resist this face?
                                                      I might need your help out of here.
                                                              I promise I'll be good.
                                                  Look at me now, Mom. Aren't I so big?

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Random Thoughts in My Head

Thought I would share some random thoughts in my head. I know who really wants to go there, right?  And when I say random they're pretty all over the place.

1. Where the hell are all our dress socks? I've washed most of the laundry and none of our dress socks have made an appearance since sometime last week.

2. Why do I even utter the words "What is THAT smell!" When I know it's either the dog, the fumes from the bathroom, or some dirty diaper?

3. Was a dirty diaper abandoned in here? I often wonder this when I walk in Averi's room. Why does it smell so weird in there?

4. Can my kids mispronounce things for the rest of their lives? It's such comic relief. How are these not funny?
         "Daddy, there's a deer. You can shoot it with your boner (bow)!"
         "Can we have cock (cotton) and candy again?"
         "First of gall (all), Mommy."

5. Why can I only currently think of three funny Averi mispronunciations when there seems to be so many in a day? Sorry, I only remember the horrible sexual ones. Honestly, we don't use the words boner or cock in our house so it's just a total mispronunciation.

5. Why don't my girls grow some butts? Poor Kenzi has wandered around with her bare butt hanging out and her too big of pants without a diaper on around her knees or ankles half the night.

6. How long can I hide in the shower before someone realizes I'm missing and finds me?

7. My poor dog. Is he going to make it through the winter? :(

8. I wonder if I did the math what the average per day would be for Averi's wardrobe changes?

9. Why don't I have the patience to improve my tech skills to help expand my reading audience? There is so much technology to learn with maintaining your own blog writing website. I've gotten  great responses and feedback to my writing as I've tried to reach a bigger audience but the tech work required to keep reaching more is more than my prehistoric brain can master at times.

10. Will my kids ever not be so loud?

11. Why do people have to be haters?  Or put others down and question their choices and lifestyles? Or even criticize them to guilt them into giving up or changing their ways? Why do we even want people to think like other people or ourselves? Where's the individuality in that? Just saying.

12. Truth is losing someone you love just plain sucks. Today is my cousin's dad's birthday, which would also make him my uncle.  He passed away almost 20 years ago. I follow a few blogs of people handling grief , and I've worked with countless students who have to go through losing parents and friends. Most of the time I look for the rainbow in the rain kind of thing, try to make things easier with pretty words, but truth is losing someone you love just flat out sucks. Kind words help but it doesn't change the fact that there's pain that will never go away.

13. I think I'm having PMS today because I'm just in a mood.

14. Hope my readers come back after this Ang has gone off the deep end ramble of tonight.

15. With all of that, may tomorrow be a better day!

So what random thoughts do you have floating around in your head?

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

The True Love of a Sister

One of my closest childhood friends just welcomed her second baby girl into the world a few days ago. Even though I am always happy about everyone's newest addition, something about hers brought a nostalgic smile to my face.

I know what she's in for and even though at times her two girls will fight and claim they hate each other, she is about to watch true love unfold in one of its purest forms. She has a brother, and they are very close, and I'm sure brother to sister and brother to brother share a love similar to sister to sister. I just don't know anything about those relationships the same way I do about the love of a sister though. I am the oldest of three girls and now with two girls of my own, watching the love unfold between two sisters has definitely been one of the most memorable things in my life. Just as true love between a man and woman can stop a person in the tracks, so will the true love you see grow between your two children.

The adoration they will each have for another is enough to stop you in the midst of cleaning or folding laundry to just appreciate the unconditional love two people can have for one another.  You can see the way the oldest adores the youngest in the gentle way she always wants to help take care of her and how she patiently shows her how to do new things so she can be a big girl like her too. You can see how the youngest adores the oldest in the way she looks up to her for guidance, help, and trustingly believes her in everything she tells her.

The bond they will form after hours of playing house, puzzles, in the snow and rain, laying in bed together reading and giggling will assure you that you gave each of them the best gift you ever could aside from your own unconditional love for them. You gave them a best friend for life. You gave them a friend that will be there to understand them when no one else will. You gave them someone that will know them at their worse and still love them the same as they always have.

I took both girls to see Frozen a few weeks ago, and this is by far one of my favorite Disney movies. Hope you've seen it because I'm about to give info away but I love how it isn't the true love of a man that saves the girl but the true love of her sister.

As I've found myself with sisters, as they grow and make the journey to fall in love and move on with their lives, it will be the listening ear and words of a sister that will understand and help them each find their way through the rough patches of the other relationships or obstacles they'll navigate in life. When there's no else to confide in, there's always a sister who knows them, understand them, and always accepts and loves them even in the moments they're wrong or lost.

So to my friend I say congratulations. You are about to embark on an incredible journey as you watch the love of two sisters grow, but hang on because I can almost guarantee you the ride will be a little wild at times.

                                                              Love at first sight

                                                         Just a little rough sissy love
                                                       Picture taking with these two at its best.

                                                       Help! She put me this in box!
                             "I'm totally trusting you on this, big sissy. Hope you know what you're doing.
                                               Love this look between them.
                                                I will go wherever you lead me, sister.

                                                               Sister slumber party
                                Oh, sissy, I love you, even when you're telling me to get away.

                                             Don't worry, Mom, we got each other's backs.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Where's the Beauty in Perfection?

I'm not sure if before social media we all thought we had to strive for this perfect idea of motherhood or not; I just know in this modern day motherhood world that we live in there's a lot of focus on how social media shapes our perceptions and expectations of motherhood. Before I even entered motherhood, I was one of those types that at some things in my life had a perfectionist type nature. In the beginning of motherhood, I guess in some naïve way I thought I should strive towards perfection with that too, but somewhere along the way I learned the real beauty in motherhood and anything really in life is in the imperfection of the realities rather than the envisioned perfections we may have.

Finally accomplishing the milestone of potty training wouldn't be the joyous occasion to celebrate that it is if it wasn't for the days, sometimes months, and even a year or so of wet pants, poop stained messes, and mopping up wet spots.

Raving on our children's sibling love for one another wouldn't be the moment to showcase if we hadn't experienced the moments of restraining ourselves from knocking their two heads together in frustration.

Acknowledging to the media world that our child just said the sweetest thing ever to us and made our hearts swell in a love we never imagined possible if we didn't remember the hurt of them telling us we're a bad or mean mommy.

Praising their wonderful behavior wouldn't be the moment of pride it is if we didn't recall those moments they had an absolute meltdown of screaming fits and we were standing there wondering, "is my child normal?"

Shouting out to the world that our kids are asleep wouldn't be a reason to celebrate with anyone willing to listen in the virtual world  if we hadn't just spent the last week or so of telling them to go back to bed ten times a night.

Sharing our beautiful prepared dinner wouldn't be the showcase event it is if we hadn't burnt dinner or served take out for the last few nights while trying to manage the evening chaos.

Sharing the well organized and cleaned closest wouldn't be the must share event it is if we didn't know it would be another few years before we took the time to make it look that good again after the kids and probably ourselves restored it back to its disorderly state.

Acknowledging our love for our lives and our children wouldn't feel so necessary if we didn't have the moments of guilt and uncertainty that can unwillingly leak into our minds every now and then.

Sharing the moments of family fun and outings wouldn't stand out as something to appreciate and treasure if our lives weren't swapped at times with work and household responsibilities.

Capturing as many joyous moments on camera wouldn't feel like such a must if we didn't know and understand that anything can change in a blink and it's the memories saved that will get us through the hard places in life.

It isn't perfection that makes life's moments beautiful but the contrast of the good with the bad. We wouldn't know what to appreciate and treasure if we didn't experience those not quite so enjoyable moments of parenthood. So when it comes to social media and our expectations and perceptions just remember for every showcase moment there's a few crazy ones to go with it that maybe involved a little kicking and screaming, maybe even from us ourselves.

                              There's a lot of crazy that goes on behind the cuteness of these innocent poses.

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Third Kid, Really?

"A third kid, really?" is what I tend to hear when either myself or even others have talked about more than what has become the socially acceptable two children per family. Personally, I always get a kick out of how other people can get their panties in such a bunch about other people's life decisions. I recently saw a friend posting something in her defense of her choice to not have children. I've also seen another friend share reasons why parents are choosing and defending their reasons for having only one child. Then if you decide that your ideal family includes three or possibly even four children you feel like you have to deflect accusations of trying to be the next Duggar family.

So society may say two kids is the supposed "acceptable" number but I've always kind of liked doing things outside the norm or the total opposite of what others tell me to do. My parents would be the first to agree with this statement.

But aside from just wanting to go against the norm, I have several other reasons for wanting a third child. I've always wanted a big family. If it wasn't for money, I would seriously consider four. After four, I start to worry that I'll get them confused, forget one, or misplace one somewhere so I really think the cut off would be four at most, but probably three to be safe. I worry about money a little with three, but aside from their activities, the expense of three when we travel is what I worry about the most. I love the bond and relationship among siblings; it's a friend for your whole life. I love big family gatherings. I always imagine us like my parents, empty nesters, but with our house filling up at random times throughout the year with the laughter and joy, as our adult children return to the home we raised them in to celebrate the holidays and milestones in life.

I'd like to think it's no surprise but I LOVE kids. I love adults too and I look forward to the relationships I'll have with my adult children, but even though I'm not a huge baby fan, I love kids. They are so funny, so loving, so honest, so full or life and joy. As a parent you get to help something grow and develop into its own functioning human being. What an awesome thing to say you accomplished in life! What better way to stay young in life than to surround yourself with children. I don't want to force society's expectations of children upon my own children, but I do want grandchildren some day, so I better have a couple of my own kids in case one or even a few of them decide kids aren't for them, right?  I hear often that once you have two, going to three kids is the easiest adjustment of all. The first one you just have no idea what you've really gotten yourself into, with the second it's the adjustment to what will become the norm of parenting chaos, and so with the third I guess you're already living in the land of crazy so really what's one more.

In some cultures wealth isn't measured by money but by family with how big and how deep your family ties go. Love and family to me is what it's all about. There are other things to life but the memories and moments that make me the happiest involve family and that love that is always so apparent so why can't I make my life wealthy in the way that I see makes it richer than anything else ever will.

                                      "Mom, Can we have one of these in the boy version?"

On a side note: Don't be expecting any baby Glenn #3 posts anytime too soon. We got some other things on our plate in 2014 before we attempt to bump our crazy up a notch : ). But hopefully there will be one eventually. Maybe one for daddy in the boy variety.

Recent posts you might have missed

Roots and Wings

The Childhood Things I Will Miss

Good bye, 2013

Hello, 2014


Sunday, January 5, 2014

My Kids Didn't get the Memo about starting 2014 with Boring

In my Hello, 2014 Post I stated how we were ready to bunker down for the winter and have a nice, quiet more a less boring next couple of months. For someone that doesn't do boring very well, I was actually looking forward to it for a change. Our lives were pretty hectic and stressed in 2013 so I was more than ready for a quiet start to 2014.

However, my children must have not received that memo. That or like myself they just don't do boring very well. We are only five days into the new year and for this week's Southern Mess Moms Mischievous Monday, I am not even sure which of the three stories that occurred in just five short days that I should share.

First on only the second day of the new year, my youngest daughter decides she wants to beautify herself with sparkly lip gloss. She's two and I learned she obviously has no idea where lip gloss is suppose to go. I'm not really sure now what Santa was thinking putting those cute little lip gloss and finger nail polish packs in their stockings. I find her head covered in shiny, sparking lip gloss. It was a gooey, matted mess. Then I discovered she also smeared it all over her neck and chest. It took three baths before I felt like I got all of it out of her hair.

On the fourth day of the new year, we got to experience our first rush to the emergency room or what ended up being urgent care because they said they did stitches and it would be faster. While sled riding down our hill out back, a branch jumped out and took a chunk out of my oldest daughter's forehead. I pretty much knew as soon as I saw the blood streaming down her face and started hollering for my husband we were in for our first parent experience with holding down a screaming child to get stitches above her eye.

On the fifth day of the new year, my girls decided they needed to beautify themselves again. This time with the nail polish. Again, Santa, what are you thinking! Instead of their nails getting painted they pretty much painted their whole toes and fingers. Except my youngest whose one whole hand was pretty much painted pink and purple. At least this time unlike the last time, it wasn't red and spilt all over my bathroom, causing it to look like a mass murder took place in there.

So, 2014, obviously you plan to keep me on my toes again, but that's okay because I never really did like boring. Look at these two. Those faces have trouble written all over them but what fun it always is :)

Recent posts you might have missed:

Good Bye, 2013

Roots and Wings


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Our first trip to the Emergency Room

Today was an adventure I hope to never repeat. Even though it was only stitches the screaming and crying of my four year old as they stitched her forehead back together was horrific. As they pulled up and down on the upper part of her forehead to reconnect it with the bottom half I had to step out with my squirmy two year old. It was awful for me to listen to her screams and cries in the hallway so I can't even imagine how hard it was on my husband who stayed in there with her.

This was just a short incident that she ll heal from. She will possibly have quite a scar above her right eye brow. But as I experienced something that is hopefully the worse thing parents have to experience, the typical broken bones and stitches, I couldn't even begin to imagine how parents go through life threatening illnesses or injuries with their child. I know many that have gone through worse and even though I think of you often you were definitely in my thoughts today.

So what happened? To make it worse what happened is partially my fault. I took the girls out back to go sledding down our big hill. I went first to make a path but when I got to the bottom there were quite a few fallen branches. I cleared away what I saw but thought I really should cut a new path in a different part of the yard. I climb back up the hill which is quite a hike. Before I know it Ave takes off down the hill. She never goes by herself so I was distracted by my excitement that she went by herself. She was excited too. She came right back up and jumped on again before I could say anything about moving over.

This time when she gets to the bottom she starts crying and telling me she s hurt. Those that know Averi knows she s a little dramatic so I took my time getting down there. Until I saw her face covered in blood. Then I saw the big gash across her forehead. I started moving a little faster then. I carried her up the hill, yelling for nate as I went. Told him to meet me downstairs and that I thought we needed to go to the ER.

Even though they stitched her there I have to spend my Monday calling the insurance company, our primary care doctor, and getting her into the plastic surgeon because they need to put her under in order to restitch it more successfully.

So not exactly the slow start to my 2014 that I was looking for but she will live and be fine so in the grand scheme of things it's just a little bump in the road.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Hello, 2014!

It is looking like it will be off to a slow, calm start. It's so nice to think that we have a month with NO plans coming up though. I love to be busy. I am a planner and I tend to sometimes overbook us. Our summers, even though we're off, are usually booked with camping trips, a day or two at the beach, a family vacation, trips to MO and PA, swim parties, bbqs, and I pretty much fill every single weekend. I hate the thought of wasted time. I like to be sure to find time to catch friends it'd be so easy to lose touch with and visit our families that live far away and spend our weekends doing family fun activities. Life's too short to waste a moment always been my philosophy.

The fall with going back to school is always crazy whether I plan it or not because there is so much extra stuff it seems that has to be done to settle back into the school year. On top of the return to work, with all the fall holidays there's apple picking, pumpkin patch, fall festivals and carnivals to attend, then it's all the Christmas prep and activities. We've traveled to Fredericksburg, VA; Erie, PA; and Kansas City, Mo in the span of the last six weeks so to think we're pretty homebound for the next month. It's going to be movie and popcorn nights and hopefully lots of sled riding and snowman making if the winter keeps up with the way it's started in the last month. We spent our NYE playing princess Candyland and Doc McStuffins memory game.

We're all ready for some down time I think. We're ready to bunker down for the winter over here. As I said in my Good Bye 2013 post I'm excited for 2014. I hope it's filled with joy, health, and happiness for everyone.

My Good Bye 2013 Post also included the first 10 of the Top 20 A & N Posts of 2013. The top ten are as follows. Thanks for reading in 2013 and hope you'll be back to share in the joy and chaos of motherhood with us in 2014.

#10 is Sometimes I'm Superwoman but Most of the time I'm Just Nuts . I like to think I'm not alone in thinking some days I'm barely half a step ahead of crazy even though it feels like as mothers we need superwoman powers to conquer everything.

#9 is Top 5 on My Motherhood Hell List . We all love motherhood but let s be honest. There are just some things we could do without. What would you add to the list?

#8 is The Clown of this Circus Show Called Motherhood . Motherhood is a balancing act like no other and even though I'd like to think I'm the graceful trapeze artist I feel the goofy clown most of the time. Part of this post will also be published in a story I wrote for the spring release of Chicken Soup: The Survival Guide for the Multitasking Mom.

#7 The Battle of Time with my Little Girl . A sad mommy moment looking back at how fast my girl is growing. I'm sure I'll have a freakout moment in 2014 when she starts kindergarten.

#6  My Letter to God. Motherhood is a whole new search for self journey in itself and I feel that my relationship with God is a big part of that journey but here's my internal struggle with spirituality and religion as a mother.

#5 is Wal Mart: My frienemy . We all have a love/hate relationship with the local Wal Mart.

#4 is Time is What Makes Great Parents . A look back at how my own upbringing influences what I think matters in my own parenting journey. This was one of six posts selected to be featured out of over 100 for the Show Off Blog Post Weekend in October.

#3 The Working vs Stay at Home Mom Debate . Neither is a walk in the park but my look at this debate of today's motherhood world. This was also one of five posts selected to be featured out of  100 for this Momma's Meandering Mondays in November.

#2 The Damn Elf on the Shelf is the Last Straw, Moms! Guess everyone loves a funny rant. Good thing everyone knows not to take me too seriously.

And the #1 post of 2013 that still gets lots of hits for some reason is Moms, Get Ready to be Judged!
Unfortunately, I guess we all feel the harsh stares of judgment at some point.

Now to close out 2013 here are a few of my favorite pictures of 2013: