Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Really Brain?

I had pretty much made up my mind that this spring/summer I would be doing whatever I could to figure out a new income generating situation come next fall that better aligns with my long term professional interests and leaves me filling less frustrated and like I've made more of a positive impact on the world around me at the end of the day. And then last night, having been invited by the family of a student who made the switch from our public 5th grade to home schooling mid year, I attended the local home school share fair...

I had no idea what to expect when I walked into the gym where the fair was being held. I left 75 minutes later so proud and so excited for the kids who took the time to prepare a project and introduction for the fair. Presenters as young as 1st grade, and as old as 11th, who were all so excited, engaged, and engaging. Project from baking, sewing, and Legos to the human circulatory system, Egypt, and stop motion animation. I left once again excited to have witnessed what I truly believe education should be...a FUN celebration of learning!

And now I don't know what I want to do about my income generating situation...


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On The Job Training...

It's a joyful time...you announce your expecting a baby and everyone is all a twitter with stories and advice about making it through the first few sleep deprived weeks (which I have to say we never really experienced because we have the most awesome children EVER), how to sooth sore nipples from nursing, the separation anxiety of going back to work, the gassy tummies, runny noses, aversion to the introduction of veggies, sore gums of teething, 2-yr-old temper tantrums (again, a non-issue in our family) and a whole list of issues that goes along with the first few years of learning your new role as parent.

I loved mothering babies.

And toddlers.

And pre-schoolers.

Up until recently parenting has always felt naturally organic and instinctual.

Parenting doesn't feel quite that way anymore.

I worry.

A lot.

Protecting the innocence of a 3 year old is so much easier than that of a 10 year old. At 3 your child's world revolves around you. (And, let's be honest, her favorite snuggly.) They readily accept the rules that have been set with the intention of keeping them safe, teaching them polite social behaviors, and fostering inquisitive creativeness. At 10, the rules are still acknowledged, but more explanation of WHY they exist is often desired. The opinions of friends, and to a lesser extent hormones, are so much more of an influence these days the younger perspective during discussions about why we have certain rules in our family. It's a soft step towards more independence, but still a step.

Deciding which friends' houses are safe for a sleepover. Wondering if choosing not to have my kids involved in sports activities at a young age will negatively affect them later on (if they choose) as we appear to live in a community someone is labeled as "athlete" or "non-athlete" at a very early age. Rethinking every constructive criticism, wondering if it will trigger growth or stifle free self expression. These are the worries my Mommy brain wrestles with these days. It all makes me yearn for the days when one of my biggest daily worries was making sure I scheduled activities in a way that didn't disrupt nap time.

Raising two girls, in a community that still feels so new and full of strangers, having a bit of control issue, and no being very good about sharing the load of making decisions, all contributes to feeling like I'm shouldering a ever increasing load. I know I'm not alone, yet my worry can often feel very lonely.

I'm so thankful for the support of those around me who also hold my girls very near and dear to their own hearts. My loving husband. My amazing Mom. Friends who are going through these same new experiences with their own growing girls. Friends and family who can offer up words of encouragement having already moved through this stage of parenting. (I'm starting to think it takes a village to raise kids cause someone's gotta keep the Mommas sane through it all.)

One of the things people rarely tell you as an expecting Mom is how from the moment your child is born, and forever there after, you live with a piece of your heart living outside your body. It is both an amazingly joyful and completely terrifying experience. Parenthood definitely has a disproportionate amount of on the job training. Right now I'm just trying to do my best to keep up with the newly released training info...


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Simple Luxury...

The girls and I ran away to Omaha for a very quick 24(ish) hour visit this weekend. We loaded the car and departed Carlisle at 11:00 am on Saturday. We were home and fully unloaded by 2:15 pm on Sunday. As short as our trip may have been, it was made for the BEST reason...to spend time with dear friends.

I don't know that I can say it was a restful trip. With only a few short hours to spend together, we did not devote many of them to sleeping. But in its own way it was refreshing. The pool was visited. Shopping was done. Wine was drank. Good food was consumed.

And of course we talked. And talked. And talked. It's what Jen and I do. And when we only get together in person every 4-6 months there's always A LOT of catching up to do.

We stayed at the Embassy Suites in LaVista. While I know for some staying at a place like the Embassy Suites is the norm when spending a night away from home, for our family it's a luxury only afforded because of the generosity of my dear friend. I was reminded of that fact when we walked in and Lexi's eyes got about 3 times larger than their normal size while she commented "This HAS to be a 5 star hotel."

Sometimes it's the innocent comments of our children remind us to stop for a moment and appreciate the goodness around us. While the Embassy Suites does not qualify for those coveted 5 stars, a stay there is always a welcome break from normal life. The beds are made with soft, clean, crisp linens. The bathrooms are clean...and I didn't have to scrub them. Drinks are served in the beautiful atrium to guests during happy hour and a hot made-to-order breakfast is served there in the morning. The only expectation from me at either time is to enjoy myself.

And the staff, even with a large conference being hosted in the adjoining conference center, were so nice. The guys at the bell service desk may have been some of the most friendly, most helpful hotel staff I have EVER encountered. They gladly helped guests in and out with bags and luggage carts despite the sub-freezing temps we experienced in the Mid-west this weekend. They even joked with our girls as they sat at the cool round bench just outside of the elevators waiting for Jen to bring her car up. All with a genuine smile on their faces. I imagine that when you work for a hotel it, at times, can be a challenge to remain friendly given the variety of personalities that can walk through the doors on any given day. I hope those guys know how much their kindness is appreciated by many.

Kindness...it makes all the difference in the world.