Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I know I am back in Clifton Springs, NY when....

In no particular are the tall tale signs I know I am back in upstate NY.

*When I order a hot dog out at a restaurant and the waitress says, "Red or white?"

*As I am out walking my children around my hometown, my 4 year old son asks why I am not grabbing his hand before crossing the street. I look at him with a smile and say, "There's not any traffic here to worry about!". (Note to outsiders....there is 1 stop light down by the BIG M at the village limits).

*No one locks their cars or houses. Every door is open all the time, anytime.

*You know it's 5 o'clock when the fire alarm goes off.

*When I order a drink it's a real drink. At least 50% get your money's worth.

*I have an abundance of people willing to babysit my children...and most of them are related to me.

*People call me Jenny.

*I laugh more.......mostly with my brothers about some drunken escapade.

*People are on the same routine they were 20 years ago.

*I eat subs, wings, and pizza every chance I get because I know that nothing in Ohio compares.

*Memories come flooding back as I turn around every corner.

There was a time when I couldn't wait to get out of NY. In my young rebellious mind, I thought I would never come back or even want to come back. Now I look forward to visits home and breath a little deeper each time knowing that my past and present have come full circle. Clifton Springs will always be my home, and you know what they say...there is no place like home.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Stay-Cation Part I

As most of you know, every year my husband and I have an entire week to ourselves, kid free. It is the week we most look forward to all year. I know some people think I shouldn't say that, that it's not the correct thing to say. After all, don't I love my kids? So this post is for all those people who for whatever reason don't feel they can say out loud what I think all parents feel at one point or another in their lives. That being, it is ok to want to be away from your own kids for more than a few hours.
First, let me say I love both my children with all my heart. I can honestly say that they complete my life in every way and I couldn't imagine being on this earth without them. They make me laugh, and smile, and do all sorts of silly things I never thought I would do. I love being a mother and I love knowing that Chad and I made such a great family together. Now, let me also say that being a mom is HARD WORK. It wears me out. After first having my son, I thought I might want to stay at home. But after returning to work at the end of my maternity leave, I realized how much I missed my job. I like working. I love being a teacher. I am a better me when I work. I like who I am and how I conduct myself in the world when I am working. Now fast forward to one of the best perks of being a teacher...having your summers off. I won't lie...this is definitely a "good thing". Who wouldn't want their summers off? But a week into summer, I realize that staying at home with my 4 year old and my almost 2 year old really isn't that stress free. In fact, I find my patience depleting as the temperature goes up outside, and I struggle to not explode over the kids not sharing, losing their shoes, or not wanting to eat lunch. I have to put forth a lot of effort to plan out our days so as not to find myself being the mom I swore I would never be. I have to pretend it is ok that I have to schedule time to shower, that I never get to go to the bathroom alone, and that by the time my kids are napping I have absolutely no energy to do anything that I wanted to do. Hence came the plan for the stay-cation.
Both Chad and I are from upstate New York and both of our families still live there. Brilliantly a few years ago we came up with the plan to send the kids to what we refer to as "summer camp". They each spend 1 week with their grandparents. One half of the week, one child is with one set of grandparents, and then mid-week they switch. It really is a "win-win" for all. The kids get time away from each other and become the center of attention by which ever set of grandparents happens to be watching them. The grandparents get to spoil the kids rotten without having to hear from me or Chad to cut that out. Chad and I get time to ourselves in our own house and time to enjoy the city we live in.
We budget a set amount so that we can go out every night. In the weeks leading up to the stay-cation we make a list of all the restaurants we have wanted to try (Rule #1: Restaurants without kids menus and high chairs are preferred), movies we have wanted to watch, places we have wanted to check out, and any possible concerts that are in town. We contact friends and ask them to arrange for babysitters so each night we can meet up with different people and actually enjoy an adult conversation. Then we start planning out the week. I also make a separate list of things I would like to do during the day when Chad is at work.'s just a lovely week. And lovely is not strong enough of an adjective to fully describe how relaxing this time is for us, especially me. I would honestly rather have this week, than a week away somewhere. It really is the best! Within 24 hours I already feel rejuvenated as I savor each precious hour that I have. But yes, I do miss my kids. I do find myself looking at their pictures and wandering into their rooms when I miss them. But a quick phone call to NY and I realize really quickly that while I may be missing my kids, they are quite happy where they are and having the time of their life! Which just reaffirms in me that this stay-cation really is a win-win for all!