Category Archives: Family

Parenting, Living, Family.

Emotional Life with Tweens & Teens: Inspiration for Moms

Tweens & Teens: Mom InspirationTweenagers.
Sigh.

If at any point today, you are staring at your little baby or toddler, thinking how “hard” it all is, remember that it will get easier…And then they will turn on you in about 8 years.

Sorry. If you haven’t had this experience, then I applaud you. And then I’d either call you a liar, or silently think that you will get your due in some fashion or another. Perhaps you had a baby that slept through the night after just 1 month too? So be it. You will get yours. The universe maintains its balance, my friends. This is my due, I guess. Now I am an expert in the emotions of young girls trying to assert themselves as independent and capable young ladies. It started at 8 year of age and has continued through until almost 12 years. I know that this will not end soon.

My best, best, best advice (not that you asked, but this is my forum, I guess, so I will go on….) is to remember the advice of the poet, W.H. Auden, who tells us

 ‘If equal affection cannot be, then let the more loving one be me.’

Words to heed. Yes. Yes, indeed.

Now don’t get me wrong- my beautiful, loving creatures still hold and love me dearly every now and again… but it can be fleeting. And the warm fuzzies are quickly forgotten after a short moment of good snuggles. The good and bad of it is that every day is a new one when you live with budding teenagers, and every other day they decide that loving anyone or anything around them is super hard. Liking anyone other than their friends is still harder. Dour moods and doom rule these dark days. If I am lucky, I manage to remember, how these moments must surely be harder for this precious child than for me…the object of their manifested feelings.

How hard it must be for the child, still figuring out their bodies, their minds, their emotions. Understanding comes with experience, and these kids wake up never having felt like this…their feelings high-jacked by hormones. I get it. I smell it too. The hormones are high during this time, my friends. But it is a sight to behold. You can see the dark moods coming if you are lucky or take care to pay attention, but beware the turn of the tide mid-day, when you think all is well…That’s when it comes in handy, these beautiful words:

‘If equal affection cannot be, then let the more loving one be me.’

Yes. My best self will say, “I am sorry that you feel that way. Do you want some time alone? Would you like some mom-time?”

These are three little things that a mom can do or say, which tackle it all:

  1. acknowledge the feeling: “I am sorry that you feel that way.”
  2. ask them if they want to go to their room and leave everyone else out of this thunderstorm of doom: “Do you want some time alone?”
  3. see if they just need a hug: “Would you like some mom-time? Let’s talk.” (WARNING! You aren’t supposed to really talk at all, as this creates more problems. Really, this means “You talk all you want and tell me how unfair and horrible it all is and I will just nod and reaffirm that your feelings are valid.”  It’s best to time this one to keep it from going on and on. Leave it to under 5 minutes or it can make your day dis.ap…e.a.r…into the vortex of tween-dom emoting.

All good things, and pretty easy right?

But it starts with me shutting my big mouth, and remembering how much this sensitive and emotional time hurts my child way more than it hurts me. Love first.

Easier said than done. So next time one of my Tweenagers decides that I am the Enemy #1 and so “UNFAIR!” I will try to breathe in and out slowly. Exhale again for good measure and shut my mouth. If either of them wants me to answer, I will remember these 3 little things: Acknowlege, Alone, Hug. (Acronym to remember: A.A.H. as in “Aah. Isn’t that better?”)

‘If equal affection cannot be, then let the more loving one be me.’

I am torn in this remembering the soft, fragile and chubby babies, who are now becoming hilarious, smart, and wonderfully independent kids. I am moving forward and trying my best to mother them into becoming kind, empathetic, and strong human beings in this world. Trying not to yell. The struggle is real. I fail all the time. Acknowlege, Alone, Hug.

‘If equal affection cannot be, then let the more loving one be me.’

Yes, Please.

You may now reward yourself with wine. Or chocolate. Either will do. You are doing awesome.

Mom Stuff & the Holidaze

So fun all this Christmasing and shopping, and wrapping…and still having laundry to fold. Sigh. The nerve. My kids are on chore duty for sure this last week of work and school, as I ramp up to crazy-town, with all the shopping, baking, cleaning, putting stuff away… but this is the good news. They are learning that with celebration comes the preparation. The ready-making.  The tidying up. And then finally the cleaning up. It is all good for them. Good for all of us, though if you are listening, dear Santa, I wish I had bigger closets to shove things into!

I actually love every living bit of this, as I know we all do, and we all feel the crazy. My ceiling is intact this year [you can read about that in this older post], and my kids (knock wood) don’t have any major germs or bugs that will infest us…yet. So bring on the fun, my friends! The visits, the wine, the music, the laughter, the fun food, and presents to share! Bring it on, my lovely family, as I am so ready to celebrate and share some quality time with you all!

Here’s what I have been up to all weekend:

Baking:

Gingerbread Cut-Outs

Hello Dolly’s

Cherry Bonbons (from Averie Cooks)

Sugar Roll-ups (from Salt Tree)

Reading:

Absolutely nothing. Who has time to read?! Are you kidding me?! But I do have my 2016 Book Riot Challenge sort of finished! The only book I didn’t read was a non-fiction book about science, unless you consider “library science,” which is not even close to a science. It’s more a theory and practical trade. Anyhoo…I read a lot of weird stuff this year because of this challenge (italics are the category it fit into on the list):

  • Amityville Horror was the horror book that I chose that also was a book first published in the decade I was born. It’s about poltergeists and exorcism started a crazy fun conversation with my in-laws about a story they just read in Vanity Fair about a priest who solely does exorcisms. Different point of view of life entirely. Super interesting
  • Relish, by Lucy Knisley as a food memoir, but also is a graphic novel was so nice to read as though I was 10 again. Comic book style memoir is sort of interesting as a concept, but I liked reading it quickly but in chunks.

  • Wild Seed
    , by Octavia Butler is a classic, and also the first book in a series by a person of color, and science fiction, with gender-identity issues. So weird, but in an unexpectedly good way.
  • Zealot, by Reza Azlan was so interesting, like in the way, college was interesting. It opened up a scholarly point of view on the Bible and Jesus as a man, not as a Christ. I learned a ton. He is a very  interesting author, and I was very happy to have picked this one up. It fit into a book about religion. Duh. Of course it did.

Those aren’t super weird, but I like the Book Riot Challenge, because it’s like choosing books that you wouldn’t choose for yourself. Sometimes those are the best…what you need isn’t always what you choose. And then, some things I read off list have been awesome too, so I like to follow a list and then also just read to read, so it doesn’t feel like a job! (said the librarian-me!)

The new Book Riot, Read Harder 2017 Challenge is up…and it is weird too! I love it. I am definitely going to be reading outside of my comfort zone this year- as long as I am reading!

Watching:

New England Patriots by theglobalpanorama, on Flickr
"New England Patriots" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by theglobalpanorama

The Patriots/Broncos…but really just eating dinner and folding laundry, WHILE watching the game… I am queen this week, of this well known, crazy-making-mom-phenomenon, some call multi-tasking…like that makes it okay. It’s not. I should just sit down.

The new season of Ray Donovan. I binge watch, so I am doing this one first. Then the Affair, then Billions, then…

And as I type, my husband is reminding me to get teacher gifts this week….gift cards my friends. Never candles or mugs. Just saying. That’s what my teacher friends tell me- “Get gift cards.” So I listen. No more playtime, mom has to get crackin’!

Have a great and wonderful Monday, and stay crazy. But calm. xo

One Mom’s Guide to Visiting Santa’s Village: A New Hampshire Gem

One Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: A New Hampshire Gem! | Hardly A Goddess

So many of us are in full Holiday-mode, and gearing up for a memorable Christmas season. Well, this year, I was lucky enough to receive tickets to Santa’s Village in Jefferson, NH in exchange for an honest review, and I was more that eager to share this great place with you all!

While Santa’s Village is open May-December, we always go in November, right after Thanksgiving. It is sort of our way to get ready for the holiday and enjoy the beautiful lights, and spirit of fun of the season. I have to say, I would LOVE to go in the summer though, as they have a whole section of summer-fun water slides that we never get to try! But for today, I will share my very wintry experience with you!

So before you go, I thought I could tell you some tips and more about the park, that might help make your visit extra great and easy too!

What to bring:

  • If you go in the winter, wear snow pants. The rides can be wet, and also cold, so prepare yourself and the kids by bringing snow-gear: hats, gloves, boots, snowpants, and maybe hand-warmers!
  • If you go in summer, don’t forget to pack: towel, flip-flops, sunscreen, bathing suits with a plastic bag to carry the wet suit in after, and hats.
  • Bring a little backpack. Items that you make, buy, or to hold gloves can go in here without worry about where you left them!

Once you arrive:

  • Go to the bathrooms 1st. With all the snow gear on, it is easier to just get it done now! But they do have very clean, spacious (great changing areas for babies) restrooms throughout the park!
  • Then go to Elf University 2nd. Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NHThe kids will get their Elfabet Game Cards, to use throughout the park. They wear it around their neck and then as you make your way through the park, there are Elves with names from A-Z like this: So then, the kids do a punch-card poke of the card until all the letters (elves) are found. When you are done, return to the University for an Elf Diploma and prize! Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NHThis is the best, most fun ever, and my kids love it- plus it motivates them to work their way around the park to the next elf. Genius.
  • If you need a Santa visit,  you may want to assess the line for that right after you visit the Elf University.
  • If you already saw Santa, or will see him somewhere else, then you can go left, or right once you enter the park. They give a map upon entry, and the total space of the park is small enough to cover close to all of the features in one day. Enjoy!

Special Tips

  • We stay an hour away, so we arrive at the opening time and usually stay until they close! You can do almost everything they offer, though you need to make sure to leave wait-time for 3 things: Santa’s Home visit, the YouTubing, and the Skyway Sleigh. While the lines are longer for these, they mostly move quickly and we’ve never waited too long. The park is small enough, that lines move along, which I love! On their website, they have dates that are less busy than the weekend of Thanksgiving, so you can plan your visit for when lines will be very short!

    Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NH

    Of course the boys had to race each other!

  • For extra value, if you buy a ticket during the final 3 hours of the day, you can get in for those 3 hours and also, the next day on the same ticket. I have never done this, and I think it would be great if you stayed at a place super close by. There are just a few motel-type places nearby that we’ve never tried, but if you check around, I am sure you could get reviews.

Eating:

We always eat there at either Nick’s Pizza Emporium or Dasher’s Delights, but unlike other parks, you can bring your own food in and eat! Such a bonus, right?! This is just so refreshing to go to an amusement area, where everything is priced very reasonably and you never get the sense that you are shelling out money all the time. Some parks are the exact opposite. My kids love the midway-type games at most parks and those games can bleed you dry! At Santa’s Village, the midway-games cost a dollar! Food is so inexpensive compared to other places we’ve been. In fact, they offer FREE strollers, and FREE parking, and a FREE pet-sitting area. Souveniers and gifts are available and also are very reasonably priced. I just love this.

What we did:

Everything! The park is small enough that you can do everything! I love that the rides are geared for little people, so nothing is too scary. The height requirements vary, but most are 42″ to ride alone, or under if with a parent.

An easy ride for little kids and tired parents is the Jinglebell Junction railroad which is adorable and a way to see the entire park:

Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NH

Making Gingerbread Men:

My boys loved decorating gingerbread men at the Sugar ‘n Spice Bake Shop, when it was time to get a little snack. My girls went to have cocoa and my husband, the homemade donuts (yum!) at the Doe-Nut Factory.

Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NH

Driving their own cars!

Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NH

Making Rings (Free!)

Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NH

And visiting Santa’s Reindeer! And you can feed them too! It was fun to remember their names on the car ride up…actually we had to Google it! And then proceed to sing the Rudolph song for the next hour…memories… and Advil! Can you remember all the names in the song?

Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NH

Well, we didn’t do everything– we didn’t make our own gifts at the workshop, nor did we see the shows this year at the Jingle Jamboree or Polar Theater, but we have in the past, and to be honest, those are not to be missed when you need to get warmed up and the kids need a break.

When dusk comes, I love the lights and there were plenty of places to get some great family-fun shots that might be contenders for the Holiday card this year! This one is just okay- as my phone camera given to a stranger, only works so well. But you get the idea of how pretty it is at night and magical when the park is really at it’s best with the snow and colors!

Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NH

I asked my kids what they like the most about Santa’s Village:

“The Rapid Rudy Transit Coaster, the Sleigh Ride, and driving the Antique cars (by themselves!).” And my kids are 6, 10 and 11 years old. We have gone the past 3 years, and they still love it!

I asked my husband what he likes the most about Santa’s Village:

“Just the overall atmosphere.”

Yes. A man of few words here, but the atmosphere really is the best part about Santa’s Village. As you can see, it is themed out in every conceivable way, and my kids just love it. We love it. It is holiday-awesomeness all year around! I hope you consider making a trip if you are anywhere near New Hampshire. From Boston it is about a 2-hour drive. There is so much to do in the surrounding area for families, you can totally make it a trip for a weekend! It is truly a trip that your kids will treasure for years to come~

If you want to know more about Santa’s Village check them out here:

Web (awesome website!): http://www.santasvillage.com/
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*While I was not financially compensated for this post, I received ticket compensation for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own as always, and based on my personal experience.For more information see my full disclosures page.