Hug The Glenview Bear

I’m a strong believer in geographic karma.

I think we each have some place that speaks to our soul like no other.

Perhaps it is a family vacation home where memories were made and traditions passed down through the generations.

Perhaps, like my blog pal Barbara, it is a place you have visited as a tourist but hope to return as a resident – if even just for a little while.

For me, the place I feel most connected is Glenview.

Mocadeaux - Glenview banner

My kind of town. Glenview, Illinois.

It’s the village in which Peter and I bought our first house, raised our children, have made great friends and fabulous memories.

Twice job situations took us away from Glenview but each time we made it our goal to return. And both times we did.

We are not alone in this devotion.  I know at least a half dozen other folks who have also moved away and come back. There is something about our little Glenview.

Peter and I settled in Glenview in 1981. With our first baby on the way, we looked for a place to raise our family.

The fall of 1981 was not a good time to be buying a home. Mortgage rates were at an all-time high of, wait for it:

18%!!!!

I’m not kidding – google it. That’s like financing your house on your credit card.

Mocadeaux - our first house

After lots and lots of looking, we finally found an adorable, small brick ranch that came with a very attractive quality. An assumable mortgage.

The sellers had a mortgage with the rock-bottom rate of 8% that we were able to assume and blend with our new mortgage so we could get down to the low, low rate of 12% making these two accountants giddy with excitement.

Those were NOT the days…

Still, we were thrilled to put down our roots in this special place.

So what is it about Glenview?

In no particular order here are just a few of the reasons that I love Glenview:

The schools – Our children were lucky to have attended wonderful schools from pre-school all the way through high school.

This is a town where education is valued. Both academic and extra-curricular activities receive great support and the schools have received national recognition because of it.

We also have a pretty fabulous library.

Mocadeaux - Glenview Public Library

The Park District – We have a tennis center and golf courses, summer camps and swim lessons. We have walking trails, playgrounds, pools, a skateboard park and fishing pond.

Oh yes, and we have a farm. Right smack in the middle of Glenview, less than 15 miles from the heart of downtown Chicago, sits Wagner Farm.

Mocadeuax - Glenview Wagner Farm cows

Now owned by the Glenview Park District, Wagner Farm is a very popular place; excellent for visiting grandsons!

Mocadeaux - Wagner Farm tractor

The Glen – For many, many years the Glenview Naval Air Station occupied over 1,100 acres of the village. Naval planes flew overhead and the Goodyear blimp parked there when it was in town.

In 1995, the Glenview Naval Air Station was decommisioned by the Navy and the land was deeded to the Village of Glenview.

Imagine, suddenly having the opportunity to redefine the landscape of 12% of the area in your town – a blank canvas. Well, not totally blank. The village had to tear up about a million cubic yards of concrete and tear down a bunch of Navy buildings, but still.

Through careful planning and execution, the area was transformed into The Glen.

Featuring homes, apartments, a new school, the park district fitness center, senior center, pond, sportsfields, a gold course, two retirement homes, Kohl’s Children’s Museum, shopping and dining, The Glen has something for everyone.

The Glen is home to some of our favorite restaurants and the fabulous shopping mecca Von Maur, where gift wrap and shipping are always free.

 

But most of all, it’s the people – Glenview’s motto is, “Hug the Bear” referring to this guy.

Mocadeaux - Glenview bear

“Prairie and Lehigh is the corner where it’s at.”

The statue, a gift to the children of the Glenview from an early resident, Ed Jackman, has come to symbolize the community spirit in the hearts of the fine folks of Glenview.

For Peter and me, Glenview is home to many of our oldest and dearest friends. Our children all grew up together here, creating family memories like moms and tots parties, slip and slide baseball, the 4th of July parade and fireworks. Baptisms, graduations, weddings.

Glenview is the place where we see familiar faces everywhere we turn. A place of great comfort. Home.

Paris is lovely but my heart belongs in Glenview.

Mocadeaux - Glenview home

What is your favorite place?


I am participating in the “Who I Am” series. This writing project is the brainchild of Dana of Kiss My List and Bev of Linkouture. Each month we are given a prompt regarding some aspect of our life. This month it is all about our favorite location. The goal is, at the end of the year, to have twelve chapters in the book titled Who I Am.

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Parenting: That Was Then, This Is Now

We all know that babies don’t come with an instruction manual. Parenting is an inexact science figured out on the fly. Learning while doing. All rooted in love.

But ideas about the “right thing to do” have evolved over the years.

This got me to thinking about how different parenting was in the ’80s and ’90s when we were raising our kids versus now when they are raising kids of their own. And, how different I am as a grandparent than I was as a parent way back when.

Times have changed bringing new, often better, definitely safer ideas to the world of parenting.

For example, my friends and I have all experienced this one.

Mocadeaux - unsafe crib

Unsafe crib filled with taboo extras.

The crib, in which our little babies slept, was carefully wrapped up and stored with the hope and expectation that we would someday have grandchildren who would, themselves, slumber peacefully in the “heirloom crib”.

Except that the design of these cribs, with their too wide apart slats, has been determined to be a deathtrap and all the cribs had to go to the garbage dump.

Not to Goodwill, not to a garage sale. In the trash.

These lethal weapons had to be tossed out along with the now deemed dangerous playpens, jumparoos and other pieces of equipment to which we had unwittingly trusted our precious babies.

If only Pinterest had been around in those days. There would have been boards upon boards of DIY projects to turn these hazardous items into gorgeous garden ornaments or something.

And car seats?

These life-saving devices were just coming on to the scene as “must-haves” when my babies were born.

It wasn’t until 1985 that all 50 states had mandatory car seat laws. Can you believe that???

Mocadeaux - car seat

Does this look safe to you?

When our first child was born, Peter had a bit of a heated discussion with my grandmother who insisted she was going to carry her first great-grandchild home from the hospital on her lap in the car just as she had done with her grandchildren (including me).

Needless to say, that didn’t happen. But it wasn’t such a far-fetched idea based upon the times. Today a suggestion like that would cause an international incident.

Heck, when I was a kid, we used to ride in the way back, rear-facing seat of the station wagon. I’m not even sure it had seat belts. Or, we would stow the seats and sit cross-legged amongst the bags of groceries. It’s what you did.

That was then, this is now.

Nowadays, car seats are engineering marvels designed with every single known safety feature and painstakingly installed, often by a local police officer or fireman.

For the protection of our little nuggets, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As a parent, I relied heavily on the moms in my playgroup for advice.

Come to think of it, that hasn’t changed over the years.

Our moms and tots group continues to meet (sans tots but sometimes avec grandchildren) at least once a month as we have for the past 30+ years. Now we share stories and support with a few grandparenting tips thrown in for good measure.

My kids confer with their friends who have children but they also have access to an almost infinite source of advice in the form of the internet.

Parent forums, Facebook groups and Professor Google supply a dizzying array of suggestions to solve virtually every challenge of parenting.

In my parenting days, I would have been completely overwhelmed by this volume of information.

My kids take it in stride – vetting the sources, analyzing, deciding on a course of action and, ultimately, relying on their gut to guide them.

Even with all the information in the world, parenting still comes down to trial and error and following your gut. That’s something that hasn’t changed over time.

Back in the day, we had only the PBS classics like Sesame Street and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood to entertain and educate.

Occasionally, we would pop in a Disney movie for fun but only after spending 5 minutes rewinding the VHS tape after the last viewing.

On road trips, we would play the alphabet game or highway bingo.

Mocadeaux - highway bingo

Now there are zillions of channels on the tv, access to on-demand shows, Netflix and downloads.

These shows can be watched on phones, tablets, computers and even the old-fashioned way, on the TV.

Screens, screens! Everywhere! Anytime!

But now experts recommend limiting screen time for young kids. Well, that’s confusing.

This parenting thing has gotten a lot harder than it was when I did it…

Grandparenting, on the other hand, is one of the sweetest gigs EVER.

As a parent, I worried about every decision.

How much should they eat? How much should they sleep? Jacket or no jacket? What school is best for them? Sleepovers? Dance class? Piano lessons? How much is too much and how much is not enough?

As a grandparent, I have none of that decision-making responsibility and all of the fun. Sure, I will offer if advice but I try really, really hard to do so only if asked.

I try to stick to my Grandparent Manifesto, focusing on my duty to provide endless love and support. The little guys make my job easy.

being a grandparent

Parenting has changed over the years. My role has changed. And I’ve changed.

But the one thing that remains constant through it all is the importance of love in everything we do.


Parenting: That Was Then, This Is Now is Chapter 4 in the Who I Am Project hosted by Bev at Linkouture and Dana at Kiss My List.

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Habits & Quirks

Did you ever stop to think about how habits and quirks shape who we are?

Habits are those behaviors that give our life structure and predictability. Quirks, I think, are habits gone rogue; behaviors that reflect our personalities and, for better or for worse, make us unique.

habits & quirks

A few examples…

HABIT: I try to always practice good manners. Please and thank you, napkin in my lap, elbows off the table.

QUIRK: When someone fails to say “thank you” to me, for instance when I hold the door open for them, I get a bit passive-aggressive and say a very loud “YOU’RE WELCOME”.

I’m not particularly proud of this quirk, but I can’t help myself.

HABIT: I was taught that the proper way to set a table is: fork on the left, spoon on the far right, knife next to the spoon with the blade facing the plate.

QUIRK: This habit is so deeply ingrained in me that, without fail, when I sit down at a restaurant and am faced with silverware not laid out in this manner, I must reset my place setting before looking at the menu.

silverware in napkin

This will not do at all.

If I find the silverware wrapped up in the napkin I will disassemble, place the utensils in their proper place and the napkin in my lap.

Every single time.

HABIT: I believe strongly in respectful discourse between individuals.

QUIRK: When expressing my opinion in a conversation, I feel compelled to end with “in my opinion” just so it’s clear.

“A certain candidate running for President is both scary and evil, in my opinion.”

“Mushrooms are terrible and should be banned from the earth, in my opinion.

“Pizza, on the other hand, is the most perfect food and can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch and dinner, in my opinion.”

HABIT: I was taught that it is improper to take a knife to your salad. My grandmother always said that salads should be prepared so that the pieces are small enough to manage in one bite.

wedge salad

QUIRK: Wedge salads are my arch nemesis.

HABIT: I try to be observant – always aware of what is going on around me.

QUIRK: Sometimes being observant is a good thing like the time I was able to track down the family that accidentally took my suitcase instead of their own when they got off the “T” in Boston.

But sometimes, it can get a little freaky-stalkerish like the time when I had a feeling that the young man sitting near us at a restaurant was about to propose to his adorable girlfriend. Darn if he didn’t do just that but I was in the ladies room and missed the moment.

No worries. Before leaving the restaurant, I stopped by their table to extend my congratulations, say I was sorry I had missed the moment and to assure them that I would “imagine it in my mind”.

I actually said that.

Freaky-stalkerish, indeed.

Moving on…

HABIT: I make a habit of being thorough.

QUIRK: This manifests itself in the form of extremely lengthy text messages. And lots of emojis. The more the better. And enough exclamation points to effectively make my point.  Possibly a few Xs and Os thrown in for good measure.

HABIT: Polite people engage others in conversation. Myself, I like thorough conversation.

QUIRK: I am prone to share my entire life story with everyone I meet, especially waiters, store clerks, hotel staff, flight attendants, really just about anyone.

“Yes, I’m checking in. We have a big family group checking in, actually. We have all come to Disney World to celebrate my father-in-law’s 80th birthday. He lives in Nashville and almost wasn’t able to come because of a snowstorm. And my youngest grandson is here for his very first trip. And I was born in Florida and used to come to Disney World quite often. In fact, my mom took us all to Disney World in the first week it was open. My high school’s Senior Night was at Disney World and it was so much fun…”

“Uh… Ma’am, check in is at the desk across the lobby.”

If asked, I bet my husband and children would say that this habit/quirk is the one that drives them insane they find most endearing about me.

After all, it is our habits that give order to our lives and our quirks that make us ever so lovable.


Habits & Quirks is chapter 3 of the Who I Am project hosted by

Dana of Kiss My List and Bev of Linkouture.

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A Letter To My Grandsons

A letter to my grandsonsTo my dear grandsons,

They say that becoming a grandparent is one of the greatest gifts in the world. I did not have a full appreciation of that until you guys came into my life.

I loved you even before I met you in person. Once I laid eyes on you, that love grew by infinite measure.

It was an honor and a privilege to help your parents care for you after you were born, to watch you for endless hours as you made your adorable squinchy baby face expressions, yawns, coos and smiles.

To experience the bliss of having you sleep in my arms.

And now, I am having the joy of watching you grow and the delight of watching your parents guide you with love and devotion.

Your parents are pretty amazing people. Do you know how lucky you are?

Of course they will love and protect you forever but they are also showing you what you need to know to be a good citizen of the world.

I love the way that you cooperate and share with others. Your parents taught you that. May this kindness always be the cornerstone of your soul.

I love that you protect each other. Throughout your life, may you speak up whenever you see injustice and always defend those who are being picked on or bullied.

Your parents are showing by example what it means to be a true and loyal friend to others. Along with the close-knit family you are blessed to be a part of, friends should be an important part of your life.

May you have family who are your friends and friends who are your family.

Friends and Family - Mocadeaux

I love that you are so curious about the world around you. May you always have a keen interest in learning about people, places and things.

I love that you love books. May you always have a passion for reading and a thirst for knowledge.

Your parents will take your education very seriously and make sure that you are exposed to a wide range of cultures and ideas so that you can learn the importance of diversity and acceptance.

They will encourage you to always be true to your selves, to be an individual, to be the best “YOU” you can be. You are quite fabulous, you know.

Your parents will travel with you. You will have the opportunity to experience the beauty and wonder of places around the world. May you take advantage of every opportunity and may each experience make you yearn for the next one.

May you find things in your life to be passionate about. And may you be lucky enough to incorporate your passions into every aspect of your life.

May you someday be lucky enough to meet the person you are meant to be with. Your partner. The love of your life. Remember to always be kind, supportive and respectful of that person and always expect the same in return. You deserve nothing less.

Thank you for the joy you bring to our family. Please know that you are surrounded by people who love you fiercely and will support and protect you forever.

With all my love,

your Momo

 

mocadeaux

This post was written as part of the “Who I Am” series hosted by Dana of Kiss My List and Bev of Linkouture. This month, participants were to answer the questions: Who are the people you love, and who love you? How are they are part of your story? Please visit here to read more “Who I Am” stories. And, visit here to read more about the “Who I Am” series. 

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