Sunday, November 10, 2013


Well, it's officially been over a week since I left work.

I'm not sure why, but I hesitate to call myself a stay-at-home mom.  But I am (now).  I do miss the idea of having a job out of the home--but I don't miss work. AT ALL.

I miss the facade of having it all--a job I love, and my well-taken-care-of family at home.  In reality, I didn't have either.  I just didn't realize it.

It's amazing what you'll tolerate, a little at a time.  That's how it was at work.  And at home, I'm crushing it.  Cooking, cleaning, being active with the kids, getting their homework done, little fun things, you name it.  Both Elena and Vivian tell me several times daily how glad they are that I am home.  If that's not validation enough, I have a bathroom that hasn't shined for a year (don't judge me) that is now spotless and my favorite room in the house.  The house TLC is coming along slowly, three hours at a time (while both kids are in school) and it's going great.

You don't have to tell me that stay-at-home-moms work.  Any parent already knows this, working or not.  In my case, I found out the hard way that my home life suffers plenty when my work life is (was) overloaded.  So sabbatical is a huge win.  Physically--no more constipation issues, I sleep much better, and my contacts don't bother me any more (no I'm not making this up).  Mentally, I still juggle a lot--but it's things I WANT to do, which is relatively new. Emotionally, I feel better about being there for the kids.  Elena and Vivian have been hugely appreciative--something I would never have expected from kids so young.  Vivian has playmates coming to the house, which is completely new.  Elena is planning playdates after school.  Everyone is going to bed better than before.

Life is good.  I'll have to put up pictures of our recent adventures--roller skating, cooking, making the basement a playroom, art projects...eventually.  Now, it's time to rest.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Vivian's Witchy Fifth Birthday

Amidst all the Halloween drama, I was also planning Vivian's birthday party.  She chose her theme as "Witchy Party", so we decided on a dress-as-witchy-as-possible party, with some songs, broom games, and making a Witch's Brew!

***more pictures will be added as I get permission from parents to post***

We started off with the kids learning part of a song--Witches' Brew by Hap Palmer.  It was a great way to regroup the kids (using the chant from the song) and it kept the theme going.

Broom sweep game

I had decided to make a huge cauldron (out of cardboard, duct tape, black paint, a few trash bags for the liner--and a good amount of dry ice!) and have the kids add ingredients as we made the brew.  I had tubes containing ingredients (some same, some different) in a three decorated boxes.  I divided the kids into three groups and had them search their tubes to find the next ingredient--the brave ones stepped up to add it to the pot.  

I help Elena add "eye of newt"

Adding "crushed bones"

All but a few ingredients were common kitchen goods, with different names.  "Skin from a witch's nose" (bran flakes), "eye of newt" (cous cous with a black dot painted on each one), "crushed bones" (flour), "clay from the lost red temple" (crushed up red chewable vitamin), etc.  There was also purple pixie dust (glitter) and a fallen rainbow (nontoxic crayon shavings).  My personal favorite was "a dash of invisibility" (an empty tube).  The kids were confused.

"What does it look like?"  one child asked.

"I don't know, it's invisible!"  I answered.

Vivian finally found an empty tube.  "Is this it?"

I nodded.

"How much do I add?"

"Well, " I told her, "you don't want to add to much!"

Her action was priceless.  She cautiously approached the cauldron, and tipped it just a smidge.  I told her to put a little more in, and she shook it a bit.  The kids were spellbound.

Vivian making sure the "Ghost Juice" was "rat-infused"

After all the ingredients were added, we danced around the cauldron singing our silly song.  Then I removed the top from the secret pot inside (containing mostly Grape Fanta--some of the hot water and frost gatorade did creep in the pot, as well as a few crayon shavings) and ladled out some to taste.  No one was interested in trying any with me, until I told them how delicious it was.  Then everyone had some (even some parents).  I warned the kids to take it easy, as the brew might have too much invisibility in it.

Then the pizza arrived, and the kids played around the yard.  We sang to Vivian, and had birthday cupcakes.  I asked the kids what power they enjoyed most from the Brew, and it ranged from "super speed" to "invisibility" to "sparkle power" to my own, "extreme tiredness".

Huge thanks to Vivian's friends, Nana and PopPop, and especially Adam at asmphotography for the great pictures (you can find him and more of his work here) for coming out to celebrate Vivian!

My Dearest Vivian,

When you woke up the morning of your 5th birthday, you jumped in to show me how short your pajama sleeves had become overnight because you "turned into a five-year old".  You are inquisitive, hilarious, expressive, and emotional.  You're our little ball of entropy.  You love purple, dancing, being loud, and turning things into a competition--even though you argue it isn't.  You love, support, and look up to your big sister.  You love to catch and throw kisses, read, cuddle, and do our Fancy Five handshake.

I joke that I want you to "stop growing".  I'd be lying if I wish, only a little, this wasn't true.  If I could put this time in a bottle and savor it forever, I would.  You are a joy.

We love you to pieces, always and in all ways,

Mommy, Daddy, and Elena