Wednesday, April 27, 2016

a year later...

A year ago this week, I left full-time employment.

I keep thinking I should have some kind of sage wisdom at this point, some brilliant thoughts on my vastly improved understanding of motherhood -- and life in general.

Yep, don't have any.

I survive stay-at-home-mommyhood, just as I survived working-mommyhood: One single day at a time.

That said, I have certainly earned a few lessons along the way:

-- I've learned that unpacking groceries can take up to 45 minutes because a 4-year-old finds that taking groceries out of the bag is just as exciting as Christmas. Ooooh, she says, removing a jar of peanut butter. Look Mommy! Isn't this awesome?! Never mind that she was the one who put it in the cart in the first place. Her excited squeals that accompanied the not-so-surprising discovery of toilet paper in another bag still makes me laugh.

-- I've learned that you should definitely set calendar reminders for atypical child events early in the morning, even if the event is after school. Otherwise, when your child does not get off the bus in the afternoon you will have a complete panic attack until you remember that, duh, you signed your kid up for that one-time-only tae kwon do class. And then, moments after realizing this, you get a calendar reminder telling you that you have to leave now to go pick up your kid from school.

-- I've learned that iPads are very, very dangerous. Sure, they're great at distracting kids so you can take a shower and brush your teeth. But they're too good at that. Millie could watch hers all day long -- um, not that I've actually ever let her (wink, wink).

-- I've learned that if you don't pack a fork in your 4-year-old's school lunch, she'll start bringing home silverware from school. And it will take a few weeks before you realize that you suddenly have a whole extra set of mismatched silverware at home. And then, when you bring it back to school, you find it's not as unusual a circumstance as you'd think.

-- I've learned that a well-placed joke inside a lunchbox can be as impactful as a dozen "I love yous."

-- I've learned that Mom's mood in the morning sets the tone for the entire day. So if she wakes up crabby and overly tired, it's not going to be a great day. But if she pulls herself together and decides, for whatever reason, to converse only in song throughout the entire morning routine that the laughs and giggles will continue well into bedtime.

-- I've learned that there really are few sights in this world more satisfying than watching your child sprint down the street, so excited she is to get off the bus and be welcomed back into her home.

So. We're one year in. 

For anyone interested, or perhaps only for my own record-keeping, here's a rundown of how the past twelve months have gone, as told through cell phone photos:

 My first Bethany-made T-shirt. I used my free time oh-so-wisely.
Her favorite show last summer, was Kate and Mim-Mim, a series on Disney Junior that didn't have any mass marketing or merchandising campaign from what I could find. 
So I made her a shirt myself. 
Sadly, she no longer watches the show very often. But at least she still likes the shirt.
Also, this photo was taken in the waiting room for Speech, a second home of sorts for us.

I don't really have anything to say here, just love the picture.
Happy, smiling Lola. She's a beautiful girl, from the inside out.

We've spent a lot of time at the Science Center.
Millie isn't fond of the animals, though. She likes to keep them at an arm's length away.
Lola, on the other hand, would bring them all home if I'd let her.

Millie has spent many hours with Playdoh as I've tried to get some work done.
Playdoh remains Millie's most favorite activity. 

Elsa castle. 
Play Elsa castle, Mommy?
Can we play Elsa castle Mommy? 
Hey, Mommy, I have an idea. Let's play Elsa castle!
At least she likes her Christmas present.
I was so happy when at least she took out the Cinderella doll. 
At least her imaginative world expanded a bit beyond Frozen.

I love this. The "new" Cinderella dates my mother's old Ken doll.

What? You don't play sandbox in the middle of your kitchen floor?!
By mid-February, I was running out of indoor activity ideas that would keep her busy so I could get some freelance work done. Honestly, though, this one was a bust. She didn't want to play unless I played with her -- and while I would have loved to do so, that defeated the point.

OK, this was on a weekend at Ground Round so not really a daytime/motherhood shot.
I just love the picture. And Lola apparently loves Wikki Stix.

Millie and her cat.
Doesn't Lucy look absolutely thrilled to have us home?! 

No cavities! 

The day Lola covered herself in chalk and made herself green...

 ... and then blue ...

 ... and then pink.

Princess tattoos for everyone! 

The animals really do love having us home. 

Lola the pirate.
We've had dozens of dress-up days. I love seeing the girls' imaginations in action. 

Spelling test practice. Nearly every night.

If you want snickerdoodle muffins, you've got to make them yourself!

This whole year has been filled with loads of great memories.
I will forever be incredibly thankful and appreciative for the time I've had at home.

A few weeks ago, I made the girls their own coloring shirts.
This year has definitely been the Year of the Owl in our household -- especially for Lola.

But Elsa is still No. 1 in Millie's eyes. 

And the Little Sister is now asking to start gymnastics just like her Big Sister.
We will hold off until she's in kindergarten, but we have lots of practice time at home. 

My goofy girls. 
My brilliant little trouble-makers.
My dramatic duo.

My girls.