Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Mardi Gras With The Kids

A couple of weeks ago I was distraught I wasn't in New Orleans celebrating Carnival season. We had a great time last year and I fell in love with the strong culture of New Orleans. Of course, I have shared as much as I could with my minis and tell them all about whenever I can. We've celebrated Mardi Gras in the past, but with all of my talking, the minis were extra excited about it this year. They were even more thrilled to learn they had the day off of school and would be home to celebrate!

Therefore, we did it up. I've spent the last week talking about Mardi Gras with daycare kids (so they would know what we were celebrating when the day came)....the big take away from those talks was "we get to eat cake and you can't swallow the plastic baby." So, there's that.

The minis "helped" me set up the night before...and by set up, I mean standing next to me squealling, "oh my gosh it looks so good!" over and over again until my head hurt.

We started Fat Tuesday with beignets, dressing up, tattoos, and mask decorating.

Then we moved on to read their favorite Mardi Gras book, The King Cake Baby. We also watched a video of the kids Mardi Gras parade and spoke about the history of Mardi Gras. Then, the kids got their first bead throwing experience.

To throw a little bit of learning in there, once all of the beads had been caught, each child counted their beads out and announced how man they each had.

Lunch was muffaletta (delicious, but not as delicious as Central Grocery) while we listened to Mardi Gras sounds, courtesy of Amazon Music. We didn't just listen to this play list during lunch...we listened to it all day long. Because, why not??

Making letters with the carrots. That's one way to practice them!

Our big game for the day was Find It: Mardi Gras edition. The kids had to find a king cake baby and three coins hidden around the daycare room.

I couldn't find a great Mardi Gras movie for the kids, but we did watch Princess and the Frog for probably the fifth time this year. No one complained about that.

The big to-do for the day was the King Cake. Elizabeth wound up with the baby in her piece of cake and was instantly grossed out by it. I heard plenty of little voices saying, "it looks so real!" Perhaps I should have re-thought the cherry filled King Cake...

I ordered the King Cake from Rouses Market in New Orleans. As promised, it arrived on time and was just as delicious as I remember! 

And because the day wasn't action packed enough, we ended the day with dirty rice, spilled peas, and a debate.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Gala Weekend

I'm so happy I made time to spend with the minis the weekend before (read about that fun here) because this weekend was completely taken up with Gala festivities followed by packing for travel week on Sunday. I honestly couldn't have asked for an easier weekend though! The Gala was wonderful and went off without a hitch, the minis got to attend a family birthday party while we prepped for the Gala, and packing went relatively smooth considering I was once again packing for five people to be in different places....that has become one of my least favorite things in life. A big bonus to the weekend: gorgeous, warm temps! We aired the house out a bit to help get rid of the influenza bug that hit our house. All in all, great, busy weekend.

Movies and cuddling on the couch.

Saturday afternoon was spent setting up for the Gala at Decades Event Center. Even though the minis weren't with me, signs of them were everywhere. I glanced at a centerpiece I was putting together and realized a few of the pictures had the minis in them! Fun, happy memories.

Last year's Gala was amazing, but stressful. It was the first Gala many of us had thrown, after all. As I looked at our silent auction tables and viewed our program, I was filled with so much pride and feelings of success.

Meanwhile, the minis were at Colby Park partying it up and playing. Nothing better on a late winter, spring-like day.

My awesome sister, also known as Aunt Jenny, who took the minis for the weekend.

This little face looks so old here. This little face also came down with influenza 24 hours after this picture was taken.

And then all night at the Gala (I snuck an hour nap in between setting up and call time). Also, I gave a speech. Kinda. It was a quick rundown of what was going to happen that night. 

It was a late night (or rather, late night these days), but we managed to wake up, pick up groceries, and grill lunch. That was the extent I got to enjoy the weather because my day was spent with laundry, packing, more laundry, packing, and more of the same. Also, a nap.

I got a couple of new signs from the silent auction. They were hung immediately because they are absolutely perfect for our house.

And....mostly semi-packed by Sunday evening! Huge win!! Plus, laundry was caught up so those are actually clean clothes in those bags. Winning.

Shoutout To The Support System -- May Everyone Be This Lucky

My tribe. My village. My people. Friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, neighbors, co-workers, fellow moms and dads. I am lucky to have an entire network of people I call upon when all hell breaks loose in life. When life doesn't go as planned...or simply a random Tuesday that I just can't handle alone.

I've wanted to write this post since the beginning of this school year when I watched a new tribe (one I'm so very lucky to be a part of) form. A group of parents, desparate to figure out middle school and all it entails, got together and formed a carpool. Yet it's so much more than a carpool. It's a "I'll take care of your kid if you take care of mine." It's a get together and discuss/commiserate how stupid middle school boys can be (for the record, we're talking about our own boys here). It's the type of tribe that provides support not just for the kids, but for each other as well. Not only is it supportive, it's caring, appreciative, helpful, and positive.

In a matter of hours, my husband and I will board a plane bound for the mountains. It was kind of a last minute trip (and by last minute, I mean one that wasn't thought of a year in advance) that is only possible because of our support system. We have more than enough people stepping in for us while we're gone--family and friends who are willing to help, take on our schedule, and dig in. Even as I leave my minis in the midst of an influenza outbreak, I am not worried. The caregivers have back ups. Heck, even our back ups have back ups and those back ups have back ups.

We're lucky to have numerous tribes who have our backs. Who are willing to step in when I can't. It's times like this that I fully understand the phrase "it takes a village." It really does. My husband and I could not raise our children successfully if we did it all alone. I can't tell you how many times our parents have gotten calls in the form of "can you pick up _____ from school?" "Can you run eggs to our house? I'm in the middle of baking in the middle of nap time.." Or friends "hey, you wanna take a vacation with me and the kids?? I don't want to go by myself!" Or aunts and uncles "um, can you take my kids this weekend?" Or neighbors, "can you watch the house for us?"

It's easy to see how much help we'll need while we're on vacation. As I look at the bigger picture, I fully see how much our daily lives rely on our tribes. Our daily lives simply wouldn't work without those special people. It's not lost on me just how lucky we are to have close friends, family within minutes of us, and trustworthy neighbors. It's also not lost on me that not everyone has this type of support system. To that I say, I have no idea how you do it and I'm very, very thankful for our's because our life wouldn't be our life without them.

Grandparents are an integral part of our support system.