True to our goal of treating the girls to a few 'extras' during my last few weeks as a stay at home mom (SAHM), we've crammed in an amazing array of activities during the past 10 days.
First, a trip to Oregon to visit Papa and friends. DH was on a business trip to D.C., so I took the girls on a short trip up north to spend time with a paternal grandpa (Papa) and his family, and visit with Mommy's old friend, Nick Novotny.
Papa treated the girls to 'cousin' Sammy, a beautiful little girl about Rachel's age, a trout and salmon farm that just enthralled them and, the biggest treat of all, he 'taught' them to fish. In reality, we went to a cool little trout farm where the kids tossed a hooked worm into a little pond which was immediately ambushed by 50 starving fish! The girls LOVED it. Rachel was a bit nervous when the fish started "wigglin-gigglin" as they came out of the water -- but she loved the catchin' and the cleanin' part.
Next, the girls' first trip to the Magical Kingdom of Disney. There is nothing greater in the life of a mom or dad than to witness your child almost explode with excitement as they watch a Disney parade for the first time. The purity of their happiness and joy is awe inspiring and brought tears to my eyes. It was truly magical.
Then a three day camping trip that lasted all of 18 hours. Again, this was a first for us as a family and we learned A LOT in that short 18 hours. Mostly about what NOT to do the next time we attempt a camping trip with two preschoolers.
- Don't drive two hours when there are perfectly good spots MUCH closer.
- Don't spend the 1st two hours at the site setting up while your two kids, who have just been strapped in car for hours, explode with boredom and drive you insane!
- Pick a camp site that offers activities for the kids, like swimming, fishing, and horse back riding. Nature for nature's sake can be lost on 3 & 4 year olds after about 20 minutes.
- And, if it's not working - pack it up, go home and try again another day. Thankfully, we new better than to try and force it and it all ended well. I think Ollie had the most fun of all.
Lastly, we went to the WA Park for a day of a bit more relaxed fun. Although we've been to the park countless times, the girls never tire of seeing the animals and watching the shows.
And now my time as a SAHM comes to an end. Tomorrow, Monday, I will return to the world of suits, commutes, deadlines and take out lunches. I am excited and nervous about jump-starting my brain back into professional mode, while I'm also sad to be leaving the 24/7 life with my girls.
It's funny, as a SAHM, I've heard so many people say that I had the hardest job there is. I'm not sure I ever really, completely believed it. A part of me always thought that this is something people say to SAHM's to make them feel better about the choices and perceived sacrifices they've made. But after having my kids in preschool and after school care during this last month, I realize now, after just a few short weeks apart from it, how challenging it has been to be with kids 24/7.
I also realize that there is NOTHING I would change about these past five years home with my girls. It is the greatest gift I've ever been given. Most people tell me how lucky my girls were to have a mom that was able to stay home. But I was the lucky one. Fortunate to have had this time with Alex and Rachel and to experience all their milestones, bumps, bruises, uncontrolled laughter, unbounded enthusiasm and wonder as they discovered the world around them. I know in my heart that I stayed home as much for me as for them. I have been blessed and I will always treasure this time I had with them - our little threesome learning about the world and about each other.
PS: I have some fun pics of all our recent fun and will post ASAP