Saturday, June 22, 2013

7 Days of Father's Day (2013)

Ben is a great dad. The best. I mean he is really, really extraordinary with his girls. He is 100% dad 100% of the time. He is either at work making money for his family or he's at home with us. He spends time with the girls from the second he gets home from work until bedtime, then he helps me get them ready for bed and cuddles Mercedes to sleep every night. He is also in charge of putting her back to sleep when she wakes up in the middle of the night (since I am busy with Emerald all night) and Mercedes wakes up 2-3 times a night still. His days off are filled with activities with the girls. On the rare, rare occasions when he goes out with his friends or plays Frisbee golf, he feels incredibly guilty for leaving them. I could not ask for a better daddy for my girls. 

It doesn't seem fair that a father as wonderful as my husband should only get to have one special day dedicated to him. So instead of Father's Day, we had Father's Day Week. Every day for the 6 days leading up to Father's Day plus Father's Day itself, we had a surprise waiting for him in the basement (his man cave). 

Besides the surprises I thought up for him, each day I had the girls each do an art project for him. They LOOOVED this and spent a good amount of time every afternoon on their surprise for their daddy.

They turned out really cute!

I hung them in the basement above the stairs so it was the first thing Ben would see when he opened the door to the basement every evening.

Day 1 of Father's Day Week: Me and the girls spent ALL DAY long in the basement, sorting, organizing, throwing things away, dusting, scrubbing, vacuuming, turning Ben's man cave into a wonderful oasis for him. I wrote him a note explaining to him about the 7 Days of Father's Day, and another note about what we did for him that day. I told him that during Father's Day Week he would not be in charge of putting Mercedes to sleep. That meant starting at 9 pm he was free to retreat and relax in his man cave and have some extra man time all to himself to watch movies or TV shows, read, sleep, play video games, whatever he wanted to do all by himself.

Day 2 of Father's Day Week: Me and the girls walked to the store and bought a bunch of Ben's favorite gluten-filled snacks. Ben's note of the day said that I appreciate that he puts up with living in a gluten free house (any gluten Ben wants to eat he has to eat at work because it makes me sick to have it in the house) so I wanted him to have a stash of his favorite snacks to eat while he relaxed in his man cave that week. I reminded him to make extra sure to de-contaminate the basement when he was finished. =-)

Day 3 of Father's Day Week: I set up a "man spa" for Ben, complete with coconut oil and a brown sugar scrub (1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1 tsp vanilla extract), towels for heat pads and a cozy air mattress, down blanket and down pillow bed. I gave him a full body massage after the girls went to sleep that night. His note said that I appreciate that he works physically hard for us every day so I wanted to help his body and muscles to relax.

 Day 4 of Father's Day Week: I made plans with my brother (who is one of Ben's best friends) to hang out with Ben that night. Ben's note said that I appreciate that he prioritizes his family over hanging out with his man friends, so tonight was Guy's Night Out, to have fun, do whatever he wanted to do and stay out as late as he wanted.

Day 5 of Father's Day Week: This day was sort of an IOU date night since I'd planned on having my mom come over to babysit so Ben and I could spend some time together but my mom ended up getting sick and wasn't able to watch the girls. Ben's note said that I appreciate how the girls come first in our family and he's always so patient and understanding when we don't get to spend enough time together because the girls are being so high maintenance.

Day 6 of Father's Day Week: I made Ben peach crumble bars by scratch. He's been asking me to make peach bars for almost 4 years now (ever since we got married) and I, slacker of a wife that I am, have never taken the time to make them for him. Poor guy. His note said that I appreciate that he goes along with my crazy dietary needs (gluten free and usually on the Paleo diet) and he helps me with the grocery shopping and the cooking when he's home, so I wanted to take some time to make him a special homemade treat. By the way, these things are INCREDIBLY delicious. My new favorite dessert!

Day 7 of Father's Day Week: After church on Father's Day, Ben received a note that said today was his free day to do whatever he wanted. He could take a nap, watch a movie, go shopping, hang out with his buddies, go Frisbee golfing, whatever he felt like, but no family allowed. He chose to go see a movie at the theaters which he has only done a handful of times since Mercedes was born. When he got back, I made him banana, peanut butter, chocolate chip pancakes with a side of vanilla ice cream. 

*Pancake recipe: 6 bananas, mashed. 6 eggs. 1 cup peanut butter. 1 bag milk chocolate chips. Fry just like regular pancakes.

Our 7 Days of Father's Day was a HUGE success and Ben felt very loved, spoiled and appreciated by the end of it. Ben asked if this was going to be a new Father's Day tradition. I think yes. He deserves it!

We love you, Ben!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Messy House, Happy Kids

This is what my house looks like today. In fact, this is what my house has looked like all week. It makes me feel overwhelmed, discouraged, and tired...until I take a closer look. The toys all over the living room are from hours and hours of playing baby doll, dress up, grocery store, kitchen, barbies, and Disney princesses. The dirty dishes are from eating bologna sandwiches, ice cream sundaes, and making peach bars by scratch. The markers and stamps all over the kitchen floor are from making Father's Day posters for Daddy. And when I think about all the fun we've been having over the past few days making it impossible to shopping (my girls LOOOVE grocery shopping!!!), a trip to the pool, playing in the sprinkler and in our wading pools, the library, the park for hours every morning, art projects for Daddy and other projects for Father's Day makes my heart so happy. I love my girls. And my messy house is proof of that.  

This saying has been floating around on facebook groups and pages the past couple years:

"Good moms have sticky floors, messy kitchens, laundry piles, dirty ovens, and happy kids."

That's the saying that keeps going through my head today as I  make paths around the living room so Emerald doesn't trip and fall every time she tries to walk across the room. I am not one to label myself a "good mom", but I do have exceptionally happy kids these days, and it's because I've left the housework alone and made it my priority to spend quality time with my girls. So I'm going to do my best to not stress out over the millions of chores that are almost always left undone, and I'm going to play with my kids. Because that's my most important job. I am not going to look back at my girls' childhood and wish that I'd done a better job keeping up with the housework. I am only going to think about how fast my babies grew and wish I'd had more time with them while they were small.

Today is a great day. Today is a total success. Because while my house is a disaster, my kids are happy and know that they are loved.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bath Salts Sensory

 Bath salts are such a fun sensory material! They're shiny and glittery, they smell delicious, and they're all silky and smooth and make your hands feel soft like you've just put lotion on when you're done playing with them. Both the girls loved this!

Mercedes kept smelling them. They are rose scented.

Okay, so I wouldn't recommend doing this on the carpet. Not my best plan. The clean up was actually pretty easy because this stuff vacuums really well, but if I'd thought ahead and done it on a freshly swept floor I could have saved all the spilled ones for another sensory activity. Still, this was super fun and we'll definitely be doing it again soon!