Thursday, March 22, 2018

Surprise Snow Day & Life with an Au Pair

STICKY FINGERS - baking bread on a snow day.
We had a completely unexpected (and unwelcome) snow day yesterday in Louisville. Our Brazilian au pair disapproved of the weather, as did I, but it did yield some pretty photos in my Instagram feed and some delicious food back home. I keep forgetting to as our au pair if I can use her name in my blog, so today I will keep saying au pair, au pair, au pair.

I am practicing these words also because I keep feeling bourgeois guilt when I say it. Most people do not understand what an au pair actually is (just like most people do not understand that I actually work -- I shouldn't care, but it makes me insane when my friends think I am independently wealthy or don't put in the hours that they do for their jobs -- I WORK ALL THE TIME, just not the same hours that you do, people!) ... whew, sorry for the digression.

Anyway, an au pair, is french for "on par" or "equal to." It's a person who, first and foremost, lives with us and is part of our family. I feel like this only child (me) suddenly has a younger sister with a lot more energy than I have, but just as much love for my kids. We do not have a large house (here is our house, and yes, I'm aware that it's not super smart to put a photo of my house on the internet, but, honestly, I figure that if you're a creeper-stalker-type, then you already know where I live because property info is public record.), but we have 3 small bedrooms. The boys are in one, David and I are in another, and our wonderful au pair is practically on top of us in the third. We share a bathroom. We are family.

She helps with the kids, and wow, has she been a help. I mean, look at me, right now, sitting at a coffee shop, breathing deeply and writing a blog, knowing that my kiddos are getting one-on-one attention and love. It is amazing!

Mostly, my exhalation is because I have childcare at all. Angus has been at home with me for the past 2 years because paying for daycare for two children is insanely expensive. It's cost-prohibitive for me to work (yes, an au pair is less expensive than two in daycare!), and if I don't work, I am a terrible mother and general bad person to be around.

A snow day would normally have set me back into a depressive mode, but with our au pair around, I was still able to work. In fact, I was so productive that I was able to pause to come upstairs and play some games and eat lunch with and bake with the kiddos. Our au pair just whipped out a vegan bread recipe from her brain and two hours later, we were smothering hot, fresh bread with Kerry Gold (well, I was, but wee Angus and our au pair went dairy-free) and inhaling the whisky-smell (bread-baking smells like a distillery -- not the other way around).

Look out for more blogs and more cheerful blogs, friends. And haters out there, just stay away please. I need to throw a party for our wonderful Brazilian soon, so you all can meet our new family member!

(if you're seriously interested in an au pair experience, here's a referral link to the agency we use: )
I suited up to shovel the snow, when I found cash
in a pocket, which I then gave to a neighbor kid
to shovel the sidewalk instead. 
Holly tree with snow, through the screen window in my kitchen. 
My house -- credit to Rebecca Renzi for the photo.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Brigid gives you a tour of Beverley, England

Beautiful Beverley, England in East Yorkshire:

We played a perfect house concert at the lovely home of Denise, who stuffed us with fancy cheese and delicious crunchings and munchings. Before the sun went down, however, I ran through the High Street to properly inhale a bit of England.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Top 5 Google translations from the past week #aupair

My dad took wee Graham to see School of Rock!
This has nothing to do with the blog, but they are so cute.
GOOD MORNING! I'm having coffee and alone time -- alone time, in which I answer old emails and pour through the 9494 unread messages in one of my inboxes (proof in the photo -- I clearly have a lot of work to do). This week, for the first time in years, I have 35 hours a week of dependable childcare. I might even return a phone call, people (ha, doubtful, because WHO USES THE PHONE???).

Anyway, our lovely au pair arrived last weekend, and we have slowly been integrating her into our crazy family. We love her already. The boys adore her. The language barrier has not been much of a barrier because she is really smart and a really fast learner. Also: google translate app. We try not to use it because she wants to learn English, but it is really helpful for getting the exact right word for various things. It also keeps a list of things I have recently translated, which I will share with you in today's blog.

TOP FIVE favorite things we have had to translate to Portuguese:

"butter controversy"  (controvérsia sobre manteiga)  Used to discuss why we leave the butter dish out and how it is not necessarily a thing that all Americans do. But we do because butter should be soft!

"background music" (música de fundo) -- to explain how my Friday evening gig was not exactly a reason to get very excited (Wednesday she heard me on the radio, and Thursday I played a fun gig in Nashville, but Friday's, while fun, was background music)

"because kids could choke on toy inside" (porque as crianças poderiam sufocar no brinquedo dentro) to explain why proper KinderEggs are illegal in America.

"Graham can dress himself." (Graham pode se vestir.) Because Graham now thinks he has a personal dresser, like he's on Downton Abbey or something, and may be taking slight advantage of his new roommate.

"the vegan cupcakes are the reason to come here" (os cupcakes vegans são motivo para vir aqui) To explain why we drove all the way to Whole Foods when it's crazy-expensive and we normally just walk to Kroger.