Mike Goes Back To Work

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Okay, that title isn’t exactly accurate… he was already working!!!  BUT, for the first time in five years, Mike gets to put a suit on the morning and leave the house to go to work!  For anyone who has ever had the opportunity to go back to work after staying home with kids, you know how awesome this feels.  Mike and I both agree that we are going to cheesily call “work” an “opportunity” for the rest of our lives.  The best part though, is that it’s an actual job in Mike’s field!!  Where he can use his skills and his education and actually build a resume while enjoying what he’s doing all day.  How cool is that.  Way to go, new Director of Communications Outreach for USAID!!  Now we just need to work on the tie.  What does the YouTube video say?

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It’s actually going great and I’m surprised by how much I love how it feels for both of us to be working, despite having kids and worrying that we’re being bad parents and blah blah blah.  Probably because we’re living in Africa, it hasn’t changed our daily rhythms a whole lot.  We are still with the boys in the morning and get them off to school by 6:45, then drive to work together and on fun days get a cappuccino :).  The boys have after school activities now (soccer, reading theatre, construction, technology) which means they come home around 4:30 and have a snack with Ms. Hilda before we’re home by 5:15.  Our biggest worry is always about how both of us working will affect Jake and Eli, but the truth is that they are in school most of the day so it barely affects them at all, and I believe having happy parents is the best thing for kids anyway.  Of course, if Mike were home they would be home with him, and not in activities after school every day…  we don’t believe kids need to be “busy” all the time and that there’s tremendous value in doing “nothing” sometimes, especially at their age.  But when the alternative is to be home without a parent, I guess we think the activities are a better choice.  Mike misses them a ton.  Look at this cool Lego Rocket Blaster with Lunar Module and Moon Rovers they made just a month ago:

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There was also the Beer Making Project:

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And the Beer Drinking Project.

We are still managing to stay committed to this particular Project, but we need Nate to visit and bring some good beer!

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One of the concessions has been that we now have a cook one day a week, for which we pay a total of $16.  This is especially good for me, as I no longer have to live with the fear of being “surprised” by a dinner like this:

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I know the picture is blurry, but trust me, Mike’s Chili Cheese Dogs look better that way.

Our new cook is named Mary, and she was taught how to cook several years ago by an English woman.  This means that the food has English tendencies, which is in some ways not a good thing, but so far we’ve been amazed.  She is very good at comfort food (think stews, casserole dishes, and roasted meat) which is perfect for Mike and the boys because those are things they love but that I don’t really make very much.  And her technique is really good!  She bones chicken pieces and stuffs them with herbs, makes fantastic savory pie crusts, and makes her own homemade ricotta.  It’s incredible that we have this person coming to help us get through the work week without starving!  So far she’s made Thai chicken curry, butternut squash lasagna, ragu, roasted chickens, quiche, cinnamon rolls, beef stroganoff, chicken curry, scalloped potatoes, and I even gave her Mom’s spaghetti and meatball recipe, which turned out exactly right.  I was afraid to give her any recipes we really “loved” because I was afraid they wouldn’t taste the way they were supposed to.  But I think if we keep it simple, she knows exactly what she’s doing, so Mike and I are poring over all of our cookbooks with pictures for ideas.  Pillsbury Classics, Better Homes and Gardens, the DK Cooking Book.  It’s hard to get better than Pillsbury and BHG!

Way to go Sweetie!  We’re so happy for you!  I only wish we could celebrate with a night at your favorite restaurant!IMG_0559

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