Our family is growing!

No, this is not a pregnancy, nor dog announcement: it's an au pair announcement! It sounds so continental to say, "We have an au pair," but I have come to realize it is the only sensible childcare option for our family.

With David's travel schedule and my gigging at night, we just couldn't manage having daycare and various babysitters for my evening rehearsals and gigs. It was also incredibly difficult to piecemeal childcare, particularly this past winter when everyone seemed to have the flu and was constantly canceling or unavailable.

The biggest reason I'm excited to host an au pair is because we love hosting people from around the world. I mean, we have used Couchsurfing since 2008 and you know how much we love travel. It also seems like something we can do to show the privileged boys we are raising that the world is large. The cultural exchange portion of having an au pair is so exciting to me.

Our new family member arrives on Friday. She's a 25-year-old from Brazil, and she is delightful. Our boys love her already. (Well, Graham does. Angus doesn't have any idea what is going on, but he is only 1.5, so he'll learn.) I can't wait to help her with her English -- and for the boys to have another friend -- and also to be able to schedule actual working hours for myself and not have to worry about finding someone at the last minute for a gig that comes up suddenly.

We used an au pair agency and did the whole matchmaking process and she's got a proper visa and all that jazz. We went through Cultural Carehttp://culturalcare.com/ref?VVNYMjg4MTY3JnR5cGU9Mg  (fancy link there with my referral code!) and I couldn't recommend them more. They have been involved from the start and very helpful with all our questions and concerns and helped make the match.

Now I just need to finish the au pair's room -- I am wanting to make a sweet welcome basket and decorate her room beautifully, but I also don't want to mislead her into thinking I am a good housekeeper.

What should I put in her welcome basket???

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