On A Budget, Week 3: Meal Planning and Coupons

11 Mar

My goal this week was to fit in some new recipes while stretching the foods I knew we already had in the pantry and fridge.  Honestly?  My fridge and pantry are hot messes.  The best thing I can say for my pantry is that there is nothing growing in it – my fridge, on the other hand, is a science experiment gone awry.  I’m too sick this week to tackle it, though, so as I pushed past what used to be sour cream, I made note of what was still hanging out, waiting to be eaten.

In the freezer, we had spaghetti sauce from a couple of weeks ago, along with some mexican-flavored shredded chicken.  I also knew we had some burger buns that were gathering ice crystals (I just knock those buggers off and warm ‘em up in the oven…unless they are too far gone and even the bread has crystalized).

This week, our menu is:

  • Monday: Stove-top “grilled” burgers, oven-baked fries, and steamed frozen veggies
  • Tuesday: Whole wheat thin spaghetti with meat sauce (left over in the freezer)
  • Wednesday: My mom cooks up at her house and sit back and drink wine.  Bliss.
  • Thursday: Enchiladas with the leftover shredded chicken.  This was a hit last week.  Not really healthy, I suppose but at least the chicken was free-range organic? (let me have my delusions, please)
  • Friday: Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken.  I know we have some boxes of couscous in the pantry to go with this.
  • Saturday: Pizza night.  I’ll be saving up some calories for this, folks.  I can pack away 4-5 pieces.

Whole Foods Coupons

Last week, Amiyrah and I talked about couponing.  She has found it’s not worth her time and I have to agree.  Most of the Sunday paper coupons are for processed food or H&B products, not really my jam.  But I do print off the Whole Deal coupons each week from the Whole Foods website each week.  This week, I saved $3 with three coupons!  Worth the time.

Budget Week 3

This Week’s Spend:

  • Whole Foods: $69.89.  But I timed the shopping trip poorly and had to buy both kids a hot lunch to eat in the store’s food court.  Easily $15 of my cost.  So let’s subtract that from the “eating out” budget and count only the groceries:  $54.89.
  • Stop and Shop Curbside Pickup: $42.81.  See that $3.00 in parentheses?  Because I hit up S&S each week, I made VIP status.  I know, you’re impressed.  For my “queen of the grocery store” award, I got to pick one free gift.  It was spaghetti sauce.  For $3.00.  Store brand.  Yay.
  • Total Cost: $97.70.
  • Total Savings vs. my original weekly bill of $140: $42.30.  So far, that’s $110 since beginning the budget project!

 

Help and Hope

5 Mar

Tomorrow, I’m taking my eldest child to therapy.  She’s five.  And it feels like failure.

Now, I’m the first person to tell you that therapy is a wonderful gift to give yourself.  It’s one of the best and hardest things I’ve ever done – it broke me and healed me simultaneously and gave me the gifts of introspection and self-acceptance.  I’m eternally grateful to the tailspin that was PPD for forcing me into a shrink’s office. (Side note:  Anybody else remember that cartoon, Talespin?  I loved that show as a kid!)

So why do I feel fractured?  Why was the phone call to the counseling center about my child almost as hard as when I called about my own issues so many years ago?  Introspection to the rescue.

…………………………..

“Her fears of children’s television shows and the wind, her anxieties about crowds and friendships, and her rage-filled temper tantrums – how are these not my fault?  How can a child spend the first two years of her life with an depression-consumed mother and not have the yelling and the emotional barriers affect her personality?”

My inner-monologue screams at me as I write the appointment time and date on my calendar, adding it to my phone and my weekly to-do list.  And to add insult to injury, I find I’ve written the appointment on the incorrect date and must write it again, the hurtful rhetoric echoing with every letter and number.

I break down in tears and sob while both daughters smack their mouths on gooey peanut butter sandwiches.

……………………………..

I’ve written about my experiences as a new mother with postpartum depression and anxiety before.  I’ve made a practice of not hiding how devastating that time was – of not allowing shame to dominate my life now.  I thought I was over it.  But the guilt monster, it seems, has a thirst that can never be quenched.  She sneaks back in and reminds me of all the time I missed and of all the damage I must have caused.  When will I be able revisit those days without anguish and without all the sights and sounds torturing my memory?

Facing that my little girl needs some help with what we call her “big feelings”  is forcing me to reflect on my own struggles with mental health.  It’s making me step out of the present and reside temporarily in her past… my past.  And in looking back, I remember that I’m angry for what the PPD took from me and for what it gave to my child.

………………………………

“What a gift you are giving her.  The chance to learn to be introspective and to ask for help.  I wish it had been alright to not be okay when I was a kid.”

My friends talk me down from a shame spiral, the depths of which only a peer would  know.  They tell me I am a good mom for allowing myself to go back to the pain and recognize that it gives me the power to help my baby.  They speak of courage.  And I try not to feel like a fraud.

…………………………….

The truth is that even though I know that I did not cause my child’s dramatic and spirited personality – even though I recognize that I am doing everything I can to help her grow into who she is and to care for her needs with respect and love – I don’t feel worthy of her.

And there it is.  This therapy appointment feels like evidence that she deserved better.

And yet I’m exactly the momma she needs.

………………………….

We stand in front of the white door and she notices the meditation medallion hanging from the door knocker.  Nervously, she reaches out for my hand.  Together, we take a deep breath and step, through our fears and hesitations, into help and hope.

On A Budget, Week 2: Lessons in Frugality

4 Mar

Well, we are on week two of grocery shopping and I’m pleased with how a few small changes are affecting our budget.  Especially considering the money I dropped in a boutique up by Loon last weekend (oops).

I decided to go back to the Stop and Shop curbside pickup this week.  The savings compared to shopping in person in Market Basket just weren’t worth my time.  You can see the comparison by clicking here.

I started by checking the Whole Foods website for coupons, sales, and their weekly special circular.  I noted any items that I wanted to add to the list for meal planning, and made my meals from there.  Because I made extra spaghetti sauce, spicy shredded chicken, and vegetarian chili last week, I had three meals already complete and in my freezer.

  • Monday: Soup and Sandwiches – Prepackaged fresh soup was on sale at WF this week.
  • Tuesday: Spaghetti with meat sauce  - leftovers from last week in freezer
  • Wednesday: I spend the night in NH and my mom cooks dinner.  WINNING.
  • Thursday: Chicken Enchiladas – chicken filling from last week wrapped in tortillas and smothered in sauce and cheese.
  • Friday: Veggie Chili and Quesadillas – leftover chili from last week
  • Saturday: Our Anniversary – Going OUT!
  • Sunday: Hamburgers or Sloppy Joes – buns in the freezer, meat on sale at WF, frozen veggies, and sweet potato fries

As a special treat this week, Amiyrah from Four Hats and Frugal was kind enough to visit with me and give me some pointers for keeping our food budget low but our meal quality high. I won’t give away all her secrets.  You’ll have to visit her wonderful blog for that, but I’m excited to try some of the things she suggested:

  1. Budget the impulse buys.  If I know I’m going to want a vegan scone and a coffee with almond milk, put it into the budget.
  2. Don’t be afraid to overspend one week to stock up.  Chances are, the next week, you’ll find your costs lower and it all evens out.
  3. Plan themed meal nights.  It makes it fun, adds to the meal variety, and can help you stock up.

So, how’d I do this week?

Grocery Collage

  • Whole Foods: $60.17
  • Stop and Shop Curbside Pickup: $21.24
  • Total Spent: $81.41
  • Anticipated Additional Shopping this week: $15
  • Savings compared to $140 original bill: $44
  • Total savings On a Budget so far: $68

I have a few things to get later this week, including an anniversary dessert and apples (which S&S ran out of after I ordered them), so I expect another $15 before Friday, but even $96 is a marked improvement!

Tell me.  What is your favorite trick for planning meals and keeping costs low?

Dear K

26 Feb

Dear K,

I don’t know you, but because we both love Story, I know you must be good people.  The best people.  Because that’s what Story is.

Six weeks in with each of my babies, I began to wonder what I was ever thinking by having children.  The sleep deprivation devoured my brains and even the cat wasn’t immune from my resentment.  So if you’re having a hard time, I want you to know that it’s so, so normal.  A rite of passage, almost.

Story wrote you a wonderful list of 8 things she wish she had known about having babies.  I’ll add on my “things I wish they’d told me” below, with so much love and affection.

~ Susan

(9) You belong to the club now. There is no secret mom handshake, but you will find yourself exchanging knowing glances with other moms out in the world. Let these remind you you are not alone.

(10) There is an industry out there that makes a killing off of mothers’ insecurities.  Promising “the right way” to get your baby to sleep/eat/poop/nurse/learn/everything, they sometimes have helpful nuggets of information.  But mostly?  All those books, magazines, and videos just make you doubt yourself more.  Put down the books.  Listen to your mama gut.  It is there, I promise.

(11) It is okay for other people to take care of your baby differently than you do.  When I stopped thinking about leaving my baby as depriving her, and began thinking of it as enriching her life with the other people who love and care for her, it became easier to make time for myself.

(12) Nobody knows what they’re doing, even if they look like they do.  And just when you think you’ve got it figured out, everything changes.  I may know babies now, but I’m in uncharted territory with my 5 year old.  And that’s okay.  The “muddling through” feeling is okay.  Really.

On A Budget, Week One: Grocery Store Challenge

25 Feb

Yesterday, I explained why I’m pinching grocery pennies and hoping to save $2,000 a year while still eating wholesome, healthy foods and mostly home-cooked meals.  Today, I’m putting the proof where the pudding is.  Or showing you the meat.  Or … I give up on the pithy sayings.  Y’all are gonna keep me honest, okay?

Now, I only want to do this IF it will save me money and not detract from my happiness.  My time is valuable, and well worth $40 an hour.  So in order for this to be worth it, there’s gotta be a system, and I have to not be miserable while using it.  Mine has three parts:

1) THE PLAN

I already menu plan each week in my family binder.  This week was easy because we’ll be out of town Friday-Sunday.  I try to plan things that make at least one night of leftovers or can be used for alternate meals.  And I always check my deep freezer and pantry to see what we still have to use up.

If you’re not already meal planning, I highly recommend it, both for budget’s sake and for a little less stress in your life.  Sew Curly even has a planner for sale that is simple and stunning.  I happened to win one a few weeks back and it’s gorgeous.

This week it’s:

  • Monday – Spaghetti with meat sauce.  Homemade from The Pioneer Woman’s recipe.  I’m making a big batch to freeze.  Homemade rolls. (The rolls were missing a little something, sugar maybe.  Will be looking for another recipe to substitute in future weeks.))
  • Tuesday – Chicken burritos.  Stick some chicken breasts in a slow cooker with chipotles in adobo, green chilies, and some garlic and it’s perfect for filling burritos, tacos, quesadillas, you name it!  We have plenty of rice and black beans in the pantry already.
  • Wednesday – Veggie Chili.  I’d like a few vegetarian meals each week and I’m hoping this one hits the spot.  We shall see.
  • Thursday – Quesadillas with leftover chicken from Tuesday.

Weekly Menu Plan

2) THE LIST

I buy organic meat and eggs, if possible, and do that shopping at Whole Foods.  The welfare of the animals matters to me and we find animals who are raised as naturally as possible result in not only a better conscience, but also better food.  I try to buy organic produce for things where we eat the skin, but even when it’s conventionally grown, the quality of the produce is just so much better there.  But there are just some things that the great WF doesn’t have, like Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  With two stores to visit, I’ve got to be organized.  I checked out each store’s circulars and coupons online and made my lists.

What?  You don't write your grocery list on crumpled pieces of torn construction paper?

What? You don’t write your grocery list on crumpled pieces of torn construction paper?

3) THE SHOPPING

It was easy to hit Whole Foods with the toddler while the preschooler was at school – it’s right down the road.  I walked out of there sans coffee and vegan chocolate chip scone (boo hoo), but did so for $69.33!

But will I have to give up my Stop and Shop curbside pickup?  By putting all the items from the list on the right into my Peapod app, I came up with a total of $55.62.  The same foods at Market Basket cost me $46.75, saving me $8.87.

I think I can save $20-$40 a month just by being more cautious when planning meals, but I can save an additional $8 by walking into Market Basket instead of getting my groceries curbside at Stop & Shop.  Worth it?  I dunno.  That’s another $32 a month, $416 a year.  But it’s also an hour with two kids at the store.  Probably a wash.

Grocery Store Challenge

THIS WEEK’S VERDICT:

  • Whole Foods: $69.34
  • Market Basket: $46.75
  • Stop and Shop Virtual Shopping Basket Comparison: $55.62
  • Total Spent: $116.09
  • 4 Nights of Meals with 2-3 additional meals from each cooking session for leftovers and future meals.

So far, I’m please with what I’m learning and with the lower bill this week.  At least it’s progress!  Compared with last week’s bill of $140, I saved almost $24.

On A Budget

24 Feb

I’m very fortunate to be able to stay home with my girls and work part-time for myself.  Privileged.  And while there is an element of luck to everything my husband and I have, we also put in many long hours.  He worked for years in an industry job that crushed his soul in order to gain the experience needed to apply for his current job.  And because of his incredible work ethic and talent, he won both a salaried sabbatical from work and a scholarship from a prestigious ivy league school.  His PhD candidacy comes to a close in a year and a half (this is when I will begin calling him “The Doctor” and it will be awkward for everyone).

This is his dream, just as mine is to work for myself as a teacher and writer and mother.  So the upcoming “lean times,” as we jokingly call them, are worth the sacrifice.  You see, for the last year of his program, he will be unsalaried.  We will be living on our savings alone (and whatever small amount of money I bring in teaching).  It has me adjusting my expectations and budget.

But this comes at the worst time, because the next year holds big things for me.  Conferences.  Writing gigs.  Opportunities that require a little investment.  And though I (really and truly) don’t judge mamas who work full-time to support their families and lifestyles, I’d rather adjust our lifestyle than go back to work full time.

Where is it that we try to cut back when times are tough?  Grocery-shopping.  I’m a firm believer that our culture is obsessed with cheap food – it’s all we have known.  But the more I have learned about where our food comes from, the more I am convinced that food is the fuel you give your body.  Isn’t it worth spending more of our budgets on?  Amyirah of Four Hat and Frugal shops for $70 a week!  I know I can’t do that and continue to buy my organic meats and produce at Whole Foods.  But maybe with some adjustments, I can bring our weekly grocery bill down from $140 a week to $100.  $40 a week is $160 a month – or over $2,000 a year!

So bring on the coupons, the sales circulars, and the actual setting-foot-in-the-grocery store.  I’m taking a break from the Stop and Shop curbside pick-up to see if the money I save by shopping IN Whole Foods and Market Basket each week is worth the time it will cost me.  It might not – that hour-and-a-half-with-two-kids-in-tow might be worth the extra 40 bucks.  We shall see…Wish me luck!

Emulating Perfection

19 Feb

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who snuck into her mother’s bathroom to poke through a drawer of wonder. Lotions and make ups. Powders and perfumes. Treasures worth the risk taken tiptoeing down the long, barren hallway to a room her parents considered a protected sanctuary. She applied the powder to her arms, to her face, to her hands, unsure of where it was supposed to go but confident that it made her just as beautiful as her mother, for it was her mother she was trying to embody.

For she grew up knowing that her father believed her mother to the the most beautiful creature in the planet. The most exquisite human being in existence, in fact, and she wanted just a taste of that kind of magic. To stretch out into, and fill up, her mother’s shadow.

Once, only once, her father uttered the words, “I wish your mother would…”  Her ears perked up and she raced into the room to find out what she trumped her mother in, begging her father to say it again.  She hoped for something deep and personal, for some great character trait her father would praise her for.  “He wishes Mom painted her toenails,” her younger brother whispered, and her face dropped into disappointment.  Surely there was something remarkable about her besides the polish she applied to her feet.

————

It makes me sad to look back and realize how much of my self worth as a child and teen was based on measuring up to someone else.  Honestly, I held onto my pedicure triumph for years.  YEARS, people, thinking “at least there is something I do that is good enough.”

My parents were (are) loving, attentive parents.  But I always felt, and work today to keep myself from feeling, that there was an element to their love that I had to earn.  And though I don’t blame them one bit, I wonder whether there’s something they did to cause me feel this way.  Maybe it is just a part of my personality, or unavoidable human nature.  Perhaps it’s partly to blame on my birth order.  It won’t surprise anyone who knows me to learn I am the eldest of three.

Now that I’m a mother of two children myself, I see how I treat my girls differently, and not just because they are different people and different ages, and therefore need different things from me (That was a lot of “differents” all in once sentence.  My English teacher would cringe).  My oldest seems so much older since her little sister joined us, and I constantly catch myself pushing her to put her childish ways behind her, as if they are reserved solely for the baby.  Some days I hypothetically ask her, “what are you? Five?” and it stops me in my tracks as I remember how small, fragile, and adorable 5-year-olds seemed to me before I had children of my own.  It’s the curse of being the oldest – the added responsibility of paving the way, your parents using their experiences with you to better themselves for your successor.

As I write all this, I realize that my mindfulness gives me an advantage and that I don’t doubt my worth as a mother to BOTH of my girls because I know I truly am doing the best I can with the knowledge that I have at the time.  I don’t expect to parent perfectly, nor do my children need me to.  And though I look back at the moment when I learned my father’s worship of my mother knew no bounds – that he loved her in a way he would never love me – with continued envy, I know it has shaped me for the better.

Mom and DadMy parents have been married for 36 years, and I see in my dad’s eyes that he feels the same way he did all those years ago.  Nothing compares to my mother for him.  And because he modeled that kind of marriage – one of unconditional love – I looked for the same in a spouse.  I can’t compare my love for my husband to the love I have for my children.  They are different kinds of love and can’t be measured with the same yardstick.  But there IS something about my husband that grants him trump.  After all, I chose him.  We vowed to spend our lives together, and when our girls have grown and left us to begin lives of their own, we will still be stuck with each other’s company, hopefully for many years.

As far as comparing myself to my mother?  I think I will always do that.  She’s an amazing woman to emulate.  But what I have discovered over the years is that she catches herself trying to emulate me as well.  She sees in me the best of her, and even better.  And that, besides being the greatest gift a parent can give a child, is what I couldn’t see all those years ago, when childhood placed a halo above my parents’ heads, blinding me to their humanity.

They were imperfect, too.

Full Circle Mess

18 Feb

My friend Story tells me I should just start writing. And when I warned her that it will be one big, rambling mess, she rebutted with, “I love your mess.” Words thrown back at me from an earlier conversation when I insisted she doesn’t have to be perfect (or even close to perfect) in order to be loved – to be happy.

Why is it I am immune to my own wisdom? Well, not all the time, but it seems that often the hardest advice to take is my own.

And another thing. I auditioned for Listen To Your Mother a few weeks ago and had a blast. Met some great people – bloggers from my actual neighborhood instead of my virtual neighborhood. It’s always nice to have faces (and hugs) to put with the websites. But as soon as I got home, I realized the piece I auditioned with? Wasn’t done. It was a work-in-progress and I fear didn’t really dig deep enough. I wrote about my conflicted feelings about my 5 year old – how much I mourn for the loss of the baby and toddler she used to be. And before the audition, I was really happy with it, but looking at it now, it misses the mark. It doesn’t really show the depth of my sense of loss or how much it keeps me from enjoying her now. I expect not to make the cast and that’s okay. I will audition again next year. I will keep writing. I’m just disappointed that I missed the chance to really polish something.

Adam tells this story about when he was at a dinner (or meeting, I can’t remember) with his PhD program advisor. The professor recounted a visit he had with an academic, crypto celebrity. He explained that as he admitted to the well-respected expert-in-his-field-PhD that he felt like a fraud, expecting to be discovered for his lacking at any moment, the crypto-god said “I feel the same.” I wonder if other experts ever feel this way. Does Yo-Yo Ma ever shrink back from his cello?

There are so many things in my life right now that are sucking the confidence right out of my spirit. I rely on that confidence to tell me that I am okay, so its disappearance is always a warning sign to me that I need to stop and take stock of my mental health. I’m so very worried about my girls, for different reasons. We are really struggling with some difficult behaviors with Doodlebug and Bean is falling behind on her growth charts. And because I love them both so fiercely, the fear that something may be seriously wrong leaves me trembling. And though I try not to borrow trouble, it’s been hard this week to stop the worry cycle.

And it’s snowing. Again. It IS pretty, falling gently from the clouds, unlike the windblown, rainy mess from Sunday. Today’s snow is a magical one, but it would be better if I had a fireplace. And some palm trees. On a beach. With no snow.

This piece? Is not polished. I don’t think I’ve ever published one of these hot messes. Maybe that’s the exercise today – to let go. To find some peace in the unpolished, the unfinished.

Well, shit. We’ve come full circle, back to my friend Story and her love for my mess. Funny how that happens. You write and write and write and then all of a sudden, you feel like you can breathe again.

Thanks, honey. I needed the push.

#DayofLight

5 Feb

Day Of Light

I’m joining the blogging community today to shed light on something many of us keep tucked in the dark. If you’re like me, you experienced it without knowing, assuming that all people lived their lives on an emotional roller coaster, destined, once on top, to roll back to the bottom. Always to the bottom.  For me, it began in college.

At first, it was an added exhaustion, no matter how late the morning classes or how early the bedtime.  In trickled the self-doubt, followed by amateur apathy.  I was too busy to not tend to the activities I loved, but I had ceased to look forward to the orchestra rehearsals and coffee dates.  Last to enter was the emptiness.  Not sadness, exactly, but an inability to feel anything: joy, fear, sadness, love.  The feelings I had for people in my life I knew I loved were shrouded in a fog and out of reach.  I began to doubt I ever loved them at all.  The only emotion that cut through the depression, sharp as a knife, was anger and irritability.  The most insignificant things annoyed me to the point of rage: ice trays left empty, people late for appointments, unreasonable homework assignments.  I look back now and wonder if I didn’t cover the sadness with that anger, afraid of what it might mean to let myself experience the pain of feeling worthless.

All this, and I had no idea anything was wrong with me, or if I did have a suspicion, the denial hid it cleverly with its stories of stigma, perfectionist excuses, and lack of self care.  It took 8 years, the birth of my daughter, and a battle with postpartum depression before I realized I had been suffering from depressive episodes and anxiety for much of my life.

I believe if depression and other mood and anxiety disorders were talked about as openly as cancer and heart disease, patients would have the information they need to identify their struggles as symptoms and to seek help.  I believe that if treating those disorders was not shaded in stigma, that people like me would find that they can get better – that there is hope.

I am living proof that you can survive depression and anxiety.  I am proof that good great people can struggle with mental illness.  And I am proof that you can be open about your mental health and still have people think you are amazing.

Because, guess what?  You are.

———

I’m joining Mama Knows It AllPushing Lovely and Say It Rah-shay, along with a multitude of other wonderful bloggers today for #DayOfLight.  Please won’t you join me?

From Say It Rah-shay:
#DayOfLight was created to shine a light on depression, and share resources for those who are struggling with the mental illness. Bloggers from all over the country are collaborating on Wednesday, February 5th to flood social media with personal stories about living with depression, and accurate information on managing and living with the mental illness.

How Can You Participate?

  • Write a blog post sharing your personal experience of depression and/or share resources to help others. Add the #DayOfLight hashtag in your post title.
  • Watch the #DayOfLight Google Hangout on Wednesday, February 5th at 11 AM EST. Tweet and ask questions.
  • Participate in the #DayOfLight twitter chat on Wednesday, February 5th at 9 PM EST. Follow @PushingLovely@NotoriousSpinks, and@BrandiJeter for more information)
  • Turn your social media avatars black and white on Wednesday, February 5th so we can visually represent all of those affected by depression.
  • Share inspiring tweets, posts, and photos on social media to encourage those who are suffering with depression to let them know that they are not alone. Use the hashtag #DayOfLight

 

Anatomy of a Weekend

1 Feb

I am an introvert.  Not in the sense that I don’t like people – I do – but spending time with people requires a proportional amount of time to myself each day to refuel.  Which makes parenting hard, because tiny people all. the. time.

I tend to dread weekends like this one, wondering come Friday why I signed myself up for so much.  It’s precisely why the kids aren’t signed up for weekend activities like soccer or underwater basket weaving.  I didn’t mean for the weekend to get so full, but here we are.  As the week transitioned over into the weekend at some point Friday evening (maybe 6pm?), I took a deep breath.

Friday: Make crockpot chicken, do laundry, pick up house to give husband a fighting chance.

Friday Night: Leave husband in charge of dinner, bath, and bedtime to go have dinner and shopping with my oldest and dearest friend.  Dress shop until the mall closes and see myself through her eyes again.  Come home late to a quiet house and party with the husband until 11:30pm.  Vow not to stay up that late again for a while because apparently in your 30′s you lose all sense of “late.”

Saturday Morning: Awaken to sounds of the preschooler clogging the toilet and trying to fix it herself by flushing it more.  There is no snooze button for “clogged toilet.”  Ask said toilet paper addict to hop in the shower and spend the next 15 minutes arguing.  Shower oldest daughter, then spend 10 minutes arguing with her about blow-drying her hair while convincing toddler to change out of her smelly overnight diaper.  Nurse toddler.  Eventually come downstairs and curse husband as he calls dibs on the coffee maker with his full-caffiene-beverage-making.  Feed children breakfast while prepping the chicken bones for stock and veggies for the day’s pot roast.  Kiss husband and preschooler goodbye as they head out to a party.  Make toddler a couch cushion trampoline and then fort.  Three hours after waking up, finally make a pot of decaf and fry an egg with some toast.  Sit down to eat and write a rambly blog post.

S reading

I still have a house to pick up as we have friends coming over for the afternoon and dinner tonight.  Yoga must happen today and I’d love 15 minutes on the elliptical.  Plus a shower and blow-dry.

Sunday is Listen To Your Mother audition day and I’m secretly hoping Casey and I can have a cup of coffee (or a shot of something stronger) before.

But what I’m struck by (and the reason I’m writing this post today) is that when I push the whole picture into the recesses of my mind and focus only on the next few hours, everything falls into place.  The weekend is full, and I know I will need Monday to recover (don’t mind me, I’ll just be home that day in my pajamas ignoring society), but it’s full of people we love and wonderful memory-making.  I’m choosing to push myself out of my comfort zone and enjoy it.

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