Thoughts for Thursday

Thoughts for Thursday May 3, 2012

What am I cooking?

Meat!  We just got our twice a year meat delivery, and after a vegetarian Lent, I am happy to have easy, familiar meals to prepare.  Tonight I did homemade breaded chicken tenders with dijon honey, whole wheat noodles and a cucumber salad.  Smiles all around!

What are my weekend plans?

Busy and so, so wonderful.  First up, two baseball games, then the little Catholic girls club I lead is meeting to pray the Rosary, then I am going to the ballet — My girls are performing in Don Quixote on Saturday night, my little boys are having a guys night in with their uncle and cousin, and then on Sunday I am taking my children to New York to meet their newborn cousin!

What are my prayer intentions for the day? Thanksgiving.  My husband’s work schedule has eased up a little bit, I am able to sleep well most nights, and really trying to take the time to treasure my children.  My spiritual director encouraged me to thank the Lord often for this “cool breeze,” the joy in my soul at the moment.

What can my children do instead of  watching TV? Gross Science.  My son made gelatin blood from a kit he got for his birthday, and now it is sitting in a petri dish on my kitchen counter so that it can coagulate.  There are other experiments in there that involve cultivating the bacteria from between your toes.  Ah, boys.

What have I done for my marriage this week? I told my husband that I have noticed that our expenses have gone up; we are spending a lot of money right now, on groceries, kids activities and necessities.  By honestly pointing that out, I hoped to give him a safe window to talk about it if the bills this month make him concerned and he feels that we need to pinch a little bit going forward.  It is hard to be the person wielding the credit card and just see those check out totals climb and climb as the kids eat more each year, but it is still harder to be the person who processes at the grand total at the end of each month!

What am I reading? The Catechism.  I have a 200 page assignment for a morality class I am taking.  Wow, is it a stretch for my brain to do academic reading these days!  But, every word is wonderful.

What is one product that made my life easier? Tide Pods!  My children do their own laundry, so a pre-measured toss and go detergent pod has made a huge difference.  I got a sample in the mail and was immediately sold on the concept.

What is challenging me lately? My desire to do home improvement and nest (see above on budget), and also my desire to be home as much as possible, when instead our life at this time of year demands my being out and on the go almost every day.  The rain this week is such a relief to me because it gives us permission to stay home.  I get even more introverted when I am pregnant and postpartum, and I have already started to warn some local friends not to take it personally if I am anti-social all summer, I just get very shy and prefer to live within my own 4 walls, where, frankly, there is still plenty of social activity each day!  In the past, this has damaged some relationships, because people want to help and are insulted that I don’t receive the help graciously, but truly I would rather cook my own meal than have someone ring my door bell and have to make small talk while they drop off a lasagna.  I am still trying to figure out how to work that through smoothly.

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  • Kathy

    Your comment about what you did for your marriage was interesting. One always think that date night (although important) is something we can do for our marriage. But as you stated, keeping finances where they need to be, making adjustments and both of you talking about and deciding upon what needs to be done to make life comfortable for the home front and the office front is important. Money is a big issue and can really damage a marriage.

    As my husband is in mortgages and I teach financial literacy (economics) we see the mistakes people make by not taking reality into account.

    As for accepting help – it is hard, but slowly I have learned that people want to help. Maybe you and your husband can think up some strategies to allow people to help without you being overwhelmed. I would offer suggestions but I think you and Mr. Mary Alice know what will work best for you and your family dynamic.

  • JMB

    Spring is my most difficult season as a mother. I really find no joy in watching sports, especially listening to the chit chat among the other mothers. It drains me emotionally. I try to tune it out, especially the thinly veiled put downs “Oh, you mean Susie’s not on playing on the D (developing team) this year?”. Or the “We are so busy with traveling ABCD teams this year, along with advanced ballet and trombone, that we had to drop Rec”. or ” did you sign up Susie for the 1000K per week sleep away LAX camp yet”? Mind you, this is for girls lacrosse, ages 9 through 14. Believe it or not, my son is a high school wrestler and I much prefer going to a wrestling match, even though it means watching your son win or lose, it seems so much more civilized in a weird way. You can’t as a parent BS the other parents in wrestling. The athlete speaks for himself. So pray for me this Sunday, when I have to spend the entire day in Princeton, watching the girls play in a tournament, and hopefully, I will find some normal laid back moms to pass the time with.

  • Adele

    Can you elaborate on your meat delivery? That sounds awesome? Also, this post makes me wonder if you or any of the other builders has advice on how to limit children’s activities. Right now I have three kids aged four and under, but it seems everyone I know with older children spends all their afternoons and weekends shuttling kids to various events. Even limiting each child to one activity adds up quickly in a large family. Help!

  • Kellie “Red”

    I have found that exercising before my kids “sports” makes me more chill about the pressure/parent chatter. I’d also recommend bringing your own chair (sitting far away from others!), sunglasses and a good book. Nothing wrong with tuning them out and not-socializing.

  • maryalice

    We sometimes exercise during the event — drop the child off for warm ups, then go for a run, and be back 15 minutes into the game.

  • maryalice

    We *love* our meat delivery, it comes from a company called Five Star Home Foods. We have an outdoor freezer, and I sit with a consultant to select 6 months worth of meat. It comes individually flash frozen and shrink wrapped, so it is really easy to use, defrosts quickly, etc. It is all grass fed, free range, healthy. They also offer frozen artisinal breads, Cascadian Farms fruits and vegetables, and some prepared foods.

    The meat is delivered all at once, but then you pay for it on a monthly plan, and it is insured against freezer problems, so you don’t have to worry about having $1200 worth of meat in your freezer.

    For activities, it is a bit of a juggle, but doable for the most part if you say no. You will try some things that just don’t work for your family — for us this was travel baseball, which made for one really tough summer. We lived and learned. Because we homeschool, I do think that some outside activities are an important way of plugging in to the community and rounding out the education. Basically, my kids get one “just for fun” activity — this is ballet for the girls and baseball for the boys. Then, skiing is a family activity which we do on winter weekends, tennis lessons and swimming lessons are things that I consider lifetime sports and want the kids to learn, so we plug those things in as we can. I rounded up some friends and got the tennis school to offer back to back classes for all of my kids age groups so that we could just go there one day a week, and for a while I arranged a private swimming lesson for my little guys at the same time that my big ones had lessons. In the summer, all of my kids will do swimming at a neighborhood pool, so we will head there every morning for a few hours, but that will be it — no extra activities. Two nights a week we will have meets, but the other nights and the summer weekends will be free and flexible, and every afternoon we will be sitting around “watching the grass grow.” That is just for June and July, then we will have family vacation time in August.

    One problem is that all seasons tend to somehow overlap — baseball will not be quite finished when summer swim team begins, so for a week or two we will be doubled up and it will be a nightmare. Right now, my girls are in the last week of ballet, with several extra rehearsals, and baseball is going on. By next week, we will be down to just baseball, and it will feel pretty manageable again, except that at 8 months pregnant the truth is that I just never want to leave the house for anything!

  • maryalice

    I think I am pretty lucky in that I have made some nice friends through all of our activities. My issue is more that I am just so tired from waddling around that I don’t want to leave my house and have to chase after my preschoolers in parking lots!