No restaurants for the month of May

At the beginning of every year in January I go through a Facebook detox.  I quit Facebook for a month to recalibrate my system (tolerance for screen time).  It’s great start to the new year and I don’t miss all the cute Christmas pictures.  A month is a short enough period of time so that I don’t feel as if I am depriving myself forever. I often wonder what else in my life can I change for a month for the better. I think of it as a test run for things I might actually adopt.

In the month of May I didn’t go out to eat.  Well that was my plan.  I ended up going out to eat with a friend that I hadn’t seen in months and then I went out with my husband out for a celebration dinner twice (because the first time the food was terrible).  But, that was it.  And now as I type this I’m thinking geez how much was I eating out before?

The verdict: I felt great because I ate well. I did a lot of cooking at home. I thought about meals and prepared food ahead of time. I had to adjust to buying more groceries, a whole bunch more groceries, to get through the week. Even on days when we didn’t know what to eat for dinner it wasn’t that hard to think up a quick and simple meal (for example brats, prepared potato salad, and canned beans) and then to run to the store and purchase it. I did eat more prepared foods but realistically I imagine that at some restaurants you’re getting lots of prepared food anyway so I called it a was.

This leads me to my second realization. Eating out is expensive and you can buy a lot of groceries for the price of a mediocre dinner at a chain restaurant. I’d say at least two meals worth of food for your house.

And finally there are not really any secret recipes anymore. If you like that cherry chicken pasta salad from the deli, then you can probably find the recipe online. If you can’t find that exact one, I guarantee you that you can find one that is close enough.  Everything is online!

In the future I’m going to try to I’m getting better at not eating at restaurants and I feel like my mindset has changed.  Why pay crazy prices for something I can make at home?

 

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A few thoughts about breastfeeding…

 

I knew that I was going to breastfeed my baby.  Check that. I planned on breastfeeding my baby.  Of course, I also planned on an all natural birth without interventions and ended up having a C-section after over a full day of labor.  Plans! Isn’t there a saying about plans?

I had friends that breast fed, but I had no idea what I was starting. In hindsight my best advice was from a friend who said she struggled with breastfeeding for 3 weeks.  She said she was determined not to give up. I still haven’t given up, but I do have some thoughts.

  1. It is unfair that childbirth is so grueling and then is immediately followed by breastfeeding.  If you have the honor of completing either, they are two of the most challenging activities of your entire life. Childbirth is no walk in the park, but it’s relatively short when you consider your breastfeeding journey. I’m 8 months in and I’ve been tracking my stats.  I started out the first month at nearly 90 hours of breastfeeding.  That’s every two hours or so for the last 8 months. Let that sink in. The kiddo won’t wait longer than that unless it’s night time.  The kiddo is also in the 99% percentile for height and weight.  I suspect this has something to do with it. I’ve been in beast mode since August.
  2. Breastfeeding moms don’t care what you think.  This includes, but is not limited to: your opinion on breastfeeding, if you think my kiddo is too big or that I shouldn’t be feeding him in public or whatever, then just keep it to yourself. I do not need your approval and I couldn’t care less if you support me. I’m doing it anyway.
  3. Random nutritional fun facts. I get hungry. I need snacks. I don’t care what time it is or if my snack is cheese slices from the back of the fridge. I have also been known to eat that nasty Betty Crocker frosting in a tub when I want something sweet (just a few spoon fulls). I’m really trying to eat healthy, but I get hungry.  Rumor has it breastfeeding burns roughly 500 calories a day. Did I mention that I run as well? I’m training for a 10k. Some days, when I run, I’m guessing I need to take in an extra 1,000 calories a day.  
  4. Tucking in my shirt. Please!

 

My first big Mom oops

I locked our cat in the cabinet for the afternoon.  I’m not a bad person, but that day I was a busy mom. Scratch that, I’m a busy mom all days, but this day I was extra busy….please let me explain.

My normal M.O. for dealing with any situation is worrying about it a whole bunch ahead of time. Before I was pregnant I worried about getting and being pregnant, when I was pregnant I worried about delivery, and once my kiddo was born I worried about pre-school.  Naturally when he started rolling over I worried about childproofing the entire house even though it would be months before he was regularly and intentionally mobile.  I counted doors and drawers and devised a plan, ordered parts, and then life happened.  Now he’s crawling!

There has been way too much going on to make baby proofing a priority, but the locking mechanisms for the double door cabinets are really quick and easy to use. I threw them on a few cabinets.  The one under the sink really slows me down when I need dish soap or trash bags, but it’s also where the cleaning products are located. I figure it’s worth a bit of inconvenience if it keeps him from chewing on dishwasher tablets.

Last week I was straightening up the house. The aquarium had taken on a neglected look in the past few months so I decided to clean the outside. I got out the glass cleaner that is kept under the sink.  Even though the kiddo was taking a nap I figure it is good practice to shut and lock the cabinet.  There have been so many times in the recent past when I have been pulled away from tasks only to return to them hours later. I cleaned the outside glass and replaced the cleaner under the sink and locked the cabinet.

The rest of the afternoon I heard meowing. I checked all around the house. I did not see the cat. I even checked the porch where I left him last week (it’s a hard life for a cat when a baby comes to town). I assumed he was stuck somewhere in the basement, but because there is no way he could be completely trapped I figured he will find another way out.  We went out to dinner.  When we returned I heard more meowing. Where did he go?  Now that my husband was home and I had another set of reliable ears and eyes we set out to do a more thorough search of the house. We checked closets and cabinets and locate the source of the sound under the sink.  Poor guy was trapped with the cleaning products for the afternoon and evening.

Does this story have a moral? Nope. Is it funny? Not if you’re the cat.  Does this sort of thing happen to everyone? Maybe, maybe not.  Does this sort of thing happen to parents everywhere and they just don’t share it? I’m thinking yes, yes it does.

The Candy Jar

I have a candy jar that was a gift from my grandmother. I use it to hold dog treats. Initially I felt I wasn’t doing the candy jar justice, then I found out that she had used it for the same purpose. When I gently lift the lid and my dog hears the subtle ring and she goes right to her crate.  It’s lovely.  Every time I do this I think of my grandma.

I tell you this because I’d like to encourage you to use special objects in your everyday life. I also have a cookbook from my grandmother. I made chicken salad with chunks of apple in it last week.  It tasted so familiar. I have a painting on my buffet made by another member of my family and a chalk drawing in another room. I have needlepoints and blankets as well.  These objects are in use.  They are special and I use them. Sure, I’ve broken a few colored glass bowls from the set and the table that was a wedding present is now remarkably scratched and dirty, but I use them as they were intended.

It seems like so many times we are waiting for the perfect occasion to use the fancy dishes or to have a spare bed to display the special quilt. We save that dress for a special occasion instead of a Saturday dinner with friends or family when honestly the only person who will truly appreciate it is you.  But I believe that today is an awesome day and that life is short: wear the dress, use the table, hang up the picture.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that the first time to teach your child to make brownies you should use the depression era measuring cup in your cabinet, but maybe the second or third time you take it out and tell her a story about it.  And maybe on the twentieth time you use it, it drops and breaks.  You will be sad and you will remember the person who gave it to you while you clean it up and you’ll talk and share stories and you will tuck the pieces safely in the trash.  But you will have new found memories of using that measuring cup to make brownies and she will remember too. Plus, let’s face it, a measuring cup wasn’t made to sit in a cabinet.

Jeans please

I went shopping recently and I’m a woman who does not hate my body.  Sorry world. I know this doesn’t fit with what you expect from me.

I’ve played sports nearly my entire life.  For a majority of that time, this has meant soccer and running.  My thighs are bigger than average. This alone isn’t a problem. The problem is that I enjoy wearing jeans in fact if you’ve seen me in something other than jeans we must have been at the same wedding. That being said jeans never seem to fit me correctly.  I know lots of women say the same thing and that eventually I will find my brand, but until then I’m stuck.

Jeans for me never fit in the thigh area. To combat this I go up a size and then the legs fit and the waist is too big.  To counter that I  get the jeans tailored.  They take in the waist as much as they can and I still need to wear a belt. I hate wearing a belt. My son thinks it’s great though because he can stick his toes into my waistband and stand right up which is neither here nor there, but it is sort of cute.  Regardless, in a few years one day, no matter the jean, I crouch down to pick something up and RIIIIIP there is a hole in the pants right by the upper thigh. It happens every time. Hopefully, I will be at home when this happens because I will require an immediate pants change…or maybe I can rock this new distressed denim?

Which brings me back to my first paragraph. I did a quick online search and I can find all sorts of jeans that claim to hide this or that.  I don’t want to hide! I don’t hate my legs! They help me get work done.  I want jeans that fit! To me that is fundamentally different. I’m not ashamed I just require something a little more GI Joe and a little less like Barbie. And while I’m asking I’d like it for less than $50.  Who’s got $150 for jeans? If I have that much, I’d rather spend it on something else.

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There should be an award for that

We joke that we live at time when everyone gets a participation trophy. There is even a commercial about it

I grew up before this current trend and if I had my say we…wait, that’s not what I wanted to write about. There are two things that we, as adults, don’t get awards for that we should.

First, I would like to institute the “I went to bed early” award. This would go to people who genuinely tried to get at least 8 hours of sleep. They left the gathering early, turned off the game and/or computer, and went to sleep. If you need inspiration to qualify for this award, you can watch this not for kids bedtime story. Sadly, this won’t ever be a real award. If you get a good night of sleep you have a clearer head and it’s a bit easier to deal with stressful situations.  Please, consider going the f*** to sleep.  Luckily, going to sleep early is it’s own reward.

Second, I would like to create an “I left work” award.  This award would be for people who put in their 8 hours of work and then go home. Award winners will probably leave some work on their desks, but hey, there’s always tomorrow. If you are an hourly worker or rely on commission then this award won’t be for you. Grind on. But for those that make a salary remember “the man” only pays you for 40 hours.  Your ridiculously high hourly rate is significantly smaller if you add in all the emails and phone calls you field on evenings or weekends or all those times you need to take a quick peek at a project and then get sucked into an 8 hour work day on your day off…and if you end up pulling an all nighter for work then you’re losing out on the first award as well. If you’re at all like me, you prefer to do the majority of living outside of the workplace.  That’s where my family is and that’s where many of the things I like to do are as well.  Get in, get out safely, and get paid.

What would you like to see awards for?

Resolutions or goals?

We’re just into the new year and I’ve been giving serious thought as to whether or not I should bother writing New Year’s resolutions. Last year I did and I used an online template. The basic format was this: a word or phrase for the year, something I want, something I need, something I will share, and a way I will succeed. I liked it because it wasn’t just a laundry list and it required a great deal of thought. I looked over it just before year end and I was successful. I could check everything off the list. However, I only wrote things on the list that I was sure I would be able to complete because no one wants to look back and feel like a failure, right? So if I’m only going to write an easy list, then why bother? And if I do some serious soul searching and write a more complicated list it may keep me on track, but I might look back at 2017 and be disappointed with the results. You see my conundrum.

I think that I have found a compromise. This year I’ve settled on choosing a word/phrase to motivate me throughout the year. It will guide my thoughts and actions as well as something that I can mutter to myself when I’m feeling a bit down. I even have one in mind, though I won’t share it here. I feel it’s sort of like a birthday wish in that regard.

But I do have a goal that I will share. I just got some new running shoes after wearing mine to death during pregnancy and then walking them to death afterward. I feel like I got my money’s worth out of those shoes. Most of my running shoes still look pretty enough for casual wear when I’m through with them. These are headed back to the manufacturer for donation. The woman who sold me my new shoes in a half size larger (thanks kiddo) asked if I had any training goals. I’ve never thought of training goals other than run this race or that race. This year I’m putting thought into training goals. I’ve found three 10k races to run and another 10 mile one. The half marathon (that I’ve run a bunch) takes more time than I’m willing to sacrifice this year and 10k is fast and happy. That is the plan. Hopefully I won’t get to that point in the race where I think “Why am I doing this? I want to go home.” I’m thinking I can do a 10k in an hour….wait that doesn’t sound like a goal. I want to do a 10k in an hour. It seems doable with a bit of work (I may not have mentioned previously, but I’m not all that speedy) just as a goal should be. Bring on the 10k because I’m (__insert motivational phrase here____).