Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I don't know...

I don't know what the deal is...I don't know if all of my blood is just drawn down to circulate around baby to help him grow, or if all creative cells of my body rush into my uterus to create a new human being, or if my mind just goes foggy so that I cannot really think about the realities of having another baby. But-I cannot seem to read or write or even be able to take much in the way of pictures.

Yesterday I broke down and quit reading From Here to Eternity, though it is very good, and threw myself into the book Mister Pip. I expect to finish later today, and I'll hopefully review it tomorrow. So much of my life seems to revolve around my reading habits at any given time, or perhaps it is my reading habits which are indicative of the rest of my life. IN any case, when I am not reading, or stagnate in my reading it is a good sign that the inner workings of my life are also in stagnation. So I am going to try to pick a few shorter, easier (for me) to read books and see if I can't jump start both my life and my blog!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

How Do we Do It?

People often ask me how we do it, how we manage to get by. This week is a good example of how I cook (thank you Jennifer and Rachel for helping me not slack for dinner on Monday!).
  • Monday we had the aforementioned black beans and rice, with a side of spinach.
  • Tuesday we had tacos with a side of refried black beans made from Monday's left overs.
  • Wednesday we had spinach and cheese omelets for breakfast with the leftover spinach from Monday and left over cheese from Tuesday. For dinner we had whole grain noodles with the leftover taco meat for those who wanted meat sauce, and cut up veggies on the side.
  • Tonight we're having baked chicken drumsticks, with a side of rice (left over from Monday) and some broccoli.
  • Tomorrow will be baked honey garlic lime tilapia with the extra lime I have from Monday and some salad with the left over, uncooked spinach and some field greens. For those who eat them we'll have baked potatoes. And most likely a broccoli and cheddar fritatta for breakfast.
  • Saturday I'll make some soup with the left over chicken and cut up veggies from Wednesday (at least the carrots and celery), with stock made from discarded vegetable trimmings.
And that is very reflective of how we eat most weeks. Lunches are usually peanut butter or cheese, crackers or sandwiches and fruit, though when it's on sale lunch meat will sometimes appear. For lunches we will also have soup from Saturdays, or leftovers from during the week. Snacks for us are mostly fruit, nuts, and popcorn. I buy one bag each of potato chips, pretzels, and tortilla chips every other week when I grocery shop and when they're gone they're gone.

I still don't have a good plan for breakfast, but hope to remedy that as I start feeling a little better in the morning.

I forgot to add: the cost...for 6 days of dinner and 2 breakfasts- for us 7: about $40 with organic veggies and brown rice, cage free organic eggs and hormone/antibiotic free ground beef.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Cleaning Club

Today was my day to host Cleaning Club. Cleaning Club began as an offer to help wash dishes one play day. It has grown into three women and their collective 11 children (to be 12 late this year) rotating weekly through each other's houses undertaking projects too big, or too overwhelming for one mom to tackle alone. The kids mostly play and help watch the toddlers. The projects, which alone would likely take all day- if not days to accomplish, generally take about an hour to an hour and a half. Then we share the food which we all have, and eat lunch together.

It is such an enormous blessing and gift to me to have these women in my life. When I go to their houses, I get to go home with the satisfying feeling that I have truly helped another woman make her life and the life of her family just a tiny bit better. It feels great to clean other people's stuff, nothing like the drain I feel trying to clean and organize my own space. They also have such a unique set of gifts and talents, which I feel so blessed to get to experience and from which I might benefit and be inspired.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a "Before" picture to show what an inaccessible trash heap, dumping ground our art cabinet had become but here is the end result:

Here's a picture of the inside of each of those green bins:

As we were eating lunch, I had the idea that maybe my friends could help me to get prepared for dinner, as well, since I have been having so much trouble getting my act together enough to actually cook for my family in these early weeks of pregnancy. They chopped peppers and onions and cilantro, while I put on a pot of rice. All I need to do at dinner time is saute the chopped veggies, add the cans of tomatoes and beans, add a little wine and fresh lime juice...and then serve over the rice. If I am feeling motivated enough, I'll make some chipotle cornbread.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sick Day

Blech..I am having a sick day. For the first time this pregnancy I just feel absolutely lousy. I have so much work I both need and want to do, and all I've managed so far is to feed myself at regular intervals. I am not even so sure that it is completely pregnancy related, as I feel like it might be an onslaught of allergies in the warm weather coming on the heels of all of the rain and snow that's been around for the past week and a half.

A couple of the kids and I curled up and watched the most recent version of Cheaper By the Dozen. No- that is not a goal toward which we aspire, but the movie is a good reminder that amidst the chaos, there is an awful lot of joy and deep connections with one another...plus it's a good reminder that no matter how bad of a day I am ever having..it could always be harder, always be more chaotic, always be more overwhelming.

What are some of your default feel-good movies? What movies do you reach for to watch when you're having a sick day? What movies help you remember that what you've got in life is oh-so-very-good?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

First Things and Living With Eyes Wide Open

It is so hard to remember that for little ones, so much of what we do is something which they are doing for the first time. We went to the zoo yesterday with our friends Michele, Hadley, and Noah. It was just such a wonderful day, filled with perfect weather, very active, alert animals, and really well-behaved, very helpful, non-complaining children. As I was pouring through the photos which I took, I realised that everything we did yesterday was a brand new experience for Andrew. And you can tell- you can see it in his face:
The wonder and awe and sheer joy is totally transparent and totally apparent in his little face. I was left pondering my own face, reflecting that this wonder and awe is something which very rarely crosses my brow. Yet, we are called to be like little children, and I can't help but think that part of that mysterious call is to live with eyes wide open, to not allow ourselves to become dull and jaded.

I think for me, that taking pictures serves this purpose somewhat. Looking for things to photograph has been encouraging me to look- to really look- at things around me. It has been spurring me to search for beauty in the buildings I pass everyday, the debris which collects in our yard, the same spaces I live in day in and day out. However, I would like so much for that exuberance to spill over into all of my life.

Today, I am going to try to look at the world through the eyes of a toddler, living each moment with the fullness of my being, immersed in the sheer joy of living and seeing. I am sure I won't be able to do it ALL day...the details of taking care of everyone intruding, but I am going to make an attempt, even while being asked simultaneously for five different breakfasts.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Last 5 Books

What are your last five books to show up in your house, from the library, from a friend, from the store, or wherever? How did they get to you and why?

1. The Original Scroll of On The Road...which my husband gave me for Valentine's Day prefacing it with "Just to remind you that I really like being married to a crazy person."

2. Norman Mailer's The Naked and The Dead- for the War Through the Generations Challenge (which is killing me, I've been so, so bogged down in From Here To Eternity--I need to seriously head down, power through it and move on with my reading life)

3. The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos- from my husband, because it was on the bargain table and I had just finished and loved, loved Mr. Ives' Christmas.

4. The Duty of Delight, The Diaries of Dorothy Day...from my husband, who somehow knew I really wanted to read through this despite me never having told him.

5. Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones..which I bought after reading a synopsis on a site where you can get free books to review on you blog. This book sounded so fun, but was only available for free to Canadian reviewers...so I bought it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I am so tired

I think God made some horrible mistakes when it comes to pregnancy and birth, beginning with how wiped out and tired first trimester pregnant women feel. I am sure there is some purpose to it- maybe to slow down, to learn to re-evaluate priorities and shift into the "what's really important mode" of conservation of energy. However, it seems like it stands in direct conflict to the needs of taking better care of oneself, things like eating real meals comprised of real, non-microwaveable food, like exercising or at least moving from one or two different spots in the house, like undertaking the exhausting task of showering and getting dressed each day.

I remember when I was pregnant with Andrew, who is now two, and I moved from my first trimester on into my second. It was as though Pauline scales fell off my eyes and I saw just how absolutely gross and disgusting our house looked. Normally I cannot stand anything on the kitchen counter for more than a day, and at week thirteen I awoke to piles upon piles of mysterious things to go through.

Overall I've been feeling pretty darn good so far...so much so that I dread my sonogram a bit, thinking perhaps there is something wrong. But these past few days in the wake of our blizzard, we haven't been outside very much (I am actually, only today, about to leave my house for the first time since Saturday), the kids have all had sniffles, Andrew's nose has turned into a snot-faucet keeping him awake at night, my husband has barely been home and when he has he's had lots of work to do around here, the kids are all full of pent up energy...but until today have been unable to go outside to play. When we didn't have water, I didn't have any way to clean off the mud and muck which our yard has turned into since the snow has begun to melt.

I am in some serious need of some TLC, pampering, child-free time...that is if I could stay awake for it.