Thursday, April 18, 2013

Off Plan

The week has gotten away from me.  How is it Friday again already?  I made the chuck roast taco meat on Sunday and that's about as far as I got in adhering to my menu plan.  Oh wait, tonight I had leftover pizza from lunch so I guess I hit that one too, just a day early.  Everything came together and the husband and I actually got to go out, on a weeknight no less, for dinner.  Monday, the in-laws were in town and agreed to watch the kids and we had a Groupon that was about to expire for one of our favorite restaurants, Envoy.  It's in a beautiful art deco hotel, the Ambassador, and whenever I'm there I feel like I've almost gone back in time.  The owners did a wonderful job remodeling it and bringing it back to it's original glory.  Back in the day, like when I was in college, the hotel was very run down and the sort of place that rented by the hour.  So, it's great to see it look new again.  I had a pink lady cocktail that was so strong I later needed two cups of strong coffee to help me sober up.  For dinner we started with a cheese plate and then I had a wedge salad followed by salmon and finished up the meal with a chocolate sponge type cake.  The husband had a Waldorf salad, pork tenderloin for his entree and lemon cake for dessert.

We might get to start going out even more because I've managed to find three decent babysitters.  It's not easy to find someone to watch four kids and although I had gotten the name of a few teenagers a little while back from another mom, I just don't think I'm comfortable having a 16 year-old watch all of the kids.  So, I gave in and put an ad up on  I was surprised by how many responses I got to my ad.  We interviewed four different women and out of those two were near perfect, one was good and the other was nice enough but didn't seem all that interested in the kids so we probably won't use her.  I'm excited at the prospect of going to a few Brewer's games this summer or maybe even a movie.

Monday was also the day we took Sully to consult with the pediatric surgeon.  He was in good spirits until we'd been in the waiting room for over half an hour and then he started to get restless.  At some point he decided he was ready to go so he took his coat and toddled over to the doors to leave.  It was really quite cute and this continued once we made it back into the exam room.  He was making it known that he was sick of waiting on the doctor.  The nurse checked him first and said it was a good thing he was crying and screaming at the top of his lungs because it helped her see the hernias that much better.  She assumed he would need surgery and another ten minutes later the surgeon came in and confirmed.  He said that the surgery is a pretty routine one and that it is better tolerated in younger kids so it's best to get it taken care of now.  I scheduled the surgery for the end of June and am not quite as nervous about it as I was when we first found out about the possibility of him needing surgery.  But, I'm sure when the day comes I'll be more nervous than I am right now.  I hate the thought of my little guy getting put to sleep and cut into, even if it's just a very small incision.

If I make tomorrow a fish-fry Friday I could sorta kinda get back on my menu plan.  Fish might also help me catch back up on my weight loss.  I lost another pound last week but saw it come back after the big night out on Monday.  It would be nice to see it gone again by this weekend.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Frozen Days, Frozen Nights, Frozen Meals

What a miserable week.  Work actually went pretty well and I felt like I was catching up a bit on things.  The weather, however, put a huge damper on everything.  I don't think I can remember an April that has been quite this miserable.  It rained, was in the 30s and overcast Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  And then this morning it was snowing - snowing!  The result of all that rain was this in my front entryway:

And worse, in the closet:

We've had some water issues in this area since we bought the house but nothing of this magnitude.  And, to make matters worse, we've paid three separate companies to fix the leak but as  you can see, none of them did.  The best I got was about a year of no water at which point I felt it was safe to have the plaster redone.  That, apparently, was the sign to the universe that it needed to start leaking again.  I never even got a chance to paint the new plaster before it started flaking off again.  There was so much white plaster on the floor yesterday that the kids thought it had snowed indoors.

Will the fourth time be the charm?  I had someone come look at the chimney and roof this morning.  The good news was that we don't need a new roof.  The bad news was that the chimney needs to be rebuilt and that costs about the same as getting a new roof.  Ugh.

With the gray, gloomy weather I wasn't much in the mood for cooking so we used up some of the frozen meals we have, had a frozen pizza one night and I think one night I skipped dinner altogether.  I did manage to make it to the grocery store so I have a loose plan for next week.

Sunday - Chuck roast in crock pot with a jar of salsa.  Shred and use in tacos
Monday - Something from the freezer
Tuesday - Leftover roast tacos
Wednesday - Pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes
Thursday - Potato crusted cod, spinach
Friday - Leftovers or pizza
Saturday - Flat iron steak, mushrooms, baked potatoes and asparagus

Or, I might scrap one night, hire a babysitter and head out to dinner without the kids.  More on that later.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

First Easter

What a busy, long and tiring week.  I worked longer days this week to help cover things in the office while so many people were off on Spring Break.  Longer days in the office means less time at home which means I feel behind on a couple of things, like laundry, grocery shopping, sleep.  The sleep was a little more related to Maren waking up a few nights in a row.  One day she will start consistently sleeping through the night and one day I will get a spring break, just not sure exactly when for either.

Quinn put on her pretty Easter dress.

Maren played on her mat.

Sully played with eggs.

Shannon and Quinn checked out their Easter bags.

Quinn was shocked and then delighted to find Walking Talking Pinkey Pie in her bag.

I made a ham in the crock pot and then made side dishes of Swiss broccoli and bacon bread pudding.  I used to make the Swiss broccoli a lot when I was eating low carb.  It's made with frozen chopped broccoli that you've let thaw, 1 cup mayo, 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese and 1 tbsp dijon mustard.

Just mix together and pop in the oven for half an hour at 350.

The bacon bread pudding took a little more work but was still fairly easy to make.  The husband bought me a loaf of brioche bread which I cubed. I whisked together 2 cups of whole milk with 4 eggs and then added the bread to it, along with 6 ounces of shredded sharp, white cheddar cheese, six slices of bacon, crumbled.and half a cup sliced green onions.

The mixture should stand for about 10 minutes so that the bread can absorb all the liquid.

Then it goes in a casserole dish and bakes, covered, at 350 for 35 minutes and then uncovered for 15 minutes.

Once done, they looked like this and they tasted pretty good. 

Everyone seemed to like the bacon bread pudding more than I did.  To me, it tasted a bit too eggy.  So, not sure if I'll make that one again or not.

The rest of the day was spent just hanging out with the grandparents.

Second Easter is tomorrow with the other grandparents.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Third Child Effect

When you have your first child you are awestruck and wholly consumed by your baby.  You spend your pregnancy reading up on what to eat, what not to eat, wondering if it is safe to color your hair.  You pour over nursery options and pick out just the right paint colors, bedding, and wall murals.  You give great consideration to car seats, breast pumps, ergo carriers, bottles, diapers, diaper bags and on and on and on.  Once the wee babe is home you spend your days holding them, cuddling them, feeding them, changing diapers, taking pictures and documenting all their milestones.  You can't wait for them to roll over, sit up, take their first bites of solid food, crawl, walk, etc.  You look back at your life before the baby and wonder how in the world you filled your time.

Then, you get pregnant with your second and you wonder if you'll ever be able to love another child as much as you love your first.  Will you be cheating your first out of your time and attention?  But, the baby arrives and your love expands and somehow you find the time to hold, feed, play with and love this little human.  Despite that though, you find yourself taking fewer pictures, you forget to document the baby's weight and length from each doctor's visit, you delay solid feeding a few weeks because it's harder to find the time to bottle feed and feed solids.  You're still overjoyed at the smiles and giggles but a little less interested in having the baby quickly become mobile.

And then you get pregnant with your third and you're practically in labor before you even give a moment's pause to think about where the baby is going to sleep.  Wait, what? You're not supposed to use crib bumpers anymore?  Kids are supposed to stay rear facing in a car seat until they are 12?  When did all that happen?  Oh right, it happened while you were busy with your two kids. The baby comes home and the sleep deprivation is magnified by the fact that you can no longer "sleep when the baby sleeps" because you have two older children who may or may not still be napping and even when they do nap it doesn't necessarily sync up with the time the baby naps.  You "forget" the recommendation of no tv for children under age two in exchange for 15 minutes of relative peace and quiet.  You find yourself only taking pictures on major holidays and birthdays and hoping your third won't notice the 5,223 pictures of your firstborns first year vs the 223 of theirs.  It's your babies first birthday before you even start filling out the baby book.  At what age did he sit up again?  Was it at five months or six.......oh, what does it matter anyway?  He'll never know you got it wrong.

By the time you have a fourth, they just fall right into the family, almost like they were always there.  It's six months before it even occurs to you to start feeding solids (can I delay solids until she can feed herself?) and you find yourself actually dreading the idea of any sort of mobility.  You realize babies are easier when they can't run away from you!  Things that bothered you with your first, like grandparents taking your child for pictures with Santa or outfitting an entire Easter Basket become the very things you're praying the grandparents will do with and for your kids because it takes some of the pressure off you, saves you time, energy and money.  And, things that you thought were so important with your first, like the perfect nursery, a coming home outfit and obsessing about them hitting milestones at just the right time, give way to the things you now know are the most important - making the most of the time you have with them. 

Yesterday, in between cleaning up for company, making dinner and hiding Easter eggs, I made sure to take a little time to just sit with Maren.  They grow up too fast.