Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How Pinterest Has Ruined My Life

A shout out to Kristina's post at Toddler Approved, for inspiring my blog post today!

I will get in the car without having to pack it first.
I will enjoy getting dressed.
I can be a super cook.
My husband will come up the steps from work without the look of fear on his face.
I have the cutest front yard on the block.
I will run farther than I ever thought possible.
I will have time for coffee out, a play date, shopping, time at the park, quiet dinner at home and sweet bath time.

But for now...
It takes us 2 hours to get out of the house.
Trying to look normal only makes me feel worse.
I have a 30 minute window to slop something for dinner.
My husband comes home and has to ask how my day was, before kissing me hello.
I have two hanging plants that are almost dead.
Getting a work-out in means I have to sacrifice something else in my day to complete it.
There isn't a diaper bag big enough to pack for a perfect afternoon out.

I am happy because...
I can take my kids anywhere - and we have the best time together.
I can fit into smaller jeans than when I was married - and I have had two kids.
I cook dinner - and I love it.
My husband always kisses me hello - and he really missed me.
My plants are gifts from my children - and my front yard looks better than my neighbors, at least.
I can run - and I don't die.
I thrive in chaos - our life wouldn't be as fun without it.

No, Pinterest hasn't ruined my life. However, I just came out of a small rut where I thought my life had to be Pinterest to be good/interesting/beautiful/creative/fashionable/educational/delicious/inspiring..... I could go on and on and on.

I can't think it is entirely healthy for me too look at living rooms from $2 million dollar houses, and feel like I need to somehow compete with that. I like my little barren, miss matched, kid consumed living room. It suits us. However, I have spent wayyyyyy to much time researching chevron printed pillows in order to satisfy some kind of designer home urge.

Photo Credit // Joss and Main

The same goes for food. Sometimes, I just pan fry the damn pork chops. I don't make a marinade. I don't serve it with an appetizer or flashy salad. I throw some frozen corn in the microwave and I call it good. Am I doing my family a disservice? No way! Have I used my time wisely as a stay-at home-Mom? Hell, yes! My son had protein and vegetables for dinner AND I got to spend an extra 25 minutes playing in the yard.

Another thing, I may not have Gap kids, but I have the cutest kids on the planet! I may have accidentally missed James' 3 month picture. My bad. However, I have taken thousands of pictures of him while looking into is sweet face on the living room floor since he has been born. I may not set him up in color coordinated, outdoor, professional photographer photo shoots, but I can take a mean shot of him eating green peas in his high chair!

I think sometimes, with too much consideration to how my days are spent, I often have to remind myself to look at the positive in every situation. I may not have the "best of everything" in a Pinterest sort of way, but I HAVE THE BEST OF EVERYTHING in my life!

Kristina wrote:
When I am trying to be super mom, I do too much, am overly stressed, neglect what is most important, am never really present, and only appear to "have it together" on the surface, when really pretty much everything else is falling apart. Instead of aspiring to be Super Mom, I want to be more intentional about "trying to be a good mom."

I am going to try my hardest  to keep a healthy outlook on how it is ok to live by my own standards, because in the middle lies all the amazing experiences to be made. These experiences are for me and my family and can't be discovered or created by anyone else but us!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What a Foxy Fridge We Have

I opened my fridge this afternoon to find some lunch for David and I, and when I opened the door, it was as if the angels started singing and sun beams shot out from behind our 2% milk. I don't remember stocking to such perfection but somewhere between Sunday and today, we may have achieved the foxiest fridge I have ever had the pleasure of eating from.

I grocery shop at three different stores to feed David, myself, and Pete (well, James too but he is still on rice cereal and baby food). I also listed my little family in order of feeding importance when it comes to what I chose or chose not to buy. David, number one, is on the top of my list for foods I buy because if I start buying David the right things to eat - the good seems to trickle down to us. I don't want my 2 year old to eat junk. So, I try not to buy it and if I do - it is in moderation (or a little bribe to be good in the store....).

I shop at Aldi for most produce, Target for most dry goods and frozen items, and Bob's Produce for meat. Sometimes, I just make one big trip to Cub but the shopping trip exhausts me. I am too uptight about my coupon use, that when I shop at Cub, I end up getting really tired and frustrated trying to find the best price amongst the rows and rows of whatever I need.

Aldi is great because I know my prices. I know how much to spend on a certain item, what the item is priced at other stores, and Aldi doesn't accept coupons (as most of their items are off brand anyway) so I don't have to worry about watching 2 kids and sort through my coupon book at the same time. Aldi beats most prices without coupons most of time. For example, Aldi this week had limes for $.11 cents. ELEVEN CENTS (I had to type the numbers out in all caps to demonstrate my excitement about this - not to mention, I get excited about cheap limes...). Limes are about $.33 at Cub and at Bob's 2/$1. FIFTY CENTS?? For ONE lousy lime? Yeah, right!

Target is great because I can get pretty good deals with coupons and generally, they are cheaper that Cub. Plus, I can get whatever else I need for the kids and house at the same time. I often have meat at home but need a "go with". So, we run to Target pick up toilet paper and pasta. One example of a good Target deal is, I got Market Pantry (the Target brand) bagged frozen vegetables last week. They were on sale for $1 a bag and I had a Target coupon for $1 off 4 bags. $.75 for a bag of frozen vegetables is a great deal to me. First, we go through frozen vegetables like no ones business, so stocking up on 4 bags is no big deal. Second, I throw veggies in everything. I try my best to hide them from David - and Pete, too. They really don't put up to big a fight about a scoop or two on the side, either.

I have been raised to appreciate Bob's Produce as the mecca of meat stores. They have quality meats with decent meat sales. Most of our dinners consist of a Bob's whatever-is-on-sale protein like grilled chicken (great to stock up on sale at $1.99/lb), steaks (on sale $7.99-$9.99/lb) or baked pork shops ($2.99/lb). These meats are always better than Cub or Target meats. They may have a less favorable cut from time to time, like an extra fatty steak, but I consistently go back once a week or more. Plus, I love their baked pies, potato salad, and I love telling David we are going to Bob's where he picks out his own apple.

So, after all this explaining behind my grocery shopping trips - what is exactly in my fridge right now that makes it so foxy?

2% Milk
Electrolyte enhanced water
V8 Splash
Bloody Mary Mix

Canned Peaches

Sweet onion
Red onion
Red potatoes
Garlic cloves
Roma tomatoes

Cottage Cheese
Colby Jack Slices Cheese
Mexican style shredded cheese

Chicken breast
Lean ground beef
Lean ground turkey
Turkey bacon
Bacon pieces
Cheddar brats

Whole grain brown rice
Oat wheat bread
Wheat hot dog buns
White tortillas
Pie Crust

Apple Sauce
Pickle slices
Vanilla pudding

I mean, seriously! I can make anything and it would be so delicious AND good for us!

To close my foxy fridge post, I stumbled upon a pretty interesting and inspiring blog by Catherine at Rabbit Food For My Bunny Teeth.

Photo Credit // Food For My Bunny Teeth

Catherine outlines her own Rabbit Food Pyramid as well as posts her own recipes and ideas for eating and acting healthy. While she began her journey trying to eat better to lose weight, she is now trying to maintain her own health and happiness by eating the right foods to feel good. Just like me!

Check Catherine out and tell me, how foxy is your fridge?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Speed Read Finds

I got rid of my coffee table after David was born. It seemed like an extra four corners to worry about and it only seemed to house piles of crap and magazines I would never read. However, this week I do have a nice stack of magazines next to my chair.

I am not a huge magazine reader. I seem to never get through an article. I just speed through the pages glancing at pictures and picking up a tidbit here and there about an enticing product.

Here are a few of my speed read finds this week:

Midwest Home features Peck and Anderson's poolside cabana. This "entertainment oasis" is from a remodeled home in Highland Park. I love the idea of having the indoor your outdoor.

Photo Credit // Todd Buchanan

Spaces magazine, in the article "Shades of style" by Nancy Ngo, features design guru Jonathan Adler and his flair for geometric design with pops of bright color. A Jonathan Adler boutique just opened on Lake Street and I could see my entire house themed after his designs. Also to mention, Jonathan has a Jonathan Adler Junior section on his website and designed a pattern for my favorite Skip Hop diaper bag.

Photo Credit // Ngoc Minh Ngo

Squished in the page binding and hard to spot, Mpls.St.Paul Magazine mentioned an inexpensive sweet little dress by BB Dakota. The site has great sales, free shipping and 10% off when you subscribe to their e-mails.

Photo Credit // BB Dakota
Photo Credit // BB Dakota

It seems like magazines would be having a tough time competing with the Internet. However, I kind of enjoy the randomness that comes with flipping the pages.

Just don't expect me to start reading ESPN mag or anything. I save that for my husband.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Perfect Day?

I would say I spend half my day feeling guilty I should be doing more and the other half of the day wanting to just take a 5 minute breather. We are so go, go, go - stop. Go, go, go - stop. When I am not in forward motion, I feel like I am doing something wrong. There has to be more? More I can do?

So, where is the appreciation and happiness fit in? It is there, squeezed in between diaper changes and dirty dishes. There are the moments when my kids look up at me and smile, and I realize all the plates in my sink are a result of how much time I spend getting to look into their sweet faces at meal time.

There is such a sense of joy when I know I have done everything I could have in my day to make my children happy. The joy only grows if I can do the same for my husband. Down the list I go, trying to fulfill the needs of others and hopefully along the way I can make the time for myself as well! Don't get me wrong, I do plenty of selfish things in my day. The times I spend 15 extra minutes in Target even though my kids are complaining, or when I sit on the computer in the morning instead of playing. I am definitely not perfect.

I do, sometimes, feel like I spend too much time waiting for the next moment in our day to happen. Maybe it is a result of my intense need for scheduling. Maybe I am still waiting for the day when I feel like this day is the perfect day. The perfect day that will live on forever.

We have plenty of perfect days. While I am now defined in my role as a wife and mother, I have found myself trying to be ultimately perfect in that role. Which is impossible. Still, I sometimes feel the irresponsible young woman of my late teens and early 20's looms over my days.

Every chance I get, I squash her.

I think I will spend the rest of my life trying to prove myself she never existed. I try to tell myself that I deserve my happiness, that I have earned it - and I have. However, I know it is going to take a little more time for me to accept my life as it is. I can be in, seemingly constant, fear of making huge mistakes. I worry if I stop, mistakes will catch up with me.

So, I pile drive through my weeks with my kids and swear I will never let myself be a waste ever, ever, ever again. If I am doing all I can do than I shouldn't have to worry about not being perfect. I think I need to take more time to appreciate just being me, and just being an attentive, caring and loving parent will open the doors to more and more happiness.

My happiness happens when it isn't forced, or contrived, or planned. If I make myself a model of a good person than in its own way, life makes room for me to be happy and deservedly so.

Up to now, today has been a vision. We had breakfast together, we played and watched Super Why, we went garage sale-ing, we played outside, we had Spaghettio's for lunch, we went for a walk.

Having coffee and watching David have fun while James took his morning nap.

I got to sleep in with the kids waking at 8 AM, I got to have 2 cups of coffee, I missed my husband and that felt great, I got to get my kitchen clean, I got both boys down for a nap together, I got to write this blog post.

Most importantly, I realize I got to spend 7 glorious hours with my pink cheeked, happy children. Even though I might live in fear it won't last forever, I took the time to appreciate and be thankful we are all happy. That realization makes today the perfect day.
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