Personally, it's around 2 hours, on a regular day. I usually try to read for 20 or so minutes a day, right before naptime. And we our morning devotions time and outside play. Scattered here and there are a few minutes of random playing, in the midst of what is now my most time-consuming task: feeding everyone. Especially now that Elliot needs solids in addition to four nursing periods.
Now that I'm fighting femcha and my perfectionist personality, I'm spending more time thinking about what really matters and working towards accomplishing those things. And more FUN with the kids is def. high on the list.
Tonight we are having Pork & Pasta with Gorgonzola Cream (again). Though this sounds like a very ambitious recipe, it's really not...it's very easy and very yummy. You should try it. Especially you lurkers who read but don't comment. :) Oh - don't use whipping cream. I never do. Substitute evaporated skim milk. You most the whipping cream or the extra calorites, I promise.
Update: when cooking my pork in the aforementioned recipe, I do not cut it into medallions and pan-sear it. That would be quite time-consuming and stressful, making this recipe femcha (for me anyway). Instead, I combine the spices to make a rub and then bake the tenderloin in the oven for the amount of time specified on the package. Very easy.
In the September issue of Real Simple, there is an article called, "Trends Worth Trying." I couldn't resist buying a copy (I'm highly interested in fashion and trends, even tho most days I wear a kids XL white undershirt and workout shorts). This article contains quite a few juicy trends I'd like to try but the one that really caught my eye was "Patent-leather riding boots." I'm in the market for new black boots and the idea of patent is intriguing. But here is my question: do they have to be riding boots?? I spotted a nice pair of patent-leather boots--moderate heel, pointed toe--while walking to the alterations shop this morning. And they were reasonably priced but decidedly not riding boots.
So back to my question: do they have to be riding boots? Would it be trashy or otherwise inappropriate to wear dressy patent-leather boots to say, church? Please weigh in. And in the meantime, I'm going to consult the latest issue of my favorite magazine: People Stylewatch.
p.s. Thanks to everyone for speaking up about the pressures we all face as women--so SO glad I'm not alone. And I'm really trying...I went to bed w/out doing the dishes last night. I watched The Office on the couch while reading a magazine and then turned the light out on the mess and crawled into bed...without feeling guilty!
Before I had two children, I used to be able to keep the house immaculate, cook lovely and delicious meals, serve them steaming hot and perfectly seasoned on a very stylishly decorated table. I could show up to dinner with a smile and makeup, wearing something other than workout attire (having already worked out and showered, of course). I could enjoy that delicious meal while talking about the challenges and successes of my day in corporate America, vent about how busy I was and leisurely enjoy my glass wine; I'd even have a few brain cells left to hear about Ryan's day. I'd then clean the kitchen and dishes (which wasn't hard, because it was already immaculate) and with a second glass of wine in hand, head for the sparkling clean bathroom, complete with freshly washed towels and an assortment of bath products. I would also manage our finances and do the laundry. Ryan never ran out of underwear and all the bills were always paid on time.
And then Charlie was born...and I went back to work 6 weeks later. And about 6 weeks after that, our water suddenly stopped working. Because the bill was late. And that was when reality really started to settle in, at first just a gentle whisper..."Emily, you can't do it all." But I kept trying. I kept trying all through Charlie's first year and a half of life, trying to be a 100% employee, 100% home manager, 100% mother and 100% wife. And when I realized that wasn't working, I switched to part-time, kept trying to juggle everything. And then Elliot was born and we moved 4 times in 3 months (Augusta to Savannah Apt, Augusta to PODs, Apt to house, PODs to house) and Ryan's job is much busier and this new house requires more work to maintain and Charlie is very two and requiring lots of "management" and Elliot is needing solid foods and on and on and on...And I'm still wearing myself out, almost in tears most days over the mess that doesn't go away, the dogs that refuse to obey, the almost-constant needs of the children, all the while knowing that this is not how it is supposed to be...
Don't get me wrong: I love my life. I'm honored that God has given me these children and a husband with a demanding job; I love having this much responsibility and I'm much two controlling not to run our house. :) I wouldn't change a thing. And most of the time, this inward struggle towards perfection is not even noticeable to those around me. I just keep smiling (most of the time), all the while thinking of what I should be doing and how what I've just done is not enough. But really it is enough. So today, right now, this week, I'm going to start working towards being able to let things go. Let the dishes sit in the sink for longer than 5 minutes. Let the dog hair sit on the floor and ignore the banana-smeared high chair. Because there are babies to enjoy and a 2 year old who needs to see joy, peace and patience modeled for him, not just discussed. This quote from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People spoke to me:
Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least. - Goethe
So with God's help, I want to relax; let things go; do the most important things, the ones that will matter for eternity. And let the other things go. It's not going to be easy, but I'm going to try. Jill would call this femcha and I'm going to join the fight against it!
So back to menu planning: I'm still going to do it but meal preparation is my first area of attack. So for the near future, we're going to be eating very simple meals: salad and baked potatoes, grilled chicken and veggies and old stand-by casseroles like my mom's Poppyseed Chicken. We'll see how it goes!
And since I'm going to stop stressing so much about the house and meals, maybe I'll have time to figure out my new camera and actually post some pictures!
Other green changes we've made around the house:
- No longer purchasing paper plates, cups, disposable silverware
- Very infrequent use of paper towels (just bought my first package since moving)
- No more disposable water bottles
We're starting small but really want to tackle recycling next. We had to get the garage cleaned out first, ha!
In other news, Candace is coming to visit this week-end! She's driving down from Richmond with Baby Caroline and Zippy. Should be fun!
In her honor, I'm making Pork & Pasta with Gorgonzola Cream Friday night. As an almost vegetarian, that really is a sacrifice! :) I'm sure Ryan will appreciate it as well, if he gets to come home from the hospital anytime this week-end!
Other items on the menu this week:
- French toast
- Brunswick Stew
- Grits Casserole with Turkey Sausage
- Apple, Turkey and Cheddar meatballs
So please, if you are reading this, do us all a favor and don't buy gas unless you need it. If something really awful happens and our supply of gas is completely cut-off, your one tank and a few gas cans full of gas is not going to save you. And is it really worth the $5 or $10 you are going to save?
On another note, we had a photographer friend come out to the house earlier this week and take some pictures, mostly of Elliot as he has not had many pics AT ALL taken but she took a few of the rest of us too. They turned out really well, I think. You can see a few of them on her blog.
To get ready for these races, I use the Couch-to-5K running plan. This plan really makes it easy and it really is an interval work-out plan, which is an overall better workout than just running. I'm on Week 2 and am already feeling more fit. And working towards a goal is much more rewarding than just getting on the treadmill day after day. I can promise you that.
I'm still loosely following the Abs Diet for Women. I'll be drinking lots of post-workout smoothies over the next few weeks, including my favorite, easy go-to smoothies: Abs Diet Ultimate Smoothie, Lemon Drips and Drops, and Halle Berries. If I could recommend one change to anyone out there wanting to increase energy, be more fit, or lose weight: start drinking smoothies. It really does help and they are delicious. I use the Magic Bullet to blend my smoothies and it makes the whole process so easy. Drink up!
Tonight I finished up my painting earlier than I expected so I whipped up some Parmesan Grits to go along with our pan-fried Tilapia and WOW. Delicious. I omitted the soup, substituted canned evaporated milk for regular milk and used dried basil and it turned out great. And I probably saved some calories too. We really love grits around here and I'm always game for trying new recipes. This one is def. a keeper (Charlie had 3 helpings).
In other news, I ordered a camera off Overstock and as soon as it arrives, I'll be posting some much-requested photos of the kiddos and probably a shot or two of the completed projects (fingers crossed).
PS - I know I need to get off the politics soapbox BUT did anyone see the Obama v. O'Reilly interview series? I highly recommend it - very enlightening.
I really can't believe it. She has contradicted her basic beliefs in a big way and there are many crazy things in this LA Times article but I can't resist commenting on the last paragraph:
And American women, who suffer more because of having two full-time jobs than from any other single injustice, finally have support on a national stage from male leaders who know that women can't be equal outside the home until men are equal in it. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning on their belief that men should be, can be and want to be at home for their children.
Are you kidding me? Being a mom and having a career is the overwhelming cause of the suffering of women in this country? Suffering? That is nothing short of ridiculous. There is no doubt that motherhood involves suffering but that is part and parcel of the job irregardless of any other factor. I cannot believe that this statement came out of the original femi-nazi. So to avoid this suffering, women should give up one of their full-time jobs? If so, which one? And as someone who has never mothered while working, I find her hardly qualified to speak on this matter.
And since when is the domesticity of fathers an Obama/Biden campaign slogan? If anyone is looking for advice on how fathers can "be equal in the home" so "women can be equal outside the home," perhaps they should schedule a coffee date with Todd Palin, who seems to be um, writing the book on this subject.
Oh - before I forget: make sure you don't miss the excellent journalism of Us Weekly, the magazine that claims to deliver the "latest breaking news and information on top celebrity stories, style, and more." If you want to know about Bristol's boyfriends tatoo or what baby gifts Bristol received from Jamie Lynn Spears, make sure you check out http://www.usmagazine.com/. From what I read, they should have stuck to fashion and celebrity news. Politics is really not "their thing."
If you want to read more about the absurd coverage of Sarah Palin, make sure you checkout the past few days of entry's on Jill's blog. Or just turn on CNN so you can watch for yourself while the liberals try to roll back women's rights.
And apparently P. Diddy has a problem with the entire state of Alaska. He has a really valuable and well-thought argument, which you can read about here.
Bottom line: to get so dirty, so desperate, the liberals must be really, really scared of Sarah Palin. And they should be.
Menu planning Monday has been cancelled due to the threat of Hurricane Hanna. We'll likely be drinking bottle water and eating canned beans for the next few days. Fun. If you need me, I'll be bungee-cording my new shutters. Ahem.
And be sure to turn up the volume on your computer. The Fox & Friends commentary is hilarious.