Monday, October 29, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: doomed to fail

Last night, as Oath fell asleep early and kept sleeping until feed time, I took a moment to get back on menu planning. It was harder than expected, as we had gone grocery shopping on Friday and I am used to buy according to the plans, not the other way around. Anyway, I managed.

And this morning, when I was announcing what I was going to cook for lunch...

"Oh, by the way, I am going to skip eating carbs again"

Hello Mr. Partner. And oh, by the way, couldn't you have told me yesterday?

So, this weeks menu plan is doomed to fail, one way or another: either he skips most carbs (and so we end up following another completely different menu plan) or I trump his dieting efforts (which is not nice).
We should find a middle ground, don't you think?

Anyway, that's what I planned:

  • Lunch: Rice "a la cubana"
  • Dinner: Fish with shrimp and caramelized onions, and garlic bread as a side
  • Lunch:  Sausahes and mashed potatoes
  • Dinner: Burgers
  • Lunch: Spaghetti carbonara
  • Dinner: Sea-food "raoles"
  • Lunch: Chick-peas with chorizo
  • Dinner: Soup and chicken nuggets
  • Lunch: Beef fajitas
  • Dinner: Noodles
  • Lunch: Pasta with tuna and tomato
  • Dinner: Puff pastry cheese and ham braid
  • Lunch: Fried rice
  • Dinner: Vinegar and honey chicken legs

Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Oath's Mom

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A handmade gift

Last week my younger (but not youngest!) sister, S, turned 21. I remember very vividly where was I at that age, feeling lost even though I had finally given some direction to my life. Things looked harder than they were, life seemed harsh and rough, and some very important people let me down. It could have been way worse, but it still sucked.
I have the feeling that she is in a similar place now, with her life changing a lot, feeling alone and scared at times, lonely. So, I decided to make something special for her, something warm and bright and cozy: my first crocheted fingerless mitts.

As soon as I saw the yarn I fell in love: KnitCol (shade 64, in blue, navy, aqua & green), 100% merino wool. It was so different to work with than the acrylics I am used to! And, despite the doubts the shopkeeper had, I think it looks wonderful crocheted. Don't you think so too?

I freestyled them, weighing the remaining yarn in the ball to see when I should end one and start the other. I love how that makes them different while still looking part of the same pair.

(about my home-rescueing mission... it failed. I'm back at square one. It's always the same, isn't it? You work, and life undoes all your progress!)

Oath's Mom

Monday, October 15, 2012

Back to routine #3: start over

After planning and spending one week trying to get our home just messy, it's been time to really start over. 

I have to admit I thought it would be harder, but the world wanted to help me a bit, it seems, and sent my in-laws to visit us on Monday. Which I don't mind, but the house was in its "just messy" state. Desperation! Mondays are the main bedroom cleaning days, and that had been done, but I couldn't entertain them there, now could I? It would have been really weird, and if they do not think already that I am a bit cuckoo that would have been the last straw. So, turning the messy living room into an in-laws ready living room was in order.
And I did. I even called Partner (it was and impromptu visit, and he was working and could not help me gather most things and hide them in the guest room) when I finished mopping to tell him that if he ever wants me to clean fast, to tell me his parents are coming. Yep, I trust him to not use this knowledge against me, though sometimes I'm sure he should.

This meant that I started the week more tired that I should, but with less mess on my way, which in the end caused less stress. I do not recommend it, but the visit certainly helped me get on my way and achieve what I had planned for this week!
I did not loose that momentum, and have kept up with weekly room cleaning; loading, running and unloading the dishwasher; doing laundry (4 loads, and would have done more if the weather had been better and the last load had dried today)... I even sorted the 7 (7!) bags of baby clothes I hadn't even looked at! Now the clothes I don't like/need are apart, and the ones that I might use are already sorted by size and kind, all neatly folded!

I love it when things happen as I planned them! Don't you?

Oath's Mom

Saturday, October 13, 2012

10 things that I did not believe

After many weeks without, another 10 things... post comes to us.

People told me many things, some of which I believed and some that I didn't. Some turned out to be true and some to be false, for me. Today I present you with 5 of each.

First the truths...

1. "You don't know how much time there's in a day and how much you waste it until you have a kid."

I still can't believe how true this is. The day keeps on having 24 hours, but I do what I did before, plus some more, plus all the child-caring (which is a lot). I sure was a very lazy procrastinator!

2. "You don't know true love until your child is born."

I knew love. Deep love, burning love. But not as deep, as burning, as soul moving as the one I feel now when I look at Oath. It sounds sappy, but I don't mind. I can't imagine what will be having another kid (if we have another), but I'm sure it will be as mind-boggling.

3. "Of course you can function on less than 10 hours of sleep!".

I used to need 12 hours of sleep to not be a zombie. Now, somehow, I can sleep 5 hours an be perfectly functional all day. It must be hormonal or something.

4. "When you become a mother, you slowly get like your own mother."

Partner once even told me "If you keep on acting more and more like your mother, I think I'll despair." It struck me hard, but it was true: all the things that I did not understand about my mom, now I do... because I do them myself. Searing migraines? Check. Obsessed with cleaning? Check. Hates TV? Check. And so much more.

5. "You will soon forget how life was before him".

Remind me, how was life as a non-parent? Did it ever happen?

Then the lies...

6. "You don't know what you are getting into."

Oh, of course I do. I work with babies, toddlers and young children. I also remember perfectly my youngest sister's birth, and was old enough to change many diapers and wake up many times at night. I believed I knew what I was getting into, and haven't still changed my mind.

7. "It doesn't matter what you want or do not want now; when in labor you'll [do whatever it was that the person saying it did]"

They mostly told me I so would get an epidural / want to run to the hospital at the first contraction / give the baby the pacifier / stop breastfeeding soon. We'll have to see about the breastfeeding, but for now I am very sure I do not want to stop until he self-weans. Everything else I did it how I had planned to, and even though it would not have been a disaster at all if I had decided to do it another way, it bugged me that they assumed that their way was the only right or possible one.

8. "They call it quarantine, but that's a huge exaggeration!"

Umm... yeah. No exaggeration in the word quarantine (the meaning of which is related to "forty"), so if you are like me, do not freak out and believe you are dying. Talk with your doctor if you feel you need to, of course.

9. "Soon you'll want to leave the baby with somebody else."

Right, because I don't know where I am getting into and won't stand caring for my son. I work with babies, and love it, why wouldn't I love staying with my own? I still can't understand what drove some people to tell me this. Of course, there's still time for me to get tired, but I don't think it would qualify as soon if I did.

10. "You are not eating enough!"

Pregnant women do not need to look fat to be healthy. As with non pregnant women, we have a variety of different metabolisms and body shapes: the fact that I can fit in most of my pre-pregnancy clothes and me face looks as thin as ever does not mean I'm starving myself and the baby.

Oath's Mom

Monday, October 8, 2012

Menu plan Monday again, finally!

I had certainly fallen off the wagon with meal planning too, hadn't I? All the changes that Oath is going through (like any other baby) throw me off a loop and I have a hard time picking myself back up and get going. Lets try again.

The diet menu did not work, mostly because Partner was so stressed he could not and would not cook his meaty meals, so it was left to me and... well... when I see blood on the meat I can't help but cringe, and he was fed up with chicken and does not like pork, so...

Anyway, we'll try again when he's mustered the willpower again. That means no diet meal plan this week. Instead, we'll have the usual dishes with some new recipes I want to try:

  • Lunch: Beef fajitas
  • Dinner: Honey and vinegar chicken legs
  • Lunch: Chick-pea salad
  • Dinner: Hamburgers
  • Lunch:  Spaghetti carbonara
  • Dinner: Fish with shrimp and caramelized onions
  • Lunch: Sea-food "raoles"
  • Dinner: Sausages and mashed potatoes
  • Lunch: Chicken strogonoff with rice
  • Dinner: Soup or leftovers
  • Lunch: Pasta with tuna and tomato
  • Dinner: Puff pastry cheese and ham braid
  • Lunch: Meatballs
  • Dinner: Stuffed potatoes

Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Oath's Mom

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Back to routine #2: from war zone to messy


Glorious, glorious Sunday! How I wish you wouldn't end... and so I wouldn't have to face Monday.

Today ends the week I should have used for turning my disaster home into something a bit more manageable. I look around and can't see much change, but I feel it. Something has changed and my home does not throw me into as deep a despair as last Sunday. Sure, there's still everything everywhere, not a single clear flat surface on sight, but I have the feeling that once I start working on it tomorrow it'll be easier to manage. Something has changed... but what? And, most importantly, how?

This might sound very similar to what Nony from A Slob Comes Clean does, and it is: I believe that this kind of approach is the best for cases like this. So, how have I turned a disaster into another less threatening one?

  1. Start with what MUST be done. There are things that can wait, but others just can't. I'm sure you know them when you see them: trash that has to be taken out, dirty clothes that have to be washed (or you'll be without clean underwear tomorrow, and that must not happen!), everybody has to eat so food should be bought...
  2. Put away what you use if you can. If you are like us, maybe the mess does not let you put half the things you use in their place. But if you do an effort and put away the other half, everything will slowly come together without you realizing it.
  3. When you go to another room, first look around to see if there's something near you that belongs there. If there is, do not leave empty-handed.
  4. When you have the time to clean, start with the easy things. Do not try to achieve perfection, nor to tackle that long hard project that's been bugging you. Instead, unload the dishwasher, rediscover your coach that has been buried beneath cushions and blankets, or put your coats away. It makes a difference, word.
  5. Every once in a while, give yourself a break. Specially if you catch yourself about to start scolding your 4 months old because he keeps waking up crying and does not let you do anything (I felt such a shame! Poor boy, probably having a nightmare or feeling unwell, and his mom wanting to tell him to stop! Thankfully, I stopped myself before I opened my big mouth), or wanting to scream and throw things at the wall (shame, shame! In my defense, it was only a pillow. But... shaaaaame!). Stop, breathe deep and ask yourself if a cleaner house is worth that much stress and hurt. Then buy yourself some Ikea chocolate cookies and crochet a zebra hat for your kid.

 I've been doing this all week (except the screaming and scolding, which I managed to not do), and while new messes have popped up here and there, I wouldn't declare the house a war zone today. It is very messy, indeed, but not THAT bad.

Tomorrow starts the real work. Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Back to routine #1: plan

I do not think I have said it here yet, but I am a planner.

Sadly, I am only a planner, and have not a single speck of doer in me. This leaves me having grandiose, amazing plans... that I hardly ever carry on. Which is a pity, believe me, because I know they would work incredibly well if I could just follow through with them.

Oh, well. I am working on it.

So, following my usual inclination, I planned how to get back on the housekeeping bandwagon:

  1. First, I need to take our house from war zone to messy, just so I can really start working. I guesstimate that this can take me a week (which means I should be halfway through it right now. Umm... Errm... Yeah.)
  2. Then, I have to start over with my weekly tasks, to bring the house closer to normal (but not quite there yet). This should take another week.
  3. Next comes another week (I seem to like to plan by weeks, don't I?) of fake deep cleaning. You know, not only wiping but actually scrubbing, mopping on top of vacuuming... the kind of things that aren't really deep cleaning but that do not get done every time I clean.
  4. And, at last, maintaining. Once I've done the fake deep cleaning it should be easier to maintain the house in a decent state. And though we know that "should" doesn't always mean "will", I hope. 
This will take all of October, because I am going home 5 days on the middle of it, so my "Back to routine" mission will have to pause for a while. By the 31st everything should be as much under control as I can have it.

Which makes me think about November, and the plans of actually organizing something that I have for then... but that will have wait.

What about you? Do you have a special plan to get back on track or do you just jump back in where you left?

Oath's Mom

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

State of house: war zone

No, I haven't disappeared.

Yes, I've had some hectic weeks and I'm in dire need of getting back into something close to a routine.

Just to let you know how bad it has been, a week ago I threw my towel and decided I'd rather live with the mess than try to keep up fighting it. I quit. I closed my eyes and overlooked it, wishing it didn't exist.
But, oh boy, how does it exist!

As getting back into routine at the beginning of September had been so easy it hadn't given me the opportunity to blog about it (really, I was just back and BAM!, everything fell back into place), I decided to document it now, while I discover how to do it.

 Right now, all the house is in the worst state I've ever seen it, full on war zone. Random things everywhere, strewn all over the place, even where they do not make one bit of sense. I've found socks (clean socks, mind you) in the kitchen!! I don't know how they got there, and I'm quite sure I don't want to know.
It's not only my fault, though, and I feel better knowing it. Partner has been very busy and stressed out, and that means that messes appear everywhere he goes (I do not think he is aware of it, but he's the Mess Father when he is busy. Fingers crossed Oath won't inherit/learn that from him!). And my brother-in-law chose this week to drop off about seven bags full of baby clothes... which I am thankful for, but I have no place to put them! I should muster the strength to go through them, separate the ones I know I won't ever use from the ones I might dress Oath in, and all those from the few I really like. Then divide the two latter by sizing, return the "I-don't-want-to-look-at-them-thank-you-very-much" ones,  put away the "maybe sometime..." ones on some boxes, and wash, fold the lovely ones and...

Conclusion? I'll never get to it. I'd better be a realist and admit that I will choose the few I like, wash them, and then get all stressed out because there's no place to put them and my brother-in-law won't take the rest back and OMG I CAN'T TRASH THEM OR MY INLAWS WOULD KILL US, WHAT DO I DO?
Roll up into a ball in a corner and cry for a while.

But sometime I'll have to get up and work. Baby clothes or usual messes, they have to be gone as soon as possible, so I'd better get working.

My first goal? Turning this war zone into a messy house. Then, we'll see.

I am back at square zero and there's so much work to do... let's do it!

Oath's Mom
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