Weekly Meal Plan: 26 January to 31 January

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Russian tea cakes from B's curriculum for last week.

Russian tea cakes from B’s curriculum for last week.

So I’m fully embracing the “fail” theme I started the year with and inadvertently taking breaks from the blog. That would be the failing at writing part. Honestly, I don’t feel any guilt over this at all. C is sleeping less during the day and going to bed later at night, so the little time I had to myself is now even littler. It just keeps going away. This means I have even less time to do things like drop you all a line or post a meal plan.

But I was telling a friend the other day that this place is my creative outlet, whether it’s through (attempting) to write, photography, designing….whatever. This is my creative upchuck on the web. I’ve embraced the fact that I will never be a “big” blogger with a marketing plan and social media prowess, but I think, in many ways, I’m really okay with that because that just feels like too much pressure. Even the two posts I wrote last year for “big” bloggers were enough to send me into near panic mode (partially because I’m no good at writing blog posts that fit into the build-your-readership guidelines).

I’m just not very good at putting myself out there.

At any rate, I haven’t forgotten about this space. I have so.many ideas for things I want to talk about. The main one right now is about how powerful apologies can be. But also, I’ve been ruminating about Rob Bell’s Love Wins, and, essentially, blowing up my entire belief system. I so want to write a post about that because it’s been mind-blowing to me. Eye-opening. Absolutely beautiful.

But at the same time, I want to give this idea of “love winning” its due course. I don’t want to be flippant or try to fit it into so many words because of the supposed short attention span of the world at large. I want to really put down what it’s done for me. How it has truly just changed my thinking. How it just makes so much more sense to me than the doctrines I believed for so long.

But…well…I need time for that. And I have very little of that these days. So instead, I just keep on thinking about things to post without actually posting anything.

Anyway, here’s a meal plan post for you after two? three? weeks of none. You can forget what I said about these not showing up on the homepage anymore. I changed my mind. I’ve been known to do that. [Read more…]

Weekly Meal Plan: 5 January to 11 January

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I’ve decided to finally make a little change I’ve been thinking about doing for a while here on the site and I’ll be removing the meal plans from the main page (this is the last meal plan post you’ll see there). I’m still going to post them each week (well…most weeks, at least), but they’ll only show up on their archive page. Until I can figure out how to exclude them from my main RSS feed (I’m working on about 4 hours of sleep right now, so I don’t feel that my brain is up to the task), they’ll still show up there as well as in the mailing list. But I’ll let you know when they’ll no longer be there. I also created a new mailing list for only those posts, so if you’ve subscribed to the main mailing list but are really only interested in getting the meal plan posts, you can unsubscribe from the main list and subscribe to the meal plan list.

And that takes care of housekeeping. :) On to food….

In the new year, my goal is to make one freezer meal per week. Also, apparently my goal is to make my life more difficult as there is no ground beef left from our beef side we got last April, so any freezer meals I plan either have to involve chicken or steak as that’s all I have left in my freezer. I feel so unAmerican leaving the steaks to last, but they’re honestly the most difficult for me to cook. Our grill is downstairs in our garage and we have to roll it out on to the driveway in order to grill anything, which is inconvenient, to say the least (have I mentioned yet that we really need to move?). So each and every beef side we’ve purchased results in a few weeks of trying to figure out how to cook 25 steaks.

And that’s where we are now. We pick up our next side in a few weeks, but until that time, my freezer meals will rely heavily on chicken.

I’m going to include links to the recipes that are available online, otherwise I’ll include links to the resource where I got the recipe. Here’s this week: [Read more…]

In 2015, I Will Fail

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In 2015, I will fail.

I will fail at being a mother. I will fail at being a wife. I will fail at being a family member. I will fail at being a friend. I will fail at being a writer. I will fail at being a cook. I will fail at pretty much every thing that I try to be.

And I’ve finally (finally!) come to the realization that this is okay.

I was rocking C the other night at 3 in the morning because she was (of course) wide awake and I thought (crazily so) that rocking might put her to sleep. I’ve not been the most patient of mothers lately, mainly because these nights of her waking up at 2, 3 or 4 am and staying awake for an hour or two have been coming more often than not. B, C, and myself were sick two weeks ago and I got hit with mastitis just before Christmas. This makes for an unhappy mama cocktail which, in summary, means I keep screwing up. I love the principles of attachment parenting, but I’m not so great at applying them in some most situations.

I was rocking and rocking and rocking and it was a good night because I was, despite the paltry hour of sleep I managed to get before she woke up, being patient with her. I was enjoying her. Her littleness. The softness of her head. The smell of her. The feeling of her little arm around my neck. Every so often, she’d bounce, which normally sends me into an inner volcano of rage and despair, but for some reason, that night, I just kept quietly rocking and thanking God for the fact that I wasn’t freaking out. I wasn’t flying off the handle or putting her down so I could just not be a mom (HAH) for a split second.

And it suddenly hit me that I will fail. I know, light bulb moment, folks. One of my many quirks is that I tend to throw the baby out with the bathwater (figuratively speaking for any of B or C’s grandparents reading). When I attempt something, parenting, friendship, projects, etc. when I get to the part where I fail at some aspect of it (which I inevitably do), I tend to launch myself into the Pit of Despair and either give up altogether, or wallow there for a while and leave part of myself behind to keep dwelling there. If I fail at any aspect of something than I, Rebecca, am a failure and there is no gray area. No in-between. No giving it my best shot.

Success or failure. That’s all. Resistance is futile.

But in that moment in the quiet hours of the morning, I knew that I would fail. I knew that I wasn’t suddenly going to start being patient with my kids all the time because I had one good night. I knew that I would, whether or not it was the next night, the next week, or the next month, lose my cool with one or both of them and make some kind of enormous parenting error.

It will happen.

But another mechanism clicked in my brain at the exact same moment and a connection was made. The light bulb finally came to life.

On the cosmic balance sheet, failures do not equal more than successes. Yes, I will have bad times. I will make stupid decisions. I will say and do hurtful things, not only to my kids but to my husband, my family members, my friends, the lady at the grocery store, the guy walking his dog on the street, etc. etc. and so on forever. I WILL do these things.

But I will also have successes. B will do something INSANELY annoying and I will not snap at him to stop but will just enjoy the fact that he’s a little boy with so.much.energy and an enormous heart. C will wake up and bounce and coo and giggle at 3 am and I will rock her and kiss her cheek and tell her that she is pure love. And as long as long as I know that these times number more than the failures, I’m doing okay. As long as the times of love, the times of patience and kindness and gentleness and laughter and all that equal more than the times when I’m just done and my head explodes, we’re doing all right.

We’ll be okay.

So my one resolution in 2015 is to fail and be okay with it. To not dwell on it, but just accept it, move on, and aim for the good times. Because those really are the thing that matters the most.

Choosing Hope

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There are three maps that I’ve been referring to a lot in the last few weeks. The first is this one:

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Followed by this one:

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And then this one:

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And I am hopeful.

Before the whole Massachusetts discussion, leaving Colorado was a distant option in my mind. I wanted to stay here because, honestly, this is what I know. I’ve been here for 19 years now, which is a little hard to believe. My dad is here. I have friends here (though I realized the other day that the majority of my friends live in other states). I love the mountains.

But even though I’ve made some amazing friends and memories here, I’ve never really wanted to be here. This has been the case even from the very beginning when my dad announced that we were moving across the country in the middle of my freshman year of high school. I wrote on my About page when I first published it that I wanted to move back to the midwest, where I grew up, or to Ireland, someday. I’ve never changed that line, which is why it’s strange for me to think that now, when I have pretty much the perfect opportunity to chase that dream, I decided that I wanted to stay here. Part of me wonders if I came to peace with the fact that it’s not Colorado that I dislike, but rather Denver. Part of me wonders if I was just too scared to think about packing everything up and moving anywhere else because it’s all out there. What do I know about out there?

But when Massachusetts started to become more and more of a possibility and we started looking at things like home prices and raw milk availability and homeschool laws and taxes in other states, I began to picture myself out there and I started to feel really hopeful. Hopeful that maybe that little voice I heard when E was first laid off that said that there’s something better out there for us wasn’t just me talking to myself. That maybe it’s the truth…that maybe it’s okay to dream about something better. That maybe all of these dreams I have about our future can come true…..though not in Colorado.

I still have land envy, and it’s all the more true now that B is a real little boy (rather than only a toddler hinting at becoming a real little boy) and has so.much.energy, but is cooped up all day because our “yard” consists of a second-floor patio. When we started looking at homes in Denver earlier this year, the ones that fell within our price range were modest places on tiny lots. We’re not farmers. We weren’t looking to buy 40+ acres or even just a hobby farm. But we wanted space. Somewhere we could spread our legs a little and maybe get a few chickens. We knew, though, that as long as we stayed in Denver, that wasn’t going to happen and we lowered our hopes and thought maybe a cookie cutter lot, crammed in with 7 others one one acre, was just how it would be.

When I started looking at real estate in other places, I began to realize just how inflated prices are here and that’s when I start to get excited. We have the entire country open to us now. It’s not as if we didn’t before, but there’s something about not being tied down with a job that makes the decision to leave a little less difficult. So E has been applying in all kinds of places and each time he does, I load up the real estate site just to see what’s available and, without fail, I see beautiful, HUGE lots (at least an acre or more) with trees and views and streams and NATURE and all the things that go with having land. And I get so, so excited for what our future can look like.

I think it’s pretty easy in a situation like ours to get down and discouraged and feeling pretty hopeless, especially this time of year when everyone else is making holiday plans and embracing the cheer of the season. But, really, I’ve found that hope is a choice and I want to keep ending up on the positive side of that choice. I want to be able to dream about the future. Dream about the house we’ll end up raising our kids in. Dream about the little piece of property that will be ours and the possiblities that will open up to us when we have a place to raise those chickens and plant a garden and feel grass between our toes in the summer time.

I choose to be hopeful.