Making my life easier…that’s always my plan!

I like to think of myself as aspiring to total efficiency, but I might just be lazy. I could spin my housekeeping and shopping routines as organized and efficient, but really, the whole idea is to make my life easier. And it does. I realize, having had a rough few months with a teething pre-toddler (if you haven’t been around a baby in a while, you may not realize that teething makes babies fussy and clingy and learning a new skill, like walking, does, too, so my life the past couple of months, adding in the frenzy of the holidays, has been haggard. Now the baby’s walking and the holidays are over…but two more teeth are coming in…) how much I NEED my routine. I’m getting back in that groove now with planned outings with Elizabeth each day, scheduled housework each day, pre-planned activities with Caroline each day. And I’m adding a new dimension to make my life easier — DINNER SWAP!

Today was our second swap, and I am just pleased as punch! Four other moms and I get together once a week. To that gathering, we bring three of the same meal to share with our friends, leaving one of that meal at our own home. We swap our meals, leaving with three dinners for the week. I cook on Sundays so I have help from John occupying the girls. Then on Monday, I swap meals with my friends leaving my fridge filled with a different meal for each weeknight. My new motto is “I only cook on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!

There are so many reasons why this food swap is so great.

1. No witching-hour scramble to get dinner together when I’m tired and both kids are extra-needy and we’re all counting the minutes until the daddy gets home.

2. No meal planning. Isn’t that the hardest part of dinner? Figuring out WHAT to cook?

3. Easier grocery shopping since I’m only planning four recipes a week and can buy in bulk.

4. Trying new things. Don’t you always wonder what other people eat? Now I get to try some of the neat things other families eat!

The dinner swap idea was inspired by several friends who are doing more of a dinner coop from ideas in the book DINNER AT YOUR DOOR. I wasn’t able to find enough interest within the two mile/five minute radius recommended, so we did this instead. I actually like getting the meals at once because I have a little more control over what we have each night. And it’s an extra play date for the mommas and kiddos!

I do plan to blog more this year, though I’m not making that a resolution or anything. I’m just planning on being more organized and less pulled-in-a-dozen-directions…thanks to things like dinner swap!

New Year’s Eve

Since I just spent a few minutes perusing past years’ New Year’s Eve blog entries, I figured I should write down a few thoughts tonight. I love looking back over my blog and remembering what was going on each year. We celebrated early again tonight, taking the bus (still no train!) to Austin’s First Night. And we ate wings for dinner. I guess that’s our tradition now.

We had a BIG 2009, starting the year by adding a new family member! Mary Elizabeth was born January 8, and she has spent the past year reminding me that, despite my ego, I do not have this parenting thing all figured out. I just had Caroline figured out. 🙂 It is taking me a bit longer to figure out Miss Elizabeth. But, that is my goal for the new year– to bring more order to our lives, routine. I tried to be a really laid back mama this time, but it just isn’t working. For next year, Elizabeth and I will have our morning activities followed by nap, picking up sister and do something together followed by nap. I do see things getting a bit easier with her even over the last few days now that she has figured out walking and two molars have poked through. (I do anticipate those next two molars any moment now, so I know we’re aren’t smooth sailing just yet.)

Caroline’s big change of 09 would have to be her glasses. Well, becoming a big sister and her glasses. She has just melded both into her identity so seamlessly. I am so proud of her. Sometimes, easily frustrated with her. Always amazed at her.

For John and me, our big 09 change has been transitioning from our beloved St. Matthew’s to the new and growing St. Julian’s Episcopal Church. I still have pangs of doubt about this significant decision, but I am so excited, too. I made a list last week of what is important to me in a church — what I love at St. Matthew’s — and realized that I can have all of that, community, a social outlet, spiritual growth, at St. Julian’s. (My two blog readers might be sick of my back and forth over this move, but really, it is such a big decision.)

Also on my mind this holiday season has been that I can fully celebrate (um, wine…champagne) this year since I am not pregnant. Last year, I was SO pregnant with Elizabeth, and the year before, I was halfway through a doomed pregnancy. Since so many of my holiday memories are tied to being pregnant these last two years, that lost baby boy has been on my mind and in my heart. So, tonight is the first New Year’s Eve in three years that I am not wearing maternity pants and can indulge in the bubbly. 🙂

Sure, next year, I want to be more organized, more healthy, more present in each moment. I’m not one for resolutions though. At least not at the beginning of the year. I enjoy many rebirths throughout the year and will wait until the gyms are not so crowded to tackle new goals.