Wow, it’s been three weeks since I’ve participated in my own blog carnival. It’s good to be back! And thanks to Grace for replying to multiple last-minute emails with the subject “Can you host 7QT this week?!?!?”
I’ve been doing 7 Quick Takes pretty much every Friday for almost five years, so it felt weird not to spend Thursday afternoons writing my posts (though not that weird, since everything was so chaotic that I usually didn’t know what day it was anyway). Thinking about how long I’ve been in this Friday routine inspired me to look up my first Quick Takes posts, from waaaay back in October 2008. It was especially interesting since the three children I had then were the close to the same ages at that time that my three youngest are now. Reading those stories made me realize that I have learned a few things about management household chaos…but mostly I haven’t, and things are pretty much as crazy now as they were back then.
For those of you who care to stumble along with me down Memory Lane:
- Quick Takes Vol. 1: The friend I refer to at the top was Hallie. This was back in her pre-blog days, when she didn’t have a fabulous site for me to link to. Also, I really need to revisit that idea from #7 about telling Joe that I’m using our downstairs living area as a performance art space.
- Quick Takes Vol. 2: Oh, wow. #3. Never again shall I buy clunky metal lunch boxes for my children, no matter how much 80s throwback charm they have. And I still occasionally think about #5 when I’m at the grocery store, filled with a burning desire for vindication so that all the employees of HEB might know once and for all that there WAS a black widow in my grapes!!!
- Quick Takes vol. 5: Ha, ha! I can’t believe I ever tried to convince Joe that we should make our own yogurt (#3). That is the very definition of “exercise in futility.”
One of the things that surprised me about the whole NICU thing was how much the kids missed me. For one thing, they were staying with their grandmothers, whom they see almost every day anyway, so they were in familiar environments. But mainly I was surprised because I thought they’d enjoy having competent caretakers for a while, since I was not exactly adding a lot of value to our family during the last few weeks of the pregnancy. I mean, seriously: if I could have found a large mannequin with an unbrushed reddish-gray wig and a voicebox that would yell “STOP IT!” at ten-minute intervals, I could have planted it in my chair in the living room and it would have covered fully 80% of what I was doing in the average day.
But, as it turned out, my kids were evidently pretty happy to have foul-tempered-blob mommy around, as evidenced by how anxious they were for me to come home from the NICU. It’s made me feel more confident about my parenting skills (or lack thereof) to know that simply being present counts for a lot.
I need to take this opportunity to give a huge shout-out to my friend Kathryn Whitaker, whose blog you should read if you don’t already. She was such a huge help to me over these past couple of weeks. Her fifth child was in the NICU for 44 long days, so she had an intimate understanding of the challenges I was facing (she wrote a great post with tips for parents of NICU babies, which applies to anyone going through a stressful time).
Kathryn stopped by the hospital to visit me the day after the baby was born and gave me a ride out of there, which was a tough moment since I was leaving the maternity ward without a baby. She sent me encouraging texts, and delivered an amazing NICU survival gift bag to the hospital. The day before our little man was released, she came by my house with some pre-prepared meals for our freezer, as well as a generous gift certificate to The Studio Kitchen which she’d put together with donations from other generous friends. She even offered to pick up our Studio Kitchen meals so that I don’t have to go pile everyone into the car! She is every bit as gracious and kind and superwoman-ish as she seems on her blog. Thanks, Kathryn!
I have a food challenge for you: I need some creative lunch ideas. Not “creative” as in “I want to assemble the food on my children’s plates in the likeness of St. Pius V in honor of his feast day,” but “creative” like “I’m trying not to eat about half of the food items that would typically be involved in an American lunch.” Joe expressed some mild concern about the current meal plan of letting the kids eat chips off the floor, and even I have caught myself marveling at the fact that my children can sustain life on the quasi-edible things that I have been letting them consume, some of which I’m not even sure qualify as “food” in the classic sense of the word.
The Perfect Health Diet has done wonders for my health and energy levels (when I’m actually following it), so that’s what I’m going to try to get the kids to eat too. This means:
- No processed food
- No grains other than rice (no bread, pasta, tortillas, quinoa, etc.)
- No beans
I’ve got dinners down, and since I’m counting Rice Crispies as PHD-approved food I have breakfasts covered too. Now I just need some easy lunch ideas. Any suggestions?
Thinking about the lunch issue has made me interested in bento boxes. They’re so cute, and the Japanese food that typically fills them is very close to what the Perfect Health Diet recommends. I am overwhelmed with the urge to go buy The Just Bento Cookbook and these utensils that cut veggies into charming shapes and start reading bento box blogs. But is this possible for moms of large families (or, more accurately, moms of large families who are not gifted in the domestic arts)? Is throwing together a basic, no-frills bento box (i.e. no faces on the food) something that I could do quickly and easily with a little practice? Or am I setting myself up for failure to even think the words “bento boxes” and “six kids” in the same sentence? Pontificate away.
I’m going to the Ladies for Life brunch next weekend. This will involve exotic things like leaving the house to go somewhere other than a hospital and wearing makeup. I’m most excited about seeing the speaker, Melissa Ohden, whose story is absolutely amazing and inspiring. If you’re in Central Texas, come join us!