Sunday, May 29, 2011

SuperIma Sunday Check-in: "The End" Edition

I can feel it before I even start this post, friends - I am boring today.  B-O-R-I-N-G.  I just feel it, you know?  In my bones.  Like if we hung out I would be Debbie Downer womp-womping it all night, even though I'm not sad about anything.

 So, I'll make this short.

This was an incredible week for Super Ima-ness.  It must have been something about finally being mostly moved in our our new little home, plus the incredible twist and then twist-upon-a-twist ending sequence I dreamed up for my little writing project, but I worked SO much on it this week.  Every day.  It was AWESOME.  I did all my Ima duties well, taking walks around the block, hosting impromptu ice cream parties, reading books and teaching handwriting, but other stuff.....well...Some days, I didn't mop or vacuum.  One day, Asher wore his pajama pants all day. Another day, the kids had grilled cheese for dinner. And...wait for it...

the first draft is now officially done.  I titled a scene "The End."  What an incredible feeling.

This week, I've got to get a rough edit done through at least half the draft to send on to my sweet, incredible, talented readers.  You know who you are.  So a lot of things are going to slide, again.

Also!  I had a little vanity photo session with my good friend Amy so that we could both get some head shots.  Isn't she pretty?

If she got a headshot of me where I look reasonably thin and pretty, I will kiss her.  I haven't been happy with the way I looked in a photo for AGES.

Then I bribed my children with unweildy watermelon slices so that they would sit still for some photos.

Please hop on over to see my fellow Supers:  Amanda, who is psyched her husband is finally back in town for the sake of her waistline and wallet (and also because he's cute - her words not mine.) and Shannon, who - seriously? - had her bike stolen out of her garage IN BROAD DAYLIGHT.  Incredible.  So go give her some hugs.

What about you, fellow Supers?  What are you doing to bring yourself some sanity, peace, or contentment this week, and what are you going to scoot over to make some room for it?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

SuperIma Sunday Check-in: Unintentional Self-Deprecation Edition

Hello lovely Supers!

Before I start, I want to give mad hugs and kisses to two of my blogosphere besties, Amanda and Shannon.  They both wrote their own Super posts this week (as they do EVERY week.)  I really wish I lived closer to Amanda this week because her hubby, the Hazz, is out of town and she threw her back out, so she could probably use some dinner brought to her house.  Also Amanda made an awesome little graphic to go with her Super posts, you have to go see it!  She is so cool.

I want to give a super huge virtual squeeze to Shannon for giving me props on her blog for my meal planning post this week.  She said it was unnecessarily self-deprecating, and you know what?  I guess it was.  So thanks, Shannon, for helping me see that, in this one minuscule aspect of my life, I am awesome and successful.

It's one of those weeks, where there have been ups and downs and worries and frustrations and maybes and they're all floating around (and maybe making me cry a little) and making me exhausted, but they're not really topics for a SuperIma Sunday check-in for various reasons. Maybe (hopefully) another week.

So, a bit of a quick update on our moving-in progress.  We moved in nine days ago and have 6 out of 8 rooms unpacked and tidy.  We also didn't eat out at all, went grocery shopping three times (oy), went on approximately nine hundred walks around the block, and have kept up with laundry.  I am BEAT.

We also had a few friends over today for a Chanukat HaBayit, which is basically saying some nice words about peace and blessings in our home and putting up a mezuzah.  A bunch of our friends came over and it was SO good to see them, and, for some of them, to know that they live so close they WALKED over.  Everyone ate cheese and crackers and fruit and cookies, and drank ice water because I was too cheap to buy pop for everyone.  No one complained.  The kids played in the putzie pool and doused each other with hose water.  Nesyah ambled around the backyard naked and all the babies were squeezed and loved on about five times more than a normal Sunday.  A huge WIN all around.

About my goals.  Last week, I said I was going to work on my writing for pleasure project every day.  That happened exactly ONE day in any valuable sort of way.  It was a big fail.  Now that we are mostly moved in to the house, I've really got no excuse.  I have to buckle down on this sucker.  The first draft is soso close to done I can taste it, and I'm sort of kind of editing at the same time. (It's complicated.)  Next week, hopefully my news will be better.

What about you, Supers?  Any goals for the week?  Anything you're letting slide to make it happen?

You are doing an incredible job.  Keep up the great work.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How I Menu Plan ~or~ In Which I am Embarrassed and Everyone Feels Sorry for David

I've been outed.  Kind of.

I was smug enough to post a picture on Facebook of my menu boards finally hung in our new house.  Yeah, I just wanted to show everyone how awesome I think I am for menu planning.  Guilty, okay?

Then, this discussion happened.

What?  People want to see my actual menus?
Does that mean I have to admit how non-inventive, boring, and routine our menus are?  And maybe explain why I have no desire to change that?

Okay.  Well, here goes.

First, a disclaimer.  The overarching theme of all my cooking posts is how I hate, hate, HATE to potchke in the kitchen.  Well, I hate spending time standing and fussing over any aspect of home life, to be honest.  But if there's anything I know about myself from spending this last year as a full-time home manager, it's that I hate cooking.  Hate.  It.  So that will be reflected when I explain how I menu plan.

I like to menu plan for an entire month, using these white board calendars I picked up at Target.  They enable me to look at the whole month's meals to make sure that we don't have TOO much repetition, and also to balance the food budget over the course of the month.  More on that later.

When I have the blank menu board, the first thing I do is fill in every engagement I know we have for the month.  "Dad's birthday party" is one this month, and so is "BBQ at Kathryn's house."  This is so I don't plan a meal (and the groceries that go with it) for that night, because then I'd have extra ingredients and spend extra money.

Then, I write "Pizza" on every Thursday.  
Then, I write "Spaghetti" on every Wednesday.

Yes.  We have Pizza (homemade) and Spaghetti each and every week.  I can't plan seven unique, frugal, and and delicious meals for each week.  Just can't do it.  No way, no how.

Tuesday night is always crock pot night (a holdover from when I worked late on Tuesday nights.)  So, on each Tuesday, I write one of the following:
Black Bean Soup

Yes.  We have the same five crock pot meals over, and over, and OVER again.  

Monday night is in the "other" category.  On each Monday, I write one of the following:
Grilled Cheese
Tuna Melts
Stuffed Shells
Tuna Casserole

So now, Monday through Thursday are filled up.  So far, so boring.

Here's where I really get embarrassed.  I also have a standard rotation of Shabbat meals.

I know.

It all started when I figured out I could make schnitzel in gigantic batches and freeze it and stick it in the oven on Erev Shabbat and it would be almost as good as fresh.  Same thing with meatballs.  Now, we pretty much have schnitzel and Israeli salad every other week, and spaghetti and meatballs with green salad every other week.

Honestly, at this point in my life, stressing over original and delicious Shabbat dinners every week can reduce me to sweaty, exhausted tears.  David would rather have the same dinner every two weeks, I'm sure, than drag me into a psych ward on a Friday night because it's Shabbat, I'm smelly, the kitchen is still a mess, and I've botched a recipe that's neither inexpensive nor tried-and-true.

Shabbat lunch is always either cholent, tuna and egg salad, cold cut sandwiches, or some chicken breasts covered in jarred sauce and set on low in the morning (we're not shomer.)

On Saturday night, David is in charge.  Sometimes he comes up with something he potchkens over, because he doesn't mind doing that once in awhile.  It makes him feel like a kitchen star and he always cleans up the kitchen afterwards, so I don't mind.  Sometimes he runs out for Chipotle or Pad Thai and that's okay too.

Sundays are a disaster.  I have some huge mental block with Sundays, and I always stress about what to serve.  Usually we end up eating Shabbos leftovers or just plain pasta with sauce.  That is my one menu planning sticking point.  Any advice?

Anyway.  Now you know how I plan my boring, repetitive, menus.  It's not exciting, and we hardly ever try new things, but this keeps me out of the psych ward and our family within a $450 grocery budget every month.

Do you menu plan?  Are your meals more exciting than mine?  Any tips for an extra-frazzled Ima?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

SuperIma Sunday Check-In: MOVING!!!

Hello, friends.  I am exhausted.  But not just any exhausted.  Moving exhausted.  And not just any moving exhausted.  Moving back HOME exhausted.

Moving is a ridiculous expenditure of physical energy.  Your whole body aches after an entire day where all you did is spend two hours unpacking dishes (seriously? how?), spent seven thousand dollars at Target, hung three pictures, and reheated some pizza for your kids on paper plates.  But this time, all of that feels SO GOOD.  Because we're home, folks.  Why, just this weekend we had no less than five friends help us out with the kids so we could make a big push to unpack. (Hi, Sarah, Allison, Elle, Susan, and Steph!  We love you all!)

Columbus, Ohio isn't paradise, but for us it just feels right.  All the moving exhaustion in the world can't ruin that.

Even though my bathtub looks like this:
(trading the opportunity to bathe for makeshift counter space)

I got to see this for the first time in almost two months, which really made my heart sing:
(a cluttered desk of my VERY OWN)

But the real payoff is this - MY KITCHEN IS BACK!!!!
(David is terrified of the knife strip, which is just the way I like it.)

Oh, man.  I am yawning like every two seconds writing this horrible post adorned with even more horrible (cell phone!) pictures, so let's save both of us the pain and wrap this up, shall we?
We know two things:  1.  My house is still mostly a disaster and 2. I'm still a person working on a writing project on a kind of deadline.

Here's my SuperIma Check-in.  Each day at naptime I'm setting my timer for 45 minutes and working on moving-in stuff.  Putting away clothes, unpacking stuff, organizing, etc.  When the timer goes off, I'm sitting down to write.  The house will be unpacked and organized in weeks instead of days, but for the sake of the sanity and self-worth department I'd say it's worth it.

What about you, my sweet Supers?  What are you going to do for yourself this week, and what has to slide to let you do it?

While you're thinking about that, go visit my sweet friends Amanda, who is wondering if spring is really on its way, and Shannon, who has a really good question about date night that I'm still waffling over.

You're doing an incredible job.  Keep up the awesome work!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

SuperIma Sunday Check-in: Ima's Day

*Sigh*  Ima's Day is always so hard on me.  I know that some people have a really wonderful relationship with their mothers, and other people don't.  And it always makes me really wonder - what does it take to be a good mother?

 I mean, on Mother's Day, I always think about how I've done so much for my kids - gestating and giving birth to them, for starters, and then feeding them and keeping them clean and ALIVE each and every day. And sometimes entertained.  But then I think that all those things are really something I *have* to do, not something that it's awesome that I did.

How do I make sure that I have a really strong, lasting relationship with my kids?  If I really get to thinking about it, words like, "trust," "respect," "involvement," and "dependability" knock around in my head, but that fails to answer the questions of "What if they do something I hate?" or "What if I don't like them?" or, maybe worst, "What if we just don't get along?"  I'm pretty sure parenting means I'm supposed to do all those lofty things I just mentioned anyway, but oh my G-d, it is so, SO hard.  I know.  I've seen it happen.


Anyway, I'm sure it would all be a lot easier if I wasn't 1. Exhausted and 2. Resentful.  I had two big dreams for this Mother's Day.

Dream #1 - No one would ask me about food for the entire weekend.  For example:  "Leigh Ann, do we have food for the kids?" (translation - Leigh Ann, please prepare and serve lunch to the children, after you've made sure they all wash their hands with soap and water and are sitting quietly at the table.) or: "Hon, what were our plans for dinner?" (translation - What are you planning to cook/have already cooked for me to heat up.)
Reality #1 - I worked all week to get food ready for the weekend, but still had to potchken over at least two meals a little bit.  Also, I prepped and packed breakfast for this morning (for David's mother) and am gearing up to cook dinner for this evening (because David is swamped with a last minute project.)

Dream #2 - No one would ask me about clothing for the entire weekend.  For example:  "Leigh Ann, do we have clothes for the kids?"  Translation: "Leigh Ann, please locate and assemble appropriate and clean outfits for all three of the children, and bring them here, so I can dress/play with one of them while you dress two."
Reality #2 - I've already done two loads of laundry and retrieved three separate clothing items.

Now, I'm not full-on complaining.  David gave appropriate respect to Mother's Day this year, and treated my camera (to a new lens) and my right hand (to that daughter's ring I've been wanting to go with my two sons' rings.)  And people have said "Happy Mother's Day," and I've gotten cards.  And yesterday I got to leave the house for a whole morning to do some writing.  (Yes, I did have to do damage control before and after.)

Also, one of the blogs I follow posted this:\

I was sitting on a bench
while in a nearby mall,
When I noticed a young mother
with two children who were small.

The youngest one was whining,
"Pick me up," I heard him beg
but the mother's face grew angry
as the child clung to her leg.

"Don't hang on to me," she shouted
as she pushed his hands away,
I wish I'd had the courage
to go up to her and say...

"The time will come too quickly
when those little arms that tug,
Won't ask for you to hold them
or won't freely give a hug."

And SERIOUSLY?  I know it's supposed to make me appreciate my kids more, but it just made me feel SHAMED for not wanting to pick my kids up sometimes.  Because I'm sure, like me, that that poor mom in the mall had been up since 5 AM and had already picked up her kid five million times that day.  And she probably also hugged and kissed and loved on him too, but that one judgmental lady in the durn shopping mall wanted to butt in and tell her how to be a good mom. 

This is all very disjointed, and I guess it's just an emotional day for me for a lot of reasons.  If any of you has any thoughts on any of this stuff, I'd love to hear them.  Unless you're telling me to stop complaining and go be a mother instead of writing this post.  Then I'll delete you, because it's my blog and I can do what I want.

Oh, right!  We still have to check in.

Well, we're moving this week (!!!!!!!!!!!!!HAPPY DANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) so it's going to be all about organizing and planning, making arrangements for people to sit with the kids so I can unpack (oh, luxury!) etc.

Also, I have to finish my book.  But who cares about that?  It's just a silly thing I'm doing.  What's really important is that we have clothes for the kids.

I'm going to try to shower every day this week.  I think that's the best I can do.

What about you, SuperImas?  How has your week been?  What are your goals for self care this coming week?  What are you going to be more relaxed about to let it happen?

You're doing an incredible job, Supers.  Keep on keepin' on, everyone.

(Also, please go visit Shannon and Blessed Little Bird, two of my most favorite ladies in the whole wide midwest, who checked in even before I did this week.  Love you two!)


Happy Mother's Day!

(The requisite 2011 Ima's Day shot.  I had to swap heads to achieve a shot where Ashi wasn't glaring too much, and Rami wasn't screaming at the horror of sitting on my lap and being asked to smile.  But then they gave me kisses and it was okay.)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

SuperIma Sunday Check-In: The Epitome of Fed-Up

Nesyah hasn't been sleeping.  At all.

That's not true.  She's sleeping from about 8:00 to 1:00.  Then she wakes up and decides that she wants to hang out.  So she stands up in her pack and play and yells - literally, yells - until someone gets up to get her.  We're talking full on tantrum.  And  bringing her to bed with me doesn't work, because she doesn't want to sleep, she wants to play.

Now, we are a Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child family.  It's always worked for us in the past and we think that Dr. Weissbluth is a genius.  We really don't have an issue with letting kids cry a bit (unless they're sick or there's something else wrong, obviously.)   But during this transition time, we're all sharing a room, which means that if Nesi wakes up, everyone wakes up, and I'm the only one with a hope of sleeping through it.

Last night, I was up with her, playing, from 12:45 to 4:15 AM.  I tried to sleep on the living room floor while she played, but she pulled my hair and scratched my face.  She finally looked drowsy at 4:15 and we were both able to fall asleep on the living room floor.  I slept for another few hours, thanks to David watching the kids, but when I woke up?  I'm not going to lie.  I kind of felt really angry towards Nes.  I kind of hated her a little.  And I definitely didn't want to see her or deal with her.

That really freaked me out, so I called my sister, and she said that I needed one full night's sleep.  And that she and my brother in law would be happy to have Nesyah stay the night.  So, at 6:45, off the Princess went. It's not even 9:00, and I am SO SO excited to tuck in and sleep until 6:00 when I have to get up and go retrieve her.

I'm pretty sure I'll love her a lot more tomorrow.  Just saying.  I'll probably love my sister about 1000 times more than I thought possible, too.

Also!  My Important Friend in The Publishing Industry wants to see a FULL MANUSCRIPT *jaw drops to ground*

Last week, if you remember, my SuperIma Sunday goal was to write like a madperson and get him two chapters.  I did it, thanks to my incredible team of beta ladies, and he liked it.  But I just barely got in under the wire.  Like, we're talking late Friday afternoon.  In order to accomplish that, I did lots of super easy dinners, laundry went unfolded, and I only vaccuumed once.  Eek.

It's going to be another few weeks of that.  Everything's gotta slide.  But I'm so, so excited. More on that later.

What about you, sweet Supers?  Did you meet your goals last week?  What is on tap for this coming week?  What's going to slide so that you feel a little more you-ish?

Also, please visit my sweet friend Shannon, who I've never met in real life, but who unfailingly posts a SuperIma Sunday check-in.  She's got an incredible giveaway going on, which you should enter, and she's basically the most popular blog on the whole world wide web*

*or, rather, she should be, and she's getting pretty close.
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