As the month comes to a close, I am taking a moment to look back and think about how The Plan is working for me. There are probably three things that I did consistantly this month that fit into my goals.
1) Saving more, wasting less - The meal planning has continued and we have been able to almost completely avoid eating out. I am always surprised by how much money that saves. What this made me realize, though, was that I need better meal ideas. I will work on getting at least portions of meals prepped ahead of time so that we can eat a greater variety of foods.
2) Vitamins - I have been pretty good about the vitamins! I take a woman's multi, a calcium supplement and fish oil for my brain. (I need all the help I can get in the brains department).
3) I am trying to gather a group of girls for a weekend in New Orleans. I'm not sure if we can coordinate everyone's schedules, but I am really going to try to make it happen.
I added some habits that have made things easier to break down and accomplish. I set a few weekly goals to keep myself motivated and I put them on Twitter so that I have some accountability. I am often unable to finish all of them, but even getting one done makes me feel pretty good. We also started a cooking blog where people can post recipes! It's been a great way to share ideas when you need something new for dinner.
February should be an interesting month. We will (we BETTER) be moving into our new house, finally. That will make for some stressful days, but it will also help me with my goal of simplifying and throwing things away. I will also finally have room for a home yoga practice, which I have really missed. After a break of two semesters, I have returned to graduate school so that I can finally finish my MA in HR. I'm not exactly sure when I will be graduating since I took the "baby break", but I probably only have two or three semesters left. I cannot wait!!
An amazing community has sprung up from The Plan. I love seeing people connect and share advice, information and just supporting each other. It makes it so much easier to look forward when you have someone cheering you along.
As I was catching up on my blogroll, I came across the always wonderful JJ, who inspired me to write a post about the people in my life who inspire me to keep blogging and, in many cases, just to keep going. Being grateful is one thing, but telling the people who help you that you are grateful is a wonderful exercise. It makes you very aware of all of the good things you have in your life. I highly recommend it!
Thank you, JJ for starting the Braces Bunch and giving me a means of support that has gone on for over two years (?) now. I have gotten so much strength and inspiration from everyone's struggles and triumphs. What a wonderful community!
Thank you, Amy @ A Somewhat Ordinary Life, for always being such a great Twitter friend and commiserator (is that a word?) when it comes to the craziness of having a toddler. I love that our boys are so close in age!
Thank you, Seussgirl, for always being there with a note or a card. You have your hands sooo full right now, yet you always find the time to reach out to people.
Thank you, Darcie, for always leaving encouraging comments and for being my coupon inspiration! You are always one of the first people to leave me a message and I appreciate it so much. It's nice knowing another
mom with two that are so close in age.
Thank you, Kate, for your blog posts, love of NASA, and for being so ::awesomesauce::
Thank you to Kelly and Danielle. I love you both and couldn't get through most days without you.
Thank you, Maura, for being such a great friend. When I had to go back into the hospital after I had E, you didn't hesitate to help. It made me feel so much better because I knew that L was somewhere safe and fun. I will never forget that kindness.
Thank you, Teal, for all of your help in life and in all things related to graphic design. (The Foundation thanks you, too).
Lastly, thank you members of The Plan 2010! I love the little community we have going and I can already tell that this is going to be a great thing for everyone!
When I went back to work after having L, I wrote this post about feeling disconnected and unsure of my new "position" as a parent. It's interesting to read that now and remember how it felt to be a new mom. After the encouraging comments I received, I started a sort of moms group that met once every few months for dinner and a chance to get out of the house. With the exhaustion and sickness of my pregnancy with Em, I sort of let it go. I have to admit that I was disappointed that no one seemed to notice when the dinners stopped. No one asked why or when we might meet again. Since the interest didn't seem to be there, I never started the dinners again after I had Em.
Now that I have two kids and a much better daycare situation, the guilt I feel for working is not as heavy. I view work as my break. I can eat, go to the bathroom, and have adult conversations whenever I want to. It's practically a cruise. My disconnected feeling, while still there sometimes, was helped greatly when I got an iPhone. That may sound silly, but having access to news, weather, social networking and almost everything else connects me to a world that can feel a little lonely, sometimes.
One of the goals on the list for my 2010 Plan is to reach out to people and make more of an effort to connect with others. Lately, I have been wondering what that means. I have, maybe, two friends who I spend time with and kids are always involved. I have no friends in the area that I can spend time with away from kids without a monumental effort to coordinate schedules and procure sitters. To be honest, the effort combined with my constant exhaustion level makes me lazy about planning anything. I know that my friends probably feel the same way. I don't remember my mother ever having many friends when we were little, other than her sister. M told me that his mom really didn't have anyone, outside of family, to go out with. It wasn't done back then and mothers didn't expect it. That leads me to the question of entitlement. Am I expecting too much? Is it selfish of me to want to go out and have time with friends outside of my role as a parent? Should I save any free time I have to spend with M? If I am able to get out of the house once every 6 months, should I just be grateful and shut up about it?
Sometimes I think that this drifting feeling I have is just a part of my motherhood experience. I know that there are other moms that have tons of mom friends and know many people with kids the same age as theirs, but that just isn't me. For whatever reason, the efforts I have made have felt forced or haven't panned out. Some say that things will get easier as the kids get older; they will join sports or other activities and we will have more opportunities to get to know other parents. That just isn't our reality right now and maybe the angst I am feeling is my inability to accept that. In the mean time, I am going to keep drifting, I guess.
Is that your reality as well? Do you have many friends with kids the same age as yours? How did you meet them? Do you still have friends from your "single" days?
The word frenemy pretty much sums up my relationship with food. I like it, but the really good stuff isn;t good for you. It's fun to eat, but tryng to get a meal on the table during the week is hard. For most of my childhood, food was an object of contention. My mother suffered from an eating disorder and went into treatment when I was 11 or so. Even when she returned, her need to control all of the food in the house was strong. We were never allowed to eat anything without asking first. We could not have friends over and eat a bag of chips in the cupboard without making sure it was ok. So, food and meals were a source of stress.
When I met M, I was introduced to a group of people that loved to cook. I am so grateful to to them because they helped give the confidence to try to cook and they gave me lessons in the positive side of meals. Cooking and eating were reasons to experiment with different dishes, drink wine and have fun with friends. I view food and eating much differently now, and you can tell by my waistline!
After L was born I went on Weight Watchers with great success. I am now on the same plan and am about 10 to 15 pounds away from my goal weight. The challenge I face is how to cook for my self and my family while staying healthy and without sucking the fun out of the whole experience. In order to save money and time we plan our meals on a weekly basis. Like Gina, we have a set number of meals that I have found to be easy and good to eat. One easy way I have found to make everything a little healthier is cutting out the white flour carbs. Rice is always brown, pasta is always whole wheat and rolls are always wheat, as well. I also have a vegetable (non-corn) side dish with every meal. As an example, here is what we've had the past few weeks:
Veggie burgers/baked fries/salad
baked talapia/brown rice/veggies
Pizza (store bought, thin crust) - Mondays are pizza nights
Soup (sometimes homemade, sometimes from a can)
Stir fry veggies with sausage
Meal-in-a-bag (not that great as a healthy dish)
Whole Wheat Pasta with sauce and salad
Pierogis and veggies
Turkey Burgers/baked fries/salad
I am looking for some new dishes to put in the rotation that are WW friendly and quick for weekday meals. I am also looking for healthy snacks to take to work and an eating schedule that will keep my blood sugar from doing crazy things and keep me away from the sweets & salties!