Friday, January 16, 2015

The Other Side

The first time I remember really suspecting that something might be a little off in my brain was when I was living in England. We were newly-ish married, I was working a job I enjoyed and we had very few responsibilities. We were moving our way along the path to moving back to the US, had great friends and a cute house and really nothing to complain about. But I specifically recall a Saturday that Chris was playing rugby away and I'd opted not to go. I was walking back home from the library, had new books to read, the sun was shining and yet. I just didn't feel happy. I remember wondering WHY I didn't feel happy. I worried that I was somehow unable to be contented, that I wasn't properly grateful for all the good in my life.

I thought about this the other day because right now? I am so happy. I feel a level of contentment that I wasn't sure I'd ever achieve. I'm happy and satisfied being at home with Archer, with the efforts I make on a daily basis to nurture and help my kids grow and to be a good counterbalance for Chris. There are multiple times every week that I feel close to euphoric with the sense that weights have lifted, that I have settled into a groove that feels good and right. I don't feel like good emotions are muted they way they have been in the past.

It's so easy to come and spill out across a page when things are bad; writing about hard things is therapeutic for me. But part of what I want this blog to be is a piece of my and our history for my kids to look back at and maybe one day help them in some way. So I'm reminding myself that it's important to document the good, too. I do not cherish every single moment of every single day of this life I'm currently living, but I want to make an effort to balance it out a little more.

So. I'm happy. Very, very happy.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Feeding My Family

I'd like to start this post by outlining each of the dietary preferences/needs represented by the five people in my family:

- Vegetarian: 1.5 people
- Omnivore: 2 people
- Prefer lots of vegetables: 2 people
- Prefer no vegetables ever: 1.5 people
- Low-carb/low-cal needs: 1 person
- Carb-loving: 4 people
- Ideally need to eat by 5:30 pm: 3 people
- Schedule varies by day so mealtime never the same: 1 person
- Extremely picky: 2-3 people, depending on the day
- Eat spaghetti (with or without meatballs) with no complaints: 5 people

It's so not easy to feed this family. I personally am a very picky eater. I choose and prefer a lot of healthy food, but I like what I like and I don't prefer trying a lot of new things. I've been this way since I was a kid and although I have expanded my palate quite a lot since then, I still don't eat meat (or really most animal proteins) and have a decent list of other foods I simply can't choke down (goat cheese, eggplant and squash/sweet potatoes/yams are all on this list).

Because I am a particular eater I have found it very difficult to lay ground rules with my kids and encourage them to try new things. Pacey is a great eater and has been for a couple of years now. Brighton is very, very picky and while she does like a fair number of healthy things she does not like any vegetables and almost no meat. Archer is about average for a toddler thus far, but I know it can go either way from here. The way I provide food is generally to make an evening meal I know the kids will all eat (in some deconstructed form) and then make something different for Chris and I. Often that something is different for each of us, in that we have radically different needs and preferences. It's a lot of work, it's hard to plan and I don't really know how to change it.

I know perfectly well that the kids won't starve if I serve them a meal the adults want to eat and they choose not to eat it. However I also know that that approach didn't work for me growing up. If I didn't like it I didn't eat it and while of course I didn't starve, I was hungry a lot. Eventually I discovered I liked cooking and in my family whoever cooked got to choose the meal. That solved things a few nights a week and then I left home, my palate matured and I got to choose what I ate all the time. Food and eating is just not a battle I'm willing to fight. If I make a meal I know the kids like and they choose not to eat it, I don't provide alternatives. We don't do dessert as a reward all the time, although I will sometimes require a taste of the vegetable before getting dessert if there is one.

There's no point to writing this here except to say that meal-planning and preparation is a drag at the best of times and we're not in a great pattern here. I checked out Ellyn Sattern's book "How to Get Your Kids to Eat, But Not Too Much" and I will peruse it to see if her methods resonate. I'm dragging my heels, though, since I'm just not sure I have it in me to take a hard line on this.

What say you? How do you feed your families? Do your kids have different eating preferences despite being raised with the same approach?

Friday, January 2, 2015


No resolutions, just a list of things to inspire/remind me

To Read

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin
How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk
Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen
Food: A Love Story

To Watch

The Wire
Downton Abbey
Seasons 2 - current of Homeland
Fed Up

To Try

A random act of kindness per month
Project 365
Blog more regularly
Donating blood quarterly
Following a daily/weekly/monthly housekeeping plan


Master a homemade tomato soup recipe I like
Find three more meals the whole family can eat and enjoy together
Bake fresh bread once a week
Feed myself properly
Try a new vegetable recipe per week

Actual To-Do List

Redecorate my bedroom
Find a new primary care doctor (haaaaaaate my current one)
Make some headway in resolving knee issues
Create a space in the house that is solely mine. Realistically, this might be a shelf somewhere but I need something that is not disturbed by any other member of the family.
Find a strength training program I can fit into my day and stick to it