I’ve been getting into freezer cooking recently. Some people take a day and make all the meals, but I’ve been taking a lazier approach: When meat/ingredients are on sale, I get a bunch and go ahead and sort them into bags for dinners. Meals that require little to no preparation before going into the freezer are my favorites- just dump it in a bag and go. This way, I can made dinner for the night and prep another 3-4 meals in about half an hour, including clean-up. It takes a few days to get through the whole freezer list.
Every few weeks, I go through the sale flyers, pick a grocery (or farmer’s market), make up a list of recipes that, together, use whole units of ingredients, and then make a shopping list of the ingredients that I don’t already have in my pantry.
An example of my list:
And the groceries:
|1.5 lb flank steak
|sm can pineapple juice
|2 lbs ground beef
|3-4 lbs chicken breast
|country-style ribs (2lbs)
|granny smith apple
Now, on this occasion, I didn’t make everything I’d planned. I didn’t find the curry paste (subbed for curry powder in the recipe), cilantro, or a good price on the pork tenderloin. I didn’t find ground chicken, but I did find a sale on ground turkey + a coupon, so I made a switch. I also found a great deal on the ribs, so I made/froze bbq ribs to use up the whole package and to use up the rest of some bbq sauce. Finally, I ran out of time to make everything to get it in the freezer by the "freeze by" date on the package (and ran out of space in the freezer to store everything), so the tex-mex burgers didn’t get made, the chicken became something else, and I skipped the enchiladas. The tenderloin went onto the next spreadsheet as a possibility.
This has been really convenient- we just need to pick out our dinners the night before, so they can thaw in the fridge overnight. We can pick out our dinners after Lena goes to bed, and we can throw them in the oven/microwave/heat in crockpot as called for in the recipe, without having to figure out if we have everything or if we have time to get it on the table before Lena goes into Hangry Toddler mode (our incidents of Hangry Toddler and "just make some nuggets" have gone down dramatically.) I have found some terrible recipes (like the bbq meatloaf of last night), and some excellent ones that I kept making until we were tired of them (honey mustard curry chicken). It’s also been nice on our budget, cutting it in half by purchasing most foods on sale (it had gotten a little out of control.)
In conclusion: I like this method of cooking for the weeknight stress relief, the knowledge that we can have a tasty dinner on the table no matter who’s home to cook, we are trying new foods, and the ease on the food budget.
We took Lena to a nearby "Parent’s Night Out" last night, and here’s how we spent it:
- Making a taco kickasserole
- Folding laundry
- Putting away folded laundry
- Eating dinner on the couch while watching le Tour
- Watching a good bit of F1 qualifying before realizing we were watching the German qualifying from the previous year
- Drinking a nice bottle of wine
- Antagonizing Crax until she fell off the couch
- Petting Angus
- Washing and putting away dishes
- Cleaning in the kitchen
- Both of us using our respecive iPads at the same time during daylight hours
Basically, just pretending for a few hours that we were still in that pre-Lena time.
Scenario: I like to sleep on my back.
The problem: Crax takes this as an open invitation to knead, walk on, and sleep on my, especially the soft squishy part that contains my bladder. This is not comfortable at all. Shoving her off just seems to encourage her (you touched me! you must like this!)
Scenario: I put a pillow on top of me for the cat. Also, I like the weight of the pillow on me.
The problem: This is hot, especially with a cat on top of the blanket/pillow stack.
Scenario: I roll onto my side. This sends a message to the cat that I am not interested in her attentions. (She usually moves to my feet.)
The problem: This is not comfortable for me. Or Jeremy’s breathing on me, which I really do not like.
Scenario: I prop up all the things with pillows, in order to get comfortable.
The problem: It’s hot. And wakes everyone in the bed area up when I roll over (because I’m still actually uncomfortable.)
Scenario: I try sleeping on my front, half propped up, or some other configuration.
Problem: Still not comfortable.
End result: I can either half-sleep and/or wake up sore from whatever contortion finally worked to keep cat off and me dozing.
The current debate at the BS Haus: Stick with one kid, or try for more? And if we do try for more, how many, and when?
- I cannot imagine having grown up without a sister, or a sibling. I love, love that there’s someone else in the world that I can laugh about our family, our experiences with. Would I be able to laugh about that Christmas where we wanted to play carols on the piano at the Fun Home with Mom, but we couldn’t find the piano because all the room were filled for viewings or, because many people seem to die in the late fall, the rooms and even some halls had bodies in them, and we eventually found the piano in the casket room and had a grand time with carols from an old hymnal, with anyone else besides my sister? Most people have stopped listening with a horrified look on their face a quarter of the way through that story.
- I waaaaaant another baby, for no reason other than I waaaaaaant one.
- It’d be nice to try to time this one’s arrival a bit, for summer semester when things are a bit quieter for Jeremy to allow him to teach less.
- We’d talked about this earlier and had first decided on 3.5 year gap, then decided to push the decision back to 4.5 years… but the comments from coworkers with kids at that gap really bother me, that the kids don’t play together: the older kid is too far removed from those developmental stages (the younger being 2.5 years old, same age as Lena), that they do not play together or even watch similar shows if the parents need to cook dinner or something. To me, one of the benefits of having multiple children has got to be that they play together, so raising singletons for a few years seems to defeat the purpose all together.
- Waaaaaaaaaant to be pregnant again. I have no idea why, because I hated so much knowing when the neighbors opened the refrigerator.
- I liked eating french fries for dinner every night for months.
- I liked having fun with pregnancy, and I liked that Lena was so cool with most things when we went out and did stuff.
- I have a better idea of when to ask for help, and with what, now. Maybe post-partum wouldn’t be so horrible this time around.
- Love this little girl so much, I can’t believe we didn’t have
Pro stay with one:
- She’s so cutie!
- She thrives so much with the one-on-one attention
- She doesn’t want a sister or brother, when asked (as expected)
- I still have a hard time talking about, or thinking about, the full story of her birth. Especially the screaming time. And the horrible midwife. And pulling stitches and the follow-up surgery, which doesn’t include the escaped IUD and that removal surgery.
- Lena’s so great. And we have no idea that a next kid will even be nearly as awesome as she is. We know how much we have to lose, now, in comparison to the Alien, where we only had an idea of how much we might gain.
- Would we even like another kid, or just spend all our time comparing the two?
- I could easily see how one kid would just fit in with our life and we could roll with it, and seeing examples with friends of how one kid still allowed everyone to keep on doing what they were doing (after the initial hiccup of having a newborn). I’m having a harder time seeing how 2 kids just fits in with our lives and would let us keep doing things. I don’t know how much of it is a function of not having time to talk about it because of newborn hiccup, or the oldest kid getting older, or something else.
- I’m really liking how much control I’ve gotten over my weight/body. I’m starting to like how I look now and I’m not sure that I want to give it up.
- High doses of Zoloft and a lot of therapy. Maybe things will be different. Maybe they won’t.
- Fear. There’s a lot of fear. (Cue Elsa.)
So, in conclusion, we’re not of the same mind about another kid, or when to try for another kid if we decide to go for it, from day to day. Today, Lena’s awesome as an only kid. Yesterday, we waaaaaaanted her to have a sibling. The day before that, we disagreed about it.
At work, I’ve recently switched development teams on temporary assignment, from Desktop front-end development to Global SEO. It’s fun, in the ways an endless scavenger hunt with no clear ending is fun, but wow, it’s a lot of work. And a lot of thinking about work. And a lot of thinking about “if I changed X, how could that bring down the entire site?” It’s definitely taking advantage of my tendency to over-think.
And I’m finding it pretty awesome that I’ve already switched teams, made large changes to our site that have been noticed by everyone (department heads, CTO, Google…), I’ve broken parts of our site in production (and then the product owner looked at the numbers of people using that page in that browser and said, “NBD”), I’ve made international changes, I’ve made changes that the international teams want, and I’ve been on a golf outing (to take pictures.) I can also see the outside from my desk (after I converted it to a standing desk). I actually want to get promoted, as I can see that a promotion does not equal more paperwork and a stupid pager.
Six months in, and this job is so many light years away from my last job. And even my worst day at this job is not as bad as my best day at the last one: there have been zero crying-in-the-bathroom incidents, no emails of shame/blame, no weeks of too-many-hours or weeks that involved the small hours of the day unless I explicitly signed up for them (and was paid extra), and no days where I went into the office and talked to nobody. There are just so many, many things that I love about this job.
Lena woke up at 2 am this morning, wanting to do her Lena party. By Ken party, I mean first she just wanted to scream for “my papa” and didn’t want me to touch her. Then she wanted a “dapper change”, then rocking (still screaming for “my papa”, then I was falling asleep rocking her but she was flipping around in my arms and screaming when we got to the bed. So I gave up and we went to the guest bed to snuggle, where she proceeded to flip and flop and say “hi mama” for the next two hours.
New this time, she followed me to the bathroom and used her own little potty (in the dark).
Finally, around 5 am, she fell asleep on me, as uncomfortably as possible, where she stayed until 8:30. I slept a bit with the bed hog on me. Whole big bed, and she needs to be on my face.
In the last week or two, Lena has appeared to have stopped sucking her fingers. I’m not sure what prompted it, maybe being sick recently and not being able to breathe, or what, but she’s started making the motions (and sound) of sucking her fingers, without actually doing it. It’s a much grosser sound without the fingers. And there’s some teeth grinding in there, too.
Lena’s also started getting pickier about the foods she will eat.
- Hot dogs
- Berries, bananas and apples
- Applesauce-based squeeze fruits
- Pasta (with cheese on it)
- Green beans
- BBQ chicken/pork
- Most vegetables
- Mac & cheese
- Squeeze fruits packets that are not applesauce-based
- Chicken nuggets/fingers (grilled or breaded)
- Pork roast
- Cheese dip
- Chex (any flavor)
We’ve got to get her to a dentist, too: the back of her bottom teeth look horrible. The fronts are fine, the top teeth are fine, but no matter how much we brush, the back of the bottom teeth look terrible. But I’m wondering what a dentist might do about them, since brushing her teeth usually involves as much wrangling as trying to look at the cat’s teeth. Surely, a toddler teeth cleaning doesn’t involve general anesthesia.