Food, growing, SAHM, Travel

Reflections

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Its not the end of the year, but it is nearly the end of the school season.  Honestly, this is the sort of thing that I generally do in June for some reason.  December has always seemed “mid-year” to me.  In my mind, its like trying to make resolutions and new goals in the midst of swirling chaos.  Spring seems like we’re winding down the school year, but in any case, it is an end of a season.   And we’re on spring break right now, so it seems that a break is a good time of reflection.

We have lost some friends, but gained new ones in their places.  We have lost some dearly loved family members over the past year and it has changed our familyscape dramatically.  Change is growth for everyone isn’t it?

G has a new-ish, scarily amazing job and I have to say, he is continually surprising me by how he refuses to conform to anyone’s idea of what it is like to work in a corporate environment.  As is often the case with our relationship, it sometimes is like watching someone else do this amazing thing creating activities and new experiences and I just sort of  watch from the sidelines.  I’m not disappointed you understand, its just not my time.  I had such a busy and tumultuous childhood that I prefer being home.  I love to travel, but always to come home.  I love my home life and creating things close to home – activities with my children, relationships with neighbors and community involvment.  This is my space – it took me 40 years to find it and I am making it my own.  So it is with interest and a sense of wonder that I well, just watch G as he most often coasts through the house, the airport, the many many hotels and restaurants that come with his career.  I watch as he comes back to our home each time and the children are so excited that he’s home and the dog of course.  And every now and again we come together for periods of time when he’s working from home or between projects and we all readjust to the schedule.

We’re trying out weekend trips right now.  Its not something we’ve really ever done.  We generally go on vacation…. but for a week or more at a time.  This past weekend we went to Springfield, IL (with the kiddos) to see the Lincoln Museum and state capital.  In June we’ll head out to NYC for a long weekend (adults only this time).  Its a different feeling to dash through a city rather than to immerse yourself in it.  Rather like having a taste of a new cuisine, rather than the whole meal.

In any case, we are back to reality now with dance class, soccer practice and scouts.  That means very very busy and so little time for dinner prep!  So – I have been doing batch cooking once or twice a week with pretty good success.  Monday’s freezer meal was Lime Chicken – yum!  Here is the recipe if you’d like to try it:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. boneless chicken – cubed (or shredded after cooking)
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro, chopped  (can use fresh chopped curly parsley if you prefer)
  • 1 can black beans (14.5 oz.) rinsed and drained.  I used organic.
  • 1 bag frozen corn (can use fresh or canned, drained).  Could also change it up with other veg. mixtures – my next batch has snap peas, corn and carrots.
  • 1 sweet onion chopped.
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • juice of 2 limes.
  • 1/4 c water (optional – depending on how moist you would prefer your mixture.

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients into a freezer bag.
  • Mix to evenly distribute.
  • Flatten and store in freezer
  • When ready to cook, defrost overnight in fridge
  • Place in slow cooker and cook on low for 6/8 hours.
  • Serve in tortillas or over rice.  Can top with sour cream and cheese, yum!
  • notes:  I generally choose all organic veggies when possible including canned or frozen.  I find that sometimes with this recipe I should add approx 1/4 cup of water during the last hour or so.  If cooking directly – just pop everything in the slow cooker immediately.  My kids loved this and even asked if they could take it to school the next day for lunch – win!
  • credit:  This was adapted from livingrichwithcoupons.com

I hope you enjoy!  I doubled this recipe when I was making dinner so that dinner was made for today, but then I’ve made a freezer dinner already for another day as well.

Cheers!  Be fierce!  Make dinners!

Kelly

 

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Anxiety, Travel

Helpful Travel Apps

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So.  Its been a busy couple of weeks.  My dad has encountered some health issues, so I flew down to visit him for a couple of days while he was in the hospital.  It was WAY out of my bubble!  But, good for me, right?  To be outside of my comfort zone and doing things I don’t regularly do such as travel by myself?  Its good for me to stretch those travel muscles and use those skills I don’t get to use so often.  I discovered a few things like Uber….  have you used this car service?  Very interesting.  You sign up with them online or with an app and enter a credit card and then after that you find a car close to you, using the app, and there is no cash involved!  The charge goes on your card (you can get an estimate of your charge beforehand on the app) after your ride has finished and there is no tip involved.  Anyway, so the drivers all use their own cars to pick you up and they really do vary in what kind of “driver” you get.  Over the few days that I used Uber, I found that all but one of my drivers was using Uber as a second job.  Most of them were young college(ish) age, but one was a senior gentleman.  They do vary in how “honest” they are about receiving tips as well.  I found one of them that encouraged me to tip, and the other 3 drivers said it was against the philosophy of the company.  I was so new to the service, that I didn’t know better so I tipped the first time, and then didn’t after the next driver corrected me.  Anyway, over all, I was very pleased with the service.  It was very fast, curteous, and the cars were CLEAN.  In any case, I also tested out the United Airlines app.  So fantastic.  SO fantastic.  Once you log in, it will alert you on your phone any time your flight changes, when you can check in 24 hours in advance, etc.  You can use it as your boarding pass so there is no need to worry about losing those flippy boarding papers that get stuck in the bottom of your purse or carry-on.  Anyway, it doesn’t have that many stars on the app store, but I found it to be wonderful.  I will definitely use it again!  (also very nifty to scan your phone as your boarding pass, kind of fun!)  Also, I know there are several opinions on whether to medicate if you don’t “fly well” and what exactly medicate means in that scenario, but I for one am all for medicating before flying if you have an anxiety disorder.  1) There might be nothing worse than being trapped inside and having an anxiety attack and 2) So much safer for everyone involved.  I know that flying is not fun for me, and so I took something my doctor prescribed for panic attacks before getting on the plane even though I wasn’t actually having an attack at the time.  Just in case.  Better safe than sorry!  Plus, the meds only last for a short while, so really, by the time I got off the plane, it had mostly wore off.  I suppose that might be the trade off, while you don’t want to be having a panic attack on  a plane, you also don’t want to be in a strange city feeling “foggy” or not having your wits about you.  So, my moral of the story is, plan ahead if you have an anxiety disorder!  Find something that works for your travel plans.  Most docs will prescribe something even just for travel.  Or, at least that is what I did and it worked for me.  And, uh, this actually isn’t the post that I sat down to write today… I will try again tomorrow.  Safe travels all.

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly

Uncategorized

Doing What Works

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So, its that time of year again….. its getting cooler, pumpkins are beginning to appear on porches as we prepare for Halloween season here (that’s what I call it because I swear it lasts a whole month), and as per usual, DH is getting ready to switch projects at his job.  For our family, this means 2 things:  1) Since we know about it ahead of time, there should be very little financial bump in the road in between projects and 2) He will be working in a different time zone, and thus, coming home earlier on Thursday evenings.  Yay!!  In the meantime, I’ve been getting more settled into our schoolyear routine.  As my monsners are also a year older,  my children have aged out of one of the “mom groups” that I go to.  By chance, I was invited to go to another mom group, “women in balance”.   Some of the moms there have part-time jobs like I do, or they may work full time at home.  Most of them have school-aged children or older.  So, long story short – I started going to the new group to get my “adult interaction quota” for the day.  (If I don’t reach out, I may not actually see adults, only small mons-ners, so I reach out for my sanity, otherwise I end up with anxiety problems.)  So – this new group, we did all of the “get to know you-type” of activities and everyone is was intrigued by our family’s work arrangement with DH traveling so much.  As many of you know, he travels Monday – Thursday every week, sometimes more.  I think this is often something that people hear about or read about, but don’t actually meet people who do it.  Well, we do.  Many women in the group had questions about how we manage to get things done as a family and I did get many sympathy pats etc.  I always think that is weird.  Its a choice.  This job situation works best for our family.  I think there is even a term for SAHMs in my situation now called married-single-moms.  Now, I am not, not, comparing my situation to that of a single parent which is why it has the word married on the front of it there.  This is a fairly recent term for a married mom whose spouse either works very long hours or who is often traveling.  I believe there are even support groups now for these women!  (and possibly men in the reverse role?)  It is definitely a unique situation.

I have 2 friends who are on opposite sides of the coin of this issue.  One of my friends feels so much sympathy towards my situation and she is a “do’er” so she casually mentions open job positions for which DH might be a good fit.  Its very low-key and she really has the absolute best intentions, she just can’t imagine being in my situation, so to her, its a problem.  What she doesn’t know is that DH could not go into the same office day after day, week after week.  He would suffocate.  He loves the travel, the different hotels and cities.  He loves changing up his job every few months or so with a new project, new co-workers, new managers.  My second friend is a mom of 4 grown children and she was a married-single-mom for most of her adult life because her husband traveled overseas for business on a very regular basis and was gone for sometimes weeks at a time.  She is of the attitude that DH is providing for his family, and if this is the best way to do it, then it should be accepted.  She is also very supportive of it being a difficult situation.  And then, I guess there is me.  I want DH to be happy.  His job makes him happy and he supports our family which makes me happy.  This traveling job kind of came up out of the blue for DH and it started up gradually and has now increased to where the travel is regular and often.  I have adapted.  When he first started traveling, there was a definite learning curve.   I was isolated.  All the women that I knew worked full-time jobs like I had until I began to stay home.  I had to learn where my weak points were in handling the house, the children, money.  I had to learn how to create back-ups for emergencies since we have no family close by.  I had to learn to build in breaks for myself from the children during the week.  I had to network, to reach out to my community and make connections so that I would at least see adults once in a while.  It  took time.  The first thing that happened was that I almost accidentally reconnected with a high school friend on Facebook and she invited me to join her scrapbooking online group.  I had only a mild interest in scrapbooking, but I was desperate for friends.  This was perfect for me because I had an infant and toddler at home with me and 1 child in school.  I could pick up and put down the group whenever was convenient for me with the message board.  Also, I learned a ton about scrapbooking.  Within a month I was going away for the weekend with a new group of friends to a Crop (scrapbooking event).  I gained confidence in making friends.  (I was truly recovering from my previous workplace – but that is a different post.  I was damaged emotionally – this helped.)  Eventually I branched out even farther and now I feel like I have good connections in my community.  I feel very at home here and comfortable, even when its just me and the monsners.  For us, this situation works best.  You have to do what works for you and your family, even if it seems “problematic” for other people.

I miss DH when he travels.  But, I also get to miss him!  We’re so excited to see one another every single Thursday!  That’s not so bad after 19 years of marriage.

Be fierce.

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly

Uncategorized

What’s that? I think we have some static.

*  Today marks 9 days until the Man burns at Burning Man!  Listen to BMIR (app available!) for playa updates before you go or

    on the radio as you get closer. 94.5 FM 

*  Today is Day 4 of 16 in which I  handle my mons-ners solo and all is well.  *clanging bell sound here*

 

You know, conversations online can be confusing.  You can’t really tell the person’s emotional intent from their text.  It can be easy to misinterpret words, online connections can be interrupted in the middle of conversations, and sometimes you just never know what happened.  Did they log off on purpose?  Was there a storm?  An emergency in their home?  Were they late for an appointment?  Who knows!  With practice, it can improve.  Dear hubby and I speak primarily through IMs (instant messages) on Trillian while he travels because it is the medium that works best for us.  Often I will get a quick phone call in the evening, but not necessarily every day and certainly not during this big trip he’s on (due to lack of internet access/signals in the desert).  Its not always perfect, he spends a fair amount of his day in meetings in which he can text me on IM/Trillian if I need to ask something or am just checking in, but not always.  It may be hours before my message gets answered depending on what is happening around him and vice versa.  If I’m at a playdate or out with the kids I can’t usually talk/text/do much of anything else.   It takes understanding and patience.  And practice.  I know that if I get a message, I need to answer it.  When I can.  Even if its much later in the day or the next day.  Not doing so, would set off an alarm to dear hubby and cause him to worry, etc.  We also use Swarm (app) to do check-ins so that he pretty much knows what is going on in our day, where we are, what events are probably going on, and I know approximately where he is and whether or not it might be a good time for me to call.  For example, if he’s checked-in at the office, I’m probably not going to call unless its an emergency.  If he’s checked in at his hotel or out and about, I may call to see if he’s free for a few minutes.  I would imagine to some this may sound mildly intrusive, but it works for us and its really just about good communication.  Again, it does however take practice.  Communicating well, while apart from your partner takes effort.  In addition to all of this, we also use Skype and FaceTime when we can and also so that the children can feel included.  I like to send dear hubby pictures of what the kids are doing throughout the day, to keep him in the loop and help him feel connected so the next time he skypes with them or something similar he can talk to them about their day.  

All that being said, if I am chatting with someone who is not as accustomed to having conversations online and they make a statement I don’t understand or log off suddenly in the middle of our conversation, I’m left not knowing what the heck happened.  Did I say something offensive?  Was there a lot going on where they were?  Who knows!  It can be very frustrating.  I mention this because it happened yesterday (not with dear hubby) and I just never found out what happened.  Oh well.  Hopefully if something went awry on my end someone will eventually let me know.  

Communication is difficult.  Recently I had someone in a very nonchalant way dismiss my concerns about handling my mons-ners for 16 days.  Fastforward to a week later as I am preparing to get them ready for their first week of school and they asked if I had done X, Y or Z with the children to get them ready.  I replied, “well, I can’t”.  Obviously, this had never occurred to them.  I could see lightbulbs coming on.  *take a deep breath*  I have a child with special needs who while high-functioning, has real challenges and I am not willing to put myself out there in a difficult situation with him not knowing really when my next break will be or if help will be available.  (sound like a recording, don’t I?  I know.) When its not just me, I feel like I can push my kids a little more, try new outings that may be a little more of a hit-or-miss.  When I’m flying solo, I try to stick to what I know will work, this isn’t the time for experimenting.  In an emergency, its just me to handle it all and I need to have confidence in my choices.  

 

 

Burning Man

The Man Burns in 13 days

So this week begins a grand experiment of sorts. Dear hubby is leaving on business for a week and then leaving from there on a much needed solo vacation for 8+ days. So that will leave just me and the 3 mons-ners for 16 days!! EEKKK!! I’m a little scared. I think I can I think I can I think I can. (right?) I took a 7-week trip with them over the summer kind of by myself…. but we visited with a lot of family, so most of the time there were other folks around to help absorb some of the energy abounding from the kiddos. I’m a little less um, shocked I guess is the best word, about this situation than I was a couple of days ago. I thought the lovely folks coming in to help with the kiddos would have mentioned months ago if they weren’t able to come up for the timing of the actual event so that we could have made other arrangements or cancelled dear hubby’s trip. I am trying to think positive (hanging on to that silver lining) and put some life cheats in place. So far I have scheduled some babysitters, arranged for 2 evenings out for me and alerted a few of my friends that I may need to contact them in an emergency. (thanks Dalal!) I thought I would do a countdown until the whole thing is over. Next time we do this we’re going to have to figure out a different childcare assistance option or bring them with us and pay for childcare when we arrive – also generally an option. We once hired a nanny for a weekend away (just Friday to Sunday) for a stay-cation, but we only had 2 children then and we didn’t go far. It was extremely expensive. I can’t imagine how much it would cost for 3 children. Thoughts anyone??

 

For vacation, dear Hubby is going to Burning Man in Black Rock City, NV. It’s an art/music/social experiment /festival of sorts. Any burners out there?? I’ve been a few times, but it is such a long trip and I just can’t be away from my mons-ners for that long. When they get a little older I would like to take them. But they have a bit of maturing to do for safety (in my opinion – I know a lot of folks bring babies, no judging here, each child has their own temperament). Check out the link if you’re curious about Burning Man – I am sure I will talk a lot about it over the next couple of weeks. Right now in fact I am listening to BMIR, Burning Man Radio, 94.5 The Voice Of The Man. It streams live at www.BMIR.org. You can also download the app for it. That is what I have. There will also be live streaming of the event online all week (August 25-Sept. 1).  Here are a few of my pictures from a previous trip.  Oh, and hence the title, they do actually burn a statue of a “man” on Saturday night of that week.

I thought I would have that on most of the time so that the kids could see where daddy was during the week. They (most likely) won’t actually see him, but it would be cool for them to kind of understand where he was on his trip since we won’t have actual contact with him for 7 or 8 days. I have to say though, we dropped off dear hubby’s camping luggage to be shipped out to NV for him and then now that I’m listening to the radio….. ugh, I really miss it. Maybe that says something about where I am in my life. That I’ve finally relaxed enough to want to reach out again to things like this and have new experiences. (I am a recovering corporate dweller and I have to say that it was just not a good fit for me. It has taken me years to get over the damage done to my ego and psyche. I’m getting there though, I am finding myself and figuring it all out again.) Also, I’m just one of those people where if I go, chances are my mons-ners go with me. I’m a package deal 90 percent of the time. I love my nights out don’t get me wrong, but, I dunno, I just couldn’t handle a long trip such as this without them.

 

Keep me in your thoughts out there. Tomorrow starts Day 1. Stay tuned.

 

Be fierce.