Monday, October 24, 2016

Meal Plan Monday, October 24th

I'm trying to get back into Meal Planning. Every week I used to post my meals for the week, and then review the meals from the previous week. I found that posting about it helped keep me accountable to my meal plan (and helped me when I was making meal plans in the future, to remember what we'd like and what we didn't like, or what was too tricky to make on a week day, or just right). I started slowing down sometime a couple years ago and never picked up on it. I've still kept some meal planning going but once I was on Mat leave I found that I really let that go, since I was more able to wing it. But that meant I started facing the problem so many people face; not knowing what to cook, not planning well for the meals, and therefore, spending more on groceries than I needed to. So my goal is to get back into it!

I've switched my system slightly from before. I wrote a post about my old meal planning system here. This system worked perfectly when I was at an office for most of the day - I needed something that was held in the cloud, rather than a concrete place, so that I could access it from anywhere (work or home or the grocery store). I used this system for over two years, and actually, used it during the beginning stages of having a newborn when it was often easier to look things up on my phone (while breastfeeding, etc) than write things out. When we had a new little baby, I could also enter into the calendar in the meal space if someone was bringing a meal and what they would be bringing (and when they would be bringing it), which was really helpful to keep that space clear.

But I find that I have naturally switched my planning since working from home and being on the go so much. I always have my planner with my and I like having the meals there. I also still have my whole calendar online; there's something about having everything twice (once online and once written) that helps keep me extra organized. So now my menu planning is mostly done during times where I'm mostly occupied but have spare brain cells that need focusing to help keep me organized (watching TV or a movie, sitting in a meeting or church, etc). I've learned with my ADD that I focus more if I can keep a small portion of my brain active doing something.

I keep a list of meals I like making or want to try (similar to my system before) written on flags on the front inside of my planner. Then I look at what I need on a particular day (ie. we have guests coming over who don't eat red meat and I'll have a bit of time to make something nice - so I'll pick a nicer meal that's more involved and is a chicken or fish dish, or we have meetings that evening and I'm working most of the day, so I'll do an easy crockpot meal) and place a meal flag on that day. It's simple, takes less than 5 minutes and I have the whole week planned. Because we have a house full of students, I'll often write out the list on a little meal planner I found at a cute little stationary store, and put that up on the fridge. It lists who will be home and who will be out, as well as what we'll eat.

It's a simpler and more complicated system, in different ways. But it's working for me, and so there you go. I'm excited to really get back to Menu Planning more though - you guys can be my accountability!

Menu Plan Monday with Laura at Org Junkie

Upcoming week: 

Tonight we have a family coming over for dinner that we haven't spent any time with. Paul and I met the husband at our old street's block party - this family moved there a month after we moved out. We liked the husband right away, so we had invited them to come over once his wife and kid had joined him in Vancouver. It's always a little nerve wracking having a new family over (who knows how we'll click!) but also just exciting enough that I keep trying (so often it goes way better than expected and is just pure joy).

TuesdayIndonesian Chicken with Peanut Sauce, Rice & Veggies
We have friends coming over for dinner - they are always happy to eat anything but are both Philipino (he's 1/4 and she's full) so I thought making rice for them was loving :) This is one of my favorite recipes and I'll be honest, I don't follow the recipe I linked to above - I use an Indonesian Satay Package for the chicken, and then a jar of peanut sauce (and I add more peanut butter to it). Easy and super tasty.

WednesdayThai Coconut Chicken Curry Soup (recipe from Paul's cousin Janice)
Janice brought this soup over a week after Avie was born. It was so amazingly tasty, and she said it was easy! I've made it a bunch of times since - though it's never quite as good as when she makes it. My goal is to go over to her place and watch her make it, then I can write about it here. Because man, it's good. 

Wednesdays are my long day - Paul volunteers downtown as a chaplain at the Salvation Army Belkin House. I love that he does this - and he loves doing it - but it also means he goes there straight after work and isn't home until after Avie goes to bed. So dinner, cleanup and bedtime are up to me. I try to make easy meals that are easy to clean as well. Plus somehow we don't end up having many students home Wednesdays - but the week I don't plan a meal for a Wednesday assuming they will all be out, will inevitably be the week they are all home. So I always make up a meal, and then use any leftovers for lunches. Which is a win win. 

Thursday I have a phone call with a dear friend at 4:30, and then am meeting with two of my best girlfriends for our bi-weekly discipleship group at 8pm, so I try to make something easy and simple. Everyone in my house loves breakfast for dinner, and when I've made this dish it's been super popular every time (even when I've waaay over cooked the eggs). 

Friday: Costco Dry Ribs with potatoes and veggies
Paul will be hunting all weekend so I can make these Dry Ribs that he doesn't usually love but are a house favorite. I am hoping to have a girlfriend over for dinner, so it doesn't feel so lonely with Paul away. I guess I should invite someone soon, or it won't happen, haha.

Saturday/Sunday: YOYO (You're On Your Own)
Avie and I will try to keep ourselves busy all weekend and hopefully visit someone Saturday night, then church sunday is at dinner time so we normally snack a bit before and after. Our students are on their own for meals all weekend. 
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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Bump 2: another little lady!

Wel, it's the middle of the night (or now the early morning hours) and I've been awake for most of the night with Avie. She just wants to play. I'm not entirely sure what to do about this anymore. She's been waking up, roughly, 5 out of 7 nights for the past 4 months and I just don't know what to do. She was a perfect sleeper before that. Then we moved and BAM. It all went to pot. So I try to be positive, I try to nap, but now that I work that's not always an option. Because of course, she stopped sleeping through the night the same month I started working. Of course. Thankfully she's cute. Even in the middle of the night. And Paul's helpful. Especially in the middle of the night. If you've got to be up at 3am, it's nice to know there's someone by your side! Plus this other smaller baby inside of me, she's definitely awake. 

Noodle Baby

Swinging is her favorite

That's right, SHE. We're having another baby girl. I'm ecstatic. Someday I would love to have boys (or, if I'm honest, I'm open to having boys - I'd love to have all girls) but I really wanted Avie to have a sister best friend, like I do. Having a sister 2 years younger than me (close enough in age that, once you become adults, it's basically like being the same age) has been such a blessing. Even when we were younger and great at fighting, I still knew I was lucky. As we've grown up and become friends and mothers and adults, it's been SUCH a blessing. I always have my best friend around. I'm always so curious if we'd be as close if we weren't sisters - would we have much in common? I like to think so, since we share many of the same friends, but who knows! Anyways. Back to the point. Paul was hoping this would be a boy since he wants to make sure we get once of each in this whole process, but we are planning to try for 4 kids (at least that's the plan now, ha!) so he's now just hoping the next is a boy, and is very happy that the girls can be friends. 

Me and my sister-best-friend (due just two weeks apart)

Edited to add. Avie is mostly sleeping through the night! We had to let her cry two nights but that only lasted 25 minutes and then went straight to sleep - she's a tired little love. The doctor recommended this and suggested we try putting her down even earlier. We'd been doing 7:30pm but moved it to 7pm, which has also made a big difference. 

Getting ready for sleep

Baby #2 - this pregnancy is pretty similar to the last one. My symptoms started sooner with this pregnancy but have been pretty similar. Heartburn - yup, Pregnancy Insomnia - yup, Restless Legs - yup, etc. One of the biggest similarities is space - or lack of it. Both Avie and Baby #2 sit the same inside of me - head down, butt up. The head is towards the bottom left of me, and the butt is towards the top right of my tummy. Or at least what I assume is the head and butt - since I know that the head is down. But I feel something pressing up on my ribs on the right. It's like when you try to push a beach ball under what but it pops up elsewhere - she shifts around into my ribs, popping up as she sees fit. Lots of movement. Lots. Feels like she's flailing her arms at times, and pumping her legs. She rolls and moves and I love the feel of it. Sometimes it's uncomfortable but mostly it's reassuring; it's like a secret conversation that her and I have. 

32 weeks, walking in Yaletown

I still love being pregnant but I can finally start to see what people mean about being ready to evict the baby. With the last one I only started to feel that way during labour. This time, I'm getting pretty sore. My body is fairly achy and everything feels so much more. I feel sore and uncomfortable. Breath can be hard to come by, my bladder is smooshed and sleep is tricky at night between Avie waking up to cry (she sleeps right away, but the cry still happens), the pregnancy insomnia that then keeps me awake, and then the movement of the baby that further keeps me up. So that's fun. If I don't get woken up at night, at least I sleep super well. So while there are only 7 weeks left, I can understand being ready for it to be over. I also embrace this time with one toddler and no newborn...for newborns change things. We embrace this time as a family - with just one little to keep us busy.

Family breakfast at Bon's

Family walk at Trout Lake

Daddy/Daughter love

5am Mom/Daughter date

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Dressing Bump 2, Week 28

I love getting dressed when I'm pregnant, especially this pregnancy since I get to dress a lot more casually now that I'm not working in an office. This transition time from summer to fall is a lot of fun too. I love a chance to layer!

My "uniform" this past week has been pendant necklace, skinny jeans (black, jean or maroon), maternity t-shirt, button up (plaid or chambray), vest (military or jean) and sneakers (black nikes or chucks). Easy to slip on shoes (a preggo must) and a lighter layer for fall - plus I always feel pulled together with layers. I love that this same recipe for an outfit can look very casual, but can also could be really pulled together, depending on the pieces.

This outfit came out of this pin - I couldn't decide what to wear and when I opened Pinterest this outfit sprung up at me and I enjoyed it all day. 

Photo by Paul, so I take what I can get. 

Easy morning layers - chambray and military vest with stripes

A great weekend outfit - skinnies, chucks, plaid button up for warmth, a plain black T and my ever present military vest. 

We were away on the island on the weekend and I wanted to pack light, but also feel good in everything. So I tried pulling together my first "capsule" style packing wardrobe. It was perfect! I still overpacked a bit but it was way less than I normally would and everything was so easy to wear together. I felt very victorious.

Shorts work as easily as skinnies when the heat sneaks back in!

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Settling In

The house is coming along. We moved in for June 1st and now it's mid September. In my dreams, our house would be ready by now. In my plans, our house was going to be ready by now. But it's not finished. It's definitely not finished. That being said, it's still very usable and ready enough for now. My mom has spent my life telling me that hospitality has nothing to do with perfection - that hosting and loving people is about how they feel, not about how perfect the house is. So I keep trucking along, hosting and unpacking, as I can.

Our coffee station was originally something I thought I wouldn't be able to fit into this space and I'm so so so glad it does. I love it. We use it all the time. We had been given a Keurig Machine and bought a Soda Stream, and are so glad we can fit them all together here. My sister gave us the new wood piece on the right. My mugs all fit (regular mugs in the back, starbucks mugs in the front, white mugs on the top).

I created some tags to label all the areas. In the last house I realized that people had no idea where stuff went, and then it seemed even worse when I added four more baskets. So labels seemed helpful. I found these tags in the Target dollar aisle - they were wood with gold sparkle. I added the stripe and chalkboard label and voila!

I am so pleased with how well it works now that it's labelled.

Our room was one of the first rooms that was completed - our room had recently been madeover before we moved, so it was simply a case of moving it all over and figuring out the arrangements in a new space, with a few more pieces added. I finally got to add some chairs and a pouf to the space, so I have my long awaited seating space. We found this great grey and white patterned rug at Home Sense - I love it. We also got a great bench for the foot of the bed. I love seeing the room come together so quickly.

The space above my desk had annoying intercoms and alarm panels which don't work but took up lots of space. So we grabbed this piece from Ikea to cover them up and I love it! I put it together with my Mother in law (it was a real bonding experience, the instructions are not so clear) and it JUST fit. Thankfully. JUST. And every time someone comes in they comment on it. I also bought this chair, added a light grey fuzzy throw, and I love it. Comfortable and looks good. My desk has evolved a lot since these shots but it's not complete yet, so here is it is in the beginning stages.

And the living room - I love how big and open it feels. Ironically, when we came into the empty space for the viewing it felt smaller and darker, but with our furniture it feels open and bright. I love how easily I can move the furniture if needed...making the dining space or living room space larger or smaller.

We put my family piece into the entry way, which I like. It feels like it matches the grandiose feel of the entryway. But I wanted to add a fun carpet to make it feel more like me. I'm not that formal.

We also added a bench from Wayfair, with some baskets from Micheals and a row of hooks from HomeSense. It's very convenient. The space still feels like it has a long way to go but I like that at least for now, it's all very practical and useful.

There's lots more to do in our home but in the meantime we love living in it - we love the flow of the spaces and the longer we do life here, the more I can see what I want to build it in to, and what I want to tweak, and what should stay exactly as is. It's fun process - when I chose not to be overwhelmed by it!
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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Bump 2

As with my last pregnancy, I keep forgetting to post pictures along the way until 26/27 weeks. So here I am, at 27 weeks, finally starting to post about pregnancy. This pregnancy is very similar to the last in most major ways. My only real symptoms are some swelling of the hands and feet (and brain, I swear), minor heartburn (starting much sooner this time) and entering fully into the pregnancy stereotype. My cravings are different - I am not craving ice cream nearly so much and can eat veggies again but I'm craving carbs this time. Since I'm not really eating carbs in life, it's a tricky tension to eat enough to satisfy what my body is asking for, but not indulge in something that makes me feel not awesome. Generally I'm much more tired, but that also has to do with Avie's fun habit of waking up each night since we moved, me working part time, and us still unpacking in our new place. Overall I love being pregnant again, I love the miracle inside of me and find it just as neat as I did last time. Thankful for that! 
At 18 weeks! (and my new closet!)

A trip to the sunshine coast as a family!

Friday, September 9, 2016

The feels when

Yesterday I wrote about the struggle I was having emotionally with my Mom's illness. Yet again the outpouring of love and support from friends and family was amazing. And I'd like to follow up that blog post with a new blog post about today. Because today has been awesome and very normal.

Paul didn't need to be downtown until 9:30 so we got to wake up together and have weekend-like cuddles with Avie in bed. It was sunny. Which was unexpected because originally it was supposed to rain, which had been a big part of my stress to do with my Mom. It was sunny and my husband was home to help me get out the door. We ate breakfast with our two students (Xiao and Water) and all 5 of us headed downtown. After we dropped Paul off, me and the girls hung out grabbing coffee and then met up with my Mom at 10am. It stayed sunny the whole time we were with her! We went for the normal walk, and Xiao and Water took turns pushing her wheelchair. My fears were pushed aside. It wasn't overwhelming at all. We even stopped at the park for Avie to get her wiggles out!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The feels

Permission to babble?

I'm all of emotions. I'm pregnant, so this isn't a big surprise, and yet I'm not usually overly tearful. I cry, maybe 2-3 times a year, if you don't count the times I cry from laughing too hard (which happens even more when I'm pregnant!). Tonight I have felt like crying. lots. I'm struggling. I've written about my mom's illness before - and the writing, it always helps. But still, the struggle continues. She's been sick for so long, and dying for years now. I've written more about my mom and this journey hereherehereherehere and here. I've been writing about this sickness and its effect on our family and in my life since January 2013. 2 years ago, almost to the day, I wrote about death and the tension as she heads there, but isn't there, quite yet. And yet, 2 years later not much has changed. I mean, I have changed. I'm a mom now. I'm in a new job, in a new house. I'm pregnant with a second child. But the situation remains eerily similar. It feels like this illness is like a rock in the stream - but in a terrible way. Everything rushes around it, it slowly erodes from the power of the water, but the erosion is slower than anyone expects; than anyone wants. There are some in my family that find the rock's continued existence comforting. They would rather my Mom be alive, even in shell form. And that opinion, that feeling, isn't wrong. There are those of us that want her to be free from this shell; which sounds lovely, but that means death. And that is not wrong to wish either. After all, neither feeling is dictating her life span. We can feel all we want, but that doesn't change the reality. 


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