Monthly Archives: October 2011

I never know how to answer someone when the question “How do you do it?” is asked. It’s usually strangers who are doing the asking when I am out and about with my team of boys. If I’m in a precocious mood I tell them that I drink…. heavily. Not everybody finds the humor in that. If I’m feeling self deprecating I tell them that we have good days and bad days, but what I never say is that our good days outweigh the bad by a landslide. I never want to offend someone with the notion that I have it all figured out, or make a person feel inadequate with our “perfect life”.

Guess what, I’m totally winging it over here and the people closest to us know just how messy our life can get. Pretty, pretty, messy! So with all of this craziness swirling around me how am I able to have more good days than bad? Simple! No really, it is. Everyday I wake up with a plan of what I want to accomplish in the next 24 hours. My goals might be lofty, like tackling the boys closets or having dinner done in the afternoon so we don’t have to go through a drive thru after soccer practice. They might be super simple like sweeping off the porch, giving the dog a bath, or remembering to put gas in the car. Sometimes they are non-negotiable like giving myself enough time to catch up with my mom on the phone. Usually we need at least an hour, sometimes two depending on how much advice I need from her.

Wanna know what happens if I don’t get everything done that day? For starters (and this is a big one!) I never beat myself up about it. So what if we have Taco Bell for dinner one night? I was craving a mexican pizza anyways. Secondly I put it on my list for another day because tomorrow is just waiting to be filled with goals to accomplish! I am also very realistic with what I can handle. If my plate is too full I simply take something off, and most importantly I never, EVER feel bad about that.

So I guess that’s my big secret. Simply having a plan and being ok if that plan completely falls apart. Take these gorgeous apple muffins for example, I was going to make them for breakfast a few Saturdays ago but then I decided to sleep in. I figured I’d try again the next weekend but we had an early soccer game. Baking at 6am? No thank you. The weekend after that everybody wanted omelets, then finally almost a month later I was able to make these muffins not for breakfast but for an after school snack. I guess baking in the morning just isn’t in the cards for me at this time in my life and I am totally fine with that! Besides they made a wonderful snack and I was also able to enjoy them with my guys.

A plan is good.  But being ok with life interrupting that plan is even better.

Oct 18

Guinness Stew

A few weekends ago my sister-in-law and I were comparing notes on what it feels like to be done having babies. She told me that while she loves having a bit of freedom to enjoy her husband and older children, the desire to welcome a new baby to her family will probably never go away. I wholeheartedly agreed with her. Both her and I were fortunate enough to have had fairly text book pregnancies, drama free labours, and healthy beautiful babies at the end of it all. With each of our children our families were able to enjoy all of the magical (sometimes tiring) things that follow bringing home a new baby.

New babies bring new beginnings. New hopes, new dreams, and a new destiny that is waiting to be had. A first baby launches a couple into parenthood and promotes the immediate family into grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, and uncles. New traditions are started and a new chapter in a family’s life begins.

Two very close friends to Ryan and I, Jared and Sarah, recently welcomed their first son to their family. This sweet little baby is welcomed by older cousins on Jared’s side, but on Sarah’s side he is the first grand baby to grace the Stone family. This brand new baby should feel right at home with his brand new parents, brand new grandma, great grand parents, and two brand spanken new aunts. There will be countless firsts for this family to enjoy and we couldn’t be happier for them!

Of course I had to make this honeymoon-in-Ireland-pub-loving-couple Guinness stew to help celebrate the arrival of Rory Bruce McNeil. And no I did not forget a six pack of Guinness to help them wash that yummy stew down!

Congratulations again Sarah and Jared. We are so excited for all of the new and wonderful joys your handsome son will bring to your entire family.

Sometimes I forget how old I am and I accidentally tell people that I’m 30 when really I am 31. Wait … or am I 32? Why is my age so hard to keep track of?

Sometimes I go on auto pilot while I’m driving and wind up at the mall instead of where I’m suppose to be going. This is kinda weird considering I dislike the mall very much and I usually try my hardest to avoid going there at all cost. Maybe somebody is trying to tell me I need to buy a new pair of boots?

Sometimes when the receptionist at the doctors office asks me what year my youngest son was born I draw a blank. 2008…. no, 2007? Then I wonder if she thinks I am the ditziest mother on the planet because how could a mother forget the year when her precious baby boy was born?! It happens.

Sometimes when I am toasting a loaf of bread in the oven for dinner I totally forget about it and wind up with a huge inedible crouton instead of warm yummy bread. Oops, sorry guys. Mommy wanted to cut out some of the carbs in our meals anyways!

Sometimes I forget to call my friends and family back and wind up with a few annoyed “have you fallen off the face of the earth?!” messages. I hate when I get so hyper focused on the lame stuff  (laundry, organizing, cleaning) that I don’t make time for the good stuff (talking to my mom, sisters, or girlfriends). Please continue to keep me in check ladies!

Sometimes when I’m at the grocery store I’ll forget to pick up the main ingredient for whatever it is I am making that night. I’ll remember the bread crumbs, the eggs, the herbs, and the ketchup, but I will totally forget the ground beef for the meat loaf I was going to make for dinner tonight! By the way meatloaf is one of my favorite things to make (and eat). We’ll talk about it soon, promise.

When I’m having one of my super forgetful, what the heck was I thinking, days I turn to making stir fry for dinner that night. It can be made with beef, or not. You can put broccoli in it, or not. You can add oj to your sauce, or not. There are a million different ways to throw together a stir fry, it really depends on what you have (or don’t have) in your fridge at the moment.

So even though you are having a forgot-to-cancel-that-appointment-need-to-call-your-best-friend-back-before-she-kills-you kind of day you can still have a yummy-just-threw-it-together-healthy-fresh-stir-fry kind of night.

Do you ever listen to a song and think about all of the moments in your life where that particular song has been present?

“Here comes the sun” by The Beatles is one of those songs that continues to follow me. I remember listening to it in my dads truck while we drove to the dump when I was a little girl. I was such a daddies girl (still am) and I used to jump at the chance to go anywhere with him (still do)! I then remember singing along to it with my girlfriends while we drove around downtown in my purple VW bug smoking cigarettes. We felt like we had it all figured out back then, our parents, life, boys. Little did we know what life had waiting for us! Now my boys sing and clap along with me to this sweet song and I love that their journey with music is just beginning. I wonder where this song will find them next, and the mother in me prays it has nothing to do with cigarettes!!

You can do the same thing with food and chicken parmesan is a dish that always pops up when there is a special occasions with my friends or family. I remember asking my mom to make it for my birthday when I was in the 1st first grade. The four of us sat around our cozy kitchen table complimenting her on yet another wonderful dinner. I remember it again when an old friend invited us and several other couples over for dinner. There were nine children under 8 years old present, the noise level was epic, the wine was flowing, and the food was awesome. It is now a meal I make when there is a reason to celebrate in our house. It might be a congratulations on getting a 100% on a spelling test meal or a “hurray friends are coming over!” dinner.

Whatever the occasion I know chicken parmesan will continue to find me at a table surrounded by friends, family, and a room full of crazy kids!