March 29, 2017

Freezer Meal Prep = Nesting, not resting.

38 weeks along and I was determined to get the baby room finished, her clothes washed and organized, diaper stations stocked and family meals in the freezer. I had to take a few days off work to get it done, but LIKE A BOSS, I did it (and thanks to my Mom for helping organize baby clothes).

I really wanted to go the extra mile with this meal prep thing. I have no idea what our life will be like with another little one and it's already exhausting just thinking about what I can make for dinner every day. It's a hot topic in our family since we both work full-time. I get frustrated that dinner always falls on me, which is mostly because I get home first, but also because we insist on family dinner so if I waited on my husband to take a turn the 7:30 pm dinner would not bode well for our toddler's bedtime schedule.

After doing some Pinterest-ing I decided on 8 freezer meals - like some of these taco meat style recipes, Ravioli Lasagna and used spinach ravioli, Tuscan Pasta, Chicken, Broccoli, Bacon & Potato Bake and a few of my own, like Pepperoni Baked Ziti and Lasagna. I was going for "easy to prep" -- multiple dishes that I could cook in bulk -- and sat down to make my grocery list. I like to organize my lists by the direction of food sections that I walk through the store. It is so annoying when I get all the way through the store and realize I freaking forgot the cilantro. 

So, armed with my grocery lists I trekked the aisles. I had to make 3 store stops for the best prices, including buying foil pans to make even cleanup a breeze, and $134.79 later I was exhausted and hurting, but done.

For me it was best to do all the shopping in one day and tackle the cooking the next when I was refreshed.

Beef, Bean, Cheese Burritos
Steps to the finish line:

1. I started with cooking up my chicken and beef and keeping the seasoning simple: garlic, onion, salt and pepper. I was prepared to doctor each up for its recipe as needed.

TIP: One dish called for bacon and I opted to try a pre-cooked bacon package and I would say it was worth it for the major savings on mess and time.

2. Chopped veggies and potatoes and also portioned them out for each recipe.
Tuscan Pasta with sun-dried tomatoes

Chicken, Broccoli, Bacon & Potato Bake
3. Once the meat was off the stove I boiled pasta to stay ahead of the game while I focused on piecing the beef meals together.


TIP: Don't forget to spray the pans!

4. Set up the chicken dishes and added pasta where it was needed. Again, focusing then on one recipe at a time kept it organized.
 4.  Once I had my lineup completed I covered each pan with heavy duty foil.  I placed the full recipe in a sandwich bag and taped it to the top of the pan, with the burritos I wrote the instructions on the freezer bag. Whatever works.

 
5. Into the freezer they went.

All in all, the whole cooking process took 4.5 hours and I still feel damn good about it. #MomGoals.








February 9, 2017

While you were sleeping.

While you were sleeping, I paced from room to room desperately searching for tranquility.

Instead, I strapped an ice pack on my lower back and picked up race cars in every room. I folded blankets and put them in their places. I straightened couch pillows and emptied the dishwasher. I stocked the toilet paper and put more napkins on the table. I slid garbage trucks and firetrucks into their bookshelf parking garages. I put puzzles back together and stacked them in their assigned places. I folded the towels that were 2 days forgotten in the dryer and washed the sippy cups in the sink.

While you were sleeping, I thought about my guilt.

The guilt, ugh, the guilt. Carrying a life inside of you is so powerful, so beautiful, so overwhelming. I feel guilty when I have thoughts of despair or frustration because my body feels so awful when left to heave into toilets. I hide at work because I can't go far from a trashcan or a locked bathroom stall. I can't wait for it to pass, and I count the days. I feel guilty when I can't find the energy to chase our son and crawl after him to ram monster trucks into one another because all he wants more than anything is for me play with him. The last thing I want is for him to be upset that his new sibling-to-be is changing his mommy.

Or, maybe you ate four mozzarella sticks for dinner, your 3-year-old had cereal, and left your husband on his own....yeah, that was a low day.

I sat on our couch with the freshly punched pillows and stared out the window. The snow floated lazily by the streetlights and I just tried to breathe. It was 3 AM.

I don't remember feeling this much anxiety the first time. Did I? I am so excited to meet this baby. I can't wait to see how our family grows, the personalities that develop and the memories we will make. It is what I have always wanted. Please, just help me find strength right now.

So, while you were sleeping, I cried.

I cried for all of these things and so much more. For our home. For the giggles you generate, the ambition you flourish, the confidence you swag, the eyelashes you gave our son, your gentleness when you teach him, your embellishments when you read to him. And mostly, I feel thankfulness for you, for us. Please know this even when I struggle to speak or put words to my crazy. Our journey is the best journey.