Monday, September 29, 2014

4 Kids- the neverending balancing act

Life is always a balancing act. Today it struck me that it's also about juggling, and each member of our family needs their own time and attention. Specifically, they each need time and attention from ME!

Here's the rundown of what they each needed from me in the last 24 hours:

Husband: to have lunch together, the address for a friend to whom he needs to send a thank you note, the location of our stationary to write said thank you note, help finding his wallet, input about the iphone 6 versus the iphone 6 plus, validation that what he does professionally really does help the world, breakfast and dinner.

7 year old: for me to listen to her read for 15 minutes, sign off on reading work, help her pack a lunch, taste test of seaweed snacks and brainstorming other snacks that she might enjoy more than the chocolate zucchini muffins that have been in her lunch the last two weeks, time to talk about her friends, who has a crush on whom...

5 year old: for me to listen to him explain how bees carry pollen from flower to flower, the blessings for apples and honey that he learned in kindergarten, to sunscreen him, help putting on his "tricky" shoes, me to choose his clothes, read to him, discuss how tunnels are built...

2 year old: countless replays of Frozen, putting on Netflix for the Barbie Dreamhouse shows, taking the green things out of her hamburger at dinner, extra books at bedtime, changing her diaper, doing her hair in ponytails, sunscreen, socks and shoes, snuggling in the afternoon so she can recount her soccer practice watching at preschool, check for head lice since there was an outbreak at school...

5 month old: nursing 6-8 times a day, baby food 4 times a day, 10 diaper changes, playing with him, music class, dangling fun toys over his head, practice sitting up, clapping as he rolls over, take two different supplements to keep my milk supply up...

Me (can't forget me): exercise, get nails done before holidays, shower, apply moisturizer and eye serum, reply to all emails, take a minute to read blogs/magazines and rest.

Plus none of this takes into account the basics: breakfast, lunch, dinner, 2-3 snacks, making sure we have toilet paper, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, actually bathing the kids...

In short, 4 kids feels like a bazillion, and it's constantly assessing priorities and reshuffling so that everyone's needs are met, and a few of the wants get met too.

Any great advice for the juggling act of parenthood?

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How to Prepare for a Major Holiday

These three days before Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new year) could be the template for my approach for the 3 days before any big holiday or event.

Day 1: The Messy Stuff

This day I bake, bake, and bake more. Challah braiding, cookies, cakes, anything that will cover my kitchen with flour and sugar and make it a total mess. This week I made 9 challahs, and 2 desserts, plus a really complicated dinner that I wanted to try out. My strategy is that if there are any disasters, I have plenty of time to fix the problem. I also do my grocery shopping today.

Day 2: Me Time

Today is Day 2 (yay)! So I exercised really hard, took a leisurely shower, shaved my legs, went out to get my nails done... Plus I am currently watching Caillou with my 2 year old, will nurse the baby a ton, feed the kids an easy dinner (pizza maybe?), and try to sneak in a few magazines. Ideally, I would also use today to get spiritually ready, but a few minutes to decompress is enough for me this year.

Day 3: Get $hit Done

The "day of" is when it all comes together. I set the table (if we didn't eat breakfast and dinner in the dining room I might have done this on Day 2), do the cooking (briskets, veggies, sides, soup, etc), run  and unload at least 2 dishwasher loads, wipe off counters, and get the house in order.

Of course there is still parenting to do, so day 3 this year also includes a speech assessment for the 5 year old, music class with the 5 month old, and hopefully seeing my stepmom as she drops off kids from school.

After the Event:

We clean up as much as possible that night, then unload dishwashers and reload the next morning.

Just for fun, here is my menu this year:

Whole wheat raisin challah
Cinnamon and cranberry challah
Apples and Honey
Miso-Ginger Soup with Fresh Corn Ravioli
Brisket with Pomegranate Relish
Multi-Colored Carrots and Potatoes
"French Fry" Green Beans (just thin, crispy and with salt)
Coconut Macaroons with Lemon Curd
Fresh Berries

Wine, lots of wine.

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