After turning in my fourth homework packet for graduate school, I'm playing the baby-waiting game. I am usually a pretty patient person but I am so uncomfortable. Seriously. I am never, not ever comfortable. I sleep badly and can't nap. Basically: I'm ready for Peanut to make her debut!
In the meantime, I'm trying my best to stay busy. I've already stocked up on my homemade cleaning products--laundry soap, bleach alternative, and all of my other household cleaners. I've mixed up some of my personal care products, too, although I probably need to make some more body lotion because I'm running low. I've been sorting and organizing like crazy; Casey and I have been moving things around in his office quite a bit. Basically, I'm in a mad nesting frenzy. It's a bit out of hand.
The biggest preparatory project is more... gastronomical. I know that in some places (small towns FTW) people bring new parents food for the first week as a way to make life easier. That's a lovely tradition. We live pretty far from most of our friends and family, though, and aren't planning on receiving this kind of assistance. I know neither Casey nor I will want to cook meals in the beginning. I've been preparing and freezing foods that I think will sound good to us.
Our parents and siblings will be here, in shifts, for the first month after the birth. I know they're all happy to cook for us but I can, at least, relieve some of that work. We won't be going out to eat and I'd like to avoid fast food as much as possible while I begin breastfeeding. With the exception of Wendy's hamburgers. Because those are awesome. Here are a few of the foods I'm freezing:
1) Pasta sauce. I made one big pot and froze it into three individual freezer bags. Each portion serves four people. I don't have a recipe for this because I make it so often, and it is so easy.
2) Soup. I have one two-person serving of Chicken Noodle left over from earlier this month, and I whipped up a pot of Corn, Bacon, and Potato Chowder, which yielded one meal for us and two four-person freezer bags. These recipes are pretty close to mine although I always tweak recipes as I'm cooking. We do have a few canned soups in the cupboard. I also prepped and froze some more homemade chicken stock, since we were running a little low.
3) Sandwich meats. These include Taco Meat, Barbecue Pulled Chicken, and Sloppy Joes. I used ground turkey for the tacos and ground pork for the sloppy joes because we're low on the ground beef we get from Casey's family farm. The Pioneer Woman has a great recipe for sloppy joes. I don't use a recipe or seasoning packets for taco meat because, again, I make it so often. The pulled chicken is simply dredged in Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet 'n' Spicy Sauce (which is just too good not to use). I have one four-person bag of each.
4) Chicken dinners. I'm preparing Cilantro Lime Chicken with Corn and Black Beans, Chicken Pocket Pies, and Sweet Mustard Chicken (which the recipe calls "World's Best Chicken"). I'm only making one four-person bag of the cilantro lime chicken because it uses chicken breast, which is more expensive. I'm making two bags of sweet mustard chicken since it's made with cheaper chicken thighs. The pocket pies can be made with canned or rotisserie chicken, although I'm using poached chicken breasts. I put the cooking instructions on the outside of the freezer bag so anyone can use them.
5) Smoothies. I've made up lots of two-person servings of Green Smoothies. I make tropical, berry, and green apple varieties. All the bags contain some chopped kale, parsley, and leafy celery tops, plus frozen banana slices. The tropical smoothies have extra banana and frozen pineapple added to them. The berry smoothies have strawberries and blueberries. The green apple smoothies have one and a half chopped apples. When we make them, we'll add honey or stevia, water, and ice. I also add Greek yogurt and spoonful or two of Benefiber, but Casey doesn't always like that.
6) Junk food. Okay, but at least it's not fast food! I'm freezing some hotdogs and precooked bacon. I am picky about our bacon and hot dogs; they have to be uncured, without nitrates or nitrites (because that stuff is poison). I just cook the bacon until it's not quite done, then cool it down to room temperature and lay out the slices on parchment paper to freeze it. When you want a piece, it's easy to reheat in the microwave or on the stove. The hotdogs are a personal thing. I love them. I make my own Ketchup and Comeback Sauce. We've also stocked up on granola bars, crackers, and fruit-and-nut mix. We should probably stock up on cookies, too. Let's be real.
Critical thesis turned in, nursery completed, 3 centimeters dilated, and 80% effaced. I'm feeling pretty accomplished right now. I'm going to be posting again soon, once I have a sense of where my graduate school semester is headed. Well, provided that happens before Peanut's arrival. We'll see!
Hope everyone is having a gorgeous Spring so far.
14 December 2012
The title of the post is relatively self-explanatory. What happened today in Connecticut is almost unspeakable, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't try. If you don't want to listen to me talk about guns, or you don't believe there's anything to talk about, then this isn't the post for you.
Whenever a tragedy like this occurs, the pro-gun-rights activists are immediately prepared to tell us that "guns don't kill people, people kill people." Factually speaking, though, guns do kill people. A gun killed a whole lot of people today. I'm not arguing semantics, here; I'm just trying to say that a gun is a weapon. To pretend it is only a tool is foolhardy and false.
I find hunting as a pastime confusing. I often want to ask hunters what it is about their hobby that they particularly enjoy. Is it the marksmanship? Because that doesn't require live targets to be satisfying. Is it the outdoorsmanship? Because you could easily enjoy the outdoors without shooting at anything. Do you like the camaraderie involved when you hunt with your friends or family? I can think of many other sports you might try out together. Or perhaps you, like some hunters I know, like to "test yourself against nature." Might I suggest spelunking? Or mountaineering? Or extreme wildlife photography? As far as "testing yourself" goes, I'd argue that modern day hunting isn't much of a challenge. Sure, you can take down a deer from a blind half a mile away with a high-powered rifle and a sight, but the deer isn't really getting a fair shot. I am not impressed.
I'm also not impressed by the argument that you have a right to protect yourself and your family. Sure you do. We all do. But I protect my family through attentiveness, modern security measures, and common sense. My husband was held at gun point this year during a car-jacking, and it was terrifying. Would it have been less terrifying for him (and for me) if he had also pulled a gun? Would it have altered the outcome? Now there are two guns involved, and the situation has escalated, and it's not just about a car anymore... it's an armed stand-off. That's just ludicrous. No, we did not immediately run out to buy a concealed firearm. The gun was the problem, not the solution.
And yes, I know that the second amendment to the constitution guarantees citizens the right to bear arms. It states: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." But I don't feel all that secure. If anything, the fact that anyone and everyone could be carrying a firearm I can't even see makes me feel pretty uncomfortable. Insecure, really.
At the end of the day, I care a whole lot less about your right to bear arms than I do about the lives of these children. These kids are dead. They have no rights. Their rights were taken away from them by a guy with a gun. While the gun did not make him do it, I think we can all agree that the gun made this tragedy possible. In a way that rope and knives and even a bow and arrow would not. Case in point: Chinese man attacks 22 children, 1 adult with knife outside primary school. 23 people were injured but no fatalities. Good thing he did not have a gun.
Seriously, don't even mention bombs.
Bombs are already illegal.
Here's what it boils down to: Guns aren't okay. They aren't fun, they don't serve any recreational purpose, and they don't belong in the hands of ordinary people-- whether those people are criminals or politicians, medical doctors or the mentally ill. If you have one, I don't want it anywhere near me. I don't want you carrying it around me or storing it in a house where I have to sleep. I don't want my child in a home that stores one, no matter how secure you are sure that it is. And I sure as hell don't want my child exposed to anything even remotely gun-shaped until he or she is old enough to understand that they are off-limits. Yes, that includes waterguns and video games. No freaking way.
I don't know how the media and the politicians are going to choose to spin this particular story. I don't know if anyone else will be willing to blame the gun. But I do. I really, really do.
I'm praying for these families, and for this country.