Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Nailed It!

So last night was just one of those times where I really got the mom/wife thing right.  The weekend was a tough parenting weekend, and already this morning, I was losing my patience again.  So please don't think that our lovely story is a good example of our typical daily life, but rather a goal that we strive for, and when things click just right like they did last night, it's an encouragement to keep trying to "get it right."

I already knew on my way home that Omar wasn't feeling well; he had a bad headache.  I got home at the same time as Omar and the kids, and walked in with them.  I told Omar to go upstairs and lie down while I got dinner ready. 

I had remembered to put the corned beef in the crockpot that morning, so that was already a step towards a good evening.  After a little mental debate, I decided the best way to handle the potatoes was to cut them up and toss them in the crockpot with the meat for a half hour.  As I was busily gathering stuff in the kitchen, the kids were starting to complain already about being hungry and wanting a snack.  I asked them to wait until I got the the potatoes in the crockpot, and William said, "I want to help!" I've been trying to engage him more in helping with the kitchen, so I pulled a chair up to the sink, and I peeled potatoes, and William washed them. Joy wanted to help, too, so she pulled over a chair for herself on the other side of me and opened and closed the trashcan lid while I peeled the potatoes.  Oh, and more brownie points for me, I remembered to turn the oven on to preheat for the green beans.

Once that part was done, I asked the kids to sit at the table while I cut the potatoes and tossed them in the crockpot.  When I turned back around, I found that Joy had managed to snag a banana out of the fruit bowl and peeled it herself!  William was sitting with a pack of peanut butter crackers, which I opened for him, and he shared with Joy. 

Then William asked to play Candy Land.  I deferred him for five minutes while I ran upstairs and started a load of laundry, then we played together.  I may have quickened the game just a little by skipping over the character cards that would have moved William backwards, but I think he still won fair and square.  Then I went to clean out the dishwasher and pre-clean the kitchen. The kids wanted to help again, so I let them help with the bottom shelf of the dishwasher (after I had gotten the knives out). Then I got the fishing game out for them while I finished putting away the more breakable stuff.  I also stuck the green beans in the oven (TGIF fried green beans, from the freezer). The kids helped me spread the frozen green beans out on the cookie sheet.  Another trip upstairs to switch over the laundry, and then it was time for dinner.

Oh, and somewhere in there, I caught William giving Joy and "ultrasound."  He used his ketchup and mustard bottles for the gel, his top spinner for the ultrasound wand, and a kitchen towel to wipe off her tummy when he was done.  Then Joy gave William an ultrasound.

I was proud of the dinner I served last night.  Corned beef, potatoes (half-mashed with lots of butter and juice from the meat, so good), and the fried green beans.  Omar came down and joined us for dinner, and every one ate pretty well.  William didn't eat a lot, but he tried everything.  And there were mini cupcakes for dessert left over from our cupcake treasure hunt on Sunday.

Clean up after dinner was fairly quick, since I'd already gotten some done while dinner was cooking.  Then I actually remembered family birthdays coming up.  So I scrounged up some colored paper, stickers, and crayons and helped the kids make birthday cards.  They really like stickers. When we were done, I had them help me clean up the living room and put away all their toys.

Upstairs, pajamas, teeth, Bible time, and the wiggles, and got the kids into bed pretty much on time.  While they settled down (they were kind of rowdy for a bit, and Joy kept getting out of bed), I took the laundry into my room to fold and put away while I watched a show on Netflix. By the time that was done, and I was heading back downstairs, the kids were falling asleep.

The next night's dinner was planned to be salad, so I pulled some chicken breasts out of the fridge to cook.  Omar wanted them really moist like the pre-cooked packaged chicken breasts we usually get.  So I cubed the chicken and dropped it in the frying pan with a spoonful of sour cream, salt, and garlic powder and browned it just a bit. Then I added a cup of chicken broth, covered, and let it simmer until done. It came out perfect; I was so excited!

I cleaned up the kitchen again, did a little computer business (including posting a photo of Joy's ultrasound by Dr. William), then served some warm apple crisp with ice cream and caramel  for Omar and I to enjoy while we watched an episode of How I Met Your Mother.

Afterwards, I made sure we left a clean kitchen, and we went upstairs to watch another episode while folding and putting away some hand me down clothes for Elijah, before going to bed at a fairly decent hour.

Everything just went well last night. I had a plan for dinner that didn't take too long to prepare.  I was able to enjoy time with kids, both by letting them help me with chores and by playing games with them.  I was successful in my first attempt with the chicken breasts, left a clean kitchen, and got a lot done last night.  And I went to bed with a good dinner planned for the next night.  For the most part, I was patient with the kids and they were good helpers all evening, and I was able to give my husband the time he needed to rest and cook the chicken just like he wanted.

Let's try it again tonight!