Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cooking Up a Storm: Joci's Birth Story, Part 1

All I can say about my final week of pregnancy is that God was very gracious to me.  There are just certain days or weeks where I'm extra-aware that I'm only getting on by the merciful hand of God.  The kids still misbehave, still trash my house, still go bonkers every evening between dinner and bedtime, but somehow we get through okay.  And also somehow other things still get done, even when you're largely pregnant and lacking in stamina and range of motion.  And that was last week - the week of getting things done.  It should have been my first sign, that final burst of energy and ability to actually clean my house.  We vacuumed, dusted, and mopped our way from top to bottom.  And then stood back and watched the kids mess it all up again.  But at least I knew that somewhere under all those toys, couch cushions, and socks (Lia has been bringing me socks several times a day and then just leaving them around the house) is a clean floor.

We really ticked things off the to-do list.  Jon got the baby goods out and the boys had fun pretending the little bathtub was a boat and the carseat a rocket ship.  And Lia's doll tested out all bouncy seat and swing.  And I got so overwhelmed with noise, and baby gear, and hyper children careening around my freshly-cleaned living room that I decided a trip to the mall for soft pretzels and lemonade was in order.  Then again, over the past few weeks soft pretzels and lemonade are always in order.

It's funny, after Julia was born I thought my days of running errands with the kids were over, especially after that first (and last) trip with three to Wal-Mart.  But over time I've grown more bold, or perhaps more desperate, and the prospect of having four under five soon has driven me out of the house more and more often recently.  Not that these trips go well, in fact, they usually don't.  I've completely sworn off taking the kids to the library anymore.  And every time I work up the courage to drag all three to the grocery store I spend the whole trip home scolding myself into never trying it again.  Which is what we did on Friday.  Jon was going up to Baltimore that night to help Jared and Kylee move in to their new apartment, and then he'd be golfing all Saturday morning.  So it was grocery shopping with the kids on Friday or not at all.

We actually did two grocery stores this weekend.  I wanted to make sure the kitchen was good and stocked for my planned cooking frenzy and then hopefully to get us through the week.  Just like everything else I do now - cleaning the bathroom, picking up groceries, mopping the floors - I wonder if it will be my last chance for a while.  I think Jon is feeling the same way, which is why he scheduled a golf outing for Saturday morning.  Me: "Do you really think that going golfing again (and subsequently leaving me alone with the kids on my potentially last Saturday pregnant) is a good idea?" Jon: "That's why I'm doing it!"

Ice cream cones, because Daddy was away and Mommy was desperate to get through the post-dinner-bonanza.
So anyway, while Jon was out in Baltimore Friday night and the kids were all sleeping soundly in their beds, I turned on "27 Dresses" in the kitchen and set to work stocking my freezer with some meals and baked goods.

And while Jon was out golfing the following morning I busted out the sewing machine and finished up Julia's flower girl attire and Joci's wedding day romper (all while trying to bat Julia's hands away from the sewing machine).

And during nap time I typed up a transcription file and finished the baby favors.  And that afternoon, I donned the maternity swimsuit (that doesn't really fit anymore) and the kids and I danced through the sprinkler.

Not a fan of the sprinkler ... and not a fan of mommy in the sprinkler either.
And then that evening, after we put the kids to bed, I set to work trying to finish off a few more meals.  At 9:30pm my kitchen looked like this:

But somehow I managed to finish it all up, put 20-some meals/side-dishes in my freezer, and have the kitchen clean by 11:00.

For those that asked, here's the list of recipes we'll be enjoying over the next few weeks (most of these were suggested at from www.onceamonthmom.com: 

Gingery Chicken with Peaches
Maple Dijon Chicken
Peach and Mustard Grilled Pork Chops
Overnight Oatmeal
Fried Couscous
Quinoa Summer Salad
Cool as Beans Salad
Steak Fajitas with peppers and onions
Stuffed Peppers (and leftover filling for burritos)
Turkey Quinoa Loaf
Baked Fish, Tomatoes, and Spinach foil packets
Quinoa and Kale Crustless Quiche
Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta
Balsamic Chicken
Clementine Pound Cake (okay, this one didn't make it to the freezer, it was too stinkin' good!)

Of course, I was aching by that point.  My back was sore, the "prankles" were out of control, and the Braxton-Hicks were doing their thing.  But I was happy.  Glad to feel a little more prepared for Baby's arrival, excited for church the next day, looking forward to meeting Uncle Tom and Aunt Carol at their sailboat for lunch, and anticipating an evening of fun at a potluck with our new church small group in the evening.  For the first time in a while, I felt like I had everything under control.  I collapsed into bed, so ready for a long-deserved rest, never thinking things were about to take a very different twist only a few hours later.

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