BAM Family

BAM Family

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Meng Menu: Summer Time Meals!

Sunday: Homemade pizza, salad
Monday: Chicken meatballs in cream sauce, mashed potatoes, green beans
Tuesday: Chicken taquitos, salad
Thursday: Out to eat
Friday (July 4!): Hamburgers and hot dogs, baked beans, chips, watermelon

Saturday: Sloppy joes, chips, apples 

Sunday: Helmans chicken, parm rice, green beans
Monday: London broil, baked potatoes, broccoli
Tuesday:  Chicken pot pie
Wednesday: Spaghetti, salad
Thursday: Asian chicken thighs, rice, green beans
Friday: Out to eat
Saturday: Biscuits and gravy, smoothies

I'm finally getting around to posting our menu for the next two weeks! I menu plan every two weeks but I've been forgetting to blog about it. 

I am trying out 3 new recipes in week 1. I've been getting tired of the same ol' same ol' dinners. Hopefully we'll find some new favorites!

Shopping was great this week and came in at $221, or $111 per week. Nice. I saved almost $50 with Kroger specials and a few coupons. Plus, I had an online coupon for double fuel points on weekends so the next time we fill up (which will be soon!) I will be able to save 70c per gallon. YES!

I am really looking forward to the 4th of July--my brother is coming to visit and we are looking forward to cooking out and some fireworks! 

Happy Independence Day! 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pregnancy after Loss: Survivor's Guilt

The past six months have been a time of immense growth for me, and very painful growth at times.

I shared very publicly and honestly about my miscarriage and the grieving process that I went through. While some women prefer to grieve privately, I found that writing and sharing my story on my blog and in the support group that I now co-lead has been very healing for me.

I found community in my grief.

I was part of "The Club." Ironically, it is a club that no woman wants to join but the support I have found in women who have also experienced loss has been a source of great strength, encouragement, and hope.

Then I got pregnant again.

In realty, my pregnancy happened very quickly after my miscarriage. At the time, it didn't seem quick. My womb felt achingly empty as the weeks ticked by that I was NOT "12 weeks along;" rather, I was 3…4…5…6…7…weeks post-miscarriage.

My miscarriage was complete at the beginning of February and I found out I was pregnant again on April 14th.

It was a quiet joy, and a confusing time for me.

After telling my family, I nervously shared about my pregnancy with my grief group co-leader and told her that I primarily felt guilty for being pregnant again so soon.

She said, "I think you have Survivor's Guilt."

That odd, complicated guilt of those that have experienced pain but have also experienced a new gift of life, and feel undeserving.

My first thought was: I AM PREGNANT! We were going to have another baby.
Our precious new Little Meng
My second thought was: What about my grief support group? Will I still be accepted…wanted…needed…now that I am…pregnant?

I had my inner fears, but in my heart I knew that I was still a part of this important community.

But this was not just a question that I asked in my mind. For many people, the first question they asked me as soon as I told them I was pregnant was, "So, what about the grief group? Are you still going to do it?"

I must be honest and say that these questions really hurt my feelings. One part of of me understood because I had the same questions, in a way. But the other part of me pushed against this idea that now I was unqualified to lead a grieving mothers group because I now had the joy of being pregnant again.

I have learned that the joy of knowing a new baby grows inside my womb is co-mingled with grieving for the child I lost.

The day I announced my pregnancy was actually a very sad day for me. There were many tears. Somehow, I felt as if Izzy, the baby we lost, could never be, even in my mind, as now my womb was occupied again in the nine months that should have been hers.

Complicated, intense, illogical, yes. But those were my real feelings, even as I thanked family and friends for their congratulations and well-wishes.

It is not easy to be pregnant after loss. A new pregnancy does not replace the baby we lost.

I am doing better, well even. I am thankful every strong pregnancy symptom (even as I run to the bathroom…oh joy!), am beyond impatient to find out if we will be having a little boy or girl, and am eagerly anticipating those flutters and kicks.

But, in quiet ways, I still grieve. I still need support.

And I hope, that even though I am pregnant again, I can still offer support, love, and wisdom to other women who are walking this road.

When I shared about my pregnancy at our meeting last month, the women in my group had nothing but words of encouragement and joy for me. I hope that if and when their time comes to welcome a new life into their wombs that I can also walk this new path with them as they experience this journey of mingled joy and grief.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Summer (Sanity!) Schedule

School is out! WOO HOO! No more crazy mornings, making lunches, scrambling out the door just in the nick of time…! Just days of fun…!

….long…days….of…fun.

Emphasis on "long."

Maybe you are like me and feel like "Oh my…how am I going to keep my kids happy this summer while also keeping my own sanity?

(on top of just day to day sanity I am also teaching online this summer. Oh, and I'm pregnant too.)

So, I decided to put together a little plan to help give us some structure to our long summer days.
Micah and Benji get up before I do and can do the first 3 by themselves. I usually get up around 7:30 or 8 and then we eat breakfast. 

"Clean up" will consists of general toy pick up and regular house work. It will also be an opportunity for the boys to earn "Bucks." (See below!)

Our Activity time will be anything from 
Playing at the park
Wednesday Playdate with friends
Going to Kids Cove
Going to the Library
Running errands 
Cooking Time
Doing work sheets or reading books
Painting/crafts
Playing in the bath (a favorite, especially for Benji)
Legos, Trains, etc. 
Or…if I am truly exhausted and have no creativity, playing educational games on the computer

After lunch is Rest Time which is ESSENTIAL to both  my sanity and the fact that I am working from home. Silas starts his nap at 12:30 and I am going to make the big boys lay down then too (or around there). Then I can get some work done on the computer and/or rest if I need to. TV time afterward is contingent on the big boys taking a good nap/rest (2 hours). 

My motivation is super-low in the late afternoon so I have a pretty lax schedule after Rest Time. 

I am hoping that our schedule will lead up till 5pm when DADDY COMES HOME FROM WORK!!! (aka the best part of the day!)

Bucks System
As a way to motivate my 6 year olds to do housework, summer work sheets, and general good behavior, as well as teach them about spending and saving, I made some "Behavior Bucks." 
I printed them on colored card stock  for free from this website
The boys can "Earn the Bucks," "Spend the Bucks," or "Lose the Bucks." Here are some examples below of how each one works in our family.
They can also earn bucks for a "Cheerful Attitude" or "Helping with Silas" or "Special Chores with Daddy"
So far, most of the bucks have been spent on iPad playing (also candy). They keep saying they want to save for
Toys R  Us but it is HARD (Saving is hard for all of us, isn't it?)
The boys can "Lose the Bucks" too. This has proven a pretty effective discipline method so far (even in just warning them that they are about to "LOSE THE BUCKS!"). 
I am hoping that our "Bucks" system will provide some structure and motivation to our day for chores and summer school work like reading and handwriting sheets. 

So, there it is: Our Summer (Sanity) Schedule. 

I really want to keep these faces smiling! (and mine smiling too!)


What are YOUR plans for the summer? How do you plan to keep (ha!) your sanity as well as keep your kids busy and happy?

Share your ideas below!  

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