BAM Family

BAM Family

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Meng Menu: Two week plan!

Monday: Pulled pork (crock pot) sandwiches, chips, apple slices
Wednesday: Fish (?), parmesan rice, peas
Friday (Aaron's b-day): Sloppy joes, roasted red potatoes, green bean casserole
Saturday: Out to eat

Sunday: Homemade pizza night, salad (Company)
Monday: Broiled Asian chicken thighs, rice, green beans
Tuesday: Hot dogs, chips, carrot and celery sticks
Wednesday: Pulled pork sliders for pot luck
Thursday: Chicken Parmesan w/ pasta and salad
Friday: Out to eat
Saturday: Biscuits and Gravy, fruit smoothies

YEA! Grocery shopping is done for another two weeks! And darn it! I forgot the kale so I'm going to have to go back on Thursday. I also need to buy fish for Wednesday; I am going to try a new fish market that I have been wanting to shop at for months. I hope I can find a good deal on salmon! 

But overall, a good week, budget wise: Total = $254 which included diapers, conditioner, body wash, foil, plastic wrap, and disposable bowls, plates, and cups for our Sunday Supper nights. 

Nope, not bad at all! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Lost Art of the RSVP: Why is it so hard to click "not attending"?

I kinda chewed out some of my former students on Facebook today.

Ok, maybe "chewed out" is a little harsh. But I gave them a short life lesson about the need for RSVPing to an invitation. I felt kind of guilty afterwards but this is an issue that has been bothering me for a a few years or so...

This is what I wrote after I sent a Facebook invitation for our weekly Sunday Supper meal:

Ok, ya'll. I'm going to go a little "teacher-mode" on you here. If you are coming, please click, "coming."  If you are not coming, click "Decline." It is NOT rude to say you are NOT coming. It is polite.

Any personal invitation you receive should get a response from you! Don't be a flaky "millennial"! (yes, I just went there. Sorry...)

Ok, I am done. :) I hope to see many of you on Sunday night. We have been having a great time in the past weeks.

The "flaky millennial" was probably a low blow. I am cringing a little bit now. BUT! But...

Seriously, RSVPing for events is a lost art in our culture, be it a problem of the millennial generation or not. 

Almost 100 years ago, Emily Post, Miss Manners herself, wrote that anyone who received an invitation with RSVP (French for Répondez s'il vous plaît, literally "Reply if it pleases you") was obligated to respond (thank you, wikipedia). 

Today, we invite 4 times as many people than can actually fit in our dining rooms because we know that 3/4 of them won't even respond. 

I host a lot of events: weekly dinner parties, a book club this past summer, play dates, the occasional product party...and the lack of RSVPing is seen in every age group. 

Why is this? I try to think of my own motives for not responding to invitations because I know I am guilty of this too. 

Like most people, invitations flood my inbox and pop up on my Facebook newsfeed all the time: baby showers, Pampered Chef parties, Arbonne parties, birthday parties, JamBerry nail events, City block parties, etc. 

Sometimes I know the person has invited every single person on his or her friend list. I usually ignore these, especially if, say, the Pampered Chef party held in Kansas. 

But other times, when the invitation is from a personal friend, the decision to RSVP is a bit more complicated: 

What day is the 4th?
Will I even have the car that day? (We only have one car)
What time is the event? Ug. I'm so tired in the evenings.
Not another mom entrepreneur party!

When my thoughts lean toward the negative or "that's not my thing," it feels like the easiest thing to do is ignore the invitation. After all, they won't miss me! They invited 65 people to that party!

But...then the old truism of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" starts pricking my conscience. I want people to respond to my events "yes" or "no" (I really despise the "maybe" option in Facebook but it is better than nothing!) so I needed to start practicing what I preach and actually RSVP "no," even if it feels uncomfortable. 

And, when I look at the event from my vantage point as the hostess, I realized a few things about the dreaded "no."

A "no" is not rude or mean, nor does it tell the hostess that you don't like her! It just means that you aren't coming to the shower...or dinner...or play date. 

A "no" is just a firm commitment not to attend, instead of the vague "none of the above" option which leaves the hostess wondering if people actually got the invitation in the first place (they did).
A "no" is actually polite because it allows the hostess to plan the event, food, and other guests accordingly. 

So, I've really tried to make an effort to RSVP "no" when I can't or don't want to attend an event (no one has to know the reason! A cheerful "Thanks for the invite! I hope you all have a great time" is a nice way to decline). 

Ultimately, I've come to realize that actively responding to personal invitations, be it paper (wedding invitations, anyone?) email, or Facebook, is one way that I can love my neighbor as myself. 

If the person hosting the event is taking the time to plan the party, dinner, girls-night-out, play date, or wedding, and invite me to be a part of it, then the most loving thing to do is to RSVP instead of ignore the invitation, even if the response is the uncomfortable "no." 

What do you think
Why don't we RSVP anymore? 
Is this a new issue? 
A generational problem? 
A "we are too busy" problem? 
A "waiting to see if I get a better invitaiton on that day" problem?
I am genuinely perplexed by this issue! 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Meng Menu: Two weeks plan!

Sunday: Chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole, salad, chocolate cake
Tuesday: Pork chop casserole, peas
Wednesday: Fish (going to shop Wed at a local fish market!), parmesan rice, green beans
Thursday: Chicken broccoli alfredo
Friday: Out to eat
Saturday: Sliders, chips, fruit 

Sunday: Spaghetti and meatballs, bread, salad
Monday: Flat iron steak, baked potatoes, green beans
Tuesday: Turkey meatballs, rice w/ gravy, corn
Wednesday: Pan fried pork chops, mashed potatoes, green beans
Thursday: Bacon, eggs, toast, fruit
Friday: Out to eat
Saturday: Sloppy joes, chips, peas

I always hold my breath a little bit when I hand my Kroger card to the attendant to be swiped at check out. Today, before the swipe, my total was around $360. Yikes!  But after that magical little swipe, $76 rolled off the final tally, bringing the final total to around $280ish (or 140/week). Whew. I bought a lot of groceries today but my total also included: 
Head and shoulders shampoo
Freezer bags
Drier sheets
Toilet paper
Disposable baking dishes (making dinner for a friend later this week)
Plastic forks (hosting dinner tonight)
Diapers for Silas

I was glad to take advantage of Kroger's "buy 5 save $5" deal on 26 items; plus, I saved on other Kroger deals and coupons.

So overall...not bad. Not bad at all.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Remembering Izzy: "Pledged to God"

 August 24 would have been my due date.
I have been holding off writing this post. It was in my heart...I wanted to write it...but I kept pushing it away, kind of like I've been pushing the reality of my miscarriage away lately.

Because sometimes, I just want to forget, because it is still painful. Even though we lost the baby so early. Even though my belly is now swelled with new life, eagerly awaiting his birth day in December. Even though...

But there is no forgetting the memory of a child-that-would-have-been. And when I connect my miscarriage to the memory of the baby I lost (why do I try to mentally separate it? Does it make it easier somehow?), I don't ever want to forget, despite the pain.

So, August 24 came...and went. By now, even if I was over a week "late," like I was with Silas, I would have given birth to the baby by now, the baby Micah named "Izzy."

In the first few weeks after my miscarriage ended, I read Heaven is for Real. A chapter that really stuck out to me was when the little boy (who, for those of you who don't know the premise of the book, went to heaven when he was in surgery and nearly died) met his little sister who was lost to miscarriage. The parents hadn't even told the little boy that they were expecting a baby. Imagine their surprise when he told his mom and dad that he "met his sister!"

In wonder they asked him, "What was her name?"
"She didn't have one," he told them. "No one has named her yet."

For some reason, after reading this section, a sudden urgency came over me. I threw aside the book and rushed to my computer, hastily googling "meaning of names + Izzy."

I am a big believer in the meanings of names. For our children, we carefully chose one or both of their names with the meaning in mind.

I didn't chose the name "Izzy" for the baby we lost; my 6 year old son did, named after one of his favorite characters from the show "Jake and the Neverland Pirates." But the name stuck.

And unlike the baby in Heaven is For Real, our baby did have a name, a name that made her (girl or boy, who knows?) even more real to us.

A host of baby naming websites popped up on my screen. I click on one and typed in "Izzy," my heart nervously pounding as the information loaded.

"Izzy, diminutive of Isabella: Pledged to God"

I stared at the screen, slowly breathing in and out, feeling the wonder of the moment.
I felt peaceful, like I had known this all along. 
I felt humble, I had just been given a rare gift. 

I would have never chosen this name for my baby, but somehow, by God's grace (and by Micah's love for a pink-clad pirate-girl), my son did.

Pledged to God. 

I believe that my little one, the baby due just over a week ago, is in heaven with God, her Father. 

And it hurts because right now, this very minute, I want to be holding this baby in my arms, kissing soft downy hair, tracing perfect, tiny features, and breathing in that wonderful newborn scent. I want to be thanking God that my baby is here, with me, safe, healthy, and whole. 

But instead, I must thank Him for other things:

For the gift of new life in my still-growing baby, Eli, 23 weeks strong
For the gift of each of my children, present with me or with Him
For the gift of a name that I would not have chosen, but somehow comforts me on this side of heaven. 

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