Thinking About Getting It Together

Again, motherhood had muddled my mind.  Nap-time was upon me and again, I had a vague notion that I could be and desperately needed to be, accomplishing something, anything. Now if I could only find that list I made of all those tasks I really needed to finish doing instead of chasing my tail. Because that paralysis had set in. Again.

Those lists are made. I’m a fine list maker. And then they stick around out on a table and next to my chair for a while until their presence becomes menacing, a reminder of the childcare that’s not in place for that date for the thing I want to do but can’t. And so I stick it in “that” folder. And out of sight, out of mind. What list? What folder?

st mikes

And I’m then thinking, am I as un-together as I think I am or do I just have too many expectations and desires about how I want to move my life onwards? Because keeping the babies alive and fed and napped and entertained without ignoring them into negligence is a very time-consuming task. Or is it my process that needs revamping? I think it’s both.

Fiona Marie with a pencil and a hairclip from

All those Apps and programs and gizmos and lists are only as good as the habit you’ve created to use them. There are only so many hours in the day and not all of them are your top energy packed productive hours. If you have only kids in school, you are already lucky enough. But with little ones still at home, you just have to develop systems and get help to care for them if you want to gain ground instead of just hold it.

Sometimes I get the overwhelming feeling that if I can just write it all down. I mean ALL down and get it out of my head, I will feel less agitated. Include all the tasks I want to accomplish, cleaning musts, thank you notes, shopping, meals, stuff I wished I’d said, courses I want to take, ideas for next Christmas, cobweb I spotted in the hallway, thoughts on spiritual enlightenment, books to read, day-trips to take, reasons for breaking up with my hairdresser, and marketing ideas for my yet unspoken business idea. To name a few examples of what happens at any given time in my busy brain.

The floor from

For me, the biggest roadblock is often, “I don’t have the funds”. “I can’t because” is a good indicator of the things you are afraid of and not the state of your bank account. And provided my lists are in plain sight, sometimes just sitting with my pile of lists, papers, folders, notebooks, and journals and looking at them and a calendar and a blank piece of paper can inspire me to create new goals and revamp old ones.

The trick is to know when the overwhelmed feeling that causes you continuous paralysis is hurting you. If you aren’t proud of the choices you are making, make different ones. If it’s a matter of depression, perhaps postpartum or losing someone close, seek help, be a good parent to yourself and move yourself on over the bump. Have compassion and be kind but do something even if it’s wrong, as my husband’s fond of saying. Keep at your habit changing and task mastering methods until you find one that works.

Playing in the cat food on

And do as much as you possibly can to plan out everything in your way. Set a date on a calendar to go through your closets for the big yard sale. (That was yesterday and today. Some progress was made.) Take 15 minutes to go to recipe sites and make up a menu for your week. You can change it but you’ll have something to change. Or go ahead and plan the date with friends and loved ones to celebrate your ties. Plan it and put it on the calendar because the day eventually comes, you enjoy the heck out of yourself, and wonder why you didn’t plan this sooner?

I feel immensely pepped up, how about you? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not uber-organized Simple Mom Super blogger but a little will go a long way. Check off blog post. Next?

Lamb Kabobs and a Green Salad

Easter brought family into town and I was compelled to cook. A holiday’s an excuse to make leftovers as well as try something new. Continuing cold weather had me in the mood for lamb stew with Guinness beer. A beef version from my Irish friend Jane here. But then, when the weather became beautiful, I began to think grilling instead. And this inspired my final menu. First, lamb kabobs marinated with orange flavors and orange slices.

Lamb Kabobs with orange marinade recipe from

The lamb I bought from a lamb man at the Easton farmer’s market. He had run out of boned meat and sold me ribs assuring me I could de-bone them myself. Well yes and no. I did a fair job of getting the meat off but there are still tough enough parts that should just have been left on the bone. They got mixed in. Oh well, next time local be damned, I’m going to a butcher to get my meat the way I need it.

I chose to go with the following green salad which ended up being divine. A mixture of crunchy, creamy, and sour elements with sweet clementine slices to add a balance and tie in with the lamb. The dressing is a classic “french” dressing aka vinaigrette and I didn’t have parsley the second and third time I made it.

green salad recipe from

Piazza in Easton, Maryland on

Prociutto and cheese “candy” from Piazza in Easton, Maryland

I served fabulous Italian meats and cheeses from Piazza in Easton, Maryland.

With bread from the Easton Farmer’s market.

french baguettes from the Easton Farmer's Market on

Eamon ate the bread at

Well, I did have a baguette but then Eamon devoured it while we were waiting for the meats and cheeses to be lovingly cut and packaged. So we got bread from Piazza too.

pussy willow at he farmer's market in Easton, Maryland

And flowers from the farmer’s market in Easton, Maryland.

I made a giant vat of fruit salad which had two kinds of apples, oranges, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple. Somehow my family is much more willing to eat fruit in fruit salad form. There was so much leftover, the strawberries were squishy before we finished it off. I add a lime and honey to flavor it.

Additionally, I grilled shrimp in a skewer and served it with a yummy remoulade sauce from the Gourmet cookbook from editor Ruth Reichl. 

I had served this on a New Years Eve years back when we’d grilled a leg of lamb and shrimp on the barbie in the winter on the front porch while it was snowing. There’s a roof there unlike the back porch. We really enjoyed that meal.

remoulade recipe from the Gourmet cookbook via

A tad too salty if you stick your finger in it but absolutely divine when used with the grilled shrimp.

The leftover lamb bones went right into the oven to roast with some tomato paste smeared on them and vegetables to roast beside them. I made a stock from this as I’d remembered doing with veal bones once.

Roasting the lamb bones for stock on

Don’t know how it turned out but waste not, want not.

You can see the rest of our crazy birthday Easter Earth Day weekend here

Mother’s Day Gratitude : Someone Kept Us Alive

Last Mother’s Day, while I was in the trenches of new motherhood again, scrambling to adequately fulfill my newborn girl’s every need, it occurred to me that everyone has someone to thank for intentionally keeping them alive. We were all helpless babies once. We can not remember being kept alive and yet, here we are. Someone has done this for each and every one of us. An odd thought and yet a fact you’d think we’d be a little more grateful for.

me and my girl's shadow on

Tending to a newborn is a merciless and exhausting job. They are helpless loud high maintenance sleep-stealers. If this is your own baby, clever bonding hormones are cooking in your body to guarantee you adore your child all the way to the end of earth and time and thus you’ll keep the baby well and breathing. Humanity continues because of this bonding hormone. But without the birth mother, someone else must then take on this responsibility to keep active vital signs going for the little person. That notion is staggering.

Fiona Marie on

Even when you do a “bad” job of raising children, you still have to continually provide their basic needs of food, sleep, poo placement, and clothing. As a Mother, I think of myself as multitasking management. I’m in restaurant management, waste management, time management, and anger management mode at any given moment. I work this hard for free because I love my children and I know it was my choice to bring them here. But were they to become the world’s responsibility, someone else would have to take it upon themselves to keep them alive. Or not.

Goofy Eamon on

For Mother’s Day, I want to say out loud that I am grateful to my mother who kept me alive and out of harm’s way so I could have a chance to grow up and be a mother and know the amazing gift that children bring to your soul. I knew I wouldn’t necessarily be an Uber-Mom, but my children are both still alive and thriving. And as a mother, sometimes that is all I need to be thankful for.

Happy Mother’s Day to each and every person who ever mothered someone even just a little. Your efforts were noble. And won’t go unpunished. I mean unrewarded.

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