Last week my parents came up to the house and helped me clean up my disaster of a house on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
My dining room in particular remains a challenge for me to keep neat and uncluttered. My dining room table always ends up as the dumping ground for laundry and inevitably, a multitude of other things.
But is was so nice to eat in there on Thanksgiving that I have been determined to keep it neat. Meals are more civilized and less chaotic when we are all able to sit at the table and eat rather than trying to cram into the kitchen.
We have eaten every meal in the dining room since Thanksgiving. The kids love it. So do I.
And today my dining room looks like this:
I have maintained order in there for six consecutive days, which is a monumental achievement for me.
I’ve been working really hard to make eating in the dining room a habit and part of our routine.
In addition to establishing this new habit, I really want to give my kids (and myself) the quintessential holiday experience and that Norman Rockwellian New England Christmasy feeling this year.
So I’ve been on top of the meals I’m making.
This is also due to the fact that I’m in a major budget crunch, and I have felt extremely crappy physically lately. Plus, we have all had the first round of fall/winter illnesses run through the house, and I believe that eating decent meals contributes to staying healthy. So I’ve really been trying to do better in the food department not just for me, but for my whole family. I’ve been cutting out most of the processed food and cooking from scratch.
I’m on a 1950’s June Cleaver mission.
Yesterday I made about 10 dozen oatmeal cookies (not super healthy but not processed and I only ate three) for the kids’ lunches. I made about 5 pounds of homemade applesauce. I made egg sandwiches for breakfast yesterday and sunny side up eggs and pancakes from scratch (served with homemade applesauce) this morning. I’ve made butternut squash soup, homemade pasta sauce, turkey meatball soup, and about a thousand gallons of turkey and chicken stock. Last night I made a big salad that would have made Elaine Benes green with envy, and we’ve gone through about twenty pounds of oranges.
I’m f***ing killing it in the Mrs. Cleaver department.
On the dining room side of the house, anyway.
If you walk around the corner to the right in that picture, you enter my kitchen.
Which looks like this right now:
I’ll save you the trouble of zooming in.
That is a half a day of dishes when processed food is mostly cut out and when my family sits down to eat together at every meal.
That is after the dishwasher has been loaded, unloaded, and then loaded again.
My kids are eating well and we are sitting around the table as a family (or mostly a family depending on who is at swim practice).
But when making the choice to prepare decent food for my family, get other money-making work done, and squeeze in 45 minutes of exercise, something has to give.
So when you see this picture of my dining room:
Know that at least one thing somewhere else in my house probably looks nothing like what you see in that nice dining room picture.
Like my kitchen.
Oh, and me.
Here I am, sitting at the computer, unshowered and in my coaching clothes.
Which is how I went to Number 7’s report card conference.
After working out this morning, I ran out of time before I had to leave to coach a masters swim practice and then head to a conference.
So I changed my sweat-soaked shirt, dried my sweat-drenched hair, sprayed some crap in it and on myself so I wouldn’t completely reek, coached practice, and then went to the conference.
I’m kinda feeling like the human version of my kitchen.
Remember that when you see everyone’s perfect holiday pictures in the next month.
Because for most of us, keeping some things together often means we aren’t on top of something(s) else.
At least for me it does.