The balancing act (re)begins…

So, yeah, I kinda dropped off the blogging thing for a bit. I can give all kinds of excuses and reasons (like the part where 3/4 of the household, including me, ended up with walking pneumonia), but I can say that I’ve come to a few conclusions.

The first conclusion is that I’ve reached is that we’re not yet ready to make the full-on conversion to locavore life. I’m okay with that; I’ve long since come to terms with the idea that I can’t be 100% anything. It’s impossible for us to maintain our sanity trying to make so much from scratch year-round while managing two full-time jobs, two full-time kids…but we can try to do more of it in the months when there’s more variety in what we can get from the CSA. Not only were the winter boxes lower on variety (as they had forecasted for us), they were also lower on value. As much as I love the idea of potatoes from farmers within 100mi, I was able to get potatoes from farmers that are a little farther out – at the same price as what my regular store carries – at the local Whole Foods. The winter veggie boxes weren’t worth what we paid for them, and we actually lost two whole boxes to a blizzard-induced power outage and being thrown completely off course on our meal planning. We do hope to pick up the box program again in the spring (or summer, at the latest), but the winter boxes just aren’t worth it for us.

The second conclusion that I’ve come to is that we have to get certain things under control. I remember that, not long after dd was born, I developed some kind of OCD about having the dishes done. For as long as I can remember, I didn’t care if dishes sat for a few days. Who cares? No big deal, right? Then I had bottle dishes to contend with, and I was utterly obsessed with my milk production (it was too low with dd, so we had to supplement with formula). Suddenly, my kitchen counter was overrun. Where there weren’t bottles to clean, there were pump accessories. Where there weren’t pump accessories, there were dish racks COVERED in things that were drying, waiting to be redeployed. It was at this point that something in me snapped – and now I can’t go to bed without the sink being empty.

Now, as I look around the house, I see other things that we have to get under similar (although perhaps less obsessive) control. Some of the projects are smaller than others. One has to do with re-organizing the cookbooks in the kitchen and finding a way to increase our storage capacity so that we can reclaim our butcher block table as workspace. I’ve started on this project already – evicting well out-of-date guidebooks from our library and filling the void left behind with cookbooks that get little to no use in the average year. The stack of cookbooks acquired in the last year, plus those that we use frequently, were then able to move from the edge of the butcher block to the space freed up in the kitchen bookcase. As dh noted once the pile was evicted from its longtime home: “I can see the bananas now!” Yes, yes, it’s amazing what you can see on the butcher block once the tower of cookbook power was finally moved.

This project isn’t yet done – we’re considering putting in a new configuration of bookcases/storage, perhaps involving Ikea Billy bookcases – but we have to do some planning first. More on this as we make more progress.

Another project that’s far bigger involves trying to get the kids’ toys under control. We don’t have a spare room set up as a play room, as many of our friends do. We have the kids playing in our living space (the living room and den), and the toys just seem to pile up in a messy fashion. Toys get shoved in bins to clear the floor and then they’re forgotten and not played with. Toys that are strewn about become transients, washing up on the shore of the den one day and the foot of the hearth in the living room the next day.  It becomes harder and harder to tell what’s interesting to the kids, what’s the right mix of age-appropriate toys, etc., when you don’t even know what’s out or where anything is. So, storage that makes it easy for us to keep things cleaned up AND that encourages the kids to play with their toys is high on the list for this year.

The biggest of the projects, from a monetary perspective, involves redoing the room for our ds. He’s living in the nursery that was his sister’s, albeit with a new coat of paint that’s decidedly less girly. Still, he’s just north of 2yo and the stuffed animals in his toddler bed have nearly overtaken his space in the bed. Redoing his room is a little more than just getting him a new bed; we need to address book storage for him (since the pile of books on the lower shelf of his nightstand is like a constantly flowing volcano of Curious George, Dr. Seuss, Sandra Boynton and other various assorted kiddo-oriented items). We also need to find him a more ds-oriented rug for that room. While he doesn’t seem to care much for the flowers, it would be nice to find something a little more gender-neutral that allows him to decorate the room more to his own taste over time. The bed seems to be the scariest part of the purchase: a new bed will run us close to $500 before the mattress, if we go for the headboard, footboard and rails all in one.

And, somewhere in there, we have travel to plan, a Kindergarten deposit to put down for dd (who we register for K in just a few weeks), and general maintenance-of-life.

Thus, the biggest conclusion that I’ve come to about this blog is to stop stressing about it. Stressing about not posting, or not posting enough interesting things, is what’s caused me not to interrupt my pneumonia and various other things of the past few weeks with posts. Now that I’m on the best antibiotics that modern medicine and good insurance can buy, I feel a bit more on the path to being ready to give balance a spin in 2012.

And maybe you’ll come along for the ride.

Believe me, I know that other people’s lives can be boring – I DO read plenty of statuses on fb, after all. Still, I will continue to post crock pot recipes, I will continue to try to find a way to get more fruits and veggies into our diet (preferably local!), and I will try to find some balance in my own life. If you have ideas to share of what you’ve done to balance things in your life, I’d like to hear it. I’m up for tips. If it weren’t for tips from friends I’ve made via the interwebs, I wouldn’t be the crock pot devotee that I am today (where I spent a half-hour on the phone with my parents, explaining to my father that one shouldn’t be a size queen about one’s first crock pot when only cooking for two people).

So, join me for the ride, if you will, and I’ll promise you this: I’ll continue to try.

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