Friday, January 31, 2014

Time and Transition

So often I feel like time is barely moving at all, and the future seems so far off and distant that it's not even worth acknowledging. Then sometimes I feel as though time is moving too fast, and I'm hurtling through time at an advanced speed, things happening before I can even register it; the past a far-off memory, hazy at best.

I have stayed at home with my boys for four years now.

Four years is not really that long, in the scheme of things. And it feels that way, while at the same time stretching on for an eternity.

Four years of caring for a baby, then a toddler, then a baby and a toddler, then a preschooler and a toddler, every day and every night. They tell you that when you're home with a baby the days are long but the weeks are short, and this is absolutely true. Often I feel like I'm trapped in Groundhog Day, because each day is remarkably similar. Except that it's actually not. My days now don't resemble my days four years ago, or even one year ago. This change has occurred so slowly that I didn't even notice it, but it happened anyway. The days that once stretched out so overwhelmingly are suddenly flying past without giving me a chance to catch my breath. Hypothetical, far-away ideas are suddenly here, right now. School, for example, was once a vague idea planted so far in the distant future that it seemed like I was pretending whenever I thought about it. Now, suddenly, it's here. Seriously, Felix is off to school next week. Luckily for me I have Victor at home, so things can retain that little bit of normalcy.

Felix's first day of school has come too soon, but at the same time it can't come quick enough. How can I describe the turbulent feelings I have when I think about it? Eager to send him off, to watch him explore the world independently. Excited for this next phase in our lives. Sad that things are changing, sad that it won't be me and my two boys and endless days of freedom. Nervous that things won't be as idyllic as I've painted for him. Confident that they will be.

This time of transition reminds me of the other major time of transition we had: Victor's birth. The feelings are so similar: excited to be having a new baby, yet sad that things were changing. It wasn't just going to be me and Felix all day; there was going to be this other person now, this little intruder. Another person requiring all of my attention.

Of course, everything turned out excellently. As soon as he was born, I stopped worrying about how things had changed. I was just anxious to get home and start 'real life' again, out of the hospital. I'm hoping that this transition will go just as easily. I'm hoping that Felix will love school, that he'll have a kind teacher, that he'll make friends, that he'll fit into the routine there. Most of the time, I'm positive he will.

I'm also excited about the fact that having Felix at school will mean I'll have time to do things with Victor. He's never really had time with me to himself, although I suppose that's how it is for all subsequently-born children. We'll be going to playgroup on Thursday mornings, right after Felix goes to school.

The other major realization I've come to is that in just two years I'll be sending Victor off to school as well. And as I now know, two years is hardly a blink. It will feel like a long time as we're living it, but looking back I'll see that it's not. Funny how that works. What happens when both of them are in school? I suppose I'd have to actually go out and find a job? Interact with adults every day? Shower?!

Right now, I'm looking forward with an almost bittersweet feeling to this new step in our lives. Time is rushing forward too fast, and I can't catch my breath, but I have to try to run along with it because there's no way to slow it down.

I never thought I'd be the type to cry at my child's first day of school.
Maybe I am after all.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Easy Slow Cooker Roast Chicken

I love roast chicken, but I've never had much success cooking one myself. I've tried a bunch of different recipes and none of them were particularly wonderful.

Cooking a roast is also difficult for me because I don't like to cook in the afternoon. I prefer to have things already done in the morning if possible, because Victor often wakes up in a funk from his afternoon nap and it only takes one little thing to derail the entire dinner prep process if things are left to the afternoon. So I use the slow cooker a lot.

I know heaps of people aren't huge fans of slow cookers because they don't like stews. Well, let me tell you that you can make just about anything in a slow cooker. Like...roast chicken!

I don't know why I didn't try this earlier. Probably because I was scared of messing it up, or having it not cook properly or something. I'm glad I finally did try it, because it is one of the best roast chickens I've ever had...ever. The crockpot locks in the flavour and you don't have to worry about having it dry out.

One whole chicken
Olive oil
Dried herbs and spices: I used thyme, parsley and oregano.

Place the chicken into the crockpot. Drizzle with olive oil, probably about a tablespoon. Sprinkle with salt and the herbs of your choice.
Cook on high for about 6 hours.

Seriously...that's it. I left it completely alone all day.
The only issue came when it was time to lift the chicken out of the pot. It was so tender that it had trouble maintaining its structural integrity. So it kind of fell apart a little bit. But it still tasted amazing!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Year in Review: 2013

I like looking back on the year that's passed. Looking retrospectively seems to make the year stretch out longer than it was, and some events seem like they happened eons ago, not just twelve months or fewer. I like seeing what's changed, and what's stayed the same.

Overall, I think 2013 was a good year for us. I feel like we settled into a routine and figured things out a bit more. We're more comfortable now; life has lost that chaotic feeling. I no longer feel like I'm struggling just to keep my head above water. I think it's partly due to time passing: the kids are a bit older now, and the routine is pretty well established. I think it's also due to my efforts to simplify and detoxify my entire life. It's an ongoing process.

I don't really have any resolutions, except to continue what I've already started. There's a lot I want to get done this year, but they're not really resolutions, just things I want to do. I feel like I don't have enough time in the day for it all but hopefully if I stay organized I can get a lot of it done. I want to continue studying, as last year I started back at university. I want to exercise regularly and eat better. I want to sew again: I haven't really sewn anything since my teens but I just got a new sewing machine that needs to be used! I want to read a lot more than I did last year. I want to become a better writer. 

Felix is starting school in a month. I am excited and nervous just thinking about it. Mainly excited, because I think he'll have a great time and it will be so good for him. We're going shopping for school supplies pretty soon. It feels like a whole new chapter of our lives is starting. 

Since Felix will be at school for two and a half days a week, I've decided to go to playgroup with Victor. It will be nice to do something with him, as he's never really received that one-on-one time that Felix did as a baby. Last year I made the decision to do nothing all year, as I was feeling stressed and burnt out. We didn't commit to anything (well, hardly anything) and it felt like we were starting over from scratch. We figured out what works for us and what doesn't. Now I feel ready to take on a bit more and re-join the world. I feel like I'm back in the driver's seat instead of barely hanging on. 

2014 will be different for us, in a good way, I hope. Have a wonderful New Year everyone!
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