My husband informed me that he had to work all weekend. And when I mean all weekend, I mean e staring Friday from early morning until Sunday night. (Now I know there are lots of you out there where this is typical, and I feel for you, but for me its not, and I can only discuss my circumstances. I am sure that there are aspects of my life that are harder for me than they are for you but now is not the time to play whose grass is browner and crappier so let's get back to the story...) This meant that I had to entertain my babies from for 48 hours. And its cold out. And it snowed like crazy on Friday night. And they don't nap ever or go to sleep before 10. So already I am anxious about how to fill these hours.
This is where the easy/hard/right/happy dilemma came in. I could do the easy thing: hang out in the house for two days in our pjs and order in Pizza/Chinese/Indian food and tell myself that we are just having a lazy weekend. But the truth is, its not a lazy weekend, its just lazy. And at the end of the weekend, we would all being climbing the walls, on each other nerves, way more tired than we should be after 48 hours of nothing, a few pounds heavier from all the salt and fat we mindlessly consumed, and a few brain cells lighter from all the TV we watched.
Last year (a week ago) that is probably the route I would have taken. I would have reasoned with myself that it is "too hard" and "too cold" to do anything with the kids so why bother. It would have been an excuse for me to just veg. in front of the TV. Not that there is anything wrong with vegging in front of the TV once in a while, but after being on vacation for two weeks and with the events prior to those two weeks that left me homebound for a week and a snowstorm that was nowhere near a house-stranding blizzard, I had definitely not earned any veg time.
I decided to do what was harder. Or so I thought. It turns out that the hard thing was actually the easy thing. It was easy to call our friends and ask if we could come over on Saturday night and skate on their homemade backyard rink. It was easy to go to Best Buy and let the kids buy something with their giftcards they'd been saving. It was easy to get the car washed, get lightbulbs and windshield washer fluid and the other errands that I'd been meaning to do for a while. It was easy to take my kids to the gym so we could all go swimming, play tennis, and run (well..that was just me and with was on the treadmill, but still it was running...). It was easy to bundle up take the dog for a walk and breath in fresh air and feel the sun on my face. It was easy to help them arrange playdates and shuttle them around the city before we got sick of each other (its normal & doesn't make us a dysfunctional family). And it was easy to eat good, healthy food all weekend long (recipes below).
And you know what? The hard thing turned out to be the easy thing turned out to be the thing that made me happy and, of course, ultimately the right thing to do. Upon reflection (a teacher phrase that I find myself using a lot since I am a teacher), I think that what seems like the easy thing is actually the harder thing: you have all those feelings of regret, guilt, and self-loathing to clean up when its all over. And trust me when I tell you that is easier to walk the dog and take the kids skating than it is to deal with that mess.
Of course, there is an exception to every rule and this weekend was no exception; dinner on Sat. night was a big bowl of mashed potatoes, as requested by my kids. This may seem like the wrong thing to do; I mean who lets their kids eat just a bowl of mashed potatoes for dinner? Have I gone to the wrong side of what's right vs. what's easy and makes us happy? Well, in this case, it was both. I made Hulk mashed potatoes (potatoes mashed with a healthy does of spinach). I think it's quite obvious why we call them that: they are green like the Hulk and make you as strong as the Hulk if you eat them.
|Enjoying a dinner that's easy and makes them happy and miraculously, still the right thing to do.|
|White chocolate blueberry bars that we made for our friends to thank them for the use of their skating rink (and to say "no hard feelings" for the last time we went skating there and their son tripped my daughter which resulted in 4 hours at the hospital...but that's another story). I could provide you with the recipe, but mine is just a simple adaptation of another recipe for the My Own Sweet Thyme blog that, judging from her picture, was probably superior to mine. |
The moral of the story: always have stuff like frozen blueberries and white chocolate chips on hand for a baking emergency such as this.