Brooke Layout

October 22, 2012

Meal Planning and Keeping Score

Alright, friends. Let's take a break from the heavy posts. Today we're going to talk about a big fight that J-dubs and I had. Yes. Really.

Our marriage is like most least I think so... We have both assumed roles based on our specific skill set and talents. For example: J-dubs enjoys mowing and keeping our yard nice is important to him, so he is the primary mower in our house. I enjoy cooking and having good things to eat is important to me, so I am the primary food maker in our house. That is not to say that I never mow or J-dubs never cooks. It's just that our lives have settled into easy patterns based on what is important to us.

Cue fight.

We got in one of those knock down, drag out fights that starts with something seemingly small (what to eat for dinner) and ends up ballooning into something completely unrelated (who does what around the house). I just want to defend us by saying that Manda was SUPER tired that day and it was Friday night and she hadn't been fed and J-dubs had just received a letter in the mail saying there was a warrant for his arrest. That was not going to go well for anyone.

The "discussion" that followed was really eye opening for both of us. We try so hard not to keep score and give ourselves a tally mark for every chore that we do, but we both do it. It's hard for both of us not to feel like we deserve more pats on the back and recognition for our contribution. I guess that means both of us need to get better at being appreciative of the other persons' efforts. Marriage = Learning, folks.

What we discovered was that J-dubs does most of the tangible jobs and I do a lot of intangible things. J-dubs is the lawn mower, the dish washer, the dog feeder, the lunch packer, the practical guy. I am the grocery shopper, the meal planner, the budget watcher, the scheduler, the planning girl. Both jobs are equally important and equally exhausting, but they are very different. As a result of our "discussion", I am going to chip in more around the house with our everyday chores and be more appreciative of the things J-dubs takes care of for our house and he agreed to help me meal plan this month in order to get a better idea of what kind of effort it takes to make sure that our family is fed (including having the supplies for grilled cheese and tater tots on hand for his eating pleasure).

So that's what we did this weekend. J-dubs sat down with me and I walked him through the step by step process that I use to choose our meals for a week or two. This includes sorting through recipes (including the ones I've pinned on Pinterest), keeping a mental record of what food we already have on hand that HAS to be used, planning a meal or two that we like and/or are craving, having a knowledge of what spices and elements I have on hand that won't need to be purchased, being conscious of what budget I have to work with, and keeping track so that we don't end up eating a bunch of Mexican meals in a row. Needless to say, he was overwhelmed and impressed right off the bat. His eyes were opened to the world of my female brain. In the heat of anger I had used the phrase "It's not like the food fairy comes and magically makes sandwich fix-ins appear in the cabinet for you to pack in our lunches!"... which was not so nice, but J-dubs didn't understand (until I explained it to him) just how much effort goes in to making sure we have good food available. I'm sure this is not true for everyone, but it's a complicated process for me. I put a lot of effort into our meals.

He was a great sport and helped me pick a few new recipes to try. He patiently listened to me as I verbalized all of my internal thought processes and explained why I do the things I do and how I formulate a plan for the week. Then he and I went to the store together. It was a great bonding experience and one that really helped him understand how much I care about providing for him in this way. I love being married to J-dubs for so many reasons, but his willingness to learn and change is a true asset. He has never shied away from an opportunity to grow and improve, which has humbled my stubborn heart on many occasions. I know this will not be the last of our chore battles, but at least we learned something... and Marriage = Learning.

And just in case you're wondering, this is what we're having for dinner this week:
Long Boy Burgers
Chicken Tortilla Soup*
Ham and Cheese Bow Ties
Buffalo Chicken Salads (my own recipe... I'll fill you in soon)

*We actually made this yesterday and I didn't think that it tasted so great. It was SWEET. I don't know where I went wrong, but I'm going to have to change something next time. Jay, on the other hand, loved it. He will be in charge of eating all of the leftovers.

October 17, 2012


We lost my Poppa a few weeks ago. It was expected as he had been sick for quite some time. He was diabetic and in all honesty hadn't taken the best care of himself. But... who can blame him? A life without cake? No thanks.

I expected to be extremely sad, but was surprised at the other feelings that arose. This was my last grandparent. I am officially grandparent-less. I felt this overwhelming sense that the generations had officially shifted. I have been an aunt for a few years now and my mom has been a grandparent for a while, but she was still some one's daughter and I was still some one's granddaughter. Now that the top of the family is gone, we have all officially shifted up. Now my mom and her sibling are the top and my sisters and I are officially the middle. That is so weird to me. I knew it would happen some day, but I guess I thought that the shift would happen when Jay and I had kids.

Ever since I've been alive there have been three generations. Grandparents, parents, and kids. That's how it's supposed to be, right? Now, for me at least, there are just two. I have nephews and nieces, but I have no kids. I have no third generation. I am a middle without a bottom. Why does that feel so wrong? Why does it feel so imbalanced?

I hope and pray that children are in God's plan for us, but can only operate with what we have been given so far. I've learned in my young life that children are not a promise or a guarantee. I've known too many women who have struggled with infertility and loss. More personally, I have a medical condition that will make it more difficult for us to become pregnant. We have no idea what our journey will look like, as we have not yet started, but I'm trying to re-orient my thinking so that I no longer believe that children are a promise that has not yet been fulfilled. I've been forced to wrestle with the idea that we may not have our own biological children.

I firmly believe that God has set the desire in my heart to be a mother. That is all I have ever wanted. While my friends have dreams of climbing the corporate ladder or pursuing big dreams in the city, I have always dreamt of having a house full of children. Preparing big meals for my family to sit around the table and share our day. Watching football games and dance recitals. Cleaning cuts and scrapes. Making crafts and telling stories. Those are the deepest desires of my heart and, quite frankly, where my talents lie. I believe that God has equipped me to be a mother. What that looks like though, I have yet to find out.

With this generational shift and the passing of my Poppa, I have been contemplating my legacy. What will I leave behind at the end of my life? What will the generations of my family look like? Will my dreams be fulfilled? My hope is that no matter what our journey looks like we will have thankful and faithful hearts. That I will accept the blessings we are given, even if they don't look like what I thought they would.

October 15, 2012


I'm a terrible blogger. I never remember to do it. I'm constantly remembering that I *should* have blogged this or promising that I *will* blog that. Never. I'm a failure. I only sit down to blog when I've been thinking deep thinks or feeling deep feels. It seems like I am drawn to this place when my heart is heavy or when I have philosophies about life that I want to think through. That is when I am drawn to this spot.

My tendency is to talk. You know me. This is not a revelation. However, I find that I am capable of being most vulnerable and most clear when I write it out. When I sit across the table from someone and feel the pull of my heart urging me to be transparent and to pour out my thoughts, I'm often stopped dead in my tracks when I look into the other person's eyes. I can't tell them *this*. I can't be *so* honest. I can't be *that* open. I can't. They won't understand. They won't hear me. They won't accept me. They won't. I just know it.

And yet...

It is the deepest desire of my heart to share real life with someone. To forge honestly into the future knowing that acceptance and grace will lead the way. To trust that no matter how hard and no matter how difficult, I will not be alone. I will not be rejected. That what I am will not be too much. My heart yearns for acceptance. Maybe it's because I struggle to accept myself. It could be that I feel like I am too much. It might be that I'm just too scared to find out the truth. The truth that I am too much. That no one will understand. That I am alone.

But still...

I hear a deep hope inside my soul whispering to move forward. Push through. Be courageous. I truly believe that real relationships are rooted in openness and vulnerability. That to know someone requires hard work on both sides. It is only when you step outside your comfort zone and choose to trust the unknown that real progress can be made. I don't want superficial friendships that stay on the surface where it is safe. I want relationships that challenge me to be better and push me towards knowing myself better. I want deep, meaningful, heartfelt conversation that inspires me to become someone who I can be proud of.

This is my goal. To be courageous. To move towards this kind of relationship and trust that it can be done. My hope is that my vulnerability will inspire truer friendship and a more meaningful existence. I want to learn first hand what it means to show grace to others in my day to day life so that I may find the strength to show grace to myself.

This is my invitation to you: come along with me on this journey. Allow me to share with you my struggles and my fears. Let me be vulnerable here. Help me find the courage not to shy away from being transparent. Encourage me to believe that this place is safe.

I will still share my day to day life and recipes I love, but I will no longer shut down my deeper desire to share my heart with you. I cannot allow my fears to follow me here. Step one begins with believing that I am drawn to this place for a reason. That what I need to say and feel has a place to go. Even if no one reads it or agrees with it, at least I will have had the courage to write it.