I was flicking through the camera roll the other day when I realized that my summer pictures mostly fall in the following categories.
1. Noah in his Winnie the Pooh costume.
2. Selfies of me and Josh.
3. The kids playing in the backyard
and 4. Aldi pictures.
Wow. We've been going to Aldi quite frequently, I must admit. Perhaps in their memories this will be the summer of Aldi for my boys. Don Henley, please write a song for me.
You may be wondering, why does Jen go to Aldi so much? Most would guess that it is because I have four kids and they eat a lot of food. That is partially it, but that would be giving me too much credit. Mostly it is because I cannot leave Aldi without forgetting stuff. The forgetting is two-fold. 1. I forget to put things on the list. Really obvious things, like the chicken to go in the chicken soup. and 2. I forget to buy the things that are on my list even though they are right there in front of me and I have a second-grader reading them out loud to me. I do not know why I have such horrible attention to detail when it comes to the grocery list. I have no problem with attention to detail in other areas of my life such as music, friendship, handwriting, throw pillow placement and accessorizing my outfits but the grocery list- FORGET ABOUT IT!
So, I was getting a teeny bit down on myself for being unable to plan and shop for an entire week. I have a friend who plans and shops for a month. A MONTH!!!??? Actually, it's not even the planning that's hard. My meal plan is a no-brainer. Feel free to borrow it. Is it Saturday? Oh, yes! Hot Dogs and Chili after church. Is it Wednesday? SPAGHETTI WEDNESDAY! And don't forget Taco Tuesday! Pizza Friday! Seriously, every week. It's that predictable. I served the tacos on a Monday the other week and blew everyone's MINDS. It's important to set the bar for yourself very, very low so that you can do something normal and blow people's minds. It's a great feeling. For example, I get comments like. . . "WOW!! Mommy, thank you for cleaning the bathroom!!", or, "Honey, you changed the sheets?! You already did that this month." or my favorite, "I really like the way you folded my jammies and matched them up, Mommy. That was very helpful." SEE?? Bar low. Blow their minds with stuff normal people do on a daily basis.
But, back to getting down on myself. That's no way to live, and the people need to eat, so I just decided that I would no longer even pretend like I was going to buy a whole week's worth of groceries. We would just go to Aldi every few days, and that would be that. I don't need to be anyone else. If other people can shop for a week more power to them, but I have a van and it could probably drive itself to Aldi, so why not go there a lot? And. . .guess what. WOW! What freedom. I can handle two days at a time. I can do that. Actually, I can ROCK that! The task is no longer paralyzing because I broke it down into smaller pieces. Just like when I taught Algebra and the kids would look at a hard problem and freeze. . .I'd just give them a step. . .a baby step like "distribute." And step by step, they'd get that big ol' problem done. I just give myself a baby step, like "just get the stuff for Fish Stick Monday and Taco Tuesday" and there you have it, two days of six people fed in the books. Isn't that like thirty six meals? Am I doing the math right? I don't even know. I'm sure I was a great math teacher.
I was admitting to my dear friend Maureen the other day that I have a hard time buying my groceries and have to go to the store every few days. We have been friends for over twenty years so she always knows just what to say. "Jen," she said. "Don't feel bad! That's very European." WHY, YES!!! Yes, it is. Thank you, Maureen, for that beautiful perspective. Now I'm not even ashamed anymore, I am just going to embrace how international I am. I walked into Aldi today to get more milk and bananas and Fruit Loops and felt super fancy.