Leaves are falling

It's fall again.  My favorite season.  I've already been sick twice from my germ carrying children now that they're both in school and covered in bacteria.

In less charming news I've been very MIA because a lot of life things have happened.  Uncle Henry passed away.  Evelyn passed away.  A co-worker of mine passed away that was younger than I. There was a great deal of tenant turnover over the summer and Trev had to deal with a lot of that drama and the physical demands of renovation between patrons.  The summer as a whole was not what I had anticipated so in a way I'm happy it's over.  I won't get into the minutia of all of the things but it was very emotionally distressing in addition to the overall grief of people passing away and having to explain it to the children in a way that wasn't too disturbing.  My heart is pretty tired of feeling so sad but I try to keep reminding myself at least it's still trucking. 

They're such good kids.  They put up with a lot while daddy was working on updates and I was at work.  The ever-present guilt of being a terrible parent could suffocate you if you allow it.  I had some less than ideal moments where just having my own kids and the dog felt like a monumental task and that feeling made me feel like a failure.  That Duggar lady has like 24 kids or something and she's not having an emotional crisis so why do I get to mope?  I have a lot of envy for the stay at home moms because as lonely as their lifestyle can be they have other SAHMs to commiserate with.  And once their kids are in school they actually get to experience some mild freedom.  The most freedom I ever get is when I get someone to watch the kids while I go grocery shopping.  I know I could do the peapod thing but I'd be mentally unstable without an hour to myself even if it's just spent shopping for milk and coffee.  

Plus, I love grocery shopping.  Sure it's annoying spending tons of money on stuff as unexciting as bread and chicken but I enjoy a good mental exercise in couponing.  You have to remember what offers can stack, the limits on each and how to best combine them so you get the most out of it.  Especially now, you're not just limited to stacks of manufacturer's coupons so it can get really complicated.  Store coupons, manufacturer's coupons, loyalty rewards, catalina coupons, ecoupons, rebate checks, ibotta, savingstar, ebates...it's a lot of stuff you could potentially use if you have the mental willpower to remember it all. Or you can be a person with lists...but I have enough paper jammed into my purse. Lists don't always work for me when I make them and leave them at home.  If you want to coupon, well...you can do your own research.  There are literally blogs who focus on nothing else but couponing so I'm sure they can lead you in a far better manner than I could.  I used to coupon a ton when the kids were little because diapers get expensive and formula costs an arm and a leg.  Now that we're done with that I tend to just do it because it's fun.  As an example I got a standard sized bag of Twix fun sized candy for the trick or treaters for $0.99 after all my couponing.  I had to buy it anyway but since I'm couponing I get the freedom of being more generous to the neighborhood kids with the "good" name brand candy.  I'm not even personally that elated about chocolate but I know that's what typical kids want to see in their bags.

Now I just get creative.  If I need ground beef and it's not on sale and some other weird cut is on sale then I drag out my meat grinder and grind it myself.  If the particular cut of chicken a recipe is asking for is not on sale (usually recipes tell you to use boneless skinless chicken breast) I can pretty quickly break apart a whole chicken and debone it for my own purposes and then butcher it down into shapes appropriate for the recipe. If I'm lazy I go and grab a rotisserie chicken but I use all the leftovers in various different dishes so we aren't sick of it.  Southwest chicken eggrolls.  Chicken pot pie. Chicken burritos. Burrito bowls when I run out of tortillas. Chicken soup of some kind depending on the vegetables I have at hand. I had this odd turkey butternut squash chili I threw together and somehow it worked.  I figure people make white chicken chili, what's so different about using turkey and then adding squash for flavor and texture? Plus with all the savory spices it is nice to have a soft mild slightly sweet element to round out the zip of all the jalapeno and cumin.

I touched on my frequent illness as a result of having two school aged children ferrying viruses and bacteria with them.  Soup and chilis have been good friends of mine in recent memory. I love spicy soups when I'm sick because it opens up all my passageways and I can breathe again.  Trev says that's weird and people usually eat like clear broth type soups but I think that if the sinus pressure and persistent stuffy nose bothers you that there's nothing like blasting them open by any means possible. The kids are fine.  They're more persistent than I am honestly. When they're sick they don't really seem too down about it.  I am already halfway ready to give up on this adulting business and just crawl into bed for a week in hopes of purging out whatever ails me.

I'm in such a a weird place right now. The combo of sickness (I am never normally sick. Pre kids I was very hardy) sadness, grief and general exhaustion is eating at me.  I want to feel better though, so at least that's something.  I wasn't even close to my co worker who passed.  I'll be real with you, I hardly said two words to her so the grief I felt wasn't because I lost a dear friend.  Honestly my heart hurt far more because some poor guy had to call his daughter's work and tell them she died.  The things you think about doing on behalf of your kids like filling out forms, chaperoning school trips, buying overpriced plastic crud...I'm pretty sure he never thought he'd have to make that kind of call.  No one wants to think their kid is going to go before they do.  20somethings in the prime of life are not supposed to die.  

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