This spring, my son Robert suggested we begin a new family 'tradition' of a weekly gathering at 'Mom and Dad's' on Sundays. This suggestion was met with enthusiasm by us - I mean, who wouldn't be excited about the prospect of all their kids and grandkids gathering every week?
So, a few months ago, we embarked on this new tradition - and have included Jim's sister and her family in the open invitation since they are 'family' as well, and live just a few miles from us (closer than any of our kids).
These events have turned into quite the production for Jim and I ...... and we love it! It is an excuse to clean house together at least once a week (remember, there are only the two of us here) and an opportunity to cook for and serve our family. We have fun planning the menu (which really doesn't change too much from week to week) and preparing the food.
Sunday morning we clean, making sure things are in order and the floors are clean for the little ones to be crawling around on them, and put the finishing touches on the food. By lunch time, usually Andrew is there (number 3 son) and we begin to wait for the rest.
Usually, by 3:00 everyone has arrived and the chaos and noisy banter is at full tilt. As long as it is not cold, windy, or raining, we are sitting outside. The little kids are playing on the trampoline, the tractor, the yard toys, or riding the little bicycle. The big kids are throwing a ball around, chasing after their children or dogs, visiting, or are inside seeing what they can do to help me. Usually, at least Andrew is playing a guitar, sometimes there is 'canned' music also in the background, and always there is loud talking, laughing, and teasing going on. Sometimes, the boys will test one another's strength by having a 'wrestling match'.
Yesterday, Andrew had brought his electric guitar and amp with him so there was some heavy guitar picking going on - with Auntie Mel demanding he play the 'whole song' and Andrew insisting that the whole song was just a repeat of the same chords and licks he had just played - the only difference being vocals - which he was not going to provide. Then Jim brought out my iPod and played some 'Petra' (heavy Christian Rock) for Andrew to play along with. This got everyone teasing me about my choices of music (Petra is 'so 80's'). Rob insisted (with a twinkle in his eye) there was 'no good music' on my iPod. Jim jumped to 'defend my honor' and said "You want to hear what Mom's got on her iPod?" He proceeded to play a song by Joe Walsh that embarassed me thoroughly - giving my kids a great laugh (and a bit of a shock). Never mind which song. LOL. But I digress.....
With all the joy this tradition is bringing, it IS a challenge for me to not eat too much.
Grilled hamburgers have become the most economical and easiest meal to make - and always heartily welcomed because they are just SO good! Since we are mostly eating outside, we plan cold sides.....and what would those be? Potato salad and jello with whipped cream are standard - always there. As well, we will have at least two other sides....yesterday, we had a fresh veggie plate and a layered salad (lettuce, celery, green pepper, peas, miracle whip, cheese and bacon bits). ALWAYS, there is dessert - whatever Jim wants is my guide - yesterday we had 4 different kinds of pies with ice cream (purchased at Safeway, not homemade) but most of the time I bake a chocolate cake or poppyseed cake to serve with ice cream.
Notice the positive side of this.....NO chips, plenty of veggies, good lean meat. This is not only for my sake, and for Jim's sake, it is to be an example to our children that you CAN have healthy food that tastes good. All food that is made with miracle whip is made with Low Fat, Low Cal product. The hamburger is extra lean. The homemade cakes are made with whole wheat flour, brown sugar, and no fat sour cream rather than buttermilk and there is always 98% FF, SF ice cream available.
It is not the choices that are the problem for me.....it is the temptation to eat too much. These are the kinds of events where it is much too easy to load up my plate, eat it all, then go back for another full plate - just because it tastes so good. I pretty much always eat too much.
I say all this to let you in on a weekly event/challenge in my life. And to say that when I step on the scale on Monday morning and I weigh the SAME as on Sunday morning, I celebrate just a little.
Today was a day of a little celebration.....I am the same today as yesterday morning. Weight-wise, that is......I am a little more full of love and joy after spending the evening laughing with my family.