Choices, choices, choices

It was awful. Truly, I’m trying to come up with the best words to describe this particular trip to Target, but they are escaping me.

Ben had deployed a few days earlier. The same day he left, Rosie started running a fever and had a croupy cough. Within 2 days, John followed suite and was worse than Rosie. We were down to our last ounces of milk and there wasn’t any bread left in the freezer (I get a little twitchy when I don’t have back ups). We were low on snacks and had eaten the last apple the day before. Our base commissary only has food stuffs and I had a few other things I needed that were outside the realm of bread, milk and cheese. Also, due to the fevers and coughs, we had not driven anywhere for at least 3 days.

Rosie was over her fever. John was starting to feel better, and given the state of our pantry, it was time to get to the store. That morning, Clare, of course, chose to cut another tooth and was drooling worse than a dog over a fresh bone. I honestly didn’t know she was capable of that much, it was pretty crazy. Anyway, you probably don’t need more descriptions about that.

So, to Target we went. We had skyped with Ben earlier and I told him it was either going to be a really good trip or a really bad one, not a whole lot of room in between. It started out good. Clare slept some in the car and seemed happy. John and Rosie were doing well. All was good and I was confident. About halfway through, things weren’t so good. Clare was over being in the cart and Rosie was upset with the amount of stuff in her cart (we need two so I don’t lose anyone). After finally negotiating with Rosie, she ended up in a good place, thank goodness, because Clare did not. If you can imagine, I got us to check out in this fashion: Carrying Clare while pushing one cart with John in the seat and pulling another behind me with Rosie in the basket. Still not sure how that one worked out but we did it.

I was in a foul mood when we got home. Clare had screamed the whole way home and Rosie had fallen asleep before lunch and I was convinced she had ruined her real nap aka my super necessary break for the day. I had to get the kids in the house, the cold groceries put away and lunch on the table as quickly as possible. I was also very hungry since I had forgotten to bring a snack in the car – I get twitchy when I am nursing a baby and don’t eat often enough. So, quite a grouchy mamma.

Long story short, obviously everyone survived. Lunch was eaten, Clare got to sleep (much to her dismay) and I managed to eat some left over roasted potatoes and yogurt. Eclectic but delicious.

After such a long morning, I wasn’t exactly in the mood to cook dinner. I wrestled back and forth with cooking versus just going to Burger King on base. With John not feeling well and Rosie recovering, I knew that that fast food was probably not the best decision, but it was so tempting. It’s such an easy choice. No planning, no dirty dishes. Not necessarily cost effective but certainly convenient.

We all know this feeling. There is the choice that you know is right, and the choice that is easy. How many times do we choose the easy way and regret it later. Often the right choice is a bit harder, it takes longer and may require more effort. Now I don’t know what kind of evening we would have had if I had chosen the easy choice. Maybe it would have been delightful – John and Rosie love french fries and Clare probably would have gotten some more sleep in the car. Maybe it would have been horrible – John could have gotten sick later because of the greasy food and Clare could have screamed like she did earlier. I hope, and I believe, that whatever the outcome of the easy decision, the night we had because of the right decision was far better.

Roasted pork with fennel
Roasted pork with fennel

I decided to cook the pork tenderloin that I had gotten earlier that day. When I asked the kids if they wanted noodles or chips as a side (hoping that chips would be the answer since there was no effort involved – still trying to take the easy way even though I know better). Rosie, bless her my chip lover, said noodles. Even when I asked a second time, convinced she must not have heard her choices correctly, said noodles.

Noodles it was. If I was going to make noodles for the second night in a row, we weren’t going to just have buttered noodles again. John and Rosie have started helping me salt the water and enjoy helping in the kitchen. I decided it was time to try our hand at pesto. We have two basil plants in the backyard and I have been meaning to make a fresh batch

Ziti with fresh pesto
Ziti with fresh pesto

since receiving a food processor for Mother’s Day from Ben. I love how much John and Rosie like to help in the kitchen. They enjoy contributing and being a part of the action. As soon as I moved toward the back door with a measuring cup they were with me, ready to help pick basil leaves and make sure they all stayed in the cup. Then, they helped measure and pour pine nuts and garlic. Though the didn’t like how loud the food processor was, they did like helping to taste and mix.

After that, the night went well. I mean, John’s fever was the highest it had been thus far and Clare proceeded to scream at me until she finally fell asleep, poor thing, that tooth was a rough one. But my mood was so much better. I had accomplished something productive, a decent meal. I felt renewed from earlier in the day when I believed I was completely defeated. One right choice changed my whole day. It doesn’t matter that the kids were still difficult, my attitude made all the difference. I am so thankful that I listened to the right choice instead of the easy choice. Even though I don’t know how the easy choice would have ended, I’m confident it would not have been as good or fulfilling as the right choice.

Recipes for those interested

Pork: I sprinkled my pork tenderloin with salt, pepper, garlic powder and fennel seeds. I then cooked it for about 20 minutes a pound at 425 in a roasting pan. Roast until internal temperature reaches at least 150, between 30 and 40 minutes. Be sure to let it rest for at least 5 minutes to soak up the juices.

Pesto: I used a recipe from The Food Network but I halved it because I didn’t have enough basil for a whole recipe and since it was just the kids and I, we didn’t need as much. The recipe is here: The kids chose to use ziti noodles because they liked how it sounded better then elbows.


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