Sentimental Set

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I’m not an overly sentimental person. My family describes me as a purger and if something doesn’t serve a purpose or have a designated place it is swiftly and efficiently removed from the house—donated, pitched, passed along.

But there are odd items that seem to have a sentimental hold over me. Objects that anchor the family and act as a touchpoint. Our former kitchen table and chairs was one of these.

After it was gone I tried to find a picture of it, but I couldn’t locate one.

I could find lots of photographs that it appeared in, but none where it was the focus. This piece of furniture that three generations of families had gathered around. The chairs that were reglued, and reglued, and reglued. The sixth chair that was broken during a too-rowdy weekend. The chair that he draped a damp towel over the back of and its telling water marks. This table and chair set that bared nearly fifty years of stains and scars, each carrying with it its own story.

When I was growing up it was our eat-in kitchen table. The formal dining room set was reserved for things like Christmas and Easter, so this table was where we ate our family dinners most nights of the week.

Morning coffee and art projects. Macaroni and cheese and homework.

Place setting over the years ranged from paper plates, to my mom’s everyday Poppies on Blue pattern, to my grandmother’s china.

Candles blown out and prayers said. Weekday spaghetti dinners and grilled chicken on summer Sundays after church.

Just a piece of furniture? Or a constant? Something we could return to. Something that is there for us to gather around to celebrate the good and try to make sense of the bad.

It traveled with Levi and I from Columbus, Ohio, to St. Louis, Missouri, to Brentwood, Missouri, to Springfield, Illinois, to Aberdeen, South Dakota, and back to Ohio again.

Finally, we didn’t believe the chairs could take anymore glue. They wobbled and creaked with a simple slide in and slide out.

We needed a new set. Something sturdy. Something that we can hopefully have around for another three generations.

“Give it to someone who needs it,” my grandma and mom both said.

I did not go with Levi on the farewell drop-off to our local Goodwill. Yes, it is just a piece of furniture. An inanimate object. But it was ours. My grandparents, my parents, and then mine and Levi’s. It is where decades of birthday parties and family meals occurred. Where bewildering math problems and seemingly unsolvable life problems both found solutions. It was just an object, but it was so much more. It was the foundation that nourished generations of life and living.

 

All sisters eat dessert under the kitchen table right?
All sisters eat dessert under the kitchen table, right? Sharing laughs and dessert with my sister under the kitchen table.

 

 

*a version of this post originally appeared on former site, These Paths. 

Oh Shipt. How Grocery Delivery is Changing My Life.

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I’m never going back. Never again will I troll through aisle after aisle pushing a cart while visually scanning and comparing prices. My days of maneuvering between the 10-foot plastic car carts and people stopped in the middle of rows riffling through coupon books are over. At least for the foreseeable future.

Between Levi and I both logging long hours, watching Garrett, and growing a new human, the 2 hours I spent every Saturday morning grocery shopping was a major bummer. From making the list, to driving to the store, to the actual act of shopping, to waiting in line at checkout, to putting all the groceries in the car, to driving home, to unloading all of the groceries from the car, to putting all the groceries away… it’s too much.

I know, I know. First world problems. But still.

There are options where I don’t have to do this. We can use those 2 hours every Saturday morning to spend time as a family, or I can get some more work done, or I can even take a nap for the growing human. Over the past five weeks I’ve tried 3 options that didn’t involve me stepping foot in the grocery store and felt the need to share.

  1. Send the husband. When I was towards the end of my first pregnancy Levi did the grocery shopping every week. He usually doesn’t get home until 5:30 or 6 p.m. so I typically make dinner most week nights. We’ve found it’s been easier if I make the grocery list for the week, that way I can meal plan around my schedule as well. Levi is great about going grocery shopping but (with his permission I’m sharing) he forgets things. Which usually requires a follow up trip later. Also, if he goes to the store we still lose out on time we could be spending together as a family.
  2. Kroger ClickList. Kroger Marketplace is where I’ve shopped every week for the past 2+ years. Digital coupons, fresh produce, 5 minutes from our house… what’s not to love? The Kroger closest to us still does not offer ClickList so I was excited when a new Kroger Marketplace about 15-20 minutes away started offering ClickList last month. So I thought I’d give it a try.
    • Downsides.
      • Limited pick-up windows. I placed my order at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning. We were going to church and I wanted to be able to pick the groceries up on the way home. The earliest available pick up window was from 1-2 p.m. Which meant we went to church, came home, and I still had to make a special trip back out for groceries.
      • Long trip time. I had to drive 15-20 minutes to the store, then I spent 15 minutes waiting in the ClickList parking lot / having the employees load my groceries (I was the only car in the ClickList pick up lanes so I’m not sure why it took so long), and then I had to drive 15-20 minutes home and still unload all the groceries from the car (Levi helped). The whole trip still an hour+… not a great time saver.
      • Fee per pick-up.  There is a $5 fee per order–not terrible, but not great when you consider other options.
  3. Shipt. This. Is. It. If there was a Mom category for the Nobel Prize this would be a contender for first place. Shipt partners with local retailers and it varies by region. For us, Meijer is the grocery store available.
    • What I love:
      • $8 monthly fee. That’s it. Less than Netflix. Orders over $35 (which we easily spend in a week) have no delivery fee. Since we order groceries once a week, I’m looking at $2 per order. Worth it.
      • Delivery windows every hour. From when you order you can typically choose to have your groceries delivered any hour beginning 1.5 hours after you place the order. Delivery windows have also been available every hour of the day each time I’ve ordered. I have had groceries delivered between 9-10 p.m., 7-8 a.m., and 3-4 p.m.
      • Communication. Your shopper texts you when they start shopping, asks you about substitutions while shopping, lets you know when they’re on their way to your house, and once they’ve arrived.
      • Delivery. Groceries show up at your house and our shoppers have carried them inside and set them on our kitchen counter. It’s like a unicorn sighting. I don’t have to go outside. I don’t have to lug bags of groceries and gallons of milk in and out of the car. Everything just magically appears.
      • Tipping Options. Tips aren’t required for ClickList or Shipt but I’ve tipped all of our Shipt shoppers so far. They have all been polite, high school / college kids who got everything on my list correct AND carried the groceries in. The Shipt app gives you the option to add a tip after your order is complete so it’s fine if you don’t have spare cash on you.
      • Your previously ordered items are saved. Items you’ve previously ordered are saved so when you make your list the following week it is quick and easy to add regular things like milk, eggs, bread, yogurt, bananas, cereal, etc.
      • Easier to manage budget. You can easily see prices for different brands while creating your order. Also, I haven’t made any impulse purchases like I do while in the actual grocery store (I’m looking at you, donut holes). These two things alone have resulted in lower weekly bills even with the monthly fee and shopper tips.
    • Downsides
      • Price discrepancies. Some items are priced higher than they would be in-store. One week a bag of Doritos was over $5. I ended up not buying them and told myself we were all probably better off because of it. For other items like toilet paper and paper towels I am using prime pantry or getting them on once-a-month Sam’s Club trips.

I realize I just wrote a small novel prior to 7 a.m. on grocery delivery. Grocery shopping is something we all have to do (unless you eat take-out for every meal, in which case, Bravo). If there is a way to do it better, I’d want to know! The two hours I’ve gained back every weekend since using Shipt have been invaluable. I’ve been able to get other work done (and make money) or, better yet, spend more time with my family. And you can’t put a price on that.

Thank You

IMG_4300Mothers are seen in the everyday moments we take for granted. Their love and sacrifice last decades after the countless diaper changes, scraped knees, bruised egos, and stomach flus tended to.

The endless weekends spent on gym bleachers, late nights pouring over math homework, and hugs and kisses given every single day.

The meals cooked (and sometimes ordered or picked up), the clothes cleaned, and the homes tidied day after day after day.

Those billions of small tasks and moments that are never seen or celebrated are what has made each of us who we are today.

The women who carried us for 9 months and were there from the beginning, and the women who cared not because they had to but because they wanted to, have made each of us who we are today.

A woman who has freely given her time and energy and love to someone else with no expectation of a return is a mother.

While mothers can be seen in their children in the slope of a nose, waves in hair, or a dimple in a chin, they are also seen in their children’s actions. We act based on what we learned from those who came before us.

Thank you to all the women who selflessly give guidance, love, and support to those in need. Thank you for lasagna and clean underwear and band-aids on scrapes. Thank you for confidence, patience, and empathy. Thank you for raising the next generation. Thank you for believing in a bright tomorrow and doing everything in your power to make it happen.