Yesterday I suggested to Paul that the whole family give up going out to eat for the entirety of Lent. He agreed instantly. It's not that we eat out a lot. But at least once a week there comes a time when we're out doing errands and lunch time comes around and we grab something quickly and get on with our errands. I try to scour the coupons I receive and put them in my wallet to have with me for these particular moments (I'm giddy with couponing pride if I can feed the whole family when we're out for $10). And I'll admit it, I'm likely to be the one to miss it the most, since it's nice to have an occasional break from cooking from scratch.
If I could I would give up trying to figure out what Patrick's allergies are and just eat veggies and fruit and meat for the forty days, which would be challenging in an entirely different way than the introducing new foods and watching him get sick is. Last night we had another disaster when I didn't realize there was an allergen in the ice cream I ordered (we'd been given a gift card, which was such a treat for the girls).
Before we went out to ice cream I went on the store website and checked out the allergen sheet. I saw that there were quite a few ice creams that would be okay. It's not Lent yet, after all. I attempted to memorize my choice. I got to the store and saw the ice creams that they actually had and completely forgot what was okay and what wasn't (I need to print these things out). They didn't have the flavor I remembered. I ordered vanilla. What could be safer than vanilla, right? And since he seems to be doing alright on dairy I thought I'd give it a try.
Eggs. There are eggs in Cold Stones French Vanilla ice cream, in case you're wondering. Which led to a red and swollen faced Patrick last night, crying for a couple of hours because his tummy really, really hurt. And I guess we've now confirmed eggs as an allergy.
But I digress.
Also on the Lent list for this year is simplifying. I want to purge our house and donate what we don't need. I'm going to try the "bag a day" thing again this year. I'm hoping to work my way through the basement too.
I'm trying not to go so big that I'm overwhelmed this year. And I'm carefully avoiding anything that has to do with limiting food, because I made that mistake when I was nursing Sadie and found out why nursing mothers shouldn't fast. If you're pregnant and nursing don't even think about fasting. Not even a little bit. Find something else to give up. You need food for yourself and for your little one. And no matter what people who've never tried it might say, it is not a good idea. There's a reason for the exemption and it shouldn't be ignored.
I'm still thinking about what I'm going to do on Friday's and Ash Wednesday in place of fasting. And I'm going to be adding in more reading and prayer. We already do a family rosary at night, and I'd heartily recommend it to anyone considering it (especially by candle light, our kids think lighting candles and praying is awesome and it makes it easier for them to sit still).
What are you doing for Lent? Do you feel ready? And any big celebration plans for Fat Tuesday? I'm thinking of trying a wheat and egg free King's Cake if I can figure out a recipe!