Lately, things have been pretty busy for us.

Saturday was no exception.

After making breakfast and getting the boys dressed for the day, I dropped off Kelli in the middle of a snowy field (so she could do a maternity photo shoot for some clients) and drove off to Walmart to do some grocery shopping with the kiddos.

After we efficiently gathered all our food for the week, and inefficiently stood in line at the chronically-understaffed register FOR-EV-ER, we dashed out through the slush in the parking lot and whatever you call the wet, rainy-snowy stuff that started falling on us and packed up two boys, six bags of groceries, and a flat of eggs and drove…

Home

For about 30 minutes.

Put away groceries. Made and packed three PB&J sandwiches for lunch (using three different types of bread). Kelli was already back, so we bundled up and loaded everyone back in the car to drive downtown for the…

Christmas Parade.

Which just started. Parked the car, unpacked the stroller. Little boy in the Ergo, big boy in the stroller. Race-walked about four blocks to get down to the parade route and another block to find a spot where we could peek through all the people and (mostly) see the parade.

Saw Santa, tried to leave. Caleb objected strongly, so we stayed to watch the police follow-car with the flashing lights (which apparently is the OFFICIAL end of the parade according to our 3-year old).

Walked back to the car in what qualifies as a massive sea of humanity in Bend (but not if you’ve ever been an annual pass holder at Disneyland) to drive back…

Home. For the day, except for Kelli, who had a Christmas Card portrait session out towards Powell Butte.

So I made some “Bonus Coffee” and sent her on her way. Sat down for about 30 minutes to recover, and then I got the text reminder to start dicing a bunch of tomatoes and onions for the stew that would be the main element of our dinner menu this week.

Sharpened my chef knife and started dicing. After about an hour and a half, I started getting the hang of the tomatoes.

Kelli got home and started cutting up the chicken while I finished the tomatoes and onions. She also made us dinner.

I can’t quite remember how everything happened after that (I think Kelli sewed a blanket for the DIY gift idea fair they had at church. With two photo shoots that day, she probably did some more work too), but somehow the boys got put to bed, and eventually we made it to bed too.

Sunday morning brought four hours of screaming little boys before church. During the chaos, we put all the food we lovingly-prepped in the crockpot, packed everything up for the day, then drove off to church…

Late. But only by a few minutes.

After church we drove out towards Tumalo Falls to have lunch at our friends’ house. After we had been there for a while, we got that feeling.

You know the feeling I’m talking about, right? It’s that one where you realize you’ve made a HUGE mistake, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do to fix it, no matter how hard you try.

That feeling.

We realized that we had filled up the crockpot, but not actually turned it on before we left for church. As a result, what was supposed to become a mouth-watering stew, would just be a pot of raw chicken and vegetables that sat out on the counter for 5 hours before we got home.

Maybe it would still be okay to eat? We asked.

“NO.” Was the unanimous response.

Eventually, we became resigned to the fact that we’d have to throw out the food that we’d spent hours prepping (because we have absolutely no time in our lives for salmonella poisoning).

The food that was supposed to save us hours of prep time this week, so we can get all our year-end work under control.

All that work. For nothing.

We tried to put it out of our minds and just enjoy the time we had to catch up with friends, but it was weighing on us.

Another trip to the grocery store: 1 hour
Food prep: 3 hours
Available time in our calendars this week: negative 17 kajillion hours…

…And then, something wonderful happened.

As we were getting ready to leave, our host presented us with a crockpot-ready freezer bag filled with a meal that she had labored to prepare for her own family. And she wanted us to have it.

Generosity.

I’m so thankful to be the recipient of it.

I should be the giver of it more often.

I hope you have friends like that. Friends that love you and know you so well that they’re willing to help by giving you exactly what you need, without you even asking.

That’s the kind of friend that I want to be.

I’m working on it.

-Josh