I’m sitting in my driveway with a sleeping baby in my backseat and listening to a woodpecker attack one of the neighborhood trees. My laptop is picking up the house’s wifi and playing my favorite type of music on Pandora. It’s a sunny day, and the car is blocking us from the chilly wind. It’ so incredibly peaceful. I know a lot of folks would criticize me because I haven’t been able to master my child’s sleeping habits and the fear of an overly tired, hyper toddler is enough to keep me from moving her out of her carseat, but I don’t care. For me, the chaos and stress of a forced nap (and usually resulting in an unsuccessful attempt of said nap) is not worth it. She’s small. She won’t sleep in the car for every nap. Life is good. Besides, if she napped inside, I couldn’t watch the wind pick up leaves, twirl them around, and place them back on the ground. I couldn’t enjoy the winter sun on my skin. I would feel obligated to do laundry, make beds, and put away toys. When everything is said and done, a moments peace and balance is more enjoyable than an empty kitchen sink.
I suspect I’m going to be feeling my way through this whole parenting thing until the day I die. I just hope that it becomes less of an every day thing and more of an every once in a while thing. This year, Valentine’s Day was one of those moments.
Cecilia’s teachers sent a note home a couple weeks ago to announce that they would be having a Valentine’s party. Cecilia had been asked to bring Goldfish crackers. This assignment made me laugh. I guess it had become obvious to Cecilia’s teachers that we keep those around ALL THE TIME since every lunch that I packed contained Goldfish crackers (but only the Parmesan flavor because she won’t eat the cheddar. You know, the cheddar ones that you can buy in bulk or whole wheat or in festive colors. The importance of convenience, cost saving, and extra dietary fiber is lost on my kid.) I had just stocked up on ten bags of Goldfish crackers a couple weeks prior when they went on sale for $1 a bag, and thankfully, we still had a couple bags left.
So Thursday morning, I packed Cecilia’s lunch and packed her school bag with the crackers. We had some time to kill, like we do every morning since she wakes up at 5am, and I just piddled around the house. And then suddenly, it dawned on me. The teachers’ note about the party contained a list of Cecilia’s classmates’ names. I had thought it strange since it had a list with their food assignments on it,, and in addition to that last, there was a list of names. Oh My God. I was supposed to buy Valentine’s Day cards.
I looked at the time. 8:15. Shit. She’s suppose to be at school between 8:45 and 9. So I hurriedly grab the lunch and the bag, grab my jacket and Cecilia’s jacket, and run to the baby, who is engrossed in the Wiggles. She starts to fuss. I think she knew it was a school day, or maybe she was devastated by the idea of leaving Anthony Wiggle. I don’t know, but I didn’t have time to figure it out. I get her in the car, and she protests all the way there. I struggle to get her buckled in her car seat and grab whatever toy I could find in hopes of it calming her down so I don’t have to hear her scream on the wat to Target. Nothing makes an already harried trip to the store more stressful than a screaming baby.
I get in the car and back it out of the driveway. Just as we are turning off our street and it looks like we are going to make it with just enough time, I hear it. William Tell’s Overture. In hopes of keeping Cecilia happy and me less rushed, I had handed her a musical toy, and even though it had four different song selections on it, she managed to replay William Tell over and over and over. As I waited for traffic to thin so I could turn. When I got stuck behind the really slow country bumpkin. While lost in the cars trying to turn into the new Chick-Fil-A. biddy-bum-biddy-bum-biddy-bum-bum-bum, biddy-bum-biddy-bum-biddy-bum-bum-bum, bum-biddy-bum-biddy-bum-bum-bum, biddy-BUM-biddy-bum-bum-bum
We did make it to Target fairly quickly since it’s close to our house, and I was able to purchase two small gifts for her teacher and cheap cards for her classmates, address them in the car, and get her to school on time. The real kicker was when we arrived in her classroom, and half of the kids were out sick. Nice.
Thankfully, I think I have a better grasp on the whole Valentine’s thing now, at least when it comes to classmates’ gifts. I’m sure there will be a February day in the future when Cecilia comes home with tears streaming down her face because I sent her balloons instead of a half dozen pink roses.
Oh man. I hate letting things go to waste, especially stuff that holds so much potential. I’m usually pretty good about throwing leftovers into the freezer before they go bad, but there’s some stuff that gets ignored, such as baking supplies. If found a use for stale whole wheat flour - Canine Crack Cookies. Luckily Lucy doesn’t mind stale flour as long as it’s baked with chicken broth. But a couple weeks ago, I realized my rolled and quick oatmeal was stale. Thankfully I had just read an article in a magazine on making homemade body scrub with stuff found around the house.
Coffee Oatmeal Body Scrub
- 2 cups oatmeal
- 1/4-1/2 cup coffee grounds
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- fresh grated ginger
- 2-4 tbsp honey
- olive oil (not extra virgin)
Make sure to chop the oatmeal in a food processor (so it won’t clog your drain). Add honey & oil to desired consistency. Some people like it oily. Personally I like it a bit thicker. It will get watered down in the shower, and I don’t want too much oil on the bottom of my tub! After mixing it up, I store the batch in a Ball jar in the fridge and put a little in a Tupperware container in the shower.
Well, in January, I resolved to conserve by spending less, recycling more, and decluttering. There were some high points, and there were some low points. I did a pretty good job of recycling more. I was already pretty good at it, but I took it a step further by meticulously sending all scrap paper, plastic, and glass to our recycling area in the mud room. However, after Chris has sinus surgery mid-month, things started getting a bit crazy since it’s his job to take everything to the recycling center. (For those of you who have pick-up in your town, you better be recycling everything like mad. You just don’t know how good you’ve got it.) When the cardboard piles got so high that I couldn’t get to the washing machine, I started losing my mind. Still, I didn’t stop.
On the decluttering front, I sent a very large bag to Goodwill. I know I can send more, but my January resolutions don’t stop in January. If I can keep sending stuff every month, I should be in a much better place. I’m going to try to reduce some of the pantry clutter in the mud room. (That poor room is a catch-all: laundry room, pantry, recycling center, tool shed. Ugh.) I have a hard time not stocking up on stuff when it goes on sale. Okay, I have a hard time not stocking up on stuff even when it’s not on sale.
My financial conservation failed. I really struggle with this area of my life. I know it could always be worse; we’re not in debt over it. However, it’s really limiting our potential. We could invest more money into the business. We could save and renovate the living room or kitchen. I could pay off one of my student loans faster. I need to get this area of my life under control. It’s just hard. I spend when I’m upset. I spend when I’m bored. I spend for fun. My best approach is just not going out. I honestly cannot leave the house without going to a store, and when it comes to going shopping for a specific item or list, well forget it… A quick trip to Target for toilet paper turns into a $100 trip.
My resolution for February is to spend less. I know that was one of my January resolution, but I think having those three tasks were too much to focus on at one time. I’ll continue to recycle and declutter, but this month I’m going to focus on why I spend and how not to compulsively buy. Instead of just trying to do better, I’m going to do some research and reading in order to better prepare myself to resist temptation. I really would like to be content with what I have and spend less time thinking about what I want. After all, I’ve been blessed beyond my expectation, and I have everything I need. I need to spend less money and enjoy the riches that surround me.