Tuesday, March 18, 2014

When You Fall Off- Getting Back On

You guys,
The last ten days have been one lazy money decision after another.
We had family in from out of state and how easy is it to say "who wants some coffee!?" while we are out in the cold wind and rain. x4 x $15- $20 each time. Yuck.
Then how much easier is it to pick up some fancy food on the way home so no one ( a.k.a. I) don't have to cook or clean up afterwards.
In my defense- the whole family was ill until the day before our visitors came. I didn't have a whole lot of prep time, and what little I had was spent preparing our home.
It was humbling to see how quickly our new habits toppled.
And doesn't it seem like once you make one mistake, the others just keep getting easier and easier?
This week, we are back to normal, and so are our money decisions. Can't help feeling a kind of budget hangover.
It is important to move on and forgive yourself. There is naught to be done.
I think it is also important to share the failures as well as the triumphs in this process.
It happened. Let's move on.
For the record we did have a lovely visit, and I think it is very important to indulge your guests when they are in town.
I just wish it had been more intentional and less impulsive.
There's always next time though!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Don't Grow Up. It's a Trap!


This is a little bit different than what I usually post. It almost feels like what I would write in my Livejournal way back when. It may even be deleted at some point, as it is quite personal. It is about a realization that I had, that adult lifestyle changes and expenses can block our joy and connection.

 I felt compelled to write this up, after this conversation. I hope someone else can relate.

"Remember when we were teenagers?
When we would just hang out?
Remember when we would scrape together just enough cash to get some really cheap food to share by the lake?Or the campground by the river?"

During a recent conversation with an old friend it struck me that I just do not do any of these things with my current friends. Don't get me wrong. I love my current friends.

There has to be a point to a get together now. A birthday, a shopping trip for an occasion, a baby shower.

On most occasions there is wine now. I wish I liked wine. I like stouts and porters. And rum. 

And the food. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Whoever thought, when we were scarfing down oatmeal creme pies as teenagers that we would ever judge and be judged by how organic, locally sourced, free range, fair trade, gluten & gmo free the appetizers were.

It has become all too elaborate.

 When we make plans to get together with friends, it is to do something. Structured. Something entertaining. Something that will distract us from each other. Something that usually involves a gaggle of kids and all the patience we can manage so that we can attempt an adult conversation whilst being interrupted at least once per sentence.

Even at the playground it often feels like we are lifeguards at a very busy pool. Trying to keep everyone alive. Eyes catching every flail of a little limb, every sputter, every argument,  every possible slip and fall.

It is exhausting, and it is the reality of being the parent of active toddlers.

Relationships fade away, while new ones grow. Often the more accepting people in our lives, the ones who understand the struggles of this position in our life cycle, they are the only ones we call when we are in need.

 Many times it is too exhausting  to pretend you aren't exhausted in another person's company, so you pass it up altogether.

The last time I just hung out with a friend was when my daughter was a toddler. Our husbands were away at war, and we needed each other. We didn't want to be alone,  so we were alone together.

This person became so, so close to my family. Our children were inseparable. We were inseparable.

We were both on a enlistee's military budget, and I was going to school too. Money was tight.

So we would just hang out. I would go over there. She would bring her kiddos over here. We would do nothing. Just talking usually. Not the idle chatter at a moms meetup (I am so not good at those). Real talking.

The talking you do when you were a teenager. Only we were way older, and less melodramatic. It was brilliant.

I still miss my friend. Our circumstances changed, and we changed with them. Our husbands returned from war, and when that happens you try  to resume life from the place you were when they left. Only you can't actually do that because the time has passed very differently for each person. Sometimes it feels like a parallel universe situation.

Our focus returned to our husbands. My attention was also spent trying to find a job after I finished school so my husband could leave the military and go to school himself.

Once I started working full time, of course I could not come over and hang out at 2. I was working.
My friend and I grew apart. Angry words were said. We both felt abandoned I think.
We have not spoken in five years.
I have not felt a connection that strong since.
I can't explain why.

During the recent discussion I mentioned at the beginning of this post, my old friend said she felt so trapped by her budget, saying she could never have fun anymore because it cost too much. She is paying down student loans.  She is struggling. 

We had nothing as teenagers. Only nature, and spare change, and each other.

I wish I was there with her (she is in CA). We would go to the lake at dusk, invite whoever out, start a bonfire, and hang out

This was my recommendation to her. I hope she gets to it.

As soon as the weather is not freezing and rainy, I will be doing the same. Now I will do it with more kids, and maybe some (organic, non-GMO, gluten free...) s'mores ingredients.

I don't care how old or 'sophisticated' I get. Hanging out at bonfires will always be fun, and usually free.

So where are you at in your life cycle? Still hanging out? Living the toddler mom life?

More importantly, how do you feel about bonfires?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

6/ #48Walks : Yay, Sun!

For the 6th of my 48 Walks we were blessed with a gorgeous sunny day. We drove down south to the Millersylvania State Park. I love this park because it is so close by and child friendly. 
You will need a Discover Pass to visit this park.

I also love that there are many different options on what to do once you get to the park. There are trails, camping, swimming, fishing, and during the warmer months there are boat/kayak/paddle boat rentals.
This walk was actually taken the last day of February.

I still don't have a word, or a phrase for what I am figuratively walking towards. Maybe it should be clarity? 
I'm not really worried about it. It will come in good time.
Right now I am just so enjoying the last of our Winter woods, and anticipating Springtime. 

Now on to the magic.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

February Progress


By the time we get to the end of February we are just kind of battle weary. The glow of the new year has dimmed. We are tired of Winter's short, dark days. Even as the days are getting longer and stronger, they are just not enough at February's end. Are they?

At the end of February I am careful to remember that things can change so gradually that you will not notice it if you are not mindful. If you are drudging through your routine, head down and cursing your wet feet, you will just miss the change.

I look for the light, and the new growth, and the sunsets that are a minute or two later than the night before.

Then in comes March, with its joyful parade of light, and flowers, and greenery, and warmer days. St. Patricks day, and Guiness and corned beef and cabbage.

I love March. It has always been one of my favorite months.

Anyway, on to the financial update:
February was a great financial month! We were able to so away another $1900. Still working about 12 hrs a week at hospital, and only eating at home the majority of the time.

While this is pretty great, and far above what I assumed would be possible last December, we became unfocused this last week and spent a bit more on food than I wanted to.

I will do my best to make March even more organized. This helps any budgeting endeavor.

Just a quick blip today to mark progress. Hope your weekend is nice and relaxing!