The weather has been truly lovely this week, and we're trying to take advantage of it. G & I are both getting over being sick, so our energy isn't at 100%, making some of our outings a little more exhausting than fun, but we've made some nice memories.
We went on the annual daycare trip to a nearby amusement park. B is old enough to truly enjoy the rides & water fun. Everything was "Again! Again!" and the enthusiasm was contagious. L was still scared by a lot of the stuff---his expression at the end of the roller coaster (a really basic, made-for-kids short one) was of utter betrayal. "did you have fun L? wasn't that cool?" "---" (silence, with a look that read "why did you do this to me?! I thought you loved me?!". B had that same expression his first time on the trip, 2 years ago, so I recognized it instantly.
The only thing that marred the trip was my anxiety over spending money on over-priced unhealthy treats throughout the afternoon, when we had perfectly nice grapes, carrots, and cheese puffs left over in our back pack. My feelings that afternoon actually led me to write my last post; I composed it in my head on the bus ride home as I sighed and shrugged and snapped at my family. It was one of the many instances when the act of writing and thinking through my feelings to get them down, as well as the interactions in the comments, clarified and maybe even changed my thinking on the issue. Why fret over a few dollars and ruin a perfectly nice day? That is not the point. Not the point of budgeting, not the point of frugality, and not the point of life.
Yesterday, G called me at 5:15 pm stating the kids are complaining about being starving even though they just ate the last of their snacks. He wanted me to meet him for some food somewhere. I braced myself for the spendy suggestion, but he actually decided we could get prepared food from the grocery store and have a picnic. Great idea! I brought toys & a picnic blanket & water and he brought a huge spread of chicken salad, fried chicken, 2 kinds of pasta salad, cheese, veggies, fruit. We all ate and then played frisbee for over 30 minutes in the almost-chilly evening. It was amazing. Yes, we spent more than we would've eating at home (I had defrosted some fish and we had some bread and salad stuff to eat with it) but we would've had so much less fun. The kids are already asking to do it again TONIGHT but we do have to eat that fish.
Last weekend I went to the gym while G took the boys to the park for over 2 hours. I came home & showered and relaxed. It was a nice morning. It was also hot out, and a couple of hours after the breakfast, so everyone was thirsty and hungry at the park so they went to a coffee shop and had food & drinks and then spent more time at the park. They came home happy and tired. And I fretted over the $10 spent at the coffee shop. I mean, what were his choices? Listen to them complain about being hungry & tired and haul them home? Or say "You're hungry? So am I! Lets go get something and then we can play some more". (Yes, there is the option C, my favorite option, which is never to go anywhere without a stash of snacks and water, but I realize not everyone thinks 2---or 3 or 4---steps ahead of every decision, and as I mentioned before, its mentally exhausting to do that)
In terms of the snacks on the way home or taxi rides---I try to remind myself that G makes this 2 mile trip in snow & rain & heat & sickness and in health ten times a week. Its easy for me to say I would always walk or take the bus & never give into whining for snacks when I don't have to deal with it. Its not every day or even several time a week. Maybe it averages out to once a week? Let it go.
This weekend is set up to be anxiety-provoking, money wise. The fifth weekend in the month, with little to nothing left in most budget categories. We do have some free fun planned---a birthday party, swimming, a park trip. But my goal is to not get upset about minor spending. We only have 3 more weekends of summer. I'm going to let it go.