Monday, October 26, 2015

Weekend and life lessons

Another good weekend! And I never planned a thing going into it. Just happened to have really nice weather & I took advantage to make sure we had plenty of time outdoors both days. I actually had to work Saturday (we have to do Saturday morning clinics a few times a year, seeing new patients myself and also supervising fellows who actually get PAID extra to do this, whereas its part of our routine duties). I left home at 7:30 AM and got back around 1 PM. While I was gone, the boys had swim lessons and then went to the coffee shop and hung out outside. I ate a quick lunch and then we headed to a neighborhood pumpkin-decorating event.

It was one of those small things that I just happened to hear about and forget, until I saw them setting up on my way home from work and realized they were providing the pumpkins, so at the very least, we should go snag free pumpkins! The kids LOVED it. they had glitter paint and markers & all kinds of stickers and creepy things to glue on. They decorated every inch of their pumpkins, and picked out loads of little cheap plastic crap & terrible candy to take home (seriously, no chocolate at all!). The "D'oh!" moment was when I realized we had 2 very large pumpkins wetly covered with glitter glue to get 1/2 a mile home. So I carried one, with my arms stretched out in front of me so I didn't get glitter on my nice jacket (quite a bicep workout!) and returned with the stroller for the other one. Instead of going home we went to the park and stayed for over 2 hours! They climbed (very low) trees, jumped in leaves, played chase with new friends, and generally had an awesome time while I marveled at the warm sunshine and brilliant colored leaves. I had the forethought to order a pizza a little while before we left, so we could pick it up on our way home. Energy out, dinner taken care of, and G had 4+ hours to himself to work on his newest project (L's bed).  Then G headed out to the grocery store, so the kids and I had a music dance party and I got them into bed.

Sunday the kids were obsessed with being "artists" and coloring & painting for hours, so we got the chores done (laundry/food prep). I went to the gym for the 11:30 class, while G packed some sandwiches for a park picnic. I worked out for an hour, ran an errand, ate lunch, took a long shower, and they were still at the park so I joined them. Another amazing day---so warm I was in a T-shirt. I know these days are numbered so we let them stay until L was rubbing his eyes while he ran. G decided he wanted to make rice crispie treats so we got the ingredients on the way home & he made them with the kids. They were REALLY REALLY good. We added large dark chocolate chips and some graham cracker crumbs for "smores-style" treats. G had gotten into his head the idea to watch a non-kid movie with the kids (I warned him against it) so we convinced them to watch Back to the Future. To my utter amazement, they LOVED It and never complained or asked to watch Frozen or Toy Story instead. I watched with them (another surprise, I usually use movie-time to get things done and I'm not a fan of re-watching movies over & over again) and we had a lot of fun!

We all agreed it was an awesome weekend. Yet we didn't really DO anything special. I finally got back on-line Sunday night and realized that everyone else was at the pumpkin patch or the zoo halloween event or some other major activity. And for a split second I felt that FOMO/guilty feeling that we should've done those things too. Comparison really is the thief of joy. If we had a great weekend, and were happy & satisfied, why should I care what others did or feel like we missed out on something? Sure, those things might have been fun, and maybe I can plan better to do them next year, but we ALSO had fun! The whole point of weekends for me is to reconnect with my family, maybe get some time for myself, and prepare for the week....and this weekend accomplished all those things. Our weekend was also simple and (mostly) free, involved lots of unstructured time for the kids and lots of time outdoors---two things that I've realized are essential for all of us.

Not identical, but similar, is the feeling I get when I read too much "life advice". Whether its related to career or exercise or personal finance or time management---there are countless "experts" giving very well-meaning advice usually amounting to "this is what worked for me and you should do it too".  And its easy to feel like a failure when you can't keep up with all the things you are "supposed to" do. I  have to remind myself to take a step back and realize that not all advice I read is applicable to me nor is it possible to follow every piece of advice out there---in face, some advice is so directly conflicting that it is categorically IMpossible to do both! It may be the wrong time in life for me to do those things or I just may not be the right person for it and it will NEVER apply. I'm getting way way better at this with age and resultant wisdom (ha!) but I admit to still falling into the trap when new ideas make their way to me screen (i.e. the money thing, and why I had to step away from any extreme frugality blogs. Not for me, I have no goals that require that level of penny-pinching, yet...I still feel guilty spending $ on frivolities when people making 6 figure incomes are eating breakfasts that cost 10 cents each or wearing 4 sweaters to bed to save on heating).

Lessons learned: be myself, don't compare to others, and filter advice through a very loose sieve and ignore what is not pertinent.


  1. What a great weekend! It was super rainy here, but not too cold so husband, toddler & dog still got some good walks in. Our toddler is into "touch" & "wet" so this was great fun for her.

    Your neighborhood pumpkin decorating sounds awesome! I think at this age, pumpkin decorating & a long park session is way more fun for the kids than Halloween at the zoo/ pumpkin patch. & way less crowds.

  2. That sounds like an awesome weekend! It sounds like you did a lot of fun stuff. So much fall and outdoors, too. I love watching movies with the kids that aren't strictly "kids'" movies but which they can enjoy. We never seem to find the time, though. I had a pretty low-key weekend, and it wasn't bad, but J wasn't in the greatest mood. Our last few weekends have been very busy, though, so it's okay.

  3. The comparison game is dangerous. I suffer from the same thing and have had good weekends like you and then I see what I could have done. You are right - the truth is there will always be too many things for us to do them all. AND both the kids are still young. There are activities they will be better suited for when they are older. My weekend ironically was much like yours - I didn't plan anything and yet we had a really good time (sadly where I live minus the really nice weather). As long as your family is happy then that is really all that matters.

  4. Re: the bottom line: We all have our own budget constraints and our own utility curves, so of course we all have different points that maximize our happiness. :) My utility curves tend not to look much like those of people who give life advice for a living.

    Btw, in complete opposition to what we normally do, we had THREE planned activities this weekend and boy was it exhausting. They were all fun, and the kids had a great time, but tiring (the last one less so because it was with a friend I can be myself around and don't feel like I need to be "on" or make small talk with). I kept thinking, "we need to return that library book and I need to process that mail and I'm not sure what to do about that referee report." Next weekend is equally planned because apparently everybody around here goes super crazy about Halloween. We've actually had to say no to conflicting events!

    Also, I'm really good with money yet must live in a climate controlled house. Also I'm not sure how much breakfasts cost, but probably more than 10 cents, unless I get back on an oatmeal kick, which is probably what will happen after I tire of yogurt and granola. (This morning I had leftover cold pizza!) But I would have oatmeal because I like it and it doesn't spike my blood sugar, not because it's super cheap. And I would put nuts in it which probably blows the 10 cents/serving thing out of the water. And cinnamon. So yeah. But I do put off buying shoes for too long, which saves money short-term but is most likely bad for my feet in the long term!

  5. Yeah, the comparison game is soooo dangerous. I try to remind myself that sometimes I do exciting things and other times I simply relax, and if I'm enjoying myself and feel good about my life, that's what matters, not how it looks online.

  6. Your weekend sounds awesome! LG and I recently watched Back to the Future, too. I think she'll end up doing a lot of 80s classics I never cared about THEN but like the idea of now. Like the Breakfast Club...

    But she's totally into Gilmore Girls. :)

  7. Those are important lessons to hold on to! It sounds like a great weekend. And who says glitter glue pumpkins aren't a "major event" for little ones?!

  8. That sounds like a great weekend. And you know what the thing is about the pictures of the places people go to? The picture always makes it look WAY more fun that it was. ALWAYS. The picture is that one moment that they chose to capture and share, but most of the moments that comprised that outing were not fun at all. I am reminded of this the hard way EVERY time I try to take my kids anywhere, especially when it's one of those iconic things like going to the pumpkin patch, or a corn maze or something. I say that as the person who posted those pictures this weekend--our trip to the pumpkin patch looked like my kids in amazingly cute costumes smiling for me. But really they moaned and groaned they whole way there, I had to bribe them to take the picture, the ground was dusty and full of hay and it got in all our shoes and we all hated it. There weren't any more wagons to carry the pumpkins and the line was super long. My daughter bitched about not being able to buy ALL THE THINGS. It sucked. And sure I got some great shots, but the 75 minute experience wasn't anything close to resembling fun.

    Having fun is the important part. Getting a good shot is not. ;)