Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The True Magic

Its really all about attitude, isn't it? Why else can I feel incredibly content and grateful about my life one month and completely exasperated and overwhelmed the next...when nothing has fundamentally changed? Sure, sometimes I can pinpoint a particular stressor, like an illness or a deadline or a rejection that I can blame the bad mood on. Often, though, there is nothing different beyond the alignment of the stars or the firing pattern of my neurotransmitters.

I still absolutely think evaluating my priorities and how I spend my time is important, and I'm planning to do it...but I don't think I'm going to find anything earth-shattering there. Most of what I do just has to be done. I know from past experience that listing everything out, and seeing how much my life DOES actually revolve around the things that are important to me, actually helps me feel more satisfied with my choices.

I also realized the source of most of my discontent is not my actual activities--the kinds of things you can enter into a time log---but the countless things I'm thinking about, worrying about, "working on". My mental space is cluttered with shoulds and what-ifs and what-thens. Its crowded in there, and I can't see the forest for the trees---what am I really trying to accomplish with my parenting, my work, my relationships, my health? Not all the things I read and internalized and felt I should do, but the top 1-2-3 things that actually matter to me.

And somewhere in that list, I'm going to make sure that "fun" is included. It seems to have slipped out of my life lately. The fun should not come at the end when everything is done...because it is never done. I keep waiting to get to some magical place where all my responsibilities are taken care of and THEN I can relax. But I never get there. I just need to make it happen.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The real life-changing magic?

I've decided that I need to Kon-Marie my LIFE.  I suspect I'm spending my time and energy on  things that don't bring joy or utility to my life. I am squandering my precious minutes and hours on things that don't matter, that suck away my joy and satisfaction and don't bring me any closer to my goals? And yes, simply being content with life and enjoying this phase is a goal.

What brought this on? Another weekend that was neither relaxing nor refreshing. Our weekends lately just seem like a long-ass slog of chores & yelling at kids. I was thinking to myself last night, as I sorted through some clothes and threw some out, "you know what REALLY doesn't spark joy? F&*king Sundays".  The day was busy, there was no "sitting around" but yet not one single thing could be described as FUN (I'll spare you the play by play). As I threw more ill-fitting sweaters and outdated tanks into the donation pile and looked at my neat, colorful, pretty tops fitting with plenty of room to spare in my drawer, I realized I actually could do the same thing with my life.

I've been feeling really overwhelmed with everything lately. Part of it is the not-sleeping, and the loss of efficiency and focus that mean I'm falling behind at work and too tired at home to keep up with all that needs doing (and what I do end up doing just seems a thousand times more onerous). The other part is simply that a lot is going on right now. WHEN am I supposed to do this? I wake up early as it is, and those hours are for exercise, chores, childcare, work. The only time I really get to think is on my walk to and from work and that time is generally used for planning my day and motivating myself to tackle the hard things first (in the morning) and again gearing myself up to be patient & present with my children and figuring out what to feed everyone for dinner (the evening walk).

I keep trying to institute new habits (meditate, journal, budget, spend less, limit social media, track steps, track calories, go to therapy, go to another kind of therapy, eat less, exercise, do this other exercise, and now this OTHER exercise, eat low carb, etc.. etc...), hoping this or that will "help" but there are just so many things competing for my mental energy right now---I can't figure out how to do it all and I just keep picking up and abandoning things. I need a more integrated plan that incorporates all the different aspects of my life and includes only the habits/activities that seem like they would make the most difference.

I also need to look at how I'm spending my time and see what I can cut. I know I spend time on things I really shouldn't---not because they are "bad" for me (I'm not planning on cutting down on good TV, for example!)---but because they are things I "should" do that I don't find pleasurable or helpful anymore (if ever). Example: while I LOVED our budget when we first started it, we keep forgetting to entire our expenses these days and then every couple of weeks I have to spend a lot of time going through our credit card & bank statements and adding things in. Which: 1) isn't the point of YNAB. If you aren't looking at the budget before buying something, its not doing much to change your habits and 2) its a real PITA and I get stressed out when I have to enter G's spending into his "fun money" category. The whole point of giving him an allowance is so that he could spend without me caring (or knowing, I didn't' go into the app and scrutinize his purchases!). When I have to see each purchase (and often ask him about it)---the stress/nagging aspect are back. I'm sure there are plenty more examples.

Like the Kon-Marie for clutter, you first need to assess the situation.  This means tracking my time. I am going to go back and think through this weekend and I started tracking at work today. No, its not an "ordinary day"---L inexplicably has no school today (WHY?) so we split up the day and I'm at home now & had to give up on real working because of the constant "mommy, mommy, mommy" and the clinging to my leg "NOW what are you doing" "NOW can you play with me?". I am traveling later this week/weekend for a work conference so I'll have some solitude a can hopefully figure something out.

..and, of course, share it all here with you!

Friday, March 25, 2016

The vicious cycle

I realize I sound like a broken record on this blog...feeling blah, trying to feel better in all my usual ways, still feeling blah. This is lasting well beyond my typical "feel blah for a few weeks, bounce back & everything is amazing". And I think I know why.

I haven't slept well in MONTHS. I can't recall a single time in 2016 that I've had even 2 good nights of sleep in a row, and more recently, I don't think I've slept more than 4-5 hours/night. I am not on call or being woken by my children or my husband or anything else. Its just...my stupid freaking brain. I can't fall asleep, sometimes for hours, and then I wake up crazy early and can't get back to sleep.

The thought of another sleepless night has also led to a really intense visceral anxiety...about sleeping. Every evening I look forward to being done with the bedtime routine and the tasks so I can finally rest, and then the moment its time to turn off the light my heart starts racing and my stomach clenching. I swear I can feel my blood pressure rise and the blood pounding in my head. I feel like I've taken shots of espresso or as if I'm about to do something terrifying. I try deep breathing, imaging a calming space, progressive relaxation etc... and nothing works.

I've done all the usual things---I exercise in the morning, I only have one cup of coffee in the morning, I've stayed away from alcohol, I dim the lights, I avoid blue light, I tried meditating before bed etc... None of that is working.

I thought the insomnia was a symptom of anxiety, but my therapist pointed out that perhaps the anxiety was caused by the insomnia. I've been anxious many times, and I've never had three months of not sleeping in my life. She recommended melatonin and I tried it. The first day I thought it worked...I got sleepy and was able to calm down and fall asleep about an hour after taking it. But the next day, same time, same routine---didn't work. I stopped it for a while, started again---same hit or miss effect. But now with the side effect of "excessive daytime sleepiness" and all-day headaches. So...defeats the whole purpose of trying to get a good nights sleep, right?

I bought some magnesium today and will start that this evening. I also finally bit the bullet and made an appointment with my primary care doctor to discuss prescription sleep medication---I'm going in 2 weeks.

I need to fix this---I can't really function in my life on half-empty. I notice a difference in my efficiency at work (and lets not get into motivation, which is a struggle at the best of times lately).  I'm always irritated & quick(-er than usual) to anger with my kids & husband. I can't get excited about anything. I struggle to write "3 good things" in my journal about each day...everything just seems like a struggle and something I need to get through. Its all about endure and not enjoy. Yes, I might be depressed, but I think its related to the lack of sleep. I remember this happening in the newborn days and a good night or two of sleep made ALL the difference in my outlook and mood.

My mother has not slept more than 3-4 hours/night in over 10 years. She is always tired and, while she's learned to cope with it, its a constant frustration. I admit I'm terrified that I will share her fate.

Any advice or even anecdata appreciated!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


Do you ever wish you could just take a week or two, send your family away, and lounge around eating junk food and binge-watching TV all day in your pajamas?

No? Me neither, just asking....for a friend.

Back to being a responsible adult. 

Monday, March 21, 2016


Its is unbelievably cold here! The boys don't understand why it isn't suddenly warm on the first day of spring. Also B has to go to school on his first day of "spring break" since they are making up for January snow days. I am surprised he went off without too much complaining this morning. I did put some candy in his lunchbox and he was super excited about grandma picking him up from school.

This weekend was...ok. Like I said, COLD. And L was sick, so we did very little. My mom came in Saturday evening which is great, she is staying for the whole week. My dad is coming mid-week. Tomorrow my BIL will drop off niece & nephew. Yikes. We did sneak away last night for dinner & a glass of wine. It was low-key (I didn't even change my clothes) and really nice after a rough day with the kids.

I am having a hard time with the "empathetic parenting" and "no drama discipline" these days. I KNOW I shouldn't yell and threaten and bribe. I KNOW I should be more patient, kind, unconditionally loving....but HOW am I supposed to do this when my children are so so truly awful sometimes? I mean, I DO love them, always, but I can't act loving towards them when they are calling me "stupid" and pinching me. Or running around the store yelling and having a tantrum because I won't buy them the $300 life-size Darth Vader figure in the toy aisle (we don't go to non-grocery stores usually, their little minds were BLOWN. and I am sticking to amazon prime forever and ever).  I understand the concept of "time in" and "giving love" but I'm not sure how to execute it with my kid that doesn't like to be hugged or touched.

The stress of this and other things has driven me even more into WANTING things. I did order some swimsuits...after we booked the plane tickets & vacation rental I realized THIS IS HAPPENING and I don't want to wear the same threadbare cheap tankini top another summer. Also some sandals, because I konmaried all mine, they sparked nothing but Meh and some recollections of foot pain. We also recommitted to our tried & true "beach-ready" diet plan which is quite simple and involves cutting back substantially on booze & cheese. We sacrificed greatly for the cause by finishing off our stores of both last weekend. The plan was effective 5 and 10 years ago, lets see how it works on 40-year-old bodies.

We finished another excellent TV series this weekend and I've been thinking about it the past two days. I really enjoy watching a few episodes a week of amazing, thought-provoking, drama. So many of the books I've read recently have really let me down. I'm about to abandon yet another one (so boring, no character development). Television shows, lately, have consistently delivered. Why is one considered a complete waste of time and another a laudable activity?  I've found that either can be either. You can certainly waste your time reading silly books, and you can watch some great mind-expanding things on television.

I am hungry and I have no food left. I may have to go peruse the vending machine offerings. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


I've been trying to write this since Monday, but it never quite worked out---so enjoy the awkward mid-week weekend post.

We have had some pretty blech weekends lately, so I was determined this one would be different. We made plans! I had an outing with friends Friday evening which was much needed and loads of fun. Saturday I worked out, and then the 4 of us headed out for bowling & lunch. It was actually awesome, though a bit spendy, and I'd love to do it again! I got into my groove (such as it is) by the second game, and for the first time in ages, scored very close to 100.

Then I was exhausted. So I took to my bed and dozed and read and generally recharged physically  & mentally while the boys (all 3) played Legos. I need the energy because we had a sitter coming at 7 for a charity silent auction event for B's school. It was awkward initially...trying to mingle, not having anyone to really talk to...but as the wine flowed, it got a lot easier, and we ended up having a surprisingly good time.

Sunday we were all tired. We lost an hour. I drank too much wine at the party. It was dark and rainy.  G was in a really weird, blah mood and I wanted to stay out of his way. I played at home with the boys, went to a barre class, and then took the boys swimming at the Y. By the time I came back, G was revived, and we finished up the chores, lunches, food prep while the boys had their screen time. B was a little sick and L is always tired by Sunday evening since he only naps at school, so they went to bed at their regular time without drama (also it was nearly pitch black outside due to the rain). Daylight savings win!

Monday I actually got some good feedback on my failed grant, and I feel like I have some direction again which is incredibly motivating. That helped for the meeting I had with my division chief yesterday, too, he seemed impressed (or at least relieved) that I've made clear plans for how to go forward. B was in a great mood on the way home yesterday---he was going on and on telling me every last detail of his day in excruciating detail (and then we had "guided reading time" and I sat here and read this and Mr K said X and then...). He came home, scarfed dinner, and went upstairs to read every Dr Seuss book we own, the boy is obsessed.

It was a nice weekend and few days, full of those moments that Sarah mentioned with the kids "It's like, poignantly cute, in that there are these moments that occur that I just know will be memories that I will go back to, wistfully, for the rest of my life." I couldn't put it so eloquently, but I felt it...like I wanted to soak it all in, the cuteness, the warm sticky hugs, even the tears, and the intense palpable need behind them.

I mentioned before that I have this very mildly bipolar mood pattern, where I get stuck in a down period for a while, where everything is a slog and I can't get motivated or excited about a single thing, I just go through the motions and wait for it to end. And then it does...for no clear reason...everything shifts and life is awesome and exciting and fresh again. I'm still in the down period right now I must admit, but I think I'm sensing the shift about to happen.

Good things on the horizon:
  • Next week is B's spring break. My mom is coming Saturday evening. My sister is dropping of the twins Tuesday, and it'll be cousin chaos. My dad comes later in the week, and sister & BIL return for Easter weekend to pick up their progeny & hang out. 
  • G and I will try to sneak out on some night >mom's arrival and < twins' arrival. Sunday may be our only option.
  • The appointment we were told would take 24 months? Not sure how or why but they called last week to offer us a slot! Its a series of 3, and #1 is Friday, #2 is next week, and #3 is early April. I don't think this is GOOD news, but its hopefully going to yield some answers. Answers that may give us more direction, which usually relieves anxiety for me.
  • We booked our flights for our June vacation. EEEP. Gotta book housing now. Goal is to have this finalized by the end of this week. Of course, I have to keep reminding myself that June is THREE MONTHS away, but having it on the calendar does help.
  • More and more and more daylight! It'll be even better when I'm not waking up in total darkness, having light on my early morning gym trip was nice while it lasted. 
What's good with you?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Can I have a treat?

My children ask me this question constantly. Well, when they are not demanding "Give me a treat! I want a treat!" I've explained to them that they are called "treats" because they aren't part of our routine, and having them every day would make them less special. They saw the logic in that and are quite understanding. HA!!

I enjoy giving my kids treats. Like any loving parent, I love seeing them happy and excited. They have categorized our treats into: "eating treats", "drinking treats" (juice is a VERY big treat in our house), "watching treats" (they LOVE their screen time) and the highly coveted "special things" (non-consumable items). Other treats include outings and, of course, vacations.

I also believe that grown-ups need treats. And while my definition of "drinking treat" may be a bit different, overall I enjoy the same categories. I am definitely in the camp that believes that occasional indulgences are healthy and necessary. And while you don't need a reason to treat yourself,  I like the idea of strategically timing treats to lift you out of a bad mood or as a reprieve from a rough time.

Of course I would use the obvious disclaimer "as long as it does not derail your overall financial, health or other goals". And there is no reason that it should! You don't have to go all Donna/Tom "Treat Yo'self Day" and blow your monthly budget! Treats can be completely free! They can be healthy! My kids are ecstatically happy to get a popsicle, go on a mommy-son outing to the library, or when we get them a new set of colored pencils for their "art". Similarly, adult treats don't have to break the bank or your diet.

Which is why the recent article from our favorite frugal bloggers really irked me on so many levels. If the post had just said that spending tons of money on treats is a bad idea when you are trying to get out of debt or meet a savings goal, and then listed some ways to treat yo'self on the cheap, I would have totally bought it. But to argue that treats are BAD and indicate some underlying problem in your life, and that treating yourself even once puts you on the slippery slope to bankrupcy....its a bit much.

I once read a blog post (years ago, can't recall where) in which the blogger, who was trying to cut down on spending, listed the treat cravings she had and then outlined how she fulfilled those cravings on the cheap. It was creative and quite useful. I like the idea of identifying what you are actually wanting when you get the urge to go out to dinner or buy a new dress. I mean, sometimes you really just want to do those exact things, but sometimes you can fool yourself with something easier on your budget. For example---on really nice spring days, I sometimes feel like going to a restaurant and sitting at a sidewalk table, eating food that I don't have to clean up after, people watching, enjoying the sun and breeze. I realized we can get a similar experience taking a picnic to the park, just packing up our dinner or getting something inexpensive from the deli.

Many treats can be absolutely free. With our suddenly nice weather, I've been envious of the runners I see on my way home from work. I'm trying to work out how I can fit in an evening run on a sunny day.  Diving into a new book (from the library) is one of my favorite things to do---I look forward all day to 8 pm when I can head upstairs and lose myself in the story. Taking my morning coffee to the living room and reading for 15 minutes (instead of my usual routine of emptying dishwasher and packing lunch while I drink it), is a treat. Or putting off the chores on the weekend and watching an episode of a TV show. Some people really enjoy things like candles and long baths. A perfect cup of coffee or tea. Going to yoga or dance or anything else you enjoy. Listening to your favorite music. Going to bed early or sleeping in.

But I am also totally OK with spending some $$ to treat myself on occasion. As long as...disclaimer...etc... I don't think its "bad" to spend money on things that are not completely "necessary" but that add joy to your life. We went out to dinner on Tuesday, and it was just what we needed. I also recently bought myself some cuter workout wear and a few spring tops, and I can't wait to wear them! We have a sitter coming Saturday night. We are going to a school fundraiser but may also squeeze in a drink or dessert before/after the event just...because. I am spending a lot of happy moments planning out our summer trip---while I'm mindful of our budget, I am not looking for the cheapest options either. I want it to feel like a modest luxury, since we go on vacation so rarely.

There is absolutely no danger that I'm going to suddenly lose my head and ramp up that hedonic treadmill and start going to dinner every other day or book first class flights & 5-star hotels for our vacation. I am sticking to the budget. I fully remember that having treats all the time will make them less special.

In summary, treats are good. Just don't go nuts. The end. (this whole post seems a bit...duh...but I had to write a counterpoint to that post and the millions of "you are SO RIGHT" comments)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Feeling Alive, part 2

So as I read your answers to my question in the last post ("What makes you feel alive?") I realized that the responses could be divided into 2 categories.

Category A: experiencing the wonders the world has to offer. i.e Pleasure. Whether its f&cking tea, or something real people actually enjoy, like food, sex, wine, books, cute kiddy cuddles, nature,  music---this category includes the things that delight our senses (see, crazy podcast lady was actually on to something!) and bring us joy.

Category B: what I was actually getting at with the Walter White reference, which may have been clearer had I highlighted the first part of the quote "I liked it. I was good at it....I was alive". This is about the satisfaction and pride that comes from doing something...and rocking it. For example (to use your examples): managing a medical crisis, giving a great talk, connecting with a patient, seeing your students make a breakthrough and love the subject you are teaching.

I'm doing OK with category A. I'm sure I could do a better job maximizing the more "healthy" pleasures to replace some of the more indulgent ones (food, booze, shopping), but overall I know what I like and I do have plenty of those things in my life. But while a life spent in total hedonism, flitting from pleasure to pleasure sounds pretty awesome right now (I really need a vacation!), it would eventually feel rather empty without some larger purpose and drive.

And that, the category B, is what  I haven't quite figured out. What really "lights me up" and makes me feel alive at work? There are a few things---pretty similar to what you guys mentioned---managing crises, connecting with patients, teaching, giving good presentations and talks. Also work-related: coming up with a new research idea & realizing it actually has some merit, analyzing data and finding it supports your hypothesis, doing a procedure really well. (A few months ago, I may have said something along the lines of "crafting an awesome grant proposal", but clearly I am deluding myself there). Outside of work: learning something new, making something that actually turns out like its supposed to (a recipe, a project), navigating a tricky situation with my kids (i.e. pulling out patience and creativity and compassion from somewhere and making it through without tears or yelling. this is so rare it feels awesome when I can do it), challenging myself (and meeting the challenge) in a physical endeavor.

I've thought a lot, and actively worked to incorporate, more pleasurable activities in my life, but I haven't really considered the category B stuff. I need to figure out what fires me up and actually plan out how I can incorporate more of that into work and home. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

I was alive...

Warning: spoilers for the finale of Breaking Bad. If you haven't watched it and think you might (and you SHOULD), skip this post.

We finished--hands clutched, heart racing--the last two episodes of Breaking Bad Friday night. The finale was perfection, like the rest of the show. Certain lines and scenes from the show have been haunting me all weekend. It's like a book hangover, but even more intense, with music, audio, and visual. 

There is one line that I cannot get out of my head. For me, it sums up the entire story, and also answers the question that I've been asking myself for weeks "Why the hell am I still rooting for this monster?"When he comes to say goodbye to his family, Walt finally admits to Skylar his motivation: "I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And... I was really... I was alive" 

This. This is what we can all relate to. This is what we are rooting for. Because who doesn't, deep down, long for that feeling. Being truly ALIVE. Finding your hidden talent and running with it, showing it to the world. No longer sleepwalking through life, but being fully engaged, carpe-ing that diem and owning it.

Don't we all search for that? Maybe in a career, or a hobby? We travel to exotic lands hoping we'll feel it there. Some look for a new love or lust to ignite the feeling, to wake themselves up. We buy things---or we save our money hoping to leave our jobs believing "alive" will come once the 9 to 5 is over.

Walt's transformation was simply the twisted nightmare distortion of the trite "find your passion" life advice that accosts us on  a near daily basis. And as much as it is cliche, unrealistic, and pretty terrible career advice for most people, I admit to more than a little envy for those who have made it happen. Not just the lucky few that are able to make something they love into a profitable career, but including those that can clearly identify what their passion and talent even  is.

As I sleepwalked through my mundane, mind-numbing weekend, I just kept wondering: what makes me feel alive? I honestly wish I knew.

What makes you feel alive? What is the best TV show you've ever watched (I need something really good to follow this one).

Friday, March 4, 2016

Go To Sleep Nuslee...and other randomness

Is what B wrote as his "promise" to me this morning because I gave him a second chance and let him have his pretzel money (don't ask) even though I told him last night that he lost it. It was his idea to write it down, where did he learn that? We are having ISSUES with B going to bed at night lately. He works himself up into a frenzy, groaning & grunting and thrashing around, coming out every few minutes, moaning that he's NOT TIRED and CAN"T SLEEP and is SO ANGRY and its SO BORING and he HATES EVERYTHING. Its particularly frustrating since the boys share a room and so in between B coming out, L comes out to pathetically tell us that "B is being noisy and I can't sleep". Last night I told him he had to learn to let go of his anger or it'll lead him to the dark side. I actually think that helped reach some rational part of his brain?

Its possible that he's not tired at 8pm, but I doubt it, since he has trouble getting up at 7:30 in the morning.

I'm going to have to resort to bribes. They WORK.

I have a major case of the WANTS these days. Impending spring and the promise of cute spring dresses & floaty tops & strappy shoes have turned my head.  This happens periodically, I just have to stand firm and remember that summer is coming (vacation, camp fees, etc...) I do legit need a new swim suit, or at least a new top that I'm not spilling completely out of (I have black bottoms that fit great and can mix & match with any top). And I do need a new casual summer dress, my Boden one from 2 summers ago shrunk (or that's what I'm letting myself believe---it did get shorter so it may actually be true) and the Loft one from 3 summers ago is faded and worn (I wear the hell out these dresses).

 I just spent a good chunk on an unlimited month to a barre studio ($99). If I go at least 6 times, its cheaper than a 5-class pass. Ideally I'll go 8 times. I've been thinking about doing this for over a year and never bit the bullet because of the $. But I'm just not feeling frugal these days, so what the hell.
I went running yesterday for the first time in MONTHS. I have gotten faster! Just building up my strength and overall fitness has paid off. I was exhausted and starving yesterday, even though I only ran 3.5-4 miles. And my legs are sore in the best way today. I guess its a good idea to mix up the workouts every once in a while to keep progressing. But yes, pure cardio increases my appetite something fierce---I don't feel that with strength training or even the HIIT workouts.
OMFG we are nearing the end of Breaking Bad and the past few episodes have been INTENSE. Two episodes left, that we'll probably watch tonight. Next up are the last episodes of Mad Men and season 4 of House of Cards. We watch about 4-6 hours of TV a week (one show/night 3-4 nights a week and maybe two shows on a weekend), which seems like a lot for me. I can't believe that the average American watches significantly more than that, where does the time come from?*. I'm in the middle of The Red Tent for a neighborhood book club I just joined. I think its supposed to get depressing, but hasn't yet. The camaraderie and shared work of the sister wives sounds pretty awesome to me at this stage in life. Is that weird?

Hopefully will be able to put together some more coherent and structured posts next week. I have a long & growing list of topics but no energy to put them to "paper"

*wow, I just looked it up and the average is five hours PER DAY. That's nearly a full time job. The only time I watched that much was the one summer when I was 13 and my mom went to work and left me & my sister at home with no neighborhood friends or means of transportation. we had a full day schedule of shows to watch, interspersed with Nintendo. ugh.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

When The Sun Shine Hot and the Wind Blows Cold...

Not sad to see February go this year. After a couple of weeks of feeling blah and backsliding on a lot of habits, I started this week off right, with productive work days, healthy eating habits, and with a renewed commitment to breaking my internet addiction.

I also figured out a major stressful puzzle---what B will do all summer. I got us into a city run parks & rec camp that his bestest friend from daycare is also going to (They are in different schools for KG but we still meet up for playdates). This was HUGE because the price of this camp is 1/3 to 1/4 of the other camps I've found, even the "cheap" ones. It doesn't run the whole summer, so we will bookend this with vacation and a more expensive camp (that another daycare friend is going to). 

Did you see the part about vacation? We decided to go on a family vacation this summer. For about 5 seconds I hesitated, thinking about the money, but then I got so freaking excited I couldn't sleep and spent hours looking at airfares and dreaming of possibilities. I am willing to sacrifice a lot of other luxuries (and yes, some savings) for this. I know we are lucky to have the option.

I've been shifting--trying to relax--my attitude towards money. I am backing away from stressing about every $1, and focusing instead on making sure our spending matches our priorities & values. The goal is NOT to spend as little as possible, but to spend in ways that bring us closer to our goals. Every way I think about it, I have to admit that having a modest family vacation (at least once every few years) fits in those goals. We are going through some not easy times in our little family right now, so having something to look forward to is good for all of us. Having something to save up for is also terrific motivation to NOT buy, for example, the stunning dresses in the Boden Spring/Summer catalog that made its way to our house.

We had a MAJOR breakthrough with reading for B this week! I really thought he was stalling out, given how slowly & reluctantly he made his way through the 4-page "books" they sent home from school for practice. Turns out, the boring plot-less pages just weren't motivation. Last Friday, when we went to the library on our "special day", he refused to read the easy reader I picked out but read 40 pages of "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back". Then he refused to read again until last night, in honor of Dr Seuss Day,  he read the ENTIRE books of "Green Eggs and Ham" and "One Fish Two Fish". I loved how excited he was, how determined and proud.

I am meeting a friend for dinner tonight, who sadly no longer works nearby, but is making use of her funemployment (or "sabbatical" as she calls it) to do more socializing. Tomorrow morning I'm going for a run with a friend---we go to the same gym class but we can't really talk during it, so it'll be nice to catch up. Next week another great friend is coming to town, and we are going to happy our. And we have a sitter for a school fundraiser next weekend, which will give us a chance to meet/chat with more current & future parents from B's school. I haven't much in the way of social interaction in a while, so anticipation of these outings is also raising my spirits.

And now I must finish my charting and scan the camp registration form. Will be back soon with March goals.

What are you looking forward to right now?