Kid Wisdom

Kid Wisdom

I know.

I just said in my last blog that one post a week, on Sunday, was all I could handle.

For the most part, that’s going to be true. But for some miraculous reason, both kids are napping and napping well right now. Which gives me a chance to share something with you:

My kid is a wise, anti-shopping guru.

Yes. She blew me away today. I was all set to haul us to Old Navy, finally caving to the realization that, my almost 3 year old is finally growing out of a lot of her clothes and she is actually in need of a few items. Mostly dresses as that, for some reason, is all she wants to wear these days. We are quickly running out of options. So, I thought (with yes, a little bit of glee) that I would go check out the summer sale rack and see if I couldn’t find a few soft, practical jersey dresses that would be great for running and playing in.

I floated the idea with my girl, thinking she’d be really excited at the prospect of more dresses. I was like, “Hey! What do you say we go get some new dresses for you today?”

And she said “NO!”

I was taken aback for a moment. Surely she heard me wrong.

“You don’t want new dresses? I thought you loved wearing dresses? We don’t have much at home. Are you saying you don’t want dresses?”

“No. I don’t want dresses.”

“Are you sure?”(note how insistent and persuasive I am trying to be – that’s me resisting letting the idea go) “will you be okay with it when tomorrow you ask to wear a dress and we don’t have one?”

“Yes. We will just wear…let’s go to the park.”

“You want to go to the park instead of getting a dress?”

“Let’s go to the park”.

And so I took a breath, absorbed her infinite wisdom, and let the idea of dresses go. It was hard. But we went and we played, and, in both our estimation, it was a better way to spend our day.

I bow to my toddler teacher in all her wisdom.

Tomorrow she may tantrum that she has no dress to wear…but we’ll improvise, I am sure. Perhaps a load of laundry will reveal a few dresses we haven’t seen in a while. Hmmm.

*Bonus points for those who counted how many times I said “dresses” in this post.

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Days 100-107: Am I a Quitter?

Days 100-107: Am I a Quitter?

I made it to 100 days…and then sailed right on by it without marking it.

I meant to celebrate my 100th day, but as I am a mom of two very young energetic and fully occupying kids, I just could not find the time.

It’s been an imperfect 100 days. I have definitely not managed to adhere entirely to my own rules. I feel like I have spent quite a bit of money, mostly on things I think are necessary, but sometimes that definition has been gray.

I must also confess that I really want to quit. I don’t feel like I can do this well, and it bothers me. For one, finding time to blog about my experience has proved to be rather challenging. By the end of the day, if my baby has finally given up fighting sleep, it is usually so late that my writing is incoherent; my enthusiasm for writing is…tepid at best.

The other reason I want to quit is because…I want to spend money.

I didn’t mention this earlier, because it is all quite tenuous and I am kind of waiting for everything to revert back..the other shoe to drop so to speak…but two things have happened in the last month: I unexpectedly lost a bit of weight (no idea how, but most likely as a result of stress) and my hand eczema has almost entirely healed.

Both of these things have been…wonderful but…the urge to buy a new dress…or outfit of some kind is overwhelming. It’s somehow part of my psyche that in order to celebrate something like this, this “new me”, I should spend on a new wardrobe to highlight my new physique. Not totally unreasonable I suppose, but it is exactly what I am trying to avoid.

My monkey mind has told me more than once this week that I need to quit this whole venture because I am doing a terrible job of it, no one cares, no one is reading this blog, anyone who is reading this blog is confused by it’s random posts, I don’t know how to blog, I’ve already spent money I shouldn’t have, who wants to read my on-going confessions…etc.etc.etc.

I knew this was going to be hard. Things that are worthwhile tend to be.

So, though I am so very tempted to throw in the towel and go on a mad spending spree, I am not going to.

What I will do is adjust how I blog. I must acknowledge that I am a busy mom with not much free time. Thus, I will not fruitlessly aim for a daily blog post but a weekly one, which will greatly relieve the low-level stress I feel when I realize how spectacularly I am failing at posting daily. So, starting tomorrow, I will be collecting my thoughts from Monday to Sunday and posting on Sunday about my week of “not spending on unnecessary things”. Today is day 107..that’s how many weeks…let’s call that 15 weeks and change. So, next Sunday’s post will be week 16.

Ta da! It ain’t perfect, but it’s an effort to stay in the game.

See you next Sunday.

 

Day 99: Change the Language Change the Mindset?

Day 99: Change the  Language Change the Mindset?

I realize that though I am attempting to not spend money on things I don’t need, I have not changed how I speak about spending.

When I am chatting with family or friends, often the topic of items for purchase comes up, like ” I saw this great deal at..”, or “there’s a sale on…” or ” There’s this really cute…”. You get the idea. I happily launch into my old routine, talking about things as though I am going to be, or thinking about, buying them.

Is there anything wrong with that? I suppose not, so long as it remains firmly in fantasy land. But there are two concerns here: one, that in talking as though a purchase is a real consideration, I start to feel like it is and so it feeds my desire to purchase. And two, I continue to not inform my family and friends of my resolution by participating in those topics, thus I do not garner the kind of support I really need.

I also find myself hesitant to change my language because I don’t want to be a ‘Debbie Downer’. If I can’t join in on the talk about things we like, desire and want, do I have anything interesting to add to the conversation? Probably not. I would have to change the subject entirely. A hard one indeed, because I’m not trying to shame or curtail anyone’s spending but my own.

Also, it is just habit to talk about deals. Spending has been a big part of my adult life, and desiring neat things and enjoying the hunt for a deal is very set in my psyche.

All those reasons (excuses) given, I think that I will try to change how I speak about shopping and consuming in general. Not only do I need to stop talking about deals as though I am going to take part in them, but I also need to respect what I do have and stop referring to things I actually do need to purchase as “too expensive” or a “rip off” because that too has been a part of my language and mind-set. Respect for what I do need and have; respect for the value of what I need and have.

That all said, I walked into a Ross today in search of socks with sticky dots on the bottom in anticipation of taking my first Dailey Method class.

There was an astonishing array of socks, in every sport name brand you can imagine. I had to ask, more than once, is there a big enough spending population to support such a multitude of socks? Where do un-purchased socks go? Is this crazy excessive or what?20160716_101027.jpg

In the end I walked out empty handed as there was not a single ‘sticky dot’ sock to be had. I wandered all the aisles of clothing, considered a few items to see what my desire level for them was. I was aware that I needed work-out leggings as well, but decided that if I were to get a pair I wouldn’t settle for just any, they would have to be something I really liked so as to ensure I get a lot of good use out of them.

I ended up purchasing some leggings online with a small twinge of guilt as I questioned the validity of my “need”. I even stopped mid purchase to go into my bedroom and comb through my pants shelf. I considered sticking with the few I already possess, but then thought about how ill-fitting they are, how one of them actually pulls my underwear down as I wear them, how I look at them and don’t want to wear them, how I haven’t worn them. Also, for the specific use I require them for, they not only have to stay on my body, but also wick sweat and lots of it. So, I went ahead and purchased two leggings from Costco online, and then purged 5 pairs of pants/leggings that have wallowed in my drawers for a while now “in case” I needed them.

Part of this purge and sort process is to keep getting rid of things that do not “spark joy” as the KonMari method suggests I do. I really like this assessment method. And as I clear, I may or may not replace items on an as-needed basis. I’m hoping I will err more on the side of not replacing as I discover that I truly don’t “need” much.

Actually, getting rid of those unused pants felt really good. I think I’m going to go do a little bit more of that right now…

 

 

Days 96, 97& 98: The Costco Conundrum

Days 96, 97& 98: The Costco Conundrum

Man, the big box stores sure have it dialed in.

You might go in there for necessities, but the temptations abound. Things you never thought you needed or desired are there in heaping piles yelling “deal, deal, deal!”

Moreover, they usually contain the allure of being also a name brand. What IS it about the name-brand that gets me so lathered up.I’m definitely a sheep when it comes to that. I have been so conditioned to value the brand name…even though I KNOW it is not necessarily synonymous with quality. That in fact, some of those name brands are FOR SURE using cheap production and slave labor to further their brand. And yet…

Here was my temptation:

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The material was incredibly soft and flowy. Perfect for a momma who just wants to pull on some pants and forget about them. The fact that they were name brand added a little bit of hope (on my part) that they would be a little stylish too.

In the next aisle was underwear. Who doesn’t need underwear?

I don’t. Especially not the ones with a man’s name written all the way around the band: Calvin Klein, Calvin Klein, Calvin Klein.

If a man’s name has to be written on my underwear, it better be my husband’s.

Yet, still, two days later, I keep thinking about just nipping back into Costco to pick those pair of pants up. Luckily, there is no such thing as “nipping in” when you’ve got two under three.

Did I tell you that I used a loaner ukulele while I was visiting family in Canada?

Well, I did, and it was far superior to the one I own. Superior by far. I will never be the same. To know what quality sound the ukulele, if made well, can emit has changed my view and enjoyment of the instrument irrevocably. I now covet that ukulele, which was hand-made by a luthier in Hawaii. Even took a picture of my beloved on the eve of our separation:

And I’ve found myself compulsively looking at ukes for sale on Craigslist and googling “how to make a ukulele” as I realize more and more how expensive a good one can be.

Since I’ve been back I’ve been dreaming about just “stopping by” a music store to “try out” their ukes. Laughable thought with two kids in tow who are more likely to run about tearing instruments from displays than sitting quietly by my side, listening to me play excerpts from my favorite songs.

I must say, on the no spending front, I am feeling rather discouraged. I am having a really hard time not desiring things. Even as I look about my place in discontent, wanting to rid myself of excess, I still desire new things. Why? It seems so at odds with what I envision for my living space, my mental and spiritual space. So many times I catch myself thinking, ‘yeah, I can just buy that and not post about it. Who really cares if I break the rules. I’m being too strict.’

Who cares? I care. I care to know why I want to purchase things so compulsively. I want to know why I think some object will make my life better, make me more attractive, more together, more stylish, more interesting.

What is the hole I’m filling and why is that hole there?

So many questions. I guess that’s what all of this is for. So I keep on examining and blogging, as imperfect as this experiment is.

 

Day 95: Creating My Zen Garden

Day 95: Creating My Zen Garden

So, continuing on with my purge and sort approach to our house, I worked still more on the kitchen. The goal was to get the counter completely clear of any and all items. I want my kitchen to be my zen garden, a place of ease and simplicity. I have plenty of chaos in my life; and the kitchen is one of those places when in use, but to be able to start with a clean slate, everyday, would be heaven.

Surprisingly, there hasn’t been too much to actually get rid of, only small things here and there. Mostly it is a re imagining of the space and finding new homes for things to create a work-flow that actually works.

The counter started out looking like this:

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and ended up looking like this:

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So, the purging and sorting continues. More on that as it happens.

In regards to the eczema on my hands. It has not fully resolved, but it is at least, not extreme.While I traveled, especially in the hospital, it really flared. Then it calmed while I was at my mom and dad’s place for a few weeks and then flared again just before our trip back to Cali. So, it is at at least in part, triggered by stress. I also suspect that allergens in the air cause me to react a bit. As to whether diet has any effect, it is hard to really know. I had to toss aside my strict diet for the month I was away, and so I have not returned to it. The only foods I am avoiding are: pineapple, orange, lemon and mango as recommended by the Chinese doctor I saw while in Canada.

I also had another suggestion from a friend of a friend of my sister-in-law who suggested it might be a fungal or nano- bacterial infection. While this is worrying, I am also half hoping this is the case so that I don’t have to worry about dietary restrictions. As to how to treat something like that, I have no idea.

My own protocol that has been working to ease the itching and oozing is: as soon as itching occurs, I cover the affected area with green clay until the clay has dried. The longer the clay is on, the more of the oozing liquid it helps to absorb. Then I douse my hands with liquid nano-silver which is an antibacterial agent. Then I coat my hands in castor oil or coconut oil and put on cotton gloves for the night.

Now, sometimes, the mere act of trying to hydrate my hands causes more itching, so that piece is iffy. I did come across some eczema info that suggested that hydration is necessary, but should be with a water based cream. I may have to give that a go.

For now, the itching has been minimal enough that I can resist, for the most part, scratching which seems to be key in order to not open up wounds which take a long time to heal (but heal quite quickly using nano silver).

The other piece is that I am trying to have a micro meditation session every morning before I get out of bed into the chaos of my kid filled life. By micro, I mean micro, like maybe 5 minutes…maybe. But in that time I envision all my cells vibrating to the same frequency, out from my heart center. I try to feel deep gratitude for my life, acceptance of the moment and compassion for myself and everyone around me. To some of you this might sound a little too far out there. But I know myself to be not only a physical being but a being of energy and a product of my own mind. When I am stressed it affects my physiology, thus, if I can be at peace and calm, perhaps my eczema can react in kind.

Days 93 &94

Days 93 &94

Lots of stuff going on in my brain.

As I try to resettle into life at home (being away for 5 weeks can really throw a girl off) I am trying to look with new eyes at all the stuff that I surround myself with. A lot of stuff is what I like, I’ve collected the “stuff” and it is what makes this plae homey. However, the rest is just extra.

So, because I did not do well in the ‘no spending’ arena during my vacation, I am renewing efforts to eliminate the excess in my life.

This weekend, I started. There is actually so much to tackle, that I almost got overwhelmed. I had to keep resetting my mind to just look at everything in small projects otherwise I would have wanted to quit right away. I decided that the kitchen would be a good place to start. Of course, where in the kitchen? The kitchen alone can be broken down into different areas. So, I just decided to tackle under the sink.

I realized immediately that I have been holding onto stuff compulsively, aka my collection of paper grocery bags. Could someone please tell me what I am going to do with all of these?20160710_093614.jpg

I decided to be brutal about getting rid of stuff that I even hesitate about when I ask “do I need this? Do I use this?” I got rid of two rubber sink basin liners that my mom had gotten for me in hopes of helping us not break so many dishes. Honestly, I could get behind their use, but my hubby hates them and quite frankly it’s not worth the struggle. I chose a happy marriage over arguing the merits of such a thing.

Once I removed the mountain of bags, I discovered an old mouse trap (ick!), and dirty water catching basin, an old ant trap and all manner of disgusting things. So I scrubbed it all up and turned it from this:20160710_093610.jpg

to this: 20160710_094704.jpg

in a relatively short period of time. Not bad for the satisfaction it brought me. Of course, once I was in the kitchen, things snowballed. I got up on a stool to see what I could get rid of in the cupboards above the fridge, then saw the grime build up and had to stop and scrub that…which let to scrubbing the top of the hood range…

I ended up changing the way I organize my herbs, spices, oils and vinegars. I’ve decided that I want my kitchen work space as clear as possibly for both the mental and spiritual contentment it will bring me. I will also then be able to clean all the surfaces more effectively which will bring me peace of mind. So I spent a good deal of time working on getting all my oils, salts etc off their permanent spots beside my stove and onto the shelves…which of course led to a lot of rearranging and purging.

I, of course, am not done. Even with my hubs running interference, I do have two little kiddos who demand attention. So, it’s a start but it is incomplete. I hope I can maintain this forward momentum.

 

Also, a confession. I found myself coveting a few items and daydreaming of purchasing them. First, a bag my Aunt Reggie has that is by Derek Alexander (sold at the Bay in Canada) and seemed the perfect small bag to use as a diaper bag while not actually being one. I will admit to looking on-line and trying to see if I can get it here in the US.

I will not be getting it, as, of course, I DON’T NEED IT. I have more than enough bags here at home that have served me well. I must just deep breathe and let it go. I hate how those things can just hang out there in the corner of the mind. Why is the need to buy something so persistent?!?

The other thing I want to purchase is a pair of Ray Bans. I had a great pair a few years back, but I lost them. It was a tragedy indeed. It fell out of my baby bag while out on an excursion. Since then, I’ve been using some sad knock offs that are just not the same…and yet, they DO function. And truly, that is all I really need. So, I need to LET IT GO!

If I examine the urge to buy both of those items, it is pure vanity that is driving the desire. Somehow, on some level I think I will look better, or even feel better about myself if I poses those items. Of course, that is completely false and bunkum and I know it. So, I shall hold the items I do possess in my hands and thank them for their excellent and continuing service and move on!

So much more going on, but I end here because it is late. The kiddos did not go easily into tonight’s “goodnight” and so I find myself rather exhausted.

 

 

Days 72-92: Failure

Days 72-92: Failure

In the days following our medical emergency I had neither the urge nor the where-with-all to blog. We were still on vacation in Canada and that’s what it became for my blogging: a break from writing.

Now I am back and trying to figure out how to report on the 21 days I let slip by. I definitely failed in the “no unnecessary spending” arena. Maybe it was the relief from being out of hospital, or the sense that I was on vacation, but I did spend: on a few tourist T-shirts, on coffee and a few gifts from my sister and brother-in-law’s coffee shop. I also just came home and immediately spent money on two books that relate to different natural healing modalities that I am interested in investigating. Oh, and on some soil and some flowers and herbs to add to my garden ( I was inspired by my mom and sister’s gardens and my toddlers delight in them ).

So there you have it, my “confession” of sorts.

I’ve considered outright quitting this whole self-imposed challenge. I am the type of person whom, upon discovering she is not doing something well, just wants to call the whole thing off. But, when I started this, I knew that I would come up against challenges, and that I would have to work through them. So here I am trying to work through the fact that I have had wavering resolve with not spending.

I wrote in my list of rules that, were I to spend on something unnecessarily, I would need to either return that item or give away three items for every item I kept. Well, I can’t exactly say that all items were completely unnecessary ( I am still struggling with that definition and what that means for me), but I will do better than that stipulation. I’m planning a big house purge.

One of the benefits of being away from home for a big chunk of time is that, when you return, for a brief time, you have a new “stranger’s eye” view of your own home. I’ve tried to take advantage of that to help me see how I might improve things. The number one thing is that I need a whole lot less stuff. I knew this already, of course, but I have now a renewed sense of what is clutter and what is needed. I will have to resolve myself to being absolutely brutal and unwaffling in my approach. So, in the days to come I hope to be able to report about the stuff I’ve gotten rid of.

It’s good to be typing again. As I type, my hands ache, because no, I have not cured my eczema either. I’m working on it and will report on that later.

For now, it’s good to just be getting back on track.