Monday, January 28, 2013

This Too Shall Pass

I had one of those weeks.  You know, the kind where you just want to crawl out of your life and catch the next flight to Australia? 

That's where Alexander wants to move when he's having a bad day.  Have you ever read  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst?  It's one of my favorite books. I'm laughing because one of my good friends is trying to vacation there with her family this summer. However, her kids are convinced that a high percentage of poisonous animals live in Australia, making the country entirely too dangerous.  So, maybe they have bad days in Australia too.  Really, I would never, ever fly to Australia if I was having a bad day because that flight has got to be about a million hours and I don't think I have enough Zanax to survive.  I should just set my sights on the Bahamas.

Anyway, I was not lounging on the beach with a daquiri this week.  I was right smack in the middle of winter with highs--highs !-- in the low 20s.  And Paul left on a business trip so instead of curling up in my pj's and eating lots of macaroni and cheese, I had be on carpool duty.  Then I got my haircut and I don't like it.  My bangs are just too short.  I know, I know... Michelle Obama got bangs and its all trendy now but I don't care.  At school, there are just 6 play rehearsals left before the big third grade production and I keep repeating, "It will all come together.  It will all come together." Now I need to talk myself into believing that.  Meanwhile, I lugged a heavy bag of work home over the weekend because report cards are due.  Blech.

It's easy to get caught up in a downward spiral when you are feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated. I have to pause and remind myself, "This too shall pass."  On the bulletin board above my desk I have a yellow Post-it note that reads, "contentment is a shift in attitude, not a change in circumstance."  I have pull myself out of my puddle of self-wallowing pity to remind myself of all the wonderful things that happened last week. 

 Like celebrating Pop Pop's 70th birthday.  Katherine wanted to make the most elaborate cake recipe ever and we pulled it off. 

We got our first snow of the year and, with it, a school delay and chance to sleep in.  Paul returned safely from Chicago.   We all snuggled on the couch together Friday night watching a family movie and there was almost no bickering.

Pausing to reflect on the good things can improve your mood.  And it's cheaper than a flight to Australia.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The New Normal

You know how talking about lice makes your head itch?  (OK, maybe you don't know this. When you work in an elementary school, winter means exposure to numerous flus, coughs and, yes, lice.  I, for one, can not think of the little buggers crawling around the scalp without scratching my own head.  Now, what was my point here?  Oh, yes, budgets.)  We start talking about saving money and I get the itch to spend some.

December was busy--full of school assignments, holiday shopping and family adventures.  December was certainly not the month for me to stick to our "normal" monthly budget.  Now it is 2013.  I turned in my final portfolio a few weeks ago.  Graduate class--done.  The tree is undecorated and bare by the curb. Christmas--done.  Last week we watched a promising post-season start give way to an injured quarterback.  Redskins season--done.  All the sudden I blinked and we're halfway through January.  I can turn my attention back to my normal life...only I'm not so sure what normal is. 

One of our December adventures was a birthday trip to Baltimore.  First we stopped by the aquarium...

...where I had plenty of opportunities to experiment with my new camera!

Then after an amazing lunch at Woodberry Kitchen we explored the Maryland Science Center...

...making sure to take a nap on the bed of nails, among other things.

It was so fun to get away and have an adventure.  While I know we can't afford to travel every weekend, I also don't want to plod along through the winter counting the days until Spring Break (68, but who's counting?)  I'm thinking about our Baltimore trip as we sit down to formulate our 2013 budget. Yes, we're trying to save for college, retirement and other practical reasons.  I'm also lobbying for this year's budget to include some funds for fun.  Honestly, I think adventure shouldn't be the exception, it should be part of our normal routine.

Now, where to next?