Saturday, February 28, 2009

The painful stuff

The other day I struggled to transplant a small palm tree into a bigger container. The palm had suffered a little in it's current home and developed a few thorns in protest. While shoveling soil into the container, I stuck my finger.

It hurt pretty bad, so I finished up and went inside to find some tweezers. I dug around at the spot for a few minutes, but could not find the thorn. I decided that it had just stuck me, but not broken off inside.

The next morning the spot on my finger was still painful and started to swell slightly. Again, I got out the tweezers and looked for a thorn. Still nothing.

Later that day, it became really red and painful and swollen. This time I squeezed my finger and out popped a tiny sliver of thorn. It had gone straight in and must have been too deep to find by scratching the surface. Once it was out, my finger felt so much better. It was still sore, but much less so. Today there is just a tiny spot to remind me where the thorn went in.

This is true for the painful stuff in our hearts too. Like my body teaches me, I have to get the thorns out. If I had ignored my finger, things could have gotten so much worse.

I am working on it.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Join the party!

The weather was glorious today. I ignored my to do list, left the breakfast dishes in the sink, threw on some comfy clothes and met some friends at the park with my Little Guy. The boys played nicely, not a speck of sand was thrown, no one cried, and I think they even managed to take turns playing with the trucks and shovels.

We decided to head out for lunch, a rare treat with the boys in tow, and went to Pita Jungle for heaping plates of delicious Mediterranean food. We had our hearts set on sitting outside, and waited fifty minutes for the privilege. To pass the time, the boys ran up and down the sidewalk. We inspected and counted all of the flowers. We played over and under the bike rack. Somehow, we kept the boys entertained and arrived at our table starving, but in good spirits.

We each ordered a beer, and settled into our seats. As our food made it to the table, my girlfriend's son choked a little on some pretzels. Not enough to warrant the Heimlich, but enough to keep him coughing, eyes watery, for at least a minute. Just when we thought he was fine, the coughing resumed and he upchucked an entire bottle of juice onto the table, the patio floor, and maybe even into the salads. After the projectile trajectory eased into a dribble, we grabbed every available napkin and my friend sopped up the mess. I don't think anyone noticed, except for our twentysomething waiter, who may now be scarred for life. She changed her little buddy into dry clothes and we resumed our meal. We had fun anyway (didn't we?).

It wasn't easy, and in the end we worked pretty hard at having some time out today. A Friday afternoon in '99 would have found us at a bar patio in downtown Atlanta, nary a child in sight. When we party like it's 2009, things are totally different.

Either way, it's like I always say... a party isn't a party, 'til somebody throws up.

Thursday, February 26, 2009



It's the new phrase that pays around here. My Little Guy is discovering his voice and learning to lay claim to the things he loves. I am pretty sure Girlie didn't shriek that particular word until she was much older, but then she was an only at the time and didn't have to fight a bossy six year old for her favorite toy.

The thing is, I totally get it. I have to stop myself from yelling the same exact phrase when one of the kids riffles through my purse, or tosses all of the pillows off of the sofa, or runs off with my hairbrush (after swishing it in the toilet, of course). Most of the time, my personal space doesn't exist and my belonging are up for grabs. The only things that are "mine" are the dirty clothes. No one seems to lay claim to the crumpled socks and undies, even the dog.

But somehow I have to teach these children to share, speak nicely, and do onto others. It's a tough task, and half of the time I am not sure if I am up to it for the long haul. Raising decent human beings is an arduous undertaking requiring patience and perseverance, and I am so much more of an instant results kind of gal. It will take decades to know if I have made the right choices, conveyed the values I hoped, and even then I may never know.

Yet, I try my best. I remind the Little Guy that he must say please and learn to ask for things nicely. I tell him to take turns and then show him how it's done. I compliment both of the children when the stars align and they get it right. I even suppress the urge to have a tantrum when they don't (usually).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

On sacrifices and speedos

Hubs and I recently downgraded our Netflix to one movie at a time. It's just our little way of saving a few bucks, after all our new President said everyone would have to make sacrifices. Sometimes, this presents a problem on Saturday night when we have already watched our one allotted movie on Friday night and there is not one stinking thing on. Yeah, we are watching DVD's on most Friday and Saturday nights, but if you have kids, most likely you do it too. Anyway, at least we're awake.

Last weekend, Hubs convinced me to watch cycling on the Versus channel. For those of you not familiar with it, Versus is the channel that gets everything kinda sports related, after ESPN and ESPN2 have rejected them. You are likely to find bull riding (which is actually somewhat entertaining to watch, don't tell anyone I said so) and hunting and fishing (snore, does anyone really watch fishing?), but also NHL and cycling. Hubs is a HUGE fan of cycling. It was between that and Apollo 13, so I grabbed a book and we watched cycling.

About halfway through the show I look up and see some guy in a speedo and running shoes running alongside the cyclists. I am all "what the?" and Hubs explains that that's just what the fans do during bike races.

Okay, so let me get this straight. During bowling, the crowd is reverently hushed while a slightly overweight balding dude flings his ball down the lane. But during time trials in cycling, a sport that is home to the recently returned Lance Armstrong, Mr. Hotness Himself, the fans run naked in the streets? Huh? Now, I am not suggesting that cycling deserves the polite observation of say, a golf tournament, but if I am pushing with all I have up some winding stretch of California tarmac, it would seem that that last thing I would want is another guy running alongside me in bikini swim trunks. Cheer from the sidewalk dude, your speedo is killing my mojo.

(Okay, I just proofed this post and came to the conclusion that we might really have to bite the bullet and pay the extra $10 a month for those extra movies!)

Pass the popcorn

Movies are on my mind. Since we moved to Phoenix (and a new time zone that is neither mountain nor pacific), I can actually stay up until the very end of the Oscars. What a treat! But there is something else. You see, my friends call my husband a sleeper hit. That used to bother me a little. I want them to see how amazing he is right away, but that's not his style. He doesn't jump in with his tongue blazing like me. He observes, eases into things at his own pace. He is comfortable revealing himself slowly and without a great deal of self promotion.

If he were a film, he would be the kind of movie you add to your Netflix list because it got five stars, maybe even won some indie film award, but you wouldn't have heard of it. He would arrive in the mail and you might forget about why you chose him. You would watch your blockbuster action film and your screwball comedy first. You would consider, briefly, sending him back, but choose to give him a chance anyway reasoning that you must have had a good rationale for putting him on your list. You would watch him and then be a better person for it. You would call everyone you know and say you have to see this movie! You would love him.

He's in good company though, with films like Star Wars and most recently Slumdog Millionaire, neither of which were blockbusters until word of mouth elevated them to hit movie status. Yes, my husband is indeed a sleeper hit. He may never win an Oscar, or get picked up by a major studio, but to me he is a cult classic. Saw him the first time years ago, watched him again and again, still love him.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Just another manic Monday

Today I am in a really great mood.

Despite the fact that, after getting up before dawn to do some writing, I only managed to get down two poorly crafted paragraphs before the Little Guy woke up an hour earlier than usual and demanded to get out of his crib.

Despite the fact that the early waker shrieked his way through the grocery store shouting "Momma balloon!" like he had some form of preschool tourettes.

Despite the fact that the aforementioned shrieking early waker (and crusher of souls, but who is holding a grudge really?), then whacked me in the head with the stainless refrigerator door while I was rooting through the cheese bin causing a shooting pain in my head that can only be likened to being stabbed by an ice pick.

Despite the fact that there is still a bag of canned goods sitting by the pantry door waiting to be put away (nope, can't do it).

Despite the fact that my kitchen is a disaster because the shrieking early waking head basher pilfered all the tupperware and lids from one of the cabinets and flung them in every direction.

Okay, maybe not. But I am trying really hard, and that counts for something right?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Why I heart Trader Joe's

I love Trader Joe's.

First, for the the yummy prepackaged dinners and the delicious demonstration food that you actually want to make yourself. Second, because of the the smallish but perfect size and the little kid carts that make Girlie positively giddy when we have to shop. Third, fourth, and fifth would the the great prices on wine.

But now I love Trader Joe's even more. Today, I wanted to marry Trader Joe's, and pop out little organic chicken nugget babies. And this is why...

This afternoon, I got a call from Trader Joe himself, stating that Girlie had WON A COLORING CONTEST, and could we please come pick up our gift bag? Okay, so it is only a grocery store coloring contest, but you should have seen the look on my gals face when she found out that she was the winner! We zoomed off to pick it up and she practically skipped out of the store with a bag full of grocery goodies. Her art will be displayed near the exit and she could hardly contain herself as we called both of her Aunts to tell them the exciting news. And I felt pretty over the moon too. You see, on Friday, I raced down to the store to turn in her entry before the deadline. I didn't drop it off because I needed groceries. In fact I didn't even buy anything that time (I know, a miracle in impulse control). I dropped it off because I promised her I would, and because sometimes I am a good Mom after all.

Yes, I love Trader Joe's. And for the record, Girlie most hearts the gummy kid vitamins they included in our "prize."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thank you

One of my dearest friends and I caught up over lunch the other day. She is the kind of friend that you always want to have. The kind that pulls no punches and will tell you the honest truth when you ask (and even sometimes when you don't). This time I asked though, and I brought up something about myself that was bothering me. A long conversation ensued about self deprecating humor. And about how I lean on it way too often. And how I never accept a compliment outright. And sometimes, it comes off as if I am not happy with my situation and even possibly envious. Wow. I never realized that my snide comments, mostly about myself, came off that way. But, it's true. I do have a hard time just saying "thank you" when someone pays a compliment. If you tell me you love my necklace, I will immediately remind you that I am only wearing it to detract from my waistline. There are millions of reason why, but who cares really? The point is, I care how people see me, and this is not something I would characterize as a good quality about myself.

You see, we are all taught to be our own person and not care what anyone else thinks, but I have a different opinion. I think to some extent you are who people perceive you to be. The reality lies not in your mind, who you think you are, but how you affect the people around you. And if someone I respect tells me, I should learn to accept a compliment and tone down the sarcasm a little, then you'd better be sure I am going to work on that.

That doesn't mean that I rely entirely on outside feedback to define who I am, but if you are the only person who would describe yourself as a rocket scientist, then who is going to ask you to build their spaceship? It is a balance of both really, who you want to be and whether you are really putting that out there.

The truth is, I don't really fail at things as much as I just flail around downplaying what I am doing, meanwhile skipping all the way down the path to grandmothers house. The woods are scary! I look terrible in red! This hood makes my face look a little chunky! I hope she likes my treats! Then I kick the wolf in the teeth, save grandma, and we all live happily ever after. I worry and fret and tell everyone I failed the test and then get the highest grade in the class. It winds up being a jumbled mess of wanting people to know I am doing well and then being too embarrassed (or something else?) to take in the well wishing that might result. I fall on my face a ton too, but it all gets mixed in with the good stuff until it is possibly just all the same.

Again, there are a zillion reasons why I have evolved into this person, but none of that is as important as the fact that I don't really want to be this way. I want to seem open and loving and not snide or worse, jealous. That is not to say I can banish the sarcasm. It is, after all, a coping mechanism for me. But I can tone it down. I can say "thanks, I love this necklace too." I can certainly recognize that there is a time and a place for witty banter. I can. I want to.

My dream staycation

When I dream about having some time alone, the fantasy doesn't involve being marooned on a deserted island.

Instead, my family would head to the island and leave me marooned in my own home. My house would be spotless, not a toy in sight. Beds would be made, things would be tidy, and the hip decor I am striving for would be clearly visible without the random accessories my husband and children add to the mix.

I would sip my coffee uninterrupted while watching the sun rise over my equally spotless back yard. There would be no purple and red plastic big wheel to draw my eye away from the swaying palms. There would not be a single rock tossed into the pool. Later, I might sink into my linen couch, with its accent pillows still perched jauntily on each side just how I like them. I might nibble a bag of chips without having to share them while watching a marathon of girlie shows on Bravo or, better yet, an entire season of Weeds. I might place my drink on the coffee table without worrying about it getting knocked or tossed or swiped.

Later, I would shower, blow dry, and put on makeup, without having to choose two of the three. I would select an outfit without having to opt for the least wrinkled of the bunch. I would cook myself a really spicy fish dish with a curry coconut sauce and steamed vegetables. I would eat it without dodging a tossed green bean or getting up to refill a glass of milk. I might even light some candles.

That night, I would give myself a bath, read myself a book, and tuck myself into bed. Alone, in my deserted house, on my dream vacation.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Write, right?

I signed up for a ten week writing workshop ages ago and it finally starts this week. We have to bring a pen and paper and our brains and probably some creativity. I have been excited about this for months, but now I am a little nervous. I am not sure I will be able to read my own handwriting and I don't know if I can write intelligently without a spellcheck program to kindly show me how a word is really spelled. I have a routine of sorts and I'm not sure I can write anything outside of the confines of my space.

Do you think anyone will notice if I show up in my PJ bottoms, with my desktop computer in tow, and a glass of red wine to sip?

You're so vain (you probably think this blog is about you, don't you)

The other night Hubs and I went out for a Valentines day date. We chose to go on the 15th because I was going to be coming back late from a Girl Scout event and we wanted to avoid the crowds of dorks who would be dressing in red (like me) and slapping down the Amex (that would be Hubs) for the pricey veneer of romance. We go on dates fairly regularly, but still wanted to make it a point to have some time alone and celebrate the occasion.

After a delicious sushi dinner, we headed over to Scottsdale in search of a place to have dessert. We used the GPS as a guide and paged through a random list of the closest restaurants until we found one nearby that we thought might have yummy slices of cake and glasses of port to go with it. We pulled up somewhere big and fancy and I voiced concern about not having reservations, even though it was the day after Valentine's Day. Hubs rolled his eyes and said we could always head to Baskin Robins as a back up. It was my turn to roll my eyes and chide him for his not so romantic suggestion, I had on my dressy jeans after all. He quickly replied, "That's okay. It will give you something to blog about."


Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Sure he looks cute, but behind the chubby cheeks and sparkling baby blues lies an opportunist. This little slickster will notice the pantry door slightly open and while you spend five seconds checking your email account, he'll slyly snag a box of Rice Krispies from the shelf and sprinkle every last crisp across the kitchen floor.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wait, what was I saying?

Monday is President's Day and Girlie is out of school. She was off last Monday too. But wait, you ask, why two Mondays in a row?

Let me explain. That is, if I can remember what I was starting to tell you. Oh yeah. President's Day.

Since the birth of my second child it seems like I can't remember ANYTHING anymore. I have always been a pretty sharp minded kind of gal. Now, I can't survive without writing everything down. And it goes double for my long term memory. Facebook would be so much more fun if I could actually recall the name of that girl I roomed with sophomore year.

So, last Monday, I thought it was President's Day and loaded both kids in the car to head to the Children's Museum for a special President's Day event. We got there and the museum was closed. I sat there in the parking lot puzzled and then the school called. Was Girlie sick? I hadn't called in an excuse. Great. It wasn't President's Day. It was just Monday.

A few days ago I forgot the name of something so obvious that when I finally thought of it, I couldn't believe that I could not remember what it was called. I would totally make an example of it, but today I can't remember what it was.

You see?

I am guessing that the years of sleep deprivation have finally caught up with me (for the record, my kids are great sleepers, but I seem to have lost the skill). My girlfriend claims that it is the volume of things we have to remember once we have children. My past is being squeezed out with shoe sizes and Brownie schedules. I guess that would be fine if I got to choose the things I wanted to erase, like my senior prom date or that time in fifth grade when I cried in front of the whole class after losing the Junior Deputy election to my best friend Dawn.

I wonder if my memory will ever come back. Maybe I should start doing crosswords or some kind of brain exercises. Okay, I am writing that down right now.

Before I forget.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Like a fine wine...

A few weeks ago I visited a friend of mine in Baltimore. It is hard for both of us to believe, but we have been best friends for almost 20 years. She took me out to dinner one night and we had a fabulous meal while we hashed over the paths our lives had taken over the years.

Not wanting the night to end, we pulled into a cute little bar just around the corner from her house for a cocktail. When we got inside we realized that it was not a cute little bar, but a college bar crammed with children. Okay, not children like my little ones, but children in the sense that a few of them might have been born in the 90's. We didn't want to be dorks and leave, so we made our way up to the bar and ordered two beers. At some point, a guy included us in a round of shots he ordered for his girlfriend's 21st birthday. I pretended to drink mine, but stuffed the lemon into a mostly full shot glass. A few minutes later, a girl came up and started talking to us about how much older she felt than the rest of people in the bar. She was a grad student after all, and was 24. We told her our ages (36 & 37), and she swore she never would have guessed.

We finished our beers and left and had a really good laugh about it when we got back to my friend's place. Of course, we weren't young hipsters anymore, but we still had it.

When I got back to my own home a few days later, I shared the story with my husband. He laughed and said it reminded him of Athens, Georgia where I went to school at The University of Georgia. Thinking he was referring to the students, I agreed.

Then he said, "Yeah, I mean there were always one or two really old people at those bars. Remember? You knew they were too old to be there. It was so funny."

"S'cuse me? But the girl said she never would have guessed..."


Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's day is tomorrow and I've noticed around the blogosphere that most of you aren't feeling the love. While I am not exactly a Valentine's fanatic, I wouldn't categorize myself as a hater, either.

Girlie is in first grade and Valentine's day is a big deal to her. She made all of her cards this year herself with some red construction paper, crayons, and a few googly eyes. Everyone in the class got one, and a few of her besties got special notes and sparkly stuff. They'll be having a little party at school and to her nothing is more exciting than the prospect of sugary treats and small cups of juice with matching napkins. I think we all loved Valentines day as children.

These days though, it isn't really cool to love sappy things. Maybe it all starts in high school. If you didn't have a significant in your life, you were doomed to getting flowers and chocolates from your parents, or worse, none at all. The forced equality so important in elementary school is tossed aside and the cheese basically stands alone. I get that. Being a top member of the debate team (and a member of the science club, but I swear it was for my college applications), I didn't always have a guy on February 14th. Eventually, as adults, we scoff the commercialism and forced nature of a day meant to proclaim heartfelt feelings. We lose sight of the six year old with the red construction paper.

Somehow, in college, another slice of cheese and I found each other and have been together ever since. On Valentine's Day, I overlook the mounds of tacky proclamations. Though I am likely to be snarky about other things, I don't feel annoyed by the roadside rose stands. Now that we are old married folk, we usually avoid the pricey reservations and we don't always make a huge deal about it. But I never let it go by without a little something special for my guy. Maybe it's easier for me, I haven't been without a Valentine for 18 years!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dear NPR

You and I go way back. I can remember listening to you as my Dad drove me to orthodontic appointments in middle school. At the time, I didn't understand your incessant droning on about the Soviet Union and some dictator in Latin America. I would beg my Father to change the channel so I could groove to Madonna or beat it with Michael. He did not, so I would take naps while a deep voice filtered in and out of my consciousness.

As an adult, you and I became reacquainted. Even though I have XM, I find myself tuning in on long car rides. I listen even when Diane Rehm is having a bad day and slowly pronounces her words like a drunk granny. I listen even when Neal Conan opens the discussion on steroids in baseball, again. If I am out running errands on the weekend, you can be sure I am dialed into Ira Glass. I have saved on my list of home pages that appear every time I turn on my computer. I call in with donations during the fundraisers. Small ones, but dollars just the same. You make me feel in touch. Your stories are smart. You go against the grain of popular culture choosing to be intellectual instead of sensational.

Which is why I am horrified that you have recently begun picking up celebrity gossip. Today, I browse my home page to find a reference to Chris Brown, the rapper who allegedly assaulted his girlfriend just before the Grammys. If I want to read about Chris Brown, I will tune in to NPR, I want you to stay a little stuffy and above the fray. It's what makes you, well, you.

How will I ever torture my children if you start reporting on rappers and riff raff? Look, if it's about money, then just say so. I'll donate double during the next fundraiser. Think of what you can do with two hundred dollars!

Mental Momma

Monday, February 9, 2009

This one's for the ladies...

My best friend and I recently went to see the movie He's Just Not That Into You. The story is about finding love, and how we ladies like to fool ourselves about men. In one part of the movie, there is a whole montage of things we say to each other like "he probably lost your number" and "he was just intimidated by your success." The men, on the other hand, pretty much meant exactly what they said and just weren't that complicated. While I am light years away from the relationship drama depicted in this movie, I had to laugh anyway. Who can't relate?

However, this whole delusional chick thing is a large part of what makes female friendships so precious. Thank God my gals have said things like "no, really you ARE a great Mom" and "I don't know what you are talking about, you don't look like you've gained a pound." Don't get me wrong, they are willing to pull out a well timed "get over yourself" when absolutely necessary, but for the most part, I know they are in my corner, ready to talk me off a ledge. And I love them for it, even if we both know that what they are saying is almost true. I might not have had the courage to stand up to my family, or demand that promotion, or later start my own business, if I didn't have such a stellar support network.

xoxo to all my girlfriends...


After four blissful days filled with marathon window shopping, endless coffee breaks, and a fantastic chick flick, plus too many glasses of wine and enough snacks to send my waistline over the edge - I'm back!

The kiddos and I are off to the Children's Museum today, so I am back in the swing of things. But after a few days with my best friend of 22 years, I'll have to remind myself how to be a grown up again...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


In high school, a boyfriend of mine wrote me a song and had his friend sing and record it. The lyrics were cringe worthy and the friend was a terrible singer. The recording was made on a tape recorder and I'm pretty sure I was slightly embarassed for both of them. He recorded a bunch of other songs from the radio along with it so I listened to the tape anyway.

But there must be something about a song with your own name in it, because every once in a while, I catch myself singing it in my head.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

See ya!

The time had come when I could no longer pretend that washing and then piling clean clothes on top of the dryer qualifies as "doing" the laundry. I stuck the little guy in front of Sesame Street and started folding a mountain of clean clothes. One would think that I might be able to accomplish such a simple undertaking without the aid of the Big Bird the babysitter, but the Little Guy takes special glee from grabbing the freshly folded clothes and slinging them to the floor. So, I plopped him on the couch for some quality time with Elmo and the gang. I am very careful about how much TV the kids watch, so I plan my day around the little breaks provided by children's programming. Anyway, it took a while. There were maybe five loads worth teetering precariously over the basket, but who's counting?

I started hearing plinky piano sounds coming from the TV and quickly realized my minutes were numbered. Elmo's World was coming on, and that signals the last fifteen minutes of Sesame Street, and that means I'd better get cracking. I dashed around the house, putting the laundry away and made it just in time to find the Little Guy scooting off of the couch as the credits were rolling. These days, much of my life is motivated by the sounds drifting from my set. There is a spot near the end of one of our Baby Einstein videos where a fiddle tune picks up and I know I'd better get off of facebook and get dinner on the table.

This weekend, I'll be humming a new tune though. I am visiting my bestie in Baltimore without my kids. Hubs is taking a few days off to stay at home with them (my hero) and I will be heading out all by myself early Thursday morning.

I am already packed.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Subcompact - Month One

About a month ago my husband and I decided to start on a little experiment to see how much we could reduce our consumption by limiting our purchases and focusing on used items for the things we really need. I just finished the first month, so I thought I would post a little update.

For the first part of the month, sticking to our plan was easy. We had just finished Christmas and were still busy putting away the new junk we had accumulated. Since winter only lasts about three weeks in Phoenix and my kids grew like weeds over the holiday break, I quickly found myself needing a few new things for Girlie's wardrobe. I decided to try a few consignment shops and the first trip was fabulous. I picked up cute Mini Boden, Gymboree, Gap, and even Garnett Hill pieces for next to nothing. Feeling optimistic, I went back a few times but subsequent trips were not as successful. I tried a few thrift stores too, but the selections were mostly a little worn and depressing. I still try to dress her like a little girl, so the Hannah Montana hoochie skirts weren't doing it for me. I will probably fill in the rest of her spring stuff with a little Gymboree and Target. I have found that the Gymboree stuff in particular lasts forever and I like buying a variety of things that mix and match easily. I'll keep trolling the consignment stores too, but we did say we were not going to limit ourselves entirely when it comes to the kids.

As for me, I have not purchased a single new or used thing for myself or my house this month. As I mentioned, it was easier at first. The stores were still a desolate wasteland of holiday rejects and rumpled items looking suspiciously returned. Recently, I had to pick up a few sundries at Target and found myself lovingly gazing at the new goodies. I spotted a fabulous spring scarf that would distract the eye from my squishy tummy, and a few of the guest designer dresses had me at hello, but I resisted. When it came time to celebrate my husband's birthday, I got him an appointment for a massage and some yummy candy, both consumables that won't junk up our house or fill our trash bins with too much waste. Best of all, he got a little time to relax and we stuck to our plan.

Most shocking is the amount of extra money we seem to have this month. I paid off a lingering credit card bill that was hovering just over $1000 and it feels good to be debt free. I am sure some of it can be attributed to the season, the power and water bills are probably their lowest of the year during these months because of our mild winters. But I know a large part of it is due to the hard line I have drawn for myself. In some ways, it is easier to say no entirely instead of maybe just a little.

I still have five months to go, but getting into the rhythm so far feels pretty good. Who knows? Maybe will even extend it for the entire year.

I know, I know, that's crazy talk...