Monthly Archives: December 2011

Christmastime is Here…and My Money is Gone

Oh, Christmastime. The most wonderful time of the year. Blah, blah, blah. Mistletoeing. Hearts glowing. Yadda yadda. One week and counting until everything is expected to be complete and in place. I am actually in a relatively unique position this year. I am finished shopping! This is true for two reasons: 1) I’m actually done shopping! 2) My Christmas budget is gone.

My first response to that realization was “crap!!!” What if I need more stocking stuffers?! I still haven’t gotten anything for my brother!! Big Sister just added something to her list!!

My next response was “Whew!” I’m actually feeling pretty relieved that the Christmas dough is gone. The bulk of my “necessary” shopping is done. Big gifts were purchased months ago, and I had already decided that the bulk of our Christmas was going to be DIY stuff anyway (stay tuned for posts about 2 projects in particular). I also feel relieved because it takes the pressure off with regards to last minute shopping and feeling the need to make my children’s every wish come true.

I absolutely try to fulfill the bulk of my older child’s wish list. She generally makes pretty reasonable requests, and the ones that aren’t (e.g., “I want one of each American Girl doll”) are immediately, though gently squashed (“Baby, do you know how much it would cost to get one of each doll? Over $1000. Do you have that much? No? Ok then.”) The baby is still too little to be making requests…she’ll get what she gets, but not having the ability to get Big Sister everything she wants is, in my opinion, a blessing. Not just for me, but for her as well. She will grow up knowing the value of what she has, the value of a dollar, the difference between wants and needs, and, hopefully, the true meaning of Christmas (aaaaand, cue Silent Night).

This week at our house will be filled with lots of hustle and bustle. I will essentially live at my sewing machine, and I don’t think I would have it any other way. Yes, life might be a little easier and slightly less stressful if the Christmas (and overall) budget was a little roomier, but I think, if that were the case, I would find stress in other places. We have, in the past 4 years, gone from putting a large proportion of our “needs” on credit cards to having only one, seldom used card with a low limit. Our kids are clothed, fed, sheltered, and loved, and we will have a very nice Christmas. We are still working on managing our monthly expenses frugally and intelligently, but we get better all the time.

Bottom line: I’m glad the Christmas shopping is over and done with. It will give us time to focus on the importance of the season and enjoy each other and our extended family. Shopping will briefly resume at the beginning of January when we prepare for “Christmas II: The Voyage West”, but until then, I will sew and bake and paint and create with the stuff that is at hand. I dare say that some of the creations will be a step up from store-bought anyway…and they will be filled with infinitely more love (and maybe some blood, sweat, and tears…though hopefully those will wipe right off).


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Leggings are Not Pants

True statement: Leggings are not pants. They are far more comfortable than pants. They are pants adjacent…but not pants.

These are the types of thoughts I have when I’m cleaning my kitchen. If you read my last post, you may remember that I am in the process of trying to get my surroundings under control. In a recent Bible study, we were asked where we find peace. I have discovered over the last month, which is the amount of time that I have had a perpetually clean kitchen and dining table (Thank you! You’re too kind.), that peace for me comes in order. When I have an orderly environment, I am at peace. I’m still working on spreading the order beyond my kitchen, but it’s happening slowly but surely.

I digress….

I thought about the leggings because I like leggings. I think leggings rock. Leggings are a lovely partner to a dress and some boots; however, they are not pants. I’m currently wearing them as pants, and I would be mortified if anyone but my immediate family saw me in them. Others are not quite so discerning while wearing leggings as pants. Some can afford to be that way. Women who are slender and cellulite-free, for example, probably feel quite comfortable in leggings alone, and probably look decent in them as well. For a very brief period in 1999-2000 when I was 18/19, I would have felt comfortable in leggings if they had been in style. I did feel comfortable in short shorts, cutesy tops, and two-piece bathing suits. It was lovely feeling that comfortable in my own skin.

For another brief period in 2008-2009, I was nearly that comfortable again. After having my first child, I lost all of my baby weight while nursing, and then I lost an additional 50 pounds on Weight Watchers. It rocked. I was thin, comfortable, confident, content.

Then I wrote my dissertation…stupid dissertation. I told myself that I could do whatever I needed to do to get through it, and thanks to lots of cappuccinos, mochas, and Grandpa’s BLT’s from Daybreak Coffee Roasters (mmmmmmmm…), I did finish it, but I also gained 20 pounds. After defending my dissertation, getting a job (thank God), and moving to my current residence, I swore I would lose it all again. I joined Weight Watchers online and lost about 5 pounds…then I got pregnant.

Now, I could say that my current state of not-being-able-to-wear-leggings-as-pants is due to that pregnancy, but the fruit of my loins is 18 months old…not exactly a newbie. So, where do I go from here? I hope to go back to my previous state of fitness; however, hope doesn’t really get one very far down the road. It can be helpful in a lot of situations, but “hoping” to be thinner and fitter is not very logical…or useful.

This past August (August 12th to be exact), I gave myself one year to fit into the very nice wardrobe I still have from my pre-pregnancy days. One year, I told myself, until I will give those clothes to someone who can wear them. I even have it roped off with a sign reminding me of my deadline. So far it has had no effect. I’ve been yo-yoing back and forth with the same 4 pounds since then. I started Couch-to-5k and made it to Week 1, Day 2 before letting life deter me. I started over and got to Week 1, Day 2 before it deterred me again (and I broke my toe). No more. I’m done with excuses. I am determined to get back into my favorite Ann Taylor dress (it is so adorable…it makes me sigh to think about it lovingly wrapped in a dry-cleaning bag in my closet).

If you need an accountability partner/group, come on! Comment and let’s get going! I’ve been doing lunges up and down my hall instead of walking from room to room. I feel like an idiot, but I’m eventually going to be an idiot who can wear leggings as pants and not be ashamed of it…as much.

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