Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spring Fever!

Doth my ears deceive me?
Did I hear that it hit 60 degrees today?
And let me tell you, we took full advantage.

Cousin Ellis joined us for some Goose rides at Grandma's.
Not exactly Disney World,
but it still extracts giggles from the little ones.
There was lots of running,
and the like.
Lucy loved the dirt.
And may or may not have received some of her
daily vitamins from it today.
Dorothy found a new love for yardwork.
Clean, my darling. Clean.
And we said some "hellos" and "howareyas?" to the neighbors.
They had little to say in return.
Oh, I know this taste is a tease.
But I'll take a day or two of giddiness!

I knew it was too quiet upstairs...

But I had to laugh when I found this:
Dorothy stripped her bed down to the fitted sheet
and took her chalk to it.
Thankfully chalk is a rather innocuous medium.
Pretty artistic, I think.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Breaking the Fast...

Our consumer fast, that is.

Back in, oh, I'd say November, I decided I wanted to try a little experiment. My husband always loves when I approach him with new experiments to try--they usually involve getting rid of things. This time, I decided we should get rid of EVERYTHING. Well, not quite everything, but nothing extra for the entire month of January. I thought this would be a great way to purge our consumer-loving selves after the month of December. I spent the entire last month of 2010 planning out meals for every day in January and the grocery lists to match, what kind of snacks we might like to have around or be able to make (without going overboard), and what type of household goods we would need to keep things clean (or as clean as they get at the Vieira house). We did all of our shopping up front, and prepared to hunker down for the weeks to follow. Our cupboards and fridge were full, we had paid for our farm milk up front so we could still pick it up weekly, we planned multiple trips to free places like the library to help keep our sanity, and off we went. (We did build in exceptions for gas, medical emergencies, and bills. Yuck.)

So, what were the results, you ask? Where to begin...

The month started off grand and glorious with multiple pronouncements that "This will be a breeze" within the first week. Then week two hit. Ugh. Did that one hurt. The whole family ended up sick--strep throat, ear infections, goopy eyes kinda sick. Good thing we decided doctor's visits and medicine were an okay reason to spend a little extra money. Let me tell you though, when you have to go to Target to fill prescriptions and you are NOT there to buy anything else you suddenly find a need for almost everything in the store. Why are we so hard-wired to want stuff? Anyways, we made it out of the store with just our two bottles of antibiotics and a free lollipop from the Pharmacist and went back to our home without temptations. Whew!

But then came week three..

Now for those of you that are runners, you know the wall you hit after a few miles? THE wall where your whole body aches and feels like it is ready to give out? Yes. That was week three. It was in week three that I discovered that having a candy bar stashed in the house can equal sanity. However, there was no such candy bar, and I was forced to plead temporary insanity--more than once. Now that it is February, there are some dark chocolate bars deeply hidden in a place not to be mentioned. Ahh. Can't you feel the relief? Now I have peace of mind knowing that if I absolutely must have some chocolate, it is there.

How else did we get through week three? Cakes. Maybe even some cookies. Yes, we baked our way out of that week like we were old grannies gearing up for the holidays, but it certainly kept us busy. And perhaps a pound or two heavier. I'll take it.

Then came week four, and it was refreshing to feel like we got the air back in our lungs. We could see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we were preparing shopping lists for the next month. Life was good.

Overall, I think we learned quite a few good lessons. I have learned how much I love grocery shopping only once a month and not having to think about it for several more weeks. Shopping with two tiny beans is doable, but not always my idea of a good time. We also learned that there are a lot of things that we may think about buying that we decide aren't so important after we think about them for a few weeks. So many "sale" or "dollar spot" items that I will pick up just because they are on sale or only a dollar did not make it home with us last month, and we were FINE without them. It certainly gives me the will power to avoid them more in the future. We also learned the joy of extra family time without a sudden errand to run. There was more dancing, singing, book reading, and all around goodness to enjoy.

Will we try to do this every month? No. But I do think I will keep up the month of grocery shopping all at once. I do think we learned how to have a little more restraint and truly weigh even the decision for a pint of Ben and Jerry's. So, all in all, I am happy with our experiment.

Here's to all that can be learned while fasting and the relief of finally being able to break that fast. I love the paradox that both the doing and the no longer doing bring a measure of joy.

Anyone else up for a fast?