This was a pretty tough week to be thrown into for our first week on the no-spend challenge.
Although the weekdays went pretty smoothly.
We started school back up and that prompted Nick and I to have the discussion about how/if the challenge would affect the way we do our schooling. We had said it wouldn't really before in our talks but it came up again when I introduced a new "motto" for our classroom to the kids. Nick said I should enlarge it, laminate it, and hang it up in the classroom. That prompted the discussion on if that was in fact a need or simply a want.
The jury is still out on that one so we'll have to see what I decide. It may in part be decided by the price of making the poster. $20 for a poster? No thanks...
But I think we kind of narrowed down that in terms of what the kids are learning and the core of what they need we absolutely will not waiver. The fluff stuff we may reevaluate and see what we could use that we already have.
Calvin threw a wrench in our plans by declaring that instead of taking the train to Chicago for his birthday as planned, he wanted to go to LEGOLAND. So after calling Nick and having him approve the change, I frantically hopped on line to try to track down as many deals as possible.
In the end it proved to be way too much money to change our plans so we decided to stick with the original plan to go downtown for his birthday.
My best friend and I took all of our kids to Sky Zone (a trampoline park) to get the kids to shake out all their wiggles! What a fun time we had! It is so fun to have a friend with kiddos that my kiddos love!
I know, I know SkyZone is in no way a "need" but thankfully the kids got giftcards to there for Christmas so we used those to go. Hooray for fun things to do!
Why do companies feel the need to try to get you to spend money after you just had Christmas? Besides the fact that everyone went out and spent tons on gifts I know that we do not have any more room for more STUFF!
These catalogs always get me! Lakeshore Learning, an educational store gets me every time. I always ooh and ah over all of the stuff that is in there. Surely if I get all of this stuff the kids will learn more, right? I rationalize to myself. But the truth is that even though we've decided the no-spend year will not affect our schooling, we do not need any more supplies. I've over bought as it is.
American Girl was a difficult one (for about half a minute) to toss. I don't want Emma to miss out on childhood because of the no-spend challenge. But then I remembered that the dolls themselves are what make childhood so great, not the shopping, so I tossed them. She needs to be grateful for the 4 dolls she has and not be shopping for more.
Ulta always kills me. Do you see that? Do you? The one day sale thing makes me want to almost get up and run out of the house. Almost.
I must buy the things! But it is an almost feeling and so I restrained myself. But it was hard!
This past weekend was a blur! We went to Chicago on the train to celebrate Calvin's birthday. He turned 9! How did this happen? Can anyone tell me, please?
I still feel like I am about 25 and have no clue what I am doing with motherhood. Or Autism. Or mothering a child with Autism. There is still so much to learn, but anyway.
We realize that a trip to Chicago is not a NEED but we have a son who has talked about this trip for basically a year so then telling him last minute that he doesn't get his birthday trip due to his parents' weird challenge was not an option.
We did however go through this weekend with a clear idea in mind of what we were going to buy and what we were not. While these trips usually end up with us finding "deals" and stocking up on every little thing we see, this time, we did not.
Dylan's Candy Shop? We let them get a tube of candy and a small little something else. Calvin got to pick one thing out at Lego as his gift. We got Emma something at American Girl.
For Birthday cake? We decided on a couple of cupcakes from the Cupcake ATM rather than a whole cake.
I saw SO MANY awesome things I wanted to buy mainly because there were gobs and gobs of things marked down on Christmas clearance. And it was really, really hard but we didn't get anything we hadn't planned.
We had a lot of fun throughout the weekend, everything we got was a deal or at least a planned expense, and we were able to come home and not feel completely janky because we had spent way too much.
It was a nice feeling.
One of the not nice things about this weekend was how my view could get so a skewed by all of the nonsense of the stores in Chicago. We stayed downtown so there was plenty of walking past stores like Cartier, Tiffany's, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and more. We came back to our hotel after a night of shopping and I couldn't believe how burdened I felt about those things. Was it Jealousy? Envy? I don't know but after talking about it with Nick I boiled it down to the fact that when we are at home I feel content with what we have but when I am in Chicago I start to realize everything that I could have. Do you know what I mean? It was not a nice feeling. In the end I reasoned with myself that that could forever be a never ending cycle. If I had a new Tiffany ring I would want a Cartier or a newer one or a bigger one. This could go on forever.
So I am learning from this that it has to simply be the fact that you have to make the decision to be happy with yourself and what you have whatever that may be. Sometimes it is a lot easier said than done.
I can't believe in the short time of one week how dramatically altered my viewpoint has been. I now go through our home looking at things with hushed tones and gentle fingers...it's all a reminder of how amazingly blessed we are.
And while I could probably say, "let's go back to how things were, we're changed already" I don't think I can say that yet at all. I want to go through a hot, sticky day and teach kids the value of cold hose water; the joy of hard work and how good it feels to lay in bed after a long day and feel content and pleased with the work you've accomplished.
It was a great week. A difficult week at moments but a week that made us feel perhaps even more grateful for gifts and possessions than we would have. For that, the difficulty has been worth it.