After vacation, I always have a little bit of trouble getting back into the swing of things, cooking-wise. I ended up not cooking for my mom (she wouldn’t let me, and everyone was trying to feed us), so I hadn’t cooked for a week when we got home, and there were obviously no groceries.
So we ate out Friday night, and I ran to the store for some essentials to get us through until our normal shopping day of Sunday. For Saturday’s dinner, I made this amazing Chicken Shawarma from Jo Cooks, because it’s a family favorite and really easy to make. I usually cheat on the garlic sauce and just use mayonnaise with extra lemon juice and the garlic and it works great.
Later today, though, when Baby Girl naps, I’m going to try my hand at zucchini bread- Mom gave me a TON of zucchini from her garden and it turns out that both my husband and my daughter love zucchini bread. Mom had some with pineapple and chocolate chips – Baby Girl ate two slices while we were there and Mom gave me a slice for her to have as a snack on the way back. My recipe won’t be quite as loaded but I hope she’ll enjoy it anyway!
Well, we’re back from our vacation and the results are in: we stuck to the budget, mostly – except for the fact that I cracked my phone screen and had to have it replaced.
But, we DID save about $40 by getting our oil changed while we were out there – despite moving, the dealership my husband bought our car from still honors the “free oil changed for life” and by the time we got out there, our oil life was under 30% anyway.
It doesn’t quite even out, but at least it’s one thing I probably won’t have to worry about for another 6 months.
And a special shout out to our friends Ashton and Tara for letting us crash at their place even though they had work in the morning. I had budgeted between $150 and $225 for hotels and they helped us stay on track (at $190. We got a bit sidetracked in the fog on the way out to the shore and had to stop in the middle of nowhere!)
I am on the hunt for some other self-care option that gets me out of the house other than yard sales and coffee.
You see, while I was on vacation, I broke the screen on my phone. So, no yard sales for me until I pay off my “debt” to the family – about $100. At my typical spending rate, that is about 5 weekends of yard sales.
So this Saturday morning, I am not sure what I’m going to do with myself. I would say I don’t need any me time since I was just on vacation, but that’s not true- I still had to watch Baby Girl, just in sunnier and sandier locations.
I did have a break from the sweeping, dishes and laundry though, so it was at least a partial vacation.
Back to my conundrum, though. I supposed I could go walking by myself if it isn’t too hot. Or maybe go check out the farmers market (but not buy anything.) I’ve lived in this town for 4 years as of next Tuesday and I’ve never been.
There are a couple of flea markets, too, if I can be trusted to look but not buy.
Other than that, though, I can’t think of anything else that’s free to do that I’d want to do alone.
Any suggestions, blogosphere?
As the end of summer draws near (in July?! The hell you say! But it’s true…) my thoughts turn to Baby Girl’s birthday. She was born at the end of September (even though she was due at the beginning… another story for another time) and so I will soon be planning her second birthday.
Her first birthday was not flawless- my “healthy” frosting melted and she was completely disinterested in smashing her cake. Most of the pictures turned out blurry. (But at least I’m in them , unlike for the baby naming.) And that leaves out the family drama.
But the one thing that did turn out unexpectedly awesome was our trip to the zoo.
We are not blessed to have a zoo in our town. The closest one is about 45 minutes away. So when a conference opportunity popped up the weekend of Baby Girl’s birthday, instead of bemoaning the timing, I turned it into a blessing.
I brought my family with me to the hotel and after my early morning presentation (and some obligatory networking), we went to the zoo!
She was a little young for it, to be honest. But it was nice to be out as a family, and it was extra nice that work didn’t have to be a conflict- the timing worked out perfectly that I could leave town after my normal work day on Thursday, present on Friday morning (thus justifying my employee working an extra shift, because I couldn’t have gotten checked out and back to work on time anyway) and spend the afternoon at the zoo.
How are you new moms going to celebrate your little ones’ first birthdays?
We are a little behind, but with Baby Girl’s first dentist appointment coming up, we decided it was time to wean her from the sippy to a regular cup.
That being said, I don’t want to be mopping spilled milk off my floor all the time, so we have tried an intermediary step: a 360 spill-proof cup.
The results so far have been good but hilarious- because it’s a 360 drinking edge, she likes to drink from the top edge. That’s fine for this cup, but I’m not sure how she’ll do on the real cup because of it.
The other problem is that, while spill proof, the cups are not tantrum proof. If she throws the cup, I’m still going to be mopping up.
We aren’t sure when we’re going to go to the next step. But this step went very smoothly. She hasn’t really wanted a sippy, so I think we could have made the transition even if I had been working.
I skipped a work event I should have gone to.
I am somewhat concerned that the people I work with will think that I skipped this event because I am a mom, but that wasn’t the reason.
The reason was, I was choosing myself over my job. It is the middle of summer, and I am on vacation.
The details of the event are, frankly, unimportant. I have been available via email this entire time, and other than this week I’m literally out of state, I will continue to be so.
I had a very hard time achieving a work/life balance before my daughter – I used to say that I applied a high-powered business person or lawyer’s work ethic to librarianship. And I still continue to work on library matters more than some of my coworkers- I just do more of it at home than I used to.
And sometimes I say no to clearly optional events, even if they would have been a good idea to attend.
It can be hard to have quality time with friends when you have a family.
It can be even harder when you now live 1000 miles away.
I made my peace with this when I moved for college, and thanks to social media, I keep up fairly well with the one (!) friend from back home that I still want to talk to.
I have mostly purged everyone from back home other than her – except the interesting ones. But I digress- this isn’t about me. This is about my husband, who I stole away from Virginia four years ago almost exactly. He has a couple of friends and old coworkers he’d like to see while we’re in the area, visiting his grandmother (who hates me, but I suppose has a right to see our daughter.)
Planning this has been tough, because the friend he most wants to see has a wife and kid of his own. The last time we saw this friend, it was for his wedding. But I think we carved some time out.
It’ll suck for me, because I’ll probably be at the hotel watching Baby Girl sleep – or not sleep, if I’m terribly unlucky- because it’s going to me in the evening. But it’s worth it for my husband to get to see his friend.
Sometimes even people outside the friendship need to make a little effort!