Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bowling Over Budgets

Last week I wrote about when logic and frustration came together sweetly... and I replaced all of our mugs. I'm starting to give our bowls the Stink Eye this week. And I spent about an hour yesterday washing and inventorying all our baby bottles and parts. There's something immensely satisfying about actually taking action on a frustrating area of life. No matter how small.

And I know in the grand scheme of things it. does. not. matter. that we have mismatched bowls and mugs. If we lived in a seaside cottage or sprawling farmhouse, I think it would be great fun to have whimsical mugs and cups and bowls that visitors would choose favourites from. When I visit my parents' house, I recognise the special mugs that my uncle sent to my brothers about ten years ago. The mugs sit next to The Cup that my mum has measured out ingredients in for her (famous) homemade biscuits for the last fifteen or so years. And there are new little mugs and bowls that they have picked up on travels since. 

A friend said in reply to the mug post that she "revel[s] in a hodgepodge of miscellany." I think that sounds wonderful. And somewhere else, I might. But in this little house, it's a constant source of irritation that the bowls don't stack, because there is only room for one stack of bowls on the shelf. Literally. Which means after I do the washing up, I have to restack the four china bowls biggest-to-smallest in their spot. Or (more likely) I put one on the shelf, leave two on the rack, and stick the fourth on the counter. Unless I drop them on the floor while Pippin makes a sudden grab for the soap.

In an earlier effort to be eco-friendly, I bought some lovely pressed-bamboo bowls, which have a fun texture and are a pretty cream colour. Unfortunately, they're not microwaveable and aren't meant for holding liquids too long (risk of dissolving?) And they also don't stack. They glare at me from under the counter every time I walk by and I feel guilty because I really do like them. But they're not practical in this stage of life, not in combination with the other unpractical bowl configurations.

All of our mismatched bowls hanging out on the mantel.

So the plan is to head to the store some time this week and buy a set of bowls. Stackable. Harmonious. Simple. I was near Xenos yesterday but told myself we could wait till February, maybe, because it borders on extravagant to suddenly replace all the (perfectly serviceable) mugs in the house. And then the next week to suddenly replace all the (perfectly serviceable) bowls. Faramir and I are both frugal; we want to be good stewards of the money God has given us. While we have enough money to live happily, we know we don't have unending bank accounts, and that we've worked for our savings. We budget for daily (tasty) food, comfortable/presentable clothes, and especially for trips to see beloved family members scattered across the world. It makes me feel silly to spend our household budget for things we don't technically need RIGHT THIS MOMENT.

But at this stage, it's not an extravagant whim. Having a baby changes life in so many ways beyond the obvious ones. I knew we were in for sleepless nights and teething times (which we think has started again - ?!). But no one mentioned just how badly I would feel the need to streamline my life even more than it was. I already had a simple wardrobe. It got simpler. We already had a simple home. It got simpler. We already had simple meal plans. Guess what? They got simpler too. I just don't have the time and energy for more than simple. To spend more than a few minutes deciding what to wear, looking for a shopping bag, or planning dinner. I don't regret the simplicity. It's refreshing at best, not-stress-inducing at worst. And if spending extra euros on stackable bowls gives me more energy to play peekaboo with Pippin, that's a good trade-off. Another good trade is getting rid of the miscellaneous kitchen junk and ingredients so Faramir or I can cook dinner in half an hour or less and then linger at the table talking about our days. Maybe I should find a way to make a more holistic budget - one that includes emotional energy and time as well as money. Instead of thinking, "I'm wasting X amount of euro's," I could think, "I'm trading X euro's for Y energy plus Z time to spend on things that matter."


  1. Its time for a grand ma pa day. And you can maken more than simply meal than.

  2. Sooo...Guam fits the category of scattered across the world....