07 March 2014

SQTF 80: Lent, Thrifting, and Alaskan Springtime

I don't think I've spent as much time out of the house as I have this week since I was working, before Little Bear was born. What a crazy week! Matt worked 10-7 all week to help cover night classes since one of their student workers is out, and Little Bear and I drove him in the first four mornings because somehow there was always something I needed the car for. We made... ten trips to town in the last four days! Eleven, if you count running home yesterday after the thrift store because I forgot something I was supposed to bring to my parents' house. I am so, so grateful to have the whole day at home today to let things become un-crazy again and catch up on everything that's fallen through the cracks recently.

So my Lent has definitely not gotten off to a very peaceful start. It did get an early start; thanks to Matt's shifted hours and the local parishes' annual inability to stagger the times of their Ash Wednesday evening Masses (seriously, everyone has to have it at 7pm? No one can do 7:15 or 7:30?), the only Mass we could make it to was at 7:30am, ie the time Little Bear usually wakes up. We had a cranky kid by the end of the day! The other option was for Little Bear and I to go at some point throughout the day and Matt to just not go, but... I'm glad we were able to go as a family.

Yesterday afternoon, Little Bear and I picked my sister up after she finished class and went on an expedition to the thrift store, which was having 50% off on all of their wintery clothes. We had such fun. I hadn't been in months, because it's pretty much impossible by myself with Little Bear: he wants to run, screams about being in the cart, licks the mirrors in the changing room... It really takes having at least two big people, and having one pay attention to him while the other browses. I found several sweaters, a fun dress (maybe for Easter this year?) and a new-looking jacket in a weight I've been looking for. 

We spend so much of the year wearing coats here, they are practically their own category in a girl's wardrobe. I remember getting funny looks when I was in college for having so many different coats--what college girl has more coats than shoes? An Alaskan one, clearly! I pared down considerably over my college years and post-college moves, but now? I have two lightweight spring/fall/chilly summer jackets, two slightly heavier down-to-32 degrees jackets, a black wool that was getting worn out as my sole down-to-0 option thanks to this warm winter, the new purple lightly-lined down-to-0 coat (probably down to -10 or so; I'll test it today), a heavy navy coat that's warm to -35, and a heavy tan down-filled coat for colder than -35.

Growing up, we always had potato soup for supper on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Which was... a little less of a sacrifice, because I love potato soup. But it happened so many years, I've definitely developed a subconscious association between fast days and potato soup. I thought about making it this year, but with Matt working late, he had to bring his suppers in to the office with him; by the time he got home every evening, we had to start getting Little Bear to bed. Soups are pretty low on his list of foods-that-can-be-transported-and-eaten-at-work, so on Tuesday, I made a tuna noodle casserole and stuck it in the fridge for us each to microwave the next evening. Apparently, we have discovered Little Bear's favorite food ever. He ate half of my plate--even the peas!

How does giving certain things up for Lent work with toddlers? I obviously don't expect Little Bear to understand the concept of Lent, but if Matt and I are giving up sweets, does that mean that he is too? The problem is really two-pronged: do I go out of my way to keep him from eating any sweets because it's Lent (and how do I make him understand that we can't get the free cookies from the grocery store bakery for the next six weeks?), and if I try to keep it moderate but do allow him Nutella occasionally when he asks for it, what am I supposed to do with the half-eaten whatever-it-is he will invariably hand back to me? I don't usually eat lunch--I just finish off the bits of whatever Little Bear starts eating then decides he doesn't want--but if it could count as a sweet, am I supposed to throw it away? I don't like wasting food, but I'm not going to keep a store of shards of cracker smeared with jelly sitting in the counter for the next time he's hungry...

Now that we are into March, our daylight is increasing by 7 minutes a day and growing! The sun is getting high enough and staying up long enough--11 hours at this point--that heavily-traveled roads are losing their hardpack, the south-facing sides of snow hills are starting to melt, and the parking lot up by Matt's building was a slushy mess yesterday. Yay, Spring! The annual World Ice Art Championships are in full swing here, and the university's engineering students recently unveiled this remarkable ice structure on the square:

Why does "ice" say "spring" here? I don't know. It was still -17 this morning, so it's certainly too early to start even thinking about a snow-free yard, but it is 15 above now and Little Bear and I are looking forward to getting out and playing this afternoon!

Have a good weekend! For more quick takes and to hear about Jen's audiobook, visit Conversion Diary!

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