Why so busy in the middle of January when most people spend the first month of the year calming down from the bustle of the holiday season and finding enjoyment in being at home after a whole month of holiday happenings and social engagements? Well, because after ten Januaries spent in the frozen north, I've come to realize that...drumroll, please...January depresses me.
Seriously. I'm not kidding. Every year, without a doubt, boring ole' January creeps up on me, completely un-welcome after all the fun and busy-ness of the Christmas season, and I feel like I'm stuck in a dismal black hole swirling with snow and surrounded by frigidly inhumane temperatures with no escape in sight for at least another four months (if we're lucky).
From the time I wake up in the pitch black darkness of morning (wondering if it is indeed morning because it still looks as dark as did at 7:00 pm the previous night) I feel the weight of January upon my shoulders and all throughout the month I find that heaviness mighty difficult to shake off.
Well, this year I decided I couldn't go through another one of my typical Januaries and since relocating to Florida to live on a beach for the entire month was not quite feasible, I had to be pro active in coming up with another option. So, I decided to keep myself and the kids extremely busy. So busy, in fact, that I wouldn't have time to mope around the house thinking about how much I hate January, the snow, the cold, the indoors, the dark, and subsequently gaining a bunch of weight because being depressed about all those things makes me crave German chocolate cake like you wouldn't believe.
I figured if I could schedule enough play dates and outings for us this month that, on the rare day that we do spend solely at home, I'd actually have to do something productive around the house instead of moping. And, so far, I can report that my plan is working quite beautifully.
The kids have definitely enjoyed the extra play dates and I've realized it's much more fun to chat and laugh with other moms than barricade myself alone with the kids inside our house. We've also had a couple outings with Grandma that have proved to be a hit. Next week is just as busy as my flute teaching schedule is starting up again for the spring semester, another play date has already been planned, and a trip to the Children's Museum is in the works. After that, there is only one week left and January 2010 is behind us.
To keep myself busy when we are at home, I bought a couple new cookbooks and have been trying out some new recipes. After a year of new-and-improved low-fat cooking techniques, we were definitely experiencing a bit of a rut, so the new menu items I have incorporated have been welcomed heartily (and yes, all the new recipes are still of the low-fat variety). Maybe if I get a chance I'll have to share some of my new favorites that will definitely be making a reappearance in our meal rotation...namely Hawaiian Pork Chops and Taco Soup. Yum.
Other things that have me more cheery this January than in past Januaries:
- Purchasing a new swim suit for $19. I don't think I've ever found one so cheap that I would actually wear in public. Now, since I actually own a swim suit that fits, we're all set to hit the indoor pool....which I need to locate so that we can go swimming sometime before the end of the month.
- Usually I lament the end of Christmas for the entire month of January, but the kids' love of Christmas music has them singing "Frosty the Snowman" and "Jingle Bells" at least 10 times a day, so in a way, it actually still feels like it is Christmastime.
- Fat Free Hot Chocolate.
- Getting the car washed, inside and out.
- Finding great tasting cantaloupes at Aldi's for half the price of the normal grocery store.
- Finding my favorite peanut butter at Wal-Mart for almost half the price of the normal grocery store.
- Helping the kids pick out food coloring for their bath water each night and seeing their delight upon discovering that red bath water and yellow bath water make orange bath water.
- Zach's new book: The Tickle Monster
- Clearance items at Eddie Bauer...especially the tall sizes, because at 5'11, if it isn't a tall size, after a couple of washings, most long sleeve shirts morph into 3/4 length sleeve shirts.
- Watching movies/TV and munching on popcorn with Ben each night after the kids fall asleep.