Sunday, November 30, 2014

365 of 30: Days 20 through 27

Lots has happened and things got busy since my last post!

In preparation for my husband to come home working over seas for the past several months, K and I got new haircuts (sorry, London, your crazy mop of hair had to wait), we cleaned up the house a bit, and tried to make it look like I kept up on the housework while he was gone. Truth is, we really didn't care too much about how the house looked, we were just excited to have him home!

K didn't even recognize him at first when we picked him up. He's got a pretty good-looking beard going on! :) We grabbed some burgers on the way home and just relaxed for the rest of the day. Happy much??? I think so!! It's nice to know that he's home safe after so much travel. Kudos to you moms out there with military husbands! I don't know how you keep it together so well while they are deployed! And for the men and women in uniform- thank you! Thank you for the sacrifices you make day in and day out!

After the husband got home, it was all about hearing his stories and catching up. I think the time away gave us each a deeper appreciation for each other. Our marriage, like every other marriage, isn't perfect. But we keep at it, and we work through things.

We started season 4 of The Walking Dead, we had dinner with friends, we shopped for Christmas presents, we had Thanksgiving dinner with his family... it's been a good week! I kind of dread going back to the normal routine. Can't it just be no school and no work forever?? :)

Until next time- SMILE!
If you just feel like there's nothing happy in your day, maybe you need to BE the Happy! Slap a smile on your face and fake it til ya make it, if that's how it has to be. Some days, when I was overwhelmed and didn't have the spouse to help me out after an especially long day, I just had to force my smile and pretend that I really wanted to watch All Dogs Go To Heaven for the fourth time that day.... And guess what, sometimes it helped me to get out of that funk, even when I had to force it.

Friday, November 21, 2014

365 of 30: Day 19 Pick It Up, Put It In The Sack

The park near us always seems to be a disaster. Always garbage everywhere. I blame the delinquent teenage skateboarders and their less-than-classy girlfriends. Every day when I drive by, it irks me knowing that people are just too lazy to pick up their own trash. Pure laziness.

So I decided that after I picked K up from school today that we'd go for a trash-collecting stroll and do a little bit of good for the earth and my fellow park-goers.

Someone has to do it, right?

So we go our latex gloves on, strapped a leash on the dog, readied out garbage sack, and ventured forth.

Kannon thought it was a fun game to look for trash to pick up and he was THE best sport about it! He looked along the bike trail, on the soccer fields, in the gutters, and around the skate park. 

One trip around the park and our bag was completely full! 
I talked to Kannon a lot about why we should never litter and he put it so perfectly when he said,
"so some naughty people make the earth dirty and all the nice people have to pick up and make the earth healthy again, right mom?"

What an honest lesson... the good people are always cleaning up after the naughty ones. I'm so glad that he understood what we were doing and why. He was so happy to be able to help the earth and I couldn't have been more proud!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

365 of 30: Day 18

London had some appointments today and on the way home we stopped for lunch at one of my favorite burger joints. I was in no mood to get London out of the car to go inside. In fact, I usually eat while I drive because I'm constantly in a state of hurry.

But not today. I at least parked the car, let K climb up front, and we finished our lunch while laughing and talking. I didn't once utter the words, "hurry up" to him. It was just nice.

He asked me so many questions and sang a song from Mary Poppins to us. He asked my if I'd teach him everything I know. He pretended to be The French Fry Monster. His mouth and cheeks were covered in ketchup. He asked if he could be a doctor when he grows up. He asked if he could be a teacher when he grows up. He asked if he could marry me. He informed me of how he gets out of his nightmares. (he opens his eyes and sees his room so then he's out)

He wanted me to tell him all about trucks. I tried my best. I think he might even understand that there's a difference between a truck bed and a bed that we sleep in. He told me he would really love a truck to haul rocks. He didn't know where he'd take the rocks, but he was pretty sure there would be rocks in his truck.

I needed his running commentary today. I need more talk and less rush. More meals together and less eating on the go. I needed that little bit of Happy in an empty parking lot.

Lay Off The Leggings Already!

I'm so bored with the Great Legging Debate. There are countless blog entries, Facebook posts, and Tweets about why women shouldn't wear leggings.

Yes, you're right, leggings look best worn with a long tunic or a dress. Don't our bums always look better if they are covered up??

Yes, some people aren't grasping the concept of sheer. Sheer leggings are a no-go. Sheer anything is a no-go if you ask me.

Let me just address the top three reasons I've heard lately on why leggings aren't pants...

*Leggings aren't pants because they show every little bump and dimple and roll... it's implied that that is the reason leggings don't look good. Well, way to perpetuate the notion that women should be ashamed of their bodies. It's almost 2015- can't we all admit that cellulite is just part of life, especially for women, and there's nothing to be embarrassed about? Sure, there are genetic mutations that make some women skin-dimple-free, so is it then OK for those women to wear leggings as pants because they don't look 'gross'? And here's what I totally don't get: it's women judging other women this way! Women, who know what it's like to be judged that way, are doing the judging. I agree that we should all avoid the camel-toe issues that are far too prevalent with leggings, but come on...

*Leggings are too revealing and shouldn't be worn because men will have impure thoughts. Well, that sounds like a personal problem between you and your husband and you should talk to your clergy leader about it. I will not be held responsible for your husband's damnation. What about tight maxi skirts that are so popular right now? What about the fact that the only reason so many women's cracks don't hang when they bend down is because they are wearing garments? What about fitted tops? Should we resign ourselves to wearing potato sacks just so you can think your husband has only clean thoughts? And what about putting leggings on little girls (and boys. Yes, it's real!)? Can we not do that because we don't want to put bad thoughts into the mind of pedophiles? Newsflash: those thoughts are already there and thicker pant fabric isn't going to stop them.

*Leggings are not for fat girls. Um, they totally are. I'm no waif, and I'll tell ya right now that my yoga pants get my through the week sometimes. Here's the thing, jeans aren't all the comfy, but put them on someone with extra poundage and they are SO uncomfortable! I know I don't look hot in my yoga pants. I really do. But sometimes putting my jeans on and feeling them squeeze my jooby-jell over my waistband like a fat caterpillar only makes me sad and want to drown my sorrows in a dozen cupcakes. Like, why can't I just sometimes get dressed for the day and live in the delusion that I have a pair of pants that actually fit over my ass? Can you just give me that???

I think as soon as labia-revealing short shorts are condemned every summer, we should just leave leggings alone. Stop trying to put women down for this trend... it makes us all look worse than if we wore leggings every day.

Here's a post I stumbled upon earlier that had me cracking up... Everyone chill about the leggings, m'kay?

My Open Letter: The Occupied Space

I am not one for open letters to so-and-so. I think it's something we've taken too far, along with fancy pizza crusts and gigantic hair bows for our babies. I don't need cheese-stuffed, bacon-topped, pretzel crust, nor do I need to read the open letters of every Tom, Dick, and Harry about the various injustices they come across on a daily basis. 

But alas, here I am, with an injustice having been witnessed and the need to just say something about it.

To the woman in the handicap parking spot at Roy City Recreation Center, 

I pulled in next to you, in a rush to get my son in to his swimming lesson to which he was already late. It had already been a long day at the hospital for two separate appointments for my daughter. I had considered skipping out on my son's swimming lessons tonight due to sheer exhaustion, but it was the last lesson and he loves it so much.

I took the last available handicap parking spot, as I had my disabled daughter and her wheelchair in tow. Normally I try to park in regular spots and leave the handicap-accessible spots open for people who are in more need of them than I am. But tonight, for some reason, I took advantage of my right to a handicap parking pass and slipped right in next to you.

I noticed a glow coming from the interior of your SUV and wondered, in the back of my head somewhere, if your interior lights had been left on and your battery was being drained. We were late, it was cold, I had an anxious little 5-year old that needed to get in to his swim lesson and a severely disabled 7-year old attached to a feeding pump. I had a lot happening. But still, my thoughts drifted to making sure some poor sap inside the building didn't come out to a dead battery. I made a mental note to let the front desk know someone left their lights on and maybe they could make an announcement and you would be grateful that someone took the time to notice and all would be right in the world.

But then I noticed you sitting in your vehicle. You were what I'd call an older woman. You looked warm and comfortable and it was then that I noticed your engine was running and what I had originally thought to be the interior lights of your vehicle, was actually just the glow radiating from a digital reading device. Sitting in the driver's seat, you were enjoying some sort of publication on your Nook. Or maybe it was a Kindle. I didn't think much of you.

I try not to ever judge a person that uses the handicap parking spots. I understand that there are so many conditions that are unseen that would make walking long distances very difficult and therefore entitle a person to the coveted handicap parking pass. For all I knew, you had a muscular disorder and tired easily when walking from your car to the door of the rec center. For all I could see, you were an amputee who struggled to even stand up, let alone cross an entire parking lot. You left my mind.

When the swimming lesson was over we headed back out into the cold night. I noticed, as your parking space was a straight shot from the door of the rec center, that you were still there, car running, enjoying what I imagined to be a terribly written harlequin novel on your e-reader.

I walked past your window and muttered to myself, "she's been sitting here in the handicap parking space this whole time?" I was kind of miffed. But, I reminded myself that I don't know everyone's situation.

Maybe you were just the driver, and you were waiting for someone to come out of the building. Maybe you were early for your water aerobics class and you were just killing time with Fifty Shades of Grey. I tried not to judge you. God knows I don't want to be judged when I use the space because my daughter is disabled but I walk perfectly fine.

As I was loading my kids into the car, I noticed you turn your headlights on and put down your sexy time story. I thought you'd be heading into the building for aerobics class or getting out to help some disabled or elderly person into your passenger seat. But you didn't do either of those things.

After I got settled behind the wheel of my own SUV, with my kids buckled safely in the back and the wheelchair strapped securely onto the cargo hitch, I took a minute to check my phone. And I noticed you back out of your parking stall and drive away. Alone.

You were alone in the car when I pulled up, and you left alone. I had given you the benefit of the doubt. I tried. But I just couldn't figure out why you would have been sitting there that whole time, 30 minutes, using up a handicap parking space for nothing other than reading.

Are you disabled? If so, why didn't you ever get out of the car? Were you just there to have a quiet place to catch up on Christian and Anastasia? If so, why did you need the prime parking real estate at a local recreation center to do it?

Were you just the chauffeur? If that was the case, why didn't you drop your rider off and park somewhere other than that very first parking stall? You could have circled the parking lot. You could have left that spot open for someone else.Furthermore, why did you leave without them? Did you decide it's just too much hassle and head to the airport for a one-way ticket to warmer climates and drinks with umbrellas in them? Don't worry, I bet all caretakers have entertained that fantasy. Was the person you were waiting for going to be pumping iron for an extended period of time and you didn't really need to wait in the parking lot at all? Then why sit there for thirty minutes?

Like I said, I try not to judge but I just can't understand this. I've tried.

I know this isn't a big issue for some. Who cares, right? It was just half an hour in one measly parking stall.
Well, just about every person who has every had an actual need for those spaces cares. Those are the people you affect with your ignorance. I hope you had a sincere reason for what I witnessed. I hope I'm wrong about you. I hope next time you go somewhere, you'll park appropriately. I also hope you weren't reading that terrible trilogy.

The Frustrated, Feeling Overwhelmed, Emotionally Drained, Assumes Everyone Is Honest mom who parked next to you for those thirty minutes that you were catching up on your reading 

I know I'm not perfect, and I shouldn't judge others, but this makes me crazy. It's like when a single, able-bodied person uses the handicap bathroom stall just because they like to stretch their legs while they pee. Well, guess what. I'm the mom who has two kids, one wheelchair, and a tiny bladder that is forced to wait for you to vacate the stall in order to use the restroom. 

Let's all just be aware that there are actually other people in the world, shall we? 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Day 365 of 30: Day 17

I got the opportunity to volunteer my time to K's preschool. It was very simple, just making some pillowcases that they needed made, but it was nice to be able to help out. I wouldn't exactly say I'm down with volunteering at the class field trips or patient enough to help the kids with their finger paintings, but I can sew. It was good to feel like I could help out without wanting to throat punch someone else's child. Harsh? Ok, so maybe I wouldn't throat punch them...

Give of yourself when you can, in whatever way you're comfortable. It doesn't have to be a big, dramatic gesture. It can be as simple as 9 pillowcases. Just do some volunteering, it'll make you feel good.

365 of 30: Day 16 My Little Guppie

I watched K at swim lessons today.

He amazes me. Not only because I'm a little partial to him, but because it's truly amazing to watch him learning and trying new things. It's amazing to watch any child learn.

Maybe it's because I have a greater appreciation for things like this since London isn't able to do all these things... But think about it. Think about how much a child learns in the first year of their life. The first five years. And every year after that they are exposed to one thing after another that they can learn from.

So something as simple as watching K at his swim lessons brings me so much joy! Knowing that he's cognitively able to understand instructions and make the effort... it's so simple, but so phenomenal!

When he was just a baby, I cried a little when he learned how to transfer a toy from one hand to the other. His development surpassed London's at such a young age. My heart both broke and swelled with pride all at once.

Don't ever take for granted the fact that your child can learn and develop. It's amazing. Try to take the time to answer their questions or show them how to do things.

365 of 30: Day 15

I'm treating myself to whiter teeth.

I've always hated my teeth. So I decided to save up the money for some whitening trays from my dentist's office and I finally got the process started.

I'm not trying to be vain, but sometimes doing something to make you like your appearances a little more is just fine.

I'm not a huge fan of plastic surgery or cosmetic procedures- but seriously, dental work just doesn't count in my book. Your smile is a huge part of your overall appearance, so take care of it and if you're able to, do what you need to make yourself love your teeth! :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

365 of 30: Day 14

Happy is going out to lunch with your best friend. And that's exactly what happened on Day 14.

Mexican food, inside jokes, and honest talk.

Get yourself some! It's sure to keep your spirits up!

I don't necessarily have a ton of close friends that I go out with. But I the very best friends in the world. It's about quality, not quantity. It's about surrounding yourself with people who love you for who you actually are, on good days and bad days. Friends who can confide in you and who you can trust with all your own feelings. You don't always have to agree, or have the same interests- in fact, in so many ways, this particular friend and I have complete opposite tastes- but she's been by my side for the past 17 years and I can always count on her for a laugh or a shoulder to cry on.

Things get so crazy after high school graduation and marriage and kids and careers. Don't forget to take time out of all that chaos to slow down and catch up with friends once in a while. 

365 of 30: Day 13 Stinky Dog

So our Dane was a hot mess. She needed a bath in a serious way and she has been shedding like ca-ra-zy! So gross...

So Day 13 was tackling the job of dog-washer.

Well, she's a Great Dane. She's stubborn. She's old. Getting her into the back of the SUV is always a challenge and also something that I always worry will break her hip or, so taking her to the groomer was out of the question. It's far too cold outside for using the hose so an outdoor bath was not an option.

That meant it was me, the dog, and the bathtub. Or more accurately, the shower. For nearly an hour.
You'd have thought I shaved a sasquatch with the amount of hair everywhere in our tiny bathroom.

But she smells better. For a while. It was a small success, but a success nonetheless.

Sometimes we just need one little good thing to call it a good day. If your dog stinks, wash her.
Maybe it won't make your whole day better, but at least you can have a bad day with a clean dog.

The rest of our day was spent Christmas shopping. My kids were so good the whole time we were out and we got a lot crossed off our gift list. I talked to K about love being the true meaning of Christmas. We enjoyed looking at the Christmas displays at the stores and K had a fun time picking out clothes for one of his cousins. (Um, we need a baby ASAP! The boy loves finding the cutest outfits for babies!)

We didn't rush, I stifled my road rage, we listened to Christmas music, and we ate lunch at the Olive Garden. It was a good day, indeed!

365 of 30: Day 12

My kids were being so sweet and cuddling and watching movies together so I took some time to really deep clean the downstairs bathroom and get some laundry done. So mundane but so nice to accomplish!

My goal is to have the whole house nice and clean before the husband gets home from working over seas in about a week... it's a lofty goal, I won't lie.

The rest of the day was spent working on a Christmas project.

Nothing terribly spectacular happened. But Happy doesn't come only from grand events. Happy can be a clean bathroom and cuddles with the kids and watching the new How To Train Your Dragon movie.

365 of 30: Day 11

I have a brand new niece!!

What could bring more happiness than a new life?? I say nothing!
This little gem made me auntie for the 11th time and we are all so glad to have her here in our family! She's warm and squishy and perfect! She is getting the royal treatment in the NICU for a while due to a platelet issue, so I haven't had the chance to hold her yet, but she's in for so many kisses when she busts out of there!!

Babies bring Happy. End of story.

365 of 30: Day 10

Sometimes it's nice to just let the kids skip school and go do something fun! That's what we did for Day 10.

I had nothing on my agenda. No prior commitments, no appointments, no urgent errands to be ran, no reason to rush through the day... So I wasn't worried about how long we stayed; the day was all about just letting K run crazy, getting L out of the house, and having fun!

The museum was pretty cool and K was so care-free; something that he doesn't often seem to be. He's always very worried about London and concerned about her seizures or whether or not she's happy. All too often I think he's just too adult for his young age.

Letting him just be a kid, around other kids, was just what we needed!

There wasn't a lot that the museum had to offer for London, but she seemed content to be there. We did find a few things that she really liked, and got an idea for a fun art project for her room.

London loved to FEEL the music that K played for her!

I know a lot of people would think I'm totally irresponsible for doing this, but I'd recommend it in a heartbeat! What better way to surprise your kids?? The world is full of pressure, even for young kids, so go ahead and skip a day of chores and errands and class and just go do something fun!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

365 of 30: Day 9 Gaining Perspective

Today wasn't so much about going out and doing something to spread happiness, or help others, or even accomplish anything... it was more about remembering that I don't have anything to prove to everyone around me.

Stop trying to gain everyone's approval because it just isn't possible.

Try to just accept yourself without comparison. Stop wanting to be what you perceive those around you to be. Social media is killing our self-esteem. It's all about perspective- people post the things that make them look good. They share with their 'followers' the things that make them enviable to others. They are looking for compliments and they crave 'likes'. I can't even begin to count the number of times I look at people's pictures and read comments like, "can I be you?" or "I wish I looked like you". I hate it. To my way of thinking, it's not a compliment, but rather a sad way of letting the world know that you haven't accepted yourself and would rather idealize someone that you THINK is perfect because of their hair/makeup/house/job/body/etc. It's one thing to tell someone they look great or have a beautiful home, but another thing all together to sit back and compare what you don't have to what they do have.

Don't get me wrong, I do this very thing way too often... But I look at it like this: Would I want my kids to constantly compare themselves to others? No, of course not. So the best way to avoid that is to be an example to them. I want my kids to be able to give sincere compliments to others, but not because they envy them. I want my kids to be happy in their life, not pining away to live the life of someone else. There's one person in particular that I love to hate and hate to love. She appears to have a perfect life with nothing but rainbows and sunshine and flawless lipstick. I remind myself every time I see things posted from her that those are only her highlights. I don't need to envy her because of her outward appearances. I'm not her and I never will be. In fact, I realized recently, that her life is probably SO freakin' exhausting! To live in a way that you're just camera-ready at all times has got to be tiring! So, I figure, either she's walking around like a zombie from constantly having to check her makeup and hair and plaster on that fake smile, or, more likely, she simply puts out the persona in order to look good and get those compliments. So I take everything she posts with a grain of salt. She's not perfect, even though her Instagram account would try to say otherwise. She has her off days, too, even though people aren't assaulted with images of it. It really is all about perspective.

Accept yourself and your life. Do what you can to improve yourself where you want to, but stop trying to be who you are not. Easier said than done, I know. But worth it. Imagine not feeling guilty that you can't afford to take your kids and grandkids on an all-expense vacation to exotic lands or not feeling ugly every time you look at the selfies that girl from high school posts on Instagram??

Monday, November 10, 2014

365 of 30: Day 8

Today was a day that my son and I just clashed. It was an off day for us.

So sometimes just going to bed early is Happy enough.

365 of 30: Days 7: Salted Chocolate

I'm the person who just does everything herself because nobody else does it right.

 I hate when people filled with such good intentions mess up the way I strap London's wheelchair onto the cargo hitch or forget to tighten the lids of her medicine and it leaks out in her medicine bag. I can't stand the way my husband hangs up his coats because they never face the right way and they're never zipped up (see Day 5 of my 365 of 30 posts!) My blood pressure soars when the contents of fridge aren't put back where they go. I'm boderline hysterical if my towels aren't folded the right way because then they don't fit on the shelf in the bathroom. I'm not that mom who invites her children to make cookies with her because I am NOT patient, I hate the mess, and I just want to get the damn things bakes already!

So I knew I had to do it. I had to just bake some freakin' cookies with K. No matter the mess, no matter how they turned out, no matter how long it took. I do, after all, so desperately WANT memories like this! I just have to get out of my head and not get irritated over such trivial stuff.

When I told Kannon it was time to start making the cookie dough, he looked at me as though I'd hung the moon. My heart melted and it I truly realized how much I am missing out on because I have that if-you-want-something-done-right-you-have-to-do-it-yourself mindset. I need to realize that the mess and some minor inconveniences are well worth the bonding and memories that come along with some made-from-scratch Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies. (Salted chocolate- it's the new thing. Just accidentally add three times the specified amount of salt to your cookie recipe and you can experience this delightful new delicacy, too)

So we made cookies...

For the love of all that is holy, I even let him *gulp*... STIR!
I didn't get mad at him for this.
Instead of just getting frustrated that he was plopping balls of cookie dough in any old random place (at one point even trying to spell his name out), I talked to him about why they need to be spaced out...

Then I let him plop them down in any old spot anyway, because, I reminded myself, it's just a batch of cookies. Nothing more.

Hello, Salted Chocolate Chip cookies...

Getting over my insanely selective OCD will probably forever be something I'm working on... But I think the important thing is recognizing it in myself and trying to improve.

Self-improvement is vital to continued happiness (in my humble opinion)... Once we stop trying to improve ourselves, are we then so arrogant as to think we're perfect?

Kinda, yeah.

There's always room to improve.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

365 of 30: Day 6 Happy Blasting!

I thought I'd be writing about how keeping my cool all day with my two grumpy kids was my Happy for today (it was seriously one of those days!)...

Instead, I'll say this:
On the way home from dropping my kids off at my parent's house for the night, I had a Tootsiepop and blasted Taylor Swift in the car all the way home.

You can laugh if you want, but I love her. Her music has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. It makes me happy!

This might seem silly to some, but I hardly ever really blast music in the car. Or the house. I mean, what if blasting my Taylor Swift made it impossible for me to hear the sirens of an ambulance on an emergency call? What if I wasn't able to hear that my engine was disintegrating and was about to blow up the entire car with me in it?? What if my music is so loud in the house that I don't hear the SWAT team banging on the door because they've got the wrong address and they break in with guns blazing?? What if, heaven forbid, someone looked at me funny????

This is how I think. Always. What if, what if, what if...
I mean, seriously? SWAT? Why does my brain even go there??

I think Taylor and I have something in common...

Well tonight I just wanted her Happy. So I blasted it and sang into my Tootsiepop and didn't give a hoot about feeling foolish in front of myself.

So whatever music you like, just like it. Play it. Blast it. Sing along. Don't worry about not hearing SWAT at your door and don't think twice about who might laugh at your taste in music.

Just keep your eye open for those fire trucks and ambulances.

Friday, November 07, 2014

365 of 30: Day 5 Clean your closet!

I've found that when I'm feeling like I just can't relax in my own house, or that I'm just feeling crummy about life, it always helps to get something clean. It's nice to have things neat and orderly and clean, isn't it?? So why is it sometimes so hard to just get it done? I don't know... maybe because it's never-ending, especially if you've got kids. Life gets crazy and chaotic, but coming home to even more chaos just doesn't help.

I really wish I could say I was one of those super moms who always has clean windows, a tidy kitchen, dinner on the table at 6pm, and a magazine-ready, orderly, clean house. But I'm so NOT that person.

And after a while, the chaos always starts to get to me. I can't find things, there are no clean dishes, the kids are down to thread-bare socks that are a size too small, and there's clutter on every surface throughout the whole house. And when it gets that bad, it's just so overwhelming and I don't know where to start to get things back to livable conditions.

So as I was standing in the midst of what can only be described as a natural disaster confined to the rooms of my house, I knew I just had to start with one thing. Just one thing to get the ball rolling.

So that thing was my closet. I'm terribly particular about how my clothes are taken care of. Things need to be washed appropriately. I can't handle things hung up in what I consider to be the wrong manner. I don't like shoulder bumps on my shirts. My closet desperately needed some attention because I've been living in yoga pants and concert t-shirts for the past 3 months. Shoulder bumps were rampant. Hangers were askew. It was the worst kind of anxiety.

After taking care to rehang everything properly, I went ahead and got rid of some things that didn't fit anymore or that I just don't wear enough. I'll take those to the women's shelter.

There's something satisfying about taking good care of your possessions.

Whether you're like me and you need your shirts to be hanging the same direction, with shoulder seams lines up perfectly on your matching black velvet covered hangers, in order of sleeve length, or if you just like to have your silverware perfectly polished at all times, that satisfaction of keeping nice things nice is undeniable.

We live in a disposable world. I think taking proper care of stuff is no longer a priority for people because when something breaks or wears out, they just go out and buy more and more. I hate that.

Take care of your stuff. Clean up and keep things tidy as much as you can. I know it's hard and sometimes the task is intimidating. I know that it's often times that last thing on our to-do list. I know we're not all Martha Stuarts. I know it's not the more important thing for a mom- our kids come first, always.

Maybe you're feeling less than motivated. Maybe you're just super sad one day. I say, clean something.

What's the worst that can happen? You could be sad with a clean closet or you can be sad with a messy closet. Might as well rid your life of shoulder bumps for the time being and see if it helps.

If you need ideas to get you going, here are a few things I did to keep things nice...
Put lengths of pool noodle into your boots to keep them upright and avoid creases and wear.

I found these baskets at Ikea. They hang on the bottom of a shelf, and they are perfect for flipflops and flats!

Got this on Pinterest... Fold your sweaters in half the hotdog way, and drape them onto your hangers. Buh-bye, shoulder bumps!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

365 of 30: Day 4

I'm a firm believer that there's so much happiness to be had by just giving to others. Whether it's donating money to a worthy cause, donating items to your local homeless shelter, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or just helping a neighbor with their yard work; by putting that goodness out into the world, it's impossible to to get some of it back. There are far too many ways to help out to have any excuse not to.

It doesn't have to cost a lot, or anything at all, but you never know how many people you could be helping. Not to mention the fact (can I call it a fact?) that when a person sees someone helping or giving to others, it could warm their frigid heart and they might be inspired to pass along some happiness too.

Good inspires good. 

And we just need more good in this world. 

In London's backpack the other day there was a letter about making emergency kits for the students. It basically asked for us to make one for our student and that they need donations for kits for students whose parents can't afford to make one.

The kits are really pretty simple- some water, juice, canned meat, crackers, granola bars, canned fruit, etc...

I wanted to help out as much as I could, so K and I ventured out to our local big box store for supplies. I already had a few things we needed at home, like gallon-size Ziploc bags and about a billion pieces of Halloween candy that I was all too willing to throw into the kits.

I tried teaching Kannon a little bit about what these kits were for but the concept of emergency situations or natural disasters is kind of a tough subject for a 5-year-old apparently. But he got the gist of it and wanted to help. So I set up the back of my car like an assembly line and he helped me put the kits together.

 Our kits are missing canned fruit, but we've got a really good start! It was fun to do this project with K and to know that we're doing something that London's school needs. 
We made kits until we ran out of supplies, and we ended up with 40! I'd say that's definitely something to be happy about! We can't wait to finish them up and take them to the school! 

While we were at the store, K saw some fresh cut flowers that he just "really really wanted so much" to buy for me. He said that he loved me so much and that he wanted to give me those flowers so I'll feel happy... Well, how could I say no to that?? So he picked out the ones he wanted to give me, I bought them, and he presented them to me. My heart was kind of melting.

There was a lot of Happy in our day today. Lots to be thankful for!

365 of 30: Day 3

Day 3 was a lazy day for sure! London wasn't feeling that great after a long night so I kept her home from school and we went out to buy a new movie while K was in school. We ended up with two new movies, but whatever. I've mentioned before that we're movie people, so it's not unusual for us.

After getting Maleficent for London (and I!) and getting Hercules for K (and I! Hey, Dwayne Johnson is total eye candy...) we spent the afternoon and evening snuggled up on my bed watching movies and eating pizza.

I didn't worry about the laundry, my sewing projects, or cleaning the pig sty that is my home lately. I enjoyed Kannon's questions about the movies. He's getting to this stage where he's really understanding people's emotions and the story lines of movies, so it was interesting to hear his commentary. I enjoyed cuddling with the kids and just watching the movies all the way through with no interruptions.

Sometimes when I'm so wrapped up in my projects I forget that my kids are still growing and learning and carrying on with their little lives while I'm too busy to be present for it. It's so easy to think, "I'll give them my undivided attention tomorrow"... but you're missing out on those small moments that make the every day magical. Like K talking about how Maleficent just felt like nobody loved her anymore, or how London seemed so focused and attentive on the movies. I don't want to miss out on these things so much anymore.

I want to soak those moments up like an Oreo in a glass of milk.

Pizza and movies. Sometimes that's all it takes.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

365 of 30: Day 2

Yesterday was day 2 of what I'm calling my Happiness Project...
It was a simple day. My Happy for the day was something that I too often don't do because I always have projects going on and I'm just plain lazy...

Kannon and I went to the park. We took the dog with us and just got out for a while. We live right across the street from the park but we don't go there nearly as often as we should. We typically stay home watching movies and I usually sew or read or just try to catch up with house work that will never truly be complete no matter how hard I try because, as any mom knows, it's just a never-ending cycle. So why do I worry about it so much? (And let me tell ya, if you just dropped in for a chat some time and saw my house, you'd think I never worried about at all. Toys, clothes, books, papers, unfinished projects... they're everywhere!)

Well, I decided to just get out of my head for a while and let Kannon just go have some fun. We weren't there for very long, but after playing on the playground and walking around the soccer fields, he was grinning from ear to ear and I knew that the fresh air and getting out of the house was the perfect Happy for that day.

It really goes to show you that you don't always have to spend money to achieve a little happiness each day.

All I had to do was stop trying to do all these little projects I have going on and go and let Kannon just be a kid. It's something that I need to do more consistently, not only for my kids but for myself as well.

Fresh air. Get you some.

Total spent on Happy: $0
Running total: About $24

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

365 of 30: My Happiness Project, Day 1

So I turned 30 on November 2nd.


Some women freak out. So far, two days into my thirtieth year, I feel fine about it all. Some women look back and count all the things they haven't accomplished by their thirties and it sends them into some level of depression that only hitting the 'big three-oh' can do... But here's my take on it: I can look back at ANY age and list all the things I wish I would have done by then. Being 30 doesn't suddenly make me sad about missed opportunities that I wasn't sad about when I was 29. Or even 29 and a half.

I try not to regret things in my life, but rather move forward with a greater sense of what I'd like to achieve and how I want to raise my kids. I'd like to think that I've learned even from the things I DIDN'T do in my younger years.

I guess I just think there's enough to be sad about in this life; turning 30 just shouldn't make that list.

BUT, turning 30 did get me thinking. Thinking about the 'good ol' days' when my biggest worry was how to do my hair for school each morning and whether or not that cute boy in my history class liked me. Thinking about learning how to drive, becoming an aunt for the first time, going rollerblading with my best friend every weekend. Things were very simple when I was half my age, and I suppose I'll still be able to say that when I'm 40 and 50 and so on.

Things get complicated as you grow up. Shit gets real.

When I was young, I was just perpetually depressed. I was so down on myself. I NEVER stopped comparing myself to girls who were skinnier, prettier, or more popular. I used to cut myself just to feel some sort of release. I was a little self-destructive but too scared of being in trouble to really get into anything too terrible. But I easily could have been swept away in a bad crowd and ended up God-knows-where doing God-knows-what. For whatever reason, I straightened myself out and came out of my teenage years intact.

And I look back at my so-called 'problems' from back then and just shake my head at my former self.

After getting London's diagnosis, I learned a few things about real heartbreak and real self-doubt. I realized that the sadness I went through as a teen had more to do with me being a selfish, naive teen than it did with actually having something to be sad about. It was just regular teenage stuff. And I think I could have easily turned London's diagnosis around and made it about me and how hard I had it in life but I try very hard not to do that. Well, actually no, I don't try very hard not to do that; I just don't feel that way so there's very little trying involved.

My life doesn't suck. We all have our struggles, and there truly is always someone who has it worse than you. If we all lined up according to how bad we have it, and we got the very end of the line, to the person with the most difficulties, we'd probably discover that even THAT person could look at someone else's problems and honestly think "I'm glad I don't have to deal with that...". We don't all react to stress the same way, so one person's minor setback could be another person's greatest obstacle.

At 30 years old, I feel like I'm pretty happy. But happiness is sometimes something you have to work for. In fact, I think work plays a bag part. I've learned a lot of things, and continue to learn, about staying happy in a world where it's all too easy to drown in your sorrows.

I don't hold all of life's secrets, but I have been asked before how I don't let something like London's disabilities get me down (too much). So here's what I know:
*Giving to others really does bring joy into your life.
*Slowing down and enjoying the moment you're in NOW is difficult in this crazy busy rush-rush-rush hurry-up-and-wait world, but it's important.
*Let go of juvenile tendencies like lying. Seriously, do adults still need to lie??
*Have some freakin' integrity. Just have some.
*Stop being a different person based on whose company you're in. Just be you, all the time, everywhere.
*Try not to compare yourself to everyone else, and instead try to be better than the person you were yesterday.
*Stop pointing out every single flaw about your body. Stop making fat jokes about yourself.
*Work hard first and ask for help second.
*Accept help when it's offered.

I could go on, I'm sure, but those are just a few of the things I have tried my best to do over the past eight or ten years. I still struggle with any number of those things at any given time, but I'm trying.

That's where my 365 of 30 idea came from. Looking back over my last thirty years and realizing how far I've come makes me just want to continue that trend of self-improvement and general happiness.

So every day this year I'm going to do something to spread some happiness. It might be something to make me happy, it might be something to make one of my kids happy or the husband, or maybe it's something to brighten the day of a complete stranger. It could be something like giving a gift or it could be as simple as taking the time to play a game with Kannon instead of telling him I'm busy. Maybe it's getting my house nice and clean, maybe it's sending an old-fashioned letter to someone... There are a billion things we can do to feel good about ourselves, and we have to start somewhere. We always have something to give and we can always help in some way.

So I'll share what I did  yesterday, my first day into this...
We had already had a big birthday party to celebrate London's and Kannon's birthdays. We did it early so that we could do something outside while it was still warm. It was fun and full of kids. But yesterday, on Kannon's actual birthday, he asked for a cake. My first inclination was to tell him 'no' because it's not like we were having a party. But then I thought, why not?? It's just a cake, I had the money, and it was a simple thing. So I let him pick out a cake at the bakery, we put candles on it, and I sang to him in our basement while we watched The Three Amigos. And guess what... he was SO happy! He turned to me, with chocolate smeared all over his perfect little baby face and said, "Thanks for the birthday mom!"

Thanks for the birthday. Not "thanks for the cake", but "thanks for the birthday". I know what he meant by it, but what my emotional mommy side got out of it was, "thanks for giving me life"

All because of a cake.

Total spent on Happy: about $24