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How it feels to be happy

I’ve been feeling happy. It seems strange to write it, but its true. Something has aligned, and for now, it feels unusually good. Sure, there are times when I’m tired, or the kids are extra challenging, or I’m worrying about my mom and her chemo treatments, but mostly I feel good.

I’ve even been motivated to do things long on my to-do list. In the past couple weeks I’ve spray painted some kid furniture, completely emptied and re-organized my craft drawers (HUGE!), sewed a floor cushion cover, a dog bed pad, a new seat for Leo’s high chair, and transformed an old paisley duvet cover into a nice looking twin set for Chloe’s room. The kids have had more outings than usual – more parks, the library, the children’s museum, a day of flyfishing with dad… I wish life always felt like this – full of joy and well-being. Appreciating exactly what I have, getting rid of things I don’t want, feeling like I have a handle on this life of mine, instead of just letting it slip by.

The question is: why I am feeling this way? Are my vitamin D levels up? Is it the weather? The promise of spring? Enjoying some rare social occasions? The relief of finding a reliable accountant? Spending quality time with David? Just last night we went on a very rare “date night” so we could test out a new babysitter before we’ll need her for an event next month. It was really nice. We went for sushi at a nearby place we like, but don’t go often. Part of me lamented the $40 we paid in childcare alone, but I am not sorry. Once in a while its a real treat.

So, today, I am savoring everything – all these facets that make up my life. Things may not be perfect (and never will be), but I’ve been dealt a fine hand. I don’t want to forget that my kids are growing everyday, and so am I. I’ll miss this once its gone – all the innocence and trust and open caring and unscripted dialogue. It is unspeakably precious.

Let me hold it in my hand and bury it in my heart for now. When I close my eyes someday in the future, I’ll see it again, just behind my eyelids, and be glad I did.


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Sunshine + Bubbles = Happy Giggles!

When the sun shines, all the Portlanders come out to play, especially us! Yesterday it felt like the first time we’d seen the sun in weeks. Time to pull out the bubbles! Just why are they so enchanting? I’m not sure, but they are fun to blow and watch, their myriad of colors swirling – each one a miniature celebration.


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List Therapy

Last week felt pretty hard. Part of it was coming off the wonderful high of being at the beach for the three-day labor day weekend. Our vacation home was perfect – bright, clean, and kid-and-dog friendly. It was paid for by David’s work, since it was a “work party” weekend, and included social gatherings for meals and playing on the beach, including lots of kids. Thanks to friendly co-workers who briefly watched Chloe and Leo, I even got to surf for the first time in about 5 years! It was amazing to get in the water again. So many times that weekend I thought to myself “I am so happy!”

Then, we returned home. The kids got sick. Leo had trouble sleeping and there was tons of post-trip laundry/organizing/cleaning to do. So many small things – like Barkley wandering in with muddy paws right after I mopped floors – wore me down bit by bit. The worst point, though, was when I got an email saying the wonderful teacher Chloe was supposed to have for preschool was changing jobs and a new one was hired. Someone with less experience, and a man to boot. I know, it is not fair of me, but I just did not want a man as Chloe’s teacher. I looked into changing schools but the other three I’d considered had no spaces left. With no other options, we attended the meet-and-greet on Friday. It was hard for me to keep an open mind, but I think he’ll be okay. But will he be great? We’ll see. Academically, Chloe is already kindergarten-ready, so that isn’t a concern. She knows her shapes, colors, numbers and counting, the alphabet, and some phonetics. We are just beginning to learn reading skills, and when prompted she can sound out small words – up, cup, at, the, cat, hat, etc. Preschool for her is more for the social aspect – learning respect for others, better listening skills, cooperation, etc.

And that brings me to the “what would make me happy?” list. Instead of focusing on the negative, I started writing down what I felt might make me happy. Here are a few examples: from simple, to more complicated, to future planning:

• Getting a cake pop from starbucks. Yes, sometimes its the little things. A salted caramel for me, a pink birthday pop for Chloe.
• Finding a cheap, temporary storage solution for our cluttered hallway. Done! I bought a $20 dresser on craigslist. It needs some work, but the important thing is that it fits the space for now. Eventually we want to do built-ins.
• Meal planning and making freezer meals. It seems like so much of my time involves shopping for, preparing and cooking meals. There has got to be a better way. Plus, we spend A LOT on food. I want to start making double batches of recipes that I can freeze for later, and start putting my crock pot to use.
• A light tube for the hallway. This is more of a future wishlist item. Our hallway is dark, and I’d love to introduce some natural light there. Yes, there are overhead lights, but it’s not the same. David says he can do it, but he is understandably worried about putting a hole in the roof. I think my best bet is just to keep asking. 🙂

Of course there are other things – get more exercise, drink more water, carve out some “me” time, but those are perpetual list items that I never seem to do anything about. Either way, I’m feeling much better this week. I may have some projects (like a painted dresser!) to share soon. I urge you to try it, too. Good old list therapy!

 


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A bit of happiness

Covering a wall with butterflies

Do you ever search the web to find a little bit of happiness? To me, the web is kind of like a magazine, full of ideas and inspiration and eye-candy (depending on where you look). One blog that is always good for the aforementioned qualities is Color Me Katie. She’s a photographer living in Brooklyn and shares lots of happy and colorful things, from crafts, to street art, to improv. I envy her rare gift that makes the ordinary extraordinary.  Take a look at these photos and see if her feel-good work doesn’t make your day a little bit more sunny. 🙂

Putting Rubber Duckies in street puddles

Drawing a kitty face on a toe

Birds flying out of a magazine

Marshmallows with faces


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Happiness

I’ve been feeling a little bad about the last post. Some days are just harder than others, and I realize that there are a lot of people that would happily exchange their problems for mine. So today I’m just concentrating on happiness and I’m finding a lot to be happy for.

Happiness today is…

  • Chloe going back to sleep after waking up early
  • Spending that extra time snuggling with my honey
  • Watching Chloe’s happily explore during her art class
  • Driving downtown to pick up my professionally printed photo for the Living River juried art exhibit. Can you believe it?! My photo was one of 80 works (from textiles, sculpture, photography, paintings, etc) selected out of over 350 submissions. I’ve never “shown” my work like this before, which is kind of thrilling.
  • Treating myself to a mocha and bressane from the Pearl Bakery.
  • Chloe falling asleep on the way home, and then taking a second nap later in the afternoon.
  • Finding out my mother-in-law is coming for a visit!


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Umpqua Weekend


Asian pears, right before picking

This weekend David and I drove the 3 hours south to Kevin & Jerry’s farmhouse near Roseburg, where we met up with our friends and the two Austrians who were visiting them. It was a wonderful two days – swimming in the river, eating delicious meals together al fresco, enjoyable conversation, munching fresh fruit off the trees, the peace and quiet, leisurely reading and finishing a knit hat for baby. Several times I found myself pausing to marvel at how completely content I felt. It is rare for me to really be ‘in the moment,’ but there I was, basking in all the happiness I felt, hoping I’d be able to recall it later. I’d say a little prayer of thanks for such a wonderful place and wonderful people. It was a beautiful feeling, and good to be reminded how blessed I am.

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