A Little Happy

Is It Really Vacation With Kids?

Lighthouse

Ah vacation. Time to relax. No work, school or responsibilities. iPhones are forgotten. The beach beckons. Hear the seagulls. Feel the warm breeze. And…here comes the hurricane. Not a literal hurricane. I’m talking about my three children.

I never appreciated a child free vacation until I couldn’t go on one anymore. There are five of us now and despite the gift of being in the beautiful South, I’m well aware of how much work a vacation with kids can be. The slathering on of sunscreen multiple times a day, the coercing them out of the pool after three hours, the junk food, the rain that traps us indoors for days, trying to keep my fearless three-year old from drowning in the undertow. You get the picture. By bedtime, I’m ready to collapse or scream.

Vacation

On the flip side, I get to spend lots of quality time with my family. We are blessed to be able to go on vacation. We are lucky to have beautiful weather today. The biggest decision of the day is beach or pool. I wake up to chocolate chip waffles and good coffee. I’m reading a really inspiring book. Life is good.

Vacation with kids? Yeah. We’ll do it again.  We are making memories. And those are worth all the work.

Yoga With Kids

The house has been full of the sounds of Namaste lately.  We’ve been doing yoga with the kids, which is pretty much like anything else with children; slow going, two steps forward and one step back, frustrations flair then enlightenment.  Well, almost.

At the end of each session of downward facing dogs and sun salutations, we fold our hands in prayer and say Namaste.  My two-year-old loves yoga. He lasts through a 20 minute session with relative ease.  He likes to be included, so he chimes in with his own version; Mamaste.  We all smile.  Enlightenment for sure.

Finally A Job We Are ALL Qualified To Do

Photo: Juanedc

Photo: Juanedc

Have you ever found yourself upset because other people weren’t making you happy? All too often we rely on others for our own happiness. I’m guilty of this. I look to my spouse, my kids, my friends, my parents, even my neighbors to provide happiness, when I should really be looking in the mirror.

Don’t count on other people to make you a bright happy ray of sunshine every day. Instead adjust your own attitude, your own outlook and find your own peaceful, content place. Happiness is not the job of others. Happiness is an inside job.

Now get to work!

Faith in Humanity Restored

On Sunday I was patiently sitting in Starbuck’s wildly long drive thru line, smiling as the kids sang along to some unknown song.  I wanted coffee.  And it had to be Starbucks.  I know paying almost $5.00 for a cup of coffee that consists of mostly sugar and whipped cream is insane, but there I sat.  Happy.  Excited even.

I pulled up to pay when the cashier informed me the woman in front of me paid for my order.  Isn’t that nice? she asked.  I was so surprised!  I’ve heard of this type of thing happening, read about it in magazines, but never has it happened to me.  In keeping with the spirit of passing on the good vibes, I paid for the woman behind me.  As I pulled away, sipping my pumpkin spice latte, a wave of joy washed over me.  It felt good to know there are still kindhearted, generous people in the world, doing good just because.

I wonder if someone paid for her order.  I wonder how long the kindness lasted.  Did people continue to pay for one another all day?  It’s a nice thought, all that good will swirling around a little coffee shop.  I wonder if that woman in her unassuming gray car with the pink sweater and wrist brace knew how fantastic she made my day.  I’m still floating.

My Happy Place

Last night, cuddling in bed with my daughter, talking about our favorite places;

libraries and bookstores.

It’s always so peaceful and quiet there, she remarked.

I love how books smell, I added.

New books smell amazing! Old books smell even better, she whispered.

My mother/writer’s heart soared. A girl after my own heart.

These Make My Day

Nothing made me happier as a child than seeing a box of Count Chocula cereal in our kitchen cabinet. They were so good I’d inhale the box, barely chewing, shredding the roof of my mouth in the process, but I didn’t care. They were chocolate and they were for breakfast. Win, win.

Now they only make an appearance around Halloween. When I see them stacked high at the grocery store my heart still skips a beat. A relic from my childhood, here to be enjoyed again and passed down to the next eager generation. I’m not a huge fan of sugary cereal for breakfast, but for these I make an exception. If you love your kids, you will too.

Birthdays Are Big Around Here

birthday

We are celebrating a birthday!  I love birthdays, for the kids especially, but the one tough thing about birthdays is the emotional aspect. The kids are growing up, changing, getting older. I, too, am growing up, changing and definitely getting older. As the birthday girl’s face glowed in the light from her candles, I watched in wonder at this child, who just a few years ago could be held balanced on my forearm, nursed while I made dinner, slept in a mechanical swing that rocked her into sleepy oblivion.

As happy as I was for her, eyes sparkling, ready to delve into her stack of gifts and sprinkled birthday cake, I was mourning. Mourning who she was just yesterday, mourning the loss of the child she was, the one who couldn’t yet read or tie her shoes or stand to be away from Mommy ever.  I mourned for myself as well. I’m not going to be around for every birthday she will celebrate. Someday her father and I will be absent from the table as she looks wide-eyed in excitement at her cake and gifts. Will she be surrounded by people who love and care for her as deeply as I do now? If I could only know for sure the answer to that question would be yes.

But I keep my chin up, comfort myself with the fact that I’m here NOW. She will never be this girl again, tomorrow she will be a different girl from today, next week she will be growing and stretching her mind in new ways and I will struggle to keep up. In the pain of letting her go I am forced to confront my own mortality, but let go I must. It’s our job to watch them stand up in the nest, we encourage them to look around and explore, support their attempts at flying, patiently awaiting their return.

As my birthday girl closes her eyes, makes a wish and blows out her candles, I too make a silent wish in my own heart. I wish for her a happy, healthy, joy filled life, strengthened by faith and when I’m no longer around to sing Happy Birthday with tears in my eyes, I pray she has a room filled with her best friends and family who will do it for me.

Some Happy For Your Mommy Brain

These days are hard. School is wrapping up, we are being pulled a million different directions, we never seem to slow down. We just can’t, there’s simply too much to do. I’m asking you to take five minutes for yourself today. Write down five affirmations that inspire you and ignite your spirit, bring you peace and put a smile on your face. Print them out and hang them somewhere you will see them everyday. Repeat your list until you believe it.

I feel more positive and ready to face the day when I give myself this little pep talk, as hokey as it may seem, it works. I listed the first five things that came to mind. I chose the opposite of all the things I usually berate myself for, e.g. I’m old, everyone else has better luck than me, my body isn’t bouncing back like it used to.

Positive Affirmations

~ I am young

~ I am healthy

~ I am strong

~ I am beautiful

~ I am blessed

Use my list or make your own, but give it a try. You just might surprise yourself!

This Is Really Short and Sweet

This is what a post looks like when I have nothing to write about. Really, I’ve got nothing. Do three sentences count as a post? Okay, good. This makes five beautifully short, simple sentences. And just so this hasn’t been a total waste of your time, here’s something sweet to enjoy. (Seven sentences now. I’m on a roll!)