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Category Archives: Happiness Project

30 to 40

30 to 40

Thirty days until I turn 40, how crazy is that? 40 always seemed so old. But I don’t feel old. I mean other than the abundance of grey hairs that have recently taken up residence on my head. But nothing a little trip to the hairdresser can’t fix.

I remember talking with my girlfriends about turning 40. It always seemed so far away. We would chat about taking a big trip celebrate us all turning 40. Yet as it approaches I’m looking forward to a quiet party at home with my nearest and dearest. And I’m wondering if I’ll be able to stay awake until midnight. Lol. Oh, how times have changed.

It seems not long ago I was turning 30. It was such a crazy and exciting time. 10 years ago, I was telling my loved ones that my boyfriend, of less than a year, had been offered a job and we were moving to a new city.  I left everything I knew: family, friends and a career I loved; all for the unknown. I had no idea what my 30s would bring but I knew it would be an adventure. Everything in my 30s was new a new beginning: marriage, friends, 2 kids, 3 houses, 4 cars, 2 new cities, countless road trips and several career changes.

Now as I leave my 30s and enter my 40s I feel more settled into my life. I’m still excited about what the future holds but also happy to be living a quieter and more predictable life.  I’m looking forward to not moving and instead exploring more of this beautiful west coast. To watching kids my grow up and into the people they are meant to be. To finding more “me” time to write and get out with friends. To figuring out (in a couple of years) how I’m going to spend my days once my kids are both in school.

The one thing I learned in my 30s is that life rarely turns out how you planned. I’ve always enjoyed the journey and am looking forward to seeing the adventures life bring in my 40s.

Until I write again..

x Shay

Finding Gratitude

Finding gratitude. Being thankful. It’s a hard thing to do at times. We get consumed with all the unpleasantness surrounding us. We feel life is “unfair”, as my 7 year old would say. Or get caught up in having ourselves a little pity-party (like me when my husband travels and I’m single parenting while sick). And on and on it goes.

But what if we just stopped. Stopped the thoughts in our heads and the words that come out of our mouths. And instead just take a moment to be thankful. And maybe not just a moment. Maybe we change our focus and start to be more thankful than critical.

My moms group is currently tackling this very concept. It seemed so easy at first. I consider myself a pretty thankful person. I literally go to bed every night and thank God for all the blessings in my life. My two wonderful kids. My amazing husband, who is such a blessing and truly co-parents with me. My friends who are there for me, especially those far away that I miss so deadly. My family. Blah blah blah. You get the idea.

But what about the times when I’m not being thankful. When I’m feeling sorry for myself because I never seem to get a night out because plans keep getting canceled. The days I literally do not talk to another adult and feel so desperately lonely. Or times when life just really sucks. When tragedy hits us when we are least expecting it. Where is my gratitude in those moments.

It’s a challenging task to be truly grateful. Especially when you are an organized person who hates when plans go awry. The one thing I have learned is that sometimes when life throws you a curve ball and nothing seems to be going your way, it might just be an opportunity. An opportunity to do something new. An opportunity to change your way of thinking. An opportunity to just slow down for a moment.

I won’t pretend that I’ve completely given up my self pitying ways and that I live in a world of rainbows and unicorns. But I do try to keep in mind that while you can’t always control what happens to you, you can control how you respond. So try to find a little bit of thankfulness in each moment. I truly hope it brightens your day.

Until I write again…

x Shay

The lazy days of summer…or spring

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Technically it’s spring. But as I watch my kids in their bare feet rolling down the grassy green hill over and over again on this sunny, cloud-free, blue sky day – it sure feels like a warm memory from the summers of my childhood. Some days I feel as though every second of our day is so jam packed that my kids barely have time to just “be kids”. So I truly cherish a beautiful day like today where we have no plans and fun is left up to my kids imagination.

Until I write again…

Shay

Capturing the small moments

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There are moments each day where I wish I had a hidden camera to capture the things that my kids do or say. Because although the moments small, they bring such a big smile to my face and joy to my heart. They are the moments that make parenting worth every second of heartache, tears, frustration and fears. Here are a couple from today:

A bedtime conversation with my three year old:
Jack: Mommy I want to sleep in your bed
Me: As a special treat you can go to sleep in our bed but I’m going to move you back to your room when I go to sleep
Jack: No thank you. I’ll just stay in your bed
At least be was polite, lol

My son is being a complete goofball at snack time
Katie: Mommy, Jack is just being so funny. He’s making me laugh so much I think I’m going to cry”

My attempt to be serious and firm as I talk to my son about a poor choice he made
Me: Jack, do you think you made a good choice?
Jack: Um…YES!! hmmm…no? [insert goofy face]
Jack: haha you’re laughing Mommy!

Until I write again…

Shay

Tackling Those Nagging Tasks

Tackling Those Nagging Tasks. Are there tasks in your life that you are continually putting off. Tasks that nag at you because you know you know you should have done them ages ago? Well that’s been my goal this week. My list is long so I picked the ones that bother me the most. The idea was that I wouldn’t take on more I could chew. I would only work on each task for a short time each day – for me it was about 30 minutes. I figured I could find 30 minutes in my day and I would just keep working on each one until it was completed and then go on to the next task. My tasks included things like cleaning up my car and cleaning the spare bedroom. Both of those are areas that drive me nuts. My car is not organized and is a wasteland for papers, toys, lost mittens, and dropped and stepped on fishy crackers. My car is such a disaster that when I open the door to let out my kids, I pray no one is walking by and looking in. Completely embarrassing. So that was my task on Monday. The task was actually easier than I thought and while I tidied, my son happily drew with chalk and played in the dirt. My car is now neat, tidy and I am much much happier. Cleaning the car is one thing, but keeping it clean is the key to my happiness. My new goal is to clean up the car after I get home each day. The crazy thing is that it probably takes 2 minutes tops to grab whatever items the kids or I have left in the car and take a quick handheld vacuum to clean up any messes. Voila. My car has been kept clean, I am no longer embarrassed when the van door opens and my happiness level has gotten a boost! Goal accomplished. I suggest everyone do this. Start small. But tackle the items that are bugging you the most. Make a plan. Keep it manageable and then just do it! A weight will be lifted off your shoulders and I bet it will take less time than you think.

Until I write again…

Shay

A Little Less Worry

A Little Less Worry. Today I thought I would share something that I struggle with – worry. I worry a lot. I worry often. I worry too much.  Here is a bit of what Wikipedia has to say about worry.  “Worry is thoughts, images and emotions of a negative nature in which mental attempts are made to avoid anticipated potential threats…Worry refers to negative self-talk that often distracts the mind from focusing on solutions to the problem at hand.”

My husband doesn’t do this. He is very optimistic. We were recently at the doctor’s office getting some blood test results back for my son.  The doctor indicated because my son’s test results had not improved in the last month, as he thought they should have, he was going to send us to a pediatrician.  My husband left our visit thinking that there is probably nothing to wrong with our son and that we shouldn’t worry until we hear what the pediatrician has to say.  I left that same visit thinking there must be something seriously wrong with my son and then panicking as I knew it could be months before I’d have answer –  meaning months of worry on my part.  I spent the whole evening stressing about a the possibility that my son may have some serious illness. Whereas my husband simply said “if it was anything serious he would have sent to the hospital. He probably just has another virus”.  Glass half full/glass half empty. That’s us. The truth of the matter is we’re not going to know anything until we go see the pediatrician. No amount of worrying is going to change that.

I fully recognize that spending all this energy worrying is self destructive. Nothing positive can come out worrying about what might happen. So why do I do it? Why do I waste much energy worrying about what hasn’t happened instead of living in the present and dealing with what is happening right now? My husband asks me this all the time. My response is always the same “because I’m so good at it”.

So my challenge this week is to not worry so much. To try and focus my energy on more positive thoughts and live more in the moment. I read this quote on Pinterest that really stuck with me – “if you are depressed you are living in the past, if you are anxious you are living in the future, if you are at peace you are living in the moment” Lao Tzu

A Bit of Gratitude. In keeping with the theme of worry, I am grateful that I have someone like my husband in my life who isn’t like me, who does see the glass half full. I’m glad that he can show me another way to look at a situation and remind me to keep calm.

The Polka Dot Peanut.  On a lighter note, I thought I would close this post by sharing a quick story about my son.  I always get a good laugh by the stuff that comes out of my son’s mouth. He didn’t really start talking till a few months ago and now he talks non-stop. He comments on everything he sees and often loudly. My husband always says that Jack has two volumes “loud” and “louder”.  Yesterday, as Jack and I were walking we spotted a dog. My son is obsessed with dogs, especially since we’ve told him he is allergic therefore can’t pet them. He spots them from miles away and will shout “Mommy, look a puppy! No touch puppy Mommy, I get sick”. The dog we saw yesterday was a very large, very active white and black dalmatian.  As it was jumping around with excitement my son shouted “Look Mommy, the puppy has a polka dot peanut!”  The owner just chuckled and said “yup, it’s a boy”.

I’ll Just Have to See Your I.D.

I’ll Just Have to See Your I.D. It’s funny how when you are in your early twenties and someone asks you for I.D. you are seriously insulted. “How Dare They!” you think. But when you are in your thirties you are so flattered. “Why yes, you can see my I.D., you’ve made my day!”.  I was out for lunch with my husband on our anniversary. This was a rare meal where we were not only eating lunch after 11:30am but we were also eating lunch without our two kids. I originally ordered a soft drink. My husband was surprised and asked me why I hadn’t ordered a beer? He said “you’ve put up with me for seven years, you at least deserve an alcoholic drink at lunch!” So away I ordered and it was then that I heard those sweet magical words “I’ll just have to see your I.D.” Best anniversary gift so far!

What Was I Thinking? First I grabbed the handle on my frying pan to discover it was burning hot. Then while I was running my hand under cool water I thought “I’m thirsty, maybe I’ll just shove my head under the tap and take a drink while I’m waiting for my hand to cool down”. Next thing you know I’ve got water up my nose followed by me choking and then spitting water all over my kitchen. Just one of those days…

A Thought to Ponder. I love reading something that really makes you think and sticks with you throughout the day or even throughout the years. So I thought I would post a few of my favourite quotes now and then. Here is one I read the other day “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything”.

A Load a Day Keeps Your Laundry At Bay.   For years I have struggled with laundry. For some reason getting dirty laundry from the hamper to the washer, then to the dryer, then to the closet seems like an impossible task. Here is what my laundry life used to look like: I start a load of laundry but then forget about it. So the next day I have to re-wash the clothes as they have sat in the washing machine all day.  When clothes finally make to the dryer they also tend to stay there. I may pull out an item or two but leave the rest of the clothes.  Eventually I will pull out the clothes but then leave them in a heap in a laundry basket. Over time I’ve got dirty clothes falling out of my laundry hamper and piles of clean clothes falling out of my laundry baskets. The end result being that I can no longer distinguish clean clothes from dirty clothes so I just end up re-washing everything. My bedroom floor is covered in clothes. I know some people like to spend their Saturdays doing laundry but that’s not for me. A bed full of clothes to be put away just depresses me and I’m way more likely to move them onto the floor or into a laundry basket to do “later”, than to spend the time to put them all away before bed. So what then? While on my pursuit of happiness I came across a method of keeping on top of your laundry. Do one load a day. Sounds too simple right? Well if you’ve just read what my laundry life used to look like, let me tell you what’s it’s like now. Before I make breakfast I look at what laundry bin is the fullest and I throw that load into the wash. At some point in the day I throw that load into the dryer. And some point before bed I put it away. There is rarely a day I don’t do laundry. And rarely a time that clothes are left in the washing machine or dryer.  Since I’ve started this method I can honestly say that I no longer mind doing laundry.  I mean how long does it really take to put away just ONE load of laundry – 5 minutes? No more tripping over clothes on the way to the bathroom. No more digging around the pile of clothes on the floor in search of the shirt you wanted to wear tonight and then trying to decide if it’s clean enough to put on. Give this method a try. It’s certainly made my life happier. Might just work for you too.

A Bit of Gratitude.  Today I am grateful for good friends.  The ones who check up on you to make sure you are ok. The ones who send those emails or leave messages saying “just thinking of you”. The ones who say time and time and again “if you need anything, please let me know” – because they really mean it. I’m truly blessed to have such amazing friends!

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