Archive | January, 2017

The Secret to Happiness 

25 Jan

is simple.


Actually in winter that is the secret.  Yesterday our sidewalks were clear and so were the roads.  My dog and I set out on an adventure through town to refill the Little Free Library.  I rummaged through our home library, sifted out some books (trust me, we aren’t lacking in this house) and filled my bag.  If you’re lucky you get the free bookmark and note of kindness I stuffed in one.  

Then we came home and I wrote in the recliner.  And he napped on the couch.  With the fireplace on.  Because, well, because we have one.  And it makes us this cozy.  


I needed to do errands, but I chose the fireplace and my laptop. And my peace and quiet lasted longer.  It meant sacrificing a solo Target run.  

Was the Target run with the Caroline’s Cart full of a 65 pound 9 year old and her bear diving after chips, soda and Inside Out underwear worth it?  (I skipped the soda, but the others made it in the cart).  It was worth it.  Even when the five year old kicked me because she was angry she didn’t get to ride in the cart (again, sorry, but there’s maybe 3 double kid semi carts-they are always in use).  Still worth it when we did the self checkout because there was one poor cashier during shift change with 6 carts waiting ahead of us.  Still worth it when the youngest told me it was “so embarrassing” to wait for Mommy to scan our cart full of juice, Pull Ups, and the other necessities that somehow got placed in the cart.  

Definitely worth it.  

Today was a snow day, so I’m even more thankful I took that time to do only what I wanted in quiet.  As many inches of snow had my youngest asking at 7 am in her Anna voice “Do you wanna build a snowman?”  (No, coffee).

“Do you wanna build a snowman?” (No, I’m washing your sister’s bedding).

“Do you wanna build a snowman?” (No, I’m still trying to find that pair of pants you borrowed at school the other day.)

“Do you wanna build a snowman?” (Sighs.  Maybe it will be fun.) 

“Yes, let’s go build a snowman.”

So even though I hate winter.   Hate snow.  And hate cold, we went outside.  I bundled up in my warmest pants, hat and running gloves (thinking clearly I am not a winter outdoors woman), and fake Uggs because I have no idea where my real winter boots are in the house even though we’ve lived here for 3 months.

We built a snowman.  And laughed.  And searched the ground for rocks.  Discovered we only have baby carrots.  We hugged and took silly selfies.  

I didn’t want to.  But happiness is unexpected sometimes.  It’s found when you give to others.  In a book.  In the memory of building a snowman.  In the much needed and messy hot chocolate afterwards.  

But now that my toes, hands and especially my butt is cold I’m going to sit in front of the fireplace.  And look, the dog added to my happiness too;) 


I got extra kisses by the fireplace.  Happiness really is a warm butt.  And books.  And snowmen.  Especially snowmen.

Strength 

18 Jan


Love, joy, relief.  But mostly grateful.

This photo popped up in my Facebook newsfeed the other day and I smiled.  I’m sure many of you readers can smile at the simple beauty of this picture.  My kids are showing off their own beauty and that smile my youngest is giving is priceless.  You can see the protective and loving nature of my son.  

But to me, I see how healthy they look.  For that is what I am grateful for.  

This photo was taken four months after my son’s diagnosis with Type 1 Diabetes.  Here he has gained back the weight he lost, can sleep through the night again and even though he’s still in a crazy new world of injections and finger pokes he feels good.  Strong again.

His sister’s cheeks are pink.  There’s no blue in her toes or fingers, she’s round and soft and plump.  She’s got the bright red zipper scar in her chest as she had just healed from open heart surgery.  Instead of me waking her to eat, she awakes herself and cries for food.  And she has the strength again to play, eat, grow.  Her first few months weren’t quite as simple.

I smile because I remember the strength it took every single day for us to survive those months prior when our heads were in a world of terror thinking we could lose on of our children.  I can still feel my head on my husband’s shoulder as the operating team pushed my little baby girl out to surgery.  His hand in mine when we crash coursed how to give insulin injections and carb ratios.

We were all so strong then.  We still are.  We still fight diabetes daily.  I still panic a little when I see my girl catch a cold and wonder if it will be pneumonia.

But there is strength in our family.  We love.  We battle.  We play.  And I’m relieved we are where we are.  And even in the worst moments we can still smile and laugh and hug.  

The Terrible Necessity of Socks in Winter

7 Jan

The temperature is below zero.  There’s snow/ice/shice on the ground (for those of you who don’t live in an area that regularly gets snow shice means shitty ice, a hybrid of dirt and ice and rocks and whatever other garbage is hidden under the snow.  That’s only one of many words to describe snow). Unless the temperature is below zero kids bundle up like a mummy (remember the scene in A Christmas Story where he can’t put his arms down and is wrapped in scarves?  Truth.) and play outside in the tundra.  I’m not sure what they’re allowed to do anymore in order to be a safe environment.  My girls do one thing- swing.  The little does work on a snow mountain built by the older students at her 4K site.  

But unless you want your feet to look like this:


Socks are a necessity. (So is tucking your snowpants over your boots to keep snow from piling in there).  They keep your boots and shoes from smelling raunchy (sweaty feet?  Ewwww).  

My girls hate socks.  My daughter with Down Syndrome pulls them off and discards them the instant she walks in the door.  (When she was younger we had to put tights on under her pants to keep the socks from being flung in the back of our minivan).  Most socks are uncomfortable for her too, though she’s seemed to settle for athletic no-shows.  Still I find piles like this showing me where she’s been.

My youngest has become more of a challenge than her sister when it comes to socks.  For a time every single day when it came to putting socks on we went through this lovely experience.

Why?  Because her socks hurt.

We have tried pretty much every single pack of socks out there.  Bobby socks, socks with Disney Princesses, Super Hero socks so she can dress like Wonder Woman!, the same athletic socks her sister tolerates (even new those weren’t hers, they were her sister’s), the soft fireplace socks, and even a search on Amazon to buy seamless socks.  Every pair meant a tantrum.

Until we discovered the bow socks in her drawer.

I sneak them in the laundry when it’s bath time.  I don’t make her wear socks on quick outings, but finally the sock sensory battle has lessened.  Mommy doesn’t have to sit on the garage step trying to breathe as the little one screams inside.  I don’t have to carry her to the bus because she won’t get up because her feet hurt in her socks.  It’s currently okay.

I hope this pair doesn’t get lost….

Why I won’t make a New Year’s Resolution this year

3 Jan

My Facebook feed has been clogged with well-meaning souls who pledge to be healthier, lose weight, write daily, learn a new language, and (one of my favorites) to not yell at my kids so much.

Resolutions are made with excellent intentions.  New Year.  New start.  It’s your life and you can start new and fresh.  It’s very appealing.  I enjoy seeing all the fitness clothes or free weights on sale at stores.  Heck, I almost looked at them myself at Target until I saw the aisle was cluttered with women and I had the giant cart and 2/3 of my kids with.  The giant cart barely made it through the aisles to pick up the necessary paper towels and cat litter.  I maneuvered it through the kids section trying to replace the too-big furry Trolls vest.  Thank God, that kid settled for a Batgirl necklace instead.

So, no, I won’t make a resolution to lose weight this year (even though I have spare pounds). I won’t say I pledge to write daily (even though I like the thought of that).  I also won’t say I pledge to work out daily (even though I’m close to that on good weeks).

Why? Because it’s rare that resolutions are fulfilled.  I have days that I’m pretty dang happy if I do a few loads of laundry or put on clothes other than yoga pants (that I don’t do yoga in). 

I will not say I need to write thirty minutes a day or 100 words a day.  

Why?  Because of failure.  I will not allow myself to consider missing a workout, leaving my laptop shut, or eating pizza for dinner is failure.

Most people can move on and say “no big deal, I’ll catch up tomorrow.” If a crap day happens I find myself curled up on top of my sea blue striped quilt bed staring at the beach pictures on my wall.  Some days are just really hard and I can’t add one more thing to the pile.

I will do my best to be healthier, be kinder to myself and others, but I will not make a resolution to declare that.  If I declared 2017 the year I do _______, I might lose myself in that process.  Being me and being happier is more important to me than what I can check off a list.  I’d rather live my days one moment at a time.  If it’s a workout day-awesome!  I’ll feel great that night.  If it’s a cleaning day, the house will smell of lemons and there will be less pet fur on the couch.  If it’s a writing day I will have cramped hands and I’ll have to hoist myself out of my office chair like an old woman.  Compression socks only help the blood flow to a point after all.

But if I have a day where the kids and I have been changed, fed and medicated-that’s a win.  Even if the rest of it is spent eating popcorn, drinking water (or my vice- Diet Mountain Dew!) and watching Netflix while scratching the dog.  

We don’t need a New Year’s Resolution to add stress to our lives.  At least I don’t.  I don’t want to add one more thing to the to-do list.  In fact, I might just toss that to-do list in the garbage.  Tomorrow the recycling truck can add it to the Christmas gift blowup that became my garage (the drawback of hosting).

This year I vow nothing.  But I’m aiming for love.  And I’m starting with myself.