Are You Happy?

This is an extremely loaded question.  There are many levels to a person’s well-being.

What I’m wondering is if you’ve given thought to your own happiness of late.  How do you define being “happy”?

When I was in high school, my senior year I gave posters to some of my closest friends, duplicating by hand 365 reasons to be happy around and around the posterboard.  I don’t know if they still have the posters tucked away somewhere, rolled up in a closet, or if they trashed them upon one of their many moves.  I wish I had kept that list.  I’d like to look it over, see which ones still apply 10+ years later.

I think I’m due to make a revised list.  Feel free to post a comment adding your reasons.  When we get to 365, I’ll make a separate new post with 365 reasons to be happy.

By feeling happy, I mean having an overall sense of well-being, feeling in accord with yourself, others and the world, following the “right” path.  For me, it’s that overcoming rush or shiver that spills forth, and I could just sing out in operatic song “life is so good!” if, indeed, I could sing in opera (which I can’t and don’t).

I’ll get us started with five:

1. Watching my healthy, sleeping children.
2. Belly-laughing about something my husband has told me.
3. Finding a rainbow with the family — bonus if it’s a double rainbow.
4. Having no late fees, penalties — bills paid in full, on time.
5. Helping a mother recognize her own accomplishments.

Like I said, feel free to add yours in the comments.  I’ll add some, too, and when we reach 365 (or more), I’ll make a new post.  You have reasons to be happy; share the love!!

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Felt Booties, Part Three

Finally, all finished.

Fabric paint on the soles of the slippers keep little ones from ice-skating around and hopefully prevent some of the falls that inevitably come at their age.

A crochet hook pulls the ribbon through to tie a bow.  I went ahead and secured the bow with some needle and thread, hopefully warding off the endless re-tying.

Now, they’re ready to gift.  Later this winter, I foresee myself making some in the larger sizes.  🙂

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Felt Booties, Part Two

The booties are quick and easy to knit, to be sure.  Even though I knit the second pair to test my technique, I still couldn’t decide when to stop on the right side.  Fortunately, when felted, they did pretty much look the same.  🙂

Delightfully for me, and thankfully for my dry, sensitive hands, my washer does work for felting.  Though it is a front-loader, it will pause and allow me to open the door.  Additionally, the heavy cotton cycle is perfect timing for felting . . . at least for this project!

felted_slippers.jpg

I prefer the bulky yarn for these booties, but the lighter-weight yarn makes for a nice, lighter, more flexible bootie.  Both have an almost elvish quality to them.

There’s one more installment on the booties, because even though they are felted and dry, they’re still neither finished nor fit to be worn by little tootsies.

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A Friday Halloween and a Weekend Already Eaten Up

My oldest daughter couldn’t be more excited about tonight’s festivities.  It’s her first Halloween out from under Mom and Dad’s thumb (though she’ll still be with other parents).  Tonight she’s out with her friends, and I am truly happy for her.  Thank God I know she has good friends!

While she’ll be out, we’ll still have the younger three to take trick-or-treating.  Whether we go around the block or to visit the grandparents, we’re still not sure, but it will be low key for certain.  The less candy in the house, the better off we all are.

Truth be told, this weekend I have marked in my calendar as “GARAGE WEEKEND.”  We have to get a handle on things . . . or at least a path through it all.  With the holidays creeping ever closer and much pottery to be made, the garage needs to transform into a clay studio rather quickly.  And, we just need to organize, put things where they go, make work areas usable, create storage.  Simple stuff, really; it’s the time you have to take to do it.  It also isn’t a one woman job, but getting my husband and myself in the same place at the same time while we’re both awake is as tricky as ever.

When we’re supposed to be knee deep in the garage on Saturday, it turns out the kids have choir practice until eleven or so, a children’s author will be at the library at eleven, there’s a concert we want to support (and is free) at the botanical garden at two, and we have to eat sometime without ordering out (gotta tighten the budget belt).  Sunday is family birthday celebration all afternoon after church, after which we go back to church for the choir performance for which I’ve been shuttling kids to rehearsal these past couple of weeks on my precious weekends — as if my time is mine.

Therein lies a Truth in parenthood.  We make sacrifices every day.  We wade through the garage for years because it’s more important to have clean dishes and laundry than a proper place for the bikes . . . or is it?  We make choices on what we will sacrifice.  Some days we make good ones, but most days we just make choices, knowing we will live with the consequences. 

Perhaps that’s why we (okay, I) get so aggravated with the kids when they choose to do what they want to do even though I know the consequences won’t be good.  (i.e. any given child doesn’t want to clean his/her room and put away clothes today, and I know that in three days, it will be exponentially worse.)  We make our choices, pick our battles, and go through the motions of every day.  Hopefully it can be more of a dance, even if some days it feels more like a factory.

It would be nice if I felt more like a ballerina than a robot on Halloween.  Right now I feel like I could pass as a maid — and not the sexy sort!

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Expect the Unexpected

I’m convinced tables in the living room are meant for cutting open little boys’ faces, no matter how rounded the corners are or how chubby the little boys’ faces!

All in a day’s time, we might see a cut by the eye, a pitcher of sweet tea spilled in the fridge, an unhealthy lunch of PB&J, Fritos and root beer, a hefty library fine, too much t.v. and to top it all off, a sincere moment of creative energy while making snowball cookies.  (Yes, this is from experience.)

Actually, the day wasn’t all bad; it just fell during a busy time of year.  But when do we not have all sorts of projects running, ideas brimming and multiple things to be doing?  What I sense, though, is that if we pause and feel deeply (even with hands covered in oily cookie dough), we can give sincere acknowledgment to the kids, answer a question politely and laugh heartily at any given moment.

Children are wonderful reflections of ourselves.  Mine have done a great job of showing me how short I’ve been when talking with them.  How many weeks will it take to undo that example?

In the midst of near chaos, why sudden creative inspiration?  Perhaps it’s my idea that’s relevant to my current situation, but I do believe that it is a divine message to enjoy where I am right now as a mother.  While doing so, I should have fun, set a good, positive example for my kids and possibly a good example for other mothers, too.

autumn_highchair.jpgYou just never know what’s going to come your way, whether it be seen as good or bad.  No matter what it is, if you’re a parent, there are little eyes watching you to see how they should react when it’s their turn.

I need more practice.

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I’m Not a Loser

Some things you hope your kids will never learn or say, and yet it comes eventually.  From goodness knows where, my older son learned to call himself and others losers.  I thought we caught and corrected this but apparently not before our three-year-old son latched onto it.
the_look.jpg Now, when his will is being challenged or you stand between him and what his heart desires, you’re called a “loser” and are told he’ll do it himself.  I praise his self reliance in my heart of hearts, but I have to tell him I’m not a loser even before I go into explanation why we don’t call each other such.

Why do I have to defend myself so quickly?  It’s like I have to assure myself I’m not one before I can continue my role as a legitimate mother.  How easily my authority is compromised, my esteem crumpled.  After all, the insult is coming from an aggravated 3-year-old’s temper tantrum.  It just goes to show that I need as much morale boosting as possible.  As a full-time mom, I’m not paid monetarily.  I rely on my husband’s salary, I might feel guilty spending $30 for a haircut, and I don’t want to ask for help because, after all, I’m home all day (even though it may just happen once a week).  My kids make up part of my support group, so when a part of that lets me down, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt.

I need to be strong.  I AM strong.  I am a winner, a champion to my kids and to the maternal world.  You mothers who work in the home and out, also managing the household, are champions two-fold.  I’m doing my best on most days.  I’ve given birth to four (large) babies.  There’s not much I can’t handle.  Stick and stones may break my bones . . . but I won’t let the words break my spirit.  I am a wonderful mother.  I am a beautiful woman, and I have four lovely children who say the darnedest things.

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