Kamden Brant

I know this has been a long time coming, but I think it is finally time to share Kamden’s birth story!  As with my other birth stories, I will limit the gross while doing my best to “tell it like it is.”  If you would like to read my other birth stories (and I’d be happy if you did!), you can find Ashlynn’s here and Corinne’s here and here.

 

Two weeks before my due date of April 15, 2013, I gave in to my husband and doctor’s demands recommendations to take the week before my due date off.  It had been a hard pregnancy and I just really needed the rest.  So on April 5th, I threw a party in my classroom and bid my students goodbye, and began looking forward to a week of chilling on the couch and spending time with Ashlynn, who would soon be the middle child.  On Sunday night, I finished all my papers and grading and actually posted to Facebook “All my teaching stuff is caught up, you can come anytime now Kamden!”

Apparently, my unborn child could read.

At about 4:00am on what would technically be Monday, I woke up feeling very nauseous.  I came downstairs to lay on the couch, because our bedroom is upstairs and the bathroom is downstairs and frankly I wasn’t moving fast enough at that point to be confident in things not getting very gross if I had to book it down the steps.

I laid on the couch for about an hour, and I had a few contractions but meh it was 4:00am and I didn’t bother timing them.  I felt better and went back to bed.  At about 6:45, I noticed that some contractions were kinda, you know, waking me up.  This is when I vaguely wondered if this was “it,” but then the girls came to officially wake me up and I headed downstairs.

Once I was really awake, I noticed that the contractions seemed pretty regular and were taking my breath away.  I started to time them and texted my husband to call me (he works midnights, 12-8).  Sure enough, they were regular.  But I still wasn’t sure this was the big day-I was an entire week early, after all!  My husband called and he was asking me how far apart and how long and all that stuff when we had one of the best phone conversations ever:

Kirk: So how long are they lasting?

Me: They last about…hang on a minute…*long pause*

Kirk: Are you having one right NOW?  Get OFF the phone and call the doctor!”

(For those of you who have never been pregnant, if you cannot talk through a contraction, it is SO the real deal.)

So my husband agreed to call in my mother in law to babysit and essentially mobilize the troops while I called the doctor’s office.  And then I got to have another one of the best pone conversations ever:

Nurse: So how far apart are they?

Me: Five minutes *pant, pant*

Nurse: Mmhhmm, yeah, ok.  And this is your first baby?

Me: No, third.

Nurse:  Oh!  OH!  Um, hold on a second! *pause* Go straight to the ER!

Off to the hospital we went, and they were seriously coming as regular as clockwork and definitely starting to hurt.  We timed them in the car, but gave up once we got to the ER, figuring their equipment was a bit more reliable than ours.  I got all hooked up to the monitors, and sure enough…contractions!  Then I had to answer the million admission questions like three times.  My favorite was a resident that read every.single.question off his note pad and wrote my answers down word for word.  It took awhile, since I stopped talking pretty frequently.

It turned out I was a very “high” two centimeters, but fully effaced.  They gave me that litte “haha you’re probably making this worse than it is” smile and told me they’d let me labor for two  hours and see if I progressed.  If not, they’d send me home.  At this point, I saw some fear dawn in Kirk’s eyes.  We both knew I was really in labor, and Kirk possesses no desire to deliver a child.  Turned out that would become a moot point anyways.

When they put you on a contraction monitor, they show up on a screen.  A peak is a contraction, and the machine displays a number showing how strong they are.  No contraction is about a 10-15.  The stronger the contraction, the higher the number.  Like this:

At this point, my contractions were 4-5 minutes a part and about a 30 on the monitor.  Every once in a while, I’d get a bonus contraction in between at like the 2 minutes mark.  We got ready to hurry up and wait for two hours, and we watched the contractions from the lady next door.  We both declared we were happy that wasn’t me, since she was hitting the 90s.

After what seemed like only a few minutes, but was really 45, my contractions were getting much closer together and more painful, so we called the nurse.  Again, we got the whole “we’ll humor you and check if you want” kind of response.  They moseyed on in and I was, suddenly and seriously, not in the mood for moseying.  I told the nurse I wanted an epidural and she seemed surprised and told me I wasn’t even admitted yet.  By this time, I WAS that lady next door.  My contractions were hitting 90, long and close together and painful.  I was also having wonderful back labor.  Ugh.  They checked and…in 45 minutes, I had gone from 2 to a 5 or 6!  Things were about to get real.

First of all, my husband morphed into THE most amazing birth coach.  I looked at him and said “You have to just help me breathe.”  And he did.  He had his eyes on mine and he held my hand and helped me take the long slow breaths I needed.  Contractions can make you hold your breath and that only makes things worse.  After they started to get really bad, I started to breathe in and then breathe out with this long ooooooooooo sound.  I probably sounded like a cow.  The nurse came in to give me my IV. (They really hadn’t been planning on admitting me!) She did something weird and ended up yanking it out of my hand after it was in.  Even in the middle of a rocking contraction, that really hurt.  Then she blamed it on me!  I could tell Kirk wanted to read her the riot act, but he stayed focused on me.  Seriously, he was and is my hero!  He had also been up almost 24 straight hours at that point.  Poor guy.

FINALLY they got me into a real room and all admitted (well mostly.  I ended up signing a lot of papers after the fact.)  By this time it was about 10:30am.  I had called my mom to tell her it was go time, and she was on her way.  Then Kirk could go bring up my hospital bag and start taking pictures.  I really wanted that epidural, and they finally came in with it!  Getting the epidural was horrible.  We had waited almost too long and my contractions were SO bad by then.  I had to sit up on the edge of the bed and hold perfectly still, even through contractions, and it was seriously so, so hard.  Later, the nurse told me that I skipped active labor altogether!  I went from early labor to transition in a flash, which is why my contractions were so hard.  Also, I was 10 cm while they gave me the epidural.  I almost did this the old fashioned way!  Thank God, though, because there was a very large part of me that was terrified to push without an epidural.

Here is where I lose some time.  I got the epidural at about 11 or so.  It didn’t completely work, and they had to mess with it to get my right side numb (not fun).  It seemed to me like only seconds later they told me Kamden was in distress, but I think I was pretty out of it and it was really about 12:45.  His heart rate was dropping quickly.  I exchanged a look with Kirk and I can only imagine the terror in my eyes.  This had happened with Corinne and we’d almost lost her.

The OB told us that the good news was that we were ready to push!  I pushed about 3 times, they used a vacuum, one more push, and at 12:56, Kamden arrived!  They popped his messy self onto my belly and he was perfect.  Coolest part?  They let me cut the umbilical cord!  Nifty!

After 17 hours with Corinne and 19 hours with Ashlynn, I was only in labor with Kamden for about 6 hours!  My mom didn’t make it in time, she had stopped to grab luch and when she got to the hospital, he was here.  We didn’t get lots of pictures, because Kirk never got the chance to get the hospital bag from the car-things happened that fast!

Welcome, Baby Kamden!

We are so glad you’re here!

April 8, 2013 12:56pm 7 lbs. 6 oz. 19 inches Our family is complete!!

 

Ten Thoughts for the Week

Or maybe the month.  I don’t know.  I can’t seem to do this crap weekly and certainly not on the SAME day of the week so every once in a while I’m just gonna throw my random thoughts up here and you can read them if you’d like and maybe even sometimes they will be funny.  Also I cannot guarantee there will be ten.  Sorry.

And I really DO have thoughts because I have started a listie thing on my iphone where I right down thoughts I want to put on here.  But sometimes I can’t remember what I was talking about or things get autocorrected and then I cannot understand my own notes.  See?

Seriously. What the heck is all that even supposed to mean?

And you can see on there where I had to write down my kids’ weights and heights from their doctors appointments.  So I can put them in their baby books and show them I was a good mom because I knew how much they weighed in June 2013.  And I didn’t make a separate note for that because having too many notes lights my OCD on fire.

And so.

#1

Let’s get that whole “Extemporaneous Pacing Licks Things In” taken care of right off the bat.  First, that should say locks, not licks.  Autocorrect is gross.  Anyways, I was just thinking the other day that when I was in high school, I was an extemporaneous speaker.  That means we drew a current event and then had 30 minutes to write a 5 minutes speech about it.  To help us memorize our speeches, we would all pace in a giant circle and mutter to ourselves.  It was gorgeous.  Even among speech kids, we were the crazies. Well, it still works the same today-if I want to remember something big and important, I have to pace.  Preferably in a circle.  I’m not 100% sure why no one has committed met yet, in case you were going to ask.

#2

Eight is my lucky number.  I never had a lucky number, because I think it’s kind of random and dumb, but when God points at something with a big freaking neon sign, I guess it’s a good idea to listen.  I got hired into my favorite school district on the 8th, then got promoted on the 8th.  Two of my children were born on the 8th.  It’s pretty blatant.  So if I ever go to Vegas and someone has convinced me that gambling is not stupid, I guess I’ll put my money on 8.

#3

I get to be a bridesmaid for the first time in my life!  Even though I have been married for almost nine years and am in no way a maid! Except maybe the cleaning kind!  I have to say that I have been invited to be a bridesmaid in two other weddings but then got summarily dismissed for the cardinal sin of getting pregnant.  But not this time!  Also when trying my dress on after having given birth two months ago, I found that I only do not fit into my pre-baby size because I am nursing and it has fun side effects.  Let me tell you how THAT made my day!

#4

I am addicted to garage sales.  Someone help me.

#5

I enjoy reading Junie B. Jones because she makes me laugh more than the children.

#6

The Mortal Instruments series is really good.  So is Beautiful Creatures.  You should read them.

#7

Thoughts 4 through 10 are short because my infant is crying and getting hungry.

#8

I promise to explain the other junk on my Iphone listie at a later date or if you ask me in the comments if you just can’t stand the suspense.

#9

I forgot who all I sent invites to for Ashlynn’s birthday party and had to check with several people to make sure they got invites.  It made me look like I was inviting them at the last minute but really I had baby brain.  Sorry people, I really do love you though I promise.

#10

You probably think I’m crazy now.  Seems like a good place to end this.  Til next time!!

 

 

Ode to a Daddy

I know I published this post a year ago, but I think it is worth reposting.  Kirk is the most wonderful Daddy my children could ever ask for.  He’d move mountains to keep our family going, and I’ve got to see him be amazing all over again since Kamden was born!  I love him and anything we do for Father’s Day could never be enough to show him how much he means to us!  I will be editing this to add Kamden soon, but for now here’s the original post:

Ode to a Daddy

Some people say that a woman becomes a Mommy the moment she gets pregnant, and  a man becomes a Daddy the moment the baby is born, but I don’t think that is true of my husband.

After over a year of hoping for a baby, I can still remember the look on your face when I (finally!) walked into our kitchen and told you that peeing on that crazy stick had finally paid off.  We did our own little dance of joy right there in the kitchen.

And through that first pregnancy you did everything a Daddy could do for a pregnant Mommy.  You went to all the birthing classes, you ran to Wendy’s at midnight, you ate chicken every day for two straight weeks because beef made me gag.  And you showed up to every single doctor’s appointment, no matter what.

You had told me that you wanted a little girl first.  And I knew we had no control over that, but after that ultrasound, when you held my hand the whole time, they announced our little girl on the way.  And afterwards we headed to Babies’R’Us (of course!) and in one quick stolen second, you grabbed me between aisles, hugged me close, and whispered “Thank you!” into my ear.

And when Corinne was born on that freezing February day, after so much risk, they whisked her away to be checked on, and you told me she was beautiful.  And then you told me she was okay, and she turned toward the sound of your voice and I heard you choke up as you realized that she knew you already.

You helped me so much after that rough delivery.  You who had never changed a diaper or made a bottle or held an infant.  You took it all over like a natural, and you never looked back.  You were amazing.

And you continued to be so as you played with Corinne and rough-and-tumbled her and talked to her like only a Daddy can and dressed her in Steelers outfits and taught her the difference between Iron Man and Spiderman.

Eighteen months later, I walked into your work and asked one of your employees to had you a card that simply read June 10, 2009.  We were ready to do it all over again.  And again you were ready to deal with hormones and cravings and doctor appointments and midnight food runs.  And again we found out GIRL! and you were just as excited as before!

We paced our neighborhood for hours trying to coax this second baby girl out, and when it was finally time we headed to the hospital.  And through a thankfully much easier labor, one memory stands out.  You had come in from the hall where you had stood peeking into the nursery with another soon-to-be dad, and you repeated to me what you had told him “Pretty soon you’ll have one of those!  And you are going to have so much fun!”

Because that’s the kind of Daddy you are.

And so we welcomed Ashlynn to our family, and ever since you have been nothing short of wonder Dad.  You do anything and everything for those two girls.  Wrestle on the floor when you’re tired?  Have tea parties?  Read a million stories? Let them put barrettes in your hair?  Work two jobs to make ends meet?  Eat at Cici’s three times a week?  Stay up til 3 am because the kids have the flu?  You’ve done it all.  And so much more.

You do a great job as a Daddy…and I did a great job picking out the best Daddy our daughters could ever have.  Thank you for everything you’ve done, are doing, and will do for our two little girls.

Kirk, Corinne and Ashlynn circa June 10, 2009. The best Daddy our girls could ever wish for.

Ten Thought Tuesday

 

1. I don’t know why there are grippies on the bottoms of newborn socks.  It’s not like they do a lot of dancing or anything.

2. If someone looked up my check-out history at the library, they’d think I was a psycho.  Or at least had multiple personality disorder.

3. Regarding #2…I enjoy reading true crime sometimes…but it always makes me feel kind of…icky.  Like I eavesdropped on something I wasn’t supposed to see.  Anyone else?

4. I vow to not sit on my you-know-what all this summer.  So my daughters and I made a big list of things to do and we will choose one at LEAST every other day and do it.

5.  I am seriously into starting a family journal with my kids.  I want us to be able to think about our day and write down the things we did and/or learned that day.  I just need to find a cute enough notebook.

6. Kamden is pulling off the unique trick of appearing to grow every single day but still managing to only fit in newborn size clothing.

7.  The Beautiful Creatures series by Margaret Stohl is pretty darn good.  You should check it out.  I hear the movie’s junk, though.

8. My new neighbors are confused about our property line and keep mowing half our grass.  Despite the fact that we routinely mow that grass, too.  I wonder if they think we are mowing their grass?  Confusion reigns.

9. I’m watching The Hobbit.  That means that, probably within the next month, I will be re-reading The Hobbit.  And then probably the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Tolkien was a full-on genius.  No really, he was.  I know.  I had to write a fifteen page paper on him for grad class.  Did you know he wrote the “W” section of the Oxford Dictionary?  Yup.

10.  If you are a human being and own a computer, you need to get yourself over to zulily.com.  You are welcome.

Seriously. The grippies. WHY?

 

Northeast Ohio Summer Activities

Looking for something to do this summer?  We always are!  Here’s my list of favorite places and spaces for families with young kids.  I’ve listed prices and hours, as well as my quick review or what I think is important info.  Click on the name of any activity to be taken to its home web page.  Feel free to share or pin but link back to my blog, please!

Tuscora Park

Perfect for young kids.  A few small carnival rides, swimming pool, mini golf, and an enormous free play ground.  The food is good and cheap, too!  BRING CASH-they do not take credit or debit and the nearest ATM is inconveniently far away.

M-TH 4:30-8  F-Sun 12-8

.75 per ride ticket or $6 for 10

McKinley Museum and Discover World

The museum is great and has some awesome interactive exhibits, including a replica of an early 1900’s street complete with shops, and Discovery World is full of fun experiments and just got a remodel this year.  I highly recommend purchasing the family membership for $60-it pays for itself in 2 visits and gets you into lots of other museums at discounted rates or even free.  We’ve had a membership for the past three years and never regretted it once!

M-Sat 9-4  Sun 12-4

$8 adult    $6 child     2 and under FREE

Akron Zoo

I consider this the perfect zoo for young children.  It is not huge, so you can get through it in an hour or two, also known as “just about the time kids get bored.”  The exhibits are designed to allow you to get very close to the animals, and they are often literally inches away, which is great for small kids!  I’m not a fan of trying to point out a single zebra in a five acre field to my 3-year-old.  The food can be a little expensive, but you can bring in a picnic lunch if you want.  Oh, and they are adding a new Grizzly Ridge exhibit July 2013, which looks amazing!

I strongly recommend the membership here, as well.  It’s only about $70, which again pays for itself in 2 visits and gets you discounted or free admission to lots of other zoos, aquariums, and aviaries.

10-5 Daily

$10 adult     $6 child

 

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

I’m sad to say I’ve never been to this zoo, but I’ve heard really good things.  We plan on going this summer-admission is half off if you have a membership to the Akron Zoo!  There’s an attached waterpark, too, but I don’t think we’ll be visiting as water parks are hard sells for me when my kids are too young to swim or ride the waterslides, etc.  Check it out if you have older kids and let me know how it is!

9-7 Daily

$9 child     $14 adult

Cleveland Zoo

This zoo is fantastic.  Lots of exhibits and a nice mix of indoor and outdoor animals so you can get some relief during hot summer (or rainy) days.  Trams are available, too, for when little (and big) feet get tired.  They also have The Rainforest, which is an amazing indoor replication of a rainforest environment, it even really rains! (On the animals, not you.)  This zoo is also half off if you have an Akron Zoo membership, and you can take a picnic here as well.

M-F 10-5  Sat-Sun 10-7

$11 adult     $8 child     2 and under FREE

COSI

I seriously love COSI.  It is divided into lots of scientific areas-the picture above is from an interactive water exhibit-and literally everything is interactive and up for investigation!  There’s something for everyone-water and Earth exhibits, a reproduction of an historical street, and a gigantic room designed just for kids age 10 and under.  There’s also a piano that makes human body noises like farts and burps-if your children are anything like mine, that’s a day’s entertainment all by itself.

COSI is totally free if you have a McKinley Museum membership as mentioned above…which is pretty sweet considering admission for our family would be $49 and the membership itself only costs $60.  We are thinking of taking a weekend trip to Columbus to visit the zoo and COSI together-it’ll be practically free thanks to our two memberships!

Mon-Sat 10-5  Sun 12-6

$14.75 adult     $9.75 child

Great Lakes Science Center

The Science Center is similar to COSI but different enough that a visit to both is well worth your time.  Again, they have a great kids’ area that you could spend most of the day in!  They also have an Omnimax theatre, but it only shows science movies-although they are always really cool.  This place is also FREE if you have a membership to the McKinley Museum-see how it pays for itself?  AND it is literally right next door to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Tower City, Progressive Field…the list goes on!  It’s easy to make a fun day of with any age, really.

Open Daily 10am-5pm

$14 adult     $12 child

Random Story-We went up last time the Titantic Exhibit was there, and at the beginning they give you a card with a name on it.  At the end, you can look at the passenger roster to see if “you” survived or not.  We got to witness an older man turn around and say to his wife “There!  I’m dead!  Are you happy now?”  and walk away.  Awkward….

Rolling Ridge Ranch

Absolutely one of our favorite places to go every summer.  You climb up in a wagon and trek through the woods, and whenever the wagon stops, tame animals come up asking to be fed!  Everything from deer and zebras to ostriches and pot-bellied pigs!!  The picture opportunities are endless.  They also have a picnic area, a playground, and an extremely nice petting zoo.  Warning-bathrooms are the porta-potty kind in case you are squeamish.

Mon-Sat 9-5

Adult $15.95     Child $10.95     2 and under FREE

*printable $2 coupon on their website

Baylor Beach

The perfect beach for kids.  Nice and sandy bottom, zero-depth walk in, and the perfect mix of little slides for the toddlers and big water slides for adults, teens and tweens.  This is my girls’ favorite place…EVER.  I think it may even beat out grandma’s house.  They seriously ask to go once a week…even in December.  Also important-they keep the changing rooms very very clean.  There’s mini golf and a fairly priced concession stand, too, or you can pack your own picnic as long as it doesn’t feature booze or glass.  You can also camp and extend your stay although I have never been brave enough to do so with small children…

June/July 11am-8pm

August 11am-7pm

$6 per person     3 and under FREE

Sunnyslope Orchard

You can pick your own strawberries here!  Just get a bucket and head out to the field, come in when you’re bucket is full and/or you’re tired.  It’s a really unique experience!  The store has the BEST local homemade candies, cheeses, beef jerkey, ice cream….mmmmmmm (drool)

June-call ahead for availability

$10-20 depending on quantity

Massillon Recreation Center

Great for a rainy day! (Or winter)  The indoor aquatics area features a kiddie play pool, a lap pool, a lazy river, and two water slides!  It’s like Kalahari and all that whatnot…but close and cheap!  Check their website for special events and swim classes, too.  (Also the locker rooms are nice and clean-bonus!!)

Mon-Thurs 6-8   Fri 6-7:30   Sat 8-7:30   Sun 12-5:30

$6 each for the day   3 and under FREE

 

Pump It Up

Make sure your kiddos have socks on and eat AFTER you are done jumping!!  Other than that, it’s an enormous building full of bounciness…need I say more?!

Mon-Fri 10am-3pm

$8 each kid, adults and kiddos too young to jump are FREE

Wilmot Wilderness Center

We’ve never been here, but we are planning on going!  Lots of nature trails and an interactive building, too!  I printed off nature scavenger hunts from pinterest for our future visit.  If you’ve been there, share your reviews in the comments!

Tues-Sat 9-5    Sun  1-5

Admission is FREE

Special Events: http://www.wildernesscenter.org/calendar.html

 

Stark County Library

Go to the library.  Get books.  Read stories.  They’re FREE.  Just do it-it’s the best thing you can do for your kids…and yourself!!  Look online for fun summer activities, but don’t wait for those-just GO!!

The Lynn Drive-In

Added by popular demand from my fans, the Lynn is amazing and I can’t believe I forgot it!  The second oldest drive-in in the world, it is great family fun.  They play double features on two different screens every day during the summer, and their concession stand is super affordable, too…or you can bring your own snacks! (Without having to smuggle them in)  You can stay in the car or sit on the lawn, but bring bug spray!

$6 per adult, ages 5-11 $2, 5 and under are FREE (awesome prices!!)

Hours-first feature usually begins about 9:00 or so, check website for exact times and what movies are showing, get there early if there’s a blockbuster showing!!

 

If anyone has anything to add….PLEASE do so in the comments so we can all share!!

A Poem for the Real Mom

Mother’s Day is coming up, and I have a little revelation to make. Being a mom is hard. I mean, pregnancy and labor and delivery aren’t easy by any means, but in comparison, that’s one of the easier things you will do as a mom.

There’s no perfect way to do it, no one “right way” to pull it off. More often than not, being a mom is flying by the seat of your pants, scrambling at the last minute, and winging it the best you can to try to keep everyone at least moderately happy without going crazy yourself. We are pinch hitters, us mothers.

And the truth is, if it works for you and your family and nobody’s getting hurt, go for it. Chances are, it probably won’t work for the next kid or possibly even tomorrow, so run with it for now.

And I’ve got a bone to pick with the internet and Facebook. I’m standing up for all us mothers out there. I have issues with this:

And this:

Don’t get me wrong. They’re adorable little poems, and I appreciate the sentiment. And I know (more than I ever admit to myself) that babies grow up WAY too fast.

But seriously. Poems and signs like those just pour gasoline on the ever-burning flame of mom-guilt that we all possess. C’mon. You know you have it too. You’re frantically doing the dishes and a little one comes running up asking “Mommy, can you play?” and because there are no clean forks to eat dinner with, you have no choice but to answer “In a few minutes, sweetie.” And then you think of one of the above poems (or something similar) and BLAM! You suddenly feel guilty for doing the dishes.

I’m sorry…but WHAT? Why should you feel guilty for only doing what needs done? Let’s be real, friends. Yes, we’d all like to spend more time with our kids. But realistically, life doesn’t work that way, and we shouldn’t give in to the false expectation that if life doesn’t work that way, we are doing something wrong. That, my mommy friends, is bull-pucky.

As one mom to another, I give you permission to sit down, relax, and know that your kids will be just fine if they play by themselves for a moment, that your baby will survive if you do not hold him or her every second. We are moms. That’s a million jobs rolled into one. If you do even half of them mostly well, you’re way ahead of the game. And no matter what, you’re doing just fine.

And so, (hang THIS on your wall instead!) I give to you:

A Poem for the Real Mom

Playtime with my kids is always priority one,

but sometimes, my friends, other things must get done.

I’m not a fan of making my kids wait their turn,

but it has to happen sometimes or dinner will burn.

And as much as I love playing games with my brood,

someone has to do laundry or we’ll all go nude.

And I can’t always leave the whole house a mess,

or some nosy neighbor will call CPS.

Sometimes I feel like such a big jerk,

when I wake up each morning and head off to work.

But housing and food are never bought free,

and my family and kids are depending on me.

Some days it’s enought that everyone gets dressed and fed,

so don’t give a thought to what others have said.

Remember that “mom” is a balancing act

and from day number one, your life will be packed.

Play with your kids, do the chores and the rest,

and NEVER let anyone tell you you’re less than

THE BEST!

Happy Mother’s Day!!

Find Your Joy

I love movie soundtracks and songs.  I have an entire Iphone playlist devoted to Disney songs, and another devoted to just Glee songs (What?  They cover a lot of great stuff!)

But one of my favorite lines is from the song “Ever Ever After” performed by Carrie Underwood for the Disney movie Enchanted:

There is joy to be claimed in this world.

I love how that is phrased.  There is joy to be claimed.  Just like my banner says “Choose Happiness.”  You must choose it.

Happiness is not passive.  No one is going to drag you out in the world and show you something great and say, “Now be happy, dammit!”  No one is going to make sure you have all you ever wanted.  No one can change your point of view but you.  No one can force you to be unhappy, that seems to be almost a cliche.  But on the opposite side of the coin, you don’t stumble onto happiness and joy either.  You have to find it, look for it, choose it, claim it.  There is joy to be claimed in this world.

And I’m not here to feed you that “Stop and smell the flowers” line of BS, either.  I have three children and a full time job.  I don’t have time to stop and smell if the trashcan is ripe, let alone flowers.  But moments of joy and happiness don’t take even that long.  There is no “stopping” involved.  All you have to do is mentally pause and savor the moments that make you happy.

Here are some things that I choose to make me happy:

Walking outside on my million errands and realizing how fresh the outdoors smell after a spring rainshower

The way my husband’s arms sneak around my waist while I cook or clean

Kissing my children and covering them up before I head upstairs to bed

Hearing a noise and realizing it is my newborn’s tiny snores

Watching the dog’s comic antics with his bone

Smelling dinner cooking

Hearing my favorite song on the radio

Or turning the radio up really loud to sing along with a song with the kids

Seeing my child fall and pick herself back up without crying

Having lunch with a good friend (ok, I admit this one does take some time-but worth it!)

Being able to roll car windows down or open house windows after a long winter

Sloppy kid kisses

Wilty dandelion bouquets from my kids

Newborn snuggles that make you comfy and sleepy

A hot bath with bubbles

Opening a good book and smelling that wonderful library smell

Trying and showing off a new recipe

Smiling at someone and having them smile back

Seriously, there are so many more I could list.  Honestly, just making that list made me smile.  The choice is not so much about forcing yourself to be happy, but about changing your viewpoint so you look for the positive and release the negative.  It’s hard to do.  I fail at it some days.  Our brains are programmed to look for the bad, but it’s a tendency that can be overcome with a little effort.  It’s worth it.  Give it a try.

 

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