Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Happiness Is...

Before I start, I warn you, this is a rambling post with no real direction. Sorry, but I am feeling kind of happy and rambly today. It's a nice way to be.

At the end of the last week, I was feeling a bit discouraged. There had been some things at work on Thursday, our last day, that left a very bad taste in my mouth. People were mean and gossip-y and just plain nasty. Things aren't good with my brother right now, either, and that has really been bothering me. I was pleased that the summer holidays had arrived but overall, I was feeling rather discouraged.

Along came the last several days. I don't know that I could explain what was so wonderful about them but I feel so re-charged. I have had time with friends, time with my husband and my kids and time in my home. I've also really had a chance to reconnect with what makes me happy.

As you already know, Friday was Canada Day and it was great. Saturday ended up being just as good. In the morning, we went to a craft programme at the library. It turned out that many of our friends were there - it was a kind of reunion, since several moms who had been off on mat leave with me but who have gone back to work were there. It felt like the good old days from last year. Afterwards, we went out to the splashpad, which has become a favourite haunt of ours. Pk is gradually getting braver and given that Daddy was there to carry her through a few of the scarier parts of the splashpad, we had a lot of fun. All of us were soaked by the time we left to go home.

(If you are wondering about Baby Bean's odd outfit, I forgot to take him a shirt to wear with his bathing suit and with his fair colouring, I was not going to leave him uncovered outside. He wore his onesie with his bathing suit to protect his skin)
Saturday night was really fun. We have friends who have a LOVELY garden and large yard and they have an annual Canada Day party, complete with fireworks. There was a pool set up for the kids along with lots of outdoor toys, yummy food and an amazing fireworks display. Baby Bean and I didn't last until the fireworks but Pk and Dh stayed and greatly enjoyed the show. Baby Bean also pulled up for the first time in a while (he did it at 9 months and then once he started seriously bum-shuffling, he stopped being so interested). He did it on the outer side of the pool and looked for a bit like he was going to do a header right into the pool!

Sunday was a lovely day, too. There was church in the morning with good friends and good worship. Pk loves her friends at church and I love the fact that she is so happy there. Afterwards, there is a crowd of kids who just run and run and run in the gym, with total glee. We often leave, dragging a child away who is crying about wanting to stay. I am so glad that she feels that way about church. There is going to be a kids group starting next week and I hope she enjoys that just as much.

For supper, we went up to visit our good friend at her farm. It was a lovely day, hot and humid, the kind of day that is so marvelous at the farm. With the open spaces and the air-conditioned house, everything feels so clean and open. We had divine barbecued ribs, fresh peas and asparagus from the farm down the road. It seemed like a perfect summer thing to do. Pk was thrilled because she got to help "Grannie A" take care of the chickens. She plodded along, helping to round the chickens up into the barn at dusk. The photos don't do the beauty of the scene credit.

Again, yesterday was a wonderful day. At times, I forget how much fun it is to go and help someone. A friend at work had been moved to a new classroom and the person leaving the room had not exactly been cooperative about moving her stuff out. This friend was treated rather badly and on Thursday, when we all had some time to finish cleaning up and doing some setting up, she couldn't even get into her room. I knew that she was planning on going in yesterday so Dh and I decided that we would go in and give her a hand. We totally surprised her and within about 20 minutes, all of her bulletin boards were done. Seriously, in terms of my happiness project, if I am thinking about what makes me happy, doing a good turn for someone else feels so good. That might sound sappy but if you are a friend of mine, you must understand what I mean.

After lunch, we went down to the big city to visit more friends. There are friends and then there are those special friends who you couldn't imagine life without. This is one of those. She has been a part of just about every important event in my life and feels like family (but better, she isn't frustrating the way that family can be). We didn't do anything spectacular, just visit, out for dinner and then hanging out on their front lawn with the kids but it was lovely. The best part for me was watching our kids playing together. They had a huge cardboard tube (a neighbour was doing renovations) and they played happily for hours. It was one of those times that I knew, insignificant though it was, it was going to be a memory for me forever.

Finally, yesterday was yet another good day. We slept in (kids included, that makes it a memorable day in and of itself) and then went for a walk in the forest with the dogs. We followed that up with a trip to the library for the drop-in programme. I have been spending considerable time going through clothing and I decided to drop off Baby Bean's stuff from last summer and fall to Pk's music teacher who just had a boy. They have two older girls and, in their words, their son is current "the prettiest boy in town" since all they have is pink. They were so grateful. Again, it was so much fun to make someone else happy! (If you've read "The Happiness Project", you will know the connection)

Yesterday afternoon, the kids slept and I actually got some work done. I am teaching a split grade next year and have been feeling pretty nervous about it. That hour spent planning math really helped to set my mind at rest. I got the next weekly activity ready for Baby Bean, sorted through more clothing and even did some mending I haven't had time for. I baked treats for Dh to take to his meeting last night and I made one of Pk's favourite meals. We even had time for bubbles outside.

Baby Bean is such a boy - I don't mean to be stereotypical but my kids seem to really follow standard gender rules He has discovered a love for dirt, for messes and for wallowing in stuff. A pile of dried leaves was the favourite when we were outside. He did think the bubbles were pretty cool, though.
Finally, our girl on her "big girl" bike. She loves, loves, loves it and I got it from Craigslist for $25 last year. If you are wondering, normally, I wouldn't choose a Gap dress for outside play and biking but she is determined to wear "princess dresses" for everything right now. Our compromise is that I buy whatever I can at either Goodwill or Once Upon a Child. When I paid less than $10 for it (and if it came from the Goodwill Friday sales, which I frequent, it's often less than $2), I don't care if it gets beaten up and stained.

Baby Bean can't be left out and our solution was to get him this Smartrike for his birthday. It's ugly as sin (at least, I think so) but really, it was brilliant thinking on someone's part. It has straps and a push handle for me so he can use it now but it gradually converts to a standard tricycle. He loves it and obviously sees himself as a big boy when he uses it. I am trying to keep us all really active this summer and we take the bikes out just about every day.
Finally, another bridge. I wanted to do our almost daily hour long walk but the sky was looking very dark and I was worried about getting stuck away from home in a storm. We decided that the best compromise was to go to the park at the end of our street. There's a bridge and Pk and I practice her hops for dance on the bridge (don't ask me why she is willing to do them on a bridge but not anywhere else but I don't argue). She wanted me to take photos and the garden was a nice backdrop. If Baby Bean hadn't been determined to hurl himself from the bench, the photos might have turned out.


  1. Love her dress! And you just can't worry too much about the ugliness of kid toys - everyone has those in their collection of useful stuff. Our high chair and swing were the gaudiest things ever, but lifesavers in terms of utility nonetheless.

    So glad it's been a recharging few days for you - we all need those from time to time. And so good to see you! I really hope we can get together a few times this summer to just be and let the kids have fun together. I know mine were thrilled. Ppie was especially intrigued by her quilt tonight, which I brought out for summer and told her you had made it!

  2. I adore that dress. It's Gap and lovely and she loves it too. Of course, the first time she wore it, we were at church for the Easter breakfast and Dh decided that she should have grapejuice in a drinking box - you can imagine the results.
    Let's definitely get together soon -we loved coming to see you guys and we'd love to do it again. Maybe a wading pool or R. farm or a beach... let's get creative. I know that we would all love it!

  3. I love reading about your days. I wish you lived closer. Digging the happiness project too. I am sort of doing one as well although not as organized. Maybe it should be? Blog on sister!