Saturday, August 27, 2011

Things That Made Me Happy Saturday

Saturday is almost over. I made it through an entire week just focusing on happy stuff. I think it made a difference. It was a good week.

That said, I think there were several factors that made a big difference: laughing more, getting out of the house, spending time with friends, running, and having a little time to myself. These things are important. I'm not happy when I'm feeling isolated, tense, and overwhelmed. I'm a better mom and a better person when I feel in touch with my community (even if some of my community is far away). I'm more motivated and I get more done. It may sound a bit obvious but I need the reminder. 

To wrap it up, here are the things that made me happy today:

A mother-in-law who was willing to babysit.

Sailing in the sunshine.

Counting jellyfish.

Cold drinks.

Sweet hugs from my baby girl.

Homemade popsicles.

A hot shower.

Clean sheets.
I hope everyone has a lovely rest of the weekend!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Things That Made Me Happy Friday

Friends.

Fajitas.

Mint-chocolate chip brownies.

Watermelon-mint popsicles.

A clean house.

L. going to sleep with no fuss.

Need I say more?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Things That Made Me Happy Thursday

Today I was happy because it rained.

I was happy because I know the rain won't last forever. I know there is a good chance it will be sunny tomorrow. That makes it easy to enjoy the rain.

I know our lemon tree and pepper plants loved the rain.

L. was fascinated by the rain. She wanted to touch it. She smiled when it fell on her arms.

The rain made me happy because it was hot and humid. I felt like I could feel the air and the electricity from the lightening. It reminded me of lazy evenings years ago in Costa Rica after an afternoon rain. It reminded me of the night after J. and I got married. We watched a thunderstorm over the Pacific Ocean.

The smell of the rain and the damp earth made me happy today.

Did you have rain today? I hope it made you happy. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Things That Made Me Happy Tuesday

Starting my day with Upside Down Dogs made me happy.

L. swinging on her new swing and saying, "wee!" made me happy.
Running on the treadmill while L. napped made me happy.

And spending the afternoon at the aquarium with friends made me very happy.

I hope you had lots of happy things happen today too!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Things That Made Me Happy Monday

Today was a happy day.

We have beautiful yellow flowers on our Esperanza plants.
 
L. and I made some new friends. They are fabulous and I'm very excited to see them again tomorrow. 

I laughed a lot today.

L. went in the pantry for goldfish crackers and shut the door behind herself. A few seconds later I heard, "Mama, Mama, knock-knock please." The sound of her little voice made me happy.
 
The way L.'s hair curled on her shoulders made me smile. 
I enjoyed eating homemade ricotta on crackers.

L. played contentedly in the sink while I cooked dinner.

J. worked all day building L.'s new swing set (courtesy of her grandfather) and tomorrow she will find a playground in our backyard. He's such a good daddy. We are so lucky. 

And there you have it. Tonight I'm going to sleep, exhausted, but very happy.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Things That Made Me Happy Sunday

I've focusing on happy stuff this week.

Today watching L. dance with her daddy made me happy.

Picking red chile peppers in our garden made me happy.
Seeing several mamas I haven't seen in a long time made me happy.

Knowing there will soon be a swing set in our backyard made me happy.

And finding the first lemons of the season turning yellow made me happy too.
What made you happy today?

Running: Week 8 Report

Sunday 8/14: Ran 1 mile.
Comments: On treadmill. Knees felt kind of tight but I blame the treadmill.

Monday 8/15: OFF
Comments: Celebrating our anniversary even though it was yesterday.

Tuesday 8/16: Ran 1 mile.
Comments: On the treadmill again. Can you tell I'm having a hard time getting up in the morning?

Wednesday 8/17: Walked 25 minutes and did some stretching/strengthening.
Comments: It felt good to stretch. I need to do more core strengthening on a regular basis.

Thursday 8/18: OFF
Comments: It was a long day and I was sore from Wednesday. That made me kind of sad because I didn't do much on Wednesday but I guess it was enough...and I should do it more often.

Friday 8/19: Ran 25 minutes.
Comments: Felt good to be outside. The first 15 minutes felt great but I got a bad stitch in my side and had to slow down/walk. Never had trouble with cramps before. Walked most of the last 10 minutes to get home and didn't go as far as I planned.

Saturday 8/20: Walked 25 minutes.
Comments: I did it. Really proud of myself for fitting it in.

Overall I think I did okay this week. I did better about being active on my non-running days...even though I took two days off. A friend of mine asked me to do a half-marathon relay with her in October. I'm going to do it. I decided I need more motivation to get out of bed in the morning. I always function better with a set goal in mind. I wrote out a training schedule so I can safely get my mileage up to where it needs to be in time for the relay. I'm really looking forward to it. I may not be fast but I will finish. I haven't run an organized race/run since 2007--before I injured myself and before I became a mom. It's been too long!

Happy Thoughts

I've been really cranky lately. I'm cranky when I get up in the morning and I just can't seem to shake it throughout the day.

I suspect it's because I'm tired. L. and I are back to waking up two to three times a night. I'm glad she's waking up to pee but I could do without the subsequent hysterics. Even when she falls back asleep quickly I've been having trouble getting back to sleep...and you get the idea.

I'm exhausted. And cranky. And impatient. And irritable.

So when I read this article, I laughed. Start my day with a happiness prescription? All I have to do is smile first thing when I wake up? Ha. Should I smile when I wake up at 1:30am? or 4am? or maybe 6:30am? Should I smile when I'm up for good or every single time I wake up and run down the hallway to scoop up my daughter and rush her to the potty?

Nonetheless, I figured I should give it a try. I have nothing to lose. I'm sick of feeling like a stick in the mud. I'm tired of writing bitchy blog posts. But that is all I can come up with right now. Anything else sounds like too much work. See what I mean? I can't write anything nice. I don't mean to sound so horrible. I'm happy about how well L. is doing with the potty training but it's a little stressful. I'm really proud of her.

Back to my plan. I'm going to wake up and smile and laugh every morning for the next week. I'm going to focus on when I wake up and am out of bed for the day, after L. has been to the potty. I figure this won't happen automatically at first so I'm going to take a few minutes before breakfast to make myself laugh.

What always makes me laugh? Damn You Auto Correct. Yes. I started my morning by reading the best of Damn You Auto Correct and laughing so hard I cried.

Honestly, I feel a little better already.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Easy Ricotta Cheese (and a rant)

 This is part recipe, part rant. We had a rough morning.

L. was bored. We played with the dog, we watered the garden, we read books, we watched Elmo, we splashed in the sink and scrubbed dishes. The dishes were her idea not mine...it's her favorite activity of late.

But she was bored. So we decided to do something we hadn't done before.

We made ricotta cheese.

I stumbled upon a recipe a while back and bookmarked it. I was intrigued at the time but not in the mood. This morning is seemed like a good idea.

I won't reinvent the wheel...here is the original recipe and instructions.

L. was totally happy helping me pour our ingredients into the pot. She was totally happy sitting on my hip while we watched the milk coming to a boil on the stove. She was totally happy watching me spoon it into the cheese cloth. (For the record, I don't think I'll use a cheese cloth again. I'll try a tea towel. I wasted a lot of cheese because I couldn't get it out of the cloth.) She was totally happy helping me put our fresh ricotta in a container.

Then I set her down to get crackers to eat with our cheese.

While I was in the pantry she dumped her crayons on the floor and colored all over the linoleum.

We cleaned it up and ate our crackers and ricotta.

While I was putting our plates in the kitchen she took a cup of goldfish crackers (left over from an earlier snack) into the living room. I thought she was sitting quietly eating her crackers but she was really busy smashing them into bits and squishing them into the couch cushions and the cracks in between.

While I got out the vacuum and started cleaning up the fish crackers she tried to climb on me. In my frustration I told her to go away while I cleaned up the mess.

Yes, I told her to go away. Bad idea, bad wording, bad mom. I'm fully aware of this. She's 21 months and I'm an adult. I should know better.

She did go away. She went to her play tent on the other side of the room and peed on her largest and most difficult to wash stuffed animal. Yup. After only missing the potty once in the last 48 hours, after waking up in the middle of the night and early morning to pee, after having told me every time she needed to go yesterday, she peed in her tent. On a stuffed animal. Then she told me.

And so it goes. Now she's napping and I'm trying to wash a pillow pet.

At least we have some super yummy ricotta cheese to enjoy this afternoon.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies

J. has had quite a sweet tooth lately. It's become common practice for him to run to the store after L. has gone to bed to pick up baking supplies and ask that I make cookies. He always asks nicely and I usually oblige (although not at 10pm).

Anyhow, J.'s been coming home with a variety of chocolate chips. Once it was peanut butter and chocolate chips and another time it was mint chocolate chips. To make things easy I usually follow the recipe on the back of the bag. The mint chocolate chip cookies were really good. I wasn't sure what to expect but I liked them--classic chocolate chip with a little zip.

And then we decided the mint chocolate chips would be even better in brownies.

So on our last grocery trip I picked up some cocoa powder and another bag of mint chocolate chips.

At this point I realized I'd never baked brownies from scratch. How have I managed to go this long without making brownies? I have no idea.

Not having a recipe to fall back on, I started looking online for recipes.

It didn't take me long to find one that looked great. Click HERE for the original recipe and instructions.

I used Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips rather than Nestle's Dark Chocolate Mint Chips. Next time I'll probably try the Nestle's. I think they would look nicer after baking as the pieces are a little bigger. I also used more chips than the recipe called for (I mixed a little extra into the batter and sprinkled what I had left on top instead of measuring) and I over baked them just a bit.

Nonetheless they turned out super yummy. Warm and gooey, just like brownies should be.

We ate our brownies warm out of the oven with glasses of milk. Vanilla ice cream would have been lovely. We'll definitely do ice cream next time. There will most definitely be a next time!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My First Book Review!

I recently read and wrote a review of The Kid by Sapphire for the BlogHer Book Club. It was an interesting read but I won't be passing it on to my friends...

A Challenging Glimpse into a Confused Mind

Monday, August 15, 2011

Seven Years of Wonderfulness

Yesterday J. and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary. On one hand I can't believe it's been seven years already and on the other I feel like I've known him my whole life. Everything before J. is a little hazy...like I didn't really start living until we met.

I've done a lot of things since we've been together that I wouldn't have done otherwise. J. brings out the best in me. He knows me better than I know myself. I started writing a list of the things I wouldn't have done without J. and it got really long, really quickly.

Here is a short list--seven things that wouldn't have happened in the last seven years if J was not in my life.

I wouldn't have lived in Costa Rica.
I wouldn't have a Masters degree.
I wouldn't have said "I do" on our favorite beach.
I wouldn't have our wonderful little dog.
I wouldn't have lived on a sailboat and fallen in love with sailing.
I wouldn't have the most beautiful little girl in the world.
I wouldn't be staying home with our daughter.

J., this part is for you.

Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for being my partner in life.
Thank you for being creative, courageous, and spontaneous.
Thank you for working so hard for our little family.
Thank you for supporting my choice to stay home.
Thank you for being an amazing father.
Thank you for all our adventures.
Happy Anniversary.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Running: Week 7 Report

This last week was much better than the last few.

Sunday, 8/7: Ran 1.2 miles.
Comments: Felt good. J. kicked me out of bed to run and I was glad he did.

Monday, 8/8: Walked with the family
Comments: HOT, hot, Hot. If we don't go early it's too hot to go far or fast. It was nice to be out together though.

Tuesday, 8/9: Ran about 1.5 miles.
Comments: Felt stronger than on Sunday. It was really early and not hot yet.

Wednesday, 8/10: Went sailing.
Comments: Super fun. Lots of wind. Not really a work out but I did hoist the main sail...that counts for something right? An evening on the water definitely counts as self-care.

Thursday, 8/11: Ran approx. 1.5 miles.
Comments: I was tired. Glad I went anyways but wanted to go to sleep when I got home.

Friday, 8/12: Took L. to the park and made 14 trips to the restroom. It counts for something.
Comments: By the time she finally went I was exhausted. Going to make sure she eats her yogurt for breakfast tomorrow.

Satursday, 8/13: Off
Comments: I thought about running before bed but decided to take the day off.

Next week I'm going to be better about walking or cross training on my non-running days. I need to stretch everyday or my knee feels tight. I did do a really good job of showering by myself this week. It was amazing. Kudos to J. for his support. Wouldn't have showered alone if it weren't for him. Also, I got my haircut and blow dried my hair twice this week. It felt pretty awesome. It always amazes me that something so superficial can make me feel like a new person. It's the little things, right?

And today is our seven year wedding anniversary. That is pretty awesome too...but more on that tomorrow...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Today Was A Good Day

It was good because we had the car.

It was good because we played in the water all morning.

It was good because we talked with friends.

It was good because we watched the dolphins play at the aquarium.

It was good because we found giant hermit crabs at the aquarium too.

It was good because L. took a nap.

It was good because I took a bath and dried my hair while L. took the above mentioned nap.

It was good because I got to see L. running toward J. and yelling, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy" when we picked him up at work tonight.

It was good because L. only missed the potty once.
 
And it was good because we are one day closer to the weekend and TWO whole uninterrupted days with J.*

Hope you all had a good day today too! 

*I suppose I should explain that J. has Sunday/Monday off so today is our Thursday...hence still having one more day until the weekend.

Monday, August 8, 2011

My Thoughts at 3:45am

I haven't felt well since Saturday morning. I slept badly Saturday night and woke up Sunday morning with a migraine, presumably because I did not sleep well. I was so out of it I didn't take my migraine pills. I took regular Tylenol twice without noticing (yes, it's a good thing we don't have anything dangerous in our medicine cabinet). All I noticed was that I wasn't feeling any better.

By the time I figured out I was taking the wrong pills and took the right ones it was late afternoon.

Consequently, my headache is gone but I've been up most of the night. I went to bed at 9:15pm and tossed and turned until 12:30am when I finally fell asleep. L. woke up to pee at 1:30am and I've been awake since then.

I'm super excited she woke up to pee by the way. That was pretty awesome. I'd like to be sleeping right now but I'm also glad I'm not washing bed sheets. I'm a very proud mama.

Anyhow, after lying in bed thinking about random stuff for several hours (for example, situations I wish I'd handled differently in college, my good friend who is in labor or already had her baby by now, whether or not we should start weaning, where I might find work if/when I'm ready to go back in the distant future, etc.) I decided to get up and read or write or do something.

There is only so long I can lie in bed not sleeping.

So here I am.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I Suck at Self-Care (Running: Week 6 Report)

Saturday morning after J. left for work, I decided I needed to take a bath.

L. joined me in the tub. Normally this works just fine. She sits and plays with her toys in the water while I take a bath or shower. A good 98% of my bathing is done this way. Like I said, normally this arrangement works just fine--L. gets to play in the water and I get clean.

However, Saturday morning it didn't work. It was a disaster. She wanted to nurse, she wanted my razor and the bar of soap. Both of these were out of reach and she kept standing up in her attempts to reach them. When she couldn't have what she wanted she threw a tantrum and climbed out of the tub.

So there I was, dripping wet, running after a screaming toddler who was suddenly (now that she was dripping wet too) interested in watching Sesame Street on the computer in our room.

I managed to get us both rinsed off and dressed but in the process I started feeling really angry.

I was angry with myself because I haven't been taking care of myself lately. It's been six weeks since I started running again and I'm doing less than I was in week 1. This week I only ran twice, on the treadmill. I didn't get out of the house or have time to myself and I didn't get to take a shower alone afterword.

I realized I've gotten to a point where I feel like everything I do for myself (bathing, running, sewing, blogging, talking to friends on the phone) has to be done when I'm home alone with L. and she is napping. I can do stuff for myself as long as there is no chance of it inconveniencing someone else--so long as no one else sees me and I get everything else done first.

As I chased after L. Saturday morning I realized the stuff I need to do for myself keeps getting pushed down to the bottom of the list. I never get to it or if I do I'm too tired to enjoy it. We've had company. We've been crazy busy all summer. I know all that and to be fair, I've let a lot of non-essential things slide.

But self-care isn't a non-essential.

J. and I have talked about all of this before. Every time it comes up he agrees that I need to take care of myself. And then nothing changes. It doesn't change because I don't make it change.

I'm the one who has to make the changes but I need support.

This time when J. and I sat down to talk, I told him what I needed to change and what I needed from him to make it possible.

I need him to be prepared to take care of L. if she wakes up while I'm running/walking in the morning. I'm not going to wait until she wakes up to run.

I need him to shower 15 minutes earlier every morning so I can shower by myself before he goes to work.

I need a short break after he gets home in the evening. It doesn't have to be right away but it has to be before I start L.'s bedtime routine.

And I need to go to be earlier.

I felt extremely guilty telling J. I needed these things. Generally speaking, we have a very egalitarian division of labor. We both cook, we both do dishes, I do laundry because I have certain ways I want it done, and he mows the grass because he has a certain way he wants it done. If I ask him for help with anything he always helps if he can.

But the fact remains that he takes a shower every morning before work and a relaxing bath every night--by himself. I'm jealous.

He made a comment about how much I was asking him to sacrifice. That made me feel even more guilty.

I told him I wanted there to be more balance in our sacrifices.

My physical health, sanity, and personal hygiene are not things I'm willing to sacrifice anymore.

I've written that before and but I've never really internalized it. This time I'm going to. I am going to take care of myself.

And I'm going to stop writing blog posts where I do nothing but complain about things that are completely within my power to change. There are much more interesting things to write about than my bathing habits...

Here's my week 6 running report:

Sunday 7/31: Ran 1 mile on the treadmill.
Comments: Tried to do it while L. was napping but she woke up. J. watched L. so I only had a few interruptions.

Wednesday 8/3: Ran 1 mile on the treadmill.
Comments: I was home with L. by myself. She sat and watched Wonder Pets! but I had to get up every time she said she had to go potty (which she did frequently just so I would stop and pay attention to her). She's a smart cookie.

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