As you may remember, we're on quarantine. Sick child in the house. So that means lots of fluids, a little whining, rest, tissue and board games. Lots of them. And right now, so I can get a reprieve from board game mania but husband has taken over. They're downstairs, playing Risk right now as I type. And I haven't needed to get up to get anyone anything for over 30 minutes now. Bliss! Risk? You bring me joy!
My daughter showed me how to download a free Scrabble game on my iPod and now I'm addicted. I'm playing with her, with strangers from all over the globe. I have about 5 games going on right now and I honestly wish I could play more. But I do have dinner to make, laundry to catch up on, a family to interact with. But it's addicting! I can't stop. Now I need a 4 letter word, beginning with the letter z, using the following letters: YHAIIQB. It's a triple word score spot and I want to beat my opponent. SCRABBLE = JOY!
I hate it when my kids are sick. And to tell the truth, I'm not a very good nurse. I'm too busy being worried about what it "could" be that I get almost as cranky as they are. I have to physically stop myself, calm myself down and remind myself that it's just a cold. Colds are good. They challenge our immune system to do its job. My youngest is sick today. And he's the cuddliest of my children. We played checkers, we snuggled and read together. And cuddled for naps. Today my little boy was sick. But I was able to stop. Be calm. And find joy in his snuggles.
I just read that McDonald's French Fries (my favorite!) are practically health food compared to the other french fries out there. Five Guys Burgers and Fries (another favorite) is among the worst at 1400 calories. But a small order of Mickey D's fries? 220. That's it. A little more than my 100 calorie snack - OK, twice my 100 calorie snack but not bad for a fried treat. And since I read that I now have a major craving for McDonald's french fries. Because now that I know this little tasty tidbit of information, I find joy in Mickey D fries!
I'm not a big breakfast eater. And I don't like typical breakfast food. But I DO like breakfast for dinner. Especially when it's one of my breakfast casseroles that you make ahead of time and let sit in the refrigerator until you're ready. And that's just what we had tonight. After the mad dash after school, running everyone where they need to be and then picking them all up again I had very little time to make a good meal. So I whipped up my ham and egg casserole this morning. The bread soaked up all the eggy goodness throughout the day in the frig. And then I popped it in the oven just before picking up kids #2 and #3 from Art Class. It was ready by the time we got home. Serve it with a fruit salad and VOILA! Dinner is served. Joy!
Here I am. Saying it out loud. Singing the praises of sleep. But I love a solid night of sleep. Actually, the need for sleep annoys me. I used to think it was such a waste of time. But now I'm older and wiser I understand the value of good sleep and it's restorative qualities. Since children (and because I nursed for so long to a little nipper-napper) I haven't slept through the night in about 7 years. But last night? I did! From midnight to 7am I don't remember waking up one time. A miracle. And oh, so joyful. Zzzzzzzzz!
I love the weekend. But there are some times when I really find joy in Mondays. I like getting my routine back. There is comfort in routines. And our family operates well with routines - especially my youngest two children. So today was a day of making lunches, riding to school, tackling the laundry, working for a few hours at my husband's office, picking up the kids from school, snack, homework, dinner, baths and bedtime. A typical Monday = Joy.
I'm mostly a Summer Olympic fan but that doesn't mean I haven't enjoyed watching the winter games. I've never skied a day in my life but watching them shush down the hill is exhilarating. And the breathtaking views? Makes me want to visit Vancouver. I love the sound of the blades on the ice for any skating event - from hockey to figure skating. Amazing athletes. Great entertainment. This year the 2010 Winter Olympic Games are bringing joy.
Especially on a cold day I love to make a big pot of chili. My family loves my recipe and we like to serve it over a big helping of mashed potatoes. I love making it. It's therapeutic somehow. I know the recipe by heart. It's best made early in the day so it can simmer a long, long time. And then the leftovers? Yum! Today I made a big pot of chili. And it was the perfect cold, wet, rainy day for it. A little bit of beans, a little bit of cheese and a little bit of joy in a bowl of spicy chili.
I know, I know. On Day 24 I complained about house guests. But I was tired. Tired of being invaded and I wanted my house back. But this weekend, today!, my in-laws arrive. They're just staying the weekend and they're bringing my husband's favorite uncle, too. I've had so much fun planning and cleaning and getting ready. Fresh soap in their bathroom. Clean towels and sheets. I'm baking my favorite lemon ricotta biscuits. I have dessert for tonight ready. I'm about to prepare a few more items for the weekend so I don't have to stress. They'll be here in a few hours. I can't wait. Today there is joy in having house guests.
I work on a dinosaur of a computer. My daughter has her own laptop. My husband has his laptop. The boys and I share the dinosaur. It freezes. It can't run certain programs. It's painfully slow. Money is tight but my husband has promised me a laptop. And every chance he gets, every time he has a little saved up he picks up a Best Buy gift card. Today he came home with one for $50 even though he just gave me one last weekend for Valentine's Day. Just because, he said. Such joy in a simple gift card.
My boys have hit that stage, that short-lived stage, when they think it's hilarious to make a peace sign with their fingers and hold it up (unbeknownst to the subject) behind someone's head. They laugh. They giggle. They think this is the funniest thing ever. And you don't even have to be taking someone's picture. Their big sister will be talking and they sneak up behind her and give her rabbit ears. And then the fits of giggles begin. And then I can't stop laughing. And it's not even that funny. But their laughter sends me into laughter and pretty soon everyone is laughing. Today, there was joy in peace signs.
I can't think of the number 69 and not think of my former high school students. I no longer teach, but when I did and I said, "Turn to page 69" or "The answer is 69" the class would erupt into a fit of giggles. They thought they were the only ones in on the joke, that a teacher couldn't possibly know what 69 might be referring to. I'd play dumb and say, "What? What's so funny?" Which would only make them giggle all the more. I loved teaching that age. Their sense of worldliness - when they weren't so worldly. The tough veneer on the outside, but soft, squishy, and lovable on the inside. And the things they would do that made me laugh. I still keep in touch with many of them - thanks to Facebook. So they still make me giggle and smile. Especially as they realize how much they don't know. Yes, my high school students still bring me joy.
Chinese/Korean New Year, that is. And a day late. But I really wanted to celebrate my sweet, dear Valentines yesterday. We had a double holiday yesterday with Valentines and Chinese New Year. Two of our children are Korean. So we celebrate the Chinese/Korean New Year every year complete with dumplings, red envelopes filled with money, Korean bar-b-q, and juicy oranges. It's a wonderful time to honor our children's heritage and we have such fun doing it. To any of you reading out there, have a happy and joyful New Year!
I have four wonderful Valentines. My dear husband and my three amazing children. Sure, I'm thankful for them every other day of the year. Of course, I surprise them with little gifts that let them know I'm thinking of them. But Valentine's Day is a great day to share with each other, gorge on chocolates and laugh at silly cards. I love my family and my sweet Valentines bring me joy!
We're stuck. No driving today. But that's ok. We cancelled all plans. Our refrigerator and pantry is stocked. A day to do absolutely nothing. Days like this don't come along very often and I'm going to relish in nothingness. No plans. No to-do list. No have-tos or shoulds. We're going to have a great day of nothing at Chez Joy's and we have the snow to thank. Ahhhhh, the joys of being snowed in!
I live in a part of the country that doesn't get snow very often. A couple times a year we might get a dusting. But nothing like today! Today, we had real snow. Everything is covered. The trees, the grass, the sidewalk. My boys made a snowman with their Dad and went sledding. My daughter took pictures. The dog went crazy in the backyard. I helped decorate the snowman and then ran inside to make hot chocolate. And then we all sat around and drank hot chocolate and ate popcorn and laughed and laughed. What a wonderful family time today. Thanks to that joyful snow!
I wish I could find one just like it. It has raincoat material on the outside. That cute, preppy plaid on the inside. My grandfather had one just like it and when they came back into vogue in the 70's I just had to have one. And I still love them. But the memory today brought me such joy! I loved my Sir Jac jacket!
I don't know if you remember, but I was sick last week with a nasty head cold. And with my stuffy nose, I avoided all dairy products. Since I love yogurt, ice cream, milk and cheese it was torture. I'm feeling much better and finally, I can breathe freely. So I can have milk again! We made fresh oatmeal, chocolate chip cookies today and I could barely contain my excitement pouring myself a huge glass of milk. Finally! Cookies AND milk. Joy, joy, joy!
I've spent a lot of time lately finally cleaning out boxes and boxes in the basement. I wouldn't call myself a hoarder but I do save things. Old journals. Old lesson plans from my teaching days. Mementos from my kid's arrivals. Photos. The typical keepsake memorabilia. But the 0ther day I found love letters my husband and I sent each other during our long distant relationship phase. Ahhh, the memories it brought back. It was so fun, sitting there, feeling again the excitement and love we had for each other. So new. So fresh. I will joyfully read them again and again.
The temperatures where I live have been colder than usual. And they have reminded me of the frozen north that I ran away from so many years ago. But it's rejuvenated my love of sweaters. As much as I hate the cold, I love the reason to put on a cozy, warm sweater. With a turtleneck underneath. Fair Isle sweaters. Cardigans. Crew or V-neck. It doesn't matter. Nothing beats a cozy, warm sweater on a freezing day like today. Joy!
We live in a wonderful neighborhood where people actually want to get to know you. And we have met some dear friends here. While I prefer college football, I do enjoy a good Super Bowl Party and we went to one tonight. Dear friends. Great food. The kids had a blast playing - until bedtime, at least. The guys (and a few gals) enjoyed the game. And me? I loved the commercials. Funny. Silly. Great fun. Tonight's Super Bowl Party was full of joy.
We have so much fun when we all go out together as a family. And tonight was no exception. We went to our favorite Mexican restaurant and had a ball. They have a mariachi band that works its way around the restaurant. The atmosphere is noisy so we don't worry about our youngest kids disturbing other diners. There is something on the menu for everyone. And tonight my husband tried something new and he let me taste it. It's my new favorite! I can't wait to go back. Tonight we had a very joyful time as a family.
I need a vacation. It's cold, rainy and yucky here. And I want sun and fun. But money is tight. It's going to be awhile before we can afford a vacation. My middle child was watching TV this morning before school and saw an ad for a contest to win a trip to Disney World. "Mommy! You just HAVE to enter! Please?!?" We love Disney World - well, the kids and I do. And we have so many great memories of our trips there. On the way to school today we all took turns with our favorite Walt Disney World memories. What a joyful ride down memory lane!
I told myself I wasn't going to repeat things but some days (especially when it comes to my children) I just can't help it. Today (as with many days) I found joy in my son. I've been struggling with a cold and everyone has been sweetly trying to make things a bit better. My youngest is 5 and when he came home from school he told me to go lie on the couch and he would "take care of everything." He brought me his beloved stuffed piggy. He covered me with a blanket. He made sure my tissues and the TV remote were in reach. Then he walked away to go play upstairs and said, "Call me if you need anything!" My youngest brings me joy!
Silly, huh? But it's the little things. Especially today. My nose is so stuffed and I feel like I'm blowing my brains out. Sneezing. Coughing. This cold is still here but thank goodness for tissue with lotion. My nose is so thankful. It's getting a little raw from all the attention but I remember the days of just plain tissue - without the soothing aloe lotion. Today I'm finding a little bit of joy in the little bit of lotion coating my tissue.
I have a cold. Sore throat. Stuffy nose. Headache. Tired. Your run-of-the-mill-common-every-day-cold. And all I want to do is sit on the couch - more like lie on the couch - and watch mindless TV, drifting in and out of a nap or two. But I'm a mother. With kids who want her attention. And I'm a wife, too. With a husband who wants to eat dinner. So lazying around isn't in the plans for me today. But a moment to enjoy a cup of hot tea is. I just made it. It's cooling here - waiting for me. And in a moment I'm going to get a few minutes of silence and hot liquid to soothe my aches and pains. Today, I'm not feeling very joyful. But there IS joy in my cup of hot tea.
"Mom? Can I do some chores?" Not a phrase most moms hear every day. But I hear this quite often from my 6-year-old. He loves to help me around the house. But a child does...well, a child's work. It takes everything in my OCD nature not to re-do, or take the rag and say, "No, do it this way." Today he cleaned the wood floors (in spots), he wiped (smeared) the counters, he Windexed the windows (complete with spots) and attempted to disinfect the door knobs with Lysol (breaking the top off in the process...how? I do not know.) It was so difficult to resist the urge to fix it all. I have to remember that in the huge scheme of things there is absolutely joy in a helpful child.
A friend once told me that she tries to find joy in every day. But some weeks it's hard. A whole week without finding joy? That is so sad. I find joy in EVERY day. Or so I think. So I'm testing myself. I am challenging myself to find joy in every single day. Without fail. I will post joy every single day to prove it to myself, to inspire others. Just to see if I can do it. Small bits of joy. Large, monumental moments of joy. But joy is what you will find here.