Isn't this every kid's favorite meal? Mine are no exception. And tonight, we were all in the mood for it. So much so, that everyone helped to prepare the meal. We cranked up the music and got to work. Browning the sausage. Making the sauce. Preparing the salad and the noodles. Warming the bread. A group effort. All for the joy of spaghetti!
My boys like to play games in the car on the way to school. And it's fun for me, as a former teacher, to play learning games. Keeps me sharp! And them, too! More than that, it helps me to see their progress. Which came out in spades today. My two sons wanted to play math games in the car. I started with simple addition and subtraction but then they wanted to understand "times" (multiplication). I kept making it harder and harder and they rose to the challenge each time. I was so impressed. And so happy that they find joy in math, too!
Spring has sprung! And today it really felt like it. The temperature for later in the week is supposed to hit almost 80. The grass is still brown. There are many trees that still have bare branches. But the flowering trees are in full bloom. The daffodils have been out for a while. And now with the weather forecast not predicting any cold weather any time soon? I think we can safely say, Welcome joyful spring!
A great escape. And when I need to recharge I like to do it with a good movie. Movie popcorn. An icy Coca-Cola. I like to sit in the back row so I can enjoy the audiences reaction to the film. I like all kinds of movies, too. Dramas, comedies, thrillers. It doesn't matter. As long as it's well made. On this rainy, Sunday afternoon I escaped to the movies. Joy!
Well, not exactly. But my husband was away. So the kids and I played. We went to a movie. Ate a kid friendly meal of tacos and chips and carrot sticks. Then, after their bath, we crawled into bed and read and read and read. They dozed softly and I snuck downstairs. I could watch whatever I wanted to on television. Play word games on the computer for as long as I wanted to. Stretch out in the bed, take up as much space as I could without snoring waking me up. I love my husband. But there is joy in a night away.
My son's class has been studying the Victorian era and to culminate the unit they had a Victorian Tea Party. They had lessons on manners and etiquette. They dressed up in formal dress complete with top hats for the gentlemen. I was one of the parent volunteers to help host the party and it was so much fun. I loved seeing my son in his school environment, learning more about his friends and just seeing the kids in action. Plus, the tea party was delightful! It took two hours of preparation on the front end to prepare the scones, cucumber sandwiches, biscuits and assemble the cakes. It took about an hour and a half on the back end just washing all the delicate china, teapots, platters and silverware by hand. All for a one hour tea party. But so worth it because it was a joy to participate in!
Today was a really long day. Really long. More detours than yesterday. And two crabby boys. So I became frazzled and when I become frazzled everyone else seems to come unhinged. I managed to get dinner on the table a little earlier than usual. The boys in the bathtub and in bed a few minutes early so we'd have plenty of time to read. And now? I hear the delightful, gentle snoring of two sleeping children. My husband is working late so the house is quiet. I can blog uninterrupted with the sounds of soft sleep. Yawn. It's making me sleepy, too. Ahhh, the joys of sleeping children.
Today was full of detours. For some reason or another, plan A was not to be and a plan B had to be found. My son couldn't find his favorite pair of tennis shoes - plan B - wear the slip-on pair. My daughter couldn't do her chosen topic for her research paper - plan B - the teacher's suggestion, which she confided that she liked better. And then tonight, I thought my plan for dinner was a shoe in - but it was still frozen and would taste terrible if we microwaved it. My daughter exclaimed, "Plan B! Let's do Chinese take-out!" A joyful idea! Boy, I love Plan B!
After a weekend outdoors, and little focus indoors, the house was a bit of a mess. But yesterday and today, while the kids were in school, I turned up the tunes and cleaned, straightened, washed and folded. And this afternoon, as I look around the house, I see order and shiny sinks. I can't believe how much I got done. And it all went by so quickly thanks to my ipod cranked up, playing on the shuffle mode. Favorite music made the chores fly by. Thank you music! You bring me joy!
Saturday we grilled chicken. Last night we grilled sausage. Tonight I have leftovers. And I'm so excited to use them in a spicy gumbo soup. It got a little cold again where I live so soup is the perfect meal tonight and I have just the right leftovers. Served over a little rice it's going to be heaven in a bowl. I can't wait. And I can't believe I'm finding joy in leftovers!
Tonight we had a clear, night sky. And my husband, a star gazer, got all excited and called us outside to see and enjoy. Even our teenage daughter mustered up a little appreciation for what we saw. And it was gorgeous. We live away from the city now, so the nighttime sky is a bit deeper, the stars more sparkly. My husband pointed out the constellations he could find and we all stood around trying to connect the dots. It was a fun family moment. Joy in the nighttime sky.
And it felt like the first day of spring, too! Sunny. Warm. The forsythia is blooming. Delicious smells outside of earth and fresh air. We spent the morning straightening up and opening windows. Then in the afternoon we puttered around outside, raking flower beds, cleaning up wayward leaves. My husband trimmed bushes and the boys helped with the wheelbarrow. The dog romped in the backyard and the boys threw the tennis ball for him. Our cat sunned herself on the back porch and then, to truly celebrate, we grilled chicken and ate at the picnic table. Lovely, joyful, spring day!
I think it's fitting that I celebrate this blog for my 100th post. I have another blog. A bit more of a public blog. But this blog is for me. And for you, too - if you're reading. This blog is the one where I challenge myself to document the joy. To make sure I recognize the joy. And be thankful for the joy in each day. And as I said in yesterday's post, the fact that you are commenting or even peeking in is joy. The mere notion that I may be inspiring others to recognize their own daily joy is inspiring to me. I enjoy this blog so much. It's a bit less taxing than my other blog. This blog is fun and joyful. Yep, this blog brings me joy!
I don't always make it to the computer every day to post. But I keep a little black notebook with me to jot down the joy of the day. With this time change - well, I've been thrown for a loop. I'm having a heck of a time catching up on sleep, story time with my kids, computer time for me. When I signed on today to catch up on my posts I found all these comments (well, a few - but a lot for me) waiting for me on my previous posts. I started this blog as a little experiment for myself. I didn't run out there, commenting everywhere, trying to build up support for THIS blog. It's been a quiet little start and that's ok with me. But I am humbled and stunned that the few of you that DO visit take the time to comment on my little joys. You are all so sweet, so kind to do so. Please know how much joy I find in your comments. True joy!
Luck o' the Irish to you! Happy St. Paddy's Day! My sons came home from school today and said, "Mom, thanks for making me wear green today!" They didn't believe me this morning when I told them they had to wear green because it was St. Patrick's Day. But after school they were whistling a new tune. Evidently, a few children forgot. And boy oh boy, do I remember the pinches the first time I forgot! Hope you wore your green today! Because today? Green = joy!
I chaperoned a field trip today for my son's class. A play. At a local university. It was entertaining. A little boring in parts. But I was so amazed at the patience and politeness of his classmates. At points where it was obviously a little slow, a little boring for the age they were all so still and so quiet. And then we all ate lunch, outside on the college campus. And many students walking past noticed us (how could you not?) and there were smiles. Some even stopped to talk to the children. One even commented on how well behaved they all were. I love my son's school. I loved being on the field trip to witness their behavior as a group. This field trip brought me joy.
Arthur is on PBS just before we leave for school. It's on right at the time that I'm rushing around to get ready. You see, I'm like most moms. I wake up, tend to everyone else and then remember to take care of myself. In those few 15 minutes I shovel down a bowl of Raisin Bran, take a quick shower, dry my hair and throw it in a quick ponytail and jump into some clothes. The kids are ready. They're fed, dressed, teeth are brushed. I've already made their lunches. So they watch a quick episode of Arthur so I can get ready. Today was crazy with the time change - so today, Arthur brought me a few minutes of peace and joy!
I love candles. Any kind. Scented. Unscented. It doesn't matter. Everything looks so cozy and romantic by candlelight. But I am a bit picky about my scented candles. I typically don't like candles that smell like food. I make the occasional exception for vanilla or baking scents. And I love my kitchen candles. Any time I make food (like tonight) that has a smell that lingers, I light a candle in the kitchen and our bedroom. I don't like to go to sleep with the smell of that evening's dinner haunting our room. Tonight there is the light fragrance of powder and lilac in the bedroom. And it looks so pretty, flickering gently. Candles bring me simple, sweet joy.
No obligations. No schedule. Free weekend day! I love Saturdays. And this particular Saturday there are no plans. No sporting events. No appointments. Not even any errands to run. Just a free day to play with my kids and husband. We slept (a little later than usual), had banana pancakes and sausage and played a little xBox together. What will we do for the rest of the day? Who knows! The day is our oyster. Oh, how I love Saturdays like this! Joy!
It feels a bit silly finding joy in basil. But I love the way it smells. And the way it tastes. I've been known to buy basil in the grocery story, put it in water on my kitchen counter - just so I can sniff it when I walk past. I grow it every year in my garden. I probably should try to grow it inside in the winter. I have oodles of recipes that use fresh basil to help me get my fix. It is definitely one of my favorite herbs. And today I picked more up at the store to adorn my counter. Basil love, basil joy!
To try to banish this return of cooler weather I treated myself to a manicure/pedicure today. I'm not much of a girly girl. But I do enjoy a treat now and then. And while I probably should pay more attention to my nails - I do what I can. And today I relaxed for a full hour and enjoyed being pampered. French pedicure, American manicure - because who can skillfully do that kind of mani/pedi on themselves? Not me! So I left it to the professionals. Joy!
Another chilly day here - so it's soup night! I love to make soup. And I rarely follow a recipe anymore. Which annoys my husband because he'll end up loving a particular recipe and say, "Wow! This is great! .....oh - you don't remember what you did so we'll never have it again, right?" Sorry, honey. But you're probably right. But don't worry. I like making soup so much we're sure to hit on another winner! Like for tonight. An Asian inspired noodle creation! Yum, yum, joy!
For me, chocolate solves all problems. Want something sweet after dinner? Three Hershey's chocolate kisses and I'm satisfied. Feeling cranky? A glass of chocolate milk will do the trick. Hot, sunny day? A chocolate ice cream cone will cool me off! Today, after our glorious sunny, warm spring day yesterday, it turned all cold and rainy. So the kids and I came home from school and had hot chocolate with whipped cream. Tasty joy on this dreary day!
It hit 70 today! And it was sunny! I was warm for the first time in ages. After school, the kids and I played outside until dinner. Tennis in the driveway. Gardening. Chalk drawings on the sidewalk. Snacks on the front porch. It was heaven! I am so glad that the signs of spring are showing. Finally! Sorry, Winter. But I am so over you. Bring on Spring! Because spring brings me joy!
It promised to be 3 hours long. Frankly, I was dreading it. But it was for my daughter's sports banquet - and her portion would be at the very end. Sitting there, watching all the other athlete being recognized, seeing her friends -- I realized she was in good company. And I was so proud of her and all the other student athletes of their accomplishments. Students with a 3.5 grade point average or above were also recognized and I was stunned with how many names were called. We also made it to State Championships for the first time in the school's history and placed 14th overall on our first try! This truly was a wonderful year. And I felt nothing but joy at the banquet today.
If you've been reading for at least a little while you know that I LOVE music. I have it on in the car, in the house, when I cook, when I clean, when I shower - even when I blog. And I LOVE my iPod. But my husband's laptop crashed last September and even though I know better, I hadn't backed-up my songs. So if I synced my iPod with my husband's "now" fixed computer I'd loose about 800 songs that I hadn't purchased through itunes. I'm not that computer savvy and I didn't want to take the chance of loosing music, so I just didn't. It's been 6 long months with no new music. My dear, sweet husband found a way for me to keep everything and still connect to itunes AND be able to buy/add more music. It's a program called Pod To PC and it was awesome! First of all, it worked. Second of all, I can add more music to my iPod and still keep all of my old songs managed on itunes. Joy! Joy! Joy!
We declared Friday night movie night, a long time ago. And then that didn't happen every week for whatever reason. Then, the boys saw something on television and declared Friday night game night. And again, for many reasons it just couldn't seem to happen on a regular basis. But last night we played Fish, Crazy 8's and a rousing game of Sorry before the boys went to bed. We finally had a game night! We decided with 5 busy schedules we can't set in stone a particular night for game night. But we WILL make an effort to make it happen more often. Because tonight brought joy!
Ok, I'm bummed. My computer died. You try to be so careful but you can even visit a site (that you think is legit) and a nasty virus will hop on and follow you to your computer. And that's what happened to me. My kids noticed my less than upbeat mood and asked me what was wrong. I tried to pass it off as something small - but I love blogging. I love reading blogs. My day was a little emptier without you all. So I told them. And my oldest said, "Group hug! Mom needs a group hug!" Oh my goodness. Honestly. The entire day turned completely around. Who needs computers when you can have a group hug? Joy!
I was a musical theater major in college. I ended up switching majors, like just about every one else in my graduating class. But I still love musicals, operas, soundtracks. Our cable has a whole slew of music stations to choose from. I turn them on when I'm cleaning house and today was no exception. But today I choose the Soundtracks and Musicals station. Listening to old songs from Oklahoma and South Pacific and then jumping to Rent and The Lion King. I was in heaven. And it sure made my chores go by that much faster. Joy in show tunes! Nothing better!
My husband came home from work late and saw that the kids were still up. "Come here, I want to show you something!" It was frosty cold outside and the sky was so clear. Stars just lit up the sky. The moon was bright. We just stood there, staring, marveling at how gorgeous it all was. The boys, especially, thought is was so cool! There was joy in the winter sky tonight!
In about 38 minutes, when the dryer bell dings, and I've finished folding that last load - I will be completely finished doing laundry. Every item in the house will be clean. That is, until I give the boys a bath and put them in their pjs. But for now, I am totally caught up with the laundry! And for the next 4 hours I'm going to relish in that joy! It's the little things sometimes.
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.