My kids have been counting down until this very day all month. They are so excited. They're bouncing off the walls. I've never seen them get ready so quickly or so early. Dressed and ready to go almost an hour before we left the house for the costume contest in our neighborhood. There is nothing like experiencing life through the eyes of a child. This Halloween is no exception. Scary. Fun. Chili and monster toes for dinner and then for dessert? Treats. Lots and lots of treats. And joy!
We're almost to the end of the season. I promise. And I know I've used this joy quite a bit - but it's true. Soccer = joy in this house. Even my youngest, who complained when the season first started, is loving it. He can't wait until next season and wants to request the same coach. (And his coach truly is wonderful!) I just love watching my kids participate in the activities that bring them joy. So yeah, soccer brings me joy, too!
I love baseball. But (sorry all you fans out there), I'm not that into either of the teams playing the world series this year. My son doesn't care who is playing. He just loves to watch baseball. This afternoon, he and I had a blast talking, researching and sharing all about this season and past seasons. I told him how I was at the game in Detroit when the Tigers won in 1984. He looked at me like I was some kind of hero - just because I was there when they won. There are so many things to enjoy through a child's eyes. And baseball is one of them.
I needed an easy dinner tonight. Off to the deli for some rotisserie chicken. Then I just steamed some broccoli, made some rice and voila! Dinner is served. That's all that needs to be said. I found joy in rotisserie chicken. (And that was a stretch for me today, because the rest of the day - and night - stunk!)
I know the song is "Rainy Days and Mondays" but today, it's rainy days and popcorn. A dreary, gloomy day out and I was caught up with housework. Oh sure, there's is the cupboards in the family room to clean out. Or my closet. (Please don't look in my closet!) But to an outsider, the house looked great. And there was only one load of laundry to contend with. So I popped some popcorn (my favorite snack) and turned on the DVR to catch up with my shows. It was cold and dreary outside but warm and cozy inside. Thanks to the joy a little popcorn and a reason to stay inside can bring!
I enjoy James Taylor's music. He isn't my number one folk favorite but many of his songs "sing" to me, if you will. Today, I was feeling a bit melancholy. For no particular reason. I was flipping stations and one of his songs was playing. And then another. Evidently, the station was doing a mini-tribute to his work. And I realized how meaningful many of his songs were to me. By the third song, my mood had shifted. I was feeling lighter, happier. Today's joy is brought to me by James Taylor.
It's a miracle. Each and every one of my three children made their beds this morning. And on each bed, they placed their lovies on the pillow. Even my teenage daughter still has her lovey from when she was a baby, a sweet, little bunny called Bun-bun. My oldest son has Doggy and my youngest son has Piggy. I know. My kids aren't very imaginative with names but they make up for it with the love they have in their hearts for their lovey. And to see their precious friends perched sweetly on their pillows? Filled my heart with joy this morning.
I adore my kids. You know I do. But I really, really miss the days when my husband and I would wake up on a weekend and say, "What do you want to do today?" The world was our oyster. With kids, it's a tiny bit different. Ok, not so tiny. But today they have a birthday party to go to. And the hosts want our boys to stay a bit longer, after the guests leave. So my husband and I are getting a "Date Day!" I am so excited! Four hours of unplanned "Us" time. Joy!
I'm a certified Disney Nut. Just ask my family. I've been saving and saving to take my kids. Separately. My daughter graduates this spring and that's what she's asked to do with me - a mother/daughter trip. My boys wanted one of their own. (My husband says he's tired of Disney. I know. Crazy, right?) Tonight, the boys and I watched the planning video and were inspired. They started shouting out the things they wanted to make sure we did. I took notes. We laughed. We reminisced. We planned. It was great fun. And I'm so glad they find joy in Disney planning, too!
I don't always say this. In fact, lately, I've been in a bit of a slump when it comes to making dinner for my family. I'm pretty good at planning. I'm becoming an accomplished cook. But every once in a while, I'm uninspired. I've been that way lately and I decided to push myself out of it. I create a Tilapia recipe with Panko breadcrumbs and a couple veggie sides and hash browns. An OK meal for the spur of the moment. And then, in the middle of dinner, my youngest son says, "This is why I don't like to go out to eat. Mom makes the best stuff at home!" My heart melted. So tonight, my joy was in making a home cooked meal for my family!
I use this one about every 100 days. But I can't help it. I love to swim. I found a community indoor pool where I can swim during the off-season for just $2. I went this afternoon and I feel great. I play different games with myself when I swim. Sometimes I predetermine how many laps I'll swim and then countdown the lengths of the pool as I swim. Sometimes I just count the laps and see how far I go. Other times, I pick a time-limit for my swim. Today? I just swam. And swam. And then decided to get out. It's my Zen. It's my peace. It's my joy.
Weird, I know. But I love Raisin Bran. It's been my favorite cereal since I was a kid. And now, I love it more because of my 6-week-Raisin-Bran-Muffin recipe. It keeps 6 weeks in the fridge and we can have fresh Raisin Bran Muffins whenever we want. Or just a bowl of the cereal. I even have it as a snack. Aside from the great fiber source, it's tasty, too. Ahhh, the many joys of Raisin Bran!
Not to be outdone, my other son (a tiny bit jealous that his brother was getting all the attention with his chess playing) asked me if I'd play Baseball with him on his xBox. Of course, I said yes. Baseball is one of my favorite sports. I played as a kid. I watch as an adult. That was an easy yes. And we played. Or, should I say, he played. Let me tell you, baseball on xBox is way different than playing in your backyard. I still don't have the hang of it. But my son had a blast. And THAT brings me joy!
My husband taught our 6 yr. old how to play chess over the weekend. Today, my son was eager to teach me. On the way to school he begged me to let him give me a lesson. I told him we'd play after school. He's like an elephant. He never forgets. Sure enough, all the way home I had to hear about all the rules. As soon as snack was over, he taught me. And we played for over an hour. Who knew he had that long of an attention span? He and I had so much fun. I've never been interested in chess before. But now, I find joy in a game of chess.
My family loves my tomato sauce. I always switch up the pasta and for some reason penne pasta is my daughter's favorite. So tonight, that's what we had. It was the perfect day for comfort food. She's going through some struggles. It was cool and crisp outside. It just felt like a night for a rib-sticking meal. Tonight was a night for penne joy!
We had a today today when every single member of the family stayed together for the entire day. We woke up and had breakfast together. Then we went to the boys soccer games. Then to the AT&T store to fix our daughter up with her new phone. Then out to lunch. Then back home for a few chores and games of chess and backgammon. We made dinner together and then watched a movie. All together. All day long. My kind of weekend joy!
I know I've used this joy focus before, but it's Friday! And my husband has the weekend off. And we have a full weekend planned, so I'll need his help. I am so glad it's Friday. I'm going to be riding on this joy all day long!
The sun is coming up later so it's easier for me to be up at sunrise. Today I woke up at 6:30am when it was still dark. I took my shower and was ready for the day before anyone else in the house. I was able to sip my tea and enjoy the sunrise for the first time in a long time. There is something about a quiet, calm start to any day. The beautiful sunrise was an added bonus, added joy.
My boys have been taking an art and creative writing class from a retired teacher in our neighborhood. They love it! They are so proud of the creations they come home with. And today, they brought home their composition books to share with me. We sat down and read every story. They are so proud of themselves and I am proud of them. I know high school students out there may disagree with me, but there is joy in a composition book!
Our weather is just starting to turn. The air is a little crisper in the morning. There's a bit of a nip in the air. And the leaves are just starting to change. I love fall. It's my favorite season. I just wish it wasn't so short. The weather is perfect. The fall color is gorgeous. We are no where near peak season but just seeing this little hint brings me such joy!
My in-laws are in town and my mother-in-law is a shopper. I'm not. She doesn't have many of the stores near her that we have here. One of her favorites is World Market. That's a good thing. Because even though I don't enjoy shopping, I do enjoy World Market. I love all the unique things - from furniture to glassware to food to stationary - that I can find then. So, today, even though we had to go shopping, at least it was at World Market. Sometimes, there is joy in shopping.
I don't chew gum. I blame my orthodontist. I wore braces for years and years during my adolescence. During the prime gum habit chewing years. Now, as an adult, I just don't chew gum. So when I fly, what do I do to relieve the pressure? I chew Starburst. Yes, it doesn't last as long as chewing gum but it tastes delicious! And I can renew the flavor every minute or so. Just a little help on my flight home tonight. My joy today was found in a pack of Starburst!
After a long day. After a memorial service for my brother-in-law. After a Michigan State stomping of U of M. After a houseful and a yardful of friends and family. The four of us sisters, finally sat down around the dining room table. The youngest of us asked, "Have you ever played Apples to Apples?" Two of us hadn't. After a quick review of the rules, we played. And we played. And we laughed. And we argued. And we played and laughed some more. Truly the highlight of my day. It was great to end it with a little joy.
I have to take a trip I'm not excited about. And because of my family's schedule, I had to arrive at the airport extra early. Three hours early, to be exact. But that gave me plenty of time to read my book. Uninterrupted. Alone. Sipping my coke. Savoring every page. I love to read. But reading alone, without distraction, brings me joy.
Pretty glassware. I'm a sucker for it. And I found the prettiest glasses at World Market today. It takes everything in me not to buy more and more. I have to restrain myself most times. But today I couldn't. These glasses were so fun. So perky. So happy. I just had to have them. Yep. Even I can find joy in glassware.
It's starting to feel like fall here. Getting darker earlier. The air is getting cooler and crisp. Tonight, we arrived home late and my husband looked up and you could see every star in the sky. He pointed it out to the boys and they stood there in awe. It truly was a beautiful site. But even more amazing because of our sons' amazement. Joy in their wonder. And joy in a clear night sky.
Not war-war. The card game War. My boys and I have been playing for a few days now. Keeping our cards safe until our next encounter. Purely a game of chance, so easy to explain and enjoy at their age. We play for about 10 minutes or so and then save our stacks for the next day. Today, they couldn't wait to get home so we could play War before dinner. I loved their excitement. I'm glad they want to play with me. So yes, War brings me joy!
I can't believe I've been keeping this up for nearly 300 days. I don't always get to it each day - like this past week...oops! But I keep a tiny notebook in my purse to jot down the joy I've experienced so I remember to write about it. I apologize for sometimes being so absent from this blog. I'd love to say it's because I'm off experiencing joy (which I am) but life gets busy and in the way sometimes. I'm going to make a better effort of being more timely here. But I want you to know, just having that little notebook in my purse, knowing that it is full of joy to document, brings it's own little dose of joy. Happy Nearly 300 Days of Joy to me! And thanks for reading!
It's so nice to be able to spend one-on-one time with each child. But with busy schedules and a husband who works so many hours, scheduling alone time with each kid is difficult. Sometimes I have to wrap it up under the guise of an errand. And this weekend was no exception. #1son needed new tennis shoes. So off we went. It's amazing the things you discover about your child when there are no other siblings around. We had a wonderful time and he got a new pair of shoes. And I got a little joy sprinkled into my day with some alone time with my son.
My boys are playing soccer again, this time in a league that meets once a week. Every Saturday I turn into a soccer mom. For 3 hours. But I don't mind. I love cheering my boys on. I love watching them play and have such fun. I love seeing their improvement each week. I love being outside enjoying the beautiful fall weather we're having. So, if you'd like to know - Yes, there is joy in being a soccer mom.
For some reason, I've been having a really hard time with my sleep. Waking in the middle of the night. Unable to fall asleep right away. I'm trying everything to preserve my sleep and the one thing I am very grateful for is my sleep mask. It helps to block the dim light of the alarm clock or the light that seeps in the morning before it's time for me to actually get up. Last night I finally fell asleep and was still sleeping, all the way until 7:15am. It was only six hours of sleep but it was six hours uninterrupted. And I credit my sleep mask for bringing me a little sleeping joy.
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.