I flipped my little daily wooden calendar this morning and realized it's the last day of November. The very last day! I don't like to rush time. I like to savor the season. But because it's the last day of the month, that means I can start with our advent calendars beginning tomorrow. My heart bounced with a little joy when I realized that! December is almost here!
I can't believe I haven't written about this before. Don't get me wrong. I love surprises. I love spontaneity. But I also love getting back into our routines. After a week+ at Disney World and then the Thanksgiving holiday, I am sooooooo glad to be back in our routines. The kids at school. My husband at work. Me, back to my daily chores and responsibilities. Today, I'm finding joy with every familiar minute of our daily schedule. Ahhhhh, back into our routines.
My cold followed me to Disney World. It followed me home, too. I'm running at about 72% and it's driving me crazy. I have had no energy to unpack or do laundry but I did it anyway. And guess what? I'm finally finished! The last load of laundry and the last suitcase is unpacked and tucked away, resting up for our next trip. It's taken me a bit longer than it usually does; which is probably why it's something I found joy in today. Such a simple thing, but I'm so glad this chore is finished.
It's tradition. The weekend after Thanksgiving I pull out all of the Christmas decorations. We've spent that last 10 hours decorating the inside and the outside of the house. We play Christmas carols (I never tire of them!). We laugh. We reminisce. We disagree about where to put things. Most of all, we have fun. This year was no exception. Lots and lots of joy in holiday decorating!
Last year, my daughter wanted to shop on Black Friday. I hate shopping. I'm a have-a-mission-go-in-and-get-it-then-leave kind of shopper. But she begged and she pleaded. So I said, OK. But only if we leave at 5am (knowing she'd rather sleep in). She called my bluff and we went. At 5am. And we had a blast! Who knew? We decided then and there to make it a yearly tradition. Off we went today and it was so much fun. We shopped. We stopped for breakfast and coffee. We shopped some more. It was some amazing one-on-one time with my daughter and we even found a few deals, too. Even to a non-shopper, there is joy in Black Friday.
This entire blog is, essentially, about giving thanks. And I love it that Americans are the first to designate an entire day, an entire holiday to stop and recognize the bounty that is in our lives. I have so very much to be thankful for. My husband. My children. My family. My friends. The three of you who stop in to see what I'm thankful for each day. Thank you, faithful few readers. Thanks for peeking in. Happy, happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
I love the holidays. I love preparing for them. And the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is when I get into full swing. Today, about the only thing I have the energy for is to make my cranberry relish. It HAS to be made the day before you eat it. It needs 24 hours so all the flavors can mix and mingle, get to know each other and create an amazing, fruity, gingery little burst with each bite of turkey. I love the methodical chopping. The scents. The sounds of the wooden spoon hitting my favorite glass bowl with each stir. I find joy in eating my cranberry relish but making it brings joy, too!
Catching up with rest. My friends. The mail. Bills (yuck!). My television shows. I'm feeling exhausted after this trip and today is a day to catch up. I'm done with the yucky chores (bills) and now it's time for a cup of tea and some time to laze on the couch, call a friend, read my magazines or watch a show that I've taped. Now, if the boys will just give me the time to do it! Because catching up is where I'm finding my joy today!
After a long trip that went by oh-so-quickly, it's good to be home. Sure, we miss Disney World. It is truly a magical place for our family. But to be in our own comfy beds, familiar space and surroundings? Dorothy was right. There's no place like home. And it's a wonderful thing to find joy in coming home.
Today is a bit bittersweet. It's our last day in my favorite place in the world. But we all miss home. We all miss my husband/their dad/my daughter/their sister. We've ended our trip in our two favorite parks, EPCOT and Magic Kingdom. We're riding all of our favorite rides one last time. Saying goodbye until next time. But there is some joy to be found: in the memories we've created, in the "one last times," in the planning for the next visit and in the anticipation of going home.
Best ride ever! We are having a blast and so much fun competing against each other on Toy Story Mania. Sure it's a long wait with these horrendous lines. But soooooo worth it! The excitement in my boys' faces is thrilling. I'm so glad I'm having this time with them. Definitely worth it. Full of joy.
I'm on vacation with my boys. I had almost ten years with my daughter of one-on-one time. Then, BAM! We adopt and I'm pregnant with our third child. The boys have always been part of a family of 5. And while I'm not getting one-on-one time with each of them this week, I am getting lots of quality time with just the two of them. We laugh. We play. We snuggle at the end of the day. It's been a blast with lots of joy sprinkled into every day.
It's my son's Gotcha Day! For those of you not well-versed in adoption-speak, Gotcha Day is the day we "gotcha!" Seven years ago today our sweet little bundle of joy arrived. We picked him up at the Chicago airport. I remember it as if it were yesterday. In his little yellow traveling outfit. Us not knowing which formula to use because all of the instructions were written in Korean. Getting to know you all these years has been amazing. I truly would be lost without you in our lives. You bring us such sweet, amazing joy!
When I was still teaching, I would chaperone the trips our school would take to Disney. We participated in their YES program, Youth Education Series. It's an amazing program with amazing teaching moments. When I home-schooled our daughter, I was able to apply much of what I learned and create amazing lessons for her. Now, I'm here with the boys and it's not all roller coasters and Toy Story rides. We're watching educational films. Playing in a technology lab. Learning about manatees. Trying foods from different countries. I can't say enough about the multitude of learning opportunities on a Disney vacation. And as a former teacher, learning while at Disney World = joy!
Christmas at Disney is so festive and fun. The Osbourne Lights at Disney Hollywood Studios. The resorts decorated to the hilt. And then Mickey's Christmas Party with real snow, hot chocolate and cookies - in the middle of Florida - is not to be missed. I know it's a little early for a Christmas party. But it's never too early for a little Christmas joy.
Not a real coral reef, but the one at Disney. It's one of my oldest son's favorite restaurants and I was able to snag a reservation - which is difficult last minute. Huge aquarium windows flank one whole side of the restaurant and you can what the fish while you dine. The look of his face when we walked in was utter joy. The highlight of our day!
Disney truly is a magical place for me. I'm here with my kids and it's possibly my favorite place in the world. The sights. The sounds. The tastes. The fun. The joy. Nothing else needs to be said. Simply magical.
We're on a long trip. And while a DVD player in the car is awesome, so is popping in a CD and singing along. My boys and I are on a Mom/Kids only trip together and I had little surprises for them and movies for the DVD player and even a scavenger hunt. But the most fun? Singing in the car with them. We sang and sang to our hearts content. Joyful noise, for sure!
It's Friday! The last day of the work week. The last day of the school week. And the last day before I take my boys on a fun trip to my favorite place in the world! The anticipation has been killing us and now, it's finally here. I've been busy, busy, busy - packing and doing last minute errands. But I don't care. It's a joyful Friday for me!
Thank goodness I have my own private acupuncturist. I know this cold would have hit me harder, if it weren't for the fact that I married an acupuncturist. I just call him at work and say, "I have a slight fever, some congestion and a scratchy throat" and he tells me exactly what herbs to take. And then, when he comes home he gives me an acupuncture treatment. I'm feeling so much better already. Ahhhhhh, the joys of acupuncture!
It's official. I'm sick. Standing up for long periods of time wipe me out. My nose is stuffed. I'm achy and crabby. Time for Chinese take-out. My family loves it. They can get whatever they want and I can sip wanton soup and not feel guilty for not making dinner. Who knew Chinese take-out could bring joy?
I'm not feeling so good today. Dragging. A little achy. So today, after school, I put on the Disney Channel and let my boys watch to their little hearts content. I just needed them occupied. I'm too crabby to interact with them. Some days are like that. And today was one of them. A little Disney Channel joy was in order. Thank goodness for the Disney Channel.
We had a busy weekend and no offense family, but I'm so glad it's Monday. When everyone goes off on their routine again and gets out of my hair. I've had the start of a cold coming on and I just need some peace and quiet. So, once again, I'm so very thankful for Mondays. After busy, hectic weekends they bring me joy!
I got hooked on this game back in the 90's. While my students worked diligently on the school newspaper (of which I was advisor) I would play Sim City if all my papers were graded and they didn't need my help. My husband, knowing how much I loved the game, thought that Sim City 4 would be even better. It wasn't. I hated it. Can't put my finger on why. Just know that I love the 3000 version best. Putting it simply, it brings me joy!
OK, the title of this post is a little tongue in cheek. A friend called us this morning, inviting us to dinner at their home this evening. Her in-laws were in town and she needed a diversion, more personalities in the house to ease any discomfort that comes along with entertaining relatives. Of course, we said yes! We love this set of friends and would do anything to help. Even better, I had no idea what WE were going to do for dinner that evening. Problem solved! She told me the menu. I threw together a side dish and Voila! Both families are happy. Love these friends. Love to help. Joy.
It was senior night at my daughter's high school football game and she (and her boyfriend) wanted us there. Her boyfriend is the Drum Major of the band and they win competitions all over the state. I have never seen them play, I'm embarrassed to say. So, I went. And it was awesome. The stands were packed. The energy electric. I'd forgotten how much fun a high school football game can be. It made me sorry we hadn't attended more games. But I went tonight. And it was Friday Night joy!
I love chocolate. But it has to be good chocolate. I know there's Godiva and Lindt. And I love their chocolate. But Hershey's chocolate? Maybe it's because that's what I was raised on, but I love it. And my kids' Halloween bags are full of Hershey's chocolate. They don't know it's missing when I sneak a few. And today? I snuck some. Mmmmmmm. Simple chocolate joy.
In college, I was a news junkie. I read, on average, 4 newspapers a day. Today, I get my news from the internet and on the radio. The drive to my boys' school is a bit long. On my way home I listen to the BBC World News radio program. The radio news here tends to revolve around....well, us. As if we are the center of the universe. The BBC covers news everywhere. And, I get to hear opinions about the U.S. that isn't self-serving or censored. Because, there is joy in honest and interesting news.
As much as I love summer, I think I like fall more. I love the crisp air. I love wearing turtlenecks and sweaters. I love sitting by the fire. It's hot chocolate-soup-warm treat season. And it still gets sunny and warm enough to play outside. Fall is the perfect of all the seasons in my opinion. Fall = joy today!
My youngest loves the I Spy book series. And now that he can read, he doesn't need my help. Or does he? We just got done pouring through one of his favorites, I Spy Treasure Hunt. Just when I thought he was too grown up to cuddle with an I Spy book he asks me to sit down with him and help him. I was touched. More than touched. Joy doesn't even begin to describe.
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.