Friday, December 31, 2010

Day 336: Happy New Year!

Joyful Moment today--looking around at the excellent friends we have here, just before ringing in the New Year!

Wishing you all Joyful Moments shared with excellent friends!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day 335: Tangled

First, because I've been sort of a downer this week (I know--I'm sorry!), I must let you all know that today went well.  I got things done, spent good quality time with the kids, and didn't really feel hurried or stressed  at any point.  It has been beautiful.

Anyway, you can maybe guess from the title, but today the kids and I saw "Tangled" in the theatre with a bunch of friends.  It was really cute!  I loved it.  And so did the kids.  And it was fun to go together.  We never go to movies in the theater.  Even at the matinee price, I could have purchased the movie for what I paid in ticket price.  But that's not a very Joyful attitude, so we'll move on...

I feel very fortunate that we sat by my friend who didn't have any children of her own to look after.  She was able to keep Sweet P and Little M company while I was down by the exit trying to convince Baby B that it was fun to be in the dark for a couple hours.  He did pretty well, but mostly preferred for me to stand.

Anyway, that and the rest of today was just the Joyful Moment I needed as we're coming to the end of this week--and this year!

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that are just what you need!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 333: Puzzling

Did I ever tell you that I am certified in Gerontology?  Certifying was like minoring, but a little bit easier.  I'm all about choosing the option that's a little bit easier.  Especially when they're offering a $200 scholarship to do it.

As a part of my certification, I had to do an internship.  So, once or twice a week I headed up to the Senior Friendship Center and hung out in the fitness room.  The idea was that I would set up work out programs, demonstrate the fitness equipment in the room, and teach Tai Chi, among other things.  Unfortunately, it turns out that not all that many Senior citizens are interested in learning these things.  At least, not at the Friendship Center.

But I gained two things from this experience:

1.  I realized that I didn't want to make a career out of teaching strength training and wellness to the elderly, as I previously thought I did.

2.  During all of the down time, when no one was asking for our help, the other interns and I "puzzled".  There were a ton of puzzles.  We became extremely adept at puzzling.  Seriously.  Amazing.  I've always enjoyed a good puzzle, but I had no idea that it was a skill to be strengthened.

And, for the record, I did my fair share of actual interning there as well.  I learned and then taught Tai Chi, I set up work out programs for a small number of people, and mostly, I answered individual questions about fitness and health.  And I made some good friends.

Tonight I worked on a puzzle with my family.  Everyone except Baby B.  It was a 300-piece scene from The Little Mermaid.  That's the biggest we've ever done with the kids.  And it was a Joyful Moment working on it together.  It was just good, clean, simple fun.  And they were so proud when we were finished.  They're pretty good at puzzles.  I might be a little proud, too.  It looks like they've inherited my skillz.

Wishing you all good, clean, simple Joyful Moments!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day 332: Yesterday Was Plain Awful

You know that line?  It's from a song in "Annie".  Tomorrow, I could say that about today.  Although, oddly enough, my mood today was much improved from yesterday.  But still, some awful things happened today.

3/5ths of the family is sick.  And getting sicker.  And I drove the van into a cement wall today.  We're all okay (van included), but I'm thinking that's one more thing I wouldn't have to worry about when living in Amish Country.

Still, today had it's good points.  One of which was watching the kids play with their friends at the children's museum.  Especially when they were dressed up in safari clothes and loading as many large stuffed lions and tigers and giraffes into the back of the Jeep as they possibly could.  Yes, Joyful Moments can be found in the Jungle Room.  Even after a car accident.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments in the Jungle Room--without the car accident!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 331: Back In Time

That's where I'm really wanting to go.  I know life involved a lot more hard work back the, but I'm tired of all the busyness in my life.  It feels like I put so much effort into "things" and "stuff" and only a small fraction produces meaningful results.

Take today for example, I spent the better part of three hours dragging my kids all over town in search of the perfect Christmas tree on clearance.  Tonight as I sit here, I have only one Christmas tree in my house and it is dying and destined for the tree recycling drop off tomorrow.  I did get a few other things that we need during those three hours of errands, but the bulk of them were spent looking for a tree while the one that I'd found on-line, that I loved, got sold at a different store.

And it was sort of the culmination of my growing discontent.

What a wonderful intro to a post on a blog dedicated to finding joy.

Today was frustrating.  But it was the final straw and now I'm going to really sit back and re-evaluate and simplify (again) and see what I come up with this time.  And if it doesn't work this time, I might have to pack up my family and head to Amish Country.

As usual, Baby B came to my rescue in the Joyful Moment department.  He's sick again, which is no fun.  But it did provide extra opportunity for snuggles.  And his sweet, fuzzy head on my shoulder is always a Joyful Moment.

Wishing you all sweet, snugly, fuzzy Joyful Moments!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day 330: Game Night

Sweet P received "Uno" from her grandparents for Christmas.  So, tonight we opened it up and taught the kids how to play.  Although the box says it's for ages 7+, they've updated the cards so you don't even have to know how to read in order to play.  And both Sweet P and Little M picked up on it pretty well.  And Little M didn't get bored before it was done, as he frequently does when we play games.  It was a fun Joyful Moment playing all together as a family.

Sweet P won--quite legitimately and was quite pleased with herself.  Little M wanted to win, too, so we kept playing for second place.  He won that (and it may or may not have been manipulated a bit by parents ready to end the game).  He was thrilled!  It was great.

And I'm sure we'll have many more Joyful Moments to come since they both enjoyed this game quite a bit. Good times!

Wishing you all Joyful Moments filled with good times!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Day 329: Merry CHRISTmas!

Today was a nearly perfect Christmas. As far as gift giving and receiving goes, everything felt exactly right. Not too much or two little. Things went smoothly, too. The kids have played happily with their toys--no bratty outbursts or tantrums. HH took a nap while the kids and I put together and played with all their stuff. I was able to do my traditional Christmas Day run, although not in the traditional way. I love to run outside on Christmas day because virtually no one is out and it feels so peaceful, but I got outside today only to discover that the ground was covered in a lovely, smooth sheet of glass. Or ice. And I didn't dare run on it. So, I went back in downtrodden, but HH insisted that I keep my tradition (it's been in place since long before I met him) and helped me get the treadmill "fixed" and running again!

And then we went carolling at an assisted living facility with some friends. It was really fun. And visiting with some darling, sweet ladies after was delightful. I think the kids and I will make some repeat visits.

But the true Joyful Moment today comes from the reason we have today--our Savior, Jesus Christ. Because a tiny baby was born in bethlehem thousands of years ago my life has meaning. I know who I am and where I came from. I know that I am a child of God. That my children are children of God. I know that after this life, my life will continue. I know that my family can be my family forever. Forever and ever and ever. I never have to be separated from my HH. I know that He is the ultimate source of Joy and that what He wants most for me is eternal Joy.

In that spirit, I wish you all Joyful Moments regardless of whatever else life is offering right now in knowing that Jesus Christ loves you!

If you want to know more about what I believe visit

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Day 328: I Played The Piano

My piano.  In my bedroom.

Odd place for a piano, you say.

This is true, but that really isn't the point.

The point is this:  I have a piano of my very own!  It's brand new!  It's beautiful!  I sat down and played it and the world was at peace.

That might have been helped by the fact that I was home alone.  But still, breaking out my music and scattering my fingers across the keys was an unrivaled Joyful Moment.  Oh, it was sheer bliss!  And it was a bit of a miracle because as of yesterday morning we weren't sure what piano we wanted--let alone where to buy it.  But it turns out that HH is a bit of a miracle worker.  Lucky me!

And it's Christmas Eve so, naturally, there were plenty of other Joyful Moments to be had.  But I really couldn't wait  to share that one with you.

Wishing you all blissful Joyful Moments and a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 327: The Drop Off

Did anyone else read that in Marlin the Clown Fish's voice?  I did.

Anyway, today's Joyful Moment was found in dropping off 37 blankets at the Children's Hospital.  I am so grateful to all the friends that helped that to happen by donating material and time and fingers!

Another, smaller, Joyful Moment came when we went to a store up in the Big City and got hats for Sweet P's upcoming birthday party, for a tiny fraction of the price I thought I was going to have to pay!  Sweetness!

And there was another awesome Joyful Moment that happened in between those two, but it will be better shared tomorrow.

I hope you can handle the suspense.

Wishing you all exciting and suspenseful Joyful Moments!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

326: Play It By Ear

That's what Sweet P did at her violin lesson tonight.  Her instructor teaches the Suzuki method, which is controversial among the music group, I know.  But for a 5-year old learning to play the violin, I think it's excellent.

The gist is that she listens to all of the songs in Book 1 every single night.  Twice.  Or, at least until she falls asleep.  So, she is quite familiar with all of the songs.  Then, as she is learning a new one, she knows how it is supposed to sound.

Tonight she began learning a new song at her lesson.  Her instructor would play a couple measures and then have her repeat.  Twice Sweet P went on to play the next two, or three notes following what the teacher had played.  It was awesome.  It's hard to say who was beaming the brightest:  Sweet P, her instructor, or myself.  We were all super proud.

On the way home Sweet P said, "I think maybe God sent down the message to tell me which notes to play."  That's part of why I call her Sweet P.  I started to try to explain about her hard work and listening and training her ear/brain, and the like but then decided to just leave it be.  Whatever the case may be, He certainly blessed her with a musical gift and I am so grateful to be a lucky beneficiary.

And that, my friends, was tonight's Joyful Moment.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that sound so sweet!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 325: Whoda Thunk?

That seeing this outside my kitchen window could possibly be a source for a Joyful Moment?

But Little M was so unimaginably excited about it, I couldn't help myself.

And then I realized that maybe after all the noise and dirtiness, a nice family will move in next door.  With children to play with my children.  Oh, please, oh, please!  That would be a stupendous Joyful Moment!

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that are noisy and dirty!

p.s.  Please, ignore how filthy my window is.  It is WAY too cold to go out and clean it!  (Of course, I'll have to think of another excuse once it warms up.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 324: Sunrise, Sunset

I have a passion for beautiful skies.

I witnessed this one while waiting for the bus to pick Sweet P up this morning.  What a fabulous Joyful Moment to begin my day!

Wishing you all fabulous Joyful Moments to begin your day!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 323: Wonderful

I found myself in a bit of a funk again this morning.  And it was just one of those days where, every time I would pull it together and muster the strength to choose happiness over grumpiness--something would go wrong.

I should have tried harder, I know.  But it was also one of those times where a part of me just wanted to be grumpy.

Lame, I know.

While HH was getting ready for his meetings this morning, I asked him if we had a copy of Handel's "Messiah", as a part of one song would go well with my lesson for my Primary class today.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to use it, I was just curious if we owned it.  We don't.  And he left for his meeting.

By the time I met up with him again at church, I'd cycled through trying-to-be-happy-only-to-be-knocked-down-again, a few more times.  The final one occurring when I discovered that I had left my lesson manual and needed supplies at home.  You can bet that I was just radiating peace and joy at this moment.

Or, perhaps not.

At any rate, my dear HH tried to help.  He even found a key to get into a room with a computer where he accessed my lesson on-line and printed it off for me, so I wouldn't have to drive all the way home and back.

That was sweet.  But I was still frazzled and stressed.  And struggling to rise above it all.

Then he came in to help with Sweet P while I taught my lesson, since I am still without a team teacher.  During a point where all of the children were looking up different verses of scripture, he asked me if I still wanted that song.  Then I noticed the BlackBerry in his hand and the pleased look on his face.  And I began to laugh.  He was trying desperately to find a way to brighten my mood.  And if being as overly helpful as imaginable could do the trick, well, he was going to give it his all.

And I decided that it was high time to ditch the grumpies and give him what he was so fervently seeking--a smile from me.  And the smile he gave me in return that said, "Yes, I've finally done it!  I've made The Queen of The Grumps smile," that made me smile and laugh even more.  And it was my Joyful Moment.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that require less work!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 322: Playing Favorites

I remember when Sweet P was a baby and she always wanted me and I felt bad for HH.  Here she spent all day with me, and then he'd come home quite eager to hold her, and all she'd want was to return to me.

I've been around the block enough times now (three, to be exact) to know that Daddy will get his turn to shine and be the adored one.  So, this time around, I'm loving being the favorite.  No more guilt.  I know he'll get older and worship his daddy, just like his older sibs.  But for now, he's totally and completely into me.  And me alone.

He giggles when he sees me and his whole face lights up with joy.  And it's a Joyful Moment for me every  time--even at four in the morning.

I'm not eating his face.  He was very tired and sad.  Can you believe his hair?!  It is another source of Joyful Moments for me.  Maybe I shouldn't love all the adoring comments from friends and strangers alike quite so much.  But I do.

And now he's peacefully sleeping on my shoulder.  And if you've ever had the privilege of a (freshly-bathed) baby sleeping in your arms, then you know what a precious Joyful Moment I'm having right now.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments--right now!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 321: Girl Time

For some reason the boys took a suuuuuuper long nap today.

This gave Sweet P and I some excellent girl time.  She's been excessively whiny and weepy lately and I'm struggling to deal with it with patience and/or love.  But today, there was none of that.  She came home happy, happily showed me her school work while telling me about her day, snuggled up with me to read all about "Mr. Tickle" from the "Mr. Men" books (LOVE those!), listened intently while I shared a funny story from my courtship with HH, and then had an amazing violin practice.

Amazing because she stayed cheerful the whole time and because she played simply amazingly.  It was like watching a pro.  And was one of those moments that makes me grateful that we've stuck it out this far.

And the whole afternoon was a fun, girly Joyful Moment!

Wishing you all fun, girly Joyful Moments shared with someone as sweet as Sweet P!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 320: Another Reason I Call Him "HH"

Handsome Hero.

When my HH walked in the door tonight, it was a Joyful Moment.  He's such a calming presence for me.  And I knew he would take care of something that I just couldn't bring myself to:  bathing the kids.

Normally, that's not a big deal.  I don't love doing it, but whatever, you know?  But today was not a normal day.  Sweet P came home and proudly showed me her well-bandaged thumb.  She told me that she had cut some skin off with the scissors and was now only allowed to use the blunt-tipped scissors at school.

Okay.  Not a big deal, I thought.

Fast forward to bath time.  She asked if she could remove her bandaids.  Sure, I said.  And then we began peeling them off, only to reveal copious amounts of blood--both dried and fresh.  And a large chunk of her thumb missing.  Gone.

And I got this pain in my legs that I get whenever I become aware of someone else's pain.  Especially, when that someone spent a significant amount of time in my womb.  The pain just kept shooting through my legs and I struggled not to vomit.  And Sweet P looked at me like I was a complete wacko.  I sent her to the tub and knew that I couldn't look at her until her thumb was bandaged again.

Now, I took a Sports Injury class in college.  We witnessed countless videos and photos of graphic, disgusting, horrifying injuries.  They didn't make my legs hurt.  They didn't make me want to vomit.  Instead, I viewed them with the thing we call "morbid fascination".

But none of those people spent time in my womb.

Anyway, so I let my children soak in the tub until HH came home and rescued me.  I asked him to please finish the bathing process and he headed off to do it immediately.  And he is my hero.

As if that wasn't enough, he helped Little M finish his dinner tonight.  We don't force our kids to clean their plates at every meal.  I don't want to teach them to over eat.  But, for the most part, I do require them to finish the food at some point.  I don't like it to be wasted.  This means that if Little M only ate the nuts off his Peanut Curry Pork with Rice dinner, he would have the remaining pork, vegetables, and rice for lunch tomorrow.  It's just how we operate around here.

Which means that I would have probably dealt with his whining and crying for quite sometime tomorrow.  This may sound extreme, but Little M is a very very very picky eater.  He even turns his nose up at mac n' cheese sometimes.  But HH helped him finish his dinner and now he can have something he'll hopefully like better for lunch tomorrow.

And now HH is upstairs cleaning the kitchen because my dry skin issues has resulted in cracked and bleeding hands.

So, I guess the real Joyful Moment today wasn't when HH walked in the door.  It's just in being so loved by someone so wonderful.

I love you, HH.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments in being so loved by someone so wonderful!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 319: The Real Me

Today was an odd day.  It started off rough and stressful.  And I immediately reverted back to my former grumpy and angry self.  As I sat there taking my stress out on my poor children at breakfast, I suddenly remembered--this isn't me.  Not any more.

So, I shifted my mindset and calmed down.  And even managed to be cheerful before sending Sweet P off to school.

I did it!

And that was today's Joyful Moment.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments in behaving the way you want to--even when it's hard!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 318: Better and Better

A couple bloggable Joyful Moments today.

I got to talk to one of my sisters on the phone today.  Always a Joyful Moment.  But it was made even better by being able to hear the adorable little sounds coming from her tiny little new baby.  I.  Want.  To. Hold. Him.

I need to live closer to my family.

Also, I keep waiting for the sad day when Baby B's hair no longer stands on end.  I know eventually the day will come that it gets long enough for gravity to take effect.  But that day is not here yet.  In fact, tonight after his bath it stuck up even straighter and taller than ever before.  I really should have taken a picture.  But I snuggled him instead.  And just marveled in his adorableness.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that are a marvel!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 317: Tickling The Ivories

Except that they were really made from wood.

Tonight I sat down and plunked out a few notes on a digital piano that we might be purchasing for Christmas.  I cannot describe the joy of this Joyful Moment.

I'm not a superstar on the piano, by any means, but playing it is one of the best medicines for whatever ails me on a bad day.  And on a good day, it's just the yummiest most bestest icing on the cake ever.  I haven't had a piano since we left New England and I am in serious withdrawal!!!

So, the prospect of having one in my home again is driving me mad with anticipation.  But every time I think about the fact that I will soon have a piano that I can play whenever I want, I about die from the joy that Joyful Moment provides.

In case you can't tell--I CAN'T WAIT to have a piano to play to my fingers' content!!!

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that tickle!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day 316: Testimony

So, I have a manual with an assigned lesson for each week to teach my Primary class at church.  It's supposed to work out perfectly for the year.  Somehow, this year, we ran out of lessons a little early.  I didn't skip any lessons, so I don't know what happened!  All that is left is the Christmas lesson, which is for next week.

Today I had to improvise.  So, I decided to expound a bit more on a lesson we recently had about testimonies and being valiant in your faith.  I had each of the kids write their testimony down on a special card they made with valiant attributes they each possess.  Then I bore my testimony.  And then (and this is exactly what I wanted to happen) one of the girls in my class asked if she could bear her testimony.  Yes!  And then a couple more kids followed suit, sharing their faith in our Savior with me and the rest of the class.  It was so excellent and inspiring.  And very rewarding.

And truly a perfect Joyful Moment.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that strengthen your faith and bring you peace!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 315: The Day That Equaled 15 Days

That was today.

Today I made more cinnamon rolls, cleaned my house, and hosted a little brunch at my house while HH carted the kids around to a friend's baptism, a birthday  party, and then a photo shoot for Little M with his dance group.  Then they came home and I fed the kids and helped HH put together Z's new kennel.  Today was snowy with a below 0 windchill factor.

Then we hurried off for Little M's dance recital.  He was one of about 6 boys amongst about 100 girls.  Yes, I'm a little embarrassed that he took a dance class.  But it's a long story.  Watching him dance, though, was a total Joyful Moment.  He enjoyed himself, did a fairly good job, and was beyond precious.

Then we hurried home and I put the kids down for a nap, cleaned the kitchen from the morning's madness, and prepped dinner.  Then I woke Sweet P up from her nap and made her practice her recital piece.

Then we hurried to Sweet P's violin recital, only to find that the previous recital group was running 40 minutes behind.  Awesome.  So, we actually waited for a while for the first time today.  Finally, it was her turn.  Another Joyful Moment as she played her piece very well and I reflected on how far she's come in the last year.

Then we hurried off to drop off the dinner I'd made for some friends who recently had a new baby.  Then home to make our own dinner (a recipe I made up, based on what we had on hand, that everyone really loved--Joyful Moment!), bathe the kids, eat, and put the kids in bed.

The End.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments during this busy busy busy season!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 314: Santa, Baby!

Tonight was the Christmas party at church.  I was sad because I forgot my camera.  And then Santa showed up and I was a little bit devastated.  Fortunately, my friend was there taking pictures for everyone.  It was fun to see Sweet P and Little M sit on his lap (and later to hear that they asked him for all the things they are getting--hooray!)

But after all the older kids had their turns, I sat Baby B on his lap.  He's not yet old enough to be terrified of Santa, as so many babies are.  I don't think he even realized who was holding him.  He just saw the camera and put on a happy face.  Kind of like this one:

Just try to look at that without smiling.

Aack!  This Baby is going to give me so many Joyful Moments, I can't handle it!

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that are at least half as adorable as my Baby B!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 313: Red Ranch

Today's Joyful Moment was pulling out all the stops and getting my stuff ready in time for the boutique.  And then hanging with my gal pals, trying to sell our stuff.

We didn't really sell much (apparently, the boutique I missed during Thanksgiving was much more profitable), but we had a fabulous time hanging out together.  I did walk away with $15 actual profit, after paying my portion of "renting our space".  And my friends and I did some trades together which resulted in a tres chic button ring, two hats that are beyond cute and girly, and three packets of red ranch mix.  That didn't come from my gal pals.  It came from an odd man and was really nowhere near the equal of the pan of cinnamon rolls he took after handing them to me.  But the Red Ranch then became excellent fodder for many many jokes the rest of the night.  My friends had me laughing so hard, I cried.

So, there you have it.  My Joyful Moments today were mostly funny.  Although, bringing home $15 that I made through my hard work felt pretty good, too.  I know it's not much, but it's been a very long time since I actually made money of my own.  Yay me.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments and some sweet sweet Red Ranch!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 312: Holiday Boutique

I'm going to be selling my wares at one of those tomorrow.  That is very much a first for me.  I have very cute, creative, and crafty friends.  Seriously, they make AMAZING stuff.  So, when they asked me to join them at the holiday boutique, I just laughed.  I mean, come on.  What was I going to sell?  Blog posts?

But then one suggested that I bring in some baked goods.  And then I got to thinking.  And I decided that even though it flies completely in the face of my efforts to simplify my life, I really really wanted to do it.

So, I've spent the better part of today getting ready for that.  I have 10 mini loaves of pumpkin bread because those can be baked ahead of time and still taste their bestest.  I have a huge double batch of cookie dough sitting in the fridge.  Don't worry, it isn't lonely.  It's joined by a big ol' pot of dough that will become amazing amazing amazing cinnamon rolls tomorrow.  And I have brand spanking new glass bread pans drying in the sink, just waiting to bake Honey Oat Wheat bread.

And I hope my oven is prepared to be baking pretty much the whole day.

I hope my body is, too.

I know I am.  I love baking.  Which is why, that was today's Joyful Moment.

Except for the part where HH walked in tonight just a short half hour after leaving for basketball announcing that he sprained his ankle.  So, I'm off to tuck him and his giant ankle in to bed.

Wishing you all Joyful Moment and someone akin to Betty Crocker and/or Martha Stewart to tuck you in to bed when you sprain your ankle!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Day 311: All Tied Up

Tonight was the night a ton of people were supposed to show up at my house to help tie fleece blankets to donate to the local children's hospital.  At 7 PM.

At about 7:15 PM, I was sitting in my living room tying blankets.  All.  By.  My.  Self.

And I was sad.

But then the doorbell rang!  And it rang a few more times!  Enough, in fact, that we filled up the floor of my living room.  Tying fleece blankets is done best on the floor, in case you're wondering.  When all was said and done, we tied 15 blankets.  Plus the two our family made on Monday night, and we have 17 blankets to donate--so far!  A few of my friends who couldn't make it are still working on some on their own.

The whole evening--after 7:15, of course--was a Joyful Moment!  I'm so grateful for the support this service project has received from my friends.  And I'm grateful to my sister-in-law for being the inspiration for the project.  She's naturally creative and giving, so I just ride in on her coattails.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that fill up the floor of your living room with beautiful goodness!

Day 310: Set Back

Today was frustrating.  I don't think it was my best as far as avoiding anger and staying positive.  But I'm trying to remedy that now and I know that tomorrow will most likely be better.  So, that's still progress, right?

Fortunately, there were still Joyful Moments to be had amid the frustrations.  For instance, Little M has been doing sweet things all day and then saying, "That could be a service."  So cute!  And I love that he's getting the Service concept down as well.

And then we starting tying blankets to donate to the children's hospital tonight.  I looked over and saw Sweet P sitting in her daddy's lap, tying a knot together.  That was a very touching, sweet Joyful Moment.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments to outnumber the frustrating ones!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 309: Un-Grinching

Tonight we had the privilege of listening to President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, one of the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ as he, our prophet, and his other counselor gave their annual Christmas devotional.

As always, President Uchtdorf's words spoke straight to my heart and brought me a Joyful Moment.  He spoke of truly enjoying this Christmas season.  Which means, of course, remembering Who we are really celebrating.  Did I already mention how stressful last year's Christmas season was?  I've sort of felt cheated ever since.  So, I'm trying really hard to simplify this year, so that I can just enjoy the fun and joy of it.

Another Joyful Moment was when Sweet P came to me this morning and told me that she put Little M's dishes in the dishwasher for him after breakfast.  We've been practicing finding opportunities for service ever since Monday, so this was a double Joyful Moment for me.  Besides just being grateful that she was helping out, it touched my heart that the concept of "service" is really sinking in for her.  And on that same token, Little M provided me with a Joyful Moment when I came down to the basement this afternoon to find it almost completely clean (the basement is their toy room and usually has toys completely covering the floor).  He had cleaned it by himself while Sweet P played.

I love my babies.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments found in serving others and enjoying this holiday season!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day 308: The Best Saturday In A Long Time

I'm usually annoyed with our Saturdays.  I look forward to using them to relax and get caught up from the week's busyness, but then they wind up being overrun by their own busyness and we just end the day even more tired and behind than we were when it started.


But today was different and it was full of Joyful Moments.

We started it off by dropping the kiddos off at two different locations (This was our first time leaving Baby B during the day, so I wanted to make sure my friend wasn't overburdened by having to watch the other two as well--they went to a different friend's).  Then we drove an hour and a half (including getting a bit lost) to our nearest temple belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  And there we got to be a part of another friend's wedding.

All of the coordinating to make this happen to quite a bit of effort--not to mention, courage for me to leave my baby behind.  And I almost backed out multiple times, but I kept feeling like I really needed to be there.  And then the morning was somewhat stressful (we accidentally slept in 15 minutes, in addition to everything else).  But besides just the blessing of being able to take in the peacefulness of being in the temple, we were able to show our support and congratulations for our friend in his new marriage.  For a variety of reasons, not a lot of people were able to attend, so I felt grateful that I had been pushed to make sure we could.

And it was a Joyful Moment for SO MANY reasons:  Witnessing our friend's joy, sitting next to my HH and remembering our own wedding day, and listening to some good marriage advice, to name a few.

And then their camera wasn't working after the ceremony, so I got to play photographer!  Taking pictures of a newlywed couple is a Joyful Moment that I never expected to have and probably won't ever again!  It was really fun!

And then tonight we decorated the tree.  And I'm pretty sure it goes without saying, but that was a sweet, memorable Joyful Moment.  And we managed to do it without breaking any of my old and fragile ornaments, so that was an added bonus.  Cha-ching!

And now I need to go change Baby B's brand new diaper that I'm pretty sure isn't so new any more.

Wishing you all Joyful days that aren't tainted by stinky diapers!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Day 307: TJ's

A Trader Joe's just opened not too far away.  This morning.  So, the boys and I headed over to celebrate the Grand Opening.  We even got a festive lei in honor of the fun.  If that's not a Joyful Moment, I don't know what is.

We had a Trader Joe's back in New England and I love loved it.  How fitting that one turns up here now when I'm trying to go more organic and healthy with our diet.  The first exciting item I place in my shopping cart?  A bag of cute little sweet potatoes.  They're Baby B's favorite.

And then we bumped into a couple of our friends, who I will call "H-Squared".  And that was another Joyful Moment.  Because, let's face it, I love my friends.

And then we had the kids in bed by 7 PM tonight.  THAT is one satisfying Joyful Moment.  And I have my HH to thank for his efforts.

Wishing you all healthy and satisfying Joyful Moments!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day 306: O Tannenbaum

Yes.  Tonight we got our tree and set it up.  We have yet to string the lights, or hang ornaments, but it was definitely a Joyful Moment.

Two years ago, I might have fallen on our Christmas tree while instructing my mom and little sister in some yoga and it might have been irreparably broken.  I can neither confirm nor deny this statement.  But, whatever the case, we didn't have a tree last year.  We were only home for three weeks in between trips to see family for Thanksgiving and then Christmas, so it just didn't seem worth it.  (Remember, I was preggems--a.k.a. Tired & A Little Bit Lazy).  And I had this great idea to buy a new tree on clearance after Christmas.

Except that we were still visiting family after Christmas and we couldn't even fit all of our Christmas stuff back in the car to take it home again.  Leaving us tree-less yet again this year.

We debated back and forth for a while, but finally opted for a real tree and then we'll buy a super nice artificial tree as per last year's plan.  Except this year I'll actually do it because we're staying home and I'm not preggems.

And I feel pretty guilty about having a poor, real tree in my home.  It feels totally wasteful!  I have such great memories of going out into the woods and chopping down our tree of choice each year with our family and some friends.  But I don't think people thought about it as much back then.  At least I didn't.  And I kind of wanted my kids to have a similar experience.  Except our "woods" consisted of rows and rows of pre-cut trees at a local Home Depot-ish store.  Not as magical.  But the kids were still pretty excited.  And my home smells delightfully piney.  Which provides me with another Joyful Moment because it's just such a splendid scent.

Those are my consolations for my guilt.  And now I feel like I need to go apologize to our tree.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that don't require apologies!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day 305: It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like


HH is off in the big city watching a basketball game, so the kids and I had to go it alone tonight.  We had Sweet P's violin lesson first, but then came home and pulled out the Christmas decorations.  We haven't had a moment to think about them until now.

It made for a very fun evening, setting them up with the kids.  We still have to get the tree, but I love having Christmas all around me.  Last year was all stress pretty much, so I'm determined to truly enjoy the season this year.

And it's off to a great start.  Tonight was a Joyful Moment and I'm sure our efforts will bring more Joyful Moments to come.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments in surrounding yourself with memories of wonderful Christmases gone by (or just other fabulous memories, if you celebrate something else)!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day 304: Christmas Cookies

Today the kiddos and I began the first of the holiday baking.  I didn't take any pictures because I'm trying to simplify.  Less pictures = less to blog about on the family blog.

But it was fun making the cookies together.  Breaking out the cookie cutters and cutting the gingerbread dough.  That was my Joyful Moment.  And then we put some on a few plates and took them around to families from our church that Blake is supposed to visit with each month.  We discussed "service" with the kids at dinner and how this was a service.  Seeing their joy at giving away our cookies was another Joyful Moment.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments of giving away delicious yumminess!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 303: Great Tackler

That's me.  That's what I did today.

Last night I sat down and made a hefty list of things I need to do.  Some are somewhat urgent, others just need to be done before Christmas.  And I want to enjoy Christmas, so I want to be organized and get things done before it gets all crazy and stressful.

Last night the list got me a little overwhelmed and things (briefly) were all crazy and stressful.

But I woke this morning with a clear head (and the first night of uninterrupted sleep in ages) and a much happier heart.  Then HH came into the kitchen and asked what he could do to help before taking Sweet P to the bus stop (a help in and of itself).  It was so thoughtful and unexpected it was a Joyful Moment even though I struggled to think of something he could assist with in the short time he had before needing to leave.

Also on the list was bathing and brushing Z.  I haven't really kept up with her shedding problem since I had Baby B (I know) and she was quite smelly after a week and a half without a bath.  Tonight she smells much better and her fur is silky smooth.  That may be the one nice thing about the cold air--she sheds much less and I just might be able to eliminate her shedding problem again with our fabulous Furminator brush.

Wishing you all silky smooth, fur-free Joyful Moments!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day 302: Baby B's Joyful Moment

So, this morning was an excellent Joyful Moment because I was able to stop by my grandparents' home and visit with them for a bit before we finished our drive home.  Now that my maternal grandparents have both passed on, I appreciate these two all the more.  And I could tell how happy they were to see us.  And providing someone else with a Joyful Moment always results in one of your own.

Then we hopped in the car and drove for several long hours.  Until we were finally HOME.

And that might have been the best part of the day.  I was carrying Baby B around on my hip as I hurried to get the kids in bed and get the essentials put back in their place, when I realized that Baby B was giggling.  So, I turned and paid attention to him.  He was just looking all over as we went from room to room and giggling with delight.  I guess when you're 7-months old and you're taken from your home for over a week, you begin to think you're never going back.  And he was just so overcome with his own Joyful Moment at being back in a familiar place that he couldn't help but giggle.



Wishing you all Joyful Moments that are just that fun and sweet!  Seriously.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 301: On The Road Again

We're heading home today.  This has been a really great visit with family--one of the best maybe.  But it is such a wonderful Joyful Moment to be heading back to our house.

And tonight we have another Joyful Moment in spending the night with my sweet aunt and her husband as they open their home to us.  And share the leftovers of a yummy Thanksgiving meal!

Wishing you all Joyful Moments and never-ending feasts!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Day 300: Wowzers

Seriously?  300 days?  I can't believe it.  It seems like I just barely hit 100.  Honestly, I'm a little sad that this is coming to a close.  No worries though.  A new idea for a new year of posts is in the works.

Today's Joyful Moment was hearing Baby B laugh.  He's been so sad lately and it's just breaking my heart.  I worry so about this sweetest little baby of mine.  He's still pretty sick, but seems to have turned a corner.  Although, when we took him into a doctor this morning he informed me that he could wind up needing a night in the hospital to receive oxygen and/or it could progress to pneumonia.  Perfect.  But then the doctor agreed with me that it does seem that Baby B is on the mend and most likely won't hit either of those tragedies.  Hearing him laugh again today after mostly being sad all day yesterday was truly music to my ears.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments with adequate amounts of oxygen!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day 299: Turkey Bowl

Well, despite an even sicker Baby B, today was still full of Joyful Moments.  HH's family has a tradition to start the day off at the bowling alley and have a bowling competition.  It's his super extended family, so it's fun to catch up with everyone, munch on some breakfast, and watch the competition.  My bowling skills are pretty much non-existent, so I am never even close to contending for the trophy (yes, there is an actual trophy that you get your name on if you have the high score).  But I have fun chucking the ball down the lane and watching everyone else compete.  Getting one strike after several gutter balls (I'm SO consistent) was a bit of a Joyful Moment.

Making my cranberry sauce from scratch and an experimental green bean recipe were also Joyful Moments, especially because they got plenty of rave reviews.  Even The Vegetable Hater brother-in-law liked the beans.  Score!

And then listening to everyone state what they're thankful for was another Joyful Moment.  Sharing my thanks and then pranking everyone that I was pregnant were some more JM's.

And finally came an unexpected Joyful Moment when HH asked if I was wishing I were with my family and I realized that I'd never once had that thought throughout the day.  HH accuses me of having an insatiable appetite for his family, leaving his family feeling a bit slighted, so this was pretty big.  But it's true.  I felt very much at home here with his family today.  So, while I know I would have had a great time with my side of the family, I had one here too.  That hasn't always been the case, but it's what I want, so this was a nice Joyful Moment.

Wishing you all lots of Joyful Moments to go with your turkey!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day 298: In Sickness & In Health

Can I just say that Joyful Moments are harder to come by when your sweetest little Baby B is sick, with a high fever and a completely stuffed nose?  Remember how he likes to suck his thumb?  That's awfully hard to do when you can't breathe through your nose.  So sad.  So so so so SO sad.

But today still brought Joyful Moments.  That's hard not to do when you're visiting family.  We left my family today (NOT a Joyful Moment), but we came to visit HH's family (a Joyful Moment).  It's been fun reuniting with his parents and two brothers that are here.  I never had little brothers, so his tend to be sources of Joyful Moments (even though they're not all that little any more).

And another Joyful Moment is anticipating the MANY Joyful Moments tomorrow will bring.  And hopefully, the Joyful Moment of Baby B being able to sleep tonight and waking up sans the fever.  Oh, please, oh please!

Wishing you all Joyful Moments and health!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 297: Cheese

Today's Joyful Moment was trying to take photos with HH, Little Sister, and her HH.  Let's just say there were some clothing malfunctions.  Pretty funny!  A lot of good laughter and good times and good goodness.

And now I'm going to get back to them for more Joyful Moments.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments full of good goodness!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day 296: Bear Hunt

Every Monday night we have Family Home Evening.  We sing songs, have a lesson on anything from "stranger danger" to gospel principles, sometimes play a game, and have a treat.  It's fun.  It's something the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have asked us to do, so I grew up doing that with my family then and HH and I do it with our family now.

Tonight we did it with my parents and my sister and her family.  Awesome.  And my parents had a special lesson planned about temples and eternal families.  Little M was kind of all over the place, but Sweet P listened and really seemed to be soaking it in.  And that was a Joyful Moment for me as her mother.

After the lesson, we sang a couple fun songs with the kids.  Little M picked "Going On A Bear Hunt".  They both learned it in their preschool class, but I haven't done it in a really long time so I can't ever remember how it goes.  Enter my little sister.  She was a preschool teacher before having her own little baby.  So, she totally knows the song.  There were a lot of Joyful parts of that Moment.  Watching six adults get into the actions in a big way for my two sweeties; watching my little sister really really get into directing it; just letting loose and having fun.  But watching the pure joy on Little M's face was probably the best part.  He was just so happy about the whole thing.  I watched him the whole time and love love loved his face.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments full of big green eyes and fuzzy little tails!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day 295: Dairy Farm

Too many Joyful Moments to count today.  Seriously.

But the Moment that my little sister showed up with her super cute family was one of the mo' better ones.  We had a great time approving of each other's wardrobes, visiting, and even sharing our breastfeeding woes.

I love my sister(s)!

Wishing you all milky Joyful Moments!

Don't judge me--I'm suuuuuper sleep deprived.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day 294: Meet the Parents

I'm with my parents!!!!!  Seeing their new home!!!!!  Spending all kinds of good times together!!!!!

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that require excessive use of !!!!!!!!!!!'s!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Day 293: Sleepy Time

I had a TON of stuff to do today.  But I was so organized yesterday and today that I got it all done.  Cha-ching!

And get this--I got it done with enough time to spare to take a nap.  I don't think I actually fell asleep, but it still felt good to rest and relax before getting started with the rest of my crazy day.

Making time for naps = Joyful Moment.

Wishing you all sleepy Joyful Moments!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Day 292: Win-Win

Today was a day full of busyness and frustration.  I knew beforehand that it would be that way (only I underestimated just how much so) and I know what happens to Little M on days like that.  He turns into a bit of a demon.

Is that bad for a mama to type for all to read?

Anyway, bad or not, it's totally true.  And then I'm already in a frazzled state, so I struggle to find the patience to deal with my baby-turned-spawn-of-Satan, and then we really wind up in big mess.  The kind that I have to go in and apologize for when he's sleeping and has returned to his sweet, angelic self.

I try to avoid having those kinds of big messes.  So, this time I took measures to fix things.  My friend is watching two of another friend's boys.  She already has 3 boys of her own.  Only one of these boys goes to school.  Leaving her with 4 boys all 4 and under all day.  Until the 5th gets home from school.  Fun.  So, I called her this morning and asked if I could borrow two of the boys (one hers, one the other friend's--both friends of Little M).  She was, of course, delighted at this plan, as it provided her with a nice reprieve.  I was, of course, delighted at this plan, as it provided a distraction for Little M so he wouldn't realize that I was neglecting him.

Things didn't go quite as planned as far as me being able to tackle my insane to-do list for today during their two hour visit.  But the boys did have a great time and I was able to take care of the other, unexpected business that popped up during that time.  And then my friend came back to pick the boys up and acted as grateful as if I had just sent her to a day spa, or something.  She did get to take a shower, so it was kind of like going to the spa.

A very simple spa.

But her gratitude made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  It's so nice to help others out.  Especially when it helps me too.  I love those kinds of helping moments.  Joyful helping Moments.

Wishing you all Joyful helping Moments where you get to pretend you're serving someone else, when really, you're serving you!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 291: Run, Little Man, Run

We were running behind this afternoon when it came time to pick Sweet P up from the bus stop.  So, when I saw the bus rounding the corner, long before we could get there, I asked Little M to run to meet her.  I had Baby B, Z, and high heeled boots--I just couldn't do it.

So, Little M took off in his new Spiderman boots with his unzipped puffy coat flailed out behind him.  The cuteness of that was Joyful Moment in and of itself.  But watching the sweet reunion of these two sibling/best friends was an even greater Joyful Moment.  I am beyond happy that my children are such great friends.  I hope and pray it lasts...

Wishing you all Joyful Moment reunions!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day 290: Cha Cha In My Ears

So, I've been having this weird ringing in my ears the last few days.  I pretty much only notice it when all is quiet.  But then every 30 seconds, or so, it's like the ringing does a little "cha cha cha".  Is this normal?  I mean, as normal as ear ringing ever is?

I think I just need to sleep.

But on to the Joyful Moment of the day.  It was actually just a pretty good day all around.  I went to my very first ever PTA meeting.  It was pretty uneventful and ended half an hour early, so I headed to a children's clothing consignment shop to pick up some new snow boots for Little M.  We discovered on Saturday that his were too small and it's supposed to snow tonight (please, don't!).  They didn't have a large selection, so I was thinking I would have to just go to Target and get him some new ones, when I saw a black pair that looked to be about the right size.  On closer inspection I discovered that not only were they the right size, but they were also Spiderman snow boots.

Today's Joyful Moment was when I came home and told Little M about the new boots.  And then told him they had Spiderman on them.  Any of you who know him know just how expressive this little boy can be.  And his face had the most joyous expression and he made this crazed little happy sound and his weird excited laugh and it was great.  $4.50 well spent.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that cost less than $5!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day 289: Ssshhh!

Today's Joyful Moment is a secret.  I'll give you a hint:  I'm making something for my sister for Christmas.  And I'm pretty excited about it.  I hope she loves it!

Wishing you all Joyful Moments creating something to be loved by someone you love!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 288: Sinking In

I believe I've mentioned that I teach the 9 & 10 year olds at church.  I try not to and feel that I shouldn't, but the truth is--I struggle with this.  I won't go into that.  What I will go into is the fact that today, I felt that they really responded.  They got excited about what we were learning and discussing.  And it was totally a Joyful Moment.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the center of who I am and what I do.  Being able to help these great kids come to know their Savior a little better is an amazing blessing that I'm very grateful for.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments in finally seeing some progress after a whole lot of hard work!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 287: Mixed Feelings

So, the snow managed to bring me another Joyful Moment for me today.  The kids were up and playing in it first thing this morning.  A couple weeks ago I bought them some saucers from Target.  We have a little hill in the backyard.  Perfect.  They had so much fun out there!  And I had my Joyful Moment watching them from inside.  Warm and toasty.

And then my s-i-l called to see if we could video chat with them via Skype.  We've been trying to find a good time for a couple weeks now, but it's challenging when they live on the other side of the world.  But my s-i-l found a time that worked for all of us and we got to visit for a while.  My two nieces are so adorable!  And totally entertaining to talk to.  My kids still don't understand why they were going to bed right after we had breakfast, but it was a Joyful Moment for all of us.

And then Baby B started blowing raspberries for the first time while in the bathtub tonight.  Is anybody keeping track of how often he is responsible for the Joyful Moments I post here?  He is just so stinkin' cute!

Wishing you all Joyful Moments derived from multiple family members all in one day!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day 286: Give Me Strength

Wanna know what is NOT a Joyful Moment?  Waking up at 2:30 AM to the sound of steady dripping rain.  Inside your house.  The house that you bought because it was newer so you wouldn't have to deal with things like leaks and whatnots.  Hooray.

But I am thankful that it was the door frame to my bedroom so we're actually aware of it and can get it taken care of.

And then I looked out the sliding door tonight and saw snow.  Wow.  There is something magical about the first snow of the season that does make it a Joyful Moment.  But when you live in the North Pole and know that it represents six months of winter yet to come, the Joyful Moment is rather fleeting.

My feet have been like little icicles all day.  I don't ever want to leave my house again "till Spring crept over the windowsill."

Anyway, today's real Joyful Moment was brought to me by my Little M.  We got home from the gym, let Z in and then discovered that she had been traipsing through the very black dirt of the garden in our absence.  Except it wasn't dirt because of all the rain we've been having.  It was mud.  Black mud all over my kitchen floor.  So, I whisked her away to the bathroom (if lugging a big black dog that weighs half as much as I do can be considered "whisking") to wash her paws.

Meanwhile, Baby B was kind of freaking out because he was hungry and tired and needed both of those needs met five minutes prior.  Then Little M comes and asks if he can open the rice rusks we bought for Baby B yesterday.  I realize this is a fabulous idea and tell him to go ahead.  He does so while I finish up with Z and I can hear him in the kitchen talking to Baby B in the sweetest little voice, helping him to be calm and happy while Little M opens his rusks.  So, we give him one to munch on while I get lunch ready. And I offhandedly mention that I now need to mop the floor sometime today.  Little M pipes up with an "I'll do it!"  So, I prepare the mop and he gets to work while I get lunch out.

So, in a very short amount of time, we're all sitting down to eat and I can feed myself and Baby B in peace, knowing that I don't have to mop the floor because Little M actually did a pretty good job.

And then I'm reminded that even though much of the time he is a crazy and sort of challenging child, underneath it all he has a heart of gold.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that don't involve drips at 2:30 AM!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 285: Dapper

I forgot a Joyful Moment again yesterday.  Sweet P's first report card.  They sent a generic letter home the week before telling the parents to expect mostly 3's, meaning the child is meeting expectations.  Sweet P had 1/3 to 1/2 of her report card full of 4's--exceeding expectations.  And then the rest were 3's.  I might be a little bit of a proud mama.

And today's Joyful Moment might have been more of my Mama Pride.  It was chilly today, so Baby B was in need of a hat when we went out.

So fun toting him around while sporting this hat.  No one can pass him by without a comment.  Simply adorable.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that involve a smashing hat!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 284: Ladies

I forgot about a pretty satisfying Joyful Moment I had yesterday.  I made roasted veggies for dinner--and I made up the recipe for them.  HH was more than a little wary when I informed him that that was our main course.  But he has since told me multiple times that it was actually quite good.  And it was!  And, perhaps the best part is that I could feed it to Baby B.  Thumb sucking + baby food = INSANE messiness.  Plus, he doesn't always seem to enjoy baby food.  But he LOVED munching on mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and carrots last night.  And he didn't even need a bib!

Anyway, onto today's Joyful Moments.

I think I've mentioned Visiting Teaching before on this blog.  Basically, it's a program in our church where we check up on each other and make sure everyone is doing okay.  So, a friend of mine and I are assigned to go visit certain women in our congregation.  I'll be totally honest and admit that I've really slacked off in this department since the arrival of Baby B.  I've done it a bit, but not really the way it's supposed to be done and definitely not consistently.  But today we were able to visit two of the three women on our list.  And it was so wonderful.  Because these women are truly my friends and I love spending time with them.  It was uplifting and fun and Joyful!

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that don't require bibs!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 283: Overachieved

So, I'll be honest--lately I sit down to post without a clear idea of what to post about.  Simply because life is really pretty stellar right now.  So the Joyful Moments don't stand out in such stark contrast to the rest of life any more.

What I'm trying to say is, I don't know what to post for my Joyful Moment tonight.  Today was just a good day.  Nothing spectacular happened.  I just enjoyed my everyday ordinary life.

But if I had to choose... the Joyful Moment to share would be reminiscing with my HH.  We went out on our very first date eight years ago today.  When I look back at the photographs, we look like young kids.  We've been through a ton since then and I am so grateful that he is the one by my side through it all.

I love my HH!

Wishing you all overachieving days too full of Joyful Moments!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 282: Recipe For Guaranteed Joyful Moments

Yes indeed, my friends, at the end of this post you will find THE recipe.  For my chocolate chip cookies.  I just ate about a dozen of them.  I love them.

But first, today's Joyful Moments.

I ran for TWENTY (20) minutes in my new shoes this morning!  Hooray!  And I could have gone farther, but my feet started feeling hot (I was on a treadmill).  I think it's safe to say, "I have adjusted"!!  I was thinking this would take months, but thanks to some personal coaching from a fabulous friend, I'm good to go!

And the other Joyful Moment I wanted to share was walking/biking/scootering to the park with my kids this afternoon.  Today was a random warm day.  Faaaaabulous!  Since we're about to embark on six straight months of winter, we took advantage.  And it was really fun to get out together and play at the park one last time.  I even sat on the swing with Baby B.  He loved it.  My hips did not.

And now for the moment you've all been waiting for:

Cheryl's Chocolate Chip Cookies:

1/2 C. shortening
1/2 C. butter, softened
1 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
Large splash of vanilla
1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding
2 1/2 C. flour
Chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl beat shortening and butter with an electric mixer.  Add sugars and baking soda and beat until combined.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Beat in dry pudding mix and as much of the flour as you can with the mixer.  Stir in any remaining flour and chocolate chips.

Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.  I prefer them baked on an air bake cookie sheet or a baking stone.

The extra vanilla and the pudding are what make all the difference.  Don't be afraid of them!  I love this recipe and kind of feel that they are the best cookies, but am open to alterations, so if you have anything that you do for your cookies that makes them extra special--please share!

Oh, and I don't recommend eating 12 of them even if you bake them small like I do.  It's not good for you.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments from baking these and enjoying deliciousness in its purest form!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day 281: Hard Core

We had some friends over for dinner tonight.  The wife is one of my good friends whom I truly admire and try to be like.  And I wanted to get to know her husband better.  Not surprisingly, I really like him too.

We enjoyed a yummy dinner and lots of great conversation.  The kids ate quietly for about 3 minutes and then all vanished to play downstairs.  They had a bit of a rough start because Little M can get a tad wound up when guests come over.  But after a few Time Outs, he remembered to play nice.  And then they all had a great time playing together.  They have a boy about the same age as Little M and the two of them are like two peas in a pod and they just love playing together.  It was so sweet to hear them all giggling (until I realized that the giggles were coming because of a combined effort to tip the couch over!).

Anyway, the whole evening was a Joyful Moment spending time with friends and getting to know them a bit better.  We played "Blokus" and for some reason HH kept saying it was "hard core".  Well, if you've ever played the game then you would probably be wondering what exactly made it hard core.  I still am.  I just love my HH.

And I got to eat one of my favorite chocolate chip cookies!  Joyful Moment!

Wishing you all hard core Joyful Moments!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day 280: "This Is Fun"

Whispered Sweet P in the middle of violin practice.

Say what?!

Yep.  Today was a first for us in basically a year of learning the violin--we BOTH had fun!  And though I was already having a Joyful Moment, that whisper made the Moment all the more Joyful.

And we almost didn't even have a practice!  I told her it was time, she said she didn't want to, I felt the anger and grumpies rising up, so I decided to let things go and said, "Fine.  I'm not going to make you practice."  And then she went downstairs and talked to herself for a while.  And I stayed not angry.  Yay me!  She came back up and told me she had a surprise for me.  The surprise was that she had set up all of her violin stuff and was ready to practice!  Joyful Moment!

And then she started things off by playing the best A-scale she's EVER played.  For some reason, she hates playing the A-scale so she always gives it a pretty sorry effort.  But today she did it fantastically well, so of course, I enthusiastically congratulated her on that and that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the practice.  She tried really hard, sounded fantastic, and...


Wishing you all Joyful Moments that are just plain FUN!!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day 279: Meternity

That's not a misspelling.  That's another one of my new words.  Maternal + Eternity.  I'm not really sure why, I just didn't really know what to title taday's post.

Today was another good day.  I'm learning to keep my emotions in check and then to just roll with it and move on when things get yucky.  I'm pleased with the control I had today.

But my Joyful Moment wasn't related to that.

I can't really describe what this does to me internally.  But I do know without a doubt that on a future day, this photo will make me cry.  It has captured so much of the preciousness that is my Baby B.  His mile-long eye lashes (better seen when this photo is enlarged), his fuzzy head, the furrowed brow as he's concentrating on the little mouse that fell out of his pocket, and those sweet sweet cheeks.  Oh oh oh.  I adore him.

Getting this and about a dozen others of my sweetie, plus a bunch of awesome family pics was totally today's Joyful Moment.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that capture the essence of one of the best things in your life.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 278: Fearing Optimism

So, today ROCKED.  I just felt so light and easygoing.  And happy.  And it was kind of like one big Joyful Moment.  And it was freeing and beautiful.  And so many other happy adjectives.

But there was a nagging fear in the back of my mind from time to time:  What if...?  What if this doesn't turn out the way I'm hoping it might?  What will that do to me then?  What if I'm wrong?  Etc., etc., etc.

Then HH and I were discussing it a bit at dinner.  I haven't really had a chance to talk things through with him because we weren't really home at the same time at all yesterday.  So, I was sharing a little of my optimism with him when he interjected with those same fears I voiced above.  And I know he was doing it to protect me.  This isn't the first time that I've thought I could "fix" me.  And then when it fails and I get depressed again, it hurts doubly because I'm devastated that I didn't fix anything at all.  And when you get down to it, that's what we're both afraid of with all of those "What ifs".

But it still hurt when HH started saying all of that.  It was like poking a pin in the happy balloon I'd been riding in all day, not popping it, but just giving it a small leak so it couldn't fly as high.  And that really took the fun out of it.

But then I stopped myself because, hello, I'm rising above this.  I can handle challenges.

I knew HH wasn't trying to be hurtful in the least, so I stopped him, too.  I processed for a minute and then I began speaking pretty much as my thoughts were processing and I didn't realize the profundity of it until the words were out of my mouth.  But the gist of it was this:

1.  I'm not expecting to overcome everything in an instant, or a day.  It took years to get here, it will probably take years to get out.

2.  I'm not expecting to never have bad days, rough patches, or even bouts of depression.  I am expecting to change who I am underneath it all.  I'm not going to be a depressed person just having a good day.  I'm going to be the happy, easygoing person that I used to be.  Life is to be enjoyable, not a chore.

3.  (This was the real Aha Moment)  So, what if it doesn't work out the way I'm hoping it will?  So what if this ends up being one big flop?  What will happen?  I'll probably be depressed.  Why is that something to be so afraid of?  We can handle that.  It's not fun or ideal, but still--so what?  Being afraid of that is a ridiculous reason to avoid being optimistic right now.  Especially when that optimism has made all the difference in my outlook today and for life in general.

So, we have two choices:  1.  Optimism and happiness, with a potential for depression  Or, 2.  Pessimism and crankiness, with certain depression.

It seems simple when I put it like that, but I think we face a similar choice frequently without realizing it. We give up the better choice because we're afraid of things not being as good as we want them to be.  Who cares?!  Choose the good and enjoy it for as long as it lasts.  This is life, so the bad probably isn't going to disappear regardless.  Why not let happiness and in as much as possible?

Today was awesome because I found HOPE and that was incredibly empowering.  I refuse to let the fear of anything (leastwise the depression that I know so well) keep me from that.


The End.

For tonight.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments and the power to choose optimism.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 277: From Simple to Profound

At lunch today I had a pear in the perfect stage of ripeness.  It was just soft enough to be sweet and juicy, but not at all mushy.  And it was a delicious Joyful Moment.  And I thought that would be it for today.  I mean, not my only Joyful Moment, but the one I would choose to share here.

But a discovery was made yesterday with my counselor that has caused me to do some serious contemplating and soul searching.  Actually, stuff has been going on for a while that's been causing me to do this.  Remember a month or so ago when I said I was having a bit of an identity crisis?  Well, bit by bit things have been coming together.  It's been amazing really.  I seem to keep talking to just the right person at just the right time, or reading just the right article or just the right book at just the right time, or in today's instance, just the right chapters of scripture at just the right time.  And I know I've been guided to each of these things as I have been ready to hear them and understand.

So, it's like I've been working on this puzzle for a while now, receiving piece after piece, but unsure of how they all fit together.  And today, everything clicked and now I can see the big picture.  A lot of it deals with some things that feel too personal for me to share, so I won't explain it all here.  Basically though, I'm going to be making some major changes in most areas of my life.  For example, HH was SUPER excited when he came home and saw the cookbooks I checked out of the library--The Mediterranean Vegan, for one.  And if you know my HH, you know that he wasn't really excited in the least.  But at least he is supportive.

Anyway, so all of these changes are a bit much because it is sort of drastic (changing our diet is only one little puzzle piece) and it will take a loooooong time to really incorporate everything, BUT... today I felt hope for the first time in years that maybe I don't have to battle depression my whole life.  The hope that maybe getting back to the happy, easy-going demeanor I possessed up until my early twenties is not an impossible dream.  Maybe I can be me again.  And that is a Joyful Moment that I can't really even describe.  Amazing is the best I can do for now.

It will be interesting to see how it plays out.  But for now, I already feel lighter.  I even initiated a spontaneous dance with HH when I walked in from Sweet P's violin lesson to discover him and Little M rocking out to "Life Goes On".  Now that is progress, my friends.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments of the life changing variety!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day 276: Siiiiick

Today I was pretty ill.  So, my Joyful Moment arrived in the form of HH stepping in and taking over everything once he got home.  He even told me a bedtime story because I was so sick and in pain it was hard to fall asleep.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments and good health!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Day 275: My Inner Child

We didn't get a single Trick-or-Treater last night.  It might have something to do with the fact that we didn't turn the porch light on.  But then again, we don't have many kids on our street.  Kind of weird to not get a single one, though.

Anyway, today's Joyful Moment was being a kid with Little M.  He decided to wear an eye patch that he got at our gym's Halloween party last week when we went to the gym this morning (I "pranced" for 12 minutes in my new shoes!!!).  And after the gym we decided to check out the Halloween clearance at Target.  Well, he was still wearing the patch, so we decided to be pirates.  We talked like pirates all the way there and halfway through the shopping trip, but then we reached the Halloween aisle and we both forgot that we were pirates.  But still, it was fun while it lasted.

Then after lunch I turned on the Sugar Free All Stars for him, so he wouldn't be lonely while I showered.  After I was out and dressed, I heard him singing along, so I came in to join him.  The last song involves a lot of instructions to move around in all sorts of ways (i.e. spin around, do jumping jacks, jump, run in place, etc.).  We did that together and had a blast!

I'm not the best at playing with my kids.  It's just not my strong point.  So, I'm not sure what happened today, but I'm glad it did.  It was the source of several Joyful Moments, the best of which was creating Joyful Moments for my Little M.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments playing with your inner child (and if you're lucky, a cute outer child as well)!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 274: Most Anti-Climatic Halloween Ever

But if we're being totally honest--and I'm always honest--I really don't care that today didn't feel like Halloween at all.  I think we celebrated plenty for one Halloween.

Today's Joyful Moment was seeing a picture of my mama tacked to the wall at church.  Last year when she graduated, they took a photo of her jumping triumphantly in the air.  With her legs kicked back, just like in those old Toyota commercials.  Except, she's wearing a cap and gown.  And in keeping with our tradition of honesty, how cool is it that my mom went back to school and got another degree (she graduated way back when (but not that way back when--she's still a young'un) with her associates, but now added on a Bachelors)?

And now, she's in an ad encouraging other people to do the same.  And because it's involved with Brigham Young University and the Church's stance on continuing education, I guess, she gets to be stuck on the bulletin board on the wall.  And that makes me happy.

And it might have made me laugh a little bit, too.

And now, some photos to go along with the last couple posts:

If you count the one lonely leg already attached to the toy (and sitting there all by its lonesome for the last few weeks), you will see 5 (FIVE!) left legs.  And there on the right, the coveted, long-awaited right leg.  Blessed right leg!

And I recognize that this is not a great photo, but look how happy he is to be playing in his new toy!  He still loves it!

And these are the intestines I made.  It's okay, I'll say what you're thinking for you:  Awesome.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that are:  Awesome.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 273: Still Energizer Bunny-ing

My children got to wear their Halloween costumes.  Again.  And this time they pulled in a major haul of candy.  We don't trick-or-treat on Sunday because it's the Lord's day.  So, since Halloween falls on a Sunday this year, we had a "Trunk-or-Treat" in the church parking lot.  If you're not familiar with this idea, basically everyone parks their cars and then hands out candy out of their trunk.  Really festive people even decorate their trunks.  It's great.

I didn't decorate my trunk.  I didn't even take my trunk.  My HH was given the exciting opportunity to attend the football game today with one of my friend's husbands.  So, we had their family over to make spooky face pizzas for dinner and then we all headed over together.

Just before heading over to the church, we did a little practice run at our next door neighbors.  They gave the kids king-size candy bars.  And then gave them another.  Because they know hardly anyone will come t-o-t-ing on our street tomorrow night.  And our children need two king size candy bars.  Each.  Shockingly, that was a Joyful Moment for my kids, but not as much for me.  But don't worry, my fabulous neighbors then gave me a treat when they offered to watch Baby B while we went to the Trunk-or-Treat.

I think they were joking, but I took them up on it anyway.  I missed my BB, but it was so nice to not have to worry about him because the parking lot madness was chaotic enough with the other two.  And don't worry about my neighbors, they're always asking if they can watch Baby B.  And he was in such a good mood when I picked him up.  He had all kinds of things to say to me and, as you can guess, that was another Joyful Moment.  He is S.O.  C.U.T.E!!!

Wishing you all Joyful Moments and the opportunity to wear your Halloween costume at least 3 times this year!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 272: I'm "The Grossest!"

Too many things!

Remember when I bought that play station for Baby B?  Well, it's been quite the adventure, but I now own 5 left legs and 1 right leg.  The mail man came to my door with the package yesterday and when I saw him I squealed with delight and could not contain my Joyful Moment.  He was trying to tell me that they should have shipped it in a box (the package had torn open), but I was busy telling him that I'd like to hug him except that I thought it might not be appropriate.  And then he left.

And I kept the Joyful Moment going as I put it together.  Actually, Little M slipped the leg into place (take that all you Customer Service Reps who thought I was just to inept to put it together!).  Baby B was asleep, but after he finally woke up and ate his lunch, I stuck him in it.  And he just sat there smiling and talking away as he played in it.  So cute!  And satisfying.

Other Joyful Moments of note included taking the kids trick-or-treating at the gym and having a good time as a family.

Then we left the kids with a baby sitter and headed off to a Halloween Party.  It was really well done.  Tons of fun!  And I won an award for "The Grossest" food.  I'll have to post a picture of it later when I upload to my computer.  But I made intestines.  Awesome!  I totally knew I'd win.  And I'm more than a little competitive, so is it wrong that that was a Joyful Moment for me?

Plus, dressing up was pretty fun in and of itself.  I went as a punk rocker and HH went as Napoleon Dynamite.  Another Joyful Moment was watching him spontaneously do the Napoleon Dynamite dance in front of all our friends.  He's normally a little reserved in public.  But apparently, donning a wig has a liberating effect on him.  It was so funny!  And I loved that our friends got to see a little piece of the hysterical man I married.

Fun fun fun day!

Wishing you all Joyful Moments in excelling at grossness!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 271: Slow And Easy

So, after babying my feet for a couple weeks, I've finally been running again.  Although, it's a whole new ballgame now.  The technique for running barefoot is so totally different, it's almost like learning a new sport.

Today's Joyful Moment was running in them for 8 minutes.  JM because that's the longest I've gone since that very first fateful run.  JM because I stopped myself before overdoing it.  The tendinitis is still somewhat tender.  "Taking it easy" when it comes to my running has always been sort of impossible for me.  Once I get going, there are so many voices in my head telling me I have to go harder, faster, longer and I struggle to tune them out and give way to reason.  In fact, I pretty much never do.

So, I'm really proud of myself because this time, I think I've finally got things figured out.  No more running until I'm physically ill.  Baby steps until I've got this new technique figured out, then I can figure out what kind of running I'm really capable of.  And looking forward to that day is yet another Joyful Moment.

Wishing you all slow and easy Joyful Moments!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 270: It Has Begun

Trick-or-Treating, that is.

Tonight we went to the annual "Boo at the Zoo".  Joyful Moment seeing the kiddos in their costumes.  And how totally impressed they were with my face painting skills.  Sweet P is a bat (a costume my mama sewed when I was a kid) and Little M is a cow.  I painted Sweet P's face all black and Little M's all white, except for a black circle around one eye.  I'm amazing.

"Just moms know everything, not dads"--Little M.

Then we met up with some friends at the zoo.  These kinds of events are always more enjoyable when there are more adults to converse with and more cute children to watch having fun.  Plus, her husband seems to have a lot in common with HH and, let's be honest, I would love for him to have some closer friends.  And if those closer friends could be married to some of my friends that would be ideal.  Plus, I like these friends.

And, naturally, everyone who saw my little pea pod Baby B cooed at how adorable he looked in costume and with his crazy fluffy hair.  And that is always a Joyful Moment.

Now, if I could just figure out what I want to dress up as for Halloween... Any ideas?

Wishing you all Joyful Moments involving penguins (they're new at our zoo and they are adorable)!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 269: Choices

So, I've been going through a bit of a rough patch as of late.  Mostly just cranky.  Yesterday HH had a stressful day, too and then (lucky him) came home to Mrs. CrabbyPants.  We just sort of rubbed each other the wrong way all evening and made each other grumpier.  So, after posting here last night, I sat and caught up on other friends' blogs for a bit while the back of my brain worked through things.  I finally remembered what I've already learned a billion times:  I can choose to stay mad at HH for no real reason besides that I'm just grumpy, or I can choose to not be.

After an hour and a half, I was ready for the second choice.  I went upstairs and apologized to him for being lame when he needed a little support.  He's pretty much always great at forgiving, so we went to bed maybe a little bit sad with the world, but at peace and love with each other.

Which made waking up this morning better than it otherwise would have been.  I had an early appointment with a psychologist (yay) that I was pretty apprehensive about.  Having HH on my side definitely helped put me at ease about it.  But it was still a hectic morning getting myself and the kids ready to head out the door, dropping them off at a friend's, and then driving across town to the therapist my doctor picked out for me.

That went all right.  The rest of the day went okay.  A friend invited us to go swimming in the afternoon.  I never want to do that because it just feels like too much work, but today I decided it was worth the sacrifice for how much the kids would love it.  So, after naps I got everyone all ready, woke poor Baby B up from his nap early, and loaded everyone in the car.  We pulled in to the gym parking lot just in time for Sweet P to puke all over the entire back half of the van.


We went home and I spend an hour cleaning out the van.  Which was nice because I've been meaning to give it a deep cleaning for sometime now.  I just would have preferred to do this sans the throw up smell that almost made me toss my own cookies a few times.

Not a Joyful Moment--in case you were wondering.

Where am I going with all of this?  Well, I just needed to set the stage for you that today was not the best of days.  And then factor in that I'm already leaning toward crankiness anyway, and well, you get the picture.

And that was when I realized that if I didn't do something, we'd have a repeat of yesterday and really, yesterday was pretty lame.  So, I put on a crazy pair of pants that might be part of my Halloween costume if I can figure out what all to put together (basically, they are super-tight, snake skin, pleather pants--awesome).  And I kept them on until HH got home.

It's amazing what a crazy pair of pants can do to a couple of tired, cranky-prone adults.  Don't worry, nothing crazy happened.  It just made HH smile which made me smile at him instead of griping at him.


So, choosing to rise above the bad attitude that is seriously fighting to take over my world right now was my Joyful Moment.

The End.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that happen in an instant but take a novel to explain!