The Happiness Project

A book by Gretchen Rubin.  And inspiration to some changes in my life.

I recently finished this book.  It was really good and has inspired me to challenge myself to stretch my limits a little.  I wasn’t really prepared for that insight, so after reading the couple chapters, I actually walked away from it to take some time to make improvements.  Her project broke out different areas by month and she worked on something different each month. I’m going to try and re-read a chapter of her book every month (or so, permission to miss a deadline, so if I miss one, I don’t just quit!)

Funny, I have no reason to be unhappy, but know that I don’t always appreciate everything and I know that my sarcasm and nagging and complaints probably wear on some people (even outside my husband).  She also addressed how we need to appreciate the seemingly sunshiny people in our lives and not be cynical about their disposition, because it is hard to always be sunshiny!

So here’s what I took away from this:

  • being happy takes work for some people
  • be true to yourself
  • take care of yourself
  • “The days are long and the years are short”

Here’s what I’ve done:

  • Started working out. Completed 9 weeks of Couch to 5K training, running a 5K next week. (yay, me!)  Taking care of myself!  Fixing my lunches and planning dinners.  but also giving myself some flexibility on what we eat at home.  Nothing fancy, keeping it simple.
  • Acknowledging that I don’t have a lot of time, but I can manage my priorities to take care of myself and being happy.  I gave up A LOT when I was pregnant with Charlie. Trying to regain some aspects of life prior to having kids.  Exercise is the big one for me, and career development is the other space I’m working on.
  • Not caring what people think, I’m speaking up more at work, asking questions, pushing some points – for pete’s sake, I’m a business analyst. This is what I’m supposed to do!
  • Trying to spend more time with my kids. If Maria wants to play Chutes & Ladders, I try to tell myself that even though my day has been long, I don’t have endless opportunities with her at this age.  “The days are long, but the years are short.”
  • Taking a break from facebook.  Not sure if that was a conscious decision or not. I’m on it, but just not every day and almost never more than once a day.
  • So my decision with blogging, I’m keeping it. I may be using it more as a journal so that I have a record of life or as my new category reads (moments).   But what I did decide about my blog was that I’m not maintaining the framework. I’m hosting it via instead of the host I have been using since I moved to this domain.  2 reasons, because it’s cheaper AND the last time I upgraded wordpress, I had to move and edit files manually because the script my host provided didn’t work. And then the next day a new patch was released!  I do like to geek out a little, but that’s just frustrating and I lost about 3 hours doing that!

So that’s it. In a nutshell. I’ll try to keep you updated when I start the re-read and what I decide to do going forward. Oh, and another thing, going to bed early… huge difference in my attitude every day. Anyway, I recommend this book. You don’t have to be unhappy to improve your happiness.

Crying it out

As fast as the last 14 months have gone, it is not because I have slept them away! With less than 5 nights of sleeping through the night, Sunday night probably “woke” me up to the problem we were having.

Sunday night I lost track of how many times I got up. I believe it was not less than 10. I worked from home on Monday because I was a walking zombie. Tuesday night wasn’t much better.  

I hadn’t pushed the issue earlier. Not before Charlie developed an attitude, a mild temper or the bad habits of wanting mommy. I don’t think I knew how to deal with it. (Maria slept through the night at 12 weeks. Thanks thumb!) And I didn’t know how much was the habit of getting up or Charlie being uncomfortable due to the ear infection plague this winter. Tubes helped make him more comfortable but the bad habits were already established. Habits. Plural. His and mine. It seemed easier to get up make a bottle, change his diaper and rock him than to listen to him cry and worry about waking his sister in the room next door.

Yesterday I did something I am not good at. I asked for help. In the form of advice from a Mommy online discussion board at work. I got it. Now I was not alone. Sure I already knew friends who dealt with this issue. But sometimes it is easier to take a push from an unfamiliar person. Strange but true for me.

Then on the advice of a friend I took Charlie to get his ears checked. Just to be sure. And our pediatrician, who I adore, and who was unavailable for most of Charlie’s ear infections and 12 month wellness appointment laid it out for me. (She also confirmed his ears were clear.)

He’s reached the separation anxiety stage. (big time!). He wakes up he wants to know I am there. So I just needed to go in and remind him “Yes, I am here.”  It was good for me to hear this (even though I can now expect a doctor bill), because I know me. I would have found an excuse.  His stuffy nose or the fact that his 5th tooth just poked through.  But there it was. I trust my doctor. 

Now I don’t know why I didn’t remember to turn on the monitor last night. But I didn’t. So when I heard him crying at 3:40 this morning I just jumped out of bed not knowing how long he had been crying and made him a bottle. But before I got back to his room, I decided to not take it in. Never let him see it and just lay him back down with a pacifier.

He cried for 20 minutes after that. Then I went back in and gave him his “loveys” which he had thrown on the floor. (I blame his daddy for that temper) Laid him back down and went back to bed. He cried for 7 minutes.

Thirty minutes later he was crying again. Repeat. Cried for less than 15 minutes. One more time 30 minutes later with crying less than 5 minutes. He was asleep when I left this morning.

I am nervous for tonight. Could be worse. But hopefully better. Stay tuned…

Happy for February

Wow, February already. January went fast. But I fine with that! It wasn’t a great month. Charlie was sick twice and Maria was really sick once for a grand total of 5 doctor appts (one of which was for both kids so we’ll be billed for 6!) and 4 prescriptions for antibiotics! Yuk!

January also revealed the need for a new dishwasher (leaked and warped our hardwood floor) and a new door (it warped and won’t open… Still waiting to see if warranty will cover it).

Sigh.. I am exhausted. Although with all this happening I have been reminded to count my blessings as a close friend found out she has cancer. Which totally sucks considering she is expecting a baby this summer.. So it isn’t just a matter of throwing herself into treatment.

I know I am blessed and my friend is too. Definitely being challenged to keep things in perspective and to be thankful in all circumstances even for the fleas.

Wrapping Up

This has been my last week of maternity leave and it has been crazy crazy busy! So Busy that I’m just downloading pictures from my camera to computer from Maria’s party last Saturday!   So a recap of the week – pictures to follow later…

Saturday – a great day for a birthday party!  Minnie Mouse cake and a Stick the Nose on Minnie game!  Guest list included all Maria’s cousins plus a few friends.  Both sets of grandparents and her great-aunt Marilyn who flew in from Chicago for the event!  Yay!

Sunday – hanging out with grandparents and Aunt Marilyn – playing with toys.  showing us that she knows how to write her name on her new chalkboard (we had no idea!) and then trying to write Charlie’s!  a walk to the park where we unsuccessfully tried to fly her kite, and by we, I mean Chad & I, because she got distracted by swings.

Monday – Charlie and I ran errands.

Tuesday – Maria’s birthday!  We opened presents and then went to the gas station for donuts (because that’s where she wanted to go for donuts).  Then off to the Mall of America to get her free Nickelodeon Universe wristband.  She went on a bunch of rides. Unfortunately her cousin got sick and wasn’t able to join us, but Maria still had a blast with good old Mom & Dad!

Wednesday – The errand day from H-E-….  Maria’s first dentist appointment which wasn’t great.  even though it is a pediatric office, they managed to scare her with pictures of teeth with holes in it, and by lecturing her about sucking her thumb  (this girl LOVES her thumb).  They also talked to me like she wasn’t in the room… sure that would work with Charlie, but nothing gets by Maria. Then she had to wait 20 min between getting her teeth cleaned (after being lectured) and seeing the actual dentist. Ummm… not a good idea when you’ve just scolded a 3 year old.  Apparently they haven’t worked with smart 3 year olds before?   Needless to say we won’t go back there and already have several recommendations for next time.  Charlie had his last chiropractor appointment after that.   Then we stopped at the mall to pick up a Minnie doll in attempt to lure Maria’s lovey (thumb-sucking companion) away.  Next we came home but immediately had to go back out to buy new locks for our new front door which was installed while we were out.  Next Maria’s 3 year wellness appt – which went great! Love our pediatrician.  Then we met up with friends to celebrate Maria and Annabel’s birthday at the park.  Busy Busy Busy!

Thursday – Charlie and I stayed home. We did run out for formula and a few things in the afternoon, before picking Maria up from daycare.  Maria and I also finally got to play with some birthday presents including Candyland (the Dora version) and Uno Moo.

Friday – We went to the YMCA in the morning. Maria cried in KidStuff while I had a short workout.  Then we headed to Hudson to visit Sarah & Lilah.  Took us longer than planned to get there, because of fussy baby, road construction and unplanned potty stops…  coming home we had the same obstacles! 🙂

This weekend – I hope to get the house somewhat cleaned up and maybe some meals planned.  Although next week, I start back on the bench (meaning I get paid, but don’t have a contract or client to go to) – definitely not a bad way to ease back into things.

I was "that" mom

I can not remember the last time I went to the grocery store (not Target) on a Sunday afternoon.  It was busy! And then to top it off and to keep things interesting for Maria I took her to one I don’t go to a lot.  AND then she was definitely acting her age!

I was “THAT” mom. You know the one who blocks traffic in the aisle because her kid is busy crawling out of the car (attached to the cart) while the cart is moving. The one whose kid is begging for snacks.  The one who has to high-tail it to the front of the store and temporarily abandon the cart (with much frozen food in it) because the kid decided she needs to go potty when I am in the back corner of the store. And then when the lines were long, the one who attempted the self-checkout lane.  The same check-out lane that requires an attendant to punch in a secret code every time extra weight in the bagging area is detected.  Which happened several times because the kid kept using the bagging area as a handle while she climbed in and out of the car cart.

Yeah, I was “that” mom.  I doubt this will be the last time either.  Next time I might be “that” mom with 2 kids along!