Living in the moment is something I truly struggle with.  I know I’m not the only one with this issue, but I also feel that life abroad, especially for diplomats, brings an interesting nuance to this issue.

You see, I don’t just spend a lot of time wondering what’s going on with everyone else in my family.  Worrying about my grandfather.  Inquiring about my sister in college.  But I spend a lot of time hypothesizing about our future, since we live on this rotational two year calendar.  If we are lucky we get three years, or if we are really rolling the dice, DH gets a one year in a third world dump.  (He loves the work, but those twelve months are rough!) ...continue reading The Moments When

Road to Happyness Title

...no matter how hard you try.  Sometimes the thing that is supposed to support your road to Happyness is the very thing that can hinder it here and there.  Practical Happyness is supposed to be my outlet and my stress reliever.  It is, or is supposed to be- a gathering of my thoughts on marriage, parenting, motherhood and womanhood, with a hefty dash of humor and sarcasm, a sprinkle of DIY projects and crafting.

And then there's that damn stats bar graph to my upper left hand corner.  I had a momentous and proud moment this past week- my blog hit over 1,000 site views.  It means that someone out there has felt compelled to click on my link shares on parties and blog hops that I've participated in.  It means that at least a handful of people have been interested in what I have to say on my little blog!  I was riding on cloud nine until my little Happyness bubble burst when I saw that some of the blogs I avidly follow have upwards of 30,000 posts a month, one of the 90,000!  Instantly my mind went in to research mode-  What can I do to get more hits?  I need to post more often.  I need to revamp my design.  I need to buy my domain name and become a {dot}com.  I need to be a part of more networks.  I need to take better pictures.  I need to post more projects.  Suddenly my blog to do list became as long as my house to do list that is plastered on a wall in the kitchen.  Such is the life of an introverted type-A perfectionist like myself.  CG would agree wholeheartedly I think.

My crazy home to do list...
My crazy home to do list...

And of course when this happens, I get a good case of don't-know-what-to-write-about followed by an epidemic of crazy-long-exhausting-kids-work-family-week.  I have 15 draft posts that I've titled because I come up with ideas and create the draft with the title so I can come back to them later.  So far I only have done ONE of those because most of them are related to ongoing projects in the house.  The other night I was sitting at the kitchen table trying to cram in a post after agonizingly trying to master the new theme {I hope you all like it!} I selected and figure out social media buttons- all with a cranky teething reflux-y baby fussing in his swing and a toddler running around ordering me to "go sit in the chair NOW!"

HALT RIGHT THERE!  It was in this moment that I realized I had gone down the road I said I wouldn't....I had been sucked up in to the frenzied world of mom blogging.   I have fallen head first in to the mom blog rabbit hole.  My online journal of love had turned in to another job.  And I already have three jobs- wife, mother and my real world full time gig that helps put food on the table.  My priorities had gone out of alignment again.  They needed a chiropractic adjustment.  Little P was yelling at me to sit in the chair in the corner of his room.  He does this when he just wants company.  He doesn't want us to play with him, he just wants us to sit and watch.  I sometimes grab a glass of wine and use it as my time to decompress.  I'll sit Little R in his bouncer next to the chair, enjoy my wine and drink in the wonderment of my eldest son's imagination.  I was trying to remember the last time I did that...and couldn't.

Thank you, Lord.  I needed that pan-over-the-head reminder of what's important in life.  

I see this as a teaching moment in Happyness.  I AM good enough.  I can't be perfect and I can't work four jobs.  A once-a-week post will have to do for now.  And I'll share it when I can.  Link parties are not as important as a dance party in my son's room.   Impeccably documented DIY projects are not as important as doing an art project with my boys.   Mastering widgets is not as important as consoling Little R when he's having a rough evening.  {Before anyone jumps to conclusions- he wasn't screaming or anything, he was just not a very happy camper at the moment}  Reorganizing my linen closet or kitchen for the blog is not as important-or as FUN- as getting outside with my family!

I'm vowing to remind myself that this blogging thing should be FUN and INSPIRATIONAL.  I don't have to live up to anyone else's stats.  Through Practical Happyness I want to be an example of how a mom can balance work, marriage, motherhood and hobbies and maintain her Happyness.  Which means making sure I take care of the family, my work, and myself.

So there you have it- my little lesson in Happyness for the week!

How do you like the new design?  And how do you stellar mom bloggers balance your blogging time with all your other duties?

Thanks so much for visiting!  Love and Happyness to All!

~M

Just to prove I do indeed have happy little ones!
Just to prove I do indeed have happy little ones!

I happily share at these parties!

your two-year-old coming up to the rocking chair and giving his little brother a hug and "kiss" completely on his own with no prompting whatsoever!

~M

Photo by Briana Alexandra Photography.
Photo by Briana Alexandra Photography.

2

calm

As promised in my earlier post about my loving toddler...this week began glum and difficult, as it does from time to time for even the happyest of people!  I awoke Monday morning feeling drained, and the week was only beginning.  I immediately got up and began the morning routine, but as I've known for some time now, when mommy is in a crummy mood it immediately rubs off on Little P, and with the first toddler fit of the morning, it permeates the entire house...

I was feeling tired, overwhelmed by all the things we need to do in the coming months, and anxious about getting any of it done.  We have a long list of to do's in order to put our condo on the market.  That list includes a lot of finishing work- the floors in the entryway, the redo of the banisters, painting, shelving and caulking- all with the ongoing duties owed to toddler and baby!  We have move ins and move outs and the end of the school year just around the corner.  We have preparations to make for our move overseas next year.  I have a host of new projects to occupy me at work.

We are continuously troubleshooting the Little R Gas/Reflux/Spit up/Tummy pain issue- and with that has come my new diet- no dairy...and no caffeine.  I have utterly failed on the caffeine front- as you all know, I regularly pay tribute to my adoring energetic and addictive friend coffee (seriously click the link and you'll see my favorite place in our house)!  I have managed to whittle my intake down to a measly 1 cup a day in the morning, and mornings start early around these parts.  Then I have some decaf for the sole purpose of psychologically tricking myself, which works for about five minutes.  This must be what junkies feel like, or people trying to quit smoking!

And the icing on the cake is life is economically crunched at the moment- the weather is humid, thick and heavy and everyone knows I'm a fall/winter kinda gal.  I felt a lot like the weather... how long can you go with 100% humidity before the pressure builds, converges, and gives way to the storm?

I really wanted to crawl in to the bathroom and cry for an hour(s), and then sleep the whole thing off....but since that is simply not an option for us mothers I gave myself a quick kick in the rear, and managed to get the boys to daycare.  In the car on the way we had whining and crying from both little ones, despite the snack I have given P and the pacifier delegated to R.

This is what I wanted!
This is what I wanted!

I do not have some magical recipe for dealing with days like this.  I deal with them off of the cuff, and usually things turn out okay.  First, in the car I cranked the stereo and took deep centering breaths....while reminding myself that I really need to start up yoga again, which then segued in to thoughts of how I have barely enough time to get dressed in the morning, let alone have the peace and quiet to do yoga.  Enter another swift mental kick in the rear here.  This happens a lot, I try to implement mental reorganization techniques and then the other half of my brain starts tossing in little messages to derail the attempt!

Enter the second phase of Operation Get Over Myself:  I called my bff in Colorado.  Having grown up as one of the guys for as long as I remember, I am truly blessed to have a handful of women that I met in my adult life that are 1- just like me and 2-would drop anything to come help me in crisis- whether it is tragedy or hiding the body- they would gladly grab a shovel and help!  I promise that will probably be the only macabre humor I ever use on Practical Happyness- but I've used that analogy for ages because it is really the only way I can convey how lucky I am to have not just one, but several, such friends!  But my Colorado girl (CG) is the top of the pyramid, and is the most recent addition to my inner circle.  We met and connected over our mutual frustration (maybe hatred?) for NOVA and all the entitlement culture that it supports.  And I love her to the ends of the Earth.  We can commiserate and give each other a dose of reality punch without even the smallest amount of offense or frustration.  We have sympathy and compassion but don't go overboard- and often talk about how that probably is a flaw on our part- our lack of empathy for certain people.  

Anywho- I digress as usual!  So I called and the first thing out of my mouth was something to the effect of, "I am NOT okay!"  And then the deluge of life's frustrations and complaints came pouring out over the phone.  CG listened, and then rattled off her own issues of the day, and then we reminded each other that we are not irrational, or crazy, and that we are great people worthy of Happyness.

About this time I got a text from H saying he wasn't feeling well and coming home- grrrr.  Evidently my crumminess was rubbing off.  I really didn't want him coming home.  My Mondays have become a bit sacred, they happen to be one of the days that I didn't go in to the office.  I go home and try to accomplish domestic things, while logging in to work between emptying the dishes and doing a laundry load.  I needed my Monday to get a handle on myself, and had no patience to deal with a sick husband.  "Tell him to go to bed, and get on with your day like he's not there," ordered CG.  Yes.

We ended our conversation as H was pulling in and I did let him know that I was having a rough day emotionally.  He is always loving and supportive and without me even mentioning it he just went to bed.  It's less likely that he read my mind and more likely that he indeed looked like he felt as exhausted as me.  The man goes from 4:30am to 11:00pm every day of the week, with weekends beginning at 7:00 am or earlier.  I often thank God that I married a Marine, because his discipline and constitution are both awe inspiring and frustrating.  He goes and goes and goes, until he hits the wall.  So every couple months he does just this- sleeps it off.  I'm jealous of his ability to sleep it off and keep going, where as women are hardwired to dwell on things even after they slept.

So the day wore on, with my inner mental awareness and attempt at discipline continuing, albeit mildly successful.  K, P and I had chicken nuggets and sweet potato fries for dinner because I was not inspired to put any more effort in to it.  I got P and R to bed and H was still asleep.  Here is where the real Happyness work comes in:  in that moment as I was coming down the stairs, I was wondering why I felt a little less frazzled all of a sudden.  And then it hit me- it was dark, cooler outside, and SILENT in the house.  There was no tv noise or clashing of dishes downstairs.  The dogs were lounging in the living room.  I pounced on the opportunity and grabbed my Nook to continue reading one of the freebies I found (I'll post a review of Secrets when I'm done).

After about ten minutes K asked if she could turn on the TV.  "NO!" I snipped.  Eventually H came down because he was hungry- and he intuitively knew that I was reveling in the quiet.  "This is what I love about us," I thought.  We have this amazing unspoken ability to be the others strength when one is feeling weak.  THIS is Happyness.

And yet, as I crawled in to bed because I was up too late reading, my mind became overwhelmed again by all my worries.  Drat, it looked like I'd have to try and sleep it off and start over tomorrow.

Tuesday morning rolled around and while I was pumping at about 5:00 am, I grabbed my Nook and checked my email.  In my inbox was the latest entry from Just A Girl and Her Blog.  This entry spoke to me loud and clear, and was my little gift from my Grandma guardian angel.  "Are you worried?"  "Do you need wisdom?" and "Are you burdened?" she asks towards the end.  "YES!!!" my heart cried out!  Her offerings of scripture were great because I'm horrendous at recalling scripture and the comfort it offers.  So, thank you Abby, whatever compelled you to do that post weeks after the events, was my private little blessings at 5 in the morning in a time of need.

It's Friday, cool and in the sixties, and I managed 1/2 a cup of coffee and replaced the other half with this blog post and some OJ.  Little P demanded "JUICE!" a moment ago, and I replied, "Wait, Mommy's writing."  He then proceeded to dump his cereal bowl on the table.  I took a break and gave him juice.  Little R is lounging in his swing.

Breathe.  Deep.

This is Happyness 🙂

~M