Thursday, April 18, 2013

Happy.

This week I've been in a bit of a funk.  I think it's because it feels more like we are in the middle of January than the middle April.  Daily snow showers and cold temps are bringing me down.  I thought the week of warm weather we had over Easter would hold me over the cool spring I knew would still come, but it didn't.  The wind, the grey skies and the snow...I'm so over it.  Everyone is.  It seems like any small talk I've had this week at work, at school pick up, at the grocery store...all leads back to talking about the crap weather and the longing for spring.  I know, I know, the moisture is good, blah, blah blah and it'll be helpful for fire season but I am o-v-e-r it.  

It's interesting to me how something like the weather can have such an effect on people.  Maybe not everyone, but for me it really does.  I found this out when we lived in Portland.  I knew going in to that experience it was one of the rainiest places in our country but didn't think it would matter.  Wrong I was.  It was an awesome city, but living under a constant grey cloud had me longing for even a snowy winter Montana day because the sky would still be bright blue with the sun out to warm your face.  This is why spring here is always a little tricky for me...it teases us.  A hint of a warm day here, poor little tulips popping up only to be covered in a wet snow the next day.  The hope of actual spring still weeks away.  Grass starting to look a little green, but the trees still totally bare.  I have to be honest, it causes more thoughts of living someplace warm creep into my head.  I have been thinking like that this week and then one night Matt and I watched this documentary, "Happy".  It was all about what causes happiness in people all over the world.  I found it so interesting.  Apparently 50% of being a happy or unhappy person is genetic.  I thank my parents for giving me good happy genes because I like to look at the glass half full.  40% of happiness come from yourself...doing things you enjoy, solid relationships and social situations and having compassion and helping in your community.  Only 10% comes from what you do, where you live and how much you make.  I have always believed happiness does not come from having a successful career or making lots of money, but was a little surprised how little actually contributes to that.  It got me thinking.  If living someplace warm would add to the 10% of my overall happiness, but would take away of 40% of the being around family and friends, is it worth it?  

Hmmm.  Sounds like a math problem.  I feel so fortunate to live around my family, to have the girls grow up with their cousins, have close friends that we've spent years building memories with.  I know how much all of that adds to my everyday happiness.  However, on day 10 of this stupid cold front I'm ready to pack up the Uhaul and head south...leaving snow pants and snow boots behind.  I guess what it really comes down to is I think it's time to move forward with my plan to move all our friends and family to a remote island somewhere and all just live there.  That would take care of the 40 and 10% of my happiness, right?

It was an interesting documentary.  We can't watch anymore food documentaries because after the last one we watched I completely changed the way we eat and basically cut out an entire food group.  Don't want to risk having to cut more out...what if it said wine and sweets were bad for you?  I'd have to take my chances, thank you very much.  

Anyways...on Monday we celebrated Ava's real birthday...
Getting some help from sister
We woke up to a blanket of snow (8% less happy).  I knew we all had limited time together for the day because of work and school so we got up a little early, everyone got ready and we took our girl out for breakfast before we all went our separate ways for the day.  Years past I've brought treats in to Ava's class for her birthday.  This year Ava told me she would just take them in the morning and I didn't have to.  Break my heart.  Apparently in second grade mama's aren't invited to this celebration.  I love the budding independence, but still makes ya a little sad.  Not for long though, just the week before she asked if I could "Please, please come on her class field trip and email her teacher right away because not everyone could go"  I'm still wanted.  After the school day I thought we could go to the park, but again our lovely weather had other ideas.  Instead, we stayed warm inside with a tea party...
No crust less cucumber sandwiches at our tea party...Cheese & crackers and Pop Rocks.  That's just how we roll.
  
The girls love having tea parties after school and we don't do them very often, so it was a treat.  We put on our pearls and say fancy things like "Would you like some milk for your tea?"  in British accents.  Maybe next time I'll have them call me "Mum".  That would be fun.

Not much else was planned for the evening.  We had Ava's special birthday dinner and then chocolate cheesecake for dessert.  She didn't know I made it and asked for a piece of her cake from the party for dessert.  The smile on her face when I walked out with a cheesecake with candles in it made the extra work of making it so worth it.  
Have I mentioned how much I love this girl?
After dessert we had a few gifts for her to open.  We try not to go crazy with gifts for the girls.  We have a big family so they end up with so much anyways.  I also really try to instill the idea that having a lot of material things is not what is important.  Of course, it's fun to have toys and things but I believe in quality not quantity.  I also think experiences and memories can be as great as gifts so instead of having Ava just open gifts, I made up a scavenger hunt for her to find them.  This is fun for all, myself included.  I love coming up with rhyming clues to send her all over the house.  I blame it on too many Dr. Seuss books.  
The hunt.
First gift sent her out in the cold...

Then to the closet...


Final gift was back outside...I was optimistic the weather would warm up.

It was a good birthday for her.  I think all the attention Ava was getting became too much for Layla because at one point she had a total breakdown and had to go to bed.  It's tough being the younger sister and having your birthday second.  These last couple weeks have been all about Ava and I think Layla was over it.  No excuse for the crazy tantrum she threw, but I was kinda happy to put her to bed early.  It gave us the last hour to spend with just our eldest.  When Ava turned four she got the Dr. Seuss book "Happy Birthday To You".  It is one of my favorites and I pick it for her bed time book every year on her birthday.  We finished it just in time for her to officially turn eight.  7:47pm.  We counted down and I gave her a big birthday kiss, tucked her in and felt very grateful for my baby girl.  

Happiness can be a funny thing.  You can feel it so strongly and easily at some moments and then really have to search for it in others.  Sometimes I wish I could walk around in a constant state of bliss, but that's not realistic.  And, rightfully so...I don't think you can truly appreciate those happy moments unless occasionally you feel the low moments as well.  I try to remember that when I find myself in a funk.  It's okay to feel like that once in awhile.  Then you have to use the 40% of happiness that you have control of and go find your happy.  Find the good.




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