Thursday, September 18, 2014

So long, Summer

Fall’s sudden appearance seems to be monopolizing the blog world this week, doesn’t it? I maybe laughed for longer than necessary at this:

Because, seriously…

I did not document our Summer sufficiently here, so I’m about to do the quickest recap possible in an attempt to fit this in before it snows. This is more for my benefit than anyone else's, so feel free to skip or skim.

The Summer kicked off in mid-June after an extra week of school {Thanks, polar vortex} when we jumped in the car and headed to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for my brother’s wedding. We spent 5 days celebrating with backyard parties, picnics, playing lakeside, watching movies with cousins, boat rides,  LOTS of food, and a beautiful wedding. My brother and sister-in-law planned such a fun weekend for all their guests and we found out we can share a relatively small space with my sisters’ families and still really like them {and I think they like us too}. I sort of loved every minute of it. This event probably deserves its own post...

^Milo really loves Aunt Jamie. He just could not handle the cameras any longer...

And the following lovely photos are by Helios Photography:

^They basically looked the happiest for the entire weekend. Love, man. It's the greatest.

^The other happy couple. Is this not the cutest thing you've ever seen?

The month of July was a complete whirlwind. I think we were home for maybe one weekend and about 10 days all together. It kicked off with a little kitchen reno project {new floors to replace our disgusting carpet and kitchen linoleum} and continued with several trips across state, tons of cousin time for the boys, the end of my summer class, our first-annual All Star Game party, a mud run, a surprise birthday party for my grandma, mom, & sister {80-60-40}, a camping trip, and a shower for my other new sister-in-law. July also brought sadness with the death of my sister’s father-in-law, so a lot of our focus was on supporting them and helping with my nephews any way we could. July had lots of ups, but was also pretty heavy on the down.

 ^I got home from my last day of class to find all these decorations the boys made. 
We do not take baseball lightly around here.

August didn’t offer much reprieve from the busy-ness as we traveled to Ohio again for my brother-in-law’s bachelor party/sister-in-law’s shower {which turned into a bust for Jason and I since Milo was sick and ended up in the ER with pneumonia. Going out of state for a night just to spend it in a hospital is really not ideal, but thankfully he didn’t have to be admitted and had a very quick turnaround to healthy!}. The next week we attended their wedding ceremony {an intimate ceremony in the backyard of a bar. Such fun!} and then went back across the state that weekend for a pig roast/barbecue/party to celebrate again. Whew.

I started fall classes the day after we returned and have since been acclimating to our new structured schedule. It’s actually been really nice to settle into some routine, even if it does mean missing my boys and saying farewell to beach days and late nights.

I’m so very thankful that Jason and I both have easy summer schedules that allow us to spend so much time together, traveling and seeing family. At the end of the school year, I always think I’ll cry when school starts back up again, but somehow the year’s patterns make me ready for it when the time comes. I know I’ll be cringing at the thought of this come May, but autumn really is great with its beautiful colors and comfort food. So, bring on the pumpkin spice, I guess. {But let it be known that I’m currently wearing jeans. NOT yoga pants}.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

100 Happy Days

Back in March, I began this challenge to post a picture of something that made me happy every day for 100 days. At the time, I was feeling especially unpleasant and like I was constantly passing my bad moods onto the people around me. It was becoming clear that I was taking for granted the moments that really do make me happy. I wanted to become a more joyful person and pass that on to my husband and kids as well.

Here's what the website says about the challenge:

People successfully completing the challenge claimed to: 

 - Start noticing what makes them happy every day;
 - Be in a better mood every day;
 - Start receiving more compliments from other people;
 - Realize how lucky they are to have the life they have;
 - Become more optimistic;
 - Fall in love during the challenge.

What I liked most about this is that I had to start looking for those things that make me happy and deliberately reflect on them throughout the day. I chose one moment to post each day, but I started noticing so many more that I could have posted. Keeping my eye out for them made me notice more of them. It's all about a shift in perspective, I guess, which is what I really needed at the time.

The website says the challenge doesn't "count" if you don't actually do 100 consecutive days, but I call an audible me. {And, yes, I think I just made a football reference, which felt weird and unnatural}. So, I just posted my 100th photo today when technically I should have finished in mid-July, but, que sera {there, that reference felt better}.

Clearly, it doesn't really matter how long it took me to post 100 happy things on Instagram. What does matter is that it genuinely helped me feel happier. I have felt more content with my job, more focused on my kids, more loving toward my husband, and just grateful for these tiny moments that make each day a little more special. Watching out for the good takes the focus away from the not-so-great.

More than anything, this was fun. It took me almost 6 months to do, but I'm so glad I kept up with it. I also love clicking on the hashtag and seeing all 100 things at once. Some of them are huge {Milo starting to walk, my thoughts on motherhood, welcoming new sisters}, some are trivial {Pinterest, coffee, kitchen floors}, a lot are dance parties, and some are just silly reminders of how awesome my kids are {Gehrig singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"? Every day forever please}. 

I'm so thankful I followed through with this challenge. This new perspective is refreshing. And, although I'm all done with my hundred, I hope this more positive outlook sticks around for a while because life's way more fun this way.

Cheers to happiness!

You can see all my 100happydays photos if you follow me here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Reality TV Confession

It's 10pm, so I should be heading to bed, or at the very least getting some work done, but So You Think You Can Dance just ended and I'm still a little jazzed about it {pun most definitely intended}. It's my very favorite summertime show and I'm sad that my Wednesday nights and Thursday mornings will no longer be filled with texts discussing standout performances and the impact of that night's contemporary piece with one of my favorite ladies:

It's so nice to share fandom with others. Until our husbands weighed in tonight and it looked more like this:

These are the moments that really strengthen friendships.

If I had to pick a favorite dance from this season {too many!}, it would be this one. It makes me cry every time and I kind of can't get over the image of women just helping each other out, picking each other up and supporting one other. Beautiful, right? 

Also, this:

And, Twitch, obviously:

Anyway, those are my thoughts at the moment and now I think I will go do some work {which really means go to bed}.