the happiness trick

Do You Think There’s a Comfortable Way to Hang Upside Down?

20140606-160157.jpgI can’t decide if this picture is gross or absolutely amazing.  In truth, I suppose it really isn’t all that attractive, but knowing what the end result is makes it seem a whole lot less gross.

Don’t you think?

Growing butterflies might be one of my all time favorite things to do with my kids.  Every time we do it, I think of Eric Carle and his book The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  He must have done this with his own kids a million times and found it just as fascinating.  Personally, I think the whole thing is outrageous!  I mean, these tiny, little worms show up at your house with, what looks like, sand in the bottom of a plastic container.  They’re fuzzy and ugly and I actually paid for them to come live in my home.  Crazy!

Last night, my youngest daughter and I watched two of our five caterpillars climb to the top of the container.  They crawled around, experimenting with ways to hang themselves upside down.  Do you think there’s a comfortable way to hang yourself upside down?  I can’t really say for sure, but these caterpillars tried quite a few methods before settling on their final position.  What makes them do it?  Do they know that they’re going to be beautiful butterflies?  Do they even want to be butterflies?  Caterpillars seem so crass, so boorish, so….so icky.  And butterflies, well butterflies are just so beautiful.

The whole process simply amazes me every single time we do it.  Would it be weird if I continued doing this long after my kids are grown?



Madame President

20140605-163530.jpgMy daughter was sworn in as President today and I missed it.  Thank goodness this was just the practice run.

My alarm clock sounded at 4:30 this morning.  I sat up immediately, panicked that I might fall right back to sleep if I allowed my head to hit the pillow again.  Going back to bed would have cost me dearly.  My daughter would have banished me from her life forever if she missed the bus destined for Philadelphia with her and 80 of her classmates.

Whose idea was that?

I remember planning for a similar trip when I was in elementary school.  I was beyond thrilled, so excited to be staying in a real, live hotel room with my entire 6th grade class.  And then it was canceled.  Needless to say, I was thoroughly disappointed.  So disappointed, in fact, that it is one of the few memories that I have hung on to.  I know, I know – let it go.

There is a slight possibility that I was living vicariously through my daughter when the note came home in early September, inquiring about our interest in an overnight trip to Philadelphia.  My immediate reaction was pure excitement.  What a great experience for her – a 2 day trip with all of her classmates, taking in all of the sites and sounds of good ol’ Philadelphia.  How exciting!

And then my Mom instinct kicked in.

A 2-day trip to Philadelphia.  With all of her classmates.  In a hotel room.  Hmmmm.  The trip suddenly started sounding a bit sketchy.  Did they really need an overnight trip?  Weren’t there other, closer, sites to visit just for the day?  Philly is nice and all, but…..

These definitely weren’t the things that I thought about when I was hoping to get away with my entire class.

I managed to keep my ‘mommy crazies’ in check, I signed the permission slip, paid the bill and sent her off at 5am this morning.  The phone rang at 6pm tonight.

“Hi Mommy,” she was clearly running on pure adrenaline.

“Hi babe.  How’s your trip going?”  Based on the sound of her voice, I didn’t need to ask, but I did anyway.

“Sooo much fun!  We went to Constitution Hall and we saw the Liberty Bell and our tour guide was really funny and we climbed the Rocky steps and…..”  She couldn’t get the words out fast enough.

I suppose a future president should be allowed to venture out on overnight field trips now and then.  I’ll go to sleep happy tonight…..and I’m pretty sure Madame President will too.





Tech Free Days

20140604-221325.jpgI miss my computer. I miss her dearly but, I must admit, a tech free day was kinda nice. It felt almost like a guilty pleasure.

I spent lunchtime outside with my 4 year old buddy who came to visit. He made me draw a racetrack around my driveway, complete with car trophies for each lap he successfully completed. Technically, I should have gotten the trophies seeing as though I was responsible for pushing him and his car around that track. But, I’m a good sport so I gave him all the credit.

After the racetrack closed down for the afternoon, I took an extra long walk with the dog. She chased every bird in our path. She hasn’t done that in awhile. I guess even she was excited about my tech free day.

Finally, my cherubs arrived home from school. My little one looked a bit disheveled and so I asked, “What happened to you today?”

My oldest daughter didn’t skip a beat. “At the end of every day, I see her at the bus and she’s a mess! Her hair is falling down, she’s got a cut on her forehead, a bandaid on one knee and scrapes all over the other. I don’t know what happens to her during the day.”

I laughed. Her description was incredibly accurate. “She’s got character,” I said.

And she obviously knows how to enjoy a tech free day.

Farming Artists and Non-Peeing Dreamers

What in the world am I going to blog about tonight? That thought has been floating around in my head all day. It’s just been one of those days.

My littlest lady woke me up at 4:30 this morning after a bad dream. “Go pee,” I grumbled, my eyes still closed, hoping for an easy fix. My daughter’s bad dreams are always an indication that she forgot to use the bathroom before going to bed. It’s a strange phenomenon and one that took some time to figure out. I have no idea what the correlation is between her bathroom issues and her nightmares – I only hope that I won’t somehow be blamed for this problem in years to come.

The early morning bathroom alert caused us to oversleep which, in turn, forced our morning routine into chaos. I have no idea what the girls managed to sneak out of the house in their lunch boxes and I can’t recall if I actually fed them breakfast. I do remember the dog somehow getting trapped in my daughter’s room. She is a quiet little thing. She sat patiently on the other side of the door, hoping that one of us would discover her before we all left for the day. Fortunately, my oldest daughter changes outfits at least four times before leaving the house these days. I believe it was outfit number three that allowed for the dog’s escape.

I escaped from the insane asylum roughly an hour behind schedule. I made it to the office only to discover that the internet connection in the space that I call ‘mine’ when I spend time there still hadn’t been fixed. (We are non-profit. Wifi is still a good 5 to 10 years away.) I hijacked a co-worker’s office and finally sat down to begin my day. That’s when my computer released this horrible, high-pitched whine. I instinctively covered my ears and yelled, “Ahhh!” Somehow that didn’t fix the problem and I began seeing warnings flash repeatedly across my screen. My computer was taking its last breath.

The immediate panic set in. When was the last time I backed up my computer? What would I lose? Was there a way to retrieve it? Why didn’t I send that spreadsheet yesterday? How would I get everything done today? Tomorrow? The rest of the week? My head collapsed into my hands as I whimpered, feeling sorry for myself.

This just wasn’t my day.

I came home, still pondering what it was that I could possibly write about tonight. And then my oldest daughter popped into the kitchen.

“Can I read you my story?” she asked, bouncing on the balls of her feet. “It’s about an artist who lives on a farm.” She tilted her head, gave me a wink and pointed her thumb in her own direction.

I sat back, laughed a much-needed laugh and listened to the beginnings of her story. Who needs WiFi or a working computer, I thought. I’ve got a future farming artist living under my roof. That makes me happy.

Now, if I could only turn the little one into a restful sleeper who dreams about anything other than bathrooms, I’d be all set.

I Didn’t Hit A Deer

Here’s the thing. Committing to 365 consecutive days of writing is a bold move. I might even be tempted to label it a foolish move. I mean, seriously, who willingly adds a daily essay writing contest to their already packed schedule of life?

Oh. That would be me.

Well, let me be the first to tell you that tonight’s blog is unlikely to win any awards. It’s 11pm, I just got in from another late night at work and, although I actually have a lot to say, it’s just not gonna happen tonight.

Tonight I’m simply happy that I didn’t hit a deer. That’s it. Score one for the deer.

I’m Just Happy I Still Have My Eyeballs

I spent the afternoon with a masseuse. He was a small Asian man whose face I’ll never be able to recall, but whose wooden sandals and black dress socks are embedded in my brain. I think his hands may still be embedded in my back too.

I dream about spa days. I expect to smell the relaxing scent of lavender while soft, zen-like music wafts through some hidden speakers. I imagine drifting into a slight coma while some strange person massages my cares away. I assume that I’ll leave feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to face the world with renewed calm.

Fat chance.

My massage started with thumbs in my shoulder blades. That little Asian man was a whole lot stronger than his tiny frame led me to believe, and I immediately felt certain that he was capable of taking down any human being on this planet with just that thumb and a little help from his pointer finger.

The surprises continued when I realized that I had requested a full body massage. I’m fairly certain that I’ll wake up to a hand print of a bruise across my butt.

That was awkward.

He continued down my legs and I flinched repeatedly, unsure of whether this experience was more pleasure or pain. He seemed completely focused on finding the “deep tissue” that this particular massage promised to relax. I don’t think I have any deep tissue.

When the timer went off, I lifted my head and attempted to pull myself up. If there was a hidden camera in that room, I would be guaranteed the $10,000 prize on America’s Funniest Videos. I must have appeared much like an amateur out on New Year’s Eve just after my 21st birthday. Drunk with painful pleasure.

He escorted me down the hall and placed me in a quiet room – presumably to recover. A woman appeared shortly after he left me and I didn’t know whether to run or sit quietly in hopeful anticipation. She began massaging my temples and I immediately thought, this is it. This is how it all ends. She is going to push on my temples so hard that my eyeballs are going to pop right out of my head.

She was gentler than expected and so I’m still here – and so are my eyeballs. Before I left her, she gave me another quick back massage.

“Your right shoulder is very tense,” she said with some surprise.

A comical snort escaped me as I realized that my dreamy day at the spa had been hijacked by a small, surprisingly strong man who left tension in my shoulders and a hand print on my butt. I’m just happy I still have my eyeballs.

I Must Be Doing Something Right….I Think

Sometimes the friends your children choose to surround themselves with are the best indicator of how well you’re doing as a parent.

Looks like we’re doing a damn good job.

I feel like I’m always telling my husband how lucky we are with the choices my oldest daughter, in particular, makes when it comes to her friends.  She has managed to surround herself with some pretty great kids.  Last night we got to spend some time with the family of one of her friends.  I left feeling as though I must be doing something right.

I want to write so much more right now, but time won’t allow for that today.  Another day.  Today I think I’ll leave you with this gem, courtesy of my youngest.

Me: “Go get your pajamas on.”


Me:  “Go get your pajamas on.”


Me:  “Why do I keep repeating myself?  Get your pajamas on now!”

A:  (Sitting naked on the couch)  “I put them on already.  These are my invisible pajamas.”

Yep, I must be doing something right.  Right??