A family's story

Posts tagged ‘Happiness is’

Fabulous at 40?

So, in 20 days I will be 40 years old.  I’ve seen so many memes lately about “I don’t feel 40 until I go out with people who are 20 and then, yep, I feel 40”. Okay, maybe not EXACTLY that wording, but you get the gist. You guys, it is SO true. When I am THINKING and PONDERING and possibly PERSEVERATING on various things, I don’t feel a day over 25. For real. But then I try to do something physical, like, oh, I don’t know, open a jar of pickles, and gosh darn it, I FEEL the pain. That twinge in my thumb. A creak in my wrist. Oh, man…..

In my efforts to “get fit by 40” (which, news flash, I didn’t), I have been walking for 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. I’m proud of myself for having walked more than 10,000 steps a day most days of the week, and for maintaining regular exercise. However, it isn’t the most rigorous. And I definitely eat too many calories. (Sidebar: Why do bread, bagels and cheese have to be soooo damn delicious?!)

So, I find myself sitting at the higher weight (holiday candy and cookies be damned!) and needing to step up my fitness game. Sooooooo, I am taking the 21 Day Fix plunge. Eeeek! I did it last year and felt better. This year, I will do it again, but I will remember to do the MODIFIED workouts to start. Even with modified workouts, I know that for the first week, possibly two, I will be so sore, and Advil will be my friend. If you see me hobbling around, or having trouble getting down into a chair, no need to worry. It’s just that I’m so out of shape. I just need to tell myself that this is better for my body in the long run!!! I will also try to aim for the 10,000 steps a day. It keeps me active, even if I am slightly a slave to the Fitbit. 😉

Also, I keep reading about the devil that sugar is to us humans. C’mon, man! In addition to bread, bagels and cheese,  I also love candy, ice cream, flavored lattes, etc. But, I am sure that sugar in the amounts that I consume it is not the best, so I will work on cutting down on that sugar consumption. I’m not happy about it, but I will. I will work to appreciate fruit as a dessert. (Insert eye roll here.)

Part of being fabulous means working the mind, along with the body. To achieve this, I plan on writing more this year. It is a good outlet, and I love rereading some of my old posts. It’s like a diary that I share with the world. But it is a good record of my life and happenings. I think I may also try my hand at writing a book. It may never be published or shared for public consumption, but really, I just want to see if I can do it. Wish me luck!!!

Last year I worked at trying to find my happy. I lost my way a few times, but overall, I think I did find it more than I had been in the past. That is my goal for my 40’s. I want to find my happy. (And for this conflict-averse, people pleaser, that is going to be HARD. But I’m going to do it. Just watch me!!!)

So, yeah, I may not be “fabulous by 40”, but I’m hoping to work on being fabulous IN my 40’s. That’s a good goal, right? I have 10 years to get it right.



Seven years ago today I went to a routine OB appointment. Seven years ago today, I found out that my second son was coming…three weeks early, ready or not. Seven years ago today I realized that Tate was going to do things on his own time–and that was okay.

I am so incredibly blessed to have the privilege of being his mom. His zest for life is unmatched…and is inspiring. He finds beauty and pleasure in the smallest of things (Spinning ceiling fans! The frosting on a cupcake! A stick! Music from his favorite show!). He is incredibly caring and loving, especially towards those who he knows well. (“I need to hug you now.” “Don’t be sad.”) He is bright (both cognitively and in disposition), and happy, and steadfast. No matter what challenge is presented to him, he works his butt off to try to achieve. He never gives up. Ever.

Thank you, Mr. Tater, for showing me who I want to be when I grow up….you have a forever fan in me. Love you…and Happy 7th Birthday!!!


Tate dancing to Doc McStuffins songs on my phone, while holding one of his favorite “sticks”.


Tate this morning, on his 7th Birthday. He was in constant motion, so it was hard to capture a clear picture…but he is a blur of positive energy…so it captures his essence.


Look at that smile! He was pretending it was his birthday, with a cupcake made by his grandma…with his favorites–Doc McStuffins and Lambie on top. Perfection.



Photographic evidence of our first date.. 2/14/1998

A little over fifteen years ago (dang, I’m getting old), my roommate dragged me out on a Friday night. I was completely ready for my date with Ben & Jerry and some bad Friday night TV. I was in sweats and had no makeup on. I was kind of having a little pity party for myself.  But, that all ended when my roommate burst into the room, asking if I would go with her to a local establishment. I protested, but she said it was our duty as 2nd semester seniors to go out and have fun. I reluctantly agreed. I threw on some jeans, my favorite “going out” sweater, and a little eye makeup. I ran a brush through my hair and we were off.

We met a few of her friends out at a place called R&R’s. It wasn’t very late, but her friends had been celebrating the weekend for quite a while by the time we arrived. There was this one friend of hers who came up and greeted her with a big hug. “Who’s your friend?” “Boy, this is Lisa. Lisa, this is Boy.” We started chatting, first in a group, and then as the time went on, Boy and I chatted on the sidelines. He was friendly, outgoing, and cute.

Eventually we had to leave to go to a party at my roommate’s coworker’s apartment. We said our goodbyes, and headed for the door. As we were about to walk out, I doubled back and thanked Boy for the drink and conversation. He smiled, waved, and that was that…. Until about a week later when my roommate asked me if I had any Valentine’s Day plans. I didn’t…just my usual wearing black and maybe I’d have that date with Ben & Jerry, which I had postponed. She asked if I’d want some plans, as she knew her friend was interested in asking me to his fraternity’s Valentine’s Day dance. I hesitated… I didn’t want a relationship, but thankfully my roommate and my mom both pounded into my brain the fact that a date did not equate a relationship…so, upon the recommendation of my roommate, I accepted Boy’s offer.

He came to pick me up on Valentine’s Day evening. Before we were about to head out the door, my roommate snapped the picture above, so that my mom could see me “all dressed up with someplace to go”. Boy and I were having dinner with two of his fraternity brothers and their dates. During the dinner, it was quite obvious as to why my roommate referred to the three of them as “The Three Stooges”. In spite of their antics, we had fun, and it was nice to get out. One of the first things I truly remember Boy saying to me was, “How ’bout them Bears?” when the others in the group were getting into their own conversation about ROTC, a group to which neither Boy nor I belonged. I retorted, “They suck.” It was on….

Later in the evening, while we were back at the dance, Boy and I talked a lot. I felt at ease with Boy. I felt like I could talk to him about anything, really. Strange, that, considering I was usually very quiet around new people. When we sat down and he put his arm around my shoulders, I didn’t retreat back or move out of his reach. It was just “right”. It wasn’t love at first sight or anything…but he made me feel safe, comfortable…at ease. I loved our banter.

Eventually that date ended…and it lead to another…and another…and before I knew it, I found myself in a relationship, right when I didn’t want one. Call it fate, karma, a greater plan, what-ever, Boy became Boyfriend, who became Fiance, who finally became Hubz. And you know what?? To this day, I still feel safe, comfortable, and at ease with him. I enjoy our banter, and I still get a little flutter when I see a message from him on my phone. He is the Ross to my Rachel, the Han Solo to my Leia. And I’m ever grateful that my roommate dragged me out on a cold winter’s night so many years ago….

A Whole New World

Last night Tate had his second SPRED class. SPRED is Special Religious Education. Our parish, gratefully, offers this program for children with special needs so that they may receive instruction in our faith.

He has a one-on-one catechist. A catechist is someone who teaches the faith of the Catholic Church by both word and example. In the SPRED program, this is done through one-on-one interaction, but not in a vacuum. There are about 8 children in Tate’s group. They also learn the whole concept of community which is a big part of our worship.

Tate didn’t want to go last night, at first. I reminded him that he enjoyed it the first time he went. I talked about Ms. S, his catechist. I mentioned how he loved the paint. He perked up after that. He willingly put on his shoes, hat, and coat. 

As we walked up to the ministry center, Tate got anxious. He flapped a little bit. He started a vocal stim. I spoke in a soothing tone, and squeezed his hand as we walked. He likes that…the hand squeezing. Occasionally, he’ll squeeze back. I love that.

In addition to the SPRED group meeting on Thursday nights, our ministry center hosts a food pantry that night. Usually the crowds are lining up outside when we arrive. Due to the bitter cold yesterday, the people were allowed to wait inside. Tate was thrown off by the number of people in the building. I know that a few of them were thrown off by my flappy, stimmy boy.

We walked upstairs to the SPRED room. See, last year, as part of a parish improvement project, some Boy Scouts built a special space for this SPRED group. Our fellow parishoners donated money for the cause. It is beyond amazing what can be done when people put their minds to it. 

We were a bit early. Tate started to flap again. He walked in a circle. I asked if he wanted a drink of water, thinking it might help calm him down. Luckily, it did. He got himself a nice drink…and then watched as he pressed the button and the fountain went quite high in the air. Luckily it did not make a mess. I gave him the “mom” look. He smiled and backed away. 

We walked back to the meeting space. There were 2 other boys waiting there. Oh. Yeah. All 8 children in the 6-11 year old program?? They are boys. Tate asked to play fans on my phone. I know watching fans helps him keep anxiety at bay. I allowed him to do it. 

Before we knew it, the catechists opened the door to the meeting room. The lead catechist welcomed the three boys who had arrived. Tate muttered, “Bye, mommy”, and disappeared into the room. I thanked the head catechist and went home.

An hour and 45 minutes later I waited in my car for the side door of the ministry center to pop open. As it did, I walked up and got Tate, who was smiling his megawatt smile. The one that tells me, more than any words could, how his time had gone. I felt my muscles relax…I knew my son was content…and happy.

We got settled into the van, and I blasted the heat. As we drove home, Tate scripted happily in the back seat. I interrupted his script.



Did you have a good time?


Are you happy?

Yes. Yes. You said you’d come get me and you did. Happy!

What did you do tonight?

I painted myself. I clapped myself. I sang songs. I had some dinner.

What did you have for dinner? (They always “break bread” at the SPRED meeting.)

I had some goldfish and a lemonade juice box. Mmm-hmm.

Was that good?

Oh. Yes.

And with that, we were pulling into the garage. Tate happily scripted into the house, and greeted Hubz with a big smile. I asked Tate if he wanted me to put him to bed. 

No, Daddy. 

Hubz happily took Tate upstairs. I went with them and put on my comfy clothes. I popped into the boys’ room and wished Jake a good night. As I hugged and kissed him, Tate leaned his head over the top bunk. 

Mommy?! Give me kiss!

Of course–muh-wah!

So, this SPRED experience is a Whole New World…and one that I think I like. A lot. Tate knows these are “his” people. He feels cared for, he feels confident, he feels accepted. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Dance Like Nobody is Watching

Many of us have seen this phrase on those “feel good” posters/spam/wall hangings/greeting cards, etc. It may be cheesy, but really, the meaning of the phrase is that we should do what makes us happy, and not worry about what anyone else thinks.

This morning, Cole woke up first. He screamed for me at 5:45. I began to get cleaned up, and as I was getting dressed, the little booger escaped downstairs. We have been allowing Jake and Tate to sleep in the basement at night during the summer. They sleep better down there, giving everyone more rest. This morning, at 6:10, Cole woke his brothers up from their deep slumber. The ONE day that both older boys slept in, and the youngest is the problem. Go figure!!

Everyone came back to the main level of the house. Hubz and I got breakfast ready and put the coffee on. Mickey Mouse was on the tv. Suddenly, loud as can be, a song from Doc McStuffins blasted through the air. Tate had found it on the Xoom, and had it going on a loop. As he played it, and played it, and played it again, something beautiful happened. He started to dance. He danced, and danced, and danced–like no one was watching. He let the music move him. He smiled. He giggled. He was happy. Even though his music was drowning out the tv, we let him go on for a little while longer. He doesn’t get much down time these days, and to be able to watch him make the most of his time, doing something that brought him nothing but joy, well, that was pure awesomeness.

I love that Tate can find things that make him so deliciously happy among all of the “shtuff” that he has to deal with every day. We should all be so lucky. I pray that he continues to find activities/interests/hobbies that take him to his “happy place” as he gets older. We all need to “dance like nobody is watching” sometimes…it is good for the soul.

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Don’t you wish that in spite of all the difficulties, frustration, and over-stimulation that are thrown your way every day, you could live in the moment and be this blissful and genuinely happy?!

Tate’s got many obstacles that he must overcome just to successfully make it through the day…but he can always find something that turns his frown upside down, and makes his day something wonderful. If only….





Thankful Wednesday

We are incredibly blessed. In spite of all of the bumps and lumps we have endured, we are just…blessed.

We have 3 beautiful boys. Hubz and I created them out of love…and they are so loved. Quirks and all. I know we are charged with teaching them and preparing them for life…but ironically they have taught us so much. Patience. Tolerance. Acceptance. Love.

We have a beautiful home. It’s full of stuff, heirlooms, dirt, dust, and memories. I wouldn’t trade the memories we have there for anything. The cabinets in the kitchen, maybe, but not our memories.

We have supportive family. They love us, cheer us on, and they care. What more can we ask for??

We have friends who help us hang on in the rough times, and celebrate the good ones. Some have been with us since the beginning, some just recently. They help us connect to who we are.

We have many, many people and intangible things to be thankful for…and while the next couple of days stress thankfulness, I continue to be grateful every day…

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