Monday, February 24, 2014

Happiness and other topics

A few weekends ago, I spent the better part of a Sunday morning drinking mimosas and noshing on strawberries with a bunch of cool mamas. Oh yeah, and we discussed a book we recently read.
I joined a book club for moms a couple months after Brynna was born in an attempt to a) widen my circle of mommy friends and b) do something for me. Something that I enjoyed Reading has always been a beloved hobby of mine (yes, this meant that I was that girl who always had a book in her backpack. I was a nerd.). The book of choice for the most recent meetup was Gretchen Rubin’s “Happiness Project.” Now I hate self-help books. The only self-help book on my bookshelf is “He’s Just Not that not Into You.” Okay, it’s packed away now but it was my go-to book back in my days of singledom whenever I questioned whether or not to continue in a destructive relationship. I’m not quite sure what it is about self-help books that make me never want to open the front cover. Maybe it’s the inspirational statements, the words and phrases to live by that I know I’ll never carry over into real life. Maybe I’m just a book snob. Anyways, I decided to try and read “The Happiness Project” and while I didn’t finish it and scanned through a good portion of it, there were some tidbits of information that made me stop and read.
  • What makes me happy? We discussed this during our book club meeting and it seriously stumped me. I haven’t really taken the time to think about what truly makes me happy. Of course being a mommy brings me joy, as does having a fulfilling relationship with my husband. I like being with my family and friends, but there has to be more to it. Here is what I came up with: Working out, having no plans; spending time with friends, play dates, reading, laughing at Alex’s ridiculous statements, cuddling with Brynna, those few hours when the workday is done where I sit on the floor with Brynna and we read together. Most of the time Porkchop is on my lap, Beans is by my side and Alex is taking his first breathe of the day. Walking to Nordstrom’s rack; going into Nordstrom’s Rack (and preferably walking out with something new); coffee breaks, writing and walks/runs.
 Brynna spending time outdoors with her guinea pig friend. I don’t like petting zoos but Alex and Brynna enjoy them.
  • Remember Love: Rubin divided this section on marriage into different categories. The ones I plan to implement are Fight Right and Give Proofs of Love. Okay, okay so I admit that I can be stubborn. And defensive. And I like to be right. We don’t fight often and I take pride in our tendency to laugh at how stupid some of our arguments are. But there are times when we are both hardheaded. Time to fight right. Give Proofs of Love: Alex is awesome when it comes to this. He’ll make my lunch, marking my sandwich with a little heart, or he’ll buy me random gifts like an Anchorman calendar ‘cause I love Will Ferrell — and crave organization. I’m not so great at it. So, I’ve been making sure to give those little proofs of love throughout the day. Even if it is just a quick I love you in the morning or a text during the workday. It’s important.
 Now this is my idea of fun: using Beans as a pillow with a book in hand. Not Alex’s idea of fun. Notice him in the background trying to find out when the Walking Dead is scheduled to return. 
  • Find more fun: This sounds so easy yet setting time aside to do “fun” stuff can be tricky. Fun these days is going to the park or the library so that Brynnna can run around. Or walking around the Farmer’s Market with my little family, catching a movie or going on a date with Alex. My idea of fun has definitely changed. We’ve been trying to find new things to do that aren’t costly and are fun. Personally, I’ve been making time for myself at least twice a week when I’ll go to the gym. Yes, working out is my version of fun. I’m not a volunteer-type of person, I don’t like yoga or eating at fancy restaurants. My idea of fun is reading, happy hour with friends, play dates and being outside. Now while Alex and I may agree on two of these activities, Brynna won’t find happy hour or my genre of books amusing. So fidning more fun for all of us can be a challenge. So far, I’ve discovered that Brynna is finally close to being okay with playing in the gym’s kiddie center while I work out, which is awesome! Plus it’s a chance for her to socialize and play with toys other than her own. It seems as though we are constantly looking for fun things to do that we can all enjoy.
Proof that I’m a proud book nerd. 
  • Make time for friends:  This ties into my Find more Fun rule. ‘Cause my girlfriends be super fun. I’m also adding Make time for Alex to this list. We are aiming for a couple nights out at least once a month.
Alex excited to be enjoying  a hot meal and cold beer on date night. 
  • Enjoy now: I’m working on it. So far we’ve implemented a no cell phone after work rule. It seems to be helping. Allowing myself to be in the moment is really hard to do. Sometimes I feel like my brain won’t turn off and it’s always tuned into the “let’s worry about things we have no control of” channel. I strive to be in the moment and truly appreciate today.

 What makes you happy?