Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pondering happiness

I've been thinking about happiness a lot recently.  It feels like our world revolves around this quest for happiness.  We want to be happy!  We want our spouses, our children, our jobs, our lives to make us happy.  And yet, so many people are so miserable.  A couple weekends ago I spent a good chunk of my time painting a dresser which gave me ample kid free, quiet time alone with my thoughts.  I really got to thinking about what it means to be happy and how so many people that I come in contact with just don't seem to be happy at all.  After all of my big thinking I believe it comes down to this: happiness is a choice, not a feeling.  It seems that most people (me included at times) are just waiting around for happiness to find them.  They have ideals that they would like for their life and they believe that once they get to that perfect place happiness will be theirs.  I think that true happiness is being content with what you have right now, the big and the small, the perfect and the broken.

I remember when Dan and I were in the beginnings of our dating relationship.  We were discussing love and what it means, what it is.  (Ah, young love and all of the glorious time we had on our hands to discuss it!)  We both agreed that love isn't a feeling.....yes, feelings go along with it but it really isn't about how you feel.  Mature, long lasting, true love is a choice.  We make the decision to love one another even when its hard or inconvenient or the other person has been eating mass quantities of bean soup and has horrific gas.  We love and continue on because that is what we chose to do, that is the commitment we made. I think the state of happiness is very similar to the state of love.  If we choose to be content in small things, the everyday mundane things then we are sure to find happiness which will make the big & awesome things in life even bigger and more awesome.

This is something that I need to work on and get better at.  Recognizing the remarkable in the mundane of my life.  Choosing happiness.  Because the alternative is significantly less happy!

I know.....total nonsensical ramblings.  It made perfect sense in my head.  To make up for the random, here are a few things that make me immensely happy right now:

Lots and lots of felt hearts
I have big plans for these.....stay tuned

Good books that are free from the library

Our new gizmo that we traded my old camera for

This man who loves his family more than anything
and who might or might not be consuming a lot of bean soup

This cross stitch that belonged to my grandma that I finally put up

Clean and colorful diapers

Living in the south and drinking Cheer Wine

My precious babies

A slightly more cheerful laundry room

A basket full of painted hearts that will soon be hanging in our living room

And a sweet girl who got a cleaning wipe all by herself 
and asked if she could clean my computer!
She did an excellent job

Monday, January 30, 2012

I wish it would snow down, down on me

My kids have been talking about and anticipating snow for months now!  Since the end of summer I have heard them discussing snow angels, snowmen, eating snow & hot cocoa.  We all want it to snow very desperately.  But mother nature seems to have other plans for us.....it has been crazy warm this winter!  I can count the number of truly cold days on my 2 hands.  Most of this winter I have been wearing my flip flops, we hardly ever need to wear our heavy jackets and Eleanor has been assaulted by a winter hat maybe 4 times.  I don't understand.  I moan and complain about the heat and humidity all summer and the only thing that gets me through the misery is the dream of cold wintery weather.  I love winter!  I want some snow gosh darn it!  Instead we have 70 degree, sunny days that feel exactly like spring.......in JANUARY.  It is nice to get outside and move our bodies without 5 layers of clothing on, but come on, it needs to snow!  All of this winter warmth makes me truly afraid that this summer is going to be inferno hot and totally bugtastic.  I haven't completely given up hope (we did get snow in February 2 years ago) but I'm starting to think that our beloved snow is going to be a no show this year.  Bummer.  Since the weather has been so annoyingly sunny and warm nice, we've been enjoying the sunshine & playing outside.  Here's the proof:

Maddie drew this

Babies like chalk.....especially eating it

Charlotte was flying like a bird

Babies also like to eat random pieces of bark

Babies do not like to eat dandelions.....but they try anyway and then need help cleaning their mouth out!

Then they found a worm and spent the rest of the afternoon taking care of it.  Yuck!

My hydrangeas already have buds......in JANUARY!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The morning the world almost ended

The girls woke up before 7:00 this morning.  I'm not exactly sure on the time, but I rolled over, looked at the alarm clock with one eye, saw that the first number was a 6 and then rolled back over and tried to ignore their giggling for as long as possible.  They are generally pretty good in the morning regardless of what time they wake up.  Charlotte is usually the instigator (Maddie & Eleanor like to sleep in) and wakes up at least Eleanor.  Sometimes Charlotte will get up and go into the TV room and put on cartoons all by herself, but most of the time she climbs into Eleanor's crib and the two of them talk and laugh and jump and share Eleanor's pacis (all while Maddie is still asleep with a pillow over her head).  This sisterly bonding time usually buys me an additional 15 minutes of snoozing time.

Anyway......so I drag my butt out of bed, crawl upstairs, get Charlotte out of Ellie's crib and send her in to watch cartoons.  I change Eleanor's diaper and nurse her and send her in to play with Charlotte.  All the while Maddie is still sleeping......I swear that girl could sleep through an air raid!  But that is not the point of my rambling.  I close the baby gate and groggily make my way downstairs to get my life line in a cup.  My kids are mucho adorable first thing in the morning, but I NEED my coffee before I can deal with anyone/anything!  My kids are much happier once I have coffee in me, trust me.  I grab my cup and walk over to the coffee maker and discover this:

And I think to myself......Oh, how sweet, Dan left me a little love note.  (He does this sometimes!)  Upon further inspection I discover that it is not a love note but an un-love note.  The first line reads....."We are out of coffee.  No lie."  This is the end of the world!  How could this possibly happen?  I start to panic.  This can not be true.  No way, NO WAY!  I NEED my coffee!  The rest of the note reads....."No I couldn't make any this morning.  Yes, it is really empty.  Seriously.  But...." 

"I got you a cup at the gas station.  It is in the microwave.  It is not doctored yet so it would stay hotter.  I love you.  We need coffee......"

What the crap?  Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful that my husband drove to the gas station to get me coffee.....if he hadn't, the world would probably have come to an end.  But what I don't understand is why he didn't tell me that we were out of coffee yesterday when he used the last of the coffee?!?  I know, I know, he works full time, does college nearly full time, takes out the trash, sometimes does the dishes and is an awesome father and husband......but come on......running out of coffee is world ending stuff!

I doctored the gas station coffee with creamer & sugar and downed that luke warm bad boy like it was my job.  The caffeine enabled me to get the kids ready for school, make their lunches and get out the door with enough time to drive through Dunkin Donuts and get myself a large hazelnut coffee with cream and sugar.  Oh, and I forgave my dear husband for his transgressions.  I need to make a trip to the store this afternoon........we need coffee!

*Disclaimer: I'm not sure if the " marks are required for quoting what someone else wrote, but I added them because it looked better and seemed to make it easier to differentiate between my writing and what Dan wrote.  If you are one of those people who are annal about these kinds of things, I apologize profusely......but really, I don't care.  Don't you have better things to do? :o)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

There has been sickness in the house of Schultz.  Thankfully I am the only one who is sick, and although I'm not really thankful about being sick, I am happy that my kids aren't sick because it is so much worse when they can't sleep and are extra whiny!  On one hand it is easier when I only need to deal with my own snot, but it is also a lot harder to explain to my kids that I am not feeling well and try and convince them to make their own lunch and not jump all over me while I'm laying on the couch trying to nap.  They just don't understand!  Maddie and Charlotte are at an age where they can watch cartoons (all day) and I can lay out the crayons & coloring books and they will yell and argue with each other  quietly color, but Eleanor is a different story.  She is at an age of discovery.  She wants to empty out everything, move anything that isn't nailed down and she is climbing like a chimpanzee.  She is not to be trusted.  Luckily her new favorite thing to do is climb up on the bench at our kitchen table and play with whatever is there.  Yesterday (or was it the day before?) baby Ellie was hanging out at the table shirtless, with maple syrup all up in her hair, eating crayons and playing with a glass drinking glass & kid silverware.  I was on the couch with tissues stuffed up in my nostrils to prevent the continual flow of snot from running down my face and totally supervising.  No one was hurt!  Actually the girls have been very good these past few days and I had a random serge of energy and did a bunch of cooking and cleaning.  Dan says that I should be sick more often.  Jerk.  :o)

The older girls stayed out of my hair these past few days so I didn't get pictures of them.  I did get some shots of Eleanor and her antics.

In our pajamas all day long
Wearing mismatched/too big shoes
Eating cookies
(The girls helped me make cookies while I was sick.  10 points for me!)

Photographic evidence of:
eating crayons
maple syrup hair

Charlotte asks me, "Mama, have you seen the glittery purple crayon?"
Um....no, but if you need a fork I'm your gal.

She did actually get some coloring done!
It wasn't all nutritional

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A little of this.....a little of that

Life is chugging along as usual at our house.  We're getting back into our non-holiday routine and although I miss the decorations and festiveness, I'm glad to be back to life as we know it.  Dan started back up with school and we are adjusting to his new school work load, I am dealing with some minor stresses with the Wake County school district and as always we are juggling all of the other things that come with being a family of 5.  These next couple of months are going to be busy....we have soccer starting up again at the beginning of March and I'd really like to get Charlotte into some kind of dance class.  I have not even begun to start thinking about my garden, but that needs to happen soon if we want early spring veggies.  There are some exciting things in the works for the next couple months, but I'll write about those at a later time.

My kids are growing up so fast!  Part of me really likes that they are getting bigger, because they are also getting easier.  But another part of me wishes that they could stay little forever.  That they could always be at home with me with no where to go and nothing in particular to do.  Craft projects, toenail painting, baking, dressing up, playing at the park.  The fun stuff, the easy stuff.  I love the age that Eleanor is at right now.  She's becoming her own little person and has opinions about things.  She is learning new words every day and figuring out how things work in the world.  I love that she brings me random pieces of clothing that she finds (or pulls out of the big girls drawers) and wants me to put them on her.  The other day she had on her footie pajamas, socks, 2 pairs of underwear, a tank top and 2 headbands.  It's the lovely hobo stage.....I remember both Maddie & Charlotte going through this same stage, and I loved it just as much then as I do now.  Charlotte is still our little girly princess.  She will rotate through multiple princess dresses throughout the day and always wants to wear sparkly things.  Anytime there is music on she is sure to be shaking her little booty and she's actually quite good at it!  I love listening to Charlotte talk, more and more she is surprising me with the insightful and well thought out things she says.  Often times I feel like she isn't listening to me, or isn't paying attention but a day later she will recite verbatim everything I told her, or I'll hear her telling Maddie about something that her and I discussed.  Charlotte has also gotten really good at the computer.  It's fun to watch her learning!  What can I say about Maddie?  I look at her and see a girl far beyond her years.   She's ridiculously tall and so stinking beautiful!  One day (in the far, far distant future) she is going to give the boys a run for their money.  She is so smart, sometimes I am astounded by the things she knows, the things she asks about and the level of understanding that she has.  Dan and I often wonder if she has a photographic memory or something similar because she remembers everything.  You can explain something once to her or show her something only one time and she soaks it in like a sponge and never forgets.  She's getting really good at reading which makes me immensely proud.....so proud, I often get teary eyed after she's done reading me something.  And the girl is seriously funny!  All kids are funny at a certain level, but Maddie makes me laugh out loud all the time.  We've been playing games at night before the girls go to bed nearly every night, and it is something that we all look forward to and I am amazed at how well they do.  They are really good at taking turns and are learning how to be gracious winners (and losers) and it is just so much fun to interact with them in this way.  I really love my kids!

Isn't this parenting thing amazing?  Having the privilege of sharing a life with these little ones, guiding them through their childhoods, helping them become everything they want to be.  I am truly humbled.  And I'm gonna stop gushing because it's gonna make me cry.  :o)

I thought I'd share some random pictures that I've taken the last couple of weeks.  Just things that we've been doing and stuff around the house.  A couple pictures are projects I worked on over the last couple of months that have been completed and I never shared.  You know.....a little of this and a little of that!

Eleanor on the go.....
she is always running somewhere

We moved Charlotte into the 4 year old class at preschool
and within a few weeks, she learned how to write her name!
Big girl.

Am I the only one who puts my kids in the bath during the day in wintertime?
They'll play in there for a good hour!  Breaks the day up.

Water color painted coffee filter snowflakes

Rag curls.  I didn't get an after shot, so we'll have to do it again.
But they turned out really cute.....REALLY curly!

Dresser painting project

Dresser behind Eleanor
I still need to get the pulls on

Lots-o-books from the library
Raleigh Kids Exchange consignment sale.
Spring/Summer clothes & shoes

Notice the shiny black tap shoes?  I got a pair for both Maddie & Charlotte.
I'm hoping Dan can make them a little stage.  This WILL be fun! :o)

Flag bunting in the girls room

We finished painting these mini canvases a while ago.....
FINALLY got around to hanging them in the girls room

I finally got around to cleaning and organizing my craft area!
I can actually work here now......and I have.

Hopefully this week is treating you well!  I'm overly tired, but keeping the sleepies away with copious amounts of caffeine.  Getting closer to the weekend!

County McCounterson