Posts Tagged With: joy

Baby K and her mommy’s birthday pie

Thing 1 and Baby K were here for two weeks!
It was the loveliest (albeit exhausting-est) two weeks in many moons.
Y’all, I absolutely adore watching my daughter be her daughter’s mom!

I love seeing their closeness. I’m amused when they get frustrated with each other. I love the way Baby K says “mum-mum-mum-mum” for her mommy.
To witness and share in their relationship is an absolute delight!

Baby K learned to clap while she was here.
She even (sort of) learned to say clap while she was here.
She pulled up so much and began cruising around the sofa and coffee table while she was here.
She even crawled up two (non-sequential) steps while she was here!
She says “Papa” for YBW and she said “Ba-Da” when referring to me. Ba-Da for Birdie? I’ll take it.

They were here in time for Thing 1’s birthday!
It’s the first time I’ve hugged her on her actual birthday since she was eighteen! She just turned twenty six!
So! Much! Joy!

Neither of my girls actually like cake, so we celebrated with a delicious apple pie!

I miss them.
I mean, I’m glad to have my ‘baby duty’ scaled back, but I miss conversations with Thing 1 and special moments with Baby K.
We drank so much wine.
Thing 1 said “Get out of my head” more times than I can count. It’s nice to be on the same page. It’s lovely to feel so close and connected to her.
We talked plans of what it will look like when they’re here for however many months starting this summer.
I enjoyed meal planning and grocery shopping with Thing 1. I look forward to that when they’re here.

Baby K played with Meredith and Beau.

They have a cousin who’s only a couple of months older than Baby K, so they love being in baby mode. These kids are nine and seven, and their mom could barely drag them away from the baby toys!
I love that my friends-as-family and actual family are such a big part of and have such love for each other!

I was with Thing 1 for six weeks when Baby K was born and we vowed then to make sure we could see each other as often as possible. You know, we’ve seen each other pretty much every other month since then. And soon, they’ll be right here whenever I turn around, then as close as their own house nearby.

I am truly grateful for the blessing of being able to witness and be a part of my granddaughter’s growing up.
My cup runneth over!

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

find joy every day

This is absolutely everything!

Happiness is not one great big undefinable thing. Real joy and real contentment actually happen in the concrete every day.
It’s the little things.
Those little every day things where joy resides in it’s simplest form.

These are my every day joys from the last week or so.

When fifth graders didn’t understand what I meant when I said, “Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.” at the end of the lesson.
Tuesday when Beau beat me at chinese checkers for the very first time!
Drinking wine with YBW by the fire at Naked Mountain on Valentine’s Day.

Finding the right calphalon skillet to replace the damaged one. And it was only $40!
Talking with Sally.
Being behind the lens of my camera.
This photo of Baby K laughing so I can see all her teeth!

Leaving the house at 7:30 am to get gatorade and soda crackers for YBW.
Taking Jessica’s birthday gift to the post office.

These are random every day things, but I found joy in each one of them.
(to be clear, I was not joyful my husband had food poisoning, I was joyful I could do anything to help him)

Y’all, that’s where the joy is! All you have to do is look for it.
Where are your every day joys?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

invincibility and rain boots: an existential conundrum

I’m having a bit of existential conundrum.
You might think it has something to do with not being accepted into the masters program at Mason, but you’d be mistaken.
I am in full on ‘What does anything actually mean?’ mode because of this moment.

On a sunny and warm yet breezy Monday, YBW and I went out for a shoot day.
We shot loads of photos.
We walked for miles.
It’s been raining a great deal over the last two weeks so I wore my monogrammed rain boots because I knew trails would be muddy.
When we came to Young’s Branch, (a small creek that feeds into Bull Run) I made the choice to go through the creek while YBW went across the bridge.

(He later told me that he shot me in sport mode so he could capture everything in case I slipped and fell.)
As you can see, I did not fall.

That said, I did not come out of the creek unscathed.

My right rain boot leaked.
My foot was ankle deep in cold muddy water INSIDE MY BOOT!
I was completely and totally flabbergasted!
In what realm do rain boots fill with water!?

I’m over here like, You had one fucking job!

You see, I am of the mind that I am invincible when wearing my rain boots.
Quite sincerely, I have this theory that my rain boots make me invincible.
Meanwhile the rain boots are all, Haha nope!

This feeling of confusion has been with me since the incident.
This feeling of questioning everything.
Existentialism, you bitch.

I know I’m a fully-functioning adult person. Logically and rationally I understand I am far from invincible. But when I wear my rain boots I feel like a superhero. I feel safe and protected and capable of absolutely anything.
They are amazingly comfy. They have my monogram, therefore specifically mine.
With these boots on my feet, I am a total BAMF ready to tackle any messy or wet thing that comes at me.
I am invincible!
It really is as simple as that.

YBW and I were talking about it yesterday and he reassured me he didn’t think it was as childish as I’m imagining.
He provided the analogy of spending an afternoon washing and waxing your car and feeling like it drives faster or better when you’re finished.
I mean, I’ve never experienced that feeling, but I understand it in concept.

I talked with my precious sister in law, Sally this morning.
She used the word innocence in response to this conversation.
That rang true in me.
She spoke of being jaded. Of losing one’s ability to move about freely.

As we become adults, we are jaded. We do spend a great deal of time looking about for things designed to trip us up, or keep us from growing or doing or becoming. We’re defensive, and somewhat fearful about how we move about in the world. But that’s a terrible way to be! I mean, paying attention to one’s safety is paramount, but functioning from a place of defense and disillusion isn’t a healthy (or enjoyable) way to go through life. But I understood her point.

She used the word freedom.
When she talked of freedom and innocence the word that came to me was autonomy.
I’m sure I took away something from our conversation that she did not intend. Because she used the word freedom as a synonym for autonomy. But that’s not exactly how I meant it.

I looked like this to me.
A child becomes autonomous when they’re ‘big enough’ to do things with more independence.
How is this autonomy applicable to rain boots?
How often does a child pull on rain boots with the express purpose of jumping in puddles?
They are using their independence to make smart choices. Their autonomy provides opportunities for exploration of the world around them. Their innocence encourages their joy and wonder.

I cling to that bit of childlike innocence in my rain boot invincibility theory. However disillusioned I am. However defensive I am. However fearful of my freedom I may be, I will always strive to foster my own sense of joy and wonder at the world. I will use my autonomy to provide myself opportunities to explore and engage the world around me.
I will have moments of disillusion. Of feeling defensive. Of being so jaded I neglect to see the wonder around me.
But I choose to actively seek out the joy and wonder in this world. To hold on to the remains of my childlike innocence. To use my autonomy to the best of my ability.

My rain boots did not make me invincible the other day.
You know what? That’s not entirely true.
My rain boots were not invincible the other day.

I’m solving that problem in two ways.
The first is to seal the seam on the boot I have.
The second is I ordered a new pair while they were 50% off!
Do I need two pairs of monogrammed rain boots?
Um…yeah!
Two different fashion opportunities for invincibility FTW!

I am a woman who’s lived through forty-eight years of life. Some of it good. Some of it bad. Some of it just plain indifferent. I’ve spend enough time feeling defensive and fearful. I’ve spent enough time worrying about my freedom and autonomy. I’ve lived through and come out the other side of every single thing this world has thrown at me.
I have not lost my sense of wonder.
I cling tightly to my joy. To my gratitude. To my childlike innocence.
And dammit! I am invincible when I wear my rain boots!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

colombia

Of everything about this trip, I was most excited to visit Cartagena, Colombia. Geeking out over, and romanticizing the rich history, imagining how it would be.
I was fired up!

Then we got there.
It was straight chaos.
There was an Iron Man competition going on, as well as a huge Italian cruise ship in port with us.
The city was teeming with people. Narrow sidewalks and streets were crowded. It was overcast, hot and humid. To say I was overstimulated is a gross understatement.

However tricky it was getting around, it was as beautiful as I’d imagined.
Through the benefit of hindsight, I realize I enjoyed it much more than it felt like I did when I was actually there.

I learned to pronounce the city name properly. It’s car-tah-hey-na not cart-a-hayne-ya.
I learned that ‘no’ is the same in Spanish and English.
I was reminded of how much patience and kindness my husband has in him.
I was reminded it’s OK to admit it when you’ve got nothing left in your tank.
I learned that when a man shows up in a taxi, miraculously at the exact moment you need him most, he was sent by the Powers That Be to rescue you, bring you a bit of peace, and change your entire point of view.

I think when traveling it’s easy to consider one’s excitement, anticipation, and expectations and much more difficult to recognize or acknowledge when one is travel weary.
By the time we got to Cartagena, I was travel weary, but didn’t realize it. I truly felt like a little child, over-tired, overwhelmed, overstimulated and on the verge of a meltdown. I did my best to hold it together. To embrace and enjoy the beauty of the city.

The old city is a ridiculously beautiful place, and this little street was absolutely my favorite!

This ‘bucket list’ trip was everything it could possibly be and even more.
Time with YBW away from the daily grind was a precious gift. We travel well together. We understand what piques each other’s curiosity and interest. We enthusiastically engage in sharing experiences.
We are as content to explore crowded streets, manage language barriers, and ride in death trap taxis as we are to quietly lounge in the shade, drink cocktails in a piano bar, and stargaze.
I’m so grateful we made this trip together!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

it’s a sunshine day

I’m a big ol’ dork.
I’m actually pretty clear about it, and I’m at complete and total peace with it.
But y’all! HGTV just triggered my dork meter off the charts!

HGTV bought the house that provided all the exterior shots for the Brady Bunch and decided to recreate in the actual house, what was only ever on a sound stage.
Is it a restoration? Is it a remodel? Is it a renovation?
I absolutely do not care!
I was a bundle of nostalgia and pure joy watching the six Brady kids and some of my favorite HGTV folks get together and geek out over each other and this project!

I watched the Brady Bunch my entire childhood!
When I heard that HGTV was doing a show called A Very Brady Renovation, I will admit to amusement and curiosity. I set the DVR and went about my business.
But I watched the first episode and I couldn’t believe how much I smiled. How much I enjoyed what I saw.
How much I cared!

I was, and will continue to be completely invested in this program.
It’s the little things, you know? That’s where the joy is.
The big ol dork inside me is SQUEE x infinity over something that in the grand scheme of even my own little life is actually pretty small.
But these small things all add up, and when you collect many small things that bring you joy, you’re chock full of joy!
Joy is essential for life!

I’m gonna let my freak flag fly, and keep collecting joy in the smallest increments in the strangest ways.

I’ll be over here watching the Brady kids and HGTV folks work on that house, and start to wonder if there’s some car show that wants to build/remodel the Partridge Family bus…

In the meantime, here’s a little bit of the dorkiest joy.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

summer gratitude

As we move into fall, I’m thinking about everything that filled my heart with joy this summer, and y’all, that list is long!
I have so much to be grateful for!

June:
sleeping in my own bed for the first time in six weeks
seeing Amber for the first time since March
date day with Mike and Josie
Describe the Night at the Woolly Mammoth (last play of the season)
impromptu trip to Williamsburg with Mike and Josie
two of my three alternative health care providers
dinner with Nora and Dale

July:
porchlife

all three of my alternative health care providers
dinner with Meredith and Beau’s family
celebrating Nora’s birthday (she and Thing 2 are birthday twins)
Thing 1, Thing 2, Husband N, and Baby K here!
pedis with my girls
Spending the day with Thing C and Girlfriend L
drinking bubbly with my girls
Bubbly & Baby party to celebrate Baby K being in our world
2 Silos with YBW, Thing 1, Thing 2, Husband N, Baby K, and Jessica
stopping cocktails on the way to the airport with Thing 2

August:
Thing 2 and Baby K here for two more weeks
model home tours
porchlife

going away party to celebrate Mike and Josie’s college bound daughter
all three alternative health care providers
Good Eats: The Return
drinking beer, cracking crab legs and peeling shrimp at Blue Ridge

the never ending road trip with Thing 1 and Baby K
seeing Thing 2 and Boyfriend J during a pit stop in Columbia
spending the second day back to school day drinking with Holly
shoot day with YBW
discovering Natty Boh with YBW
Vampire Weekend
YBW’s bestie from high school here with his fam
Nat’s game (Tony hit two dingers!)
finishing my paper

September looks like it’s starting out slow, but that’s fine by me, I’m learning to take it easy. I’m learning the journey is where it’s at. (Though, to be perfectly honest, I’m all about ‘getting there’.)
I’ve already got some stuff on the calendar for next week, but I’m curious to see what pops up.
I’m looking forward to spending more time with YBW as we move into Autumn.
Ready to make new so many new reasons to be grateful!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

sweet birthday baby

Today I’m celebrating twenty-two years of Thing 2!
Even though she’s all grown up, she’s still my sweet baby.
Y’all, she’s only sweet a portion of the time, and she’s not at all a baby. But she is mine, and I love her more than the moon and the stars!

Thing 2 is doing the hard work of figuring out how to be an adult in this world. And however much she feels like she’s getting her ass handed to her, she’s actually making more progress than she realizes.
She’s one of those stubborn sort of girls, the ones who sometimes can’t seem to get out of their own way. (I wonder where she gets that…?) She is sometimes crippled by her own inability to make and trust a decision. She sometimes feels overwhelmed and defeated. But she’s tenacious. She keeps at it. She’s doing the day to day and eventually that will make a dent in the large and looming future.
I worry for her.
But I have faith in her.
She can do it! This thing called life.
She can do it because she’s chock full of muchness.

It seems strange to think of her as my sweet little baby, she hasn’t been that for so long. She’s her, you know? She’s a girl doing her best to live her life. She’s the daughter to two people who haven’t made her life terribly easy. She’s a sister. She’s a friend. She’s a lover. Now she’s an auntie!
In addition to her being all those things, she’s simply herself. I sometimes wonder if she feels like being herself is enough.
I believe it is. I hope she does too!

I won’t be able to smother her with hugs and kisses today, but I will twelve days from now when I collect her at the airport!
The idea of celebrating her in person brings me such joy!

Here’s a photo I absolutely adore.
Thing 2 deep in thought where the sea kisses the shore.
Can you see her muchness?

circa 2003 on the pier at Folly

Categories: love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

nine days – the countdown to Baby K


OHMYGOD!!

This little nugget of adorable will be here in NINE DAYS!
AND, she’s bringing her mommy and daddy with her!
I’m so happy, I swear I might burst!!

Birdie and Baby K back together again!
SQUEEEEEEEE!

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I’m doing it!

I’ve been completely immersed in coursework. Reading, writing, and creating (more complicated than necessary) annotated bibliographies.
I passed the first of five courses in April. I’m four-fifths of the way to passing the second course. I’m fourteen-twentieths of the way through passing the third course.
The fifth and final task for the second course is that I must write an essay about how the books I read for this course impacted my personal education philosophies.
I’m over here like:

The fifteenth through twentieth portion of the third task is the last five annotated bibliographies. I’ve got all the prep work done, just need to plug summarized information into the template.

I already have a huge portion of my thesis compiled, so writing that paper will be simpler than some. That’s the fourth task.
The final task is creating a power point presentation that summarizes the thesis paper. (Waste of time, much?)

The girls, Husband N, Baby K, and Jessica are coming the third week of July for the party to celebrate Baby K. Thing 1, Husband N, and Baby K will be here for a bit over two weeks, and we’ve already started talking about how Husband N might go home, and Thing 1 and Baby K might stay here a bit longer and I’d take them home later in August. I’m not sure how long Thing 2 will be here. Jessica will be here for five days.
We’ll have a houseful! But I’m excited!!

My plan is to finish course two and three in the next week or ten days so I’ve got nothing pressing as I get ready for them to be here, and while they’re here I can simply enjoy being together.

I’ve worked so hard the last two weeks I can hardly believe it!
I’m taking breaks enough to go to the farmers market and day drink with Holly on Thursdays. Yesterday I finally had enough and decided to brave the heat and go run errands.
Today I’m debating on how much I’ll work. But YBW is on his computer and I have no idea what Thing G is doing, so I guess I’m on my own today. I can go out in the heat and be around random folks, or I can stay put and get stuff done. Or, perhaps a bit of both? Who knows.

For the first time since I began this journey of coursework I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. My term ends September thirtieth, but I plan to finish in August.
And that’s it. I’m finished with this degree plan.
I find myself wondering what I’ll do with my time once I’m not always doing coursework.
The first thing on the list is read read read. (is that actually the first three things on the list?) I’m going to tackle my TBR stack! I’m going to read for pleasure, not what’s assigned me. I’m going to sit with my stack of Southern Living magazines and devour them.

My girls are incredibly supportive of my journey. They’re quick with praise as I report my progress this term. Thing 2 has remarked on my tenacity, and that she gets hers from me. I shared with them that I’m not only doing this for myself, sticking with this commitment I made to myself even though it’s taken so much longer than anticipated. I shared that I’m doing it for them too. So they see their mom as a woman who made a commitment to herself and is working hard to keep it.

You know, since I started this degree plan, I’ve lived through a separation and divorce. My eldest graduating high school and going away to college. The sudden and unexpected deaths of both my parents. Packing up my life in South Carolina and moving it to Virginia. Two weddings, mine, and Thing 1’s. My brain injury. The death of my precious mother in law. The birth of my first grandbaby!
And those are just the big ones!
I’m not mentioning the day to day highs and lows. Simply living life, work and home and friends.
This journey started with a whole lot of hubris. I thought I had it all under control.
This journey is coming to a close with a whole lot of beautiful humility.
I’m proud of this journey! I wanted to give up so many times! But I never did. Even when I was sick. I kept on and kept on and now I’m nearing the end with joy and verve! I did the hard work that got me to this place. I will finish the hard work in the next two months.
I’m doing it!
And soon I can shout “I DID IT!!”.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

all in my feels

I’ve been living in the teeniest of bubbles for the past three weeks.
The bubble that exists around a brand new baby.
Being with my daughter for the birth of her daughter is a blessing. So much so that words actually fail to express my joy and gratitude.

When it comes to being helpful, I made sure not to overstep when it comes to Baby K. I’m making sure I’m not doing too much around the house.
We started out with me making sure she ate and was hydrated, I prepared her breakfast and lunch, provided her with healthy, lactation promoting snacks, and make sure she had enough water. I took a bigger responsibility in keeping the house in order. Cleaning and tidying, making sure she had access to what she needed.
In these three weeks, she has taken on more household responsibilities in addition to Baby K responsibilities. She’s finding her way in balancing running her home and menagerie, and being a mom.
I have not yet stopped doing the laundry, but we’re making plans on how to make that transition simplest for her.

I am acutely aware of how fortunate I am to spend this time with my granddaughter.
From diapers, burping, and baths, to books, songs, and snuggles, I am making the most of my time with her.
This sacred time will be lost on her, but I am making memories and storing them up.
As many times a day as I can manage, I say, “Birdie loves you, girl.”
My hope is that when Baby K hears those words over the rest of our lives, that it triggers something down deep in her, and she remembers this time in some sort of way.

I am actively in my feels.
I am beginning to prepare myself emotionally for my departure.
I consider sleeping through the night in my own bed, and the simple pleasure of being in the same physical space as YBW. Seeing my friends, and farmer’s market mornings. Really just living my regular life.
In returning to my regular life, I won’t spend every day with Thing 1 and Baby K. I won’t be comfortably enclosed in that precious little bubble. I won’t get to clean up mad blow-out diapies, or sing the lollipop guild song while I ‘dance’ Baby K’s legs around. I won’t be seeing her eyes roll back in her head when she gets sleepy, but won’t give in. I won’t get to hold her close and smell her sweet baby smell.
I won’t be able to spend time with my daughter, listening to her thoughts. We won’t laugh together, or finish each other’s sentences. I won’t get to watch her basking in the joy of her daughter, or experience that moment of joy when she shares her with me.

These thoughts weigh heavy on me. I need to acknowledge and attempt to accept them to ease the reality of parting, but not so much I’m missing out on the joy of being here.
I mean, how could I feel anything but joy looking at this darling little face!?!

I absolutely understand how blessed I am to be here with my daughter and granddaughter. To spend this sacred time with them. I’m grateful for the support of my precious husband in making this possible.
I am chock full of love.
I am chock full of joy.
I am chock full of gratitude.
My cup truly runneth over.

Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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