Sep 10, 2012

Happiness Week 36

It was back to school week this week. Now that it's Monday and we are starting the 2nd week of school I think things are going to be okay. I still have a bit of a dilemma because Adrian and Ainsley are getting ready for school at the same time and Ainsley's bus comes after Adrian's. Last year Steve would have left for work, Ainsley would be gone and I'd take Adrian to the bus. So far Steve has been staying to walk Adrian out but I don't think that's the ideal solution.  Having 3 kids in 3 schools does pose some logistical challenges. But I felt better when Ainsley's friend J's mom told me she has 6 KIDS IN 6 DIFFERENT SCHOOLS. That's the thing about life and happiness it's all about perspective. Pretty much everyone there is falls into the category of "Things could be better but things could also be worse" including the people we think have it better.

Now that summer is officially over I feel I should report that my Staycation Basket was not as successful as it could have been. It did give us some fun things to do  and was a bit of a diversion but I felt I was often having to say no when the kids proposed an activity that wasn't easy to execute on a given day, for example like having a lemonade stand or bringing out the Sculpy (though we finally did that one). The summer ended with a lot less done than I'd hoped even though I dedicated 2 months to it. The truth is it made me more unhappy than happy because it was so obvious I was failing. I guess it's the difference between the fantasy of how life could be and reality, especially the reality of having a special needs child with medical issues and a workaholic husband. Still I think it contributed to a funner summer and that was the goal.

Since I've learned that everything takes longer than you'd think, and I have limited free time I've decided that my "area of focus" for the month of September is to get my photos frames done for the living room wall. How silly is it to take all these great pictures and have none of them displayed?!What I really want is all my photos into albums, but since that isn't realistic I'm going to stick to something I might have a chance of completing. I figure if I announce it to the world then I have to do it. It might not sound like much but believe me trying to find 50 of my favorite pictures among thousands and thousands is going to be time consuming so I think that's about all I can handle this month. So expect to see that on the blog in October or the next time you come to visit our house.

It's getting near the end of the year. I'm excited to see my Happiness photo project when it is complete with an entire year captured in 365 pictures representing the things that made me happiest. In these posts I like to give details but at the end of the year the photos will have to stand on their own as a collection of images. Will it be interesting, boring, sad or what? When I see them as a group will I feel it was a good year or bad? What will other people see when they look at them? We shall see. I think it would also be interesting to do the same thing and but the opposite, all "unhappy" pictures of the things that cause stress and unhappiness. Then if you looked at the collections side by side, the best and worst of one person's life, what would that tell us?  A lot, I suspect, and I think it would make an interesting photography exhibit.

As the art in my TV room proclaims The Future is Just a Collection of Successive Nows. I hope you find ways to enjoy your "nows" this week whatever you are up to.

Daily Happiness Photos - Week 36

09/03 Bubble Gum
One of the items in our Staycation Basket was Bubble Yum bubble gum for a bubble gum blowing contest. The kids wanted Steve to be there so we almost didn't get to it this summer. Of course he thought he would win and I thought I would. Who do you think won? The great thing about this family activity is that you can do other things while you blow bubbles, though you do risk your bubble not being seen. If it popped before it could be judged then it didn't count. When I was young I used to walk down the hill with my friend Michelle to the local drug store to get bubble gum and we would blow bubbles the whole way. At one time it was my specialty. I have some great pics but I didn't take them so I can't use them here. I love the expression on Adrian's face as he tries so hard to blow a bubble. He was successful but that picture doesn't capture the happiness for me as much as this one. It was a lot of fun! ......And of course I won. You should see what I can do with 2 pieces of gum.

09/04 Hot Air Balloons
We were in Woodinville buying jeans for Adrian and when we left we spied hot air balloons. They sometimes fly over our house making a whooshing sound as the fire periodically blasts hot air up into the balloon . Today as we drove home we "chased" them in the car. (I actually took this picture out the sun roof with my point and shoot.) You really can't help but be happy when you see these, even if you have just spent an exhausting 2 hours shopping for clothes with 3 kids.

09/05 Celebrating the Small Things
Whoever said money can't by happiness wasn't very creative. It surely can. I grew up in a family that didn't spend money unnecessarily. Frugal would be an apt description. We were lucky to get a cake on our birthday. Getting a cake for something as ordinary as the first day of school just didn't happen. Ever. To say that my kids were happy about the cake is an understatement. And considering how the day went I was really glad I took the time to get one. It was a nice way to end a stressful day.

09/06 100% SPO2
Having I child with a trach means having monitor bodily functions that other parents just don't ever concern themselves with, like SPO2 levels. That means the level of oxygen in the blood. Ainsley SPO2 level and heart rate are monitored every night while she sleeps with a machine similar to this.  It's not uncommon for kids with trachs to have low oxygen levels. We are lucky that Ainsley despite everything is quite healthy and her levels are always good. Still I always worry a little when we go to the Pulmonologists office and they check it but it was 100% with her speaking valve on. She does so well in fact that I asked about not using the monitor (it frequently wakes us with false alarms). The Pulm says he loses 1-2 patients a year and they are usually those kids who were doing really well and weren't being monitored.

09/07 Putting My Feet Up
Many days I'm pretty much on my feet the entire day. Especially with the kids home for summer. It should be the opposite but it's true. Now that they are back in school and we survived the week I was able to sit outside and put up my feet for a few hours, call a friend and write a blog post. It felt great. There was something else that made me really happy today but it's a secret and I'm saving it for another post.

09/08 Gardeners
Finally we have gardeners here to help us. We bought this house for the layout and accessibility for Ainsley but we knew the yard would be more than we could handle even though we appreciated its beauty. We bought the house anyway and the maintenance has been a huge source of stress for me. Unfortunately the size of the yard makes finding an affordable gardener a challenge. They seem to be doing a good job and I am hopeful that they can get it into a condition that we can maintain.

09/09 Pudding with Feet
Sometimes you have to just create your own happiness with chocolate.


To view a slideshow of the entire Happiness Photo Project click here. Confused about what this is or why I'm doing it? Click here for an explanation of what it's all about.

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