I was tagged by Kristal at Lattes and Little Hugs to do this challenge – what a great idea to “force” me to make a gratitude list.
While I was working on this post, I actually came up with so many things that make me happy, I think I will have a few installments of this topic! I hope it inspires you to create your own list, or to focus a little on self care, or to recognize happiness in your every day where it is maybe hiding.
In no particular order:
1 – Sunny Mornings
I don’t realize how much I miss sunny mornings until spring comes each year. I like to get up earlier than my kids and spend my quiet morning time alone on the patio. I’m a serious introvert, you guys! Even if the kids are with me, it’s so lovely to feel some sunshine on my face and look out over my backyard while I do a little work.
I’ll be honest – I don’t really know what my love language is. But baby snuggles (toddler snuggles, if they’ll let me!) are a surefire way to melt my snarky, crusty exterior. I’m lucky that I’ve been able to borrow babies from sisters-in-law (and co-author Deb!) for many years, and you bet I try to snitch snuggles from my boys whenever they can be caught. Some of my favorite moments of motherhood have been holding my littles close while they fall asleep – either while we were nursing, or when they were transitioning to a new bed or a new room. Right now I’m getting to lie with my 1 1/2 year old while he gets used to having a big boy bed (a floor bed) which means I get to listen to a singing giraffe while smashed on a crib mattress with a sweaty little boy. Best moments of my day!
3 – A neat, tidy, clean home.
If you’ve never noticed, I’m quite the fan of Marie Kondo. I’ve decluttered my entire household three times, and am itching to do it again. It is so relaxing to have no clutter, so satisfying to look around and see no housework to be done. I read a quote once somewhere (let me know in the comments if you can find it, because I no longer can!) that everyone should sit for an hour alone, each day, in the best room. In my current home, I finally feel that all my rooms are “the best room” and enjoy spending time in them.
4 – Coffee
Now, I realize there is coffee all over my website, my other social media… it’s in the URL… but that’s because honestly, it is one of the greatest simple joys in my life. I have some kind of soul-connection to coffee. The smell of it, the flavor of it, the feel of a warm mug in my hands. Somehow, I am more myself when I’m holding a cup of coffee. Morning, afternoon, it really doesn’t matter when the coffee is happening. While I was pregnant I even condescended to drink decaf because I missed it so much!
5 – A good book
I’ve been a bookworm since I was 3. My mother had a limit at naptime – she would only read me ten books. TEN BOOKS. It hasn’t stopped since – I read voraciously throughout gradeschool, until in 8th grade my teacher was finding me classical literature to read because I’d devoured everything in the school library. I was a Literature major in college (an education major, but my subject area is Communicative Arts and Literature) and in one semester took both Victorian Lit and World Literature at once – that’s two novels (and accompanying papers) a week. If you combine #4 and #5 into one, you get my favorite hangouts: bookstores with coffee in them. This was my favorite haunt in college, and the place in that town I miss the most (Hi, Jerry!) When I sat down to make goals for this year, reading every day was the first that popped into my head, and I’ve been loving spending more time on my favorite hobby.
6 – A freshly-made bed
Fluffy pillows. Crisp white sheets. Soft blankets. A light lavender scent. That might seem like some kind of styled photograph nonsense, but that’s actually my Saturday night! I find it the best way to relax, like a self-care ritual disguised as housekeeping. I get in there with a #5 and #4, and spend a couple hours to myself. It’s like the adult version of a fort.
7 – Simple vacations
I wrote a post this winter about a vacation both of us blog authors (and hubbies) went on, and how to replicate the feelings at home. My favorite kinds of vacations involve limited planning and limited “must-dos” when I get there. Going to a place I’ve never been, with my family or friends, and just exploring what’s there, napping and eating and lingering as we feel like it. I always come back from these kinds of trips really refreshed!
8 – Leisurely walks with my family
In case somehow this is not clear yet, I do not exercise. (Is there a tag for listing things that make you supremely unhappy?) But I do love walking with my family, more like wandering, really. We pop the kids in the stroller and they’re contained and entertained. Most of the time, they’re even quiet. I don’t even take toys along for them – I never have taken toys on walks or in the car – and as a result they’ve learned to appreciate nature, point out various landmarks around town, talk to each other, notice toads and sticks and flowers. Meanwhile, my husband and I can actually TALK to each other (whaaaat?!?) and get a little sunshine refreshment. Even during the school year, the kids and I take a walk every single day (barring actual blizzard conditions). It takes a long time to bundle everybody up for winter walks, but we all three go a little berserk if we don’t get outside. I sometimes put an earbud in one ear and listen to some music, or bring a travel mug with my morning tea in it. Zen.
9 – Big, curly hair
On me, on other people, I’m indiscriminate. I think because this is what grows out of my own head, I feel an automatic solidarity with anybody else with giant hair. I automatically assume upon seeing them that they’re creative and pleasant and witty. Maybe that’s not true, but only good can come of assuming the best about humanity, right? As for myself, the bigger and curlier my hair is on a given day, the better I feel. This is a paradigm that comes along with the hair, but I truly can’t imagine having flatter hair! I feel like I need that giant mess up there to make more space for my personality, snark, volume. Like the wild flowerchild inside of me needs to be visible to the world.
10 – Camp BASIC
I know this is super specific, but it’s about authenticity here. Camp is absolutely my favorite place to be on earth, and I am 100% the most happy that week of my life. It is so spiritually filling, and also personally uplifting as I am literally in the woods with most of my dearest friends. We pack an entire year of loving each other, sharing our stories, singing Father Abraham, and adventures into one short week. I don’t know who I was before I went there the first time. I don’t know what on earth I was doing with my life. (No exaggeration.) I love it SO MUCH that I’m actually on the board of directors. (Translation: I love it so much I sit through lots of phone calls. I hate phone calls!)
There’s my (first) list! What makes you happiest in the world? Feel free to leave a comment, or consider yourself tagged and do this challenge on your own blog! (Please link me as tagging you, if you do!)
Tagging: Shell at https://thesunmama.com/ ! Go check her out!