Monday, March 26, 2012

+Positive Thinking+

I’m starting a self-care group at work for mental health workers, and as part of my research, I have stumbled on some amazing material that really struck a chord with me. Appreciative living touches on the fact that SO MUCH of how we feel about our lives, our jobs, our families, our happiness in general comes from inside of us. Not from the external circumstances—getting a raise, pressures at work, physical illness, etc. It’s up to us as individuals to choose to see the good in every circumstance.
That’s not to say that you walk around happy as a clam and aren’t bothered by the bad stuff. But it’s making a conscious choice to give at least equal billing to the positives as the negatives. When we do this, it becomes more clear what we want out of life, what we can (and should) change, and what we have no control over.

We live in a problem/solution- focused society where we tend to be attuned and vocal about the problems we encounter, and also quite concerned with how to fix them. But what if the problem was YOU and the solution was also YOU? This isn’t meant to be a guilt-trip, but rather to empower people to realize they can choose happiness. You can choose the silver lining. It just takes some practice, some support, and maybe a little soul-searching. In prepping for my group, I’ve found myself applying this principle to my own life and experiencing a lot more peace and happiness. I’ve been working out almost every day, taking time for myself, and focusing on the positives in several areas of my life that were stressful for me before. Did anything external change? Nope, not really. What changed was my perspective.

****A note about parenting and happiness—studies show that people who have multiple children are less happy than people who have no children, and that at the end of the day, the joys of parenting are about a break-even with the stressors and negative emotions it creates. And yet, we keep on having kids. Armed with that information, lots of people dive in head -first and are incredibly happy to do it. Why? Take this quote by Dr. Browne, a happiness researcher: “What’s crucial to well-being is not how cheerful you feel, not how much money you make, but rather the meaning you find in life and your sense of ‘earned success’ — the belief that you have created value in your life or others’ lives. People find meaning in providing unconditional love for children,” writes Dr. Brooks, who is now president of the American Enterprise Institute. “Paradoxically, your happiness is raised by the very fact that you are willing to have your happiness lowered through years of dirty diapers, tantrums and backtalk. Willingness to accept unhappiness from children is a source of happiness.”
So embrace those dirty diapers--here's to happiness!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dear Everleigh (21 Months!)

Dear Everleigh,

This month you turned 21 months--that's one year and 9 months old! You just keep getting more amazing every month and I have to say--this month you spent most of the time sick off an on with a crummy cold and cough, yet through it all you made me fall more in love with you (I think it may have been the snuggliness you were putting out there).

Here's what you're up to:

Sleep-wah, wah, wah. You still wake approximately 2-4 times per night after falling asleep at 9PM. This continues to be super not fun for everyone. However, recently you have decided to let Daddy try and comfort you when you wake up sad. It's really sweet to hear you 2 in the monitor and know my favorite 2 people in the whole world are upstairs cuddling. Someday, you're going to sleep like a champ and I promise to be grateful for every full night's sleep I get. Someday.

Chatty-you are now what I would call a "supertalker". You say sentences like "I don't want it." or "I don't like it" (notice a trend here?) to communicate exactly what you do and don't want. And it's pretty great. Your memory amazes me! Sometimes you'll overhear something and bring it back up the next day or even week. Amazing. Brilliant ;) I mentioned something to you about maybe having a doggie-themed birthday party, and you said "yay!", then like 2 weeks later said "Dog party. I'm excited!". Sometimes it's still hard for Daddy and I to understand you and we'll ask you "say it again please? I couldn't understand you". You will usually repeat something about 2 times before rolling your eyes and sighing and giving up. This process is kind of hilarious. If we guess the wrong thing, you say "no. no. no. nnnnno" (with almost a rolling "n" that makes you sound vaguely foreign). You are not short on personality kid.

Happy-you have no idea how great it feels to know your kid is happy. Like, for real super extra happy. You smile a lot and love to laugh and play. It seems like lately you've been extra specially happy and you'll even say so sometimes out of the blue "I'm happy". It's awesome.

Meal-you've started asking for a "meal" when you are hungry, which is funny. Your new favorite place to eat is The Sweet Tomatoe--a yummy salad and soup buffet that is accepting of young kids but not kind of gross and packed with morbidly obese people like most buffets. So we try to go out there once or twice a month whenever we have a little extra money to splurge. You LOVE it there, because your favorite foods are black olives, soup (all kinds), raisens, green peppers, jello, frozen yogurt, pizza--all things they have there. When we go, you sit in the booth like a big girl, and are usually good (but very busy).

Binkie tosser-things are very black and white with you. You love your binkie for bed (we're working on getting you off it altogether), but when you decide you're done with it (even temporarily) you throw it accross the room, as if you are disgusted by the look of it and don't care if you ever see it again. Then, inevitiably later that night you will want it and can't find it and we will all have to search high and low for the binkie you couldn't wait to toss aside earlier. You're very hardcore.

Singer-you've really started singing more lately and I love it! What a great memory you have. You like to sing "Rain, rain go away" and after singing it with me a few times, you can basically sing the whole thing with all the words by yourself (in tune and everything). Wow. I keep wanting to record you, but so far you like doing your own thing and don't like to perform for the camera. Always keep 'em wanting more, Ev.

Potty Seat--this month Grandma got you your first potty seat, and although you love playing with it and sitting on it (and even pretending to wipe!?), so far you haven't been so interested in sitting on it bare-bottomed or actually going poo poo or pee pee in it. We're just glad you like it and think it's cool. We're waiting for some more cues from you (longer stretches with a dry diaper, the ability to indicate when you need to pee) before we really jump in headfirst with potty training. The fun awaits!

Park! You love going to the park now that the weather is beautiful (very strange for MO), and frequently ask to go the "big park" which has a pond with ducks, a huge playground, etc. If there are too many big kids running around on the playground, you will ask to go to the "baby park", which is a smaller park nearby that's usually more low-key. You almost always make a friend, which is SO sweet and cute to watch.

Time-I forget that kids your age don't have a good concept of time. For instance, if I tell you that  you're going to see your cousin, Edmond tomorrow, you will get super excited and say, "yay! See Edmond" and then proceed to not want to go to sleep because you think it's going to happen now. Daddy and I have to be careful to not tell you things that are happening in the future if we don't want you to ask us about it every 2 minutes until it actually takes place.

No, YES--lately you've taken to saying "no" to everything (sounds like somebody's creeping up on the terrible twos?) but then if you really meant yes, you'll quickly do a take-back and say "no, YES!". It can be a little confusing, but it's pretty cute.

All in all, this was a tough month for us (which is why I'm writing this like...2 weeks late!), but it also brought us closer. I just think you're something special and it's so fun getting to know you as your personality develops. You're going to be a real character, Ev! Stay cool.


Monday, March 12, 2012

You Are My Sunshine

Today the sun came out and begged us all to go outside. So we did. Scott and I piled Ev in the car and drove to "the big park" for a long stroll filled with ducks, birds (peep peeps), and tons of baby-doggies (Ev's current fav). 

We all felt warmed from the inside out and I couldn't help but smile as I watched Everleigh run through the grass, embracing every moment full-on. 

Everything felt so right. So beautiful. 

There are times when the little things start to get me down--the daily grind, financial stressors, pressures at work, limited time with the ones I love. Then days like this come and remind me that my problems are so small in comparison to the beauty and light that I have in my life. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sorry to Ask, BUT...

I hate to sound like a broken record, but I'm once again asking if you guys would take 5 seconds and vote for BABIQUE on the Top Baby Blogs link below.

Once a quarter or so, Top Baby Blogs sets all the totals back to zero to give the little guys a fighting chance (which is nice in theory), but it also means all the votes I've gotten from my peeps go away. Why do I even care? Top Baby Blogs has been a great way for me to generate new readers, which helps me connect with awesome people like YOU! Also...the higher ranking you get (after the re-set Babique is now like #450 or something terrible), the easier it is for people to find your blog, read it, love it, want to sponsor you and give you money and try their products and all kinds of awesome things.

Voters are allowed one vote per every 24 hours, and the voting stays open forever until they re-set again. I would love you to view the button (which stays on my top-right hand corner of the blog homepage at all times) as a Facebook "like" button of sorts. If you really like an article I write, a picture I post, or just me or Everleigh in general, give us a vote.

Okay, enough of the begging. Wait, here's one more last ditch effort:

So click this button below, then when you get to the Top Baby Blogs page, click on the good owl to your left and you are DONE. 5 seconds, I promise (unless you have an unbelievably slow computer, in which case I feel for you).
Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

We love you, readers! Read-on!

Take a Listen

In an effort to get my creative mojo back, I sat down today to try and write some music. Truth is, I have always loved collaborating way more than writing alone and I was struggling. I decided to get started playing some oldies but goodies, and landed on this song (originally by Phil Spector, also performed by Neutral Milk Hotel), "I Love How You Love Me". It occurred to me that my best writing in the past has typically taken place in the midst of heartache, confusion, change. Think of Adele's 21, Alanis' You Oughta Know, etc. Everyone knows breakup records are the best. So what do you do when you find yourself super relaxed and happy?

I chose this song (which I used to perform when I was like 18 at coffee shops and whatnot), because it made me smile. Because I AM at a happy and loving place in my life and I think it's ok to celebrate that.

Also, it gave me an excuse to experiment with Garage Band (a reason we really wanted our Mac but then felt too busy to try and learn). So this is definitely NOT an amazing recording by any means, but I wanted to challenge myself to share with you all and to commit to posting one song a month on here. They might start out as old and hopefully blossom into new tunes.

Hope you like it ;) after all, I am a sucker for a love song.