Category: Happy Days

Making myself a priority

making myself a priorityA guest post written by Jen Robinson, Lifewrangling blog

As parents we are always looking for ways to give our children opportunities.  We sign them up for sport, music, scouts, things that enable them to develop their talents and find enjoyment in learning new skills, working as a team and achieving their goals.  We realize the importance of this for our children.  Why then do we find it so difficult to understand the importance of these things for ourselves?  We often believe that we don’t have the time and stop doing those things that are good for our physical and mental health including healthy eating, exercise routines and hobbies.

It doesn’t have to be that way though and with a little bit of planning these important activities can return into our lives. (more…)

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Traveling for family memories

family travel memoriesEarly in our marriage, may be even before we were married, Jason and I had agreed that we would always use some of our time off to have our own vacation.  Coming from a big family, there are always events and family reunions to attend but it was important to us that we set aside focused family time together each year.  Before our children were part of our lives, we took some special trips to New York City, California and Grand Cayman.  Not to mention our honeymoon in Bermuda.

Traveling with young children

Once we had our children our vacations primarily centered on trips to visit family.  Every summer, we have been to our family cabin in Hubbard Lake, Michigan and there have been several visits to Florida, Pennsylvania, Phoenix, and Washington D.C. areas to see my parents and our siblings.  One exception to the normal trips is when we jumped on an opportunity when Natalie was 10 months old to go see my sister Susie and her family in Botley, England.  Her husband Dave was there for a 2 year assignment and it was Susie’s 40th birthday and we were missing their 4 kids since they had moved away.  They had been in England long enough to show us all the local sites they loved.  Susie kept Natalie one day when we visited so Jason and I could take the train into London for a day on our own.

 

Bali Indonesia family trip
Mt Batur Temple

Our first big international trip as a family was BIG!  In June 2007, the four of us went to Bali, Indonesia.  (more…)

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The unexpected payback from expensive travel sports

benefits of travel sports

Just fishin’

Have you heard the Trace Adkin’s song ‘Just Fishin’?  Here’s one verse and the chorus:

“I say, “Daddy loves you, baby” one more time
She says, “I know. I think I got a bite.”
And all this laughin’, cryin, smilin’ dyin’ here inside’s
What I call, livin’

And she thinks we’re just fishin’ on the riverside
Throwin’ back what we could fry
Drownin’ worms and killin’ time
Nothin’ too ambitious
She ain’t even thinkin’ ‘bout
What’s really goin’ on right now
But I guarantee this memory’s a big’in
And she thinks we’re just fishin’”

— Trace Adkins

I love the story this song tells the listener.  It’s about a dad spending quality time with his daughter.  She’s excited to go fishing but he is older and wiser and knows this experience is so much more than fishing.  The video is really sweet.

Travel sports

Both of my teenagers are in travel sports.  My 13 year old son plays travel baseball and my daughter plays for a sand volleyball club.  With my husband and I both working full time and the extra family responsibilities I have with my mom, life is B U S Y.  I have to confess that I miss weekends at home just hanging out.  When Monday quickly surfaces, it’s tough to face a new work week after spending a weekend away.  We sacrifice the productivity of getting stuff done around the house and we feel like we had too little rest and relaxation.  Travel sports are also expensive!  I think we probably bought a small car this year between our two kids and their sporting equipment, club fees, and travel expenses.  But rather than go on and on about the negative stuff, I wanted to share a huge positive revelation I had this past weekend about travel sports. (more…)

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How to lift your mood without a prescription

take care of you persc

The right song

For me music is a mood lifter. 

It just takes a minute to set the mood.  Usually when people talk about mood music they are referring to setting the mood for an elegant dinner party or an evening of romance.  But, mood music is so much more than just dinner and ‘dessert’.

The right song can shake lack of confidence, put some sparkle in a ho-hum routine, shine light in the remains of a tough day, ignite a happy memory and remind me what I have to be thankful for. (more…)

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I’m positive that attitude changes everything!

eveydaymoments

Your attitude is a choice

Once, when I was going through a difficult time and didn’t know what direction life would take me, I was told by an acquaintance who had been through a similar rough patch that if you worry and then suffer, you suffer twice. But, if you don’t worry (and just believe) and still suffer in some way, you would only suffer once.

Newspaper columnist Erma Bombeck gave similar advice about worrying:

As a person who often measures value based on productivity and how many to-do items I cross off my list and as person who would like to suffer once and ideally not suffer at all, the act of worrying just isn’t for me. Rather, I choose to believe that there is a lesson to be learned or a bigger plan to be followed.  I choose to be positive. (more…)

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Who knew I would marry my prom date!?!

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19 lessons learned in our 19 years of marriage

You may have missed this random fact that I have shared on my About page:  I married my 1989 prom date.  By choice – not necessity.  Jason and I started dating in my senior year of high school, he was a junior.  Our first date we dined at the Real Mandarin House (I’d hate to see what the fake restaurant looked like since years later rumor was the real one was shut down for serving up felines!).  After Chinese, we went to see a Tom Hanks bomb film called The Burbs.  We went to prom that spring.  I was in a Laura Ashley phase and picked out the fabric and pattern that my sister Susie handmade and Jason’s tux was gray but looked lilac in the pictures.  Enjoy this 80’s prom throwback! 

We dated long distance for several years…on and off.  I started at Penn State that summer and he finished his last year of high school and went to University of Alabama.  We were married on April 27, 1996 – 19 years ago!  The past few years, our pace of life has significantly picked up as our responsibilities to help care for our parents was added to our already full plates.  Our kids also have active lives which has resulted in a jammed packed family calendar. Our days often feel like we are on a moving treadmill that never stops until we crash into the pillows at night.  I know I’m guilty of getting caught up in the day to day routine and sometimes forgetting what’s truly important.  This post is part of my anniversary gift to my husband.  After all, he’s a guy and we all know what he really wants.  It’s been fun to pause for a few moments and reflect on our relationship and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts, learnings, and insights after being married to Jason for the past 19 years.

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The lessons and learnings

1.      It turns out that I can still sleep well even when my bed isn’t made before I get in it and that toilet paper still functions even when it’s resting on top of the previous empty cardboard roll. Sense of humor is vital to our marriage.

2.      Traveling as a couple or a family is so much fun but I appreciate how lucky I am to be so happy to return home after any trip.

3.      Sometimes Jason is right and I’m wrong and that’s ok.  Shadow has been a sweet addition to our family home and is a visual example of unconditional love and an example of how father may know best.

4.      We are powerful duo when we work together in small projects and big life changes.  We are actually better at working together on huge life changing problems than the pesky annoying little ones.

5.      I’ve got the best built in accountability partner when it comes to health and fitness.  I stand up straighter with confidence knowing that he always has my back.  But I hate that he has a better metabolism!

6.      Jewish people can like commercialized Christmas more than Christians.  Marrying a Jewish man has perks like I always get to decide what we are going to do for Christmas and Easter.

7.      If I want to be in the know about his life, I have to pay attention to his phone conversations or ask very specific questions about his day.  Communication is a skill that will never be perfected.

8.      Romance is something you always have to work at but cheesy books like 50 Shades of Gray can help.  Men truly get sexier with age.

9.      Trigger words like ‘always’ and ‘never’ are called trigger words for a reason.

10.  Love is not just a gift to be received it has to be given as well.  Love is reciprocal.  When I make deposits in our romance bank, I get nice dividends.

11.  For me to be a great wife, I first need to be happy with myself.  Jason doesn’t complete me…he enriches and compliments me!

12.  It’s silly to expect him to read my mind and notice when I need help instead of asking for it.

13.  Sealing the deal before and after a girl’s trip away makes it easier for him to let me go off on my own.

14.  Positive reinforcement of behavior works on husbands, too!  Have you read my Choreplay post?!

15.  Marriage is the ultimate commitment and promise and I’m thankful that he continues to choose this ‘package’.

16.  The small unexpected fun moments can mean more than the huge expected ones.

17.  That we both can alternate being the teacher and the student.  Neither of us will ever be done learning new things about each other.

18.  We both need to be involved in the finances to keep ourselves in check.

19.  There is no place like home. I’m proud of the life we have built and continue to build and there is certainly no place that I’d rather be.

What lessons are you learning in your marriage?  How do you prioritize your relationship with your spouse?  Share what works for you in the comments below.

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Sharing memories with ‘the besties’, a werewolf, and a few vampires

A few weeks back, my 15 year old daughter got wind of the official Vampire Diaries convention in downtown Atlanta and just had to go AND wanted to gift the experience to her bestie as a birthday gift.  She convinced me it would be fun and that I’d enjoy the convention as well since I have watched all the V.D. seasons and the last few with her…it’s been ‘our show’.  Once I committed to the tickets online and digested the price tag for the general admission one-day pass and a photo op with Stefan and Jeremy’s characters, I really just had to get used to the idea that I was donating one of my full weekend days for the good of two excited girlfriends. (more…)

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My brother’s best friends are Hooters girls

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I have an older brother (brother #2 out of 3) who is developmentally disabled.  Today is his 52nd birthday and to celebrate he wanted the family to come to his regular hangout – Hooter’s.  When we moved my mom to assisted living last August, brother #2 moved in with brother #3.  Brother #2 enjoys playing Bingo, watching Netflix, and frequents Hooter’s several times a week.  He’s like their Norm from Cheers.

 

My mother is still recovering from a virus, my oldest brother was traveling for work and my daughter had volleyball practice so it ended up being me, my husband, my soon to be 13 year old son, and brother #2.  We had no idea on what to expect. (more…)

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