Do we need to mess with formality of an intro to this blog post? I'm about to tell you some of the things that are making me happy lately! And you're going to nod and laugh and reflect on the things that are making you happy right now and tell me about them!
1. Purging. Lately I've been wanting - even more than usual - to purge and clean and get organized. I was able to do this to some extent around the house over the past months, but now I've gotten started at work and it's the best thing ever! God knows how many important documents I've shredded, but OMG desk space!
2. Ignoring Things. Did you know that if someone says something that grinds your gears you can actually just ignore it altogether? I've been exercising this right in recent weeks and I'm all the happier for it.
3. Trip Planning. Now that Jax has arrived and we've got a wonderful and successful Las Vegas trip behind us, Jeff and I are starting to plan for our Honeymoon Round 2. I feel like it can really happen this time. We'll be avoiding hurricane season.
4. LUSH. Do you ever go to Lush? You know, the colorful and smelly-good place at most malls in large metropolitan areas where you're chased around by a perky and pierced salesperson who begs to wash your hands? I super love Lush products, but I rarely ever treat myself to them. In Vegas, I had won $50 on the Britney Spears slot machine (side note: Hit Me Baby One More Time is an effective slot machine song) and allowed myself FOUR smellygood purchases! I've really been loving the Citrus-y Sandstone soap that exfoliates - well, it scrubs the crap out of my skin, tbh. It takes off at least seven layers. Plus then I smell good.
5. People Caring About my Sleep. All of the sudden, everyone is enormously concerned about how much sleep I'm getting. Nobody has ever really seemed to care before. I guess we all just assume that everyone else sleeps at night. Now people inquire about if I'm getting any sleep at all. It's so sweet that people care. The answer: No, I'm not getting as much sleep as I'd like. You wanna take the overnight shift tonight? We can combat these dark circles under my eyes together!
6. Donors. My first week back at work, we had some wonderful folks bring in a very meaningful gift, and you could just tell how happy it made them to provide this gift. If you ever lose your faith in humanity, work in fundraising. Donors are amazing. Then, when you're asked to help with a golf outing, turn in your two weeks.
7. Baby Smiles! Jax is starting to smile and be super cute when he's not sleeping or eating or farting or fussing. I'd wake up at 3 am for that any day.
Happy Friday! I’m back into the swing of things at work and also trying to get all of my steps in, keep the house clean, and take care of 4 kids so my reading has taken a bit of a hit. But that’s okay! Real life comes first. Plus, the whole house-cleaning thing is going to get old pretty fast so soon enough I’ll just prop myself up on the unfolded laundry with my dust-bunny pets and get lost in the latest best-seller!
I did finish two books this week!
A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
I wasn’t sure exactly how I felt about this book until I read the last word on the last page and closed the book, started tearing up, and just wanted to roll around on the floor for a while. It punched me in the gut in a wonderful way. How on Earth is this author only in her twenties? Please read this book about a Muslim family living in America in present day, with flashbacks to 2001ish which is really mostly about sibling relationships and a stormy and conflicted father-son relationship. It’s sorta hefty, and felt like it took me a million years to finish it, but I was just right there in the center of this book every time I picked it up, despite that being during lunch hours, in drive-thrus or for a few minutes before bed. Beautifully written. Sometimes sad but not depressing.
Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin
I’m not wild about Gretchen Rubin. I read the book that launched all of her ships, The Happiness Project, and I remember being super annoyed with her then. I ordered Happier at Home because it was cheap on the Kindle, I’ve been pretty home-focused lately, AND I thought maybe I was just being a jerk about Ms. Rubin. Maybe I’m a more tolerant person now than when I read Happiness Project?
I did really enjoy many aspects of this book. I loved several of her recommendations, jotted down some notes for myself, started following her on Twitter, etc. But I still don’t like the author and I need to remember not to read any of her other books. The deal is – she takes herself super seriously, psycho-analyzes EVERYTHING, goes on rants for pages and pages about some aspect of happiness, and is super self-congratulatory. She describes a moment on the subway where a water bottle is rolling around and she everyone is super annoyed by it and she thinks, “If only someone would pick that up!” Then she realizes that SHE could be that person! So she picked it up, etc, etc, what an epiphany, simple things like this contribute to happiness, etc, etc, OMG is this book almost finished.
Still! There are so many great takeaways if you can figure out how to skim through the pages of BS. If you are good at such things and are interested in reading about some fun and practical ideas of how to inject a little more joy into your life (beyond picking up litter), then I would definitely recommend. Otherwise, grab some coffee and take a walk and become happier all by yourself.
Upcoming Reading Plans: I JUST started the book club book and we meet in two days. Can I finish it in time? Do I attend book club if I haven't finished it? I'll keep you posted!
Jeff and I recently took a trip to Las Vegas, and believe it or not - not much reading was done! But, I have finished a few diverse and interesting books in the last couple of weeks:
Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker
This book will make you want to drink lots of wine, namely expensive and/or obscure wine. This created a bit of a problem for me, as right now my resources allow for a Dark Horse Cabernet on a Friday night (or perhaps an especially tough Tuesday). But - Christmas is coming up, so I may have to refer back to Cork Dork and add a few bottles to the wish list.
As I was reading, I saw some similarities to a book I recently read with my book club, Moonwalking with Einstein, in the sense that the author was like, I'm going to become amazing at this relatively random thing and then they were awesome (I guess that many other would-be authors decide that they were going to try something and then failed and thus did not write the book.)
Similar to Einstein, the author met a lot of fun and crazy people on her path to becoming a sommelier. She also drank tons of wine. I'm jealous. I'm really wanting the kind of experience with wine that she's now had - something other than "that's good wine" - something that is just AMAZING. Have you ever had this, and if so - what was the wine? I want some!
I recommend this, although non-wine drinkers may find some of the detail tedious.
The Cranes Dance by Meg Howrey
Trippy book! I was almost finished when I realized a fun trick that the author was playing. I won't disclose it here, but I will say that you get to know Kate Crane so well that you will have a complex relationship with this character and it becomes like a real life relationship you might have with someone who self-medicates with dangerous substances.
Grab this book about two ballerina sisters who deal with sisterhood, success, jealousy and stress while trying not to lose their minds. It's dark and hilarious and kinda creepy.
Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies by J.B. West and Mary Lynn Kotz
This is the best book I've read in a while. I absolutely loved it! The other day I started telling my mom about it and she stopped me and shared that she read it before I was born (and loved it too!).
I'm not a history buff, and I'm not especially interested in politicians, but what J.B. West chose to share and how he presented this information was just incredible. I stayed up an extra half hour with Jax one night because I couldn't stop reading. I feel like I now have some weird close relationship with the Presidents and First Ladies of Roosevelt through Nixon.
This was also a great book to read right before going back to work, as it was full of examples of someone just kicking major butt at their job. J.B. West pulled out all the stops for the First Families, and had such an impressive career. It was very much like the gratifying feeling we have during the portion of The Devil Wears Prada where Anne Hathaway becomes a superhuman employee, except West never sucked and he was always impressively dressed.
Feel Free - Zadie Smith (abandoned at 8%)
I'm interested in the opinions of others. I'm interested in the political and moral opinions of others, no matter where they stand on issues. But I decided to abandon this one because I wasn't really following her rants and - especially in regards to stuff happening in other countries like Brexit - I haven't read up enough on the issues for her opinions to make much sense to me. I can log on to social media any old time to read various political opinions and arguments. I only have so much time to read and right now, this doesn't appeal to me. I have another of her books, On Beauty, that I might take a stab at in the future.
Today I emerge from my six weeks of maternity leave to jump back into the fundraising game, complete with meetings, coffees, working lunches, trainings, and telling people that I'm sorry but Mammography is located next door.
But before I completely move on, I want to take a moment to reflect how I spent my leave and share it with you, as though you care about how I spend my time.
So- a listicle! How I spent my maternity leave:
- Kissing baby cheeks
- In the ER with Vivian (twice)
- Washing out bottles
- Polishing off 12 books
- In the hospital with Vivian for a couple of days while she had an epic cleanse
- Thus, changing lots of big girl diapers
- Changing lots of baby boy diapers
- In Las Vegas with Jeff, eating and drinking and shopping and gambling and having a blast with our snoozing six week old in tow
- Visiting with family and friends and eating the delicious food they brought me.
- Wiping spit-up off of Jaxon's chin, out of his nose, off of my shoulder, off of his onesie, out of my hair
- Watching My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding with Veronica (which was so much fun, amazingly)
- Making lots of to-do lists, so I felt like I had accomplished something each day (which did help me get a lot done and keep the house relatively clean, but took away from cheek-kissing time)
- Dishes. Dishes. Dishes. Dishes. Dishes. Laundry. Laundry. Laundry. Laundry.
- Sleeping in. Feeding Jax. Feeding Vivian. Changing Jax. Changing Vivian. Feeding myself. Showering. Marveling that it was lunchtime and time to feed everyone all over again.
- Baking every dessert ever.
- Thus, dishes.
- Kissing baby cheeks
It was a great time and although I'm ready to get back to reality, I treasured the time I was able to take to enjoy the family. Plus, I read some great books! Stay tuned for a post tomorrow with reviews.
Mom of four, wife of one. By day I fund-raise with coffee, by night I read with wine and chocolate.