- Sleep in - Ok well if you are a parent this may not be possible. But this morning Mike gave me a few extra minutes while he got up with the puppy. Thanks honey!
- Have a good breakfast - preferably before you are shaking with hunger. I had eggs and a raisin english muffin.
- Take a hot shower - This makes every day special.
- Eat Chocolate - I have nothing to add to this one.
- Listen to Music - every day. Pandora, I love you.
- Treat yourself to something you normally wouldn't - I finally upgraded my membership on weebly (my blog's host) - now I can get more information on how people are finding me AND you can do a "Search" on Together Walking - try it out! (You can see the search bar at the top of the page.) I've wanted to do this for a while, but couldn't justify the money. Still not sure if it was justified, but it felt good!
- Read something thought provoking. Here are two for ya that I read today: The day I left my son in the car and Accepting "Mommy Wars" as Complex
- But make time to rest and/or meditate too:
- Let Go of Expectations (low to no expectations is best!) I believe this is something that trips most of us up. We have high expectations for "special" days, so when they don't live up to them we feel let down. It's usually pretty easy for me to have low expectations - for example, I kept forgetting my birthday was this week. :-P
- Then Make a Plan - But if you want something to be special about your day, you make it special! Don't wait for someone else to do something for you. I decided to invite our friends over - my friend's baby shares a birthday with me. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than to share her First birthday with her!
- But keep it simple - I am a stay-at-home-schoolin' mama. We have no family in the area. Most of my friends are crazy busy too. Also, we were tired today because Marisol had a sleep over at a friend's this week and we were all recovering from two days of hard-core playing (I know, our lives are rough!) So most of our day was spent home. Doing normal things - like eating, watching TV, coloring, etc.
- See the Magical in the Mundane - Again, referring to our little friend's birthday - there is something so magical about a baby and their first birthday. Especially since they really don't have a clue about what is going on. They are purely in the moment and it is a great reminder to us to try and do the same. Strawberries - awesome! New toy - super-awesome! Nap time? Yes, please!
- Wear clothes you love - Peace sign t-shirt anyone? (See my photos)
- Spend time with Loved ones - Got this one covered! Like, every day.
- Eat a hot meal - I actually had two today! Leftover chicken and brussel sprouts for lunch and Mike made yummy (gluten-free) pasta and meatballs with garlic bread for dinner. (Carrot cake for dessert - yum! And no, that was not gluten free. Let's not get too crazy.)
- Love more - Yep.
- Clean less - The kitchen was a mess by the end of the day. I was too busy getting my cuddles to clean.
- Connect with your Kids - Hugs, play, feeding them, stop and connect when you don't feel like it, but it's what you both need.
- Be The Flow - Because even on special, and super-fun days there will be rough moments. Times when you or your loved ones are tired or hungry or just plain grumpy. So the less you fight it and the more you get into the flow the faster you will all get back on your happy-track. Stop whatever you are doing and breathe. Become one with the waves and ride it out.
- Enjoy the weather - No matter what it decides to do. The day started out cool and gray here and it had rained last night. I enjoyed the fresh morning air. I thought it was going to be rainy today - but SURPRISE! - It turned into a beautiful, sunny, warm day - complete with big, puffy white clouds. I guess the weather wanted to make things easy on me today.
- Cuddle - Think it's pretty obvious that this one was covered today.
- Get outside - Thanks to our puppy Yoshi this happens every day now!
- Do something you love that you haven't in a while (Like write a blog post ;-)
- Give and Receive - because they are both worthwhile and life affirming.
- Accept gifts and people as they are - My husband is so sweet. He made sure to have dinner planned and cooked and bought a cake for dessert. (I also knew that he was buying me some new shorts.) He wanted me to tell him what kind of cake to get - I said, "Surprise us." (me, I mean! Surprise me!) He was all, "But I don't like surprises!" And I was all, "Well, I do!" Now, I know I just said that you should accept people how they are, but I think that this little "surprise" that I forced him into was an acceptable level of comfort-pushing (especially since we had ALREADY DISCUSSED CARROT CAKE!) However, I do not expect a grand surprise Birthday party, or babysitter and dinner (haha!) or for him to sweep me away. I know that's not him. So I love what he does give me.
- Look back and remember - Marisol and I went looking for pictures of her playing with the basketball hoop pictured above. I found this video. We also looked through lots of other cute pictures and videos. So much fun!
- But realize all we have is NOW - I'm really good at reminiscing and looking forward to fun things... but living in the present is HARD. But if I MAKE myself slow down, breathe, look into my kids' eyes and really listen, feel the sun and breeze on my skin, then I really begin to appreciate the only thing that is real - RIGHT NOW.
- Ask for what you want - Don't leave people wondering or guessing. If you want something, let people know! Do you want a visit, a t-shirt, an armband for your iPhone for when you walk the dog? You know the old saying, "Ask and you shall receive!"
- Make lists (like this one ;-)
- Then do something on your list - Marisol and I made a couple lists of things to do when we are bored. We have more lists to make too. One thing listed that you can't see here (because it's on the back) is "Create" - Marisol created this welcome-pulley invention after we made our lists.
- Create - Cook, write, sing, draw, paint, build... Create!
- Love Yourself, even - no ESPECIALLY - when you can't do (at least not right now) the things you know are good for you. You know, like forgive people, or let go of things, or accept things as they are. Work on loving yourself first - even with all of your flaws.
- Feel all your feelings - try not to label them "good" or "bad". Sometimes despite our best intentions we *do* have expectations and Life doesn't live up to them. Rather than fight the feelings, let them flow through you. They will pass.
- Stay hydrated - I got thirsty writing this. I needed another point to make 36. Drinking water is important. There ya go.
- Don't COUNT your blessings (aka Comparing never leads to happiness!) - What I mean by this is don't actually "count" what you get (you know like Dudley counting his gifts in Harry Potter). How many people wish you Happy Birthday on Facebook? Who called? Who texted? Who gave you money or gifts and who didn't? It's all just a manner of comparing and comparing is a death sentence for peace, happiness, and contentment.
- Instead, Be Grateful - for things great and small - For another day, for fresh air, for fluffy puppies, for children's laughter, for a supportive partner, for love and well wishes expressed, for change and comfort, for a good night's sleep.
So there you have it! 36 ways to make ANY day brighter. And yes, I actually did all of these today! I could have looked at today as just another hum-drum day in my life with a few gifts and cake (and FB birthday wishes!) thrown in. But a little change in perspective can make ANY day into a magical day.
And here is a bonus for you. #37 = Laugh. At yourself when you are silly or foolish, with your kids when they are being their funny selves, with your friend when she calls and says "Happy 29th Birthday!" (Forever 29 - yeah! Because our "age" is really just a number but says very little about us or our lives.) Laughter keeps us young at heart and brightens even the darkest days.
I hope you enjoyed my Birthday Post! If you want to give me a present, I would love any comments or if you'd share any of your favorite posts that would be awesome (and remember - you can search for them now! Just type in a key word up above - because I really stink at keeping up with tagging my posts so a lot aren't listed under the appropriate topics - and you'll be able to find it.)
And now I must call it quits and head to bed. Thanks for reading. :-)