From Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop:
1.) 10 Things to Smile About (inspired by Things I Can’t Say)
2.) Tell us about a time you wanted to punch someone in the face.
3.) What were you blogging about last year at this time? What has changed?
4.) Share the story behind your current Facebook and/or Twitter profile photo.
5.) Bake something yummy and share the recipe!
5. I've been doing Weight Watchers since the first week of February; I'm down 42.2lbs
And I'm right now I'm afraid to bake (and anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE baking) as I am dangerously close to falling off the wagon
4. Deactivated Facebook account and don't Twitter (or Twerk or Plank or any of those crazy things you kids do nowadays)
3. Last year was all about me turning 40 and now I turned 41....and about Ziggy coming to live with us......he still lives with us
2. Hmm, this one would probably be therapeutic for me right about now but, I'd rather tell you about
1. 10 Things to Smile About (plus I love making lists and this is such a list prompt)
TEN THINGS TO SMILE ABOUT
1. Lucy's new favorite thing to do is make up songs
They've been about the Ziggy and Herbie, about school, her teachers, her day
She's "written songs" about coloring, her friends and last week, she made up a song about being sad but then being happy
When I asked her what made her happy, what turned her being sad around she said quite simply Singing Mumma! As soon as I started singing, I got happy
So she'll be in the back seat and I can hear her humming and sort of singing quietly to herself
And then all of a sudden she'll yell
I finished it Mumma! I finished a new song
And she'll start singing
Sometimes, the words aren't even words; its just jibber jabber set to a melody
Sometimes, she sings a story about her day and what she did
Sometimes, she just takes a song she already knows and changes the words a bit to make it hers
But the best, what really makes me smile, is when Lucy teaches me the words to the song and we sing it together (though I am always getting the words wrong....)
That makes me smile
2. We recently (and by that I mean last weekend) did some redecorating and rearranging of rooms and furniture in our house
Since we moved in, the first floor, the living room, has been not only, well, a living room, but it has also doubled as Lucy's playroom
All her toys, animals, trampoline, little table and easel have been on the first floor since we moved in almost 4 years ago
When you sat in our living room, you may or may not have actually felt like you were at Day Care and at any moment, someone was going to try to give you goldfish crackers and juice as a snack - and then let you finger paint
The TV was in the finished basement, along with, you guessed it, more of Lucy's stuff so we've never really had our own space in this house....and we've been fine with it
But we decided we needed a change
We decided Lucy needed her own space - and more of it
And we decided we needed our own space
So we moved the TV upstairs, got rid of two chairs (heavy old recliners that we loved at the time but were now just too big for our small house....you know what I mean right?), replaced said chairs with smaller, lighter chairs and rearranged all the furniture
We moved all of Lucy's stuff to the basement....well, not quite everything, we've yet to move all her books down .... something she reminds me of every day because Mumma! How can it be my playroom with no books?!?!
I love that our living room now looks clean...airy...not cluttered
I love that Lucy now has a playroom
But what makes me smile?
What makes me really happy about this?
Lucy instituted a password to get into the playroom
And it is the password, the pass phrase, is the second thing that makes me smile (okay the password plus the fact I no longer have to go all the way upstairs to get a snack while watching TV):
The password that makes me smile?
The password I say every time I stand at the top of the stairs to go down (even when Lucy is not with me)?
The password is................
Bing Bong Blueberry Bop
That makes me smile
3. We are talking a vacation together as a family for the first time ever later this month
Let me qualify that: we are taking a vacation for a family as a first time which does not involve some one's wedding, shower, or visiting family
Not that I don't love visiting family, I do
But we have never gone away as a family that has not in some way shape or form involved my family or Sean's family
We have never gone away as just the three of us.....
And we are
Taking our first vacation as a family
That makes me smile
4. Sean quit his job
I know - in these economic times, why in the world would I be happy about that?
But I am happy
I'm happy and it makes me smile because Sean is happy
Because it has been an unbelievably challenging months few months for us
And when you have two people coming home every day with the stresses and strains of work....
It tests not only a marriage but takes a toll on your mental health and well being....
Not to mention the impact on anyone else in the house....
And yes, I mean our daughter and maybe even the cats
There's been a lot of yelling, crying and venting going on of late
But there is an end in sight
And that makes me smile
5. Sean has a new job
This makes me smile even bigger than number 4
Sean has a new job
And its two miles from the house
And if you live in the greater Boston area and have to commute more than 7 miles to work...well, right now you are smiling for Sean too
And you may also be a little jealous
Sean has a new job 2 miles from the house
That makes me smile
6. My youngest sister had her baby
Born at 2:42pm, 8/18
Her name is Morgan Loretta
My youngest sister is a Mum
This makes me smile
When I received the call that the baby had arrived, I shared the news with Lucy:
Lucy! Auntie Mikel had the baby!
She did Mumma?! Oh my word!
Yep, you have a new cousin Lucy!
Mumma....what is it? What is the baby? WHAT IS IT?
It's a girl Lucy....
Silence....she screws her face up
Are they sure Mumma?
Did they check for a penis 'cause I asked God for a a boy cousin
Uhh, the baby is a girl Lucy
Whatever Mumma....what is its name?
They haven't given her a name yet
Oh....'cause they wanted a boy too?
Monday morning, as we were brushing our teeth, Lucy asked me if the baby had a name yet
No honey, no name yet
Mumma! If they haven't given the baby a name yet, maybe they can trade for a boy baby!
Umm, no Lucy, that's not how it works
It might Mumma, they could ask for a boy.....
My youngest sister is a Mum
This makes me smile
7. Lucy moved to a new classroom a couple months ago
She moved up a bit early
Initially, Sean was against it
I was all for it
Lucy needed a change
As much as she loves Miss Barbara (and who doesn't), it was time
For a number of reasons
Not the least of which was she was becoming a target for a couple of the girls in her class who were not impressed with Lucy's choice of clothes - and told Lucy every chance they got (you look like a boy, you can't play with us because you don't look like a Princess, we have play dates and you can't come)
But for me, the best thing about her moving up early has been that she had gotten some undivided attention
When I say that out loud, it seems terribly selfish
And I don't mean it to be selfish....but if I were being honest, yes, I am being selfish
I knew that if she moved up with all the other kids, she would get lost in the shuffle
Through no fault of the teachers mind you
I am certainly not implying that she has ever been ignored or not taken care of well by any of her teachers because believe me when I tell you, these teachers at her school are top notch
Lucy would get lost in the shuffle because she is that kid who people tend to look at and go
Oh, she'll be fine...she's smart, she's independent...she'll be fine
Because Lucy is big for her age and looks older than she really is
Because Lucy is a smart kid and has a vocabulary that is a bit more expansive than most kids her age
Because Lucy is an independent kid who likes to figure things out on her own
And she sort of gets forgotten as other kids and their needs (read their demanding parents) take precedent
Know how I know this?
Because Lucy is me
And I have to tell you, as you get older, that feeling really sucks
You would think it sucks as a kid but it doesn't because you don't really know its happening
But as you get older, and you realize you are being "ignored" because you always have your shit together, it sucks
It sucks because when you do actually need something or someone, no one knows what to do for you because you've never said anything before (which is not entirely true, its just that no one really listened)
So I smile because two wonderful women see in my daughter exactly what her Dad and I see
And these two women appreciate Lucy for who she is and for her potential
And these two women love Lucy enough to give her a bit of a head start
Lucy has Miss Barbara and Miss Julie in her life
This makes me smile
8. Last week, two different people implied I repel people
One actually used the words you repel people
And he was not trying to be mean
He was actually being sincere
I know it sounds like a stretch but its not
He really was trying to make me feel better
He was trying to say that though my intentions are always good, for whatever reason, people don't see that
Instead, they pull away from me and don't want my help or my outstretched hand
Seriously, he was trying to make me feel better
And he actually did (if I were to replay the entire conversation)
The other person was not
That person was simply saying to me there is something about you that turns people off
People just don't like you
And when they see you coming or you offer help, they just think you are bossy and mean and condescending
He went on to say it did not matter how nice I am because, in his opinion, I am typically always nice
Its not like you attack them he said to me
I think they just don't like you because sometimes you come off as smarter than they are
People don't like that
Sunday someday told me I was opinionated
That I had strong views
That what I felt was I felt and what I thought was what I thought and there was no changing that
Now I suppose under normal circumstance, and for normal people, this is not something that would make one smile
But it did make me smile
It actually made me smirk more so then smile
But let's call it a smile
And here's why
Because at least I am honest
At least I know where I stand with people
I smile because at night, when I put my head down on my pillow, I sleep just fine because I lived my day being true to myself
I am true to who I am and what I believe in
I'm not perfect
And I have no problem admitting any of my limits, faults, flaws
And I'm learning to embrace my strengths
I don't smile because I repel people
I don't like to think I repel people
And I don't smile because my very being turns people off
Both make me a bit sad
And I don't smile because someone thinks I have strong opinions and won't budge
I smile because I am who I am....I laugh because there is nothing you can do about it...
No, just kidding
I smile because I know exactly who I am, good, bad or indifferent
I smile because deep down inside, I know who I am...and it has taken me a long time to figure that out
I smile because I am proud of myself for figuring that out
I smile because sometimes I want to change
And I smile because I can change.....
And one can only change if they are comfortable enough with themselves to admit they may need to
I smile because of who I am
9. That last one was pretty heavy huh?
I am in the midst of some serious soul searching and clearly, as a reader, you are going with me
That makes me smile - both the fact that I am soul searching and you're going with me
But let's lighten it up shall we?
Know what else makes me smile?
Soft Serve ice cream in a cone
Wild Flowers along the side of the road
That week in autumn just before all the leaves start to fall off...when the tress look like they are in fire with reds, yellows and oranges so bright that even Crayola can't do it justice
Lucy's Deck Box of flowers she planted
Lucy's art work
Sitting on the back deck or the front stoop just after Lucy has gone to bed - house is quiet, lunches for the next day are made, no laundry needs to be done and I can just sit and watch the night sky or listen to the trees rustle as they settle in for the night
Uncle Ed makes me smile
So does Aunt Nell
And Uncle Michael
A good strong thunder storm
A perfectly balmy day
Sand in my toes...or my toes in sand
Blueberries for Sal
Make Way for Ducklings
Corduroy (the book not the material)
Yellow rain slickers
Kid's laughter - even is if it is not my child...their laughs make me smile...and their squels of delight and wonder
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
Hearing Lucy say her prayers
All these things make me smile
10. Simply stated, I smile because I have Sean and Lucy
Sean and Lucy
Oh how they make me smile
Maria the Mum