#100HappyDays: Days 41-50

Feeling proud and slightly amazed that I’m still going strong in my personal challenge to capture a moment of happiness each day! It’s definitely getting harder with our school/work/sports schedules but I am determined.

#100happydays began as an Instagram exercise in gratitude, a challenge to take a moment to be purposefully thankful for the many happy moments that make up my days.

Because this is an Instagram project, I am limiting myself to something I can photograph. Likewise, I use very few words to describe these images. I read that many people who started this project gave up somewhere in the 20s, so I’m feeling pretty happy that I’m still going strong.

41Day 41: Lunch date with Matthew.  We walked to the burrito stand around the corner and then decided to stay and eat there. I am a lucky mom.

42Day 42: Brothers at rest. Must be a break in the soccer/baseball/basketball game. This is my view from my kitchen window right now.

43Day 43: Because on a crazy, chaotic day I can still count on finding random selfies in my photo stream. What a goofball.

 

44Day 44: Very happy to join my Nazareth Academy colleagues in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. My ice bucket is, of course, dedicated to my father. Video on Facebook.

45Day 45: These two closed the pool last night! They’re finishing summer off in style.

46Day 46: Former co-workers, forever friends. Happy to spend time with my favorite Johnstons, Andy and Graham at their annual garden party. #wjinc 

47Day 47: It’s been a long, hard week, but I get to go home to these gorgeous men.

48Day 48: #Selfie happiness while hanging out @ Oakbrook Mall with my guys on a rainy day. So lucky they’ll still take part in my pics.

49Day 49: Ending the summer the same way we started. Swimming at Berwyn Rec followed by Tastee-Freez swirl cones with my boys.

50Day 50: it came too fast, but reality has officially set in. First day of school – 8th, 7th & 4th.

 

 

 

How about you? How do you practice gratitude?

All the images in this post are my own. Please don’t use them as yours.

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#100HappyDays: Days 31-40

#100happydays began as an Instagram exercise in gratitude, a challenge to take a moment to be purposefully thankful for the many happy moments that make up my days.

Because this is an Instagram project, I am limiting myself to something I can photograph. Likewise, I use very few words to describe these images. I read that many people who started this project gave up somewhere in the 20s, so I’m feeling pretty happy that I’m still going strong.

As summer winds down and the school year begins, I know this challenge will get even more difficult. Busy schedules, less down time will mean I have to dig deep, but I am determined.

31Day 31: Time to play! #hangman Nothing beats game time on the deck.

32Day 32: I really do love #backtoschool shopping. The boys were great sports @target

33Day 33: Despite a gas main break ruining our zoo plans, we’re making the most of my last Friday off. — at La Cabanita.

34Day 34: Hanging out @brookfieldzoo with these guys on a beautiful Saturday morning. Nothing better. — at Brookfield Zoo.

35Day 35: Mini golf yesterday at Navy Pier. Still laughing at the ridiculous fun.

36Day 36: The day almost got away from me, but luckily I have these two smiling faces on my phone. I’m so lucky to be sandwiched between two generations whom I love & who love me. — with Karen Skinner.

37Day 37: Oh happy day that brought my beautiful cousin Lauren to Chicago and to my house for a long overdue visit. Love this young woman! — with Lauren Arnieri.

38Day 38: Because it makes me happy that while I read the biography, my son reads one of the many books inspired by Ripley.

39Day 39: I was too busy enjoying these lovely cocktails with friends to post my happy moment last night, but I was aware of the moment — good friends together to celebrate good news.

 40Day 40: Nothing says happiness like ice cream. TGIF — at Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor.

 

 

 

How about you? How do you practice gratitude?

All the images in this post are my own. Please don’t use them as yours.

Monday Quote – Back to School

The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet. ~Aristotle

Today is back-to-school for my sons, and I swear they are only focused on the “bitter” half of this quote.

  • No more sleeping in.
  • No more wearing pajamas ALL DAY.
  • No more afternoons at the pool.
  • No more endless hours of video games.

I can see where it might seem bitter.

But I think it’s sweet.

  • No more rotating baby-sitters.
  • No more coming home to “Operation Destroy the House.”
  • No more “Mom, there’s nothing to do.”

I have convinced myself (if not them) that deep inside, they’re really looking forward to the start of school. I know I am.

Monday Quote: Are you ready?

“So mom, are you ready for school to start?

Well buddy, yes and no.

I know just what you mean. I’m totally dreading it, but I’m ready for something new.”

–          My 7 year-old son

 

This Monday quote comes courtesy of my youngest son and was part of a priceless conversation we had while lying on the lawn at Millennium Park, listening to Mozart’s “Cosi fan Tutte.” Pretty sweet, right?

His words have stuck with me because they pretty perfectly reflect my feelings, not just about back to school, but new ventures in general. I “dread” change, yet revel in the idea of something “new.”

We’ve had a great summer. Because I went back to working full time last month, my boys have enjoyed seriously lazy mornings. A variety of babysitters have filled their afternoons with pools, parks and field trips. We’ve had family adventures, lots of sports and general good times.

So I dread that ending. Back to schedules and homework and uniforms. And, come on, he’s 7. Of course he dreads school.

But he’s ready for something new? That surprised me. He really gets it. School is not just a return to the old drudgery. It’s a chance for something new. Every school year is a fresh start. Kids are so lucky to get that each and every year.

I need Back-to-School help – a reader challenge/contest

I admit it. I’m a deal shopper.

I have spent many a July Sunday going through sale ads, cutting coupons, seeking penny pencils. I have arrived at a variety of big-box stores bright and early on weekday mornings, avoiding crowds and grabbing deals. I have hunted the elusive 8-pocket divided pocket folder from place to place.

I kind of liked it.

But now I’m a full-time working mom. My habits have to change. I am already predicting the many ways our lives will alter (and fearing the ways I haven’t even thought of.) Here’s what I know.

  • We will have less time to get ready in the mornings.
  • My sons will go to after-care each day, meaning I’ll need to provide additional school snacks.
  • I will no longer be available for, “Mom, I forgot my…”
  • Weekday school supply shopping is not an option.

Since I have three sons with crazy supply lists, less time, and no inclination to fight the evening and weekend crowds, I’ve already been looking for solutions to my school supply challenge. I was so glad when a friend hooked me up with The Write Stuff, a prepackaged school supply company, based right here in Illinois. While my sons’ school doesn’t participate in their school program (Boo-hoo!), I can order almost all of what I need through their website, at a good price and shipped right to my home (hooray!). Since they each have specific items on their lists, building 3 separate “a la carte” kits will just take a little time on the computer.

That’s one challenge down, but what about the rest?

So I turn to you, dear readers. I’m looking for your best back-to-school advice. Please comment on this post with helpful tips for getting and staying organized for the school year.

On Monday, July 16, 2012, I will choose one random winner for a Write Stuff school supply kit, to be shipped in time for this school year. (Tips may also appear on the websites and/or blogs for The Write Stuff as well as Go Girl Communications.)

Thank you friends.

Disclosure: I sometimes receive complimentary products and services in connection to my blog, in this case a school supply kit. I choose to write only about products, destinations and services that I enjoy. All opinions are 100% my own.

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The Write Stuff kit ships in a keepsake box.

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I was surprised at how much fits in that box. Brand name supplies including dry-erase markers and highlighters.