#100HappyDays: Days 81-90

I’m so close to the end of my happy days challenge. It’s kind of freaking me out. My days are flying by so quickly this fall. Once again, I am grateful for the opportunity to stop, even for a few seconds, to mark the small moments.

#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.

81Day 81. New artwork hanging in the upstairs hallway. #myboys

82Day 82: I missed this live this weekend, but I’m so glad Connor has such a good buddy on his corner.

83Day 83: This man. That is all.

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Day 84: Fall sports season. Flag football on one field, soccer on the other. All boys playing.

85Day 85: Always a happy day when the finished magazine arrives on my desk. #Blueprint

86Day 86: Matt had such a great day with his best buddy Angel at the zoo.

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Day 87: A repost from my mom. A few hours of food, tea, Scrabble and old photo albums. Just what I needed on a rainy Saturday.

88Day 88: it’s been a while since the 5 of us were able to sit down to eat together. #grateful

89Day 89: Rocking it old school. At Smeltekop Music for trombone repair. The place hasn’t changed in 20+ years. — at Smeltekop Musical Instrument Repair.

90Day 90: #tbt Proof that my mother has always found vacuuming, not just enjoyable, but maybe even glamorous.

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

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#100HappyDays: Days 71-80

Another installement of my happy days. These 10 days actually reflect a crazy, chaotic, up and down week in my life so I’m thrilled to still have recogzined a moment of happiness each day.

#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.

71Day 71: that’s his face when he contributes to the win with an RBI double — at Baseball Alley.

72Day 72: Still as handsome as ever, just with braces.

73Day 73: at the Berwyn Oktoberfest awaiting #16candles #whyberwyn #myboys

74Day 74: 20 years ago I directed these amazing actresses, and beautiful women, in Mill Fire — still one of the best experiences of my life. So thrilled to reunite tonight.

75Day 75: Pat took the boys to Wrigley for the Cubs vs. Dodgers game. Happy boys. Happy mom.

76Day 76: Pre- bed quiet time with Book 12 of Ranger’s Apprentice. #amreading

 

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Day 77: Nothing better than watching father help son as he learns about music. #band

78Day 78: At Antico Posto, celebrating with my love.

79Day 79: I loved having Pat and his friends as Naz shadows today. I can’t believe the next school day he spends there will be as a freshman!

80Day 80: Class of 1989. 25th high school reunion. Wow — what a night this turned out to be.

 

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

#100HappyDays: Days 61-70

I already feel like I am drawing to the end of my #100HappyDays Challenge. It hasn’t really been a challenge at all as I am now in the habit of stopping to capture a moment of happiness, which is the ultimate challenge. I am truly, consciously, intentionally aware of happiness and I am very thankful.

#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.

61Day 61: Watching these two boys cheer on the @nazarethlgp Roadrunners! It’s so great to be able to take them to work with me and get them excited about high school. #GoNaz — at Nazareth Academy.

62Day 62: Sunday evening on the deck with the perfect combo — beer, pretzels & book. Such a great way to spend an hour. #amreading — at Bistro 3513.

63Day 63: Posted by Random House today, this one made me smile.  #booklove #booknerd

64Day 64: boys, books and baseball. One of my favorite combinations. #fallball #amreading— at Baseball Alley.

65Day 65: Cooler weather is fine by us. Boys are still in the yard for some sunset sports. I love this time of year.#brothers #family — at Bistro 3513.

66Day 66: My day started with a beautiful card from a friend. Feeling so lucky & blessed to have her in my life.

67Day 67: A lovely long lunch with my mom and Jane. We toasted my dad and talked & talked & talked. — with Jane St Pierre Murguia and Karen Skinner.

68Day 68: Buona means good. Sunday lunch with my guys at one of our favorite spots. — at Buona Beef.

69Day 69: Some days it’s the smallest thing. By luck of the draw, I get a  parking spot until the end of October.

70Day 70: The saxophone has arrived. Matty has joined the band. — at Bistro 3513.

How about you? How do you practice gratitude?

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

#100HappyDays: Days 51-60

I can’t believe how quickly the past 10 happy days have flown by. Now that I am into the second half of this challenge, I’ve found it’s become a part of my daily routine. I am truly, consciously, intentionally aware of happiness and I am very thankful.

#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.

51Day 51: Fall baseball, game 1 for Patrick. Playing on the big field. That’s him up to bat for the first time. I’m behind the iPhone with a lump in my throat. Where did the time go? — at Baseball Alley.

52Day 52: Admiring the sculpture outside the Berwyn Library with Connor. I was just going to take a pic of the sculpture but Connor insisted on getting it. It’s way better this way. #reading #booklove #publicart

53Day 53: out to dinner at Paisan’s Pizza. Ordered the sampler platter in honor of Aunt Therese. A bit of an inside family joke, but that’s OK.

54Day 54: Out to lunch at Lalo’s with great women and great margaritas. What could be better? Maybe the fact that one friend I’ve had for 20 years and one was brand new.

55Day 55: Pat & I celebrating the long-awaited marriage of our friends Tim & Tom. One of the most heartfelt and meaningful ceremonies I’ve ever witnessed. #love —  at St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church in Chicago.

56Day 56: Final tomato harvest + good Italian bread. Simply add butter, kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Thanks for breakfast Pat.

 

57Day 57:  A quiet living room and a free hour to read. What a delightful surprise. #amreading

58Day 58: The time a high school student baked cupcakes for our entire floor. Yum. I never fail to be impressed by the generosity of the students at my alma mater.
59Day 59: #tbt stolen from my mom. I want to focus on the cake (which was awesome) and the wallpaper (which still gives me nightmares) but I’m too freaked out about seeing Matty’s face so clearly in this pic.
60Day 60: I know it’s another throwback, but I forgot I had almost the whole Murguia clan in this photo from my wedding. #family

 

 

 

How about you? How do you practice gratitude?

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

Far From Normal – Living My Dream

Many of us think of our lives as boringly normal, while others live the high life. Take a step back, and take a look at your life as an outsider might.

Basically, today’s Daily Prompt asks, “What is normal?” I am a happily married, mother of three. I work full-time, read voraciously and write a blog on the side. I struggle with my weight, love to watch sports, consider my husband and my mom my best friends and spend countless hours each week loading and unloading the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer. I feel pretty normal.

We’ll just throw the idea of the “high life” right out the window. I haven’t been on an airplane in almost 10 years. I’ve driven the same car for 8. Watching celebrities and the super-rich is a source of entertainment for me, mostly in the way it’s hard not to look a car crash as you drive by.

But I’ll try, in the interest of the prompt, to look at my life as an outsider. Here’s what an outside might not see. I am living my dream life. Let me be clear. I draw a difference between the life I’ve always dreamed of and the occasional fantasy life I created. In that one, my Broadway career turns into an Academy Award acceptance speech and Hugh Jackman falls in love with me. (See? Even my fantasies are perfectly normal.)

So how can my ordinary reality be a dream life? It’s quite simple. I grew up wanting to build a solid, happy family. That’s really all. picture in your mind

Maybe it was the books I read. Trixie Belden’s family was just so good! Maybe it was growing up surrounded by parents, aunts & uncles and grandparent who all divorced. Or maybe I’m just a romantic girl who wants forever to be my reality.

So, luckily, I found a man who wanted the same thing. I don’t think our marriage is hard work or full of sacrifices. We are partners who sometimes need to compromise and sometimes get on each other’s nerves, but my husband makes me happy. I don’t want to be anywhere else. Our marriage has officially outlasted my parent’s marriage, which seems a little unbelievable to me.

marry a manWe have three sons, who do require hard work and sacrifices. This is my normal. Yes, I live in a male-dominated household. You know what that means? I am the undisputed queen.

I read (by modern standards) an abnormally high number of books. Again, living my dream. My mom would assure you that devouring books is a lifelong habit. It’s a quiet habit to be sure, but reading has opened my life to an incredible array of voices and new friendships. I wouldn’t trade my hobby for anyone else’s.

All of this boils down to what I think outsiders might find abnormal. I’m content. I see women of my generation looking around the corner for the next opportunity, for the life they’re “supposed to be” living, for the perfect balance, for more. I have what I want.

I am living my dream.want

Monday Quote: Happy Anniversary

“A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year.”  ― Paul Sweeney

I love this quote for all the ways it describes marriage. Today is my thirteenth wedding anniversary and I am every bit as “in love” as I was on that beautiful November day in 1999, but I am also much wiser.

Don’t get me wrong. I knew I was a lucky woman that day. I had found a man who would love, honor and protect. (Plus, he’s smart, funny and handsome to boot.) But I could not have known the “tolerance” and “tenacity” parts of marriage. Life to that point had been pretty easy. We were responsible to no one but ourselves. We both had both our parents and even grandparents. Financially comfortable (even carefree), we liked our jobs. “Love, trust and partnership” seemed like more than enough.

For many years, they were. But other years, we’ve held firmly to tolerance and tenacity. This has been one of those years. My father’s illness and death, my new job, the two ‘tweens in our house – the world of our marriage has not been all flowers and rainbows this year. As I ricochet from one stress point to another, I am grateful for tolerance, for good humor, for patience, and, frankly, for the delicious hot meals on which I can depend each evening.

I recognize that we are among the lucky ones, even in the face of life’s challenges. With a tenacity that startles some people, we have each other’s backs. We are in this life together with deep love, unshakable trust, true partnership, a lot of tolerance and fierce tenacity. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy anniversary to my “forever and ever.”

Monday Quote: Marriage

I ask you to pass through life at my side—to be my second self, and best earthly companion.”
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Perhaps I should have chosen a quote about labor to celebrate the holiday today, but I have marriage on my mind. My beautiful niece Sara married her best friend Mike this weekend and love is still in the air.

Sara is the first “grandchild” to get married. I found my position as “aunt of the bride” a little hard to grasp since I remember vividly the baby shower some friends and I held for her mom. How could it be that the girl who was just a child at my own wedding could be the stunning woman in white walking confidently down the aisle?

But in the blink of an eye, I saw her journey from child to teenager to the amazing woman I am proud to call my friend. We can talk fashion or food or family or books, making time spent with her a real pleasure.

So, back to love and marriage. Sara and Mike, while young, are not naïve. In their years together, they have faced trials and traumas many mature marriages have not. Father Rich used the analogy of a metal that does not gain its strength until forged by fire. I keep going back to that image.

I have seen relationships fall apart in the face of heat, but the best couples bond together. I’ve always known that Mike adores Sara – it’s evident in the way he looks at her, enough to melt your heart. But now I know – I’ve witnessed – the way they hold each other up. It was with complete confidence that I stood with the rest of the guests to offer my blessing and full support of their marriage.

Of course I hope that their life together is smooth sailing, but I know better. I know we can never predict the challenges we’ll face. I am thankful every day for my husband who walks by my side as my best earthly companion.

I don’t have any pics of the bride and groom to share, but I do have a few shots from the evening.

 

My best earthly companion

Me and mine all dressed up.

a beautiful wedding.