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In Search of the Wagon

Hey, lovelies.

Happy new year!

It feels weird, but REALLY good, to be writing this, after falling off that wagon three weeks ago and then skulking around the wagon trail pretending I might get back on at any moment but knowing in my heart that I’d never make it up into the jockey box with a heavy rucksack weighing me down.

The rucksack, if you haven’t guessed already, is “100 Happy Days.”

I love the idea of sharing images of the things – usually simple and ordinary – that give you a smile or a thrill in a day. I have loved seeing the things that my friends have posted as their photos for 100 Happy Days. But as of this writing, the last happy day I ostensibly had was Day 39, twenty-four days ago.

Which is part of why it’s taken me so long to get typing. It’s kinda embarrassing. I never would have pictured myself as someone who couldn’t hack one happy picture per day for three months… One of those quitters they talk about on the 100 Happy Days website who just can’t find the time to log my happiness.

Though, to be honest, the attitude on that website bugs me. The idea that the people who didn’t complete the challenge “didn’t have time to be happy” is inappropriately smug, and also, I suspect, bullsh*t.

It wasn’t true in my case. I have always been a person who deliberately savours things and moments and images. Sometimes you want to take a picture, and sometimes you want to just enjoy. Sometimes you’re smiling because of words or fragrances or endorphins that are not photographable. And sometimes you look at the curve of your child’s cheek and know you could take a thousand pictures and still never capture the bliss of it.

A few things I realized while NOT blogging:

  • An early setback really takes the wind out of the sails. I mean, duh, of course it does. But the thing about me is, the longer I work at something, the more stubborn I get about finishing. If I could have used my initial momentum to get the first thirty days legitimately done, then I would probably have kicked into stubborn mode and made it a lot further. But with my technical difficulties early on, and being behind before I really got started, the momentum and inspiration just ebbed away. Sigh.
  • It’s confirmed: I don’t blog to post. I blog to write. If I’m not carefully selecting and kneading and relishing the words, at least to some extent, then I’m not invested. While I love seeing other bloggers’ photos and photo-based posts, posting photos myself does not motivate me. (Clearly.)
  • Those seemingly simple photo posts took up just enough time each day that I never felt I could spare more for the wordier posts I wanted to write.
  • All those pent-up words I wasn’t writing were getting very antsy in my brain.
  • The longer I spent not writing or posting at all, the more upsetting it was to remind myself of my neglected blog. Where would I even start, after disappointing myself so, and subconsciously saying “screw it” to the whole process?

Well, that’s what the New Year is for.

Here’s my plan. For those of you who would like to see the happy photos I continued to take even though I wasn’t posting them, I will back-publish them in chunks. When I have time.

And just to appease the (large, insistent) part of me that hates quitting, I will say that my 100 Happy Days can happen whenever. I will post a happy photo and add it to the list when it makes sense to do so. My 100 days might take all year; so be it.

To you lovely di-hards who nudged me, letting me know you missed my posts, thank you. It means a lot to me that you noticed and cared.

And to you lovely di-hards who noticed and cared but didn’t mention it, thank you also – I appreciate that too. Since the person who nags me the most about this compulsive hobby is actually me.

To sum up: it’s 2015. This year it’s all gonna happen. Time to get over myself, stop being annoyed/guilty/self-critical and be awesome instead.

Want to join me?

Here's my representation of the awesomeness about to start (i.e. Dilovely is messing around with Procreate).
Here’s my representation of the awesomeness about to start (i.e. Dilovely is messing around with Procreate). My next artistic attempt will be greener.

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100 Happy Days – Day 39: Two-Storey Forts

Remember how play forts were the best thing in the world? Even I, a confirmed claustrophobe, loved small private (or semi-private) spaces as a child. Taking out the drawers from the bottom bunk and hanging out under the bed with my older sister Emily, or later on when I changed roommates, walling off the corner bunk with sheets and conducting secret business (of some kind) with my younger sister Beth.

And it’s best if you find or create it yourself. E and AB have an Ikea circus tent that makes a lovely fort, and a big sturdy cardboard box with “windows” for another one, but they scoped out these storage shelves themselves, so they’re automatically a cooler fort. Like a bear cave or a forest nook, self-discovered. Plus: two storeys, below-shelf and above-shelf.

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Doesn’t look comfortable, but who cares?

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100 Happy Days – Day 38: Cozy

My Hubbibi has had his machine line at work shut down over Christmas – four weeks of shutdown, in fact.

This is financially tricky, of course, but there’s something awesome about being able to leave for work knowing your two-year-old is snuggling with her Daddy and a good book. (Going on a Bear Hunt.)

Wearing a Sheriff Woody poncho towel also increases coziness.
Wearing a Sheriff Woody poncho towel also increases coziness.

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100 Happy Days – Day 37: Christmas Tree!

 

 

I wish you could have seen how excited the kids were to decorate our Christmas tree. Especially AB – she kept saying things like, “I’m DECORATING THE TREE!” and “Look at this one! It’s so cool.”

Like last year, we got a pre-cut tree from the local Y, which helps to support their Youth programs. And boy, does it smell like beautiful Christmas.

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Happy.
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Focused little decorator.
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As usual, certain lower branches are more thoroughly laden than others.
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Yay!

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100 Happy Days – Day 35: Pretty Folding

A month or so ago, I read an article from the New York Times called “Kissing Your Socks Goodbye.” It discusses the book – and process – of one Marie Kondo, who helps people de-clutter, re-organize, and make more lovely their homes.

I think I’d like to read her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” but in the meantime I latched onto the roll-folding idea (a space-saver!) and the idea of only having items in your closet that “spark joy.”

I am naturally a pack rat. I always think things will be useful later. (Occasionally, they are.) But I am slowly getting better at being realistic about whether I actually use the things I have, especially in my closet.

I hadn’t planned to re-organize on this day, but somehow I started and then just went with it. I wish I had a “Before” picture – my closet shelf especially tends to be a place of tipping-over piles where T-shirts can get lost for months. Now look!

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It is so easy to find a shirt in this drawer!
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And these piles are totally manageable.

It is always a relief to have organized… but it never lasts as long as it should. Now I’m just hoping that this system will be easier to maintain.

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100 Happy Days – Day 34: Advent Calendars

This year, we are marking the days of advent LIKE A BOSS. Like a whole FAMILY O’ BOSSES.

That is to say, E still has Auntie Beth’s gorgeous creation which we fill day by day with tiny nifty things. (Except for yesterday, when I broke E’s heart by not having it secretly filled by the instant he woke up, and he cried and insisted, “It gets filled at night! Now it’ll never work again!!!” But then, it magically did work, while he was at school.)

Then, Grandma J got the kids each a classic Santa Claus advent calendar with teeny stamped chocolates for each day – because who doesn’t love a teeny chocolate first thing in the morning? Sean gets all nostalgic about his own advent-chocolate exploits of childhood. And AB was pretty screechy-happy when she found out what was behind those windows.

And this year, I finally ordered “traditional” advent calendars for E and AB – the kind with little pictures behind each window, like I had when I was a kid. Because I love-love-loved my own advent calendar and wanted them to have something similar.

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AB got woodland creatures.
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E got the one with the cars (Norman Rockwell).

And then Grammie sent animated virtual advent calendars from (by Jacquie Lawson), and they are very spiffy. Games and puzzles and tree-decorating and pets that follow you around, and new things to explore each day. (My favourite thing so far is the snowflake designing tool, where the six-way symmetry turns whatever you make into a gorgeous snowflake.)

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This is the opening scene of the Edwardian one…
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And this is the Christmas Market one.

To sum up: with this much counting down, there’s no excuse for not being absolutely ready for Christmas this year! Unless the excuse is that we were having too much fun with our advent calendars to do anything else.

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100 Happy Days – Day 33: Pink Snowsuit

This morning after taking E to the bus with me, AB thought she’d visit our neighbour’s driveway. She even ventured all the way to his front steps. I asked if she was going to come inside with me or go live with Steve.

She said nonchalantly, “Yep. I’m gonna go live with Steve.”

After a few minutes, she changed her mind, claiming “Steve is a monster.” (Monsters are on her mind a lot right now, though seemingly not in a very scary way.) I assured her that Steve is actually a nice guy, but she opted to have breakfast with me anyway.

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I love her in this poofy powder-pink snowsuit. She also has a brown coat with leopard-spotted lining, which I have to admit is edgier… but gosh. I like the pink in spite of myself.

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