Tuesday, October 30, 2012

10 Simple Things to Make You Happier at Home by Apartment Therapy

I was on pinterest yesterday and linked back to very cool blog, Apartment Therapy. Their mission is: Helping people make their homes more beautiful, organized and healthy by connecting them to a wealth of resources, ideas and community online. I went and viewed some top posts and just loved this one about making you happier at home. Enjoy!

10 Simple Things to Make You Happier at Home by Jackie Ashton
Our homes are an extension of who we are: what we do within the walls of our abodes shapes our mood, affects our productivity, and influences our outlook on life. Scientific studies have shown that we can have an impact on our happiness by adjusting the tiny little habits and routines that constitute our daily lives — we are, in fact, in control of our outlook on life.

It's amazing how a few tweaks to our daily habits can become a catalyst for meaningful, positive change. Here are a few simple things you can do every day to feel happier at home.

1. Make your bed. In a popular post last month, I explained the many benefits of daily bed-making. Gretchen Rubin, New York Times best-selling author of The Happiness Project, explains that this three minute task is one of the simplest habits you can adopt to positively impact your happiness.

2. Bring every room back to "ready." I learned this trick from Marilyn Paul's clever book, It's Hard to Make a Difference When You Can't Find Your Keys. It's a known fact: Clutter causes stress; order creates a haven from it. This mood-boosting routine is simple: Take about three minutes to bring each room back to "ready" before you depart it. (Unless you have a toddler, or a partner who likes to simulate earthquakes, three minutes should be sufficient.)

3. Display sentimental items around your home. One reason that experiences (and memories of those experiences) make us happier than material things is due to the entire cycle of enjoyment that experiences provide: planning the experience, looking forward to the experience, enjoying the experience, and then remembering the experience. Make your home a gallery of positive memories.

4. Start a one-line-a-day gratitude journal. Before bed, simply jot down one happy memory from that day. (If you have kids, you can ask them, "What was the best part of today?") Reflection is an important part of happiness, and pausing to reflect on a positive event from each day cultivates gratitude. (An added bonus: Later, when your memory is defunct, you will already have all of your meaningful adventures recorded!) If you have trouble getting started with journaling, consider buying a book to guide you. Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach, is a great one.

5. If you can't get out of it, get into it. This tip comes from The Happiness Project. I love the message: The dishes are not going to clean themselves, so you will do it, and you will like it! (Unless, of course, you can outsource this job, in which case I say: Nice work!) Otherwise, get into doing the dishes. Feel the soothing warm water on your hands. Enjoy the tickle of the tiny bubbles. Crank your favorite album at an unusually loud volume, do a couple fist-pumps while shouting "Can I get a hell yeah for the dishes? Hell! Yeah!" and pretend you love it.

6. Before you get up each morning, set an intent for the day. In The Art of Happiness, the Dali Lama says ""Every day, think as you wake up: today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it." Wow. What a wise man. I tend to wake up with a strong visceral reaction that says, "Attention human beings: Be afraid of me before coffee. Be very afraid!" Setting a daily intent makes a huge difference. Your daily intent could be something like "be productive" or "enjoy today's delicious moments" or it could be something more specific like "say thank you to my loved ones today." But it should not be another "to do" item on your list.

7. Do small favors for your housemates, expecting nothing in return (not even a thank you!). (That's right, I said it: nothing!) Mow the lawn for your husband, but don't expect him to pat you on the back. Make the bed for your wife, but don't try to get bonus points for it. Take the trash out for your roommate, just because. The ability to cultivate strong, healthy relationships is one of the biggest contributors to health and happiness, but when you start to keep score, the benefit is lost. (No! It's YOUR turn to clean up the dog poop!) It's a well-known fact: When you do good, you feel good.

8. Call at least one friend or family member a day. You can do this while you clean, while you
make the bed, or while you walk the dog. Texts and emails do not count! Make an actual phone call to a loved one, just to chat and catch up. We humans are social beings and studies show that even when we don't feel like it, even if we are naturally introverted, socializing with our loved ones makes us feel better.

9. Spend money on things that cultivate experiences at home. Save money for a new grill for parties or a new DVD for family movie night — something that will encourage you to have people over and entertain. Plan a summer barbeque, invite your closest friends, kick back and relax. (And don't forget to print out the pictures to remember the good times.)

10. Spend a few minutes each day connecting with something greater than yourself. Whatever your spiritual beliefs — or non-beliefs — may be, studies show that connecting to a high power is correlated with happiness. Just stepping back to realize that we are part of an enormous universe can put some perspective on your annoyance with the those-are-definitely-not-mine-and-they-are-abso-fricking-lutely-repulsive socks under the coffee table. Before bed, spend just a few minutes contemplating something larger than yourself. Take a walk in nature. Write in a journal. Create a sacred space in your home. (Or if spirituality is really not your thing, create a home spa: light some candles, soak in a hot bath, delve into a good book… are you feeling better yet?)

They have some great DIY posts and other home inspiration stuff too.
Max makes any home happier as we've been nomads for the past month staying at David's parents, going on mini beach vacations and house sitting for family.
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Monday, October 29, 2012

Photo Catch Up from NY

I was going through my photos last night and realized I forgot to post some from our Labor Day trip up to NY. As I woke up this morning to upper 30's-40 degree weather with wind advisory I am thinking of all the east coasters in the path of the storm. Be safe everyone!
Marla sent such cute gifts up to Michelle and Hadley that my brother brought since she couldn't be there. The most adorable of them all was this stroller blanket with her name on it. Since Michelle is 37 weeks today Hadleys blanket is packed in her car seat and in the car!! Hurry up 3 weeks, we can hardly wait!
I had to include this photo again as I posted it already, Max loves his Uncle Chris so he wanted me to put it again.
We also got to visit with our friends from high school Kacy and Melanie. It is always great to catch up with them and I wish we lived closer! They prepared a great breakfast for us and we got to see Kacy's new house. That was fun!
Max also got play time with little Mikayla, they are very close in age so it was fun to see them interact. She is the daughter of Christy and Tim, some more high school friends.
Max would start "talking" and Mikayla would answer him back in their own baby yells and squeels.
Here she is professing her love for Max
And here is Max accepting that love.
They were adorable. This his Sandie and Jen supervising baby play time.
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Max is 8 Months

My big boy is 8 months old (well older as I'm late posting again). I lost the monthly stickers in the move and David grabbed me some more at party city so we were back in business. Since we are at David's parents we don't have our nursery chair so we improvised for these photos.
Stats- I really don't know how much he weighs, he is def. getting chunkier as he eats a ton. He goes the middle of november for his 9 month check up so I'll update then.
New Development-
On October 3rd Max became an official crawler. He had been slowly moving for a little while, but he really took off on that day. Just before his 8th month b-day.
He loves his walker still and chasing grandma and molly. He will sometimes immitate you if you clap your hands or do patty cake. He sat in a real bath tub on our trip to Jacksonville and did really well. He likes to play in the tub water. He is finally starting to get interested in books and wanting you to read to him (he just likes to hear voices for an extended period). Before he would just get too antsy and want to leave.
 He likes to point with his pointer finger all the time and wants you to lead him in that direction if he starts leaning and pointing as you are holding him. He still says dadada like a champ although he calls most everything dadada. If he is talking to molly he does a firm DA though. He likes the pumpkin decorations at david's parents house and will want to point and visit with them. He loves to crawl and then plop over to the sitting position and then back to crawling. We are still waiting for a top tooth to come in. He keeps using his lips and tongue to feel around up there so we think they're coming soon.
Favorite Activities and Personality-  Loves walks in the stroller, especially if molly is walking in front of him. He loves cars and legos, mostly just to stick in his mouth like everything else. He makes raspberries on your skin if you hold him and he has access to your arm/leg.
If David makes a roaring sound (like a dinosaur) Max will answer back with a lower grrr sound, its really cute. I'm pretty sure he was doing it in this photo.
Eating- He still LOVES food. I nurse him in the mornings and at night before bed. I pump milk at work but lately it hasn't been enough for both feedings while I'm gone so we're using forumla for those. He has milk at 7am, 11:30ish, 3:30ish and 7:15ish.
He loves his sippy cup of water and puffs. We are just starting him out with a straw sippy to see how he will adjust and he's already taken to it. He is such a good baby food eater. We are still making a majority of our baby foods. I added an addition of tofu and banana mix and doing some chicken and apples to get some more protein in. It's a lot of work and I'm so lucky to have so much help with cutting all the fruit and veggies. He has gotten very good at using his pinchers (pointer and thumb) to grab puffs and some finger foods.
Sleeping- He is still doing GREAT with sleeping. I am one happy mama that he has taken so well to it finally! He goes to bed by 7:30am and gets up around 7am. He sometimes wakes up and starts playing in the 6:30am range, but most times he doesn't cry so I can finish getting ready. He still naps around 10 and 2 for about an hour, sometimes longer.
Molly and Max are bff's.
Randoms- He is in size 3 pampers diapers
Size 9 month clothes
Max will also wave sometimes if we wave to him.
I am loving the stage Max is in being a bit more independent, but it is definitely time to baby proof. He tries to open every cabinent and you have to watch him like a hawk. Love this little boy! Make sure you join me on instagram (iphone users) to see more photos of Max. My user name is jens871.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Max's First Trip to the Beach!

This weekend we traveled to Jacksonville Beach, FL to visit my brother, Chris and his wife, Marla. They recently moved to the beach and are renting a fabulous condo right on the water. It is awesome. On the way there I drove after work at 7pm so Max would sleep most of the way and it worked! The way back was during the day and he was antsy!
They were having their airshow this past weekend so we thought it'd be fun to be right in the action. You weren't allowed in the water during the show so we came out right after Max woke up and had his milk. Enjoy the filmstrip of his beach water adventure.
He seemed to like the water pretty well. No crying just a little confusion.
Starring out at the big blue water out yonder, they seem to be deep in thought.
Fun water
Look how fun his t-shirt is. It says I had fun with my Aunt and Uncle in Jacksonville Beach. He looks cute in the swim suit they got for him as well. Thanks guys!
Then he got curious and wanted to be in the water.

Chris and Buddo

Pretty sunrise.
Marla and Max
Now it's time to discover sand!

Oooh fun sand!
Family photo by the ocean
Later that day we went back down to the beach to watch the airshow. Luckily we got to play outside for a few hours before the loud planes came through.
We tried to put some ear plugs in his ears because the fighter jets were SO loud and Max was not appreciative of that. Luckily they came out when we went up for his nap and he slept through most of that. He looks like frankenstein with them in lol.
We had a great time with Chris and Marla and I know my mom loved the beach, too. She would have stayed if she could have kept Max there with her. We also got to see some of our friends, Jessica and Jason while we were there. So nice to still keep in contact even though we moved away. I have more pics on instagram and my phone that I haven't posted so head there if ya want more (like this wasn't enough).

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Pumpkin Patch

 This is a picture from when I had to wake max up after a nap because we had to go somewhere. Poor little guy, just look at that face.
 We went to the pumpkin patch on saturday to take some photos of max with some pumpkins
 They had a big corn box and max is saying, "dad, what am I doing in here"

 Then he says "oh, I'm suppose to eat it"
 My lil pumpkin with the pumpkins
 Checking everything out
 Family photo
 Gigi, me and Max being uncooperative

 Sweet boy

Next year maybe we'll head on into the corn maize!
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