In September I shared 10 things adding shine to my life. Today I'm back with a similar list of everyday joys, so named because I sign off every episode of my audioblog podcast with "wishing you everyday joys and small wins." I was going to do a list of 10 but at the end of the list I thought of one more, and I thought, "What's the harm in 11 joys instead of 10?!" So here are 11 everyday joys I'm noticing lately in no particular order...
11. Rain. Here in central Arizona we get a whopping annual rainfall of seven inches. Did you know it was so low? For someone who loves gray, rainy days it can be a distressingly low number. But this winter has been a rainy one for us and we've enjoyed a handful of chilly, wet days and I have loved every minute, and drop, of them.
10. Art on our Frame TV. This past Christmas, we became a TV-owning household again after almost nine years. It has been a great addition for family movies and occasional shows but what I really love is displaying art. We bought the art subscription and I delight in choosing a piece of art to reflect the season, the weather, or just my whim. I also love walking into the room to see what art Chris has picked for the day – it often surprises me!
9. Frisbee golf. We've played Frisbee golf twice as a family and really enjoy it! For Christmas, we bought discs and a portable goal for the family and since then have enjoyed checking out two local courses. I love that we've discovered courses right in our town that we've driven by so many times but never knew they were there. I love that the activity gets us outside and that the sport accommodates all skill levels. We've played 9-hole courses with the boys; Maeve usually meanders along nearby but occasionally tosses a disc. It's hard to find activities for ages 3 to 10 and I'm glad we've found this one.
8. Pumpkin muffins. On Wednesdays, two neighbor friends come home with the boys so there are four hungry boys who need an after school snack. I've been trying different muffin recipes for snack and remembered my favorite pumpkin bread recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I tried adding much less sugar (just 1/2 a cup) and made muffins instead of bread. The boys devoured them and now I've made them three weeks in a row.
7. Turning the corner out of toddlerdom? Toddlers are so so cute, and can also be so, so hard. One of my wishes for this year is to turn the corner out of Maeve's hardest toddler behaviors, like the all-out meltdowns over the littlest things and waking up in a terrible, screamy mood. And I think we might be?! I don't want to jinx myself but over the past month I have noticed many fewer screamy mornings and overall a bit more evenness in Maeve's mood. It's a welcome change and I love having more sweet and playful time with our girl. (Haha joke's on me. I wrote this in the early morning and just a couple hours later Maeve had a huge toddler meltdown. So, we're turning the corner but we aren't out of the woods.)
6. Weekly bonus time with Cedric. Because of our schedule, once a week I get about 30 minutes of extra time with Cedric when the two other kids aren't home. We have a snack and then usually go out front to pass the football. He's such a fun and easy-going companion and I love this new found time in our week.
5. Tea and biscotti. Drinking hot tea is a winter habit for me. Once it's 90 degrees and above outside I just don't crave it. But I really enjoy tea season while it's here. I usually have a mid-morning or afternoon cup. I always stock up on the candy cane green tea from Trader Joe's and a new favorite this year is the decaf hot cinnamon spice tea from Harney & Sons. Occasionally I will buy biscotti at Trader Joe's and then for the next week or so I'll enjoy a few pieces when I have a cup of tea. When I make tea, I'll ask Chris if he wants a cup. I love to deliver his tea with a surprise side of biscotti. Such a lovely small joy.
4. Sharpie S-Gel pens in 0.5 mm. After decades of being loyal to the Zebra F-301 fine tip pens, I have a new favorite pen! These have a smooth gel ink but never smear or pool. The Sharpie pens write darker and with a finer line than my Zebras. So I've been reaching for them exclusively for a few months.
3. Our record player. After years of wanting one I gifted this to myself as an early birthday present late last year. I bought a couple used records but what I'm consistently playing is The Postal Service album that Chris bought me for my birthday. It's my favorite album of all time and I love to put it on while I settle into work at the dining room table. I don't like to listen to music while I do deep work so one side is the perfect amount of time to get situated, take care of some admin, and then it's quiet. My dad has an impressive collection of vinyl and I grew up listening to records so I'm really happy to have this medium of music back in my life.
2. Sitting down to start a work day with a homemade breakfast sandwich and a full cup of fresh, hot coffee. I can't think of a more enjoyable way to kick off a weekday work day: a filling meal, hot coffee, and hours of productivity ahead of me. Bonus points if I exercised in the morning because then I have that contented feeling of just the right amount of muscle fatigue. Delicious in more ways than one!
1. Reading Frog and Toad with Maeve. A dear friend gifted us the Frog and Toad collection and let me tell you, that is a wonderful gift to give or receive. I have fond memories of reading through it with the boys and now get to experience that all over again with Maeve. I don't remember reading. Frog and Toad as a child so these characters and stories and I'm so glad they have come to me in parenthood. I am always struck by how the simple stories capture so much deeper meaning and nuance. Like the feeling of being a little scared while feeling safe and cozy with a friend in Shivers, how hard will power is in Cookies, and sorting out feelings of comparison in The Dream. In particular, the final story, Alone, feels profound to me – it captures the feeling of wanting to be quietly alone and reflect on your own contentment, and then how that experience can be richer when a dear friend joins you. It almost makes me cry!
What everyday joys have you noticed lately? I would love to hear.