Thursday, August 28, 2014

So...Zoo Date

This month was Second Daughter's turn to go on a date with mom & dad, and she got to go with her best friend too!  It was so much fun to double with our friends and their daughter to the zoo and out to dinner.  Second Daughter was so excited and the night ended up being all she imagined it would be :)  This time with her was so great.  It's important to break away from all the craziness and have a chance to reconnect and remember all the things we love about each other.  Dating (including my kids) is awesome.
Best buddies.
I love these two.
Best monkey buddies - look how their tails are braided together!  So sweet.
 I found this hilarious.  As if a sloth isn't lazy enough, let's give him a hammock.
We decided to throw kid dates into the rotation of our date nights and it has been fantastic.  Some friends of ours have been doing this with their kids for years and we always knew we wanted to do something like it too.  We used to use date nights as incentive to encourage our kids to do good things, complete chores, etc., but we decided we didn't want our kids to have to earn time with us.  We want to just give it to them.  We want them to know they are important to us and that dating isn't only an opportunity for mom & dad to get away from the kids.  Dating is a way that we can strengthen our relationships by having fun together and creating great memories. 
Since our Sons have come into our lives, we have noticed some of our children needing a little extra attention and reassurance, and we haven't always been able to meet those needs as often and consistently as we want (and need) to.  These dates have been such a great thing for them and a way to fill their "love tanks."
Second Daughter still talks about how much fun she had, and has already started making plans for her next date.  Actually, she started planning the next before this one even happened :)  Love that girl.
Speaking of date night...
Husband and I get to go out tomorrow night just the two of us.
It seems like it's been a very long time since we've had a date night to ourselves.
We've had a blast going out with friends, family, and our kids, going to the temple (and sitting far away from each other), but we are excited to have some one-on-one time tomorrow night.
I really love dating my husband.
I really like him.  :) may also like::
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

So...Our New Catch Phrase

"Are you thinking of the sucker?  Or the rock?"

We've been working a lot on our attitudes over here (myself included) and practicing looking for the good in each situation.  Our family has a whole lot to be grateful for.  There's not really any reason for any of us to be discontent, unsatisfied, or to whine and complain, yet it still happens. 

A couple weeks ago we used family home evening as an opportunity to try and teach the concept of positive thinking.  I repeated an activity I saw at Pack Night a while back, that I knew my kids would think was fun.  So we tried it out.

Each kid (and Husband) put a pretty good size rock in their shoe.  Then I put a sucker in each of their mouths.  I instructed them to walk all around our yard - around the mailbox, to the tree and back, run a little, etc.  I heard a lot of "ow!" and "this rock hurts!"  When they were all done (Third Daughter eventually just took her shoe off) I asked them how their walk was.  Each one of them explained how much it hurt and how hard it was because of the rock in their shoe.  My reply was, "but what about the sucker in your mouth?"

The idea was to show them that even though there was something hard and painful about their walk (the rock) there was also something sweet and fun (the sucker).  They could choose what to focus on - the rock or the sucker.  Focusing on the sucker wouldn't make the rock go away, but it would help them keep a positive attitude and could make the walk more enjoyable and bearable. 

This clicked with them.  They got it.  It was pretty cool to see the light bulbs go off as they gave me example after example of how to look on the bright side, how to think of the "sucker," in different, hard situations.

They've been practicing keeping a positive attitude.  They've been trying not to complain.  I'm very proud of them for remembering and trying to apply this lesson in their lives.  It can be a tough thing to learn, but an important one.  I'm still working on it too!

It may not be Friday yet, but Husband and I get a date night tonight and I can't wait.
He's taking me on his motorcycle :)
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

So...Kid Date

me, First Daughter, Husband at the movies
For one of First Daughter's Faith in God requirements, she planned an entire date for us to go on.  She planned it all out, including the cost of dinner, movie, movie treats, and a babysitter.  We gave her a budget and she figured out how much to spend on each thing to stay within that budget.  She did a great job!
We went to the Provo Towne Center and had dinner at Panda Express.  She figured if the three of us shared two meals we would be able to save money and still have enough to eat :).  She was right!  We saw Earth to Echo at 7:05, because we wanted to make sure to be home by 10:00 for the babysitter.  She also decided it was better to buy them at the theater rather than online cause we could save $3.  She decided we only needed popcorn and a drink, because she saw how much concessions cost at the movies and thought we didn't need candy after all.  Little did she know I snuck candy in my purse :)
It was a pretty awesome night and we were proud of her for planning so well.  We had a great time spending some time with just her and laughing together.  Earth to Echo was a great movie and really funny!  We loved it!
She kept saying that it was the best night of her life.
Mission accomplished :)
It was a pretty great night and I can't wait to go out with this little lady again. may also like::
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Monday, July 14, 2014

So...Magical Moments

I had one today.
One of those magical moments that you want to freeze in time forever / that seem to be in slow motion / when the memories being made are almost tangible / that you never want to forget, down to every little detail.
I had one today.
It was when I was pushing these two boys on the swings after an hour running through the splash pad - huge smiles and pure joy on their faces.  I realized how much I love these kiddos, at this time, at this age, at this point in my life. 
I never want to forget my children like this - running carefree through the splash pad water :: making new friends instantly :: flying across the monkey bars :: hugging each other and laughing together as water sprays in their faces and up their noses :: losing their breath as they run through the freezing cold waterfall :: kissing those squishy cheeks :: giving underdogs over and over again :: involuntary laughing and giggling :: playing so hard until they crash :: soaking in the sun :: sneaking sips of my diet coke when I'm not looking (or so they think) :: thinking sitting on top of the water sprayer is the most hilarious thing in the world :: spending our days together :: being the center of their world :: filling my heart with one smile :: being so happy and not knowing if I'm gonna laugh or cry about it.
These moments are the best and are such a gift. 
I know I'm gonna miss this and I'm so trying to soak in every second. may also like::
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So...A Year Later

Son#1 - June 2013, Son#2 - July 2014
same splash pad, same bathing suit
I love these two may also like::
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Monday, July 7, 2014

So...More On Happiness

So I came across this article on Pinterest about what happy people do differently, and oh my goodness, I love this list!  I want to print it off and tape it on the wall next to my bed.
I'm working on #2, #6, #7, #9, #10, #11, #13, and #15.
Almost all of these have to do with my interactions with others.
I'm really trying to get outside myself, improve my relationships, and let a lot of stuff go.
I know when I do it'll feel great!
There are three more things that I would add to this list (because 25 feels so much better than 22 :))::
23. Doing your duty.
A favorite quote of mine from my grandma is "The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one has to do."  I find great satisfaction and happiness when I do the things I need to do. 
24. Serve others.
President Monson said, “To find real happiness, we must seek for it in a focus outside ourselves. No one has learned the meaning of living until he has surrendered his ego to the service of his fellowmen. Service to others is akin to duty, the fulfillment of which brings true joy.”
25. Keep the commandments.
"Wickedness never was happiness"Alma 41:10.  Being straight before the Lord brings confidence and happiness.  It feels pretty lousy to be holding on to sin or bad habits that bring us down.  Trying my best to keep the commandments, along with true repentance when mistakes are made, brings so much happiness and joy.
Well, there you go.
I'm no expert on the matter, but I'm working on it.
Anything you would add to this list?
Please do share :) may also like::
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Sunday, July 6, 2014

So...100 Days of Happy

I have a goal to become a more positive person.
By nature, I struggle with this. 
My over-analytical, critical, goal-setting-competitive-wanna-be-the-best-but-I'm-not-quite-good-enough brain makes it difficult for me to just be content and happy with my circumstances.  Even when they are wonderful, I can always see how they could be better.  (I really don't like this...)  I really just want to see the good, always be grateful, and just enjoy each day, each moment, and each person I come in contact with.  I want to be a positive, uplifting influence for good.  It is a goal of mine and I work on it and pray for help with this every day.

On a whim, I decided to participate in the #100happydays challenge.
Little did I know how much it would impact my life.

Instagram already is a place to document things that make us happy.  Most pictures are of things that make us happy, proud, excited, or things we love, are grateful for, or make us laugh.  That is what I love about Instagram - my feed is full of positive, uplifting vibes in the form of pictures and short captions.  It's wonderful.

But when I saw my friend's hashtag #100happydays under her pictures, I decided I wanted to do that too - to take a couple minutes each day to find something that makes me happy and share it with my friends.  For 100 days (and a couple more, cause I had trouble counting :)) I posted a picture on Instagram of something each day that made me happy.  I absolutely loved it.

The 100HappyDays website asks "can you be happy for 100 days in a row?"

My answer to that question is no. 
I hope someday I can confidently say yes, but right now my answer is no.
I cannot commit to being happy for 100 days in row.
I cannot predict what will happen each day and I am a very emotional person and saying something like "I will be happy today" when I'm not feeling so happy tends to backfire.

BUT - I did feel like I could commit to finding something each day that made me happy.  Even if I couldn't blanket each day with a statement like "I am happy today," and even if that happy thing didn't magically, instantly change my mood, I knew this goal would be a good thing for me.  

I loved that on even the unhappy, hard days I was able to find something that made me happy and something to smile about.  Usually I could find more than one thing.  And you know what?  It helped.  I really think looking for the happy things helped me generally feel more happy, more content, and more grateful on each of those 100+ days.  I really do.

I found myself searching for those small moments to capture.  There definitely were the more obvious things - my family, activities, holidays, things like that - but I tried to look for the subtle things, the small moments and little things that make each day so sweet.  And it had such a positive effect on my life!

Even though the 100HappyDays challenge is over, I still find myself looking for those little things each day that make me happy.  After 100 days it has become a habit and a habit that I love. 

Because even amidst the very hard things life has to offer, there are so many things to be happy about.  Taking a few moments to reflect on those things and express gratitude to God is what turns those happy moments into feelings of joy and can absolutely change the way we experience life.

I really believe this.
P.S. we've had a good laugh about how the picture of Husband on the right is positioned perfectly under First Daughter's leg so it looks like he has a forever forehead.  It wasn't worth it to me to rearrange the pictures because it's just so funny!

If you wanna see all my #100daysofhappy pictures, find me on Instagram _mrsjensen_ may also like::

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