Thursday, September 30, 2010

How Happy Are You?

I read this article on Yahoo today and couldn't help but want to post and pass it on. Apparently I am a pretty happy person. :D

Your emotional well-being isn’t just about your genes or the kind of home you were raised in. It turns out that some pretty interesting factors—backed by science—play a role in how joyful you feel:

You were a smiley student

Adults with the biggest grins in their college yearbook pictures were up to 5 times less likely to be divorced decades later than those who looked less happy, according to a new DePauw University study. A smiler’s positive disposition may attract other happy people or rub off on a spouse.

You have a sister

People with at least one female sibling report better social support, more optimism, and better coping abilities, according to a study presented at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference. Sisters appear to encourage communication and cohesion in families.

You're not glued to the TV

The happiest people spend 30% less time parked in front of the tube, according to a University of Maryland study that analyzed 34 years of data from more than 45,000 Americans. They’re more likely to spend time socializing, reading, or attending religious services—habits that are linked to better moods and health.

You keep souvenirs on display

People who use mementos or photos to remind themselves of good times better appreciate their lives and are happier, says Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, a professor of psychology at University of California, Riverside. Good memories remind you of your “happiness potential” and promise that soon you can reach it again.

You make exercise a priority

People who exercise more are less likely to be stressed and more likely to be satisfied with life, according to Danish researchers. Compared with sedentary people, joggers are 70% less likely to have high stress levels and life dissatisfaction, the study found. Couch potatoes who start moderate exercise—the equivalent of 17 to 34 minutes a day—experience the greatest happiness lift.

You have a healthy love life

Physical intimacy is a key contributor to happiness, found a study by Dartmouth economist David Blanchflower, PhD, and Andrew Oswald, PhD, of England's University of Warwick. Married people report 30% more sex than singles, which may be one reason they also report being happier.

You hang out with happy people

Socializing with a cheerful person in your neighborhood increases the likelihood that you’ll be happy too, according to a new study. How often you get together matters most, say the researchers: People who live within half a mile of a buoyant buddy increase their odds of being happy by 42%. If the friend lives farther away (within a 2-mile radius), the chances drop to 22%—probably due to fewer get-togethers.

You stay warm with hot cocoa

Clutching a steaming beverage—coffee and tea also do the trick—can elicit a flood of positive feelings, according to a Yale University study. This may be because people associate physical warmth with emotional warmth, say the researchers. Study subjects held cups of either hot or iced coffee; those gripping warm mugs were more appreciative of friendliness in others and also felt more generous and trusting themselves.

You have two best friends

Among 654 married adults, those who said they had at least two “best friends” (not necessarily including one’s spouse) were likelier to have better mental well-being, says a study. But additional friends didn’t lead to any more happiness than just a pair.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Skunk?

I have decided not to take my daughter on long grocery shops with me anymore because she gets bored, impatient, and therefore fussy. It was ideal to be able to pick her up from daycare and hit the store on the way home from work when needed, but that was a bad idea, as the Munchkin is usually ready for a drink and a snack after being picked up.

It got to the point a couple of times where I would grab a bag of cheese sticks in the store, open them up, peel one out, and give it to her just to keep from being "that mom and baby." You know the one I'm talking about. The ones where you know their exact location because of the screaming baby. I decided after multiple instances of being that mom that it was easier for me to go after Munchkin goes to bed.

Last night was one such night. A major grocery shop was in order, so there was no way I as going to take her with me. I waited until she went to bed, and then headed out. I first ran over to Targae to see if I could find her some new shoes for fall/winter. Right now she only has two pair of sandals, which aren't conducive to keeping feet warm on cold days. She also needed some long pants because all she currently has are shorts, which thanks to her Buddha Belly are even getting a little too tight (she is 19 months and they are 24-month shorts).

The sun had long gone down by the time I got in my car, and I couldn't help but want to enjoy the cool fall air, so I rolled down my windows. It was at the intersection by Targae that something smelled amiss. It was like a skunk, and maybe something burning. It was foul. It followed me all of the way into the parking lot and made me wonder if if was my car. But once I got out and walked into the store, I realized it wasn't my car because the smell was everywhere, even in the store.

I did my shopping and then headed out to do the major shop at the grocery store. When I came back out of Targae, the smell was still there. I was glad I was driving away from it as I got into my car. But when I got to the grocery store, I could still smell it.

Was it possible the smell had wafted over to this store too, or was it my car, or was it ON my car?

I took my time doing my grocery shopping and went over my budget by double, but that is what happens when you run out of everything all at once. When I came back out to my car, it still smelled a little, but not anywhere near as much... until I opened my car door. It smelled like a skunk had crawled in and let loose!

I started wondering if I had even seen a skunk or road kill on my way to Targae and had no recollection. I must have driven through something though. I drove home with all of my windows down in an attempt to air it out, and then I left them cracked over night in hopes the smell would be gone over night.

No dice. This morning my car still smelled like I had brought home a pet skunk last night. It has stunk all day, even though I keep leaving the windows down. I don't know what to do about it. Obviously the stink got up in my engine compartment somehow. It flat out reeks! I wonder how long I will have to drive around with my windows down before it goes away?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The First Time We Met

Side note: This post isn't about my husband, but rather the first and only love I have had besides my husband.

It was late in January, somewhere around the 27th. I was 17 years old, and only a few weeks away from turning 18. I had signed up to go to an Honor Band program at a distant state university with a few other kids from my high school. It would be the last year I would be able to go, as I was in my senior year.

I had gone the year before, and truth be told, I wished I hadn't the first day I was there that year because I felt like my band teacher had ripped me off by recommending me for third trumpet, instead of second, which is what I had played my whole trumpeting career. I remember being there that first day, mad as a fire ant, and wishing I hadn't come.

By the end of the first day, I was glad I had gone because I was smitten with my stand partner. A senior at a high school in Nevada named Selwyn. The program was only for a weekend, but there was a bond created between us in that short time. We exchanged addresses and promised to stay in touch by the time it was over. He sent me a graduation announcement later that year. Over the summer, I received a few post cards and letters from Selwyn as he traveled about the country. It turned out he was planning to attend the university that hosted the honor band program that coming fall.

As soon as we were able to sign up for the honor band program my senior year, my name was at the top of the list. The only real reason I wanted to go was so that I could hook it up with Selwyn. I just knew we were going to see each other, fall in love, and the rest would be history. A story for our children.

The day we arrived for the first rehearsal, I looked around anxiously for him. My friend Elisa knew why I was there, and she was just as excited for me as I was. She and I had become very close friends that year, and spent a lot of time together. She had helped put the kibosh in my inner prude, and helped me realize I was a girl who wanted more than just innocent kissing.

Soon enough I found the man I was there to see. My expectations were only let down by my own inability to accurately portray how I felt and why I was there. I was suddenly shy and felt like I was testing the waters. The truth is, Selwyn only showed up to the rehearsal to see me. That should have been my first indication he felt the same way I did, but high school girls are so silly and insecure.

I don't really remember what happened with Selwyn that day after the rehearsal ended, but I do remember that Elisa had invited her stand partner and his best friend back to our hotel that night to hang out. She was the epitome of a flirt. I learned a lot from her. That night, Rick and Nick showed up at our hotel to take us to dinner. Elisa had claimed Rick for herself and reserved Nick for me. Nick was cute and all, but I secretly wanted Rick. He had blonde hair that was cut in the fashionable 90s "bowl cut" and the most gorgeous blue, blue eyes I had ever seen. He was tall, and he smelled so good. He wore black army-style boots that put me in dither.

It turned out, I was in luck. Rick decided he liked me better than Elisa, and Nick and Elisa decided they liked each other better as well, so a swap took place. We spent the rest of the night chatting and enjoying each other's company until our chaperons told the boys to hit the road. Just because they weren't in our room didn't mean we couldn't still talk on the phone until the wee hours of the morning!

The next morning, I was torn. I still wanted to be with Selwyn, but I was developing feelings for Rick too. I was there for Selwyn gosh dang it, and I was going to keep it that way!

When I walked into the rehearsal hall, there was Selwyn, waiting to see me. I walked up to him, flirted, and talked, but not for long. Rick had seen me, and he wasn't having this other guy steal his woman away for the world. He came over and made it clear that he had staked his claim. Selwyn barely put up a fight. Before I knew it, the guy I had driven all that way to be with was gone from my life for good. However, I didn't feel like I had lost out at all. I saw it as fate.

That afternoon when we broke for lunch, Rick, Nick, Elisa, and I went to the grocery store to find some good old fashioned junk food to eat. It was while we were there that Rick told me if my hands were cold, I could put them in his pocket. My stomach did a flip, as I put my hand into his pocket where his warm hand was waiting. Our hands met, and flash of electricity went through me. It felt so good, and so right. I had no idea in that moment that I was holding hands with the first guy I would ever love.

Later that afternoon on a mini-break from rehearsal, Rick and I were sitting in a hallway, talking. I took his class ring from him, and as a joke, told him I wasn't going to give it back and he told me that was fine. I told him I was only joking, and offered his ring back. He told me to hang on to it for the remainder of the weekend. I was elated as I clutched it in my hand.

That night was our final performance, and the next day we would all be heading home. The four of us stayed together for as long as we could, before our chaperons reeled us into our respective hotels for the night. The boys promised to come back over first thing in the morning to tell us goodbye before we all went home.

The next morning, the boys showed up to our rooms right on time. Rick and I found a back stairwell where we sat and talked, and had our first kiss. I didn't know what to expect, but I figured the romance would, unfortunately, be short-lived. I thought that once we went our separate ways, things would fizzle out over the matter of a couple weeks because of the distance between us.

I offered him his ring back, and he told me to hang onto it, that he would come out to my house for it as soon as he could. He lived 3 hours from me, but I wasn't going to argue. I would take any excuse to be with him again, even if it was only one more time. I was happy that things would last at least that long between us. If I had his ring, he had to come get it. I promised to take care of it and not lose it. Then all too soon, he had to go, and we went our separate ways.

I drove home that day on Cloud 9. I didn't know where things would go with us, but for the moment, I was completely infatuated.

The second I got home, my dad asked me who Rick was. I was perplexed. How could he know about him already? Did one of my chaperons squeal on me? No. Rick had called three times already, and promised to call back again shortly. I was so giddy. There is nothing that compares to those feelings that pulse through you when you first meet and make a connection with the person who will become your significant other.

For now, things were fun and exciting and full of hope. Only time would tell where it would go.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Before We Begin

So, this was going to be the post to kick off the memoirs, but I decided I am not quite ready to write up that first post yet (I haven't mentally written enough of it in my head), and I wanted to share a couple of other things in the meantime.

First of all, Fran asked me if I was still going to blog about our progress on TTC #2 on this blog. The answer to that is, absolutely. If I have any news about that, I will definitely let you all know. The way I see it, this blog isn't going to change, it is just going to get better and more expansive. In fact, as I was sitting in a boring training the other day, I created this drawing of how I envision my blog:

As you can see, the roots of the tree are collecting blog content that feeds the tree with mostly day-to-day life, which then branches out into randomness, TTC, and memoirs. Yes, that is a stick figure of me sitting under my tree, blogging. And yes, there are squirrels and birds in my tree too.

I also wanted to share a few other random things with you in this post:
  1. I found my first love on FB the other day. I had had a dream about him a few days prior, which got me to thinking about him and wondering where he was. When I saw his picture, my first thought was, "Boy did I dodge that bullet! You look like you live in a trailer and watch Je.rry Sprin.ger." Okay, the last part may be a bit harsh, but I really do feel like I dodged a bullet when things didn't work out between us and we didn't get married, as we had so often planned. Let me tell you, seeing his face made me even more grateful for the man I am married to now.
  2. I know at least my blog friend Hannah is super excited about the new season of Glee, but I want to know who else is besides us? Hannah is actually the gal who got me to watching the show in the first place, and I have to say I love her for that. Glee rocks! The first episode of this season was no let down either. I am really excited for this season!
  3. I am really, really sad that this season is the last season of Little People, Big World. I have been watching that show since it started 5 years ago. When I heard it was the final season, I got choked up and wanted to cry. I am really going to miss that show and feeling like I am a part of the Roloff family. I learned a lot about dwarfs and just how much they go through in daily life as well as in their lifetime. It has definitely given me a greater appreciation for them.
  4. I watched a TV show a while ago that studied what happens to women during a full monthly cycle. They wanted to see how the woman's body changed over the span of a cycle. They found that a woman's complexion actually clears up around ovulation and that her skin looks its nicest around this time as well. Additionally, the pitch of her voice goes up a bit, and her scent changes. The latter is no surprise, as scent is what tells males in all species when a female is in heat. Ever since I watched that program, I have been watching my complexion to see if I notice a change around ovulation. This month it was my first indication that ovulation was nearing. It cleared up even before I got the lovely EWCM. It's not even just that it clears up, but the pores become more refined and less noticeable and the overall skin looks softer and smoother. Interesting huh?
Well, that's it for me. It's 11:30 and I am exhausted. Signing off for now!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A New Budding Branch

After much thinking over the past few years, and especially the past few months, I have decided this blog is going to take a new direction. Not completely, mind you, but a direction that will add to its repertoire and help me get out some of the thoughts and feelings that often swirl about inside me, begging to be written down for the sake of posterity.

Every now and then I will reminisce about my past, and a part of me longs to blog about it and then one day print the blog into a book, maybe for my children or maybe just for me. I have attempted many times in my past to write a book for myself, a memoir. Who of us in blogland haven't thought about doing that? All of our lives are interesting, and we all want to share them. So to scratch my itch, I will be doing posts every now and then to begin my memoirs about the important moments in my past that won't and aren't talked about in my daily life. After all, there is so much more to me than PPD, IF, and what happens in the current day.

This project isn't as much about readership and comments as it is for me to read over years from now when my already imperfect memories of these moments become fuzzy and start to fade. Heaven knows my memory has been lacking since I embarked on infertility treatments 4 years ago. All of those medicated cycles and synthetic hormones wreaked havoc on my once near pristine memory.

Case in point, I never needed a grocery list before I went through IF. I would simply remember what aisles I needed to visit when I went to the store. If I forgot what I needed, I would just go to the specific aisle because it would jog my memory. It always amazed my best friend. I never forgot a date or an appointment, even for other people. My husband used to ask me to remember things for him and remind him, and I always did. Now, however, it is a completely different story, and it's sad.

I do have the good fortune of scattered diary entries, which will make guest appearances along with pictures and letters.

I am quite looking forward to my new project. If nothing else, I will have a great time writing it all down.

Monday, September 13, 2010

It's Harder Than I Thought

I realized last night that I really am having a little PTSD now that I am back at TTC. Despite the fact that I have taken away the need to stress about getting pregnant, and the need to do everything in my power to make it happen short of using OPKs and timed intercourse, I am still a little shell shocked. The part of me that I didn't think would come back this time around, absolutely has.

You know how when you've been in the TTC ring for so long, you flinch when you see a pregnant belly, avert your eyes when you go past the maternity section, or want to throw things at the TV every time a pregnancy test commercial comes on? Well, paint a big red dot on the floor, because I'm there. The worst part is, I am really surprised I feel this way.

I am working on getting past these feelings because I don't want to own them anymore. I thought I left them at the door when I got pregnant over 2 years ago now. I honestly did not expect them to resurface, but holy cow, have they ever! It isn't even a conscious thing. It isn't until the thought has been thought that I realize my brain put it out there. Every time it does, I have to sort through it in an attempt to help it on its way and out of my life.

I don't like being the green eyed-monster. I don't like being a bitter infertile. I have no reason to be that person either. I already overcame my infertility and have a beautiful baby girl to show for it. So why then, does it hurt so much to see these things?

I guess it is just like how when that song you danced to at your Junior Prom comes on the radio, you get taken back to that time and place. You remember how you felt that night when this song came on and you looked your date in the eyes and told yourself it was a moment you would never forget. Only this time, the song stinks and it takes me back to a place and time in my life I would rather leave behind.

I know what I need to do right now. I need to move these feelings and use them for something else. They have served their purpose, which is to protect me from heartache. Now they need a new purpose. I haven't figured out what it is yet, but I will work on finding them a new home and soon.

See that! My blog is just as good as seeing a shrink and it doesn't cost me a dime!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Amatuer Doggie Agility

Remember in my last post how I said I had a cute idea for a blog post with my dogs? Well today the fam went to the local playground just so I could create the following "vlog" for all of you. I kept it short so you won't spend anymore time watching it than you would reading a post. Enjoy!

P.S. Please excuse my sniffles and dumb laugh. Either our household is going through major allergies, or we've all got colds. The jury is still out on that one.

video