I've read The Happiness Project this week and it shaped my week in the best way possible. Here is a starred review: Rubin is not an unhappy woman: she has a loving husband, two great kids and a writing career in New York City. Still, she could-and, arguably, should-be happier. Thus, her methodical (and bizarre) happiness project: spend one year achieving careful, measurable goals in different areas of life (marriage, work, parenting, self-fulfillment) and build on them cumulatively, using concrete steps (such as, in January, going to bed earlier, exercising better, getting organized, and "acting more energetic"). By December, she's striving bemusedly to keep increasing happiness in every aspect of her life. The outcome is good, not perfect (in accordance with one of her "Secrets of Adulthood": "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good"), but Rubin's funny, perceptive account is both inspirational and forgiving, and sprinkled with just enough wise tips, concrete advice and timely research (including all those other recent books on happiness) to qualify as self-help. Defying self-help expectations, however, Rubin writes with keen senses of self and narrative, balancing the personal and the universal with a light touch. Rubin's project makes curiously compulsive reading, which is enough to make any reader happy.
I'm always looking for ways to improve myself and be a better mother, and this book shaped so many of my thoughts and helped me identify my happiness in so many different settings (currently reading her follow up book: Happier at Home). I decided to change at least one day of my week to reflect my current goal: to be a better mother. This is probably an eternal goal, but every day I want to improve my relationships with my kids.
In light of my new goal, I decided I would start getting up early on Monday to complete my tasks. That meant, at 5:45 I was up doing laundry, cleaning bathrooms, dusting, and eventually (when everyone was awake) vacuuming. In essence, I completed everything while Adam was home and Paige was asleep so i could dedicate my time to my children all day long. Was it perfect? No, I was pretty tired (still trying to master getting to bed at a decent time) but I felt like I was able to focus on my children and their activities. We took a walk (Hannah rode her bike) for about an hour, we read books, we snuggled, we enjoyed the clean house stress free.
Paige is loving the park. We went three times this week and she has so much fun going on the slides and running around. I let my children be a little bit more free than some of the other parents, as in, I am not a helicopter parent. Hannah and Paige were both climbing the playground and going down slides by themselves when they were about 15 months old. Sure I watch them like a hawk and I jump up if Paige gets that interested look in the edge of the playground equipment, but for the most part I let her be. She is wonderfully independent. We went to Denny's this week and she had her first taste of a caramel dipped apple. She got this surprised look on her face, looked at Adam and shouted "Yummy, yummy, yummy!" Paigey's hair is getting thicker and I'm having fun trying to do it every morning. She knows she needs pretties in her hair every day and she doesn't fuss too much. She was very wary of the Turney's when they came over and whimpered in the corner with Mommy but she warmed up after a bit, even if she stays close to Mommy and Daddy.
Hannah has flattery down to a science. The other day I asked if she would clean something up. She said "Mommy, I can't, will you do it because you are the BEST at cleaning up!" I said "Oh gosh, where did you learn that?" She said "From you, ya old Lady!" What the heck? She always says "You are the best Mudder," or "I'm so glad you are my Mudder!" She cracks me up. Today My mom said "Is that so darn big?" I said "Yes it's really big." Hannah said "Yeah, and darn too." Hannah has spent a good amount of time reading this week. I was in charge of preschool and she just wanted to be my Vana White and help me out with each lesson. It's amazing to see these kids grow, since we have six weeks in between teaching times, I can see them change in that month and a half period. It's so awesome. They are doing great. Speaking of doing great, Hannah is writing her letters like a pro! Not all of them but she is doing a great job at the ones she knows.
Adam and I got to see Anything Goes at the Smith Center. I LOVED it. It brought back good memories of my childhood as it was very nostalgic of the musicals we'd watch as a family, like Bye Bye Birdie, Guys and Dolls, and Gentlemen Prefer Blonds. I love our Smith Center tickets! We also enjoyed a trip as a family to Red Rock Canyon (Adam's parents/siblings are in town) and dinner at Denny's (my mom sent us money for a Valentines dinner and we thought it would be fun to do with Hannah and Paige). Adam has of course been working hard as always. He has been tutoring twice a week after school to earn money for a vacation in California this summer. I appreciate his hard work and diligence. We found out this week that Adam was getting a pay cut. It is a huge bummer and very demoralizing to Adam, however, we are fortunate that we don't NEED the money. It won't really affect our budget at all, we can save money and pay the bills. We have everything we need, so we can't really complain. Adam and I are both teachers in Relief Society and Elders Quorum. We both teach second Sunday (today). Our topic is Being Converted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is about lifelong conversion. After church, we'll have dinner with the Turney's at our house.