(A Not So Typical) Happiness is ______ {Week Thirty-Four} #happinessis

2013 is going to be a fantastic year – a year where we collectively focus on the happy and the joy in our lives. What makes you happy? What is it that you do that you can’t get enough of? What makes your soul shine, your eyes beam, and your insides sparkle?
Happiness is so very many things for me, and on Wednesdays I plan on sharing the answer to that. Every week, here, on Twitter, on Instagram and Facebook. You can follow along by using the hashtag #happinessis on Twitter and Instagram.

This week’s “Happiness is” post is a different one for me.

I’d planned to come here and share with you images of our last week of summer – a summer I clutched onto dearly, for life, unwilling to accept it was over. A summer I’m still mourning, to be honest. I will miss sleeping late with my kids, our lazy summer brunches, staying in our swimsuits from morning ’til nightfall, just because we can, and playing in the sprinkler in the sun.

hilariously laughing at each other at dinner
Happiness is.. laughing with your son until you cry, and taking pictures back and forth.

I know those things don’t necessarily have to end completely, it’s still 90+ degrees here in Texas and will be for over a month’s time, but it won’t consume our days the same way. There’s responsibility now, practices and homework, expectations and schedules that need to be followed. Our easy-breasy summer days have sharpened into rigidly planned, borderline overly scheduled days in the blink of an eye.

baby v bus
Happiness is.. watching this little person show her personality more and more each day. Also, she’s totally awesome, and reads my mind. This is how I feel about school, too.

The time home with my children this summer was deliciously fantastic, and I was so upset to see it end, it felt unfinished, it felt too soon. Walking up to those doors on Monday with freshly coiffed kids in shiny new outfits felt sad for me. No more cheap mid-week bowling, trips to the arcade, or playplace lunches.

arcade fun
Happiness is .. spending the day at the arcade/bowling alley/laser tag/gravity ropes place and having a BLAST.

But remember, this is a “Happiness is” post.

Just before school starting on Monday, my new site design was implemented over the celebratory “last weekend” of summer. My designer, Laura and I, stayed up until the wee hours of Sunday morning getting it implemented, spit-shined and ready. I can’t stop staring at it. I’m really truly in love and in awe with how our brains came together to create what we did. I am all over this design, from the delicious colors sprinkled throughout, to the muted doodle background I conceptualized and drew myself, as well as the sidebar title images with doodles. I could not be prouder.

neighborhood bbq
Happiness is.. getting the neighbors together, and welcoming new ones, while we celebrate the last weekend of summer.

But it was hard work getting it there. I’ve combed over some old posts of mine, realizing how much more work there is to be done to get my site “finished” in my eyes, but dusting off my old words and peering back into my family’s history sprawled out for all of you here.. it felt right. It felt magnificent. I’m about to celebrate writing six years here. It was such a gift to go back in time, to posts, to pictures, to comments left.

tackling fears
Happiness is.. doing something that frightens you  with your son, something you both conquer and attack together, despite being frightened.

This place is another home for me, almost like another child – the care and concern for it, the time spent crafting it, nurturing it, a lot of it difficult, harder than it seemed, but a journey I’d take again and again, if it meant meeting the people I’ve met, traveling to the places I’ve been, working with the brands I adore, and somehow, being lucky enough to earn an income from it.

And then, as if by design, I reached to look to my phone for the time, to see if I had any missed calls, and I saw what felt like dozens of Facebook messages. My friend Megan had tagged me on Facebook in a message, and others were commenting, liking, and tagging me themselves, too:

facebook message of love
Happiness is.. uplifting messages from friends that urge you along the way to continue doing what you love, and that you’re helping people.

Friends, I cannot even begin to describe this message, and what it did to me (and for me). I was, and continue to be speechless, and incredibly humbled. I feel like I won the lotto. Thank you, dear-reader-whose-name-I-do-not-know-but-would-like-to, I appreciate your loving me and this site so much to tell others. To know that I’m helping you and other parents cook good tasting food for your family’s table, it means the WORLD to me. I feel vindicated, even though the only one ever questioning myself was me. All I ever wanted to do was to help other mothers and parents, like myself. And now I know that I am, that I have, and I am to continue to do so.

Happiness is having you here with me, riding alongside me in this journey. Thank you so much for being here. You mean a lot to me.


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