Lighten Up - A Review Of Month Four's Targets

I know I'm late again with my review of the month's targets, but it's the school holidays and life is busy!

July was such a busy month what with the end of the school year, our anniversary and the kids having many different activities taking place, so it didn’t feel like I had much time to focus on my  Happiness Project.

The first of my goals was to listen to music every morning. I find music can really help to lift my mood and set me up for the day ahead, so I made sure to have music on each morning. It was much easier to get out of bed if there was some upbeat music playing, even on the days when my fibro was at its worst (July seemed to be a bad month for fibromyalgia pain). I much prefer having music playing rather than the TV being on and this is definitely a goal that I will stick with going forward.

My next goal was to ‘acknowledge the reality of people’s feelings’. This is a bit of a strange goal, but it had interested me when Gretchen Rubin wrote about it and I wanted to explore it further. Living with a teenager and a tween means that we are permanently walking the fine line between mood swings. If I ask Abby to help with a chore and she is watching TV most of the time she will pause it and come and help me, but sometimes she can be super moody and then that mood snowballs and swallows up each of us so that we all become moody and tense. By acknowledging the fact that I knew she really wanted to do something else, she was more willing to pause what she was doing to help. The same goes for Harry, he hates being interrupted if he is talking to his friends on FaceTime, but when I acknowledged that fact before I asked him to help me with something or complete a chore, he was much happier to help. I wasn’t sure whether this was a bit of a ‘flowery’ goal, but it has definitely helped keep harmony in our house and happy kids = happy parents!

The third goal of the month was the one I was most looking forward to achieving – ‘be a treasure house of happy memories’. I want my children to be able to look back on their childhoods with fond memories of all the things we did together and to be able to reminisce like I do with my brothers. The average working week doesn’t seem to leave us much time to make these memories, but as it was coming up to the start of the summer holidays I knew that we could start focusing on this more. As we renovate each room of the house we have to ‘sort’ through all of the items that belong in there and decide what to keep, what to discard, put out on display etc. The most recent room to get this treatment was the home office. This is where we store all of our photo albums at the moment and despite having an awful lot to do, Abby and I sat on the floor and looked through the albums and talked about the memories we had made together on various holidays and day trips. It made me realise that we still hadn’t printed the photographs from our last holiday and I made a note to spend some time choosing the photos with Mark and the kids, so that we could fill the empty album that we had brought home with us.

I wanted to make our memory making a bit more spontaneous too. Instead of leaving most of this for our two week holiday each year, I wanted to start being more spontaneous and doing more throughout the year (cost permitting of course!). I noted that a new crazy golf course was due to open just down the road from our house in a few weeks time and Mark and I agreed that one night when he came in from work that we would just go straight out and play a game. We knew the kids would love the surprise and we all love playing crazy golf, it’s a tradition that we always find a course to play when we are on holiday. Another surprise that the kids absolutely loved was that we had a giant inflatable pool installed in the garden for the summer months. I happened to ask Mark’s Mum for her advice as they had had one of these pools in the past and I wasn’t sure whether it was worth the expense. She quickly replied to my message and said that they still had their pool packed away in the garden shed and that we could have it. Mark picked it up on his way home from work and we put it up that night. The kids have spent hours splashing around in the pool and it has been a huge hit! I love to surprise the kids and do fun things with them, so I have really enjoyed this goal.

The last of my goals for July was to ‘take time for projects’. Now I’m not a particularly crafty person, nor can I draw, so I wasn’t sure what project I could start. When Abby and I had been looking through the photo albums at our holiday photos she commented on how much she enjoyed the build up to the holiday as much as the actual time away. She said that planning where we were going, what we were going to do while we were there and researching the area we're visiting were all as much fun to her as being there and doing those things. Harry had stuck his head round the door of the office part way through this conversation and asked what we were doing. Abby told him that we were looking at the holiday photos so he sat down and picked up an album too. As he was flicking through the pictures he echoed what Abby had said about enjoying planning our holidays as much as being on holiday and that gave me the idea for our project. We had already booked our summer holiday to Hawaii but we had done little else in the way of planning it. So during July we took time to watch YouTube videos of people that had travelled to Hawaii (it just so happened that two of Abby’s favourite YouTubers – Brooklyn and Bailey had just released a video of them staying at the same resort we were going to). We each said one thing that we would really like to do while we were in Hawaii and then we booked as many of those things as we could. It was a lovely way to spend time together and it made us excited for our upcoming holiday. To finish our project, I got a copy of 50 First Dates, the Adam Sandler movie, as it’s based in Hawaii and one of the excursions we booked was to visit the café from the film. It made me realise that projects don’t need to be long or laborious, but they can be fun and inclusive of the whole family.

Are my happiness levels improving? Definitely!

Sam xx