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Leapalooza

Celebrating my 1st Leapalooza with a human pyramid (that’s Lea on the second row giving a fist pump and me on the top)

Lea and MeI’ve been celebrating Leapalooza (usually I write it in all caps, but I’ll spare you all my annoying exuberance) for almost 3 years now (as long as I’ve known my now very good friend, Lea).  It is a two-week-long holiday from September 18th through October 2nd.  You may be thinking that  this Lea person is probably really self-absorbed – coming up with her own two-week long holiday – but if you are thinking that then you, a.  do not know Lea and b. are dead wrong. In fact the rules of Leapalooza state just the opposite:

To celebrate Leapalooza  you must do something  kind for someone else every day  and  do something that brings you joy every day (the two may be the same thing).

To say that Lea is an extraordinarily giving person would be truly an understatement. This is the girl who routinely delivers homemade baked goods to others for no reason,  picks up the check (discretely!) at huge group functions, spends her hard-earned money taking her entire (huge) family to Disney World (and NYC, and on cruises),  books a flight from North Carolina to New Jersey just to help you drive back down with your screaming and sick  9-month- old, and she’s also the girl who drives two hours just to have dinner with you on a Monday night because you tell her you need some girl talk (these are just some examples off the very top of my head – tip of the iceberg, really).   I once described Lea to someone as being a magnet for good and that pretty much sums it up.

And, in hopes of spreading even more good tidings (especially outside the timeframes of Thanksgiving and Christmas and all the other holidays that people feel particularly giving) Lea began celebrating Leapalooza back in 2007.  She herself practices Leapalooza all year but hoped that by making Leapalooza a ‘thing’, she’d be giving others more opportunity to give good.  Leapalooza hasn’t quite caught on though (at least like I think it should), outside Lea’s inner circle (which is pretty big, actually  what with her being a magnet for good and all).  So, in hopes of making Leapalooza even more widespread I thought I’d fill everyone in on here.

Unfortunately, Leapalooza ends shortly and I had been meaning to write this post over a week ago, but  not to fret, Leapalooza is obviously not  just about a two-week timeframe for doing good.    It’s about doing for others and nurturing your soul through that kind of good and that, well that,  can be done all year long.

I assume Lea picked the two week time-period (surrounding her September 25th birthday) in hopes of making this giving good a daily habit. But, according to the 2009 study in the European Journal of Psychology  researchers found that for a subset of 96 volunteers, it took a median time of 66 days to form a new habit.  66 days, people!  That’s 9 1/2 weeks.  That’s over two months.  So, even though I didn’t get to blogging about Leapalooza until 3 days before its over, I plan on celebrating it for at least 7 more weeks – long enough to make this thing a habit.  Just like working out our bodies physically on a daily basis allows us to clear our heads and make us stronger (as well as  a multitude of other good results!), giving to others selflessly actually is selfish if we take into account what it does to nourish our minds and souls – making us happier overall.  Gretchen Rubin (author of the bestselling book, The Happiness Project) has done quite a bit of research into what doing good does for our bodies.  She says:

“And it’s not just that helpful people also tend to be healthier and happier; studies show that helping others itself causes happiness. “Be selfless, if only for selfish reasons,” as one of my happiness paradoxes holds.”

So, will you join me?  Let’s continue to celebrate Leapalooza, not just because it’s fun to say or because people may randomly ask you to make a human pyramid, but because by doing good for others we’ll be doing good for ourselves too.

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Just Some More Sitcom Material

When I’m lying in bed at night trying to drift off to sleep I often go through the day’s experiences in my head and many times I laugh out loud and think, “Omigosh, that thing that happened today with Case and the farm and poop or  the butter and the mailman (or whatever the funny mishap/conversation may be) – that would really make for some good TV.”  So in honor of the imaginary sitcom I’m writing nightly in my head,  here’s a little tid bit from yesterday (and also a prime example of how men are really good listeners… (if a sarcasm font existed, that last phrase would have been written in it).)

I had just finished regaling Brian with our detailed plans for the morning (coincidently, I had just showered, which as we all know is a feat in and of itself) and I turn to him finally and say,

” So, what do you think?”

pause. pause. pause.

“You look great babe.  You don’t need to change,” he responds, looking me up and down.

To which I respond (looking puzzled), “Did you not hear anything I just said?”

To which he responds, “Uh, no.  But I figured my response would cover the bases…”

To which I respond before anything more is said –  “UGH.”

Brian is not the first or last man to dole out a go-to ‘can’t hurt?’ phrase when confronted with the fact that they’ve just been caught NOT LISTENING!

How to teach your man to listen – is anyone writing about that? Podcasting about it?  I’m going to google it.

Until then, Brian suggests I make more girlfriends.  They’re better listeners, he says.

He is so smart.

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Working Weekend

Claire loving the splash park

Case avoiding the splash park

Sleepy Claire with Daddy at Walmart (no one really likes grocery shopping…)

For stay-at-home-moms with young children (my only experience is with children 2 1/2 and younger) Saturdays and Sundays are often very similar to the other days of the week.  We wake up, not when our alarm goes off, but when one of our children’s content babblings turn into full-blown screaming.  We put on our ‘work’ clothes or what I refer to as my uniform (also it’s not hot) – nike running shorts, a sports bra and a tank top.  And except for the presence of our significant other there  to <perhaps> participate in childrearing/keeping one eye on child while also browsing the internet while sitting on the couch, these days off are like most every other day.

Since Brian has been living in DC during the week however, our Saturdays and Sundays have definitely been more special and different.  The weekends have turned into a time for us to reconnect as a family unit and for Brian to get as much lovin’ in as he can on these kids before he leaves for five more days.  Also, I allow him to get as much lovin’ in on me as he can too.

The weekends have become more special and different, but also pretty trying too. Mostly because, and I feel bad even thinking this, let alone actually writing on here for the world to see (but I’m doing it anyway…)- I just want to be alone! I miss my husband and our family time, but  I don’t want to reconnect as a family unit for two days straight .  I want to disconnect (for at least two hours) and be alone.  Come Friday afternoon,  I ache for someone who shares (equally) the responsibiltiy for our children, so, for example, if I have to pee, I don’t have to leave the door open and hope that no one falls and gets a concussion or worse while I’m relieving myself!  Or, if I need to shower I don’t need to plan it days in advance and write it down on my to-do list (alright people, I can sense judgement brewing and yes, you’re right, hygiene should probably be higher on my priorities list – maybe when my husband lives with me it will be bumped up since, as many of you know personally, he does not have a filter and will certainly let me know if my odor or greasy hair is bothering him).

Brian, I have to admit, is very understanding of my need for alone time now (now that he’s moving home in less than two weeks!) and tries to offer it to me when he can.   He wakes up at 6 a.m. with Claire and offers to ‘babysit’ while I go run errands (by myself). [Side note – when you’re watching your OWN kids, it’s not called babysitting, it’s called parenting.] But, since he’s only home for a short time I feel guilty not being with him (also, I like hanging out with him ’cause I picked him to spend the rest of my life with, ya know). But I get overwhelmed when I layer in all that we try to accomplish with Case (while one of us is giving him our undivided attention) on the weekends and my accompanying mommy guilt about not working enough with him and you’ve got yourself a recipe for some prime self-loathing. This balancing act of trying to be a good wife, mother and oh, yeah, just be myself, you know, Caitlin? – It’s hard!

So, although my weekends are no longer a ‘real’ break from my ‘work week’, at least in the same way they were when I worked outside the home and didn’t have kids, they are special and they’re really good when I get both my alone time AND my family quality time.

Anyone else sympathize with the ‘working weekend’ rut?  What do you do to mix it up on the weekends and find balance?

<<P.S.  Yes, Brian is done with his work in DC and is moving back to Yorktown to work on his next steps for his entrepreneurial pursuits!  He will be home by the end of next week.  And just in the nick of time too as Case has taken to picking up anything that looks even remotely like a phone (like the TV remote), holding it up to his ear and saying, “Daddy”. I’m so looking forward to a time when Case doesn’t associate Daddy with phone calls!>>

He’s fine

We’ve had a lot of people concerned about Case given my second to last post that included all the gory photos of his head wound (I’ll stop wondering, now, why people perhaps may have been worried).

He’s fine.  Fine like when we tell him he’s fine when he accidentally trips in the grass and falls on his cushioned bum and doesn’t hurt himself, or wakes up in the middle of night for no reason and cries, or fine like when his sister takes whatever toy he has in the weak grip of his hands.  He is just fine.

He’s also handsome, as ever.

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Ok, so two things of note in the photo above:

1.  His wound is on the left side of his head (on the right in the photo) and is covered very well by his long hair, but it is small and has healed perfectly!

2.  He’s wearing big boy undies!  We’re in the midst of potty training.  Good news is I can’t remember the last time I changed one of his poopy diapers.  Bad news is I can very vividly remember (ahem, yesterday) when I took him upstairs to take off his wet undies and get on a new pair.  And since he’s not so great with  communicating, I’m doing a lot of just sitting him on the potty and….. waiting……….

Patience is one of the highest virtues.

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One more photo

I had to share this one last (auto setting) photo of Case at Bluebird Gap Farm (a free ‘zoo’) in Hampton, VA, just a few minutes from Brian’s parents house.   Brian and I  took Case and Claire there a couple of weekends ago (when it was actually really cold here in Virginia not like now when it’s 80 and sunny!).

You get what you pay for I guess (as the place wasn’t all that impressive, note I did not include a link to their website), but we did get to show Case a REAL cow, and sheep, and llama (not that we’re quizzing him on identification of llamas and their sounds these days, but the others we are) and so it was nice to be able to show him that those ‘things’ that we’re painstakingly making him identify over and over again in his books and puzzles actually do exist in real life.

He got a kick out of the goats especially and in the photo below he’s just been nibbled by the sheep behind him.

 

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[Look at the happiness on his face in that photo.  If I could bottle up the joy he exudes I definitely would (mostly so I could give it back to myself when we’ve had a hard day or we’re practicing going up the stairs for the upteenth time!).]

 

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