Joy: $1 well spent

Little A was a trooper this morning, running a bajillion errands with me, so I “splurged” on a little wooden number that she fell in love with at the last store. One whole dollar. I then ignored the siren call of my To Do list and did nothing but sat and watched her little artist self paint like the wind. And give a cheerful chattery stream-of-consciousness monologue about colors and babies and birthdays. It was adorable. My kids are growing up too fast.

Then we had sandwiches for lunch.

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Joy: a coupla days off…kind of…

Dear Camera,

I know you like to play hide-and-seek. You’re very good at it, and we all know it. I suppose it was kind of cute on Saturday when I couldn’t find you. Sunday wasn’t a huge deal, either, if I’m being honest. But it’s Monday now — Monday night, even — and I’m starting to think that your absence isn’t as funny as you seem to think it is. In fact, I’m downright annoyed. Because a photo-less blog by any other name…well, the name is “Crap.”

So. Be a sport and come out of your hiding spot, and we’ll be friends again. K?

Like an 8-year-old neighborhood kid ready to call it a night, I holler with a crackling voice: Olly-olly-in-come-freeeeeeee…

Love, Brittney

p.s. Your lengthy hideout doesn’t have anything to do with my online perusal of other, more expensive cameras, does it? Because I didn’t mean it! I swear!

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Joy: imaginations gone wild

It’s hard to capture the sound of kid gut-laughter, slash, giggle overflow in a photo. That’s actually my #1 joy of this friend-filled half-school-and-no-kindergarten-at-all day. But a close second is listening to the playtime of 3 adorably imaginative little girls. Involving a fabric “house” over the dining table, a blanket for carpet, barbies, toy food, sleepover gear, dressups, polly pockets, and lots of use of the words “mother” and “princess” and “baby.”

So. Not bad for a second-place joy. And it’s a good thing there’s two joys today, because I’ve done about 13 loads of laundry to counterbalance. Actually…I better be on the hunt for some more smile-makers. Because I’m stinking sick of laundry.

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Joy: perfectly golden buttered toast

I don’t know about you all, but I’m a 75% fan of sourdough bread. I usually think it’s great, but sometimes it just doesn’t hit the spot like other breads. (Read: cinnamon swirl, sour cream & pecan, pumpk chocolate chip…you get the idea.) Today, however, the toasted slices hit the spot like popsicles on a hot summer’s day, or chapstick on sunburned lips, or BBC’s Pride & Prejudice anytime you have 5 hours to spare.

This snack brought me an embarrassing amount of pleasure today. So much so that I couldn’t even be bothered to get myself a plate. Could barely take the time to set the toast on the table and snap a pic before gobbling them up. Passersby peering through the windows shortly thereafter may or may not have seen a large-bellied woman in her early 30s shamelessly licking crumbs off the table. I’ll never tell.

Speaking of: is it normal that food brings about so much joy on a day-to-day basis? Because I seem to be categorically shifting into a “foodie blog” here. Heh.

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Joy: Memories of delicious stuff

I have the best friends in the world, a fact that stands alone in the determination of a day’s (life’s?) experience of joy. But when one such friend spontaneously pops by with a candied apple gift, what can I say? She wins, my stomach wins, and my memory of yesterday’s deliciousness wins. Trifecta of joy.

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Joy: Home

I’m feeling a little tender today, friends. On a simplistic level, and for the purposes of checking off “blog” box on my to-do list, I felt joy today sitting on the couch this morning with my youngest daughter, looking at the wall that you see in the photo above (and, subsequently, the mirror reflection of the trees through the large front window).

So. Blog: check. But in conjunction with watching the wall in peaceful quiet this morning, allow me to wax self-indulgent for a minute.

Our 3-year-old, little A., relapsed into fever and intense sickness yesterday. A doctor’s appointment this morning revealed yet another kidney infection (the second one, or maybe the same one continued, in under 2 weeks). Which is weird typing that, because it’s so factual, and those of you reading it probably ingest it as such, maybe feel a pang of pity, and continue on your way. Which is what I would do, too.

You wouldn’t have any way of knowing the gratitude I’ve felt yesterday and today that this little girl has a safe, warm, loving home to curl up and feel sick in. Or that she has parents who lie awake at night worrying about and checking up on her and siblings who pray for her. Or that she can cry to her sympathetic dad in the early morning hours and snuggle with her sympathetic mom in a foreign medical clinic environment.

Reading the factual statement above, you wouldn’t have any way of knowing the bittersweet tears I fought back as she looked squarely at me in the clinic restroom and, no doubt mistaking the worry on my face, promised, “I won’t trow up dis time, mommy.” Or when she found out she needed another painful shot and nodded, tightening her grip around me, when I asked her if she could be brave one more time. Or when her tears squeezed out, staring helplessly and painfully and accusingly into my eyes, as I carefully held her down to receive said shot.

You wouldn’t have any way of knowing that I completely failed to fight back tears at all in the quiet of the exam room with her face tucked carefully into her blankie on my chest. Or that, almost before her kidneys had even been deemed the potential problem, I was already planning out how — not if, but how — one of my own kidneys would fit into her little body, and should they take it out before, during, or after my unborn baby’s delivery. Or that I caught a glimpse of our reflection in the mirror on the back of the door — she in pain but clinging to someone she trusts and loves, me worried but cradling her as comfortably as I knew how — and immediately thought of God and His sorrow yet infinite caring for each of His children in and through their individual pains.

She’ll be fine, I’m sure. It’s just hard to helplessly watch a little body be in so much hurt…especially when it happens to be a little body that grew inside of you in the first place. And this is even a relatively small thing. Most likely treatable. So many people, probably you, have endured so much more through their children. I’m in awe of you.

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Joy: Unexpected gifts

My sweet 7-year-old burst through the door after walking home from school. “MOM! I got you a PRESENT!” (pause while he dug through his backpack, then:) “I found it on the way home from school, and I asked the people who lived in the house on that yard if it was theirs and they said no and that I could KEEP it!!!”

He proudly presented me with this plastic bird. I tried to match his enthusiasm in my receipt. I’m sure I fell short.

Son: “I know how you like pets that are quiet and not messy, so when I saw this, I knew it would be PERFECT for you.”

Hard to beat a perfectly-given gift, eh? I hung the bird (with fishing line…by its neck…shhhh) in an empty decorative bird cage and felt joy.

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Joy: Spontaneity

The kids insisted on setting up the hammock on this beautiful afternoon. I couldn’t resist snapping a pic or two because they were so happy and cute…

…for about 5 minutes, until they started squooshing and kicking and annoying each other and running in yelling tattles about each other and leaving allllllll their stuff out in the hammock for my husband to clean up later.

So, despite the above photographic evidence to the contrary, what actually brought me joy today was eating chocolate fondue with fruit. Until my daughter drooled choco-drool over the fruit platter. But still. Until then, very joyful.

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Joy: Au natural

It doesn’t always happen, but today’s family nature walk was highly successful. Translation: during the gorgeous weather, my family (check) drove to a spot where nature is (check) and everyone walked (check). Boom. 100%. It was closer to 67% success for a while there when our 3-year-old, who is notorious for being highly energetic and independent EXCEPT whilst hiking, started bawling about wanting to be carried back.

Instead, we made her walk and distracted her with about 1400 verses of “Down by the Bay.”

(Maybe carrying her would’ve been less painful for everyone than the broken-recordness of that song. Dah well. We’re building character here, which always involves suffering at some level, right? Right.) It was, in all honesty, a perfectly lovely outing on a perfectly lovely day.

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Joy: three-eyed whales

I was doing just fine until my husband popped open a bag of Cheetos, of which I’m not normally a fan at all but which for some unexplainable reason called my name loudly and repeatedly and deliciously.

Which actually has nothing to do with today’s joy (heartfelt, imaginative, and awesome kid art). It’s merely a little insight for you all into how fickle I am these days, even about important things like “Is showering every day REALLY necessary?” and “Exercise. Meh.”

And Cheetos consumption. At least they’re the crunchy, condensed kind. Fickle or no, I have my standards.

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