I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness and joy lately. Is it weird to say that I’m serious about my happiness? About the happiness of my family? About teaching these boys to live life in big, happy gulps sprinkled with please, oh please, let’s not take this for granted?

For we are rich. And I’m not just talking about who lives in my house – but all of us. We are rich in our relationships and in love. We live like kings in this endless sunshine, big ol’ expanse of blue sky, and the opportunity, every morning, to wake up and smile sleepy smiles either across our pillows or when we run out of our rooms to see what awaits us on this new day.

It’s all about the small things. The mundane things. The things that might go unnoticed but for those moments that we stop and breathe for just a minute and look around. Smell the air. Take off our shoes and wiggle our toes in the sand or grass or carpet or…oh for the love of Pete just wiggle something!

A new friend and I were talking the other day about bloggers. About how friends of hers who blogged used their space as sort of a diary to process what stuff they were processing. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, too. How this blog, originally intended to let our families get to know our boys and cyber-spy on their lives, has become something more. It’s that time of the day or week when we step back from school and sports and work and the-things-that-might-not-be-working-out-so-well and say, “You know what? Life is good. And we are precious.”

And I remember. Happiness. Joy. I feel it. It is present and past and future.

Some days, happiness is a decision. Some days, it is fleeting. But on those days, it’s just getting covered up with muck that doesn’t matter, really.

What happiness did this weekend hold? First, very happy news. The wee one and his buddy/nemesis neighbor have been working it out. The Lodar doesn’t go off as much these days, and we’ve been noticing some shared snacks (willingly!) and even caught some lovin’.


Second, a jog-a-thon. Little five- and six-year-olds ran their hearts out, around and around and around while their crazy parents hollered at them and for them.

Ours, in particular, stretched out a bit pre-run,


Put on his game face,


And then ran. He ran and ran and ran, about 11 laps around this field he went.


Thought I was watching a remake of Forest Gump.

And I made a sign. Some said, “What a great Mom,” blah, blah, blah, but if you really know me, you are well aware that while I do love making my boys feel good and special, I’m also looking to the future, for the day when they are mortified that their Mom was the one who embarrassed them relentlessly with stuff like this.

That’s how I define joy. The level of mortification of my children.

But they will never doubt my love for them.


Oh, yes. THIS sign will last a while. I can recycle this baby. It’s even got a handle on it so I can really lift it high and shake it around. A lot.

And when I felt the urge to run to a different spot on the field to take pictures, I left my friend in charge of the sign.


She’s so petite that the sign has her completely hidden, which is why Hank is laughing, but oh man, did she do me proud.

Number three on our happiness list this week? Another mini-vaca, this time to Salida and a stop-off at some hot springs at Mt. Princeton.

Someone is a busy little bee, wanting to be much bigger and taller than he is…


And someone is also very loved by big bro.


Some other someones had a pumping contest.



And a pony race. At night. And I have no idea how to properly use my new flash, yet… argh.


But it didn’t matter much. Because after that pony race, I listened to an oration. It was of thankfulness and my-heart-is-so-full-of-smiles and this-is-the-best-trip-ever. That little big man is a fine, fine, fine deliverer of the best speeches ever.



And then we splurged on delicious pizza and went to bed, in the comfy coziness of the best cabin ever.


That golden morning light woke us up slowly to all of this:




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Freaky friendly funny bear.


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After a full morning and partial afternoon of exploring and rock throwing and snacking and walking, we pitched our gear back into the 4runner and headed northwest. I think. Whichever direction we went in, we ended up at a path that led to some hot springs, and yes, we followed our leader and leapt down the stairs.


We did NOT, however, participate in his funky dance. We instead lounged like lizards on rocks and dipped our toes, then feet, then unmentionables into those luscious pools of water.





Oh dear.

Remember how this post began? All about happiness and joy? Our time at the hot springs did not end in happiness and joy. It ended…in…doom and despair.

See this?

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After numerous pleadings of please-don’t-throw-your-flip-flops and then retrieval of said flip flops,


He discovered that a flip flop thrown too far and into the river goes the way of the-river-meeting-the-sea. Oh tears and sadness, and hard, hard lesson.

the end.jpg

Ol’ Shoeless Shoe there had weeped a sad farewell to that flip flop as we started our journey back home.

But he did not lament for long. We made up a story about that shoe and the ensuing journey it was on. Started out something like, “There once was a flip flop” and ended up with a big shark-bite ending.

See? Happiness. Sometimes, you just go with the flow. Or the current. Or the way of the flip flop gone rogue. You just never about that journey and where it leads.

Just watch out for sharks.