We were super lucky last weekend and hit the weather jackpot. Sunshine. Lots of sunshine with temps in the 60’s. It was a perfect weekend to explore our neighborhood. We recently found out about some local county parks that boast easy trails along the water. Finding something scenic in New Jersey is no easy feat. Trust me.
We were pretty fortunate to run across a site dedicated to South Jersey Trails. I had been looking for a comprehensive site for quite some time and had been pretty unsuccessful until I stumbled across this gem. A guy from New Jersey hiking and reviewing trails….with a toddler in tow. Perfect. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. If you have a toddler, live in New Jersey or wonder what else you can do on Saturday other than go to Target, than you should check out this site.
We stopped by Amico Island and did an easy 4 mile hike while the toddler spent the better portion of the morning napping. We looped around the trails twice and stopped to hunt deer tracks for a while. The hunting paid off as we lucked out and easily spotted a pack of more than 20 deer grazing. I was feeling pretty grateful at the time that my toddler was sleeping as to not frighten the little white tailed beauties.
Excuse the grain but this is all you get. I am sure if you squint really hard though you can make out the deer, no?
The following day, we took the toddler out for a nature walk. This time we let him run wild on the trails. It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend. I am looking forward to more weekends like this.
Last May, I started the C25K and ran my face off over the summer. As a result of all the running, nursing and lack of proper nutrition, I was dehydrated. I gained 45 lbs when I was pregnant but lost a whopping 60 lbs last summer. It was not intentional. My hair was falling out. My clothes were falling off. I felt fine though. I didn’t even recognize how much stress my body was under. I didn’t run to lose weight. I ran to improve my physical and mental health but failed miserably.
I was stuck last summer.
Lately, I have been stuck on the rest cycle and I’m okay with it. The winter was long and cold. I loved it. I ran intermittently whenever the mood struck which was rare. I took a long break from running. I actually contemplated giving up running.
Then, spring came knocking at my door. I answered. I find that we are spending more of our days outside now. My son could possibly spend all day, every day outside. It doesn’t matter whether we are raking leaves, hanging out in the yard, taking a walk in the stroller, exploring nature or running rampant on the playground. The outcome is always the same: sheer joy!
So, I have decided to pick up where we left off last summer and start running again. We have already hit the trails running. It is just as good as I remembered it.
My 17 month old fancies his cousins quite a bit. His cousins are significantly older than him. His cousins are teenagers. They have their own friends, own sports, hobbies, homework and interests. One even has her license and her very own car now. They are just your typical teenagers with extraordinary love.
I have been witness to the relationships and bonds that are being formed between these much older teenagers and my 17 month old. It is amazing to say the least. I have watched as his cousins have held his hand and walked him down the sidewalk. Have chased him through open fields. Have protected him from injury. Have helped him climb the jungle gym and subsequently helped him down the slide. Have helped him experience the love of family.
I feel so extremely fortunate for my child that he is surrounded by so much love.
It is 10 o’clock on Friday night. The little one just fell asleep. He will be up by no later than 7am tomorrow morning. I suspect that he will be up in a few hours first though to start the beginning of our night which eventually bleeds into the next day. Somewhere around 12:30 tomorrow afternoon, he will go down for a nap where he will spend two hours peacefully sleeping. He will wake up and we will start the afternoon together. Around 7:30 tomorrow night, we will wind down and get ready to head up for a bath and then bed. Bedtime will commence somewhere between 8pm and 10pm. The night will bleed into the next day and it will start all over again.
There are still only 24 hours in a day. How I choose to spend those hours seems significantly different to me though. My days and nights are spent with my sidekick. Most days are busy, hectic and fun. Most nights have been busy, hectic and less than fun. Some nights have included sleep. Most have not. There are so few hours in my day anymore that don’t include my sidekick. During those few hours, I find that the last thing I want to do is fire up the internet. My time here has been far and few between. I don’t know how that will evolve or where it is headed but in the meantime, I will continue to follow my sidkick’s lead.
Most people count down each week until the arrival of the weekend. In my house, I count down each weekend until the arrival of Monday. True story.
Each weekend here is met with craziness and chaos. Nights are met with sleeplessness. Afternoons are napless. Breakfast arrives early. Dinner is served late. There are a lot of errands run and walks taken while rooms are turned upside down inside out while renovations are being completed.
Each weekend, I long for the slow steady rhythm of Monday to roll around so we can get back on track. Mondays are for early breakfasts, long naps and finding our way back to our routines.
This past weekend was riddled with three long nights of sleeplessness. I was exhausted and frustrated. I was mean to my family. I had just published a post on missing those newborn sleepless nights and here I was cursing myself for ever wishing for such a thing. I try so hard to enjoy my time with my little guy but sometimes it is hard. It is harder than I ever imagined it would be. Harder than I thought possible. There are some days when I don’t know how we survive. Like magic, we always do though.
Just when I started using phrases like “you’ll drive me to drink” (which happens to be one of my favorite sayings from my own childhood), I stumbled upon 100 happy days. Just a simple website designed to encourage noticing the small things in our day to day existence that make us happy because honestly everyday is not all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes we have to work a little harder to find the happy.
The truth is I am never to busy to be happy. I am never to busy to play with my son or enjoy him. In fact, I am extremely blessed with a husband who reminds me often that my only job right now is my son. The house, the laundry, the grocery shopping, the dinner….none of that stuff matters. It will all get done eventually and in the meantime I should rock my son, nurse my son, go for a run, take a nap, take a shower or do whatever needs to be done to make me a better mom. I don’t always listen. I don’t always hear him in the the thick of it all but when calmness replaces the chaos, I can hear clearly. He wants us to be happy. I am fortunate.
I am doing the #100happydays challenge on Instagram right now. Just a snapshot of something in each day that brings a little sunshine to my life. You can follow me on my Instagram account at superfreshbabypants to see my happy place each day. Better yet, you can join me in the challenge to find your happy in each day.