Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Simple Joys

Welcome to the first Simple Joys of 2012 on Chief 187™Chatter. The Christmas holidays are finally over and, no matter how well I thought I had prepared myself, I let circumstances get out of control. Although I am fairly stable the whole year through, having a houseful of people who I perceive rely on me for everything from entertainment to meals, gifts to counsel, and anything and everything in between, I get worn out. In addition, communication

between my husband and me hits an all-time low and that makes for trouble with a capital T. A few hours ago I thought about skipping this week’s Simple Joys, something I have never done since beginning the feature a year ago. But, just when I thought there was nothing to write about, my world came back into orbit and life became peaceful. Once the atmosphere cleared and I had a better perspective I saw that my days were still filled with wondrous Simple Joys that salvaged and enhanced the Christmas Week. Now, without further ado, is this week’s Simple Joys.

Post-Christmas Shopping. I’m one of those people; I shop starting December 26th in preparation for December 25th of the following year. I bargain hunt and feel victorious when I score a perfectly great gift for a loved one at a reduced (I mean heavily reduced) price. Certainly I pick up some wrapping paper, gift tags, and Christmas napkins, but mostly I’m scouring the shelves for ideal gifts for next year. I shop big but bring home mounds of presents to be used throughout the year and especially for next year’s Christmas. By buying during the huge after-Christmas sales I can be generous to my family but also to many others who I enjoy gifting. Once I get home I write everything down in my Gift Journal. I write the item and who I intend it for if I know. This allows me to see a running tally of my inventoried gifts and helps me from over-buying for one person and not enough for another. I am certain I truly save money and can be overly generous from my shopping excursions post-Christmas. Taking part in this yearly activity is a Simple Joy that keeps me happy and in the Christmas spirit all the yearlong!

Tree gazing. I adore our Christmas tree. It is filled with glorious memories, sweet mementos, and priceless treasures made from the hands of our children. The glow that emanates from the room is soft and heavenly when the tree is lit, but it is a scene I take in all too infrequently during the season. With so much to do before Christmas and the hectic schedule we keep, I rarely stop to sit and adore our lovely Christmas tree. Once Christmas is over, the frantic pace relaxes, and the major entertaining is over, I love to sit quietly in the Christmas tree room and let the beauty wash over me and the serenity set in completely. Taking those precious moments to bask in the glory of our Christmas tree is a Simple Joy I hope I will never tire and always take time.

Donating. We used to comb through the house yearly and donate a bag or two of out-grown clothes to the Good Will/Salvation Army. In recent years with the addition of babies in 2006 and 2009 I had fallen far behind in my gathering and donating. Bags meant for donating made it to the basement and sat, obstructing pathways and taunting me whenever I went downstairs which is quite frequently. Finally over the Christmas break my husband and I gathered the bags in our van, bundled the children, and drove to the Salvation Army collection center. We unloaded no less than seventeen bags of clothing. At first it was difficult to part with baby clothes, maternity clothes, and some clothing my husband and I had out-grown, but when I saw the need and the appreciation for our donation, I only felt warm and content. Giving is a Simple Joy that never gets old; I’m already planning this year’s donations!

New Year’s Eve. Last year my oldest waited up until midnight to see the ball drop in Time’s Square. This year, determined to make it again, my son announced he would be staying up. His brother, five, declared the same. I was game; if the children wanted to reach this milestone, I wasn’t going to stop them! My husband, suffering from a bad bout, went to bad at 11pm, but the boys and I stayed awake. First we watched Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, a Rankin/Bass animated special that was good but made me sleepy. When that ended we merely had fifteen minutes to reach our goal. We watched the musical guests Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest had on the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve program and then listened to inane interviews with the revelers in Time’s Square and the resolutions of the musicians/performers. In the last minutes of 2011 I told my boys to say good-bye to the year. My oldest teared up in the final seconds. When I inquired as to why he was upset my son plaintively replied, “I’m not ready to say good-bye to 2011!” That choked me up; this child was exactly like me, especially at that age. I never liked to bid farewell to the old. I held my arms out to this sensitive and over-tired boy and held him as he wept tears of exhaustion and trepidation. My middle child just rolled his five-year-old eyes at us as we cried and he stated, “Why am I the youngest and the only one not crying?!” He won’t understand that the tears I was crying were of the Simple Joys brought on by a bond between my son and me and helplessness and resignation that I cannot shield him from change. Once we had a good night’s sleep we both felt much more optimistic about the opportunities 2012 hold for both of us. That, too, was a Simple Joy!

Big Girl Bed. For nearly a month my daughter has been climbing out of her crib when she was finished sleeping. In the very beginning she would unceremoniously tumble out of the crib and sort of “thunk” to the ground. After falling a couple of times she perfected her dismount out of the crib and gracefully climbed down to the ground with nary a scratch every time. Even though her escape was near perfect, I still worried that something could go wrong and the time had come for the child to have her first big girl bed. We chose the mattress and box spring, converted her “Crib-to-College” crib into a headboard and frame, and picked out cheery and girly bedding. While waiting for delivery (scheduled for tomorrow) we threw the crib mattress into the open space of the full-sized frame. Our daughter giggled and took to her new set up instantly; I can only hope the transition will be as seamless when the mattress finally arrives. No matter, unlike her oldest brother, this child welcomes change head on with a twinkle in her eye and a smirk on her lips! Watching my little baby girl grow into an adventurous and excited “big girl” is a daily Simple Joy!

I feel it vital to relay to you how relieved and grateful I am for Simple Joys. It was becoming a fright for me that, in my current mood with this deadline looming, that I would have “literally nothing to write about” as I lamented sourly to my husband a few hours before typing this post. But, once the lines of communication finally opened completely between he and I, the resentments had been hashed out and discussed thoroughly, and I had some time to breathe, I was able to look back upon the week and easily pinpoint the Simple Joys that made the week sparkle. Whether you, like me, prefer to write down your Simple Joys or you are pleased to just silently think about them, I hope conjuring up the Simple Joys of your past week brings you much happiness and perspective. I thank you all for letting me share my Simple Joys with you and invite you back each Tuesday for another edition of Simple Joys.

Please join me tomorrow as I wax poetic on yet another topic on Chief 187™Chatter.


  1. There have been many simple joys over the past couple of weeks but the outstanding one is seeing the new shoots on a plum tree that I replanted late last year.

    The tree is special because the cutting for it was taken from a tree on the farm where I was born in Germany :-)

    Happy New Year Chief 187™

  2. A great list of things to be happy about, Candice. I particularly resonate to the Christmas tree part: unlike many, we do not pull down the decorations and drag the tree to the curb on December 26th so our house can "get back to normal". We'll leave ours up until, oh, maybe April. :-) (Well, mid January anyway)

  3. Congratulations R! Big girl!

    I have the plan to turn my "Hoarders" closet BACK to the way "it should be" and make the large donation pile in the corner of my bedroom disappear. Can't wait. The freeness that comes from purging the house gives me a high. I love it!

    My simple joy for this week was actually this morning. I got a new car for kinda' Christmas... but that isn't the Simple Joy. The Simple Joy is the little luxury that came with the car. A HEATED STEERING WHEEL!!! I drove my daughter to school today & the outside temp read 24. THAT was awesome to have a nice warm steering wheel instead of trying to drive with the tips of my fingers because I couldn't handle the cold wheel. :)

    Happy New Year Candice... Many blessings & good fortune for you and your family! ((HUGS))

  4. We tend to leave all our Christmas decorations up until Jan 6 - the 12th day of Christmas! No special significance other than, why not? And I've always Hated NYE. I even remember during high school attending a party across the street, and coming home at 11:30pm or so. I went straight to bed.

  5. One of my first simple joys of the year...photographing a lone lemon on my tree! Happy New Year!

  6. WOW... May I suggest you write about "Self Imposed Pressures That The Holidays Bring" next year? You may be the HOST, but don't feel you are responsible for 'Each Invited Individual's Ability To Partake and Enjoy The Festivities You Have Planned'. As A HOST, all you can do is provide a place for people you invite, to share the "Holiday Spirit" with all the other guests you have invited. (Chances are, you have doubled, tripled or...... the amount of people that some of those guest would have shared Christmas with, if you had not invited them.)
    As Far as "LACK OF COMMUNICATION" between You and "The ONE You Love", With all the PRESSURE that "FEMALES" put on themselves during the holiday season,(From making sure each child gets an equal share of the $ amount, to making sure everyone will like his or her gift, to worrying about filling each persons stocking, Or thinking 'will this person be happy with opening one gift worth X Dollars, while their younger sibling opens 5X that many' for the same money, to feeling guilty about Aunt ABC or Cousin XYZ spending Christmas alone, to choosing 'Potato Chips' or 'Pretzels' and which dip will not spoil their dinner... AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON. (I think you get the idea)
    It is just like a 'Crew Chief' to want to "Micro- Manage". RACER I give you credit for KNOWING when to take 'A Step Back'!!!!
    Don't You Worry, Even when the 'Crew Chief' is worrying about one loose lug nut, it is because they "See The Big Picture" and want to control as much as possible to get the BEST RESULT. Just as "A Racer will ALWAYS have 'Faith In' and 'RELY On' his "Crew Chief" to produce the best finish when He has given "HIS BEST".
    NEW YEARS EVE 2012..... You find out .... WOW... "Cats In The Cradal" (He has grown up just like me) If he HAS grown up 'Just Like You', I look forward to hearing all the GREAT THINGS IN HIS FUTURE!!!! (He could have done a lot worse than to follow 'You')
    Since your youngest has "PERFECTED" her "DISMOUNT" .... Save all you can because that 'Russian Gymnast Trainer' for NADIA COMANICA Doesn't come cheap!!!! (These are the jokes)
    I am guessing, but I think that Racer is smart enough to give you enough space to let you drive yourself crazy during the "Holidays",(It's Jan 4th, you can admit you get a little bit crazy during the holidays). Yet he knows how much You have done to make other people and also when to step in and bring you back to every day reality while telling you that you made so many people happy during the 'Holiday Season'.
    HAPPY NEW YEAR... And Best Wishes To ALL The 187's During 2012!!!!