May 12, 2020

Memories in the Making

3 Tips to Add Some Positivity to Your Day...

Right now, we are about 9 weeks into the "quarantine". Schools have been closed since March 15, restaurants, non-essential stores and churches have been shut down without any hope of reopening any time soon. But this post isn't about the politics or views of re-openings or the opinions from all of the information presented in the media that is true or untrue. This post is focusing on US... as families, couples and individuals, trying to navigate through these unchartered waters.

It's so easy to fall into the trap of negativity. Lord knows I have my moments, hours and even days where I think I'm going to lose my ever loving mind. Trying to "teach" a first grader while keeping a three year old occupied is so hard sometimes (major props to those of your with multiple school aged children!). Focusing is always an issue because there are the distractions at home that school doesn't have. And don't think for a second that I don't Google first grade schoolwork (enter "what is a closed syllable"). Plus keeping up with the housework, meals, working on the "business" end of my photography and my part time job as a dialysis RN keeps me busier than I ever expected. Some days to the point of being completely overwhelmed. This morning, I was looking forward to making these lemon blueberry pancakes. I mixed the batter last night and couldn't wait to try them this morning. They were a TOTAL disaster. I am not sure what happened but they weren't even edible. Instead of getting mad, I erased that recipe from my pinterest folder, vowed to never make that one again and moved on to our backup of frozen french toast sticks.

It's usually at night though, after the boys are sleeping soundly that I study their sweet faces and wonder if I was enough for them that day. It's nighttime when I realize that to make it through these strange times that I need to shift my attitude and perspective. It's not until nighttime when Eugene and I finally have a few minutes to sit down and catch up on a tv show or just talk without interruption about our day. These days, no doubt, are challenging. And the challenging part of these days is what inspired me to write this post. Each and every day that we are healthy and our families are healthy is a gift from God. So I have come up with a few ways to add some positivity to your day! It's not a laundry list of to-do items but a way to remember these times in a more positive light.

  1. The "Can't Wait To" Jar: we have caught ourselves throughout the stay at home orders saying "I can't wait to"... so we thought, why not write those things down and put them in a safe place? We encourage the kids when they have a thought of something that they want to do to write it down, place it in the jar and then when it's safe, we can do those things! Some examples are... we can't wait to go to Mass, volunteer at church, see our families and friends, go on a vacation, etc. The jar is visible on our fireplace mantel so when we think of something, it's easy to add that to it. We make it colorful and add stickers and "can't wait to" do these things!
  2. Memory Book: I take a TON of photos (surprise, surprise!). I thought, "how can I organize everything that's going on so that when we look back on this time we can have some good memories"? If you have a photo app that stores photos, like Shutterfly, they make it easy to organize the memories. I take most of my photos with my phone so I created an album from the app and then transfer all photos to that album. What's nice about Shutterfly's photo albums are the ease of use and the ability to add text as well. We have been tracking everything we have been doing such as games played during family time, movies watched (the Disney + app has been a life saver), art projects, school work (because of course I want to remember what that first grade math homework entailed!), meals we have cooked, walks, bike rides etc. It seems like a lot of work but it really only takes a few minutes once a week or so to upload. Aiden (our 7yo) is excited to help plan the layout of the book and add his memories as well. Ethan will need a little more help but his input is welcome from his 3yo perspective and I'm excited to hear what he has to say!
  3. Be Grateful: I know it seems so simple and possibly overstated on every single blog that boasts to have a positive attitude. But being grateful WORKS. Repeatedly being grateful for things causes a shift in attitude. Every time we have a negative thought, we try out best to replace it with gratitude. Aiden always states "I wish I was in school". I recognize his feelings, empathize with him and then remind him that while we all wish the kids were in school, we are so very lucky to have amazing teachers who pour their heart and soul into this new found online learning. Other times, I catch myself being upset at our cancelled vacation plans this summer. I would give just about anything to go SOMEWHERE. But then I think of those who are sick, have lost family members or those who are working on the front lines and haven't even seen their families in weeks. I bring myself back down to reality and I thank God that we are safe at home and plan to stay at home for the time being. The list can go on and on. If Eugene and I complain about the difficulties in our jobs, we remind each other that we are so very lucky to still be working as essential employees at this point and have the means to provide financial support to pay our bills.

I hope these simple ideas add some creativity to spark positivity in these uncertain times. If you have any ideas to share, please add them in the comments section of this post. I would love to hear what you have to say!! Stay safe and healthy my friends!!