Thursday, September 30, 2010

If You're Happy and You Know It

We did a quick photo shoot with the kiddos today. Sweet little munchkins. Here are some of my favorites:

Oh, and on another note, I saw this random article on yahoo, and who knows where all of this "research"/info comes from, but I thought it would be fun to assess how things add up for me in the happy department :) according to this article.

1)You were a smiley student

Adults with the biggest grins in their college yearbook pictures were up to 5 times less likely to be divorced decades later than those who looked less happy, according to a new DePauw University study. A smiler’s positive disposition may attract other happy people or rub off on a spouse.
*I was quite smiley in my year books thank you very much.

2)You have a sister

People with at least one female sibling report better social support, more optimism, and better coping abilities, according to a study presented at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference. Sisters appear to encourage communication and cohesion in families.
*I have 4 sisters. Score..... that must give me extra happiness points. It's true, having sisters is the best.

3)You're not glued to the TV

The happiest people spend 30% less time parked in front of the tube, according to a University of Maryland study that analyzed 34 years of data from more than 45,000 Americans. They’re more likely to spend time socializing, reading, or attending religious services—habits that are linked to better moods and health.
*We have no channels in our house, and I rarely watch t.v. shows online. I do however love me an online episode of "modern family."

4)You keep souvenirs on display

People who use mementos or photos to remind themselves of good times better appreciate their lives and are happier, says Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, a professor of psychology at University of California, Riverside. Good memories remind you of your “happiness potential” and promise that soon you can reach it again.
*I do have some souvenirs on display, but I am not much of a knick knack collecting kind of person... so maybe minus points for me? Chris has a lot of souvenirs on display, and he is quite the sentimental dude, so I guess he rules the happiness department in this area for our family.

5)You make exercise a priority

People who exercise more are less likely to be stressed and more likely to be satisfied with life, according to Danish researchers. Compared with sedentary people, joggers are 70% less likely to have high stress levels and life dissatisfaction, the study found. Couch potatoes who start moderate exercise—the equivalent of 17 to 34 minutes a day—experience the greatest happiness lift.
*I have been semi lameo this pregnancy in the exercise deparment, but I go walking with a neighbor, and in general, I am a pretty active person I would say.

6)You have a healthy love life

Physical intimacy is a key contributor to happiness, found a study by Dartmouth economist David Blanchflower, PhD, and Andrew Oswald, PhD, of England's University of Warwick. Married people report 30% more sex than singles, which may be one reason they also report being happier.
*I think I am doing pretty well in this department...especially for being 24 weeks pregnant. Enough (or maybe too much) said.

7)You hang out with happy people

Socializing with a cheerful person in your neighborhood increases the likelihood that you’ll be happy too, according to a new study. How often you get together matters most, say the researchers: People who live within half a mile of a buoyant buddy increase their odds of being happy by 42%. If the friend lives farther away (within a 2-mile radius), the chances drop to 22%—probably due to fewer get-togethers.
*I think I hang out with pretty happy people, and I have made a big effort lately to surround myself with positive happy people.

8)You stay warm with hot cocoa

Clutching a steaming beverage—coffee and tea also do the trick—can elicit a flood of positive feelings, according to a Yale University study. This may be because people associate physical warmth with emotional warmth, say the researchers. Study subjects held cups of either hot or iced coffee; those gripping warm mugs were more appreciative of friendliness in others and also felt more generous and trusting themselves.
*I love curling up at night to a cup of Trader Joe's herbal chai. It is soooo good.

9)You have two best friends

Among 654 married adults, those who said they had at least two “best friends” (not necessarily including one’s spouse) were likelier to have better mental well-being, says a study. But additional friends didn’t lead to any more happiness than just a pair.
*I do have at least a couple of best friends. I think that it is really interesting that having more than two good friends doesn't boost happiness.
There you have it folks. How did you rate your happiness after seeing these standards?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's Cool to Be Corny

Today the kids and I volunteered at local elementary school for the first time doing "taste tables." The program is sponsored through the Corvallis Environmental Agency, and it is awesome. Basically, once a month, through the help of volunteers, each elementary serves a new produce during lunch grown by a local farmer. The whole idea is to get the kids excited about trying new foods and to teach them about where our food comes from, and I saw today how peer pressure can be a positive thing. Kids who wouldn't try the corn on the cob today eventually came back after they saw that all of their friends were trying and enjoying it. Corn is definitely an easier veggie to get kids to try than some, but I was amazed at how much all of the kids liked it. Kids were eating so much and wanting more and more, so they eventually had to tell the kids no more and that they had to go to recess. The best part is how excited Sofia was about helping. She wanted to make signs and look the part of the veggie and felt so cool when she was complimented on her attire, and she was soooo into helping pass the food out to the big kids. Next months pick is apples, and she is already scheming what she will wear. Gabe was not so into helping, but he just sat on the floor the whole time eating corn and looking at books. We will keep doing this at least until the baby is born, but what a great experience for the whole familia.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hi, my name is Kara... and I'm a sucky blogger

Amazing how alike my kiddos look with a scowl on their faces. Maybe it is genetic :)??

Tonya and I at Lilith fair this summer. We got to see Sheryl Crow, Erika Badu, Colbie Callait etc... It was so fun.

Tonya's baby shower preparation.

One day Chris took the kiddos to the beach and aquarium so I could get stuff done at home all day.

Hello out there... whoo hoo... anybody there?? After a bit of encouragement, I am ready to come back to the world of blogging. Blogging is kind of like exercising. The more it is habit.. the easier it is, but when you have gone months and months without working out, and you can start to feel your bum jiggle when you run, it is overwhelming to think about getting in shape again. So.. I am not going to even attempt to do detailed catch up. I will just give you a summary, and I will be good to go. Here is what has been going on in our neck of the woods:
-Chris is a busy dude as usual. Finishing up his Maters, tons of photography, back to teaching full time now, and trying to cram in every spare second with us.
-Chris was named Oregon Bride Magazine's best photographer south of Portland for the state of Oregon, so that was pretty exciting.
-He is struggling trying to find balance in his life..trying to figure out if there are things that he can cut, and he is loving the time he does have in our house.
-We appreciate Chris so much, and I am hoping that finishing his masters will lighten his load at least a little. He is a great daddy and husband.
-I am now 22 weeks pregnant with baby numero 3. Ultrasound could not determine sex of baby as his/her legs were closed... so it will be a surprise. I am feeling more girlish vibes... so we shall see if I am correct!
-I have been quite the tired/crazy hormonal gal this pregnancy. I had my normal sickness like I did with my other pregnancies, and now that I am much better... I am trying harder to take care of myself (aka... no more greasy take out and a little exercise).
-I love how with each pregnancy, you can feel baby move earlier and earlier. This little baby is moving all of the time. I was kind of hoping for a more mellow baby this time, but I guess that mellow is not in our gene pool :). I love this little baby so much already, and the kiddos are so excited.
*In between trips and visits from family and friends this summer, I worked on gardening and chicken raising. Our chickens are now laying eggs, and I already have plans of things I will do differently in my garden next year. It was a really cold summer (and seems like it will be a cold fall??), so we had lot's of success with some foods in our garden, and not as much with others. Oh, and I didn't know this before... but rats and mice really love the rainy country of Corvallis. We have been at constant war getting rid of rats that try to eat chicken food. If you want to see pregnant Kara get really crazy.... get me talking about my rat phobias.
*I have also been chilling at home with the kiddos more and staying home reading most nights (another thing keeping me from blogging). I have read a lot of good books, and it has honestly felt really good to be less social and hyper.

-Sofia will start preschool next week, and she is so excited. It is a co-op, so I will be helping out a lot in the classroom. I am also very excited, because since I teach for LBCCC, I didn't have to pay anything for her preschool for the term, so that is very nice.
-I could get all teary eyed thinking about how much Sofia has grown in the last few months, but she is such a great kid. She has her moments of whininess (sometimes much longer than moments usually), but she is such a sensitive and thoughtful little gal. She is really concerned about justice in the world and she is deeply offended when someone litters or does anything to wrong another person. She is also very perceptive, and never forgets anything.
-The other day we were talking about how people used to be really mean to black people and other people who were different from them, and that some people are still like that today. She has been trying so hard to understand this and several times has made comments like: "Mommy, I don't get why people think that they are better than anyone else. I guess that they don't know about Jesus." She is constantly saying things that teach me about the kind of person that I want to be.
-Sofia loves the Beavers. Like a lot. She keeps saying that she is going to trick all of our duck friends/family and have them to come to a "duck party", but really it will be a Beaver party.. and then everyone will love the Beavers as much as her. She is very excited to go some games with Chris and Gabe (and I may even be dragged along to a football game).

-As always, Gabe keeps us on our toes. We are really experimenting with him trying to figure out what to do to get that kiddo to listen more. It is really interesting trying to figure this kiddos personality out.
-He will be 3 in a a few weeks. I can't believe that my baby is going to be 3!! I sometimes fee like I try keeping Gabe in a baby roll... because I know that once the new baby is born, he is going to seem even bigger.
-Gabe is always telling us that he loves us, and he loves Sofia so much. They are starting to fight a lot, which can be frustrating, but they really do play well together overall.
-Gabe is so sweetly sensitive (kind of like his padre). The other day I was talking to him in my mama monster voice, because he refused to help clean up toys, and after running away crying, he immediately asked for a hug and said, "Mama, it makes me sad when you talk in that mean voice." Talking about ripping my heart out.
-Gabe has an crazy active imagination. He is in his own world half or the day running around, reading, or playing make believe. It amazes me how crayons or any object all of a sudden comes to life with Gabe with a voice. It is really amusing to sit and watch him play.
-Gabe is extremely determined. If I put his shirt on when he wanted to do it himself, he will take everything off and put it all on himself again.
-Gabe has been potty trained for a month now.. can I hear an "Hallelujah!!" He is still in a pull up at night, but it feels so luxurious to think that I will have only one kid in diapers when the baby is born.
-I am learning patience from this boy daily, and I am trying hard to savor his sweetness, and it will be fun to have some one on one time with him when Sofia is in preschool.

----That's about is folks. I wlll be back to report again soon!