Creating My Happy List

Posted 7 April, 2016 by Trish in Life / 41 Comments


Creating My Happy List

Two months ago I read a post by Modern Mrs. Darcy about the things that are currently saving her life. At that point I was deep in the newborn trenches, barely getting two hours of sleep in a row, and having a hard time focusing on anything saving my life. But the idea stuck with me.

Two months later there are many sunny days, but the days are long. Sometimes the evenings are even longer. It’s easy to get caught up in all of the ways that I’m sinking a bit–preschooler tantrums, toddlers not wanting to go to bed, and a baby who only likes to sleep in 30 minute stretches.

If I let it, things could get really dark. Instead I’m trying to focus on the light spots in my life. While I specifically chose things for this list that are outside of my family, I have to mention the sweet baby smiles and coos that I get from Cara. I love when I’m holding her and she strikes up a conversation with me. We coo back and forth as I see how long I can stretch out these moments. I love when Evie asks me for cuddles and gives me a big huge hug and kiss without my asking for them. I love her goofy sense of humor and her silly little antics. And Elle. I love when she offers to help me with this and that. I love when I put a smile on my own face and watch her entire face light up. I love her tender heart.

But I’ve always been a big proponent of finding happiness in many places, not just my family–of discovering the things that bring me joy and bringing those joyous things into my life. With three small children, it’s sometimes easy to get lost in the mothering. But as I’ve lost myself before and have a history with postpartum depression, I have to focus on myself as an individual as well as myself as a mother/wife.

I’m hesitate to use the title “things that are saving my life right now” because I don’t want to imply that my life needs saving. But we can all use a little pick-me-up now and then. Sometimes more now than then. The below are the things that are currently on my happy list.

Things Filling My Happy List

Yoga with Adriene

Yoga with Adriene

I discovered Yoga With Adriene during A Day in the Life Event and I’m in love. She has many many many yoga videos on YouTube and I’ve found that I look forward to spending 30 minutes with her every day. Turns out her videos are the perfect length for Cara’s catnaps  and by the time I’m done with the workout and Cara is up, I’m re-energized. Adriene is positive and encouraging and I love her style. I’m not sure why I hadn’t thought to use YouTube for workouts until now.


Lemon Zinger Herbal Tea

Lemon Zinger Tea

Because of nursing, I’m trying to limit my caffeine intake during the day. I could drink coffee all day long, but it’s mostly the comfort of a hot drink that I’m after. It screams “relaxation” to me. During Cara’s short afternoon catnaps, I love heating up a cup of herbal tea. I’m a big fan of Lemon Zinger with a touch of honey. Do you have a favorite herbal tea you’d recommend?


Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

One of my biggest struggles right now is coming to terms with my post-baby body. I’m barely squeezing into my jeans and have few clothes that I feel satisfied wearing. I’d really like to be able to get into shorts this summer, but my lack of muscle tone is getting me down. Yes, I know that in some respects I need to come to accept my post-baby body. BUT, exercise makes me feel good both physically and mentally, so I’m trying to make time for it. I love to run (or at least the idea of it), so Couch to 5K is my go-to exercise jump start plan. I can usually only get in two runs a week, but I look forward to that time alone.


Bullet Journal

Bullet Journal

My newest obsession! If you’ve been hanging around here for long, you know that journaling always lands on my yearly “Things” and every year I fail at this task. At the beginning of February, though, I feel down the Bullet Journal rabbithole and haven’t looked back. I love love love working in my bullet journal and it’s the longest I’ve been able to keep up with any type of planner/journal. Above is how I’ve been tracking what I’ve read so far this year.


Silk Almond Creamer

Almond Coffee Creamer

In addition to curbing my caffeine, I’ve cut most dairy out of my diet while I’m nursing. It seems to really upset Cara when I eat a lot of dairy, and since I take milk in my coffee (like half milk, half coffee), I was afraid my coffee would never be the same again. Someone recommended Almond creamer (I don’t like soy), and I love it! Plus I don’t need to add artificial sweetener to my cup as the creamer is enough. Coffee is one of my greatest pleasures, so almond creamer is a heavensend.


Fresh Grocery Store Bouquet

Grocery Store Bouquet

Everyone raves about Trader Joe’s flowers, but the store is too far out of my way to enjoy their blooms each week. Instead, every time my local grocery store has roses on sale, I splurge on some stems. They last over a week and open up gorgeously. I’ve never received a floral shop bouquet that looks quiet as nice! Even when the roses aren’t on sale, I’ll frequently buy a $5 bouquet, especially if Elle is with me because she loves having the flowers as much as I do. It makes handwashing dishes so much pleasurable.


Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Bluetooth Beats

Scott and I will be married 10 years next month and for over 10 years we’ve had the TV on when we go to bed. I don’t mind the TV and can usually fall asleep with it on, but it does mean that I can’t read in bed because I’m so distracted by whatever Scott is watching. When Cara was sleeping in our bedroom, we didn’t have the TV on before bed and it was blissful to be able to fall asleep reading. When Cara moved to her bedroom, Scott was so excited to have his TV back, so I suggested bluetooth headphones. Turns out he loves them as much as I do. Now he can enjoy his TV and I can enjoy my book. How did we survive 10 years of marriage before this discovery?! (and if you’re curious, the framed picture is of me and my two little sisters when we were just babes)


It’s the little things. The way that things are greening up around here. The way that the girls snuggle and love on one another. An especially tasty dinner that seemed to magically come together (ha!). In these early days of motherhood, it can be hard to focus on anything other than a needy baby. I’m trying to be kind to myself and remember to bring the things that make me happy into my days.

I’d love to hear the little things that are making your days happy.


41 Responses to “Creating My Happy List”

  1. I love the idea of a happy list; it’s the little things in life, right? A few on my own list would be my books, my favourite pens for writing in my notebooks, a cup of hot tea, and right now my little space heater that I like to sit next to to take away the last chill of winter.

  2. I love the walk Carl and I take every morning. Not only do we get exercise and see the neighborhood but we spend that hour, just the two of us with no interruptions. It’s the best way to jumpstart my day.

    I’m obsessed with my Michele watch and changing the watch bands. Sometimes I plan what I’m going to wear around the watch band I want to wear.

    Warmer weather and longer days of sunshine always make me happy.

  3. Love this too! I really need to check out those yoga videos — I remember you mentioning them on Twitter, but I never checked it out. I’m not much of an herbal tea drinker, but I do like Bengal Spice (Celestial Seasonings). Give it a try. Love your reading tracker!

  4. I love this, Trish. I think it’s so important to have thing that are just for us, exactly because the kids are our greatest joy and greatest frustration all wrapped up in one!

    I have been seeing that yoga program everywhere lately. I’m trying to exercise 3-4 days a week and I think I’m going to do the beginner workout this week and see how it goes!

  5. Lemon Zinger with honey is the only drink that tastes good to me whenever I have a cold! I keep a variety of herbal teas in the cupboard for when I want a decaf hot drink, including Bengal Spice, Decaf Chai, and Mandarin Orange Spice from Celestial Seasonings. I love your idea of a happy list, and I should do one, too!
    I never knew there were so many line dance instructional videos on You Tube before I started taking a line dance class, and now if I want to do a little quick exercise, I put one on (on the TV, with the Roku) and either try to learn a new dance or practice one I need to work on. Like your yoga, it’s a great pick-me-up!

  6. Farin

    I started subbing tea for multiple cups of coffee a few months ago, too. I really love Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane, which is the only way I can stomach green tea (Trader Joe’s does an even better version, but it’s seasonal). Their Chamomile and Cinnamon Apple are also really good.

  7. I love fresh flowers. I got out of the habit of buying a bouquet each time I am at the grocery store, but like you, I am trying to keep fresh flowers in the house every week. There is nothing quite like looking at the blooms to bring your life back into focus.

    I really need to check out those yoga videos. It was on the game plan for this week until I started working such long hours. I like the idea of short and sweet!

  8. So happy to see your post! I’ve missed you (I ditched Twitter a couple of weeks ago…), but figured you were super busy with the kiddos. Thanks for the link to the Yoga site. I’ve been having problems with a achy/tight back/hip and I know I need to do some stretching. I’ve only tried yoga a couple of times, but maybe this will be ticket to help me feel less stiff and lay off the Advil. As far as tea goes, I love Harney & Sons Peppermint Herbal. I buy a tin at work (B&N) several times a year. Delicious! I need to look into bullet journaling for 2017. Looks like fun! I have started keeping a daily diary in the kitchen to keep track of what we have for dinner each night. I’ve been quite faithful and it’s nice to look back and get ideas (or not repeat a meal too often and get bored with it!). I think I got this idea from you. Definitely going to try the almond creamer. I gave up Splenda last year, but added half & half. I’d rather not use it, but drinking coffee black is not my favorite thing in the world. BTW, those are gorgeous roses!! And what a sweet photo of you and your sibs! Thanks for the “happy” post and a reminder that I’m long overdue to share one of my gratitude posts.

    • It’s been really tough for me to find time for blogging lately–especially with Cara only napping 30 minutes here and there. I make my salad for lunch and she’s up by the time I sit down to eat it! Frustrating. Plus I feel guilty blogging when I’m so lousy at commenting and making the rounds. Took me a week to get through all the Day in the Life posts, as much as I loved reading them all. Sigh. I know this too shall pass and one day I’ll be yearning to have these days back. Definitely try Yoga with Adriene! I’ve done about half a dozen of her videos and her Yoga Camp is a great place to start. Nothing too strenuous so far and great stretching. And start the bullet journal now!!! I want to write up a post about mine as I love it so much…so maybe I’ll have something ready to publish in a few months. Ha! ;) And the flowers! I bought them Good Friday and finally tossed the majority of them yesterday but snipped a few of the good blooms off for mine and Elle’s rooms and they’re still looking lovely. Almost two weeks!! Thank you for your sweet comments as always Lesley. They always put a smile on my face.

  9. I love the idea of a happy list; I will work on my own.

    Also, I have done the C5K program in Oct-Nov start to finish, and it really does work. I was never a couch potato, thanks to constantly running behind my 4 year old, but was in pretty bad shape – this program is paced well for beginners.

    And yoga – it had occurred to me to check out YT videos for it, but never came across any beginner program that suited me. Will check the one you recommended. :)

  10. Teresa

    Hi Trish! I love this post. I am going to work on my own Happy List. I drink a lot of Lemon Ginger tea. At first I didn’t like it, but the flavor has slowly grown on me. I have a cup every morning and another before bed. Thanks for the yoga suggestion, I’ve subscribed to her channel now and will definitely be adding it to my routine. Like you, quicker is better for me. I’m more likely to get it done that way.

  11. I love this post and the idea of a happy list! You are so right that its the little things that provide the pick-me-ups we really need sometimes. Mine would be a hot cup of coffee or tea, listening to music, a new journal, baking something yummy, and my books. I love that you are doing Couch to 5k, I hear it really works. I love buying flowers lately, too. And the grocery story always seems to have some beautiful sunflowers, which I love.

  12. I love your list! Our kids bring us joy, but it is good to find non-family things that make us happy. It seems like many bloggers are trying Couch to 5k right now. It’s so hard getting back in shape after having a baby. I had my older kids when I was much younger and it was so easy to bounce back into shape. Now. . . Not so much. If you’re enjoying it, I’m going to give it a try. One thing that makes me happy right now: my huge new bed. It’s so comfortable. :)

    • A big huge bed sounds awesome! And yes, I love Couch to 5K. I’ve done it a few times over the years and have always had great success with it. Definitely give it a shot. And ugh–post baby body. I’m guessing my tummy will never look the same again. Good thing we love our kids so much, right? ;)

  13. This made my day! I feel like its’ so easy to miss the small pleases in life. I cut out coffee when I got pregnant (I drink WAY too much) so I’ve been drinking Mother’s Milk tea. It’s disgusting, but I hate tea anyway. I’ll sometimes treat myself to a Starbucks decaf flat white instead. I’m definitely going to check out the yoga app! I miss attending real classes. Also, I love having “coo conversations” with Sydney too!

  14. Such a great idea!!! I’m working this in to my posts after my next rotten weekend. Which won’t be this one because kid-free vacation. (!!!) I need to focus on the happy, the bright, the things that make me sing! Like how GORGEOUS those photos are!!

  15. I love this so much. I find that now that I’ve left soul sucking job, I have time to focus on the things that really make me happy. I feel much more appreciative of the little things. David has recently fallen down the Bluetooth headphone rabbit hole. He’s in love with them, and with both of us working from home it’s nice because he listens to music or watches TV and I can podcast or listen to something different. Open floor plans….we can see each other from our respective “desks”. Ha! I looooove me some Lemon Zinger tea. The school where I’m teaching at night has unlimited coffee and tea, and Zinger is one of them. I don’t want to drink coffee late, so I will definitely be hitting up the tea. I also love Sleepytime. It really does relax me. I’m loving getting out and running (even though I complain). I feel so much better.

  16. Laura

    This is such a great post! I need to try out the almond creamer! Is it sweetened? I have seen some blog posts where people keep a gratitude journal. And every day, they write down at least one thing they are/were grateful for that day-even something small. I love that idea!

  17. I haven’t had a history with postpartum (I’m sorry you had to go through that…I know from other friends that it’s tough!), but YESSS to this:

    “it’s sometimes easy to get lost in the mothering. But as I’ve lost myself before and have a history with postpartum depression, I have to focus on myself as an individual as well as myself as a mother/wife.”

    • Thanks Sarah–yes, to some extent I’ve had ppd with all three (though I have a history of depression in general). Why do we feel like we must be this superhero figure once we become mothers? We’re all human and we’re all vulnerable. But I do firmly firmly believe that mothers MUST find something for themselves that is outside of children/family. It’s way too easy to let motherhood consume us. This is one of my big struggles as a stay at home mom (which I really can’t call myself since I only have the babe home with me and am slooooooowly transitioning back to work)–feeling like you’re on-call 24 hours a day. Those rare moments alone to just be ourselves without having to wear a mom (or wife) hat are so precious!

  18. Mmm that lemon tea looks tasty :) It definitely is the little things that make us happy :)
    I’d love for you to link this up to #GratitudeGoals

  19. This is a marvelous list! I need to post one like it. Love yoga with adriene, almond creamer was my bestie for years, and hurrah for bullet journaling!

  20. This is such a great idea. I love seeing all the things that make you happy. I think I need to come up with a list of my own and post about it.

    I’m curious about bullet journaling. I’ll need to look this up and learn more about it.

  21. So much good in this post! A few things:

    1. Peppermint is my absolute favorite for an herbal tea. I also really love rooibos, but I don’t think it counts as herbal (or even qualifies as “tea,” really!).

    2. I completely get you about exercise making you feel both physically and mentally better. I’ve recently started making time for it again, and it’s amazing what just 20-25 minutes on the elliptical can do for my body image and my peace of mind!

    3. Your BuJo is the cutest! I tried using the system and fell off the wagon. I *did* buy a Passion Planner in anticipation of graduate school, so we’ll see how that works out.

    4. LOL @ the headphones. I don’t know how you’ve done it for that long either. ;) It’s funny how we learn to live with inconvenience like that.

  22. I definitely need to give Yoga with Adriene a try. I’ve put on a little weight this past year and I want it gone or at least to be less visible and this sounds good. I love the idea of this list and just focusing for a minute on the little things that I really enjoy. It does get so easy to get focused on the busy or the hectic or the stress. Great post and thanks for the inspiration!

  23. Jennygirl

    It’s good to remember the good things in your life. I’ve been trying to do the same so thanks for the inspiration my friend :)

  24. Love this idea Trish as I’m prone to focusing on the bad and not the good. I used to try to do a ‘Three good things about today’ thing before bed each night but I still tended to wallow.

    I’m blogging every day in April so might steal this idea as well…

    Hope you get some decent sleep!

  25. Sounds like you’re finding time for some “me” time which is great. I’m going to have to check out those yoga videos; I’ve been wanting to try yoga and I’d love to be able to do some workouts at home.

  26. Jenny

    This is awesome. I think it’s important to remember the good things in life. I should make a list too.

  27. I love this post. I am enamored with my bullet journal too, and I am very intrigued by the reading list you posted an picture of. What do the columns and colors mean?

  28. I love the Califia creamer. There’s a pecan caramel that’s delicious. The vanilla is also good. I adore tea. My current favorite is ginger lemon. I think it’s from Bigalow’s.
    My New house makes me happy :)

  29. Love your post, love your photos… so thanks!

    As I have addressed on my blog several times, I deal with life-long depression/anxiety and find myself slumping sometimes. When I look back– and what I know now– I had post-partum depression after my first child– I was young, I was in a tumultuous marriage that only lasted a few years, and I missed working and getting out. It passed, I went on to have 2 more kids with my wonderful hubs, and though I still have depression, I live with it, I own it and I don’t stress it because it too will pass. Enjoy your new bundle of joy!

  30. Can you send me the link to the headphones you are using? I know someone with a birthday in like a month and I bet this would be AWESOME for our life… *cough* I bullet journal now, too! Yours is way more pretty than mine but I am only 11 days in… I will tweak things as I go!

  31. I love this list! I’m not sure what I’d put on my happy list … coffee in the morning in the quiet of the house before the kids get up – better if paired with a book, currently bullet journaling with an audiobook (especially when I can hear the husband playing with the kids in the other room), baking something from scratch (since it’s so hard to find time to do so with the kidlets running around!), just driving in the car with my audiobook while the kids nap in the back (very rare, but on a beautiful day and if I don’t have to pee it’s wonderful!), and definitely yoga (which I don’t get in as much as I should, but even a few poses are heavenly). And with the kids I would say the times when Lucas comes running into my arms for a hug, or when he’s feeling super kissy (I LOVE Lucas kisses), when Livvie smiles at other people (I know it seems weird, but she gives anyone who talks to her the BIGGEST, toothiest smile … it’s adorable), Livvie laughing at the dog or her brother or her dad (it’s this ridiculous laugh and so adorable), and of course those times where Livvie falls asleep when I sing her her lullaby or after a feed and I feel her soft little body against mine, heavy and tired. So much love.