Thursday, April 19, 2012

pancakes and play time

I'm back in action, ya'll. Back. In. Action. You might be able so slow me down with a little self-doubt and an apocalyptically terrible migraine, but you can't stop me! Today I woke up feeling refreshed, energized and motivated. Don't you just love when that happens?

So unfortunately for those of you that enjoyed the brief appearance of my brooding, sardonic self, she has now been replaced with the ever-optimistic if not painfully cheerful side of me. (Fear not, she'll be back. Some old lady will cut me off in a parking lot or I'll find myself in the shower realizing all the towels are in the wash and, BOOM! out she comes.)

By breakfast time I had already started three different posts that popped into my head. I'm not going to lie, this may have had something to do with the fact that Jason decided to make pancakes this morning. How am I NOT going to have a good day when it's pancake day? Oh lord do I love when Jason decides to make pancakes. Once every two weeks or so he'll wake up and I'll say, What do you want for breakfast? all sluggish and tired-like because I'm expecting it to be one of of our two classic go-tos: eggs/turkey bacon (the occasional spinach and ham scrambled in if I'm feeling spicy) OR the ever-exhilarating oatmeal (I like to add chia seeds and peanut butter - Yeah, I know, REBEL.) Instead of my predicted responses, however, I see his face light up and with a smile he says, How about pancakes? YES! PANCAKE DAY! My face typically then looks something like this:

Plax's Beach Day face = My Pancake Day face
Now that I think about it, next time I'm feeling in a rut I'm just going to declare it a magical pancake day because I really do think it's one of the little known secrets to happiness. (By the way, these aren't just any pancakes, they are vegan pancakes that are still unbelievably delicious while not being terrible for you. This makes them magical in my book.)

Chef Jason has a sense of humor. What's better than pancakes? Happy pancakes.

All this excitement from pancake day got me thinking about mornings in general. While I've established that I'm a terrible shell of a human in the morning hours, I realized something as we got out of bed this morning. I think our relationship is in its purest, most wonderful form first thing in the morning and last thing before we go to bed each night. These are by far my most cherished moments of being together, and not for any of the most obvious reasons.

You see, almost every single morning we both wake up at the same time. My alarm goes off, I hit snooze, and we both roll around with a very cuddly little Plaxico trying to squeeze in one last half hour before we actually have to get up. I purposefully leave the blinds in our bedroom open when we go to sleep at night (weird, I know, but our house is incredibly secluded and luckily we live in a very safe, if not very senile, gated neighborhood.) I do it though because I love waking up to the sunlight filling our bedroom. When the three of us finally open our eyes, the whole room is glowing. (Yes, three of us... Plax may or may not sleep in our bed. That too is a topic for another blog post, but for now I beg you not to judge our parenting.) I find that it's easier to wake up when the room is bright, and the day seems so full of possibility.

And with that possibility comes laughter.

Every morning it's something different - a joke, a made up song, a vivid description of one of our ridiculous dreams - but most days start off with an amazing laugh. This morning it started when I sprung out of bed with excitement once the pancake day announcement had been made. Perhaps it was that elation mixed with my utter goofiness in the morning (I take only partial credit for this state as I can hardly be considered fully conscious until about 11 am), but for no reason at all I walked from one side of the foot of the bed to the other doing this ridiculous dance that involved gratuitous hip movements and a very catchy little diddy about pancake batter and chocolate chips. I made undeniable eye contact with Jason still laying in bed and desperately tried to contain my laughter.

Laughing hysterically, Jason very vocally expressed his repulsion by my dorky dance and insisted that I stay far away from him (a request that I took as a personal invitation to jump on him.) The problem? Jason is about twice my size and four times as strong as me, so the next ten minutes consisted of me trying through multiple strategic approaches to jump and land directly on him, resulting in his ridiculously strong man legs kicking me off the bed each time. It took approximately twenty three attempts, but through sheer determination and a carefully choreographed Plaxico-licking ambush, I hopped up and landed directly on top of him, crushing him underneath me (read: he could barely feel that I was on top of him. {read: I'm so incredibly light and dainty.}) We lay there laughing and cracking jokes and with that we finally got up to start our day. Before I even got out of my pajamas I had laughed so hard my stomach hurt (not to mention I had almost broken a sweat. Trying to crush someone is quite the work out!)

Anyway, so why should anyone care what weird and embarrassingly juvenile behavior Jason and I display in the morning?

Because I think that one key to being a happier, healthier person is finding time to play. Maybe it's wrestling with your significant other (not like that, ya sickos.) Or maybe it's singing in the morning with your kids (like Gretchen Rubin, the author of my latest book obsession The Happiness Project.) From Gretchen's findings:
"Research shows that regularly having fun is a key factor in having a happy life; people who have fun are twenty times more likely to feel happy."
Well, no duh. Having fun leads to being happier. Could it be any simpler?

Now, let's just get this out there, I'm no life expert and I'm certainly no relationship expert. While I know I do my fair share of writing about how grateful I am to have found an awesome partner in Jason, make no mistake about it, we go through the same things that all relationships do. We bicker, we disagree, we fail to provide the things that the other one needs. We're just two best friends trying desperately to understand the opposite sex and keep our relationship growing and improving. Neither of us is perfect and we both screw up a lot. In fact, if it were up to us, we'd say the secret to a great relationship is a mutual appreciation for bathroom humor, separate closets, and cookies. Lots of cookies. (You can see how I'm in no place of qualification to provide any real relationship advice.)

But one thing I do know to be true - we are both happier these days and our relationship has been on a great high note for the past few weeks. I credit this in part to the fact that we've been spending our mornings and evenings doing just what we did this morning: playing. Every night that Jason doesn't have to stay up late working, one of us ends up laughing so hard we cry. And it's those moments that I am so grateful to have found this person. A person to play with.

So let's recap, shall we - the secret to a great morning according to the life and relationship expert, Caroline Winegeart? Pancakes and play time. Amen.


  1. This post just made me so happy! I'm glad to know that someone else makes up ridiculous songs and dances for their significant other to be repulsed by...and that this repulsion leads to the best kind of love :)

  2. I have to say I really enjoy reading your blog today as it helps remember to enjoy life more!! I am at time to up tight and been working on just chilling more which includes laughing more, letting God drive and be more lovable!! So u have just put a great smile on my face thank u!!! Your articles really do make a difference and look forward to seeing then!
    Have a great weekend!!

  3. Glad this post made you happy.. and also glad there are others out there that don't find it ridiculous!