The Small Stuff Challenge (part 2)

In my last post I presented a challenge: to notice and celebrate the “small” stuff in life.  That could be anything – a gorgeous sky, the carefree laughter of a child or the opportunity to lend a helping hand.   Sometimes the smallest things have the greatest impact, and help us appreciate all the things we have to be thankful for.

Yesterday I enjoyed so many small moments.  It was amazing!  I took my son J on a day trip to Toronto.  We spent the day with my sister Kira and went on a number of mini-adventures.

Our first stop was the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).

The ROM’s dinosaur exhibit, Bat Cave and medieval hunting show were a big hit.

It’s amazing how kids live “in the moment” though.  My son was just as happy running around on the grass at a nearby park as he was exploring the dinosaurs.

Kids seem to focus on what’s right in front of them and because of that I think they enjoy small pleasures every bit as much as the big ones.

Children are very smart.

After the ROM we wandered over to Queen’s Park and checked out the statue of Edward VII.  Here he is with his Auntie Kira.

Next stop was Fran’s Restaurant.  Our lunch was decent and we had an amazing waiter.  He was attentive, had a huge smile and (importantly) was patient.

After our meal, Kira made a point of telling him how great he was at his job.  He so appreciated the compliment.  It turned out that her simple, honest comment was a not-so-small “small thing” that really brightened his day.

We left Fran’s and hopped on a streetcar to go to charming little Riverdale Farm.  My son enjoyed the animals, of course, but couldn’t wait to simply climb a tree on the property.  Ah, simple pleasures.

As it turns out, for my son, the highlight of our Toronto trip was taking the streetcar and subway.  Kind of funny, given all the other adventures of the day and the fact that millions of people take transit daily.

For me, one of the best aspects of the day was the complete lack of timetable.  We left the day open to impulse rather than numbly push through the day on a schedule.

So what small stuff did I celebrate?  Lots, but a couple of things in particular: watching my son and sister interact, and viewing the day and its possibilities from my son’s point of view.  It’s a lot of fun seeing the world through the eyes of a curious five-year-old!

Have you taken on the challenge?  If you have, what have you done, noticed or experienced?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Shawn Ruggaber March 16, 2012 at 8:11 am

I’ve greatly enjoyed all the smiles and laughs from my son Jackson who is just over 7 months and growing so fast! He lights up the room.. such a happy baby.. makes me laugh. And it is also so hard to not enjoy the beautiful weather we are having and taking Jackson outside for the first time to experience all the outdoors for the first time.. watching his reaction to walking on grass for the first time and all the different sounds.. Never thought one little man could bring so much happiness! Love your blog.


Christine (The Brighter Side of Life) March 16, 2012 at 9:54 am

Thanks Shawn! I’m so glad you’re enjoying Jackson! He sounds like a wonderful little guy. There’s nothing like experiencing all of life’s ‘firsts’ with a little one, is there? It allows you to savour those incredible moments again, but this time through his eyes. Enjoy this incredible weather! Thanks for commenting.


Anna Hillman March 21, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Hi Christine, thanks for your comment over on my Amazingness blog. It’s very much appreciated. I can’t agree more, with the importance of being in the moment, appreciating, and thereby enjoying the small things. I think it’s the (a) path to being happy, and spreading happiness! Anna


Anna Hillman March 21, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Also, I forgot to say…I’m really enjoying your blogs too!


Christine (The Brighter Side of Life) March 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Thanks so much for your comments, Anna! I agree that enjoying the small stuff is the path to happiness. And I love how your photography captures beauty in ‘everyday surroundings.’


louise March 25, 2012 at 10:05 pm

What a great day it sounds like you had. I absolutely love the tree photo…it should go in a contest! Experiencing each season with a child is so much adventure. It’s a bit sad sometimes realizing how much they’ve matured and grown since last year (bitter-sweet). We took a walk through a conservation area recently (totally last minute). My daughter didn’t want to walk down this hill near the end but I encouraged her. At the bottom we met a great peninsula with a rocky beach on Lake Ontario on one side and a beautiful pond on the other with ducks and two white swans floating there. The kids loved throwing rocks in the lake and seeing the swans so close up. My son laughed his head off to see a dog dive in the water for a stick, he found it so hilarious.
I said to my daughter, see what you would have missed if you hadn’t gone down that hill?! She agreed it was worth it! Sometimes in life we just don’t want to go any further but then we find the best things are just a few more steps away.


Christine (The Brighter Side of Life) March 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Thanks – it was an awesome day! And I couldn’t help myself… that tree had a really cool shape and I loved the shadow it cast with J climbing it. Sounds like you had a wonderful time at the conservation area. A small decision – to walk a few more steps – led to memories that may last a lifetime. Love it! You’re right… sometimes the best things are just a few more steps away, and we’ll never know unless we check it out, right? 🙂


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