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comp:000055ebe49b:0000001074:0715 100 Happy Days of Summer People often ask me, “How do you have so much energy?” /magazine/suburban-family/100HappyDays_Push.jpg By MICHELLE STIEN -

I suppose the fact that I run at a frenetic pace 99 percent of the time would lead people to believe I must be hopped up on something.

Perhaps it is because I teach six to eight group fitness classes per week. Or maybe it is that when I’m not teaching classes I am running a 5k, 10k or training for a marathon. It could be that when I’m not actually running in a race, I am helping coordinate one.

Or perhaps it is because, in between all this, I am taking my kids downtown where we go to Ed Debevics, followed by a trip to Navy Pier to see a dinosaur exhibit, grab some snow cones, ride a 4-wheel bicycle several miles up and down the lakefront path and then take a water taxi back to the train station, all before dinner.

I recently finished my annual “100 Happy Days of Summer” countdown that I started doing two years ago. I post at least one “happy” thing each day on Facebook, whether it’s taking the kids on an adventure, going for a run and enjoying the weather or a date night with my husband.

I wasn’t sure if  was going to do it again this year, but as summer approached I had several people ask me when I was going to start it up again. Here I was worried I was annoying people, but apparently some people actually enjoy and look forward to it. How could I disappoint?

Most of the posts involve the kids: trips to the pool, the zoo, splash pads, out for ice cream, strawberry picking or going on nature hikes, to name a few. I am sometimes convinced that people think I am trying to paint some sort of perfect “Facebook Facade.” Don’t get me wrong, all our “happy” moments come with their fair share of temper tantrums, arguing and me ultimately screaming bloody murder or threatening to take away every toy they own. 

My true motivation is to get the kids up and moving. There is nothing I despise more than wasting a beautiful summer day holed up in the house staring a screen. Growing up, this was seriously frowned upon in my household. We were instructed to get out and play as much as possible. Unfortunately, since I can’t let the kids run rampant in the neighborhood like we did as kids, I’ve enlisted myself as “Ambassador of Fun.”

Sharing these things, even the simpler joys, is really an effort to make people realize how precious this time with our kids is. I’m not trying to rub it in that I get to spend time with my kids. I want to let people know I’m making the most of it. I want to lead by example and prove every day needs to be appreciated for at least one thing. Being a mom is my job and it is one I take very seriously.

I believe that no matter what your job is, we each bring something specific to the table based on our talents. My strong suit is that I am very active, I have a ton of energy and I am not afraid to do things with my kids no matter how much energy it takes to get it done.

There are plenty of things that I’m not particularly good at. I can’t stand playing with toys or playing Xbox. I should probably have them read more over the summer, keep up with their math skills and do more chores. They don’t always eat healthy and they aren’t dressed in designer clothes with matching bows and buckles. My house isn’t immaculate and that’s usually because I’d rather leave a sink of dirty dishes and head to the pool than spend the whole day cleaning while the kids watch SpongeBob.

Do I ever sit down? Yes. It doesn’t happen until about 9 p.m. when the kids are in bed and I can finally pour myself a glass of wine, fold laundry and watch some TV.

I’m thankful that my endless energy comes from the way I’m wired and an occasional nap.