Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gratitude Day 24: Thanksgiving Day

Today I am grateful for food, and lots of it! No really. We are so fortunate to have, not only enough to keep us alive, but much, much more than that. We are able to enjoy and taste and choose and cook our own cuisine. I have never in my life gone hungry. Today we enjoyed a wonderful holiday with my man's family. It was warm and lovely and tasty and happy and special. Everything that Thanksgiving Day should be.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gratitude Day 23

I am so grateful for good friends, old and new. Tonight we got together with some neighborhood buddies for takeout dinner and a potato peeling party since all three of us have been assigned mashed potatoes for tomorrow's Thanksgiving feast. The punk joined all the older kids (his "best friends") for a dance party in the basement. When there are 5 girls and 2 boys (plus the basher), wrestling and sword fights take a back seat to dance parties. He didn't mind one bit.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gratitude Day 22

My body used to weigh a bit less. It could stand to be more firm, less flabby. Some might say it could use a tan. But my body created two humans. It has run long distances. It is strong and healthy. It can see, hear, taste, smell, and feel. And it is perfect because it is mine.

I am grateful for my body.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gratitude Day 21

I am thankful that my man works hard to support our family so I can be a stay at home mom to my boys. It's not an easy job, but it's the one I've always wanted. And seriously, could I ask for two more adorable bosses?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gratitude Day 20

I am thankful to be surrounded by extended family. Tonight we had dinner at my parents' house, where we were joined by my brother, my cousin on my dad's side, and my grandma and great-grandma on my mom's side.

I laughed around the table with my dad, my man, and my cousin, who told animated stories about times when they have been scared, as kids, and as adults. A grown man sharing an anecdote about a time when he has left his (slow, chubby) buddy in the dust to be eaten by attack dogs in a dark cemetery? Or when he nearly clocked a tiny old lady in the face because she was standing there in the dark hallway when the elevator door opened and he is afraid of little things? Hilarious.

I also talked with my great-grandma (97 years old) about her family. She has always dressed very well, no matter what her plans or where she is going. I learned today that this is because, as a child, she was teased by her teacher(!) for wearing hand-me-downs from her mother. Her daughter, my Grandma Valeen, also shared a story about her uncle Eugene, who is Great-Grandma Bell's brother. Valeen and her brother Larry walked to the grocery store with their uncle Eugene. On the way there, he asked each of them which candy bar they liked. At the store, he confirmed their favorites and bought each of those, plus his favorite. Then on the way home, he ate all three candy bars! In front of them! What a meanie.

[the basher and his great-great-grandma]

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gratitude Day 19

I am grateful for Saturday morning cuddle sessions, although a more accurate description would be Operation Stay In Bed For As Long As The Boys Will Sit Still. The little guys are always so happy to see each other in the morning. Then the punk tries to concentrate on his cartoons while the basher climbs all over him, freely sharing intermittent "kisses," open-mouthed with tongue.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gratitude Day 18

I am grateful that my man still takes me on dates, and that after 8 years, we still enjoy talking together (although we have, of course, learned which topics to avoid). Thanks for a lovely dinner, my man!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gratitude Day 17

I am grateful that I have the opportunity to teach music lessons. When I was a young music student, adults often told me that I was lucky to know how to play the piano and violin so I could teach when I got older, and I always resented them for it. How dare they assume that I would want to teach?! I went through the same thing with my Bachelor's degree in Mathematics. "Oh, you're a math major? Are you going to teach?" NO! I hoarded my own knowledge and avoided teaching for many years, but then finally, one day, I gave in and started tutoring math... and loved it! I've had several math students since then and now I call myself a music teacher too. I'm loving it. I guess it was inevitable. I'm grateful to have a husband who supports this hobby of mine.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gratitude Day 16

I am thankful for days (like today) when we have no plans whatsoever.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gratitude Day 15

I've already mentioned how much I love my mother-in-law. Her partner in crime, my father-in-law, ain't so bad either. (In fact, he is completely wonderful too.) But today I am thankful for the family into which I was born. The Johnsons.

This weekend, my parents came over to feed, entertain, bathe, and tuck in my little guys while my man and I went out. When I informed the punk who was going to keep him company that night, he clapped his hands and exclaimed, "Oooh hoo hoo! I'm so happy!" He often asks about each of my siblings - how they are, and more importantly, when they are coming over to play with him. I feel closer now to each of my brothers and my sister than ever before, and I think this increased affection has come with parenthood. Seeing them as an aunt and uncles has made me love and appreciate them even more than before. As the oldest of 5, I am having a great time seeing my younger siblings as my own peers, and more importantly, my friends.

I am so happy that my boys have four interested, involved, loving, entertaining, generous grandparents who all live within 15 minutes of us, and many aunts and uncles (including my man's brothers and their women) who love them. They also have two great-grandpas, four great-grandmas, and a great-great-grandma. Lucky little punks!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gratitude Day 14

I am grateful to live in a place where there are four seasons. We spent our lunch hour at the park. Beautiful!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gratitude Day 13

I am thankful for the power to choose. To set my own goals. And for a new week to start again.

12of12: November (Saturday)

Today I am thankful for my camera. Every 12th day of the month, I take photos to document my day. I like it when the 12th falls on a Saturday because that means my man is most likely in town.

1. Grapefruit for breakfast. Yum! 2. The boys "helped" their dad rake the leaves. 3. Oops! 4. More leaves. 5. Graham cracker snack 6. We enjoyed lots of apples from our tree this year. Apple crisp, apple pie. I even canned applesauce! 7. I took these babies on their maiden voyage. The chilly wind muted my music and tossed leaves in my mouth, but it was nice to get out on the road. 8. Snow. 9. He was content to lie in bed after his nap and watch the heavy snowflakes fall outside his bedroom window. 10. Their dad was out of town all week, so they are enjoying all the wrestle time they can get. 11. Grandma Caryn & Papa Andy brought a corn dog and french fries for the punk so my man and I could go on a date. Everyone is happy! 12. Pei Wei and a movie. (In Time. It was interesting at first, but the plot and writing became weak.) My man loves posing for pictures. Loves it!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Gratitude Day 11

I am grateful to be an American. We enjoy freedoms that so many people of the world do not. We are generally safe, fed, clothed, sheltered, educated, healthy, and able to work to take care of ourselves and our families.

Thank you, veterans, for serving to protect those special rights. Yes, Michael. Especially you.

My marine brother Michael, who served two tours during the Iraq War. Also pictured: Michael and Michael. He's an art student.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gratitude Day 10

While dining out with some friends at lunchtime, we suddenly noticed some commotion around a lady at the next table. I couldn't see her face, but she was making scary strangled sounds, her hands were shaking, and a man in scrubs from another table stood behind her, ready to administer the Heimlich maneuver. A waitress asked if she needed to call 911, but when asked if she was choking, the woman shook her head. She then started gasping for breath. It turns out that she had aspirated some water. As the small crowd dissipated, I realized that I was lightheaded. I don't think I had taken a breath since the commotion started. I had been terrified that I was going to witness an accidental death on a normal Thursday afternoon and that someone was going to lose a wife, mother, sister, friend.

Later, while I was enjoying the peaceful time of night after the boys are in bed, red lights flashed in the darkness outside my window. A fire truck and an ambulance were driving down my street. Again, I felt panic. I went outside to see the lights stop at a house at the end of my street. I don't know whose house was the destination for these ominous vehicles. But I can imagine the occasion was, if not tragic, then at least traumatizing.

I guess my gratitude today comes at the expense of strangers. I am so thankful that all of my immediate family members are safe and healthy. I know this will not always be the case, so today I am thankful for this temporary peace of mind.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gratitude Day 9

With my man out of town, I've been missing him this week, and especially today. I have to admit that whenever he travels, I do enjoy having sole control of the remote, and being able to count arugula salad with avocado and parmesan, crescent rolls, and hot chocolate as dinner. (Entrees are overrated.) But in his absence, I am always reminded how much he helps me and how much his little guys need him. He is the greatest daddy I know. He pays attention to the boys, giving them his love and guidance and keeping them in line. He steps in with two extra hands whenever mine are inadequate. When he is around, the boys get more wrestle time, more SportsCenter, and more one-on-one attention from either parent. So today, without him, I am grateful for the man in my life.

Now come home and rub my feet! (Yeah. Like that will ever happen.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gratitude Day 8

A couple weeks ago I found a yoga studio that I love. I love the class, I love the teacher, I love that I can get there in 5 minutes, especially when I pull up and realize I've forgotten my yoga mat and have to turn around. I love challenging my body. I love taking 90 minutes to refresh, restore, regroup. I love that, after a quick tip from my instructor on my alignment, my knees feel stronger and more stable as I look ahead to the miles I plan to run in the next few months. Today I am grateful for yoga.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Gratitude Day 7

Whenever my man is out of town, his mom calls me at the beginning of the week to ask how she can help me. Today she took the punk for 7 hours (!) so I could have some time alone with the basher. She also brought me a huge canister of Starbucks hot chocolate mix, which I am now enjoying in the mug she brought me from Hilton Head a few weeks ago. (I have accumulated a collection of mugs, mostly from Starbucks' around the country, and I always choose my mug according to my mood. For instance, when I'm missing Little Sis, I drink from the Serendipity III mug she brought me from New York. When I wish I could get away, I choose the mug I bought on my last girl weekend in Las Vegas.)

The punk "helped" Grandma Lynn organize her attic and played keep-away with the dog:

I worked up a sweat on my cleaning spree, played on the floor with a smiley baby, and made dinner (deep dish chicken cordon bleu, butternut squash, and garden salad), which we later enjoyed together: Grandma, Papa, the punk, and me. Even the basher got in on some of the squash action.

Today (and everyday) I am grateful for my mother-in-law.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gratitude Day 6

I am grateful for the Spirit I feel when I attend church each Sunday. More than the lessons and discussions and hymns and talks, it's the Spirit of comfort and truth I feel that keeps me going back.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gratitude Day 5

On the first snow day of the season, I am so thankful to have a warm house with a cozy bed, fuzzy socks, flannel pajamas, and a steaming mug of hot chocolate in my hands. Days like this make me think of the people of the world who do not have permanent shelter, and who can not tuck their children into bed under a heavy comforter. I am so very grateful to be one of the fortunate ones.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Gratitude Day 4

Most days, the basher takes two 45-minute naps. For weeks, this drove me nuts because I need more time to accomplish the things I can only do when he is napping: clean, shower, clean, read a book to the punk, clean, sit my tired derriere on a couch... But I have begrudgingly come to terms with his overwhelming urge to move and see and do, and I just know that I have to choose one task to accomplish during his short snooze. Usually that's a shower in the morning and a short rest in the afternoon. Do you see cleaning at the top of my list? Unfortunately for the other grown-up that lives in this house, no. You do not. (However, I guess my man is lucky that showering made the cut.)

Today I am grateful that the basher took two long naps today to total 5 hours! FIVE! Do you know how much time that is? It's a shower, a clean kitchen (including the stove, which has been re-burning the beans that overflowed when I made chili on Halloween), three clean bathrooms, several books with the punk, an episode of Raising Hope, and a deep breath. Maybe even two.

Yes. I am grateful indeed. Thanks Basher Boy!

P.S. I took a picture of a sleeping punk to commemorate my thankfulness because he can sleep through anything. The basher was cursed with his daddy's light sleeping habits, and pops his head up as soon as he hears the doorknob turning. He brings himself to a standing position even before he can focus his eyes.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gratitude Day 3

I am grateful that my punk has adorable friends with generous, supportive parents and grandparents. The area in which we live is not overflowing with children like some other areas of the city. But the kids that do live here are so sweet, so fun. I can see the punk walking to school with these friends, arms linked, singing and skipping... Wait, am I living in a musical?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gratitude Day 2

I am grateful for Discovery Gateway. I borrowed my friend's pass to see if I could handle the two boys by myself, and if the timing will work with nap schedules. They had a blast and we had just enough time to play, play, play, and get back for naps. The boys were so busy exploring, playing, splashing, reading, and sucking on germ-infested plastic toys that they wouldn't have even known if I had left to get a pedicure. We will buy our own pass next time. It will be the perfect distraction during the cold, wet days ahead.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gratitude Day 1

This month, I am going to attempt to be more aware of the things for which I am grateful.

Today I am grateful for yesterday's gorgeous fall weather. We enjoyed the most beautiful, sunny, warm holiday. Today came the snow. I'm just glad it waited until the trick or treaters' plastic pumpkins were full.
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