Wednesday, November 27, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 27

Today, I'm thinking a little abstract.  I am thankful for my life's circumstances.  So much of life is basically predetermined for us.  I'm not saying that I believe that every single thing is preplanned for us. I think we are given choices and have opportunities to change the path and direction that our lives take.  But I also believe that in many cases and situations, you don't have a lot to say or do to change anything. 

I'm thankful that I was born in a free country where we have rights, opportunities, and a chance for a great life.  I was born to loving, caring parents who took amazing care of me and kept me safe from all of the dangers life presents.  I have never been a victim of any sort of abuse. I have always had a place to live, clothes to wear, food to eat, and people whom I love to love me back.  I consider the amount of personal tragedy I have faced to be very minimal. I've lost a few grandparents, which isn't enjoyable, but I look at it as a blessing as they had all lived full lives and were ready to move on to the next stage.  Other than grandparents, the only real tragedies I've faced were all of unborn, stillborn, babies or babies that didn't survive past birth- my stillborn twin sisters, a stillborn niece, my own miscarriage, the miscarriage of a niece or nephew, and the loss of my nephew minutes after his full term birth.

But consider those born under much worse circumstances.  Some people in poor countries have no means to provide for themselves or their families.  They live in tents or huts.  They have no heat or A/C.  They don't have enough food or clothing.  Many don't even have fresh water.  The have governments who abuse power.  Many face dangers everyday that we don't even think about.  Children are sold into slavery or bought/taken by human traffickers.  Some kids are forced into work camps, actually being sold by their parents who really have no other choice and need money to take care of their other kids.  Some of these poor kids lose both of their parents at an extremely early age and are forced to become the parents for their siblings even though they are still kids themselves.  One of the most horrible situations I can think of is happening in North Korea.  Tons of people are being held against there will in unspeakable situations because of the awful relations between North and South Korea.  I'm not even going to go into detail because it physically upsets me.  I saw a documentary on TV and it has changed me forever...

So, to sum this up, I'm not trying to be depressing.  That wasn't my goal with this post.  But I want us all to realize that sometimes in life we don't have choices.  We need to take what is dealt to us and try to find the good in it.  I'm just thankful everyday the my problems and related to my home networking system or a leak in the plumbing and not something like any of the people I previously mentioned need to face every minute of everyday.  Remember to say a prayer for those people... or many prayers.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 26

I am thankful for seasonal changes.  I'll admit, I really don't like the cold.  But I really do love all the seasons.  I like the variety.  I love watching the changes take place. 

Spring might be my favorite.  Watching the grass come back to life, flower miraculously pop out of the ground, and flowers and leaves emerge on the trees. 

Summer is great for more flowers- a huge assortment, and another one of my favorite things: thunderstorms!  A good thunderstorm is almost therapeutic for me, and luckily, my kids and husband all love them, too! 

Everybody knows the beauty of Fall.  The leaves turn shades of deep, warm colors and fall down in multitudes on breezy days.  The fruits of the season all ripen and it is fun to see the excitement on my kids faces seeing the big pumpkins the Gigi grew or picking apples with her.

Winter- As much as I don't like the cold, I do love snow.  Watching it snow, especially for one of the first times of the season, is actually magical.  I love the way the snow sparkles when the sun shines on it.  Icicles are gorgeous.  I once had a roof line, decorated with Christmas lights that icicles formed on.  The whole piece of ice glowed all sorts of bright, beautiful colors.  I actually love a good snowstorm, too, assuming we don't need to drive anywhere.  Watching the snow pile up in mounds is awfully exciting for me and for the kids.  Who doesn't love sledding?  Lastly, winter houses my favorite holiday- Christmas.  It is a magical time of the year.  I love the decorations, the smell of our fresh cut tree, and the overall feeling of the season.  I do my best not to let it get too stressful, because it wasn't meant to be that way.  I look forward to spending Christmas with our families making memories.

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 25

Today, I'm thankful for nap time.  I'm relieved that both of my kids still take a nap almost every day.  Even though Brennan will be turning 4 in February, he still really NEEDS that nap.  The days that it somehow gets missed or cut short are awful by the afternoon or evening for sure. 

Being a stay-at-home mom, nap time is really my 'break'.  I don't get a lunch break or any morning or afternoon break from the kids, except for the nap.  It gives me time to lay down (I do most days) and take a short rest since I still need to get up with Bryleigh quite often at night.  I sometimes use nap time to get some work done around the house, or just take a little bit of quiet time for myself.  I might watch an adult show instead of Mickey Mouse or Toy Story.  A lot of times I catch up with computer work- either my part time job, or research on products we need to purchase online. 

To sum it up, nap time rocks and I'm so incredibly thankful for it.

Monday, November 25, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 24

Today, I'm thankful for fast food and take-out restaurants.  We don't eat fast food or take-out too much, but is sure is nice to have a fast and convenient option when we need one.  I wish we had a few more options in town, but maybe it is a blessing in disguise.  This way we can't get into the habit of eating out all the time!

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 23

Today I am thankful for modern medicine.  We experienced a first today- bring a child to the ER.  It wasn't fun... not at all.  But, it was still a relief to be able to have x-rays taken and see that there was nothing broken in her poor little arm.  I'm also happy that we have common medicines that kill pain like Tylenol.  Being able to provide a little relief for our miserable baby girl was so appreciated. 

It turns out that Bryleigh dislocated her elbow.  The doctors suspected that dislocation might be the cause of her pain, but they weren't able to make her elbow pop into place, so they assumed it must just be muscle strain or a sprain.  She was still miserable the next morning (Yes... I'm writing this 2 days late again).  We made her a little baby sling for her bad arm.  She wouldn't even attempt to lift it.  It was horrible.  In the afternoon, she managed to trip over Daddy's big feet and fall.  She cried for a bit because I'm sure it hurt, but after she calmed down, suddenly her arm was healed!  She was moving it all around, waving, and hanging on the edge of the kitchen table!  I can't even put the relief I felt into words.  It is so horrible to see your child in pain and knowing that she was ok and felt so much better made me so thankful!

I was also so thankful that our wonderful friend Jen stayed with Brennan while we were at the hospital.  Jen and her husband Chris were over hanging out while the incident happened, so we were able to leave quickly once we realized that something was wrong.  So great to have caring, trustworthy friends in our lives.  Jen read Brennan his stories and got him tucked down for bed, all while answering his questions about Bryleigh and making him feel a little better about it.  The reason it happened in the first place was because Brennan "Karate'd" Bryleigh, in his own words.  We really wanted him to realize that we needed to bring Bryleigh to the doctor because of what he did to her, but also didn't want him to feel horrible.  Jen did a good job of reminding him that he needs to be gentle with his little sister without making him feel awful about everything.  I know that accidents are going to happen, but this was quite an experience for us all!  Glad we don't need to deal with this stuff everyday!

Friday, November 22, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 22

Today I'm thankful for beauty.  I'm thankful for flowers, rainbows, sunsets, autumn leaves, dragonflies, sleeping children, mountains, oceans, coral, Christmas decorations, art, makeup, etc... The world is so much more enjoyable to live in because of beauty.  Thank God for the gift of sight and such beautiful things to see with it.

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 21

Cheating again... I'm thankful for my husband!  (Yes, he is also part of the family.  What can I say?  Family means a lot to me.)  Ryan is supportive, hard working, loyal, and committed.  I know that I don't tell him enough that I'm thankful for everything that he does for us.  He works out of the house so that I can work in the home.  I appreciate that he supports me being a stay-at-home mom.  I don't think a lot of men really understand how hard this job is and how truly important.  Ryan does understand.  He does know how challenging our kids are and I feel like he does his best to give me a little break when he gets home from work by running the kids ragged downstairs.  They love it and I think he does, too. 

I am so thankful that he believes in me.  Thinking about it, I don't ever think I've heard him say that I couldn't do something (besides getting my ears pierced a second time- needle phobe.  By the way... I DID!).  He is loving and and shows me and the kids how much he cares for us everyday.  He isn't the typical man in a lot of ways, which I am also thankful for!

Thanks, Sweetie.

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 20

Today I am thankful for my parents.... yes, yes.... I know.  I was already thankful for my whole family, but I kind of need to expand.  Not only did my parents do a fantastic job of parenting when I was a child, but they are still there to give advice and help when we need it.  For example, last night (Tuesday) we had a plumbing crisis.  I don't need to go into to go into too much detail, but we had water leaking from out laundry room into the basement and had to turn the hot water off in the house completely :/.  Mom and Dad came down today to help get us back up and running.  Mom kept the kids busy and gave them all sorts of attention while Dad fixed up my plumbing... I was the errand girl, running up and down the stairs for tools and to the hardware store multiple times for more/correct parts.  But luckily it didn't take too long and our leak was fixed. Whew.  I sure am glad that I have parents and are willing to help and know what they are doing!  Thanks to both of you for everything... which is so much more than plumbing and babysitting!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 19

Today I am thankful for improved sleep.  I can't say that we get a full night of sleep every night or anything like that just yet, but it is so much better than it used to be.  I do get a full night of sleep every few days and the other nights Bryleigh only tends to wake up once or twice.  The really bad nights have gotten to be few and far between.  Brennan does really well down in his own room.  He wakes up now and then and needs some cuddles from Daddy, but most of the time he stays there until morning.  It really is wonderful.  Sleep is one of those things I knew that I'd miss when I became a parent... I wasn't wrong!  I look forward to the next stage of parenting for the 'sleep reason' for sure!

Monday, November 18, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 18

Today is Bryleigh's bonus day!  I'm thankful for my little ray of sunshine!  Her smile lights up a room with ease.  She is smart, funny, inquisitive, expressive, and loving.  She learns something new everyday and surprises us with all of her words and things she can do.  She imitates us and her big brother constantly and can pick up on things surprisingly well.  Her ability to melt your heart in a variety of different ways is amazing.  There is something magical about her sweet little face... like she ought to come with her own set of angel wings.  She completes our family perfectly.  Together with her brother, we have everything we need in our kids and surely couldn't love them any more than we already do. 

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 17

Today I am thankful for my camera.  I love taking pictures, especially of my kids.  I know that I'm going to look back and cherish all of these pictures... I already do!  Here are a couple I took this morning!


Saturday, November 16, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 16

I am thankful for our reliable cars today.  I know that I take the fact that I can walk out into my garage (which I am also thankful for), jump into a car, start it up and take off, completely for granted.  I'm also so happy be a two-car family.  Even when Ryan is at work, I'm able to take off with the kids to get groceries, go to the library or the kids' classes, or go visit friends and family.  So lucky.

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 15

I know that I already said that I'm thankful for my kids... it is impossible not to be.  But today I am thankful for one specific characteristic about my son (Don't worry Bryleigh, I'll give you another day, too...).  I'm thankful for the fact that Brennan handles change and adjusts to new situations so well.  He is truly amazing.  Today was Brennan's first day of preschool.  I dropped him off in his classroom, gave him a kiss, and told him to have a good day.  He happily says, "Love you, too!" and goes right to playing and talking to his new teacher.  I don't know what I would do if he were the kind of kid to get nervous and cry when it was time for me to leave.  He did wonderfully.

This isn't the only time he has taken change like a champ.  He did great when we brought his little sister home from the hospital and he was completely unphased by the move to our new house.  He even sleeps in his own room in the basement all by himself.  He really is a cool kid.

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 14

Today I am thankful that my kids have cousins that are close in age to them.  I had cousins close in age to me growing up and it was wonderful.  They weren't just cousins, but friends to play with all the time.  Today 2 of my kids' cousins came over for a play date with their Mommy and everybody had a wonderful time.  The kids were all just great and have totally gotten the hang of playing nicely together.  Looking forward to many more play sessions with cousins.

Friday, November 15, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 13

I'm playing catch up again!

Today I'm thankful for entertainment.  The way I unwind at night is watching tv with Ryan.  I look forward to getting the kids down for the night and just sitting... watching... laughing.  It is so nice.  Also, though I don't get to go often, I enjoy going on movie dates or better yet, to live shows- plays and musicals especially.  It's just so much fun and I'm thankful there are so many great entertainers and forms of entertainment to bring us all happiness. :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 12

Today, I am thankful for friends.  Good friends are something that we actually have very few of.  But I really think it is the quality that counts.  Our friends are great, wonderful, helpful, caring, trustworthy people and we are thankful for all of you, old and new alike!  You know who you are!! :)

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 11

Today I'm thankful for my faith.  Faith is always there, but especially evident and helpful during hard times.  I can't imagine living a life where I didn't have a faith to fall back on when tragedy strikes.  How sad... I'm glad I do and am raising my kids to have faith, as well.  Listening to your 3 year old say prayers and seeing your 1 year old fold her hands and say 'amen' sure does melt your heart.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 10

Today I am thankful for variety. I can only imagine how boring and repetitive life would be if everyone alike and everyday was the same day after day after day.  What if you had to eat the same food every single day?  What if all of your clothes looked the same?  How about watching the same show everyday? (Oh wait... I do.  Thanks, Disney Jr.!) Seriously, variety is really something to be thankful for.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Day of Gratitude: Day 9

Today I'm thankful for trustworthy babysitters.  My parents, almost exclusively, watch the kids for me when I need someone to.  They live pretty close by, so it is convenient for me and the kids always have a great time.  They always spend a lot of time playing outside, getting fresh air, and also spend time getting work done around the house.  They live out in the country, so there is always wood to be stacked, chickens to feed, or other work to be done.  They are teaching the kids already about work ethic... work before play!  Brennan knows the drill and LOVES stacking wood and working his little buns off.  I love sending them out to Mom and Dad's because not only do I trust Grandma and Grandpa more than I would an unrelated babysitter, but the kids always come home happy, tired, and bathed in attention.  It is just good for everybody.

Friday, November 8, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 8

Today's Day of Gratitude is a little unorthodox, but it is completely true... I'm thankful for birth control.  I absolutely love my kids, but I'm very happy with just the two of them.  I'm not the kind of person that wants to have a huge family with 10 kids... or even 5 kids.  Having some kind of control over that is so wonderful, even if it isn't foolproof.  I'm thankful to live in this day in age, after these medical advances have already been made!

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 7

Yesterday (yes, this one is a day late) I was thankful for technology.  I know that technology can be both a blessing and a curse, but I am looking at the good side of it for this day of gratitude.  Technology has simplified  my life so much.  I love being able to check bank accounts, make purchases (and I've saved SO much money because of eBay), keep track of our schedules (and set reminders), catch up with my friends or husband during the day, etc all from the comfort of my livingroom on my computer, tablet or phone... It really is awesome.  I truly can't imagine what everybody did in the 'olden days' before the Internet! 

Having a cell phone is so great for asking questions while I'm shopping, flash a digital coupon, or not miss an important phone call while I'm outside.

And though I know it isn't great to use technology as a babysitter, I'm not gonna lie- I really take advantage of the distraction that the tv, a movie, or the tablet can provide for the kids so I can get some stuff done around the house.  Wonderful.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 6

Today I am thankful for my home- both our actual house and the lovely little town we live in.  As far as the house goes, I am so blessed to have even the basics: a roof over our heads and a working furnace to keep us warm.  But I'm lucky enough to have even more than that.  I have a house that I love.  This house has enough room for our family to live comfortably.  Both kids have their own rooms so they don't wake each other at night.  We have closets.  The basement is basically a large playroom where the kids can be wild and crazy without worrying about breaking anything.  Our neighborhood is nice, quiet and safe.  We look out our livingroom windows right at the edge of the woods.  It is so beautiful and I'm so blessed.

I'm thankful for our great little town.  I always feel safe here.  I feel at home.  The schools are wonderful.  It is unbelievably beautiful to drive through town and have a view of the gorgeous lake the entire time.  If you go to the grocery store and don't see someone you know somewhere along the way, it is a little surprising.  I'm so thankful to have such a great place to raise my kids.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 5

Today I am thankful for my freedom.  I'm thankful for all the men and women that fight so I don't have to.  It is something I believe most of us take for granted all the time.  It is an amazing blessing to live in our country.  So many of our problems absolutely pale in comparison to REAL problems that millions of people in other countries face.  We are lucky and blessed!

Monday, November 4, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 4

Today I am thankful for my talents and abilities.  Trust me- I am in no way trying to sound braggy or conceited, I just truly appreciate the fact that many things come easily to me. 

Ever since I was little, things have been easy for me.  Not many things posed too much of a challenge.  This still holds true.  I've been blessed with talent in an artsy way.  I enjoy singing.  I have an eye for design and am a pretty good party planner.  I like photography.  I love to do all sorts of crafts: crocheting, knitting, cross stitch, bow making, and various other decorative crafts I've spied on Pinterest.  I enjoy writing (hence this blog) and the words generally flow fairly easily.  I like baking.  I have a way with just figuring things out.  If something around the house needs doing, typically I just get it done.  We very, very rarely call a professional (if anybody gets called, it's Dad) for home improvement work or repairs... I'm kind of a handy girl.  Same goes with the car.  I always try to do it myself or with Dad's help.  I actually quite enjoy changing oil, etc.

I know for a fact my life has been much easier because of this and I'm so thankful to be blessed so much!  Of course, not everything is easy... don't ask me to draw you a picture.  Yikes! 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 3

I'm thankful for a vast improvement in my kids' church behavior.  The last few Sundays that we've been in church, we've actually been able to stay in for the whole service.  Up until now one or both kids had to be taken out EVERY SUNDAY at least once because of being too noisy and wiggly.  It is so nice to see them have better control over themselves and make it the whole hour.  I am able to get something out of the service now, too.  The wonderful part is that I know they are only going to get better and better each Sunday!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 2

I'm thankful for never having to worry about my family being hungry.  It seems like such a little thing, but I know it is something that a lot of people struggle with.  I can't imagine the pain and heartache it must cause to know your kids are hungry and not be able to do anything about it.  So I'm thankful for an overabundance of food in the refrigerator and cupboards and the chance to eat what we want when we want.

Friday, November 1, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude

This year is the first year I've decided to take care in 30 Days of Gratitude.  There is so much to be thankful for the we just take for granted everyday.  Hopefully thinking of something new everyday will help me to refocus and be thankful for the things I have!

Day 1: My family!  All of them.  I'm thankful to have the kids that some people are unable to have, a loving husband that so many have not found yet or have already lost, and involved parents, parents-in-law, siblings, and sibling-in-laws that are still with us and are leaving an wonderful imprint on the lives of my lives.  Of course I'm also thankful for all of the awesome grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephew and all other extended family I am blessed with.