Monday, March 31, 2014

Day 90: Medicine

Modern medicine has pretty much wowed me to the point of disbelief lately.  It has cured things for our family that I never thought was possible.  It has made seemingly hopeless situations a thing of the past.  It makes childbirth pleasant and safe.  It fixes spinal cords.  It changes a person's behavior and capacity for learning.  Science is pretty much amazing.

This weekend it wowed me again.  Oliver got drastically sick, drastically fast on Sunday just when we were getting ready to come home from visiting my parents.  What started out as an annoying cough at night turned into RSV within just a few hours on Sunday morning.  Although at that time I didn't know it was RSV.

So at my mom's suggestion I left my other two boys with my parents and drove Oliver to the nearest Urgent Care in their town. 
Within an hour they had him diagnosed and on a breathing treatment. For $20 I walked out with a solution and a prescription tucked in my pocket.

Today I am thankful that I have access to excellent healthcare for my family.

It was a scary few hours there when I didn't know what was wrong with Oliver and I was stuck between trying to decide if I needed to be scared or if I needed to just chill out and let it run it's course.

I was glad my mom was there to say, "You should go." and that the Urgent Care facility was close.  And open.  And that I had insurance and the money in my bank account to pay what I needed to pay on top of that.

And I was even a little grateful that I had a stupid nebulizer sitting in a closet at home that I had never used and was cursing myself for getting in the first place.  I guess I did need it after all.

Day 89: Safe Travels

The older I get, the more anxious I get about traveling.  I imagine the worst case scenarios in my head and ultimately have to talk myself out of just staying home.  As I type it out, it sounds just short of crazy.  Maybe not even short of...

Today I drove with my kids across a number of interstates to return home to our house and my husband.  Through stages of heavy traffic, ladden with huge semis and speeding SUVs, I guided our tiny little tin can of a car home safely.  Cars tailgated me and bullied me into speeding up or moving over (of which I generally do the latter.)  I people drove by on their cell phones and with tiny movie theaters in their cars.  On those highways there were stressed drivers, fast drivers, distracted drivers, and probably tired drivers.  When you think about how crazy and dangerous the highway is, it sort of makes you grateful for the times you can get somewhere safely.

Today I am thankful for safe travels.

I feel lucky that it was uneventful and easy.  I feel grateful that today we are all safe and home.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Day 88: Friends

Yesterday when I took my boys over to Tiff's house I was thinking that it was probably the only chance I'd get to see her, and I was hoping there would be an opportunity to see all of my girlfriends together as soon as possible.

Little did I know that it would happen TODAY.

When I get homesick, these are the friends I miss.  When I reminisce about my hometown and all of its awesomeness, I'm really just talking about these ladies.  When I think about a perfect dinner out, it would 100% include these amazing women that I rarely get to see.

I am so lucky that they are mine and that they love me.

Today I am thankful for deep, long-term, beautiful, "I knew you when....", friendships.

My heart tingles just thinking about them.

Day 87: Friends

Today I took the boys over to one of my dearest and oldest friend's house.  Tiffani and I were best friends in high school and have continued our friendship even though we live far away from one another and rarely get to see each other. 

She has two boys that are the same ages as mine and a house full of the most amazing toys in the universe...a recipe for an awesome morning playdate.

Today I am thankful for a fun morning with friends.

It was good to catch up and introduce my boys to a family that is so dear to my heart.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Day 86: Easier

Ollie's threat of a chocolate attack on all things upholstered today.

Today I drove by myself with my three boys to visit my parents in Ohio for the weekend.  We survived by shoving food into our mouths the whole way and only stopping three times to go to the bathroom (all of which were because of me - the one who couldn't hold it).

I'm reminded of the first time I drove out to Ohio by myself right after Liam was born - when I was a new mother of two tiny babies.  Miles could walk run everywhere.  He had only one speed - extreme, and was immune to instructions and even the occasional fevered nervous yelling. (i.e. "Don't run out into the parking lot by yourself!") 
Liam was only one month old and obviously still attached to my boob 3/4 of the day.  He also had decided at an early age that he was against all contraption that involved buckles and facing basically carseats.

I remember driving out to Ohio and thinking that we were never going to survive if I had to stop - which eventually I did.  It's all a blur. 

Actually, now that I think about it, I don't think Miles was even with me.  It was just me (a brand new nervous mom) and Liam (a brand new nervous baby).  Proof that it doesn't matter how many kids you have - it's easy to feel overwhelmed in just about any situation when someone is completely dependent on you.

But today went really well.  There was zero car fighting and I didn't forget anyone in the Hardees restroom we on the interstate.  We were the picture of cool.

Today I am thankful that some things do get easier.

I'm not looking forward to my kids growing up.  And I certainly don't want to rush it in any way, but I will take the good that sneaks up on me when I am not looking.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Day 85: Creativity

This morning I woke up with a backache and bags under my eyes.  I wish it was because I was at a sweet concert dancing the night away, but instead it was because I spent 45 minutes lying on the floor. 

Miles and Liam are on spring break right now, which is only fun for them because the rest of us are most definitely not on spring break. 

So a few days ago when my very clever Facebook friend Elizabeth mentioned that her boys were having a staycation of camping in the living room floor I not only threatened to steal her idea, I totally did it.

We popped the tent up in the middle of the living room, watched movies from our sleeping bags, fought over flashlights, and made smores the only way we know how in below freezing weather. 

Today I am thankful for the creativity of friends that inspires me daily as a mom.

The boys absolutely loved it.  I only lasted a safe 45 minutes before I was tucked into my big beautiful bed with my book.  I heard Liam tell my sister-in-law this morning that "Mommy and Daddy had so much fun that they had to sleep in their own bed." 

So much fun and a sore back.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Day 84: Words

Having a child in school is a lot different than I imagined. 

I imagined school shopping and art projects - evenings spent hearing about all of the fun things they did.  What they read.  What they played with.  Who stood in as their best friend that day.

But that's not really how it goes down in our house. 

I loved school.  LOVED IT.  Growing up on a farm surrounded by boy cousins and brothers I couldn't wait to go and make friends with people who didn't call me bossy and who thought Barbies were the bomb.  I wanted to read and draw all day long.  I thought school was the gateway to everything that was going to be awesome in my life. 

I wanted E's for excellent on every space in every report card.  I couldn't wait until they would transform to A's and B's and I would FINALLY get the math book that you couldn't write in, and instead had to complete problems on notebook paper.  I thought the school counselor was cool long after everyone else thought she was lame, and in third grade I was officially the biggest suck-up I have ever to this day met in my entire life.  I thought school was awesome.

And it was, until I found out it wasn't cool to love school so much.  Then my excitement really just went down a smidgen on the outside. 

It appears as though my made-for-the-classroom attitude wasn't passed down directly to all of my children.  In a world where one's gifts lie outside of the standardized tests and required curriculum of today, it can be scary for a child and parent. 

But I have some pretty great people here, and one of those is my sister-in-law, who over the weekend gave me some encouraging words at a time that I needed to hear them. 

Today I am thankful for that encouragement and the courage it has given me to parent differently.

They were words I needed to hear at a time I was ready to listen.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Day 83: Brother

Today was sort of taking a big dive the later the hours carried on.  It ended with me sharing a text conversation with my brother Collin.

Then, out of nowhere my phone rang and it was him on the other end.

Sometimes I play it cool and try to act like I'm totally okay with not talking to them much; not seeing their faces or their families very often.

But the truth is that I'm not.  I'm not cool with it.

I miss them.  I miss what our relationship could be if I got to be around them more, and got to see their faces - hear their voices.  Sometimes I find myself mourning the loss of something that seems out of reach, but that I feel entitled to as a sister.

And tonight I got to have a conversation that I needed to have because my brother had the intuition to pick up the phone and just call me.

Tonight I am thankful for just that.  That conversation and how it transformed my night.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Day 82: Celebrations

Yesterday my sister-in-law and I threw a shower for Dustin's sister, Carrie, and her sweet baby girl Emari.  I really enjoy planning parties like this - small little events that are cause for gathering around a table of good food and celebrations. 

A baby was passed, gifts were opened, and delicious dips were consumed.

Today I am thankful for gatherings with family.

I think I literally fell into bed last night because I was exhausted in the most marvelous way possible.

And this celebration was a long time coming.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Day 81: This.

Today I am thankful for this post, this morning.

It is everything I needed to hear at this moment, and fell into my lap at the perfect moment. 

Well played, God.  Well played.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Day 80: All of it.

Tonight Dustin and I went to a visitation for man from our area that died in military training.  I had never met him personally, but I did know his parents really well, and Dustin and I thought of them as mentors for the past number of years.

This man lived an amazing life.  A beautiful wife, and successful career as a military pilot, four kids... it appeared to be absolutely beautiful and perfect.

A life cut short.  A father whose children will only know him as a memory.  A wife, parents, and sisters who will forever mourn losing him.

So tonight I am simply thankful for everything I have.

Under this roof.

With me.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Day 79: Signs

Today was a beautiful day.  I got home from my art class to find my oldest out in the yard in shorts and a t-shirt.  I walked everywhere I went and did it with a light jacket on.  No gloves even!

The sun was bright.  The birds were chirping.  Kids were playing outside. And then I smelled Barbeque.

Barbeque....easily my favorite first smell of spring.  As I smelled it tonight on my walk from the car fixing place (a garage is it?) the aroma surrounded me and I was instantly transported back to the two other places I had lived previously as an adult where I could smell that and know the spring was right around the corner.  There is something about the first time I smell it that I always remember.  When the air is still cool and crisp and there is an excitement in the neighborhood that this might actually be IT.

And after this winter we ready for this to be IT.

Today I am thankful for the signs of springs.  

It is hard to be grumpy on days like this.  Days that remind you of the next beautiful step.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Day 78: Home

Today things didn't go exactly how I wanted them to go at work. It was a frustrating day, which we all have.  Luckily, I usually have pretty easy-going days at my place of work, so when I have a rough one it feels a little rougher than it probably (in actuality) is. 

But I feel extra lucky on those days, like today, when I get to come home to a nice, relaxing, cozy home.  Of course there are moments that aren't cozy or wonderful, but for the most part I truly love coming home to my house.

Today I am thankful for a home that offers comfort from the world. 

And really fuzzy slippers. ;)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Day 77: Purse

On Sunday when we were up in the suburbs we stopped at a Korean Supermarket to stock up on things we can't get here.  We strolled through the shop and admired the many wonderful things, watched the live fish, tried the free samples, and picked out some snacks for the drive home. 

After that we went into the restroom for one last time before climbing into the car.  I took Miles and Liam while Dustin headed out to the car with our groceries.  Eventually we made our way out and in the meantime passes two very lovely and friendly ladies who were on their way into the restroom.

We made it out to the car, buckled every little body into a carseat, and as I climbed into the passenger side I asked Dustin what he did with my purse.

Which lead to him looking at me like I was crazy.  Which lead to me asked louder, "WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MY PURSE?" Which eventually, after a series of frantic sighing and gestures, lead to me running back into the Supermarket. 

The restroom was all of the way on the other end and I kept walking through my previous steps in my mind all of the way there.  I remembered hanging it on the back of the stall door.  It would surely be there.  I had left the restroom only minutes earlier.  It had to be there.

It wasn't there. 

I wasn't ready to panic yet, as there was still the chance that someone found it and turned it in.  I walk-ran to the customer service counter and told them what had happened.  No one had turned anything in.  I speed walked back to the restroom, beginning to allow panic to rise up into my throat.  I began examining every woman's purse.  I stopped at every food stall and makeup vendor to ask if anyone had turned it in.  I looked behind shelves and kiosks, back in the restroom.  In the trash can.  I dug in a public bathroom trash can.  All the way to the bottom. 

I marched back up to customer service promising myself that there was no reason to cry.

They still had not seen it.  I cried. 

Actually, I crumbled.  Right there.  I thought of all of the things in that stupid purse and how someone could take it and instantly have access to my whole life, and I just lost it. 

Completely defeated I walked out to my car, dropped into the passenger seat, and allowed myself to cry over something so stupid as a lost purse. 

It was more than the purse though.  It was about the fact that I had looked the two women in the face when we left the restroom.  They had smiled at me and talked to my children.  They had to have been the ones to take it because there was no time for anyone else to even go in there.

Then between my sobs and blubbering I heard Liam's little voice in the back of the car say, "Here it is!"

There it was.  On the floor of my car where I had set it so that I could buckle Liam into his seat. 

Today I am thankful that I can go on believing in the good in people.

I almost lost it that day, and for no reason.  I was terrified that a part of my trust had been violated. 

On the way home I had to answer a lot of questions about why I was crying, which reminded me that I must not cry very often in front of my children.  I can't decide if that is a good thing or a bad thing. 
How about you, do you cry in front of your kids?  I really would like to know.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Day 76: St. Patrick's Day

Today was St. Patrick's Day.
What, you didn't remember it either?

Okay, good.

But you see, I am supposed to remember it because I just spent two years living in Northern Ireland, which isn't Ireland, but is still Northern Ireland.  I've also spent the last six months missing it. 

To be fair, St. Patrick's Day doesn't seem to be as big of a deal in Northern Ireland (or even Ireland) as it is here. 

I know, crazy, right?

But I still love a good excuse to celebrate and turn everything my kids eat into weird colors. 

I didn't feel too terribly nostalgic as I thought about my day and how there was no way I could squeeze anything extra into it because of my ill-planning.  I decided that this was just going to have to be one pass for the family, and with full realization that my kids wouldn't even notice.

But then someone posted a picture of the full Irish Breakfast they were about to dig into on Facebook.  At that point I knew my plans had to shift to make room for something that made today special.  The funny thing about this holiday is that in America we all use it as an excuse to eat corned beef and cabbage - which I hope is a tradition that never ends as I love me a good dish of the stuff.  However, I have yet to meet a person from Ireland or Northern Ireland that considers corned beef an important dish.  Most I've met have never heard of it. 

So tonight on my way home from work I picked up a few staples and our family indulged in our first Ulster Fry since leaving Northern Ireland.  It started out as no big deal, but as we sat there passing fried potato bread and baked beans I felt a tiny bit of the sadness that sneaks up on me every once in awhile. 

I love my life and think we are exactly where we are supposed to be at this moment.  But sometimes I still panic that the life I lived there was just a distant memory.  A dream.

Today I am thankful that my children still remember.

As we all sat around trying to conjure up the few Irish words we all have left I was surprised at what the boys could so easily recall.  We went through our colors and phrases.  We talked about Corrymeela and volunteers.  We remembered together.

Until next time...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Day 75: Reunion

It's been a long and somewhat lonely winter.  Although I've loved how our lives have been forced to hold still because of the record-breaking snowfall, and the record-breaking temperatures, I still feel a bit disconnected from family and friends that live so far away.  And as the weather gets better I find myself missing Northern Ireland even more than before.

Today a friend from far away came to us.  Well, came most of the way to us anyways.  Close enough that he was just a morning's drive away and we could meet for some Chicago style deep dish before we had to part ways again. 

Matt was a volunteer with us almost the entire time we were there, so it was extra awesome to see him today.

The pizza was good, the corny jokes he always has up his sleeve were good, the conversation was good, seeing him in person was perfect.

Today I am thankful for a much needed Corrymeela reunion with Matt.

I know that at one point he was worried that the deep dish pizza was going to win all of my Gratitude for today over him, but he never had anything to worry about.  All of my gratitude was reserved for seeing his face and seeing him well.

Day 74: My Court

Right after we first got married we moved to a college town where neither of us really knew anyone.  Dustin had a number of friends within driving distance, but we really had no real friends to speak of where we lived.  Especially me. 

I spent many months feeling sorry for myself and silently (or maybe not-so-silently) resenting my new husband for dragging me there under the pretense that he wanted to continue his education. 

My situation didn't get much better when I got my first job working as classroom "teacher" at a daycare, which was complimented by my part-time second job as a shift manager at the retail store Tuesday Morning.  I could do starving artist no problem, but I had a hard time doing starving artist that changes diapers by day and organizes the towel aisle by night.  I spent a lot of time wondering and worrying about how my job looked to the outside world, and how my bio would read someday. 

World renowned photographer and jewelry designer starts out as silly song singer and puppetmaster to two-year-olds while teaching skills like drinking out of a cup and hand washing.  When asked where her inspiration comes from she reminisces about the time an angry customer shoved a shopping cart of photo albums at her and all of the hardships that came with living in a white-collar middle-class town made up of 80% urban sprawl. 

(Of course I am a "world-renowned photographer and jewelry designer" in my daydreamed future-self.  What do you expect?)

It was pathetic really.

But in the midst of it all I somehow fell in love with the people I worked with at the daycare. 

 Long after I left I stayed in touch with many of them, and loved being around them.  They were down to earth, sarcastic, and lovely. 

They were my first friends after marriage that were just mine.

Over the years they slowly fell away and out of touch.  I still think about each of them often and laugh to myself when I think about things we did or adventures we had.  Honestly, they are still a huge part of my adult self even if we don't talk on the phone.

But there is one that remains. 

And tonight I got to spend my night with her and it was glorious. 

I loved what this night did for my heart and for my gut and for my tastebuds - because we have good taste in food too.

Today I am thankful for an evening with my dear friend, Court.

I laughed and listened and vented and did everything else that one does during the perfect childless outing with a perfect friend on a beautiful night.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Day 73: Play Dates

This morning our house was filled with kids that were running and playing and laughing and crying. 

Two of my friends sat on my couch with me sipping coffee while we tried to pretend they weren't there.  It was the best of all worlds. 

Today I am thankful for playdates with friends.

I hope our kids always want to play together, and that we can have playdates forever.  It is good for my soul.

Day 72: Warm Water

Warm water is one of those things you don't appreciate until it's gone.  I love a nice hot shower - probably hotter than is normal to most people.  I want my skin to burn and for steam to fill the entire bathroom.

Today I am thankful for warm water and the other modern conveniences I daily take for granted.

Like a working refridgerator.
Lights that turn on.
A freezer that freezes.
An oven that heats.
A furnace that pumps heat into our home.

The things I daily take for granted.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Day 71:Stupid

Since starting kindergarten my son has added the word "stupid" to his vocabulary.
And boy, does he know how to use it - hurled with venom and spit aimed directly at one's face. 

Someday I hope he reads that and is sorry.  For now I'll love him anyways.

I've spent a good portion of this year cursing whatever child taught him this word.  However, The Good Lord knows that I certainly can't be hurling any stones since I've seen first hand the things my son has taught his previously well-behaved classmates.

Things he certainly didn't learn from me.

So today when I was waiting to pull out of our snow-covered road onto our traffic-heavy highway I heard myself say, "These stupid cars won't stop coming." and knew instantly I had made a tragic mistake.  The rest of the ride to my in-laws house consisted of my two older sons repeating my phrase "stupid cars" over and over again, and giggling in between the question "why did you say 'stupid cars' mom?" asked over and over again until I ran out of ways to answer.

A rookie mistake.

It's a good thing they were with me on a good day.

Today I am thankful that this is currently, at this exact moment, the biggest of my worries.  

There is a lot going on in the world.  There is a lot of corruption happening with our children.  There are scary things we face every day.  This, I can handle.

And I am also thankful for the reminder that they are always listening.  It could have been much much worse.  And, although humbling, was an easy way for me to learn this very important lesson.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Day 70: Kindness

This morning in the midst of a busy few hours of running around I decided to stop at the grocery store.  I had a list of things I needed to buy, and a specific amount of money in my pocket to do so.  I knew our final bill was going to be cutting it close, and so when the cashier gave me my charge I was pleased so see that I had the exact amount of cash, and I knew the change was sitting in my wallet.

At least I thought it was. 

I dug frantically looking for the final 24 cents and not finding it.  I knew at that moment I had to return something in my cart.  While I set to work figuring out what I needed the least the cashier started digging through his pockets.  When he found them empty, the rest of the people in line realized what was happening and each started digging in their pockets and purses for 24 cents.  People pulled out 10s and 1s, and finally someone shouted out that they had a quarter.

Of course by this point I was pretty embarrassed that a mere 24 cents was keeping me from buying all of my groceries, and that it had solicited the help of everyone in line to get me on my way.  But more than that I was thankful for the kindness everyone was showing.

Today I am thankful for the kindness shown by strangers.

It would have been easy for them to just go about their business.  The item was already technically out of my cart and "returned".  I didn't really need the bag of almonds I was trying to buy. 

Because of their kindness I was spared another trip to the store at a later date.  But more importantly their simple tiny 24 cent act of giving - just the act of looking through their bags - restored my faith in neighbors on this warm spring day.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Day 69: Plans

This weekend I did something that pretty much has me beyond giddy. 

I used my Christmas and Birthday money to buy a plane ticket to California. 

Don't worry, I'm coming back.

California isn't the exciting part.  The exciting part is the company I'll be in - the important women I've had to say goodbye to at various times throughout the past two years - some multiple times. 


I can't even believe it is really happening.
And I feel so lucky.

Today I am thankful that I get to plan a much-needed reunion.

Day 68: A Break

Yesterday I texted a dear friend with the words, "Let's meet. I need a break from myself."
She knew that was code for, "I need you - even if your sinuses are blocked up to high heaven and you are super busy thinking about a 30 page paper for your PHD.  I need you."

And so it happened.  Over coffee in a small town we put our heads together and let out whatever was eating each of us from the inside. 

And now, this evening I feel so much better.
So much more whole.

Today I am thankful for a coffee date with a friend.

Today it was just what the doctor ordered.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Day 67: Challenges

This morning I got my two older sons ready to go to Korean Class, all the while listening to them complain about getting dressed, going, and doing the work it involves.  This morning I left my house with the attitude and thought that this would be our last semester participating. 

It's hard to give up every Saturday morning for a semester, and it's hard to do the extra work, and it's inconvenient.

But luckily today that was all challenged. 

Today we had an adult adoptee from Korea give a lecture on the cultural identity of Korean American adopted children that are being raised by White Americans.  Of course his title was 20 words longer and had a lot of complicated language, but I just summed it up in the simplest way possible. 

Everything he brought up was something I had thought about in the past - which is part of the reason I was there in the first place.  I guess the problem is that until now I've only been doing a lot of thinking - and quite a bit of thinking that what I was doing wasn't really appreciated by my son or important to him.

But this speaker today challenged that. 

Today I am thankful for people who are passionate enough to challenge the norm.

I wish I could go into more details here, but my brain is fried.  Perhaps I'll have the energy to write about it again very soon.  Until then I have a lot of thinking over to do.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Day 66: Warmth

Tonight after Miles came home from school I decided on a whim to take a walk.  The sun was out, the snow was melting - leaving clean sidewalks, and the days are getting longer - it was the perfect cocktail for a perfect walk.

Miles rode along with me on his bike while I jumped over puddles and shucked through the mud.

I didn't realize until we were making our way down the hill to the wooded trails, but I haven't been on a walk since before our first snow....back in....good gracious, I can't remember when.  I mean, I walk pretty much everywhere here in town, but I haven't been on a walk for the sake of walking since there was no snow on the ground.

I can't even fathom how long ago that was.

Don't get me wrong.  I have loved this winter and all of the fantastic layers of silent snow.  I have loved the way it has slowed our lives down and has made everything a touch more lovely.

But being outside in nothing but a hoody and windbreaker - that pretty much told me exactly what I need to know about the desire for warmer, longer days that is buried deep inside of me.

Today I am thankful for the sun's warmth.

I saw ground I haven't seen in ages, and I can't wait to see how all of this snow will nourish our land.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Day 65: Grace

Today started out in the worst possible way in could.  Without going into too many personal details about our struggles as a family, I will just tell you that we have really hard moments.  And sometimes really hard moments lead to what feels like really bad parenting.  Which in turn leads to really bad feelings.  Which eventually lead to really bad, emotionally exhausting days.

This morning involved a lot of tears all around.  It involved a pit in my stomach and a feeling of dread hanging over my head for the duration.  It was a horrible way to start the day.

So I reached out to a group of people that I knew would offer grace.

And grace they gave.

And eventually that extended to my children giving me grace.

And now I'm working on offering it to myself.

Today I am thankful for grace.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Day 64: Productive

I am (hopefully) coming to the end of a long stretch of days with very little productivity.  I'm not sure why I can't seem to catch up with anything I need to do.

Drowning is a good word to describe it, except that I feel super foolish saying it because I can't really figure out what I'm drowning in.  When I think about how busy I am at this moment in my life it makes me sad - because I never wanted to be this busy again.  But tell me, how to aspire to do things - to accomplish things - without sacrificing others?

Anyone?  Anyone?

But tonight I had a rare bit of catch-up time, and I can finally go to bed and feel like I've made a dent in the work for now.

I know so many of you know exactly what I'm talking about - this being busy stuff.

Stop. Breath.

Most of it has an end in sight, which is good.  Most of it, like the idea of raising three boys, doesn't.

Ah well, I guess it's what I signed on for.

Tonight I am thankful for a tiny bit of productivity in the midst of chaos.

And going to bed feeling like I may be getting something done.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Day 63: Quiet

Some days I'm just thankful for quiet.

Today is one of those days.

Today I am thankful for the quiet moments at the beginning and end of the day.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Day 62: Neighbor

A major reason I asked Dustin if we could move to this town was so because I wanted to be able to walk everywhere.  I love walking, in all weather, all of the time. (Well, most of the time.)  This little town of ours is a pretty pedestrian friendly place.  There are sidewalks almost everywhere, and from our house it is an easy walk to just about every store/library/post office I would ever need to get to. 

Until a polar vortex comes along.

The first big snow we had came on the weekend and I spent the better part of the weekend worrying about how I was going to walk Miles to school with a stroller full of little boys.  In fact, I was so anxious about it that on Monday night I snuck out after 10 pm (which is like midnight in 34 year old language) under the cloak of darkness and actually shoveled my neighbor's sidewalks because I wanted to be able to walk to school the next day and I didn't want them to think that I thought they were slackers.  (Super non-confrontational, I know.)   The rest of the sidewalks on the way there were cleared, but I was fully prepared to shovel my way to the school so that in the morning I could make it there without snowshoes. 

But that was the last time I've had to do that. 

There is a little sound that I've come to appreciate hearing in these parts.  It usually comes around just after the snow stops falling, but before any drivers have decided to brave the elements.  The low hum is familiar to us now as it starts a few houses down and slowly gets louder as it draws near.  Even the boys get excited when they hear the sound of it's motor, followed by the snow swirling around in a tiny blizzard around its driver.  Children run to their windows with excitement, shouting things like my little neighbor boy once said, "It's the maker of the snow!"

It's my neighbor, Steve, clearing the way. In temperatures they warn us to stay away from, he suits up in a hat and gloves, armed with nothing but a windshield clad snowblower.  He starts two houses from ours and works his way all of the way down our street, around the corner, to the school, across the street, and back down the other side.  I haven't told him this yet, and I'm sure he doesn't do this just for me, but that single act, performed at every snowfall, makes me so incredibly grateful to be his neighbor.

Today I am thankful for Steve and his generous deeds.

My non-frozen toes and ankles thank him, while my grateful heart adores him.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Day 61: Lap

Tonight I was reading through the twenty million books Miles and Liam had picked out for me when Liam, out of nowhere asked me if he could sit on my lap. 

My automatic response as we huddled together on the edge of his bunk bed, cramped and already on top of one another, was "You're fine where you are". 

But something stopped me.

He's four years old.  This is fleeting.  So I said "yes". 

I can already feel my almost six year old floating away from me.  It is as though I am beginning to count down the times left that he will curl up on my lap in earnest.  Every moment the number seems to diminish before my eyes.  There are so many things I focus on them doing on their own right now - tying their shoes - zipping their coats - pouring their own coffee.  In the midst of trying to raise boys I am losing my babies to something beyond my control.

Today I am thankful that he asked to sit on my lap.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Day 60: Tonight

We just got home from a fabulous night with friends. 
Great food.
Great wine.
Great hosts.
Great conversation.
Great laughter.

Tonight I am thankful for evenings that leave me feeling full.

And tonight I am filled to the brim.