Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Day 119: Later Days

Today was sort of a rough day up in here.  Without going into detail, I can just tell you that it ultimately resulted in my oldest son taking a massive afternoon nap rather than being at school. 

Which ultimately resulted in a better day overall.  I would even venture to say it resulted in a FANTASTIC second half of the day.

And at the end of that fantastic end of the day I decided to go for a walk after my two youngest children were already in bed.  And because the sun was still lighting the sky, and because my older son had a massive afternoon nap, I decided to invite him along. 

And it was a beautiful and gratitude-filled way to end my day. 

Something about the sounds of kids playing outside, distant lawnmowers, and birds singing at sunset really makes the entire sum of my insides come undone.

Today I am thankful for longer summer days.

More daylight.

Summer sunsets.

Days that seem to last forever.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Day 118: Babble

Tonight in an unexpected string of events I got to be home to tuck my kids into bed.  There are many times that I could give or take bedtime.  I know that isn't a popular opinion in the ol' magical mommy-sphere, but I don't much care.  I'm really more of a fan of the mornings anyway.  And the afternoons.  And the evenings.  I don't know, something about bedtime after 24 months has turned into a stall-fest of epic proportions and easily can last up to FORTY-FIVE M.I.N.U.T.E.S. 
Maybe I'm doing it wrong. 

Anyway, tonight I was lucky enough to make it home in time for bathtime, bedtime, all of it.  In some sort of crazy drawing of straws, I was given the task of rocking Oliver to sleep while Dustin was stuck luck enough to play a few board games with two older, overly-tired, hyper boys. 

We read a story and then, like always, I started rocking him to sleep.  That is my absolutely favorite part.  I would give up trying to give baths in a shower stall, trying to convince them that brushing their teeth is a good idea, and even reading stories.  I would give it all up for the rocking. 

Because something about rocking your baby back and forth while he contours to your body makes everything else seem okay and unimportant all at once.

And then the babbling.  Ollie talks to himself as he goes to sleep.  And now these non-descript babbles are turning into words.  Tonight it was a roster of every name he knew, on repeat. 

It was beautiful. 

Today I am thankful for that I made it home in time for bedtime.

I stayed in his room and rocked him long after I should have - listening to the combination of a lively board games mixed with his list of names. 
Mommy. Daddy. Mi-os. Liiim.

And so on.

It was my favorite part of the day.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Day 117: Rain

I love thunderstorms.  And when they are rare (like in any other place than Northern Ireland), I love rainy days just as much as I love sunshine.

Today was one of those warm rainy days that made me feel cozy and cocooned.  They called for storms and tornadoes in other parts of the midwest, but I hope things were as quiet everywhere as they were here. 

Rainy days give us this excuse to do nothing but just breath in and out.  Priorities and obligations somehow float out the window.  Wait, is that just for me?

Even though my garden sits empty, the rain somehow gave the soil new life and made everything more colorful and beautiful.   Every photographer knows that overcast skies offer the most flattering light.

Today I am thankful for a rainy day.

Day 116: Perfect

How today went down...
  1. Coffee and cartoons
  2. Relaxing 
  3. A bike ride followed by hiking in the woods
  4. A stop at the local coffee shop for smoothies
  5. Lunch
  6. Naptime/reading/more coffee
  7. Perusing local shops
  8. Dinner of brats and fresh vegetables
  9. Ice cream stop at the local shop

Today I am thankful for a perfectly relaxed and uneventful day with my family.

I haven't stopped smiling all day.  I love spring.  Not the brown muddy part of spring - this part.

Up next - Popcorn and Hulu with this really hot guy I know named Husband.


Day 115: Sunburn

Tonight after the boys were in bed and I was standing in the bathroom I noticed my by my reflection in the mirror that I had a fresh case of sunburn spread out across my  nose. 
I hate when I am so careless that I get sunburn.  The truth is that for two years I didn't have to worry about it.  I bought one tiny travel-sized bottle of sunscreen for our family and didn't even use all of it the entire time we were in Northern Ireland. I'm trying to re-train myself to wear it.
Plus skin cancer has graced my family - so I try not to take it lightly.  Long gone are the days of me lying out in the sun for hours, slathering baby oil on my legs, spraying every hair on my head with Sun-In, and putting quarters over my eyes.  (Yes, I really did all of the above.)

But today when I looked in the mirror my remorse quickly turned to gratefulness.  There is little one can do about a sunburn after it has already happened.  However, one can remember why it is there.  We had a beautiful, glorious day outside in the sun.  Playdates followed by gardening, followed by bikerides and running.  It wasn't too long ago that these days of shorts and sun seemed light-years away.

Today I am thankful for a day of beautiful time outside after a long long winter.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Day 114: One

I'm sitting here in my house with only one child - the youngest.

I hear his quiet 20 month-old babble from his room as he sorts through toys in his toybox without the disruptions or distractions of his older brothers plowing him down and shouting things at him like, "Stop messing up the TRACK!!!!"

These moments are intensely rare, and they are always welcomed with a combination of him enjoying his freedom while wishing his brothers were here to entertain him.  But it's mostly the former. 

I get to see and notice things about him that are otherwise concealed by the chaos of our lives.  For instance, his words.  He has so many words.  Real words and words he's made up.  I love his words.  I would go play with him, but really he just wants me to sit here while he decides when he graces me with his presence.  He brings me things that he thinks are funny - like a bouncy ball and sunglasses - a bottle of pills, because he knows they are forbidden.  This kid thinks he is a real riot.  He also thinks I'm the funniest person in the world.  And since we both agree on these things, we get along well.

Like his brothers before him, he perfectly contours to my body when we rock, and I can't imagine a world without him in it.  Sometimes I imagine what he would be like if he was an only child, but then it's so hard, because I believe he was made to forge a way through his older brothers.  He was built serious and silly, strong and opinionated. 

When you have three kids and you are left with just one everything seems so easy.  Then you wonder why it didn't seem so easy when you only had one to begin with.  Or two.  Everything all along has been equal parts hard laced with beautiful, and you can't figure out why it has to be that way. 

When I only had one, would I have let him play so independently in the other room while I sit here and type?  I probably would have thought of that as neglect.  I'd imagine he would have thought of it as neglect too.  That's the beauty of multiple children.... they become more forgiving the further you go.  Or maybe you become more forgiving of yourself.  Yes, that's it.

Today I am thankful for a quiet morning alone with my youngest son. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Day 113: Success

This was a big week at work for me and my department.  Everything went smoothly.  I felt like it was a success.  And like most successful weeks, I'm too tired to write more.

Today I am thankful for a little bit of success after a lot of hard work.  

and more importantly, I'm thankful for the people who walked alongside me and showed me the ropes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Day 112: Dawn

Early Morning Light in Northern Ireland

I set my alarm every morning for 5:00 am.  If that seems impressive to you, I should also tell you that I set a second one for 5:15. Let's just say I'm definitely not jumping out of bed with a smile on my face.

Mornings have always been my favorite time of day.  Early mornings when no one else is up - even better.  In my younger years I easily woke up at these early hours without any help from an alarm.  My parents tell stories of waking up to find me sitting on the couch just patiently waiting for someone to get up and entertain me pre-dawn.  In college I would get up at insane hours to go work out so that I didn't have time to talk myself out of it. (Working out?  Who even knows what that is these days?)  Even after I had kids, my best thinking and most productive time of day has been early morning, from 5-7 (or more recently, from 5:30-until my kids wake up - which is closer to 6:00 on some days).

It's when I read my Bible and look out the window.  Drink coffee slowly.

Okay, so I use the word "productive" quite loosely.

But these moments are important to my productivity.  It's like plugging myself into an outlet and recharging.  My download of energy and peacefulness - two things I need to get off on the right foot.

I may stumble moments later - but at least I start out on the right foot, RIGHT?

Today I am thankful for the early morning and what it brings to the table.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Day 111: News

Tonight I was on the news.  Please don't look it up.  It was awful.  Seriously awful.

You know when they take the worst sentence you said in the entire interview and then focus on that?
And then forget about all of the amazing things you said?
And then you have to sit at home all night and wonder how you're going to pretend like it never happened the next day at work?

Today I am thankful that no one I know watches the news.

Remind me never to go into politics.

Day 110: Easter

Today when I got off the airplane I was greeted with sunshine and the warmest day we've had in 2014.  I stretched out on a bench, soaked up some sun, and waited for my boys to come pick me up. 

I felt happy with anticipation because I missed them this weekend and I was lucky enough to get back home in time to celebrate Easter with them.  I was excited to see them pull up to the curb. 

But nothing could prepare me for how excited they were to see me. 

Today I am thankful for those big brilliant smiles.

It was a fabulous gift for this road-weery girl.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Day 109: Family

Today I got to spend the day with my parents, two brothers, two sister-in-laws, and a nephew and sweet new niece. 

All day. 

Today I am thankful for family.


Day 108: Safe Travels

I am an anxious flyer.  Which is funny because I hate driving even more.  And for someone who likes to travel the world and experience things - this is a bit inconvenient. 

Today in the interest of meeting my newest niece I got into a tiny tin-can of a plane and wobbled around in the air for 2 hours before landing in Atlanta, only to do it again to get to North Carolina. 

And I made it.

When there is a lot of turbulence I find it really helpful to close my eyes and pretend that God is bouncing me around like an infant you're trying to get to sleep.

Weird...I know.  I'd rather be doing weird quiet things than making a scene and screaming, "Why isn't anyone PANICKING?"  Which I'm sure other passengers appreciate.

Today I am thankful for my repertoire of calming techniques.   

How very zen of me.  I feel very cool.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Day 107: Ice Cream

Really?  You need more of an explanation???

Today I am thankful for Ice Cream + Mad Men.

The end.

Day 106: Affirmations

There is one time I remember listening in church as a young middle schooler.  That's right, only one time.  It was an interim pastor at our church and he did a sermon all about affirmation.  Immediately following the service our Sunday School teacher had us all write a letter of affirmation to someone.  In typical 12-year-old-lazy fashion, I wrote it to the pastor himself.   And boy did he love that letter.  He told my grandparents all about it, who told my parents, who asked me all about it.  I just shrugged and probably said something along the lines of, "It's no big deal".  To this day I don't think I've ever told any of them that my it was actually my Sunday School teacher's idea.  I'm not even sure I think that's an important detail anymore, because I do know that I took away a great deal from that experience.  I learned the value of heartfelt affirmation. 

There are times in my life when I really put myself out there.  I step outside of my comfort zone and do something that I feel right doing, but can't believe I'm doing at the same time. 
It usually goes something like this....
  • Step 1: Think of something that I absolutely must do while doing any of the following: walking, showering, driving.   At this time the "thing" seems necessary and there is absolutely no question in my mind that it is the right thing to do.  
  • Step 2: Do thing.  Sway a bit in my resolution that it MUST BE DONE, but ultimately decide that my first instinct must have been there for a reason.
  • Step 4: Realize this thing can not be undone, and one must live with the consequences.
  • Step 5: Sit around in agony wrestling with all of the possible worst case scenarios that could come about because I was mistaken in thinking this "thing" needed to be done.
  • Step 6: Go crazy with regret and anxiety.
  • Step 7: Realize that it just needs to play out and there is nothing one can do.  Start thinking about the best case scenarios - which are usually REALLY REALLY great.
When I do these things I go absolutely crazy with fear that what I've done is completely wrong.  Whatever I had done will be received all wrong and I came off as selfish and crazy.  I believe we women call it overthinking.

Which leads me to what I am thankful for today.

Today I am thankful for people who go out on a limb to tell you that you've done something good. 

People that build confidence with the affirmations they go to the trouble to deliver.

When we do a truly good thing, we don't do it to get noticed or to receive thanks, BUT (but but but but BUT) it feels so good, and expounds our faith, when someone goes out on a limb to tell us that we've done something right.  We are good. 

These people are important to society because they are the people that give our souls fuel to go on doing great and wonderful things.  They are the people that are behind the nudge we feel to do something we really want to do, even if it is outside our comfort zone.

Thank you God, for these people. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Day 105: Yes

Sometimes there are people added to your life that give you encouragement and courage just by being alive.

I call them Yes People.

I've been lucky enough to surround myself with many Yes People in many different aspects of my life.  These people would never be accused of being realistic.  Would definitely not be discouraging.

They are to me, what spinach is to Popeye.
I feel brave and strong when I'm with them.
I feel like everything I say, and every idea I have is the right one.

The jury is still out on whether this is actually beneficial, but I don't actually care - because I need these people.

Today I am thankful for the YES PEOPLE in my life.

Even when they encourage me to do crazy and non-responsible things I'm still paying for today.

Especially then.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Day 104: Improved

Today I woke up in a total funk.  I think it is because I went to bed in a total funk and never really shook it off.

I was weepy and emotional.   Maybe there's a better phrase than being in a funk. Like....looking and acting like a water-soaked sponge that's been sitting in the bottom of your dirty dishwater for three hours because you forgot to drain it out.

That's more how I felt.  If I have to put a label on it. 

I put on my sandals and thought to my less-than-happy-self, "I'm going to be thankful for being able to wear sandals."  This afternoon I stood in the lobby of work, in aforementioned sandals and looked out the window to see SNOW.  THAT WAS STICKING TO THE GROUND.  IN MID APRIL. 

I went to the dentist, which I pretty much hate, and I thought, "I'll be thankful because I don't have any cavities."

Well, you can probably figure out how that went.
I'll give you a hint: my next appointment is three weeks from now.

So at that point I decided that I need to stop planning what I'm going to write about for the remainder of the day.

And now as I sit here at the end of my day, I'm thankful for this...

Today I'm thankful that my mood improved.

My step got lighter.

My smile found its way back to my face.

By the time I left work at 7:30 pm - still in my sandals - I didn't even really care that there was snow, and I had a hard time remembering what I was so upset about earlier that day.

Sometimes God knows how to put into your heart what you didn't realize you were missing.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Day 103: Breeze

I'm sitting on the couch editing photos this Sunday afternoon.  Dustin's off to a meeting and all three boys are lying in bed in various stages of rest (I use this term loosely).

My windows and doors are propped open even though I'm sitting under a blanket.  You see, the loveliness of the breeze against my body far outweighs the inconvenience of a blanket draped over my lap.  In fact, I would say the blanket draped over my lap is a bonus. 

Today I am thankful for the breeze trailing through my house. 

With it comes...
...the smell of rain.
...the sound of cars on the street.
...playing children.
...barking dogs.
...fresh air.

Day 102: Pizza

Tonight was one of those nights when I went over to hang out with a good friend.  It started out with us going out to a fancy dinner and drinks, then morphed into us drinking wine and eating fancy tapas on her back porch, and eventually ended with a text that said something like, I'm dirty, my house is dirty. I've ordered pizza.

Which is awesome.  And the best kind of friendship in the whole wide world.  Because all I really wanted to do was sit at a table with her and talk all evening.  I didn't care where, and I didn't care what filled the table between us - although I'll never complain about pizza and a glass of Poppy wine.

Today I am thankful for a night of relaxing conversation and easy-ness.

I'm pretty simple.  And I love when things can just be simple and unpretentious every once-in-awhile.

It was exactly what my heart (and my wallet) needed. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Day 101: Green

The thing I miss most about Northern Ireland (besides the people, small towns, beaches, ocean, biscuits, tea, and accent) is what you see when you look out the window of a moving car - green rolling hills. 

All year round.

I got so used to it that when all of our beautiful snow melted away a few weeks ago I was actually a little shocked by how brown EVERYTHING was.  I had forgotten how that happens here. 

So this morning when I walked in my front yard on the way to school I was seriously DELIGHTED to see the new green grass poking through the dead stuff.  So delighted, in fact, that I ran around pointing each new patch out to my kids who stood on the sidewalk and rolled their eyes at me. 

I almost took my clothes off and rolled across it, I was so excited. 

But I also don't want to get arrested.

Or a reputation.

Today I am thankful for the reappearance of green grass and buds on the trees.

Spring is here.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Day 100: This.

Day 100! I feel like I should do something extra awesome.  like my kids do at school for 100 Day.  But alas, I have nothin'.

Except this.

Today I am thankful for the train tracks on the floor that I have to step over constantly becuase it means that my children are able to use their minds to build things and engineer tracks all over my bedroom floor.

Today I am thankful for the sound of my alarm ringing at 5:00 am, and again at 5:09, and again at 5:18, because it is a reminder that I can hear.

Today I am thankful for a slow computer, because it gives me time to drink coffee and reminds me to look out the window at the early light shining on my street.

Today I am thankful for the crumbs that stuck to my feet as I walked through my kitchen, because it represents the plenty in our lives.

Today I am thankful for a long to-do list, because it means that I have work and a way to contribute while focusing on my passion.

Today I am thankful for the extra tired I feel, because it means I was up late with a group of women who inspire me to be better.

Today I am thankful for a sore hand, because I was able to write a long letter to a friend.

Today I am thankful for a broken blind on my front window, because it forces me to slow down and look outside as I try to rig it up to stay open.

Today I am thankful for the overcast sky, because it means there is water there to offer newness and growth to my world.

Today I am thankful for the stack of papers I have to grade, because it means I get to teach people a subject I love.

Today I am thankful for the much-too-early sounds of my sons talking in their room - of one waking up the other, because it means they made it through the night and I get to see their smiling faces soon.

Today I am thankful for the constant babble of another, because it means he is happy to be awake. 

Today I am thankful for the cars and tractors scattered in their bedroom, and the dishes piled at the sink, because it means I have a house of boys.

Today I am thankful for the impending morning, because it means I have a chance to do it all again.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Day 99: Solitude

Yesterday my patience ran out.  It didn't just run out once in one instance....it completely ran dry for about 2/3 of the day.  I think I must have woken up with it depleted.  At one point I even told Liam that I needed him to go sit in his room for five minutes so that I could finish what I was doing and think straight.  His bottom lip said it all...

And I will 100% admit that I am not the most patient person in the world, but I do try.  And that trying really wears me down - to the point that I have no more patience for the adults in my life - namely, my poor husband.

Yesterday I officially lost my patience with everyone who could breath, get hungry, and make sounds - myself included.   

I think it is all linked to a bigger picture of anxiety that I don't want to bore anyone with.  It's very deep and very interesting - blah blah blah, I promise.  

{Side note}  I wish there was a sarcasm font - wouldn't that help relieve most of us of miscommunications via the written word? {End side note}

Luckily at about 3:00 I had a do-over when Dustin took Miles to music class and Oliver was sleeping and I allowed myself the gift of letting Liam watch an entire hour and half of afternoon cartoons. (SOMEONE CALL DCFS!) 

As my friend Stephanie put it, "Tiffany, you are the type of person that just needs solitude.  That's just who you are."

And I am not afraid to admit it....now that I've actually admitted it to myself.

After someone pointed it out to me.

Today I am thankful for dosages of solitude.

By 4:45 we were having a dance party.  By 5:00 I was laughing again.  By 6:00 Oliver had microwaved my mascara only to be discovered after it exploded in our food.  (Unrelated question: If I put it on my face, I can definitely eat it, right?)

But at least at this point I could laugh again.

And today is like the gift of a do-over.  Except that I'll be at work all day.  In a closet.  By myself. 


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Day 98: So close

I can literally FEEL summer coming.  It is so close I sometimes can't stand it and feel as though I may come undone.

Lately I just can't keep up with myself.  I believe this is what people warned me about when I had kids and they were all like, "You'll never have time to do what you want to do." and I was all like, "No, I would never let that happen."  And then, like most things, God was all like, "Stop being a smart aleck - you don't know what the heck you're talking about.  Here, let me prove it."

So now we're spending precious time running to soccer and swimming and piano.

Seriously.  How did I let this happen?  Is it possible to homeschool your kid in activities?  Oh wait, you need to know how to do said activities?  And you actually have to be the one to do it? And you need other little kids to be there?!  Touche.

I have this illusion that summer is going to be fun, carefree, and relaxing.  If you're about to tell me that this is absolutely not true, then please just keep your soul killing wisdom to yourself. 

Today I am thankful that I can feel summer getting closer.  

Come back dear friend...I've missed you.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Day 97: Teeth

A few days ago Miles revealed a loose tooth to me.
I believe I handled Kindergarten registration with class, and the first time he wanted to walk into school without me - I accepted it bravely.
When Dustin pointed out to me that he doesn't need his bear and monkey as much - I held my chin high and braved his independence like a champ.


Exactly how much growing up is God going to have me endure within this one year?

Deep breaths.

I guess this is all good though.  At some point we do want them to do these things.  We want them to tie their shoes by themselves and not ask for kisses before bedtime every night.

Right?  Is that what we want?

My poor mama heart is just shattered today, but I know that it is for all the wrong reasons.  Because THIS is what we want for our children.  This is the plan.  This is where we're at, and I should be grateful for it.

Tonight I am thankful for signs that my children are on track and healthy.

It kills me.

But I guess some things just aren't always about me.  (sniff.)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Day 96: 40

Today my parents are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.

I feel incredibly lucky to have grown up with parents that have loved each other for so long - for parents who have this fabulous love story that eventually turns into a family, and life for me and my three brothers.

They've taught me a lot about parenting, and marriage.  Fighting fair, and saying "I'm sorry".  About laughing at ourselves and never taking oneself too seriously.  About adventure and stability.

About loving someone, and allowing yourself to be loved by someone. 

Today I am thankful for two parents that have loved each other my whole life.

But not just that - the opportunity they had to love each other their whole adult lives. 

The summer they met.  The years they spent overseas.  The good health that has carried them so far.  The four fabulous children they had (especially that daughter of theirs - she's the best one).

All of it. 

I'm thankful that it included me.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Day 95: Family

Today we are celebrating our Family Day.  Five years ago we brought home the most amazing little boy to start our family.  He slept the whole way on the plane and didn't cry a peep.

I spent the whole trip wondering how I got so lucky, and weeping for the two women who loved him whom he left behind. I also spent a lot of time wondering how much he should eat, sleep, and drink - since I had no way of knowing, and these sorts of things don't include instruction manuals.

The beginning of my family - on a big blue plane heading home from South Korea. A 10 month old beautiful boy on my lap and a tiny little life that was revealing himself through morning sickness and fatigue.  

Today I am thankful that God chose this way to start my family.

It included many bumps, lots of patience, and some sadness.  But in the end, I couldn't imagine it any other way.

Happy Family Day my little boy.

I am the luckiest.

Day 94: Out

Today I spent the morning painting Photobooth props for the PTO carnival at school.
Then I spent naptime mending jeans and watching Days of Our Lives.

By the end of the day I was having an existential crisis.  For the life of me I can't figure out how people with little kids and no money for a sitter make art for the sake of creating and become part of the art community.  Maybe there should be state funded artist retreats open for everyone.  Like foodbanks for the soul.

Too much?

So last night when my dear friend asked me to join her at our city's First Fridays gallery crawl I was super excited.  I went home and checked with my husband (who had signed our oldest son up for swimming lessons every Friday night at 7:30 - who swims then?!) who said he thought it was also a great idea. (This is my translation - it was more of a literal grunt with a bit of "yes" inflection.) 

Tonight I put on a new shirt and red lipstick.  I traded my chucks for shiny metallic flats (because I haven't lost my mind y'all) and headed out to check out the art scene in P-town.


It is vibrant and well-attended and heading towards the parts of town it should be in. And the price was right = free.

Today I thankful for artistic experiences that are within an arm's reach.

Foodbanks for my soul.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Day 93: Rain

I walk a lot these days.

I walk everywhere in this tiny town, and I easily have two handfuls of reasons for doing it.  One is that I'm pretending I live in New York.  That's pretty much my reason for everything right now.  I live in a tiny apartment because I'm pretending I live in New York.  I only have one car because I'm pretending I live in New York.  I curse a lot because I'm pretending I live in New York. (just kidding Grandma....and New Yorkers.)

I don't even really want to live in New York.  I just think it sounds cool.

So this morning when it was time to take Miles to school and it was raining hard enough for people to have their wipers turned to high, I checked the sky for lightning, handed out raincoats and umbrellas and headed out.  I know people think I'm crazy.  Or else they think I have a DUI.  I'm not sure which.

The truth is that I love the rain.  I love the feel of it on my face and the sound of it hitting the hood of my jacket.  Not only does it remind me of Northern Ireland, but it reminds me that I'm alive, and living in a world with sensory gifts. 

Sometimes when I'm walking, or trying to talk myself out of walking somewhere, I try to imagine what it would be like if someone came on the news next week and told me that I could not go outside for more than 15 minutes a day.  And then a week later told me I could never leave my house again.  What if our world consisted of indoor tunnels to get from here to there and the outdoors suddenly became inaccessible?  What if I never got to feel the rain again, or the sun on my forearms.  Or hear snow under my boots?  What if the annoying wind never slapped me across the face when I stepped out my door?

(I know. I read too much Margaret Atwood - you don't have to tell me.)

Today I am thankful for these sensory gifts of the outdoors.

And I promise not to take them for granted until the day they are taken from me.

Day 92: Rest

Today I am thankful for rest at the end of a busy day.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Day 91: Baby Girl

All my life I've been surrounded by boys - and the not good kind of boys that you wish for in high school.  Instead, I've been surrounded by the kind that like to either pretend you yourself are a boy, or make fun of you because you aren't.  The kind that push you off the swings and shoot you with a bb gun "in fun".  Boys that throw sticks at you, and tell you that you have to switch out of first gear on the dirt bike or you're going to ruin the engine.  Boys that throw you into the pool and laugh.  Boys that pin you down and threaten to drop spit in your face.  Boys that build forts with you and let you boss them around a bit before they decide to declare mutiny and kick you out of the fort you helped build.

And as an adult I've somehow ended up with all sons and mostly nephews up until now.  Which works out, because although I spent a great deal of my teenage years trying to figure boys out, I do know my fair share about little boys. 

But guess what, that is about to change...
The number of nieces I have has almost doubled in the last month, going from three to five in only a few short weeks.  I now officially have more girls than boys in one area of my life and I find that incredibly exciting.

Yesterday my little brother (the stick-throwing one) and my very brave sister-in-law (because we're all brave to do this, right?) gave birth to the most perfect newborn baby girl I've seen through a series of cell phone pictures in four weeks. 

If she looks this good with a cell phone, then imagine how incredible she is in real life.

I'll tell you all about it when I get to see her in two weeks!  Eeek!

Today I am thankful for my newest niece, Etienna Rose, and that I get to see her so very soon.

Her beautiful name is in honor of her grandfather that passed away exactly a year ago (almost to the hour).  God is amazing like that sometimes.

It sounds like she already has her Daddy wrapped around her finger which hopefully means he'll treat her better than he treated me growing up.

Just kidding.  I mean, I do hope he doesn't pin her down and threaten to drop spit in her face, but I'm not too worried that he will.  He'll make an amazing Dad to this little girl, just like he is already an amazing Dad to her big brother, X.

Two weeks!  (eek!)