Thursday, July 31, 2014

Day 211: Date

Tonight I had a special date night with my oldest son.  It included school shopping, his choice of restaurant, and ice cream.  It was such a sweet and special time.  I cherish the rare moments when I get one-on-one time with my son.  And after living a year with so little, I am also thankful that we can afford to do special things like that every once in a great while.

Today I am thankful for a special evening alone with my little boy; my oldest boy.

Day 210 - Over halfway

I am notorious for losing gumption halfway through a project.  Usually it's around the time the room is halfway painted with the second coat of red paint, or the set for the Renaissance Fair needs about three more days work.  I like to call myself an ideas person.  Because, heaven help us, do I have a lot of ideas.  I also am a self-proclaimed starter.  If you give me an idea, I'll find a way to make it happen.  Just don't expect me to stick around for the finish.

Guys....this is hard. 

I have seriously entertained the idea of quitting at least 13 times.  I have not had a single day where I have had a hard time being grateful.  Rather, I've had a billion days where I've had a hard time sitting down at a computer to type out things that I would sometimes rather just think through thoroughly in my head. 

There are days when the last thing I want to do is sit down at my computer and make myself write.

There are also days when I have so much to be thankful for that I feel guilty when so many people in the world have so little peace, love, or companionship.

Today I am thankful that this project is half over.  

Day 209: Insurance

Tonight after a long long LONG day of sitting through orientation I brought home a packet of papers with the intention to pour over them with a cup of tea in my hand and my semi-cooperative husband sitting next to me pretending to listen to everything I said. 

We had some big decisions to make - like, INSURANCE DECISIONS.

dun dun duunnnnnnnnnn.

But as we sifted through the papers and wrote numbers onto paper that only sort of made sense to us, I realized how lucky we were.  Here we were trying to decide between two very good insurance plans - plans provided to us by our employers.  That's a pretty good problem to have.

Today I am thankful for good insurance.

Day 208: Scared

I have exactly two weeks and one day until I step into a classroom.  Whenever someone asks me about starting a new job I always, ALWAYS use the phrase, "I'm really excited" with some combination of smiling and nodding. 

It never occurred to me until today that I'm a liar. 

When I think about things like walking around a classroom full of working students while music plays in the background, or teaching two-point perspective for the first time - I'm genuinely excited. 

(and there's always a "but")

When I think about not being there to pick up or drop off my kids at preschool and Kindergarten I get an emotion that is so weird and so specific that the closest second I can think of is sadness.  When I think about not being there when the school calls to pick someone up because of sickness or behavior (which happens in our house), it makes my stomach hurt.  When I imagine someone else putting my youngest down for a nap and being there when he wakes up, my eyes well up tears that are laced with jealousy and guilt. 

I am so weak. 

I am excited, but today as I sat in orientation and counted down the days until school starts I wanted to lay my head on the table in front of me and let go into big pathetic sobs. 

I know I can do this.  I just have moments where I don't feel ready.

(and remember how I always said there's a "but")

I am ready.  When I look past the guilt and jealousy and sadness I can see that they are all artificial.  I will miss my boys, but I will have more to give them in the times we are together. 

I will miss naptime and carefree schedules, but we won't be stressed with the same financial difficulties we had before. 

I will miss morning tantrums and afternoon meltdowns....oh wait, no I won't miss those at all.

(see, there are benefits)

So tonight I am going to dinner with my girlfriends and instead of mourning the summer that has passed, I'm going to choose to embrace the start of the school year that I get to help them conquer. 

Today I am thankful for friends that can empathize with a soon-to-be full-time working mom.

Like everything else I've ever encountered in is not for the weak of heart.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Day 207: Home Sweet HOme

Here we are, back home again after a wonderful trip to see my family. 

Tomorrow I start work at a new job and I am excited, apprehensive, and just a touch nervous. 

But I think it will be good.

Today I am thankful for a restful evening before my first day back at work.

Day 206: Relaxing

Don't ask me how my days got out of order down there.... that's going to beyond bug me.

Today was all about relaxing.  Relaxed meals. Relaxed naptimes.  Relaxed beach-going. 


Today I am thankful for a relaxed day.

Day 205: Afternoon

This afternoon I got to spend time in a beautiful town with my Mom, Sister-in-law, and an impromptu visit from a dear college friend.  The weather was perfect, and it was a fantastic time.

Today I am thankful for a relaxing afternoon with wonderful women.

Day 203: Family

Today my family arrived at the Lake House safe and sound.  I am so excited to have them here and so excited to share this week with them.  I only wish my older brother could join us as well, but I know that such things are not always possible.

And I'm okay with that.

Today I am thankful for this meeting space that is filled with my family.

Filled with just enough laughter, too much food, and the perfect amount of laughter.

Day 204: Beach

Okay.  I know you all know that I love the beach. 

Blah. Blah. Blah.

If you hate hearing about it by now, then I don't blame you.

However, today I am thankful for the beach that served as a playground for my boys and their cousin.

I loved watching them play and run and laugh together.  X mimicking Miles, Oliver mimicking X, and Liam somewhere in between serving as the comic relief.

Day 202: Vacation

Okay... hang tight, because I'm about to perform a post dump up in here. 

Once again our family was lucky enough to go up to the Lake Michigan for the majority of a week and the beautiful thing about our vacation location is that there is no internet.  So I've been collection grateful posts for you all this entire week. 

Read em' and weep friends.

Day 202...

Today, after a long day of playdates and naptimes and piano practice and just general surviving we decided to leave 18 hours early for vacation. 

So we threw our suitcases into the hatchback and stuffed three little boys into the backseat of our tiny car with some waterbottles and various snacks.  One last stop at the library and we were on the road.

Today I am thankful for happy travelers.  

I haven't always been blessed with compliant co-pilots, so I definitely know the other side all too well. 

Which is probably what makes me so darn thankful for what we have right now. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Day 201: Impromptu

Tonight at the last minute we went with some friends to a special place with woods and water and had an impromptu hotdog and s'more dinner.  The weather was perfect.  The kids all were busy exercising their incredible imaginations.  And the conversation was fun and light.

Today I am thankful for last minute plans.

Rarely do we have a free weekend where something like this can just fall into place.  But when it does, I am thankful.

Day 200: Day Away

Today I got to spend an entire day with a dear friend in a very cool city.  We ate and drank all day with small breaks for window shopping.  It was magical.

Today I am thankful for a special day with a friend.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Day 199: Entertainment.

Today I woke up with a list of things I needed to get done, and a list of things we had to do as a collective unit (like, go to the dentist).  

I didn't want to fall into the trap of frantically reminding everyone that "we have a lot to do" all morning.  So while I was deciding what to just put on the back burner for the day something magical happened. 

A truck full of men and women pulled up with chainsaws and started cutting down the dead tree in our front yard. 

Presto!  Free hour-long entertainment. 

It was the best.  I almost felt like I should go out and thank them for putting up with my sons' questions and comments like, "Guys, are you cutting down the wrong tree?" (They weren't.)

Today I am thankful for the gift of an hour.

Day 198: New

Tonight while the older children were off singing songs about Jesus and consuming more sugar at Bible School, Oliver and I had a rare chance to go for a walk alone.  I have a pretty standard route around town.  We are lucky enough to have a paved wooded trail near our home, and it is where I automatically go whenever I get my tennis shoes on.  Tonight as the sun set and the town began to come alive with evening buzz, I decided to go a different route.  For the last three days I've discovered completely new areas of our town - each area being uniquely cool and exquisite.

This is not where i saw myself 12 years ago when I was planning my wedding and graduating college.


But I love this little town.   Even when I try my hardest to find its faults (which it has...) I am overcome with this sense of belonging and quirkiness that combine to make it sort of sickeningly magical. 

I don't know if I'll always feel this way.  I'm not sure when the claustrophobia will set in.  But for now, I'm going to enjoy enjoying it.

Today I am thankful for the town I live in.

It's small.  It's in the middle of nowhere.  And it's mine.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Day 197: Cool

Today and yesterday were the first days in month that I wasn't a sweaty mess from the moment I woke up.  EVERYTHING is easier when you don't have sweat dripping down your back of look like a crazy person every time you look in the mirror because your straight hair has suddenly turned curly and refuses to stay in a rubber band.

So today I'm thankful for a few days of cooler weather.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Day 196: Fresh

Today I am leaving to pick up our CSA share just like I do every Tuesday.  This year has been an adventure, and I've learned more about vegetables than I ever thought possible.  Having the convenience of fresh organic vegetables delivered practically to our doorstep every week has been so good, that I'm sure I'll do it for years to come. 

Today I am thankful for plenty of healthy food.

And as a bonus there is now a huge summer squash vine growing out of my compost pile.  Free food y'all.

Day 195: Summer Rain

It rained a lot in Northern Ireland, but it was never the lovely warm mid-day thunder-filled summer showers we get here.

Around 10:30 this morning I was out kneeling in my garden when I felt the wind change and a warm breeze turn cool.  It was like magic.  Liam and I raced to the clothes line to rescue our drying clothing as thunder filled the sky.  Just as we made it inside the skies opened. 


Today I am thankful for warm summer thunderstorms.

Day 194: VBS

This morning the boys had their little program at church in honor of their hard work last week during VBS.

I took approximately ZERO photos of it, so you'll just have to believe me when I say it was adorable.  What I mean is, all of the other kids were adorable that I could see.  Liam somehow managed to disappear into the back of the crowd and Miles hid behind his bandana the entire time.  (It was a western theme.)

Everyone else though - super cute.

Today I am thankful for the people who volunteer their time for Vacation Bible School.

I hope the memories my son's are gaining through these weeks will stay with them the way my Bible School weeks stayed with me. 

Day 193: Family Reunion

Today we spent all day with Dustin's extended family.  There was boating and fishing (LOTS of fishing) and hiking and delicious potlucks...

Today I am thankful for a full family reunion.

And the people who put all of the work into planning it.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Day 192: Quiet

Today I am just thankful for another quiet day in my safe part of the world.

Nothing much is going on today, but usually that means that things are pretty easy.  I have so little to worry about in the grand scheme of things.  My life is sort of uneventful - in a good way. 

Today I am going to appreciate the quiet life I have here when so many are struggling for just a piece of the same.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Day 191: Trip

Right now my parents are gallivanting around Anchorage. 
I know, awful, right?

The lucky dogs are there celebrating 40 years of marriage doing something they've wanted to do for as long as I can remember.

Today I'm thankful that my parents are still adventurous.

It's inspiring in every way.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Day 190: New Job

I got a new job.

I know, it's crazy, isn't it?  The truth is that an opportunity came along and it felt like God was all like, "jump on this lady" with his secretive making everything fall into place even when you aren't sure you want it to.

And I was all like, "Ummmmm, okay?" but was really really scared to actually do it.

And here I am - getting another classroom ready for another year - a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT CLASSROOM in a different school - do any of you realize how weird that is?  It feels weird.

But right. 

It definitely feels right.  And it feels good to know that our financial security is going to jump up a notch and that paying off this crazy graduate education I pretended was free isn't going to be outside of the question. 

It also means that for the first time in three years I'm looking for childcare, and figuring out how to live with only one car (because that is important to us) and figuring out how to go back to wearing something besides yoga pants on days when I feel like I don't really want to get dressed.  Guys - it means getting dressed EVERY DAY.  I probably have to shower too. 

I haven't really thought this through.

But I am excited.  And nervous.  And busy getting a classroom in order that hasn't really seen any love for a really long time.  And I have a few really (only sort of) helpful little boys to help me.

Today I am thankful for a new adventure.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Day 189: Baseball

Last year we signed my oldest son up for soccer after a year of him KICKING A BALL CONSTANTLY.  We were fresh off that plane and all a little sad.  We all showed our sadness in different ways, but for some reason his mourning came in the form of refusing to play soccer. 

I'm not kidding or exaggerating when I tell you that all he wanted to do in Northern Ireland for our last 6 months there was to kick a ball with anyone who would join him.  And suddenly he didn't want to kick a ball - ever. 

This eventually led to us dropping out of soccer and calling it done.  We needed time to figure out who we were without Corrymeela and without the volunteers.  He needed the same. 

Fast forward 6 months to t-ball forms and giving organized sports another go. 

I'm so glad we did.  Miles had two amazing coaches with this endless well of patience for the players.  He loved the game and found such joy in the friends he made.

Today I am thankful for t-ball.

He did a great job.  I loved watching him have fun.  

Monday, July 7, 2014

Days 181-188

Hey.  I know I've totally failed at this gratefulness blog and I totally understand if you want to write me off as a phony.  I promise you I have been grateful.  And I also promise you I've been feeling adequately guilty for being lame and not writing.

I've also been adequately busy stuffing my face full of delicious food and not caring at the same time.  It may all come around to bite me in some way.

I spent all last week stressing out because I wasn't anywhere near internet (which is totally awesome until you realize that you NEED THE INTERNET), and I just haven't felt like working very hard at finding a way to post.

I'm not having a hard time finding things to be thankful for - in fact my problem is that there is so much to be thankful for that I'm enjoying it and keep forgetting that I am supposed to be documenting it.  My big plan this last week was to write something down every day and then to post all of it when I got home today and was again attached to the outside world.

One look at my couch and my unpacked bags and...well you can only imagine my non-existent motivation to sit down in front of a computer and search by brain for things that happened on exact days.  Sometimes life is too much fun to bother with forced reflection.

Sometimes the sun is too warm on your forearms and the beach is too close to that perfect combination of breezy and warm, and your kids are having way too much fun jumping in waves and your books are much too good to put down.  And sometimes you end a pretty spectacular day too exhausted to do anything but fall into your bed with all of your clothes still on, and sand still in your hair and think, "Oh man this is real life and this is outstanding."  Sometimes you're too all of the above to want to write down just one thing to share with the world (or the three of you that decide this is worth reading).

So I missed 8 make up for it, here are 16 things I was thankful for this past week (2 for each day - because I like to punish myself like that).
  1. Lake Michigan - again.
  2. Family pictures
  3. College friends.
  4. Reunions with college friends shared in a backyard hogroast with coolers and citranella candles and a band and the whole shabang.
  5. Engagements.
  6. Weddings.
  7. Little boys that just can't find the will power to stay out of the lake.
  8. Forgiveness and understanding.
  9. Birthday cake.
  10. Laugh-out-loud books that make everyone around you think they are missing out on something amazing - because they are.
  11. Older cousins.
  12. Sweet baby girls that fall asleep on your chest while you sit outside on the porch swing.
  13. Brunch, conversation, delicious coffee, and pastries on a shady patio with friends. (Tree shady - not "bad part of town" shady.)
  14. Safe travels.
  15. Kisses goodnight.
  16. Gigantic servings of delicious pizza. 

Try and tell me you're having a better summer...I dare you. ;)