I am very thankful for my piano. It is terrible out of tune, doesn't have a bench, and needs to be stripped and re-finished, but it plays and allows me the chance to break out my old ( land some new) tunes when the fancy strikes.
We went to the Maxwell's Greedy Pilgrim Pie party tonight. Everyone had a blast, and I enjoyed getting to socialize with people. I am afraid no one ever sees the happy me. Teaching sunbeams can be a bit isolating, and by the time my two hours with them are over I am beat and ready for a nap, forget trying to make conversation with me! So I was able to show people that I really am a fun person!! I promise!!
The pies were really tasty, my favorite was a butterscotch pie. Now to finish prepping for tomorrow's feast with the Governs. :)
Six years ago we wanted a sibling for David. We felt it was time, it seemed like a good space between two kids. But nothing. For a long time, nothing.
And then we found out there was going to be a baby! We were beyond excited. I met with my midwife, I was sick as a dog, everything seemed to be going smoothly. And then our hearts broke when we learned that our little one had died.
The day I finally miscarried was tough, and my mom was miles away in California. The one person I wanted next to me couldn't be there, but I knew her prayers and thoughts were with me. I'm pretty sure my mom's last words in this life will be a prayer for her children. And then she'll keep praying for us, that's just the kind of awesome mom she is.
Sitting on the beach, miles away but still very much with me, she found beach glass. As it was right after 4th of July there was an abundant supply, and she picked up many, many pieces and brought them back to Texas. She put them in a beautiful glass heart vase and gave them to me. That little heart, with so many beautiful bits if broken glass, meant so much to me. It was MY heart, shattered in so many pieces, the sharp edges rubbed smooth by rough sand and tumbling waves, made beautiful by trial and bound again into one by another power.
Andrea's pregnancy was not the healing experience others said it would be following the loss of Hannah, I think it came too soon and I was so scared of losing another baby. But Peter's was healing. I devoted a lot of time to preparing myself, bonding with him and settling into my space.
Those little pieces of beach glass worked their way into an art piece during that time. It sits in my room still, and is a constant source of peace.
I'm thankful for peace. I'm thankful for my mom's understanding heart, and the love she has for each of her girls (and grand kids, too). I am thankful for those little pieces of beach glass that remind me that even broken things can be beautiful.
Despite the cold I really love the still beauty of the snowy woods that are all around us. Last week certainly looked lovely. And it is definitely dark now. The sun sets shortly after 5 p.m. But I really like the snowy trees better than the brown, bare trees.
Today was a busy day. My Amish Friendship Bread was finally ready to finish. We turned it into two loaves of Blueberry-Mango bread, 24 Apple-Cranberry muffins, 24 Cinnamon-Raisin muffins, and we've got sourdough rolls rising for Thanksgiving, and I only lack two ingredients for the sandwich bread. But that's got breakfasts set for two weeks, and sandwich rolls after our Thanksgiving meal.
We also made a bunch of tortillas today, so the kids are looking forward to quesadillas tomorrow for lunch. The kids didn't so much like the burritos we had tonight. :( But hey, the tortillas were tasty!
He is headed into Mosiah tomorrow. His teacher asked what we did to get David reading a whole grade ahead of his peers. I believe it was his decision to read scriptures every day. I am really proud of him.
It is a really good thing these are only sold for a month or so every year. It is amazingly easy to eat a single box in one sitting. Our first winter here, when I first discovered Candy Cane Joe Joes, I did just that on accident. Twice.
So this last week when I made the special trip to Trader Joe's, imagine my joy to see boxes of my favorite cookie!! I got my turkey, a box of Candy Cane Joe Joes, AND a box of their new gluten free Candy Cane Joe Joes for Andrea!! She was so happy! So I wasn't able to get the advent calendar (they'd run out completely within a week of getting them, boo. That's two years in a row I've missed out on getting them for the kids). But I got the good cookies! Probably the only box we're getting this year, I only make the trek to Trader Joes once a month. So I'd better savor those cookies!!
I am thankful for our dear cat, Susan. She's a little cuddlebug in the evenings, and just when I'm ready to wind down she's ready to settle into my lap and be a warm, comforting companion. She's been a big help with my depression, too. Something about having a cuddly animal friend to stroke and scratch is very soothing and calming. Periods of high stress require Susan, I've found.
Susan has been a little feisty since the snows started. She doesn't like the cold. At all. So she doesn't really like to go outside anymore. But it has stopped her from running and hunting her feistiness out and so she gets a little spastic with us. At least we don't have dead mice showing up on our front porch any more.
The littles bundled up this morning for story time at the library. I really didn't want to go, I've come down with strep throat. But the kids needed out of the house. Arming myself with hand sanitizer and carefully not interacting with anyone but my kids, we bundled up and walked to the library (Jonathan took the car to work). When we got home the kids played for an hour in the front yard. Peter was so happy to get out! Now he's really tired, so I anticipate him taking a long nap this afternoon. Yay!
I love his "new" snow suit! It is a nice one from Jonathan's co-worker whose son had outgrown it. It is the highest quality set we've ever had, and it kept Peter warm. I am so grateful for hand-me-downs!
And now I need more honey-lemon tea to warm my belly and soothe my throat.
I inherited many of my Grandmother's samplers. We have one in every room, two in the hall, two in the kitchen. I love these samplers, they remind me of Grandma. I have a lot of fond memories from days spent in Amagansett during the summers. When I was a teenager my grandparents moved to North Carolina, and I swear that house was haunted, but we had a lot of fun visiting there, too.
I particularly remember one visit when Grandma had just started driving again after a surgery had restricted her driving ability. She kept trying to fiddle with the cruise control and would forget to maintain her speed (and lane) and would realize, suddenly, that she was going 30 mph down the highway! I laughed, but I believe my mom was afraid we were all going to die. And then, on the way to a fun little shop, The Wrinkled Egg, Grandma drove into on-coming traffic before realizing there were cars coming and she couldn't turn yet. Mom about died, Grandma yelled, "Woah!!!!", and I lost it in the back seat. It really wasn't funny, but it was.
I wish my kids had been able to meet her. They definitely would have tired her out, but I think they would have loved her as much as I did. :)
On this blustery, snowy day I am most thankful for a warm coat. My mom got me this amazing black, down coat with a faux fur trim. It has an incredible fleece lining, hits my knees, and keeps me incredibly warm. The first time I tried it on we had been putting off turning on our heater and it was pretty chilly in the house. I put it on, pulled the hood down over my head, and the warmth took over and I fell asleep. The coat makes me want to hibernate sometimes!! It has been a long time since I've had such a nice, warm coat. Last winter was tough, I froze a lot of the time. But I have a feeling this winter will be cozy, though hopefully not filled with naps. :)
Kids are nearly all better. Coughs are subsiding, stuffy noses are clearing up. Now if David could just stop re-hurting his foot! Not sure what to do about that kid and his little sprained foot. :(
Five weeks until Christmas, guys. I'm starting to panic just a bit. My list is as follows: slip-covers and curtains (paid gig), kid crafts, Emma's gift (WHA????), kid gifts. David has asked for Legos, Andrea has asked for a rainbow unicorn. If you have any leads on a rainbow unicorn please pass them along because I am at a complete loss and I really don't want to MAKE another unicorn (I've got enough sewing projects on my plate, thankyouverymuch). And then there is Peter. I bet I could make him something and slap a picture of Bob the Builder on there and he'd be happy. He loves cars. I'll probably get him another toy car...
Every year we go camping for Father's Day. It is nice to get away from house and spend some time together hiking, swimming, and roasting smores. We didn't get our trip in for Father's Day this year, it was too chilly still. So we've got a camping trip to make up for next year.
Every Christmas the kids and I put together a gingerbread house. It is one of our favorite things to do during the holidays.
Another Christmas tradition is to make as much of our Christmas gifts as possible. This year we've been working since June on fun projects that are going to family as Christmas gifts. The kids are having a lot of fun, and I believe the recipients of our gifts will be pleased.
Jonathan and I have been talking a lot about traditions lately. We'd like to incorporate more of the traditions from our youth into the traditions of our family, and we'd like to establish some new traditions to help strengthen our family. We have so many grand goals, but we've been able to implement a couple of our new traditions and have watched how they've blessed our children and our family. Hopefully we can keep a good thing going!
Red is my sassy color. I love the color red, it makes me feel happy and bold. I am not nearly as confident in myself to pull off wearing red all the time, but I sure have fun jazzing it up with the red every once and a while.
I'm thankful for the technology that allows for easy transportation. I especially love our car! David and I showed a little love to the Suburban today by washing it down and topping it off. It deserved some car comforts today, it has been so good to us, especially with the fabulous seat warmers on the chilly mornings of this last week. :)
David went to a birthday party today. It was at a Chuck-E-Cheese-like establishment with a bigger playground than arcade and more windows. David had a lot of fun, but he ran a bit too much on his bad foot and is sore now. Hopefully it will be better soon, the doctor said he should only be off it this week then be back to normal.
Did I mention that earlier? I don't think I did. Last Saturday David took a flying leap off the basement stairs. He landed wrong and immediately couldn't walk on it. He needed Tylenol to numb the pain so he could sleep. After church I checked his foot and it was bruising. He was still in a lot of pain so I took him to the ER. Fortunately he didn't break anything, but it was a pretty nasty sprain. He got a doctor's note to stay out of gym for the week and he had it wrapped most of the week. We were told he should be fine by today, but it is still giving him a lot of trouble. More Tylenol. More heating pad. More rest. Just what a 7-year-old wants to do. ;)
This wonderful lady is one of my greatest friends. I wish I could be around her more often. Somehow phone calls and Skype just don't cut it when it really comes down to it. She flew me down in September to go to Time Out for Women and we're really looking forward to going next year. She will never know how much that little weekend away blessed my life. I heard words that strengthened me, and I was able to see friends and family who I really, desperately, needed that weekend and it was all thanks to this wonderful lady. I believe when we get to heaven it will be made of people just like Chandler.
I am thankful for the peaceful, calming, color blue. It is one of my favorites, but more so because of the emotions and memories I have associated with the color. I love looking at the Turquoise House blog. Someday I will have a blue house like ones featured there.
I am thankful for my Kitchenaid. I got it as a wedding gift from my Aunt Julie, Uncle Greg, and cousins Amy and Jesse. Love, love, LOVE my Kitchenaid. I don't think I'd be as willing to make cookies or cakes or frostings or tamales without it, so my kids are grateful for it in a round-about way, too. It is just a wonderful part of our life! :)
Nap time. It is the most peaceful part of my day. Part of the daycare requirements for the state is that children be watched during naptime. So I've got a nice comfy chair in the littles' room that serves as my rest-hour chair.
It is a nice quiet time to sit and think. It gives me an opportunity to do some real reading. And I get a small, quiet break. I'm very thankful for nap time. :)
I don't believe it would be possible for me to choose just one book that I am thankful for, so many have influenced my life in different ways. So here's a few of my favorites:
I read Ella Enchanted so many times that I had the first chapter memorized. I still occasionally revisit my friends in Frell.
When I was twelve I sat in a doctor's waiting room with my grandmother, and she had me read the first line of this book aloud: "It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a single man, in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." Three old ladies sitting across from us sighed and smiled. I learned that appearances can be deceiving, and to not allow myself to make any judgements until I had as much of a story as could be had.
Cry, the Beloved Country pushed me out of my comfort zone with its writing style, but sucked me into the world of apartheid. I reread this one frequently and used it as reference material for many of my literature classes in college. It taught to me maintain some connection to my roots, my culture and heritage.
I grew up with Harry! I eagerly awaited each new installment of Harry's adventures, cried and laughed through the entire series. I sure was disappointed I was never called off to Hogwarts, but I was sure glad to learn, alongside the trio, that dark evil can be beaten with the simplest of spells.
The other grand adventure I remember from my youth was The Lord of the Rings trilogy. This, along with a few other books, really ignited my love of all things medieval. There was a romance in the mythology and poetic style of Tolkien's works, and I enjoyed the entire series. Until the end, when I bawled my eyes out. But then I had the movies to look forward to, and elaborate, gorgeous costumes at which to gawk and recreate. :)
A Thousand Splendid Suns was one of my most difficult reads, but a book I recommend to everyone. There is not much I can say regarding this book other than it is very, very good and well worth the effort.
This one is a hard dose of reality when you're as stuck and stupid as I am. But I've gone back to this book several times to learn and re-learn how to be an adult with finances. In that way it has changed my life!
I read Half the Sky a couple years ago. I walked away wanting to read it all over again, but also never wanting to ever see it again. It made me want to DO something, help someone, and left me knowing that if people just understood who we are as children of God a lot of our problems in this world would disappear. And I also walked away understanding my own worth as a woman more: I have more power and influence in my sphere than I know.
This was a book that just sat on my shelf when I was a teenager. One day I needed something to read, my mom suggested Cold Sassy Tree. I pulled it off the shelf and was hooked. A small, southern town, suddenly rocked by a scandal! What's not to love? But I love this book, and have gone back and re-read this one so many times.
There are a lot of other books I could list here, but it is late and I need to be in bed. But I have a feeling that tonight's dreams are going to be good ones as I remember old friends from my books. So sweet dreams, friends!
This was another challenge I kind of struggled with. How do you be grateful for an emotion? So I went and consulted that great compendium of knowledge, Wikipedia. I had quite the lesson on emotions... Learned a lot of different theories. Further studies must ensue.
But I finally settled on gratitude.
I have a lot to be grateful for when I really take a look around. I've been mentioning a few of them with this challenge, but there are a few things I express gratitude for every day: my children, the Suburban, a house to live in, and food to fill my kids' bellies.
I'm also happiest when my family is grateful for things, a small recognition of some of what I do everyday. Granted, that happens very rarely, but when my kids thank me for making a meal for them I appreciate it. When they thank each other for sharing their toys or Halloween candy without being prompted (the sharing or the thanks), it makes my heart happy. It makes me understand why God loves the grateful soul; it is nice to have your hard work appreciated. :)
My lucky number has always been 7. Not sure why, but it always has. So some things in sevens:
The week. I like that every seventh day I get a day of rest.
7 Harry Potter books. Need I say more?
Seven deadly sins. Glad there's only seven. ;)
7 o'clock is bedtime in our home. That is a really great part of my day!
7 o'clock in the morning is when my daycare opens every morning. Can't wait to clock in when young Mr. O arrives for his first day.
July is the seventh month, and I love the 4th of July! I'm a big fan of fireworks. They make me laugh and cry. And then I have friends who were married July 7th of 2007. Jamie is one of my dearest friends and I always think of her on July 7th!
David is 7! And he's the best little 7-year-old I know! :)
The Palace of Auburn Hills and the Detroit Pistons sponsored a Scout Night last night. Steeply discounted tickets included the game, a souvenir hat and patch, a free-throw shot on the court, a movie with pizza and popcorn, and sleeping in the arena.
The game was pretty intense. It was really close most of the game, and the Pistons won by four points. Nuts!! I enjoy watching basketball. It feels faster than some sports, and has less posturing than professional football.
The kids had fun, and were an enthusiastic crowd. The yelled at all the right point, cheered loudly and heartily for our team, and rocked out to Sebastian Bach during half time.
After the game the boys went down to shoot a basket.
And then we set up "camp" with the rest of the pack before heading in for a movie on the jumbo tron. It was a cut movie, Echo, came out a couple or so years ago. David liked it. But it finished up at 1:00, and then we finally headed back to our bed.
I was so grateful for the air mattress. No way would I have been able to sleep on that floor. It was hard enough as it was because the lights didn't really get that dim when turned off, and David saws logs worse than an old man. Next pack overnight I'm bringing ear plugs.
They needed us out by 8:00, so we were up and packed by 7:30 which means we are still both very tired.
Rather than head home just to have to turn around and leave for the Primary program practice we headed straight to the church. We stopped at Trader Joes and grabbed some things for breakfast and then headed for the church building. I'm not sure how much good we will bring to the practice, David and I are both pretty useless. I have a feeling we will both be taking naps this afternoon. But, especially according to David, it was so worth it!!