30 Days of Thanks: Day 30

Today I am thankful for…30 days of thanks!

I did it! Wahoo! 30 posts in 30 days! I’d get up and do a happy dance except I’m too busy cramming Parmesan and herb crusted pita chips in my mouth. Mmmmm. (Note: Today I am also thankful for Parmesan and herb crusted pita chips.)

When I first thought up this challenge, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to think of anything to be thankful for. After all, I’m in the midst of the terrible twos with peanut and I was afraid I’d be thankful for his bedtime for 30 days straight. That or wine. Don’t get me wrong. I am thankful for those two things, especially when peanut’s bedtime is followed by a nice glass of chardonnay on the sofa with the hubby. But I found myself, throughout the month, very mindful of the fun moments, the silly moments, the oh my gosh my life would not be the same without peanut moments.

I found myself also more aware of those little things that the hubby does to make our family life fun and my load as primary care giver and house “manager” easier to bear. I always knew he was doing these things. I try to thank him for these things. But during this little exercise, I found myself appreciating them in a new way. In a way that made me bite my tongue about how he was doing something and just let him do it. In a way that made me see how alike the hubby and peanut are. In a way that made me see just how lucky I am to have these two as my family.

Each day, I found myself ticking off a laundry list of things I was thankful for. Peanut’s stellar behavior in church. The nice bagger at the grocery store who helped load the car with groceries. The ridiculous nekkid baby time before bath with what seemed like a choreographed series of events repeated over and over for at least 20 minutes with the hubby and I in tears laughing. The attempted phone conversations peanut had with his family on turkey day and how much that meant to him later in the evening when he recounted each and every one of them again and again. The safe and healthy arrival of two new babies this month to two mommy friends. Peanut’s “I did it!” exclamations after zipping up his own pants, putting on his own socks or peeing in the potty before his bath. The quiet moments I found with a book or a cup of tea. The snuggle moments with peanut before his nap. The snuggle moments with the hubby while watching a movie. The list goes on and on…

The difficult part was choosing something to write about. And some days, the hard part was just writing in general. This exercise, however, forced me to sit at the keyboard and put thoughts to text and I know I will grow from that experience. I hope, along the way, that I picked a few things that some of you could relate to or could share a laugh about or at the very least kept you reading! After all, I am most thankful that you all take a few minutes out of your day to stop in and see what self-indulgent topic I’m writing about on any given day. I appreciate you stopping by and commenting both here and when I see you in person.

So today, although I am thankful that I am officially done with this public, month-long gratitude journal, I hope that I continue to be mindful of all that is good, funny and blessed about my days. Maybe we’ll see 30 Days of Thanks revisited or reconfigured…who knows. Bottom line, I’m thankful that I did it and that you all were along for the ride.

Thank you!


30 Days of Thanks: Day 29

Today I am thankful for…Christmas decorations.

I am admittedly a “damn Yankee” – a Yankee who moves South and then refuses to leave. My parents moved to North Carolina from Massachusetts when I was 5, my sister was 2. Our formative years were spent in the South and I consider myself more a Southerner than a New Englander…although I do still have a taste for coffee ice cream, prefer a rocky beach to a sandy shore and still call ice cream sprinkles “jimmies.”

I do remember how every year while I was growing up my mother would proclaim (and probably still does) surprise at the overwhelming Southern tradition of putting up your Christmas decorations immediately after the Thanksgiving meal is over and taking them down practically after Christmas dinner. My mother’s northern tendencies always had us putting our tree up slightly later and taking it down on or after New Year’s Day.

Since getting married, we have tended to follow my mother’s lead. I have never put my tree up before December 1st, although we do tend to put it up on the early side of the season simply because we’re always gone for Christmas and want to enjoy our decorated home as long as possible.

Well, with the shortened time frame between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, and the fact that it’s raining and we’re home alone for an unprecedented four-day weekend, we went and purchased a Christmas tree this morning. I’m eagerly anticipating getting the house decorated this afternoon and explaining it all to peanut as I unwrap each ornament. I’m not sure how much he’ll retain this year or how much to explain to a two-year old about a nativity scene, but I’m excited nonetheless.

So today, I’m gonna:

“Haul out the holly;
Put up the tree before my spirit falls again.
Fill up the stocking,
I may be rushing things, but deck the halls again now.
For we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute
Candles in the window,
Carols at the spinet.
Yes, we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute.”

30 Days of Thanks: Day 28

Today I am thankful for…four day weekends.

I know I’m lucky as a stay-at-home-mom that I’m not a slave to a corporate clock-in and clock-out schedule. Oh, I have to worry about naps and meals and snacks and play dates, but overall, the flexibility is fantastic. It’s definitely not something I take for granted.

But boy is it nice to have a four day weekend with the hubby home. It’s like a little vacation for me to be able to take a long enough shower where I can wash my hair and shave my legs on the same day. Or to pee with the door shut. Or to have the option to leave the house during nap time. Not to mention, playground time was so much more fun today when the three of us went.

So of course I’m going to take advantage of these four-days of extra help and get something done I typically don’t have time for during the week! Something productive. Something exciting. Something…

…Ah, who am I kidding? We had turkey leftovers for lunch. I’m going to eat pie and lay on the couch. Mmmm, vacation.

30 Days of Thanks: Day 27

Today I am thankful for…so much.

We are blessed to have a healthy, funny, adorable child who has brought more laughter, happiness and fun to our lives than I ever thought imaginable (and I imagined a pretty big amount!). I am blessed to have a husband of 10 years who is my best friend, my confidante, my sidekick and my parenting partner in crime. We are blessed to have a family who supports us, celebrates with us and provides us grounding. We are blessed to have a home and community that sustain us. We are blessed to have the life that we have.

My Thanksgiving wish today is that you all are blessed with the family, love and hope that will provide your heart with peace and joy not just during the holidays, but every day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

30 Days of Thanks: Day 26

Today I am thankful for…the smell of apple pie baking.

Although I am sure we made the right decision to not travel for the holiday, it has been a strange day. No packing and calling the folks to let them know we’re on the road. No maniacal house cleaning before family arrives here. It’s a bit sad to be on our own, but the upside has been a relaxing, soaking in the moments kind of day.

My sister and I always made the apple pie together. She and her husband often arrived at our house first. We’d open the wine and start cooking Wednesday evening which always led to fits of laughter and a series of inside jokes that would keep us busy the rest of the weekend.

Today, the peanut and I came home from the park and he became my new apple pie assistant (sorry High Heeled Sis!). He loved dumping in the flour, sugar and the cinnamon, patting down the crust and sprinkling the cinnamon and sugar on the crust. Now, it’s baking, peanut’s napping and the smell of Thanksgiving is filling the house. And it smells GOOD. I wish there was a scratch and sniff hyperlink so you all could take a whiff. Mmmmmmm.

It’s amazing how I immediately felt relaxed, at peace and excited about the big feast tomorrow simply by inhaling that heavenly aroma. Just because it’s the three of us doesn’t mean it won’t be meaningful, delicious and fun. In fact, because we can truly relax into it, it might be more so.

No matter what, I know there will be yummy pie. The trick will be not devouring it this afternoon. Easier said than done!

30 Days of Thanks: Day 25

Today I am thankful for…my child’s sense of humor.

Peanut’s favorite phrase lately has gone from “No” to “I don’t…”. It started out as “I don’t like…” or “I don’t want…” but quickly was abbreviated to “I don’t” to fit any situation or activity that he does not want to participate in.

Time to wash your hands. – “I don’t.”
Time to take a bath. – “I don’t.”
Let’s go to the park. – “I don’t.”

The list is endless and it appears to be his first response regardless of whether he truly agrees or disagrees with any given request.

Luckily, for every 10 “I don’ts” he comes out with one statement or action that reduces me to a fit of giggles. It’s like his own built in mommy-pressure-release-valve. A few silly moments:

* Recently during a visit to NC, High Heeled Sis was helping with the bath and bedtime routine. While na*ked baby was running around the upstairs, HHS jokingly told him he had a bottom like his mama (this is a long-running sisterly tease). He stopped and told her, “Mommy has a booty!” Then took off down the hall while HHS and I were rolling on the floor in tears.

* During lunch, peanut looks into his milk and tells me, “There are people in there.”
Me: “There are people in your milk?”
Peanut: “Yeah.”
Me: “Well, if you drink the milk, you must be drinking the people, too.”
Peanut looks into his milk, takes a big sip and: “Mmmm. Yummy people!”

* After draping all the resistance bands around his neck during our stroller workout, peanut announces to all the mommies, “I am so cute!”

* While trying to prep dinner one night, I did a rough outline of a turkey on peanut’s easel and asked peanut to paint in the feathers. After a few minutes he started asking “Where’s the turkey? Where da turkey go?” I took a look and he had painted so many layers over the top of my outline that you’d never know it had been there. Funny enough on its own, but later he walked by the drying masterpiece, leaned in close and said “Turkey come back.”

Typical kid behavior, I know. But these are the moments during these tumultuous toddler times that I cherish and look forward to daily. It would be so easy to get wrapped up in the negativity, the reprimanding, the repeated (and repeated and repeated) requests. Instead, I’m choosing to be thankful that peanut and I can take a step back to enjoy each other and share a giggle.

Laughter, after all, is the best medicine.

30 Days of Thanks: Day 24

Today I am thankful for…online shipment tracking.

A week and a half ago I ordered some sassy new boots online. I was so excited about them. I’d been looking and looking for some flat riding boots that I could incorporate into the winter wardrobe without breaking the winter budget and I had finally found the perfect pair.

(I know, I know…Flats? I have some fantastic heeled boots, but they aren’t practical for Music Class the playground or the grocery store!)

So, I got an email notice last week that they had shipped and I should expect them 4 to 8 days from the original purchase date. When they had not arrived by this weekend, I took a look at the tracking. Here’s a quick summary:

They left the facility of origin in Ohio on 11/17.
Arrived in Doraville, GA on the 18th.
Then Salt Lake City on the 19th.
Colorado on the 20th.
The 21st was a busy day – two town in Kansas to Little Rock ending up in Memphis.
No activity over the weekend, but today, they have arrived back in Doraville, GA.

Let’s take a closer look at this – I live in Atlanta, a mere 22 miles south of Doraville. I could have driven to their facility, picked up my boots and been home in less than an hour. Instead, they’ve been on a week long, cross-country tour for who knows what reason. I only hope they are actually on their way to my house and not back to Salt Lake City!

Today, I’d like to be thankful for my new boots, instead, I’ll have to settle for the chuckle I got at their road trip adventure.

The least they could have done was send a postcard.

30 Days of Thanks: Day 23

Today I am thankful for…productive weekends.

We painted our kitchen. Two coats of crisp, clean white on the ceiling. Two coats of beautiful, calming “rejuvenate” green on the walls. Everything from the cabinets to peanut’s refrigerator magnets have received a thorough scrubbing. Open shelves have been reorganized. A new mail system has been put into place to reduce the weekly paper clutter.

It feels fantastic. It looks even better. I hate that it took me four years to decide on a color, but it was worth the wait. And worth all the sanding, spackling, edging and rearranging that was necessary.

The hubby and I are both exhausted from handling such a big project – not to mention the satellite dish install the hubby tackled in tandem. I’m overwhelmed with the normal weekend tasks that aren’t quite finished – the laundry’s only half done, we didn’t make it to the grocery for our weekly run, I still have no idea what I’m making on Thursday – but I’m typing this in my sweats with a glass of wine knowing that I accomplished something this weekend. A project started and finished in 36 hours is something to be proud of.

The fact that we accomplished it without ignoring our two-year-old…priceless.

Here’s to hoping your weekend was just as productive!

30 Days of Thanks: Day 22

Today I am thankful for…Garth Brooks.

The hubby is Apple addicted. We’ve got iPods, Nanos, iPhones, iTunes. Yikes! Call me a Luddite, but I enjoy popping a CD in and cranking up the volume. Figuring out which setting the stereo needs to be on to wirelessly beam the music from the computer to the speakers, not to mention remembering the hubby’s cryptic password? Eh. Too many steps. So it was only recently, after harassing the hubby for months, that we pulled some of my CDs out of the attic.

The peanut and I have been enjoying a new rotation of music throughout our day as a result. Surprise favorite? The peanut loves the Beatles “1” album. I’m not sure if it’s because he saw the number one on the cover and thinks that’s cool or because he likes to dance to the songs, because he does. Either way, it’s a win-win on a cloudy, cold afternoon.

This morning, the hubby and the peanut headed to that oasis of maleness, Home Depot. I was left at home and immediately started prepping to paint the ceilings in the kitchen while I was free of a toddler underfoot. I recently painted our “keeping” room and decided that I loved the color so much, it needed to be extended into the kitchen and pronto. I put on the ratty jeans that are worn so thin they feel like cotton (and I would wear every day if they were suitable for public eyes), pulled the hair back and scanned the new-to-me-again CDs for some motivational tunes.

My go-to cleaning music is the soundtrack from “The Commitments” (run, do not walk, to your nearest Netflix account to rent this movie if you haven’t seen it already). I needed something stronger than “Mustang Sally” to get me through this project. And there it was. The Garth Brooks Live double CD set. Perfect. (Yes, I like Garth Brooks. I also love Motown, Prince, Coldplay, ‘NSync…really, I have random, some (the hubby) may say questionable, taste in music).

I can’t even remember the last time I danced around like such a fool, singing at the top of my lungs. It made a horrible task bearable. And my paint brush got a serious workout as a microphone. Nothing like singing into objects, shaking your booty to make you feel 13 again!

And my ceiling already has two coats of paint on them. So thank you Garth and your silly “Friends in Low Places.” I couldn’t have done it without you. Well, maybe I could have, but it certainly wouldn’t have been as much fun.

Oh, that reminds me of “The Dance”…

30 Days of Thanks: Day 21

Today I am thankful for…not having to travel this Thanksgiving.

If we were going to NC this holiday to see the family, I’d be a mess already – organizing meals for the few days we’d be home, making sure we don’t have too much or too little food in the house to sustain us, doing laundry, planning what to pack in the suitcase and the car and the diaper bag, constantly coordinating with the hubby on which family obligations take place when, stressing about how to manipulate peanut’s nap schedule around that many meals to ensure a happy toddler and debating which day to leave town to avoid the most traffic and use the fewest of hubby’s precious vacation days.

But, I’m not. (Insert High Heeled Mama’s happy dance here!)

Since we made the two recent trips home to see the family, we decided to skip Thanksgiving. It’s a little odd, actually. Last year was the first Thanksgiving in our married life that we actually went home. We usually hosted this holiday and invited everyone to us. If you came, great. If you didn’t, catch you at Christmas.

Last year, we wanted to spend Christmas Day at home and so we traded Thanksgiving. It ended up not being any easier since we were packing up the day after Christmas to drive up to NC and spend New Year’s there anyway.

So after two trips home in the last month, we knew we couldn’t swing both the Thanksgiving and Christmas trips. We had to make a decision. As much as we loved waking up in our home Christmas morning, going to our own church for services and spending the holiday quietly watching our peanut play with wrapping and boxes instead of the toys inside of them, we felt it was more important to be surrounded by our larger family at Christmas.

Our families have a lot going on this year with grad school, new houses, babies on the way, so we’ll be spending turkey day as a three-some this year. I’m okay with that. I admit that I did take it a little personally at first — it seemed extremely easy for folks to not come after just one year off — but I know in my heart of hearts that it’s not personal.

I am honestly excited to be home with my boys. It will make for some lovely memories to involve peanut in the cooking and the preparations. We can do a few little projects and maybe get our Christmas tree early (like all good Southerners should) and bring out all the Christmas decorations over the holiday weekend. We can snuggle in for a four-day weekend without the exhausting pressure of having to be somewhere. I can finish (well, that does imply I’ve started, which I haven’t) painting my kitchen.

So today, this Friday before Thanksgiving, I am not stressed out about packing. I am not stressed out that I have no real idea what I’m going to prepare for our Thanksgiving dinner yet. I am not overwhelmed with to-do lists of things to get done before Thursday. I am, instead, curled up with a blanket, looking forward to a dinner out with the hubby and peanut at a favorite (family-friendly) locale, and anticipating a weekend that is currently wide open to the possibilities.