30 Days of Thanks: Vacation

With children, it’s not really a vacation anymore, more a change in location. But a change in location is what we have this week.

My parents rented a house in the North Carolina mountains for us to spend Thanksgiving and luckily were amenable to us being here all week with them. I’m not sure what the week holds but I have a feeling there will be some hiking, some waterfall finding, some trains, some movies, some cocoa, some game playing, some eating and most of all, some laughter. We really needed the break. Although traveling with two kids is a lot of work, there is a lot to be said for a change in scenery. And from the sunset we watched over the mountain this afternoon while Peanut identified cloud shapes (we for sure saw a dinosaur and an alligator), this change in scenery will agree with us.

The only thing that would make it better would be if my sister and her hubby could be here now instead of coming up Wednesday (boo work commitments!). Although if they saw the way Peanut was running around here tonight trying to avoid bedtime, they would probably be thankful they aren’t here yet.
After all, the crazy came with us.

30 Days of Thanks: Teachers

As I continue my NaNoWriMo journey, I am reminded of a couple of teachers in my life.

Mrs. Morrison was my second grade teacher. If I remember correctly, we were all a little afraid of her. She was pretty strict and a lot no nonsense. But, in second grade, we started writing stories. Around St. Patrick’s Day, we were given a story prompt and we were tasked with finishing the story. Mine turned into some leprechaun story with 17 little leprechauns making mischief in my house, my parents were dismayed, but no worries (here comes the happy ending), they were the leprechauns who guarded the gold at the end of the rainbow and they agreed to share it with my family. Oh, and they promised to clean up their mess, too. A literary gem of a story, no? Probably not, but Mrs. Morrison liked it and commented on how well thought out of a story it was. She praised it so much, my English teacher aunt framed the story for me and it hung on my bedroom wall for years.

Ms. Solem was my fourth grade teacher. She was a bit more of a free spirit. We had to write and perform several skits portraying historical scenes and mythology that year, if I recall. Anyway, at the end of the year, she signed my little elementary school yearbook suggesting I become a playwright. I was on cloud nine all the way home. Where I promptly looked up what a playwright was and then deciding that yes, I wanted to be one.

I had several other teachers along the way who encouraged my writing, but I have to say, these two early educators planted a seed that continues to grow. When I sit down to put pen to paper, or fingers to keys, it is the little girl that they knew and taught every day that takes my place – the insecure, unsure, novice full of hope. And it is their words of encouragement that I hear that keep me going.

I have no idea what happened to Mrs. Morrison or Ms. Solem. I would like to tell them how important their confidence in me was and still is. I would like them to know that the influence they had on me wasn’t relegated to the year they had me in their class. I would like them to know that decades later, I still think of them and wish to thank them.

So, Mrs. Morrison, Ms. Solem and all the teachers who ever truly believed we, their students, could be something, thank you.

30 Days of Thanks: Month 12

Pumpkin is at that stage where he’s becoming himself. He’s finding his sense of humor and giggling at things he finds funny (mostly his brother, dogs and when I make animal noises for him). He’s pointing along at books during story time. He imitates anything and everything that his older brother does. He has the most contagious full faced laugh when you tickle him that I have to remind myself not to take advantage of that trick just to get a belly laugh fix. He’s learning how to ask for things, even if it’s just a point, a grunt or the old “gimme” hand gesture.

He’s at that wonderful age where he’s on the cusp. On the cusp of communicating. On the cusp of walking. On the cusp of toddlerhood.

I love this phase. I know it won’t last forever, so today, I am thankful that it’s here. More importantly, maybe, I’m thankful that I recognize it.

30 Days of Thanks: 3 Hours

Today I am thankful for three hours of peace and quiet found in the salon chair while my fabulous stylist cut and colored my hair and kept my hands filled with trashy magazines (oh, Nikki knows what I like).

Not only did someone massage my head during a shampoo, did I find out Jake Gyllenhall and Taylor Swift are dating (WHAT? Seriously?) and I came out with a fabulous blow out I won’t have to wash for at least three days (don’t judge me), but I returned home with a fresh perspective. It’s amazing what a three hour break from the whining and the nose wiping and the train track building can do for a gal.

Only 10 weeks until the next appointment. Not that I’m counting or anything…

30 Days of Thanks: The Sweater

Today I’m thankful for my favorite sweater. Oh, it’s nothing special. Just that nice, snugly sweater that looks great with anything, I feel great in and would wear just about every day if I could get away with it.

I finally broke out that sweater today for our parent-teacher conference at Peanut’s preschool. All day, I felt good in that sweater.
And when you are sick with a cold and just barely holding on while caring for a sick infant and a preschooler who has no school for two days (two days, people!) because of the aforementioned parent-teacher conferences, you take what you can get.
Today, I’m thankful for that sweater. And don’t judge me if I’m wearing it again in another day or so.

30 Days of Thanks: Breaks and Halfway Points

You may have noticed it was dark here yesterday. Yes, I missed a day of the 30 Days of Thanks. Oh well. I’m sure I was thankful for something, but to be honest, I was most thankful for giving myself a break and just not writing over here. I have the horrible cold Peanut had last week and making myself sit down to write for NaNoWriMo was enough. When I was done, I was done. And I don’t feel guilty for making myself a priority (well, after spending all day with the kids, going grocery shopping, making my own comfort food, starting the laundry and writing 1,778 words).

Today, however, I am thankful for Kleenex, pain relievers, hot tea, steamy showers and Breathe Right nasal strips. I am also thankful that I am halfway through this little experiment. Today is the 15th of the month, which means only 15 more days to go. In terms of word count, I’m 794 away from actually hitting the 25,000 halfway point. However, THANKS to my favorite character, we racked up the words tonight to nearly obliterate the deficit I was in from a skipped night early on. I really can’t thank her enough for having so much to say today. Here’s hoping the rest of these yahoos I’m writing about have something to say tomorrow.

In the meantime, me and the Kleenex *sniff* are headed to bed *cough*.

30 Days of Thanks: Throat Drops

The hubby had a cold that started Halloween weekend. Pumpkin was sick that following week. Peanut got the cold and cough this week. And now? My throat hurts.

I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve been wiping up Peanut’s nose for the last three days and although I try to wash my hands after each time, I’m not sure what was rubbed on me Thursday night when he ended up in bed with us, insisting on snuggling with mama and coughing and sniffling all over my pillow. Bleh.

Today is that day of a cold where you feel it coming. The drip is in the back of your throat making it burn when you swallow. Your eyes feel tired. You know that there isn’t anything you can do to stop it.

And so today I am thankful for the good old Ricola throat soothers that ease the discomfort for a little bit. Tomorrow, I imagine I’ll be thankful for the soft tissue the hubby picked up from the store for me. Or cough medicine. Or both.

Although, as crappy as I’m starting to feel, I’m also thankful that Peanut still needs/wants mama snuggles to make him feel better. I suppose the cold is a small price to pay for my child’s comfort.

Or so I keep telling myself as I avoid swallowing.

30 Days of Thanks: Sticking with it

Today I am thankful that I haven’t given up.

It’s true that most nights I sit down at the computer complaining about how hard NaNoWriMo is, how what I’m writing is totally trite, how I hate this character one day only to hate this other character the next, how I’ll never be able to write 1,667 words tonight, how this stinks and blah, blah, blah.

And most nights, I’m wrong. Most nights I don’t have much of an idea of where the story is going. Occasionally, I have a brainstorm in the middle of the day and can’t wait to see where it’s going to lead. A lot of the time, I’m writing a whole lot of crap only to find a nugget of potential buried in there somewhere. And it’s that nugget that keeps me going, keeps me coming back, keeps me interested enough to see where it’s going to go.

There has only been one night where I didn’t write at all (but I had some really valid excuses, really) and then one night when some technical issues drove me to the point of panic and I wrote about 500 words and then nearly face planted on the computer from exhaustion so the hubby sent me to bed.

Although most nights you’ll hear me complaining, I’m still sitting down each night to write.

18,451 words to date. 31,459 to go.

30 Days of Thanks: Tech Support

Sure, I was thankful for the hubby already during this little exercise, but tonight, he came home from the gym when I called him in a panic because my ancient computer ate my homework.

More specifically, my ancient, evil, spiteful computer ate my 13,739 words (yes, I’m counting) before I started the night’s writing.

Luckily, he found them and they are since backed up. A lot.

As frustrating as this NaNoWriMo project has been so far, when I was faced with losing it all, faced with having to start over, I was scared. I didn’t want to lose the people I’ve created so far. I didn’t want to lose the journey they have started on. I want to see where they end up. Thankfully, my own personal tech support guru has given me back that opportunity.