Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gratitude--Days 20-26

Sorry. Things have been a little crazy around here. But I have been SO VERY GRATEFUL for SO MANY THINGS. Like . . .

The cute little creatures in my life. I've loved snuggling up with Rachael and listening to her read her little "Take Home Reading" books assigned from the school. I've loved walking the dogs every day because it gets me outside even when I don't feel like it and then I'm always happy that I did. And I love it when Rachael comes running outside in her pajamas to meet me and the dogs:

Will's awesome orchestra program and the concert they put on last week:

The little girls playing school in my kitchen:

These earrings that remind me of one of the best summers EVER when my friend Amy (Bunny's mom) and I found ourselves running the kitchen of the APS fish cannery (well, she ran it, I just did what she told me), cooking 3 meals a day for everyone who worked there. The stories those earrings could tell!

Time Out For Women. What a cool event, and I was lucky enough to attend the Salt Lake session which featured none other than Ann Romney as guest speaker on Friday night. What a class act! I'm still so sad for the false persona that was created of her husband during the election. He never stood a chance against the liberal media machine and the cool factor of Barack Obama. (Because it's important for the president to be cool, right? That does a lot for all the problems our country is dealing with.)  She wasn't there to talk politics, though, but to talk a little about her new book, The Romney Family Table. Still, questions were asked about her experience on the campaign trail and she was nothing but gracious. You could tell from a few things she said, however, that it was hard not to be affected by the things that were said about her husband. Ah, well. Now we've got Obamacare in all it's glory, our still abysmal employment rate, and more people on Food Stamps than ever before. Who needed the guy with actual business and leadership experience? Sorry! I digress from the loveliness of Ann Romney, would be First Lady:

And the fun slumber party at Little America that night with some of the ladies from the 'hood. We stayed up talking until 2am when I fell asleep sitting up:

My mom's potato soup recipe (bacon added) and THIS rosemary bread recipe:

Trader Joe's in Salt Lake:

Can you say HALLELUJAH?

 I should just go up there more often:

Will doing his edible cell project 100% by himself. Believe it or not, he bought that nucleus gobstopper last summer with his own money (ten precious dollars for that thing) and has been working on it ever since:

Being featured on the Donny Osmond Home website. Little does Donny know, but I had a MAJOR crush on him when I was a little girl. (Kind of like I have on Ann Romney now--it's a Mormon celebrity thing.) So much so that I wore a purple ribbon on my baptism dress . . . because it was Donny's favorite color. (True story. I know. Ridiculous.) 

Another opportunity to do a Studio 5 segment on this article that I wrote about being an extrovert raising an introvert:

This list of C.S. Lewis quotes I read while walking the dogs on a beautiful morning. 

Shallow and lame, but the new dining set that got delivered just in time to host some of Brandon's family for Thanksgiving. This is what the last one looked like under the tablecloth and the one before that was even worse. For some reason, we've had a run of really bad luck with dining tables that can't take actual use (maybe because we've always purchased CHEAP tables!) so I don't feel at all bad that we finally spent a little more money on a nice one we will have for many, many years. But I'll save a picture of the new one for my Thanksgiving post. Let's just feel sorry for me for a moment while gazing at the old one:

Going to see West Side Story last night with Will (a high school production but you'd never know it--it was fantastic!) and Hunger Games tonight with Kate. (SO GOOD!) 

And last but not least, this beautiful world we all get to wake up to every day:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Gratitude--Days 18 & 19

Yesterday was a fairly typical, mundane Monday (cleaning up after the weekend, getting prepped for the week ahead, and trying not to feel annoyed that every Monday is early out day with Kate coming home about 1 hour after Rachael leaves), but a definite highlight was taking Kate to see the "Sacred Gifts" exhibit at the MOA (BYU's Museum of Art):

We weren't allowed to take pictures in the exhibit, but it was beautiful (calming, inspiring . . .), and nice to enjoy with just one child that I could talk to without interruption who also appreciated what I was seeing. There are some great things about kids growing up. (Even if she makes faces like this when I tell her to look up like me.)
I was also grateful yesterday for another gorgeous fall day. (Hope it wasn't the last!) I took a nice little walk with these four cuties. Not sure who is walking who:
TODAY I felt grateful for all the amazing teachers at both school and church who enrich my children's lives in so many ways. This afternoon Elizabeth met with her girls group at church at their leader's home for a tea party and etiquette class. So cute and fun!
And then tonight I was grateful for all the girls and moms who showed up for our service activity at church to make over 100 *magical* fairy wands for the pediatric patients at nearby American Fork hospital (where Brandon works). We got some serious craft on:

I have to say, I had a nasty cloud hanging over my head all day (for no good reason), and this activity just snapped me right out of my pathetic little pity party. There really is something about getting out of yourself and thinking about other people that just heals the whiny, self-absorbed soul. How can you not feel happy after working with wonderfully generous people to make this gorgeous pile of fluff intended for pediatric patients:

Last but not least, I was grateful for my good friend, Holly, who finally finished the pictures from our family photo shoot. Look at my gorgeous kids! Kind of makes you realize the power of good photography, doesn't it? (Not that they are usually ugly, but just compare the top picture of Kate to this one. I mean, seriously . . .)

There were so many dumb little mini catastrophes  in the last two days that I was NOT grateful for, but I'm really trying to become the kind of person who sees and focuses on all the good in my life and not the bad. (Or even just the painfully annoying--because there is a LOT of that!) And it's not too hard to do when I look at these pictures. I'm telling you, this whole "gratitude journal" thing works . . .

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Gratitude--Days 14, 15, 16, and 17

It's been a little hairy around here. Some days I seriously wonder how I keep it all together, but then I remember that I don't!

HOWEVER, on Thursday I was grateful that for the first time in many, many months, the stars aligned for Brandon and I to go to lunch together. We have had some sporadic date nights in the last several months, so catching a mini-date on a Thursday afternoon was very nice. We even scored a second mini-date that night at Osmond Designs with Teresa who is helping us pick out some furniture and accessories for our home. (Not that I dislike having a massive TV on a tiny box in the center of the largest wall in our main living space. It hasn't been bothering me at all!)

I was also grateful on Thursday to spend an hour in Rachael's kindergarten class, which was just about the sweetest hour I've spent in a long time:

So proud of herself:
She painted a picture of us. Makes my heart all melty:

I am grateful every day that I still have at least one little munchie. Obviously, I love all of my kids--and every stage has its pro's and its con's--but there is just something about children who are still young enough to be totally devoid of any self-consciousness. That doesn't seem to hit until about age 8, so I am trying to soak up every last little moment with this one in her complete and utter guilelessness. She is constantly pretending to be some type of animal (lately it's either a cheetah or a lemur, and she always says she's half human and half cheetah/lemur/whatever), but I think she gets frustrated by the inability to be all of her favorite things at once so today she made the announcement, "Mom! (very excited), I'm half of everything in the whole wide universe!" She has such a strong imagination. I think more than any of my other kids. If she says/imagines it, it simply IS and she totally believes it. Also, today at church the speaker said something about "playing catch up" which every adult totally understands, but Rachael looked up at me with the cutest face, laughing, and said "playing ketchup . . ." like he was the funniest guy in the world to say something so silly. Anyway, I'm just grateful I still have a little one at home! (Especially when other things that I'm NOT grateful for happen with the older, not so guileless kids . . .)

On Friday, I was grateful to finish my weekly post by noon even though I didn't start it until that morning, and I had many interruptions, and I felt zero inspiration. (Was grateful Rachael had a friend over to keep her company!)  I've had a few nice comments posted about it so I (kind of ) feel like the agony was worth it. As Billy Joel said about songwriting, "I love having written, but I hate writing." I really feel that sometimes.

As always on Friday, I was grateful for a few solitary hours of vegetation in the afternoon with my DVR'd friends of Parenthood. (SO surprised to find out via Facebook that the twin babies of one of my friends from L.A. are taking turns playing the part of little Aida Braverman! And did anyone else think when they first announced the name that it sounded like "Ate a Braverman"?) It's the only show I actually sit down to watch outside of psycho news programs and the Food Network (which I just use as background noise). I know it's ridiculous to list my lone hour vegetating with my favorite TV show as something to be grateful for, but I thoroughly enjoy that happy little brainless respite at the end of my week.

And then I was grateful that night that everybody had a friend. Kate went to the movies with one of her good friends, and Will, Elizabeth and Rachael all had one or two friends over at our house. We aren't always the most social people in the world, so it makes me happy to see my kids having fun with good friends. Friday night pizza:

On Saturday I was grateful to be able take care of a ton of bizness in the morning which I've been putting off forever, like ordering Elizabeth's school pictures after failing to turn the paperwork in to the school on time--stuff like that. Doesn't it just feel good to take care of annoying business like that? Nice to have a slow Saturday morning to be able to do it.

I was also grateful to go back to Osmond Designs again that afternoon to make some final decisions. I can't wait to fill some of the empty spaces in our home!

And then that night I was grateful to have a full house AGAIN! Elizabeth had a little party with most of the girls from her class, and Will had the same friend come back over. The dynamics of those two groups got a little interesting at times. Maybe it was all the junk food:

Today I was grateful for the great talks and lessons at church. I always feel better after a day full of Mormony Mormon-ness (otherwise known as CHURCH--I'm serious). And I'm grateful to be the mother of Kate who can make "doodles" like this while sitting in church:
Are you kidding me? This is her DOODLE?

And I can't even say how grateful I am for Brandon who works so many long hours. I felt especially grateful today when he left church right after teaching his lesson to Will's class to go on a 24-hour trip to Maryland to watch some guy do something during some kind of surgery so when he does that same kind of surgery he'll know how to do that same thing. (Like those details?) He really does put in some crazy hours and he has been on the brink of getting majorly sick for the last week or so as a result. I am really, really grateful for my husband who works so hard for our little family. 

With Brandon gone and me being a little more tired than usual, the evening got a little out of control as I went into resignation mode and the little girls ended up going wild with hair and make-up. But I'm still grateful to have little girls who like to do hair: 
 I think:

And now, with the hope that all the serial killers who have been stalking me won't read this until tomorrow when Brandon is back home again, I'm grateful to go to sleep in a warm, safe, comfortable bed. Especially as I think about those dear people in the Philippines. Many of us are so very spoiled! I mean, look at that list of mine tonight: TV shows, lunches out, a house full of happy and healthy kids? It's a charmed life we lead, many of us, and we have to keep reminding ourselves of that and looking for opportunities to use what we have to bless others.

Night, night!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Gratitude--Days 12, 13

YESTERDAY I was grateful that despite my usual morning routine of sending 4 kids out the door in 4 different shifts with 4 different sets of things (but always a lunch--cold lunches will be the death of me!), I somehow managed to get my home looking good enough that the 14 women coming over for lunch at noon wouldn't suspect that we actually live like clutter-bugs and pigs. It would have been even nicer if I hadn't made half of them sit at the "kids table" with the same tablecloth we used for crafts this summer during "Reynolds Camp" (complete with glitter glue remnants), but I just didn't think past things like moving the dog paraphernalia and eliminating the stinky odors from my house fast enough to realize there might be enough people coming to require breaking out the kids table.

And I'm grateful for those wonderful ladies who came. Once a month the women at the church go to the temple together followed by lunch at someone's home. (I know, the Mormony theme continues. I don't know what to tell you--I'm a Mormony Mormon!) I volunteered to host the lunch this month and it was just lovely. Everyone brought such yummy food (plus cookies from The Sweet Tooth Fairy), and then we just talked and talked while eating. I really like this "new" (as of last May when our congregation boundaries changed) group of ladies in my neighborhood church, which is a good thing considering how much time I spend with them.

And I was especially grateful to the two women who wrapped up the luncheon for me--even doing the dishes--since I had to duck out early to go to a gynecological appointment. (Of all things! I remembered the day before the luncheon that I had this appointment, and since I waited three months for it I wasn't about to cancel.)

And I can't tell you how grateful I am that in this county of almost all male gynecologists, my friend from our old neighborhood is the one female gynecologist nearby--and she's awesome! (I am weird about having a female gyno. Sorry if this is TMI.)

TODAY I was grateful to get the playroom cleaned up, doggie doo doo and all. (Do NOT get me started on the potty training troubles of small dogs.) And I was grateful Rachael had a fun friend over to play with and that it was not my day to drive kindergarten carpool.

I was also grateful for the best two hours of my day today at a meeting with the president, other counselor, and secretary of our congregation's women's organization--called the Relief Society. (There is nothing Mormony going on for the next three days. I promise.) They are all so smart and fun and talented and real. I just love them to death, and I think we laugh more than anything during these "meetings," but we did make some serious headway planning the upcoming Christmas party for the whole church (not just the women this time) and it's going to be a COWBOY CHRISTMAS! Yee-haw! Sallie is the president, and aside from being an accomplished artist and Art/English professor she would give you the shirt off her back. Liesa is the other counselor and a crazy multi-talent. She wrote this book and is also an interior designer. And then Holly (madame secretary) just took our family Christmas card pictures and they are absolutely gorgeous! (Wish she had been around when I had my babies . . . sniff, sniff.)

I was also very grateful today that in between Will's orchestra rehearsal and Kate's harp lesson I was not only able to make a drop off at Deseret Industries (LOVE getting old junk out of my house!), but also able to run by the store and pick up a few things I "needed" including Diet caffeine free Coke ZERO which I'm pretty sure isn't good for me even though it is calorie and caffeine free. But every once in while, I just like to have one. So I'm grateful.

Second to lastly, I'm grateful neither dog had an accident in an unauthorized location today.

Truly lastly, I'm grateful at least one of my kids likes Peanuts as much as I did. As I said on Instagram, Peanuts never go out of style:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gratitude--Days 9, 10, 11

Well, I have three days to catch up on now, don't I?

On Saturday, I was grateful I said "yes" to the invitation to play the piano for a family baptism first thing in the morning. I didn't really know the family, but I never regret attending a baptism even if I don't know the person. There is just something about seeing someone else take the plunge (quite literally, in our church) that brings tears to my eyes every single time. It's a big deal, making a commitment like that, and it says a lot about a person and their family who supports them. It motivates me to recommit myself.

I was also grateful that we made some serious progress toward our home projects. It's been a long time coming, and while froofing up our home often feels like a pointless and shallow pursuit to me, I also recognize that beautiful and orderly surroundings make life better. (I have very conflicted feelings about money, stuff, and materialism in general.) Just so you know, we are turning the main floor laundry room by the back door into a mudroom. I want to get this done SO BAD before winter hits full force so I don't have to look at the piles of coats, boots, scarves, hats, gloves, and backpacks all over the kitchen floor anymore. It's a bit ridiculous that a newer home of this size doesn't have a mudroom worked into the plan already (especially because they are so popular here in Utah--the land of big families), but we're going to take care of that by putting a stackable washer/dryer combo in our master closet and then utilizing the small closet-like laundry room that is already upstairs by the kids' rooms. (The older two--and maybe even Elizabeth--are SO going to start doing their own laundry on a regular basis! So she says . . .) So the prep work in our closet in finally finished (except for all the dust I need to vacuum), and now we just need to find a cabinet guy who isn't already in over his head with other projects, or even some nice pre-made lockers for this imagined mudroom space. We also moved the beds out of the little girls' room on Saturday ($50 for both AND the mattresses if you are local and interested!) and moved in a new set of bunk beds and a big bookcase. This created a lot more space as well as a better home for all the books and useless stuffed fluff they adore (which I have voluntarily purchased over the years for some dumb reason). Again, for all the space we have, the kids' bedrooms are fairly small. (We have large hallways. Seriously.) I then spent FOREVER "helping" them (did they do any of it?) dejunk their room, because these girls know junk. Oh. My. (Gotta love the gum and candy wrappers almost always hiding under Elizabeth's bed and pillow.) I also may have met with someone who took measurements of our main living space, as I intend to finally buy some real furniture. We have lived here for almost a year and a half now using the same furniture we had in our 50's and 60's boxes in both Iowa and L.A. Not only do we have lots of empty spaces, but what we do have is something special. My favorite is the tiny beat up Target desk with an even more beat up fake leather chair with stuffing coming out of it that sits in our beautiful executive office with hard wood ceilings and a fireplace. It's awesome. So you can see this will be a fun process to switch some of this stuff out. (Or totally uncomfortable as I pick out pillow covers while thinking about the starving children in Africa and China, or even people a little bit closer to home who are likewise struggling. You see what I'm up against? Why can't this just be fun for me?)

On Sunday, I was grateful (again) to belong to a church that is run by regular people who just volunteer the heck out of their lives (leadership included--no paid clergy), and that my family and I get to do a little bit of that volunteering. It's just good for the soul to volunteer your time to other people/a cause/something you believe in. I'm grateful I get to play the piano for the church choir--especially at this time of year when we are practicing gorgeous Christmas music. I also enjoy (sometimes) coordinating activities for the adult women in our congregation and spent some time working on the advertising arm of the whole process on Sunday. (This month we're going to be getting together with the teenage girls to make fairy wands for the children at the hospital where Brandon works, and maybe a foster care organization as well.) Will helped me for about a half an hour before church, cutting and stuffing the program with a little flyer thingy I made to advertise the activity. (Will really liked the commercial grade paper cutter. I'm grateful he didn't cut a finger off. That would be bad for cello playing.) His willing and helpful attitude was even more impressive since he had already spent an hour that morning at a planning meeting for the leadership of his age group followed by an hour going around to the homes in our neighborhood with Brandon to collect "fast offerings". (In our church, we fast for 24 hours one Sunday every month--usually after dinner on Saturday night until dinner on Sunday--and then we give the money that would have been spent on food to the church as a "fast offering" to be distributed to the poor and the needy. Most people give much more than the cost of food, and yes, this is in addition to the 10% tithing that is used to build churches and temples, produce teaching materials, Books of Mormon, etc. I'm afraid this is coming off as sounding self-righteous, but this is just totally commonplace church wide.) Elizabeth also went to a song practice for an upcoming musical number in church, Brandon taught Will's Sunday School class, and after our 3 hours of regular church (this gets better by the minute, doesn't it?), Kate and Will both went to different homes of people in our congregation where they had a "mini mission" experience of eating food from a different culture/learning about the culture (you can imagine how many people around here have been on missions and can host this kind of thing--we're doing Japan next year, for sure!) and then sharing a short lesson that they taught with a companion which both Kate and Will had prepared at some point earlier in the day (in between all the other stuff!). Needless to say, we were all kind of wiped by the end of the day . . . which is why I was SO grateful to spend a couple of hours on the couch that night reading my latest favorite book, Quiet, by Susan Cain. (I'm doing an upcoming segment on Studio 5 about extroverts raising introverts. I think it's a fascinating topic and the book--which is about introverts--is SO GOOD!)

And then there was today. (Well, yesterday, since I fell asleep while typing last night and am now wrapping this up during a fit of early morning insomnia.) Again, lots of stuff to be grateful for. I was grateful to remember and honor our Veterans by putting up American flags around our neighborhood at 5:30am with Will and a small handful of other boys his age and their dads. (Normally, Brandon would have done this, but he's been fighting off sickness since his horrific call weekend last week when he got really low on sleep, so I got mad at him when I found out he volunteered to do this on the one day he could sleep in and insisted I take his place.) This is a really cool tradition here in Utah on all the major patriotic holidays: Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Flag Day, Presidents Day, 4th of July, etc. It's how the youth raise their money for their activities. Everyone makes a once a year donation for the service, and then the boys and girls take turns (yes, with the help of their parents) putting up and taking down the flags in the early morning/evening on those special days. Which is why Will and I were found getting doughnuts at the local grocery store at 6:30am. I haven't had doughnuts for breakfast in a LONG time, and let me say, it was dang good. I love doughnuts a little too much, so I try to avoid them like the plague. But not yesterday. Yesterday we honored our veterans by putting up those flags all over the neighborhood and then eating doughnuts for breakfast after.

I was also grateful yesterday for another day of stellar weather. So stellar that I took my favorite bike ride in stretchy pants and a t-shirt. GORGEOUS! I'm grateful for each day that I get to take another bike ride in the warm sunny sun. (Because I know what's coming.)

And I was grateful to end the day with a real, bonafide Family Home Evening (another very Mormony thing--we've been very Mormony the past few days). We sang, we prayed, we talked about Veterans Day, we listened to Kate and Will do re-caps of the lessons they taught their families the night before, we made and ate the ugliest, but tastiest carmel apples. (We should have stopped at the carmel. Things went awry when we tried to drizzle melted chocolate over the caramel and then cover them with purple sprinkles per Rachael's request.) It was like a poorly made church movie on how to do Family Home Evening right, with a little bit of wrong mixed in. I was happy I pulled it off, and yes, grateful.

Now that it's almost time to get up, it will be fun to see what this new day brings. When you're looking at your life through the lens of gratitude, it's hard to be disappointed.

Two of these are up for grabs for $50 total:

Will, the practicing missionary:

Our doughnut run (jammies under my coat and no make up):

Is that BACON on those maple doughnuts?

Oh, and I'm SO grateful for the cute little creatures in my life that keep me moving all. day. long. and bring me the kind of joy that can only come from little creatures. I mean, can you even look at this picture and not feel happy?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Gratitude--Day 8

Today I am grateful that I finished my POM/MM post in record breaking time. I was still in my bathrobe with a towel on my head at 11:55, but I somehow managed to get dressed, do my hair and makeup, and feed Rachel and her friend lunch before getting them out the door in time to pick up two more kindergartners and get to school by 12:30.

I'm grateful for a second lunch date in one week (so unusual!) with a good friend I haven't visited with in way too long at a new and yummy restaurant in American Fork called The Wild Zucchini Grill. Good conversation over tasty food is one of the best things in life! 

I am grateful for the gorgeous weather that will last all weekend (sunny and 60s) and a reason to get outside everyday to be in the weather, no matter what it is: 

I am grateful that these cute people come home every day from school just when I'm getting tired of the silence: 

(Insert picture of Elizabeth here.)

And I'm grateful for a fun date night tonight of window shopping and dinner with Brandon at Gardner Village. (And the convenience of cheap pizza delivery for the kids.)

Lastly, I am grateful that Brandon puts me to bed most nights when I hit the wall, and that I can do this entire blog post while lying horizontal in my bed with my eyes closed 80% percent of the time by using the voice to text feature on my phone. It's pretty amazing! Good night!

(This gratitude thing is a good idea…)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Gratitude--Day 7

Today I'm feeling grateful for my association with Power of Moms. Why? A LOT of reasons, but tonight in particular because I got to attend not one, but TWO fantastic events related to my ties with Power of Moms.

The first was a "Style Makers" event with the wonderful people at Studio 5. (I'm going to be doing a segment in a few weeks, but tonight was my first time seeing the new set in person. WOW! It's beautiful!) After the keynote speaker (Emily McCormick of Shabby Apple) and right when they were about to explain the details of their new "Style Maker" series (and presumably, how we would be involved), Saren and I had to leave early for a book signing at the CUTEST bookstore I've seen in a long time, The King's English. We had a nice turnout, and sweet Ericka Winkfield made my day when she came up and told me she loves my posts and makes a point of reading them. Those little moments and interactions really keep me going, because the truth is, I don't see myself as a particularly great writer, and I would certainly never consider myself a role model for other mothers to look up to (most days I'm pretty sure I need some serious help). I can think of gobs of women I know personally who are doing the mom thing way better than I am, but for whatever crazy reason, I've been blessed with this opportunity and a venue to speak out in support of motherhood. So despite feeling horribly inadequate and hypocritical about 95% of the time, I'm going to keep riding this wave.

I mean, wouldn't you if it meant you got to hang out on TV sets and sign books? Is this really my life? Ridiculous!



Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Gratitude--Day 6

I'm doing it! I'm here two days in a row! Yay, me! And this, despite Brandon getting home later than 8pm for like the 27th day in a row. Not really, but he had a REALLY bad call weekend and then three days in a row of getting home way late. It's hard for me to take the level of energy I start out with in the day and maintain it into the evening when I have no backup. And today, I had a lot of energy, and I got a lot done, and I had great interactions with my kids, but (like always), it all started to unravel fairly early in the evening. My kids know when I'm starting to poop out because they start sneaking off to watch episodes of Korra and Dr. Who, or they take my phone to play "Dumb Ways to Die". Yes, my children are keenly aware when I start transitioning from ultra-responsible Supermom to just plain old Super-tired.

But that's not why we are here, is it? We are here to express GRATITUDE! And I certainly have my things to be grateful for today. Like . . .

1) Despite my typical mid-morning insomnia (as in 4-5am, followed by very shallow sleeping until the 6:30 alarm), I ended up full of energy and got a ton of work done before lunch. I really like to feel good physically and be productive in ways that matter to me, and I was thankful both happened today.

2) Elizabeth felt well enough to go back to school.

3) Another mom offered to take my kindergarten carpool shift!

4) Reading Rachael's Take Home Reading book together and watching her point to each word with her adorable My Little Pony Band-Aid covered finger. Also grateful for other cute things in my life like the second hand Minnie Mouse shoes (which both little girls have worn and adored) and the sparkly Hello Kitty shoes. I will be sad when I no longer have little girls wearing glittery/sparkly things. Because it's just dang cute.

5) Lunch out with my Power of Moms friend, Koni Smith, and our great conversation. I'm not a big go out to lunch with girlfriends all the time type, but every time I do, I love it and I'm glad.

6) Sharing laughs with Kate over this RIDICULOUS law. This is government over-reach at its best and THE DEATH OF COMMON SENSE!

7) Will FINALLY remembering to stay after school to work on his project that he's behind in, and FINALLY remembering to borrow a bow from his orchestra director who accidentally took HIS bow and turned it in to a repair shop with many of the other school bows. After two days of aggravation over his persistent forgetfulness, I was SO grateful he remembered.

8) My teenage daughter contentedly sitting here next to me with a towel on her head watching funny youtube videos on my phone as she winds down before bed. As much as the lack of personal space can bug sometimes, it's tough to begrudge a teenager who actually wants to be around you!

9) And I'm grateful that Brandon DID come home (even if it was after 8pm) because some moms are FOR REAL single moms and that just seems like a really tough job. I'm wimpy in that regard. I pretty much need backup every single day starting around 6 or 7pm. (And thank goodness I've got some good looking and ultra competent backup.)

10) My bed! To which I must now retire . . . (doing my slouched over typing with my eyes half-closed thing.)

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