Friday, November 11, 2011

Gratitude Day 11 - My girl Friday

This is my last year as the mother of a preschooler. Ever. (Sob!) And it's a stolen year, at that. According to her birthday, Clara was supposed to start Kindergarten this fall, but after sending on three other children with late birthdays we finally learned our lesson and let her repeat her 4-year-old year at preschool. And for once, it wasn't a difficult decision. The Man and I both agreed she wasn't ready.  And neither was I.

Clara's preschool is only four days a week so for one more year I get a little friend to hang out with on Fridays.  This is a really special time for me. The days themselves are pretty mundane; we snuggle on the couch for a while then plan out our day and run errands. Sometimes we go have lunch with Ben or--brace yourself--clean the house. She's a great errand buddy and we both cherish the opportunity to spend time together "just the two of us." Which is not to say that she never slows me down or has a tantrum or gets whiny or talks and talks and talks until I suddenly declare it naptime. She does. But I've been through this before when the older kids, now teenagers, were young and I know that peace and quiet can be overrated. (Someone remind me of that bit of wisdom when I'm pulling my hair out around 7PM some night this week.)

I know that next year when I can sit on the sofa with my coffee on Fridays and watch The Today Show instead of UmiZoomi, and I can run all those errands twice-as-fast and in silence, I will miss her terribly. So for today, I am thankful for this last year of Fridays with my girl and for the wisdom to cherish it.

And, who am I kidding, for naptime too.

Princess Clara, one Friday during errands. Eating lunch at the carwash


And I know I didn't blog yesterday. I only made it 10 days into my 30 day challenge. But that's OK. Yesterday, I was thankful for a warm house, and blankets and slippers on a beautiful cold fall day. And for grace when I need it (and I always need it.)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gratitude Day 9 - A List

Today I am thankful...

For a few beautiful warm fall days, to play outside and wear my flip-flops again.

For children in my home who are still young enough to squeal with joy when the Ta rget Christmas toy catalog comes in the mail.

For a wonderful partner-in-crime at work who totally gets me. And who knows that somedays I'm a little bit grumpy when I have no reason to be, and doesn't hold it against me. (And who does all the talking for me when I'm losing my voice.)

For rhythm sticks and praise music with preschoolers, which could be the best cure for the grumpies ever.

For a best friend who calls just to tell me that she misses me.

For Wednesday night Gilmore Girls with Ally, even if it only happens once a month these days.

For clean sheet night.

And for giving myself permission to write this post in a list so I can go to bed early.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gratutude Day 8 - The Man

I'm not sure that November was the right month to take up blogging again. I feel a little as if I'm loosing my mind. I sit here every night and try to think of a positive way to spin the ways I've fallen short every day. I guess that's sort-of the point though, isn't it?  Stopping at the end of day to remember how blessed I really am, even when it feels like I'm being held together with prayer and duct tape. And too much caffeine.

Today I am thankful for my husband. I am thankful that when I left the house looking like it had been it by a natural disaster this morning that he didn't say a thing about it. That he never has. I'm thankful that tonight he took Ben to Taekwondo, and picked up a missing ingredient for my dinner while he was out. Then when I started cooking and I discovered the meat from the grocery store was bad, he went out again to exchange it. And when we finally ate dinner at 8:00 and I whined he noticed that I was dead on my feet, he cleaned the kitchen and put the kids to bed.

I know these do not seem like huge things. But, I know from the days when he is not here what a blessing they are. At the end of a day when I felt like I really didn't have it together, it was such a gift to have him here to fill in the big freakin' holes gaps. And maybe even more of a  blessing that he pretended not to notice they were there.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Gratitude Day 7 - Counting up

As Ally and I like to say, today was a Monday kind of day. So my thanks are short and sweet tonight.

I am thankful that this dear girl made it into the 100 club.

Or more specifically that there is such a thing as the 100 club, because when she finally counted to 100 last night (after a year of trying) she couldn't sleep with the excitement of showing her teacher this morning. And I'm thankful that I work at her preschool so I got to see her walking around school all day with a medal on her chest and a grin on her face.

And Chick-fil-a, tonight I am also grateful for you.. On days like this, when The Man is gone and I have more places to be than minutes to get there, the fact that my children prefer your food to my cooking actually comes in quite handy.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 6 - Easy like Sunday Morning?

What is it about Sunday Mornings? Yesterday I made a point to wash the outfit I wanted Clara to wear for church and lay it out on her dresser to make it easier this morning. But somehow between that moment and the one where I told her to go get dressed this morning, the skirt disappeared.  Presumably while she was "cleaning" her room. I tore her room apart looking for it and never found it. (I did however find my missing reading glasses and a meat thermometer. No joke.)

And actually for a Sunday morning that was a pretty minor hiccup. Last week, my clock decided to make the time change on it's own a week early and I had 20 minutes to get us all 5 of us out the door. Nearly every week someone looses something, or spills something, or I'm running out to the car with my make-up in one hand in my shoes in another. One week The Man actually left me behind. I walked out the door to join the family in the van and saw it driving down the road. The Man said it was a miscommunication.

I'm still not convinced.

And nearly every Sunday a voice in my head whispers, we could just stay home. We could keep our pajamas on, snuggle up on the couch and watch it online. But we don't. We muddle through the wretched Sunday morning round-up week after week because I love my church.

I love worshiping in the choir next to Ally, even if they do insist on putting my face on that gigantic screen. (Seriously, camera-guy? Ally is way cuter.) I love seeing all the kids I've had in choir or preschool over the years. I love my little 1-year-old Sunday School Class. I love the passion my pastor has for reaching out to people in our community. I even love getting teary every single week during his message. My church isn't perfect. It's full of flawed people with messy lives just like me. But despite of that--or maybe because of it--it feels like home.

And today that's what I'm grateful for.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gratitude - Day 5

Over the last couple weeks months years our lives have become this crazy dance of divide and conquer.  You take this kid here, I'll take this one here, and if we're lucky we can meet up for dinner. Weekends as a time of rest and reconnection have pretty much gone by the wayside. And as much as I know that this is just part of this season in our life, I hate it. Hate it. So today I am exceedingly grateful for the gift of a Saturday with absolutely nothing on our calendar. I was positively giddy going to bed last night, just anticipating it.

And what did I do with my free day?  Slept in late. Did a half-a-dozen loads of laundry. Took Clara to get a haircut from my sweet sister-in-law. Started a new book (passed on from said sister-in-law.) Went to dinner with the family. Played a board game. Just proving that even the simplest things really are gifts.

And the second thing I am grateful today is, ironically, this blog. As I mentioned yesterday, I have spent some time this week wandering through it's dusty achives, and goodness gracious did I ever ramble on? But in those lengthy ramblings I  discovered a treasure trove of things I had completely forgotten. Funny things The Littles said and did. Videos of first steps. Pictures with anecdotes I never would have remembered. Last night, The Man and I were up til 1AM reading and watching and laughing and getting teary. It's amazing how hard it is to hold on to memories from just a few years ago.

I don't know if I'll continue blogging after this month.  I'd love to--although not daily--but the privacy thing is still an issue, and I simply can't manage to figure out how to get sleep and blog at the same time. But I am thankful that at least for a couple of years I took the time to document it all. The messy, the funny and the sweet.

Especially the sweet.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Gratitude Day 4 - How far we've come...

This afternoon I went to Ben's conference at school. It went well. His writing is, as we knew, still a good bit below grade level. His reading, however, is way above grade level and in every other area he is exceeding the curve. And his teacher was gushing. He's bright. Well behaved. Lots of friends. Great critical thinker. Loves to read. A leader.

And I just sat there with a big stupid grin on my face.

Just last week, as I was making the decision to reopen this blog, I read this angst filled post, written two-and-a-half years ago about a very different Ben. He was half way through his four-year-old year in preschool and I was beside myself with worry about whether he was ready to move onto kindergarten the next year. Ultimately we sent him on, and no, he wasn't ready. He had a difficult year followed by a 2nd year in kindergarten at another school (the best decision we ever made for him.)

And now, in 1st grade, nearly all of the concerns that consumed me then have been resolved. He's still a picky eater and packing lunches is still a challenge, but the feeding progress we have made has been phenomenal. And the other things I wrote about in the post, I had honestly forgotten were even an issue. That astounds me. I cried tears, lots of them, over my sweet boy and his development and until I read that post I hardly even remembered it.

So thank you Lord, for a great conference. And for the reminder this week of where we once were, and how many prayers have already been answered.  As I look at the obstacles my family is facing right now, I can't think of a better encouragement..

And secondly, I am thankful that when The Littles and I were at the mall today (On November 4th!) AND SANTA WAS THERE, I managed to refrain from asking him if he could at least wait until my pumpkin rotted before he showed his snowy-white face. Even if I did think it.

That's progress, folks.