Here are the things I am grateful for today:
1. I am grateful to be a mom. This has to be one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life and I constantly feel as though I am not being the best mom I could be for my kids, but I LOVE them. I LOVE them so much the thought of it takes my breath away. I wish I knew how to deal with the obstacles we face and with Maxies anxiety. I have learned some things that DON'T work and for now what works is to let him sleep on our bedroom floor. Last night I could hear him breathing in his sleep.. I just lay and listened to him breathe and my heart was full. My youngest is carrying around the Sears wishbook and his excitement is contagious. I have the most amazing, funny, caring, loving kids. They bless my life every day.
Here is a photo from about 6 years ago - when I was REALLY good at parenting things like carrying the car seat. Parenting has been harder since then.
2. I am grateful for my mom. My mom is coming to visit us this week. I am so excited I can't stand it. I love my mom SO much and want to be the kind of mom to my kids that she is to me. For the past two years she has lived in Canada. It has been the most difficult two years of her life and I have to say (selfishly) that I am so incredibly happy she is here, despite the crappy circumstances. We text almost every day. We skype as often as we can. The fact that my kids have access to her - in a way they didn't when she was in Africa - is awesome and I love her, love her, love her.
Here is mom this summer Planting a garden and watering with Max.
3. I am grateful for my job. This economy is whack. Having a job is something that means more to me now that I have dependents than it did when I was in college and it didn't matter what I ate or where I slept. I have a job that I like with people I like and a boss who is SUPPORTIVE!!! I also get great benefits and vacations and all that cool stuff, so I don't have to work on the holidays and I can leave to watch my son sing in his remembrance day program. I have a great job.
4. I am grateful to be a sister. I have cool siblings and sibling-in-laws. I play games with my brother online (he beats me consistently). I talk to my sister on skype and smile at her gorgeous baby. Technology keeps me in touch with the people I love who live far away. My sisters and my mom and I have boards we share on pinterest so we can post things that make us think about each other. I envy people who are in close geographic proximity to their families and can visit more than I do, but I also see people who have terrible relationships with their families and who live close but never see or talk to them. I love being the oldest of five kids - I love my brothers and sisters.
Here is a photo from 2 years ago at my sisters wedding. It is the most recent photo with the most of us all together. Unfortunately my bro Just and fam were not there.
5. I am grateful to be a grand-daughter and great grand-daughter. My grandparents and great grand parents have all passed away. This year my last living grandmother passed away. I miss my grandparents. I think of them all often. I am SO SO grateful to have known them and loved them and been loved by them. I have known of their love for me and it has blessed me.
6. I am grateful for my spouse. I think the hardest thing in my life - besides being a good parent - is being a good spouse. I could get down on myself for all the ways in which I am a terrible spouse and the ways in which I could be better. I just keep trying. My partner and I have gone through some hard stuff, some wonderful stuff, some stressful stuff, some happy stuff, some devestating stuff and some other stuff! It is a blessing and a curse to be with someone who knows all the light AND all the dark in me. Sometimes it's hard to get through the dark, but at the end of the day though, I am so grateful for Shel. I wouldn't want to be without her navigating this crazy life. She is a great spouse and a great mom.
Wow - look at us in years gone by!
8. I am grateful for books. I LOVE to read. I have read some amazing books this year. I wish I were a better reviewer, but alas I am not. That goodness I don't need to be a good reviewer in order to enjoy a good book. I have became recently fascinated with fantasy books and I feel as though a whole new world - or many worlds - have opened up for me in the literary world. Thankfully writers keep writing so I can keep reading. I have read 108 books this year. WOOT WOOT! I am working now on reading Canadian authors or books set in Canada. I can't wait to see what I can read next year.
9. I am grateful for my friends. I have been blessed with the most amazing people in my life. I have friends who I love and who love me. I have wonderful memories with all of them and look forward to making more memories. One of my wishes is to be closer to my friends so I could spend more time with them. In spite of the distances which separate us they bless my life constantly.
Here are some of my friends who came from Utah to meet Shel and I when we went ot San Francisco. What kind of cool people do that? OH RIGHT! My peeps.
10. I am grateful for my pets. I think I like animals more than I like people sometimes. Shel and I have had the most amazing family of pets in our lives who have have made us happy and who have broken our hearts at their loss. Max and CJ still talk about Hugo and I miss that crazy dog like nothing else. Thankfully we still have Zuva, Rescue puppy, Helios and Nyx, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention Tora, Shilo, Muki, Hugo, Buddy, Sadie, Tiger, Simon, Angel, Gina, Georgie, and Foxy.
Max and Hugo
Nyx and Helios as babies
Tora and Maxie
I think I may need to do a separate post to get all the animals in!
11. I am grateful for laughter. What would life be without laughter? Laughter with my spouse, laughter with my kids, laughter with my family, laughter at work, laughter with my friends. I need laughter and I am blessed that my life is full of joy.
12. I am grateful for my health, my home, my life.