I'm coming out of hiding to be thankful.
Life has been crazy busy around here and I have all but ignored my blog lately. So much going on in the real world that I don't even feel I have time to write anything down. Good things and bad things have been happening. But today, I'm focusing on the good things.
We are approaching Thanksgiving and these days I am reflecting on all the things I am thankful for.
- Today would be my dad's 82nd birthday. I am so thankful that I had such a wonderful father. I miss him every day and I'm thankful for that too. I am grateful that I had the type of father who leaves such a void when he is gone.
- A few days ago I was hauling firewood and with a huge stack of wood in my arms I felt a sharp, stinging pain. I dropped the wood on the ground, pulled up my sweater sleeve and saw two bite marks on my bicep. It looked like I had been bitten by a vampire. And it hurt. It immediately started to get red and puffy. I started to worry that it was a bad spider bite and the boys helped me look around on the ground for the source of my bite (you know, in case it was a horribly poisonous spider). I was very relieved when Tommy found a huge wasp on the ground. Stupid wasp stung me but I was very thankful that it was only a wasp and not, say, a black widow spider or something.
- The wasp stings kept swelling and left a huge red, raised patch on my arm. The next day I went to go and give blood and I warned the phlebotomist of my wound. I was told it wouldn't be a problem. The phlebotomist attempted to draw my blood from that same arm but just couldn't get a good stick (which is weird because I NEVER have a problem as I have great veins). She was jabbing me all over, moving the needle all around, calling other people over to try it. My poor left arm went through hell before another phlebotomist decided to try my right arm. The right arm worked out just fine until the phlebotomist began talking as she was taking out the needle and was gesturing with her arms, thus moving the needle all over. I now have two massive bruises from giving blood, and one massive bruise from the wasp stings (which is still itchy) on my arms. I look like a crazy person. BUT, I am thankful that I wasn't allergic to the wasp stings and that I was able to donate blood for Veteran's Day.
- I am thankful for all of the brave men and women that give everything they have to protect the freedoms we have in this country. Nothing we could do would ever be enough to thank them. I have so many people in my family that have served in the military and many friends as well. I am so grateful for them and all the other thousands that serve every day.
- This morning after I dropped the kids off at school I drove by the lake on my way home. I noticed a huge coal ship fairly close to the shore and I was so thankful that I had decided to put my camera in the car that morning. I took a few shots of the ship (the kids are gonna be thrilled I got such close ups of the ship) and then continued on my drive.
Further down the beach I noticed a few surfers off the point (the beach comes to what is referred to as "the point" where beach juts out a bit. The waves are usually bigger but not many surfers surf there because it is rocky). I was able to capture a few shots of a surfer catching a wave. I am so thankful that I live so close to Lake Michigan that I can see cool stuff like this every day. It was 38 degrees this morning when this brave surfer took to the water. I was thankful to be able to watch from the warmth of my car.
- Tommy picked up my very old copy of Little House In The Big Woods a while ago and LOVED it. He is an outdoor boy and loved reading about all of Laura's adventures. He is so excited to move on to the next Little House books now that he is finished with The Big Woods. I love that he loves these books. Love it. It also made me remember that I have a few of my favorite Little House episodes recorded on the DVR and I showed it to the kids. They love it. Every day when they come home from school they ask if there is a "new" Little House episode. It just cracks me up that my three boys love to watch a show about three little girls. I am so thankful that my kids like a show that has such wonderful lessons and stories to tell. They really don't make shows like that anymore.
- This morning I had an appointment for a haircut. I have been feeling like I am in a hair rut so I decided to change things up a bit. I chopped about 6 inches of my hair off. I was feeling pretty good about myself as I left the salon until I picked Grace up from school. The minute she saw me she freaked out and started crying. "Why did you DO that? I don't like it!" she cried and cried. It made me laugh at first, but I gotta say, it did start to bother me a little bit after about 20 minutes of crying.
So my thankful post on the hair front is that while I'm not thankful that my new haircut makes Grace cry, I am VERY thankful that the hubby absolutely LOVES it. Whew!
- Joey is busy growing up. Every time I turn around I see him reaching a new milestone, trying something new, learning an important lesson, and basically growing up before my very eyes. This week he volunteered to be the song leader for the school mass. He was paired up with his classmate and together they led the entire congregation in song. And they did beautifully together. I was so proud of Joey. It takes some major guts to get up in front of so many people and sing. All the singing I've done in my life and I never would have had the guts to do that when I was in 5th grade.
The picture is a little blurry, but you can see Joey standing and his friend standing on the stool. Their voices blended so well together and they sounded awesome. The music teacher was thrilled and asked them if she could use them for church more often. Very cool. And very thankful that Joey has the confidence and courage to try something new and intimidating.
- Last night was parent/teacher conferences at school. I could not be more proud of my kiddos. Their grades are good, they are respectful, kind, and listen well. When I asked their teachers what we could help our kids improve on none of the teachers could think of anything. Each teacher did say that the respective child was silly at times but that is not something I'm willing to ask my kids to do away with. As long as they aren't disruptive and they stop when asked (the teachers assured me they do) then silliness is fine by me. I am so thankful for my sweet, silly kids.
- That is not to say that everything is all sunshine and roses around here these last few weeks. We've had many trying moments. Lots of arguments (Todd and I) and temper tantrums (all of us) and tension. But we have managed to work out our problems once again and I think I've learned something from each situation that will help me be a better wife and a better mother. So, even though the past few weeks have been trying, I'm thankful for the struggles too.
- I am currently adjusting my parenting (as a result of some of the above struggles). I have always been somewhat of a control freak and with 4 very small children I think that is a necessity. However, the kids are getting older and I need to loosen the reins a bit now. I need to let certain things go and give the kids a bit more freedom to be kids and make mistakes. I'm also trying my best to focus on the bigger picture and not nitpick all the time. And I'm trying to model good behavior. I need to learn to control my temper better, and the way I speak when I'm angry, so that my kids can learn how to do the same. It is a lot to work on all at once, but so far this week has been so much better. I am a work in progress. I know I'll fail over and over again but I need to keep trying. And I'm so thankful that I have the opportunity to try again every day.
- The weather has been less than delightful. It has been cold. Too cold. And it snowed here this week. I don't like snow in November. Or even early December. But I am thankful that the snow has already melted and there is no snow in the immediate forecast.
So much to be thankful for. I really could go on and on. And I'm thankful for that too! Tell me, what are you thankful for these days?
(If you made it the entire way through this very long post you deserve a special prize. I wish I could give you some of our Halloween candy or something. ;) At least I can add you to my thankful list! I'm thankful for all my bloggy friends who are always so sweet and supportive and whom I continue to learn from every day!)