Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gratitude Day 30 (The Last)

My little gratitude project is coming to a close. Can I be grateful that it's over?

No, I'm only kidding. It's been wonderful to slow down and be grateful for my many blessings this month. Big and small. I truly am blessed. But I've saved the best for last.

The thing I am most grateful for is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is what defines me. It encompasses who I am and who I want to be. It is everything.

How grateful I am for a loving Heavenly Father. I am grateful that "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) That is how much He loves us. And that is the power of the atonement - that we can have everlasting life.

I know that my Savior lives, that He died for us, and that through His atonement, we can be exalted and receive everlasting life. I know that the only true way to gain happiness in this life is to live the principles of the gospel. And having this knowledge gives me great peace, comfort, and joy.

And that, my friends, is what it is all about. That is what makes life worth living. That is what I am the most grateful for.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gratitude Day 29

You know that scene from Mary Poppins where Uncle Albert is laughing on the ceiling? And then everyone else laughs their way up there, too? I always thought that scene was awesome. I mean, who doesn't love to laugh? I never understood why they had to knock it off and be serious. That's just boring. If laughing that hard means you have to live on the ceiling, I'd say that is a small price to pay.

I am very fond of a good, deep, belly laugh. The kind where you laugh so hard your abs hurt. The kind where you laugh so hard you cry. Like this. I am crying again just watching this video. Seriously, tears. Or this. And anytime someone mentions swimsuits and galoshes, I am a goner. Think about it, a swimsuit and galoshes! Tell me that doesn't make you laugh! Obviously, laughing until you cry is a common occurrence at my house.

Laughter is the way I get through life. It's they way I cut the tension during a fight. It's the way I push myself through hard times. And is there anything more heart-warming than a baby's giggles? It soothes the soul.

Yes, I am thankful for laughter.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gratitude Day 28

Here I sit, at the end of November, paying all the bills. And I remember: I only have one set. No more double electric bills! No more double gas bills! No more rent AND mortgage payment!

I will say it again: I am ever, EVER so grateful that our house in St George finally sold. What a burden lifted! What a load lightened! Life is good.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gratitude Day 27

There was a time in my life that I wasn't the most avid scripture reader.

There have been lots of times, actually, where reading scriptures was not high on my "to do" list.

In fact, there have been times that going to Sunday School wasn't on my "to do" list. A friend posted on Facebook that all the kids in her Sunday School class skipped out on her lesson. She said not even candy could compete with iphones and teenage hormones. Cue the guilt. Back in high school, we used to skip out on Sunday School every week to go sit, by ourselves, in an empty classroom hidden at the end of a hallway. We had a young, cool teacher. We just didn't want to go. There were no iphones. There were no boys (at least, most of the time there were no boys). Just hanging out, by ourselves. Being stupid teenagers. (So, Heather, it's not your fault! Teenagers are just . . . thoughtless.)

Sorry for the tangent. I've been thinking about it all afternoon and had to confess my wrongs. To all my Sunday School teachers, I am truly sorry. Anyway, back to the scripture reading.

In recent times, I've made it a point to read my scriptures every day. Even when it's 11:00pm and I am dead tired, I have to read my scriptures before I go to sleep. Drowsy scripture reading is not the recommended course of action, especially when one is reading Revelations. That makes for crazy dreams, my friends. Crazy, CRAZY dreams. But crazy dreams or not, I have to do it. I really do notice if I go a day or two without reading them. I'm crankier. I'm not as patient. All the trivial things in life blow out of proportion, and I have no eternal perspective. I get caught up in the thick of thin things. But when I do read my scriptures? Peace. Patience. Love. Our home has an added measure of the Spirit. And I can remember what is actually important (let me clue you, it's not what time we eat dinner).

I'm thankful for the scriptures, and the direction they give in my life. I'm thankful for the Spirit they bring to our family, and the lessons we can learn from them.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gratitude Day 26

Thanksgiving is over, and we're on to Christmas! Yesterday afternoon we put up our little tree and decorated our house. Julia was so excited to put every decoration in exactly the same spot that it was last year. She remembered what went on the bookshelf, where the tree went, everything. I was so impressed. Unfortunately we put the tree in a new spot, and that was the cause of some grief, but I think she's getting used to the idea.

Anyway, the tree is up, and that means: tree time. Every night (or, at least, we try for every night, we don't always make it) we sit in front of the tree and have a quiet moment. It's a great time for everyone to wind down from the excitement of the day and enjoy being together as a family. We've done it the last two nights in a row. I absolutely love it.

It's an example of one of those rare quiet moments we get as parents. This is another one. I was thinking today about all the sacrifices we make as parents. When I signed up to be a mom, I signed up to barf for 3 months straight, face the possibility of heart failure for another 3 months, lose sleep for over a year (maybe 2 if you count the pregnancy), gain weight, lose sanity, wipe bums and noses, clean up messes, and any number of other thankless tasks. But, in return I get to read books in the rocking chair. I get to watch my children learn everything, from body parts to numbers to the way things work. I get to kiss pudgy cheeks and tickle baby toes. I get slobbery kisses in return, and lots of adorable giggles.

I live for the quiet moments that make all the work seem like nothing at all. I am grateful for the quiet moments.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Gratitude Day 25

You thought I'd be done with this thing at Thanksgiving, didn't you? HA, you were wrong! We're going to the end of the month, baby! 5 more days, and then I'll go back to my regular once a week/month posts.

Yesterday I was grateful for food, which is quite a broad category. So today I am grateful for one of my all-time, absolute favorite foods EVER: Pie.

I hosted a Pie Party back in March, and it was. . . well, it was definitely one of the best ideas I've ever had. All that pie, in one place. Wow. Magnificent.

Maybe I should have done it again now that it's Thanksgiving time, but I opted to just make and eat pie on my own. A lot of it. I'm grateful for that little dessert.

What's your favorite kind? How about we have a poll? I haven't done a poll in ages! YEAH, a pie poll! Go vote for your favorite, you have until December 1st. I thought about letting people pick more than one, but then I'd just pick them all, and that would be no fun.

For the record, my favorite is peach.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gratitude Day 24

On this, Thanksgiving Day, I feel it only appropriate to be grateful for good food.

Like these sweet potato fritters I whipped up today. Or the Apple Cheddar Pie I baked, recipe courtesy of the folks at Pie Lab. Also the Thanksgiving staples: turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy. Pumpkin pie. And a new favorite way to prepare butternut squash, courtesy of our hosts this evening. WOW, it was good.

And, since it's Thanksgiving and all, I'm thankful once again for good friends. This day would have been very sad and lonely if we hadn't been invited to a friends' house tonight. Instead, it was an awesome day. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gratitude Day 23

Today I took the girls for an afternoon walk around the neighborhood (how wonderful that we can still do that on November 23rd!). I walked by numerous houses with a fleet of cars in the driveway. Cars with out-of-state license plates. Families gathering together. I also walked by a couple houses with cars being loaded up and families getting ready to leave for the weekend. And I may have been a bit misty-eyed as I thought about how far away my family really is, and how long it will be before I see them.

We currently live 1,684 miles from my parents (only 1,672 miles from Clark's parents!). That is really, really far. Seeing that number makes my heart ache. Especially during the holidays.

BUT. We are in Michigan for a reason. For many reasons, actually. I now have a happy husband with a stable job, which is the big one. You could live almost anywhere if it meant you had a happy husband. I feel very strongly that we've met people here that we were supposed to meet, that we've influenced their lives, and they've influenced ours. I really enjoy living outside of Utah. And I don't mean that to be a knock on Utah, I love Utah, I'd live there again. But it's kind of refreshing to live somewhere. . . different. Somewhere that I am different. And last, but not least, I am one happy camper to live somewhere with winter. Real, honest winter. And mild, happy summers. Which makes me strange, I know, but it is what it is.

I am grateful we moved to Michigan. Even though it's far from family, it's where we are supposed to be. And I am happy here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gratitude Day 22

I've already been thankful for my husband and my kids, so let's throw the rest of my family on there, too!

Let's start with my siblings. Growing up we had our fair share of squabbles, and even physical altercations. I may or may not have slapped my sister's leg and then claimed I was swatting a fly. I may or may not feel guilty about that to this day. The point is, we were normal siblings. But now that we are all adults, I feel like we get along great. These people are my friends. (Hopefully they feel the same way, or this is a really embarrassing post.) I have this dream that someday we'll live closer to one another and then we'll be able to get together for game nights, where we can chat and play and laugh late into the night. I don't know that it will ever be reality, but it's a great dream. I mean look at these guys, who wouldn't want to hang out with them?

Then there are my parents. My mom and dad are all that is good and right in the world. They both have degrees in library science, which is AWESOME. Between them, I think they know everything there is to know in the whole world. If I ever have a question, I just call my mom. She's almost as good as Google, and a lot more personable. And I think my favorite thing about my dad is the way he plays with my kids. Julia and Ella LOVE their Opa, and they have such a great time being "goofs."

Also, my extended family is amazing. And far reaching. I have found numerous connections with people here in Michigan through my extended family. And all the Hursts are so close with one another. It's not often that you find such a large family that supports each other so completely. Makes me glad to be a part of it.

And then, AND THEN, I have been blessed with the best in-laws you could ask for. Once again, I wish we lived closer so we could hang out. I have felt so welcome in their family ever since we got married. No, that's not true, you'd have to go back further. Ever since. . . I met them? That might be a little closer to the truth. Maybe someday we'll all be in the same place at the same time again (this summer?? hint hint? anyone game?).

(And is this really the most recent picture I have of the Blockburger clan? I guess I have one on my dresser that is a bit more recent, but still. I'm serious about this summer.)

What it all boils down to is, I am grateful for my family. My large, ever-growing, extended family.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gratitude Day 21

This past Sunday one of the speakers referenced this talk by President Monson about gratitude. More specifically, he read the story near the end. The story is great, but one little thing stuck out to me: this family didn't have a washing machine. They didn't even have electricity. I mean, yes, this was back in the day, but they didn't have a washing machine.

So I got to thinking how grateful I am for my washing machine. First off, I'm grateful that someone invented that blessed machine. Seriously makes my life better. Can you imagine having to scrub all those clothes by hand? No thank you. And then, I'm grateful that we own one. I did gain some funny little stories from my laundromat days, but I'm so glad they are over. And especially now that we have kids, we do a lot of laundry. I always say, we might not get much done, but as long as we are caught up on laundry and dishes, we are going to survive.

AND, there are few things as wonderful as using a warm towel straight from the dryer. OK, so I guess that's my dryer, not my washer. I'm grateful for that, too.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gratitude Day 20

A few months ago, I sort of whined about how crazy our Sundays have become. I stand by the statement that they are crazy. BUT, I feel like they've gotten a bit better. Ella is a little older, they split the nursery at church (40 kids is too many for one class, don't you think?), and it probably doesn't hurt that I know we only have to do 11:30 church for a few more weeks and then we get the coveted 9am start time.

Every time Julia prays, she says the same thing: "Bless the Sabbath Day." She sometimes mixes up "Bless" and "Thankful," so we'll just pretend that she says, "Thankful for the Sabbath Day." She says this on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, all the days. As I've been pondering what I'm thankful for (it's harder than you'd think to come up with 30 things!), I thought it was appropriate that we are thankful for the Sabbath Day. Sure, it's crazy, but it's a good crazy. I'm so grateful that we have one day a week that is different than any other day. One day that we don't do anything but focus on Jesus Christ and how we can come closer to him. One day that we spend going to church and being together as a family. It's rejuvenating, really. And it helps me keep my focus where it needs to be, not bogged down in the everyday minutia.

I'm thankful for the Sabbath Day.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gratitude Day 19

Not to get all Seriously So Blessed on you, or to be repetitive on my gratitude, but today I'm thankful for my musical talents.

I'm not a concert pianist, but I can play the piano pretty well. I can hold my own on the organ, as well. And, if we're being honest, I can sing. I can sing well. I can sing very well. I don't always say it like that, because I don't want to be braggy, and I'm certainly not a professional singer, but really, I sing well.

Unfortunately, I don't get a lot of opportunities to challenge myself as a musician. Or opportunities to perform. I'd love to join a community choir, or some small singing group. I really miss being a part of something like that. I miss taking on difficult music, practicing every week, and being surrounded by musicians that I really respect and admire. The ward choir is great, don't get me wrong, and it definitely has its place. But it's not quite enough for me.

But. With Christmas approaching, there is an increase in musical numbers all around. I get to practice the piano for our Messiah sing-along (and practice, and practice - Handel is hard). We've got a group together for a musical number at our Nativity Exhibit concert. There are lots of little opportunities popping up. I'm loving it.

Let the record show that if anyone ever needs a musical number, I am ready and willing.

Also, I think we're going to have to create a family band. Here's a little video, with Ella on the wrapping paper drums, and Julia on the blow-up guitar. They put on a rockin' show.

I especially like when Julia stomps on the guitar. Rock on!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gratitude Day 18

Day 18 is all about my kids.

I love my kids. Even though we have our trying moments, I am so SO grateful to have them here. There was a time when I thought I wouldn't get any biological children, and to have 2? Wow, I'm blessed.

I have loved watching these girls learn and grow. I have loved seeing them transform from helpless newborns to walking, talking individuals who have thoughts and feelings and opinions. I love Julia's budding sense of humor. I love Ella's desire to be like the big kids. I love discovering ways they are like me, and ways they are like Clark. I love them.

One day at breakfast, I realized that we are all very much alike. Or, at least, our girls are trying to be just like us. It made me chuckle.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gratitude Day 17

I talked to my friend Sabrina today (finally, it had been far too long), and she told me about her daughter's febrile seizure. What a relief that it's nothing serious, but in the moment that sounds terrifying. To watch anyone have a seizure would be scary, but your own child? I can't imagine.

Anyway, the point is, it got me thinking about our family health. We are all really quite healthy. OK, I guess I have a heart condition, and that is kind of a big deal, but when I'm not pregnant it's entirely manageable, and nobody is terribly concerned about it. But Clark? The man hasn't been to a doctor more than once in our 7 years of marriage. And that was for infertility stuff. (It wasn't him! TMI?) I've taken Julia to the doctor for a sick visit all of twice. And both times it was good that I took her in (once when she was a few weeks old, once when it was possible she had strep), but it turned out she just had a cold. She has never been on antibiotics. Ella has gone in once (because she had no appetite), and they gave her some antibiotics for a possible UTI, but in the end she didn't have one.

Sure, we have all had colds and coughs, we get sick from time to time, but when all is said and done? We are healthy folk. And today I'm quite grateful for that.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gratitude Day 16

Remember this vest? I wore it today. Still alive and kicking. And awesome. I'm thankful I looked on that clearance rack that day, because it has provided years, years I tell you, a DECADE in fact, of delight. And awesomeness.

Try not to be too jealous.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gratitude Day 15

I've already been grateful for my favorite radio show, so it only seems right that I should be grateful for one of my favorite television shows: The West Wing.

This show is quick, and funny, and so well done. I love all the banter between the characters. I love the characters. I love the setting. Heck, this show makes me love Democrats! (Not that I am a Democrat. Not that I am a Republican either. That's a whole other topic. Back to the West Wing.) Clark and I borrowed the first 4 seasons from Suzanne early in our marriage and went through them pretty quick. Then she didn't have season 5, so we didn't watch any more. And then, Netflix entered our lives. Glorious Netflix! The West Wing has been a part of our lives ever since. We watch all 4 episodes on a disc over 2 days, then turn it back in, wait 2 days, and get another disc. We are currently in the last season. After tonight, we'll only have one more disc to go.

I'm kind of sad to see the end of the show. It's such a great show! And it was so sad to see Leo McGarry go. What a great character! So while I'm excited to watch the last few episodes, I'm a bit hesitant to go through them too fast.

Ah, who are we kidding? I can't wait to watch them. In fact, I'm off to watch another episode (or two) right now! So grateful we've been able to watch it in its entirety. Any suggestions for a replacement show once we're done with this run?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gratitude Day 14

I mentioned on Facebook that I finally found my glue gun after a year of looking through boxes for it. I had missed that little guy. So grateful I found it and was able to get to a whole slew of gluing projects. Mostly fixing things, like hair bows.

But the very first thing I did was pull together this wreath. I saw the idea for a book wreath a really long time ago, and I thought it was delightful! But there was one problem: I can't just rip up a book. Books are for reading, not for ripping (a phrase repeated all too often in our house these days). Why would I want to rip up something I might read someday? And if you think I'm about to put a bad book on my wall, you are sadly mistaken. A Shore Thing will never appear in my house, let alone on my wall.

Enter the library used book sale. I popped on over there looking for a good, classic novel that had some bad binding, so I wouldn't feel bad about ripping the pages out. What I found was even better: a copy of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. Pages already falling out. I couldn't have come up with a better find in my dreams.

So I spent a day or so pulling out the pages, rolling them up, and gluing them together. I LOVE the way it turned out. Is it perfect? No. I would make the inside circle line up better if I did it again (which I might do, I only used half of the book).

I think it's a delightful addition to our home decor. I'm grateful for my glue gun, so I can make projects again.

And as a completely random post-script, Julia said something great today. I have to write it somewhere. She said, "It rained today. The rain was just falling from the sky like garbage!" I do NOT want to live in that world.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gratitude Day 13

I think I've mentioned our neighbor before? George is 95, and he's wonderful. He bakes, and gives us the extra (pies, cakes, banana bread, etc). He gave the girls a special Halloween surprise (trick-or-treat baskets with goodies inside). It brightens my day to see him out and about on his motorized chair with the orange flag blowing in the wind. He's very spry, and he loves the girls. And the girls love him! I am so grateful that we're his neighbor.

But the thing I am Officially Grateful for today is George's gift of the newspapers. I mentioned to him a while back that I don't really know what's going on in the world as we don't get the paper, and we don't get TV. (In case you were wondering, we HAVE a TV, we just don't get any channels. And we still watch plenty of television programming, courtesy of Netflix and Hulu.) So he asked me if I wanted his newspapers, when he's done with them. Um, YES. He gets the local paper, and he was getting the Wall Street Journal, but he just switched to USA Today (he likes their sports page better). It has been delightful to get the paper again. And it really doesn't matter that I get it a day late (if that, George is a quick reader), because I wouldn't have time to read it before then, anyway. I sort of can't believe that I went so long without it. I love reading it. AND, as a bonus, we get all the Sunday coupons.

Now, if you'll excuse me, the Sunday comics are calling to me.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gratitude Day 12

This bit of gratitude is somewhat complicated.

I had a friend call me today searching for advice on how to deal with nausea in pregnancy. Or really, hyperemesis gravidarum. As you likely know, because I'm very vocal about my distress, I had hyperemesis with each of my pregnancies, and it was bad. I was miserable. I can easily say that it was the hardest, worst time of my life. Being sick like that for days on end makes you incredibly depressed, not to mention all the physical side-effects that ensue (dehydration, weight loss, possible tooth decay, all that fun stuff).

So this friend asks me if I have any advice, and I say yes! I have loads of advice! But most of it didn't work for me. I just got to be sick. Even zofran was worthless for my first pregnancy (#2 was better, but still hard). I remember sitting in the Walgreen's parking lot, waiting for my prescription FROM THE ER to be filled, 30 minutes post intra-venous zofran, barfing up a saltine cracker into a paper cup. Not a happy time.

So the first part of my gratitude today is that this particular horror is over and done with for me. I made it through, and now it's behind me, and I might not ever have to do it again. (Maybe.) Is that weird? Being grateful that a trial is over? Well, weird or not, it's true.

But am I grateful for the trial itself? I'm not sure. I suppose I did learn and grow. I learned to rely on others for help. It's kind of a miracle that Julia survived when I was pregnant with Ella, and I can only attribute it to kind, kind friends who would take her every morning, or come and stay with me for a week or two to help out. KIND, kind friends, that I am eternally indebted to. I learned to rely on my Heavenly Father more. I certainly have more empathy for others. I guess I'm grateful for the lessons learned, but not the method of learning. I'd rather learn another way, thank you.

Like I said, kind of complicated. Really, it's what I've been thinking about all day. But there is some gratitude in there! Gratitude that we learn from trials, and gratitude the trial is over. EXTREME GRATITUDE that I'm not puking right now today.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Gratitude Day 11

It feels only appropriate that I should be thankful for Veterans today. Words seem inadequate for how grateful I am for all those men and women who have served or are serving our country in the military. "Thank you" seems so. . . not enough. But I don't know what would be enough.

I posted this poem before, and I love it so much I'm posting it again. Happy Veterans Day.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gratitude Day 10

We had a bit of a cold snap today. We went to the library when the sun was shining, wearing only our jackets. We left the library in a flurry of big, fat, juicy snowflakes.

I have always been a fan of winter. I'd rather be cold than warm. So I am really happy to be living in a place with real winter again. On this tenth day of gratitude, I find myself thankful for the cold weather, because it allows me to bundle up and be cozy. There is something so wonderful about getting hot chocolate from 7-11 (I'm high class, I know), or throwing on a sweater, or wrapping up in a blanket. I've got a mountain of blankets in my possession. I am typing this in my slippers and robe. (By the way, I'd like to point out that I think Snuggies are dumb. A Snuggie is just a robe backwards. How is this a revolutionary idea?) (And yes, I look like a white trash housewife in my slippers and robe. I'm high class. See above.) And flannel pajamas? Yes, please.

And while we are talking about it, there is something absolutely magical about the first snow of the season. I don't care how much you hate snow, you have to admit, it's like magic. White flakes gently falling from the sky, softly blanketing the ground. Nothing like it. I'm thankful for that, too.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Gratitude Day 9

You didn't think we could make it 30 days without my expression of gratitude for my Clarky, did you?

Clark mentioned on his blog our recent trip to the blood suckers and his extreme aversion to having blood drawn. I'll admit, it was more than a bit unnerving. All this time I just thought he was squeamish about needles, sort of like how some people are a bit scared of the dark. (I may or may not fall into that category.) Um, no, it was much more intense than that. He got really pale and just looked very wrong. Ill. Not well. White. I had never seen him like that. It made him seem so vulnerable.

I'm sure Clark appreciates me sharing this with the world. But before you go thinking I'm married to a weakling, he was better after about 10-15 minutes and back to my normal, chipper Clark.

I tell this story because this was one of the few examples of me being the "strong one" in our relationship. I am usually the blubbery mess about something ridiculously trivial. I am the one who falls apart at 5:45 on the dot every day, courtesy of the rush of hungry, impatient, attention starved children at my feet while I'm making dinner. I'm the one who starts the fights. Clark is the one who ends them. By patiently waiting for me to fizzle out. He is the calm to my storm in our family. And I am ever so grateful to see him at 6:00 every day, because the Mom Monster goes away the second he walks in the door.

Seeing him laid up for 10 minutes made me realize how lucky I am to have him, calm and strong, all the other minutes.

I married well. Clark makes me a better person. And I'm grateful.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Gratitude Day 8

We all know that pregnancy does weird things, right? All those crazy hormones can send a whole lot of things out of whack. One of those delightful side effects for me was dry eyes.

Dry eyes was really the least of my worries when I was pregnant. The barfing and the possible heart failure sort of trumped that. But it did mean that I couldn't wear contacts. I had to wear glasses, which I hadn't done on a full-time basis since I was 12. I quietly embraced the frump that was my old pair of back-up glasses and waited the nine months until I could successfully don the contacts again.

Oh wait! I still have dry eyes when I'm nursing! Fast-forward another year, and I could finally wear contacts again. AND THEN, we decided to have another child. More glasses. And I breastfed her, too. More glasses.

But a few months ago, I decided it was high time I banish the frump. (In fact, I was thinking of having a whole series of blog posts on "Banish the Frump," but then I realized that it would be one entry. This one. Not really very inspiring. So I shelved that idea.) I made an appointment with the eye doctor. I went right in and bought myself a new pair of glasses, glasses that weren't 7+ years old and significantly less than beloved by their wearer.

And: new contacts. Soft contacts. I am now the proud wearer of soft contact lenses. They are a big, happy change from my gas permeable ones. And an even happier change from the frump glasses.

I can see better. I can go walking in the rain. I can open the oven door or walk into a warm, humid place without getting foggy. And most importantly, I feel like the old me again. The girl I was before I had kids. It makes me a little bit giddy to look in the mirror and see that face again. Maybe that is vanity, but I think it's important to feel good about the way you look. So that's what I'm thankful for on day 8. My beloved new contact lenses.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Gratitude Day 7

Currently I am "reading" 4 books (I use the term loosely because I haven't picked up one or two of them in a while, but they still have a bookmark in them, and they are still sitting on my nightstand, and one of these days I'll pick them back up):
  • Maphead by Ken Jennings
  • Redwall by Brian Jacques
  • Dorian by Nephi Anderson
  • Press On by Joseph B. Wirthlin
I was thinking about what I was grateful for today, and thought about how thankful I am for good books, and the variety of reading that is out there. And I realized that my nightstand is a pretty good sampling of my varied taste in books. I like non-fiction, I like young adult, I like children's, I like religious, I like classics. I like to read books written by my great-grandfather, because how cool is that? Not everyone gets to read a book written by their ancestor. I like a little bit of everything. Though, I generally shy away from adult fiction unless I have a recommendation, mostly because of sex scenes and the swears.

The point is, I am always reading something, and I hope to keep it that way. My "to read" list is too long to do otherwise. And I'm grateful that there is so much good reading out there.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Gratitude Day 6

And now I am grateful for the vast collective knowledge that is the internet.

Even though it is sort of an addiction of mine that needs to be curbed (I'm looking at you, Facebook).

Even though it can be a supreme waste of time. (Seriously? A video of someone watching and commentating on a video game that someone else is playing? I love you, Clark, but I still think this is a bit ridiculous.) (Not that the websites I frequent are a better use of time.) (I really do love you, Clark, don't be mad!)

Even though the knowledge isn't always accurate.

I love the internet.

And I could push this button all day.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Gratitude Day 5

Have you ever heard Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me? The NPR news quiz? If you haven't, do yourself a favor and go download the podcast right now. It's free. It's hilarious. It's what gets us through long road trips in the car. And it's what I'm grateful for on day 5.

Someday we will go to Chicago and see this show live. It will be a dream come true, especially if Paula Poundstone is there. Until then, I look forward to the dishes once a week, because it means I can listen to this podcast.

Anyone else a fan?

Friday, November 04, 2011

Gratitude Day 4

It's time to play catch up. I was doing pretty well at staying on top of this daily gratitude thing, and then we went out of town to visit to fabulous friends that we've been missing for the past couple of months, so all things interweb got pushed to the side. But does that mean I wasn't grateful? No!

In fact, this fourth day of gratitude is all about friends. I am so grateful for good friends. The kind of friends that you can go visit after months, even years, of being away, and it is almost like no time has passed at all and you pick right up where you left off. Friends that you can call when you need advice, and text when you're bored. Friends who listen to the mundane details of your life, and rejoice over your big news.

And this weekend I'm especially grateful for family friends, I guess you'd call it. Friends that come in families. Friends where EVERYONE gets along. Our kids had such a great time this weekend, playing with friends, and the adults had a great time while the kids entertained each other. We got to chat, play games, go out to eat, visit museums and Clark even got to watch football with someone who cares! It was glorious. And since Kalamazoo is only 3 hours away, I'm thinking we can make it back there sometime in the not too distant future.

So here's to friends! May we all have them in abundance.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Gratitude Day 3

I'm sneaking this in a bit late. But today I am grateful for good music. I went over to the church today to practice the piano. More specifically, to practice for our upcoming Messiah sing-along. Most specifically, the Hallelujah chorus. That little number is awe inspiring. It never gets old. In fact, the whole Messiah is incredible. And, of course, there is a lot of other good music out there, in many genres. I am often inspired by Guster, or Dashboard Confessional, or Nickel Creek, or any number of bands. There is just a lot of great music. And I am grateful for the way it infuses my life with bits of happiness.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Grattitude Day 2

Today I reminded Julia that November is the month of Thanksgiving, and then asked what she was thankful for. "Turkey," she said. Another good one.

Me? I'm thankful that I get to go co-op at Julia's preschool. I go in once or twice a month and help out, and I love seeing all the things they are doing in class. It gives me a much better idea of what goes on when I'm not there. It also warms my heart to see Julia playing with friends. I had no idea that would give me such a thrill, but I love to see her make friends. And to sit in the play kitchen and be served a variety of pretend foods by 8 three-year-olds was absolutely priceless. I especially liked the grilled cheese sandwiches with lemon and lettuce and red pepper. Mouthwatering.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Let the Gratitude Begin!

It occurred to me today that we are now in the month of gratitude. November = Thanksgiving. And as such, I've decided to be grateful for one thing each day. So I had a little chat with Julia today on our walk home from the park (that's right, the park. On November 1st. It's a glorious thing, this season called fall.), and asked her to think of one thing that she is grateful for.

Her answer: Fruit. And more specifically, grapes and apples.

I think that is a fine answer. I, myself, love some good fruit. Healthy, and yet sweet. Good one Julia.

So then I told her that I was grateful for fall (see above). It really is a lovely season, what with the changing leaves and the cooler temperatures and the apples (you know, fruit). I have really enjoyed the past 2 months, and I've REALLY enjoyed the fact that fall has lasted 2 whole months, instead of the week and a half it usually is in Utah.

It was after this delightful little conversation that I decided I need to make this a daily occurrence in this fine month of November. Because we all need to be a little more grateful, and I definitely need to teach my dear daughters how truly blessed we are. And the best way to make sure this happens is to do it publicly. Then I feel accountable. So there you go. Day one of gratitude. 29 to go.