Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 268

Today I am grateful that we, as a culture, are starting to talk about what post-natal bodies really look like.  (Check here, here, here, and here for further reading.)  I think back to my own experience, going from a glowing, yet very large, lady at 39 weeks ...

... to what, at the time, felt like Jabba the Hut.

I knew my body wouldn't snap back immediately, but I had no idea I would look as I did.  And I felt so bad about it, so uncomfortable.  (Though I imagine at least part of the discomfort was because of the c-section.)  When they told me Baylor weighed 10 lbs. 10 oz., I imagined losing that weight and being close to back to "normal", even though I knew I had gained a total of 64 pounds with him and weighed more than my husband did.  So it was a shock to see my post-baby body and it was awkward seeing others and wondering what they thought, and I hated seeing all those celebrities snap back within weeks, maybe a month, of having a baby, and I wondered what I was doing wrong that I couldn't attain that.  I consider myself to be a relatively smart person, but my whole world had been turned upside down and this was just one more thing that didn't make sense.

That seems like forever ago, these pictures and that feeling of "Jabba-ness", and thankfully all I really remember feeling was this ...

Joy.  So much joy.  In the end, it didn't matter how big I still was, how soft my belly had become.  All that mattered was my little boy and the love that was growing rapidly in our hearts.

(Sadly, postpartum depression set in pretty quickly and wiped away a lot of that joy, but I try to view that time with a grateful heart, so grateful that I have moved past that point onto much happier times.)

So let's get this acceptance going.  Let's let new moms off the hook and allow the love to spread and build like it should.  Forget the judgement and take a pass on the gossip and just ... love.

Have a wonderful night!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 267

Today I am grateful for a big achievement for both kiddos.  We were at Rivertown Mall today and after having the kids' feet measured I asked the kiddos what they wanted to do; Baylor of course said he wanted to ride elevators, and Mollie said she wanted to play in the playplace.  Baylor said her idea was okay if there weren't many kids in the playplace, but when we got there it was teeming with kids of all ages and enthusiasm levels.  Baylor instantly balked, but after more consideration he said he'd go if we could ride an elevator and get pretzel sticks first.  We did, and he kept his word.

And they had a blast!

My favorite part was when they held hands and when they'd run up to me after having been separated asking where the other one was.  I love seeing them play together.

Baylor even had a run in or two with some more aggressive kids, and he handled himself so well!  He's come a long way since he last tried playing here and couldn't even get up the stairs he was so socially anxious.  They played and played, and it was only fatigue and hunger that dragged them away from the fun.  It was noisy and crowded and chaotic, and they handled it beautifully and had loads of fun.  I was insanely proud of both of them.

Have a wonderful night!

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 266

Today I am grateful that I happened to go over to my parents' house to pick something up just a little while after my sister had taken some sour cream coffee cake muffins out of the oven.  They were still a little warm and, awesome as they are, Mom and Christine offered me one ... then sent me home with five more to share with Bryson and the kids.  They were absolutely wonderful, and I have no doubt the kids will agree in the morning.

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 265 (a day late)

Today I am grateful to have gotten a really unpleasant task over and done with.  We buy our ground turkey from Costco, and while it is a great price it also comes in inconveniently-sized packages.  So, whenever we buy turkey, one of us has to separate it into half pound and three-quarter pound packs to make it easier for me to make dinner later.  Tonight that task fell to me, and though I was not happy to be doing it and was constantly worried about getting turkey juices on the counter, I am so grateful to have it done.  It's such a satisfying feeling of pure relief not to have it hanging over my head (or staring at me from the refrigerator) anymore.

Have a wonderful night!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 264

Today I am grateful for the knowledge that my son is against burglars and that he'll fight to protect his family.  He wrote this at my parents' house tonight and it is ... well, it's just plain awesome.  

I am also grateful for the humor that comes every now and then as a parent.  Kids can be so hilarious!

Have a wonderful night!

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 263

Today I am grateful for the help of my mom and sister.  I had a lot to get done today, and they came over to help with my to do list and to help take care of the kiddos.  I wouldn't have gotten nearly as much done without them, and I am so glad to have gotten done what I did.

Thanks, Mom and Christine!  I so appreciate the help!

Have a wonderful night!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 262

Today I am grateful I was able to get the mountain of paper, by and large, off my desk.  It has been building for quite some time, as evidenced by the April receipts and the March to-do lists, and it was good to finally dig in and disperse the madness.

Have a wonderful night!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 261

Well, it's another marathon dinner at the Jacques household.  The kids are going on an hour-and-a-half, and Mollie has barely touched her food.  It's infuriating really, the way they jabber on and on, seemingly oblivious to the food in front of them.  When this sort of night happens, and it happens quite frequently, I want to pull my hair out, scream, pout, cry, fall asleep, and a whole other litany of other tantrum-like behaviors.  They take so long because they are chatting with each other, laughing and making up stories, and how do you get them to stop that long enough to put food in their mouths?  At this point I'd be cool with talking with their mouths full if they'd just eatforcryingoutloud!

But, as infuriating as it all is, I will say this: I am so very grateful that they are friends and enjoy each other's company so much.  They laugh and make faces at each other and generally have a great time just chatting with each other.  It could be so much worse; they could hate each other and spend the whole meal screaming and yelling at each other, thus causing dinner to take forever for a much worse reason.

So, tonight I'm grateful that my kids are friends.  So very grateful.

Have a wonderful evening!

P.S.  This does not, in any way, mean that my kids never fight with each other.  On the contrary, they get on each other's nerves at least once a day, oftentimes much more.  But they always end up coming back to enjoying each other's company, and that's what I'm so grateful for.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 260

Today I am grateful for an amazing gift our vacation unexpectedly gave me.  When we go on vacation, I try very hard (and am usually very successful) at taking a break from electronics.  I sent one e-mail over the trip because I needed to make sure an appointment was secured and had forgotten to before we left, but otherwise I abstained completely from the internet.  And in that time I received from the absence of electronics, I regained my love of reading.

For as long as I can remember I have had a great love of reading, diving into a good story and not coming up for air for as long as possible.  It's not something I can really do with how-to books and self-help books, which is what I have been, by and large, reading over the last couple years.  (Parenthood will do that to you, though.)  No, a good novel is like dessert for my soul, and I am so glad to have been able to indulge as of late.

Speaking of which, I have a book to enjoy!

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 259 (a day late)

Today I am grateful that the kids and I had such a lovely time at the zoo this morning.  The weather was cool and the sky was overcast, so most of the animals were more active than usual.  We got to see a couple baby animals, always a treat, and the porcupine was actually up and about and came over to look at us.  No meltdowns and no potty accidents and fun ... perfect day.

Have a wonderful night!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 258

Today I am grateful that I was able to get the shower so clean this morning.  I hate standing in the shower and staring at dirty grout, so it was pretty gratifying to get it cleaned up first thing in the morning.

Have a wonderful night!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 257

Today I am grateful to be home after having been on vacation for a week.  I am looking forward to sleeping in my comfortable bed, using my own bathroom, and having all my clothes to choose from, not just the few I packed with me.

Don't misunderstand, the vacation was wonderful and I am incredibly grateful for that as well.  We had a fabulous time in South Haven, Michigan, and the weather cooperated to make it a lovely beach vacation; doing much else other than playing in the sand and in the lake would have been quite uncomfortable because of the heat and humidity.  But, being a lover of heat and humidity, I was in my element; I love how the humidity slows things down a bit and makes everything feel warm.  I run on the cold and dry side a bit, so to be in the humidity is to be, finally, comfortable.

I'm also grateful we got to spend so much time with my parents and sister, a sentiment I am sure the kids would echo wholeheartedly.  Though they live only seven minutes away, having them there for the whole day, beginnings, endings, and everything in between, was a real treat for the kiddos.  I am so grateful they have gotten to know their family so well and have so many happy memories with them.

And last, but not least, I am grateful for sleep.  Here I come!

Have a wonderful night!

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 256

Today I am grateful for how fearless Mollie can be.  I love that little spark of adventure in her, and I can't wait to see where it takes her.

And on the flip side, I am grateful for how cautious Baylor is, always thinking things through.  I know it will serve him well in the future.

But, most of all, I am glad they have each other to balance things out.  You need to have a gas and a break to really drive well, you know?

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 255

Today I am grateful for this ...

... and this.

The kids' dance parties are pure awesomeness!

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 254

Today I am grateful that my kiddos love to read.

I remember when I was in middle school and high school and I would read books at lunch, just to get in some extra reading time.  So when I saw Baylor pour over his book while we were waiting for our lunch, I smiled and hoped that he'll continue to foster his great love for reading.

Mollie can't read yet, but she has a great love of books and will "read" them to any doll who will listen.

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 253

Today I am grateful that the kiddos like Legos so much.  However expensive they may be, and some of them are just that, they give the kids a creative outlet and seem to help with their fine motor skills.  Plus, it's always fun to see what they come up with.

For example, Baylor decided one day to make a little coffee maker for his Lego people.  It even had a little light at the bottom and a place for the coffee to drip from above the mug!  Awesome!

Mollie is definitely still getting the hang of playing with Legos, but I can tell she is inspired by her brother's creative spirit.  She even wanted me to take a picture of her with her little creation, just like I had done for Baylor.

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 252

Today I am grateful for these two and their ability to make me smile even when it feels like I can't.

Either by totally rocking the goggles look during a time out, 

... or by insisting on wearing a winter coat while I'm stressing over keeping things tidy.

Any day can be brightened by a wacky, cacophonous outfit, even if it seems like it's just too early in the morning.

And one must always use one's walkie talkie, particularly when Mom is anxious over making sure things go right.

Yes, they cause me stress and certainly aren't perfect, but they sure do keep things interesting and, quite often, hilarious.  And for that, I am very grateful.

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 251

Today I am grateful for these two and their wonderful imaginations.

Here, Mollie is getting an x-ray during a visit to Dr. Baylor.

Baylor's superhero mask, a.k.a., his bike helmet.

And, taking after their Grandpa E ...

... washing the car!

Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 250

Today I am grateful for these smiling faces.

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 249

Today I am grateful that I was able to keep it together with the kiddos during a really tough day.  Baylor had numerous meltdowns and slogged his way through dinner, but I did my best to keep my patience and succeeded for the most part.

Hooray for small victories!

Have a wonderful night!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 247

Today I am grateful that a bathing suit I had ordered arrived this afternoon.  Any of you ladies out there know exactly how hard it is to find a good bathing suit, and that once you have finally found one you will go to hell and back to get it.  (Preferably at a good price, of course.)

So when the suit I wanted, top and bottom, were finally found and at a great price no less, I ordered them up as quickly as possible.  Yay!

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 246 (a day late)

Today I am grateful that today was better than yesterday.  Mollie has been developing a stubborn/willful/mischievous streak and over the last few days it has really pushed me to my limits.  One day she not only lost all her nighttime books for that night, but she also lost them for the next night as well.  It's been trying, to say the least.

So I'm really glad that today, no books were lost, no tempers flared, no tears were shed, and no gauntlets were thrown in the name of I-want-what-I-want.  It was a very welcome change from the days prior, and I so hope (knock on wood!) it continues.

Have a wonderful night!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 245

Today I am grateful that the kids and I got to do some yoga together.  I thought it might be nice for them to do some structured exercise, for a variety of reasons, and they both seem to enjoy it.

Here's the one we did today in case anyone wants to try it with their kiddos!

It's not super strenuous, but there are a lot of good strengthening exercises in here, all set to a lovely story.  Not too bad for fifteen minutes of fun!

Have a wonderful night!

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 244

Today I am grateful to have gotten three loads of laundry done and bread made.  Looking around the house, I am disheartened by how messy things are, how unkempt it all looks, and this morning I let the clutter and disorganization get the better of me.  Frustrated by my lack of concentration and follow through, I worked myself up to a sad state; so sad, in fact, that both kids tried to comfort me independent of one another.  (It is a humbling thing to have your own children comfort you.  I was both disappointed and embarrassed that I wasn't holding it together for them and so proud of them for being so compassionate.  Such a bittersweet moment, to be sure.)

In any case, I am glad that I was able to turn it around a bit and make a small dent in the mess.  Baby steps, right?

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 243 (a day late)

Today I am grateful my mom and sister were able to watch the kids for me while I went to the grocery store.  I can certainly take the kiddos myself, but it is so much easier without them.  Plus, our grocery store is under construction for a huge renovation and it was difficult to find things.

I know I am incredibly lucky to have them, and my in-laws, so close to help out here and there, and I hope they know how truly grateful I am for everything they do for us.

Have a wonderful night!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 242

Today I am grateful that we got to spend time with Grandma Betty (GG) and (Great-) Grandpa Chuck.  They were up for a visit, and we all had a lot of fun.  I didn't take many pictures today, but this was one of my favorites.

Glad you made it home safely, Grandma and Grandpa!  We hope to see you again VERY soon!  Love you!

Have a wonderful night!

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 241

Today I am grateful for the lovely evening out Bryson and I had.  My in-laws watched the kiddos (Thanks again, Chris and Paula!) and we got to eat dinner at one of my favorite local restaurants, Licari's.  Then, not thrilled with the options in the theaters right now and a little short on time, we rented Silver Linings Playbook and watched that at home, some before we picked up the kids and the rest after they went to bed.   (I loved the movie, and Bryson eventually came around to liking it.)  It was a relaxing evening where I didn't have to badger anyone to eat or clean up any dishes.  Win-win!

Have a wonderful night!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 240

Today I am grateful for all the men and women, and their families, who have served our country and helped keep us the free nation we are today.  I am grateful for the luxury of getting to go to a frozen yogurt shop on a warm summer's night without fear of violence or persecution of any kind; without the service of our armed forces, both past and present, such a night would likely not be possible.  I am grateful for our country, however flawed it may seem at times, and the freedoms we enjoy.

We got to go to Spoonlickers for frozen yogurt tonight (Thanks again, Mom and Dad!), and afterwards I got the kids to stand still for a minute for our annual Fourth of July picture.  (Previous years here and here and below.)

At first they were pretty distracted by some people who had just arrived to get yogurt ...

... but eventually we got them to look almost in the same direction and smile.

They are actually wearing the same shirts they wore last year because they spilled milk on this year's shirts at dinner and had to change clothes.  Mollie, though, was pretty excited about it because she really wanted to wear her "Boom!" shirt, as she so affectionately calls it.  Here they are last year ...

Have a very happy, safe Independence Day, everyone!  And happy 237th birthday, America!

Have a wonderful night!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 239

Today I am grateful that I made our chili dinner in the crockpot so it would be ready by the end of the day.  We had a busy afternoon with Baylor's playgroup all the way across town and then a trip to Costco planned, so I got the chili ready earlier in the day and popped it in the crockpot to simmer for five-or-so hours.  By the time we got home, I was thoroughly exhausted as were the kids and it was nice to know that I didn't have to really do any work to get dinner ready.

Have a wonderful night!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 238

Today I am grateful that I took the time to read during nap time this afternoon.  I usually fill the time up with doing dishes, general tidying up, occasionally switching the laundry, and often getting sucked into episode after episode of Parks and Rec/New Girl/Modern Family/The Office/etc.  I was so exhausted today, however, that I just sat at my desk and read.  I would have loved to have enjoyed a nice comfy seat on the couch in the living room, but that was just an invitation to sleep and I don't do well with little naps.  I love to read, I have for as long as I can remember, and since we've had kids I have found myself reading less and less, particularly for pleasure; I don't really like to count potty training books as "reading for pleasure" as potty training is a horror itself.

Anyhow, I was happy I just sat and read this afternoon and gave myself a good break.

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 237 (a day late)

Today I am grateful that the kids were able to entertain themselves while I frantically tried to make a healthy dinner for us.  Time had, not surprisingly, slipped away from me again and after I bolted to the kitchen the kids just sat there and played happily, chatting with each other and only occasionally asking me for assistance.

Dinner tends to be one of the most stressful parts of the day for me, so to have them be so happy and self-sufficient, even for a short while, was really greatly appreciated by me.

Have a wonderful night!