Sunday, November 30, 2008

Grateful for the Sabbath...

A day of peace. A day of rest. A wonderful day to finish off this month of gratitudes with devotion to and praise for Him who is responsible for every blessing I have.

And a very special thank you to Sherry, who was the motivation behind this incredible month.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I am grateful for my faith.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I have been so all of my life. I am a Christian, a follower of Christ and He is the keystone of my life. I cannot imagine life without devotion and faith in Him. His teachings are those of love and service and charity, aspects I try always to incorporate into my daily life. My life is full of joy because of my knowledge of Him and knowing that I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father.

I am grateful for my faith.

Friday, November 28, 2008


(Sing that like Tevye!)

I love traditions and I am so grateful for what they mean to our family. Traditions cultivate connections and provide a sense of identity and belonging. When you can say "Our family always does X on Thanksgiving" or "We always do Y during the summer", these rituals give the family a feeling continuity, a warmth and closeness with other family members. Family bonds that are often weakened by busy lifestyles are strengthened immensely by maintaining the family tradition.

We have so many traditions in our family. Some are God-centered: family prayers, reading scriptures together each morning as a family, first day of school blessings for the children, presenting the newly baptized child with his/her own set of scriptures, etc. Some are holiday or seasonally centered: themed costumes for Halloween, gingerbread houses made the weekend after Thanksgiving, our all-green St. Patty's Day feast. Others are just for fun: family movie nights, picnics in the living room, Big Hugs, Secret Pals, etc.

All of these have meaning and importance for our family. They strengthen the ties between us. They serve to cement our relationships for all time.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Food, glorious food!

What could be more appropriate than being thankful for food on Thanksgiving day?!! I love food. I love to make food. I love to bake food. I love to have food made for me. The flavors, the texture, tangy, sweet, sour, savory. I am so grateful that a loving Heavenly Father provided us with sustenance that can truly be enjoyed. I do wish that broccoli and spinach tasted more like cheesecake and chocolate (or that there weren't quite so many calories in the latter) but I am truly grateful for food.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Grateful for the digital age and my camera...

I love how going digital has enabled the world to share. Photos of families and friends far away. Scrapbook pages. Decorating ideas. Projects. All so accessible with a simple upload to the computer and the click of the mouse.

I love the instant gratification of digital. No more waiting to finish the roll. No more sending it out to a developer and hoping you got some good shots. No more paying for film and processing. It's there. As soon as you take the picture, you know if you got it...or if you need to keep trying.

Love the digital world!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Grateful for health

My family has been very, very blessed with good health.

Chronic ear infections for McKelle when she was little. The same for Max which resulted in tubes. Exercise-induced asthma for Michael and McKelle, but not severe and controlled well with their inhalers. Michael has his shoulder issue - two surgeries in the last year and a half, but it seems to be doing really well and responding to treatment and PT. Other than a few ER visits for Michael when he was playing rugby (broken ankle, broken clavicle, concussion,) that's it.

We are otherwise super healthy and so very thankful to have that good health!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Forgot one...

I am so thankful for this man. He's the love of my life. My sweet husband. My love. My best friend.

I am so very blessed to have Michael in my life. He loves me more than I ever deserve. He has stuck by me through thick and thin, literally. And never once has he ever forgotten to tell me how beautiful and sexy he thinks I am.

He gives the best back scratches, ever! Foot rubs, back rubs, head rubs...whatever I need, he's totally willing to give. He's smart and funny. He's a great dad and the kids adore him. He works so hard for our family.

For 17 1/2 years, I have been by his side, and I can't imagine a better place to be.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Last, but certainly not least...

I am grateful for my baby. My little sweets. My Mason!

Oh my, is this boy ever full of mischief. He definitely lives life OUT LOUD! He may have five older siblings, but noone ever misses the fact that Mason is around.

He is a little lover. I get hundreds of hugs and kisses every day. His little "I love you, Mommy. Thiiiiiis much!" is so wonderful to hear. Even when he's saying it because he just got in trouble. It is so hard to ever be upset with him - he just bats his big, long eyelashes and gets away with murder!

He is a ray of sunshine and full of so much energy and fun. A day with Mason is a day full of laughter!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lovin' my Max!

How could you not be thankful for this guy?!! He is my sweet baboo, my Maxaroni. He is full of love and fun and just enough mischief to keep things interesting.

Most recently, we spend our days rhyming ("Does snart rhyme with fart, Mom?") and trying to make words ("what does oxr spell, Mom?") He is so much fun!

And such a good big brother. Mason takes advantage, for sure, but Max is always taking care of Mason and giving little brother what he wants. He loves on him (sometimes a little too much) and fills the big brother role to a tee.

I love this boy!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Grateful for Mitchell...

I do love this boy. Somedays, it might be hard to tell. He gets on my last nerve more than any of my other children. I think it comes, at least in part, from his position in the family. It is awkward. I get that. And I try to have patience with him. I'm not always successful. But when we're good, when we're really, really good, I can see his true heart and it is golden!

Middle child synrome! Matt and Micah hang out, the little boys - well, they're little. And McKelle is off doing the only girl in the family thing. Mitchell tends to get left out and acts out (not in a good way) to get attention.

But deep down, this boy has a bigger heart than anyone I know.

When our dear friend Eve was diagnosed with leukemia, I saw Mitchell looking at her blog one day and he was crying. When I started to talk to him about it, he looked up at me and said "Mom, I just wish I could trade places with her so she wouldn't have to hurt anymore." When we're reading scriptures as a family, I can count on Mitchell being the one who is most touched by the Spirit.

We'll struggle, he and I. But I will remember and I will know that he is truly a gift and I am so very grateful.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Grateful for Micah...

Micah is the child every teacher loves. Every adult who meets him thinks he is quiet and oh, so very polite. Which he is. In public. At home, he is wild and crazy and loud.

He has the quirkiest sense of humor. He says stuff and you have to pause and think a moment. And then you just have to laugh. Because he really is extraordinarily funny...almost British-humor like.

He gets math! Everything about it, he gets. Soma cubes and tangrams are some of his favorite things to play with. Before he even started kindergarden, he would always want me to write math problems on the driveway with sidewalk chalk. And he would solve them.

He's a loyal friend and fun to be around. I do wish he would get along better with Mitchell, but hey, no child is perfect. Gotta love this boy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Grateful for my only daughter!

When I was younger, I wanted 6 girls. Well, I got 6 children, but only one was a girl. She is a sweetheart and my best helper. She reminds me a lot of myself when I was her age (I am sure her brothers will say she was always bossy!) She is focused, intelligent and has the kindest heart (when she wants to.) She is absolutely wonderful with her littlest brothers. I am so glad she still wants to hang out with her weird mother - she loves to go shopping with me and we have a date for Twilight on Friday night!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Grateful for my oldest child...

We don't always see eye to eye. If fact, I spend a lot of my time trying to figure out what the heck is going on in his head, but I am truly grateful for Matt. He has a good heart and a good spirit. And when he actually buckles down and puts his mind to something, he absolutely can succeed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Grateful for my Mom!

She turns 60 today. 60!! It is hard to think of my mom being that old. She was only 20 when I was born (which means my 40th is fast approaching) so she was always the youngest of my friends' moms. She's a beautiful 60 - certainly doesn't look anywhere near that age to me.

I am so grateful to have a good relationship with her. I was so excited to move close to her and I have loved being able to get together. We spent a fabulous day in Portland in October, indulging in a shared love of fabric and textiles. And I was able to host a big family party for her birthday yesterday. I looked around the room at my gathered family and just loved it.

She is a great woman and she has taught me so much. She is very polished and speaks well. An emphasis on grammer, punctuation, spelling and proper English is definitely something I learned from her. She helped instill my love for fabric and sewing and probably all things crafty, though she won't claim it all. She is a wonderful cook and I like to believe it rubbed off a bit on me. She loves children, especially the preschool set - something we definitely share.

She is concerned about her neighbor, whoever that might be and has always been a great example of service. She taught me well. What a very blessed daughter I am.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Grateful for celebrations...

I love a good party. We had a great one today - good food (Pad Thai, made by Michael and myself,) good company (Mom and Chick, my sister Giana and her family, my brother Trevor and his family,) lots of good conversation, a great dessert (Chocolate Trifle, made by McKelle!) and a reason to celebrate (Mom's 60th.)

I love everything about celebrations - the decorations, the food, the planning, the fun. I love how much my kids enjoy it all. Birthdays, holidays (even the funny made-up kind - have you heard of National Men Make Dinner Day??? Or Chocolate Chip Cookie Appreciation Day?), and everyday in-between days. I love making these traditions with my family and the joy we have doing it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


It has been a long day. I am grateful it is time for bed. That is all.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Grateful for neighbors!

I don't really know my neighbors very well yet. They're mostly older, no young kids. They pretty much keep to themselves. But our landlord said that everybody looks out for everyone else and that was certainly true today.

It seems that a cougar has encroached upon our little piece of civilization here. It was spotted chasing a deer through our next door neighbors' yard. Another neighbor heard it in a nearby cornfield and later confirmed (by tracks, I'm guessing) that it was a cougar. It attacked a horse not far from here. Actually, the Department of Fish and Game officials aren't sure how many cougars are in the area - there may be as many as eight!!! YIKES!

But several of our very sweet neighbors stopped by today to make sure we knew. They've all seen the kids outside playing, especially the little boys and were worried. I'm so glad they let us know. They promised to keep us in the loop. It is definitely nice to have neighbors to watch out for you.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Grateful for employment...

Everytime I pick up a newspaper, turn on the TV, log on to the net, another company is filing bankruptcy, laying off employees, downsizing. Unemployment figures are the highest they've been since 9/11. So many people are on pins and needles, wondering if they will have a job tomorrow, next week, next month. It is pretty scary!

I am so grateful for Michael's employment. We have been truly blessed. In hindsight, I am glad he chose a career in a relatively stable field. I don't know how it will all play out for the healthcare industry when our Democratic President-Elect takes over - I can't imagine it is going to be good for providers, but I will be grateful now while we've got it pretty good.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Grateful for a clean scraproom...

Well, it is definitely cleaner than this morning. Makes it so much easier to work. Still have some sorting to do. Still haven't decided how to store everything, but it is a work in progress and at least everything is off the floor!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Grateful for our service men and women, past and present

I stood in the rain to watch the Veterans' Day parade this morning and couldn't help but be moved to tears. I am grateful for all those who now serve and all who have served to keep our country safe, to preserve our liberties and freedoms.

Thank you to my grandfather, who served in the Pacific theater during WWII. As a little child, I remember being fascinated by the scars the shrapnel left in your leg.

Thank you to my father, who served in the Army in the 60's when the military was not so highly regarded.

Thank you to my brother-in-law, Kevin, who just returned home from Afghanistan and serves in the Canadian Army.

And a very special gratitude to the families left behind, those who sacrifice so much while their loved ones serve our country. THANK YOU!

May God bless all those who currently serve and keep them from harm.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Grateful for modern conveniences...

I'm learning firsthand how hard it is to be without them!

Our fridge is on the fritz. According to the repairman, pretty much beyond the fritz. How in the world did people live without refrigeration. Spoiled milk, spoiled meat, all of Michael's fresh salmon gone bad (ouch on $$ he spent!)

I love all my modern conveniences and I am super grateful for them today!

(That is not my fridge pictured - I wish!!)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Thankful for old friends...

I think I'm addicted to Facebook.

I signed up to check it out since McKelle wants to get one. Started playing around and getting lots of friends. Found friends from high school and all the places we've lived.

So much fun!!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Grateful for places that burn off energy...

of my two and four-year old! Our little town has some great parks. One of them just got a bunch of new equipment courtesy of the Rotary Club and it is so much fun!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Grateful for my tree...

Well, techinically it is my dad's tree. But I'm finally close enough to see it in all its fall glory. I LOVE this tree.

It used to be a favorite climbing place when I was younger. It has always been the most gorgeous tree in my hometown. I have definitely missed seeing it every fall.

Dad told me that he has people stop all the time to ask if they can take a picture. Sometimes, they don't ask. :) He walked out to rake up some leaves the other day and found a couple taking pictures - the photographer was laying on her back so she could get a good picture looking up at her friend with the tree in the background. When the boys went to play at Grandpa's on Tuesday, another lady stopped by so she could take a picture to use as her computer screen saver.

I miss the green of the east coast and Minnesota, but there is nothing as beautiful as my red tree in the fall.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Grateful to move on...

There were moments when I thought it would never end. Times when I thought we would never be done. I certainly went through periods when I thought I wasn't going to make it.

But we did it! 17 years. 17 years of schooling, training, late nights, early mornings, long commutes, 100 hour work weeks, bank account running on fumes most of the time. 10 different moves, 5 different states and 2 countries, 6 kids and more student loan debt than I can't even bring myself to type. We made it!

Michael told me the summer we were engaged that he wanted to go to med school. Since that time, I have attended five of his graduations and one big party to celebrate being done. Bachelors, Masters, medical school, internship and residency...and the party for fellowship.

What a long, long road. I wouldn't change a thing...but I'm sure thankful to be done.

(The picture is Michael burning one of his white coats at the end of Fellowship.)

What I'm working on...

I'm taking an on-line scrap class at Big Picture Scrapbooking, taught by Cathy Zielske. She is fabulous and I am totally loving the class. I'm behind (I think Halloween got in the way!) but I keep plugging away. The "remember this" layout is probably one of my favorite. Ever. I LOVE that picture of Mason.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

LOL, giggle, snicker, bwaaaahaaahaa

I am grateful for a sense of humor.

When I was little, my aunts called me "Cackleberry" because I was always giggling. I'm pretty sure that being able to laugh should be a requirement for parenting. A big, deep belly laugh can definitely provide a different (better!) outlook on life.

And one would have to have a sense of humor to be the mother of these two!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Land of liberty, land of promise

What an amazing blessing it is to live in a country full of freedoms, liberties and opportunity.

When I opened my scriptures early this morning to the spot I had finished yesterday, I was overwhelmed by the passage which I read. It wasn't planned, at least not by me. But I felt I was definitely being reminded of the wonderful place where I am priveleged to live.

"...we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands;..." 2 Nephi 1:5

and this "...that there shall be none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord." 2 Nephi 1:6

And definitely this "...and if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever." 2 Nephi 1:7

The Unites States of America is an amazing place. It is not perfect, by any means, but I couldn't be prouder of my heritage as an American. I love my country. The national anthem makes me cry. I've cried today, just thinking of all those who have given their lives to preserve the freedoms I enjoy.

I've also cried today over the direction I think our country is headed, but I did do my part. I participated in the election, reading, studying, learning and making the best choices I could for my family and, I believe strongly, for my country.

I am grateful to be a citizen of a free country, allowing me freedom, libery and the pursuit of happiness. And the right to vote!

(Of course I got a picture - I'm a scrapbooker!)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Equal time

For some reason, the other pictures of Halloween wouldn't upload in the other post and Mason wanted to know where he was. Have to share a picture of my cutie pie Thing 1 and Thing 2. Cat in the Hat is looking pretty fine as well...

Replacing my pots

Is that a weird thing to be grateful for? Pots? And pans?

Well, I am. Grateful for pots and pans.

Our were bad. Really, really bad. We've probably been ingesting teflon off the bottom of 15 year old pans for awhile now. And everything we cooked was in serious danger of burning because of the bad spot in the middle of both big frying pans. The lids stopped fitting years ago. Rice is hard to cook when the lid doesn't fit.

Michael decided that one of our first purchases would be pots and pans. He said I deserved it (and since he loves to cook, he wouldn't mind some new stuff as well.) We got a great set and I love it. The lids fit. We don't have any black flecks in our food. And nothing burns....unless I forget something on the stove, LOL.

Playing catch up on my gratitudes...

I didn't see Sherry's challenge til this morning, the 3rd, so I missed the first two days of November. Making it up here.

I am so grateful to live near my family for the first time in 20 years. Since I moved away to college after high school, I have been far away from home. Far, FAR away. Southwest, Canada (and not the western side!), eastcoast, midwest. So far that I missed many important and meaningful events. I went almost four years once without seeing my sisters and brother. I missed both my paternal grandparents' funerals. Missed my brother's wedding. And my mom's. Didn't meet nephews and nieces til they were walking. And my parents missed out on seeing all the little things that I think are so important in our day-to-day lives. We were so poor during school and residency, the only times we made it home were when my parents generously covered the cost of our airline tickets.

So I am thrilled. THRILLED! Thrilled to be living close to my family. I love that I got to go shopping in Portland with my mom. I love that my dad got to come over for several soccer games and a couple of Sunday dinners. I love that my dad could come watch the kids while Michael and I took an anniversary trip. I love that I got to see my sister coach her cross country team and that everybody got to see McKelle play a few soccer games over there. I love that we all trick-or-treated together. As a family. How awesome is that?!!!

Grateful. Yeah. I miss Minnesota more than I ever thought I would and if my family lived closer to the midwest, I'd move back in a heartbeat. But for now, I am soaking it all in. All that family time and family love. Definitely grateful.

Grateful I am!

I haven't blogged in ages. I know, I know. With all the time I spend in front of the keyboard, it should be a cinch to add a post now and again, but I just don't seem to get it done.

I was inspired today, however, by a challenge on Scrapshare to post a daily gratitude for a month. Definitely something I need to do about my very blessed life.

So, without further ado, my gratitude for today is being thankful for holidays, especially Halloween. I know some out there hate it, have no use for it....but I love it and it is my favorite holiday. And I am so grateful for all the family fun we have surrounding Halloween and I am most grateful for a family that will allow me to create costumes and dress them up in fun themes!