Grateful – Christmas Concert

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I am grateful for the opportunity to see Cooper’s Christmas Concert at his school today. I’d been warned by several other parents that it can be pretty boring sitting through all the other kids performances. I might be more easily entertained than most, but I found that to be completely untrue. I was riveted the whole time. No joke. These kids were rocking harder than the stones. Were they on key and on time? Sometimes, but rarely. Were they giving it their all? 110% YES. Seriously. If a bunch of grade school kids belting out christmas carols with their voices, recorders and ukuleles isn’t nice, what is? AND, I might add, I was super excited to see Cooper super excited to perform. It was awesome.

I am grateful for the popcorn that Julie just made me. Lunches are made. Kids are in bed. the day is done. I am grateful for that, too.

I am grateful for Farley, just because he is Farley, and Farley is awesome. He’s awesome in many ways, but right now I am grateful for his excitement to put on his “fuzzy feet” slippers. Man, it doesn’t take much to make that kid really, really, ecstatically happy sometimes.

Grateful – with disclaimer

First, a word about this blog. A disclaimer, if you will.

While this whole gratitude exercise is truthful, it is misleading. It makes my life look like a series of perfect moments. I do not intend it that way; it’s an exercise for me to record the perfect moments, because I want to remember them amongst all the sub-perfect ones. Fact is, 2014 has been a really tough year. Last week was a really tough week, and yesterday was a really tough day. I don’t want to be a bummer, quite the opposite, but I don’t like misrepresenting myself either.

Enough said. Onward!

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I am grateful for where I live. We were at the beach today. Not in a swimming, sunscreen, splashing in the waves kind of way, but there was sand, there was sun, and while there was also winter coats and hands that should have had gloves, there were kids playing by the water, climbing on the rocks and getting a healthy dose of Vitamin D. Great stuff! Side note: I am grateful for Coop’s friend’s mom (and my friend too), for the invitation to get off my duff and do something fun with the kids.

I am grateful for a tidy house. It was vacuumed, kitchen was scrubbed and the dishes were done, for a period of about 8 hours, from after we went to bed last night until we all got up this morning. It’s pretty much decomposed into a mess again since, but it was clean for a moment, and that’s enough for me until next weekend.

I am grateful for an evening on my own. Julie had the kids, I washed my grandpa’s 1972 Buick, bought a shiny electronic bluetooth trinket and saw a movie. I was in need of a little respite from the awesome, so truly awesome, but exhausting, so truly exhausting experience that is life with 2 working parents and 2 kids.

 

Gratitude – Star on top of the tree

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I am grateful for Wes Anderson, because he makes cussing awesome movies, like the Grand Budapest Hotel, which I just watched, and thoroughly enjoyed.

I am grateful for popsicle sticks and a glue gun in the hands of Coop. He’s a whiz with them, and with very little help from me, he fabricated skeleton of the star that sits upon our tree with them.

I am grateful for Farley, who in a fit of silliness, started calling me George. I started calling him Fred. It’s hilarious. Know why? Because he thinks it’s hilarious. Know why he thinks it’s hilarious? I don’t. Even if you did, it really wouldn’t matter. It’s hilarious, and that’s all I need to know.

Gratitude – getting way into Christmas

I am grateful for an evening bike ride. It was nice to have an hour or so on my own and free to go anywhere.

I am grateful for people who really get into Christmas, like these people do.

I am grateful for another day at home with my boy Cooper, who was at home with a cough again today. Poor kid. I think he liked being at home yesterday, but today I think he’s just tired of being sick.

Gratitude – Digging Dirt

I am grateful for a day at home with Coop. He wasn’t feeling well today, so what did this dad do? Got him helping me dig dirt that has to come out of a planter as part of the reno, of course! He managed to fill a 5 gallon pail with a garden trowel. I was impressed and it was great to spend time working away together.

I am grateful for the Subway Sandwich experience that we had apres-dirt-diggery. I don’t often get to spend time alone at a table alone with Coop. It was nice to just hang out.

I am grateful I am not a professional dirt digger. Maybe my aging body would get used to it after a while.  After a couple of hours though, while I feel like I’ve got a clearer mind, my body is spent!

Gratitude – Cooper’s Birthday

I am grateful for a successful birthday for Coop. He received many thoughtful gifts. His teacher and classmates made him feel special. Nana and Pop came and we met them at Montana’s (Coops choice) for dinner. It was swell to see Coop really enjoy his day.

I am grateful for a fairly productive work day. I did a bunch of billing, which I often put off too long and don’t usually look forward to.

I am grateful I’ve made the decision to stop numbering the days on my gratitude posts. It’s better, this way, I think.

Gratitude day 100

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I am grateful for Coop, who completed his investiture at Beavers tonight, reciting the beaver motto, promise and law from memory in a lovely ceremony the leaders put together. In the photo he’s checking out all the badges. Some go on the uniform, some go on the campfire blanket.

I am grateful that Farley appears to have figured out how to go to bed without screaming and crying. The secret appears to have been having his brother tell him he just wants to sleep, but the noise keeps him up. Coop asked “Can you please go to sleep quietly in your bed, Farley?”

“Okay.” Farley replied. Then he did, 3 nights in a row, so far. I thought we’d tried everything; perhaps I forgot to ask nicely.

I am grateful for this blog. Taking time to be grateful on a daily, regular basis has been life changing for the better, albeit in a small and subtle way. When I started I didn’t know how long I’d keep it up. I didn’t think I’d make it this far, but it turns out I have, and now I am grateful for my own dang gratitude. A little narcissistic to write about that publicly here, but I’m gonna anyway, because it’s my blog, and because it’s true.

Gratitude day 93

I am grateful for small victories. I heard myself say “We did it!”‘to Farley (who was riding on the back of my bike) under my breath at the crest of a small hill. I realized in that moment that saying that at the top of hills is a habit for me. This blog is useful to marking those moments; I am looking for things to be grateful for now. If it wasn’t for the blog, that little victory would slip into the oblivion of forgotten things.

I am grateful for my kids. Coop, who gets as much joy and satisfaction out of putting lego together as anyone gets from anything, and Farley, who likes to sing about great white sharks, and today extended that to start singing about great white crabs.

I am grateful for my desk lamp I bought yesterday, which I bought at a thrift store. Fact is, I probably could have bought something new for the same price, but this one didn’t introduce any more plastic packaging to a landfill, and didn’t cost any more carbon emissions to ship from China. I prefer used things generally. I dislike waste, like anyone else does, but I also respect and enjoy the stories objects can tell, and something new out of the box just doesn’t have much to say about itself.

Gratitude day 89

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I am grateful for the salmon run. It gives me a sense of place and continuity. I’ve been watching these animals come back every year since before our first kid was born. It’s a unique thing to this part of the world. It’s cyclical. It’s as big as birth, life, and death get. The fish I saw here today came from eggs that were laid here in 2010. I saw their parents that year. And parenting wise, it’s a bit of perspective, too. I feel like I sacrifice a lot for my kids, but these big, grownup fish who have had all kinds of freedom in a great big ocean, give it all up to swim hard upstream, in an environment that is fatally toxic for them, to fertilize and lay eggs in the same place they come from. After that long struggle, they finally expire and nourish the land with their bodies, never to meet the children for whom they’ve laid down their lives. It’s safe to say these creatures are giving it their all. I look forward to seeing their offspring all grown up in 2018, when my kids will be 4 years older, and, for that matter, I will be, too.

I am grateful for old friends. Not just my old friends, but Cooper’s. We brought a friend along to the salmon run that Cooper has known since he was 20 months old. In relative terms, Coop has known this buddy for over 70% of his life. That would be 30 years, if you used that same percentage for someone my age. They are hilarious together, and there’s a trust that comes with familiarity that’s hard to create any other way.

And I am grateful for the village it takes to raise a kid. It’s great to know a family well enough that we can receive and answer the call when they need to have someone take their kid for a few hours, and it’s great to happily take that same family up on an invitation to eat microwaved leftovers and homemade pizza after dropping their kid off afterward. Humanity works best when we help each other out. Sometimes I need to remind myself that it is too dang easy to get stuck looking inward. Often, the path of least resistance requires me to be more outgoing than I might initially think.