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.

Gratitude day 85

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I am grateful for air travel. It probably stresses me out more than any other mode of transport, but what, with the onboard wifi and free colouring book and crayons, it sure beats walking.

I am grateful that I was compliant with the dress code at the bar the other night.

I am grateful for triple AAA rating 5 and 2 year old behaviour on the trip back home so far. We’re only 2/3 the way through the first flight, so it could go pear shaped at any moment, but it’s been great this far so I’ll be grateful for that even if it does.

Gratitude day 78

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I’m grateful for the over-the-top, dinner theatre spectacle that was Medieval Times this evening. Totally fun. Who doesn’t love theatrical sword fighting and jousting while eating rotisserie chicken with your hands? What’s not to like!

I am grateful for the photo my mom showed me today of me in the bed I slept in as a kid. Farley now sleeps in that bed, same as his dad, cousins, uncle, grandad, great uncles, great great grandfather and great great uncles. IKEA just doesn’t make kids furniture like that. It’s solid as a rock, and I’d bet it still has several more generations ahead of it.

I am grateful for the amazing view in the hotel room we are staying. We’re on the 15th floor overlooking the Disney California Adventure theme park.

Gratitude day 77

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I am grateful to Tigger, who fully reciprocated a for real hug from Farley

I am grateful to my brother, for a swell trip to Space Mountain and a dang fine pedron margarita.

I am grateful to Julie, who had both my boys while I went on Space Mountain and enjoyed a dang fine margarita with my brother.

I am grateful to my folks, who made this whole trip possible.

Gratitude day 75

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I am grateful for St. Anthony, who is the patron saint of lost things. We’re going on vacation tomorrow, and we had vouchers to get from the airport to the hotel. They went missing. I was convinced they’d gone into the recycling. Julie prayed to St. Anthony, and kept her faith long after I’d lost mine. When she found the vouchers, she asked me pointedly, “Who ya thankin’?”. Here’s the answer, I am thanking St. Anthony. He’s just one of the benefits of marrying an Irish Catholic girl.

I am grateful for the extra hour that comes with the end of daylight savings time. I managed to get a coat of deck stain on the back stairs before 10:30am. Awesome!

I am thankful for a terrific birthday party today, with “build your own snowman” kits as goodie bags. The boys LOVED THEM, and they had a great time at the party, too!

Gratitude day 72

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I am grateful for the baby dump truck and the mama dump truck, as described to me by Farley this morning.

I am grateful for big kids using real knives and hand drills to carve pumpkins. Added bonus: no personal injury!

I am grateful for more ditch digging. Who knew digging dirt was such fun! Perhaps it wouldn’t be if I HAD to do it, for more than an hour here and there…

Gratitude day 70

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I am grateful for matching Christmas Jammie’s on my boys. I know it’s early. So what! Look at them! THEY ARE ELVES! And that’s awesome.

I am grateful for more reno progress. Where once there was a planter, there is now a quarter of a planter and space for a doorway. How about that.

I am grateful that I think I’ve processed my way through the whole Ghomeshi thing. That news story was taking up far too much of my brain space for longer than it should have. Moving on…

Gratitude day 64

I am grateful for the box our new hot water tank came in.

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I am grateful that I managed, just today, the day before workers come to start work, to get our basement devoid of stuff. When we moved in we had most of our stuff placed there, and having so much crap, we never figured we needed it enough to unpack it. One lesson learned that (hopefully) will no longer applicable to me: don’t hold on to stuff thinking someday you’ll have a house to put it in. If you are like me, you might spend decades squeezing those things into closets. You’ll move them from rented apartment to rented apartment. Perhaps you’ll even rent storage space for them. Then, you’ll get that house you always dreamed those things would belong in, only to find you stIll don’t want that crap. It’s been a liberating, but long and tedious journey to a clean basement over these last few weeks.

I am grateful for projects getting done and launched and off my radar. On to other things!

Gratitude day 55

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I am grateful for Julie’s idea to go to Goldstream provincial park for a weenie roast for lunch. It was all kinds of a great way to spend the day. Having a fire is fun. Eating hot dogs is fun. Being outside is almost always more fun than being inside. The natural beauty of that place, from the majesty of a great big waterfall, to the microcosm of the moss on the side of any given tree is amazing. It makes me realize my gratitude for living near this particularly amazing place on this particularly amazing planet. What are the chances?

I am grateful for the brotherly love that exists between my boys. They can fight like cats and dogs; perhaps just dogs; perhaps actually particularly violent dingoes… But I digress. Often they fight, but sooner or later they make up, and you can see how much they prefer to be together than apart. That photo of them holding hands – that’s all them, and just how they were this afternoon. If that’s not nice, I don’t know what is.

On that note, I am grateful to Kurt Vonnegut, whose novels I love, but in this case I am grateful for this quote about his uncle Alex, from whom I borrow that phrase A LOT in this blog :

One of the things [Uncle Alex] found objectionable about human beings was that they so rarely noticed it when they were happy. He himself did his best to acknowledge it when times were sweet. We could be drinking lemonade in the shade of an apple tree in the summertime, and Uncle Alex would interrupt the conversation to say, “If this isn’t nice, what is?”

So I hope that you will do the same for the rest of your lives. When things are going sweetly and peacefully, please pause a moment, and then say out loud, “If this isn’t nice, what is?”

My late grandfather, Steve Lathrop Sr. had a quotable phrase he often uttered to me and many other family members on many occasions, from backyard barbecues to fancy dinners. It was similar and went like this:

“It doesn’t get much better than this.”

[pause for effect]

“And this is pretty good!”