I think I mentioned previously there might be some repeats.  Some of them will probably be about kids or husband, since I spend most of my time with them and they do lots of stuff I’m grateful for.  Other repeats might include areas or things I’m consciously trying to working on with gratitude….like my house.  By repeating the gratitude for those that I struggle with, I hope to maybe struggle a little less.  I have no idea if it will actually work like that, but it seems possible, right?

I also have a confession to make:  I got taken down a notch today.  Prior to actually starting this, I had the idea that it might be pretty easy for me.  I’m often grateful, aren’t I?  How hard is it to just make a list of the things I’m grateful for throughout the day.  Well, um, the universe thought I needed to swallow that arrogance and I’m hearing it loud and clear.  The kiddos who sleep in our room still didn’t sleep well, M woke up before the sun and I didn’t feel well.  They were bored (=bonkers).  It was a long day and I really, truly had to work multiple times to be grateful.

1.  Coffee.  On days like this one, coffee is a lifesaver.  I would have fallen asleep if it weren’t here.  I usually limit myself, but today I had two giant cups plus one more in the afternoon.  Mmm..coffee.

2.  Netflix.  Another lifesaver today.  I was feeling pretty zonked, so having this tool at my disposal was great.  I like that there are so many options, so we can watch a cartoon and then follow-up with a documentary.  The low price is also something I appreciate.

3.  Rain.  At my house, it was raining when we got up, then continued for a few more hours.  I love the smell of rain, the knowledge that it’s one day I don’t have to water my garden, and the excuse to linger on the couch reading just a bit longer.

4.  Google.  Google is pretty amazing.  Any time one of the kids asks me a question I don’t know the answer to, I yell “google it”!  It’s a great tool for finding what we need to know, like whether the massive amounts of cherries can be frozen with the pits still in them if I don’t get around to pitting them.  Did you know that you can boil cherry pits to get every last teeny piece of cherry off and make cherry juice?  Thanks to google, I now do.

5.  Learning to preserve.  I’ve been plunking away at this necessary skill for the past year or so.  I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, as I am a food hoarder and preserving things myself just makes sense.  Last fall, I was gifted about three boxes of tomatoes.  That is a LOT of tomatoes!  A family friend spent the entire day walking me through the canning process, for which I will always be grateful.  It’s a tool that will keep benefiting my family over and over.  Thanks to Pinterest, I have an entire board full of preserving recipes….canning, freezing, dehydrating.  It feels good to have foods picked at their best to eat during the leaner months.

6.  Freezer.  I am so, SO grateful for my freezer.  I have a huge one like what you see down the aisle at Aldi.  It holds a LOT.  I am grateful to have such a large amount of space to preserve items when I have an abundance or to save my leftovers.  It minimizes my kitchen waste.

7.  Leftovers.  Okay, they’re not my favorite thing to eat.  However, on a day like this one when I feel too tired to make dinner, I appreciate looking in the fridge and finding a ready-made dinner.

8.  Husband who cooks large amounts so we’ll have leftovers.  When I was searching the fridge for something quick and easy, I discovered a large portion of food M had cooked the other day.  He knows to cook a lot and then save it.  Yay!  He’s also a really good cook, so that it is extra nice.  I was able to take what he’d made, throw it in a pan, add some cheese, bake for a bit and dinner was served…easy peasy.

9.  A “nice” divorce.  I often forget that not everyone who gets divorced has an easy time.  I did and I am grateful for that.  It is evidence to me that we did the right thing.  There was no fighting over stuff, no custody battle.  I got what I needed and while I don’t really know if he did, he didn’t articulate being upset and signed the papers in a timely fashion.  It went through the court system in a flash, the judge asked me a few key questions and then signed off on it.

10.  Pandora.  Sometimes, often, I forget how just a little music can really brighten up the day.  It’s nearly impossible to be annoyed or frustrated when the kids are bopping around to “Uptown Girl” saying, “Dance mama!  Dance!”  Pandora allows us to have multiple stations pre-set for whatever mood we’re in.  We also get to hit a button if a song doesn’t fit with our taste.  Perhaps most importantly, it is FREE!  Between the music and dancing and twirling (resulting in kids falling over from dizziness), the tone of the day completely changed…even if only for those glorious minutes we listened.

11.  Dance.  I’ve been dancing ever since I can remember.  So many memories and good feelings are bound with dance.  I firmly believe that dance and the loving guidance my dance teacher (my beloved aunt) provided gave me the positive body image I still hold to this day.  Somehow it seems like I lost this essential tool for parenting….put on some music and dance with the kids.  I vaguely remember doing just this when the older two kids were toddlers and doing it now with the younger two reminds me of that.  It also helps us all feel better.  Why am I not doing this more often??

Having that positive self image from dance allows me to do things like this! (hand-dyed robe of www.goddessgarb.com)

Having that positive self image from dance allows me to do things like this!
(hand-dyed robe of http://www.goddessgarb.com)

12.  This project.  Perhaps that seem silly, but on this day I might have allowed myself to sink into the abysmal pit of parenting despair were it not for this project.  What can I be grateful for in this moment?  What an easy, immediate way to turn a negative into a positive.  I need this.  My family needs this.  The world needs this.

13.  Dirt turned into mud.  After the glorious dancing, when things went to pot again, we ventured outside to inspect the garden.  “Why is this bucket filled with water, mama?” To make mud with, of course!  Their muddy adventure gave me a few minutes to piddle with weeding the garden, but then I saw how much fun they were having so I decided to join them.  Why do I so easily forget how delicious sinking my feet into mud feels?  Instant gratification as my negativity melts down to the ground.



14.  Compassionate husband.  Yes, I know he’s up there in the beginning too.  If you’ve ever been a stay-at-home mother on a day when your husband worked all day, you probably completely understand why he gets a second entry.  I’m not always so good at appreciating that he’s been working, because I’m so wrapped up in kid-filled stuff/my own saga, and have a tendency to pounce him with the day or how bedraggled I am the second he walks in.  Not this day!  I let him know before he got here that I was worn out, but was sure to include that I was feeling for him having to get up so early every day…I just did it one day and was thrown off.  When he got home, even though he also had a really long, really stressful day, he made a point to take over kid-care for a bit so I could make dinner in peace.  He also lovingly suggested I take a shower, but I was more hungry!  I got dinner made with no interruption (a blessing all on its own), then went to check on the kids.  M had fallen asleep on the couch.  On most days, I would stalk off in a huff, but I was bolstered by his compassion/action for my plight, so I returned it with compassion for his beleaguered self.   It really is a give and take, duh.

15.  Quiet computer time.  When the youngest goes to bed, I greedily devour a chunk of time doing whatever tickles my fancy on my laptop.  Sometimes I don’t get very long because I fall asleep, but I’ll take what I can get.


This day, the thank you note goes to the husband.

Dear M,

I so appreciate that you work hard at your job away from the family so I can be here with the kids.  It is easy for me to forget that you are sacrificing for them/us.  Thank you for supporting and encouraging the family ideas of having a full-time caregiver and homeschooling.  I know our family will be better for our determination to give them these things.