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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving Edition!

Thanksgiving Break was wonderful! 
 There was an abundance of food, family, friends, and fun!  Also, sleeping in.  Which means that tomorrow will be a rude awakening...literally!  But every beautiful moment was worth it. I felt gratitude around every turn.  For fellowship and laughing and listening to each other.  For food fit for a king, for the people who put love and time into these meals and for the hours spent lingering around the dining table.  For chilly weather, Christmas lights and a warm fireplace.  For long nights of sleep under extra blankets and no reason to rush in the morning.  
For knowing that even though tomorrow is Monday, Christmas Break is sure to hold some of the same sweet reminders of the goodness in our lives!

I'm also thankful for a walk to the zoo with this kid on Wednesday while our house became Thanksgiving central under the cooking direction of Grandpa Bill and the older girls.  Such a very good day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A week of gratitude!

It's no surprise that I'm behind!  Even though I haven't made time to write I've still been thinking about gratitude all of the time. 

 Here are just a few of the things I've given thanks for over the last week-

My mom-  Yesterday was my mom's birthday!  She's the best.  She's strong and kind and loving and honest and I'm so thankful God gave me to her to raise. She filled me with all of the things I needed to be a happy adult.  She told me I was important and showed me this was true by the time she spent listening and encouraging and showing up.  She told me I was loved just for being me.  She never asked me to be someone else or allowed me to believe that I wasn't acceptable the way God made me.  

This photo was taken last night.  We had lunch earlier in the day when the two of us were looking fresh and awake  but alas we didn't think to take a picture until 9:00pm when the two of us are usually in bed.
Celebrating-  I'm thankful for opportunities to celebrate.  Last night we gathered to celebrate my mom's birthday.  Gordon ordered dinner and 10 of us gathered around our dining room table to celebrate and spend time together.  And it was wonderful.  My mom and Gordon have created a family for us that is kind and inviting and a lot of fun!

Hot Water--  Safe, clean water that flows right into my house is something to be grateful for and that I certainly take for granted all of the time.  But not only do we have safe water we have HOT water at our fingertips.  A hot shower, a hot drink , clean hands-- hot water is something I'm really grateful for. 

My job-  I really love the work I do as the Outreach Program Director for The Gathering.  I find the work very meaningful which is important to me.   My co workers are caring and encouraging and pray for me and the work that I'm involved in and I do the same for them.  There is a lot of power in such a community.

Time away from my job- Even though I love my job it's really nice to know that for the next few days I'm just going to be enjoying time with family.  I'll need to get my laptop out this weekend but for the next three days it will be family time!

The Trump Bump- It seems that certain progressive groups are experiencing a bump in their donations.  This makes me grateful for people who are staying engaged.  I am working to pray daily for President elect Trump and our country and to give him a chance.  But, sheesh this give him a chance stuff hard.  So far I am disappointed (though not a bit surprised) by his actions.  But I am happy to see that we are not being silent.  We are watching carefully and choosing to support groups that we know we will rely on in the coming years.  

Running-  I just got back from a run in the park.  It's cloudy and a little dizzy and about 45 degrees.  Doesn't sound that great, does it?  But IT WAS!  It felt wonderful to move and breathe and spend time with a friend catching up.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

November 15- Hot Tea

I'm getting excited for the holidays!   They are getting so close and it looks like in just a few days (after a couple of 70 plus degree days) the weather is going to cooperate too.  One thing that I love this time of year and the weather is hot tea.  I still need my coffee in the morning but in the afternoon and evening a cup of hot tea makes me feel cozy and happy.  Tonight Lucy and I are having an old favorite, SleepyTime Tea.  I thought to myself as I brewed it tonight, I think I've been drinking this my whole life.  And then I found this on Google Images which just made me laugh!  Good ol' Sleepytime.

Image result for sleepy time tea
I feel like that bear when I drink this tea!  

                        Image result for sleepy time tea             Image result for sleepy time tea    

                                             Image result for sleepy time tea

Also, there seem to be a lot of varieties of Sleeptime I've never heard of.  Once I tried the Sleepytime Extra.  Bleh.  They can keep the extra!  But the peach and vanilla sound interesting.

Monday, November 14, 2016

November 14- AAA and Neighbors

Oh, Mondays.  
This particular Monday morning my car had a dead battery.  Someone left a light on 😏 in one of the back rows of the van.  Thankfully we have AAA so I called them right away for a jump.  But I still needed to get Eleanor and Lucy to school.  We are lucky to live close enough to walk to school, though often I'm going straight to work from taking the girls to school so we usually drive.  It's a great walk and many of my neighbors walk nearly every day.  
As I was trying to figure out how to wait for AAA and get the girls to school on time my neighbor walked by with his sons on their way to school.   Thank goodness--a solution!  He gladly walked the girls safely to school and Lucy was thrilled with such an adventure!
Today I'm thankful for all of the safety nets that I have in my life. 
It is not lost on me how privileged I am.

This photo taken this summer on vacation in Michigan. What a trip!  Also feeling especially grateful today for these three literary ladies!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

November 13- Forest Park

There are many things I love about where we live.  One of my favorite things is the fact that we live close enough that I can walk or run in Forest Park whenever I want.  13 million people visit the park every year making it the 6th most visited urban park in the U.S..  And I'm lucky enough to go whenever I want.  I'm thankful that this morning Steffani and I were able to run/walk 5 miles in the park.  I'm sure I'll be back several times throughout the week.  I'm so grateful to live in a city that values such a place.

I walked past this sign on Friday after taking the kids to school. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

November 12- 2 days to catch up on!

Today I am thankful for my friends, family and coworkers. That's certainly enough to cover 2 days of gratitude!  They are really the best group of people I could ask to have in my life.  This list, while not exhaustive are some of the qualities of these amazing people:

  • Caring
  • Funny
  • Strong
  • Loving
  • Understanding
  • Faithful
  • Brilliant
  • Justice Minded
  • Good Listeners
  • Generous
  • Happy
  • Empathetic
Over the last few days it's been comforting to know that in my deep pain I am not alone.  We are not a group of whiners, haters, complainers, or otherwise soft folk.  We are strong, we are loving and we will stand together to LOVE one another.  And by one another I mean ALL of God's kingdom.  That is the work, and that is hard work!  Hard, Hard, Hard work.  Which I am not yet up for but I am praying all the time to become the person who can take that on. God gives me love through this amazing group of friends, family and coworkers at every turn.  And I feel a little less disoriented and a little more ready to walk towards the work each and every day.  

Thursday, November 10, 2016

November 10- Music

Today felt better than yesterday.  A good night of sleep has a way of making things feel a little lighter.  Since I'm still off of news and not at all in the mood for my Thanksgiving tunes I had to think of something else to listen to as I drove downtown this morning and back to the office this afternoon.  I needed something loud, something that didn't even begin to make me feel sad and something I knew most of the words to.  
Pearl Jam!  
It was most definitley the right choice!

My heart is still heavy and I've shed a few tears today but I am feeling the fog of disbelief lifting and I'm ready for my work.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

November 8 and 9

Yesterday's post was supposed to be written after the announcement that Hilary Clinton had been elected as the first female president of the United States.  But that didn't happen and to be frank as the  night wore on and it becme clear that Hillary would not be our next president, I wasn't thinking about gratitude. I fell asleep before any official announcement was made but after I knew what the outcome was certain to be.  My sleep was fitful at best (I don't think Kevin slept a wink) and when I got up at 5:30 I felt like I needed another night of sleep.  I only stayed out of bed for five minutes before retreating back beneath the blankets where I sobbed and Kevin rubbed my back and there were no words .  Around 6:15 Kevin and I got up and made coffee because there was no way we could do this day without coffee.  We talked and read and Kevin wrote a letter to the girls about this election.  Morning Edition is our morning soundtrack but not today.  There was no news I was ready to process.   We let the girls sleep in an extra half hour because we knew they needed the sleep and breaking the news was something we were happy to put off for even just an extra 30 minutes.  When we finally. Woke them the older girls were shocked.  I'm not going to share their complete reactions, or comments because at  almost 11 and 13 I want them to know they can process life without me oversharing.  I will say this, their eyes, their disappointment and their questions have hurt all day.  I suspect I will remember this morning ad how it felt for years to come. Today was hard.  Today I'm grateful to know that It won't always feel like this.

Monday, November 7, 2016

November 7- I get to vote!

Tomorrow is election day and like the rest of the country I'm SO ready!  We are very lucky to have the right to vote in the United States.  I've never understood why anyone would not exercise that right.  So many around the world fight for this and we have it!  So, get informed, figure out where you stand and vote for the candidate that most reflects your beliefs.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

November 6- Our low point doesn't have to be a last point

Today was the 4th Annual I Love Food and Wine Event.  It's an amazing fundraiser for the Ollie Hinkle Foundation put on by our friends Jenn and Mark Hinkle.   Five years ago this month their son Ollie was born.  His life on Earth was a brief 13 months but his presence lives on. Mark and Jenn turned their grief into outreach and love.  I'm thankful for the gift of God's ability to turn our heartache into good.  I'll never, ever believe God allows bad things to happen but I do believe He's right there with us when bad things do happen.  Mark and Jenn are my proof of this. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

November 5- Fall Weather

Today really felt like fall!  It was crisp and cool and I needed pants and a sweatshirt outside!  I love this kind of weather and we just haven't had it.   I've grown tired of our long drawn out summer/early fall temperatures and have been hoping for just this kind of day.

Image result for anne of green gables fall quote
  I've been thinking of rereading at least the first couple of books in the Anne of Green Gables series.  Quotes like this one remind me of being 12 and reading the series for the first time.  How I loved Anne!

Friday, November 4, 2016

November 4- Friday Night

Friday nights are the best!  
We're all usually exhausted and ready to relax.  We try not to have many plans on Fridays and instead we have a great dinner at home and then watch a movie or some tv.  It might sound dull but it's awesome.  
Tonight when Kevin came home from work, Lucy, Kevin and I walked up the the wine shop and while Lucy played with the doll house, Kevin and I tasted some wines and chose a delicious one to take home.  When we got home we made a family favorite, salmon!  Half was made with just butter and seasoning and on the other half we used a new recipe .  We will be making this one again!  Our smoke detector goes off when things get too hot in the kitchen.  Like whenever we cook.  Emma was on smoke detector duty tonight.  
And now we're all settling in for movies and reading.
Another perfect Friday night!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

November 3- Anticipation

Today I'm thankful for the anticipation of Thanksgiving and the little things that remind me that it's just around the corner.
Like Starbucks! 
 I'm a sucker for their red cups filled with holiday coffee.  Tonight I worked from Starbucks while Eleanor was at dance and I had a Chestnut Praline Latte (in a green cup).  YUM!  
And Thanksgiving music!
  Yes, Thanksgiving music.  I have a Vince Guaraldi station on Pandora that sounds like Thanksgiving to me.  My girls say it sounds like an elevator but what do they know!  A friend shared a Thanksgiving playlist she created and has been listening to for the last 5 years.  It made me feel less odd about the fact that I have Thanksgiving music.  
And eggnog!
Which I will absolutely not buy this early but I did see in the grocery store today.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

November 2- Thunderstorms and My Dad

As I write this we are in the middle of a wonderful thunderstorm!  I am thankful to live in a place where thunderstorms happen!

I am also thankful for my dad.  Before I settled in to write this post I received an email from him.  It was a calendar invite that read this way:

Super Moon

The moon will be closer to the earth on Nov 14th then it will be for the next 20 years!
It's also the closest it's been to earth in my... and your lifetime!
I consider myself a lucky person to have been raised and wholly loved by this guy for the last 40 years. He has always been the kindest, most interesting, loving, curious, hard working, fun loving dad around. We've had so many adventures over the years. One of the things I love most about him is that he's always 100% in. Yesterday, Lucy Face Timed my dad as we drove to soccer. As they talked she asked him where he was. He was pulled over on the side of the road because he was driving when she called. Rather than miss the call, he stopped the car and answered and talked. That was exactly the way he raised me......always, always making time for me. Thanks, Dad!
A year ago in a one of our happy places--Columbia!  

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

November 1

It's been awhile!  September and October were full of good things.  I wish I'd taken some time to record a few of the happenings in our house.  I suspect November will also be full and so I hope to make more of an effort to find time to record some memories.

November is one of my favorite (maybe my favorite?) months of the year.  Like several Novembers of the past, this year I'll attempt to write my daily gratitudes here.  Of course developing a habit around writing daily will not come easily so we shall see how this goes!

Today, I am thankful for a safe, interesting, fun community of wonderful people in which to raise our girls.  We really love the area we live in.  Every year, Halloween Night is so much fun and really capitalizes on the feeling of community.

Lucy in her second costume of the day.  One costume for school, one costume for trick or treating!

Eleanor and buddies.  This was a fun Halloween to watch unfold for these girls.  They had an idea for a joint costume months ago and laid careful plans and really did all of it themselves.  Halloween is a  big deal for 5th Graders at our elementary school.  These girls have been together since kindergarten so watching them this year was very special.

Finishing homework before heading to a friend's house to watch Harry Potter (for the thousandth time???).  No dressing up or trick or treating for her but it was a great Halloween for her all the same!

Monday, September 5, 2016

5 things

It seems blogging more than once a month is just too much for me.  So, here are 5  things about the last month and our current spot in life!

1.) This girl turned 6

and got her ears pierced, and lost two teeth and seems to have grown a foot.   She is absolutely the cherry on top of this little life of mine.

2.) They started school

7th grade, 5th grade, kindergarten!  These girls are all such good people and hard working students.  Having been a classroom teacher I feel qualified to say...they are a teacher's dream!

3.)  We haven't harvested much from the garden this summer.

Our garden looks nothing like this.  I took this photo in Chicago a few weeks ago....I love gardens and find myself taking photos of those I wish I had!  I like the look of a "working garden" not a garden that's just for show. Alas, this was not the summer of a plentiful working garden for us. And gosh it was about as far from a showy garden as you can get!  We've let everything burn up and go to seed.  It just ended up on the bottom of the list this summer and summer whizzed by so fast!   Some day!

4.) The calendar!  I take a look at the month, I back up to the week, then I close in on tomorrow.  Trying so hard to just be present in the day because these are good, good days.  But, wow.

5.) Blake was in St. Louis this weekend and we had such a great visit!!  We hadn't been together since Spring Break which was entirely too long! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

In progress....

We've traveled north for some time away this week.  
The weather and the lake are perfect.  
Seriously, perfect!  

It's pretty hard not to feel relaxed here.  Again, the weather.  And the lake.  They just beg you to STOP and play. 

"All you need to need to do is deep breath in, slow breath out.  You can do that, mom!"
 Morning yoga with Lucy is especially sweet.   She's the best and so encouraging for those of us who find flexibility challenging.

There is a 1000 piece puzzle that is taking over the dining table...but who cares, we're eating outside because of the beautiful weather!

 Summer Vacation* 2016 is off to a great start!

*Last year this article about a vacation vs. a trip was published.  I read it and laughed because, yes, I've mostly been on what the author considers trips not vacations for the last 13 years.  So don't be fooled by the pictures and my commentary; if you were using the vacation vs. trip checklist this is definitely a trip!  Oh, so much a trip!   It's sprinkled with passive aggressive tweens and hanger and sweat and sunburn and the general mess of being 5 real people.  But with the right eyes and a short memory I couldn't have a more peaceful, happy heart!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Mid Summer Review

June happened and I never took a moment to log anything here.  It was a great month full of summer fun.

A few highlights...

We went camping and it poured!  For hours and hours and hours.  But we still managed to hike and set up a tent and get a fire going (with some help from a friendly neighbor camper with a torch) and play some cards and generally have a terrific time!

Kevin biked from Hermann to Columbia (over 90 miles) on a 90 plus degree day.
We were all awfully glad when he arrived at my dad and Kyra's!  

Emma went on her first mission trip!  It was a really good experience and I'm proud of her for serving others for a week.

We're enjoying our Thursday night Muny tickets.  Music Man is tomorrow night.

Lucy had a great week at zoo camp.  She could spend the rest of the summer at the zoo and be perfectly content!  

There have been more than a couple of trips to the library.

We saw Shakespeare in the park and for the first time in years stayed for the whole show!  It was an excellent production!

Kevin and I celebrated our 16th anniversary in Chicago.  We had a lovely trip!  That "The Best Is Yet To Come" print was hanging in our hotel room and I thought it was just perfect.

And though it was rainy we still had a fun 4th of July weekend!

Now summer can S L O W down!  

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Lowering the blade

Two days ago I mowed our yard and it looks like in two days more I'll need to mow again.   Tonight after dinner as I looked into our backyard I said aloud but to no one in particular-

 "Looks like I'm going to need to lower the blade"

Emma responded- " Really mom?  You could just say you need to mow, you don't need to try to be poetic about it"

Oh, I laughed so hard I choked.   This is life with a tween.  If they weren't so funny you'd lose your mind.  But amongst the aggravation there is so much laughter and goodness and it makes a person remember what they like about the world.

And one of the things I really like about the world is summer.  It's been it's normal slightly rocky start but it's just getting better from here, I'm pretty sure just about all of the grumpies have been worked out of our systems!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Almost Summer!

The weather might be calling for hot tea and sweatshirts but the calendar says May and that means we're almost ready for lemonade and swimsuits.  Summer vacation is nearly here!

Our countdown to summer chain only has 8 links left.  Just 7 more mornings of waking up to rush out the door, 21 more lunches to pack, 6 more nights of homework!  I'm feeling giddy just writing that down!  Glorious summer awaits!  The freedom and pace that summer affords seems like sweet slow music to my over scheduled soul. The weeks between Spring Break and the end of the school year are packed.   But June!  Oh, June.  Slow and quiet and full of undiscovered adventure.  The thought of June has gotten me up and on to the next commitment more than once over the last few weeks.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Spring Break and other wonderful things (including turning 40)!

The sun is shining, we all slept well last night and Monday didn't seem so bad after all.  It's hard to return to "normal" after not being normal for awhile, even when normal is pretty great!

Spring Break "16 was a success.  
 We flew out of St. Louis early on St. Patrick's Day and spent a great day with Aunt Mary Ann and Dave.  

The next day was my 40th birthday!  I felt well celebrated the whole day through!  I am really blessed by wonderful family and friends who know exactly how to show me I am loved.  

And part of making me feel loved meant eating pizza for dinner. IN THE MOUNTAINS!  Hernando's  in Winter Park is a winner!

We spent the rest of the week doing awesome things like skiing, ice skating, having snow ball fights, playing Clue, reading, tubing and  being together.  

 There was a blizzard (literally) on our next to last day in Colorado.  It made for an exciting last day.   I was so proud of our girls and what outstanding travelers they were.  It also made me really grateful for Kevin and my dad and Kyra.  We make a really awesome team!!  We had a pretty nerve wracking (but BEAUTIFUl! ) drive to the Denver airport, and had to "sleep" in the Enterprise Car Rental office but we made or 5:30AM flight.  What a great trip!