Like most people this week, I’ve been trying to get in the spirit of Thanksgiving by thinking about what I’m most thankful for. My list doesn’t vary much from year to year, though the specific reasons for my gratitude might. This year I really want to focus on each individual aspect of a person or thing that brings me joy and thanksgiving.
- We celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary this past May. It felt like a pretty big milestone, though getting married at 21, I barely remember life before marriage! The last ten years have held a lot of joys and a lot of challenges. We’ve stuck together and always will. I greatly look forward to spending the rest of my life with him.
- He supports me. In the most basic ways, like allowing me to continue staying home to pursue my creative dreams while we live off of his income. But also in every other meaning of the word support. He fully supports me emotionally in everything that I want to do. He encourages me to better my life and do whatever makes me happy.
- He is an awesome dad. The best I’ve ever met! He selflessly gives all of his nights and weekends to the boys, helping them with things, playing with them, loving them in the language that matters most to them. He’s so much better than me at setting aside everything else to just focus on our children.
- I’m also very thankful that he takes care of most of the “man stuff” around the house. He’s been learning all the important home owning stuff, he takes care of all the car maintenance, he does the lawn work, takes out the garbage, etc. He’s also a technology genius and I don’t know how I – or any of our family members – would get by without him!
- Since this school year started, Caden has continued to impress me in how he looks after Shepard. He knew how worried Shepard was about going to kindergarten and he got permission from his teacher many times a day the first few weeks of school to drop in and check on Shepard. He sat by him at lunch, he sat by him on their first joint field trip which Shepard was terrified about going on, and he asked Shepard to join him and his friends at recess playing kickball every day. Even though he’s older, I don’t think it’s even occurred to him yet to want to get away from Shepard. Instead he always includes him in everything. He protects him and shelters him as well. Two days ago Shepard had a bathroom accident after he left the school building. We started to walk home and I stopped to talk to a friend for a minute. Caden continued to walk with Shepard, shielding him from the other kids so they wouldn’t see his wet pants or his tears. They definitely have their fair share of fights, but they’re also inseparable. Caden takes his big brother duties very seriously and I love that about him!
- He’s a reader! Greg and I were talking about it the other day and admitted that we both thought he wouldn’t be. He’s very, very addicted to video games. Even though he has them taken away more often than not! But sometime in the last few months it finally clicked with him that reading is pretty awesome! He reads in the mornings when he wakes up, in the afternoons when he’s bored, and at night by lamplight. We set him up with my old kindle and he loves having that option available to him as well. Reading has always been a HUGE aspect of my life, and I’m thrilled that he’s started to love it as well.
- He works hard. He’s still in speech therapy, though I think if people didn’t know that about him they would no longer be able to hear why he needed it. Just three years ago I felt like things were never going to change. People would never be able to understand him. And now he’s just a teeny fraction away from speaking at his age level. I’m proud of how far he’s come. I’m also proud of how well he does in school in general. He’s a pretty smart kid.
- Shepard is the comic relief we so often need in our family. Unless he’s throwing a tantrum over food, he’s pretty much always a joy to be around. He’s silly and funny. And he’s always thinking and sharing his newest ideas with people. I love listening to all the crazy things he comes up with every day.
- He’s always up for learning or doing new things. He loves to help people with everything they’re doing. He’s constantly asking to help me in the kitchen. He loves pitching in when Greg is working on things around the house. He just wants to be where the action is and throw himself in the middle of it. He begs to do homework every night, even though he rarely has any. He’s optimistic and up for adventure pretty much all of the time. It’s refreshing to be around someone with that kind of perspective on life.
- He’s growing too. I was so, so worried about how he’d handle kindergarten. He cried basically every morning that he had preschool and 4K. School gave him a lot of anxiety and he never wanted to be away from me. Summer school in June was even worse. The teacher literally had to tear him away from me every single day for three weeks. But he’s been doing really well. (Besides the potty issue!) He still drags his feet a couple times a week, but for the most party I think he’s starting to really acclimate. I kind of fear the day he becomes totally comfortable at school and his true personality starts to show! 🙂 I think he might be the kid that everybody wants to be friends with, but might also be a bit of a troublemaker and class clown! I love seeing how much more confident he’s become in just a few short months, though.
- I waited a long time for this! I think that most people take owning a home for granted. I hope that the last six years of not owning will help me to always appreciate how awesome it is to truly have our own space. I do feel that your home is where your people are. But having an actual house with a yard and room to run is something to be pretty grateful for.
- I LOVE my living room and sewing room. I spend basically the entire day in these two rooms. And because nobody else has much reason to be in them I can actually keep them clean and pretty, entirely for my own enjoyment. When we were house hunting, having a room or at least a solid space for my sewing room was a must have. I wasn’t sure that the dining room I claimed in this house would work out, but it turned out great. I have room for all my stuff with space to spare and it’s amazing. My living room, where my computer is, is also just the best. Hard wood floors, bay window, candle filled fireplace, pretty mantle, my favorite colors – I love it.
- I’m so thankful that we have enough room for our family of four. Apartment life was fine for us for a long time. But the older the boys got the more desperately we started to feel the need for change. This house has been such a blessing. The boys have their own rooms, something that Caden at least really needed. Shepard has the biggest room, so ALL of the toys are stored in there. That alone is pretty huge! Besides the legos taking over our family room, the main living spaces of the house are usually pretty clutter free. I feel like I can breathe here. We all can.
- Possibly the best thing about this house – the neighborhood. Our yard isn’t spectacularly large or exciting, but the boys have so many friends within our small block. They want to be outside all the time. That definitely wasn’t the case before we moved. I love that they’re finally having the childhood that I grew up with – outside with friends having adventures as often as possible. And we do have a yard! I didn’t have much chance to spend time in it this year since I was so focused on setting up inside. But I’m looking forward to planting a big garden next year, spending more time outside, having get togethers, etc. We plan to be here a very long time. I also love the area of town we live in. Country living has always been my dream, but living in town has some amazing advantages. I love that I can walk the boys to and from school every day. I can walk basically anywhere in Columbus if I want! It’s the perfect location.
- Friendships have always been hard for me. Mainly because I’m not very satisfied with casual acquaintances. I want friendships to be deep, honest, comfortable, and stand the test of time. The problem is that those kind of friendships take a whole lot of effort between both people, a vulnerability that does not come easily, and a lot of time spent together. Something that only gets harder the older you get and the more family obligations you have. Anyway, I could go on with this topic for awhile, but I should probably just say that I’ve reached a point, finally, where I feel like I do have a couple of really good friends. REAL friends. I hope in the next few years, now that I have more time to devote to it, I can develop some other friendships and make them stronger. Maybe try and meet new friends. But I’m infinitely grateful for the couple of women who have shown me the meaning of true friendship in its best form. You know who you are.
- I am exceedingly grateful that my children have grandparents that live 20 minutes away and are a part of their lives. My grandpas both died when I was too young to remember them. My grandmas were a huge part of my childhood and I lost them both between Caden and Shepard being born. I miss them. I want my own kids to realize how important those relationships are and treasure the fact that they have them.
- I’m also thankful for our siblings. I have a brother I see fairly regularly and the boys love talking video games with him. As I mentioned the other day, I’m really excited that my other brother and sister-in-law moved back to Wisconsin this year. Greg is very close with his sisters and we gained a new brother-in-law last month. My kids don’t have any cousins yet, but they’ve had the advantage of having many aunts and uncles doting on them for all of their lives. When we’re all together they fully enjoy having so much attention!
- Beyond our more immediate family, we also have a lot of extended family in the area. We don’t see them that often, but it’s a comfort to know that they’re there.
That’s about it for my list. This year I’m celebrating the people in my life and the roof over my head. That’s all I need to be fulfilled. Happy Thanksgiving!