Saturday, April 23

Giggle Fit

This afternoon at my mother-in-law's Easter Egg Hunt and Soup-n-Rolls dinner, I found myself on "egg filler" duty. I, along with three of my sisters-in-law, holed up in the master bedroom, filling dozens and dozens of plastic eggs with enough goodies to put the entire county into a sugar coma.

I don't know how it started, but we started reminiscing about years past, and our antics as teenagers and little kids. The jokes and good-natured jabs started picking up pace, and pretty soon we were all laughing so hard we  were about to fall off the bed.

Literally. Red-faced, gasping for breath, tears squeezing from our eyes.

It has been a long time since I've had a moment of pure, mad hilarity. I can't remember for the life of me what was so hilarious, or I would share it with you.

I am grateful that, even though I'm in in the "thirtysomething" category, I can still enjoy a giggle fit like a twelve-year-old at a sleepover. I am grateful for my sisters-in-law. I have been so blessed to be friends with them all. I am grateful to live close enough to family to be friends as well.

What are you blessed with today?

Friday, April 22

Sweet Heart

My toddler is slowly joining the world of the Spoken Word. We are getting better and better at understanding him, he is getting better at being understandable.

I am enjoying his special brand of toddler-speak: heavy on facial expressions and hand gestures, light on consonants and conjunctions. Sleep is "weep", please is "weese", sheep are "yeap", chocolate is "kockit", "I love you" is "zhuzh-oo" get the idea. I adore it.

One thing he says crystal clear is "thank you". I mean, it comes out "gangk-oo", but it was one of his first discernible phrases. And he expresses his thanks for every small kindness, any thoughtful gesture. He is the most polite and thankful person in our family when it comes to saying "thank you". I am amazed at how powerfully it affects me to be thanked. I mean, yes, of course good manners and gratitude are meaningful and all that. But the difference it makes in my heart is still sometimes a surprise. Particularly when it comes from such a small voice.

I am grateful for the sweet heart of my little boy. I am grateful for his gratitude. Is that redundante? Maybe. I am grateful for being better able to understand his wants and needs, and for the tantrums (mine AND his) it forestalls when we can communicate. I am grateful for the supreme cuteness of toddler-speak, and how much it adds to the joy of my routines. One small expression of "gangk-oo" never fails to put a smile on my face.

What are you blessed with today?

Wednesday, April 20

Enough and To Spare

Today, I balanced the checkbook.

I could quit right there, with the grateful thought that it balanced, and be done, but there is more.

This task falls to me almost all of the time now, as I have more opportunities to do it than my more mathematical, linear-thinking half. It's a little tricky right now, as we are in the process of switching the bulk of our transactions from one bank to another.

This takes a lot of concentration and double-checking (especially after that $800 error with our tax return a few weeks ago...don't worry, it was in our favor, and we found it, and I am no longer grinding my teeth in my sleep at night), but it is done.

I am grateful for a computer monitor big enough I can have three windows open at once and still see everything I need to balance an accurate check register. I am grateful that, even though I got preoccupied and didn't balance the checkbook for three weeks, there is still enough and to spare between here and the next paycheck. I am grateful that, over the years, I have gotten better and better at this game, and make fewer and fewer mistakes. I am VERY grateful for Excel, which makes it SO MUCH easier to balance stuff than doing it with paper and pencil. Above all else, I am grateful the checkbook is balanced, that it actually balanced, and that I can think about something else...for a few days, anyway.

What are you blessed with today?

Tuesday, April 19


Today, my older sister turns another year older (what, you think I'm going to give away her age on a public blog?). We're not that far apart, age-wise, but we are miles and miles apart geographically, and even farther apart when it comes to what is going on in our respective lives. We are both mothers and wifes and neighbors and Latter-Day Saints...busy, busy, busy.

I love my sister-friend. Really, that should be plural. I have a healthy-sized family, including six sisters, and many, many more sisters-in-law. They are all my friends, and I am blessed to have them. The love and support I receive from them is precious to me, and no small part of the happiness in my life. By celebrating one in particular, I do not diminish the luster of the rest.

This particular sister, the one who celebrates her birthday today, has been my friend my entire life. She is responsible for my childhood nickname (which still clings tenaciously to me in certain family circles). She is often a voice of reason when I am all passionate and opinionated and poorly-informed. She is a source of brain-storming for so many topics and occasions.

When I first moved away from home, she and I shared an apartment and a car. When I was first married -and first pregnant - she was serving a mission in Russia, and was my faithful pen pal, whose letters lit up my days and lifted me out of my own little world.

So many years, so many memories, so many smiles.

I am grateful for the memories and the smiles. And I am grateful for the "cat fights" and the misunderstandings, because they come in very handy now, as I raise daughters who are each other's sisters. I am grateful for similar interests and stark differences, because they help me to grow and at the same time, help me to feel at home. I am grateful for my sister and my friend. I am truly blessed to have her as both.

What are you blessed with today?

Monday, April 18

Hyacinths, Forsythia and Redbuds, Oh My!

My mother has a green thumb. All my growing up years, she planted and planted and planted. Flowers, mostly. Every home we lived in (which were many) we left much lovelier than we found, thanks to her plant proclivities.

I remember more than one errand trip that took a tangent when she spotted something lovely growing in the yard of a perfect stranger. She thought nothing of pulling into their driveway, knocking on their door, and telling them how gorgeous she thought their landscape choices were. Did they know the name of the plant? What kind of growing conditions did it like best? And just like that, two strangers were talking like old friends. More often than not, the pleased homeowner offered my mother some portion to take home. And so, for the price of a few minutes and a sincere compliment, my mom took home yet another lovely thing to beautify her home and yard.

Flower power, indeed.

Through all of this, I learned the names and blooming seasons of so many flowers. And this time of year, when everything is in mad, gorgeous bloom, I can drive through town & country, and name what I see. I love that.

I am grateful for my mother, who worked so hard for her entire adult life to make the world around her more beautiful than she found it. I am grateful that she was never too shy to pay a compliment or ask a question, and never too proud to accept a gift from a fellow flower lover. I am grateful that - while I'm not so skilled at landscaping and loving plants into verdant bloom - I can point out lovely flowers and shrubs and trees to my own children and tell them what we're looking at. I am grateful that, as we go places together, I can point out the hyacinths, the forsythia, the redbuds, the lilacs, and we can all ooh! and aah! together. I am grateful for the glorious rush of color and beauty that is Spring.

What are you blessed with today?

Sunday, April 17

Potluck & Visiting

Today was the Branch Conference for our little Branch. I always enjoy Conference: the visits from the Stake leaders, the excellent talks, the Spirit, the change in's all lovely.

As an added bonus, our Branch likes to have a "potluck" dinner immediately after Church every time we have Branch Conference. It is a little tricky getting food together on top of getting children and myself to Church on time, lessons prepared and hair brushed and diaper bag packed, etc.

But it really is worth it.

The moment the final "amen" is uttered, we rush like mad to set up tables and chairs, fill pitchers with water, shuffle Crock Pots and brownie platters, find enough ladles and spatulas for everything. Then the food is blessed, and it's every Saint for him/herself.

Not really, though. Everyone is very gracious. Little ones are given a helping hand (and maybe an extra helping) and those who have traveled the farthest are given first place in line. Today, a very pregnant woman was modestly making conversation at the far back of the food line. Our Relief Society president walked back to her, and ushered her all the way to the front.

And then, instead of scurrying off with our families to our homes and our lunches, we sit and eat and visit and laugh and share. I love it. I don't get enough of my Church family. It's really not appropriate to visit during church services, and everyone is so busy that I don't ever feel like I can visit too much or even nearly enough with these people that I love so much. To sit and enjoy the fellowship and the yummy potluck is a real treat to my body and soul. I never know who I am going to end up sitting by, but I always get to talk and listen and visit. So it's potluck food and potluck visiting.

I am grateful for potluck, because I don't have to rush home and throw myself into feeding my family immediately after Church. I am grateful for all the talented cooks in our congregation who like showing off their skills at the potlucks. I am grateful for the wonderful people I am blessed to know, and for any opportunity I get to visit and enjoy their excellent company.