November 22, 2013

Settling Into an Attitude of Gratitude

November 14
Me: Preschooler Praise.  Thursday was full of so many amazing moments for which I am thankful.  But two completely stand out.  The first was actually the last of the day.  We were reading our Bible at bedtime when Ryan asked, "Does this have the story where Jesus dies?"  I told him it was and asked if he feels sad when Jesus dies.  He nodded, and we launched into a talk about why Jesus died, and how much He loves us, and how He didn't stay dead, and how he "killed" death so that all of us can live eternally with Him.  We talked about what Heaven might be like (Allie is sure there will be lots of yummy bacon), and if we will miss our life on Earth when we are there.  I was amazed by their insight, and the deep things they think about, and the big things that they totally get.  But my favorite moment of the day?  Allie was sitting at the piano, I was making dinner at the stove.  She says, "Mommy, I wrote a song.  Would you like to hear?"  Of course!  She starts gently tinkling the keys and singing about Jesus, and how much He loves us, and how He gives her every good thing (like Mommy and Daddy).  Cooking with original Preschooler Praise in the background - best part of my day!
Allie: Mrs. Ann.  We had a church meeting at our house.  One of the women was here for the meeting as the twins were doing their thankfuls.  We recently were at her house for dinner, and I think she became one of their favorite people.  So Allie was thankful for her, and she was honored.
Ryan: The Number 8.  Honestly, I was completely thrown.  As I wrote it on his little handprint, I nonchalantly  asked, "Why the number 8?"  He responded, "Because it is SO amazing!"  Still confused, but wanting to understand, I asked, "What, specifically, makes it amazing?"  He answered, "It is 2 circles on top of each other!  Isn't that amazing!"  Yes!  How did I not see it before?  Thank you, God, for the enthusiasm of a preschooler that opens my eyes to the amazing-ness of a number!
Ryan's School Picture
November 15
Me: My Husband.  It was a rough week.  It started with the kids being sick (and me getting sleepless nights as a result).  And then I got slammed with a migraine that I couldn't completely shake, but I had to take pictures at the preschools and we had meetings at our house almost every night.  By Friday, I was sort of shot.  And Friday is my day with the kids.  My one day where we have no other commitments.  Usually, we try to clean a little in the morning and then bake or do craft projects or go on a local adventure in the afternoon - simple, fun things together.  On this day, I was so drained from the week that we didn't do anything special (except watch a movie...or two...because that was all I could handle).  Then Lucas came home and made dinner and took care of bedtime and cleaned up.  Being rescued by a knight in shining armor sure looks different after you have kids...
Allie & Ryan: I KNOW we did the thankful hands this day, but later I could not find them anywhere on the tree!  And I cannot remember what they said.  Boo.  If/when I find them, I will update.
Allie's School Picture
November 16
Me: A Clean Craft Room.  If you've been to my house, you probably haven't seen my craft room.  When I create, things tend to get scattered...everywhere...  And, since I'm not naturally crafty, once I'm finished I'm SO finished with the whole project that I walk away...and never clean it up.  It doesn't take many projects for my craft room to become a disaster, and then I cease to create because the room is too messy for me to find the things I need.  Saturday morning, I settled into the new project I have taken over for Lucas - the bills.  I was deep in a sea of receipts, statements, and bills that I was sorting, paying, and filing.  Lucas comes in and says, "It makes me smile to know that you are doing something I hate and I'm doing something you hate."   Lucas was downstairs cleaning and organizing my craft room!  He needed some help later, but it looks so amazing.  I can't wait to create!
Allie: Ryan.  She loves her brother.  So much.  For school pictures, they had to say what they wanted to be when they grew up.  Ryan said "Astronaut."  Ever since, he and Allie have been discussing what that separation will be like when he is in Space, how much they will miss each other, and how they will make it until he comes home.
Ryan: Baby Lightning.  Yet another member of his Lightning McQueen "family" for which he is thankful.  This happened to be one that he had lost and found again while cleaning his room.  So perhaps he is also thankful for Mommy making him clean up?
When I Grow Up I Want To Be...
November 17
Me: Food and Nourishment for my family.  So basic, but I am truly thankful for our "daily bread."  We went grocery shopping, and I had been working on using up what was in our freezer and pantry so things were getting pretty low.  Our budget it relatively small, and we had to restock a lot of items, but we worked it and really stretched it for all it was worth.  Once home, I was amazed at, and grateful for, the bounty before me.  We not only had food, but truly nourishing food - an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, protein laden meat and cheese, and even organic snacks for the kids - rather than some of the inexpensive yet nourishment-lacking foods that I know fill the pantries of far more families than I would like to admit.  Families whose budgets are far less than ours and who truly cannot afford anything more.  And then I thought of the many people who barely have enough to keep them going.  I've read that 45% of the world's population live on $2 a day or less.  We had friends who spent a year in the Philippines and spent a couple weeks living on $2 a day - like the majority of their neighbors.  On their blog, they showed pictures of their meager meals and talked about the things they gave up in order to just buy the food they needed for the day.  It brought the numbers to life, and left me thinking of the people living in those circumstances often.  Yet, here we are, having enough to not only buying food for our family, but for the youth group that eats here on Sunday evenings...and for church potluck...and to host family for the holidays.  In a society where it is so easy to be convinced that we don't have much, it is wonderful to be reminded how abundantly we are truly blessed.
Allie: Ryan.  Lucas wanted to have a "no repeats" rule.  But I like seeing the recurring gratitude they have for people/things.  I especially love seeing her recurring gratitude for her brother.
Ryan: California Zephyr.  The train we rode on our train trip to Nebraska.  It might seem out of the blue, but they have been begging to take another train trip lately.  Clearly, riding the CZ is on his mind!
When I Grow Up I Want To Be...
November 18
Me: Kitchen Time with the Twins.  The twins LOVE helping in the kitchen.  Partly because of the awesome new skills they have been learning at preschool.  Partly because of the fun new cleaning products we got from Norwex.  Partly because of the time they get to spend doing "Grown Up" things.  On this particular day, we made pumpkin muffins (and then they got to clean up with a new Norwex rag that we love).  They helped me scrub dishes (after going to the store to get a second scrubby brush because they were fighting over who got to use the one to scrub).  They helped me chop onions (NOT my idea.  They used the Slap Chop, not knives.  And they got to chew gum for the first time ever - breaking the Mommy-made "No Gum Until You Are 5" rule - because it keeps the onions from making your eyes water.  For the record, it really, truly works!).  And they helped me make the sides for dinner.  Pretty much, anything I was doing, they wanted to help.  They are getting really good at these things too.
Allie: Mommy.  So sweet. I melt.  The night before, Ryan had an accident in bed and I rocked him while Lucas changed the sheets.  After he was in bed, we started hearing funny squeaks.  It was Allie.  She wanted to rock and snuggle with Mommy a little too. I, of course, didn't turn her down.  All too soon, rocking them will be just a memory.
Ryan: Bumble. His favorite friend.  Today he also asked me if Bumble was going to be in Heaven because he wasn't sure if he would like Heaven without Bumble.  Later, I told Lucas that Bumble is our family's Velveteen Rabbit:

“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'

'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit. 

'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.' 

'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?' 

'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”   - The Velveteen Rabbit

November 19
Me: Shared Interest.  My children have had cameras for a while.  But the batteries ran out and we put them on a shelf until we bought new batteries, and the we forgot.  My children rediscovered them and begged for me to change the batteries.  I did, and immediately they wanted to go and take pictures.  The next thing I knew, we were outside taking pictures.  And then we were going on a walk to take pictures.  I loved seeing what caught their eye, and their pictures were really interesting.  I also loved the opportunity to play with my new lens (my Christmas present - early so I could use it for a project).  I love it.  And I love my mini-photographers.
Allie: Ryan.  Okay, this time she might have said Ryan because she was hoping he would say he was thankful for her in return.  Did he?
Ryan: Ruffster.  He did not.  Instead, he went with Ruffster the Super Dog.  Lightning McQueen's pet dog who apparently also has super powers.  Allie fully understood his choice...
November 20
Me: Fast Photo Editing.   I took the pictures for the twins' preschool.  I needed to edit and I knew that if I could just download a few preset actions, it would go a lot faster.  But I have never been successful at downloading actions.  After hours (seriously HOURS) of searching online, attempting one way and then another, and getting frustrated and walking away only to return shortly after to try again, I finally found instructions for my (old) version of Windows combined with my (old) version of PSE.  Actions successfully downloaded!  Lightning fast editing followed.  Of course, now to put all of those pictures together into the directory and then e-mail them to all of the parents...
Allie: Kelsey.  We were babysitting for a friend, and Allie adored having the little girl follow her around for the evening.
Ryan: Racey & Mickey Mouse.  Our fish.  In case you are wondering about Mickey Mouse, Gracie passed away early in the fall.  We were sad about the loss, but after an appropriate mourning period, we took Ryan to get a new fish.  He picked a gorgeous, blue fish that he named Mickey Mouse.  So far, so good.  All fish are healthy.  And Ryan is thankful for that and them tonight!
Allie's Picture
Ryan's Picture
November 21
Me: A Good, Long Walk.  Without going into a really long story - our adoption process has been antagonizing lately...or for about a month....or 2.  And most of the time, even though it has been an emotional roller coaster, I'm doing pretty well.  But every now and then something brings it all to the forefront.  Often, it is nothing even outwardly related to adoption, but it triggers an emotional response that I cannot control.  On this particular day, it was a brief conversation with their preschool teacher about changing their schedule next semester, if we are interested.  I managed to get out of the preschool without crying, but then the tears overflowed.  Even though it was cold (and raining a little) I knew I needed a good, long walk.  I went to a local park that has a fabulous walking trail, and walked several miles.  Sometimes crying (thankfully, because of the rain, I was mostly alone on the trail), sometimes praying, sometimes just reminding myself that it is okay to be emotional.  It was what I needed.  I left feeling peaceful, invigorated, uplifted, and ready to rationally face the decision presented.  So, today I'm thankful for the time that preschool gives me for exercise, prayer, and contemplation and the needed peace that time brought me.
Allie: Little Kids.  We've been doing a pre-Christmas purge - going through the toys and pulling some out to either 1) store for potential future siblings 2) sell 3) donate.  The stuffed animals we are donating to an organization that cleans them and then gives them to children undergoing traumatic situations.  Allie has been thinking a lot about these little kids.  This may have been more of a prayer than a thankful...
Ryan: Trains.  Both at home and at school.  Today, I picked him up just before he had completed putting together their train set.  Apparently, the one at school is bigger than ours at home.  I love my train-obsessed little man.

November 15, 2013

Kids Say...

I have the most amazing, and often strange, conversations with the twins these days.  Most of the things out of their mouths are pure comedic gold.  Sometimes, if I remember, I jot them down or text them to myself.  Most, I forget, and they are golden nuggets of conversation destined to be forgotten forever.  Here are a few of my favorites:
Upon hearing a loud, awful scraping sound.
Allie: That's awful!  That sound tastes horrible!
Me: Tastes?  Sounds have taste?
Allie:  Yes.
Me: How did that sound taste?
Allie: Middle-size.
Ryan:  Mom!  I just saw a woman who traveled to the city!
Me: What city?
Ryan: The Iowa City.
Me: How do you know that is where she traveled?
Ryan: I saw it on her purse.
My fortune in a fortune cookie said I would receive great care and comfort in old age.
Me:  How wonderful!  This means you will take good care of me when I'm old!
Allie:  Yes.  I snuggle with you all the time.
Me: Yes, but this says you will snuggle with me when I'm old!
Allie: I know.  That's why I snuggle with you.  You are already old.
Ryan: I am a prince.  Allie, you are a princess.  You will always be my princess and I will always be your prince.
Daddy: How far do you guys think you can run?
Allie: All the way.
Upon hanging up the stuffed letter of his name (room decor that had fallen down):
Ryan: I hanged it up by myself!  Now it looks great AND I know who I am!
Upon moving a worm from the sidewalk to the grass.
Allie: I helped it get to its home!  I saved it!  I'm like a super hero!
Ryan on music:
"I like this song.  It sounds happy."
"I like this song.  It sounds like dancing."
"I don't like this song.  It makes me feel angry."
Or, for his most favorite songs, "Get ready to dance."
Ryan: Mommy, it makes me really angry that I didn't get to go to your wedding.
Me: I'm sorry, but you weren't born yet.
Ryan: Yes, I was!  I was just sitting in the car being angry that you didn't take me inside.
Allie: And I was in the car juggling.
Confession: I have had this post for a while.  I have been slowly collecting and building it for several weeks.  I am interrupting the Thankful posts to sneak in this post so I don't completely forget to post it!

November 13, 2013

Another Week of Thankfulness

This month is flying by too quickly.  I keep seeing Christmas decorations hanging or hearing carols on the radio.  I'm dragging my feet and holding onto my month of thankfulness for all I'm worth.

November 8
Me: Surprise Story Time.  We went to preschool, on a day that was not our normal day, for Dads and Donuts - a special morning where the dads were invited to a special circle time, donuts and cider, and to spend some time in the classroom participating in their kid's favorite preschool activities.  It was amazing (I was acting as photographer, so I got to be a fly on the wall).  After, Lucas was meeting up with a friend and fellow preschool dad for breakfast.  The twins and I needed to fill the time and I figured we would just go to the town's (amazing) library.  When we got there we found out it was story time and were invited to stay.  It turned out to not be just any story time but critter day.  A local gentleman brought in all of his animals for the kids to see, touch, and learn about.  It was awesome.  Even better, completely unplanned several of our friends showed up too!  Best surprise turnout of the morning ever.
Ryan: New Mama Bear.  Ever since the twins learned to do buttons, they are obsessed with clothes that button, especially pajamas.  But pajamas with buttons are more difficult to find than one would think.  Gigi found some that are not only adorable and button up but that came with toys that have matching pajamas.  Since Ryan's has a little bear peeking out of the pocket (that he named "Baby Bear") the Teddy Bear had to be named "Mama Bear."  He loves Mama Bear (and her peek-a-boo baby).
Allie: New Baby Doll, Heart.  Allie's new baby doll is the one that came with her set of pajamas.  The heart I cannot explain.  I was actually busy hosting a Norwex party during bedtime and Lucas did the thankful hands.
In their new jammies.  For some reason, Allie took the doll's jammies off... 

November 9
Me: Winning the Rivalry.  I haven't talked much about football this year.  Partly because our teams have not had stellar seasons.  Partly because our children, for the first season ever, have taken sides and support their teams fervently.  We have actually watched more football as a family, but the lines are clearly drawn, we watch and cheer as a house divided, and the youngest family members take it VERY seriously.  We have been anticipating the MI vs. NE game with some trepidation.  With neither of our teams playing well, the outcome was completely unpredictable.  My team won (I believe that is 2 out of 3, but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong)!  And I am thankful.  But it also made my son cry...and that made it slightly less fun.  That's what you get for siding with Daddy...
Cheering for their teams.  You have to listen for Ryan as he runs in and out of the picture because...
video
...this is what happened when I tried to keep them in the picture together...
video
Ryan: Daddy.  Even though he encouraged him to root for a losing team...
Allie: Daddy.  In all seriousness, they have an amazing Dad who does so much for them.  Including bedtime that evening.  We are all thankful for him!
Eating Donuts with Daddy.
November 10
Me: Visiting Friends.  Truthfully, this was a rough day.  The twins had been developing a cough, and the night before I had spent most of the night up with Ryan...and I got pee'd on twice.  I was completely exhausted, and the kids were both "sick" in that they were stuffed and had coughs but it somehow had no effect on their energy level.  Since Sunday is kind of a busy day for Lucas, I was home all day with no energy and hyper yet cranky (because they didn't feel well) kids.  But the day was topped off with the arrival of friends from up north.  It was so fun to stay up talking and hang out with them.  
Ryan: Allie.  Such a good brother.
Allie: Poppy has no more work!  He's off the boat and Allie is so relieved.  At prayer time, she prayed for everyone on Poppy's boat - who are surely lonely without him.
Giving Daddy the presents they made.

November 11
Me: Sleep.  After the night I had Saturday, and staying up late with friends on Sunday, I was dragging by Monday.  Lucas, who technically had the day off, stayed home a little longer from lunch and let me nap on the couch.  I definitely appreciated the extra sleep!
Ryan: New Pajamas.  These are the pajamas from Gigi again.  In fact, after the first night they wore them, they begged me to wash them so they could wear them again...which they did the next night.  And 2 nights later he is wearing them again!
Allie: Ryan.  They love each other so much!
I was taking pictures when I suddenly turn to see Lucas blindfolded!  It is an activity where they have to match items based on touch.  Leave it to Allie to test Daddy!
Ok, I know this picture is sideways.  I literally did everything I could to turn it.  In my pictures folder and editing program it is upright, but no matter which way I turn it, when I upload it to the blog it is sideways.  I like it though...so you'll just have to turn your head...
November 12
Me: My Pediatrician's Office.  I loved our pediatrician in MA.  His whole office.  A lot.  I thought I would never find a pediatrician and staff that I loved as much.  Every time I have to call our pediatrician's office I am so thankful I found them.  The staff are wonderful and helpful.  Our pediatrician is amazing.  They never make me feel like I'm an overly obsessive parent, they always listen to me, and they make an effort to really connect with my kids.  Can you tell we  had to visit the pediatrician?  The kids had lingering colds/coughs that hadn't gotten terrible, but had gone on for longer than I was comfortable.  We know so many people that have battled colds that turned into bronchitis that turned into pneumonia that turned into laryngitis.  I wanted to make sure we weren't heading into that cycle.  It turns out they have secondary sinus infections.  The doctor affirmed that once it gets to be over a week, it is a good idea to bring them in even if their symptoms don't seem to get worse.  She told me that what I had been doing in the meantime definitely prevented ear infections.  Most importantly, the nurse remembered the twins' favorite game of counting the numbers to find our exam room and started it (I usually prompt the game) even though we haven't been there in months!
Ryan &Allie: We forgot.  Honestly, I'm impressed we made it this far into November before we forgot a night!

November  13
Me: Picture Day.  Our preschool asks for parent volunteers to take the school pictures and put together the directory each year.  Since I love taking pictures, I volunteered.  Today was picture day and I got rare access to the day-to-day workings of the preschool.  I loved every minute.  I love seeing the way things run.  Everything I see makes me love our preschool even more.  Such an incredible learning environment.  I also loved getting to finally put faces to the names the twins throw around each day.  I'm always hearing that they played with so-and-so or a new shirt is super cool because so-and-so at school has the same one.  Now I actually know who these kids are!  And I LOVED interacting with preschoolers during the picture taking - the cheesy smiles, the funny things they say, their excitement over a visitor in the classroom.  They provided many smiles that lasted throughout the day.
Ryan: Caleb.  A new best friend who got to come over for the afternoon.  He and Ryan spent the whole time playing with the train table.  They were in little boy heaven.  Except for when Allie crashed her toys into their trains...because she was feeling left out...
Allie: Mommy.  Sweet girl.  Melts my heart.

And even though I'm about a day short of a week, I'm posting...because if I wait it will be another several days!

November 11, 2013

30 Days of Thankfulness

I can't believe it is November again already.
Confession: I never took down last year's Thankful Tree.
I wanted to save those adorable little hands that perfectly captured a month of the twins most important things, but I hadn't figured out exactly how yet.  I didn't want to take them down before I had it figured out for fear I would lose them.  So I left them up.  Plus, the wall would look really empty (Almost all of my walls look empty.  Like we just moved in.  I have trouble committing to wall art).  But then it was the beginning of November again, so I had to take the leaves off the tree and put them somewhere safe until I figured out exactly the best way to save them.  At least it will be in place for me to take down this year's thankful tree...although I will probably leave it up all year again...

This year I felt myself longing for November.  I couldn't wait.  When I immerse myself in gratitude, it seems to overflow to everything.  It's almost as if I suddenly can't find anything for which I wouldn't be thankful.  This year, October was emotionally exhausting and I was desperate for the deep peace and joy that accompanies an attitude of gratitude.  So far, it has been successful.  It makes me wonder why I wait for November?  Maybe, like Christmas in July, I should start celebrating Thanksgiving in June...

Anyway, without further ado, our first week of Thankfuls.

November 1
Me: Lots of Cleaning.  It made me laugh when I remembered that was a common theme last November.  Perhaps November is when I truly do my fall cleaning?  With the twins helping so much lately, it has freed me up to do some of the deep cleaning that tends to fall by the wayside - like cleaning my kitchen and bathroom cabinets with Murphy's or removing stains from carpet.  Every deep cleaning project I accomplish makes me feel lighter.
Allie: Cera & Baby Cera.  Cera is a stuffed TriCERAtops that my dad gave me when I was little.  My parents kept it and Allie claimed it as hers this past year.  Then she got a small stuffed triceratops on a trip to the zoo, and that became Baby Cera.  Currently, we have a whole triceratops family, but these two are her favorite.  I love how much she loves one of my favorite childhood toys.
Ryan: Ruffster & Bumble.  I'm sure Bumble is fairly self-explanatory (isn't it great that he is still a favorite?!), but are you confused about Ruffster?  So was I.  Ruffster is Lightning's dog.  You didn't know Lightning McQueen had a dog?  He doesn't.  Not in the movies.  But Ryan's Lightning adopted one of Ryan's small toy dogs.  According to Ryan, he was broken-hearted when Ruffster decided he wanted to be Lightning's dog instead of Ryan's.  But now it makes him happy that Lightning and Ruffster are happy.

November 2
Me: A Baby Fix.  We were at the birthday party of one of the twins' little friends.  Another one of the mothers there (who I have hung out with a few times) was there alone with her three boy - all under three.  I watched her trying to keep up with the 3 year old and 18-month old while holding the baby and figured the least I could do was offer to hold the baby and free up her hands.  Thankfully, she took me up on the offer.  The result was an extended time of baby holding.  I got to feed him and burp him and hold him while he napped.  Pure heaven.  The mom was worried that she was inconveniencing me until Lucas informed her that I am a known baby hog and she should feel free to demand her baby back whenever she wanted him!
Allie: Thanksgiving coming up.  It didn't take long for them to get caught up in all of the Halloween Hoopla that preceded the holiday.  They were pretty disappointed when it was over.  Excited about another holiday (and the hoopla that comes along with it), Allie is anticipating Thanksgiving.  I haven't told her yet that our Thankful Tree is about all the hoopla there is aside from the actual day...
Ryan: 2 Lightnings and Mack.  Ryan has several Lightning McQueen cars, but apparently 2 that are extra special.  Mack is the semi that carries Lightning in the movie.  Ryan doesn't have an actual Mack (like the licensed character toy) but he does have a car carrying semi that takes the Lightnings wherever they need to go...in Ryan's room...
November 3
Me: The Grandpas & Grandmas.  Every couple of months, our church is responsible for doing a service at a local Assisted Living.  It is always one of my favorite things.  Maybe because I used to be an Activity Director and it makes me feel like I'm back in my element.  Maybe because the twins always sing a song and they are so stinking cute.  Maybe because the residents adore my children almost as much as I do (and many told me they come to our services specifically to see the twins - they've watched them grow up!).  I enjoy the time of fellowship with the residents (whom the twins call the Grandpas and Grandmas) and I enjoy taking the twins giving them the opportunity to entertain and interact with the residents.  I want my children to have as deep a love for Seniors as I have!  My favorite part is at the end when they shake every resident's hand and say, "I'm happy to see you!"  So cute.
Allie:  Nana &Poppy.  The first family to make the list!  I should add that, although there wasn't enough room to write this on the hand-leaf, she specifically said, "Nana who is all alone at home and Poppy who is all alone on the boat."
Ryan: Lightning's Grandma.  Much like Allie has created a family out of her various stuffed triceratops, Ryan has created a family out of his various Lightning McQueen cars.  Apparently, one of them is Lightning's Grandma and he is very thankful Lightning has her.
November 4
Me: A Morning Off.  Normally, we have playgroup on Monday mornings.  This particular Monday it was supposed to be at our house.  I sent the reminder out early the previous week though (I was so proud of myself for being so organized) and, as a result, everyone forgot by the time Monday rolled around!  But I really enjoyed having a surprise free morning to catch up on some things.  I've been working on clearing out places and de-cluttering. It was a great opportunity to get some of that done.  And the twins and I baked muffins!  They love to help in the kitchen, so it was fun to take some time to do one of their favorite activities together.
Allie: Papa & Gigi.  Always careful to keep things even, she couldn't bear to have one set of grandparents on the tree without the other.  And she is genuinely thankful for her 4 doting grandparents.
Ryan: Baby Bumble.  Like his family of Lightnings, he has a family of caterpillars.  Baby Bumble is the small version of his beloved Bumble.
November 5
Me: Free Time.  Every Tuesday, while the twins are in preschool, I have my morning.  Wednesday, I have Bible Study and Thursday I always have various errands or Sunday School lesson prep or something, but Tuesday is mine.  This particular morning, I enjoyed the beautiful fall weather on a long walk and then spent some time by the lake reading my Bible.  It was glorious.
Allie: People at the Chinese Buffet.  We went to a Chinese Buffet for dinner after their swim lessons, but honestly, I have no clue to whom she is referring.  There wasn't any person, or group of people I remember her specifically noticing.  But apparently, she is thankful for (or praying for?) all of the people at the Chinese Buffet that night.
Ryan: Train Tracks. Ryan LOVES driving over train tracks.  If we aren't crossing any in our regular travels, he begs for me to go out of our way just to drive over some.  He loves the bump and rumble.  He loves looking for trains (or seeing some train cars parked) nearby.  He often considers his day complete once we have driven over some tracks.  And there is a spot in the town where they go to preschool where you cross 5 sets of tracks that are all together.  That is pretty much his favorite place ever!
November 6
Me: Paying with Cash.  I hate grocery shopping.  I had been putting it off and I finally buckled down and went (almost a week overdue).  When I got to Meijer (the second store of the trip), their computers were completely down - meaning they couldn't electronically process any credit cards.  Regardless of their many announcements that they could only handle cash transactions, everyone was still trying to use their credit cards...and to process those transactions an employee had to call the credit card company and do it all over the phone and then manually override it at the register - which took a long, l-o-n-g time.  And they were having to do this for every single transaction because no one had cash.  I was relieved once I finally made it to my turn because we do an all cash budget so I was planning on paying cash for my groceries anyway!  I was able to move through quickly and smoothly.  Although, when one of the employees saw me taking my receipt she got all excited and thought that the computers were back up because no one else had used cash so she assumed I hadn't either!
Allie: Losen (Pronounced low-sen).  Allie's stuffed duck.  I never actually knew his name before today.  But he was re-discovered and Allie is so happy she found him again.
Ryan: Allie.  Aww.  I love when they are thankful for each other.
November 7
Me: An afternoon home.  Normally, on Thursdays, we hang around the town where the kids are in school until Lucas is finished with his class.  But he had people from the church he needed to visit, so he was traveling separately from us.  This meant we were completely free to leave whenever we wanted.  It was lovely to be able to have an afternoon at home to get some things done.
Allie: Ryan.  Aww.
Ryan:  Bee Bee.  This is a little teddy bear in a bee costume that he lost and found again.  He's been the happiest little guy.
And because it took me almost 2 weeks to get the first week of thankfuls posted...I would say it is probably best to expect weekly thankful posts.  Feel free to play along and share the things for which you are thankful as well!