November 22, 2014

Our Month of Thankfulness: Week 3

The third week of November was our first week with all of us healthy.  You may notice the thankful list seems especially long (as does this post).  I think all of us feeling better had a lot to do with that!

This week, our favorite toy store was having a special Princess Day.  We needed to do some Christmas shopping anyway, so we decided to go.  We made the mistake of mentioning it to the kids a couple days before (not really thinking of it as the completely monumental event that it was), and they could talk of nothing else for days.  Allie was constantly asking if it was princess day yet.
Before we left.  It has been cold here, so they wrapped up in matching scarves.  Allie's is to keep her warm, Ryan's is to represent the fire he breathes!
 See, part of the event was meeting Elsa & Anna.  Lucas and I mentioned it offhand - never even thinking that our children were confident they were meeting the REAL Elsa & Anna.  Had we spent even a second thinking about it from their point of view, we would not have talked about it so casually!   They were balls of excitement from the moment they woke up.  As you can probably tell from the pictures!  They were dressed and ready to go an hour early.  Since it was princess day, but Ryan did NOT want to dress up as a princess, he decided to be a dragon...because every princess needs a dragon.  It made me think of Fairy Tale Day at the Toy Store a while back...which also made us miss the Beauties - who would have totally met us at this event and loved it!
When we got to the store, we had to park in a neighboring parking lot and there was a line to get inside.  It was completely overwhelming.  It also turned out that the princesses there were young teenagers (I think potentially relatives of staff members).  The girls did a fantastic job, but they also seemed a bit overwhelmed and didn't quite sell it.  Allie confided to me in the bathroom later that she knew they weren't the real Elsa & Anna...and then whispered that the girl dressed as Elsa didn't even have any frozen powers.  They still carried celebrity status, however, and the kids enjoyed the opportunities to get their pictures with them.  I would call the day a success!
We are THANKFUL for:
Allie & Anna
  - Bumby (Bumble's nickname)
- Daddy's Pancakes (we did this family meeting on Saturday morning just after eating Daddy's pancakes for breakfast - he makes gluten free ones for me!)
- My Brother (Allie's)
- Daddy
- Coffee (Lucas' thankful...for how it changes me...for the better!)
- Allie (Ryan's)
Allie & Elsa
- tv/video games (I will confess that this is my least favorite thankful.  They have become obsessed lately with Lucas' Nintendo - specifically Mario and the Ninja Turtles games - and Mario Kart on the Wii.  I have to ration their time - through tv tokens they earn - and we have some battles throughout the week...specifically when Ryan tells me he has nothing to do if I don't let him play.  What?!  But there are moments we have a lot of fun together with it.  So I can be thankful for those...)
- Fun game nights (This week we played games together a lot - with a marathon game night on Friday where we played 3 different board games.  So.  Much.  Fun!).
Ryan with Sorcerer's Apprentice Mickey - the first time we saw him, Ryan kind of wanted to talk to him, but chickened out at the last minute and we ducked down another aisle.  The second time he told Ryan his costume was awesome and asked for a high five - which Ryan shyly gave.  Finally, Ryan mentioned he wanted a picture with him, and we caught up with him again.  Shy but determined.  I love this little guy!
- Our Family
- Daddy's hard work (We got snow over the past week - which, combined with the salt, made my job so much more difficult...and physical...and exhausting.  I mopped so much, and even spent some time scrubbing floors on my hands and knees!  Now, we needed to clean at home to get ready for Thanksgiving guests, but it was the last thing I wanted to do when I got home.  Lucas' did the lion's share, and I was so thankful!)
They had a princess parade where Mickey and the princess all went around the perimeter of the store and any princesses in the crowd could join them.  Allie did - and loved it!  We offered to let Ryan, but he said no...and then told me later he wished he had gone...but he did get to sit on my shoulders and watch the parade from above the crowd.
- Nutra Rinse (I realize this makes no sense to most people, but this is the mop rinse aid that we use when the floors are covered with salt.  Granted, I didn't know about it for the first couple of bad days, and I was at my wits end mopping and re-mopping to try to get the floors to look nice!  Then I asked the other custodians - who are so used to just switching with the seasons without thinking that they forgot I wouldn't know - and it made a HUGE difference.  I have never been so thankful for a specific cleaning solution before!)
 - God
- The whole world (In case we accidentally forget something important...)
They also were demo-ing their educational toys, and the boy showing of these invited Ryan to get inside.  He wouldn't without Allie, so here are the both of them getting ready to race to see who gets out first!
- Evan (He's come up twice now, so you might be wondering who he is.  He is one of their classmates, and has become a best friend.  Apparently, he and Ryan have decided they are brothers and he is going to marry Allie someday!)
- My house (the colder it gets outside, and the cleaner it gets inside, the more thankful we are for the home we love!)
The whole gang (Minus Mulan).  Ryan, Anna, Olaf, Merida, Elsa, and Allie (who is just a teensy bit excited if you couldn't tell...).
At our family meeting, we talked about ways we can show our gratitude all the time - especially in the  next few days as we approach Thanksgiving.  I'm hopeful that we will be filled with an attitude of gratitude and excited to see in what ways it may come out in my children!

November 14, 2014

Our Month of Thankfulness: Week 2

Somehow, the only pictures I took recently were on my phone (and some of these pictures were taken after the second week of November).  I guess I'm thankful for phones that take pictures so that I always have a camera with me...even if it doesn't take pictures that are that great!

I was sick for a good chunk of this week, so we didn't do all that much.  In fact, I pretty much just went to work, and did the bare necessities at home, and slept.  You'll see that reflected in our thankfuls.
On Mondays, one of their friends from school comes over.  We decided to try out a new park.  This awesome jeep was at the park, and the kids wanted their picture on the top! 
 - Healthy Mommy!
 - Friends at school (Especially Evan)
- My brother (Allie's thankful)
 - My sister (Ryan's thankful)
- Time with Allie & Ryan (Lucas and the kids had lots of time to hang out while I was sick - the one upside).
- My Family
- Warm, cozy house (It has been cold here, y'all)
- God & His creation (This one was the kids, but it made me so happy)
Then Allie wanted her picture alone at the top.
Another thing for which I am thankful is having a job that allows me to capture things like this:
The kindergarten teacher called me in one morning.  Allie has been really loving the magna tiles when they have indoor playtime.  On this particular day, she spent the whole playtime building a boat.  The teacher kept it intact for me to see, and then encouraged me to get my phone to take a picture.  She even let me take one with Allie once she got back to class.  The teacher said, "I think it looks a lot like a freighter."  She was shocked when I told her that it probably was since Poppy sailed on them for many years.  The teacher thought that made it even more cool!  I can't tell you how much I love getting to be a part of these little moments firsthand!
The month is speeding by.  I can't believe half of it is gone already!  It will be Thanksgiving before we know it...

November 07, 2014

A Month of Thankfulness: The First Week

November snuck up on me.  In fact, mentally, I think I'm still in September.  So, I will confess, I did not get my act together to do our usual Thankful Tree.  Wah, wah.  But I cannot let my month of Thankfulness pass by.  It is one of my favorite times of the year!

Recently, I read a book called The Secrets of Happy Families*.  I loved it.  I made Lucas read it.  He agreed that there were some great ideas.  One of our favorite ideas was a weekly family meeting - which we started this fall.  I could spend paragraphs telling you how much we love family meeting and all of the wonderful things that have come out of family meetings that have changed our family for the better.  But that isn't what this is about.  This is about how we added time in our November family meetings to share (and write down to be displayed in the dining room) the things for which we are thankful from the previous week.  There is no limit.  Everyone has to say at least one.  It has been a great way to end our time.
Attempting to get a picture with my children to send to the donors of my college scholarship who also donated money to the twins' school - enough that the Lower School is named after the donors - to thank them for the generosity.
 Here - along with pictures taken from the first week of November - are all of the things for which our family is thankful from our first week.
Sometimes no one is looking...
 We are thankful for:
Mommy & Daddy
Allie & Ryan
That we are a forgiving family (many of the items covered in our family meeting regarded or required forgiveness)
The Bowsers
Art Supplies
My Family
Church Family
My Job
Game Night & Brownie Sundaes (we always end family meeting time by playing a game together...we try to also have some sort of special treat - this night that treat was brownie sundaes).
Sometimes Mommy is the only one who isn't looking...
 Can I add that I'm thankful for family meetings?  I'm thankful for the time we spend laughing together and problem solving together and playing together.
Finally, a keeper.
We might not be taking a daily account of our blessings for which we are thankful, but hopefully our weekly list will still help us practice having an attitude of gratitude.
* I should mention that I was in no way asked to or paid for recommending or endorsing this book in any way.  I just really liked it and have found it to be beneficial for our family, so I thought I would share!