Constant Gratitude

It is so easy, in life, to get caught up in everything that has gone wrong and to forget the things that went perfectly.  This last week I have really struggled with this.  Last Saturday it would have been so easy to focus on the fact that I was alone, yet again, to deal with the scary parts of that day.  Instead, I chose to be grateful that I was alone because my husband was away working to support us (and also that the scary parts were resolved fairly quickly!).

I am grateful for my husband’s job.  

(I remember, all too recently, what it feels like when job security is ripped away.)

Baby snoozing, snuggled into me, while we waited for everyone at the dentist this week.

On Tuesday when we were all at the dentist and three hours had ticked by before we got to leave, it would have been easy to focus on the time and money spent.  Instead, I chose to be grateful that my teeth survived this last pregnancy much better than I thought they might 🙂 and more seriously, that we have found a fantastic dentist.

I am grateful for a gentle dentist that eases my fears of being a dental patient.

He really isn’t 100% trouble, but he is an exceptionally busy little boy and this jammie top makes me smile every time! 🙂

Yesterday the boys and I had a wonderful picnic with a dear friend and her two little ones.  Unfortunately one of my children was over-tired and was displaying a very grumpy attitude.  I could have focused on how upsetting it was that his behavior cut our afternoon short.  And trust me, I was thinking that!!  But as we all drove away from the park, I started to remember about the concerns before his birth that he might have some serious health problems.  Yet, sitting behind me, very upset with his world was a very healthy boy.

I am grateful for the health and vitality of my sons.  May I never take it for granted.

A very happy, creative little Captain!

So that brings me to constant gratitude.  At various points in my life, especially during difficult times, I have forced myself to keep a daily journal where I noted five things I was thankful for that day.  Some days it was a more taxing effort than others.  But what I have found over and over is that once I started focusing on what I was thankful for my situation started to feel a little less overwhelming.  Does making a gratitude journal erase all of the ugliness of painful situations?  No, but it does remind me that the things that really matter are the most important. It lightens my heart and makes me look outside of my own pain and frustration to remind me that my world is bigger than me.  Most importantly, it reminds me that my heavenly Creator does care very deeply for me and that I am never truly alone.

My constant gratitude list for this Friday …

  1. The PC Hazelnut Cream coffee I found this week was exactly what I needed this morning.
  2. Engineer’s little voice saying “I wuv you too Mommy” immediately calmed my frazzled nerves.
  3. The birds singing outside of the window – so happy!
  4. I got to share the above morning coffee this morning with my entire family – husband included!
  5. Baby’s little pudgy feet twirling from joy while he ate his cereal this morning.

Happy Friday to you!  Do you keep a form of a gratitude journal?  I’d love to hear about it, if you do!



This post is linked to 

friday favorite things | finding joy


9 months and 12 days later …

I decided to take a walk down my blogging memory lane tonight and had fun reading old posts – and realized that it has been exactly 9 months and 12 days since I posted last.  I’m great at writing regularly, wouldn’t you say??  I think I may give this blogging thing another go, but let myself off the hook by not setting predetermined days to blog … funny how life always seemed to get in the way of those set days!!

So, let me catch you up quickly on the happenings of those months and days …

1.  Biggest news – we are expecting our third little boy on January 5, 2012 and we couldn’t be more thrilled!!  Captain, our oldest, is so excited about having a new baby brother and wants to tell him that on a daily basis … Engineer, our current youngest, is much more excited about poking me very hard in the belly everyday and proclaiming “Baby!!!  Tom out Baby!!”  He has not a clue what is going on!  🙂

2.  I am homeschooling Captain this year for Junior Kindergarten and although it has definitely been an experience in getting this teacher back in the grove again, I am so glad that we decided to take this path.  Captain loves his schoolwork and can hardly wait for school days.  He pushes me every day to engage him and encourage his natural learning tendencies and I love the challenge!!

3.  I am very happily getting involved at our church.  The boys love their Sunday School classes and are doing so well – it makes this Momma’s heart very pleased.  I feel so blessed that my little family is able to attend and participate in our church.

4.  Chief bought me an iPhone for my “baby” gift early so that I can have fun playing with it before I have a new baby that thinks my sole purpose in life is to feed, change and rock him … which is truly how I feel too 🙂  Anyway, I digress … this genius little thing has made me the most productive that I’ve probably been in 5 years.  It tells me when to do lots of stuff and since I’m such a list-checker, I am motivated to get lots of stuff done.

5.  That great motivator has backfired a few times though, as Baby #3 isn’t as convinced that I need to reinvent our world while I’m growing him.  Humph.  He will learn 🙂

6.  Well, that pretty well catches you up to the present.  Here are a couple of pictures of my little boys so that you are caught up in how they look these days too …

Captain's 4th Birthday

Engineer loves all big vehicles!

Captain loves Lego - it entertains him for hours at a time!

Engineer playing in the leaves

Have a fabulous week!

If you were expecting …

… a review of “Sink Reflection” today, then I am sorry to disappoint you.  🙂  After starting to read the book, I realized that to give the best review, I really need to implement her ideas for a while and then review the book, along with how I did with her cleaning ideas.  So this book review has been pushed back to the New Year.

Next weeks book review will be “Deception” by Randy Alcorn.  He is one of my new favorite writers.  I love that his books are not predictable.  I have also read “Deadline” and “Dominion”.  Randy has written over 30 books, many of them non-fiction.


So because I backed out of my book review today, I thought I would share some of my recent Facebook status updates.  You know, because if you can’t inform, you might as well entertain, right?  🙂  Enjoy!

  • this is one of those “I don’t want to be the only one who knows this” moments. Today was Day 2 of potty training for Captain. Going very well. Chief had been gone all day, and I’m sitting on the side of the bed talking to him. Captain comes flying up from the basement saying “I did it!!!”. He comes into our room and before I could react, he had accidentally poured most of the liquid contents of his potty on me!!!
  • Love how Captain always announces that he is going to kiss me … “Momma, I’m donna tiss you!!” followed by a darling kiss. Ahhh … those are the moments that make the craziness worthwhile!! 🙂
  • So I was the mother at the grocery store tonight with a child who was wearing a winter hat (not simply a warm, fallish hat) and turquoise handknit SOCKS on his hands. They were his “gloves” and he was quite adamant that he would be wearing them. He looked pretty cute!! 🙂
  • So obviously I have two imps. Engineer was in his booster seat today at the table and was mad about being in it. Faster than should be possible, Captain unfastened the safety belt on it, Engineer flipped himself around, climbed out and was scrambling across the floor to get Captain’s hockey stick before Captain could get there. Ohmy – life is really getting busy now!! 🙂
  • Hands down funniest prayer that I have heard in a long time was said at our dinner table today … 3 year old style!!!    ‎”Dear Jesus, this morning I wouldn’t eat my breakfast so my Momma told me that I wouldn’t get any treats in Sunday school and my Daddy threw out my treats. Then I ate my breakfast so I got to have treats in Sunday School with J and …K-girlfriend. Now I’m going to eat my lunch so I get treats afterwards” … eyes open, and he very seriously tells me that he’s telling his “Jesus-friend” all about his breakfast. Then he closes his eyes and asks for the food to be blessed. Meanwhile, Daddy and I were desperately trying not to burst out in laughter. Life is never dull in this house!!!
  • Loving the fact that even though I am NOT a morning person, both of my boys are. Captain always wakes up saying “It’s gonna be a BIG day, Momma!!!” with an adorable grin on his face and mischief sparkling in his eyes. And Engineer starts his morning out yelling “Dada!! Dada!!”, when you go in their room he has a huge grin and little arms reaching out to get out of his crib. Now I have two good reasons to like mornings!! 🙂
  • So obviously the boys that I live with do not understand the importance of sleeping. 3:45 this morning, I woke up to find Captain reading books in his room with the overhead light on … poor Engineer was an innocent bystander in the non-sleeping saga! 🙂 Went downstairs to find Chief and he was working on the computer with all the lights on!!! Boys, boys … the middle of the night is for sleeping!!!!
  • Captain was very concerned today that the man changing my oil/tires was “not gonna give Momma her red car back!!” I asked him why he thought that, his answer “I just know it, Momma!!” Seriously, what a kid. Then later his pants started falling down and all I heard was “Ohmydooodness!!! Momma, I’m woozing my britches!!” BWHAHAH!!! What a kid.
  • So Mom went home today 😦 but Captain stepped up to the plate and provided the comic relief for the day. This morning he told me that he couldn’t go to the airport because he had to stay home and cry about Mom leaving. Then he told me tonight that he needed his hair all cut off because “It makes my head hitch, Momma!”
  • Momma – Captain, you need to take a nap.
    Captain- Momma, sorry, I don’t have time to.
    LOL!!!! What a kid!!! 🙂
  • lol – okay, so my two year old is an HP sauce addict. And apparently the no name brand that his silly Momma purchased is not going to cut it. He announced that it was the day to have eggs for breakfast, so I put his eggs on his plate and put some no name HP sauce on his plate. He dipped his egg in it, tasted it and announced that “that HP sauce tastes funny Momma!!” His Grampie H would be proud!!! 🙂
  • So the other night I put the boys to bed. Later I heard them in their room – went in, lights are on, Engineer is standing in his crib, clutching his bear, sucking on his soother for all he’s worth, intently watching big brother. Captain is sitting on his bed, with a book open, “reading” to Engineer … “Now Babies, this dwuck wants to be a taptain …” was the story that was unfolding as I went in. How sweet!!
  • one of the most recent almost 3 yr old conversations:
    C – Momma, Baby Bob’s (his doll) toes are sick. He would feel better if he could go for a ride in a float plane.
    Momma – Captain, do you think that maybe it is you that would like to go for a ride?
    C – Ummm … maybe, Momma!
  • Overheard conversation of the day …
    ~C~ I am going to nap and then I need to wear my dress shirt.
    ~Daddy~ Why? Do you have big plans?
    ~C~ Yes!! I have a contract flight today.
    ~Daddy~ a little incredulously … what did you say?
    ~C~ I have a contract flight out of TO (Captain calls Toronto – TO)  Again, uncontrollable laughter from his mother. Seriously, where does he come up with this stuff?!?!?
  • Overheard today … Captain ~on my old cell phone … dialing lots of numbers, then “Hi Don, Frank here. I’m at the airport. Yup … be right back” … went to get pen and paper, picks up phone again “I’m back.” Starts writing message “Yup, think I got it all. Talk to you later Don.” His mother = laughing painfully hard!!! FYI, Chief has flown with Don & Frank in the past. The kid has a good memory!!

I actually DID blog previously …

… I just honestly had forgotten about it.  I started it the year that Chief and I were married (2005 if you’re nosy like me).  And then life started getting in the way of blogging.  Specifically, we moved back to where I grew up and we had the joys of dial-up internet for two years.  Wow, those were long years 🙂 

The view from our front windows certainly helped with the angst of dial-up though. So lovely!

Anyway, an old friend was able to reconnect with me through that blog today, and I had fun going through my old entries.  I have saved them and will share a few of them with you over the next couple of weeks.  I always enjoying going back in time to see what I thought at a certain point.  This next post was from December 11, 2005.  Let’s see how much of it has happened or changed in the last (almost) 5 years …

So, here we go … delving into my mind could be scary – fasten your seatbelts …
Seven things I hope to do before I die:

Cherub Baby #1 and #2

1. Make beautiful, cherub-faced babies with Chief (you know – the kind you want to just stare at cause they are so cute!!)  Done, twice with perfect results!!
2. Make Chief and I a quilt – many are in the works, just no completion in sight!  Sadly, this is still on my to-do list.
3. Get published in a scrapbooking publication While I still love to scrapbook, this is not on my radar anymore.  I scrapbook how I like, and I’m not sure that it’s the latest trends, so this wish is probably off the list now.
4. Renew some friendships that have sort of fallen by the wayside, so to speak, in the last few years, due to the craziness in my life Oh Facebook, how I love and hate thee at the same time.  I love the fact that I have reconnected with a lot of old friends through Facebook.  And I hate the fact that I spend way too much time on there at times 🙂
5. Own a house (that comes with a white picket fence and a puppy – and an awesome “creating” room that is all mine!!) Well, let’s see.  Chief is violently allergic to dogs, so that one is off the list.  We currently rent as apparently we are nomads, having moved 5 times in 5 years.  Maybe someday.  And “creating” room that is all mine?  Well, I imagine that I have my own room, until I am creating and some errant “sports” ball hits me in the side of the head and then I am swiftly brought back to the reality that my crafting space is also known as the base operations for our company and the boys’ play room.  It can get a little wild down here sometimes!!
6. Travel to Europe – specifically Scotland, England and Ireland Still no, but Chief has been to England and Ireland since I wrote this.  Does that count??
7. Ensure that my parents are well looked after once they retire – edit #5 – must have granny-addition for Mom and Daddy to live in  We have a lovely spare room, and Dad’s not retired yet, so I still have some time to complete this one.  First I have to convince them that we are not going to be nomads anymore and live in one spot, so that they can move near us.  My boys would honestly think that they had died and gone to heaven to have “Mom and Dad” so handy.  I would too.

Seven things I cannot do:

I can hear him making the jet noise, can you??

1. Make weird noises like my husband (and all men, for that matter) – I have tried and tried and have been coached on how to make such noises as: car brakes squealing, etc – with no success  Seriously, Captain never talked a lot until he was about 2.5.  However, from the age of about 1.5 he could make the distinct sounds of a jet, a prop plane and a helicopter.  I am 27 years his senior and my jet, prop plane and helicopter all sound like sick animals.  I just don’t have the noise making gene 🙂
2. Understand why the lovely people on the island where I live like to honk their horns at people – viciously honk their horns – over things that cannot be helped  Even though I no longer live on Long Island, I still don’t get why they honk their horns so much.  Slow down and live a little longer, New Yorkers!!
3. Stand on my head – I fall over very hard & very easily – I even tried this as recently as this past Thanksgiving – where I tried to teach my friend’s 5 yr old son to do this exact stunt – not successful on my part  I did actually demonstrate this wonderful skill for Captain about two weeks ago.  I managed to stay upright, while upside down for about 2.5 seconds.  An improvement, don’t you think??
4. Get out of bed in the mornings – I love to lay in my comfy, warm bed dreaming about what great and magnificent things I will do that day Motherhood brought a screaming halt to this.  That’s all I have to say about that.
5. Refrain from spending large amounts of my husband’s money on scrapbooking supplies, quilting supplies, gifts for my loved ones (next year’s christmas gifts), shoes, books, and many other lovely things that I feel I need, he however does not see it the same (P.S. I did buy him a wonderful assortment of “just what he asked for” Christmas gifts this year – sweet of me to use the money he earned, eh? Awww … the joys of being a stay-at-home wife!)  Well, considering that Chief decided to take a two-year “retirement” from flying (and a wonderful salary) to follow his dream of starting his own company, that promptly helped me stop spending large amounts of his money!!
6. Play Trivial Pursuit. I hate that game. I do not know 1/10th of the answers and I refuse to play a game that I can’t win. I’m working on that bad attitude, by the way!  I did actually purchase a copy of Trivial Pursuit at the thrift store, but I still have to find someone to play it with me.  Any takers??
7. Ice skate. Sad confession for a good Canadian girl – but I can’t. I too scared of falling on my butt and hurting said butt. Plus, scared of hurting pride.  Well last night was our Church’s annual Fall Party, which includes skating at a local rink.  Captain reminded me all week that Daddy was going to hold his hand and take him skating, but not Momma, “cause Momma not good at kating, right Momma?”  Yes, darling, thank you for that reminder. 

Chief dearly loves to have his picture taken. Isn’t it obvious??

Seven things that attract me to my husband:

(This list is really long, but since I don’t want to bore you, I will restrain myself to only 7 reasons)  They are all still true, so I’ll make a general comment.  He is still a wonderful husband, five years and two babies later.  Even if he did forget my birthday on Sunday.  It’s all good, I’m mostly over it.
1. His incredibly kind and loving nature. Every little girl wants to grow up and marry a man like her Daddy – well, I’ve been doubly blessed. I have a phenomenal Daddy with a wonderful spirit and kind nature – and now I have a husband with the same great qualities.
2. His great sense of humor – although he’s a bit of a stinker at times
3. His strong work ethic. He is a great provider.
4. The fact that he shares the household responsibilities with me – he takes out the trash and washes the dishes – the two things I hate to do. How perfect is that??  Edit – he still is rather good at taking out the trash, but somewhere along the line he managed to drop the washing of dishes off of his chore list.  But I like washing dishes now (which is good because there are a lot of them created in this house) which works out well.  Most of the time.
5. His love and dedication to my parents. Since my world has revolved around them for my entire life, it’s very special to finally find a man who recognizes their great worth and takes time out of his life to ensure that they realize how much he loves and cares for them.  Still very, very true.  And it makes me so incredibly happy that my parents and Chief love each other so much and that it is so mutual. 
6. His indulgent nature when it comes to me (See #5 in 7 things I cannot do)
7. How protective he is of me and our relationship
8. His giggle. lol – he’s gonna get me for that one – he’s a big “man’s man” kind of guy – but he has the most adorable giggle when I do/say/think silly things.
*** Ooops – I was only supposed to have 7 – well, I’m not deleting one thing, so you’ll just have to live with it!! =)

Seven books or book series I love:
1. To Kill a Mockingbird
2. Anne of Green Gables series
3. Anything to do with England monarchy (like the Boleyn girls, Queen Elizabeth/Queen Mary)
4. Guideposts magazine (okay, I’m stretching the rules here …)
5. Any scrapbooking, quilting publication (well, most of them)
6. Bridget Jones’ Diary (1&2) now replaced by anything by Karen Kingsbury. 
7. anything by Francine Rivers

Seven movies I could watch over and over again:
1. Sweet Home Alabama
2. Anne of Green Gables 
3. National Geographic documentary on whales (strange choice – even stranger how I came to like it. My parents bought it for me on their honeymoon – sort of a bribe present cause my nose was a little out of joint now that I had to share my mom – and it was the first video that I ever owned and basically the only one I was allowed to watch. So I watched it – over and over and over …)
4. Almost all of Julia Roberts’ movies
5. My many SATC DVDs My tastes have changed … now it’s delightful to curl up with a warm, cuddly Captain and watch Veggie Tales together.  Now, that’s real entertainment!!
6. My even larger collection of Friends DVDs
7. Canadian RCMP musical ride videos – I have 2, but my favorite is the one where my uncle is wearing a camera on his hat while the horses stampede – very, very cool perspective of it!!!

So there you have it … a peek into the me a few years ago.  Do any of you write things like this down and then go back and reread them a few years later?  If not, you should start, it’s fun to see the “earlier” version of yourself.

You will never look at me the same again …

Ever have things floating around in your head that you wish people knew, but you were a little afraid to voice them?  Or weird little quirks that are uniquely you?  Well, I know I do!  So, without further ado … here is my list of 25 things that make me, me.

My cookbook collection

1. I love to collect cook books, cooking magazines, recipes from friends. And I read my cookbooks like most people read a novel. Front to back.

2. I would prefer that my food not touch the other items on my plate, and I eat one group of food at a time.

3. I am always very quick to stand up for those I love and what I believe in. It can be a very good quality, but it has also gotten me in major trouble before.

4. I miss my Mom and Dad (they live about 1000 miles away) so bad at times that I physically hurt.

5. I try to “rationalize” series of numbers. Like 2412 = 2 plus 4 equals 6, which doubled equals 12. Crazy math stuff like that!

6. I am not fond of cleaning but love a clean house. I honestly feel so confident and ready to conquer the world when my house is clean.

7. If I don’t get a chance to make my bed in the morning, I have to make it before I go to bed. A messy bed drives me batty.

Sweet babies

8. I love my boys dearly, but I always sigh a sigh of relief when it is bedtime. And then an hour later I go in and snuggle them and listen to their breathing. Sometimes a Momma just needs a break!!

9. Red and pink are my favorite colors.

10. I wish that I could see my birth father just once (he died when I was 7) and show him how successful I have become (great husband, beautiful kids, fabulous relationship with my Mom and adopted Dad).

11. I thought I was honestly going crazy until I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Now I feel like I’m becoming normal again.

12. Even though I know it’s normal, it hurts when my kids go through their “daddy only” phase.

My Handsome Captain Husband

13. Seeing Christopher dressed up (especially in his pilot uniform) honestly still makes my stomach flip – in a totally good way.

14. I am not fond of folding up clean laundry. It usually doesn’t get put away until I run out of laundry baskets to put the clean laundry in.

15. Everyone thinks that I am quite outgoing (and I love being with people!) but I usually get physically ill if I know that I am going to have to meet new people.

16. If I have to stay home for more than two days I start to feel like I’m getting hives. I have to get out and see people!!

17. I can’t stand the feel or sound of cotton balls.  Fingernails on a chalkboard?  No problem.  Pull a cotton ball out of a medecine bottle if I’m in the room?  I almost come unglued.  I even have to slightly wet Q-Tips before I clean my ears with them because the sound of cotton in my ear is almost too much.  Aren’t you glad that you now know that??

18. My irrational fear is of police cars. I associate them with bearers of news of death of a loved one.

19. I would love to have a daughter someday. But it really irritates me when people ask me if we are going to try for a third child so that I will finally get my girl. I love my boys and wouldn’t trade them for a million girls!!

20. I’d like to have 5 kids, but the thought of more than three kids almost makes Christopher ill!!

Terence in all of his “marching to his own drumbeat” glory. Love this boy!! And yes, he is wearing footie pj’s, with a winter hat, covered in stickers. Charging his flashlight.

21. I daydream about what our (Christopher and I) relationship was like when we were first dating and I love seeing couples who are obviously in that “no one else matters but us” relationship phase. Saying that, I wouldn’t trade what I have with my husband for that for anything.

22. I love to organize things and move furniture around. It is like having a brand new room every time!!

23. I must have all the clean dishes lined up “right” (my definition of what right is! ) in the dishrack, or it drives me nuts.

24. Every time I talk to someone I am constantly thinking of things that I like about that person. It makes it so that I am rather awkward at conversation sometimes. I wish that I could tell those people what I like about them. I am trying to do this more.

25. My mind never shuts off – I honestly think about 5 or 6 major things all the time and it drives me nuts, but I can’t seem to get it to stop doing that.

I invite you to play along on your blog too.  If you do, leave the link in the comments section and I will add it here.  Have fun!

{Be real}

I had 7 grain hot cereal cooking on the stove.  As I stood there stirring it, I listened to the adorable voices of my two little ones, playing so nicely together.  And then I was brought back to reality with a bang when I heard my two boys yelling, once again.  Terence, my oldest, received a hockey stick for his third birthday from his Nanny.  It has been an extreme source of sibling rivalry between Terence and Caleb, my baby.  So, yesterday, I purchased an identical hockey stick for Caleb.  They still fight over them.

Instead of allowing you to crash into my reality with me, I could have continued to describe my perfect picture that I started with.  That both boys ate all of their bowl of cereal and asked for more.  That they are obedient little ones.  That Terence loves to say grace over the food (and add lots of unique prayers to the food grace).  That I slept the sleep of a lullabied baby last night.  That my little ones did not wake up until 9 am.   All of this is true, but to {be real} I would need to tell you the rest of the picture.

That Caleb finished his meal, as he usually does, by dumping out any cereal that was remaining in his bowl and then proceeded to rub the semi-empty bowl over his head.  That I have not mopped my floor for two days and he has repeated the above scenario three times a day for those two days.  That my laundry is beyond backed up.  That I have not dusted for at least a month.  That I have a sink full of dirty dishes.  That my kids argue with each other just like everyone elses.  My point in saying all of this is that since I have become a mother, I have often struggled with how perfect my peer’s lives appear to be and that many days I often feel like I am not even keeping up with what needs to be done, nevermind do anything above and beyond.  So often we put our best foot forward, as we should, but we neglect to tell the whole story.

My desire is to tell my complete story and inspire my readers along the way.  Not air my proverbial dirty laundry, but {be real}.  If at the end of the day, my children are fed, healthy and happy; I have been a good wife to my husband; I have been kind to those I have met; I have offered grace where it is needed and I have spoken and acted with love, then I am a success.  My home can still be a mess and we may have had Kraft Dinner to eat for lunch, but I am still a success.  May my readers always realize how successful they are and may my writing inspire them, not defeat them.  That is my desire for this blog.

I love to cook and would like to share my recipes with you.  I love to sew and craft and would like to share my creations with you.  I have two beautiful boys who are complete built-in entertainment and I would like to share them with you.  I have a fabulous, creative husband that inspires me.  But always remember, that whatever your circumstance is in life, if you are trying to better your own world, then you are successful!  Welcome on my journey …

My Angel Babies