Thursday, November 17, 2011

Grateful - Nov 17th

I often blog and talk about what wonderful brothers my boys are to their baby sister.  And they really are.  It's a joy and pleasure to watch.  But lately they have been growing into their "big boy" relationship with each other.  What I mean by that is that Pierce is finally growing up, and becoming a partner and playmate for Hayden, rather than just a baby brother.  I know this is not uncommon, but it's just absolutely heart-breaking / heart-warming (depending on the degree of success) to watch Pierce try to accomplish all of the big boy activities that Hayden can perform with ease.  For instance, he has to put his own socks and shoes on like Hayden, and he also can put on his own underwear and pants - but the shirt gives him so much trouble (sad!).  He potties on the potty like a big boy ("Mommy I'm a big boy!" he'll say each time), and he can build train tracks, drive monster trucks, and play cars just as well as brother.  If big brother is out riding his bicycle, you better believe Pierce is out there on his tricycle.  I'm always hearing little voices yelling, "Piercey, come in the garage and build trains with me", or "Hayden, come outside in the sandbox with me".  They eat every meal together, and chatter and joke the whole time, and they will often fall asleep next to each other in Hayden's big boy bunk bed.

They definitely have their moments of bickering and sometimes seem to show a remarkable lack of ability to share, but more and more I am pleased by their friendship and companionship, and can only hope they remain this close as they grow.  So today, I am grateful:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Grateful - Nov 16th

In addition to watching my children enjoy physical activities, like skiing, golf, soccer, baseball, swinging, swimming, riding bikes, etc, I also love watching their little minds work.  All 3 kids are constantly surprising me with the connections that they make, and the memories that they can call up from seemingly inconsequential moments.  I am clearly unbiased, but I think my children are bright and curious, which I love!!  Just today, Hayden begged to join us in a game of Jenga (which we had brought on our vacation for the adults), and he honestly kicked my butt!  It was crazy to explain to him once how the game worked, and then to watch him follow our instructions so earnestly, and actually play the game with concentration and skill.  He's only 4!  And it's only going to get more interesting to watch these little brains at work :)

For this reason, today I am grateful:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Grateful - Nov 15th

I never imagined the day that I would gladly accept the title of Soccer Mom.  But the day is here!  I cannot lie - cheering my children on as they play sports has become one of my most favorite activities.  Hayden has played 2 seasons of blastball, and 1 season of soccer, and Pierce is about to embark on his own sports career this spring.  I love watching the joy on their faces as they compete, and learn new skills.  I can't wait to see what sports the little ones excel in!

For this reason, I am grateful:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Grateful - Nov 14th

One of our first stops in Arkansas this week was to visit the University of Arkansas, in Fayetteville.  About all I knew of the school was that their mascot was a Razorback (which turns out to be a rather fierce looking pig), and they are typically good at football.  Turns out they have a gorgeous campus that reminds me so much of my own alma mater - University of Wisconsin!  As we toured the campus, memories just flooded back - of beer and cards on the Terrace in the summer, watching the sailboats float by, of battling the cold and snow to climb Bascom Hill each morning for class, of late night library sessions at Helen C White, followed by midnight cocktail hours on the way home at the KK.  Sorority parties (AXO what a way to GO!), Humorology, crazy hard math classes, early morning physics and chem labs in my pajamas, trivial pursuit challenges on our patio on Langdon, sunbathing on the pier at Pi Phi, Den sodas, bar time, the Farmer's Market by the Capitol, Tutto Pasta, Jump Around, the gorgeous fall colors on Lake Shore Path....on my gosh the list goes on and on.

Being on a big University campus again, I was reminded of how amazing my college experience was, and not only did it lead to a great career for me, but it gave my lifelong memories.  Being a Badger, and spending 4 years at that great school, in a fabulous, beautiful city, has shaped me in so many ways.  I dream of my children attending Madison (although now Hayden would like to be a Razorback haha)!  It was fun to kind of un-earth some of the memories, and to day dream about what schools my kids might go to, and what wonderful things they'll choose to study!

For that reason, today I am grateful:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Grateful - Nov 13th

Earlier this month, my parents and I decided to pick up and head for the hills for a week (literally).  My work load is light, the weather is nice, and they happened to have a free timeshare week to burn.  So off we went to explore NW Arkansas.  As we were driving, it occurred to me that we are so lucky to have the resources and ability to pick up as a family like this, and just go on vacation for a week.  We arrived at our condo, and there was a huge pile of leaves in front of our door, and immediately the boys started kicking them, jumping in them, and throwing them in the air with GLEE!!  Playtime!  For all of us!

For this reason, today I am grateful:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Grateful - Nov 12th

Today, I am thankful for a father who I have the most complete trust in, and respect for.  There is never a moment that goes by that I don't believe my husband is the BEST dad for my children.  I look up to him, and often find myself relying on him to make important parenting decisions, because he is so GOOD at it.  There is no wishy washy-ness like I sometimes feel.  He is convicted, he is devoted, and he is always 100% in the game.  I believe that he will be an excellent role model for my boys in how to be good, strong, kind men.  And I already see him protecting and nurturing our daughter - teaching her to respect herself and be determined and confident.

For this reason, and because he is always making them laugh and smile, today, I am grateful:

Friday, November 11, 2011

Grateful - Nov 11th

My past two posts have gotten long-winded, so I will keep this brief.

I have a little girl, and it's so incredibly fun to dress her up and accessorize.  I can't help it.  For that, I am happily grateful:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Grateful - Nov 10th

I remember when I was growing up, we would go eat dinner at my grandma and grandpa's house at least once a week.  Grandma Sale would make flank steak and homemade macaroni and cheese (the kind in the oven, with milk and butter and cheese - YUM!) - all my favorites.  After dinner, I would sit at the vanity in her room, applying her make-up, and putting on all her costume jewelry.  Then I would write a little note begging to spend the night, which was always green-lighted, and out would come my pre-packed Care Bears suitcase that I had "snuck" into the car.  The night would round out with a bowl of ice cream, an evening of Golden Girls with my grandma, and a couple issues of old Reader's Digests before bed.  In the morning, my grandpa would have fresh jelly filled donuts waiting for us, and then he'd drive us to school about 30 minutes away, while my brother and I made up a whole morning radio show (he did sports and news, I did entertainment and current events).  Heaven.  Perfection.

At home none of these things happened!  My mom always was quick to remind us that "grandmas are magic", and for us, it could not have been more true.  Anything we wanted, we got, when we were with both sets of our grandparents.  My mom said that my Grandma Mueller watched me one day a week while my mom worked, and I would come home with a new outfit each time!

Only Grandmas can work this kind of magic and get away with it.  Moms just get accused of excessive spoiling and bad parenting lol.  I have adopted this kind of mentality with my kid's grandparents.  Whipped cream from Mammaw's coffee at 9  months old - go for it!  Ice cream before lunch at Grammy's house - absolutely!  Stay up until 9:30 pm watching Dancing with the Stars - why not?

The other day, Hayden begged to go home with grammy after she had spent the morning just hanging out with us at home while I worked.  My mom explained to him that she was having a boring afternoon of running errands, and he wouldn't have any fun.  He thought about if for a moment and said, "but grammy, I just like being with you".  Ummm...yeah that was pretty heart melting!  And the other night, we were late getting home after a Chuck E Cheese birthday party, but Hayden wanted to continue home with grammy to sleepover.  Once again, she explained that it wouldn't be fun for him because they couldn't do their usual nightly routine (swinging on the tire swing, watching airplanes, eating ice cream, snuggling and watching shows), since it was already so late.  Again, he was quiet for a minute, and then he responded, "well that's ok grammy, because I'll still get to be with you in the morning".  No doubt part of the excitement of spending time with grammy and poppy is that he gets to eat more sweets and stay up later, but he obviously there is so much love there, and just BEING with his grammy makes him happy.  Going to the bank and Lowe's is fun, because he has a magical grammy.

Along with a healthy dose of indulgence, my mom heaps on the love and affection and adoration that very few kids are lucky enough to experience.  For that reason, I am abundantly thankful:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Grateful - Nov 9th

I never really was one of those girls who dreamed about my wedding and my future kids.  I was more interested in my career and education, and day dreaming about where I was going to live and what adventures I was going to have.  But once I got pregnant with Hayden (by surprise!), I suddenly became a mommy, and started imagining my future family.  It was always 2 boys and a girl.  I suspected I would get along better with boys, potentially, because they are less dramatic.  I didn't need several daughters rolling their eyes at me for their entire teenage years (as I did to my mom!), and figured I was more suited to be a soccer mom than to give a daughter make-up tips.  But then of course I was a dancer my whole youth, and I love girly things, like Miss America, dance recitals, and planning weddings!  Clearly I needed both boys and girls, and for some reason I just always pictured myself with 2 boys and girl.

And can you believe it?  That's exactly how it turned out!  Just simply getting to experience parenting boys and a girl makes me so incredibly grateful and blessed.  But even more, getting to see my two boys just ADORE and coddle their little sister, is almost too much to bear.  They honestly, literally, live to make her laugh.  In fact, the other night we had a babysitter, and Hayden was doing his typical show-off out of embarrassment act, and he was running in circles and kissing Ruthie on her nose at each loop around the living room.  She was giggling and clapping as usual.  When he finally stopped running, he looked at our babysitter and said, "Ruthie just smiles and smiles whenever I kiss her".  And it's so true!  I love both that he was TRYING to make her smile, and that she was THRILLED with the attention.  So many little blessings all wrapped into one sweet moment.

While Hayden developed a tight relationship with her immediately, Pierce is only recently becoming really interested in her.  I suspect they are going to be VERY good little buddies.  Pierce requests daily that I allow Ruthie to hang out in his crib with him while he's falling asleep for his nap, and usually I'll oblige for a bit.  While she cries in her own crib for nap time, she's more than happy to lay next to Pierce, and laugh at all the silly noises and faces he makes, purely for her enjoyment.  I swear there is nothing better than the sounds of your kiddos laughing together.

Anyway, that got long winded.  But today, I am ever so grateful, for my own sake and for Ruthie's:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Grateful - Nov 8th

Before I had Nathan.  Before I had my lovely little boys and Ruthie.  Before I had my degree or career.  Pretty much before I become an adult.  I had Dallas.  Dallywagger.  Dallasaurus.  Big D.  The one and only.  The very best dog on the planet.  What can I say?  Dallas and I have been best friends for eight years, and I count him among the most precious souls I know on this earth.  Honestly.  He sleeps at my feet every night.  He is ridiculously soft.  He has these deep brown eyes that just gaze with love and loyalty.  I hug him as often as I can, and he always wags his tail in delight.

For these reasons, and so many more, I am grateful:

Grateful - Nov 7th

Look at those impish eyes, that cheeky little smile.  Oh he's such a happy, funny dude.  And today, I am ever so grateful:

Grateful - Nov 6th

Almost everyone will admit, grandparents are AWESOME!  There are the out of town, pseudo-celebrity, sob so hard you can't speak when they leave town kind of grandparents.  And there are the local, beg to spend the night, light up like a light when they come to dinner kind of grandparents.  We have both.  And we are SO BLESSED.

But there is just something about Poppy and his love for his grand-daughter that is beyond special.  Ruthie doesn't just "go" to anyone.  She is deeply into her "I'm 9 months old and only want my mommy" phase, yet somehow, whenever Poppy comes around, she immediately reaches for him, and is happy as a clam in his arms.

How many grandfathers will drop everything to go to a pumpkin patch with his grandkids on a random Wednesday?  And not just GO, but play with them while he's there??  How many grandfathers will suggest that their 2 year old grandson come over a help with yard-work on a Saturday afternoon?  How many grandfathers will spend the dinner hour outside, with a colicky baby strapped to his chest, trying to soothe him so his mama can eat?  That's my dad.  He's fabulous.  And for that reason, today, I am grateful:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Grateful - Nov 5th

My brother got married a month ago to his girlfriend of 7 years, Rebecca.  One of the biggest perks of them waiting a bit of time to officially tie the knot is that I really got to know her well before they became husband and wife.  I actually met her back in Copenhagen, in what, 2003, when they literally first started dating.  She has been part of our family holidays for years, was at my wedding, and was there to celebrate the births of my kids.

It's one thing to watch your brother marry someone who in intelligent, who makes him happy, who is beautiful, and who you know will always be a good partner and teammate.  As a protective sister, that is the priority, and Rebecca definitely fulfills all those requirements and more.  But it's quite another to gain a sister whom you respect, you adore, and you laugh with.  And that is what I gained when Jeffrey married Rebecca.

So today, I am grateful:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Grateful - Nov 4th

Coming off of the hottest summer ever, and with the knowledge that large parts of the US are already experiencing cold and snow, today I am grateful:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Grateful - Nov 3rd

Today, as we spent the afternoon enjoying a picnic at the Dallas Arboretum, Ruthie started officially crawling (versus the army crawl she had been practicing until now).  Perhaps it was all the leaves and wood chips just out of reach that motivated her!  It's exciting that my baby is growing up and reaching her milestones.  And for that reason, today I am grateful:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Grateful - Nov 2nd

Today, my friend's young son Tyler passed away after his two year battle with leukemia.  What a tragedy and enormous loss.  But in some ways it is good, as his suffering is now in the past, and he can be at peace.  However, as a mother, I can can physically feel my friend's pain.  I pray for some comfort for that entire family.

But I can also rejoice in the health of my own children, and not take any moment for granted.  My gratitude for my blessings is boundless today.  On that note, I am grateful:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Grateful - Nov 1st

Grateful, thankful describe an appreciative attitude for what one has received. Grateful indicates a warm or deep appreciation of personal kindness as shown to one: grateful for favors; grateful to one's neighbors for help in time of trouble. Thankful indicates a disposition to express gratitude by giving thanks, as to a benefactor or to a merciful Providence; there is often a sense of deliverance as well as of appreciation: thankful that one's life was spared in an accident;thankful for the comfort of one's general situation. pleasant,gratifying, satisfying.

In this month of Thanksgiving, let me recognize my gratitude for one thing each day.  Today: