Day 22: I'm thankful for the fun of trying new things. Look what I made for Sweet Pea for Christmas! It was my first woodworking project, and apart from hubby showing my how to drill pocket holes, I did the entire thing all by myself! Yes, I used two different kinds of saw, two different kinds of sanders, and other tools, too! I'm quite proud. I'm waiting for a cooler, un-humid day to paint it pink. Then I'll bring it inside and hand paint it all pretty. Sweet Pea loves her baby dolls more than anything else, and I know she's going to love this little bed for them.
Day 23: I'm thankful for my relationship with my sister. We had high conflict when we were little. But then once I hit 8th grade, the conflict melted away to almost nothing. When I got my driver's license, she became my navigator and we were joined at the hip. The best of friends. Inseparable. I got married when I was 21, and our mom passed away 2 years later. The stress of Mom's illness and me being taken away by Matt really strained Jenny's and my relationship. Then she started dating, Our dad remarried. More adjustment. More stress. I moved cross-country. She ended up getting married. We just didn't hold up well. Fast-forward 9 years, and this summer, everything changed. I have six kids. She had her second baby in June. I went out to California to visit, and Jenny wanted to spend every waking moment with me She rescued me on a really hard day with my kids. We talked and talked and processed a lot of the junk that got between us. We shared memories. We cried over missing our mom and what could have been if she was still alive. We laughed and laughed over the naughty things we did and got away with when we were kids. We completely reconnected, and my heart overflows with joy. Even though we live 2800 miles apart, My sister is in my thoughts every day.
Day 24: Since I'm on the topic of family, I'm thankful for my two nieces, my sister's girls. My brother--biological half-brother who I didn't grow up with--has a son and a daughter, too, whom I love but almost never get to see. My hubby has six sisters and a brother, and we have 10 nieces and nephews and 4 step-nieces and nephews on his side. But my sister's girls are first in my heart because she's my sister and we dreamed about our kids growing up together. I got married five year ahead of Jenny. My oldest is 11 years older than her oldest. I had five kids when my niece H was born, and Sunny was 5 at the time. We didn't think that we'd have kids growing up together. But then our little Sweet Pea came along and surprised us! And then my sister had C. H is 10 months older than Sweet Pea, and Sweet Pea is 13 months older than C. So now the three little girls will have each other to grow up with. Jenny and I will have to nurture the relationship carefully, because they live in California and we live in Florida. But we can do it. I love my precious nieces.
Day 25: I'm thankful for my newest life hack that has made my life so much simpler. Freezer meals. Once every two weeks I set aside a day for food. I do a big grocery run. Then I come home and cook. I pre-bag the ingredients for four crockpot meals and I assemble eight casseroles. I put it all in the freezer. It means doing big dishes once. It means the only cooking I have to do for the next 14 days is if I want a side with the crockpot meals. It's genius, because when my kids are all home from school in the afternoons, life is crazy. Three girls have learning disabilities and need intensive help with homework. All five kids have sports in the early evening. If I'm going to geed my family a healthy dinner, it has to have all the big work done before 3:00. This method of meal prep works great for me!
Day 26: I'm thankful for two vehicles that are in excellent running order. So thankful!
Day 27: I'm thankful for our boxes of Christmas ornaments and all the priceless memories they represent. I'm also thankful for each Christmas treasure that belonged to my mom. When I spread her beautiful red snowflake runner on my breakfast table, I cherish the memories of spreading that cloth on the exact same table in my childhood home. When I set up my mom's nativity set, I'm reminded of unwrapping each piece with her and telling her the Christmas story. Based on the house that memory took place in, I was either 5, 6, or 7 in that memory.
Day 28: I'm thankful for our pets. Two fluffy, loving kitties and one busy-tongue doggy.
Day 29: I'm thankful for adoption. Adoption into God's family. My own adoption when I was a baby. The adoption of our girls. Adoption is the redemption of something tragic. A new family is born out of ashes. Because no matter how you look at it, adoption always starts with loss. I'm so glad there's a way to bring good out of pain.
Day 30: I'm thankful that tomorrow is December! We started advent yesterday. I built a Jesse tree out of an old pallet. I'll try to remember to post a photo when it's done and the ornaments are made. That's on my agenda for this week.
I'm thankful for the month of November and the good that always comes from counting my blessings.