Thursday, January 07, 2010

Ten Things I'm Thankful For

Time for another installment of my
"Ten Things" to be thankful for, always varied, always random bits in no particular order.

There is a difference in this post today as all of the photos are what could be deemed as "older", "in the past" and archived already. However, because I'm getting HEAT from the family to catch up once and for all, I promise - I will... eventually. :) For today then, here are ten OLDER things I'm thankful for.

Please know for certain that my own personal thoughts on true thankfulness can obviously never be offered, nor delivered in true completeness within one simple post.
And in case you just might find it interesting and want even more today, you can always skip along to view other "thankful" posts by clicking onto the archives located - right HERE.

- 1 - I'm thankful for home baking, the kind mixed with love and offered fresh from the oven by our children, those sweet surprises often keeping me smiling for their sheer simplicity, yet they mean so much in the end from the love gifting of such things.

- 2 - I'm thankful for the love of my one and only sister and our second bi-annual visit alone together over the US Thanksgiving week.

The first year we were able to appreciate a sister only time, by chance we decided on a movie one night while out shopping. The movie proved to be heartwarming in more ways than one; "Enchanted" was simply enchanting for both of us and offered plenty of giggles escaping from our mouths, tears rolling down our cheeks and the feeling of being two little girls again. Memory making times are made of these for sure.

This year before I boarded my plane to fly her way (Boston) for our second bi-annual sister only time, a small package arrived with the above items found inside. Sweet surprises filled the envelope. My thoughtful sister was waiting for me and I in turn was thrilled when all became favorable for us to have this time out once more.

Momentarily, something did threatened to get in the way when my sister very sudd
enly landed in hospital with what was discovered to be a very serious bacterial infection posing life threatening alarm, oodles of medical tests and a swat team of doctors.

I wasn't really certain it would/could actually happen especially when weeks flew by and the picc line was still inserted into my sister's arm and all was followed by a severe allergic reaction to one of her three powerful medications once she has returned home from hospital.

While our concerned family prayed for her swift recovery, I waited on pins and needles with temptations to fly down earlier to be with her through her trials. I'm happy to report she is getting better with each passing day and we did once again have a terrific time together. We skipped our impromptu trip to New York City, but who cares! I was just super pleased she was okay after the scary health episode she was recovering from at that time.

- 3 - I'm thankful for time spent alone with my husband, for our spontaneous and sporadic moments always carved with sweetness like; impulse coffee outings, a quick bite together, meeting him for a special purpose, or with me just accompanying him on a "kid run" somewhere to work, hockey, horse, or whatever happens to consume the small spaces on the family calendar.

One word of advice to anyone this may apply to; take time "on purpose" TODAY to connect as a couple, at least as a bare minimum, do it weekly! It's great to have goals and to plan ahead but too many married couples forget about "today" and there is no guarantee of a "tomorrow" to be with your spouse.

With brand new calendars in our homes for this brand new year, why not just go and grab it with pen in hand and as a couple (!), sit together and purposely slot time each week for date/face time together.

I'm often asked how we, a married couple of over 30 years with a large family happenstance upon times alone along the way. The temptation to offer a cheeky answer of blood, sweat and many tears comes to mind first thing (grin), but for the most part our home was always unique with nothing pertaining to being a normal couple in the first place as my husband has always worked shift work, and been out of town for days and weeks at a time.

As my husband worked out of town or extremely long hours each week to the point where we hardly ever saw one another, a tag team for the most part with his demanding career and my times at home with the children, we knew we needed to focus on our relationship and a plan had to be drawn and tweaked for that specific purpose.

One makes time for things that are important, right? And with a 24/7 career for my hubby, time was a huge factor - never enough left over, ever. Our plan thus began! As nursing babies frequented our bed during the night (or all night long), one by one our wee babes shared our bedroom and many children were living at home. Not long after grandchildren began running through the front door. Life was indeed always full!

We decided at one point to become vigilant and begin slotting time together every Saturday after lunch, three hours away from our home alone together without children in tow (difficult I know at times but we had older children who could handle this request), and made it very clear to the rest of the children at home we would be unavailable for any taxi service during those hours. Unless there was a fire at home, they were not to disturb us either (smile).

Even though my hubby's cell phone demands still prevailed, we really began to look forward to our mini dates, excursions or walks together, be it only coffee and sharing a newspaper while chatting together, attending a talk at the local library, visiting an art gallery or art show, visiting an adult child and family, going to a matinee, taking a drive, walking at a local park, whatever. If the time was never slotted and reserved in advance, we just knew it would never happen!

Here's a fun link on this subject topic you may wish to consider reading, and I implore you to value your time with your spouse - on purpose, because one day you might not have anything in common if you allow your busy young family years or career to take over your relationship. Sure your children might be young, so just have a time when they are all tucked in bed, or having a nap, or having a babysitter come to spell you both off for a wee while.

On the priority moral and biblical totem pole, your spouse matters MORE than your children folks and in my own opinion too many couples have their priorities off the wall messed up on that point.
HERE is the LINK to the post I speak of called; Project 52 Date Nights (One date a week - on purpose!)

- 5 - I'm thankful for getting all those pumpkins cooked up, bagged and in the freezer!

I'm absolutely NOT a pie girl (gooey chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven girl - yes!) but a slice of pumpkin pie does hit the spot for me anytime of year. When the urge visits, one pie will be coming - right up! Yum!!!!

- 6 - I'm thankful for the continued love notes passed back and forth between daily my husband and our youngest daughter (aged ten), as she has become manager of the home for setting up the coffee pot nightly before she retires.

As she always leaves a blank piece of paper and pen next to her own note for her daddy to reply, he does. There is a nice stack of notes such as these above for her to cherish and hold dear in the years to come. Precious and simple things bring much heart swelling from bystanders such as I am.

- 7 - I'm thankful for
my crafty times, not happening often enough since our move here for sure. Nevertheless I've been attending a few card making classes monthly with our youngest in tow as a mother/daughter event and activity together.

These crafty items above were gifted away this year with gift cards inside to special people in our lives who have rendered services to our family over 2009, people like the garbage servicemen, the mail woman, and assorted teachers/mentors. I loved making them!

- 8 - I'm thankful for continued flower lovin' even in the depths of winter.

One particular week my husband knew I was deep in a woeful funk and wanted to lift my spirits higher with each passing day. He was so sweet because every day for six days he came home with (yet another) bouquet for me! I had flowers all over the house, ran out of vases and laughs galore ensued every time we heard the garage doors open up.

Instructions were given by him to our sons about how to treat their wives someday (God willing), and for our daughters on how to be accepting of such gifts. In awe they began to observe their crazy dad every day, sometimes commenting about the next batch of florals entering our home. By week's end, they were in awe with his thought pattern on simply ~ blessing me.

He cautioned them not to allow the thought enter their minds on how he might be wasting his money on cut flowers, rather to concentrate on the significance they represented from his hand to my heart. I love that man! Oh, do I ever! :)

- 9 - I'm thankful for the end of a first semester, the one our older teens recently completed.

Our daughter is in Grade 12, her final year of highschool and is attending school away from home for the very first time of her life. She never wanted to go, I the ridiculous mother forced her to go for many reasons, it was time as she also requires six "university level" courses for college.

When our older son who graduated last year was shocked with sudden surprise when his highschool diploma was suspended because the province of Ontario does not recognize any out of province English 12 course, held ransom one could say, he's had to repeat it even though we had to pay big bingo dollars to have a proctor oversee his final government exams for the same course, proving it complete.

Deflated, I knew I could argue the case, I knew I could, I just didn't have the energy to do so. Besides, he wasn't exactly sure what to concentrate on for his first year of college, choosing a business program in the end, and rather than actually attending the college we sought out for him, new to us is a Grade 13 program at the same highschool our daughter is attending. Many pre-college programs are funded there and actually count for the first year of college for their portfolios.

Interesting to note there are 200 students from the age of 18-20 attending this school for the same purpose, gathering accreditation towards first year of college for the price of the parents switching over their taxes to be credited to Catholic private schools. Now, that's a fairly big carrot around this province and I can certainly see why this is a great alternative choice for young people here.

Changes within our family have been ongoing with the rest of us missing them like crazy during the day, and then again when they are scheduled for their part time job shifts from week to week. All things considered, they have done well with newly acquired structured routines with a 5:30am alarm clock blaring in their ears and a school bus to catch a mere country block away.

- 9 - I'm thankful for
the success we've been able to proclaim around our home with family members while avoiding flus and colds.

We've also come to appreciate all the teen's new friends when entering our home, those who take seriously the thought of wearing a surgical mask if they have a slight bit of a cough, or better yet, opt not to come over at all if they think they may make my husband ill with whatever they might be fighting in the wellness department.

All of these teens have taken the time to chat with us and care deeply about the residual affects of bringing illnesses into our home. One can't complain about all.

- 10 - I'm thankful for my chef at home still creating in our kitchen even when I have to bite my tongue at the thought of him continually purchasing double bottles of spices and pantry items I already have. Sheesh! He's even taken over one of the drawers in our refrigerator as his own spice drawer containing fresh herbs, garlic, ginger root, various types of onions, and other assorted flavor enhancers.

Yessiree - there are times we lock horns when he doesn't put foods or spice bottles back where they have always been, changing the pattern of my storage organization and offering times when I can't find a thing when I require something myself.

I am however learning to share my kitchen a little better now. I'm getting used to a dirtier stove top and pans requiring a greater scrub from his way of cooking. I'm getting used to being a good sport about our world cooking executive chef presentations.

I love them all of course but I could gain hundreds of pounds if he continues to use his recipes with higher fat and big carbs included. A little education goes a long way so for Christmas he was gifted with a little bit of food education with a new "Cooking Fresh" cookbook and "Tosca Reno's" newest cookbook on Eating clean.

Now that it's a new year, imagine having to shed pounds created by your own husband's greatest intentions in the kitchen, and I sure wish it wasn't so. Here's to a new year, and eating healthy!

Finally, as a new year surprise to all my readers, another installments of ten things (newer things) I'm thankful for will be hot off the block very shortly!

Stay tuned!