On Friday, I had the opportunity to listen to a message from our prophet, Russell M Nelson, on the healing power of gratitude. It was short and simple, but it settled deep within me. We talk a lot this time of year about gratitude and giving thanks but sometimes if falls a little short. Perhaps a little rehearsed. Maybe forced. We feel as though we need to show gratitude because it’s the time of year.

But his message suggested showing gratitude as a prescription for so many ailments that are facing us right now: COVID, racism, political unrest, financial troubles…the list could go on and on. Life has seemed heavier than normal this year and gratitude can help us face the heaviness.

I enjoyed this quote: “Over my nine and a half decades of life, I have concluded that counting our blessings is far better than recounting our problems. No matter our situation, showing gratitude for our privileges is a fast-acting and long-lasting spiritual prescription. Does gratitude spare us from sorrow, sadness, grief and pain? No, but it does soothe our feelings. It provides us with a greater perspective on the very purpose and joy of life.”

I’m not sharing gratitude to show some amazing life. I’m sharing gratitude as a prescription for peace, contentment and happiness.

Today, I am grateful for technology.

Yes, it comes with its challenges, but my life is significantly improved because advancements in technology. I have benefited from efficiencies and opportunities that were not available a generation ago. The way I work, grocery shop, see doctors and educate children is directly related to advancements in technology. And it just keeps getting better!

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I mentioned last week that Briggs was so excited to have matching shirts with Hallie. He was equally excited to have matching shirts with me!

He’s my little shadow and to be honest, I don’t mind it. He’s easy. Perhaps it’s being the youngest child and learning to go with the flow but he just tags along. He knows if we’re leaving the house to run errands that he needs to grab a snack. He’s always willing to “help” me with my projects. And if given the chance, he’ll always see what I’m wearing and see if he has something to match.

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One step closer…

Right before summer I finally got the ceiling back on the patio – after we had ripped it off for water damage a year and a half prior. I got as far as priming it before the heat was unbearable and I put the project on hold.

After rolling a single coat of primer on the ceiling, (and my shoulders aching) I realized this job would be easier if I sprayed it. If I’m being honest – spraying is one of my least favorite activities – so I put if off for as long as possible. But as much as I hate spraying, I also hate projects looming over me. It was time to get it behind me

Last weekend I taped everything off and got to work. I thought spraying would be easier on my shoulders, but holding it above my head was equally as taxing, but it did go much faster.

I chose the perfect overcast day to work on this project but I couldn’t finish fast enough. I sent Steve on an errand to grab another gallon of paint (I always underestimate how much paint is used when spraying) and by the time he returned, a large wind storm was moving in and my plastic was starting to fall down. I worked quickly and skipped the area where the plastic was falling down and within 5 minutes I had all the plastic torn down (which is discouraging when it took 3 hours to tape it off originally).

Is it finished. Nope. But I am one step closer and that is a little victory!

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The dress…

We were cleaning out a closet when I came across the the familiar pink garment bag.

A garment bag that has traveled with me from Rexburg to Wisconsin to Arizona and never opened.

It always gets shoved in the most convenient closet and forgotten about.

Most recently it resided in Bennett’s closet. And he was ready to reclaim his space so he asked that I move it. The kids curiosity was peaked when I told them it was my wedding dress. Of course they demanded that I try it on for them. (Why does it feel weird to put your wedding dress back on!?! It felt so familiar and yet oddly uncomfortable!)

You want to know what was even more uncomfortable? Letting Hallie try it on!

Steve was pretty weirded out. I’m sure seeing your daughter try on wedding dresses at any age leaves you with a lump in your throat. It was no different for Hallie. She’s been feeling a lot more grown up to us lately (high school tends to have that effect on kids) and this was icing on the cake.

I’ve totally looked forward to and embraced every new stage with open arms. This is not a stage I’m welcoming with open arms anytime soon!!

The dress is back in the pink garment bag and is now residing in the back of my closet until I can find a better closet to pawn it off to. Part of me is wondering why in the world I have hung on to it this long – the other part figures if I’ve held on to it this long, might as well keep it a little longer!

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Brotherly love…

It has taken a couple years, but Hunter has finally collected two helmets and two sets of pads from the local thrift shop. (I think he wanted to be a football player for Halloween just so he could get a set of pads!)

And now he just wants someone to play with.

Bennett is a good sport and his current target, although he doesn’t love football and has a low tolerance for his brother hitting him around. Bennett might be good for a few plays before he’s done with his older brother’s taunting and aggression; he usually knows his limits and is able to walk away before getting too worked up.

Just a little brotherly love.

It was about two minutes after this that someone fell to the ground and the helmet crashed into the wood floors and almost into my entertainment center. I made an executive decision – no helmets in the house!

Life with kids is always an adventure.

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As part of the Spanish immersion program Bennett and Cannon are participating in at school, they not only learn the language but they also learn about the culture. Recently, as we were celebrating Halloween, my kids were learning about Día de los Muertos – Day of the dead at school.

A large part of this celebration is an ofrenda. I learned an ofrenda is a home altar with a collection of objects placed on a ritual display during the Día de los Muertos celebration. It usually contains very specific items such as sugar skulls, perforated paper, flowers, pictures/items of loved one who have passed and salt.

Cannon was asked to choose a loved one who has passed and create an ofrenda for them and share it with the class. At their young age, my kids haven’t been close to many who have passed. My grandmother passed away a few years back and although my kids weren’t close to her, (she didn’t live close and my kids only remember her in her aging years) Cannon chose to create an ofrenda for her.

It was a good reminder to me that it’s important to look back. We’re taught to look forward and dream of the future. But looking back at those that have passed can be a very special experience – an opportunity I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t take often enough. I found it hard to describe my grandmother in the two generic sentences the first graders were asked to complete. And it made Steve ask, “How in the world are our grandchildren going to describe us one day?!”

My grandmother had a 99 year, 364 day life and she is summed up on a first grade paper as “Loved watching the hummingbirds outside her window”. I know she was so much more, but it was a good exercise.

I love the idea of taking a day and focusing on family members and friends who are no longer with us – our lives are enriched and molded from those who came before us.

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The never ending end table…

I can’t remember when I purchased this wood – probably mid-September. And it sat on on my bedroom floor for a couple weeks (it was still too hot in the garage and I didn’t want to damage the wood). Here we are almost two months later and I’m still working away on it!

The rate I get building projects done these days is disheartening! I clearly have other priorities right now so I just fit it in when I can.

Sometimes my projects are contained outside and sometimes I need a nice large level surface so my kitchen island becomes a work table. This is what my kitchen island looked like today. I was glueing and clamping and screwing and stain testing.

One day this relatively simple end table will come to life. Until then, I have pieces of it all over my kitchen and patio!

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Hallie and I were walking through wal-mart when we came across this cute mustard stripe shirt for Briggs and it was only $4. I grabbed a blue one for Cannon. Before long Hallie was rummaging through the sizes to find one that would fit her.

You can imagine Briggs’ excitement when he realized he had the same exact shirt as his favorite older sister. When he sees Hallie in her shirt he quickly changes to match.

Today I was working out in the yard in a Backyard Taco shirt we picked up at their grand opening recently. Before long, Briggs came running out of the house in a matching Backyard Taco shirt.

Four-year-olds love to be twinsies.

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Cannon’s little mishap…

Anyone else wish they were at the beach somewhere…anywhere right about now!? I do!!

I got a call from the school nurse yesterday. In today’s covid world, that is a scary call because if a kid is sent home for sickness, they aren’t allowed back at school unless they get a negative test which takes days.

I was relieved when she said Cannon fell off the swings and hurt his foot and was unable to walk. Not ideal, but not covid!

We usually wait a day or two before heading to a doctor in a situation like this. In Bennett’s broken foot case we waited 10 days because he kept telling us he was okay.

But Cannon was in a lot of pain and waiting a few hours didn’t seem to change that. Not to mention he had a bone on the side of his foot that was protruding out more than usual. We got him in for x-rays and miraculously it wasn’t broken. Seriously strained, but not broken. But could take weeks to heal.

He got wrapped up and sent home and I thought just the idea of knowing it wasn’t broken may help him feel better. But hours after he went to bed he was up in the night crying in pain. This morning he so badly wanted to go to school, but he couldn’t even walk. Not even the slightest of pressure. And when I told him he needed to be able to put a little weight on his foot in order to even get to school he tried his hardest to push through. Ultimately, he was left crying on the couch in pain. So he had a home school day. He watched movies, did puzzles, played games with Briggs and worked on a school project.

I think he realized it’s boring to stay home with mom! We’re both hoping he can make it to school tomorrow.

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