Thursday, July 31, 2014

These days...

These days, in no particular order:

*I sleep like a log.  Unless I'm awakened in the middle of the night by a dream, or Chloe's aching leg, or Ryan's bleeding nose (common culprits), and my brain starts running.  Then I'm guaranteed an hour long toss and turn fest, or in tonight's case, said hour, followed by a, "Sheesh, might as well get up and write a blog post."

*Chloe continues to sass, question and critique me on a regular basis.  Some days I'm convinced she's more hormonal than I am.  Thank goodness that with the drama comes a genuinely caring and compassionate heart.  She really is a good girl (with an attitude).

*Ryan, my once mellow, chill kid, is beginning to demonstrate some undesirable personality traits, namely temper tantrums.  This has never been in his nature, ever!  Today he told me, "Mom, you're starting to make me angry."  Not a huge fan of this "phase," but I'll take his communicative efforts over the silent treatment his sister so often gives me, any day!  Thank goodness he still has that tender, sweet side.

*I'm 2 1/2 months into the busiest and most humbling church calling I've ever had: Young Women president.  Much like motherhood, it's tiresome and never-ending.  Even when the boxes are checked, activities planned, lessons prepared, meetings completed, reports submitted, visits made, hugs given, and prayers said, there's still an unspoken weight on my shoulders.  It's a weight that as a past YW counselor and advisor (a few times over), I never, ever felt to this magnitude.  And try as I might to lighten things (through organization, delegation and prayer), I'm beginning to accept that it just goes with the territory of being president.  Just as mothers never, ever stop worrying about their children, I never, ever stop worrying about my girls.  I never knew it was possible to love a group of young women so much.
{Girls Camp 2014!!}  
*I listen to a lot of Ella Fitzgerald on Pandora.  Her music and music like hers soothes my soul, and literally takes the edge off when I'm stressed.  Some days she's my BFF.

*My children make me crazy.  If there's an argument or competition to be had, they find a way.  I'm constantly having to intervene, and sadly, most days, the "blissful" moments come in millisecond form.  I don't know if it's their ages, the summer weather or routine, or just the simple fact that they're siblings and this is what siblings do, but by bedtime, I'm generally ready to shake them.  There are so many components to being a good parent.  Raising a decent, respectable human being with all the desirable traits is very hard.  So often I feel like I'm failing them, but deep down I know I'm doing my very best.  I do love them.

*Speaking of kids, their first day of school is 2 weeks from today.  What's that about!?  Third grade and Kindergarten?  Not ready.

*Neil loves his job.  He also loves his short commute and the fact that his two hospitals are right across the street from each other.  A happily employed husband makes for a happy wife, let me tell you.  And the green scrubs he wears doesn't hurt anything either.  What is it about a man in scrubs?

*I have been on a major reading kick since about February, and have read 8 novels to date.  Currently, Jane Eyre sits on my bedside table.  13 chapters in and I still have yet to be engaged.  I can tell it's about to get interesting, but I have to be honest.  Charlotte Bronte, while an excellent writer, at least in THIS novel, lacks a certain level of wit and humor that I LONG FOR.  The story line is dark and dreary so far, which doesn't make me excited to keep going.  But I know many, many people who love this novel, and it is a classic after all, so I'm expecting that I'll start to get sucked in soon.  I hope so anyway!  Reading is therapy to me.  I've sacrificed sleep to make it happen these recent months, but it's worked wonders for my soul and sanity.

*We continue to stay busy with house projects and furniture.  So far, Neil has built a dining room table, a TV stand, both kids' bedroom sets (beds, night stands and dressers) and a step stool for the bathroom.  Last week while I was at girl's camp, he installed paneling in Ryan's room, and tonight finished crown molding.  There's still SO much to be done, but we're slowly making our house a home.  Father's Day marked 1 year since we moved in.  Hard to believe.

*I'm ready for Fall!!  These consecutive days in triple digits with zero chance of precipitation is getting old.

Grateful for the good things in my life, and also the trials.  My constant hope is that both can continually mold me into a better Valeri.
{Fort Collins, CO - July 2014}

Monday, March 31, 2014

Missionary experience at Safeway

I had a neat and unexpected missionary experience today and want to document it before I forget it.

Upon picking up Ryan from school, he immediately asked if we could go to Chick-Fil-A.  It's a mile or less from his school, and being that he's out at 11:10, we will sometimes stop there for lunch.  While I am virtually always up for a spicy chicken sandwich, I just felt like it wasn't right today, so I told Ryan no and we drove on.  I then suggested that Ryan get a cookie instead since we needed to stop at Safeway on our way home.  Ryan, who normally is as easy and mellow as they come, burst into tears and threw himself a little tantrum.  He wanted Chick-Fil-A, NOT a cookie!  This is honestly not like him at all, but it further confirmed that I'd made the right decision.  I explained that with this kind of attitude, he wasn't going to get either.  Sadly, he continued to pout and when we arrived to Safeway and he sheepishly asked if he could get a cookie, I told him no.

We got into Safeway and went straight to the bakery for rolls, only to discover they were out.  After standing at the bakery counter for four solid minutes, a lady appeared from behind the counter and asked if she could help me.  She checked in the back for rolls only to find none there, then referred me to the front of the store where I could grab individual rolls out of the bin.  Thankfully the rolls were there and after grabbing the few other items on my life, we headed to the self-checkout stand.  Upon scanning my first item, I immediately noticed just feet from us the missionaries from our ward putting change into one of those money machines to get bills back.  I pointed them out to Ryan and told him to go say hello.  He was being shy for some reason and refused.  Maybe it had something to do with no Chick-Fil-A or cookie?  Either way, the next thing we knew, the lady working the self-checkout lanes walked over and said hello.  She asked Ryan's name, then introduced herself as "Dinah."  At this point Ryan decided to put his happy face back on and while pointing to the missionaries, said, "Those are the missionaries!  They go to our church!"  Dinah then said, "I know!  My sister sometimes feeds the missionaries!"  Well that was random!  Then Dinah mentioned how she would love to feed the missionaries herself but recently got rid of her table and isn't sure she could accommodate them.  She even asked, "Do you have to be Mormon to feed the missionaries?"  It was so cool to be having such an open and friendly conversation out in public with a complete stranger.  Finally I told her that we were actually planning to feed them Saturday and that she was welcome to join us if she'd like!  I offered to write down my name and phone number and told her she was welcome to call me if she'd like to come, or if she had any questions or wanted to get in touch with the missionaries.  Another customer happened by and Dinah seemed to be a bit distracted and ended up walking away.  At that point I thought that perhaps that was the end of it and that I'd been too bold in offering her my number.  But the next thing I know she was walking back towards me with a piece of paper and a pen!  I wrote down my name and number and reemphasized our desire to have her in our home on Saturday.  She was very gracious and kind, and thanked me.  She then told me she'd try and call me after work, and as we were leaving, she said, "Goodbye Ryan!"

She also mentioned during our conversation that her mom in Louisianna (or maybe it was her aunt) cooked for the missionaries sometimes too.  I told her about our connections to Louisianna.  Super friendly lady.

I was so amazed by the experience and the simple ease of it.  And then I remembered the feeling I'd had as Ryan asked if we could go to Chick-Fil-A, and how I had a feeling today wasn't the day to go.  And that thought led to the frustration I'd felt standing at the bakery counter waiting and waiting for someone to happen by.  Had we gone to Chick-Fil-A, or had Safeway had the rolls I needed to begin with, we may have missed Dinah.  Or perhaps the missionaries, who never even saw us at all, would not have been standing 15 feet away.  This is a direct answer to prayer.  We as a family have been praying for missionary opportunities, and I just had one!  Perhaps nothing will come of it.  Perhaps Dinah will decide after work that she doesn't want to call me or accept my invitation after all.  But I'd like to think if nothing else, that Ryan's eagerness to share with Dinah that the missionaries from his church were standing over there just might plant a seed.  I am really happy I listened to the Spirit today.

Friday, October 18, 2013


Tonight Ryan cashed in his m&m jar earnings of staying up one hour past bedtime.  Bless the kid's heart.  He's so much like his dad, and could barely stay awake that full extra hour.  All day he remind me of this great upcoming reward of staying up later than his sister, describing to me all the things he planned to do during that hour, and how lucky he was to have been given such an opportunity.  Yet, over the remaining 30 minutes of what was meant to be party time, he repeatedly asked me if it had been an hour yet.  When I finally asked him if he just wanted to go to bed, he looked at me sheepishly and nodded his head.  This kid knows when he's tired, never fights it, and is out almost instantly as soon as his head hits the pillow.  He plays hard, hard, hard all day long, and then sleeps hard, hard, hard all night long.  What a little boy.  His sleeping habits (and needs), so much like his dad's, are incredibly endearing to me.

When I finally tucked him in tonight (with 5 minutes to spare before his postponed bedtime), I asked the same question I ask several times a week:

"Ryan, will you stay little?"

"Moooom, I've already told you!  I don't know how!"
"I know, I know.  I don't really want you to stay little.  You're just so sweet to snuggle with when you're little, and I know that as you get bigger, you're not going to want to snuggle with me as much."

"I'm NOT little!  I'm a BIG boy!  ...  But Mom, you can still snuggle with me, even when I'm five, and then six, and then seven!  ...  And eight!  You can even snuggle with me when I'm TEN!"  

WHERE did this sweet boy come from, and HOW did I get lucky enough to be his mom!?  I ask myself these questions sooo frequently.  Truly, he has the most tender heart of any little guy I've ever known.  He is my mellow, go-with-the-flow, affectionate, willing-to-crawl-in-my-lap-any-time kid, who really truly loves his mama just as a boy should.  That's not to say he doesn't enjoy doing BOY things.  The kid knows how to roughhouse, assume the role of Super Hero, and demonstrate his vast array of Ninja skills.  I just love watching him be rough a tough one minute, and then sweet and tender the next.  He balances it all out rather well.

I can't believe he'll be FIVE in 3 weeks.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Still alive...

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it!

I'm not even sure where to begin.  Life has changed just a touch since I last blogged.  Chloe finished first grade.  Neil sold his Jetta and got a company car.  Oh yeah, and we bought a house!  It's 11 miles East of Land Park (where we were for 10 months), putting us in an entirely different area of Sacramento, ward and school district.  Like I said, a touch of change.  It amazes me to think back to a year ago, when we still lived in Ripon and were awaiting word on Neil's job.  His company had just been bought out by Johnson & Johnson, which was resulting in major territory re-alignments nationwide.  To complicate matters more, Neil had been covering Sacramento's largest account for the past month due to the main guy up and quitting the day of the buyout, and it was looking more and more like Neil was going to be replacing this guy permanently.  Of course we couldn't say anything or act on the assumption until we received final word from management.  Our lives were basically on hold from the beginning of July to August 16th when Neil finally learned his fate.  It's amazing to reflect on the many changes that have taken place in this short year, and to compare where we were last July to where we are today.  In some ways it's felt like three blinks of an eye, and in others, an eternity.  I feel very mixed about all the changes, but have grown tremendously and know we are where we're supposed to be today.

Here are the kids in front of the new house.  

We signed papers June 7th, got keys the 11th or 12th (can't remember now), and officially moved in the 15th (day before Father's Day).  This picture was taken on Father's Day, just before we took our first neighborhood walk.  Ryan was still in his church clothes, while Chloe was much more comfortably dressed.  They make me smile.  Such honest little expressions.

We are slowly getting settled and filling empty spaces.  It's going to take time, but we are excited for the projects and challenges that lie ahead.  More later! 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Project Life: Week 1 (Utah)

Well, here is my Week 1 layout.  This was a tricky week to start Project Life because it wasn't an average, low-key week.  We drove to Utah to see my family, so I took more pictures than usual, and had A LOT to journal.  I am actually going to end up inserting a 6x12 sheet between these with January 5th's events, including a story about Ryan and my Grandma (see below), as well as Grandpa's birthday, which we celebrated together in his honor.  Anyway, I am mostly happy with this, but definitely need to come up with a simpler system to keep things consistent.  To me, this is too busy.  But again, there was a lot to squeeze in.  Week 2 and so forth should be a little easier to process. 

Here's half of the 6x12 insert. The other half (Grandpa's birthday tribute) is still in production.

A closer look...

This Utah trip was truly like no other. With all the recent developments relating to Grandma, my main priority was to spend time with her and to help my parents. It was an unforgettably sweet and humbling five days.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A week in pictures

My posts tend to be wordy.  So here's one with fewer words and more pictures.

Monday, Jan 21
Mohawks and giggles...
Swimming with JD...
...yes, in January.

Tuesday, Jan 22

Sweet, miserable, croup-coughin' boy...
...and some Fruity Pebbles with sprinkles to ease the pain.
Wednesday, Jan 23
Trains.  Enough said.
Thursday, Jan 24
34th birthday celebrating.
We love you, Neil/Daddy!
Friday, Jan 25
Crocker Art Museum field trip...
...with these rockin' first and second graders...
...and the Norman Rockwell exhibit {AMAZING}!!
Saturday, Jan 26
Sudden Toy Story kick.
Sunday, Jan 27
...and some good old-fashioned entertainment to finish the day.
I'd say it was a good week!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Project Life!

Well, I've finally started Project Life, after contemplating, researching, and admiring the concept for two solid years.  I am using the digital system to document the every day of 2013, and also received a couple kits (in paper form) for Christmas from my parents to complete the kids' baby books.  Sadly, it isn't so much that I've put off doing their books all these years as I've just never been excited about any particular system I've seen out there.  I've wanted to do traditional scrapbooks for each of them, and have purchased goodness knows how many sheets of card stock, cutesy embellishments, brads, and other silly, unnecessary things.  Yet how many pages have I actually completed for either of the kids?  Might I remind you they are 7 and 4?  Two pages!  Total!  Yes, TWO.  It's pathetic.  I came to the conclusion long ago that traditional scrapbooking was not for me.  As much as I still love and appreciate it, I don't have the patience or time. 

Upon discovering Project Life, I was instantly smitten.  The concept of clean and simple, the ease of filling in 4x6 and 3x4 slots rather than tackling a blank 12x12 canvas, not to mention the inspiration it immediately triggered were all answers to prayer.  I know that must sound terribly cheesy, but it's simply the truth.

Last year, they came out with their Baby and Childhood Editions, and, that was pretty much it for me.  Between this and finally getting Chloe's baby pictures back (off our crashed hard drive), I knew it was time to make the plunge. Just after Christmas, I spent one evening going through all the kids' baby documents - hospital papers and bracelets, birth announcements, cards, stats, and other precious (and silly) keepsakes, which up to that point, had been sitting in a box.  It felt so good to finally be doing something with it all, and I have already started transferring some things into their books.  The kids ADORE looking at my blog.  They could spend hours sifting through old posts and giggling at the various pictures and updates from years past.  And since I've started filling their albums, Ryan hasn't missed a day of thumbing through his.  It's certainly something we will all enjoy and treasure for years to come.  And aren't books so much more enjoyable to look through than a glaring computer screen?  

Here's my title page for 2013.   

Currently, I am working on Weeks 1, 2, and 3, and will share them as soon as I'm finished.  Ultimately my goal is to print a book at the end of the year, encompassing all of my Project Life spreads and blog posts.  I'm leaning toward capturing more in my PL, and doing less blogging.  I am still finding my groove with it all, but I am so excited to have finally stumbled upon a system that I am confident will actually work for me.  Head over to Becky Higgins' site to learn more about Project Life.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New Year, New Goals.

Well, so much for 30 days of gratitude, or any December posts for that matter.  Sadly, all those gratitude posts are still stowed away in my draft folder.  Perhaps I'll get around to finishing, polishing, and sharing them soon.  In the meantime, let me apologize for my two month absence.  Life's been busy, what can I say?  I haven't had a lot of free time, and I haven't been in much of a blogging mood.  Even the few times I've attempted it, I've had an immediate writer's block.  Thankfully, said block appears to have passed, so here I am!

It's hard to believe we're now living in 2013.  Time flies, especially when you're an adult.  The Andersens are well, and looking forward to another productive year.  After a peaceful Christmas at home with Neil's mom visiting, the kids and I made a quick drive to Utah (on the 1st) to see my family.  We came home the 6th, and the following morning life was back in full swing.  Christmas break felt more like two days than two weeks, which makes me a little sad.  But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't happy to see the kids go back to school.  Breaks from one's children are healthy for relationships, and this mama most definitely needs hers.  :)

In honor of the new year, we focused our family home evening this week on goals and resolutions.  Cliche?  Absolutely!  But I really think the kids caught on to the concepts discussed.  I read the kids a story about a little boy who had resolved to keep his room clean but after only four days was failing miserably.  When he went to his mom, unsure of how to get back on track and stay there, she suggested that rather than be overwhelmed by the job as a whole, to break it down into steps.  We talked about how sometimes our responsibilities seem like too much to bear, but when we take a step back and analyze the breakdown of how to get from point A to point B, it becomes much more plausible.  At the end of our lesson we took a few minutes to jot down some of our individual goals for 2013.  We then shared those goals and resolved to not only maintain/achieve them, but to help encourage one another along their journey as well.

Chloe's goal sheet doesn't require much explanation.  It's clear she drew an illustration to accompany each goal (#3 is my favorite).  :)  Ryan's piece on the other hand... well, let me explain.  To start off, I must applaud him for writing out his goals all by himself.  I spelled the words for him, but he wrote every dot of ink you see below.  Then he drew a picture of himself with his remote control car.  He's apparently putting it away, thus fulfilling one of his goals to clean his room.  Oh, and the little blob off to the right side?  That's his baby, "Elisabeth."  ???  He and Chloe are both quite enthralled with the name.

Here are Neil's and my goals.  Doable, right?

It was fun to share our goals and talk about our plans of execution.  And ever since Monday, both the kids have seemed motivated.  Chloe in particular, has made her bed every morning first thing, and today, invited me out of her bedroom when I offered to help.  She's really taking this seriously!  :)

I stumbled upon this quote last week and LOVED it.  President Howard W. Hunter, though only our prophet for a short time, has always been one of my favorites.  I had a special experience involving him less than 24 hours before his death, and have always felt a unique connection to him as a result.  It's hard to explain, but he's very special to me, so naturally whenever I hear mention of his name, my ears perk up.  I love these sweet and gentle words of advice, and how timely to share them with the new year upon us.

“This year, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.”                       

- Howard W. Hunter

Happy New Year, everyone!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Gratitude Day 16

Today I am grateful for:

1) The events of 7 years ago today, which forever changed our lives for the better.

2) Feeling emotionally lighter and more at ease than I have in a while.  Since the results of the election, I have found myself more invested than ever in reading and educating myself on our president, his administration and the many issues and challenges our country is facing right now.  Unfortunately, of the hours I have spent researching, the most valuable lesson I have learned is that there is a fine line between educating yourself on politics and allowing it to consume you.  In the end, I found that it was doing more damage than good; making me bitter, resentful, cynical and just plain negative!  And worst of all, I felt very separated from the Spirit and from the sweet values I hold dear and rely on for strength.  Yesterday I had an unpleasant discussion with some friends, some of whose views differ from mine.  It was such a rotten feeling to have opened my mouth when I should have practiced tact and then to watch what unfolded, all due to my heat of the moment anger.  THAT is when I decided it was time to replace the garbage with something uplifting.  What started out as awful, though, actually ended up being good when one friend and I found common ground and were able to talk pleasantly.  My heart was softened and I was greatly humbled by her example to politely disagree but not tear me down in the process.  This morning I woke up feeling a weight lifted, and a greater desire to be like that friend: to not pass judgement so easily, to give others the benefit of the doubt, and more than anything, to be Christ-like.  Another thing I have learned in all of this, as I've really searched my soul, is that sometimes it is best to just say a prayer and move on!  :)  

3) My morning with Ryan, again.  I am positive I have been grateful for this before.  :)  He is just such a joy to have around that I can't help being grateful every single day!  Today I was determined to make every minute of our morning count before preschool.  We came home from dropping Chloe off and immediately played Yahtzee, followed by Ants in Pants.  Then we put together two puzzles.  Of course, Ryan lost interest about a third of the way into the second one.  He also helped me vacuum, and put the apple juice boxes into a bag to take to preschool for their Thanksgiving feast.  I so enjoy hanging with that cute boy.  He is my little buddy, and I honestly don't know what I'm going to do when he enters kindergarten.  At one point this morning I asked him, "Would you stop growing already?"  He replied, "I can't!"  When I asked, "Why not?", he replied, "Because Jesus would be mad if I stopped!"  Love him.  Here are some pictures of the fun he and I had today.
Caught red-handed!!
He wanted his hair to be "silly," so we spiked it.  Love his boots and honest expression.
Doing show and tell at preschool.  This is definitely one of Ryan's favorite things.
My view leaving Ryan's preschool to drive home.  Isn't it heavenly?  LOVE Land Park!!
This photo speaks a thousand words.  What a little stink.  But how can you resist that smile?  Oh, I love him.
4) Talking to my grandma on the phone, which is something I have not had a chance to do in almost two months!  She took a fall back in September and spent several weeks in a Rehab facility.  Since then she has had virtually every type of therapy you can imagine.  Physical, occupational, speech.  It was quite traumatic for her (rightfully so), and given the fact that she's about to turn ninety-six, I'd say she's handled it pretty darn well!  So, long story short, she moved into my parent's house on Tuesday.  She had finished her time at the rehab place but wasn't enough improved to go back to the assisted living place where she lived.  It just made the most sense that she move in with my parents, and they have been WONDERFUL with her so far.  I am so amazed and impressed by their goodness.  It makes me cry to think about what loving hands Grandma is in.  It kills me that I'm not there to help, but I think about her and my parents constantly, and am praying that all continues to run smoothly.

Among other things, Grandma has struggled with talking on the phone, and outright refused to do it.  I think part of it stems from being on oxygen 24/7.  That cannot be comfortable!  Anyway, I was chatting with my mom tonight and suddenly I heard grandma's voice!  Somehow my mom had convinced her to talk to me.  We weren't on the phone long, but it sure was wonderful to hear her voice.  I have MISSED it!  She is such a sweet soul, and has brought me many moments of comfort.  She sounded a lot weaker than she ever has before, but I could still sense that sharp and determined spirit in there, which I so deeply love.  Chatting with her was definitely one of the highlights of my day.  When my mom came back to the phone, she said, "Do you know how special you are that she'd talk to you!?"  I had to chuckle.  Pretty special, obviously! :)
This was taken at the end of August, just before Grandma's fall.  We took this just before saying goodbye.  Hope I get to see her again very soon.

5) A late night board game with Chloe.  Apparently, she decided to catch a cold just in time for her birthday tomorrow.  She was pretty miserable when I tucked her into bed, and I listened from across the house, to her sniffles and even tears over the next 45 minutes.  I came in a few times to check on her, give her medicine, etc., just hoping that at any minute she'd fall asleep.  Finally, when all else had failed, I decided to try one last thing.  So I went into her room and asked if opening a birthday present a day early might help her to feel better.  Boy did that work wonders!  She proceeded to open a board game we'd gotten her, which naturally led to us playing the game!  It was great, and so spontaneous.  She was in much better spirits when we finished the game and said goodnight, and now she's sound asleep on my bed. :)

Can I also just quickly say that I am grateful for Instagram!!  What a fast and easy way to share photos!  I am using my big camera less and less for the every day stuff because this is just so much easier!  The quality doesn't compare, of course, but with how little free time I have anymore, convenience plays a huge factor.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gratitude Day 15

This one will be short and sweet.  Today I am grateful for:

1) 30 darling first and second graders and 1 awesome teacher!  Ryan and I brought blueberry muffins into Chloe's classroom today in honor of her birthday this Saturday, and Mrs. Winston had the kids figure out Chloe's age based on a mathematical problem.  The problem involved the less than/greater than/equal to concept.  I swear those kids are smarter than I am!  I loved the way she made something "fun" educational as well.  She is SUCH a wonderful teacher.  Chloe adores her, and so do we!

2) My Uncle Alfred and Aunt Grace.  You can read some background on them HERE.  One of the reasons I was excited to move to Sacramento was so I could be closer to them.  They have been in my life since before I was around!  David "Alfred" met my dad in the military even before my brother was born, and they were instant friends.  It has been so cool getting to see them regularly, and watching their bond with the kids develop and grow.  The kids just assume they're family, as they should!

Alfred and Grace came over last night for dinner and it was perfect.  Grace even helped Chloe with her homework and gave the kids baths.  She looked like she was having just as much fun, if not more, as the kids!  That meant more to me than she'll ever know.  It is so nice having them just a short five minutes away.  Living hundreds of miles from family makes me especially grateful for this.

3) Soup!  Any kind!  There's just something about it that makes me feel warm and cozy and home!
Corn chowder with chilies & good old chicken noodle.
4) The rain.  The scent, the cleanliness, and its sign that a California winter is near.  We've had a little rain  throughout the week, and are expecting quite a bit more going into the weekend and early next week.  Call me crazy, but I wouldn't care if it rained every single day.  I love it that much.

5) A washer and a dryer.  Enough said!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gratitude Day 14

Today I am grateful for:

1) This little man, a.k.a. walking fashion statement, who always insists on helping me pump my gas.

2) The alone time I spent with Chloe between 1:05, when she got out of school (minimum day), and 2:30, when we had to pick up Ryan from preschool. It amazes me how much better Chloe behaves when it's just the two of us. It was very pleasant, indeed. After we picked up Ryan, the kids played at the park for a while.    

3) Love notes to piano teachers, written in unexpected one's theory book!

4) Facetime with Neil during Chloe's piano lesson.

5) The generosity and talent of Chloe's piano teacher and her husband, who painted this canvas for her birthday. It meant THE WORLD to Chloe, and to me. Very thoughtful. She will treasure it forever.  Thank you, Brother and Sister Rook!

That was our day in a nutshell!  And I'm grateful for it.