Monday, February 28, 2011


On a cool morning, the sun so bright on the white snow, I sit warm in my classroom. I'm considering the small miracles all around me. I read on Ann Voskamp's blog once that you can only feel one thing at a time and I choose to feel gratitude. This weekend, I let myself get overwhelmed and short-tempered. And now, I'm feeling guilty. I don't want to be the woman who snaps at people when she gets overwhelmed. I want to maintain a level of calm amidst chaos- collected presence amidst vomit, tripping over cords, and unexpectedly long projects. I spent time this weekend apologizing to multiple people for being crabby with them. I don't want to be crabby anymore- I've realized that I only ask for help when I've reached my breaking point and then it's too late. If there's any hesitation in coming to my rescue, in the past, I've snapped at someone.

Can you control your impulses? Can you tame your reactions? I believe so. I believe it will take practiced gratitude in the midst of chaos, or "stressful" situations to make calm reactions a habit. I am committed to changing my reactions- I want to model peace for my baby. I want to be a peaceful wife to my husband. I want to be a peaceful daughter and sister to my family.

Maybe this is too much information but it's where I am and from where my gratitude list is birthed.

81. Gemma's sweet disposition as I tried to take her temperature... she's a baby- imagine what taking an infant's temp entails... thus, her peaceful response was so welcome.

82. Beautiful dresses.

83. A much needed delicious dinner with Abe (medium rare steak, great Caeser salad, a margarita and Key Lime Pie).

84. Sitting on the same side of the booth with my sweetheart.

85. Falling asleep on the couch.

86. Gemma's throaty laugh as I blow bubbles on her belly.

87. The best babysitters ever! When Abe and I went out for dinner, my parents came over to watch Gemma. Abe and I were gone 3 1/2 hours. We had a 5 o'clock reservation and were so tired, we were home by 7:30. My mom wanted to call and tell us to stay out as long as we wanted; Gemma was the best, sweetest, baby in the world. We came home to our girl snuggled in her bed, and Grandma and Grandpa having Italian soup in our kitchen. It's so nice to have them nearby and willing to help out.

88. The health of a dear friend. I'm so thankful that she seems to be stable and doing well. Her presence is a daily gift.

89. For the gift of watching my daughter with my dad and my dad with my daughter. I can't type too much or I'll start crying and I'm at work and that just won't do but...

here he is with me...

and here he is with Gemma, days after she was born...

I see the same look of love on his face in both pictures. I can see how he loves her and thus how he loves me. It really touches my heart in a deep place- I hope he realizes how infinitely valuable he is to me and my family. Words fail to adequately express my heart towards this man, my daddy...

90. For cow-print carseats. I just love the new carseat for Gemma- it's freakishly cute... pictures to come.

Here's to constant self-reflection, self-improvement, and self-forgiveness. Sometimes grace towards yourself is the hardest grace to give.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Today, I am home from school- President's Day. Gemma and I get to spend the day together. The whole metro area is blanketed in 8-16" of fresh, heavy snow. The world outside my window is quiet, slow-moving, and still. I am full of gratitude, laughter, and motivation! (My house might just get clean, today... might...)

71. Fresh snow- I got a bit spoiled by the warm up last week, however, the fresh, quiet, clean snow is so beautiful. I won't complain. It's much better than the brown, slushy, melting stuff.

72. Pot Roast in the crock pot... cooking as we speak... making the house smell heavenly!

73. The rumble of snow plows during nap time. It's soothing in it's muffled noise outside the window. Makes me feel like hibernating.

74. Fresh doggie haircuts- clean and smelling good!

75. Apples- and not having an allergic reaction when I eat them, is even better! I LOVE apples... I daydream about when Honeycrisp come into season!!

76. Dinner with dear friends- chicken pot pies, prayers, accountability, and deep friendship; and now, all that with the laughter of kids in the background. Oh, how things have changed in beautiful ways!

77. Play day with Gemma. She's getting so interactive! I just love it!

78. Bath time... Gemma kicks and splashes and grins at herself. I love watching her enjoy the water!

79. Norwex... come on, all you Canadians- this stuff is amazing!

80. Abe... and how he holds my hand in the middle of the night. I love that he is willing to be for me, just what I need. I'm a lucky lady...

And just in closing... me and my girl...

Monday, February 14, 2011


#'s 61-70

61. Gemma's learned to blow raspberries- she does it all the time. It cracks me up... and gets me covered in spit. Gotta love being a mama.

62. The warm spell we've had here... it was 42 today! 42!!!!!!!!!!! Heat wave! People in Minnesota wear shorts once it hits 40....

63. Today, I did a special project with 6 kids who stayed back from a 3 day overnight school field trip. The high school teacher gave us 8 large canvases and these 12 year olds are painting up a storm. Seeing their joy and their focus is just beautiful... I couldn't wipe the smile off my face! Watching a child discover their inner creator is absolutely inspiring.

64. My dad made it safely home from Turkey and then proceeded to try to get the ice dams off the roof... he went flying off the ladder, twice. I'm so grateful he's okay... and a little tickled that he got back up on the ladder after biting it once. He thinks he's invincible...

65. Abe started his reserve position this week... here's my handsome officer and Gemma... sigh...

66. This adorable hat- dear friends of mine gave it to Gemma and it's so stinkin' cute I just can't stand it. She looks like a little gnome.

67. Margaritas. They make me think of summer and everything warm and breezy.

68. Sunrises- especially orange and blue ones. There's something so beautiful about the complementary color sunrises. They just make me happy.

69. This little beauty- I photographed her for a friend and she just melted my heart. Meet Lucia Valentina... her mama had a really tough pregnancy and an even tougher recovery. Her arrival is truly an answer to prayer. I am so thankful that Lucia is here and healthy and as you can see, freakishly beautiful. Ella es muy hermosa- una princesa... Me encanta Lucia Valentina...

70. And finally, Happy Valentine's Day. Here is my newest Valentine... just a few more. Couldn't resist!

As always, there is so much more to be thankful for. I am speechless with how blessed I am...

I am spending this Valentine's day with my amazing husband (the absolute love of my life), and my beautiful new daughter. It doesn't get any better than this. This is what's it's all about- I am deeply content.

Monday, February 7, 2011


I just arrived home from work- my husband is cooking dinner for us and Gemma is in the bjorn while I type.

The dogs are anxiously awaiting any scraps that may fall from my husband's hands and Gemma's cold little hand is resting on mine as I type.

sidenote: I just heard on the news that breastfed babies are supposed to be 6 times less likely to be obese, have heart disease, cholesterol issues, diabetes and a host of other life-threatening illnesses. Great. Makes the mom who quit breast-feeding feel AWESOME.

My gratitude list this week is heavy with prayers- whispered thanks in the middle of the night and shouted thanks in the morning hours.


51. For the first bout of sickness with Gemma and her coming out on the other side of it seemingly okay. It showed me that she can get through it and so can Abe and I.

52. For her warm little sick body as it rested in my arms all night long MOnday night.

53. For being able to take a whole 4 days off of school because Gemma was ill and then I was ill. For subs who took good care of my kids.

54. For our health- coming out of illness makes healthy days seem so much sweeter!

55. For cold water through a straw.

56. For this... a trillion, zillion times over for this:

57. For the little kid voices in my classroom this morning singing Justin Bieber's "Never Say Never".

58. For the cluttered kitchen table.

59. For overcast skies that make me enjoy being inside.

60. For Anna- my sister. As her heart is broken at the loss of a patient, she shows her true self. She is one of the kindest, most compassionate people I know. I can't imagine a better profession for her than nurse. She truly does care for the body and soul. And for the little one she grieves, he knew she loved him. She knows he loved her. And whenever she needs that reminder, she only needs to sign it with her hands. I'm so sorry, Anna, for your loss. We all feel this absence even if we never met him. Know that you provided excellent care for him and I'm sure you were a bright spot for him. He's in a better place- wrapped in the arms of heaven. He's walking, talking, and enjoying food in ways that he never could here. What a feast he's having with Jesus!

Again, only 10 things seems too few. I may have to start doing longer lists. My heart is heavy today as I've heard some bad news about my job. My job is secure, just icky stuff going on. Makes me wish that things were different but instead of feeling dissatisfied, I'm deeply grateful for my job- one I love- the people I work with and for- they are INCREDIBLE- and my amazing students. They make everything worthwhile. Nothing compares to witnessing as a child awakens their inner creator. Watching a child become an artist is a miracle. Truly.

blessed. blessed. blessed.