Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The 2013 Gratitude List Extravaganza

Okay, here's my Top 100 Things I'm thankful for THIS year:
(In no particular order ... for the most part)

  1. The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
    Without it, well, life would be just something to be endured, not ENJOYED.
    I'm glad that our God is a God of love ... and that He loves us so much that He knows that we are all worthwhile. And that we are able to have family relations that survive death.
    And that we're taught to love and respect everyone, regardless of how they choose to live their lives.
  2. Michael ... Because he chooses to put up with me and my craziness.
    He's an awesome father, my bestest friend, and possessor of an amazing sense of humor.
    He's not put off by my bookish nature ... and he's fun to geek out with.
    My greatest wish is that everyone could have a spouse that is so awesome (for them. Because I'm not sharing.)
  3. Bruise - Without my son, I'd not know how much fun it is to have boys.
    He's such a wonderful little man. And I'm so glad that he's such a wonderful namesake for two of his grandfathers. As much as I'd love to keep him around forever, I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of a man he turns out to be (Will he be a policeman? A LEGO MasterBuilder??).
  4. Bucket - Even though she's so much like me (which means that she drives me a little loony, bless her), she's such her own person. And she's growing up so fast! What is up with that?? She does give me a definite run for my money ... and she makes me laugh. Again, I'm very curious to find out what she's like as an adult (Is she going to be a veterinarian? A fashion designer? A painter?). 
  5. Bubbles - She's still such a wee, little thing now ... but full of personality. I'm looking forward to her starting to (consistently) use her words. Still, she's a fun little miss ... and being her mother is pretty fun.
  6. Freyja-cat ... Because, as Michael found out, I'm not my happiest/best self without a cat in the house.
    She is a cat with some issues (Kitty Prozac prescription? Check!), but she is a sweet and patient kitty. And very soft. I'm glad that she's in our house.
  7. My parents (and that includes Michael's folks, too) ... Seriously, what would I do without them?
    (I wouldn't be alive. I wouldn't be me. I wouldn't have an awesome Michael. ... I could go on.)
  8. My siblings ... my one complaint is that I didn't get them until I was older (I got my stepsiblings when I was 16. And they're all older than I am) and my siblings-in-law when I was almost 20. 
  9. I'm grateful for my body ... even though I gripe about it ... a lot. Overall, though, it can do lots of things. And I'm glad that it was in good enough shape when we went to Disneyland and LEGOland. If I had borked up my ankle six months earlier than I did, we'd have been hosed.
  10. I'm grateful for my kids' teachers. They've been very blessed to have good teachers that love them and teach them well. I'm glad that they kept their Spanish teacher from last year ... and not just because she adores Bubbles (It's really because she responds quickly to emails. And I appreciate that.)
  11. I'm glad that the kids have a good school with a principal who knows them (and us ... She can recognize us, even without Bruise and Bucket, at Costco. I was impressed!).
  12. I'm grateful that we have a house and it's in a neighborhood that's safe and quiet enough for the kids to play outside. And there are other kids close by.
  13. I'm grateful for electricity ... I would NOT make a good pioneer.
  14. I'm thankful for a working dishwasher ... and a husband that unloads it.
  15. I'm grateful for flannel sheets. Even though it makes getting OUT of bed a little bit harder.
  16. Hightop sneakers ... So I can feel like I'm making an effort AND I have JUST a little extra support for that ankle of mine.
  17. Netflix ... especially the streaming feature. Bubbles loves her some Daniel Tiger. ^_^
  18. Chocolate.
    I mean, do I need to elaborate?
  19. Ice cream.
    Again ... I don't think this needs any explanation.
  20. Books. As an only child, books were my first siblings and friends. And they never change. And, if you have your own copies, your favorites are always there for you. And new books are full of promise and possibilities.
  21. My phone ... I'm so lucky that Michael loves me enough to get me a smartphone. Because I need all the help I can get.
  22. The internet ... because information is always just a few clicks away.
    And I can never be bored anymore.
  23. That, even with how much I color it, my hair hasn't fallen out.
  24. That I have all my teeth ... and I don't get too many cavities.
  25. That I have great friends (Yes, you.) I appreciate that my friends help keep me aware that there are all types in the world. And they make me laugh. (Seriously, if you make me laugh, I already adore you. If you don't smile, I'm kind of intimidated/terrified. Please put me at ease and tell a joke. ^_^)
  26. The temple (well, all of the temples), but especially MY temple (Portland, Oregon).
    I love knowing that I have BEAT death and that I get my family for forever.
    Now I just have to behave myself and be good.
  27. Crayola crayons. The BIG box. You open that, take a whiff of the wax ... and you know that the world is your oyster. There's no limits to what you can color.
  28. My Cozi calendar ... keeping me on schedule for a few years now. I don't know what I'd do without it.
  29. Email/Facebook ... helping me stay in touch with people. I'm terrible at writing actual letters ... but I love email because I can send it any time and people can answer it at their leisure. Can you really do that with a phone call?
  30. Those looms ... because I can't really crochet or knit (can't knit at all), but with these things, suddenly I'm a crafty little wizard!
  31. Pool Noodles ... how else can one smack one's kids and not get in trouble?
  32. Rooibos tea. I know, TECHNICALLY, like all herbal "teas," it's a tisane ... But it's good and lets me get my chai fix AND keep the Word of Wisdom! And I love that the local tea shop has quite a few blends of Rooibos tea. And they're all really good.
  33. The fact that I live in a town with a tea shop and a movie theater and a Target. I didn't have that growing up. I hope that my kids realize how lucky they are. ^_^
  34. Living in Oregon. I love it. Living here in the valley, we're only around an hour away from most things (bigger cities, historical sites, go west to the Coast, go east to the desert ... we live in a temperate rain forest. There are mountains near enough for sledding or hiking. ... There's a reason I've never wanted to live anywhere else. Besides nearly all of my family is here/near.)
  35. Blogging. It's the best that I've done at keeping any kind of a diary/journal with any sort of regularity.
    I know that we're supposed to keep a journal/family history ... but I don't feel like an interesting person most of the time. I mean, I have my moments, don't get me wrong ... but JOURNALS are kind of intimidating. I don't think that my handwriting is THAT nice ... but blogging? Blogging is a little less pressure. Sure I've put all this out there for anyone to read (which is why there are nicknames and all), but ... well, it's just easier.
  36. I can't forget my cousins ... and it's sad that I don't get to see most of them anywhere near as often as I'd like. (But that's what Facebook is for, right?)
  37. Singing. It makes me happy ... even though I leave plenty of room for improvement.
  38. Dancing ... though I don't do it all that much right now. But I enjoy it. I'd love to learn the tango. But Swing and Lindy-hop are so fun. 
  39. Music in general (with a few exceptions. :P) ... I like music. It makes me happy.
  40. Bunnies. The world would be a much sadder place without bunnies.
  41. Aquariums. Because I like fish ... and I like watching fish.
  42. Petting zoos ... because I can't own ALL the animals. But I can sure as heck work to cuddle as many as possible!!
  43. Museums ... I really like museums. Especially OMSI. But I like learning and feeling like I'm NOT letting my brain atrophy.
  44. I'm grateful that we have a living prophet who gives us counsel. Because Heavenly Father loves us enough to want us to return to Him. It's pretty awesome.
  45. Cars. It's amazing that we don't have to walk or ride horses everywhere. And it doesn't take DAYS to drive across the state. 
  46. Computers. Actually technology in general. I'm always boggled at how much information is out there and what we can use it all for (Seriously, they've managed to alter the DNA in HIV to target certain kinds of cancer. In kids! I mean ... we've taken this killer virus and figured out a way to use it for good. If we can do that with HIV, just think about what other awful things out there we can use as tools to make them do good stuff! I mean, we can use knives to kill people or to hunt and feed people. Or as scalpels and save lives. Yeah, I'm shutting up now.)
  47. I'm glad that my kids aren't into Justin Bieber or Twilight or anything like that. YET.
  48. I'm grateful that they're still at the age that the idea of kissing kids their age is beyond gross.
    And I love the faces they make when considering the possibility.
  49. I'm often thankful that I still have a 12-year-old boy's sense of humor.
    Because the kids and I all think that poop jokes are HILARIOUS. It's a great bonding tool.
  50. I'm grateful that my allergies are mostly seasonal and don't involve food in a life-threatening way (just a hella-annoying way. I miss eating raw apples, peaches, and almonds without having an itchy mouth throat).
  51. Spellcheck.
  52. Spiral-bound notebooks ... so I can tuck a pen into the "binding."
  53. Inside jokes with friends ... It's always great to just be able to screech out a word or phrase and then burst out into gasping-for-breath-clutching-your-stomach laughter.
  54. Not having much of a filter. I work so that I don't say anything mean ... but being unable to lie convincingly makes it a lot easier to be honest. So that's nice.
    And people tell me that I'm funny ... when I'm really just being totally honest. I guess it's unexpected or something.
  55. Cherry Coke.
    Or Vanilla Coke.
  56. Cheesecake.
  57. Pictures of my kids ... and of my friends and family. And of places that I want to go.
    Seriously, cameras are really amazing when you think about it.
  58. And, really, think about a USB stick ... you have a little THING that carries tons of pictures, music, or other files THAT FITS IN A POCKET. And we just take it for granted.
  59. Lip gloss/balm. Because when my lips get chapped, I pick at them. And then they bleed and hurt. So I'm thankful for lip gloss.
  60. Washable markers. And crayons. And finger paints.
    I'm a mom. Art supplies that are washable are DA BOMB.COM
  61. Sharpies ... because I'm a mom, an Ed major, and the daughter of a teacher.
    Sharpies are a necessity.
  62. Tape ... duct tape, Scotch tape/sellotape, masking tape, painters tape, electrical tape, plumbers tape ... we use tape in various varieties and amounts in this house.
    (I should try washi tape.)
  63. Pinterest ... because I'd never think of half so many things to do.
    AND it lets me keep track of so many things on a webpage instead of having a million more bookmarks.
  64. Growing up in a home that valued reading and education. It made going to college much easier ... because I never really considered NOT going to college (there was a little bit, but that was VERY shortlived. Because I was being stupid over a boy. And he didn't deserve it anyways.)
  65. Online shopping ... so that I can find books that are out-of-print or shoes that aren't sold locally and I don't have to find a parking spot. Or get dressed.
  66. Our water cooler ... because making a cup of hot tea (tisane, I know) has never been easier.
  67. Online bill paying. Forgot to buy stamps? Not such a huge deal!
  68. Amazon Prime ... because two-day shipping is pretty snazzy.
  69. Scissors ... when used properly (not to give self-inflicted haircuts or cut my curtains), they're really great. Can you imagine wrapping a present using a knife?
  70. Naps.
    Naps are wonderful.
  71. Hot baths.
  72. Clean bathrooms.
  73. Bleach.
  74. My neti pot ... I don't know how I survived without it.
  75. Altoids.
  76. Trivia games.
  77. Washing machine and dryer.
  78. Microwave!!!
  79. Pizza delivery (or Chinese take-away that delivers)
  80. Yellow curry with chicken.
  81. French onion soup.
  82. Broccoli, because eating little trees is fun. (And you can prepare it lots of ways.)
  83. Paper towels ... how did people clean up vomit before they were invented??
  84. General Conference.
  85. Massages.
  86. Play-doh ... except when the kids get it in the carpet. Oy.
  87. Plumbing that works. Because it's BAD when it's not working.
  88. Modern sewer systems. Enough said.
  89. Clean water.
  90. Freedoms of speech, religion, to vote, to possess guns, etc. ... Yeah, I'm grateful to be an American (though I do adore Canada, England, and Japan ... and a lot of other countries, but I don't know ALL that much about them. Yup, room to improve ... I haz it.)
  91. That I was able to grow up close to most of my grandparents (I have a set in another state. And Grammy has passed, so I don't know her or Grampy as well as I could have. Or his second third wife ... she's better, though, with email, so that helps. ... My mom's folks divorced when she was young, so I grew up with THREE sets of grandfolks: Grandma (her mom) and Grandpa, Nana and Pop-pop (Dad's folks), and Grampy (Mom's dad) and Grammy.
    Since Grandma passed when I was 15, Christmas isn't quite the same ... We used to do Christmas Eve at Nana and Pop-pop's, then Christmas morning (or after church if it was a Sunday) with Grandma and Grandpa. Since Grandma (then Grandpa) and Pop-pop passed ... and Nana moved out of their old house, I REALLY miss my childhood Christmas traditions. ... I mean, yes, I'm married and have LOTS of stuff to do anyways ... but, well, I'm not the best with change, okay??
    But, AS I WAS SAYING in the first place, I have some great memories of visiting and hanging with my grandmothers and Pop-pop. I'd follow Pop-pop around in the garden. Or he'd let my cousins (S & D) or me "help" drive the tractor as we'd mow the lawn for a neighbor of theirs. I'd play with Nana (favorite little kid games were "Meghan and Sundance" [My Little Ponies], where I'd ride on her back and she'd complain that my mom's folks were younger ... why didn't they play that with me? :P and "Alvin's on the table" ... where I'd climb up on the kitchen table and yell that out and Nana'd call back, "Alvin! Get off the table!" ... Yeah, I was somewhat easy to amuse.
    Nana'd also, in the summer, fix me a bowl of strawberries from Pop-pop's garden, sprinkled with sugar and a splash of cream.
    At Grandma's house, I played outside by myself a bit. Watched the train go by or the neighbors' horses. She also had TONS of Disney story kits with a book and a cassette to listen to. I usually chose, to my best memory, Alice in Wonderland. There were also books and some stuffed animals to play with as well. When I grew older, she'd give me books -- especially as presents, since she was once a school librarian. Once, I helped her clean out her cupboards. She gave me one of the teacups that she collected (Sadly, tragically, it broke. I still am coming to grips with that).
    Because I treasure those memories of growing up and being able to visit (often) my grandfolks, I have been pretty adamant about living within driving distance of the kids' grandparents (and great-grands, when I can wing it ... Now, my Grampy still lives in another state, as does Michael's maternal grandmother ... but we try and visit Nana often. And Michael's paternal grandma lives with his folks a couple towns away).
  92. Deodorant ... because, well, I've gone through puberty. I'd prefer NOT the stink.
  93. Having a husband who can fix things. That's a really nice thing.
  94. Having children who are generally of a happy temperament. It's nice to hear them laugh. And I love that they'll play together (Bruise and Bucket are pretty patient with Bubbles).
  95. Egg Nog ... for it is delicious.
  96. Those drink machines where you can add the different flavors to the different sodas? THOSE ARE AMAZEBALLS. Cherry-vanilla Coke? Don't mind if I do! Thanks!
  97. That my kids get to ride the bus (Not dressed in the morning? As long as they're not in Kindergarten, no problem! Just send them out the door!)
  98. Disposable diapers ... especially with Bruise and Bucket as babies. I'd have been doing laundry ALL THE TIME. And we didn't get our own washer and dryer until they were almost one. Our house would have smelled HORRIBLE.
  99. Disney movies ... especially when I used to go into chat rooms and get bored, you could always start a Disney Sing-a-long. It was awesome. And they're something the kids and I can watch together.
  100. I'm thankful that I'm DONE with this list. (I know, I know, cop out. But still. It took a while!)

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