Lots of family time

163. I am thankful for the precious time I get to share with my kids, reading to them and exploring books together. We are in the world of me reading chapter books aloud to them. I have been reading to them from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book “Little House in the Big Woods.” There are no illustrations to soak up as I read, so instead they sit perfectly still, their eyes fixed intently in front of them on the invisible words pouring out of my mouth and floating through the air to their ears. Their faces respond with excitement or nervousness depending how the plot changes. I love it. I just love watching their faces! I loooooove it when Natalie shrugs her shoulders in eager anticipation of what is about to happen as I turn the page and she hears of what the character decides to do next. I love it when Jacob’s serious, pensive face relaxes into a sweet smile when something funny happens in the story. I love imagining their minds weaving together their own imagined illustrations.

164. I am thankful that I can have a gym membership.

165. I am thankful for Teri and the inspiration she is for me to get out of bed at 5 in the morning and attend her weight lifting work out class.

166. I am thankful for this morning’s workout- how the hour just flew by and I smiled and had fun as I pushed myself to new limits.

167. I am thankful that words like “stamina” and “endurance” are words that are just barely becoming a part of my body’s understanding. Ha! It feels good to feel my body reacting and being able to push through. I’m definitely not where I dream of being with this endurance thing yet. Holy smokes! There sure are people who inspire me in this class! But it’s fun to dream of where I may be one day.

168. I am thankful that I was able to be with my father and celebrate his 85th birthday. I can’t believe he’s only 5 years away from being 90. That seems crazy to me. And so I am filled with thankfulness that he is still alive and doing well and has a sane mind so that I can hold conversations with him and the kids get to know him.

169. I am thankful that I was able to be with my father-in-law and celebrate his 65th birthday. Thankful that Steve, Dave and Laura each had such special words to share from their heart to him, about being a great father to them.

170. I am thankful that my father taught me what it looks like to go out of your way for someone. He has always been a generous, kind man, driving miles upon miles to visit with someone or go to the store to buy us a special traditional item.

171. I am thankful that Amy’s Bakery in Montebello has been making the same delicious rum cake for 40 years. What a fun tradition to continue carrying on for our family birthdays!

172. I am thankful for the time I spent with my sister Mitzi this past week. Thankful that we can connect as if no time passed in between her last visit and this one.

173. I am thankful that Natalie and Mitzi connected so beautifully. It’s such a beautiful treasure to behold your daughter looking up to someone- wanting to be with them, chatting with them,  sitting with them, soaking them up and wanting to be like them. And to see the sweet gobs of tears that rolled down Natalie’s cheeks when she missed Tante Mitzi and cried herself to sleep at night. Such a sweet connection the two of them had. I am thankful for that.

174. I am thankful that my mom taught me ‘it never hurts to ask’. Last week when we visited my mom with our relatives from Canada and Mitzi, Jacob gave up his favorite day of elective classes. He knew that hanging out with family was super important, but he was really bummed to miss out on chess class and lego robotics class. And so I did as my mom always taught me- I asked if there was any chance he could attend a make-up class this week on Tuesday, when the classes are also offered. I am thankful that Kelly Ann said “yes! sure!” So Jacob got the best of both worlds- getting to hang out with family AND getting his favorite classes. Yay!

175. I am thankful that it is a dark, cloudy day today.

176. I am thankful that the kids and I were able to explore similes together. “Opening the craft kit for Ruby was like opening an umbrella on a blustery day.” I love the mental imagery that comes with that simile. I love that Google images could show us an umbrella being opened and thrown back on a blustery day. I love it that my kids are beginning to understand how rich writing can be in its descriptiveness.

177. I am thankful for Steve. Thankful for how hard he works. Thankful that he already began to inquire how I would like to spend my 40th birthday this year. Thankful that he went out of his way to cook an amazing dinner from scratch to celebrate me on Valentines. Thankful for that oh-so-yummy veal manicotti with homemade tomato sauce. Yum! Thankful for the card he wrote me. Thankful that instead of letting me read it, he read it aloud to me. Thankful that I could soak up his loving words. Thankful that he was oh-so-forgiving of me that even though I had purchased a Valentine’s card, it sat empty and without words for two days before I gifted it to him. Thankful for his fun idea of trying a new recipe: a chocolate-Nutella souffle baked in coffee mugs in the microwave. Ha! That was fun. Thankful for him and the ways he consciously tries to be an incredible husband.

178. Thankful for the inspiring words of my friend Emily last night. “The point of marriage is to help prepare our spouse to meet his/her Maker one day.”

179. Thankful for the inspiring words of my friend Diana last night. “We should be quick to say we’re sorry and offer forgiveness to our husbands.”

180. Thankful that Steve is such an awesome example of 179 to me! He is sooooo quick to offer forgiveness. It’s such a gift of grace he gives me!

181. Thankful for the encouraging words of my friend Shannon last night. “Spend the time now to think of ways to capture and hold onto these times with your parents, knowing that they won’t always be here.”

182. Thankful for the message in Hosea. Thankful for that prophet’s obedience to God, to do something that must have been REALLY hard and unthinkable to do. Thankful for that example of faithfulness. Thankful that we don’t have to be on the right path for God to meet us; thankful that Gomer shows us that.

183. Thankful for Brandon’s preaching. Thankful the Lord has blessed him in that way.

184. Thankful for sleep.

185. Thankful for friends.

186. Thankful I was able to spend time with my cousin Vivien and her daughters Elyse and Nicole. Thankful that Glen her husband was willing to drive all the way down from Canada to provide their family with a trailer to sleep in. Thankful that for two years in a row they have been able and willing to make the whole drive here to Los Angeles to be with us. Thankful to have our kids together.

187. Thankful for our home.

188. Thankful for love.

189. Thankful for grace.

190. Thankful for this day and all that awaits me.

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