Monday, July 16, 2012

Grateful for the Little Things . . .

In my last journal entry, I said that I wanted to use less pictures on my posts.  That didn't work out too well this time.  eh-hem.  It's really hard to narrow it down, plus it wasn't as slow to download the pics this time.  And man, pictures just add so much more than all the words, and really show what we've been up to.  So, there you go.  Maybe next time I'll cut back.  Maybe. 

See?  How could I possibly write a good enough description of the three pictures above?  I love that our family is so comfortable in our home.  And I love even more that Caleb makes himself comfortable on top of our visiting family members.  hehe.  My dad tries to "close his eyes" (aka - take a nap) sometimes when he comes over, but Caleb will have none of it.  Cute little squishy!    

 We had my brother's family over to try out our fire pit and roast some s'mores.  It was a little stressful keeping Caleb and Hudson away from the fire, but we all managed to keep them alive.  We've had some really hot and humid weather up here, but it was a beautiful evening to relax on our deck (although a little warm when the fire was going).  After, it was nice that Ethan took the kids in to give them baths, so I could sit outside and chat.  Thanks babe!   

 Forth of July Parade!  (With Anna and Ben while Chuck and Melissa stuck around with a napping Caleb.)  Lots of patriotism.  Plenty of candy.  A picture of my dad's float.  And Ethan and I were entertained the whole time by the aggressive grown-ups going for the candy.

 Later on the 4th, we went out to my sister Beth's new house.  (Beth and Stuart bought and renovated his parent's beach house and just moved in a few weeks ago.)  They had mom and dad, in town siblings, and my grandparents LaJoice over.  We had a yummy cookout, and then played at their beach.  It was beautiful, the water was perfect, and it wasn't too hot or buggy out. 

Later on the 4th, we did fireworks with the older two kids in our backyard.  Nothing too exciting, but they had a blast, including Ethan.  And towards the end, Benjamin was brave enough to hold his own sparkler!  I often ponder on Independence Day of all my family members who have served my country.  Dad, grandparents, great grandparents, great-great grandparents, in-laws.  I need to write a journal entry to honor them, because I definitely want to record their legacy, and have it become part of my own family's.  Maybe my next entry . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . .

So, the title - Grateful for the little things - is kind of a continuation of my last post.  Every day I find myself grateful for many little things, and wanted to record some more.  Mostly it's things we've done or experienced this past week, and I'm simply grateful they happened:
  • A lovely 4th.  Grateful for all the family time that day - our own little family unit, Ethan's parents, my side.  Grateful for my country.  Grateful for it's amazing history.  Grateful for my family who have served our country.  (Oh!  And grateful for a paid holiday in the middle of the week - every week should have one. hehe)    
  • I'm pretty sure my dad called every day last week to see if Anna and Benjamin wanted to do something with him.  Grateful for a retired Grampa Dew who loves spending time with his grandkids - especially since it almost always corresponded with Caleb's nap time, giving me a little time to myself.  Ahhh, so nice!  Berry picking, hike and picnic in the woods, park, swimming, etc.  He does it all.  :)   
  • Had a nice lunch with a friend of mine whom I hadn't seen for awhile.   Always good to catch up and have some adult conversation during the day.  Grateful for good friends! 
  • Grateful for a good "tour" of St. Christopher's Pre-school with Benjamin.  (Where Auntie Ashley used to work!)  They seem to have a fantastic program there!  Ben-Ben was shy and nervous (even for the tour), but I think he liked a lot of what he saw, and I think it will work really well for him.  And he warmed up to the director by the end of our half hour meeting.  I plan on having him start in the fall, just two mornings a week, and then work up to three mornings when he's ready.  So excited for my little man . . . and nervous too!  I think he'll end up loving it, but man, Anna will be full time in 1st grade, and Benjamin will be gone a few mornings a week.  Mixed emotions for my babies!  At least we still have a month and a half before it becomes a reality.  :) 
  • Grateful for the kiddo's Auntie KC (Ethan's youngest sister, Katherine).  She just graduated high school and is moving away soon, and we will miss her!  She's been working in lots of kid time before she goes, and wanted to have an "alone date" with each of them.  This last week, she picked up Anna at 11am, did make-up and hair makeovers, and then took Anna out to a "fancy" lunch with a friend.  So sweet!  Anna felt so special!  I believe bowling is in the works for Benjamin.  Grateful for our family.   
  • Had fun helping my mom with a craft project she'd volunteered for one night last week.  (We worked on center pieces for an upcoming wedding reception.  They will look so cool!)  Grateful for our friendship too.  Love chatting with her, her advice, and her quirkiness!  Love her! 
  • Grateful for a beautiful evening at Black Rocks with my little family last week.  While there, we met a family on vacation, and it's always fun to see Marquette through a tourists eyes.  "You live here?  Wow, it's so beautiful; you're really lucky."  So true.  I know we don't get as many of those comments during the winter months, hehe, but I love the winter wonderland of Marquette too . . . especially after a HOT summer like this one.  But Marquette in the summer; it's hard to beat!   
  • Had fun at a band concert Thursday evening at the Presque Isle Band Shell.  The MQT City Band regularly performs "Concert In the Park" during the summer, but this one was kid centered with circus music, clowns, acrobats, and free ice cream.  I'm grateful for a fun, simple, (free!) evening like that where I'm exposing my kids to something cultural.  Oh, and it was fun to run in to multiple people we knew - some we were expecting to see there, and some not.  Marquette is the perfect size for that.   
  • We started a new Saturday morning tradition - making a big-ish breakfast together (instead of the usual . . . or fastfood breakfast sams), then going to the farmer's market, and then stopping at garage sales if we see any on the way home.  This past Saturday it was cheesy eggs (made by Ethan), blueberry pancakes (made by moi), and peaches.  Yummo!  We got tomatoes, lettuce, and green onions at the farmer's market (baby steps, 'cause it's expensive!);  And Anna got a little doll, Ben got a stuffed animal, and Ethan and I got a hard cover book - Cold Mountain, at two garage sales we stopped at.  It won't work every Saturday, but we want this to become the norm when we don't have anything else planned.  It was such a fun, feel good morning!   I'm grateful for it!  
I think I'll end here, but could go on, I'm sure.  The "theme" seems to be loving where we live right now (easy to do in the summer), and simple, fun experiences with my little family.  It just fills me with gratitude.  Well, I hope you're all enjoying the summer.  I can't believe it's half way through!  Unacceptable!