Monday, March 7, 2011

100 Gratitudes: A New Year's Project 56-62

Howdy! I sit here on a snowy Monday morning, the kids going bonkers in another room because they have a snow day and I am taking a moment to finally get back to this blog. Sorry about the long delay.

#56) Too much to do!

Yes, I said it. I am grateful that I am too busy even to sit down and write this blog on a regular basis. I would rather have too much to do than too little. When I die, I would rather leave some things I wanted to do undone, than think that the world only held enough intersting things in it to fill my one little lifetime.

#57) Three year olds!

I have one now. Noah turned 3 on Friday. He had his first real birthday party that wasn't just family. He was excited all day long and had his little nosed pressed up to the window, looking for his friends as the hour of the party approached. It was a big success. The picture above must be from last fall, when he was still very much two, but I had never seen it, so in it goes!

#58) Friends who make me do things I wouldn't otherwise do.

Like run a half-marathon. A big group of us have run the Burlington marathon in teams and pairs and singles over the last few years, raising money for the March of Dimes. This year I am splitting it with my friend Cybelle. If she weren't counting on me to run the second half, I know I wouldn't be training at all. Seriously, it's fun, companionable and you have other people who feel your pain to whine with. What could be better?

#59) Blogs from people who live in warmer climates and who have a beautiful eye for color.

This time of year, I need a little color. I like to go over to Jane Brockett's blog to see what she is up to over in England. Spring comes much earlier on the other side of the pond.

#60) Upcoming writing workshop!

Starts this Thursday, and will last 6 weeks. In fact it ends a few days before we leave for Italy. I am excited, terrified and, of course, find myself without a single thing to write about. Must try to organize all my ideas....

#61) Upcoming dog training class!

Starts Wednesday evening. If you have never taken one of these, and you have a pupy or a young dog, or any dog, that is a bit rough around the edges, you should totally go sign yourself and your fur-ball up. These are so fun. Poppy is awesome, but she needs some more training.

#62) Poppy.

She is such a sweet girl! She LOVES the kids, LOVES Max and is really well beahved. She comes when she is called, sits when she is asked and is very playful and loving. She is only 9 months olds, so she needs some more training, but she is smart, eager to please and totally adorable. We hit the doggy jack-pot again!

What are you grateful for today? (By the way, I am loving the comments, keep them coming!)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

100 Gratitudes: A New Year's Project 51-55

Howdy! The time gets away from me, but I am having such a lovely couple of weeks. So very many wonderful things going on. So without further ado...

#51) Rescuing dogs.

We are getting a new dog! We haven't determined her name yet, but she will be arriving on a P.E.T.S. Transport from Kentucky on Feb. 26th. She is in the same foster home as Max was, and her foster mom says she is just like Max in a golden-girl outfit. We are going through Goldenhuggs Rescue. I HIGHLY recommend them and urge you to immediately go check out their petfinder page, AFTER looking at our cutie first, of course. Her name-to-be is Poppy!

#52) Valentine's Day!

I love this holiday. It brings color and cheer, chocolate and flowers, hugs and, perhaps most importantly, cupcakes!

#53) Vacation.

The kids are on February break for 10 days. I love it. I wish it weren't quite so cold so we could ski more, but we are seeing family and friends, so we are happy.

#54) Hilda!
She was our au pair, now she is just our beloved friend. We talk to her all the time and we will be seeing her for a couple of weeks in Italy this spring. Yay! May every one's kids have a young person like Hilda in their lives. They simply adore her.

#55) Upcoming trips.

Dreaming, planning, researching. It is so fun to get ready for a family trip. This spring we will be going to Tuscany for 3 weeks with our whole family, and Hilda, and the kids are so excited. So are we. Great food, great wine and a beautiful house, not to mention, art, architecture, history and SUNSHINE! Can't wait.

More to come, but I need to play with my kidlets.

What are you grateful for today?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

100 Gratitudes: A New Year's Project 45-50

Good Morning! We have had the most beautiful, snowy weather here since the "big" storm, which wasn't really that big here. We got about 10-14 inches of snow, but oh my goodness, what snow it is! Light as a feather and heaven to ski through. AND, the sun, when shining, has actually been warm! Turn your face to it and feel it soak in warm.

#45) Walks in the sun down snowy roads.

It was so quiet and beautiful out and Noah and I took Max the dog down to visit our neighbor, the mule, on such a gorgeous February afternoon. Love late winter!

#46) Sledding!

So exhilarating. So giggle inducing. So god for my butt! Below are the boys working on packing down a path for the flying saucers. Observe their different techniques. First Kai. (Having trouble loading video, please be patient! Back soon.)

Then Noah.

#46) Our health.
Nobody is sick, or hurt, or needs treatment for anything scary! I am thankful for that at least once a day.

#47) Money for travel.
We are so, so lucky to have the money to travel. With 5 people, some trips call for serious savings, but it is so worth it. Since September we have been on a serious belt-tightening diet so we can spend 3 weeks in Italy this spring with my family. I would so rather have fewer things, no babysitting and wear old clothes but be able to travel. For me, it's a no-brainer! We are also heading out west this summer. We feel deeply lucky to be able to show our kids some of the world.

#48) Co-sleeping
Noah is still in bed with us. Kai comes in on my side almost every night and Grace snuggles in on Zach's side. I love the family bed! It made such a difference in the kids' attachment when they first came home. It helped them transition from institutionalized orphans, to beloved children in a family. It's not for everyone, but I am so glad it works for us.

#49) Chocolate.
Does this need any explanation? I think not.

#50) Laughter.
The kind that makes your belly hurt, or the sound of the kids from another room. Certain people have great laughs. My friend's daughter Emma for instance has one of the all time great laughs. I try to make her giggle whenever possible. Kai's laugh ascends the scale until it breaks way high up in his throat. Grace sounds like she has been smoking for years. Noah's laugh is breathless. One of my favorite laughs is Zach's laugh when something funny surprises him. His face is beautiful in laughter. Isn't every one's though?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

100 Gratitudes: A New Year's Project 44-

Hi there! Sorry it has been a quiet week. We had to put down our older dog, so we have been sad around here. She was 14 and lived a good and happy life. She also lasted a year past her diagnosis of "riddled with cancer" so that was awesome. She was a great dog and we miss her.

Feb 1, 1997 - Jan 31, 2011

#44) I am grateful to be able to help my pets pass with dignity. Our fantastic vet and friend, Emily, made a house call and Zia died peacefully in my arms. The kids were able to be there and give her loving through the end, and she wasn't stressed or worried or in pain.

That is all for today. Zia deserves her own post. She was a brown hunk of yummi dog-love and she is missed.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

100 Gratitudes: A New Year's Project 40-43

Good morning! Sorry for the silence. Our weeks are busy, and the weather has been glorious so we are outside a lot and I am in the middle of several projects and, and, and.............

So, without any more ado..

#40) Skiing

I snuck out early on Wednesday with Grace and Noah and met up with some friends and we had a glorious morning before Grace had to go to school. I am so LUCKY to live in a place where I have my choice of 4 ski resorts and have passes to 2. That I can go with my younger two during the week, and hit the terrain park with Kai on the weekends (although I will say, friends, it takes a lot of willpower NOT to freak out as your 7 year old goes flying through the air above your head. Just sayin.). I have a fluid group of fantastic friends I ski with, and we try to get out without our kids at least once a week, with varying degrees of success. There is nothing like standing on top of snow-capped mountains on a beautiful day, surrounded by friends, or even alone, and pointing your skis downhill. It is soul filling fun.

#41) Mountains.

And while we are on the subject. I am grateful to live in the mountains. I have thought about this a lot. I love the sea, goodness knows I love the deep, dark, changing, mysterious northern sea. I also love the gentle, turquoise, warm, gorgeous tropical sea. I am an equal opportunity water lover! However, I am a mountain girl. I NEVER get tired of looking at the mountains. I love them in all seasons. I love the way the clouds race across them on a breezy summer day. I love the way sunset and sunrise paint them pink in the winter. I love the way the green of spring slowly climbs upwards towards the peaks in May and the flaming oranges and reds of autumn descend down into the valleys in October. I love exploring them, climbing up in all seasons, swimming in their streams (summer only, I'm not insane) and knowing a little about the creatures who live in their forests. Yes, I am a mountain girl.

#42) An endless supply of dry kindling!

This won't mean a lot to those of you who live in warm places, BUT, having a woodworking husband means I have access to tons of scraps of perfectly dried wood to start fires with. I don't even have to go outside! I just slip down to his workshop and raid the scrap bin. Let me tell you, last weekend, when it was -30, I was giggling with glee at my good fortune. And yesterday, when we ran out of heating fuel (whoops, my bad) the house never even had a chance to get cold because the fire started up so fast. It's just lovely.

#43) My own workspace.

So, as it turns out, everybody in our house has a space of their own except me. The kids have playrooms, Zach has his shop, and I have.....the dining room table. Or rather, I did, until now. Zach and I have decided to turn the alcove in our bedroom into my space, and it is beautiful. It has the best view of Mt. Mansfield, and fits a desk, a comfy chair and a big table for sewing. Here's what it looked like before we started.

Yes, those are boxes filled with my crap for the 1001 projects I have going at any given time.

This is my darling husband painting it for me because he is the best!

First coat done. And then when he was all finished and it was gorgeous and warm and we both lay on our bed admiring it, he asked me if I wanted him to make me a sewing table. I said sure, and had something simple in mind, like a piece of plywood nailed to 4 4x4's. He disappeared into the workshop and a day later re-emerged with this for me:

Maple skirting, cherry legs, and walnut edging. So gorgeous! Now he is making me bookshelves and fabric storage. I do so love that man. I'll keep posting pictures as my space comes together. I am so lucky!

What are you grateful for today?

Monday, January 24, 2011

100 Gratitudes: A New Year's Project 36-39

Good morning! It is somewhere between -27 and -36 outside my house right now, depending on which thermometer one chooses to believe. School is starting 90 minutes late and my boys are in the bath together playing with funnels, while my girl gets an extra hour of sleep. No matter how crazy his days are, Kai still gets up before 6am, EVERY DAY! He is the original morning person.

So, with the freezing cold out there, I am grateful for very many things like...

#36) the ability to buy heating fuel! It is MINUS 27 to 36 degrees without any windchill factor, and my house is nice and toasty. I am deeply grateful and hope my neighbors are equally safe and warm.

#37) My wood stove. I love it, it is cheerful and warming and no Vermont house feels right without one, or at least a fireplace, but a wood stove is better for heating a house, I think.

#38) Color. I crave color this time of year, and every little bit of it is soothing to an eye that loves, but is getting weary of, the winter palate of white, silver, gray etc.

Every bit of color, whether man made or natural, is a little bit of joy right now!

#39) Sunlight.

Especially shining on a couch or chair where I can curl up and feel it's, admittedly weak right now, warmth. Later this winter will be the thrilling moment when I am out for a walk with Max, and the sun will be at my back and I will suddenly realize that it is WARMING me through my jacket. I may even have to take off a layer. Oh that is pure magic, that moment. As John Denver said "Sunshine on my shoulder, makes me happy." Corny, but simple and true.

What are you grateful for this lovely morning?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

100 Gratitudes: A New Year's Project 29-35

Good morning! Sorry I haven't been here every day. Life can get hectic with 3 little ones and all their activities. But I am almost done with my gratitudes in my handwritten journal, so I am not slacking on the project, just finding it hard to carve out 30 minutes to blog. Better than being bored with nothing to do though, right? So.....

#29) Sleep.

I had the best night's sleep last night. I went to bed embarrassingly early and managed to sleep away an impending migraine. I feel so lively and awake at 6:20am, not a usual occurrence for me. There really is nothing as good for the mind or soul as a good night's sleep.

#30) Music.

I grew up in a musical house, I had full run of the Stuttgart Opera house as a child, we always had a music room in every home. I married a musician, have a sister who is a musician, have in-laws who are musicians. I like everything from Beethoven to Beck, Chopin to Caravan Palace, Bach to Bela Fleck, Puccini to Pink Martini (hey, that rhymes!). I love Bluegrass, funk, soul, classical, jazz, standards, alternative, grunge, folk, dance..... the list is endless. I am grateful to be able to hear and enjoy music.

#31) Concerts.

And since we are heading out tomorrow to take the kids to a Dan Zanes concert, I'll just say how much I love seeing music live. Especially with the kids, especially in the summer and outside. BUT as tomorrow afternoon is never going to get above zero (!) I am thrilled to spend a couple of hours inside dancing with my family.

#32) Skype.

I am, at heart, rather old fashioned, and I am not a lover of gadgets and technology just for the sake of the "next thing," but when something works as well as Skype to connect me to loved ones so far away, well, how lucky am I to live in a time when I can see people while I talk to them across time zones and oceans?! How about that for a run-on sentence?

#33) Wool socks.

Hand knit or Smartwool, there is nothing in the world like a pair of well made socks.

#34) My in-laws.

I married into THE coolest family. So smart, talented, artistic, funny, chatty, lively, loving, and deeply cool. They all get along inspiringly well and hanging out and chatting with any of them is absolutely one of my all time favorite pastimes. Missing from the photos below are Zach's sister Stefanie, who is actually sleeping in my guestroom as we speak, and Cousin Mark, who is too wily and fast for a camera. Must rectify my lack of photos of them immediately!

#35) Sunrise over the mountains.

So glad I am here to see it!