Every year that I have blogged, I have done a little Thankful post on Thanskgiving Day. One year I did my ABC's, one year I did one thing for each day of the month, and last year I did a photo challenge. I wracked my brain this year to come up with some creative way to express my gratitude this year, but in the end, I really couldn't come up with anything great. I figured what was more important was that I actually document the things I am thankful for this year.
So here they are...the Baker's Dozen of things I am thankful for this year in no particular order
1. My Boys. Oh these two. They bring me so much joy and make my heart swell with pride (and also bring a bit of frustration, but we won't dwell on that right now!). They are truly my greatest gifts in the world, and I am absolutely enamored with both of them. Colton and Levi have very distinct personalities which leads to different things I appreciate in each of them.
Colton is sweet, smart, and mellow (usually!). He is a rule follower and generally does exactly as he is told. He talks a lot these days, and usually amuses me...or impresses me...with the things that come out of his mouth! Colton really is a "good kid"...one of those that make you look like a parenting genius (when really it's just dumb luck).
Levi, on the other hand, is a bit feistier than his older brother. While that spunk has led to an increase in our disciplining, it has also brought a bunch of rewards. Levi is funny, and makes life fun. He's constantly into something and kind of reminds you that sometimes you just have to just smile and enjoy life! He's a lover in every sense of the word and gives the best big squeezes and kisses around. When he's happy, he's really happy...and when he's not, well, it's pretty obvious too!
Both my boys are very much momma's boys, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I am 1000% grateful for every kiss, hug, laugh, tickle, "wuv you," and snuggle I share with these two.
2. My husband. Josh works very hard to provide me and the boys with a certain life, and while I am thankful for that of course, I think I am more thankful that after 6 years of marriage (plus another few of dating), 2 kids, a crazy cockapoo, and all the stressors that come with that I can still say my husband is my very best friend. He makes me laugh, is there to support me when I have something to vent about, and we truly have a really good time together. I have come to realize recently that not everyone is that fortunate. Sure, Josh and I have our issues, but we are both all in...all in for each other and all in for our family. I am thankful to have a life partner who I enjoy living life with.
3. Chipper. My first child. Chipper has always been a bit of a handful, but he's also one of the sweetest pups you'll ever meet. He's an integral member of our family and gives the best, slobbery kisses just when I need them most. He is an amazing brother, and our family just wouldn't be the same without him!
4. My family. I feel so fortunate to have family members who not only give us unyielding support, but are also people we genuinely enjoy being around. My family has given me so much throughout my life, and now continue to do the same for Josh, Colton, and Levi. We are pretty close (like talk to my mom and sister at least once a day close) and really do have a good time whenever we are together (not that the above picture shows that...plus I just realized Josh somehow blocks my mom out of it!).
As much as I am thankful for the support, love, and friendship my family gives me, I think I am even more grateful (or at least equally) for what they have given to my boys. My parents have given my boys countless opportunities that Josh and I may not have been able to provide ourselves (at least not yet!). My sister is hands down the best aunt in the world and would do absolutely anything for my kiddos (chipper included). And even though I sometimes question why, my boys absolutely adore their Uncle Ryan!
I'm also really thankful that my boys now have their cousin Riley to grow up with. I didn't really have cousins I grew up with...the ones we were closest to were in Florida, and we didn't see the ones that were local very often, but I was always envious of families that did have close cousins.
Basically, my family is our support system and our best friends...a combo I am extremely grateful to have!
5. The business. My dad started a business 34 years ago. He worked really hard to build it into the success that it is today. Josh now works there, so the business is directly responsible for our livelihood and thus provides us with many of the opportunities and luxuries we have. I guess more appropriately I am thankful my dad worked so hard to have such a phenomenal opportunity to hand down to us.
6. Being a SAHM. Sure, there are rough minutes and even rough days, but I am so thankful that I am fortunate enough to be able to stay home with my children, watching them grow up and being there to share in their experiences. I know there are a lot of people who would love to be able to stay at home, but can't afford to, so I really don't take it for granted. Plus, being able to go to the gym every morning or meet some friends for coffee while my kids are in school are pretty nice perks!
7. My friends. I've always been the kind of person who would rather have a handful of really good friends than a whole bunch of acquaintances. And over the years, I have maintained a few very close friendships with girls from various stages of my life...girls who I can talk to once in a blue moon but still be as close, girls who would be there for me at the drop of a hat, and girls who I have a blast with whenever (no matter how rare) we see each other. I am so thankful to have these life-long friends that know me through and through.
But this year, I also became close with another group of girls that I met through Colton's former preschool. There are about six of them that the boys and I spend our Tuesdays and Thursdays with, that I do girls nights out with, and that even Josh has hung out with (with the other husbands). Basically, they're my little clique right now (in a totally non-snobby way), and it's really nice to feel like I have a group!
8. The boys' friends. As I just said, I made a really nice group of friends this year (well we technically met them at the end of last year, but got close over this year). But the best part about this group is that every single one of them also happens to have two boys around the ages of my boys...crazy, huh!?! So now, Colton and Levi have official "friends." While Levi doesn't quite realize it yet (although he does seem to recognize his buddy Leo who is only one month younger than him and the only other one right around his age), Colton is very much aware of his new buddies and gets very excited about seeing them and doing things with them...as they seem to do with him. Colton has always been a bit shy and reserved, but not around these guys! It is so nice to see Colton come out of his shell and have a really good time.
9. Naptime. The key to my sanity. I already said I love being a stay-at-home mom, but let me tell you, these boys are utter chaos these days, and I cherish those two hours of so of peace and quiet. Plus, it gives me time to craft, bake, check Facebook, and catch up on my reality tv. It's my special two hours of each day, and I don't know what I would do without it!
10. DVR. Speaking of naptime, my guiltiest pleasure during the boys' naps is catching up on my shows. Most of my shows come on way too late for me to watch "live," so DVR has become my best friend. Every day I have something exciting to look forward to watching, so thank you DVR...and Bravo for that matter!
11. Kerry. She's my Muscle Blast instructor. I've never before enjoyed doing group exercise classes, but ever since I took Kerry's class for the first time over a year ago, I have been hooked and have missed only a handful of classes! Even though the workout is a tough one and has made me more toned than I have ever been (we do 200 push ups every Wednesday just to give you an idea), she makes exercise fun and keeps me motivated to be there.
12. Edy's Chocolate Peanut Butter Loaded. This stuff is the absolute best, and it's technically frozen yogurt so it's better for you. I think I've sung it praises a few times before, so I won't bore you with the details but it's my nightly sweet treat. Oh and a big thank you to Food Lion for actually stocking it after the Harris Teeter had stopped!
13. Health. Health issues scare the absolute bejeezus out of me. I feel so thankful to have my health and that of all my loved ones because I know how quickly that can change! My parents have both (mainly my dad) had a few issues over the past few years and my grandfather had a really rough year, but things for everyone are looking up, and I am so grateful.
I could also probably give an honorable mention to Pinterest, Kids Nights Out at the JCC ($20 for four hours of babysitting for both boys once a month!!!), and Target! But mainly, I am just thankful to have so many things to be thankful for! I am so blessed in so many ways and while I try to remind myself of that daily, it is nice to take the time out to think about that once a year with all my favorite people surrounding me. I hope you and yours enjoy a fantastic Thanksgiving.