On Being Thankful

Thanksgiving and the holidays really are a delightful time of year.  My kids (ages six and eight) really are at a sweet age – old enough to start understanding more about the meaning of holidays we celebrate at church and with our families.

For Thanksgiving, they brought home numerous projects that shared what they were thankful for. It appeared that both kids made a similar project, so I just had to share them here:


on thankfulness Go Mama O.

Pictured on the top: my 8-year-old daughter’s picture, Bottom: my 6-year-old son

A few things that I love about these pictures: both include a cat.  I am surprised she made it into the picture because she and the kids don’t have the best relationship.  She’s a fat, old, grumpy, but cute kitty, who prefers us adults much more than the kids. Still, I’m glad they appreciate her.

Instead of family, my son is thankful for his tv.  We only have one, and he doesn’t watch it that often, but I guess that tv time is precious to him. It’s good to know where his priorities are.

I think there’s an age difference reflected in these pictures.  My daughter is very sweet, and while my son can be sweet too, he definitely has a more independent, stubborn side, sometimes acting as if he is an only child.

In all fairness, he did create other pictures that did say he was thankful for family, so all hope is not lost for him.

I’m grateful for teachers helping reinforce the importance of being thankful at school because it’s something we certainly talk about at home.


Memories Around and Under the Table

If there’s any holiday that is best represented by the kitchen table, it’s definitely Thanksgiving. I’ve been thinking about my own kitchen table lately and the memories that it holds for me and my family. It was passed down from my grandparents, as my first “real furniture table” after graduating from college.

A few months ago while cleaning, I discovered this treasure under my son’s chair.

Grandmas Table and notes

Bob home from Service April 5, 1969. Got set for Easter.

This was my grandma’s writing, and I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t noticed it in the ten plus years since I’ve had this table! I’ve found similar notes from her in other special pieces of china that I have of hers, and I love seeing these notes.  I like to think back to what life was like back in 1969 for my grandparents and dad, their only child, and what a special Easter it must have been as my dad finished his Army service.

Over the past 45 years this table has seen, heard, and experienced a lot! Just a few memories that come to mind:

As kids we always ate pizza on Christmas Eve after church before sleeping over at Grandma and Grandpa’s. There are some Christmas Eves where I serve my family pizza after church too.

I can’t even count the number of times that we ate cookies at Grandma’s house around this table!

Overall, I have fond memories of their cozy kitchen and dining area. I remember being in the kitchen area and listening to my Grandpa tell stories or joke around, making Grandma chuckle and shake her head, as she always did.

Fast forward to when the kitchen table became mine: Daddy O. (at the time just Boyfriend O.) proposed to me in front of this kitchen table ten years ago when we were living several states away.

Fiance O. and I enjoyed meals for two at this table.

Kitchen table Christmas 2005

Kitchen Table with Grandma’s tablecloth – Christmas 2005

Mrs. O and Kitchen table Dec. 2006

Mrs. O. (now married to Mr. O.) – Christmas 2005

This table moved from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin with us to host more family gatherings. Our cat Sumo really liked hiding on the chairs with the tablecloth on.

Kitchen Table with cat 2007

Sumo Kitty likes sitting at the kitchen table – 2007.

Six years ago I hosted Thanksgiving with my two-week old daughter! That was a crazy holiday!! I don’t have a picture of us eating at the table (did I even eat?!), but here was our little family:

Thanksgiving 2009

Mama O., our cute little turkey, and Daddy O.

In a few months and two years later our kitchen table chairs would change to accommodate multiple high chairs.

kitchen table 2010 with a high chair

At the kitchen table, introducing rice cereal to our baby girl in 2010.

Kitchen Table with two kids

Little brother eating rice cereal in his high chair. And then there were two high chairs at our kitchen table!

And then the years flew by with our kitchen table witnessing many messy meals, fewer fancy table settings in favor of kid-friendly items, countless art projects, game nights, birthday parties, gatherings of friends & family, and thousand of family meals.

kitchen table through the years

Little Brother playing with his food, celebrating Big Sister’s 3rd and 5th birthdays, and Little Brother’s 2nd birthday.

Kitchen table, you have been a trusty companion for several generations of our family. I cherish the many memories I have of those who have sat around you and shared in so many celebrations and the simple everyday meals- so many blessings to count as we celebrate your BIG holiday tomorrow.

Elements of an Awesome Day

These were my thoughts last Friday, as the weather this week is leaving much to be desired! Still…here are some things that make for an awesome day:

  1. Plenty of sunshine and time outside to enjoy it. This meant playing in the park, doing some gardening while the kids played, watching my son “color” the pink big-wheel blue.
  2. Good books to read (either to my kids or myself).  We had a whole new collection of library books to enjoy together today. So fun! As you know, I love to read to my kids.
  3. Being greeted with a huge hug from my two year old, followed by a big monkey pile hug with my four year old and nephew (after I had a chance to quick run to the grocery store while my sister watched the kids play at the park). I just love these kids to pieces! AND it’s amazing how quickly I can shop-solo.
  4. Grilling out burgers and getting that “grilled meat smell” stuck to your hair / clothes. We haven’t had many warm days that have been suitable for grilling out, so this one was special, as were the blue cheese stuffed burgers! Yum!
  5. Scooping up a tired, two year old, who was so pooped out from all the fun of the day that he fell asleep on his blanket on the floor…at 6pm.  He was so exhausted from skipping his nap that I even managed to change his diaper without waking him. He stirred only a little when I picked him up to carry him to bed.

so tired

So many elements of this awesome day reminded me of my “Million Dollar Moments” post from my blog’s early stages in 2012. From that post, I explain:

“These are the moments when you wouldn’t trade a million dollars to be experiencing anything else in the world at that singular point in time. These are the moments when you are overflowing with thankfulness, and you want to freeze time to just be present in the beauty of your children and life as a whole.”

For such moments and days like today, I feel so incredibly blessed and grateful. God IS good!

A Day of Gratitude


Today is a day of gratitude.

We safely returned yesterday from our longest road trip – 13.5 hours! I was thankful for many things during the trip:

For my long arms that could easily pass toys or snacks or fix the portable DVD player to keep my kids happy. At one time they spiked volleyballs, shot the J, and played good D. Now they are go-go gadget like contraptions for my kids!

For an interesting route that provided fun stops: Kentucky Horse Park, Greensboro Children’s Museum, West Virginia Tamarack craft & art center, and a simple park in Chillicothe Ohio.

For happy, sweet children who liked the journey.  My daughter said, “I love this bathroom” in our first hotel. I guess the hotels were an “attraction” too. On our last day she told us she just wanted to play with toys in the car instead of go home – a traveling pro in the making.

For a patient husband who helped care for high energy kids, playing games with them when I drove and keeping the peace.

For a spontaneous hug from both kids this morning when we were all home and enjoying a lazy breakfast together.

For the post it note decoration pictured in this post.  My daughter made it for my son’s birthday. ..in September!  He ripped part of it down already,  but such a nice gesture!

For our home and where we live. ..and for feeling like we can successfully take more fun family trips again soon.

What are you thankful for today?