Thursday Thanks. Helping #21.

My teensy Thanksgiving chair is in serious need of a warm up. I can’t remember the last time I sat still in gratitude. So, today’s the day. I’m settling in my chair, thankful for all of the friends who keep my heart cozy.

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My husband Jeff wasn’t a runner when he registered for a marathon. I’m thankful for the friend who bet him to do it–and then coached him through the training and doubt and nipple stickers.

I’m thankful for my friend who followed Jeff’s race progress from across the country, grounded me in goodness and then video-chatted with a Texas-sized toast after he crossed the finish line.

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I’m grateful for the friends who believe in starting bus sing-a-longs, post-midnight pajama dance parties and sangria breakfasts.

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Disney Springs Digression

And what about the friends who notice things and, in a single snapshot, capture the best bits of your kiddos? Your favorite little pieces of life: boy fingernails, fresh freckles, untamed hair, airborne feet.

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Photos by the incomparable Erika B.

There are friends who are fountains, not drains. Friends who put your furniture in their truck and drive all the way out to the burbs for you. Friends who know what to say and when to pray. I’m so grateful for them today.

Are you thankful for a friend?

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Thursday Thanks. Helping #20.

I’ve been a serious slacker, but I couldn’t miss today’s Thursday Thanks.

Thanksgiving Chair

Because March 6 marks the day that I got a little sister–my taller, wiser, younger sister.

And I could not be more thankful for this girl.

sisters

It’s the way she knows baseball things and hollers knowledge from the stands to support the boys. The way her thoughts rocket from her brain and over her lips without apology. The way she calls me out on my bull-drama like no one else on the planet is brave enough to do.

I can always count on her to share a drink (tea or something stiffer), to share a laugh (and not prim, sissy giggles–but messy, snorty, all-in-body-shaking-til-you-tinkle silly), to have a plan. Thank goodness she always has a plan.

She’s a bulldog in the courtroom. A bailiff told her so. She sings bedtime songs to the boys like a Disney princess. And she brushes another brain surgery off like dirt off her shoulder.

On her birthday, and every day, I’m grateful for my beautiful sister.

Who are you thankful for today?

Thursday Thanks. Helping #19.

It’s the first Thursday of the new year and it’s high time I spent a little time in my Thanksgiving Chair.

Thanksgiving Chair

Some of my friends got engaged last year. Some got married, some became parents, some had a milestone year.

But, for a lot of people I love, 2013 was a broken year flooded with bad news, deflated dreams and health gone kaput. It wasn’t my favorite year because, frankly, it wasn’t an easy one. But I am thankful for it. And the more I looked back on it, the more 2013 looked up. Here’s an itty bitty smidgen of the blessings I counted.

January:

We rang in 2013 with some of our dearest friends and hotfooted it into the new year full speed.

Tucker started reading more and more–signs, labels, recipes. And Jeff and I had to stop spelling secret things out loud.

reading

Case’s contagious dino craze intensified.

Dino World!

Dino World 2

And I kicked off what would become my busiest, best professional year to date.

Publix shoot

February:

I got 1 year older and I got a bike.

bike

March:

We celebrated my sister’s 30th birthday in the most magical way.

Disney Digression
Disney Digression

We danced. A lot.

my three

April:

We spent Saturdays unplugged at the ball park. Tucker batted.

Tucker at bat

Case cheered.

biggest fan

They grew. I noticed.

growing big

May:

We celebrated our brand new 4-year-old spunk muffin–my own personal sunshine.

my heart

We unleashed the Jedi on Star Wars Weekend.

The Force

And we joined Forces with some pretty great friends.

Disney love

June:

I started this silly little blog.

For possibly the only time this will ever happen, the boys were on the same team. Summer Flag Football.

flag football

Well, Jeff coached. Tucker played. Case chased the field’s wild peacock family.

peacock

Tucker had his first sleepover ever (gulp.) and said goodbye to his best bud who moved out of state.

Gavin

I bought a fancy dress (for the first time in years, no lie) and went to a swanky industry soiree in New York City.

NYC

July:

Because I have the best parents (a lot of people think they do, but I know that I do), they came to keep the boys so Jeff and I could celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary a few weeks early. I will always remember our trip as one of the most wonderful weeks of my life. Plus, we hit all four Disney parks in one day: Grand Slam Dunk.

grand slam

We also celebrated Tucker’s 7th Birthday a little early. Lego love for life.

lego party

Jeff had a birthday. And we popped into the Trop. Sat up top. Make me stop.

Rays

August:

I flew to LA for a shoot.

pie

There was Pretty everywhere.

LA

My boy, my little man, thoughtful old soul, turned 7 while I was away.

Seven

I hung out with my parents–just the 3 of us for the first time since ?–on a work trip in the Big Apple.

Morandi

And another school year started.

school

September:

I realize just how much I love my husband each football season. His unshakeable fanhood has rubbed off.

football

October:

After so many seasons in the stands, Case finally had a team of his own. And an amazing coach.

Cubs

Tucker perfected his slide.

slide

And Gamps & Grandmama came to see.

G&G

During our 5th annual sister trip to EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival, Lindsey sat with me through 3 sets of Boyz II Men. Check.

Boys II Men

Halloween was pretty rad, too. The boys trick-or-treated in my office, in the neighborhood and in the Magic Kingdom.

Halloween 2013

November:

We joined our church.

Jeff’s Movember team raised $2820 (and quite a few facial hairs) in honor of his dad.

staches

And when we went to spend Thanksgiving with his dad in the quiet Carolina country, we had a good prognosis to be thankful for.

Thanksgiving

December:

In a season that’s bedazzled with busyness, sometimes you need something simple to slow you down. Like these December skies.

skies

The Bucs did not have a winning season, but the Faith & Football event cemented one thing. Love has already won.

Bucs

And I spent Christmas with my entire family–my husband, our boys, my parents, my sister and my brother. It. Was. Super.

supers

At first mention, 2013 rings a little unlucky, a little sour. But, look at all the life, the fun, the growth, the triumphs, the good.

I’m so grateful that I re-measured the year.

Thursday Thanks. Helping #18.

Curling up in my Thanksgiving Chair today. 60ish degrees is scarf weather, right?

Thanksgiving Chair

This week, I’m thankful for holiday shopping trips with my sister, steak dinners and pink Starbursts. Why isn’t there a pack of pink-only Starbursts? Why haven’t we even made a dent in the Halloween candy? (How long is it acceptable to keep it lying around?)

I’m grateful for catch-up calls with my best good friend—who has been my friend since the second grade—which is exactly how old Tucker is now, which makes me happy and nostalgic and old.

roomies

And it means my kids are older. There are a lot of brand new bobbins in my newsfeed lately. Beautiful babies, with teeny toes and noses, that curl up so small. Makes my ovaries quiver a little. I miss the baby socks, the baby giggles, the baby-fine hair.

Throwback Disney Digression
Throwback Disney Digression

But it means that my kids dress themselves now—if you give Case credit for backward shirts and inside-out pants, which I absolutely do. It means they wipe their own hineys. They tell their own jokes. Doozies.

They’re also old enough to say what they’re thankful for. I asked them in the car rider line this morning.

Tucker is thankful for trees “because they give us air.” He’s also thankful for his family and Cheerios—which he was munching on in the car. Any other mediocre moms make breakfast a movable feast some most mornings?

Case is thankful for his family and his friends at school. I hope they’ll both be lucky enough to have a friend like mine—one who’s been an unfading sunshine across years and decades and life.

What about you? What are you thankful for today?

Thursday Thanks. Helping #17.

It’s a Halloween episode of Thursday Thanks–coming to you live from my Thanksgiving Chair.

Thanksgiving Chair

Today, I’m thankful for the plumpest, perfectest gourd on earth and all of the gems in its glorious guts (I ate my weight in roasted pumpkin seeds last night–anybody with me?).

Disney Digression
Disney Digression

I’m thankful for chocolate candy, hard candy and any candy that’s not candy corn.

And I’m beyond grateful that I work for a company that lets me be a mom–especially on holidays. Like most good companies, mine encourages a healthy “work/life balance”.

That said, I think the phrase “work/life balance” is bunk–harder to grab and hold than a fistful of slinky pumpkin guts. Work is part of life. And balance is only real in math and budgets and beams, of course.

I worked at a magazine for a skinny minute where I went from a senior writer to managing editor overnight. The business manager offered up some advice. “This is a lot more responsibility, obviously, and probably a lot more stressful. I just want you to remember that this is a magazine. It’s not brain surgery. No one is going to die.”

I’m still thankful for that perspective–and never more than today. In (superficially) crazy times, I’ve always used his line: “it’s not brain surgery.” Until it is. Like this last week, when someone I love more than my life had a second brain surgery. That will wake your perspective. Shake your core. Make you feel anything but balance.

Then you find footing in gratitude, and new sweetness in every breath.

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday Thanks. Helping #16.

Happy Thursday, y’all, from my Thanksgiving Chair. 

Thanksgiving Chair

Today, the spotlight’s on the little things. Cause, you know, I’m sensitive to little things.

And, sometimes, success is getting to baseball practice on time and remembering sunscreen.

Sometimes happiness is asking the big boy if he’d rather go through the car line or if he’d like you to walk him in. And he picks you.

Sometimes pretty is mascara-free.

Sometimes freedom is a bare-footed bike ride to the mailbox.

Sometimes a peace offering is pumpkin pie ice cream.

Sometimes a worship service is a solitary conversation with God in your driver’s seat, in the middle of rush hour, in the middle of the highway, in the middle of a song.

Sometimes medicine is a Disney movie.

Sometimes you have to remind yourself to be thankful for the sometimes. All the time.

Any little somethings you’re thankful for today?