Thursday Thanks. Helping #12.

Today, before I hop into my Thanksgiving Chair, I have a confession.

I’ve been cheating on summer.

I know fall is not officially here until 9/22, but he smells so, so good. I was seduced by Pumpkin Spice. And, for weeks, I’ve been burning fall candles like it’s my J.O.B. As if I could pump enough pumpkin into the world to will cooler breezes and scarves to flutter. We already have Halloween costumes, weekend plans and a candle supply that’ll last to Thanksgiving and beyond. And I’m grateful for the fun ahead.

Thanksgiving Chair

I’m also grateful for a cut-from-the-same-cloth sister and friends—women who are in touch with their inner silly, ladies who lunch wearing feathers, six grown goobers who will cram into a red telephone booth with you just to see if you can (p.s. You Can. In 13 seconds flat).

phone booth

I hope everyone has a friend who knows you’re a weird, hot mess and loves you more for it. Here’s an honorable mention for Norwegian pastries, Italian waiters, British Rock cover bands (and their choreography).

sisters

I am always thankful for bedtime with the boys. Tucker’s prayers are long, mostly because he’s a stealthy staller. But just when I’m nudging him to wrap it up, he’ll say something to make me laugh. “Thank you for my Daddy who thinks Mommy’s potatoes are awesome.”

And Case, who is so attached to his thumb, after years of us encouraging him to lose it, says, while I’m singing Baby Mine off-key, “I have to suck my thumb when you sing that song to me.”

Disney Digression
Disney Digression

What can I say to that? Nothing but thanks.

thankful

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday Thanks. Helping #11.

Happy Thursday from my Thanksgiving Chair.

Thanksgiving Chair

This week, I’m thankful for football season–the season of sausage balls, 7-layer dip and orange-on-purpose.

I’ve relinquished the remote, surrendered Saturdays (and Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays) and put in picks for the office pool. One of our college teams is winning. Our pro slate is clean. And I’m still drinking the Kool-Aid that is the collective hope of a brand new season. If this feeling were a flavor, it would be grape. Err. Orange.

big orange

I’m grateful for last-minute, late-afternoon drives over to Disney–just to catch Fantasmic. It’s always great to get there because the kids still squeal when they see the sign. But the car ride over is half the fun. Checking off landmarks, lobbying for the song you have to hear next, refereeing the two goobers in the backseat. And, just after you’re sure they’re going to maim each other, you bust them.

hands

PSA: Disney is empty on Labor Day weekend. We had dinner at the Prime Time, which is usually impossible, we walked right on Star Tours twice. And we had front row seats for the show. PSA 2: With front row seats, you will get wet.

Disney Digression
Disney Digression

 

Today, I’m also thankful for a poem one of my best friends shared with me a couple decades ago. She knew my soul’s cargo then. So many times, when I’m lacking the words, I go back to these.

Berryman

If you have to be sure, don’t write.

You’re up. What are you thankful for today? Nothing is too simple or small or obvious.

Thursday Thanks. Helping #10.

Happy Thursday, from my Thanksgiving Chair.

Thanksgiving Chair

I always have a lot to be thankful for. But, this week, toothbrushes get an honorable mention. Hang with me. How many toothbrushes do you have in your house? We have 11, at least. And 3 of those are mine. I have my spinny, for the twice-a-day routine, a pink travel toothbrush with soft bristles. And I have a new one, still in the package, on standby. Jeff has at least two. The boys have two a piece in the downstairs bathroom so we can do a quick scrub before we dash out the door in the mornings (light sabers and Angry Birds). And they each have another upstairs for bedtime (Captain Rex and Darth Vader). It’s, like, an embarrassment of toothbrush riches.

I never thought twice about our household toothbrush count until I heard Pastor Juan Carlos Serrano share a message with our church on Saturday night. Pastor Juan lives and leads in Cuba and it took 4 years to arrange his visit here. He only speaks Spanish, so there was a translator with him. Their words, overlapping, overlaying, together delivering The Word? Nothing was lost in translation. He spoke so rich in stature and spirit that the entire room held a collective breath.

After the sermon, our Pastor Matthew told all of us that he’d taken Pastor Juan and his wife to Target. “For fun,” he said. They’d never experienced aisles of options. Pastor Matthew told us that the Serranos just get one toothbrush. So, the toothbrush aisle was overwhelming. I mean, you get to pick your brand and your bristle. You can go single or multi-pack. Manual or battery. Pink or blue. Or orange, red, purple, green, chartreuse. So many possibilities for dinky teeth scrubbers. And we have that many options for almost everything we touch.

Disney Digression
Disney Digression

I know hope you’ll all be brushing your teeth soon. Maybe you’ll notice your toothbrush when you do? And while I’m counting my toothbrush blessings tonight, all 3 of them, I’m also grateful for the 2 bottles of wine that I shared with my amazing parentals last night.

parents

And for the 1 dreamy forkful of cronut I tasted this morning. Y’all. This fad is legit.

the mighty cronut
the mighty cronut

So, how about you? What indulgence are you thankful for this week?

Thursday Thanks. Helping #9.

Thursday snuck up on me, but it’s never too soon to climb up in my Thanksgiving Chair.

Thanksgiving Chair

Here’s a quick dish of things I’m thankful for this week:

* Doc McStuffins No-Bake Muffins. Full disclosure. I saw the segment on Disney Junior. I thought they sounded ahhh-mazing. So, I spun it this way: the boys could help me make them and we’d share a fun snack. Case did help me put them together, but guess who’s eating her way through the entire tray solo? Anywho. Make them. (I used raspberry preserves. Walnuts instead of raisins. And I was a tad heavy-handed with the coconut.)

* A hubs who fills the second grader’s lunchbox–napkin to nummies to note. Because he’s much better at being on time than me. And because he loves doing it.

* Solid ear buds when there’s office construction. Worn-out playlists that never wear on me.

* Friends who leave surprise bananas on my desk.

* The man in our office building’s lobby store who had pistachios on the shelf at 3:04 pm yesterday.

* The car radio, with DJs and commercials, the soundtrack of my commute. Does anyone besides me still love driving old-school style?

So, in a nutshell, I’m grateful for food & music.

And these Disney Digression bits.

Disney quotes

What about you? What are you thankful for today?

Thursday Thanks. Helping #8.

It’s Thursday. And I’m happy to settle into my Thanksgiving Chair tonight.

Thanksgiving Chair

I’m thankful for quite a lot–especially for being back home this Thursday. But I’m also grateful for the new things I see on the road. Like growing things.

Okay–my thumb is not green. The only house plants that have survived our home are the lucky bamboo. I’m pretty sure they’re only alive because of their fortunate name. And even though I love to eat local, fresh goodies, the idea of me tending to my own garden is quite contrary.

Still. I’ve always been a bit smitten with growing things. The needles of green that shove through cracks in concrete. The way wildflower seeds sprout from a cup of wet dirt on the kitchen counter, wispy as wrist hairs. Kudzu, dense as the ocean, climbing, choking anything in its way.

Growing things are easy to miss—just a blur as our hours scurry on.

I mean, who makes you stop to stare at trees? A shaman in Peru made me once. And my elementary school ALERT teacher, Dr. M., taught an entire unit on trees. We even had to hug one and sing to it. I’m so not kidding.

I’m not a tree hugger (that was a one-time thing), but I love the plants, the free, uncultivated, wild plants, that bloom with Fibonacci perfection.

And I love when nature—in the hands of imaginative humans—becomes arboreal art. So, I wanted to share a parade of pretty growing things I’m grateful I got to see in California last week. And it starts with these unruly beauties.

gnarly trunk

Succulents
Succulents
Oceana Beach Club Hotel
Oceana Beach Club Hotel
Santa Monica sunset
Santa Monica sunset
Tree swing
Tree swing
Pasadena
Pasadena
Rose garden
Rose garden
The Getty Center
The Getty Center
The Getty Center waterfall
The Getty Center waterfall
Hey. How'd he get in here? (Disney Digression)
Hey. How’d he get in here? (Disney Digression)

What about you? What are you thankful for today? Did you notice anything you usually don’t?

Thursday Thanks. Helping #7.

Happy Thursday. It is still Thursday in California where I’m curled up in my Thanksgiving Chair tonight.

Thanksgiving Chair

It’s already August 1st, but it’s still summer. And it’s still pro baseball season. Thank goodness.

I never thought I’d say that I’m thankful for baseball. I grew up dancing and cheering and singing Broadway. Each Saturday morning, there was a melody for my mood–from “The Music of the Night” to “Don’t Rain on my Parade.” There were buns and bobby pins and pom poms. And now? Now there are cleats and cups and coolers.

I’d never touched a pair of cleats. Then, just like that, I was responsible for making sure they were laced and velcroed. And fast. Just like that, I was sitting in the stands cheering Slugger Tucker on.

T Wade

Case shared a spot in the shade with me while Jeff helped coach on the field. But games are long for a baby brother who just wants a team of his own. So, sometimes he would sneak beneath the bleachers and watch from the fence.

biggest fan

Maybe it’s because Jeff has brainwashed encouraged us to pull for our hometown team. Maybe it’s the silly songs & snacks & stats. We’ve all caught the baseball bug. I mean, how can you not be smitten with a sport that’s not timed? Anything can happen.

yay Rays

And our team, the Rays, hosts family fun days with giveaways for kids. Growing loyal fans, one freebie at a time.

pasttime

The Rays even celebrate the ultimate fan combinations.

Disney Digression
Disney Digression

And, when they win, they’re proud to let the world (at least the city) know.

victory

It’s always fun to cheer on the Rays live at the Trop (where it’s always a balmy 72 degrees). But we usually watch them at home. Home is where I love baseball because we’re in a baseball state of mind. We catch a few bits of the game but, because there are so many, it’s really okay if we don’t see the entire thing. A game is always on, but our weekend doesn’t revolve around one. Instead of “5 more minutes” bedtime is “at the end of this inning.”

This week, we sign the boys up–both of them–for fall ball. Two teams. Two practices. Two games on Saturdays. The new season and school year will be in full swing. Not yet though.

For now, it’s still summer. Like baseball, this summer season is play-paced. It’s that unhurried moment, sandwiched between the chaos of school years, when we’re not timed. It’s a pseudo pause button that means Tucker isn’t in second grade yet, Case isn’t in VPK yet and we can snuggle on the couch for just one more out.

watching ball

Thursday Thanks. Helping #6.

Happy Thursday from my Thanksgiving Chair, live from Santa Monica, CA this week.

Thanksgiving Chair

Here for work, I’m thankful to experience this dreamy parcel on the Pacific. The sky feels low and close. This California breeze is a teense nippy, so there are heaters on the hotel patio. Isn’t that the yummiest? A pillar of heat in the chilly air.

But it does make me miss my muggy Florida. And it makes me grateful for swans.

I’ll back up. I didn’t go all Hemingway on you last week. Jeff and I were on a 7-day vacay to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. Blogging was brief because we, among other things, had to see about some swans. We stayed at the Walt Disney World Swan hotel, home to a gaggle of swans. They were everywhere. We were giddy. So our Swan Series starts. Cheese!

swan shades

There were suds & swans:

suds & swans

Smiles with swans:

swan smiles

Swan sillies:

silly swan

Sweet swans:

sweet swan

Then, the swans got a little scary.

scary swan

They really were everywhere. So, we started to sneak around them.

sneaky swan

Still scary.

swan shiver

Then, things just got plain ridiculous. Swan Lake, anyone?

swan lake

Swans over the shoulder:

swan boss

My personal favorite–the swan stare down:

swan stare

And the don’t-sass-me swan showdown:

swan sass

And, sigh, the swan song:

swan song

I know. Bird brains. But I’m so thankful for that carefree week when our only responsibility was to revel in each other’s company. We are good at that job.

My Faulkner will be back in full force next week.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. What are you thankful for?

(p.s. Our friend Matt, who inflated the life of his daughter’s huge Hello Kitty balloon, inspired our Swan Series.)

Thursday Thanks. Helping #5.

Happy Thursday, folks. I’m sitting in my Thanksgiving Chair now and my cup runneth over.

Thanksgiving Chair

This will be quick (I’ll explain why next week). But I couldn’t let a Thursday roll by without saying thanks to these two.

parents

Meet my parentals: Cindy & Jim.

Mom is the kind of mom who, when you have your first baby, welcomes you home with a full-on Thanksgiving meal that’s months early and right on time. She’s the kind of mom who packs you, for your trip–not hers, arranging every article of clothing between tissue paper like a Tetris maestro. She’s a doer and a mover and a shaker. More than anything, she is my oldest, truest, biggest fan.

Dad is the kind of dad who writes your family’s lexicon. He knows the book is always, always better. He doesn’t talk about character. He lives it. And he introduces you to magic.

Disney Digression
Disney Digression

Today, every day, I’m grateful to be a fusion of these two unreal people.

Who are you thankful for today?

Thursday Thanks. Helping #4.

Oh, hi.

Coming to you live from my Thanksgiving chair.

Thanksgiving Chair

This week has been a stress swarm. Don’t you love how these come at you? Like a fastball screaming towards your face. No time to duck.

C’est la vie? Oui.

So, this week, I’m thankful that I get to hug my parents soon. I’m thankful that a Disney fix is so close I can taste it (Disney Digression).

And, let’s be real, I’m grateful for caffeine. I’m a full-blown addict and I’ll take it any way I can get it. Hot. Iced. Chocolate-covered (beans, of course). At home, we brew whatever is BOGO at Publix. My just-right cup is strong with a generous swirl of half & half.

I really appreciate the mom & pop coffee shops, too. Now I like Starbucks just as much as the next hipster, but there’s something so comfy about a small joe space. A café latte is my pretty sip of choice. Oh, I love the pretty.

Birch Coffee, NYC
Birch Coffee, NYC

Work is hard. Parenting is harder. Life? Hardest.

In the middle of weeks like this, I’m thankful for my job. I play with words, for a brand that I love, and I get to wear jeans and tennies while I do it. It’s a pretty rad gig.

feet

What are y’all thankful for today? Let me know!

Thursday Thanks. Helping #3.

I’m happy to curl up in my Thanksgiving chair today.

Thanksgiving Chair

So much to be thankful for. Like our family’s Friday movie night. I’m way outnumbered in this house and we watch a lot of Star Wars. But last Friday we settled on The Lion King. Woot! For a skinny minute (the boys can’t sit for long because they like to act out the scenes) we were all snuggled and still on the couch. Whole.

We talked Jeff into replaying this epic beginning a few times on full blast. Movie magic.

Lion King
Disney Digression

Any takers on the lyrics? (No Googling!).

This is my favorite way to sing it is:

NAhhhhh, Savannah. Motorola! Mitsubishi, Honda! You’re singing now aren’t you?

And, speaking of magic, I snapped this pretty shot of our street this week.

street

I’m guilty of slipping into house envy and saying,  too often, “We need new carpet. We need a new dishwasher. We need a pantry that was not designed by a man!” No we don’t.

We have this.

flag

1491 square feet of messy, crazy, love-worn fun. It’s home. A home where we’re free to learn and play and worship any way we please. Thank goodness.

Here’s to sweet freedom and the greatest home on earth.

What are you thankful for this July 4th Thursday?