An Attitude of Gratitude

I know we’ve all heard this phrase thrown about. You need to have an attitude of gratitude, they say. I’m still trying to figure out who “they” are.  I’ve always thought of myself as a grateful person.  Every night when I go to sleep I thank the good Lord above for all the blessings in my life.  What I’ve discovered, in the last few days though, is that my attitude of gratitude needs an attitude adjustment.

It’s easy to be grateful when everything is going well in your life.  But, as I’ve discovered recently, it’s much harder to do this when things aren’t exactly going your way.  So, I’m on a road to gratitude.  I’ve been sad lately over something I have no control over and I’ve noticed a really big change in my attitude.  Suddenly, my well of gratefulness has run dry.  I’m pissed.  And I’m pissed that I’m pissed.  I have been truly blessed in this life and for me to feel ungrateful for even a second is unacceptable.

So, here we go…..why I’m grateful .

  • I get to put my feet down on real hardwood every morning and it will be paid for in 30 years 🙂
  • My children wake me up every morning either laughing at each other or Jane is screaming at Maddie.   Either way – they’re healthy and happy
  • Coffee….don’t need to say anything else about that
  •  The view from my front porch
  • The view from my front porch looking in
  • My dogs who act like I’ve been gone for 10 years when I come back from getting the mail
  • The sound of the gravel underneath my feet when I take the puppies for a walk
  • Facebook…seriously.  It has put me back in contact with friends that I made a lifetime ago and will continue to be friends with  for a lifetime
  • Phineas and Ferb….makes me laugh
  • While we’re at it…Ghost Hunters, Dance Moms and General Hospital too!  That’s right…I’m grateful for trash tv.
  • My sister.  The first person I want to call when something happens to me…sad, mad, glad, happy, angry, funny.  Doesn’t matter. She gets called first.
  • Friends who will reach out to me even when I tell them I can’t talk about it.  They care too much not to talk about it.
  • My grandmother and the 27 years I got to spend with her.  She would say, “Are you behaving yourself?”  I would say, “No.” She would say, “Good.  You’ll never have any fun that way.”
  • My family. All of them.
  • The way a baby smells after a bath.
  • My girlfriends, whom I have no doubt that if I woke up in a jail cell, they would be sitting next to me…smiling.
  • Dance.  I may not be able to kick my leg as high or turn as much or tap as fast but it’s the best way to get me out of a bad mood.
  • Warm nights, campfires, marshmallows and stars
  • The beach.
  • Chocolate and raspberry in any combination.
  • Wine and Malibu rum….yes, I’m grateful for that.
  • My husband.  He’s a saint of a man for putting up with me sometimes.  He can always make me feel like I’m the sweetest, funniest, most intelligent, sexiest woman in the room
  • The great Lord above…for giving me a faith that sustains me through the hard times and for blessing me with all of the above

I could probably sit here all day and do this. When I’m feeling sad I will remember that it is not happiness that makes me grateful, but gratefulness that makes me happy.  So, when I wake in the morning, I will simply say to myself, “Go forth with a grateful heart.”

Trip of the Month: Williamsburg, VA

This is a new feature on A Girl and Her Goat. I actually have trips planned every month until September so I thought, why not share them!  February’s trip was to Williamsburg, Va.  MOMS Club Becky and I decided to take all four kids (two 7 year-old-Justin-Bieber-obsessed girls and two 3 year-old-make-each-other-laugh-hysterically boy and girl).  We had a long weekend with the President’s Day holiday and, with our husbands working, we decided a road trip was necessary.

So, at 7:45 am, we loaded all 4 kids, 6 pieces of luggage, 1 stroller, and 4 bags of junk food into my van and hit the road.  My GPS said it would take approximately 4 hours to get there. It doesn’t know what 4 kids will do the estimated arrival time.  Nonetheless, Becky and I were optimistic as we started our adventure.  About an hour later, everyone decided they were hungry and since road trips seem to negate the theory that cheese balls at 8:30 in the morning is a bad idea, we let them have it.  Belle and Maddie were snuggled in the back eating Cheezits when Bell announced, “This Cheezit on the back of the box is wearing a nipple.”

I spit my coffee out and her mother whipped her head around to see what could possibly have made her seven year-old say such a thing.  Turns out the Baby Swiss Cheezit on the back of the box was sucking on a pacifier…not a nipple.  But lacking the proper word, Belle just told us what she thought it looked like.  My seven year-old has now used the word nipple at least four times since then. Once in front of her grandparents.

Moving on.  Becky must have been up and down in her seat, often at 70 mph on 495, a dozen times. And every time she got up to hand the children something she hit her head on my dvd player.  It’s installed in the ceiling and hangs down for viewing.  I mean every time she got up, despite my saying, “Watch your head.”

About seven hours later, we reached our first destination in Williamsburg…..The Great Wolf Lodge.   We chose the Williamsburg location because the Poconos lodge was going to cost us about $620 a night.  That’s right, $620 a night.  Now, I understand that the price includes admission to the water park, but really?  I could spend a week in Disney for less than that per day.  Because it was so expensive, we decided to stay only one night here and check into a cheaper hotel the next day.  You can start using the water park at 1 pm the day you arrive and you can use it until it closes at 9 pm on the day you check out.   So, as soon as we arrived, we headed to the park.

I have to admit..the water park was awesome!  I was ready to hit the slides myself.  But, the 3 year-old found the baby pool and slides so this is where I remained most of the day. Note to the 40+ American man wearing the Speedo..this is a children’s water park and we are not in Europe.  I was frightened.

 After a few hours at the park, our room was ready.  We were really excited to see our KidKamp Suite which included bunk beds and decorations to make you feel like you were camping.  Here’s what the lodge shows on their website:

Looks spacious, right?  Um…my walk-in closet is bigger.  But, the kids loved it so that is what matters.  unfortunately, we didn’t get a lot of time to do other things in the hotel. So, next year when we go back, we are going to stay a little longer.

Next stop was Colonial Williamsburg.  We checked into the Holiday Inn and were pleasantly surprised when they upgraded us to a two bedroom suite. After the cramped quarters at Great Wolf it was nice to have all that space. Not to mention that at the restaurant kids ate free!  So, Becky and I would drag them down to the restaurant, order some wine and an appetizer and feed the children.

Our plan was to explore Colonial Williamsburg Sunday but the rain thwarted our plan. So instead of learning about history, we took the kids to a bounce house place! I know, we could have done that here, but what else were we going to do with 4 kids on a rainy day.  They had a blast!

While driving around Williamsburg in search of coffee, Becky and I discovered lots of cute little shops that we would love to visit. So, we’ve decided to come back either with our husbands or for a girls’ weekend!  We also discovered Presidents Park.  It is a park with gigantic busts of former presidents.  We tried to find it on our way home but we learned the park has been closed.  Here’s a picture.  It would have been really cool to see up close.

Overall, the trip  was fun and much-needed.  I’m looking forward to returning!

For My Valentine

Dear Valentine,

The first time we met I thought you were quiet.  It showed me you were confident.

The second time we met you took care of me when the person that was supposed to care for me most wouldn’t. It showed me you were kind.

The third time we met you made me cry.  Then you made me laugh.  It showed me that you had compassion for others.

Then we became friends.  Then I fell in love.

Nine years, two kids, three dogs, and two houses later, I know that God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.

Love,

Your Wife

 

The Weekend Dig Out

Am I the only one that spends the majority of their Monday digging out from what happened during the weekend?  It seems like I can’t take one day off from the routine tidying of my house or else it looks like a tornado came through.  Why is that?  Yesterday, after church, I decided to do the unthinkable…I took a nap!  I should be ashamed of myself.  How dare I spend two hours on the couch napping when I should have been doing the usual running around cleaning up all the stuff that seems to migrate to the first floor of my house.

In the span of two hours, there were dishes everywhere, jackets lying around, shoes thrown on the floor, toys in the sofa (you read that right…in the sofa, not on. In.)  So, today, like most Mondays, I am going, room-by-room, to try to clean up what was left for me.  This has led me to ask myself three questions:

Question #1. Who is to blame for this mess?

Answer: Me.  Even though I was sleeping, peacefully on the couch, during said mess-making, it is entirely my fault.  Would you like to know why?  Because I clearly have not taught my kids that they should be scared of what will happen to their stuff if not put away.  This is my failure as a parent.  They clearly feel like it’s okay to leave their dirty dishes on the table and their toys in the sofa, and their jackets on the floor.  I’ve not scared them enough.

Question #2. What should I do about this?

Answer:  Throw their stuff away?  I’ve heard of parents doing this.  The kids leave it lying around.  The parents toss it to teach them a lesson.  I’m way too practical to do this.  It would be like throwing money in the trash can.  Can’t do it. Besides, I can’t start tossing out my own dishes or their jackets! Start paying them an allowance to clean up?  HELL NO!  You are not getting paid to clean up your own stuff.  No one pays me.  I’m not paying you.  Yes, if you want to do a job that does not involve cleaning up your own stuff, I will pay you.  Take out the compost.  Fold my laundry.  You will get paid. You will not get paid for putting your own damn toys away.  I saw something cute on Pinterest the other day.  It was called Clutter jail.

Cute, right?  It came from www.imom.com.  She puts the kids toys in a laundry basket when they fail to pick them up.  Then she makes them draw a card from a pile.  On each card is some task that the child has to perform before getting their toy back.  Not a bad idea.  And I might actually try it.  Do you think it would be wrong to include “paint Mommy’s toenails” or “give Mommy a neck massage” on the cards?  Probably.

Question #3.  How does every other mother deal with cleaning their house?

Answer: You tell me.  I am very curious as to how women clean their homes? All at once? Bit by bit?  Once a week?  Once every two weeks?  When they can no longer find their bed beneath the clothing? I’m talking actual cleaning – sheet changing, toilet scrubbing cleaning.   Also, I thought it would be fun to use this poll thing on the blog!

My Inner Domestic Goddess

I long to be a domestic goddess.  I have since childhood.  I just didn’t know what it was called back then.  I knew growing up that I wanted to be a mother and I wanted to take care of my house.  I never admitted it out loud for fear of public ridicule, of course. Could you imagine the reaction of my high school guidance counselor if I had told them I wanted to be a happy housewife?  They would have screened me for drugs.  It just wasn’t something high schoolers said.  I knew that I was going to have to get a job, but, in my sparetime, I daydreamed of being this:

Okay, minus the I’m-so-bored-I-had-to-smoke-a-dime-bag-of-mary-jane-to-get-through-this-day look.  I longed for cleaning the house and taking care of my husband and children.  Alas, Towson State did not offer a course in stay-at-home-mom 101 so I went to work.  In college, I worked as a waitress at the most dysfunctional place on the planet.  I cannot stress this enough. This place was crazy.  I refer to the three years I worked there as my alien-abduction years because that is the only reasonable explanation of the events that took place inside the walls of the Silver Diner.  Moving on.  I then worked at a place where they made shoulder pads.  That’s right, shoulder pads.  Then, I graduated and actually got a job in my field of public relations.  I made more money as a waitress so I quit and worked for a defense attorney where I dealt on a daily basis with drug dealers, drunk drivers, wife beaters, etc.  And yet, this job was still not as crazy as my job as a waitress.

Through all of this I managed to meet the wrong man, marry the wrong man and divorce the wrong man.  Did I mention he was the wrong man?  It was so wrong that I actually devoted time to writing a whole book about it.  (Shameless self-promotion: http://theminimarriage.com)  Anyway, I still longed to be the housewife I knew I could be.  Imagine my delight when I met and married the right man who actually wanted me to stay home and take care of our children.

I was in my glory when I first quit my job to become a mommy and wife.  I was smoking the proverbial crack pipe.  It was nothing like I pictured in my head! This is what all new mothers and wives realize eventually; that the messiness of real life never lives up to the idealized version you have playing in your head. I have recovered from my delusional thinking but I still long to be June Cleaver.  Which led me to wonder, why do I put June Cleaver on such a pedestal?

#1 – Her Wardrobe.  I really want to dress like June Cleaver.  I want to rock a full skirt, sweater set, pearls and some heels.  But, I can’t.  I could never show up at the grocery store or Maddie’s school wearing this:No one would be accepting of this.  This is not what is fashionable.  If by some miracle 80 lb models start gracing the runways in these get-ups, it won’t matter because I will be deemed to old to wear something so trendy. I am a firm believer that wearing heels and pearls while dusting and vacuuming would make these activities much more enjoyable.

#2 – her temperament.   I don’t know that I ever watched an episode of Leave it to Beaver where June screamed “shit” as she was racing to get to the school bus on time.  She was always a happy, cheery housewife.  She greeted Ward every night with a kiss when he came home from work. Sometimes I’m pissed off at my husband and I haven’t even talked to him all day.  Why?  I don’t know.  I blame PMS.  I don’t think June ever had PMS.

#3 – her complete lack of desire to handle the problems herself.  Okay, so this is probably not something I should hold in esteem but I do.  June Cleaver was famous for saying, “Ward.  I’m worried about the Beaver.”  Then she would let Ward handle it.  Never even broke a sweat.  She knew the man of the house would take care of it.  I envy that June had the ability to completely forget about the problems and go bake a cake.  This is the exact opposite of my tendency to be a helicopter Mommy – you know- mommies that hover.

#4 – the bitch could bake.  I  cannot.  She could whip up a coconut cake  in less than time it took Ward to figure out what was going on with the Beav and she did it all while cooking breakfast, packing lunches, folding laundry, dusting, and playing bridge with the girls .

I know that I will never really be June Cleaver.  I probably, in reality, don’t want to.  June wouldn’t be out there mucking the chicken coop or chasing after a goat.  But I love what she stood for – lovingly, patiently, and kindly taking care of those she held most dear.