Practicing Gratitude [09.08]

>> Thursday, September 8, 2016

So school began for my girls yesterday ~ Mack kicked off her first year of high school, and AJ started Grade 7.

Summer went by so fast.


July was pretty slow, for the most part, but August was a veritable flurry of activity.  I have been gone for almost HALF of the days in the last six weeks!  We spent four days at The Man's family gathering at the end of July/beginning of August, followed shortly thereafter by our 11-day west coast whirlwind road trip, then the girls and I spent a weekend up at the lake two weeks ago for my family gathering.

Slip'n'slide kickball!
I'm thankful for my own large, extended family and that the girls and I could spend time with them again.  Sadly, The Man's work schedule didn't allow him to attend at all this time, but he hooked up the truck and camper for me, and I'm thankful there were plenty of willing uncles and cousins on hand to handle the parking, unhitching, and re-hitching for me!  I'm grateful for a family that enjoys getting together and always has a wild, wonderful, wacky weekend.

The past two weeks have been more like the beginning of summer ~ nothing much other than the usual yard- and housework.  Just a few back-to-school appointments, like the hairdresser and dentist and such. The Man's parents came out with their 5th wheel and camped on the yard for a few days last week, but left Friday morning, so the last five days before school started were quiet.

I'm grateful for my in-laws' visit.  They have camped on our yard for a few days before the Labour Day weekend each summer for many years, but last year they couldn't because of my Father-in-law's chemo regimen.  Unfortunately, he needs a second round of treatment and it actually began the first morning they were at our house (he's taking daily oral doses this time instead of one intravenous dose every three weeks), but I am so grateful that there were no side effects to speak of while they were here.  We had a very nice visit with them.  The Man was home the entire time and because we weren't sure what to expect with his dad's chemo, we didn't plan to do anything or go anywhere, so it was actually kind of like a vacation at home, complete with afternoon naps!  AND his mom made half the meals!!

I'm thankful the girls had a good first day of school.  AJ's been counting down the days ever since school ended!  I wasn't worried about her because she had at least a handful of former classmates in her new class.  Mack had her first day of high school and has been much more nervous about going back to school.  Yesterday there were no classes for Grades 10-12, so it was just an orientation and familiarization day for all the new Grade 9 students.  It went smoothly enough, so she's gained a little bit of confidence, but today is the first day with the entire student body, so the hallways will be much more congested and she's nervous about being "the little kids."  And about all the other things that will be different in high school.  I know she will be fine.

I'm thankful for the return of routine, although come Monday, that too, will be very different this year from previous Septembers...

What are YOU grateful for today?

Mowing The Lawn


September DayBook

>> Monday, September 5, 2016

The Simple Woman's Daybook, hosted by Peggy @ The Simple Woman's Blog

Outside my window... it's cloudy and cool.  It's September in Manitoba.

I am thinking... it feels like a lot longer than three months since my last DayBook post.  I didn't intentionally skip the summer ~ not July's anyway.  That one I just plum forgot about!  But we weren't home the first Monday in August, so that one I did decide not to bother with.

I am thankful... our August was busy in contrast to July.  It was a LOT of go-go-go, but since that was more recent, it feels like we had an exciting, adventure-filled summer.  :)  And we're all looking forward to the regular routine of the school year starting.  (That's Wednesday for my girls)

Ménage à cat.
Since this picture was taken two weeks ago, we've lost the two tiny babies seen nursing here at the top of the picture, as well as the larger, black and white kitten at the bottom.  It sounds terrible, but that wasn't really a bad thing.  We still have three spring kittens, three junior females from last year, and our old tomcat (the only cat not in this picture).  That's PLENTY.

I am going... nowhere today, it being a stat holiday and all.

I am wearing... pajamas.  It's almost 11 in the morning and it's the second-last morning of laziness to be had around here.  After tomorrow, the girls and I will have to be fully clothed and out the door by 8:30 virtually every morning.

I am hoping... I can resist the urge to constantly fixate on the logistics of this upcoming season of changes (more on that next week). I would love to live my usual day-to-day and just adapt as needed, but I can't seem to stop trying to make contingency plans for every possible scenario months into the future. And yes, it IS affecting my sleep.

I am wondering... how to keep from feeling exhausted just thinking about juggling the upcoming school sports seasons (with both girls involved for the first time), the home-keeping, and a job outside the home.  This goes hand-in-hand with the previous paragraph. :P

A quote that recently caught my eye...
My ideal home has two rooms: a bedroom to sleep in, and a kitchen to cook in. These are things which I have personal preferences about and am willing to maintain.
Everything else, I would prefer to outsource for someone else to maintain. Every extra square foot or possession is a liability – something I have to spend time and money maintaining rather than enjoying life.
From this post by David Veksler (emphasis mine)
I think there might be a couple more rooms in my ideal home, but the overall concept of being enslaved by the "necessary" space in our homes is worth some consideration.

I am reading... 50 Women Every Christian Should Know by Michelle DeRusha ~ short biographies of great women of faith from the last millenium.

A peek into one of my days...
Mowed the lawn yesterday and couldn't help but wonder if it would be the last time it actually needs to be done.  I usually do it once after we've raked the leaves just to clean things up, but growth slows down pretty rapidly this time of year.
And as much as I don't want summer to end, I never mind packing the mower away!

In my garden... Chaos.  Pure chaos.  I don't know what steroids our weeds were on, but it was a losing battle almost right from the start this year.  I am thinking of "summer fallowing" next year and just trying to keep it tilled regularly.  Honestly, I don't know why I bother with a garden anymore anyway.  I like the fresh eating, but we always plant a little too ambitiously and then it's almost instantly overwhelming for someone like me, who's never enjoyed gardening.

In my kitchen... making plans to overhaul my menu plan and grocery list making system. For the last 15 years, my grocery list for the beginning of each week has been determined by the menu, and meal prep has been done each day as needed.  From now on, the menu-making will need to be determined by what's already on hand, and since much of the prepwork will have to be done on the weekends, the shopping may have to happen closer to the end of the week. (Yay, MORE logistics!)

One of my favorite things...
Spending a weekend each summer at this beautiful lake-side camp with my aunts, uncles, and cousins.  The Man couldn't make it last weekend because of work, but he hitched up the truck and camper for me so the girls and I still could. (There isn't enough cabin space to accommodate my extended family ~ only about half are usually in attendance, but that's still 70-80 people!  Good thing there's plenty of room for tents and campers, too.  :) 

How are things shaping up in your neck of the woods?

* Click the Simple Woman's Daybook graphic at the top of the post to visit our host and other daybookers.


Practicing Gratitude [08.25]

>> Thursday, August 25, 2016

So here we are at Thursday again. Man, the weeks just seem to fly, whether we're out and about or staying put.  We did a lot of staying put in July, but this month has been decidedly more out-and-about-ish.  With still more to come!

I'm grateful for the chance to attend The Man's annual family reunion at the beginning of the month.  Since moving up here to The Valley, we haven't been able to attend this gathering very regularly (we've missed six of the last 10) due to the travel time and work schedules. This year, amazingly, his scheduled four days off were Friday to Monday, enabling us to attend the ENTIRE long weekend! It was an incredibly hot and humid weekend and the nights in those stuffy cabins were pretty unpleasant, but it was so great to reconnect with cousins, aunts, and uncles whom we hadn't seen for a long time.  Most of the cousins and their families we hadn't seen since the last time we attended ~ three years ago!

I'm thankful I enjoy The Man's family.  I love chatting with his aunts and uncles and reacquainting myself with his cousins and their families every time we get to go.  And it was so nice to be forced into the water to cool off!  I'm not a huge water sports gal and I need it to be hot enough to NEED to get in.  The August long weekend this year was DEFINITELY hot enough!!

And I'm SO thankful for a WONDERFUL first-ever, family vacation.  It was over so fast it hardly seemed like we'd actually gone!  It was a week and a half full of visiting relatives, seeing countless amazing sights, and experiencing a bunch of exciting things, and a handful of "firsts" for all of us.  I'm grateful for safety in all our travels, good health, great weather, and no serious injuries.  (I was on the losing end of an encounter with a steep gravel road, but other than some ugly scrapes and bruises, I was fine.  I wasn't even all stiff and sore the next day like I expected to be!)

As awesome as the road trip was, I was grateful to be home again.  Sometimes, I think the vagabond lifestyle sounds so great ~ and my bucket list still includes a year of living in an RV, travelling all around North America ~ but I would miss an actual stationary home base, a place to return to once the travels were over.  I'm thankful for my home, as dissatisfied and frustrated as I am with it sometimes.

I'm thankful for the perspective taking a real vacation gives.  Before we left, I was dreaming of new, good quality living room furniture, new windows and doors, a deck, and replacing the main floor flooring, but now I just want another family trip!  I can put up with a lot of house imperfections if it means having another experience like we just had!!  Plus, we only have four summers left where both girls are still in grade school.

I'm grateful for 44 years!  I had yet another birthday on Monday.  It feels like they've been coming earlier and earlier each year... It was a day like most others, except The Man and I went out for supper.  We'd completely forgotten about some gift certificates we'd gotten a YEAR ago, so we finally used those.  I wanted to keep my birthday pretty low-key this year because we'd just spent a load of money on the trip, so when we actually got cash back because the meal didn't cost as much as the gift certificate, it was a nice bonus!!

What are YOU thankful for today?

Butterfly watching


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