I thought it is better late than never to start my own on our family blog.
I should start by saying that a couple of months back, I found myself complaining a lot. I would complain about the smallest things...
One afternoon while Ava was napping, I was talking to my mother about it and she told me to just "Stop and think before you complain. Christina, there are mothers out there that have it way worse than you. You get to stay home with your daughter, you have an incredible husband, and you have a lot to be grateful for."
She was so right. I am not sure what made what she said CLICK but it did. I had known what she said before she said it. I would often tell myself these things, but time and time again...I would still catch myself saying I "was exhausted, overwhelmed, feeling lonely at home, etc."
However it was that my mom explained it to me that day, I finally understood it. I needed to take a step back and think when those thoughts entered my mind or before they came out of my mouth and it worked! Her words stick with me to this day.
Now, let's be clear...I am not perfect and if I drop and break a glass or stub my toe, I will probably still huff and puff. But I can say that I have seen a big change in my overall attitude since that conversation with my mother.
It has made me see the: spilled sippy cups, the 5 min to merely change my daughter's diaper because she rather do the alligator death roll on the changing table, or making dinner for 1 because my husband is at a company event/dinner/or trip as simple daily things that are not fun but are a still blessings.
I get to be home with my daughter and take care of her the way that I see fit because my husband works his butt off so that I can. I have a lot to be grateful for.
So with all that said, here are my first 11 things I have to be grateful for in this month of November (in no particular order)
1. My mother's unconditional love. I feel like I could never repay my mother for everything she has done and given me. To me, she is the definition of a perfect mother and friend.
2. My daughter's goofy personality that makes each day different and worth living. Her belly laughs are the best sounds I have ever heard.
3. My husband's selflessness. He not only works hard for our family but also works hard for his "work family". He wants to help them achieve their goals and enjoy coming to work each day.
4. The roof over my head. We may not be homeowners yet but we treat and love it as if it were ours. We chose to live here to be within walking distance of my mother in these first years of being first time parents. My in-laws are also long 20 min East of us as well. Having our mothers close by has been such a blessing. From coming to pick up/ take care of Ava if I am under the weather (like now) to having family dinners often are only a couple of reasons why I am so grateful to live close by. As much as I look forward to looking for a home, I do not look forward to moving out of mother's neighborhood.
5. That my eyes were opened about what is put into our food supply. This has been life changing for me. Again, my mother was the one who opened my eyes to this issue. She is a rock star, isnt she?! Since learning about WHY we need to eat organic more often than not, we feel better and I sleep better knowing that I am preventing my family from disease and illness down the road.
6. My friends. From the ones that I've known growing up (going on 22 years of friendship!) to the ones I married into, I know that I have people in my life that will be there to cheer me up, teach me something, be willing to hear my side with an open mind, or just sit around and do nothing with and still have a great time.
7. Our families. I have some pretty awesome families! The Vega, Duffey, Kimmel, Murphy, Lorenz, McGuire, Strege, Schlanser families make up our tribe.
Whether they are here with us on Earth or passed on, see them daily or just on holidays, talk daily or just on FaceTime once in a while... they are our foundation. Our rock. We wouldn't be where or who we are today without each and every one of them.
(Sidenote: Mark's grandfather, Claude Strege, passed away over the weekend. Mark hasn't been the same since he got the news.
I did have the privilege of meeting Grandpa Claude which I am very grateful for. The last memory and one that I think about from time to time (even before his passing) was the last time I saw him. It was less than 2 months before Mark proposed to me and we were visiting his hometown of Wyndmere, ND.
Mark's "Grandpa Claude" and "Grandma Ann" were dropping us off at the airport to fly back to Chicago, IL. Grandpa Claude got out of the car to say goodbye to us and gave me a strong hug like I was one of his own grandchildren. While he hugged me, he quietly said to me, "Now you take good care of Mark, he is a good man." ( and now I am typing this in tears )
I replied something along the lines of, "I will. I promise."
From all of the things I hear about Grandpa Claude, I think that Mark carries a lot of his grandfather with him. Claude was a hardworking salesman and a family man - just like Mark.
May you rest in peace, Grandpa Claude. I'll take good of your first grandson. )
8. My education. I will always be grateful for the amazing education I received growing up at St. Anthony Catholic School, St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Florida State University, and 1 year at Florida Atlantic University (post grad)
I know that there are many people in this world that would give anything to be able to attend school and get an education. Not only did I get to, but I was surrounded by inspiring peers, teachers, professors, and mentors along the way. (Thanks, mom!)
9. My faith. I think that faith in our God has helped me understand that sometimes we cannot understand why some things happen, but can try and make the very best of the situation at hand. If we lose a loved one, a job, an opportunity, or ability to even see the good in some people... Having faith can help us look at every single situation with positivity and hope.
10. My health. I am grateful that I have good health (besides the nasty cold I am fighting off) and know how to maintain my health through clean eating and lifestyle choices.
11. Being an American. I am so grateful to have been born here and have our military that serve their time in protecting us on a daily basis. Thank you to those who have served our country on this Veteran's Day and those who continue to serve.