A Full House

I am up early this morning. Not to get the bird on. That’s Grant’s job. Though the way I wrote that it sounds like his job is to flip the world off. Close, considering the turkey is a whopping 27 pounds, requiring a custom made piece for the Weber so that the lid closes. 

My job is the pies

Which I can do with closed eyes. 

Plus a bunch of sides

A Thanksgiving Haiku. Sort of. 

No, I’m up early not to peel potatoes, but to write this blog post while my heart is full. Not that it won’t be full later. It just won’t be a peaceful full. More like pandemonium full. 

Yesterday, I was happy to have the task of making the eleven pies (Siwinski Dozen) because it kept me partially distracted from being anxious. Maria was traveling home from Portland with Jackson and Grant took Dave to go get Daniel from Pullman and there were warnings of fifty-five mile an hour winds plus some snow. We have had many a thing go wonky from wind in our lives so I was having visions of cars being blown off the road. 

But everyone is safe and sound and last night the house had volume again, only a reving up for today’s full decibel level. It’s interesting, I just did the math and it won’t be until the year 2021 that I will have been living with children as long as I lived without them, assuming I don’t kick the bucket by then. Or run away. So technically I have not had enough time to get used to the noise yet. 

BUT this will more than likely be the last year we have us all here for Thanksgiving. We didn’t expect Dan to be here this year because of his football equipment manager job at WSU. We have two kids who have found their person: Maria and Dillin and with that comes obligations for them to be at other family celebrations. It’s inevitable. One by one they will build their own lives and their own traditions and Grant and I will have a smaller and smaller crew for holidays until it’s just us and the dogs. 

OMG. I’m crying. 

Fucking full heart.

The dogs will be so sad!

So today, I’m going to capture the noise level and keep it inside me, like fireflies in a jar. 

Only the fireflies really need to be set free at some point in time so the rest of the world can enjoy their light. 

Music Meloncholy

Today I put all of our CD’s in storage.

Music CD’s not Money CD’s in case you were confused. (As if.)

I found it really hard to do. 

But I’m on a quest for de-cluttering my house before the holidays start. Those babies are nothing but dust collectors and space taker uppers. 

But they also symbolize over twenty five years of Grant’s and my life together. 

When we first met I think we were both still listening to the occasional cassette tape. I still have two huge cases filled with cassettes including some of my favorite mixes that I had recorded in high school using a recorder sitting NEXT to the RADIO. You had to totally pay attention if you wanted to cut out the commercials. The Walkman was the greatest invention of all time and pencils were not just for writing with: they were, with their erasers, the trick to winding messy mayhem back into crucial life tunes. 

We also both had (and still have) an extensive collection of records that we combined with our vows of ‘till death parts us unless you decide suddenly you don’t like music-then you’re OUT’. I have known a couple of really nice people in my life who don’t care all that much about music but I would NEVER have married one. 

Did you KNOW that the invention of the compact disc is mostly credited to James T Russell who was born in Bremerton Washington in 1931? He lives in MY STATE! Who knew?! In 1965 he joined Pacific Northwest National Laboratory of the Battelle Memorial Institute in Richland Washington. He is still alive as of right now but I’m not sure where he is living. I’d like to write him a thank you letter. Anyhow, that is your history lesson for the day. You’re welcome. 

Putting the CD’s away I was filled with melancholy. There were SO MANY homemade playlists: ones we made for our kids and ones our kids made for us when they got tech savy. “Stuff Mom Will Like”. Hundreds of purchased CD’s, used until they skipped from the scratches. Thousands of songs that would take a book to list, because of the memories they bring to the light.

When I was working in Montana for a week, super pregnant with Maria, I came home to a major event: Grant had traded his beloved truck in for a fifteen passenger van, later named The Rambuski. It was the ugliest thing I had ever seen and I honestly thought he had lost his mind. “I just thought it was time to show you that I’m ALL IN with this kid thing. I’m down. But I also spent two thousand dollars on a stereo system with six speakers.”

That van rocked Spokane and we filled it up with kids, their friends, football teams, soccer players cub scouts and there was NEVER a time when the stereo was not playing full blast, little heads and big heads bouncing up and down to request of the minute. Oh those memories, they just fill my eyes. Every kid remembers that rocking van, and the white one we bought later, the Whitebuski, that was traded in this year, with a Tom Petty CD still stuck in the player, for Grant’s dream truck. It took fifteen years to come full circle, complete with Bluetooth to play songs on his phone. 

We can put the CD’s away because now we have a family Spotify account. I lied about the Walkman being the greatest invention of all time: it’s second. To be able to listen to any piece of music on the face of the planet with a 4 second search? 

An epic gift from the universe. 

I can climb into history, take myself to a life moment that comes back in full color and smell from a song. Or into the minds of my children when then send me a song they love via text. I love to try to feel what they feel when they listen to a song. 

I will put the CD’s next to the box of records and cassettes and we will play them for the grandchildren and they will be in AWE of our ancient and strange artifacts.   

Plus, just in case there is a zombie apocalypse we will still have music to listen to, provided there’s gas for a generator. It’s good to be prepared. 

Are My Dogs Having More Sex Than I Am?

No amount of natural family planning education could have prepared me for the conversations about sex that I have had with and about our dogs Cooper, a big, beautiful un-neutered 2 year-old yellow lab and Bella our 1 year old Chesapeake Bay Retriever, who started her first period five days ago. Even if we HAD been paying attention and not giggling during most of the six week long NFP course we enrolled ourselves in over 20 years ago when I decided to throw away the pill after the two oldest boys were born and be free spirited and open to whatever and whoever came our way. Grant willingly went along for the ride which resulted in four more kids. 

The instructor was LOVELY and very knowledgeable but everyone in the class was so dang serious, taking notes and nodding their heads. Meanwhile in the back of the class Grant and I were giggling and drawing pictures of penises and making gagging noises every time the instructor talked about the consistency of the deposits left on the woman’s undies when she was ripe for the picking. Who KNEW that was a thing? And though I will admit that by number five pregnancy I did say to myself a few times that perhaps we should have paid attention a bit more, David was my most mellow and happy baby, so I was rewarded more than I was harmed by my inattention. And we DID learn enough to only get six instead of twelve kids. So I’m happy we took the classes but also glad we were not super rigid on the “rules” or we’d not have had near as much fun during the chaos. Nor would we have these six amazing people in our lives.  The truth is I never felt like my people where all here until our youngest arrived fourteen years ago. And then I just knew that was that. And it was. Even though we continued with our free spirited approach. 

BUT I am really struggling with the dogs and the subject of sex and teenage dog pregnancy. 

Now mind you, I have had many conversations with my kids about sex. I think we’ve been relatively open about the subject without being over the top. It’s my and Grant’s job to try and steer them to live their best lives by making good choices for themselves and for others. My standard line is “Sex always complicates things, so you’d best be certain your relationship is strong before you go down that path.” That is really the only true advice I can offer my kids about sex, to be sure you are in a good relationship before complicating things. And I feel like my kids are going to do their best to be mindful about a very personal subject. 

But the dogs? I’m not completely certain they are listening to any advice I’m giving them.  

Now. Before you judge you need to know that we have ALWAYS spayed and neutered our pets in the past which I GUESS it’s the right thing to do. Though sometimes I wonder what the animals think about us controlling their lives so much. If someone forced ME to get spayed, how would I feel? I’d rebel of course. It would be Planet of the Apes all over again. Only super different. 

But with Cooper and Bella things kind of just snuck up on us. Cooper is technically our oldest son’s dog (which is a whole different story). But we all agreed that we would wait until he was full size before we discussed taking his balls from him because of the research we did about neutering dogs too soon. But now, here he is two years old, with GIANT balls that seem wrong to take. And the boy/men in the household, who love Cooper almost as much as I do, adamantly believe with deep, full body shudders, that he should keep his balls. 

When Bella came into our lives at about 12 weeks old, I was in this place where I felt like I could take on anything, including Chesador puppies. We had agreed to wait until after her first cycle to get her spayed (that full growth thing again) but I had that deep down longing to just let nature take over. My life has gone quite well with that approach (save for the whole bank account thing). Besides, why should it be the girl dog who has to be the one to go through the pain of getting spayed? Girl dogs are people too!  

I felt great about this idea until Bella got her period. And then holy hell. She is currently a moody messy pile of stinky insecurity. It didn’t help her self esteem a whole lot when we put her in these flowery Velcro dog panties with a hole for her tail. “CuteBone Dog Diapers”.  She doesn’t know this, but she is soon going to be the spokes-dog for these diapers. I submitted a 5 star review complete with pictures of her to Amazon Prime, so I’m sure we’ll be getting the six figure contract any day now. Or at least some free dog food.

Cooper and I have talked a lot about how sex complicates things and that Bella is much too young to be a mother and he just looks at me with those beautiful, serious brown eyes and wags his tail in agreement, so I mostly feel like everything will be fine. He’s a good dog, with morals and convictions. And he has professed his deep love for Bella so I feel certain he will wait until they are both sure it’s the right time. It’s clear how much he loves her. 

He also told me that he LOVES puppies and would be a stay at home dad if Bella wanted to be a working dog mom. Do you see how great he is? Just look at that innocent face (he is sitting on our dining room table in this picture): 

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But Bella? I’m pretty sure she’s a total slut. The boy dogs ALWAYS seem to get blamed, but seeing the way she is starting to act as she gets closer and closer to prime puppy making time I feel like the boy dogs might be getting an unfair tail shake. Consequently, when we leave the house, she is the one who gets locked in the bathroom for safe keeping. I know it’s terrible to talk about her this way. She’s normally so cute and funny and smart. But right now, she’s completely lost her mind. Here she is looking like a circus monkey, sulking about her diaper on the couch:

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Yesterday, when I was doing yoga in my daughter’s old room (now dubbed the yoga room) I forgot that no one else was home when I shut the door. The dogs always want to be on my matt and interfere with my awkward chubby girl stretching so it was habit to close them out. Five minutes later, a loud banging started up against the yoga room door and I pulled out of my downward facing dog pose super fast, hobbling to the door with a now tweaked back and yanked the door open only to find both dogs right outside the door looking very guilty. Bella’s diaper was pretty much in tact and  it turns out that they were fighting over a tennis ball but I still yelled at them, my chillaxed attitude about sex and mother nature and making good choices pretty much out the window: “YOU MAY NOT HAVE MORE SEX THAN I DO! THIS IS MY HOUSE TO HAVE SEX IN NOT YOURS.” I swear Cooper nodded his head in serious agreement, but Bella? She just smiled her stinker face dog smile and said “Why don’t you just close that door again woman and get back to your chubby yoga and we’ll just see about your silly human rules.” 

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When Things Get Hairy

The Sunday before my oldest son’s birthday we decide to meet him along with the rest of the kids after church at our favorite restaurant to celebrate. My husband asked me on the way to church, which I was attending for the first time in a very long while “You having the chicken fried steak?”

It’s what I always order when we go to this place for breakfast. It’s to die for: yummy goodness on a plate. I say “Hell no. That meal is ruined forever for me. Have you forgotten about that horrible day?” My stomach does a sickish little turn at the mere thought of chicken fried steak.

He looks at me with total amazement. “Are you kidding me? You’re letting one little incident ruin the best breakfast in Spokane?”

Now, if this were a flashback scene a survivor was having in a horror movie, you would hear the foreboding music that plays just before someone is about to be slashed with a machete by some creepy masked guy. The camera would first zoom in on a big, black hair that sat right on top of my gravy in perfect corkscrew form which made me feel CERTAIN it was a pubic hair. Then the camera would pan in on my face, horror in my glazed over eyes, lips thin and pale but stoically resolving to not scream. I wave my hand for the waitress who comes over quickly. “What can I get you love?”

“Could I have a double bloody Mary with extra olives?” I ask, trying to keep my eyes on her face and not look at the glaring abomination that has ruined my $14.95 breakfast.

“Sure thing honey!” and she trots off to get my drink.

My husband asks “Why didn’t you just tell her there is a hair on your food?”

“If I say something, then all they will do is take the plate back to the kitchen and take the hair off and maybe throw some more gravy on my plate, nuke it in the microwave and serve it right back to me. And that’s only if they feel BAD about the hair being there. If they think I’m a brat they will leave the hair and just cover it with gravy. And even if they did give me a new plate, I’d always wonder if they really had. No. The damage is done.”

“You have serious trust issues. Do you maybe need to see someone for this?”

“Look, I know that I probably eat plenty of other people’s hairs all the time without knowing it. But the emphasis for me is on the NOT KNOWING. Once I KNOW it’s just all over. See? So I understand that in reality this is not a big deal and if I were a mentally strong person I would pick the hair off and carry on with eating. But I am NOT strong in this category. No sense complaining about something that is my issue, unless of course the cook put that hair there on PURPOSE. But just thinking that would mean I am paranoid and just plain weird. So I am going to drink my breakfast and carry on. And YES I have guilt for wasting food. But that is a whole different issue.” The waitress brings me my new and improved breakfast and I raise it in a toast while my husband shrugs and digs into his food. He knows I am a lost cause.

Enter us, birthday breakfast day, into church. The prodigal daughter and her husband, the holy one who doesn’t let hairs get in the way of his enjoyment in life.

As I knelt down to try and pray, the hair incident stayed on my mind. Why did I so often let little things stop me from experiencing joy? I listened to the readings and then to the heartfelt homily from the priest who was new to our parish, or at least to me, the fallen one, and a swoosh of warm, delicious peace came over me. And as I returned to kneeling position in overwhelming, goose-bump awe after receiving communion, I realized I had I let my distaste for the previous priest, hold me back from witnessing a perfect place of Human/God connectivity.

Now keep in mind, I’m a convert to the Catholic faith and I have it in my mind that converts are looked upon by cradle Catholics in the same way people with new found riches are viewed by “old money” families: we simply don’t know how to use our riches properly and our ways of enjoying those riches are often frowned upon. But we newbies don’t really care. One example for me is that not going to Mass has never created a whole lot of guilt for me. I have always known, since I was a little girl that God wants us to WANT to hang out with Him, wherever we find ourselves. Going to church simply for fear of eternal damnation has always seemed counterproductive. Plus, no one wants to hang out with a friend who clearly would rather be somewhere else than with you. Right?

And this is the double edged loophole logic along with the excuse of disliking how another human spun HIS connectivity to God that I used to to stop attending mass for so long that I forgot how good it felt to go and got to a point that I no longer had the thirst to do so.

Funny the hell we can create for ourselves without any help from the devil. But grace is pretty bad ass and takes on all kinds of forms to open up our hearts. Sometimes in the shape of a yucky black hair on gravy.

Later at breakfast my husband raised one eyebrow when I ordered the chicken fried steak and a bloody mary with NO olives. On account of the fact that I was feeling pretty filled up.

I’m Not Their Real Mother

The three youngers (not to be confused with the three olders who were each at their various jobs-so-they-can-afford-to-buy-me-stuff-some-day) paraded into my room this morning carrying their Mother’s Day tribute: a rose, a carnation, a bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups and a Mother’s Day poem written by Mitchel, the youngest of the youngers, about what a great mom I am and why. I informed them that I loved it ALL and immediately popped a peanut butter cup into my mouth and sent Mitchel to get some food coloring to put in the water to see if we could turn the greenish white carnation a different color for an experiment. When he returned with purple food coloring that was already all over his fingers before he’d even started to put drops in the water, I told him I especially liked the part in the poem that said R is for “Really good at handling all 6 kids”. I  said I would keep it forever. Because while I’m disappointed in the fact that M is for “Magical No! Best Mom, Yess!!!!” (Clearly he doesn’t realize I have magical powers: how else would one handle all six kids?) he made up for it with the second line O is for “Other moms are good, but not as good as you”.

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Hello! Winning!  Sorry all you other moms. There can only be ONE “best mom”. GOOD is just going to have to do for the rest of you!

I thought about sharing the Reese’s but then quickly thought again and tucked the rest of the bag away in my underwear drawer where it would be safe from thievery. I’m just not a sharer especially when it comes to my favorite candy.

Mitchel wanted to know if I saved everything they gave me. “Even the flowers?”

Remembering what happened when I tried to save a dead grasshopper Duncan once gave me in the same container as his preschool art work, I said “No, I learned the hard way years ago to stop saving anything that used to be alive. I don’t want all those great letters and pictures you guys made to get mold on them; it’s important to keep them in tact for when your real mom comes back.”

All three of the boys snickered a little bit at that and then each gave me a hug and scampered off to do various youngers activities, tribute over and done with. Which is fine. Tribute makes me feel slightly uncomfortable and extremely guilty. Their real mother, the one I invented when I was young, energetic and optimistic, left years ago. I’m just the stand-in who’s doing an adequate (at best) job of mothering. Selfish peanut butter cup hoarding is just one very small example of many. I could fill a book my good people. So though I joke about being the best mom ever, I am fully aware that there is just no sense pretending that I’m even trying for a GOOD rating.

I is who I is.

Kids, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry but I don’t think your real mom is coming home anytime soon. I’ve TRIED to find her but her last known number has been disconnected and I don’t have the cash for a private detective. She clearly doesn’t want to be found anyway so why waste any more effort? It’s probably time to face the fact that you are stuck with me as the stand in. So let’s save the tribute for Father’s Day where it has been earned and is deserved.

You olders probably remember your real mom and all of her fantastic mommying: all those healthy breakfasts, clean clothes, notes in your lunch boxes, lipstick kisses on the day-care window, homemade clever Halloween costumes etc. I could go on and on but quite frankly doing so would probably make us all a little bit bummed out. Her sole purpose in life was to make your lives rich and fun and full of love so that you all would go out into the world as good, kind, nurtured people who would spread love and peace into the world. You know: that ‘make good ripples’ line?  Please don’t tell the younger ones too much about their real mom.. They are just going to feel ripped off. Plus it creates so much pressure for me to try and fill her shoes. My feet are way too big for those cute little sandals she used to wear because they, along with the rest of my body have grown quite wide over the years. Practical footwear is where I am at now.

Along with practical mothering. Which involves as little effort as possible on my end.

So, That being said, here are some ideas for Mother’s Day cards that my kids SHOULD give me:

*****

Front of Card

Mom: Well mom, you tried.

Inside

You did TRY, right?

*****

Front of Card

Mom: At least you’re not as weird as grandma

Inside

Mostly.

*****

Front of Card

Mom: thanks for making me do all that stuff by myself, you know, like cleaning my room, doing my own laundry, getting out the band-aids all on my own for my bloody skinned knees so that I wouldn’t get blood all over the carpet and get killed by you.

Inside

Lazy meanie.

*****

Front of Card

Mom: A is for Affort

Inside

Too bad you didn’t help me study for my spelling when I was young. I could have ben someone.

*****

Front of Card

Mom: I’m sure you’ll finish STRONG!

Inside

Hopefully you won’t die before it’s too late.

*****

Front of Card

Mom: remember all those times you were there for me?

Inside

No wait, that was dad.

*****

Ha ha!!! I suppose that may be a little harsh. I’m not THAT bad of a mother. And quite frankly my kids are turning out really fantastic despite the fact that I have not lived up to my own ridiculous and over the top expectations of what a “good mom” is. So who’s to say that if their real mom had stayed longer that she would have any more right than me to take credit for how awesome they are.

 

 

Scenes from a 3-Day Easter Carnival

Friday:

We did not go to church but DID watch “The Passion of Christ” as we do every year. We were all pretty darn silent, for Siwinskis. Some of it had to do with having to read the words instead of hear them. But it’s a tough one to watch. Some of us had to cover our eyes during the scourging. Some of us dozed during parts of it. I hate that I always get sleepy during this movie. Maria mentioned the same thing. We related it to Peter in the garden who could not stay awake for his agonizing friend. I think sleep is a defense mechanism. As I write this I wonder if I would have been able to keep my Lenten vows for longer than 45 minutes had I watched this movie at the BEGINNING of Lent. Maria gave up Social Media and stuck to it.  She does not get her discipline from me.

Saturday:

There were only six of us to dye 5 dozen Easter eggs. Dillin and Duncan were both working. But the noise level was still high. Mitchel got in trouble fourteen times for being a spaz. David only twelve times. Everyone called me selfish because I wouldn’t share my brand new sharpies: 24 awesome colors. No! You people can not be nice to my sharpies. Use your dad’s. He loves you more.

Easter Vigil at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary lasted two hours and forty five minutes. I will fully admit to the world that I took a bathroom break to get away from the incense for a minute. Father Tom likes a LOT of incense and whipped that smoking metal container on a chain around like he was trying to lasso sinners.  I was NOT checking my social media from the bathroom stall. I would not do that. Nor would I take a sip from my purse flask. Incense just makes me cough. I needed to breathe some smokeless air. Seriously. My family wrongly accused me.

It’s just that there are soooo many saints to pray for us. And I am glad for this but do we really need to ask every single one of them to pray for us in one night? The readings for this holy night are thirty two pages long. 32. Every year we say “Wow! I don’t remember it ever being this long.” But its a history lesson, this night, all the way back to the beginning of creation. But this year it WAS longer than I remember. The readers really annunciated well. I never noticed the part about God creating sea monsters. So there is that.

We stood in the dark with our candles for an hour. It was beautiful and the music was luscious and rich with mystery and tradition (and smoke) but it was hard to pay complete attention because I was worried my three youngest boys were going to burn each other up. Or worse, their sister. Her hair caught on fire once in church. She’s okay though. It was a quick put out.

Duncan got off work early and showed for halftime. Grant didn’t notice he’d arrived for about ten minutes because he was taking a little halftime rest. He must have felt like he could relax once he found out Wisconsin beat Kentucky.

There were some new upbeat songs this year and the boys got the giggles. They can not help but bounce up and down to the rhythm and I sometimes wonder if we would fit in better at the church where there is a full band that rocks the house down and you can drink coffee during the whole thing.  But we are Catholics: me by choice the rest by birth. Will they stay strong in the traditions of their religion? I don’t know. But I DO pray their faith remains. This is what matters I think.

Easter Morning:

We are moving to a new place in time where the dogs were the ones to wake us instead of the kids. Daisy was doing her old dying dog cough; Duke was itchy, scratching and licking himself obnoxiously. They both needed to go out but we could not let them because Duke always eats the Easter eggs.

The Easter Bunny got very confused on the basket delivery. It turns out that Duncan always gets a yellow basket and orange is Daniel’s favorite color. Always has been. And David always has green and Mitchel always gets blue. Go figure.  I wonder if the Easter Bunny got in to my purse flask last night. But who can blame him (or her): It can be confusing with so many of them and cause the desire for a little sip every now and then.

When we finally go out, it is a race against time to pick up the dogs’ frantic stress poop before one of the focused egg searchers (there are now only three) steps in it. 59 eggs are found. We all think Dillin took one before he went to work this morning.

Now there will be Easter candy trading. Duncan will end up with most of the candy and then he will divvy it back out again. It’s more about the winning the negotiations for him.

Deviled eggs, asparagus for color (and later discussions about pee), and two spiral hams for dinner. We figure Dillin will eat one full ham by himself on account of the fact that he gave up meat for Lent.

How did my children become so strong willed?

I want to devour these moments with my people, my carnival people, like Maria is currently devouring all her long neglected social media accounts, like Dillin consumed much of the beef jerky from his Easter basket.

Instead I will try to savor them, chewing slowly, so that I taste every flavor, smell each scent. Even the incense. Even the dog poop. I want it to last.

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Twenty Seven Things I am Thankful For Today

I am writing this before I have a mimosa (or two) otherwise it will be 100 things I am thankful for which means I will be droning on and on about how happy I am and no one likes to read stuff that is TOO happy and thankful. It sounds fake. I think twenty seven is enough things to be thankful for. Besides pretty soon I have to peel potatoes. I can’t be writing all day long

1) Good son Duncan took the little boys to his house last night for a sleep over. Wow. HIS house. Consequently I was able to make 10 pies early this morning without once saying “Stop talking to me I am counting cups of flour! Oh well shit! THAT pie is RUINED. Why does everyone always have to TALK?!” I was supposed to bake them last night but I got involved in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The original, not the creepy Johnny Depp version. (Sorry Johnny. I still love you.)

2) Its fifty five degrees outside. Or something like that. Practically balmy. So we have the doors open and you can hardly smell the turtle tank with all that fresh air mixed with pumpkin pie smell and a lit candle.

3) I am thankful that Daniel still likes tie-dying things, making snow cones and that he still hugs me even though he is 13.

4) Everyone is now home so Maria has stopped following me around saying she is bored. I am thankful that is over. She was practically climbing the walls without someone to argue with. I am pretty much too chipper to argue with her today.

5) Twenty seven is a lot of things to be thankful for. Mimosas. I am thankful that soon there will be mimosas.

6) I am thankful that every time I make the bed I notice the indentation on Grant’s pillow from where his head was and that I say: “God please watch over him so he will make a new indentation tonight” before I fluff it out. I never fluff it when he is travelling.

7) I am thankful for my job: my leaders, my peers, my customers: they are my people. This is an amazing blessing. Especially since I work a lot of hours. It might as well be with people I dig.

8) Football. Three games today.

9) Four days off from work. (Despite number seven, it’s important to take time off.)

10) My favorite Steelers shirt which I intend to wear for the next four days. Because it’s holiday. Also for luck against the Saints. So I am thankful for luck and less laundry.

11) Number ten counts as two. That’s not cheating.

12) Maria just told me that you can actually die from drinking too much water: that your cells would eventually burst. I am thankful I have not done that to myself at this point in my life.

13) I am thankful that the argument is over about whether or not they are going to make a fourth Hobbit movie or if the third one coming up in December will be the last one. I mostly don’t care. I would rather listen to arguments about which is better: Grant’s stuffing WITH or WITHOUT celery.

14) I am thankful Grant put celery in the stuffing.

15) I am thankful that the beer pong tournament happening in our breezeway with our kids isn’t with actual beer. That would be wrong.

16) I am thankful that I did not get a call from Mitchel’s teacher regarding the lovely fall leaf collage he did in school. The sun up in the corner is very pretty but the leaf guy at the bottom right corner “drowning” is a little worrisome.

17) I am really thankful for the ruby slippers we bought Maria for Christmas last year. It’s important that she has something I am jealous of. It’s weird that she won’t let me wear them though.

18) I am thankful that Duncan’s friend (and ours) Connor is here for Thanksgiving. And I mostly like it when he calls me mom. Even though, just to clarify, I am not his mom. I think taking credit for six kids is enough

19) I am thankful for my headphones. I would never get any writing done without them.

20) I am thankful for my new washer and dryer. Still. After three months. I really, really appreciate being able to wash and dry a load of laundry in an hour instead of three

21) I am thankful and proud that Dillin has a good job and that HE is happy he has a job even though it’s not his dream job. He leaves the house to go to work with great optimism. I promise you Dillin: the dream job will come. Keep on keeping my love.

22) I am thankful the potatoes are all peeled. I had to take a break from this post. Being thankful is kind of exhausting. So is peeling potatoes. But NOW I have a mimosa in my hand. I promise to NOT be thankful more than 27 times

23) I am thankful for David’s wicked funny sense of humor. Except when he crop dusted me at the library yesterday: that was crossing a line. Farting in the library is sacrilegious. Just sayin.

24) I am always, always thankful for hot water. There is never a time that I am not thankful for a hot shower or bath. Except when there is not hot water. Which happens a lot in my house. And that f’ing pisses me off. BUT at least there is water. It not being hot is a first world problem that I try to not dwell on. Too much.

25) I am thankful that I quite possibly could finally be at a point in my life where the intricate growing Lego village along the wall of my living room makes me grin instead of scowl at when I am vacuuming and can’t get along the baseboard. Because of the village. I mostly realize now that Lego villages add an element of elegance and class to any décor.

26) I am thankful for Maggie, Dillin’s girlfriend whom I think of as another daughter who simply doesn’t live with us, mostly.

27) I am so very thankful, so very, for my friends and family without whom I would not be all the way okay. At all. My heart swells with love for you all.

Happy Thanksgiving!