Sunday, November 26, 2017


I need constant practice to focus on gratitude. Taking even just a few minutes to stop and think about what I am thankful for is a game changer for me on a daily basis.

Here’s the thing about life that’s obvious but I need to remind myself of regularly. There will always be ups and downs, but what I choose to focus on is up to me. It takes intentionality for me to concentrate on the good and let go of the rest (which are often things I can’t control anyway). In the past two months, we struggled through some obstacles: I was so sick I ended up in the emergency room, our two kids passed fevers back and forth to each other for a few weeks, we had two water heaters on our property break in the same week, our computer completely died requiring the purchase of a new one, time change and sick kids left us exhausted with too many wake ups. All of those things have been overwhelming in one way or another, and yet, life is good.

There are so many things I am thankful for that have refreshed my soul from this past month: lit candles, overcast days, time alone with my husband, hot coffee, yoga sculpt classes, hot bubble baths, journaling, a joy-filled trip to the dinosaur museum with my two children, the sounds of waves crashing on the shore, time alone with girlfriends, and a family adventure to Yosemite.


Our "school" lesson on thankfulness this month was as much for me as it was for him.

As I was thinking about this "school" year with Everett and me, I thought about how this will likely be the only year of our lives where we get so much time together, and I started looking at it as a foundation for what I hope he takes into his life as he ventures into the world: a love of learning, a love of books, gratitude, showing appreciation and love, being true to himself.

As Thanksgiving approached, I knew that I wanted to focus our time together on thankfulness and gratitude.

We used these three books, which I highly recommend, because they helped both Everett and I come up with new things to add to our thankful lists:
Before reading the books, we each made a list of what we are thankful for. Then, after we read each book, we added to our lists.

Also, Everett has been really into decorations lately, since we have seen a lot of them on our neighborhood walks, and he wanted to make his own decorations for his room. I followed a tutorial on making tie dye turkeys. We colored on coffee filters with markers. Both Everett and Cambria colored all over. I tried to make a pattern with mine (the tutorial recommends only coloring on half of the coffee filter, but we found it worked better to color the entire coffee filter). We folded them up small and sprinkled a little water on them until it was completely wet, but not too wet. Then, we gently unfolded them and placed each one on white card stock to dry (the tutorial shows letting them dry on newspaper, but we wanted to use the card stock to make decorations, too). I kind of like how the card stock turned out more than the coffee filters.

We turned the coffee filters into turkeys and the card stock into leaves for a tree of thankfulness.

When it comes to our "school" time, I have a personal rule that if we are creating art, it is not going to be me doing crafts and pretending Everett participates. My goal is high child participation, learning, and collaboration, not a Pinterest result. However, when it came to our tree of thankfulness, it was kind of meditative to cut leaves and make a tree to focus on gratitude. It was something that Everett couldn't really help with, but I wanted a place where we could focus on being thankful for the season. Leading up to Thanksgiving, we talked about the tree daily and added to it, and I want to continue this into December, too.
One of my favorite parts about doing "school" is when Everett teaches Cambria and includes her in our lessons:
Make a turkey face:
The Everett, Mama, and Cambria turkeys below, and Cambria "helping" hang the tree of thankfulness (which means climbing on the table and getting into things she isn't supposed to):

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