And I'm keeping a gratitude journal of my own as well. Here's part of my gratitude list for the first couple weeks of November.
- Dishwashers. Ours has been broken for a week. While doing dishes the old-fashioned way has provided more time for good conversation with the kids as they've taken turns teaming up with me to do the dishes by hand, it's getting old. Jared tried to fix it. The repair guy tried to fix it. Still not sure what's wrong. We may be getting a dishwasher as our big family Christmas gift this year...
- The Internet. Ours was down for two days. Wow, is the internet a huge part of our lives! I was able to get some spotty connection through my phone so I didn't get too far behind on work but the kids weren't able to look things up for homework, I wasn't able to look up recipes I wanted, etc. Amazing how useful and wonderful and helpful the internet can be. But also amazing how it can be too much a part of our lives. It was nice to have a little more time for other more important things when we didn't have the Internet as an option.
- Basement windows. After moving into this house with boarded-up basement window holes that let in lots of cold air and no light, we finally got new windows installed down there yesterday. Now our pantry down there is bathed in natural light and it's much warmer - and our house doesn't look quite so run-down (boarded up windows just aren't all that classy). Once Jared and I finish replacing the missing mortar between the rocks that make up the walls of the basement, it'll be even more cozy and weather-tight down there.
- A smart fix-it-guy husband who's always willing to put in some manual labor. Jared's so good at fixing things and has saved us thousands and thousands of dollars in home and car repairs thanks to his ability to figure out how to fix just about anything. And growing up on a farm seemed to help instill a love for manual labor in him. Jared (with some help from me sometimes) has figured out how to fix dozens of car issues, lay tile, install dry wall, fix tons of computer issues, build a fence, re-mortar the stone foundation of our house, paint, put in a sprinkler system, and build a whole house for us in St George.
- Our ward. We had a great primary party last night. The kids were totally in charge and they put on puppet shows and made popcorn for each other, did face painting on each other's faces, watched some Living Scriptures videos, ate hanging donuts off strings and enjoyed a great family night at the church. We have a small primary (25 kids attending in combined junior and senior primary) and all the kids just really seem to like each other - it's like a group of cousins or something. I love how the older kids always step up to help the younger kids (and I'm proud that my big kids are a big part of that) and that everyone just loves each other. We've got such a wonderfully random assortment of people in our ward and I love how everyone seems to be so understanding of each other's situations and willing to help and support as needed.
- Heat. After last week's nice 70-degree weather, it snowed and got really cold this week. It was a pretty darn cold time to remove the old plywood on the windows and prep the casings for the new windows - but we got it done! I'm so grateful we can just adjust the thermostat and be cozy and warm in our house. So many people in the world are so cold all winter. We are so blessed.
- Snow. We had our first serious snowfall and woke up to winter wonderland on Saturday morning. It's so pretty. The kids built their first snowman. We've had a beautiful fall. I guess I'm ready for winter now. And the kids' delight in the snow is a joy to behold.
- Great Health. We are so very blessed with great health in our family. We get the occasional slight sniffle and cough but that's usually it. Last night, however, Eliza had some violent throwing up going on and today my tummy's a bit off. Jared wasn't feeling well last week. Cleaning up throw-up isn't so bad though when you only have to do it once every few years and when your kids get over things in a day or so most of the time. I'm so grateful that we don't have to deal with sickness much at all.