Wednesday, August 31, 2016

12:34 August 31

Breakfast w/my girl. 😍

Lauren's day started later than everyone else's. She didn't have school today, because her school does a staggered start for pre-K and kindergarten. I let her sleep in. Getting up around 6:30 to get to school at the new, earlier start time has been a little hard on my late sleeper. I was thankful for the grace of a leisurely morning with just her. (Matt took the boys to school.) And then a day of running errands and lunch with Matt, ending with more girl time playing a board game while the boys were at soccer practice.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

12:34 August 30

I'm thankful for a positive first two days of school, for me and the kids.

Monday, August 29, 2016

12:34 August 29

First day of 5th, 2nd & K! 17th year for Matt! 😍🙌🙏 Matt started his seventeenth year teaching today. Our school district recently changed the start times for high schools and elementary schools, so now the kids start their school day before Matt. That gave us the happy opportunity to take the kids to their first days of fifth, second and kindergarten together. I'm thankful for the kids' school, Matt's job and the promise of a new year.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

12:34 August 28

I'm thankful that our children look forward to going to school. My own three favorite years in elementary school were Kindergarten, 2nd Grade, and 5th Grade. I have remembered the kindness of those teachers for my whole life. Now that my own children are entering Kindergarten, 2nd, and 5th, I'm especially thankful for the teachers they have.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

12:34 August 27

I'm thankful for our nightly routines. I always sing Lauren a lullaby, kiss her goodnight and then pause at the door so she can say, "See ya later alligator!" I respond, "After while crocodile!" And then, lately, her riff on blowing me a kiss is: "Hey Mom, I've gotta a big heart-shaped ball and I'm throwin' it at ya. Oh, I missed! Haha, no I didn't, I gotcha! With a curveball! I love you!"

Friday, August 26, 2016

12:34 August 26

Today at 12:34 I was cleaning up lunch at home. Today is our last Friday of 2016 before classes begin. I'm grateful for my family and the time that we get to share together as a group. I'm thankful that we've been able to make family the focus of our summers.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

12:34 August 25

In Hideaway Woods with Mimi.

I'm grateful for the six days my mom spent with us, which ended today. Lala was particularly sad to see her go. Parting is such sweet sorrow, but I'm also thankful for the obvious bond the kids have with their Mimi. We eagerly anticipate our next time together.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

12:34 August 24

I was feeling stressed out today by teaching a couple of classes I haven't taught for a while. I'm not feeling confident about my plans, and time is feeling a little short.

I finally reached a point at which I just needed to do something else. Thankfully, there are miles of trails right behind school. A good trail run cleared my mind and fatigued my muscles. I'm thankful for a good run, and a nice place to do it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

12:34 August 23

Today the kids and I took my mom to the zoo. I'm grateful for our membership and the opportunity to share one of our favorite places with her.

Monday, August 22, 2016

12:34 August 22

I'm thankful for teachers. Every year I'm more and more in awe of the ones I had who made safe, educational, fun classrooms feel effortless when I was growing up.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

12:34 August 21

After church this morning, we went to a school friend's birthday party. It was a lovely reminder of the interesting, kind people we have met through the kids' school. I am gratefully looking forward to the new school year next week.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

12:34 August 20

I'm thankful for an almost-hour-long run with Allison this morning.

Friday, August 19, 2016

12:34 August 19

My mom arrived at noon today. The boys were inspired to play ball in the backyard while it rained, Mom and the kids played several rounds of hide-and-seek and now they're playing Legos in the boys' room. I'm grateful for the special energy she brings to our home and my kids' lives.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

12:34 August 18

Today is my last day of summer. I report for the first workday of my 17th year of teaching tomorrow morning. Part of my back-to-school routine is making sure my work bag is packed. Though I've had 5 or 6 bags in my time teaching, I always have one item in particular. I started teaching in August 2000, a month after Allison and I got married. Every day of my teaching career, I've carried this Polaroid picture that I took right after we got married. I carry this picture with me wherever my work bag goes--a welcome reminder of the most important relationship in my life.

This week, I've felt a little reluctant to leave the comfort of my summer--being full-time Dad is pretty sweet--but I've had two encounters in two days with former students that have been welcome reminders that young people are important, and that the importance of my job extends well beyond the curriculum and the classroom. I'm thankful for my teachers, for my students, for my friends, for my family, and for the relationships in my life that have molded me and supported me for my whole life.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

12:34 August 17

Matt took the kids to the natural history museum in Raleigh today. The kids sounded a little disappointed that I wouldn't be joining them. I've opted to stay home and clean bathrooms, sweep floors, send emails, pay bills and generally get caught up on some of the "work" I feel behind on. It's one of those tough decision-making moments when I decide between spending time with my family versus taking care of me. I need to stay home and make some head-way on things stressing me out today. Next week, when Matt is back at work and my mom is here, I'll feel more free to play with the kids and soak up their last week of summer break. I suppose I'm grateful for a couple things: Matt's love of Dad-only adventures with the kids and my self-awareness regarding self-care.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

12:34 August 16

Lauren is old enough that she can play increasingly complicated games with us. As a family, we've played Ticket to Ride, Skip-Bo, Suspend, and Jenga lately. I have great memories playing card and board games with my parents and grandparents growing up, and I'm thankful to play with my own kids now.

Monday, August 15, 2016

12:34 August 15

School starts two weeks from today. I am starting to feel a little anxious because my parent volunteer activities are ramping up, I need to acquire school supplies and transitions are just always stressful. But what I'm trying hard to do right now is appreciate that there's still two weeks left and try to be as present as I can in each moment.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

12:34 August 14

I love the way my kids look out for each other (most of the time, at least).

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Friday, August 12, 2016

12:34 August 12

I'm thankful for my family's shared love of sports. Watching and following the Olympics as a family has been a lot of fun.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

12:34 August 11

I'm grateful for an ordinary summer day: walking with my neighbor, weeding our garden, shopping for groceries, watching the Olympics, cooking dinner and playing with the neighbors before bath and bed time.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

12:34 August 10

These are mating leopard slugs. Allison found them on the side of our house this morning, and invited Tobin and me to
see them. We took pictures and videos, then researched them online.

They've been a great point of reference for many conversations today. We've shared awe (and some disgust) at them, but generally wondered at something none of us had ever encountered before.

Today, I'm thankful for curiosity, family, nature, and--yes--leopard slugs.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

12:34 August 9

We are home. It's been a fun summer of travel, but it feels good to be back at our house, in our beds, in our kitchen and in our yard. I'm grateful for the memories we've made visiting friends and family. I'm also thankful for a few more weeks at home to rest and relax before the start of school.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Sunday, August 07, 2016

12:34 August 7

Today is our last day in Louisville. It's been a really fun, relaxing nine days. I'm grateful for the family I married into.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

12:34 August 6

Today we spent the afternoon with two good friends of mine from high school and their families. It was one of those days that made me abundantly aware of how thankful I am for the friendships i have and have had.

I think my favorite part of the afternoon was how easily our kids all got along. Sharing the afternoon with our kids and our spouses felt like a natural extension of our friendships that started over 20 years ago.

Friday, August 05, 2016

12:34 August 5

I just finished reading four books in a row to Lauren. I love how she snuggles up, laughs and gives a running hilarious commentary as we turn the pages. As I read the last book, her brothers came in from outside and joined us on the couch, quickly and quietly entranced. So there I was sitting with my whole heart right next to me. I'm thankful for these sweet moments tucked in the unstructured days of summer vacation.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

12:34 August 4

I'm thankful for summer vacation and the time it affords us to travel and spend time with family.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

12:34 August 3

Cousins watching the USWNT match. USA!

The kids adore their two-year-old cousin Sam. He knows all our names, and likes snuggling and wrestling and throwing balls, and everyone is having a lot of fun. We're grateful for this sweet cousin time, made a lot easier this year since Sarah, Dan and Sam moved to a town less than two hours from Grandma's house. I'm grateful for this sweet time together.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

12:34 August 2

I'm thankful to raise my kids in a safer, better United States than I grew up in.

Monday, August 01, 2016

12:34 August 1

At midday, I was wrapping up a three-mile walk at the park near Matt's mom's house. Today marks 18 straight days of walking or running at least three miles a day. I started this streak the day after we returned from our three-week trip to Georgia and Louisiana. I ran a few times over those three weeks, but spent the last two weeks kind of despondent about our car situation and feeling "stranded." Plus, the heat and humidity in Louisiana is something awful.

Once we finally made it home, I needed something to motivate me. I knew picking a long distance or pace goal would feel too daunting, so I decided on just doing three miles, running or walking, every single day. I have discovered that it's more important for me to exercise because of the way it makes me feel--as opposed to how it might make me look. My pattern over the last few weeks has been to do some running (always mixed with a little walking as I build my stamina back up) on one day and then just walking the next.

Today tested my resolve, because there was a light rain coming down when I started to walk. I hesitated but realized I would feel worse if I skipped a day than if I got soaked from the rain. So I grabbed an umbrella and logged nearly three-and-a-half miles. I'm grateful for how exercise makes me feel and thankful to be in a mindset in which I can see clearly how much I need it. I'm looking forward to seeing how long I can keep this streak going.