Day 87 – Thankful for Being Totally Spoiled By My Mother In Law

This post is kind of tough to write, I’ve got a hard core food coma totally slowing my brain down right now.  All of my body’s resources are being used to digest some fantastic eats!

As I’ve mentioned before, I won the Mother In Law Lottery.  Last night Becky informed me that her mom was making lasagna for supper tonight, one of my favorite meals.  

With it being Christmas I’m pretty sure she’s going to have Napolean Cremes, on of my favs.  

Then when we get to their house Mary shows me the pan of apple squares she made, another favorite!

It is pretty awesome to visit and be spoiled with great food!  I’m very thankful for all the ways she takes care of and spoils me.


Day 86 – Thankful for Christmas Cards

Day 86 – Thankful for Christmas Cards

The weather outside may be frightful, but the door to our basement looks delightful!

This is the time of the year when, in addition to putting on several pounds, there are Christmas cards flying in at a breakneck pace. When I was a kid I really only cared about them when they were in a package along with some treats or if they contained cash or check.  I was obviously missing the point, but I have to admit, they look way cooler now than they did before.

That’s actually the reason why I’m thankful for them now.  So many of them are custom made and have pictures of the family and their escapades throughout the year.  Some are more traditional, some have letter, and some are just completely original.  In any case, it is great to read each and every single one of them.  Picking up the card and seeing the names always trigger memories of them and make me smile.

Thank you to everyone who’s put a smile on my face with a Christmas card this year!


Day 85 – Thankful for Opportunity

First things first, I thought this was supposed to be increasingly difficult as the days roll on.  When I started this blog I was trying to pay attention to every little thing I could be thankful for because I “knew” there was going to be a day I was going to run out of ideas.  As Dominic would say, “I’m LOL-ing” at that thought now!  Another day, another plethora of things to be thankful for.  It was a tough call, but what I am most thankful for today is opportunity.


There are our two knuckleheads, at it again.  Another night, a different activity for them to try out.  Over the past few weeks they’ve had archery, log rolling, scouts (of the Boy & Cub variety), swimming, log rolling, soccer, choir concerts, crazy home crafts, and orchestra concerts.  They’ve had a chance to try out so many things over the past year, it’s been awesome!

That’s what I am most thankful for of all of the great things that today brought, the fact that they have the opportunity to try so many different things.  It is crazy busy in our house and Becky and I get run ragged taking them to and from so many different things, but what an experience!  One of my passions is giving them the opportunity to try out just about anything to see what they really enjoy, helping them find their passion.  Who knows what things they’ll really enjoy as they continue to grow up, but it’s very rewarding to give them the opportunity to find that passion.  There’ve been many times that what I thought would be a passing fad (cello for Dominic, archery for Gavin) have turned into things they’ve continued to enjoy and there’ve been others that went the other way.  Regardless, I am just thankful that they’ve had the opportunity to try something new.

Who know what types of things 2017 will hold, but I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes out for other crazy thoughts.  My buddy Steve and I are conspiring a long weekend trip out to Colorado with the boys to help them summit a mountain, who knows, if they go with they might even have the opportunity to practice first aid skills on the two old guys!


Day 84 – Thankful for the Organized Chaos that is a Cub Scout Project

Day 84 – Thankful for the Organized Chaos that is a Cub Scout Project

Only now in this dark hour do I realize the folly of my ways…  🙂


Tonight’s cub scout meeting was focused on building boxes to store their cards and other assorted treasures in.  Over the past month or so the boys, my dad, and I have been prepping for this project, the culmination of that work was absolutely awesome!  (and maybe a little tiring…)  All the boys seemed to have fun and it was cool seeing the creative spark fire for some of them as they created something with their hands.


Of course it didn’t go as smooth as possible or completely as planned.  There were surprise issues that came up (like not realizing just how many drill bits the boys could strip out in a short period of time), mistakes that had to be worked around (lids being just a tad bit too long or bottoms being a little too big), and learning how to use the lever action of the screws to tighten up a corner.  Other things went very smooth, fit like a glove, and worked better than expected.  There were moments of boredom, frustration, elation, excitement and creativity.

There were a ton of learning opportunities.  Some were mechanical (how to push hard enough to not strip a screw and how to back a screw out) and some were more mental and emotional (take a few deep breaths when frustrated, remember to go slow and steady).

While I got kind of frustrated at a couple of times I only had to take a deep breath and remember why I was doing this.  I did this to provide life skills, learning, and, most importantly, happiness for the boys.  Getting frustrated wouldn’t help, but staying calm, having fun, helping the boys see that it’s okay to make a mistake, and helping them see the fun and challenge to troubleshooting was exactly what I wanted them to see.  As that thought went through my head I smiled and enjoyed the moment.

The boys may have had a lot of fun and got a pretty cool homemade box, but I think I got the best part of the deal.  Seeing them learn, grow, and have fun was incredibly rewarding.  I am thankful to have shared in the chaos of the night with them!



Day 83 – Thankful for Reminders to Be Appreciative

Today has been pretty awesome.  Many wins at work, lots of little victories and reasons to celebrate, and so much to be thankful for.

There were great meetings with teammates, reminders of how we have the opportunity to help many people, and seeing new opportunities.  A random phone call helped push me closer to to the path of a dream and an interestingly timed email did the same.  Talking with a teammate led to long term development ideas.   Solutions to problems were discovered – some before the problem even arose.  The drive home included a call with my dad that left me laughing.  While making supper there was a great call with my mom and was able to share ideas, memories, and joke around with her.  After supper there was a phone call for the boys to sing Happy Birthday to a grandma who I could tell was smiling huge when they sang.  When Becky got home I got the big hug and kiss that I look forward to every night and was able to give her a hard time, chill, and snuggle on the couch.  The boys were introduced to Festivus by watching the Seinfeld episode with us.  All in all it was a pretty awesome day, the type that leave me struggling, in a very good way, to write my blog post.

That said, there was one moment that put everything into perspective and reminded me that I need to appreciate both my awesome day and not so awesome days.  One of my teammates and her family had a really awesome day!  Here’s the text she sent me tonight:

Doctor just called and let me know that all of my mom’s results came back and there absolutely no cancer!  I’m so relieved.

Reminders of the fragility of life are one of the ways that God reminds us to appreciate every moment we are blessed to have.  My favorite versions of this phenomena are when the reminder is good news like this – a reminder of appreciation AND great news all rolled into one.



Day 82 – Thankful for the First of the Three Family Christmas Weekends

There are some benefits to having a larger than traditional family, you get to celebrate more times than normal.  This weekend was the first of three straight family Christmas weekends – celebrating with Dad and Nancy, and my brother Nick, his wife Jennifer, and their two awesome girls, Sela and Lauren.  We beat the worst of the weather out on Friday and had an excellent weekend in Green Bay.

First things first, I am pretty sure I could go the next month or so without eating, Jenn kept us incredibly well fed.  Her cooking was AWESOME!!!   Every meal tasted ridiculously awesome, there were times that I went back for thirds.  As Dominic put it, “she should quit her job and be on TV on cooking shows!”  The desserts were fantastic as well, Nancy had a great selection of cookies and Jenn made quite possibly one of the most perfect lemon bars I’ve ever had in my life.  Outstanding!

The time with family was greatly appreciated.  While there were many activities ranging from seeing the new Star Wars movie, shooting paintballs in the basement, and walking through the light display, some of the best moments were as we were all just chilling on the couch shooting the bull.  Nothing crazy, nothing structured, just pure chillaxin’ with family.  I may have stayed up a little too late with Nick and Sela last night as they successfully attempted to get me hooked on a new TV show (Stranger Things), but it was well worth it!  Feeling a little extra tired the next day is well worth the fun we had talking while watching the show.

This weekend had everything that I hope for in a family Christmas, it was a great way to kick off three weekends of family Christmas!


Day 81 – Thankful for Everyone Who Watched Out for Me Yesterday

Normally I wait until later in the day to post.  I also usually write about something that happened that day.  Today I’m going a little off script because I’m very thankful for something that happened several times yesterday and that still has me smiling today.

Yesterday was a great day.  Many thing we’re accomplished, my task list was almost completed, and I felt excellent!  As I rewind through the day there were many times that someone was watching out for me.  It happened a lot, but there are a few highlights that stick out:

  • Someone reminding me to take pride in what I’ve been building over the past few years.
  • Someone helping me notice a little thing that I could do that would be a big thing for someone else.
  • Someone reminding me to keep my long term dreams in mind and find a way to work them into my day.
  • Someone knowing that I enjoy public speaking and training who contacts me to ask about presenting in March.
  • My dad making sure I know what to expect with the roads and making sure we only traveled if it was safe. 
  • Becky supporting me constantly. 🙂

It’s a great feeling to know that others are watching out for me and trying to help me be successful.  While I didn’t list every single  thing out please know that I appreciated all of those moments yesterday.  They warmed my soul and I’m hoping that at some point I can do the same for each of you.