Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving.

November has been sooo crazy. I got sorta behind with hours in October so this was catch-up month. (With full-time therapy jobs, you generally have a productivity standard--some percentage of your time that has to be considered "billable" time.) I killed it this month, doing 22 extra hours of therapy in the month. Which, I will add, is impressive if you are working a full month, but when you are taking off the two last days of the month for Thanksgiving? Incredible.

So, I feel good about that. I like being in the rhythm of a busy work schedule. Even though I don't always like coming home late, and sometimes my job wears me out, there is something really satisfying about working a lot. Oddly, I seem to do some of my best work when I am doing a lot of it (of course, I probably do some of my worst work too, when I am super tired. I outright admitted to my last client of the day today, "I squeezed an entire week of sessions into three days, and you are my last session. My brain is fried right now." (I felt like I needed her to understand my sluggishness.))

So, now that the work month is over, Chad and I get to take our beloved Memphis roadtrip for Thanksgiving. I am so excited to be with Marci, Spiro, and Noel.

Noel is an adorable 6 (almost 7) year-old. Today I was chatting with Marci and she told me that the other night, as she was putting Noel to bed, Noel said, "Mom, I need something to do other than think about Thanksgiving. I am trying to keep myself busy. But when I go to bed at night, it is all I can think about, and it just hurts."

It just hurts.

I die! I just love that little girl. Kids are the best. I can't wait to see them tomorrow.

I am so thankful for family, for my wonderful husband, for Jesus. For a beautiful place to live and experiences in life that have made me appreciate my own circumstances so much more. For great friends. For the beach, and fall leaves, and the mountains, and heavy rains at nighttime.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Twelve Days of Thanksgiving Advent Calendar

Chad, don't read this post because I want you to be surprised by the activities in the advent calendar.

So, after considering all of your lovely ideas and consulting the ever-creative minds of Pinterest, my friend Cynthia and I got together and built these lovely advent calendars. I am pretty happy with the overall utility and cuteness. Each of the little cards has an activity for each of the 12 days leading up to Thanksgiving Day. I included a variety of different activities, including:

  • writing notes or calling parents, grandparents, siblings, spouse, friends, etc.
  • writing a thank-you to the mailman and leaving it in the mailbox for him/her
  • watching Charlie Brown's Christmas (available on youtube)
  • making some kind of Thanksgiving treat to share with someone (I picked these nutter butter turkeys)
  • going on a "I'm-thankful-for-my-legs-and-feet" Thanksgiving jog
  • singing Thanksgiving hymns together
  • writing a letter to a favorite teacher, missionary, service-person, etc.
In short, it should be fun AND meaningful. My favorite.

One of my favorite features of this little calendar is that at Christmas time, I plan to swap out the little numbered leaves on the envelopes for some numbered ornaments, and the Thanksgiving graphic for a Christmas one. And of course, I will swap out the activity cards for some red/green, Christmas-themed ones. I love when I feel like things I make are versatile! 

Cynthia and I talked about making a tree to go alongside the calendar (you know how with some advent calendars, you take the little ornaments each day and put them on a tree? Yes.) So we talked about making a wintry tree with no leaves (just branches) that you could decorate with the numbered leaves (which are velcroed to the envelopes) after you do the activity card each day, and then having a paper Christmas tree to set out during December to decorate with the ornaments. Sounds like a good idea, maybe I'll get around to it sometime.  

I am pretty excited. Because the twelve days of Thanksgiving starts today! Yay.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Your Thanksgiving Ideas.

I really loved all of your Thanksgiving traditions you shared. In fact, I loved them so much that I think I will subject everyone to reading them now, in this post.

Suze shared that this month, she is writing a different thank-you note each day of the month. Love that idea! I am too late to join in this month, but I love the idea of not just being grateful but actually expressing gratitude.

My cousin-in-law (is that a real thing?), Beth, suggested keeping a running list on a white board with things everyone is grateful for. She also said that as a kid, her family would read the Christmas story and put up a nativity. I like the idea of focusing on gratitude for the Savior.

Leesey Poo shared, about her husband's family: "Sam's family has a little bucket and slips of paper set out throughout the month of November and throughout the month you write down things you are thankful for/nice things about other people in the family. Then on Thanksgiving day they read them all out loud and sometimes you try to guess who wrote it. They get pretty creative and silly sometimes with what they write. I thought it was a fun idea."

Another cousin-in-law (definitely a real thing), Rochelle, suggested a Thanksgiving pinata! Never heard of such a thing, and it's totally unconventional, but I like it. Apparently it's a long-standing tradition in the Smith family.

And finally, bff Maggie shared: "We have this weird tradition where we cook a turkey and eat it." Someone's always gotta be a smart alec. . .

Tomorrow, as a special treat, I will share the Thanksgiving advent calendar my friend Cynthia and I came up with. I'm pretty excited, because who doesn't love family traditions? It's fun to start new ones.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Calling All Thanksgiving Traditions

This will be our third Thanksgiving together (second one since we've been married), and it occurred to me yesterday that I really want to form some good Thanksgiving traditions. It really is such a lovely and simple holiday, but I usually don't think much about it until the day of.

{these photos are from our first Thanksgiving together, when we traveled down to Memphis and hung out with my adorable cousin Noel and my aunt Marci and uncle Spiro. We had so much fun that it has become an every-year tradition since then!}

stopping in Bowling Green, to commemorate the place we met.

nail polish! love this girl.

this is at the Peabody Hotel, so much fun if you are ever in Memphis.

This year I spent weeks planning for Halloween, and I know that in December I will be listening to Christmas music all month long and kind of "gearing up" for that holiday. I have always loved Christmas traditions with my family--caroling to friends and family, delivering anonymous gifts, shopping, baking, acting out the Nativity on Christmas Eve. There is such a positive energy throughout the entire month.

But what about November? I would love to focus some energy on being a more grateful person. I am convinced that being grateful is key to being happy. Another great side effect is that being grateful often lifts other people's spirits--how great does it feel when someone says thank you?! After some preliminary brainstorming with Chad, we came up with a few ideas. Like, what about having some kind of advent calendar, only instead of for Christmas, for the days leading up to Thanksgiving? Each day could have some directive, like, "Call someone to thank them for something they've done for you," or "Choose a letter of the alphabet--now, list everything you can think of that you are grateful for that starts with that letter." The directives could be pretty specific or more vague, I guess.

{photos from Thanksgiving #2: Memphis, again! This time, Taylor, Jenny, and Carson joined us.}


I like watching kids play sports.

same tree, back at the Peabody Hotel. I'm telling you, this place is awesome.

I asked my mother-in-law, Pam, for some of her ideas about Thanksgiving traditions yesterday. She said her family would deliver homemade canned grape juice with little notes that said, "I'm 'grape-ful' for you because. . ." She also said that she would give each of her kids a special Christmas ornament on Thanksgiving that was meant to represent something significant that had happened in each of their lives that year. Cool!

Tell me, what are your Thanksgiving traditions? I am a blank slate! Starting fresh! A mere BABY in the forming of my own family's traditions. This is your opportunity to push your very favorite November traditions on a very receptive and eager audience. Let's hear 'em!


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