Thankful Heart: Days 24 & 25


Scorch came home today with this essay that he wrote about things he was thankful for. I’ll spare you the part where he said he’s thankful that we have food so we don’t have to be cannibals and share this part instead:


Just in case you can’t read it, here is the gist.  He’s thankful that he has things to be thankful for, like food, a house and family, because “…if you didn’t have anything to be thankful for, you would most likely live a miserable life.”

And that, my friends, just about sums it up. Count your blessings, no matter how mundane they are, and be grateful for each and everyone one of them. If you can’t find those blessings in your life, look harder because they are there.


Thankful Heart: Days 21 – 23


Day 21
Friday equals Family Movie Night in my house. We order pizza, pick up some movies and then come home, put on our PJs and just relax. The movies this week weren’t very good (Race to Witch Mountain and – for the Hubs and I- Pixels), but that is besides the point. I don’t have to cook, we all get to curl up on the couch and, by the time the movie is done, it’s bedtime for the kids.

Pure  bliss that I’m thankful for every week.

Day 22
Saturday was a crazy day. We left the house at 8 am, then didn’t get home until 3, then left again at 5 and didn’t get home until 8:30 thanks to practices, games, a holiday bazaar that we volunteered at and helping out a friend.  For the 2 hours we were home the Hubs and I napped because we’re old.

As crazy as the day was, it means we’re part of our community. We are involved and active – and yes, possibly crazy – but it makes my heart happy that we’re as plugged in as we are to our little town.

Day 23
We celebrated my father’s birthday and my sister in law’s birthday on Sunday. As I sit here and watch the snow falling today, cursing this freaking fracking weather and the months of freezing cold that’s upon us, I’m thankful we live near family. That is basically the only reason we live where we do, so I’m very thankful that we’re as close to our family as we are. Birthday parties, Sunday dinners, holidays- that’s what makes me happy.

Thankful Heart: Day 20


(Warning: potty humor ahead)

Earlier this week I was at Target with the kids and we came upon a bin full of wooden holiday signs. They were adorable (and cheap!) and the kids wanted to pick up a few but I told them that we really don’t have room for them. Our house is small and I’m not a huge fan of decorative clutter.

Without missing a beat, Scorch picked up these two sign and told me they could go on the back of the toilet.


When I asked him why in the world we’d put them there, he told me that when you really have to go and you finally can in the privacy of your own home, all you feel is joy.  But when you look down and see what you’ve done, all you can say is “Oh dear…”


That right there perfectly sums up what life with a 9 year old boy is like. It’s full of potty talk and humor and whip-smart remarks. Scorch is my cuddly one, who will happily sit as close to me as possible and loves to read. He’s kind, sweet and a complete joy. He’s the happiest playing a team sport and will dance in public with me for the fun of it. He’s never met a stranger and will bend your ear off for hours at time about baseball or funny stories.

He’s also gross and disgusting; happy to watch the bathroom scene in Dumb and Dumber over and over and over, laughing until he can’t breath. He’s annoying and is constantly humming, whistling or making some random noises. It’s like living with an infant who just discovered his voice- only this infant comes with smelly feet and makes goat noises over and over and over just to annoy the holy hell out of his sister.

I’m thankful for this kid every second of every day- even when he’s screeching like a pterodactyl at 6:30 in the morning.

Thankful Heart: Day 19


Today as I met my kids at school, both kids rushed to speak to me at the same time.

“I call the iPad!” they both yelled at me as quickly as they could the minute they saw me.

Not “hi” or “how are you?”- they were both too busy claiming use of our iPad to play Minecraft or watch Netflix. I wish I could tell you I was surprised, but I wasn’t. We’ve banned all electronics in the morning and most nights the kids have a very narrow window of time to use them, so (sadly) that time is highly coveted.

As we walked to the car, I reiterated to the kids our ground rules. No one gets any electronics until their homework is done. After that, the kids can take turns just as we’ve done for as long as I can remember.

Well, the Bean clearly remembers living another life because that child raged at me on the way home. I wasn’t fair, my rules weren’t fair, I loved Scorch more than I loved her, I should apologize to her for being such a mean mom and on and on and on. She built up such a head of steam that I couldn’t help but laugh on the inside. When we got home, we had a long conversation about respect and love and sucking it up even when you don’t like it because rules are rules.

She still wasn’t over being mad and she continued to be a stinker. I wasn’t allowed to touch her OR make eye contact with her once we got home and she needed help with her homework. I could NOT laugh at her and Scorch wasn’t allowed to speak to her. This child was pissed.


And I’m so damn thankful for her.

I’m thankful that she doesn’t take any crap (even when it’s not crap – it’s the family rule), I’m thankful that she speaks up loudly when she thinks things are unfair and I’m thankful that I get to help guide her into adulthood. I hope I can teach her that there is a time and place for her anger and how best to voice it. I hope I can teach her how to find her true passion and how to pursue it relentlessly.

As crazy making as it is, I’m thankful I can be the Bean’s soft place to land. She knows, despite what she may say, that she is loved beyond measure and because of that, she can vent her anger at me and know that I’ll still love her even when my feelings are hurt and apologies are needed.

I’m just thankful to be the Bean’s mom. Always will be, even when she’s raging.


Day 18


Earlier this week, the Hubs set our alarm for 3 am. Then he carefully set his clothes out on the couch so he didn’t wake me while getting dressed- his BDUs, his cold weather layering shirt, his work shirt, thick socks and heavy duty boots- along with his gun belt, handcuffs, baton and the other paraphernalia he wears around his waist on a daily basis. He didn’t grumble or whine, he just went to bed early and got up a few hours later to do his job.


On days like that one, I wake up later than normal (because I can’t go to the gym first thing in the morning, leaving the kids home alone) and manage the morning routine with the kids solo. Most morning we’re lucky and the Hubs is around- but he’s gone just often enough that we can work well in his absence. We try to the call the Hubs on the way to school so the kids can say hi, but more often than not, he’s not able to talk.

When I get to the office, I text the Hubs to say hi and wish him well. I then start monitoring all the local news stations carefully, knowing full well if the Hubs is up that early whatever he’s doing is going to be big. In most cases the news starts rolling in mid-morning and I can be reassured that his radio silence is just because he’s busy and not hurt or handling a big emergency.  I say a little prayer of thanks and carry on with my day.


We’re one of the luckier ones in law enforcement. Make no mistake, the Hubs job is dangerous and scary but 85% of the time, his schedule is as close to normal as it can be. He’s home most nights for dinner- or at least bedtime. He doesn’t do shift work anymore and he has most weekends off.

My father was a police officer and he worked different shifts and weekends on and off my whole childhood. He – like most officers I know- did a remarkable job of adjusting his schedule to maximize his time with us, even if that meant years of working nights to the detriment to his health and sleep patterns, just so he could be there for as many games and activities as he could.

For the first 3 years of the Hub’s life in the law enforcement, he had rotating days off that weren’t guaranteed and had to call in every single day to find out which shift he was working the next day. So he could work a 3 pm – 11 pm shift one day, a 7 am – 3 pm shift the next and then start an 11 pm shift later that night. We were living 30 minutes outside of Washington, DC, where the Hubs worked, and often times, we had guys who lived much further out crashing on the couch in our 795 sq ft apartment when there literally wasn’t enough time to go to their home, sleep and make it back to work.


Police officers have been in the news a lot over the past year- mainly for misdeeds rather than their good deed (which, make no mistake, outnumber the bad by at least 95%). The Hubs, who wears clothing daily that identifies him as a cop, is very selective about where he eats lunch because of the looks and remarks he gets. He stopped in one place last week and the person serving him said that he doesn’t know why cops get a such bad rap when “only 50% of them were bad.” The sad thing is, “50% bad” was the nicest thing anyone said to him out in public for a while.

I firmly believe that, just like in any profession, the bad seeds should be weeded out. And I do believe that abuse of power should be punished, regardless of if you carry a badge. But I know that most police officers go into their job because they want to help people. They want to make sure that their communities are safe because they live there too. They want everyone to feel safer, for kids not to feel threatened no matter what neighborhood they live in and for those who do bad things to be brought to justice.

I’m thankful to be raised by a police officer and I’m thankful to married to one. I’m thankful that there are men and women out there that are willing to risk their lives, miss time with their families and sacrifice their well-being to ensure my kids can sleep safely at night.



Thankful Heart: Days 13 – 17


Day 13
I had a post for Day 13 all written, then the events in Paris unfolded. I got the news notification on my phone as the kids and I were leaving the video store (yes, we’re dinosaurs). We had just grabbed a pizza and were looking forward to a quiet night at home. All during the movie, the Hubs and I kept showing each other the latest news on our phones, shocked and sorrowful. There was (and is) so much for my little family to be thankful for but in that night, it was hard to put into words when so many were hurting.

Day 14
Saturdays tend to be our at-home date nights. We order take out and rent a movie (this week it was Trainwreck). The kids are in bed by 8 and the evening is ours to eat and laugh and watch shows we’d never put on when the kids were awake. It isn’t always romantic or exciting, but I always look forward to this one night a week with the Hubs.

Day 15
I am so thankful that we have faith in something larger than ourselves. I’m thankful for our gorgeous church, mass and the comfort our faith gives us when times are rough. I’m always appreciative of those things, but especially when things are bad.

Day 16
The Hubs and I had parent-teacher conferences on Monday to discuss how the kids are doing this school year. I’m so very thankful for the school we send our kids to, the teachers that love them and the environment that supports them. Every parent loves to hear that their kid is amazing, but I’m so thankful to know that even when my kids aren’t amazing and are struggling, they have a support system not only at home, but at school as well, lifting them up and wanting nothing but the best for them. I’m thankful that my kids have teachers that take my concerns and thoughts seriously and work continuously to with the Hubs and I to ensure my kids are not only educated, but loved.

Day 17

Did you know today is World Prematurity Day? I do, thanks to my niece Lala. My crazy, zany, stubborn, funny, feisty, loving, smart niece was born 12 weeks early. She weighed 1 lb 14 oz and pretty much scared us all to death. She introduced a whole new vocabulary into our lives- CPAP, adjusted age, brain bleeds, NICU, and on and on.  That little firecracker turns 5 soon and we simply can’t imagine our life without her.  She is my favorite sass-pot, the Bean’s bestest friend and Scorch’s favorite kid. When we’re together, the cousins are inseparable and I couldn’t be more thankful for that little girl.


Thankful Heart: Day 12


I think the Hubs is funny and he thinks I’m funny, but oddly enough, we really don’t have the same sense of humor. I’m more sly, sarcastic humor and he’s more farts and crude humor. I literally can’t sit through most of Jim Carey’s movies because I find them so annoying- which is a shame because Dumb and Dumber is one of the Hub’s favs.

We, blessedly, find common ground in shows like Arrested Development and Archer- but I still feel badly sometimes that I just can’t sit down and lose my mind over some of the things the Hubs finds funny. Which is why I’m so very thankful that Scorch can. Thanks to channels like TBS for editing the movies the Hub’s like for language and the sexual stuff, the two of them watch the stupidest movies and just howl. That makes my heart feel like it’s going to burst.

But today? Today we hit a huge parenting milestone when we introduced Scorch to Arrested Development. To hear my kid in the shower, cracking up saying “It walked on my pillow!” may be one of my proudest parenting moments ever.


Thankful Heart: Day 11


Happy Veteran’s Day to those who have served! Thank you for your dedication and sacrifice on behalf of our country.

I have numerous family members and friends who have served in all branches of the military, many of whom have seen combat multiple times. We are lucky- all our friends and family came back whole. Unfortunately a lot of men and women aren’t so lucky. You can’t watch the news anymore without hearing stories about how our vets are under-served and hurting.

Sometimes saying thank you isn’t enough and there are lot of little ways you can help improve the life of our veterans:

The Hubs and I are huge supporters of the Wounded Warrior Project – an organization dedicated to helping wounded vets live the life the deserve. Their site lists various ways you can help their organization from donating money to working local events.

Want to something more tangible? Check out DAV- Disabled American Veterans. There are lots of ways to help, but one of the most immediate is driving local veteran‘s to their medical appointments.

Travel a lot? Donate some of your frequent flyer miles to family members of wounded soldier’s so they can be by their soldier’s side as they recuperate from their injuries.

Send a care package or a letter to troops stationed overseas.Operation Gratitude guides you through how to send letters and packages to deployed troops, veterans and wounded warriors. This is a perfect time of year to do this with the holidays coming up so quickly!

Want to do something more? Check out the list of all these charities and see which ones do the best job supporting our troops.

Thankful Heart: Days 6 – 10


Day 6: Old Homes
Friday we went to the Hub’s grandparent’s house for the very last time. The Hub’s grandmother has been a widow for a few years now and she’s moving from the home she and her husband built 60+ years ago in NY to FL to be closer to her son and his family. It’s a great move for a lot of reasons (and a huge relief to those of us who worry about her, especially in the winter), but man- saying goodbye to her and that home was hard. We’ll see Gram again in the Spring, but we won’t see that house again.

I’ve only been a part of the Hub’s family for 17+ years and I have so many memories in that house. Walking the land, family dinners, Scorch’s first Christmas Day dinner, wrapping paper fights, and on and on. I can still see the Hub’s grandfather at the head of the table presiding over the meals with his gigantic hands folded in prayer. As sad as I am, I’m so thankful for those memories all built in that small house on a country road.

Day 7: Small Town Living

The kids are at the age that most Saturdays are devoted to sports- practices, games, clinics. Regardless of the time of year, we’re doing something athletic. This past Saturday involved 2 hours of back to back games (one for Bean and one for Scorch) which are always enjoyable – but they are made even more so by the fact that, thanks to living in a small town, we know so many people there. The Hubs coaches and, frankly, watching athletic competitions between 7 and 9 year olds doesn’t require a lot of brain power so I was super thankful for friends to talk to, making the time pass by much more quickly.

Day 8: Dad

My father’s birthday was earlier this week and I’m thankful for him all the time because he’s awesome.
Dad_Heather_1982Dad- thanks for being loving and supportive and tough. Thank you for expecting the best from us and loving us when we didn’t always measure up. Thanks for learning sports just because we played them and introducing me to new music. Thanks for being the best Papa around and loving the kids madly. We are thankful for you each and every day even if you do sneeze louder than anyone else on earth!

Day 9: Homework I Understand

Last night Scorch had math homework that he needed help on. And I *could* help him. That doesn’t happen very often, so I’m thankful for a module of 4th grade math that doesn’t make me feel like a freaking idiot.

Day 10: Homework I Didn’t Understand

Never mind. Scorch brought home math today that I had no idea how to do. Then I figured out how to do it, but I had no idea how to explain to him. Very thankful my best friend is a Math teacher who is willing to text me the answer and links to sites to help us out.

Thankful Heart: Days 4 & 5


You guys, this week has been amazing. 70 degrees and sunny almost everyday. That is crazy weather for up here this time of year. Snow is much more likely than this Indian Summer weather, so I’m ridiculously thankful for this heatwave. But I’m also thankful for other things..

Day 4: Work Life

It’s been a little over 2 years now since I was laid off from my job of 13 years. That was one of the most tenuous, scariest times time as we tried to figure out how we were going to live without my salary. But we did it. I was blessed with a few great part time gigs (which I still miss!) to tide me over until I found this job at the University. About half my coworkers at the University work remotely, but this week my whole team was in the office and it was wonderful. It’s a special kind of joy to work with people you like and respect; people you would have picked to be friends with even outside of the office.  This week was full of lots of meetings and more work to add to the to-do pile, but it was also full of lunches outside in this gorgeous weather and lots of laughs.

I really wouldn’t recommend getting laid off to anyone, but losing my job has instilled in me the confidence that somehow things will work out. Maybe not on your timeline and maybe not in the way you think it will, but it’ll happen. Trust me.

PinkSkiesDay 5: Deodorant

Scorch is 9. Bless his sweet heart, he’s not anywhere near starting puberty. But some of his friends are, which means some of them are wearing deodorant.  This is the year that the kids in Scorch’s school start changing for PE, so he’s seen just how many boys are putting it on and he wants to be one of those kids so badly. So, so badly. To him deodorant means growing up and getting closer to becoming a teenager and that is what he wants. Never mind that my sweet boy still sleeps with the same lovies that he has since he was 1 or that his bed is littered with stuffed animals. Never mind that he’ll still hold my hand in public and doesn’t like going to bed without being tucked in. Never mind that at heart, he’s still a little boy – there is still a part of him that is starting to pull away from his childhood. And it’s kind of breaking my heart.

This morning, unbeknownst to us, he stole the Hubs deodorant and put some on while I was making lunches. He slid up to me in the kitchen, eyes aglow, with a huge grin cracking open his face, vibrating with excitement and glee.

Mom, I put on deodorant. Can you tell? Can you smell it? Smell me, Mom- smell me.

Today I’m thankful that I get to witness these very small milestones- the stuff they don’t tell you about in the baby books- that bring my kids so much freaking joy that they can’t stand still. I’m in no hurry for my kids to grow up, but it’s hard not to laugh right along side them when they do.