To kick off this wonderful Thankgiving holiday week, I took some time to write out the big things I am thankful for. The rest of this week, I will blog about whatever made me thankful in particular on that day!

I am thankful for…

My husband: God couldn’t have created a better match for me. Jesse not only makes me feel cared for and special, but he also helps me grow in holiness. He finds a way to help me see my faults, no matter how long it takes. He has incredible patience in this area!

Also, we’re such good friends. The fact that we love going out to eat alone as often as we can, never running out of things to talk about is proof of that. The fact that we love to just stay home and watch TV curled up on the couch is also proof. When we first got married, his sense of humor…annoyed me. Now, it’s one of the things I couldn’t live without, I love it so much.

Becoming parents has changed our relationship, but it’s also showed us that when we work as a team, our strengths are amplified. I love that since I’m the researcher, Jesse gives his trust, allowing me to proceed. I love that since he’s the cautious one, he tempers my enthusiasm and puts it on the right track. But he’s so good about trying to make me feel appreciated for the research I’ve done, even when we don’t end up using some of it.

My baby boy: Being a mom to this kid is better than I ever pictured (and I dream big!). He’s out of the ordinary cute, super smart and super loving. He’s fulfilled all the things we could’ve wanted from a son. Deep down, I know that there is a reason God made us wait until we’d already been married 4 years. But there are times when being a parent is just so wonderful and so delightful that I wish we hadn’t had to wait!

Also, he is such an easy baby (although, this fact doesn’t help much on the hard days! It just means I’m wildly inept and unused to it!). He sleeps 10-15 hours a night, takes good naps during the day, and loves to play independently. So far, he’s only been sick one time when he was really little. I know that we dodged many many bullets (colic, spitting up, bad sleep schedules, horrible teething), and I feel very grateful that we got such an easy first baby to “practice” on 🙂

My parents: I think it’s extraordinary that we’ve all gotten along so well, living in the same house, for over 4 months now! I have a personal relationship with both of my parents that I cherish greatly. My mom and I go on a “garage-sale-ing/donuts date a few times a month, and my Dad and I go out to lunch just to “catch up” at least every other week. They are always ready to lend a hand with Gregory.

My in-laws: They are so generous to us! The reason we were able to wait so long to buy a car was because they lent us one of theirs– for 4 months! I love watching their relationship with Gregory grow. Every Monday, when my mother-in-law comes to babysit Gregory, she stays a little longer afterwards, just to chat. Usually, she is able to outline every last detail of the “adventures” they had together, which makes me feel okay about leaving him for an hour or two. We frequently spend Friday or Saturday nights at their house since they want to cook dinner for us.

Our extended family: So many aunts, cousins, uncles for Gregory to look up to! Brooke is both a big sister and a friend– she calls me on stuff, but she also makes sure to invite me somewhere when I’m feeling lonely 🙂

Our new car: We’ve waited so long for this guy, and we’re so grateful. It’s just so perfect for our family! Part of me still can’t believe that we got our dream car!

Mr. or Miss. SnowCone: It took such a long time to get pregnant with Gregory. It was devastatingly heart wrenching for me. Two Thanksgivings ago, I went through a really dark and trying time coming to grips with it all (I will always be deeply thankful for our Uncle/Fr. Peter and Aunt Collette for being there for a niece-in-law that they had just met, letting me fall apart for most of Thanksgiving!). I was more depressed than I’ve ever been in my life. I started doing crazy things, like spending $400 on a whim at Sephora (I shudder just thinking about it!), lying to a few salespeople during the holidays saying I was pregnant, locking myself in my room on Christmas Eve sobbing because someone gave me a baby blanket as a gift.

It’s surreal that just 2 years later, we have a beautiful boy and a baby on the way! It’s even harder to believe that SnowCone was a sudden and happy accident– no months of waiting, no heart ache! Just a new blessing that we can’t wait to meet.

Our teaching jobs: Jesse and I have never had jobs where we got to make enough money and have extra time to ourselves, as a family. There is a lot of comfort, knowing he is just 5 minutes away. He’s good about answering his phone in between classes and during off blocks, in case I need to ask him a quick question or just vent 🙂  3 days a week, I get to hang out with him in the middle of the day. Wednesdays, we eat lunch together. He’s home at 3:15 pm every day. We will get all the holidays off together, and don’t get me STARTED on how excited I am to have 2.5 months together this summer!

Since we both teach English, we get to spend a lot of our time discussing what we’re doing in our classes, reading passages out loud to each other, and sharing advice/helping each other out. I feel like we both can continue to grow in our jobs for a long long time, especially since we get to teach mostly what we want to teach. For instance, last week I got to spend the whole class period reading Scott Cairns, Elizabeth Bishop and Yeats poetry to my kids! Hello? Wonderful, much?

We also get to do so many fun extra-curricular things together like Friday night football games and volleyball games. Jesse’s coaching varsity basketball right now, which is a dream come true for him (he also get his exercise at the same time). Since he’s “assisting”, he’s only gone for an hour each night, so it doesn’t cut too much into our family time. Even when G and I don’t choose to participate, Jesse’s had the opportunity to do things he wouldn’t normally get to. A few weeks ago, for instance, the entire school had a Serve-a-thon to raise money. Jesse and his class went to a nursing home for the day. The nurse explained to them that they were probably the only visitors some of these people would ever get. I love the extra reminder that we aren’t just making money every day, we are changing lives 🙂

Our education: I loved my time at Biola in the Torrey program. While there are times when I look back and go, “was it worth it?” (these times are usually when I’m paying our student loan bills for the month!), I know that it was.

In the same way, I am so so grateful for our time at UD. There are days when I just sit back and reminisce about how deep-down fulfilling it was to sit in a classroom one or two evenings a week, talking about literature. There were so many times that I came out of class, feeling happier that I’ve ever been, because the conversations were just that good.  I feel like I really learned to write in grad school– I will always be supremely in Dr. Crider’s debt, as it was his class and his book that gave me everything I know about analyzing poetry and about teaching kids to write. His writing program kicked my butt, in a good way, and while it was (and is!) TOUGH, I wouldn’t trade anything for the time I got to spend at UD! In my dreams, I will always fantasize about one day getting to return!

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  • Erica

    You indeed are very blessed. I was really touched by your trying to conceive journey. I’m so sorry you had such a dark time like that and I’m so happy that you are a mommy of two now.