Happy Thanksgiving! Lately I've been thinking a lot about what I'm grateful for FOR my kids, and how blessed we are to have such wonderful things in our lives for the benefit of them, and I wanted to share a few of those gifts:
Family - I know it's cliche, especially at Thanksgiving, but it's so very true and probably more apparently obvious since we are all around so much family this time of year. We are really and truly blessed with wonderful, precious families. Not only do my kids sincerely love every single one of their aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins, but they also view them as their closest friends (to the extent that they ask if any of the adults can "come over and play", and their cousins are their favorite playmates). They love to share big news with any of them that will listen, and they are always met with the same enthusiasm with which they tell it. Our family shows up. If they can be there for any of the kids' events, they're there. And as they get older, I know my kids are going to realize just how truly special and wonderful their family is.
Technology - This probably deserves its own post! It's no secret that we are a family that loves technology, and I know there are so many people talking about how we have carefully monitor it around our children (I agree), but I have seen so much good come out of it for our family. When our boys first started playing video games, there were lots of cooperative play ones that taught the boys to play together, to play well together, and to want to play together. When I would tell one of them that they could play, I was often met with, "But I can't play without [Luke/Silas]!" When Faith was sick a month or so ago, she needed to rest, but I didn't want her watching TV in the family room (aka Teague home central) where the boys were home from school and needing to do their homework. Since that's our one TV, I decided to take my iPad up to her room. There I streamed Netflix for her, kept her germs away from everyone, let her wind down until she fell asleep, and it wasn't permanent solution (e.g. putting a TV in her room!). Voila! I heart technology!
And when you put technology together with a wonderful family (who also loves technology), it's a beautiful thing for my kids. Then boys play app games with their uncles, FaceTime with their cousins and family out of town, and email the adults their life questions. The relational catalysts can't be beat.
Kids programming - We are pretty selective about what we allow our kids to watch, but I'm really grateful that we have some great options when it comes to shows out there for kids. There are a lot of kids shows. Yes, you have to weed through, and there's a little trial and error ("Uh...kids? Let's turn this one off..."), but I feel like there is just so much now that it can be fine tuned to each kid and their interests. During "sick time" for Faith, we discovered some fabulous kids programming on Netflix that isn't currently on TV (Franny's Feet and Busytown Mysteries are her current favorites). The boys discovered Sea Rescue, and Disney's Oceans had them all captivated. (And just fyi, Wreck-It-Ralph is fantastic and in theaters now!)
Stage of life - I heard one time that the stage of parenting that is the hardest is the one you're in. And I agree. It's always new, uncharted territory. But as the kids get older, it's also more and more fun. A couple of weeks ago I was getting so frustrated looking at the kitchen counter. I hadn't seen the actual counter in weeks. It was so covered with just stuff. And as I stood there contemplating how to begin cleaning it up, I stopped and just started crying. Every piece I wanted to move, I couldn't, because everything on it represented a piece of our life right now, and it's precious. Luke's animal notebook project that we've worked on together for a grade every week. Silas's camouflage project with which we've done the same. Papers Faith had drawn on to pretend that she had a project to do, too. :) School pictures. Favors from a birthday party we all attended together. "Treaures" the kids had brought in from outside. Snack wrappers and cups the kids and their friends had eaten and deserted to go play before dinner. Even the fake teeth the kids' friends had put in their mouths to make each other laugh, which were washed and placed on the counter to dry after they left. Memory after memory after memory. I stopped just short of taking a picture of the chaos, but I wish I had. It was beautiful.
May you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving with lots of precious memories in the making!