A Year of Habits, no. 40

What a week!  I know the purpose of this post is to report to myself my improvement in building better habits during 2011, but my heart is full of gratitude for some simple but wonderful things and I must recap.

On Monday night we went as a family to watch our oldest daughter’s soccer game, where she scored 2 goals!  She usually plays as a defender but occasionally her coach puts her in on offense.  The team was down 0-1 for the longest time and frustration was building when she scored the first goal for her team.  A couple of minutes later another girl scored again and they were off and running, winning the game 7-1.  She scored the 1st and 7th goals and we were so happy for her.  It was also the first time she did what’s called a flip-throw.  A flip-throw is a front handspring throw in.  She’s been practicing them for a while but hadn’t yet done one in a game.  It was a really fun night.  It turned out we had soccer games on four days this week.  My eight year old daughter also played a couple of games and in her case she was put in on defense instead of her usual offensive position against the best team in the division.  She was scrappy and refused to let the other team past her.  While she was in, they were unable to take a single shot on goal on her side of the field.  I was proud of her.  My oldest son scored the first goal for his team in his lacrosse game on Saturday.  It was his first goal of the season and turned out to be a great game.

I understand that sports and scoring goals are of little significance in the big scheme of things, but in the here and now they can be so important.  They build confidence, motivate us to work harder, teach us that the hard work we’ve already done was worth it, and keep life fun.  We all need some personal victories in our lives and I felt so incredibly grateful that several of my children had such victories this week.

At our Elementary school they do what’s called Student Led Conferences, which is like a parent/teacher conference except that the students lead their parents to their desks, get out their data folder and show their parents all their grades in every subject, discussing their performance.  They show parents samples of their work, read their class mission statement, read their personal mission statement, and ask their parents to help them set an academic goal and a personal goal, writing down three things they will do to reach the goal and a date by which they will accomplish it.  They then ask their parents if they have any questions, thank them for coming, and then the parents get to talk for a few minutes with the teachers.  I got to do this with four of the children on Thursday afternoon and it was precious.

On Thursday night I took my two oldest daughters, ages 12 and 8, to a local theater to see Little Women.  It was a wonderful night.  The cast did such a great job and as I sat there it was like I was transported back in time to my childhood bedroom, reading the book again for the first time (and crying like I did the first time, too).  My daughters loved every minute.  I loved listening to my twelve year old laugh as she absorbed the humor in different conversations and relationships, and loved watching my eight year old piece together the storyline as this was her first introduction to Little Women.  It was a very special evening and I feel so thankful that we squeezed it into the schedule in spite of a crazy week and a particularly wild day.  I also bought tickets for our whole family for a performance in December, and it feels good to have something like that scheduled.  I want to get us all to more plays and musicals.

I had a couple of boxes of peaches in the fridge that needed attention, and I’m happy to say that they’re all taken care of.  It makes me sad when the peach season draws to a close, but grateful that we savored them.  Now I have a box of local pears awaiting my attention.  Mmmm…

It rained all week long and snowed a bit, too.  The week felt loud and chaotic but we had our moments of calm, which I’m learning to notice and savor.  We started new books and got a lot of cleaning up done around the house.  The rain allowed me to focus my attention indoors more than usual and things are looking better around here!  I’m steadily getting closer to being completely caught up on laundry.  I pulled a Halloween picture book off the shelf for the first time this year and was reminded again how magical these seasonal books are for children who aren’t yet old enough to remember them from last year.  I spent an evening curled up on the couch, reading a book next to my husband.   Last night before bedtime we all piled on Mom and Dad’s bed to start a new read-aloud book.  I loved having them all there, snuggled together and giggling about the story.  I’m grateful it’s supposed to warm up, but rainy days have their good side too.

Yesterday our second daughter turned 9 years old.  She had a great birthday and I thoroughly enjoyed spending the day with her.  She is a gem.  As we gathered around the table for candles and cake, I said to the children, “Do you realize how lucky we all are that we live in a family that gets to have ten birthday parties every year?!?”  It hit me how special this is, that we have so many things and people to celebrate because we have a large family.  Wow!  One of those great little perks I’d never thought about.

I feel so thankful for the simple, subtle ways in which my days were rich and full.  So many hugs and kisses to enjoy, so many moments when I connected with one child or another.  I did a better job of listening to my oldest son, and we had some fun times together.  I finished a couple of things this week, although I didn’t touch any of the projects on my goal list for October.  Still, I feel like I’m consistently improving in my efforts to be a better mother.  Granted, the improvements are tiny in comparison with my responsibilities, but progress is progress.  I’m learning to more earnestly sacrifice personal interests for the sake of my children and their development.  I’m doing a better job of “losing myself” in this God-given work of raising his children, and it feels good.

I was kind of on again, off again in my healthy eating this week and am ready to jump back in with gusto this week.  I noticed a direct link between how I felt and how I ate.

I have made studying the scriptures and praying my #1 priority each morning.  I’m striving to do it with precision.  The slow but cumulative effect of doing this has begun to come back around and wrap me in a most wonderful feeling.  I am learning.  I am understanding things I’ve completely missed before.  I’m growing.  I’m staying more calm with my children.  It’s awesome.

Now the house is quiet and I look around at the Sunday messes here and there.  There’s nothing glamorous going on in this house, just regular old living.  Things are out of place everywhere and I’m pretty sure there’s a homework assignment that didn’t get done yesterday which we’ll have to deal with early in the morning.   I am grateful for life, grateful for health, grateful for the opportunity simply to be here, experiencing what I’m experiencing, having so many opportunities to learn, grow, apologize and love.

It’s going to be a great week.

Jennifer P.S.  I’m nowhere near running out of recipes to share, but I’m going to mix other things in a little more this week.  Watch for an amazing new zucchini bread recipe that I’m guessing is unlike any you’ve tried before.  My daughter calls it the best bread I’ve ever made (and I’ve made a lot of bread!).  We’ll start tomorrow with photos from the little baby blessing we had here a couple of weeks ago…

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