Happy Thanksgiving! It is time for my tradition of writing a list of things I'm thankful for, in the amount of my age.
I'm thankful for...
1. Ryan. I know it goes without saying that I am thankful for my husband, but I still think it's important to say it. I'm thankful for him because he is the best partner for me, and he has done the best job since the baby was born of showing me that I am still his number one priority and that I matter so much to him and I come first. I'm thankful for him because he works hard so that I can be home with our baby. I'm thankful for him because he is a great dad and cares so much about our son. I'm thankful for him because he tells me that my changed, post-pregnancy body is beautiful because it shows what I did. I'm thankful because I know that so many other blessings I am thankful for are a part of my life because I chose to marry him.
2. Ethan. I am thankful to Ethan because he is the one who made me a mother. I'm thankful for him because he makes my day with his smiles, laughs, baby sounds, when his eyes get wide and he kicks his feet because he's excited that I looked at him or spoke to him. I'm thankful for him because he is so loving - you can see it in his eyes, almost like when he looks at you sometimes, it's as though he has a thought bubble above his head that reads, "I love you." I'm thankful for him because he sleeps through the night (thank you Ethan). I'm thankful for him because he has made my heart grow - not just for him, but for others. I look at everyone now as someone's son or daughter, and it makes me have more compassion for others. I'm thankful for him because being his mother has given me answers to questions I've pondered over my whole life. I'm thankful for him because he has taught me that sacrifice doesn't have to feel like sacrifice.
3. Mom. I'm thankful for her because she is a giver. She gives and gives and gives to her children (and to others). I'm thankful because she's provided an excellent example of sacrificing for her children - I never did understand why she didn't seem to feel that she was sacrificing, and I understand her better now that I'm a mother. I'm thankful that she is always there for me and listens to every detail and worry. I'm thankful that she always wants to help in whatever capacity she can, and I'm thankful that she is such a wonderful grandma to my Ethan.
4. Dad. I'm thankful for him because he is always able to calm my fears or lay my worries to rest with logic and evidence. I'm thankful that I can call him anytime with a question and he'll go look up the answer for me. I'm thankful because he makes me laugh (especially with his text messages) and gets fired up for me when I've been dealt an injustice. :-)
5. Joseph. I'm thankful for my brother because even though it didn't look possible, he made it happen so that he could come to Utah and surprise me and be there for Ethan's baby blessing. I'm so thankful he did that. I'm thankful for him because he makes me laugh, and I have a lot of great memories of him from high school because he was such a good friend to me and would be protective of me, and come talk to me at night until I fell asleep.
6. Rachel. I'm thankful for my sister and that she lives nearby now and that I get to see her so much. I'm thankful for her because she will baby-sit so Ry and I can go to the temple, or she'll come hold the baby while I clean. I'm thankful for her because she'll see that toilet paper or paper towel is on sale for a really good deal, and buy me some. Or she'll see that my favorite ice cream is on sale and buy it for me. She'll pick up a Sunday paper, unrequested, for me so that I can try my hand at couponing. I'm thankful for her because she is such a great example to me when it comes to the gospel. She is a great example of someone who seeks the Lord's guidance and follows it. I'm thankful that she is such a great influence on me and that she is one of my best friends.
7. Sam. I'm thankful for my brother and that he lives in Utah now and I get to see him on long weekends. I'm thankful for him because he has got to be one of (if not THE) nicest and most helpful people I have ever met. He comes to visit and takes out the trash, does my dishes, willingly and happily holds the baby for me for as long as is needed so I can get things done, is happy to baby-sit so Ry and I can go on a date, and is so nice to me. I tend to apologize a lot ("I didn't have enough of this particular spice so dinner might not taste that great I'm sorry!") and he always reassures me and makes me feel better. When I do something dumb and make the comment, "I'm a bad mother!" He always tells me that "bad mother" is the last thing he thinks of me. He's always so helpful and nice to me and I'm really thankful for him.
8. Elena. I'm thankful for my littlest sister and her phone calls, text messages, Facebook communication, emails, etc. I love hearing (or imagining) her sweet voice, and she's just got a fun way of speaking that puts a smile on my face. I'm thankful for Elena because she was born when I was almost twelve, and I got to have a big part in taking care of her as a baby, and she is the one who gave me the desire to be and the faith that I could be a mother. I thought if I loved her that much, then I could probably love my own child a whole lot, too. I'm thankful for her because for some reason, she's kind of my conscience. Because of her existence, I have more compassion.
9. Noah. I'm thankful for my baby brother and the host of funny and/or sweet memories that the little boy Noah gave me, many of which are documented in my journal for me to enjoy over and over again. I'm thankful for him because he has a big heart, and he loves my son and wants to help take care of him when he's in town. I'm thankful for him because he shows kind gestures when I'm sick (turning on soft music for me to help me feel better) and he is always thoughtful - giving me a rock shaped like a heart, etc. I'm thankful for him because he was a great example to me when he was preparing to be baptized.
10. Aunt Pam. I'm thankful for her because she is the BEST aunt anyone could ask for. I'm thankful that she has made the drive from Seattle to Portland at least a thousand times so that she can be there for all of us six kids when we have something going on - first day of school, recitals, etc. Sometimes she even makes the trip there and back in one day. I'm thankful that she lived with us for a big part of my childhood and when she moved, she made and continually makes the effort to still be just as huge a part of our lives. I'm thankful for her because she is an excellent listener and always listens to me go on and on and acts interested, even though much of the time I am probably not saying anything interesting. I'm thankful that she's great at keeping in contact via Facebook and email, and I'm thankful for her awesome laugh (especially when she and my mom laugh together).
11. Uncle Dave. I'm thankful for him because even though he stole Aunt Pam away when I was in fifth grade, and I hated him for it for a little while, he has become one of my favorite people. I'm thankful that he makes the effort to come visit us with Aunt Pam when he can and that I've gotten to spend so many holidays with him. I'm thankful for him because you know he thinks of you - he'll send an email or a recipe or a link and you'll know that you were thought of because he saw something and had to share it with you. He is also good at thoughtful gifts and I'm still thankful for the awesome recipe box he gave me (backed up on CD, even) when I went to college. I'm thankful for him because he makes me laugh, a lot.
12. Aunt Connie. I'm thankful for her because since I was a little girl, she has been such an amazing example to me of charity. I'm thankful for her because she always texts back, and she loves to hear about and see my little boy. I'm thankful for her because she infuses everything she does with so much joy, laughter, and heart. It's made my life - holidays, my wedding, etc. - that much more enjoyable and memorable.
13. My family acquired by marriage. I'm so thankful to get along so well with my in-laws. I'm thankful that my son has cousins. I'm thankful he has aunts and uncles who care about him. I'm thankful to be close to both my sisters-in-law and to learn from them and spend time with them, and that we all had baby boys in the same year and that we were brought closer by that event - and will probably be kept close throughout the years because we all have sons in the same year of school.
14. Our next door neighbors. Kam and Steve are a huge blessing in our lives. I'm thankful that they are great neighbors as well as great friends. I'm thankful that we live next to what I would call "high-quality people." Integrity, sense of humor, wholesome, spiritual, logical, and the kind of people you just feel safe around. I'm thankful that they are always there for a helping hand, a laugh, company when my husband is out of town, for near-daily stroller walks with Kam, for their little girl Ruthie and how Ryan and I can chuckle together hours later over a "Remember when Ruthie did _____?" I'm really thankful to live next door to these people.
15. The gospel. I'm thankful for the knowledge it gives me and the light it sheds on my understanding of everything.
16. Breastfeeding. I'm thankful for it on so many levels.
17. Cloth diapering. I'm thankful that it's allowed us to save money, avoid adding to landfills, keep our baby away from chemicals, and avoid blow-outs and diaper rash. And that they make Ethan's bum look so cute. :-)
18. The temple. I'm thankful for the little bit of Heaven it adds to my life here on Earth.
19. That I get to be the beneficiary of Ethan's smiles, laughs, and loving glances.
20. Gospel Principles manual. It is chock full of doctrine, is easy to read, and is a great resource to answer so many questions and lay so much speculation to rest.
22. Midwives, particularly the one who delivered Ethan, and her presence of mind at the end of delivery when a dangerous situation presented itself. I'm thankful that with the help of a nurse and Ryan, she and I together were able to bring Ethan safely into the world.
23. Good music and the talented musicians who create it.
24. Childbirth and what it taught me about the Atonement.
25. The Internet. How did anyone raise a child without it? I'm thankful that I can research anything and everything. I'm thankful for the Internet for teaching me how to cloth diaper, how to make baby food, activities I can do with my baby to encourage his development, and more. Thank you Internet for helping me be a better parent.
26. That families can be together forever.