Thursday, November 18, 2010


With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I thought it was a about time to do a blog entry about the things for which I am most thankful. I have blogger friends and Facebook friends who began on November 1st and are writing about one thing they are thankful for each day. Unfortunately, I do not have the discipline (or the attention span) to do that. I love reading my friends' comments though and they have inspired me to think a little deeper and tap into the gratitude I feel on a daily basis, but do not always express.

I am going to start by saying that my loving family (including my extended family in Kentucky), adoring children, and devoted partner are a given. Obviously, I am most thankful for them. They have shaped me and formed me and radically changed my life with their love. I feel gratitude for them every single day of my life. Therefore, I am going to forgo the obvious and focus on the smaller, more obscure things that I am thankful for. The things I tend to overlook and not think about every single day.

1. I am thankful for texting. I have to admit that I am not a big texter. I rarely text. My cell phone does not have a QWERTY keyboard and, frankly, I don't really have the dexterity to master texting on any level at all. I wouldn't call myself even remotely proficient. However, I have found that texting is an ingenious way to keep up with my brother, living 700 miles away in Kentucky. We don't always have the time to pick up the phone and call, and he is not the most prolific conversationalist anyway. But I will occasionally text him a quick "I love you" or "I am thinking about you." It takes all of two second (okay...longer for me since I repeatedly mistype words and the raging grammatical beast inside me compels me to delete and retype over and over until my text is grammatically correct. Yes, I realize this defeats the purpose of texting...but such is the nature of the beast.).

2. I am thankful for my recent discovery of ganache. "Ganache" is simply a fancy word for chocolate melted with heavy cream and a bit of butter. It is divinity incarnate. You can pour it over cakes to create a delicious glossy sheen. You can whip it and create a lighter-flavored, thicker filling to put between cake layers. It is versatile and luscious and, arguably, one of humankind's greatest creations.

3. I am thankful for Sudoku. Some days, these challenging puzzles are the only thing capable of calming my mind enough to go to sleep at night. My nightstand is littered with halfway completed puzzle books. I do at least one Sudoku puzzle every night in bed before turning my lamp off.

4. I am thankful that my daughter finally will allow me to "do" her hair. Prior to a few short months ago, Sophie refused to wear anything in her hair. No pony tails. No ribbons. No bows. Her straight, stringy, dishwater blonde hair simply hung in her eyes all of the time. However, she recently has suddenly become in touch with her feminine side and wants me to fix her hair every day. I admit to being quite out of practice, since it's been a very long time since I spent my days braiding my dolls' hair. But I am getting better. And it makes me happy.

5. I am thankful for breakfast cereal. It isn't just for breakfast anymore! There are evenings when a bowl of cereal is all I can muster the energy to feed my children for dinner. Yes, they are sugar-laden and full of dyes and artificial flavors. However, they are also vitamin-fortified and I can pacify myself by saying that they are getting Vitamin D from the milk. Right? It's healthy? Captain Crunch is okay....right?

6. I am thankful for Diet Pepsi. That nectar of the gods that keeps me functional.

7. I am thankful for free babysitting. This is really the same as saying that I am thankful for my mom and my sister, Jennifer. They are included in the generic "thankful for my family" above. However, I am specifically and most heartily grateful for their willingness to watch my children free of charge. If I had to find and pay a babysitter to watch my three energetic children, I am afraid I would never have the opportunity to leave my house.

8. I am thankful for my Southern roots. There is a special bond between people raised in the south. It's a certain feeling. A certain smell and taste. Only people from a specific geographical area can appreciate gravy and biscuits. Chicken and dumplins'. Sweet tea. Fried cornbread. Fried everything. Air so thick with humidity that you can barely breath it in. That sensation of sweaty skin sticking to hot leather car seats. And the distinct sound of that same skin being pried from those same seats. Church picnics and barbecue cooked in pits. The South is front porches and fireflies (or lightnin' bugs, as we call them). The South is "yes, ma'am" and "ya'll." It is brilliant yellow azalea bushes and bright white dogwood blooms. It is everything I am. And I am thankful for it.

9. I am thankful for my new, much more enlightened and progressive, home state of Minnesota. I may not always understand its tight-lipped, infinitely hearty, reticent, predominantly Lutheran and Norwegian inhabitants, but I have developed a great affection for them. I have learned to say "you betcha." I have learned to call soda "pop" and parking garages "ramps." I can navigate a skyway system with ease. I have become acclimated to mosquitoes the size of small birds. I no longer scream like a little girl when I see them. I have learned the fine art of "layering" in the winter, so as not to look like the Michelin man. I am not yet a true Minnesotan, however, as I still use spices beyond salt and pepper in my cooking. But I am making progress.

10. I am thankful that every single creature in my house, from Ruanita all the way down to the cat, are potty trained. I will be eternally more thankful when everyone can wipe their own butts, but I will settle right now for the poop hitting the toilet instead of their pants.'s the small things that make life joyous.

11. I am thankful for Lucas' second grade teacher, Mrs. Almen. She is an amazing teacher who seems to possess a deep, heartfelt love of teaching. She is one of those rare people who have absolutely found their calling in life. She seem to "get" Lucas in a way that I never thought anyone would, short of Ruanita and I. If he is going to struggle with reading and writing, I think he is in the absolute best classroom he could possibly be in, and I feel like we have a true ally in Mrs. Almen.

12. I am thankful for the smell of coffee. Yes, I love to drink coffee. However, I honestly think I love to smell it even more. There is nothing more instantly relaxing that the aroma of coffee brewing. As a matter of fact, I should use that as a budgetary tool. I should simply walk into Caribou Coffee and sniff the air. The payout would probably be pretty close to the same as drinking the $4.29 cup of coffee I typically purchase. And it would save me money!

13. I am thankful for the Lost and Found at Lucas' school. In the past week, we have lost (and subsequently found) two lunch boxes, three water bottles, and a glove. And yesterday, he came home from school without his tennis shoes! (Those of my readers in Kentucky may wonder how he managed that, but remember that we live in Minnesota. Kids wear their snow boots to and from school and carry their tennis shoes in their backpacks.)

14. I am thankful for bowties. This may sound odd since I have never worn a bowtie before in my life (unless you count the little necktie thingy I wore in my younger days as a hostess at The Sizzler). Let me explain. This year, for our Christmas pictures, I got the bright idea to put my boys in sweater vests and bowties (don't'll all see the pictures as we get closer to Christmas). Yes, geeky, I know. They protested immensely. However, they looked so freaking adorable I couldn't help myself. Lucas, in all of his skinny gangly glory, looked just like a young Orville Redenbacher. I have the pictures as my wallpaper on my computer at work. Every time I see them, I smile.

15. I am thankful for old-school Holiday specials on television. As I type this, I am sitting here watching the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special with my kids. The exact same one I watched as a kid. In a few short weeks, we will watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas. We will watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. We will watch Frosty the Snowman. And we will watch that most revered and endearing of all holiday absolute favorite...A Christmas Story.


Jessica said...

OOH, free babysitting! I wanted to make that one of mine too, but I couldn't figure out a photo for it. Like the Southern Roots one too. :) Great list, it was fun to read.

I'm Michelle, Mom, Mi, Meesh, Slacker, Fun Size said...

I have to respectfully disagree with the Southern roots, part...well, at least some of it...I have NO Southern roots, I am a born and bred NHite, but my heart lies in the South and I appreciate (and truly miss when I'm not there) all the things you mentioned with the exception of "fried everything". It is beyond me why a perfectly good strawberry is deemed "better" when fried.

Shannon Ralph said...

Michelle--I have never heard of a fried strawberry in my life. I agree, that's weird. :)

I'm Michelle, Mom, Mi, Meesh, Slacker, Fun Size said...

Shannon that was a "dessert" that was served to me in Vicksburg, MS...I truly couldn't believe it.
P.S. Your kids are just too cute!

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