A Year of Thanks

1 post a day for 365 days showing gratitude

turning over a new leaf September 30, 2010

Filed under: garden,kids — courtsbrogno @ 6:58 pm

Luke did not cry when I dropped him off at preschool today. This seemed like a small miracle. When I went to pick him up after almost 6 hours of him being there, he looked happy as could be, playing with the toys. The teacher told me that he only whimpered a little during nap time for “mama” (thankful he didn’t whimper for “auntie.”), but that he was happy the entirety of the day. This seemed like a large miracle.

It seems Luke has turned over a new leaf when it comes to going to school. I’m so thankful. I was so close to pulling him out and…well, I have no idea what was going to happen beyond pulling him out, but I’m  sure it would have included desperate measures to find  him a new stay-at-home babysitter, which would have cost much more money. But Luke’s happy, and I’m beyond thankful for that.

Since we were both in such a great mood when we came home, Luke and I tackled the garden. I’ve been meaning to pull out all the old vegetable plants, but with the heat, I didn’t feel like going outside to do anything let alone garden work.

And while I’m thankful it was a cool 84 degrees today, I’m actually thankful for that little heat wave. It seems that most of my vegetable plants were just waiting for some heat to help them out a little.

As we pulled out plants, we found vegetables waiting to be picked:

(So many eggplants, tomatoes, and even a small watermelon, a few hot peppers, and the absolute last of the cucumbers and green beans. I’m thankful for our unexpected vegetable surprise!)

I even decided to leave the tomato plants in because the weather report is calling for a few more days of 77-80 degree weather. I’m really hoping that these giants (and the others not pictured as well) will ripen some more:

I have four garden boxes and one we emptied out completely, letting the leaves from the plants stay to literally help turn over the soil:

The box looks so empty and sad and lifeless that I decided to grow a winter garden, something I’ve never done before. I’m not sure if it’s too late to start, but I’m heading to our local nursery this weekend to get some help, advice, and hopefully some little plants that will grow throughout the winter.


my sister is the WORST babysitter ever September 29, 2010

Filed under: family fun,kids — courtsbrogno @ 7:49 pm

My sister babysits Luke (and Maddie after school) Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week. Monday is a relatively easy day, Wednesday is a long day, and Friday is only for 3 hours.

When she has Luke and Maddie on these days, she makes it a point to have as much fun as possible with them. Today, for instance, she took Cate and Luke to the park, then to the library, then to run errands with her(but she made it fun by getting both kids ice cream). She then takes them home and feeds them an awesome lunch. Then she plays with them and reads to them after naps. When Luke is feeling sad or lonely, she cuddles him and soothes him.

When the kids are with my sister I never have to worry about a thing. I may call to see how things are going, but usually I don’t. I just know they are fine.

You may be wondering then what makes her the worst babysitter ever. Well, to be frank: she’s too good. Tonight when I picked up Luke and put him in the car, he cried for “auntie” the entire way home. When I tried to soothe him by saying, “No, baby. Mama’s here. Mama’s going to sleep with you and cuddle you tonight, ” Luke replied by saying, “No. Auntie.”

I got nervous. I asked, “Don’t you want to sleep with mama tonight?”

He said, “NO! Auntie.”

By the time we got home, he was all over me as usual, but this has gone too far. She’s clearly replacing me as Luke’s favorite. She has the luxury and time of playing with Luke and Maddie like I used to before I began work again.

And while I’m thankful for my sister and her devotion to my kids, I’m pretty pissed off and jealous that my kids are beginning to favor her over me.

Hmmmm….I may have to take some devious measures. I may have to mention to Luke and Maddie the money I pay my sister and instill the fact that she only does it for the money–that she doesn’t really like them. I may have to tell them all the mean things she did to me growing up. I may have to take a picture of her and Photoshop it so she looks like an evil witch that will then scare my kids.

Cause one things for sure: she loves my kids and I love her. But I’m not above smearing her name so I become Luke and Maddie’s only shining star.


indulgence September 28, 2010

Filed under: adult fun — courtsbrogno @ 8:24 pm

It’s been three years since I last went to a concert. The last concert I attended was when I was 5 months pregnant and I took Maddie and my friend Michelle to see Feist.

Since that concert I’ve seen no live music. None. Nada.

It’s quite sad.

But then today, I read an article about one of my favorite musicians, Stufjan Stevens. Even though I belong to his email subscription list, I haven’t read the emails in years. But the article discussed his upcoming new album and tour.

Tour? What? I mean where have I been?

I haven’t ever seen Sufjan Stevens. Ever. And this is partly because HE NEVER TOURS. Well, he rarely tours. Barely ever.

So, I went to his web page to see where he was going to be playing. Usually most of the dates are in Europe, so I didn’t get my hopes up.

But then I noticed that he was playing in Los Angeles in October.

I stopped and thought for a minute: Interesting, I’m going to be in L.A. in October.

Then I looked at the specific date.

This could not be happening. He’s playing the same weekend I’m in L.A. for a wedding. And randomly the wedding is on a Friday. The concert is Saturday.

This seemed like an omen sent from baby Jesus. I went to buy tickets.


But I was not to be deterred. After a quick internet search, I found tickets. And I bought them.

For A LOT of money. I indulged. I spent more money on two tickets than I ever have in the past. And I don’t even have someone to go with yet.

But no matter. I’m happy. I indulged. I love him. I love his music.

It’ll be worth every penny. I’m so thankful the tickets are being air mailed to me as I type.

For you absolute listening pleasure:


water me down September 27, 2010

Filed under: self-discovery — courtsbrogno @ 7:24 pm

I don’t like water. Never have. Nor do I really like soda. I do like coffee (usually even decaf).

What this means is that I normally only drink coffee and maybe some vitamin water or gatorade (ever once in a while) on a daily basis.

I’m amazed (and I’m quite serious about this) that I’m not:

a. constantly dehydrated.

b. suffering from kidney stones.

c. dead.

But today, man, it was 111 degrees, and I had to teach and walk all over campus all day. The students and I melted in the classrooms, which by the way, I guess when our university was built, air conditioning hadn’t been invented. Except that I’m teaching one of my classes in a brand new building! What’s up with that? Just another way to torture us, I’m sure.

Anyway, I was so hot all day, I drank both of these and even filled them up twice:

To my surprise, though perhaps I was suffering from heat stroke, I didn’t mind drinking the water at all. It wasn’t really refreshing, per se. But I didn’t gag from it either.

I could be turning over a new leaf here. I’m going to keep filling up these babies and see what happens.

And for that, I’m thankful.


beating the heat September 26, 2010

Filed under: books and reading,family fun — courtsbrogno @ 7:08 pm

Another 100 degree day. Another day of trying to beat the heat.

Which meant hiding for most of the day. In my room (the coolest room in the house). With no lights. In as little clothing as possible.

Watching videos and reading in bed:

Maddie read her first Nancy Drew novel, and she finished it this afternoon. A whole book in one day? From a girl who loves to watch TV? I’d almost be speechless if it had not been that it was a Nancy Drew book. Since these books were also my favorite novels when I was her age, I understand why she couldn’t stop reading. It was just that good.

I started last night and finished this afternoon a novel as well, The Book Thief.

If you have not read this book, get it. Now. As fast as possible. It was so good. It was so different. It was incredibly moving. I honestly sobbed at the end. Sobbed. Like Luke when I took away the ‘bobo’ for the first time.

But, back to the heat. So we hid in my room, and crept out to have lunch. The heat was such a killer, such an exhausting atmosphere to be in that, behold, Luke fell asleep in his high chair in the middle of lunch.

Finally, after Luke’s nap, we decided the beach was our only option left of escaping the heat

Off we headed with the dog in tow.

It was beautiful. And much cooler.

I love watching the kids roam and make discoveries.

And both kids playing so nicely together makes my heart swell.

To end the day we stayed at the beach and went out to eat. Loved the food, the conversation, and  not cleaning up any dishes in a hot kitchen.

By the time we got home, our house was still 89 degrees, but the outside temperature had dropped to about 75 degrees. It felt great to open all the windows and feel the cool breeze coming in.

Despite hiding in the house for most of the day, we had a fabulous time trying to beat the heat. I’m thankful for our lazy, hot Sunday.


the heat September 25, 2010

Filed under: kids — courtsbrogno @ 7:34 pm

It’s 88 degrees out right now and it’s almost 8p.m. All day the temperature hovered around 100 degrees.

I’m super thankful Maddie’s soccer game was at 4 p.m. and not noon or 2 p.m.

We still sweated, but at least we weren’t under the direct sun. And from what I heard from other soccer parents, the noon and 2p.m. games were brutal.


luke’s mama time September 24, 2010

Filed under: kids — courtsbrogno @ 9:51 pm

This week has been exceptionally hard on Luke. I have the absolute luxury of having 3 months off in the summer, and while the transition to me just going back to teach st the community college 7 weeks ago was difficult for Luke, this week, going back to teach at the university and adding 20 more hours away from him has been really difficult. He’s been attached to my hip, barely letting me out of his sight, even to go into the kitchen to make dinner. He’s had a particularly hard time in preschool, where the teacher told me  that Tuesday was a really difficult day for him and then Thursday, he cried harder than he has in the past when I took him to school and my sister said that when she and my mom went to pick Luke up, he was sitting at the table, eating lunch, and crying. Furthermore, the past few nights, he  woken up several times, crying, and screaming–yes, actually screaming– “mama.”

I cannot even describe how terrible this is making me feel.

Tonight was his night to spend with his dad, but I sent my ex an email, explaining what was going on and that I believed Luke needed some extra mama time and more reassurance than normal that “mama” is here, and that I would greatly appreciate me keeping Luke tonight to make him feel the security he obviously needs right now.

Thankfully my ex agreed to let Luke stay home with me.

Since I only teach from 9-noon on Fridays, we had a lot of time to cuddle, take a nap together, play, and spend the evening reading books.

As I look at Luke, asleep and snuggled so closely to me right now, I’m so thankful I for my extra mama time right now. Luke needed to be with me, and I certainly needed to have him close to me as well.