A Year of Thanks

1 post a day for 365 days showing gratitude

happy halloween October 31, 2010

Filed under: family fun — courtsbrogno @ 9:28 pm

Maddie was a flamingo


Luke was a gnome


Together they were



It was great fun watching Luke trick or teat for the first time all by himself

Walking down the street, running toward each house


Going up to each house to get a treat



Until we reached a scary house and he started to cry and refused to go on

(true, it was not actually that scary)

I’m thankful for Halloween, a night when people open up their houses to smile and give kids free candy, a night when most everyone makes small talk while passing through groups of kids, a night when all that is terrible and scary is celebrated.

I’m thankful for my friend Kathey who hosted a seriously fun party and made the best chili I’ve ever had.

I’m thankful Luke and Maddie had such a good and fun night.




cut, dyed, and clean October 30, 2010

Filed under: noticing sweetness — courtsbrogno @ 8:45 pm

I am so thankful I got in to see my stylist and get my hair cut and dyed. I’m further thankful those little gray hairs that keep popping up are hidden (for now)

I’m also thankful that my house is clean. I even washed my couch covers (Can you tell I’m procrastinating from grading?).

It feels so good to have a clean house and good hair. I just feel bad I’m not having a party to show off my sparkling house (though I guess that would mean recleaning tomorrow…not fun) or my styling new locks (especially since at a meeting this morning a colleague pointed out my little gray hairs. The nerve.) .


shaking off friday October 29, 2010

Filed under: adult fun,friends — courtsbrogno @ 10:11 pm

Today was supposed to be an amazing day. One because, like all Fridays, I only work for 3 hours, but more importantly, because I had a therapy appointment and a hair appointment.

But then my stylist called and canceled because she was sick and then my therapist forgot about our appointment and scheduled someone else (a total miscommunication…not really his fault) and I thought, “Well, damn. Now what am I going to do?”

So I called my friend Mike and we went to dinner.

We had a wonderful dinner talking and catching up, and so my Friday night did not go to waste at all.

So even though my roots still need to be colored, I’m thankful for the way my Friday night ended: with a good friend and a good meal.


winning pumpkin October 28, 2010

Filed under: family fun — courtsbrogno @ 9:54 pm

Maddie ran her last cross-country meet this afternoon, and it was the first time I’ve been able to attend since her very first race. Since the race was actually held at the community college where I teach, I was able to let my students out of class 1/2 hour early and get there just in time to see her start…

…and come in 3rd place!!! Maddie ran a very hilly mile in 7.51 minutes. What a way for her to end her season. She got to stand on the platform with the other winners and she even received a certificate! I was so proud.

Even better, her coach told me that Maddie is a born runner and has improved so much this season, especially in her times,  that this may be her most natural talent. Having never been athletic as a child and always feeling like I missed out on what could have been some great experiences IF I had only tried out for a sport, I’m feeling super grateful that Maddie may have found something she enjoys and is talented at.

To celebrate, we bought some pumpkins and had a carving party in our kitchen (If you can call Luke, Maddie, and I a party.). I was going to forgo carving pumpkins this year because, well, I hate it. It’s messy and I always burn the seeds, and pumpkins get moldy and gross way too quickly. And to be honest, Halloween is my least favorite holiday. I mean, I enjoy celebrating Rosh Hashanah with my sister and brother-in-law (who is, actually, Jewish) more than I enjoy dressing up and walking house to house. Plus, we’ve been so busy these past few weeks that Maddie didn’t even notice that we had not carved pumpkins yet.

Until today, on the way home from the meet, when she asked when we were planning on carving pumpkins.

“Right now,” I said, “In celebration of your awesome performance.” This was a brilliant lie mainly because it looked like I had this all planned and was an amazing mother, when in fact, I was now dreading the rest of the night.

So we bought pumpkins and set up for the mess:

And surprisingly, I had a great time. We all did. Yes, it was messy, but I didn’t burn any of the seeds and Maddie’s suggestion of sprinkling sugar and cinnamon on the seeds while they baked was an excellent and delicious idea.

Furthermore, Luke had a blast pulling out all the goop and seeds and using a marker to draw where he wanted the eyes, nose, and mouth to go. Maddie helped him a bit and I carved his pumpkin, but it came out looking pretty good. And Maddie used a stencil for half her pumpkin and then free drew the rest, which proved to be way more fun than just copying from someone else’s design.

(Maddie’s is on the left; Luke’s on the right)

I’m really thankful we carved pumpkins tonight. We all had so much fun. Between the race and the carving, I feel like I’ve had quite the excellent day.


our awesome morning routine October 27, 2010

Filed under: family fun — courtsbrogno @ 6:41 pm

Maddie asked to use my phone this morning to record our morning drive. She thought showing me visual evidence of what we–as a family–do every morning when we take her to school would embarrass me so much that I would end our routine.

Her plan backfired because now, I believe, we have visual evidence of just how RAD and AWESOME our morning routine is. She is not pleased. At all.

I’m not changing a thing. I’m thankful for our morning drive to school. She’ll remember these mornings, I’m sure. And she’ll remember them fondly.


funny and true: academia explored October 26, 2010

Filed under: work — courtsbrogno @ 4:25 pm

I’m so thankful a colleague shared this with me.

Watch it and laugh (and cry) with me.


a comic i can believe in October 25, 2010

Filed under: books and reading — courtsbrogno @ 8:52 pm

I was never into comics as a kid. They were just so, well, full of boy stuff: super heroes, villains, fighting, weapons. Not my cup of tea.

And while, yes, of course, I enjoyed Maus, I wouldn’t call that a real comic. I mean, it’s a comic, but not one that Marvel would put in their repertoire.

Today, though, I found a comic I can believe in: Marvel’s Pride and Prejudice series.

I’m thankful my friend Jessica ran these sweet gems over to me today because I cannot wait to start reading. After a brief glance at their content, they seem to hold pretty true to the actual story.

But they have awesome covers with subject headings like:

“ARMY BOYS: 34 Reasons we Love them (Other than the Uniforms)”

“Bingleys Bring BLING to Britain”

“How to Cure your Boy-Crazy Sisters”

“Spring’s Randiest Ribbons!”

“Peas and Prayer in the Garden with Mr. Collins”

I mean, I’m dying with happiness. Total Glee. Total Mr. Darcy heaven.

I used to make fun of boys who read comics, but now I totally get it. I just needed the right comic genre to understand why boys hovered over comics.

Move over Batman and X-Men and Spider-man and The Incredible Hulk. I think Mr. Darcy has you all beat!