A Year of Thanks

1 post a day for 365 days showing gratitude

New years December 31, 2010

Filed under: adult fun — courtsbrogno @ 11:41 pm


I’m thankful I’m out for new years!


(Just to clarify…I did post this at 11:49 last night from my phone, but it only posted as a draft. So I made my daily post!)


I attract mountain lions. Not men. December 30, 2010

Filed under: family fun — courtsbrogno @ 7:26 pm

Another day off and another awesome hike.

My friends Melanie and Megan joined us with their kids for a 3.2 mile, relatively easy hike. Combined we had 8 kids–and Maddie was the only girl! But she still had fun. And we did as well.

Our crew:

The gorgeous hike:



I love hiking with my kids and my friends and my friends’ kids. I’m so thankful I have friends who like to get out and hike for a bit. I’m thankful that with 8 kids, NOT one complained.  I’m thankful I live in such an amazing place when on our hike, due to all the rain, tiny little steams formed everywhere. It was stunning.

Then after out hike, we all sat around and ate lunch on the curb when Maddie pointed out to the field and exclaimed, “Mom! A mountain lion.” To which I said, “It’s just a cat.”

I should know by now to trust Maddie’s instincts when it comes to animal identification, because sure enough, as it walked a bit closer, we saw that indeed it was a baby (well, maybe a toddler) mountain lion (this was also confirmed by the local postman who also saw it). It was far enough away (and small enough) that we were in no danger, and it was pretty cool to watch it walk around. I even took a picture ( you can see it better if you click on the picture, making it bigger):

Maddie said, “Mom. It’s you.  You attract mountain lions.”

Which brings me to my therapist appointment this afternoon. My therapist immediately asked if I had asked out a man.

Unlike most of my educational career, I FAILED (completely) at this assignment.

So I told my therapist, “I don’t attract men. But I do attract mountain lions.”

He was so confused.


friends like this December 29, 2010

Filed under: friends — courtsbrogno @ 11:18 pm

I’m a pretty low maintenance friend. This is both good and bad.

It’s good because even if I don’t see you for a few years, I’ll be happy to pick up where we left off, as if no time has passed. I don’t think I’m needy. I don’t call all the time with my problems. I won’t ask for advice every week. If you’re my friend, I will love, honor, and respect you and our friendship.You can sleep on my couch, eat my food, wear my clothes, and (gasp) even borrow my books anytime. Hell, I’ll make you a key to my house: drop by anytime, even if I’m not there. I swear show up on my door step and I’ll give you my world.

But, I also won’t return your phone calls very often (and as a matter of fact, I hate the phone, so we probably won’t talk often at all); I probably won’t make it to most of your events; I may forget your kids birthdays (and sometimes even yours); I may get back to that facebook message you left me but only after three weeks have gone by; and all in all, I’m pretty busy and so I get kind of wrapped up in my own life and am not a good friend at all.

It makes perfect sense that I seek out and retain friends who are a lot like me: low maintenance and okay with dropping in every so often while still loving the shit out of our friendship and each other.

So I think I’ve made some new friends. I met Denise and her husband Todd a few weeks ago at a kid’s party, and I just really liked them both and I had that feeling of I want to be your friend. They seemed super chill and down to earth, but the real test was tonight when I had them over for dinner. And I’m happy to say that I think we will be good friends. Low maintenance friends. Friends who I’d love to cook for and hang out with. Friends who don’t judge and are just comfortable to be around. I’m pretty thankful that I’ve made some new friends.

On the other side of the spectrum is my friend Jenn, who also came by tonight. We shared a bottle of wine, cried a little, and laughed a lot. Jenn’s the friend that is super low maintenance but also calls me when she’s in town and keeps our friendship connected. She’s the joiner–the one who brings everyone together. She’s also the healer–giving and giving when needed. And she’s smart and funny and she doesn’t mind if I don’t call or keep in touch all the time. I am so thankful for her. She’s truly an amazing old  friend and I’m truly grateful she’s my friend.

It’s friends like these that make my laugh lines deepen and my heart break wide open.



just us December 28, 2010

Filed under: family fun — courtsbrogno @ 11:39 pm

I woke up this morning and announced that I had an adventure planned for the day.

“Just us?” Maddie asked.

“Yup. Just us, ” I said.

Maddie was visibly disappointed. She wanted friends to join us on an adventure. She wanted more than just Luke and I. Perhaps because she’s around us all day, everyday she has become bored.

Still it was just us.

So we got in the car and drove north for almost an hour.

To see the elephant seals:

Then after spending some time with the seals, as we were driving south, I spied a little trail, so I pulled over and we took a short hike down to the ocean so the kids could play.

Finally we went to lunch at Maddie’s favorite fish and chips joint.

Oh, it was a good day. It was a great outing. I’m thankful. I think Maddie’s even okay with it being “just us.”

I only have a few more days of vacation so I think we’ll have to have to squeeze in some more adventures.


breaking the law December 27, 2010

Filed under: family fun,food — courtsbrogno @ 8:18 pm

WordPress is having some serious technical problems, so I’ll have to check back tomorrow and post what happened then, but till tomorrow….i’m thankful for breaking the law.

UPDATE: Well, now that word press is back to normal, let me continue.

I’m not usually a law-breaker. Being raised in a strict household with a sheriff as a father led me to believe that rules exist to be followed.

But every once in a while, you just gotta break the rules.

Like today, when I had planned a pretty easy hike with the kids and my friend Melanie and her kids and yet there was a foreboding sign at the trail entrance:

Usually the parking lot for this hike is also packed, but because of the closure, it was empty. My friend Megan who was meeting us as well got to the entrance before me and left because it was closed. But I thought it couldn’t be that bad. It  was only closed due to the rain and it hadn’t rained in a few days and it’s not like it had been closed due to wild and dangerous animal sightings. Luckily, my friend Melanie agreed. So off we went.

It’s kind of nice hiking on a trail with four kids and no one around. It makes stopping and meandering much more enjoyable.



I’ve never seen the creek so full:

And yes, the weather conditions were wet, and it was really muddy. But the kids loved trekking through the mud and getting dirty. I’m thankful for breaking the law a little bit today. It made for a good hike.



P.S. This has nothing to do with breaking the law, but I’m also thankful for a nice dinner with Maddie. Luke was with his dad, I was tired of cooking, and we were itching to get out So we went down to our local noodle shop and had dinner.



keeping it simple December 26, 2010

Filed under: family fun — courtsbrogno @ 6:02 pm

We kept it simple around here today: met some  friends and made some new friends at breakfast this morning; cleaned the house a bit; had family over for a late lunch (if you want leftovers, I have tons!); played with the kids; watched my dad come over in a great mood cause the Green Bay Packers won; cleaned the house up again; took a hot shower; and now relaxing with the kids on the couch.

It was a great day, even if it was not a very mellow day, and I’m thankful for that.


Christmas peace December 25, 2010

Filed under: family fun,self-discovery — courtsbrogno @ 7:47 pm


Of course, Christmas morning is always the best part of the day. Luke and Maddie were practically radiating happiness while opening their gifts.

(Santa’s gifts: right before the kids woke up)


(Luke’s utter shock and surprise at walking out and having a new bike in the house)


(Luke loving his new bike…even though it was red and not blue. Santa made a mistake and ordered the wrong one. Oops.)


(Despite my threats that Maddie would not get a Santa gift because of her rude letter, Santa was feeling kind and gifted Maddie as well this year)


(Luke on his new bike)


(And after one lap around the block on his new bike, what did Luke want? His old bike…well, actually, his balance bike…the one that he got for his second birthday, the one he never, ever wants to ride.)


I’m so thankful that my kids enjoyed their gifts, that my family came over to eat and be merry, and that I am financially able to give my kids a great Christmas.

But I’ve also been thinking about peace lately and how to achieve peace, both in my life and the world.

From Luke 2:1-14:

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.


This is one of my favorite biblical passages, partly because it’s all about Christmas but more so because it praises God, a God who wants peace on earth and good will toward men. And I really don’t care whether you believe that Jesus is the son of God or not or really whether you even believe in a God because when it comes down to it, I think all of us (well, all except the total loonies) want peace on earth. While some would argue that Congress passing the new START treaty is a start, I think differently. How about no nuclear weapons at all? How about no wars? How about no genocide?

This seems like a good goal. This seems like a world I want my children and grandchildren to inhabit.

But, I also believe a world like this is impossible. Because as much as I want peace and harmony and good will toward men in the world, let me just outright admit that I don’t have that in my own life. And no one else I know does either.

Don’t get me wrong, I think I’m a good person. But I make hasty judgments and laugh at other’s expenses and participate in gossip and lose my temper and try to get my way and, well, the list could continue for a long time. I bet I’m not alone. I mean, I have this favorite yoga teacher and every time he starts class he always says, “Leave your ego at the door,” meaning it doesn’t matter how good or bad you are and that the yoga studio is a place of non-judgment. But then, I always find myself staring at some amazing yoga girl and wishing I could have her strength or her body and then I’ll look over at some other person and gloat on the inside because I’m more flexible than that person. Quite frankly, I don’t think I’ve ever left my ego outside the door. I don’t even know if it’s possible.

I like to tell myself that this is human nature and (as I’ve been taught by Christians all around me), I am not meant to be perfect or totally good all the time. That’s why Jesus was born–to die for all our sins.

I’m not totally sold on the Jesus story, though I do believe in God, but I’m also not completely sold on the idea that to be mean and hurtful is human nature. However, I don’t know how exactly to be more peaceful. I think that would make me the boring girl. Every fun, interesting, awesomly amazing person I know is that way because he/she talks shit all the time. That’s what makes he/she so funny! Even the blogs I’m drawn to are hilarious in that the blogger is usually talking shit all the time.

This is a dilemma: while I do strive to be more like Jesus (or at least every once in a while think: what would Jesus do?) or Mother Theresa, I also don’t think Mother Theresa nor Jesus would have been much fun at a cocktail party.

But again, the dilemma. Because I sprout world peace and then don’t practice it myself. If I can’t achieve peace in my life on a daily basis, how can I expect countries to? Or the world?

I can’t expect it. And I’m not sure how to manage it myself. If only life could be as easy as a song lyric: Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.

But seeing how today is celebrated as the birth of Christ and John Lennon wrote a really great song that’s been playing in my head all day, I think I’ll try my hardest to bring more peace in my own life, especially in my own demeanor.

And if I’m not the most fun girl at the party, I can live with that. I’ve never been anyway.