19 good things

19 good things

It’s my birthday! I always enjoy using this date as a time to reflect on the good things in life. Every year is different, but there is always room for gratitude and noticing the good.

39 felt like a too-long list, so I stopped at 19. Here are 19 good things happening in my life as I turn 39:

1 / Our new front porch bench. This was something that I wanted for purely aesthetic reasons. Our front porch just looked so bare and I thought a bench would help. I asked my dad to make me a bench and sent him links to a couple building plans. He came through and it is just the best thing. It really does help our front porch to look so much homier. But, more than that, it has made our front porch more of a gathering place. We’ve already ate lunch on the bench several times, it is a great place for me to sit while the kids play in the driveway and yard and the kids are now more likely to carry their toys out to the porch to play.

2 / Front porch dates. Last summer, we started having “dates” on our front porch after the kids were in bed. It was so, so nice. We would just sit and talk or sometimes read our books, side by side. It should be warm enough to revive this tradition in the next few weeks. Can’t wait!

3 / 5 minute pick up. The kids usually have screen time after lunch. Last summer, we instituted the “5 minute pickup” to get the house clean(er) before screen time began. We set a timer and get as much done as we can. It is amazing what can be accomplished in such a short amount of time - and also amazing what kids are willing to do to earn screen time. This has become such a normal thing, that they don’t even complain anymore. Win!

4 / Daylio. I’ve already said a lot about this. It is a good thing in my life, right now.

5 / Bible Study. I was invited to a small group Bible Study at the beginning of 2018. I turned it down, thinking I was pretty well set on the friend front. But then my friend Leslie wouldn’t take no for an answer. And thank goodness. These women just make my day, every time I get to see them. I want to grow old doing life by their sides.

6 / Crossword puzzles. Getting back into the habit of doing the crossword puzzle in the daily newspaper was on my 40 before 40 list. It has happened and it makes me so happy. I love this little mental challenge each morning.

7 / Honoring my desires / thoughts to help. My natural tendency is to not follow through with ideas I have to show kindness or generosity toward others. I’ve been working to change this and it feels great.

8 / Jobs instead of corner time. We’ve been slowly shifting from “time outs” in the corner to just giving the kids jobs to do around the house as a sort of penalty for their misbehavior. This is still pretty new, but it seems equally effective - and at least some small task is taken off my plate each time.

9 / Kids who I can kind of / almost trust outdoors by themselves. Also screen doors and time outside in general. Thank heaven for spring. And for kids that aren’t babies.

10 / Brian taking the kids out to the trampoline after dinner. I love the bit of solitude and don’t mind doing dishes or picking up the house to the sound of their giggling out on the trampoline.

11 / Sports with Sam. We have always been a not-so-interested-in-sports kind of family. But that has changed drastically in the last year. Sam is all-in and we have all followed him (although not quite so enthusiastically) down the rabbit hole. His enthusiasm is hard to ignore and it is pretty fun to watch with him or talk about stats with him - he knows them all!

12 / Savings goals. This wouldn’t be a brooke post without some mention of saving money. The house remodeling fund is particularly motivating to me, at the moment. I can pretty easily say “no” to things when I think of my desire for the wall to come down between the kitchen and the living room and the promise of new flooring!

13 / Book writing. I am proud of myself for going for it. Even though I am currently at a stand still, I have faith that it will come to be. And, I have found the entire process to be enlightening and intriguing.

14 / Dates with Brian. Monthly dates were another item from my 40 before 40 list. We made it out in January, March and April. And had a date planned for February, but were snowed-in by a blizzard. It’s funny, but just having this little bit of time together makes life so much better.

15 / Our house. I grew up moving every few years - not long distances, but just house to house. I still get the itch to move pretty regularly. Thankfully, Zillow has helped me to see what a great place we have right here. I always start looking with big hopes and then realize that nothing in our price range lives up to my dreams more than the house we already call home.

16 / The Enneagram. I am just so incredibly intrigued with the Enneagram. It has helped me to see both my strengths and weaknesses. It has helped me to see where and why I have difficulties in some of my relationships and how I can work to bolster them. Good stuff.

17 / Upcoming sister time. I get to visit my sister, tomorrow! It is her birthday today, too. So we get to celebrate our birthdays together, just a day late. And I have a new nephew to meet and give my love. Woohoo!

18 / Camping. Last summer we were newbies. And, even as newbies, it was pretty great. I am very much looking forward to camping trips, this summer!

19 / Boys into things I’m into. So many of my parenting dreams have come true in the last year. Sam went through a big world geography phase and we got to put together continent puzzles day and night. Eli is currently into UNO and Sam likes SkipBo. We play. A lot. Sam is reading more and more on his own, but is also willing to still snuggle up for a listen. Eli likes the Little House books - and, really, pretty much anything I will read to him. Sam has just recently started to enjoy drawing. And he writes books! It turns out parenting isn’t so hard, when I get to spend time with the kids doing things I love to do even on my own. I’ve been searching for synergy and I think I’ve found it here!

I think it’s going to be a good, good year and (for now), I’m not feeling even a twinge of concern about turning 40 in a year.

everyday update - first quarter by the numbers

everyday update - first quarter by the numbers