Oh, thanksgiving.

My most favorite holiday of the year.  Not (entirely) because of the food, but more so because of what the day means.  It’s a day where we worry about no presents, nor receiving anything… instead, it’s a day to remind ourselves why we should be so incredibly thankful for so many great things in our life.  And not that we shouldn’t do this every day because, we should.  But sometimes, sometimes we all need that one day… a day without phones, work, email, facebook, etc… to slow ourselves down… look around and see all the little things we should be thankful for.  And since I will be taking several days off over this Thanksgiving break, I’m taking a bit of time to share the little things in my life I am thankful for.  {images courtesy of one incredible trip to mexico my parents took all of us on this past summer}

So what makes me smile and feel thankful….

* My family…the whole big bunch of them… my parents, three siblings (and their significant others), my Mama and Papa (my mom’s parents) and my Poppy (my dad’s dad).  And they all jumped on the opportunity kindly obliged to bring one outfit (with very specific requirements) for a more planned photo opp on one of our many gorgeous evenings on the beach.

* My family.  If you asked me what I wanted to be when I was growing up, I may have told you a pediatrician or a journalist but always, always what I wanted to do first was be a mom.  And every day, I feel so blessed that not only do I have a husband that loves me for who I am but that we have two healthy, gorgeous, sweet, perfect little ones by our side.

And oh my, do I love these little ones.  I can’t put Jacob in school five days a week because I don’t want him away from me that much yet.  And while yes, some days they may make me a little crazy, a quick outing, a stroll outside for some fresh air, a playdate or a rest can quickly regroup us.  Because there is not one thing I would change about my life with these two very incredible people.

* My Jacob.  He amazes me more and more each day… that huge smile, his desire to learn about everything and anything around him and his ability to share his momma with his baby sister.

* My sweet Audrey Rose.  She’s now toddling all over the place, saying Momma, Dadda, Ellie, Jacob, Yaya, Duck, Love you and my new favorite… Cheeese when I happen to stick a camera in her face.  She kisses and hugs and doesn’t get too mad when her brother steals her toys.

* Rest time.  {see here} 🙂

* My Philip.  Back in February of 2010, he didn’t call me crazy for wanting to go buy a big fancy camera because I thought I wanted to take better pictures.  And in April of 2010, he didn’t laugh at me when I told him I was going to design a website and be a photographer… he believes in me, makes me laugh and loves our little ones (and me) more than ever… And more?  He doesn’t (always) care if there is not always home-cooked meals on the table when he comes home, a clean house, folded laundry…. should I go on?

* My parents.  During our transition time between our two houses, we moved in with my parents for what we thought would be a few months… A few months turned into a few more months and a fifteen months later, we finally moved out.  Some may cringe at the thought of living with their parents (at this age) for that long but it was an amazing time in our life… We were there to bring Audrey Rose home from the hospital, celebrate the holidays, watch Jacob turn three, and see Audrey Rose take her first steps (actually.. my dad told me we couldn’t move out until she did take her first steps in their house).  We had family dinners several times a week, collectively poked fun at my momma on her hurricane “cleaning” days and enjoyed the time we had under one roof…. My sister and I used to always joke about how we would all love to move back home and well…. I was just lucky enough to actually be able to do it for a short period of time.  And while we are yes, so fortunate to be in our new home that we love, I so miss our times living there… waiting for Jacob to pop out of bed and ask if he can help YaYa make her tea, watch my dad swing Audrey Rose on his hip and tote her around the house, Sheridan trips 🙂 and more…. It’s not a lie when I tell you I cried (several times) when we spent our final nights “living” in their home (even though, yes, we are now just 11 minutes away).  And while we so quickly fall into our new routines, I will never forget our year spent at Yaya and Pops house…

* My dad.  What does a year of retirement look like?  Pretty darn good.  I’ve always admired my dad for his dedication to his business to support his family, his hard work, his desire to go after anything he wanted and do it well… Over this past year, I’ve seen him in an entirely new light.  And it’s not that he wasn’t a great father (because let me tell you, he was the best of the best), but I don’t think I know a Pops around here that loves his three grandchildren like he does…

* And my momma.  And if we are talking about the best of the best, my mom is one of them.  She is above and beyond the most selfless person I have ever met… willing to do absolutely anything and everything for her children and her grandchildren.  I am the mother I am today because of her (not that she really wants to take credit for my cooking and cleaning skills 🙂 … but I tell her some things you have to grow into a little more than others…

* My siblings.  I have people ask me what my parents did while we were growing up to make the four of us so close… Family dinners?  Making us go around the table and say what we were thankful for every thanksgiving?  I can tell you it wasn’t always perfect (let’s see… you want proof?  Lindsay would steal my clothes constantly and one fight led to us throwing toothpaste in each other’s hair… I could actually pinch Jason so hard that I would leave blood marks…. and Justin, well…. we made him wear purple leotards)… But somehow, someway we grew up and have a bond I a more thankful than ever for…

And as for their significant others well… they aren’t too shabby.  In fact, if they fit anymore perfectly you would think something bigger than us out there created these people to be put in my sibling’s life (or is that how it happens)?  They get our family… take part in all of our jumping pictures, pyramids, and crazy family shenanigans and I look forward to growing old and raising babies with all of them 🙂

* Amy won us over with her singing and phenomenal guitar playing… and the fact that she puts up with a house full of people that love to sing (but might happen to have no ability to do so) is quite remarkable…

* Quick note on Jonny.  i.e. Audrey Rose’s favorite uncle.  She melts his heart, he brings her teddy bears and it’s the sweetest love ever.

* And Justin and Dana who will be the only ones not joining us in Thanksgiving this year (yes, Mom has already cried about it)… we look forward to seeing you all soon… inside and out, you both are the most beautiful couple 🙂

* My grandparents (Mama and Papa).  I believe that a family as large and as close as ours is only this way because of our elders.  From last minute pool parties and barbecues (Papa makes the best hot dogs) to the most delicious dinners (the little ones request Mama’s buttered noodles and even though we attempt to create the same exact thing… they know it is not the same)…. their house is a second home to all of us.  And more… I especially love my Mama and my Audrey Rose together (her first great-granddaughter among the other nine boys) perhaps because it is the exact same thing I had with my Grandma Rose.

* And Poppy.  It’s easy to see exactly why my dad is how he is after meeting Poppy.  He makes the craziest paper airplanes, throws the kids in his arms like he was fifty years younger and is probably one of the funniest people around.  I love hearing stories about my Nanny and particularly those moments when Poppy tells us how much Nanny would have just loved Jackson, Jacob and Audrey Rose.

And that’s it, my friends… So many reasons to be so thankful on this thanksgiving day and every day….

Have a wonderful thanksgiving with the people you love the most.

Love, Stephanie

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