Wednesday, January 16, 2008

gratitude journal

Do you have a gratitude journal?

I don't, although I've always thought it was a great idea. Even though I don't write down five things every day, I do frequently take an inventory of things in my life for which I am grateful.

For instance.

I am extremely grateful that even though our triplets were born almost 2.5-months prematurely, at three-years-old, they are the picture of good health. They are happy, energetic and incredibly bright. When they are talking back to me, or climbing a bookshelf to reach fragile ceramics that I have perched high, I often stop myself before I get angry and give my thanks to God that they are not only alive, but that they can climb and aren't confined to wheelchairs and that they can talk back and aren't impaired with severe mental handicaps.

It is so easy to take for granted our health and the health of our children. The lengths that we took to get our babies in to our lives and home from the hospital is so often forgotten with the bustle of life and their sometimes less than desirable three-year-old behavior.

Yet once again, I was painfully reminded just how fortunate we are when this past weekend, I read the blog of a woman I met several years ago on an infertility parenting website. Patrice gave birth in October to boy/girl twins that were born 14 weeks prematurely, at 26 weeks gestation.

Her baby boy died three weeks later.

Her baby girl died this past Friday.

I am extremely grateful for my husband. He listens to me and genuinely wants to be a part of our children's lives. He has stalled his career to stay home and help raise our family, together, and he would happily pack up and move anywhere or anytime with me ... in the pursuit of adventure.

I am extremely grateful for my little baby, Henry. Whenever I can feel my buttons start to get crushed, I can almost always look down at his absolutely angelic face and see him smile, and everything ... I mean everything ... is immediately put in to perspective.

I am extremely grateful that the neighbor that lives behind us works for Subway and once a week she will bring me a trash bag full of left over sandwich rolls. Whenever we receive a bag full of bread, we take it down and spend an entire morning, or afternoon, feeding the ducks that live on a nearby lake.

I am extremely grateful that our gymnastics instructor recently asked if I thought it would be helpful to me, if she opened her gymnastics center up every Friday morning for two hours, so that the kids would have a place to come and have "free" play.

I am extremely grateful for my fellow triplet moms that I get together with once a week for play dates and for the strong friendships I am forging with each of these awesome women.

I am extremely grateful for all the people - except the one who thinks I'm a raving lunatic - that left me messages of support in response to my last post. And because of the occasional odd-ball remark I receive, I am extremely grateful for comment moderation.

I am extremely grateful for the 50+ e-mails that I received in addition to the over 100 comments (several of which were not posted because the commenter specifically asked that I not) and the telephone calls that poured in from friends and family around the globe.

I am extremely grateful that even though Christmas is over, Trader Joe's is still stocking peppermint Joe-Joe's. My mood has improved dramatically ever since I came to that realization this past week.

What else has helped me tremendously is constantly reminding myself, during the crunch times, that it's alright for the baby to cry for a few minutes while I'm trying to get a meal ready, or for the dog to bark before I have a free moment to give her a scoop of kibble. After careful evaluation, I have determined that those are two primary factors that set my blood pressure soaring.

Once I realized that, I have made strides to live intentionally and focus on one thing at a time.

It's really no wonder that the most stressful times of my day are breakfast, lunch and dinner. When I need to change diapers, feed children, prepare meals and clean up from meals and either get the children up for the day, down for a nap or down for the night.

All the hours in between, I do just fine.

I am working hard to take each moment as it comes and trying just as hard to not worry about what is coming next. Or next. Or next. Because this has to happen and then this, and then I can do this, and this. Don't forget about this. Or this.

So I am grateful for my renewed ability to take one moment at a time.

And I am grateful for Peppermint Joe-Joe's.

In case I didn't mention that already.


  1. I don't have a gratitude journal, but I keep thinking I should start one, lest it help lengthen my seemingly getting-shorter-by-the-day fuse.

    And I have to ask - what are Peppermint Joe-Joes?!

  2. I am grateful that you are my friend!

  3. Do you want me to get you a parking spot at YOUR Trader's too? I'm petitioning for a play area while we shop as well! :)

    Glad you are back in the saddle and you have your other MOM friends. Having those friends makes such an enormous difference in my life, that I KNOW how much it means to you.

    I'm doing a post about your video "Poop In The Potty" tomorrow. I'm not sure if it's working for you, but I cannot thank you more for that video. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. My carpeting thanks you.

    Glad you are feeling better. Now just take your vitamins and try and eat something besides cookies! You have to get your reserve up there for the crunch times!!!!!!!

  4. Fantastic post, I'm grateful that you're in a good mood and are making positive changes to help "de-stress". :-) I'm very sorry to hear about your friend who lost her babies, that is so tragic. :-(

    If you need any preschool songs to grab your children's attention when you can't get them to settle down, let me know! We have all kinds of little tricks for focusing 20 kindergarten kids at once - maybe using some "focus" songs on your trio would be a helpful tactic! Treat it a bit like preschool already! haha. :-)

    We don't have Joe Joe's in Canada. They look like Oreo's, are they similar?

  5. Oh the peppermint Joe-Joes. They are a godsend.

    Hubby and I made peppermint marshmallows and hot chocolate for Christmas and have made a few batches since. I've been hitting that stuff during the "witching hour" and it seems to make everything better (hey, it isn't like it is vodka or anything).

    I'm glad you made it through the storm that was the week before last. I can only imagine the strength it takes to make it through each day. My two are challenging at just 3 and 1.

    I wish you many happy "easy" days and lots of peppermint joe-joes.


  6. Jen, I just want to send you my thoughts.. I've been there in the breakdown with singletons..I can only imagine with trips. You do have a lot to be grateful for..but you also have a lot that what try the best of us. You are an amazing mom!

  7. How awesome. Just everything. :)

  8. Glad you are feeling better. I remember all to clearly the feeling of falling apart - you know, from this morning.

    So much loss in the world, I am so sorry your friend was victim.

  9. yeah, so the people that aren't moms know that "It's really no wonder that the most stressful times of my day are breakfast, lunch and dinner. When I need to change diapers, feed children, prepare meals and clean up from meals and either get the children up for the day, down for a nap or down for the night.

    All the hours in between, I do just fine."
    means you are really only fine while you are sleeping at night :)
    but I am glad you are doing better...

  10. :) Perfect reminder to me. Thanks.

  11. I wonder if Jerrod the subway guy will get replaced with a duck (on the ads)?

    But in all seriousness, thank you for you wonderful words. I've been in a bit of a muddy patch mentally and what you said about sweet Henry is true also with my gorgeous one.

    God bless you and your wonderful family!

  12. I'm so far behind in reading and just saw your last post, you poor thing! I wish I was closer, we'd set a playdate, Chase would love that!

    I'm so glad you are feeling better and you are very right, we have so much to be grateful for. This last week has really shown me that!

    Big hugs and keep hanging in there!

  13. I don't have a gratitude journal. For a while I was posting a thankful post daily on my blog, but that has dropped off. I am grateful for mothers who blog honestly, because it is not roses and chocolate all of the time. Raising children is a difficult job. I'm glad you seem to be feeling at least a little better! More hugs!

  14. I love the idea of a gratitude journal. We all need a little daily reminder of what we are truly blessed for.

    Thanks for sharing about your friend that lost her twins. What a terribly sad story, but makes me count my blessings even more!

  15. Glad you are feeling better and lighter. Hang in there you do have so much to be thankful for.

  16. Hi Jen

    I actually bought peppermint joe joes based on your previous recommendation! My sister-in-law buys the produce for trader joe's nationally, so I will pass on your gratitude!


  17. Just read your post on gratitude. You really do have a lot to be thankful for, as we all do. I received my Readers Digest magazine today. (February issue)
    There is an article in there about
    triplets that are deaf and blind. They were born at 24 weeks. You should read it,then you would be more grateful. God bless you and your family.

  18. Thanks for the updates - your children are beautiful and you definitely are blessed.

    I know it's hard to take things one moment at a time, you will manage beautifully and you do not have to be perfect!

  19. Wonderful post, you have a beautiful family and I love the way that you've expressed appreciation for them, in your post. I wrote a page on being grateful, as I consider it is very important that we acknowledge what we have:

    I wish you have a great day!