Attitude of Gratitude: 16 December 2012

Eric’s Instagram photo of Adobe’s new atrium

Recently I landed a contract at Adobe, working in the same department as my wonderful husband Eric.  When I was first applying for the job I thought I’d be doing one thing, when I interviewed for the job I understood that I’d be doing something else, and when I finally started the job I realized that it was something else entirely.  When I applied I had thought that I was signing on to make mostly cosmetic changes to a tool that was being built in house.  At the time of the interview I realized that there was going to be more building involved and PHP/MySQL kind of work.  During my first day at the office I found out that the tool was something that an intern had built, on a system I didn’t know at all, and the fixes were almost entirely functionality not design.  A job I am qualified for, but not what I had thought I was getting myself into.

For the first few weeks of the contract I was trying to work from home in my spare time – my preferred M.O. for the websites that I build.  I am really proud to be a stay-at-home mom, I think I do the most important work here that I could do anywhere.  I have long been grateful to have skills that allow me to work from home so that I can both contribute to our family’s finances and stay at home with our kids.  However as I got further into the contract I found that the time I was spending was inadequate.  The system I am working with is incredibly complex and not something that I find to be intuitive at all.  On top of that, generally my time to work has been after putting my boys to bed, and my youngest son decided during this time that his bedtime was midnight, like mommy’s, instead of closer to 8pm or 9pm  like his brother.  Between those two things I was doing most of my work with a toddler running around and while very tired and it was taking me several days to resolve issues that seemed on the surface to be relatively simple.  I was tired, frustrated and very stressed.

Finally I decided that I should consider going in to the office a couple of days each week, spending 8 solid hours working without distractions from my boys or housework and not worrying about my contract at all on the other days.  I went in to the office with Eric one day a couple weeks ago and felt somewhat guilty leaving my boys behind.  They were at home with my brother who they both love, and Sam basically watched TV all day (which he was of course thrilled about) so I knew they would be fine, but I worried about what I should be at home doing with them as their mother, and missing out on those hours with them.  However, in those hours that I spent at the office I got more done than I had in the previous week.  And when I went home, I wasn’t worried about when I was going to find the time to get work done on my contract, I was just there to be a mom and I didn’t need to worry about anything else.  It was really a liberating feeling.  Since then my brother-in-law has finished his finals and during his break we’ve arranged for a few days that he’ll bring his son over and come to watch my boys while I go into the office and that I’ll pay him a portion of what I earn for his time spent babysitting.

As I was thinking about all that has transpired last night, I felt overwhelmed with gratitude.  I sat down and realized just how many blessings have come about because of this contract.  How things that I’ve prayed about, that seem to have no connection to my employment situation, are answered in this one little thing.  I thought I ought to sit down and write out some of these great and unexpected blessings and express my gratitude for them and additionally my testimony of the power of prayer.

  • First, I’m grateful that this opportunity wasn’t presented to me as what it actually was.  If I had known from the outset what I was getting myself into and that I would be put in a position that I’d have to even consider leaving my boys at home I wouldn’t have taken it.  All of the blessings I’m listing here came in disguise, and a really good disguise for awhile, but I’m glad that they were disguised so that I would take them.
  • I’m grateful for the extra money that this job is bringing in.  I’ve recently been really wanting to pay down more of our mortgage so that we can lower our payments a little, save money in the long run and just be in a more secure position financially overall.  We’ve also been wanting to save up for a minivan.  Just overall having extra money coming in is always helpful in reaching financial goals 🙂
  • I’m grateful that I’m getting out of the house regularly and interacting with other adults and doing something meaningful.  I’d been stuck in the house for so long and the change of pace has really improved how I feel about myself.
  • I’m grateful that because I’m leaving the house we can help support my sister and brother-in-law while he’s going through school.  He’s at home with their son most days anyways so it’s not too hard for him to take on a couple more little boys during the day.  The extra income will be helpful for them and my boys don’t even have to go somewhere else.  It’s a good position for everyone.
  • I’m grateful that it’s my brother-in-law coming over because my boys already like him and are comfortable with him, and he’s familiar with my boys as well.  Plus, my boys love playing with their cousin and it’s good for all of them to have the time to spend together.
  • I’m grateful for how this contract will help get our family on a better schedule.  Ever since we got married Eric and I have lived on weird schedules.  At first because he had 4am shifts, then because he had late night shifts and working international hours.  We’ve never really gotten off living on a weird schedule, and having kids that don’t sleep hasn’t helped.  But I think really we’ve been able to stay on that schedule because there wasn’t a great motivation to get us going anywhere in the mornings.  Eric’s work allows him to have a very flexible schedule which allows him to sort of mosey through getting ready in the mornings, which sometimes makes it later that he’s home at nights or up during the nights, it just generally keeps us on the wrong track.  I think since I’ll have someone coming over in the morning at a certain time and needing to leave in the evening at a certain time it gives us a deadline and will help get us in a routine.
  • I’m grateful that I get to spend more time with Eric.  We’re not very good at planning regular date nights and getting out of the house without kids, our Friday/Saturday nights generally consist of us hanging out on the couch watching TV.  Which is totally great, I’m not a high maintenance kind of girl as far as dates go.  But it’s been nice that on the days I’ve gone in we’ll generally go grab lunch at the on-site Café and have the time together just driving in, walking to and from our desks etc.  I’ve just appreciated getting to be with Eric more as just us and not as Mom & Dad.
  • I’m grateful for the opportunity to better understand Eric’s roles at work and the people he’s working with.  It really makes it a lot easier to understand what he has to say when we’re talking about his work as I’m getting to know more of the people he knows and understand all of the overall structure of the company etc.
  • I’m grateful that this is helping Danny be less attached to me.  This week Danny finally got himself weaned!  He’s 20 months so it was definitely time for him to do so.  I think that not having me around during the days, getting used to taking naps without the option of being nursed and the extra stimulation that he gets from new people has helped him be able to go to sleep at night without the comfort of “moo”.  This is especially appreciated since Eric and I have been planning a trip in early January and I wasn’t feeling good about leaving an unweaned baby with someone else.
  • I’m grateful that work is now done at work, and mom stuff is being done at home.  It of course has made me a better employee to have that focused, dedicated time to work on my work projects, but even more so it’s helped me be a better mom.  When I’m home I’m not scrambling to see if I have time to get work done as well, I can just be a mom.  This is definitely a huge plus!
  • I’m grateful that now that I’m not working late at night I can (theoretically) go to bed earlier.  If nothing else, I can go to bed on time without the guilt of having unfinished work!  I think that this is definitely going to help me be less exhausted all the time.
  • I’m grateful that now after the boys go to sleep I have some time carved out just for me and I don’t have to share those few precious hours (or many times, minutes) with my work projects but I can actually sit down and relax, or at least bring down a load of laundry to fold without wondering if I ought to be doing something else instead.
  • I’m grateful that with the extra money I can justify maybe paying to have someone come clean our house every so often.  I’m not a very good housekeeper, and sometimes cleaning falls to the very bottom of the list (it’s not like it’s going anywhere), but it feels so nice to have a clean house.  This might be one of the things I’m most excited for 🙂

Such a long list for such a simple thing.  Some of those things though are things that I have prayed long and hard for a solution to make them better.  I would have *never* thought this would be my answer, but it’s been such a blessing and I’m SO grateful.

Attitude of Gratitude: 21 November 2012

My family came into town today so that we can go up to Logan this weekend and spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my grandparents.  While my mom was here tonight I coerced her into helping me make pies to take to Eric’s family’s Thanksgiving meal tomorrow.  We decided that even though there will only be 13 people at dinner tomorrow we wanted to make 5 pies – 2 pumpkin, 1 banana cream, 1 chocolate cream and 1 strawberry rhubarb.  Pumpkin is a must for Thanksgiving, my mom had a really awesome recipe for cream pies (and one batch made two pies of your choosing) and strawberry rhubarb is Eric’s favorite.  We’ll have leftovers, but who’s going to be sad about leftover pie?

As we finished the pies we ran into the difficulty that my fridge was already very full, and now I had 4 pies that would require overnight refrigeration as well.  After a lot of finagling I came up with this:

After I finished I realized that, while trying to fit everything in was a pain, I had just witnessed a great blessing.  Far from worrying where our next meal might come from or whether there will be food to eat tomorrow, we have so much food in our house that we don’t even have a place for it.  I had to throw out leftovers (ones that were growing fuzzy things on them, I wasn’t just being wasteful) in order to make room for these delicious treats.  Especially after having our tithing settlement on Sunday it made me think of Malachi 3:10

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Truly we have been blessed beyond measure and I am so grateful for the bounties that we have been given.

Attitude of Gratitude: November 9th

I went through this morning and wrote a quick list of all of the things I wanted to post for all the days between the 1st and the 9th.  But I wanted to start by making sure I got today’s post up first and then I can go back and fill in the cracks.

Today we were all home sick.  Danny got a stomach bug that had him throwing up on Wednesday night.  This made me wary enough that I decided that while I was at the grocery store yesterday I would stock up on Powerade, lemon-lime soda  and grape juice.  Sure enough, last night as Eric was getting ready to come home both of us were feeling the beginning effects of the bug.  Eric was luckily able to make it home – although he considered just crashing on the couches at work because he was feeling iffy about driving back.  Eric was up with it all night and I was only just *really* starting to feel the full blown effects this morning.  So, after a day of being sick, here are the things I’m grateful for –

Yum, the perfect meal for a snowy sick day 🙂
  • My sweet neighbor who, without asking or being asked, brought us over soup and bread for dinner, along with some sweet rolls for the morning.  She’d just seen that I posted on facebook that we were home sick and she jumped up and decided to do something.  Mind you, this isn’t someone who has nothing else to do, she’s home alone with her three little girls while her husband has been deployed for the last year or so.  I was so touched that she would think of us and go out of her way to do something so kind.  I need to be more like that, not waiting around until someone asks me to do something, but just go out and do it!  The soup was wonderful, just about the perfect thing after a day of being sick, especially when it’s snowy outside.  I live in the most wonderful neighborhood, hands down.
  • My wonderful Eric who, after only just getting to bed himself around 6am, woke up at 7am to take care of Danny while the flu was really beating me up this morning.  Then again this afternoon when I was going through another bad bout.  Even though he wasn’t feeling great either he took care of our boys so I could lay down and play dead  for a few hours.  Again, what a great example to me.
  • Eric’s tablet and old cell phone that kept our boys happily entertained for HOURS today while we weren’t feeling well.
  • Powerade and lemon-lime soda, especially that we had lots on hand.
  • That, despite the crazy wind/hail/snow storm we had last night Danny slept remarkably well.  It would have been very understandable for him to have awoken to all the noise outside but he didn’t, and because he didn’t I got semi-decent rest last night so I wasn’t entirely out of commission today
  • A warm house.  As I listened to the storm raging outside I was so grateful to live in a  house where I didn’t feel a bit of the wind or snow.  Aside from the sound of the wind and the revving up of our heater I could have been completely ignorant of the storm around me.  What a wonderful blessing it is to be so safe from the elements.
  • That so far *knock on wood* Sam hasn’t had this nasty bug.  Here’s hoping that he can be spared from it!  But if nothing else, at least all four of us weren’t down and out at the same time.  Danny first (giving me warning to prepare), Eric and I together (but able to take turns caring for the boys), and Sam possibly not at all!  Even if he does get it though, I’ll be able to give him my full attention and care while he’s sick.
  • Finally – that we’re all feeling better!  Not 100% but the worst of the bug has definitely passed and we’re on the mend.  I’m grateful for strong, healthy bodies that can fight off diseases without being too much the worse for the wear.

Gratitudes

Note: This post sat in my drafts folder for over 2 years.  I had originally intended to expand upon each of these items and tell the stories that go with them… but I can’t even remember the stories any more.  So I’m just backdating it, publishing it and calling it good.  Here’s a list of some of the things I was grateful for in November of 2012 🙂

November 2nd – boys who will play together happily, skills that I can use from home to contribute to my family
November 4th – old friends, cake, family
November 5th – new Adobe building! Eric has a good job
Nov 6th – right to vote, democracy, eric taking danny
Nov 7th – grateful for food storage, leaders who give us guidance
Nov 8th – washing machine to take care of clothes, husband to hold danny after puking, snuggling as a family
Nov 9th – grateful for a warm house, safety from the elements, kids sleeping through windstorm

Attitude of Gratitude: November 1st

As November rolls around I see lots of posts on Facebook from my friends who are counting down to Thanksgiving by posting things they are grateful for on their status messages each day.  I’ve always thought this was great but I’d miss a few days at the beginning of the month and then not just jump in where I was.  So once again I’m about a week late to start doing this but I want to start anyways.    I decided I’d rather post these in my blog than just on Facebook to give me a little more space to write my thoughts, post pictures etc.  It also feels a little more permanent than Facebook 🙂  I’m going to start back on the first because I have many things to be grateful for from that day because it was my birthday!  I’ve thought of things I was grateful for each day this month but we’ll see if I manage to get them all posted or if I just start from where I’m at after the first.  Here we go:

Me as a baby 🙂
  • I’m especially grateful for this article that my hairdresser posted on her Facebook wall.  I spent a few minutes reading it in the morning and it really put my whole day into perspective.  I *love* Elder Holland and this was an excellent talk on the Atonement and what we’re all striving to do and become here on the earth.  And of course, I’m grateful for the Atonement and the opportunity I have to return to live with Heavenly Father some day.  I’m grateful for this understanding in my life.
  • I’m so grateful to have been born!  I’m grateful for parents who loved me and raised me and were willing to make so many sacrifices on my behalf.  I’m grateful for their tireless concern and efforts to help me become the woman I am today.  I’m grateful that after being in labor for over 24 hours my mom endured through to give me life.  I cannot adequately express the gratitude I have for such wonderful parents, it’s one of the greatest blessings afforded to me in my life.
  • I’m grateful for Eric.  He made my day wonderful just by being in it.  He spent the day working from home and took the time to help me get our dishes under control (I’m a bad dishes doer and I get very overwhelmed when the dishes get out of hand, so this was HUGE for me).  He watched Sam for an hour while I napped with Danny (which I’d told him was the one thing I wanted for my birthday – a nap!).  Then he took me to the temple before going out to dinner with me.  It was a wonderful day just being with my family and I’m grateful for the efforts Eric made to make it just a wonderful day.
  • I’m grateful for my mother-in-law who came up to our house after work to watch our boys so that Eric and I could go out for the evening.  I love my little boys very much, but it is sometimes so nice to get away for even a few hours, especially when you know they are in good hands.
  • I’m grateful for the temple and the peace we can feel there and the joy of serving others.
  • I’m grateful for the 75+ friends who took the time out of their day to wish me a happy birthday.  Even if Facebook makes it so easy to do, even those few seconds that people took to click on my name and write a quick “happy birthday!” on my wall mean something to me.

So thank you to everyone who made it a wonderful birthday!