I'm grateful for a large tax return coming our way! We were not expecting such a large sum. Such a load off our shoulders! 2008 was our first full year of me staying at home and every month our budget belt was pulled tighter and tighter. Adding money to our savings was just not happening, and our chances of ever buying a home seemed to be getting slimmer and slimmer. Now that home prices have dropped so dramatically, we are again hopeful that we will get to dip our toes in home ownership and have even taken a look at some places already. This return is going straight to our savings account to help with the house down payment we've been trying desperately not to spend.
On a whole different subject, some days I am so grateful that I'm a woman. This is going to sound offensive to you men reading this, isn't it? Don't get me wrong, I feel like I found one of the "good" guys in my husband, and I know there are plenty out there, but overhearing some of the conversations men have makes me feel just a little ill (OK, I know I can say the same thing for plenty of women, too, but still). For example, Parker and I were eating at Taco Bell and a man about my age was talking on his cell phone. Apparently he owned a plumbing company and one of his drivers had cut off and flipped off a woman who, understandably angry, called the number on the truck and reached the aforementioned guy in Taco Bell. He spoke to the woman and gave her a story about how sorry he was and how the driver wasn't doing well and was on the cusp of being fired. Then he calls and speaks to the driver and laughs about it and asks him if the "chick" was hot (''cause she sounded hot"). Maybe I'm just getting too old to have a sense of humor about the whole thing. I mean, I am friends with a few guys whom I can imagine having this same conversation and I don't consider them to be bad people. Even still, a part of me couldn't help being bothered by it just a little. As I said earlier, at least it made me feel a little more grateful for my genetic make-up!
This week I'm also especially grateful that even though Parker is growing up, I still get that wow feeling everyday and am amazed by his antics and words. It's such an awesome experience to watch someone grow and learn new things every day. Some things this week that just hit that aww spot:
1) As most of you know, Jake took a trip to San Francisco for work not too long ago. We drove him and his co-worker (whom Parker calls Noni Toni) to the airport to see them off. Now this week, every time Parker sees an airplane either in the sky or in a picture, he always talks about Dada going in an airplane. Yesterday he asked, "Dada go in airplane today? And Noni Toni, too?" It was so cute.
2) I love that he knows how to negotiate things out of me. I mean, yes, we started this with him so why can't he turn the tables on us? For example, in order to help avoid tantrums, we'll often set out a timer and let him know he has such and such amount of time left before he has to move on to another task. And he also gets timed time outs (which we haven't had too many of lately, thank goodness). So now every time he wants something (like to pretend to drive my car) he ends the question with "two minutes, please mama?" How can I say no when he's being so reasonable?
Parker "driving" my car (or as he calls it "turn turning")
Jake when he was a baby, driving his Grandpa's car
3) It's also nice that Parker knows certain rules and it's even nicer when he follows them. Just a couple of examples: a) We live upstairs so every time we leave the house he knows he has to stand against the wall and wait for me to lock the door before we head downstairs. b) He saw me shaking the OJ before I poured it for him one day and then he thought that it would be a good idea to start shaking his cup. A few days of dealing with that and threatening to take the juice cup away, I decided to try a new tactic. I got down to his level before giving him the cup and asked him to repeat after me, "Mama, I will not shake my cup." It worked! Now I try to do that every time before giving him his cup to remind him and he always finishes the sentence before I can. He sticks to his word, too!
4) He still notices things that I don't (or I wouldn't expect him to). He's been doing this for a long time, but it still doesn't cease to impress me. Yesterday, for example, he wanted some Apple Crisps (freeze dried apples). I took down the big box from the fridge and he said something about the apple crisps being in my room. Then he proceeded to bring me to my room and point out an old box that I had saved and put up behind my dresser to reuse later. He wasn't around when I put it there, so he must have wandered by one day and noticed it.
5) He is starting to grasp the idea of plurals. I know this because he has created his own plurals where they need not be (as kids often do). Fishes and teethes. Too funny!
6) About a week ago I noticed he put together his Thomas train track by himself. It was mostly put together, just a few pieces out of place. Usually I put it together for him in the morning so he can play with it. This particular day I forgot and I was on the computer while he played and when I was done I started walking past his train track and did a double take. I knew it was his work because one of the pieces was upside down showing the street side (but it was still together)! It's hard to tell by this picture, but the upside down piece is in the area closest to the camera, one of the small straight parts. It has a street on that side rather than the grooved train track.
I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but this week I am especially grateful for music and Parker's love of it. Any time I'm having a hard time keeping him happy while I'm getting ready for the day or working on any task that he can't help me with, I've found that if I put some music on, he will play happily for a long time. His mood changes drastically. I still remember when I was a kid and our parents would put music on on the weekends and we'd all just hang out and play and dance in the living room. Fun times!