Sunday, July 14, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 13, 7/13/13 "Music"

OH my--- I had a whole plan in my head to write about music yesterday (7/13) and I fell asleep before I wrote. :( Better late than never,  right?!?

As most of you know, I am a music therapist by trade and started my career in end-of-life care with my post-graduate internship at Mt. Area Hospice in Asheville, NC. I found almost immediately that end-of-life care is where I needed to be in my career. I loved my time in Asheville and learned SOOOO much in 7 short months. My career has taken many twists and turns since then, but music continues to speak throughout my life.

This weekend, I have the pleasure of working with 14 MT-BCs (board-certified music therapists) in Newark, DE, co-teaching the Hospice & Palliative Care Music Therapy Institute. Yesterday, I presented about the needs and clinical problems of the dying in hospice care. Well teaching the group about the death vigil, I chained 4 songs together-- On The Wings Of A Dove, The Water Is Wide, Peace Like A River and One Day At A Time. The purpose of chaining songs together is to allow the music to continue without stopping and it provides a support presence to the dying patient and their loved ones who are present. I don't know what made me put these songs together, I never have before. I moved myself and actually relaxed while singing these songs all together like this.

What did I learn from this? I cannot forget to keep music as a center point in my life. I also need to find a musically outlet in my life. Any ideas???

Friday, July 12, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 12, 7/12/13 "Super Husband"

I would be remiss if I didn't recognize my husband for being the incredible man he is. I could not ask for a better partner in life. 

Justin and I balance each other in a way that truly only God could have brought through. I am a right-brained, creative/artistic type and Justin is  left-brained, analytical/literal type. I have always thought that between the two of us, we make up a full brain. Right?!?

Justin is always supportive of me in anything I do. (Well, aside from shopping...) He helped me get through grad school while working full time and planning our wedding. He was my absolute rock for me when my mom was killed just 4 shorts months after we got married. He did whatever I needed him to do and held my hand through all our fertility treatments and the birth of our sweet boys. We knew that by having twins, it was always going to be an all-hands-on-deck situation. Justin is an awesome dad. He loves to spend time with the boys playing, watching sports and he has become quite good at taken them both out to run errands. (I think he loves the attention that all the women give him!)

Since I don't know how to slow down and have 3 jobs, Justin is a key person in my  success. All I have to do it tell him when I'm going to be on-call or when I have a class to teach and he's ready and willing to be home to relieve the nanny or spend the day with the boys. 

Sometimes with all he does and juggles along with me, I think he needs a Super Hero cape- "Super J". 

I love you, honey. Thank you for being you!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 11, 7/11/13 "An Attitude of Gratitude"

Today, one of my co-workers mentioned that he was grateful for my gratitude blog and how much he enjoys reading it. I was humbled by this. I'm so glad that friends and family are reading my blog and are enjoying it. 

My hope in writing these ditties is to really remind myself that even the small, unexpected things in my life are things to be grateful for and acknowledge those things. 

It's really about adopting an attitude of gratitude. Listen, I'm not suggesting that I don't bitch or complain, because I do. But by committing to this blog (and those who read it), I'm thinking and examining all day, "What will show itself to me today?"

If you're reading this blog, thanks! I hope it is meaningful for you. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 10, 7/10/13 "New Babies"

I have a number of friends who are pregnant or have had new babies in the past few weeks. I love seeing those pictures of that brand new baby in their newborn hospital cap. 

It certainly gives me baby fever. For now, I'll just have to love on all these little bundles and keep that fever in check!

Congrats to all the new mommies and daddies! 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 9, 7/9/13 "Pitch Perfect"

I am in love with this movie! I have a new found obsession with it. The music is really good and the comedy is great!

My cousin, Catherine and I watched it today and while we were watching, I texted a few of the one-liners to my friend, Gina (who is equally obsessed). Of course, she texted back. 

It's movies like this and shows I like that allow me to sit and park my brain. Between my kids, husband, jobs (yes, plural) and just life, my wheels are turning constantly. Sitting down and watching a funny movie or ridiculous realty show gives me a chance to turn off the motor and get a little lost. I think it's almost a defense mechanism. At my "full-time" job, I am dealing with very intense, emotional stuff. I need that down time. 

Pitch Perfect does that for me. :-)

Monday, July 8, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 8, 7/8/13 "Coffee"

After such a great, relaxing weekend... I needed this to jump start my day. 

I <3 Coffee! 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 7, 7/7/13 "Laughter"

All my men and I had such an enjoyable, relaxing and fun weekend with our wonderful friends in the country. I could have stayed for at least another week! (Although, I think we would have had to get more wine!)

Throughout the weekend, there was laughter coming from all corners of the house- adults and children alike. Sometime the adults were laughing at the children! 

There is something so gratifying about laughing. And to listen to little ones giggle, it can be magically. 

Thank God for laughter!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 6, 7/6/13 "Leisurely Adult Lunch"

Cheers! I had the opportunity to enjoy an adult beverage with my husband in the middle of the day today. This is a priceless activity when you are the mother of twins. 

While the boys took their afternoon nap (or were supposed to be napping), Justin and I headed into Purcellville to grab some lunch at Magnolia's. We had done this the last time we visited Uncle Dave and Aunt CJ and Justin still talked about how amazing the burger he had was. So we went back and basically recreated our meals. Justin had his smokehouse burger and I enjoyed an amazing poached pear and spinach salad. But the cherry on top was the dessert; Yup, that's right, wine and dessert at lunch! ;-)  

It was great to sit and have quiet time out at a restaurant with my husband. We love our boys and adore the time we spend with them but we cherish these rear moments to be out as a couple. 

When you become a parent, your whole purpose in life changes and of course, so do your relationships. It's work being a parent and its even more work to be a couple. We try to be conscious of when we need these times to be "just us", making sure we are purely defined by our kids. 

Today I'm thankful for adult beverages and couple time with my love. <3

Friday, July 5, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 5, 7/5/13 "Old McDonald"

Late this afternoon, we packed up the boys (and half of our belongings, it seems) and headed to VA to spend the weekend in the "country" at my Uncle Dave and Aunt CJ's house. They have a beautiful home that sits back from the gravel road, in a wooded area. We love coming to visit. It's like a going to a fabulous B&B, but the price is right and the company is far superior. We spend usually spend the weekend eating fantastic food, drinking wine and enjoying each other's company. (BTW, tonight for dinner it was Cornish Game Hen, Grilled Sweet Potato, and Fresh Mixed Green Salad straight from the garden... DELISH!)

When we left the house this afternoon, I actually had to wake Parker up from his nap because he played and chatted to himself for a good hour-plus after we put them down for their naps. I was for certain that Parker would have gone back to sleep at some point during our almost 2-hour drive, but he didn't. He  talked  the  entire  way!!

We just before we turned into town, Parker sounded like he was singing. When I asked him what he was singing, he just giggled and kept going. It took me a minute to realize that he was singing "Old McDonald". I started to sing along with him and he grinned from ear to ear. It was the best feeling! And not to mention, so damn cute. The e-i-e-i-o part comes out more like, "eww-ee-eww-ee-o". Too much for this mama's heart to handle. 

I just might have a little musician on my hands. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 4, 7/4/13 "Freedom"

This afternoon, as I sat on my patio while the boys played with their water table, I looked up toward the sky and this was my view. 
What an amazing sky, right?!?

I love the 4th of July! It's one of my favorite holidays. I have always been a "Team USA" kinda a girl. Don't even get me going about the Olympics! 

So anyway, while sitting outside, watching my babies play, I couldn't help but think about what a blessing it is to be an Americian and how thankful I am for my freedom. My maternal great-grandfathers both fought in WWII; one losing his life for that freedom that I cherish. I've had friends and other family who have joined the military as they were called to serve and protect this country and those who aren't able to help themselves. 

My hope is that people remember what the 4th is all about; not just hot dogs, beer and fireworks. 

What did you do to give thanks today?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 3, 7/3/13 "Sweet Sleep"

I'm keeping this one short and sweet tonight. I took this photo of the boys just a few minutes after 10pm when we arrived home after spending a great day in Frederick with my dad and celebrating my Aunt Suzanne's birthday with my mom's family. The boys love being around our extended family and of course thrive at the opportunity to be the center of 15 people's complete attention. 

Usually by 10pm, they have been asleep for a good 2 hours. They were troopers to the very end. It was a very quiet ride home with only sounds of two sweet little boys snoring. I'm quite impressed that we got them out of their carseats and into their cribs without any fussing. They both quickly curled up and snuggled back into their sweet, sweet dreams. 

What is it about babies/toddlers sleeping that is just so precious??

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 2, 7/2/13 "Forgiveness"

While taking a walk on the treadmill today with my good friend, Gina, she was being very hard on herself. In the past year, she has been diagnosed with, treated and survived breast cancer. During that time, she also continued to work full-time and start new cupcake business. I happen to think she's an incredibly strong and determined woman.

While we were walking, she was talking about the number of steps she had already taken (as tracked by her fitbit) and how much more she needed to meet her goal of 10,000 per day. Like I said, she's determined. For the last several days, she has reached her goal and she told me that she couldn't believe she haven't been moving like this always. She was really being hard on herself as to why she hasn't adopted this habit earlier in life. I kindly smiled and congratulated her for reaching her goal. I told her not to be hard on herself and not to look back, but to look forward and keep it up! Forgiveness. 

Listen, I am the queen of beating myself up; constantly questioning decisions and choices I make. Also like Gina, I was disappointed in myself for not adopting a healthier way of living before now, but I have forgiven myself and am looking forward. 

Today I'm grateful for forgiveness. Did you forgive yourself today?

Monday, July 1, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 1, 7/1/13 "Exercise"

This morning around 7am, I received a text message from my co-worker, Erin that simply said, "9:00 elliptical?" You see, my company is so awesome that we have a small gym complete with shower facilities so I'm able to work out whenever I can spare the 30+ minutes to do so. That's awesome, right?!? 

About 2 months ago, I decided it was really time to get serious about making healthier choices and getting active. I made this known to all my co-workers who would listen. The way I see it, the more people who are aware of my goal, the more I must stick with it. A few even choose to jump on this bandwagon with me. Erin was one of them. 

Each week, we make a work-out plan for the coming week; taking in to account our on-call schedule, my childcare schedule and other various barriers to our workouts. I don't know about you, but I am more faithful about exercising when I have a buddy; someone to talk to, bitch to and even count done how many minutes, even seconds left in the work-out. 

Today, after I sprinted the last 5 minutes on the elliptical, I felt great. I took a huge sigh of relief that my work-out for the day was done and then I noticed a big smile on my face. Even dripping with sweat in the very hot and humid gym- I was happy. 

Today, I'm grateful for exercise- what it does for my body, mind and spirit. 

What are you grateful for today?