Tuesday, November 20, 2018


Oh my goodness, guys, I have meant to blog all last week. I felt "some kinda way," as the kid say today, and I had some thoughts swirling. Thoughts about the holidays, grief, loss, motherhood, just life stuff. I feel like sometimes I let myself go back to those NICU days with Hadley and just sort of feel it all over again. I think for me it has been healing to pause and sit with it all for a while and not be afraid to remember. Life has moved on, as it absolutely should. But sometimes that's scary. Sometimes I panic that I'll forget parts and pieces even though I know deep down I never will.  Each time I sat down to articulate my thoughts about this Thanksgiving season I kept coming up short (My dream is to retreat to a cabin for a few days, drink mug after mug of coffee, don my comfiest pj's and just write write write, but ya know, life, so I'll write when and where I can get it in!). So today, you'll get these jumbled up, messy, 2018 Leslie thoughts on years' past thoughts (how's that for an Inception moment?) AND a thankful list...

In typical ENFJ fashion, I love memories, nostalgia, and reflecting. Fortunately, holidays are the perfect marker of time and invitation to look back. In fact here is my 2017 Thanksgiving post, my 2016 Thanksgiving post, and finally, my 2015 Thanksgiving post should you care to check those out.

It's easy to get bogged down in all the to do's, scheduling, and even wrapped up in the festiveness of it all (and I love me some festiveness), but in slowing down and reflecting on where I was at the past 3 Thanksgivings, and various seasons of the past few years, one sentence keeps coming up over and over for me: You've come a long way, girlfriend. I think in our culture it's looked down upon to celebrate ones successes, but forget that, I'm proud of where AJ and I are at.

The thing is, you all have been with me through it all, so you know the backstory, you've seen the underside of the tapestry so to speak. You know it hasn't been all sunshine and roses. But in many ways, those tough times make the "I'm thankful"more poignant, more dramatic, more true, honestly.  It's been a journey. Heck, it still is. Every second. The work of healing has made me aware of both how delicate and precious life is on one hand, and how strong, tough, and persistent humans can be on the other hand. And I don't know what you've got going on in your life, but I know every single one of us has been through some things and in case you don't hear it from anywhere or anyone else, let me tell you: You've come a long way, baby. So now, let's enjoy those traditions, savor the moment, and relax through slow mornings and late nights, through feasting, and delightful gatherings of family, and friends. There is so much to be thankful for....every day, but especially in this season.  And in true Leslie fashion, I present to you a "by no means comprehensive or in order of importance, some big, some little Thankful" list....

I'm thankful for....

-"That kid"---There have been a few of them over the past decade and each and every one of them has made me question my decision to unlock my classroom door each morning and do it all over again. #realtalk But...."that kid" has made me a better teacher. "That kid" has made my heart burst and break over and over again. "That kid" has made me stay up way past my bedtime mulling over strategies and reaching into my bag of tricks. "That kid" has pushed me to think in a new way, be empathetic, and seek out answers that might not come as easily to me. The hope that "that kid' will know I loved and cared is a hope I pray never to lose.

-Boot Camp---I love working out at this place. I might have more of a love/hate relationship with class where there are a ton of burpees or running involved, but I love the community of the gym, I love that I've pushed my body into doing new things, I love that after 2 years (minus a few months of pregnancy/recovery), I still truly enjoy going. I might not be where I want to be weight-wise, but I feel stronger and healthier after each workout at the Boot Camp Gym.

-The Leaf Rakers Society ----Did you know Starbucks has a (not so) secret Facebook group that was started by Starbucks this fall to celebrate all things Fall/ Pumpkin Spice related? Well, the group has kept going and has sort of morphed into a holiday appreciation zone. I love it. I love the new drink ideas, the community of fellow "Buckys" fans, and the continued genius of a company that basically lets their willing customers do marketing and promotion for them. In this era of divisiveness online, The Leaf Rakers is, as my sister puts it, "The purest thing on the internet."

-Halo Top----I've recently re-discovered the amazingness that is this low calorie ice cream treat. It's so yummy and guilt free! I like the vanilla bean flavor with a drizzle of honey and some crushed pecans. That is truly something to be thankful for.

-Hank Laughs----I mean, is there anything on planet earth better than listening to the sounds of laughter emanating from your offspring?? I certainly can't think of anything.

-Our Parents/Siblings who love Hank as deeply as we do----Hank has no idea how loved he is. If he grasps even a fraction of how much he is adored and cherished, he will be overwhelmed. I feel so fortunate that Hank has a supportive and loving family. And selfishly, it's so nice having the support for AJ and I as new parents. Family means so much and it makes my heart soar to see Hank so well loved.

-Bitmojis: I absolutely love finding the perfect one to send to family and friends. They truly do make Bitmojis for every occasion. My mom and dad have one and theirs look just. like. them. It's so funny. I decided to get real and "aged" my Bitmoji a bit by giving her (it? me?) slight under eye bags. Ha! It may seem goofy, but it's another way to connect to loved ones, even if you're just sending along a silly "Have a nice day" text.

-Reading: I know I say it every month in my book posts, but reading is truly a gift in my life. I love that with recommendations from real and internet friends, and my library card, I am never without a good book. If you are not a reader, I promise it's just because you haven't found "your" book or book genre yet. Try it. For all my 2018 books so far, click HERE.

And finally, I am, of course, grateful for my incredible (and hilarious!)  husband who puts up with my personal brand of crazy, my faithful and kind girlfriends who I can always be myself around, the chance to be a mommy twice, and to have the opportunity to get to parent this incredibly sweet, spunky little man. I give thanks for the boundless grace of God and the wonder of His love. But before this sounds too much like an Oscar speech, I also want to point out I am also so very thankful for a damn good shiny gel manicure. I told you this list was in no particular order (shrug emoji).

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. Thank you for reading.
Savor Your Sparkle,

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