Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Small Joys

Tablescaping, Thanksgiving Table

I've spent a lot of time this month reflecting on gratitude and the big things I'm grateful for. There really is so, so, so much that is wonderful and amazing and completely, perfectly, abundantly blessed about my life, and it's been good for me to remember and write about those things in other places (my journal).

But when I spend three consecutive nights in a row in and out of sleep because of massive cramping and Braxton Hicks contractions that leave me aching sore and unable to walk in the morning... well, it's harder to remember those big things I'm grateful for about my life. It's funny that it seems to be the small things, these small joys, that actually get me through these rough patches (and by rough patches, I mean this pregnancy that is going to kill me).

So for now I'll spare you a list of the big and obvious things I'm grateful for (it may or may not be true, but somehow it feels a bit indecent to publicly share those things, like "Look how utterly amazing my life is!"), and just continue to share the small joys that got me through November.

Thanksgiving, Table, Tablescape

1. Thanksgiving Tablescaping! We hosted Thanksgiving this year with eight additional members of my husband's family. While I made good and sure that my food offerings were up to snuff (see this sweet potato souffle), my only real goal was to come up with a satisfactory tablescape. I've never really gone in for tablescaping before (after all, food is the most important part of any great feast), but for some reason I got it into my head that this would be the year I presented a pretty table too. But there were all sorts of conundrums I had to figure out. First off, I didn't actually want to spend money on decorating a table, so I knew I wanted to make-do with stuff I already had around the house. Second off, I also needed it to be functional (we were actually going to eat at this table) with a low profile centerpiece. If there's one thing that annoys my husband to death, it's when he can't see across the table to talk to the person on the other side, which rules out pretty much anything in a vase. What I came up with certainly wasn't super fancy or magazine worthy, but it met all my criteria, and was pretty, and made me super, ridiculously pleased. I did buy the burlap table runner, but everything else we already had on hand (the greenery came from a patch of vine things in our little back yard area). And with good food and good company on top of that, I'd say our whole Thanksgiving was a resounding success.

2. Sibling Love We get a fair amount of sibling rivalry over here involving shoving and biting and not sharing and tears, but this past month I've noticed a few sweet moments between the two boys that absolutely had my heart melting and me thinking, "Oh yes, this is why I go through all this trauma to produce children! For sweet moments like this!" As my two-year-old's verbal skills continue to improve, it's so fun to overhear the conversations that take place between the two boys, and the bonding moments between them (lots of giggling about potty humor). They love to make each other laugh, and it is the best.

3. Our Mattress Okay, so I feel like I talked about it when we bought our new mattress earlier this year (oh yes, mentioned it here). Besides the fact that our other mattress was bought in the extreme poverty of our student days and was therefore pretty low quality to begin with, and was quickly approaching that 8 year expiration date all the mattress companies tell you is the time to buy a new one, my primary motivation for getting a new mattress was in anticipation of this pregnancy. By the end of my last pregnancy I was sleeping on the couch because it honestly offered more support than that sad little excuse of a thing. So anyway, we bought a Leesa online (this is not sponsored, I promise), and while we both thought it was a fine mattress, it's not like we noticed a huge difference right off. But boy, have I noticed a difference at this tail end of my pregnancy. I remember what it felt like to sleep on that old thing with a bad back and bulging belly, and this mattress feels SO MUCH BETTER. Really, anything had to be better, but my favorite moment of every day is when I finally lay this aching pregnant body down on that sweetly supportive mattress, wrap myself around my body pillow, and drift off into sleep. Except for the past few nights (where I've been dealing with those horrible contractions, but the mattress cannot be blamed for that), I've slept really, really well this pregnancy.

High Tea, Baby Girl, Baby Shower

4. A Tea Party Baby Shower! You guys, I have such good friends. And such fun friends with good party-planning skills. My sweet friend Emmelie (who actually threw my first baby shower about this time five years ago) threw me the most adorable, prefectly-themed baby shower ever. High tea! She decorated the table up so cute (she found a place where she could rent china, perfectly mismatched tea cups and saucers! It was amazing), and made super delicious and authentic food (cucumber sandwiches! scones! cream!), and it was just perfect in every way. So very thankful for the sweet women in my life willing to celebrate this baby girl with me.

High Tea, Baby Shower, Baby Girl, Cucumber Sandwiches

5. Productivity By this, I mean I made a concentrated effort to hack away at my to-do list this month. There are so many things I've been meaning to get done before this baby girl comes, but I keep waiting to feel good enough to do them. Well, this baby girl is coming whether I ever "feel good" or not during this pregnancy, so I just tried to buckle down and get some things done. Productivity feels good. I love checking things off a to-do list. I'm still woefully behind and probably won't have the time (let alone the physical energy) to get many of these projects done, but I have at least cleared a few things off my list this month, and that fills me with a deep satisfaction.

What have been your small joys lately?


  1. I think it's the small joys that get me through most hard times. :)
    Some of mine lately: pretty skies, imaginative games from my children (they were playing skunk trainer the other day--HA HA HA!), my husband showing his tender side, afternoon naps...yes. Goodness. Keep hanging in there, friend!

    1. Yes to all of these (especially afternoon naps)!

  2. We are definitely in the market for a new mattress (ours is approaching 12 years old), but I haven't settled on what kind I want, which probably means I won't buy one for another few years (I finally bought a tree skirt for our Christmas tree after looking for one for, oh yeah, the last 12 years...my indecisiveness borders on ridiculous).

    1. This was my first year ever looking for a real tree skirt, and it's been surprisingly difficult! I have a pretty clear idea of what I want, but apparently it doesn't exist, so for now it's just tablecloths or sheets wrapped around the base. I feel your pain on the mattresses too (so! many! choices!), but our other mattress was so awful it just had to go. Desperation can lead to decisiveness, so I guess your mattress must not be too bad yet. :)

  3. Your thanksgiving table is lovely! And what a cute tea party idea for a baby shower--love it!

    1. Thanks Ash! And I know, Emmelie just nailed it. So perfect.