Sunday, September 4, 2016

Feeling Grateful

I have to start with a wedding photo, of course!

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Need I say more?

Okay, I’ll say more. That’s our son Kyle, my mom Elsie, and our beautiful new daughter-in-law Alayna, one week ago yesterday, following their nuptials in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is one of only a few photos I managed to snap with my phone that day; the rest were taken by a pro and will be shared down the road.

The bride and groom chose their sisters as their only attendants. Aren't they stunning? Kendall is thrilled to have not just one but two sisters out of the deal!

Monica and Kendall

(Stay tuned for more wedding details and pics.)

For the past couple of weeks, the state of our household involved a whirlwind of activity that would make working at Walmart on Black Friday look like a relaxing vacation. It started with the beginning of my school year (always chaotic, of course), followed by the arrival of Kendall’s Canadian boyfriend Nick, then the wedding, a wonderful group of houseguests including my niece Nicki and her family (plus her lovely sister Steph), followed by the arrival of new groom Kyle (who came home to drive all of his and Alayna’s belongings to California) and finally, the move of Kendall back to college with an entire apartment's worth of her belongings. Yesterday was a tough day, saying goodbye to both kids, plus driving four hours to Minneapolis and four more back in one day (Mr.4444 is an excellent and selfless driver).  Needless to say, (or "seedless to nay," as Mom likes to say), it is quiet here this morning. I’m enjoying a cup of coffee and feeling a sense of peace and gratitude for a number of blessings:

*I’ve never seen Kyle more happy than at his wedding to Alayna; he was positively giddy with joy, and as I write this, he is safely halfway to their new home in sunny San Diego. Alayna moved there in June, when she landed a great nursing job, and Kyle (a job recruiter) was able to talk his boss into letting him work from home for a while and continue in California, so they are off to a great start! We are so happy for them. I’ll share more photos when other people share them, as I only took a few cell phone shots that day, just enjoyed the day and let others snap away. Speaking of which, here’s a great shot that my sister Michelle shared.


*My sister Mary took this next photo, which she entitled “Smokin’ in the Bathroom.” I share it because I worked very hard to fit into that dress and am happy I finally made it. I’m grateful for the continued health that’s allowed me to work out, feeling strong and healthy.

*I’m grateful for the many family members and friends who traveled to Milwaukee (two hours away) to help celebrate Kyle’s and Alayna’s marriage and for the fact that they all made it home safely.

*I’m grateful that Kendall, too, is in love and feeling inspired and excited about her studies about to commence (Did I tell you she’s going to be a special ed teacher?!). Parting from her sweet Nick in the next few days will be tough on them both, but her classes will be a nice distraction and will bring her joy, certainly.

*I’m grateful that we were able to break up our Minneapolis day trip up with a visit with Ed, my 96-year-old cousin who is such a dear. His daughter Mary, too, is such a gem, and they both made us laugh with their quick wits.

*I’m not gonna lie; I shed a tear or two when we said goodbye to Kyle yesterday, but I also harken back to the day that Mr.4444 and I drove away from Green Bay and our families, and that obviously turned out beautifully. I’m excited for Kyle and Alayna, embarking on their new adventure together, I’m grateful for their opportunities, and I look forward to one day being a grandma, of course.

*I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that I’m grateful that neither Mr.4444 nor I is sick, although everyone around us (Kendall, Nick, my mom, Mr.4444’s mom) have been very sick this week with one thing or another. My poor mom is now suffering with shingles, and Grandma 4444 is fighting a wicked chest cold; please keep them in your prayers. I’m also grateful that neither one got sick before the wedding!

*I’m grateful for the eight and a half hours of sleep that I enjoyed last night and the extra day (Labor Day) to rest before heading into another shortened week of school; it’s so nice to start the year gently. I’m part of a new team this year, and I’m feeling great about our professional chemistry together; it’s going to be a great year!

Finally, I'm not gonna lie about this, either; it's great to have our house back to ourselves; we can park both vehicles in the garage again, the only stuff laying around is our own, and I need only cook for two again. Of course, there's bedding to wash and plenty to clean up, but there's also a nap in my future and and one more day to sleep in. Life is good.

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