And then they…

the things we do to live a better life.

Archive for the category “Gratitude”

Friday Gratitudes 20

Friday the 16th: Culture. In the morning, I took the girls and my mom to story time at the library.  Then we tried to go to the art museum.  We ran out of time, but we got to eat at the cafe, and see some of the outdoor sculptures.  Then, we went to hear my step-dad’s band play at a benefit.  Lots of fun culture!

Saturday the 17th: Pedicure.I don’t really need to explain why I’d be grateful for a pedicure do I?

Sunday the 18th: Plans. We had some friends over for lunch, and planned a really fun vacation with them this summer!  Now all we need to do is wait!  Oh man!

Monday the 19th: Subbing. Seriously.  Subbing is the best.  No grading, no planning.  Monday was a half-day job, too, so no pressure.  I get to hang out with kids, see what they’re working on, teach a couple lessons (sometimes), and take off.

Tuesday the 20th: Growing.

Wednesday the 21st: Art.This time mom and I actually made it into the museum with the girls.  And boy was it cool!  There are some great exhibits at the U of O Art Museum these days.  “Medusa Smack” was Alma’s favorite.

Thursday the 22nd: Pool.Alma loved playing in her pool for the first time this summer.  I can’t wait for more swimming time with my little fish.


Hendrick’s Park, 2014

For years, I have been trying to plan a trip to the rhododendron gardens just right.  I always seem to miss it.  A couple weeks ago, I was sitting in my living room, looking at our beautiful red rhody, my neighbor’s purple one, and another neighbor’s yellow one.  It hit me.  This was the perfect weekend to go.  So we went.  And it was perfect.

And Then They - Bleeding Hearts And Then They - Family And Then They - Gazing And Then They - WalkingI love that we are able to expose our kids to nature so easily.  We are so blessed to live in a place with nature so nearby.  Even though Hendrick’s Park is a very landscaped, planned garden, it feels wild and natural.  It rises above the city, and surrounds you with flowers, and branches.

It is lovely.  And I’m really proud that we finally went right on time.

Friday Gratitudes 19






Friday the 9th: Imagination.  I am constantly amazed by Alma’s imagination. This is such a fun age.

Saturday the 10th: Play. I love how Alma can play while we work. Also, we saw an amazing play at Oregon Contemporary Theatre starring my beautiful and talented friend Hillary Ferguson. Go see it!

Sunday the 11th: Mothers.

Monday the 12th: Babies.

Tuesday the 13th: Work.

Wednesday the 14th: Daniel. We got to have lunch with my incredible brother, who is now on vacation in Europe before moving to Virginia.

Thursday the 15th: Forgiveness. I had to be very forgiving as it was possibly my worst day as a parent. Lots of different bodily fluids all over. Also grateful at my daughters’ capacity to forgive my frustration.

So glad it’s Friday again!

The Pollyanna Principle


I’ve been called a Pollyanna before.  I totally took it as a compliment (though I’m not sure it was meant that way).  I have noticed over the years, that I tend to try to find the good in all situations.  That isn’t to say that I don’t get disappointed or upset.  I do.  I sure do.

But, I always try to find something to be glad about – hence the Pollyanna Principle.

I know that the internet has really changed the way we communicate with people about our lives.  Facebook, Instagram, and blogs are full of amazing photos of incredible vacations, happy kids, balanced meals, perfect houses, and enriching activities.  The way we can instantly and widely share our accomplishments definitely gives a false sense of perfection to many people.  I am guilty of doing this.

But I don’t feel guilty about it.

Why share this blurry, sad photo:

And Then They - Sad

When I could, instead, share this adorable, (more) happy photo:And Then They - Happy

As a quote (perhaps falsely attributed to Abraham Lincoln (the internet it torn on this issue)) in the movie Pollyanna says, “When you look for the bad in mankind, expecting to find it, you surely will.”  This can be said about ourselves as well.  If I look for the bad in myself, I will become mostly bad.  If I look for the good, I will focus on that and become good.

I know that I have bad traits.  I try not to focus on them, but to be aware of them.  I do, however, try to focus on my good traits.  If I put my energy into the things I can do well, I feel that that goodness will spread into the things I can’t.

My One Little Word of the year is Gratitude, and this totally connects to my positive attitude.  Every single day, I think about what I’m grateful for, and usually I have to work hard to find a single word that can express the goodness of my day.  Even on my roughest, toughest days, I’m able to find something to be grateful about.  This morning Alma peed her pants, drew on herself, and woke Harriet up.  I felt myself getting really angry, so I took a moment to just be grateful for my beautifully frustrating 2-year-old, and remind myself that she is a 2-year-old. It took a lot of energy to be glad in the moment.  But, after a couple deep breaths, I was glad.

There is a lot of genuine positivity on the internet.  I wanted to share some of my favorite blogs and vlogs where the Pollyanna Principle is living and breathing:

First is my friend Evynne Hollens’ YouTube channel.  If you want to hear some beautiful music, and watch a new mom’s journey, please check out her channel.  Evynne has always been one of the most positive people I’ve known, and she is also one of the most successful people I’ve known.  I am going to say that those two things are related.  Watch this video about her amazing attitude, and this beautiful cover of Alma’s favorite song.

These are my three favorite blogs.  Whenever I do a reader clean-up, these three stay on the top of my Favorites list.  They are all inspired.

Kal Barteski is an amazingly strong and beautiful artist.  She has her own Girl Tribe.  She understand the power of encouragement and positivity.  Check out her project that tells people all over the world how awesome they are.  Kal is truly awesome.

Elise Blaha Cripe has a lovely attitude, and a lovely blog.  Her little corner of the internet is full of great tips, and beautiful photos.

The blog that is mostly likely to make me cry (and I love a good cry) is Girls Gone Child.  Rebecca Woolf is giving her four children the most amazing childhood full of music, dancing, creativity, expression, adventure, camaraderie, and love.  She isn’t one to shy away from the difficult or the mundane, and that is why I keep going back to her.





I’m working on a more organized and savvy system for the blog and the H & A Baby shop.  I’m excited to see where all of this might end up.

You never know if you don’t try.

Check back for details soon!

Friday Gratitudes 18









Friday the 2nd: Education. My last day at my long term job.

Saturday the 3rd: Finley. Our sweet little buddy had to have his appendix removed. We were all so grateful that it went well!

Sunday the 4th: Friends.

Monday the 5th: Alicia.  Alma was sick, so  we went see ‘Doctor’ Alicia. She’s actually a physician’s assistant, and we love her.

Tuesday the 6th: Science!  We got to go to a benefit dinner for The Science Factory. Experiments are still awesome.

Wednesday the 7th: Studies. H and I participated in a pilot study at the university. I love that we are surrounded by smart people who are trying to make a better world.

Thursday the 8th: Justice.  While subbing, I got to witness some of my favorite girls exercising their rights by staging a protest.

Friday Gratitudes 17

Maybe now that I am not working full time, I will be able to post my Friday Gratitudes on Fridays!







Friday the 25th: Tequila. 🙂

Saturday the 26th: Parents. We are so lucky to be surrounded by such great, caring, giving, funny, smart, and talented parents – both our own, and all of our friends who are parents. We have an amazing community.

Sunday the 27th: Home.

Monday the 28th: Kids. My mom brought my kids to school at the end of the day. I loved introducing my kids to ‘my kids.’

Tuesday the 29th: Mom. She had been so generous to watch my girls while I worked. 

Wednesday the 30th: Cedar. Can’t believe this boy is 5.

Thursday the 1st: Play. I took my 6th graders on a walk, then let them play capture the flag. I was surprised and excited to see the playful spirit they still possessed.

Friday Gratitudes 16






Friday 18th: Timing. Twenty minutes  Alma and I left our waffle date, the restaurant was robbed at gun point.

Saturday the 19th: Plants.

Sunday the 20th: Miracles.

Monday the 21st: 8 Months!

Tuesday the 22nd: Photographs.

Wednesday the 23rd: Mom.

Thursday the 24th: Dad.

Friday Gratitudes 15









Friday the 11th: Jesse.
Saturday the 12th: Muscles. 
Sunday the 13th: Leia.  My wonderful friend. She is smart and fun. AND she generously shares her milk with Harriet. What a blessing.
Monday the 14th: Jesse. When I forgot my keys at home, Jesse brought them all the way across town to me.
Tuesday the 15th: Steve.  Not only was it Steve’s birthday, but he also brought me another forgotten key. Trying not to make it a habit…
Wednesday the 16th: Augustines. Harriet’s fun August friends brought their friends over for dinner.
Thursday the 17th: Church. Read my post about Maundy Thursday.

Maundy Thursday

I wouldn’t say we go to an experimental church.  But, yesterday our church had an experiemental service.  They offered their first annual Maundy Thursday Family Service.  I would call the experiment a success.  The only thing they should change would be saving the nice towels for the adult service.  More on that later.

During the Gospel, there was a full chorus of children singing various versions of the typical child-song.  During the prayers, there was a line dance happening in the back pews.  During the children’s sermon, I counted at least three children who were expertly expressing their emotions.

Then came the main event.

Our lovely priest washed any child’s feet who wanted their feet washed.  There were pitchers of water, a big bowl for the feet, beautifully pristine white towels for drying.

The first spill happened right away, so it was good to get it out of the way.  The first spill was born out of exuberance and happiness. Feet were washed.

More water was spilled.  And more.  More feet were washed.

Then came communion.  When the kids gather around the altar, to be involved in the Great Thanksgiving, it was exciting, as always. Kids were watching the priest.  Kids were sitting together.  Kids were doing suspicious dancing, ending with mad dashes to the restroom.  Kids were refusing to stand with their friends.  Kids were spitting up.  Exciting.

One thing that our church does is this – before the priest says, “The gifts of God, for the people of God,” he hands the bread and wine to the children to hold up.  As he handed the pitcher of wine to Alma and another child, the priest said, “Here you go, Alma.  And Carolyn.  Help them.”  No more spills, here.

Then the service was over.

There were muddy little footprints in the aisle.

All the pristine towels were soaked.

The children had clean feet.

The priest had damp robes.

I felt overwhelmingly happy that this was our church, and this was what our church does.

And it was good.


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