Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Grace #14: Girl Scout Cookies

What?! Sugar-nazi Chellie is grateful for brownies, cookies...refined sugar??? No. I am not thankful for sugar right now. Although, there definitely times that I am, like when it sweetens my beloved Starbucks mocha...mmmm....But I digress. I am grateful for the fact that my daughter is involved in Brownie Girl Scouts. Specifically, I'm happy that she sells those cookies in the colorful little boxes. My daughter's involvement is Scouts has been a great experience for both of us (I am one of her troop leaders). I have gotten to see her grow and develop into a delightful girl, and Scouts has been a big part of that. We both have made some of our dearest friends through Scouts. Her two BFF's are in Brownies with her, I am very good friends with my co-leaders. My daughter is developing "courage, confidence and character." Her cookie-selling experience has allowed me to have an opportunity to watch this growth up close. I have loved watching her go from a very shy, scared, timid and inexperienced cookie-seller to a much more confident, self-assured, well-mannered and successful cookie-seller...in just one year! The transformation was amazing. Further, I am thankful for the money that our troop makes from our sales. Those funds allow us to do more for our girls. It allows them to do worthwhile service projects like helping out the needy kids in their very own school. Yes. I am grateful for those yummy cookies and Scouts. They have allowed my daughter and I to have a deeper connection...with a lot of fun thrown in the mix.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

More Family

Grace #14: My other nieces and nephews

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of getting to spend time with my nieces and nephews from my hubby's side. Spending time with them is very special and important to me. They only live an hour away, but the parents of the 3 oldest are divorced; and their dad (my hubby's brother) moved far away this past summer, with the youngest and his mom. All this makes getting together with them just a little bit more challenging! So...when we the stars do manage to align for the family, it is treasured time. You see, I have been pretty close to these kids since they were very little, and being that we all only lived an hour away, we could see each other often. Then when everything in their family began to change, so did our time together. I realize now that I probably took that ease of seeing them for granted. Not now! When we are together I work hard to be present for them and get at least a few moments (usually more!) alone with each of them. Each of them is so special to me, and I truly respect how they are handling all the upheaval they have gone through. They are such loving, caring, funny, kind and creative kids...each in his/her own way. I have loved watching them grow up and seeing the amazing people they are evolving into. Even more I love the relationships that my kids have with them. They have amazing relationships with ALL their cousins. My hubby and I have always made it a priority for our kids to be with their cousins on both sides whenever possible and to nurture those relationships. I'd say we've done a pretty good job! I am grateful to be Aunt Chellie to these four wonderful kids.


Grace #13: My Physical Fitness

Today I did a cartwheel! I had not done one in at least 20 years. We were hanging out with family at a gym, and there was this huge mat on the gym floor where the kids were wrestling with each other and their uncle. In addition, my daughter was practicing her cartwheels and round-offs. Every time I see her doing them I remember doing gymnastics as a kid and how much I enjoyed it, and I fantasize about trying a cartwheel. I always think about doing one, but the fear of falling and hurting myself usually wins out and I don't do it. Today I just did not want to let fear win. It helped that we had been playing dodge ball and I felt like a kid. Anyway, I DID IT! I am so proud of myself. I am forty-ish and in decent shape...and I can still do a cartwheel. Yay for me! :)

Monday, February 9, 2009


Grace # 12: My Sister-in-law, My Niece and Nephews, and...Oh Yeah, My Brother :)

This past weekend we went to visit my brother and his family to celebrate my niece's and nephews' birthdays. We all had a fabulous time together. The four adults (my hubby, my bro, my sister-in-law and I) even got to have some real "adult" time while the kids watched movies. So much fun! I was aware the entire weekend of how thankful I am that they are a part of my life, so I knew I needed to make them one of my graces.

I am truly blessed that my bro had the good sense to marry his wonderful wife, M. Not only did he get a fantastic wife, but I got a terrific sister-in-law out of the union! I just love M. She is fun, kind, caring, loving and incredibly generous. She has a HUGE heart, and all who know her get to benefit from it. She is a great mom, and she is a super aunt to all her nieces and nephews. Over the years, M and I have gone from somewhat distant relatives by marriage to good friends and "sisters of the heart." M has three of her own sisters, but she has generously opened to her heart to include me in that circle. I know I can truly depend on her to be there for my family and me. I always enjoy our families' visits with one another, and one of the best parts is that we always have A LOT OF FUN together! Finally, M puts up with my bro, and for that she deserves a medal of honor.

My nieces and nephews are one of the great joys in my life. I am very grateful that I get to see them as often as I do (of course, I wish it were more often, though!), and that I have be able to watch them grow and change. They are awesome kids! One of the best things is that my kids are very close to their cousins, and thoroughly enjoy every moment with them. The worst thing is when we have to say good-bye at the end of a visit. :(

Hmm, it seems that I am forgetting something. What could it be?... Oh! Sorry Little Bro! I didn't really forget about you. Yes, I am grateful for my brother. He is terrific. We have been through a lot together over the years, and I have always been able to count on him. He is a wonderful brother, dad, uncle and hubby. Four of the best things he did were to marry M and have 3 amazing kids with her. Thanks for that, Bro!

Now, this is not to say that we have not had our disagreements and "rough spots" along the way in these relationships. We definitely have, but the absolute best part about my relationships with all these wonderful people is that there is a deep and abiding respect and love that gets us through...anything.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Grace #11: Incredibly sore muscles

I am grateful that my muscles are so unbelievably sore from my work-out today because it means that I am healthy enough to exercise. I am fortunate enough to have a great place to work out--the Jazzercise Center not far from my house. I take classes with an instructor (who also happens to be a good friend--how cool is that?!) and friends that are always challenging me to
lift heavier weights, to work harder...to just do MORE!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Snowed In

Grace #10: Snow Days!

A winter storm blasted our community this past week. We received about 36 hours of snow, sleet and ice. It was a beautiful winter wonderland outside. I was truly grateful for the fact that school was canceled for 3 days and there was one 2-hour delay. I know, most moms dread this many days off in the middle of the week only a couple of weeks after the holiday break. Usually I am one of those moms. This time was different. First, I was ready for some real SNOW. We had not gotten anything of any significance all season. Mostly, though, I was thankful because the night before the big storm I came down with an awful cold, and because school was called off I got to sleep in for 4 days. Four days of blissful waking on my own without having to jump out of bed and rush off to start our day. I felt lousy, and because of the weather everything was canceled. I couldn't work out even if I wanted to, which I didn't, because yep, you guessed it, I felt lousy. No meetings to sit through while I sniffed and coughed. No endless errands to run while I fantasized what it was like to actually breathe and get enough oxygen to my brain. No volunteering at school while my eyes itched, my nose ran, and my eardrums felt like they would explode. You may wonder why I would be so happy that my children were home while I felt so cruddy. This is the best part. They weren't here much. Amazingly, the neighbor kids were all around and available and desperate to play all day outside getting fresh air and exercise! When the kids were here, their friends were too, so they were happily occupied. One afternoon, both my darlings were gone and I laid on the couch for hours and watched Food Network. Unheard of in my world! Our final afternoon off school was spent having a play date at our dear friends, the D Family. We don't get to see these friends much due to the kids all going to different schools and being on different schedules, so it was a blessing to have unexpected play time with them. We have been friends for a long time and our kids have grown up together, so it was especially fun to see them all enjoy a long afternoon sledding and playing. AND, I got to share coffee and conversation with a very good friend. Can't beat that! I do kinda wish I hadn't been sick during our snow days. I did not get out to enjoy the winter weather or go sledding, which I love. However, I got some much needed rest and recovered from my cold in record time. I am ready to tackle the week to come.