Saturday, February 27, 2010

Simple pleasures

Recently I read a blog with this title. It was a list of simple things enjoyed by the blogger. Made me stop and think about what simple pleasures I enjoy. Here are a few.

Clean sheets
A baby’s laughter
Not having to set an alarm
Time to read without feeling guilty
Calls from my kids
My girlfriends
Breakfast food for dinner
Getting a mani/pedi
Watching the deer in the backyard
The crispy edges of brownies
Celebrating my birthday
Working the Sunday crossword puzzle
My cat purring in my lap
Sharing bagels and the newspaper with Tommy
A fire in the fireplace
Fall colors
Reconnecting with old friends

Saturday, February 6, 2010


I took down my Christmas tree today. Now before you think I'm one of those "leave it up forever" people, let me explain. My decorations go up Thanksgiving weekend and normally come down about the 26th. However, our family celebrated Christmas January 24. This was the second annual Ward Family Christmas in January, and Utah was the destination of choice. Tommy and I wanted to have the tree up to make the celebration more realistic. Thus, the final "undecorating" happened today. (Most everything but the tree came down on the usual schedule.)

As I was taking ornaments off the tree, I indulged in a little trip down memory lane. Since the year we married, we've purchased an ornament each year that is embellished with the date. Some remind us of special events--the moose family ornament we bought on a family vacation to Yellowstone, and the 2002 Olympic-themed ornament from the year the winter Olympics were in Salt Lake City. Some remind us of special people--the snow globe with a small penguin because Tommy's mom loved penguins, the picture frame with a family portrait. Some remind us of special times--ceramic bells purchased in Del Rio, our first Air Force assignment location, a replica of the Rose Window in the National Cathedral in Washington DC that we bought on our first visit there.

But the memory that most moved me today, and brought me great joy, was the closeness of our family. Our children LIKE coming to visit mom and dad. They enjoy one another's company. Amber, our daughter-in-law, fits right in with the Ward quirkiness, which is awesome. We worked hard to achieve this as the kids were growing up. You see, we've never in almost 35 years of marriage had the typical 9-5 work day where everyone sat down to dinner together most nights. Between an Air Force career and an airline career, Tommy was often gone. I have always been a working mom (by choice). For a long time, I worried about how my children would turn out since we didn't have a "normal" lifestyle. Then one day a wise person told me, "but what you have is the 'normal' for your family." Huge burden lifted!

So, we created special family times. Mandatory Family Fun (MFF). Everybody had to participate and at least act like they were having a good time. Sometimes a movie together. Sometimes dinner out. Sometimes attending a sibling's school function. Sometimes trips. Sometimes working in the yard together. Sometimes organized and planned; sometimes spontaneous. But always with a goal of spending time together. Don't get me wrong. We got plenty of the "do I have to" whines and grumpy faces. But, we held firm on MFF activities and participation.

Now, the kids sometimes are the ones who initiate MFF. The Christmas in January was their idea. And I am so thankful God blessed us with this result. And with such great kids.