Here it is. I've been wanting to blog this for a while. Of course this has the potential to go on forever, so I will try to keep it to 1000 words or less. Ha. ;)
I am thankful for:
* Team Hayes. And, not just Brad and the kids...for all four of us, our family dynamic and how we influence each other to good things on a daily basis. The love that Brad and I shared before JJ and SJ joined us, has only been multiplied in ways we could never imagine.
* Friends. This is not a blanket statement, though I am thankful for all of my friends. There just happen to be a few who I don't think I could live without. Melynda is my shining star of hope, whenever I need a lift. She is a breath of fresh air, a devoted and loving friend, and one of the most forgiving, kind, and good people that I have ever met. Stephanie is a new friend, that I am so happy that I have met since moving to Hawaii. She is fun and patient, generous and silly. It is also very convenient that she lives right down the street! Like I said, I'm thankful for all of my friends, new and old...but those who have been here for me recently, I can't thank enough(Amy-your late night text messaging meant a lot to me).
* String Cheese. I love it. Brad loves it. Jocelyn loves it. It's just good...especially with a glass of boxed white zinfandel. I love that I am so classy.
* Great babies. Jocelyn is pretty much all potty trained after a couple weeks of hardly any effort on my part, and she turns two in a month and a half. Sam has been sleeping for 11-13 hours every night for a while now. These kids make being a mom so easy, how could I not want three more?
* Hawaii. I wasn't the most optimistic about getting orders to come here, but I have changed my tune. I love the weather, especially after seeing all of the snow pictures on Facebook recently. I get to wear flip flops every day. I can go to the beach all the time. The military allows us to handle the cost of living here, and provides us with a nice home, new fitness facilities, as well as a bunch of other benefits for tours and activities on the island. I'm pleased, and though I've been planning on Sand Diego for our next duty station, I might just let Brad convince me to stay here for three extra years. Who wants to move with a bunch of kids anyway?
* Income, bonuses, tax returns, and promotions. I am addicted to the military families forum on www.diaperswappers.com, and recently some women were talking/joking about how nice it would be if their husbands made overtime, or were paid as much as their civilian counterparts. For the most part, they were just being silly, but I couldn't help but point out that military people are NOT underpaid. Some people look at their W-2 and see that they made $35,000 in 2009. They think this is not sufficient. Especially when they see a civilian friend who has $70,000 on line one of their W-2. Housing allowance ($2500/month for us), cost of living allowance ($400/month), Subsistence allowance ($320/month) and other benefits are NON-TAXABLE, so they do not show up on our W-2. BAH alone adds $30,000 to our annual income, and we are not taxed on that. That is such a cool deal for us! It makes our taxable income low enough to qualify for tax credits that are giving us a $10,000 tax return this year (goodbye debt). Many military people take their benefits and pay for granted, but I am SO thankful for it! Between base pay, housing allowance, subsistence allowance, cost of living allowance, reenlistment bonuses, clothing allowance, medical bills that we did not have to pay, and being able to shop on base at the commissary, and at the NEX tax-free...we would have needed to make about $120,000 as a civilian to maintain our same lifestyle. That is nothing to sneeze at! Yeah, military people "put their lives on the line", but your civilian husband has better chance of dying in a car accident on his way to work, than my husband has of dying while deployed on an aircraft carrier. Another thing to be thankful for - Brad is not in the Army or the Marines carrying a gun in a war zone (I'm thankful for the guys who are, and their families)!
* Love handles. Yes, I am thankful for my flabby tummy. I have been so discouraged lately because my workout plans have been ripped to shreds by Brad's schedule, my knee pain, and my inability to remain injury free while washing dishes. Well, I am still motivated. These belly rolls are my tangible motivation factor, and until they are gone, my motivation isn't going anywhere. I am patiently waiting to heal and then get right back on track. I have earned my muffin top by bringing two beautiful children into the world, and I'm kind of proud of it. However, I know it's not just kids that have given me this flat tire, which is another reason I'm thankful for it. I eat like there is not tomorrow. My doctor even told me that I was a 300 pound girl who is trapped in a 150 pound body. I eat whatever I want when I want, and that makes me happy. I never want to have to eat yucky things just to lose weight. I am thankful to have a super metabolism that allows me to only have a chubby middle when I should probably be morbidly obese. I plan to lose these love handles someday, but until then, I will appreciate them for what they represent to me.
* No car payments. We don't have new cars. But we were able to pay cash for them and it feels so great to not have any banks, sitting on their butts, making interest off our purchases! Not to mention that we are saving on insurance. I think I might have even helped talk someone out of buying a new car this morning, which makes me feel really good, because their quality of life will be better for it!
* The internet. It's just amazing, and I honestly don't know how I would survive without it. I mean, if it were never invented, I'd be fine. But, now that I know what I'd be missing, and I'm so used to just "googling" stuff, I don't know if I'd make it through the day without it. I didn't think I'd survive without my P&T stroller when it broke, but I've managed. The computer is a whole different thing, though. It provides me with information, entertainment, social networking, a way to complete a degree without paying for day care, and so much more. I am just thankful for how technology has made my life super convenient. I couldn't imagine living this same life ten, twenty, thirty years ago, much less 100 years ago!
* People who leave comments on my blog. This is not a cheap ploy to get you to leave me a comment. It truly makes my day to get a comment. It tells me that there is someone out there who is actually interested enough in my life to take time from their day and their schedule to read my super long stories and opinions...and then share their opinion on what I have written. There really aren't many better feelings than that. How can I ever be depressed when there I get a new comment on my blog? That sounds dumb, but it is true!
Okay, there is so much more I'm thankful for, but I'm pretty sure that this is more than 1000 words, so I'll quit. These are just some of the things that have been on my mind recently, and I'm aware that I'm lucky to have them.
P.S. As I finished writing this, I went to Photobucket so I could add some pictures to this blog. Photobucket made my internet browser crash and I had to restart the computer. So, I'd like to add that I am thankful that Blogger automatically saves my progress every 20 seconds or so! Whew.
P.P.S. I bet you cannot guess what I am eating, right now.