Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

Self Love, Zoo Glory, And Being Thankful

Finding Ninee began because I’d intended to write a memoir – um, until I read an editor would rather shave a cat than read another memoir. Instead, I started a blog.

At first, I didn’t want anybody to read what I wrote. Certainly not most people I knew in real life. With each new post, I felt braver, and eventually began sharing and finding other bloggers. Finish the Sentence Friday was one of the first blog hops I participated in, which is where I met Lizzi of Considerings, one of many lovely people I’ve met online (and in person) who I cherish (I cherish the ones I haven’t yet met in person, too <3).

Why am I telling you this? Because six years ago this very moment, Lizzi launched Ten Things of Thankful (TToT). She roped in lovingly gathered a bunch of us to host with her. If one of us dropped from hosting, another was invited to carry the baton. Today, Ten Things of Thankful is run by Kristi of Thankful Me and she’s agreed to partner with me and Finish the Sentence for a mash-up. Definitely a party. Six years! It goes by in a blink, doesn’t it?

A lot of studies and practices show writing letters or lists of gratitude and thankfulness help rewire our brains to be happier and more content. Personally, I’ve been trying to be more grateful and accepting of myself, new wrinkles and all. Saying “I like myself” is hard for me but I’m determined to get there. When I reflect on what I’m thankful for, there are many things, both big and small that feel me with gratitude.

Self Love, Zoo Glory, And Being Thankful

1. I’m thankful it’s the sixth anniversary of TToT, so that Kristi and I merged our hops and hopes this weekend to bring writers, bloggers, and gratitude seekers together. There’s a rumor (shhhhh) that founding member Lizzi may participate too! Whether she does or not, I’m so glad she began this practice.

2. While I almost continually grieve Tucker’s littleness, and will soon grieve this summer, I love watching the person my kid’s becoming. His kindness, shyness, silliness, and empathy blow my mind. I’m so very lucky to be his mom.

This isn’t his first first smile, but I love how he looks like he’s dancing and snapping his fingers

3. I’ve mentioned recently reaching out to both a therapist and wellness coach. Each is helping me realize that each and every one of us carries pain and first, that’s okay, and second, there are ways to accept it in order to feel more self-accepting and aware. It’s eye-opening to realize how much we (or, well, I) deflect emotion with humor, sarcasm, and avoidance. I’m learning that it’s ok (and healthier) to show emotion as it occurs.

4. Welcoming Nugget into our home this year has been a wonder. There’s not much to rival the excited way she greets us when we’ve been gone for five minutes or five hours.

“Mom, why is Nugget so cute?” Tucker asks. “So we keep her when she destroys her bed,” I reply. I should’ve gotten a photo from earlier today when the cottony fluff of her bed was strewn everywhere. I got these though, on a random May snow day (yes, you read that right).

She looks a little psycho but I prefer “determined.” Plus, look how proud Tucker is of her!

5. I’ve mentioned before how insecure I feel about being an older mom with wrinkles. I’m trying to be more self-accepting of my age, and recently discovered Rodan + Fields skin care. I love the products so much that I became a consultant (some *gulp,* mostly *yay!*).

I’m thankful to have options like this that allow me to reach out at my own pace (very slow and insecure, of course but I’m working on it) to build a small business that I really believe in. Please let me help you with your skin if you’re considering a new routine or are just feeling “blah” about your current products. This stuff is amazing. Plus, my eyelashes are growing. For real. PM me and I’ll tell you more!

6. Moving is rough. More so than I remembered, although this was the first time I’ve done so since becoming a mom. The extra baggage – both physical (amazing how much stuff we’d accumulated) and emotional has made it one of our less-than-easiest of years. Today, I’m grateful I was able to get a few mom’s contact information after our water gun party on Friday. Tucker has a friend over and hearing their giggles upstairs is priceless.

7. My kid giggling upstairs with another kid is worth ten thankfuls in itself.

8. People came to our water gun party, and had fun. We had fun, too, and sent everybody home with pizza after ordering seven 24” pizzas for 20 people.

We didn’t realize they were 24” pizzas when we ordered them, and the guy on the phone was less than brilliant in helping me figure out how much we’d need. Better to have leftovers and send people home with pizza slices than to run out with a herd of pre-teen boys in your house.

Here’s Where the Zoo Glory Comes In For Self Love, Zoo Glory, And Being Thankful

9. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Friends, when you come visit us, please allow us to take you to this zoo. It’s one of my favorites ever. The giraffes are RIGHT THERE. The lion isn’t planning on eating the giraffe, although he’d probably like to.

10. And Tucker so pleased to have this tiny friend land on his stick. Zoo glory, if I’ve ever seen it.

That’s what I’m thankful for this week. I already feel lighter and less negative. What are you thankful for right now? Tell me in the comments, or link up with us!

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post, where writers and bloggers come together to share their themselves with a particular prompt (different formats each week of the month). If you’d like to participate, join our Facebook group. This week, we’re mashing up with Ten Things of Thankful!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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  • Emily - Wow, I remember when the 10 Things Thankful started (yay Lizzi!) — so crazy that was 6 years ago!? I’m not exactly sure what inspired me to do this, but I started to keep a gratitude journal a few months ago — I basically downloaded a gratitude app and write an entry on my phone every day. I suppose I started the practice because I had a lot of stress and worry in my life and felt the need to focus on something good for a change. And speaking of good, 20 people at Tucker’s party…yayyyy!! So glad it worked out!June 6, 2019 – 8:17 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - It really is hard to believe it’s been six years. Has the gratitude app helped you? Which do you use? And yeah, I know… Tucker’s party turned out to not be a bust, thank goodness. Two people RSVPd yes the morning of the party. Good thing I had extra party favors. Sheesh.June 9, 2019 – 1:57 pmReplyCancel

  • Kristi - Do you think that anyone will believe that we didn’t plan out both listing zoos as a thankful?! (Not to mention we both talked about the pain of moving!) Now that we are only a state away, we definitely have to meet in person sometime. So much of what you wrote rings true to me.

    I’m so glad that Tucker’s party went well. I almost called my son to see if he was free for a water fight, but was glad to hear that Tucker’s classmates came through for him. Happy early birthday!

    Nugget is absolutely adorable!

    Thanks for suggesting the TToT and FTSF combine for this week! 🙂June 6, 2019 – 8:20 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I couldn’t believe we both used zoos AND talked about the pain of moving! We could pretend we planned it, as co-hosts, like twinsie outfits or something? That’s so sweet that you thought of calling your son to see if he was free – thank you for that kind thought. I was really relieved that people ended up coming to Tucker’s party – two families RSVP’d with a “yes” the morning of! So glad we combined TToT and FTSF mashup! Thank you for saying “yes!”June 9, 2019 – 1:59 pmReplyCancel

  • JT Walters - Some of your fans became your friends and we celebrate your positive attitude, live, dedication, and openness.

    Even, uh hum…your Republican friend, loves you.

    Congratulations on being lassoed into success.


    I would have done six years of blogs just to meet Colin Farrell—he’s so cute!!June 6, 2019 – 8:37 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - LOL on “even uh hum… your Republican friend loves you” – back at you, my friend. And agree Colin Farrell is adorable!June 9, 2019 – 2:01 pmReplyCancel

  • Lizzi - I am so so amazed it was six years ago, and so thankful for the community we built and all the light and happiness it has bestowed upon those in it. I shall be forever thankful to have been part of it. I cherish it and all its people and am so glad Kristi was able to carry it on for me 😊😊😊😊

    So HAPPY T’s birthday party went so well. YAY!!!!June 7, 2019 – 4:36 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I’m amazed it’s been six years, too. It is the light and happiness YOU built. Thank you for that. And yeah, T’s birthday party going off well was such a huge relief. xoxoJune 9, 2019 – 2:02 pmReplyCancel

  • Debi - There’s so much loveliness here, but I feel drawn most to tell you what a great picture that is of YOU! You look happy and relaxed (and that’s impressive for a party full of little boys with water guns). It’s nice to see your smiling face!June 7, 2019 – 8:15 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Debi, that’s so sweet, thank you! I’m sure I’d not be so happy or relaxed if nobody showed up, but was grateful that they came and all had a blast. A true success, even with the accidental pizza overload.June 9, 2019 – 2:04 pmReplyCancel

  • Tamara Bowman - I always wondered what I’d write and I just needed to start. So I wrote a blog and the rest is history!
    I do need a PM of your eyelashes. Mine are long and lush but don’t seem to be what they used to be.
    The pizza story is hilarious!
    The snow in May is not.
    I need to work on feeling emotions as they happen.June 7, 2019 – 10:43 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I’m so so glad you wrote a blog. Who knows. Maybe we’ll both write more or something else but I’m glad we’re here and I love that I got to know you through it! I’ll PM you my eyelashes. They were kinda stubby before so it’s amazing to me that they finally come past the upper lid wrinkle place (there’s probably a name for that). May snow can suck it for sure. Here’s to us feeling what we feel when we feel it. I get so choked up so easily – like the littlest things make me cry… so I hide. But why? Who cares? Gah.June 9, 2019 – 2:08 pmReplyCancel

  • Deborah L Bryner - Oh YAY the party went off without a hitch! I agree that it’s much better to send people home with lots of leftovers than it is to run out. The new puppy is adorable – a good friend of ours had an Australian shepherd once. Good dogs…very protective of their people. Finally, I really like the idea of enumerating things for which we’re thankful…it’s not something that comes naturally to most of us. I’m working on mine…honestly….June 7, 2019 – 3:38 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I was so very relieved about the party. It’s funny (not really that funny haha) how stressed out I was about nobody coming. But they did come, and had fun, and Tucker had fun, and I even managed too as well, so a huge win here. Nugget’s a great dog – a bit still annoying in the puppy stage of eating her beds and such, but she’s been wonderful for our family. And yeah, I’m working on being thankful and also on positive self-talk. It’s harder than it seems like it should be. We can do it!June 9, 2019 – 2:10 pmReplyCancel

  • Rebecca - That zoo looks fabulous for kids! Hands-on, up close experiences are the most memorable. I’m so glad you adopted Nugget. I’m sure he’s a great pal for Tucker. Dogs are so naturally loving- he must jump up on Tucker as soon as T opens the door! Also, it takes a strong person to step back from the madness of life and do something toward personal wellness. Bravo to you, brave momma!June 7, 2019 – 4:21 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - It’s one of my favorite zoos ever. The giraffes – they are RIGHT THERE, and you can buy leafy greens to feed them so they just saunter right up to you. It’s so cool. I’m really glad we adopted Nugget, too. Thanks – she totally loves on Tucker so so much. They’re snuggled up on the couch right now 🙂
      And thank you for the personal wellness nod – it’s so much harder than I think it’s supposed to be!June 9, 2019 – 2:12 pmReplyCancel

  • clark - Excellent TToT 6thA post.
    (I think it was here that the ‘proof’ of the realness of friends online hit me, a few years ago. I was commenting about something and said/wrote, “And remember the time Tucker…” and it struck home that thats the thing everyone says to long-standing friends and/or family. Not that I doubted it but it’s sometimes good to have corroboration from the ‘real’ world).
    Dogs, as I know you know, are perfect lifeforms. “…excited way she greets us when we’ve been gone for five minutes or five hours.” that’s it exactly.
    They live their lives in the moment and without reservation.
    Very cool.
    Tucker is what, seventeen? lol (It doesn’t help the ‘My good, where has the time gone.’ when you share the story of your child who grows into a kid, and proceeds in young person status before our collective eyes!)
    Thanks for being one of the co-hostinae here at the bloghop that Lizzi created. She done quite the job of recruiting.June 7, 2019 – 6:52 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Ah, Clark. I remember talking with you about that – the proof of the realness of online friends and shared memories through reading and commenting, and OMG IT IS REAL!
      And I completely agree that dogs are perfect lifeforms… she’s been such a huge bonus to each of us in different ways. Hard to imagine I waited so long since saying goodbye to Chief to welcome another furry love into our family.
      LOL Tucker seems seventeen sometimes… I can’t believe (!!)!)!) he’s turning 10 this summer. I wish it’d slow down a little.
      And Lizzi really did an amazing job of recruiting. Thank YOU for being one of her minions with me 😉June 9, 2019 – 2:15 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa Tomey - Excellent post!June 7, 2019 – 7:11 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana - I didn’t even know 24 inch pizzas were a thing! But yes, much better to have too much than not enough.

    Six years already? I love that I’ve known you for that long, even longer. I’m thankful for THAT! And your child’s laughter – always, always.June 8, 2019 – 8:22 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I don’t think 24″ pizzas are enough of a thing to be a thing! I obviously had no idea! I love that I’ve known you for longer, too. I’m thankful you invited me to attend that FEM shop thing with you and that we’ve had IRL lunches… and yes, our kids’ laughter. xoxoJune 9, 2019 – 2:24 pmReplyCancel

  • Pat B - I am so glad that people came to the party. It sounds like they had fun. Wow, a 24″ pizza. Now that is definitely party size!

    How funny that both you and the other Kristi had zoo experiences.

    Love the twinkle in Tucker’s eyes when the bird landed on the stick.

    Ah, yes, the real reason dogs are so cute. So true.June 8, 2019 – 10:24 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I was so relieved about people coming to the party! And yeah, the 24″ pizza was a bit crazy really. I thought it was funny too, that Kristi and I both had zoo experiences as part of our thankful items – I told her we should maybe pretend as if we planned it as co-hosts… a bit like wearing matching outfits.
      Tee hee to the real reason dogs are so cute! 🙂June 9, 2019 – 2:26 pmReplyCancel

  • Zoe - Oh my God I am such a nimrod with blogging now I don’t even know how to leave a comment anymore! Is that a sign of impending doom or something? Maybe Armageddon? I don’t know. Well hopefully this won’t be repeated from my previous comments but I had said that I was grateful for the invitation from you thank you! And also that you look like a really hot pizza saleswoman like all you’re missing is being on the hood of a car! No wrinkly crinkly old lady Mommy here! Nothing to see here in the wrinkly mommy division! Love you miss you! ZJune 9, 2019 – 5:32 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Oh my God can I tell you how fun and lovely and pure awesome bliss it is to see you comment AND wrote AND linked up?!?! I think it’s a sign that you’ve been doing other life things, personally, but hey – you remembered enough! And had photos too! I’m glad you joined and LOL to the really hot pizza saleswoman – maybe when I’m bored I’ll photoshop me onto a car. Ok probably not… LOVE YOU MISS YOU!June 9, 2019 – 2:29 pmReplyCancel

  • messymimi - What a lovely list! That does look like a fabulous zoo, and there’s a really handy “How many pizzas do i need” calculator online that has come in handy more than once.June 9, 2019 – 7:31 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Oh wow, I’m going to have to Google that. When I asked the guy on the phone, seven pizzas for 20ish people sounded totally reasonable. Of course, I had no idea they were 24″ pizzas! (Obviously)June 9, 2019 – 8:30 pmReplyCancel

  • Christine Carter - AH!! LOVE this! ALL of it!! Gosh, the memories of those TToT posts and the incredible cohesiveness it brought to us all- and my gosh, the friendships it inspired and continues to, to this day! Lizzi is SUCH a blessing- oh, those were the good old days, weren’t they? I miss them!!

    I love your thankfuls- It seems you are growing right along with Tucker and THAT is just awesome. Girl, I’m so excited about your new business! Keep taking those brave steps forward! I know how scary that can be!

    And man, I can’t even imagine that much pizza! LOL. Clearly, the pizza guy was new or simply wasn’t wearing his thinking cap!
    omgJune 10, 2019 – 10:58 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I so miss those days, too, but am also thankful that we’ve come to where we are, or, maybe, that Lizzi has come to where she is… Her trip out here was magical and amazing, and also, she listened to each of us and got a life in England… OMG I’m so sucking at the new business… but thank you for saying something about it. LOL to the pizza. <3June 11, 2019 – 11:21 pmReplyCancel

  • Dyanne Dillon - I have loved every stage of my kids’ lives (so far….). When I first had them, I thought it would never get better than that sweet baby stage, but I was wrong. Tucker is growing into such an amazing boy! I’m soooo glad he had a terrific turnout at his water party and I wish I’d been a recipient of some of that pizza! 24″ pizza? Jiminy Crickets, that’s huge!

    Snow. In May. HAHAHAHAHAA!!! Actually, I would have traded you a couple of tornado warnings for that snow!

    I’ve never participated in Finish the Sentence Friday, but I’ve heard about it for, oh, 6 years!June 10, 2019 – 3:42 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - OMG Finish the Sentence is where so many of us met, and you are invited any time, of course. The stages of our kids’ lives… omg. It’s too fast and too soon and also slow, in the days. I’m so glad and happy that we found one another from TToT. Ugh to the tornado warnings though. Scary.June 11, 2019 – 11:26 pmReplyCancel

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