ten things i'm most thankful for this thanksgiving.

i feel like i've been doing a lot of complaining lately.  these pregnancy hormones have me stressed, irritable, frustrated and constantly tired [though i'll attribute that to a toddler + teething as well].  there's not a ton of laughter or happiness from me lately, which i really hate heading into this holiday season.  so in an effort to remind myself of all the good in my life -- as well as actually write a blog post -- i want to share some truly wonderful things i am thankful for today.

our new home
if you had asked me last thanksgiving what i would definitely not be doing in the next year, on the very top of that list would have been moving.  but here we are, resettled in a new home.  and truth be told i couldn't be happier.  sometimes i miss our old house -- but not very often.  little things here, like an open floor plan, having a garage, a master bathroom, and enough rooms for all our last minute thanksgiving guests to sleep in make me so thankful.

a baby brother for julian
about 90% of the time i feel like i worry about how difficult it is going to be to have two babies.  i found the newborn phase to be completely overwhelming, and i am kind of obsessing over how little i know i am going to get to sleep.  BUT.  in julian's eyes, this little baby is going to be fantastic.  these two boys are going to be less than two years apart.  they will get to grow up doing everything together.  and speaking as someone who has a brother just 18 months younger than me, i can say with certainty that he is going to be thankful for that little brother the rest of his life.

a husband who works at home -- mostly 
when philip's on the road, it's pretty much the worst.  but when he's home?  there's nothing better.  sometimes we can go to the zoo, or sneak away to the pool in the afternoon all three of us.  occasionally i get to shower in the morning.  he makes our chemex every morning.  julian can run into his office with a story and philip can pause for just a couple minutes to read it.  and we put him down for bed together, every night.  sometimes for naps, too.  it's maybe the thing i am most thankful for, really.

a healthy toddler
we've had our struggles lately.  coming up on two years means the occasional temper tantrum.  cutting incisor teeth means constant irritability.  and a 18-24 month sleep regression means that my kid hasn't laid down to take a nap or slept longer than 15 minutes in three weeks.  it's exhausting.  but you know what?  he's a healthy, happy little boy.  he smart.  he's well adjusted.  he engaged and constantly learning.  we went through a big autism scare this year, but thankfully that's not something we have to worry about.  and every single day, i am thankful for that.  naptime or not.

a wonderful support system here 
having a sister that lives with me and a mom that lives just 20 minutes away means that we get to do things sometimes.  the occasional hockey game.  i can go to midwife appointments without dragging a toddler.  when i'm really exhausted and at my breaking point, i can call someone to help me.  it's something that is so absolutely not underrated and much more important than i ever thought it would be.

safety and security
if listening to NPR every morning has given me anything, it's a newfound thankfulness for where i live.  no one bombs my city.  i don't live in constant fear of ebola.  my own government isn't coming after me.  it's something we take for granted almost every day.  but the more we hear about refugees and their heartbreaking struggles, the more amazed i feel that my most basic needs are met every day without me even having to think about them.  not all are that fortunate.

financial health
it's taken until we are in our 30s, but it's nice to say that we don't have to struggle to buy christmas presents.  we've been working hard on our budgeting, paying down debts, living within our means and it's all been... working out [gasp!].  who would have thought?

mom friends
i am one of those fortunate few who have a close knit group of girlfriends.  we've all been close since high school and have been through countless ups and downs in the last 15 years.  but there's something about mom friends that you really appreciate when you have a baby.  i've been lucky enough to make a few who have boys right around julian's age, and it makes all the difference in the world.  we can text about throwups and fevers and teething habits.  we can share in babysitting duties and hang out with each other while the boys run around.  it's a lot less lonely that way.

staying home with my baby
there are some days i would give anything to not have to entertain a toddler all day and, you know, do something with my brain instead -- but i'm fortunate to get to stay home.  i've never had to leave my child in the care of a stranger, or walk away as he cries for me.  we may get sick of each other from time to time, but he's mine to get sick of, all day and every day.  and getting to freelance part-time, when i want to, makes a huge difference for me.

my january due date
this baby is going to come early.  i just know it.  but even if he's two weeks early like his brother was, that still puts him arriving in 2016.  which means i can enjoy the holiday season with my family of three, sipping coffee, playing games, opening presents, and sleeping.  i'll be full term on christmas day, so my money is as soon as santa leaves this baby comes.  but for now... i still have time.  and for that, i am thankful.

happy thanksgiving, friends.  here's hoping you're spending it in the company of people you love.

the definitive ranking of christmas movies.

christmas season in the isbouts household is pretty awesome.  it's my favorite time of year, as i think i may have shared a couple hundred times.  we light the candles that smell like evergreen, go overboard on decorating, christmas carol exclusively, and watch only christmas-themed movies and tv shows.  so since we went a little heavy yesterday, here's a lighter post on my favorite christmas movies.

every other list you have read is wrong.

10.  serendipity

sure, not a conventional christmas movie.  but, really, show me a better meet cute than bloomingdale's on christmas eve as you both reach for the last black cashmere glove?  and ice skating in central park with hot cocoa at serendipity 3?  doesn't get better.  and i know this because one year for christmas when PI and i lived in brooklyn [and were incredibl broke] my christmas gift a was a re-creation of the beginning of serendipity.  we met at the glove counter in bloomingdale's, walked to serendipity [but it was closed], headed to central park to ice skate [the line as insane], and then finished at the waldorf where instead of playing on the elevators we had champagne at the bar [and watched a business man pick up a hooker].  so what i am trying to say was the movie was a little more romantic than real life, but still.

9.  last holiday

it's a little cheesy.  but if you tell me you don't like queen latifah i will honestly flat out not believe you, because everyone loves her.  she's like ellen.  impossible to hate.  couple that with the fact that this movie takes place in karlovy vary [czech republic represent!] and the irony that i watched it on the plane when i was moving to prague makes a memorable christmas movie for pretty much no one else but me.  but i watch it every year, because georgia is a sweet woman, and i also love to hear to hear the new year's countdown in czech [pět! čtyři! tři! dva! jedna!].
8.  home alone two: lost in new york

not quite as good as the original, but pretty fantastic.  nothing is better than new york at christmas, so major points there.  also that kevin kid gets a little cuter than in the first movie, and man does that kid know how to order room service.  not bad.

7.  how the grinch stole christmas

classic.  and much better than the jim carrey remake, though i also kind of love that one.  but this one gets me every time, when the grinch's heart grows too big for the measuring thingy and the little pup can hardly hold his head up with the antlers.  a great one for kids + adults.

6.  the family stone

like i mentioned the other day, i've had kind of a love//hate with relationship with this movie.  so that lands this right in the middle of the group.  i watch it every year and i like it a little bit more, and have accepted it for it's shortcomings [like a plot that doesn't make much sense].  but really, i never get tired of diane keaton and this movie kind of makes me want to have a big loving family of five kids.

5.  the family man

no one has anything negative to say about nic cage, because, why would you?  this movie was kind of a 'forgotten' christmas movie for us until recently.  when we re-discovered it this year we both fell in love with it and decided it was to be watched and and watched every year.  it's funny, it's heartwarming, it's cringe-worthy and christmas-y and you will cry towards the end when the little girl plays the violin.  trust me.

4.  home alone

so far this year i have enjoyed watching home alone more than any other christmas movie.  probably because i can't stop picturing my little boy to be as mischievous as kevin mcallister, who is one of the cutest kids in all movies.  and i literally laughed until i cried this year when buzz told kevin, 'i wouldn't let you sleep in my room if you were growing on my ass.'  plus the music... the home alone soundtrack is in itself a great christmas album.

3.  elf

no explanation needed.  the plot isn't always great, but who cares when you have will ferrell as a human-sized elf wandering the streets of manhattan? zooey deschanel is fantastically annoyed//intrigued by buddy the elf, and their shower duet scene is probably one of the funniest parts of the movie.  and, of course, i always tear up a little bit at the end when the little kids are watching the new york one broadcast of what santa is bringing them.

2.  the holiday

how does amanda own so many amazing coats? girl lives in la. let's be real.  anyway, everyone knows the cameron diaz//jude law story line is crap, but we all watch it for the kate winslet//jack black story in la.  and iris' neighbor, arthur abbot.  there is no more adorable man anywhere.  though i would say that iris' cottage in england is just about the best place anyone could spend a holiday, ever.  this movie gets me every time... especially those two little girls.  'you don't like tents?' oh. my. GOD.

1.  love actually

best christmas movie ever, and everyone knows it.  can't be topped.  but i will say that a common misconception is that the best part is turtleneck-guy showing up at keira knightley's place with the signs.  you know, 'to me, you are perfect...' etc.  but the best part is actually the little kid.  come on.  running through the airport to tell a girl he loves her.  how happy he is when he returns.  and, how he only wants to hug his step-dad after he gets that kiss from her.  oh, god.  that's when i'm crying all the tears.

what are your favorite holiday movies? 

10 things i am most thankful for right now.

this week has been a roller coaster, i tell you what.  my life over the past few days has been filled with travel plans, holiday stress, moving nightmares, family drama and baby-stuff overload [why do they need so much stuff?!].  but that's not really what this week should be about.  i have lots and lots to be thankful for this yea, and in that spirit i've decided to make a list of the 10 things i am most thankful for.  i did this a few years ago and it really helped my stress level and put things into perspective for me.  i need that right now.
1.  as with every day of my life, i am most thankful for my
 he can change my mood in a second when i'm down or stressed out the way no one else can.  he can reason with me when i am being unreasonable and makes the best days hat much better.  i'm grateful we share the same outlook on life and on parenthood too - and i know our baby is only going to strengthen our bond. 

2.  my life outlook has been changed even more than my body [ok, maybe not quite that much...] by
and i am so thankful and over-the-moon stoked to be having him already.  we've been through so much trying to become parents over the last two years, and every time i feel him kick me it make my heart swell with love, happiness and gratefulness.  and i'm thankful he's a boy : ]

3.  last year on the day PI signed his offer letter and we made the decision to move ourselves to boston, i started
and it is the coolest thing ever.  it's a 5 year journal with five lines to write in a little bit if what happened that day, but you can go back and read the years prior.  every day as i read things i was struggling with or stressing over it gives me something new to be thankful for. 

4.  this year i have had more free time than i've known what to do with in some cases.  but i am so thankful for
for cooking and baking and wandering my neighborhood, for spending time with family doing nothing and for writing my book and discovering my city and new friends and traveling.  after the last two hectic years, it's been an amazing year to unwind.

5.  my family grew so much this year, and i am thankful that i have both
 i didn't have a year ago as well as invigorated relationships with some of my family i wasn't as close to before.  it's been a very awesome year for my family growing and changing, and i am so very happy about it.  i'm so blessed to have such a supportive and wonderful family.

6.  i am so, so, so thankful that i pushed myself and
just under a year ago.  if i still had that hanging over my head, it would be a major regret going in to this pregnancy.  i'm glad that i got it done now before becoming a mommy.

7.  since we've found out this baby is coming, PI and i have put ourselves in a strict budget and have made some changes to the way we handle money.  i am thankful that we are disciplined enough to do it, and i am also very grateful that we can appreciate
 we have just as much fun watching an avs game with a home cooked meal than we would ever have out at a bar.  we have just as much fun window shopping and walking through the park than we do spending money at a mall.  i'm thankful we can make finances work for us without me working full time.

8.  even though sometimes i wonder whether or not we will stay out here long term, i am still very grateful that we took a chance and

in my book it's always much worse to wonder, 'what if' than to make another change if necessary. 

9.  i've had a few friends go through rough times this year in the health department.  the
 can not be overlooked.  it's those simple things that make all the difference.

10.  this may sound kind of silly, but i'm grateful for

this year.  through my blog i have met some truly awesome friends out here in boston, and i am so happy that i've not only expanded it but have used it as a tool to meet people and make some changes in my life.  

and now, if you don't mind, i am going to go celebrate the rest of this week with my family.  happy turkey day all and i'll catch you in december.