Living in America is awesome! (Drops mic and walks away from laptop).  

I woke Friday morning to Natalie fussing in her pack'n'play next to the bed where we sleep when we stay at Jeff's parents house. I changed her and fed her and put her back down for another couple hours of sleep - a morning routine we've regularly been following for the last month or so. I've grown fond of these mornings which is funny because before Nat I was not a morning person. But now, I rather enjoy sipping coffee in our kitchen alone watching the news on my iPad. It's quiet time to myself where I can make breakfast and clear the counter from the night before uninterrupted. It's peaceful and I like it. 

This weekend was no exception. Natalie wakes about an hour before the rest of the Kladder cousins giving me a solid 45 mins or so to myself before the day really starts. I started a gigantic pot of coffee to share with the family and hunted for oatmeal in the cupboard. I found 3 different options for oatmeal alone (not surprising at all given the amazing hospitality of my mother-in-law Mari) so I loaded the dishwasher in gratitude. Then, I relaxed. 

The lake house has this little screened in sunroom off the back part of the house that over looks the water. There's an oversized chase lounge that calls my name pretty much anytime the interior of the house gets too noisy -  then and also in the mornings when I'm relaxing. 

I took my time sipping my morning cup of caffeine partially because it was piping hot but mostly because I was attempting to soak in every second of the moment. It's a wonderful world we live in and while yes, there are some very broken parts that desperately need our love and attention, our family has been blessed to live a life in a land where we are allowed delicious, quiet little moments full of coffee and views of lakes. 

I'm very grateful for this. I'm grateful our forefathers created a land where we can live free. I'm grateful that since then, we've had the privledge of protection by the many brave men and women serving and who have served in our armed forces. I'm grateful for God and for the family he's surrounded with. 

Later that day, I watched from the patio as Jeff played yard games with his brothers and our nieces dug holes in the sand. I held Natalie in my arms and chatted with Mari and my sister-in-laws about how beautiful of a day it was and what time was acceptable to mix our first cocktail. And then I went and made my first cocktail. This is the good stuff. This is the stuff that makes me grateful I live in America.