Today, I am Thankful for: Today.

Once again, I just ran out of time to blog over the last two days. It is crazy how busy the last 48 hours got. Work was nuts both days, plus cleaning, packing, and traveling = tired Jen. But it was all sooooo worth it.

On Tuesday I was going to blog about being Thankful for my Dad and my sister. I know just how lucky I am to have the family I do. My father is my hero. I’m certainly Daddy’s little girl. He brought music into my life, and I can’t tell you how big of an impact that had. But more recently, my dad and I have found a communication groove that I just love. We talk tech. We talk sports. We talk world news. We discuss things I didn’t really appreciate when I was younger. And I love to hear about what he thinks – it always makes me think. I’m so thankful to have a father that I have a great relationship with. I’m so thankful that both of my parents are so much more – they are both my close friends.

And my sister – ha! Don’t even get me started. She’s amazing. I mean yea – she’s annoying as all get out sometimes. She’s super set in her ways and more stubborn than I am. But – she’s my sister. She’s so creative and so smart. She’s such a fighter – in a good way. She sticks to her guns and her beliefs, and she loves with all of her heart. She keeps me on my toes. As the big sister, I’m always worried about her, even when we both know I don’t need to be. But I’m lucky enough to have gotten along with her over the years, and because of that, she talks to me. She comes to me with things. I know things no one else knows about her because I’m her confidant. She’s a wonderful young woman that I love to hang out with. She’s got such a great sense of style and flair that I love to watch. And we have so much fun when we are together. We laugh. We sing. Sometimes we even dance! And who else can I do that with? Not many people, for sure. I’m so lucky to have her in my life. I’m thankful to have a great relationship with her. I’ve always said she was my first best friend. And she still is. I’m thankful for my sister.

Yesterday I was going to blog that I am thankful for my friends. All of you. You know who you are. I am so blessed to have such great friends. A group of girls that can’t be beat. Some great guys that are simply beyond compare. I’ve got friends that listen, friends that always say what I need to hear, friends that are always there (both metaphorically and physically) whenever I need them – without questioning why they are answering a phone call at 3am or standing in a parking lot 20 minutes from home in their PJ’s because my keys are locked in my car. I’m one of those people that is kind of fearless. And I think I have that part of me because I’ve never felt alone. I’ve always had good close friends nearby to back me up – forget about whether I’m right or wrong. (If I’m wrong, we’ll just have a chit-chat about it later, right?). I’m so thankful for your friendship. I am so thankful for your loyalty. I am so thankful for the warmth that you’ve wraped around me countless times. I can’t ever express to you how special each and every one of you are to me. It can’t be done. Just know that I love you, and thank God that He placed you in my life.

And today, I’m so Thankful for one thing. This:


I am so Thankful for my amazing and loving family. I couldn’t have asked for better people in my life. There is so much love in this group and I’m so lucky to be a part of it all. I’m thankful for our traditions. I’m thankful for the laughter. I’m thankful for the memories.

I’m thankful for my Family.

Thanks so much for reading! This was fun! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
-Jen

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Today, I am Thankful for: Mail Merge

I remember about 5 years ago, now (the summer before Anthony and I started dating) I learned about this wonderful thing called “Mail Merge.”

For those of you who don’t know, as I didn’t back then, Mail Merge is this fabulous little device in Microsoft Excel. It is used to convert Excel Tables into working Word Docs. It’s great when you’ve got to duplicate sometime similar, but every one is still different. For example: when you are making hundreds of name tags that all look the same, have the same font, are all set up the same – but every name is, of course, different. You put all the names in order in excel, then you mail merge them to fit into your nifty pre-perforated template for name tags, hit print, and VOILA! You are in business. Saves SO MUCH TIME!!

I use it on more occasions than you would think. Most recently, we used it to print addresses on our wedding invitations. Super cool! Who needs a calligrapher when you’ve got mail merge?

And today, I used it again. I’m working on our Christmas Cards (I have this high flying goal of having them ready to mail on Dec. 11th – We’ll see.) and I have over 110 to send. I have no idea when our Christmas card list got so big! I mean, I only sent 70 last year! And I know I’m probably forgetting someone – sorry if it is you! I didn’t mean it, I promise!

But with the daunting task of addressing envelopes looming near, I am so relieved to know how to use mail merge. I will print beautifully written labels to put on envelops that the post office can easily read, and I won’t get a hand cramp! Yippie!

So, with so much to do this holiday season, I am so thankful for time savers like Mail Merge. Thank you Microsoft!

-Jen

Today, I am Thankful for: Sunday

And on the 7th day, God rested…

Boy did He have it right. It has been a super long week. And on top of it all, Anthony AND the dog got sick, so I’ve been doing all I can to care for them, and to keep the house together. Thank goodness Anthony is no where near as big a baby as I am when I’m sick!

The good news is that Pup is better. He’s much happier, and we aren’t dealing with the accidents or messes of a couple of days ago. And while Ant isn’t better yet, he’s on his way. He went to the doctor – of his own accord (miracle of miracles!) and got meds. He’s been on a codeine induced rest regimen since Friday. He should be good to go for our little trip on Wednesday. Woot! Now if I can only keep myself healthy, we will be right on track! Knock on wood and keep those fingers crossed!

One way I’m ensuring I stay well: resting.

I know that is such a simple concept, but it is so important. I know so many people out there, especially during this time of year, think they don’t have the time to rest. I keep saying it isn’t about “having” the time. It’s about “making” the time. Otherwise, you’ll get sick and your body will take you out of the game for much longer than you had anticipated in the first place.

So today, we are home. I’ve gotten several things done, most of which take more mental effort that physical effort. And Anthony is enjoying his video games and my company. We ran all of our errands for the weekend yesterday for the sole purpose of being able to stay home today. And while I have a lot to get done today, I’m doing it all from my couch.

And I think a nap will be in order later. Oh – forgot to blog yesterday, so there you go. Yesterday, I was Thankful for Naps, wishing I could have taken one. I’ll make up for it today!

I’m thankful for the down time. I’m thankful for the company. I’m thankful that my little family will be healthy and happy this Thanksgiving, and that is really all I can ask for. I’m thankful for restful Sundays.

-Jen

Today, I am Thankful for: My Mom

Again, I know I was going to wait until next week to be thankful for the people in my life, but once again, I find it hard to resist!

I had lunch today with my mom. And let me tell you – an hour is NEVER enough. She and I could litterally talk for hours. And we have! And I always realize way too late just how much I have to tell her when I see her. I need more hours in the day.

When I was younger, I definitely went through that whole “I don’t need anyone – including my Mom” phase. We had your typical arguments and miscommunications, as any teenager does with their mother. But I consider myself SO lucky. I know others who never moved out of that stage. Or worse, I know some who went from typical miscommunication to outright NO communication. But not me and my mom. We worked through that awkward phase of mine and now, she isn’t just my mom. She’s one of my best friends.

I can seriously tell her ANYTHING. And sometimes that is great, and sometimes, I have to remember, she’s still my mom. Haha. But she takes it all in stride and with a heck of a lot of grace.

Best of all, my mom has never been “Mom,” as so many others call their mothers. Nope, she hated that. And when I was younger that annoyed the crap out of me. But as time has gone on, I’m so thankful she never gave in. She’s MamaBear. Or Mama for short. And that title says so much about the kind of mom she is. She’s warm and compassionate. She’s protective and inclusive. No, she’s not fuzzy, but she certainly is cuddly! She gives great MamaBear hugs! She listens really well and always seems to say the right thing – even when the right thing is the LAST thing you wanted to hear. She’s got great judgment and she’s just so darn cute on top of it all!

My Mama has always been the proud type – proud of her husband, proud of her baby girls, proud of her family. She’s always encouraged both me and my sister in whatever it was we were taking on. And she never missed an opportunity to tell us just how proud of us she was. I think it was (and still is) a huge contributor to why we both succeeded in a lot of areas growing up. I owe a lot to my Mama. She believed in me and taught me to believe in myself. She sacrificed so much to give me everything she could. I’m super lucky to have someone like her looking out for me.

I tell people that if I end up being half the Mama she is, then I know I’m doing something right. She’ll be embarrassed that I said that on here, knowing that a whopping 2 dozen people read my blog now. But it’s true. She’s a really special woman and I’m so thankful God put the two of us together. He knew I needed a mom like her – He knew I needed a MamaBear.

I’m Thankful that I have always had someone looking out for me. I am thankful I have always had someone to turn to. I am thankful that I have always had someone there willing to pick up the pieces, even when the reason a situation was such a mess was totally my fault. I am thankful for her wisdom and her insight. OH! And a super big shout out to her home remedies, too! (Remember the pics of the tar on the entire Exec Cab’s feet my Senior year in college? Yea – MamBear to the rescue on that one!)

My mom is more than a mom to me. She’s an inspiration. She’s a goal of something to live up to. She’s an example worth following. And she’s such an amazing friend. I’m SUPER thankful for my MamaBear.

Love Jen
😉

Today, I am Thankful for: socks

By show of hands, who likes to wear socks? Anyone? Anyone?

Well, I do. I LOVE socks. They are so comfy and so squishy and soft and warm! A good pair of socks really can’t be beat.

But, of course, they can’t be just any socks. No, my socks have character. For example: one of my favorite pairs is the powder blue pair with rainbow paw prints all over them. Or what about the white ones with he multi-colored shamrocks? I have socks for pretty much every holiday, too. Christmas, Easter, Halloween, just to name a few.

I also have several different colors of argyle, and some more subtle patterns that I could wear to work under dress pants. But NONE of my socks are plain. Even my tennis shoe socks have a stripe or a color or a small pattern on them. Each pair of socks has it’s own personality. I love to wear them and show them off when I can.

Now that the weather has turned cooler, I get to wear socks! I’m so happy! Currently I’m wearing the multi-colored shamrocks. Tomorrow? Who knows. It is all about what I choose to wear and what mood I’m in. But I’m thankful that this subtle accessory of mine makes me feel so good. I’m thankful for the comfort they bring. I’m thankful that they keep my feet warm, too! I’m Thankful for MY socks.

Today, I am Thankful for: Traditions

Can’t you just hear it?

Tradiiitiooooooon! Tradition!

Every time I hear the word “Tradition” I hear Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof singing “Tradition!”

And man, does my family have Thanksgiving Traditions. Everything from religiously watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to cooking our Turkey on the BBQ, I can always count on our family traditions.

Thanksgiving for my family is always at my Grandmother’s house in Carson City, NV. On Turkey Day, the cooking starts at 9am. Bird/stuffing first. Everyone contributes something – appetizers, garnishes, entrees, drinks… everyone has a hand in our feast. Our appetizers always end up being “lunch” and they are always predictable: shrimp, olives, pate, olives, veggies, olives, some kind of bread, oh… and did I mention olives? (My favorite!)

We always have 2 meats – Turkey and Ham. This year, I’m cooking the ham. We always have jello salad – this year is Orange. So yummy. We always have rolls, stuffing, salad, veggies (that I never eat), mashed potatoes and MORE OLIVES!! And then dessert, which is a pie or two and cheese cake.

The “Kids” (which is still me, my sister, and now Anthony) set the table, which will have 13+ people at it this year, before cooking is done. PopPop always says the prayer. Everyone helps out with clearing the table and with the dishes to make it easier and faster. Then afterwards, we play games as a family with the TV on in the background.

T-day is a whole weekend for my family. And we go bowling on black friday to avoid the shopping crowd. And we eat left overs for lunch and have Taco night for dinner. AH-maaaaazing! Seriously – a house full of mexicans and spaniards? Yea – let’s just say, we do Taco night RIGHT!

And this year, we add another tradition! Anthony, of course, has to contribute this year too. So he taught me how to make Cardemom bread like his mom makes for Thanksgiving every year and we are bringing that to the feast. It is one of Anthony’s favorite traditions of his own Thanksgivings, and now it is a part of ours! I am so happy to share our very first holiday together as a married couple. Well… second. I seem to remember spending 4th of July with him this year…

So I’m thankful for traditions – both new and old. 😉

-Jen

Today, I am Thankful for: The cold weather

Jen confession #102 – I’m a cold wuss. Like, no joke, I used to wear sweatshirts in the spring and early summer in Southern California because I was cold. Yea. Wuss.

Then, in 2007, Anthony and I moved from SoCal to NorCal. And I learned that what I thought was “cold” was never actually cold. From early September to late March you need full on pants, jackets, scarves and closed toe shoes. It is below 50 degrees for 4 months straight! (Now I know anyone who has lived in snow is laughing at me, but dude – baby steps, people!)

So I was forced to adjust. I worked through it. I got used to the weather. I survived.

And then, this year, we moved back to SoCal. And we are one week away from Thanksgiving, and tonight, for the first time, I thought “Oooo. It’s cold.” Until now, it’s been cool. And I was wearing flip flops and sweaters or long sleeved t-shirts while all my friends are in hoodies and tennis shoes.

And let me tell you – Anthony and I have just been so miserable with the heat! All the way through to Thanksgiving! What gives? We complain (to each other) that we miss Fall in NorCal. But going back to live there won’t be happening for several years. So having some Fall weather here makes us feel more at home. I, and I think I speak for Anthony too, am very thankful that Fall seems to have finally arrived here in SoCal. Wooo hoo!

-Jen