Thursday, November 26, 2009

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!

Monday, November 23, 2009

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!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

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.


Friday, November 20, 2009

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

Thursday, November 19, 2009

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.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

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. ;-)


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

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!


Monday, November 16, 2009

Today, I am Thankful for: Anthony

So, I was going to wait until the week of Thanksgiving to do a few blogs about the people in my life that I am thankful for. And of course, one of the people I am most thankful for is my husband, Anthony.

But I felt like I had to do this one today. On the way to work this morning, I heard a song by Daruis Rucker called "History in the making." The song is all about this guy who is making a memory out of the current moment he is sharing with his girl and saying that this could be a moment they want to remember as part of their personal history. One of the lines in the chourus that just hit me was, "Baby this - could be our last 'first kiss'."

Have you ever thought about that? That the person you spend your life with gave you the last 'first kiss' you'll ever have? I really never did until today. Anthony and I will celebrate 5 years together on Friday. And 5 years ago this month, I had my very last "first kiss." I remember it like it just happened, but it's odd to think that it will never happen again.

And then I look at my husband, sitting next to me and I think about all the things he does for me - like being in his jeans and white t-shirt (my favorite) that he chose to wear, just for me. He cooks for me. He buys silly little gifts for me on random Tuesdays just to tell me he loves me. He takes such good care of me, every day. And he gives THE BEST hugs and kisses. (Nope - don't want to hear rebuttle. End of story - THE. BEST.)

He makes me laugh like you wouldn't believe. The laughter we share brings us to tears on a pretty regular basis. And he teaches me new things every day. He pushes me to think both inside and outside of the box. He encourages my creativity, and he puts up with my crazy shinanigans.

He is a family man, who has embraced my large, loud, crazy family - and accepted me into his even larger, even louder, even crazier one. And through everything we've created our own little crazy family. Granted, right now it is just him, me and the dog, but it is our family nontheless.

Anthony inspires me, every day, to be the woman and the wife and the friend I want to be. I am so thankful to have Anthony in my life. I am so thankful he chose me. I am so thankful he loves me with all of his heart and lets me love him right back. I am thankful for his hugs and his kisses and his funny, quirky sense of humor.

I love Anthony more than he knows. And as we look back on our first 5 years together, I can't help but be thankful that he gave me my last 'first kiss.'

Love you, Ant. Happy 5 years on Friday!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Today, I am Thankful for: Sewing Skills

I have a VERY funny dog.

He insists on sleeping underneath blankets. He actually puts his head on pillows. He buries himself in towels, laundry, or anything soft we leave around. I've even found him inside my hoodie sweatshirt before! But he's so darn cute, so we let him do these weird things whenever he wants.

He's a finicky dog. He only eats one kind of dog food - all other brands makes him sick. He only likes the bone marrow treats - the rest of them will be left on the floor for me to step on. He only likes rawhide sticks - not bones or ears or whatever. He only wants to bury himself in CLEAN laundry - dirty laundry is something he turns his nose up to. He doesn't want to sit next to you. It's your lap, or nothing. See? Finicky dog.

The thing he is most finicky about is: Toys. It must have three specific criteria to qualify as a "Pup" toy. 1) it must fit in his mouth. 2) it must be plush (as opposed to rubber or latex). 3) It MUST squeak.

His favorite squeaky toy is this very small orcha whale. We bought several of them at once, predicting that Target wouldn't carry them for long. And we were right. Finally, we are down to two orcha whales left. And one of them is... dun dun dun! defective! The squeaker is broken! So of course, Pup won't play with it. Sad face.

And then, this afternoon, it happened. He tore apart the one he will play with. It is dead. It's just not something we can let him play with any more. He was so upset when I took it away. He whined and barked and just looked so pathetic. And he, of course, turned his nose up at the non-squeaking one when I brought that out as a replacement.

And then, the lightbulb went on! I thought - ok - I'll take the working squeaker out of the old whale, and put it in the new whale! So I pulled out the old squeaker from the huge rip. Then I got out my seam ripper, thread and needle, and went to work. ORCHA SURGERY!!! I ripped the seam of the new whale, took out the broken squeaker, made the switch, sewed him back up, and voila! WHOLE NEW TOY. And Pup is already warming up to the new whale! (It always takes a day or two - he knows it isn't the same toy.)

But the best part of the story? Pup was just so funny as I was "in surgery." I was here, on our couch, stiching the whale back up, and pup was just so crazed! He was jumping up and down and whining and trying to bite the whale to take it from me - I think he thought I was hurting it!! He was like a worried parent uncertain that the Doctor even knew what she was talking about, let alone what she was doing! It was so cute. Poor guy. But it was worth it! He took it out of my hand when I was done and ran away to protect it.

All is well that ends well. Pup is happy with his new toy, and I am happy that the old whale is finally gone. And that is a long winded way to say - I'm super Thankful for my sewing skills!!! They came in handy!

Now I just have to figure out what to do in 8 months when the "new whale" becomes the "old whale" and I have no quick fix. ;-) Oh well.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Today, I am Thankful for: A clean house and Popsicles

Gah! I did it again! I TOTALLY forgot about blogging yesterday. Plumb forgot. BUT I forgot because of what I was doing instead - cleaning my house.

So, yesterday, I would have written that I am Thankful for a Clean house:
Jen confession #82 - I am not always the cleanest person in the world... I can be sort of "messy."
Jen confession #83 - I have a neat freak buried deep in me somewhere and she comes out a couple of times a year.

One of those times was yesterday. Maybe it was because the house had literally exploded at the seams. Maybe it was because I'd vacuumed at work, caught the cleaning bug, and brought it home with me. Maybe it was because my Mother-In-Law was coming over the next day. It was most likely a combo of all three. Either way, Anthony and I came home from work yesterday, ate dinner, changed clothes, and cleaned our apartment - top to bottom.

Anthony cleaned the kitchen until it sparkled. I put everything away and dusted the whole house. DUSTED! I even got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed our bathroom floor! We finally finished unpacking everything, and all of our "stuff" has finally found a home. We did laundry and vaccuumed and put all the dog toys away. Dude, let me tell you - MY.HOUSE.IS.CLEAN. So clean that when my MIL came over this morning, she commented! She told me my house looked nice and clean!!! (I know that Elissa and Becka are reading this and their jaws are hitting the floor) You have to know Linda - but if there ever was a woman out there who would win a Gold Medal if "cleaning house" was an Olympic Sport, it would be her. Talk about clean freak! So when SHE thinks MY house is clean... It's like wow.

If you know me well, I'm not really the one who seeks approval. The way I do things is just that - How I do things. And if you don't like it, tough toenails. BUT there are a few things that I can't help but get excited about when I hear them - like when I bake/cook something and my mom thinks it tastes great. Or when I solve a puzzle and Anthony give me props. This is one of those times... A seal of approval on a clean house from the MIL makes me feel pretty good.

But the best part? I freakin LOVE my apartment. And I love it a million times more when it is clean. There is so much space! And it's so cute! (If I do say so, myself!) It's small, and slightly eclectic, but it's ours. And we are so happy here. I can relax in my livingroom when it's this clean. So I'm thankful for my clean house.

As for today, I am Thankful for Popsicles.

Yup. Popsicles.

As I was writing this, I couldn't figure out what I wanted to tell you all that I was Thankful for for today. And then, Anthony, without me even asking, brought me my last creamsicle in the box. It made me so happy! And I knew what to write about.

I insist on always having them in the freezer. Currently there is half a box of Chocolate Pops left. But creamsicles are my favorite. Mmmmm. Gotta love that creamy center! I love that popsicles can be fruity, creamy, or chocolatey. I love that they are always sweet, and always COLD. (Obviously, right?) Popsicles just make me happy! And it makes me even happier to know that my husband knows me so well. So tonight, I am thankful for that cold, sweet treat. I am thankful that it is one of those "simple things" that Anthony can do for me. I am thankful for the happy feeling I get when I eat one. So yea - I'm Thankful for Popsicles. ;-)


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Today, I am Thankful for: Pilates

Ho-leeee-coooowww. I'm in pain. But a good pain. A pain that is rightfully earned with sweat (thankfully no blood, or tears... but close!).

I started doing Pilates earlier this year. A wonderful friend of mine, Kristen Routh, teaches the class. Kristen and I go way back. She was literally my first friend at CLU. We were paired up in an activity in our Peer Group over oritentation weekend and have been friends ever since. We had so much in common - Sports Med majors (hence our peer group pairing), dancers at heart, sarcastic sense of humor, dog lovers... the list goes on. She's great...

BUT. (There is always a but) She is a tough cookie. Man-alive, she is a buff woman. Strongest girl I know. Honest to God. Seriously - she has this quiet nature about her, but I would NEVER want to make her mad. She kicks my butt every week without ever touching me. I don't want to know what her punch would feel like!!!

And her class is as tough as she is. My best girl, Miranda, came with me to class tonight, and she agrees - this isn't just Pilates. This is ass-kicking, body molding, strength building, craziness! And, that being said, we are so thankful!

As a child/teenager, I was THAT girl - the athletic/dancer/gymnast/skinny girl who could eat anything. Sorry if you hate me now. But I was active. I ran around like a crazy person, so what I ate never mattered. And the metabolism was higher than you ever want to know (even actually dangerously high.) While I'm still "skinny-mini," I finally have the ability to gain weight, the metabolism isn't quite as high, and I'm no where near as active. So if I want to stay that girl that you all love to hate (which, honestly, I do!) then I've got to do SOMETHING. And let's get real - skinny doesn't = Fit. I am SUCH A WUSS!!! I can't lift anything. I can't run long distances. I am asthmatic. I am so not fit. So pilates keeps me active, and is helping be build strength. I did push-ups! 5 REAL push-ups in a row, no giving up or giving in. I've NEVER done that before. And while that is no big deal for so many peope out there, it's HUGE for me. So I'm making progress and I'm thankful for that.

So I'm thankful for the sweat. I'm thankful for the newfound strength. I'm thankful for the chance to be active. And I'm thankful to have a little friendly competition with Miranda (thanks for being such an awesome pilates partner!) and for a chance to see my good friend Kristen on a regular basis. I'm Thankful for Pilates.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Today, I am Thankful for: Rolly Chairs, Blokus, And Glee!

Gah!!!! I've missed 2 days!!! Sorry people, time just got away from me.

Ok, to make up for it, here was Monday's Thankful Item: Rolly Chairs.

Yup - you heard me. Office chairs that have wheels on the bottom of them so you can roll. Gotta tell ya - LIFE SAVERS in my office. My boss's desk is about 15 feet from me. Close enough to talk, but not close enough to throw things safely, or see her computer screen. So... when I need to be about 3 feet from her (about 8-10 times a day) I roll.

Oh - and I have not 1, but 2 desks. Have I ever mentioned that? Yea - computer desk is the main one, about about 6 feet to my right is my second desk, where I do all of our office shipping and catalog "stuff." This second desk holds a good 20% of my day! So, I roll.

Rolly chairs - the vehicle of the modern office. That's how I roll. And I'm Thankful. ;-)

Tuesday's Thankful Item: Blokus.

If you have never played this game (or even heard of it), DUDE. It is an awesome game. It's a puzzle, and looks like Tetris, but slightly different. It is seriously HOURS of fun for me and Anthony, and last night - we picked up the "Travel" version for our trip to Reno for Thanksgiving. It's so cool! We played it last night before we went to bed, just to make sure all the pieces were there. (And to anyone who's played with our normal size set - the blue "one piece" actually came with this one! Woot!).

Blokus makes me think. It makes me strategize. And I CAN BEAT ANTHONY AT IT!!! I am so thankful for the fun it brings to our home.

And Today's Thankful Item: Glee.

If you aren't a Glee fan... well, then we simply can't be friends anymore. ;-) Just kidding. But seriously - BEST.SHOW.EVER. But the best part for me isn't that the show litterally mirrors my life in High School, or that there is FINALLY a "HSM" for adults, or that this craze of singing kids is sweeping the nation. Nope - the best part for me is that Alyse, my sister, comes over to our house to watch it with us. Every week. Without fail. I get my time with her, diving into a world we've been a part of for sooooooooo long and is finally COOL!!! We are at home with this show, and we get silly and excited when it comes on. (Like when we litterally SCREAMED out loud when Emma sang for the first time! AND she sang "Could Have Danced All Night" from my fair lady. I mean, is there a better song out there for her? I think not!)

So I'm thankful for the show, and how happy it makes me. But most of all I'm thankful for one more thing my sister and I have in common and can share. Because my time with her is priceless.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Today, I am Thankful for: Pasta

Blog #4:

Oh Pasta - How I love thee. Let me count the ways!

Dude. I. LOVE. PASTA. I have since I was a kid - a kid small enough to truly think it was really called "noodles." And the finicky eater in me has changed so little since then. I wouldn't touch pasta unless it had butter on it. LOTS of butter. ONLY butter. And then, as my iron deficiency reared its ugly head in my pre-teen years, it was butter and salt only! No red sauce. No cheese. No veggies. No meat. (Yup - you heard me. No meat!)

My favorite dinner of all time was steak and pasta. But not just any steak and pasta. No. No. No. It was specifically Steak and Pasta made by my Teca (Grandma on my dad's side.) Man oh man. She DRENCHED the pasta in butter. And she cooked the steak JUST right. (which is probably why my dad does steak so well). And she never argued about my sister and I wanting NOTHING to do with veggies. It was a special dinner we got throughout my childhood, and I'd give anything to have one more. Sadly, Teca left this world in 2002 and I've had to find other ways to like my pasta since.

In college, I discovered a love for Parmesan Cheese. Salty Cheese???? Yes please!!! And now, my pasta has evolved from "plain butter" to "Pasta with Butter, Salt, Parmesan, and the occasional helping of grilled chicken." I've also conceeded occasionally to have my pasta with a meat sauce - of course there needs to be very little sauce and A LOT of meat, still covered in parmesan, but still - I'll eat it. But I just love pasta. After all this time. And it is so easy to make. Truth be told, it is the first thing I ever learned to cook.

So, as I eat my curly-q pasta with butter, salt, and parmesan, I am thankful for so many reasons. I'm Thankful for the memories I have of Teca in my childhood. They were great times. I am thankful that, no matter where I am or what I am doing, pasta is always an easy fix to my eating issues. And I am thankful that there is a comfort food that makes me so happy all the time. So yea - I'm Thankful for Pasta.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Today, I am Thankful for: Weddings

Bolg #3:

Anthony and I just got home from a wedding. Through facebook, I have reconnected with an old friend from High School. Her name is Danica and she got married today! (Shout out, and congrats to her and Rob!)

Danica and Rob are Mormon and got married in a Temple this morning, which Anthony and I could not attend (although I really would love to see the inside of a Mormon Temple someday - I hear they are just beautiful.). Anthony and I went to the reception this evening. Gotta say - it was beautiful. They went with fall colors - browns and oranges - with accents of a lime green. It was a great combo! And there were little silk leaves on the tables too! And the room was draped with a white cloth coming from the center of the room where 3 huge paper lanterns were lit. It was just lovely. And you could tell that Danica and Rob were happy, too. She looked gorgeous! Like a princess.

I couldn't be happier for my old friend. And, of course, I couldn't help but think back to my own wedding, just 4 months ago. It was everything I wanted - My Hunter Green colors, the dress that made me feel like a princess, decorations that fit my personality, and our family and friends by our sides. It was a wonderful day I will never forget. And I'm so Thankful that it turned out the way it did.

So many people worked really hard to help me and Anthony have our special day. Mostly our parents and our bridal party. And it went off without a hitch because I had so many people looking out for me. I remember only good things from that day.

So I am thankful for weddings. I am thankful that Danica found her Prince Charming and had her happy day. And I am Thankful for the people in my life that made my own wedding possible and so spectacular. I'm one lucky girl.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Today, I am Thankful for: RootBeer

Bloggy Blog #2:

Jen Confession #8 - I'm addicted to caffeine. And not just caffeine. But caffeine in the form of Soda. Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper... I can't help myself! I love soda!

But, as we all know, caffeine is not a good thing to be addicted to. So I've worked very hard over the last month or so, and gotten myself down to 1 (count it - ONE) cup/can of caffeinated soda per day. And some days I've totally gone without. (Truth be told - having piggy flu for two weeks didn't hurt the effort! I was on water and juice the whole time!)

I'm super proud of my accomplishment and anyone who has known me for any reasonable amount of time knows what a feat this is. But I will tell you that I get easily bored of water, apple juice, and lemonade.

This afternoon, it hit me - that 3pm lull where I might actually fall asleep with my eyes open at my desk. I had little choice - so I walked over to "Merlin's," a little deli about 5 doors down from Charming, and had my first soda since Tuesday. Ahh. Blissful caffeine rush. It got me through the rest of my day, for sure. But, that meant no more soda for today. And that sucked because I had intended to have a soda with dinner. And it was a huge dissapointment to replace it with propell water. So for the rest of the night I was craving a soda. Of any kind. Oh well. Had to deal. So I went the evening without my much desired beverage.

And then!!! Anthony to the rescue!!! We were out and about and he reminded me that most RootBeers don't have any caffeine! So, while we were out and about, he walked me over to Bristol Farms to get one. But they were closed. Boo. So he drove me to the McDonalds down the street. Ummmmm.... when did McDonalds stop serving RootBeer? Boo. So he drove me to Rite-Aid. And once again! Foiled! No RootBeer!!! So Anthony drove me to Ralphs (in the same parking lot) and FINALLY!!! We found Mugs RootBeer in the refrigerated section. It was wonderful! I had my soda, and didn't break my rule about "no more than one can of caffeine!" So cool.

So, that is a long winded way of saying I am Thankful for RootBeer. Oh - and one amazing husband. ;-)


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Today, I am Thankful for: Charming Pet Products

Bloggy-blog #1 of my "I am Thankful" Series.

Today, I am thankful for "Charming Pet Products." This is the company I work for. And I'm thankful for them for a myriad of reasons. First of which is: I HAVE A JOB!! I was laid off from Stanford in April, and finding work in this economy was no easy feat! But Charming (as we call it) has embraced me with open arms... and a much needed pay check.

So, yes. I'm thankful to have a job at all. I know not everyone around me is so lucky. And while I could easily complain trivial things like my pay is lower than I'm accustomed, or the work isn't part of my desired field, or whatever else there possibly is to complain about (can't be much I only came up with 2!), why would I? I have a job. I'm thankful.

But I am duly thankful for the job in-and-of-itself. I am thankful that I am busy most of the day. I am thankful that I believe in the company and our products. I am thankful that it is a relaxed setting (as I sit here in Jeans and a T-shirt). And I am super thankful that the hours are flexible. For example. Just a few weeks ago, a friend needed a mid-day lift to the airport. My boss said, "come in an hour early and take a 2 hour lunch. Help your friend." Easy peasy.

I am thankful that I get to bring my dog to work! Pup, bless him, is such a fickle little guy. Being alone ALL DAY upsets him - and then we get things like torn up bathroom trash or knocked over tray tables or "gifts" of the most unpleasant kind when we get home. So I am SO THANKFUL that I get to bring the little I mean pooch to work with me every morning. He gets a car ride that he cherishes, he gets exercise when Henry (the Boss's dog) chases him around the office, and he is only alone for 4 hours in the afternoon, which he can TOTALLY handle. Problems solved. So I am very thankful for that.

Ooooooo! And I'm Thankful that I work close enough to home that I get to go home for lunch with the Hubby pretty much daily! SUPER BONUS!

And most importantly, I am thankful for my bosses, Christine & Nick. They aren't just bosses, they are becoming friends. Not only do they treat me as an equal around here, but they share their lives (which, with two little ones is never boring!) with me, and let me share mine with them. I feel a certain amount of respect for the knowledge I bring to the table, and for the first time in a long time, I feel truly appreciated for the work I accomplish.

So, as I sit here at my Charming desk at the end of the day - noticing that both bosses have left for the day, leaving me to my own devices and trusting that it's all gotten done (which it has), that I really couldn't be more blessed with the job that finally said "Yes!" to me. I promise to not take it (or anything that goes along with it) for granted.

I am Thankful for Charming Pet Products. =)

So many new toys!

Hi All!

Ok, so this blog is going to be a jumble of thoughts and craziness!

First off, CherryTree Threads is online!!! Check us out at and take a look around. Right now I've only got 9 pieces of Jewelry up, but a few blankets, aprons, and a few "Holiday" items are in the works and should be up in the next few weeks. Great gift ideas here people!!!

Also - I want to know what you think! I need all the help and (constructive!) criticism I can get! So facebook me with feedback, or email me at

I also will do custom jobs! So if you are looking for something for yourself, or for a great gift for a friend/loved one, let me know! I'd love to work it out.

Onto the next thing - this blog is also a TEST RUN! My friend, Amy, pointed me in the direction of (I stalked the info on twitter, Amy! Thanks!) Supposedly, if I set it up right, this blog should appear on my Facebook, and a URL to it should appear on my twitter. We'll see if I did it right.

If you aren't already following me on twitter - click "Follow Me on Twitter" off to the right hand side of the blog! CherryTree will have one soon. We'll update every time we add an item to the site.

Enough with business... On a more personal agenda - I have to apologize. I know several of you have been waiting patiently for the next installment of "The Cupcake Project." It is to be a replica of "Starry Night" in icing. Crazy, I know. Unfortunately, I must put the entire project on hold for a little bit. With the holidays coming, and us being the Newlyweds figuring out budgets and such, money is not something I can spend at will. And truth be told, cupcakes happen to be one of my more expensive hobbies. So sorry, but Starry Night won't happen until sometime after the New Year. Forgive me. I'll make it up to you. You can come eat the cupcakes when I finally do finish it. ;-)

In it's place, I've taken on a few other (much lower cost) ideas. First of which is a journey my Friend Miranda and I plan to take together and document. In an attempt to open up our creative brains, we are blindly following a book I bought a few months back called "Wreak this journal." It is a journal that tells you to do absolutely outrageous things to it, in it, around it, etc. in an effort to get you to be more creative. It is meant to be totally left up to our interpretations. So that will be fun to see, and interesting to learn what comes out of it. More on that soon.

Next, I took yet another idea from my friend Amy and modified it. Every Year she does a "December Daily" where she writes a short blog for every day of December. In the blog she covers everything from Holiday Traditions, to photo's of the season, to what she's doing with her family and friends in the Christmas Spirit! Looks like fun! But so as not to steal her thunder (just her wonderful ideas!) I'm starting now. And then, of course, the Theme will be "Thanksgiving." Everyday (starting today - right after I finish this blog) I am going to write a small blurb about something I am Thankful for. I'll do it right up to Thanksgiving day! Should be fun! Please feel free to also steal the idea. I'd love to hear all about what everyone around here is Thankful for this Holiday Season.

Lastly, I'm working on some blog ideas for December. The Holiday season is my favorite time of year - not just for the obvious reasons of cheer and good food - but for the togetherness. The events that surround the holidays that ensure I see people I wouldn't otherwise see, and the people I choose to spend my time with. The holiday season brings out the best in people and I love the festiveness of it all. So I'll be blogging about some of my favorite Holiday Traditions, as well as exploring some new ones! Should be a fun adventure.

Lots and lots to come from the bloggy-blog. Hope I can keep up!

Have a great day, everyone!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Sorry everyone! I've been super busy over the last 2 weeks and have ZERO time to blog. But I wanted you all to know I didn't fall off the face of the planet or anything. I have some great things to blog about very soon! Promise!

In the meantime, check out my newest gadget!!!
(Off to the right and down a little) ------------------------------------->
CherryTree Threads is officially being sold on

There is only one item on there right now (just figuring it all out!) But I hope to have several more items up before the week's end. And I make custom pieces!! So if you want something made especially for you, let me know! We'll get it done! You can email me with requests and pricing at