Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My "Golden" Birthday (or longest post ever!)

I love that one of my best friends (Rebecca) has deemed this year my "golden birthday." She says this is because I'm turning 27 on August 27th...profound, right? Anyways, but it does make me think about a lot of things in life and what I might do differently over the next year, what I've learned over the past year, and so many other things. I was reading through another friend's blog (my dear friend Jackie, who I feel like I've known forever and really probably have....Jackie's Blog is here) and saw that on her last birthday, she made a list of 27 things about the past year of her life and things she hopes for in the future. I decided to steal the idea (and hope I can actually come up with 27!!!).

It's really hard for me to believe that I'm 27. I know I don't feel it. I hope I don't look it. Don't get me wrong...I don't think 27 is old at all. I'm not having a "quarter life crisis" or anything ridiculous like that, I just can't believe that I am 27! In so many ways, I've always felt wise beyond my years and maybe I'm finally starting to feel like my "emotional" age is catching up with my biological age. Anyways, thanks Jackie for the great idea on making a list...hopefully it will be something I can look back on a year from now and smile! :)

1. Most days, I am so thankful to be a wife, sister, daughter and friend, but there is sometimes a little piece of me that just wants to be unavailable for a few hours and just focus on me.

2. In response to that, I've already decided that I'm taking a couple of days off work in October to see two of my favorite bands (Widespread Panic and The Allman Brothers Band w/Warren Haynes!!!!) in Nashville. I don't know who else is going, I don't have a ticket, but darnit - I'm going. I am already excited!

3. I want to succeed in my career so badly that I think it imposes on other areas of my life. I hope to have better boundaries with my job and my home.

4. I want to grow our family. This is the first time I've really said it publicly, but Danny and I really have such a wonderful life, we really do want to have children of our own! We got a kitten about 6 months ago and he really has brought us a lot of joy (and scratches, and vet bills, but I digress), but as much as I love him, we do want to have children. We love our nieces and nephews and cherish the times that we have with them, but are both really ready to have our own.

5. Back to number 2, I hope to learn to spend more time with myself. I know that I have changed so much over the past several years and I feel like it's time to get to know me again.

6. Not to be a buzzkill, but I want to gather the strength to go see my dad. He passed away three months ago, and I still haven't been to the cemetary to visit him. I miss so many things about it, and I think that if I go back to that cemetary, it will all be too real. Currently, I can pretend like he's just gone away for a little bit.

7. That being said, I am so thankful that I was able to dance with my daddy at my wedding this past year. The song that we danced to speaks volumes to me now. Dad chose the song - "A Song for You" by Leon Russell. The line that runs through my head over and over says "And when my life is over, remember when we were together, we were alone and I was singing this song for you." He was such a sweet man, and I'll never forget him singing to me on my wedding day.

8. Now that my eyes are dry again, I shall continue. I hope to be a better friend. This goes back to number 3....I feel like I work so hard and so much that I sacrifice other areas of my life. If I don't come home and work, I'm too tired to really be much company to anyone. I have the best friends in the world, who have listened to me whine and complain, and I want to be a better friend in return.

9. I want to stop complaining in general. Taking a dose of your own medicine is tough, but after complaining about one person in particular in my life, Danny told me the other night that I shouldn't let that person have so much control over me. I was not happy by this statement, considering I've said it to him in the past. But it did pull me back to reality and remind me that I am responsible for myself. I cannot change another person, but I can change how I react to them.

10. I hope to be honest about my feelings. When my feelings get hurt, I want to tell the person that hurt them instead of letting it happen time and again. I need to learn how to stand up for myself, be more assertive, and stop being a doormat in certain relationships.

11. I hope to continue to work on my marriage. Danny and I have been together for over 7 years, and I love him very much. We've grown a lot together over the past 7 years, and are both so excited to see what the future holds for us. However, I want to also remember what was taught to us during our Pre-Cana classes....getting married isn't about a wonderful wedding, but about the actual marriage. We sure did have a great wedding, but I am so thankful that we also have a strong foundation to build love and respect for one another.

12. I hope to focus on more professional development before we have kids. I always knew that I wanted to finish school before Danny and I got married, and I did. Now, I hope to earn my CSW (certified social worker) before we have children....I plan on getting as many letters behind my name as I can!

13. Just to throw this out there, I know that even though we do not have any biological children, I love and care for my younger sisters as if they were my own. I do love taking my lunch to work everyday and making sure that there's enough for Ashley to eat, too. I love taking Vannah shopping for school clothes and talking with her about the drama that all 13-year olds must experience. I know that I have lots of practice for the future!

14. In this next year, I want my mom to realize that she is able. That's all I'm gonna say...I just want her to find her strength.

15. I am looking forward to making more improvements on our first home. I know that the renovations will never really be complete and am really okay with that. I love our home more and more everyday and just want to improve on the good things.

16. I would love to take more trips, have more girl's nights, just something to look forward to.

17. I will continue to try my hand at new recipes in the kitchen. So far, I'm loving it (though I haven't been so great about blogging about them...)!

18. I want to tap into my creative side more. I used to scrapbook and make homemade gifts for my friends/family all the time. I've really gotten away from that, but miss it so much.

19. I am realizing more and more the little things that really make me feel "old:" the fact that after two margaritas, I find it difficult to walk a straight line; my shoulders, knees, ankles, back....all crack and pop in the morning; I like coffee more and more everyday, and I love talk radio and reading the newspaper. Not on-line, like holding an actual newspaper in your hand and reading it cover to cover.

20. I need to spend more time with my grandmothers. If I've learned anything over the past year, I've learned that we are not guaranteed tomorrow. My grandmothers are both very wise women in their own right and I really believe that I have much to learn from them.

21. I want to get into a routine....not like the one I'm in where I sleep until the last possible minute during the week and stay in bed as long as I possibly can on the weekends, but one where I wake up at a decent time and don't have to rush out the door.

22. I'd love to learn how to sew, but preferably with a sewing machine. Is that lazy?

23. I learned this year that it does pay to take chances. I applied for a job that I really didn't think I would get, got it and love it. I love the people I work with (although I do miss my friends from my old job) and laugh a lot at work everyday.

24. I'm learning to be proud of my accomplishments instead of sweeping them under the rug and acting all sheepish when they come up in conversation. I've worked hard to be where I am and I should be proud of it!

25. I'd like to come up with a gentle way to remind people that you never know who you're talking to. You never know another person's life experiences, so it's always best to be sensitive in conversations/discussions that could be hurtful.

26. In the same breath, it's also important not to take yourself too seriously. If you screw up, say you screwed up! Tell someone you're sorry when you're sincere.

27. Ahh. #27. Here's to hoping this is the best year, yet!

Summer Memories

I’ve been tagged by A Place to Dwell (my SIL's blog) on favorite summer memories. So, here it goes:

Favorite Summer Movie – I just love "Steel Magnolias" - it's not really a "summer" movie, but it's really one of my all-time favorites!

Favorite Summer Cocktail – I love a good, fruity cocktail! I really love Mai Tais and Hurricanes especially.

Favorite Summer Song – I'd have to say "Down" by Widespread Panic...I just love it! "Take along some of your favorite things, cause you're gonna need 'em. Wait right here, wait 'til I come back around. You and I will go, we'll just sit and watch it all go down..."

Favorite Summer Outfit – Anything with my black Nike flip flops is perfect for me! Being able to wear my flip flops always signals the beginnging of summer, and I really struggle with putting them away at the end of the season! I especially love khaki shorts and a nice tank top with the flip flops!

Favorite Summer Reading – Hard to say what would qualify as "summer" reading, however so far this summer, I have enjoyed a wide array of books! The tops being: "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Phillipa Gregory, "sTori Telling" (by Tori Spelling - LOVED IT!), "The 8th Confession" (by James Patterson), and am currently reading "The Time Traveler's Wife." I like so many books in so many different genres, it's hard to pick just one!

Favorite Summer Moment – I have many memories of my childhood when we would go to Delaware to visit our cousins. To this day, our cousins remind us of how we loved to eat the sand! Otherwise, I think my favorite summer moments of my childhood were spent on the softball field - I was never the greatest player, but God, I had a blast! I probably took it more seriously than I should have, but I have so many wonderful memories of playing softball AND of attening Louisville Redbirds baseball games with my grandparents.

I'm so new to blogging that I don't follow enough people to "tag" them to do the same, but leave a comment! Let me know some of your favorite summer memories!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I was talking with a dear friend yesterday and a lot of our discussion centered around "happiness" and things that make us happy. I think it's so easy to look at our lives and think of all the things that could make us happy (like, if the bathroom would just remodel itself) instead of focusing on the things in our life that bring us happiness regularly. So, I've been thinking of all the things in my life that make me happy: My husband - I just love him...he makes me laugh when I'm sad or upset and loves me in spite of my faults. My family - they are crazy, but I don't know what I would do without sisters show me so much love and inspire me to keep going every day (whether they know it or not, many times they are the reason that I get out of bed - just the hope that I'll get to see them each day) mom, who despite her many weaknesses, wants so desperately to be strong and I pray that she will find that strength. My friends - I must say, I have the best friends in the world - whether I need to vent, cry, laugh or go for a ride to get ice cream, they have been there right next to me. I am so blessed, and I hope that I will continue to find the things in my life that bring me such joy.

Other sources of happiness: Hazelnut coffee, a good book, holding a new baby, my kitty, a new recipe that turns out just "perfect," a job well done, a pat on the back, a good deal, catching up with old friends, learning, the French language, a bed time story, snuggling, a good joke.
Speaking of new recipes, I tried two new ones today! One was Bisquick's Impossibly Easy Cheeseburger Pie - not the most "gourmet" meal I've ever made, but we did enjoy it very much! For dinner, I marinated chicken breasts in balsamic vinaigrette, then baked it and melted feta cheese on top. I served it (to myself) with peas (my favorite!) and parmesan garlic couscous! Delicious - and lunch is already made for tomorrow!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Here we go!

Danny and I have been talking for a while about starting our own blog (you know, catching up with the trend), but we've struggled with what exactly we would share on our blog. While trying out a new recipe in my new kitchen tonight, I had an epiphany! I decided that we can use this blog as a place to share favorite recipes and all of the wonderful and exciting things that happen in our lives (not that there are that many, but what the heck!). So - here goes! :)

Tonight for dinner, I wanted to make some kind of grilled chicken (we're doing the "Biggest Loser" at work - I'm not winning), but get so sick of the same old bland grilled chicken. So, I made a marinade with lemon juice, minced garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano. I marinaded the chicken and a sliced onion for about 30 minutes and put it on the George Foreman Grill. The chicken was quite delicious if I must say so myself - very moist! The onions would be better grilled a bit more, but all in all, a very healthy meal! And, to top it off - Banana Nut Fiber One muffins!

I put a picture of my dad up in my kitchen this weekend (who passed away in April). My dad was my inspiration in many areas of my life. He taught me a lot about the world of music, the value of education, and the joy of cooking. My father had many faults, but I know that he loved me deeply and his wish for his family would be that we always remember the good things about him. His smile. His laugh. His stories that would drag on forever, but always had a great punch line. His love for awful horror movies. The many meals that he so lovingly prepared for his family at the drop of a dime. He was truly a man that could make a gourmet meal from an empty pantry. So I've brought dad into my kitchen to serve as a source of inspiration - just when I think that there's nothing to make and it would just be easier to grab take-out, I can look up at dad and draw some inspiration from him. Tonight's meal was one of those. Love you dad. You still inspire me everyday....hope I'm making you proud.