Thursday, November 24, 2011


I asked my 3rd graders this week to reflect on all the things they were thankful for in their lives. Among answers like 'video games' and 'Justin Beiber', they were able to come up with such things as 'shelter' and 'love'. Amid brainstorming their ideas, one of them asked me what I was thankful for. I naturally responded with 'family and friends', and pointed out a few others on their lists that I agreed with. Over the weekend I thought about all of the things I could have said to them, and I challenged myself to come up with at least 30. So in no particular order, here goes:
  1. Family: The older I get, the more I realize how rare our closeness is and I'm so grateful for it. 
  2. Friends: I feel so lucky to have close friends from grade school, high school, college, and my career.
  3. Shelter: I love my condo and feel so blessed to call it home.
  4. My health
  5. God
  6. My job: Each day is a new challenge, and no matter how difficult it may sometimes seem, at the end of the day I know it's what I'm called to do. 
  7. Music: It motivates me, calms me, and makes me happy.
  8. Laughter: I'm so grateful for the sense of humor I inherited from my dad and the positivity it affords me each day!
  9. My memory foam pillow
  10. My education
  11. My car
  12. My city: No matter where I travel, I am always so happy to return home to Louisville. 
  13. Sports: Whether I'm playing volleyball, cheering for UofL basketball & football, or watching St. Louis baseball, the happiness that sports bring me is immeasurable. 
  14. Books: I love to escape inside the pages of a good book-any recommendations for my next read? 
  15. Coke: I am so grateful when someone surprises me with a fountain Coke! Wink.
  16. Target: Is there a store that could make me happier? I think not.
  17. Dudes Named Jim: Jim Gaffigan, Jim Brickman, Jim Halpert, Jimmy Fallon-these are seriously some of my favorite men on the planet, and I don't think it's a coincidence that they all have the name Jim. Perhaps I'm destined to marry someone named Jim?!
  18. Photographs: I love how they make memories last forever...
  19. Carmel-filled chocolate: There is nothing more delicious than this combo.
  20. Rhythm: Like Gloria Estefan said it would, the rhythm got me, and at a young age at that. I dance when I do the dishes & laundry, when I'm driving my car, even when I'm just walking down the hall, and I couldn't be happier about it.
  21. Sunshine
  22. Water: One of my students said 'clean drinking water' the other day, to which I said, 'right on.'
  23. Flip Flops: If I could wear them everyday, I would.
  24. Ireland: I feel so blessed to have roots in such a beautiful and humble country, and I feel grateful for the trip I was able to take there so many years ago that helped make me the person I am today.
  25. Grandma Phyllie: I thank my lucky stars that at the age of 30, my grandma is still here and doing well. I love to hear her stories and learn all that she has to impart. I love that we share a love for Cardinal baseball and beautiful jewelry! 
  26. Pizza
  27. Bling: Sparkly jewelry, glitter, and sequins...if it blings, my heart sings.
  28. Elastic: Best invention ever?
  29. Swimming Pools
  30. My nephpug: See my previous blog post here
  31. The Internet: Let's face it, without the internet, you wouldn't be reading this right now, and what a shame that would be!
  32. Hot chocolate
  33. Thanksgiving: Best holiday there is!
Well look at that-I made it to 33 thankful things. I could probably think of many more, but if I'm going to properly celebrate this holiday then I better get some sleep. Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!
    "If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough." -Meister Eckhart

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    Cross It Off The List

    This past Sunday I got to do one of the things on my Bucket List:
    #19     See as many of the following concerts as possible: The Eagles, Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Paul McCartney, Beyonce, Jack Johnson, Jimmy Buffet, and Straight No Chaser.

    It's been just over 2 years since my friend Jenny introduced me to the a cappella group, Straight No Chaser. So when we heard they were coming to town we jumped at the chance to see them live!

    They were even better than I could have imagined! They covered everything from The Jackson 5 to Lady Gaga. I was in harmony heaven and I pretty much developed 10 new crushes.

    After the show, they stuck around to meet their fans and sign autographs. I love how humble and down-to-earth they are, and not to mention hilarious and talented! I would go see them again in a heartbeat.

    If you haven't heard of them, do yourself a favor and check 'em out:


    Saturday, November 5, 2011

    'Sup Dog?

    I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween! Instead of trick-or-treating I happened to spend the evening Christmas shopping-and no, I did not get my holidays confused. Seriously, it was the best night to go because NO ONE else was in the stores!

    This next statement is going to sound silly since I just admitted I already started Christmas shopping, but...I can't believe it's already November. Do you know what this means? That I've been 30 for two whole months, that's what! Ridiculous.

    But more importantly, it means Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I've noticed several Facebook friends have been updating their statuses with things they're thankful for each day. Well done, friends. I like it. Although I may not say it everyday, there are many many blessings I am thankful for in this life (sounds like a future blog post to me).

    One of the blessings I speak of is none other than my nephdog, Pete. There are so many reasons that I'm thankful for this little pug, but the most important is that he taught me what it means to love a pet.

    As a child I was seriously afraid of all animals, especially dogs. I never understood why someone would want a dog because to me all they did was shed, slobber, jump, bark, and bite. I shook my head when I saw my own friends get dogs and treat them like children. I really just didn't get it.

    When my brother and sister-in-law told me that they were going to adopt a pug, needless to say I was less than thrilled. I was afraid that every time I went to their house I would have to have my guard up. When I first saw Pete's picture, I thought he was cute, but I still had anxiety about meeting him.

    I look at that face now, and wonder how I could have ever been afraid of him. When I met Pete two Novembers ago, I was immediately relieved. He didn't jump on me the second I hit the door. He simply sniffed and moved on. He never barked, but merely stayed by my brother's side on the floor. 

    Each time I spent with Pete, I got a little braver, a little more comfortable, and grew to like him a little more. By Christmas that year, I had overcome my fears and was actually asking when I could see him again. I really shocked my friends when I posted this picture from Christmas Day:

    I'm not sure how it happened, but somewhere along the way, I fell in love with that little pug and now I can't imagine our family without him! I love how excited he gets when I come to the door, snorting and squealing. I love his enthusiasm for food, and how he thinks he's a person. I love his curly tail that lets you know he's happy, and I love that he knows when you need to snuggle. Mostly I love that he proved people can change; people meaning me. 

    He loves to have his picture taken-just like his aunt Jackie!

    Joey made us each our own Pete-inspired shirt for Christmas last year. Mine says "Pugs Not Drugs".

    So cuddly!

    Christmas at Grandma's last year; Pete loves Grandma Phyllie!

    Prince Pete at his birthday party last November

     He wigged out with me on my 30th-such a good sport!

    Like any good aunt should, I love to spoil him with gifts.

    This goes without saying but I'm going to say it anyway: Peter Dartmouth is the coolest and cutest dog around (not that I'm biased or anything). I am so grateful that Micah and Kate adopted him from the Pug Rescue two years ago and I'm very thankful for the joy and enlightenment  he has brought to my life!