Tag Archives: family

Giving Thanks

First anniversary - we made it!

I’m thankful for my husband. He puts up with a lot – my mood swings, some tears, my obsessive compulsive personality, and my long ramblings about what happened today and why it was such a BIG deal. After all of this, he still rakes leaves and gives me back rubs. He takes the dogs out at 2:00 in the morning when I’m too lazy, and he rides the moped in the cold weather because I’m a wuss.

Bella the Cat

I’m thankful for my pets. My dogs Orson and Nana jump all over me and wag their tails all around just because I come home after work each day! They also have a wonderful smell. If the verb “home” could have a smell, it would smell like my dogs. My cat Bella is a diva. She wants people to open and close doors for her (even though she can use the pet door), and she wants to be picked up and carried past the dogs (even though she knows perfectly well that they’re harmless and she could totally take them). My pets can sense when I’m having a bad day, and their temperaments change. The dogs settle down and the cat becomes more affectionate. I love this sixth sense of theirs. It’s like they have a emotional radar or something.

With Mom and Dad in Zihuatanejo

I’m thankful for my parents, who worked their whole lives so that their kids could have innumerable luxuries and opportunities. As an adult, I’m finally beginning to appreciate how much work they do everyday and that doesn’t include raising kids – because my husband and I haven’t gotten that far yet. Sans kids, the adult stuff (i.e., taxes, cars, insurance, bills, work, relationships) is really hard. I hate to say they told me so, but yes, I do miss those days when I was a kid. And yes, I do understand what life is really like now that I’m older.

Sisters don't let sisters get married without lip gloss

I’m thankful for my sister. She’s so smart, beautiful, and hardworking. She’s my confidant, my adviser, and my friend. And she’s the only person who can eat more ice cream, more often, than I can and still not have it “go to her hips.” Way to go girl. No matter what my sister does in life, she’s going to be successful. Caitlin, if you’re reading this, take a break from the books and have some fun.

Peter and Kate on their wedding day

I’m thankful for my friends Peter and Kate. They are two of my best friends who happen to be married to one another, which makes it really convenient for me to keep in touch with both of them. They are always there to support me in good times and in bad, and they’re always down for a fun time. I’m amazed that a med student and a future business tycoon (the good kind) have time for a crunchy-granola friend like me. Peter visits RVA once a month, and Kate calls “her wife” religiously. Gracias amigos!

St. Christopher's students and faculty in formation for the commemorative Saintennial photo

I’m thankful for my colleagues at St. Christopher’s and St. Catherine’s. I’ve never felt so welcomed by a community in all my life. Literally, I have felt at home since my first day at both of these schools. The faculty are amazing. They can switch from talking about pedagogy to tatooes in about 30 seconds. I’m proud to be a small part of such an accomplished and fun group.

Who wouldn't want to pet-sit for these angels???

I’m thankful for my neighbors Gene and Julie Bruner. These guys are rockstars. Not only do they manage their own jobs, family, and pets, but they also pitch in once every two weeks to help us with our pets. We couldn’t ask for more generous and kind neighbors. Oh, and did I mention that they’re both runners and Gene is a bad-ass kayaker and stand-up-paddler? Totally cool. My neighbor can out run and probably beat up your neighbor.

I’m thankful for blogging, because – aside from cooking – it’s my only outlet for creative expression. I’ve never been able to draw, paint, or sculpt; I stopped playing the piano in high school; and I definitely can’t carry a tune. I’m not much of a fiction writer (in fact, I don’t consider myself much of a non-fiction writer either), but I do find that blogging about my life, my family, and my reactions to the world around me is a fantastically cathartic process. I wish I had more time to blog (and to cook). Perhaps I’ll take the Post-a-Week Challenge in 2012…

Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for?

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Filed under Family, Friends, Holidays, Pets

10 Things I Love about My Mother

  1. She’s more stylish than I’ll ever be.– I’ve never had the privilege of peaking into a movie star’s closest, but I’m pretty sure that the next best thing is my mom’s. It’s highly likely that she has a more impressive shoe collection than Jennifer Anniston (“I never throw anything away,” she claims), and her clothes are considerably more “hip” than mine. I still call her to ask about fashion advice, wondering what to wear to an interview or to a beach wedding. She’ll frequently say things like, “They’re showing a lot of short dresses right now.” And I’m like…did she really just say that? Despite being up on the latest trends, my mom’s not showy or high brow. Her sense of style is tasteful, fun-loving, and well…just good.

    Dressed to impress!

  2. Her mac and cheese tastes like heaven. – The recipe hasn’t changed for as long as I can remember. And frankly, there isn’t really a recipe. My mom just uses whatever pasta and cheeses we have in the house at the time (of course, it’s every good cook’s job to have substantial amounts of cream and butter on hand at all times). Even with the recent mac and cheese craze going around the restaurant scene, I never order it off a menu because I am 100% certain that it will never taste as good as my mother’s. Ever. Hers is hot, gooey, fattening comfort food. When we were kids she used to make it every time my dad had to work late (he claimed to dislike mac and cheese because he had to eat it so much as a kid). Now, she makes it every time I come home for a visit, and she’ll make my dad a sandwich instead. But on occasion, I catch him sneaking a spoonful of Mom’s mac and cheese. No one can resist its power.

    MMMMMac and Cheese

  3. Her laugh is priceless. – It’s one of those amazing laughs that’s not only unique-sounding, but always genuine. I don’t even think she knows how to “pretend laugh.” Going hand-in-hand with her youthful, boisterous laugh is her love of clean jokes. I’ve never heard someone laugh so hard at some of the most innocent jokes in all my life. Sure, she likes a dirty joke every now and then, as long as it’s good. But it’s a true testament to her solid sense of humor that she can laugh wholeheartedly at the following: “So a duck walks into a drugstore, and buys some lip balm. The cashier asks, ‘Cash or credit?’ And the duck responds, ‘Just put it on my bill.'” đŸ™‚
  4. She has a frog collection. – There’s literally a room in our house filled with frogs (not real ones, decorative ones), and miraculously, it’s not creepy. They all sort of gaze up at you from their perch on the windowsill and seem to ask, “Why am I dressed like this?” But my mom loves them. She actively shops to expand her frog collection. I love it when she finds something at a craft store and exclaims, “Oh, how cute! Look at this one!” As if we’re all going to gather around and nod eagerly in approval. What’s really cute is the fact that she thinks they’recute. Oh, and the frogs have definitely invaded the rest of the house and the yard over the years. She even has a Christmas tree dedicated completely to frog ornaments. My favorite is the light-up Santa Claus frog that sits on our doorstep welcoming (or warning?) passersby during the holiday season.

    "The Frog Lady lives here."

  5. She puts others before herself. – Whether it’s driving through blizzard conditions to a tennis match or standing in the snow during a golf meet (yes, we Minnesotans are hardcore), my mom goes to great lengths to show love and support for her kids. I’m a 26-year-old married woman, and I still receive care packages filled with snack food and family pictures on every major (and minor) holiday. Now that all her kids have moved away from the nest, she spends a lot of her time volunteering. The Legal Aid Society, the YMCA, the Zumbro Valley Medical Society, and the P.E.O. are just a few of the organizations that are lucky to have my mom’s “can do” attitude and cheery demeanor.
  6. She loves the outdoors (not to be confused with camping).– My mom typically walks once a day for about 3 miles, and on the weekends, she’ll walk even farther. I know she walks to stay fit, but she also loves the wildflowers, the fresh air, and the pretty houses. Sub-zero temps don’t stop her; that’s why God created snow boots and down coats.

    Walking on the beach in Punta Mita

  7. She’s a bookworm. – Thank goodness for whoever invented the Kindle, otherwise we’d have run out of shelf space by 2012. My mom’s a voracious reader. She burns through a book a week, and these are thick books…sans pictures. She’s even in a book club. I had always heard about those, but now I can attest to their existence because I know someone who is actually in one. You go Mom!
  8. Her chocolate chip cookies are better than your mom’s (no, really they are). – People around town ask for them by name. “Are those Mary Harper’s chocolate chip cookies? I’m on a diet, but I’ll have one if they’re Mary’s cookies.” Coaches, coworkers, neighbors, friends, teachers, roommates, and total strangers at holiday parties go ga-ga for her chocolate chip cookies. You may think you’ve had the best, but you haven’t, I assure you. People special request these for parties if they know my mom’s invited. Some coaches have even been known to act upset with my mom if she doesn’t bake a batch for a tennis match or a golf meet. “How dareshe keep all the chocolately goodness to herself?!” I get such a kick out of it because it’s not like the recipe is a big secret or anything. She shares it with anyone who asks for it, but every time someone tries to make the cookies, they never come out as good as my mom’s. I guess she’s got a special talent. I hope it’s genetic.

    She's not making cookies in this picture, but she's still a pro at work.

  9. She should have been a travel agent. – We have a virtual library of travel books and magazines that are left over from the various trips we’ve taken as a family. Each has a plethora of earmarked pages and highlighted text. No matter where we go, she always seems to find the most off-the-beaten-path, quaint, yet luxurious place to stay. My mom likes to travel in comfort, but she’s not extravagant. She’s literally the Four Seasons’ worst nightmare, because she’s an expert at finding hotels or B&B’s that are in the same exclusive area but of a much greater value than said resort.

    Mom scouting out B&B's for our wedding guests

  10. Her word is as good as gold. – One of the greatest values that my mom instilled upon me as a child was commitment. Often I would promise to spend an afternoon with a friend, but then a more exciting opportunity would come along (e.g., hanging out with a cute boy), and I’d want to cancel plans with my friend. But my mom would always say, “You made a commitment, and you must honor it. How would you feel if a friend canceled plans on you only to spend time with someone else?” The same would go for clubs or teams that I had joined. During my freshman year of college – finally free of the parental grasp – I was put to the ultimate test. My boyfriend wanted to fly me to some distant island to spend the Easter break with his family. But we would have to leave Thursday, and I would miss golf practice. It was as if I could hear the words coming from my mother’s mouth, “You made a commitment to your team.” I told my boyfriend, “Sorry, I’ve got practice.” He was flabbergasted, claiming that he skipped class to travel all the time. Needless to say, it didn’t work out between us.

What do you love about your Mother? Please share your stories in the “comments” section. Happy Mother’s Day!!!

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Filed under Family, Food, Mothers, Travel