Saturday, November 24, 2012

Giving Thanks & My 18th

I am so happy right now. I love my family, I love my hometown, I love fall weather, I love leaves that actually CHANGE color, I love it all. Everything about this weekend has been absolutely wonderful - I think that Thanksgiving is rising in the ranks as one of my favorite holidays. I never really was all that excited about it in the past because Thanksgiving food isn't my favorite, but this year was the first year that I truly realized that the food is not what it's about. Being away from home has made me cherish my time with my family (including the kitties) all the more and made me appreciate so many things I would've taken for granted before.

I didn't end up taking any photos of the Thanksgiving meal but I did want to share some of the things I'm thankful for this year (not in any particular order).

1. The Lord's crazy love that never fails, never runs out, and never gives up on me. No explanation needed. I am so blessed.
2. My parents and my older brother - I don't know what I would do without them! They never fail to make me laugh when I'm down, always have the best advice, and just get me like no one else.
3. Being able to attend one of the best universities in the country. Not many people have the privilege of saying that - I am so grateful for my education!
4. My kitties! These little balls of fluff always turn me into the 5-year-old that I am at heart and give me so much joy.

5. Coffee that doesn't taste like dirt! I came home and my dad had bought my favorite coffee (Starbucks Blonde Roast) and made it for me - I don't know how I've been surviving on that nasty dining hall coffee. Maybe adding all that hot chocolate helps ;-)
6. Fresh fall air. Every time I've stepped outside since I've been home, I just stand there and breathe it in. I miss the fresh air and the colder weather a lot more than I thought I would. 

7. All of the little things I take for granted - always having food and water, a warm place to stay, safety, my health, and so much more.
8. Almond butter - Barney Butter especially!

9. The amazing friends I have, both old and new.
10. My Bible study at UCLA. They have made me feel so welcomed and and home which is a tough feat when you're making the tough transition to college. I love those girls so much!
11. My ability to run, lift, dance like a crazy person, and so much more. I am so lucky.
12. Music. Happy pop music to dance party to, down to earth country music, worship music, all of it.
13. Baking.
14. The blog world - the blogs that inspired me to create my own, the blogs that I read daily, and especially you guys. I love you all<3

I could go on and on.. I have so much to be thankful for! 

Anyway, I also wanted to share some photos of the past few days! :) 

When I got home on Wednesday night I stuffed my face with berries and pomegranate seeds, made pumpkin bread and dance partied with my mom, watched a random movie on an actual TV screen on my own couch while drinking pumpkin tea, and most importantly - was reunited with my babies!!

nose kissies! 
On Thursday morning I went to the gym with my mom and took BodyPump and BodyCombat. BodyPump used to be my favorite class, but since I started lifting heavy weight in my IFT classes at school, I wasn't as big of a fan. The bar constantly felt light and I'd rather do less reps with heavy weight than spend a really long time doing more reps with light weight. But BodyCombat was awesome! And just getting to workout with my mom made me so happy. 

We spent the rest of the day prepping for Thanksgiving - we had over 20 people over at our house - and then Thanksgiving night I got to go see the new Twilight movie. It was really good! I couldn't quite remember what was supposed to happen at the end but I was still surprised. Minus the creepy baby I give it a thumbs up!

Then Friday was my 18th birthday! I woke up to my baby girl snuggling with me, made pumpkin spice pancakes with almond butter and sprinkles and ate them while catching up on Glee, went for a run in the beautiful fall weather and ended at starbucks where I got a PSL. And then my brother came and picked me up<-- he's the best! 

I showered and then my mom took me to get foot massages, which were heavenly!! We came back home and cleaned up a bit and then went as a family to get a late lunch at Panera. I got broccoli cheddar soup, the turkey avocado BLT, and asiago bread as my side. So good! 

After Panera my mom and I got Peet's (my family always gets afternoon coffee together) - I ended up getting a pumpkin chai latte that I didn't snap a pic of, but it was really really good. Then we headed to Target (because I love that place!!), Whole Foods (more pomegranate seeds for meeee!), and came home to start making my birthday dinner. We made the Pioneer Woman's mac n cheese, and my dad made me steak. So delicious!

I opened presents after dinner and all I can say is that my family went above and beyond to make me feel loved on my birthday. I got some homey things - a kitty towel, two cute little bowls, a little decoration thing for my dorm room, and a super nice mattress topper for my bed at school! 

My brother got me a Starbucks gift card and the ZZ Ward album (love!). I love actual CDs. 
I also got almond butter, dark chocolate, and rainbow sprinkles (!!) and three new workout tanks. If that doesn't show you how well my family knows me, then I don't know what does. 

And to top my already amazing day off, the Christmas lights were up, the fire was lit, and I was snuggling on the couch with my man and a mug of sugar cookie tea. It's the holiday season!

I had a huge mug of mocha and peanut butter ice creams with some leftover chocolate cream pie crumbles for dessert - I think I've single-handedly taken down an entire half gallon of ice cream since I've been home! We also opened the ginormous peppermint patties that I got my brother for his birthday (it was earlier this month) and I had a few pieces of that too. It was so much better than a regular peppermint patty!

This morning I got up and made another batch of pumpkin spice pancakes (1/3 cup Kodiak mix, 1/3 cup pumpkin, a few shakes of pumpkin spice, a sprinkle of brown sugar, and enough water to get it moving) with almond butter and more rainbow sprinkles. Who says you only can have rainbow sprinkles on birthdays?? 

I'm sad that today is my last full day at home but I'm trying not to think about it too much because being sad will ruin the rest of this weekend and I don't want to do that. The sadness needs to wait until I'm actually leaving tomorrow! I'm going to just focus on how wonderful my mini-break has been already - filled with family, kitties, and good food. What more could a girl ask for?

how was your thanksgiving?


  1. So glad to hear you had a blessed Thanksgiving and a fun birthday! Happy belated birthday!! :) All your eats look great!

  2. What a beautiful way to spend your birthday! That celestial seasonings tea is my all time favorite and I may have bought 4 boxes this weekend :) Ugh I get the same way about being home, but I think you are smart to try not to think about it, live in the moment!

  3. So glad you had such a wonderful birthday!!! <3

  4. I am so glad you had a wonderful Thanksgiving break with your family. :) I can agree with every single thing you are grateful for on your list (with hot chocolate in place of the coffee). Since I'll be heading up to college in 5 weeks, I'll be leaving my family, friends, kitties, and home for the first time in my entire life. I know it will be hard (I'm sure you know how it is), but I know the Lord can help me. It's a part of growing up, and sometimes you have to simply be strong and of a good courage. :)

  5. Love this post!! So glad that you had such an awesome time with family celebrating the two holidays :)

  6. This is so awesome :)