Archive | November, 2012

Countdown to Christmas

25 Nov

Can you believe it?! TODAY is November 25…. one MONTH to Christmas! Where has the year gone? Wasn’t last week March? I feel like I missed the last couple of months they went by so quickly!

So here we go, the Countdown to Christmas 2012 has begun! Tonight we decorated the tree!! I love our Christmas tree! It’s filled with so many stories! Each year, my mother finds my sisters and I a new ornament to represent something we did that year. My ornaments tell  about when I got my license, traveled to Spain my senior year in high school, worked at Disney, just to name a few. Last year, my special ornament was a Guardian Angel to remind me that she will always be there to support my dreams and give me encouragement, no matter where life takes me. And before you ask how I remember what each ornament represents, my mom writes something special on the box, along with the year.

Now, according to mom, some years are easier to find ornaments than others. I don’t know how she does it, but I love that she does! It’s my favorite Christmas tradition…well, other than Santa’s magic snow footprint, but I’ll tell you more about those when it gets closer to Christmas!

In the mean time, check out all the decorating that’s been happening at this house! Two trees, window clings and Christmas chains! And much, much more still to do!

And what tree would be complete without the Christmas Pickle ornament?! This is the one I surprised my family with in 2010 when I was working at Disney. Our original Pickle Ornament got lost a few years ago and for some reason we never replaced it. This one came from the German Pavilion at Walt Disney World’s Epcot. If you don’t know the legend behind the Pickle Ornament, check it out here! 😀

The Christmas Pickle

Our Christmas Pickle ornament!



Remembering to be Thankful

25 Nov

A few days late, but that doesn’t matter because we need to be thankful the other 364 days of the year as well.

This year I have much to be thankful for. Finding a place to start will be the hard part, but here it goes:

  • Second chances at happiness, friendship and love
  • Technology and it’s ability to connect me with friends and family who are far away
  • Broken hearts and promises and the lessons they teach us
  • My large, over-the-top family
  • My personal health and the improving health of my little sister. See her story here.
  • Graduating from college
  • My current temporary job turning into a full-time job with benefits
  • Mistakes and hard decisions, or rather the opportunities for growth each provide us with
  • Loving parents who support me in my decisions
  • Little sisters who make me laugh and remind me to relax and enjoy life
  • True Friends who are there when times are good and when they are bad
  • Living in a land where I have the ability to express my thoughts and ideas without having to live in fear
  • The men and women who were not able to spend the holiday with their families so that I may live in this country
  • For the roof over my head, the food on our table, and the clothes on my back – especially when there are so many who are struggling after the recent storms on the East coast
  • Hard days that allow me to more fully appreciate the wonderful days

Thanksgiving is and always has been my favorite holiday. It’s not because of the food, the day off work or the deals that follow on Black Friday. To me, Thanksgiving is a day spent in the company of my large, close-knit, sometimes embarrassing, but always loving extended family members. I look forward to seeing everyone, catching up on family news, taking silly pictures with my sisters and cousins and enjoying the craziness!

For as long as I can remember, we have always celebrated Thanksgiving with my mom’s side of the family. During my childhood, the festivities were held at my grandparents’ home, where we cleared an area in the living room for the very long table where everyone would sit down together for the meal. Now, I have to explain, this table needed to sit 30 – 40 people at one time, so it was placed diagonally across the room, and once it was set up, chairs and all, there was hardly any room to move about, but we made it work. Well, as you can probably guess, now that my cousins and I are getting older, some have gotten married and started their own families, and we’ve quickly out-grown my grandparents living room. (Last year I believe we had 50 – 60 present at final count!) So for the last 4 or 5 years we’ve held Thanksgiving at the little community church just down the road from where most of us live.

Thanksgiving highlights 2012

However, this year was different. Our numbers were smaller. Only 22 of us… okay, I know what you’re thinking “22 is still a lot of people.” And to that I say, “Yes, yes it is, but when you are used to 50 people, 22 sure feels like no one showed up this year.” It’s not that most of my family members didn’t want to come, it’s more they had more important places to be this year. For example, my cousin Alan lives out-of-state with his wife, and before the end of the year (we believe it’ll happen sometime before Christmas) he is going to be deployed for the second time. Therefore, it was more important for my aunt and uncle, and my cousin and her husband to spend the holiday with him. (Down 4) Another aunt and uncle had the opportunity to visit with another cousin of mine who now lives out of the country with her little family. They were all here last year, so that makes us down 7 more. Their other daughters, one has recently gotten engaged and chose to spend the day with her fiance (down 1), and the other daughter and her family couldn’t make the trip north this year. (Down 5) So if you add those missing family members to those who attended that’s a grand total of 39!! And that’s not even counting everyone! I told you I had a big family!

Everyday I am grateful I have another day on this planet, that I get to worship however I choose, that I have transportation, heat, the basic necessities to live. Too often I think we get caught up in our lives and we forget how blessed we are. From now on, I am going to try harder to remember that I am one of the lucky ones. I don’t have to question where my next meal will come from or how I will stay warm this winter.

I am making it my goal to find something new to be thankful for everyday and I would challenge you to do the same.

101 Things I Want To Do Someday…..

15 Nov

Okay, let’s be honest now. Most of us have probably started making our own version of a “Bucket List” or an “I Want To Do All Of These Things By The Time I’m [insert specific age here]” lists… So here’s mine. It was actually an assignment for one of the classes I took during my Disney College Program a couple of years ago and I just recently found it!

It’s like having a mini time capsule of my 2010 – 2011 self….. I will warn you, some of these are pretty out there and I KNOW I will never, ever get the chance to do them, but that’s not what’s important here. Also, near the end I was getting pretty desperate (hey, it’s harder than you think to come up with 101 things and not repeat. Don’t believe me, give it a try!)

So, without further a due, I give you “101 Things I Want To Do Someday”…..

  1. Graduate from college with a Batchelor’s Degree in Advertising in August 2012
  2. Buy my own car
  3. Buy my own house
  4. Find my true love
  5. Get married
  6. Have children
  7. Adopt a child
  8. Go full-time with the Walt Disney Company
  9. Visit Disneyland
  10. Visit Euro Disney
  11. Visit Tokyo Disney
  12. Visit Hong Kong Disney
  13. Wear a size 8
  14. Exercise regularly
  15. Swim with dolphins
  16. Attend a masquerade ball
  17. Take a Zumba Class
  18. Attend the Olympics
  19. Go scuba diving
  20. Have a spa day
  21. Ride in a hot air balloon
  22. Sleep under the stars
  23. Run in a 5K
  24. Run in a 10K
  25. Run in a half marathon
  26. Run in a full marathon
  27. Learn to play the violin
  28. Learn to play the piano
  29. Sing at a karaoke bar
  30. Complete the Iron Man Triathlon
  31. Take horseback riding lessons
  32. Learn to figure skate
  33. Learn to play tennis
  34. Learn to say “Hello” in 50 languages
  35. Learn conversational Spanish
  36. Learn to salsa dance
  37. Learn to ballroom dance
  38. Swim with the sharks
  39. Go sky diving
  40. Race in a sports car
  41. Go on a cruise
  42. Visit The Grand Canyon
  43. See the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
  44. See the Amazon Rainforest
  45. Walk The Great Wall of China
  46. Visit all 50 states
  47. See The Leaning Tower of Pisa
  48. See The Eiffel Tower
  49. Visit all 7 continents
  50. Live in a foreign country for six months
  51. Learn how to perform magic tricks
  52. Learn to juggle
  53. Publish a children’s book
  54. Finish my scrapbooks
  55. Get my journal caught back up to date
  56. Make a list of 100 books to read
  57. Allow myself to make mistakes
  58. Discover my life’s purpose
  59. Learn to say “No” without feeling guilty
  60. Get my masters degree
  61. Make a difference in at least one person’s life
  62. Write a letter to each of my children telling them what I want them to know about my life and the lessons I’ve learned
  63. Watch turtles hatch and run for the ocean
  64. Go whale-watching
  65. Find inner peace
  66. Learn to forgive easily
  67. Take up Yoga
  68. Learn to meditate
  69. Ride a gondola in Venice
  70. Discover what truly makes me happy
  71. Go inside the Great Pyramids
  72. Take a candlelit bath
  73. Watch a lightning storm at sea
  74. Take a midnight walk on the beach
  75. Reach my goal weight
  76. Be an extra in a movie
  77. Tell someone the story of my life, sparing no details
  78. Learn how to take a compliment
  79. Send a message in a bottle
  80. Write the novel I know I have inside me.
  81. Stay out all night dancing and go to work the next day without having gone home (just once)
  82. Be someone’s mentor
  83. Shower in a waterfall
  84. Spend New Year’s Eve in an exotic location.
  85. Overcome my fear of failure
  86. Drive a convertible with the top down, hair blowing in the wind and music blaring
  87. Scuba dive off Australia’s Great Barrier Reef
  88. Reflect on my greatest weakness, and realize how it is my greatest strength
  89. Perform a kind deed to at least 5 strangers without expecting anything in return
  90. Get a complete makeover (change everything, from hair style, hair color, image, clothes) and get a different look:  one which I would never have thought of trying!
  91. Knit a scarf
  92. Fly first class
  93. Visit and photograph a volcano
  94. Visit a castle in England
  95. See the Mona Lisa in Louvre (Paris)
  96. Visit the birthplace of my ancestors
  97. Take a martial arts class
  98. Have a star named after me
  99. Learn to surf the waves in Hawaii
  100. Be part of a flash mob
  101. Stay In The Best Suite

So, as you can see, I’ve still got a L-O-N-G ways to go… but it’ll make for exciting adventures in life! And I’m sure that as time goes on, things will get added, subtracted and altered on my list. One thing is for sure, I can’t wait to see which number I’ll be able to check off next!

How’s your “Bucket List” coming along?! I’d love to know what you’ve accomplished and what you still have to check off! Let me know in a comment!