Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31st, 2012 - JJ

1. Our heated blanket. I forgot how hard it can be to stay warm in Chicago this time of year. Thankful for the heated blanket to snuggle up under!

2. For all of Ripley's dog friends. We are so blessed to live in an area with so many dogs for her to play with! Nothing like starting your day with a cup of coffee and watching a bunch of dogs run around together. They're so cute!

3. That Heather and Jimmy will be spending New Year's with Derick and I! I am so excited she's in town! It's been way too long since I've had quality Heather time. 

4. Pinterest, which I am now addicted to thanks to Derick's cousin Samantha. 

5. That it's not supposed to snow any time soon, and that my weather app is telling me it will get warmer towards the middle of the month for a few days. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

December 30th, 2012 - JJ

1. That Derick was willing to stay up late last night and make broccoli cheese soup for me after I screwed it up the first time. I wanted that soup so bad and even though we didn't eat it until 11pm, it was worth the wait!!  Derick is now officially the roux chef in our house, and I'm looking forward to many more batches of broccoli cheese soup (and maybe lots of other kinds too!) in the future! :)

2. That I was able to fix up Derick's hand after an unfortunate (and minor, don't worry, Tammy!) kitchen accident involving our mandolin this morning. Most of you are aware that I do not do well with blood, but I didn't feel sick or even too stressed out while bandaging up his finger, which is pretty impressive for me! 

3. Facetime and making time to chat with family and friends. I love it!

4. That Derick helped me with putting away all the Christmas decorations and organizing our house over the last few days. We still have to figure out how to make room in our storage locker for the boxes of Christmas stuff, but other than that, our house is looking pretty good which feels great!

5. That Ripley is learning to hold her bladder for long periods of time, which decreases the number of times I have to go down and back up the stairs at our house. Horray for puppy potty training! 

6. For Tammy's pasta salad which is heavenly! I had some for lunch today and didn't want it to end!

7. That we were able to see Abby for a few hours while she was in Chicago yesterday. We went to Revolution and had a great time! I wish we could've had more time with her!

8. For our new humidifier (Thanks, Tammy!) which we ran in our bedroom last night while we slept. It provided great background noise to drown out the sounds of the sirens - I mean, city! - and is hopefully doing good things for my dried out skin.

9. That Derick sat down with me and helped me work out some goals for the next few years. I'm a long term planner, and it feels good to have things on paper to keep me/us on track! Included in those goals is a plan to tackle the mess of figuring out where we want to move in a year and a half. On that note, I'm also thankful for compromise and patience.

10. For sunshine even when it's 17 degrees outside. The sunny days we get in Chicago will make the next three months of frozen hell in the midwest a little more bearable than they would be otherwise.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

December 25th - Heather

I woke up this morning thinking about Christmas traditions. It's hard to keep traditions alive when so many things change year to year and new places bring new traditions. But over the years a few have endured and I thought I would share them with you tonight!

1. Opening one present on Christmas Eve...ok, not quite...the tradition part is actually me asking my mom if we could open one gift before bed on Christmas Eve. She has always said no...but every year I ask.

2. Christmas lights on Christmas Eve. I don't remember when this started, but I was apparently very young. I never wanted to turn the Christmas lights off at night. We always had lights strung up all around the room and multiple strands on the tree (colored lights around the boughs and clear lights illuminating the trunk). Somewhere along the line I convinced my mom to let me leave the lights on all night on Christmas Eve.

3. Making the coffee on Christmas morning. As a child, Christmas was the only day of the year I was a morning person. I would wake between 2 and 4 am, sneak out to look at the tree and then race to my parents room. There was no waking my dad gently in the middle of the night, so I always started with my mom. Tapping her arm, shaking her shoulder, opening her eyelids and asking if anyone was year she finally told me that they would get up once there was coffee I made coffee, brought a cup for mom and a cup for dad. And a tradition was born. It's been my job to make the coffee on Christmas morning ever since.

4. Hiding presents inside the Christmas tree. I'm spoiled to come from a family that likes to gift jewelry. Needless to say there have always been small boxes exchanged on Christmas morning. Instead of putting the smallest boxes on the floor with the other presents, we nestled them on tree branches close to the trunk wondering if the giftee would find all the little boxes.

5. Turkey dinner. When we lived abroad, my mom literally cooked for an army...a bunch of the soldiers that worked with my dad came over and ate, ate, ate. For the last ten years, it's generally just been just my mom and I and a 20 pound turkey...I finally convinced her to cook a smaller bird a few years ago. This year I convinced her to break tradition all together. We had pork roast and a root vegetable dish that might not be a new tradition!

It's hard to remember sometime that traditions are fluid, not set in stone. All that matters is that you enjoy them and the ones you hold dear.

What are some of your holiday traditions?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December 20th, 2012 - JJ

1. For Derick, and how thoughtful each of the many (15!) Christmas presents he bought me were. Especially loving the infinity necklace and the box with the red wine, cheese its, bath bombs, and bath pillow! :)
2. That Derick loved my gift to him. I was a little worried about it, but it turns out I was spot on. YAY!
3. The giant Christmas tree cupcake I just ate that Jenna brought to the office. YUM!
4. All the people in my life that I can talk about dragons with. I love dragons!
5. Round brushes and curling irons for making my hair fun.

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17th, 2012 - JJ

1. For Derick, who wrote a bunch of things he loves about me on post-it notes and covered our kitchen cabinets with them as a surprise for me when I got home from Seattle last night. He also cleaned the whole house which was amazing! And he took care of Ripley all week while I was gone and didn't even complain about it.
2. That Ripley didn't cry at all last night after moving her crate into our bedroom. Fingers crossed that this is the key to crate training success and we never hear another sad/frustrated peep out of her while she's in that thing.
3. That Steve and Kimberly's wedding went off without a hitch! Also thankful that I had a great time despite not knowing anyone there besides the bride and groom. I guess I should also be thankful for alcohol, since that's part of what helped me get out of my comfort zone and onto the dance floor. I'm also thankful for Joy, Kimberly's cousin, who is wonderful and amazing and is my new BFF, without whom I probably would've bailed on the wedding reception early.
4. For everyone in Seattle who made an effort to hang out with me while I was in town, and for those who were content to do whatever I wanted to do while I was there. I didn't get to see everyone which was a bummer, but I only spent a few hours being stressed out about making the people I couldn't see unhappy and that is pretty good for me!
5. That my mom is so teeny now she can wear my clothes. And that she looked so awesome in the dress I wore for the wedding last week that she bought one for herself! Go mom!! :) And on that note, I'm very very thankful that I somehow managed to lose weight while I was in Seattle (despite eating every single last french fry in the poutine I ordered with Raymi & Megan and drinking multiple Starbucks holiday drinks per day, every day). Not sure how this was possible, but I'm just gonna go with it!
6. Lastly, I am thankful for The Hobbit which makes me happier than I can express. Peter Jackson is amazing and I am so glad he made the movie for the fans rather than making it to impress the Academy and win awards. I'm also thankful for all the geeky friends I have who love it as much as I do. I can't wait to go see it with Derick in the fancy 3D that Peter Jackson intended it to be seen in!! I wish I was a hobbit and that wizards were real. And I can't wait to see the dragon in the second movie. This first one was a bit of a tease when it came to Smaug.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December 11th, 2012 - JJ

1. For the delicious dinner Derick cooked for me on Sunday night: pumpkin soup with apple chili relish to start, pumpkin & mushroom risotto with bacon, and pumpkin toffee cookies with salted caramel glaze for dessert! I've been wanting a pumpkin meal for a while and it was so delicious! And he even cleaned up most of the dishes so I didn't have to. What a good husband I have!
2. For the dinner Derick took me to on Saturday night to celebrate his promotion at work. We went to ING and had their 10 course "Nightmare Before Christmas" themed tasting menu. It was delicious! And I'm further thankful that my body tolerated the duck course better than it usually tolerates duck. The duck course was the best one so of course I had to eat it anyway.
3. For the lady at the Southwest check in counter that helped me out this morning. She was able to change my ticket from my married name to my maiden name since I don't have an ID with my married name yet, and then she was able to change my Southwest Rapid Rewards card name from my maiden name to my married name so that I don't have to deal with that later. I'm also thankful that I had the foresight to take my passport with me (which says my maiden name, still), so that when I come back to Chicago (after updating my license from my maiden name to my married name while I'm in Washington) I'll be able to use that for my ID so it will match my boarding pass which will still say my maiden name. This name change thing is so complicated!
4. For Elena, our dog watcher, who agreed to have Ripley at full day doggy day care for the rest of the week while I'm gone, to take the pressure off of Derick to keep her exercised and entertained all by himself. Ripley has so much fun at Elena's with all her dog friends and Elena genuinely loves her, which eases any anxiety I have about being away from my puppy baby.
5. For FaceTime, which will allow me to see Derick while I'm gone. It's the best thing ever and I'm pretty excited that we both have phones and iPads that we can use FaceTime on to stay connected when we have to be apart. Definitely helps to know I'll be able to see him even if he's not right in front of me, since it feels weird to be leaving him for so long (smooooooooooshy!).

6. Dane, for agreeing to pick me up from the airport when I land in Seattle later today.

7. That my flight is only delayed 35 minutes. Could be so much worse!!

8. For my work laptop, which is keeping me entertained while I sit at the airport all by myself waiting for a delayed flight. Though admittedly, it's not keeping me entertained with work. So I guess I'm also thankful for facebook and gchat!

9. The Big Long E-mails my dad writes from the Caymans each year. They're one of my all time favorite things ever and I look forward to them whenever my parents travel! Now if only he would send me a draft of this year's Noiseletter then I'd be SUPER thankful!!

10. All the time I'm about to spend with friends that I don't see nearly enough. It will be weird to be away from Derick, but I'm thankful for the opportunity to have quality time with my girls at home (and with Dane, James, and Casey too!). I'm very thankful that I have the ability to travel home as often as I do, and that I still have so many people who love me and want to spend time with me in the Pacific Northwest!

Friday, December 7, 2012

December 7th - Heather

1.  On the 7th day of Christmas boxes, MommaSanta gave to me...a cute pair of smoky quartz earrings!  {I'll get my act together and start getting some pictures in here with tomorrow's post! :)}

2.  Flavored brewed coffee...more specifically...I love the hazelnut coffee at AuBonPain!

3.  I woke up more awake this morning than I did yesterday!  I felt like I was in a cloud of semi-unconsciousness all day yesterday.  I'm feeling much more alert today!  {And I was up later to boot!  Go figure.}

4.  Edward, one of my cats, who waits for exactly the moment that I put the iPad down and am ready to get to work on homework.  He choses that moment to run upstairs and jump into my lap between me and my computer!  He's much cuter than my research (and he purrs) so he usually wins....until I look at the clock and put him down.

5.  Style points at Ulta!  I get all of my Deva Curl hair care goo from Ulta and most of my makeup I rack up points pretty easily.  When they switched over this year to a point system that was redeemable for dollars off your purchase, I told myself that I was going to keep my points and roll them over until Christmas time.  I knew that there would inevitably be something that I wanted or needed this time of the year and that I wouldn't want to spend money on myself.  Last night when I went in to get my pomade and new NoPoo Dry Shampoo (ps, loving it so far, jury is still out though since I've only used it once, this morning) I decided to cash in my points...they were worth over $20 was great!!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 6th - Heather

I always say it, but never cease to be amazed by how fast time flies.  I'm sorry not to have shared the many things I have been thankful for since my last post.  Please don't think that I'm un-thankful on days I miss a posting.  So let's get to the things that I'm thankful for today! :)

1.  Diamonds.  A couple of years ago my mom found these advent calendars that have little boxes that can be filled with anything.  She, of course, has filled it with jewelry and chocolate every year.  This year she put the big ta-da gift earlier in the spread (so I'd have time to enjoy them before/if the world ends on the 21st!).  So my advent gift today was a beautiful pair of diamond earrings. 

2.  The end of the semester is in sight!  I'm feeling the lack of sleep that's been building over the semester.  One big paper, a few little papers and done!  So exciting!  {Then I start my thesis core in the Spring....scary!!!}

3.  Half a novel...okay, really closer to a third or so.  I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time this year.  I didn't quite keep pace with writing every day.  But I did get a great start written and am looking forward to finishing my novel over the winter break and then editting it in the coming months!

4.  Creativity.  I feel as though I have been more inspired this year than usual.  In terms of writing, I have written more.  In terms of crafting, I have learned how to crochet and have crocheted many holiday gifts.  It feels good to be creative. 

5.  Having too much research for my final paper.  It's a good problem to have.  But I realized that I had to push a few resources to the back burner for this paper.  This also means I have a (small) jump start on the literature review for my thesis! Yay!!!

December 6th, 2012 - JJ

1. That I've remembered to write this list a second day in a row! Horray!
2. For the smell of coffee. I started my pot brewing right before I got in the shower and by the time I got out of the shower the whole house smelled like delicious, amazing coffee! Yum!
3. For always having laughs at work when the people I share an office with are there with me. My "going to the office" behavior is definitely maintained by access to jokes at this point. My "going to observations/meetings in the field" behavior is maintained by access to Anna.
4. French fries, sweet tea, and wings. Wing Stop has opened down the street from my office. I'm about to be very, very fat, and very, very happy!
5. Girls' night at my house tonight! I can hardly wait!!
6. For my dad, whose birthday is today. Wish I could celebrate with him, but no, someone has to go away to the Cayman Islands every year for his birthday.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December 5th, 2012 - JJ

1. For how pretty our home looks with all our Christmas decorations up. It's so nice to get up and turn the Christmas lights on and feel festive. :)
2. For the Daily Deals at Michael's. Yesterday I bought Martha Stewart's glitter set and glitter pen set for 50% off! And the day before that I got three 9 foot garlands for $1.99 each when they were supposed to be $7.99 each. What a deal! :)
3. For hand lotion. Even though we've had great weather this month (strange for Chicago!) my hands are cracking like crazy! Thank god for lotion to fix it!
4. I get to go to Seattle next week!
5. That my Christmas shopping is almost completely done. Just a few more items to get and I'm finished. Yahoo!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

November 15th - Heather

1. Advance tickets!

2. Vampire socks and lipstick!
3. Vampire kitties (Edward and Alice)
4. Vampire charm....ok, that's a bit of a stretch, but its a red apple like the one on the cover of the first book.
5. Vampire make up!
Seeing Breaking Dawn on the Ultrascreen, priceless!

November 15th, 2012 - JJ

1. Getting to babysit the Utigard kids and their new puppy yesterday. I know I shouldn't compare Ripley to other puppies, but Cody and Ripley are SO different. Cody is the most chilled out puppy I've ever seen, and at first I was incredibly jealous since Ripley is so energetic and crazy. But then it turned out that Cody is a biter ("I was unaware that the Wachutus were biters!" Raymi, that's for you!), and I realized after he drew blood that I would rather have an energetic crazy puppy than a biter. So I am very thankful for getting to hang out with the kids and a chill puppy, and also for getting to go home to a crazy energetic puppy who doesn't bite hard enough to draw blood, ever.
2. I haven't had any obsessive Anna love in my 5 things in a while, so today I have to be thankful for her! I got to spend yesterday and this morning with her and I just love how much fun she is and how good she is at her job. I wake up excited to go to work on days that I get to see her.
3. Bandaids and neosporin, for puppy bites and cat scratches.
4. Marty! We get to babysit him until Monday night and he and Ripley were so cute this morning I could barely handle it. I can't wait till my afternoon apointment is over so I can go home and play with them. I hope he does his job and keeps Ripley happily occupied all weekend, and I hope Ripley keeps him distracted from chasing the cats.
5. Elaina, our dog watching lady, who sends me pictures and videos of Ripley during the day because she seems to sense that I am an overprotective helicopter mom who has a little separation anxiety. I love the pictures and videos. :) My puppy is so damn cute!
6. Derick, for bringing home fried chicken for dinner last night so I didn't have to cook.
7. That I'm old enough now that not a single person has asked me to go to the midnight showing of Breaking Dawn with them tonight. Also thankful that Breaking Dawn is out this weekend and that I get to see it soon!
8. That I found earrings in my wallet today. I forgot to put any on before I left the house and I feel naked without my jewelry, so I am thankful to have a pair to wear for the rest of the day.
9. Sleep. I'm not getting enough of it lately, but I'm thankful that I get more than I did when we first got Ripley.
10. Coffee. Helping me make up for the lack of sleep.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November 13th - Heather

1.  I'm thankful for the mental space to distinguish between feeling overwhelmed and being overwhelmed.  I'm quite behind on my writing currently and while it feels overwhelming, I recognize that I'm currently in a position to take the time to catch up without it putting me farther behind.  Normally people say, take a step back and look at the whole picture (or something along those lines).  But that makes me more I'm going to take a step closer so that I can only focus on one thing at a time.

2. Our class project went really well last night.  As a whole class we were tasked with organizing and facilitatng a panel discussion on leadership.  And at the end of the night, when all was said and done, we stood around chatting, getting to know each other in a way we don't generally during our class discussions.  It was really nice.

3.  My classmates noticing how quickly I'm moving through crochet projects.  Granted they only see me once a week, but I'm finishing things fast enough that they almost always see me working on a different project before class.  I'm still just doing the basics....but I'm getting the single crochet down pat!

4.  That the first snow flurries of the season didn't stick around yesterday.  I'm not prepared to have to think about driving home from class late at night in snowy nasty conditions.

5.  Coffee....the only thing that is going to keep me awake through class and until I finish my paper tonight!!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12th, 2012 - JJ

1. Elaina, our dog sitter, who is starting today. I'm kind of sad to miss my middle of the day puppy break, but my work should improve quite a bit. And Elaina is in love with Ripley, so I'm not worried about her at all (kinda...).
2. The delicious rice pudding I made yesterday from a recipe that Nika sent me. I'm eating left overs right now and it's DELICIOUS. :)
3. That the office is pretty quiet today, aside from the banter in my office (which I quite enjoy for the most part).
4. The peacock feather earrings that Heather bought me when she was in Portland. I'm wearing them today and I love them!!!
5. All the fancy cooking stuff we have in our kitchen now. Cooking is so much more fun with awesome tools!
6. Salted caramel sauce for my coffee, and Jenna for making it with me. Soooooo delicious and becoming a necessity in my life.
7. Derick's belly laugh. Nothing is better than when Derick finds something really truly funny and he can't contain himself. I looooove that sound! It makes my day every time I hear it.
8. The new James Bond movie. Saw it Sunday with Derick, and it was great!
9. The crazy warm weather we had in Chicago this weekend. It got up to 70! Insane!! Then this morning it was down to 32. Winter is coming. :(
10. Morning snuggles with Ripley. I just love that puppy way too much!

November 12th - Heather

1.  I'm thankful for social crafty time.  This past Friday, mom and I went to a knitting night (but there were about half of us doing crochet projects) at the Beading Hearts studio in downtown Waukesha.  One of the nice things about yarn crafting is that it is easy to pack it up and take it along for a social hour...or two...or three.  :)

2.  Crazy kitten nuzzles is the middle of the night.  I can't believe I've had Alice for over two months now, and for as big as she's gotten in that time, she's still so tiny.  It still cracks me up when she starts purring and nuzzling kisses into my nose when she sees my eye lids flutter open - or half open, really - in the middle of the night.

3.  My big oversized pashmina from DC.  I love being wrapped up in it when the temperature outside is so cold.  It's perfect to have on hand when it goes from 67 degrees at nightfall to the mid 20's in the middle of the night!

4.  That the stress-induced pimple factory that is my face is calming down, finally!  I am open to any stress management tips you want to send my way!  Feel free to add comments below!  I tend to be horrible and hold my anxiety and stress in, until it comes bubbling out of my face in a manner only marginally better than boils.  How do you deal with your daily stresses?

5.  Make-up that does a decent job of covering up aforementioned pimple factory without making them worse!  I do try to not wear makeup everyday.  But some meetings necessitate the mask of the warrior...I mean, war, looking professional. ;-)

Friday, November 9, 2012

November 9th, 2012 - JJ

1. Laughing until I cried this morning while telling Matt the story of Shannon getting the doors of the tube car in London closed on her head. That story always makes me laugh until I cry, which is usually embarassing since no one else thinks it's that funny since they weren't there. But I really really love it! :)
2. Friday!!! Can't wait till quittin time!
3. Tammy, whose birthday was yesterday. She's the best mother in law I could've asked for and I am so thankful to have her in my life! Love you!
4. Ripley, who is adorable and such a good little puppy. We had two days straight of no accidents! Horray!!!
5. I've already earned my next free Starbucks drink. Can't wait to cash that in soon for another gingerbread latte. Best drink they make!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

November 8th, 2012 - JJ

1. Lauren Hopkins, who is hilarious and probably has no idea how awesome I think she is. She had the only post-election facebook status that I could really get behind, which was, in summary, that people should stop being asshats to each other and find some common humanity regardless of who they voted for. She also posted hilarious things about gorillas all day on election day, which was my favorite part of election day this year because it was just that funny.
2. My mom. I could really use some mom time lately and I wish she didn't live so far away from me.
3. Forgiveness, both given and received, even if it's unspoken. It feels good.
4. The food at Revolution. Looking forward to eating the other half of my corned beef reuben for lunch today. Also thankful for the company we always have at Revolution: Emily and Jake.
5. For a girl time/puppy play date to look forward to on Saturday. Jenna and I are both out of salted caramel sauce now, so getting together to make some more seemed like a perfect excuse for giving our men a break and getting the puppies together. I can't wait!
6. Alias! What the what happened at the end of Season 2, OMG?!?! If I didn't have so much house work and paper work to catch up on today I'd probably still be sitting on my couch, well into season 3. Oh man.
7. Nika, for always giving me great recipes and cooking tips! Wish we lived closer so we could cook together regularly!
8. Derick, for being able to laugh at himself and not only tolerating, but encouraging stories of hilariously embarassing things he's said and done in the past to be retold regularly.
9. The ability to hide people's facebook posts from your newsfeed. I cannot look at another rescue animal right now. I have a small zoo in my house as it is. These are things I do not need to see every day right now.
10. That Derick has Amazon prime, so anything I order through his account shows up within 2 days. Love it!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November 6th, 2012 - JJ

1. I'm thankful for this often in these e-mails, but it's worth repeating: I am so thankful for a flexible job, where I can work from home when I'm not feeling well. Further, I'm thankful that fate cleared my schedule today making it possible to work from home all day.
2. For pajamas, which I am still wearing. I'm also thankful that Derick had one last clean sweatshirt that I could wear. We're awfully behind on our laundry at the moment, and since it's been cold out lately I've managed to go through all of my own sweatshirts in the last week. Amazing how quickly things get dirty when you're a puppy mommy.
3. For a working furnace, and that the pilot light hasn't gone out again since the last time our land lord was here to fix it. I'm also thankful that while Derick is at work today I can turn the heat up as high as I want!! I'm currently sitting in a toasty 72 degree apartment! And somehow I'm still finding it necessary to be wearing pants, a sweatshirt, and socks, and to be covered up in a warm blanket.
4. For delicious food. Specifically for the delicious moroccan couscous and tilapia that Derick made last night. I just ate the left overs for lunch and they were AMAZING. I could eat tilapia in that marinade every single day and never get sick of it! Also thankful for chocolate chip cookies. Always good for brightening up a blah day.
5. That Ripley sleeps so much. I have been SO productive with work stuff today and that wouldn't have been possible if she hadn't been sleeping all morning.
6. For all of Ripley's friends, who entertain her for hours and wear her out so she sleeps hard and terrorizes Allagash less. I'm also thankful for them because after yesterday's awful morning meeting it was great to be able to come home and watch my puppy play with a bunch of big dogs and put all the work drama out of my mind. Very therapeutic.
7. That I got to talk to Jessica for a few minutes this morning while she drove to work. Gotta love best friend time when you can get it!
8. That I woke up feeling fully rested this morning and was able to take over Derick's early morning puppy duty for him so he could sleep in. Helps that I fell asleep sometime between 8 and 9 last night, so I'm thankful for that too. :)
9. That Thanksgiving is almost here. It's my favorite holiday and I cannot wait!
10. For my home with Derick. I love it, even though I sometimes feel like we live in a tiny zoo these days. I always want to come home to him (or for him to hurry up and get home to me). I love that sharing space with him isn't work (no matter how often I joke about doing all the housework), and that we both take care of each other in different ways. Now, is it 5:00 yet? I want to see my husband walk through our front door!

Election Day 2012 - Heather

It's Election Day!  My friends in DC are going back to the bar we went to four years ago for this very evening.  DC is electric on nights like this.  I wrote a reflection in 2008 the day after the election, so that I could always look back and remember how amazing the night was.  I only lived in DC for two years, but stories like this make those two years worth it.  I'm living in Wisconsin currently and wishing more than anything that I didn't have class tonight and could be in DC for the evening.

For my five things today, I want to share that reflection.  Enjoy!

Election Night 2008

I didn't want to stay home for election night. I live in Washington DC and I wanted to feel the spirit of the city on that night in particular. So I began the search for where to go, because deciding not to stay home is only halfway to having a great night. I typed "DC Democrat bar" into Google. I didn't get great results so I tried "Obama results election night." This search query returned a blog that listed about 10 places that were having Obama parties for election night. My eyes fell upon Bohemian Caverns with great excitement. I had been wanting to go there for awhile having driven past numerous times to and from my bosses house.
It was five dollars to get in, which is normally a deal breaker for me. I'm kind of cheap and prefer not to pay cover. I decided this was a night worth paying for. Then I had to convince my friends that the night was worth not only paying for but going all the way across town for. We live on Capitol Hill and one of my friends really wanted to stay home and watch the results come in. I decided I had conceded to too many nights in places that I didn't necessarily want to be...we were going to the club that I wanted to go to for this night. I wasn't conceding this night...that was for McCain to do.
And so it came to be that this white, twenty-something, college-educated woman was at Bohemian Caverns on U St NW on election night. When we first arrived at 6:30 the main floor - the only floor with food service and televisions - was packed and the rest of the place still had plenty of elbow room. I was with two hungry boys at this point as my girlfriend and her boyfriend were still on their way from the Hill. We had our hands stamped and headed off to the infamous Ben's Chili Bowl for dinner.
About an hour later, the five of us headed back to Bohemian Caverns. There was a line by that time and since only three of the five of us had already paid our cover we waited in line. We made our way up to the second floor with CNN projected onto the wall next to the jumping balloon. As the drinks and the results started flowing in, the party started. I'm pretty sure the last time I screamed that hard was at a sporting event! With every CNN projection for Obama I got louder and jumped further off the ground. I was thrilled to see Virginia go to Obama and elated to see Ohio go to Obama as well.
After more than three hours of screaming and jumping - in and out of the jumping balloon - the election was called for Obama. The response of the crowd was more excited than New Years. There was hugging, high-fiving and high-pitched screaming. And the crowds began to leave the bars and crowd the streets. U St became impassable by car within 30 minutes. It was an amazing scene. I watched from the second-story window of Bohemian Caverns. We were waiting for McCain's concession speech and Obama's acceptance speech before we hit the streets.
I began the evening adorned in a blue and gray striped dress, my gold chain, red winter coat and red Guess bag. As we hit the streets the night's accumulations amounted to a white plastic hat with an American flag band on my head, gold curly streamers that my friend taped onto the top of the hat, a chain of blue beads around my neck, and a red, white and blue streamer wrapped around my neck like a skinny scarf. I looked like the 4th of July - Uncle Sam as one friend observed - as we walked into the street into a crowd of people and cars. It was the happiest traffic jam I'd ever seen.
People randomly came up to me asking to take their picture with me...I'm not sure if it was in homage to my very apparent patriotism or a nod to my lacking sanity. Either way it was an amazing night. My friend said that he wished he'd had a camera to take a picture of the scene in the street. I said, 'I don't need a camera to remember what I'm seeing here tonight!' At the end of the night there were only three words that came close to encapsulating the feelings, energy and scene of the night: Yes We DID!!!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November 3rd - Heather

1.  I'm thankful for the invite to join one of my colleagues, Lynn, to attend a Stampin' Up Open House. I got to feed my mom a new addiction and we got to spend an afternoon crafting, shopping and chatting with wonderful ladies (and gent)!

2.  The word count feature on Google Docs.  I'm writing my novel in Google for the NaNoWriMo challenge and I love that I can tell it to only count the words in a highlighted section.  I fell a couple hundred words short of my goal today...but I can make that up easily tomorrow.

3.  Cute and cuddly kitties...especially when they do something this cute:
Edward is the tabby to the top left, Jacob is the white cat to the top right and little Alice is the tortishell in the front center!

4.  A whole day tomorrow to be super productive and write my paper and do my laundry and, and, and.....ok, I have more to do that I'll get to in one day....but I don't have to leave the house for any reason.  I can stay shut up in my space writing all day!

5.  The new fun tester size goodies I got at Ulta tonight.  I love dabbling in pint size products.

Friday, November 2, 2012

November 2nd - Heather

1.  I'm thankful for a garage to park my car in!  It got down around freezing last night and as I drove to work this morning I saw other cars that were still frosted over.  If I have to live somewhere that gets this cold, I'm at least thankful that I don't have to spend the extra time in the mornings to defrost my car!  (PS, I'll be thankful for this again when it starts snowing and I don't have scrap snow off my car either!)

2.  The bottle of Excedrin in my desk drawer!  The sun, while pretty, was so glaringly bright this morning that even with sunglasses, it instantly gave me a migraine!  :(  Not fun.  But it's beginning to subside ever so slowly!!!

3.  Interlibrary Loan....bringing the books of the world to a library near me!

4.  A brillant's to hoping my professors approve!

5.  An adjustable keyboard tray...especially on days like today when I'm feeling extra fidgety.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November 1st - Heather

1.  Red tea with chai spices.  It makes a great chai tea latte with egg nog and there's no caffeine, so I don't have to worry about how much of it I drink!!!

2.  Feeling inspired.  It's the first day of the NaNoWriMo challenge and I'm on my way to getting all of my words written for the day.  The goal is to write just under 1700 words every day over the course of the month of November so that by the end of the month I have a 50,000 word novel.  I outlined my story yesterday, but couldn't start writing until today.  I just have a couple hundred more words to go for today and I'm feeling great.  I was worried earlier in the day.  I was focusing on all of the details of the story that I hadn't thought about yet.  Then I just focused on writing about the parts that I had outlined knowing that I could add specific details later.  This is going to be fun!  I can't believe that I had never heard of this before.  It started in 1999!!!

3.  Google docs!  I can work on my novel from anyplace at anytime without having to worry about where it is saved!  I can pull it up on my laptop, my iPad, the computer in my's great!

4.  That the early Christmas fanatics are starting to come out of their hiding places.  I've read a few status updates from a  few different friends who are listening to Christmas music or starting to put up some decorations already!  I love it!  And I fully support it!!!

5.  My friend Amy.  I know her heart is hurting right now for the loss of a loved one.  I wish I could make it better.  Or at least be there to sit with her.  It's so hard to always be so far from friends!  If you're reading this Amy, then imagine me sitting there on the couch next to massaging your scalp!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween, 2012 - Heather

1. An opportunity taken! I might well be certifiably insane, but I just committed to my first NaNoWriMo endeavor! NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writing Month. Over the course of the next month I will be attempting to write a novel of, at least, 50,000 words...because a full time job, two grad classes, and handmade holiday gifts wasn't enough to occupy my time for the month of November. Even if I don't reach the 50,000 words in the end, I'm excited to try! Keep an eye out for updates on my progress. And feel free to send some encouraging words my way along this journey!

2. Working with supportive people who will do their best to accommodate anything you need...even when you ask at the last minute! I have two papers due in the next two weeks that are based on interviewing people outside of my family. I had been so preoccupied with the two separate group projects that we just finished this past Monday, I had forgotten to really give interviewees serious thought three weeks ago, when I should have been arranging this. So with the first paper due this coming Monday, I asked Sue, one of my directors, if I could interview her, knowing that she was crazy busy, but also knowing that if she could squeeze me in, she would! I'm thankful for her willingness to sit down with me and I'm thankful for her time!

3. My iPad. Reason number 5,837 that I'm thankful for my iPad: I knew that I wanted to use a voice recorder during the interview that I conducted over lunch...and I have a recorder in my desk drawer....but I couldn't remember if it needed batteries or not. So I picked up my fully charged iPad and downloaded a great, free voice recorder app, AudioMemos, that worked perfectly!

4. Josie, for being brave enough to be my first interviewee! I am so glad that she was willing to let me interview her. It allowed me to focus on the assignments without having to worry about nerves or second guessing myself, because we were friends.

5. Using kitten bath time as time out! I give the cats a bath when they are being really bad...I mean dart out the front door bad, or jump across an innocent bystander on the couch while playing and use their face as a springboard bad. They get a real water and shampoo bath (not the premoistened towelettes bath), towel dried, and then wrapped up and held until dry enough to not shiver outside the blanket. They get clean, get punished, and chill out in the process...all without harboring any resentment for the forced cuddling.


Halloween, 2012 - JJ

1. Schedule flexibility at work. It's nice to be able to come and go as I need to without being questioned or checked up on.
2. Netflix, for having the entire series of Alias available. I LOVE this show. I can't stop watching it!
3. Salted caramel sauce in my coffee. How did I live without this stuff before? I am officially addicted!
4. Halloween. Even though we're not dressing up, it's still a lot of fun to eat candy and watch scary movies. :)
5. Last, but definitely not least: Ripley had her first accident free day yesterday!!! So exciting!!! And she's sleeping in her crate for 8 hours straight, and hasn't cried when we put her in there at night for the last two days. So much progress!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October 30th - Heather

1. The winter coat in my trunk. I know it's an odd place to keep a winter coat....but man that wind was cold today! I was glad that I only had to shiver over to my car to grab my coat.

2. Thankful for the stickers on my car...they led to a new friend today. As I pulled into a parking space at the grad center the young woman in the car next to me noticed my UTEP stickers and asked me if that was where I went to school...who knew I would find another Miner all the way up here in Wisconsin?!

3. The Wisconsin Women in Higher Education Leadership conference that I was able to attend at the end of last week. It happened to be on our campus this year and I was fortunate enough to be able to go. It was really the first kind of women's leadership event I had ever been to. It was an interesting group of women and just a great vibe! Very empowering!

4. Watching Alice and Edward curl up and sleep on the corner of my bed....they really are just too cute!

Alice is just over 3 months, and Edward is just over a year old!
5. That last night's group presentation for class went so well. With two group presentations back to back for the two different classes I'm taking, I'm exhausted. But on the next major assignments I go!


Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29th, 2012 - JJ

1. All of the amazing food Derick cooked for me on Saturday.  He made me a surprise romantic dinner while taking care of Ripley so that I could relax. Started with a black cherry chipotle margarita and sausage stuffed mushrooms. Main course was shepherd's pie, which is one of my all time favorite foods! Dessert was decadent: browned butter and pumpkin cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream frosting. Amazing! I can't wait to go home for lunch in a few hours to eat the left overs! I am very thankful that Derick made such delicious food, and that he chose foods that I love and ended up eating quite a few vegetables in the process.
2. That Ripley slept in her crate for almost 9 hours last night without making a single peep (except when we first put her in there, of course). Amazing!
3. That I get to see Anna this afternoon/evening for two late observations. If I have to have late observations I'm glad they're with someone awesome!
4. Scary movies and snuggling on the couch. So far we've watched The Innkeepers (awful!!) and Evil Dead (so cheesy and ridiculous). Not sure what scary movie we'll watch tonight, but we're on a mission to watch a bunch this week. :) Gotta love Halloween!!
5. Nail polish. I've still got some of the hot pink shellac on my nails from our honeymoon because I think it's crazy to pay someone to take that stuff off, so nail polish has been awesome in helping me keep it covered up until it grows out completely. Hopefully I've only got another two weeks or so until that happens.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October 24th, 2012 - JJ

1. My parents. I talk to them almost every day and I don't know what I'd do without them. They're crazies, but they're wonderful!!
2. The warm weather we're having today. Ripley and I went for a walk at lunch time and I didn't need a sweater or a coat. It was great!  I can't believe it's this warm at the end of October!
3. That I can make our new intern, Matt, laugh a lot! The other intern is pretty stoic, but Matt will burst into a fit of laughter if you get your jokes right, and I love that!
4. Franks Red Hot Sauce, especially on pizza or french fries. YUM! So glad I met Derick and Megan Mims and began to embrace spicy food!
5. My lovely Megan Noon, whose birthday is today! I am so thankful that we've kept our friendship strong over the years and that even though we've got a lot of miles between us now, we still talk all the time! Megan always makes me laugh and is always fun to be around. I just love her!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October 23rd - Heather

1.  Watching people in the car behind me squint to read my license plate cover and then watching their face when they don't get it!  :)  My cover says "I drive more like a Cullen than a cow" in red letters on a black metal background with red apples in the corners.  Hehehehe.

2.  Hearing Mariah Carey's Vision of Love and remembering that I used to be able to hit all of those high notes once upon a time...and then remembering sitting on the back of the school bus singing songs from Mariah Carey's first album all the way to school and back home in the afternoon.

3.  A random text from an old friend.  It's always nice to feel like no time has passed when in reality it's been years!

4.  The first of two formal group presentations is about to be history!  T-90 minutes!!!!

5.  My newest playlist oh so cleverly named by mashing up the names of the middle and high schools that I went to: Baustin Migh!  It's by far the era of music I have the most of.  It's quite an ecclectic mix and I'm loving it!  I mean ecclectic...the last song was Randy Travis's I Told You So and the next song is TLC's No Scrubs!  Lots of musical ground to cover in the last 7 years of the century!!!!

October 23rd, 2012 - JJ

1. Coffee. Coffee, coffee, coffee. All the coffee in the world, and especially all the coffee in my house. Also, my "No place like home" coffee cup from Pam. Fits my homesick mood pretty well this morning.
2. That Ripley is so damn cute. Otherwise she'd have been thrown out the window days ago.
3. Our first night of no crate cries. Took us two and a half weeks to get here and I really hope we're here to stay. Those cries kill me.
4. Derick, for many reasons, but today I'm thankful that he picked out such a beautiful engagement ring. I still catch myself staring at it in awe regularly.
5. For my coworker, Jen.  I get to talk to her first thing in the morning every Tuesday becuase we have a conference call together, and she always makes me smile. She's so happy and energetic, and fun loving. You can't help but be in a better mood for having talked to her.

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22nd, 2012 - JJ

1. That my parents were able to visit this weekend. I had a great time with them this weekend and wish we lived closer so we could hang out with them more regularly!
2. Our trip to Michigan. It was short, but winning the game against MSU made it very sweet (sorry, Casey!)!! It seems Derick is our good luck charm for seeing victories at the Big House. :)
3. Derick's friends from camp, Jonny & Greta. They are so nice, and so much fun! And their friends put on a great tail gate party! Can't wait till the next one.
4. That Ripley can now be trusted alone in the living room for the time it takes me to shower. She didn't make any gross messes on the floor and she didn't destroy anything!! SUCCESS!  AND we've had an accident free day so far. Gotta love that! :)
5. Jenna and Terry, for taking care of Ripley while we went to the football game in Michigan this weekend. It was so great to take a break from being a puppy parent for over 24 hours and even better that we didn't have to worry about her because we knew she was in good hands!! I also loved the photos and videos Jenna sent me to help ease my separation anxiety. Seems like Ripley had a ton of fun playing with the big dogs!!
6. That I finally got my hot little hands on a Detroit Starbucks mug! I've been wanting to add one to my collection for a while but never seemed to be able to find a Starbucks in Michigan that carried them until this weekend! Can't wait until it's clean and I can hang it up on the wall with the rest of 'em! Now I just need a Seattle mug and a North Carolina mug to complete my collection (at least until my next trip!)!! :)
7. A quiet afternoon/evening in with Ripley. Derick is at the Chicago Film Festival tonight, and although it would be more awesome to be with him than to be here, a big part of me is excited to stay home with the puppy and catch up on some paper work for work. I must be getting old...
8. The rainy weather we've had in Chicago today. Makes me miss home.
9. Naps. I'm about to take one since Ripley is taking one, and it's going to be amazing!
10. Netflix, for having the entire series of Alias available for me to watch. I can't get enough!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

October 20th - Heather

1. Pumpkin macarons from Trader Joes! Amazing doesn't even begin to describe them!

2. The whole Harry Potter series on blu-ray. One of the few times I can really see the HD difference! May not be the least distracting thing to have on while working on class work, but a worthy distraction!

3. The iced gingerbread scented hand soap my mom bought for smells so good that the youngest kitten has a hard time not chomping on freshly washed fingers.

4. Lane Bryant's LB2Me program. Free shipping on the matching cami that they didn't have in the store when I bought this great green sweater last's a wonderful thing.

5. An impromptu drive to the Pine Cone Cafe in Johnson's Creek for dinner last night...and all the leftovers we brought home with us!

6. Christmas decorations and fun stuff popping up in stores. I know it's too early for some people...but I can't get enough!

7. NOAA predictions that include less snow than normal for this area! Let's hope they got it right. I also hope that doesn't mean that it's going to be below 20 degrees all winter.

8. Productive days for a short week. The university was closed for Fall Break so this last week was only three days long and surprisingly I got quite a bit of work accomplished.

9. Sleepy, snuggley cats. They're just so cute!

10. Advance tickets to see Breaking Dawn Part 2. I really can't wait!

Friday, October 19, 2012

October 19th, 2012 - JJ

1. For the delicious gelato that Heather & Kathy brought for us from Wisconsin. They packed it in an insulated lunch box with a ton of ice packs and it miraculously didn't melt too much before they made it to Chicago!  The stuff is delicious. It's the Talenti brand and we got chocolate peanut butter, banana chocolate swirl, and best of all: salted caramel!!!!  So amazing. I ate gelato for dinner Wednesday night after a long, long day at work and that combined with puppy and husband snuggles made everything ok in my world. :)
2. It's FRIDAY!  Better yet, it's pay day! Best of all, I get to pick my parents up from the airport this evening and hang out with them all weekend! Can't wait!
3. The fancy new bed stuff we bought with some of our wedding money. Haven't put it on the bed yet, but it's going to look amazing! I'm pretty excited to have our bedroom look and feel like grown up bedroom again!
4. That Ripley did so well yesterday when I took her with me to get the oil changed and the tires rotated in my (parents') car. Also thankful that the people at the dealership were ok with me taking her into the waiting area so we didn't have to spend the hour and a half walking around outside in the cold and wind. Everyone loved her and complimented me on how well behaved and beautiful she is. Then we went home and she terrorized Allagash and peed on the floor. Can't win 'em all, I guess!
5. That this morning David told me that I'm an Sd for fantasy novels after he made a vaugue reference to the eagles in The Lord of the Rings (basically being in my presence makes him think of fantasy novels more frequently than normal). The conversation went as follows, Me: "wow, those dark clouds over there make it look like we're heading to Doom!" David: "Well I hope the eagles are on their way already..."  I realize this is geeky, but I love it. I hope I will always be the kind of person that brings good fantasy novels to mind for people. :)
6. Coffee. Can't live without it!!!
7. For the homemade chicken jerky that Tammy gave us. Ripley LOVES it and surprisingly, so does Allagash! I've had to hide it so Allagash won't try to eat it through the bag.
8. Pumpkin everything. Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin mochas, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin scones, pumpkin air freshener, etc. I love it all!
9. The hilarious conversations that happen in our office now that we have two sarcastic interns and Jen on our team. Lots of inappropriate humor, and I don't think I could get through office time without it. :)
10. Flexibility at work. I can't be thankful for it enough! I love that I can work from home when I need to, and that I can always go home in the middle of the day to let Ripley out. It's pretty amazing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October 17th, 2012 - JJ

1. For my parents, who have been married for 37 years today!
2. That our landlord is coming out tomorrow am to fix all the problems we're having in our apartment. Fingers crossed everything is easy and quick to fix so that I don't have to continue to deal with a backed up bathroom sink, leaky toilet, leaky ceiling, and furnace pilot light that won't stay lit. Let's also hope everything gets fixed before my parents arrive Friday night.
3. That I'm still doing a decent job of keeping our house mostly clean despite the puppy. I'm pretty proud of myself.
4. For a quiet office, where I can get some work done, and where I can go to get away from our puppy and get my sanity back for a few hours.
5. For nice neighbors. Ripley has made friends with most of the people in our building and it turns out that they're all very wonderful.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

October 11th, 2012 - JJ

1. For puppy shampoo and puppy cleaning wipes, so that dirty puppies can be made clean easily which makes them smell better.
2. For puppy toys, which keep puppies from chewing on things they shouldn't, such as toes and furniture.
3. For redirection. And for having so many puppy toys to redirect Ripley to when she's getting into something she shouldn't be.
4. For squeaky toys, which make her come running EVERY time.
5. For an almost pee-accident-on-the-floor free morning. Almost....
6. That having the radio on in the crate/guest room helps Ripley to cry less when she's in her crate. Which means I sleep better at night and feel like less of an evil mean puppy mom for making her sleep in there all alone.
7. For coffee. Sweet, sweet, heavenly, caffeinated goodness. My life's blood, and the only thing getting me through the days (only 4?!?! how is that possible?!) since Saturday.
8. For Derick, without whom crate training would've been abandoned in less than 3 minutes because I am not made of strong enough stuff to get through hours (minutes?) of heart wrenching crate cries on my own. Also that he didn't think I was being ridiculous or over reacting as I laid in the bed shaking all night the first night because I was so worked up over her cries.
9. For Jenna, my mom, Emily, Jake, and Elaine down stairs who have given me so much puppy advice over the last several days. And that my mom didn't laugh too hard when I called her in a panic after less than 1 minute of heartwrenching crate cries on Saturday night.
10. For neighbors who have dogs and so are not upset about the above mentioned crate cries. Also thankful for thick walls and/or for neighbors who are good at lying, because if they're telling it true, no one can hear her at night except for us which is frankly shocking.
11. That Ripley is so dang adorable, because otherwise I'd probably have thrown her out a window by now.
12. That I've mostly figured out a routine for the morning at this point, and that I'm getting so much better at getting ready while watching her. I haven't left the house with two different earrings on since Tuesday, and I'm almost positive that I remembered to brush my teeth and put on deodorant this morning, so we're making progress.
13. For clorox wipes, and paper towels, and Nature's Miracle pet cleaner, without which my house would smell so, so bad!
14. That the cats are extremely tolerant of Ripley's presence in their house, and that Allagash seems to really want to be friends with her.
15. For everyone who keeps telling me it's going to get easier.

October 11th - Heather

1.  I'm thankful that, as a girl, I have been educated and empowered.  Today is the first annual Day of the Girl as established by the UN to bring awareness and change to the treatment of girls around the world.  I am fortunate that as a girl child my ability to be educated was never challenged and my voice was never silenced!

2.  I'm thankful to have grown up around people who not only refused to silence my voice, but encouraged me to speak...even when I was the only child in a room full of adults.

3.  I'm thankful that I have lived in a country where women and girls were idolized and that I currently live in a country where women and girls and encouraged to find opportunities to become more than they were as a gender historically.

4.  I'm thankful for having known men that monopolize and mistreat their women only because I know it's easy to think social problems like this doesn't exsist if you don't see them first hand.  While I haven't been on the receiving end of such treatment, I've seen it in the lives of friends and family-friends over the years.

5.  I'm thankful for the opportunity to mentor girls younger than myself, so that they may have the encouragement that I had that leads them to empowerment.  Many of the girls (who are now women) would have found empowerment without me in their lives, but I'm thankful to have been a part of their journey as we all work towards accomplishing wonderful things!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 10th - Heather

Some days it's too easy to get hung up on all the things I don't have...the boyfriend/fiancee/husband that I haven't met...the kids I don't have....the salary and sense of accomplishment in a chosen career...etc.  Everyone says your 20's are some of the best years.  And I'm sure one day I'll look back on the opportunities and risks I've taken and cherish the memories I've made.  But not everyday feels like something worth cherishing.  I just feel like I'm barely getting by both fiscally and emotionally.  No matter where I am, I long to be somewhere else.

I was catching up on season 7 of How I Met Your Mother and it was so eery to see so much of myself reflected in the comedy of a TV show.  And for as much as it felt reflective of my life, it also reflects the dynamic of the group of friends that I was a part of in DC.  A group of friends that are gearing up to  go to the same bar we went to for Election night four years ago.  It's hard to believe that it was that long ago.  And it's hard for me to wrap my head around not being there and not being a part of that this election year.

There are many things in life that I'm thankful for, but tonight isn't feeling like a thankful night.  Tonight I'm feeling a bit isolated and impatient, emotional and raw.  Tomorrow the sun will rise and I will be smiling under the stress of chapters to read, research to do, papers to write and a job to work (that alone is something to be thankful for in this economy).  But tonight...tonight I let a few tear drops roll.    

Friday, October 5, 2012

October 5th, 2012 - JJ

1. WE GET RIPLEY TOMORROW!!!!!!! In less than 24 hours! So exciting!!! :)
2. For pizza and wings from Sarpinos. I should completely hate myself for the things I ate yesterday (including McDonalds for both breakfast AND was a rough day, guys!), but they were SO delicious, so I only hate myself a little...
3. For Tammy's homemade dill pickles. I'm pretty sure I ate half a jar of them yesterday (yes, I ate a lot yesterday...) and they got better with every bite. So good!!
4. For all the jokes and laughter in the office I share with Jenna this morning. This week has provided us with quite a lot of material to mock and amuse ourselves with, and I really needed the laughs this morning. I'm also thankful for Jenna, Jen, Matt, David (even though he wasn't here today the jokes he has made in the past are always good for another laugh), Hello Kitty, and that we all (minus David as he missed the joke by being absent) have the same idea about what some people mean when they say "closure."
5. It's Friday for reals today. All day yesterday I kept thinking it was Friday even though it obviously wasn't. I'm glad real Friday is here so the weekend can start, and Ripley can come home, and we can finally drink the fancy riesling we got for our wedding that we were saving to drink in celebration of getting our puppy.
6. For sleep. I got quite a lot of it this week because I know that once we are officially puppy parents we will hardly ever sleep anymore. So I'm thankful for all the good nights of sleep I've been getting lately and I can't wait to be thankful for good nights of sleep to start again in about 8 months or a year when Ripley can sleep through the night too.

October 5th - Heather

1.  Computerized countdowns.  Like this one that tells me just how many days until Downton Abby starts!  :)

2.  That tickets are already on sale for Breaking Dawn.  Also thankful for mom putting in for a vacation day so that we can go to a midnight showing without me having to feel guilty about her going to work on no sleep the next day! :)

3.  Next week is fall break...2 days off from class and work...which also roughly speaking means the midpoint of the semester!

4.  I'm getting closer to a thesis topic!  I'm not there yet, but I have a couple of solid ideas.  I start my thesis core in January!  How scary is that!

5.  A good hair day.  That may sound trivial...but my hair and I don't always see eye to eye.

6.  That my kitten, Alice has taken to curling up in my bed for the night....and that I'm learning to actually sleep with her there!

7.  Coffee...even bad coffee is good when absolutely necessary!

8.   The beautiful fall leaves that my boss pinned to my white board after I left work last night.  They have this beautiful pink/orange glow to them.

9.  Lunch at ABP with my coworker Jodi.  It's a nice walk from our offices and the fall weather was cool and crisp.  Just so pleasant.  And as a a good friend she kept me away from all of the sweet treats while we were getting our lunches!

10.  I get to meet Ripley this weekend after JJ and Derick pick her up!  I get to see them too!  So excited!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October 4th, 2012 - JJ

1. Getting to go to the Cubs game on Tuesday night with Em, Erica, Jake, and Josh! Tons of fun and it was Derick's first Cubs game.
2. French fries. My favorite ever.
3. That I was finally able to snag a company car for my visits this week. I was only able to get a company car for one visit in all of last month which means I'm drowning under the weight of my gas bill at the moment. Therefore I'm also thankful that we get mileage reimbursements. Because I don't think I'd be able to afford this job without it!
4. This clip: Sent to me by Heather. Hilarious description of what I do for a living (and he only misused terminology once that I caught, which is pretty good for the general public!)!
5. 1.5 more days until Ripley!!! I've been trying to get all the sleep I can in anticipation of being kept awake by sad puppy noises at night, but I'm still really excited! Is it Saturday yet?????
6. Coffee. I've given up on quitting it. It's too good and too vital for survival at this point. I've moved the coffee pot to a permanent location on the counter now. I'm even considering using the timer and setting it up to automatically start brewing before I wake up in the morning. I am thankful for an awesome coffee pot that can do these things, and for having enough money to afford my coffee habit.
7. That I was able to solve a problem at work yesterday with a relatively small amount of yelling and arguing and that I was able to end the conversation amicably. And I even had a pleasant exchange with the individual in question this morning which was fantastic and I'm very thankful that we worked through the issue professionally (mostly). Thankful for small miracles.
8. That I don't have to bring work home tonight. I'm really looking forward to spending time with Derick while we make an attempt to puppy-proof our home.
9. For the fact that life is full of opportunities, and that I have the ability to make changes if I need to. 
10. For nail polish. Making me feel girly and cute even when I'm stressed out and have messy hair. It's the little things. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 2nd, 2012 - JJ

1. Delicious and amazing BBQ pork from the party in North Carolina. It's so good I can't get over it! Also thankful for the yummy BBQ sauces that Tammy made and for the left overs that came home with us!
2. That we got to spend time with family and friends over the weekend. It was so great to see Amy and to get to know Abby better, and to spend more time with Jenny and Lomax. And it's always great to see Tammy and Neal and Cameron and all of Derick's extended family in NC. I wish we could've stayed longer!
3. 3 days until Ripley!!! I want her now!
4. Blackberry. Wine. Cake.  OMG you guys. Seriously.
5. That we're going to the Cubs' game tonight with Em & Erica and their men! Can't wait!

Friday, September 28, 2012

September 28th, 2012 - JJ

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower! My husband reminded me that I was supposed to mention it in my things yesterday and I forgot! Best movie I think I've ever seen! I can't get over it. You should all see it asap for sure! Along that note, I'm also thankful that Derick likes movies so much and that he drags me to see movies with him, because otherwise I probably never would've seen The Perks of Being a Wallflower and that would be really sad!
2. That I married into such a great family! Cameron is posting pictures of the food he's cooking for this weekend on facebook and I am drooling in anticipation! Can't wait to get down to NC and see everyone tomorrow! and to eat and eat and eat!
3. A short work day. I'm heading out of the office in under an hour. Horray!!
4. Dual temperature control in my (parents') car, which we're driving down to NC today. This means that I don't have to wear lots of layers to stay warm, and Derick doesn't have to suffer through me constantly trying to turn the heat on while we're driving. Should improve the long drive significantly!
5. Count down to Ripley: 7 days!!! Can't even wait!!! I wish we could get her today and take her to NC with us. Also thankful that my mom is so excited to get to meet her in October! And that my parents get to come visit so soon. I always miss them and am so thankful that they are able to visit so often.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

September 27th - Heather

1. My ability to work well under pressure. I forgot about a presentation that I had to give in class tuesday night until 3:30 Tuesday afternoon. Pulled it all together remarkably well in two hours!

2. That I made myself go to the library session that was offered this past weekend...was a great refresher for my research skills...made #1 feasible!

3. That I'm progressing on my quest to make gifts this holiday season. I'm excited to see pieces reach completion!

4. That Alice is happy and healthy in our home and has settled in with her brothers well. She's already growing too fast. We have a vet appointment tomorrow to be spayed and microchipped etc. She'll be at the vet's office all weekend. I'm already just a little sad to drop her off in the morning.

5. That even when she's squirmy and doesn't want to be held, Alice still purrs the minute you touch her. So adorable!

September 27th, 2012 - JJ

1. That my left over fries from last night's dinner have reheated fairly well for lunch today. Also thankful that I had poppyseed dressing in the fridge at work, because it's a surprisingly delicious dipping sauce for the fries (although it's no ranch substitute, obviously! No worries, Raymi & Megan Kircher. I've not lost my mind completely!!)
2. That Allagash comes sprinting down the hallway to get snuggles every morning when I wake up. I love the sound of him running toward me. He's such an adorable, loving cat (when he's not biting and scratching me)!
3. Anna, my coworker. She's generally just awesome, and I am so glad I'm getting more clients with her now. I think she's wonderful.
4. That we get to go to North Carolina tomorrow afternoon! I can't wait!!
5. An all office work day tomorrow. Meaning I'll be able to wear jeans, and I might even have a chance to organize my work life a little bit.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 25th, 2012 - JJ

1. Our vaccuum.  In case you missed it yesterday, I'm REALLY excited about it!!! :) I just can't get over how nice it is to have truly clean floors.
2. An office with a door. I can still hear vague conversation sounds coming from the rest of the office, but it's much easier to ignore when I can't make out the words.
3. A relatively painless experience getting my (parents') car fixed this morning. The only thing that hurt was my bank account. It was nice not to get hassled to have any other repairs done or to find out something else was wrong with the car. Horray!
4. Just a few more days until our mini vacation to North Carolina. Can't wait!
5. That Derick took out the recycling this morning on his way out the door when I asked him. I know that not all husbands do chores around the house after being asked only one time, so it was really nice that mine responded positively when I asked and that I didn't have to feel like a nag. It was also really nice not to have to walk over a cardboard box to get out the back door. :)
6. Less than two weeks until we get to pick up Ripley! Can't wait! I hope the cats don't freak out on us when we bring a puppy into their home.
7. The amazing dinner we made last night. Derick made our favorite breakfast sandwiches on bagels, and together we made parmesean fries and avocado fries with homemade truffle aioli. It was delicious!

Monday, September 24, 2012

September 24th - Heather

1.  Amazing fruit and veggies from Brennan's Market!  We stopped on Saturday to buy some veggies because we don't like the produce at the grocery store we go to.  When we go to Brennan's it's usually for cheese....we just kind of breeze past the fruits and veggies and head for the cheese samples.  But I was amazed at some of the fruit samples they had out and equally amazed at how inexpensive it turned out to be!  Great combo!!! 

2.  The genius that engineered the applum!  So amazing!  It's a cross between a plum and an apple.  I can't remember the last time I was this excited to eat fruit!

3.  This recipe for a non-mayo based chicken salad.  I'm not a huge fan of I was excited to try flavorful!  It's just cubed chicken, diced cucumbers, diced onions, cubed pear mixed with a honey, fresh mint white wine vinegar dressing.  It smells great right away, but the flavors meld so well after it sits in the fridge overnight!  Thumbs up to mom for finding the recipe!

4.  Talking mail.  One of my student workers brought me my campus mail and sat and chatted for awhile.  It's always nice to have the chance to sit down and chat with them.

5.  Finding balance.  Doesn't mean that I won't lose it, it's tenuous.  But I'm trying to fight this guilt that comes over me everytime I dedicate myself to write something other than grad papers...including these blog posts!

September 24th, 2012 - JJ

1. My new Dyson Animal vaccuum. It's amazing!  Makes cleaning up the cat fur SO much easier, and I love haivng a clean floor!  I'm sure the novelty of vaccuuming will wear off quickly, but after not having had a vacuum for the last two years I'm looking forward to being able to vaccuum every weekend (or at least every time I notice the fur accumulating in the corners)
2. That my coworker, Anna, called me this morning to see if she could ask our boss if the new referral she had gotten this AM could be switched from another behavior analyst to me. I absolutely love working with Anna, and hopefully this means I won't get another case with anyone else this week.
3. That I was able to find Peaberry coffee at a Trader Joe's in the burbs this weekend! Also thankful for how excited Sandi is that I picked some up for her as well. Smiles and hugs make Monday mornings more bearable.
4. That Alison and Brent are engaged!!! I am so excited for them!
5. That everything I have for lunch today is vegetables, and that I'm really excited about each thing because they're all delicious!
6. North Carolina on Friday!!!  I wish it was tomorrow! and I also wish we were able to stay longer.

Friday, September 21, 2012

September 21st, 2012 - JJ

1. It's FRIDAY!!! YAY!!!!!! And payday Friday at that. :)
2. The delicious burgers Derick made last night for dinner. We put them on pretzel rolls. YUM!!! and we had parmesean fries with truffle salt on them, dipped in garlic aioli.  Be jealous!
3. That Derick is now tolerating having Allagash stay in our bedroom at night, and also that Allagash is no longer being a total nuisance throughout the night when he is in our bedroom. He's such a cute little snuggle bug, and I'm glad I don't have to feel bad anymore about kicking him out of our room and making him spend the night all alone.
4. That I felt much better for waking up at 5am this morning than I did on Wednesday when I did it. Not sure why, but I'm thankful for it anyway. Also thankful that waking up so early twice in one week paid off and we got to see the client we were observing actually engage in target behavior this morning.
5. The ability to do work from home, which I am about to take advantage of. Especially thankful because this means I get to eat another burger for lunch, that I get to miss rush hour traffic this afternoon, and that I get to spend the afternoon in my pajamas.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

September 20th - Heather

1. Miss Alice got a clean bill of health from the vet last night!

2. Lunchtime walking with Jodi. It felt good to put on my tennis shoes and break a sweat. It totally needs to happen more often.

3. I was trolling through my yahoo inbox, looking for Alice's report card from her first vet visit in Portland, and I found an email from the vet tech checking in to make sure that Alice was tolerating her medicine. It came in on the 4th and I just saw it yesterday. I was thankful for the gesture and so bummed I didn't see it when it first came in.

4. Thai food for dinner. I'm not feeling well, so a big bowl of spicy thai soup sounds sooooooo good right now!

5. Knowing that I can catch up on work and homework this weekend if I in fact get nothing accomplished today.....which is looking increasingly likely.

September 20th, 2012 - JJ

1. That Jessica called me yesterday. It was a lovely surprise, even though we could only talk for a few minutes.
2. The delicious greek lettuce wraps Derick made for dinner last night. So yummy and surprisingly filling. Who would've thought a healthy meal could be both those things?
3. Books for providing a welcome escape from reality.
4. Coffee. I made it at home and brought it to work this morning in two to go mugs because I just didn't think one was going to cut it. I've been pouring it into the coffee mug Nika made me for Christmas years and years ago when we both still worked at Proctor. :) I LOVE this coffee cup. It's kind of triangle shaped, so the soft corner just next to the handle fits perfectly into the corner of your thumb and the other fingers and the other fingers fit perfectly under the handle. It's the best coffee cup in the whole wide world.
5. The new air freshener I got for the litter box area in our house. You can smell the yummy citrus scent in all the rooms on that side of the house, but it's not too strong in the bathroom which is pretty amazing. I love it. I don't know how we lived without it before!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September 19th, 2012 - JJ

1. That I had a day off of work yesterday. It was amazing! I stayed in bed until 11am reading and snuggling with Muffin and Allagash (with the exception of a short conference call at 9am) and talking to Megan Noon on the phone, then I got up and had coffee and breakfast while watching Game of Thrones. Then the fun stopped and I cleaned the house for the rest of the day. Cleaning aside, it was amazing to stay in pajamas all day and not be constantly responding to e-mails/phone calls while trying to catch up on paperwork.
2. That I made a side of sauteed  veggies that Derick ate with dinner last night. He didn't eat the full amount that I gave him, but he ate so many and said he'd eat it again if I made it in the future! Granted, I cooked the veggies in bacon fat and mixed some bacon in, but still!
3. Dunkin Donuts pumpkin coffee. Less expensive than a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks, and the Dunkin Donuts near my client's house this morning had a drive through while the Starbucks didn't.  WIN!
4. The warm sweater I keep at the office. Very necessary on days like today when my office feels like the North Pole.
5. That they're keeping Rachel Barry's character on Glee this season even though she graduated. At first I was upset because Glee should be about a highschool Glee club, not about characters that have graduated, but her voice is so amazing that I am thankful to have it in my life on an almost weekly basis.  She gives me goosebumps!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

September 13th - Heather

I have so much to be thankful for.  And I I keep telling myself that I'm going to sit down and prepare my pictures from my last few days in Portland to share on here, and I haven't.  So I'm going to have to post pictures later.  For now, here's what I'm thankful for:

1.  A wonderful and relaxing time in Portland, OR.

2.  Amazing food finds in Portland.  Specifically three places stick out since my last post: Habibi, Lebanese Cuisine; Luc Lac, Vietnamese Cuisine; and Thai Peacock, Thai Cuisine.  I was absolutely amazed at how much food was served for so little money and I was equally struck by how rich and flavorful it was.

3.  Networking at the conference I was in Portland for.  I met some great people and shared some great meals.

4.  Little Alice traveled back to Milwaukee  very well.  She slept through both flights and only got really vocal when there were a couple of toddlers screaming in the gate area.

5.  That her appetite and little system seems to be back to normal after our little bought with a nasty parasite while in Portland.  She is happy and playful and growing like crazy.

6.  That introducing Alice to Jacob and Edward did not incite a feline version of world war three in our household!  Jake and Edward are just under a year old and they've both been so good with her.  It's hysterical to watch them all play together.  She looks so tiny and they look so big.

7.  My first week of classes went well.  Exhausting but well.  I'm clearly not going to sleep for the next few months and will subsequently sleep the entire week that I'm off between Christmas and New Years.  I'm taking two grad courses this term, one on administration and one on foundations of adult ed.  Hello text book, am I going to be busy!

8.  While my hands are increasingly tracking towards the climate of a frozen tundra in northern Canada, me feet are firmly planted in the Saraha....meaning that as the weather cools off - and thankfully so - I can still comfortably wear my strappy sandals.  While I'm ready for cooler weather, I am not ready for closed-toed shoes!

9.  That I have tamed the wild beast that is my hair since returning to Milwaukee.  I didn't take enough hair product with me to Portland to compete with Alice backcombing my hair all night long.  Now that we're home, I have a whole arsenal of bathroom products to combat her nesting in my locks overnight.

And 10.  (I could and maybe should go on, but after this one I'm signing off for today...)  Thankful for friends!!!  Talking to Mrs Julie on gchat two days in a row (:o) (:-)), FaceTiming with Mr Derick and Mrs JJ the other night and getting to see them this weekend, gchatting with Miss Amy and, of course, all the wonderful birthday greetings from friends and colleagues from around the globe!  I'm a very lucky girl!