Thursday, October 31, 2013

October 31st - Heather

Many of you know that I love to feel like I've been helpful.  Sometimes that manifests in untraditional ways.  After a fire damaged the house of an aquaintence, I made sure to be a more frequent patron at her business.  After the expected passing of a friend's father, I talked to a few colleagues and we put together the funds for a spa gift card.  A trip to the spa is the last thing on someone's mind after a loved one passes, but I knew she had spent several of the preceding months caring for her sick father and her husband and her children and working a full time job...I felt like she needed some peaceful time to feel pampered. 

The point is that the ways in which I find to be helpful are sometime a little unconventional.  But I hate feeling heartbroken for someone and not being able to do anything to help them.  And while the things that I do aren't earthshattering, major things, I like to think that they bring some small level of comfort or reassurance to the person in question.  Halloween is an odd day to feel especially thankful for anything in particular...but over the course of the past few days a few unexpected opportunites to be helpful have presented themselves.

1.  While I'm getting craftier...I've never really considered myself crafty.  A few weeks ago, my mom started telling me that she needed to think of a Halloween costume for work since the staff were encouraged to dress up.  My mother has never dressed up in a costume for Halloween this was a bit to overcome for her.  The parameters were that the costume should be rooted in one of four decades: the 50's, 60's, 70's or 80's.  Being a fan of the 80's and the Wedding Singer, my mind when straight to Holly and the 80's jewelry and lace, funky hair and blue eye shadow. 

My mom was not jazzed about this idea.  But, to humor me, we had started buying a few key pieces of jewelry.  Then we went to dinner.  There was  young girl dressed in a Twister costume and I looked at mom and said, we could make that!  And so we did.  When I got home from class last night, she was still elbow high in iron-on pieces that weren't working and Sharpie paint to fill in the letters that the craft iron would not successfully transfer.  I was able to help her finish her costume last night and get up early this morning to help her with her makeup (I still got the blue eyeshadow in there)!

2.  The reaction of coworkers to the crocheted hats I (in conjuction with coworkers, family and friends) have been working on.  A colleague was so appreciative when I was willing to make a hat for her friend who is journeying through life with breast cancer.

3.  There was a group of students facilitating small service projects on campus today.  When I saw "write a letter to a soldier" on the list of activities (on Halloween) I was reminded of playing with my dad's Army camo face paint as a small child.  I knew that I had to go write a letter to a soldier.  I shared that story and that I used to wait until my dad fell asleep to get out my mom's crazy palette of 100 eye shadow colors and "paint" my dad's face like the Ultimate Warrior.  I hope it makes someone smile when they read it.  It made me smile remembering it.

And on a much more light-hearted note...
4.  Starting tomorrow I'll officially be insane....if there are still one or two of you out there not yet convinced of my insanity.  I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year.  This will be my second attempt at the National Novel Writing Month compettion.  Yes, amongst the full time job, thesis writing and crazy queue of crochet projects, I will be attempting to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November.  Check back here periodically during the month to see how many days in November I'm thankful for having reached my daily goal of 1667 words!

5.  I just found out today that my corrections for my second chapter of my thesis aren't due until December instead of the middle of November!  Best news ever!  Now I just have to crank out chapter 3 in the next few days (yes, for those paying attention, as I start my NaNoWriMo word counts, I'll also be writing one of my thesis chapters)!  Needless to say, friends and family, if you see me staring intently into the eyes of my computer screen AND typing at a feverish pace...don't break the mojo.  If, however, I'm just staring blankly at my computer might want to throw something at my head and tell me to keep writing!!!  :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Oct 23rd - Heather

I created a comic of the five things I'm thankful for today.  Until I get this figured out a little better, you can view my comic here:

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7th, 2013 - JJ

1. For weekends. They're really the best!! It's nice to have time to do fun things and get chores and projects done and still be able to relax.  

2. For good movies. We went and saw Gravity this weekend and it was SO intense! It is amazing the things they can do on film these days! I highly recommend going to see it, but also scheduling in time for a nap afterward because you will be tired after stressing out for two hours in the theater.

3. For a tidy house. Not clean, but tidy. Don't look too close. Just glance and notice that things are put away, counters and tables are cleared, and clutter is minimal. But don't go in the guest room or the garage or the closets. 

4. My Halloween coffee cup. Makes me happy.

5. That Derick is not home right now, because I definitely turned the heat on this morning. If I have to work from home, which means I'm sitting down and not moving at all, I'm going to be comfortable, darn it! 

6. On that note, I'm thankful that it's finally cold outside. I wasn't really thankful for this when I took Ripley out this morning wearing sandals and my pajamas, but I'm thankful for it now that I'm inside with the heat on, thinking about which scarf and which boots I'm going to wear today. :)

7. For friend time. My social calendar has been surprisingly full the last few weeks and it's been so nice to connect with friends. I'm starting to feel like I could handle living in Chicago a little longer than planned if I have to.

8. That an old friend just asked for our address, because I'm pretty sure it means we're getting invited to his wedding. I wasn't sure if we'd make the guest list cut, but now that it appears we have, I'm really excited about it! Hopefully the scheduling will work out that we'll be able to make it.

9. For games. Derick and I played Catch Phrase and Boggle last night and it was hilarious and a lot of fun. :)  Happiness is wearing sweat pants in a candle lit room with music on while playing silly games and drinking pumpkin beer with your husband.

10. For warm fuzzy socks. Because the heat wasn't making my feet any less icicle like. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

October 3rd, 2013 - JJ

1. Yesterday, which was the best day ever. Got to spend a few hours with Anna and then I got to spend a few hours with Jenna.  I love those ladies!!

2. Craft night where crafts were actually worked on. Not completed, mind you, because that would be craziness! But we each got 3 duct tape roses made so that's progress. :)

3. Health insurance. I finally have it and all the stress around getting it is over! Wahoo!

4. Rain. It's grey and rainy out today and I'm going to pretend it's cool outside and that it's not supposed to be 80 again today. 

5. The leaves are starting to turn fall colors!  Not on all the trees, but on some and this makes me very very happy! I can't wait until Sunday when it's supposed to be 60 degrees. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October 2nd, 2013 - JJ

1. I GET TO SEE ANNA TODAY!!!! I'm so excited! Can you tell?!?

2. Pumpkin beer. Derick bought some from a brewery in Maine and it's delicious!!

3. That we unpacked all of our picture frames and put some of them up. Further thankful that none of them fell down in the night (we used command strips and I am far from confident in them).

4. Taco night! Derick cooked a pork shoulder in the crock pot earlier this week and we shredded it and used it in tacos last night. Amazing. Especially with his guacamole and creamy lime slaw.  So good!!

5. Waking up to a clean house. For a while we were putting off doing the dishes after dinner until the morning, but it is SO much nicer to wake up to a clean kitchen than it is to wake up to half an hour of scrubbing dried food off of dishes. 

6. For poutine and making dirty jokes about it with Raymi. The Tap House Grill that we go to for cheap beer every Monday recently added it to their menu and it is amazing (fries, gravy, and cheese curds. What could be better?!)! It always makes me think of Raymi because she introduced me to it for the first time on one of our Pike Place trips last year. I don't know who came up with the word "poutine" but it sounds dirty even though all it is is delicious.

7. That I got Derick hooked on Temple Run 2 on the iPad. It's hilarious to watch him play because his reactions when he loses or has a close call are just so funny. It's almost better than playing the game myself!

8. For Heather's help with a table in Word that I couldn't quite figure out. I hate tables in Word. I feel like they created Excel so that no one would ever have to bother with a table in Word again, so when I have to use them I get upset and it makes me want to drink. Heather saved my smoothie from tequila the other morning by offering to fix the table for me, and for this I am very thankful! 

9. Craft night with Jenna. Maybe we'll actually craft this time! :)

10. For carpet cleaner. Having 3 pets I really should buy stock in the stuff. It's crazy how often we end up needing to use it even though our pets are all house trained. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30th, 2013 - JJ

1. For puppy play dates. Ripley got lots of time with Ben this weekend and even got some time with a new friend, Alton. I'm also thankful that Ripley helped Ben and Alton to get along better for a few hours. I'm so used to hearing about how she's caused problems, so it was really nice to have her be part of a solution. :) 

2. Zucchini "lasagne". SO delicious and also not too bad for you (except for the ridiculous amount of olive oil in the pasta sauce we made.....oh well!). Very thankful to have left overs for this week and that there's another batch in the freezer for an easy meal on a day when we don't feel like cooking.

3. My espresso machine and salted caramel sauce. My mornings are delicious.

4. For lots of movie dates this weekend. We saw Don Jon and Prisoners, both of which were really good.

5. For adorable babies. I got to see week old Alexandria Grace yesterday and she is so stinkin' cute!! Can't wait till I get to see her again. And her parents are pretty awesome, too. :)

6. For the pumpkin Derick bought me so we can get our house decorated for Halloween! It's so pretty! 

7. For all the veggies and squash Derick also bought for me. I loooooove Butternut squash and I'm excited to try some new Spaghetti squash recipes. 

8. That we started moving on unpacking the rest of our boxes. Yesterday we tackled the two giant ones that have been sitting in front of/next to my desk and it's so nice to have extra space in my work area today!  

9.  For an extra morning of getting to wake up slowly and snuggle with Derick. Unfortunately this only happened this morning because Derick isn't feeling well and stayed home sick from work, but it was still a nicer way to wake up on a Monday than usual.

10. For FaceTime. Got to talk with Pam and Kelly on FaceTime this weekend while my parents were at their place for dinner. I miss them!  It was so nice to be able to see their smiling faces and chat even if it was only for a few minutes. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September 25th - Heather

1.  A small group collaboration evening that was both fun and productive....okay, maybe we could have been a bit more productive, but we all made progress so I call it a win!

2.  The discounted car wash when filling up my gas tank....I love it when Sadie is sparkly clean!

3.  The look on Alice's face when I came home tonight.   She was perched at the top of the loft stairs looking at me like yeah, so where have you been all night!  I'm here and ready for bed.....which really translates to ready to chomp on your fingers while we play the feline version of dancing phalanges!

4.  Using coconut oil as face wash.  I've been using it for quite awhile now and I'm still pretty amazed at how well it works.

5.  The yummy cupcakes that Mary Beth brought in yesterday in honor of my birthday.  So malicious and delicious!  :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 24th, 2013 - JJ

1. For the new iOS7. I hated it at first and it definitely took some getting used to, but now I feel like I have a brand new phone which is pretty fun. :)  I changed my lock screen and home screen photos so now every time I get to look at my phone I get a little excited. Sometimes it's the small things in life.

2. That Derick took Ripley to daycare for me today. Helped me get a lot more done this morning than I would have otherwise.

3. For the oreo peanut butter I made from a pinterest recipe. It's so good on apples, guys. So good!

4. For books. 

5. For having a very productive morning.

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23rd, 2013 - JJ

1. For new jeans and boots. Fall is coming (even if the weather refuses to give in), and it is nice to know I'll have appropriate footwear (like boots that don't have holes that let all the rain and melted snow right into my socks). :) It's also nice to have jeans that don't have holes in them again.

2. For Outlet malls and sales. I spent a lot less than I thought I would have for the jeans and boots I got.

3. For my phone. Without it I wouldn't be able to keep up with friends who are so far away. I live for catch up phone dates these days. 

4. For getting to visit Abe & his wife in the hospital after they had their baby this weekend. Alexandria is the cutest little thing!! Also thankful that mom and baby are healthy and recovering well.

5. For time with the Utigards. I got to babysit twice last week and I have so much fun with those kids. Makes me miss Dane, though! 

6. For the long flowy cardigan Derick got me. Definitely feels like fall when I wear it. :) 

7. Falling asleep to the sound of the crickets outside. It's not as good as the frogs and/or rain in Seattle, but I'll take it.

8. For this: thanks to Heather! :)

9. For my Halloween coffee mug. Don't care that it's not October yet, I'm using it every day.

10. For my dad's idea that maybe they'll make a Dexter movie.  I was so disappointed by the finale. The hope for a movie to right the wrongs is helping me recover. :) 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sept 19th - Heather

1.  Pumpkin cream cheese.  Yummmm

2.  Apple Crumb muffins from Costco...especially with pumpkin cream cheese on them!

3.  I crocheted up a little hat for a coworker's daughter.  Kendall is 3 and battling Leukemia.  I get to give it to her father tomorrow to take to her!
4.  Gatorade.  I don't necessarily like the flavor....although they've gotten much more palatable as of late....but I've been feeling a little out of sorts and the gatorade is helping a little bit today.
5.  5k Training....not that I'm looking to run a 5K any time soon.  But a group of colleagues were getting together to train for a 5k that the university hosts and I decided it was the perfect opportunity to work on establishing a habit for moving!  I'm plugging my way through, I feel like I'm dragging, hence the gatorade!  But I'm still working on it.
6.  Bonuses since it's been so long since my last mom has moved into a new position within the same organization and her name was selected by a local radio station for lunch for her and 25 coworkers.  When she came home last night (well, really when I got home from class), she was telling me that the lunch was a ton of fun and that afterward she sent a 5 Things email to her coworkers.  It warmed my heart to hear her tell me about the things she was thankful for and the things that her coworkers responded with. 
Momma said it best: "We just spend so much time focusing on the feels good to think about the positive things."  Some days I struggle to come up with 5 specific things that I'm thankful for.  Sometimes it's because I dismiss the little things (like waking up that morning), and sometimes it's becuase I have a hard time clearing out the mental clutter and focusing on the positive. 
7.  I have two coworkers with loved ones in the hospital and I've been glued to their CaringBridges sites!  While neither are out of the woods....they are both making small steps forward every day and it lifts my heart and breaks my heart all at the same time.
8.  My knees and my feet haven't given up on me!  They're not necessarily happy with me either, but that's what epsom salt is for, right?
9.  That someone from IT was able to run across campus and fix a funky settings glitch that was preventing a powerpoint presentation from being displayed on the screen.  I tend to the be the think of everything assistant...but when I saw a second monitor earlier with the cord wrapped around it's base, it didn't occur to me that it was connected and that its addition could have altered the operability of the system.  But it's currently working, just in time for their meeting and I know how to fix it in the future if the defaults change with every unique login.
10.  I finally washed all of the campfire out of my hair...I think.  I liked the smell, don't get me wrong.  But it was just creepy after awhile.  I was in Mackinac with friends two weeks ago and we stayed at a cabin near the water and lit campfires.  And my hair has continued to smell of campfire, despite numerous washings, for two weeks!  Now I know what to expect next forewarned if you see me at a campfire...don't be alarmed if I'm wearing a showercap!
And on that note....what are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September 18th 2013 - JJ

I missed a day so you get a double dose this morning:

1. Doggie Daycare. Ripley is pacing the floors. My baby needs to run and she'll get to play today AND tomorrow.

2. Coffee. Coffee, coffee, coffee in my coffee, coffee.  COFFEE! 

3. That my video conference for work this morning was cancelled. I'd like my house to be in slightly better order before my coworkers get to see it!

4. That Derick and I managed to get through over half of the current season of Dexter last night. I think we may actually be able to catch up before the series finale on Sunday after all!

5. Buffalo Wild Wings' Tuesday special: Traditional wings for $0.60 each. They are so delicious!

6. Good books. I just finished The Cuckoo's Calling by J.K. Rowling and it was awesome! I love when a mystery can keep me on my toes until the very end.

7. Sunshine. Unfortunately the weather is supposed to heat up today, but at least it's sunny.

8. That Derick bought the quick release ibuprofen gel caps even though they're more expensive than the regular kind. It is so worth it!!

9. Temple Run 2. It's such a stupid game, but I'm finding myself as addicted to it as I used to be to bejeweled. Trouble!

10. For the awesome time we had at the WildFire beer dinner on Monday. I'm pretty sure we were the youngest people there, but we had a lot of fun talking to the people at our table and I think we'll end up signing up for more of the dinners in the future. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 16th, 2013 - JJ

1. That it finally feels like fall!!  The temperature cooled off and we got some rain. Derick even agreed that it's time to turn the AC off.  I'm hoping the weather stays cool for a good while before getting cold. 

2. Mom, you won't believe this one, but I'm thankful for yard work. I actually really enjoyed doing yard work with Derick on Saturday. All we did was mow the grass, pull one million weeds, and get the cob webs off the side of the house, but it was shockingly fun just because we did it together. Three cheers for team work!

3. That Michigan survived the game on Saturday. I don't really want to talk about it, but I'm glad they won.

4. Pumpkin everything. We drank lots of pumpkin beers and got a pumpkin spice candle for the house. I love fall!! 

5. Brunch with friends on Sunday. It was so nice to sit at a table full of friends and laugh and eat together. I need this in my life so much more frequently! 

6. "The World's End" which is the new Simon Pegg/Nick Frost movie. So funny! I love those guys! Now I've got to find time to rewatch Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. 

7. For a husband who is happy to go outside in the rain to get the heavy dog food bag out of the car and carry it inside for me because I forgot to bring it in. 

8. That Derick has so much fun teaching Ripley new tricks/commands. We worked on "roll over" this weekend and it was crazy how fast my smart little puppy picked it up! We should really be doing training every day.

9. The dog park. Ripley ran herself out on Saturday with Benny and some new friends. She was so tired that she slept until 9 the next morning, which NEVER happens. It was amazing.

10. For our house. Saturday we got to do so many things that we couldn't do in an apartment, even though a lot of those things were work.  Mowing the yard and weeding are a price I'm happy to pay so that we can spend the day outside with Ripley, cook on the grill, and hand wash the cars in the drive way. It's so nice to open all the windows in the house and not have to deal with the noise pollution you get in the city. The extra privacy is so nice and the peace of mind that comes with living in a safe neighborhood is priceless. I am so thankful to be living in the suburbs.

Friday, September 13, 2013

September 13th, 2013 - JJ

1. That this insurance nightmare is just about figured out. By the end of today I shouldn't have to worry about it anymore. Hurray!

2. Vanilla Chai Cupcakes with Chai Cream Cheese Frosting. For breakfast. 

3. It's FRIDAY! about time!!

4. Cool-ish weather. The high for today is 70 and all of Chicago is sad except for me. I want to spend all day outside.

5. For having maintained a clean kitchen and a clean litter box this week. It's so nice to wake up and not have to immediately start cleaning the kitchen, and it's also really nice to clean the litter box when the last time you cleaned it was yesterday or the day before and not a week ago. It goes so much faster that way! and happy kitties make for happy kitty mommies. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 11th, 2013 - JJ

1. For Ripley. I know she's a handful for other people when they have her, but for us at home she's been nearly angelic lately. For the last day or two we've been watching out for her to engage in some behaviors that our trainer pointed out to us so that we can correct her and improve her independent play/calming skills but she hasn't engaged in those behaviors once yet.  Granted, she was at doggie daycare all day yesterday so we've had limited opportunity but still. Hopefully I'll get some good training time today while I work from home.

2. My work from home day.  I am so behind on paperwork so I'm glad I stuck to my guns and took my work from home day today instead of going in to the office. I need to figure out how to adjust my schedule so I get all of my work from home time on a regular basis. Being behind is no fun!

3. For the internet. I'm putting together recipes for dinner tonight and the internet makes that process so much easier! :)

4. That I get to hang out with Jenna and Ben tonight! Girl time is the best! Ripley is excited to spend some time with her man Benny, too!! :)

5. For the vanilla chai cupcakes with cinnamon buttercream frosting that we will be making tonight. Jenna sent me the recipe yesterday and they look so good that I dreamt about them last night!  Figured that was a sign that I need to bake them asap!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September 10th, 2013 - JJ

1. That the roof guys worked fairly quietly and didn't wake me up this morning. Half the roof on the garage was off before I got out of bed and I had no idea they were even here!

2. For Starbucks. I forgot that we are out of soy milk so I can't make a latte at home this morning. Shucks, guess I'll have to get a pumpkin spice latte on my way to work.

3. For pictures. I really need to get our frames up so I can fill them with new photos!

4. For having a dishwasher. I can't imagine having to do all of our dishes by hand every day.

5. For dog daycare. Ripley needs to run and momma needs to work. Looking forward to a tired puppy when I get home.

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 9th - Heather

1.  The love and greetings that came from everyone for my birthday.  Thank you all so much!

2.  For the lovely gifts from JJ and Derick!  The pictures may just be physical things, but they capture a memory that means the world to me.  And the coffee handbook is a ton of fun to flip through!

3.  My health and that of my family.  I have two coworkers each with a loved one in a hospital fighting for their life tonight.  It's a heart breaking reminder that life is fragile and each day is a gift!  My heart and prayers are with your families and will continue to be.

4.  A great weekend getaway with fam and friends.  Rented a cabin in Mackinaw City for a few days...explored Mackinac Island by day...worked like crazy to keep a campfire burning in the fire pit by night. There may or may not have also been a rendition of Somewhere Out There sang to the stars...

5.  The start of the semester....only three classes stand between my masters and me (one class this fall and two classes this spring).  I was only marginally productive over the summer without deadlines.  So I'm ready to put my writing cap on and get to work!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September 3rd, 2013 - JJ

1. For coffee. I'm still trying not to drink it every day but it's pretty amazing when I do drink it. Also thankful for pumpkin spice lattes which are available now at Starbucks. Had my first one yesterday. YUM! Now if only the weather would cooperate it could really be early fall! :)

2. Pesto. Derick and I made homemade pesto for the first time last night and it was amazing. I can't wait to dig into the rest of it! Now I just need to learn how to make amazing homemade bread to go with it!

3. For a short work week. I'm getting pretty excited to head out to Mackinac Island this weekend with Heather and Kathy! 

4. For Doggie Depot, Ripley's new daycare place. It's less than 5 minutes away and she comes home wiped out every time! And she really needs it today. She's been bouncing off the walls since yesterday afternoon. I'm excited to come home to a sleepy puppy tonight!

5. That I've finally figured out a way to make printing several behavior plans double sided on my cheap little printer go faster. Print all the odd pages together with the signature sheet first, then print the even pages rather than doing one page at a time. It's still taken me an hour to get 20 plans printed, but it could be worse. Saving the trees is hard work! Maybe I should just suck it up and start paying for 3G on my iPad so I only have to print the signature page...

6. An extra today: I am so thankful for Heather. I really couldn't imagine living here in Chicago  without her close by in Milwaukee. Wish it was closer, but I'll take a 2 hour drive over an expensive plane ticket any day! She's always there when I need someone to talk to or when I need a weekend escape. She knows me better than I know myself and is great at comforting me when I'm down but also holding me accountable. My sista from anotha mista!! :) Love you! Happy Birthday!!!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

September 2nd, 2013 - JJ

1. For Trader Joe's and all of their delicious, good food. It's awesome to have healthy, organic choices at an affordable price. Especially peaberry coffee!

2. For Jenna, who watched Roo while we were at the Michigan game this weekend. Ripley can get a little out of control when there's another dog around, so I'm glad both Jenna and Benny (Ripley's betrothed) are willing to put up with her for extended periods of time. Nice to know she's well loved but not getting away with too much craziness while we're away!

3. That it's football season again! I'm very thankful that my parents give us tickets to a game or two at Michigan stadium every year. We've been sitting in the same seats since I was a kid so  it feels like home. :)

4. The amazing shoes I found at the Goodwill store yesterday. They are perfect witch shoes, but are also really cute and I will be able to wear them to work too! We also found a cauldron and two plastic champagne flutes with skeleton hands for stems that are perfect for the "potions table" I'm going to set up. Further thankful for the awesome broom my dad bought me at Cracker Barrel on our way home from Michigan. It starts cackling and moving around when you walk past it. It's amazing!! I can't wait for Halloween this year!! (I may or may not put that broom together this week and just keep it out until Halloween because it makes me happy...)

5. For puppy snuggles. I'm amazed every day that I can love a dog this much. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

August 30th, 2013 - JJ

It's been a long long time! I am setting out on a mission to get back in the habit of sending these daily! 

1. For the bottle of body spray that I keep on my night stand. It helps make the room smell nice again after anyone (husband, dog, either of the cats) let's one rip. 

2. For AAA who came to my aid and put the spare tire on my car after I got a flat last night so that I didn't have to figure out how to do it myself.

3. That our replacement espresso machine makes perfect delicious espresso every time.

4. That my dad is in town for work and staying with us. it's nice to have him around!!

5. For the water proof bed liners we bought after Ripley peed on the bed several months ago when my brother was visiting. Because guess who decided to do it again now that my dad is visiting? Also thankful for the many websites that say this behavior is actually your dog's way of showing preference and protection for the person who sleeps in the bed they peed on.  That makes it less upsetting than thinking she's mad at us. Still not happy about it, but it could be worse.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July 31st - Heather

1.  I'm thankful for the new, very powerful fan in my room making it so much easier to sleep through these cool, but humid nights.

2.  I successfully cooked my first lasagna....without any flaming incidents!  Nothing caught on fire and everything came out quite delicious!

3.  The imaging tech who had the wherewithal to verify instead of just doing what was in the computer!

4.  The joy of getting that first issue of a magazine subscription...right before the little voice in the back of my head asks me when, exactly, I'm thinking I have the time to read this new monthly magazine!  And the two or three others that are on the way!

5.  The website that allowed me to turn airline miles that were about to expire into magazine subscriptions!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 16th, 2013 - JJ

1. For my espresso machine! My homemade lattes aren't nearly as good as Dad's but hopefully I'll get there someday. :) Would probably also help if I got my hands on some Sanders hot fudge...

2. That Ripley is now good enough at walking on a leash that we made it through a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood this morning without her tripping me and without my arm getting tired from pulling her back. I'm also very thankful that she doesn't seem at all distracted by the suburban wildlife we encounter. Apparently bunnies and squirrels are very boring, but other dogs are SO EXCITING!

3. That I actually got up and out of bed AND dressed early enough to be able to take Ripley for a 30 minute walk this morning. Usually I hit snooze way too many times and then lounge around in my pajamas for a while and end up missing my opportunity. 

4. For Central A/C.  I truly don't know how we lived without it for so many years. It's the best thing ever (especially when coming home from a 30 minute early morning walk when it's already crazy humid outside)!!!

5. For a husband who not only cooks dinner, but also packs me a lunch made up of yummy dinner left overs.  I get to have shrimp risotto for lunch today!  It will probably be the highlight of my day since I'll be all over town for work all day long, and won't make it home in time for dinner tonight. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July 9th, 2013 - JJ

1. For our house for so many reasons: our own washer and dryer, a yard for Ripley, a dishwasher that has a light up button for "clean" so you're never confused, big closets, no leaky ceilings, no concern over packages left out front being stolen, no concern over our cars being broken into, the quiet, our fridge has not once frozen a single item inside of it nor has it leaked any water out the bottom, a garage for storage and to keep my car free of snow next winter, for a responsible landlord.

2. Coffee and my french press.

3. For Standard Market, the fancy schmancy grocery store near our house that is filled with awesome stuff! 

4. For farmers markets. 

5. For good books. I just finished Animal, Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and now I'm reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Totally different books, but both page turners for me.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June 12th - Heather

1.  Some solid time in my office to wrap my head around my to-do list.

2.  Life experiences that have literally exposed me to a wide variety of people, places and cultures!

3.  Reflecting on dreams and goals.

4.  Putting something out there into the world when you're not sure any one else can relate to it and somebody does.  On a discussion board for class I mentioned that I'm a little bit of a different person in each of the different places I've lived.  And one of my classmates knew exactly how I felt!

5.  The functionality and portability of my iPad...especially since I think my laptop just took a step closer to its final death!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June 11th - Heather

1. A long unexpected chat with an old friend. It's so good to feel connected to the people with whom you have great memories!

2. Sundresses. Not something that really figured into my wardrobe before moving to the Midwest. What is it about this place that just makes you want to wear a dress/skirt when the sun is shining?

3. Keep up with discussion boards for two different classes....I wasn't sure how this was going to go...but so far, so good!

4. Making progress on my abstract...well ahead of the June 15th deadline!...sending it off to two reviewers tonight...

5. Those two reviewers! I'm so thankful to have two strong writers and academics willing to review my writing before I submit my first paper proposal.

June 11th, 2013 - JJ

1. Funny autocorrect moments. Especially "poop" to "boobs" (in case you're wondering why poop is even a topic for my phone to autocorrect: I talk a lot about Ripley's poop lately since she's been sick). These moments are especially hilarious when discussing the possible reasons for "soft boobs."  I mean poops. Haha! I guess girls never grow up either....

2. For my camera. It's pretty awesome and I love the photos of Ripley and her friends that I've been able to take with it. :) I need to get better and think I'll take a photography class at some point, but for now just holding down the shoot button to take continuous shots is turning up a few good photos out of every couple hundred. :) Not an efficient process, but it works...

3. For dry shampoo and flat irons, getting me out the door looking presentable this morning after I overslept!

4. That I finally have double sided printing down to a science with my printer. It takes a lot longer, but I feel pretty good about saving the trees and saving some $$. 

5. Just a few more days in this apartment until we move into the house!! Can't wait!!! :) (yes, I will be thankful for this every day until we move, and probably several days after that, too!)

Monday, June 10, 2013

June 10th, 2013 - JJ

1. We are moving in less than a week! Horray! I can't wait for floors that aren't slanted, central AC, a garage, a yard, and our own washer and dryer. Next week cannot get here soon enough!!

2. For Derick, who has made packing not so awful. We have both had a temper tantrum or two in the process, but overall I am so glad to have him here packing with me. It's been so much better than all the times I've packed to move by myself.

3. Game of Thrones. The season didn't end where I wanted it to, but I guess they had to start spacing things out or else they'd run out of material before our friend George got around to publishing the next book. 

4. That Ripley finally seems to be getting better. She's tolerating kibble now, not just rice and chicken. yay!

5. For our Cuisinart food processor. I swear we use it almost daily at this point. It makes cooking so much simpler. :) 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

June 8th - Heather

1.  My first day collecting data at the museum went really, really well!  

2.  An early evening walk just before the sun set.  

3.  Coffee...there's nothing like two shots of espresso first thing in the morning to get you going!

4.  Watching the cats stalk around the house chasing flies...and other flying bugs too small to be seen by the human eye...I'm not excluding the idea that the cats may be chasing dust.

5.  My mom's willingness to fund some of the gift cards for the participants of my research study!  Especially important since today went well enough that I'm going to come close to reaching my target number of people in one weekend and am considering adding to the number of people that I speak with.

Friday, June 7, 2013

June 7th - Heather

1.  These Cinnasnacks from Sonic:
It's like a sopapilla and a cinnamon roll had an evil little yummy baby.  Fluffy little pillows of fried dough filled with warm gooey cinnamon served with cream chees frosting to dip them in.  It really should be illegal!  So tasty!

2.  I'm SUPER thankful at the moment that Sonic is not closer to campus!

3.  My meeting with the museum went really well!  I start collecting data tomorrow!  Cross your fingers that loads of people want to talk to me and answer all of my questions!!!!

4.  That my eyes are open right now....I was up until 2 am working on classwork and work stuff...and the sun is so bright today, I just want to close my eyes and nap.  I may not be long for this day.

5.  Super thankful for the Directv app that lets me set the dvr to record something when I'm not even at home in front of it.  And equally super thankful for my mom for reminding me of that feature while we were having dinner last night.  I set it up to record the game one minute before tip off!  Now I just have to make time to go back and watch it.

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

June 6th - Heather

1.  This quote: "We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about." ~Charles Kingsley

2.  Travel possibilities....I'm still scared to admit that this trip could be a reality.  If it all works out, it will be a life-long dream come true.

3.  Getting closer to submitting my first proposal to present academic work at a conference.  I'm still very early in the research process for my thesis, but I stumbled upon a call for papers that closes next week.  It's a short window...but I think I'm about to plunge through it!!!

4.  The opportunity to be helpful and neighborly.  We have a new downstairs neighbor and when he ordered tv and internet from Time Warner they sent him a box full of cables and a modem.  I was a little surprised, but we got everything hooked up and fully operable pretty quickly.

5.  NBA Finals start tonight!  I don't catch many games during the season, but I always try to make time for the it's my annual dose of basketball!  It used to be so much more.  Last weekend I was cleaning out my closet and I found my two Gary Payton Sonics jerseys and smiled.  Reminded me of the days when I scheduled things around Sonics gametime.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

June 5th - Heather

1. Deciding to outline the 100 chapters I have to read in the next couple of weeks instead of committing to reading ever single word. It's still going to take me some serious time, but I'll have something to look back over versus trying to remember every detail. {ok, not really 100, but 6 textbook chapters still equals torture}

2. The space to do double duty during the retreat. I'm here to be useful where I can, but have the time to spread out my iPad and textbook and work on outliing my chapters.

3. Double duty number two...being here to be useful when needed, but also being able to soak up knowledge and take notes on the elements of a great syllabus so that I file away this knowledge and use it in the (hopefully) near future.

4. Finding a new app that will help me prep for the math section of the GRE! Which for someone who hasn't had a math class since the summer of 2001, is the most dreaded part of the GRE/application process! It's called Khan Academy. You can watch the videos from the app and them open the web page in Safari and do the practice assignments! So brilliant!

5. Using the cherry blossom cup that I bought in DC! Makes me smile!


June 5th, 2013 - JJ

1. That the guys who came to look at our apartment last night really like it and are sending in a rental application. This means we won't have to deal with people continually coming in to look at the place for much longer. Horray!!

2. Ripley's new medication seems to be helping so far. YAY!

3. That parents are up early and you can call them at 7am their time. I love that.

4. Yoga pants. Best thing ever. I wish I could wear them all the time.

5. For all of the people who are donating boxes to our moving cause. We need sooooo many boxes and it would cost us a fortune if we had to buy them all.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

June 4th, 2013 - JJ

1. Nika's spring roll and peanut sauce recipe. We've made spring rolls several times over the past few weeks and they are so delicious!!

2. My job. I love having the flexibility to run personal errands and get my work done on my own time. I'm thankful for this regularly, but I think it's worthy of repeating.

3. For my clients. They are so fun to be around, and they make it so that I spend most of my time at work either smiling or laughing.

4. For all of you who send me things lists. They make me so happy! :)

5. That we only have 12 more days until we move. YAY!

Monday, June 3, 2013

June 3rd - Heather

1. I'm not this obsessed with pink!

2. A great afternoon barbecue with a few coworkers and their families! Thank you MB for inviting and hosting!

3. Adding to my yarn stash with some great yarn at a great price!

4. Making some great progress cleaning out my closet over the weekend...donated two big boxes and two stuffed suitcases of clothes to the Goodwill...designated another crate and a half for old tees shirts and sweatshirts that will become quilts (hopefully) before they make another move!

5. The frozen apple pancake we brought home from Walker's Pancake House! I just ate the last piece for breakfast! So tasty!


June 3rd, 2013 - JJ

1. For our rice cooker, making it easy to feed Ripley a bland diet of rice and chicken these last 3 weeks that she's been sick. Hopefully soon I can be thankful that she's healthy and back to normal. But for now, I'm very very thankful for our rice cooker.

2. For all the packing Derick and I got done over the weekend. We still have a lot to go, but we made a good dent in it.

3. For Amy, who chats with me about Game of Thrones on Monday mornings while I watch, even though she's at work and has already watched the episode the night before.  

4. That it looks like we're going to be blessed with decent weather for the rest of our time at this apartment. I'll be ok with it getting really hot once we're living with central air. 

5. That when this season of Game of Thrones is over I'll get to transition right into True Blood.  

Friday, May 31, 2013

May 31st, 2013 - JJ

1. Disinfecting wipes. They make life so much easier to clean up after! 

2. Air conditioning. Can't wait for central air at the new house in two weeks, but for now I'm very thankful for the window AC in our bedroom and the AC in the car.

3. For Elena and all her help with dog training. Ripley Roo had a terrible day yesterday with both toy aggression (an on-going issue, but yesterday she snapped at me for the first time) and getting into food on the counter while we were out of the room (for the first time). The little shit (I love her)! So it's really nice to have someone who can advise me on how to help train her out of those bad behaviors. 

4. For coffee. I wish I could quit it, but it's too amazing.

5. For Pinterest. I'm definitely addicted.

6. For babies and for Anna, who invited me to a party where I got to be around lots of kids and babies. I miss working with kids and though holding babies didn't do much to help my baby fever, it was a lot of fun! :) 

7. For Fabio's cookbook. His meatballs are delicious! (that's what she said?!)

8. Arrested Development. So funny! I'm thankful Derick made me watch all of the first three seasons over the last few months so I could be ready for the new season on Netflix. It's good stuff!

9. For Panera, especially their broccoli cheddar soup and the steak and blue cheese chopped salad with avocado. Amazing.

10. That Derick is also a Behavior Analyst so I can talk to him about my job and not have to explain all the details that are confusing to people who aren't in the field. 

11. An extra today: That Derick can't tell a funny story or joke without cracking himself up in the middle of it. I love it when he has a story to tell me and it takes him 10 minutes to get through it because he's too busy laughing! I love his laugh and it always makes the story much funnier than it really is.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

May 30th - Heather

1.  Breakfast quesadillas, they were a yummy start to the day.

2.  Pinterest for being "that" place where I can find random things I've seen and liked and wanted to keep track of.

3.  Big fans on a balmy night...we're resisting turning on the air conditioner, but may not be able to hold out much longer.

4.  Leftovers for cooking hit food in hot weather!

5.  That assembly of my new toy from Ikea was super easy!  One of the easiest assemblies of an Ikea purchase ever!
I'll use it daily to put together the next day's outfit and jewelry....but I'll also be able to use it to photograph new crocheted creations!  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 29th - Heather

1.  Some PNW humor and this one.

2.  This blog that my boss forwarded on to me.

3.  Raspberry lemonade low calorie's pink, it's much more palatable than the original Gatorade flavor, and...I don't know, but I like it.

4.  Finishing two assignments (one for each summer class I'm taking) today...oh wait, they aren't quite done yet...ah, they should be by the time you read this....

5.  Forgetten snacks lingering in my desk drawer...perfect for a mid-afternoon snack attack.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 28th - Heather

I've let life get the better of me and haven't posted in quite some time. Life will be especially crazy for the next few months, but I still have much to be thankful for:

1. The sound of the pouring rain on my skylights. I may be thankful for this every time it rains, but I just love the sound.

2. That on a rainy day, I was able to walk across campus to have my picture taken without getting "caught" in the rain!

3. IRB step closer to collecting data for my thesis!

4. Not cutting my hand - or any part of my hand - off while cutting the sweet potatoes for the chili I made for dinner. It's a sweet potato chicken chili that is really great...I just hate cutting sweet potatoes.

5. The hours of tireless entertainment that our cats provide. Alice is currently quite intent on a fly, and its just too funny.


Monday, May 20, 2013

May 20th, 2013 - JJ

1. That we are officially about to move into a house in the suburbs!!!  With Central Air, a washer and dryer, and a garage!!!!!  I wish we could move in tomorrow! I am so ready!

2. That Ripley seems to be getting better, finally.  Apparently the lake didn't agree with her and we were having trouble keeping food from coming out one end or the other in an unpleasant way. But she's been fine for over 24 hours now and she has tons of energy again so fingers crossed that we're on the mend! Also very thankful for the medicine and advice that we got from Elena.

3. For all the boxes we got from Elena. It's going to take a ridiculous amount of boxes to get this place ready to move and I really don't want to have to buy any!

4. That it's finally gotten cool in our apartment after yesterday's hot hot weather. 

5. That between Wednesday and Sunday Ripley went from needing to be held down by two people to have her ears cleaned and get the medication in her ears and eyes, to me being able to do it by myself without her even being on a leash. It's so nice especially since she has to have it done twice a day, every day for another week and a half!

Monday, May 13, 2013

May 13th, 2013 - JJ

1. For my amazing mom. I am just so thankful that she is exactly who she is all the time in every situation and that she doesn't care what anyone thinks of her. I miss you all the time, momma!! Can't wait to see you next month! Wish we could've spent Mother's Day together. 

2. All my animals. They make me laugh every day (they make me curse most days, too. but usually those are funny stories after the fact...)!

3. For my new client. He reminds me so much of the little boy I used to nanny. I am so thankful that I get to work with him twice each week! His laughter is contagious! 

4. That it's supposed to be warm tomorrow! Can't wait to drive with the windows down!

5. For our trip to Six Flags yesterday with Emily, Jake, Jenna, & Chris.  I had so much fun! Definitely don't want to do it again anytime soon (nothing to make you feel old like spending a day riding roller coasters...), but I do hope we all go again next year!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

May 9th, 2013 - JJ

1. For guacamole. Best food ever!

2. For my computer. Couldn't live without it. 

3. That it hasn't rained yet today. It's forecasted, but I'm happy it's holding off!

4. For bread. Bread is so delicious.

5. For budgeting tools. They're very helpful.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

May 8th, 2013 - JJ

1. For neighbors who have pets and are understanding rather than angry when Ripley decides to bark for 4 hours straight while we're gone. 

2. For silence. Ripley is sleeping, the cats are quiet, and all I can hear is the ceiling fan turning and the birds chirping outside. It's pretty glorious.

3. For the amazing dinner we had last night at Balena!! My Christmas gift to Derick was tickets for the Steppenwolf dinner series, which means we get to see each play of the season at Steppenwolf and get to have a 3 course dinner at a restaurant nearby before each play. Last night's restaurant was Balena. The food was SO good and the service was great! The manager stopped by our table to ask how everything was and when we told her the food was great but that we wanted to order an appetizer since the portions were small she ended up letting us choose two items off the menu on the house and covering our drinks, too. We will definitely be going back soon!!

4. That it's finally warm enough for skirts and dresses!

5. For my straightening iron that doubles as a curling iron. It's the best.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

May 7th, 2013 - JJ

1. For Derick, who cooks pretty much all of our meals these days. I'm very thankful that he's become so open to trying new things, especially new vegetables, because he's found some really tasty stuff recently and has made eating healthy pretty delicious!

2. That Ripley destroys her toys rather than our stuff.  

3. For my new in home therapy client. Working with a little kid twice a week will be a nice break from my adult clients. 

4. For visiting with my old co-workers yesterday, and always for my time with Miss Jenna.

5. Warm weather. It smells like summer outside today. I'm loving sunshine and short sleeves! :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

May 6th, 2013 - JJ

1. That Ripley did so well on her first time at the dog park!  We stupidly chose a park that wasn't entirely closed in, but were very impressed that she came to us when we called her and didn't run off into the sunset when given freedom. My little baby was so happy and we could not believe how fast she was when given a wide open space to stretch her legs! Can't wait to go again! :) I might be more excited than she is!

2. For our friend, Jackie, who came to dinner Saturday night and for the delicious food Derick cooked for us. 

3. That we got to meet Jenna's new man yesterday, and that I get to see her again today! She's my favorite Starbucks buddy.

4. For all the delicious food we had yesterday for Cinco de Mayo. Derick and I threw together some "breakfast nachos" to start the day along with a delicious blue cheese and bacon guacamole, then we had more guac and margaritas with Jenna, and then enchiladas made by Elena which we enjoyed with the neighbors out in our yard in the evening. YUM!

5. That Elena took me with her to tour Growing Power, which is an urban farm in Chicago. They have a more affordable version of a CSA program that I think Derick and I are going to take part in, and I think I may start volunteering there. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

May 2nd, 2013 - JJ

1. That Mrs. Kircher sent her 5 things yesterday!  Megan's always been the best about sending these out so whenever she misses a few my inbox feels sad and empty. I am very thankful she sent one yesterday and I am also very thankful for her sense of humor. She always makes me laugh and I love that about her!!

2. For peaberry coffee. Delicious!

3. Girls' Night tonight!! Definitely ready for a mojito!

4. That our 2nd attempt at Fabio's spaghetti and meatballs was much better than the first! We had forgotten to put salt and pepper in the meatballs the first time which made them a little bland. Then on top of that I had rolled the spaghetti way too thin and then after cutting it had put it all in a bowl together before adding it to the water, and it all stuck together so it cooked as one giant ball of pasta instead of individual noodles. This time Derick re-made the meatballs adding salt and pepper and I rolled the pasta out to a 4 instead of 5 and then after cutting it I laid it all out flat on cookie sheets before cooking it and it was amazing! Who knew whole wheat pasta could be so delicious!?

5. For Ripley. She makes me laugh every day and I am so glad we have her!  She can be a handful, but the silly moments make all the other stuff worth it!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May 1st, 2013 - JJ

1. For the beautiful summery weather we've been having! 80 degrees and hardly any humidity!  I'm in love. I'm also very happy that the heat has been making Ripley tired. Tired puppies are well behaved puppies.

2. Ceiling fans. Making 80 degrees bearable when it happens before you've put the window AC units in for the season.

3. For the Utigard family. I babysat Beck and Ava last night and had so much fun playing outside and just hanging out with the kids (except for the part where Beck and I realized Ava had accidentally locked us outside before she headed up to bed and there was no spare key...That part was more stressful than fun!). I'm also really thankful that Beck wants to hangout with me again. He had gone through a phase for a few months where he was too cool for me which really bummed me out! But yesterday we played basketball and I got to read to him before bed. He's such a smart, fun kid! 

4. For graph paper. I kind of love it!

5. For text messaging. I would be so sad if I couldn't text with Derick throughout the day while we are both at work. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April 30th, 2013 - JJ

1. For Trader Joe's, which has way too many delicious things (especially chocolate!). I don't know why we don't shop there more often. 

2. For sunshine and warm weather. It's about time, Chicago!!

3. For Heather and Kathy, who we love so much! I'm so thankful that they live close enough for us to be able to see them once a month (give or take a few days/weeks here and there). 

4. That I've finally started the process of officially changing everything over to my married name. What a pain in the butt!!  My wallet is currently half Jablonski and half Hamilton. Hopefully this time next week everything will be changed over. :) 

5. For my new iPad case and keyboard. It's going to take me a while to get used to the keyboard (such tiny buttons for my fat fingers!), but I'm pretty excited to be able to get work done at other locations with it. 

6. For the dragons that Kathy crocheted into an emerald green wrap for me! Guys, it's SO cool!! I love it!

7. For handmade gifts, in general. Heather also made me a crocheted (knit?! i don't know my crafts very well...) bag that is amazing. I'm looking forward to packing it up and heading to the beach this summer!

8. For Anna and our long overdue lunch date yesterday. It had been waaaay too long!! Love you, lady!! :) 

9. For 3 ring binders and dividers. I wouldn't be half so organized without them!

10. For HBO Go which allows me to keep up with Game of Thrones, and for being able to chat with Amy about the series and the books while I watch, which is the next best thing since I can't watch with her.