Sunday, November 27, 2011

Top 5 reasons I am feeling pretty thankful

Mom's birthday scone from Panera+memory book present
Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year, has come and gone.  The last leaves of the year are falling from the trees in the park by my house and a new moon rose the day after Thanksgiving to usher in the Christmas season.  It seems like just last week I was admiring Halloween decorations and now the neighborhood is a sparkling display of twinkling lights and larger-than-life blow-up snowmen.  While it is hard to be away from Mali for so long, especially with my sweetheart there and not here (along with cherished friends!), I do have a lot to be grateful for this holiday season.  What better way to celebrate my gratitude than a top-five list?  John, my step-dad, did not actually ask me to tell him my top five November - but let's pretend he did since he listened to my answers.

1. Family and friends
  • John wanted me to itemize friends and family here in order of my thankfulness for them but I'm going to ignore him just this once.  I feel so incredibly blessed to be engaged to such a treasure of a man, surrounded by family that supports me and all my quirks and loved by friends who are (sometimes!) even quirkier.  You guys are wonderful. 
2. Taylor Swift
  • Taylor here is representing music and happy, bubbly moments of all kinds for me.  But I do just think she's the bees knees.  And John says that's because I haven't been a victim to her media overexposure.  But I also think John is sometimes a cynic. :)
  • As though to answer my need for more Taylor in my life, 60 minutes did a special on her.   
3. Whales 
  • Maybe it's because I was born in Virginia Beach and down the road from the Virginia Marine Science Museum.  Maybe it's because I have an affinity for large animals related to whales (see #4).  More likely it's because of all the good memories I associate with the Voyage of the Mimi and the 5th grade at Red Mill Elementary with Kate and Theresa.  Whatever the reason - I love whales!
4. Hippos
  • Not only does Hippo translate to 'Mali' in Bambara (HOW FORTUITOUS I WAS SENT TO MALI FOR THE PEACE CORPS!!!!), they're also really cute.  
5. Babies
  • Seems like I'm surrounded by some of the most precious baby treasures out there (also see below!!).  I'm almost counting down the hours until I meet Mia Rose, Joe & Ashley's 7 month-old baby girl!  Someone at church today said holding them is contagious.  While I'm sure I'll 'catch' the baby bug one day - for now they're just nice to hold until they poop :)
As I write this post, I look around my room and see my bed overflowing with magazines accumulated under my name over the past year while I was in Mali.  My closet is bursting at its proverbial seams with shoes, shirts and dresses pulled from Tupperware bins stored away in my absence.  Framed pictures of Abdoulaye and me compete for dresser space with books from the library and receipts from recent trips to TJ Maxx.  I'm facebook chatting with one of my best friends from my childhood and looking through pictures from the past week and feeling my heart swell.  Thanksgiving has come and gone and while I did not have to come to Virginia to realize I have a lot to be thankful for - it is is nice to come home to be surrounded by the reasons.

Looks like baby Ella captured my lens at Sheri's Thanksgiving feast!  She's such a doll baby, I couldn't help it! 
Memaw's lemon cake - kicking it up a notch after the scone!

I'm also thankful for timers, afternoon sunlight and family photos!

Amanda's birthday party included, but was not limited to, Wii 'Just Dance'!
Are you feeling especially thankful for anything? 


  1. What wonderful and random things to be thankful for! I was not expecting hippos and whales when I opened the list but I'm thankful to have learned something more about you! :)

  2. Thanks Anna! I loved when you posted your 25 quirky things - I couldn't think of that many!


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