Friday, November 25, 2011

The Giving of Thanks

I hope you had an incredible Thanksgiving! Ours zoomed by, but we had a lovely time with Terry's family and ate plenty over the last 36 hours.

We headed down to Orange County to Terry's aunt's house and spent the day with his mom, dad, brother, cousins, aunt, uncle, and some friends. Good conversation, good wine, good food - what else do you need? Our dinner highlights included the moist turkey (a la Terry's aunt), creamy potatoes (cousin), and delicious salad (Terry's mom).

And everyone loved my desserts!

We stayed the night at Terry's parents house, and this morning we got to visit with a longtime family friend of Terry's family and her husband and kids. What an adorable family! They live in San Francisco, and we love to see them. Today we met up at a park, played on the swings, and threw a football around (well, Terry and I threw the football; the kids mostly just grabbed the ball and ran around scoring "touchdowns"). We loved seeing the kids and spending more time with Terry's family today.

The rest of the day focused mostly on lazing around as much as possible. Terry and I headed home for Cribbage, homemade hot cocoa, and reading (me)/Adobe Illustrator (Ter). I actually finished my book today, and Terry designed a new background for my Twitter page. I'm so lucky to have such a talented husband!

Hot Cocoa and Whipped Cream
Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
In a medium saucepan, combine the cocoa and sugar. Then add the hot water and whisk the mixture. Turn the heat to medium, pour in the milk, and whisk frequently until hot (be careful not to scorch the milk), about 7 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and pour into four mugs. Top with whipped cream (below). For a kick, add a teaspoon of chili powder!

For the whipped cream:
  • 1 cup (or more) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
In a medium bowl, beat the whipping cream with an hand mixer on medium-low speed for 5-7 minutes, or until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat for another 15 seconds. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

The proper way to enjoy hot cocoa

The Giving of Thanks
I feel so blessed to have so much in my life to be thankful for. I know the holidays aren't the only time to express such sentiment, but I like the idea of writing it down as a more concrete way to say thanks.

My family. This word means so many things, from my parents and brother, which was always the way I thought of "family" before this year, to my new husband, my brother's fiancee, my extended family, Terry's family... It's exciting and incredible to have so many people to call kin. I am especially thankful that I feel so close to my parents and my brother. Even though I miss them every day, I know we are closer than ever.

My job. I have a job that challenges, inspires, and pushes me. It exhausts me but energizes me and keeps me on my toes. I love my students and have met some incredible coworkers. I feel so lucky to have awesome co-coaches and cheerleaders. And at a time like this, I'm grateful to have not just a job but a job in a field I chose at a school I love.

Scout. Our little tabby cat makes us laugh every day. When that little guy curls up on my lap or chest to fall asleep, I swear my heart melts. He is an absolute joy.

My blog. It's young and new and still budding, but writing this blog has become an extremely motivational hobby for me. I would venture to say that writing about health, food, and exercise could easily become my passion. I am sincerely grateful for my readers. When someone mentions that my blog has inspired them to try a new recipe or pushed them to work out, I feel utterly blissful. I can't tell you the rush of joy I get from seeing that someone has left me a comment! (Poor Terry now knows that little squeal that can only be blg-related.)

My friends. This year, in particular, I have felt a growing bond with my friends. Perhaps it's because I got married this year and had five gorgeous, spectacular ladies stand up with me, or because I felt overwhelming support and encouragement from so many loving friends throughout our engagement and, now, our marriage. Terry and I both feel blessed to have such incredible friends - old and new.

My husband. I can't put it into words (I think I exhausted my annual verbal description of my love for Terry during our vows, so try me again in July). Terry joins me in running, tries all of my food, helps with all the tech stuff for my blog, loves my family, and pushes me to be the best I can be. He is my very best friend, and he makes me happy every day. (Okay, that last line may have been stolen from our vows.)

I can list a million other things, like changing seasons, delicious food, my ability to run after my foot surgery, romantic comedies, good books, warm fires, chocolate, our little apartment, rainy Sundays, UCLA, cozy beds, our ability to travel, good wine, comfortable sweatpants, hot showers, Christmas songs, and my parents' house (which, to this day, just feels like home). But you have to limit yourself somewhere, I guess.

Here's to another year with too much to be thankful for!


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