Sunday, September 23, 2012


Where to even begin...

Those of you on Facebook know that I have been celebrating "birthday week" for over a week, now.  Those of you who have known me for awhile know that I don't usually make a huge deal about my own birthday, much less make it a week-long celebration.  This year, however, lent itself to lots of celebrating...and I didn't resist it.

I'll try not to be redundant here, since I posted about the week's happenings on Facebook, but here is a brief recap of some of the surprises the week brought:
I painted this spoon rest on a birthday present trip to Paint Yourself Silly (and Ivanna Cone!) with my roomie.
One of the very thoughtful and sweet families I teach brought this birthday cookie and a bouquet of flowers for me to their lessons on Monday.
Tuesday started with a spontaneous birthday breakfast with the family I nanny for followed by a trip to the zoo on such a beautiful, sunny day!

On Wednesday, one of my coworkers brought treats to staff meeting partially in honor of my b-day, and I was treated to nachos and a free birthday dessert while out with friends later that evening.

Thursday included lunch with (and compliments of) a dear friend and these cupcakes (from my favorite cupcake shop, Le Cupcake) from a couple very sweet and thoughtful students.  (They were supposed to have lessons that evening, but had something come up, so made a special trip to drop these off earlier in the evening.)

Friday (the 21st) was my actual birthday.  I'm only a little embarrassed to admit I spent the morning cleaning house (since I'd been celebrating all week, I hadn't had a day at home to take care of things like I usually do).  Then, I taught the Children's Music Academy class I teach on Friday afternoons.  The three precious 4 -year-old girls and I made a "music cake" as part of our normal lesson.  I told them we could put some candles on it, though, because it was my birthday.  They had a real hard time deciding how many to put on the cake.  Once we got to 20, they jumped straight to 35!  haha
I have a little bit of downtime on Fridays between teaching the CMA class and lessons, so this week, I  walked across the street to use my only-valid-on-your-birthday free yogurt coupon at Cherry on Top.  What a pleasant surprise to find they have bowl dividers, so you can get two totally different flavor combinations!  Someone was thinking...

Friday evening was spent out to supper with friends (yes, I got the free birthday dessert...and song), then karaoking at a venue no one in our group had experienced.  It was a little sketchy...and we'll probably try somewhere else next time...but a good time was had by all!
We sang "Summer Nights"...good times!  haha
One of my coworkers (and friends!) offered to make me something for my birthday.  I told her I wasn't picky, but that I really liked cheesecake, so she made me THIS!  Almost to pretty to eat, but oooh so yummy!  What an amazing job for her first cheesecake!
Saturday was spent with my parents and extended family, and today they took me out for a birthday lunch before leaving town.

Words cannot express how blessed and loved I feel!  Many thanks to those who sent cards and gifts, called, texted, posted on Facebook, and helped me celebrate the 25th anniversary of my birth!  

I've told some of you that I haven't really been affected by the number associated with my birthday, until this milestone year.  I'm not sure why it seems like a bigger deal to me, but it does...and I feel a little clichè that it's affecting me at all - haha.  It is what it is, though, and I'm just increasingly thankful for the blessings in my life - past, present, and future - and the new opportunities each year, month, and day bring!

Looking forward to seeing what is in store for the coming year!  Thanks for sharing in the journey with me!  ☺


Favorites of the day:
my electric blanket
that cheesecake...!
Room 211 (the church service I attend)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's the little things in life.

So, before I tell you anything else, I have to tell you about something I saw today:
We were driving by a little house in a neighborhood and noticed a bunny (as in a big, furry black-and-white-spotted pet rabbit) tethered in the yard on a pink leash...with a water jug next to it, complete with one of those little spout things that rodents (and bunnies) use to drink from.  What?!?!  I'm only sorry I didn't stop to take a picture.

Anyway, this post is all about finding joy in the little things in life.  Here are a few things in which I've found joy in the past few days:

My weekend (and birthday week) started off with a FREE meal at Noodles and Co., thanks to my b-day coupon.  This was followed by a spontaneous birthday present trip to Paint Yourself Silly and Ivanna Cone, courtesy of my roomie!  We had a lovely time - I'll have photo evidence of the finished products, soon.

Saturday started with a trip to the farmer's market to get some cute little gourds complete our fall decorations:
May or may not have also purchased a cinnamon roll from Great Harvest Bread Co. (if you haven't tried one of these, you NEED to!).

A trip to Walgreen's resulted in the purchase of two clearance items - a stack of 1" square post-its (they're sooo cute!) and this lunch bag:
I'd been considering getting a new/bigger lunch box for awhile, and this was perfect...and only $5!
A good chunk of Saturday afternoon was spent outside enjoying the lovely weather...on blankets with music and magazines.  ☺

I also spent some time this weekend putting recipes I've printed off, received from others and/or written down on post-its or scrap paper in page protectors and in a notebook.  I probably enjoyed this task (way) more than the average girl - haha.  Now, for something for all the recipe/note cards...

Those of you on Facebook already know I was rudely awakened the other morning by footsteps and strange squawk/chirping noises on the roof.  I originally thought it was just one of the teenage turkeys we have running around here, but my aunt/neighbor provided this photo evidence that proved otherwise:
My room is under the roof toward the left of this photo.
You're probably wondering how/why I found joy in this - I just think it was (and is) so hilarious!  Wish you could've heard the noises they were making.
My Sunday also got of to a wonderful start - I got to play trumpet duets at church with one of my former NWU classmates (and my good friend)!  We played a couple selections from opposite sides of the balcony and a couple from the front of the church.  Those of you who know me well know how much I love to play in church...and how much I love duets!  I'm continually thankful for opportunities to share God's gift of music - especially with people I really like!

I hope you all are able to find joy in the little (and big) things in your lives!

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." -Romans 15:13


Favorites of the day:
all the birthday coupons I've received, so far (12 and being for a free huge piece of chocolate layer cake from Granite it to go after brunch today, and it looks so amazing!)
Charlie inviting himself to curl up in my lap for a bit just now
the color red

Thursday, September 6, 2012

It's the most wonderful time of the year (in my opinion)!

Happy September!

Most of you probably know that fall is my favorite time of year - I love the weather, the smells, the activities...everything!  I just finished putting out fall decorations and got out the fall candles.  My electric blanket is also on my bed and ready for open windows on crisp, cool nights.  (The only thing I'm not ready for is the end of flip-flop season...but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.)

The end of August brought some pretty quality kiddo stories and a couple other really fun activities I'd like to share with you:

We sang a song at church called "Praise Like Fireworks" (check it out here) a couple weeks ago.  The band leader asked around for some help with the song, and our Sunday school class was volunteered.  So, at the end of the service, the band started playing/singing this song, and about halfway through, we went on stage with sparklers to sing and dance and praise Him with fireworks!  It was such a fun, unique experience...and cool to be up there feeling the energy of everyone else worshiping.

While having some special time with the 5-yr.-old I nanny for while his sister was at school (his classes hadn't started, yet), he brought up a couple interesting topics:
-He was talking about various kinds of snakes and snake bites and was speculating as to how much blood is lost due to a snake bite.  Then, he said, "You know, snakes and guns are the same...because snakes cause blood and guns cause, they're the same."  I couldn't argue with that.
-I was wearing dangley (I don't think that's actually a word) earrings that day, and he noticed the end of the long post was touching my neck.  He asked, "Doesn't that hurt you?"  I assured him it didn't and let him feel that it wasn't very sharp.  Then, he asked, "Were you born with holes in your ears?"  I shook my head and he asked, "Well, how do people get pierced ears?"  Needless to say, I was able to offer more explanation to this question than the conversation about snake bites.

One of my first grade piano students broke his arm a few months ago.  When I was explaining a new song I assigned at his lesson last night, he said, "I should probably wait a couple weeks to play this - I don't want to break my arm again."  I asked what he meant, and he explained, "Well, it says to play it forte, and I don't want to play too loud and break my arm again.  I should probably just wait to play it."  I still assigned the song, and we agreed that he'd just play "forte" carefully.

This past weekend was sooo very wonderful!  My best friend from home came to visit, and we treated ourselves to a day at the spa (including a facial, a massage, and pedicures).  Neither of us had done something like that before, and it was fun to do so together...and it was very relaxing and refreshing for us two teachers!  My family was also in town, so I got to spend some quality time with them.  They stayed with my aunt and uncle, and their neighbor cat had kittens a few weeks ago (and they've basically adopted my aunt and uncle's front porch as their home).  The already awesome weekend was made even more great by these four, precious, tame, playful baby kitties:

This is completely unrelated, but someone posted this video an elderly man made after his wife passed away, and it's definitely worth watching!  Click here to watch.

Okey dokey - that's all for now!

I hope you all have a lovely rest of the week and enjoy the weekend!

Thanks for reading,

Favorites of the day:
iced coffee (homemade)
not having to plan meals for the week (thanks to leftovers from Mom and a pretty great aunt)
witnessing budding relationships
God's ceaseless and abundant love