Mom, today is yours

I LOVE MY MOM.

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Today is my amazing mother’s birthday. Mom I love you so much. I cannot thank you enough for everything you have sacrificed for me. You have given me the ability to do anything I put my mind to. I learn so much from you every day. All of my life I have wanted to be like you. Thank you for sticking by me in the worst of times, through boyfriends you didn’t agree with, decisions you didn’t approve of, helping me work my way out of sticky situations, never letting go when an eating disorder almost took me away, and for being my best friend. There is no one like you and there never will be. When I was a teenager I remember everyone saying how lucky I was to have you as my mom because you are so amazing. They thought I didn’t know, truth is I didn’t. I do now. Happy birthday Mommy. I love you and I hope you enjoy this special day, I am grateful to be a part of it!

Discovering the True Meaning of Christmas

I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas! I can honestly say that this has been the best of my life. You hear from a young age how Christmas is not about the presents. Whether you are religious or not, Christmas is about family, love, and joy. And if you are Christian then Christmas is also a day to celebrate the glorious birth of Christ.

I have always known Christmas was more than the presents, but that never stopped me from focusing all too much on them. Always disappointed as the last one was ripped open, and never grateful enough for all I received. Christmas was about the presents no matter how much I tried to deny it. And then Christmas and all holidays became about food. All of my focus was devoted to how and what my family would eat on the holiday. OK great that I stopped caring so much about the presents, but replacing it with food was no better.

My dog Mr. George ready for his bone; Me with my  new coffee maker and Archer Farm's Gingerbread Toffee; My kitty Cody ready for his new water fountain

My dog Mr. George ready for his bone; Me with my new coffee maker and Archer Farm’s Gingerbread Toffee; My kitty Cody ready for his new water fountain

But since entering college, Christmas has become special. Not for the presents or the food. I honestly don’t focus on those parts of the day unless it is time to open gifts or it is time to sit down as a family and share a meal together. But otherwise, Christmas for me is about the day I get with both of my parents. Sharing jokes and jabs at each other, laughing, a lack of mother daughter fighting (yeah we used to fight every holiday… Sorry mom I was a brat), and a nice, pressure free day.

For the first time in all of my Christmases I saw this holiday for everything it is supposed to be. I am so grateful for the holiday I was able to spend with my mom and dad, enjoying a small family Christmas that I have come to love so much.

Dad had the idea of going on a little jog after opening presents. Awesome idea! I loved every minute of it

Dad had the idea of going on a little jog after opening presents. Awesome idea! I loved every minute of it

Now I am continuing my Christmas by going to Snowball Camp! Where I will be cooking meals and sharing the love of Christ with a few munchkins this holiday season!

Make room in your heart

She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn

Christmas Eve 2000 years ago, there was no room for the King of Kings in the small inn in Bethlehem. Our savior was born in a manger. he made room for himself in this world, the world did not make room for him. It is the same way with our hearts to this day. There are parts of our lives that take up too much room, we leave little space open for God. But what astounds me is that Jesus will make room in our hearts for him if we are willing. He will come in unexpected ways just as he came in the form of a teenage virgin pregnancy years ago. Be ready for him, help him and make room in your heart.

It is too easy to get caught up in the cookies, presents, Christmas movies and music of pop culture, and forget the simple message of Christmas. It happens to me every year. And every year my Church’s sermon renews me. I have made it so there is not enough room in my heart for my God, but with the anniversary of Jesus’ birth I am reminded that he was born for me. So that I could put my trust and life in him. So his light could shine on me and guide me on my path.

Merry Christmas everyone! May your holiday be filled with peace, love, hope, and joy!

I might be gone…

I am back to life. No more regular posts from me. But won’t that make my posts more fun! I have to say my vacation went out with a bang though!

Saturday!

I had the opportunity to meet one of the most awesome bloggers out there in cyber world! Hollie is seriously even better in person and I didn’t think that was possible. I have to say meeting someone who you have been reading about and communicating with on the web makes everything so much more real! Now when I read her posts I can imagine her saying things, and I know how to read the posts better. Does that make sense? Anyway she is real I have a picture to prove it.

Our breakfast is best recapped in her post. So I will let her do the honors with that. But I did try poached eggs for the first time. Where have I been those are awesome! O and anyone who reads Hollie’s blogs knows she can put down the coffee. I probably had one too many cups, I had to drink water all day to make the effects wear off lol.

Then  got to watch my Hokies beat the Hoo’s of Whoville (UVA). So I celebrated by making maroon and orange muffins.

I had pomegranate seeds and a can of pumpkin to use up. This is the first batch of muffins I have made without directly following a recipe! I made these for my parents and have been told since getting back to Tech that they approve. Roomie is going to try one too and she is the best food critic so I will let ya know!

Sunday!

Back to Hokieville I go. I asked my mom if saying goodbye ever gets easier. She unfortunately said no. I cry every time I say goodbye to my parents. I love them and I am their little girl. I am very attached, and I wonder if that is a bad thing sometimes. But after a sweet email from my mom, a 5 hour drive to help me get in the Hokie spirit, and reuniting with my roommate I can say that yes I was sad to leave, but I love the home Tech has become and I know that wherever I go next, my parents love me and want me to be happy, which means moving, growing up, and making a life of my own.

When I got back I had a surprise for my Christmas loving roommate!

Kailey LOVES Christmas. Like it’s a tad ridiculous… But her love seems to have spread to me. In my house we never decorate until the week before Christmas and all decorations must be down before my mom’s birthday (Jan 3). I have a feeling the twin hokie household will remain festive for much longer!

As the title states, you wont be reading me as often. Hollie gave me a great tip of writing posts on the weekends, and I am going to try to write at least 2 next weekend. But I have projects, tests, work, and a TA position and I want to spend time with my friends before Christmas break. I love the blog world, but it doesn’t come first. So I will see you when I see you! Be prepared though when I post they will be worth it! (I hope!)

Real Life Realizations

It is official I am growing up.

First glass of wine at a family holiday meal #21

All afternoon as our amazing Thanksgiving dinner was cooking I was planning a blog post highlighting a bunch of firsts. Mashed rutabagas, brussels sprouts for the whole family (not just me), stuffing, organic turkey, wine, no exercise… The list goes on. I took a ton of pictures and the post was going to have a ton of food porn for everyone drool over.

And then I realized on my walk with my mom (with a little help from that wine I do believe) that who cares what my family had to eat! Not you! I am hoping that you all had amazing Thanksgivings (or just days if you don’t celebrate it or are not American). I hope your daily eats were wonderful like mine. But honestly do you really want to look at pictures of the food I ate? It’s already digested, or in the fridge as leftovers, or in the awesome soup we made last night. You can’t have it and my guess is you wouldn’t trade your special Thanksgiving for mine.

What I do want to share are the special moments. The happiness I want to remember from this holiday with my mom and dad.

Organic turkey ready for the grill!

I will keep mentioning this turkey. It was my first in 4 years. And my parents were awesome enough to purchase it for me from Whole Foods. Forever grateful for two understanding and loving parents.

Peeling Rutabagas!

Nothing special right? Well these were supposed to be parsnips and I made a woopsie purchase! Wait I am a dietetic student right? Yeah well my forte is metabolism not vegetable varieties! FYI mashed rutabagas are great!

Blurry because I am hard at work tearing the bread into “bite-size pieces”

Our first gravy boat! Every year we remark that we need a gravy boat and then proceed to pour our gravy into some other dish. This year mom and I bought one especially for Thanksgiving, isn’t it pretty! 😀

Awesome dad knows how to grill a turkey let me tell ya!

Roasted maple butternut squash

I know I said no food porn, but since my mom won’t take any pictures this is the best I can get! This is her contribution to the meal and it is my absolute favorite part! It was the only non new part to our meal (well except for the canned cranberries and rolls) and I love her for making it so well every year! Love you mom!

Wait I don’t get turkey???

Our dog Mr. George. Yes he did get turkey don’t worry!

“There is a method”

Dad doesn’t have ice cream with his pie. Always cheddar cheese. He was showing me the method on how to eat it correctly when I snapped this picture. I wish I had a video. Love you daddy!

This doesn’t even begin to describe my Thanksgiving. Nothing could. But for the first time ever I feel free of worry about school, upcoming exams, and the holidays. The holidays have always been good but not great do to the fact that my family butts heads and my mom and I used to fight a lot. There were tears and screams and immaturity on my part. But every year I am amazed at how different our holidays have become. We work together, have learned to deal with and embrace each others little annoying quirks, and it has led us to really enjoy our time together I do believe. For me as I get older the holidays have become more meaningful and enjoyable. I realize now that Thanksgiving may be centered around a meal, but what makes it special are the laughable moments, the smiles, the jabs from dad, the walks with mom, and the love that my parents have for me. This time is special and for that I am forever grateful.

I am Black Friday shopping with my mom this morning! It is our tradition whether we need anything or not! It is fun and we get to say we did it!

 

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope all of my fellow Americans enjoy a wonderful day  with family and friends. Remember this day is not about stuffing yourself silly, practicing restraint, or about the food at all. This is a day designated for us to show gratitude for what we have in life even when it is not all good.  So go and be grateful, smile, hug, and surround yourself with love.

Let the Holidays Begin

I really don’t believe Christmas begins until Thanksgiving has been played out- AKA Turkey is making me tired (for the first time in 4 years!!!) and my mom and I have hit the stores dark and early (get it because the sun hasn’t risen yet!) on Black Friday.

But in my Hokie home I have a roommate who absolutely loves all things Christmas. She eats, breathes, and lives it every day of the year. So of course she doesn’t abide by my rule of no Christmas until after Thanksgiving.

This is sooooo Kailey. She has the best heart. She really does embody the true spirit of Christmas.

So we had Thanksgiving early. Twin way. Which is way more epic than the traditional way. Plus we didn’t have to cook or do dishes. Win win!- that was our language I don’t expect anyone to really understand that except Twin.

Carrot Cake Pancakes- Oh Why are you limited edition!

AKA we went to IHOP! Now before you dis this glorious place you have to understand that IHOP will forever hold a special place in my heart. This is the first place I can remember ordering a meal, ordering it wrong (AKA I forgot to ask for my omelet with egg beaters!), not caring, and not second guessing myself a few hours after. It is also where I can say for a fact I committed myself to recovery. Before that fateful night I was only eating to please everyone around me. After that night I was in it for me. The food wasn’t the problem, it was something else and I became determined to figure it out so that I could enjoy the simple things in life (like food) as simple things again.

The process of eating pancakes- the Shannon way

I peel my pancakes. You have to be there and see it to fully understand, but I hope this picture sort of explains… Amanda did a great post about how we all have quirky habits, well mine is that I have to peel pancakes, if they aren’t peelable you can best bet I will be ordering something else and sending the non-peelable sad excuse of pancakes back to the kitchen or giving them to my dad. P.s these pancakes are amazing and I about died and went to heaven while enjoying their dense peelable goodness. (good thing I lived or Kailey would have been stranded at IHOP- wait maybe that’s not a bad thing!)

I love this girl!

There is our sweet waiter in the background too bringing Kailey’s ketchup, because seriously ketchup and eggs were meant to be.  I just love how happy she looks. That’s what good food and more importantly a good time will do to a person!

That was Thursday night (because Thanksgiving happens on Thursdays duh!) and our last night together in our little home for a little over a week. I made the 5 1/2 hour drive home Friday and roomie is headed home with her dad today. I miss her, and our quiet life. But I am EXTREMELY grateful for this week that I will have at home with my parents. I have a lot of work to get done for school, but I am going to try to break up my day between work and play. I need this time with my parents and I need to give myself some breaks because the last few weeks after this will be rough (exams, projects, finals… dun dun dun). OK sorry for rambling on. I just really wanted to share those pancakes and express my extreme gratitude and love of my epic roomie.

Hooray for Thanksgiving Break!