Gratitude Attitude

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” -Luke 11:9-10

November always nudges me and reminds me to be thankful. Maybe it’s because we are 3 months into school and I look back wondering how that time passed so quickly. Maybe it’s because the leaves changed colors and it’s a little crisper out (actually expecting snow later this afternoon). Maybe it’s because a small vacation from work is within reach. Whatever it is, I am trying to wake up with a “gratitude attitude” this month. A few weeks ago as I was watching the Ellen Degeneres show while on the treadmill at the gym, I heard something that has been popping into my mind every morning. Ellen was interviewing Steve Harvey. He explained how he was not always in the position he is now. He also explained how being thankful is the key to his success. He wakes up every morning and for at least the first 5 minutes, he thanks God. “Thanks for waking me up today and giving me another day of life. Thanks for 7 hours of sleep last night. Thanks for coffee that will get me through my morning.” Whatever it is, he thanks God. I am trying to take part in this practice. It can be hard (especially on Monday mornings), but it really does put into perspective how blessed I am. God gives abundantly and deserves some thanks. Speaking of that, here are some of the blessings and happenings since the last time I wrote….

  • Nick and I attended a San Fran 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams football games a few Mondays back. It was a late night for a Monday but still cool to see the players we watch every Sunday on TV, play right in front of us.
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Let’s go NINERS!
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fans 🙂
  • Our close friends out here, Ellie and Kurt, tied the night in late October. We went to the Blumenhof winery before the wedding and then headed to Kurt’s family’s property for the wedding. It was gorgeous! The reception nearby was a blast. Congrats guys!
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My go-to girl since touching down in MO.
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Lovebirds!
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My stud of a date!
  • Then mama Spach flew to St. Louis and we made the 5 hour drive together to St. Charles, Illinois to spend the weekend with Aaron and Jess. We did some shopping and eating and then celebrated baby Spach to be at Jess’ shower Sunday morning. Can’t wait for my niece’s arrival sometime in December/January!!
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Baby shower day. ❤
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Oh my word. Love this DOG.
  • Next it was Halloween time, Nick’s favorite! We didn’t actually dress up at all this year but we did go to Fright Fest at the nearby 6 Flags. The 4 haunted houses were freaky. Then we went to a mystery theatre dinner with Nick’s old roommate. It was so much fun and Nick was the bailiff in the show.
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Fright Night faces!
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Fall decor in my house and the walkway outside of my school! Gorgeous colors.
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A drink before the mystery dinner theatre!
  • In the kitchen, I’ve been trying to keep things interesting and easy. A recent go-to is this super easy chicken fajita bake. Thaw 2-3 chicken breasts and put in a 9×13 baking dish. Cover with a packet of taco seasoning and then cut up peppers and onions and layer on top. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake for 45 min at 350 degrees and voila!! Delicious fajita makings made easy.
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Chicken fajita bake prior to the bake!
  • I also branched out and made lasagna soup in the crockpot. A different spin to one of my favorite dishes. This was tasty and warm for a chilly week.
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yummma!

 

I am especially grateful for all 5 senses during the upcoming holiday seasons–the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and touches of this season are special. I attended a 3 day conference this week for work about working with children with visual impairment. It was so interesting to put on visual simulator glasses and try to read braille and just think about what the world is like for those who don’t have total use of all their senses. Lots to be thankful for…7 days of work left until Thanksgiving break but who’s counting? Until then, trying to keep my gratitude attitude afloat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Refreshment

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”-Jeremiah 31:25

It is pretty hard to believe that the first quarter of the school year is wrapping up next week. This means lots of progress reports and lots of reflecting on progress (or not) made with my students over the first quarter of the year. It also means reassessing my approaches with a few students and looking for other ways to reach them. Needless to say at this point, I am also feeling a little wiped. Thankfully today and tomorrow are inservice days at work without students. I find myself needing to take a step back and remember that I am not solely responsible for the kid’s success/failure each day. God will refresh me for the upcoming 3 quarters of the year and will continue to provide and be present in my therapy sessions with these kiddos! On the regular, my time spent with the kids doesn’t go as planned but I know that they are learning and taking away more than just speech and language skills from our interactions.

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An attempt at a communication board for a few of my nonverbal kiddos!

In other news, the weather is changing and cooler temperatures (and occasional nasty storms) have reached Missouri. Another attempt from God to refresh! The skies have mostly been gorgeous out here, along with sunsets and the trees changing colors. Snapped this on my drive home from work the other day!

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Ahhh! How gorgeous is that!

Recent weekends have been relaxing and packed with football (WE ARE!). Two weekends ago Nick and I went into the city with our close friends, Ellie and Kurt (who tie the knot next weekend) and we got to see the Eli Young Band for a cheap 10$. It was a really fun night in the city with good music and friends.

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Cheese at Ballpark Village.
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Quick snapshot with the band truck. ATTENTION: Nick is smiling. Nick is smiling. This does not happen often!
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Nick, myself, Ellie and Kurt. Grateful for good friends out here!

Last week, Nick won 4 St. Louis Blues hockey tickets from his gym. We took Ellie and Kurt along with us for the game. Our assigned seats were way up in the nosebleed section but since it was a pre-season game we took advantage of open seats closer to the action. It was very exciting!

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Hockey games are intense!!

Finally in the kitchen, I have been obsessed with all things pumpkin (cookies, bagels, coffee creamer, pasta, ice cream). Eeeek..it’s a problem how much of a sucker I am! I have been whipping up tacos once a week and they are so satisfying. I heat up black beans and corn in one pan and then turkey burger in another! I have been using plain greek yogurt as a sour cream substitute and adding fresh avocado on top. Just looking at this picture I snapped makes me hungry for tacos all over again.

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Taco taco taco!

As this week wraps up, I will continue to look to God for refreshment! And I will continue to embrace all things fall (and pumpkin)!

Light steps and a joyful heart

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

-2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Beginning another school year was daunting for me. I had my first year of working with kids in the books so this year should just be easy, right? Erh..well, then crept up the increasing responsibilities and the fears that I am not doing enough for some of my kids who have so many communication needs. My mom gave me a devotional book called “Jesus Calling,” with daily devotionals that are relevant to a woman’s life. I have read it every morning before work up to this point and it has been shaping my perspective on this new school year. I am slowly allowing joy to replace fear, worry and anxiety. I am trying to give these work-related insecurities to God and let my interactions with the kids and my co-workers be guided by love and care. Light steps and a joyful heart is my reining mantra as I trudge through my day-to-day duties.

In other news…

The weekends around here have been busy! This is probably why it took a full month for me to post on here again. Nick and I traveled to St. Charles, Illinois to visit my brother and his wife for my 25th birthday. Their soon-to-be little one is due Christmas day and Jess looks AH-MAZING pregnant. She is all cute little belly and athletic little legs. (I think fall is the perfect time to be pregnant. Mommy jeans and over-sized sweaters anyone?) We watched Penn State football, watched the guys play in Aaron’s work softball game and ate out for my birthday. I also literally cried with happiness seeing my dog niece, Nellie. I think I have an unusual attachment to her that stems from never having a dog of my own while growing up.

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25! Thanks for showering me with sweet surprises all week long, Nick!
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That face! Her eye is a little crooked, she walks with a wiggle and I love her.
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Very grateful for a brother and sister-in-law.

Then my parents flew to St. Louis to visit for a weekend. Jimbo takes a week off in the fall and they decided to visit their adult children in the Midwest. We took them to a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game in the city, visited the late prez Ulysses S. Grant’s home, played cards and ate good food. Then they hopped the train off to Chicago to visit Aaron. Mom made meals and snacks so that even when they physically left, their presence remained in food form in the kitchen.

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That view though! Beautiful day via Busch Stadium.
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3 of my favorite people squished all around me.

In other news, Nick got me a gym membership right across the street from my townhouse. It’s been a welcome change in the form of exercise and I’ve been literally laughing out loud watching Ellen Degeneres when I am running on the treadmill. I’ve been busy in the kitchen as well. Check out below for my latest creations and links to the recipes.

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http://natashaskitchen.com/2014/04/11/pineapple-fried-rice-recipe/

Pineapple Fried Rice: I added chicken to the mixture and nixed the ginger and sesame oil (14$ tiny bottle was not in my budget). It still turned out deliciously tasty with the pineapple and red bell pepper.

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http://www.crazyforcrust.com/2013/09/peanut-butter-pumpkin-bread/

Peanut butter chocolate chip pumpkin bread: So many things I love whipped into a delicious, moist bread. I made this and then ate a slice every night for 9 days until it was gone. The greek yogurt, pumpkin puree and peanut butter ensure that it is not a crumbly bread.

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http://www.averiecooks.com/2013/06/reeses-pieces-soft-peanut-butter-cookies.html

Reese’s pieces soft peanut butter cookies: Maybe I was on a peanut butter kick this month? I made these cookies as a birthday treat for my coworkers. They loved them! Jam-packed with choco chips and Reese’s pieces. Just looking at the pictures of these makes me hungry.

 

My heart is happy after reading back over this post and the joys of the past month. Trucking forward towards October, all things fall, weddings, baby showers, football and more adventures in the kitchen.

Oh Happy June!

Sweet, sweet summertime has been amazing so far. I flew back to PA late last week after wrapping up work and making sure that my house/car was OK before I left. Since I’ve been back on the east coast, I’ve spent time with many of the people I love (and have missed dearly!). I’ve mowed my grandma’s yard, which has been a summer job for me since I was 12. I’ve slept in, gone for runs by the river, taken walks with my mom and given Tigger a lot of treats. Home feels like home.

shower4A Cafe Latte from Grand Central Bakery and a mindless read on my Kindle is a great start to the break!!

The main event of my time home so far was the Bridal Shower for a best friend, Katie Shelley. My other best friend, Rachel and I were largely a part of putting the shower together on Sunday. The shower was for guys/girls and we had great weather. Katie and Derrick got so many great things and really enjoyed themselves! It was a success.

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It was a great day with our friends celebrating the soon married couple-to-be!!! Another shower is headed my way this weekend as well as celebrations for my dad’s 61st birthday and father’s day! Oh Happy June!

 

Bittersweet Summer Begins…

My first year as a Speech-Language Pathologist, track coach, Missouri resident and living on my own is crawling to an end. 3 more days of work and I will be PA bound for the summer to spend time with family and friends and for wedding related activities for two friends. Time flies when you’re BUSY! The past few days around here have been strange for me. First off, Nick left for the Dominican Republic on Saturday with our college friends for a week long vaca. Darn those snow days or I would be soaking up the sun with them. But not having him here for my last weekend before the summer has been strange. I have done a lot of little things on my own that I wouldn’t usually do such as organizing my drawers, laminating (I bought a laminator!) school projects that I’ve made over the year and making S’mores bars for my co-workers to enjoy as we wind down the week.

june1 june5 june6This past week has brought my last days with my students and my last days a track coach for the year. It was a fun week with the kids because they were all so excited. We had a water play day outside and I forgot how easily the littlest things entertain kids for hours! A few of my students brought me cute little end of the year gifts like this basket below that said “It’s o-FISH-ually summer” with a bag of swedish fish! So thoughtful. I will really miss some of my kiddos headed to Kindergarten in the fall.

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The track season ended yesterday at the Missouri State Track and Field meet in Jefferson City. We traveled up early Friday morning and our athletes competed in the prelims on Friday and then the finals on Saturday. We came home with 4 state medals. Our one female senior athlete, Anna Houston, brought home 3 herself! She is in lane 3 below in the 100 m hurdle finals. I will miss these kids so much! Coaching was daunting in the beginning and I wondered if I would make it through 3 months. It was a lot of time committed but was well worth it. The time spent with the kids was something I actually looked forward to each day.  They didn’t know my first name until this weekend and one girl on the team thought my name was MARY! Haaaa..!

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As the school year comes to a close, I realize how thankful I am for great co-workers. Moving from another state and starting a new job meant that I knew no one when I started. I can say now in June that the ladies I work with have become like family–sort of like mom and sister figures for me! Last week we celebrated the retirement of our one coworker with a wine and painting party. It was so much fun to be with these ladies outside of the school setting. They are always so supportive and caring and that makes coming to work each day a little bit easier.

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It’s bittersweet to head back to PA this week. Bitter because I am leaving Nick and my townhouse that has become home behind here in Missouri. Sweet because I will be seeing my family and friends who I miss so much. There is a lot ahead for me this summer–bridal showers, bachelorette parties, weddings and beach trips! I intend to enjoy all the little joys of summer and the freedom away from work. I know that I will be back in Missouri in a blink!!

 

Keeping calm and carrying on..

I haven’t posted for the past 2 weeks, which is sad to me because my goal was to blog weekly. However, the end of April and the start of May has brought an increased amount of paperwork, meetings and craziness at school and more high stake track meets after school.  It is easy for me to feel a little overwhelmed at this point because May is going to be extremely busy. Just when I started to think about all of the things I need TO DO this week, I opened up my mailbox to find a card from a friend….

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This saying has been popular recently and it made me smile when I saw it. It’s my mantra at this point. Keep calm and just keep carrying on. That is what I have done up to this point and look where it has brought me…to May and the end of my first year working as a speech pathologist and living in Missouri. 4 weeks left. That is very doable.

Highlights of the past weeks include:

1.) BABY CHICKS HATCHING IN MY CLASSROOM: The local 4-H club donated 12 eggs and an incubator for my classroom (and 3 other classes) in my building. We had eggs for a week and last Monday–the eggs began to crack, peeps could be heard and a few hours later, I had 10/12 chicks! This experience was amazing for the kids to see first hand. This experience also taught me that I am not ready for motherhood-ha!! I was a nervous wreck about the welfare of these little birds.

may1 may22.) TRACK, TRACK, TRACK: We are in the final 1/3rd of our season and our schedule has picked up. The past two weeks have included up to 3 track meets and practice on our non-meet days. The exciting thing is that our athletes are doing pretty well at the right time. Today was our Conference meet and our girls landed first place. Check out our partial team photo below from Conferences.

may53.) SOAKING UP SHORT WEEKENDS: Increase in track meets have meant a decrease in time spent with my favorite guy. It has also meant that I’ve started to appreciate my time I do have with him, more. We have spent a lot of time feeding the baby ducks in his development lately. The geese just had babies and we even have a name for this one ugly goose that lives in the pond. Nick and his roommate had a lot of friends over for a boxing match Saturday night and I made some grub for the group. I decided to make dirt dessert only to find out that Nick doesn’t like chocolate pudding. (Crazy that there are still things I don’t know about him after almost 10 years??) We went to this cute breakfast spot over the weekend called ‘The Egg & I.” The pancake I ordered was about as big as a basketball. Love the real smile Nick turned on in the last picture here.

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It’s funny how….. a little sunshine, an increase in daylight hours, lots of ice cream, a shorter countdown until summer and fun weekends spent making memories…. can put a BIG smile on my face. 

 

 

 

Easter happenings

I’m a family girl and moving to the midwest has been an adjustment mostly because my closest family member now is my brother, 5 hours away in Chicago. The move has also meant missing out on some family traditions that I am usually a part of, such as the Anspach family Easter party that is always held the Saturday before Easter at my parent’s house. I was excited this year to spend Easter out here with Nick and make some of our own traditions and memories. On Saturday, we realized the temp was headed into the 70’s and we should be out enjoying it. We headed to Forest Park in the city, where the zoo is to start our day. From there, we drove into the city to check out Ballpark Village–a combo bar/restaurant hangout spot next to the St. Louis Cardinals baseball stadium. “Checking it out” turned into 3 hours of watching a playoff hockey game and getting pretty into it. Then we ventured to the rooftop bar “360” for the view. Throughout all of this, I knew that my family was gathered back in PA celebrating Easter together. I was sad to be missing a family gathering and holiday, but even more so I was extremely grateful for the incredibly fun weekend that I had with Nick. I called home a few times to see how everyone was doing and to let them know I missed them. But mostly, I really enjoyed my day Saturday. The new spots that we visited and the time spent with someone who makes me laugh and makes everyday an adventure, made for a pretty special Saturday. Holidays are best spent with family and are usually laced with tradition. My Easter this year was different, but it was good. Another great weekend and more great memories mostly caught on camera below.

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We had trouble finding parking and ended up pretty far away from the zoo (we thought). Until we found this charming wooded trail that actually brought us right to the zoo!
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Eye contact with a chimp. Loved this guy!
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Chimps were one of the first stops. This guy was sitting and watching us all like we were the animals in the zoo. How cool is he?
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Lions nap for up to 20 hours a day. No kidding? He looked comfy as can be lounging in the sun.
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Usually the giraffes are outside and far away, but on Saturday they were inside for feedings. Their intricate fur designs and height were shocking to me! I guess I have never been so close to a giraffe before. Got to see the black tongues as well.
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Inside of the giant bird cage! Blue skies and life all around.
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Elephants! There were 2 babies in this exhibit as well. 
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These guys were just hanging out in the water. They blew water out through their nostrils a few times which was really loud. So cool to see them from under the water, too.
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We watched these guys for awhile. That baby monkey held onto his mother’s fur as she swung around. They also housed a ton of lettuce while we were watching. Spring time at the zoo is a fun time to see baby animals!
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Snapped a pic at the Ballpark Village. We stopped in to check it out and ended up spending 3 hours there watching the St. Louis Blues hockey playoff game. What an exciting and energetic atmosphere!
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Inside Ballpark Village
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white peach sangria at 360 bar! Much deserved after our long day of exploring 🙂
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My partner in crime for the day. Chicken skewers and Angry Orchard.
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Coolest part of 360 is the view of the city and the view into the Cardinals stadium.
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Days like this just keep getting better and better.
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Back to Ballpark Village and the Drunken Fish for some sushi and sake.
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After sushi, we both agreed it was time to head home. Leaving St. Louis, I turned around in the passenger seat to a beautiful sunset over the city.

 

 

 

Vacuums and Vino

“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.” -Philippians 1:3

Mama Anspach and Grandma Welsh decided to fly out and visit me in Missouri this past weekend. They traveled by every mode of transportation (car, plane, subway, train), except for a plane, on Friday to get to me. I took an extended lunch break Friday to pick them up in the next city over and PHEW, what a relief to see two of my favorite people in the world. Grandma embraces these adventures to visit her grandchildren with such energy and excitement. She hugged me like she hadn’t seen me in years! And even though I talk to my Mom almost daily, it is so refreshing to be with her in person.

Friday night we stayed in town and tried a small family owned Italian restaurant for dinner. Then we spent 2+ hours in Target. How does that happen?? Our main purchases were a new vacuum cleaner and a foam mattress pad for my bed. I acted like I didn’t need these things but Mom insisted and what a difference. No more springs poking you in the back from my bed and I can actually use the vacuum attachment to get to all of the corners of my apartment. (I must secretly enjoy cleaning?)

On Saturday, we went to Washington and walked around at the Farmer’s Market and BBQ Bluesfest. It was a gorgeous, sunny, breezy day. We then drove to one of the many wineries in Missouri wine country- Noboleis Winery. Free wine tasting and a gorgeous view! The wine tasting man insisted that I might not be 21 and carded me. I’ll take it. We tried about 8 wines before we bought a bottle and sat on the patio to people watch and chat. Love this photo and Grandma’s look of pure joy.

mom1Next we came back to my townhouse and crashed HARD. A bottle of wine will do that. Nick arrived and we went to dinner at a Mexican place in town and then saw the movie, “Noah.” It was interesting, although after watching the movie, we came back to my place and read the story out of the Bible as a refresher because it was clear that the director took some creative licensure when making the film.

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On Sunday, Nick made us eggs and then we headed to Palm Sunday church. We were going to stay at my townhouse and cook some lunch before taking Mom and Grandma to the airport, but decided last minute to make the most of the afternoon. We headed to the Delmar Loop in St. Louis and to Fitz’s Brewery for freshly brewed root beers. Then we drove around Forest Park and hit up the Starbucks. The best parts of the weekend were the conversations we had and the laughs we shared. I will see Mom and Grandma a decent amount over the summer but this little visit gave me an oomph to finish the remainder of the school year. The verse above from Philippians is so true when referring to these two women. They are truly blessings in my life!

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Heaven on Earth=Lazy Sunday afternoons

After I survived 11 snow days, I thought I had seen the worst of Missouri weather. Then April rolled in and it became ‘storm’ season. Last week was a little scary with thunder, lightning, hail, wind, rain and funnel clouds in the area. Here is a picture of the worst of the storm as it quickly rolled into my development last Thursday night. Our track meet was cancelled due to the weather so I was safely inside my townhouse when this all touched down.

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Our track meet was rescheduled for Friday night. After the meet, I finally headed in Nick’s direction for a weekend of freedom. Nick had his heart set on seeing the new ‘Captain America’ movie. I had my heart set on feeding the ducks in his pond, a run and cooking up a new recipe. With an entire Saturday and Sunday to ourselves, all of these things were accomplished. Saturday, we met up with a few of Nick’s friends for dinner, pool and then the movie. If I was on my own, Captain America would not be my first choice in movies, but with Nick and his enthusiasm for the Marvel series sitting next to me, it made for a pretty awesome flick. I visited the mall for an hour on Saturday to do some shopping and stumbled across these superhero leggings. Almost bought them to wear to theatre just to make Nick laugh (almost).

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Amazing how fun it is to meet people through other people on the weekends. We went to the movie with Nick’s good buddy from work, who is dating a girl that is getting her Master’s in social work. What I thought was going to be a ‘night with the guys’ actually turned into some interesting conversation with this girl who I had a lot in common with. Nick and I posed for a pic mid-pool game with the group.

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Finally on Sunday, we went to church, got Thai food, fed the ducks and took cat naps. Heaven on Earth= Lazy Sunday afternoons. I wanted to make us a hearty Sunday meal that required little prep and would leave leftovers for the week for both Nick and I. I have been on a Mexican kick lately so this recipe I stumbled across online was just what I was looking for.

Mexican Skillet Pasta (One Pot Wonder) 

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb ground turkey –  1 (15 oz) can of tomato sauce – 2 cups salsa (your choice on type used) – 2 cups of pasta (we used the vegetable tri-color rotini) – 1 cup corn – 1 cup black beans (make sure to rinse) – shredded cheddar cheese (1/2 cup to a cup based on preference) – avocado or guacamole

DIRECTIONS: 

Cook pasta. Brown and drain turkey in large skillet. Add tomato sauce and salsa  to meat and stir well. Then mix cooked pasta, corn, beans into skillet. Stir in cheese (preferred amount) to thicken the sauce. Serve and add sliced avocado or guac on top. Enjoy!

HELPFUL HINTS: 

Make sure to use a large enough skillet. Mine was overflowing!

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Purposeful Living

Where did March go? It’s the 26th and I feel like it was just the 3rd. Life has been busy the past few weeks with track in full swing but I am enjoying it all.

Some highlights of the past week include:

Molly Moran’s birth. My cousin and lifelong best friend, Susan Moran, gave birth to her baby girl, Molly Moran on Sunday. It’s mind blowing to me how perfect Molly is from her long dark hair to her tiny little pucker. June is seeming a little too far away right now when I have Molly on the mind.

Surviving the first track meet of the season in a flash winter storm. It snowed the entire meet but our athletes pushed through and made the most of it. Proud of my triple jump group who gave their best effort and got those first meet jitters out of the way. See below for pic of the track/field at the end of the night. Brrrr.

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Exploring Meremec State Park with Nick over the weekend. On Saturday, Nick and I had a free day that we didn’t know what to do with. It was decently nice outside (the sun was peeking through) so I decided to look up if there were any hiking trails nearby. Little did I know, Meremec State Park is a 30 minute drive from my place so off we went. Once we reached the visitors center, there was a trailhead right off the parking lot where we started and hiked for about an hour and a half. The trail included 3 caves that you are usually able to explore (at your own risk) but which had been quarantined due to a rare bat condition that a lot of the bats were dealing with. Who knew? But we enjoyed winding up and down the altitude of the trail and poking around in the creek. The little frog guy below is the only living creature we saw besides birds and minnows. It was a great way to spend the afternoon and did I mention, free???

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Celebrating Nick’s 26th Birthday. Nick and I have been through a decent amount of birthdays together and it’s tough to continue making them feel special. He set the bar pretty high at my last birthday so I felt some pressure leading up to his big day last week. On Friday after work he headed to my place after receiving his “Birthday Itinerary” by email earlier that week. We spent the night at the local fish fry,  then bowling and playing arcade games at the local alley and finally by opening presents back at my place. I finally committed late Thursday night to making him one of those no-sew fleece blankets. For a guy who is as tall as Nick, this meant a lot of fabric, cutting and knot tying. Nick’s reaction to seeing his superhero blanket was priceless. It was his favorite gift by far and I know it will come in handy if this never-ending polar vortex keeps sticking around.

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With moments as good as these, it’s easy to be thankful for the past week. Despite meetings and challenges at work, continuing arctic weather spells and little germs that have crawled into my body and festered into a cold…life  marches on and brings pleasant moments with it. I read in a blog  that one truth to always keep in mind is that when we wake up each morning, the God of the universe loves us and intended for us to live out that day. This has been on my mind all week and is reminding me to live each day with purpose.