Let me start off by saying that I am extremely close to my family. I've gone on probably two vacation-like trips without them. We do a lot together, and we're still pretty normal haha. One of the things that we've had the privilege of doing is going to the happiest place on earth: Disney World.
|My younger sister and I.|
I can't remember how my parents first told us we were going to Disney World, so I don't have a cute video of us tweaking out; believe me, I wish I did. We've gone multiple times, and I have to say that it is my favorite place in the world to be. In high school, our marching band got to travel to Florida to march in the night parade at Magic Kingdom. I've classified that night as one of the happiest nights of my life. I was there with my best friends, and my mom came along to chaperone as well.
When my sister was in high school, she got to go on the same trip and had a blast, of course. Then a year later my mom and I were watching the sappy commercials of parents telling their kids that they get to go to Disney World--the moment I can't remember :[ --when I turned to her and whined "I want to go back." To that my mom said "Okay."...Okay? Seriously? This would be my fifth, her sixth, time going. She told me that it could be my college graduation present. Some college grads get expensive jewelry, some get cash, I get a trip to Disney. And even though all of us were adults, including my sister, although only just, it was the best time I've ever been there. I always find myself truly blessed because of all of the gifts my parents give me, and they're not always tangible. The best ones I've received are usually the ones where we get to spend an amazing time together.
My senior year of high school, literally the day before a week long trip with my vocal jazz group, my godfather sent me an early graduation present. It was my first, and only so far, digital camera. I am by no means a photographer, but this camera has makes me feel like Annie Leibovitz (even though our styles are nothing alike haha). I have too many pictures that I want to share so here are two of my faves. Both were taken with a little Canon Power Shot:
I feel like everyone gets a digital camera at some point in their lives. Mine as just been another outlet for all of the creative juices to escape.
This gift was technically for my sister. Her godparents sent a check for us to go pick out a dog. We went to a little farm outside of town to pick out a golden lab, shepherd, collie mix. We picked the one that was trying, quite successfully, to untie my shoes. On the way home we named him Pudder. My dad loves how Tigger from Winnie the Pooh spells his name--T-I-double ga-ER--so we thought of Pudder--P-U-double da-ER.
My sister was two when we got him so the two of them pretty much grew up together. This past May we made the decision to put Pudder down. He was 16 years old, had a lot of fatty tumors, and could barely step down two stairs to get outside. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to go through, but we all knew that it was the best thing for him. I rarely ever called him Pudder; he was my Puppy till the end.
On a lighter note, something else that I am a bit obsessed with is the TV show Friends. I have seen every episode God knows how many times, and almost every summer my sister and I watch all ten seasons. I can usually tell what episode is on just by hearing the first line. It is my dream to have enough money to someday recreate Monica and Rachel's apartment to live in, and now, because of my absolutely amazing boyfriend, I am one miniscule step closer!
|My Christmas gift from my man.|
I know it's a silly gift, but this is honestly one of my most treasured possessions. The minute I opened it, I ran around the apartment showing anyone who would listen. Now I just need purple walls, a French poster, and mismatched chairs and I'm there!
Have I mentioned that I love to bake? No? Well I really love to bake. I've made do with simple equipment pretty much my entire life, but I was never one to take on really complex recipes. Once I moved of off campus and into an apartment with other baking fiends, things became a little more difficult:
|Stiff peaks by hand...ow.|
My roommate and I have a very small at home bakery (more on that later), and during the winter season we made a lot of cookies. Like I said, I've gotten along fine without a fancy mixer, but when my parents asked my what I wanted for Christmas this past year, I couldn't help but ask for a Kitchenaid. I really wanted one, and I let my parents know that, but I also told them to not worry about it. I knew how expensive they were, and I did not need something that pricy when I was doing fine with my hand mixer. However, I always thought in the back of my mind "How cool would it be if they got me one?" I'd immediately bring myself back to reality, but I had these thoughts often.
Christmas day came, and I tried hard not to look at all the presents laid around the tree for fear that I wouldn't see a giant box for me. I knew that it wouldn't be there, but I had to dream. Then, in the middle of opening presents with my family, I happened to look at the wall behind the tree that had just become exposed. There was a box. A BIG box. I swear I have never tried harder to NOT look at something. I knew that the more I stared at it, the more it would not become a mixer. I opened more presents, smiled for more pictures, and did not look at the big, sparkly box next to the Christmas tree. Then all of a sudden it was like I was five years old again. My mom, playing Santa, went to the tree and did the whole "What's this? Another present?" bit. She took one look at me, and I started crying. I am not joking; I broke into tears the second I knew the present was for me. She brought it over to me, I took one rip at it, and cried harder. The first words out of my mouth were "Is this really what's in here?" because I knew that it could be a trick. They obviously used my mom's Kitchenaid box and just put a sweater in it or something. But no, fate was kind to me that day. I had my very own Kitchenaid mixer.
|Pure joy and fear of what this box contains.|
Obviously the first thing to do was update my facebook status. What made me really realize how amazing this was was a comment an adult friend made on my status about how she didn't get a Kitchenaid until she was good and married. Now, my mom let me know that the mixer was on sale and she had a rebate, but I really could not believe how lucky I was to have been given such an expensive gift at a young age.
I have definitely gotten sufficient use out of this gift. Things have become exponentially better for mine and my roommate's bakery. I have still had to beat stiff peaks by hand however; I've decided that that means I need a second mixer :] I walk passed an orange one whenever I'm at Target. He's next.
Gifts, whether tangible or not, have always reminded me of how lucky I am to have such amazing friends and family. I try to remember that every day. As airy-fairy as all of this sounds, I think a few more grateful feelings would do the world some good.