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I'm not ready. I'm digging my heels into the fall season and refusing to budge. I'm not ready for the red Starbucks cups. I'm not ready to think about the holiday shopping. I'm still enjoying All That is Fall - the leaves still need to be raked to the curb, there are still pumpkin treats to be made - there's more fall to savor.

November is sort-of the the unsung hero of fall. Thanksgiving is the focus but in reality, it's one wonderful day followed by another day of lounging around in elastic pants. Let's celebrate the rest of November - and leave out the gelatinous cranberry stuff.

This month is all about reflection and tradition - I'll be sharing what I'm Thankful for This Month - alphabetical style. Check-in throughout the month and share your fall favorites too!

**I've noticed other bloggers sharing thoughts of gratitude this month too - check out Are we there yet? by fellow blogger Audra O'Connell**

I'm Thankful For Apples

Too easy right? But in all seriousness, they are hands down my favorite food.

As I kid, my mom created my all-time favorite snack - apple slices, chunks of cheese and Ritz crackers - carefully arranged on a little plate. To this day I can't recreate her apple cuts or plating arrangements.

Later, as a 26-year-old with braces, I counted down the days until I could bite into a juicy apple instead of coring, slicing and dicing. Driving away from the orthodontist (forever!) and biting into a Granny Smith was the ultimate bliss.

This fall, we took Ingrid to Barthel's Fruit Farm for an unseasonably warm apple/pumpkin picking experience. I can't wait to continue this tradition with her next year - and many more to come!


Now here's the part I'm truly thankful for - uninterrupted hours in front of the stove. I turned on my iPod, tied my favorite apron and got down to business.

There's something so therapeutic about literally picking food from the earth and then transforming it into something wholesome (or a little indulgent).

The seemingly simple fruit holds an oddly special place in my heart - from childhood to motherhood, it's one of those comfort foods that never goes out of style. Sliced, dipped, baked, or sauced - I'll take it! Here are some of the simplistic and seasonal dishes we love:

    Maple Apple Crisp
    Apple, Leek and Butternut Squash Gratin
    Gouda and Apple Tarts
    Caramel Apple Cider Floats
    Apple-Butternut Squash Soup

What are your favorite apple dishes? What are you thankful for this month?

If you recognize this song title, you may have worked at a fabulous retail location (such as Walgreens) during your formative high-school-to-collage years. You know those loved-but-hated songs that somehow played during every single shift. Well, my hated-favorite was Tony Toni Tone's It's Our Anniversary. It's sticks in your head like caramel on an apple and it's terrible. Don't take my word for it:

 
Moving on to a less annoying note (ha!), Dan and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary this weekend.
 
It's no secret that I love birthday celebrations and I think I'm going to like this whole anniversary thing too.
 
First we rented bikes from the Urban Ecology Center (hidden gem!) and headed north on the Oak Leaf Trail. Enjoying the sunshine while talking and peddling like kids - perfect! Next, we headed to The Pfister for a couple's massage. Amazing. Or should I say, spAH-mazing. Now, Dan's only spa exposure to-date was our Kohler babymoon getaway back in January. As we enter the historic, breathtakingly beautiful Pfister spa, he turns to me and says "So, do they have like a pool or fireplace here?" Who knew he'd be such a spa snob. 
 
No, we didn't enjoy a pool or fireplace - but we did enjoy a relaxing, quite massage and I took my sweet time standing on the heated floors following the blissful experience (add this to my dream house checklist).
 
Then, we headed home, dressed Ingrid like a little bumble bee and handed out candy to our BayView trick-or-treaters with Grandma Carolyn. Ingrid was the sweetest little bee and as she snuggled up next to me as we watched the older kids cruise by - I thought about how she'll be joining them in a few years - but for now, she gets to snuggle with me and has no idea how processed sugar tastes (watch for pictures coming soon!).
 
Finally, we wrapped up the day with dinner at Roots. It was a little fancy without being fancy and the food was better than expected. I had the Mushroom Terrine, Dan had the steak and in keeping with celebratory traditions, we actually ate dessert and toasted with adult beverages. All and all - an anniversary success.
 
On our way home from dinner, Dan and I joked that our second year of marriage won't possibly be as dramatic or unpredictable as the first. I think we're both looking forward to a little stability and normal-ness this year. Then I remembered that we have an almost-seven-month old at home and we have no idea what the next year will be like, or sound like or feel like.
 
This weekend was about us, not Ingrid, and I'm so thankful we were able to pause, enjoy time with one another and indulge - here's to another year of fun! Broast!

ingrid, thankful, 9-5

B is for Balance.

This Month I'm Thankful for Balance. 
 
Last year I felt like a ball in a pinball machine - being propelled from one side to the next.
 
Engaged, Ping! Pregnant, Pong! Wedding! Lost Job! Baby, Ping Pong! Job Search! Start New Job!  
 
These life-changers were all-consuming and I was swallowed-up by the scariness and excitement of them all. I dove into wedding planning, preparing for a new baby and job searching in an intense, frantic way, these moments or titles were all-to defining. I was a Newlywed, Unemployed Pregnant Woman. And I needed to fix that Unemployed title, fast.
 
Now, as a Married, Employed Mother, I feel almost a new sense of self and try to process all of this marriage, career, and motherhood stuff with an attitude of gratitude and with a meaningful, relaxed pace. Forgive the overused "workplace phrase" - but instead of "putting out fires" I'm now able to focus on my life in my own terms (for now). Balancing my days between my family, friends, career, focusing on myself, health, reading, cooking, crafting and some trashy-good Bravo TV.
 
Balance, is a wonderful thing.

This Month I'm Thankful To Create

In college, my roommates and I would bust out our knitting needles this time of the year. Some would knit a few rows of a scarf (me), others would actually their projects (leaving me jealous and with a cold neck). 

Everything about this month is just nudging you indoors to get cozy, start crafting and create something. It's too cold to spend hours outdoors and it's not cold enough to justify a Top Chef marathon. 

I've dabbled in knitting, sewing and crafting in general, but I'll be honest, I hate completing projects. I currently have three items pinned, ready to be sewn and a mitten-and-a-half ready to become a set. I'm bound and determined to take this Crafting Interest into a full-blown Hobby this month. I might mess up a stitch or forget a row, but damn it - I really want those purple-grey mittens and, there are new babies who need cute baby things! 

What have you been itching to create? A novel, card, craft, new hairstyle or meal? Whatever it is - flex your creative muscles this month and marvel at the results! 

This Month I'm Thankful for Democrats.

I believe that:

We didn't become the most prosperous country in the world by rewarding greed and recklessness or by letting those with the most influence write their own rules. We got here by rewarding hard work and responsibility, by investing in people, and by growing our country from the bottom up.

This year, Governor Scott Walker did an incredible job convincing others that state workers were on some sort of gravy train and being grossly overcompensated for their time and efforts. Had he shared these plans during his campaign, I'm doubtful he would have won. As the bumper sticker says, he's a weasel, not a badger.

This month I'm excited for the process to Recall Scott Walker to start.

This Month I'm Thankful for Email.

 
There's nothing better than clicking through your email, deleting the multiple, unimpressive offers from Gap and then stumbling upon a lengthy email from a good friend. This month I'm thankful for email - as nerdy as this is. With a small amount of effort and with the click of "send" you can instantly reconnect with loved ones. I love when my collage girlfriends and I get into "mass update mode" and we share are most recent major and minor life events. I love how this lead to our decision to get together for a mini-getaway weekend this winter.
 
I'm thankful for these friendships and the multiple way we are able to stay connected - but I'm really thankful that we are able to carve out some time and connect this winter! Which leads me to F...
 
This Month I'm Thankful for Friends and Family.
 
They are my sanity, my sounding board, my shopping, drinking and walking companions. Without them I'd be a hot mess. My friend Steph said it best here.
 
No extreme effort needed - connect with your sister, or a long distance friend today! 

This Month I'm Thankful for Grandparents.

Yesterday I was flipping through Ingrid's baby book and filling in the new details - when she rolled over, first tooth sighting. They also threw in a few brainteasers - Ingrid's height and weight in her third and fourth month? No idea.

At the end of the book there's a darling, little family tree graphic. Easy! As I started to fill this in, I continued to second guess myself. Wait, my mom is a mom, shouldn't she go.....oh yeah, I'm "the" mom. Wait, my grandpa moved up a "branch" to great-grandpa? Yes, Lindsay, he did, this is your daughter's family tree. Another generation. Oh brother.

It's also odd to think that Ingrid hasn't met a majority of her great grandparents, yet they were - and are - such a critical part of Dan and I's lives. My happiest memories with my grandparents are so vivid and I remember them as some of the happiest points in my childhood - all-day long trips to the movies, giggling with cousins in the basement, multiple summer trips to the zoo, and just playing in their house. The rules were lax, there was a candy drawer (with full size candy bars!) - it's pretty much the closest thing you have to a vacation when you're a kid.

Last month, my mom and Dan's mom visited (separately) to visit Ingrid (and us!). And it was unlike any other visits we've had in the past. Yes, these grandmas are both easy-going - but literally the only thing on my mom's agenda was being within a 6-inch radius of Ingrid. Instead of talking about my problems, my friends or my work - we discussed Ingrid's unmatched sense of humor and intellect (She's so funny! She's sooooo smart! Look, she's sitting up!).

I often complain about the logistical annoyance that is our divorced-parents situation. We split our time and energy. Packing the car is becoming more and more of a challenge. Small, yet just-annoying-to-be-annoying problems.

As we were planning for the holiday season, I was again, dragging my feet, and not wanting to make any concrete decisions. I envisioned us carting Ingrid along to this family, then to the next. Missing out on this family and that gathering.

I started thinking about what her grandparent visits will be when she's older, she'll be spoiled with attention, clothes, food, and kisses. She'll get to visit with cousins and go on new-to-her adventures. The whole "whoa-is-me-holiday-travel-drama" is pretty silly to focus on - she'll have years and years of weekend-getaways and special traditions with our parents. And plenty of candy drawers to raid.

thankful, harper

H is for Harper.

 This Month I'm Thankful for Our Dog, Harper.

 
 
 
But she's still a big deal in the Atkinson household. She may dig through the trash, sleep on the couch, eat bread, bagels, butter or granola bars left unattended and she doesn't always listen when running off-leash in the park. But she's always there to greet you after a long day, befriend Kitty and Ingrid, and pace around with you in the kitchen - and somehow her bounciness is randomly contagious.
 
As the day winds down, there's nothing like snuggling down with a good book (trashy TV), a hot cup of tea (large mug of ice cream) and snuggling with Harper.
 
 

thankful, ingrid

I is for Ingrid

This Month I'm Thankful for Ingrid.
 
Like most mothers, I knew I loved Ingrid from the moment I held her. But after laboring and not eating for three days, I was also very much in love with a sandwich.
 
The "holding your baby for the first time" moment is so unbelievably unreal that you can't grasp the magnitude of this little person. How can this little bundle be so amazingly beautiful, confusing, frustrating and peaceful all at once? Then, together, Dan and I figured it out - and this little Ingrid person became pretty cool. It sounds weird, but over the past seven months, she's honestly been a complete joy to get to know. She's becoming this little spark-plug of a person and although she can't verbally communicate, I can already tell that she'll be decisive, interesting, funny and probably the smartest person on the planet.
 
We often talk about the loud moments of motherhood - painful pregnancies, laborious labors, midnight, 1am, 2am and 4am wake-ups, breastfeeding woes, daycare sagas and more. Or you hear about those Hallmarky-quite moments - rocking our little peaceful angels to sleep. But, as the mom of a squirmy, would-rather-not-snuggle-baby, I don't really get to experience that so, my favorite moments include those of wordless-connection.
 
When she rolls over and looks at me with bewilderment - as if to say "Hey, how did I get on my stomach? Mom...." Or the lemon-face she makes when eating anything new. Or her huge Good Morning smile in the morning - like she's thrilled I decided to stick around for another night. Or just before she settles down and goes to sleep, she finally settles herself and snuggles. That big, gummy smile stretches my heart in ways I didn't know existed.
 
I know she's going to cause us headaches and heartaches, and I know we have a long road ahead of us (I mean, she isn't even walking or talking...) - but I know that everyday during the last seven months, I've been so thankful that I get to be her mom.

This Month I'm Thankful for Jeans that Fit.

 
After complaining about my excess baby weight daily and working out minimally - I finally became fed up with my lack of progress and started to work out sporadically. For the first time in years, I actually want to run. Who knows how long this will last - but I'm thankful for the energy to run and I'm beyond thankful for another pair of jeans that once again fit. Baby steps! 

craft, thankful

K is for Knitting.

Two years ago I took a knitting class at one of my favorite local yarn shops and proudly walked away with one mitten. Technically, one-and-a-half mittens. Every now and I again, I attempt to finish a row, mess up and put the project away for yet another month - or season. But this is different. This year I'm can't find one of my favorite left mittens. And I refuse to hunt and pay for another pair.

I was inspired to knit, quilt and craft after reading this post (aka, drooling over these awesome fabrics). Here's to a snuggly night with knitting needles and a grilled cheese!

This Month I'm Thankful for Lazy Weekends.

To me, this means spending time with Ingrid, Dan and friends over leisurely lunches, shopping and enjoying a Sunday Funday with my favorite lady. No events to attend, no obligatory trip to Pick n' Save. Just a few trips to the gym, Alterra, a clean house and a few good meals - to me that's a good, lazy weekend. I'm thankful to be able to tune out work for a few days and relax with loved ones.

Just put on your shoes and walk out the door.

The best running advice I've ever read.

No expectations, no goal setting, no run-here-to-there-and-back. It's simple, it's doable. Wake up with Harper, put on my shoes and walk out the door. Sometimes this leads to a nice run (for my low standards and endurance level) or a walk around Humboldt Park.

The stack of too-tight jeans and pre-baby shirts are all the motivation I need.

During these runs I have such a strong appreciation for my family, my career, my everything. Appreciation that my sub-par knees allow me to run, appreciation for the time, appreciation for our wonderful park. When I run to the lakefront, appreciation for Milwaukee. It may not be the healthiest, most cultured or the cleanest - but it's so fun and a lot of people I like live here. I make no apologies, I love Milwaukee.

Last week, my sister-in-law gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Everyone is happy, healthy and now, at home. It felt amazing to hold someone so little, so innocent and so fresh. Now I get why everyone goes bananas over newborns.  

While in the hospital, I had to keep biting my tongue as I felt myself slipping into Advice Mode Mom. I just wanted to share and hear everything. Every last detail about her labor. The usual stats. The nursing saga. I could hear myself Word Vommitting "And then what? Uh, huh. Then what? Wow." 

Painful. 

While in the hospital with Ingrid, we had a reasonable number of visitors, but had vowed as a family, to never bombard this precious, new family time at the hospital, but rather wait until the new family has settled and visit them at home. But he's so little and cute - and our nephew!

Then I realized, when we were in the hospital, newborns were a foreign concept to us. Now, as we're fully emersed in All Things Baby - the thought of waiting a week to see him felt insane. 

The real thrill comes from knowing that Ingrid will have another cousin her same age. I didn't grow up with cousins in the same state - let alone had any that were born in 1983. I can't wait for the two to share giggles, inside jokes and build memories together as little cousin friends.

O is for Optimism.


Last year, on December 2 I learned that my company would be moving all operations to Birmingham, Alabama. I was pregnant. I was really scared. And hey, the holidays were right around the corner - so basically, I was a hot mess.
 
All is well today - I found a job when Ingrid was 18 weeks old. December 2, 2010 seems like a million years ago.
 
As I was tidying up our home office last night, I found an old file folder, creatively named JOB. I went through the documents that made the cut - resumes, cover letters, resume tip articles, job interview articles and networking articles - I mentally noted to stop printing so many random articles. Then, I thought about that trying time and what "stuff" I took from my old job to get my new job. No, not the colorful office supplies (although I do miss those fun binder clips...) - the "stuff" I learned at my old job was critical to scoring my new gig.
 
I won't go into the details of my old role - but basically, I supported a sales force of outgoing, friendly and above all, optimistic women. As time went on, this positive-thinking-optimistic-attitude rubbed off on me. Through observation and personal success - I came to learn that being optimistic is that special magic glue that makes a good idea stick. With a healthy dose of skepticism and an optimistic outlook - you figure out that everything has a way of figuring itself out. I know, it all sounds so "quotey" so "eye-rolly" but, I kid you not - I finally lost weight when I became optimistic about losing weight.
 
I'm not advocating for bubbly, annoying levels of positive thinking. But in order to land this job - I made sure that I didn't come across as needy (I desperately needed this job), fake (bubbly, annoying levels of positive thinking) or a pill to work with (will not complain).
 
 
 
 
Sometimes being optimistic isn't really an option - like, when you need to vent.
 
Sometimes you need to vent to figure out what's really grinding your gears. Sometimes you need to vent - or bitch - to bitch. And sometimes, you vent to drag yourself and others down.
 
The last reason is the worst. And I've been doing too much of it lately. Complaining about money and then buying things. Whining about my intake of nonsense - then drinking coffee all day. Complain about my baby weight (or complaining about the term "baby weight") - then proceed to eat treats.
 
In order to keep with the season of merry and cheer - I'm attempting to keep the bitching to a minimum and keep the levels of optimism at a (reasonably) appropriate level by vowing to copy with my stress with regularly scheduled workouts and reading the Harry Potter books (I know, so a million years ago, but I just jumped on the bandwagon). 

Share your stress-reducing ideas here. I'm sure we could all use them!

Let's be honest, fan or not - it's pretty sweet to be rooting for an undefeated team right now. I can't believe I'm literally typing that I'm thankful for the Packers - but this fall, some of my favorite family memories have been made while watching Number 12 work his magic. Last Sunday, husband was supposed to be working up north all weekend - but I was pleasantly surprised when he arrived home at 2:30 am on Sunday morning. We all slept-in until 9 and declared it a lazy-pajamas-kind-of day. I'm convinced this involves snuggling with Ingrid, eating some sort-of baked cheese, a mid-day vodka tonic and a Packer game. Hip hip for the Packers!

This weekend, I spent sometime thinking of ways to decorate the apartment, ordered our holiday cards, pinned some meal ideas and  purchased some gifts for the fam. I'm easing into the holiday spirit - one step at a time.

 
On my way home from running errands with Ingrid, I was flipping through the radio stations and decided that it was time to just chill out from all the noise. I continued this once we got home. Once Ingrid went down, I just sat on my couch for a solid 15 minutes and enjoyed the quiet time. I was really enjoying this until I thought to myself....
 
Damn it.
 
Another one of those parenthood-cliches-proven-correct! I hate when that happens. But, in all honesty, sometimes you just want some peace and quiet.
 
Not while folding the laundry, reading - or even while taking a shower. That's all good, but still, doesn't "count." 
 
Let's all be thankful for those blissful, rare and quiet moments. Cliche or not - they are the best!  

3pm energy slump got you down? Some say you should reach for a handful of almonds and a water. I say that plain almonds are gross and who can stop at a handful? And I'm over 19, so having caffeine after 11am on a weekday = crazy in my world - so what to do, what to do....

 
Oreos? 
 
No. Too guily.  
 
Tea? 
 
Boring!  
 
 
After work I was so tired I was literally counting the hours until I could go to bed. Literally, not figuratively. 
 
So I actually went to the gym and I actually ran and I actually, literally, feel awesome right now. 
 
The house is clean, laundry is in progress and we'll all be enjoying a nice little dinner of Apple, Goat Cheese and Pecan Pizza in moments. 
 
If running means I'll lose this baby weight (I mean honestly, aren't you sick of hearing about it?) AND have excess energy - I MIGHT think about doing this consistently. 
 
The only downfall? My iPod is full of husband's whiny music. 
 
Share people share! What are your favorite amazing, workout songs?

Recently, several moms posted this article on the Facebook.

As I read the columnist's "words of wisdom" - I was reminded of a fellow blogger's recent post about moms needing to stick together. Or for that matter, women needing to stick together. 

I understand that the author was making a point and answering the reader's question,  but this article was insulting to work-outside-of-the-home moms, and women - no - people without kids. The theme I'm a Mom and I'm Busy is an all-too common theme found in parenting resources and I'm over it. Go ahead and share or vent - but isn't the I'm Busier Than You Game a little pointless?

Yes, with one seven-month-old, it does take me "45 minutes to do what takes others 15." But guess what - it might take 60 minutes for someone with physical limitations.

Point is - you think you're busy - but someone's got you beat.

As moms, we're not extra busy or extra special - we're just moms. Working outside of the home doesn't make me any less - or more - busy than someone staying/working at home. 

Many points of this article made complete sense and were spot on - parenthood does require your constant everything. It requires every ounce of you as a person. Of course, priorities change once you have kids. Ingrid has enriched my life in ways I never imagined - yet I have interests beyond Ingrid. If she ever decides to have kids, I hope she continues to explore her passions and is a well-rounded, interesting person. And in my book, interesting people connect and talk to other interesting people from time to time. 

Instead of participating in the Busy Contest, why don't we just acknowledge that we all have a lot to do, in the same 24 hours as everyone else. Lets leave the two-seater shopping carts for the moms with two kids, just smile and nod at the pregnant lady in Target (I need to remember this one...) and continue to care, support, communicate and spend some quality face-time with our loved ones with - or without kids.   

thankful, holidays

Full of Thanks

We have so much to be thankful for this year. Today we're spending time with Dan's family, watching the Packer game and enjoying a big ol' meal. This year I'm thankful for Ingrid, Dan, my job, our supportive family and friends. I know, those are pretty boring and typical "thankful things" - but honestly, today is pretty great. Wishing you and yours a happy, blissfully uneventful day. 

thankful

U is for Urban.

Yesterday, my mother-in-law and I hit up some stores later in the morning. We were expecting the Black Friday worst, but we walked away with fantastic deals and surprisingly the stores weren't that busy. Everyone was in a chipper-"excuse me! oh that's no problem!"-mood. It was a great way to end an awesome Thanksgiving weekend.

 
Today, my sisters are coming over to spend the day with Ingrid and I. I'm assuming that my weak attempts to convince them to see Breaking Dawn were not successful. So, that means we'll be spending the day bumming around the house and Bay View and hopefully, hitting up Art vs. Craft. 
 
I was hopeful that we'd start a fun, simple and memorable Thanksgiving tradition with Ingrid - but she's just a little too young. What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions with your kids? The classic hand-turkey art project? Have they become your kitchen helpers? 
 

thankful

V is for Veterans

Keeping it short and sweet tonight and throwing my thanks out to the Veterans.
 
This year I felt like bagels on Veterans day - so I brought in a dozen and half of them for my fellow co-workers. I felt like a huge nerd when I had to correct my boss that they weren't for my birthday - but for Veterans Day - which lead to the conversation about my husband's service in the Army. It's not something I really like to talk about - I don't not like to talk about it - but it's just one of those topics that always almost leads to an unpleasant end to the conversation.
 
"Oh yeah, he was in Iraq twice and Afghanistan once. Oh, where is your son stationed?" 
 
And so on.
 
There's no good "lets wrap this up" moment and due to the current state of everything - there is no clean break. You just kind of walk away feeling sort of sad and really, really thankful for everyone who decides to serve. 
 
Again, in wanting to keep this short and sweet - I'm sure we all can agree that we're thankful for Veterans every month of the year.
 

thankful

W is for Writing.

Confession - I skipped X. X is a crazy letter. Xylophone is a "normal" X-word. Just look at it again, Xylophone. Really? 

 
Another confession - It's easier to write when your life is crazy.
 
True, I had much more time on my hands during my pregnancy/unemployment stint - but I also had much more to write, blog - ok, vent about. I had pregnancy pains, new baby fears and job loss rants to rant about.
 
Now, I have a baby. And a job. And a really supportive husband.
 
And every now and I again, I'll draft a "Rant Post" and then just delete it because I just don't have the rage to wrap it up. I think the wounds of unemployment were deeper than I understood during those painful months and I feel guilty complaining about these insignificant things - like the hardships of going to the Starbucks bathroom with a seven-month-old.
 
Don't get me wrong - I'm not twirling around my living room with glee - but by and large, I'm happy. My blog started as a way to document my pregnancy. Then, proved to be therapeutic during my unemployment and serves as a great way to document everyday and memorable moments with Ingrid. And rather than come up with silly things to bitch about - I guess I'll be honest and say (or, write!) that I'm navigating the uncharted waters of being a "new" everything. New Wife. New Employee and best "role" of them all (on some days...) New Mom. 
 

thankful

Y is for Yoga.

Yesterday, after Ingrid went to sleep, I just felt jittery. After deciding that wine wasn't the answer, I figured a quick, 40 minute yoga DVD was needed.

 
Isn't doing yoga - or any kind of work-out - in your living room a bit odd? During Downward Facing Dog, I always notice dust bunnies. Kitty inevitably creeps over to the mat. It's all very zen-like.
 
During the last 10 minutes, Ingrid woke up. Thankfully, she was in a cheery, bubbly mood. I decided, what the heck, let's finish this "practice" as I sat her down next to the mat and finished the last few poses. It was hilarious you guys. "It" meaning yoga poses. The stretching. The pink mat. The hands in the air. The last time Ingrid laughed this hard it was about dog jumping off of a pier 
 
It wasn't wine or yoga, I think after a mundane Monday, I needed that big cheeked little girl to literally laugh in my face while doing yoga poses half-ass in the middle of my dusty floor. That, and a large glass of wine.

Zache is my maiden name (pronounced like "hockey" but with a Z). Isn't the word "maiden" awful? Try to say it with a smiling face. Ok, try to say it without twisting your face into a weird ugly mess. You can't do it, can you? No, because it's a weird word. Like "Bunsen burner." I prefer "my original last name."

 
Moving on.
 
Growing up I was the classic older sister. Most of the time I was mean and made them do stuff for me - like "just find the remote." Somehow these people actually still like me - or they've just grown to like me - as I have them.
 
Last Saturday, we spent the morning together - had breakfast, went to Art vs. Craft and then decided to watch painfully lame girly movies all day. Later that day, I felt like a truck had rolled over my face - a wonderful precursor to getting sick. I couldn't move off of the couch and forced my sister to make her own dinner (guess some things never change). She wasn't phased and most likely thought this was a normal Saturday night at the Atkinson residence.
 
I turned the corner from "getting sick" to "I'm siiiccckkkk" - I was spouting off things that I thought might make me feel better. Every five minutes one of these little "nuggets of wisdom" were shared with whoever was still tolerating my overly-dramatic sick self: "I need warmer jammies! That pizza smells bad. Can someone rub my back? Do we have Advil. I need to shower! Where's Harper? That JC Penny commercial is too red!"
 
What a wonderful night for my sister, who visits about once a year.
 
Well, she was a trooper and we ended up sharing a few stories and laughing a bit the next morning. I'm really thankful this month for so many things - but finally, I'll wrap it up with being thankful for my wonderful Zache sisters.