Milestone: Hosting my first Thanksgiving

holidays, pie, apples, wineThat’s right, in a few weeks, I will be in charge of a holiday. My parents are flying in from California and Paul’s parents are coming down from North Dakota to celebrate with a big ol’ turkey.

As Thanksgivings go, it will be fairly small for me, only 6 adults in attendance.

However, it’s not the actual holiday that is freaking me out (I know everyone in attendance & Paul will lend a hand)…it’s the preparation leading up to it. I just don’t want to be making something only to realize I’m missing an ingredient. Then of course there are these obsessive thoughts:

  • What if the turkey doesn’t thaw in time?
  • What if we don’t have enough potatoes?
  • What appetizers should we serve?

One thing for certain, I will NOT be making ridiculous turkey gourd decorations.  I don’t have the time nor the talent.  I bought some stuff at various stores to hang/place here and there to make our apartment festive, but I’m not going to try and create something I see on Pinterest and create a whole new (and unnecessary) ball of stress.

Speaking of Pinterest, I am using it to stay organized. When I see an article or recipe that might be useful, I pin it to my Thanksgiving board.  Also, I’ve been keeping lists. Thanksgiving To Do & Thanksgiving to Buy are updated regularly….when I think of something I definitely want to have or should do before the parents see our apartment for the first time.

When it comes right down to it, I love holidays. The decorations, the gathering with family and friends, the good cheer, the food, it all makes me happy and I choose not to let it stress me out…too much.

Kick hunger this holiday season

Kickhunger logo and url email graphicI’m a fortunate person. I know that just a simple twist of fate could make life difficult.  So, when I was asked to help out with a fundraising effort for Taste of the NFL and their Kick Hunger Challenge, I jumped at the opportunity.

What is this? Taste of the NFL helps to raise funds for food banks all across the country.  Through their Kick Hunger Challenge 100% of the proceeds go to food banks.  You find a team and the money donated will go to a local food bank…And a little goes a long way.

For every dollar donated, the food bank is able to provide 8 meals.

My office is raising funds for the Second Harvest Heartland food bank.  Our goal is to raise $5,000.  That’s 40,000 meals.

Not only are the holidays upon us, but the cold is too.  Many families are still struggling.  In fact, I was reading an article in the Star Tribune that said,

More than 554,000 Minnesotans get federal food assistance — one out of every 10 people in the state. A third are children. Another quarter are elderly or disabled adults. Contrary to popular stereotypes, a majority live in families where at least one adult earns a paycheck.

These aren’t lazy people who just won’t get a job.  Many are children, some are elderly or disabled, and others are just down on their luck.

latteSo, if you could even just give up that morning latte just once, you could provide about 28 meals.

If you do find it in your heart to help out, please designate me, Amy Ruiz, as your Jones Lang LaSalle contact.

Thank you for your support!

We need a little Christmas

There is a tradition in my family to put up the Christmas tree at my parents’ house the day after Thanksgiving.  My mom used to think it was a little early, but last night as we were driving back from my sister’s house after Thanksgiving dinner, we noticed at least 3 houses who already had their trees up in their front rooms.

I’d heard of some people putting up their Christmas trees on Thanksgiving, but it was very rare, almost a myth.  While I thoroughly enjoy Christmas, I don’t want to completely negate Thanksgiving.  It’s a fun holiday that stands on its own. I mean it’s all about good food and good company, what’s not to love?

But now the Christmas season has begun, so batten down your hatches.  A couple of days ago, I wanted to start listening to Christmas music and putting out Christmas decorations, but I felt awkward and embarrassed about it.  I didn’t need the public shaming that comes with starting up the holiday cheer earlier than is socially acceptable.

Now it doesn’t matter.  I can wrap myself up in holly and tinsel.  I won’t because holly is scratchy and hurts.  But I can listen to Jingle Bell Rock and Holly Jolly Christmas until my brain is full of holiday spirit.

Because sometimes listening to Christmas music and looking at the holiday decorations makes me feel happy and content.  It reduces my stress.  It reminds me of the joy I felt as a kid and the joy my nephews will hopefully feel now.

Thankful: Technology

Not many people can claim to have ancestors on both the Mayflower and the Santa Maria, but I can.

Of course, so can my sister and her kids, but that’s besides the point. I know about these two things because of technology. I found the Mayflower ancestors through www.ancestry.com. The Santa Maria ancestors I already knew about, but did some verifying through the web.

Doesn’t the fact that you can now hold a computer in your hand just blow your mind? If not, you must be really young.

The fact that I can interact with people all over the world from the comfort of my home is amazing. I can look up almost any tidbit of information at any time. I can buy my favorite movie or TV show and watch it whenever I want. I can buy video games and play them for hours on end.

But let us not forget what makes all this possible: electricity. Without it, everything else is pointless. Seriously, how many times have you been to an airport, cafe or random public place and wondered if there was a seat available near a plug?

The new terminal at Sacramento International Airport takes this need into consideration. All of the seats, ok maybe just most of the seats, at each gate are near a plug. Have you been to the new terminal? It’s fabulous! It’s how airports are supposed to be!

Sorry.

Anyway, technology. It’s amazing and ever changing. I cannot wait to see what happens in the next 10 years. 10 years ago, I didn’t have an iPhone. I didn’t even have a Blackberry. I never texted anyone. Now, Skype is a thing. I text my boyfriend every day.

Speaking of, I can’t believe there are people out there who still don’t text. No, they aren’t all 100 years old. They just don’t understand how their relationships would be better if they would get into the texting habit. Many times I’ve heard couples argue or get frustrated because they made a phone call to the other when a text would have accomplished their communication needs.

Many of us don’t have time for a whole conversation. We just need to convey short bits of info without the pressure of performance. I’m not saying texting is a substitute for face to face contact, but it could be a more efficient way to check in with someone or ask a quick question.

Thankful: Family

I know this is sappy, but my family is great.  They are all wonderful, good people.  No, they aren’t perfect, but at their cores, they are good.  I know that I am really lucky to have them.

My parents are truly great.  I love them deeply.  They helped me become the good person that I am.  They are kind, loving, affectionate, and honest.  They would support me through any endeavor I choose.  They just want me to be happy.  My sister is just as good. She would help me or any member of our family if they truly needed it.  She is a loving mother to her children and I see them becoming just as trusting and loving as the rest of the family.

This is not to say we don’t have our moments.  We have fought, argued really because no one threw any fists, had disagreements, but at the core we all love each other and want to grow and be decent people.

Just watch the news, you can see the horror that people do to their own families.  I’ve heard stories from friends about the awful things their parents did to them.  Nothing to be incarcerated for, but definitely therapy material.  This reminds me that I am lucky because we don’t get to choose our family.

Also, families are not just defined in the traditional sense anymore.  My family fits in that definition, but that’s just how it happened.  It doesn’t make us any better than people whose parents chose not to stay married, never married, or had two mommies or two daddies.  Every family has a different route to travel and as long as love is the motivation, what does it matter how that path is taken?