Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Since today is Thanksgiving, I thought it was appropriate to reflect on the blessings in my life and all that I am grateful for. Similar to the Love List assignment, Operation Nice recently had an assignment to Make a Gratitude List. So here goes:

I am grateful for my husband. Marriage is not easy and I'm no piece of cake to live with, but he loves me just the way I am. I am grateful that he tells me how much he loves me every single day. I am grateful for my parents' unconditional love and support. Though it is not easy for me to accept help, they constantly go above and beyond to make sure that I am happy and healthy. I am grateful that they love my husband as if he were their own son. I am grateful for my sister and the closer relationship we have developed as we have entered adulthood. I am grateful that she has allowed me to be such a big part of her wedding and all the events and planning that go along with it. I am grateful that she is happy and has a man that loves her. I'm grateful that her fiance, who is in the Air Force, is safe here in the United States. I am grateful for all of my family, including my in-laws. As crazy as they all can be, they are mine and it is an amazing feeling to know that there are so many people that would be there for you in an instant if you needed them. I am grateful for a handful of friends that I can call true, life-long friends. I am grateful that very soon I will get to meet my first niece.

I am grateful for the comfortable life we live, food on the table and clothes to wear, despite the few difficult months that are coming. I am grateful for the country I live in and all the men and women who risk their lives for my freedoms. I am grateful for the internet. I'm grateful for my health and the health of my family. I am grateful to live in New England and be able to experience all 4 seasons. I am grateful that for the past year and a half, I have been able to work side-by-side with my best friend. I am grateful for my camera and the opportunity to capture special moments and memories in my life. I'm grateful for a 5 1/2 day weekend. I am grateful for the time I have to spend with my family this holiday season.

I live such a blessed life that I could go on and on, but I think I'll leave it at that. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Need a calendar for 2009?

Check this one out that little miss spy found from Fitzsu!! WICKED COOL!


I have another busy few days ahead of me. We're driving 3 hours to my parents' house this afternoon for the 3rd time in 12 days! Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we'll be at my parents' house, then my mother-in-law's, then my hubby's grandparents. Friday, you can consider me clinically insane because I'll be shopping all day with my mom, sister and gram. Saturday we'll be going to a local wedding reception for a friend of ours who got married in Utah. Sunday we'll be helping my hubby's brother and his wife move. Monday there may be some more moving in the morning, then we want to get a Christmas tree and we'll drive back home. So we're still really busy. I'm looking forward to next weekend where I might just be able to sit and relax! But something will probably come up!

I hope you all have safe trips if you're traveling! Happy Thanksgiving!! :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rain, rain go away...

It's a dark, rainy day here in Boston. I wish it was snow. I was spoiled this weekend while I was at my parents and they got a beautiful, white dusting. It made me ready for winter. But the day reminded me of a website a co-worker of mine shared with me last week.

Go there and have a little fun on this dreary day!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

Another busy weekend has passed without much rest. I was home for a baby shower which basically took up all of Saturday and we got back last night. A few hours after we got home, my sister-in-law and her boyfriend came to visit and stay the night. Tonight I'm hoping to finish the last of the printing for my sister's wedding invitations. Tomorrow my dad might be staying with us while working on a bid in Boston. Wednesday we head home AGAIN for Thanksgiving.

I just. need. time. to. breathe.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Remember when that meant a bunch of shows you'd watch on tv on Friday night? I loved Full House, Family Matters and Step by Step. Now that I'm in the real world, those 4 letters mean oh so much more!

I made it through a week from HELL. Little miss spy got on IM this morning from her vacation to see how I was doing. She asked if I was ok and my response was,"That entirely depends on your definition of ok. I'm still alive."

I have a 3 hour drive back to my hometown again tonight for weekend 2 of 3 in a row. I'm exhausted. I got in bed at 7:30 pm last night. No, that's not a typo, I said 7:30! When I make it to January 1st I'm going to sleep for a week straight.

When I get up, I'm hoping this last year and a half will just seem like a bad dream and I'll have the energy and positive attitude to start the next chapter in this crazy life of mine.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Little miss spy is on vacation in Florida this week. Since she didn't pack me in her suitcase, it's been a rough week without her here at work. Time is going by soooooo slowly, but I've seemed to make it to Thursday, so I guess I'll survive. Thinking about her off having fun in the sun has gotten me thinking about my favorite vacations.

I think one of my FAVORITE vacations was definitely my honeymoon in Jamaica! After all the planning, stress and excitement, it was wonderful to decompress, relax and just enjoy my new hubby! We went to Sandals Negril which I HIGHLY recommend! The all-inclusive was great for us. We didn't have to carry cash around with us, everything we could have needed or wanted was all on the resort, and SCUBA diving didn't have any extra fees! For us, it was perfect: sun, sand, ocean, drinks and a gorgeous suite all to ourselves! For your viewing pleasure (and because I'm wishing I was there right now):

Growing up we often took cruises as our family vacations. They are a lot fo fun and there is so much good food! Plus, it's great that there's something for everyone all on the same ship. But I think my favorite family vacations growing up were our camping trips to Lake George, New York every summer. My grandparents have a trailer and we have been going every summer since I can remember. When we were little, my dad used to wake my sister and I up early. We would drive to McDonald's and get a hash brown and orange juice, then we would watch the sun rise over the lake. We would sit around the campfire at night and roast marshmallows. And now that we're older, we go out on the boat tubing.

Not everyone is into the "family fun" thing. My family is certainly far from perfect! But they're mine and I love them and camping is still one of my favorite vacations. Here's some photos from this summer:

What was your favorite vacation or favorite vacation growing up?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Winter's on the way!

It was a whole 19 degrees when I left for the train station this morning! This was the first morning that it was clear that winter is on it's way. I was bundled up in my long wool coat, scarf and gloves and I was still shivering! As I was waiting for the train though, I noticed a man wearing shorts and a t-shirt!! Yes, I said shorts and a t-shirt! And he didn't even look cold! makes me cold just thinking about him.

I love the cold and change of seasons though. It's a constant reminder of the cycles in our lives. When my hubby and I lived in South Carolina, I was miserable. They have 2 temperatures there: hot and warm. It just wasn't for me. I love the summer sun on my face, the sand in my toes and swimming in the ocean. I love the foliage and colors of fall, the smell of chimney smoke in the air and Sundays on the couch, in my big comfy sweats, watching football with my hubby. Though the short, dark days of winter can sometimes be depressing, I love the first snow, snuggling by a fire, hot cocoa and a white Christmas. Spring brings new life: flowers, sun showers, rainbows and soon the approach of summer again.

So, it may be cold now and it may get dark at 4:30 (!) but I'm looking forward to the holidays at home with my family. The warmth and love of my family is enough to keep me warm. And without the cold and dark of winter, the new life and beauty of spring wouldn't be right around the corner.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm in love...

...with Google Reader!! *hahaha* I don't know why I waited so long to set it up, but the last 2 weeks have been heaven for me!! Long gone are the gazillion bookmarks!! It is soooo much easier to keep up with my ever growing list of favorite blogs now! All you do is add the urls of your favorite blogs and they show up in one list for you! It's wonderful, so go sign up now! :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Love is love

My last post got me thinking about Proposition 8 that was just passed in California. Sometimes when I feel strongly about something, it is hard for me to find the words to really describe the passion behind what I feel. To me, love is love. Whether you are black, white, purple, man and woman, woman and woman or man and man. LOVE IS LOVE. There is separation of church and state for a reason. You have every right to believe what you believe. You do not, however, have a right to impose those beliefs on other people. Keith Olbermann has expressed what I am feeling so eloquently that I couldn't resist sharing:


Marriage is not easy. Right after we got married, everyone always asked me if it was any different being married. We had lived together for a few years before we got married and had been together 6 1/2 years, so it was pretty much the same. My robotic reply became, "It's just a piece of paper that came with a big party!" There is a lot of truth to that. Our day to day life remained the same. We knew each others' habits and already had joint finances. However, it's not entirely true.

With that piece of paper comes a lot of responsibility to each other. It is not that we didn't feel we had that responsibility to each other before, but that little piece of paper does mean something. We made a commitment in front of all of our family and friends, and in front of God. This marriage is not something I entered into lightly. My hubby knows that (as I often tell him) "he's stuck with me!" As I sit here typing, I find it hard to come up with the words that accurately describe this shift in our relationship after the wedding. Despite that, it is clear in my mind that there was one. It's a sense of seriousness, or a maturity I guess. We are bound together now: legally bound, and bound in our love for each other. I feel a responsibility to be the best "me" not only for myself anymore, but for him as well.

A marriage takes constant work, no matter how much you love each other. You have to work to keep that *spark* alive. Not just because you're worried it will fade away, but because your spouse deserves to have the best of you and vice versa. It is too easy to fall into routines and become complacent.

You have to work at communicating too. We are all different and communicate in different ways. My hubby and I are complete opposites in just about every way. I love to talk about everything and he'd just assume let things blow over and forget about it. So, it takes effort from both of us. Sometimes I have to accept that he doesn't want to talk and talking would just make the situation worse for him, and sometimes he has to talk when he'd rather not because that's what I need. It's all a balancing act.

Finances are also a common problem couples face. Again, my hubby and I are complete opposites. I'm a saver. I like to save as many pennies as possible because you never know when you might need it. When I buy things, I feel guilty. Yes, I know I shouldn't feel guilty buying things for myself once in awhile, but it is just how I am. The things I want are BIG, like a house and a retirement fund and security, so saving helps me get closer to those things. I also pay all the bills and handle all the finances, so I see the numbers every day. My hubby on the other is a spender. Don't get me wrong, he works VERY hard and deserves to buy things for himself. But he does not see the numbers every day and he doesn't think about the big things like I do. The things he wants, he wants them now! I would say that finances are the source of the majority of our arguments. This won't ever change because this is how we are, but we have learned to compromise. He has learned at times to back off the spending to allow me to save towards the things I want, and I have tried to accept that it is ok if he buys things for himself. We deserve to be happy now too, not just in the future.

I could go on and on about our differences and the work it takes every single day. This sounds like such a drag, doesn't it?! Definitely doesn't sound like the fairy tale every little girl dreams of. But it's not a drag at all! So it takes some work, so what?? Every second is worth it. It is my fairy tale. This man loves me with every ounce of his being. I see it in his eyes when he smiles at me. I feel it when he holds me tight and dances with me in the kitchen. I don't love him in spite of our differences, I love him because he is so different than me. I love that he balances my extremes and vice versa. I love that he loves me exactly the way I am. Other people may think I'm crazy. I'm very particular, some may even say anal, some say I nag. He loves me. Every marriage is sacred. No one knows how you interact and how the dynamic works between the two of you but you two. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. Our love goes beyond all these things. So it takes a little work. It's not easy, but it's more than worth it. Marriage isn't just about the wedding. Too many people think that. They think it should be that stereotypical fairy tale, the big fancy wedding and happily ever after. It's not. Nothing worthwhile comes easy. It takes work. When you figure that out and throw the fairy tale out the window, it isn't a chore to do that work. It is what marriage is. Plain and simple. You do what you have to to make that person you love so much happy. And you build your own, real life, happily ever after...

Friday, November 14, 2008

I'm so tired...

Going to work just sucks the life out of me lately. I don't feel productive. I don't feel creative. I don't feel intelligent. I know I am all of these things, but by the time I get home, I don't have the energy to believe that I am. It is such a condescending environment. For over a year, I have been put down. I have fought to prove that I am intelligent, that I have great ideas and that I'm a hard worker. Everyone around me sees it except the one person that should acknowledge it. It doesn't do any good. And now I'm tired, exhausted really. I have 5 weeks left and nothing left to give. I can't wait to escape and get myself back, to believe these things about myself again. I can't wait to have any energy back and the desire to do anything but crash on the couch.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A silver lining

I have been trying very hard to stay positive about our employment/finance issues. Some days are definitely easier than others, but I find that the more positive I am, the better I tend to feel about the situation. I also find that even if I have to fake a positive attitude, it eventually helps if I keep it up for long enough.

Last night, I was doing the dishes and thinking about the list of about a gazillion things I need to do. That got me thinking about chores and how the apartment needs to be cleaned, and the chores I HATE to do. I don't mind doing dishes, and I don't mind doing laundry, but I detest ironing. *ugh* Just the thought of ironing makes me exhausted with boredom.

Then I started thinking that since my hubby got laid off early, I haven't had to iron! I usually only have to iron his work clothes and since he's not working, there's no ironing! It instantly made me smile :) And golf season doesn't start back up until almost April, so I won't have to do any regular ironing until then! woooohoooo!

I made lemonade out of lemons and didn't even have to fake it ;)

Do you hate ironing as much as I do? If not, what's your least favorite chore?

As a side note, little miss spy once told me that she loves ironing, it's relaxing for her and that she does it while watching tv. As a result, I tried ironing while watching tv and ended up swiping the edge of the iron right on my stomach, which led to a huge blister and now a nice scar! *hahaha* Where do you do your ironing and do you have any tips on how to make it less torturous for me?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oh, baby!

I've been thinking a lot about babies since I've been knitting this blanket for my soon-to-be niece. My hubby and I don't have any children yet, so I don't really know what that relationship is like as a parent. But thinking about it made me think of this photo I took of my cousin and her daughter in February, when she was only about a month and a half old.

This is one of my favorite photos that I have ever taken, not because of the quality, or the lighting or anything technical like that, but because of the emotions that filled that room when I snapped it. You could tell that my cousin was so completely IN LOVE with her daughter. It was a very sweet moment.

With a bunch of the people I love starting to have babies, I get excited watching them with their little ones, wondering what it will actually feel like when I get to experience it for myself. It seems like it must be such an amazing feeling that it's almost surreal at first.

But until we're ready, I'm enjoying getting my fill of babies and observing them with their parents, and being able to hand them back to their mom or dad whenever I want!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Recycling just got easier!

I have to admit, when I have to separate everything out, I am a horrible recycler. In fact, to be honest, I don't do it at all. I don't have room in my kitchen for all the different containers to separate it all out and I don't have the time or patience for it. The only things I put aside are the bottles I've paid deposit on. I'm horribly un-green, I know.

But recently the recycling system in my town changed. They mailed us this nifty little pamphlet that tells you exactly what you can and cannot recycle. And even better, there is no separating involved! You can throw it all in together, it's GREAT! So, now I have 1 container in my kitchen, and I tacked the pamphlet up above it. We have become recycling fools!

I certainly wouldn't want the job of the person who has to sort through it all, but it has definitely gotten us to participate.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I love to knit. The repetition is soothing. It keeps me busy but I can relax at the same time. Best of all, you can physically see your progress and when you're done there is a finished product to show for all your time and effort.

Knitting also produces great gifts. My sister-in-law is expecting a little girl at the end of January, so I'm currently knitting a baby blanket in pink and purple. (I'm so excited to be an aunt for the first time!) I've been wanting to start this since I found out she was having a girl, but with everything I'm working on for my sister's wedding, I just started last week. Here's my progress so far:

With her baby shower coming up on the 22nd, I have quite a bit to go!! I'm not sure I'll finish on time, so I'm knitting every night like a maniac to try to get it done. I'm hoping I'll finish it for the shower, but if not, I think I'll just take a picture of it for the shower and tell her I'll mail it to her when I'm done!

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Little Things

There is a quote by Samuel Johnson that I just love!

It is by studying little things that we attain the
great art of having as little misery, and as
much happiness as possible.

I'm not very good at this by nature. I am very much a creature of habit. It is very easy for me to get stuck in routines and never waiver from them. I always drive to the supermarket the same way. I have to do the dishes and get my clothes and lunch ready for the next day before I can sit down to relax each evening. If you're familiar with Meyers-Briggs personality types, I am an ISFJ.

I tend to focus on the task at hand, and not the details and little things around me. Everyday, I get off the red line and walk to the office building I work in. I tend to focus on walking and getting to the building quickly.

One day, a few months ago, I got to work and little miss spy said something about a structure that was going up across the street. I had no idea what she was talking about so the next time I went outside, I made it a point to look. This is what I saw:

I walk by this EVERY SINGLE DAY and NEVER noticed it!! *hahahaha*

Since then I have been trying to be conscious of the things around me, little and big. We only have one life and I was going through mine just trying to make a living instead of LIVING MY LIFE! I should know better. Unfortunately, I have been shown too many times in my 25 years so far, that life is short and every moment is precious.

There are so many beautiful things around us, so much to be grateful for, and so many things to make us smile. So as much as my routines make me comfortable, I have been trying to step out of my comfort zone. I try to look around and be grateful for my life and every breath I take. It's amazing the things you notice around you when you take the time to look. And it's amazing how much happier it makes you.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


This past Saturday, my mom, sister, hubby and I went into Boston for the day. We went to the New England Aquarium, Faneuil Hall Market Place, the farmer's market and out to an AMAZING late lunch at Maggiano's.

It was a gorgeous day to walk around and we had a lot of fun. My favorite part of the day was, of course, the aquarium! My hubby had never been there before and I knew he would love it, so it was a lot of fun watching him experience it for the first time too!

I took some pictures, of course! Enjoy :)

This little guy (above) is my favorite! He looks like he's whistling!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Great minds think alike!

I've talked before about best friends and little miss spy. At lunch yesterday, I noticed that little miss spy and I WERE WEARING THE SAME SOCKS!

Even better is the fact that that she had another pair of socks on that morning and decided to change them. *hahaha* Great minds think alike!


Let me just start by saying that I have never been all that interested in politics. It never seemed to affect me directly. This election was slightly different. Though I still wasn't interested in all the "politics," I was very interested in the issues facing our country and what the candidates proposed to do about those issues. Maybe it is because this is the first presidential election where I have been immersed in "the real world" as an adult, or maybe it's because this country seems to me to be falling apart. Maybe it is a little bit of both.

It is unbelievable to me the amount of pride and elation I am feeling this morning! It has literally brought me to tears several times. It is an indescribable feeling. We have witnessed and participated in something historic. Everything seems new today. There is so much hope. I am filled and overwhelmed with emotions of all kinds.

During both speeches, I was crying. I think it was the best speech John McCain has EVER given. His graciousness and emphasis on unity touched me. And Barack words really describe his speech. The issues completely aside, he is what the country needs to heal, to reunite and to move forward. Yes we can! I have never been more proud and hopeful than I was listening to his words.

What I hope now, is that people, Democrats and Republicans, will support him in his presidency and realize that he has 8 years worth of problems to fix. Nothing he does is going to show instantaneous results. It will take a lot of work and all of our support. Throughout his campaign, Obama never promised policies, but he did promise to do his best. We must realize that even though he will hold the most important job in the world, he cannot make changes on his own. That is one of the great things about our country and democracy! We must acknowledge that and stand behind him. We must STAY involved! The number of people who turned out to vote was inspiring. But this is just the beginning. We have to tell our representitives what we feel and what we want. They represent us and we must encourage them to support President Obama in his efforts to make these changes.

It's an amazing day. The start to something historic that will affect us all. I am filled with hope.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Rock the Vote!

Today is election day and I don't think there is anyone in the world that is not interested in the outcome of this election. This morning I got up at my regular time and got ready for work. At 6:35am when my hubby would usually be driving me to the train station, we drove to an elementary school to get in line to vote. At 6:40am when we got there, there were only about 10 people ahead of us so I was very happy about that. The people started filing in after that, so I was glad we got there when we did. At 7am the polls opened, and we were in the car heading home at 7:06am! Not bad at all! I caught the 7:30am train into work and was in the office less than an hour later than usual.

The whole ride in I couldn't stop smiling though! What is it about voting that makes me so happy?! I asked little miss spy this when I got here, and she thinks it's because "we're doing our part." I have to agree, I think that is part of it. But I think there's more to it.

I think it also makes me happy because I have the right to do this and make this decision and even have a part in it all. That on top of me fulfilling my responsibility and taking part in what may be the most historic election of my lifetime, is a pretty amazing feeling!

And if that isn't enough, when I got to work there was a letter and gift waiting for me from a very dear friend. I have permanent smile today. :)

I don't care who you voted for, but did you vote today? Did it make you smile? If so, why do you think it makes you happy?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Operation NICE: Make a Love List

Little miss spy and I have been trying very hard lately to do anything necessary to try and stay positive. By 9am this morning, I was already having a rough day and she sent me a link to this post on a blog called Operation NICE. At first I thought, "Great! Another blog to get addicted to and try to keep up with." But she advised me to just read this post and to do it. She planned on doing it too. I thought it couldn't hurt and it might even cheer me up a little bit. It also fits really well with my post from Saturday. So here goes:

I love how my husband dances with me in the kitchen when we're cooking dinner. I love that he loves me, faults and all, just the way I am. I love rolling over every morning and seeing him sleeping next to me. I love that no matter how old I get, to my dad, I'm always his little girl. I love my mom's unconditional, never-ending support. I love how much my sister values my opinion. I love little miss spy's youthful energy and contagious smile.

Thinking about some of the people I love did cheer me up a little bit. :) So, I decided to try out the original love list too!

I love the warmth of the sun on my face. I love the sound and smell of the ocean. I love weddings and watching the bride and groom so in love. I love capturing a moment in a photograph. I love doing things I didn't want to do and ENJOYING THEM. I love watching babies experience and discover things for the first time. I love the fall and foliage and the smell of chimney smoke. I love the first snow. I love writing and reflecting and growing.

Wow, that really made me smile!

What does your love list look like?


Oh, how I love weddings!! My hubby and I were engaged for a year and a half, so wedding planning was a big part of my life for a while! I have to admit, I loved it and was a little bit sad when it was all over.

We were of the first of our friends to get married. But what's great is now they are all starting to get married too and we get to be a part of it all! My sister recently got engaged to her high school sweetheart, a guy my hubby and I have been friends with for many years! It's all very exciting because their engagement will only have been about 8 months when they get married on January 31st. So there is a lot to do in not that much time.

Luckily, my sister has a good idea of what she wants. That combined with all the research from my wedding, has made her planning very easy. Luckily for me, she asked me to help with just about everything for the wedding. I'm more than happy to help her and I LOVE this stuff so I'm REALLY enjoying it. I have a list of things I'm designing, printing, creating and planning for her. I just finished the bridal shower favors, so I thought it would be fun to share a few pictures with all of you!

Enjoy :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008


I think we are all experiencing the effects of the economic crisis right now. My husband and I definitely are. He is an assistant golf professional and was laid off 6 weeks earlier than usual this year. On top of that, he does not have a job to return to next season. He was told this on a Sunday and that Sunday was also his last day. A lot of notice, right?! To make matters worse, I had been told 4 days earlier that I will not have a job past the end of December because the business I work for is failing.

I have to admit, I was in shock first. When the shock wore off, I was devastated. I cried pretty hard. We have been doing so well and trying so hard to save money to buy a house and start a family. We had so many plans for the next 2 years, and this crushed all of them instantly.

But I am trying very hard to be positive. The truth is, there are MANY people in this country and in the world that are much worse off than we are. My hubby should be able to easily find a job this winter for next season. Does losing 6 weeks of pay hurt us? Yeah, a little. But we have plenty of money in the bank and, though it will be hard for me to use our savings, I know the money is there if we need it. Does losing my pay and our insurance feel like rocks in my stomach? ABSOLUTELY! But I have been given months of notice, and I am intelligent and have a strong work ethic, so I should have no problem finding some other job.

I believe with my whole heart that everything happens for a reason. Despite the fact that this whole situation changes our plans and is a little depressing, we both think it will be good for us. We were both in need of new work environments, and have only been staying at our respective jobs to meet the financial needs of our plans. And despite how bad it seemed at first, it might not set back our plans more than a couple of months.

Life is not always easy. In fact, it's rarely easy. But that's life! We have so many blessings and so much to be grateful for every single day, despite all that is going on. We have money in the bank, we have each other and our love and a strong relationship. We have an amazingly supportive and loving group of family and friends that would help us at the drop of a hat if we ever needed anything. We are healthy, we have food to eat and clothes to wear, and we live a pretty comfortable lifestyle.

We are not "rich" if you are thinking about the term financially, and money will definitely be tight for a little while. But we are rich in every other aspect of our lives! As long as we remember that and are grateful for these blessings every single day, I know everything will work out just fine.

Are you feeling the effects of the economy too? What are you doing to cut back and adjust for this? What are you grateful for in your life?