March 15, 2012
A must have from Aldo this season. 

A must have from Aldo this season. 

December 25, 2010
The family, the friends, the football.

I have so much to be excited about and grateful for this holiday season, I don’t even know where to being. While I am celebrating today with just my sister and parents, in just a few days the masses of family and friends will be home to celebrate, be merry and ring in the new year. Since Thanksgiving raced by, it only seemed appropriate that I finally take a second to sit down and soak it all in. God has been great to me this season. In fact, he has been more than great, he really out did himself this year! Here’s why….

First off, the love of my life proposed last month during Thanksgiving, and both of our families were there to help us celebrate. Now, we not only get to plan an amazing, November, San Diego wedding - we also get to plan the rest of our lives together. Lucky, lucky me. (Check out our wedding website!) And along with the recent engagement, I no longer have one single family to celebrate with. This Christmas I find myself with an extra set of parents, sister, brother, niece and nephew to celebrate the season. I consider myself beyond blessed to have been welcomed with open arms into the Monaco family.

Next, the 2010  Holiday Bowl President is none other than my Dad, Eric Graves. Not only does this mean a slew of luncheons, parades (I’ve been practicing my wave), parties, tail gates, a lot of family in town, and a whole lot of fun.. it also means that my Dad is having the time of his life coordinating a bowl game he’s been involved and in love with for as long as I can remember (1993). We are all so proud.

Lastly, this season I find myself being stretched and challenged as a person. As you all know, a year ago exactly I picked up my life, drove (with my now-fiance) across the country, and  moved to Indianapolis. Do it while your young right? I continue to love my new home. I can’t get enough of the snow, Midwest people and way-of-life. But — here it comes — it’s hard. I miss San Diego, my home and my family every day. I am faced with the realization that I might never make it back to the west coast.  It’s for that reason that I’m grateful because I know it’s the hard things in life that grow and stretch you as a person. Some recent advice I received from a very best friend was right on — “Never be afraid to miss something”.  This Christmas, rather than struggling with the 3,000 miles between my family and I, I’m heart-overflowing grateful that this is a city I will always call home.

So for the friends, the family (new and old), the fiance, the season, the cities and of course, the football — I am grateful. Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays, everyone!

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